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Post 20

Saturday, March 19 - 1:15pmSanction this postReply
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Dean,

"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." Lord Kelvin, 1895
LOL!

"Computers can't become intelligent in the human sense" Ed Thompson, 2011
LOL!

That's a weak analogy. In order for it to be a good analogy, we can't limit focus to just conclusions, but must instead talk about reasons (premises). If asked for the reasoning behind the conclusion that heavy things can't fly, Lord Kelvin would be stumped the very moment that you put a bird on a scale.

Focusing more on reasons (premises) requires the mental effort of investigating the matter further than you already have (as was made obvious by your attempt, and failure, to make a good analogy above). The name for the idea that computers can become intelligent in the human sense is: "Strong AI." There is a good article showing big problems with Strong AI:

http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Artificial_intelligence

Excerpts
Weak artificial intelligence research deals with the creation of some form of computer-based artificial intelligence that can reason and solve problems only in a limited domain; such a machine would, in some ways, act as if it were intelligent, but it would not possess true intelligence or sentience.

Searle defined strong AI:
"according to strong AI, the computer is not merely a tool in the study of the mind; rather, the appropriately programmed computer really is a mind" (J Searle in Minds Brains and Programs. The Behavioral and Brain Sciences, vol. 3, 1980).
... information processors carry encoded data which describe other things. The encoded data itself is meaningless without a cross reference to the things it describes. This leads Searle to point out that there is no meaning or understanding in an information processor itself. As a result Searle claims to demonstrate that even a machine that passed the Turing test would not necessarily be conscious in the human sense.

The first assumption is particularly problematic because of the old adage that any computer is just a glorified abacus. It is indeed possible to construct any type of information processor out of balls and wood, although such a device would be very slow and prone to failure, it would be able to do anything that a modern computer can do. This means that the proposition that information processors can be minds is equivalent to proposing that minds can exist as devices made of rolling balls in wooden channels.

Some (including Roger Penrose) attack the applicability of the Church-Turing thesis directly by drawing attention to the halting problem in which certain types of computation cannot be performed by information systems yet seem to be performed by human minds.

Ultimately the truth of Strong AI depends upon whether information processing machines can include all the properties of minds ...

Ed

(Edited by Ed Thompson on 3/19, 1:26pm)




Post 21

Saturday, March 19 - 1:43pmSanction this postReply
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And here are excerpts on the "halting problem" (from: http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Halting_problem ) mentioned above:
In computability theory the halting problem is a decision problem which can be informally stated as follows:
Given a description of an algorithm and its initial input, determine whether the algorithm, when executed on this input, ever halts (completes). The alternative is that it runs forever without halting.
... there cannot be a general algorithm that decides whether a given statement about natural numbers is true or not. The reason for this is that the proposition that states that a certain algorithm will halt given a certain input can be converted into an equivalent statement about natural numbers. If we had an algorithm that could solve any statement about natural numbers, it could certainly solve this one; but that would determine whether the original program halts, which is impossible, since the halting problem is undecidable.
... the truth of any non-trivial statement about the function that is defined by an algorithm is undecidable. So, for example, the decision problem "will this algorithm halt for the input 0" is already undecidable. Note that this theorem holds for the function defined by the algorithm and not the algorithm itself. It is, for example, quite possible to decide if an algorithm will halt within 100 steps, but this is not a statement about the function that is defined by the algorithm.
... there is no mechanical, general way to determine whether algorithms halt.
If the memory and external storage of a machine is limited, as it is for any specific computer which actually exists, then the halting problem for programs running on that machine can be solved with a very simple general algorithm (albeit one that is so inefficient that it could never be useful in practice).
Ed

(Edited by Ed Thompson on 3/19, 1:46pm)




Post 22

Saturday, March 19 - 1:53pmSanction this postReply
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Ed,

You quoted an article on Strong AI which said, "Ultimately the truth of Strong AI depends upon whether information processing machines can include all the properties of minds..."

