Intelligence distribution: Why so few female CEOs? Same reason few women on death row

Male/Female brain

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Despite all the efforts of equalization, women in high-ranking corporate positions are still exceedingly rare. But they are almost as rare in the dredges of society – and the reasons for both run deeper than sexism.

It is more than passing curious that at a time when women constitute roughly half the workforce, and are in the actual majority in terms of earning college degrees, there are still so few female CEOs. The distaff side accounts for CEOs in only 167 out of 3,000 large companies, which translates into a rather modest 5.5 percent of the total.

Various explanations have been put forth to account for this fact. Women do a disproportionate share of household tasks, such as cooking, cleaning, childcare, shopping. This accounts for some of the gap, but not all of it. Females are less ambitious; they do not as readily seek promotions as do males.

Why not? They are more attached to home and hearth, and realize that the higher up you go in the work hierarchy, the more on the job responsibility there is, which will detract from their family obligations. This, too accounts for their greater reluctance to seek greener pastures in more lucrative employment elsewhere; the wife is more likely to be the trailing spouse, who has to accept whatever is available in another city or state, than her husband.

Recently, a new elucidation has been added to these more traditional accounts. It is that men are more likely to occupy positions that feed into CEO jobs than women. For example, more males than females take on line roles which are directly responsible for profits and losses, such as heading up a division of a large firm. In contrast, women specialize in areas that do not as readily account for the bottom line, such as heading up human resources, the legal team, or administration.

This phenomenon, too, could possibly explain part of the divergence in CEO representation, but is unlikely, even along with the other accounts, to do the entire job. One difficulty with it is that one can easily push back, and ask why this divergence occurs in the first place?

The preceding is all politically correct; or, at least, not too politically incorrect. Blatant facts are blatant facts, and it is difficult to hurl the charge of sexism at social scientists supporting these explanations.

Dare we consider an explanation that does not pass muster in this regard? We must, if we really want to unearth the cause of this situation. Here we go.

CEOs, along with presidents and prime ministers of countries, chess grandmasters, Nobel Prize winners in STEM pursuits such as physics, medicine, chemistry, economics, the Fields Medal in math, occupy the extreme right tail of the normal distribution of intelligence. But, due to the fact that the standard deviation of men is much larger than that of women, there simply are very, very few of the latter to be found at three or four standard deviations above the mean. Larry Summers lost his job as president of Harvard for merely musing about this, but if we want to fully understand the CEO divergence (along with all these other glass ceilings) we cannot ignore it.

According to one study, the standard deviation of boys’ IQ was around 15 and for girls, around 14. This translates to roughly double the amount of the former with scores about 130, and a whopping six times greater than 160, where CEOs, and other highly accomplished people tend to roam.

At the other end of the normal curve, women are also almost as scarce as hen’s teeth. There are virtually no females who are homeless, or are in jail, or are on death row, or are in mental institutions, or who die as a result of committing violent crimes. Men dominate this tail of the distribution, as they do the other. Females are God’s, or nature’s, insurance policy. They are to a greater degree clumped into the middle. Males are God’s, or nature’s, crap shoot. When they are brilliant, they are very, very gifted. When they are not, they veer to a relatively stupendous degree in the opposite direction.

About the Author:
Walter E. Block, American economist and libertarian theorist who holds the Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair in Economics at the J. A. Butt School of Business at Loyola University New Orleans, and is a senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, and is the author of two dozen books, including his most famous, Defending the Undefendable.

Spiritual emergency: Western treatment of psychosis is thoroughly wrong-headed

psychosis environment

What do you think of hallucinations? Do you wonder how they work? Recently I talked about this with a woman I know well, who was experiencing some as we spoke. Her hallucinations included ‘bugs’ – microphones that she saw scattered around the room that she assumed had been put there because she was coming in, by people who wanted to keep track of everything she said, and might hurt her at any point. She could see the bugs, but I could not.

Martha is in her mid 30s. Her bright blonde hair is natural. She sat on one side of a corner from me, her body tense and passive at once, the odd mixture one sees with people who are gripped with inner distress but whose musculature is flattened out by atypical antipsychotics. She carries the tight, extra weight that also accompanies those drugs. Her eyes are shy and furtive, checking the room, checking my face.

She is a very intelligent person and is vexed by people telling her that such things are not real. She cannot doubt her senses, and she sees them. (I say: ‘I agree. I don’t doubt my senses either.’) Same thing with the voices speaking to her on the turned-off radio. She understands that I do not see and hear these things, but she does.

She frames a question that carries deep implications of challenge and shame: ‘Do you think they are real?’

An answer came out of my mouth that I had never quite thought before, but as I heard the words, they seemed true: ‘It’s not as simple a question as we usually think. We usually think that whatever we perceive is what is there. Perception equals reality. But research shows that every perception we have is actually constructed by the unconscious mind, which then instantly hands it to consciousness. What the unconscious mind uses to do this constructing is largely sensory stimulations. We grasp this information with our senses, we process it with our brains unconsciously, and the product enters our consciousness. Because we all share this sensory world, we do very similar unconscious constructing. We can both look at a lamp like this one and see the same lamp, as far as we can ever know. It’s easy to say, this lamp is real.’

Martha trusts me. She is hanging in with this.

However, sensory information isn’t all the unconscious mind uses to create experience. If a concern or issue is pressing enough, that becomes raw material, too. If a person, like you, is dealing with a huge amount of fear, if you are in the middle of a withdrawal syndrome from Geodon and Seroquel, your brain is hugely agitated. What if you also grew up with an amazing amount of secrecy and danger and abuse?’

I could see in Martha’s face that she was remembering some of the things she had told me.

‘Agitation feels like danger and danger brings up hurt and shame. These things get factored in too. All unconsciously. You perceive the same lamp and room as me, but some additional things, like the bugs. It’s not that the lamp is real and the bugs aren’t, it’s that your constructed reality has some things in it right now that my constructed reality does not. It’s not that my version is real and yours isn’t. They’re both real, but both constructed, only out of somewhat different materials.

She answered thoughtfully: ‘That seems true.’

I said then: ‘I think that when we have done more work on your terrible memories and on danger and shame, and all that is more out and somewhat neutralised, you’ll have an easier time getting off of Seroquel.’ Seroquel is a cause of weight-gain, so a big priority for her.

‘Yes, probably,’ she said, then changed the subject to tell a very private story that revealed, in a new way, the dreadful danger of her parents. We talked about it in depth, then at the end of the session I thanked her for the story (which she had never told to anyone before). She thanked me for listening.

Talk of suicide, which had begun our meeting, was gone for now.

If you are unfamiliar with the standard treatment of psychosis – drug treatment, almost exclusively – you won’t understand what an odd approach I took with Martha in this interaction. Most of modern psychiatry dismisses the idea that psychotic experience is a meaningful response to the condition of one’s life in favour of the view that the voices, the visions, come from meaningless disease. By contrast I’ve learned to distinguish between the ravages of chronic psychotic disorder in the long and persistently afflicted, and the kind of acute aberrations experienced by Martha, which can usually be better understood as a ‘spiritual emergency’ instead of an impersonal state of disease.

The medical script for such a situation is usually something like this: ‘Of course the bugs and the man on the radio are not real. However, you shouldn’t feel responsible for this. No one else is to blame either. You have a serious mental illness. You were born with it, but sometimes it takes decades to develop, as it did with you. You are experiencing these delusional and hallucinatory symptoms because you have tried to get off of some of your medication, and this relapse is proof again that your illness is still there and must continue to be treated. Unfortunately, this will probably always happen, so you must try to live as normally as you can with these medications for the rest of your life. It’s like the diabetic who must always take insulin. Like any medications, these have some difficult side-effects, but these can often be treated with other medications and kept to a minimum. They are the price a person has to pay for the bad luck of being born with this disease.’

This speech can be delivered more sternly or more warmly, depending upon which seems more likely to result in medication compliance.

