Demons. It’s all demons.


Let us emulate the godly believers. We know what is right, and anything that deviates from it is…mental illness. But we might want to remember that sometimes the shoe is on the other foot.

Some people believe that atheism causes insanity.

But what about the variety of mental illness from which Richard Dawkins suffers? You see, that is the flip-side of the coin which belongs to the man on the corner who believes he is Napoleon. Dawkins may not believe he is a conquering French general, but he believes something just as preposterous. He believes that he himself does not exist. As illogical as that sounds, this is the ground which atheism is forced to defend. The worldview which insists we cannot believe (or know) anything aside from our senses is just as mentally ill as the worldview which insists that we cannot believe our senses.

Or that faith is an essential component of a mentally sound human being.

…the evidence today implies that atheism is a form of mental illness. And this is because science is showing that the human mind is hard-wired for faith: we have, as a species, evolved to believe, which is one crucial reason why believers are happier – religious people have all their faculties intact, they are fully functioning humans.

Therefore, being an atheist – lacking the vital faculty of faith – should be seen as an affliction, and a tragic deficiency: something akin to blindness. Which makes Richard Dawkins the intellectual equivalent of an amputee, furiously waving his stumps in the air, boasting that he has no hands.

Or that the root cause of what we call mental illness is an absence of god.

All Depression is caused primarily by a lack of contentment. For the Christian, depression is a lack of obedience to the command "be content with what you have". It is not accepting your current condition, whether good or bad. It is a lack of faith that God loves you. It is a lack of hope of the glories and riches of heaven awaiting. For the non-Christian, depression is a lack of faith in a creator. It is a rejecting of Jesus for faith in Darwin. Darwin said we have no purpose, design, meaning other than random chance processes. Jesus can cure the depression of the atheist because their life has meaning and eternal purpose.

That source charmingly tells us exactly what mental illness is.

The Bible clearly teaches that people suffer both physically and emotionally as a result of sinful choices. The world labels this suffering as a mental illness, but the Bible labels this suffering as the consequences of a sinful standard of morality. Mental illness is sinful conduct.

A lot of atheists seem to think that same thing: that violations of conventional mores, or doing acts that harm people, are prima facie proof of mental illness. There must be something organically wrong with their brains to cause them to engage in behaviors we don’t like. They pray? They must be crazy, that doesn’t work. At the same time, the other side is saying, “They don’t pray? They must be crazy, god must be served.” If we’re going to define mental illness as something someone judges to be bad behavior, then every single human being on the planet is crazy.

Mental illnesses are real. We can identify chemical imbalances in the brain; if you’re depressed, drugs like TCAs, MAOIs, SSRIs, and SNRIs can be effective in making people healthier. Schizophrenia is real and debilitating; there are also antipsychotic drugs that reduce the symptoms. Obsessive-compulsive disorders are real; they can be treated with certain antidepressants, but also behavioral therapy also seems to be effective in reducing the problems. We actually do have fairly concrete indicators of genuine illnesses that affect the functioning of the brain.

However, it is not helpful to categorize bad ideas as similar. Elliot Rodger was a disturbed individual, but it was not because he had a disease — it was because he had been shaped by his narrow little world to regard a host of malignant ideas as perfectly normal. Almost all Europeans and Americans once believed that black people were inferior, and used that belief to justify everything from excluding them from educational opportunities to kidnapping and slavery. Were they all insane? Or did they just have a set of false, untested beliefs that they blithely propagated from generation to generation?

One would think that atheists, at least, would be able to recognize the power of ideas to shape how people think. We live in a world where the majority give credulous credence to religious nonsense, and I think most of us recognize that it’s not a symptom of a brain disease, but of the power of socialization, indoctrination, repetition, and widespread unquestioning acceptance. If you’re willing to see that a religious idea can have such potency that people will kill and die and suffer for it, why are you unwilling to see that there are other ideologies that can misdirect minds in lethal directions? That bad stories can persuade healthy, normal people to do stupid, evil things?

I’d also like to remind my fellow atheists of another way people think.

When a 700 Club viewer asked host Pat Robertson today if she should give up proselytizing to her atheist coworker and “let her perish,” Robertson speculated that the colleague might be possessed by demons or a survivor of rape.

If the way you are using the phrase “mentally ill”, with no evidence of genuine organic illness, can be replaced freely by the word “demon-possessed” without changing the sense, then you are engaging in the same magical thinking, using a phrase with no explanatory power. You’re just using the modern materialistically correct wording to express the same old sentiment, inventing a concrete causal agent with no evidence that it actually exists. That’s something else atheists need to be aware of: the seductive power of teleological or simplistically causal thinking to the human mind.

Comments

  1. Anthony K says

    It is a lack of hope of the glories and riches of heaven awaiting.

    So, everybody in heaven gets glories? Like how kids all get participation ribbons in elementary track and field meets?

    Thought that was a satanic liberal thing.

  2. says

    ‘And only one for birthday presents, you know. There’s glory for you!’

    ‘I don’t know what you mean by “glory”,’ Alice said.

    Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. ‘Of course you don’t — till I tell you. I meant “there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!”‘

  3. says

    Of course there are glories for everyone. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a hierarchy. Jesus, God, and the Holy Ghost get the most glories, then saints and popes and CEOs of major corporations, then priests, etc. And at the bottom of the pyramid, there are all the little peons and women, who will sing hosannas until their little voices are hoarse in order to eke out just enough glories to meet their celestial rent payments, and if they’re lucky, to be able to afford a sip of ambrosia once a year, at Christmas.

  4. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    So, everybody in heaven gets glories? Like how kids all get participation ribbons in elementary track and field meets?

    Apparently, God is Oprah. “You get a glory, and you get a glory, and…”

  5. rodw says

    Religion is much more than bad ideas, its irrationality to the extreme. The capacity for this is programmed into our brains so not having this predilection really could count as a mental illness.
    Years ago I was watching an atheist/theist debate. The arguments made by the theist were so spectacularly bad I started to feel as if I must be a member of a different species than this person. I was dismayed when it occurred to me that the vast majority of people on earth thought like this guy: it was natural for humans to think this way
    If an individual ant somehow became conscious and decided it no longer felt fullfilled serving its nest we’d say that that ant had a better grip on reality than its automaton nestmates. But that ant would definatly be mentally ill by ant standards. Ants arent supposed to have an objective view of reality…..and neither are humans.

  6. anteprepro says

    Gotta love beliebers.

    “Atheists must be cwaazeee because [strawman extrapolation]”
    “Atheists are mentally ill because look at how many people beliebe!”
    “Depressed? Get more mindless faith, ya heathen!”
    “That man is schizophrenic because he touched himself at night!”
    “Atheists must be possessed by demons. Or must have been raped. Either or, basically the same thing”

    The sad part is that there are some actual people with actual psychological credentials who are also fundagelical right-wing ideologues who would probably spout something like the above. And these people actually have an influence on the literature or actually treat patients! Keith Ablow comes to mind, as does NARTH and this fucking bullshit .

    For acute schizophrenic or manic episodes, the respondents considered psychotropic medication the most effective treatment, but they rated the Bible and prayer more highly for suicidal intent, grief reaction, sociopathy, and alcoholism.

    Psychiatry and psychological treatments and the world of mental illness definitions and so on is already fucked up enough. But when you let religion get its grubby paws into that mess, it becomes even more fucked up.

  7. Anthony K says

    Of course there are glories for everyone. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a hierarchy. Jesus, God, and the Holy Ghost get the most glories, then saints and popes and CEOs of major corporations, then priests, etc. And at the bottom of the pyramid, there are all the little peons and women, who will sing hosannas until their little voices are hoarse in order to eke out just enough glories to meet their celestial rent payments, and if they’re lucky, to be able to afford a sip of ambrosia once a year, at Christmas.

    I guess that explains my coworker who is a devout Christian and an Amway rep.

  8. eeyore says

    While I agree with the main point of this post, I would quibble with the following statement:

    “Elliot Rodger was a disturbed individual, but it was not because he had a disease — it was because he had been shaped by his narrow little world to regard a host of malignant ideas as perfectly normal.”

    Elliot Rodger was a fairly nasty misogynist, but even the worst misogynists don’t typically kill a half dozen people. I think killing six people does require a mental illness of some sort. Which makes me wonder, if Rodger had not been a misogynist, if he would have found some other excuse to kill a half dozen people.

    None of which excuses or minimizes misogyny; I just think that given the large number of misogynists who aren’t mass murderers, it takes more than misogyny to explain it in his case.

  9. brucegee1962 says

    Elliot Rodger was a disturbed individual, but it was not because he had a disease — it was because he had been shaped by his narrow little world to regard a host of malignant ideas as perfectly normal.

    A lot of the spin from both sides on this story seems to be operating from a fact deficit. The MRAs are adamant that his actions came from mental illness, not his toxic beliefs — full stop. On the other hand, liberals seem just as adamant on insisting, as here, that he had no mental illness whatsoever.

    As far as I can tell from Mr. Google,
    http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2014/05/24/hollywood-director-believes-son-is-gunman-in-deadly-isla-vista-shootings/ , Elliott was in fact diagnosed by professional counselors as having Aspergers’, which last I heard is technically a mental disorder. Obviously Aspergers doesn’t seem in any way adequate to explain his actions, though. On the other hand, he had also apparently been visiting counselors for his entire life; it’s possible that they may have diagnosed him with other problems, but haven’t come forward.

    Is it possible for someone who has been steeped in toxic misogyny, but is completely mentally normal, to commit atrocities? Obviously — every day women are beaten and killed by people with this attitude. But I do think we need to be careful about making definitive statements when we simply don’t have enough facts to be sure.

  10. says

    OK, what about suicide bombers? Most religious people don’t kill themselves with bombs, taking out their neighbors. Are the bombers all mentally ill? Does it take some additional component of a biological illness to get people to do that, or is it possible that concerted, constant indoctrination is sufficient to compel perfectly healthy people to do evil things?

  11. says

    And this is because science is showing that the human mind is hard-wired for faith: we have, as a species, evolved to believe

    I have come across this before and still can’t understand how it is supposed to be an argument for belief. Assuming it were correct, it pretty much follows that people would believe in an entity even if that entity weren’t real. You might as well claim that, since we are hardwired to see faces, the face on the Moon is a real face.

  12. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    Aspergers Syndrome is not a mental illness. It is a developmental disorder.

  13. anteprepro says

    eeyore:

    I think killing six people does require a mental illness of some sort

    Citation needed.

    Is a soldier who bombs a terrorist compound mentally ill? Is a rebel who starts a firefight against standing military forces mentally ill? Are gang or mafia members who do a drive-by shooting mentally ill?

    Killing is not an inherent indication of mental illness. Sad but true.

    brucegee

    A lot of the spin from both sides on this story seems to be operating from a fact deficit. The MRAs are adamant that his actions came from mental illness, not his toxic beliefs — full stop. On the other hand, liberals seem just as adamant on insisting, as here, that he had no mental illness whatsoever.

    Thanks for the “BOTH SIDES!!” handwringing.

  14. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I think killing six people does require a mental illness of some sort.

    So a soldier killing the enemy has some sort of mental illness? Try looking at your presuppositions, like mental illness is required, instead of relying on them. That has been PZ’s point since his first post.

  15. says

    “Dawkins may not believe he is a conquering French general, but he believes something just as preposterous. He believes that he himself does not exist.”

    That’s a strange statement. I think Dawkins, for all his faults, does exist and believes he exists. He just has trouble believing that made up mythical sky beings exist. Happen to agree with him.

  16. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    PZed @11:

    Does it take some additional component of a biological illness to get people to do that, or is it possible that concerted, constant indoctrination is sufficient to compel perfectly healthy people to do evil things?

    Hell, just think about the time and money and energy and resources the US Army commits to training. Constant and concerted indoctrination will overcome the societal disapproval of killing another human being. I’ve been through Army training. So has your son. I am not saying either one of us has done anything evil while in the military, but, damn, I remember shooting at targets that looked like people. And I was trained, indoctrinated, to see them as targets, not as people. So yes, concerted indoctrination can train someone to violate social norms.

  17. eeyore says

    PZ, Henry Kissinger once explained Watergate as follows: “Some damn fool came out of the Oval Office with no better sense than to actually do as he’d been told.” And that, I think, is largely the explanation for suicide bombers too.

    If most religionists actually took their dogma seriously, there would be a hell of a lot more suicide bombings than there are. But they don’t. When they read texts saying that homosexuals, adulterers and fornicators should be stoned to death, they know better than to take it literally and head for their neighbor’s house with a box of rocks. However, for whatever reason, a few don’t. Every once in a while, one reads about an Eric Rudolph who decided to do as the text commands and blow up an abortion clinic and a gay bar. There are a hell of a lot of Christians who agree with Rudolph that gays and abortionists deserve death, but only a few actual Rudolphs who are willing to do the deed. And I suspect that most Muslims have the same opinion of suicide bombers that most Christians have of Rudolph, which is not high.

    And the question that will win anyone who answers it a Nobel prize is this: What is it that pushes the occasional Rudolph over the edge? It can’t be *only* the indoctrination, hateful though it is, because most people who get the indoctrination don’t become Eric Rudolph. Why does he take literally a command that most of his co-religionists have the good sense to ignore?

  18. eeyore says

    Anteprepro and Nerd, I don’t think soldiers are a good example because war is an extreme situation. They’ve basically been trained in such a way that an extreme situation is their normal. And a lot of them do come home from the battlefield completely fucked up.

  19. anteprepro says

    eeyore

    Why does he take literally a command that most of his co-religionists have the good sense to ignore?

    Because people aren’t robots, have different experiences and thought processes, have different personalties and attitudes, exhibit different suites of behaviors, have different stressors and different sources of pleasure, and have different ways of dealing with stress with different levels of effectiveness.

    You might as well be asking why some people are atheist. Individual differences. Arising from a lot of sources.

  20. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    PZ: “If the way you are using the phrase “mentally ill”, with no evidence of genuine organic illness, can be replaced freely by the word “demon-possessed” without changing the sense, then you are engaging in the same magical thinking, using a phrase with no explanatory power. ”

    QFMFT. Humans have a way of explaining things they don’t understand in terms of things they understand even less.

  21. anteprepro says

    eeyore

    Anteprepro and Nerd, I don’t think soldiers are a good example because war is an extreme situation.

    Extreme situation that is one of the few constants throughout human history.

    Special pleading isn’t very special.

  22. feloniousmonk says

    Ok, for #9, and anyone else thinking that mental illness is the defining factor here: the ratio of MRAs who commit violence to others/ all MRAs is much greater than folks with mental illness who commit violence (or even just men)/ folks(men) with mental illness. Stop slandering folks with mental illness.

  23. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Our closest biological relatives, chimps, do not require mental illness to kill. If they come across an isolated chimp from a rival group, and they are in force, they will kill it and enjoy it. When they hunt, they will eat their prey alive as it screams. It is only a thin veneer of neurons and civilization that separates us from that. On some, the veneer is thinner.

  24. theoreticalgrrrl says

    @eeyore

    They might not be mass murderers, but intimate domestic homicides are fairly common. Approx. three women a day are murdered individually, by husbands, ex-husbands or boyfriends, just the United States alone.

  25. eeyore says

    Anteprepro, war has happened a lot in human history. So has rape. But that’s not the sense in which I’m using the word “normal”. And most of those soldiers have to be trained to kill precisely because it’s not something they would normally do on their own.

