October 17, 2011

"Sybil" was a hoax...

... we learn after all these years. But what about the reaction to "Sybil"?
Soon, “multiple personality disorder,” or MPD, became an officially recognized diagnosis, and a handful of cases exploded into 40,000 reported sufferers, nearly all of them female. The repressed-memory industry was born. Only in the last decade or so has the psychiatric profession begun to question the validity of Sybilmania.
Why weren't we — and all those doctors — much more skeptical all along? It was a ridiculously lurid story —"scenes of Sybil’s demented mother defecating on lawns, conducting lesbian orgies and raping her daughter with kitchen utensils." Why did we believe that? And what other hoaxes are we believing?

120 comments:

Quayle said...

Ann, these are experts.

You can't question experts.

Rob said...

That Barack Obama was a moderate?

cassandra lite said...

"We"?

glenn said...

How about Barry and the Dems are smart?

chickenlittle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
viator said...

Eh, global warming?

DKWalser said...

We believe because we are told by experts that [people] don't lie about things like that. The more improbable the claim, the more reason to believe the claim.

rhhardin said...

Reality is whatever draws a TV audience.

Paul Kersey said...

That OWS is grassroots?

Oligonicella said...

"And what other hoaxes are we believing?"

Most of them. And it's "some", not "we". I reject nomination into your group.

Amartel said...

Countdown to Crack.

Surfed said...

How about Satanic rituals with pre school children where people were incarcerated for years on zero evidence back in the 80's and 90's?

TMink said...

I have worked as a therapist for 20 years and in that time I have worked with some people who were horridly abused. Exactly two of them had any dissociative identity features at all. None had the full blown diagnosis.

I remember a co-worker from 15 years ago who slumped in her seat next to me in the break room. "Busy day?" I asked innocently enough. "It is all the multiple personality disorders on my caseload that is making life so difficult. Most of my patients have multiple personality disorder" she stated emphatically.

"You are a complete loon and a disgrace to the business" was what I thought. I didn't have the cahones to say it though. Wish I had.

Trey

Pete said...

That anthropomorphic global warming is real?

Amartel said...

MPD was a fad promoted by "experts." Similarly, repressed memory cases were all the rage back in the late 1980s (the McMartin family in LA, the Franklin case and the Ramona case in Northern Cal, other cases throughout the rest of the country). Huge verdicts. A great many of the alleged "memories" turned out to be manufactured in therapy. Lives were ruined in the name of this shoddy "expertise." But, hey, their intentions were good (and there was money to be made).

Ned said...

That voting for obama (SCOAMF) was rational?

sorepaw said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael K said...

The recovered memory syndrome was far worse because parents were ensnared by predatory therapists. It only stopped when malpractice insurers announced they would no longer cover recovered memory therapy.

That should tell you something.

Lamar63 said...

The science was settled.

rcocean said...

Looks like Althouse has gone anti-science.

'Sybil' while false factually, was theoretically true. We need to understand that scientific theories - like climate change -are always true till proven false.

rcocean said...

Personally, I like my science full of theory and almost fact-free.

That's why I'm a Darwinist.

Sixty Grit said...

That Obama is smart.

Yeah, I know, it's been written here, but I just like saying it.

How about voting for Obama is rational? Yeah, same thing.

Moose said...

Which makes oh so trusting of the "settled science" of homosexuality.

Revenant said...

Personally, I like my science full of theory and almost fact-free. That's why I'm an Intelligent Design supporter.

Fixed.

gbarto said...

I had a professor who worked in court cases involving the abuse of children, sometimes for the prosecution, sometimes for the defense. She said the way you do the interviews is crucial - that if you want the truth you do one thing and if you want a particular answer you do another. The sad thing was once a kid was brainwashed, there was no getting at the truth anymore.

What's incredible to me is that we know how this stuff works from the therapeutic technique of hypnosis. So how does a competent therapist come to use hypnosis and guided imagery techniques for planting suggests without realizing it? A competent therapist, of course, doesn't.

Unfortunately, if someone is believed to be an expert, as Quayle noted, they're not to be questioned. What's worse is that experts in one field tend to be credulous of experts in other fields, so there was no one to call BS when this stuff was new and the data wasn't more broadly known.

Something to keep in mind whether the experts agree or disagree with you.

This actually makes me think of the Reason piece today about how California's largest medical association supports medical marijuana. They probably support socialized medicine too. Be careful about deferring to authority, people!

Quaestor said...

Ann wrote:
And what other hoaxes are we believing?

1) Barack Obama, probably the smartest person ever to hold the office.

2) The stimulus bill will prevent the unemployment rate from rising above 8%.

3) Green jobs

4) AGW

5) Blood for oil

6) Obamacare is a deficit reduction program.

7) Hillary Swank is talented.

8) The Libya operation -- we're talking days and weeks, not months.

9) We need to pass the bill to see what's in it.

10) Janeane Garofalo isn't a worthless tattooed skank.

11) Bill Marr is witty.

12) Anything said by Harry Reid since 1964.

13) Anything connected with "I'm the 99%".

Any questions?

xnar said...

What is the truth behind the "Shocking Meat Video"? Could it be a hoax to sell more tenderloin?

prairie wind said...

