JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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On misanthropology

misanthropology (from Urban Dictionary): the scientific study of the origin, the behavior, and the physical, social, and cultural development of hatred in humans misanthropology-the opposite of optimistology.

Lost word, sighted on the Neologism thread at (Diggingintheclay) that inspired The Doomsians are Panixilated post.

For what it’s worth, I  think misanthropology is often just a veneer, it’s not a real hatred at all, but just the semblance of it. It’s much more small minded. It’s not about “hating humans” so much as it is about impressing the chick (or boy) next door. A kind of competition to get to snob-land first:  ‘I look down on humans more than you do.” (Which translates loosely as: I, the exalted one, speaks from a greater height, fellow misanthropist….)

It’s about status, eh. Like everything.

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81 comments to On misanthropology

  • #
    Mark D.

    Jo, I think you have made a good observation.

    I think misanthropology is often just a veneer, it’s not a real hatred at all, but just the semblance of it. It’s much more small minded. It’s not about “hating humans” so much as it is about impressing the chick (or boy) next door. A kind of competition to get to snob-land first: ‘I look down on humans more than you do.” (Which translates loosely as: I, the exalted one, speaks from a greater height, fellow misanthropist

    There has been a spate of this kind of behavior here in the postings on your site in the last month or two. I find it both troubling and interesting. If we all had time to “play” it wouldn’t matter I suppose. The problem is that I don’t think we have time to play. The world is looking like a well shaken soda that is about to be opened. If we are lucky we’ll re-cap the damn thing before there is much mess.

    If we’re not lucky, well……..

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    • #
      Dave

      Mark D.

      Do you think that “the spate of this kind of behaviour here in the postings” may not be as a result of misanthropology but of Paranoid Personality Disorder. These are the symtoms below described by the World Health Organisation:
      1.excessive sensitivity to setbacks and rebuffs;
      2.tendency to bear grudges persistently, i.e. refusal to forgive insults and injuries or slights;
      3.suspiciousness and a pervasive tendency to distort experience by misconstruing the neutral or friendly actions of others as hostile or contemptuous;
      4.a combative and tenacious sense of personal rights out of keeping with the actual situation;
      5.recurrent suspicions, without justification, regarding sexual fidelity of spouse or sexual partner;
      6.tendency to experience excessive self-importance, manifest in a persistent self-referential attitude;
      7.preoccupation with unsubstantiated “conspiratorial” explanations of events both immediate to the patient and in the world at large.

      Just maybe, this is the reason – especially Number 6 re CAGW.

      tendency to experience excessive self-importance, manifest in a persistent self-referential attitude

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      • #
        Rereke Whakaaro

        Dave,

        I hate to say this, but the list you quote perfectly describes every politician I have had the misfortune to have met. And I have met quite a few over the years.

        It is my observation that Paranoid Personality Disorder, as you call it, (or PPD for short?) is contagious and also affects all senior bureaucrats the politicians come into contact with.

        Or course, if it is contagious, then I am also probably infected, so I wouldn’t get too close to this comment, if I were you.

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  • #
    KinkyKeith

    The most recent example of misanthropology is to be found in the Global Warming movement.

    The concept that human CO2 emissions are going to make our planet uninhabitable is concerning.

    When the “consequences” of continued production of CO2 are shown by The AlGorism to be

    runaway heating, rising oceans, uncontrolled hurricanes and Tornadoes and other general

    assorted items of environmental menace, we morally have only one option: to join him.

    Many people do; some in earnest hope of being “one of the few” who really did save the

    planet. Then there are the others, who like Al, are in it for the prestige of being group

    leader, for the money, for the sheer power of being able to control the population and so on.

    The Global Warming catastrophe, and it is a catastrophe, has caused so much damage to nations and individuals, not to mention the progress of science, that perhaps a World Court should investigate the scam and hold a few of the scammers responsible.

    What has this shown about the use of sneering at others to make yourself look holy and pure.

    The main thing that rears its head, again , is size, size matters.

    One of man’s great skills is being able to deceive others in his group to gain advantage.

    In a small village of twenty people a great deal of skill is needed; you are under constant scrutiny.

    In the current Global Village a scammer can hide behind so much media crap that he can get away with appalling levels of deception and so profit greatly. There has been a loss of scrutiny on a person to person basis. All we have is AlGore the media figure.

    You don’t need too be very smart to get away with huge scams these days, just look at what AlGore got away with.

    Tens of thousands of stationary windmills, countries finances denuded by mad unproductive Green mania and the demoralisation of good people who wonder why they should bother to keep on working to pay taxes to support the ongoing lunacy.

    Looking down your nose at other people can sure get you a big power base; just pick a cause and hire a media team and off you go.

    Even on this blogg there have been concerted attempts to imnterrupt or distort or frustrate sensible discussion. Some of us who have seen this and lashed out have been snipped, and fair enough, we all lose it occasionally.

    But the “spacers” as I call them couch their comments in pseudo science or science lite and it sounds convincing, and so avoid moderation.

    Deception for advantage is everywhere.

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    • #
      wes george

      The most recent example of misanthropology is to be found in the Global Warming movement.

      Actually, the most recent examples of misanthropy are to be found right here in the comment section of Jo’s blog.

      No need to scour the earth searching for examples of human self-loathing and denigration. Just click back a few posts and have a peak.

      Not that comments here represent anything other than some individual poster’s personal state-of-mind.

      By far the vast majority of Jo’s readers are not misanthropic, but of late there are some outstanding examples of purely misanthropic comments here which we seem to have just taken in our stride as part of normal, every day discourse, rather than as invidious assaults on the dignity of our fellow humans.

      If we are going to discuss misanthropy honestly, then we have to begin with an examination of our own house before casting stones at others.

      Or otherwise we’ll simply be the same kind of hypocrites that our misanthropic Warmist critics are.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfnddMpzPsM&feature=player_embedded

      May I politely suggest we examine ourselves first?

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      • #
        KinkyKeith

        Yes Wes George

        Have viewed some of your comments relating to bogans, the flag, other’s opinions and such on the past thread and think I may have detected a lack of compromise?

        Agree with your suggestion : “May I politely suggest we examine ourselves first?”

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        • #
          wes george

          “Lack of compromise” is hardly the definition of misanthropy.

          I’m certainly willing to examine my comments, along with others, for evidence of misanthropy, but to do so fairly we will have to provide direct links and quotes to each others comments rather than simply make unsubstantiated claims.

          Misanthropy is traditionally defined as a vague attitude of disgust with the human condition.

          I agree with Jo that real misanthropes really do hate humanity, but for most people it’s just a pose adopted to define their values as superior to some other group’s values.

          When misanthropy is expressed as a specific disdain against a specific value or a specific people then it runs the risk of being expressed as bigotry. It’s also no longer proper to call it Misanthropy because the contempt is no longer directed at ALL of humankind, but only a targeted groups of people.

          Still, you could argue that derision expressed as, for instance, against Jews or in improbably theories of history which purport to blame specific groups for all the ills of humanity emanate from some deeper more primal self-loathing that could be misanthropic in its universality. Or maybe not. It might just be paranoid fear combined with mistaken assumptions about how the human condition unfolds over time.

