Where behavioral science and humanism get out of the ivory tower, and into the world.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Woo! Inflammatory article time!

So Mr. James Oliver at the Guardian has written an article on how current (lack of) genetic evidence for mental illness in populations is strong evidence that much of it is socially constructed, and there for, conservatives are dumb. Ie. Psychological challenges are much more prevalent in people who have a low socio-economic-status as opposed to those who enjoy a high SES regardless of genetic tendencies.

He goes on to talk about how, from a genetic perspective, south east Asia should have the highest rates of depression. While from psych testing it shows to have some of the lowest rates. He goes on to state that this is because they are much more collective society but he doesn’t site any peer-reviewed evidence to support this. Then he goes on to talk about how conservatives are echoing ideas of “Social  Darwinism” in the belief that the genetic sciences would back them up.

While I believe that SES, culture, and environment and quality of learned coping and interaction skills are probably the most important factors in mental health I’m reluctant to take the leap Mr. Oliver did. Correlation / causation are dangerous ideas to conflate, and the ad hominem attacks with it speak to me of major editorializing. Which strikes as a problem when presented in an article that is originally set up to be a fact based one.  

But still… more and more to think about…

1 comment:

  1. It is so much to think about. Too many variables.
    I guess I am in a place, after ten years of being a Bipolar Survivor, where I am not so interested in labels, definitions, how's, and why's. That path seemed so endless.
    I am interested in feeling good, and living life. I do what is necessary to achieve that. By letting go of the how's and why's I am empowered to choose whatever treatment path is best for me, letting go of the stigma.
    The bottom line is what I'm doing is working. Yes, that means I probably have some chemical imbalance... but who cares, so does one in four Americans in their life time.
    Don't think too hard ;)