Saturday, November 8, 2008

Bad Behavior Is in the Genes; Jeans Not Entirely Free From Blame

So it turns out that criminals (that is to say, real criminals, not just bears with attitude problems) seek each other out socially. Yes, we already knew they all hang out together in college, but it looks like it starts even younger.

Florida State University is reporting that they have located a gene that indicates criminal tendencies, and that young men in possession of this gene tend to group with their delinquent (and genetically defective) peers. It seems a little suspect to me. I mean, what next, are they going to determine whether someone is predisposed to criminal behavior by feeling the bumps on their head? Phrenology was dismissed as nonsense a long time ago, do we really need to blame bad behavior on genes?

To its credit, the study also acknowledges factors like environment and upbringing can have an effect on whether or not the adolescent males will in fact be delinquent. The criminal genes might not express themselves as fully, or express themselves more easily, depending on the subject's situation. Of course, if they're seeking out peers who are also likely to commit crime, then we're back to square one.

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The header image is adapted from a photo taken by Bill McChesney and used under a creative commons license.
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