Pharyngula

This isn’t fair. Dawkins gets censored in Turkey, now Mike Haubrich gets a warning letter, and I get nothing other than invitations to debate Harun Yahya. I’m losing my mojo — I guess I’m not sufficiently scary to the Turks. Go ahead and say lots of rude things about these Turkish creationists in the comments — I’d like to catch up with everyone else.

In less amusing email news, as you all know, I get lots of drive-by abuse in my inbox, and it usually doesn’t concern me at all. Lately, though, I’ve been getting regularly dumped on by a guy going by the name Bayridge Brooklyn. It’s crazy stuff, and that’s what concerns me most: this fellow has real and serious mental problems. And he’s writing to me and about 30 other people every day.

Whenever and from wherever I turn on a TV that is broadcasting to me live I’m seen on the monitors in the TV studios or on the monitor of the live camera. This happens every single time I turn on the TV. IT’S BEEN HAPPENING SINCE 2004.

It doesn’t matter where the TV is being broadcast from – as long as it’s live – as soon as I turn it on I’m seen on the monitors in the studios or on the cameras. Thus I’ve been transmitted live to studios or cameras in Australia, US, France, Spain, China, Japan, Russia, Ukraine, Greece, Indonesia, Germany, Chile. All the newsreaders of the news programs from those countries that are broadcast live to Australia have been seeing me since 2004, as well as all the guests who appear live on their programs. Also all the regular Australian newsreaders and live TV presenters and their guests. They have all been seeing me since 2004. Anyone could see me if they were in one of the studios or in front of one of the cameras that’s broadcasting live and I turned on that channel.

Then the criminals who control this technology started being friendly to me, so I began to treat this 2-WAY TV SURVEILLANCE as a joke and laughed and smiled and waved etc. at all the people, Newsreaders etc. who were seeing me on TV – ie. all the people in the TV Studios who were seeing me in my house. So they were mostly friendly, curious.

Then I started getting aggravated by the invasion of my and my family’s privacy that this “TIVO-1984 TV” represented. Sometimes I got abusive or confrontational. That didn’t help at all.

But then I realized that all they know is that I appear on the monitor – and that they don’t necessarily know about all the DIRECTED ENERGY and NEUROLOGICAL WEAPONS torture and abuse that’s being done to me. So I started holding up protest signs and signs telling them I was being tortured etc.. Now they know there’s definitely some “funny business” going on – and they give me concerned looks etc. I don’t know if any of them have taken any other steps to help me. Some are more sympathetic than others, some seem to be thinking along the lines of – “he must have done something to be put in that position”. All the Australian journalists know that it’s all completely out of the hands of the Australian Government because I have protested, abused, held up signs and messages to the Prime Minister, other Ministers, the Governor-General etc. when they have been live on TV – and they just have to sit there and take it.

In this way such people as Donald Rumsfeld, Christopher Hill, Nancy Pelosi, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, John Howard, Angela Merkel, Silvio Berlusconi, Richard Holbrooke, Hilary Clinton, Barak Obama, and many other politicians, officials, commentators, journalists and celebrities have seen me and are all potential witnesses to this technology and this aspect of my abuse.

That’s only a small sample. He goes on and on for pages.

This sounds like classic schizophrenia to me. I’m only posting this in the hope that a) he’ll think reading blogs means the author will be able to read his mind, so he’ll turn off his computer; b) he will take the hint that he really needs to see a mental health care provider immediately; and c) that there will be some public record of the peculiar harrassment going on from Mr Brooklyn. Or, as he sometimes seems to refer to himself, as John Finch.

Comments

  1. #1 rufustfirefly
    November 29, 2008

    Yeah, he’s good, but what about my man Lee L. Mercer Jr.?

    http://www.mercerforpresident2008.com/home.html

    I realize this could be fake, but I haven’t found any evidence that it is fake. I hope the crazy son of a bitch is real.

  2. #2 Moody834
    November 29, 2008

    Yikes…. Is he actually threatening you in his letter somewhere, or are you just this random person he thinks he needs to write to?

    He obviously needs real help.

  3. #3 Sastra
    November 29, 2008

    Yes, this sounds like schizophrenia. This isn’t “crazy” as in “eccentric.” Nor is it funny. Poor guy.

    Since he mostly seems worried about his personal safety and privacy — and since he’s apparently in Australia — I wouldn’t be concerned that there’s any threat. It sounds like there are people around him who are “conerned” and “sympathetic.” I’m going to guess that he’s already seen some professionals. This doesn’t look like borderline is-he/isn’t-he material.

  4. #4 TSC
    November 29, 2008

    I think Mr. Finch is actually Yahya. You’ll have plenty of opportunity to stir controversy. Have faith and the Lord will provide the right moment.

  5. #5 Newfie
    November 29, 2008

    The human brain can produce some strange things when the wiring goes astray. Things like burning bushes, and omnipotent entities telling you about talking snakes and to do various things. Maybe this “Truman Show” person should write book? He definitely needs medical help.

  6. #6 Toddahhhh
    November 29, 2008

    Maybe your standards are too high, you should work on getting banned in one of the stans before setting your sights on Turkey. I hear Malaysia is pretty irrational and intolerant, just a thought. :)

  7. #7 Jimminy Christmas
    November 29, 2008

    I’m going to take a wild guess that he stopped taking his meds sometime around 2004.

  8. #8 skepsci
    November 29, 2008

    Can we please not mock the mentally ill on this blog? If any of you have paranoid or mentally ill relatives, you will know that it’s no laughing matter.

  9. #9 Wowbagger
    November 29, 2008

    Since he mostly seems worried about his personal safety and privacy — and since he’s apparently in Australia — I wouldn’t be concerned that there’s any threat.

    We Australians tend to export our most offensive people to the US, where they’re welcomed by the religious community – Ken Ham, for example.

    Maybe this guy could find a home in Kentucky or one of the other bible-belt states – though I’d hate to see what would happen when someone with the sort of problems this guy has ended up somewhere where he’d have free and easy access to guns.

  10. #10 Kel
    November 29, 2008

    Looks like someone took John Brogden off his meds.

  11. #11 Blake Stacey
    November 29, 2008

    Mental illness is far from a laughing matter, so I won’t make light of it. Instead, I’ll note that even I get invitations to interview Oktar/Yahya. You really need to work harder, P-Zed.

  12. #12 Annie
    November 29, 2008

    PZ:

    This is quite below you. It’s not kind, compassionate or ethical. Please remove the offending bits. If you have any genuine concern for the individual, contact him directly with your observations and concerns and perhaps a resource for him to connect with. If not, then at least do not humiliate him.

    Otherwise, you’re no different than the hell and brimfire spouting theists.

  13. #13 ggab
    November 29, 2008

    On the subject of Yahya
    I just e-mailed Richard Dawkins to see if he’d sign my copy of “Atlas of Creation”.
    Hopefully he thinks the idea is as funny as I do.
    PZ you need to try a little harder to get banned in Turkey so I can have you sign it too.
    On Thursday, I may try to get Ken Miller to sign my “Unlocking The Mystery Of Life” dvd. I got it free at the UK mock trial(propaganda fest)a while back.

  14. #14 Ken from Oregon
    November 29, 2008

    Sounds very similar to the son of a close friend. He eventually put a gun to his head. No laughing matter.

  15. #15 raven
    November 29, 2008

    1% of the US population is psychotic, mostly schizophrenia. Do the math, that is 3 million people.

    Yeah, he is SZ. Classic textbook case. I’ll bet he is a joy to live with.

    My friend had one guy who believed satan had won and taken over the world. Everyone around him had been replaced by demons that looked exactly like normal people including his relatives. He isn’t getting out unless he starts taking his meds again.

    Untreated SZ’s tend to have short lives. X locked himself out of his house in a residential neighborhood one winter night. It was cold but not extremely so, 30’s F. Found hypothermic and dead the next morning on his doorstep.

  16. #16 QrazyQat
    November 29, 2008

    I guess I’m not sufficiently scary to the Turks.

    I’ve met you; you look to much like a guy who’d love wolfing down those yummy Turkish pizzas (meat pitas to them). That’s way too friendly. Dawkins is English; they figure he’d complain about their not putting corn niblets on it or something, or no Watney’s Red Barrel.

  17. #17 Murray
    November 29, 2008

    Definite delusion and possibly some hallucinations going on here. Certainly pychosis. Possibly schizophrenia, but it could be something else. Poor guy – these thoughts probably consume him.

  18. #18 Happy Trollop
    November 29, 2008

    I agree with the schizophrenic assessment. My first (and, I like to think, “practice”) husband was schizophrenic and from seven hellish years with him, I recognise some of the key foci of those with mental illness, predominantly that, for no reason whatsoever, total strangers are doing unbelievably intrusive things to the writer and that he’s doing his best to cope with their torture.

    It’s sad to watch and read, of course, but my experience suggests that there’s nothing you could say or do to convince this person that he’s not really important enough to rate all the attention he believes he’s getting. Certainly, my ex was never convinced, no matter how illogical his claims or how careful my counterargument.

    In fact, in my current job (police), I speak with quite a few of the mentally ill every day, and this is typical of the rants they make to public servants. I know that you don’t wish to engage this person, PZed, but even if you were to say, “OK. Let’s agree for the moment that all this is happening. What would you like me to do about it?” the answer would most likely be “I dunno”.

    This writer probably believes that some of his many personal demons were exorcised by writing, and at this point you’re probably best off either ditching the emails or blocking his address.

  19. #19 Jimminy Christmas
    November 29, 2008

    How, specifically, could PZ possibly help this guy? Is he supposed to fly to Australia, hunt the guy down, and forcibly drag the guy to a hospital based on some anonymous emails he received? If so, get to work Internet detectives!

  20. #20 Mark
    November 29, 2008

    I saw on the Net the other day where this kind of Truman syndrome schizophrenia is increasingly common.

    It used to be that schizophrenics believed themselves to be under attack by Communist mind-control rays. Before that, it was the voice of God telling them to do this or that oddball thing. Before that it was believing themselves to be Napoleon, I suppose. Just goes to show that there are fads in *everything*.

    It’s easy enough to find a reference via Google: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/greenslade/2008/nov/25/television

  21. #21 Jules
    November 29, 2008

    It’s really not a laughing matter. This poor man is horribly tormented inside and all of that scary stuff seems 100% real to him. His brain is creating those experiences and no amount of convincing will make him believe he is ill.

