Is Jerry Coyne a pseudo-skeptic about psychiatric medicine?

Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
Is Jerry Coyne a pseudo-skeptic about psychiatric medicine?

Recently, Jerry Coyne, Ph.D. Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, and author of the excellent book Why Evolution Is True, posted on his regularly updated website (also called Why Evolution Is True) his concerns on the anti-depressants vs. placebo 'controversy' in a post titled Is medical psychiatry a scam?

I posted (as 'Wonderist') several comments on the ensuing thread (which is very active and worth a read), trying to express the implausibility of Dr. Coyne's apparent suspicions, and hoping he would look deeper into the matter. I also sparred with various other posters who support the anti-psychiatry viewpoint.

But I suppose I must have posted too many comments, or maybe too many with lots of URLs (linking to articles and sources), and perhaps I tripped up the anti-spam software, because a couple of my posts were put into a moderation queue, and then later posts seemed to be completely blocked/ignored altogether. When I realized what was probably happening (I initially thought it was a browser JavaScript/refresh issue, or a temporary glitch in the server's software), I stopped posting and waited to see if my blocked posts would get through. After two days, unfortunately, only the ones marked as 'awaiting moderation' made it through. I wonder if the others are truly gone, or if they might be in a spam folder somewhere. In any case....

One of the comments that didn't make it through, I kept because I thought it was important enough to keep just in case. It was initially a response to one of the commenters defending Dr. Coyne's post. I've amended it to make it more general to the topic as it stands. Here it is:

Wonderist wrote:
He does not simply question whether people are getting the right treatment, he throws the whole of medical psychiatry under the bus:

Jerry A. Coyne wrote:
These articles, and the data presented by Angell, have convinced me more than ever that medical psychiatry is largely a scam, a rotten-to-the-core coalition between psychiatrists and pharmaceutical companies.  Now I know that many psychiatrists are deeply motivated to help their patients, for mental disorders are among the most frustrating and recalcitrant conditions faced by doctors, and many patients indeed need urgent medical or therapeutic attention.  But the way it’s being done now is not only ineffective, but positively harmful—although lucrative for doctors and drug companies.  The few researchers and psychiatrists crying out against the madness, as in the three books under review, are largely shouting in the wilderness.

According to Jerry's post, modern psychiatry is "not only ineffective, but positively harmful". This is at best a false statement. At worst, it is a false statement that will influence some people by raising unfounded pseudo-skepticism (based on fear and uncertainty, rather than skeptical curiosity), and confirming prior pseudo-scientific biases against psychiatry and pharmacology.

This, going against the large body of scientific research supporting SSRIs, is--I hate to say it, for I greatly respect Jerry and don't wish to criticize him unnecessarily--an anti-scientific view. I hope Jerry does some more investigation into this issue, not just reading a "few researchers and psychiatrists crying out ... in the wilderness," but examining also their critics, and the positive research and evidence which shows the effectiveness of SSRIs not only against non-active placebo, but also against active placebos. If he does this investigation, and finds out that SSRIs are truly "ineffective" and "harmful", and shows us the evidence that this is the case, then I'll recant and apologize.

However, I do not expect that outcome. More so, I expect that he will realize his error in judgment and temper his future public statements on the issue accordingly.

I am still rather shocked at Dr. Coyne's post, coming as it is from one of the best defenders of science and evidence-based reasoning in the 'controversy' of so-called Intelligent Design versus modern evolutionary science. I regularly read Coyne's website and will continue to do so (and will also continue to highly recommend his book, Why Evolution Is True). And in time I do actually expect he'll follow the evidence more thoroughly on psychiatric medicine (links to some of which I've posted in various comments to his post), but for the moment I guess it just underscores how even extremely intelligent and usually rational people can on the one hand rightly dismiss fallacies and biased viewpoints on one subject, and yet somehow fall into those exact same fallacies and biases on a different subject.

Another commenter on that thread, by the name of Emil Karlsson, posted an interesting comparison of some of the flawed thinking that goes into anti-psychiatry pseudo-skepticism with other forms of pseudo-skepticism and denialism, in Why Jerry Coyne is Wrong About Medical Psychiatry.

