Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Peter Hitchens Throws The ADHD Gauntlet Down At His Own Feet

During the course of an attritional series of blog comments which is still not over and which has seen him entirely ignore observations on the operation of dopamine dysfunction being conveyed to him in real time, Peter Hitchens (or somebody pretending to be him) has declared that,

"I'd be glad to involve any qualified neurologist ( and I mean a real medically qualified neurologist, not some pseudoscientific 'neuroscientist' or 'neuropsychopharmacologist') in this specific question of objective proof."

Given that ADHD is a neurological illness the very fact of which he has been denying for many years, he would seem to be suggesting that he has not yet spoken to a qualified neurologist on the subject, never mind Dr. Martin Scurr, a colleague at his at Associated Newspapers of whose opinions he seems to be querulous (notice both the degradation in grammar and the increase in the number of typos in that comment- was it written when the writer was enraged?)

This is the ugliest and actually most debilitating blogfight I've been in for many years, and one that makes me wonder whether Chesterton had a point when he wrote that the madman cannot be said to have lost his reason but can be said to have lost everything but his reason. Mr. Hitchens cannot be expected to know this - after all, it cannot be provided objectively, which seems to me to be kind of a weird thing for a self-proclaimed man of faith like Peter Hitchens to insist on as vehemently as he does - but despite all appearances to the contrary I have come back to the Internet more frail than I was before I left. Bearing that in mind, answering his effusions on the subject of ADHD is a sapping exercise in intellectual entropy the capacity of which to debilitate is, I must admit, lessened only slightly by the barnacled experience of having had to deal with the same kind of attitude for half a lifetime. 

So if Peter Hitchens has no fears of consulting a neurologist on this matter, I call upon him to do so, and to have the guts to publish what they say to him when he goes in to their office and proclaims that ADHD does not exist. He might not do so in the conscious hope of selling advertising space in 'The Mail on Sunday', but absolutely no professional action Mr. Hitchens undertakes can reasonably be said not to have that aim in mind. 

Let us hear, then, the unvarnished truth from him concerning what the neurologists that he tries to tell the truth about ADHD to actually say to him when he tries that one on: and let us hope that the experience is not too traumatic for Mr. Hitchens. As an avid reader of his columns, I look forward to seeing what they have to say. 

And I will keep coming back to this subject again and again and again until he publishes some verifiable evidence that he has done so.



Blogger Elaine Gleeson said...

Great blog Martin. I find The Daily Mail seems to make a habit of employing smug patronising small minded hacks who enjoy nothing better then choosing sections of society to ridicule for some reason or other .Having just being diagnosed as an ADHD in adulthood at 45 years old and finally getting some help and medication I am only too aware of the difference its making and how badly affected my ability to function and reach my potential academically and career wise was for so may years with no support. I have never gotten a BMW on the motability scheme and have been employed since I was 16 so apparently I'm not average (according to The Mail)

07 June, 2012 01:33  
Blogger Martin said...

All the best, Elaine.

Ah, yes the BMW. If only.

07 June, 2012 20:04  
Blogger Peter Hitchens said...

I have referred him to the work of the paediatric neurologist Fred Baughman, of San Diego, California. He responded with a seething pile of ad hominem abuse, but no arguments. Ad hominem abuse
is ,plainly, his cure for being defeated by facts and logic. The truth remains: there is no testable evidence for the existence of 'ADHD'. I congratulate him on finally attracting a contributor.

12 June, 2012 08:34  
Blogger Martin said...

Er, Mr. Hitchens, with all due respect I have not 'responded with a seething pile of ad hominem abuse, but no arguments'. What I did do was post on my original piece, as you know entirely without comment, a series of quotes from Dr. Baughman's Wikipedia entry which indicate that he has served in posts which may have been supported by the Church of Scientology, and that he has referred to the works of John Le Carre in what would seem to have been an academic paper. That was the some of the most straight-laced, if not po-faced, reporting I have ever done on this blog.

I am shocked - shocked, I tell you - to find myself being accused of engaging in ad hominem abuse by a journalist who publicly refers the Prime Minister as 'Mr. Slippery', even although I have expended considerable unrewarded, and ultimately unrewarding, effort in trying to educate you in the realities of how a diagnosis with neuropsychiatric illness is made. I notice that you are quick to mention what seemed to me be your belated, almost throwaway, reference to Dr. Baughman in the comments section of my original post while providing no response to my observations on the same thread regarding why you have never been invited to the homes of ADHD sufferers; that being that they are embarrassed by their difficult, restricted lives and that your presence in their homes would damages those homes' already very delicate balances.

As for your rather juvenile observation 'I congratulate him on finally attracting a contributor', it is only to be expected that my blog should attract fewer comments than yours; unlike you, I am not attached to a national newspaper, although I like to think that my readership may be a little more elite than your own.

12 June, 2012 21:51  
Blogger Martin said...

And for the avoidance of doubt, you will note that this post was originally written before you mentioned Dr. Baughman's name on the other thread.

12 June, 2012 21:52  
Blogger Peter Hitchens said...

Yes, and there's still no objective, testable evidence for the existence of 'ADHD'.

13 June, 2012 11:01  
Blogger Martin said...

My dear Mr. Hitchens, my apologies if the delay in the appearance of your most recent comment lulled you into believing that you had delivered a rhetorical coup de grace. I'm afraid the delay was due to my having connectivity issues with the newfangled wireless router last night.

Yes, yes, yes we know that there is no objective test to determine the presence of ADHD. That you can make that comment tells me that even now, after all we've been through together - which includes Dr. Baughman's Wikipedia page, thanks very much - you still haven't read the article of mine that I referred you to in the comment thread on the other post. Please do read it, if only because not only would doing so might be a small courtesy of the type you think I have failed to offer you, thus enabling you to feel a small glow of moral superiority if you were so inclined, but also because it's written from the perspective of someone who suffers from a neurological illness, and its conclusions on ADHD might startle you.

14 June, 2012 21:31  

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