The Limits of Lawyers, Murderers, Maggots, and Brain Scans

Anne Fausto-Sterling is killing it lately on the brain and gene beat. She does so again here with On Maggots and Brain Scans

What do brain images really tell us? What critical questions can a layperson ask to avoid being sucked into a brain vortex or wowed by new words such as “connectome”? Can we really link specific brain structures to particular behaviors? Or do these fascinating new finds get a critical pass because they feed into ingrained preconceptions about biology as a root cause of all things evil or inevitable?

Oddly, I want to begin answering these questions by considering an important new study of fruit fly larvae.

And then comes much goodness — fruit flies, murderers, lawyers, other strange creatures — before the take-home:

Biologists are great. I love ’em. Some of my best friends are. . . . But we cannot properly use a science of behavior to make critical decisions about justice and human potential without also calling on the wisdom and insights of philosophers, historians, theologians, artists, sociologists, and many others.

Get the rest at Of Maggots and Brain Scans | Boston Review. Save that link for every tine you read anything that tells you brain scans or genetic tests regarding behavior are safe to use in court cases. They too easily convince beyond the evidence they contain.