          For instance, the so-called Black-armband revisionist view of Australian history which is in vogue is certainly a kind of self-loathing, self-flagellating view of Australia. But I wonder how much of it comes from misanthropy as from a culture cut off from its traditional moorings in reason and ethical values. Obviously, Leftism has rejected Judaeo-Christianity and has replaced it with their own piss-weak secular faith that requires all of history be negated to confirm its validity. To achieve this end it was necessary to appropriate the concept of original sin and guilt from Christianity while rejecting the love and forgiveness bits. This is why some people can look at the Australian flag and actually feel sickened. It’s how some people convince themselves that pride in their national identity makes them complicit in crimes committed long before they were born.

          But by now I’ve have wandered far and wide of misanthropy. Self-loathing, hauteur, ignorance, fear and bigotry are psychologically dysfunctional mental states but they’re not exclusive to misanthropes.

          No, the ultimate definition of a misanthrope is someone who behaves as if the only definition of reality that matters is that which one’s mind projects.

          I think I know you.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Bo3UTrBw3U&feature=related

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  • #
    Kevin Moore

    A form of misanthropy -

    “…So, comrades, every single paper presented at a scientific meeting, funded by a pharmaceutical company, supports the use of their products. I mean, even ruthless dictators running their countries with a rod of iron never manage to gain more than about 99.87% of the popular vote. I always wonder what happens to that 0.13% of voters, or thereabouts, who do not vote for the only candidate on the voting paper.

    But pharmaceutical companies, apparently, can do better than any dictator when it comes to a vote of confidence. They can carry out trials which are one hundred per-cent positive. Never a doubt creeps in, not one. And, to quote the authors on the matter of positive trial presentation at meetings. ‘I would be astonished if this were true of only one medical society.’ Hey guys, so would I.

    Does it matter, does anyone believe anything that comes out of these studies. Aren’t all doctors capable of spotting bias? To quote the authors again.

    ‘With compelling evidence that the knowledge base produced by commercially sponsored research is biased, with evidence that physicians do not reliably detect bias in information presented to them, with no evidence that bias in individual studies is reliably detected and discounted, and with repeated examples of manufacturers using potentially biased evidence largely to promote sales…what commercially supported research can be trusted?’

    Author Dr Malcolm Kendrick – “An Astonishing Finding That Fails To Surprise”

    http://www.thincs.org/Malcolm2.htm

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    • #
      KinkyKeith

      Yes.

      The big antidepressant scandal comes to mind.

      There is a link between Serotonin and mood and so the Big Pharm’s have sold billions of dollars worth of SSRIs to “help?’ people with mood disorders.

      All junk science.

      An analogy on how SSRIs work, maybe a bit hard to follow but here goes:

      You are diving down a long straight road and a very long way in the distance a huge concrete wall has been erected across your path (final mental collapse).

      After half an hour of driving you run out of petrol and stop. (low Serotonin)

      Saved.

      You look across the road and see a petrol sign and go to fill up (antidepressants).

      You drive on and reach the wall at great speed.

      If real life is making you ill, the only solution is to turn your life around.

      No amount of Antidepressants will make an abnormal stress normal.

      Young people have been given SSRIs and tend to suicide – how can a “Civilisation” eg the

      USA allow such distortion of science to penetrate its people so badly.

      Big Money. Big deception.

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      • #
        Mark D.

        But KK, you are slamming one of the last profitable sectors in the US economy! Soon enough Obammycare will mop up the remaining profits there and render the good side of Big Pharm. (ie the part that invents new anti-biotics, anti-rejection drugs, chemotherapy etc)unfunded.

        (actually this started off as a sarc. comment. Unfortunately it is more true than not……)

        What happens then? Oh yes I take alcohol and use the free therapy here at this site to work off and resolve my “issues”. :)

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        • #
          KinkyKeith

          Hi Mark D

          If I read correctly, and you must admit its hard to see which way the scales are tipping in your comment, we are probably in agreement.

          The production of new pharmaceuticals over the last 100 years or so has been one of the greatest benefits to mankind ever. Millions have been saved from death and maiming by past discoveries and research.

          In Australia we had the CSIRO which was involved in a lot of Government supported research that benefited Australia and the world.

          That was in the past. Big research is now undertaken by private concerns and CSIRO has become a politicised tool of the Looney Left to no one’s benefit.

          New wonders are discovered daily but there are some not so pleasant side effects in the Big Pharma may decide to distort “studies” to guarantee the rapid absorption of their product into the market.

          The Antidepressant industry is one such animal. Bad news.

          What I was trying to say in my earlier comment was that SSRIs do not work to alleviate depression.

          Chemical companies have taken a very loose association of serotonin and Mental health and packaged a remedy.

          Organically there is no reason why SSRIs would relieve depression.

          The fact that the placebo effect eventually “backfires” with young people on SSRIs is a confirmation of my comment. Suicide is not a solution.

          There is a strong parallel between Antidepressant scammers and Global Warming scammers.

          Power, prestige, money.

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          • #
            John Brookes

            OK, so I’m actually on a low dose of SSRI. In my case, they seemed to work. That is, about 3 weeks after I started taking them, I realised I felt better. Prior to taking them, I had been worried about my driving. Only a year or two earlier I thought just how effortless driving was, so it came as a surprise when I’d come up to an intersection with traffic lights and struggle to make sense of what I was seeing. I just couldn’t process the information. Again, a few weeks after being on SSRI’s I realised that driving was easy again.

            Now it could be the placebo effect, but I hadn’t tied my driving problems to depression – I just thought it was the effect of aging. So it seems unlikely I’d get a placebo effect for something I wasn’t expecting the medicine to do.

            I have a friend who also had to go on SSRI’s on a couple of occasions. His life will get easier and less stressful over the next few years (kids will leave home, mortgage paid off), so he was lucky that SSRI’s were available.

            That isn’t to say that SSRI’s are being used appropriately, or that there aren’t risks associated with them. But to just say that they don’t work flies in the face of many people’s personal experience.

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          • #
            Winston

            Thanks for that John, rather refreshing honesty and openness, and your are to be congratulated for that. Having prescribed SSRIs in various situations, I respectfully have to say that I don’t believe that they are “no better than placebo” at all, but they are also not a panacea either. I believe it is more important to critique how and when they are utilised. Like any tool it is how they are used, or abused, which is the main issue, IMO. If used selectively they can be very beneficial.

            KK, SSRIs have been shamelessly (and unfairly) pilloried by the Christian Science brigade who feel that God should heal, and let no man step into His sacred abode. They have significant side issues which need to be understood and patient education is extremely important. My experience is that it specifically redresses the circular thinking, perseverating and self-defeating thought processes, as well as alleviating the (underappreciated) physical manifestations of sleep biorhythm disturbances, poor concentration, anergia, and physical anxiety symptoms like palpitations, etc.

            I personally have a very good record of success with them, but with a view to empowering the depressed patient by reasserting control, which many sufferers fail to feel in their state of overwhelming despair. They are not suited to all patients in all situations, and their effectiveness in adolescents is debatable to say the least, but to suggest they are purely a Big Pharma con job is not correct in my extensive experience. What is true is that these companies have encouraged their over-prescription by broadening their uses beyond where evidence supports, but this is more a factor of a lack of alternative treatments available, and the propensity to use the only tool you have in the box no matter how appropriate it may be- the old saying goes, “if you only have a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail.”