    It’s too bad you can’t get all his identifying information, and alert health authorities or at least family members to his whereabouts. Without outside help, this poor man will never receive counsel and medication. No amount of convincing will do, it will take the bold intervention of family, social workers and/or the court. Sometimes these people alienate themselves. His family may be searching for him and unable to locate him.

    He needs professional help, before he hurts himself or others. The next time he sees a coded message in the TV, it could tell him to burn down his apartment building. By writing to PZ and others, he’s literally crying out for help. He just doesn’t know the type of help he needs.

    Those with loved ones who are mentally ill will understand this, the sick person feels the medication is another plot to harm them and they refuse to take it. In our friend’s case, she had to get a doctor’s help to get the proper meds for her mentally ill teenage son, crush them up and put them in his food for a couple of weeks until he normalized, and then when the voices were fewer, get him started in counseling and convince him to take medicine on his own accord. It was either that, or institutionalize and forcibly medicate by injection with a court order. This way was much gentler. Now he is doing very well on meds, finished high school, and holds a decent job. He still has problems, but it is much better than before. This is a huge change from being locked in his room, frantically rocking and writing coded messages he said the TV was sending him.

  22. #22 Dersu Uzala
    November 29, 2008

    There was an article in the newspaper about “Truman Show” syndrome. Found the link
    http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/truman-show-delusion-real-imagined

  23. #23 mayhempix
    November 29, 2008

    This is either a movie perfect case of schizophrenia,
    or else someone’s idea of one.

  24. #24 Andrew
    November 29, 2008

    This guy:
    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyJv5bI9rJk
    is known to live in Bay Ridge in Brooklyn and has been known on Youtube for a while. He displays a lot of worrying symptoms along with his religious mania. It might be the guy.

  25. #25 Maureen Lycaon
    November 29, 2008

    I could swear that I saw the AP article in the New York Times, but can’t find it. It’s appeared elsewhere, though, and this has the best format.

    And I agree with several others: this isn’t something to mock or laugh at. Hopefully the poor man will get the intervention he needs before anything terrible happens — to him or to someone else.

  26. #26 David Marjanovi?, OM
    November 29, 2008

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    I didn’t think this would ever happen, but I cannot deny it: we have here a case of someone with an insanity of 1 Tc. I repeat: one full TimeCube.

    Let me just publicly join the bandwagon of (vainly) calling for immediate mental health care. The guy could spend many more years cringing in paranoia day and night if nothing is done.

    Yeah, he’s good, but what about my man Lee L. Mercer Jr.?

    http://www.mercerforpresident2008.com/home.html

    Wow. Strong stuff. He clearly reaches 0.8 Tc! It can hardly be fake, it’s way too convoluted and incomprehensible for anyone sane to have written it, not to mention the mistakes (spelling, but also “the 2008 Democrat Presidential Primary”). He, too, should see a doctor. Right now.

  27. #27 clinteas
    November 29, 2008

    This particular clinical feature is called delusion of reference,part of the delusions,that with formal thought disorders and the so-called first rank criteria form the clinical features of scizophrenia.

    It is likely this person stopped taking his meds years ago,and not impossible he could have fallen through the cracks of the system for this long,such is the nature of the community mental health services in Australia,esp.in remote and rural areas.

    PZ,Im not so sure it is the right thing to do to post this here.

  28. #28 Rickk O.
    November 29, 2008

    Twenty years ago when I used to listen to AM talk radio, there was this guy who would call every show and try to get his “theory” across that Stephen King really shot John Lennon. It got to the point where people would recognize his voice and hang up on him. Since the internet came along he now has his own web site and does not bother radio shows anymore. Maybe this guy has one.

  29. #29 Jimminy Christmas
    November 29, 2008

    Twenty years ago when I used to listen to AM talk radio, there was this guy who would call every show and try to get his “theory” across that Stephen King really shot John Lennon.

    No no no, he had it all wrong. Stephen King didn’t kill John Lennon. Stephen King created our entire reality through his writings but then he stopped writing and now the Shardik/Maturin are threatened and the last of the Eld and his ka-tet must do something about it or else all reality will collapse on itself and we will all be consumed by ancient monsters in the ultimate eternal darkness of todash spa….oh err. I mean uh. Hope somebody gets it ;)

  30. #30 'Tis Himself
    November 29, 2008

    Several people have commented that PZ should not have posted the long quote from an obviously disturbed man. Perhaps they missed PZ’s final paragraph:

    This sounds like classic schizophrenia to me. I’m only posting this in the hope that a) he’ll think reading blogs means the author will be able to read his mind, so he’ll turn off his computer; b) he will take the hint that he really needs to see a mental health care provider immediately; and c) that there will be some public record of the peculiar harrassment going on from Mr Brooklyn.

    Mr. Brooklyn needs help. Perhaps somebody will read about him on this blog, recognize who he really is, and get him the care he so obviously needs.

  31. #31 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    November 29, 2008

    I see a bandwidth error coming my way…It’s either a bunch of people in Turkey wanting their last peek at Tangled Up in Blue Guy before I get banned, or PZ posted a link to the site.

    I think the letter writer here is trying to find some way to get help, but has no idea where to turn or where to look, and I think that if he reads this post he will get some message that there is help out there.

    Oh, and to Mr. Oktar’s lawyers? I have it on good authority that PZ holds your client as deeply in content as I do.

  32. #32 MoxieHart
    November 29, 2008

    Where does PZ make fun of Brooklyn? It doesn’t seem like the post is mocking him, it’s clearly something that PZ is concerned with. If I got a message like that I’d probably post it on my blog. Someone ought to help Brooklyn before he hurts himself or someone else.

  33. #33 PZ Myers
    November 29, 2008

    My intent is not to mock or laugh at this guy. I am seriously concerned because he is seriously mentally ill. I want him to get help.

    And just as I posted this article, I received another email from him. He’s escalating.

  34. #34 Reed
    November 29, 2008

    @Rickk O.
    That Stephen King guy used to hang out in down town Santa Cruz CA (late 90s or thereabouts). He had a van and handed out fliers and tried to convince anyone passing by.

    Well, I’m just assuming it was the same guy, FSM forbid there’s more than one of them…

  35. #35 PZ Myers
    November 29, 2008

    By the way, the people that are being “concerned and sympathetic” to him aren’t really there — he’s seeing smiling people on TV, and believes that they are watching him. He’s interpreting behavior on the television as if it is all directed at him.

  36. #36 Tim
    November 29, 2008

    Not much hope that he’s just pulling your leg, sounds like a candidate for the enchanted kingdom. If he doesn’t get effective help, he may seek the 12 gauge shortcut to oblivion.

  37. #37 Andrew
    November 29, 2008

    I find it interesting that those concerned about PZ posting this are advocating hiding it.

    The more people who see this, the more likely it is that someone who knows him can do something about it. Failing that, the more people who see the workings of a unbalanced mind, the more people who may be clued in to those close to them exhibiting the beginning signs.

    Schizophrenia is no laughing matter, but people need to see and acknowledge it as a real problem. I lost a friend 20 years ago to this disease and I still kick myself for not bringing it to the attention of his family. Although they suspected something was amiss, they did not know by how much. Perhaps by speaking to them I could have prompted some action. I’ll never know.

  38. #38 Don
    November 29, 2008

    Congratulations, PZ. Getting your own raving nutcase is a sign you’ve hit the big time. This should take the edge off that Turkish snub.

    In all seriousness, though, yeah, this is schizophrenia, textbook case. I hope he doesn’t hurt anyone, but honestly, what can you or any of us do?

  39. #39 Emre
    November 29, 2008

    In order to be taken serious and get banned PZ should get rid of his beard. Having a beard is sunna. (i.e. What Mohammad did) Thus, Turkish people sympathize with hairy faced people. they trust and love them. Heck, even Adnan Oktar has a beard. Moreover, anyone with a beard is almost always named a hadji (aka. pilgrim) If you want more proof, look at Ottoman Sultans’ pictures. They all have beards. :)))

    Switching to a serious tone; not many Turkish people know PZ exists. If Dawkins’ book wasn’t translated, he wouldn’t be known (aka. considered a threat) either. Turkey is not a good place to talk about non-theism or converting to any other religion. You literally get lynched. Just search Sivas Massacre or Bible publishing firm murders in Malatya. Admittedly, Christians were murdered in second one but it stands that freedom of belief is still a joke here.

    And, I am from Turkey, if anyone wonders.

  40. #40 Jimminy Christmas
    November 29, 2008

    I propose that PZ should write a book. On any topic, really. So that it can be banned in Turkey. I’d buy it!

  41. #41 Arnosium Upinarum
    November 29, 2008

    Bingo. Schizophrenia, apparently with an especially strong self-importance component: It’s all about “me”. Everything revolves around him. Every thought is related to his self. Every circumstance is gauged by that single reference. The TV serves as a kind of dynamic mirror just for him. Famous people are placed within the context of “me”. An “aggravated” sense of unfairness and “abuse” and lack of “help” figure prominently. And so on.

    But if one looks a little more closely at the gibberish, one might make out a strange and ironic kind of pattern to the thinking: he can’t make an identification that separates his self with all those “others” he sees out there in the world. His isn’t the cannonical narcissistic delusion of grandeur based on a pumped-up ego or super-estimation of his worth. He hasn’t a clue to “who” he is, because he can’t even parse any distinction. So he identifies “himself” at turns with just about anybody he happens to come across. This fellow is struggling because he can’t recognize any boundaries. What looks like hyper-self-esteem may be rooted in an inability to abstract borders between one concept and another, including identities. Without conceptual compartmentalization a person will behave very like a schizophrenic. And if one can’t even tell one’s self from others, one will behave much like this fellow too.

    Dangerous? Maybe. Who isn’t potentially so. But imagine not being able to establish a personal identity from anybody else. And if no basis for empathy exists in the first place…well, you can take it from there.

    He needs real help. Good deed to you, PZ, if your post in any way precipitates that.

    (I tried very hard not to use the word “frame”…ack, D’OH!)

  42. #42 Jeanette
    November 29, 2008

    I knew a guy who was probably a paranoid schizophrenic. I’m not a mental health professional, so I can’t say for sure. But he thought that there were demons speaking to him and giving him orders from television and from rock music. These demons “made” him steal from employers, use drugs, and “commit homosexual acts.” He would become agitated and frightening in response to any suggestion that he try therapy of some sort to get those demons under control. He finally became a devout follower of some nutty Christian cult that told him that the demons were real and that he had to fight them by turning away from t.v. and rock music and turning to their religion. (I suspect that extremist religions commonly take advantage of people who are in such a vulnerable state.)

