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Offlinechemkid
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Merely a function of our chemical make up.
    #899894 - 09/22/02 08:08 PM (14 years, 2 months ago)

It has been well documented that many behavioral and psychological disorders are due to a lack or surplus of certain chemicals in the brain.

Let's take it a bit further; if we could deduce the exact behaviors with the exact related chemicals then perhaps we could give murderers, rapists, and molesters an injection of some sort, of the right chemicals to rectify their behavior.

Question: If our behavior is simply a function of our chemical makeup, are we accountable for any of our actions? Is there any kind of free will in knowing this?

P.S. lets leave religion out of this please.


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OfflineAlbino_Jesus
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Re: Merely a function of our chemical make up. [Re: chemkid]
    #899910 - 09/22/02 08:17 PM (14 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

if we could deduce the exact behaviors with the exact related chemicals then perhaps we could give murderers, rapists, and molesters an injection of some sort, of the right chemicals to rectify their behavior




hehehee... anti-testosterone? :laugh:

Quote:

If our behavior is simply a function of our chemical makeup, are we accountable for any of our actions? Is there any kind of free will in knowing this?






I, for one, think it is a combination of chemical makeup, dna, and life experiences. in which case, no there isn't  :smile:


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InvisibleSclorch
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Re: Merely a function of our chemical make up. [Re: chemkid]
    #900197 - 09/22/02 10:20 PM (14 years, 2 months ago)

It has been well documented that many behavioral and psychological disorders are due to a lack or surplus of certain chemicals in the brain.

This is an incorrect statement.
It has only been proven that there is a CORRELATION between psychological disorders and chemical levels in the brain.


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InvisibleSwami
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Re: Merely a function of our chemical make up. [Re: Albino_Jesus]
    #900204 - 09/22/02 10:23 PM (14 years, 2 months ago)

hehehee... anti-testosterone?

Now hold on there a minute!


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OfflineAlbino_Jesus
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Re: Merely a function of our chemical make up. [Re: Swami]
    #900214 - 09/22/02 10:28 PM (14 years, 2 months ago)

hehehe
it's been shown that repeat murderers, rapists, and just extremely violent people in general have unusually high testosterone levels
now, whether this is the cause of their violentness or the result of their violentness is a question... but when people use steroids they get like that too... so I think it's the (or A) cause


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-Ralph Nader



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InvisibleSwami
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Re: Merely a function of our chemical make up. [Re: chemkid]
    #900238 - 09/22/02 10:41 PM (14 years, 2 months ago)

Let's take it a bit further; if we could deduce the exact behaviors with the exact related chemicals then perhaps we could give murderers, rapists, and molesters an injection of some sort, of the right chemicals to rectify their behavior.
Violence and sexual aggression are part and parcel of our limbic (reptilian) brain. This is the result of our biological evolution going back millions of years. A chemical cannot overcome that. Any person can kill given the right set of circumstances.

A killing machine such as a well-trained Green Beret or Navy SEAL is welcome under certain circumstance, then rejected when no longer needed. Everything is arbitrary pending on the need of the moment. Most cops are more aggressive than average. We like that when we are being protected from a violent bad guy, but protest when it gets out of hand (Rodney King).

As to molesters, it is "unnatural" for an adult to be sexually attracted to an immature child, but physiologically, most females can conceive at around age 13.
So the term "molesting" then becomes socially defined rather than biological. One culture allows sexual relations between consenting adults at age 18 and another at age 14. How could a chemical possibly be found with a clear age defining line?

Question: If our behavior is simply a function of our chemical makeup, are we accountable for any of our actions? Is there any kind of free will in knowing this?
Behavior has it roots in much more than chemical makeup. We have free will within a limited range of possible responses.



