The Witch, The Python, The Siren and The Bunny

Blog entry posted by alex3619, Apr 23, 2012.

WARNING: Philosophy Alert!

The New Inquisition? Meet Monty Python.

Are you a witch? We will tie your hands and feet then throw you in the water to see if you sink! If you do you were innocent, too bad. If you don't you are a witch, and we have ways to deal with witches. This was a very funny Monty Python skit. Its funny in part because it uses common reasoning - and common fallacies.

"If you have a disability you are faking it" is the implied claim by the current UK government and ATOS. We will cut you off from assistance, and not care if you die. If you don't die you were faking. If you do die, too bad - we need to cut costs and death is a great way to cut costs. Sure the system can be improved. We will get around to it ... eventually. In the meantime lets tweak a few features ... there, we made it better, how can you still be complaining?

Spending a Gold Doubloon to Save a Penny

This is effectively how those with ME and CFS are being treated in the UK, but not just those with neuroimmune diseases or MUSes - most disabled have to face this now. Its a new Inquisition in the worst Monty Python style. If you are disabled then you can work, you just have to be forced to do it. It doesn't matter that you may be dying - dying people have also been assessed as work capable. It doesn't matter if you can't even properly look after yourself or your domicile. It doesn't matter if travel is hugely problematic. It doesn't matter that there are not enough jobs for healthy people. It doesn't matter that most employers are reluctant to hire the disabled and that reluctance will grow to outright hostility if highly disabled people are being forced on them. It doesn't matter that large numbers of people win their appeals to restore benefits - you can cut them off again after only a month, and it can take many months for an appeal. It doesn't matter that all this may cost many times what it saves - they can spin it to sound good. It also doesn't matter that the suicide rate is heading into the stratosphere - thats not genocide, its business as usual.

This is about spending a gold doubloon to save a penny. Its irrational. Its immoral. Its an economic disaster unfolding. Careful rational spending would achieve better outcomes, and it might actually be cheaper to spend more rather than less to get more people off disability incomes.

It can be stopped.

I wonder if I should write a blog comparing the current British Government to the current Syrian Government? How many have died as a result of this? How many are homeless? How many live in torment, fear and profound mistrust of the establishment? This is not business as usual. This is not good government. This is the insane version of economic rationalism - its economic dogma.

The Siren Call.

Something similar is happening with the Dysfunctional Belief Model for CFS.

Sykes has pointed out that the diagnosis of CFS as a mental disorder makes use of what he calls the psychogenic inference. The psychogenic inference uses the following "logic":

"Premise 1. If there is no known physical cause for a
condition, there is no actual physical cause for the

Premise 2. If there is no actual physical cause for the
condition, the cause must be psychological.

Conclusion (The psychogenic inference). If there is no
known physical cause for the condition, the cause must
be psychological."
(p. 312 Functional,Reasons, Neuroscience and the Psychogenic Inference )

Sykes' paper Medically Unexplained Symptoms and the Siren Psychogenic Inference targets the first of these premises. Its not a defensible position. Its also possible, from a strictly logical standpoint, that there is a physical cause that has not been discovered yet. Or that there is a physical cause that has been wrongly dismissed. Or that there are both physical causes and mental causes - so why do they then proceed to ignore the physical?

The psychogenic inference relies either on unexplained symptoms or the lack of a known disorder causing the symptoms. The problem is that most CFS symptoms have physical explanations - you just have to do testing that goes beyond what the hospital system typically provides. So a very real alternative to mental causation is a simple lack of diagnostic and investigatory tests. This is defended on two grounds:

1. It costs too much and often comes up empty, so it is a waste of money.
2. Even if physical problems are found they do not know how to treat it anyway - again a waste of money.

The third through fifth unspoken points are:

3. Its not their problem that the lack of such testing means that patients cannot receive appropriate social support including financial support.
4. Its not their mandate to fund tests to support social claims - OK, maybe it is, but there isn't any funding, what can they do?
5. Its not their fault that they can't treat many of these problems - that requires cutting edge medicine, is often not well validated, requires a better understanding of systems biology which is not taught at medical school, and is often seriously expensive ... where is the money coming from? Who is going to fund this expensive research?

What Sykes does not discuss is the possibility the majority of current psychosomatic medical thinking is wrong. This is a whole other debate, one I will return to later. Sure there are mental issues that cause physical symptoms ... oh, wait, depression is closely associated with physical problems, as is anxiety. It couldn't be that those physical issues are driving the symptoms? No, surely not! :eek: Thats buying into the biomedical model, heresy! Sorry to point it out, but the biopsychosocial model does have a bio- part ... oh, and a social part too.