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          • #
            KinkyKeith

            Hi John B

            The traffic lights thing is very interesting.

            I wasn’t saying that SSRIs didn’t do anything, obviously they restore the function of the neural circuits that have taken the brunt of the depression.

            It seems that your approach to driving has benefited. Great. And they do take a few weeks to start working so your three weeks fits the theory. I agree, unlikely prospect for the placebo – sounds genuine.

            My main point was that talking and lifestyle re-adjustment are crucial in depression and that restoring the overworked circuits using serotonin wont be of use unless that happens.

            Just fronting up to talk to a doctor is a great benefit to people with depression and can be an added “treatment” effect that is additional to the placebo.

            My understanding is that the greatest benefit is to the group that is severely dysfunctional and close to suicidal.

            I noticed a comment from Winston and look forward to reading that in a minute.

            SSRIs will not fix unhappiness that has been experienced and embedded in neural circuits over many years and have been overrated.

            It’s a worry when the US Army Medical Corp regularly prescribes antidepressants for its Soldiers experiencing combat fatigue.

            Is there something sick about that?

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          • #
            KinkyKeith

            Hi Winston

            Please don’t put me with “the Christian Science brigade who feel that God should heal”.

            I’ve never heard of them.

            My opinion is reasonably informed and one O/T anecdote might illustrate some of the unreasonable “support” given SSRIs that concerns me.

            At a conference (IALMH) in Padua Italy a few years ago there was a New York Psychiatrist who was a late entry into the programme.

            He spoke in raptures about the benefits of SSRIs, to the point that one could have been forgiven for thinking he may have been a paid plant.

            He spoke about one particular patient with whom he had success and described how over a period of several weeks he “titrated” him up to a dose that basically, “did the trick”.

            Scarey stuff and this bloke looked like he had a very tenuous grip on reality.

            I realize that the anecdote has no meaning in science but never-the-less was an experience I will always remember.

            I appreciate that in the right hands they (SSRIs) have done well for very specific groups but feel concern that Doctors facing an avalanche of unhappy people will find the path of least resistance and ‘pick up the hammer”.

            I think we agree and I like your summation: “if you only have a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail.”

            The suggestion could be to put the hammer down.

            One of the great things about this type of treatment is that unexpected benefits such as those experienced by JB can come to light.

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          • #
            Winston

            KK

            Soldiers experiencing combat fatigue.

            Is there something sick about that?

            ——————————————————————————–

            Absolutely right, that is sick. Disgusting, actually- “combat fatigue” is a normal response to an abnormal situation- it would be pathological to feel anything else.

            I think we are actually on the same page- the problem is in utilisation. I am generally a pragmatist- if it works I use it, if it doesn’t I discard it- I have patients they have done wonders for, I have others it has done nothing- I believe that if a person suffering depression has good personal coping skills at least at one time in their life then SSRIs are excellent at allowing those sufferers to access these skills, when the depressive illness makes difficult to access these skills by it’s very nature. For those who have never developed those skill sets, they are usually, but not always, less effective. It is very important to select your patients carefully and tailor the specific medication to the other peripheral issues and symptoms (such as anxiety, libido problems, OCD symptoms, etc) of the patient as it most definitely is not a “one size fits all” area.

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          • #
            Winston

            Please don’t put me with “the Christian Science brigade who feel that God should heal”.

            I wasn’t suggesting that KK, you are way too erudite for that. But the adverse propaganda that parlayed from their attempts to discredit these treatments has pervaded the consciousness quite surreptitiously in the general population.

            Btw, just for John’s edification, you should get electrolytes checked periodically as hyponatraemia (low Na) is a common underappreciated potential side effect, and an increased risk of GI bleeding (while rare) is often not emphasised by time-pressed GPs- so avoid anti-inflammatories, Aspirin and Nurofen unless directed otherwise by your doctors. Just a tip. Can’t help myself.

            Regards,

            Winston

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          • #
            KinkyKeith

            Hi Winston

            I must clarify that I only have two areas of association with SSRIs and both have been essential in putting together the picture I have of them.

            Fourteen years ago I went through severe depression, anger and frustration.

            After a year or so I was placed on Antidepressants and found absolutely no improvement or betterment in my mental perspective.

            It was grim and I slept a lot – for 6 months.

            There was a side effect that I could point my weapon but not fire it, which was not of great concern since survival was the main aim.

            Later, and as part of my recovery I did a BSc focusing on Neuroscience and Psychobiology and Antidepressants was a major topic and focus at one stage.

            So there is a very good theory background, but only personal experience in the practical area of use of SSRIs.

            It is interesting that JB has experienced a very noticeable benefit in his driving but I’m not sure what I got from the experience.

            thanks for the comment – more reliable perspective is always useful.

            :)

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          • #
            crakar24

            There was a side effect that I could point my weapon but not fire it, which was not of great concern since survival was the main aim.

            Wouldnt you need different drugs to solve this problem not that many men would see this as a problem per se :)

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          • #
            KinkyKeith

            Hi Crakar

            After a few months of practice, it was possible to do both eventually.

            The brain is an amazing instrument and can rebuild new pathways.

            Although everyone’s brain is effectively the same, there are individual differences in neural circuitry created from our development and experiences. That gives us individual pressure points and ways or operating that make us “US”.

            This probably accounts for the observations made by Winston that response to Medication is often an individual thing and this makes treatment an art because of the unpredictability.

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          • #
            Kevin Moore

            John Brookes,

            You may wish to listen to Russell Blaylock, a neurosurgeon, who warns against taking medications containing fluoride [F].

            http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4441850934333661734#

            I don’t trust doctors and have no qualms about letting them know.

            I’ve included a list of some of the most popular antidepressants and their chemical formulas:

            Agomelatine (Valdoxan, Thymanax): C15H17NO2
            Bupropion (Wellbutrin, Zyban): C13H18ClNO
            Buspirone (Buspar): C21H31N5O2
            Citalopram (Celexa, Cipramil): C20H21FN2O
            Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq): C16H25NO2
            Duloxetine (Cymbalta, Yentreve): C18H19NOS
            Escitalopram (Lexapro, Cipralex): C20H21FN2O
            Fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem): C17H18F3NO
            Fluvoxamine (Luvox, Faverin): C15H21F3N2O2
            Mianserin (Bolvidon, Norval, Tolvon): C18H20N2
            Milnacipran (Ixel, Savella): C15H22N2O
            Mirtazapine (Remeron, Avanza, Zispin): C17H19N3
            Nefazodone (Serzone, Nefadar): C25H32ClN5O2
            Paroxetine (Paxil, Seroxat): C19H20FNO3
            Reboxetine (Edronax, Vestra): C19H23NO3
            Sertraline (Zoloft, Lustral): C17H17Cl2N
            Trazodone (Desyrel): C19H22ClN5O
            Venlafaxine (Effexor, Efexor): C17H27NO2
            Viloxazine (Vivalan): C13H19NO3

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          • #
          • #
            Tristan

            Big Pharma contains many examples of illegal/irresponsible behaviour, but so does Big Food, Big Oil and Big Anything Else Under The Sun.

