Pinball Wizards and the Doomed Project of Psychiatric Diagnosis

The DSM claims to be a scientific system of classification. The validity of any system of scientific classification is the extent to which it can be shown to reflect the real world. Fifty years of study and investigation, and huge sums of money spent across the Western world on neuroscientific research institutes, on careers and equipment, has failed to establish the validity of a single psychiatric diagnosis.

Binge Eating and Genetics

Roberto Ferdman recently wrote an article for the Washington Post titled “Why you shouldn’t blame yourself for binge eating.” Long story short, Mr. Ferdman concluded:

“... the next time you find yourself in a rut, and eating too much, know that the unbecoming scene isn’t merely a question of will power – it’s rather, in all likelihood, a matter of your genetic makeup.”

In other words, it’s not you being “lazy” or “weak-willed” or a “bad decision maker” that is causing you to binge-eat. Your binge eating is a consequence of your genes – “a matter of your genetic makeup.” This claim is one of a growing, widespread belief that the definitive way of understanding psychological disorders is by identifying biological correlates and pathologies. However, the evidence strongly suggests that this belief is wrong and dangerous.