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OfflineAlbino_Jesus
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Re: Merely a function of our chemical make up. [Re: Swami]
    #900283 - 09/22/02 10:59 PM (14 years, 2 months ago)

In reply to:

Behavior has it roots in much more than chemical makeup. We have free will within a limited range of possible responses.






but the question is, are "you" really "free" to make a decision, or is the decision which is made predetermined by the state of your brain(i.e. how all your neurons will react to the given stimuli, a pattern of synape firing) at the time the decision is to be made?

my choice is the latter


--------------------
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-Ralph Nader



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OfflineToxicManM
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Re: Merely a function of our chemical make up. [Re: chemkid]
    #900309 - 09/22/02 11:08 PM (14 years, 2 months ago)

The psychedelic chemicals were heavily researched at first because the symptoms thye produce externally resemble those of schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. It occurred to medical people rather rapidly the idea that a chemical imbalance or malfunction was creating a psychedelic drug which caused these people to behave the way they do. Research seems to have shown that LSD, mescaline, psilocybin, and the other researched psychedelics do not actually simulate schizophrenia, they just sort of look like it externally. Oh, well. If it had panned out the idea was that it might be possible to cure these people by finding antagonists to the chemicals causing the problems. With the War on Drugs, the research has mostly come to a halt in the US. One of the more interesting tales relating to this is the substance Adrenochrome, which was reported as a natural oxidation product of adrenaline.

As far as the comment on anti-testosterone, they have such a thing. There are drugs which will effectively chemically castrate a man and render him temporarily sterile, impotent, and without sexual desire. The use of these drugs has been proposed as a possible "treatment" for people who have committed crimes such as rape and child molestation. There are a number of obvious ethical and procedural problems with doing this, so it has been tried only experimentally on a very few people, and it is not likely to catch on anywhere soon. Of course, if the US (or somewhere else) were to become effectively a police state, the ethical considerations might not matter any more and the procedural problems could be solved.

Along a similar line, experiments similar to those depicted in A Clockwork Orange were actually performed in the state of Colorado in the 1970s. (On a side note, if you haven't seen this film by Stanley Kubrick, see it. It's one of his best.) The experiments were discontinued after a short time. I'm sure somebody will do more of the same in the future, though.


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OfflineAlbino_Jesus
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Re: Merely a function of our chemical make up. [Re: ToxicMan]
    #900349 - 09/22/02 11:20 PM (14 years, 2 months ago)

but say you could give them small doses of this "anti-testosterone" so that, rather than eliminate sexual desire and violence etc, it would just calm them the hell down? I think there wouldn't be anything unethical about that as they wouldn't be a danger to society, AND they'd possibly be able to actually function normally in society and not be stuck in prison....
possibly?
maybe?
or maybe they're beyond help


--------------------
The only difference between the Republican and Democratic parties is the velocities with which their knees hit the floor when corporations knock on their door.
-Ralph Nader



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InvisibleSwami
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Re: Merely a function of our chemical make up. [Re: Albino_Jesus]
    #900674 - 09/23/02 01:40 AM (14 years, 2 months ago)

but the question is, are "you" really "free" to make a decision, or is the decision which is made predetermined by the state of your brain(i.e. how all your neurons will react to the given stimuli, a pattern of synape firing) at the time the decision is to be made?

I caught my fiance in bed with another man. As I stood in the doorway with animal rage building, I could have gone either way; either pulled an OJ and killed them both or I could walk away. I clearly remember playing out both scenarios in my head and making a DELIBERATE choice.

Maybe that is a result of discipline or reason, but I looked down the dark path and saw that it would be very satisfying in the short term (from an animal's perspective), but that I would have deep regrets once my need for vengeance was sated.

Can anyone do that? Dunno. One man did.


--------------------



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InvisibleSwami
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Re: Merely a function of our chemical make up. [Re: Albino_Jesus]
    #900681 - 09/23/02 01:44 AM (14 years, 2 months ago)

Very little procreation is due to rape. As woman are the ones that ultimately have the final say as to sex, I think society has to blame them for predominantly choosing alpha males (yes, the ultra-aggressive Neanderthals that women claim to despise.)

Think on that.  :smirk: 


--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


Edited by Swami (09/23/02 01:59 AM)


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OfflineAlbino_Jesus
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Re: Merely a function of our chemical make up. [Re: Swami]
    #900690 - 09/23/02 01:46 AM (14 years, 2 months ago)

In reply to:

I clearly remember playing out both scenarios in my head and making a DELIBERATE choice.






I still hold that the fact that you played out both scenarios and weighed the pros and cons to simply be a result of what's going on in your brain already... any reaction you have is due to the state you are in. even to go as far as saying the state you are in compared to the state of a narrowminded, ignorant fundamentalist christian, i.e. WHO YOU ARE. who you are is your brain. it's hard to take a step back from oneself and realize you're not a little man running the show inside your head, but that you in fact ARE the show, but that's the way I see it.


