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Aug 20, 2011           

                   A bit more on psychiatry - Niall McLaren

This is best regarded as a postscript to yesterday's On confusions and misunderstandings concerning the DSM-5 but I retitled it because it is in fact about psychiatry in general, and about an Australian psychiatrist I just found out about, who seems an interesting and sensible man.

As it happens, doctor McLaren - who has a long and interesting lemma in the Wikipedia, and an own site, both here:
also writes about philosophy: and I assume I will turn to that, eventually, but probably not today or tomorrow.

First, I will quote a paragraph from the Wikipedia lemma on him, that should explain why I am interested in the man and his ideas - and note, as my regular readers do know, that I am a philosopher (of a decidedly realistic, analytical and logical orientation), a psychologist (who believes psychology is mostly not a real science), and am ill with ME since January 1, 1979, while my credentials, so to speak, consist of my site (over 300 MB of mostly text, mostly by me (*)) and more specifically, when talking about psychiatry, medicine and philosophy
Here is the promised paragraph, that summarizes the first part of one of McLaren's books:

Humanizing Madness: Psychiatry and the Cognitive Neurosciences was published in 2007 in three parts.

Part I: Psychiatry in Crisis: Intellectual Failure in the Science of Mental Disorder

The first part is a critical review of the logical status of the theories used in modern psychiatry using the canons of the philosophy of science. Using standard principles, McLaren demonstrates that psychoanalysis, behaviorism and biological psychiatry are not scientific in nature and, moreover, cannot be developed to the point where their epistemological failings can be overcome. They are, he argues, totally flawed and an obstruction to the development of a formal, scientific model of mental disorder. He regards this latter point as important because he believes that mental disorder is a reality and sufferers are denied rational treatment just because academic psychiatry has failed to provide practitioners with a consistent treatment program. He extends this criticism to cover the idea of an eclectic psychiatry and the biopsychosocial model of the late New York psychiatrist, George Engel. He further shows that the dualist model of Karl Popper and John Eccles (“The Self and Its Brain” ISBN 978-3-540-08307-8) is essentially irrational and hence, all substance dualist models must fail.

I quite agree. I discovered McLaren's existence only today, but these are all conclusions I have myself come too, decades ago, indeed, for which reason it is a pleasure to read a practising psychiatrist came to the same conclusions.

As an aside, let me explain how I found out about him:

Yesterday, when writing about Dayle Jones's blog about the DSM-5, I recommended her - she is a counselor, and for that reason quite rightly concerned with psychiatry - to simply give up on the DSM-5 and indeed to give up on standard psychiatry (or psychiatries, rather: it still is, and always has been, like a religion, divided into sects), and also recommended some books and authors who wrote about psychiatry and related problems that I do like, notably William James, and Silvano Arieti, Alexander Luria and Lev Vygotsky, some of whose books I read, again decades ago, and liked, because they made sense, and they seemed highly intelligent men, who used sensible theoretical methods of reasoning. (**)

These days, there is the internet, and I also linked Luria for my readers' convenience, and there saw that he had influenced one Niall McLaren.

Thus I arrived at the latter's existence.

That knowledge is of today, for which reason I can only say that I like what I read in the Wikipedia, simply because McLaren seems to have been thinking along similar lines I have, including a liking for

I have downloaded what is available on McLaren's website, and will read it, and may comment on it in Nederlog.

For the moment, I wrote this because it supplements what I wrote yesterday: If one is somehow professionally involved with psychiatry or clinical psychology, one must do one's own thinking, especially because most of the accepted theories, such as are or get to be in the DSM, are fallacious, and therefore dangerous to use on patients.

And dr. McLaren seems a sensible man, who certainly arrrived at some conclusions I agree with, and whose books and papers may be useful to many.

Later on today:

Dr. McLaren has a series of videos on Youtube, I found. Here is the first of a five part series:

It turns out that, like me, he finds his main reasons to say that psychiatry is not a science from philosophy of science.

I will return to this: Interesting and sensible.


(*) As to "over 300 MB of mostly text, mostly by me": This is an estimate, as part of my site consists of philosophical classics with extensive comments by me, while also the fact that nearly all is htm implies that rather a considerable percentage of what's on the site is html-tags and formatting. (It still is a lot of text, to be sure, but not as much as it would be if it were plain Ascii.)

(**) Most psychologists and psychiatrists I met or whose books I read have not struck me as highly intelligent. Indeed, I can only account for the vast mass of useles baloney I have seen in those fields by assuming its average academics and practicians are considerably less gifted than physicists or mathematicians, and indeed for that reason ended up in the intellectually undemanding studies they qualified in.

Also, as to "sensible theoretical methods of reasoning": It's quite amazing - that is: if you have read

or indeed no more than the introductory

- how uninformed, how ignorant, most published "peer reviewed" psychology and psychiatry is about methodology, philosophy of science and statistics.

And indeed even when I studied it, 30 and more years ago, when the standards of academic education had not yet quite as low as today (when "psychologists" are ready made at universities within three or four years, of IQs of 115 or less from human material that mostly do not even know ordinary arithmetic at least in Holland, since at least 30 years) little attention, if any, was given to these subjects, and I met only a few psychologists who understood statistics, and those were the ones who taught the subject academically.

I published about this in the faculty of psychology in 1988-1989, quite satirically and quite correctly, as it has turned out since, even according a parliamentary Dutch enquiry of 2008, that concluded Dutch education is a mess on all levels

Professor van Heerden let me know, via others, that "the scientific staff loves to see Maarten Maartensz dead" and indeed not long before, and also briefly before taking my M.A. in philosophy I had been thrown out of that faculty as "a fascist" and "a terrorist" - because I insisted that truth does exist, not all moral values are equally good or totally relative, and not all human beings equal:
At present, it is a safe bet the vast majority of the living Dutch academically educated

(1) have an IQ of 115 on average at most
(2) do not know elementary arithmetic
(3) do not know foreign languages except English
(4) do not know what's real science
(5) do not believe truth exists
(6) hold all moral values relative, and their own best

(7) believe all Dutchmen are equal, if they have a Dutch family-name

"So it goes..."
P.S. Corrections, if any are necessary, have to be made later.
-- Aug 23, 2011: Added some to note (**).

As to ME/CFS (that I prefer to call ME):

1.  Anthony Komaroff Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS (pdf)
3.  Hillary Johnson The Why
4.  Consensus of M.D.s Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf)
5.   Eleanor Stein Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)
6.  William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
7.  Paul Lutus

Is Psychology a Science?

8.  Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
 Maarten Maartensz
ME in Amsterdam - surviving in Amsterdam with ME (Dutch)
 Maarten Maartensz Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

Short descriptions of the above:                

1. Ten reasons why ME/CFS is a real disease by a professor of medicine of Harvard.
2. Long essay by a professor emeritus of medical chemistry about maltreatment of ME.
3. Explanation of what's happening around ME by an investigative journalist.
4. Report to Canadian Government on ME, by many medical experts.
5. Advice to psychiatrist by a psychiatrist who understands ME is an organic disease
6. English mathematical genius on one's responsibilities in the matter of one's beliefs:

7. A space- and computer-scientist takes a look at psychology.
8. Malcolm Hooper puts things together status 2010.
9. I tell my story of surviving (so far) in Amsterdam with ME.
10. The directory on my site about ME.

See also: ME -Documentation and ME - Resources
The last has many files, all on my site to keep them accessible.

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