Blog Entries



You won't find ISIS in the brain or genes. The Daily Beast tries to sell you an imaginary Brooklyn Bridge

Posted 17-Mar-2015 at 07:01 PM (19:01) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

Some people have big problems living with uncertainty, so they like to drastically amputate parts of reality till they find a vision they can live with. Perhaps in line with that, David Ewing Duncan (@Duncande) has written an article on the Daily Beast, in which it is generally opined you may find ISIS in the brain, or the genes, or both. No cliché remains unspurned in it, but it's the theology of the article that is the main problem. He starts off by saying:
"Call it a tale of two brains:
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Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.

Cathy Young, Anita Sarkeesian, and The Hunger Games

Posted 02-Nov-2014 at 06:38 AM (06:38) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 03-Nov-2014 at 07:00 AM (07:00) by Gurdur

Just out of the blue my eye was caught by an article by Cathy Young (@CathyYoung63) on literary criticism by Anita Sarkeesian (@femfreq) of The Hunger Games (a trilogy of books by author Suzanne Collins, @_SuzanneCollins, which have partly and will be fully rendered into movies). Cathy Young's article is well-written, and presents many worthy points, but I would like to add some points of my own to all this, and there are certain themes that need to be drawn out of the subject - a subject I have...
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Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.

A clerihew for @Iittlelamb - on neurobollocks, dopamine and oxytocin

Posted 06-Sep-2012 at 04:00 PM (16:00) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 06-Sep-2012 at 04:25 PM (16:25) by Gurdur

Lammie Oostenbrink
Said, "Dopamine is driving me to drink.
The poetry molecule is MY finding,
But oxytocin hampers my versifying."

The explanation for all this is a tweet from @Iittlelamb (Lammie Oostenbrink) in reply to me in the course of a Twitter conversation prompted by various things. The most immediate cause is Naomi Wolf, who has written yet another exercise in self-praise disguised as a book; this new one is also full of neurobollocks, the incorrect...
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How not to criticize psychiatry, part 1

Posted 17-Aug-2012 at 06:57 PM (18:57) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 13-Feb-2015 at 01:03 AM (01:03) by Gurdur

Let's start with the obvious, and that is, psychiatry, like many other fields of medicine and human endeavor in general, is definitely deserving of criticism. Yet especially psychiatry comes in for a good deal of unfair and/or ignorant attacks. Scientologists are famous for attacking psychiatry, and any valid criticism of psychiatry often must distinguish itself carefully from Scientology attacks or from other hopelessly prejudiced antipsychiatry souces.

Since I will be blogging...
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Rating: 7 votes, 5.00 average.

Prozac, SSRI's, James E. Holmes and murder most foul

Posted 31-Jul-2012 at 01:45 PM (13:45) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 07-Aug-2012 at 02:23 PM (14:23) by Gurdur

I remarked in my blog post on the Aurora shootings carried out by James E. Holmes that I had seen some on the net blame SSRI's for spree-killings, something which I find rather ridiculous. There was some critical reaction from readers to that blog post of mine, questioning my wording and/or conclusions, so let's start looking at the evidence for and against. The blame on SSRI's - a class of anti-depressant medications known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors - started after the Standard Gravure spree-killing and suicide by Joseph T. Wesbecker...
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How do Katniss and Peeta cope with and overcome PTSD? Psychology in The Hunger Games

Posted 16-Mar-2012 at 10:14 AM (10:14) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 16-Mar-2012 at 10:52 AM (10:52) by Gurdur

If you haven't yet read all three of the books in the Hunger Games trilogy, you may not want to read this, since it gives away the ending. But if you're interested in how to cope with PTSD, and if you've read the books, then this is for you. I last blogged about the trilogy by Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay, set USA hardcover edition, British paperback edition) and the movie made of the first book in my post here.

At the end of the whole trilogy,...
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Rating: 6 votes, 5.00 average.