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Luminon
SuperfanTheist
Luminon's picture
Posts: 2455
Joined: 2008-02-17
User is offlineOffline
Sometimes people are so

Sometimes people are so fucked up, that they really need the dumbing pills. 

But this is not a solution, only treatment. People do not have psychological problems, because their gall bladder is unable to pop out pills of prozac and their adrenals won't secrete valium naturally. Often something is wrong with their life, like a miserable job that should be automatized. Should we take medication for that?

I also heard that many of these medications are based on wrong assumptions. For example, low serotonin in brain will make you feel depressed, so we increase serotonin in brain, right? Well, I wonder how this kind of medication can get through the blood barrier in the brain. Maybe it's better if it doesn't, too much serotonin in brain may kill you instantly. 

But nevermind me. My family doesn't use medications much. Not because we're any anti-pharma kooks (just a little bit but that's not the point) but some of us are allergic on antibiotics, or oversensitive to opiates, or just so lazy that it must be hell of a headache and a lot of work to do, to make me search some pills against headache.

Furthermore, head pills make certain kinds of psychotherapy impossible, stuff like work with your subconsciousness. So you've got to choose, Big Pharma or Big Brahma? Smiling

 

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.


BobSpence
High Level DonorRational VIP!ScientistWebsite Admin
BobSpence's picture
Posts: 5904
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
Just read the Why Jerry

Just read the Why Jerry Coyne is Wrong... article.

Very disturbing.

Reminds me a bit of an argument I got into last weekend at our informal Atheist get-together. Only two other people showed up, and we had a generally pleasant chat, although it became apparent to me that one person had some 'unconventional' ideas about a few things, not related to religion and atheism.

Where things really went off the rails was when I mentioned something about Climate Change.

What disturbed me more than his dismissal of the arguments for Climate Change, mainly a denial of any significant contribution from human activities, was his style and manner of argument, getting to the stage of repeatedly making a brief demand for proof or evidence before I could get more than a few words of a serious argument. This was almost exactly what had confronted me a month earlier in attempting to argue with a Christian proselytizer at a previous meet-up.

Don't want to derail the thread and go into more details of his arguments here, but the parallels in how a person who seems reasonable and seems to share much of your world-view can in some other context 'go off the deep end' just struck me. I would have been only too happy to try and address his objections in a calm discussion, but on this subject that didn't seem possible.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


cj
atheistRational VIP!
cj's picture
Posts: 3330
Joined: 2007-01-05
User is offlineOffline
Luminon wrote:Sometimes

Luminon wrote:

Sometimes people are so fucked up, that they really need the dumbing pills. 

But this is not a solution, only treatment. People do not have psychological problems, because their gall bladder is unable to pop out pills of prozac and their adrenals won't secrete valium naturally. Often something is wrong with their life, like a miserable job that should be automatized. Should we take medication for that?

I also heard that many of these medications are based on wrong assumptions. For example, low serotonin in brain will make you feel depressed, so we increase serotonin in brain, right? Well, I wonder how this kind of medication can get through the blood barrier in the brain. Maybe it's better if it doesn't, too much serotonin in brain may kill you instantly. 

But nevermind me. My family doesn't use medications much. Not because we're any anti-pharma kooks (just a little bit but that's not the point) but some of us are allergic on antibiotics, or oversensitive to opiates, or just so lazy that it must be hell of a headache and a lot of work to do, to make me search some pills against headache.

Furthermore, head pills make certain kinds of psychotherapy impossible, stuff like work with your subconsciousness. So you've got to choose, Big Pharma or Big Brahma? Smiling

 

I've taken anti depressants.  No, it didn't work on my subconscious.  All it seemed to do was put my emotions at a distance.  It was a huge relief.  I could function well enough to not get fired from my job.  I could talk to my husband - who was getting tired of me "moping".  I could listen to my therapist and actually relate to what was being said.  I didn't stay on them long, just enough to get over the problems I was having at the time. 

I have a friend who has a genetic disorder that predisposes her to depression.  She takes one of the antidepressants constantly.  It works for her.

