Thursday, June 11, 2009

Autism: The Extremely Male Brain?

I read a good article in a recent copy of Forbes on Simon Baron-Cohen, the author of The Essential Difference: Male And Female Brains And The Truth About Autism. The article asks the questions, "What caused the explosion in autism diagnoses?" and "Why are boys more affected by this disorder?" Baron-Cohen's answers provide a different way of looking at autism:

Baron-Cohen has been the first to advance and test some groundbreaking ideas in the field. But as for what has caused the increase in reported cases, he doesn't put undiscovered toxins at the top of the list of suspects. "A good part" of the rise, he says, can be explained by better diagnosis and an expanded definition of autism.

Since autism was first described in 1943, the definition has shifted. Doctors have come to agree that autism is characterized by poor social skills, communication difficulties and strong, narrow interests and repetitive behavior. Once upon a time it was understood as categorical: Either you were autistic or you weren't. Starting in the late 1990s, Baron-Cohen advanced the idea of an autism spectrum on which everyone falls, just as we would fall on a spectrum of height. As he sees it, we're all a little bit autistic. ...

Baron-Cohen is responsible for spreading the idea that the autistic brain is basically an extreme version of the male brain. He observed that people with autism were better at things for which men show more aptitude than women (like systemizing) and worse at things for which women show more aptitude than men (like empathizing). It's noteworthy that boys are diagnosed with autism four times as often as girls. "There was this massive clue that nature was giving us that autism might be in some way sex-linked," he says.

Baron-Cohen (his first cousin is Sasha Baron Cohen of Borat fame) doesn't believe we should see autism as an epidemic. "The same genes that make a person good in a systemizing occupation, like math, physics or engineering, may also contribute to autism...Eradicating autism could mean eliminating genes from the gene pool that are probably key to such abilities as doing complex mathematics."

What do you think, should autism be "eradicated" as some parent groups believe or is it simply the result of an extremely male brain that does not require being "fixed?"

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Conservative women, cyber-rape and wimps

I read a piece over at Pajamas Media by Dr. Melissa lamenting the recent Playboy article about hate f***ing conservative women:

Last week, ten women were the subject of a cyber-rape. That is, without their consent, they were subjected to one misogynist, Guy Cimbalo, and his rape fantasies, which appeared in his Playboy article titled “Ten Conservative Women I’d Like To Hate F***.” (The article has since been taken down.)

Perhaps you think “cyber-rape” is extreme. But consider what was said about Mary Katherine Ham:

You get this one pregnant, she stays pregnant. Karma’s a b****, isn’t it?

Hot Air has another segment of this little gem:

Obama promised us the dream of post-partisanship—a cuckoo land where party affiliation and factional animosity were forgotten. Turn on cable news or open any newspaper, however, and you’ll quickly discover that the dream has yet to materialize. But there is a way to reach across the aisle without letting principles fall by the wayside. We speak, naturally, of the hate [f**k]. We may despise everything these women represent, but goddammit they’re hot. Let the healing begin.

Naturally, a lot of people (mostly conservative) are upset by this kind of talk. Me, I say, "put up or shut up." Honestly, do you really think a pansy guy like this Guy Cimbalo would have the courage to get in a room with, much less actually rape any of these conservative women?

Liberal men who write for Playboy or any other such liberal publication are by their very profession, wimps. They have no integrity, courage or balls. They say these things because they are used to getting away with it, as their publications and the milieu of people they run with encourage it. Put them in a room alone with a conservative woman and they would be scared shitless. I've seen the way these guys operate. It's pathetic and only works if they have a pack of other wimps to back them up. Once a conservative woman cut them down to the core, they would leave with their little tails between their legs and go back to the only place where they feel empowered: the liberal media world that tells them that they champion the good and the just, when in their heart of hearts, they know what they are: cowards.