The Hunger Games, and why you should take notice of it

Posted 14-Mar-2012 at 05:56 AM (05:56) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 14-Mar-2012 at 09:44 AM (09:44) by Gurdur

The movie The Hunger Games hits the cinemas worldwide around March 22, and should be in cinemas for around 4 weeks or more after that date. It is a film adaptation of the first novel from the trilogy of the same name by Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games Trilogy Box Set, USA hardcover edition, British paperback edition; the other two books in that set are titled Catching Fire and Mockingjay). The trilogy of books, meant for young adults and older children, is in my opinion quite a brilliant bit of...
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One year after, a new post-Fukushima class of pariah Hibakusha in Japan?

Posted 29-Feb-2012 at 03:41 PM (15:41) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 13-Mar-2012 at 12:28 AM (00:28) by Gurdur

I was much saddened today to read a report in Spiegel about massive traumatization among TEPCO workers dealing with the Fukushima disaster - and social prejudice against them. The original catastrophe of three nuclear-reactor meltdowns plus other mishaps followed the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. The resultant catastrophes were not down with six months afterwards, and now it's one year after the Fukushima meltdowns, and it's still nowhere near over yet.

A Spiegel report (in...
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Rating: 4 votes, 5.00 average.

Everyone's upset at Penelope Trunk, but for all the wrong reasons

Posted 10-Jan-2012 at 10:36 PM (22:36) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 11-Jan-2012 at 12:32 AM (00:32) by Gurdur

Penelope Trunk is a very successful, widely-known blogger; her account on Twitter, @penelopetrunk, has 128,288 followers. She gives life/career advice, and some of that advice is questionable. But that's not the problem. While Penelope Trunk is someone who you should probably not get personally involved with emotionally, unless you seriously want to abuse Ambien as a means of coping, the problem is not that, the problem is her audience at large.

Penelope Trunk first came to my attention...
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Rating: 13 votes, 5.00 average.

So what do you want Mark Rife's suicide to mean to you?

Posted 24-Sep-2011 at 03:54 AM (03:54) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 24-Sep-2011 at 09:35 AM (09:35) by Gurdur

You may not have heard of Mark Rife yet, but even if you close down this screen and never come back, you will hear of him. And you can either decide what it should mean for you, or have it decided for you by mere accident of personal history. Mark Rife recently committed suicide just shortly after one thousand days — 1,000 days, which is two and three-quarter years — after the death of his wife, Sarah Ann Rife née Testa, who died August 25, 2008. He waited so long because of a remark his wife had...
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Bringing up children — what and what not to do, and how I almost blew up a cellarful of children

Posted 18-Sep-2011 at 05:36 PM (17:36) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 19-Sep-2011 at 02:26 AM (02:26) by Never (fixed a few typos)

I once almost blew up an entire cellarful of children accidentally, much to my acute embarrassment at the time. My only consolation when it happened was that it looked like I was going to be the very first to be lethally detonated, so at least I wouldn't have to go through the long horrible discomfort of having to explain to all the parents in the neighbourhood just how I had managed to accidentally blow up all their sons and daughters.

One question put to me while at the Greenbelt...
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Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.

Anders Behring Breivik, the problem of evil, the demonization of the mentally ill, medicine, science and ethics

Posted 25-Jul-2011 at 07:01 PM (19:01) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 25-Jul-2011 at 07:22 PM (19:22) by Gurdur

As people struggle to cope with Breivik's deeds, they often call him "deranged" and "insane", which is simply wrong, unscientific empty name-calling, and adds to the demonization of the actual mentally ill - most of whom will never hurt anyone but themselves if anyone. Most of us can agree that Breivik is evil, but evil is a very loose concept, often misused by people, adding to the confusion. Many of us can agree that there is no point in describing natural events or sheer randomicity as evil;...
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Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.

Shades Of Gray: treatment of mentally ill in the US armed forces during WW2 period

Posted 19-Jul-2011 at 01:48 PM (13:48) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

As regular readers of my blog will know, I often blog on various mental health issues, mainly for three reasons:
  • Care of the mentally ill: I've worked in that large field, and I've had several friends who had what is so conflationarywise called mental illness.
  • The intersection between evolved free will and automatism forced by mental illness: this is of great importance and interest to all philosophy of mind.
  • Self-care for activisits: how to stop yourself getting
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On suicide

Posted 10-Jul-2011 at 11:15 AM (11:15) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 10-Jul-2011 at 11:21 AM (11:21) by Gurdur

Suicide is one of those things that often happens, and leaves huge wounds behind in those close to the suicider. It's also as yet very ill-understood, and subject to myths. A huge lot to say on it, and I will be blogging on this more, but this blog post is simply on one single aspect: what book would you recommend to give to someone suffering from suicidal thinking? Well, I caught up a little on the big stack of reading I have (all very differing topics), and I finally read one book I had bought...
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Rating: 7 votes, 4.43 average.

