New DNA testing bring free will into play

Apr 20, 2008

A new generation of DNA testing gives a peek at biological and psychological traits allowing lawyers to question free will in U.S. criminal cases, experts say.

Some defense teams are using DNA profiles to argue their clients had a genetic predisposition for certain ailments or behavior, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

More than 60 percent of antisocial and criminal behavior is linked to genetics and several high courts agreed, reversing murder convictions in some cases, the Post said. In one South Carolina reversal, the justices' decision implied biology and not free will prompted criminal behavior.

"To argue that behavior can be predicted, you are arguing (someone) does not have free will," said Markus Heilig, a neurochemist with the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. "So how can you hold someone accountable?"

But Nita Farahany, an expert on genetics and the law at Vanderbilt University countered, "Just because you can explain a behavior's cause doesn't mean it is excusable."

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

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bmcghie
1.3 / 5 (4) Apr 20, 2008
Ooh, this makes me angry. What about all the other people that managed to NOT succumb to the temptation to commit murder? More importantly, the whole principle is bullshit. I mean, you ARE your genes. Done, finished. You have to play with the cards you are dealt. Play by society's rules, or GTFO, it's that simple. I mean, we're ALL predisposed to reproducing sexually, no? Does that mean all the men should be allowed off the hook if they start rutting with everything on two legs, regardless of consent? According to this new standard, apparently yes. Glad we established that it is now okay to have a country full of rapists. And lawyers complain about everyone hating them... yeesh. /rant
superhuman
1 / 5 (3) Apr 21, 2008
Even if free will does not exist (and I'm not sure it does), society still has to eliminate individuals threatening social order. If criminals cant choose to obey the law, too bad for them.
nilbud
1 / 5 (3) Apr 21, 2008
Genetically I'm a bit stabby on Wednesdays, due to my environment I can be a bit shooty on Thursdays, because I'm a victim of society Tuesdays are kind of drunk and punchy Friday is sabbath and I just don't like Mondays.