Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 08-07-2019, 11:40 AM
Max S. is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Florida, USA
Posts: 1,145

Sociopath Screening


In the future, will we be capable of using biometrics to identify potential sociopaths? Is it possible now? If you answer yes or maybe to either of those questions, should we do so? After they are identified, then what?

Inspired by monstro and QuickSilver's exchange in the thread "Any atheists here who believe in free will?"
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstro View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by QuickSilver View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstro View Post
I think we will reach a turning point in our social development when people no longer feel "icky" over using biometrics to identify potential sociopaths so that they can either be fixed or isolated from others. When society makes that shift, that will indicate we have collectively let go of the primitive idea that sociopaths are simply people who have just chosen to be bad for badness' sake. Whether posters here want to admit it or not, that is what the free will connotes to most people.
Sociopathology, any pathology really, is a scale with mitigating factors. Before we take to isolating people based on their genetic predispositions, we better be damn sure we know what we're doing.

(We won't. We almost never do.)
Eh, nothing we do is ever perfect. But if we identify a set of factors that predict sociopathy in 90% of cases, with a false positive error of 10%, it would be irreponsible for us not to do anything with this information.
~Max
  #2  
Old 08-07-2019, 12:04 PM
Hermitian's Avatar
Hermitian is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 2,508
Oh, I know! Once we find and register them all, we should make them wear little identifying pieces of flair so that everyone who interacts with them will be warned.
  #3  
Old 08-07-2019, 12:16 PM
Voyager's Avatar
Voyager is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Deep Space
Posts: 46,165
monstro's comment on false positives does not consider the number of sociopaths in the population. If it is 1%, then a 90% successful screen would involve 0.9% of the population, and the false positives would be 9.99% of the population. Not such a good idea.
Plus the successful identification rate and the false positive rates are not directly connected, and do not add up to 100%.
  #4  
Old 08-07-2019, 12:25 PM
Darren Garrison's Avatar
Darren Garrison is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 11,303
Book reccomendation time! (Not to make this political, but someone who rhymes with "The Gresident" reminds me so much of that book.)
  #5  
Old 08-07-2019, 12:26 PM
QuickSilver is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 18,572
It seems to me that whatever genetic screening can be done, will be done, at some point in the future. To what effect without well defined bioethics and laws?... I'm not in a position to speculate from an informed p.o.v.

I have never read the fine print on who gets to see your genetic data that people submit for analysis to places like 23andme, etc. Even if it's shared anonymously, I frankly have no reason to think it won't be misused in some fashion we can't yet predict. So I'm coming from a place of skepticism on this topic.

As for specifically identifying sociopaths in society, I think we are already pretty good at identifying them. Unfortunately, not until it's too late for the most dangerous among them. It's often said that many high achievers in society show sociopathic traits. Assuming that's true, dealing with them by isolating them would possibly be a net negative to society. So we'd need to be able to differentiate between those that are a real danger to society and those that while unpleasant to work with/for, are a net positive.

Final thought for now: If the goal is to prevent some number of people from having to deal with unpleasant (not dangerous) people on the sociopathological spectrum, perhaps even doing that is a disservice. There may be a benefit to having to learn to deal with unpleasant individuals rather than being able to avoid them altogether. Though I've not fully thought through the costs/benefits of that position.
__________________
St. QuickSilver: Patron Saint of Thermometers.

Last edited by QuickSilver; 08-07-2019 at 12:27 PM.
  #6  
Old 08-07-2019, 12:31 PM
pool is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Inside
Posts: 4,465
Just because your a sociopath doesn't mean your violent, or will harm people, you might just make a really ruthless and yet effective and competent business leader or CEO. I'm sure there have been some great soldiers too who were valiant on the battlefield or great leaders because they were sociopaths. I don't think we should get into some Gattaca or Minority Report type territory here unless someone violates the laws than you should leave them alone. Also it may be a moot point in the future anyway if we can manipulate and make designer babies with certain personality traits.

Online sources seem to contradict one another but also I think it's possible for some you may have the genetics but require the right environmental factors or lack thereof to ultimately become a sociopath, anyway I don't like the idea of this genetic destiny stuff.
__________________
"You can do anything you set your mind to...But money helps"
  #7  
Old 08-07-2019, 12:46 PM
Bryan Ekers's Avatar
Bryan Ekers is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Montreal, QC
Posts: 59,074
Probably it'll become sufficiently common to genetic screen fetuses for various problems (and selectively abort) that by the time a similar test for sociopathy exists, it will just be added to the process without much fuss. And eventually, Gattaca-style pre-implantation of optimized embryos free of detectable ailments including sociopathy will exist.
__________________
Don't worry about the end of Inception. We have top men working on it right now. Top. Men.
  #8  
Old 08-07-2019, 12:55 PM
l0k1 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 249
My main concern is that Sociopathy is not a diagnosis. Sociopath was coined in the 1930s, and most mental health stuff from then is ascientific bullshit. There is a whole range of Antisocial Personality Disorder, and having free comprehensive health care is probably better than any other course of action when it comes to mental health.
  #9  
Old 08-07-2019, 12:58 PM
you with the face is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Laurel, MD
Posts: 12,436
Quote:
Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
monstro's comment on false positives does not consider the number of sociopaths in the population. If it is 1%, then a 90% successful screen would involve 0.9% of the population, and the false positives would be 9.99% of the population. Not such a good idea.
It's only worrisome if we're talking about locking screen positives up for life or killing them.

If the most that will happen is that they get periodic psych evaluations starting at a young age, then I don't see an ethical problem.
  #10  
Old 08-07-2019, 01:03 PM
Dinsdale is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 18,492
Quote:
Originally Posted by pool View Post
Just because your a sociopath doesn't mean your violent, or will harm people, you might just make a really ruthless and yet effective and competent business leader or CEO. ...
And this:

Quote:
My main concern is that Sociopathy is not a diagnosis.
Moreover, I suspect "sociopathy" is a continuum, same as most other mental states/personalities. I'm having a hard time seeing that the benefits from prior screening for sociopathy would outweigh the harms.
__________________
I used to be disgusted.
Now I try to be amused.
  #11  
Old 08-07-2019, 01:04 PM
AHunter3's Avatar
AHunter3 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: NY (Manhattan) NY USA
Posts: 20,450
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
In the future, will we be capable of using biometrics to identify potential sociopaths?
No.



Quote:
Is it possible now?
No.


There is no evidence to support the notion that more than a tiny smattering of cognitive, emotional, or behavioral variations from the normative are caused by anything physiological.

In contrast, there's an already-large and still-growing mass of data to support the theory that most of them are directly caused by traumatic or otherwise-disruptive events in the person's life.
  #12  
Old 08-07-2019, 01:10 PM
Max S. is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Florida, USA
Posts: 1,145
Quote:
Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
monstro's comment on false positives does not consider the number of sociopaths in the population. If it is 1%, then a 90% successful screen would involve 0.9% of the population, and the false positives would be 9.99% of the population. Not such a good idea.
Plus the successful identification rate and the false positive rates are not directly connected, and do not add up to 100%.
Good observation! But a 10% margin of error is pretty good for screening purposes. The next step might be a more expensive or invasive diagnostic test.

For example, I work in the medical field and we sometimes order complete blood counts. Actually I believe primary care physicians order that test for something like 100% of their patients. That test can come back abnormal for a variety of reasons, some benign and some less than benign. The followup for an abnormal result is usually a more specific diagnostic test or referral to a specialist.

