Sep 25, 2016

Crisis: On Psychiatry, GOP Sadists, Obama's Wars, Corbyn, Chomsky
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Proven Wrong About Many of Its Assertions, Is
     Psychiatry Bullsh*t?
2. Behold the GOP’s Not-So-Secret Plan to Dismantle

3. Obama, Our 'Peace President' Turns Out to Be Rather

4. Jeremy Corbyn Easily Re-Elected Labour Party Leader
Noam Chomsky on the Evolution of Language: A
     Biolinguistic Perspective

This is a Nederlog of Sunday, September 25, 2016.

A. This is a crisis log with 5 items and 5 dotted links: Item 1 is about psychiatry, which is a fraudulent pseudoscience according to me (the last 50 years, also). It may be doubted this is a crisis item, but it is included here for those who are interested. Item 2 is about the GOP's plan to destroy the livelihood of the poor: Being a psychologist, I have a fair and precise term for those tryng to do that: Sadists. Item 3 is on the fraud Obama (who may be rewarded as much as Clinton was for his services to the rich) who took care the Americans will spend trillions on new atomic weapons, among other things; item 4 is about a rare bit of Good News: Jeremy Corbyn was re-elected as Labour leader, and even better than the last time; and item 5 is about another non-crisis item that I included, namely a good interview with Noam Chomsky, indeed about linguistics.

Also, there is an earlier Nederlog today, namely the latest in the series "
me+ME: Update about my vitamins", which is indeed about that.

B. In case you visit my Dutch site: I do not know, but it may be you need to click twice to see any changes I have made. This certainly held for me, but it is possible this was caused by the fact that I am also writing it from my computer.

In any case, I am now (again) updating the opening of my site with the last day it was updated. (And I am very sorry if you have to click several times to see the last update: It is not what I wish, nor how it was. And it was yesterday still or again the case. Indeed, this also holds for the opening pages: These too are not renewed at "xs4all", or at least: Not for me.) [1]

1. Proven Wrong About Many of Its Assertions, Is Psychiatry Bullsh*t?

The first item
today is by Bruce Levine (who is "a practising clinical psychologist") on AlterNet:
  • Proven Wrong About Many of Its Assertions, Is Psychiatry Bullsh*t?

This starts as follows:
In the current issue of the journal Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, Australian dissident psychiatrist Niall McLaren titles his article, “Psychiatry as Bullshit” and makes a case for just that.
I say. And I don't say so because I disagree, but because I did pay attention to Niall McLaren in 2011, when he wasn't quite as far yet. The longest article I published about McLaren is this, from August 21, 2011 (over 5 years ago).

Also, I am a philosopher and a psychologist who absolutely never believed psychiatry is a real science; who always insisted it is at best (!) a pseudoscience (<-Wikipedia) and who has said since he knows about Frankfurt's "On Bullshit" that psychiatry also was plain bullshit.

Indeed, I did so in part because I am now a mere 37 years the victim of the bullshit pseudoscience psychiatry, for I have ME, which these bullshitters and frauds (see below) classify as belonging to their pseudoscience because that would profit them financially.

And I wrote a long and very good article in 2012,
DSM-5: Question 1 of "The six most essential questions in psychiatric diagnosis" which explains my position in detail.

So no... I don't really need a clinical psychologist to assure me in 2016 what was no news to me in 1966 (for then I bought and read the first book about psychiatry) but I repeat parts of it here as a service to my readers: Unless you are totally mad, you better avoid psychiatrists! [2]

Here is a first bit about the lies that psychiatrists used since 1980, according to Ronald Pies (whose last name in Dutch means "Piss"):
The great controversies in psychiatry are no longer about its chemical-imbalance theory of mental illness or its DSM diagnostic system, both of which have now been declared invalid even by the pillars of the psychiatry establishment.In 2011, Ronald Pies, editor-in-chief emeritus of the Psychiatric Times, stated, “In truth, the ‘chemical imbalance’ notion was always a kind of urban legend—never a theory seriously propounded by well-informed psychiatrists.”
I am sorry, but Pies lied. Both the chemical imbalance baloney and the bullshit that were the DSM-III, the DSM-IV and the DSM 5, were all defended, repeated, asserted, abused, lied and put forward again and again by all manner of what Pies calls "well-informed psychiatrists": He was merely lying - in 2011 - about the last 30 years of psychiatry.
So, the great controversy today has now become just how psychiatry can be most fairly characterized given its record of being proven wrong about virtually all of its assertions, most notably its classifications of behaviors, theories of “mental illness” and treatment effectiveness/adverse effects.
And why would you not call a bunch of liars and frauds a bunch of liars and frauds? If they are proven wrong (I agree!) about "virtually all of its assertions, most notably its classifications of behaviors, theories of “mental illness” and treatment effectiveness/adverse effects"?!?! As they have been?!

