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Controversial edit debunking daniel tammett[edit]

Do not see why my edit was not approved. It contains lots of common sense plus a few sources and is much more credible than the Savant stories the media portray. Would expect a rational wiki to be at least open to the arguments and add a 'controversial' section.— Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

Besides the editorial and grammatical wierdness present in your edit (which is a relatively big problem already on its own), your sources appeared rather cranky. A livejournal page, a self-published e-book, and a page listing number memorization (which tries to be way more "official looking" than it really is) appears rather cranky and cherry-picked compared to - just on the topic of Tammet - his Wikipedia article sections on the scientific studies done on himWikipedia and on his savantismWikipedia.
Further, you seem to argue that "90%" (or some arbitrary number) of all claimed savantism "in the media" (very vague indeed) is woo or somehow fraudulent. This claim of yours is not supported by science eitherWikipedia. I would urge you to consider the quality of the sources used in these TOW articles, and weigh theirs against that of the meager sources provided in your edit.
And all of this besides the fact that you seem to have put your conclusions together on your ownWikipedia (and thus just raked up sources in support of your theory), in contrast to - as in the case with the scientific reports that the TOW articles cite - the sources used being explicitly on the topic of savantism, and on Tammet, respectively.
For example, I can't believe the people behind the number memorizer page have any idea you're using their data to construct a case on savantism in generalWikipedia, nor that they produced their data (however frivolous it also is) with the intention that it be applicable to your theory. But - to mention a single source - the journal Nature NeuroscienceWikipedia was and is overtly aware that their results they are intended to be part of the scientific debate around savantism, and they were able to provide data and reasoning in response to that - and, to no surprise, they don't mirror your view that savantism is a "media hoax" or something of the sort (I don't mean to straw man you, I'm just trying to grasp your position). Neither do any of the other scientific sources. Just saying. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 13:25, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
Of course my sources are not great, though the mathematician's link I gave certainly has something to say. Knowing how most of these tricks work pisses me off about articles like this one: or . Easily masterable skills are attributed to some weird intuition. There is also a desire often expressed in articles to "unlock" these alleged secrets in normal people by brain stimulation (see 10-percent myth).
I do not share your position, yet will clarify mine. What bothers me about the presentation of savants in media (like the documentary "The boy with the incredible brain") is that ordinary achievements are explained with a syndrome attributed to innate brain differences. E.g. the memory world record proves that 3000 digits remembered in an hour are possible with some talent and a training system (phonetic or PAO are common) without requiring autism/savant syndrome. This makes an attempt to recite 30000 digits of Pi far less incredible, considering how few people attempt remembering long phone numbers. I think that "savant syndrome" correlates with weird hobbies like mental arithmetics, but is definitely not its causal explanation. We would not explain a decent performance by a 3rd-rate football player with him talking about his relationship to Jesus when there is a far easier explanation (training, and others without that claim being better than him).
On Daniel Tammett: I think the Wikipedia article is more interesting on its talk page. Apparently it has been subject to edit wars. I maintain that his back story is not credible (see f.ex. where he likely tried to sell memory tricks way before his fame). The scientific investigations on him are 1) inconclusive (memory tests would be obviously fooled by any technique) 2) would make him extremely unusual since synaesthesia and autism seem not to occur together 3) found no significant brain differences (which have indeed been found for Kim Peek, but are required for him to differ from any actor) (talk) 15:24, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for taking the time to write your reply. I don't share your position either - links to Yahoo Groups discussions, links to blog posts and references to Wikipedia edit wars still hold no water against actual published, peer-reviewed science (example paper) but it's certainly all an interesting topic, and I share your interest in it.
I can certainly imagine that the current testing methods to determine savant abilities will need to be constantly re-evaluated and upgraded and so on... I'm sure this is being done but it's a fair point to be watchful of trickery nonetheless - although you don't need to scrape together old links to point that out. There have been many cases where illusionists and tricksters have been able to convince scientists of near-supernatural powers via messing with the experiments (e.g., as happened in Project AlphaWikipedia.
Now, I'm certainly not arguing along the lines of: "Science isn't always right!" or "Science was wrong before!", therefore fringe theory is valid. Not at all. But what I am saying is; I'm happy you didn't flip your shit when I explained why these particular edits won't make it into the article, but that you instead took the time to adjust to my comments, and explained your position in friendly terms. And I'll gladly return that favor. Remember, the truth is not a contest. Time will tell who was right and who was wrong, and in the meantime, we shouldn't get too snowed in on any particular pet theory we might hold. Thanks for the discussion anyways. All the best, Reverend Black Percy (talk) 17:15, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
"[S]ynaesthesia and autism do not seem to go together" Where have you that idea gotten from?! Baron-Cohen et al. have come to a radically different conclusion. (I've got a friend who has recently even asserted the complete opposite – that virtually only autistic people have synaesthesia – although that sounds extreme to me too.)
Something to take into account is that lots of autistic people – especially those with a female-typical expression of autism – and also lots of synaesthetes – especially those whose form(s) of synaesthesia are different from the "classical" types (or who've simply never realised that what they experience is not the norm); again, much more variety than science had long realised – tend to be overlooked. -- (talk) 23:55, 11 December 2016 (UTC)

