Over the decades, I have had the good fortune to be immersed in what many of us call Mad Culture. In various cities, at a number of events, there would be a confluence of writers, researchers, artists, and otherwise creative people who all wanted to peacefully overthrow the psychiatric industry and find a new way of helping people in crisis. I am glad to hear that one of your chances for Mad Culture will be from October 9-12, 2014 in Massachusetts, because the Mad In America International Film Festival will bring many film titles and speakers together. In fact, I have been invited to speak for a few minutes via Skype near the end of this great event.
I wish I could be there physically, but in honor of this Mad film event, here are some movies that I have watched lately, along with my brief review.
Bettie Page Reveals All (2012, Documentary, 101 min., via Netflix streaming)
That’s right, one of the main pin-up personalities from the 20th century was a psychiatric survivor. Bettie Page was famous as a charismatic and sexual model whose images are still admired long after her death. This documentary reveals that from 1979 to 1992, after the height of her fame, Bettie Page was in psychiatric institutions in California.
This film is mainly a lot of fun, showing her history and how she became one of the leading underground characters in Americana. In fact, she may be more popular today than in the 20th century. There is a very sad part of this story though, because Bettie Page was a trauma survivor, her childhood was awful, she experienced abuse as an adult, and the men in her life were mainly negative. When Bettie retires down in Florida, her past seems to catch up with her and she ends up having a major mental crisis.
You can watch this documentary on Netflix and I highly recommend it. Bettie Page is a fascinating person, and you can get some insight into how our society misinterprets trauma as “mental illness.”
Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox (2006, Documentary, 88 min.)
When you are in a natural health food store, maybe you have noticed this strange soap container that has writing all over it about fruit trees and religion and calls to dilute, dilute, dilute. The man who was behind this bizarre product was a psychiatric survivor, who experienced forced electroshock. This documentary follows the life of this eccentric genius, and shows us his family who are keeping up his legacy many years after his death.
For many years I thought Dr. Bronner was a survivor of Nazi concentration camps, because that is how he describes his past. This documentary reveals that he received his forced electroshock in Illinois, and from then on he would describe that experience as being like he was in a concentration camp.
I have written to his family to make sure that they know there are many survivors of electroshock who are speaking out all over the world. I highly recommend this documentary.
Hidden Pictures (2013, Documentary, 60 min.)
At first I was very excited about this documentary. I was invited to speak at the premier here in Eugene, put on by some of my friends who show movies about various progressive topics. Much of the film interviews people with psychiatric labels from poor areas of the world, such as China and India. During my own activism to fight the globalization of the mental health corporations, I have spoken with poor psychiatric survivors in Ghana, Ukraine, Turkey, Mexico, and Chile. Unfortunately, the documentary does not go deeper. For instance, the filmmaker totally ignores two major studies by the World Health Organization that show that your best chance for recovery following a diagnosis of schizophrenia is in poor countries with the fewest psychiatrists. Why is that? This film endorses the main mental health system, and I listened carefully to the film when they promote the biological medical model in mental health.
I give this film a big thumbs down. Making it worse, during the premier here in Eugene, well-meaning progressive people invited a panel to speak. About half a dozen mental health organizations were represented, with me, PsychoQuad, as a token psychiatric survivor. Could you see progressives inviting mainly white groups to comment on a Black movie? And could you see these progressives putting on a token person of color before the movie so they have no chance to comment on the flick? Tokenization is a common issue and it was unfortunate to be put in that position. Many progressive people get caught up in event planning and do not question the big picture or go deeper. I am pro-choice about taking psychiatric drugs, but do we really want to put hundreds of millions more people around the world on psychiatric drugs?
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey(Documentary, 2014, Season 1, 13 episodes, via Netflix streaming)
I missed the original Cosmos years ago when Carl Sagan narrated his show with the famous catch line, “Billions and billions and billions!” but I love science shows, so when this new version was created with state-of-the-art graphics, I had to get it. Now, some of you in the Mad Movement may be saying, “Hey, PsychoQuad, this does not seem to have to anything to do with mental health!” In a recent blog, I talked about global warming and mental health, and I was very surprised at the number of negative comments in my Mad in America re-distribution. Some people disputed the scientific fact of global warming. Others felt I should “stick to my knitting,” and not talk about stuff that seemed off topic. In terms of needles, my experience was being on the sharp end of a hypodermic, but I get the point, if you will pardon the pun!
This show has one of the best descriptions of global warming I have ever seen, and to give everybody some hope please note that this series was first aired on Fox. Let me repeat that, this series was first on Fox, and it is one of the best explanations of global warming, ever! Now, hopefully mental well-being encompasses taking care of the only planet we ever have known! Human-caused global warming is a fact, and those who disagree should see this flick.
Another episode explains how one of the worst human-caused brain impairments in history is directly connected to environmental destruction and took decades to resist. I am talking about the little-known problem that lead was added to gasoline for decades, and a so-called scientist with financial ties to the oil industry delayed our taking collective action for generations by sowing doubt about the harm of lead to the brain. This is a good lesson for us all, because the same thing is happening now with climate crisis.
One of the first episodes celebrates the life of the heretic, Giodano Bruno, who readers of this blog know my grandfather loved. Giodano was one of the first people to see other stars as like our sun, years before the telescope was available. Another episode explores the life of Edmond Halley, who was a genius scientist behind publishing Newton’s Principia, and who by the way was a direct ancestor to one of my ex-employees, a psychiatric survivor.
I have already watched this series twice, and give it my highest recommendations, though I do wish the basics of quantum theory mystery via the two slit experiment had been explained because this strangeness puts us all in the camp of the perplexed.
Care Farms of the Netherlands(Documentary, 2012, 28 min.)
There is a phenomenon, mainly in Scandinavian countries, that when a young person is troubled by mental problems or drug addictions they can be placed on a family-owned small farm for a number of months for their recovery. They become closer to nature, they are often absorbed by a caring family, they have regular chores, and the data show good results. My friend, David Heine, made a documentary about this topic, as did another filmmaker friend Daniel Mackler.
David commutes back and forth from Amsterdam to here, in Eugene. I liked his film, but it has not yet been premiered here in Eugene and we sure hope it is soon. You can find out more about this documentary on its website. David has made hundreds of documentaries on many topics, but you might recognize his work in mental health from the super documentary Little Brother, Big Pharma. David was personally impacted by the drug-loving mental health system because his brother has been heavily drugged for decades in psychiatry, and the family is on the lookout for alternatives.
Where’s The Evidence?: A Challenge to Psychiatric Authority (Documentary, 2014, 33 min., premiering at the Mad in America festival)
Filmmaker Beverly Jones captured the highlights of the 2003 hunger strike, called the Fast for Freedom in Mental Health. Her husband Mickey Weinberg was the chief organizer as a bunch of us stopped eating solid food in a challenge to the American Psychiatric Association (APA). We simply asked for proof about the so-called biological basis of what is called mental illness. To their credit, APA responded to our points, but their reply was very shallow. The film clearly shows how our scientific panel demolished the APA in a written debate.
My understanding is that the film festival will be the premier for this film. Congratulations! The Fast for Freedom is still impacting the mental health system, for example, a number of books refer to the debate. The only flaw I see in the movie is that I think we should be more clear about the win that we experienced. As the film explains, we identified reaching mainstream media as a goal, such as the BBC interview featured in the film and the news conference covered by various media including the local outlet for National Public Radio (NPR). What should be more obvious for film-goers, is that we also reached the Washington Post and eventually the LA Times Sunday Magazine. Not too shabby! The usual Washington Post reporter about mental health topics back then was Shankar Vendatam, who I had met with personally in Geneva and San Francisco. Shankar told me later he would not have covered the hunger strike, but thank goodness he was on his August vacation then! You might hear Shankar on NPR, during his regular segment Hidden Brain, where he continues to ignore how poor people are hurt by mental health over-drugging, as he covers fascinating stories about the middle and upper class. I guess the poor have the real hidden brains!
Cesar Chavez (Biopic, 2014, 104 min.)
