Dr. Lieberman Is Annoyed

On February 18, Jeffrey Lieberman, MD, Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University, published a video lecture (with transcript) on Medscape.

The article is titled What Does the New York Times Have Against Psychiatry?, but in his opening paragraph, Dr. Lieberman points out that the piece could be titled “Psychiatry Suffers Another Indignity.”

The background to this is an article by Tanya Luhrmann, PhD, an anthropologist at Stanford University, which appeared a month earlier (Jan 17, 2015) in the New York Times.  This article was titled Redefining Mental Illness, and developed some of the themes in the British Psychological Society’s earlier paper Understanding Psychosis and Schizophrenia.

Here are some quotes from Dr. Lieberman’s article, interspersed with my comments:

“The article about mental illness was an incredibly unscholarly, misinformed, confused—at worst, unhelpful, and at best, destructive—commentary that will add to the confusion about the diagnosis of mental illness, enhance the stigma, and may lead some patients to doubt the veracity of the diagnoses that they have been given and the treatments that they are receiving.”

I have read Dr. Luhrmann’s article, and can only say that I disagree with Dr. Lieberman’s somewhat petulant assessment.  In fact, my only quibble with Dr. Luhrmann’s paper is that it leans too far in the pro-psychiatry direction and, by implication, endorses the validity of the concept of mental illness.

But note in particular Dr. Lieberman’s concern:

“… may lead some patients to doubt the veracity of the diagnoses that they have been given and the treatments that they are receiving.”

And there it is, bold and clear:  how dare this anthropologist encourage psychiatric “patients” to doubt the pronouncements and prescriptions of their psychiatrists!  How dare she sow such seeds of discord!

As I’ve said many times, psychiatry is not very open to criticism.  Dr. Lieberman’s condemnation is the more notable in that Dr. Luhrmann’s article isn’t particularly anti-psychiatry.  Here are some quotes:

“The implications are that social experience plays a significant role in who becomes mentally ill, when they fall ill and how their illness unfolds. We should view illness as caused not only by brain deficits but also by abuse, deprivation and inequality, which alter the way brains behave. Illness thus requires social interventions, not just pharmacological ones.”

“The World Health Organization estimates that one in four people will have an episode of mental illness in their lifetime.”

“When the United Nations sets its new Sustainable Development Goals this spring, it should include mental illness, along with diseases like AIDS and malaria, as scourges to be combated. There is much we still do not know about mental illness, and much we can do to improve its care. But we know enough to do something, and to accept that knowing more and doing more should be a fundamental commitment.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Dr. Lieberman then expounds on the distinction between a symptom and a diagnosis, and tells us:

“It’s a constellation of symptoms occurring in a specific pattern and conforming to an observed and potentially validated condition that defines a diagnosis.”

Well there are two responses that could be made.  Firstly, the pattern of symptoms in psychiatric “diagnosis” is anything but specific.  Apart from the vagueness and inherent subjectivity of the individual items, the polythetic feature (three out of five, four out of six, etc.) renders the term “specific” quite meaningless.  Secondly, note the term “potentially validated” – an acknowledgement that psychiatric diagnoses aren’t validated yet, but perhaps will be validated, any decade now.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

Dr. Lieberman assures us that there are “rigorous principles” that govern the process of creating or changing a psychiatric diagnosis.  In fact, changes to the DSM are ultimately decided by voting, which is not particularly rigorous, and, given that 69% of DSM-5 task force members had ties to pharma money, may even be corrupt.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

Dr. Lieberman takes Dr. Luhrmann to task for her assertion “that there is no strict dividing line between mental illness and normality.”  He writes:

“Viewing it this way is, in a way, challenging the veracity of diagnoses and giving people who have symptoms of a mental disorder, license to doubt that they may have an illness and need treatment.”

In fact, as is obvious to anyone who has ever even glanced through any copy of the DSM since DSM-III, there is no strict dividing line between psychiatry’s so-called illnesses and normality.  But, according to Dr. Lieberman, we should not view the matter this way. We should, perhaps, wear blinkers, and deny this obvious truth.  Why?  Well, he gives us two reasons:

  1. Because it represents a challenge to the veracity of diagnoses!  Good Heavens!  Here we are again, questioning the dogmatic pronouncements of psychiatrists.  How dare we!  Will this indignity never end?
  1. Because it gives psychiatry’s clients “license to doubt that they may have an illness and need treatment.” License to doubt!  License means permission.  So Dr. Lieberman apparently is saying that psychiatry’s clients have no business questioning the pronouncements of their psychiatrists or the “treatment” that these practitioners prescribe.  He criticizes Dr. Luhrmann, and presumably the BPS, for giving these individuals permission to question the validity and efficacy of their so-called treatment.  Perhaps somebody at Columbia would take the good doctor aside and remind him that here in America, people – even psychiatric “patients” – don’t need permission to question anything.  It’s a constitutional right!

Quite apart from the ethics of this matter, Dr. Lieberman’s position stands in stark contrast to that of general medicine, where patients are actively encouraged to participate in the process, ask questions, seek second opinions, and – yes – even challenge the accuracy and effectiveness of the interventions.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

“Next, the article addresses the fact that there is no evidence that antipsychotic drugs correct any biologic abnormality, which also is inaccurate. Antipsychotic drugs work through the antagonism or the blocking of dopamine. They may have other downstream and upstream effects with a neural pathway, but the link between dopamine activity and psychotic symptoms is indisputable.”

In fact, there is no evidence that neuroleptic drugs correct any biological abnormality.  Dr. Lieberman asserts that this is inaccurate, but cites no references in support of this contention.  He writes in very simplistic terms, about the blocking of dopamine and the link between dopamine activity and the psychotic symptoms.  But he neglects to point out that the latter link is tenuous indeed, and that the great majority of people “diagnosed with schizophrenia” have dopamine production levels in the normal range.  I have discussed this matter in detail elsewhere.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

At this point in the narrative, Dr. Lieberman takes Dr. Luhrmann to task because she draws some parallels between the BPS’s paper and the famous Thomas Insel blog post of April 29, 2013.  In that post, Dr. Insel, Director of the NIMH, had critiqued the DSM.

“While DSM has been described as a ‘Bible’ for the field, it is, at best, a dictionary, creating a set of labels and defining each.”

” The weakness [of DSM] is its lack of validity.”

In this post, Dr. Insel went on to say that NIMH would no longer fund research based on the existing DSM categories, but instead would focus on basic brain research and would follow the findings as they emerged, even if they did not endorse the ontological status of the various DSM entries.

