The Evil Brain: What Lurks Inside a Killer’s Mind

As tragedies like Boston and Newtown mount, scientists and criminologists are trying harder than ever to understand the minds behind the crimes

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Photo-Illustration by Brown Bird Design for TIME. Tsarnaev: AFP / Getty Images

Homicidal madmen don’t have much of a capacity for gratitude, but if they did, they’d offer a word of thanks to Charles Whitman. Whitman was the 25-year-old engineering student and former Marine who, in 1966, killed 17 people and wounded 32 in a mass shooting at the University of Texas, before being shot and killed himself by police. Earlier that day, he also murdered his wife and mother. Criminal investigators looking for a reason for the rampage got what seemed to be their answer quickly, in the form of a suicide note Whitman left at his home:

I do not really understand myself these days. I am supposed to be an average reasonable and intelligent young man. However, lately (I cannot recall when it started) I have been a victim of many unusual and irrational thoughts … please pay off my debts [and] donate the rest anonymously to a mental-health foundation. Maybe research can prevent further tragedies of this type.

Whitman got his wish — after a fashion. With the approval of his family, an autopsy was conducted and investigators found both a tumor and a vascular malformation pressing against his amygdala, the small and primitive region of the brain that controls emotion. A state commission of inquiry concluded that the tumor might have contributed to the shootings, earning Whitman a tiny measure of posthumous redemption — and providing all killers since at least the fig-leaf defense that something similar might be wrong with them too.

For as long as evil has existed, people have wondered about its source, and you don’t have to be too much of a scientific reductionist to conclude that the first place to look is the brain. There’s not a thing you’ve ever done, thought or felt in your life that isn’t ultimately traceable to a particular webwork of nerve cells firing in a particular way, allowing the machine that is you to function as it does. So if the machine is busted — if the operating system in your head fires in crazy ways — are you fully responsible for the behavior that follows?

(MORE: Brothers in Arms: Sibling Psychology and the Bombing Suspects)

That’s a question that has a lot more than just philosophical implications. No sooner were the Tsarnaev brothers identified as the Boston Marathon bombers than speculation arose as to whether the behavior of older-brother Tamerlan might have been influenced by brain damage sustained during his years as a boxer. The answer was almost certainly no: sports-related brain injury usually leads to volatile and impulsive behavior in people his age, and the bombing was coldly and painstakingly planned. (This was made especially clear by the later revelation that the brothers had originally planned their attack for July 4, but by working hard and applying themselves, they completed their bombs earlier than planned — an illustration of perverse diligence if ever there was one.) But the medical histories of uncounted other killers and violent offenders are filled with diagnoses of all manner of brain diseases and traumas, raising both the issue of whether the perps were truly, fully, responsible for their crimes, and the possibility that the acts could have been prevented in the first place if the illnesses had been treated.

“I don’t think there’s any kind of neurological condition that’s 100% predictive,” says neuroscientist Michael Koenigs of the University of Madison-Wisconsin. “But even when psychopaths know that what they’re doing is a crime, that doesn’t mean they’re in control of their behavior when they offend.”

(PHOTOS: Joy and Relief in Boston After Bombing Suspect’s Arrest)

Even before Whitman made it into the medical texts, scientists were already familiar with the case of Phineas Gage, the 25-year-old railroad worker who, in 1848, was helping to blast a path for a new rail line in Vermont when an errant explosion drove an iron rod into the top of his head, through his left frontal lobe and out his cheekbone. Gage, incredibly, didn’t die and nor did he even exhibit much loss of function. But after the bar was removed, there was a sudden change in his personality. Always a peaceable man, he become volatile, combative and, after a lifetime of polite speaking, wildly profane. It was science’s first glimpse at the seemingly direct cause-and-effect connection between trauma to the brain and the very essence of personality. As our ability to image and repair the brain has improved, we’ve been able to detect far less obvious damage than a railroad spike through the skull — damage that nonetheless has every bit as great an effect.