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-Ralph Nader



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OfflineAlbino_Jesus
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Re: Merely a function of our chemical make up. [Re: Swami]
    #900695 - 09/23/02 01:49 AM (14 years, 2 months ago)

hehe don't blame me
I go for  the shy, emotionally wussy type :tongue:


--------------------
The only difference between the Republican and Democratic parties is the velocities with which their knees hit the floor when corporations knock on their door.
-Ralph Nader



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OfflineViBrAnT
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Re: Merely a function of our chemical make up. [Re: chemkid]
    #900861 - 09/23/02 03:51 AM (14 years, 2 months ago)

chemkid i have often wondered the same thing, perhaps there may one day be an injection for enlightenment, kinda scares me. with the developement of A.I. to be used in computers, it makes me wonder how intelligent we really are or if there is some sort of higher intelligence we have not tapped into.

I'm in a very strange mood right now, my head is surprisingly clear for once. As i stare around the room i am wondering, is there something that i am not seeing or am i looking in the wrong place. Where ultimately does self realization lie? As i am listening to music i am feeling a euphoria from within, mybe i am already here. I am in the void, it is peaceful and almost empty of thoughts. I am glimpsing realizations from past trips, and all i keep remembering is to stop thinking all together, so much so that you have forgotten you have stopped thinking, you are just being and that is enough, you become pure love.

Day by day i am sinking into the void again, no it is not the terrible place that so many think it to be. mybe the higher learning lies in the void, that you need not learn anything, only remember, rememeber the bliss of the void. why use the illusions, we not step outside them into the void? why not cast all worry into the sea, why not become the ever shifting wave, not caring where the ocean takes you. why fuck with people? why care about what another is doing to you? why care about anything? just the bliss of the void, my happy place. A bit of topic but a spontaneous moment.


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" liken this life illusory, for your sand castle will one day be adrift amongst the wind "




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Offlinechemkid
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Re: Merely a function of our chemical make up. [Re: Sclorch]
    #900868 - 09/23/02 04:00 AM (14 years, 2 months ago)

Sclorch: This is an accurate statement. Many of the anti-depressants are either supplements or receptor blockers. There is a direct relationship not solely a correlation. Anyhow, I must confess...I think this thread is another copout of accountability for those looking for any reason at all not to be responsible for their own actions. The reason I posted is a friend and I were debating this today (he is a biochemist working with neuro-transmitters and chemical interactions in the brain) so I figured I would let my fellow shroomerites have a crack at it.

It is quite interesting. I am not very educated in this particular field but let him tell it, it almost sounds convincing. However, in the end, I feel we have free will and determine our own paths. I must admit to believing it has at least some merit though.


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OfflineAlbino_Jesus
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Re: Merely a function of our chemical make up. [Re: chemkid]
    #901586 - 09/23/02 01:23 PM (14 years, 2 months ago)

In reply to:

I think this thread is another copout of accountability for those looking for any reason at all not to be responsible for their own actions





people who take responsibility for their actions do so because they have the capacity and desire to. such capacity and desire is there because of the brain.
people who don't take responsibility for their actions can't be blamed because there is no one really in control of what's going to happen in your brain, how you're going to react. you ARE your reactions and desires and capacities.
think of it like AI
if we designed a computer with the complexity of the human brain, and it SEEMED to have will and desires etc, it's still only because of complex reasoning going on in its processor... the human brain is a hugely complex computer.

not to say that people who commit acts that endanger others should get off scott free because it's "not their fault". we do have to protect ourselves as a society.


--------------------
The only difference between the Republican and Democratic parties is the velocities with which their knees hit the floor when corporations knock on their door.
-Ralph Nader



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InvisibleSclorch
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Re: Merely a function of our chemical make up. [Re: Albino_Jesus]
    #901729 - 09/23/02 02:25 PM (14 years, 2 months ago)

I completely disagree with you on these matters AJ.
I am so anti-determinism that I can't even accept neuro-determinism.

My thoughts on this subject are rooted in the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. This is the foundation of my argument. The only possible counter-argument would be the "it just seems random... like a fractal". Of course, I think this argument is quite lame and is more of an assertion than anything (I can devise experiments to test the HUP... something a fractal-lover cannot do).

