Moral luck

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Two people drive drunk at night: one kills a pedestrian, one doesn’t. Does the unlucky killer deserve more blame or not?

Robert J Hartman is a postdoctoral research fellow with the Gothenburg Responsibility Project at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. He is the author of In Defense of Moral Luck: Why Luck Often Affects Praiseworthiness and Blameworthiness (2017), and co-editor of The Routledge Handbook of Theories of Luck (forthcoming).

There is a contradiction in our ordinary ideas about moral responsibility. Let’s explore it by considering two examples. Killer, our first character, is at a party and drives home drunk. At a certain point in her journey, she swerves, hits the curb, and kills a pedestrian who was on the curb. Merely Reckless, our second character, is in every way exactly like Killer but, when she swerves and hits a curb, she kills no one. There wasn’t a pedestrian on the curb for her to kill. The difference between Killer and Merely Reckless is a matter of luck.

Does Killer deserve more blame – that is, resentment and indignation – than Merely Reckless? Or, do Killer and Merely Reckless deserve the same degree of blame? We feel a pull to answer ‘yes’ to both questions. Let’s consider why.

On the one hand, we believe that Killer deserves more blame than Merely Reckless, because it’s only Killer who causes the death of a pedestrian. Plausibly, a person can deserve extra blame for a bad result of her action that she reasonably could have been expected to foresee, and causing the death of a pedestrian by driving drunk is that kind of bad consequence. So, even though they deserve an equal degree of blame for their callous and reckless driving, Killer deserves more blame overall, because only Killer’s foreseeable moral risk turns out badly.

On the other hand, we believe that Killer and Merely Reckless must deserve the same degree of blame, because luck is the only difference between them, and luck, most of us think, cannot affect the praise and blame a person deserves. It would be unfair for Killer to deserve more blame due merely to what happened to her, because moral judgment is about a person and not what happens to her. So, they must deserve the same degree of blame.

In summary, our commonsense ideas about moral responsibility imply the contradiction that Killer and Merely Reckless do and do not deserve the same amount of resentment and indignation. More generally, our commonsense ideas about moral responsibility have the paradoxical implication that luck in results can and cannot affect how much praise and blame a person deserves.

Nevertheless, the vexation runs deeper. Luck clearly affects the results of actions but, less obviously, as I’ll demonstrate, luck can also affect actions themselves.

Fumbles, our third character, is in every way like Killer and Merely Reckless. They all get drunk and decide to drive home in the dark, and they all walk on autopilot to their cars. Fumbles takes a slightly different path to her car from the others, trips over a patch of uneven lawn, and drops her keys down a drain. Fumbles is forced to call a cab to take her home. Of course, it’s a matter of luck which path each person takes, because they’re all oblivious to the relative merits of the different routes to their cars. If Fumbles hadn’t taken that path and lost her keys, she would’ve driven drunk just like Killer and Merely Reckless.

Night Blind, our fourth character, has many of the same beliefs and character traits as Killer, Merely Reckless and Fumbles. She differs from those three mainly by having horrendous night vision, and this incapacity distinguishes her character by making driving at night unthinkable for her. When Night Blind gets drunk in the evening, she doesn’t even entertain the idea of driving home. Of course, her having bad night vision is a matter of luck, like the good vision of the others. If Night Blind had better vision (and if driving drunk had also been an option for her), we might suppose that she would’ve decided to drive home drunk just like Killer, Merely Reckless and Fumbles.

The contradiction at the heart of our thinking extends to these new characters. On the one hand, we believe that luck affects the degree of blame deserved by all four characters. We believe that Killer and Merely Reckless deserve more blame than Fumbles, because they drive home drunk, and Fumbles does not. We also believe that Killer, Merely Reckless and Fumbles deserve some degree of blame, but that Night Blind, who got a cab home, deserves no blame at all. In other words, we think that luck affects the degree of blame each person deserves.

