P.S. I found and quoted Sapolsky’s answer. Whether or not I buy into is is another thing. I note that he acknowledges the effectiveness of reward and punishment “under certain circumstances”. And, IMO, jail and prison sentences serve as quarantines. I was just curious what his “answer” might be.
I note that, like Sam Harris, he uses the the word “luck” a lot.
I’m still as much a determinist as I was, but I agree with you: we humans tend “to actually think we are making decisions and we think we actually work with others toward decision regarding public policy and the law.” I just think the notion of free will muddies monergistic theology: we aren’t as much “masters of our fate and captains of our soul” as William Ernest Henley fans would like folks to believe.
On the other hand, I did learn stuff about baboons that I didn’t know and, more importantly, about Adverse Childhood Experience (A.C.E.) Test Scores.
- SAPOLSKY: …and this is this whole world of trying to quantify just how awful somebody’s childhood was, what sort of adversity they experienced, and it has been formalized now into what is an A.C.E. Score, and that’s Adverse Childhood Experiences. And this is a metric of: were you witness to abuse, physical, psychological or sexual? Were you a victim of poverty? Did you witness violence? Was there a substance abuser in your home? Was there somebody incarcerated? Was your family unstable?
- And essentially, what you see there is for each additional point you get on your bad news A.C.E. score, there’s an increase in your likelihood of various stress related diseases, of having a history of antisocial violence. If you were female, a likelihood of a teen pregnancy. A likelihood of substance abuse and dependency.
- And when you look at the kids who are coming in with A.C.E. scores that are through the roof, P.T.S.D. is the most gentle way of describing the mess that they are, and it’s a mess of constructing a brain that has to conclude nothing is ever safe, and nothing is ever reliable, and don’t plan for the future because getting through right now is going to be big enough of a challenge.
- Combat trauma is a way in which like 15, 20 percent of people come back with P.T.S.D. I think the study suggests that kids with high A.C.E. scores they’re coming in with much higher rates of P.T.S.D. And for them, that’s having survived their childhood, the coping skills they had to acquire pathologically.
I just answered the 10 questions and scored “0”, which explains why I’m such a pleasant, well-adjusted guy, I guess.