I can hear some readers say, “What does this labor leader have to do with mental health?” Well, I guess the next time you eat, you might wonder about how food affects your mental well-being. Seriously, I was very eager to see this basic movie about activism, because there is a huge lesson for the Mad Movement. If Cesar Chavez and his co-revolutionaries had focused on mild reform instead of major upheaval, and if Cesar Chavez and his friends had gotten a lot of money from the federal system, then what kind of grape boycott would that have been?
Cesar and thousands of labor organizers recognized that struggle involves non-violent resistance in the streets, turmoil and solidarity. Cesar’s victory did not start with a government grant. Please, I beg many people in our movement, including many of my fellow bloggers in Mad in America, to study Cesar’s activism. There is a role for reform, for professionals, and even for government-funding, but that role is to support and not supplant ferment from the grassroots, independent part of the movement.
In Cesar’s public appearances with Senator Bobby Kennedy, such as when he broke a long fast alongside Bobby, obviously Cesar recognized that he needed an inside-outside strategy. Our movement should watch this flick because we apparently need a reminder that there is an outside!
Please attend the Mad in America film festival
If you know anyone who lives anywhere on the East Coast I hope you will tell them about this Mad movement celebration of the power of cinema to help peacefully overthrow the mental health industry. Here is the link for more information, including dozens of movies about changing psychiatry.
A few years ago, I helped create a brief guide to holding a small film festival, because here in Eugene we found that munching snacks and drinking soda made watching even the heaviest topic a fun activity when we went to the movies. In terms of grassroots activities, showing good movies about our topic packed in people on a consistent basis. I include a few movies you can get, such as the amazing series of videos by Daniel Mackler:
Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.
Good point about it being difficult to have an inside/outside strategy if no one is making the outside happen!
Nice to see you reviewing some films here, we need to show more of them in our community (Eugene) and others reading this should think about arranging film showings in their community, it’s a great way to start some discussion…..
As the originator of the “stick to the knitting” remark, may I add that I have no problems with going to enjoying documentaries about Chavez and others who have no obvious link with the mental health movement, and even coming home and thinking about them in terms of mental health. Your original blog post was something different though. You asked us to make fighting climate change a priority.
“Everyone and every group working for mental health justice ought to make fighting global warming a priority right now.”
Consider this call to action another way. I currently attend a mainstream church. I go there to reflect on my life as a Christian, to learn to have compassion for the less fortunate and to do what I can for community members. I assume most people go to my church for the same reason. We are multinational and multi-racial. We have different beliefs coming from different cultures and we have different political views. Some of the church members work for tobacco companies. I do not bring my political views to church, but others are not so inclined, and this creates a feeling that certain people are not wanted. I’ll give you an example. A few years ago I attended a church supper that was a fundraiser for some worthy cause. where I probably thought the money could be better spent closer to home. I don’t agree with where a lot of the money is being sent (shocking) but I keep my mouth shut because others are very supportive. However, I was shocked and angered to see that someone, who thought he was being funny, put a sign next to the collection basket that said “Admission: 10 dollars. Republicans: 20 dollars. In other words, we as a church think a certain way politically, and those who don’t are not welcome here. Protestant churches are very transient places, and very prone to having splits within the ranks because of ideology. I have seen large walkouts from one church that goes to benefit the church down the street or across town. Well, I guess it’s no coincidence that our church is struggling financially today because there are fewer and fewer members from corporations attending it, assuming that people who work in the private sector are naturally all Republicans, which is, of course, stereotyping. I have gone to meetings at work where I heard one man say to a large assembled audience, “well, I guess we all think this way about such and such, don’t we?” and I’m thinking, no, you do not speak for me on a topic that is peripheral to our mandate.” He assumed that all of us share the same political views. No we don’t.
This is my long-winded way of saying that the mental health movement that I am a part of for the reasons I have chosen, is made of of diverse people. To accomplish our goals let’s not spread ourselves too thin and risk losing any gains we have made by making assumptions that we are all naturally supportive of a a broad social agenda that is so broad it risks becoming meaningless.
But. yes, I’d love to see those documentaries.
I think they’re many assumptions being made; not only on this site, but on others as well. A news flash:
1) Not everyone is overjoyed with the term ‘Mad Movement’… many people simply want to taper off psychiatric drugs, and begin to feel good again. Others don’t associate their journey as one of ‘madness’… they want to overcome trauma. Others want to address the underlying root causes of their “mental illness,” so they can go back to work; raise a family…
2) Not everyone in this ‘movement’ (if we even have a movement… I don’t really see one, most of the time) considers themselves to be politically on the left, a liberal, or progressive. Some are anything but. There are conservatives and libertarians out there who feel as passionately about the legal side of this than anyone else. Szasz, Breggin. Enough said. In fact, there are many on the right who see an over-reaching, large, bureaucratic government as part of the problem, not the solution.
3) Politics need to be discussed in the Political Forum section, IMO. I come to this site, because it’s the best place to find current information on what’s happening in the mental health arena…. The latest news and findings. I don’t come here to debate global warming or politics. I can watch Rachel Maddow for politics. Or not.
4) And if this were not enough, you brought up religion. Now we all get to hear how the bible was written in a language nobody understood for 1,400 years, which is why the Christian faith survived. And we can all have a ‘mad’ argument about that. Or not.
To clarify, I was not suggesting that you made the statement about the bible. It was said by someone else a few days ago.
The point was that I do not see how theological arguments are going to make people feel comfortable coming to this site. A paradigm shift in mental health care, or a free-for-all, knock-down, drag-out on religion and politics ?
I’ve suggested using the Forums, only to be accused of wanting to limit other people’s expression. Oh well, I give up.
Feel better, Frank?
Sorry, I couldn’t resist the temptation….
Ever since I read this in Auden, I’ve always felt invited to make bad puns on occasion.
I guess it has something to do with respecting differences in perspective and opinion.
It’s the old argument between theology and philosophy for me, Duane. I’m an atheist. Show me evidence of God, and I will take a bite out of my hat. The crew of the Enterprise, way way into the distant future, they’re still looking, and they haven’t found him yet. (If he’s a he, that is.) Anyway, yes, Plato would have exiled poets from his Republic, but what did he know? I used to try my hand at poetry, but now I’d say I’m more of a wish-poet I guess. Did I OD on philosophy? Perhaps. The brain part was willing but the heart part was weak. What’s it worth? When death rears his ugly skull, I just say, “have fun”. There are always boats you could regret missing.
A discussion of psychiatry is a political discussion by nature, so your attempts to avoid political views which threaten you by compartmentalizing them into forums which you can ignore will ultimately prove futile.
If you’ve been paying attention to the discussions here recently you should know that even leftists here are highly critical of the mindless way many on the left approach “our” issues, and are somewhat embarrassed that “conservatives” and libertarians seem to get it more than so-called progressives.
Also you’re right, there is no “movement” right now if “movement” means people with like goals working together to achieve them. However a lot of people are talking about starting (or resurrecting) one.
Old head: I think that I know when I am talking politics, and I don’t believe that others are required to join in. However, I am often believe that others who say they don’t want to talk politics or say they don’t want to argue, actually talk politics quite often themselves. It’s like the fish who doesn’t notice the water that they are swimming in.
Good analogy, or as I often say to call oneself “apolitical” is actually to take a political position in favor of the staus quo.
D&R, however, as you point out, is constantly making right-wing arguments; he apparently considers them to be givens.
Regarding #3, thanks for reminding folks about our underutilized forum section. I’d like to point out though that if an author makes a statement you disagree with, you’re under no obligation to debate it, especially if you consider the subject matter off-topic or outside the realm of what you come to the site for.
“To accomplish our goals let’s not spread ourselves too thin”
That is a good point. Personally I am just as wary of global warming and lack of social justice as of the psychiatric abuse but one has only limited time and resources and has to concentrate on the activism in one or two particular areas to ever achieve anything.
