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post #321 of 334
Quote:
Originally posted by addabox
So, just out of curiosity, how would the DSM deal with a disorder that manifested as hearing God speaking directly to you, telling you to do things, without appearing to patholigize "religion"?

Would it be contingent on what, precisely, God was telling you?

Presumably, if God told you to jump off a building as "a test of faith", that would count as metal illness, but how does that differ from other forms of intense devotion?

What if God told you to give away all your belongings and live as a beggar? What if God told you to bomb abortion clinics? What if God told you to cut off all relationships with your family due to their fallen nature?

The specific content of the delusion doesn't matter so much. It's not like you ask how weird or irrational the delusion is, and then if it's weird enough you say "OK must be schizophrenia." There are plenty of other symptoms that go along with schizophrenia that make it really obvious, like the auditory hallucinations, and the fact that a schizophrenic is just unable to function in life.

But I know that sometimes there have been misdiagnoses. In one of the famous early cases of the insanity defense, McNaughton shot the Prime Minister of England's secretary, and claimed the British govt was out to get him. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity due to his paranoia. But apparently it was later determined that he was a member of a Scottish separatist movement, and he actually was in fact being followed by the English. He was probably just a political assassin with extreme beliefs and not insane at all.

There are also some bizarre examples of religion and mental illness. Just in the last couple of years, two Texas moms killed their children. The first (Yates) was found guilty of murder for drowning her children, despite a clear history of diagnosed mental illness. The second one (Laney) stoned her children, and was found not guilty by reason of insanity, despite no history of mental illness whatsoever. The difference, IMO, was that Yates said she was commanded by the Devil, and Laney said she was commanded by God. The reason that's important is that one of the elements of the insanity defense is that if you know right from wrong, you're not insane. Because the one thought she was guided by the Devil, she knew it was wrong, because the Devil is evil even in her delusional world, and the other thought she was guided by God, so she thought what she did was right.

That's truly fucked up. If you believe God made you do it, you're OK, but if you believe the Devil made you do it, you're in trouble. It reminds me of some of the questions on that God survey in the other thread.
post #322 of 334
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
The specific content of the delusion doesn't matter so much. It's not like you ask how weird or irrational the delusion is, and then if it's weird enough you say "OK must be schizophrenia." There are plenty of other symptoms that go along with schizophrenia that make it really obvious, like the auditory hallucinations, and the fact that a schizophrenic is just unable to function in life.

But I know that sometimes there have been misdiagnoses. In one of the famous early cases of the insanity defense, McNaughton shot the Prime Minister of England's secretary, and claimed the British govt was out to get him. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity due to his paranoia. But apparently it was later determined that he was a member of a Scottish separatist movement, and he actually was in fact being followed by the English. He was probably just a political assassin with extreme beliefs and not insane at all.

There are also some bizarre examples of religion and mental illness. Just in the last couple of years, two Texas moms killed their children. The first (Yates) was found guilty of murder for drowning her children, despite a clear history of diagnosed mental illness. The second one (Laney) stoned her children, and was found not guilty by reason of insanity, despite no history of mental illness whatsoever. The difference, IMO, was that Yates said she was commanded by the Devil, and Laney said she was commanded by God. The reason that's important is that one of the elements of the insanity defense is that if you know right from wrong, you're not insane. Because the one thought she was guided by the Devil, she knew it was wrong, because the Devil is evil even in her delusional world, and the other thought she was guided by God, so she thought what she did was right.

That's truly fucked up. If you believe God made you do it, you're OK, but if you believe the Devil made you do it, you're in trouble. It reminds me of some of the questions on that God survey in the other thread.

Interesting.

So, I'm guessing, if an individual felt a strong calling to forswear worldly things, perhaps believing and professing that "God wants me to do this", that absent related symptoms of illness, as in the case of schizophrenia, this would not generally be considered evidence of mental illness?

I guess it's hard to say hypothetically, but I'm just imagining various kinds of "irrational" behavior that might run contrary to societal norms but make sense in the pursuit of "soulfulness", such as the example above, and at what point a line is crossed and the acting out of spiritual mandates starts appearing delusional.

My guess is that the delusional generally have more severe symptoms than, say, wanting to live more in harmony with what they feel God intends for them (even when that harmony involves fairly significant lifestyle changes).
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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post #323 of 334
Quote:
Originally posted by BR
And what, praytell, is wrong with classifying talking to invisible men who live in the sky...and especially (though not required) with him TALKING BACK...as mental illness?

If your goal is to be the rationality police, then great. We need more rationality. But if the goal is to help sick people, you're only going to help, you know, sick people.

Sure you could make a crack about religious people being sick, but they're not. Schizophrenia is a real illness, not just an unusual belief system, and delusions are just one of the symptoms, and only then, for just one of the types of schizophrenia (paranoid).
post #324 of 334
Quote:
But I know that sometimes there have been misdiagnoses. In one of the famous early cases of the insanity defense, McNaughton shot the Prime Minister of England's secretary, and claimed the British govt was out to get him. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity due to his paranoia. But apparently it was later determined that he was a member of a Scottish separatist movement, and he actually was in fact being followed by the English. He was probably just a political assassin with extreme beliefs and not insane at all.

The case you cite is termed 'The McNaughton Rules' and set a precedent in juridical trials. It had nothing to do with religion.