SO...
We have uncertainty (read: true randomness). Turbulence is random (on the micro level). Turbulence occurs in fluids. The brain is soaked in constantly-moving fluid. Turbulence no doubt produces a randomizing effect on the neurotransmitters (which our brains use to communicate). There is probably a great deal of fluctuation due to the random dynamics of these neurotransmitters.

Still with me? Okay, here's where I give a little...
I agree that our brains definitely have a pseudo-fixed architecture (it changes with experience/sensory data etc.). However, with all the randomness that is happening in the synapses, it would seem like the architecture would be negligible... Yet we still retain memories and favorites in spite of all this randomness. This tells me that something else is going on too... I think the answer lies in metaprogramming.


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OfflineAlbino_Jesus
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Re: Merely a function of our chemical make up. [Re: Sclorch]
    #901971 - 09/23/02 04:55 PM (14 years, 2 months ago)

sclorchie... er...
I don't see how any of that refutes my idea...

the idea that you are not running the show, but you ARE the show
that you ARE your brain and everything that happens in it
you do not consciously set off synaptic firing to form thought processes, you only experience the result of these processes, i.e. the thought/idea or series of thought/idea itself. these things are so complex and happen so instantaneously that it simply seems like your consciousness is going "2+2=4" or "I'd like an ice cream cone" or whatever... but there's millions, perhaps billions of little neurons firing away, in the background, and you're totally unconcious of it.
yes, with chaos theor, we have the prospect that a lot of what happens in your brain is 'random' in the sense that we can't see any organization. but does this give credence to the idea that we actually have conscious control of it? no.

eh I'm starting to lose my train of thought because of new thoughts popping in my head... so now I'm going to go off on a bit of a tangent...
free will/determinism are they one in the same??
free will is the idea that one can consciously determine (in an ultimate sense) what they want to say/do/etc next. determinism is the idea that what's going to happen is out of anyone's control and that the universe and everything in it is free to go in any direction. eh.. anyway... dumb idea maybe

the idea that there is chaos/randomness in the brain due to turbulence in brain fluids... I can't see how that would support either side, as it wouldn't really be evidence of anything, just evidence of randomness. and isn't the basic idea of chaos theory that order lies within chaos within order within chaos etc? order and chaos are just labels we stuck on things which either we understand how they work, or we don't understand how they work; it doesn't mean something is or isn't predictable, it's either that we capable of discerning an apparent pattern, or we aren't. I don't even know how this is revelant to what I'm saying anymore. I wish I didn't have 20 thoughts trying to come out of my brain at the same time. but I still hold that we are not running the show, we are the show...


--------------------
The only difference between the Republican and Democratic parties is the velocities with which their knees hit the floor when corporations knock on their door.
-Ralph Nader



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InvisibleSwami
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Re: Merely a function of our chemical make up. [Re: Albino_Jesus]
    #902099 - 09/23/02 06:09 PM (14 years, 2 months ago)

Have to go with schlorch on this one.

Going off on a little tangent, I take exception to the popular term "car accident" as if fate or chance intervened. Collision is the generic term that I prefer.

Car accidents are the result of:

A. Driving too fast for the conditions; i.e. night, fog, rain, ice; tailgating, etc.

B. Improper car maintenance; low air pressure, out of oil (knew a woman to whom this happened - she seized the engine because she let it run dry of lubricant!), misaligned front end; etc.

C. Inattentive - eating, smoking, reading the WSJ, brushing/fluffing your hair while looking in the rear-view mirror (see that ALL THE TIME here in Orange County where appearance is everything!), cell phones, flipping the CD; etc.

D. Diminshed capacity - lack of sleep, intoxicants.

These things account for about 99.99% of "accidents" and yet all four of these are ENTIRELY under control of the operator. Now of course a responsible innocent may be harmed by another, but the underlying cause is no accident.

Who is in control? Who is in the driver's seat? It is about RESPONSIBILITY people! This may sound cut and dried when I phrase it this way, but I see the same things in other areas of our lives.

Just who is the captain of your ship?


--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


Edited by Swami (09/23/02 10:18 PM)


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OfflineAlbino_Jesus
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Re: Merely a function of our chemical make up. [Re: Swami]
    #902497 - 09/23/02 08:47 PM (14 years, 2 months ago)

god, nevermind. you guys are missing my point.


--------------------
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-Ralph Nader



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