First, there is this about psychiatry as pseudoscience [3]:
In “Psychiatry as Bullshit,” McLaren begins by considering several different categories of “nonscience with scientific pretensions,” such as “pseudoscience” and “scientific fraud.”

“Pseudoscience” is commonly defined as a collection of beliefs and practices promulgated as scientific but in reality mistakenly regarded as being based on scientific method. The NIMH director ultimately rejected the DSM because of its lack of validity, which is crucial to the scientific method. In the DSM, psychiatric illnesses are created by an APA committee, 69 percent of whom have financial ties to Big Pharma. The criteria for DSM illness are not objective biological ones but non-scientific subjective ones (which is why homosexuality was a DSM mental illness until the early 1970s). Besides lack of scientific validity, the DSM lacks scientific reliability, as clinicians routinely disagree on diagnoses because patients act differently in different circumstances and because of the subjective nature of the criteria.

Clearly a branch of pretended science that consistently lies and deceives is a pseudoscience. Also, the "scientific reliability" is total trash: The absolutely only thing that is measured in the DSMs is the amount of agreement among psychiatrists in their diagnoses - not whether these diagnoses are correct (and they are usually bullshit), nor whether the psychiatry is a science, nor whether these psychiatrists know what science is: ALL that is measured is the degree of their (dis)agreement on their (mostly nonsensical) diagnoses - and these are pretty abysmal as well, in many cases (in part because since 1979, when there were between 40 and 50 "psychiatric disorders" there have since then been created over 400 more of these "disorders", all because that pays very well, and not because this had anything to do with real science).

Then we have this, which is mostly baloney:

“Fraud” is a misrepresentation, a deception intended for personal gain, and implies an intention to deceive others of the truth—or “lying.” Drug companies, including those that manufacture psychiatric drugs, have been convicted of fraud, as have high-profile psychiatrists (as well as other doctors). Human rights activist and attorney Jim Gottstein offers an argument as to why the APA is a “fraudulent enterprise”; however, the APA has not been legally convicted of fraud.

To best characterize psychiatry, McLaren considers the category of “bullshit,” invoking philosopher Harry Frankfurt’s 1986 journal article “On Bullshit” (which became a New York Times bestselling book in 2005).

Why is fraud a misrepresentation if most American psychiatrists only prescribe pills (usually without a real diagnosis) they earn a lot on, while their pretended science is a pseudoscience (<-Wikipedia)? They are earning 20, 30, 50, 100 or more times than I am earning, who is a psychologist and a philosopher, and what they earn, practising a pseudoscience, is what keeps them psychiatrists. How is this not a fraud?!

Anyway... there is a lot more in the article, which is recommended, but which also is by a clinical psychologist (also not a real science, says this psycho- logist since 1980, as is supported by Paul Lutus) about the pseudoscience of psychiatry, that in the last 35 years has frauded tens or hundreds of billions of dollars out of the pockets of naive Americans.

2. Behold the GOP’s Not-So-Secret Plan to Dismantle Government Services

The second item is by Paul Rosenberg in Salon:
  • Behold the GOP’s Not-So-Secret Plan to Dismantle Government Services

This starts as follows:

One side effect of the three-ring circus this presidential campaign has become is the distraction it provides so that other damaging agendas can be advanced with little or no attention. Take for example, the Republican Party’s long-standing efforts to dismantle America’s internationally modest, but still crucially important welfare state, which helps keep tens of millions of Americans out of poverty. Social Security and Medicare have both been top targets via various schemes over the years, and this budget cycle is no exception, regardless of what noises Donald Trump may make.

Not only does Social Security lift tens of millions of retirees out of poverty, but in 2014 3.2 million American kids directly received Social Security benefits, mostly in the form of survivor benefits. Another 10 million disabled workers were covered as well. But it’s not just these many millions of people who benefit: Retirement security for grandparents means more money for parents to invest in their children’s future. Security for orphans and disabled workers have similar spillover benefits as well. So attacks on Social Security really are a threat to Americans of all ages, now as well as in the future.

Those attacks are already well under way, thanks to the austerity measures imposed since the Tea Party first arrived in Washington with the GOP congressional wave of 2010. (The money comes directly from workers — not from the overall Federal budget — but Congress controls the spending.)
I say. Here is what the GOP set out to do:

Now Republicans in Congress just want to make matters worse, with cuts that will require 10 furlough days — which equates to a two-week shutdown of Social Security. “Government doesn’t work,” they’re saying, “Watch, we’ll show you how to make sure!” The amount of money involved is trivial — about 7 cents for every $100 of benefits paid. And it all comes out of money that recipients have paid into the system themselves.