On face-blindness, or prosopagnosia[edit]

Not all autistic people have trouble remembering or recognizing faces. The opening section of this article very strongly gives that impression. Oogenesis (talk) 02:40, 22 April 2017 (UTC)

We should probably mention some actual treatments[edit]

I can mostly talk about medication, since I'm a psychiatry resident and I know risperidone and aripiprazole are very, very good at treating some, but not all, of autism's symptoms. I've prescribed a couple patients, risperidone mostly (with Cogentin, usually. God, I wish extrapyramidal side effects weren't a thing) and the irritability and tantrums mostly disappeared. What they don't treat is the core asociality of autism. There's some questions to be raised about the ethics of using drugs to control autism but I think that if it's unethical then all pharmacotherapy of every mental disorder is unethical. Y'all (I love that word) may differ. --Ibrahim Moizoos (talk) 00:23, 2 April 2018 (UTC)

As someone who is high-functioning autistic (aspergers classically), I would volunteer to take a potential drug to treat the asociality. It's a mental disorder I was born with, and I wouldn't mind it going away. It's a big hindrance to my life. All of my life I have been surrounded by people who aren't as smart as me, but they all live better lives and get along with people. I would gladly volunteer for a pharmacological treatment for my affliction. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs
True. I mentioned it because there's a subset of parents of autistic children who are against basically all treatment. Me, personally, pharmacotherapy is the way to go whenever possibility, and it's demonstrated to significantly raise the quality of life and ease social interaction in autistic children. --Ibrahim Moizoos (talk) 12:30, 2 April 2018 (UTC)
I too have been diagnosed with autism and though I possess several asocial tendencies I have learned to cope and interact with others and would never treat them. They are a core part of my personality and their removal would fundamentally change who I am. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 13:57, 2 April 2018 (UTC)
That's true of basically every disorder, though. It's not like autism is alone in asocial tendencies—schizophrenics are famously asocial—, and, well, autism is also kinda like schizophrenia in that it has symptoms that respond well to medication (i.e. the tantrums and irritability) and some that don't (e.g the asociality). But autism is a rich and varied disease, like a blueberry and raspberry smoothie, and not everybody agrees on how it's treated. Again, as a psychiatrist-in-training I advocate for the use of risperidone and aripiprazole for the management of autism, but not everyone shares my view. I've had parents refuse to medicate their children, and I understand them even if I don't share their views. --Ibrahim Moizoos (talk) 17:05, 2 April 2018 (UTC)
Aspie here. I have no asociality what so ever. I love talking to people. —ClickerClock (talk) 04:06, 4 April 2018 (UTC)
AS as well. Please don't compare schizoprenia and autism/aspergers, they are entirely different and often confused and misdiagnosed due to symptoms that appear similar to the inexperienced professional. Diagnosing someone with schizophrenia when they should instead have AS (yes, it's still an official diagnosis under ICD-10, not every autistic individual is an American) or ASD diagnosed can cause extreme amount of harm to an individual. To the point of arguably ruining their whole life. You might as well say that schizophrenia is like having a cough in that it has symptoms that respond well to medication. The autism - schizophrenia connection in the context of medication feels off in other ways too. Would you prescribe amphetamines to a schizophrenic regularly, expecting improvement of symptoms? Didn't think so. Feed me anti-psychotics like risperidone or aripiprazole and you'll make me far beyond irritable and having a mere tantrum. It makes zero sense to say that "autism is rich and varied disease, like a blueberry and raspberry smoothie" and then just simply offering anti-psychotics as the solution. Well I guess in a sense they're the solution to all your problems when fed in high enough doses... Also, not a single mention pattern-recognition on the whole autism page. I have to ask, is this a parody site? Irrational wiki? Looking at the Autism page alone I can't make the distinction as it's so biased and unscientific all the while pretending to be serious and scientific. RanC (talk) 22:27, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
Also on the spectrum, and I will ignore the low-hanging fruit long enough to ask this: you realize you were replying to a thread nearly a year old, right? And that it merely says they can be effective and not that they are always effective? Now that I've got that out of the way, time to bring this out: "But I thought this was supposed to be RATIONALWiki!" Drink! --Logos (talk) 01:55, 6 July 2019 (UTC)