In the right time, at the right place, for the right reasons, for the right person, with the appropriate meds, it isn't a bad choice.  And I won't make assumptions about anybody's choices.  Which is why I haven't got into the discussion particularly. 

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


Kapkao
atheistSuperfanBronze Member
Kapkao's picture
Posts: 4121
Joined: 2010-01-12
User is offlineOffline
natural wrote:Recently,

natural wrote:

Recently, Jerry Coyne, Ph.D. Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, and author of the excellent book Why Evolution Is True, posted on his regularly updated website (also called Why Evolution Is True) his concerns on the anti-depressants vs. placebo 'controversy' in a post titled Is medical psychiatry a scam?

I posted (as 'Wonderist') several comments on the ensuing thread (which is very active and worth a read), trying to express the implausibility of Dr. Coyne's apparent suspicions, and hoping he would look deeper into the matter. I also sparred with various other posters who support the anti-psychiatry viewpoint.

But I suppose I must have posted too many comments, or maybe too many with lots of URLs (linking to articles and sources), and perhaps I tripped up the anti-spam software, because a couple of my posts were put into a moderation queue, and then later posts seemed to be completely blocked/ignored altogether. When I realized what was probably happening (I initially thought it was a browser JavaScript/refresh issue, or a temporary glitch in the server's software), I stopped posting and waited to see if my blocked posts would get through. After two days, unfortunately, only the ones marked as 'awaiting moderation' made it through. I wonder if the others are truly gone, or if they might be in a spam folder somewhere. In any case....

One of the comments that didn't make it through, I kept because I thought it was important enough to keep just in case. It was initially a response to one of the commenters defending Dr. Coyne's post. I've amended it to make it more general to the topic as it stands. Here it is:

Wonderist wrote:
He does not simply question whether people are getting the right treatment, he throws the whole of medical psychiatry under the bus:

Jerry A. Coyne wrote:
These articles, and the data presented by Angell, have convinced me more than ever that medical psychiatry is largely a scam, a rotten-to-the-core coalition between psychiatrists and pharmaceutical companies.  Now I know that many psychiatrists are deeply motivated to help their patients, for mental disorders are among the most frustrating and recalcitrant conditions faced by doctors, and many patients indeed need urgent medical or therapeutic attention.  But the way it’s being done now is not only ineffective, but positively harmful—although lucrative for doctors and drug companies.  The few researchers and psychiatrists crying out against the madness, as in the three books under review, are largely shouting in the wilderness.

According to Jerry's post, modern psychiatry is "not only ineffective, but positively harmful". This is at best a false statement. At worst, it is a false statement that will influence some people by raising unfounded pseudo-skepticism (based on fear and uncertainty, rather than skeptical curiosity), and confirming prior pseudo-scientific biases against psychiatry and pharmacology.

This, going against the large body of scientific research supporting SSRIs, is--I hate to say it, for I greatly respect Jerry and don't wish to criticize him unnecessarily--an anti-scientific view. I hope Jerry does some more investigation into this issue, not just reading a "few researchers and psychiatrists crying out ... in the wilderness," but examining also their critics, and the positive research and evidence which shows the effectiveness of SSRIs not only against non-active placebo, but also against active placebos. If he does this investigation, and finds out that SSRIs are truly "ineffective" and "harmful", and shows us the evidence that this is the case, then I'll recant and apologize.

However, I do not expect that outcome. More so, I expect that he will realize his error in judgment and temper his future public statements on the issue accordingly.

I am still rather shocked at Dr. Coyne's post, coming as it is from one of the best defenders of science and evidence-based reasoning in the 'controversy' of so-called Intelligent Design versus modern evolutionary science. I regularly read Coyne's website and will continue to do so (and will also continue to highly recommend his book, Why Evolution Is True). And in time I do actually expect he'll follow the evidence more thoroughly on psychiatric medicine (links to some of which I've posted in various comments to his post), but for the moment I guess it just underscores how even extremely intelligent and usually rational people can on the one hand rightly dismiss fallacies and biased viewpoints on one subject, and yet somehow fall into those exact same fallacies and biases on a different subject.

