Barbara Oakley on Evil Genes

At Point of Inquiry, Barbara Oakley brings out a thesis of evil genes.  She states that Zimbardo and Milgram’s experiments were flawed and suggests that we aren’t evil (or good) because of our environmental upbringing; rather, we are born evil or good.  So I guess people like Hitler and Stalin were evil because they were geneticially predisposed to be evil.  I thought it was a fascinating listen.  The end also talks about religion, but it didn’t really grab me because I already agreed with Oakley on her view.  Check it out.  You can go to the site, or listen directly here.

About shaunmiller

I have just completed a visiting position as an assistant professor at Dalhousie University. My ideas are not associated with my employer; they are expressions of my own thoughts and ideas. Some of them are just musings while others could be serious discussions that could turn into a bigger project. Besides philosophy, I enjoy martial arts (Kuk Sool Won), playing my violin, enjoying coffee around town, and experimenting with new food.
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2 Responses to Barbara Oakley on Evil Genes

  1. Killer J says:

    I have to admit I like people that claim drastic things, and leave no gray area. It makes it easier to credit or discredit.

    Unfortunately, my computer won’t download the link to listen to her so I can’t make an informed decision.

    If I go by what you summarized, I’m calling bullshit.

  2. shaunmiller says:

    Try right-clicking it and then “Save as” on your computer. For the record, she isn’t saying it’s pure genetics and nothing else. Of course the environment plays some role. I don’t think you’ll find people who will say it’s totally environment or totally genetics except for a few extremes. (John Money and B.F. Skinner come to mind when they say it’s all environment.) So Oakley says that environment does play some role, but it’s mainly genetics baby. I would say it’s the reverse of you, Killer J. I know you’re mainly in the environmental camp.

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