On the other hand, we believe that luck cannot affect the blame that Killer, Merely Reckless, Fumbles and Night Blind deserve, and so believe that all four deserve precisely the same degree of blame. The salient differences between these four characters is something outside of their control: the location of the pedestrian, tripping over uneven ground in the dark, or having bad night vision. But they each would’ve driven drunk if they had been in the same circumstance and had the same constitution. So, they all must deserve the same degree of blame…

more…

https://aeon.co/essays/how-to-tell-a-bad-person-from-a-person-who-did-a-bad-thing

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Teen Girls Are Just as Horny and Obsessed With Sex as Teen Boys

 

by Tracy Moore

It does not seem like it should have to be said out loud, but here goes: Yes, teenage girls are horny, and yes, they are distracted by thoughts of sex, and yes, they are curious about sex, and yes, they are curious about sexual self-discovery both on their own and with other boys and/or girls. Even if you already know or assume this is true, watching the short film Yes, God, Yesfrom writer and director Karen Maine, who co-wrote Obvious Child, is still revelatory, for no other reason than that it’s clear there are still so few honest or accurate depictions of teen girl sexual curiosity from a female perspective.

Featuring the excellent actress Natalia Dyer from Stranger Things, who plays Alice here with equal parts desire and innocence, the roughly 11-minute short takes us through a Catholic girl’s frustration exploring her sexual curiosity. Only, that curiosity keeps hitting against repressive sex education classes where a hip young priest advises her that the only purpose for sex is for a married man and woman to make babies. It’s also set in the AOL chat era, which opened up unprecedented avenues for sexual exploration with hidden strangers.

If all that seems straightforward enough, it’s worth noting that the short plays all this for comedy. We meet Alice playing a game on AOL when she’s chatted up by a guy who sends her pictures of he and his wife having sex, then asks for pics back. She scans in a picture of her more seemingly sexy friend. Impressed, he asks if she wants to “cyber.” Game to try but clearly unaware of exactly what to do, she attempts a back and forth. When he tells writes, “I take ur panties off with my teeth… ur soaking wet. What are u doing to me?” she responds, “I take off your boxers. You’re wet too.”

From there, Alice tentatively confronts her burgeoning sexual desire, mostly through mildly embarrassed, horny longing. She stares at her classmate’s arm hair, and fights the impulse to gawk openly at boys’ legs and crotches and a teacher’s breasts. The she cribbed a picture of has no trouble internalizing the message that sex is only for procreation, so Alice is left entirely isolated to revisit the make-out session in Titanic and get to the bottom of her own desire. No spoilers, but the big finish is both innocent and novel for its honest, funny look at what sexuality looks like from a woman’s point of view, and also how resourceful women have to be to get off before they’ve figured out how to masturbate, much less get their hands on a vibrator.

Speaking with The Guardian, Maine said she deliberately wanted to tackle topics that we usually see in male-dominated settings. Masturbation jokes are rampant in movies about and/or for men, such as There’s Something About Mary. “These are stories that happen to lots of women, and they can be realistic and funny, and they don’t have to be serious and gross and, like, gasp-worthy,” Maine said.

Superbad comes to mind, too. For all its warmhearted approach to boys who are eager to get laid before high school ends, female viewers might wonder why it’s so hard to see female sexuality and virginity loss as something to be sweetly, even crassly, nostalgic about. As something more than a cautionary tale where sexually curious girls are often still punished. Real girls too, are often relieved to have sexual experiences, to resolve their sexual frustration and to do things that just feel good.

More films are taking on this subject matter , including the coming-of-age film Diary of a Teenage Girl, whose lead actress, Bel Powley, has spoken openly about the movie’s message that a girl’s virginity is hers to lose when she wants. “It’s not going to damage you,” Powley said in an interview. “You’re not going to be tainted.” Women, she continued, are still made to feel “like a freak for having sexual feelings.”

