That’s About Right

Source: Washington Post

They were kind enough not to mention “you can also inject it up your butt, whatever it is.” Because that would be crude.

When the trumpies started politicizing and messing with the CDC, I thought, “CDC has so much credibility in the US, it will be hard to silence them and render them ineffective.” Boy, was I wrong. They’re a joke, now. The whole organization should be scrapped and replaced with a national science advice agency that covers a variety of topics including “don’t believe everything you read on the internet.” Mental disease control.


  1. invivoMark says

    CDC did not exactly put their best foot forward at the start of the pandemic. They dropped the ball several times, with no help from Trump or Republicans. There are good science-minded folks there who have been doing their best since then, but the damage was done.

    Mental disease control

    Can we please not do this ableism? This comes across really bad to me. Thanks.

  2. invivoMark says

    The way your paragraph reads, it seems like you are saying that being gullible is a “mental disease.”

    If that’s not what you meant, then I am unable to figure out how you meant that to read.

  3. says

    it seems like you are saying that being gullible is a “mental disease.”

    It seems to me that gullibility is a lack of critical thinking, which is a learned behavior or “lifestyle choice” – the people who are choosing to remain ignorant are maybe victimized but I think we should respect their agency enough to deride it.

    Having bad ideas is the problem, not how the ideas got there. So it’s a question if someone is gullible or of they were propagandized by professionals or marketers, or ideologized by parents. Does the carrier of a bad idea have a choice about it? I’m not willing to grant them all victimhood.

  4. invivoMark says

    I’m taken aback by your response.

    I don’t think we should call things “mental diseases” unless they are actually mental diseases (i.e., listed in the DSM or equivalent). Those of us with mental diseases do not appreciate being categorized along with people who lack critical thinking and end up believing harmful things. To me, it’s no different from everyone who says that mass shootings are perpetrated by the mentally ill.

    I consider you a reasonable person. It’s why I read your blog. It’s why I respect you enough to give you feedback when I think you’ve made a misstep. But I don’t think it’s very reasonable of you to answer my feedback like this.

  5. says

    I think where we are conflicted is over the question of whether ideas are mental. I was thinking along the lines of Richard Dawkins’ notion of “memes” except I don’t agree with how he reifies ideas. But I was thinking of how toxic ideas spread and are transmitted very much like other public health problems. Perhaps if I had said “idea hygeine” you would have understood me more favorably.

    In clarifying I attempted to emphasize that having an idea is what I was referring to. I don’t think, for example, that antivaxxers are stupid – they are misled. I call their ideas “stupid” and have maybe slipped up and referred to them as “stupid” but I usually do that when writing invective or hyperbole. Go ahead and take me to task when I do that and I’ll try to avoid it.

    There are stupid people (ableist) and there are ordinary people with stupid ideas (they made a bad choice to adopt those ideas). “Gullible people” appears to be ableist because it seems to be saying there is something wrong with them, intrinsically. But that’s not the point: there’s a dividing line of sorts between people who have something wrong with them, and people who have bad ideas because of their enviroment. This is, actually, a public health issue regardless of which, so I don’t think I’m being unfair to suggest that it’s a problem worth managing regardless.

    I strongly support public mental health initiatives and it does not seem ableist to say that. Nor does it seem ableist to say that fighting bad ideas is a reasonable thing for government to do.

    Where I think I lost you was by being excessively casual about the degree to which an idea is “mental” – of the mind – or intrinsic, which would be of the body, or instinctive. I’ll try to be more careful. I think I was unclear, but your charge of ableism missed the point.

    I interpreted your comment as an attempt to zing me.

  6. invivoMark says

    Okay, I hear what you’re saying, but I’m pretty sure that where we are conflicted is over whether it’s okay to call something a “mental disease” if it is not, in fact, a clinically-recognized mental illness.

    When someone says “hey, can we stop saying X?” they are not trying to “zing” you. They are saying that they think you said something problematic, and they respect you enough to hope that you’ll make a small adjustment. It’s just someone saying “hey, there’s something you might have missed in your blind spot.” They’re trying to be helpful.

  7. says

    whether it’s okay to call something a “mental disease” if it is not, in fact, a clinically-recognized mental illness.

    I will no longer confuse ideas and mental illness. I didn’t, really confuse them in the first place; I just sloppily lumped them together in a non-serious topic.

    When someone says “hey, can we stop saying X?” they are not trying to “zing” you.

    See, your assumption was that I was being ableist. I don’t accept your basis for saying that. I was confusing, perhaps, but you interpreted my words based on the confused interpretation – as is your choice – but you did not understand me and did not try to.

    I understand you feel your feedback was fair and considered. I’m still not impressed by it but I accept it.

  8. says

    PS – DSM has ideas that have been syndromized. And they change with prevailing social mores. So DSM may not be a great thing to look to. At what point is being a hardcore QAnon follower a clinically diagnosable disorder? It’s not cut and dried and we might agree they have something wrong with how they think. I don’t want to be accused of ableism if I call them dipshits.

  9. invivoMark says

    No, Marcus, I did not assume that you were being ableist. I observed that you were using ableist language. Those are not equivalent.

    If I misunderstood something, then you did nothing to disabuse my understanding. I said in my comment at #3 that I was not able to find an interpretation of your words that wasn’t ableist. You haven’t offered any explanation that changes that.

    I don’t expect you to be impressed by my feedback. I just expect you to be a reasonable person and accept that you made a mistake. We all make mistakes.

  10. seachange says

    Invivo said #6 unless they are actually mental diseases (i.e., listed in the DSM or equivalent)
    Your appeal to authority is rejected.

    Sorry no fuck psychology. The DSM is expanded out unto ridiculousness. It is not an authority for anyone rational.

    The IO speed of the human brain and its abillty to retain information is demonstrably (via real and reproducible science that is way more reliable and representative of objective and consensual reality than anything that psychology says) to be very poor. There is a limit to what people can take in and most sources of information are drowning us in crap and a some of it at least doesn’t seem to be deliberate. Marcus has made several articles in this blog why suspect a conspiracy when you can readily observe incompetence.

    The consequences to the survival of humanity and life on this planet caused of mass delusion provoked by disinformation and failure of those who would pretend to curate it is way more important than your trivial lexical observation.

    It is irrelevant whether or not ‘stupid’ is used to represent this observation. This is why it still looks to me that you are doing a zing. Marcus is being really nice to you for some reason?

  11. says

    There has recently been some discussion of this on Great America Satan’s blog.

    I will review what GAS has to say on the topic.
    I’d be surprised if we agree, GAS and I, but it’ll be interesting.

    This topic fascinates me, which is why I was perhaps more argumentative with InvivoMark than usual. There’s an epistemological problem at the heart of psychology/psychiatry that I have danced around many times, and it bears directly on this topic. Unfortunately, DSM entered the discussion, which is like dropping a red flag over a bull’s eyes and tasing him, in terms of how I’m going to react.

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