How about all the panic we see about children getting snatched off the streets? How much of that came out of the daycare hysteria of the 80s? Everything parents do now has been affected by that hysteria. Let kids go to the park without their parents? They could be kidnapped! And that kind of hysteria is what led to the sex offender registry. It's all for the children.

prairie wind said...

My kids have both read "A Child Called It", another untrue account of an abused child. THAT book is still making the middle school rounds. I don't dare mention Sybil in their hearing...what middle schooler could resist something so awful?

Fortunately, I think both kids understand that Dave Pelzer wrote fiction. Unfortunately, they are too young to recognize it as really bad fiction, as well.

caplight said...

Alternative Medicine. Crack, this is your moment. Where are you? Crack, wake up!

Revenant said...

This actually makes me think of the Reason piece today about how California's largest medical association supports medical marijuana. They probably support socialized medicine too. Be careful about deferring to authority, people!

That's a pretty incoherent argument you're presenting.

First of all, the people of California approved medical marijuana fifteen years ago, so this obviously isn't a case of people deferring to the experts. The experts are lagging well behind on this issue.

Secondly, whether or not the medical association supports socialized medicine (which, by the way, it doesn't) is irrelevant to whether or not the association supports allowing the use of certain drugs.

urpower said...

Sibyl was exposed as a hoax long ago- in 1997 I read an article about it in the New York Review of Books ("Sybil——The Making of a Disease: An Interview with Dr. Herbert Spiegel"). Science has given licence to many frauds of monstrosity, as Hollywood has dramatized them for the masses -- the connecting thread behind global warming, MPD, repressed memory. All cinematic diseases. Transsexuality is similarly a fiction. The original supposed man-woman, Christine Jorgensen, would insist 'she' had ovaries, an 'undeveloped' penis, etc. It was all a lie. Lots of movies there.

Sixty Grit said...

Ann wrote:
And what other hoaxes are we believing?

That Crack Emcee was raised by former slaves. Well, he believes it, but the rest of us think that maybe he is a cult member for believing it.

WV: kooludd - what sabot throwers drink.

edutcher said...

Another hole shot in "the science is settled".

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Prairie Wind, I read A Child Called It in one of my psych classes in college (Child Psych, I think). As far as I can remember, we never discussed it as anything other than true. Do you have a good reference for it being made up? I did some googling, and found a little bit, but it's all questionable, and you peaked my curiousity.

- Lyssa

urpower said...

Sibyl was a late addition- it was "The Three Faces of Eve" which arrived with a stamp of psychiatric approval, as Hollywood gave it their greatest awards. Remember too that Betty Friedan says in The Feminine Mystique that women who stay at home are liable to become schizophrenic. Why women & Hollywood barons were so invested in keeping the spectacle of their female craziness so vivid, is a fascinating question. What do they get from it?

prairie wind said...

No, Lyssa, I don't. [blush] I didn't make it up, though...I think it was among the Amazon reviews for the book that I found quite a discussion about whether the book was true. I went to Amazon after reading the book, but I wondered about its truthfulness while I was reading it. Wish I could remember details of what made me question it.

I am no help, I know.

Saint Croix said...

Personally, I like my science full of theory and almost fact-free.

That's why I'm a Darwinist.


It's interesting to compare Inherit the Wind with the actual Scopes trial. For instance, see this.

So that's how a hoax begins. You don't really care about facts. You try to entertain people. You demonize. You understand the prejudices of your audience and you try to appeal to those prejudices.

In fact the original Scopes trial was itself a sham done for publicity. Scopes was never jailed and volunteered to be "prosecuted."

Or consider the Piltdown Man hoax, which people believed for 40 years.

I imagine most hoaxes are spread because people really want to believe it, and they suspend their critical judgment.

Here is Stephen Jay Gould (who of course is a Darwinist) on how science is suppressed:

"Darwinian evolution became the great intellectual novelty of the later 19th century, and paleontology held the archives of life's history. Darwin proclaimed insensibly gradual transition as the canonical expectation for evolution's expression in the fossil record. He knew, of course, that the detailed histories of species rarely show such a pattern, so he explained the literal appearance of stasis and abrupt replacement as an artifact of a woefully imperfect fossil record. Thus, paleontologist could be good Darwinians and still acknowledge the primary fact of their profession - but only at the price of sheepishness or embarrassment. No one can take great comfort when the primary observation of their discipline becomes an artifact of limited evidence rather than an expression of nature's ways. Thus, once gradualism emerged as the expected pattern for documenting evolution - with an evident implication that the fossil record's dominant signal of stasis and abrupt replacement can only be a sign of evidentiary poverty - paleontologist became cowed or puzzled, and even less likely to showcase their primary datum."

Tubby Z said...

And what other hoaxes are we believing?...

That Government cares about the individual?

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Don't worry about it, Prairie Wind. I did read a little bit that basically pointed out that his accounts seem a little bit too specific and detail-focused, which I get, and that his brother(s?) dispute some of it.

From what I remember (10-12 years ago, now), it did seem a bit over the top at parts, but I guess that doesn't necessarily mean that the overall story isn't basically accurate. Who knows?

But, upon doing that research, I'm pretty disappointed in my college education (once again) that we spent time studying it. It was a pop book (made well-known by Montel Williams), and I don't think that it had much of any bearing on actual psychology. I remember the lurid details, but nothing about the actual educational experience.