(MORE: The Brain of the Bomber: Did Damage Caused by Boxing Play a Role in the Boston Bombings?)

In a celebrated 2003 case published in the Archives of Neurology, for example, a 40-year-old Virginia schoolteacher with no history of pedophilia developed a sudden interest in child pornography and began making sexual overtures to his stepdaughter. His wife reported his behavior, and he was arrested and assigned to a 12-step program for sex offenders. He flunked out of the course — he couldn’t stop propositioning staff members — and was sentenced to prison. Only a day before he was set to surrender, however, he appeared in a local emergency room with an explosive headache and a range of other neurological symptoms. Doctors scanned his brain and found a tumor the size of an egg in the right orbitofrontal cortex, the region that processes decisionmaking and other so-called executive functions. The tumor was removed and the compulsive sexuality vanished along with it. Less than a year later, the tumor returned — and so, almost in lockstep, did his urges.

“There’s no one spot in the brain for pedophilia,” says Stephen J. Morse, professor of both law and psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. “But damage to the orbitofrontal region is known to be associated with disinhibition. We know that various forms of brain damage can contribute to difficulties in being guided by reason.”

(PHOTOS: Marathon Carnage: Explosions in Boston)

Other, more recent studies are finding roots of criminality in other parts of the brain. As Maia Szalavitz reported in April, a team of researchers led by Kent Kiehl, associate professor of psychology at the University of New Mexico, published a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in which the brains of 96 male felons sentenced to at least a year in jail for crimes including robbery, drug dealing and assault were scanned in a functional magnetic resonance imager (fMRI). While they were in the fMRI, the men performed a task that required them to hit a key on a computer when they saw the letter X on a screen, but refrain when they saw the letter K. Since the X appeared 84% of the time and since the two letters look awfully similar to begin with, it was easy to get into the habit of overclicking. The ability to avoid hitting the key too much calls for a measure of impulse control, a faculty processed in a region of the brain known as the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). The inmates who did worse on the test turned out to have lower levels of activity in the ACC; the ones who performed better had higher levels. Kiehl tracked all of the inmates for four years after their release from prison and found that those with the sleepy ACCs were also more than four times likelier to be rearrested than the others. If you can’t control your impulse to click, the study suggested, you might have equal difficulty controlling the impulse to run afoul of the law.

“There are more papers coming out that show how MRIs predict who reoffends,” said Kiehl in a follow-up e-mail with TIME. “We are examining treatments that increase activity in the anterior cingulate. The goal is to see if we can help identify the best therapies to reduce recidivism.”

(MORE: Bombs, Instincts and Morals: Why Heroes Risk It All for Strangers)

Koenigs, who has collaborated with Kiehl, has conducted other work with inmates linking both the amygdala and a region known as the ventromedial prefrontal cortex as possible accomplices in crime. The amygdala is the wild child of that pair, the brain’s seat of fear, suspicion, anger and more. Those are not always bad emotions, provided the ventromedial is able to do one of its assigned jobs, which is to keep the amygdala on a short leash. Working with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, Koenigs was given access to two groups of volunteer prisoners at a medium-security facility: one diagnosed as psychopathic, one nonpsychopathic.

In the first of two tests, Koenigs scanned the men’s brains with a diffusion tensor imager, a type of MRI that detects how water molecules interact with tissue. In this case, he was trying to determine the soundness of the white matter — the fatty insulation — that protects the neural circuits connecting the ventromedial and the amygdala. In a second test, he used an fMRI to study more directly how clearly the two regions were communicating. In both cases, the brains of the psychopaths were in worse shape than those of the nonpsychopaths, with less robust white-matter insulation and the nerves beneath it doing a poorer job of transmitting signals.

“You can use the findings of this study as a proxy for the connectedness between these two structures,” Koenigs says. “The remorselessness and violence seen in psychopaths may be attributable to the regions not communicating effectively.”