With Yes, God, Yes, Maine also wanted to show something else typically ignored about female sexuality — that girls tend to be sexually awoken long before they do anything with a partner. She calls the film a “love story between one woman and her vagina,” and told The Guardian that as a teen, “I wasn’t doing things with boys yet. And if I was, it wasn’t really sexual; it might be kissing, or I might get butterflies in my stomach. But anything sexual I did that age was just by myself.”

 

Teenage boys’ masturbation is portrayed as an inevitable, hilarious, well-earned compulsion, so it’s telling that Yes, God, Yes feels truly novel for tackling what the experience is like for girls. Tips about masturbating for teenage boys are entirely about how to do it better, and seem largely lacking in reassurance that it’s “okay.” Googling for how girls learn to masturbate, by contrast, produces pages and pages of porn results.

Eventually, you get to actual articles talking about how much of female-driven sexuality is kept from girls, and how rarely young girls are even taught about their own body parts—much less what to do with them other than avoid getting knocked up. And then you find things like a piece in Seventeen, written in the modern year 2016, insisting to their readers that it’s actually okay for teen girls to masturbate…

more…

https://melmagazine.com/teen-girls-are-just-as-horny-and-obsessed-with-sex-as-teen-boys-2f582fde6304

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THE OUTSIDE AND THE INSIDE

by Zen Gardner, Contributor Waking Times

We’re all outsiders and insiders in various respects. Social circles, generally speaking, are just one aspect but they often affect us to drastic degrees. Acceptance by others and needing a sense of “belonging” are strong driving forces in most people’s lives. Sometimes these coincide with our need for a sense of purpose, but often what ultimately drives our heart can alienate us from previous surroundings as we progress through life.

I know for myself my close acquaintances that I still resonate with have narrowed down drastically, but then again I’ve had several drastic shifts. But this has always been the case in my life, with each new paradigm dissolution or correction, as many have experienced. Going through what appears to be loneliness in taking a new direction and leaving the old life behind is a precious opportunity. In most cases we don’t see that as the case when we’re younger and learning about this earthly place and getting knocked around by this mechanistic matrix, but we get the hang of it as life progresses.

Social conditioning and group consciousness are weird things to integrate and fully grasp, and often even individual changes are part of a larger shift and new “collectives” form outside the old ones with new awarenesses arising. These then gain their own group characteristics which in turn are broken out of in various ways, sometimes shifting the “group” think and status, and sometimes birthing another potential tectonic shift in awareness.

Control Systems

What’s evident in most collectives is the formation of new sets of stated or unstated control mechanisms, mores, and regulations for a host of reasons. Religions are a great example, how a system with the stated intention to liberate and empower actually becomes a highly controlled diversion from real truth, giving the illusion of freedom. So called “democratic” governments are the same.

How we allow these encrusted, paralytic structures to do what they do is a massive subject, but we essentially draw these upon ourselves as a personal extension of our own lack of awareness of ourselves. We can be free, and are, at any and all given times, yet we succumb to external control for a wide variety of reasons. These are fundamentally driven by fear – a literal fear of freedom, of what we consider to be the “unknown”, because it directly implies taking responsibility. This can be largely driven by fear of scarcity – being without our basic needs for food, shelter and community. As long as that’s the driving force, humanity is a sitting duck for anyone seeking to manipulate the controls in any way possible.

The amazing and wondrous truth underlying any social system is that any and all control mechanisms can be easily thrown off in a heartbeat by not falling for the illusion of fear. Fear is another huge subject as it permeates so many of our mental and emotional mechanisms and eludes recognition for what it is, being so deeply woven into the lower vibrational human fabric and our fascination for it which can lure us in without our realizing it.

Are You a True Outcast? 

If so, treasure it. In fact cherish it. There’s freedom there. You don’t want to be “accepted” or on the inside of any confinement system in this low dimension. In fact, just about everything we experience in this realm of limitation is a potential trap, no matter how innocuous anything may seem. Anything that limits or even hints at conditions and restrictions, watch out. If it encloses, encircles, is conditional and draws unnecessary boundaries, it’s not your friend and it’s time to make tracks outta there.

