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  July 30, 2012                  
me+ME+DSM-5: Some thoughts about mad killers

   ď'But I donít want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
'Oh, you canít help that,' said the Cat. 'Weíre all mad here. Iím mad. Youíre mad.'
'How do you know Iím mad?' said Alice.
'You must be,Ē said the Cat. 'or you wouldnít have come here.'
-- Lewis Carroll
  But what is liberty without wisdom, and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint.
-- Edmund Burke


       1. Eye problems + references for Gerwyn's Geroupies
       2. Some thoughts about mad killers

1. Eye problems + references for Gerwyn's Geroupies

I still have eye problems, but it seems to be getting better, with the help of eye drops. Then again, it doesn't improve rapidly, which is one reason to write about the topic that follows, rather than others, that would involve more looking at a screen that makes my eyes, such as they are, hurt.

Also, in yesterday's Nederlog - about Gerwyn's Geroupies - I forgot to include two references relating to dr. Mikovits, both from eight months ago:

The  first of these ended as follows

Gerwyn: If you were a guy with guts, you'd be on ERV's blog, with your real name and address, to explain her and the world why you are an o so polite and kind genius, and why she must be an evilmouthed bad nut!

Indeed, you could have been there for over 2 years now, enlightening virologists with your wit, or being found out, if only you had had it in you to risk being found out, and if only you really believed the tales you have been spinning and were honest about your desire to help patients and find the truth about ME/CFS.

Also, I am not kidding:

Morally, I think you have the duty to do so, for there you will find a hearing; there many people - with qualifications to judge whether you are bullshitting or talking on the basis of real knowledge - will read you; and there you have the chance to save dr. Judy or be defeated as a valiant fighter who was blinded by prejudice, pain and disease, but who - at least - honestly tried and honorably failed, while having the real courage of his opinions.

I fear you lack the guts and the talents and the knowledge (***): You cannot admit having been honestly mistaken, and having been found out by others who are more intelligent or more qualified than you are. And you much love being looked up to, even if those who look up to you do it because they lack the knowledge to refute your pretensions to knowledge.

That's what I still think, and why I find it hard to believe Gerwyn meant what he wrote: He is not willing to defend his ideas - to which he is entitled, in principle: I am a tolerant man - against specialists who can explain why and where he is mistaken, exaggerates, misses things real specialists know, etc.

Also, since so many of his followers have the most basic problems with elementary common sense:

If Gerwyn and V99 are right, at the very least several tens of retrovirologists - many professors also - and all the 24 researchers of the US Blood Work Group and doctors Peterson and Hyde, not to mention doctors Coffin, Stoye and Racaniello, ALL must be either more ignorant and stupid than Gerwyn and V99 (neither of whom is a specialist in virology or medicine) or must have been bought or intimidaterd by some nefarious force of evil.

Well... I just can't believe that: They all have reputations, qualifications, and personal interests not to allow the presence of a dangerous virus in blood banks, and they don't live in a dictatorship.

Therefore Gerwyn and V99 are very probably bullshitting and posturing, if not all-out bonkers, and Gerwyn, who presented himself for several years as a specialist on microbiology and retroviruses on forums for patients with ME/CFS, also lacks the courage to oppose real retrovirologists in public, where he can be found out by them, or refute them if he is really half as qualified and clever as he likes to suggest to ill people without the qualifications to assess his claims.

2. Some thoughts about mad killers

I have so far written over a hundred Nederlogs, during the past 18 months or so, that are wholly or in part about aspects of the DSM-5, it turned out - and yes, I hope to be able to put up the list of them
soon, and have them linked into a series.

Sometimes these disquisitions of mine are not directly relevant to the DSM-5, even if they touch upon it. An example is the Nederlog about Alzheimer's

that I wrote because my mother suffered from it, and because Dr Allen Frances, the chief editor of the DSM-IV, who has the great personal merit of opposing the DSM-5, for what seem to me mostly sound reasons:

also wrote about it, in his series DSM-5 in distress in Psychology Today.