This is not to refute the importance of cognition, mood and behaviour on modifying brain induced symptoms. The brain is plastic, it can change. The physical issues in the brain might therefore be modifiable by various techniques including CBT - but that doesn't necessarily mean the problem is mental. It might be - or not.

So the basis of a psychiatric diagnosis is this: A patient has a psychiatric reason for their CFS unless a known physical cause is found - in which case even a diagnosis of CFS cannot be made as its diagnosed by exclusion. Therefore by definition, not evidence and reason, if they have CFS then they have a psychiatric illness. Case closed.

Or put another way: If you can't prove your not crazy then you must be crazy. They do not have to prove they are right, only that you can't disprove them - but no you can't do any tests. Its a presumption of craziness without evidence. Oh wait, yes, they use a symptom checklist. Presumed psychosomatic patients have these symptoms. If you have these symptoms you must :oops: therefore have a psychosomatic illness. Its only invalid if a known alternative illness explains the symptoms, like MS. If you have a physical illness with these symptoms that is not understood ... gosh, no, that could never happen! Sorry to point this out, but how many former psychosomatic illnesses are now known to be physical?

The Happy Happy Easter Bunny.

McLaren had this to say about psychoanalysis in his discussion of Popper:

"In 1922, at the remarkable age of twenty, Popper realized that, intellectually speaking, psychoanalysis was on a par with the Easter Bunny: there was nothing anybody could say or do that would force a committed analyst to admit his theories were wrong." (p. 9)

The DBM is a cognitive and behavioural version of the emotive ideas of Freud. It is an unproven model, and the model is not reality. If you always have an explanation, then nobody can prove to you that the diagnosis is wrong.

McLaren has an alternative model of mental disease based on what he calls a biocognitive model. Its just one of the alternatives out there. Functional medicine is also another model ... and by functional they do not mean psychological, but pertaining to the functional relationships between biochemical pathways and physiology, and based on systems biology. Rituximab, a chemotherapy agent, might be shown to be a cure in phase 3 clinical trials. Antiviral and immunological treatments get results up to an order of magntitude better than DBM treatments - so large that I will argue that an RCT is not required to demonstrate effectiveness. Yet somehow the DBM is considered THE alternative. I will get around to addressing the so called "evidence base" for the DBM in a later blog, including methodological flaws. I also intend to discuss the BPS model, and hope to show that it is likely the DBM has been eclectically crammed into the BPS model - but I am still investigating this and will it be well into next year at least before I have much to say on this.

So the DBM is an unproven, counter-factual and irrational position. Yet it is presented as the only evidence based model, with an implication that therefore it must be correct. I would prefer to believe in the Easter Bunny, I see evidence of the bunny every April.

It would be far more rational for the proponents of the DBM to claim that they have an hypothetical and controversial model with little clinical value, that its still experimental, the outcomes are poor, and that alternative models may have validity. No, what? How could they do that? Hmmm, ethics ...

About the Author

I am a long term ME patient with many complications. While I have pushed research advocacy since 1993, I became political around 2009. My current project is a book called "Embracing Uncertainty". Uncertainty in medical science seems anathema to too many doctors. "I do not know" is something more doctors should be honest about.
  1. Don Quichotte
    I am always looking for other options, but your perspective is similar to mine.

    Yes and no. It is similar enough for us to have common grounds to have a constructive discussion, but dissimilar enough for us to learn from each other.

    we have different backgrounds but not, I think, greatly different stances on the search for understanding.

    Again, yes and no. We both experience what it means to be zebras in a world of horses.
    My position is that of someone who takes care of horses (and zebras, including green zebras) while at the same time being a green zebra.
    As a green zebra in a herd of horses (and as one who has seen much more horses than zebras, let alone green zebras), I was seen as a horse and expected to be one. But, this failed every time.
    It made me ask myself at some point, if possibly in the herd of horses there are many more zebras than we think. And if treating them as horses doesn't (as opposed to what we want to think) lead to more harm than good.
    I believe it made my treating physicians ask the same questions, but this (very disturbing question) made them want me (the cause of that question) to disappear, or become a horse. To their dismay, I did neither. Only a few of my colleagues were ready to face those questions with me to some extent.
    To the rest, as I gradually realized, I was mostly a threat. I not only had a rare and unusual illness that didn't fit their box, I also knew "too much".

