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
Simon Baron-Cohen Professor, Developmental PsychopathologyDepartments of Experimental Psychology and Psychiatry University of Cambridge
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
Four kinds of conditions in people exhibit lack of empathy Psychopathy Narcissim Autism Asperger Syndrome
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
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)
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)
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‟
Asperger Syndrome (Avoidance of the social, loneliness, patterning obsession) Autism (Underactivity in Empathy, without words for emotions, systemitizers to the extreme, innovators)
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?
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
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?
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?
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?
Earle Waugh, Ph.D.Director, Centre for the Cross-Cultural Study of Health and HealingDepartment of Family MedicineUniversity of Albertaearle.firstname.lastname@example.org