~Max
  #13  
Old 08-07-2019, 01:20 PM
Wesley Clark is online now
2018 Midterm Prediction Winner
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 22,146
Identification of dysfunctional people is good, but there's much more than just sociopathy out there. There are also narcissists, borderlines, and a wide range of other assholes and abusers.

Not only that but their destructiveness isn't always the same. Supposedly many sociopaths learn that the best way to meet their own needs is to be pro social and build alliances. This works better than theft and being an asshole. So if you label those what do you achieve?

Also neuroscientists like James fallon claim whether your sociopathy leads you to become actually antisocial rather than just a selfish asshole comes down to parenting. He claims had he had an abusive set of parents he would've become a much different breed of sociopath than he ended up as.
__________________
Sometimes I doubt your commitment to sparkle motion

Last edited by Wesley Clark; 08-07-2019 at 01:22 PM.
  #14  
Old 08-07-2019, 01:25 PM
casdave is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 8,324
We then run into the nurture vs nature barrier.

Fact is that even if we decide what we mean by a sociopath of such concern that they need to be confined, changes in upbringing and learned behaviors must surely require that everyone is tested on a regular basis to determine if they have developed sociopathy since the previous test. Further to that we then have to decide if a particular subject actually presents a risk, and what level of risk is acceptable and just where the grey line is, add to that we will then have to decide what to do long term. This will cost a lot of money and will be a resented imposition on the population.

So we medicate, retrain? Given that a number of individuals will be smart enough to fake the required outcomes then how will we deal with that?

Detaining individuals without warrants and with no appeals process and with no crime having been committed is a fantastic way to identify political opposition, trade unionists and other undesirables and locking them away - maybe we could get them to support the program by putting them to gainful employment in work camps -- can you see where this is going?

Counter to the message that the OP has posited, in fact this would be a wholly irresponsible thing to do.
In other words, not a great idea at all
  #15  
Old 08-07-2019, 01:26 PM
begbert2 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Idaho
Posts: 12,886
I have severe doubts that sociopathy (such as it is) doesn't have environmental factors influencing it - or some varieties of it. For example, it's seems pretty evident that our beloved Gresident's approach to life was at least partially learned from his family and what happened to him.

But suppose it turns out it is wholly genetic (or something like it is) - it sounds like the sort of thing that society would pay attention to - otherwise why bother with the testing? If this reaction is negative, then false positives would become a huge problem - society would levy its judgement on the innocent in ways that would likely be detrimental to their lives - like, say, ending them.

Of course in actuality we'd probably just end up taking all the diagnostically confirmed sociopaths and making them CEOs and politicians, so a false positive would just mean that resources would be inefficiently allocated to helping the populace or something.
  #16  
Old 08-07-2019, 01:51 PM
KidCharlemagne is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 5,207
If you're looking for genetic predisposition towards anti-social personalities you're better off starting with psychopaths. While neither is a diagnosis, among those who use the term for a living, psychopaths are generally born, while sociopaths are made. Obviously their is a spectrum of predisposition, but with psychopaths the disposition is stronger.
  #17  
Old 08-07-2019, 01:56 PM
Max S. is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Florida, USA
Posts: 1,145
Quote:
Originally Posted by AHunter3 View Post
No.


There is no evidence to support the notion that more than a tiny smattering of cognitive, emotional, or behavioral variations from the normative are caused by anything physiological.
What about currently proposed biomarkers for certain forms of psychosis? For example, an article on the National Institute for Mental Health's news feed offers MRI-detected neuromelanin as a potential predictor of psychosis, given observed increases of neruomelanin in schizophrenic individuals and building off the well-known dopamine hypothesis ("Neuromelanin-Sensitive MRI," 2019).

I remember learning that schizophrenia in particular had an estimated heritability upwards of 70%, but was considered to be such a complex disorder with so many contributing genes that our current understanding of genetics was insufficient to screen for it.

That is not to say that the environment has no effect on the development of psychosis. Certainly, the environment has an important place in causing psychosis; however, I think it is like melanoma of the skin: sunlight is a major cause but genetic factors determine much of the risk, too.

Neuromelanin-Sensitive MRI Identified as a Potential Biomarker for Psychosis. (February 20, 2019). National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved August 7, 2019 from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/news/scienc...sychosis.shtml

~Max
  #18  
Old 08-07-2019, 02:05 PM
KidCharlemagne is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 5,207
Quote:
Originally Posted by pool View Post
Just because your a sociopath doesn't mean your violent, or will harm people, you might just make a really ruthless and yet effective and competent business leader or CEO. I'm sure there have been some great soldiers too who were valiant on the battlefield or great leaders because they were sociopaths. I don't think we should get into some Gattaca or Minority Report type territory here unless someone violates the laws than you should leave them alone. Also it may be a moot point in the future anyway if we can manipulate and make designer babies with certain personality traits.

Online sources seem to contradict one another but also I think it's possible for some you may have the genetics but require the right environmental factors or lack thereof to ultimately become a sociopath, anyway I don't like the idea of this genetic destiny stuff.
Most psychopaths are pro-social. They are a fascinating lot. Search for Athena Walker's answers about her psychopathy on Google (most will come via Quora). There are also a lot of good AMA's on Redditt. Prosocials's tend to create a sort of code to live by, based solely on reason.
  #19  
Old 08-07-2019, 02:09 PM
Jasmine's Avatar
Jasmine is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 2,137
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermitian View Post
Oh, I know! Once we find and register them all, we should make them wear little identifying pieces of flair so that everyone who interacts with them will be warned.
Out of an abundance of caution, it just might be best to go ahead and execute them immediately. You know what they say, "An ounce of prevention ......."
__________________
"The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance -- it is the illusion of knowledge."
--Daniel J Boorstin
  #20  
Old 08-07-2019, 02:48 PM
bump is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 18,086
The fundamental problem is that absent an observed and provable pattern of damaging sociopathic/psychopathic behavior, we'd be compelled by ethics and morality to treat any sort of screening results as similar to how we'd handle things like a high cholesterol reading, or a family history of diabetes, etc...

Notify the patient, and suggest treatments/lifestyle modifications/preventative medications or therapies, but ultimately unless they'd broken the law, we'd have to leave them alone.
  #21  
Old 08-07-2019, 03:45 PM
KidCharlemagne is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 5,207
Quote:
Originally Posted by bump View Post
The fundamental problem is that absent an observed and provable pattern of damaging sociopathic/psychopathic behavior, we'd be compelled by ethics and morality to treat any sort of screening results as similar to how we'd handle things like a high cholesterol reading, or a family history of diabetes, etc...

Notify the patient, and suggest treatments/lifestyle modifications/preventative medications or therapies, but ultimately unless they'd broken the law, we'd have to leave them alone.
Send them the "So You're A Sociopath" literature.
  #22  
Old 08-07-2019, 03:50 PM
AHunter3's Avatar
AHunter3 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: NY (Manhattan) NY USA
Posts: 20,450
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
What about currently proposed biomarkers for certain forms of psychosis? For example, an article on the National Institute for Mental Health's news feed offers MRI-detected neuromelanin as a potential predictor of psychosis, given observed increases of neruomelanin in schizophrenic individuals and building off the well-known dopamine hypothesis ("Neuromelanin-Sensitive MRI," 2019).
Last I looked into the state of the research, the inter-rater reliability for designating someone as having a psychosis was almost low enough to be alongside of random chance. This is particularly and specifically true for schizophrenia, by the way.