The present Nederlog (this part of it) also is a bit accidental, and came about as follows:

In March, I wrote a long, clear and rather thorough discussion of dr. Thomas Szasz's ideas in Nederlog:

I argued in that text that I for the most part I agree with dr Szasz's arguments, ideas and postions, with two exceptions: (1) I find it a pity he got involved with Scientology - indeed without him being religious and without him being a scientologist: As far as I know, he got involved because they oppose the practice of psychiatry in the US and help some of its victims, which I can understand, but do not agree with, mostly because I think the scientologist's theories are as mistaken as the most flaky psychiatry (from whom a good part was appropriated) and because I have read material about their ways of operating, that strike me as immoral, and (2) I believe that there are people who are fairly called mad, although I agree with dr. Szasz, and indeed with dr. Frances, that it is very difficult to put together a definition of the term "madness" that makes sense theoretically and that succeeds practically in distinguising those who are from whose who aren't (while leaving few unclear cases).

Next, I wrote the day after the murders that James Holmes committed

    me+ME: Eye problems + DSM-5 + mad killers

and remarked, among other things, that mass murderers like Holmes and the Norwegian Breivik in my opinion are mad, and that

my main reason is that they must have delusions about the outcome of their deeds and its social import, and that my guess is that both must have been moved by some festering anger. Then again, while I believe this sense of madness, that also applies in everyday language to anger (as in "He got mad at her and hit her", or in "overcome by violent emotions, fueled by false ideas, wishful thinking, and a weak character, he lost his self-control and the rational balance of his mind, and got mad"), does make sense in contexts like this, is not sufficient as a rational or psychiatric definition.

Then again, something like I said between quotation-marks has been accepted since the ancient Greeks to - sort of - explain at least some forms of madness, that also have been known since these days: People running amok, going berserk, or otherwise loosing their self-control to engage in acts only someone with totally mistaken ideas about ends and means would engage in.

But if I were to write this train of thought well, I first need better eyes.

Well... my eyes are a bit better, though far from good, so let me just add a little bit today, since I found that dr. Frances has a new post in his DSM-5 in distress series in Psychology Today:

       Mass Murders, Madness, and Gun Control

As it happens, I mostly agree with dr Frances (unlike 7 commenters, who seem to be hard core low IQ proud gun owners) - but he does not elucidate madness. Here are his first two paragraphs (minus the links to Psychology Today's terminologicak elucidations, that I find too incompetent to retain)

The US has averaged two episodes of mass murder a year for the past 15 years. And the odds are good that we will carry this sorry record forward forever into the future. Each tragedy provokes a predictable round of shock, grieving, soul searching, and finger pointing. Why would someone do something so crazy? Who missed what warning signs? Why weren't the victims better warned or better protected? What can we do to prevent this type of awful tragedy from constantly recurring?

Everyone is intensely interested in the psychology of the killer. There is a presumption that if can understand the mind of the mass murderer then perhaps we can prevent the mass murders. This is dead wrong. Psychiatry has no way of predicting or preventing rare and fairly random acts of senseless violence- it is simply impossible to find needles in haystacks. We must accept the fact that a small cohort of deranged and disaffected potential mass murderers will always exist undetected in our midst. The only questions are how often will these ticking time bombs go off and how much damage will they do when detonated.

Up to a point, this is fair and sensible enough - except that psychiatrists make money by insisting they know how to diagnose and treat madmen, so that it must at least be fair to ask a psychiatrist whether psychiatry can help the identification of mass killers, or explain why they get thus mad.

Dr Frances may well be right - I believe he is - that with psychiatry as is there is no rational hope in hell that it could really identify mad mass killers like Holmes or Breivik before they commit their deeds (though I will not be amazed at all if the APA or the DSM-5 worthies insist that psychiatry can deliver, if given sufficient money, of course), but it seems to me he misses two questions he might have answered rationally, if not completely nor with apodictic certainty:

   1. Why is it justified to consider folks like Breivik and Holmes insane (mad, deranged)?
   2. Why are there not many more episodes of mass murder in the US than two per year?

Here are my answers, or at least - I still have sore eyes - an outline of them:

1. Why is it justified to consider folks like Breivik and Holmes insane (mad, deranged)?

My main reason here is the social contract, that is the basis of each and every human society that is more than a primitive horde, and the fact that it takes some two decades to educate a human baby to a young adult that can be safely let loose in society, without being overseen, controlled, restrained or watched by others.