B: I think it is important to see how a particular politic belief fits into one’s over arching belief system. Thomas Szasz was a right -wing Libertarian, and I identify more so with Noam Chomsky and Left-Wing libertarianism, so when I I read Szasz I read with interest his view of the French Revolution and the American Civil War in hopes of better understanding the basis of his belief system and possible opportunities to make common cause, and also to hold my own views up to scrutiny.
Sure, but I’ve seen people coming from opposite political camps arriving on the same conclusions on a given issue many times. The problems usually starts when the alternatives are to be created, when the differences in seeing the world start to matter. However in our struggle I think there’s place for many alternatives and probably place for all different people.
While I think you make your points pretty well, I think essentially you are arguing for a kind of compartmentalizing strategy.
I think a key dilemma in our existence relates to, when are we better off compartmentalizing, versus when are we better off breaking down the compartments and joining issues together, even though this causes some problems?
I definitely do think it often makes sense to set many issues aside or compartmentalize in order to come together around common ground, like changes needed in the mental health system. But coming together in these ways can also cause problems, if we minimize issues that really are important in order to do so.
I’m sure that if child abuse was happening at your church, you wouldn’t accept that those who opposed it should be quiet about it at church because speaking out might split the congregation. Instead, you would see it as such an evil that you would encourage everyone to come out against it, and to not mind if those who refused to see the child abuse as a problem got alienated in the process.
I think a good argument can be made that human caused global warming is a kind of child abuse. We take care of our comfort and profit and pleasure now at the expense of later severe distress to our children and grandchildren. Should people like David shut up and go away to only then talk about it with people who feel like listening?
I don’t think there are easy answers to these questions, about compartmentalizing or not, etc. I could argue both sides of the issue, so I don’t think it’s easily resolved. But maybe if we understand the difficulty in resolving it we will be able to understand those who argue either side of it, and we may also better understand madness, which is often about struggling with issues that are near or even definitely impossible to resolve.
And some of us care deeply about conservation, and see environmentalism as a political power grab like none other. Taxes (fines) on power production will be passed on to consumers, and the poorest people will be hit the hardest.
Also, an enormous part of the energy grid is fossil fuels (especially coal for electric). To attempt to replace this too quickly will have a devastating effect on the economy. One that is already in dire straights… This will lead to more job loss, more dependency on government… which leads to more debt…. Debt that threatens to *enslave* future generations – children and grandchildren – in an ABUSIVE way!
In short, global warming is much more complicated than David or you would like to present it. And people who disagree with your simple assessment are not supporters of child abuse. In fact, we are also concerned about child abuse.
People who disagree with the left’s global warming agenda are similar to child abusers? Thank you Ron, for pointing out just how *disgusting* this can all get!
P.S.: We have a forum section on this site.
I would point out that what will happen in the future as a result of human activity will be a physical reality, not a thing that can be compartmentalized into only the world of politics. If it hurts our children, that will be real hurt, not just a “left or right” political opinion. And the hurt won’t be avoided just by not talking about it.
I hear you believe it isn’t such a big problem, or that it’s too complicated to make into something important. I just hope you can hear that there are others who disagree with that assessment, and then maybe you can follow why to such a person, what our society is doing does look like child abuse, and is worth talking about even if it upsets people or is seen as out of order.
I was trying to touch on a bigger theme as well, which is how those designated as “mad” are often breaking out of what others think the order of things should be, often because the established order itself to them often seems to be, and may actually be, a bit “mad.” Which is what David is getting at when he talks about “normalgeddon.”
Of course, people will have disagreements about when breaking out of established order is really helpful or not, but I think it helps if people can at least understand the motivation of why some people want to do that.
Re: ” would point out that what will happen in the future as a result of human activity will be a physical reality, not a thing that can be compartmentalized into only the world of politics.”
You’re assuming that global warming is man-made, and a physical reality. There is not the science to back this up. Over 1,000 international scientists dissent:
A forum is set up:
Duane, my point was just that what will really count in the long run will be the physical reality, whatever that will be, not the number of climate scientists (or mostly non-climate scientists in the case of your 1000) who have opinions one way or the other.
At this point I’m (mostly) not trying to debate global warming or not, just calling for more understanding of why some people find such issues to be so important that they will want to break out of established ways of thinking and talking in order to address them. But hopefully I’ve said enough about it, I’ll sign off now unless something really new comes up……
Fair enough, Ron.
Now that I’ve taken more time to calmly look at what you wrote, I can see how I was reading too much into what you were saying. My apologies.
Discover and Rediscover: I live in West Virginia, a major coal producing state. I agree, a too hasty retreat from renewables can produce shock waves that impact ordinary people. Alexander Coburn, deceased editor of the left-wing political website, was a climate skeptic. Also in some maters, environmentalism risks sliding into Malthusianism. So I do not see your concerns as unfounded. I am no supporter of Obama, but both major political parties create dual group thinking partisan mind sets, which serve to obscure the consensus of the two parties on major policies like trade policy .i.e neoliberalism, and a tendency toward militarism of foreign policy and the economy. As a result of the “liberal bias” of the news media, most citizens have difficulty processing a criticism of Obama from the left.
I’m not asking David to shut up, I’m asking him to consider not making assumptions about the people who come together for the purpose of bringing about changes to the mental health system. There’s enough work here to last a lifetime. I think a argument can be stretched and manipulated in any way to link two or more seemingly unrelated areas, but is it wise to do so? Your hypothetical example of a good argument: Climate change and child abuse. That has overtones of thought control. Gee, we all hate child abuse, don’t we, so if we hate child abuse then we must get on the climate change bandwagon, and if we don’t, then we must secretly agree with child abuse or would prefer to look the other way.
I am perfectly fine with David wanting to broaden his horizons by aligning himself with all kinds of groups, but he specifically exhorted ALL of us to do out bit for climate change because we care about mental health issues, and by extension, surely we must care about climate change like he does. When I go to work, I don’t want others to bring religion or politics into the workplace unless I am working for a religious organization or a political party. (I’ve been a paid staffer for a political party.) If I refuse to take part in prayer breakfasts or discuss politics with my superiors, are my chances of advancement blighted because my loyalties to other people’s agendas are questioned? If they are, then I’ll look for a job elsewhere. All I see by introducing a diversion like climate change into mental health is a massive splintering of support for the mental health issues people at MIA have rallied around. Everybody here has their own agenda that is not necessarily supported by others, but somehow we are hanging in here.
Rossa, you seem to be alleging that my comparison of global warming with child abuse was an attempt at “thought control” – I think you totally missed my point, and are accusing me of something absurd!
Child abuse is bad because it hurts children: global warming, assuming the science is real, will massively hurt our children and grandchildren through huge disruptions of the livability of the planet http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/10/14/1009121/science-of-global-warming-impacts-guide/ . My point is simply that when the hurt to vulnerable people seems bad enough, it starts to seem worth bringing up even if it is “off topic” or might hurt the coherence of a group.
If the global warming threat is real and too many people do “prefer to look the other way” and then billions of people get hurt or die, and society gets so disrupted that mental health care is the last thing on people’s mind, then all of the politely setting aside the topic of global warming so we can get on with trying to change the mental health system will seem in retrospect to have been a huge mistake.
I think even those who are adamant that it isn’t a real threat could agree with the above “if then” statement. Their argument would simply be that the first part of the statement isn’t true, so no worry about the second part. In the end though, it will be a physical situation not a political thing that can be simply argued about.
So I hope you can agree that, from the perspective of someone who believes the climate science is roughly accurate, global warming is at least as serious as a threat as child abuse, and it’s understandable that people who see the world this way are uncomfortable about being asked to stop talking about it for the purpose of forming solidarity around other issues.
As for myself, I am often willing to stop talking about global warming so I can focus on topics like transforming our approach to mental health, but I’m not always so sure that I should be doing that…….
I’m not very good at semantics. I didn’t think I was accusing YOU of thought control, I thought that the example you used could be turned back on itself as an example of thought control. Maybe that’s one and the same to you (and me). I’m getting confused with all the nuances. I think that reasonable people like you and me (LOL) can respect each other’s point of view, and learn from them. So, I do see your point.
