Thursday, June 11, 2009

Autism: The Extremely Male Brain?

I read a good article in a recent copy of Forbes on Simon Baron-Cohen, the author of The Essential Difference: Male And Female Brains And The Truth About Autism. The article asks the questions, "What caused the explosion in autism diagnoses?" and "Why are boys more affected by this disorder?" Baron-Cohen's answers provide a different way of looking at autism:

Baron-Cohen has been the first to advance and test some groundbreaking ideas in the field. But as for what has caused the increase in reported cases, he doesn't put undiscovered toxins at the top of the list of suspects. "A good part" of the rise, he says, can be explained by better diagnosis and an expanded definition of autism.

Since autism was first described in 1943, the definition has shifted. Doctors have come to agree that autism is characterized by poor social skills, communication difficulties and strong, narrow interests and repetitive behavior. Once upon a time it was understood as categorical: Either you were autistic or you weren't. Starting in the late 1990s, Baron-Cohen advanced the idea of an autism spectrum on which everyone falls, just as we would fall on a spectrum of height. As he sees it, we're all a little bit autistic. ...

Baron-Cohen is responsible for spreading the idea that the autistic brain is basically an extreme version of the male brain. He observed that people with autism were better at things for which men show more aptitude than women (like systemizing) and worse at things for which women show more aptitude than men (like empathizing). It's noteworthy that boys are diagnosed with autism four times as often as girls. "There was this massive clue that nature was giving us that autism might be in some way sex-linked," he says.


Baron-Cohen (his first cousin is Sasha Baron Cohen of Borat fame) doesn't believe we should see autism as an epidemic. "The same genes that make a person good in a systemizing occupation, like math, physics or engineering, may also contribute to autism...Eradicating autism could mean eliminating genes from the gene pool that are probably key to such abilities as doing complex mathematics."

What do you think, should autism be "eradicated" as some parent groups believe or is it simply the result of an extremely male brain that does not require being "fixed?"

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56 Comments:

Blogger Laura(southernxyl) said...

There's no doubt that the definition of autism has changed. It used to be used to describe people who were unable to function in society at all or even to care for themselves. That probably wasn't realistic, because it probably does occur on a spectrum, but I don't know how useful it is to label people who are functional and happy, just a bit different.

I had an online conversation a few years back with a man who said that he had always been an introvert, and that his parents had always been embarrassed by what they perceived as his backwardness. He never felt that they approved of him as a person or that they accepted him. When Asperger's began to be talked about they decided that that was what he had, and he thought that they felt both relieved and vindicated - see, we told you there was something wrong with you. And it distressed him that they had to find a label to put on him rather than just to accept that he was who he was.

7:46 AM, June 11, 2009  
Blogger Doom said...

It honestly sounds like you are talking about a geek gene or genes. And, perhaps that is exactly what it is. Something I noted, while going through engineering school, was that some of those who succeeded seemed to exhibit more of these traits in time. As school intensified, they became more and more geekish. And yet many professors, though not all, seemed to find their way back from geekieness (I suppose as they finished school and found more to life or more time for life?).

I suppose what I am suggesting, at least for more able geeks (or autistic-lites) is that there might not only be a spectrum, but also variability due to what is happening in that guys life. For my part, I wonder if part of my problem was my inability to become more geeky. I am bad enough (good enough), on a standard geek scale, I suppose. But I was not able (or willing to some degree) to go that far. Though I did have other issues.

Just thinking out loud. No worries, I'll shut out the lights when I leave the empty auditorium.

8:10 AM, June 11, 2009  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

One problem with the ever-expanding definitions of all things psychological is that once something is labeled, it becomes lucrative and therefore becomes desirable (for some) to have more of.

A variant of that is the ability to label anyone you don't care for at the moment and then medicate them away.

Gotta go now. It's the time they told me I must take my Ritalen.

9:56 AM, June 11, 2009  
Blogger Servius said...

I have to say I have mixed emotions about your question. I have two autistic boys (PDD-NOS). Ages 11 and 8.

There are times they are more challenging than other children and there are times they are more delightful than other children.

I would hate to lose their unique perspective on things. At the same time, things that should be easy for them aren't and they will have extraordinary challenges as they grow up.

Eradicate, no. Ameliorate, yes.

9:58 AM, June 11, 2009  
Blogger GawainsGhost said...

I think any definition of autism is a lot like that of ADD (attention deficit disorder). Bullshit.

Back in the day, when a boy was hyperactive, you made him run around in the backyard, mow the lawn, whatever, something to work off his extra energy. Now, they drug him into oblivion.

This whole charade is just another example of diagnosing any and all male behavior as diseased, when it isn't being criminalized that is.

10:15 AM, June 11, 2009  
Blogger Ern said...

One problem is that it's not possible to diagnose autism the way one can diagnose, say, diabetes. Nobody is more aware of that problem than Dr. Baron-Cohen himself, who has an on-line test for autism, for which he cautions that a high score does not necessarily indicate autism. That situation lends itself to a definition of autism that can expand or contract over time; as Oligonicella notes, economic forces frequently mean that definitions expand.

