Re: Sociopaths (was Re: Reforming Education)

phil osborn (
Sat, 23 Oct 1999 20:59:03 PDT

>From: "J. R. Molloy" <>
>Subject: Re: Sociopaths (was Re: Reforming Education)
>Date: Wed, 20 Oct 1999 22:50:42 -0700
> >Even if there are only biological reasons for this (unlikely in
> >itself), it doesn't mean cognitive therapy is useless. After all, we
> >can reprogram our brains quite well around damage given enough help -
> >it just takes time.
>The reasons for this most likely entail both biology and sociology
>(socio-biology). The genetic basis of morality (see Dawkins and E. O.
>Wilson) does less to render therapies useless, and more to provide
>explanations for immoral or antisocial behavior, which in turn allows more
>accurate identification of causes -- the better to prevent illness of the
>ethical kind.
I'd been meaning to mention this but I had hoped I would run accross the actual reference. O'well.. Anyway, in a recent edition of the local paper there was a report on a particular syndrome that has been identified as genetically based. Some researchers want to classify it as a form of autism, while others object that since the sufferers do not have nearly the extreme version of the symptoms that are typical of the autistic, it should not be lumped in.
The typical behavioral symptoms are things like inability to respond appropriately in social settings, misinterpreting social signals completely, failure to abide by social norms of dress and grooming, often accompanied by strange physical gait or tics. They noted that many such people are highly intelligent and productive and that a high percentage of the afflicted are in fact considered top computer programmers - so-called "super-programmers", who can work at blinding speed for long intense stretches of total concentration, but are useless in social settings. To sum up: these people fitted the profile of the SF FAN/Mensan/Programmer Nerd. And, as I said, there now has been identified a specific genetic basis. Not sure how this fits yet into the sociopath discussion ongoing, but it seemed worth mentioning....

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