(MORE: President Obama Tells Boston to Keep Running After Marathon Bombings)

Other studies make a similar case for the mechanistic roots of crime. Enzymes known as monoamine oxidases (MAO) are essential to keeping human behavior in check, breaking down neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine and ensuring that the brain remains in chemical balance. Babies born with a defect in an MAO-related gene — known colloquially as the warrior gene — have been shown to be at nine times higher risk of exhibiting antisocial behavior later in life. Adrian Raine, professor of criminology at the University of Pennsylvania, has found that infants under 6 months old who have a brain structure known as a cavum septum pellucidum — a small gap in a forward region between the left and right hemispheres — are similarly likelier to develop behavioral disorders, and face a higher risk of arrest and conviction as adults as well.

All of this makes the case for a neurological role in many violent crimes hard to deny, but all of it raises a powerful question too: So what? For one thing, brain anomalies are only part of the criminal puzzle. A rotten MAO gene indeed may play a role in later-life criminality, but in most cases it’s only when children have also been exposed to abuse or some other kind of childhood trauma. A child with a stable background and bad genetics may handle his warrior impulses just fine. Koenigs may have found cross-talk problems between the ventromedial and the amygdalae of psychopaths, but he also acknowledges that he didn’t get a look at the men’s brains until they were, on average, 30 years old, and a lot could have gone on in that time. “They’ve had a lifetime of poor socialization, drugs, alcohol, they’ve had their bell rung,” he says. “You don’t know what causes what.”

Even the case of the pedophile schoolteacher, whose pathology switched cleanly off and cleanly on depending on the presence of his tumor, was less clear than it seems. “He touched his stepdaughter only when his wife was not around, and his wife and co-workers had not noticed any problems,” says Morse. “Clearly he had some control or some rational capacity. You can’t say that just because the tumor caused him to have pedophiliac desires, he wasn’t responsible.”

That’s the zone in which science and the law always collide — the causation question that can’t simply be brain-scanned or tissue-sampled or longitudinally tested away. People like Morse believe where once we attributed all crime to moral laxity or simple evil, we’ve now overcorrected, too often looking to excuse criminal behavior medically. “I call it the fundamental psycholegal error,” he says. “The belief that if you discover a cause you’ve mitigated or excused responsibility. If you have a bank robber who can show that he commits crimes only when he’s in a hypomanic state, that does not mean he deserves excuse or mitigation.”

Koenigs takes a more forgiving view: “I’ve been part of a Department of Justice project to help inform judges about how to assess culpability,” he says. “The legal system currently goes about it the wrong way, relying on whether criminals know right from wrong. Maybe they do, but the kinds of things that would then give most people pause just don’t register on some of them.”

Where the two camps do agree is on the need to keep society safe from the predations of people whose raging brains — no matter the cause — lead to so much death and suffering. Here legal theory yields a little more easily to hard science. Scanning every inmate’s ACC before making parole decisions will surely raise privacy issues, but if the science can be proven and perfected, isn’t there a strong case for trying it — especially if, as Kiehl suggests, it might lead to therapeutic and rehabilitative strategies? Babies taken from abusive parents might similarly be scanned as part of a routine medical check, just in case a telltale gap in the brain hemispheres could exacerbate the trauma they’ve already endured, making therapeutic intervention all the more important.

Evil is far too complex and far too woven into our natures for us to think that we can always adjudicate it fairly. But the better we can understand the brains that are home to such ugliness, the more effectively we can contain it, control it and punish it. Now and then, with the help of science, we may even be able to snuff it out altogether.

MORE: What Makes Us Moral?

106 comments
rly1987
rly1987

Just because you can identify evil on a brain scan doesn't change the fact a person is evil.  There is no "my genes made me evil against my will."  Nope (not in my opinion at least.)  Your genes are your will.  