  43. #43 Bobby M
    November 29, 2008

    Turkish creationists can suck my Turkish delight in a Turkish bath.

  44. #44 raven
    November 29, 2008

    And just as I posted this article, I received another email from him. He’s escalating.

    His screed which I just skimmed (painful to even read) indicated escalation. He is getting worse.

    We all know people like this or have to deal with them sooner or later. They like the internet a lot. One of the signs psych. workers and the police watch closely is escalation. If they are getting worse and the delusions are getting uglier, obviously, this is a bad sign.

    PZ indicated that he hopes his post results in the guy getting some help and soon. No one could doubt he needs it.

  45. #45 Zetetic
    November 29, 2008

    I just finished reading “Divided Minds”, a book written by identical twin sisters about their experiences with schizophrenia. One of the twins developed schizophrenia and the other became a psychologist. The emails PZ just quoted sound frighteningly similar to the way the schizophrenic twin described her delusions. So I’d say that tentative diagnosis sounds pretty reasonable.

    Poor guy. I hope he does get some help before he harms himself or someone else. What a hellish disease.

  46. #46 skepsci
    November 29, 2008

    Where does PZ make fun of Brooklyn?
    He isn’t, but several of the people posting comments are.

  47. #47 jonathan
    November 30, 2008

    My reaction, not having read the whole thing, is this is very lucid for a person who not only perceives irrationally but who takes the step of communicating back. Hearing and reacting are two different things and when people start talking back to the voices / images, they generally become less lucid – that’s one point where people notice the person has lost touch with reality.

    I also noted the excerpt did not contain the anticipated rants about the “torture” being done to him. Schizo voices are most often perceived as harmful, not as friendly, and people with these delusions tend to dwell on the harm being done to them. I would have anticipated pages of ranting about how these people are trying to control his brain, how they’re torturing him, humiliating him, etc. but instead he goes step by step through the history and process.

    In other words, there’s a chance this is not “real.” By that, I mean the person may well be crazy – clinically – but that he doesn’t really believe the tv can see him, etc. He may have more of a delusional fantasist issue, more of a narcissist problem than actually hearing voices and hallucinating. His delusion seems to place himself at the center.

    In either event, nothing you do would get him to seek help. I would argue that giving him publicity is more likely to feed his problem and that the feedback you’re unintentionally giving may encourage him to seek more.

  48. #48 Michael Gray
    November 30, 2008

    This sounds very much like the fellow who has been posting exactly this type of stuff the the alt.atheism newsgroup for decades now, under the pseudonym “|-|erc”.
    He admits to having been in an out of Australian psychiatric hospital(s) on numerous occasions, and is known to the Queensland police.
    I know his real name, and am able to privately supply it should matters get to a point where such a measure might be required.

  49. #49 Jeanette
    November 30, 2008

    Michael Gray:

    He admits to having been in an out of Australian psychiatric hospital(s) on numerous occasions, and is known to the Queensland police.
    I know his real name, and am able to privately supply it should matters get to a point where such a measure might be required.

    I wish you would email it to PZ. Nobody can really assess when matters have gotten to such a point. We don’t know when someone is about to do harm to himself or others.

  50. #50 Moody834
    November 30, 2008

    @29–

    Haven’t driven by St. Elsewhere of late, have you?

  51. #51 Bacopa
    November 30, 2008

    Of course this person has mental problems. But he sure can string together a good bunch of complete sentences. Most people can’t. Many people can’t even read simple text without using their fingers to trace the words, and the majority of people can’t even store chunks of text in their heads as they read out loud to make it sound natural. I bet this person can.

    While he does believe strange things, his beliefs are as well founded as the average fundie.

  52. #52 Moody834
    November 30, 2008

    My partner made the excellent point that posting his writing where he can see it may well exacerbate his delusions and thus lead to further escalation on his part. I’ve been reading the comments here and thinking about this whole thing and I have to throw in with those expressing genuine concern about this person’s disturbing trend in behavior.

  53. #53 Grammar RWA
    November 30, 2008

    My intent is not to mock or laugh at this guy. I am seriously concerned because he is seriously mentally ill. I want him to get help.

    You should not have posted his name. You’ve created a high-visibility public record that is going to humiliate him if he gets treatment, and likely even if he doesn’t. Very disappointing, PZ.

  54. #54 Paul Murray
    November 30, 2008

    Yeah, I read about this on teh internets. Paranoid Schizophrenia, with delusions. Note, in particular, the *feelings of transparency*, *perrsecution*, *delusions of grandeur* – this guy thinks that the whole world is onto him.

    It’s only a matter of tme before he decides that the machines are reading his thoughts, too, and putting them up as subtitles on every monitor.

  55. #55 mandrake
    November 30, 2008

    Happy Trollop @ 18 –
    Me too. I was involved/lived with a man for several years who was paranoid schizophrenic. Unless you’ve seen it, it’s hard to explain how entirely convinced of their delusions people with this diagnosis are. Even with medical intervention, they tend to hold onto the belief that there’s nothing wrong with them, and when they feel better they stop taking the meds, and then it all goes to hell again.
    I very much hope this person gets the help he needs, not only for his own sake but for those who care about him.

  56. #56 Simon Scott
    November 30, 2008

    Reminds me of this guy – http://www.five.org.uk/

  57. #57 Annie M
    November 30, 2008

    Excuse me but I cannot work out how some people believe that PZ has posted this to humiliate or ‘point and laugh’ at this poor bastard (poor bastard meant in the Australian sense, not the mean sense).

    It’s so sad when teh internets serve to expose just how badly some people’s brains are wired. Then again, perhaps it serves as a useful thing if it can get people help and ‘normal’ people can get a glimpse of how bloody frightening mental illness can be…

  58. #58 Faintpraise
    November 30, 2008

    @Simon #56

    Yes, I was thinking of him when I read this too. I visited his site after he advertised it in Private Eye. I’m kind of amazed he’s still there in some ways, I think he must have had medical interventions in the past due to all the references to psychiatry on the website.

  59. #59 Andy James
    November 30, 2008

    Creationists, all of them, are lying assholes, who would skin their own mothers if they thought it would show god created the universe. They are the epitome of evil, malcontentedness, and ill-will towards all humans who think differently. To them, its more important to silence opposition and judge them as their god would, than to discover the truth as it really is. Creationists are the most vile enemy to humanity since the Nazis.
    I stand by every word of this statement, and wouldn’t doubt for a second that a creationist would hide, lie, cheat, and twist words to their means for even the most meager of reasons. I hate the lies and untruths propagated by the anti-scientists more than they could possibly imagine hating the devil, and yet I would never result to violence as they would.

  60. #60 Grammar RWA
    November 30, 2008

    Excuse me but I cannot work out how some people believe that PZ has posted this to humiliate or ‘point and laugh’ at this poor bastard

    I think we all know PZ has no such intentions. I cannot work out how you got to that misunderstanding of the complaints.

  61. #61 Ian
    November 30, 2008

    Escalating, not good. Yes, PZ, you should contact the authorities.

    ———-

    Bayridge Brooklyn, I just wanted to say something to you should you happen to be reading this. You’ve been holding up signs to the TV to inform broadcasters that you are being tortured so that they can help you. The good news is that there are lots of people who will help you if you ask.

    If someone arrives at your door to help you, people such as ambulance drivers or policemen, follow their instructions and go with them. If not, perhaps you should go to the nearest hospital and explain to the people there what you’ve been going through.

    The people at the hospital will not understand you at first, and it may take days before they even begin to understand, but they will listen and will sincerely try to help. I suggest that you keep talking to them.

    There are drugs that can put a stop to the torture you’ve been going through, or at least make things better than they are. The doctors at the hospital can give you the ones you need. Please go meet with them and follow their instructions.

    good luck, Bayridge

  62. #62 Samantha Vimes
    November 30, 2008

    I suspect this is a good example that schizophrenia can happen to even very intelligent and rational (in the personality sense) people. I wouldn’t doubt the obvious diagnosis based on the face he can put together a coherent written explanation of what is happening(subjectively) to him. Most people don’t know when I am writing in a state of extreme agitation, because I’m the sort of person who prefers to appear in control of myself. I expect Mr. Televisions-are-watching-me simply has a similar personality and it makes his communications style more lucid than his actual experiences.

    As far as keeping this out of the public eye, I thought that criticism over. And really, isn’t that rather like the days when disabled people were kept out of the public eye, and no one admitted gays exist?
    The mentally ill are, in the minds of most people, unknown and scary. My mother can’t believe the number of my friends who are on medicines for depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. And at least one of them has an aunt with a history of schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder is apparently close enough to it medically, she told me she’s at risk of crossing over into it eventually.
    The point is, mental illness is an ILLNESS. It’s not the fault of the person who has it. And Myers did not post to mock, and most of the replies indicate his readers get it, unlike the general public that I know, who seem to be judgmental about insanity.
    And the more people talk openly and calmly about mental illness instead of sweeping it under a rug or spreading disinformation, the more people will be able to deal approach the problems in a positive fashion, willing to help and create societal support for treatment, and so on.
    The more people try to avoid talking about it, the bigger the sense of stigma, shame and fear.

  63. #63 ekcol
    November 30, 2008

    Everyone seems to be assuming he’s Australian, I think that’s a mistake. I read his comments about the Australia government being unable to help as meaning he’s not from there.

  64. #64 Kel
    November 30, 2008

    Everyone seems to be assuming he’s Australian, I think that’s a mistake. I read his comments about the Australia government being unable to help as meaning he’s not from there.

    Unless you are a farmer or a family in need of childcare, the Australian government doesn’t help. Personally I like that relationship.

  65. #65 Rabe
    November 30, 2008

    He looks TV at his PC and has the web cam picture mixed in?

  66. #66 Favardin
    November 30, 2008

    Maybe he needs UBIK?

  67. #67 Riman Butterbur
    November 30, 2008

    I’m astonished at all the people jumping to the conclusion that this is schizophrenia. Is that the only mental illness you’ve ever heard of?

    Are any of you diagnosers trained to assess this man’s condition?

    I am not either. But for what it’s worth, jonathan’s remarks at #47 sound the most plausible to me.

