Surprise, Surprise: Ant-Marriage Amendment Campaign Rhetoric Proves Hollow

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First, I'll start off with a nice wedding picture. Since the radical activists seeking to redefine marriage seem to really appreciate that.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Now, the reason for my post (better late than never, right?):

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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Victoria Cobb, President
Friday, July 27, 2007

Information Alert: Truth be told

Earlier this week, The Ohio state Supreme Court dismissed arguments that Ohio's marriage amendment undermined that state's domestic violence laws (State v. Carswell). I'm sure you vividly remember that opponents of Virginia's marriage amendment attempted to scare Virginians into voting against the amendment by pointing to the controversy in Ohio last fall.

This week's decision reaffirms what we said all during last fall's bitter campaign - the so-called "unintended consequences" arguments used against the marriage amendment were a figment of the opposition's imagination. As was clearly articulated in Attorney General Bob McDonnell's opinion of Virginia's marriage amendment, no one was going to lose a single existing right when that amendment was implemented.

Virginians can rest assured that domestic violence laws in this state will protect them. I hope that Virginians hold in contempt those who took the serious problem of domestic abuse and used the fears of women in crisis to try to accomplish their political agenda.

Marriage Commission

Almost two weeks ago I told you about The Family Foundation's efforts to reduce the divorce rate in Virginia. We recently convened the first meeting of our marriage commission to study the issue. Well, it didn't take long for the story to hit the media. We've been fielding calls for several days, and from media outlets as far away as Seattle, Washington!

Much of the coverage, particularly on talk radio has been less than flattering. It seems that there are many people out there who don't think a 50 percent divorce rate is such a bad thing. Or if they admit its too high, they simply throw up their hands and say that nothing can be done.

Regardless of the naysayers and those who simply criticize instead of seeking solutions, we are going to continue to look at this decidedly complicated issue in an attempt to seek real solutions.

Below is a sample of the media stories concerning the commission:

Va. Foundation seeks to reduce divorces - Washington Post, 7/26/2007
New Commission aims to make divorce harder - Virginian Pilot, 7/22/2007
Family Foundation focuses on divorce - WSET TV, Lynchburg
A marriage made in politics - Roanoke Times Editorial Page, 7/24/2007

Not surprising to see the cornerstone of the anti-Marriage Amendment folks' argument disintegrate. Let's not forget their entire million dollar plus effort was focused on distorting the issue and scaring voters about "unintended consequences" when in truth they were/are simply against the intended and real consequence-- constitutionally protecting marriage from radical redefinition via judicial decree.

I look forward to hearing more from the Family Foundation's Marriage Commission on ways our Commonwealth can support and encourage healthy marriages and prevent family dissolution and more children being raised without a loving mother and father under the same roof.

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Singleton said:

Wow, 2 out of 3 most recent posts from us. Talk about retro-blogging.

Ray said:

Enough already, this issue is so 2004… move-on! As more and more people get “educated” about this stupid “protect marriage” movement they start to realize what needs protecting? – I say if your that uncomfortable with your own marriage that that’s “YOUR” problem. If marriage is SO sacred, then ban divorce!, If you want to protect it, then really ban divorce!

stay puft said:

oh my god always with the pictures!

Jack said:

Ray -- unfortunately, banning divorce is not politically viable yet. I hope one day it will be. Divorce is a horrible drain on society.

In the meantime, we must make what efforts we can to reduce the rate of divorce. Perhaps the simplest would be a "waiting period." Marriage licences go into effect six months or a year after they are issued, and are good for six months after that.

stay puft said:

Jack, I've seen you say that in a perfect world the government wouldn't be in the business of marriage, now you're endorsing a ban on divorce?

You say that divorce a drain on society. So it seems that a ban on divorce would put the interests of society over individual freedom. If that's a conservative position than conservatives are the new liberals! (maybe you can explain once again why national health care would a violation of individual freedom, and how the need to preserve that freedom supersedes the interests of society at large?)