Cross out the phrase "all the properties," which can be ambiguous if loosely interpreted, and silly if strictly interpreted. Instead, substitute "the key functions."

Remember when you put the bird on the scale to show, Lord Kelvin the error of his ways? Well the bird had flying functions, as does an airplane or helicopter or rocket-ship. But they don't share all of a bird's properties.

Other than this nit I've picked, I think that Dean is way off base in most of what he's said in this thread, except for the open-ended possibility of non-human intelligence.



Post 23

Saturday, March 19 - 2:14pmSanction this postReply
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Good point, Steve.

Ed




Post 24

Saturday, March 19 - 4:35pmSanction this postReply
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Steve,

"Dean is way off base" Hm, for example?

For example, your cheap shot, making it appear like maybe I think that its possible to have intellectual conversations with wolves, of which I kindly responded with more nonsense?

Maybe you could point out something I said that is not true, instead of cheap shots and FUD?



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Post 25

Saturday, March 19 - 6:27pmSanction this postReply
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Dean,

One needs a context for describing "productivity" - what a surprise to me to find that in a discussion of capitalism and communism you include apes and wolves.

You said, "Productivity is related to genetics. For example, compare a human to an ape... difference in learning ability mainly explained by differences in genetics. Or compare me to my classmates in high school. I'd listen to the lecture, assist the teacher when he made mistakes, not study, and get 100% on the psychology/math/science exam. My classmates were unable to identify when the teacher made a mistake, spent hours studying, and get 70-90% on the exam. You want to argue that the difference between the human and the ape, or me and my classmates, is not due to genes?"

Since neither capitalism nor communism are systems that will ever be implimented or chosen or rejected by critters other than humans, let me declare that my context is humans - only humans. That way we have an apple to apple comparison. And the answer to your question is, "No." Productivity is not due to genetics. All of the important parts of productivity come from ideas, efforts, personal virtues and an environment friendly to property rights.

I've met many people far smarter than I am who have been less productive. I have met a lot of people who are not nearly as smart as I am and yet they have been far more productive. Our culture supports property rights far better than some countries which frustrate attempts for their people, despite intelligence, creative ideas, great character traits and lots of efforts they remain unproductive.

Because you mistakenly place human productivity in the genes, you fall prey to a belief that values, principles and ideas also are passed along with the DNA... I don't think you hold that belief explictly, but following a statement relating productivity to genetics, you go on to discuss welfare people having more children. Because humans are volitional and rational they create a culture and subcultures and family belief structures and they pass these on the next generation (some of whom accept it all uncritically, but others take just part of, none of).

People choose to have more children or fewer children or none at all based upon the values and goals they set. Catholics can be very productive, yet have very large families. And you can easily find total failures and great successes in life that have no childen.

You wrote, "I strive to to create a philosophy and laws that work well across the span of intelligence of life forms."

I kidded you on that because it shouldn't have been taken seriously. What are the laws you want the this or that species of insects to create for themselves. To be universal, I assume each species makes its own laws (a principle of representation, after all). Wouldn't seem fair for us to make everyone's laws when we are having such trouble even agreeing on our own. We who are Objectivists base our philosophy on value of the individual's life and the capacity to choose. Once you can show us a being that is capable of choice and will be in contact with humans, then you have a reality for which a broader philosophic context is applicable and required.
--------------

You said:
"What portion has(/will) each member of the pack contributed(/expected to contribute) towards the success of the pack? This should determine the portion of the food to divy up to each member."

You went on to say, "This goes for human employees in a business, wolves in a pack, humans in a society, ... to optimize productivity and success of the individuals and the long term success of the group the individuals are a part of."

That first part, when applied to humans, who have choice, and who should be operating off of a system of universal values that is objectively derived from man's life qua man would would instead be attempting to apply a system of: "From those according to their abilities (alpha wolf skills), to those according to their needs."