It’s just another control system within the overarching control matrix, no matter how cleverly disguised. We draw these conditions upon our unawakened selves. Layers upon layers of them. But we’re getting there as we work our way out of the cocoon we were born into and our wings of truly awakened flight develop.

Once we bend to conformity we’ve lost our edge. Living truly consciously is an open agreement to be freewheeling together, which is a whole different “story”. That’s when what’s essential connects us and remains the focus. Otherwise any and every new normalcy bias will take control, pick up on social as well as negative spiritual rules and “norms”, and quash true freedom of expression individually and collectively. Just look how imagination is treated like a fanciful flight into fantasy, when it’s actually our highest expression of creativity.

Being your true individual heart-led self might seem to be “lonely” at first but just give it time. A whole new world will open up to you. The seeming loss of old, restricting and conditional acquaintances and surroundings is a small price to pay to explore the boundless nature of existence.

Why?

So why do such an “uncomfortable” thing as to be your true sovereign self? It depends on where your head and heart are at and what your priorities are. What’s more important to you? Truth, or comfort just surviving in someone else’s construct, group or otherwise? We live in our own shadows or that of others when we could be basking in the light, if we’re willing to step out. Aren’t you tired of the same old stories, including your own? It’s not that hard, it just takes a little honesty with yourself and you’re off and running. But don’t stop. There’s always new enclosures seeking to trip you off into another new construct.

It’s fear that keeps us confined. Fear of many things, most of which are intensely reinforced by this group agreement called society. And fear is all based on lies, complete lies. It’s more obvious by the day that the world doesn’t need to be the way it is, yet the personal implications of our own responsibility regarding this group projection continue to escape most.

The wonderfully empowering reality is that as we honestly pursue truth these energizing and liberating dynamics take hold no matter what. Truth is not popular, especially when it touches on cherished beliefs or sensitive personal issues. It’s very painful at first, even though it liberates the true essence of who we truly are.

No worries, it only means constant change. And wow, the worlds that open up are beyond comprehension!

Stay on the outside. The infinite knows no boundaries.

“Being an outsider to some extent, someone who does not “fit in” with others or is rejected by them for whatever reason, makes life difficult, but it also places you at an advantage as far as enlightenment is concerned. It takes you out of unconsciousness almost by force.”   -Eckhart Tolle

About the Author

Zen Gardner is an impactful and controversial author and speaker with a piercing philosophical viewpoint. His writings have been circulated to millions and his personal story has caused no small stir amongst the entrenched alternative pundits. His book “You Are The Awakening” has met rave reviews and is available on amazon.com.

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/07/21/the-outside-and-the-inside/

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Buddhist Teacher Michael Stone’s Family Says He Likely Died from Opioid Overdose

Buddhist Teacher Michael Stone’s Family Says He Likely Died from Opioid Overdose
The psychotherapist and yogi was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
By Wendy Joan Biddlecombe

An initial toxicology report found that Buddhist teacher Michael Stone had opioids, including fentanyl, in his system when he died last week, according to a statement released by his family late Thursday.

Stone’s family also said the meditation teacher, psychotherapist, and yogi had bipolar disorder, “feared the stigma of his diagnosis,” and was on the cusp of revealing publicly how shaped he was by the disease.

Earlier coverage: Buddhist Teacher Michael Stone Removed from Life Support 

On July 13, Stone traveled to Victoria, British Columbia, from his family home in Gulf Island. After running errands, exercising, and getting a haircut, he “acquired a street drug,” according to his family.

Stone was found unresponsive and without brain function after his wife, Carina, issued a missing person’s search with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He was declared brain dead the following day and kept on life support until July 16 so that he could donate his organs.