Sigh, I hate that so much of my college experience was such a waste of time.

Crimso said...

"If we are uncritical we shall always find what we want: we shall look for, and find, confirmations, and we shall look away from, and not see, whatever might be dangerous to our pet theories. In this way it is only too easy to obtain what appears to be overwhelming evidence in favor of a theory which, if approached critically, would have been refuted." Karl Popper

Kirby Olson said...

Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen at the U. of Washington tried for years and years and years to point out the hoax. Outside of America (he's French) they listened, and laughed. The whole multiple personality thing (the whole Freud thing) has been considered a laughing matter for fifty years outside of America.

Do you remember all the Jungian junk myth about matriarchy back in the 70s. Even some of that is still going on in women's studies circles even though no such evidence of any peaceful "matriarchal" societies ever existed.

Patriarchy meant the beginning of law. It was a good thing.

But most on the left still have this upside down, including that stupid Peace Mom you pictured earlier today.

Probably almost everything we think and do is ridiculous, but some are pernicious as well. The whole idea of Sotomayor's that she is wise because of her race is so laughable as to be crazy.

Still, there she is: Supreme Court Justice.

Revenant said...

Or consider the Piltdown Man hoax, which people believed for 40 years.

I'm sure there were some people who kept believing it for forty years. Heck, there are still some people who think humans haven't evolved. Silly beliefs have a way of hanging on long after they've been refuted.

But if "people believed" is supposed to mean "the scientific community believed" then you are mistaken. There was a forty-year gap between the "discovery" of "Piltdown Man" and its being proven to be a hoax. But for the majority of that time the "discovery" was believed to have been either a mistake or an aberration, as it didn't conform to the rest of the human fossil record.

ndspinelli said...

Hoax: There's no difference between boys and girls. Feminist mantra of the 70's destroyed when feminists gave birth to sons in the 80's.

The Crack Emcee said...

"...nearly all of them female."

Why weren't we — and all those doctors — much more skeptical all along? It was a ridiculously lurid story —"scenes of Sybil’s demented mother defecating on lawns, conducting lesbian orgies and raping her daughter with kitchen utensils." Why did we believe that? And what other hoaxes are we believing?


It was your beloved feminism that made questioning this nonsense impossible. The vast majority of NewAgers are women, too, using homeopathy, being anti-vaccine, going to psychics, and demanding we "save the planet."

Still think the "good" people respond to nudging we "go green"?

You're one of them.

Drew W said...

Say what you will about the book "Sybil," these revelations do nothing to diminish the indelible memory of Sally Field's acceptance speech after receiving the Emmy award for outstanding lead actress in a drama or comedy special -- for her 1976 portrayal of Sybil: "We can’t deny the fact that you like us ... right now ... you like us!"

Saint Croix said...

Coming of Age in Samoa by Margaret Mead was a hoax.

Almost all of Kinsey's work was a hoax.

Simon said...

Rob said...
"That Barack Obama was a moderate?"

That Barack Obama is eloquent.

That "Occupy" speaks for 99% rather than a tiny minority of whiners and professional protesters.

John Lynch said...

I fail to believe things all the time. People get mad at me.

Here's some examples.

Overpopulation wasn't a problem. Peak oil isn't. AGW is balogna.

Women make us much as men. The education system favors girls.

For the other side, the death penalty doesn't deter crime (and is unfairly applied). Gay people have nothing to do with the decline of marriage. Affirmative action mostly does what it was intended to do.

More recently, the Libya war was a good idea, as was our lack of commitment. Afghanistan, however, is a bad idea because our troops are hostages to Pakistan. Leaving Iraq completely is idiotic.

That's off the top of my head. I manage to irritate people all the time by simply thinking things through. When you don't have a team you don't have to keep up appearances. Believing one thing shouldn't tie one to a string of other beliefs, nor should skepticism of one thing be tied to rejecting a number of others.

In the real world, though, it doesn't work that way. There are enormous pressures to belong. I've been called a crazy liberal and a knuckle-dragging conservative. I'm probably both.

The whole reason I read Althouse is her BS detector. She's skeptical of everyone and everything, which is a rare quality. It's interesting that she's a "conservative" blogger because of that. Freethinking is supposed to be a liberal trait.

The Crack Emcee said...

what other hoaxes are we believing?

Bwaaaa-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!!!!!

I appreciate the effort, Ann, but really,...

Amartel said...

Revenant wrote "First of all, the people of California approved medical marijuana fifteen years ago, so this obviously isn't a case of people deferring to the experts. The experts are lagging well behind on this issue."

True enough. The people of California approved medical marijuana as a result of a badly informed guilt trip. California's medical marijuana initiative was titled The Compassionate Use Act. In actuality, it was sponsored by a bunch pot businessmen. Supporters cited to experts on the medicinal use of the plant but failed to mention and/or downplayed the legality and availability and effectiveness of Marinol. Also, they failed to mention the ridiculous vagueness of the law which essentially legalized pot throughout the state. The experts are definitely lagging well behind on this issue.

Sidenote: get it through your pot heads, legalizing pot means you will pay more for pot. A lot more.

Patrick said...

Another hoax

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Godby_Johnson

Henry said...

I guess I always assumed it was a hoax -- or if not a hoax at least wildly exaggerated. Luckily, no one I know was in the vector of its adherents.