  68. #68 davem
    November 30, 2008

    QrazyQat:

    or no Watney’s Red Barrel.

    You haven’t been to England for 40 years, then?

    More seriously, PZ, I’d send a copy of the email to your ISP, and ask that the guy be traced for the purpose of helping him. And maybe if his account was closed, it might help, too, although I’m open to better advice from those who know more about mental illness than I do.

  69. #69 mayhempix
    November 30, 2008

    Posted by: Riman Butterbur | November 30, 2008 7:21 AM
    “I’m astonished at all the people jumping to the conclusion that this is schizophrenia. Is that the only mental illness you’ve ever heard of?”

    Schizophrenia is not one form of mental illness and is a term that now covers various symptoms and causes. Multiple personality disorder and hallucinogenic paranoia are just the most common types people think of and #47’s perceptions all fall within the range of different schizophrenic symptoms. Today most schizophrenic behaviors and delusions are attributed to chemical imbalances in the brain and can be controlled by medications.

  70. #70 Kate
    November 30, 2008

    So… it seems that a few “mother hens” have taken it on themselves to chastise PZ for putting the content of this letter on his blog.

    To those who want to cluck at him I say:

    Really? Are you serious? You have an issue with him abiding by his very own policies which cause you to salivate orgasmically when it’s a fundie, but suddenly find a problem with when it’s a complete nutter who writes, unsolicited, to him every day? Are you somehow under the impression that *your* special interest is meant to be coddled and that *you* ought to be pacified? Do you really think your “armchair” diagnosis holds *any* water at all with those of us who think and act in a scientific manner? You have not examined the man, and if you did I doubt there are many of you who would be qualified to make a diagnosis. Your personal anecdotes of previous relationships with people are *NOT EVIDENCE*. They are just that, anecdotes. To berate PZ for picking on someone you *think* *might* be mentally ill is akin to someone picking on him for berating someone you *think* might be a *saint*.

    Welcome to the real world, folks. Your personal desires and ideas of moral and ethical behaviour have no bearing on that of others. That’s what many of you *claim* to want, but as we can all see here, not many of you are able to live with it.

  71. #71 negentropyeater
    November 30, 2008

    Slightly O/T :

    in the series “Religion poisons everything”, after the Mumbai terrorist attacks, we have now :

    300 bodies taken to mosque on 2nd day of Nigeria riots

    Fighting began Friday between supporters of the region’s two main political parties following the first local election in the town of Jos in more than a decade. The violence expanded along ethnic and religious lines, with Hausa Muslims and members of Christian ethnic groups doing battle.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/africa/11/29/nigeria.riots.ap/index.html

  72. #72 Dave
    November 30, 2008

    Hmm, my ex lives in Bayridge, but she’s not a dude. But if you tease out any more info I can poke around a bit.

  73. #73 Sili
    November 30, 2008

    Whatever happened to that otherwise real scientist who went crazy halfway through his conference paper and then showed up here to vent his rage?

  74. #74 Annie
    November 30, 2008

    No one is advocating for hiding the problems posed by mental illness or sweeping them under the rug.

    However, it is cruel and inhumane to intentionally expose a person with signs of untreated or undertreated mental illness without asking for their permission to do so and engaging him or her directly, both of which PZ has done.

    I can only offer you a rough analogy from my own nursing practice over the years:

    It is not uncommon for some people with cognitive or neurological deficits to expose themselves in non-sexual ways to others and not be aware of the inappropriateness of the act in the setting.

    WHen that happens, I took immediate action to cover the person and to remove him or her to a private and safe place to offer care.

    It’s substituted judgement, indeed, and its aim is to protect and preserve the dignity and safety of the person.

    PZ has used this person – for readership (otherwise, why post?), for his own ends of his perceived harassment, and he has done nothing to intervene – he has not contacted the person, he has not notified his or the person’s ISPs, he has not blocked the person from sending email – he has not contacted authorities who are in a position to locate and to provide help to the person.

    This is unethical, and as I emailed PZ, I can no longer subscribe to his blog, in protest.

    That PZ has used this very vulnerable – and ILL – person for his own ends is disappointing. That most commenters don’t perceive the unethical concerns, but only respond to the person as an abstract, inhuman concept instead of a real person with signs of illness, is indicative of the American culture.

    Have a discussion of mental illness. For gawd’s sake, my blog is littered with posts addressing that and associated issues – nary a comment received to any of them, but then again, I’m just a lowly nurse, so why would any of you high-fallutin’ types lower yourselves and consort with riff raff?

    I think that you have internalized your own assumptions and biases, and that you aren’t able or willing to see what is being done here. That’s sad, but correctable, if only you will take a moment to reflect and analyze.

    If you wish to discuss, please email me or comment on my blog.

  75. #75 clinteas
    November 30, 2008

    Annie @ 74,

    PZ has used this person – for readership (otherwise, why post?), for his own ends of his perceived harassment, and he has done nothing to intervene – he has not contacted the person, he has not notified his or the person’s ISPs, he has not blocked the person from sending email – he has not contacted authorities who are in a position to locate and to provide help to the person.

    This is unethical, and as I emailed PZ, I can no longer subscribe to his blog, in protest.

    Whoa,hold your horses !!!

    I didnt think it was a great idea to post this myself,because it might escalate the guy ,but what youre going on about there is taking it a bit too far !

    I dont think PZ is in any position to do any of the things you mention in your post,neither are the other 30 people getting his emails every day.
    Bit unfortunate to post,but understandable in a way given the crap PZ is exposed to all the time? I think so.
    Unethical? Dont be ridiculous !

  76. #76 latsot
    November 30, 2008

    I find cases like this desperately sad, I hope this guy manages to get help soon.

    A distant relative of mine was schizophrenic. He and his immediate family lived in torment because of it for forty years. He couldn’t understand why people thought there was anything wrong with him and every so often would find a cunning way to stop taking his pills and to hide that from his family. This would invariably result in him taking flight and go missing for long periods of time. He was perfectly able to look after himself, get work, find accomodation and so on, but became increasingly unstable and eventually ended up being rounded up by police, returned to his family and thankfully persuaded to start taking his pills again.

    I cannot imagine the stress this placed on his family, let alone on him.

    I guess I don’t have much of a point other than it’s sad that people still have to suffer like this :(

  77. #77 Kate
    November 30, 2008

    @ Annie #74:

    Wow. You just got an idea in your head and *ran* with it there, didn’t you?

    You attribute all sorts of malicious intent to PZ without, it seems, bothering to read what PZ wrote. ….or maybe you *did* read it and are unable to understand it? ….or perhaps you’re just ignoring it? ….or maybe you simply have all of those qualities you attribute to PZ, but are projecting?

    Either way, I don’t think he gives a flying fuck at a rolling donut about whatever evil intent you wish to project upon him. I would suggest, however, that you let go of your own ego long enough to actually ASK what his intent was. (Not that I think, from the tone of your post, that you would bother an attempt at comprehension.)

    …and one last thing, Annie…. Why would *you* try to capitalize on this by posting a link and invitation to *YOUR OWN BLOG*? You sick freak! (..and hypocrite to boot!)

  78. #78 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 30, 2008

    If you wish to discuss, please email me or comment on my blog.

    Attention whore.

  79. #79 Jason Failes
    November 30, 2008

    If your TV could watch you, it would be equipped with both a camera and transmitter, both of which would take up space.

    And, of course, people would have hacked said equipment for their own uses by now. Pages describing how to do so would already be on “Digg”.

    Can someone be rationalized out of delusions like this?

    For example, if I met up with this fellow, and took an old TV apart with a tool set, showing him every part and what it does, would there be any reason to think that would help?

  80. #80 negentropyeater
    November 30, 2008

    Annie,

    I think you are right to express your concern on this post, but wrong to accuse PZ of unethical behaviour.

    Who can give professional advice on how to proceed with this ?

    Clinteas ?

  81. #81 clinteas
    November 30, 2008

    Neg,

    well,plenty crazies out there,the net of mental health has lots of holes,and one can easily fall through….
    Guy just needs to get treatment,who knows who he is,not anything anyone here could do,really,methinks…..

  82. #82 plum grenville
    November 30, 2008

    Who is Kate (#70) and what is her problem? With defenders like her, does PZ need enemies?

    IMHO, which is based on pure personal anecdote – a year of employment at an advocacy organization for people with schizophrenis – diagnosing schizophrenia is not difficult. Anybody who has lived with someone with the diagnosis is well-qualified to do it. Schizophrenia does take other forms besides paranoid delusions, which are less clearcut and less familiar to the public. But the paranoid form is as recognizable as the red nose of a chronic alcoholic.

    Armchair diagnosis is unscientific only in the sense that it is often done by nonexperts and based on partial data. Forming an opinion on evidence is certainly scientific in spirit. So is recognizing the limitations of one’s opinion and being prepared to change it based on new evidence or the opinion of an expert.

    I see no harm being done by the armchair diagnosis of this man. No one is suggesting that their opinion be subsstituted for that of medical professionals. At worst, our opinions will be ignored. At best, those who know him may be motivated to get help for him. (I share other commenters’ skepticism that he will recognize his need for treatment himself.)

    I don’t think PZ was picking on or mocking this guy. I think he was motivated by desire to help coupled with a feeling of helplessness. What else can he do from half a world away, besides posting the guy’s email and urging him (or his family) to get professional help?

    “Welcome to the real world, folks. Your personal desires and ideas of moral and ethical behaviour have no bearing on that of others. That’s what many of you *claim* to want, but as we can all see here, not many of you are able to live with it.” -Kate

    I don’t know quite how to interpret this little harangue of Kate’s. I won’t venture so far as to make an “unscientific” armchair diagnosis based on its tenuous connection with her earlier remarks and the lapses in logic. I’ll just say that she obviously has her knickers in a twist about something and it’s affected her ability to express herself coherently.

  83. #83 LotharLoo
    November 30, 2008

    Sorry, PZ but I’m disappointed. That Harun Yahya fucker will debate anybody, when he’s not busy molesting young children though.

  84. #84 clinteas
    November 30, 2008

    plum grenville @ 82,

    oh interesting,I hadnt read that comment before.

    I dont have so much of a problem with it tho,because I am qualified to recommend patients to involuntary treatment in mental institutions over here ,so I guess she wasnt talking about me,but yeah,I get the point youre making,and I didnt see myself as a mother hen clucking LOL

  85. #85 matt
    November 30, 2008

    @#74

    I’m nominating you for sainthood. St. Sanctimonious Douche.

