Thursday, October 29, 2020

Comments by Steve McCrea

Showing 100 of 6446 comments. Show all.

  • That is my observation also. “Peers” are rarely considered equal partners, but more someone who can “talk at the client’s level” and thereby explain why the system is “right.” I’ve seen plenty of “peers” who intentionally and consistently buck that trend (Stephen Gilbert/Boren, for instance), and they can sometimes get some stuff done, but they are never considered actual peers to the professionals. As long as that condition pertains, “peer support” remains mostly coopted and lacking in significant influence beyond the level of an individual person’s situation.

  • Posting as moderator: It is possible that past moderators handle things differently. The Posting Guidelines do mention profanity, but in the context of being respectful to others. It could be interpreted that all profanity is banned, but I’ve read it as meaning profanity in reference to someone’s person or ideas would be out of bounds.

  • The difference is that I get to define what I think. is “wrong” in the mental/spiritual realm. If a doctor tests and finds I have low thyroid, s/he can then tell me what is “wrong” and we can make a plan. But no one can tell me it’s “wrong” for me to have flashbacks or feel anxious. Sometimes feeling anxious is absolutely RIGHT – it is my body warning me that I’m in danger! Sometimes it is right but not very helpful, like if I’m going for a job interview and there is a “danger” that I won’t get the job. Sometimes it was right at an earlier time but is being applied to a situation today where the application doesn’t work. So I would be “wrong” for applying it to this situation. But the anxiety isn’t in itself “wrong.”

    Establishing order is what we do as humans. So “disorder” can certainly be perceived as “wrong.” But someone else telling me that my emotional state is “wrong” because it doesn’t meet their criteria for “normal” is judgmental and is frequently destructive.

    As a therapist, I have no problem asking a client, “What’s wrong?” from the perspective of the client. But I would NEVER tell a client, “Your reaction to being sexually molested is ‘disordered’ (AKA WRONG!)” It’s not my job to decide, and that’s why the DSM labels are problematic. It makes people feel “wrong” for feeling the way they do, instead of helping them see the challenges they face in a new light, which is what therapy should be doing.

  • “…by convincing them that their troubles are just an inevitable result of what happened to them, and there is no possibility of them changing their reaction to something else and so getting more control over their lives.”

    I don’t think someone needs to believe there is something “wrong” with them to consider the possibility of changing their reactions/coping mechanisms. My emphasis has always been on how they WANT their lives to proceed as opposed to how they can be “fixed” in the sense of “returning to ‘normal’ (as defined by our social norms).

  • Harrow showed that people with more favorable prognoses prior tom the study had worse outcomes on drugs than those with less favorable diagnoses had when off drugs. So “favorable prognostic factors” did not associate with better outcomes, whatever Harrow might have speculated about it. I also understand that he reconsidered his first analysis in the light of further data and critiques, and I’m wondering if you were reading his first assessment.

  • POSTING AS MODERATOR:

    If there are specific posts that aren’t there, please let me know. Your posts are pretty much always posted without moderation, so I’m not sure what could be missing. E-mail me directly if you find something specific I need to look for.

    Steve

  • I agree, children are their weakest point. They can’t portray a two-year-old as a potential mass murderer needing to be “treated.” When you tell people about kids under one year old being on psych drugs, they are stunned. When you let people know that over half of foster youth over 12 are on psych drugs, people pay attention. A lot of the arguments for psych drugging and incarceration don’t sound nearly so convincing when kids are the victims.

  • Hi, Sandra,

    I guess I have a little concern about the idea of “diversity of opinions” in this context. My problem with it is this: those in the psychiatric world have a MUCH greater power and privilege than those that they ostensibly “treat.” I believe that conveys a much higher responsibility on them to insist that their “opinions” are based firmly upon scientific facts and knowledge. I think one reason you don’t have an answer is because opinions or “voices” can be valued differently by different people, and it is of course very, very easy for those in power to simply ignore the voices of those they have power over. So if we REALLY want to have a conversation where “all voices are heard,” I think we have to start with amplifying the voices of those who receive the services in question, such that their EXPERIENCES (not their OPINIONS) are considered the most vital data being examined. At the same time, those who have the power to ignore such voices would have to be restricted from positing their opinions as fact – they would have to present scientific data to support their opinions, AND would have to have their positions jibe with the reports of their “patients” or else not be considered valid.

