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I am a denialist now?

April 22, 2012

I have had an interesting debate on Dr. Novella’s blog where he has written a piece called Responding to a Szaszian. (A new religion!) It is his response to comments I had made on one of his old 5 part posts, Mental Illness Denial – Part I, where he basically dismisses the ideas of Szasz and others who are skeptical of the science that underpins psychiatry.  He also accused me of being a ‘troll’ because I had made a comment on his spiel regarding Alternative Medicine’s Attack on Science ,which I actually agreed with, but merely stated he had neglected to include psychiatry. But yes, I suppose I admit to being guilty troll on that count…..

So I received a few interesting comments which gave me pause for thought, as well as the usual insults and accusations of being a scientologist. What interested me more however, was the continual use of the word ‘denier’ and the relationship to creationism. I have encountered this use of language before, but it did make me think about why this term is now so prevalent in certain areas –  such as Climate Change debate etc. . . It is almost turning into a religious concept, as in the good old days when the terms ‘unbeliever’ or ‘heretic’ were at their most poisonous.

I have been reading a book recently, ‘Not Even Wrong’  by Peter Woit about the failure of string theory in the search for unity in physical law. I wonder if he has ever been accused of being a ‘string theory denier’  akin to being a proponent of intelligent design. I suppose, as Szasz has pointed out, belief in psychiatry has become the new secular religion.


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