Calling David’s simply raising the subject and calling upon others to support his views a “diversion” would be inaccurate, it’s just a polemic that David introduced for discussion. Since it’s his topic he’s not diverting another discussion, which is actually what’s happening here — i.e. somehow some film reviews got parlayed into a discussion of climate change.
Ron: I am not sure that using the Global Warming framework is necessarily the best strategy to address the problems of industrial pollution and environmental racism, at least that is how it looks from here in the heavily skewed fossil fuel based economy in WVa. Being in California last June when the new EP regulations governing emissions from coal fired power plants came down the conversation was quite different. Besides King Coal, we have a pretty strong contingent of Evangelical Christians in our state:two factors which have helped Republicans to win the last four presidential elections and most likely the 2014 election in the state legislature. In my earlier days I took a more bristling attitude towards such folks, but in recent years I have been more focused on cautioning people from allowing themselves to be turned into partisan cheerleaders for either political party. Evangelicals here are not a monolithic, although for some undoubtedly there is a pull to join under the umbrella of Liberty University mind set, which is not even a monolithic mind set among itself. Our community in Kanawha County was deeply divided over a textbook selection process in 1974- a precursor to what would later be the known as the culture war. Evangelicals, egged on by the Birch Society and the National Educator objected to the inclusion of Malcolm X and other hot button intellectuals into the Language Arts Curriculum. The editor of the Charleston Gazette, the liberal daily with statewide reach,threw oil on the fire by demeaning the protesters who were termed as”book burners,” for questioning the process. Many of the protesters came from those parts of the community not well represented by the local power structure and were already feeling left out of the conversation. So I keep a weary eye out for cultural warriors on the “left,” really the center, like Bill Maher and the crew at MSNBC who appeal what the right calls the liberal elite.
At our local library foreign policy book club, conservatives are in a minority as are anti-imperialists such as myself. It is a good exercise in working through issues with people who come from different backgrounds. This is the spirit I try to bring to civic engagement in forums like MIA, though their are also situations when the gloves have to come off.
I put my thoughts here on the matter of mixing politics (in the sense liberal vs conservative or Democratic vs Republican) with what oldhead called “our issues”.
If people want to call it “compartmentalizing strategy”, fine, call it that way. But I think that mixing politics with “our issues” is a loser strategy for our “movement”.
Let’s begin with some facts. According to the NIMH, under DSM-IV guidelines, 25 % of Americans meet the criteria for a so called “mental illness” diagnosis. That’s 75 million people nationwide. With DSM-5, the number is probably way higher.
If you are going to say that to oppose coercive psychiatry, which is the only thing I truly care about in the context of so called “mental health”, you also need to buy into the “global warming scare” – which doesn’t seem to scare Al Gore that munch having sold his TV channel to an oil financed enterprise- then you will lose half of the people who could help you achieve your goal: take 35 million out.
Now, either you don’t care about the goal or the goal itself is subordinated to your other political goals. In either case you are unlikely to get the type of support needed to get meaningful changes implemented. If “our issues” become to be increasingly seen in the context of progressive politics, things like what happened earlier in Colorado – where a coalition of progressive “mental health” activists, the NRA and the local gun lobby killed an abusive mental health legislation- will become less likely.
I am a pragmatic person. It is very likely that save for Duane, Rossa and a few others, I disagree politically on most issues with most of the MIA audience. Still, I think that the work MIA does, including by the people who contribute with comments, is worthwhile to put and end to psychiatry’s reign of terror, so I keep coming back.
It is very likely that many people at MIA would feel offended by the media I consume to inform my own politics (although perhaps not that much by the media I consume to keep an eye on what the “enemy” is up to), so I rarely bring any of that here except when it concerns “our issues”, like the Justina Pelletier coverage, of Bill O’Reilly’s opposition to the lowering of civil commitment standards.
The “compartmentalizing strategy” is a winner for those who care about accomplishing real change. Mixing “our issues” with “politics” is a loser. I hope that one doesn’t ever have to buy into progressive politics to be considered a survivor in “good standing”. Certainly that would exclude somebody like Thomas Szasz which I believe is greatly admired by many around here.
And yes, I think that the “global warming scare” is a scam – of the same magnitude as the psychaitric scam- perpetrated by people who live out of spending public tax dollars.
Richard Lindzen explains https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sHg3ZztDAw . I love his final quote,
“What we see is the very foundation of the issue of global warming is wrong
So where do we go from here?
It is hard to tell, given that to note this constitutes an “insult to the sensibilities of the educated class and the entire East and West Coasts” “.
When I see the mention of “child abuse” in the context of a discussion on the merits of the global warming scam, my head explodes. Same when we are talking about the raise of ISIS having been enabled by “global warming” as some in “progressive politics” have suggested recently.
Robert Whittiker uses checked sources as the basis of his arguments. That is why he is respected and is such a challange to mainstream psychiatry.
Conversely Lindzen has made a career of being wrong about climate science. Quoting him as to back up your climate scepticism opens you up to serious challange from those who know thier climate science. As this is a site devoted to challanging psychiatry I do not expect many people will be able to do that. On blogs devoted to clamate issues when sceptics comment it is usual for those who are infomed to trash thier arguments quite easily.
Here are a few of Lindzen’s claims that have been proven wrong:
• Changes in water vapor will dampen global warming (also known as Lindzen’s “Iris hypothesis”)? Refuted by four peer-reviewed studies within a year of the publication of Lindzen’s hypothesis. Measurements show that the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere is increasing as mainstream climate scientists expect, and as a greenhouse gas, is amplifying global warming.
• Climate change over the past century has been “minimal”? In reality, the current rate of global warming is unprecedented over the past 11,000 years.
• The 15-year ‘pause’ myth? Completely debunked – global surface warming over the past decade turns out to be more than double previous estimates, and the climate continues to accumulate heat at a rate equivalent to 4 Hiroshima atomic bomb detonations per second.
• The accuracy of climate models during that timeframe? Much better than Lindzen claims.
Here is my source
Myself after 39 years of studying natural first do no harm strategies for various health issues conclude that vaccinations are also child abuse you could say a needle rape of babies based on pseudo science. That the psychiatric “treatment ” of babies , toddlers and young children with psych drugs is child abuse. That Monsanto Corporation threatens the quality of the world food supply.Of course I could go on and on .
I’m not saying Global Warming is not as important as David Oaks says it is . I’m saying the science says the flu shot that is being pushed across America and G-d knows where else as an alleged “flu preventative” is actually taking away the natural viral immunity that a human being has. This is as explained further by retired neuro -surgeon RussellBlaylockMD .( He’s got lots of videos on u-tube) Check out Alex Jones.
I think that purposeful weakening by the medical profession of the population by first phony epidemics to get us used to taking preventative injections then later we will be ordered to the local mall or taken their by panicked citizens to get our injections under a big tent and the population being lowered by a real manmade virus sweeping across populations will hit us sooner then being killed by gobal warming. We live in Eugenic Times the attacks are from many directions .
Check out this on education : on youtube .com ( illuminati insider speaks out “rare footage”Charlotte Iserbyt secretary of education under Reagan . Gets real interesting after 25 minutes.What do you make of this as pertains to our movement
We need to take care of our own health and our families if possible as we see fit. But I think Rosa is right we need to stick with the knitting . I add And do our part where we discern and are personally moved as we decide in our most lucid moments.
I’m tending more and more to remember Bob Dylan’s line “Don’t follow leaders watch your parking meters”. I also like movies. Did you see Ward No. 6 a movie on Netflix.com based on a Anton Chekov story ? Or the short on John Lennon talking about the illuminati youtube.com-John Lennon’s interview 6/6/1968 Plus we do need inside outside activism as David explains. I’m anti psychiatry and would love to see an Association for the Advancement of Psychiatrically Oppressed People come into existence. David from your view would this be redundant or necessary?
Is global warming important. Why don’t you ask the walruses?
No, not that walrus. Those walruses.
Of course, we aren’t walruses, nonetheless, sooner or later, it’s going to effect us dramatically.