And just how is it a drain on society? Presumably it's in the area of child-rearing, yes? So it's a good idea for the government to use marriage policy to influence people's child bearing decisions? If so, we could ban divorce, but why beat around the bush? Why not require a license for child-bearing? That way only couples who have been sanctioned by society (by way of the government) could legally reproduce.

Sure some people would get pregnant without a license, but we are a nation of laws, and having broken the law they would simply have to face the consequences.

Jack said:

Puffalump -- there is perfect, and there is what we have to deal with. In a perfect society, the government would not be in the marriage business, and there would be no abortions or divorces either. If we cannot get the government out of the marriage business, we can at least try to get the government to do the best job it can.

(Now, I never said that National Health Care would be a violation of individual freedom -- I said it would be a violation of the U.S. Constitution.)

I do not advocate license for child-bearing. However, we encourage child-bearing by the poor by paying people on welfare to have children. Our welfare system also penalizes people for getting married, and rewards them for getting divorced.

Aside from that, divorced people generally have lower standards of living. They must maintain two households ( and built-in babysitting while one goes to the grocery store is no longer available). This requires more housing in general, driving up prices for everyone, and thus lowering the standard of living for everyone.

Chris M said:

Ray if this group is anything like the one I belong to up here in Massachusetts (and many across the US) it was formed to keep the gays from marrying, that’s it. These groups use the protection of marriage phrase because it makes even some of the supporters of same-sex marriage vote our way. We even tried the patriotic slogan, let the people vote, that seemed to work a bit but in the end we failed. Most of these groups are all but a skeleton of themselves now, to be frank, our groups don’t focus on the other issues much, we really don’t like the gays. Sorry to disappoint but that’s the truth.

stay puft said:

you see a government-free marriage as a utopian fantasy, and you would rather work toward banning divorce than getting government out of the business of marriage? A government-imposed ban on divorce seems more down-to-earth to you?

Do you not believe that people who decide to get divorced are capable of making an informed decision? Is the government in a better position to make that decision than individuals? What's the use of a higher standard of living when you're in a dysfunctional relationship, anyway? The idea that two people should be made to stay in a relationship for the sake of a higher national average household income flies in the face of
core American values (I'm wondering if your "perfect society" is at all American)

Were you not the one who complained that since patients in England lack the freedom to pay for their own medical care, they are forced to quit smoking a month before surgery? I believe you've also said that a national health care system would take away the right of a person to pay a doctor for a service, maybe that was Jacob

Jack said:

If the government can license marriage, why can it not ban divorce? It would certainly make people think a lot longer before getting married.

Still, I think we can safely say that banning divorce will not happen anytime soon. So the real question is, what can we do NOW that might lower the divorce rate? We could certainly change our welfare system (which is itself obviously a gross violation of the Constitution) so that it does not penalize marriage. We might also require waiting periods between the issue of a licence, and when it goies into effect. We can also criminalize adultery -- a major cause of divorce.

Jack said:

"I believe you've also said that a national health care system would take away the right of a person to pay a doctor for a service, maybe that was Jacob"

No, that was Hillary Clinton.

TerryM said:

Ahh, hardly take Victoria (C-word) Cobb as an authority on anything...

stay puft said:

alright. the government CAN do a lot of things. I guess my question is why are you all for government intrusion when it comes to marriage?

I don't imagine anti-adultery legislation having any more effect on divorce rates (or adultery rates, for that matter) than the war on drugs has had on drug use.

bans on divorce, criminalization of adultery, not to mention the anti-gay marriage legislation, these are/would be examples of the government creating a framework of "the way things ought to be" and trying to make people fit into it through legislation. Isn't that just a little bit creepy to you?

Jack said:

I'm not. However, the government HAS ALREADY intruded on marriage, and that is not going to change. What we CAN do is lessen the damage (as inflicted by our welfare system) and try to do some good.

Your lack of imagination is not an issue here. Take it to a psychologist.

