Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Lili's utopian reverie of the day

One of the things that I find interesting about this online discussion about job recruitment practices is the level of polarization of the views some of the participants. I would categorize these two groups as "thinkers", of which there are only a few, and "w***ers" who seem to be better represented in numbers, but certainly not in the quality of their arguments. 

If people like MSchemist80 (see page 2 and later pages) ran our nation I believe we would now be living in some kind of utopia. Just imagine what might be possible in a society in which the leaders in government, education, business and industry were fully and directly in touch with reality, with the knowledge and intelligence to understand what it all means, and the ability to recognize ability. I bet we wouldn't have sloppy, useless medicos and bureaucrats allowing Ebola to spread in the United States. I bet we wouldn't have a climate denier imbecile blighting the office of Prime Minister of Australia. I bet we wouldn't have an alcoholic underclass being granted greater entitlement to accommodation and financial support than our best and brightest citizens who aspire to achieving a higher education. Things would be more meritocracy or technocracy than idiocracy. What would happen if there was an sudden outbreak of rationality? Can we even attempt to imagine what a rational and evidence-based world would be like, while so many of us continue to live within the mass delusion that this is already the way things operate? 

Lili's anti-neurosexist thoughts for the day

Neurosexist pseudoscience by Prof. Simon Baron-Cohen is still doing the rounds and has apparently had another airing recently courtesy of the BBC. It's a good thing we have commentators like Caryl Rivers and Rosalind C. Barnett to bring us into touch with reality on the question of sex difference and the brain and behaviour:

It is indeed a worry that a person as influential as British broadcaster and doctor Michael Mosley has been "most strongly influenced" by Baron-Cohen: 

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Five awkward questions which will not be asked of Professor Patrick McGorry tonight on Q&A

Why did you fail to report any competing interests in many journal papers in which you are a co-author which were published before or after August 2008, even though you listed a number of competing interests in a journal paper written by you that was published in the British Medical Journal in August 2008? 

Why was your NEURAPRO-Q study closed down in 2011? 

Did you learn anything from that episode? 

Did you make a false statement or grossly exaggerate on Lateline in 2010 when you stated that "The evidence is very, very strong now that, not only does it improve outcomes, as you say - the early detection and comprehensive care in the first few years after diagnosis - but also it saves money." in relation to your early intervention model of care for psychosis, even though your EPPIC study was considered but excluded from a systematic review of early intervention for psychosis that was conducted by the highly respected Cochrane Collaboration international medical literature reviewing organization, and that review found some support for early intervention but a need for more research and questions about long-term outcomes, and inconclusive evidence regarding intervention for those deemed at risk of developing psychosis.

Why would an organization that is a provider of public psychiatric services, headed by yourself, need to have a "campaign manager"? Is it a medical service or a political organization? 

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Lili's outraged thought of the day

F*** you, Carnegie Science Center and f*** you too, Scouting Movement! Only one lame science workshop offered for Girl Scouts, while Boy Scouts have many choices of real science to study and experience. That is plain sexism. That is plain sex discrimination. It is indefensible, but the Carnegie Science Center offered a response, and the blogger who wrote about the issue seems happy enough with the response, even though all over the internet comments can be found from outraged people offering the simple and effective remedy of simply not segregating children by gender. If you don't even go that step of labeling kids by gender, gender stereotypes are not evoked. Why invite gender stereotyping to the party? Just don't apply the idea and then you wont have to manage the negative consequences of your imposition of gender as a category. I'm amazed that an organization that is supposed to be all about education and science has bought into this utter nonsense of gender segregation and gender stereotypes!

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Lili's thought for psychiatry week

Let's stop using the term "mental health" as a euphemism for "psychiatry", "mental disorder" or "mental illness". And who was it who decided that the word "sick" is off-limits, to be replaced with the euphemistic-sounding "unwell"? Australians are a race of people who love to call a spade a spade? My arse! We are actually a race of people who invent and embrace euphemisms.

Could we also please stop crapping on about the importance of "mental health"? When someone claims that "mental health" is an important issue, that could be taken two ways. Either is is nonsense, because an "issue" is supposed to mean a problem, and health cannot be a problem. Alternatively one could take that statement as a sloppily abbreviated claim that the maintenance of good mental health is an important thing to be aware of, but this interpretation implies that mental disorders can be avoided by practicing healthy habits and doing approved activities, and for many mental disorders this simply is not true. There's plenty of evidence indicating that the more serious psychiatric disorders, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, are caused by various factors, many of them beyond the control of the patient. We cannot choose our genes and we cannot choose the womb that gave host to our earliest development, but we can choose our lifestyle. If you feel dire are a result of unnatural sleeping habits, a diet of junk, alcohol usage or drug abuse, perhaps your problem isn't "mental health", more likely a quite ordinary problem of "physical health". To claim that we all need to take good care of our "mental health" is to trivialize the serious issues of a small minority of people, who are becoming lost among a sea of fools who aspire to play the victim one minute, the next playing the amateur psychiatrist. I can't wait for them to go find another hobby.