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Christopher R. Badcock (1946–) is a British sociologist who promotes pseudoscience about autism and makes other bad-faith arguments. Badcock is an Emeritus Reader in the Department of Sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Autism and schizophrenia pseudoscience
|—Christopher Robert Badcock, who doesn't seem to realize that he's talking about actual human beings|
In 2016, Christopher Badcock published two Psychology Today articles claiming that autistic people were "undomesticated humans" (using "evidence" like head size and ear shape and the debunked claim that autistics are violent) and people with schizophrenia were "hyper-domesticated humans."
Badcock has also published articles with other "fun" claims, like:
- Autistics lacking theory of mind (debunked)
- Wealth causing the "autism epidemic" (which probably isn't a real thing[note 1])
- Males being naturally more autistic and females naturally being more psychotic, and Western society being more autistic and thus having more "LGBT-ism"[note 2]
- Failing to examine gendered biases in diagnosis, like thinking that "the overwhelmingly female incidence of hysteria in the 19th century" was a sign that women were mentally ill more often (instead of being more likely to be diagnosed by men after they dared to protest against sexism).
In 2020, these articles surfaced on Twitter, where autistics expressed their disappointment. "Apparently we autistics are nothing more than undomesticated humans with aggressive behavior, facial anomalies and… weird ears," wrote autistic parent and artist Steve Asbell. Another autistic person said "Just curious, does the author think we’re irritable and agressive[ ] before or after showing us this article?"
In 2017, Dr. Badcock penned another atrocious article about promiscuity for Psychology Today, in which he claimed: "one study in San Francisco found that nearly 50% of gay men had more than 500 partners" without a citation. In reality, statistics he cites appear to have come from a 1978 survey of sex club attendees and prostitutes (Bell & Weinberg), which didn't rely on anything close to a representative sample. Despite the already ridiculous claim, Badcock actually inflated the original statistic to 50% from 43% which was published in the survey. The statistic is commonly recited by extremist anti-gay organizations, making you wonder what kind of material Badcock immerses himself in. Did he intentionally use it for dramatic effect or did he use it because he holds some bias against gay men and wants to perpetuate stereotypes? It wouldn't have been hard for Badcock to rely on any of the numerous long-term and robust representative sample studies, which show that gay men typically have between 10 and 20 sexual partners in their life (median). One has to wonder why Badcock was ever made an Emeritus Reader at a credible university in the first place. Perhaps Badcock was talking about himself when he said "autistics don't seem to have minds at all".
- The tl;dr is that we're getting a lot better at diagnosing autism in people who would have otherwise been missed
- Individuals on the Autism spectrum tend to be less influenced by or responsive to societal expectations or constraints so maybe more likely to identify with their LGB attraction or gender dysphoria. Some research indicates that androgen exposure in the womb may cause autism. Prenatal androgen exposure is also a factor in development of non-heterosexual attraction (see Prenatal hormones and sexual orientation) You could argue there may be be some overlap, however autistics tending not to care what others think is just as convincing.
- Dr Christopher Badcock http://www.lse.ac.uk
- Autistic Brains Function Oppositely to Psychotic Ones - Psychology Today
- Autistics as Undomesticated Humans - Psychology Today
- Aggression in children with autism spectrum disorders and a clinic-referred comparison group - Autism
- Autism Is Not Psychosis - The Atlantic. Though psychotic breaks don't usually cause violence.
- Toronto attack: Autism does not increase risk of violence - The Conversation
- Schizophrenics as Hyper-domesticated Humans - Psychology Today
- Hyper-mentalism in Children Reporting Psychotic Experiences
- Empirical Failures of the Claim That Autistic People Lack a Theory of Mind
- The Right Incentive Can Erase an Autism Deficit - Scientific American. Maybe autistic kids just aren't that interested in answering strangers' weird questions.
- Debunking the Theory of Mind - Huffington Post
- Clinically Significant Disturbance: On Theorists Who Theorize Theory of Mind - Disability Studies Quarterly
- Why Affluence Is the True Cause of the Real Autism Epidemic
- Three Reasons Not to Believe in an Autism Epidemic - Current Directions in Psychological Science
- Large Swedish study casts doubt on autism 'epidemic' - Spectrum News
- The CDC just announced one in 59 children are autistic. Here's why that's not evidence of an epidemic.
- A Diametric Diagnosis of the New British Disease
- Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Asperger/Autism Jamie Freed, Autism Network aane.org
- Male susceptibility to autism linked to male hormones in early-stage brain development
- Being Female: Protected From Autism But at Risk of Psychosis - Psychology Today
- Tweet by Steve Asbell
- Tweet by @cinnamonremote
- It's the mode men have more sex partners by Christopher Badcock, Phd (2017) on psychologytoday.com