            Medical science works strangely. Every year the sum of medical science is greater than it was last year but millions of people undergo unnecessary (and in some cases harmful) procedures and medication regimes.
            Part of this problem is poor statistical methodology and ethical constraints which limit certain studies.

            SSRI/SNRIs ‘work’ in the sense that some recipients notice a beneficial experiential impact from taking them.

            Our understanding of the efficacy and impacts of such drugs (and for A-Ds in general) is not precise. Administering/taking them amounts to a high variance net-positive gamble.

            I think the SSRI gamble is ‘safer’ than the ECT gamble.

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          • #
            John Brookes

            Interesting Kevin. I’m on sertraline, so no flourine for me.

            And I agree that medication in isolation is not the best course of action. There are no doubt changes I should make to some other things. As my friend said, antidepressants are what allow you to keep working when you shouldn’t.

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          • #
            bananabender

            @Winston.
            your comments regarding SSRIs and Christian Science are both completely ridiculous and utterly offensive.

            I can safely assume from your comments you either take the word of the pharmaceutical sales rep as gospel truth or you are you resorting to the “in my experience” argument much loved by medicos?

            Obviously the Big Pharma sales rep hasn’t told you about the multi-billion dollar fines imposed by the FDA and hundreds of out of court settlements surrounding SSRIs? These settlements cover everything from SSRI induced murder-suicides to death in children prescribed SSRIs and heart defects in babies whose mothers were prescribed SSRIs.

            Not a good outcome for a class of drugs that are no better than placebos.

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          • #
            KinkyKeith

            Hi BB

            I agree with your comments @ 3.1111.14

            While there may be some people who respond usefully to judicious use of SSRIs, as indicated by Winston, I think Pharmaceutical businesses have failed both Medicos and patients with this item.

            They have failed to research and identify those who may benefit, and have minimised the limitations, and have therefore given blanket instructions for prescription.

            Not a hammer, a sledge hammer.

            Under these circumstances prescriptions should only be available through a Psychiatrist.

            I wasn’t saying that SSRIs didn’t do anything, obviously they restore the function of the neural circuits that have taken the brunt of the depression and in the case of JB can restore function in vital areas eg. driving competence that are not associated with depression.

            My main point above was that there seems to be a mad rush to give SSRIs to relieve unhappiness and they don’t work like that.

            I think that’s probably the cause of youth suicide.

            Young people are given a drug and told “in two or three weeks you will feel better”.

            In two or three weeks nothing has changed, they see this as their last and only hope, now gone, and give up.

            Lot of skullduggery.

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          • #
            Winston

            BB @ 3.1.1.1.14
            Sorry you are offended, no offense was intended. “Christian Science”, the religious group founded on the teachings of Mary Baker Eddy, is a specific branch of the extended Christian faith that believes in healing primarily through faith in Jesus Christ, Scientist, and thereby rejects medical care for most ailments, believing instead in specific prayer rituals to heal the patient. This comment above was not meant to impugn Christians in general, nor was it to decry the no doubt beneficial element of religious faith in assisting people in times of unhappiness. Quite to the contrary, for those of faith I have often suggested the depressed person seek the counsel of their priest or minister. Fact remains that the Christian Science religious group, which has a quite powerful lobby group in the US and a lot of clout through the Christian Science Monitor, did attempt a campaign of misinformation against SSRIs, as did the Scientologists, who are similarly inclined, though certainly a far different faith.

            The fact remains that depression remains a neurobiological syndrome, sometimes medication is the only beneficial treatment, and many come to medication reluctantly, often after many years of suffering without success utilising every other conceivable approach. What do you suggest we do in such circumstances? Not offer them a potentially beneficial treatment just because of some perceived risk of adverse consequence. Now that is the precautionary principle gone mad, do nothing for fear of a possible adverse response- if that was the case we could never prescribe anything for anyone in any circumstances (antibiotics in pneumonia, antihypertensives for BP, Warfarin for Atrial fibrillation, Blood thinners for TIAs, etc). If, as the treating practitioner, you are open honest and fully inform the patient of at least the most serious and major adverse consequences, and you have a good rapport with that patient and encourage realistic expectations of where it may benefit, and how it may benefit, then such issues are less likely to end in some of the pitfalls you suggest. How many people have committed suicide or murdered someone due to depression without ever having taken any medication- many. As to treating someone in pregnancy with an SSRI- that is a contraindication for the very reason you suggest. If you cared to read what I wrote, you would also see that I have reservations about it’s use in adolescents. That being said I have several autistic teenagers as patients and some of these have been far happier on Sertraline to control the severe obsessive traits that make their lives a hell.

            The “in my experience” argument is actually a good one, and experience is a far more valid reason for a therapeutic approach than most, and certainly more than anything any drug rep or company could ever say to me. I would suggest that your comments about me being somewhat of a tool at the beck and call of drug companies is extremely offensive, but by all means propagate that myth, since it obviously suits your view of the world. I take pains to treat my patients all as though they were a relative, a friend or as I would myself. I would suggest that JBs post above suggests that many benefit in tangible ways and that most issues that arise from their use come from poor judgement as to when to prescribe, improper dosing strategies and, more importantly, poor communication with the patient.

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            KinkyKeith

            It’s amazing what can be trawled up from the depths.

            I have a vague memory of Tom Cruise commenting on TV about the need to stop using Antidepressants.

            Tom might be a good actor but, for the rest his judgement is unusual.

            Part of the religious anti antidepressant campaign?

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            Winston

            KK
            Yes, unfortunately dogmatic extremists like Cruise (and others doubtless on both sides) hijack the debate which should be occurring about how best to utilise these kinds of treatments, and how to avoid (as far as is humanly possible) any potential harm. Hopefully that would avoid the pitfalls of such travesties as Chelmsford, but at the same time progressing this nascent area of science which is in desperate need of greater objective understanding. But, in the absence of that, we are still left with having to approach each individuals case with a suite of therapies that may or may not benefit the patient, knowing that we have to make do with what we have at the present level of knowledge. Also, while there are no studies to my knowledge that have ever objectively confirmed the benefits of CBT and other psychotherapy, I would still advocate this approach (with or without pharmacotherapy) for those patients that I judge could benefit, taking into account my assessment of the nature of the causes (if any, often there isn’t anything specific), the degree of depression and their personality- unfortunately that is necessarily very subjective, but I find slavish obedience to “objective” DSM 4 criteria and fitting individuals into arbitrary pigeon-holes difficult to reconcile with real world observations. Your personal experience, KK, suggests we have an awfully long way to go.

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            KinkyKeith

            Hi Winston,

            Thanks for that comment.

            There is no easy way to deal with the human mind, which can arrange its perception of the outside world in just whichever way it chooses.

            The truth is most don’t choose but are subject to a thousand influences and experiences starting with genetics, pre-natal nurture, post-natal nurture, peer group, family, schooling, religion, work pressure, media pressure and so on.

            In light of the confused and often overwhelming modern environment it is not surprising that some of us go into overload and stop functioning well.

            Where medicine can provide any relief at all in these circumstances is little short of miraculous, and so any benefit that is seen should be applauded.