What do people think about the overdiagnosis controversy? Late last year we were struggling a bit with our 5 year old son's behaviour; at the time I was attributing it to ADHD, although in hindsight I think a lot of it was due to sub-optimal parenting, partially triggered by my own mental health issues (and my wife's as well). We took him to see a psychologist. The psychologist thought he might have ASD; I wasn't convinced, but thought it wouldn't do any harm to test for it. She wasn't actually qualified to do that, so we ended up going to someone else for the ASD assessment. This other psychologist saw my wife & I for 3 hours, and our son for a bit less than 2, and then wrote a report diagnosing him with ASD. I was a bit surprised by it all. When I read the report, it was full of exaggerations. For example, she claimed we were concerned about his "obsessive tendencies", when we weren't; and everything he was interested in was put down as "restricted interests". Stuff he'd talk about once every few days (e.g. his interest in geography), she presented it as if that was all he could talk about all day long. She also told us that he was really only Level 1, but she had put him down as Level 2 because that was the cutoff for Australian government disability funding ("NDIS List A"). The speech therapist report, I didn't understand it at the time, but reading between the lines it suggested he didn't have ASD – the speech therapist said he had good eye contact, good joint attention, and no problem switching tasks – despite having been given a copy of the speech therapy report to read, the psychologist claimed in her report he had problems in all three areas, and made no effort to explain how the speech therapist reached the opposite conclusion. Whole experience makes me think ASD overdiagnosis really is a big thing. Our GP told us that we'd had an encounter with the "autism industry", and that I'd gone into diagnosis with the wrong expectation – expecting it to be some kind of objective and scientific process, as opposed to just an exercise in diagnosing as many children as possible (so they all get government disability funding that can then be spent on the same psychologists who did the diagnosis). DepressedAustralian (talk) 05:32, 5 February 2019 (UTC)