Yet as far as I’m concerned, this script is mostly untrue and clinically wrong-headed.

I am an older therapist, now in my 70s. When I was trained, I was taught that in the majority of cases, an acute psychotic break with delusions, hallucinations, and odd and extreme emotions was a naturally self-limiting condition. We distinguished acute psychotic break from chronic psychosis – long-term profound withdrawal and a failure to develop psychologically, frequently linked clearly with brain dysfunction, and also from brain-destroying diseases such as syphilis or head trauma. Acute psychosis, not treated chemically, would often last no more than a year. With kind, safe, custodial care, and good psychotherapy, remission would come more rapidly and be more stable. Many studies bore this out and my own experience confirmed this point of view.

I have always had a lot of interest in psychosis, and a lot of sympathy for people gripped by it. I have worked deeply with many people who have shared their experiences with me to try to understand as much as I could about it – from the inside as well as the outside. The more I learned about the inside of it, the more it seemed clear to me that people who became that messed-up have generally been badly hurt, usually early in life, often by people upon whom they were vitally dependent.

Now young psychologists and psychiatric residents in training are taught that psychosis is no one’s fault; it is a biological defect of the brain, and it lasts a lifetime. And their subsequent experience bears this out too. When patients are given powerful brain-altering medication, their symptoms usually go away quickly. Therefore, the untreated brains must be disordered. When meds are withdrawn, the symptoms come back. This tends to happen repeatedly. Therefore, the disorder must be a lifelong fact.

How can one reconcile this modern view of psychosis with the training I received decades earlier? Can both views be true? Does acute psychosis frequently resolve on its own or is it a disorder that lasts a lifetime, requiring a lifetime of psychoactive drugs? Has madness itself changed? Well yes, it has.

What has changed madness is our treatment of it. Our powerful drugs change brains in ways that make them profoundly drug-dependent. Coming off these drugs is a very tricky business. You can quickly become crazier and/or more anxious and/or more depressed than you ever were before starting the meds. The psychiatrists I know who are currently at the top of my personal referral list are those who are not only good at treating symptoms with medications, but also skilful at helping people terminate their medications. The latter seems to be by far the more difficult problem (Martha’s psychiatrist, thankfully, is one of this skilful group).

You might think I am a bit mad here myself, since what I am saying is against what has become the culturally accepted standard of care. Yet it is supported by a great deal of good research reported in our best journals of psychiatry. For example, a long-term study conducted by the psychologist Martin Harrow of the University of Illinois at Chicago asked whether antipsychotic drugs reduced psychotic symptoms over the long term. The findings, published in Psychological Medicine in 2014, were dramatically negative. The majority, some 72 per cent of the patients remaining consistently on medications over a 20-year period, were ‘persistently psychotic’. Only 7 per cent of those who were withdrawn from drugs after two years remained in such dire condition. Was this finding an illusion created by the possibility that healthier patients were taken off meds, while sicker ones were not? This question has been addressed by other studies that randomly assigned patients to a drug-withdrawn versus a drug-maintained regimen, and found the same pattern of results.

The devastation of drug withdrawal has been covered eloquently in Anatomy of an Epidemic (2010), Robert Whitaker’s analysis of psychiatric drugs and the disturbing rise of mental illness in America. He spells out what we know about the neurophysiological changes that underlie these profound withdrawal syndromes that my patient Martha and countless others experience. In a nutshell, to compensate for the drug’s reduction of the neurotransmitter dopamine, the brain generates many new dopamine-producing cells. When available dopamine is no longer reduced because of withdrawal of the medication, the brain is flooded with excess dopamine, leading to a heightening of psychotic experience. A brain that never truly had a ‘chemical imbalance’ now has one for sure, caused by drug withdrawal.

Among the many fascinating facts that Whitaker has gathered is that if you suffer a psychotic breakdown, your odds of complete, treatment-free recovery are much, much better if you are treated in a third-world country that cannot afford psychotropic medication. In poor countries they treat psychotic breaks with various forms of social support, and largely leave the brain alone and unaltered. This long-term superiority of non-drug treatment in ‘backward’ countries was found by a World Health Organization study in 1992 and confirmed in a follow-up study a few years later.

Is acute psychosis a brain disorder? Hypothetically yes, but no evidence exists. Of course our brains are involved in all of our experience. This is a trivial truth. But there actually are no demonstrable differences between the brains of psychotic and non-psychotic people. We might be told that there is no physical test that will discriminate these groups. But the words ‘not yet’ are always added, since psychiatry seems to have faith that such a test is around the corner. This faith is robust: in the age of psychopharmacology our humanity is reduced to our brain, and all problems can be salved if not really solved with pills.

But I have grave doubts.

I have the deepest regard for the profession of psychiatry. I am a psychotherapist because once, without clearly knowing it, I badly needed psychotherapy. I sought it, but along with that, I read about it. Almost all of the great psychotherapists have been psychiatrists. Think of Donald Winnicott, Frieda Fromm-Reichmann and Fritz Perls. However, with the recent wholesale commitment to the ‘biological model’, psychiatry has, it seems to me, cast off its own finest achievements and grabbed a tiger by the tail. Like the Freudian patient eager to repress guilty memories, current training programmes serve psychiatry’s old inferiority complex among other medical specialties by repressing mountains of hard-earned wisdom about treating the whole complex psychological person. It is an astonishing self-abandonment.

We are told that it is an astonishing success story. This is partly because success is judged by the quick alleviation of symptoms, and this alleviation is measured by the gold standard of a six-week, randomised, double-blind trial. In six weeks, antipsychotic drugs, both the older and the newer varieties, look very good. Crazy thoughts and experiences and emotions quieten down enormously. Acutely psychotic people make others around them feel intensely uncomfortable, and after six weeks on the meds they often become much easier to be around.

Fewer patients have been followed over the long-term, but one large study from the United States National Institute of Mental Health found a higher incidence of new breakdowns in the drug-treated than in those treated with placebo; the greater the drug dose administered, the higher the rate of relapse. Not only that, but when relapse occurred, the symptoms tended to be worse than ever before. Even when drug therapy is maintained, the narrative that the medication is curing the ‘disease’ of psychosis is deeply amiss. With so many more antipsychotic medications available today than in years past, the problem of relapse is typically treated by switching to a different medication, which can then succeed in suppressing symptoms for a while. This often goes on for a lifetime. Does this look to you like a solution, or more like a frantic holding pattern?

Surely, the ultimate goal would be a functional life, drug-free. But the data here are discouraging. A rather early study in 1978 set a pattern which, to my knowledge, has never been empirically contradicted. Maurice Rappaport, a psychiatrist at the University of California in San Francisco, randomly placed 80 newly diagnosed schizophrenics into drug and placebo groups and followed their course over time. The drug-treated group showed somewhat faster alleviation of symptoms, although both groups stayed in the hospital about the same length of time. Over three years, those never treated with antipsychotics had much better outcomes – 8 per cent relapse versus 62 per cent for the drug-treated. I could cite other, more recent studies with similar findings. This is why we might be holding the tail of a tiger. We could be unwittingly turning an acute and generally time-limited condition into a chronic disability.

Should we even think of acute psychosis as a disorder? Actually, I no longer think so. I like the term used by the transpersonal psychiatrist Stan Grof: spiritual emergency. Acute psychosis is certainly terrible and dangerous. It can feel unbelievably awful; some people kill themselves when gripped by it, and a very few kill others, too.

Grof’s term implies that this kind of radical breakdown is a terrible bid for self-healing by a person whose life has come to be completely unliveable. It often erupts when some unbearable catastrophe unhinges a person (in Martha’s case, it was the death of her eldest child, in about the most horrible way that one could imagine).