As it happens, I score well into the autistic range on the on-line test, but nobody thinks that I'm autistic. Eccentric, perhaps, but not autistic. I'm also evidence of Dr. Baron-Cohen's observation that traits that are sometimes diagnosed as symptoms of autism are desirable. I was a high achiever when I was in school (graduated summa cum laude from college at age nineteen, went on to take a graduate degree from a highly-ranked university), and I'm quite a good software developer, musician, and mechanic.

I rather suspect that, if there had been no genes for traits that are now sometimes characterized as symptoms of autism, we'd still be living in caves.

10:27 AM, June 11, 2009  
Blogger Rob Fedders said...

The differences between the male and female aren’t limited to things such as autism, and no, I don’t believe an attempt should be made to eradicate or minimize it – society would suffer enormously if we did this.

As I’ve said before, males and females differ in the manner of spikes vs. rhythms. It’s everywhere.

I’ve read before that genetically, males “mutate” more than females – male mutation pushes evolutionary forces forward while females are the “protectors” of the good genes that get developed, which is why they mutate less.

In regard to sexuality, it’s fair to say that males have “spikes” of sexuality while women have “constant rhythms.” Weininger discusses this in Sex and Character. Women’s sexuality is “always on” but it operates at a lower frequency than men’s sexuality. Women are always “kind of thinking about sex” (or being sexy) whereas males are either thinking about sex intensely or not at all. Women have erogenous zones located all over her body – in fact, her whole body (and mind) is an erogenous zone but they operate on a lower frequency than males, who have far less but waaayyyy more intense erogenous zones. A woman’s entire body is involved in sex, while only certain, but highly intense parts of the male’s body are involved sexually.

When you look at “emotions,” we always hear that women are more emotional than males. This is not quite true. Women have more kinds of emotions than men. But the fewer emotions that men have are far more intense. It’s kind of like the Eskimos that have a bazillion names for different kinds of snow (slushy, crispy, powdery etc) even though they only get a few inches of snow a year in the Arctic desert. However, the East Coast only has one word for “snow”, but they get a pile of it dumped on them each year. We see this when our man-hating media likes to laugh at males for not being able to let go and move on from an ended relationship as well as women. Women feel more emotions related to “love” but men love more intensely. I suspect that this has quite a bit to do with why males commit suicide so much more often than females. What is the underlying motivator of suicide, after all, than an overwhelming sense of deep emotions and despair?

There are more men than women who are both geniuses and mentally handicapped, and yet, the average IQ of both sexes is pretty much the same, but the “mutations” are far more prevalent in the males. There are also more men capable of great evil (Hitler) but at the same time, there are more men capable of great goodness (Gandhi). Hitler and Gandhi both come from the same place – you cannot have one without the other.

Men’s linear thinking brain is not superior to the female’s multi-tasking brain, they are equal in value. But, it is the intensity of the male’s brain that has given us most of the things that push civilization forward. For example: AH has a friend who spent six years studying locust legs. The legs! This is where mankind gets its intense knowledge from, and it is this knowledge that leads to inventions and discoveries and so on – all of mankind benefits enormously from this. Men love challenges and knotty problems. Lol! Look at me. I have no idea why I have spent so many thousands of hours studying and reading about sex-differences and the gender war, but I am driven to do so, without pay and, lol, certainly without reward. Men can consume themselves with a problem and they won’t stop until they figure it out.

These things should not be attempted to be “androgynized.” It is these “mutations” that discovered Newton’s gravity, Pasteur’s germs, that created the arch, that built aqueducts, that discovers cures for disease, that created heavier than air flight, that put man on the moon… where would civilization be without this feature of men? I think we’d still be living in grass huts.

10:28 AM, June 11, 2009  
Blogger Rob Fedders said...

This "spike vs. rhythm" thing often even translates directly into the physical realm.

For example: The male nipple and the female nipple both have about the same amount of nerve endings. But, as a woman develops in puberty, her nipples become larger than a male's, and thus her nipples become desensitized, because of nerve endings being dispersed over a larger area, which enables her to breastfeed. If her nipples were as intensely sensitive as a male's, breastfeeding would drive her insane.

This difference between male and female is almost everywhere that you look - and it is amazing that it isn't studied more in regard to gender differences, and that it is not considered to be of the utmost importance in making a truce in "the Gender War."

11:35 AM, June 11, 2009  
Blogger GawainsGhost said...

By the way, this same author, Baron-Cohen, wrote an interesting book titled The Essential Difference, which discusses the physical differences between the male and female brain. But he misses the salient point.

The brain is composed of two hemispheres. In the female, there is 150% more connective tissue between the two hemispheres than there is in a male. Why?

Well, if you look at the eyeball, females have 150% more rods and cones (light receptive molecules) than males do. The same is true for the other senses. Basically, females' senses are 150% more sensative and acute than are males'. This is why females can perceive a much wider range of colors, or scents or tastes or sounds or tactiles, and distinguish between subtle shades, than a male can.

It's also why the female brain has more connective tissue between the hemispheres. Because she is experiencing 150% more sensations, she must have 150% more connective tissue to process them.