Dr. Luhrmann discussed Dr. Insel’s post, and in my view, accurately reflected its contents.  In addition, there are parallels between Dr. Insel’s statement and the BPS report. Dr. Luhrmann was accurate in drawing these parallels:

“Moreover, the perspective is surprisingly consonant — in some ways — with the new approach by our own National Institute of Mental Health, which funds much of the research on mental illness in this country. For decades, American psychiatric science took diagnosis to be fundamental. These categories — depression, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder — were assumed to represent biologically distinct diseases, and the goal of the research was to figure out the biology of the disease.

That didn’t pan out. In 2013, the institute’s director, Thomas R. Insel, announced that psychiatric science had failed to find unique biological mechanisms associated with specific diagnoses. What genetic underpinnings or neural circuits they had identified were mostly common across diagnostic groups. Diagnoses were neither particularly useful nor accurate for understanding the brain, and would no longer be used to guide research.”

This is a very fair summary of Dr. Insel’s post.  Here are some quotes from the latter:

“But it is critical to realize that we cannot succeed if we use DSM categories as the ‘gold standard.'”

“That is why NIMH will be re-orienting its research away from DSM categories.”

“We are committed to new and better treatments, but we feel this will only happen by developing a more precise diagnostic system.”

But, as becomes clear in his next paragraph, Dr. Lieberman’s complaint stems, not from Dr. Insel’s original post, but rather from an NIMH press release dated about two weeks later (May 13), and published jointly by Dr. Lieberman and Dr. Insel.

“But in a letter that Dr Insel and I (as then president-elect of the American Psychiatric Association) jointly released in 2013, we both stated that although our RDoCs [research domain criteria] may represent our aspirational goal for how diagnoses may be defined in the future, that was in the distant future, and for the present, the clinical diagnoses that have been used and continue to be refined through the iterative DSM process are the gold standard of what needs to be used. Absent these, which is basically the same set diagnoses reflected in the ICD [International Classification of Diseases]-10, there would be no way for consistency in communication and treatment to occur across populations and within the healthcare community.”

This is the famous Dr. Insel reconciliation article, and has been characterized by some as a retraction of his earlier position.  In fact, a careful reading of the text makes it clear that it is in no sense a retraction.  In particular, Dr. Lieberman’s statement that both he and Dr. Insel stated that “the clinical diagnoses that have been used and continue to be refined through the iterative DSM process are the gold standard of what needs to be used” is, quite simply, false.

What is written in the May 13 press release is:

“…the DSM is the key resource for delivering the best available care.” [Emphasis added]

and

“The diagnostic categories represented in the DSM-IV and the International Classification of Diseases-10 (ICD-10, containing virtually identical disorder codes) remain the contemporary consensus standard for how mental disorders are diagnosed and treated.” [Emphasis added]

Note the wording:  “…the best available care,” and “the contemporary consensus standard.”  There is nothing in either statement to suggest that Dr. Insel considers present psychiatric treatment to be “the gold standard of what needs to be used.”  In fact, in his original post, which incidentally, he has never retracted, he wrote:  “…symptoms alone rarely indicate the best choice of treatment”, and  “…it is critical to realize that we cannot succeed if we use DSM categories as the ‘gold standard.’ [Emphasis added]  The term “best available care”, could actually describe care that was of very poor quality.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

Dr. Lieberman’s contention, quoted above, that in the absence of psychiatric diagnoses, “there would be no way for consistency in communication and treatment” is also false, and is critical to the entire debate.  A simple statement of the presenting problem, developed jointly through client/practitioner dialogue, with such detail as is considered pertinent, is vastly more informative, and therapeutically useful, than a “diagnosis.”  The latter inevitably distorts the reality, and is of benefit only to the psychiatrist, for whom it provides spurious justification for medical involvement in matters that are not medical in nature.  It provides no benefit to the client, and in fact is a major contributor to the stigma attached to being a recipient of mental health services.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

“To equate the thesis of the report from the British Psychological Society with the RDoCs initiative of the NIMH seems to me quite a stretch and completely implausible.”

In fact, Dr. Luhrmann didn’t equate the BPS’s report with Dr. Insel’s statement, but merely pointed out the obvious fact that there are some interesting parallels, notably a shared disenchantment with the DSM’s taxonomy.

But what appears to have upset Dr. Lieberman is not so much the realities of the issues, as the fact that an outsider (Dr. Luhrmann) has dared to challenge psychiatry.

“What other medical specialty would be asked to endure an anthropologist opining on the scientific validity of its diagnoses?”

“What would give an anthropologist license to comment on something that is so disciplined, bound in evidence, and scientifically anchored?”

There’s that word “license” again.  How dare she!  Dr. Lieberman’s reference to “something that is so disciplined, bound in evidence, and scientifically anchored” is presumably intended to be a reference to psychiatry, though I can think of no evidence to support this contention.

Incidentally, here are some quotes from the Wikipedia entry for Tanya Luhrmann:

“Her third book, and the most widely acclaimed, explored the contradictions and tensions between two models of psychiatry, the psychodynamic (psychoanalytic) and the biomedical, through the ethnographic study of the training of American psychiatry residents during the health care transition of the early 1990s.  Of Two Minds (2000) received several awards, including the Victor Turner Prize for Ethnographic Writing and the Boyer Prize for Psychological Anthropology (2001).”

“Other projects she is working on include a NIMH-funded study of how life on the streets (chronically or periodically homeless) contributes to the experience and morbidity of schizophrenia.”

“Tanya Luhrmann was a faculty member in Anthropology at the University of California, San Diego, from 1989 to 2000. From 2000 to 2007, she was Max Palevsky Professor in the Department of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago, where she was also a director of the program in clinical ethnography.  Since Spring 2007, she has been a professor of Anthropology at Stanford University.”

“She was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003, president of the Society for Psychological Anthropology for 2008.  She has received numerous awards for scholarship, including the American Anthropology Association’s President’s award for 2004 and a 2007 Guggenheim award.  In 2006, Luhrmann delivered the Lewis Henry Morgan Lecture at the University of Rochester, considered by many to be the most important annual lecture series in the field of anthropology.”