    Good riddance.

  86. #86 raven
    November 30, 2008

    Oh c’mon. SZ is not subtle or hard to diagnose.

    1. As I mentioned before, it is common, roughly 1% of the population. In the USA that is 3 million people.

    2. We’ve all seen people with SZ before. For various reasons, (Lots of free time, no job, no life, it’s easy), they tend to spend a lot of time on the internet. Those crazy, incoherent trolls are usually, in fact, crazy and incoherent and many will be SZ.

    3. The diagnostic criteria are well known and copied below from the DSM. You just match the symptoms with the criteria.

    One symptom that is variable but common is unfocused, endogenous rage. Those are the ones to really watch out for.

    counselling resource.com:

    Symptoms of Schizophrenia
    The following specific diagnostic criteria are reproduced verbatim (except for codings and page references) from the DSM-IV, the immediate predessor of the current DSM-IV TR (where ‘IV TR’ indicates fourth edition, text revision).

    Diagnostic Criteria for Schizophrenia
    A. Characteristic symptoms: Two (or more) of the following, each present for a significant portion of time during a 1-month period (or less if successfully treated):

    delusions
    hallucinations
    disorganized speech (e.g., frequent derailment or incoherence)
    grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior
    negative symptoms, i.e., affective flattening, alogia, or avolition
    Note: Only one Criterion A symptom is required if delusions are bizarre or hallucinations consist of a voice keeping up a running commentary on the person’s behavior or thoughts, or two or more voices conversing with each other.

    B. Social/occupational dysfunction: For a significant portion of the time since the onset of the disturbance, one or more major areas of functioning such as work, interpersonal relations, or self-care are markedly below the level achieved prior to the onset (or when the onset is in childhood or adolescence, failure to achieve expected level of interpersonal, academic, or occupational achievement).

    C. Duration: Continuous signs of the disturbance persist for at least 6 months. This 6-month period must include at least 1 month of symptoms (or less if successfully treated) that meet Criterion A (i.e., active-phase symptoms) and may include periods of prodromal or residual symptoms. During these prodromal or residual periods, the signs of the disturbance may be manifested by only negative symptoms or two or more symptoms listed in Criterion A present in an attenuated form (e.g., odd beliefs, unusual perceptual experiences).

    D. Schizoaffective and Mood Disorder exclusion: Schizoaffective Disorder and Mood Disorder With Psychotic Features have been ruled out because either (1) no Major Depressive Episode, Manic Episode, or Mixed Episode have occurred concurrently with the active-phase symptoms; or (2) if mood episodes have occurred during active-phase symptoms, their total duration has been brief relative to the duration of the active and residual periods.

    E. Substance/general medical condition exclusion: The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition.

    F. Relationship to a Pervasive Developmental Disorder: If there is a history of Autistic Disorder or another Pervasive Developmental Disorder, the additional diagnosis of Schizophrenia is made only if prominent delusions or hallucinations are also present for at least a month (or less if successfully treated).

    Subtypes
    1. Paranoid Type

    A type of Schizophrenia in which the following criteria are met

    Preoccupation with one or more delusions or frequent auditory hallucinations.
    None of the following is prominent: disorganized speech, disorganized or catatonic behavior, or flat or inappropriate affect.

  87. #87 clinteas
    November 30, 2008

    Im off to bed,but I just wanted to comment on this quickly :

    One symptom that is variable but common is unfocused, endogenous rage. Those are the ones to really watch out for.

    Not true in my experience.
    Rage is not a symptom or feature of schizophrenia at all.Those people are disturbed,and lack insight,but rage is not a feature of their behaviour.

  88. #88 Kate
    November 30, 2008

    @plum grenville:

    I yam who I yam….

    First, I am not *defending* PZ. He’s a big boy who doesn’t need my help. I am stating my personal thoughts on the matter. That’s not defending PZ, it’s pointing out the hypocrisy of certain commenters here. (Something I find hilarious, but I suppose I have a twisted sense of humour.)

    But seriously, I wouldn’t term it a harangue as much as it is a statement of my personal world view. It’s not pretty, and no, it isn’t “nice”. “Nice” is for those who fear offending those around them. This is not a fear of mine. I have strong, sometimes unpopular opinions, but I do not fear expressing them or discussing them. I do not believe anyone is beyond ridicule, I do not think that the current environment of rabid political correctness is a good thing for society or mankind as a whole so I choose to simply say what I mean and mean what I say. Mincing words muddies your meaning, and I hold clarity of communication in very high regard.

    I see too much of: “Don’t say/do/think that… It’s OFFENSIVE TO (insert special interest group *here*), but it’s okay to think/say/do that in relation to another group I don’t like”…and it makes me want to puke. PZ posted one e-mail from someone who e-mails him regularly. His e-mail policy is clearly stated. It is the fact that people have an issue with him publishing this e-mail, but fall all over themselves in admiration when he posts e-mails from many other people (All of whom could be said to be mentally ill if one applied the same standards to their e-mails which have been applied, by others, to Mr. Brooklyn’s e-mail.) which prompted my statement.

    …. I hope that clears it all up for you.

  89. #89 clinteas
    November 30, 2008

    Kate,

    “Nice” is for those who fear offending those around them. This is not a fear of mine. I have strong, sometimes unpopular opinions, but I do not fear expressing them or discussing them

    Talk about delusions of grandeur LOL
    Or maybe youre just confused.

  90. #90 raven
    November 30, 2008

    Rage is not a symptom or feature of schizophrenia at all.Those people are disturbed,and lack insight,but rage is not a feature of their behaviour.

    Common might be stretching it, but the rage ones stick out.

    We had one go off near where I live, way too close to home. Guy jumped out of his car with a rifle in a crowded retail area. Shouted that everyone was after him and he wasn’t going to take it anymore.

    Everyone disappeared except one little girl who didn’t know what was happening and wandered into the scene. He fired a shot at her and missed. Cops showed up and he fired at them and missed. They did not miss. Long history of paranoid delusions. If that isn’t anger, what is?

  91. #91 Kate
    November 30, 2008

    @clinteas

    Sorry, but I don’t get your point. I don’t care if I offend others by speaking what I think is the truth, but am willing to discuss my opinion and change my mind if I am proved to be erroneous or incorrect… and that means I have delusions of grandeur?

    Your statement doesn’t make much sense to me. (Mind you, I could say you were “quote mining”… but that WOULD fit the delusions of grandeur thing, no?)

    Perhaps it’s that I don’t feel popularity is important and instead value honesty and unwavering adherence to your own personal code of ethics? (Of course, I am only assuming that popularity is important to you, because I don’t quite understand how offending people by telling what I understand to be the truth is something I ought to be worried about/ashamed of/change about myself, unless I was also worried about whether or not people would “like” me.)

    Then again, I suppose I have a unique peer group in that they value lively conversation and discussing a variety of topics with people who hold opinions that are vastly different from their own.

    Which is why I don’t generally comment here.

    Why would I want to have a discussion that is simply agreement? What would I, or anyone else, get out of that? What good would it do to remain silent when I see something happening that I find stupid, or silly, or simply hypocritical? How would that change my world, or my opinion, or my way of looking at the universe? It wouldn’t. It would cause my mind and my way of thinking to stagnate, and wouldn’t challenge me in the least. If I feared offending people I wouldn’t have half the information I do about their beliefs or world view. I wouldn’t have had most of the really interesting conversations/debates I’ve been lucky enough to have been a part of.

    So that is why when I read the comment by Annie, with all it’s screaming hypocrisy, I wrote something.

    ….and now we’re talking about it. ….and I’m entertained.

    It’s win-win for me. :)

  92. #92 quasarpulse
    November 30, 2008

    I actually have to disagree with those saying that it’s easy to make an armchair diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia for this guy. Looking at his writing (generally lucid, fast-paced but coherent, paranoid and delusional but internally-consistent, heavily self-involved, both positive and negative aspects to delusions) I’d tend to point to bipolar disorder.

    Delusions arising from the manic phase of bipolar disorder, which don’t arise in all patients but do in a fairly significant number, can be just as severe as schizophrenic delusions but tend to have a slightly different character. Bipolar patients don’t tend to exhibit the “disorganized thinking” which is extremely common among schizophrenics; they can usually tell a coherent story.

    Of course, my hope is identical to that of the people saying it’s schizophrenia: I hope he gets help, and fast. I’m actually more worried, thinking it’s bipolar mania, because people in severe manic states tend to put themselves in danger.

  93. #93 Strakh
    November 30, 2008

    Oh, Kate, just stop it.
    It doesn’t take more than a few days of following these posters to see your point about “Don’t say/do/think that…”
    There is a very narrow view expressed here, that of the ivory tower pinheads who think that because they can vomit up what their professors lecture them they are just, you know, so damn smart and all…
    If you’re looking for intelligent comments without the disgustingly childish PC shit, try Richarddawkins.net. When the very same articles get posted you can see the startling difference in the level of intelligence, education, and maturity of the posters. While the posters on this site will inevitably degenerate into childish tantrums not even remotely related to the original topic the posters on RD.net will actually stay civil, discuss the topic and try to come to an informed, intelligent consensus.
    That is the reason I rarely read the comments posted here anymore save for their, as you so aptly stated, value as hilarious examples of smug hypocricy.
    And this topic sure has been a rich example of that, eh?
    Now watch the fireworks, Kate, when this one hits…

  94. #94 KristinMH
    November 30, 2008

    Strakh, Kate, how lovely. Yes, it really shows what superior people you both are when you randomly insult and slag off the commenters on a blog…in the comments of that blog. I think you’ve convinced us all that we should just shut up and let the super-smart folks like you take over!

    Seriously, “ivory tower pinheads”? “Mother hens”? “Smug hypocracy”? “Childish tantrums”?How about making a actual, coherent argument sometime? You know, like you say people do on RD.net.

  95. #95 Kate
    November 30, 2008

    Well, Strakh, it seems to me that you want me to stop because you don’t wish to read what I write. Might I suggest a killfile? I’m pretty sure you can ask any of the regulars here for links to a killfile appropriate for your particular browser. (I neglected to save the link when I downloaded the one I sue for Firefox.) Then you can either block particular comments, or simply block a commenter entirely. They work beautifully, until someone quotes the dweeb you wish to ignore.

