The Heritability of Criminal Behavior

Forbes is reporting that Bernard Madoff’s folks were criminals (courtesy gnxp).

This is not surprising, as criminal behavior is partially inheritated, in the same way that the number of ridges on your pinky finger – or your inelligence — is.

More on this — and the role that recent human evolution plays in variation in such available — is available via Greg Clark (book review or PDF, also courtesy of gnxp).

This is an important point. Courtesy of zenpundit, in a discussion on jokers, Fabius Maximus (covering ground already seeded at Dreaming 5GW confuses honor-killing and honor-violence for senseless, Joker-like behavior:

Well I guess the killing was OK then, since it was in response to a previous massacre! I thought it was just soft-headed liberals who excused crimes on the basis of such things. Perhaps Quick will write a similar note about “human-style desire to have nice things” when his house is burgled, or “human-style desire to spread his genes” when his daughter is raped.

As Bill Quick at Daily Pundit noted, Fabius is confused about this. Rape is a heritable human behavior. Theft is a heritable human behavior. Honor killing is a heritable human behavior.

This does not make rape, theft, and honor violence “OK.” Indeed, confusing a normative finding (which is right and wrong) with an empirical one (which is observed and not observed) is a basic error of logic.

But it does mean that we need to consider the sort of people we plan on providing security for, and the manner in which we provide that security. “Middle class values” are more common in places where evolution has had the time to instill them. They are rarer in places it hasn’t.

In other words, providing security to populations which were until recent times (the last few centuries) hunter-gatherers is going to require more attentiont to stamping out theft, killing, and hono-rviolence than when providing security to populations which have been settled, agricultural, and peaceful for the last few centuries.

That is for now. Eventually, we will use eugenics to make the problem easier.

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