Still in denial. Alright, I’m with you then. Suck in that nitrogen. (Nicotine, too. If you’re still into that.) Deep. It’s good for you.
And who among us is it that can infallibly detect all scams or infallibly know they haven’t been fooled by pseudo science posing as science or infallibly know they are up to the moment with cutting edge scientific info. I trust my own judgement based on lived experience. Cause in a time where money talks and bullshit walks science is also bought and paid for . We must each decide for ourselves what we believe and we vote with our actions.
“Words are like leaves on the trees they shade the fruit, but what is the fruit of the sensibility.” Alexander Pope
Identity theft is a scam, Fred. Climate change is not a scam. Climate change is a reality. It’s not to late for us to reverse the damage, but if we don’t reverse it, it only gets worse. Just like that pollution which comes in a pill-bottle, there is usually a point of no return in these matters. Why isn’t climate change a scam? People don’t profit monetarily from keeping greenhouse gases down. It isn’t a rip off. Companies profit from polluting the environment. 2 + 2 as usual is still 4, not 5 or 6. Who profits from global warming? If we look at the first example I used, identity theft, people are more likely to profit from denial of climate change than otherwise. Apparently, you’ve got your scams crossed.
Alright, that said, I leave it to you. Go study the matter in more depth. Some of us already have.
Anecdotal evidence is not the same thing as being right consistently in falsifiable experiments. Psychiatry can point to tons of people who claim to benefit from their scam. Just go to your nearest NAMI chapter and you’ll get tons of “believers in psychiatry” because it worked for them.
Our understanding of climate is very limited because there are many variables that play a role. We cannot model it accurately or make predictions in the long run.
Fitting past data into a time series is very easy to do. But models that result from fitting data into equations vs understanding of the underlying mechanisms are notoriously bad at making accurate predictions. There are several reasons for that . If you are mathematically knowledgeable the reason is a combination of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_dredging , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predictive_analytics and similar mechanisms. These work well in some areas (for example for online advertisers to match ads with online users based on their online behavior) but extremely bad in others like economics or climate science.
When we understand some natural phenomenon well, such as gravity, we are able to send probes to Pluto and get pictures back. When we don’t, we have something like climate science, which is notoriously bad at predicting future temperature ranges or catastrophic meteorological events (or the frequency at which these will happen).
Alarmist global warming is a faith based belief system, not a scientific one.
I went to the link you suggest ,in the comment section of the bps. news report below the story. The 10th comment up from the bottom of the comment section by richardwisecarver . What do you think about what he writes? Thanks, Fred
Corrected punctuation ?
Also this notion that those promoting alarmist global warming are pure souls motivated solely by science is provable false. Apparently you guys forgot to read the GAO reports,
“According to the GAO, annual federal climate spending has increased from $4.6 billion in 2003 to $8.8 billion in 2010, amounting to $106.7 billion over that period. The money was spent in four general categories: technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, science to understand climate changes, international assistance for developing countries, and wildlife adaptation to respond to actual or expected changes. Technology spending, the largest category, grew from $2.56 billion to $5.5 billion over this period, increasingly advancing over others in total share. Data compiled by Joanne Nova at the Science and Policy Institute indicates that the U.S. Government spent more than $32.5 billion on climate studies between 1989 and 2009. This doesn’t count about $79 billion more spent for climate change technology research, foreign aid and tax breaks for “green energy.””
For comparison, we just got the word that doctors got 3.5 billion dollars (thus far) from big pharma, well below the $8.8 billion the federal government spent (from our tax dollars) in 2010 in climate science.
There is plenty of economic incentives on both sides of the debate, which is again something that differentiates alarmist global warming from gravity. Regardless of the economic incentives, the acceleration due to gravity and the speed of light remain constant!
Let me ask you this. When was the last time that you carefully designed an experiment to test a quantifiable and falsifiable hypothesis?
I do that several times a week. If our cars or planes were designed with the understanding of gravity that climate scientists have of climate science there would be car and plane accidents on a massive scale every day.
In science opinion polls -aka consensus – are irrelevant. What matters is ability to predict results in falsifiable experiments.
Finally, are you “denying” that governments finance most of so called “climate science” and that onto itself creates incentives for climate scientists to exaggerate their findings, especially when their predictions don’t match empirical findings?
There is difference between experimental science and observational science. The arguments you present are a bit like in the “creationism vs evolution” discussions – the fact that no one has seen a “dog evolve into a human” or that some aspects/specific examples of understanding how evolution works or has worked in the past may be wrong does not mean the theory of evolution is not the best model explaining the diversity of life.
In the same way the fact that many aspects of climate change are not well understood does not change the fact that the best explanation for the trends we see today is human-made global warming. Moreover, the public funding of research is much less likely to produce bias than the say Koch brothers’ funded research – if anything the governments may be biased in the same direction as big oil/coal companies (we see it in the pathetic response to the threat from basically all governments).
In fact we already see effects of climate change in all parts of the globe, many predicted by the models (which are of course not 100% reliable since they are only as good as the data and our understanding of global weather systems – I agree one should be skeptical every time one deals with a model), including increased frequency of storms or Arctic melting (in fact this one has exceeded expectations).
Plus one has to consider what are the possible consequences of type I vs type II error. If we assume there is man-made warming and there is none the worst we risk is that humanity switches to more sustainable and cleaner sources of energy, invests into new technologies and reduces waste. Hardly a problem in my opinion. If we however ignore the risk and it proves real (which I’d say is already the case) then we run the risk of extinction. I think I’ll take my chances and believe people who warn about climate change.
I am addressing you and all global warming believers below. I need more space 🙂 .
I see the arguement the other way round. Fossil fuel industries spend millions to deny climate science and influence governement to stop any action being taken. That is very similar to Big Pharma influencing health policy.
Here is a quote about Lindzen, someone you Cannot Say quotes a lot.
“[Lindzen] says it mostly comes down to the money—to the incentive structure of academic research funded by government grants. Almost all funding for climate research comes from the government, which, he says, makes scientists essentially vassals of the state. And generating fear, Lindzen contends, is now the best way to ensure that policymakers keep the spigot open.”
Lindzen would have us believe that tens of thousands of climate scientists around the world are all tossing their ethics aside and falsifying data in order to keep the research money flowing, even though contrarian climate scientists like Lindzen have had no trouble obtaining government research grants. Is this more plausible than the alternative explanation that 97 percent of climate research is correct, and Lindzen, whose claims have consistently been disproved by observational data, is wrong?
I think it is unfair of Cannot Say to debate climate science on a site devoted to psychiatry. Most of the readers will not be able to site credible sources to counter his arguments.
This compares with psyhiatrists who debate here, the people who oppose them can quote often quote scientific sources or just use Robert Whittikers sources.
However, as I say below, I think finding allies in diverse political camps is more important than debating the realities of climate change on this site. I have found climate campaigners very supportive of anti-psychiatry arguments and if others found a significant number of climate deniars supportive then I would not argue if we were on a demo outside a psychitric hospital together.
Agreed, and that’s why I’ve asked for the debate to be wrapped up — this isn’t really the appropriate venue for it. People with strong opinions about climate change may not be likely to change their minds, but we can try to build coalition across causes and diverse political camps.
John: Are scientists, let alone climate scientists, close to the levers of power in the U.S.? Are they exerting an undue influence over energy policy, as the Heritage Foundation claims, and accuses the Obama Administration of picking winners and losers in the energy market? For what it is worth, the mainstream in the form of the Sunday political talk shows made only one reference to the climate march in NYC on that day.
Frank , maybe I ‘m not being clear . Many times we hear the statement” I don’t want to hear conspiracy theories”. Many conspiracies are just people organizing business’s for profit that create huge collateral damage without regard for even their own employees lives let alone the huge population they threaten . Monsanto company for example. The powerful thrive on confusion among the population to divert and or divide their attention while they finance totalitarian control , global population reduction and personal security for themselves. I feel they are on purpose creating and or aggravating global warming while at the same time making preparations to personally survive it which they believe they can. I believe you already might know all this.