Grof thinks that the healing must involve a new integration of deep, inner parts of the person and deep, transpersonal forces beyond the person. It involves new connections between the secret self and others – between the conscious self and the self beyond consciousness nowadays referred to as ‘spiritual’. When this new integration happens, it is pale and misleading to call it a ‘remission’. It is a remarkable achievement. Like the sobriety of a recovering alcoholic, it is always a work in progress. A post-psychotic man told me recently, looking back on himself before his madness: ‘It had to break down. I was too arrogant. I couldn’t see it, but it wasn’t working, it all had to change.’ At present this man is a successful artist and a leader in a vital artistic community.

Unfortunately, in developed countries, where psychopharmacology is the coin of the realm, there are few resources grounded in alternative views. Current, medical treatments suppress symptoms but long-term use hinders the process of new self-construction. But research tells us that we should use our medications carefully, sparingly, and temporarily. We should always use them in conjunction with serious psychotherapy that aims to help personal reintegration (not just superficial ‘counselling’ about ‘how to live with your illness’). Antipsychotic drugs should play a role, of course: just as it is helpful and humane to use painkillers until surgery can be performed, these symptom-relieving drugs can be a great mercy until reintegration can be achieved. But they should not be used for so long that they extensively rewire the brain, making reintegration far more difficult to achieve.

In my session with Martha, I acted on the belief that she and I are basically the same kind of person, neither one more biologically normal than the other. I went to some pains to find a way to say that her experience is as real as mine, and explain why I think that is a reasonable conclusion. It helped a lot that I actually believed what I was saying. Besides wanting to tell the truth, I did not want to add to her shame. It is very difficult for us, in the best of circumstances with the most apparently secure people, not to add to one another’s shame. We keep these secret currents invisible for good reasons. Is there anything more shaming than telling someone that he is the product of his brain, and his brain is defective? We should not make such statements unless we have very good reason to know that they are true, and I don’t believe that they are.

James Carpenter is a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist. He is an adjunct professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

COVID-19 vaccines: Continuing the long history of medical experimentation on children

children vaccine

May 22 was a banner day for the encroaching global vaccine police state, with three announcements from the UK signaling what we can surely also expect on this side of the Atlantic. First, the entities rushing to develop an experimental chimpanzee-derived COVID-19 injection — the conflict-of-interest-ridden Oxford Vaccine Group, Oxford’s Jenner Institute and pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca — announced the imminent expansion of their clinical trials to a wider age range, including children aged 5 to 12 years, despite “troubling results” when they administered the vaccine to rhesus monkeys. Endorsing the scale-up of the experiment to more than 30,000 eventual participants, including a trial to evaluate the vaccine in young children, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) immediately awarded a generous “$1.2 billion cash injection” for the UK effort (provided without any input from economically strapped American taxpayers). Then, to cap the day off, a UK Court of Appeal ominously ruled that local authorities can vaccinate children in foster care against their parents’ wishes, deploying the argument that “it is in the best interests of children to be immunized unless there is a specific reason for them not to be.”

Anyone who has been paying a modicum of attention knows where the vaccine cartel wants this to end up — with a mandated injection that will sneak high-risk gene-altering nanoparticles, Trojan-horse-style, into our children, and eventually, into all of us. However, the use of children as a wedge to implement mandates for adults — the age group most affected by COVID-19 — would deny children the equal protection of law because the vaccine will not be primarily for their benefit.

A first step on this slippery slope will be to persuade unwitting parents to offer up their children on the altar of COVID-19 vaccine experimentation. It is unclear how the researchers will go about convincing parents to take this step, particularly because the most recent evidence — a systematic review of 45 scientific papers and letters — confirms that children account for only 1% to 5% of diagnosed COVID-19 cases and experience a milder course of disease, a better prognosis than adults, and death “extremely” rarely. Subjecting children to the hazards of clinical trials for a risk this low is perverse.

… some at the FDA even suggested that for research purposes, death may be classified as a ‘minimal risk.’

A trail of destruction

The COVID-19 imbroglio is far from the first time that children — unable to provide their own informed consent — have been roped into medical experiments. In 2003, Vera Sharav of the Alliance for Human Research Protection (AHRP) described how the use of children and adolescents in “ever more speculative experiments” has frequently put youth “at risk of harm for profit,” particularly following passage in 1997 of the ironically named Better Pharmaceuticals for Children Act (part of the FDA Modernization Act). According to Sharav, the Act launched a “backdoor” and an industry-friendly reshaping of the very notions of “potential benefit” and “minimal risk,” effectively depriving children of more protective federal regulations and opening up widespread opportunities for children’s exploitation; some at the FDA even suggested “that for research purposes, death may be classified as a ‘minimal risk.'” When Sharav served on the Children’s Workgroup of the National Human Research Protection Advisory Committee, she was the sole committee member to object to the increased use of children in high-risk medical experiments.

Sharav’s website includes many examples illustrating the sordid underbelly of global and domestic childhood vaccine programs. In fact, it is hard not to construe the entire zero-liability childhood vaccination program as a mass experiment — one that willingly exposes children to risk in exchange for profit. U.S. children receive dozens of doses of vaccines that have never been evaluated in combination, nor tested against an inert placebo, nor meaningfully assessed for individual or synergistic toxicity, nor compared against protective health measures used by unvaccinated children. Unfortunately, lack of awareness and the widespread failure to report vaccine adverse events have allowed the damage caused by this ongoing experiment to remain invisible to many. On the other hand, some vaccines have produced such disastrous outcomes that the devastation has been impossible to ignore. To cite only a handful of U.S. examples:

  • In the 1870s, doctors reported a doubling of smallpox mortality after the introduction of smallpox vaccination.
  • Beginning in 1955, researchers engaged in two decades of experimentation on mentally disabled children at New York’s Willowbrook State School, intentionally infecting children with hepatitis to further vaccine development.
  • In the mid-1950s, regulators fast-tracked the Salk polio vaccine after a scant two hours of deliberation, leading to dramatic spikes in polio; most infamously, over 200,000 unsuspecting children received a defective batch of the vaccine (made by Cutter Laboratories), resulting in at least 40,000 cases of polio and 10 deaths.
  • In the 1960s, researchers administered an untried vaccine for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) to infants and young children, stimulating an “unbalanced immune response” that “potentiated” disease, sent many to the hospital and killed two.
  • Also in the 1960s, administration of the Sabin polio vaccine exposed millions of young Americans to the cancer-causing viral contaminant SV40.
  • In 1976, public health workers gave an experimental swine flu vaccine to one-quarter of the U.S. population, including many children — the vaccine killed at least 25 individuals and left hundreds with Guillain-Barré syndrome. Thirty years later, ignoring this toll of injuries and death, the then-director of the CDC approvingly stated, “it is better to err on the side of overreaction than underreaction.”
  • In the late 1990s, the FDA licensed a rotavirus vaccine for infants that it knew in advance was linked to a painful and potentially fatal intestinal complication called intussusception. Though it withdrew the vaccine in 1999, the agency then allowed two other rotavirus vaccines to remain on the market; both are known to not only have similar intussusception risks but to be contaminated with foreign DNA from pig viruses.
  • In what Judicial Watch terms a “large-scale public health experiment,” the FDA has repeatedly given fast-tracked approval to the likely fraudulent Gardasil and Gardasil 9 vaccines — perhaps the most dangerous vaccines ever invented.
  • Vaccine programs’ insistence on pertussis vaccination has led to record-high levels of pertussis, largely in vaccinated children, and the emergence of vaccine-resistant strains.
  • In 2019, the FDA approved a dengue vaccine for U.S. children, undaunted by its track record in the Philippines, where the vaccine triggered hundreds of pediatric hospitalizations and deaths.

… about half of U.S. adults are leery of COVID-19 vaccination, with 70% of potential refusers saying that they are concerned about safety.

A line in the sand?

Will American parents finally draw a line in the sand with COVID-19 vaccines? Currently, about half of U.S. adults are leery of COVID-19 vaccination, with 70% of potential refusers saying that they are concerned about safety. Could this be because over half of all American children now live with at least one chronic illness, and their beleaguered families have learned the hard way that vaccines are a major contributor?