Quote:
I remember learning that schizophrenia in particular had an estimated heritability upwards of 70%, but was considered to be such a complex disorder with so many contributing genes that our current understanding of genetics was insufficient to screen for it.

That is not to say that the environment has no effect on the development of psychosis. Certainly, the environment has an important place in causing psychosis; however, I think it is like melanoma of the skin: sunlight is a major cause but genetic factors determine much of the risk, too.
The overwhelming predictive factor for whether or not a person ends up with a diagnosis of schizophrenia is presence of the history of childhood sexual abuse in the subject's past. Are there inherent differences in brain structure or neurochemistry or genetics that make one person more likely to end up with a diagnosis of schizophrenic than another person if they're both victims of childhood sexual abuse, or if neither is? Possibly, but it's a weak signal compared to the experiential component.

Last edited by AHunter3; 08-07-2019 at 03:50 PM.
  #23  
Old 08-07-2019, 05:31 PM
Max S. is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Florida, USA
Posts: 1,145
Quote:
Originally Posted by bump View Post
The fundamental problem is that absent an observed and provable pattern of damaging sociopathic/psychopathic behavior, we'd be compelled by ethics and morality to treat any sort of screening results as similar to how we'd handle things like a high cholesterol reading, or a family history of diabetes, etc...

Notify the patient, and suggest treatments/lifestyle modifications/preventative medications or therapies, but ultimately unless they'd broken the law, we'd have to leave them alone.
Current law perhaps, but not necessarily all ethics. If it is certain that a person is a sociopath, and it is certain that sociopaths are more dangerous to society if they occupy certain positions of power, there is nothing inherently unethical in curtailing their right to occupy such positions. Ethics might even require society to offer treatment. Both of these could easily fit in with utilitarian morality, too.

I don't think that would fly under current (U.S.) law, but the female right to vote didn't fly in federal elections for a long time.

~Max
  #24  
Old 08-07-2019, 05:57 PM
Qadgop the Mercotan's Avatar
Qadgop the Mercotan is online now
zymolosely polydactile
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Slithering on the hull
Posts: 27,244
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
I work in the medical field and we sometimes order complete blood counts. Actually I believe primary care physicians order that test for something like 100% of their patients.
I sure hope primary care physicians are not getting CBCs on everyone. It's NOT a screening test for the average risk population and should not be used that way. That's shotgun medicine and it's not good medicine. Too many false positives, many of which require more testing, some of it will be invasive and do harm.

One needs to be very careful with tests. Back in the day, a physician didn't order a test unless he was already pretty sure what the result would be based on history and clinical examination.

  #25  
Old 08-07-2019, 06:39 PM
Max S. is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Florida, USA
Posts: 1,145
Quote:
Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan View Post
I sure hope primary care physicians are not getting CBCs on everyone. It's NOT a screening test for the average risk population and should not be used that way. That's shotgun medicine and it's not good medicine. Too many false positives, many of which require more testing, some of it will be invasive and do harm.

One needs to be very careful with tests. Back in the day, a physician didn't order a test unless he was already pretty sure what the result would be based on history and clinical examination.

I'm not a doctor and work for a specialist, plus our majority demographic is senior citizens, so I'm probably biased. Now that I think about it, none of the kids come in with that test. But most of our patients are elderly with lots of medications and chronic problems and I think that makes the blood count more relevant. I know we will order with differentials if there's recurring infection, since that's our specialty.

~Max
  #26  
Old 08-07-2019, 07:27 PM
Voyager's Avatar
Voyager is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Deep Space
Posts: 46,165
Quote:
Originally Posted by you with the face View Post
It's only worrisome if we're talking about locking screen positives up for life or killing them.

If the most that will happen is that they get periodic psych evaluations starting at a young age, then I don't see an ethical problem.
Depends on what the action is. Screening, fine. Except we don't do much for people who clearly have problems, like many of the homeless.
Take their guns away? Works for me, but some people would scream.
Lock em up? Ditto.
  #27  
Old 08-07-2019, 07:32 PM
Voyager's Avatar
Voyager is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Deep Space
Posts: 46,165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
Good observation! But a 10% margin of error is pretty good for screening purposes. The next step might be a more expensive or invasive diagnostic test.

For example, I work in the medical field and we sometimes order complete blood counts. Actually I believe primary care physicians order that test for something like 100% of their patients. That test can come back abnormal for a variety of reasons, some benign and some less than benign. The followup for an abnormal result is usually a more specific diagnostic test or referral to a specialist.

~Max
That isn't what margin of error means, but no matter. The question is what action to take. Being identified as a potential sociopath might have implications, which would be a big issue if there are many more false positives than real positives. How would you like it? Plus, I don't think we're at the stage yet where even a more extensive screening would be perfect.
Much of the homeless problem stems from not providing services to the mentally ill. (And much is from economics also, I get that.) I'd love to see those who oppose decent gun control measures in favor of services for problematic people offer some money for this. So far, crickets.
  #28  
Old 08-07-2019, 07:37 PM
Qadgop the Mercotan's Avatar
Qadgop the Mercotan is online now
zymolosely polydactile
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Slithering on the hull
Posts: 27,244
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
our majority demographic is senior citizens
The elderly generally do merit checking of CBCs as anemia is much more common in that age group.
  #29  
Old 08-07-2019, 07:44 PM
Voyager's Avatar
Voyager is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Deep Space
Posts: 46,165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan View Post

One needs to be very careful with tests. Back in the day, a physician didn't order a test unless he was already pretty sure what the result would be based on history and clinical examination.
I hope they did it for at risk populations. A test I took because of my age revealed something nasty which will be fine because it got caught early.
  #30  
Old 08-07-2019, 07:48 PM
Max S. is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Florida, USA
Posts: 1,145
Quote:
Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
That isn't what margin of error means, but no matter.
I should know better. I meant false positive rate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
Being identified as a potential sociopath might have implications, which would be a big issue if there are many more false positives than real positives. How would you like it? Plus, I don't think we're at the stage yet where even a more extensive screening would be perfect.
Much of the homeless problem stems from not providing services to the mentally ill.
Of course. I think it is unethical to publicly label people "potential sociopaths", which encourages stigmatism. I might be persuaded to divert public funds towards subsidized mental health services for potential sociopaths, starting with a diagnostic consultation. But then I have no idea how long it takes to make a diagnosis, or how accurate those are.

~Max
  #31  
Old 08-07-2019, 09:21 PM
Odesio is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Posts: 11,530
I'm not convinced this would be all that helpful at keeping dangerous people from powerful positions. Most sociopaths, or those with antisocial personality disorder, don't usually rise to positions of power. Most of them have poor impulse control that leads to them being fired, forced to switch jobs often, or landing in jail which makes it difficult for them to advance up the ranks. And I'm wary of armchair psychologist who diagnose CEOs or politicians without some sort of established doctor patient relationship. How do you make a diagnosis without actually examining the patient?
__________________
I can be found in history's unmarked grave of discarded ideologies.
  #32  
Old 08-07-2019, 10:38 PM
monstro is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 20,635
Quote:
Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
monstro's comment on false positives does not consider the number of sociopaths in the population. If it is 1%, then a 90% successful screen would involve 0.9% of the population, and the false positives would be 9.99% of the population. Not such a good idea..
Does it not matter to you what specific interventions we're talking about when you say "not such a good idea"?