I leave it to readers to decide whether Dr. Luhrmann is competent to comment on the scientific validity of psychiatric diagnosis, a facile sorting activity posing about as much intellectual challenge as paint-by-numbers.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Dr. Lieberman concedes, with great grace, that in former times  “…psychiatry had only fanciful theories about the mind” and  “…tried to implement ineffective or, at times, harmful and even barbaric treatments.”  But he assures us:

“Thankfully, we are well past that. We now have scientifically developed and proven efficacious treatments that are safe and are changing and, in many cases, saving lives”,

information that I will pass on to the many people who write to me every month cataloging the truly dreadful experiences and outcomes that they have had at the hands of psychiatry.  I’m sure that they will be comforted.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Dr. Lieberman now turns his attention to the New York Times.

“I can’t imagine how the New York Times editors would think that providing a platform for this would be useful. Maybe they want to be edgy. They want to be provocative and they think this is going to be somewhat controversial and attract readers. It may be interesting reading, but frankly, I think it’s irresponsible.”

Notice, he doesn’t even consider the possibility that questioning or critiquing of psychiatry might be warranted.  It is also clear that Dr. Lieberman takes this entire matter very personally.

“Finally, when I read the article, disappointed and annoyed as I was, I tried to write a serious, responsible, and constructive letter to the editor, which I submitted within 24 hours. Seventy-two hours have elapsed since the article’s publication. I haven’t heard from the Times about their interest in publishing my response, so I assume they won’t publish it. The name that I publish under is my own. My credential is the Chairman of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, one of the leading departments of psychiatry in the country, past president of the American Psychiatric Association, and author of the forthcoming book for the lay public called Shrinks: The Untold Story of Psychiatry.

Assuming that my letter was not completely uninformed or incoherent, I would think that there would have been reason to accept it, given my credentials and the fact that I made a reasonable point. Let’s see if they print it. If they don’t, that adds further to my dismay over what I consider to be journalistically irresponsible behavior by this once-respected newspaper.”

So a “once-respected newspaper” loses its respectability if it doesn’t publish a letter from Dr. Lieberman.  The fact is that the New York Times has already published a con letter from a Harvard professor, a pro letter from a Yale professor, and a somewhere-down-the-middle letter from APA President Paul Summergrad, MD.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

Dr. Lieberman expresses the opinion that Dr. Luhrmann “needs to be more thoughtful.”  Debate, he assures us, is to be encouraged,  “…but this is not debate.”

“This [Dr. Luhrmann’s article] is non–peer-reviewed opinion, which is wholly uninformed and misguided. It is useless and confusing at best and destructive at worst.”

which reminds me of a couplet by one of my favorite poets:

“O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!”

Robert Burns (1759–1796)

 

 

  • S Randolph Kretchmar

    Jeffrey Lieberman reacts, predictably, as a slavemaster. He cannot imagine that anyone would question his own inherent superiority and privilege, or that of his class. On the other hand, he can be charming and effective as a PR man. Thus, his advocacy for the continuation, institutions, symbols and pride of psychiatric slavery can hurt a lot of people who should be free.

    Thank you very much, Phil, for pointing to the truth in this post! You continue to honor the legacy of my late friend Tom Szasz.

    FYI, here’s a bit I wrote about an encounter with the good Dr. Lieberman, last May. http://refusingpsychiatry.blogspot.com/2014/05/apa-annual-conference-2014-future-of.html

  • cledwyn goodpuds

    Hatred is sometimes justified, and Lieberman is the proof.

    If there’s one thing that tests me beyond the limits of my patience, it’s a fool emboldened by his own stupidity. Lieberman is such a fool.

    What I find amusing and annoying in equal measure is the regal hauteur with which he expresses himself, and the inquisitorial zeal with which he pushes for the suppression of heretical opinion. He must be one of the most comically arrogant individuals to have ever sullied the earth with his arrogance, and to have weighed it down with his ever-burgeoning head.

    What’s he flashing his credentials about for? Does he perchance think that by flashing them about he can a take a shortcut to credibility?

    The appeal to the supposed dangerousness of heretical opinions is surely some sort of logical fallacy. People have a tendency to overestimate their reasoning capacities, and underestimate those of others to a proportionate extent, this being doubly so the case regarding our assessment of the reasoning capacities of mental patients. Ergo the conviction obtains that some people, especially mental patients, need protecting from the putatively dangerous opinions of others.

    Oh good, his lordship has a book awaiting publication, another book no doubt that you could learn more from not reading than reading. I look forward to not reading it.

  • Phil_Hickey

    Cledwyn,

    Yes. And what’s truly troubling is the amount of support and endorsement that his article has received in his comments section.

  • Phil_Hickey

    Randolph,

    Thanks for coming in, and for the link to your earlier post – a veritable gem! Psychiatry is, indeed, a profession falling apart.

    Best wishes.

  • Growing

    I would dread to get into an argument with you Mr Hickey, but I really like finding myself in agreement with you. Your make the case very effectively. Your reasoning and referencing gives me the back-up I need to encourage a broadened outlook in my own (mental health sector) workplace. Thank you.

  • Phil_Hickey

    Growing,

    It’s always nice to hear from people who are trying to improve things “in the field.” It’s a difficult place to be.

    I’m retired now, but I’ve been there, and I know what it’s like to see one’s place of employment degenerate into a storefront for pharmaceuticals. I think there’s a huge need for a support network for individuals who work in mental health, but are disenchanted with the rampant and unremitting medicalization.

    The strain of seeing people’s lives being destroyed, but being unable to effectively intervene, can be enormous.

    Anyway, do what you can. I wish you the best, and I am grateful for your encouraging words.

  • Mark Eccles

    Another aspect of a psychiatry diagnosis is the passage of time.

    In physical disease such as a tumor, the tumor can be benign or malignant.
    Is the mental illness benign or malignant?

    Or in the case of a broken bone, the bone heals or it doesn’t. If it is healing, was the broken bone placed correctly so it could heal properly? If the bone is not healing what was preventing the healing?

    A psychiatric diagnosis ( a description of a behaviour) might be true at that moment of time, but if any significant amount of time passes, the diagnosis is likely wrong. Then to apply the same treatment for the rest of the life of the patient is wrong.

    Like a broken bone does not stay broken, or a malignant cancer does not magically disappear.

    You don’t keep a cast on a broken bone forever, you don’t keep cutting cancerous tumor away until there is no patient left.

    The truth is that the psychiatric medicines are drugs. Robert Whitaker writes/talks of the psychiatrists (wrong) conclusions that the psychiatric chemicals stop “mental illness” from returning, so must be continued.