Last year, fentanyl overdoses increased by 80 percent in British Columbia, with 922 deaths in the Canadian province alone. Fentanyl is said to be 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Most overdoses in the United States are from illegally manufactured fentanyl “sold through illegal drug markets for its heroin-like effect,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/buddhist-teacher-michael-stones-family-says-likely-died-opioid-overdose/

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CANADIAN STUDY GIVES MORE EVIDENCE CANCER IS A LIFESTYLE DISEASE LARGELY CAUSED BY FOOD

by Alex PietrowskiStaff Writer Waking Times

Shockingly, worldwide cancer rates are predicted to rise even further, and that by the year 2020, 1-in-2 women and 1-in-3 men will be diagnosed with some form of cancer. It is so common already, in fact, that it getting cancer is more common than getting married or having a first baby.

The cancer industrial complex is negligent in warning people who chemotherapy is now known to actually make some cancers spread and make some tumors more aggressive. Government and its myriad regulatory agencies work diligently to prevent access to natural or alternative cancer treatments, and doctors and the mainstream media give the impression that the causes of cancer are a mystery.

In reality, one can significantly reduce the likelihood of getting cancer by making lifestyle changes, and according to a recently published study out of Canada found that the total proportion of cancer rates which can be attributed to lifestyle and environmental factors is quite high, nearing 41%.

Regarding the methods used in the study:

We estimated summary population attributable risk estimates for 24 risk factors (smoking [both passive and active], overweight and obesity, inadequate physical activity, diet [inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption, inadequate fibre intake, excess red and processed meat consumption, salt consumption, inadequate calcium and vitamin D intake], alcohol, hormones [oral contraceptives and hormone therapy], infections [Epstein-Barr virus, hepatitis B and C viruses, human papillomavirus, Helicobacter pylori], air pollution, natural and artificial ultraviolet radiation, radon and water disinfection by-products) by combining population attributable risk estimates for each of the 24 factors that had been previously estimated. [Source]

The list above essentially outlines the wide range of personal choices we know can increase the risk of cancer, mainly pointing out that food causes cancer. Along with exercise, and common avoidable environmental factors, cancer is somewhat preventable.

Overall, we estimated that 40.8% of incident cancer cases were attributable to exposure to the 24 factors included in the analysis (Table 2). Tobacco smoking was responsible for the greatest cancer burden, accounting for an estimated 15.7% of all incident cancer cases (2485 cases), followed by physical inactivity and excess body weight, which were responsible for an estimated 7.2% and 4.3% of incident cancer cases, respectively. All other exposures of interest were estimated to be responsible for less than 4.0% of incident cancer cases each. [Source]

Within this information is the revelation that so much of our food system works against good health. Perhaps the greatest secret here in all of this is the growing awareness of the negative affects that consumption of sugar has on human health. Now, some 80% of all packaged products contain some form of fructose, and sugar has been identified as a top cause of the global cancer epidemic.

Final Thoughts

In the face of such frightening statistical evidence on rising cancer rates, it is imperative to remember that the individual has more control over their health than the mainstream would have us believe.

 

About the Author

Alex Pietrowski is an artist and writer concerned with preserving good health and the basic freedom to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com and Offgrid Outpost, a provider of storable food and emergency kits. Alex is an avid student of Yoga and life.

This article (Canadian Study Gives More Evidence Cancer is a Lifestyle Disease Largely Caused by Food) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Alex Pietrowski and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/07/22/canadian-study-gives-evidence-cancer-lifestyle-disease-largely-caused-food/

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WTF, Incest Fantasies Are the Most Popular Thing on PornHub?

‘Step mom’ is the #1 searched term in the U.S.; ‘step sister’ #3

Last Sunday’s Game of Thrones season premiere showed brother-sister duo Jaime and Cersei Lannister settling the differences in their fraught relationship, setting up the opportunity for some brother-on-sister boning action later in the season.