    I realized that my personal experience is so unusual that it can easily be "blown off" as unimportant. I basically agree that something that happens to one or two people in the word can't lead to changing paradigms. So, my first question was-how really unusual is it, and if something can be learned from it in general?

    I reached the conclusion that when you hear hoof-beats, you should think of horses, but you should also search for the small and hidden stripes that are unique to that horse. Some may even have green stripes which can easily be ignored.

    I deliberately do not use the word "personalized medicine" because this is at this point a hype word, which means very expensive medicine and a good source for funding of expensive research, which may or may not get us closer to this goal. High tech sophisticated medicine is not necessarily better medicine.

    every blog is a minor victory over this disease.

    I have learned that minor daily victories are the biggest victory.
    Although, it is very tempting to have more significant ones every once in a while, even if you know the price...

    Identifying who needs help is one problem. Identifying how to help them is another.

    I agree, but identifying who needs help is an essential first step.
    It is true though, that if you don't know how to help you can cause more harm than good.

    Like I have said, good intentions are not (always) enough...

    Those who fund patient help, including governments, do not see the irony in spending billions on patient care and support and spending only thousands on research (in proportion) to find better answers.

    This is an extremely complex issue. What you say is based on two assumptions-
    1. the more research you have the better patient care you are going to get.
    2. good and effective research should cost a lot of money.

    1. The sad truth is that more research doesn't always translate into better patient care.
    There are many reasons for that- first, many times wrong surrogate markers are chosen, because they are easy to measure or because they are (wrongly) thought to be important in the parthenogenesis of the disease.
    Second, many times the answers will be found in seemingly unrelated research. So, funding is allocated to those who will be looking for the coin under the lamp, when the coin is very far from there. Third, because of the complexity of biological system, many important findings were found by serendipity (and even by mistakes). So, should you fund sloppy labs where they are more likely to do unpredictable mistakes?
    Also, even seemingly important and validated findings may have relatively little clinical significance.
    2. Good and effective research doesn't have to cost a lot of money (and vice versa expensive research is not always good).
    This is because a significant amount of the money is not used for the research but for many other expenses. That is why I think that a better collaboration between patients and those who research and treat their disease can be very beneficial and may possibly lead to more efficient and less expensive research. (of course there may be pitfalls I am not aware of in this approach).

    The Someone Elses Problem idea has divorced people from connecting the different parts of the problem.

    I see this as an enormous problem in modern medicine.
    In fact I am in the process of writing a paper called- "The Babylon tower of modern medicine"- people involved in patient care do not speak the same language and many times have conflicts of interests. Patient care is extremely fragmented, leading to expensive, dangerous and ineffective treatments many times.
    A patient may receive three different medications that lower his/her blood pressure-one from the endocrinologist (to protect his kidneys), one from the urologist (to protect his prostate), and one from his cardiologist (to control his rythym). Each of them is treating him according to the most updated research and guidelines and providing him the best possible care. And when he falls down (because of the dramatic drop in his blood pressure) and breaks his hip, he is again treated with the most "state of the art" and updated medications. When he develops unexpected complications from this novel treatment, he is again treated with...
    This is an everyday example of very expensive, state of the art medicine that many times leads to worse outcome than no treatment.

    Disability is growing. The aged sector of the community is growing. The capacity to deal with these things is, proportionally speaking, shrinking.

    This is indeed a significant problem world-wide. Paradoxically, the overall significant advances in medicine are responsible for it to some extent: Many incurable diseases, which were fatal in the past, have now, become chronic diseases. People live much longer, so they have a much longer period of being out of the work-cycle.
    I personally think that the way to solve it is by finding the way in which they can contribute to the society and regain their dignity. I don't think it is realistic to think that we will be able to make everyone healthy and young, but I think we do not have to marginalize those who are old, ill and disabled.

    This does not mean that I think that someone who can't walk should be forced to walk. It means that we should provide him the conditions in which he could work while using a wheelchair or other equipment. This does not mean that someone who can't go out of his home should be forced to do so; it means that we should find the way to use his talents, while he is in his own comfortable environment.
    But, this requires innovative thinking and true respect to people, even if they are physically disabled. Unfortunately, the current system lacks both.

    I think we should not only look for recovery stories, but also for how people have found ways to lead a productive life with their illness. Steven Hawking is one example, but I am sure there are many others. We all have our small victories.
    Society has to realize that we are not a burden they have to carry on their back but people like them. People who need help to find what they can do despite their disabilities not be told that they can do nothing or have to do what they did before.

