There is an interesting article in the NYT today - Genetic Basis For Crime: A New Look - written by Patricia Cohen, Monday June 20, 2011. As you can guess fron the title, there is new evidence that an individual's DNA can signal a predisposition in criminal behaviour. I wont reprise the entire article here except to make these points: Scientists in the field of behaviour genetics are very afraid to research or publish anything that might link genes and crimimnal behaviour because of the possible link to race. The new research in the field indicates that there are genetics links. There is also some evidence that these "genes" dont always lead to criminal behaviour unless there is some stress that "flips the switch" on these genes. The most interesting research quoted in this article was a research paper done by Kevin M. Beaver published in February in Biological Psychiatry in February 2011 titled "Genetic Influences On Being Processed Through The Criminal Justice System: Results From A Sample Of Adoptees." The conclusion was thus: "Adoptees whose biological parents had broken the law were significantly more likely to be arrested, sentenced to probation, incarcerated and arrested multiple times when compared with adoptees whose biological parents had not been arrested."
Nature or Nuture? New research might point to nature playing a stronger role than expected. If so, if society can accept the research, then society can benefit. Early identification of a genetic predisdposition could lead to early intervention in the environmental triggers that "flip the switch", thus reducing criminal behaviour.
Mr. Beaver's Curriculum Vitae:
Will science win here? Or will that segment of the population that believes that poor self conrol is the sole root cause of criminal behaviour win? How about that segment of the population that believes that blacks are more likley to commit crimes than whites? How will science affect this belief, if at all? Or will they ignore it just carry on with the predjudicial view? What if this view is actually based on science?