            In my own case I was given ADs at a time when the source of stress/anger was still very active.

            Later during my neuropsych studies and with my Metallurgy Training in system modeling it seemed likely that the effect of taking SSRIs under those circumstances could be to actually make it possible to reinforce the depression.

            I feel that I would have been in a much better situation to have waited till the problem was dealt with first and then used the ADs to reinforce the recovery.

            This is just my own pet theory and who knows?

            Expecting people to have good mental health in a “Crazy” society is just wishful thinking.

            Most mental health problems are situational or environmental and even very old human

            cultures going back several thousand years made a study of how to alleviate the

            discomfort associated with having a mind. We haven’t found the answer yet.

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        bananabender

        I read a scientific paper a few years ago about a study at one of the UCLA teaching clinics. For some obscure reason the medical staff decided to actually examine all the psychiatric admissions for physical illnesses rather than making their usual hasty conclusions about insanity. The results were staggering. In over 40% of the patients a purely physical cause was responsible for their symptoms. The most common problems were Coeliac Disease, vitamin B3 deficiencies (mostly in alcoholics), Wilson’s Disease (a deficient copper metabolism) and porphyria (believed to be the cause of madness in King George III). The authors did suggest it was probably a good idea to see whether psychiatric patients had a treatable illness before dosing them with antipsychotics and sending them back to the homeless shelters.

        Post WW2 several hundred thousand schizophrenics were successfully treated in the USA by the administration of vitamin B3. Most of them were poor southerners suffering from pellagra caused by eating maize meal.

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          KinkyKeith

          Very interesting BB.

          Just goes to show there are a lot of smart people out there but there message is being smothered for some reason?

          In parallel someone put up a link to Mr. Blaylock and his theory that we don’t need fluoridated water and further that it is harmful.

          He claims that the link betweeen increased fluride in water and redctuion in dental cavities is just not there.

          Science is complex at times.

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    Bulldust

    Somewhat on topic, at least in regard to the correct approach to science, the following article (at an investor blog, no less) is interesting:

    http://www.investorsinsight.com/blogs/john_mauldins_outside_the_box/archive/2012/01/30/american-gridlock.aspx

    The guets poster (Dr Woody Brock) is a firm believer of going back to first principles and applying logical arguments to derive solutions, if they exist. I find the econoomics described later somewhat lightweight, but the approach is to be lauded. The following paragraph is relevent to much of the noise we see in the field of climate science:

    “Regrettably, what has happened in recent years is that ‘pure’ inductive logic has been replaced by that bastardized form of data analysis all too familiar from today’s Dialogue of the Deaf: As time goes on, each side cherry-picks ever more data to strengthen their prejudiced positions. Thus, positions become ever more shrill. Belief modification and dialectical progress are rarely achieved. In this sense, giving young research associates Excel spreadsheets plus the wealth of information accessible from the internet is proving very dangerous to informed debate. ‘Factoids’ are confused with serious logic, and young people are all but clueless about Hume’s imperative: You cannot data-crunch your way to the Truth. Ever.”

    You’d almost swear he was talking about climate science … but he is talking about the soaring debt issue and other economic problems in the USA. The parallels between economics and climate science are many, as are the often misguided approaches to studying them. This from someone (i.e. me) who spent a lot of time studying statistical and modelling techniques. But one thing our Professor drummed into us, is the concept of building a sound hypothesis before applying the statistics. Without a starting point in theory the correlations are worse than meaningless… they are often misleading.

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    Bob Malloy

    O/T Newcastle Hearald.

    Plimer, Archibald and Carter spoke about their doubts about climate change predictions.
    They used scientific language, a dash of humour and colourful quotes to make their cases.

    There is also a poll, Do you believe Lake Macquarie sea levels are rising to such an extent that they require property protection?

    please take part.

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    Neville

    Now even Germans are starting to wake up to this deceptive, fraudulent CON.
    What a time to introduce a useless co2 tax that will cost endless billions $ for zero return on every dollar and wreck our economy, plus export more of our jobs and industry overseas.

    Of course there will be zero change to the climate and temp for all our troubles and the really big emitters China, India etc couldn’t care less.

    http://www.thegwpf.org/best-of-blogs/4867-germanys-top-environmentalist-turns-climate-sceptic.html

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    I’d agree it is about status, but more than a veneer…

    It’s much more small minded. It’s not about “hating humans” so much as it is about impressing the chick (or boy) next door. A kind of competition to get to snob-land first: ‘I look down on humans more than you do.” (Which translates loosely as: I, the exalted one, speaks from a greater height, fellow misanthropist….)

    Is it not about “hating being human” when all around the misanthopist sees nature/Gaia/God’s perfection and watches humans destroying the delicate balance that nature allows?

    The misanthopist does not see anything to admire in human achievements that have allowed us to reach such a level of power that we can upset the balance of nature. They do not see that ours is a fragile and temporary dominance that all creatures reach when they are able to exploit abundance and that we, by virture of what we have become as a species, are able to see past the boom and ponder/plan for the crash in a way that most species cannot.

    It is about impressing the environmentalist next door. And it is only certain kinds that are impressed by this. Those who embrace human progress do not think like this.

    A kind of competition to get to snob-land first:

    Yes, indeed.

    For many misanthropic environmentalists I’m sure it is a veneer. Fly to that conference in Bali? Sure – can I charge my carbon credits to the grant as well? But some the hatred (or guilt) of being human is too much. I’m sure I’ve met ones who are misanthopic to the core. Unfortunately I’ve never been able to saw one through to count the layers. Would that be dendromisanthopolgy?

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      Unfortunately I’ve never been able to saw one through to count the layers. Would that be dendromisanthopolgy?

      Brilliant. It’s always good to start the day with a laugh. Thnx Verity.

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    KeithH

    Slightly O/T but relevant. From the “ICECAP” website a very interesting development in the USA. Jan 30 2012.

    “In a precedent-making decision, the Montana Supreme Court dismissed yesterday the Petition for Original Jurisdiction by Our Children’s Trust saying unsettled factual issues related to limiting emissions of greenhouse gasses (GHGs) must first be addressed in a lower court. The Montana Supreme Court followed the recommendations of the Montana Attorney General, and rejected the claim made by Our Children’s Trust in its May 4, 2011, Petition, that a “scientific consensus exists that increasing emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) are affecting the Earth’s climate.”

    The ruling forces those filing future GHG-emissions lawsuits to first prove the scientific credibility of their global warming claims by means of legally competent evidence”.

    Maybe at last the scammers with their dodgy computer-modelled AGW hypothesis and irrational pathological hatred of fossil-fuels will be properly tested in a court of law and forced to try and justify their outrageous catastrophic alarmism!

    http://www.icecap.us/

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    Roy Hogue

    If by all this you mean that humans are very much a herd animal that always runs with the group then I quite agree. I’ve noticed the tendency for years. The need for validation from others runs very deep.

    Is it about status or about approval? Well, status is just a form of approval. Interesting!

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      John Brookes

      That herd tendency is what has made us. We have an astonishing level of cooperation that must be quite terrifying to those we oppose. Somehow we maintain the image of ourselves as “rugged individuals”, when in fact we are incredibly dependent on each other.

