Some people are unable to feel empathy because they have the AA gene and not the GG gene.
Thanks for sharing that article...fascinating stuff to think about. I find the autism link very interesting and wonder if a medical/chemical treatment could be developed someday to help people by balancing their oxytocin levels. I really think it's important to study these kinds of 'chemical imbalances'. So much has been studied about testosterone. I'm glad oxytocin is getting some attention! There is also interesting research being done about meditation and its effects on brain chemistry....mapping out happiness/contentment as a region of the brain.
The connection between ocytocin levels and stress levels is also a very interesting one...the fact that anxiety levels can be reduced. Except, of course, for the people that are immune to the effects of oxytocin... who got the cute label of 'bastards'. Those are the people that are always anxious and the type A personalities, I suppose. I think I know some of those people and will suggest they become test subjects (ha ha).
To think that there are chemicals being excreted from my brain to modulate my moods and my social interactions...how trusting I feel, how stressed I feel. It is amazing to think about behavior in a biochemical way...as part of the way the human brain processes information. (Of course I realize environmental and cultural factors affect behavior, as well, but it is thought- provoking to think about our evolutionary past and how our 'social' traits have developed and helped us survive as a species.)
I know what you mean about the bible and its so-called moral guidance and self promotion of moral superiority.
Morality pre-dates religion and most certainly the Judeo-Christian religions. The argument has been made that our earliest human ancestors, primates, and even non-primate social animals like wolves/dogs have certain traits that can be defined as 'moral' traits. In the extensive work of Frans de Waal, for example, there are interesting discussions about the punishment of 'cheaters' in chimp societies...about conflict management and resolution, peace-making efforts, elders as intermediaries in disputes, compassion toward the sick/dying, etc. In the book, "The Ethical Dog", Bekoff and Pierce discuss behaviors that cultivate and regulate social interactions in canine groups: altruism, tolerance, forgiveness, reciprocity. One of my favorite quotes from their book (which can certainly be applied to human behavior) is "Understanding and tolerance are abundant during play as well as in daily pack life". It's the intolerance of the conservative Christian religions that conflicts with their attempts to be "Christ-like"... they're always willing to dismiss this as their 'human weakness' and 'sinning nature'....and, to make it even better, they're convinced they're forgiven and 'saved' anyhow!! Which sort of defeats the purpose of even trying to be good...ha ha.
I wasn't familiar with that little tidbit out of the holy book. Now when I eat a fig newton I will think of Jesus as the fig hater. THAT was not very Christ-like.
Check out the Lego version: