Brain science

Santa Fe New Mexican - - OPINIONS -

The My View by Michele Her­ling, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Com­pas­sion­ate Touch Net­work (“Let’s elim­i­nate prej­u­dices about men­tal ill­ness,” Sept. 30), il­lus­trates an alarm­ing trend in ed­u­ca­tion and the sci­ences. When she writes, “Men­tal ill­nesses are neu­ro­bi­o­log­i­cal, brain-based ill­nesses … ,” she is con­fus­ing cor­re­la­tion with cau­sa­tion. Nei­ther neu­ro­science nor bi­ol­ogy, the par­ent dis­ci­plines, can tell us the ge­netic cause of men­tal ill­ness nor iso­late a sin­gle gene.

State­ments about such se­ri­ous pub­lic health is­sues should be based on science, not psy­cho-phrenol­ogy repack­aged as a state­ment of fact. Stigma is a so­cial con­struct largely per­pet­u­ated by faulty logic; I as­sure you, it has noth­ing to do with the science of “neu­ro­bi­ol­ogy.” Ni­cholas King

Santa Fe

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