Next you apply that to business with the purpose of optimizing the individual AND group successes. But it doesn't work that way. If you mix your premises (for the benefit of the business/group, for the benefit of the alpha wolf, for the teleological "purpose" of evolution) you just get mixed premises and confused results.

(Edited by Steve Wolfer on 3/19, 8:04pm)




Post 26

Saturday, March 19 - 8:37pmSanction this postReply
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Steve,

The easy ones that are almost frivolous:

My mistake on "optimizing individual and group success". I stand corrected.

=====

"What are the laws you want the this or that species of insects to create for themselves."

This is your construe of what I said. I wasn't very clear, but of course I mean that laws and philosophy would only be created and maintained by the intelligent species. Here is what I meant in more words...

I strive to make my understanding of economics (a subset of philosophy), work well (does a good job predicting behavior) across all life forms. Where economics is the science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.

I strive to make laws which maximize citizens and respected entities opportunity to create success for themselves while minimizing initiation of force against such citizens and entities.

======

"Since neither capitalism nor communism are systems that will ever be implimented or chosen or rejected by critters other than humans, let me declare that my context is humans - only humans."
Hold it right there. I'm sure alpha wolves have attempted to prevent productive members of their pack from eating the game. And I'm sure after this had been done, such productive members left the pack. Yes, its more reprogrammed behavior, but implemented and chosen by critters other than humans never the less.

=======

Now for the main event.

"Because you mistakenly place human productivity in the genes, you fall prey to a belief that values, principles and ideas also are passed along with the DNA... I don't think you hold that belief explictly, but following a statement relating productivity to genetics, you go on to discuss welfare people having more children. Because humans are volitional and rational they create a culture and subcultures and family belief structures and they pass these on the next generation (some of whom accept it all uncritically, but others take just part of, none of)."

I don't place the cause of all of human productivity in genes. I agree that environment, experiences, choices, and others also have an impact on whether a person is productive. Yet I'd argue that genetics has a significant impact on what a person values, what their abilities are, and what their level of motivation is. Nature vs Nurture. "Nature" gives you a baseline, and then "nurture" is able to deviate from that baseline to some degree. A monkey or a person with down syndrome cannot drive a car, too far from baseline.

Now... unless you are going to claim that nature is insignificant compared to nurture (where I will quickly point out monkeys and people with down syndrom and prove you wrong)... A depressed schizophrenic woman on welfare who got pregnant by her brainless car stealing jail hopping boyfriend (dswgpbcsjhb child) results in quite a different baseline than a successful marathon running optometrist woman planning to have a child with the successful golf champion engineering business CEO husband (smrowpsgcebch child). Or do you seriously want to argue that given the same adoptive parents, a dswgpbcsjhb child has the same expected productivity as a smrowpsgcebch child?

Welcome to evolution 101. The human species has evolved to have members with incredible intelligence and ability. Have you read Ring World? Know anything about evolution? Basically, the idea is that evolution is not a one way path. In very successful species, over time you get huge variations in intelligence and ability. Success = diversification, stress = culling out the ones that are not "fit".

Welcome to the graduate studies on the effects of economic systems on evolution, 6101. Socialism: more dswgpbcsjhb children, fewer smrowpsgcebch children, because the former don't die and the later could not be afforded. Capitalism: more smrowpsgcebch children, fewer dswgpbcsjhb children, because the former can be afforded, and the later die. I agree with you, that nurture is part of reality. Yet nurture does not affect the prior conclusions in this paragraph.
(Edited by Dean Michael Gores on 3/19, 8:44pm)




Post 27

Saturday, March 19 - 9:05pmSanction this postReply
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Dean,

I strive to make my understanding of economics (a subset of philosophy), work well (does a good job predicting behavior) across all life forms. Where economics is the science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.
Even if there is no "production of goods" across all (known) non-man life forms?