Thus, it's like I say. Men live in Kansas. Women live in Oz.

12:09 PM, June 11, 2009  
Blogger Bolie Williams IV said...

GawainsGhost - I assure you that ADD is real even if often overdiagnosed. I took a broad spectrum of tests and discussed the results with my therapist and have a pretty good understanding of how ADD has affected my life. It's not crippling and I'm learning to cope but medication definitely helps. ADD is not just hyperactivity, it's a specific set of symptoms that does not even always include hyperactivity.

1:09 PM, June 11, 2009  
Blogger Nom dePlume said...

If autism is a spectrum, not a single condition, then the question about whether to eradicate it is meaningless, since there is no "it" to eradicate.

The real questions are

1) Whether a particular person's point on the spectrum is such that his quality of life is significantly harmed. Does he (or his parents, in the case of a child) see the harm, and want a much-improved quality of life?

2) Can any treatment can be designed to alleviate this harm?

If the answer to both questions is "yes," then it makes sense for him to have that treatment.

These are the same questions one would ask about many mental disorders (such as depression). The only novelty lies in applying them to autism, for which (sadly) reliable treatment is not available.

1:28 PM, June 11, 2009  
Blogger Vicki said...

Fascinating information Rob, thanks for the taking time to explain these things.

2:07 PM, June 11, 2009  
Blogger Master Doh-San said...

A very basic question is: What exactly do "they" wish to eradicate? The prospects are chilling.

Biological gender differences simply cannot be eradicated, no matter how hard "they" try.

2:08 PM, June 11, 2009  
Blogger Pete said...

The $64K question, Master Doh-San.

It is simple - it is one more attempt to define "female" behavior as the Gold Standard, and to define male behavior as deviant.

2:29 PM, June 11, 2009  
Blogger Joe said...

There is an inverse relationship between diagnoses of autism and diagnoses of mental retardation. When you add the incidence of both together, you end up with a number that is remarkably constant.

To be really blunt; parents don't want a retarded child, so doctors given them an autistic child.

3:44 PM, June 11, 2009  
Blogger Ken said...

Is it my imagination or is maleness, the innate traits displayed by boys and men are slowly being categorized as a psychological disorder?

It seems like only extreme personalities should be labeled as being a disorder. Every year, though, the psychological profession weakens those boarders, expands the definitions, so a significant proportion of the population, particularly the male population, is defined as having some sort of disorder.

This is a corrosive and toxic force currently at work in America and western civilization. It's infantilizing and insulting to be labeled when only a mild departure from the norm.

After all there's no money in treating the extreme personalities, but if you weaken the definition of a disorder to be expansive enough to include a significant proportion of the population, there are millions to be made. Psychologists suck.

6:26 PM, June 11, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

I agree Ken, and when you go down deeper and deeper to pathologize things that used to simply be quirks or slightly different ways of behaving (that don't hurt anyone), you also get more and more into the area of the defining psychologists' personal opinions.

And I would certainly not want to be measured by those - I think some psychologists (present company excluded) have the combination of a very high opinion of themselves and an average level of intelligence. I honestly think that Ph.D. psychologists are probably on the level of Bachelor's Degree people in electrical engineering. In any case, they are NOT on the same level as Ph.D. people in the hard sciences, although the psychologists probably think they are far above them.

Kind of bizarre.

Maybe a new neurosis / slight mental illness can be "being a psychologist". Let's see them implement that one.

6:37 PM, June 11, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

Actually 2 variants: The kind who think they are especially intelligent, and the kind who think they are the New Massiah, saving the world with their good works.

Both are based on massively swollen egos.

6:43 PM, June 11, 2009  
Blogger Jummy Stewart said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:48 PM, June 11, 2009  
Blogger Jimmy Stewart said...

Yes, boys do in fact get the short end of the stick in so many ways. They appear 'mentally ill' in comparison to girls because boys take far, far longer to mature and of course this is the only reason boys are labeled this way.

Yes, girls mature very quickly, but I seriously doubt anyone including Dr. Helen herself has taken the 3 or 4 minutes to think about the fact animals mature very quickly as well, because nature hasn't much invested in animals mentally to require a lengthy maturation process. Thus the fact that girls mature very quickly is quite the opposite of a compliment.

Furthermore, the relatively 'perfect' behavior of girls is short lived.. as girls turn to women and reach child bearing age, their hormonal imbalance leads to the severe mental imbalance that lasts the remaining sixty years of their average lifespan.

Irony.

8:11 PM, June 11, 2009  
Blogger Rob Fedders said...

I think what we are going to see is a massive discrediting of all things academic. The internet is going to change the world in the same way that the printing press changed the world – except 100 times more so.