Bear in mind, this is what the “responsible Republicans” in Washington are doing — more of what they’ve been doing since the 2010 midterms gave them control of the House.

Since I am a psychologist, I have a perfectly adequate term for the GOPers that do these thiings: They are simply rich sadists indulging their perversions.

I am sorry, but if you treat the poor as poorly as the GOP wants to, this is what you are.

3. Obama, Our 'Peace President' Turns Out to Be Rather War-Happy

The third item is by Tom Engelhardt on AlterNet and originally on TomDispatch:

  • Obama, Our 'Peace President' Turns Out to Be Rather War-Happy
This is from the beginning (and I am selecting three bits from much more):

Nuking the Planet: I’m sure you remember Barack Obama, the guy who entered the Oval Office pledging to work toward “a nuclear-free world.” You know, the president who traveled to Prague in 2009 to say stirringly: “So today, I state clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons... To put an end to Cold War thinking, we will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy, and urge others to do the same.” That same year, he was awarded the Nobel Prize largely for what he might still do, particularly in the nuclear realm. Of course, that was all so 2009!

Almost two terms in the Oval Office later, our peace president, the only one who has ever called for nuclear “abolition”—and whose administration has retired fewer weapons in our nuclear arsenal than any other in the post-Cold War era—is now presiding over the early stages of a trillion-dollar modernization of that very arsenal.
And why? Because Obama was a "leftish" fraud like Bill Clinton was. Here is also how Obama extended the wars the USA conducts:

Plain Old Bombing: Recall that in October 2001, when the Bush administration launched its invasion of Afghanistan, the U.S. was bombing no other largely Islamic country. In fact, it was bombing no other country at all. Afghanistan was quickly “liberated,” the Taliban crushed, al-Qaeda put to flight, and that was that, or so it then seemed.

On September 8th, almost 15 years later, the Washington Post reported that, over a single weekend and in a “flurry” of activity, the U.S. had dropped bombs on, or fired missiles at, six largely Islamic countries: Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia.
Note that the USA also is - formally - not "at war" with any of these, it seems because they are easier bombed (maybe better as well) without any decla- ration of war.

And here is the third item about Obama's proud presidency:
Selling Arms As If There Were No Tomorrow: In a recent report for the Center for International Policy, arms expert William Hartung offered a stunning figure on U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia. “Since taking office in January 2009," he wrote, "the Obama administration has offered over $115 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia in 42 separate deals, more than any U.S. administration in the history of the U.S.-Saudi relationship.
According to Tom Engelhardt - "You must be kidding!" - this is all sick. I cannot say I disagree.

This is a recommended article, also with considerably more.

4. Jeremy Corbyn Easily Re-Elected Labour Party Leader

The fourth item is by Andrea Germanos on Common Dreams:
  • Jeremy Corbyn Easily Re-Elected Labour Party Leader

This starts as follows, and is the only bit I will quote, but this is a bit of Good News to me:

Corbyn got 61.8 percent of the vote to opponent Owen Smith's 38.2. The Guardian reports that the 67-year-old "won a majority over Smith in every category—members, registered supporters, and trades union affiliates. He won the support of 59 percent of voting members, 70 percent of registered supporters, and 60 percent of affiliated supporters."

Cory Doctorow writes at BoingBoing that his reelection came despite sabotage from his own party and the UK press's efforts to "to sideline, belittle and dismiss him." As such, Doctorow argues, "it is nothing short of a miracle that Corbyn has won the leadership race, and that, moreover, he has increased his lead, beyond last year's landslide, with a higher voter turnout than ever."

In fact the Bristol Post writes, it was "one of the most one-sided contests in the history of the party."

The reasons I consider this Good News are (1) I like Jeremy Corbyn, indeed for roughly the same reasons as I like Bernie Sanders: Both are honest politicians (rare these days) and both are genuine Leftists (very rare these days), and also because (2) I dislike most of the Blairite careerists that attempted to take over the Labour Party since multi-millionair fraud and warmonger Tony Blair took it over.

There is a bit more in the article, which is recommended - and at least the ordinary members of Labour can still reason as I do. I hope they also will succeed in ousting the Blairite careerist parlementarians.

5. Noam Chomsky on the Evolution of Language: A Biolinguistic Perspective

The fifth and last item today is by C.J. Polychroniou on Truthout:

  • Noam Chomsky on the Evolution of Language: A Biolinguistic Perspective
This starts as follows, and is here mostly because (1) I like Noam Chomsky both as a scientist and as an anarchist, and because (2) C.J. Polychroniou has been preparing a series of interviews with Chomsky, that is quite good, and which has been quoted before in Nederlog.