    It is, indeed, difficult to manage, but not because there is a diversity of opinion, but because there is a differential of power, and those who have the power to make their opinions sound like facts are unwilling to set that power aside long enough to hear what the real effects of their “treatments” are. Present company excluded, I think.

  • I agree wholeheartedly – the tendency of the “professional” is often to force the person to be “reasonable,” and to re-a. ssume the roles they are rebelling against. Which is actually the very WORST thing you can do! A “mental health” crisis generally means that whatever role a person HAS been playing is not working. Maybe they need to reconsider how they’re living their life! Forcing them back into their old roles would drive them into apathy.

    Having a crisis is not an illness! And the solution is not to. force someone back to “normal,” whatever that is.

  • POSTING AS MODERATOR:

    In fairness to Oldhead, I have posted this last response (since Richard specifically referred to him in his post).

    I will be following Robert’s directive from here onward, and post things that relate to Terror Management Theory. Comments re: COVID are welcome as long as they are presented in that context. Any attempts to personalize negative responses will not be posted.

  • Pretty much, yeah. They don’t have to agree with each other or with US law, though US law can supersede them depending on the issue. “State’s Rights” vs. centralized government control has been an issue since the first Continental Congress back in the 1700s. It continues to play out today, right in front of our eyes. The intensity of the conflict over “mask mandates” is a reflection of that ongoing conflict. “Let’s act together in everybody’s interests” vs. “Washington isn’t going to tell US what to do!” Our current “liberal-conservative” spectrum is closely related to that theme, IMHO. Unfortunately, I think it can blind us to bigger issues on different spectra.

  • I agree, we know what we need to know about them. We know: 1) They mess with our brain chemistry, and indirectly, our brain structure, just like any “psychoactive drug,” including heroin, meth, alcohol, LSD, etc.; 2) there is no identifiable “illness” being treated, no means of distinguishing the “ill” from the “well,” so at best, these can be considered palliative drugs, similar to heroin for pain or aspirin for headaches; 3) all of these drugs have serious and in some cases deadly adverse effects, such that people taking the APs die 20-25 years earlier than the average person in society; 4) they all have withdrawal effects that generally lead to MORE of the “symptom” they are supposed to be suppressing; and 5) whatever unstudied long-term consequences exist, the evidence suggests that they are not good or helpful.

    What more needs to be known? A simple cost-benefit analysis says that we’re “treating” an unknown condition (if it even is a condition) with a drug that has largely unknown long-term consequences (other than early death and diabetes) and known short-term adverse effects which can be severe, and known withdrawal effects which can be worse than the “condition” being “treated.” The only benefit appears to be a temporary lessening of uncomfortable “symptoms” for an unknown proportion of the population using them. What argument is there for their continued widespread use? What happened to “first, do no harm?”

  • Certainly, state legislatures have done a ton of things that have forced the national government or national/international corporations to take notice. For instance, California set fuel emission standards that were higher than any other state. Because they wanted to sell cars in California, auto makers targeted making cars to meet those standards, even if other states didn’t require it.

    Laws governing “involuntary commitment” are made by the states and differ from state to state. Setting a different standard in a particular state and proving that it worked better is one very legitimate approach to handling the problem. The city of Berkeley, CA banned “electroshock therapy” for a while back in the 80s, and even though a judge overturned it, it got plenty of news coverage. It’s a legit strategy.

  • Thank you, Larry! That is very helpful.

    And I agree with you – it is one of those arguments like nature/nurture that can go on forever but not be resolved. Some of it gets down to values and priorities, and some comes down to perceptions vs. reality. The second part can be addressed through research, at least in part. The first is not resolvable except through quality communication, which I find few take the time to learn or execute.

  • Commenting as moderator:

    I have a suggestion. It is clear that we could go on and on about how this is proven or not proven or this is the right approach or that approach is really dumb and anyone who agrees with it is a fascist traitor and on and on. But I think you’re right – science does not make political decisions, and political decisions themselves can’t be altered by science. So let’s stick to the stuff that CAN be determined with more certainty!

    If someone believes hydrochloroquine works, please, share the studies showing that is true! If someone believes it’s dangerous, please share the source of that information – what side effects have been shown in studies to occur, and what’s the cost-benefit analysis? If someone thinks masks are dangerous, where is the data? If you believe they’re helpful, let us know the scientific reasons why.