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        when in fact we are incredibly dependent on each other.

        Hi John
        Do you think maybe that’s why we’re called “Social Species”?

        By the way, it’s because of individuals, standing on the shoulders of individuals in a social setting, our species has become dominant.

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      Truthseeker

      What is the difference between a “herd” and a “swarm”? It is not a matter of size of the group (even though “swarms” would generally be considered bigger that “herds”). The real answer is the intercommunication of the members. In a herd, one member makes a decision and others follow. That continues until another decision is required as so on. The decision maker may be the same each time or may change from decision to decision depending on the dynamics of the herd in question.

      A swarm occurs where each member is in constant contact with about six to eight other members and the decision making is faster because it is also simpler. I saw a good nature documentary about this showing the difference between family herds of zebras and a swarm of wilderbeast trying to cross a river running quite fast and deep and filled with crocodiles. The more individually intellegent zebra kept making poor fording decisions trying to “pick” a good spot to go up the steep banks on the other side and lost a lot of members to crocodiles. The wilderbeast making faster and simpler continuous trial and error fording decisions made it across the river largely intact.

      The reason I bring this up is that in the not to distant past humans only had one method of semi-immediate contact with others by talking. Now we have mobile phones, twitter, facebook, blogs, mobile email, etc. Getting kind of swarm-like if you ask me.

      Just sayin …

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        crakar24

        Applying a scientific approach Truthseeker you could say “The Borg” are a swarm and the humans are a herd lead by the captain or in some cases No 2.

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          Truthseeker

          Going by my definition … that seems reasonable. Must be why the Borg usually kick the arse of the Federation (at least to start with) …

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    John

    It’s about whatever attracts people to socialism. I suspect the something-for-nothing factor and the fact that it’s so damn easy to instigate class warfare. And that’s basically what environmentalism has become, producers (taxpayers) vs. people who want the producers to pay more, with companies like Apple exempt for whatever reason (Atlas Shrugged?).
    In a ‘Democracy’ politicians will use any stick at their disposal and at this stage of human development, perceived or imagined guilt has proven to be an effective stick for at least 50 years.
    Environmentalism; AKA: CAGW, Carbon Trade and Reinsurance, conveniently fills the bill when one does not want to call oneself a Marxist.

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    crakar24

    Roy,

    Agree with the herd mentality however are you saying a misanthropist would be amongst the herd? To me a misanthropist would fit in well with the lone wolf or if you like non herder.

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      KinkyKeith

      Crackar.

      Just an observation; by definition anyone who is a “lone wolf” will not be visiting this blogg.

      Are you saying that none of us here are Misanthropists?

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        crakar24

        KK,

        According to my trusty English dictionary the definition of misanthropist is:

        1.a person who dislikes or distrusts other people or mankind in general

        Sounds like a Green MP doesnt it.

        Anyway KK, i would have thought a misanthropist would avoid the herd ie a lone wolf, oh and i beg to differ the blog environment is a perfect place for a misanthropist to inhabit so therefore i suspect this blog and others are full of them

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        MaxL

        Ahh KK and crakar, isn’t the English language wonderful.

        My Concise Oxford describes:
        Misanthrope, n. Hater of mankind; one who avoids human society.

        Which might imply that they are loners, a hermit or recluse and that they would be unlikely to inhabit blogs. Nor would they be likely to follow the herd.

        Is this what Lewis Carroll was alluding to with, “When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”?

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          crakar24

          MaxL,

          Maybe we should agree on the words correct definition before we go any further :)

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            MaxL

            Hi crakar,
            In some ways I agree, it would be nice to have all our words neatly defined.
            I think that mathematics is the only subject that can claim the ability to define it’s operators. For example, if I wrote 3×2=5 then I would be criticized. I can’t then reply, “But you knew what I meant, I meant 3+2=5.

            I sometimes cringe when people say things like “Define justice”.
            This sometimes leads to a definist fallacy when someone unfairly defines a word so that a controversial position is made easier to defend.

            Your dictionary gave a valid description of the word. Mine implied (by using the words “avoids human society”) a slightly different interpretation. Lexicographers can only try to give examples and synonyms of words.

            I think it best to ask someone what they mean by the word rather than requesting that they define the word. So maybe Humpty Dumpty has a point.

            Funny, after reading my comment, I just realized how pedantic I am. 8) Sorry for that.

            So let’s just let “misanthrope” mean whatever you choose it to mean. My interpretation is no more “correct” than yours. If we’re not sure what you mean then we can ask nicely, rather than just saying, “No you are wrong!”

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            wes george

            So let’s just let “misanthrope” mean whatever you choose it to mean. My interpretation is no more “correct” than yours

            If we are unable to agree on how to define our terms then human communication is impossible and we are lost.

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            MaxL

            Hi Wes,
            I believe that as long as we can understand each other then we can have meaningful dialogue. I also believe that most words cannot be defined, simply because they represent vague concepts.

            I know of no way to define concepts like, justice, love, imagination, freedom, prosperity etc. I think we can describe them but we can’t define them. It’s really just semantics.

            Now that I know what crakar’s dictionary says and thus what crakar’s interpretation is, then I think he and I could have a conversation because I can choose to accept his interpretation.

            Is it necessary that we define our terms, or is it sufficient that we understand our meaning?

            I think Helen Keller was an example of how people can communicate without either spoken or written words, let alone some convoluted universally accepted definition of each concept.

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            wes george

            Max,

            Helen Keller was able to communicate without words because underneath each word there really is a “universal” symbol that is related to other symbols by a “universal” syntax. These linguistic rules are basically the same today as they were during the last ice age, although the sounds and shapes that we call “words” are very different.

            There’s a difference between admitting that a concept, like freedom, is very difficult to define and just giving up trying… “Let’s just let it mean whatever you choose it to mean. My interpretation is no more “correct” than yours.” Down that path lies darkness. Because you’ve just allowed this definition of freedom into rational discourse: Arbeit macht frei. as the equal to all others… And who knows what such a definition will do after the lights go out?

            *

            There was a French philosopher named Jacques Derrida and he was very unhappy about the way history and words and even science were based upon Objective reality. This dramatically limited the kinds of interpretations one could assign to our descriptions of the real world. Jacques hated that because he and his mates had lots of fantastic ideas that could never be validated in the real world.

            For instance, it was not allowed to claim that “Something” really means “Nothing.” Jacques and his friends felt that this “privileged” certain kinds of ideas and people over others. So he invented a whole new theory of how to know things and what things mean so that anything anyone says is equal in value to anything anyone else says.

            The way he did this is by noting that every idea – simply by existing – points to an equal and opposite idea which is just as valid. For instance, “Freedom” summons to mind “Slavery” and since they are equally opposite ideas, you can go back through a history book and simply rub out “Freedom” where ever it appears and write in “Slavery.” Of course, this will invert the meaning of the history book, but Jacques insisted it’s just as valid.

            Nothing is just as good as Something, in fact, Nothing is Something and some things are Nothing!

            This was a very useful trick for Jacques and his mates because they then could set about “deconstructing” the whole of civilisation, all of its history, ideas and philosophy. And once every idea ever thought was broken down into pieces of equal value you could cut and paste them back together in whatever way you wanted to build your own private Idaho. It’s exactly like taking a pile of antique picture books and cutting them up to make collages. Sounds like fun, right?