Please check out these videos and tell me what you think , if you have time . I agree with many things that you say.
The New World Order Defined Jason Bermas Invisible Empire
Part 1 and 11 on Youtube.com
I will checkout the links you provided.
I think that a national anti-psychiatry movement to be effective right now must focus primarily on the issues of the medical model and coercive psychiatry.
However I would also insist on my right to be part of a “progressive caucus” which would link psychiatric oppression to the system and the economy, i.e. to capitalism and imperialism. Problem is I don’t know if I could tolerate the idea of a neo-fascist caucus attempting to promote racism and national chauvinism. It’s a dialectic we have to work out in order to move forward.
Re: “… neo-fascist caucus attempting to promote racism and national chauvinism.”
Where do you come up with this stuff ?
Are you inferring that those who do not see eye-to-eye with your political views are somehow neo-fascists, racists ? Are you just assuming that there will be these types ?
As far as any kind of national movement, we are NOT ready for prime-time !
I wouldn’t want to be in a room for five minutes with a group ready to start slinging names like the ones you just did !
Re: “… psychiatric oppression to the system and the economy, i.e. to capitalism and imperialism.”
1) Are you not aware that the work of Senator Charles Grassley involved investigation of fraudulent research with *tax dollars* and many publicly-funded universities?
2) Can you not see that the FDA is as much a criminal partner as the drug makers?
3) Is it not the *states* and judges who have enforcement capability when it comes to incarceration, forced drugging?
Sure, the drug makers are crooks… but you’re ignoring a lot of damage caused by government!
You’ve yet to define that, as I recall.
You mean, like Japan ‘s invasion of China…
The rape of Nanking.
Oh, you meant western Imperialism….
Of course, all evil begins in the west, especially in the US, right?
There exists a real need to organize a community of like minded individuals. People of a different political persuasion, perhaps, than your own, Duane. The opposition is on the move and furiously organizing anyway. If we don’t organize, we stay disorganized, and we don’t make any significant headway. Disorganization serves the opposition. Such, I think, the gist of oldhead’s argument and, as far as it goes, I agree with his assessment. Given an either/or situation, I’d pick action over inaction any day of the week.
Re: “… people of a different political persuasion”
These are the ones who need not apply?
Is that it?
And the ones may apply…. Let me guess, progressives?
Yeah, you progressives have made so much freakin’ progress, Frank!
You don’t want any conservatives, libertarians or other people who are not like-minded…. Sounds like the very prejudice you scream you’re against.
Actually, it sounds like a fringe group, of a half dozen like-minded folks ,with too much time on their hands!
In the belly of the beast (i.e. the corporate state), Duane, you do whatever you must. Some people prostitute themselves out to big corporations. Others fight the corporate power structure. You make your choices, I make mine, and we make ours. There isn’t ONE we here mind you. There are MANY different we-s. I don’t see it as simply a matter of fighting the psycho-pharmaceutical industrial complex, it is also a matter of fighting corporatocracy, and the multi-national ownership of nationstates. I have no problem with being a part of a lunatic fringe group myself. To my way of thinking, Teddy Roosevelt’s linking of anarchy with madness was Godsend, and lends respectability to the idea. I guess our, his and my, politics differ, and I see that as a good thing.
To “stick to the knitting” here, I’m heading get back to the movie reviews. I did my own review of Delaney Ruston’s film, and I also gave it a thumbs down. Here”s why:
“Dr. Ruston has cultivated ties to celebrities like Glenn Close and former U.S. Senator Patrick Kennedy, who also appears in the film —red flag warnings that money, power and industry are trying to gain international respectability through the seemingly innocuous footage of a film about compassion and caring. The American style Ruston brings to the film has a Hallmark card feel to it (so do pharma ads), the narrator and her camera focusing on how alike we all are, no matter where we live. Well, yes, in many ways that’s true. I feel good about that, I don’t feel good about how scientifically speculative information about the biochemical nature of the major mental health problems is being spread through a stealth campaign called stigma.
A feel good scene shows middle school children in the International School in Delhi, learning how to overcome stigma by learning about mental illness and the brain. We see brain charts and a kid who hasn’t a clue that he is learning science that is merely wishful thinking at this stage, spouting the usual stuff about the biochemical nature of mental illness. The teacher takes an active, nurturing role in pushing the non-existent science. These carefully cultivated celebrity connections can open international doors, and not just for filmmakers. I’ll bet a lot of the parents of the middle school kids work for pharmaceutical companies in Delhi.
The real life stories of people struggling with mental illness were interesting, don’t get me wrong, so from that viewpoint, it is forty minutes well spent. But, I do strongly suspect that there is a hidden agenda behind the hidden pictures. Getting people and organizations to talk about stigma is pharma’s social marketing technique. Superficially, it seems harmless, but it also seems very much about getting drugs to some of the world’s most populated countries.”
Perhaps PsychoQuad would like to review Mysteries of the Organism in future. Unfortunately, I can’t upload the lurid DVD cover. I’ve seen it. Memorable is putting it mildly.
A dense film that cuts up footage of a primary plot of two young Yugoslavian girls, one a politico and the other a sexpot, and an affair with a visiting Russian skater. Mixing metaphors of Russia’s relationship with Yugoslavia, intercut with footage and interviews with Wilhelm Reich and Al Goldstein of Screw magazine. The film applies Reich’s theories of Orgone energy and analogies of Stalinism as a form of Freudian sexual repression. Also known as W.R. The Mysteries of the Organism in English subtitled version. Was banned in Yugoslavia shortly after it was made.
I also feel that many false assumptions are being made, and we are spreading ourselves way too thin.
I’m as guilty as anyone for getting too deep into politics with this blog post (and another recent one as well). I felt like I needed to counter some of these false assumptions being made about those of us who do not fit into a certain political box.
And so I fought back a bit, to have my voice heard, along with sending a reminder that others in my political minority (a definite ‘minority’ on this site) have a right to be heard as well. But I don’t see how continuing to do so will make us a stronger group, or bring us closer to the mission of replacing the current psychiatric paradigm with one that allows for freedom to refuse treatment; one that offers safer, more effective options.
We’re getting diverted by politics. I’ve made the suggestion of using forums, and set a couple up, hoping some people would join in. No such luck. I think if the political in-fighting continues, this may be the wrong site for me. And I can’t help but think there are others who feel the same way.
I recently took several months away from this site.
It was good for my sanity.
I’m gonna take several more.
I’m growing tired of being part of a FRINGE GROUP that is going nowhere!
If I’m not back soon, or if i never come back, it’s because I value peace of mind over this nonsense.
I think you’re getting to worked up over a scuffle on the internet. That’s totally normal and I’d not expect the wide range of people here to agree on everything or to keep their opinions about everything that is not strictly psychiatry related to themselves. At least we talk to one another – there’s not many places where one can get out of his/her bubble and quarrel with everyone. I’d enjoy the opportunity.
But seriously, I think you’re overreacting. First of all the comments under MIA articles are not likely to be a basis for the movement and whatever more or less respectful disagreements people have on-line are going to affect anything. MIA is a great resource and a great forum but organising has to take part on the ground or at least on dedicated forums.
Btw, fight against psychiatry is a POLITICAL issue and it is a part of a broader political context so discussing politics and different visions of how it should look like are very much in place.
B: I couldn’t agree more. The problem in our society is not polarization among ordinary people. Single issue organizing has its limitations because people are generally only talking to like minded people and preaching to the choir. So I think that part of the discomfort people are experiencing on MIA is mixing it up with people from different backgrounds. This is really off script for media and political elites, and is potentially subversive.
Duane and All, I saw this on a needle point in a resale store once .It was done by a 12 year old girl in 1910 in an era before the days of television.
“Sweet are the thoughts that savor of content: a quiet mind is richer than a crown.”
I don’t know where the quote is from but I bought the framed needlepoint for $65 about 15 years ago. And hung it on my wall . It seemed to be of help.
Definitely we are stronger here at MIA with Duane commenting then not and his website is a gift to humanity. We need us all to overcome the PsychCongloberation.