Another commenter on that thread, by the name of Emil Karlsson, posted an interesting comparison of some of the flawed thinking that goes into anti-psychiatry pseudo-skepticism with other forms of pseudo-skepticism and denialism, in Why Jerry Coyne is Wrong About Medical Psychiatry.

Eloquently stated, "Wonderist".  You carried out your discussion a lot more effectively than I would have, which is to say that I would have immediately gone for cheapshots at the various psychiatry and Big Pharma skeptics out there, suggesting they join up in the ranks of Scientologists and what have you. Chalk it up to my immensely positive experiences with SSRIs (very similar to what CJ describes.)

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


Answers in Gene...
High Level Donor
Answers in Gene Simmons's picture
Posts: 4214
Joined: 2008-11-11
User is offlineOffline
 Wow! Until recently, I

 Wow! Until recently, I spent my entire adult life as a psychiatric social worker, so I know a thing or three about the subject at hand.

 

Sometimes having special pills can help a person out. Not always but sometimes.

 

Even when they do, there are usually more things going on with a person than what pills can do.

 

That is where I came into the equation. It was my job to ask what the problem is and how do we fix it. That much is kind of off topic though. The basic idea is that pills are not the magic bullet that makes people right.

 

There is no magic bullet. Sometimes the pills help but rather more often, people are on the pills that create bigger problems.

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:
Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

=


Recovering fund...
atheistSuperfan
Recovering fundamentalist's picture
Posts: 196
Joined: 2011-03-14
User is offlineOffline
natural wrote:Recently,

natural wrote:

Recently, Jerry Coyne, Ph.D. Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, and author of the excellent book Why Evolution Is True, posted on his regularly updated website (also called Why Evolution Is True) his concerns on the anti-depressants vs. placebo 'controversy' in a post titled Is medical psychiatry a scam?

I posted (as 'Wonderist') several comments on the ensuing thread (which is very active and worth a read), trying to express the implausibility of Dr. Coyne's apparent suspicions, and hoping he would look deeper into the matter. I also sparred with various other posters who support the anti-psychiatry viewpoint.

That wouldn't make him a "pseudo-skeptic", that would make him, well a skeptic.

skep·tic/ˈskeptik/Noun

1. A person inclined to question or doubt all accepted opinions.

Optimism is reality, pessimism is the fantasy that you know enough to be cynical


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
A pseudo-skeptic doesn't

A pseudo-skeptic doesn't apply the same standards of skepticism to one topic as another. Jerry's skepticism of ID is of a different kind than his 'skepticism' of psychiatry.

Emil Karlsson posted another blog post on this topic, which I'm finding quite interesting: The Challenge of Pseudoskepticism [edit: fixed link]

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Nikolaj
Superfan
Nikolaj's picture
Posts: 503
Joined: 2008-04-27
User is offlineOffline
Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

 Wow! Until recently, I spent my entire adult life as a psychiatric social worker, so I know a thing or three about the subject at hand.

 

Sometimes having special pills can help a person out. Not always but sometimes.

 

Even when they do, there are usually more things going on with a person than what pills can do.

 

That is where I came into the equation. It was my job to ask what the problem is and how do we fix it. That much is kind of off topic though. The basic idea is that pills are not the magic bullet that makes people right.

 

There is no magic bullet. Sometimes the pills help but rather more often, people are on the pills that create bigger problems.

And I think here we have the crux of the problem. Because so few people ever consider medical science the way it should be considered: as craftsmanship.

My father and my sister-in-law are doctors and discussions in my family often fall on the way many people wrongly assume that, since science view the human body in mechanistic terms, it knows how to fix it like a repairman would fix a broken machine.

 

But the human body (and therefore mind, since that is the brain), while analogous to a machine, is an extremely COMPLICATED machine, and one that we haven't built ourselves, so we have to reverse engineer it, rather than just take it apart, and reassemble it, according to our blueprints.

And for better or worse, this means that the skill of a doctor is based as much on a sort of "proffesional intuition" as it is based on an education that teaches you the knots and blots, as it were.