Having said that - only inherently wicked and sinister intent is unforgivable despite scientific diagnosis in my opinion.  You can be a well intentioned person with schizophrenia, tourette syndrome, or some movement disorder that causes you to do things that you would not do if you were healthier.  That's a different story.  The core human means well, but has a valid medical condition that made them act out in a way they would not have done had they been empowered to enact their true core intentions properly. 


However, just because you are diagnosed as a sociopath or a genuine narcissist and a brain scan shows you function differently doesn't change the fact that science has merely found a way to identify true underlying malevolence.  That should just be further evidence a person should go to jail. 


A jury recently set a man free because brain scans showed his frontal cortex involved in planning was different.  But this man had been plotting with clearly malicious intent even when behind bars.  The fact they set this guy free is ridiculous in my opinion.

Zola
Zola

Research has also shown that many children who grow up in institutions without constant parental interaction - simply a parent staring into an infant's eyes - that this lack actually causes a lack of the biological connection between the Amygdale and other referenced brain part from growing. Although institutionalized children may have their basic survival needs met, the lack of so much constant mental stimulation from an adult (aka as 'love') prevents the amygdale connecting to that other part of the brain. Thus such people are 'psychopaths' in that they lack feelings, especially empathy which teaches morals.  Parental abuse and neglect is the most responsible interaction that 'creates' monsters.

To assert that brain research is not useful is an incredible show of ignorance.

And yes, it is frightening to contemplate how such knowledge, when it does become easily available, will be used. But then again, I chose not to replicate my own DNA because I suspected I had serious DNA problems (even before DNA was discovered. I thought of it as having defective blood).  Which proved to be correct. And which brain research has enabled me to live well, into an old age, without harming others, but helping many.

punkakes13
punkakes13

everyone is capable of being evil, not everyone is capable of being good as a whole concept of ideology etc

but anyways, it is ridiculous to distort the image of this guy like that, when nothing was roved, in fact, where is him???? ive been thinking about suspect numeber 2 for days... :/ this is not alright... ppl forget easily as soon its out of news

chuck744
chuck744

The problem with these theories is that they do not reveal how the difference in brain architecture were formed in the first place. This information is known and being ignored. See works by Drs Allan Schore, K.J.S. Anand and  Adnan T. Bhutta on the forming of behaviors from brain development of newborns. God did not just create these differences in these people!

metta2uall
metta2uall

Good article but "there’s not a thing you’ve ever done, thought or felt in your life that  isn’t ultimately traceable a particular webwork of nerve cells firing in a particular way" sounds as though that's a fact; it may well be true but how exactly consciousness works hasn't yet been completely worked out.

paulgeorges
paulgeorges

Presenting himself as a victim often attract some people sympathie.When someone complains in general we trust him! When one complains many believe that all is well. We must help people who do not complain because they are the ones who sometime need it the most. A soldier who fought for his country should not be abandoned even if it does not complain! Anyone who complains that does not mean that it is a priority because some make a career complaining and take aid from all sides: traders, bankers, and some terrorists hiding as victim.

NoBigGovDuh
NoBigGovDuh

"Even the case of the pedophile schoolteacher, whose pathology switched cleanly off and cleanly on depending on the presence of his tumor, was less clear than it seems. “He touched his stepdaughter only when his wife was not around, and his wife and co-workers had not noticed any problems,” says Morse. “Clearly he had some control or some rational capacity. You can’t say that just because the tumor caused him to have pedophiliac desires, he wasn’t responsible.”"

Just like any pedophile he tried to hide his activity, this does not mean the tumor did not cause him to be attracted to an inappropriate age group.


You are simply playing with words to push your viewpoint.

Further  you also stated in the article this "He flunked out of the course — he couldn’t stop propositioning staff members"

glamavon
glamavon

@djmeyer85 @Peace_2_All While the science and psychology behind what makes people do evil things is all quite interesting, it's of little comfort to the victims and their families of the perpatraters of these acts.  No matter how much research and analysis we do, we can never prevent someone(s) from going online, downloading instructions on how to build explosive devices, and setting them off in public places.  We can possibly use the research for some other constructive purpose.  What genuinely amazes me in the aftermath of such events is the inordinate amount of analysis by the media about who committed the crimes and why.  Both Tsarneav brothers were not incapable of expressing typical human emotion and, by current accounts, were not raised by horrible parents.  They were brought to this country so they could take advantage of opportunities not afforded to them in their home country.  The only emotional issue I see here is the feeling of disconnection from their fellow Chenchens.  This feeling of disconnection is typical of the immigrant experience.  They were (are) able to distinguish right from wrong.  In my opinion, they were both overly impressionable young men who did something unforgivable.

firozekabeer
firozekabeer

First of all: there is nothing called "Evil brain". I object to this terminology. It is the "Evil System" which poisons a human brain with tremendous potential to become an "Anti-social Element". Secondly, to read the mind of Adam Lanza or Zakar Sarnayev you do not need to be a specialist. Look at the killing pattern of Adam: he did not kill a single "male" adult except himself. Now about Zakar & his elder brother: they went out of their head by watching continous oppression of their fellow Chechens by Putin. So, my dear Jeffry: equation is simple, nothing complex to understand. Every human being is born as innocent, it is this rotten, unjust & cruel system which converts them into  criminals.

glamavon
glamavon

Bottom line, who cares.  Does the science of a killer's brain really matter to the families of the dead and injured? No, it doesn't.  Both brothers were/are not mentally disabled cognitively or otherwise.  They could easily distinguish right from wrong yet chose to set off bombs that killed three people and injured scores of others.  The fact that Tamarlan and Dzhokar Tsarneav lack the capacity to show remorse or any other real human emotion is of little value to anyone. 

tigredelneve
tigredelneve

Terrible... Up front I don't really like to split the world in good and evil. It does not make sense to me at least. Now if we are to 'contain' people and medicate them and remove babies from their parents on the backdrop of brain scans we are not just talking about an Orwellian horror society anymore. We are living in one. 

Ghislane100
Ghislane100

It would be very interesting to have these tests carried out on Amanda Knox.  

saintgeorge5
saintgeorge5

Now tell me, what evil brain has five year old boy has when he shot his sister , two years old.  The whole article is a tosh.  As usual the main steam Media is making a hay of the Boston incident.


What does a mind of anti abortionist thugs who blow up doctors who help people with abortion, mind look like.

Tell me the shape of mass murderers mind of Iraqi invasion, namely George Bush and his side kicks with help of others like Tony Blair. 

The whole article is a piece of garbage.  Koean war, Vietnam war, agent Orange was used, illegaly.  What does brain of these people and others who use drones and other lethal weapons, look like.We in the West create holacaust situation by foreign policy and thirst for material resources.  To say we are promoting the demicracy through barrel of gun are producing martyrs who are fundamentalists.

Holier than thou attitude.

ishowrie
ishowrie

Incredibly interesting and informative study.

quasiintellectual
quasiintellectual

Instead of following a disciplined life in their new country, two brothers got two much involved in an intemperate hedonistic life style and snapped after their irresponsible mother with some jihadi mindset fled the country to avid arrest leaving behind her two sons who tried to find new direction in life through hateful speeches from some religious bigots easily available in internet sites.

brooklynite4321
brooklynite4321

I'm just going to say it. That red floating brain thing is the worst photo illustration I have ever seen. Anywhere. Ever. Even sadder? Someone took credit for it.

DrZin
DrZin

He's a f***ing muslim terrorist. That's what's in his f***ing brain.

theirmind
theirmind

Even be able to interpret the brain, and some unknown waiting for answers.

