Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Tag: eugenics

“Never Look on the Dark Side”: The Science of Positivity from...

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The "science" of happiness has always been inextricably linked to eugenics. Modern positive psychology, with its focus on genetics and willpower, is no different.

Psychiatric Eugenics Then and Now—You Betcha It’s Still Happening

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Most are oblivious to the fact that psychiatric eugenics initiatives continued to exist—and beyond that, to flourish—long after the end of what is normally thought of as “the eugenics era” (roughly, late nineteen century to 1945). Sadly, we are not learning from history what we direly need to learn.

Eugenics Never Went Away

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From Aeon: Eugenics was a mixture of science and social movement that aimed to improve the human race over generations. Those of good stock were...

Psychiatry’s Little Known Role in Creating the Holocaust

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From NewBostonPost: In light of the recent commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, it is important to acknowledge the role that eugenics, a field developed by psychiatrists...

Nature Still Battles Nurture in the World of Social Genomics

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From Nature: In her new book, Social by Nature: The Promise and Peril of Sociogenomics, Catherine Bliss discusses the social context and potentially biodeterministic implications of the...

Fixing Genes Won’t Fix Us

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From The Boston Globe: Scientists' focus on biology and genetics research downplays the role of socioeconomic factors in causing distress and health problems. "Science is threatening a new era of...

Intelligence: a History

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From Aeon: The idea of intelligence - specifically, the primacy of reason and rationality - has been used to justify privilege and domination throughout more than...

Psychiatry is Edging Dangerously Close to Eugenics

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In psychiatry, there has always been a swing between the two poles of nature and nurture. Unfortunately, psychiatry is firmly back in the nature camp. Lip service is paid to the emotional environment and trauma. But that is as far as it goes. The accepted (and dangerous) belief is that psychiatry deals with brain diseases – inherited brain diseases. We are back to absolute genetic determinism.

Comments on Jeffrey Lieberman and Ogi Ogas’ Wall Street Journal Article...

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The March 3rd, 2016 edition of the Wall Street Journal featured an article by past President of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Jeffrey Lieberman and his colleague, computational neuroscientist Ogi Ogas. The article was entitled “Genetics and Mental Illness—Let’s Not Get Carried Away.” In their piece, the authors started by expressing the belief that a recent study identified a gene that causes schizophrenia, and then discussed whether it is desirable or possible to remove allegedly pathological genes in the interest of creating a future “mentally perfect society.” The authors of the article, like many previous textbook authors, seem unfamiliar with the questionable “evidence” put forward by psychiatry as proof that its disorders are “highly heritable” In fact, DSM-5 Task Force Chair David Kupfer admitted that “we’re still waiting” for the discovery of “biological and genetic markers” for psychiatric disorders.

Ernst Rüdin’s Unpublished Family Study of “Manic-Depressive Insanity” and the Genetics...

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Although it is axiomatic in psychiatry that genetic factors are involved in bipolar disorder (manic-depression), and that they play a predominant role, there currently exists little if any scientifically acceptable evidence that bipolar disorder and other “affective disorders” are caused by disordered genes. Given almost 50 years of gene discovery claims that were not confirmed by replication attempts, we must assume by default that current gene finding claims are false-positive results as well. In the 1920s, pioneering psychiatric geneticist Ernst Rüdin decided against publishing his large family study of “manic-depressive insanity,” most likely because the results did not fit his theories of Mendelian inheritance, and failed to support his advocacy of eugenic policies.

Ernst RĂĽdin: The Founding Father of Psychiatric Genetics

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In a 2013 edition of the Journal of the History of Biology, Norbert Wetzel and I published an article on the Swiss-German psychiatric geneticist Ernst Rüdin (1874-1952) and his close colleagues, and how their work and crimes in the Nazi era have been discussed or ignored by contemporary psychiatric genetic writers and researchers. Here I would like to summarize the main points we raised in that article, and to make several additional observations. Whether Rüdin reluctantly aided and helped implement the “euthanasia” killing program in support of the war effort, or more likely, that he saw it as the crowning achievement of his decades of psychiatric genetic research based on racial hygienic (eugenic) principles, is an issue that may be decided in the future.