Michael Haz said...

And what other hoaxes are we believing?

Cloward and Piven.

Al Gore.

Extenze.

Sham-Wow.

The War to End All Wars.

Sex drive among happy couples diminishes with age.

Minoxidil.

Herbal remedies.

Low-cost light rail.

Global warming.

The population bomb.

Low-calorie pie.

Light beer.

Charlie Sheen wasn't on drugs.

Hugh Hefner's marriages.

Celebrities are smart.

A footlong for a mere five dollars.

I'm six foot eight and have dreadlocks.

Amartel said...

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. Deadly Expertise Hoax.

johnnymcguirk said...

Dan Schneider

exhelodriver said...

"Why weren't we much more skeptical all along?"

There's a lot of that going around these days.

Francisco D said...

I am an expert. I always thought what we now call Dissociative Identity Disorder was bullshit. The difference between me (a lowly psychologist) and the other so-called experts is that I was trained to be an empirical scientist, not a bullshit artist.

Thanks to my Midwest Dustbowl Empiricist alma mater - not UW, but a competitor.

Saint Croix said...

But if "people believed" is supposed to mean "the scientific community believed" then you are mistaken.

I don't think there is a "scientific community" and I start snorting when people talk about it. Where do they live, Happy Town?

Some scientists said the Piltdown Man was a fraud, but lots and lots of scientists said nothing. They either believed it or they went along with it.

Clarence Darrow used the Piltdown Man in the Scopes trial. Do you think he would do that if "the scientific community" was calling it bunk?

In any event, it's not necessary to fool the scientists for a hoax to work. It's merely necessary to shut them up.

If Darwin's theory becomes politicized, if it becomes dangerous to be seen as a critic, or a skeptic, or even somebody who is not on board 100%, then scientists will keep their mouths shut about it.

Read the Gould quote again.

To sum up, Inherit the Wind is a hoax docudrama based on a sham trial, where fraudulent evidence is used to prove Darwin's theory as scientifically proven fact.

The Scopes trial was a media circus along the lines of P.T. Barnum stuff.

SunnyJ said...

So what are we learning here folks?

20yrs ago Dan Rather hit the CBS nightly news declaring a crisis in America with starving children everywhere...

Al Gore runs a scam on global warming...hey, it's a scam when you demand the universe change by purchasing though you, and yet nothing in your own life changes to match your rhetoric.

Today we hear the OWS is getting the treatment from the media and we're to believe that 99% want debt forgiveness and to live outside the comptetitive markets with someone else supporting them..and that if we don't accept that as "social justice" we're all rich people that deserve to be eaten.

WTF people?...just say no.

Revenant said...

California's medical marijuana initiative was titled The Compassionate Use Act. In actuality, it was sponsored by a bunch pot businessmen.

Even if that were true -- and you've given me no reason to think it is -- why does it matter what the motivations of the sponsors are? After all, opposition to legalization is also centered on people who line their pockets via the lavish funding of the War on Drugs -- cops, prison guards, politicians, and attorneys.

Sidenote: get it through your pot heads, legalizing pot means you will pay more for pot. A lot more.

Comedy gold. There is literally no other substance in human history that became more expensive as a result of legality -- but marijuana will be the first. Amartel has faith in it. :)

Crimso said...

"And what other hoaxes are we believing?"

Sir Archy?

bagoh20 said...

I bought the Extenze/Sham-Wow combo pack. It's true - it does hold 20 times it's weight in liquid.

Revenant said...

Some scientists said the Piltdown Man was a fraud, but lots and lots of scientists said nothing. They either believed it or they went along with it.

Weasel words. How many is "lots of scientists"?

As for "went along with it", what does that even mean? Most scientists say nothing about the Shroud of Turin; it doesn't follow that they're complicit in THAT hoax, either. The lack of commentary on Piltdown Man during those forty years was due to Piltdown Man not being considered significant by paleontologists, not due to some sort of conspiracy.

Clarence Darrow used the Piltdown Man in the Scopes trial.

How many of the jurors found it convincing?

If Darwin's theory becomes politicized, if it becomes dangerous to be seen as a critic, or a skeptic

Oh, please. Darwin put his theory forward at a time when expressing doubt in the vercity of the Bible was a crime punishable by fines or imprisonment. The theory managed to catch on despite that -- oddly enough, scientists were willing to speak out against the overwhelmingly prevalent political and social hostility to their findings. They still are.

John said...

The Check is in the mail?

I really love you and will respect you in the morning?

That the Earth is warming? (Regardless of cause)

That gays don't choose to be gay?

I could go on forever.

John Henry

Coketown said...

Comedy gold. There is literally no other substance in human history that became more expensive as a result of legality -- but marijuana will be the first. Amartel has faith in it. :)

This is incredibly untrue. Virtually every substance that is criminalized and then decriminalized goes through a supply shock that drives up the price.

In Idaho a few years back, the state banned the sale of water hyacinth through retailers. Gray market suppliers were selling the plant out of their back yards for $2.50 a plant. When the plant was legalized two years later, the price skyrocketed, with retailers selling the plant for anywhere from $5 to, as my company did, $10 a plant.