Some American parents may also know enough to read between the lines of recent upbeat press releases about COVID-19 vaccines. In the case of the experimental Oxford vaccine that researchers now want to rush into young children’s bodies, AstraZeneca’s CEO has chosen not to dwell on the fact that the vaccine resulted in across-the-board illness in monkeys. Instead, unable to restrain his excitement about the infusion of over a billion in HHS cash, he describes the accelerated vaccine development process as “a fantastic experience” and proclaims, “I’ve never seen anything move that fast.” Meanwhile, vigilant parents may also have noticed that the headline-grabbing Moderna vaccine just produced severe illness in four out of 45 participants (9%). One of these, a 29-year-old, described feeling “more sick than he ever has before”; fainting after an urgent care visit, “his girlfriend caught him and kept his head from hitting the floor.”

Vera Sharav noted back in 2003 that the pharmaceutical industry enjoys higher profit margins and “greater government protections, subsidies, and tax incentives than any other industry,” and these remarks ring all the more true in the COVID-19 era. For example, early on when only 11 Americans had been confirmed to have the illness — February 4th — HHS was already hastening to assure would-be vaccine manufacturers that they would have full protection from liability. Is it any wonder that by early April, 115 COVID-19 vaccines had entered the pipeline or that the U.S. government had given the pharmaceutical industry the green light to “profit handsomely” from the government’s lavish public investments? Laying the legal groundwork for these guaranteed profits, a soon-to-be-published commentary in the Journal of Law and the Biosciences includes this chilling statement:

[D]epending on the features of the vaccine, there may be good ethical grounds to mandate a COVID-19 vaccine, as long as the risk is low, and access is readily available. Our jurisprudence suggests states will face few, if any, legal barriers in doing so, and the past political fights brought on by anti-vaccination groups are likely to be significantly weakened by the unparaled [sic] intensity of the COVID-19 crisis.

The caveat in the preceding quote — “as long as the risk is low” — is unlikely to figure prominently in PR efforts designed to persuade parents to sign their children over to COVID-19 vaccine trials and mandates. Regarding the former, parents would do well to heed Sharav’s conclusions about experiments involving children: The primary beneficiaries are not the children but rather the pharmaceutical industry and its “partners in academia.” Although vaccine scientists like to take advantage of parents’ altruism by telling them that their children’s participation in vaccine trials is “necessary” and “important for public health,” Sharav’s research clearly indicates that “Children, even more than adults, have endured severe adverse effects in clinical trials.”

Bombshell study: Could half the uninfected population already be partially immune?

Women with mask

© ArtistGNDphotography | Getty Images

Could nearly half the population not already infected with SARS-CoV-2 be immune to it from having already contracted other forms of coronavirus in recent years?

That is one implication of a major study conducted by over a dozen researchers from several microbiology and immunology institutions in the U.S.

The purveyors of panic are warning of a second wave of the virus and that even if we are correct in asserting that the general fatality rate is extremely low for most people, it will still result in millions of deaths worldwide if we need 70 percent of the population to get the virus in order to achieve herd immunity. Putting aside the fact that their strategy of lockdown doesn’t provide a solution to this hypothetical problem either, even as it kills more people from the collateral damage, there is now promising evidence that more people might already be immune to the virus.

The study is built upon the principle that T cells play a central role in destroying viruses and providing immunity. Not only were these cells discovered in all the blood samples of confirmed recovered COVID-19 patients, but they were also found in 6 of the 11 blood samples from 2015-2018, before those individual donors could possibly have contracted the virus.

Until now, the assumption was that only those with IgG or IgM antibodies can be immune because they are the ones who have already contracted the disease. However, this study examined the cellular defenses that are created in the body and have been proven to serve as a defense against SARS-CoV-2, then discovered them among 40%-60% of their samples not infected with SARS-CoV-2.

In order to prove the efficacy of these T cells developed in the recovered population, the researchers exposed immune cells from 10 recovered patients to the virus. They found those cells effectively fight the virus. 100% of the samples of 20 donors contained “helper” T cells, known as CD4+, and 70 percent contained killer T cells, known as CD8+, which directly kill the viral cells. Then they discovered “SARS-CoV-2−reactive CD4+ T cells in ∼40-60% of unexposed individuals, suggesting cross-reactive T cell recognition between circulating ‘common cold’ coronaviruses and SARS-CoV-2.”

The hypothesis is that numerous common colds are forms of coronavirus and that a significant percentage of the population that has already contracted those forms of coronavirus have cross-immunity to COVID-19. It’s unclear to what degree these people are immune, but it might help explain why some people in certain areas react so violently to COVID-19, whereas so many others are asymptomatic. In other words, it’s possible that people with cross-immunity could still catch the virus, but their reaction to it will either never present symptoms or present very mildly due to the pre-existing T cells working for them.

The authors note that more time and cell numbers are needed to study identification of the cross-reactive chains of cells.

A similar T cell study published April 22 by German immunologist Andreas Thiel found that 34% of 68 blood samples from people not infected with SARS-CoV-2 hosted helper T cells that nevertheless recognized the novel coronavirus.

The authors of the newer study posit that the concept of “crossreactive memory T cell responses might have been one factor contributing to the lesser severity of the H1N1 flu pandemic.” There is still no way of proving whether those T cells discovered in non-infected individuals are definitively effective in warding off the virus or blunting its symptoms, but the theory might explain some enigmatic behaviors of this virus.

On the one hand, this virus seems to be extremely contagious and transmissible. On the other hand, it appears to have been around for a while, possibly in December, and didn’t kill too many people until super-spreading events in March.

On the one hand, the virus seems to kill a lot of vulnerable people for several weeks. But then it peaks after six weeks or so and nearly disappears a month or so later. We’ve seen the same curve in every country, almost as if it hits a brick wall and then runs out of steam.

But why is that the case? Most antibody tests show no more than 10%-15% of the population contain antibodies in a given area – 25% in the most extreme case of New York City. Why would the virus not continue cutting through the population like butter, as it did the first number of people who contracted the virus? The theory of a more ubiquitous cross-immunity from other coronaviruses would answer those questions and explain that invisible brick wall.

A theory of partial immunity, at least from helper T cells (if not killer T cells) could also explain why, on the one hand, once the virus gets into prisons, most test positive for it, but on the other hand, nearly all of them seem asymptomatic. The outcome of prisons as a fully confined and defined population could be a harbinger of what would theoretically happen if the entire world were exposed to the virus after it had already targeted the most vulnerable population. It’s possible that upwards of 95% would be asymptomatic, just like we are seeing in prisons.

Perhaps, it could also explain why there appears to be a massive gap in severity of the virus in Asia vs. Western countries. Asian countries are regularly exposed to coronaviruses.

Professor Karol Sikora, founder of University of Buckingham Medical Schools, has a short video explaining in layman’s terms the significance of this T cell study and cross-immunity.

Sunetra Gupta, professor of theoretical epidemiology at the University of Oxford, is also a strong believer in the likelihood of cross-immunity. “We may also be able to fend off the virus with pre-existing responses against other coronaviruses, which I think is very likely to play a role in protection, specifically against severity of the disease,” said Professor Gupta in a recent interview with a British media outlet.

“In almost every context we’ve seen the epidemic grow, turn around and die away — almost like clockwork. Different countries have had different lockdown policies, and yet what we’ve observed is almost a uniform pattern of behavior which is highly consistent with the SIR model. To me that suggests that much of the driving force here was due to the build-up of immunity.”

Stanford professor of epidemiology John P.A. Ioannidis has also posited the existence of cross-immunity and the idea that many people’s bodies are using innate cellular immunity to ward off the virus.

This theory might also explain why Sweden believes it reached herd immunity with just 20 percent infected and why some studies suggest a similar ratio could be achieved elsewhere.

