Autistic Traits Q. (was Re: Simple test for ADD?????)
Alan J. Robinson
robin073 at maroon.tc.umn.edu
Thu Dec 14 09:04:16 EST 1995
On Wed, 13 Dec 1995 11:02:49 -0800,
CHRISTOPHER LANDERS <CLANDERS at HUEY.CSUN.EDU> wrote:
>I'd like to add this to Mr. Kemper's point.
>Does anyone who advocates this genetic basis for personality realize
>how dangerous this POV is. A large part of the reason that genetic
>experimentation with personality was diregaurded for years is
>directly the result of crimes commited by the Nazi's and the former
>soviet "psychiatric hospitals.
>I'm diagnosed with ADD and am being treated. However, I need to
>understand this desire to lay so many of its charateristics at the
>genetic door. And if this is the case, so what? What about the
>uniqueness of these people.
>Finally, a genetic basis doesn't necessarily exclude the possibility
>of free will or unique consiousness. Please check out Dr. Francis
>Crick's book, "The Astonishing Hypothesis"
Because the human brain has proved extrordinarily difficult to study
scientifically, the determination of the genetic basis of personality,
intelligence, and susceptibility to psychiatric and related disorders
has become one of the most important scientific quests of all time.
(It is a major emphasis of the 1990s Decade of the Brain.)
Much of the information about the brain that has been collected so far
through other methods such as drug and lesion studies doesn't add up
to a coherent picture of diseases like manic depression. (Even the
basic physiology of the manic state is a profound mystery.) But
studying the effect of genetic variations will enable us to
definitively correlate brain structure with many brain functions.
The very top scientists in the world fully support these
investigations. That this work contradicts much of what has been
taught about human behavior in the 20th century (and is still
being taught in many universities) is an unfortunate consequence
of earlier attempts to produce theories which were politically
palatable to many intellectuals, but ultimately unscientific and
nonsensical such as Freudianism.
The Dana foundation is funding researchers at several major
institutions (Johns Hopkins, Stanford, MIT) to find the genes for
manic depression. (These genes are probably closely related to those
for many other psychiatric disorders such as ADHD. But it doesn't
stop there - autoimmune diseases such as MS and lupus are also closely
James Watson, one of the codiscoverers of the structure of DNA, is
responsible for the collecting of this genetic information at the Cold
Spring Harbor Laboratory.
Much of the definitive scientific literature on the brain and human
behavior has only been published in the last 10 years, and is not well
known even to many scientists working in the field. Even though
the genetic picture is still incomplete, the picture of the genetic
effect on human behavior that is forming is vastly different from the
one commonly assumed in public debate.
Far from being the paragons of genetic superiority, the fair haired
Nordics worshipped by the Nazis have more than their share of genetic
disorders such as multiple sclerosis, and as is obvious from the Nazis
themselves, antisocial personality.
Life is an interesting tradeoff, because many of these genetic
variations have both positive and negative effects. (It's not just a
question of "good" and "bad" genes.) Once we know the genes, one of
the biggest questions facing the human race in the 21st century will
be how much it is willing to trade the driving personalities of its
business and political leaders for freedom from the abusive behaviors
of those who seek and obtain wealth and power.
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