It’s why I have to laugh at all the fembots cackling that women are “winning” because of their numbers in slackademia. Ummm… so what? Because of the nature of the male and the female, it just simply doesn’t matter. There may be a time (like now) when males are forced down by unfair academic discrimination and subsequent academic requirements in certain fields, but it really doesn’t matter. Males have always been the ones who have adapted the easiest. It has always been this way, and it always will be. As it sits, people should bring their boys back to the basics of reedin’, righten n’ rithmatick. Turn the rest of it off, as education has been undermined and subverted by the ideas of Gramsci, and later, Dewey. Send your boys to trade school when they are young, secure them with a job that can get them $35/hr or more (sometimes far more), and let them self-educate from there when they are ready. Let them start their own plumbing business out of a van and charge through the nose to the various MBA’s and Ph D’s that are struggling like the dickens to make it in bloated and continually proven useless professions. When 100 people can tell you how to fix your life, but only one person can fix your sink… who makes the most money?

It’s pretty hard to keep the male spirit down. In fact, academia has always been kind of a hindrance as much as it has been a boon – probably more than not. Socrates, Jesus, Copernicus, Galileo, Pasteur, Edison – all people who have been persecuted or ridiculed by the academia of the day. Einstein came up with his theory of relativity while working at a patent office, while having almost zero contact with the physics community – by the way, he only had a four year degree, and he even failed entrance examinations to some secondary schools before that.

The Wright brothers both dropped out of high-school, and they ended up challenging 100 year old academic assertions about the “lift equation” and proved it wrong.

Lol! It was never education that caused men to become the majority of inventors, authors, playwrights, artists, sculptures, adventurers and so on – This is a vicious lie promoted by feminists in their campaign to dismantle the evil patriarchy. It came from something different than mere education. It comes from something deep from within the male spirit. But, feminists are Marxists who wish to dismantle Western Civilization, so mankind can be remolded via totalitarianism into creating “Heaven on Earth.” What do you expect from such kind of psychos? I suspect that men will teach the world a thing or two about the male spirit as time goes on… the question will be whether they continue to view women as their allies or not.

8:53 PM, June 11, 2009  
Blogger Rob Fedders said...

Another interesting thing, in regard to Weininger, is the way he defines the “Male Principle” and the “Female Principle.” According to Weininger, each principle represents “the ideal,” which does not exist in reality. As in, no man or woman is 100% male or female. The way Weininger talks about such things, both men and women have the Male Principle and the Female Principle within them. (That should make all the “not ALL women are like that” crowd pleased, eh?) This coincides with the diagram of the Yin and the Yang. Notice there is a dot of the opposite within each half? That is the opposite’s principle existing within the dominant principle.

What happens is that the male principle is dominant in males, and the female principle is dominant in females… how dominant is variable within each individual person.

Interestingly, I have heard that even in women who excel at the STEM subjects, which are typically male dominated subjects, that these women also tend to exhibit other traits of “maleness” like shorter hair, more mannish dress, pocket protectors etc. I don’t know if this is true or not, but I have read that it is even more pronounced in women who are considered “geniuses.” But, I only know one true genius, and he is a male and a surgeon, with an IQ in the mid 150’s. My personal study sample is a little small. Lol! We have some pretty good debates though. He can trounce me, but we have fun.

But, this seems to coincide with what Weininger writes about. Weininger, and others from a century or more ago, have always recognized that SOME women are indeed on par in certain areas with the men, and they all assert that these women ought to be encouraged to rise to the fullest of their abilities. There has always been a segment of the female population that ran with the hunters. Think Calamity Jane. The thing is, Calamity Jane wasn’t respected by the men because of affirmative action. They respected her because she shut up and shoveled her share of the gravel until she gained their respect – the same way that men gain respect amongst eachother. It would be fair to say that Calamity Jane had a fair amount of “male principle” inside of her, I think.

The problem comes in that feminists, and academia, have been lying to the world and telling us that ALL women are like Calamity Jane. They aren’t! The majority of women have no desire to be anything like Calamity Jane – nor should they be forced to. Most women have a greater female principle, and desire to follow that principle and the attributes it affords them (which are highly valuable to society). But, it is continually pointed out that because not all women are performing like Calamity Jane, it must be due to the evil patriarchy. Can’t find a specific example? Well then, it must be institutionalized patriarchal discrimination then – bring on the affirmative action… and hell, while we’re at it, how about a man-tax?

Get your boys out of school! Don’t send them to university! Stop androgynizing them!

8:53 PM, June 11, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

I'm not even sure what "maturity" is when they are talking about girls maturing faster.

A 15-year-old girl could take care of herself in the real world just as little as a 15-year-old boy. There are exceptions among both genders, but the majority are clueless. (As a side note, a chunk of women remain perpetually unable to take care of themselves: housewives.)

I guess what is going on is that 15-year-old girls are more interested in social aspects and in appearances. Whereas little Albert may be interested in taking a radio apart to see how it works.

Both are just practicing for the role they will have to assume. Albert will have to do something in the real world to bring in money, and the girl will have to attract him enough so that he will pay for her. Basically.

I think girls mature quickly in the sense of putting their napkin in their lap and sheathing their hatred in carefully chosen, sarcastic words.

But then they kind of fizzle out, and many remain in some kind of quasi-state between being a child and being a grown-up. "A woman has a right to change her mind" - and many woman don't see a need for responsibility or sticking to agreements they made or ... basically anything they don't want to do at the moment.