  26. freemage says

    Thinking back, I can recall a common trend in a lot of the short-story sci-fi I have read–and that was that, at some point in the future, all criminal/anti-social/”bad” conduct would be identified as a form of mental illness, and cured, thereby ending the need for prisons. Sometimes this was painted as a sort of universal good; others would portray it as a form of brainwashing. But given that fans of sci-fi are disproportionately atheist (though that may vary if you count transhumanism as a religion), it would not surprise me that thiis tendency to call all ‘bad’ behavior a sign of mental illness was at least supported by the repetition of the fictional trope.

  27. eeyore says

    theoreticalgrrrl, No. 26, there are degrees. A misogynist who beats his wife is not at the same place as the misogynist who kills his wife. And neither of them are the same as someone who randomly shoots six strangers because of grievances against women generally.

    Again, I’m not saying he wasn’t a misogynist — he was. I’m just saying that to reach his level of violence, there must be something more.

    Full disclosure: I spent my childhood watching my father beat my mother. When I was 12, I pushed him down a flight of stairs and told him that if he ever touched my mother again I would kill him. So far as I know, he never laid another hand on her. That tells me his behavior was not founded on mental illness; he was able to control it once he had an incentive to control it. However, had my father grabbed a gun and shot six strangers, I think that would have been a different situation.

  28. anteprepro says

    eeyore, they volunteered to be in the military. Is training really a necessary and sufficient condition for military violence? And yet somehow, with that Magical Training, we somehow consider military members to be the only exception to “Killing Several People Means You Are Mentally Ill”? Not buying it.

    And yes, war is as “normal” as rape. It is common. It is near universal across time and space and species. It is perpetrated by “normal” people and animals. Your attempts to deny this look more like word games than anything else.

  29. says

    Elliot Rodger was a disturbed individual, but it was not because he had a disease

    Citation needed. Seems to be just as much armchair diagnostics as the other side. I don’t disagree, but do you know his medical history? Seems like you are making a statement of fact. His parents report he had been seeing mental health care professionals for some time.

    I want to clarify, I do not think this spree was caused by his mental health issues. But to say they didn’t exist seems to be ignoring some important facts.

    Also, as mentioned in a previous thread, we need to kill the stigma around mental illness. Ignoring it doesn’t help, BUT neither does using it as an excuse for peoples horrible choices

    My ¢2

  30. tascott says

    Darwin never said we have no purpose. Just that the purpose shares a common ancestor with the dolphin.

  31. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    And most of those soldiers have to be trained to kill precisely because it’s not something they would normally do on their own.

    Not necessarily. A lot of people will kill others in self-defense. Killing is not that abnormal. Unless you have an actual diagnosis, you should stop claiming there is mental illness present, as claims without evidence can be dismissed. What are you really scared of? If it isn’t mental illness, why don’t you like that answer?

  32. nrdo says

    The article is just a ludicrous attempt at name-calling, stemming from the unsupportable Christian dogma that everyone “just knows” that God is real and irrationally chooses to deny it.

    It’s also true that killing does not require mental illness. Murder driven by ideology and tribalism is, unfortunately, a part of the normal/neurotypical human condition. However, there are certain recognized mental illnesses for which we do not (yet?) have proven organic correlates. They are fully “real” in the sense that they are clusters of symptoms can be detected by standardized, reproducible data analysis and can be connected, within a known margin of error, to the appropriate medical interventions.

  33. anteprepro says

    eeyore

    A misogynist who beats his wife is not at the same place as the misogynist who kills his wife.

    Sure. The latter is a subset of the former. So? The same principle is involved.

    So far as I know, he never laid another hand on her. That tells me his behavior was not founded on mental illness; he was able to control it once he had an incentive to control it.

    That doesn’t not make a lick of sense. Explain your reasoning. Show your work.

  34. theoreticalgrrrl says

    @Eeyore
    I’m very sorry you had to go through that as a child. Your father luckily stopped his violent behavior toward your mom.

    “A misogynist who beats his wife is not at the same place as the misogynist who kills his wife.”

    There is an incredibly small rate of recovery for most domestic abusers, and it often escalates to murder, especially when a woman attempts to or successfully leaves her husband/boyfriend/SO.

    One who beats his wife can easily turn into one that kills. It happens, too frequently.

  35. nrdo says

    I think it helps to look at it this way; indoctrination, whether through military training techniques or through a long-term diet of cultural racism/misogyny is precisely how you get normal/neurotypical people to kill. Underlying illness makes the process easier and leads to more extreme results. In both cases you’re moving people along a continuum, and that’s hard to accept because people don’t want to believe that they have anything in common with mass murderers.

  36. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @eeyore, #9:

    I think killing six people does require a mental illness of some sort.

    Oh, yes, I totally agree with you. Let me help you with that argument:

    The most mentally ill man ever.

    Obviously if he hadn’t joined the US army he would have found some other ideological justification for killing tens of thousands. Maybe he would have poisoned the Ganges or something. But this fucker was just sick, sick, sick, waiting for a chance to kill.

  37. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    Eeyore @ 29

    Again, I’m not saying he wasn’t a misogynist — he was. I’m just saying that to reach his level of violence, there must be something more.

    So what you’re saying is Demons.

  38. consciousness razor says

    eeyore, #9:

    Elliot Rodger was a fairly nasty misogynist, but even the worst misogynists don’t typically kill a half dozen people.

    So he was an “atypical” misogynist. That’s only by assuming that “mass murder” is somehow qualitatively different than regular old (healthy?) “murder” of a single individual, since there is plenty of that happening.

    But this says nothing in relation to mental health. It is not even hinting at a neurological mechanism. It would be hand-waving if it did, but it doesn’t even rise to that level of speculation. It’s just plain bullshit. A non sequitur. A work of fiction.

    I think killing six people does require a mental illness of some sort.

    You have no evidence to think that. So if it’s not something tangible like actual evidence, what is supposed to be guiding your thoughts to this conclusion? Is there some a priori principle that you think dictates it, no matter what the evidence might be? And if that’s the case, this isn’t an empirical statement about physical reality, which is what I take a description of physical events (like a person committing some act or another) to be about. It’s only a statement about your preconceived intuitions, nothing else.

    This ties in well to the claims about religious beliefs being a symptom of some sort of “illness.” They are epistemological mistakes (and often involve straightforwardly ethical mistakes as well). What does that say about your epistemological failure which I just quoted? Is it a sign of “illness” too, or only if it were not a “typical” mistake that people make? What is the treatment? More cowbell? And if many people make this mistake, does that mean it isn’t a mistake or simply that your brain is functioning “typically”? Is there no difference?

    What I really want to know is this: How is it that you manage to reach across this huge chasm of ignorance, pick a pseudo-explanation based on nothing it all, yet don’t criticize yourself for having the same kind of epistemological problems as the most superstitious religious fanatic? How did you get it? Did this information come to you in some kind of revelation? Do you just “know” the meanings of words prior to any experience, and that their application to the world just is as you say it is no matter what the world actually looks like? Is it just an expression of prejudice, in somewhat less colorful language? Is it just supposed to be sort of a casual and uninformed “guess”? Are we not supposed to take your ideas seriously, or are we not supposed to do anything based on them assuming you’re correct (or incorrect)? If so, why wouldn’t you say something like that? Why is it just “this is what I think” and that’s it?

    #18:

    If most religionists actually took their dogma seriously, there would be a hell of a lot more suicide bombings than there are. But they don’t.

    So how would that square with your vague notion that there was something “more” than misogyny involved in Rodger’s case? Isn’t it just that he actually took the dogma seriously, and it’s not due to some phenomenon (like a health issue) which is entirely different in kind? Is the difference simply that you’ve heard about mass-murders on the news, but you don’t hear (or don’t pay attention) to all of the violence and murder committed against individuals? Why would something like the level of news coverage (or your awareness of it) give us anything like reliable information about whether or not a mental health diagnosis is appropriate?

  39. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    I think killing six people does require a mental illness of some sort. Which makes me wonder, if Rodger had not been a misogynist, if he would have found some other excuse to kill a half dozen people.

    Why?

    Why are you so attached to this?

  40. nich says

    I think killing six people does require a mental illness of some sort.

    You don’t need to be crazy to kill one, two, six or more people. You just have to have a reason that makes sense to you and the means to do it. Can that reason be an insane one resulting from a mental illness of some sort? Yes. Is there a slight possibility that some mental problem gave Eliot Rodger that small, extra push to do what he did? Maybe, and if he had survived perhaps it could be considered a mitigating factor in his sentencing. But if the focus of this story becomes some vague mental illness diagnosed from a million arm chairs based on the fact he visited a therapist once or twice, you’ll only hurt harmless sufferers of mental illnesses (who’d want to hire a crazy who is a psychotic episode from shooting up the office like that Rodger guy!) and will fail to address the misogynistic culture that inspired him, and the gun culture that armed him.

  41. says

    Look: The guy may even have suffered an extremely unusual suite of mental illnesses, but that generally has little bearing on violence committed, especially in such a fashion. Even if some therapist can legally come forward and say what developmental disorders, or personality disorders, or mental illnesses this guy had, that still doesn’t mean that any or these are “responsible” for his actions. He was fucked in the head, thinking the way he did, but that isn’t a mental illness. It’s incredibly bad thinking and beliefs. He was an extremist on a particular vector with some of the awful cultural baggage we carry.

    But anyone who wants to speculate or believe that there was some kind of mental illness involved, I’d sure like to know what kind of disorder they think it is.

  42. richcon says

    PZ: I can’t second this post enough. You wrote exactly the same point that I feel, and did it better than I could.

  43. Forbidden Snowflake says

    Therefore, being an atheist – lacking the vital faculty of faith – should be seen as an affliction, and a tragic deficiency: something akin to blindness. Which makes Richard Dawkins the intellectual equivalent of an amputee, furiously waving his stumps in the air, boasting that he has no hands.

    What a sad state to be in. I’m sure any supreme being worth its salt would heal all of the blind and the amputees.

    Seriously, do they not realize the implications of equating atheism with disabilities while also believing that it is punishable by hell? The cheap thrill of condescending to the atheists is bought with some serious concessions about the morality of their supposed god.

    If the way you are using the phrase “mentally ill”, with no evidence of genuine organic illness, can be replaced freely by the word “demon-possessed” without changing the sense, then you are engaging in the same magical thinking, using a phrase with no explanatory power.

    This is a great rule of thumb. I like it a whole lot.

  44. says

    brucegee

    A lot of the spin from both sides on this story seems to be operating from a fact deficit. The MRAs are adamant that his actions came from mental illness, not his toxic beliefs — full stop. On the other hand, liberals seem just as adamant on insisting, as here, that he had no mental illness whatsoever.

    We have very good evidence for the misogyny.
    We have very little evidence for a mental illness that caused his shooting spree.
    Aspberger’s (which is NOT a mental illness anyway) doesn’t make people kill others.
    Most mental illnesses don’t make people kill others.
    It makes about as much sense to say “he had a nasty old and that played a significant role”.
    If you are an infrequent or regular reader of the blog formerly known as manboobz, you will know that his beliefs were not even that extreme for certain circles of misogynists. Sooner or later one will take what they believe to be justice in their own hands.

  45. eeyore says

    Azkyroth, No. 41, I’m not attached to it. If there’s hard data to the contrary I’ll be happy to let it go. I just don’t want to rule it out until it can be ruled out to some degree of scientific certainty just in case there is an illness component. And the sense I’m getting is that there really isn’t a lot of hard data one way or the other, and we’re mostly groping in the dark here.

    My suspicion is that it’s several things working in tandem, one of which may or may not be mental illness, but I’ll concede that’s just a suspicion and I don’t have a lot of hard data either. If I’m right, though, and at least part of the problem can be ameliorated by better mental health diagnosis and treatment, then society does a disservice both to itself and to those individuals who are affected by categorically rejecting it out of hand before all the data is in.

    And that’s really all I’m saying. I’m most certainly not saying that misogyny didn’t play a role too.

  46. eeyore says

    And I think the best data point arguing that it may be mental illness is the one I’ve already raised: Most misogynists aren’t killers. Neither are most racists or homophobes, though some of those are too. That suggests it takes misogyny plus something else.

  47. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    If there’s hard data to the contrary I’ll be happy to let it go.

    You got the burden of evidence wrong. You are wrong until you can evidence your claims right. Which you haven’t done. Your attitude is typical of a presuppositionalist, be they religious or MRA.

  48. Steven Wolf says

    Loved this. Thanks. Very tiresome to hear “but their act isn’t representative, they’re extreme which is exactly equal to being insane / disturbed.”

    It’s damaging to people with an actual mental illness (makes them suspect and assumed to be dangerous to society / reduces sympathy for all sufferers), and it’s a baldly, blatantly a false equivalence.

    Just as Dawkin’s argues that Christianity / Religion leads to acts of violence and you can’t just say “but they don’t count”, the same holds true for MRA / Manboobz / Racism / etc. Hate begets acts of hate.

    Acts of hate don’t necessitate or in any way require we invoke the shibboleth of mental illness.

    Not related. Not necessary. Red Herring. Dumb.

  49. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    eeyore:

    When I was in the US Army, peace time US Army, I was trained to kill people. We called them targets, of course, not people, which is part of the societal desensitization process that every soldier goes through. Outside the military, killing is bad. Inside the military, a different society, killing the right targets is good. It is possible to sensitize people to do horrible things (Colonel Tibbets, for example) and think horrible things. The extant patriarchy and misogyny within US society is frightening and it leads to about 3 women being killed each day by their partners. These are ‘normal’ people. Killing women because they are women is fairly normal in the US. Dehumanizing women is completely normal in the US. Blaming women is normal.

    What he did is, by the standards of early 21st century America, wrong but normal. We have evidence that his misogyny and sense of privilege ran very deep. We have evidence that he had a developmental disorder (one that I share). We have no evidence at all that he suffered from a mental illness when he killed six women. Just as we have no evidence that Colonel Tibbets suffered from a mental illness when he killed ~80,000 with one bomb. Both were conditioned by society to think that their actions were the right action at the time.

  50. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    And I think the best data point arguing that it may be mental illness is the one I’ve already raised: Most misogynists aren’t killers.

    Misogyny is not homogeneous.

  51. says

    eeyore @29:

    I’m just saying that to reach his level of violence, there must be something more.

    “Being raised in a patriarchal culture that devalues women and treats them as sexual objects to be used by men and later spending time in a highly toxic MRA atmosphere” is not enough of an explanation? Why *must* there be something more?

    The parallels to theistic arguments on the existence of god are eerie.

  52. says

    eeyore:

    My suspicion is that it’s several things working in tandem, one of which may or may not be mental illness, but I’ll concede that’s just a suspicion and I don’t have a lot of hard data either

    Then ditch that suspicion *until* you have hard data!

    Isn’t that what many atheists ask of theists?
    “There is a lack of evidence for the existence of any god, you really ought to not believe in him until there is.”

    “There is a lack of evidence that Elliot Rodger suffered from mental illness. Going on a rampaging killing spree is insufficient evidence to support the conclusion that he suffered from a mental illness. You really ought to not believe he had a mental illness until there is.”

  53. says

    Mental illnesses are real. We can identify chemical imbalances in the brain; if you’re depressed, drugs like TCAs, MAOIs, SSRIs, and SNRIs can be effective in making people healthier. Schizophrenia is real and debilitating; there are also antipsychotic drugs that reduce the symptoms. Obsessive-compulsive disorders are real; they can be treated with certain antidepressants, but also behavioral therapy also seems to be effective in reducing the problems. We actually do have fairly concrete indicators of genuine illnesses that affect the functioning of the brain.