    "By the way, it is perfectly OK to deceive those patients, in order to achieve the goal without them suspecting it." When you start deceiving, where do you stop? How can there be informed consent if there is no information? I am not OK with this stance at all.

    Neither am I .
    This is what they think and write in their papers, not what I think.
    I think it is a horrible abuse of the trust of patients, and leads to a destruction of the physician-patient relationship in general. It is very hard to put your trust in another physician after your trust has been abused in that way.

  2. alex3619
    Hi Don Quichotte, as usual I have trouble disagreeing with you, though I would like to on principle. I am always looking for other options, but your perspective is similar to mine. That makes me a little wary, as I don't want to get bogged in group-think, but as I said I tend to agree with you.

    I do enjoy your commentaries too. They give me things to think about, new angles and perspectives. Yes, its based on our backgrounds - we have different backgrounds but not, I think, greatly different stances on the search for understanding. I tend to trust analyses more if they derive similar conclusions using alternative methods. Its a little more robust, though no guarantee.

    My philsophical stance arose from trying to reconcile systems theory with critical rationalism. Along the way someone pointed out Pancritical Rationalism to me. Its a different stance on the search for truth. The emphasis is not on knowing The Truth, but on asking questions, winnowing away at falsehoods.

    For me being engaged in advocacy has restored my sense of empowerment. I lose as many battles as I fight (I have maybe a dozen unfinished blogs for example) but there are battles I win too - every blog is a minor victory over this disease. Completing both my degrees was another victory though at some cost.

    Super powers: witches meet comic books meet superstition. We kid ourselves if we think superstitious thinking isn't alive and prospering in the current age. Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. Its also the price of rationality.

    Disability Issues

    Identifying who needs help is one problem. Identifying how to help them is another. There is an issue here though. There is a division of responsibility.

    Those who fund patient help, including governments, do not see the irony in spending billions on patient care and support and spending only thousands on research (in proportion) to find better answers. The Someone Elses Problem idea has divorced people from connecting the different parts of the problem.

    I can't speak for everyone, but I would be happy for fewer pension increases and more medical research going into my problem. The government might then say, oh, but you could donate some of your pension. Well, I have, but you have to know what to donate to, and you have to hear about it. Governments of course have a different problem - how many government projects turn out to be White Elephants? They want immediate benefits, so look for projects that promise results, but don't necessarily deliver.

    Not doing the research to tackle the problem, to really understand it rather than apply quick bandaid solutions, is accumulating potential debt without having a corresponding asset. Its economic madness. Disability is growing. The aged sector of the community is growing. The capacity to deal with these things is, proportionally speaking, shrinking. We need planning, we need research, and unless society wants to embrace Eugenics concepts this has to start soon. What is happening in the UK to the disabled at the moment is, consciously or unconsciously, a functional equivalent to embracing Eugenics principles. I can see a collapse in Western democracies in the medium term to long term future if we simply treat this as business as usual.

    Benefit fraud is quite rare, and a good chunk of it is patients who do not understand the system and are often too sick to engage with the complex and arcane requirements imposed on them. It does happen though, and as a disabled person I find fraudsters distasteful, but I am mindful that in any specific case I cannot jump to conclusions quickly as I do not have all the facts.

    There is HUGE tax evasion fraud though, at all levels of income. Stamping out tax evasion would save us very very much more than stamping out benefit fraud - by orders of magnitude. Tax evasion on cigarettes in the UK is a much bigger problem than disability fraud if I recall correctly.


    "By the way, it is perfectly OK to deceive those patients, in order to achieve the goal without them suspecting it." When you start deceiving, where do you stop? How can there be informed consent if there is no information? I am not OK with this stance at all.

    The lack of objective testing in psychiatry is what puts it in the realm of pseudoscience. Not all psychiatric research suffers from this, and by inference that implies that not all psychiatrists are fooled by the claims, but its a major issue as I understand it.

    Pseudoscience is the practice of taking superstition and dressing it up as science - with science as the new religion. I will have a lot to say on this in future blogs.

    I agree with you about the 6 minute walking test. I can always do more if I push harder, but it is almost always a bad idea. On those rare occasions where there is no payback it is so very tempting to push even harder - there is so much I want to do. So very soon I do find a limit, go way over, and crash badly.