    The legal drug suppler (psychiatrist) says their drug addicted client-patient needs more drugs for his/her “illness”.

  • S Randolph Kretchmar

    Another thing that’s kind of funny Phil: Dr. Lieberman blocks me from following him on Twitter, or even from reading his tweets… I don’t think he’s a very secure individual, maybe a little paranoid.

  • cledwyn goodpuds

    “It is useless and confusing at best and destructive at worst.”

    That pretty much sums up psychiatry.

    “I can’t imagine how the New York Times editors could think that providing a platform for this would be useful.”

    The problem, Jeffrey-poos, is that you can’t imagine anything, which is why you reduce human suffering, like your philistine brethren, to its observable physico-chemical properties, and which is also why you are indifferent to the destruction wreaked by your profession.

  • Mark Eccles
  • Phil_Hickey

    Mark,

    Well put!

  • cledwyn oodpuds

    Lieberman is emblematic of the wider problems in psychiatry. He’s like a living, breathing compendium of all of psychiatry’s worst aspects. His writings convey, with almost parabolic force, the truth of the corrupting influence of greed and personal ambition. It is fitting that he that he rose to the top his profession’s hierarchy, given that he epitomizes all its worst aspects.

    With Lieberman, the character of his intentions doesn’t even seem open to debate. His hubris, and his indifference to the lives destroyed for the personal growth of him and his quack brethren, makes itself felt in his writing. He is as governed by ambition and greed as the Machiavels in Shakespeare and the greasy-pole climbers in “the Wire”.

    Indeed, Lieberman’s ascent to the top of the psychiatric hierarchy is all the proof needed of what it is that truly drives Lieberman because in modern society no man ascends to the top of any bureaucratic structure on the wings of truly noble intent, but through a willingness to put expediency before principle, to appease one’s superiors, and to disregard the human implications of the work one is engaged in, all of which requires a man for whom personal ambition, as distinct from any loftier aims, is the sovereign determinant of his actions, men of higher principles and nobler natures either being filtered out all together or demoted to the lower ranks where they are powerless to effect the kind of changes that run contrary to the interests of the powerful.

    As I say, I would surmise that greed is a big factor for Jeffrey-cakes. I think we can all agree on this side of the divide that there is a miasma of unbridled greed floating through the halls of psychiatric institutions. The whys and wherefores thereof can be understood by tracing this greed to its origin in a society configured around monetary, materialist values, in which the governing principle in human relations is self-interest, at least beyond the family, outside of which mercenary considerations prevail. People who acknowledge the foregoing ugly facts of life in modern society are labelled mad, as is the custom concerning those of us who shine the light of truth into the darkest recesses of human nature and society, and who are invariably rewarded with the odium and calumny of almost everyone (after all, no good deed goes unpunished in human society), who don’t mind being mired in corruption so much as they mind being reminded of it.

    Psychiatric greed and fraud obviously didn’t emerge ex nihilo, nor does it exist in vacuo, but was formed within a matrix of wider societal and cultural forces and trends, and looking at these can help to understand the state psychiatry is in.

    In modern capitalist societies, one of the most salient features thereof is a general decline in human relations, consequent to the displacement of the higher, nobler values by mercenary, monetary ones. In such societies, relationships between people inevitably degenerate. Terms such as “friendship” and “romantic love”, in societies such as ours without any higher values to sustain the spiritual life of its citizens, are mere code words for relationships governed by mercenary considerations and carnal appetites respectively. To the extent that people are interested in getting to know you, it is usually to inveigle themselves into your good favor, whence they can empty your coffers, or use you as a means to some other end, such as the appeasement of sexual appetites, as is common in relations between the sexes, where carnal passions almost invariably preponderate over moral, intellectual, and spiritual considerations, not withstanding the rationalizations to the contrary.

    Psychiatrist’s label those of us who speak out against this “mad”, a measure no doubt of their own complicity.

    This greed and worship of the dollar sign, and the attendant degradation of human relationships, that I discourse upon herein, is in part the engine of psychiatric abuse and fraud, not to mention all the rest of the corruption in western society. Nothing is sacred anymore. Money is the deity of a faithless age, and there can be no more powerful emblem of the corrupting influence hereof than that doctors, whose traditional function as healers has been subverted by societal greed and egotism, harm their patients in pursuit of profit.

    I shall have more to say on this when time permits.

  • cledwyn goodpus

    Obviously that shouldn’t be “that he” twice, and that should be “OF his profession’s” in the same sentence.

  • cledwyn bulbs

    I’ve just read the whole of Lieberman’s article. He uses some strange terms. Scientific anarchy? What the hell does that mean? Is he (trying to) refer to some sort of state of chaos resulting from a lack of recognition of the authority of science?

    He talks of “phenomenologic relativism”, presumably referring to a belief that no occurrence has any objective meaning, and that the meaning thereof is entirely relative? If so, then he seems to be implying that psychiatric disorders exist beyond the eye of the beholder, or at least that is what I infer.

    He says that it is common knowledge to every student of medicine that just because you have a symptom, doesn’t mean you have an illness, which of course strictly speaking isn’t true, because something is only a symptom if it implies the existence of a medical condition, though I can see what he is trying to say.

    He then goes on to make lots of analogies in support of his point (he implicitly concedes the normalcy of phenomena such as paranoia), referring to bona fide medical diagnoses that correspond to empirical findings, ignoring, for the convenience of making his point, that psychiatric diagnoses do not correspond to any conclusive empirical findings.

    Basically it’s the conflation of diagnoses made on evidence with psychiatric diagnoses that rest on the empirically bankrupt assertions of psychiatrists, that are accepted generally purely on the authority of the speaker.

    Phenomena such as paranoia may be common, but it is quite healthy amongst normal people. Not so amongst mental patients. This is what he seems to be saying.

    He says that there is a threshold of symptomological severity which when crossed qualifies something for inclusion in the category of illness. So he’s basically saying there is quantitative distinction between the “symptoms” mental patients experience and those of non mental patients. Is he saying perchance that we should assume the existence of illness purely on the basis of what he presumes to be actual medical symptoms, and not because of any evidence of a condition?

    Let’s assume this is perfectly logical, Jeffrey-poos seems to be under the impression that some sort of infallible measuring rod exists for the measurement of severity allowing the person doing the measuring to order the presumed symptoms to be graded in an order of severity, on which basis a diagnosis can be made. It doesn’t.