    The last time this discussion got started, it degenerated into a rhetorical shouting match that had to be discontinued. I don’t want that happening again. Let’s debate the issue like the intelligent, mature adults we all are, and put out the pros and cons without the hype and fear. After all, we’re not going to change the minds of most people by telling them they are wrong. Let’s put the data out there and let people decide for themselves! I’d be happy to be educated, especially about the value of Zinc and Vitamin C and D.

    So my suggestion here: instead of wasting time about whether Trump’s or Biden’s plans are good or bad or bad and worse, why don’t WE bring the science together and examine it? How about educating each other in a mutually respectful environment, and then we can all decide which plan(s) seems best to us? Does that sound do-able?

    I very much doubt bringing psychiatry to an end will realistically occur if people on the same side can’t work out a way of communicating respectfully about things we don’t agree about. Thoughts?

  • Working as an advocate for foster youth, I saw this same pattern over and over. Stimulants for “ADHD” leading to deterioration/aggression, leading to more drugs, leading to more deterioration, eventually leading to kids on 4-5 drugs who can’t maintain in a foster home and end up in residential “treatment” centers. And yet mentioning that the “treatment plan” seems to be leading to more and more deterioration is met with hurt feelings and outrage, or with complete dismissal. Isn’t “treatment” supposed to make you better?

  • Yeah, there was some study way back that claimed that “combined therapy was better than either medication or therapy alone.” It became some sort of mantra such that any challenge to it was met with derision, at least in the circles I was traveling in at the time, even though many future studies showed no such thing. It’s one of those myths like the “broken brain” myth that has little to no support, and yet persists like a bad case of poison oak.

  • Are these people freakin’ serious? What about a voice pattern could POSSIBLY be considered a “biomarker” for anything? I suppose that they will discover that “depressed” people speak in a flatter and less variable tone. Or we could just ASK the person how s/he is feeling instead of using all this technology to analyze their voices? How does this kind of idiocy pass for science?

  • And a lot of people given antidepressants don’t feel better or feel worse. See Kirsch’s works for the minuscule difference between AD’s and placebo when you look at all the trials together instead of cherry picking the ones they submit to the FDA. As for antipsychotics, yes, they do tend to reduce hallucinations and in some cases delusions in the short run, though certainly not for everyone. Unfortunately, long-term followup studies suggest that this is very much a temporary phenomenon, and that over the long term, people chronically using antipsychotics have MORE episodes of psychosis than those who use them intermittently or not at all. If you would read “Anatomy of an Epidemic,” you could see this research for yourself.

    I’m afraid a lot of what you’ve been led to believe about psych drugs is not actually true.

  • I’d be interested in hearing your “evidence of brain pathology” for any “mental illness” you’d like to name. Of course, all such research is tainted from the beginning, since the definitions of “Schizophrenia” and “bipolar” and “Borderline Personality Disorder” are all extremely vague and subjective, leading inevitably to heterogeneous groupings who can’t possibly have significant shared biological traits. But even accepting such vague definitions, the research I am familiar with shows at best very small correlations with any biological “cause,” the most optimistic being around 15% correlation with a mess of a hundred or more genes, and using multiple “disorders” for the correlation. Whereas the correlation between traumatic events and any of the “mental disorders,” including “schizophrenia” and “bipolar,” is extremely high, usually over 80%.

    And if you’re talking instead about fMRIs and PET scans, this research has long been critiqued for not being able to distinguish cause from function. What I mean is, if a “depressed brain” has a certain pattern (which has NOT been consistently shown, by the way), there is no way to know if that pattern CAUSES depression or RESULTS FROM the person feeling depressed. In fact, there is evidence that thinking depressing thoughts shifts the brain’s function in the direction associated with “depressed brains,” and thinking of something else returns to a more “normal” pattern.

    The other problem is that these scans are AVERAGED. So even if there is a tendency, for instance, for people who are diagnosed with “ADHD” to have a certain pattern when confronted with difficult tasks, only SOME of those so diagnosed have this pattern – there is a wide range of individual results, some of which conform closely to the pattern and some of which vary widely. This is why PET scans can’t be used as a diagnostic tool – there is NO consistent finding across large numbers of “ADHD”-diagnosed people.

    So the science I know of says that biology probably plays some role in how we react, but that there is no consistent biological pattern with any of the “mental illnesses” as defined in the DSM. The science also says that traumatic experiences are MUCH more highly correlated with any “mental illness” than any biological findings to date.

