Saturday, May 25, 2019

Scientistic Hate Mail - What You Get When You Replace The Creator's Endowment Of Moral Obligation With Artificial "Ethics"

Among the atheist and right wing diatribes which will not be posted, one of the handful of attempts to post random, inscrutable spam messages on old posts I've written over the past seven years drew my attention to this piece I wrote,  Fraud In The Gaps, that contains a passage about how the MDs of the psychiatric con-job branch of scientific medicine got lots of people addicted to drugs that you can well imagine many a shrink had a financial interest in.  Unfortunately, when I tried the old link to where I took the passage from, it would appear Truthout had to remove the original interview to make room for more and later truths, so this may be as much of it as you can find, online. 

Question:  In Anatomy of an Epidemic, you also discussed the pseudoscience behind the "chemical imbalance" theories of mental illness - theories that made it easy to sell psychiatric drugs. In the last few years, I've noticed establishment psychiatry figures doing some major backpedaling on these chemical imbalance theories. For example, Ronald Pies, editor-in-chief emeritus of the Psychiatric Times stated in 2011, "In truth, the ‘chemical imbalance' notion was always a kind of urban legend - never a theory seriously propounded by well-informed psychiatrists." What's your take on this?

This is quite interesting and revealing, I would say. In a sense, Ronald Pies is right.Those psychiatrists who were "well informed" about investigations into the chemical imbalance theory of mental disorders knew it hadn't really panned out, with such findings dating back to the late 1970s and early 1980s. But why, then, did we as a society come to believe that mental disorders were due to chemical imbalances, which were then fixed by the drugs?

Dr. Pies puts the blame on the drug companies. But if you track the rise of this belief, it is easy to see that the American Psychiatric Association promoted it in some of their promotional materials to the public and that "well informed" psychiatrists often spoke of this metaphor in their interviews with the media. So what you find in this statement by Dr. Pies is a remarkable confession: Psychiatry, all along, knew that the evidence wasn't really there to support the chemical imbalance notion, that it was a hypothesis that hadn't panned out, and yet psychiatry failed to inform the public of that crucial fact.

By doing so, psychiatry allowed a "little white lie" to take hold in the public mind, which helped sell drugs and, of course, made it seem that psychiatry had magic bullets for psychiatric disorders. That is an astonishing betrayal of the trust that the public puts in a medical discipline; we don't expect to be misled in such a basic way.

But why now? Why are we hearing these admissions from Dr. Pies and others now? I am not sure, but I think there are two reasons.
One, the low-serotonin theory of depression has been so completely discredited by leading researchers that maintaining the story with the public has just become untenable. It is too easy for critics and the public to point to the scientific findings that contradict it.

I will bet you a months worth of wages that many a proud and true believer in the truthiness, the scienciness and the goodiness of this kind of talk-show, broadcast news-magazine, and ink-on paper reportage of the late 1970s and 80s, if asked, today, would express a pious and sincere belief in the low-serotonin theory of depression* as sold by those very shrinks condemned in the piece, not to mention the talk-show hosts, the telejounalists and others subject to the even more laughable concept of "journalistic ethics"  who were responsible for carrying the unadmitted propaganada to peddle psychoactive drugs to a gulliable "educated" public whose faith in science is easily 99 and 44 100th percent naive credulity.  

As I noted in the original piece, after posting that passage:

I will note, to end, that psychiatry has polled as the most atheistic of medical specialties.   Which may have a bit to do with their particular denomination of bad promissory notes in that materialist market place. 

Then, I posed it as a speculation, now I think I'd probably post it as a doubly clear example of the kind of morality that you get when you find your artificial, materialistic replacement for religious morality in the artificial, humanly constructed, generally university-credentialed ersatz equivalent of "ethics". 

*  I know a young woman, in her early 20s, the wife of one of my grand nephews, who has been taking psychoactive drugs most of her life for a somewhat later as-sold-on-TV psychiatric epidemic of "bi-polar"  which, no doubt, has made some of the shrinks peddling it a lot of money.  I strongly suspect that most of her problems come from having been medically fucked up for that whole time.  The medicalization and drugging of sadness has probably been one of the worst medical abuses of the period during which we were peddled the pseudo-science of psychology and psychiatry which should never have been generalized but, considering how truly and glaringly bad the "science" done by it is, should have never been considered as anything but a last resort in some of the worst cases.   And if you don't believe that the science is really that bad, go look at the far less publicized "replication crisis" that came to light in the past two decades, not that the problem wasn't widely known before then.  Of course, the replication crisis in psychological and psychiatric, not to mention drug research endangered the financial interests of those involved so there was ever so much less urgency for such professionals to get themselves on talk-shows and broadcast news magazine shows to make it known to that same pubic they gulled with their crap science. 


  1. Memory fails me, but the Dr. who grew so famous DeNiro and Robin Williams made a movie of his effort to use drugs to treat a condition that worked spectacularly well...until it didn't. That always struck me as, not a breakthrough, but a failure, and raising real questions about drugs treating psychiatric/mental conditions.

    Not to mention all the side effects of such drugs, which indicated to me we were just swapping one problem for another.

    But hey, we're just meat bags of chemicals, right?

    1. Ah, yes, the late Dr. Oliver Sacks, aka "The Doctor who mistook his patients for a literary career." I remember reading him being interviewed about one of his early books and decided I didn't need to read his books. I suspect in the future they're going to look as quaintly deluded as books about the bodily humors and mesmerism. Reading psychology in an intro course and later, looking into psychiatry were my intro to the shocking amount of pseudo-science that is accepted as valid science (only to fall into that boneyard of discontinued science) but which the law gives the power to destroy people. I remember retaining a naive and childlike faith in the hard sciences a lot longer, in biology it was Sociobiology and evo-psy which first disillusioned me about biology, then the antics of the cosmologists and the irresponsibility of all of those limbs in producing weapons, deadly chemicals, devastation that led me to realize they were all, at bottom, no more honest than the people doing them chose to make them.

  2. Eugenics was a science, until it wasn't. How much harm did it do?

    Funny the mad scientist trope never attached to that.

    So it goes.