Men who think that way wind up in jail. So the rest of the men are slowly battered over time into becoming responsible people - men take a lot longer to mature, but they actually get there.

9:03 PM, June 11, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

"It’s why I have to laugh at all the fembots cackling that women are “winning” because of their numbers in slackademia."

----------------

It's almost sickening. Society seems to be in two modes: Either girls are getting shortchanged in something (or they say they are) and men "step up to the plate" and make something easier for women (like set-asides for women-owned businesses or even affirmative action) ... and when men are not doing so well, women can't contain their glee at how they are superior, and the men shout at the other men to "man up" and work harder.

In other words, women are the victims - always - but when they succeed they are the superior sex. Men are the oppressors - always - but if they succeed in something it is because the Patriarchy handed it to them.

Unbelievable if you think about it. But that's really the situation today.

9:07 PM, June 11, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

2nd point with regard to academia:

There are some subjects worth taking - and I think most people have an inkling of what those are - and there are a whole bunch of new subjects created so that dumb-shits can also go to college. I'll just name one of the latter: Women's studies. Apparently, a few universities are even offering Ph.D.s in women's studies (I'm not kidding).

I don't think women are dominating in the subjects that have value. Where they are dominating is in the subjects that are almost the opposite of what you think about a university: The subjects are based on feelings, not facts; the subjects have no rigor; the subjects stress activism over intellect and on and on.

I mean Giordano Bruno died at the stake because of his insistence on objective thinking, and Galileo got hassled.

Now the superstitious, non-scientific, non-objective people are back in power in universities.

9:13 PM, June 11, 2009  
Blogger Master Doh-San said...

Rob Fedders and JG have both done an admirable job of it.

One of the most basic questions is defining "mature". Unfortunately, the feminazis and other collectivists have hijacked the discussion and presumed to define the word; viz., whatever girls do is "mature", whatever boys do is "immature". This is obviously false on the face of it, but it serves their nefarious purposes.

10:00 PM, June 11, 2009  
Blogger Rob Fedders said...

Yeah, JG, I know there is great value in some of those subjects.

I guess the way that I see it, is that as time goes on, and affirmative action forces more and more men to the wayside to allow for placement of females with a lower IQ in their place... well, those that have passion for those things simply won't stop there.

It used to be that we had to go to academia because they were the ones who held all the knowledge. (In fact, Harvard's original mandate was to be "keepers of the truth." Whatever happened? They are now manipulators of the truth).

I have another passion besides studying sexuality and the gender war. I looooove Anthropology, Assyriology and all things ancient. I am looking for a career change, but I'll be damned if I am going to sit around in the feminized, anti-western civilization, man-hating classes at any Anthropology Department found at any modern university in Canada. In fact, I love all things history, but I can hardly stomach to even walk into many of our museums anymore, so sickly are they with rewritten political correctness.

After I win the gender war, I will study my passions on my own.

I imagine that men interested in the STEM subjects might start doing the same.

It's not like the information is owned by academia anymore.

Reedin, righten 'n rithmatick, that's the basics of what you need to self educate yourself. The rest of it involves passion.

Well, that's my belief anyway.

It might be pretty interesting, if all of the “man-childs” that are now getting derided, start channeling their passions into subjects that interest them, rather than into their families as was traditionally done. The gap might expand to Grand Canyon proportions!

10:09 PM, June 11, 2009  
Blogger Rob Fedders said...

Schopenhauer discussed the maturity of males and females.

He asserts that females mature faster up until around the age of 26. Boys maturate slower than women, but will catch up to women by about the age of 28.

The difference is, that women stop maturating at this age(perhaps stop maturating faster - lol, gotta keep the ladies a bit happy) while males can keep maturing their whole lives long. Not all males of course, but a good many of them.

I think there is something to this.

You can certainly see that many women in their 40's and so on - divorced ones especially - are not behaving much different than a woman in her mid-20's.

But men do seem to change from the bendable willow in their youth, to growing into a solid oak by their 40's, 50's and beyond. Not much phases older men.

Gak! How misogynist, eh?

10:22 PM, June 11, 2009  
Blogger Rob Fedders said...

However, Master Doh-San, something makes me suspect you have already read Schopenhauer.

10:41 PM, June 11, 2009  
Blogger Jimmy Stewart said...

Think of male mind as a fine aged wine that people pay top dollar for for, whereas the female mind is more akin to the cheap wines that take a about a day to process that hobos drink like Mad Dog 20/20.

4:02 AM, June 12, 2009  
Blogger fred said...

Gawain is a fool to say that there is no such thing as autism! Let him meet a few autistic children, work with them, and he will apologize for his stupid remark.

5:19 PM, June 12, 2009  
Blogger randian said...

This is a vicious lie promoted by feminists in their campaign to dismantle the evil patriarchy.

I don't think that's quite true. At least, it's not intentionally that way. Female-designed organizations like government bureaucracies and HR departments suffer from the disease of credentialism. That's why they focus on education rather than aptitude or talent, and why they promulgate things like comparable worth, which seeks to make educational attainment, rather than job difficulty and working conditions, the most important determinant of wages.

9:50 PM, June 12, 2009  
Blogger randian said...

