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Earle Waugh Evil As A Treatable Disease
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Earle Waugh Evil As A Treatable Disease

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Dr. Earle Waugh's presentation on Evil As A Treatable Disease for January 24th, 2013 in the Technology and Future of Medicine course LABMP 590 http://www.singularitycourse.com at the University of …

Dr. Earle Waugh's presentation on Evil As A Treatable Disease for January 24th, 2013 in the Technology and Future of Medicine course LABMP 590 http://www.singularitycourse.com at the University of Alberta in Edmonton Canada


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  • 1. Simon Baron-Cohen Professor, Developmental PsychopathologyDepartments of Experimental Psychology and Psychiatry University of Cambridge
  • 2.  Backgrounder on Byron-Cohen‟s Book GeorgieFluter: A Personal Story The Thesis: Why Do People Lack Empathy? Baron-Cohen on the Brain and Autism Circuitry Zero-Negative Zero-Positive Genetic Evidence Critique: Evidence Not Considered
  • 3.  Four kinds of conditions in people exhibit lack of empathy Psychopathy Narcissim Autism Asperger Syndrome
  • 4.  Evil and Cruelty are the result of Lack of Empathy Not the result of theological category of „sin‟ Not the result of an incarnate evil-i.e.„devil‟ Not purely the result of social disorder or environment Not purely the result of a physical condition Reflect variety of categories and associations
  • 5.  Six Levels of Empathy, based on Empathy Quotient Questionnaire MRI evidence of regions of brain operative in empathy—ten in all: ◦ Medial prefontal cortex (comparing oneself with others) ◦ Orbitofrontal cortex ( social judgement, socially disoriented ◦ Frontal operculum (Language processing)
  • 6.  Inferior frontal gyrus (emotional recognition) Caudal anterior cingulate cortex and anterior insula (pain matrix-both personal and observing) Temporoparietal junction (intentions and beliefs) Superior Temporal Sulcus (judging someone‟s direction of looking)
  • 7.  Somatosensory Cortex (coding sensory experience) Inferior Parietal Lobule, Inferior Parietal Sulcus( Actions & response recording „mirror‟ neurons) Amygdala (emotional learning and regulation)
  • 8. Personality Disorder Borderline: Type B- Extreme saying destructive things to others (Marilyn Monroe)Psychopath: Type P- Total detachment from other‟s feelings...cold, calculating, completely selfishNarcissistic: Type N- Total entitlement of self, „using‟ others, discarding those „useless‟
  • 9.  Asperger Syndrome (Avoidance of the social, loneliness, patterning obsession) Autism (Underactivity in Empathy, without words for emotions, systemitizers to the extreme, innovators)
  • 10.  Aggressiveness Gene: MAOA-H „Warrior Gene‟ Emotional Recognition: 1. Serotonin transporter (SLC6A4) 2. Arginine Vasopressin Receptor (AVPR1A) Autism-linked, fear and anger) Empathy Gene (Several Genes involved)
  • 11.  Can you develop empathy? If you have none are you necessarily bad? Can a state be empathetic (i.e. Ban the death penalty)? Can one be super-empathetic to the point of being dangerous?
  • 12.  Daniel Frankfurter: Evil Incarnate: Rumors of Demonic Conspiracy and Ritual Abuse in History. Princeton, 2006. Social Construction of Evil: Endorsed in Rituals of Political, Social and Religious Intent-but not universally accepted. No Notion of Cruelty Universal: It is normally constructed locally and from local social and psychological conditions
  • 13.  Why is the demonic, the chaotic, the marginal regarded cross-culturally as “a realm”? Why is the definition of evil often in the hand of “authorities”...prophets, presidents, popes? Isn‟t he „an authority‟? What role does „fear‟ play in definitions of cruelty, and evil? What role does conspiracy play in the meaning of evil?
  • 14.  New Studies do not support conclusions ◦ i.e. Some Children lose Autism Diagnosis: Fein D et. al. Optimal outcome in individuals with history of autism, J.ChildPsyh and Psychiatry, 2013 DOI 10.11/jepp.1203-7. ◦ i.e. Decision-making much more complex than circuitry ideology. Haelener, RM. et al. Inferring decoding strategies from choice probabilities in the presence of correlated variability.Nature Neuroscience. 2013 DOI: 10.1038/nn.3.309. Are cruelty, evil, lack of empathy, etc. one and the same set of phenomena? Are there differences between personal lack of empathy and the social perception of evil?
  • 15.  Why is evil behaviour apparently limited in time and scope..i.e. the Hitler model? Impossible to disengage notion of evil from Western cultural experience, including its religious connotations. Perceptions of evil are real—as in GeorgieFluter- but can they be reduced to a model of lack-of-empathy?
  • 16. Earle Waugh, Ph.D.Director, Centre for the Cross-Cultural Study of Health and HealingDepartment of Family MedicineUniversity of Albertaearle.waugh@ualberta.ca780-492-6424

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