Quick dip: Schizophrenia genes, dark nighties of the soul, et alia

I must keep my nose on the not-beta, hidden-till-last-minute, writing-Not-For-FREE grindstone, where it's getting shredded to bits -- but in the meantime, wanted to pass on these worthy web distractions, worthy of full engagement if you've the time:

Vaughan Bell peeks at The long dark nightie of the soul and wonders "why mentally distressed women are always portrayed in their nighties." Separately, he considers some strange security concerns raised by the growing use of brain implants.

Much interesting attention to schizophrenia this week: A big study parsing the genetics of schizophrenia, which came up with not much, gets judicious attention from the Times' Nicholas Wade, who agrees that if the finding is (as hyped) "a landmark," then it's "the kind that says you have 10,000 miles yet to go." Kevin Mitchell, meanwhile, who's keeping a fine new blog called Wiring the Brain, finds significant silver lining to the cloudy view of this study.Separately, Carl Zimmer, writing in Newsweek, takes a broader look at how gene studies are so far raising more questions than they are answering. Brainblogger wonders -- and Jonah Lehrer riffs -- on why schizophrenics smoke more than other people.

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The problem here is that the elusive Schizophrenia genes appears to be just another failure of the underlying and unquestioned scientific model. Harken back to the depression gene and the common genetic variant/common disease hypothesis of the Human Genome Project. There appears to be a pattern emerging which people who investigated monozygotic twins (it helps to have grown up around some) would not be surprised by. Something else appears to defining individual health and behavioral tendencies.

The immense modern puzzles posed by monozygotic realities - why are they so different health and behavior-wise; why are so incredibly close friendship-wise; how can they share specific behavioral preferences even when they were separated at birth - are as significant as they appear to be ignored. It seems like you would have to be a biologist not to appreciate the challenge they offer to the DNA-material model.

From a traditional - and absolutely scientific and thus modern-taboo - perspective they were close in a previous life. Thus they have roughly correlated personalities (as friends usually do), are especially close friends, and share some previous-life given behavioral preferences (the kind of preferences friends usually have). And furthermore thus we appear to be born dualist, exhibit all sorts of unexpected behaviors (a recent article on transgender people commented that most "knew they had been born into the wrong gender from childhood"), and exhibit as an implicate expression group differences. And from this perspective thus of course DNA doesn't define you in the individual behavioral and health departments.

In last October's Sci American the "The Search for Intelligence" article pointed out that monozygotics in the lower socio-economic bracket show almost no relative IQ similarity. This appears to be very, very difficult to explain in terms of the scientific/material model.

The broad problem here is that science appears to have greatly oversold its model and thus have led the modern way in arrogantly writing off previous direct understanding of life. Some write-ups on this are at

By Ted Christopher (not verified) on 08 Jul 2009 #permalink