I'm not even sure what "maturity" is when they are talking about girls maturing faster.

It's meaningless. The only real purpose is to claim girls are superior to boys.

There are also double standards at work. If girls "mature" faster than boys, why are boys held to a much higher standard of responsibility when it comes to sexual activity? We hold adults to a higher standard because we consider them more "mature" than children, why doesn't this apply to relations between the sexes?

9:55 PM, June 12, 2009  
Blogger Tether said...

"There are also double standards at work. If girls "mature" faster than boys, why are boys held to a much higher standard of responsibility when it comes to sexual activity? We hold adults to a higher standard because we consider them more "mature" than children, why doesn't this apply to relations between the sexes?"

-----------------------

That was a Bang-Dead-On point. (In other words: I agree. LOL). People should re-read that until they get it.

9:58 PM, June 12, 2009  
Blogger Master Doh-San said...

"Female-designed organizations like government bureaucracies and HR departments suffer from the disease of credentialism. "

They are also the embodiment of Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy (q.v.).

10:04 PM, June 12, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

The female way - and that is the way followed by HR departments, psychologists and social workers today - seems to be based on appearances.

If you LOOK LIKE a smart exective, then you're the boy for the job.

If you ACT LIKE a smart executive, you should be hired.

If you have a particular college degree in something, you are better than someone else without one. And, more importantly, a person with a Master's degree in engineering is always better than a person with a Bachelor's degree.

The way you sell the snake oil is a lot more important than what is IN the snake oil.

10:14 PM, June 12, 2009  
Blogger Rob Fedders said...

Oops! Some Fedders' buffoonery. I see that Schopenhauer asserts that women make full maturity at 18.

This is talked about all over the place - that women, because they become sexually able to have children, mature to a level able to care for them rather quickly.

That evolution and survival of the fittest thing is kind of a stinker, eh? The leftards don't want you to know all of this.

I thought it was Schopenhauer, but maybe I am wrong, who proposed that the ideal ages for marriage would be an 18 year old woman to a 38 year old man.

This way, the man would have time to galavant around the earth and build his fortune, and then marry a woman in her sexual prime. At 38, men are just entering into mid-life crisis, and are looking for "meaning" in life (ie. children). And then, the male could watch his children grow, but would die sooner than the female - who had children at the BEST time possible in her lifespan, and when she reached middle age, would inherit the wealth of the man (who would be ending his life at around the late 60's back then), and she would have 20 years to romp around the earth and do "her thing."

A 38 year old man would not be manipulated so easily by an 18 year old man as a 21 year old man would be, and the match would work better.

Has anyone else heard this?

I have been looking through Schopenhauer today, but, maybe I am blind. Is it someone else I am thinking of?

10:19 PM, June 12, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

"I see that Schopenhauer asserts that women make full maturity at 18."

-------

I think today that they reach their maturity somewhere in their early 20s, but that concept still holds.

The problem is: That IS their full maturity.

I have seem 45-year-old women, who may have developed a thin veneer of maturity, act like absolute children when they don't get what they want.

And I also don't think it's maturity - more likely stupidity - when a woman in her 40s puts demands and conditions on sex (like an 18-year-old girl with a 20-year-old boy) and the man simply leaves.

Most women I have met just do not get any more mature with age. Women who work mellow at least by being banged around in the workplace - they learn to get along with people in some form or another - but permanent-housewife types continue to be either children or tyrants.

10:27 PM, June 12, 2009  
Blogger Ralph L said...

The minority of women with masculinish brains are marrying their fellow engineers, architects, scientists, lawyers, etc, so their children get a double whammy.

Parents are also considerably older on average when their children are born than 30 years ago. That's bound to have some effect.

6:14 AM, June 13, 2009  
Blogger BobH said...

J.G. said:

"I have seem 45-year-old women, who may have developed a thin veneer of maturity, act like absolute children when they don't get what they want"

If their goal is to successfully manipulate their social environment and "mature" techniques don't seem to work, then why shouldn't these women be allowed to try "immature" techniques, especially if the social cost to them isn't very high. Well-raised children learn early that immature techniques not only aren't likely to succeed, they are likely to incur large social costs.

8:42 AM, June 13, 2009  
Blogger GawainsGhost said...

I never said there was no such thing as autism. I said that the overdiagnosis of it, attributing what would otherwise be normal, if hyperactive, behavior of males to it, is bullshit. Same with ADD.

12:32 PM, June 13, 2009  
Blogger papabear said...

I thought it was Schopenhauer, but maybe I am wrong, who proposed that the ideal ages for marriage would be an 18 year old woman to a 38 year old man.

I think it's Aristotle.

2:51 AM, June 14, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

The guy in this blog provides a list of psychologists and psychiatrists who hold the opinion that anyone buying the official version of 9/11 (they say it was a conspiracy) suffers from deluded thinking and/or a mental illness:

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2009/05/psychologists-weigh-in-on-911.html

You can't politicize psychology any more than that. Sorry, but lots and lots of people in that profession are really off the wall.

5:30 AM, June 14, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

That goes way beyond earlier politicized stupidity (such as: Homosexuality is a mental illness; wait, no it's not).

