The Earthian Brain--A History (II)

Introspection for Self-knowledge was not a well-marked feature of Scrutiny in the early JM2 Earth. The intellectual activity that paralleled today’s Wisdomwork was called Philosophy (love of knowledge), which was not envisaged in a reciprocal relationship with Introspection.

In fact, possesssing a collection of purportedly correct views about oneself was the highest level reached by a learned Earthian of the day, and this was rather boldly called Insight.

Study for this circumscribed body of information, "Insightwork", so to speak, was almost never a solitary activity. Insightwork was not even part of an individual experience for the JM2 Earthian. It was learned—or acquired, as is the word preferred by some schools—through a series of brief courses.

Complex for Insight-oriented Training. (Eastern Union, JY2013)
(From the e-remains of anonymous amateur recordician)

Training for Insight took several forms, but it invariably involved a healer as teacher. It is worth noting here that the JM2 Earthians felt a deep respect towards healers and usually a genuine faith in their competence—which is counterintuitive, given the level of critical sophistication they, the Earthians, had achieved at the time. The incompatibility is still an enigma. The single reasonable explanation is centered—paradoxically—around the disproportionally poor performance of the healing profession, creating a vicious chain circle reaction with the notoriously deep and omnipresent fear of disappearence that was typical of the JM 2. However, this doesn’t explain why, among the many classes that remained prestigious and authoritarian despite their limitations, this task was assigned to healers, and why wisdom was linked, among the many states of desire for the Earthians, to health.                                                                                                                                                                       


The Earthian Brain--A History (I)

The Earthian brain, by way of a series of inventions it achieved, delegated computation to non-living machinery. This assignment marks the beginning of what We retrospectively designate by the name of The Age of Informatics. Julian Millenium 2 (2 JM) is the approximate and officially accepted date this era starts.  
The main characteristic of the Age of Informatics is a drastic increase in the speed of information processing. Although the name is appropriate, it fails to imply the Earthians’ failure to foresee the divergence of reasoning and virtue-regulation from computation in terms of speed and accuracy: This age is characterized by not only a drastic increase in the speed and an alteration in ways of obtaining collecting and processing information, but also by the dissolution of knowledge and its replacement by an ever-expanding bulk of information.
We are still far from understanding why the influential scholars of one of the most intelligent 2nd JM genera could not figure out a basic canon: Computation speed is a prerequisite for the maintenance of sound reasoning; it is not sufficient to even initiate one.
One theory is based on an analogy between the infophilic culture that prevailed in the 2nd JM Earth and the pagan beliefs of the previous JM, which shared a tendency to worship created or constructed phenomena: Some rigid and primitive idealization must have blinded the intelligent Earthians to the basic canon. Some speculaticians go as far as to suggest that it must have been no less than a religion to have blinded Earthian scholars to such a simple fact—a religion lacking only in the classical revelation incidents typical of the belief organizations of the -1st and the 1st Millenia that centered around a Creator. However, this theory fails to explain why, unlike previous religions of Creation, the revelations never became disclosed later.

To be cont'd


AÜTF Nöropsikiyatri Birimi Çarşamba Toplantıları--Aralık 2013

DEHB’de fNIRS çalışmaları
Derin beyin stimulasyonunun hayvan modelleri: Nukleus akumbens stimulasyonunun davranışsal etkileri
Dr. Koray BAŞAR, HÜTF Psikiyatri AD
EU-GEI (Şizofrenide gen çevre etkileşimi) çalışması: Yöntem ve ilk bulgular
Dr. Meram Can SAKA, AÜTF Psikiyatri AD
Erişkinlerde otizm spektrum bozukluğu: Vaka serisi
Dr. Cem ATBAŞOĞLU, AÜTF Psikiyatri AD

Toplantılar AÜTF Psikiyatri Anabilim Dalı kütüphanesinde 12.30-13.30'da yapılmaktadır. 

NP konseyi: İlginç veya zor vakaların tartışılması için her Çarşamba ek toplantı saati ayrılabilir. Tel: 595 66 15


Bayesian probabilities in the Beads task

Same conclusion with the proper calculation as in Bayes' theorem:
Assume that red is the majority in jar A and green in jar B and the distributions of M and m in the two jars are the inverse of one another and the number of beads are equal in the two jars , e.g. if jar A contains 9 reds and 1 green, jar B has 1 red and 9 greens; if A has 68 reds and 38 greens B has 38 reds and 68 greens.