You are conflating "jungle laws" with the economic laws of man -- and man is unique. In your zeal to get an economic "theory of everything" -- you take what makes economics a science in the first place, and "de-legitimize" it by extrapolating it beyond its scope to all life forms. Just like lefties do with rights, you are asking for a larger scope which contradicts the fundamental base (which has the result of "de-legitimizing" the real rights, or the real economics).

Just like acceptance of bad rights drives out the tolerance of good ones (in society), your bad economics drives out good science regarding economics.

Ed




Post 28

Saturday, March 19 - 9:54pmSanction this postReply
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Dean,

I think you are living in your own fantasy land when it comes to creating an entirely new approach to philosophy and economics. Not to be cruel, but you are over your head here - and in need of some more study and thought.

You said, "...I'd argue that genetics has a significant impact on what a person values, what their abilities are, and what their level of motivation is..."

You continue to say that we inherit values genetically. And clearly you don't have a clue as to how very distant that is from Objectivism, rational egoism, Objective epistemology... from anything rational or volitional.

It's wacky. You are saying was born with a gene that has me valuing sailing, a gene for valuing honesty, and a gene for valuing a good sense of humor?

Let's just drop the whole discussion; it isn't going to go anywhere.



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Post 29

Sunday, March 20 - 4:26amSanction this postReply
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Steve,

Its not my goal to be an Objectivist. My goal is to understand what exists and how reality works. If evidence shows that objectivism is wrong on a subject, I'll go with evidence, not objectivism. Your lack of comment on whether the children from the two genetic parents have a different expected productivity is evidence that you prefer mental evasion.

Rational, yes. Volitional, yes. We are running very close to arguing whether reality is deterministic. I am a determinist. I also believe that we make our own decisions.

Your insults are laughable, poor character, focusing on the person instead of the argument. Your discouragement bounces off me and makes you appear to be a jerk.

You evade. You attack me instead of my arguments. You need to apologize.
(Edited by Dean Michael Gores on 3/20, 5:17am)




Post 30

Sunday, March 20 - 12:25pmSanction this postReply
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Dean,

I'm sorry you have reacted in this fashion, but I have nothing to apologize for. I said that I believed that you are over your head in what you are attempting. What I've read in your posts tells me that you need more study. That might be harsh and unpleasant to hear, but it is true. Maybe your genes are the limiting factor?
------------

You wrote that I failed to address, "...whether the children from the two genetic parents have a different expected productivity..."

Dean, I did address that. I wrote, "Productivity is not due to genetics. All of the important parts of productivity come from ideas, efforts, personal virtues and an environment friendly to property rights."

That addresses it directly. I went on to write, "I've met many people far smarter than I am who have been less productive. I have met a lot of people who are not nearly as smart as I am and yet they have been far more productive. Our culture supports property rights far better than some countries which frustrate attempts for their people, despite intelligence, creative ideas, great character traits and lots of efforts they remain unproductive." This backs up my assertions.

And I wrote, "Because you mistakenly place human productivity in the genes, you fall prey to a belief that values, principles and ideas also are passed along with the DNA... ...following a statement relating productivity to genetics, you go on to discuss welfare people having more children. Because humans are volitional and rational they create a culture and subcultures and family belief structures and they pass these on the next generation (some of whom accept it all uncritically, but others take just part of, none of)."

You went on to write that my failure to address what I actually did address, "... is evidence that you prefer mental evasion." Nope, wrong again! I'm beginning to think that you don't have genes for this level of argumentation :-)
----------------

You admit to being a determinist so your claim that values come from the genes is not wacky in a personal sense, just in an ideological sense. (Why would a determinist get upset with me for writing this or that? After all, my values and my actions, according to you, were determined and I had no choice, right?)

But then you acknowledge volition yet you are a determinist. I guess that means my values are determined by my genes by my expression of them is volitional? Yeah, like that would make any sense!
-----------------

You get all upset and accuse me of focusing on you instead of the arguments... while you accuse me of poor character, and appearing to be a jerk who is engaging in mental evasion. Dean, you are way to sensitive, and that level of sensitivity is something you should pay attention to - it has a message for you.