            Well, it is really fun. It’s great for artists and DJs.

            But there are two problems. First cutting up antique books from the library is a bit disrespectful, in fact it’s vandalism. Just because you like a beautiful old picture in a book doesn’t make it right to cut it out and use it for a different purpose. But more importantly is that when we make collages of pictures we know that it’s just a picture, not reality. Yet what Jacques and his mates claimed was that their new collages made only of their favourite bits were in fact just as real.

            So then everyone got in on the party… cutting and snipping up history and philosophy and the meaning of words, tossing bits aside they didn’t like and then pasting the bits back together how ever they wanted to create their own little separate universes each just as good as the real world outside your window.

            And that’s where we are today. People walking around in little make believe worlds that are not only disconnected from each other, but also from the real world. Meanwhile, outside the window the sun – the real sun – has set and in the twilight all the colours have faded away. No one notices because their new little worlds are so bright and colourful and amazingly interesting to them.

            Soon it will be night.

            And we will all be like Helen Keller but there will no longer be any universal symbols or syntax we can agree upon.

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            MaxL

            Hi Wes,
            Thanks for the reference to Jacques Derrida. I’ve not heard of him before. Going off your outline, he sounds a bit bizarre but nevertheless thought provoking. I think I might enjoy doing some research on him.

            It seems to me that you have taken my quote from Lewis Carroll which I included as a question because of its association with the meaning of words, and concluded that I’m trying to corrupt the meaning of words in the English language.

            My comments in 12.1.2 and 12.1.2.1.1 were intended to highlight persuasive definitions and the dangers of relying on dictionary (or any) descriptions.

            I’m not sure how I have allowed “Arbeit macht frei” to become a definition of freedom, but however I did it, it was one hellofa jump from Humpty Dumpty to the Third Reich.

            You say that a concept like freedom is very difficult to define. I say the concept of freedom is impossible to define, no matter how many words or pictures or symbols or rules you use. At best we can give synonyms, antonyms and examples and hope to convey an indefinable concept.

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            wes george

            It’s good that you are wary of persuasive definition. So am I.

            The reason why I brought up old Jacques is because you said, “So let’s just let “misanthrope” mean whatever you choose it to mean. My interpretation is no more “correct” than yours.”

            That’s exactly what Jacques said. All meaning is relative. He said this to enable persuasive definition.

            You allowed Arbeit macht frei to become a fair dinkum definition of freedom by saying no interpretation is more correct than any other. But some definitions are better than others and some are completely false.

            I agree that complex concepts are impossible to define exactly, in fact the more you think about them the harder they become. We should expect and tolerate broad variation.

            Maybe it would help to think about ideas like Freedom as objects in three dimensional space on an x, y and z axis. I can point you in the right direction and if you look you’ll see a fussy collection of definitions roughly clustered like a globular galaxy of stars around certain coordinates. Then in the opposite direction somewhere totally beyond the region of the Freedom cluster far, far away is Arbeit macht frei. We can see it’s not part of the Freedom cluster of definitions but something entirely different.

            Oh and btw, don’t trust me about what I wrote about Jacques because I’m pretty biased against his philosophy when it is applied to history and the sciences but it has allowed some real, ummm, Freedom, in the arts. ;-)

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      Kevin Moore

      In a democracy people get the government they deserve.

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        Kevin Moore

        The Communist Manifesto’s Road to Socialism through Democracy

        “Democracy and Socialism are inseparable.” – Vladimir Ilich Lenin

        The Australian government follows every platform of the Communist Manifesto.

        “Democracy is the road to socialism” – Karl Marx

        “There are none so enslaved as those who believe they are free” – Goethe

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      Roy Hogue

      Crakar,

      I didn’t know I was going to jumpstart so much conversation.

      Agree with the herd mentality however are you saying a misanthropist would be amongst the herd? To me a misanthropist would fit in well with the lone wolf or if you like non herder.

      Interesting question. It seems to me that a misanthropist might be either a part of the herd or a leader of it. Witness the “green movement where clearly some do lead that herd and some — equally misanthropist — follow the leader.

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    Bulldust

    Have a read of this folks, assuming the link works for you:

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/opinion/climate-change-heretics-rebuff-carbon-dangers/story-e6frgd0x-1226258807932

    If the link hit the paywall just Google “Climate change ‘heretics’ rebuff carbon dangers” and go to The australian link for the story. That bypasses the paywall. Obciously The Australian didn’t think too hard about that one.

    It’s a wide-ranging article slamming home many of the points Jo has made famuiliar at this site, but it is always good to see them in the major media as well.

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      Bruce of Newcastle

      Thanks BD that’s a neat trick. I was curious what the article was about until I did as you suggested – only to find the Oz is reprinting the WSJ article.

      In keeping with the thread I’ll offer Lubos’s post today giving a supreme and difficult-to-top example of hysterical misanthropy, er misanthropophagy, oops misanthropology (or something) in response to the WSJ letter.

      As I haven’t read the links I may be being unkind to the bloggers he mentions, in which case apologies.

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        Bulldust

        Ineteresting how the warmist sites immediately jump in line to “debunk” what is essentially an opinion piece. No one must nay say the politically correct CAGW line. It is truly tiresome and has nothing to do with the underlying science.

        The essential point regarding the reason for resignation was valid. There is absoutely no excuse for a scientific organisation to use terms like “incontrovertible” when referring to the CAGW position in climate science. It is a young field of science with far more unknowns than knowns, so it is entirely shameful for a “scientific” representative body to present uncertain hypotheses as absolute truths.

        But they know where their money is coming from… qui bono. I see sites like SkS are regurtitating all the tired ad hom attacks and using “denialist” with gay (in the traditional sense of the word … not that there’s anything wrong with the other version) abandon.

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      wes george

      The WSJ letter must be getting traction in the post-Climategate 2 political climate.

      On Monday I heard an ABC News Radio report that went something like this “The Wall Street Journal published a letter from prominent scientists skeptical of the urgent need to immediately address Climate Change because, they say, the Earth hasn’t warmed in more than ten years.”

      They actually said that! That’s a paraphrase not a quote, but that’s very close to what they said. I nearly drove off the road. It’s the first time in my life I have ever heard ABC News Radio report accurately on anything “skeptical scientists” have said as opposed to “those who deny climate change.”

      But then the ABC snapped back into true form… “But climate scientists were quick to point out that’s RUBBISH.” That’s a quote.

      Then News Radio went over to a couple of oceanographers droning on about warming ocean currents over the last 100 years, a total non sequitur with absolutely no relation to the WSJ article at all!

      ….which is what the ABC calls proof positive that the opinions of skeptical scientists are RUBBISH.

      I actually felt pity for them. It was the best the poor sods could come up with.