Similarly, the price of alcohol after prohibition ended far outpaced inflation. First, levying taxes on it was a favorite revenue generator for the government. Second, as with the water hyacinth, the legal status of the item was a deterrent for consumers. Once legalized, the demand curve shifted heavily to the right while the supply curve was static. In Idaho, it took an entire year for supply to recover to pre-ban levels and stabilize the price.

You are living in a fantasy world if you think legal pot will be cheaper than illegal pot! Scarcity will drive the price up first, and taxes will ensure the price stays high.

Revenant said...

This is incredibly untrue. Virtually every substance that is criminalized and then decriminalized goes through a supply shock that drives up the price.

In the short term, sure, but the price then drops to below its "illegal" price point once supply catches up. Given that we're talking about growing something that is quite literally a weed, increasing the supply sufficently to meet and exceed demand can easily be done matter of weeks.

But if Amartel was trying to scare "potheads" (his cute term for the majority of the population that realizes his preferred policy is retarded) with the dire threat of weed prices spiking for a month or two before falling, then I apologize for laughing at him.

Scarcity will drive the price up first, and taxes will ensure the price stays high.

Now you're moving the goalposts from "legalizing marijuana will raise the price" to "legalizing marijuana and slapping a massive tax on it will raise the price". Well no shit, Sherlock -- if you slap a tax on ANYTHING its price goes up!

ktl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Coketown said...

In the short term, sure, but the price then drops to below its "illegal" price point once supply catches up. Given that we're talking about growing something that is quite literally a weed, increasing the supply sufficently to meet and exceed demand can easily be done matter of weeks.

The technical definition of a weed is "something growing where you don't want it." By that definition, is marijuana ever a weed? :)

And I don't think it's 'moving the goalposts' to take into account real world, virtually inevitable consequences of legalizing marijuana--first among them, increased taxes! I was approaching the subject from a realistic perspective, not a textbook perspective. It was you and your original sparring partner that were arguing explicitly over "legalizing marijuana" and its effect on price, ceteris paribus. I only interjected with what the inevitable consequences would be.

bagoh20 said...

"You are living in a fantasy world if you think legal pot will be cheaper than illegal pot! "

Why would anyone who is already getting cheap illegal pot pay for expensive legal pot, and how can you tell which one they have?

Robert said...

Now we know. I guess you thought Charles Van Doren was on the up and up. All that sweating, wiping the brow had to be searching that Ivy League brain for the answers. It's a fraud, a humbug, same as global warming, pie in the sky, free college tuition for every mope in Zucotti Park. He was another fraud by the way, the old man was the headwaiter at El Morocco, made a killing in guess what real estate leverages before O&Y went south. Sybil, jesus.

Astro said...

That it was a good idea to give women the right to vote?

Titus said...

I never saw Sybil.

But I did see Not Without My Daughter.

I teased my Indian UK husband that when I went to India he would do to me what that Iranian did to Sally Field.

I called our movie Not Without My Rare Clumber.

I would act out scenes of our fictional movie in places like Darjeeling, Calcutta, Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Goa.

My husband said I was quite the actress.

orthodoc said...

Global warming.
Global cooling.
Nuclear winter.
Overpopulation.
Alar.
Organic food.
Plastic bags are evil.
Plastic cups are evil.
Plastic is evil.
Styrofoam is evil.
Solar power.
Wind power.
Peak oil.
The dangers of marijuana.
Crack is worse than regular cocaine.
Busing.
Affirmative action.
The Japanese are taking over.
The Chinese are taking over.
The Mexicans are taking over.
The Jews already took over.
Public funding of political campaigns.
Campaign finance reform.
Phonics.
People before profits.
Woodstock.

Gene said...

The interesting thing to me is how many people, including medical professionals, want to believe in repressed memory. It satisfies some need in them. I remember in the McMartin Pre-School case there was simply no story that the cops, the DA (and especially the child therapist, whose only actually professional degree was in welding) wouldn't swallow and ask for more.

They believed that kids were molested in hot air balloons, that horses were beheaded with swords, that a visiting Marine sodomized the family dog, that babies were dismembered in the back rooms of busy convenience stores and that wealthy business executives used to fly their Lear Jets into Santa Monica airport in order to molest kids midday and still be back home for martinis at dinnertime.

No one could believe this stuff because it was plausible. It wasn't. They believed it because they wanted to. It appealed to their deepest inner needs.

Carnifex said...

Ya'll missed the biggest hoax of all...JFK was killed by a lone gunman from the book depository window!

And the second biggest...JFK was killed by a lone gunman from the rocky knoll!

People will fall for hoaxes for the same reason we are afraid of the dark. In the deep, reptile part of your mind we huddle in the dark, shivering in fear of the sharp tooth and claw that will remove us from our loved ones. And being removed, forgotten, and thus loosing our vainglorious immortality.

We need our hoaxes. They tell us "things could be so much worse", so our lives aren't so bad. They give us backhanded hope, and a monkeys pleasure of examining a shiny bauble. We play with our hoaxes, only to be distracted by ever more shiny ones.

And so we come to OWS. These people actually BELIEVE their hoax. Maybe its because they really haven't been taught to think critically, or rationally, or at all. Poor simpletons, closer to our ancestors than they could ever dream or hope of being.

As far as "scientist", I don't recall them being elevated above the human condition. Why would you be surprised that they display all our foibles?