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Post 31

Sunday, March 20 - 1:17pmSanction this postReply
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The message is talking with you on this subject is a waste of my time. The message is you are rude in attempting to discredit me instead of my argument. I want an apology for your discredit of me instead of a claim that you feel sorry for me.
(Edited by Dean Michael Gores on 3/20, 1:32pm)




Post 32

Sunday, March 20 - 3:44pmSanction this postReply
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Dean,

I meant her example did not included mention for example that wolves in the pack perform various actions (productivity) that result in the end achievement of the hunt (the reward: food).



But this is an example of thinking commensurate with the Broken Window fallacy, where any kind of work performed which results in a limited, partial, and one-sided benefit -- is referred to as: "productivity." In this case, the work performed by the wolf pack resulted in wolves getting food, but they didn't produce food -- they took it, at a loss to others (the prey).

In Bastiat's parable, a window was broken and people took up the extra work of replacing it. The fallacy occurs if or when you think that that extra work is equivalent to extra productivity. Because only limited (window repair) folks benefit from someone breaking someone's windows, and because they do so only at a loss to others (e.g., original owners of the window) -- it is wrong to refer to their extra work as extra productivity.

Ed

(Edited by Ed Thompson on 3/20, 3:49pm)




Post 33

Sunday, March 20 - 4:19pmSanction this postReply
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Dean, you are mistaken yet again; I don't feel the least bit sorry for you. I said I was sorry that you reacted in this fashion (meaning I wish that you had not chosen to be overly-sensitive and unpleasant). I owe you no apology and have no desire to communicate with you any further.



Post 34

Sunday, March 20 - 4:55pmSanction this postReply
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Ed,

I'd agree that from the perspective of the hunted animals, the wolf is not productive. Or from our perspective, the wolves either killed something irrelevant to us, or killed one of a farmer's livestock. But from the perspective of wolves, their actions are productive.

"When I say productive, I mean an organism creating something that increases the success of its goals either directly or by exchangeable in the economy. Wolves actions are more emotional and preprogrammed. Yet a wolf tracking, barking, is "productive" to a wolf. Which is the same as a human hunter tracking, calling for help on his cell phone is "productive" to a human."

To say that an action is or is not "productive" requires a life form to base the perspective on. Because being productive means creating values... and values only exist relative to life forms. A value is relative to a life form. A value of a life form is that which improves the life form's attainment of it's goals. Wolves have different values than humans. That which a wolf values is not necessarily valued by other life forms, such as humans. Productive actions from a wolves perspective are not necessarily productive from another life form's perspective, such as a humans.

"In Bastiat's parable..."

You are always making the "to whom" the perspective of humans in general and their total values that exist in their society's market. Generally we assume we are talking from a human's perspective, but in this case, I was talking from the wolves' (wolve's?) perspective.

Cheers,
Dean



Post 35

Sunday, March 20 - 5:33pmSanction this postReply
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Dean,

I'd agree that from the perspective of the hunted animals, the wolf is not productive. Or from our perspective, the wolves either killed something irrelevant to us, or killed one of a farmer's livestock. But from the perspective of wolves, their actions are productive.


But here is where problems arise. You claim to search for an economic theory of all life, but attempt to work to do so by adopting a total subjectivism (a "perspectivism") in the process. It's like the skeptical-subjectivist philosopher of morality who claims that it's an over-arching (objective) theory that each person should do what they want to, because nobody knows the truth.

But you can't know the truth of an objective theory when "nobody knows the truth."

Wolves have different values than humans. 

Wolves act to gain and keep things, but it is a misnomer -- a category mistake -- to say that wolves have (moral) values.

You are always making the "to whom" the perspective of humans in general and their total values that exist in their society's market. ... I was talking from the wolves' (wolve's?) perspective.

See above.