We are, of course, talking about the State government here. Article I, Section 3 of the Virginia Constitution states, "That government is, or ought to be, instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people, nation, or community; of all the various modes and forms of government, that is best which is capable of producing the greatest degree of happiness and safety, and is most effectually secured against the danger of maladministration...."

Adultery and divorce are contrary to "the common benefit, protection, and security of the people."

You will be happy to know that adultery is already criminalized in VA Code §18.2-365.

"Creepy" is two men having a son.

stay puft said:

well we all know that the fact that something "HAS ALREADY" happened is no justification. "...that is not going to change" is an assumption that's necessary for you to make in order to justify your idea of imposed morality through government intrusions.

what's with the jab at my lack of imagination? All I said was that criminalizing adultery isn't going to change anything. Thanks for informing me that adultery is illegal in VA. So you can tell me if it's had an impact on divorce rates there (hint: it hasn't, )

at the risk of drawing a comment about me needing to see an optometrist, I'm going to go ahead and say that it looks to me like you're starting to get a little defensive, and trying to shut down the discussion by side-stepping the comments I've made, so we've reached an impasse

Jack said:

No, "...that is not going to change" is an assumption that it would be useless, or even counterproductive, to try to get the G.A. to pass a ban on divorce, so we need to look at more plausible ways of reducing the divorce rate. The one I suggested, a six- to twelve-month waiting period, you have not addressed at all.

As for the adultery law's having no effect on the divorce rate, it is unlikely that ANY unenforced law will have ANY effect. Your link is irrelevant, because it does not have any indication which states have made adultery illegal AND enforce that law.

David said:

Well, in the absence of any evidence that any of this social engineering might make anything better for anyone, one thing that at least *correlates* with a lower divorce rate is marriage equality. Massachusetts seems to have one of the lowest divorce rates in the nation. Makes sense.

Jack said:

First, David, ONE data point is NEVER statistically relevant. Single data points are called anecdotal evidence.

Second, you might also notice that Massachusetts has one of the lowest MARRIAGE rates in the nation, so it stands to reason that they would have one of the lowest divorce rates, too.

Betty Black said:

That's right Jack and Gay marriage has ACCUALLY lowered that rate, amazing huh? Gay folks stay together and have a HEALTHER marriage than us straight folk...hmmm says something doesn’t it.

Jack said:

That's really amazing, Betty, considering that the data provided go up to 2004, which is when Massachusetts started having same-sex marriages.

David said:

Jack. Please. Who do you think this is? There is a substantially lower average rate of divorce (yes, controlled for other factors) in those states which have some form of legal recognition for same sex couples, as compared to those states which have passed some sort of constitutional amendment to prevent such recognition. This has been widely reported.

Betty: It says something about valuing what you had to fight for the right to have - as opposed to what any little Britney and some random guy can have for nothing.

My recommendation for those who actually care about healthy marriage is to work at making it harder for everyone to get married. The waiting period isn't a half bad idea. But understand that this approach will be useless without education in recognizing the characteristics of healthy relationships. Some of the bright lights in the GA actually voted against that in the last session, btw.

Jack said:

How about some real data:

Hmmm.... Male-male couples were 50% more likely to divorce than male-female couples, and female-female couples were 167% more likely to divorce.

Jack said:


The people in Massachusetts do not appreciate marriage, so they allow gay marriage and they do not get married as much as people in other states. Since they don't get married, they don't get divorced.

Why don't you provide statistics that show how many divorces there were PER MARRIED COUPLE? Then you would have something worth taking about.

Betty Black said:

No Jack wrong again, Massachusetts does appreciate marriage they just don’t stand for discrimination. There are numbers (up to 2006) that show the divorce rate in MA is still the lowest in the country. As for people in MA not getting married as much as in other states? Well that just proves that they do appreciate marriage, they only get married when they know its right, the result, less divorces.