That sounds like a tough position to be in. I'm not much familiar with Australia, so can't comment on whether it's a widespread problem, but it definitely sounds like your assessment of the situation is correct. It's also possible that the psychologist had some confirmation bias (common in people who are specialized to look for a certain thing, they'll see it everywhere). Also, you're correct in that it can be rather subjective, often with differing diagnoses. Diagnosis and some form of therapy can be a useful tool, though, if necessary. But trust your intuition too, you disagreed with much of the psychologist's report and received an opposing report from speech therapist, and acknowledged that there were potentially other exacerbating factors. You and your wife are the ones most familiar with your son. Hope all goes well with you guys. ®©TM Cocoa's Basilisk«talk at me» 11:04, 5 February 2019 (UTC)
@Dorianha Bogelund I guess the thing that worries me... I can't be 100% confident he doesn't have ASD (sometimes I even wonder whether or not I might have it, although I'm probably closer to "broadly autistic phenotype" than actual ASD.) He does have some ASD-like traits, such as having no friends, below average social skills, and below average emotional literacy. But, it is hard to work out whether that's actually ASD, or other causes... like social isolation (we have few friends so we've given him few opportunities to form friendships – he just started primary school, and we are trying really hard to make friends this year with other parents, to try to set up playdates etc). Or anxiety (anxiety can be a symptom of ASD, but it can also be a totally separate thing that can also produce some similar symptoms to ASD). Or again, he might have ADHD, and there is a lot of symptom overlap between ASD and ADHD. If I could actually find a good psychologist, who was interested in working out what is really going on as opposed to just constructing a case for government disability funding... My own psychologist (who only does adults) recommended another psychologist practice... and we went there, and saw one of the junior psychologists (provisionally registered) for an initial interview, and we thought it was positive – she said if we had doubts about the diagnosis, why not do the assessment again with somebody else to get a second opinion. But afterwards, her superiors intervened, and said if a child was assessed as being eligible for disability funding, they didn't want to reassess them due to the risk that the new assessment might conclude that they were ineligible for that funding... that said, at this stage, we haven't made any plans to apply for that funding... and also the junior psychologist was suddenly taken ill and they cancelled all our appointments with her... so, we've just sort of given up on child psychologists for the moment. Still taking him to the speech therapist because I feel like she is actually useful. DepressedAustralian (talk) 01:08, 6 February 2019 (UTC)

Censorship of scientific facts Troll[edit]

Reputable journals have noted the link between autism and gender variance. Why not let readers know that there’s a likely possibility that we should be telling teenage autistic girls that their masculine way of behavior is autism and not because she’s really a man? We have to be very careful about overdiagnosing gender identity disorder. --JAW (talk) 01:01, 13 June 2019 (UTC)

Perhaps it would seem less like trolling if you actually linked your sources sometime, just saying y'know. — Dysk (contribs) 01:35, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
I thought there would be legitimate good-faith discussion between trans rates and autism rates, despite the whiff of transphobia in the initial edit, hence why I lifted the initial perma ban, but seems like it's just bad-faith transphobia. Carry on. --It's-a me, Lgm sigpic.png LeftyGreenMario! 01:54, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
To be fair, they did link to an article in the edit made to the article itself. Appears to be some sort of autism related site, although not one of the so-called scholarly journals they referenced. I do think that this is a topic that should be discussed because it is true that there is a correlation between being autistic and trans identity (though of course causation has not been established from what I’ve read) but the topic would benefit from a nuanced approach that lacks the language used by JAW that has fallen strongly out of favor in recent years by anyone who knows what they’re talking about. --Mr. Bojangles (talk) 02:08, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, that source was the reason I initially lifted the ban and invited for talkpage discussion, but reverted the edits mainly because the language in the edits was questionable. I think we should mention the correlation as well, but we should discuss the possible confounding factors too, such as people with trans identity may be likely to seek mental health help because of struggles related to the trans identity and happen to be diagnosed with autism. --It's-a me, Lgm sigpic.png LeftyGreenMario! 02:32, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
As someone who's both transgender and autistic, all I have to say to this user is fuck off. Oxyaena Harass 09:12, 13 June 2019 (UTC)

Chemicals in the water are turning the freakin' frogs gay mice autistic![edit]

A study found that when a pregnant mouse is exposed to BPA, its descendants have an increased likelihood of showing autism-like social deficits. Worse yet, it appears these effects are epigenetic in nature.

Article · The actual study

ShapeshiftingLizard ~▲~ hear me roar ~▲~ 17:53, 1 September 2019 (UTC)