Discover and Rediscover: On the one hand I see the need to tie anti-forced psychiatry to a broader political platform. On the other hand, as Ralph Nader’s presence at the Cato Institute testifies, we also we an infrastructure for perusing single issue reform that brings in people across a diverse political landscape. I think it is possible to do both. As for environmentalism or conservation, I don’t think we need a catastrophism ideology to promote a common sense movement to eliminate wasteful use of natural resources. The Green Drinks group that I attend focuses on promoting conversion to LEED technology and energy alternatives as good for businesses’ bottom line and as I would add, conservation is good for one’s household budget. I followed the events at the climate march and I am involved with the anti-mountain top removal groups in my state, but I also agree with some of the Libertarian Party’s platform. As things currently stand, the three minor political parties- the Green Party affiliated Mountain Party, the Constitutional Party, and the Libertarian Party are shut out of the duolopoly’s control of the political process. This sort of mirrors where we are at MIA.
Thanks to this website I have become aware of the fact people with mental health diagnosis and their allies have seen themselves as part of a marginalized minority rather than as isolated individuals. Having not been there in the hey day of the Mad Pride movement in the early 1980s, I do not have a gauge to adequately gauge our current situation. All I can say as fact, is that this site produces more broad reaching discussion than the chat rooms at the Marshall Graduate Counseling program did, where incidentally I had to pay 800$ per three credit hour to attend.
Here! Here! And the arguing is free. Don’t forget that at donation to keep the site going would be appreciated.
B, Frank and the rest of global warming believers,
My honest desire is that we leave politically charged debates away from “our issues” but if you keep insisting that “global warming” be part of the “mad agenda”, then I will have to go somewhere else in an exercise of intellectual honesty.
I have a single standard for what I call science: does the endeavor that claims to be scientific follow the scientific method? And to be clear, to me the scientific method is the tradition started by Francis Bacon, more details here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baconian_method . I would recommend many in this site to read about the “idols of the mind” explained there.
In laymen the scientific method can be summarized as follows,
– First you propose a hypothesis, such as are “mental illnesses” caused by chemical imbalances or does CO2 cause quantifiable changes in temperatures. Bonus points if this can be quantified with a number. If it can’t, then all you can do is to test a binary hypothesis (is it or isn’t).
– Second, you design a falsifiable empirical experiment to test your hypothesis. The word “falsifiable” means that the result of the experiment can confirm or contradict your hypothesis. For instance, we know that people have been depleted of serotonin to levels that would predict what the DSM calls “depression” and these people do not become what the DSM calls depressed. We know that the predictions made in the late 1990s as to the range of temperatures that should be expected for a given concentration of CO2 failed to materialize. On both cases we can say that both hypotheses have been falsified, meaning, they are either totally false or they do not explain the whole thing. If a theory cannot came up with falsifiable experiments it cannot call itself scientific. In other words, if all a theory can do is to propose experiments that confirm the hypothesis, then your endeavor is not scientific, no matter the consensus of the gate keepers.
– If your falsifiable experiments confirm your hypothesis, you keep doing more until one fails, at which point you refine your hypothesis so that it explains all previous experiments and then the one that fails. And you keep going. If your hypothesis cannot be changed to accommodate the failed experiments, then your hypothesis needs to be rejected as “unscientific”.
That’s science, or what B called “experimental science”. The rest is not. This ability of science of making accurate predictions in falsifiable experiments is what gives science its prestige because you can vote all you want that the acceleration of gravity is different from its value of 9.8 m/s^2, but if you design your planes, cars or Pluto probes without taking that value into account, all of them will crash, be it in a curve (case of cars) or in the air (planes) or fail to reach their final destination (case of the New Horizons probe).
Now, because of the success of science, Richard Feynman warned of what he called “cargo cult science” . Here he gives a layman description of the same https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaO69CF5mbY .
Examples of cargo cult sciences that are beyond dispute are: economics (all areas regardless of the fancy mathematics they employ), psychology, etc.
When you say “observational science”, be careful about it, because the most famous publication on “observational science” in these quarters is the DSM. Nobody denies that there are people who suffer “madness”, “psychotic episodes” or “extreme fear of germs”. But describing those patterns of behavior does not make the DSM scientific in the only sense that matters. If you want an expanded definition of science to accommodate alarmist global warming, you will also have to accommodate the DSM and psychiatry.
This is not to say that we shouldn’t spend money on climate science, quite the contrary, but we have to be honest that in its current form it is unable to make accurate falsifiable predictions in which the alarmist global warming hypothesis is confirmed with overwhelming probability, using its own measures of success, and thus we cannot base wide ranging economic measures on their predictions, just as we don’t base economic policy solely on predictions by academic economists. Government, and others, fund economic departments around the world -and they are among the wealthiest departments in most universities- they produce reports that inform policy, but they do not dictate policy.
I would say that if climate scientists want to increase their funding, scaremongering doesn’t seem to be working, because they create enemies in people who would be otherwise interested in understanding the mechanisms that drive climate better or others genuinely interested in environmental issues but who are also intellectually honest, such as the people interviewed in the documentary “Pandora’s Promise”
Finally, those who doubt that bureaucracies, any one of them, have only one goal in mind, “self preservation”, are welcome to read about the Iron Law of Bureaucracies.
I hope we can move past this issue, but if you guys insist I will have to find a different “anti psychiatry” home for the sake of my own intellectual honesty.
Quick follow up,
I think it is implicit in my exposition, but if it isn’t, I want to also affirm that the domain of science is narrow. In other words, I am not advocating for https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientism here. On the contrary, I honestly believe that there are areas of human knowledge that are not scientific yet worthwhile. The most obvious examples are the arts or the study of history.
However, we cannot go around saying that psychiatry is unscientific to then embrace an equally unscientific endeavor such as alarmist global warming.
Tell it to the walruses, the polar bears, and the penguins. Remember the dodo bird, the passenger pigeon, and the Carolina parakeet. We’re in the midst of another great extinction, and not because we live in a pristine (George Dubya’s word) environment.
There was a time when the debate was between the creationists (so-called now) and the evolutionists. I don’t know where the theologians stand on this one, but I do know where the scientists stand, and I am standing on the same ground.
I really think this issue is bigger and more impacting than any issues regarding psychiatry and the pharmaceutical companies but, of course, this is not the place to carry on with that debate. I do think it something that present and former mental patients, friends, and allies can take an interest in, and do something about. What’s more, I would urge them to do so. You don’t do so by denying that global warming, climate change, is taking place. It is taking place, and no one with any knowledge on the subject, needs to foolish pretend that el nino, for instance, is a complete myth.
Introducing the “intelligent design” vs evolution controversy here is a red herring.
I have asked you many times if you have ever constructed a carefully designed falsifiable experiment. Your lack of answer makes me think you haven’t.
You speak of polar bears but their population has been growing as of late http://polarbearscience.com/2013/07/15/global-population-of-polar-bears-has-increased-by-2650-5700-since-2001/ .
Other catastrophic predictions that global warming alarmists made. have also been falsified
You might be pro environment. I respect that. But using pseudo scientific, scaremongering tactics, which are no different from the tactics used by E Fuller Torrey to advance his own coercive agenda, is not helping your cause. Quite the contrary, it is getting people to become anti environment. I can point to gallup polls that attest that the environment is not the among the things that Americans care most about today. One can point to the climategate scandal as the inflection point.
“if you have ever constructed a carefully designed falsifiable experiment”
There’s a difference between experimental and observational science.
The Earth is warming because of human activity and there is plenty of evidence for it from climate studies and biology. That is at this point the best proven explanation of the observed rise in temperatures. And it is pretty damn scary.
There’s a huge difference between global warming science and psychiatry. For once it’s not been corrupted by special interests as much (rather there are special interests which profit of denying climate change is an issue).
Cannot Say: You may enjoy Alexander Coburn’s climate skepticism from a left perspective. Coburn is the recently deceased editor of Counterpunch and a true iconoclast. But It was worth bearing in mind, that European elites are scrambling to position themselves in case climate change impinges on their prerogative rather than challenging climate change science.