Wise man said:

Marriage in the state of Massachusetts is stronger than ever, but only for college educated adults. The real threat to marriage is poverty and lack of education. The real threat is lack of affordable health care for low and middle income families. Research shows that nothing will destroy a marriage more effectively than money issues. I don't understand how my marriage is threatened by gay couples, or any couples for that matter, marrying? If my marriage is threatened by another couple marrying, then it seems to me that my relationship can't be that strong to begin with. Perhaps Jack should worry more about his own marriage and less about loving gay couples who merely want to honor and deepen their commitment to each other. Perhaps he should be less concerned with writing discrimination into the Constitution and instead follow the words of Jesus who said "Judge not, lest ye be judged." Not to mention "love thy neighbor."

Betty Black said:

Jack, look where your research came from, an ultra right wing radical extremist group; read more on their site, you’ll see what I mean.

I bet you dollars for doughnuts if I went to a pro-gay website I could find numbers that show same-sex couples have fewer divorces than strait couples. Come on Jack, let’s get real, ok?

Jack said:

Betty -- the source is irrelevant. Attacking the source when you cannot attack the facts is called an "ad hominem attack."

You say you have sources, put them up.

Betty Black said:

When you start putting up "FACTS" Jack, I will.

stay puft said:

Hey Jack,

I did address the waiting period idea when I said that most engagements last longer than a year as it is. Although I'll admit that it's one of your better ideas ;)

also, talk about torte reform, just how does a government enforce an adultery law? In Virginia, what's the legal definition of adultery? how do you prove that? I'm picturing a tax-dollar-salary cop sitting in a darkened car holding a pair of high-powered binoculars and one hand and his, ahem, donuts in the other...

anyway, re: "ad hominem attack" there is such a thing as a crap source. If there wasn't, we'd never need to cite anything!

Jack said:

Wise Man -- I did not bring up this foolishness about gay marriage in Massachusetts' lowering the divorce rate. Betty did. So why don't we drop that canard and move on?

Moving on to money issues, income is certainly an indicator of divorce. So is education level. Education level, in fact, correlates even better. It is the education level, not the field of study, that seems to affect the divorce rate.

This is an excellent article from The Economist:

Now, the poor have NEVER had access to "affordable health care," at least since the time of Doc Holli day. The result of trying to level incomes is simply to make everyone poor. Before you go spouting off about "Universal Health Care" or some other socialist nonsense, read The Wealth of Nations, by Adam Smith, or, at the very least, Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell -- preferably both. Until you have read these books and understand them, you do not know enough about economics to discuss the issue logically.

Finally, Wise Man, you do not seem to be wise enough to understand the difference between judging and admonishing. We are told not to judge, but we are also commanded "teach and admonish one another." (Colossians 3:16)

Jack said:

Betty, you haven't put up a single fact yet.

Puffalump, how does a government enforce prostitution laws? If a married man is caught with a prostitute.... If a man comes home to find his wife in bed with another man....

Neither you nor Betty has done anything to show that either IMAPP is a crap source or that the study is faulty. That you disagree with the goals of a source does not make it a "crap source."

To establish it as a "crap source," you need to show a pattern of poor reasearch or outright lies, much as we have done with zimzo.

stay puft said:

all I said is that crap sources exist.

fine if you want to refuse to discuss economics with anyone who hasn't read some AEI pundit's book. We can take about statistics. In the past you've been quick to point out that gays in America have a higher average income than the general population. Now you're defending the positions that income is a predictor of divorce (how you separate income from education in this analysis is unclear to me) and that homosexuals are up to 167x more likely to get divorced.

you can't have all three!

on narth, oh come on! those guys have an expressed agenda to push for an understanding of homosexuality as a mental disorder. that's a whole different topic.