    I’m happy to read any research you have that would speak to this question. But so far, I can’t agree that the science to date agrees with or even suggests the conclusions you propose.

  • In other words, listening to a black young person’s experience and validating it can help them feel better? This title makes it seem like “discussing racial stress” is some kind of a special “therapeutic technique” for black youth with “mental health problems.”

    Systemic change will happen when we stop talking about common experiences and reactions to our social and economic system as if they are somehow “illnesses” that need to be “treated.” And when listening to someone is considered what kind-hearted and compassionate people do when meeting someone in distress, rather than some sort of “treatment” for “mental illness.”

  • Of course, they don’t really have an opinion of you. They haven’t bothered to find out who you are. They have an “opinion” of “bipolars” or “borderlines” or whatever box they want to put you in. The only “success” with such people is escaping their boxing game and finding someone who actually cares about you as a human being.

  • “Overtreated” suggests that there is a proper amount of “treatment.” It seems a devious term to be used in this context, as of course, having no objective way to “diagnose” “bipolar” or any of the other so-called “disorders,” it is impossible to even establish what is being “treated,” let alone what the “proper amount of treatment” would look like.

    Maybe the title should be, “Overheated, then overwhelmed with attempts to define and control my life.”

  • I think you’re right on that indifference is the big problem that underlies the ability of some “mental health professionals” to continue to do harm and feel OK about it, and that the public has unfortunately largely bought into this idea to a large extent.

    I do want to take a moment to remind everyone that psychiatrists are human beings, like everyone else, and they come in all varieties. I don’t think we can say that all of them are “soulless” and “cynical.” Certainly, there is an attraction to the soulless and the cynical to a profession that handles pain by repression and blaming, and makes lots of money for its followers while creating permanent clients. However, my experience of rank-and-file psychiatrists is that most are more “hypnotized” and think they are doing good works. They have been trained, as it were, in a cynical system of thought, and behave in accordance with that system. And there are a handful who see the foolishness of their training and are trying to do something better, some ow whom post on MIA.

    But in the end, you are correct in saying that it will require organization and resistance from the potential clients/victims of such a soulless system to bring it to an end. Connectedness is the cure to soulless cynicism, in my book.

  • I don’t think we really disagree with each other much here. I think we’re just emphasizing different aspects of the problem. Being biased against someone for differences is certainly not something invented by psychiatry. They just tend to make it a lot worse, and then blame others for their poor outcomes.

  • It is true, we ought not to think less of people regardless of whatever struggles, physically or psychologically or whatever, they may experience.

    My point is that how a problem is framed has a lot to do with what people believe can be done to resolve it. The placebo response is a perfect example – if people are given hope that they will improve, they can often rally their internal resources and they actually DO get better without intervention. This is particularly true of so-called “mental/emotional disorders.” Telling someone they’ve “had a rough childhood but that other people have experienced the same and have overcome it, let me connect you with some of them” will give the person both validation and hope. Telling someone their “brain is genetically defective and they’ll have to take drugs for the rest of their lives to deal with the symptoms, but there is no cure” removes agency and blunts hope. Since the latter has not been shown to be true in the overwhelming majority of cases, why would we not start with a framing that provides hope and agency, rather than one that promotes hopelessness and passivity?

    There is a reason psychiatry frames things the way they do, and it has not much to do with helping people achieve better control of their lives.

  • I would add that suggesting Open Dialog might work is no more of a fantasy than suggesting that taking antipsychotics for the rest of one’s life is a viable solution for most people. Or more of a fantasy than NOT telling clients the known potential adverse effects of the drugs being recommended because it might make them decide not to cooperate. Or the fantasy of choosing a list of undesirable behaviors that tend to occur together and calling it a “diagnosis” and then claiming that “it” is caused by a “biological brain disease.”

    The entire enterprise of psychiatry seems to be founded on fantasy. Not sure why trying Open Dialog would be any more fantastical than what is already accepted as “standard treatment.”

  • “They were dysfunctional before I treated them.” I always find this a very lame line of “reasoning” and don’t understand why it seems to work to deflect so many people’s concerns. If I went in for a sore shin and came out of the doctor’s office with a broken leg, I don’t think they’d get away with saying, “Well, the leg was dysfunctional before I treated it.” Treatment, if we may even use such a term, is supposed to improve the condition. Even accepting that the person was “ill,” if they continue to act “ill” despite your “treatment,” how does that let you off the hook? If your “treatment” doesn’t work, why are you accepting money for “treating” them in the first place?

  • Posting as moderator:

    Anyone who wants to post here is allowed to post, as long as they follow the Posting Guidelines. We have never moderated family members who chose to participate based on their being family members or on their not having a family member embroiled in the system. It is true that some of our community distrust family members’ intentions, based on their own experiences. But family member voices have always been welcome at MIA. I’m not sure where you are getting the idea that family members are “not allowed to post” if their loved ones are not caught up in the system. What would stop such a person from posting?

  • Multiple studies have indicated that the process of telling someone they have a “Brain disorder,” or telling someone else that “mental illness” results from brain malfunction, increases “stigma,” in contrast to telling people that it is the result of struggling with difficult life experiences. So a large percentage of the “stigma” is the result of the very psychiatric system that later decries it.

  • Posting as moderator:

    I want to be clear that voices of those who feel they are helped by psychiatric drugs have always been welcome here. It is admittedly sometimes a challenging environment, as they will hear stories and feelings which don’t comport with their experience, but attacking or downgrading people because they choose a pathway that includes psychiatric drugs is never accepted here. Now if someone starts arguing that people HERE need to accept their reality and validate the reality of DSM diagnoses or something of the sort, they’re going to be in for an argument. But civil exchange of views is the central theme of the comments section, and no one is allowed to be censored or attacked for having a contrary view.

  • Akathesia is often not reported and not understood by people who work with children, even the psychiatrists. I had a young lady (14) who specifically reported being “unable to sit still” (the literal meaning of “akathesia”), and was on a special program where she could raise her hand to leave class because it was so hard for her to stay in one place. They had a goal of staying in class longer. After my CASA volunteer and I got them to reduce her Risperdal and Lithium dosages, her in-class percentages went up significantly. But the psychiatrist still denied that akathesia had been an issue. A survey of the residential staff showed that none of them had been trained on what to look for as adverse effects, nor were they told that watching for adverse effects was a part of their job. The level of denial is unbelievable.

  • I’m saying that not all the individuals who play the role of police are acting in defense only of the rich and powerful. I suppose the same could be said of psychiatrists, though in my observation, there are a hell of a lot more police of integrity than there are psychiatrists. The school system is very similarly messed up to me. There are a goodly percentage of teachers who care, but they work in a system that disempowers the students and they can’t really fix it themselves.

    I’ll look at your links, but I was interested in YOUR answer – what do YOU think we do about bullies and aggressive people when there are no more police?

  • I have to take issue with this to some degree. I have known many police/sheriffs who have done a fantastic job of “protecting and serving” the community they are in, including handling some situations involving “mental health clients” with particular aplomb. I’ve also seen unwarranted brutality, dismissiveness, and threatening behavior that would make anyone distrust the force. Both kinds of officers exist. And while accountability issues are critical, particularly with darker-skinned people, and systemic racism is very, very real, I am not sure we really want to live in a society where there is NO police function at all. We saw what happened in the CHOP zone when there was no law enforcement – people got shot and died. Every society has some form of law enforcement, formal or informal. There will always be people who threaten the community in some way. While the current system appears to have been coopted by the rich and powerful, and this has been true for a long, long time, I have to ask what means will we have to deal with people who want to harm and take advantage of others if the police are entirely “defunded?” And even if they are defunded, what’s to prevent psychiatry from coming in to take over their role by “diagnosing” people who don’t behave as society expects, for whatever reason?

  • Ah, but the ones who are in denial are the ones deemed “mentally healthy!” If you’re too worried about it, you have an “anxiety disorder!” If you’re working hard to stop it, you’re “Manic!” If you give up and feel hopeless, you have “major depression!” The only acceptable response is to not be too worried about it and assume it will work itself out.

  • The problem with this is that once you make it OK to use these in “extreme cases,” very quickly, it becomes OK to use in ANY case, because there is no objective standard to justify their use. And making people more tractable isn’t really a “medical” issue, anyway, it’s a social management issue.

    There are also lots of ways to intervene with dementia patients that don’t involve drugging them into submission, and these are rarely even considered before going to the drug solution. Yet information on these is buried deep! I just did a search on “alternative approaches for dementia” and got only drugs and “complimentary medicine” (herbs and homeopathy, etc). I had to go for “psychosocial approaches to Dementia” to get any hits worth looking at. This is because dementia has been redefined and captured by the psychiatric industry and all other approaches have been suppressed.

    My wife’s dad had Alzheimer’s and was put on Risperdal because he was grabbing the nurses arms too hard. He went from being quite interactive and gregarious within a very short time to being unable to sit up, head thrashing from side to side, trying to but unable to talk, obviously in utter misery. No one at the facility seemed to know or care that the drug had done this. Ginny got her mom to take him off the drug, and within three days, he had recovered most of his personality and communication ability. When he grabbed her arms to tightly, she said, “Dad, you’re grabbing too hard, it hurts!” And he stopped grabbing. That easy! And yet they felt it was OK to drug him into insensibility and near paralysis because he didn’t just do what they wanted without having to communicate with him respectfully.

    Yes, dementia is very difficult to deal with, and yes, antipsychotics make them easier for caretakers to manage, but the dangers of abuse of power by the facilities or other caretakers are extreme, not to mention the risk of early death that they convey. I would not allow my loved ones to be put on these drugs. They are for the convenience of the caretakers, and remove any incentive for them to actually figure out a loving way to handle the difficulties such people present.

  • Posting as moderator:

    OK, that’s it! Everybody out of the pool! This thread has deteriorated and has become nothing but a back and forth between people completely fixed in their positions. It is time to end it. Again, I am not “banning posts on COVID” or “censoring,” I am stopping this deteriorating thread of subtle insults, straw-man arguments, defensiveness and disrespectful analogies. EVERYONE has had their say. I will not post any more comments on this theme on this thread.

    We can do a lot better than this, folks!

    Steve

  • Richard, it is too difficult and time consuming for me to address the various assumptions and implications in your responses. You’ve made your point, people can read it, and I’ve made my point, people can read it. It is time to end this conversation, as it is not only going in circles, but going on extreme tangents at this point. We agree that COVID is real and that it needs to be taken seriously and that there are people with hidden agendas opposing taking it seriously or taking advantage of it for political gains, and that those forces need to be opposed. Let’s focus on what we agree upon and move on.

  • Oh, believe me, you’re not the only one! I’m still waiting for that moment of crystallization when suddenly it becomes clear to enough people that something shady is going on. In the meanwhile, I keep trying to educate and support, educate and support. But it doesn’t feel very hopeful.

    Still, I never thought the Berlin Wall would come down, and it did. So the world can surprise us sometimes. I’m hoping it will be sooner rather than later! What will it take for the masses to rise up and say “NO!”

  • POSTING AS MODERATOR: So we are in agreement that black and white rules of moderation are not possible?

    I tend to agree with you that using terms such as “fascist” out of context would constitute ad hominem attacks. I will continue to try and be more sensitive to this kind of language, and will appreciate people reporting posts where I have missed such statements. Of course, it is quite legitimate to say, “My therapist was a bully, because s/he would tell me I was stupid every time I questioned her.” Or to say, “This person subscribes to fascist ideology, as indicated by his references to quotes from Mussolini and his use of nationalistic slogans and identification of external threats as excuses to curtail civil liberties,” or that sort of thing. The issue would come if the person is trying to discredit an author or another poster by the use of such terms to refer to them or their writings without any such context. My preference is for folks to simply refer to the offending comment, such as “Mr. X uses the term ‘redskin,’ which I and I think most people consider racist” rather than “Mr. X is a racist because he said the word ‘redskin.'”

    So there is always a degree of subjectivity. But I don’t think we want a community where someone can say, “Oldhead is a slimy bag of feces” without being called out on it. Nor do I think we want a site where someone can’t say, “I think vaccine policy is highly influenced by unethical government agents in cahoots with the drug industry” without being called names or shunned or having his/her opinion censored just because their position may be viewed by others or MIA staff as controversial. Which is why we have the posting guidelines. But again, they’re guidelines, not rigid laws, and the goal is to have a free-flowing conversation while avoiding as far as possible unnecessary personal hostility, bigotry, and hurt feelings. As long as we keep that goal in mind, I think we can all live with the uncertainty of it. And as you know, I am always willing to listen to and discuss if anyone feels they are being treated unfairly. I am not sure how we can do any better than this.

  • Well, if we’re talking about whom we support politically, there are sides. I took your comments to be referring to the larger questions of knowledge/facts regarding COVID and other issues that are in conflict. I was objecting to the idea that there are “sides” when it comes to exploring the truth of a particular assertion. I don’t consider science to have “sides,” except for seeking the truth and using “science” to avoid or distort it. But using “science” to distort truth is not science at all.

    I do know the song you refer to. But as I recall, it was in reference to being on the side of those who are exercising power for their own benefits, vs. on the side of those who are attempting to come together to resist them. This seems pretty different from questions regarding what the actual threat from COVID is and how best to deal with it. As I have already stated clearly, politicians from both sides have tried to engage in “information management” or “messaging” to take advantage of this world-shaking issue and benefit themselves. I’m definitely NOT on their side. But I can’t embrace the idea that there is a “side of truth” and a “side of dishonesty” in this particular case. (Well, OK, there MAY be a side of dishonesty!) The sides I see are the side of using a disaster to manipulate people to support or oppose a political agenda, and those who are trying to figure out the best thing to do to ensure the safety of our population while remembering the limitations of our knowledge, and maximizing our ability to remain engaged and productive in our lives. That’s the only side I support fully.

    What I don’t support is the idea that there are those who believe and agree with everything you said above and those who don’t think COVID is real and don’t give a crap about anyone else but themselves (or those who are too foolish to avoid the deception of the Forces of Evil). I’ll provide a simple example: should one wear a mask while hiking in the woods, or at least when passing someone else on a hike? If I told you that the science suggests that outdoor mask-wearing outside of a close gathering of people is pretty much pointless, would you consider me part of the “other side?” Well, a recent tracking study in China tracked 7000 cases as to origin. Exactly ONE case out of 7000 was caught outdoors, and that one case involved a person talking to an infected person at close range for more than 15-20 minutes. So I don’t wear a mask outdoors, unless I am in a crowd. This is in violation of the CDC guidelines, which from a scientific point of view appear to be wrong. Does that make me one of those deceived by the forces of evil? Do I have to wear a mask while hiking to be considered on the “right side?”

    To reiterate: Politics has sides. Science does not have sides. Things are proven true, proven false, or are uncertain. Very, very few things fit into the first category. Generally, things are scientifically false or are uncertain. Uncertain situations require judgement, and judgement is based on data, not political agendas. Mixing science with politics creates bad science.

    I hope that clarifies my point. As to the Bush comment, it was just what came to mind when you said what you said. I’d certainly never compare you to Bush II, with whom I’d guess you have almost nothing in common. But I’m also not going to apologize for what thought came to mind when you said it, nor for sharing it. I hope it gives you pause to consider that you may be creating an impression that you don’t want to create.

  • POSTING AS MODERATOR: I challenge you to find an objective way to decide whether someone’s comments are “shaming” or make generalizations based upon a label or are an attack on a person vs. on what that person said. Moderation is unavoidably subjective, no matter how objective I try to make it. If we are in grey areas, I tend to use consultations with others, but again, not purely objective. Sometimes I pass something through and it ends up offending others for reasons I could not have understood until explained to me, and I have to reconsider.

    Sorry, but there will always be grey areas in moderation. Nature of the beast.

  • POSTING AS MODERATOR: When a certain number of “levels” are reached under a particular thread, the “reply” button disappears on new comments, and you have to go back to the last one that has a “reply” button and use it, and your post will end up at the end of the thread. It’s a feature of WordPress and not something we have control over.

    Hope that helps!

    Steve

  • POSTING AS MODERATOR: Oldhead, you cut off the part of the last sentence you quoted about insisting that others agree with their personally-derived “truths.” MIA is and should continue to be a place to explore the truth, but when the discussion itself becomes increasingly authoritarian as it progresses, there is a point at which it is no longer productive of truth, as both sides are merely stating and restating their own ‘truth’ in a louder and louder voice, and things get more personal and insulting and it gets plain ugly.

    Admittedly, it is hardly an objective standard, but in the thread I asked people to let go of, it was most definitely getting into that realm and very far afield from the original topic.

    Sorry, there are no black and white rules in moderation! But I’m not moderating for content, except to the degree that off-topic conversations on any subject, when they become unproductive and backbiting, will be discouraged.

    Your idea of a different place to have this discussion is a good one. Not sure exactly how to bring that about, though. I’ll give it some thought.

    Steve