To be clear, these are all unproven theories at this point. But if our government and media were willing to run with unproven theories of doom and gloom even as the facts on the ground refuted them, shouldn’t they at least examine some good news when the fact pattern of the virus itself seems to harmonize with the theory?

Why are American politicians immune to good news as if it were the plague?

How kind is humankind? Kinder than we imagine

fireman london bombing

© Getty Images
A fireman rescues a toddler after a bombing raid in London in 1940. Our true colours reveal themselves in times of crisis, according to Rutger Bregman.

Augustine had it that ‘no one is free from sin, not even an infant’. Machiavelli deemed that humans are ‘ungrateful, fickle hypocrites’, and even the founding father John Adams, the paragon of American democracy, was sure that all men would be tyrants if they could. Thucydides, Luther, Calvin, Burke, Bentham, Nietzsche, Freud — all were wrong about our natures. So was William Golding, creator of Lord of the Flies, himself a child-beater and a drunk. For a treatise on human kindness, Rutger Bregman’s new book Humankind has surprisingly many villains.

Here’s ‘a radical idea… a mind-bending drug… denied by religions and ideologies’, we’re told. Humans are not evil. Deep down, at least most of us are pretty decent. Left to their own devices, children will not tear each other apart on an island: quite the opposite. In the clash between Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, it was the Genevan, not the man of Malmesbury, who had it right. How do we know? Hobbes and Rousseau were armchair theorists, but today we have science. And science, according to Bregman, says that we’re good.

This wasn’t always true. Scientists have been lying to us for a long time. Take, for example, Stanley Milgram, of obedience to authority fame, who showed that ordinary people would administer electric shocks of up to 450 volts to innocents if only told to do so by a person dressed in a white lab coat. Turns out Milgram was after fame and fudged his results. Most participants didn’t actually believe they were inflicting pain, and a majority of those who did quickly called it quits.

Or Philip Zimbardo and his Stanford prison experiment, which randomly assigned college students to be either ‘guards’ or ‘inmates’ in a makeshift ‘prison’, and observed how quickly savagery evolves. According to Zimbardo, the guards were never given any directives, but in reality the world’s most famous psychologist simply lied.

Or Napoleon Chagnon, the intrepid anthropologist who studied an ‘unsullied’ Amazon tribe, and wrote the bestselling book Yanomamö: The Fierce People. He distributed hand-axes and machetes to his bloodthirsty subjects and completely mangled his own statistical results. Richard Dawkins convinced a generation and more that we were puppets manipulated by selfish genes; and economists such as Garrett Hardin pronounced that ‘freedom in a commons brings ruin to all’. Even the inveterate optimist Steven Pinker gets it wrong when he argues that civilisation and scientific reason are what have extricated humans from misery and violence. Providing a tonic to rattled liberals, he too is just a sign of his times.

The real story, we’re told, goes back to our evolutionary origins. A domesticated species, we are to Neanderthals what dogs are to wolves, having self-selected to become more social, and hence dependent on one another. Look at our sclera, the whites surrounding our eyes: we’re the only mammal who has such distinct ones. Or at our expressive eyebrows. Both helped us get into the mind of another. Our blushing — a sign of the internalisation of social norms — is unique too (except, perhaps strangely, in blue and yellow macaws).

As with domesticated pigs and rabbits and silver foxes, selection for sociability made our heads and brains smaller, our jawbones childlike, or paedomorphic. Compared with the brawnier, larger-brained Neanderthals who had ‘a super-fast computer’, Bregman writes, ‘we were an old-fashioned PC — but with wifi. We were slower, but better connected.’ Born to learn, to bond, to play, Homo sapiens is in fact Homo puppy.

Before we settled the land, we were happier and more egalitarian. Citing studies in archaeology, palaeontology and anthropology, Bregman claims that nomadic, hunter-gatherer cultures more easily eschewed strongmen, depending instead on group altruism and on humour and shame and gossip to bind the community together. Only with the advent of farming did personal property become important, producing chieftains and kings who would enslave whole peoples and raise armies to protect the riches they were now accumulating. So were the myths of the state and of currency invented, the scripts that would enforce the structures of hierarchy, and the laws that ensured loyalty and order.

It was ‘civilisation’ which brought out all the bad in us; for, as primatologists and child psychologists have shown, at our roots we are prone to connect and to sympathise. True, research on toddler morality indicates that the price for our kindness is xenophobia — we need ‘others’ to hate and be wary of in order to appreciate and love our kind — but it was in the cauldron of ‘the struggle for existence’ that our mettle was forged.

This is evident in times of crisis — the Titanic, the Blitz, 9/11, hurricane Katrina — where our true colours reveal themselves. It is even true of Nazi soldiers, we’re told, who followed orders because they were conforming, tempted by evil masquerading as good. Ordinary people are magnanimous, trusting and altruistic; it’s those who reach positions of power who sour. Just look at the science: subjects given a Mercedes to drive rather than a Ford Pinto suddenly fail to stop for pedestrians, their brains having been rewired. There’s even a scientific name for it: ‘acquired sociopathy.’

Bregman places ‘bad’ science in context: Milgram, desperate to find an explanation for the Holocaust; The Selfish Gene written during the ‘Me decade’ of the 1970s. It’s true: science never happens in a vacuum, and scientists are all too human. But by the same measure, ‘good’ science should also be evaluated as a product of time and place and imperfect practitioners. When it comes to our natures, training a light exclusively either on our selfishness or generosity feels equally ahistorical, developmentally and evolutionarily simplistic, governed by the passions and unnecessarily dismissive of the other side. Should the entire evolution of civilisation really be viewed as ‘a history of rulers who continually devised new justifications for their privileges’? Are violence and hatred always skewed results of Homo puppy’s camaraderie and need of ‘a sense of belonging’?

Bregman’s pacifist and post-capitalist agenda are commendable. But they offer little explanation for why toddler — rather than, say, teenage — behaviour should be privileged as a measure of our ‘true’ natures, nor why times of crisis are more indicative than just another Tuesday. We may (or may not) have lost the sense of tribal solidarity of hunter-gatherers, but even if that existence was as ideal as portrayed, has not individualism reaped rewards for humankind in the sciences and the arts, and within our internal psychological worlds, alongside the price paid for it? Has not competition bred innovation, as well as the highest manifestations of love? Hunter-gatherers, in fact, harnessed their propensity for envy to build egalitarian societies, just as covetousness and self-regard were made the bedrock of The Wealth of Nations. For Paleolithic as well as modern man this much is an axiom: human natures and cultures can never be torn asunder.

We should therefore embrace our contradictions, not do away with them. And we should strive for a better world not because science tells us we’re good, but because evolution has produced in us a species with a moral compass that has at least a modicum of control over its destiny. Humans have been, and will always be, more or less selfish, more or less reasonable, or evil. It’s about structuring our institutions and lives in ways that will help us be more kind.

Where do we start? Nassim Taleb had it right when he said that ‘we are not rational enough to be exposed to the press’, which is skewed towards sensationalism and negativity. Bregman argues convincingly that what we teach and report about ourselves, we become: telling ourselves incessantly that we are selfish, aggressive and untrustworthy will make us more so.

The counter-examples he provides — of a gentle but more effective Norwegian penal system, of successful managerial-less Dutch companies, and Venezuelan towns run by direct people’s democracy — are inspiring, though arguably not transferable tout court to different arenas. For our pliable species, context really does matter.

Bold, entertaining and uplifting, Humankind: A Hopeful History should be read less as a scholarly treatise on human nature and more as a call to consciousness and action. When all is said and done, Bregman writes, ‘the bad may seem stronger, but it is outnumbered by the good’. Let it be.

Flattening the curve or flattening freedom?

covid facemask

© engin akyurt / Unsplash

Do you remember the lockdown being imposed on us, supposedly to flatten the curve?