Betty Black said:

Here you go Jack... data from the US Vital Statistical Reports

The institution of marriage in Massachusetts, as measured by the rate of divorce, has not been healthier in at least half a century regardless of dire predictions of Christian Right leaders and Catholic Bishops. But the states that have taken aggressive action against same sex marriage, have not done nearly as well during the two year period of legal same sex marriage in Massachusetts.
The preliminary data from 2004 and the first 11 months of 2005 -- from the 17 US states which have provided data on divorce for 2004 and 2005 and whose voters also passed state constitutional amendents prohibiting same sex marriage -- presents a striking picture : the group of US states arguably most hostile to divorce, those which have passed both state laws and also state constitutional amendments prohibiting same sex marriage, lag dramatically in terms of divorce rate improvement when compared to same sex marriage friendly states.
Among those US states that have no laws on the books specifically prohibiting same sex marriage or civil unions -- WY, NM, NY, MA, RI, CT, NJ, MD, VT -- the average divorce rate drop ( unadjusted for population changes ) was -8.74%. No states in this group had divorce rate increases in 2004 and 2005.
Among those US states that are most opposed to same sex marriage which have also provided divorce data for the time period -- ( alaska ? ) AR, KS, KY, MI, MS, MO, NE, NV, ND, OH, OK, OR, UT, TX -- the average divorce rate ( unadjusted for population changes ) for 2004 and the first 11 months of 2005 increased 1.75%. This group contains 4 of the 5 states with the highest divorce rate increases in the US during 2004 and the first 11 months of 2005.
( states in the second group may have on average a higher population growth rate but that will not change the almost 10.5% gap between the two groups more than a few percentage points )
Meanwhile, the one state in the United States Of America that has legal same sex marriage, Massachusetts, will be among the top ten states - or better - with the largest drop in divorce rates in America during 2004 and 2005.
If leaders of the religious right are correct that there is a connection between same sex marriage and the health of the institution of marriage, then they will certainly want to become advocates of marriage equality. The continued lead of Massachusetts as the lowest divorce rate leader in the US would indicate that same sex marriage helps to preserve rather than destroy traditional heterosexual marriages.
Further still, the latest data indicates that support or tolerance of same sex marriage correlates with the low divorce rates leaders of the Christian right advocate.
Same sex families are thriving alongside traditional nuclear families -- and the Bay State is leaving "gay marriage" averse, high divorce rate states behind.
[ primary data source : ]

Jack said:

Puffalump --

"In the past you've been quick to point out that gays in America have a higher average income than the general population."

Per capita, yes, since they rarely have children.

"Now you're defending the positions that income is a predictor of divorce"

Do you deny this?

"how you separate income from education in this analysis is unclear to me"

Income is how much a person earns. His education level is measured by whether he has competed High School, and what level of college degree he has earned. This is distinct from income, because different degrees are worth different amounts in the marketplace. A person with a degree in Electrical Engineering generally earns more than one with a degree in Music. Nonetheless, some, especially women, earn nothing, even with an Engineering degree, because they are how with the kids. That is why education level correlates better with divorce rates than does income.

"and that homosexuals are up to 167x more likely to get divorced."

That was 167%, not 16,700%. Correlation does not imply causation, as one is taught in Introductory Statistics. It is probably the culture in which one grows up that is the greatest predictor of divorce. The same culture that sees single-motherhood as the norm (more than 60% of Black children are born to single mothers) does not ingrain in their children the idea that they WILL attend college. It is possible that there is another cause, not reflected in income and education, that raises the homosexual divorce rate.

"you can't have all three!"

Yes, you can -- if you do not confuse correlation with causation.

"on narth, oh come on! those guys have an expressed agenda to push for an understanding of homosexuality as a mental disorder."

So what -- it was so classified before the push by homosexuals to get it changed. It was NOT changed by new research, but by political pressure.

Jack said:

Betty -- thank you, but please post links. Just copy the URL into the comment.

The analysis still uses divorce rates PER CAPITA, which is completely useless. One must compare divorce rates with the number of married couples before it can start to have any significance. Most marriages that end in divorce do so within the first 10 years. The best measure, therefore, is to look at the number of divorces of couples married less than ten years.

As I have pointed out, the marriage rate in Massachusetts is one of the lowest in the nation:

So it is to be expected that the divorce rate is also low.