    Sigh. Every sentence of this is false. Every single sentence. Once again, here are the leading figures of psychiatry stating that these alleged illnesses are scientifically invalid and that there are no concrete indicators. Here are some claiming that the chemical imbalance idea is an urban legend and that no serious psychiatrist ever subscribed to or promoted it. Once again, here are some reading suggestions:

    Robert Whitaker, Mad in America and Anatomy of an Epidemic; James Davies, Cracked; Marcia Angell, “The Epidemic of Mental Illness: Why?”, “The Illusions of Psychiatry,” and “‘The Illusions of Psychiatry’: An Exchange” (all available free online); Joanna Moncrieff, The Myth of the Chemical Cure and The Bitterest Pills; Irving Kirsch, The Emperor’s New Drugs; Stuart Kirk, Tomi Gomery, and David Cohen, Mad Science; Gary Greenberg, The Book of Woe (I can’t speak to the quality of this one); Brett Deacon, “The Biomedical Model of Mental Disorder: A Critical Analysis of its Tenets, Consequences, and Effects on Psychotherapy Research” (available free online); Jonathan Leo and Jeffrey Lacasse, “Serotonin and Depression: A Disconnect between the Advertisements and the Scientific Literature” (available free online); Ethan Watters, Crazy Like Us

    This is a fucking scam. These drugs are not medications. Biopsychiatry is ruining millions of lives, and people are dying, and almost no one in the so-called skeptical community, including the social-justice activists, is willing to engage with the evidence to determine whether the claims they continue to make are actually true. It’s shameful.

  54. consciousness razor says

    Azkyroth, No. 41, I’m not attached to it. If there’s hard data to the contrary I’ll be happy to let it go. I just don’t want to rule it out until it can be ruled out to some degree of scientific certainty just in case there is an illness component.

    Who is saying anyone ought to “rule it out”? It isn’t impossible that he had some mental illness. It also isn’t impossible that the price of tea in China rose 1% yesterday. We just have no reason to believe this kind of “explanation” has any basis in fact, or plays any sort of explanatory role that wouldn’t be just as reliable and informative as “demons did it.” Maybe it’s true that he had a mental illness. Maybe it isn’t. What the hell are we supposed to do with a “maybe”?

    If I’m right, though, and at least part of the problem can be ameliorated by better mental health diagnosis and treatment, then society does a disservice both to itself and to those individuals who are affected by categorically rejecting it out of hand before all the data is in.

    Who is “categorically rejecting it out of hand”?

    And I think the best data point arguing that it may be mental illness is the one I’ve already raised: Most misogynists aren’t killers. Neither are most racists or homophobes, though some of those are too. That suggests it takes misogyny plus something else.

    Most people with mental illness aren’t killers, or even violent. Are you categorically rejecting that mental illness doesn’t correlate with violent behavior, or do you just not know anything about that data?

    Anything to say about this, from #24?

    Ok, for #9, and anyone else thinking that mental illness is the defining factor here: the ratio of MRAs who commit violence to others/ all MRAs is much greater than folks with mental illness who commit violence (or even just men)/ folks(men) with mental illness. Stop slandering folks with mental illness.

    You don’t even have a strong correlation, yet you reach for it anyway as a causal explanation. (And you don’t even really give one those either, since “mental illness” covers a huge variety of extremely different phenomena, not one thing which somebody could coherently identify as a “cause”. You won’t say which mental illness it supposedly is, just that it’s supposedly “one of those” by your reckoning. That’s somehow supposed to be a respectable and useful claim about reality.)

    Why do you do that? I think it makes you more comfortable to believe “normal” people are good, and “abnormal” people are bad. Despite your claims to the contrary, I think in some way or another you are attached to it and you wouldn’t be so happy to let it go. I know it doesn’t make me especially happy to think of “normal” or “typical” or “healthy” people as capable of violence. It’s hard to believe you’d feel any differently. Have you got nothing to say about that, other than denial? And how is this kind of slander not doing a disservice to people with mental health problems, instead of the opposite as you claim?

  55. Drolfe says

    Hey dumbasses in this thread and the last…

    I think killing six people does require a mental illness of some sort.

    He must be mentally ill because he killed six people because you have to be mentally ill to kill six people should be obviously circular.

    That’s not a useful way to reason. It’s been pointed out. Why are you all still doing it?

    A useful way to reason is withholding judgement until presented with sufficient evidence given the nature of the claim.

    I see eeyore has started walking it back. Keep going until you get there. Think better.

  56. astro says

    i really really fucking fucking hate it when religionists talk about mental illness.

    my brother in law is schizophrenic. he also has a drug problem (happens often for the mentally ill). he got talked into joining a special church designed to help boys with drug problems. but the pastor decided that my brother’s meds were “drugs” too, and forbade him from taking them. when we confronted the pastor, he said that my brother wasn’t sick, he had a “spiritual problem” that could only be cured through christ. the following week, my brother tried to cut his balls off. i can clearly remember all the blood he lost before we finally got him to a hospital, no thanks to that church.

  57. unclefrogy says

    eeyore you said something way up thread that I think is important.You said you didn’t think soldiers are a good example because war is an extreme situation.
    The soldier is put in that situation facing others who believe the same thing, they are taught to believe that the conflict is an extreme situation.
    It is a perception that they have of being in an extreme situation it is defined by others usually.
    The mass killer also believes he is in an extreme situation also so extreme that he has no other choice than to act it out.
    For the mass killer it is a delusion but he is out of touch with reality what of the soldier who fights for a lie he is taught he too is out of touch with reality.
    Many of these acts end in the suicide of killer not just the suicide bomber either. Suicide is an extreme act. To see that there is no other choice possible to get out of the situation you are but self-destruction is pretty extreme.
    uncle frogy

  58. eeyore says

    But the difference between arguing that gods and demons did it, versus arguing that mental illness may have had a role in it, is that unlike gods and demons, mental illness actually exists and there really is evidence for it. So we’re not quibbling about something for which there’s no evidence it even exists, but rather over whether something that does unquestionably does exist was present — and causitive — here.

    And no, Drolfe, it’s not circular. While it’s true that there are legitimate reasons, such as self defense, why a mentally healthy individual might kill six people, there was no legitimate reason here. His rationale — women owed him sex, they didn’t deliver, so he was going to kill a bunch of women he’d never even met for revenge — is on the same plane as killing people because Napoleon’s ghost came to you in a dream and told you to. The fact that he believed that was a legitimate reason is prima facie evidence of mental illness. The question is whether it was causitive.

  59. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    So we’re not quibbling about something for which there’s no evidence it even exists, but rather over whether something that does unquestionably does exist was present — and causitive — here.

    Evidence for true mental illness here, zero. Evidence for MRA/PUA type hatred, a 140 page screed. Now, what is your problem?

    His rationale — women owed him sex, they didn’t deliver, so he was going to kill a bunch of women he’d never even met for revenge — is on the same plane as killing people because Napoleon’s ghost came to you in a dream and told you to.

    Citation need, not just your uninformed guess. That has been your problem all along. You have assigned something without evidence to support your claim. When called, you double/triple down, instead of doing the rational thing, and realize you don’t make that call, and you can’t.

  60. richcon says

    And I think the best data point arguing that it may be mental illness is the one I’ve already raised: Most misogynists aren’t killers. Neither are most racists or homophobes, though some of those are too.

    Neither are most people who suffer from mental illness.

    Would you like to follow your own logic?

  61. says

    eeyore

    His rationale — women owed him sex, they didn’t deliver, so he was going to kill a bunch of women he’d never even met for revenge — is on the same plane as killing people because Napoleon’s ghost came to you in a dream and told you to.

    Wrong.
    He moved in circles in which complete contempt for women is absolutely normal and where going out to kill some is just the logical next step. There is no “ghost of Napoleon” culture. There is misogyny.

  62. says

    @ eeyore 13
    <blockquote cite=""And the question that will win anyone who answers it a Nobel prize is this: What is it that pushes the occasional Rudolph over the edge? It can’t be *only* the indoctrination, hateful though it is, because most people who get the indoctrination don’t become Eric Rudolph.
    Emphasis mine.
    Why is mental illness the explanation for the fact that most people don’t become Eric Rudolph? Why are experience and culture not good enough explanations? You are adding the extra information here and that requires justification.

    Cultural changes have reduced human expressions of cruelty and violence over time. Why can’t unique cultural circumstances be what reverse this progress in some cases?

    @ eeyore 29

    However, had my father grabbed a gun and shot six strangers, I think that would have been a different situation.

    Given a different set of circumstances your father could have also externalized a lot of blame for his circumstances by doing such a thing. Add in a history of problems with lots of groups that one defines in polarized ways, some extra selfishness and sense of entitlement, a misplaced sense of blame and things could have been very different. I don’t see a reason to go beyond culture here.

    @ eeyore

    I just don’t want to rule it out until it can be ruled out to some degree of scientific certainty just in case there is an illness component. And the sense I’m getting is that there really isn’t a lot of hard data one way or the other, and we’re mostly groping in the dark here.

    But you are not just “not ruling it out”. You are trying to persuade other people to include it. People who are not adding information due to lack of evidence of reason are not “groping in the dark”, that implies actively looking for something. You are the one looking for mental illness.

    My suspicion is that it’s several things working in tandem, one of which may or may not be mental illness, but I’ll concede that’s just a suspicion and I don’t have a lot of hard data either.

    Noted. I’ll back off if you want.

    And that’s really all I’m saying. I’m most certainly not saying that misogyny didn’t play a role too.

    But it functionally deemphasizes a reasonable focus on misogyny and emphasizes something not in evidence even if that is not your intention. Many of us have to deal with lots of people doing this and some of them are intending to actively deemphasize misogyny as a matter of political strategy. It’s often impossible to tell the difference.

    @ eeyore 49

    Most misogynists aren’t killers. Neither are most racists or homophobes, though some of those are too. That suggests it takes misogyny plus something else.

    That is just an…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_probability

    @ nrdo 34

    Murder driven by ideology and tribalism is, unfortunately, a part of the normal/neurotypical human condition. However, there are certain recognized mental illnesses for which we do not (yet?) have proven organic correlates. They are fully “real” in the sense that they are clusters of symptoms can be detected by standardized, reproducible data analysis and can be connected, within a known margin of error, to the appropriate medical interventions.

    While technically true, there still needs to be a reason to include them as a possibility. The danger here is in confusing those with terrible cognitive possibilities that came about due to choice and culture which will also have organic correlates (and what social battles we will have over those!). To use real and hypothetical cognitive unknowns in such a fashion is not useful to understanding here when we have lots of great explanatory observations already in evidence, and we can’t use what does not yet exist.

  63. says

    I’m not sure how I screwed that up but that is several replies to eeyore (with screwed up formatting on the first one), and one to nrdo at the end.

  64. Juliana Ewing says

    Even when people are demonstrably delusional, culture shapes those delusions. No one believed they were Napoleon before there was any cultural narrative about Napoleon.

  65. Jackie the wacky says

    there are degrees. A misogynist who beats his wife is not at the same place as the misogynist who kills his wife.

    Citation badly fucking needed. The thing that often triggers the abuser to kill is that his victim attempts to leave the abusive relationship. I lost an acquaintance that way, so I’m not going to have any patience with this crap. When he killed my friend’s sister everyone commented that they could not believe he did it. There were rumors of a cover up in town that were total bullshit.

    Guess why?

    He was such a nice guy. He was so normal and no one had ever thought him capable, until he gunned her down for trying to leave him. He killed her and then himself.

    The man who kills the woman he’s been abusing isn’t in some mysterious new head space. He’s just a misogynist abuser who decided to take his abuse a step further. From some of the women I’ve known who have been attacked with hammers and steel toed boots by their SO, I’d say it isn’t a very big step.

    I also take exception to the fact that you just suggested wife beating is behavior unrelated to murdering a woman. Let me guess: That probably has nothing to do with misogyny either. Only mentally ill people abuse their spouses…or something. :/
    It’s just so odd and extreme.
    So odd that it happens 3 times a day.

  66. ludicrous says

    I understand the first 3 Rodger killed were asians and he did it with aknife witch seems to me more rageful than shooting. He hated asians so I guess he hated the half of himslelf that was asian. Suggests to me self hatred turned outward. Reminds me of Hitler who I understand was part Jewish which may have led him to try to kill off all Jewishness. I don’t know from mentally ill but I do believe there is something to ‘multiple causation’. Both misogyny and racism seem to be added together. I wouldn’t be surprized if it turned out since he was a virgin he was scared people would think he was gay, maybe he was worried about that also.

  67. Jackie the wacky says

    Maybe most misogynists are not killers, but you can bet your bottom dollar that men who kill, rape and abuse the women in their lives are misogynists.

    Not all racists used to lynch people of color. Are you going to claim that the people who did lynch POC were not racists or that the horrors they committed were not done out of racism and hate, but out of mental illness?

    Because that’s what you are saying about misogyny and misogynists. You act as if we are taring good people with a broad brush. We aren’t.

    But blaming the mentally ill for all the worlds ills, is.

  68. says

    eeyore:

    But the difference between arguing that gods and demons did it, versus arguing that mental illness may have had a role in it, is that unlike gods and demons, mental illness actually exists and there really is evidence for it.

    But is there evidence that Elliot Rodger was mentally ill?
    That’s my point.
    There is insufficient evidence to reach that conclusion. “Because he went on a killing spree” is not evidence of mental illness. As mentioned at various points in this thread (and others), mental illness is not defined as “taking the lives of others”. If it were, the soldiers or police officers that killed others in the line of duty would be mentally ill. So would suicide bombers. This special pleading is tiresome.
    Find the proof or ditch the suspicion.

  69. says

    @ ludicrous 70

    He hated asians so I guess he hated the half of himslelf that was asian. Suggests to me self hatred turned outward. Reminds me of Hitler who I understand was part Jewish which may have led him to try to kill off all Jewishness.

    Now that is a reasonable thing to wonder about. Something like that could have been involved.

    I’m not so sure about the rest. His media was full of obsession about lack of pleasure and status.

  70. Drolfe says

    The fact that he believed that was a legitimate reason is prima facie evidence of mental illness.

    WHICH ONE? Which mental illness?!

    You’re still doing it! “That he killed people (believed he had a ‘legit’ reason) is evidence he was mentally ill!”

  71. Jackie the wacky says

    Both misogyny and racism seem to be added together.

    Where you find one, you often find the other.
    This killer was obviously a white supremacist.

    However, he said why he killed his roommates. He thought they would try to stop him.
    He also thought he was better than them because racism and he was angry that they had gfs.

    What an asshole.

  72. consciousness razor says

    But the difference between arguing that gods and demons did it, versus arguing that mental illness may have had a role in it, is that unlike gods and demons, mental illness actually exists and there really is evidence for it.

    Generally, but not specifically — no evidence in this specific case. So there is actually no relevant difference. Besides, how do you know? Maybe there are gods and demons in an alternate universe — so we couldn’t even say in general that there aren’t any gods, just not in the specific universe we’re talking about.

    That is why your uninformed ruminations on the subject are (generally) so irrelevant. You’ve got nothing but “maybe” this or “maybe” that, without any evidence to support any of them. We don’t know. That’s it. You just can’t squeeze any real knowledge out of ignorance.

    And no, Drolfe, it’s not circular. While it’s true that there are legitimate reasons, such as self defense, why a mentally healthy individual might kill six people, there was no legitimate reason here.