Did you notice that the curve was flattened weeks ago and we are still in lockdown in various shapes and forms, with bizarre rules covering many aspect of our lives?

Did you notice your democracy has been whittled away under the banner of Covid?

Yes, quarantine has been used successfully in preventing the spread of certain diseases, by isolating sick, but not by quarantining perfectly healthy people!!

Around 1885, the spread of smallpox was stopped successfully in the UK by isolating sick people, initiated in Leicester, after parents refused to let any more of their kids be killed or maimed by the smallpox vaccine. You can read the fully referenced story in Dr Suzanne Humphries’ book Dissolving Illusions, or check out Hilary Butler’s blog beyondconformity.co.nz

Since when does a healthy population have to be put under lockdown for a flu illness that, based on NZ Ministry of Health data, has a 98 percent recovery rate? And if truth be known the other 2 percent were elderly people with multiple health conditions in aged care, some under hospice care, who were denied the loving embrace of their families and their caregivers and were transferred to hospitals to be greeted by doctors/nurses dressed in PPE.

These precious, dear souls died alone so that the Government could justify its draconian lockdown and make up a mortality rate for the World Health Organisation’s phony statistics. According to the MoH, some of these patients were not even tested for Covid and some had indeed tested negative, yet their deaths were put down to Covid!

I hope and pray that New Zealand people will soon wake up from the Covid-induced coma, before it is too late and they wake up in a surveillance society with no democracy and no freedom.

There are plenty of independent doctors, immunologists, epidemiologists, professors, scientists and journalists who have debunked all the lies associated with Covid and the lockdowns. They base their opinions on real data and evidence, not on terror-inducing computer models, conjured up by conflicted scientists, which have been proven gravely wrong.

One last thing; notice how they locked down the whole nation on some precautionary principle to save lives, but when it comes to 5G all precautions are thrown to the wind and the Government, while we were under the lockdown, hastened the spread of this dangerous technology all over NZ? The health effects of these millimetre waves are well known. In some high frequencies, these radiations cause respiratory, cardiovascular and metabolic illnesses and cognitive issues, etc.

Once the 5G goes live with these high frequencies and our young and old show some of these serious health issues, do you think the Government will take 5G masts down, or will it sweep it under the carpet of Covid?

Please do research 5G, listen to independent scientists, read peer-reviewed scientific papers warning us about the huge health dangers of 5G in high frequencies.

Those telco technical experts paraded on TV and MSM are not going to tell you the truth about 5G and its health effects, that in certain frequencies will make Covid look like child’s play! Ask your Government to apply the same level of precautionary principles to 5G now! Not locking you down in your houses with your 5G modems, but rather removing those 5G towers, ending telco permission to use dangerous, high-frequency mm waves and limiting the permitted power intensity of communication waves to building biology safety guidelines (10,000 times less than what our Government allows at present)!

He experienced a severe reaction to Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate. He’s still a believer

Ian Haydon

© Courtesy of Ian Haydon
Ian Haydon

Patients in clinical trials are usually faceless. But as the experimental Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Moderna Therapeutics has begun advancing through studies, it has found a much more visible advocate: trial volunteer Ian Haydon, a 29-year-old in Seattle.

Haydon has spoken about the vaccine on CNN and CNBC. He even said he’d volunteer to be exposed to the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, if researchers want to test to see if the vaccine was actually effective. But up until now he has left out a key detail: He is, apparently, one of three people in the trial who had a systemic adverse reaction to the vaccine.

Twelve hours after receiving his second dose, he developed a fever of more than 103 degrees, sought medical attention, and, after being released from an urgent care facility, fainted in his home. He recovered within a day.

He has not brought up the side effects previously, he said, out of “an abundance of caution.”

“I understand that sharing the story, it’s going to be frightening to some people,” he said. “I hope that it doesn’t fuel any sort of general antagonism towards vaccines in general or towards even this vaccine.”

But he decided to speak now because he hopes his story counterbalances the desperation that some people feel to push a vaccine to market regardless of the consequences. Haydon points out that the whole purpose of the study he was in, known as a Phase 1 clinical trial, is to find the right dose of the vaccine going forward. That means to find a dose that causes the body to produce antibodies, but does not result in too many side effects.

“As we rush to get a vaccine developed as quickly as possible, the reality of vaccine development is that it can only be rushed so much and the trial still needs to take place,” Haydon said. “They have to move at the speed they move at. And stories like what happened to me, they matter because they shape the approval process.”

In the 45-person Moderna study, four participants experienced what are known as “Grade 3” adverse events — side effects that are severe or medically significant but not immediately life-threatening. Neither the company nor the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is running the trial, have previously detailed the nature of those incidents, but Moderna did disclose that three, likely including Haydon, received the highest dose of the vaccine that was tested, and had reactions that involved their whole bodies. A fourth received a lower dose and had a rash at the injection site.

Such side effects are “noteworthy, but it doesn’t stop the train,” said William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The goal of studies is to establish a threshold at which something might go wrong.

With drugs, Schaffner said, patients tolerate the risk of side effects because they want to get better. “In contrast,” Schaffner said, “we give vaccines to healthy people in anticipation that they might contact the germ, the virus, down the road. But because we give them to healthy people, actually our standards for safety are higher than they are for drugs.”

In Haydon’s words: “The point of the Phase 1 trial is to look out for health problems.” He said he received great medical care, and though he felt more sick than he ever has before, he was never afraid for his long-term health. “I don’t regret the decision I made to enroll in this study.”

Haydon, a communications manager at a university, initially found out about the study, which was being run in Seattle, from a colleague who sent him a link. He, along with thousands of other people, applied. They called him 11 days after he applied.

He went to the trial site for a physical, and signed a 20-page consent form. The vaccine, it told him, could conceivably cause severe anaphylactic shock, and there was no way to predict exactly how his immune system would respond to the new vaccine. He’d looked at research on other Moderna experimental vaccines, which work via an entirely new technology that uses messenger RNA, the body’s key envoy of genetic information inside cells, and thought they seemed relatively safe. During the physical, researchers took blood; the lab work came back a week later, and he received his first dose of the vaccine on April 8.

Haydon doesn’t like needles, and was as worried about the blood draw — which uses a bigger needle — than the actual shot. He remembers waiting, and being told that the reason he was waiting was because researchers were giving doses in ascending order, and he was to receive the high dose of the vaccine. But the injection was uneventful. If his eyes were closed, he said, he would not have felt it. He was given a paper log on which to write down any symptoms, a digital thermometer, and a small ruler to measure any reactions at the injection site.

He had arm pain the next day, “like being punched in the arm,” he said, and for a day he had trouble lifting his arm at the shoulder. But within days he was back to normal.

Haydon said he was slightly nervous before the second dose. He knew that second doses were given to increase the immune system’s response, and wondered if he might have more side effects. His arm became sore much more quickly this time. He got home from the clinic at about noon. At around 10 p.m., he started to get chills. He’s normally too hot at night, but he bundled up in sweats. His fingertips felt cold. He fell asleep, but woke up a few hours later with a raging fever.

At 1:30 a.m., his temperature was 103.2 degrees. At 3:45, it was 103 degrees. He was nauseous, and his muscles hurt.

The clinic where he was vaccinated had given him a 24-hour phone number to call, but he’d been reticent. His girlfriend, with whom he lives, called. They said to go to urgent care. It was a 10-minute drive. They arrived at 5 a.m.

The doctors met him in what looked like space suits. Even though he’d had a vaccine, he was also a potential Covid patient. They took him into an exam room, took a lot of blood, and gave him a nasal swab. He asked them to avoid his left arm, where he’d gotten the vaccine, but they ended up taking blood from both of his arms. His fever had already fallen to 99.8 degrees. They gave him Tylenol. The physician taking care of him offered to try to get him admitted to a neighboring hospital, but he decided to head home.