Any doctor, be it a psychiatrist or a physician, will tell you that diagnosis is something you do with your gut as much as anything, and administer a treatment as an experiment more so than as a solution.

If I give the patient this, then what will happen?

not: "Patient suffers from condition X, administer treatment Y"

While sometimes it may approach the later, in the case of things we have alot of experience with, like a common infection, it is never a sure thing. Because even if: infection = Anti-biotics, you still need to ask: what kind of anti-biotics? How Much? For how long? What if the patient will react badly to these anti-biotics? et.c. et.c.

 

Think of a carpenter: He's fixing a broken table. He may say: well it needs a nail there. But what kind of nail? Can this type of wood accept such a nail or will it break further? Are there other parts of the table that haven't broken yet, but will, if I don't consider them now?

How does a carpenter do this? Gut-feeling based on experience and talent. He gets a feel for timber over the years, and he wields his tools with skill, not consciously, but as second nature. Put a hammer in the hands of a carpenter and he just instinctively knows how to swing it so that a nail goes into wood, not so hard as to break the wood, not so soft as to take too long, not so ineptly that the nail bends.

How did he get his hammerswinging skills? Years of experience, and trial and error, and most importantly, it is now second nature to him, so he can't readily teach anyone to do it. He can show you some elements of the SKILL of hammering a nail correctly, but the ART of hammering a nail, that's something you have to attain for yourself.

 

So doctors (as a group) are excellent scientists certainly, but medicine is not an exact science, and you get the best results if you know how to implement your scientific knowlegde from your education, not just by learning the knots and bolts.

 

Because the knots and bolts of medical science, both the physical and psychological, is almost always: "This bolt goes here we think, except when it doesn't, and that is when you are dealing with women rather than men, in which case we think it goes here, or maybe this bolt instead, as long as the women in question hasn't been vomiting, in which case THIS bolt sometimes help, with some people some of the time et.c. et.c."

You get the idea.

And since psychiatry is a younger science, there is even more confusion. But THAT DOESN'T MEAN IT'S WORTHLESS! It means that if you have a psychiatric problem, seek the help of the people who are most likely to help you: psychiatrists.

Who else would you ask for help?

Anyway, that was a bit of a rambling post, but I'd better stop here, and wait for you guys to tell me you didn't get what I meant before I get even more turned around on the point I was trying to make:

I think what I wanted to say in a nutshell was: "Medical science is not an exact science: Deal with it. It may not be perfect, but it is a hell of alot better than nothing. It saves lives every day. What more do you want"

 

P.S: If you want an example of how Psychiatric Medicine saves lives, just think of the fact that one of the major elements of Clinical Depression as it worsens, is suicide attempts, and anti-depressants is one of the most consistantly effective treatments psychiatric medicine has come up with, so just like anti-biotics, it is an imperfect, sometimes overprescribed, not-magic-bullet-that-doesn't-always-work, which none the less is a MAJOR step up from doing nothing.

Well I was born an original sinner
I was spawned from original sin
And if I had a dollar bill for all the things I've done
There'd be a mountain of money piled up to my chin


redneF
atheistRational VIP!
redneF's picture
Posts: 1971
Joined: 2011-01-04
User is offlineOffline
cj wrote: I've taken anti

cj wrote:
I've taken anti depressants.  No, it didn't work on my subconscious.  All it seemed to do was put my emotions at a distance.  It was a huge relief.  I could function well enough to not get fired from my job.  I could talk to my husband - who was getting tired of me "moping".  I could listen to my therapist and actually relate to what was being said.  I didn't stay on them long, just enough to get over the problems I was having at the time. 

I have a friend who has a genetic disorder that predisposes her to depression.  She takes one of the antidepressants constantly.  It works for her.

In the right time, at the right place, for the right reasons, for the right person, with the appropriate meds, it isn't a bad choice.  And I won't make assumptions about anybody's choices.  Which is why I haven't got into the discussion particularly. 

I like the way cj worded her response.

The health industry, and Big Pharma in particular, are like a double edged sword in, IMHO. There's the good....and then, there's the bad....