That social contract involves the fundamental agreement not to harm or hurt one's fellows, except in self-defense; not to physically harm others or use or take their property without their consent; to be tolerant of other folks' ideologies, religions and practices, in so far at least as the law of the land does not forbid them; and to live by the laws of the society one lives in, also if one disagrees with them, on the basis of the consideration that there is no protection by law if and when anyone who disagrees with any law were free not to follow it.

Most of the previous paragraph holds for any modern society, including those which are authoritarian or dictatorships, and the main two reasons for these are that any adult who is not sub-normal in intelligence, can easily understand that without such moral, legal or self-restraint in place, for most, in most cases, there just is no human society possible, and indeed every adult has been educated for some two decades to behave as a responsible and personally accountable human being, who also risks serious legal or other punishment for seriously deviating from such norms of social behaviour.

And Breivik and Holmes seem quite mad to me because either they do not see the intellectual and moral content of the last three paragraphs, or indeed, as seems at least the case with Breivik, because they  consciously wipe their asses with it.

But then again this involves their setting up themselves as far better judges of what human beings can and should do than anybody else in their own society or group of friends or family, which is a a fairly or very mad presumption, that also seems to be completely blind to their own self-interest: Persons who kill others, who have done them no harm, who have not opposed them in any way, while also there is no excuse of an ongoing (civil) war around them, are evidently dangerous to others, and in many societies are killed or locked up for life.

In that sense, which also covers the legal sense, both Holmes and Breivik are clearly mad: What they did doesn't make any rational sense, does not serve any rational purpose, and is in total contradiction with the norms for social behaviour on the social upholding of which any human society depends for its continued existence: Hobbes'

Status hominum naturalis antequam in societatem coiretur Bellum fuerit; neque hoc simpliciter, sed bellum omnium in omnes.
      that is
"The natural state of men, before they entered into society, was a mere war, and that not simply, but a war of all men against all men."

simply is false and always has been false, for it it were true, there would never have arisen any complex human society, where most men can be safely left to their own devices, because the majority do not have in them to murder, torture, exploit or repress without limit or constraint, merely to indulge ther own desires for advancement, riches or revenge.

That is also my main answer to the second question:

2. Why are there not many more episodes of mass murder in the US than two per year?

The mass killings that men do get involved with tend to be politically or religiously inspired, and tend to involve states of civil or international war: Man's inhumanity to man is mostly mediated and caused by religion or politics, and happens in social groups, usually fueled by fanaticism and groupthinking, and not by man's nature, which is either good or indifferent, as argued by Mencius, and also by Mark Twain:

    -   On a fundamental problem in ethics and morals
    -   The War Prayer

That is, it is the opposite of what Hobbes thought (who lived most of his life through various civil wars, religious conflicts, and a revolution: he had his good grounds for thinking so): The warring state of men, where religious or political groups seek to impose their will on anyone who disagrees, arises from delusions that arise from groupthinking and false presumptions, whether ideological or religious, rather than that they belong inherently and necessarily to man's nature, that is far from perfect, but is pleasure-seeking and socially inclined in the fast majority of cases, indeed not from moral principle, but from self-interest and common sense: To cooperate peacefully with others - if perhaps dishonestly - is generally the best and the safest way to advance oneself.

Which is why human society - the cooperation of many individuals, families, and groups, for mutual and personal benefit - can exist at all. (*)


(*) In case you missed it or are in doubt: Unlike many Europeans, I think mankind is on average so immoral and dangerous, and politics and religion are so easily abused and dominated by psychopaths, mad dictators, and sick priests, that the US Constitution that allows its citizens to bear arms, so as to be able to defend themselves against tyranny, has it quite right, and the Europeans quite wrong (for which reason a social collapse in Europe most probably will lead to tyranny: The population will have no means of self-defense, and a few thousands or tenthousands of armed troops can control millions, especially with modern information techniques, forced identity papers, untrammeled abuse of force and "labour camps" for the deviant, the dissident, and the supposedly inferior, and - who knows! - forced implanted chips); while unlike many American citizens, I think it both stupid and dangerous to have the sort of gun laws that do currently hold in the US, where insane or wacky individuals face no real restraints or barriers whatsoever on their ability to buy arsenals of dangerous weapons, and indeed far more than they would need to be able to defend themselves.

P.S.     Corrections, if any are necessary, have to be made later.
-- July 31, 2012: Undid some typos and added some links.


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 understa, but nds 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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