For the condition of the 9 + 1 versus 1 + 9 distribution:
Probability that the bead is red, given that it is from jar A= 9/10.
Probability that the bead is red, given that it is from jar B= 1/10.

Probability that the bead is red AND it is from jar A= (1/2) . (9/10)
Probability that the bead is red AND it is from jar B= (1/2) . (1/10)

Probability that the bead is from jar A given that it is red 
= Probability that the bead is red given that it is from jar A . Probability that the bead is from jar A / Probability in this condition that any bead is red
Probability that the bead is red given that it is from jar A . Probability that the bead is from jar A / (Probability that a bead is red and it is from jar A + Probability that a bead is red and it is from jar B)
= (9/10) . (1/2)  / [(9/10) . (1/2) + (1/10) . (1/2)]
= (9/10) . (1/2)

Probability that the bead is from jar B given that it is red 
= Probability that the bead is red given that it is from jar B . Probability that the bead is from jar B / Probability in this condition that any bead is red
Probability that the bead is red given that it is from jar B . Probability that the bead is from jar B / (Probability that a bead is red and it is from jar A + Probability that a bead is red and it is from jar B)
= (1/10) . (1/2) / [(9/10) . (1/2) + (1/10) . (1/2)]
= (1/2) . (1/10)

Probability that the bead is from jar A given that it is red, briefly P(a)
Probability that the bead is from jar B given that it is red, briefly P(b)
Draw 1
(observation 1)
(9/10) . (1/2)
(1/10) . (1/2)
Draw 2
(observation 2)
[(9/10) . (1/2)]²
[(1/10) . (1/2)]²
Draw n
(observation n)
[(9/10) . (1/2)] to the power of n
[(1/10) . (1/2)] to the power of n

If m is smaller than M and all the quantities m, M and n are positive integers
[M/(m+M) . (1/2)] to the power of n is bigger than [m/(m+M) . (1/2)] to the power of n

Therefore, p(a) is bigger than p(b) for any n.

In our case:
Probability that the bead is from the jar where the beads that are of the same color constitute the majority is greater than the probability that it is from the jar where beads that are of the same color are in the minority, and this is independent from the number of observations.

The probability for either of the two cases will decrease with each draw.
Decrease with every new draw in the smaller probability is bigger than the decrease in the larger probability, i.e. the decrease in the likelihood that the bead is from the jar where it is in the minority is sharper compared to the decrease in the likelihood that the bead is from the jar where it is in the majority. However, this is irrelevant, since the difference between the two probabilities is absolute.


Boncukta tutum aramak: The Beads Task




No assumption, no hypothesis

Empirical stance / method

Repeated observation of presence or absence, occurence or nonoccurence of the event is key, i.e. prediction is an inference  with a probability of error

Power of a series of observations is dependent on (a) the degree to which the event is observable, as well as (b) the number of observations

Relevant to Bottom-Up information processing Frequentist, Bayesian

Reasoning, calculation


An absolute numerical probability is at hand

Rationalistic stance / method

Prediction is is based on a mathematical operation, ie. an extension of logic

Prediction is binomial i.e. absolute and either true or false.

 Relevant to Top-Down information processing Probabilistic

In the A condition, probability of error is dependent on the frequency distribution in the set of repeated observations, which varies with every “bit” of new information / observation—Yes or No, True or False, Occurence or Nonoccurence. The prediction that is based on the initial bit of information carries the highest probability of error, decreasing as observations accumulate.

In the B condition, i.e. when the probability that an event takes place or that a proposition is true is a given, predictions are based on, and only on, this constant value of probability.
Inference based on observation cannot be justified in the B condition, for the probability is constant, rendering observational evidence redundant.

