predisposed -v- learnt

Paul Parker parker0 at
Thu Dec 5 08:31:29 EST 1996

In article <1996Dec4.082357 at topaz>,
thomasr at (Roger Thomas) wrote:
>In article <3NEpycBTKMTS089yn at>, parker0 at (Paul Parker) writes:
>> In article <1996Nov24.085249 at topaz>,
>> thomasr at (Roger Thomas) wrote:
>>>In article <m+4lycBTKQyN089yn at>, parker0 at (Paul Parker) writes:
>> ---deletions---
>> The earlier deletions referred to reports on studies in the USA linking 
>> aggresive behaviour with serotonin levels,  establishing this was both
>> inheritable characteristic and treatable.   
>> Other inheritable and treatable genetic links exist.
>>>> How much of an individuals behaviour is an inherited genetic 
>>>> predisposition at birth, how much is from culture - what is learnt 
>>>> after birth ?  
>>>> Links between culturally modified predispostions are being found.
>> We can leave this issue - we can all learn bad habits, more as this 
>> is not relevant directly to the issues raised below. 
>Except I'd comment that in a family where all members are raised
>under the same circumstances there are often *marked* differences
>in behaviour/disposition.

No denial here !

Studies attempted over the years with twins, triplets etc were reported 
as producing some odd findings re commonality of behaviour, lifestyles 
and perhaps shared emotions/pain.  Whether these reportedly present 
aspects were supported by the actual findings in the studies I do not

>>>> If we are proving the existance of such inherited predispositions 
>>>> we are saying those same theories which the Nazi's were - and 
>>>> remain, so widely condemned for were perhaps accurate... 
>>>> If you're unhappy with this path of thinking, with where it leads,
>>>> don't feel lonely !
>>>Facts don't have to be palatable :-)
>>>Assuming the hypothesis is established the next step is to do something
>>>about correcting serotonin levels in individuals who are suffering.
>> Sorry as not clear enough.  My concern was not serotonin levels 
>> influencing a persons behaviour or predisposition to particular - for
>> example aggressive, behaviour.  
>> Was reflecting on the debate re race, the usual derogatory comments 
>> over certain behaviours being normal - or at the time being abnormal,  
>> for people of a particular race. 
>Realised that.   'Dour Scot' etc (why wouldn't you be dour if you 
>had to live in that climate! :-)
>> In our discussions on racial issues we have dodged questions :
>> 	1)  	whether exists genetic identifiers for race;
>> 	2)	whether such gentic identifier - if exist,  might be 
>> 		linked to any behavioural characteristic;
>> 	3)	whether any genetic identifier should be linked to
>> 		rights of individuals;
>NO way.

We allow this sort of logic to apply to various ways;  Such as for
insurance where we see the persons own risk levels reflected in the 
premiums they pay;  Examples of third party compulsory insurance 
for cars, or,  insurance against professional liability claims.   

Another topical area is the rising cost of medical insurance here in 
Australia and whether our one levy all be covered fees structure 
should continue.  

If we demonstrate persons with particular genetic identifiers have
predispositions - greater risks,  of something occuring then can we 
levy a premium or impose a higher standard in duty of care for this
higher risk ?

>> IF we accept that in genetic terms there exists an identifier for 
>> race we can not deny it is possible to have existing a genetic 
>> link between race and behaviour.
>> IF we accept that in genetic terms there might exist genetic 
>> links between race and behaviour can we deny the funds to
>> persons wishing to study in this area ?
>I'd have no problem with that, but that is a damn sight different 
>from characterising a racial behavior on the basis of simple 
>observation, given that the observation is coloured by culture, 
>as is the behaviour being observed.

Observation is coloured by culture, culture is learnt while genetics
are inherited - though recent news suggest post-natal modifications
for genetically inherited problems are becoming possible.

I accept the difference between the perception by others as to 
someones race and the presence - if any exist, of particular 
genetic identifiers for race.

Strongly I argue persons should not have their rights qualified on 
the basis of racial determinations, regardless of whether such 
determinations are accurate or otherwise.   