Robin said:

Divorce is contrary to "the common benefit, protection, and security of the people"? Try telling that to a victim of domestic violence Jack.

stay puft said:

Jack, I got the impression that you were making a causal argument. Since "It is probably the culture in which one grows up that is the greatest predictor of divorce" you will agree that Swedish divorce statistics are irrelevant.

on the classification of homosexuality in the DSM: science can't prove that something is a mental disorder. There tends to be a hereditary component to "mental disorders." All that could be proven is that homosexuals are "differently wired," which in fact would imply that they're born the way they are, or at least born with a predisposition toward homosexuality.

Whether something is classified as a mental disorder isn't social matter, not a scientific one. We classify OCD as a mental disorder because it can hamper a person's ability to function in society. The main obstacle facing homosexuals seems to be that some people keep insisting that there's something wrong with them.

There's no science that can prove that homosexuality is a mental disorder because all science can prove is that gay people are in fact gay. Whether that's classified as a disorder or not is dependent on cultural attitudes. It'd be like saying that baseball is objectively better than football and so anyone who prefers football is suffers from a specific kind of mental disorder, or better yet, it'd be the same thing if being black had once been classified as a debilitating skin condition.

and who the hell is narth to make that call, anyway?

Betty Black said:

AMEN stay puft, AMEN!

Chris M said:

No Jack, the political pressure was from our side, I really think that minds are starting to change; how I hate the gays. What can we do next?

Betty Black said:

YOU can start by not being so ignorant and bigoted; your remarks about the hatred you have towards gays is simply appalling!

Betty Black said:

Oh and you're right, minds ARE starting to change, they are opening up, you should try it!

jacob said:

The term 'normal' as applied to human behavior is somewhat recent. It is the result of psychoanalysts applying mathematical-statistical terminology to humans.

In a Gaussian distribution the center of the bell curve as defined by the 2nd moment or variance, and is referred to as the 'norm' of the sample. Before all this behavior was classified in non mathematical parlance (good, evil, strange, noble , kind etc).

By this thinking any behavior that is not observed in 67% of the population at large could termed as not in the norm or 'not normal'. I believe the psychologist widened this a bit to include the 2nd standard deviation (95%) of the population in the norm. A totally arbitrary demarcation. Kevin would have a better handle on this part.

Either way under this thinking homosexual behavior was classified as abnormal because it is mathematically a 'two-sigma outlier' with respect to sexual behavior. Whether this qualifies it as a mental disorder is up to the psychological profession. Actually I think Kevin would also have a better handle on this part. You there Kevin?

stay puft said:

Well, that's my point more or less: "mental disorder" or "abnormal" is arbitrarily defined.

In everyday parlance, "normal" has a connotation of "acceptability." ie. the statement "It's perfectly normal for a child to have an imaginary friend" would not be interpreted as meaning that at least 95% of children have imaginary friends.

Suffice it to say that whether something is statistically abnormal and whether it is a disorder are two different issues. If some behavior has to be exhibited by 95% of the population to be considered normal, than most things would have to be considered abnormal, everything from liking anchovies to right-handedness, which is only exhibited in 90% of the population. It does NOT follow that these behaviors are the result of mental disorders or, more to the point, that they need to be cured.

Kevin said:

SPMM, it's not that some behavior has to be exhibited by 95% of the population, by Jacob's discussion and calculation re:within the 2nd standard deviation. Only that the behavior exists within those two standard deviations.

As to the extension of what's "normal" beyond one standard deviation, the meaning of the word "normal", I'll leave that discussion for when I get back from the 9-5.

jacob said:

I would say that in light of standard statistical jargon homosexual behavior, being a two sigma behavioral outlier, is most definitely abnormal. For a given behavior to be strictly normal it has to be something observed in 67% of the sample population.

By this yard stick globally, blonds are also abnormal in that black hair is the norm; as are people with something other than brown eyes.

Whether or not homosexual behavior, while certainly abnormal, is a mental disorder is a matter I leave to professionals.

stay puft said:

"By this yard stick globally, blonds are also abnormal in that black hair is the norm; as are people with something other than brown eyes."