Oh yeah... There was no UFO crash in Roswell. According to the government...after they announced that there was.

It was owned by Bigfoot, but the Abominable Snowman was chosen as designated driver that night.

edwardroyce said...

"Why did we believe that? And what other hoaxes are we believing?"

Amazingly how about a black politician from Chicago with zero accomplishments to his name being an effective President of the United States of America?

C'mon. You had to see that coming from a mile away. :)

traditionalguy said...

As a trial lawyer we learned the power of a credentialed expert in the field would absolutely determine the winner in most cases.

From the early 1950s sci fi flicks that children took at face value had always been the story of one expert professor/scientist who knew all of the answers along with his sexy daughter/assistant who was romanced by the hero.

The Nuclear Scientists and the developers of antibiotics were had popularized that a top scientist knew secrets we could never know without them.

By the 1990s he trial lawyers began using carefully constructed Hoax Sciences start complete with Phds writing treatises reporting on faked data until a new field science was recognized based upon the credentials of top scientists in that field.

We could not defeat that scam because we could not hire the top scientist who already worked for the plaintiffs who had funded the scam's creation, and no one else had any credentials yet in the brand new field.

In a nut shell, that was the way the wealth creation scam run by John Edwards accumulated wealth.

I believe this trick worked so well taht it was shortly transferred into political parties agendas by the Dems and the Greens.

The wealth it created was huge, and it almost ended our economic future recently as Obama minions doubled down on the CO2 is pollution scam.

These experts had all worked with Al Gore , Obama, and Edwards. All three of whom were nominated for the Presidency or Vice Presidency by the Soros funded Dems.

That is another reason that we can never accept the Dems methods into the GOP. No thank you Mitt Romney.

bagoh20 said...

Traditionalguy,

Very good. I never actually thought about how that happened before. That's very obvious now that you point it out.

You're not an expert on this stuff, are you?

Seriously, good observation.

Saint Croix said...

The lack of commentary on Piltdown Man during those forty years was due to Piltdown Man not being considered significant by paleontologists

The British National History Museum believed in the Piltdown Man all the way until 1953.

Here is the BBC on the hoax.

On 18 December 1912 newspapers throughout the world ran some sensational headlines - mostly along the lines of: 'Missing Link Found - Darwin's Theory Proved'.

Why were so many people duped?

The story of Piltdown Man came out at just the time when scientists were in a desperate race to find the missing link in the theory of evolution.

They wanted to believe it.

headline writers revelled in the Natural History Museum's embarrassment: 'Fossil Hoax Makes Monkeys Out Of Scientists!'

MeTooThenMail said...

As it turns out - where I trained there was a MPD program headed by the now infamous Dr. Bennet Braun.

At the close of my training, 20 years ago - there already was much attention to the fact that MPD was likely a hoax (the psychiatry residents were especially cruel.)

What followed was quite brutal, including litigation and recriminations, for example:

http://caselaw.findlaw.com/il-court-of-appeals/1178787.html

That the "Sybil" case was a hoax is not a surprise - that MPD lasted as long as it did does speak volumes as to the power of suggestion and the sway of "authority."

Hospitals are often (and usually) dangerous places.

Just sayin'

WV: minde - you can't make that up

William said...

Facts are boring and contradictory. There's no narrative nor morality to random data points. Find the legend and print it....Sybil and The Three Faces of Eve won Academy Awards. Would a movie about a flaky woman being manipulated into further flakiness by a smarter, but equally flaky therapist be box office boffo.....People believe a good story much more than they believe the truth, and most especially a good story that reinforces their prejudices.

William said...

ebeFacts are boring and contradictory. There's no narrative nor morality to random data points. Find the legend and print it....Sybil and The Three Faces of Eve won Academy Awards. Would a movie about a flaky woman being manipulated into further flakiness by a smarter, but equally flaky therapist be box office boffo.....People believe a good story much more than they believe the truth, and most especially a good story that reinforces their prejudices.

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

Soon, “multiple personality disorder,” or MPD, became an officially recognized diagnosis, and a handful of cases exploded into 40,000 reported sufferers, nearly all of them female.

I don't believe the premise that Sybil created the diagnosis of MPD is correct. I don't think I've heard the book discussed. Perhaps the diagnosis preceded the book and the idea of it seemed to the author a vehicle for a story. As for books in the popular press, years ago I heard I Never Promised You a Rose Garden mentioned favorably with the mild criticism that it didn't seem to be appropriately seen as about a case of schizophrenia.

madAsHell said...

Who are ya' gonna believe?

The experts?...or your own lying eyes!!!

grgeil said...

Back in the '90s Texas had an epidemic of "killer mold". It became a hysteria, with kids pulled out of "toxic schools", houses being razed, etc. When insurance companies stopped covering so-called "toxic mold" the mold remediation companies vanished and the problem suddenly vanished too.

madAsHell said...

Amazingly how about a black politician from Chicago with zero accomplishments to his name being an effective President of the United States of America?

C'mon. You had to see that coming from a mile away. :)


....but it was the rational choice!!!

Saint Croix said...

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson.

The argument that DDT is a poison that kills human beings is a particularly cruel hoax. A million African children die every year from malaria. In our country, we used DDT to wipe out malaria. We would dump it by the truckloads. My mom told me how she and my aunt used to play in it when they were kids.

