Richard G. Epstein







Initial Experiments

Show that the Drug is

Safe, Effective



Claudette Cadeeni

Medical Correspondent

In 2022 geneticists made a remarkable discovery. Among people who are just incapable of telling the truth, one in five is a congenital liar. That is, their constant lying is the result of a specific genetic defect. Now, scientists at Emory University in Atlanta have created a new drug that treats genetically congenital lying. Initial experiments indicate that the drug is safe and effective. FDA approval for the drug is expected in one or two years.

In the vernacular, a congenital liar is someone who just cannot tell the truth. Now, medical scientists tend to use the term "genetically congenital liar" for those people who are genetically destined to be liars.

The discovery that congenital lying has a genetic basis, at least for some people, was considered momentous. It earned Barbara Tuxler of Stanford University the 2027 Nobel Prize in medicine. It also raised profound ethical and moral issues that are still being debated.

Dr. Tuxler's research was subjected to the most rigorous and intense scientific scrutiny. Many people could not believe that a behavior, once thought to be a moral failing, was absolutely attributable to a genetic defect. Now, however, the scientific community is nearly unanimous in agreeing that genetically congenital liars are programmed to lie by their own genes.

In a remarkable experiment, Dr. Tuxler's associate at Stanford University, Dr. Vivian Barker, proved that genetically congenital liars KNOW that they are lying. Of course, if you ask a genetically congenital liar if they know that they are lying they will invariably answer "no", because they do know that they are lying, but how can you prove that scientifically?

Dr. Barker set up an experiment in which she situated a genetically congenital liar in front of two rest rooms, one marked "Men" and the other marked "Women". Then she arranged for graduate students, posing as blind people, to come up to the experimental subject, asking for directions to the men's room or the women's room, as appropriate. The genetically congenital liar invariably led the men to the women's room and the women to the men's room. However, when the experimental subject was told to wash up, the subject invariably went to the correct lavatory, proving that he or she knew which room was which. This experiment was repeated with a large population of genetically congenital liars, both male and female.

Before Dr. Tuxler's discovery, congenital lying was seen as a moral flaw. Genetic congenital lying is no laughing matter. Many genetic congenital liars end up in jail, as con artists, tax cheats and so forth. During the 1990s and 2000s there was a movement afoot to blame such moral lapses on the criminal's childhood, and juries were likely to consider childhood environment as an extenuating circumstance in cases involving fraud and deception. By 2010 there was a reaction against this approach and the trend was to hold criminals strictly accountable for acts of lying and deception. This all changed with Dr. Tuxler's discovery.

Before 2022, the general public just did not suspect that lying, at least for some people, might be caused by a genetic defect.

Dr. Tuxler discovered a specific genetic defect that causes the human brain to develop in an abnormal manner. In simple terms, when a genetically congenital liar formulates a truth in his or her brain, it comes out as a lie, regardless of the form of communication involved. This is due to a specific neurological pathway that the genetic defect has scrambled in a manner that is now well-documented. Thus, while genetically congenital liars might want to tell the truth, it invariably emerges as a lie because of the way in which their brains have developed.

Dr. Thomas Posture of Emory University, the head of the research team that developed the new medication, explained that it allows the brain to bypass the specific pathway that is responsible for the untruthful behaviors. It does this, in part, by blocking the pathway that is responsible for lying. Thus, a person who is taking this medication is not only truthful, but sometimes brutally so.

"There are no side effects with this medication," Dr. Posture told reporters during a NewsNet teleconference. "However, genetically congenital liars who are on this medication are brutally honest and this may not always be the best strategy for successful living. Nonetheless, this is preferable to always telling a lie, especially if lying eventually leads to criminal behavior and jail."

Dr. Posture also told reporters that physicians can control how truthful a genetically congenital liar is by controlling the amount of medication that is administered. "We know that it is possible to administer a lessor amount of the medication and genetically congenital liars will then tell the truth about 80% of the time, which is about the same as the rest of us."

The medication, which Winston Pharmaceuticals of Kansas City is planning to market under the name Verilax, only affects the behavior of genetically congenital liars. It does not affect people who lie because of some other pre-existing condition.

"Of course, once this medication is approved," Dr. Potter explained, "the key thing will be to make sure that a genetically congenital liar is faithful in taking his or her medication."

When Dr. Tuxler made her discovery of the genetic defect, which many people are incorrectly calling a lying gene, she was asked whether she thought all lying had a biological basis. "Ultimately yes, but I think that most lying is the result of more subtle interactions within the brain than is the case with these genetically congenital liars. I expect that we will find more biological bases for lying. What we have discovered with respect to genetically congenital liars is the simplest, most straightforward, and obvious biological basis for lying. These people have a unique and unusual neurological pattern in their brains, and we have found the genetic defect that produces this anomalous pattern."

Dr. Posture showed reporters two video tapes of a genetically congenital liar, whose face was obscured to protect his identity, being interviewed by an IRS agent. "We asked the IRS agent to interview Mr. X, as we call him, on two occasions, once when he was on medication, and once when he was not. We thought that the IRS, which often has to deal with genetically congenital liars, might be interested in the possible uses of a medication such as Verilax."

Here is an excerpt from the first video tape:

IRS agent: Now, you claim that your trip to Paris was for the sake of doing research for a new book on French cuisine?

Mr. X: Yes, I was researching a book.

IRS agent: Are you an author?

Mr. X: Yes

IRS agent: But, there is no record of your having ever actually published anything.

Mr. X: I forgot to report my earlier books when I filed my taxes. I have a new accountant now.

IRS agent: This all sounds pretty dubious. I know that you are a genetically congenital liar, Mr. [bleep]. Tell me, are you taking your medication?

Mr. X: Yes.

Here is an excerpt from the second video tape:

IRS agent: Now, you claim that your trip to Paris was for the sake of doing research for a new book on French cuisine?

Mr. X: Yes, I claimed that, but I lied.

IRS agent: Are you an author?

Mr. X: No.

IRS agent: But, on your tax form, you claim to be an author.

Mr. X: That tie you are wearing is the ugliest tie I've ever seen. And, is that a picture of your wife? Ugh!

IRS agent: I know that you are a genetically congenital liar, Mr. [bleep]. Tell me, are you taking your medication?

Mr. X: Yes.

After showing the two videos, Dr. Posture explained that genetically congenital liars always answers "yes" when you ask them if they are taking their medication, whether they are or not.

Reporters asked Dr. Posture if this medicine could be abused, say by the government, or others who want to extract information from vulnerable people. 

"That is a possibility, but we need to do a cost-benefits analysis here. About a half million Americans are genetically congenital liars. These people cannot maintain normal relationships. They often become con artists and criminals. They often wind up in jail. And this is through no fault of their own. They just do not have the physical apparatus that you or I have that enable us to be truthful. This medication can help these people, allowing them to live more normal lives.

"As you saw in the second tape, the basic drawback of this medication is the crude bluntness of a genetically congenital liar who is taking it. This has the possibility of interfering with their personal and business relationships. However, at least we can keep these people out of jail."

Dr. Posture also held out the possibility that new medications will be discovered that will make genetically congenital liars completely normal.

"Even if we lower the medication levels, a genetically congenital liar will tell brutal truths at unpredictable times. We cannot control or determine the circumstances under which a person might lie or might tell an uncomfortable and brutal truth. We do think that a patient who uses Verilax will be able to lead a fairly normal life, although, obviously, certain professions, will now be closed to them."



1997, 1999 Richard Gary Epstein

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