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    pat

    folks, watch out for your Super. time to contact your Fund with your objections to such recklessness:

    1 Feb: Ninemsn: AAP: Super funds push for sustainability
    Australian superannuation funds could shift their investments away from carbon-intensive industries under a push towards more socially responsible investment.
    Under new guidelines released on Wednesday by the industry, fund managers in the $1.3 trillion sector will be expected to consider environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles when designing their investment strategy.
    The guidelines are based on the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment.
    Chief executive of VicSuper Michael Dundon, who has been instrumental in designing the local guidelines, told AAP that his $8.5 billion fund would focus on investing in the renewable energy sector.
    “We are avoiding funds or stocks where substantial exposure to carbon,” he said…
    “We see opportunities in wind and solar and other forms of technology that will deliver long-term returns.”
    Fund managers have become increasingly focused on ensuring their money is put to a responsible use since the global financial crisis.
    Australian super funds lost more than 20 per cent of their value during the course of 2008 and have been scrambling to claw back returns since, according to data from professional services firm Towers Watson.
    “It makes long-term commercial good sense to do it as we’re offering and creating an investment strategy that gives good long-term returns,” Mr Dundon said…
    http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8412285

    pushing “long-term returns” a little, aren’t we?

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    Hey everyone, the BLOGGIES— are on again.

    Hop over and vote for Jo in the best Australian Blog category.

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      Juliar

      Yes, congrats Jo! Nice to see you and our friends at Australian Climate Madness are being recognised in Australian best blog category.

      http://2012.bloggi.es/#australian

      Good luck!

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        It’s NOW important to VOTE for the right finalists.

        Nice to see that at least one of my favourites got through to each category in which I could be bothered to nominate a site:
        Best Australian or New Zealand Weblog
        Best European Weblog
        Best Canadian Weblog
        Best Science or Technology Weblog
        Most Humorous Weblog
        Lifetime Achievement

        VOTE!

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    Sonny

    Interesting post. I have seen this argument before – that greens / global warming fearing people are misanthropic. I would say that this is true of certain Gaia extremists whom view humans as a virus or a plague dooming the earth to destruction. In their eyes we are a lowly unnatural beast compromising the natural order of things. Of course this is all crap.

    Some other personality traits that are common among AGW Fearers are:

    1. Faith (grounded in “science”, the media, business politicians etc)
    2. Respect for authority
    3. An inability or resistance to form critical or independent thought.
    4. Groupthink
    5. Tendency to catastrophise.
    6. Self importance, arrogance, pride, status seeking.
    7. Desire to belong to a noble cause.
    8. Corruptibility (passive and active)

    I’m sure others can describe these more eloquently.
    Do people agree with me? What makes a person susceptible to becoming an activist for such a

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    Llew Jones

    May sound repetitive but “general” misanthropy does not tell us much about what drives many if not most alarmists, whether climate scientists or scientists from related disciplines or the camp followers.

    The driver of what is in fact targeted misanthropy is pantheism in which that limited sort of misanthropy places humans in the context of a finely balanced Earth ecology and in which humans must fit in with that fine balance or be the objects of the pantheist’s disgust.

    Here’s a bit of contemporary pantheism to get a feel for the rationale that undergirds all alarmism about climate change, whether the alarmists are conscious or not of the tenets of that religion:

    “Is your true spiritual home right here on Earth?”

    “Are you searching for a path which focuses on Earth in the Cosmos, rather than some imaginary beyond? Are you more concerned with saving the planet than saving your eternal soul?”

    “Do you hunger for a spirituality that respects individual choice rather than pushing prejudice down people’s throats, and that values reason rather than fanaticism?”

    “Do you find it impossible to believe in supernatural beings, and difficult to conceive of anything more worthy of the deepest respect than the beauty of Nature or the power and mystery of the Cosmos?”

    “Do you feel a deep sense of peace and belonging and wonder in the midst of Nature?”

    “If you answered yes to these questions, then you will feel at home in the World Pantheist Movement.”

    Here are some interesting names who advise the World Pantheist Movement:

    “Honorary advisors”

    Ursula Goodenough, Author, The Sacred Depths of Nature

    James Lovelock, Creator of the Gaia Theory

    Michael Shermer, Editor, Skeptic Magazine

    Jeremy Stone, President, Federation of American Scientists (1970-2000)

    David Suzuki, Canada’s top science/nature broadcaster

    President
    Paul Harrison, author & UN Environment Programme Global 500 laureate

    http://www.pantheism.net/

    One proven antidote to this ancient religion and its nature centered ethos that leads directly to the present alarmism about Earth’s climate is, as Wes hinted, the anthropocentric focus of the Judeo/Christian culture. It was in that cultural matrix that the scientific method was born and technology prospered with no requirement to bow and scrape to the God pantheists call nature.

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    Andrew McRae

    Presumably if one hates particular groups instead of everyone then one is less of a misanthrope and more of a… realist? :)

    Well I read this on Quadrant and have to agree, and I don’t think the extent of his criticism amounts to misanthropy, or no more than is regularly displayed on this blog.
    You can probably skip the first half as it will probably say nothing JoNovians don’t know already about the climate hypochondriacs, and start reading at this sentence:
    > The wealth and prosperity in developed nations we now assume to be a normal, natural and permanent condition is in fact a quite recent development.

    This guy gets it.

    The only part that tickles my skeptic bone is his statement that our fishing industry is declining through too much regulation. This would have to be a world first because everywhere else fish catches decline through overfishing and lack of fish. If this is true then we have a fishing problem the Europeans would love to have.

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      KinkyKeith

      Thanks for the Q article. Great to have it all so neatly packaged.

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      wes george

      Presumably if one hates particular groups instead of everyone then one is less of a misanthrope and more of a… realist?

      My mum taught me that no one should hate anyone.

      It was only much later that I learned people who hate particular groups are bigots not realists.

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    Fred from Canuckistan

    “Misanthropist” . . . other common spellings or meanings:

    Environmentalist
    Climatologist

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    JPeden

    John Brookes
    February 1, 2012 at 2:25 pm ·

    That herd tendency is what has made us. We have an astonishing level of cooperation that must be quite terrifying to those we oppose. Somehow we maintain the image of ourselves as “rugged individuals”, when in fact we are incredibly dependent on each other.

    What do you mean “we”, Herdman?

    Now me, I say the term “rugged individualist” takes meaning within the context of the human species, its societies, and the individual humans involved, as directly contrasted with “dainty collectivist”.

    No one is saying that people are not dependent upon each other, that the evolution of sexual differentiation and the development of the Family and higher organizations, such as systems of Government, are not integral to almost every human being’s current existence: the question instead is whether societies should be organized according to the Totalitarianism desired by “dainty collectivists”, who apparently always want to either enslave or eliminate “rugged individualists”, thus preserving their “herd’s” dominance; or instead according to a system such as America’s Constitutional Capitalism, which is based upon the inherent freedom of thought of the individual who possesses this capacity, and upon the inherent liberty of action deriving therefrom – and which does not preclude the right of people to be dainty collectivists, but only their herd’s shared idea that they should be dominant, especially regarding their apparently irrepressible need to function as the thought controllists of the rest of us.

    However, certainly by now, since the Enlightenment, there is no doubt as to which kind of system works better improve the condition of both individuals and “herds” of people – Communism, and the like, or America’s Constitutional Capitalism.

    Btw, John, do you think no one notices the recent move on the part of your “dainty collectivist” herd to put a thought control, “word game” Propaganda hit on “rugged individualism” and thus upon America’s very system of Constitutional Capitalism?

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