Big egos, little brains. Lots of resistance to objective tests of whether their methods really work.

5:32 AM, June 14, 2009  
Blogger Master Doh-San said...

Psychology is 20% observation and 80% speculation. There are very few like Dr. Helen. Too many suffer from an over-inflated sense of their own abilities.

10:01 AM, June 14, 2009  
Blogger Mario said...

Ralph L. -- I've heard the same thing. Some have said that the occurrence of autism is statistically high in Silicon Valley, where it's argued that geeks are more likely to pair up. A double dose (one from each parent) of the "analytical" gene ups the chances of autism.

In the last generation or so, since more and more people go to college, people are more likely to meet like-minded people in either their own major or in another major for people with a similar turn of mind, and marry. Thus a market analyst might marry a computer programmer.

It may be social changes more than anything else, after we account for the expanded definition, contributing to any upswing in cases of autism.

3:08 PM, June 14, 2009  
Blogger Jimmy Stewart said...

"That goes way beyond earlier politicized stupidity (such as: Homosexuality is a mental illness; wait, no it's not)."

Funny how all the homosexual people I have ever known all suffered from massive mental health problems. Just a coincidence I suppose. I'm certain your response to that would be that they're mental from all the social alienation.

How convenient.

4:52 PM, June 14, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:13 PM, June 14, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

"I'm certain your response to that would be that they're mental from all the social alienation."

--------------

Why do you say that? Do you think I'm a spokesman for homosexuals or something?

My point was that the APA and the editors/authors/contributors to the DSM base a lot of their stuff on the political climate.

5:15 PM, June 14, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

I think the men's rights guy Angry Harry also has a Ph.D. in psychology, but he's sharply critical of the field - and of most psychologists.

When I think of psychologists, the image of the psychologist in The Terminator (1984) immediately springs to mind for some reason.

5:17 PM, June 14, 2009  
Blogger Rob Fedders said...

AH’s views on “the profession.” (I wonder who the scumbag is that he’s referring to? LOL!)

The homosexual thing is interesting – but I have to be very careful here, because in Canada we can get in big trouble with our “human rights disgraces – er, commissions” that classify “hate” as someone getting hurt feelings… and no, the truth is not a defense in these disgraceful kangaroo courts. (Of course, only the feelings of the politically correct are important enough for the HRC’s – whites, males, Christians, heterosexuals etc. need not apply.) Yes, even talking in blog comments such as these, from other countries, can get you in trouble in some cases. Welcome to Canuckistan, eh! Leave your rights and your freedoms at the border, ya hoser! Have a Molson’s and pull your toque on tight! Hockey Night in Canada is on, so just relax, eh?

But we can still crawl and we’re not dead yet! (Especially out West) Go Ezra! Fire. Them. All! Don’t let this happen to you, America!

Anyway, the way I recall the homosexual thing was that it was once considered to be an extreme deviation of domination/submission. In the early 1970’s – 1973 I think, homosexuals marched on the APA (even the Great Walrus, Andrea Dworkin, was there, I believe), they got quite vicious and threw rocks threw windows and I believe some psychologists even received death threats. The APA backed down and declared homosexuality to be normal and they haven’t said two negative peeps about homosexuality ever since. (Remember, “calm and reasonable” does not work. Scaring the bejeezus out of people and threatening them with a loss of their power? THAT works! See Ezra the pit-bull above.)

I believe the truth about homosexuality lies somewhere in between.

As someone who has spent some time living only a few blocks from the heart of Vancouver’s gay community, I have made many gay friends and often get invited to parties (um, non-sexual ones) or other such social events. Lol! They call me their “token straight guy.” There are lots of good-hearted people there and they are quite enjoyable to hang out with. Of course, none of them are married and they do lots of fun things. Often, they remind me of what it was like to have friends back in high-school, or in my early twenties.

But, there definitely seems to be two “groups” within the larger group. And one group definitely has a heavy BDSM element to it and a lot of other wild stuff attached. You can definitely see in this group that there are doms and subs. I suspect that this is what the APA once referred to as “deviation.” On the other hand, there are also many men who are what I would call “classically homosexual.” They are attracted to “men.” And they are attracted to them for their manly, masculine qualities. The Greeks also had a strong homosexual undercurrent based upon something similar. Thus comes the saying, “women don’t love men – only gay men truly love men.” These kinds of men do not behave differently in any way at all. They are just regular guys, doing regular guy things. They are not attracted to deviation, but are attracted to masculinity. I believe that it is accurate to describe these men as “born gay.” Limp-wristedness is foreign to these guys.

(Lesbianism seems to be much more about simply hating and rejecting men – ie. Feminism – whereas I have rarely met a gay man who hates women).

(Continued…)

10:55 PM, June 14, 2009  
Blogger Rob Fedders said...