    So if anybody who’s ever killed a person doesn’t have “legitimate reasons, such as self defense,” we should expect to see what? Will we find tumors in their brains or something like that? How many murders do you suppose there have been in the past week? If we scanned all of their brains, what would we see that’s supposed to be different from a non-murderer’s brain? (When you talk about “prima facie evidence” below, where is it, and why aren’t you relying on any of it that’s actually available already?) What’s the thing in a person’s head that makes thinking and acting “illegitimate” or unethical or irrational (or whatever word you think doesn’t somehow distort the reality of the situation)? Give me this fantastic procedure that specifies what having-legitimate-reasons looks like physically, as well as what the lack of that looks like. This is a really tremendous discovery, worth Nobel prizes in several different fields I would think. Also, how exactly did you derive from this the concept that self-defense is one of the legit brain-states, as opposed to a non-legit brain-state? Or is that the concept that you started out with, which has nothing to do with differences in brain-states?

    The fact that he believed that was a legitimate reason is prima facie evidence of mental illness.

    Which mental illness would that be? Bad-person Syndrome? False-belief-having Disorder? Hating-women-a-lot-and-taking-it-really-seriously Disease?

  73. mesh says

    @eeyore

    Why focus on some completely baseless and unfalsifiable component when the idea itself is as sufficient an explanation? Something misogyny, racism, homophobia, transphobia, anti-semitism, etc. all have in common is that they are all dehumanizing concepts; once people mentally file “undesirables” into a sub-human category their deaths become no more tragic than those of insects. This isn’t a product of mental illness – it’s the ultimate conclusion of a dangerous idea corroborated both by history and a large body of sociological research noting the real dangers faced by marginalized groups across many societies. Your thesis is simply bizarre in that, by your own logic, no racist, homophobe, etc. actually believes what they say instead requiring infection from a mysterious mind virus to carry out their reasoning.

  74. gillt says

    PZ

    OK, what about suicide bombers? Are the bombers all mentally ill? Does it take some additional component of a biological illness to get people to do that, or is it possible that concerted, constant indoctrination is sufficient to compel perfectly healthy people to do evil things?

    The link’s been made between suicide bombers and other suicidal mass murderers. Commonalities being…
    1. mental illness
    2. persecution complex
    3. desire for notoriety

    Lots of room for disagreement with that list, but probably deserves mention.

    What Drives Suicidal Mass Murderers

  75. Jackie the wacky says

    The fact that he believed that was a legitimate reason is prima facie evidence of mental illness.

    No, it isn’t!

    Tell me, do all the gay bashers and murderers transsexual women all have a mental illness?

    Was every Nazi mentally ill?

    What about the government of Uganda?
    Are they all mentally ill?
    The inquisitors?

    In all your diagnostic wisdom, which of those groups of murdering fuckwads were mentally ill and what mental illness did they all share that made it seem like the pervasive attitudes of their cultures justified, normalized and encouraged their actions?

    The settlers that slew whole communities of native peoples, stole their children and set out to eradicate their culture? Were they all just mentally ill too?

    You really want to blame anyone but the privileged and the culture they perpetrate, don;t you?

  76. Jackie the wacky says

    What mental illness do the entire Boko Haram and Taliban share?

    I’m dying to know.

    I bet you’ll be able to see that their culture is to blame, rather than their biology.

    I know why too.

  77. ludicrous says

    Also if he was severely homophobic ( and had some secret concern he was gay) he could also hate the women for not allowing him to prove he was not gay.

  78. Jackie the wacky says

    What Eeyore is saying is that bigots aren’t dangerous, people with mental illnesses are.

    Should a bigot murder someone, whether or not they were diagnosed with a mental illness, that is why they killed. If they frequent websites, like stormfront of PUAhate that reinforces and encourages their hate prior to the murder, that’s still not it. That likely made no difference at all. Somebody was gonna die, it might as well be people that don;t matter, amirite? If they write a book (like Mein Kampf ) or a 140 page manifesto saying that they are killing because they group of people they intend to kill deserve it, don’t be fooled. They were simply mentally ill.

    Bigotry doesn’t kill. It’s innocuous. Why do minorities make such a big deal about it? It’s these pesky mentally ill people that we need to do something about!
    *rolls eye so hard they fall out*

  79. Jackie the wacky says

    Women get told to shut up about misogyny when it’s not “that bad”. *cough*Dawkins*cough*

    When it is “that bad” it can’t be misogyny.

    Isn’t that convenient?

    Women literally never have anything to complain about.

  80. says

    This is something of a side issue, but I’m pretty sure the first quote is strawmanning Dawkins in that I’m fairly confident that Dawkins does not define “what is seen/experienced” narrowly enough to dissolve the self as the first quote indicates that he does.

  81. Jackie the wacky says

    Oh, and as the mom of a kid on the spectrum, I’d really appreciate it if anyone who has suggested that Asperger’s had anything to do with this man’s decision to kill 6 people would go scrape their knuckles on a rough plaster ceiling or try to lick a moving fan blade.
    That’d be great.

  82. Jackie the wacky says

    Sorry I’m littering the page with typos.

    I seem to be tired for some reason.

  83. ludicrous says

    Tony and Jackie,

    I am sorry, I don’t understand your objection. Perhaps someone would give me a heads up.

  84. Jackie the wacky says

    ludicrous,
    I’m not interested in having that discussion right now.
    Maybe you can go to the T’dome and someone will help you there.

  85. Imbecile Heureux says

    From the OP:

    “If the way you are using the phrase “mentally ill”, with no evidence of genuine organic illness, can be replaced freely by the word “demon-possessed” without changing the sense, then you are engaging in the same magical thinking, using a phrase with no explanatory power.”

    I always enjoy your posts, PZ, but every so often you absolutely nail it; in the space of a few short words, you have me understanding things that were largely opaque to me previously.

    This is one of those times.

  86. Louis says

    PZ,

    I’ve not read the thread yet, and can’t right now, but thanks for this OP (and a few other posts since the original Elliot Rodger post). If I am going to whine about what I think you get wrong it’s only fair I anti-whine about things I think you get right. This is one of those times I think you got it right.

    Cheers

    Louis

    P.S. Back to half term holidays for my son and my first proper biology module.

  87. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    ludicrous @ 82

    Also if he was severely homophobic ( and had some secret concern he was gay) he could also hate the women for not allowing him to prove he was not gay.

    What.

    The.

    Actual.

    Fuck.

    What the fuck is with people on this?! “I know we have several very large truckloads of evidence in the killer’s own words telling us explicitly why he killed these people but I really think it has more to do with [some random bullshit I just made up out of whole cloth].”

    FUCK. OFF.

  88. eeyore says

    @Nerd, No. 63, how can you say there is *no* evidence for mental illness when his own family was sufficiently concerned about his mental health that they had already called authorities? That doesn’t strike you as some evidence of mental illness? And as for your last line about getting to make the rationality call, got it: The objective standard is whatever Nerd thinks.

    @richcon, No. 64, not everyone who smokes gets cancer. Lots of people who don’t smoke get cancer anyway. That doesn’t mean there’s no link between smoking and cancer.

    @brony, No. 65: If we lived in a culture in which it was expected that people would shoot strangers, or rape children, or do any number of other things that this culture considers sociopathic, then people who did those things would simply be doing what they had been taught to do. But in this culture, it is not acceptable to grab a gun and shoot six strangers. Not even the batshit crazy NRA thinks that’s acceptable behavior. And (yet another) reason why analogies to soldiers simply aren’t useful is that they’re doing what their culture tells them to do.

    Mental illness is when you do things like that against cultural norms. And there is evidence of mental illness here, not least of which is that his family had already called the authorities. But I think the money quote in your comments is that the real concern is that including the possibility of mental illness takes the focus off misogyny. That’s a tactical argument, not a logical one.

    I understand the political and tactical rationale for wanting to focus on misogyny. I don’t disagree with it. But if your concern is gathering facts, you have to gather all of them.

    And respectfully, I think y’all are trying to oversimplify what is a far more complex issue. Think of the smoking/cancer link again. There are other factors — genetics, diet, sometimes just plain bad luck. And the reason one person has cancer may not be the reason someone else has cancer. Further, someone else who smokes, has a bad diet and bad genes, may not develop cancer. It probably is an individual thing in which no one factor is the same for everyone. But all of that said, there is a link between smoking and cancer.

    OK, I think I’ve now responded to all the major points made by everyone. If I missed one, let me know.

  89. consciousness razor says

    I am sorry, I don’t understand your objection. Perhaps someone would give me a heads up.

    I won’t speak for them, but I don’t know why we’d speculate about whether or not he was confused about being a closeted, self-hating Jew gay person with an axe to grind.

    (Indeed, he didn’t have sex with anyone, nor did he rape anyone, which is what I would expect if this is the kind of “proof” he wanted to demonstrate. Instead, he simply killed them. If all else fails, he could’ve gone to a prostitute, if he only wanted to satisfy his own need for an identity, as opposed to conflating that with whether or not other people accepted or rejected him as a potential partner.)

    But homophobes are not all secretly gay and self-hating. That’s an idea that needs to die, even outside of this kind of discussion. And here, it’s just one of many extra leaps you could make. Maybe this, maybe that, maybe this, maybe that…. The bullshit never ends. What purpose does it serve? You don’t say. We don’t know. And it’s pretty obvious that it doesn’t help.

  90. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    eeyore @ 96

    Mental illness is when you do things like that against cultural norms.

    I’d like to invite you to run that definition by an actual medical professional and then report back to us.

    But I think the money quote in your comments is that the real concern is that including the possibility of mental illness takes the focus off misogyny. That’s a tactical argument, not a logical one.

    Including the possibility of mental illness based on negligible evidence DOES take the focus off of what we ACTUALLY know. Even if we KNEW he was mentally ill, his misogyny still clearly informed his choice of target. So, given that we know the misogyny for a fact but are just guessing about mental illness, why is it so FUCKING important to you to have it acknowledged that Rodger might have been mentally ill. Why is that a useful contribution to the discussion?

    And respectfully, I think y’all are trying to oversimplify what is a far more complex issue.

    We’re not oversimplifying. We’re just NOT MAKING SHIT UP.

  91. ludicrous says

    Seven,

    What we actually have “in the killer’s own words” as you put it, are the ravings of a homicidal maniac. We do not know and perhaps will never know, how well those ravings correspond to his true motives.

  92. Jackie the wacky says

    Eeyore,
    Are you going to answer my questions or just ignore me?

  93. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    ludicrous @ 99

    What we actually have “in the killer’s own words” as you put it, are the ravings of a homicidal maniac. We do not know and perhaps will never know, how well those ravings correspond to his true motives.

    They’re more likely to track with his true motives than shit you make up.

  94. Jackie the wacky says

    ludicrous,
    He must have been mentally ill, because he is a murderer and so we cannot trust his clearly stated motives for being a murderer because he’s mentally ill? That’s you evidence. That’s your argument?
    Is that really what reason looks like on your planet?

  95. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Eeyore: “how can you say there is *no* evidence for mental illness when his own family was sufficiently concerned about his mental health that they had already called authorities?”

    Hello! They called the authorities because he was angry, violent and generally an asshole–none of which are symptoms of any mental illness I’ve run across in the DSM V. Did I miss one?

    Please learn: Asshole=!=mentally ill.

  96. Jackie the wacky says

    Mental illness is when you do things like that against cultural norms.

    No, it isn’t. Nor is misogyny or violence against women against cultural norms.

  97. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    What we actually have “in the killer’s own words” as you put it, are the ravings of a homicidal maniac. We do not know and perhaps will never know, how well those ravings correspond to his true motives.

    Ludicrous, you have been warned. Time to fade into the bandwidth.

  98. chigau (違う) says

    ludicrous #99
    Seven,
    What we actually have “in the killer’s own words” as you put it, are the ravings of a homicidal maniac. We do not know and perhaps will never know, how well those ravings correspond to his true motives.

    Damn. I was going to say something like that.
    But I was going to include a <heavysarcasm> tag.

  99. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    As an example: ludicrous above is clearly an asshole and an anti-social troll. He may also be insane. The two traits are uncorrelated.

  100. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    ludicrous,
    Ah, so demanding one have evidence prior to asserting mental illness is now unskeptical? Got it.

    And will you tell us that black is white and freedom is slavery as well?

  101. Jackie the wacky says

    Same sex marriage goes against cultural norms.
    Raising kids without religion in the Bible Belt goes against cultural norms.
    Having a marriage based on equality and respect is against cultural norms.
    Speaking highly of mimes goes against cultural norms.

    *shakes head*
    But when the truth is challenging to privilege, people do seem more comfortable making shit up.

  102. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    ludicrous @ 108

    There sure is a load of certainty here on this skeptic blog.

    Things which are apparently the same:

    Doubting the truth of something for which one has negligible evidence and certainty. Good to know.

  103. Jackie the wacky says

    ludicris,
    I’m certain that you’ve been asked to leave the thread.
    Try not to be a jerk about it.

  104. consciousness razor says

    OK, I think I’ve now responded to all the major points made by everyone. If I missed one, let me know.

    A few that you haven’t addressed:
    1) which mental illness?
    2) what do you think is a mental illness?
    3) where is the evidence of mental illness in this case?
    4) how do we differentiate between people with and without some particular mental illness?

    You come close to answering the last one by making this totally incoherent claim:

    Mental illness is when you do things like that against cultural norms.

    I almost don’t know where to start. What part of “mental” do you not understand? It is a thing in a person’s head. That is the mechanism which you cite, when you cite a mental illness as being a cause (or one of the causes) of something. So the natural question, as I ask in question #1 above, is which fucking thing in the head do you think you’re talking about? That answer will not come in the form of “oh, look over there, the person’s family called somebody….” or “oh, well you see, this is against cultural norms” or “this is just a bad thing” or “I don’t understand the reason why anybody would do this.” It comes in the form of you identifying something about the actual state in a person’s brain. We can then see whether or not that sort of claim is true, and we won’t be concerned that this is just your ignorant, prejudiced opinion based on no facts whatsoever.

  105. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    96
    eeyore

    First- Fucking. Blockquote. Seriously, it’s not hard.

    @Nerd, No. 63, how can you say there is *no* evidence for mental illness when his own family was sufficiently concerned about his mental health that they had already called authorities? That doesn’t strike you as some evidence of mental illness? And as for your last line about getting to make the rationality call, got it: The objective standard is whatever Nerd thinks.

    That’s fucking circular. Can you guess why? They asked for a wellness check because of the videos he posted. His fucking manifesto got his parents worried about his anger and plans. You can’t claim that’s proof because suicide in his manifesto is just to avoid going to prison after killing women and those that would try to stop him.

    It’s not like he was cutting himself or off his meds and they called. Oh, and therapy doesn’t mean mental illness either. Everybody has issues that therapy helps. Doesn’t mean they are “crazy”.

    @brony, No. 65: If we lived in a culture in which it was expected that people would shoot strangers, or rape children, or do any number of other things that this culture considers sociopathic, then people who did those things would simply be doing what they had been taught to do. But in this culture, it is not acceptable to grab a gun and shoot six strangers. Not even the batshit crazy NRA thinks that’s acceptable behavior. And (yet another) reason why analogies to soldiers simply aren’t useful is that they’re doing what their culture tells them to do.

    Nice ablism there asshole.
    Considering the stats about domestic violence and rape, yes it fucking is. It’s normal, excused and defended. Treating women as things and being mad when they don’t tow the ling IS taught by our culture, Rogers just followed the logical conclusion. Since he didn’t have access to a woman up close and personal to beat, rape and kill, he spread his net wide aiming for as many malfunctioning sexbots as he could. Women are monolith, dontcha know.

    Mental illness is when you do things like that against cultural norms.