For the uninitiated, Jaime and Cersei are the heir and heiress to the Lannister throne, one of the most powerful kingdoms in the show’s fictional universe. And they also fuck each other and have a litter of ill-begotten progeny, arguably making them the world’s most (in)famous incest couple. Much like on Earth, however, incest is largely frowned upon in the mythical realm of Westeros. In the very first episode, Jaime throws a young lad to his death after the boy witnesses him banging his sister doggy-style in a castle tower, just to protect their dirty secret.

But if we can trust the internet (and when has it ever given us reason not to), then incest fantasies are far more common than many would think. Like, a lotmore, according to searches conducted on Google and PornHub.

“Of the top 100 searches by men on PornHub, one of the most popular porn sites, 16 are for incest-themed videos,” Seth Stephens-Davidowitz writes in his new book Everybody Lies.

This isn’t just porn about a boy getting seduced by his cougar stepmom while dad’s away on a business trip, or two horny pubescent stepsiblings dabbling in some forbidden pleasure, either. People really enjoy watching incest porn in the truest sense of the term. To wit, about half of all incest porn is between characters who are blood relatives, Stephens-Davidowitz says.

The most popular incest porn-related search terms include “brother and sister,” “step mom fucks son,” “mom and son,” “mom fucks son” and “real brother and sister,” according to Stephens-Davidowitz.

From Everybody Lies:

“The plurality of male incestuous searches are for scenes featuring mothers and sons. And women? Nine of the top hundred searches by women on PornHub are for incest-themed videos, and they feature similar imagery — though with the gender of any parent and child who is mentioned usually reversed. Thus the plurality of incestuous searches made by women are for scenes featuring fathers and daughters.”

The knee-jerk reaction is to dismiss incest porn as merely a premise — a trope that people readily ignore and is entirely detached from their enjoyment of the sex being depicted. Every porn backstory is just some ham-fisted excuse to get people boning anyway, and as long as you fast-forward through the dialogue at beginning and ignore the “Dad fucks daughter on her wedding day!!” chyron, incest porn isn’t markedly different from any other porn genre.

But that doesn’t answer the question of why incest enters the equation in the first place, let alone why people actively seek it out.

Cross-referencing PornHub data against Google searches suggests people indeed have a latent desire to have sex with their family members, both step- and blood-related. Of all the searches that begin, “I want to have sex with my …”, 75 percent end with a word indicating a family member, such as “brother” or “sister,” according to Everybody Lies. The most common way to complete this search is with “mom.”

“I thought [the interest in incest porn] was just because people want to watch the most taboo stuff possible,” Stephens-Davidowitz writes via email. “But then I saw a large percent of searches with the phrase ‘I want to have sex with’ on Google are for family members. So now I think a large number of people have incestual fantasies.”

Somewhere, Sigmund Freud smugly smokes his pipe and laughs at the generations of haters who attempted to discredit the Oedipus complex.

Perhaps this isn’t surprising considering “daddy,” once restrained to confines of father-child sexual roleplay, has crossed into the mainstream lexicon as a way to describe anyone who possesses the positive characteristics we associate with fatherhood, such as confidence, compassion, assertiveness and power.

That said, PornHub actually discourages its users from watching incest porn that depicts a blood relationship between the characters — i.e., the site doesn’t recognize “incest” as a search term, nor does it use the term in its communications. This’s probably because “incest” is on the porn industry’s so-called Cambria List of self-imposed regulations — subjects and images so taboo that industry players tacitly agree not to shoot them.

Instead, PornHub prefers the term “step-related content” (as in step-family member) — a category that’s wildly popular. In 2016, “step mom” and “step sister” were the first and third most popular searched terms on the site.

“There’s generally a huge disconnect between the porn people watch and how we usually talk about sexual desire. That’s because people lie about sex,” Stephens-Davidowitz explains. “Also, it’s possible porn has created desires in people they didn’t know they had.”

Oscar Wilde once said: “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.” Stephens-Davidowitz’ book is based on the same premise, albeit with a modern bent. Under the cloak of the internet, people reveal their true natures. And our true nature is harboring secret incest fantasies.