    I once tried to become a salesman, partly to find work, partly to get out and meet people as I am an extreme introvert. I sucked as a salesman because my philosophical stance is honesty, and most products are not really that good. In fact I found a relationship between how bad a product is and how much we are rewarded for selling it. Go figure. So I learnt a few sales techniques. I see these being used by proponents of the Dysfunctional Belief Model. There is a claim that the use of spin and propaganda is another hallmark of pseudoscience. I have yet to look at this closely though.

    Personally I think most psychiatry will disappear in time. It will be taken over by neurology or social support systems, such as regular counsellors. I see psychiatry as an interim stand-in for real science. We need something but the brain is so complex that we are very slow at making the research breakthroughs we need.

    On these points I note there is a claim that more and more new psychiatrists are going into biomedical approaches, and psychosomatic medicine in particular is becoming dominated by older and older psychiatrists. That puts a time limit on the psychosomatic discipline.

    On mind manipulation and pseudoscience, you might like to read an old irreverent blog of mine:

    BPS and EBM again

    The biopsychosocial movement is trying to jazz up psychiatry. They have failed. They have failed because, I currently think, they have used it as a gloss for business as usual, and failed to embrace (at a research level) what BPS is really about. The systems movement is alive and prospering in both biosciences and social sciences.

    Another problem I see, and will be looking at, is that when a new paradigm is touted its too quickly embraced at both the research level and in clinical practice. This is a mistake. A lot of the bells and whistles involved in EBM and BPS belong in research. Only when it is well developed can it transition to clinical practice. Researchers can go way beyong the scope of a practicing physician in finding solutions, and they should do this, but that can then be structured and tested in clinical settings. Too much "evidence" based stuff is still experimental. The entire DBM is still experimental.

    Bye, Alex
  3. Don Quichotte
    Hi Alex,

    First, I really enjoy reading what you write. It's witty, amusing and thought provoking. You discuss many issues that I have been thinking of and writing on over the last few years, but you see it from a somewhat different perspective which for me is very enriching.

    It's also a true victory (in my opinion) over your illness. And maybe you will also succeed in fighting those windmills.
    There is a saying that even ten very smart men will find it hard to get out a stone thrown into the well by one stupid person. But, at least you are trying and maybe it will eventually work...

    Our different perspective come from a different background, but also from a somewhat different illness. If the sound of hoof-beats means horses, then yours is that of a zebra in a large herd of zebras (which is disputed because who would believe such a large herd of zebras could be roaming the streets of Paris?), mine is a green zebra in a herd of horses. (and every child knows that green zebras don't exist).

    The Witch-

    Witches, in general, are those that we don't understand and threaten our system of beliefs or power in some way. It is wrong to assume that witch hunting is done only by ignorant people living in the middle-ages. What has changed is the system of beliefs and power, which appears secular and rationale.(and obviously secular/rational people can't engage in witch hunting).

    Patients with "unexplained medical symptoms" threaten the medical system's beliefs and power. They do so even more if they have clear and objective evidence for being physically ill, which don't fit the paradigm of what their illness should be. We assign witches super-human abilities (such as not drowning if we throw them in the water or being able to control physiological function, such as stopping their breathing for an hour and "hyperventilating" at them same time, in a way that normal human beings obviously can't).

    The way they are threatening us with those "super powers" gives us the right to be hostile toward them. They are not suffering patients that need our help, but "witches" that have come to threaten us. And like you say-"we have ways to deal with witches". Witches are such a horrible threat that we are even ready to sacrifice a few innocent people so that we don't miss one.

    If you want proofs for what I say- this citation is taken from a paper in a respectful main-stream neurology journal, which any one can read-

    "By presenting personal predicaments as physical illness, the hysterical patient is the doctor's worst nightmare, liable to expose conceptual and diagnostic weaknesses"
    And therefore - "the diagnosis of hysteria is a challenge to the personal qualities of every doctor".

    Spending ... to save a penny.

    There is a saying that the way to hell is full of good intentions.
    I think what you describe is the best example for that.
    Taking care of the ill and the less privileged members of the society is clearly a noble and humanistic approach.
    Preventing fraudulent Beauvoir and exploitation of the limited resources of the society is also an important goal.

    So, it makes sense that we (as a society) will agree to provide help only to those that truly require it and tailor this help to their true needs.

    But, now comes the problem- Many times we don't have ways to know who needs what help, unless we trust what they say. If someone has no legs and says he can't walk this is obvious. If someone has perfect legs but says he can't walk and is wheelchair bound and we also have objective evidence that he is paralyzed we can also accept that. But, if someone says that sometimes he can walk and other times he can't and there is no objective evidence for paralysis what do we do then?
    If we trust everyone blindly then we have no way to prevent fraudulence. so, how can we know if someone is telling the truth or not?