Time2Cancel
Time2Cancel

An article worth reading in Time?  Now my brain's exploding.

midasrex1988
midasrex1988

Oh, sorry - thought from the headline this was going to be a story explaining wtf is wrong with liberals.

eetom
eetom

'... Now and then, with the help of science, we may even be able to snuff it out altogether."  The last sentence of this article sends a chill down my spine.  Who decides what to snuff what not to snuff?  How can we be sure that the snuffers do not have evil brains?


Read more: http://science.time.com/2013/05/03/evil-brain/#ixzz2SHbxzyK5

DavidAllenJared
DavidAllenJared

I don't know.  Let's bust this guy's head open and see.

Oniprett54
Oniprett54

This is true science at work; always trying to understand the causes and origin of every action. That is perfectly alright and if it leads to detection of criminals before they unleash their evil thoughts on the public, that will be great too. However as the writer said, 'justification' of a crime does not legalize it, for we live in a society governed by laws and norms. Shall we now replace our prisons with mental homes? There is a saying in Africa that a mad man still has his senses, no matter how deranged. A lunatic is still responsible for his actions. The mass shooter and the terrorist are not far removed from each other. They are actually two halves of the same coin.  

Cmurp
Cmurp

I agree they could distinguish right from wrong and aren't mentally impaired at least not the younger brother. But it's important to figure out why people, these two did what they dd and we don't know how Dzhokar feels at this point because we haven't really heard from him. He may be remorseful after all. We don't know yet.

djmeyer85
djmeyer85

@glamavon You kidding? So we shouldn't even bother researching this so we can maybe learn to detect warning signs in others to perhaps prevent stuff like this from happening?

Peace_2_All
Peace_2_All

@Ghislane100 

Why is that...? She was proven 'not' guilty... and so far...at least as we know as not commited horrific acts, so why the interest in Amanda Knox?

Actually, I'm not sure that this article really even relates to her per se.

Peace...

Peace_2_All
Peace_2_All

@saintgeorge5 

@saintgeorge5 ----- I think I'm with @Hadrewsky here.  It appears that you have put together a nice "Straw-Man" argument mixed in with some "Non-Sequitur"

I'm not sure what your real... succinct point/points is/are?

Peace...

Hadrewsky
Hadrewsky

@saintgeorge5 


Here is you missing the point of the article by a mile and spouting a mouthful of turds to boot.

I dare say you warrant a brain scan

Hadrewsky
Hadrewsky

@DrZin 

There may be brain defects common to those whom are extremely religious... The inability to reckon science and instead opt for a holy text created in the bronze age speaks tons about the defectiveness of such people. If you cant see the flaws in a ridiculous ancient Holy Book you wont be able to process logic either.

Hadrewsky
Hadrewsky

@midasrex1988

There is already published data correlating a hyperactive amygdala to conservative ideals... Granted some other defect may be responsible for extreme liberals but the fact is that if you are not a moderate there is likely something wrong with you.

roknsteve
roknsteve

So anyone who doesn't think like you is a liberal?  That whole article was about your evil mind.

Hadrewsky
Hadrewsky

@Oniprett54 


There are extremes though that do exempt somebody as insane... For instance if I were to have an egg sized tumor in my brain that one day put me into a psychosis that made me think I were inside of a video game (Metal Gear II for example) and had to shoot the evil robots with a stolen rifle I think we would have an example of somebody doing great evil without knowing that it were wrong... such a person should be acquitted to psych treatment and should surgery remove that tumor the offender should not be held responsible.


If you are REALLY insane and REALLY do not know right from wrong we should acknowledge it and remand such persons to treatment until they could be deemed safe.

Peace_2_All
Peace_2_All

@djmeyer85 @glamavon 

@glamavon --- I'm with -djmeyer85 here.  You seem to not be getting that there is some relevancy in exploring the minds of people that commit horrific acts. From warning signs to possibly literal brain tumors, etc... that could be factors.

While it will not bring back the deceased, nor give a lot of comfort to their loved ones, ... in this you are correct.  However,  this research could possibly morph into real-world actions that can help prevent such atrocities.

Regards,

Peace...

