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A number of recent studies have connected mankind’s behavior – good or bad – with our genetic makeup. Whether we receive the Nobel prize or a 20-year sentence could be more the fault of our ancestors than our personal accomplishment. The distinguished Princeton University professor of philosophy, Kwame Appiah, in his recent book, Experiments in Ethics, describes patterns of behavior as resulting from the “mutual selection of genes.” He speaks too of “morality” as the designation of the “constraints that govern how we should and should not treat other people.” A reasonable question is whether we have considered genetic makeup in the designation and enforcement of legal concepts. Up to now we have relied mostly on Judeo-Christian principles of good and evil and those principles generally have given us good guidelines. But should we factor in those concepts which are gene-generated, and to what extent? We don’t know, but we thought we’d ask.

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