We could use DDT in Africa and wipe out malaria, but we just don't care

"GM foods are bad for you." Another vicious hoax. See this article for some horror stories.

Ralph L said...

And the second biggest...JFK was killed by a lone gunman from the rocky knoll!
You're trying to fool us again. It was the grassy knoll!
Why women & Hollywood barons were so invested in keeping the spectacle of their female craziness so vivid, is a fascinating question. What do they get from it?

Excuses for all sorts of malice.

mariner said...

Well, you believed in Obama. Why weren't you more skeptical?

(No way in hell was I passing that up.)

How about Anthropogenic Global Warming?

How about socialism?

Saint Croix said...

Many prominent hoaxes--particularly environmental ones--seem to rely on irrational fear.

In general we might call a hoax an appeal to our emotions. If science is boring, it's probably not a hoax.

The more science is exciting, dangerous, cool, amazing, the more likely it's exaggerated somehow, wrong, or even fraudulent.

You're more likely to see a hoax in a "new breakthrough." Any scientific discovery that can make somebody famous, there's a possibility for a hoax.

What's particularly damning is when somebody is trying to make millions of dollars from a hoax.

Al Gore's advocacy is fear-mongering, not science. I'm a skeptic on AGW in general, but Al Gore in particular is a dishonest minister of propaganda. No wonder his Nobel Prize was given for "peace" rather than science.

MeTooThenMail said...

Professor:

Um, the trip down memory lane is not a happy one, alas.

http://www.illinoisfms.org/Braun.html

http://www.astraeasweb.net/politics/braun.html

There's quite a bit more, but this gives you the flavor.

Dr. Braun's work from 1984-1998 was quite prolific and quite damaging.

I can still recall how the badly the psychiatry residents would ridicule him and much they loathed having to work with him.

I met him only once (or twice) - he was not surprisingly creepy.

So, to answer your question - this sad and prolonged hoax finally and mercifully came to an end.

It took too long though and many people were hurt.

Sigh.

JAL said...

CFLs are harmless.

Plastic bags are better for the environment than paper bags.

Obamacare.

Many of the above mentioned.

How long do you think people will be using chiropractic on horses?

When you get past a certain age you watch the fads come and go and mark them, but no longer get excited.

There are always fools. We just need not let them make policy on idiot ideas.

Revenant said...

And I don't think it's 'moving the goalposts' to take into account real world, virtually inevitable consequences of legalizing marijuana--first among them, increased taxes!

Taxes are inevitable, sure. The kind of absurd tax rates you're talking about are not.

Right now, the cost of growing, harvesting, and packaging an ounce of marijuana comes to around seventy cents. That ounce sells for $200. Almost all of the $199.30 difference is the risk premium charged by the grower.

Even if we assume marijuana ends up subjected to the kind of punitive "vice taxes" that tobacco and alcohol are suggested to, you'd still be talking about four or five bucks an ounce -- i.e., about one-twentieth what people pay now. Getting the price *above* where it is now would literally require the government to assign taxes that are two or more orders of magnitude greater than the base cost of the thing being taxed. It is not reasonable to assume that would be done.

But even if it was, it still doesn't follow that marijuana would be more expensive -- because people can and would grow their own, just like people would switch to brewing their own beer if the government placed a $500 tax on every bottle of Guinness sold. The only reason most marijuana users don't do that now is that they would be risking a felony charge if they did.

Revenant said...

The British National History Museum believed in the Piltdown Man all the way until 1953.

Well, duh. They're the ones who had the most to lose by admitting they'd been suckered. Scientists in other nations (and independent scientists in the UK) had no such hang-ups.

Why were so many people duped?

By "so many people" I assume you mean "the British press", since your examples consist entirely of breathless claims by journalists.

In any event, the article explains why the British were so desperate to believe in the finding:

Sensational finds of fossil ancestors, named Neanderthals, had already occurred in Germany and France. British Scientists, however, were desperate to prove that Britain had also played its part in the story of human evolution, and Piltdown Man was the answer to their prayers - because of him, Britain could claim to be the birthplace of mankind.

This is why, like I noted above, the Brits were the last to admit they were wrong. It was a racism/nationalism thing -- they wanted the ancestor of modern humans to be a Brit instead of some smelly African.

traditionalguy said...

Bagoh20...Thanks. My comment came from continuous observation over 40 years.

The first thing lawyers do in a case that relies on an expert's testimony is hire the best testifier personality with the best credentials.

That carries the Jury for us two years later. Sounds easy, but you have to have connections and go do it. They are not cheap.

Running into a recently created brand new scientific discipline with perfect appearing credentials became very frustrating. It was like fighting the CIA. They alone had the connections.

You know that is exactly like what we ran into in fighting the brand new Obama candidate with perfect appearing credentials in 2008.

When Herman Cain says some people are stupid and brainwashed, he makes a good point.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

Speaking of crashing hoaxes, there exists in this country a group of controllers that want nothing but the best for you. they are partners in your 'federal family'.

Turn your head and cough.

jayniejaynie said...

What Quaestor said !

AllenS said...

Here's one that I used to fall for:

"I love you long time, GI."

Jon Burack said...

