15 Oct 2008

Social Darwinism Drivel on the Austism Parent's Forum

I'm one of the moderators at the Autism Parent's Forum, but it's Bullet who does the work there and who keeps that place going so well with her excellent and courteous advice.

But whenever one of the members reports a controversial post, usually by someone trying to sell their dodgy "treatment" or being disrespectful to people like our children, I get to hear about it. I was recently alerted to the most pathetic and ridiculous post ever put up on the board here.

Now this is obviously a text book example of trolling; join up, write one incendiary post then leave forever. I have no interest in trying to reach the poster "The Reclaimer" and explain his errors or to help him understand just how insulting he has been. I'm assuming this is a male, I can't imagine a woman writing like this or signing off as "The Blademaster" and I shall address my remarks to Bladey.

But I'm still interested in looking at what he wrote, as an extreme example of how some people feel about autism. I think I'd also enjoy pulling this pile of drivel apart:
I’m terribly sorry to interrupt everything here but I cannot take this any longer.
I sit here day in and day out hearing things about autism so I thought I would add my own interjection for a change.
Thank you Bladey for your touching concern, opening your heartfelt remarks with an apology like that shows just how much you obviously care. We are so delighted to hear your "own interjection." Please do continue:
I’m getting rather tired of this whole "classification" thing that seems to have nestled itself into society. EVERY little thing is being categorised all over. All these disorders that people are coming up with just so they can slap a goddamn label onto something.
Back in the day, if a child misbehaves then said child is disciplined and learns to behave. Whereas today, if a child is naughty then there has to be some disorder involved where they can get "support" for themselves.
Well I for one think this whole charade is completely and utterly FOOLISH.
Oh wow Bladey, that must be it, you've hit upon a truth the rest of us have been unable to grasp. Our children don't need to be classified or labelled, they need some proper slaps now and then instead, or some better way to force them to behave!
Has anybody for one second stopped and thought about this as an outsider? Not as a parent etc of the "affected" child, but as a person who has to sit here everyday and listen to and try to sympathise with this bullshit?
Oh yes Bladey, it must be so hard on you choosing to come on to our forum for the parents of autistic children and listen to us talk about autistic children everyday. We must have colonised the internet with this stuff such that you just can't not come here.
I have a few things here that I would like to get off my chest:
1. For me, as a person studying science and parts of human psychology, I find it hard to believe in something that cannot be fully proved. For example, I have read articles stating that "your child may be autistic if it has one or more of the following traits". I’m sorry but "one or more" doesn’t really cut it for me. Mainly because of the fact that ALL people are different in their own ways and having such a list that itself is too broad is both foolish and condescending! Lots of people in the world will end up falling, even in the slightest, under one of these categories. I myself just prefer theories with a LOT more evidence to back it up.
HA!!! Once again Bladey, it should be obvious, science as you say, is all about proving things fully. There's no room for any level of uncertainty, ever. And this way of bunging a label of autism on people for just one or two things, it silly isn't it. That crusty old DSM IV manual gets it all wrong with their insistence on at least 4 different criteria from 3 different categories being met to get the diagnosis. What do they know? They should get you, Bladey to write the next edition. After all, your study of "science and parts of human psychology" makes you qualified to bestow your wisdom upon we mere parents, you should share it more widely.
2. I’m getting really tired of listening about how autistic people (mainly children) should get special treatment and stuff. It’s HIGHLY irritating. One of the main flaws i have thought about here would be the lack of Treatment this treatment causes. if you think about this logically, children are highly influential. if you bring a child up to accept this preferential treatment and not to be as accepting the full responsibilities of their actions then this mindset is going to stick with them when they grow up, Hereby cutting out CURING this disorder.
Once I figured out what all those words were supposed to mean, I could see that it is oh too true, it's HIGHLY upsetting to see these uppity children get speech therapy and blue badges and special passes at Disneyland. This makes them expect such wonderful things as their right when they haven't done anything to earn them. How greedy! Don't they know we live it a total meritocracy? It's a level playing field for everyone and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Age, race, class, sex, never count against anyone. That's obvious when you look at the evidence in measures of attainment or of underachievement, like earnings and life expectancy, isn't it...?
I know I’m probably either going to get deleted form this site fairly straight away for this post, but I thought it would be nice for m to just get that off my chest.
And before anybody tries to say "you don’t know what its like to live with someone like this" because believe me I do.
I’m speaking here from a point of view that at first thought that autism was a very weak excuse for bad children, and then, soon after as a person speaking from the point of view who has several siblings that have been diagnosed with one type or another of "autism".
You're just the brave maverick laddie, entering the hornets nest of our forum with all our silliness about working with our children, accepting their varied neurologies, loving them and parenting them to do their best.
And how enlightened of you to remind us of that notion of bad children masquerading as disabled. Never miss a chance to out them for what they really are, eh?!
Your "autistic" siblings must be so proud of you and your efforts to understand them.
Also I’d just like to add that support for autistics is DESTROYING society. the planets going rapidly downhill because of mankind’s newfound compassion to help those who cant help themselves.
Hell yeah! Now we get to the heart of it. Autistic people are destroying the planet! They are causing wars without due cause, they bring earthquakes, famine and hurricane upon us. They are behind the collapse of the banks and the volatility on the stock exchange. Compassion for people like that makes everything go wrong.