Like, sure, if the intervention is a maximum security lock-up for life, then a 10% false positive rate is horrible no matter what the population size is.

But if the intervention is at least a year of specialized cognitive behavioral therapy and vitamin D shots (because maybe scientists have found a fact-pattern there), then it isn't tragic at all.

Furthermore, we need to know what kind of individual gets falsely misclassified. Are all the false positives choir boys and girls who would never harm a flea? Or all the false positives individuals who actually do exhibit disruptive behaviors, including law-breaking, but they have enough of a moral center that they'd never do anything truly sociopathic? Could they not benefit from some kind of intervention? I'm thinking of kids who have behavioral problems who get incorrectly labeled as autistic. Sometimes that label does them a disservice, but sometimes it actually gets them needed attention they wouldn't otherwise get. Maybe through an intervention they can be properly diagnosed and thus properly treated.

And it needs to be said that I didn't say anything about forcing anyone to do anything. If science has identified factors that strongly predict sociopathy, those factors could be used by medical professionals to advise parents on how best to treat their strange, worrisome children. They could be used to screen embryos so sociopaths aren't even born. And they could be used in the criminal justice system to figure out what kind of prison sentence a criminal should get and at which kind of facility. It seems to me those are much more likely outcomes than whatever scary things posters in this thread are imagining.

Last edited by monstro; 08-07-2019 at 10:40 PM.
  #33  
Old 08-08-2019, 01:33 AM
Broomstick's Avatar
Broomstick is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 28,724
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstro View Post
Furthermore, we need to know what kind of individual gets falsely misclassified. Are all the false positives choir boys and girls who would never harm a flea? Or all the false positives individuals who actually do exhibit disruptive behaviors, including law-breaking, but they have enough of a moral center that they'd never do anything truly sociopathic?
Is your apparent assumption that all sociopaths are criminal actually true? While there is a correlation between convicted criminals and rates of sociopath, it does not automatically follow that being a sociopath will make you a criminal. There is also a high correlation between being a convicted criminal and someone of the male gender but we don't automatically assume all men are criminals.

Quote:
Could they not benefit from some kind of intervention? I'm thinking of kids who have behavioral problems who get incorrectly labeled as autistic. Sometimes that label does them a disservice, but sometimes it actually gets them needed attention they wouldn't otherwise get. Maybe through an intervention they can be properly diagnosed and thus properly treated.
That assumes identification will result in treatment rather than stigmatization.

That assumes there even is a treatment. Not everything is fixable.

Quote:
They could be used to screen embryos so sociopaths aren't even born.
I strongly doubt that the cause is just one gene and I'm not sure screening programs for disorders/problems caused by multiple genes even exist.

Quote:
And they could be used in the criminal justice system to figure out what kind of prison sentence a criminal should get and at which kind of facility. It seems to me those are much more likely outcomes than whatever scary things posters in this thread are imagining.
It seems much more likely to me that if there were genetic tests for sociopathy they'd be used to punish people more harshly based on their genes rather than trying to treat their problems more effectively, given what I know of American society.
  #34  
Old 08-08-2019, 06:22 AM
monstro is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 20,635
Quote:
Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
Is your apparent assumption that all sociopaths are criminal actually true?
I don't know why you are asking me this. Where did I imply I'm making this assumption?

Quote:
While there is a correlation between convicted criminals and rates of sociopath, it does not automatically follow that being a sociopath will make you a criminal. There is also a high correlation between being a convicted criminal and someone of the male gender but we don't automatically assume all men are criminals.
I'm assuming that 90% of sociopaths display disruptive behavior, however you want to define that. Do you think this is a wrong assumption to make? Maybe the sociopaths who don't display disruptive behavior belong to that 10% of sociopaths who don't meet the screening test. Does that render the screening test completely useless? Or does it just mean we shouldn't punish anyone who meets the test?

Quote:
That assumes identification will result in treatment rather than stigmatization.
Correct. So if we devised a program that successfully minimized stigmatization, would you be in support of it?

Quote:
That assumes there even is a treatment. Not everything is fixable.
*sigh*

Of course. But if we have a test that can identify sociopaths with a 20% error rate, then that means we've got some pretty nifty technology and knowledge at our disposal. Even if our intervention results in only a 30% reduction in sociopathic behaviors (maybe the murder rate goes down while the number of workplace jerks increases by the same amount), that's still something. If the harm associated with the intervention is still less than the harm caused by prescribing chemotherapy drugs to treat a variety of diseases (a current practice, by the way), then why should this feel particularly "icky"?

Quote:
I strongly doubt that the cause is just one gene and I'm not sure screening programs for disorders/problems caused by multiple genes even exist.
A lot of people share this doubt. But these same people submit their DNA to a company like 23andMe and confidently brag about where all their ancestors came from. And in a few years, these people aren't going to hesitate to get their DNA screened so they can know their risk for dementia, diabetes, and heart disease...so that they can take a pill, change their lifestyles, or plan their estate a certain way.

You better believe if scientists were able to reduce juvenile delinquency and improve academic achievement through a blood test and a pill regimen, many of the people who currently doubt that sociopathy can be detected through biomarkers will be the same people clucking their tongues over parents who refuse to take their bad-behaving kids to the doctor. Instead of anti-vaxxer hate, there will be anti-test hate. And you know what? I'll be one of those people negatively judging the anti-testers. As long as we aren't talking about penalties just for having a positive test and there are safeguards to prevent medical information from going public, why wouldn't parents get their bad-ass kids tested? I would hold those parents responsible if their bad-ass kids grow up to be bad-ass adults.
  #35  
Old 08-08-2019, 07:26 AM
l0k1 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 249
Your genetic testing idea is the worst way to ensure public safety from people who are mentally ill. It's expensive, way more expensive than treating people with mental illness. It's unethical, even you want to use it as the basis of a eugenics project, and it's not effective. Lots and lots of people without mental illness commit crimes.

And lastly, again, sociopath and psychopath are not diagnostic terms. A mental health professional would not use either word to diagnose a patient. The movie version of psychopaths and sociopaths is as fake and non- scientific as the movie version of split personality.

Donald Pleasant was a terrible doctor to poor 8 year-old Micheal Myers.
  #36  
Old 08-08-2019, 08:03 AM
monstro is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 20,635
Quote:
Originally Posted by l0k1 View Post
Your genetic testing idea is the worst way to ensure public safety from people who are mentally ill. It's expensive, way more expensive than treating people with mental illness. It's unethical, even you want to use it as the basis of a eugenics project, and it's not effective. Lots and lots of people without mental illness commit crimes.
Lots of people without diagnosed mental illness commit crimes. But that does not mean that those people don't have something wrong with their brains and/or bodies. It just means our understanding isn't advanced enough right now to identify all defects.

We all know someone who is straight-up hateful. They are abusive to their kids. They are workplace jerks. They are rude and disrespectful. But criminal? No. They don't steal. They don't beat people up. But they are nonetheless very shitty people who do more harm than good.

If scientists develop a test that can detect "shitty adults" with high accuracy when these people are small children and there is a proven medical intervention to help them grow up to be less shitty with few side effects, why should we feel "icky"? Why should we assume this is a more expensive or riskier way of treating disordered individual's than our current practices--which typically involve a lot of punishment and moralizing with no benefit and lots of harm?