It's fascinating following the length of this thread: there have been pockets of lucidity and clarity with sincere dialogue. The sincere conviction in the secular and religious contributors in these threads also shine; even reason finds the breadth of such conviction breathtaking 8)

The current direction however has less in common with the logic and commonsense of most people and more in common with nuts hell-bent on their own opinion. In that case; being reasonable is mere verisimilitude. Hmm. I've just been reading an article in the Independent about how gulags in the Soviet Union and China continue to hold political dissendents and anti-government voice.

Time to return to it then.
post #325 of 334
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post #326 of 334
Quote:
Originally posted by Justin
even reason finds the breadth of such conviction breathtaking

NO IT DOESN'T!
Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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post #327 of 334
As long as we're talking about religion, psychology, and correct terminology... just what exactly should be considered insane?

If one defines insanity in normative terms, clearly then simply being religious can't be called insane, because religiosity is far too common to the human condition.

If one tries to define insanity in terms of how well one seems connected to reality -- well, that's a bit trickier, since the nature of reality is often subjected to normative criteria as well.

Nevertheless, I personally do consider most religious and "spiritual" beliefs at least a little bit nutty -- anywhere from mildly neurotic or child-like to full-blown howling-at-the-moon mad. Not caring that it places me outside of the norm (especially in American culture) I have the audacity to believe that I truly perceive reality more clearly and rationally than those around me who pray to invisible omnipotent omniscient friends.
We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
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We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
Reply
post #328 of 334
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
If your goal is to be the rationality police, then great. We need more rationality. But if the goal is to help sick people, you're only going to help, you know, sick people.

Sure you could make a crack about religious people being sick, but they're not. Schizophrenia is a real illness, not just an unusual belief system, and delusions are just one of the symptoms, and only then, for just one of the types of schizophrenia (paranoid).

My issue here is that by pussyfooting around religion because people like dmz make a stink about it doesn't help the sick either. Religious symptoms MUST be considered along with the rest of the picture. If someone thinks the white bearded christian god is talking to them, that can't be ignored because dmz is offended. There is quite possibly something quite fucked up going on in his head and his religious symptoms need to factor into the equation.

Religion really is the opiate of the masses. It is a way of self-medicating some of the paranoia that comes along with living on this planet. Some people use it wisely and don't bother others with it. Others overdose and aren't happy until they make a fuss with everyone around them.

Religion can't be ignored as a symptom because dmz doesn't like it.

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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post #329 of 334
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by shetline
Nevertheless, I personally do consider most religious and "spiritual" beliefs at least a little bit nutty -- anywhere from mildly neurotic or child-like to full-blown howling-at-the-moon mad. Not caring that it places me outside of the norm (especially in American culture) I have the audacity to believe that I truly perceive reality more clearly and rationally than those around me who pray to invisible omnipotent omniscient friends.

Well said...and ditto.

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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post #330 of 334
<pat robertson>
There's a man in Assbiscuit, Kentucky, who has the mange, and God is healing him right now.
</pat robertson>
Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
Reply
Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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post #331 of 334
Hallelujah!
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
Reply
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
Reply
post #332 of 334
Quote:
Originally posted by shetline
As long as we're talking about religion, psychology, and correct terminology... just what exactly should be considered insane?

If one defines insanity in normative terms, clearly then simply being religious can't be called insane, because religiosity is far too common to the human condition.

If one tries to define insanity in terms of how well one seems connected to reality -- well, that's a bit trickier, since the nature of reality is often subjected to normative criteria as well.

The person has to be experiencing pain or unable to function well before it's a mental illness. Non-normative behavior in itself would almost never be enough.

I wouldn't consider being in touch with reality a necessary component of mental health. There's just too much evidence that normal people are out of touch with reality, with a bias towards overconfidence and illusions of control and exaggerated self-importance and those kinds of things. It's probably not really necessary, from an evolutionary point of view, to be a true realist. It may be more functional to be irrational, which may be why it's so hard to be logical and mathematical and all those good things - it's just not natural.
post #333 of 334
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
The person has to be experiencing pain or unable to function well before it's a mental illness. Non-normative behavior in itself would almost never be enough.

We might be talking about different degrees of the same thing. I'm only talking about the threshold at which one person is likely to decide that another person is a little bit crazy, not the threshold at which society decides to lock someone away for the protection of that person and others.
Quote:
I wouldn't consider being in touch with reality a necessary component of mental health. There's just too much evidence that normal people are out of touch with reality, with a bias towards overconfidence and illusions of control and exaggerated self-importance and those kinds of things.

I've definitely heard this about many of the people who seem most happy. Maybe excessive happiness is a mental disorder.
Quote:
It's probably not really necessary, from an evolutionary point of view, to be a true realist. It may be more functional to be irrational, which may be why it's so hard to be logical and mathematical and all those good things - it's just not natural.

In evolution, traits and behaviors don't need to be optimal, they just need to be good enough for continued survival. As conditions change, what's good enough for survival changes. I fear we've created for ourselves a world which is too complicated and dangerous to handle without a larger dose of rationality than we've been able to get by on in the past.
We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
Reply
We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
Reply
post #334 of 334
Quote:
Originally posted by shetline
As long as we're talking about religion, psychology, and correct terminology... just what exactly should be considered insane?

Brussell's probably right: if Steven Jobs or Bill Gates (not to mention Larry Ellison) were "well adjusted" we'd probably be having this conversation on legal pads.

...and they'd have put Tom Sawyer on Ritalin.

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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