predisposed -v- learnt
thomasr at topaz.cqu.edu.au
Sun Dec 8 18:20:12 EST 1996
In article <x6spycBTKsrW089yn at ibm.net>,
parker0 at ibm.net (Paul Parker) writes:
> In article <1996Dec4.082357 at topaz>,
> thomasr at topaz.cqu.edu.au (Roger Thomas) wrote:
P>>>> 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.
P>> We can leave this issue - we can all learn bad habits, more as this
>>> is not relevant directly to the issues raised below.
R>Except I'd comment that in a family where all members are raised
>>under the same circumstances there are often *marked* differences
> 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
P>> 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.
R>Realised that. 'Dour Scot' etc (why wouldn't you be dour if you
>>had to live in that climate! :-)
P>> In our discussions on racial issues we have dodged questions :
>>> 1) whether exists genetic identifiers for race;
P>> 2) whether such gentic identifier - if exist, might be
>>> linked to any behavioural characteristic;
P>> 3) whether any genetic identifier should be linked to
>>> rights of individuals;
> 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 ?
No. Be impossible practically and ignores modification by culture/
education/etc to otherwise 'instinctive' (genetic) behavior. At
best it would be a first guess.
P>> 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 ?
R>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.
Why? It's already being done on the basis of folklore anyway.
You simply make appropriate allowances when dealing with someone
from a group which is characterised in a particular way, if it's
necessary at the time. Eg the dour Scot mentioned earlier. If
you're dealing with a Scot and they seem particularly stern and
obstinate, you automatically make excuses for them on the basis
that it's the behaviour expected. If they *aren't* dour then
the question of automatic excuses for them doesn't arise. I
can't see the problem... Unless you're suggesting behaviour
*can't* be modified by culture!
> Have any studies on genetic identification 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 ?
(Not my field so I can't help here...)
P>> 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 ?
R>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.
'Folklore' often has some truth in it - but that doesn't mean it's
100% accurate, either.
R>>>A possible further step may be manipulation of genetic material so
>>>>'normal' levels are maintained automatically by the individual.
P>> 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.
R>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.
P>> Are we walking along a cliff face studying articles in the newspaper
>>> rather than where we are walking to ?
R>'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.
P>> 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 ?
R>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
> Is the documentation on the ethical requirements available, and in
> a readable by common citizen format ?
I'd expect so - anyone in a biology dept at any uni should be able
to dig up the docs on request - as would the medical research
centres and vet schools etc.
R>>>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.
P>> As could reduce the health budget studies here might even be funded ;-)
R>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.
P>> 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 ?
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