Twinkie Defense and Theory--Really? ((((Re: AAT Theory

H. M. Hubey (
11 Sep 1995 21:31:33 -0400

These uncontrollable forces have been piling up at a record rate.
As columnist Charles Krauthammer points out, we have Pete Rose's
disorder (pathological gambling, 312.31 in the __Diagnostic and
Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders__). Marion Barry's
disorder (alcoholism, 303.90), and Brendzen's impulse (telephone
scatalogica, 302.90).

There is much more. The dread disease of caffeinism (305.90,
supine dependence on cola or coffee) has already been cited in a
criminal case or two. We have inhalant dependence (304.60,
reliance on aromatic hydrocarbons), and solemn listings for
difficulties of ordinary life (arithmetic and reading problems.)
A few years ago, psychiatrists came within an inch of inventing a
disease called paraphilic rapism, which would have been used by
defense attorneys for every rapist in captivity.

All of this sends me over the brink (intermittent explosive
disorder, 312.34) But relief is coming, DSM
IV, the 1993 revision of this highly politicized and insurance
oriented manual, 1 out of every 4 of the listed ailments is
likely to be tossed out....

THE AGE OF EXCUSES: In retrospect, the 1980's look like the
golden age of exoneration. When the decade began, the
sociological excuse (society made me do it) was clearly petering
out. But half a dozen disciplines combined to fill the alibi gap
quite nicely. Law, pschiatry, neurology, nutrition, biology and
pop psychology all helped explain why almost nobody can really be
held accountable.

Law plus nutrition gives us many variations of the Twinkie
defense (sugar made him kill). Law plus some dubious psychiatry
gives us the promising anabolic-steroid defense. (A body builder
broke into six Maryland homes, set fire to three of them and
stole cash and jewelry. A judge ruled him guilty but not
criminally responsible because his frenzied use of anabolic
steroids for weight lifting left him "suffering from organic
personality syndrome". No jail time.) Law plus sociological
excuse in disguise offers us the "homosexual panic" defense. (A
man killed a homosexual who made a pass at him in San Francisco,
then tried to argue in court that this violence was an
involuntary triggering of sexual attitudes induced in him by his
sheltered small-town Texas upbringing. The judge wouldn't have
any of this, but some lawyers think that "panic" defenses will
soon become common.)

Pop psychology joined the party by inventing new addictions. In
Los Angeles, a hacker named Kevin Mitnick copped a plea after
being accused of breaking into a corporate computer system and
stealing an expensive security program. Did the judge see
Mitnick as one more computer nerd with no conscience ? No, she
saw him as the victim of an insidious Space AGe ailment called
computer addiction and sentenced him to a year's treatment for
this "new and growing" impulse disorder.....

As addictions have been converted into diseases (alcoholism), bad
habits have been upgraded and transformed into addictions
(yesterday's hard-to-break smoking habit is today's nicotine
addiction). In pop psychology, addiction theory started out as a
catchy metaphor: In love and sex, some of us behave almost as if
we were addicts. Pop-psych consumers loved the idea and took it
quite literally. Now, people freely talk of being in the grip of
previously unknown addictions to everything from sex to jogging
to chocolate eating....

The most popular addiction is to sex, and we now have earnest
sex-addict support groups and Sexaholics Anonymous..

In the '90s we are probably in for a heavy wave biological
determinism....And so-called syndromes will be tailored to
political constituencies.....

The problem with all this is that you can't run a society, or
cope with its problems, if people are not held accountable for
what they do. The way we are headed, the only generally
acknowledged responsibility for our actions may be to explain
them away on "Nightline".

This nonsense, my friends, is mostly the product of pseudo
science, in this case due mostly to psychoanalysis (of Freud and
Adler) and all of its derivatives. For a very good reading of
science and pseudoscience I would recommend Karl Popper. For a
real scientific theory he uses Einstein's Theory of Relativity
and for pseudo science he uses Pschoanalysis and Marx's 'theory'
of history.

BTW, the Principle of Parsimony, I guess, is what's called
Ockham's Razor (or Occam's Razor).


Regards, Mark