Ghislane100
Ghislane100

@Peace_2_All @Ghislane100 With a new trial around the corner Knox is currently in the news.  There are just as many people who believe she is guilty as there are who believe in her innocence, so if this science is in any way reputable, then why not test people in her position?

If she is indeed innocent, she would have no reason to object after all.

As far as the current position on her guilt is concerned, she has never been technically found not guilty.  She, as a convicted guilty person, has been released due to allegations about the forensic evidence.  If you take the time to look into the current situation in Italy, you will see that a new trial has been given the go ahead.  It is well recognised that this decision has been based on the strong likelihood of her guilt and there is very strong likelihood that she is going to receive a massive sentence.  

saintgeorge5
saintgeorge5

@Peace_2_All @saintgeorge5 @Hadrewsky 

It is folly to be wise where ignotance is bliss.  Educate your self.  See things as they are and not as you want to be.

Read the book by Michael Scheuer (ex-CIA).  His book "Marching Toward Hell-America and Islam after Iraq.  May your God protect you.

saintgeorge5
saintgeorge5

@Hadrewsky @saintgeorge5  

My poi is that morons, with zero grey matter only see the world from their point of view. You have not have forensic ability to analyse the truth.  See the world as it is and not influenced by main stream biased media.  You have made a sweeping comment on me,show me the evidence.  As for your comment it lacks veracity and utterly dubious.

Yes my sympathy is with victims, as what happened to them is not their doing.

Fools can always ask questions then one can answer.

Sepulveda99
Sepulveda99

Smuggling in a veneer of biological defect claims to bolster your antireligious bigotry. You remind me of a scientific racist in the 19th century. It's a good thing you're not in any position of power. It's pretty obvious what brand of justification you'd use to cover your desire to rid the world of the "defective" religious people.

Sepulveda99
Sepulveda99

@Hadrewsky You believe there's something biologically wrong with the people who don't think like you do? You would have fitted in in a certain part of history I can think of. You would have got the job done I'm sure. 

Oniprett54
Oniprett54

@Hadrewsky @Oniprett54 

You may be right but it is weird to know that all brain tumors are for the worst. There has not been any tumor or some bio-chemical shift that influences goo; one would say that anything abnormal is skewed for the worst. And that is precisely the point I was trying to make that these crimes are abnormal to societal norms and so should be treated in accordance with the laws of the land. To try and justify these abominable acts with the defense of insanity is trying to justify the acts.

These analyses are after the fact and are a waste of public funds. What should be done is to confine the individual who suddenly and inexplicably exhibits abnormal behavior. The crimes they go on to commit are not spontaneous; they are planned over time during which period, if the science is correct, 'wrong' seems 'right' to them. Every criminal thinks what he is doing is right for him. But since the society thinks differently we have to hold them accountable, understand the crime so we can prevent another, but not explain the crime.    

Sepulveda99
Sepulveda99

And so tumors just magically destroy only the ability to tell right from wrong but the person still remembers how to use a gun right, not wrong, what a gun does, how to get a gun, how to shoot it, what to shoot it at, how to steal the rifle as you said, when to look out to see others aren't guarding the gun you're gonna steal, and 10,000 other human abilities necessary for the premeditated crime to take place. A magical tumor that selectively edits out only morality, which of course, is biological according to you, because we are all born with morality, we grow it like a fingernail, its "all" biological according to you. Remind me to call you as a witness if I'm ever accused of a crime so I can get off. I suppose when you're the brain diseased gunman you're also wearing clothes and wiping you butt with TP in the bathroom? are you remembering to shave? floss? how to load a weapon? of course. The only thing your magic tumor deleted was knowing killing people was wrong. How convenient for you. The irony in your case being that you hate religious people for their magical thinking yet you reserve the right to gun people down and get away with it.

Ghislane100
Ghislane100

@Peace_2_All @Ghislane100 Yes, it should be very interesting.  I hope for the sake of the victim here, poor Meredith Kercher, that justice is served for once and for all.

