Category Archives: shameless self promotion

Website updates

google

Finally the git/mirror code is fixed and should once again have the latest copy of the site.  Please consider helping civgene and mirroring it.    See this page for details.

In addition I have done some things to improve the sites SEO (appeasing search engines).   Including google analytics updates, more search engine hints, and a shorter main page.  If you have any trouble or if a page or feature is missing, please let me know at comments@civgene.matthewnewhall.com

Keeping your papers in order with Google is quickly becoming a full time job, but hopefully civgene can squeak by the ‘consumer orientated’ checkpoints once again.

Next up a worthy cause, enycryption (SSL.)  More civgene soon.

EDIT: SSL is done.  Whole site should be SSL and have few if any complaints about mixed mode.  Please if you find a bug I may not be aware.  Contact me.  TY.

 

What civgene isn’t – subjective morality

 

Civgene is never an attempt to alter objective morality.  Instead it is meant to observe, contrast, and consider the implications that objective morality is biologically less compelling, and therefore less relevant, for psychopaths.

In the ideal case (where civgene’s theories and predictions are perfectly true), it would travel no further than explaining objective morality’s origin.  IMO such is true for all science.

Interesting technical challenges

coincidence

Please don’t panic, civgene is having no technical problems whatsoever.

OK that was a lie.  It was up and down for a couple of weeks but now it’s back up and stronger in

  • security
  • redundancy
  • resilience
  • speed

Specifically in

  • mirroring
  • dns
  • backups
  • web
  • email

This was not part of the plan, but that’s not to say it’s not better for it.   Civgene is now truly redundant.  Please consider becoming a mirror and bringing the site closer to becoming independently anti-fragile.

CRISPR changes everything

Autism

Some mental illness may no longer need to be diagnosed through social tests.    While the United States busys itself with corporate protectionist legislation like the TPP to protect the major drug companies, some of the world is experimenting with the new precise, cheap and repeatable gene editing method known as CRISPR.

In the past gene editing was hit or miss.  Practiced more like chemistry, it was more like a million misses to a marginal hit.  Identifying a gene was not enough, splicing it became a major endeavor for companies like Monsanto.   Experiments on human DNA (except perhaps if you count our GMO diet) was effectively impossible.

As of 2015, the CRISPR technique, takes a precise strand of DNA and inserts it, reliably, in a larger DNA strand, precisely where it is told to insert it.   This is the holy grail of both nano scale assembly, and made to order DNA.  The mind reels.  Designer babies are eminent.  Greatly reduced aging is possible.  DNA based nanites can built to both manufacture on the table top and enhance human attributes.

These are in the future (AFAIK), but before all that, apparently we have already begun to use it verify genetic disease.  The technology is not even a year old and Chinese scientists have already implanted a suspected autism gene in monkeys, to see if their behavior varies.  It does.

The implications are huge for all illness from athletes foot to cancer, but it’s important that the first study is on behavioral disease.  If the civilization gene is correct and psychopathy is genetic, we could be close to a completely different world.  There are no suspect genes (other than the debunked warrior gene) at the moment, but it is possible to find, were the right people to take interest.  Now, a new way to verify that first study is readily available.

Conversely should some mental illnesses become officially understood to be genetic, psychopaths should  be easier to diagnose.  Psychopaths are the highest functioning mental illness.  ASPD stage psychopaths are well known for feigning other mental illnesses to evade detection.  A narrower field of patients through genetic screening for other disease means less misdiagnosis, and more understanding of the social consequences of widespread psychopathy.  That ultimately means real targeted help for the psychopaths.

Debunking ‘Sociopaths are not psychopaths’ articles.

book2

Lately there have been a flood of articles on what a psychopath vs sociopath is.  This seems to coincide with a swell of public criticism of sociopathic behavior in both political and financial spheres.    I use the term sociopath here regularly so I think it’s time to address this.

From about 2010 to about 2012, before I wrote ancient breed and started this site, I was hunting around quite a bit for more information on psychopaths.  One thing I noticed right away, even in scholarly articles and books was the tendency to bounce around between sociopath and psychopath in the  text.  This also happened in similar but different texts with the term Narcissist.    Conversely I noticed that APD or ASPD was not used in this way but stood alone.  I did not really get it until I read ‘Without Conscience’ by Dr. Robert Hare.

Dr. Hare if you don’t know is sort of the Sigmund Freud of psychopathy.  He plowed through the many many conflicting definitions of what a psychopath was and created a demonstrable test known as ‘the psychopathy checklist.’  or nicknamed ‘the Hare.’   This test which is used in courtrooms and jails worldwide, was used to vastly solidify the APD standard.  Let me repeat that, he has accomplished a court tested body of work used to write the standard on what psychopathy officially is.  He is as close as we can come to an authority on psychopathy.