He and his girlfriend arrived home at 7 a.m., and he slept until noon. His temperature was 101.5. He got up to go to the bathroom, and became so nauseous he threw up. On his way back from the bathroom, he fainted. His girlfriend caught him and kept his head from hitting the floor.

She then called one of the doctors working in the study, and asked what they should do. The doctor told them he could go back to urgent care, or call 911, and reminded them that all his medical costs would be covered by the study.

But he got to a couch and was given sports drinks. He spent the afternoon there, with a wet towel on his head, fighting the fever. By 9:45 p.m., it was back down to 99.1. It tapered off. He says he felt better within a few days, and has had no side effects since.

Haydon said the experience left him as sick as he’d ever felt. But standard flu-like symptoms that resolve within a day are not necessarily considered a reason not to use a vaccine that prevents a more serious illness.

Given the stakes of a Covid-19 vaccine, the side effects described in the Moderna release would likely be seen as acceptable even if they turned out to be seen in future studies. The severe effects were only seen at high doses that are not being taken forward. The other vaccine for which early data are available caused fever in almost half of recipients.

But it’s also not clear what will happen as the vaccine moves into larger studies. “Humans have a very diverse immune system,” said Larry Schlesinger, the president and CEO of the Texas Biomedical Research Institute, a nonprofit. “And then you add on top of that diabetes or, you know, age 70 and you can imagine that the immune response will be very, very different.”

The difficulty, Schlesinger said, is that right now we are only getting “tidbits” of information about the new vaccine.

“Tidbits of science are always dangerous for the public to read because they give a false understanding, or a false sense of security, that we’re making progress or not,” Schlesinger said. “And then tomorrow we hear something completely opposite. And before you know it, the credibility of the scientific process is undermined and people stop listening.”

What does he think now? “It’s just not enough information at the current time.” That’s why we need clinical trials — and volunteers like Ian Haydon.

The #1 myth about psychopaths and narcissists: What people get wrong

Masks of psychopaths

© psychopathsinlife.com

One of the biggest misconceptions about psychopaths and malignant narcissists who have psychopathic traits is the idea that they are lashing out from pain when they engage in aggressive behavior. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The defining characteristic of a psychopath is their tendency to engage in what is known as instrumental aggression (Glenn & Raine, 2009). Instrumental aggression is deliberate aggression waged against a victim for the purpose of fulfilling an agenda or getting some sort of reward. This type of aggression, also known as proactive or predatory aggression, is planned, premeditated, and often unprovoked by their victims; it is controlled, purposeful, and used to achieve personal gain, usually an external goal like money, social status, fame, drugs, or even sadistic pleasure derived from the act of inflicting pain.

Research has found that psychopathic criminals are more likely to engage in predatory instrumental violence, while non-psychopathic violent criminals are more likely to engage in reactive violence – violence in response to a perceived threat.

Psychopaths are also less likely to experience emotional arousal during their crimes than non-psychopaths (Woodworth & Porter, 2002). In fact, a psychopath’s crimes demonstrate an excessive level of gratuitous and sadistic violence in comparison to the crimes of non-psychopathic criminals, suggesting that their predatory nature works hand in hand with their sadism (Porter, et al., 2003).

In contrast to the claim that psychopaths and malignant narcissists are simply “acting out” due to some sort of trauma, or reacting out of fear, psychopaths exhibit emotional poverty and show a reduced response in their amygdala, the area of the brain associated with emotions and the fight or flight response. Brain scans have revealed a reduced gray matter volume of the amygdala in psychopathic individuals and several fMRI studies have shown reduced amygdala activity during the processing of emotional stimuli as well as during fear conditioning, where people would normally learn from experiencing aversive consequences regarding how not to behave in order to avoid punishment (Birbaumer et al., 2005; Viet et al., 2002). This isn’t surprising, considering psychopaths generally are insensitive to fear of punishment and do not appear to learn from consequences as non-psychopaths do. They also tend to show a reduced startle response to aversive stimuli.

Studies have also shown reduced amygdala functioning in psychopaths during tasks related to moral decision making and emotional moral dilemmas (Glenn, Raine & Schug, 2009). Given this, dysfunction in the amygdala may contribute to the deficits in moral behavior that we’ve seen in psychopaths, their lack of care regarding the harm they cause to others, their ability to manipulate and engage in callous, aggressive behavior, and their inability to empathize with others.

Instrumental aggression is not driven by a strong emotional reaction to something, whereas in reactive aggression, there is an emotional impetus (though certainly not a justification) that causes impulsive violence or aggression – for example, aggression in response to threat or provocation in a heated argument. Unlike individuals with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, PTSD, or even borderline personality disorder who might show an exaggerated response in their amygdala, psychopaths are not “reacting” to something they perceive will harm them when they commit transgressions – they are enacting elaborate mind games of sabotage and going out of their way to provoke and get a response out of their victims. While psychopathic individuals can engage in both instrumental and reactive aggression, it’s their propensity toward instrumental aggression that distinguishes them from other antisocial individuals; any reactive aggression they do tend to engage in is more likely to be linked to their frustration of not getting a reward, not fear.

The next time you are tempted to rationalize a psychopath’s malicious behavior, remember the nature of their disorder according to research and realize that you do have a right to protect and defend yourself against their manipulation. You no longer need to deny, minimize, or justify their violations against you out of the idea that they are in agony or need to be “nursed” back to emotional health. Primary, low-anxious psychopaths lack remorse, shame, and are callous individuals. They are not in pain when they harm you – they harm you to derive a sick sense of satisfaction from your pain.

References

Birbaumer, N., Viet, R., Lotze, M., Erb, M., Hermann, C., Grodd, W., et al. (2005). Deficient fear conditioning in psychopathy: A functional magnetic resonance imaging study. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62(7), 799−805.

Glenn, A. L., & Raine, A. (2009). Psychopathy and instrumental aggression: Evolutionary, neurobiological, and legal perspectives. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry,32(4), 253-258. doi:10.1016/j.ijlp.2009.04.002

Glenn, A. L., Raine, A., & Schug, R. A. (2009). The neural correlates of moral decision-making in psychopathy. Molecular Psychiatry, 14, 5−6.

Porter, Woodworth, M., Earle, J., Drugge, J., & Boer, D. (2003). Characteristics of sexual homicides committed by psychopathic and nonpsychopathic offenders. Law and Human Behavior,27(5), 459-470. doi:10.1023/a:1025461421791

Viet, R., Flor, H., Erb, M., Hermann, C., Lotze, M., Grodd, W., et al. (2002). Brain circuits involved in emotional learning in antisocial behavior and social phobia in humans. Neuroscience Letters, 328, 233−236.

Woodworth, & Porter, S. (2002). In cold blood: Characteristics of criminal homicides as a function of psychopathy. Journal of Abnormal Psychology,111(3), 436-445. doi:10.1037/0021-843x.111.3.436

About The Author

Shahida Arabi is a summa cum laude graduate of Columbia University. She is a bestselling author of three books, including “Becoming the Narcissist’s Nightmare: How to Devalue and Discard the Narcissist While Supplying Yourself” and “POWER: Surviving and Thriving After Narcissistic Abuse“. She is the founder of the popular blog for abuse survivors, Self-Care Haven, which has millions of views from all over the world.

SCANDAL: UK scientists want to give coronavirus to healthy volunteers in vaccine hunt citing too few real cases

vaccine, flu shot,

Some UK scientists have warned there could be “major delays” in producing a Covid-19 vaccine if current UK infection rates remain low and lengthy waiting times are needed to show if candidate products are working. As a result, some researchers insist that ministers must now consider implementing radical alternative measures to speed up vaccine development.

In particular, they argue that Britain should consider deliberately infecting volunteers involved in vaccine-testing projects – in line with World Health Organization proposals to set up such human challenge trials. Earlier this month, the WHO issued a 19-page set of guidelines on how these trials might operate.