  96. #96 Kate
    November 30, 2008

    Well Kristin, should you decide that *you* want to make a coherent argument *against* the points I have made, we can have a discussion. Otherwise, I would like to remind you of the pot calling the kettle black.

    I’ve not once said anyone should “shut-up”. I think I’ve been pretty clear on my position, and if it’s unclear to you then feel free to ask me about what I wrote. (As we should all ask anyone for clarification when we are unsure of meaning, intent, etc.) If, however, you’re going to lump my words in with those of another and ask me to defend them, you’re shit out of luck. I don’t find what Strakh said to be in line with my personal view, and therefore can not defend that opinion. I am also unqualified to discuss the meaning if Strakh’s comments, as I am not Strakh, therefore I am not privy to their inner thoughts or motivations.

    So go ahead, ask me a question or argue against my position. Unless you just want to slag off on random commenters… (Heh.)

  97. #97 Happy Trollop
    November 30, 2008

    Jason Failes @79

    if I met up with this fellow, and took an old TV apart with a tool set, showing him every part and what it does, would there be any reason to think that would help?

    My admittedly limited experience says the person in question would just deflect your “evidence”. (Not unlike a fundie, now that I think of it.) With my ex, I often heard “You don’t get it, do you? The [TV camera, microphone, recording device] is hidden! That’s why you can’t find it.”

    Either that, or a knowing sneer that I was “in on it” and trying to fool him to throw him off “their” track. In other words, they cannot be budged from their delusions, even when you show them something the non-mentally ill would regard as solid proof.

  98. #98 Strakh
    November 30, 2008

    Nothing could be further from the truth, Kate. Poor phrasing on my part. I enjoyed your statements and agreed. I find it discouraging that there are so many here who take such idiotic pleasure in laughing their smug little asses off on some people but then have such prissy little tantrums when someone they happen to like gets treated the same way…
    Whenever this gets pointed out, more snits happen until one just gets sick of the PC hypocrisy.
    Anyway, good hunting.

  99. #99 Jaycubed
    November 30, 2008

    Although this person is obviously paranoid, his writing is far too coherent, even if bizarre, to be evidence of schizophrenia.

    I am referring both to the structure & content of his writing.

    The structure is standard English, of a far higher quality than is average for such writers. (Compare his writing with the usual “spewers” on this or any site.) His writing is internally consistent. He spells correctly. All of this is evidence arguing against Schizophrenia.

    As bizarre as the contents of his letter may be, they remain internally consistent and bound to the real world (The people he mentions are real people who exercise power in the real world). Even evidence of “magical-thinking” is minimal. His paranoid personal ideas about TV projecting his image on cameras & screens around the world parallels how TV actually works (Images transmitted invisibly & undetectably around the world showing up on special viewing devices).

    Having worked with Schizophrenic & Schizo-Affective patients for more than a quarter century, I see No evidence of Schizophrenia here.

    Is he delusional? Yes.
    Is he paranoid? Yes.
    Is he schizophrenic? Highly unlikely.

    In the same way: all believers in Fairies are delusional & most are paranoid, but they are not necessarily schizophrenic.

  100. #100 Sastra
    November 30, 2008

    Jaycubed #99 wrote:

    In the same way: all believers in Fairies are delusional & most are paranoid, but they are not necessarily schizophrenic.

    I think this is a bad analogy, because many neopagans who “follow the fairy faith” are buying in to a preexisting system which meets their emotional and communal needs. I’ve met people who believe in — or claim to believe in — fairies. While you could characterize them as a bit loopy or eccentric, perhaps, they’re no more delusional or paranoid than standard New Agers. Or, for that matter, standard charismatic Christians. They function just fine on personal, interpersonal, and business levels.

    I once read a book by a psychologist who was studying animistic religious systems in Africa. The tribe brought a woman to him who needed help — they said she was crazy, because she heard voices when there was nobody there. This surprised the psychologist, because all the people in the tribe would claim to hear voices when nobody was there — ghosts, spirits, and so forth. When he asked why they thought she was crazy, they told him “she hears voices at the wrong times.”

  101. #101 Jaycubed
    November 30, 2008

    Dear Raven (comment #86),

    The DSM is neither a medical text nor a diagnostic manual, it is a billing device. Its sole purpose is to provide a series of numbers to put on a billing form, because only a specific authorized diagnosis will be paid for by insurers or the Government.

    “Get your 5 axis diagnosis here!”

    Even its name tells you its purpose; “diagnostic STATISTICAL manual”. It groups people by syndromes: groups of symptoms which are considered “diagnostic categories”. In fact there is no diagnosis, there are only categories. There is not even an attempt made to seek causes for the symptomatic syndromes. In fact, there are warnings in the DSM that it is not intended to diagnosis mental illness or disease.

    The DSM is a bad joke as a method for understanding the mentally ill or the nature of mental illness. It is also a lousy billing authorization method, encompassing those that are not ill (homosexual behavior was considered a mental illness with a DSM# until 1974) and excluding some who suffer mental illness because they do not fit into a billable category.

  102. #102 Kate
    November 30, 2008

    @Sastra #100:

    Can you point me to a source for that “hears voices at the wrong time” book? (If you remember, that is!) I find the idea of “acceptable delusion” to be a fascinating one, and worth further exploration. It’s about the most apt example of how delusion can be held sacred by a culture or group as long as it’s a *shared* delusion.

    ..and it makes me wonder how Palin’s speeches would read if you replaced the word “God” with “Barry the Invisible Flying Purple Antelope” or “The Voice that comes out of the TV”. …. Hmmm…. I’m off to copy, paste into word and “find and replace”. I haven’t had nearly enough laughs today!

  103. #103 mindlesley
    November 30, 2008

    Agree schizophrenia is a sad and potentially tragic brain disorder – I should know having lost a child to it.But you can’t help laughing sometimes at the fevered delusion as displayed. Humour is quite often cruel, aggressive and inhumane but I would rather live with it than without it.
    This guy needs to be held for more than a few days.(Common practice in Aus.is to medicate up to eyeballs and for cost cutting reasons to not assess psych. patient thoroughly enough to really know what you’re looking at or what meds are best for that individual.)
    Then release them, often without informing signicant others, if there are any, that they’re being discharged.
    Yes, 1 percent of your lot and ours is schizophrenic.Much more in Ireland and some parts of Scandanavia.
    Emailing people is probably therapeutic. Graphomaniacal outpourings at least takes his energies away from possibly doing harm to self or others. Of course this doesn’t apply to all the ‘sane’ folks on this site. Regards Mindlesley

  104. #104 Kate
    November 30, 2008

    @Strakh:

    I see. I have misunderstood. I still don’t necessarily agree with everything you said, but I think I have a better handle on it now. I apologize for jumping to an incorrect conclusion.

    I don’t share your opinion that *most* posters here are hypocritical, but I do find that *some* forget that they can’t have it both ways, and are simply reacting from their gut instinct without bothering to fully explore the possible ethical conflicts in those reactions. It seems as though many take it all so very personally, without the understanding that this is not their living room, but a blog on the internet. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t see those reactions as being necessarily hypocritical, but that they are the result of people simply not being mindful of their own ethics. I prefer to point it out to them, to perhaps cause them to *think* about what they have said and *why* they have said it, than go elsewhere and be among those who are “like minded”. After all, I would expect to receive the same treatment from them if I wanted to hold two vastly different points of view on what is essentially the same subject.

    …but I guess I also prize being “mindful” above being “liked” or being thought of as “nice”.

    I look forward to seeing you at richarddawkins.net as well as here. I think you and I might have a few good discussions!

  105. #105 The Swiss
    November 30, 2008

    One of my brothers had a psychotic episode a few years ago; luckily he “exploded”, so his problems were promptly addressed instead of let simmering for 20 more years. He was convinced everybody (politicians, friends and family) were in some huge very complicated plot involving cocaine and some strange new invisible drug, as well as the Calabrese mafia. For the first couple of days, as he confusingly unfolded his theories to me, I actually believed him: he was genuinely distressed, and I was desperately trying to understand who was involved with this cocaine business. After a while it became clear that he was imagining stuff, but STILL I was convinced that it would be possible to reason with him, and calm him down. Incredibly, nobody in my family thought this could be pathological; I still don’t understand how we managed to not recognise it for over a week.

    I ended up with my father taking my brother by force to a clinic. He thought we were having him killed, because he had uncovered the plot.

    Now my brother lives again in the real world and has a quite normal life (with the help of pills). He knows he sometimes can have hallucinations, and he recognizes by himself the beginning of the occasional crisis wherupon he asks for help.

    Very not funny stuff. It is most important to get professional help as soon as possible, before the alternative reality establishes itself and becomes permanent…

  106. #106 Jaycubed
    November 30, 2008

    I think this is a bad analogy, because many neopagans who “follow the fairy faith” are buying in to a preexisting system which meets their emotional and communal needs.
    Sastra (#100)

    I think it is an excellent analogy for two reasons.

    1) My suspicion is that you think of Fairies in the specific (a small class of specific magical beings of tiny human form) rather than in general (meaning magical beings).

    The words Fairy and Faith both come from the same root “Fay“.

    Believers in god/gods are fairy believers because they believe in the existence of magical creatures based on faith.

    2) Neo-Pagans (whatever they are, since the actual pagan religion of the U.S. are the Baptist sub-cults of the Protestant cult of the Christian sect of the Abrahamic Monotheistic religion), Monotheists (ie. Christians, Moslems, Jews & Sikhs), Pure Land Buddhists, Hindus, Animists, Shintoists, Gamblers (worshippers of Luck), Thuggees (the Kali followers who murdered as religious rite), one could go on quite a while to list all the various stripes of Fairy beliefs….All have two things in common:
    They believe in the existence of Fairies,
    They believe they “are buying in to a preexisting system which meets their emotional and communal needs”.

    After all, it wouldn’t be NEO-Paganism without the pagans to refer too.

    Finally, after 8 years of a delusional & paranoid leadership running the U.S., I don’t understand the point of your comment that “They function just fine on personal, interpersonal, and business levels.” Delusional & paranoid people often end up in positions of power where “They function just fine”.

    It wasn’t long ago that we had President who had obvious symptoms of dementia during the 8 years he held office. He is considered by many (obviously delusional people) to be one of the greatest Presidents ever.