The reason such a concerted effort was put into the relatively new APD definition was exactly because there was no consensus on what behaviors a sociopath, narcissist or psychopath displayed or why they displayed them.   APD is a strictly defined guideline of outwardly measurable symptoms, specifically as a legally defensible platform.  It is an official admission that there is no agreement on psychopath related labels.

“A term that was supposed to have much the same meaning as “psychopath” or “sociopath” is antisocial personality disorder, described in the third edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III, 1980) and it’s revision (DSM-III-R; 1987), widely used as the “Diagnostic bible” for mental illness”  — Dr Robert Hare “Without Conscience”, 1993

  • First there is no formal definition of sociopath.  The DSM APD definition is used for legal identification of sociopath like symptoms.
  • Psychopathy is the highest order metal illness.  Many psychopaths are both highly intelligent and self aware.  They are not going to make it easy to identify them.
  • You could say sociopaths may not be psychopaths, but saying they are not is just a social trend  and a disingenuous one.
  • Psychopathy is likely (the lack of) a non-dominant gene.  Any parent with any linage can have a psychopath child.

There is something strange about anyone claiming a sociopath CAN’T be a psychopath.

I strongly suggest that there will be a great many ‘diagnosed’ sociopaths who lack the civilization gene once a test is created.

Why is this important to Civgene?

APD is a strictly defined guideline of outwardly measurable symptoms.  Some immutable background checking is used, but does not score high enough alone to define someone as a psychopath.  This creates a problem.  Some psychopaths like to hide, and an intelligent psychopath (they display the full range of intelligence) could simply read the Hare and prepare the needed answers in advance.

This is not a bad thing.  In fact it’s the key to the next step.  This was the pivot point by which we can extract the development of psychopaths.  Outward facing symptoms indicates a lack of awareness of contextual self.  This, plus a personal bout with a fit of narcissist rage helped me to realize APD or ASPD refers to the ego stage.

id -> ego -> superego

narcisist->ASPD->sociopath

Here is the the original article.  Also I wrote a follow up article hereJust like other humans in  Freud’s model, psychopaths are not robots.  They all display some behaviors from ALL three groups.  THAT’s why the definitions are so vexing.  It’s a development model.  Narcissist and sociopath define social stages of psychopaths.

It very well may be, the idea that sociopaths are just the most stealthy variation of psychopaths partly originated here.  With civgene.  From the 2010 versions of what narcissists and sociopaths were and were not.  How they all lack conscience, but display different, sometimes dovetailing behaviors.

Language is a moving target and I recognize that the ‘sociopath’ may officially move on from where it was in 2010.   I have a solution.  The generic self division and progression that covers both empath and psychopath (and possibly others) follows.

Wants -> abilities -> limits.

This self progression of intelligence is wholly original language to civgene and will retain it’s meaning.  If the term sociopath is officially redefined from what it meant in 2010, I will cease calling the most cunning and self aware psychopaths sociopaths, and begin to call them Limits stage psychopaths or Limits psychopaths.

I don’t see why it would change and I think this would be a terrible mistake.  Sociopath characterizes a subtly self serving and unrelenting psychopath determined to rise above the risk their lack of conscience creates for them, through the accumulation of power and rejection of liability, perfectly.  It would be a shame to throw away decades of wisdom and framework for a trend with no new data.

Trust markets to a fault? Ask an ad man for the facts about behavior.

 

Great Interview with Rory Sutherland.  Turns out he, armed with some ideas from Richard H. Thaler has rather scathing (and pleasantly veiled) criticism of modern economics.   I have some reading to do, but it sure seems the Thaler’s ‘econs’ are EXACTLY like civgene’s economic view of psychopaths.  Logic or rational thought being the only thing making decisions for people in an economy is an absurd idea.

Marketing if you didn’t know finds it’s start with people like Edward Barnays,  Sigmand Freud’s nephew.  It, like a dead man’s switch, is a morally neutral tool.   Ranging from useful public service announcements, to nazi propaganda.   Rory certainly seems to want to do some good in the world, sharing his secrets.   Not only does this help us understand his trade, but ourselves.

Some quotes follow if you prefer to read.   Enjoy.

“One of the fantastic things, I always say, is that the digital world is like Galapagos Islands for the understanding of evolutionary psychology.  The little foibles of human behavior that crop up online.   Are very very telling in what the what deeper human mind really cares about.   What it finds attractive, more important what it finds repellent.  The system one brain (Earlier quote “primarily the subconscious”) is more about the avoidance of catastrophe than the attainment of perfection.”
 
“System one resides in the darker part of the brain.  System two(the logical conscious brain) is post rationalizing decisions taken by system one.”
 
“When we design experiences, or when we design choices , or when we design websites, it makes perfectly good sense to design them to work with our evolved psychology.  What we somtimes do is design products for what Richard Thaler calls ‘econs.’  Which is a completely imaginary species which has never existed.  That probably wouldn’t would have survived had it sprung up by chance which is that completely rational man beloved of economic models.  Which would be comepltely hopeless in any real world situation.”