Sent from my moto x4 using Tapatalk
__________________
What the hell is a signature?
  #37  
Old 08-08-2019, 08:18 AM
l0k1 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 249
What exactly would the shitty test be testing for? Lead, we already have that test, best answer is lead remediation and not using lead in paint, gas, or water pipes.

Some other environmental poisoning?

Some genetic information to use as the basis of you eugenics project?
  #38  
Old 08-08-2019, 08:43 AM
Qadgop the Mercotan's Avatar
Qadgop the Mercotan is online now
zymolosely polydactile
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Slithering on the hull
Posts: 27,244
Quote:
Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
I hope they did it for at risk populations. A test I took because of my age revealed something nasty which will be fine because it got caught early.
Screening testing for at risk populations is a whole different kettle of fish than screening tests for the ordinary risk population. And they both have their individual nuances and error rates and risk/benefit ratios.

The fundamental concern about any screening test is that if it is done incorrectly or based on flawed assumptions, it can not only fail to be of benefit overall (wasting time and resources), it can actually cause more harm than good. The classic example is screening ordinary risk women for ovarian cancer; the followup invasive testing that would need to be done on all the false positives would result in more deaths than the lives one would save by detecting the cancer earlier. (This ratio is changing with better technology, but the risks of screening still exceed benefit for this disease).
  #39  
Old 08-08-2019, 09:02 AM
monstro is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 20,635
Quote:
Originally Posted by l0k1 View Post
What exactly would the shitty test be testing for? Lead, we already have that test, best answer is lead remediation and not using lead in paint, gas, or water pipes.



Some other environmental poisoning?



Some genetic information to use as the basis of you eugenics project?
Maybe shitty people have two alleles that together reduce the expression of oxytocin and another that leads to a reduced number of oxytocin receptors.

Maybe they have methyl groups attached to a gene that promotes amgydala development.

Maybe they have a reduced ability to synthesize vitamin D, and this deficiency interacts with their oxytocin deficiency, which only exacerbates the brokenness of their amgydala.

Take away one of these factors and maybe you just wind up with a grouch. But they are still loveable. They can still learn to regulate themselves through typical child-rearing techniques. But someone with all of them will have enormous difficulty being non-shitty without special intervention.
__________________
What the hell is a signature?

Last edited by monstro; 08-08-2019 at 09:05 AM.
  #40  
Old 08-08-2019, 09:35 AM
Max S. is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Florida, USA
Posts: 1,145
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstro View Post
And it needs to be said that I didn't say anything about forcing anyone to do anything.
Coercion was implied when you said (in the linked thread and quoted in my original post) "using biometrics to identify potential sociopaths so that they can either be fixed or isolated from others." Are you backtracking that now?

Quote:
Originally Posted by monstro View Post
If science has identified factors that strongly predict sociopathy, those factors could be used by medical professionals to advise parents on how best to treat their strange, worrisome children. They could be used to screen embryos so sociopaths aren't even born.
To this I ask you to consider AHunter3's post #22:
Quote:
Originally Posted by AHunter3
The overwhelming predictive factor for whether or not a person ends up with a diagnosis of schizophrenia is presence of the history of childhood sexual abuse in the subject's past.
I haven't delved into the literature to verify AHunter3's claim, but if true, you cannot rely on parents to remove the single most important risk factor for schizophrenia (the most common form of psychosis). Neither can you rely on them at the prenatal stage. How could you expect them to voluntarily send their child to a counselor? If the kid actually tells the counselor they have been raped, mommy and daddy go to jail.

If by sociopathy you actually mean behavior contrary to social norms, and not psychosis, I have to strongly disagree that genetic biometrics will ever be found. There are too many environmental factors affecting neural development and "social norms" are for the most part not-built-in, as demonstrated by the wide variety of social norms throughout history. A future-tech brain scan might identify the problem, but I think such a scan must necessarily be invasive and therefore be impractical for screening purposes. Even then, what would the treatment be if there's nothing medically wrong with the patient? Lobotomy? The Ludovico technique? Exile in Iceland or the Falkland Islands?

~Max
  #41  
Old 08-08-2019, 09:55 AM
monstro is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 20,635
How is my statement implying that people (adults, at least) will be forced to do anything?

We screen children for autism not just so they can have a diagnostic label, but so their challenges can be addressed effectively.

In the case of sociopathy, we could screen children to identify those who have a high likelihood of sociopathy so that such individuals can be properly treated. No, they wouldn't have much of a choice inasmuch as they are children and few children are given a choice when it comes to medical treatment. Big whoop. And if early interventions fail and they indeed become monsters, we will have solid justification for isolating them in a residential facility rather than sending them to church camp for the summer and hoping Jesus will save them. Coercion only would come in when it is clear that we are dealing with a very harmful individual. Very harmful people shouldn't have a lot of rights, sorry.

If you are a mass shooter and you just killed 20 people in cold blooded murder, you forfeit your right to decide what kind of prison sentence you get and whether you get X kind of rehab or Y kind. And I am not going to be upset if a judge offers such a person an opportunity for a lighter sentence in exchange for following a medical regimen that has a proven record in reducing sociopathic behavior. That is coercive too, but I think most people would say it is neither cruel nor unusual punishment.

Sent from my moto x4 using Tapatalk
__________________
What the hell is a signature?
  #42  
Old 08-08-2019, 10:37 AM
Max S. is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Florida, USA
Posts: 1,145
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstro View Post
How is my statement implying that people (adults, at least) will be forced to do anything?
There are two possible points of coercion: forcing people to be screened, and forcing people to be treated/isolated. I think it is realistic to assume sociopaths will largely refuse voluntary screening and refuse treatment/isolation. If they wanted to behave like normal people, they wouldn't need the screening, would they?

And if the subject is a child, as AHunter3 pointed out, if the kid is at risk of developing schizophrenia chances are the parents sexually abuse their child, and will refuse to send the kid in for screening.

Quote:
Originally Posted by monstro View Post
We screen children for autism not just so they can have a diagnostic label, but so their challenges can be addressed effectively.
Either the parents consent to the screening or things get so bad that the government overrides their nonconsent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by monstro View Post
In the case of sociopathy, we could screen children to identify those who have a high likelihood of sociopathy so that such individuals can be properly treated. No, they wouldn't have much of a choice inasmuch as they are children and few children are given a choice when it comes to medical treatment. Big whoop.
Right, the parents have that choice. And I am pointing out that parents of schizophreniacs likely abuse their children sexually and will therefore object to screenings that might expose their abuse. If what AHunter3 says is true, it would seem that the first screening should be for sexual abuse, not sociopathy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by monstro View Post
And if early interventions fail and they indeed become monsters, we will have solid justification for isolating them in a residential facility rather than sending them to church camp for the summer and hoping Jesus will save them. Coercion only would come in when it is clear that we are dealing with a very harmful individual. Very harmful people shouldn't have a lot of rights, sorry.

If you are a mass shooter and you just killed 20 people in cold blooded murder, you forfeit your right to decide what kind of prison sentence you get and whether you get X kind of rehab or Y kind. And I am not going to be upset if a judge offers such a person an opportunity for a lighter sentence in exchange for following a medical regimen that has a proven record in reducing sociopathic behavior. That is coercive too, but I think most people would say it is neither cruel nor unusual punishment.
If the person committed a crime, you lose the advantage of a pre-emptive screening because the deed is already done. Court-ordered psychological examinations are already commonplace and future biometric tools, if helpful in making a diagnosis, will just become a regular part of the examination.