Enjoy your next family get-together.

https://melmagazine.com/wtf-incest-fantasies-are-the-most-popular-thing-on-pornhub-c4f9055923bf

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THIS GENETIC SYNDROME CAUSES UNCONDITIONAL LOVE AND MAY EXPLAIN WHY DOGS ARE SO HAPPY

by Christina SarichStaff Writer Waking Times

Maybe you’ve never heard of Williams Syndrome, often called the opposite of Autism. It makes people “love too much.” The very same rare condition which causes human beings to be too friendly may be an expression of genes in your dog that causes him to lick your face with unmitigated glee every time he sees you. This rare genetic expression may also indicate a move toward higher human evolution.

The “Too Friendly” Syndrome

When first learning of this condition, one might think that it couldn’t possibly be a problem. After all, who among us hasn’t imagined a world where we greeted everyone – from the postman to our kid’s teacher – with a hug and sincere enthusiasm?

People with Williams syndrome, also known as Williams-Beuren syndrome, occurs when people are missing of a chunk of DNA containing about 27 genes. Only about 1 in 100,000 people have the condition. It is accompanied often by certain physical traits, such as an upturned nose, a broad forehead, a small chin, and larger ears, which causes people to look elfish.

It’s possible that many of the jesters and fools in Shakespeare’s time were people with Williams syndrome.

Aside from how Williams syndrome people look physically, they are often musical geniuses with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities and an uncanny desire to love everyone they see. Sound familiar?

People with Williams syndrome often face challenges, though, even with their loving personalities. They find it hard to restrain their desire to hug complete strangers or tell a random person that they are beautiful, often eliciting negative social feedback from those who are unfamiliar with the condition.

Williams syndrome individuals are often extremely vulnerable to those who would use their strong desire to be loving and friendly, for personal gain.

Unconditional Love is a Genetic Anomaly

Scientists have now found a link between the genetic structure of Williams syndrome and the genes of dogs – the only other animal that might come close to resembling the unconditional love offered by Williams syndrome individuals.

The first hint of a link between dogs and Williams syndrome came in 2010, when evolutionary biologist Bridgett vonHoldt and her colleagues examined DNA from 225 wolves and 912 dogs from 85 breeds. They were looking for dog evolutionary traits that differed from wolves.

Dog DNA

One gene that become of interest was WBSCR17. Its presence suggested that it or other genes near it were important in dog evolution. This region of the genome is similar in dogs and humans, and the human version of WBSCR17 is located near the sequence that is deleted in people with Williams syndrome.

As most people have noticed, wolves typically spend less time near humans than dogs do, as we haven’t bred them to be “domesticated,” and to live in our close proximity. Whether the WBSCR17 gene developed in dogs as part of a mutation, or simply due to epigenetic conditioning remains to be determined.

The researchers also found that dog breeds which were typically found to be more friendly also had a higher incidence of this gene.

Deleted Genes and Evolution

This begs the question – is Williams syndrome a “condition” or a mutation of our genes toward higher evolution? Less than six percent of the entire population has a set of their genes deleted to cause Williams, however, nature has indicated that other species evolve more harmoniously when they cooperate, and display signs of affection.

Bonobos, one of the closest primates to humans, are notorious for helping their social structures thrive by showing sexual affection. New studies in neurobiology have promoted our species being saved from our own cutthroat behaviors with social altruism. Williams, and the similar gene structure in man’s (woman’s) best friend, may simply indicate a thrust toward kindness in our genetic evolution.

About the Author

Christina Sarich is a staff writer for Waking Times. She is a writer, musician, yogi, and humanitarian with an expansive repertoire…

This article (This Genetic Syndrome Causes Unconditional Love and May Explain Why Dogs are So Happy) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Christina Sarich and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution and author bio.

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/07/21/genetic-syndrome-causes-unconditional-love-may-explain-dogs-happy/

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