Needless to say, most other UK scientists have reacted with horror at the proposal to implement human trials for a Covid-19 vaccine on the grounds that these could cause serious illnesses and possibly deaths of volunteers who had been deliberately infected with the virus. The dilemma was summed up by Jonathan Ives of the Centre for Ethics in Medicine at Bristol University.

“If we were to do this, we would be asking healthy people to put their wellbeing and their lives at risk for the good of society at large. On the other hand, taking that risk could speed up vaccine development and save many, many lives. So I think there could be grounds for going ahead with challenge trials, though it would be based on a very finely balanced argument.”

Figures released last week suggest about 7% of the UK population may have already been infected with Covid-19 virus, which the vaccine researchers claim is a relatively low level of infection that poses problems for testing vaccines.

In other words, they want more people to get the virus so they could give them a vaccine that will supposedly help get rid of the virus, which is already fading away naturally (hence the “too low numbers”). Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?

The report further states: “A sufficient number of volunteers have to be exposed to the virus to see if a vaccine protects them or not. But if their chances of being in contact with an infected person are low, it will take a long time to demonstrate the efficacy of a vaccine candidate.”

Again, the only purpose of a vaccine is to kill the virus. If the virus is already dying down, why would anyone want to voluntarily get infected while the virus is losing effectiveness? It is the equivalent of insisting that a bomb-disposal unit should place additional explosives at the location they’ve just cleared. And for what purpose? Just so they could take another risk of defusing the explosive again. That is, more of them. Again, makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?

The “researchers” further state:

“Levels of infection in the community are already low, and if this virus behaves like other respiratory diseases and coronaviruses, there may be even lower levels over the summer,” said Professor Lawrence Young of Warwick University Medical School.

“There will not be enough people secreting the virus to be in contact with volunteers in vaccine projects. It is just not going to work.”

Young argues that human challenge trials should be considered “very seriously” for the UK. These would involve giving volunteers either a placebo or a vaccine, as is normally done in trials. But instead of waiting to find out how the two groups fare without interference, scientists would deliberately infect them with the Covid-19 virus. This would very quickly show if a vaccine works or not.

“Only very healthy young people – around the age of 25 – who have given informed consent would be used,” added Young.

“Although, these ailments pose relatively low risks to volunteers, Covid-19 can have serious side-effects, mainly for the elderly but also in a few rare cases of young, apparently healthy young people.”

So which is it? Does the virus “pose a relatively low risk to volunteers”, who are supposed to be “very healthy young people”, or could it “have serious side-effects” for “apparently healthy young people”?

Young then continues: “Before we went ahead with challenge trials, we would need to have developed some very effective therapy – an anti-viral drug perhaps – that could be used in the few cases where something went seriously wrong.”

So, if there is an antiviral drug, why is there a need for a vaccine?

This latter point has been stressed by the WHO in its guidelines for human challenge trials. It suggests the least risky group to infect would be those aged 18-30 years. Only 1% of this group end up hospitalized with Covid-19, while fatality rates are around 0.03%, according to the WHO.

“Challenge studies should then be conducted in specialized facilities, with especially close monitoring and ready access to early supportive treatment for participants,” add the guidelines.

The idea of carrying out human challenge trials for a Covid-19 vaccine was also backed by Professor Arpana Verma, of Manchester University.

He stated: “Vaccines give us the ability to protect the most vulnerable people in society. That is one of their key strengths. So I think it would be entirely justifiable to go ahead with such trials.”

Again, this raises the question, why would the vaccine be mandatory for everyone if its only purpose is to protect the most vulnerable groups (the elderly and those with chronic respiratory and/or other conditions)?

Still, voices of reason could be heard too. The proposal was firmly opposed by immunologist Professor Eleanor Riley of Edinburgh University.

“Challenge studies are done for many diseases but only when strict criteria are followed. Firstly, the virus should be really well studied and its clinical behavior understood in detail. It should also be incapable of causing severe illness in healthy individuals, or there should be a highly effective drug to clear the infection. None of these criteria are met for Covid-19, and I would be very concerned to hear challenge studies were being planned.”

Does science support miracles? New study documents a blind woman’s healing

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She once was blind, but now she sees — a peer-reviewed medical journal has published the extraordinary case study of a woman whose eyesight was spontaneously restored after prayer for healing. It’s the latest example of how researchers are increasingly using scientific methods to investigate claims of miracles.

The study details the medical history of a woman who was blind for more than a dozen years from juvenile macular degeneration, an incurable condition. She had attended a school for the blind, used a white cane for mobility, and read braille.

One night at bedtime her husband, a Baptist pastor, got on his knees to pray. He put a hand on her shoulder as she laid on the bed. They were both crying as he prayed: “Oh, God! You can restore … eyesight tonight, Lord. I know you can do it! And I pray you will do it tonight.”

With that, she opened her eyes and saw her husband kneeling in front of her. “I was blind when my husband prayed for me,” she said. “Then just like this — in a moment, after years of darkness I could see perfectly. It was miraculous! … Within seconds, my life had drastically changed. I could see, I could see!”

The woman’s eyesight has remained intact for 47 years since the “proximal intercessory prayer” (PIP) — that is, Christian prayer for healing with accompanying touch.

Four researchers published the case study — the first of its kind in medical literature — in the medical journal Explore. They are part of Global Medical Research Institute, which focuses on investigating claims of healing after prayer.

Sixteen Years of Feeding Tubes — Healed

Last year this group published another incredible case study in the peer-reviewed Complementary Therapies in Medicine. In that case, a man suffered from gastroparesis and relied on two feeding tubes for 16 years. When he experienced hands-on prayer at a church, he said he felt an electric shock starting from his shoulder and going through his stomach.

He had been instantly healed. His feeding tubes were removed — and seven years later he is still free from any symptoms. Again, this was the first published case of such a spontaneous healing of this incurable condition.

In my book The Case for Miracles, now in paperback, I report on several compelling studies that support claims of miraculous healings after prayer with physical touch. For example, Indiana University professor Candy Gunther Brown (PhD, Harvard), led a team that went to villages in Mozambique to study 24 people who were blind or deaf, or who suffered from severe visual or hearing impairment.

First, her team used standard tests and technical equipment to precisely determine each person’s level of hearing or vision. Then they were each prayed for individually in the name of Jesus with accompanying touch. Immediately after that, they were tested again. The results?

“We saw improvement in almost every single subject we tested,” Dr. Brown told me. “Some of the results were quite dramatic.”

Deafness — Healed

Indeed, the average improvement in visual acuity was more than tenfold. Martine, a resident of the Namuno village, couldn’t hear the equivalent of a jackhammer next to her when the researchers first tested her. After prayer for healing, she was able to make out conversations. Brown and her team then did a replication study in Brazil to see if they would get similar results — and they did.

This Mozambique experiment was a rigorous scientific study accepted for publication in the secular, peer-reviewed scientific Southern Medical Journal. What’s Dr. Brown’s conclusion?

“Our study shows that something is going on with Pentecostal and charismatic proximal intercessory prayer,” she told me. “This is more than just wishful thinking. It’s not fakery; it’s not fraud. It’s not some televangelist trying to get widows to send in their money. It’s not a highly charged atmosphere that plays on people’s emotions. Something is going on, and it surely warrants further investigation.”

Personally, I would venture to say that something miraculous is occurring. And I agree with Dr. Brown — more such research is needed. But in the meantime, several scientific studies are pointing in the direction of divine intervention in people’s lives.

Research Shows Prayer Working

Originally, I was skeptical about miracles. As a committed atheist, I hoped I could disprove the existence of a miracle-working God. But the mounting evidence for the miraculous resurrection of Jesus proved to be too persuasive. After nearly two years of researched I realized it would take more faith to maintain my atheism than become a Christian.

The historical evidence for the resurrection is among dozens of topics that we cover in our new online courses at Colorado Christian University. For information, visit Strobelcenter.com, where you also can also see a video of my talk on the case for miracles — during which you’ll actually witness a healing taking place.