These are the same elites responsible for the rise of the National Front in France or the UK Independence Party in the UK for being tone deaf to the needs of the average citizen.
I think that we are in better shape here in the US where the “elites” can be challenged and questioned.
Thanks for pointing to Alexander Coburn, I will take a look if only because I love iconoclast people :).
Okay. I’m not resigned to climate change. You, on the other hand, are denying it. I would warn against, and particularly in this case, 1. resignation, and 2. denial.
Perhaps we need to look more closely at the evidence. Okay. Science provides the evidence, the facts we arrive at through the scientific method, not scientism. We can manage to have some kind of level headed perspective on the field of endeavor itself.
As for alarmism, you sound an alarm because of imminent danger. Okay. That imminent danger exists. One thing we are in less danger than ever before of doing is experiencing another ice age. The glaciers are melting, as are the Arctic ice sheets. A piece of Antarctica, the size of Manhattan Island, broke off and drifted away. I kid you not. Denial is not looking at the evidence.
I am not denying anything, again, I ask you to watch Richard Lindzen here,
The talk itself is a bit technical, although not 100% technical, it should be accessible to anybody with a basic scientific/mathematical background. If you don’t have that background, then I ask you to please stop the name calling on matters you lack the appropriate scientific training. Throwing the “denial” epithet is not constructive. We are all “mental illness” deniers around here, according to the “believers” at the APA.
Alright, and here’s a Ted Talk for you. Maybe we can compare notes sometime. http://youtu.be/2zXz4UJb5WM
And this is Pandora’s Promise trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDw3ET3zqxk .
Cannotsay, tho I totally don’t buy your climate change conclusions, I hope you see me pretty strongly agreeing that this should not be an issue which should divide the relatively few people who clearly and articulately understand the psychiatric menace. Those who support efforts to fight global warming will do so regardless, and I don’t sense that you want to stop them from doing so. Nor do I think you should be expected to agree with some consensus on the matter in order to be considered a member in good standing of the anti-psych movement or whatever, tho I don’t really see pressure for such a consensus. I see no one here with more legitimacy than you. At any rate your analyses of psychiatric fraud are among the best at MIA, so I hope you choose to continue posting & participating.
Let’s go back to debunking “mad issues”. It is more fun :).
BTW, I want to clarify that I do not think that people should stop being “pro environment” or being anti “global warming”. That’s a personal choice that I respect. The issue I have a problem with is to be called a “denialist” only because I am not as alarmed with the things that climate science can say conclusively (vs what is “alarmist consensus”) as Al Gore is.
Cannotsay, I think you’ve made your point and it’s time to move on. If you’d like to continue this debate about a few sentences of David’s 2000+ word blog post, please take it to the forums.
But I hope you say the same to those on the “global warming scare” camp. In fact, Duane has been trying to send them there for a while without success. Also, they are the ones who have been using “denial” name calling, not me, Duane or the others who have been calling this a politically charged issue since it was first posted.
Well, “scare,” “scam,” “alarmist,” “believers” etc is also name-calling, so it’s tit for tat.
Politically charged issues are going to come up and some degree of conflict is inevitable, but we can’t let conversations get hijacked and derailed over ideological differences. I enjoy a rollicking debate as much as the next person but in the context of this site they’re not always appropriate.
None of this is name calling in the true sense, and I think both sides are “guilty” of refusing to drop the subject for now when the original blog was about film reviews. When people start calling each other mf’s and threatening one another maybe we should revisit the issue, but for now I think people should stop being so damn sensitive; moderation can be a slippery slope.
While Duane’s posts are often presumptive and combative, cannotsay’s posts are among the most well-considered and groundbreaking on the site. He should be entitled to ramble a little now & then i think.
“if you keep insisting that “global warming” be part of the “mad agenda””
I’ve never proposed such a thing. Although in principle I see both issues as apart of a bigger picture but I’m in no way suggesting that the fact we disagree on climate change should in any way impact the way we work together for things we agree on. There’s always be things 2 people disagree on and the point is to concentrate on the common struggles rather than differences.
“That’s science, or what B called “experimental science”. The rest is not. This ability of science of making accurate predictions in falsifiable experiments is what gives science its prestige.”
Experimental science is just a little tiny part of science, the same one which gave you other things that work (say antibiotics). Sure, it’s cool when you can design clean experiments and test them in a lab but that’s a luxury which is not all that common. Moreover, experimental science is also prone to misinterpretations given the complexity of problems. It may be quite easy to make experiments based on theoretical predictions in physics but try applying it to biology or more complex parts of chemistry and things stop being so elegant. Observational science is just as important and it actually drives formation of new hypothesis which can either be tested by experiments or lead to predictions which are confirmed by further observations (you seem to forget about the latter, which is what the climate science is about).
As for the climate models not being validated it’s only true to the fact that they tend to underestimate the rate and degree of change rather than overestimate it…
As a long time climate campaigner and anti-psychiatry campaigner I find this debate odd.
Any campaigner worth thier salt tires to find allies. They try to find out what motivates potential allies and then tries to bring them on board. Slagging off your potential allies cause in most cases is not going to bring them onboard.
I have worked with anti-captitalist climate campaigners and One Nation Conservatives when protesting psychiatry. Breggin is a libertarian, I suspect Joanna Moncrieff is a socialist yet they work together on combating mainstream psychaitry.
I am with you, John. We need to find areas we agree on in order to be effective. Trying to appease or align the whole range of political opinions leads to the kind of chaos we see on this thread.
One point of agreement that seems to be repeated by both “sides” of this debate is that corporations have too much control of government apparatus, or to put it another way, that government does not serve the needs of individuals but rather of elites who have an interest in controlling the rest of us. This might be framed differently by “conservatives” vs. “progressives,” but it’s an area I’ve found agreement on across the political spectrum. I think finding issues like that which have leverage across party or political lines is a lot more important than arguing out the finer details of climate science, which is a pretty new science that undoubtedly allows many valid critiques, and which probably none or almost none of us here know enough about to really draw any definitive conclusions about. I’d rather look through the “sides” of this debate and find out where we agree, and move forward from there, rather than spending so much time hashing out the two sides of an argument that will not be resolved in this forum.
Drug companies are self-serving and greedy entities willing to lie, cheat, and bribe their way into control. They are in cahoots with the psychiatric profession, and to a large degree with big portions of our government apparatus, and have been very successful in using marketing tactics to promote the existence of metaphorical “diseases” that their drugs purport to “treat.” That’s what I think pretty much everyone here agrees to, and that’s where I think we should build from. I am of the mind that this kind of oppression is, indeed, linked to a wide range of other oppressive activities supported by our society, but it is not a requirement that others see it that way for them to oppose the Pharma-psychiatric-government effort to drug the so-called “mentally ill” into submission for a profit.
OK so for now let’s get back to talking about films (the original topic).
Unless anyone wants to argue about abortion for awhile. 🙂
Me!!! So here are my views on abortion:…just kidding ;P.
I agree that we shouldn’t let ourselves get hung up on a tangential issue, but at the same time many issues come together simultaneously in the political arena. In the WVa US Senate debate last night, The EPA’s role, imagined or real in job lose in our state was front in center, with the questionable clean coal initiatives thrown in for good measure. Also both candidates threw us under the bus on the gun control debate linking us to terrorists and violent criminals. The Democrat Natalie Tennant castigated the those judged mentally incompetent. I trust that most on this website know their is a difference between those who have been involuntarily committed and those who have been judged mentally incompetent-I am executor of my mother’s estate. Neither The moderator of the debate nor the opposing candidate Shelly Moore Capito caught this guffaw.
I had a very close friend who was also quad. Have You ever heard of Ken Brown?
He’s from your area. If you’ve never heard of him, ask your friends about him. He was truly a Unique Individual.
Being a Quad Is The Biggest Challenge I Have Ever Seen Another Person Endure Through In My Entire Life. ~Keep Fighting For Everyone’s Rights