Posthumous diagnosis 1, Ernest Hemingway: understanding past & present better by investigating the neuropsychology of historical figures

Posted 26-Jun-2011 at 08:44 PM (20:44) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 26-Jun-2011 at 08:55 PM (20:55) by Gurdur

Posthumous diagnosis is something you will find quite often in papers recorded in medical or quasi-medical databases. You can cynically see that as the effect of midlife-crises in medical doctors, where having finally gotten a bit of time to themselves, they want to get culture, so they speculate about Beethoven or the Plague of Athens 430 B.C.. Or you can see that positively, as a way of improving one's own diagnostic skills by developing abilities at searching for evidence and assessing it. Or...
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Psychiatrists should be in prison!

Posted 23-Jun-2011 at 07:09 PM (19:09) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 23-Jun-2011 at 07:28 PM (19:28) by Gurdur

It's both sad and annoying how many people know next to nothing about philosophy of the mind, or about psychiatry, or "mental" illness, yet have no fear trumpeting their uniformed opinions. It's just so damn easy to whang emptily on about Evil Psychs, or Evil Pharma, or Evil PsychoMeds, and all that in really, really stupid ways. But all those can wait a while; let's just look at the psychiatric scene in the USA for itself.

The psychiatric scene in the USA does not exist in isolation,...
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Society, Ethics And Science Weekly blogs round-up - 28 April 2011

Posted 28-Apr-2011 at 05:43 PM (17:43) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

This is late - but since there will be no weekly round-up from me this coming weekend, as I will be in New York (if you're wondering where I will be, I will be at this; I'm taking citizen journalism and developing myself at it very seriously indeed. If you're interested, I shall be tweeting from there, hashtag #ASJA2011. I will also be blogging when I can). The weekend after, I will try to do a round-up, but no promises; a week after that and regular service (such as it is) will resume.
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Society, Ethics And Science Weekly blogs round-up - 17/18 April 2011

Posted 20-Apr-2011 at 03:25 AM (03:25) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 22-Apr-2011 at 12:18 AM (00:18) by Gurdur

Yes, it's late. What else did you expect? But in my defence, I'm drowning in work. However, here it is! The blogs round-up from around the net, and including a couple of mass media reports. You can read my previous blogs round-ups listed here.

Science, ecology: blog post of the week goes to Dr. Carin Bondar, who (guest-)blogged on silviculture as applied to coral reefs. A good excuse to pepper this page with coral reef photos from the web; I do have photos of my own, but no time to...
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Society, Ethics And Science Weekly blogs round-up - 10/11 April 2011

Posted 12-Apr-2011 at 04:15 PM (16:15) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 13-Apr-2011 at 09:12 AM (09:12) by Gurdur

As ever, the best around the web that I find. Late (this should have appeared last night), but hey, by now I guess you expect me to be a trifle late. Better than being premature. You can see my other weekly blogs round-ups here.

Science: I don't know if you remember my blog post a while back about rats in pants, but now they have portable, minaturized PET scanners for pets, whoops, mistake, sorry, I mean PET scanners for lab rats. It's science, Jim.

Science, science...
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Society + Science Weekly blogs round-up - 27/28 February 2011 - science, culture, philosophy, religion, atheism

Posted 28-Feb-2011 at 10:06 PM (22:06) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 28-Feb-2011 at 10:22 PM (22:22) by Gurdur

This is my usual weekly blogs round-up, marked off for Sunday/Monday. I considered how I may not be making clear what the blogs round-up is all about, thinking it would be self-evident, so I am making it more immediately clear: this regular blogs round-up is all about culture, science, mind, history, religion, atheism and philosophy. I am titling it so so as to make that clear. Every week emphasis is random; this particular week, this one is very heavy on the science, with not so much on religion...
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