  107. #107 ParryLost
    November 30, 2008

    You know, you can just block e-mail addresses from which you get harassed. And I think it’s obvious that putting this stuff up on a blog is not going to help this man realise that he needs psychological help. I am pretty sure any reasonable person must realise this. So why are you posting this? Entertainment value? Let’s all laugh at the crazy person? That’s in rather poor taste, I would say. That’s what mental hospitals were once, like Bedlam — they charged people for admission so they could come in and gawk at the poor sick people inside for amusement. Nice to see this tradition is still alive and well…

  108. #108 Cath the Canberra Cook
    November 30, 2008

    Jaycubed, poor grammar and spelling are not diagnostic of mental illness, but of poor education and/or learning disabilities like dyslexia. A schizophrenia sufferer who learned to write well does not suddenly lose that ability. They become delusional, not ignorant. I saw this, tragically, in my uni physics lab partner, a lovely sweet guy.

  109. #109 Jaycubed
    November 30, 2008

    “Jaycubed, poor grammar and spelling are not diagnostic of mental illness, but of poor education and/or learning disabilities like dyslexia. A schizophrenia sufferer who learned to write well does not suddenly lose that ability. They become delusional, not ignorant. I saw this, tragically, in my uni physics lab partner, a lovely sweet guy.
    Posted by: Cath the Canberra Cook”

    At no point do I suggest that poor grammar or spelling is in any way diagnostic of mental illness. Also, at no point do I imply that the mentally ill are or “become…ignorant”.

    However, good grammar & spelling is evidence of coherent mental organization. Such organization is compromised in schizophrenics.

    Your anecdote implies that your friend’s writing abilities were not compromised by his illness. Having worked with hundreds of diagnosed schizophrenics & schizoaffectives I find that hard to believe.

    I have seen schizophrenics produce gorgeous handwriting, beautiful poetry & writing evidencing brilliant insights; but in all cases their writing was still seriously impacted by their illness as evidenced by a variety of factors (time, size, space, repetitiveness, focus on minutia, fixation on topics, word choices).

    The hallmark of “Schizo” type mental illness is not delusions or paranoia (which are almost universal markers in the DSM, most diagnoses list delusions and/or paranoia as symptoms); it is the disorganization of the sufferers thinking. It is a SCHISM within the mental processes which defines the schizophrenic or schizoaffective.

  110. #110 spurge
    November 30, 2008

    You know ParryLost you could actually read the part of the post where PZ states exactly why he posted it.

  111. #111 Tom
    November 30, 2008

    This sounds exactly like a guy who lives in my town in NY. He used to pass out pamphlets in downtown Manhattan asking for help from the brain wave attacks from the US government. When I worked in the World Trade Center, I would see him all the time. He seemed almost rational. But if I pointed out his street you would have no problem with figuring out which house was his.

  112. #112 Sastra
    November 30, 2008

    Kate #102 wrote:

    Can you point me to a source for that “hears voices at the wrong time” book? (If you remember, that is!)

    It was one of the books I have by John F. Schumaker — either Wings of Illusion: The Origin, Nature, and Future of Paranormal Belief or The Corruption of Reality: A Unified Theory of Religion, Hypnosis, and Psychopathology. If I had to make a guess, the incident is from the second one. Schumaker’s basic argument is that the human brain evolved to construct and process reality in multiple pathways, and that religious belief is the mostly healthy version of the same neurological mechanisms involved in hypnosis and mental illness. He studied anorexics for a while — and compares their ability to accept two opposite things at once (“I will die if I do not gain weight” and “I am too fat and need to lose weight”) to religious compartmentalizations. Some very cool ideas.

    Jaycubed #106 wrote:

    Believers in god/gods are fairy believers because they believe in the existence of magical creatures based on faith.

    Yes, I was saying that people who believe in fairies are similar to people who believe in God. Most of them aren’t crazy — not in the clinical sense. And while they’re deluded, I wouldn’t consider them delusional.

    Do you honestly think religious people are all “delusional” and “paranoid” in the same way that this Bayridge Brooklyn guy is? Whether he has full-blown schizophrenia or not, he’s hearing messages from his television set and thinks the people on tv are watching him. I seriously doubt that his life is otherwise perfectly normal — if nothing else, he seems to have developed a very bad and obsessive habit of letter writing.

    As little as I cared for Bush and the Religious Right Republicans, I don’t think they are or were technically delusional or paranoid. Maybe we’re each using those terms in different ways. But if poor Brooklyn above is your example, then I think the pathological meaning is indicated, rather than the more casual versions.

  113. #113 SC
    November 30, 2008

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t see those reactions as being necessarily hypocritical, but that they are the result of people simply not being mindful of their own ethics. I prefer to point it out to them, to perhaps cause them to *think* about what they have said and *why* they have said it, than go elsewhere and be among those who are “like minded”. After all, I would expect to receive the same treatment from them if I wanted to hold two vastly different points of view on what is essentially the same subject.

    …but I guess I also prize being “mindful” above being “liked” or being thought of as “nice”.

    Then I hope you’ll find my honesty refreshing when I tell you that I find you and your pompous commentary enormously annoying, especially all of the *gratuitous* *asterisks*.

    Hypocrisy and a failure to be mindful are qualities of individuals, not groups or blogs. If you are making specific accusations about specific commenters, then I suggest you name them and point to the inconsistency in their reactions to analogous situations, demonstrating that these situations are in fact analogous. If you could do so without the smug, tiresome references to yourself, that would be much appreciated.

  114. #114 Jaycubed
    November 30, 2008

    “Do you honestly think religious people are all “delusional” and “paranoid” in the same way that this Bayridge Brooklyn guy is?
    Posted by: Sastra”

    No, not in the SAME way. They are delusional & paranoid in a different way. They typically believe that they are the purpose of existence, the image of god, initiates to ultimate Truth, recipients of magical blessings, buddies of the big Fairy. They believe that the world will end for their benefit and that anyone who disagrees with their tenets is doomed to damnation.

    “Whether he has full-blown schizophrenia or not, he’s hearing messages from his television set and thinks the people on tv are watching him.”

    You might be surprised at how many “normal” people hear special personal messages to themselves from their TVs, Radios or Bibles. You might also be surprised at how many “normal” people believe that the TV is a two-way viewing device.

    “I seriously doubt that his life is otherwise perfectly normal — if nothing else, he seems to have developed a very bad and obsessive habit of letter writing.”

    I seriously doubt that anyone’s “life is…perfectly normal”. I really think you have a distorted sense of “what is normal?” Most people believe that they are normal and that other normal people believe & act like they do. We are self-referential when defining normal.

    As for his alleged “very bad and obsessive habit of letter writing”, I wonder what you might think of the literate inhabitants of the U.S. & western Europe during the past several centuries. Letter writing was the equivalent of TV & Radio for personal entertainment and the telephone & internet for personal communication. Such voluminous letter writing was ubiquitous.

    Some of those letters are esteemed as among the finest examples of literature.

  115. #115 clinteas
    November 30, 2008

    I agree with previous commenters re: the DSM being a cruel joke on the mentally ill.

    Now as to grammar and spelling,one doesnt have to show every single feature mentioned in the DSM to get a diagnosis of Scizophrenia,and the formal thought disorder the commenter refers to will not be present to the same degree in everyone.
    The only must to make the diagnosis is lack of insight.

  116. #116 clinteas
    November 30, 2008

    Jaycubed @ 114,

    No, not in the SAME way. They are delusional & paranoid in a different way. They typically believe that they are the purpose of existence, the image of god, initiates to ultimate Truth, recipients of magical blessings, buddies of the big Fairy. They believe that the world will end for their benefit and that anyone who disagrees with their tenets is doomed to damnation.

    That does not generally constitute mental illness.

    You might be surprised at how many “normal” people hear special personal messages to themselves from their TVs, Radios or Bibles. You might also be surprised at how many “normal” people believe that the TV is a two-way viewing device.

    If that is true for you,then I have to assume you live in an institution.If you dont,the statement makes no sense and is obviously not covered by reality.Not where I live anyway.

    As for his alleged “very bad and obsessive habit of letter writing”, I wonder what you might think of the literate inhabitants of the U.S. & western Europe during the past several centuries

    If you cant see the difference between harassment by internet mail by a mentally disturbed person and 19th century communication by writing letters between what you call “the literate inhabitants of the U.S. & western Europe”,then debating you is probably pointless.

  117. #117 Sastra
    November 30, 2008

    Jaycubed #114 wrote:

    No, not in the SAME way. They are delusional & paranoid in a different way.

    Okay, I see what you mean, and can agree.

    You might be surprised at how many “normal” people hear special personal messages to themselves from their TVs, Radios or Bibles.

    Sure, many ‘normal’ people believe that the world is full of signs and messages from God or Spirit, with the entire cosmos conspiring to guide them along the path to Good Decisions and Destiny. I know a lot of these people, and used to do something like this myself. Synchronicity, cryptic ‘answers’ to prayer, and “there are no coincidences,” etc. The spiritual tend to search for hidden patterns of meanings behind the material.

    However, you’re right. I would be pretty surprised to find out that a lot of ordinary people think they’re getting “special personal messages” from the TV in the rather literal way the gentleman above describes in his letter. I’d also be surprised if a lot of people over preschool age believe that the TV is a “two-way viewing device,” and the people on the screen can see them. Is there some study or survey that found this out?

    As for his alleged “very bad and obsessive habit of letter writing”, I wonder what you might think of the literate inhabitants of the U.S. & western Europe during the past several centuries.

    Oh, I majored in Literature, and think very well of the old epistolary output. But I detect a distinction between that — and the verbal diarrhea poor PZ’s been getting from his correspondent. This isn’t just obsessive. A lot of creative people were and are obsessive, and channel it well. I don’t think Bayridge Brooklyn is working with his talents.

  118. #118 Sven DiMilo
    November 30, 2008

    Might I suggest a killfile?…you can either block particular comments, or simply block a commenter entirely.

    Thanks for the reminders, Kate!

  119. #119 clinteas
    November 30, 2008

    @ Sastra and Sven DiMilo,

    one of the things i regret in life,is that English is my second language,and I have never mastered the art of saying “youre an asshole” or ” what you are saying is total garbage” ,and make it sound like a compliment or polite appreciative statement like you guys can,LOL.

    Love it when the commentator says “He wont be happy with that shot” in Golf or Cricket,say,when what you mean is,”that shot was total rubbish and he should be ashamed of himself”.