    This line of argument takes for granted that there is a quantitative distinction between those labelled mentally ill and healthy in the extent of the severity of their “madness”, with the former displaying a greater degree thereof. There’s no evidence for this whatsoever, instead, it all rests on the fallible perceptions of the diagnostician (perceptions albeit invested with a conviction, felt on the part of the perceiver, in the infallibility thereof, due to the psychiatrist’s status as a standard-bearer of truth, reason, and science, which, of course, has little basis in fact), and the confidence in these perceptions mediated by their reputation as members of Reason’s elect, a reputation which, alas, precedes them, ensuring the lack of critical scrutiny required if their nonsense is to be believed.

    Take paranoia and delusions. How do we measure whose is the most severe, which here no doubt means which are the furthest from the truth? The facts are we can’t, and even if we could, it does not follow from this that anyone whose experience thereof can be said to be situated at the furthest extremity is diseased.

    Some of us fail to see why it is self-evident that the person who believes aliens are out to get him is any more delusional than the person who believes that we live in a just, harmonious cosmos, governed by some principle of cosmic justice, allotting to each individual a share of happiness and misery duly proportioned as each deserves. There is certainly no means of scientifically determining which is the most detached from reality. All we can say is that the latter, a species of delusion of the garden variety, is no less deserving of being called delusional than the former, yet madness widely dispersed ceases, as Robert Burton once pointed out, in the eyes of people, to be madness at all.

  • cledwyn goodpuds

    In the comment section under Lieberman’s article, where many quacks have convened for the mutual reinforcement of each others delusions, ample proof of what I speak of is furnished. The responses from psychiatrists, vis-a-vis anyone who dares to criticize their glorious profession, seems to run the whole gamut of logical fallacies.

    Most amusing is their marked failure to contain their emotions, a failure disclosed in the inability of the average quack commenting on there to construct coherent sentences.

    Of course, Luhrman is accused of being a scientologist by numerous commenters.

  • cledwyn bulbs

    All the usual cognitive- dissonance-reducing cliches are in evidence under the article. Lots of grandiose, unsubstantiated claims are made for the efficacy of psychiatric “treatments”, conspicuously lacking in that spirit of scepticism which is a fundamental component of the field of inquiry to which psychiatry has laid claim for rhetorical purposes, that is, science.

    If one wished to discredit the psychiatrist’s status as a standard-bearer of truth and reason, one would need only oppose the spectacle presented, under Lieberman’s article, by all these quacks, exhausting the species’ repertoire of logical fallacies, fulminating anathemas from their cyber pulpits, and trying whatever childish manoeuvres spring to mind, in order to stigmatize the heretic.

    Of course, a recurring theme is the high-minded conception the practitioners of psychiatry have of themselves as healers. In responding to insults they have taken at offence at for entirely personal reasons, they nevertheless endeavor to conceal this by making a pretense of concern for their patients. Concern for others is usually nothing more than a front for concern for oneself, and when one labors so indefatigably, as psychiatrists do, to project an image of themselves as selfless servants of the interests of others, one can safely infer that person labors only to deceive.

  • cledwyn bulbs

    That should be “ourselves”, not “themselves”.

  • cledwyn goodpuddings

    I can kind of understand why psychiatrists take refuge in their own narratives of victimization. No doubt, because of the institutionalized denial of the harm they’ve caused, any attack on the profession seems motivated less by a desire for justice and more by spite and malice, and they feel victimized.

    Yet what these people don’t realize is that most of the hatred directed towards them comes from people angry because of the collective refusal of the profession to shoulder the responsibility and make amends for the harm caused, both in the past and the present.

    I don’t want these people to kill themselves or anything, I just want an end to the hypocrisy, and nothing elicits this anger and hatred of which I speak, at least from those of us who’ve been harmed (and who, for the most part, are systematically marginalized on both sides of the divide) by the profession, is the sheer hypocrisy of it all.

    I mean, for one, there’s this ridiculous pretense that these people are concerned for the welfare of the people who they harm. Yet the fact that this is merely a strategic confounding of the defense of what are in fact their own interests with those to whose detriment the pursuit thereof redounds, can be gleaned from the reality of their conspicuous silence on all those issues relating to the image and welfare of the patient in which it is not they personally who are being being criticized.

    A case in point is this article by Lieberman, and the comments underneath.The only reason why Lieberman is writing is not because he is concerned for the patient’s image and welfare, but for his own, it’s just that people like him are well-versed in the art of confounding their own interests with those whose interests his own are in conflict with; in the art of using the interests of others as a front for the defence of your own.

    If Lieberman and his quack brethren were so concerned for their patients, then why the selectivity and inconsistency of concern as regards those issues which impact in some way on the patient’s image, health and welfare? These people, assuming they haven’t completely deceived themselves, must hold the intellectual capacities of those whom they are arguing with in very low regard if they expect us no not to notice this discrepancy, yet given that I’m one of the only ones pointing this out, maybe they have a bloody point.

    The only explanation for this inconsistency is self-interest, yet I’m one of the only people who regularly points this out, because everyone is either blind to this, or because, afraid of breaching the etiquette of civil discourse, they consider it impolite to impugn the intentions of others, even when there is such a seeming preponderance of evidence that at least gives good reason to suspect that self-interest is really at work here. Those of us who desire to get to the truth of the matter can no make allowance for such considerations.

  • cledwyn bulbs

    That should be “like the sheer hypocrisy of it all”, not “is the sheer hypocrisy”.

  • cedwyn goodpuddings

    People are only as receptive to the truth as the truth is receptive to their interests, so I fear little can be done to change the minds of the kind of Pharisaical quacks commenting under that article.

    I see Lieberman has a book awaiting publication. Judging by the synoptic overview on the back, it seems to be a work of historical alchemy, turning the base materials of psychiatric history into gold.

    Lieberman, to borrow from Szasz, no doubt moralizes with a backward gaze. Him and his brethren are like a bunch of children on a flight simulator convinced it is going forward when the rest of us can see it is stationery, as well as the human sacrifices used to keep it moving.

    Indeed, in many respects, I think its going backwards. No doubt what won’t figure in his spurious teleological narrative of a profession moving inexorably towards a a state of knowledge in which the chimerical entities (whereof they expend so much money and effort in trying to prove their existence, and spill so much blood withal) they study will have been proven, and the treatments hereof, discovered.

