Psychopaths

Anyone interested in the series of posts I did on psychopaths over at my website – direct link here? Then you might find the latest i09 article on the topic interesting also. With a thought-provoking moral questions for yourselves –

Neuroscience: Should we eliminate psychopaths from the gene pool? – @io9 http://t.co/XZAC7njp

io9.com/5916074/should…

Psychopaths make up an astounding 1 to 2 percent of the general population and occupy virtually every niche in society. Often ruthless, callous and completely devoid of empathy, they impose an incalculable toll on individuals and society.

2 thoughts on “Psychopaths

  1. Hmm but to genetically start selecting who may or may not turn out to be a psychopath would be slippery slope how do you decide? over 50 % of those with the genetic markers turn out normal do you wipe them all just incase then what next DSM-IV is a minefield in terms of diagnosis infact i am pretty sure most writers would most certainly be committed based on the criteria for a whole range of mental illnesses. I think what is really needed is better intervention once the sign are there that someone is heading down to road to developing as a psychopath there are usually those tell tale signs and if they cannot be helped then I guess we have to then decide whether their freedom should be restriced to protect the innocent

  2. Thoughtful debate, Paula. I first learnt of the possibility (and moral conundrum) of genetically getting rid of such propensities as psychopathology a while back. My immediate reaction was a resounding No! Sounds like genocide to me.

    I’ve lived with a low-grade sociopath in my family, and he caused a lot of pain and havoc, but learnt how to at least pass off some emotions expected of him. He’s now a functioning part of his society. There are other examples of psychopaths running or adding value at least to some corporates, particularly in the high-risk cut-throat business areas where most men fear to tread. We can debate whether this is good or not (I vote not, realistically) all day, but with 1-2% of our population having these characteristics, it’s a very big debate in itself.

    I come down to thinking that at some point some behavioural or mental characteristic diagnosed originally as being a mental disease or personality disorder, will actually turn out to be something human society may need in the future. And if we wipe out those genes beforehand, out of fear, we go down the route of faltering our progression. I don’t like it when we play god, and besides – I always have hope that we might one day find ourselves some real-life X-Men, and that such changes are ultimately good for us. So, I’m a bit of a dreamer. Keep the genetics and medical science to searching for cures for things like cancer, I say.

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