    That’s a load of horseshit. Under that definiton athiests in American are mentally ill. Trans people are mentally ill. People in poly relationships are mentally ill.

    Stupid fucking asshole, think twice before you type. Your experience isn’t fucking universal, you know.

  106. Jackie the wacky says

    OK, I think I’ve now responded to all the major points made by everyone. If I missed one, let me know.

    Is there a reason you didn’t answer any of my questions and then stated that you had not even seen any other questions?

    When a person comes in a thread to hand wave away the dangers of misogyny and instead makes erroneous and ableist claims, I’m suspicious of that person’s motives. When that person ignores anyone with a clearly female nym and avatar, I’m sure.

  107. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    how can you say there is *no* evidence for mental illness when his own family was sufficiently concerned about his mental health that they had already called authorities? That doesn’t strike you as some evidence of mental illness?

    Until diagnosed by a professional, which excludes you and your view, nope.

    By the way, when evidenceless fools like you keep trying to shovel the connection to the MRA/PUA fuckwittery under the table using “mental illness” as a means to do so, I get very suspicious of their motives.
    Are you a MRA/PUA fuckwit? You argue like they do, which means we must take you word for everything, and links to the literature to back up your claims are MIA. Until you provide evidence, everything you say should be dismissed without evidence.

  108. says

    @ ludicrous 99

    What we actually have “in the killer’s own words” as you put it, are the ravings of a homicidal maniac. We do not know and perhaps will never know, how well those ravings correspond to his true motives.

    I have no reason to believe that. I read his manifesto, I watched some of the videos. He was full of entitlement (on many levels), selfishness, narcissism, polarized irrational emotional reactions and views, seething hatred directed at specific sources who he blamed for specific things and more.

    But I don’t see any maniacal ravings that might suggest that we can’t learn why he did what he did from what he said.

    @ ludicrous 108

    There sure is a load of certainty here on this skeptic blog.

    Rational skepticism is fine. So is certainty about perceived lack of reason for the arguments of others.

  109. Jackie the wacky says

    gilt,

    I have a friend who was in Haiti after the earthquakes.
    trigger warning

    The lines for medical care were so long that people were dying waiting to be seen. A way people would get attention for their injured family member was to strap a “bomb” (they most likely weren’t all real.) on a child and send them to the front of the line to tell the soldiers that if their families were not seen next, they’d be blown up along with everyone else in line. Often, the kids were crying. They weren’t mentally ill. Their families were not mentally ill. But the kids did what they were told and the parents, whether they were really willing to kill their kids or not, were fine with letting the kids believe they’d kill them.

    Suicide bombers are often simply told that what they are doing is right and that doing it makes them a hero. The people who flew those planes into the towers on 9/11 were not mentally ill. They were doing what they had been taught was right. They were doing what their community told them was justified.

    “Commonalities” is another way of saying “correlations” and we all know that those are different from causation, right?

  110. says

    @ eeyore 96

    If we lived in a culture in which it was expected that people would shoot strangers, or rape children, or do any number of other things that this culture considers sociopathic, then people who did those things would simply be doing what they had been taught to do. But in this culture, it is not acceptable to grab a gun and shoot six strangers. Not even the batshit crazy NRA thinks that’s acceptable behavior. And (yet another) reason why analogies to soldiers simply aren’t useful is that they’re doing what their culture tells them to do.

    You are confusing the whole culture with the variation within a culture. Despite our higher moral standards to previous historical eras, things still fail from time to time locally and that does not require a mental illness to be present.

    Mental illness is when you do things like that against cultural norms. And there is evidence of mental illness here, not least of which is that his family had already called the authorities. But I think the money quote in your comments is that the real concern is that including the possibility of mental illness takes the focus off misogyny. That’s a tactical argument, not a logical one.

    No mental illness refers to a collection of things that are in many cases ill defined. Some of them can contribute to behavior that runs against cultural norms. Mental illness is not sufficient to cause behavior like this and you still need to provide specific evidence that suggests we consider that mental illness was involved. The tactical argument was secondary and independent and I know it full well.

    I understand the political and tactical rationale for wanting to focus on misogyny. I don’t disagree with it. But if your concern is gathering facts, you have to gather all of them.

    Then present yours. That is what is needed to consider that mental illness might be worth perusing. That is your job as someone presenting the argument. If it’s just an opinion and you don’t intend to make an argument we have every right to point out how grossly insufficient this is to drawing conclusions.

    And respectfully, I think y’all are trying to oversimplify what is a far more complex issue. Think of the smoking/cancer link again. There are other factors — genetics, diet, sometimes just plain bad luck. And the reason one person has cancer may not be the reason someone else has cancer. Further, someone else who smokes, has a bad diet and bad genes, may not develop cancer. It probably is an individual thing in which no one factor is the same for everyone. But all of that said, there is a link

    between smoking and cancer.

    No we are starting with the items that are in evidence and building a picture from that. If you want to suggest a factor you still need to justify it.

  111. says

    ludicrous:

    Also if he was severely homophobic ( and had some secret concern he was gay) he could also hate the women for not allowing him to prove he was not gay.

    -This is the “bigot is a closeted LGBTQI individual, and his self loathing manifests as homophobia” meme. This meme-as consciousness razor said @97-needs to die.
    People have latched onto this as if it’s a reasonable idea (I suspect they think there’s a lot of evidence to support it). A very small number of homophobic bigots turned out to be gay men. Based on the available evidence, the vast majority of homophobic bigots are *not gay*.

    I am sorry, I don’t understand your objection. Perhaps someone would give me a heads up.

    You put forth as a possibility that Elliot Rodger was a self hating closet homosexual that took out his frustration (at being a gay man prevented from having sex with men by women) by killing women. Try to put yourself in the shoes of someone who is queer. How would they feel if they heard you say that?

    I’ll tell you how *I* feel–it frustrates me to hear people posit the idea. I went through a period of self loathing bc I did not like being gay. I wished that I could be heterosexual so that I could be “normal”. I wanted to be viewed as a “normal” man. I didn’t like effeminate men or drag queens, or anyone else that deviated from what I thought was “normal”. Despite my rigid adherence to traditional gender roles, I didn’t murder anyone. The vast majority of LGBTQI people I know haven’t either.
    Please stop continuing the meme.

    ____
    It took years before I became more comfortable being a gay man. The community here helped with that too. Once I began to understand that sexism, racism, and homophobia permeated the culture in the US, I began to see how my thoughts and words were homophobic. It also was tremendously helpful to learn about toxic masculinity and gender essentialism. Now I’m happy to be gay and I’m sad that I once looked down on effeminate gay men and drag queens bc they didn’t match my view of what “being a man is”. Part of the reasons for thinking like that was due to sexism. I never articulated it, but I viewed effeminate gay men and drag queens as too much like women-as if that’s a bad thing. Suffice to say, I don’t think like that any longer.

  112. gillt says

    Jackie,

    The NY Times article I linked, Adam Lankford argues that certain personality types, he wants to label them mentally ill, are drawn toward a culturally dominant ideology–racism, religion, misogyny, etc.,–but are motivated by other desires.

    But like you suggest, even the best speculating is just making correlations. FWIW, I like Philip Cohen’s take.

    There are two ways that misogyny could play into this case. The first possibility is that he simply hated women, a perspective that is highly accessible in US society. This is illustrated in a lot of pornography — rape or humiliation — and advertising, and articulated by a lot of men who objectify women and seek their conquest or abuse in order to express power or impress other men.

    The other possibility is he was schizophrenic or otherwise disassociated from social reality. In that case, misogyny is just the vehicle his disordered brain latched onto. Paranoid people choose from the available entities when building up the fantasy of their persecution. The source of their persecution may not be real, but it is also not random. (The CIA may not be after you, but if it didn’t spy on and assassinated some people, schizophrenics wouldn’t be afraid of them.)

    If a paranoid delusional young man believes women are persecuting him, he may be crazy but he is also picking up on the hatred and fear directed toward women that he sees around him.

    No matter how you slice it, it is a tragedy that reflects the societal influence of hatred toward women. That is not the whole story of gender relations in our society, but it is definitely present and dangerous.

  113. says

    eeyore:

    And respectfully, I think y’all are trying to oversimplify what is a far more complex issue.

    Says the person claiming Rodger was mentally ill, despite no evidence of such.
    Just b/c many of us recognize that misogyny drove his actions does not mean we think that’s a simple answer. We recognize it’s a complex issues. And that complex issue is not helped by people like you (and ludicrous) adding unevidenced motivations out of whole cloth.

    As others have asked, which mental illness was Rodger suffering from?

  114. says

    ludicrous:

    There sure is a load of certainty here on this skeptic blog.

    Point to the certainty fool.
    People keep saying “There is not enough evidence to support the conclusion that Elliot Rodger was mentally ill.
    Somehow people like you hear “Elliot Rodger was not mentally ill.”

    Get it through your head: none of us knows if ER had a mental illness and to the best of what is publicly known, there is no evidence to support that contention. If evidence does turn up, we can readjust our opinions accordingly.

  115. eeyore says

    Jackie, I’m just going to ignore you. Sorry, but your comments strike me as completely off the wall.

  116. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Jackie, I’m just going to ignore you. Sorry, but your comments strike me as completely off the wall.

    Whereas your “must be mentally ill based on my sayso” isn’t. Until you provide third party evidence to back up your inane and fuckwitted claims, they will be given the consideration they deserve. ie, none….

  117. says

    eeyore:

    Sorry, but your comments strike me as completely off the wall.

    Jackie’s comments are not off the wall.
    You ought to try reading for comprehension the words xe puts on the screen. The questions Jackie posed are good questions that you’ve chosen to ignore in favor of your narrative. A narrative, I remind, that you’ve provided NO EVIDENCE FOR.

  118. eeyore says

    Tony, there’s not *no* evidence that he was mentally ill; we’ve already covered that ground. His family was worried enough to try to get him care. And have you actually read his manifesto? I have; all 140 pages of it. In amongst all that misogyny, there was more than enough to justify a three-day civil commitment for observation; pity no one took that route. Now, you may not find that evidence to be conclusive, or compelling, or beyond a reasonable doubt, but it’s not *no* evidence.

    Nerd, since I really don’t give a shit what you think, if you want to think I’m a PUA, knock yourself out, and thank you for my giggle of the day. In the meantime, are *you* a mental health professional? If you’re not, then your layperson’s opinion is worth no more than my layperson’s opinion. It may interest you to know that if you google “Elliot Rodger” and “mentally ill” that there are plenty of people who are mental health professionals who do think he was mentally ill, though it’s not unanimous.

    Brony, I did not say that mental illness standing alone is sufficient to make Rodgers do what he did. Most mentally ill people aren’t violent. Mental illness covers a lot of ground. But given the evidence for his mental illness — that manifesto drips with paranoia from the first letter to the last period, and paranoia can be a sign of a mental illness — it can’t be ruled out as a partial cause.

    Finally, I think the law of diminishing returns has kicked in, so unless somebody says something that’s actually new I’m probably out of this thread. I’ve given my rationale; I’ve listened to yours; we don’t agree. That’s fine; reasonable minds can differ. Thank you for a stimulating discussion.

  119. chigau (違う) says

    eeyore
    buh-bye
    By the way, if there are “mental health professionals” making diagnoses over the internet,
    they need to turn in their badges.

  120. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Now, you may not find that evidence to be conclusive, or compelling, or beyond a reasonable doubt, but it’s not *no* evidence.

    Nope, it is *no* EVIDENCE. Why do you think otherwise, other than your delusional presupposition Rodger was “mentally ill”. Until you take it away from your prejudiced views, you will never, ever, have a case. Try Google Scholar or Pub Med. Meanwhile, shitcan your views until you can provide third party evidence.

  121. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’ve listened to yours; we don’t agree. That’s fine; reasonable minds can differ. Thank you for a stimulating discussion.

    Except yours, without third party evidence, isn’t reasonable. You lose, as always….

  122. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Gillt:

    Either you edited Cohen’s writing without ellipses or Cohen doesn’t understand the link between delusions and violence at all.

    Persons with schizophrenia are generally about as likely as the general population to be violent. There is no significant increased risk that has been reliably detected in studies, save for a subgroup of the subgroup with the paranoid subtype of schizophrenia.

    Persons with schizophrenia, paranoid subtype, have prominent delusions. These are typically classified into one (or both) of two types: grandiose or persecutory.

    A grandiose delusional scheme leads the person to believe that they can accomplish amazing things, that all their ideas are vitally important, etc. A persecutory delusional scheme is what people more commonly associate with “paranoid”: it leads the person to believe that some powerful enemy is working its evil will in the world and will eventually do horrible things to the person unless some other delusional condition is satisfied.

    it is only those with the paranoid subtypes who have both Grandiose AND Persecutory delusional complexes that are likely to become publicly violent.

    In the meantime, it is now time to rehash some facts about certain murderers.

    To wit:

    My previous takedowns of mass-murder-is-evidence-of-psychosis-bullshit. Just because Cohen can spin words plausibly together doesn’t mean he knows a fucking thing about mass murderers.

    I later clarified that certain mental illnesses, such as depression, that are common in the population were also noted in some mass murderers. These diseases can be severe in others but were rarely severe in the mass murderers.

    Finally, let’s throw in the bit about personality disorders and diagnosis using behavior just to head some things off at the pass.

    Frankly, I should have just linked that old Chris Clarke thread as soon as the news about Rodger hit the internet.

  123. says

    eeyore:

    Tony, there’s not *no* evidence that he was mentally ill; we’ve already covered that ground. His family was worried enough to try to get him care. And have you actually read his manifesto? I have; all 140 pages of it. In amongst all that misogyny, there was more than enough to justify a three-day civil commitment for observation; pity no one took that route. Now, you may not find that evidence to be conclusive, or compelling, or beyond a reasonable doubt, but it’s not *no* evidence.

    He was in therapy. That’s not evidence of a mental illness.
    You’re right, I don’t find that convincing or compelling. I’m not trained in evaluating the mental states of others. Are you? What are your qualifications? How did you diagnose Elliot? Have you ever met him?
    None of what you said is *evidence* that he was mentally ill.

    And you *still* haven’t answered what mental illness you think it was.

  124. Jackie the wacky says

    he wants to label them mentally ill

    how nice for him.

    Eeyore,

    Right, you are going to ignore me for reasons that aren’t that you have no answers for my questions that support your claims. sure. Right.
    …and you didn’t ignore me in the first place because I’m a woman.
    Sure.
    We’ve never seen the invisible pixel effect here before. *eyeroll* We’re all new.

    Like I said, I have no doubt at all why you are adamant to blame something other than misogyny for these murders.
    I don’t need you to answer. You’ve told me all I need to know already.

  125. consciousness razor says

    Jackie, I’m just going to ignore you. Sorry, but your comments strike me as completely off the wall.

    Continue to ignore mine too. I’ll be over here, off the wall, talking about how ridiculous your bullshit is and not ignoring it — because it actually matters to me that people shouldn’t just be bullshitting about this.

    I don’t believe you understand the first thing about psychology, much less mental health in particular, but there’s nothing like ignorance to make a person believe they know what they’re talking about. If you won’t even explain your idea to us, maybe try explaining it to yourself. You might get some idea of just how little you actually understand. But that’s a lot of work. It’s much easier to go for the easy “explanation” that doesn’t require anything like that. But aside from any of us disagreeing with it because you just won’t describe what the hell you’re talking about or how you think you know that, what’s this supposed to do for you? Tell you something about reality, or make yourself feel better about it?

  126. says

    eeyore:

    I’ve given my rationale; I’ve listened to yours; we don’t agree.