    The comments section under his article is a disturbing indicator of the low intellectual level the average quack is operating at. Most of what is written is incomprehensible gibberish by people who seem deeply insecure. They come across as a bunch of dangerous idiots, either deeply insecure, as they should be given fragile empirical foundations of their profession, or mercifully spared from that critical self-consciousness that is the foremost blessing that stupidity bestows, precluding the possibility of insight into the particulars of one’s thought in which resides one’s idiocy, and emboldening the person living in this state of beatitude in his conflicts with other (nothing emboldens like stupidity).

    You find phrases such as “psychiatry is a real medical field”, leaving one with the impression that it is themselves they are trying to convince. One must never underestimate the auto-suggestive power of language. Proust attested when he said that by writing things down in letters that he originally knew to be untrue, he could convince himself of their truth, simply by dint of repetition.

    Such phrases, whose example one regularly encounters amongst these cowboys, are based on an implicit of the pseudoscientific foundations of the profession. These people protest far too much, and in doing so disclose their own insecurity.

    It is really tragic that we are living in an age when people who reduce all suffering to brain activity have been exalted to the status of standard-bearers of the very things they stand in opposition to. What a world!

  • cledwyn bulbs

    Keep forgetting to read it back. In the fourth paragraph, after “discovered”, that should be “any mention of the people harmed in pursuit of the end goal”, and in alter paragraph, “Proust attested TO THIS when…”.

  • cledwyn goodpuds

    That should be “a later paragraph”.

  • cledwyn goodpuddings

    An article has been published on “Psychology Today” by a certain quack who goes by the name of Joe Pierre, defending Lieberman, and attacking both Lurhman’s article and the paper released by the British Psychological Society. It’s called “Psychosis sucks!”.

  • cledwyn bulbs

    That article by Mr Pierre is really terrible.

    He describes Lieberman’s response as “spirited”. Um, that’s one way of describing it. Another would be as “pompous”, and “displaying a cavalier attitude towards the suffering psychiatry has authored and continues to author”, and as also displaying “a pig-headed unwillingness to accept that the profession has serious problems.”

    He pays lip-service to the importance of collaborating with the patient. Nevertheless, he states that, basically, when the patient disagrees with people like him, they lack insight. Hardly the words of someone animated by the spirit of dialogue and collaboration. There you have it. The people who “prefer not to think of themselves as “mentally ill” (“I wonder why that is?”, I imagine he thinks) lack insight. Why do they lack insight? Because of the ex-cathedra pronouncements of the god of Reason’s anointed representatives on earth.

    Comme d’habitude, the logic undergirding this belief is circular. The psychiatrist says that the lack of correspondence between the patient’s view and his own is due to the lack of insight of the former. How do we know this? Because people who believe they are not mad when the psychiatrist, with the full authority of his office, proclaims him to be so, lack insight.

    This kind of imperviousness to logic and reason is seen in some as evidence of mental illness. Ironically, the psychiatrist’s belief that his patient lacks insight is based on a lack of insight, a measure of which is presupposed if these people are to be reasoned with. Oh, what a nightmarish predicament! To be a madman surrounded by madmen who think you are mad and that they aren’t. If being in such a position doesn’t drive a person mad, I don’t know what will.

    He describes the advice that if people don’t want to see themselves as mentally ill, or don’t want to take “medications”, then they shouldn’t, as dangerous, which here denotes the following; anything that goes against the advice of psychiatrists.

    It’s the usual exercise in definitional fiat. Dangerousness means whatever they want it to mean. Illness means whatever they want it to mean.

    An example of the latter is to be found in the article, because it also references Dr Pies’ response to the paper released by The British Psychological Organization (which accuses the writers of trivializing mental illness, furnishing once again an example of the arbitrary application of meaning to terms, after all, it is only they who seek to deprive the suffering they deal with of its higher import and significance), who states that the sina qua non of disease is basically suffering, oh, and impairment, which means that people who have asymptomatic cancer don’t have a disease!

    Coming back to the alarmist, scare-mongering use of the word “dangerous” (which I repeat, for people like Lieberman and Pierre, denotes whatever goes against their own advice, and has nothing to do with any evidence, which is defined out of consideration, conveniently, given the ever-burgeoning mound of evidence of the harm psychiatry authors on a scale that would have given a Nazi a hard on), as I’ve said many times before, a comparative history of the mental health movement would yield a veritable preponderance of evidence in favor of the view that the real danger is posed by the former, but “dangerous” obviously means different things to different people.

    The extent to which a group or organization can be said to be dangerous is almost directly proportional to the extent of its power.

    There was one passage in the article that ridiculed the attempt to find meaning in the experience of “psychosis”. The word meaning was disparagingly bracketed between scare-quotes. Having just re-read the article, this passage seems to have disappeared, perhaps because I categorically showed it to be absurd that there is something therapeutic about the inculcation of the belief that the experiences of people undergoing the extreme-distress known as “psychosis” are meaningless. I hope the author has acknowledged this, though I doubt it, seeing as we are dealing with people here operating without any scruples. Not that it matters, because the comment would still be valid, seeing as the author claims it is wrong and dangerous to encourage people to view their experiences as anything other than mere symptoms of a disease, and by implication that they have a higher meaning.

    Basically I pointed out that the reason people turn to works of art and religion is to find meaning in their suffering, inter alia. When we watch a film or read a book, we map the contours of our own experience onto that of the characters, whose suffering is illuminated under the gaze of the artist. Thereby, we gain insight into our own problems, and also receive consolation, because it makes us feel less alone with our problems; nothing renders the bitter pill of suffering more palatable than having someone, real or imaginary, who you can identify with and who can empathize with you, as I learned when I was in hospital with cancer.

    Clearly, people, at least generally, need to find meaning in their own suffering; few things terrify us more than the thought that our suffering is essentially meaningless, which, from my experience, can lead to suicidal thinking.

    He also talks about a threshold of severity which when crossed qualifies something as pathological. This purely subjective model of disease that doesn’t require any objective proof of a disease process wouldn’t bother me if it wasn’t for the fact that, on this none-too granite basis, he advocates the imposition of his own views, on the pretense of treating what are in fact heretics. Then you’ve got a problem.

    He mocks Laing’s experiment as documented in “Asylum”. What he doesn’t say is that what went on there was nothing compared to the crimes against humanity being perpetrated in mental hospitals at the time.

    He also talks of the so-called symptoms of schizophrenia being distributed along a symptomatological spectrum of severity, which I will have more to say on presently when time permits.

  • Erbdeen

    Just wanted to say I love your writing. You make some fantastic points.