~Max
  #43  
Old 08-08-2019, 11:30 AM
bump is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 18,086
Color me skeptical, considering the existing difficulty in compelling already known mentally ill people to comply with medications, etc... against their will, both because they don't like it, and because the courts won't uphold it.

I'd think something similar for potential sociopaths would be impossible to actually push through any legislatures.
  #44  
Old 08-08-2019, 12:18 PM
monstro is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 20,635
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
There are two possible points of coercion: forcing people to be screened, and forcing people to be treated/isolated. I think it is realistic to assume sociopaths will largely refuse voluntary screening and refuse treatment/isolation. If they wanted to behave like normal people, they wouldn't need the screening, would they?
And this is the crux of the free will discussion. Only free willers believe that wanting to be good is sufficient to be good. They think sociopaths have a failure of "want" rather than a failure of cognition. Determinists such as myself think this a load of bunk.


Why would a sociopath choose to get screened? Maybe they are tired of prison life. Maybe CPS is threatening to take away their kids unless they can stop verbally abusing them. Maybe they have to get tested to get security clearance for a dream job. Maybe--despite what we have been led to believe--some sociopaths actually do have remorse. It is just that remorse isn't enough to stop their bad behavior (alcoholics and overeaters should be able to sympathize).

Quote:

And if the subject is a child, as AHunter3 pointed out, if the kid is at risk of developing schizophrenia chances are the parents sexually abuse their child, and will refuse to send the kid in for screening.
Um...this is nuts, sorry. I really don't know what you are communicating with this. We shouldn't screen children for mental illness because their mentally ill parents will then rape them? Does that really make sense to you?


Quote:
Either the parents consent to the screening or things get so bad that the government overrides their nonconsent.

If a bad-ass kid is tormenting the community and his parents refuse to get him tested and possibly treated, why shouldn't the government step in? How does it benefit him or the community to let him tear shit up just because people are afraid of governmental overreach? There is always the risk of governmental overreach. This is why we have safeguards and watchdogs.



Quote:
Right, the parents have that choice. And I am pointing out that parents of schizophreniacs likely abuse their children sexually and will therefore object to screenings that might expose their abuse. If what AHunter3 says is true, it would seem that the first screening should be for sexual abuse, not sociopathy.


Schizophrenia and socipathy are not the same thing. This argument is so bizarre I don't know what to do with it, other than to remind you that bad parents are always going to exist. Screening tools or not. If parents don't want to get their bad-behaving kids screened, OK. But then when their kids become the next mass shooter, they need to be prepared to be called monsters too.

Quote:

If the person committed a crime, you lose the advantage of a pre-emptive screening because the deed is already done.
If a 13-year kid who is convicted of assault and battery can receive medical treatment to deal with his physical aggression and low empathy, maybe he won't grow up to be a mass shooter. Maybe instead of spending a million dollars keeping him incarcerated for the next ten years, we only have to spend $40,000--the cost of two years of therapy and medicine.

Quote:
Court-ordered psychological examinations are already commonplace and future biometric tools, if helpful in making a diagnosis, will just become a regular part of the examination.



~Max
There is a difference between court-ordered screening and court-ordered treatment. If you object to the latter because BAD THINGS MIGHT HAPPEN!!, then there is no point of the former.



Sent from my moto x4 using Tapatalk
__________________
What the hell is a signature?
  #45  
Old 08-08-2019, 12:52 PM
casdave is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 8,324
To be honest, the total impracticality and the lack of an ethical foundation means this is just going to be misused.

Once we start testing, even on extremely spurious science, then other conditions will be dragged in, until we decide that certain people will be defined as undesirable, the idea of aborting fetuses is an alarming idea.

What we are really discussing here is eugenics, which of course has as its bedfellow racism.

I will add one other thing, having worked many years with offenders it is striking just how selfish and sociopaths they are, the ones who are drug addicts are the worst - drug taking strips all empathy from even a reasonably decent person because the next hit is the only thing in the world that matters - so what are you going to do, the war on crime isn't going all that well, do we lock up all drug users forever? What about the dealers? Good luck on paying for all that.

Your presumptive test simply will not work because it will predate any drug taking activity and it means that you must test everyone periodically - can you imagine how well that'd go down, especially with a 10% false positive on the general population in order to whittle out maybe 1% of sociopaths.


Monstro, I notice huge numbers of conditionals which would lead to decision making agencies, these would need to be driven by various standards, appeals processes and legal process - all of these are flawed and in the end we are actually discussing the stigmatisation and punishments of large numbers of individuals for no other reason than the purported attempt at creating some sort of Utopia.

You use anecdotes, and your versions of examples - what you do not use is any reference to ethics, data or facts.

To me this actually reveals that your utopia is actually built upon your own sociopaths ideals of how you can control and force a society to conform to your demands, anyone who argues in favour of such a scheme has to be revealing a little of their own sociopathy, so maybe you should take the test first and inform the rest of us about the effects upon you and your family
  #46  
Old 08-08-2019, 01:06 PM
monstro is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 20,635
I guess we should cease all research that may lead us to discover why people behave the way they do. Because it is inevitable those discoveries will be misused. It is invitable there will be harmed. It is inevitable no one will be helped. It is inevitable that safeguards against overreach would fail. So let's keep thumping our bibles and praying. That is working so much better than whatever medical science could come up with. Fuck science, amirite?








Sent from my moto x4 using Tapatalk
__________________
What the hell is a signature?
  #47  
Old 08-08-2019, 03:20 PM
Broomstick's Avatar
Broomstick is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 28,724
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstro View Post
I don't know why you are asking me this. Where did I imply I'm making this assumption?
You answer this in your very next paragraph.

Quote:
Originally Posted by monstro View Post
I'm assuming that 90% of sociopaths display disruptive behavior, however you want to define that. Do you think this is a wrong assumption to make?
Yes.

Because you have not provided a valid cite for declaring that percentage. How do YOU know that 90% of "sociopaths" display disruptive behavior? How are YOU defining that? Some people define "disruptive" as any child that doesn't shut up and do as he's told without question. Some people define "disruptive" as any girl that wants a career instead of devote all her time to a husband and children. Who gets to define "disruptive"? Are hyperactive children - who do tend to be disruptive - now also sociopaths?

Quote:
Maybe the sociopaths who don't display disruptive behavior belong to that 10% of sociopaths who don't meet the screening test. Does that render the screening test completely useless? Or does it just mean we shouldn't punish anyone who meets the test?
You know, when the XYY karotype was discovered in the 1960's it was initially linked to men with violence and criminal history. Then both science and everyone else "knew" that men with XYY were "likely" to be criminals. Then some new and better studies were done (ones that didn't do all their subject selection from prisons and mental institutions but rather from newborns) and it turns out that, whoops, the vast majority of XYY men show no unusual symptoms (although greater than expected height along with learning disabilities might lead to screening) and it turns out that XYY men are no more likely than average to be aggressive or violent. WHOOPS! But, you know, when you pick your test subjects from a pool of men already pre-selected for violence and/or aggression you wind up with a false correlation.

So... we don't know, for a fact, that your "sociopaths" (which, as has already been mentioned, is not a technical term in psychiatry) are all 90% inclined to be "disruptive", much less criminal. Maybe if we defined the term, defined "disruptive", and came up with a reliable test we'd find that genes only accounted for, say, 10% of a predisposition towards murder and mayhem and the rest was nurture. Or some other mix. You're guessing. Which is OK if it's just your life but you're talking about other peoples' lives.