    If by rationale, you mean poorly thought out and unevidenced assertion taken to be true, then *sure*, you’ve given your rationale.

  127. consciousness razor says

    Frankly, I should have just linked that old Chris Clarke thread as soon as the news about Rodger hit the internet.

    I do remember that was a good thread.

    …. For certain values of “good,” meaning something like “really fucking frustrating.” But probably also educational for some people.

  128. Jackie the wacky says

    He was in therapy. That’s not evidence of a mental illness.

    Thank you, Tony.
    People go through therapy to help their relationships, to get through grief, to overcome addiction, etc.

    When we fostered kids, most of those kids were in therapy, you know why? It wasn’t because they were all mentally ill. It was because they were going through a tough time and therapy helps with that.

    According to Eeyore, all of those kids were mentally ill.
    When people leaving abusive situations and people seek therapy, according to Eeyore that’s because they are mentally ill. According to him, that also makes them a danger to themselves and others.

    But misogyny? Naaaahh, that stuff never hurt anybody.
    Oh, there is my friend’s dead sister and the neighbor of mine who was beaten in the head with a hammer and left for dead by her boyfriend and…

  129. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @eeyore, #96:

    @Nerd, No. 63, how can you say there is *no* evidence for mental illness when his own family was sufficiently concerned about his mental health that they had already called authorities? That doesn’t strike you as some evidence of mental illness?

    Concerned about his mental health and concerned that he might hurt someone are 2 different things.

    And no, your family believing you would be good to check in with a psych practitioner is not a diagnostic criterion on any DSM diagnostic checklist of which I’m aware, less so for “your family called the cops on you”.

    Further, “personality disorders” are not “mental illnesses” though that distinction is falling, and has been for more than 10 years, it still exists, and the rationales for making “bad conduct” an illness are not so much about whether a PD is similar to any particular MI in etiology or prognosis or whatever. It’s mostly about the fact that PD’s were previously poorly researched and generally untreatable by the methods that were developed for other diseases. The newer justification for ditching the distinction is about making treatment available now that some treatments work for some PDs.

    Personality is simply observable tendencies in choice-making. If you tend more toward violent choices, that isn’t necessarily a disease. But if defining it as one gets people sent to shrinks who then get them to knock if off, lots of people benefit. So there are people who think that we should do exactly that. But it doesn’t mean that mental illness and PDs are the same, and I’d like to see your informed opinion on the topic before your next statement on the evidentiary value of violence to the diagnostician.

  130. anteprepro says

    Wow, Jackie has so far earned dismissive and condescending “I’m not gonna listen to you anymore” responses from our recent surplus of “but it can’t JUST be misogyny, why not also assume mental illness!!!?” trolls. Coincidence? You decide!

  131. anteprepro says

    That is to say: from two of our recent trolls.

    eeyore at 126 and liz here .

    Also in that other thread, sparkles decides to play “gotcha” games with Jackie’s nym.

    Does anyone smell ulterior motives?

  132. says

    Personality is simply observable tendencies in choice-making. If you tend more toward violent choices, that isn’t necessarily a disease. But if defining it as one gets people sent to shrinks who then get them to knock if off, lots of people benefit. So there are people who think that we should do exactly that. But it doesn’t mean that mental illness and PDs are the same, and I’d like to see your informed opinion on the topic before your next statement on the evidentiary value of violence to the diagnostician.

    See, this. Yeah, we really need a clearer word, I think, instead of just using a blanket term, like crazy. But, its the only word we have for, “These people are doing things that scare the hell out of me.”, whether it be someone shooting six people, or some joker running for office, who insists on posting “abortion barbie” ads against his female opponent, are any of the long list of other absurd, irrational, and socially disastrous nonsense they push. Until someone comes up with a better word.. I am afraid we are stuck with people using the wrong one, to emphasize just how freaked they are by what they are seeing.

    And, to be frank, even if we had some way to fix people with PD problems, there is no way in hell the US, its court system, or its jail system, would stand for someone doing so, any more than they are willing to stop spending billions on a drug war, instead of a few hundred million on researching how to stop people from getting addicted, or get them off of it faster and safer, or anything else we might actually bother trying to do instead. It wouldn’t be profitable to fix the problem for certain people. And, for many of their allies, would be abhorrent to “force” someone to accede to being cured. That would involved, at minimum, a violation of “state rights”, and worse, go against basic “libertarian principles”, right? Sigh…

  133. eeyore says

    Nerd, you actually think you get to decide who wins and who loses? Have you seen anyone about your delusions of grandeur?

    Tony, I don’t make my living diagnosing mental illness so if you want specifics you’ll have to ask someone who does. Based on his manifesto (have you read it?) if I had to guess I’d guess paranoia; it comes through loud and clear that unidentified others were conspiring to get him. However, just as you don’t need a medical degree to recognize that *something* is wrong with someone who has just collapsed to the floor (even if you don’t know what that something is), neither do you need a psychiatric license to understand that *something* isn’t right with someone who goes on 140 page rants about how the world (especially the female part of it) is out to deprive him of what’s rightfully his. You’re right that therapy isn’t evidence of mental illness — I suspect we could all use some therapy from time to time — but that’s not what I’m relying on. It’s his own words in his own manifesto, coupled with the fact that his family was worried enough to involve the authorities, and the specific reason why they involved the authorities — they thought he was a danger to himself or to others.

    Crip Dyke, 140, I agree with much of what you said, but I’m not sure it changes anything. I see the difference between a mental illness and a personality disorder as more about human taxonomy than about a distinction that actually exists in nature. Is paranoia a mental illness or a personality disorder? Well, that distinction is important if you’re writing a taxonomy, but in nature I’m not sure the line is that bright. As with sexual orientation, there’s probably more overlap than a clear either/or. And there’s this whole continuum between “mentally healthy” and “mentally ill”. So I think we may be arguing more about where on that continuum to place Elliott than we are about whether he was mentally healthy.

    Anteprepro, I was only dismissive of Jackie because she couldn’t leave well enough alone and directly asked me why I wasn’t responding to her. But at any rate, did you notice my difference in tone with Jackie and with Crip Dyke? Crip Dyke hasn’t launched any personal attacks by calling me a misogynist or making wild claims about what I said. (For example, Jackie’s claim that I think people with Aspergers are violent, which isn’t even remotely close to anything I actually said.) Crip Dyke and I may not agree, but we’re having a respectful conversation because neither of us has made a personal attack on the other.

    I was born black and gay in Mississippi in 1933. I was a drag queen in Atlanta in the 1950s. You have no idea how much shit one takes being black, gay and a drag queen in the South in the 1940s and 50s. And the one thing I learned from that is that I take no shit from anyone. If someone’s going to disrespect me, I’ll disrespect them right back, and since I’ve been at it longer than they have, I’m probably better at it. So when Nerd shows up with some shit about me being a PUA, I’m going to find a way to tell her to fuck herself. You want respect, try showing some. Just because someone analyzes the available evidence differently than you do is no cause for personal abuse.

  134. says

    @ eeyore 129

    Brony, I did not say that mental illness standing alone is sufficient to make Rodgers do what he did. Most mentally ill people aren’t violent. Mental illness covers a lot of ground.

    Yet you so vary badly want people to consider it. Despite the fact that there is no good evidence that any mental illness was involved, you seem to need people to consider it. It’s not enough that you keep the possibility in mind. You have to verbally spar with others to try to knock it in somewhere. People don’t just push for things not in evidence without reasons. You might want think about why it’s so important to you.

    But given the evidence for his mental illness — that manifesto drips with paranoia from the first letter to the last period, and paranoia can be a sign of a mental illness — it can’t be ruled out as a partial cause.

    Paranoia is not good evidence for mental illness because paranoia is common to many things both normal and broken. This is the problem.

    So many things are potential evidence for mental illness that it’s really easy to use as an excuse. It’s understandable in a way, after all when a brain breaks the many ways that it can break will look similar to extremes on the normal spectrum. But these ways of breaking have some pretty specific patterns that alter how normal works in many many other ways.

    So how do you make sure you are not mistaking normal for mental illness? What is your error prevention strategy to make sure you are not the one making the terrible mistake that makes things harder to fix instead of easier? How do you know you are not seeing demons?

  135. chigau (違う) says

    eeyore
    Using the wrong pronoun to refer to someone is, indeed, disrespectful.
    You win.

  136. anteprepro says

    eeyore

    Tony, I don’t make my living diagnosing mental illness so if you want specifics you’ll have to ask someone who does. Based on his manifesto (have you read it?) if I had to guess I’d guess paranoia; it comes through loud and clear that unidentified others were conspiring to get him.

    That’s funny because your comrade in e-psychiatry over in another thread was going on and on about how the manifesto just screamed antisocial personality disorder. It’s almost like unqualified people diagnosing mental illnesses over the internet aren’t reliable, or something!

    However, just as you don’t need a medical degree to recognize that *something* is wrong with someone who has just collapsed to the floor (even if you don’t know what that something is), neither do you need a psychiatric license to understand that *something* isn’t right with someone who goes on 140 page rants about how the world (especially the female part of it) is out to deprive him of what’s rightfully his.

    Really? So 140 page rants are now indications of mental illness, akin to “collapsing to the floor” are indications of a medical issue? Yeah, you are talking right out of your ass.

  137. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Nerd, you actually think you get to decide who wins and who loses? Have you seen anyone about your delusions of grandeur?

    You lose without evidence. Every time you think your mere views trump reality. Which you have done the whole thread. That is what separates science/skepticims from presupposition. Evidence. And you word never will be evidence. Take it outside of your word to third parties.

  138. anteprepro says

    Seriously though, writing a big ranting diatribe is such an incredibly low bar for considering “mentally ill” that I can’t believe anyone who bothered thinking about it for more than two seconds couldn’t find the problem with that reasoning. Any sufficiently passionate hobbyist/fan/artist, or a scholarly and devout religious person, or a passionate political ideologue could fit the bill. They could probably manage to fit some overly broad definition of “paranoid” too, or “obsessive” or “delusional” or “asocial” or any other psychological-sounding word that people use to describe the mentally ill but in a non-technical way so that it can be used to fit almost anything.

    Save the mental illness diagnoses for the professionals, you gibbering fuckwits.

  139. says

    eeyore:

    So when Nerd shows up with some shit about me being a PUA, I’m going to find a way to tell her to fuck herself.

    bolding mine.
    The nym of the commenter is Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls. Doublecheck your pronouns.
    Some of the stuff you’ve said is eerily similar to Pick Up Artist and Men’s Rights bullshit hence some of the pushback you’ve gotten.

    Just because someone analyzes the available evidence differently than you do is no cause for personal abuse.

    1-Please read the commenting rules. This is a rough blog.
    2-There is no evidence in the video that Elliot was mentally ill. You may think something in there counts as evidence, but nothing you’ve put forth actually *is*. You’re not following evidence to the truth.
    3-Whatever method you’ve used to decide on the undefined mental illness you’ve attributed to Elliot is wrong. That’s not how a mental health diagnosis is performed.

  140. anteprepro says

    Just because someone analyzes the available evidence differently than you do is no cause for personal abuse.

    “Just Disagreeing” (TM)
    “Same Evidence, Different Interpretations” (TM)
    “Teach the Controversy!” (TM)

  141. Jackie the wacky says

    anteprepro,
    I’m trying to collect the whole set.

    They will look lovely in my invisible curio cabinet next to all the internets I’ve won.
    :)

  142. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @eeyore:

    I have real problems with conflating PDs and MIs, even if the opinions of a number of people with actual expertise have shifted away from the previous consensus and my current position. I also have real problems with some of the things you’ve said, just generally with a willingness to assert that a mental illness is present.

    But in this comment i want to focus on something off the topic of this thread. You said:

    I was born black and gay in Mississippi in 1933. I was a drag queen in Atlanta in the 1950s. You have no idea how much shit one takes being black, gay and a drag queen in the South in the 1940s and 50s. And the one thing I learned from that is that I take no shit from anyone. If someone’s going to disrespect me, I’ll disrespect them right back,

    I want to say thank you. As an out trans* woman for 20+ years, I recognize that I couldn’t be who I am today without you in 1950. I seriously doubt that, as difficult as it was for me, that it was anywhere near as difficult as it was for you, born 40 years earlier and with black skin in the US depression-era South. Fuck me but that’s a hard row to hoe.

    I see farther by standing on the shoulders of giants…or just really big pyramids of a lot of people stacked together. Either way, the mere fact that I can be as educated as I am, as integrated into a knowledgeable, analytical community as I am, is partly down to people like you standing in the firehoses until the water ran dry.

    Thanks for being you when the world needed it.

  143. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    So when Nerd shows up with some shit about me being a PUA, I’m going to find a way to tell her to fuck herself.

    I’m a 60+ year old bald male, used to bullshit artists like yourself. I’m not scared or intimidate by your attitude. I laugh at your epsilon male tactics….

  144. Jackie the wacky says

    I was only dismissive of Jackie because she couldn’t leave well enough alone and directly asked me why I wasn’t responding to her

    Eeyore only ignored me when I noticed he was ignoring me, because I said something about it. ;)
    Uppity wimminz, thinking they can question you. *gasp* And directly as well! My monocle is well and truly popped.

    Meanwhile, I’ll just leave this here:

    OK, I think I’ve now responded to all the major points made by everyone. If I missed one, let me know.

    I missed sparkle’s thing about my nym. I’ll just assume it was incredibly goofy and continue not caring.

  145. theoreticalgrrrl says

    @Jackie the wacky

    It’s funny, I wanted to comment to let you know how awesome your posts are (and not just here, but in other blogs/threads), how you skillfully eviscerate these nonsense arguments, when I read eeyore telling you “Sorry, but your comments strike me as completely off the wall.” :P lol
    Please keep being “off the wall” ;)

  146. Jackie the wacky says

    Eeyore,
    Black gay and a drag queen in those times is more than a hard row to hoe, it’s more like hoeing in a mine field. I’m sorry you had to endure very rough times and attitudes. I’m glad you’re still not taking shit.

    That said, you can still be a misogynist. Gay men, even female impersonators of color, can be sexist and can make excuses for misogyny.

    You’ve seen some things, I’m sure and I will add my thanks to the others. But, you are not nearly as knowledgeable about mental illness or why people do despicable things as you think you are. Whatever your personal bonafides, I’m not taking any shit off you either and you are peddling some seriously messed up shit on this thread.

  147. Jackie the wacky says

    theoreticalgrrrl,
    Wow, thank you. I appreciate that. That’s very kind and unexpected.
    Thanks.

  148. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    @ eeyore

    However, just as you don’t need a medical degree to recognize that *something* is wrong with someone who has just collapsed to the floor (even if you don’t know what that something is), neither do you need a psychiatric license to understand that *something* isn’t right with someone who goes on 140 page rants about how the world (especially the female part of it) is out to deprive him of what’s rightfully his.

    How is “something isn’t right” a useful contribution to this conversation?

  149. imoldgregg says

    As a longtime sufferer of clinical depression, that bit about “all depression is caused primarily by a lack of contentment” is pretty infuriating. Not to mention incredibly, willfully, ignorant.

  150. imoldgregg says

    Yes, very much so. Thank you chigau. It just baffles me how some people can and do blatantly igonore, not just reality, but verifiable and demonstrably true facts. This type of denial is very insidious, and also, stupid. Ugh.

  151. Louis says

    I wouldn’t go so far as to claim I’ve said all that can be said (I haven’t by any stretch, and couldn’t either!) but for some reason I think this might be relevant.