Ed

(Edited by Ed Thompson on 3/20, 5:34pm)




Post 36

Sunday, March 20 - 6:05pmSanction this postReply
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Not because nobody knows the truth. Not "whatever they want". But what is in each individual life form's long term self interest, which varies because each individual life form has different abilities.

All life forms gain information about what reality is and how it works through experience/sensory. Hence portions of reality are knowable, and all life forms know some truth.
(Edited by Dean Michael Gores on 3/20, 6:09pm)




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Post 37

Monday, March 21 - 11:55amSanction this postReply
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Dean,
All life forms gain information about what reality is and how it works through experience/sensory.
But that's not literally true, and literal truth is required for theories to be good ones. Sense experience does not allow all life forms to identify the nature of reality (what reality is) and the process of how reality works (as "dictated" by that very nature):

( ... A sensation is a sensation of something, as distinguished from the nothing of the preceding and succeeding moments. A sensation does not tell man what exists, but only that it exists.)
http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/existent.html


Ed

(Edited by Ed Thompson on 3/21, 12:00pm)




Post 38

Monday, March 21 - 3:42pmSanction this postReply
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"Information" here is using the meaning from information theory. Information can exist over time by maintaining its state in a part of reality that does not change as reality goes through its process (time). For example, one could write the numbers "0" or "1" on a piece of paper with a pen. The number would stay there on the paper until some sort of chemical reaction removed it or further pen markings made the number unreadable. Writing a "0" on the paper results in information. Writing a "1" would result in different information. Writing the combination of the two digits "01" together results in different information yet.

To "sense" is for an entity to gain information about the state or process of reality. That is, that reality's process changes the state of the entity.

Take one of the most simple life forms: a virus.

A virus is made of a very small number of molecules. Some RNA/DNA, proteins, nucleic acid, and a protective coat called a "capsid". These molecules are a form of information, their combinations of atoms and structure are like combinations of 0's and 1's on paper. They also perform functions on reality as reality goes through its process.

Given the correct external conditions, chemical reactions will cause the virus to change state. In the correct environment, the capsid releases the RNA/DNA, proteins, and nucleic acid into its surroundings. This is an example of "sense" and gaining information about reality.

Over evolutionary time frames, a virus genome experiences mutations. The effect of mutations range from beneficial to benign to harmful to deadly. Mutation is another form of change in information, "gaining information about reality", "to sense". And undeniably, viruses change over evolutionary time frames, some genomes gaining abilities, some loosing, some prospering in new environments, some going extinct.

"Sense experience does not allow all life forms to identify the nature of reality (what reality is) and the process of how reality works (as "dictated" by that very nature):

A virus identifies a very small subset of realty. It identifies very simple genomes that causes its environment to create parts that enable itself to be duplicated and survive through time before encountering an environment where it can duplicate again. This is information about what reality is and how reality works.

Cool huh?
(Edited by Dean Michael Gores on 3/21, 4:08pm)




Post 39

Monday, March 21 - 5:07pmSanction this postReply
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Not that anyone else has disputed my claims about the heritability of leeching behavior... but for those who may still be considering whether true, there are studies out there.

"There are certain physical attributes which repeatedly have been shown to correlate statistically with increased criminality: being male, having lower-than-average intelligence, having certain temperamental traits (such as hyperactivity), having a certain body type (heavy-boned and muscular). In addition, evidence from the studies of twins tends to show that the likelihood of finding a criminal twin, if the other was criminal, was statistically significant and even greater for identical twins than for fraternal twins. This held true even in studies which accounted for environmental factors. A systematic Danish study of over 14,000 adopted children also showed that adopted children whose biological parents had been criminals had a measurably greater likelihood of becoming criminals themselves-- even more than if their adoptive parents were criminals. This held true even for adopted siblings raised apart."

Book: "Criminal Justice?", Latest copyright date: 1996, Author Robert: James Bidinotto, Chapter: Criminal Responsibility, Page: 20.



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