I've debated this topic to a bloody pulp in other forums, and I'm simply burnt out about the topic.

Having said that, there are very, very damning evidences and facts in support of unethical business practices (just Google 'fines against drug companies for illegal marketing ethics'), doctored clinical trial results, and the numerous warnings issued by the FDA, starting a number of years ago showing there might be a link to certain antidepressants actually exacerbating symptoms (like rapid cycling) and thoughts about suicide. It seems the FDA slowly started to backpeddle into damage control, when they looked at more data into some of the stats of the effects of the drugs in 'real life'.

There have been raging debates over the effects of St. John's Wort for depression as well.

I have numerous personal friends who are doctors, RN's, and I know 2 former PhD's who worked for Glaxo Smith Kline, and they all admit to lots of debate among 'experts'.

On the one hand, the thing that cannot be denied (IME) has been the many people that report very positive overall experiences with using certain drugs, for certain conditions. But, on the other hand, I've seen people who I knew well go on those drugs, and become very different; erratic, short tempered, unbalanced, highly agitated and irrational, to the point that I and others did not recognize them anymore, while all the while they would report they're doing 'great', while on the treatments.

I've seen the same thing so many times, that I'll go as far as saying I can often 'spot' strangers who are 'on meds'.

To put it simply, I don't condone them at all, and I encourage anyone who has a loved one who feels this is the answer, to really encourage them to do some research.

It's a really complicated topic, and I agree with the Nickolaj that (IMO) treating people for these kinds of illnesses, is very difficult. Almost like a 'Black Art'.

 

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


Kapkao
atheistSuperfanBronze Member
Kapkao's picture
Posts: 4121
Joined: 2010-01-12
User is offlineOffline
redneF wrote:Having said

redneF wrote:
Having said that, there are very, very damning evidences and facts in support of unethical business practices (just Google 'fines against drug companies for illegal marketing ethics'), doctored clinical trial results, and the numerous warnings issued by the FDA, starting a number of years ago showing there might be a link to certain antidepressants actually exacerbating symptoms (like rapid cycling) and thoughts about suicide.

 

IIRC, the link with SSRIs was causing suicide, not suicidal thoughts/ideation. But how do we know what actually caused people on meds to kill themselves? The most likely theory I've heard is that it isn't the medicines themselves, merely that the medicines give a heightened level of motivation and emotional determination, enough to enable people to act on desires that had for a longtime while still depressed. In essence, it enables people to actually carry out the suicide, as opposed to being so depressed as to feel suicidal but never acting on it.

I'll be the first to admit that pharma companies are capable of really scummy maneuvers in toying with people's health while searching intensively for ways to enhance the bottom line -and psychiatry is merely the tip of the iceberg. An example would be cancer medicines that extend the lives of endstage cancer patients by a precious few months, yet have exorbitant prices on their sale, because a cancer patient either buys the meds or gives up their life right away. A devout catholic doesn't have a choice, according to their religion. They either extend their lives to their bankrupted, agonizing conclusion, or they go to hell (again, according to what they believe.) It's a buying decision made with proverbial gun aimed at one's head, and the wounds caused by this 'gun' tend to be excruciatingly painful.

But SSRIs aren't a prime example of pharmaceutical company douchebaggery. Pallative treatment for endstage cancer patients is.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


Answers in Gene...
High Level Donor
Answers in Gene Simmons's picture
Posts: 4214
Joined: 2008-11-11
User is offlineOffline
 Actually Kapkao, the idea

 Actually Kapkao, the idea that someone could possibly be too depressed to act on a suicide urge has been documented in the literature for several decades. If someone is going to take antidepressants on a long term basis, then there is a “window” early in the course of treatment where they have to be watched to make sure that that doesn't happen.

 

So sure, there are cases of that happening with the SSRIs. However, that is also the major reason for moving away from the older drugs as well.

 

The older drugs were more powerful (the window was open much wider), shorter duration (more does per day) and had a higher toxicity (more likely to be dangerous if a whole bottle is downed). That and the SSRIs also take a few weeks to build up to the full effect so the risk is lower because it takes longer for the patient to “come out of it”.