    Louis

  152. Louis says

    This comment also contains a few links if people are interested in learning about the measurable effects of MH stigma. I have a tonne of data at my fingertips if people want things btw. Some will be pay-walled though. I cannot imagine ANY way around that for someone deeply interested…{cough}

    Louis

  153. eeyore says

    Tony, I have read the commenting rules. I’m fine with it being a rough blog, so long as it is understood that I play rough back. My actual preference is civil and respectful, but I can play rough too. I just don’t want to hear any complaints that I’m being disrespectful if I’m simply responding in kind to having been dsirespected first; that’s all.

    Nerd, it was not clear to me from your ‘nym whether you were male or female, so I guessed. I apologize for having guessed wrong. That said, I find your argument by insinuation and innuendo — eeyore isn’t towing the party line so he must be an MMA/PUA supporter — off putting and remiscent of Joe McCarthy, and if you do it again, I’ll probably respond again pretty much as I did.

    And as to my actual views on MMA/PUA, I think the movement is 5% legitimate issue and 95% whining, and if you spend 95% of your time whining, your occasional genuine issue tends to get brushed aside. I can promise you that if I started commenting on a PUA board, they’d like me even less than you do, because what I’d mostly be telling them is to quit whining.

    Jackie, I didn’t give you short shrift because you’re a woman; I gave you short shrift because I thought you were putting words in my mouth and imputing to me positions I hadn’t taken. Having had the opportunity to sleep on it, I’ve now gone back and re-read your comments, and I’m not as convinced of that this morning as I was last night. (I could insert a line here about how some of my best friends are women but I’m afraid some people wouldn’t get that I was making a joke.)

    Finally, again, I’m not wedded to the idea that he *must* have been mentally ill. I just don’t think it can be dismissed out of hand, especially when a google search reveals that at least some people who actually are trained in mental health seem to think so. If it turns out that he was as mentally healthy as they come, I won’t lose a wink of sleep over it.

  154. eeyore says

    Oh, and thanks for the kind words about having been black and gay in the 1950s. It was a rough time, but we got through it. And we managed to have some fun along the way.

  155. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    eeyore isn’t towing the party line so he must be an MMA/PUA supporter

    That wasn’t what I said. I did question that. But HOW you argue, by expecting us to accept your unsupported word as gospel, is the way they argue. If you want to get anywhere, stop doing that. Try this way: This is what I think, and this [link to third party evidence] is why. Evidence from academia or medicine is good. Non-evidenced pinion pieces, not so good.

    I just don’t think it can be dismissed out of hand, especially when a google search reveals that at least some people who actually are trained in mental health seem to think so.

    You haven’t been reading for comprehension. Nobody is saying Rodger might not have been mental ill. What we are saying, is that without a confirmed diagnosis by a profession who interacted with Rodger, it is nothing but speculation on our untrained part, and adds nothing whatsoever to the discussion, other than to try to “other” Rodger, and ignore other facets like the rampant misogyny. Why this point evaded you, I don’t understand.

  156. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    eeyore @ 166

    I’m fine with it being a rough blog, so long as it is understood that I play rough back. My actual preference is civil and respectful, but I can play rough too. I just don’t want to hear any complaints that I’m being disrespectful if I’m simply responding in kind to having been dsirespected first; that’s all.

    Around here, harsh language and respect have nothing to do with one another. If you defend your position well, it’s highly unlikely that any regular here will even comment on your tone, let alone fail to address your arguments because of it.

    Nerd, it was not clear to me from your ‘nym whether you were male or female, so I guessed. I apologize for having guessed wrong.

    Don’t guess at people’s gender. Use their nym or singular “they” if you’re unsure. You can also google for gender neutral pronouns.

    That said, I find your argument by insinuation and innuendo — eeyore isn’t towing the party line so he must be an MMA/PUA supporter — off putting and remiscent of Joe McCarthy, and if you do it again, I’ll probably respond again pretty much as I did.

    It has nothing to do with the party line. It has to do with the fact that you’re peddling a position you can’t fucking defend which is having the effect of stopping us from talking about the misogyny and forcing us to talk about what you want to talk about. That’s standard operating procedure for MRA trolls.

    Finally, again, I’m not wedded to the idea that he *must* have been mentally ill. I just don’t think it can be dismissed out of hand, especially when a google search reveals that at least some people who actually are trained in mental health seem to think so. If it turns out that he was as mentally healthy as they come, I won’t lose a wink of sleep over it.

    Nobody has at any point denied that he might be mentally ill. So, now what? Why is that a useful fact to establish and where does your argument go from there?

  157. knowknot says

    The worldview which insists we cannot believe (or know) anything aside from our senses is just as mentally ill as the worldview which insists that we cannot believe our senses.

     
    That’s a jewel right there. Broke a tooth just thinking about chewing on it.

  158. Al Dente says

    eeyore isn’t towing the party line

    It’s actually “toeing the line” as in putting your toes on a line drawn on the ground.

    </pedant>

  159. knowknot says

    @21 a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    QFMFT. Humans have a way of explaining things they don’t understand in terms of things they understand even less.

     
    QFMFGDT

  160. eeyore says

    Seven of mine, “Nobody has at any point denied that he might be mentally ill. So, now what? Why is that a useful fact to establish and where does your argument go from there?”

    A fair question. Two things.

    First, because if bad behavior is caused by a more than one factor, you attack all of them. Yes, fight the misogyny, but to the extent that mental illness contributes, treat that one too. The more factors that are identified and dealt with, the less likely there is to be a repeat. If someone has an illness caused by bacteria but exacerbated by high blood pressure, you don’t just focos on one of them, because even if the therapy only woks on one, that’s a better result than you had when you started.

    Second, because sometimes — not always — some forms of mental illness do manifest themselves violently. This situation may or may not be one of them, but there’s no way to tell without making the inquiry.

  161. knowknot says

    @171 Al Dente
     

    eeyore isn’t towing the party line
     

    It’s actually “toeing the line” as in putting your toes on a line drawn on the ground.
     
    <pedant>

     
    Judge not, Mispeller. Pendants are worn around the neck, not the toes.

  162. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    @ eeyore

    If someone has an illness caused by bacteria but exacerbated by high blood pressure, you don’t just focos on one of them, because even if the therapy only woks on one, that’s a better result than you had when you started.

    Do you treat someone for high blood pressure when you don’t know they have high blood pressure?

  163. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Second, because sometimes — not always — some forms of mental illness do manifest themselves violently. This situation may or may not be one of them, but there’s no way to tell without making the inquiry.

    The inquiry doesn’t come from untrained professionals who never met ER. The diagnosis of mental illness must come from a trained professional who did interact professionally with ER. We, the untrained, shouldn’t comment, as it is nothing but pure speculation. Why can’t you admit that?

    The real question you need to answer, is why do you need for ER to have been mentally ill? It isn’t simple incompleteness.

  164. throwaway says

    He was going to psychiatrists/psychologists for christ’s sake. How does retroactively diagnosing him help? Does it give you a condition to say “Oh, it was this mental illness, therefore we need to keep a closer eye on those people.” I’m sorry, but that’s not going to work, and it clearly did not work, because he was in psychiatric treatment. Whatever usefulness a layperson diagnosis gives us is fuck-all and distracts us from the 100% in-evidence and self-confessed condition of being a flunked PUA who placed priority upon sexual interaction with an ideal physical attribute (removing the personality, will, character, etc. of the woman.) All of these things are readily apparent and useful. Whatever the output was, whatever the black box of mental illness there was that contributed to the output, is less known and are at later stages than what the inputs were. Stop the input and you can stop that cycle.

  165. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Well, eeyore is towing the line away from solutions to misogyny and towards repeatedly conceding that there’s a chance of being mentally ill, and that there is even a chance being mentally ill contributed to his murder-and-assault spree, but that there is no specific evidence of any given mental illness, only weak evidence of a personality disorder that is still one of the PDs without an effective treatment regimen, and that speculating on coulda-woulda isn’t very helpful.

    Of course, eeyore isn’t alone in that, but if you want to talk about “towing” it’s the only sense that applies.

  166. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @knowknot, #174:

    Um, did that thing misfire? Or did your cat walk across the keyboard?

  167. says

    eeyore @ 173:

    Yes, fight the misogyny, but

    Your intense need to other is perfectly summed up by this ^. Everything is a “yeah, well, okay, but” with you. Human beings are capable of intense emotions. Human beings are prone to muddled thinking. Human beings are capable of violence. There are times (all too frequent) all those things come together and some human beings end up hurt or dead. No mental illness involved.

    It would be nice if you’d focus on your intense need to other, and figure out why you can’t seem to cope with the fact that human beings often commit monstrous acts. It would be nice if you’d understand that the current misogynistic atmosphere is poisonous, choking people all over the place, and that the ‘net is now providing support for deep misogyny. It would be nice if you’d figure out that all the human beings that end up dead every single day, thanks to misogyny in culture, do count, even though it’s just one murder at a time.

  168. mhph says

    It’s almost tempting to think that Rodgers was mentally ill, since his behavior and paranoid beliefs are so far out of the norm. But the problem is that in his actual social community (MRA; PUA; PUAhate) he was entirely within the norm, which is a clear line separating delusions from bad beliefs. We’re social animals and, when working entirely normally and healthily, we take our ‘what is reasonable to believe/obviously true/etc’ cues from people we interact with. He interacted with a large group of people reinforcing at great length their particular misogynist ideology, and his creepy paranoid rantings are only distinguishable from what the rest of that group says on a regular basis by the fact that he went out and actually did the things that they all repeatedly fantasize about. So the wildly paranoid sounding rants he posted actually aren’t good evidence of any mental illness whatsoever.

    All you need for this sort of mass-murder-suicide is someone who believes that he is being treated very unjustly in some way (no matter how massively, overwhelmingly unreasonable that belief is), who is very, very angry, and who feels like he is in a position where he has nothing to lose. You can get that last factor from serious clinical depression, but it’s equally easy to get from any number of other sources. In the case of Rodgers there’s no evidence of serious clinical depression, and massive amounts of evidence that this exact idea was constantly being reinforced by the community around him. He was fixated on a vicious misogynist ideology, he was a massively spoiled child who felt entitled to things he wasn’t, he was filled with rage, and he believed that he had nothing to lose. That belief, and that feeling of entitlement were repeatedly and constantly reinforced by everyone around him, until he finally acted accordingly.

    As far as anyone who legally can do so has said he had never been diagnosed with Asperger’s, or any other mental illness*. There really is no reason to think that mental illness was involved here, except for people who want to defend that same ideology, and present it as somehow benign and not dangerous, violent, and hate filled.

    *http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-frantic-parents-isla-vista-shootings-20140525-story.html

  169. says

    mhph:

    It’s almost tempting to think that Rodgers was mentally ill, since his behavior and paranoid beliefs are so far out of the norm.

    His behaviour and his beliefs weren’t far out of ‘the norm’ at all.

  170. says

    eeyore:

    Jackie, I didn’t give you short shrift because you’re a woman; I gave you short shrift because I thought you were putting words in my mouth and imputing to me positions I hadn’t taken. Having had the opportunity to sleep on it, I’ve now gone back and re-read your comments, and I’m not as convinced of that this morning as I was last night. (I could insert a line here about how some of my best friends are women but I’m afraid some people wouldn’t get that I was making a joke.)

    (bolding mine)
    I’m glad to hear that.
    I’m also glad you didn’t insert that line. I don’t think this type of thread is the place for such a joke. If you had been posting for years in this community, people might be more acquainted with you and get the joke or at least grant you benefit of the doubt (even long time commenters say things that get them criticized though).

  171. eeyore says

    Nerd, I’ve already said a half dozen times that I don’t need for ER to have been mentally ill; why do you keep insisting that I do? I’ll be perfectly happy if he wasn’t.

    In fact, I haven’t even said that he was; just that the possibility can’t be ruled out. Why do you have such a powerful need to exclude the possibility?

  172. says

    Inaji:

    His behaviour and his beliefs weren’t far out of ‘the norm’ at all.

    And ^^that^^, combined with the attempts to label ER as mentally ill contribute to the problem, rather than help resolve it.

  173. eeyore says

    No, Inaji, this isn’t othering. Mental illness can happen to anyone. People snap and go berzerk all the time. There but for the grace of the god I don’t believe in go I. None of us can predict in advance what we will do under any given circumstance.

    And part of the reason I don’t want to rule mental illness out unless and until the professionals have ruled it out is that very reason. If it was mental illness, yesterday it was him, tomorrow it could be you or me. To the extent that this is a medical issue that’s treatable, let’s figure that out.

    If it’s not a medical issue, fine, we muddle on from there.

  174. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    In fact, I haven’t even said that he was; just that the possibility can’t be ruled out. Why do you have such a powerful need to exclude the possibility?

    Why do you have a powerful need to include the possibility? I never said mental illness wasn’t a potentially contributing factor, but I have arguing against your NEED to have it be a factor. Make up your mind, but your earlier posts required a need. Maybe you have learned.

  175. says

    eeyore:

    In fact, I haven’t even said that he was; just that the possibility can’t be ruled out. Why do you have such a powerful need to exclude the possibility?

    I get that that’s what you’ve said.
    You don’t seem to understand the position held by many here–
    We don’t know enough about ER’s mental health to make any claims about it (and none of us are qualified to make any determination of his mental health.
    Admitting to a lack of knowledge is not the same as saying “ER did not have a mental illness”.
    Re-read the thread. Have any commenters said “ER did not have a mental illness” or “I refuse to believe he had a mental illness”?

  176. says

    eeyore:

    And part of the reason I don’t want to rule mental illness out unless and until the professionals have ruled it out is that very reason. If it was mental illness, yesterday it was him, tomorrow it could be you or me. To the extent that this is a medical issue that’s treatable, let’s figure that out

    The thing is: we can’t figure that out.
    We aren’t qualified mental health professionals (and even if anyone here *was*–online diagnosis is a horrible idea). All we have is speculation. No one is saying you have to rule out mental illness, just that you don’t have enough information to make such a determination.

  177. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    eeyore @ 186

    Nerd, I’ve already said a half dozen times that I don’t need for ER to have been mentally ill; why do you keep insisting that I do?

    Not that Nerd isn’t perfectly capable of speaking for himself but: because you’re STILL. FUCKING. HERE. We don’t know anything. We’re not psychologists. We’re not therapists. We’ve never met Elliot Rodger and, given that he’s dead, we’re not likely to in the future. We have nothing on which to base this conversation you want to have that wouldn’t be pure, idle, irresponsible speculation. We’d like to talk about the misogyny rampant in our culture and try to deal with that since we know that’s a factor and that it would be a factor even if he was mentally ill but we haven’t been able to because we’ve had a never ending parade of assholes demanding we admit Rodger might have been mentally ill. This thread is now nearly 200 posts long and almost the entirety of it has been going around in circles with you. If you want us to believe that you have no dog in this hunt, shut the fuck up about mental illness and let us have the conversation we want to have.

  178. says

    eeyore:

    In fact, I haven’t even said that he was; just that the possibility can’t be ruled out. Why do you have such a powerful need to exclude the possibility?

    No one here has excluded it. Your insistence on magnifying that possibility points to your intense need to other, which means you are able to comfortably remove Rodger and his actions from the range of human being.

    Human beings are capable of committing atrocities, they are capable of monstrous acts, and here’s the thing: the majority of those who do commit such acts, regardless of the scale, are normal, regular human beings. That makes other human beings very uncomfortable, so they search for any way at all to put such a person at a remove from themselves. Insisting on a mental illness is one of the more popular ways to put someone at a remove, and it’s bullshit.