    And what if they are a witch and their "super powers" enables them to appear disabled, when in fact they are not?

    But, wait, we have a solution for that. We can throw them into the water, see if they sink....etc....

    This way we can continue to be humanistic and provide help to those who truly require it, and at the same time not be exploited by those who don't truly need it.

    And what if a few innocent people are harmed? Well, no system is perfect, but at least we can know for sure that no witch was able to fool us.

    By the way, it is perfectly OK to deceive those patients, in order to achieve the goal without them suspecting it.

    Kanaan R, Armstrong D, Wessely S. Limits to truth-telling: neurologists' communication in conversion disorder. Patient Educ Couns 2009;77:296-301.

    The siren call...

    If we believe there are witches, the fact that some of those we thought were witches are not witches, does not make us question the existence of witches.

    MUS is most threatening to the entire concept of psychiatry.
    This is because the historical foundation of psychiatry and its division from neurology was based on the fact that some patients whose perplexing neurological symptoms couldn't be explained by the current understanding and knowledge (at the time of Charcot and Freud) had some relief (many times temporary) in their symptoms by techniques that were thought to effect the mind. (such as hypnosis, which we still don't know its exact mechanism). They did not think those patients didn't have a real physical illness, they just thought they can help them by those techniques until the physiological base will be found. (very similar to what current psychiatrists are saying about those diseases).

    There are no objective tests for any psychiatric illness, because the whole concept of psychiatry is that it takes care of patients whose disease can't be understood by the current knowledge, so obviously they do not have any diagnostic tests, or else they would be understood.

    If a patients has psychosis caused by an autoimmune disease such as SLE it is not a psychiatric disease.
    If a patient has intermittent paralysis caused by an autoimmune disease such as myasthenia, it is also not a psychiatric disease.

    So, how did psychiatry become a field of medicine ? Why was it separated from neurology?

    Those are questions I don't have any good answers to.

    I think they too realize how problematic it is, and therefore try to make their field of practice more science-based. So, they use the tools of science based-medicine. They create well-conducted clinical trials (even RCTs) that have stastically significant, but practically useless results. Very similar to showing that knowledge in math is related to a child's shoe size.

    It may be even worse than that, as possibly what they achieve is not a desirable outcome (and may even be an undesirable outcome).

    For instance, assuming that pacing of activities is beneficial in CFS, the outcome of a longer distance walked in 6 minutes is an undesirable outcome, because it means that the person did not learn how to preserve his/her energy.

    Trained marathon runners know that they should never run at the top of their speed at the beginning of the race. In fact they should try and keep their pace at 70% of their max. ability. So, if you measure the speed at the beginning of the race, you may have faster runners who will never be able to reach the end.

    There is also another interesting twist in the plot, those so called mind-manipulation techniques , which are the major tools of psychiatry (as opposed to other fields of medicine) are in themselves seen as some form of "magic" or "witchcraft" which should only be practiced by those who are qualifies and highly trained . When in reality there is nothing mysterious or magical about them and in fact form the base of social human interactions...
  4. hurtingallthetimet
    well alex you obvisouly have the talent and intelligence to be a writer so you should do it....funny you mention paleontologist my son i spoke of in earlier message also wanted to be a paleontologist
  5. alex3619
    Thanks for the kind words. Hurtingallthetime, I wanted to be a writer as a teenager. As a ten year old I wanted to be a paleontologist (what boy does't like dinosaurs?) or a philosopher. Everybody laughed when I said I wanted to be a philosopher too. Now I get to write, even if its just blogs for now, and to indulge in a little rational thinking as best I can. Some childhood dreams never totally die. Bye, Alex
  6. hurtingallthetimet
    alex, you always have a way with words, very intelligent and full of knowledge not sure if you are a writer or not but if not you should be : )

    btw my son loves monty python and is a philosophy major your post reminded me of him and that made me happy, thanks for that : )
  7. Enid
    Hey I am missing something here - I've not been able to be Socio for most of ten years. The phython, the siren and the bunny - I think we know who they are !.

    Forgot the Witch - the most telling of all - still at it how many centuries later.
  8. SilverbladeTE
    My dear wonderful sir, bang on :)
    But getting the corrupt medical profession to listen, or more likely, government to enforce radical shake ups of the medical profession, is low until the overwhelming mess washes over them and leaves very angry voters in its wake.