Kriminelle Gene?

Können Gene eine Person für Verbrechen prädisponieren? Einige amerikanische Rechtsanwälte verwenden gegenwärtig solch eine „genetische Verteidigung” als mildernden Umstand für überführte Mörder. Gibt es Gene für Alkoholabhängigkeit? Oder Gene, die einen schwul, religiös, zu Scheidung neigend sein lassen; oder gar Gene, die unser Wahlverhalten bestimmen? Wenn man den Behauptungen einiger dieser Wissenschaftler Glauben schenken will, die sich selbst als „Verhaltens-Genetiker” bezeichnen, so sind zahlreiche Aspekte des menschlichen Verhaltens auf eine bestimmte Weise durch unsere Gene festgelegt.

Behauptungen dieser Art haben eine lange und verrufene Geschichte, die sich durch die Eugenik- Bewegung des frühen 20. Jahrhunderts bis zu ihrem anerkannten „Vater” Francis Galton im viktorianischen England erstreckt. Doch worin auch immer die extravaganten Behauptungen und die sozialen Verbrechen der Eugenik-Bewegung bestanden – einschließlich der Zwangssterilisierung Tausender (vor allem Frauen) in Europa und den USA – wird heute angenommen, es sei anders. Heute werden die Behauptungen angeblich durch die Fortschritte in der wahren Molekularwissenschaft, der Genetik, gestützt.

Selbstverständlich gibt es zahlreiche soziale Probleme innerhalb einer Familie; unsere Gesellschaften sind keineswegs egalitär; Menschen, die in Armut leben, neigen dazu, ihrerseits Kinder großzuziehen, die in Armut leben werden. Dies macht Armut jedoch trotzdem nicht zu einem genetischen Faktor. Dem entsprechend erben die Kinder reicher Eltern unter Umständen deren Reichtum, doch dies ist ein soziales und kein genetisches Erbe.

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