What more words of wisdom have you got for us Bladey?
There is a nice little thing that I know of as Natural Selection or, survival of the fittest. The people who are striving to help the weaker of the species are ultimately dooming us all to a weaker gene pool and an even weaker future.
Good day
The Blademaster

Please forward all hate mail to Sh1zer@hotmail.com as i shall enjoy reading it.
Ah, natural selection and the problem of weak gene pools. Are you a fan of HG Wells and his non-fiction output? Those early 20th century eugenicists thought like you, but then Hitler went and lost the war.

Have a look at what this crazy man has to say about these matters:
...there are two reasons why we need to take Darwinian natural selection seriously. Firstly, it is the most important element in the explanation for our own existence and that of all life. Secondly, natural selection is a good object lesson in how NOT to organize a society. As I have often said before, as a scientist I am a passionate Darwinian. But as a citizen and a human being, I want to construct a society which is about as un-Darwinian as we can make it. I approve of looking after the poor (very un-Darwinian). I approve of universal medical care (very un-Darwinian). It is one of the classic philosophical fallacies to derive an 'ought' from an 'is'.
In case you're interested to know who this man is, who doesn't know what you Bladey have expressed so eloquently about the dangers of letting lesser people pollute the gene pool, the above quote is from a piece by Richard Dawkins. He has also written about how some people mix up Darwin's work on evolution as an explanation for life with eugenics as a blue-print for society in his book, A Devil's Chaplain. (Here's a preview.) I mean, what would Dawkins know about evolution?

Actually, "The Blademaster" just in case you missed it, I was being as sarcastic as possible for all of the above. I think your ideas are worthless, and you are clearly a fool to spout such effluent. So catch yourself on, buzz off and do a bit of growing up before you come bothering us again.

Image from a here, a fantastic resource for teachers and learners about evolution.
Bladey might do well to peruse the site.


Anonymous said...

I fear I was too soft on them.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I am very proud of my wee sister, this is one of them. Well said Sharon.

abfh said...

Ugh! I didn't know that H.G. Wells was a supporter of eugenics. His short story "The Country of the Blind" is an excellent illustration of the social model of disability.

I guess everyone has their "blind" spots...

Maddy said...

Poor old Bladey bless his little tarnished socks. I'm surprised that you can tell that someone just comes to dump like that, there again, experience and practice must make them easier to spot.

I remember someone spouting very similar views when I was a youthful person. This other youthful person said that anyone with less than 13 O'levels should not be allowed to vote. I was going to jump up and down and shout a lot but that would have meant revealing that I didn't have 13 o'levels which would have automatically disqualifed my opinion.

Ah well.

Sharon McDaid said...

Bullet, you do a fantastic job on the forum. Your characteristically polite and reasoned response addressed the nonsense posted in a way that anyone else coming across the thread will see and learn from.

Wow Trev, thanks very much.

Abfh, I'll have to seek that story out.
Wells deserves his reputation as the father of sci-fi and his books are wonderful. But sadly, he was indeed a raving bigot and eugenicist. Those ideas were prominent among so many otherwise great people of the era, so perhaps can be partially excused as a product of a less enlightened time.

Ha Maddy, I still haven't learned to repress the urge to jump up and down shouting when I encounter someone spouting nonsense, even though I no doubt expose facets of my own ignorance!

And yes, we were all young and less clever than we thought we were at times. It takes a special kind of arrogance to inflict your 1% formed ideas on people who have far more at stake than yourself. Not many of us would have tried that.

Nick McGivney said...

I actually understand this guy. I have no - or very mild - experience of what keeps you guys occupied, but I did get new goggles there last November which give me a great insight into dealing with a disability. I'm at an emotional remove wrt autism, I mean to say. This person palpably has no experience and no clue and is not going to get one anytime soon, despite how obviously 'surrounded' he is by those with autism. Lucky them to have him as a central support in their times of phoney suffering.

Utter silence would've been a better response, imo. He encapsulates 'The World' in the wider sense, as far as you, or I, or anyone within our special needs category is concerned. That he is so utterly clueless is mirthsome to me, but then again, I did say that I was at an emotional remove on this one.

I can understand your ire too well, but I don't think you're going to learn this single, mid twenties, well slept, unburdened, single-serve microwaveable meal, alpha-in-his-head fool anything, Sharon. Not for a decade at least.

Sharon McDaid said...

Hi Nick, I care not what Bladey thinks or says. I just wanted to refute his comments and use him as an example of poor thinking. I've put it out there so perhaps someone might just happen upon this and reconsider their perjudices, though the chances of that actually happening are minimal.

I know what you mean about how most people just don't think about disability until they have to. Like you I knew nothing of worth about disability advocates' fights for their human rights. I've been learning over the past few years but still have a long way to go.

Magpie 11 said...


I'm over here from Grannymar...or rather via her blog.

I loved the acid in your ripostes/ comments...sharp!

Well done.

I have a feeling I'm going to enjoy reading your writings and with permission will pass on your URL.

Sharon McDaid said...

Magpie 11, sorry I forgot to reply! Thanks for visiting here and you are most welcome. Any friend of Grannymar is a friend of mine.

And I don't know where you got the idea of acid in my post, a pH 7 writer am I!

Feel free to pass on the url and I hope to enjoy your company again.