Quote:
Correct. So if we devised a program that successfully minimized stigmatization, would you be in support of it?
You mean... like HIV testing has minimized the stigmatization of living with a positive HIV status?

As a general rule, people are not good at developing such programs so I have much doubt about it. And you're talking about a test that, if you're correct, will tell parents their children are 90% like to grow up to be criminals. Oh, nothing stigmatizing about that...!

But... hypothetically... even if we could do that... what would be the purpose of the testing? Only if something positive could be done would it be worthwhile, and if something could be done but the expense was out of the reach of the average family testing would just be a sick joke, wouldn't it? Hey, you're kid is messed up but fixable... except you can't afford to fix him. Have fun organizing spaghetti dinners for the cause!

So...

MAYBE acceptable, IF the test is...
1) Reliable
2) Useful
3) Affordable

AND

4) We can actually do something about the problem
5) Ordinary people can afford the treatment

Quote:
Originally Posted by monstro View Post
Of course. But if we have a test that can identify sociopaths with a 20% error rate, then that means we've got some pretty nifty technology and knowledge at our disposal.
20% error rate seems kind of high to me. Are those positive errors or negative errors? What are the consequences if someone is falsely identified as a "sociopath" - would the treatment required be harmful to people without the genetic variation? Side effects for anyone?

Quote:
Even if our intervention results in only a 30% reduction in sociopathic behaviors (maybe the murder rate goes down while the number of workplace jerks increases by the same amount), that's still something.
There you go again, assuming that the default sociopath is a murderer. Cite, please. Is there ANYTHING to substantiate that?

Quote:
Originally Posted by monstro View Post
If the harm associated with the intervention is still less than the harm caused by prescribing chemotherapy drugs to treat a variety of diseases (a current practice, by the way), then why should this feel particularly "icky"?
Because side effects can be icky. Hey, we cured your disease but the medication made you completely deaf! Gee, I'm glad to be alive but it still sucks my collection of tunes is now useless to me, I can no longer enjoy playing my oboe, and I'll never hear my grandbabies say they love me. Or... hey, we saved you from Flesh Eating Disease but now you're a quadruple amputee! Gee, I'm glad to be alive but it still sucks I no longer have hands or feet (goddammit, I still can't play my oboe anymore!) and I have to have someone wipe my ass for me after I take a shit.

Not everybody is going to agree on what "acceptable" means here. And even if someone does think their situation is an improvement that doesn't rule out sucky side effects from treatment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by monstro View Post
And in a few years, these people aren't going to hesitate to get their DNA screened so they can know their risk for dementia, diabetes, and heart disease...so that they can take a pill, change their lifestyles, or plan their estate a certain way.
The moment you take a genetic test to screen for disease you limit your estate planning options. Also your ability to insure yourself is going to take a major, major hit.

There's been a test for Huntington's Disease for quite some time now. A lot of people DON'T get tested even if they have relatives with the disease because nothing can be done. There is no treatment. Knowing doesn't do jack for you. People who find out their status in regards to this gene sometimes commit suicide rather than continuing living with the knowledge they are doomed to get this disease.

Knowing you have a genetic disease is only useful if there is a TREATMENT for that disease.

Otherwise, you might be a lot happier NOT knowing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by monstro View Post
As long as we aren't talking about penalties just for having a positive test and there are safeguards to prevent medical information from going public, why wouldn't parents get their bad-ass kids tested?
Because right now there is ALWAYS a penalty for having a mental illness. It's not as bad as it used to be, but there is still a stigma. Hell, there's still a stigma just for having a relative who is "crazy", much less being the affected person yourself.
  #48  
Old 08-08-2019, 03:36 PM
Broomstick's Avatar
Broomstick is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 28,724
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstro View Post
And this is the crux of the free will discussion. Only free willers believe that wanting to be good is sufficient to be good.
I think what I find most disturbing in your viewpoint is that you are talking about modifying people not for the benefit of the patient but for the benefit of other people.

Now, there might be some people so awful that is justified from a public safety standpoint. A Jeffrey Dahmer, for example - we just can't allow someone to go around raping and eating people after performing a DIY lobotomy. But Dahmer was such an outlier even among crooks and crazies that you just can't set public policy based on him. But while there might be justification for forced treatment after someone does Something Horrible you're talking about doing this before someone has done anything wrong at all.
  #49  
Old 08-08-2019, 03:43 PM
Voyager's Avatar
Voyager is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Deep Space
Posts: 46,165
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstro View Post
Does it not matter to you what specific interventions we're talking about when you say "not such a good idea"?

Like, sure, if the intervention is a maximum security lock-up for life, then a 10% false positive rate is horrible no matter what the population size is.

But if the intervention is at least a year of specialized cognitive behavioral therapy and vitamin D shots (because maybe scientists have found a fact-pattern there), then it isn't tragic at all.

Furthermore, we need to know what kind of individual gets falsely misclassified. Are all the false positives choir boys and girls who would never harm a flea? Or all the false positives individuals who actually do exhibit disruptive behaviors, including law-breaking, but they have enough of a moral center that they'd never do anything truly sociopathic? Could they not benefit from some kind of intervention? I'm thinking of kids who have behavioral problems who get incorrectly labeled as autistic. Sometimes that label does them a disservice, but sometimes it actually gets them needed attention they wouldn't otherwise get. Maybe through an intervention they can be properly diagnosed and thus properly treated.

And it needs to be said that I didn't say anything about forcing anyone to do anything. If science has identified factors that strongly predict sociopathy, those factors could be used by medical professionals to advise parents on how best to treat their strange, worrisome children. They could be used to screen embryos so sociopaths aren't even born. And they could be used in the criminal justice system to figure out what kind of prison sentence a criminal should get and at which kind of facility. It seems to me those are much more likely outcomes than whatever scary things posters in this thread are imagining.
The original question was on a binary identification. If you want to expand this to a spectrum of sociopathic behavior, you still have problems, especially in determining where the cutoff point is.
I didn't say anything about forcing people to do anything, but false positives have costs. All the stuff you mention has costs. Who's going to pay for it when we don't even treat identified sociopaths? And what about the change in how someone is treated when they are misidentified? Are you sure that when they are called a problem they won't become a problem to meet expectations? Remember the studies about what happens when a teacher is told that a kid in the class is either extra smart or a problem?
This kind of thing was mentioned all the time with AIDS testing. Testing everyone (not just those at risk) for AIDS was a terrible idea because the false positives would overwhelm the true positives. Breast cancer screening seems to have the same problem.

If the number of false positives was small it might be worth it, but I chose my example so that it wasn't. What percentage of sociopaths are there in the population? How good is the test. I bet that this solution would cause way more problems than it solves.
  #50  
Old 08-08-2019, 05:17 PM
monstro is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 20,635
Quote:
Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
You answer this in your very next paragraph.


You asserted I am assuming that all sociopaths are criminal. I come back with the response that I am assuming they are all disruptive. And now you are equating the two things. I think that is disingenuous.




Quote:

Because you have not provided a valid cite for declaring that percentage.
Because it is a hypothetical. I don't have to provide a cite for something that isn't real.