Thanks Jacob, I think we agree that whether some behavior is statistically normal is irrelevant. Still, in the vernacular, the word "abnormal" has a connotation of incorrect or wrong.

"Whether or not homosexual behavior, while certainly abnormal, is a mental disorder is a matter I leave to professionals."

Well the professionals say it's not a disorder. Are you willing to accept that?

David said:

"So what -- it was so classified before the push by homosexuals to get it changed. It was NOT changed by new research, but by political pressure."

No, this is incorrect. The seminal research that led to the removal was conducted by Evelyn Hooker in the '40's. It was, in fact, anti-gay political pressure to retain the "diagnosis" in spite of what the research showed that resulted in the long delay - until 1973. And a few, incredibly, are still complaining about it.

The "push" to which you refer was to have the DSM actually reflect the state of knowledge in the mental health field, rather than a political agenda. What's wrong with that?

jacob said:

I never said homosexuality was a mental disorder. We are in agreement on this point.

Now, that it once was classified as such is an interesting historical footnote. Frankly I think it was part if the psychological communities ongoing trend to pathologize all statistically
aberrant behavior.

That homosexuality is no longer considered a mental disorder is nearly as irrelevant
as the thinking that made it a disorder. Can we agree on that as well?

jacob said:

While I see that homosexual behavior's original classification as a mental disorder as bad science, I see the science used to overturn this classification as equally flawed, justified or not.

The psychological community still has a bad habit of see pathology were none exists. I remember some hack trying to turn 'conservative outlook' into a pathology back in the 90's. We have politics sneaking into this science, and that is something we all need to guard against.

Furthermore the science of understanding human behavior is in its infancy. It took humanity 7000+ years of looking at the sky to finally figure out that the earth is not at the center of the universe, or solar system. The solar system is a far far simpler dynamical system than the working of the human mind and soul.

The current mathematics we have, vaunted as it is, is not sufficient to even begin to model with any kind of fidelity the thought processes of the human brain. The soul is probably beyond mathematical description. In most fields, the science is only as good as the mathematics it rests upon.

Folks like Kevin use brute statistics to model linear trends in order to simply classify behavior; the power to predict is limited. The ability to fix is also limited. This usually implies one does not have a sophisticated 'plant' to which a fit can be made and control or rehabilitation enacted. Correct me if I am wrong Kevin.

Kevin said:

Oh my goodness, Jacob. I came home from work today and took a nap because I have no air conditioning and last night was absolutely brutal and I wasn't able to sleep. Then, after my nap I was going to go running till my housemate encouraged me to go play tennis instead. I need to go grocery shopping because I'm out of food but I need to take a shower before I can do that cuz I just got done playing an unimpressive set of tennis. And I happened to stop by again and noticed that there you are calling me out again and I don't want to imply that I'm ignoring you. So I'll bite.

"Frankly I think it was part if the psychological communities ongoing trend to pathologize all statistically
aberrant behavior." As far as what I know about the previous classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder it had nothing to do at the time with the ongoing trend to pathologize. If it were a case of such you would have seen homosexuality becoming classified as more and more pathological.

Is there an ongoing trend to classify all human behavior? I think you might be on to something there. You can call it bad science because it IS! In fact, it's so convoluted already by politics and money from drug companies it's ridiculous. I think I mentioned to Jack in an email once about this supposed "RLS" bs. But before you know it it will probably be in the next DSM.

Listen, somebody found a drug that seems to affect depression, say, somewhat more significantly than a placebo. Well that's progress. And when the patent on it came close to running out they also noticed it seemed to alleviate some symptoms of PMS in women. So they change the name so they can keep the market on the drug and work towards creating some diagnosis like, say, premenstrual dysphoric disorder and we'll call the drug, say, Sarafem and bam! We got a winner! "My dear, it appears you suffer from. . ." PMS, basically. Sorry to offend anyone who might be taking Sarafem, btw. I am not a licensed (or unlicensed) psychologist, btw, so my opinion basically means jack.