I am more interested in the why do "people believe" part of Ann's question than the "what other hoaxes" part. In the 1980s day care cases, I have always felt it was yuppie parents guilty about dumping their kids with poorly paid day care workers -- a relatively new matter then as opposed to now when we do not seem to think twice about it. How nice to be able to shift all that guilt and turn on those workers by fantasizing them as part of some evil cult. It was a Salem witch hunt momemnt and the parents, not the crackpot therapists, were its true driving force, though clearly both were to blame.

And just for the record, Oswald as the lone gunman was NOT the hoax, it was all the myriads of other paranoid and unsustainable conspiracy theories that never quite pan out and yet never quite die. I do not think all that fits with this discussion.

Issob Morocco said...

Salt Causes High Blood Pressure is another hoax.

Jay said...

And what other hoaxes are we believing?

That man is causing the earth to "warm" and that government spending stimulates economic growth.

Oh, and green jobs.

J said...

Sybil was merely a novel--not case study, or based on experimental data. It may have had some influence on psychiatry biz--but fatso Limblow doesn't prove that whatsoever--he just belches it as usual. Dissociative identity disorder (formerly MPD) is recognized as a diagnosis though granted there is some controversy with DID. But Limblow and the Althouse hardware store are hardly qualified to offer an analysis of the problem.

Limblow then makes the ludicrous comparison between sybil "hoax" and global warming, a completely different topic. Fatman apparently knows more about the climate than..NASAdoes. How the Tea-Front works.

(note Byro the stoner-sockpup. on here with various bogus s-names..now thats MPD)

TMink said...

Gene, they more than believed it, they programmed it into the children. I have read some of the transcripts and in them the so called therapists and interviewers literally reward and model the accusations.

Trey

DCS said...

Here are a few:
Gulf War Syndrome
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Silicone causes cancer
Anything supported by Erin Brockovitch
DDT causes cancer

AJ Lynch said...

Get me re-write -Law & Order has done several episodes using the multiple personality disorder as part of its plot line.

Fernandinande said...

""Sybil" was a hoax..."

That came out a few years ago.

Peter said...

"And what other hoaxes are we believing?"
For starters, Donna LaFramboise has come out with a book on the IPCC -- first published on Kindle, but the print edition should be out soon. An amazingly-good expose, in my opinion!

sorepaw said...
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sorepaw said...
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gerry said...

Similarly, repressed memory cases were all the rage back in the late 1980s

How many of the 3% of Catholic priests accused of sexual predation by sad people goosed by pseudoprofessional therapists and greedy attorneys were innocent?

I wonder if fashionably-normal-for-the-last-thirty-years homosexuality will suddenly be discovered to be harmful and dangerous during the next decade?

Revenant said...

I wonder if fashionably-normal-for-the-last-thirty-years homosexuality will suddenly be discovered to be harmful and dangerous during the next decade?

That would be surprising. After all, we've had homosexuals for all of human history and nobody's discovered anything dangerous about them yet.

Peter said...

“The sad thing was once a kid was brainwashed, there was no getting at the truth anymore.”

And then we decided that there was no such thing as truth anymore, there was only “truth” (with scare quotes). Or, there was “your truth” and “my truth,” and we couldn’t privilege one over the other. Or perhaps if a narrative could have been true then it may as well be true even if it was about something that never happened. And if it could have been true then it really was a kind of truth (or at least “truth”).

“So how does a competent therapist come to use hypnosis and guided imagery techniques for planting suggests without realizing it? A competent therapist, of course, doesn't”

A therapist is “competent” if the therapist has the expected credentials and can still afford malpractice premiums. How would you measure a therapist’s “competence”? And, if a field has no objective measures of competence, how would you even know if it’s doing more good than harm?

Somehow I find it difficult to think of “therapist” without thinking of Sturgeon’s Law. It’s not that there are no good ones, but how can one possibly distinguish the good from the not-so-good if there are no objective standards with which to measure goodness?

gerry said...

That would be surprising. After all, we've had homosexuals for all of human history and nobody's discovered anything dangerous about them yet.

You misunderstood. I was talking about facts like "Men who have sex with men are 17 times more likely to develop anal cancer than heterosexual men" and "In 2008, men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for 63% of primary and secondary syphilis cases in the United States". The lifestyle is far more dangerous than its fashionability suggests.

Joe said...

Re: A Child Called "it"

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/28/magazine/dysfunction-for-dollars.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

Allison McLaughlin said...
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Deborah said...

Another hoax:

Joy Behar is smart, well-informed, and her opinions matter.

wv: ovotent.

Revenant said...

I was talking about facts like "Men who have sex with men are 17 times more likely to develop anal cancer than heterosexual men" and "In 2008, men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for 63% of primary and secondary syphilis cases in the United States".

No, that's not what you were talking about. You were talking about supposed evidence that homosexuality is harmful and dangerous. The above is evidence of no such thing.

I could point out that women who have sex with men are far more likely to die of cervical cancer or die in childbirth, but that wouldn't be evidence that heterosexuality is "harmful and dangerous". It would be evidence that heterosexual sexual activity can be dangerous for women.

jimspice said...

I love it when haters of science use science to bolster their claims.

Dreamworld said...

- I saw the movie, and it was disturbing, so much that it was difficult to believe it could be true... so yes, it doesn't surprise me. So, does it mean that MPD is not real, what about the books that have it as a real disorder?