Substitute "sociopath" for "individual with anti-social personality disorder", if it pleases you. And then use the criteria outlined in the DMS-5 if you need some help figuring out what kind of person I am talking about


Quote:
How do YOU know that 90% of "sociopaths" display disruptive behavior? How are YOU defining that?
See above.


Quote:
Some people define "disruptive" as any child that doesn't shut up and do as he's told without question. Some people define "disruptive" as any girl that wants a career instead of devote all her time to a husband and children. Who gets to define "disruptive"? Are hyperactive children - who do tend to be disruptive - now also sociopaths?
The same people who are tasked with diagnosing a person with APD would be tasked with flagging individuals who are sufficiently disruptive to be screened for sociopathy. So the kid with Tourettes who screams obscenities would likely not get a recommendation for screening, since his doctor would have a modicum of intelligence. Similarly, a doctor won't recommend screening any girl with high self-esteem, because her doctor will likely have a modicum of intelligence. But if the little girl is constantly in and out of detention because she won't stop bullying all the kids on the playground, maybe her doctor will be like, "Hey, this is worrisome. Let's see what could be going on here." Why will the doctor do this? Because he will likely have some intelligence. Not all the time, but the vast majority of the time. And for incompetent doctors, we have things like malpractice lawsuits and disciplinary boards to keep them in check.



Quote:

You know, when the XYY karotype was discovered in the 1960's it was initially linked to men with violence and criminal history. Then both science and everyone else "knew" that men with XYY were "likely" to be criminals. Then some new and better studies were done (ones that didn't do all their subject selection from prisons and mental institutions but rather from newborns) and it turns out that, whoops, the vast majority of XYY men show no unusual symptoms (although greater than expected height along with learning disabilities might lead to screening) and it turns out that XYY men are no more likely than average to be aggressive or violent. WHOOPS! But, you know, when you pick your test subjects from a pool of men already pre-selected for violence and/or aggression you wind up with a false correlation.
Scientists aren't perfect. Resarchers have historically made mistakes and so have practitioners. Humans gonna human. So...does that mean we shouldn't do science? We shouldn't use science, even in ways that have few downsides? I mean, if your little girl was a schoolyard bully, would you not take her to a therapist? Would you not consider whether a pill may help her with her aggression? If you would, I have no idea why you're knee-jerking so hard here. Sure, medicine can always be used in scary ways. That is why we have medical ethics boards and regulations. I see no reason to assume those safeguards would be thrown out of the window.


Quote:

So... we don't know, for a fact, that your "sociopaths" (which, as has already been mentioned, is not a technical term in psychiatry) are all 90% inclined to be "disruptive", much less criminal. Maybe if we defined the term, defined "disruptive", and came up with a reliable test we'd find that genes only accounted for, say, 10% of a predisposition towards murder and mayhem and the rest was nurture. Or some other mix. You're guessing. Which is OK if it's just your life but you're talking about other peoples' lives.
You seem to be trying to score points on definitions rather than substance. I really am not a fan. If you don't know what a sociopath is, substitute any clinical-sounding label you want for "shitty person". Maybe it is a person who abuses their spouse or children. Maybe it is someone who kicks puppies in their spare time. Maybe it is a violent criminal. It doesn't matter what I mean by "sociopath". You know there are people who act like monsters because you are a smart person who has been around the block for a long enough time. Pretend we are talking about people who act like monsters. Now pretend we have a screening tool that allows us to identify such people before they can do much harm.

You're overthinking this way too much if you can't do this.



Quote:
You mean... like HIV testing has minimized the stigmatization of living with a positive HIV status?
Do you think the benefits of HIV testing could possibly outweigh the stigma of living with HIV status? Benefits not just for the infected but for their partners and families?

Do you think the stigma has been reduced through the years BECAUSE testing is so prevalent?

Do you think the fact that there are for effective treatments for HIV has led to more testing and even less stigmatization?

Can you imagine how much worse the AIDS epidemic would be if people shied away from testing because "OMG the government will round people up and kill us!!" Or "OMG they don't even know what HIV is!!" Or "OMG remember the Tuskeegee thing!!" If you can see how hysterical those arguments are, you can understand why I am frustrated by your arguments.




Quote:

But... hypothetically... even if we could do that... what would be the purpose of the testing? Only if something positive could be done would it be worthwhile, and if something could be done but the expense was out of the reach of the average family testing would just be a sick joke, wouldn't it? Hey, you're kid is messed up but fixable... except you can't afford to fix him. Have fun organizing spaghetti dinners for the cause!
The purpose of course would be to prevent and treat, the same as any diagnostic tool. You have a toddler that is acting out? Well he could have a hundred things wrong with him. Maybe we would have individualized treatment plans for all these disorders. So if he just has the markers for sociopathy (however you want to define that), he gets prescribed brain stimulus treatments followed up with CBT. If that is too scary, here are some pills. If that is too scary, here is a dietary plan and some vitamin supplements. If that is too scary, well, I guess pray on it 'cuz science has run out of ideas for you. If I were a doctor and I had a patient who didn't want to follow any of my recommendations because "OMG science gets things wrong sometimes!", I would be wondering what the fuck they want me to do for them. Why did they come to me if they didn't want me to use science to help them with their problems?

And re poor people, let's have universal healthcare so cost isn't even an issue. But how is this relevant to the discussion? Screening tools might be expensive and not covered by insurance right away. Does that mean no one should use them?


Effective treatment for Alzheimer's will likely be available for the wealthy before the poor. That is sad, but that does not have any bearing on whether screening tools should be developed and implemented. That is more an indictment of the healthcare system than it is on the ethics of biomarker screening.





Quote:
20% error rate seems kind of high to me. Are those positive errors or negative errors?
10% false positive and 10% false negative. This is a higher error rate than what is usually deemed acceptable for drug trials. But we aren't talking about drug trials. We are talking about pinpointing "at risk" populations. And we are talking about interventions that have a low risk of harm outside of cost and convenience. If a kid doesn't respond positively to a year of group therapy, OK. At least we tried something.

Quote:
What are the consequences if someone is falsely identified as a "sociopath" - would the treatment required be harmful to people without the genetic variation? Side effects for anyone?
I am sure some Oscar the Grouch might complain about having to take vitamin D shots and wasting time practicing relaxation techniques. And maybe some person might get stuck with an incompetent therapist that does more harm than good. But the same can be said for any treatment. If the vast majority of cases are helped, then a person with a tragic outlier experience is just a sad anecdote. I think most people are willing to accept an occasional sad anecdote in exchange for not having to worry so much about monsters roaming the streets. But YMMV.




Quote:



Because right now there is ALWAYS a penalty for having a mental illness. It's not as bad as it used to be, but there is still a stigma. Hell, there's still a stigma just for having a relative who is "crazy", much less being the affected person yourself.
I have firsthand experience with mental illness and stigma and putting up with stigma (as well as horrible side effects) so I could get successful treatment. So I don't need a lecture, sorry. And I also know that a lot of mental illness follows from trauma. Trauma caused by a childhood full of abuse. Or trauma caused by being a victim of violent crime. I think we are smart enough to find a way to thread the needle between minimizing the number of abusers out there without increasing the number of victims. Yes, we would have to ensure there are safeguards in place. All medical interventions require safeguards. Big whoop. Doesn't mean we shouldn't try.


Sent from my moto x4 using Tapatalk
__________________
What the hell is a signature?

Last edited by monstro; 08-08-2019 at 05:18 PM.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:28 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017