Peace_2_All
Peace_2_All

@Ghislane100 @Peace_2_All 

@Ghislane100 --- OK... you make some fair points.  The test certainly won't happen, but I'm curious to see what will actually happen with her and what they ultimately do as far as the situation in Italy.

Regards,

Peace...

Hadrewsky
Hadrewsky

@saintgeorge5 @Hadrewsky \

We can agree that the majority are sheep that see what they want to see... this is where we agree and we both know we have a nation full of idiots that lap up complete garbage.

But you can take articles like this one and glean truth from it that is valuable and to discard knowledge out of disgust for the provider is just as bad as being an ignorant sheep.

Hadrewsky
Hadrewsky

@tigredelneve

But the dangerous response has happened in the US. the Religious are indoctrinating their children harder than their parents and outbreeding sane people.

The result is that we have in the US a huge population of Christians that believe in nothing but the crap they were taught and everything else is evil..... So millions of Americans do no understand science or logical abortion and insert their faith because they have no brain.

IF I DID have power i would segregate the religious and force their children to have normal education and limit them to 2 children..... Id use camps if it got bad enough

they faith nuts are not real people to be trusted

tigredelneve
tigredelneve

@Hadrewsky @tigredelneve Well, we don't have a growing army of religious drones here in Denmark where I come from. Maybe that has something to do with your american system of economy and religion rather than religion itself? (I am not religious by the way). But people tend to turn to fatalism and fanatics when living in a society where there is a very deep and wide gap between 'making it' and disaster. 

Here where I come from there is no commercial fights for religions to market themselves as there is in the US. So religion is not as involved in politics here and it tends to be a private matter. So we don't have the same tendency towards religious extremity and generally religious people here are not drones indoctrinated with dogma. 

What I want to say with this is that maybe other factors are playing a role and not just religious dogma. Maybe religious fanaticism in the US is also created by a need to promote your organization in order to survive economically and this leads to more extremist marketing campaigns and a need to market yourself on events that should not be touched by religion? Like prevention and abortion f.x.? Even though we have christianity as a state religion here in Denmark nobody really seriously questions the free individual right to abortion. Just saying. 

Hadrewsky
Hadrewsky

@tigredelneve


Perhaps it is an unfair straw man argument... But the few sane religious folks out there need to recognize that there is a growing movement that is incapable of accepting valid science or allowing scientific findings to mesh with their beliefs/

As long as you have a growing army of religious drones with minds welded shut by years of indoctrination you have a gigantic problem for those that are sane and of faith.... I have no problems with those who are willing to integrate science with their creed BUT I have a LARGE problem with idiots trying to dig up fossils to prove the Flood of Noah happened despite the enormous evidence to the contrary.

Hadrewsky
Hadrewsky

@Sepulveda99 @Hadrewsky 


Zealots and Fanatics have something wrong with them.... I know this because they are trying to blow up planes with their shoes and attempting to dig up bogus fossils to prove Noah's Flood.

Hadrewsky
Hadrewsky

@Oniprett54

BTW ONI I think there are rare examples of brain damage / tumors leading to ecstasy and or bliss albeit said person being a near vegetable.

Hadrewsky
Hadrewsky

@Oniprett54 @Hadrewsky 

My point was that a person with a brain so damaged that they were in a state of extreme psychotic delirium is indeed incapable of knowing right from wrong or even knowing what they are doing period.


ever been delirious from fever? You have no clue what you are doing.

Hadrewsky
Hadrewsky

@Sepulveda99 

Im telling you that tumors and injuries to the brain can indeed cause a person to lose the ability to tell right from wrong...... My above example focuses upon a person in psychosis and delirium .. a delirious person has not a clue what they are doing and very well might know how to operate a gun.


All you are is your brain--there is no Soul, only a big squishy thing between your ears that if damaged can cause enormous consequences