    Not one godsdamn thing will ever be done about such events as long as people indulge in such othering, because they can tell themselves that “no, normal people don’t do that sort of thing.” Normal people do such things all the fucking time.

    Short form: you aren’t helping.

  179. ledasmom says

    eeyore @ 186:

    No, Inaji, this isn’t othering. Mental illness can happen to anyone. People snap and go berzerk all the time. There but for the grace of the god I don’t believe in go I. None of us can predict in advance what we will do under any given circumstance.

    See, I think this is why so many people are disagreeing with you: when you put it like that it sounds like you’re making mental illness both necessary and sufficient explanation for what Rodgers did, as if any of us might suddenly be struck insane and go kill six people. Whereas it is probably true that anyone may become mentally ill (in my own immediate family there is one suffering from prolonged depression, one with serious anxiety), it would, I think (note that I am not an expert in the field) take a serious break with reality to produce a murderous spree in a person who had not previously been violent. But we are not talking here of someone with that degree of inability to interact with the world; nor are we talking of someone who had not previously been violent. He may not have liked the world, but that is not the definition of insanity. It is not that mental illness struck him like a case of the murder flu. If he had any mental illness, and I am not qualified to diagnose that even if all the information about the man were freely available, that is not a sufficient explanation for what he did nor a necessary cause of it.
    Argghh, I wanted that to be more concise, but in the absence currently of being able to figure out how to edit it, it will have to stand as written.

  180. says

    eeyore:

    No, Inaji, this isn’t othering.

    Yes, it is.

    Mental illness can happen to anyone.

    Yes, it can. In your need to other, you’re also happily causing splash damage to every person on the planet who deals with a mental illness. You’re writing as though no one can go on a killing spree without a mental illness, while at the same time making it sound like those who do deal with a mental illness are incapable of being rational beings.

  181. knowknot says

    @179 Crip Dyke
     
    No… see… it was a triple Twainism, an intentional misunderstanding à trois, an embedded faux multiplicative error…
    never mined.

  182. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    eeyore @184:

    In fact, I haven’t even said that he was; just that the possibility can’t be ruled out.

    He could also have been a secret NSA operative. Or an agent of the Russian Secret Service. Or an undiagnosed diabetic. Should those be ruled out? If so, why should they be ruled out?

    We know he saw a psychiatrist to help him with his Autism Spectrum Disorder. That’s it. We know nothing more. So why does that have to be considered when every other unknown variable does not?

    @186:

    Mental illness can happen to anyone. People snap and go berzerk all the time.

    Which shows just how little you understand about mental illnesses (this by someone who has been treated (moderately successfully) for clinical depression and who has a partial diagnosis for PTSD (they keep telling me I have PTSD-like symptoms . . . .)).

    —–

    I, and others, keep saying we do not know if he had a mental illness and have no real way of knowing either way. None of us are saying that he did not have a mental illness. See the difference?

  183. says

    Ogvorbis:

    Which shows just how little you understand about mental illnesses

    Word. And for the record, I have PTSD. That whole business about “snap and go berserk” drives me up a bloody tree.

    People seldom snap, it just seems that way to onlookers. Also, I can’t stand the “oh, they must have been mentally ill!” crap because it’s a handy way to discount how intense emotions can get, and how much they are a driving factor in the so-called snap.

  184. says

    Ogvorbis:

    I, and others, keep saying we do not know if he had a mental illness and have no real way of knowing either way. None of us are saying that he did not have a mental illness. See the difference?

    I feel like I’m failing at communicating, bc this is the point I’ve been trying to get across between 2 threads and it doesn’t seem to be working.

  185. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    Tony @198:

    I feel like I’m failing at communicating, bc this is the point I’ve been trying to get across between 2 threads and it doesn’t seem to be working.

    Sorry, Tony, I was not trying to imply anything aabout your writing. You have been clear on this (this is why I said “I, and others,” not just me. My bad.

  186. says

    Tony @ 198, you aren’t failing at communication, you’re doing just fine. You’re just up against people who are very invested in othering.

  187. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Sorry, Tony, I was not trying to imply anything aabout your writing. You have been clear on this (this is why I said “I, and others,” not just me. My bad.

    Many of us have been using our words against deaf prepositionalists, just like you. Very frustrating. We can’t make folks listen, no matter how clear we write. Reading between the lines of their posts, it always seem to come to “what about the menz…..and I can’t be like ER.”

  188. knowknot says

    @197 Inaji
     

    Also, I can’t stand the “oh, they must have been mentally ill!” crap because it’s a handy way to discount how intense emotions can get, and how much they are a driving factor in the so-called snap.

     
    THIS. THIS. THIS.
     
    – NOTE that no part the following is intended to reflect in any way on Inaji’s comment, nor do I claim it to be an accurate extension of Inaji’s intent. (And apologies beforehand for my incompleteness here… it really require a longer treatment, which I’m pretty sure I’d spin out…)
    — It seems to me that “mentally ill” and its various “homologues” are often used as part of a distancing tactic, one that is related (simplistically) through history to the concept of “evil,” which resulting from invasive metaphysical forces, moral flaws of varying origin, genetic flaws (the most recent causes of disaster), flaws of upbringing… whatever keeps a negative action out of our yard and builds a wall between the wee (because we sense so much else internally) lizards inside us and the massive (because we sense so little else externally) dragons we percieve outside, somewhere. So, othering?
    (Just found this:
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/concept-evil/#DanEvi
    re various related issues, see 1.1 re some of the above.)
     
    I was going to write more, but It would really list toward the bilge from here, in my hands.

  189. says

    KnowKnot:

    So, othering?

    Yep, othering. It’s the mother of all distancing tactics. Most people don’t like to think that they are capable of doing horrible things. Most people, though, can also cite at least one time in their life where an emotion was so strong, they could have easily done something horrible. We have impulses, a lot of time, those impulses aren’t nice at all. Sometimes, there’s a complete braking failure. It’s all very human. It’s also human to want to stick a label on people and place them in the ‘other’ box.

  190. richcon says

    A hateful, angry young man posted chauvinist rants at anti-women hate group sites then went on a shooting spree, playing out the fantasies all the other woman-hating men on those sites had been feeding him.

    If it turns out that he had been diagnosed with an actual mental illness, you could add one extra clinical-sounding descriptor before “man” in the above sentence. I honestly don’t see what difference it would make other than smug self-satisfaction. We already know that illnesses should be treated, and that it doesn’t take an actual mental illness to cause a kid to become hateful, paranoid, or murderous.

    By the way, other developed countries have all of these things. They have kids who can’t get laid. They have MRA groups and they have chauvinists. They have racists, sexists, and religious bigotry. They have teenage angst. They watch the same violent movies, play the same violent video games, and smoke the same drugs. And yes, they even have people suffering from mental illness even though that’s not a known factor here. And yet they don’t have the same volume of mass shootings.

    The only difference I can think of between America and those other developed countries that the tools necessary to carry out mass shootings are readily, easily, and legally available here.

  191. knowknot says

    @204 richcon
     

    A hateful, angry young man posted chauvinist rants…

    Exactly.
    If read closely, it is more chilling, and seems more a call to action, when rendered as:
    “A man posted chauvinist rants at anti-women hate group sites then went on a shooting spree…”
    At least I think it should be.
     

    The only difference I can think of between America and those other developed countries that the tools necessary to carry out mass shootings are readily, easily, and legally available here.

    But you forget: Due to the prior effect of those same readily available tools, the victims of (evil, unblessed) mass shootings are able to die free of socialism and imposed homosexuality, with an understanding the genetic and spiritual shortcomings (and therefore the reasonable nature of divine judgement on similar evildoers), and are therefore freedomed and sent to that shining America in the sky, with properly postmarked hearts.
     
    The Lord™ works in delerious ways, his wonders™ to perform.

  192. says

    Ogvorbis @199:

    Sorry, Tony, I was not trying to imply anything aabout your writing. You have been clear on this (this is why I said “I, and others,” not just me. My bad

    You’ve absolutely nothing to apologize for.
    You summed the problem up more succinctly than I had. I was just expressing exasperation (unrelated to you).

  193. theoreticalgrrrl says

    There are guys saying they wished they could do the same, that he’s a hero They want to do exactly what ER did. They say it openly, proudly. Are they all mentally ill?

  194. mhph says

    Inaji

    His behaviour and his beliefs weren’t far out of ‘the norm’ at all.

    If they’re a regular occurrence in your particular social group, in the people you surround yourself with, may I suggest perhaps that this is not a good group of people to be hanging out with a lot? In any case, reading the rest of that post would probably be a good idea, especially since when people start out with “It’s almost tempting to…” there’s usually a “But…” to follow.

    eeyore
    <blockquote cite="http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/05/30/demons-its-all-demons/comment-page-1/#comment-804777&quot; Mental illness can happen to anyone. People snap and go berzerk all the time. There but for the grace of the god I don’t believe in go I. None of us can predict in advance what we will do under any given circumstance."

    With the exception of the first sentence this is both false and unrelated to the case. Rodgers did not snap, suddenly, he escalated his beliefs and hatred slowly over a long period of time (years), talked at length about killing a lot of women because he hated them and thought they were subhuman and felt entitled to them, and finally spent weeks planning out a detailed murder spree, writing a 140 page manifesto, and recording youtube videos where he explained it all. If that counts as “snapping” then it’s also true to say that one day I unpredictably snapped and graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree. Who could have possibly predicted I would do that beforehand! It could happen to anyone!

  195. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    mhph@ 208:

    If they’re a regular occurrence in your particular social group, in the people you surround yourself with, may I suggest perhaps that this is not a good group of people to be hanging out with a lot?

    (this is a (slightly) modified cross post from We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Asylum.)

    That would, basically, mean leaving the United states. Much of what is in the murderer’s rant — the patriarchy, the misogyny, the sexism, the privilege — is ingrained in US culture. MRA/PUA is not some tiny fringe philosophy. It is a tiny fringe group, but the message they promulgate, the philosophy of male supremacy and male victimhood, the philosophy of rape acceptance (well, most rape anyway), is mainstream.

    Huge numbers of US males accept that men being in charge of everything is normal. Of course, at the same time, many of them also accept that, whenever things don’t work out, it is the fault of women (thank you, Genesis). Hell, this entire philosophy has been accepted and integrated into the platform of the GOP — if women are put back in their place (as fertile chattel) and taxes are cut for white men, everything will be rainbows and unicorn farts.

    If we accept that misogyny was the motivating factor behind both choice of victims and decision to commit the crime, then we must actually look at US society, US beliefs, US gun worship, US acceptance of human rights violations, and the mainstream prevalence of these ideas.

    If we accept that (some undiagnosed but somehow obvious) mental illness was the motivating factor behind both choice of victims and decision to commit the crime, then US society, beliefs, gun woship, acceptance of human rights violations and the mainstream prevalence of these ideas is off the hook.

  196. mhph says

    “They’re” means “mass killings”.

    “Particular social group” means :particular social group.

    And also yes pointing out the problem with labeling this a result of mental illness and not the broader social context is what I have been doing this entire time. Morons.

  197. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    Sorry, mhph. I thought I was adding to what you had said and putting my own two cents in. As in a discussion.

    But, you have labeled me a moron, so it probably won’t matter if I tell you to fuck off.

  198. says

    mhph:

    “Particular social group” means :particular social group.

    What it means is that you’re a privileged-blind asshole who doesn’t want to face reality. I’ll add to Ogvorbis’s invitation for you to fuck off. You have nothing to add except your own mistaken Bayesian priors. It’s obvious you don’t want learn a thing, however, if someone intelligent wanders by, they might want to read this: http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2014/05/how-dare-you-besmirch-the-good-name-of-misogyny/

    With that, Comment by mhph blocked. [unhush]​[show comment]. Ta.

  199. says

    mhph @208:

    If they’re a regular occurrence in your particular social group, in the people you surround yourself with, may I suggest perhaps that this is not a good group of people to be hanging out with a lot? In any case, reading the rest of that post would probably be a good idea, especially since when people start out with “It’s almost tempting to…” there’s usually a “But…” to follow

    Elliot Rodger’s sense of entitlement, his racism, his contempt of women–that’s all part of our entire society. Not just some small segment. His extreme behavior (i.e. his murder spree) is at the far end of misogynistic behavior, but it’s part of the same continuum of attitudes and beliefs towards women that are harmful. His actions make him an outlier, but his attitude and beliefs are quite normal.

  200. says

    mhph:

    “They’re” means “mass killings”.

    “Particular social group” means :particular social group.

    You’re condescendingly making assumptions about what behavior and beliefs Inaji was speaking of.

  201. basementboi says

    Mental illnesses are real. We can identify chemical imbalances in the brain; if you’re depressed, drugs like TCAs, MAOIs, SSRIs, and SNRIs can be effective in making people healthier”

    This is simply untrue.

    “Contemporary neuroscience research has failed to confirm any serotonergic lesion in any mental disorder, and has in fact provided significant counterevidence to the explanation of a simple neurotransmitter deficiency. Modern neuroscience has instead shown that the brain is vastly complex and poorly understood ”

    http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.0020392#pmed-0020392-b22

    More Bullshit:

    “We actually do have fairly concrete indicators of genuine illnesses that affect the functioning of the brain.”

    In the third edition of Textbook of Clinical Psychiatry (1999), we find this statement:

    p. 43: “Although reliable criteria have been constructed for many psychiatric disorders, validation of the diagnostic categories as specific entities has not been established.”

    In Andreasen and Black’s (2001) Introductory Textbook of Psychiatry, we find, in the chapter on schizophrenia:

    p. 23. “In the areas of pathophysiology and etiology, psychiatry has more uncharted territory than the rest of medicine…Much of the current investigative research in psychiatry is directed toward the goal of identifying the pathophysiology and etiology of major mental illnesses, but this goal has been achieved for only a few disorders (Alzheimer’s disease, multi-infarct dementia, Huntington’s disease, and substance-induced syndromes such as amphetamine-related psychosis or Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome).”

    Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General (1999) is explicit about the absence of any findings of specific pathophysiology:

    p. 44: “The diagnosis of mental disorders is often believed to be more difficult than diagnosis of somatic, or general medical, disorders, since there is no definitive lesion, laboratory test, or abnormality in brain tissue that can identify the illness.”

    p. 48: “It is not always easy to establish a threshold for a mental disorder, particularly in light of how common symptoms of mental distress are and the lack of objective, physical symptoms.”

    p. 49: “The precise causes (etiology) of mental disorders are not known.”

    http://www.mindfreedom.org/kb/act/2003/mf-hunger-strike/hunger-strike-debate/scientific-panel-1st-reply-to-apa

    So PZ Myers, how about you stop promoting pseudoscience?

  202. says

    basementboi:

    So PZ Myers, how about you stop promoting pseudoscience?

    So, basementboi, why don’t you pay attention to the dates on a post?

  203. Tony! The Queer Shoop says

    Hmmm, it seems like basementboi is echoing many of the same things SC has been saying about mental illnesses.

  204. basementboi says

    No, I posted quotes from the scientific literature, and I am not affiliated with Scientology.

  205. Tony! The Queer Shoop says

    SC is a commenter around here that has made many of the same criticisms of mental illness that you did. I wasn’t talking about Scientology. Don’t assume.

  206. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    And basementboi, we do listen to the evidence presented by those on psychotropic drugs who do obtain relief of their symptoms. It means some of the drugs do work in certain individuals.
    How scientists groups clump of problems with varying causes into one diagnosis, and then dismiss the diagnosis in toto makes some of us question their thinking.