  • cledwyn bulbs

    As for the talk about the symptoms being distributed along a spectrum of symptomatological severity, the question is begged, are they symptoms?

    It’s the usual circular logic.

    He also talks about a threshold of symptomatological severity that if met qualifies something as pathological. Once again, it’s the argument by definitional fiat. Define something how you please, and argue based on that definition. Basically, something is not pathological because of any evidence of an observable disease process, but because the “symptoms” have met the stipulated level of severity. What bloody symptoms? The symptoms caused by schizophrenia. What schizophrenia? The disease inferred from the symptoms.

    Whilst I would accept that regarding some of the so-called symptoms, people labelled mentally-ill experience greater severity thereof, and in the case of hallucinations, certainly it can be said that not everyone experiences them, I fail to see why that makes a person literally diseased, or any crazier than anyone else. This latter claim, common amongst smug bigots, is my real problem. In truth there is no infallible measuring-rod by which one can measure sanity and grade people in an order thereof, simply by selectively focusing on some, perhaps less common aspects of insanity, whilst ignoring those in which the average man excels, such as his penchant for logical fallacies, his aberrations of the intellect, his subjection to his passions, sentiments, desires, appetites, and to the cognitive biases and heuristics with which a man’s mind is riddled.

    What we are also dealing with in these articles is another common phenomenon amongst the mental health faithful; to wit, ad hoc hypothesizing, that is, adapting your theories as the demands of the situation dictate to save you the indignity of ceding a point. The mental health faithful cannot afford to admit to being wrong, their interests won’t allow it.

    Examples of this are too numerous to comprehensively catalogue. One is the theory, formulated in order to shore up the progressive brain-disease hypothesis against the evidence showing that many people spontaneously recover from their “psychotic” experience, that the people who recovered can’t have truly had the disease.

    Another example is the attempt to protect the theory of psychosis by hypothesizing an essential difference between those who find their “symptoms” threatening and those who don’t. Any attempt to show just how common “mentally-ill” experience is basically doomed, because they’ll always find some loophole that allows them to evade conceding the simple fact that what people labelled mentally-ill experience is common, and a part of normal human experience, albeit often deeply distressing, as life usually is anyway for everyone.

    The concept of mental illness is the lynchpin without which the whole edifice would come crumbling down, therefore trying to reason with these people is a Sisyphean task. They’ll always find some loophole.

    Basically they just define mental illness how they want, with no regards for evidentiary standards. People just have to go along with it. This would be fine, if they didn’t persecute people on such a weak empirical basis, but this is exactly what they do, whilst also expanding their sphere of influence, through fraudulent means, to encompass more and more aspects of society and the political process, and all on the basis of what? On the basis of the ipse dixits of quacks.

    This just goes to show why we should stick to the Virchowian, empirical definition of disease; because it would save a lot of sodding confusion, and it would also divest a bunch of toxic quacks of the powers so injudiciously bestowed upon them.

    He talks about voice-hearing, as if people are literally hearing voices. Yet haven’t studies into subvocalization shown that people, when hearing these imaginary voices, move their vocal muscles?

    For him, the different ways in which people experience these voices (their own), some negatively and others positively, can only be explained by reference to the concepts of mental illness and health. The former have mental illness, because their voices cause suffering and impairment. Which begs the question, do they really cause impairment, and, accepting that suffering can be associated with this experience, why do these bloody quacks have to turn all severe suffering into illness, and then try to implicate the rest of us in their mania for pathologizing human experience?

    If they want to believe that such suffering constitutes illness, fine, but then to have the arrogance to claim that people with these experiences, who disagree about the nature thereof, are delusional and lack insight, and to drug them coercively on this tenuous basis, is the last word in arrogance, although it could perhaps be said that the stupidity and ignorance that hold court in psychiatry might suffice to explain this, in part.

    The other problem is, apart from the fact that they expect people to allow them to persecute others on the basis of their worldview (plus ca change…), is that they don’t extend this courtesy to others. Whilst I respect their right to believe whatever they want, they don’t respect other people’s rights to do the same. Instead, they demand obedience, either using force against those who won’t, or, without having recourse to this, they traduce the name of critics, demanding the suppression of their opinions. If only they possessed a modicum of insight into just how unbelievably arrogant they are.

    Throughout the article he keeps on talking about people who are normal and people who experience “mental illness” with the confidence of one who has proven the existence thereof. Nothing is so firmly believed as that which is least known, as Montaigne said.

    He accuses critics of whitewashing the supposed reality of mental illness. Why is he using the word “whitewash”, which, when used metaphorically, means to conceal or gloss over defects, personal failure, or incriminating facts?

    I’m quite content to live in a world where we are all lunatics. But to live in a world where some people have got it into their heads that they are not lunatics, and on that basis proceed to persecute other lunatics, and to exploit their misery and confusion for their own profit, that, is too much to bear, and leads me to the following conclusion; that advocacy of suicide is the beginning of wisdom.

  • cledwyn goodpuddings

    Jeffrey Lieberman! Talk about the banality of evil!

  • thronk bonk

    ADHD is real and serious. Untreated, it can devastate your life. Medication works most of the time unbelievably well.

  • all too easy

    How much does Whitaker make on the products he sells over at Mad? How about the rest of you folks who peddle your wares over yonder? How does that work out on your taxes when you take donations, as a non-profit, and push your books, articles, DVDs, conference tickets and so on, from the same site?

  • Mark Eccles

    RE: How much money? Not as much as 18 billion dollars ( the yearly antipsychotic sales in the USA). People have the freedom to purchase books, DVDs, conference tickets from their individual choices. BUT in the case of a schizophrenic, he/she has no choice. He/she must take medication (not poison) for their illness. 18 billion dollars worth collectively.

  • all too easy

    What does Breggin charge as an “expert witness” do you imagine? He’s some expert. And you, cledwyn oodpuds, you refuse to be paid, too, huh? Allergic to money, I understand. And Phil “misbehaving” Hickey knows his stuff, too, doesn’t he? Let’s turn control of mental health over to the money-haters. See how many naughty kids learn to read and write. But first, you who demand solid proof for mental illness, prove that those misbehaving kids are really just naughty, will you?
    Start here: Why do those ornery little fellas start behaving so well when they are given meds?
    Put down your self-righteous glee and start a conversation with ADHD adults. For once, ask them what ADHD is like, and for once, listen. And keep asking and keep listening.