  120. #120 Riman Butterbur
    November 30, 2008

    I can think of another explanation for Bayridge’s problem that I can’t recall anyone else mentioning: Maybe the guy is a social isolate, so extreme that his life experiences have mistaught him how to judge what is “normal” in other people’s reactions to him.

    He has not said anything about his experiences with others in face-to-face encounters. If he has a long-standing reputation for being “off”, the people in his life may be aloof and not giving him the interpersonal interactions that we all need. People who are deprived of face-to-face interactions may seek substitutes in (mis)perceived reactions from distant people.

    I’m not an expert. But what Jaycubed has said makes sense to me. Except maybe for the “paranoid” part.

  121. #121 Katharine
    November 30, 2008

    “You might be surprised at how many “normal” people hear special personal messages to themselves from their TVs, Radios or Bibles. You might also be surprised at how many “normal” people believe that the TV is a two-way viewing device.”

    You’re fucking kidding me. What’s the statistics on this?

  122. #122 Tony Sidaway
    November 30, 2008

    Yes, possible schizophrenia.

    There used to be a fellow, Mike Corley, in the UK Usenet groups (uk.legal and so on) who reckoned that he was being victimized by MI5 with the connivance of several named television newsreaders, who would refer to things he happened to be doing in the room at the time of the broadcast. There was nothing much to be done except try to ignore his spamming and explain the problem to bewildered newbies.

    The substance of his complaint was that MI5 had some kind of monitoring equipment in the television studio and this was used to watch what was happening in Mike’s home, through the television. The harassment consisted of the pointed remarks, unrelated to the news bulletin, which referred to something that had happened in his home. He also believed that some of his colleagues and his boss were in on it, and some of the harassment was conducted via BBC radio.

    For all I know he’s still at it.

  123. #123 Tom
    November 30, 2008

    “You might be surprised at how many “normal” people hear special personal messages to themselves from their TVs, Radios or Bibles. You might also be surprised at how many “normal” people believe that the TV is a two-way viewing device.”

    The first sentence I have no doubt is true. In fact, I will bet that the majority of people who are religious get messages from everything in their lives. “I was worrying about what to do at work and the guy in that commercial just gave me the answer. It must have been a message from god.”

    The second sentence I think is questionable although there may be some people who seem to be normal who think the TV is watching them.

  124. #124 Wowbagger
    November 30, 2008

    You might be surprised at how many “normal” people hear special personal messages to themselves from their TVs, Radios or Bibles. You might also be surprised at how many “normal” people believe that the TV is a two-way viewing device.

    I might be surprised by a lot of things – doesn’t mean the people to whom you refer aren’t complete A1 nutbags*.

    Then again, I once had a special personal message delivered to me, telepathically, by an owl. It was very profound. Of course, it might have had something to do with my being out of my freaking gourd on LSD at the time.

    *not a clinical term

  125. #125 Jeanette
    November 30, 2008

    People are on here arguing about diagnosis, which is ridiculous, because:

    1.) Most of us are not professionals in the field of psychiatric diagnosis.

    2.) Even if we were, we haven’t even met the person in question.

    3.) Psychiatric diagnosis categories deal with human behavior, and so are not as precise as taxonomical categories. In addition, they undergo revision according to cultural fashions and advances in knowledge. Take, for example, the “psychiatric diagnosis” of “homosexuality,” one of the first categories of “mental illness” in the history of formal diagnosis, of course no longer considered a psychiatric disorder.

    Re. the intelligence and coherence of the individual in question: My mother became psychotic, and committed suicide. She was not schizophrenic, but had severe post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. She left behind copious instructions for closing out her affairs, and if you knew her well you would know that she was severely mentally ill by reading through the dozens of pages of instructions, because among those thousands of words, two words were misspelled. That was so grossly uncharacteristic of her that it was clear that she was deranged at that point.

    There is no correlation whatsoever between low intelligence and mental illness. Mental illness and mental retardation are often conflated, due to ignorance. But low or high intelligence may affect the manifestation of mental illness, and is a red herring in understanding mental illness.

    Also, it’s outrageous for anyone to suggest that PZ Myers would be posting such a thing for his own personal advancement. We would all be here if he hadn’t posted this. He only wants to help someone, if there’s some long shot that he can.

  126. #126 huge
    December 1, 2008

    Following on from #122, Mike Corely (not his real name) is still making a nuisance of himself, although he has now been injuncted to stop him from bulk faxing MPs. And if your schizophrenic correspondent is anything like Mike, *nothing* will make him stop.

  127. #127 Bjoern Brembs
    December 1, 2008

    Poor guy! He really should see a professional!

  128. #128 negentropyeater
    December 1, 2008

    I find you and your pompous commentary enormously annoying, especially all of the *gratuitous* *asterisks*.

    Looks like Kate thinks the readers of this blog are too stupid to find the words that require *emphasis* when reading her prose ;

    I prefer to point it out to them, to perhaps cause them to *think* about what they have said and *why* they have said it, than go elsewhere and be among those who are “like minded”.

    Well Kristin, should you decide that *you* want to make a coherent argument *against* the points I have made, we can have a discussion.

    Emphasis indicator : *Very* annoying **indeed**.

  129. #129 Stuart
    December 1, 2008

    #122 and #126.

    Yes, he’s still bulk posting on newsgroups every so often. His website is still live too: http://www.five.org.uk/

    The problem is that it’s difficult to get out of that way of thinking. If you tell them that they’re just imagining it then you’re part of the conspiracy. Even if you just talk about him (as we are now) it adds to the conspiracy that he’s being talked about and observed

  130. #130 gb
    December 1, 2008

    Indeed he does appear in every broadcast….simply this boy hasn’t figured out that it is his reflection he sees in the glass covering the screen. He needs a anti-glare screen and a licensed professional.

  131. #131 Jaycubed
    December 1, 2008

    “You might also be surprised at how many “normal” people believe that the TV is a two-way viewing device.”

    “The (above) sentence I think is questionable although there may be some people who seem to be normal who think the TV is watching them.”
    Posted by: Tom

    I base this comment on several things. I remember a study back in college (30+ yrs ago) which reported that about a third of respondents believed that their TVs were watching them, unfortunately I could not find the reference.

    The strongest evidence I see is found by observing people watch TV. Often people behave as if they believed the TV is watching them. They engage in rituals & costumes before & during viewings, they scream at people on the screen & proffer advice, they change channels so they “won’t be seen watching” whatever will offend their TV “friends”.

    And the technological base is established, most cable & even satellite TV systems are (in part) two way, often using phone lines to send information re. viewing habits to the broadcaster. Not to mention a literary history of the concept of two way TVs, such as 1984, as long as TVs have been broadcasting.

    And they want more.

    “Gerard Kunkel, Comcast’s senior VP of user experience, (said) the cable company is experimenting with different camera technologies built into devices so it can know who’s in your living room.

    The idea being that if you turn on your cable box, it recognizes you and pulls up shows already in your profile or makes recommendations. If parents are watching TV with their children, for example, parental controls could appear to block certain content from appearing on the screen. Kunkel also said this type of monitoring is the “holy grail” because it could help serve up specifically tailored ads. Yikes.

    Kunkel said the system wouldn’t be based on facial recognition, so there wouldn’t be a picture of you on file (we hope). Instead, it would distinguish between different members of your household by recognizing body forms. He stressed that the system is still in the experimental phase, that there hasn’t been consumer testing, and that any rollout “must add value” to the viewing experience beyond serving ads.”

  132. #132 Jaycubed
    December 1, 2008

    “They typically believe that they are the purpose of existence, the image of god, initiates to ultimate Truth, recipients of magical blessings, buddies of the big Fairy. They believe that the world will end for their benefit and that anyone who disagrees with their tenets is doomed to damnation.”

    “That does not generally constitute mental illness.”
    Posted by: clinteas

    What a pity. Accepting such behavior as normal has left us with a broken world on the verge of self-destruction; after millenia of wars, destruction & mass murder in an attempt to please their fantasy rulers.


    re. TVs watching back.

    “If that is true for you,then I have to assume you live in an institution.If you dont,the statement makes no sense and is obviously not covered by reality.Not where I live anyway.”
    Posted by: clinteas

    Assume, and an ass is made of you, not me, oh great Knower of and Dweller in Reality.

    I only watch TV when in hotels while traveling (a few hours a year). I’ll wait for a DVD without commercials for the rare TV show I might like (South Park). It is not because I believe that the TV is watching me. It is because I follow Feynman’s Rule, if it offends you, don’t do/buy it

    I have spent many years working in institutions. I have never noted any particular differences in how mentally ill people actually watch TV from “normal people”. There is the same range & depth of behaviors apparent: from passivity to frantic activity, from total engagement to disinterest, from concern to contempt.

    “Normal” people won’t admit that they believe their TVs are watching them because they know that is crazy. But they often act as if they believe it.

  133. #133 Riman Butterbur
    December 1, 2008

    “Normal” people won’t admit that they believe because they know that is crazy.

    Levels of education are very uneven. I would venture to say that most people believe some things that better-informed people consider “crazy”.

    Further, I would guess that intelligent people, because they have learned the value of “thinking outside the box”, are more prone to this kind of “craziness” than normal people.

  134. #134 Priya Lynn
    December 1, 2008

    Some such as Annie have stated that it was unethical of PZed to post this email while others have defended him saying his explanation of why he posted it shows he wasn’t intending any harm.

    I’m entirely with Annie on this one. PZed said he posted this email because maybe “he’ll think reading blogs means the author will be able to read his mind, so he’ll turn off his computer”. If PZed had given this any thought he’d of realized that’s not going to happen and that his publishing of this would only exacerbate the guys sense of persecution. PZed acted rashly and it should come as no surprise to him that the guy is escalating after being placed on a public forum like this. That was a pathetic excuse for posting this email, PZed just thought he’d get some mileage out of a troubled soul. In the future don’t make this same mistake PZed.

  135. #135 Nerd of Redhead
    December 1, 2008

    Thank you for your concern Priya.

  136. #136 Riman butterbur
    December 2, 2008

    The guy wrote to PZ asking for his help. What kind of help was PZ in a position to give him?

    Your plight has been publicized, Bayridge. That’s all we can do for you. Good luck.

  137. #137 hery
    January 25, 2010

    Multiple personality disorder and hallucinogenic paranoia are just the most common types people think of

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