IF we find exist any genetic inheritable identifiable links between
race and undesirable behaviours, from then we would need accept
as possible - no longer so readily call false or inaccurate, peoples 
perceptions re such characteristics and deny addressing such 
issues on racial lines.

The thought of where do we go then, after accepting the existance 
of genetic identifiers for race, after accepting the existance of 
genetic identifiers for behaviour, after having to accept the 
existance of links between these, it is the then where do we go 
that does frighten me.

Have any studies on genetic idenitification for race been recently 
undertaken in Australia or elsewhere ?  The genome project ?

Have any studies on genetic links to behavioural disorders been 
recently undertaken in Australia ?  Or elsewhere ?

If so are any of the reports available on the web ?

>> In terms of public morality perhaps.
>> Should we allow any such public morality on these issues to 
>> restrict what now seems to be application of reasonable scientific 
>> investigation of the issue  ?
>I would have thought public morality was better served by careful,
>repeatable scientific study than by ignoring possibilities.

There is little disagreement here, such an approach is essential.

The difficulty is in becoming prepared to even look at the possibility
anecdotes have some scientifically verifiable basis to them.   

The esterone yams in PNG story comes to mind, as does the ridicule 
given for so long to acupuncture.

>>>A possible further step may be manipulation of genetic material so
>>>'normal' levels are maintained automatically by the individual.
>> I have seen occasional reports on such work, however I had not 
>> followed these up in any depth,  so just recall them as interesting
>> areas of research - but not mine, at the time.  
>> Manipulation of genetic material we now do often, perhaps with little 
>> reflection on the wider issues concerning why we are doing such 
>> research and just where are we going with it.  
>It's not my field, but my impression is that is not the case.   The 
>ethical justification for such studies seems to be very rigorous,
>prolonged and well documented - and this is a requirement for the 
>work to *commence*.

Accept the word "often" is possibly a little strong, yet given such 
work has become far more common, no longer so headlinish,  whilst  
is seen to be increasingly important in farming related industries was
not so bad.

Actions of ethics committees are important.

Whilst these might be done if this is away from the public, away from 
being widely reported - widely discussed, for all to see and to consider 
the ethical issues that arise perhaps we all fail a little.

>> Are we walking along a cliff face studying articles in the newspaper 
>> rather than where we are walking to ?
>'Course we are!   We've collectively been doing that since the 
>year 'dot'. :-)

Sometimes we seem lead by those looking forward who forget to
look back for checking we are all still together;  Other times by those 
looking back who forget to look forward so not seeing the precipice we
approach or where the road will take us;  Even worse when we are 
lead by the committee so busy arguing over what to decide it looks in 
neither direction and we really get lost.  

>> Have any of the ethics commitees examining and deciding related 
>> matters - and the allocation of grants, released any discussion papers 
>> on their approaches to the issues involved ? 
>See above.  The documentation relating to ethical requirements
>for research involving biological tissue seems fat and happy - 
>at least at this uni.  I doubt the committees would automatically
>reject any application for race-based research on the grounds 
>that it *was* race-based, provided all other requirements
>were met.

Is the documentation on the ehtical requirements available, and in
a readable by common citizen format  ?

>>>When they've finished tinkering with that one maybe someone will start
>>>work on a way to increase melanin levels in the skin of white people
>>>who live in the tropics - so we can cut down on the skin cancers.
>> As could reduce the health budget studies here might even be funded ;-)
>Too late for me, though - I'll just have to keep on having 'em
>chopped out :-(

One of the discussions I heard/read [sorry the home boss cleaned up] about 
this serotonin work commented re work - undertaken or needing to be 
undertaken [?], on Melanin and skin cancer prevention.  May have been 
just an Australian angle for the story.

Certainly given the cost within Australia from skin cancer work in this 
area likely would be supported.

>> Again, the question is can we now say with any certainty that race 
>> can not be linked to behavioural disorders genetically, or must we
>> admit the possibility of such a link ?
>"Anything's possible"  :-)

regards,   Paul.

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