At any rate, the business as such is constantly looking to legitimize itself and in many ways it's not different from the medical world. In fact, many of the "mental" disorders correlate to ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes meaning that they are found both in medical and mental health literature. And seriously, the medicalization of mental health disorders is not such a bad thing. Without it you get theories that tend to be more about the theorist than reality. You get some incredibly quacky stuff; the self-help industry, for instance! What a crock of shite! You also get theories like Freud's who developed a super-"sexual" theory at a time when sexual repression was at a peak. Rogers had unconditional regard. . .the list goes on.

You WANT statistically based practices, I don't think anyone disagrees. And you know what I've heard you find quite often when it comes to "therapy"? That it doesn't matter what style or theoretical framework you're working under. The remarkably Godly aspect of it, in my belief, is that it seems only to matter the bond and relationship between therapist and client (given that practice is ethical. . .obviously no client will change for the better if the therapist is exploiting or abusing them!).

"Furthermore the science of understanding human behavior is in its infancy." You won't find me disagreeing.

"Folks like Kevin use brute statistics to model linear trends in order to simply classify behavior". That's true but it has practical implications. Actually, folks like my housemate compile and use statistics in order to simply classify behavior. I do something altogether different and bizarre. But he would argue that the power to predict is not as limited as one might think, but that's usually a discussion that ends with me throwing my plate of food at him.

"The ability to fix is limited." hmmmmmmmmm. I plead the 5th. Actually the ability to fix is limited to the clinician being worth their salt, the client being an exceptional human being, medication where it's warranted, and practices based on statistics. That's a lot to ask of anyone.

"This usually implies one does not have a sophisticated 'plant' to which a fit can be made and control or rehabilitation enacted." I'm not a hundred percent sure what's meant by this. The hospital milieu can be a fine place to bring someone back to reality, and a combination of what are affectionately termed PRP/RRP's seem to provide a good setting for keeping things from getting worse for many people, although I'd get run out of town for saying so.

But I enjoy sticking to the clear-cut disorders like anything starting with "schizo". I've seen some pretty incredible stuff go on with people who have that class of illness and from what I've heard, I'd be even more blown away if I had been working with those individuals 35 years ago and saw the difference now. I've only been watching the progress since 2000!

Oh, and homosexuality doesn't cut it in my book of mental disorders. But that's fodder for another discussion. It's 8:45 now and I've GOT to get some dinner.

David said:

"We have politics sneaking into this science, and that is something we all need to guard against.

Furthermore the science of understanding human behavior is in its infancy."

Both true. The point is that we continue to learn new things, and have to integrate them into the way we understand the world. That process continues.

stay puft said:

ok Jacob, I guess I was continuing down the road I began with Jack (that's Ja-"liberlaism is a mental disorder"-ck) before he headed out to Nova Scotia, presumably to load up on prescription drugs


jacob said:

With respect to 'fix' ...
In orthopedics a broken bone can be fixed nowadays, almost regardless of the extent of the break.

In the non medical world a mechanical or electrical device can be repaired.

Why? The processes of these systems are well understood. They can be controlled and repaired. Last I read, the human mind is not well understood, and therefore is not readily subject to repair.

The day your profession can handle depression with the same aplomb as a broken bone being mended by an orthopedist, is the time when the science will be mature (or at least not infantile).

That is all I was saying. I think we are in agreement, yes?

Kevin said:

Jacob, I believe I've already said as much. You find me being more healthily cynical than supportive of "the industry", generally, is my point.

jacob said:

I thought so, it was a little hard to tell from reading your comment. You were obviously hungry and suffering from the effects of low blood sugar, and therefore sounding more maniacal than usual. I say that in a positive and life affirming way of course. ;-)

Kevin said:

Indeeeed. There is a bit of business we'll have to get into about:

"The symptoms in Criterion B cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functiong."

at some point in time. . .

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