The following also are brief selections from a lot more. It starts with this introduction:

Human language is crucial to the scientific quest to understand what kind of creatures we are and, thus crucial to unlocking the mysteries of human nature.

In the interview that follows, Noam Chomsky, the scholar who single-handedly revolutionized the modern field of linguistics, discusses the evolution of language and lays out the biolinguist perspective -- the idea that a human being's language represents a state of some component of the mind. This is an idea that continues to baffle many non-experts, many of whom have sought to challenge Chomsky's theory of language without really understanding it.

I take that for granted, and continue with the first quotation:

Noam Chomsky: At the outset of the modern scientific revolution, Galileo and the scientist-philosophers of the monastery of Port Royal issued a crucial challenge to those concerned with the nature of human language, a challenge that had only occasionally been recognized until it was taken up in the mid-20th century and became the primary concern of much of the study of language. For short, I'll refer to it as the Galilean challenge. These great founders of modern science were awed by the fact that language permits us (in their words) to construct "from 25 or 30 sounds an infinite variety of expressions, which although not having any resemblance in themselves to that which passes through our minds, nevertheless do not fail to reveal all of the secrets of the mind, and to make intelligible to others who cannot penetrate into the mind all that we conceive and all of the diverse movements of our souls."
Yes, indeed, although I think there is more in the human mind than can be indicated by language. There is a little more below.

First, here is Chomsky on "
the Basic Property of human language":

But why is it that the view of language as a species-specific capacity is not taken up until well into the 20th century?

There is a good reason why the insights languished until mid-20th century: intellectual tools were not available for even formulating the problem in a clear enough way to address it seriously. That changed thanks to the work of Alan Turing and other great mathematicians who established the general theory of computability on a firm basis (...)
With these intellectual tools available, it becomes possible to formulate what we may call the Basic Property of human language: The language faculty provides the means to construct a digitally infinite array of structured expressions, each of which has a semantic interpretation expressing a thought, and each of which can be externalized by means of some sensory modality. The infinite set of semantically interpreted objects constitutes what has sometimes been called a "language of thought": the system of thoughts that receive linguistic expression and that enter into reflection, inference, planning and other mental processes, and when externalized, can be used for communication and other social interactions. By far, the major use of language is internal -- thinking in language.
Yes, indeed. And this leads to the last thing I will quote from this article:

What about the so-called representational doctrine about language? What makes it a false idea for human language?

As I mentioned, the conventional view is that atomic elements of language are cultural products, and that the basic ones -- those used for referring to the world -- are associated with extra-mental entities. This representationalist doctrine has been almost universally adopted in the modern period. The doctrine appears to hold for animal communication: a monkey's calls, for example, are associated with specific physical events. But the doctrine is radically false for human language, as was recognized as far back as classical Greece.

In fact, I think - since the 1960s, also - that the representationalist theory is correct - if it is reformulated as being about thoughts about things rather than real things. In fact, I even changed the definition of truth (<- in my Philosophical Ditctionary) to account for that.

Then again, Chomsky is right that most others, e.g. Hilary Putnam, saw this quite differently, for Putnam repeatedly argued that "meanings are not in the head".

I think Putnam was quite mistaken, and I also think that a semantics without explicitly considering meanings as separate from whatever facts that may support them is baloney.

But there is a lot more Chomsky in this article, which is recommended.

[1]  Alas, this is precisely as I said it does, and it goes on for months now. I do not know who does it, and I refuse to call the liars of "xs4all" (really: the KPN), simply because these haven been lying to me from 2002-2009, and I do not trust anything they say I cannot control myself: They have treated me for seven years as a liar because "you complain about things other people do not complain about" (which is the perfect excuse never to do anything whatsoever for anyone).

[2] Incidentally, while I think most of psychology is not a real science, and none of psychiatry ever was, I am not saying all psychologists and all psychiatrists are worthless.

What I am saying is that their pretented science is not a real science. It may be true that some of them are effective for some patients or some persons, for the simple reason that they may be honest and rational, and did see a lot of people with problems of various kinds. (I indeed think there are some, but in a fairly small minority.)

You'll have to find out yourself - if you are interested - what I think about psychiatry and psychology, but the main essay I wrote about it is this:
DSM-5: Question 1 of "The six most essential questions in psychiatric diagnosis" while there are about 131 more articles (!!) I wrote about the DSM here: DSM-5: 100 Nederlogs  about and around the APA and the DSM-5 (from 2012, originally).

Perhaps it helps if you remember that I did take the psychology M.A. with a straight A (and without ever hearing any lectures I could avoid).

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