  • all too easy

    Well, you didn’t answer the question. How much does Bobby pull in do you think, while he pushes the stuff he writes and others donate to pay for his advertising? Do you think he makes more than a greedy, lying, hateful psychiatrist?
    How about Breggin, Baughman and all the other allergic-to-money saints who promote hatred and their videos and conferences and books? What are they worth? More than the folks crying out in agony, the distraught souls who grind out another day on the streets and talk to apparitions and buy their goods?

  • all too easy

    “My reason for this is that I recognize that psychiatry has its destructive tentacles in every aspect of human existence. They have damaged people of all ages, in all walks of life, and in a multitude of ways.”

    Dogs are evil. Do you know how many dogs bite people? Do you have any idea how much food they eat? Well, do you?

    Do you know how many people water kills, huh? Wanna guess? Water has drowned millions. Go ahead, go swimming.

    Do you know how much the CEOs of coffee companies are worth? CEOs of automobile companies? How many cars kill people? Dr. Phil drinks. Know what them dudes runnin them companies is worth and how much they pay to peddle their poison and how many die from alcohol related consumption? Polluters? How many teachers abuse kids? How much of what you write infuriates the readers?

    Know how much psychiatry has helped others? How many lives saved? Returned people to a functional state? Given hope for a brighter future? Enabled the inattentive to focus?

  • all too easy

    “And there it is, bold and clear: how dare this anthropologist encourage psychiatric “patients” to doubt the pronouncements and prescriptions of their psychiatrists! How dare she sow such seeds of discord! As I’ve said many times, psychiatry is not very open to criticism. Dr. Lieberman’s condemnation is the more notable in that Dr. Luhrmann’s article isn’t particularly anti-psychiatry.”

    How often can anyone get everything wrong?

    When a doctor determines cancer is going to kill his patient if a rigid course of radiation therapy isn’t followed, and the patient ops for Stanley’s Home Grown Pea Sauce for treatment, the good doctor may feel frustrated. His doomed patient was persuaded to doubt his diagnosis, resulting in his death.

    Talk about spin, Phil. Professional jealousy emerges as the motive pushing this massive “narrative” of twisted and dark, lack of logic and clarity.

  • K Sean Proudler

    Mental conditions are being labeled.

    Schizophrenia, for instance, is still not being fully understood by a long shot, yet “it”, whatever “it” is, is being labeled as schizophrenia. Thus something that has been claimed to absolutely exist, and thus in turn has become labeled via a practice of absolute certainty, is at the same time not absolute, since it is not yet being absolutely understood.

    The first problem at hand is the fact that over 99% of the global population is not in touch with reality. However, due to all such folk being detached from reality in the very same manner, to them, they actually think that they truly are in touch with reality.

    At this time, most folk often still choose to be no more intelligent than an eyeball. Thus in turn they accept whatever the eye tells them, even though they have heard the expression “Seeing is believing.”. After all, one only need practice a belief or disbelief, if one is located at a distance from the truth in the first place, and thus in turn one is located within the zone of less than truth.

    But still, such folk stick to their beliefs and disbeliefs and thus stick to being located at a distance from the truth. By maintaining this behavior of limited reach, they are always only willing to accept less than truth.

    For example, they believe that a car can speed up or slow down, yet those who see the truth, via choosing to be smarter than an eyeball, can see that this is absolutely impossible. Following this up with a simple and logical analysis of motion, one soon discovers what is really going on. In doing so, one has independently understood Einstein’s theory of Special Relativity and has also independently created all of the SR equations. No education in the field of physics is required to accomplish such a task. One need only be in touch with reality.

    See http://goo.gl/fz4R0I for proof of such an accomplishment.

    Meanwhile, if a person has what I humorously refer to as a monkey brain, this type of brain absorbs knowledge without questioning such knowledge. It becomes a game of monkey see, monkey believe.

    Meaning, by accepting without questioning, it is extremely gullible and thus sucks up knowledge just like a dry desert would suck up a massive amount of water. In turn, the person with this kind of a brain quickly moves to the top of the class and soon exits university with several PhD’s in hand. Thus the person has plenty of knowledge, but has limited intelligence.

    Others however, are not gullible, and thus do not simply accept without question. This makes learning a very slow process. In turn, they are soon recognized within the schools as slow backward children that clearly have no academic future to be looking forward too, and it is assumed that such students will most likely drop out of high school. Such words were also spoken to Albert Einstein’s parents by a school teacher during one of his annual student reviews. It was assumed that Albert was mentally challenged. Thus being different, such as being advanced, had been immediately labeled as a form of backward mindedness. Thus the intelligent are seen as quite the opposite of their true being. Einstein, on the other hand, stuck to his guns and proved them wrong. The rest meanwhile, have not been so lucky.

    Meanwhile, if you are an expert in a specific field of one of todays interests, such as psychiatry, then you are also confined or imprisoned within that zone of expertise. But at the same time, despite your extreme imprisonment, society regards you as being extremely intelligent.

    However, if you focus upon lateral non-conformitive thinking, thus focus upon understanding rather then upon knowing, one can extend ones mind far enough horizontally at base level, to understand the entirety of all reality. But since you have no mountain of knowledge extending upward within some particular field of expertise, society sees you at best, in an insulting manner, as a jack of all trades, and no more.

    Thus the limited but knowledgeable, are regarded as being the intelligent, and the intelligent but not so knowledgeable, are regarded as being the mentally challenged.

    Is schizophrenia simply a mental illness ? How can those that are detached from reality, meaning the knowledgeable, answer that question ?

  • all too easy

    The old debate between Einstein and Bohr. Uncertainty and God doesn’t roll dice. Thoroughly understanding something is not a prerequisite for that thing to exist. It can be identified, like dark matter, without understanding what the heck it is.

  • K Sean Proudler

    Yet physicists say that they still could be in the wrong concerning dark matter, and they do so since their view of “it” is still incomplete. Thus “it”, in the absolute sense, has not yet been uncovered. Thus “it” may be redefined in the future. Thus if so, then the original “it”, never existed to begin with.

  • all too easy

    Is understanding something a prerequisite for it to exist?

  • CKComments

    “I would think that there would have been reason to accept it, given my credentials and the fact that I made a reasonable point.”

    What was his point? If he’d been correcting her on matters of fact that’d be one thing, but hardly a point. I think his point was that he didn’t like it the opinion piece.

    I would have deleted the letter for the way “needs” is used here: Dr. Luhrmann ‘“needs to be more thoughtful.”’

    He’s lucky it wasn’t printed.