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:
Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

=


redneF
atheistRational VIP!
redneF's picture
Posts: 1971
Joined: 2011-01-04
User is offlineOffline
Kapkao wrote:redneF

Kapkao wrote:

redneF wrote:
Having said that, there are very, very damning evidences and facts in support of unethical business practices (just Google 'fines against drug companies for illegal marketing ethics'), doctored clinical trial results, and the numerous warnings issued by the FDA, starting a number of years ago showing there might be a link to certain antidepressants actually exacerbating symptoms (like rapid cycling) and thoughts about suicide.

 

IIRC, the link with SSRIs was causing suicide, not suicidal thoughts/ideation. But how do we know what actually caused people on meds to kill themselves? The most likely theory I've heard is that it isn't the medicines themselves, merely that the medicines give a heightened level of motivation and emotional determination, enough to enable people to act on desires that had for a longtime while still depressed. In essence, it enables people to actually carry out the suicide, as opposed to being so depressed as to feel suicidal but never acting on it.

That's not different from what I said.

Actions are derived from thoughts.

 

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


Norwegian Shooter (not verified)
Posts: 4294964979
Joined: 1969-12-31
User is offlineOffline
"moderation" at WEIT

natural wrote:

But I suppose I must have posted too many comments, or maybe too many with lots of URLs (linking to articles and sources), and perhaps I tripped up the anti-spam software, because a couple of my posts were put into a moderation queue, and then later posts seemed to be completely blocked/ignored altogether. When I realized what was probably happening (I initially thought it was a browser JavaScript/refresh issue, or a temporary glitch in the server's software), I stopped posting and waited to see if my blocked posts would get through. After two days, unfortunately, only the ones marked as 'awaiting moderation' made it through. I wonder if the others are truly gone, or if they might be in a spam folder somewhere. In any case....

You should know that Jerry tolerates marginal criticisms of his posts, but not direct and compelling criticisms of himself such as saying he has an un-scientific view.

natural wrote:

More so, I expect that he will realize his error in judgment and temper his future public statements on the issue accordingly.

Don't hold your breath. Jerry is at core a egotist. (Who posts a series of photos of many cowboy boots?) He rightly doesn't suffer fools when he knows what he's talking about, but wrongly dismisses honest criticism of himself when he doesn't.

-from someone banned at WEIT


Wonderist
atheist
Wonderist's picture
Posts: 2479
Joined: 2006-03-19
User is offlineOffline
Actually, I had an email

Actually, I had an email exchange with him, and he said that it's a glitch he's seen before. It even blocked PZ before. He said if I use a different email address I should be able to work around it. First, I'm going to try using a different browser to make sure it's not something on my end. He recently posted a comment from me in response to Paula Kirby's excellent comment on her vision for feminism in the future.

Since I don't know you, I can only reply that you and I might have different opinions on what it means to be a 'compelling criticism'. Without specifics there's not much else I can say.

I don't believe he has an un-scientific view in general, only on this one specific issue which I've observed.

And I don't have any reason to believe that he's incapable of realizing errors in judgment and correcting them.

It's notable that since that comment thread erupted with criticism of his position (after an initial bout of people agreeing with him), he refrained from posting further comments or threads on the topic. I take that as a sign that he's taking stock and re-examining his position before digging a deep hole for himself. That would be a very wise move, IMO.

I'm waiting to see if he returns to this subject in the future to see if he speaks about it any differently.

Also, he has managed to steer clear of the recent Elevator Guy kerfuffle, and instead responded to it with a call to return to reason and evidence-based thinking.

As such, I'm more optimistic now than I was when I wrote this post. Still cautious, but the signs so far are positive.

Wonderist on Facebook — Support the idea of wonderism by 'liking' the Wonderism page — or join the open Wonderism group to take part in the discussion!

Gnu Atheism Facebook group — All gnu-friendly RRS members welcome (including Luminon!) — Try something gnu!


Norwegian Shooter (not verified)
Posts: 4294964979
Joined: 1969-12-31
User is offlineOffline
Fair enough.

Fair enough. I'll be cautious but positive, too.