(…from continued)

Btw, the gay community is not unified. They don’t all want gay marriage either. Many once were married heterosexually, and they don’t like the idea of heterosexual legal norms extending into their lifestyles. These guys know all about it. It is the younger and poorer ones that seem to be most in favour of Gay Marriage, while those that are established wish to have nothing to do with it… hmmmm, I wonder why that is? There is also an obviously Marxist activist element supporting gay-marriage as a means to undermine heterosexuality and the traditional family. They have allied themselves with feminists, which is complete bullshit because the foundational arguments of each contradicts eachother’s – as in, you can’t be “born gay” and accept that “gender is a social construct” at the same time. Sorry. It doesn’t work that way. These activists have only united with the fembots to undermine the traditional family and revolutionize society.

"A middle ground might be to fight for same sex marriage and its benefits, and then, once granted, redefine the institution completely, to demand the right to marry not as a way of adhering to society's moral codes but rather to debunk a myth and radically alter an archaic institution." -- Michelangelo Signorile, "Bridal Wave," OUT Magazine, December/January 1994, p.161

Also, see my piece A New Kind of Bigotry.

But, I do actually see the point that I think the psychologists were getting at in the early 1970’s.

As sexuality progresses in people, they always seem to need to “push limits” to keep themselves mentally stimulated with sex. From sheer joy at “just” having sex initially to costumes, positions, games… dominance… submission… promiscuousness… swinging… group sex… etc. etc.

Take the internet for example. If the web is considered to be a “collective human brain,” then you can see how the porn industry is evolving. It’s getting more and more kinky as time goes on. The porn “addicts” are no longer just contented to look at Playboy-like images. They moved on to more hardcore stuff after they satiated themselves with that… and then from the hardcore to the kinky… and then from the kinky to the outright bizarre. They are always seeking that initial “high” they got at the beginning, but once they satiate themselves with it, they must “push new limits” to keep achieving “the high.”

(Continued again…)

10:55 PM, June 14, 2009  
Blogger Rob Fedders said...

(…from again continued)

One thing I noticed in the gay community, along with the dom-sub theme that permeates through a portion of it, is the promiscuousness of it. There are many men who have shagged upwards of 70-100 women before becoming “gay.” Lol! I knew one guy who was such a PUA that he said he had just had enough of women that he decided to try men for a while, and found that he liked it. But, are these people really “gay?” I mean, they obviously must have once, at least, been able to get sexually aroused by women or else the sex thing doesn’t really work, does it?

When you look at the Dom-Sub theme, if you were to take it to the furthest extreme – for example, if you enjoyed being dominated by a woman, the “next step” in “pushing limits” would begin to extend into being dominated by a male – perhaps beginning with a dominatrix demanding it of the sub, or maybe not… and so on… and so on…

And I think this is what those old-fashioned psychologists might have been getting at with considering homosexuality to be a “deviation.”

10:56 PM, June 14, 2009  
Blogger randian said...

It is rather interesting to see gay men ally themselves with feminists, when the feminists would throw them under the bus just as readily as a straight man. So many lesbian feminists are so nakedly misandrist I can't figure out what common cause gay men have with them.

1:12 AM, June 15, 2009  
Blogger Jimmy Stewart said...

Liberals in general are like one giant dumpster. It's everything but white heterosexual conservative men. Feminists, legal and illegal immigrants, blacks, gays, lesbians, environmetalists, hippies, second year university students, entertainment people, and on and on.

One giant dumpster full of groups who have nothing in common except for their hatred of white males. Which only proves there is no real unity or sense to the left wing. It's all just a big joke.

Not to mention that it is a complete myth that liberals are usually more intelligent or well educated. Some of the most ignorant, least read and unaware people I know are liberals. And it only makes sense- all they ever learn about or talk about are extremely limited hot button issues such as Feminism or 'diversity.'

When you spend 100%of your time obsessed with these anti-intellectual subjects it would only follow that your intellect will begin to decay (or never develop in the first place) not to mention you have no time for any other real area of study.

Every time I have a young budding Femarroid get in my face lecturing me on women's issues I always let them babble for a while, then I'll casually ask, "uh, btw- when was it exactly that the ERA was passed?" They always answer the same- "the 70's."

Hysterical. Liberals are illiterate and uneducated.

2:10 PM, June 15, 2009  
Blogger ray said...

Helen--

thanks for the piece on Baron-Cohen and autism

it's a complex subject about which i've written at great length, and don't intend to repeat here

suffice to say that the "pathologizing" of autism mirrors the pathologizing of maleness in modern cultures, and that autistic boys, in particular, are a kind of last-hope offered to diseased and dying western cultures -- especially as concerns the healing of the (deliberate) destruction of the father-son bond

my experiences with autistic men and boys over the past dozen years has been nothing short of fantastic -- a lot of work, as one commenter/father mentions, but so very worth it

to all men, especially those disgusted by and alienated from matriarchal and predatory western cultures, i recommend friendship with, and caretaking of, autistic men and boys

recently i spoke with a college girl about her speech-therapy classes/training, and she characterized autistics as being "too much trouble and work"

that's what happens when the world is handed on a platter to one gender....

i replied that "everything worth doing is" (a lot of work)

make friends with an autistic man, mentor an autistic boy -- then strap-in and get ready for the most amazing journey of your life

ray

5:08 PM, June 16, 2009  

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