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  #1  
Old 10-26-2007, 06:46 AM
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Decapitation leads to lowered IQ

Why blame me? It was all my brain’s fault
The dubious rise of ‘neurolaw’
Raymond Tallis

Imagine this futuristic courtroom scene. The defence barrister stands up, and pointing to his client in the dock, makes this plea: “The case against Mr X must be dismissed. He cannot be held responsible for smashing Mr Y’s face into a pulp. He is not guilty, it was his brain that did it. Blame not Mr X, but his overactive amygdala.”

The legal profession in America is taking an increasing interest in neuroscience. There is a flourishing academic discipline of “neurolaw” and neurolawyers are penetrating the legal system. Vanderbilt University recently opened a $27 million neuroimaging centre and hopes to enrol students in a programme in the law and neuroscience. In the courts, as in the trial of serial rapist and murderer Bobby Joe Long, brain-scan evidence is being invoked in support of pleas of diminished responsibility. The idea is abroad that developments in neuroscience – in particular the observation of activity in the living brain, using techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging – have shown us that we are not as free, or as accountable for our actions, as we traditionally thought.

Defence lawyers are licking their lips at the possibility of (to use law professor Jeffrey Rosen’s succinct phrase) placing “the brain on the stand” to take the rap on behalf of the client. Though they failed to cut much ice in Long’s case, arguments that blame lies not with the defendant but with his overactive amygdala (supposedly responsible for aggressive emotions) or his underactive frontal lobes (supposedly responsible for inhibiting the expression of such emotions) are being deployed with increasing frequency. If our brains are in charge, and bad behaviour is due to them, our attitude to criminal responsibility, to punishment (the balance between rehabilitation and retribution) and to preventive detention of individuals thought to have criminal tendencies may all have to change.

Before we invest millions in “neurolaw” centres, however, we need to remind ourselves that observations of brain activity in the laboratory can explain very few things about us. We have no neural explanation for: sensations; the differences between sensations; the way our consciousness coheres at any particular time and over time; our relationship to an explicit past and an explicit future; our sense of being a self; and our awareness of other people as having minds like ourselves. All of these are involved in ordinary, waking behaviour. The confident assertion that “his brain made him do it”, except in well-attested cases – such as the automatisms associated with certain forms of epilepsy or the disinhibited behaviour that may follow severe brain injury – therefore goes beyond our current knowledge or understanding.

Those who blame the brain should be challenged as to why they stop at the brain when they seek the causes of bad behaviour. Since the brain is a physical object, it is wired into nature at large. “My brain made me do it” must mean (ultimately) that “The Big Bang” made me do it. Neuro-determinism quickly slides into determinism tout court.

And there is a contradiction built into the plea of neuromitigation. The claim “my brain made me do it” suggests that I am not my brain; even that my brain is some kind of alien force. One of the founding notions of neurolaw, however, is that the person is the brain. If I were my brain, then “My brain made me do it” would boil down to “I made me do it” and that would hardly get me off the hook. And yet, if I am not identical with my brain, why should a brain make me do anything? Why should this impersonal bit of matter single me out?

The brain is, of course, the final common pathway of all actions. You can’t do much without a brain. Decapitation is, in most instances, associated with a decline in IQ.

More at: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article2726643.ece

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  #2  
Old 10-26-2007, 07:33 AM
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So, carrying this specious bit of legal casuistry to it's biological corollary,would this open the door for a rapist to blame his genitals for an assault on an unwilling female?
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Old 10-26-2007, 07:53 AM
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Old 10-26-2007, 08:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carleton Hughes View Post
So, carrying this specious bit of legal casuistry to it's biological corollary,would this open the door for a rapist to blame his genitals for an assault on an unwilling female?
Males being unable to think with both organs demanding blood simultaneously, the penis takes command of the weakened brain and the male has no choice but to surrender to the awesome, thrusting power of erectile tissue.

B
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  #5  
Old 10-26-2007, 08:55 AM
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That's sick and twisted. Oh wait, I didn't say that - my brain did!
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  #6  
Old 10-26-2007, 08:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Botnst View Post
Males being unable to think with both organs demanding blood simultaneously, the penis takes command of the weakened brain and the male has no choice but to surrender to the awesome, thrusting power of erectile tissue.

B
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Old 10-26-2007, 09:00 AM
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Seriously, why do some people do some things better than others? If we weren't hardwired one way or another, shouldn't we be able to will ourselves to understand quantum mechanics or make the dancer twirl couterclockwise?
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  #8  
Old 10-27-2007, 12:00 AM
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Chickens with no heads ... !?
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Old 10-27-2007, 12:30 AM
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The legal profession has, long ago, thrown out the reasoning of personal responsibility...why, to admit as much would, probably, cause a disbarment hearing for said attorney...

So, now they search for some, new, frontier of blame.

Throw it up against the wall of arguments long enough...it will stick.

Then politicians will become involved due to "that loophole" that will allow another O.J. (if he isn't the first to test it out...again) loose.

I like the "motto" that I've seen on the back of some T-shirts, worn by some members of one of our "esteemed" branches of our military...

KILL THEM ALL ...
LET GOD SORT 'EM OUT!


It would simpify the trial process a whole lot!

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  #10  
Old 10-27-2007, 12:43 AM
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Simple solution. If their brain did do it say you can go free, just not your brain! Problem solved.
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  #11  
Old 10-27-2007, 12:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgburg View Post
The legal profession has, long ago, thrown out the reasoning of personal responsibility...why, to admit as much would, probably, cause a disbarment hearing for said attorney...

So, now they search for some, new, frontier of blame.

Throw it up against the wall of arguments long enough...it will stick.

Then politicians will become involved due to "that loophole" that will allow another O.J. (if he isn't the first to test it out...again) loose.

I like the "motto" that I've seen on the back of some T-shirts, worn by some members of one of our "esteemed" branches of our military...

KILL THEM ALL ...
LET GOD SORT 'EM OUT!


It would simpify the trial process a whole lot!


Ancient Chiness proverb, they practice this to great affect. Remember that government guy they got for corruption awhile back.
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  #12  
Old 10-27-2007, 12:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgburg View Post
The legal profession has, long ago, thrown out the reasoning of personal responsibility...why, to admit as much would, probably, cause a disbarment hearing for said attorney...

So, now they search for some, new, frontier of blame.

Throw it up against the wall of arguments long enough...it will stick.

Then politicians will become involved due to "that loophole" that will allow another O.J. (if he isn't the first to test it out...again) loose.

I like the "motto" that I've seen on the back of some T-shirts, worn by some members of one of our "esteemed" branches of our military...

KILL THEM ALL ...
LET GOD SORT 'EM OUT!

It would simpify the trial process a whole lot!


Would be interesting to know the connection between 'Kill them all' and 'let god sort them out'
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  #13  
Old 10-27-2007, 12:50 AM
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Depends on how you define "all".
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  #14  
Old 10-27-2007, 01:27 AM
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Yeah, actually that's funny, I didn't even think about it
Usually, "all" means "all", no more no less ... there wouldn't be anything left to sort out
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  #15  
Old 10-27-2007, 01:55 AM
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Your not doing the sorting, God is.

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