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Defendant's Genes Do Not Excuse Criminal Behavior

Today, scientific advances are being made at an astounding rate, and nowhere is this more evident than in our understanding of the biology of heredity. Using DNA as a starting point, do you believe there are limits to the knowledge people should acquire? Defend your answer.

Because genetics is important to so many aspects of human behavior, defense attorneys might consider using a defendant's genetic constitution as a strategy to excuse criminal behavior. Take one of the two sides listed below:
1. Present an argument about why a defendant's genes should be considered as a factor in the criminal behavior.
2. Present an argument about why a defendant's genes do not excuse criminal behavior.

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The Defendant's Genes Do Not Excuse Criminal Behavior

Genes truly play an important role in shaping our minds and bodies, but they do not, and should not excuse criminal behavior. Genetic disorders cannot be isolated only on one gene. Most genetic disorders are polygenetic, or the product of the interaction of several genes with a person's environment. Thus, even if a test can detect with complete reliability a gene, a cluster of genes, or an extra chromosome, it will not necessarily provide information about the timing or severity of a disability or how it might affect the normal functioning the afflicted individual. Tests that identify genetic traits are intrinsically incapable of accounting for other variables such as diet, lifestyle, the effect of environmental or social interactions that may influence their manifestations in disease, (Coffey, 1993.) In assessing the different factors that influence criminal behavior, the nature versus nurture controversy inevitably surfaces. Nature is defined as what is present at conception; nurture would then be everything subsequent this conception Blaming crime on genes ignores the entire process of development that creates an individual. This is not to say that our genes are not responsible for who we are. We are biologically determined through our DNA; but this information merely represents potential, not conviction.
Although various researches conclude that criminals share a common genetic flaw, people are simply not born as criminals. Although abnormal levels of the enzyme Monoamine Oxidase A (MAO A) have been found to produce high levels of serotonin that accounts for aggressive, fearless behavior, it still is not predictive of the total antisocial, criminal behavior. According to psychologist Terry Muffitt in reference to MAO A: "Its relation to aggression only emerged when we considered whether the children had been maltreated." There is one aspect of the research that sings out with crystal clarity. The belief that violence breeds violence now has an unmistakable ring of scientific truth.
No, criminals do not come from the womb; they emerge and develop from the lack of love, social justice, compassion and other social factors important to nurture human beings.

Clark, William R. & Grunstein, Michael. Are We Hardwired? The Role of ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses why the defendants genes do not provide an excuse for criminal behavior in 1,310 words.