The Beads Task is designed as a measure of the tendency on the part of the observer-subject to jump to conclusions. I find it hard to understand—literally: Although the subjects are informed at the outset regarding the constant figure of probability for True or False, they are offered a series of repeated observations until they feel confident to make a guess, a forced choice between True and False.
M: Number of beads that are in the majority
m: Number of beads that are in the minority
B: Total number of beads in each of the two jars = M+m
D: Draw
n: Number of draws (observations)
Pr: Probability of a correct guess regarding the jar of origin for the bead presented = Ratio of the number of beads in the Majority to the Total number of beads in each jar
Pw: Probability of an incorrect guess regarding the jar of origin for the bead presented = Ratio of the number of beads in the Minority to the Total number of beads in each jar
The initial observation is the only basis for the forced choice, and this is independent from the ratio of M/n.
Induction, based on probability of error (Pw) is redundant, because:
Pw= (m/B)ⁿ for any number of draws (observations)
Pr= M/B at the initial draw (observation)
M, m, n and B are positive integers.
If m is smaller than M, then M/m is bigger than 1.
Pw will decrease at every draw, to reach 0 when the draw number is ∞.
For no value of n will Pw be bigger than M/B, i.e. the Pr at the initial draw.  

Hence my question:
What is the question of the Beads Task?
How quickly does the subject jump to the conclusion? (1), or
How long does it take the subject to figure out the redundancy of observation following the initial draw? (2)
If (1), is it that the task takes advantage of a trick that involves misguiding the subject? (3)
If (3), how is this really relevant to psychotic thought disorder?  


Açık erişim, bilim, para, iktidar, emek

Ben hakemli dergi okumaya başladığımda, yayıncılık okurun ödediği para ile okuru hedefleyen reklamlara bağlıydı. Bilimci okumak için para öderdi. “Açık erişim”le birlikte, okumak bedava oldu;  şimdi yazdığını yaymak için para ödüyorsun. Değişmeyen, müşterilik. Değişen var mı? Bilmiyorum. Bize yazınızı gönderin, para da yollayın, basalım diye reklam yollanmasını sevmiyorum, orası kesin. İşe yarar mı, kime yarar, onu da bilmiyorum. 

Geçenlerde, arkadaşlarım bilimciliğin emekçilik sayılabileceğini iddia ettiler. Bu durumda emekçinin hak aramasına karşılık gelen, yayımlanan yazısının maddi karşılığının ödenmesini istemek oluyordu. Düşündüm, bilimciliği emekçilikle bağdaştıramadım: Bilimcinin bulduğu gördüğü düşündüğü, başkasının tüketimine sunacağı mal değil; ürettiğine nasıl yabancılaşsın. İşinden soğur, vazgeçer, o başka; “yabancılaştım” diyorsa, kastettiği bıkkınlık, işi yabancılar olmak.

Bilimci kâr etmek için birilerini çalıştıran patron da değil: Merak ettiğini incelemek, açıklama aramak ile para kazanmayı hedeflemek birbirini dışlamaz da, ikisini birden hedefleyen var mıdır bilmem—hiç rastlamadım. (Salt teknolojiye yönelik sistemli çalışmayı saymıyorum; orada esas güdü merak değil çünkü; uğraşın hedefi, geçimini sağlamak.)

Bilimci, rütbesi ne olursa olsun—yetkin bilim kurumunda söz sahibi olan, patronun aracısı olma mertebesine erişmiş yüksek rütbeliden, sabit gelir biraz da eğitim karşılığında veri toplayan okullu gence—güçten, iktidardan beslenmektedir. Ya para veren, ya ortak inançla-ülküyle bağlanılan lider, üstat, veli nimet, hami: Patron.

Patron, uzun süredir, banka. (Evet, parayı dağıtmada söz sahibi olanlar var, nitelikli eseri anlayan seçen otorite var... Yetki verilmiş olan kurum böyle, yeterliliğini ispatlamış olan dergi—gene, kurum—böyle. Ama onlar patron değil, aracı hep.)

Bugün işinden hoşnut olmayan, işini yabancılayan bilimcinin sıkıntısı, emekçinin yabancılaşmasıyla bir değil. Ne yapıyorum ki? sorusu zihnini kurcalıyorsa, bunun nedeni, tüketmeyeceği, yabancısı olduğu bir malın seri üretiminde çalışması değil de patronla şahsen tanışmıyor olmasıdır belki.

Avrupa’da paraya sahip olanın, paradan para kazananın (bankacının) bilimi sanatı doğrudan desteklediği dönemde, bilimci ile veli nimeti birbirlerini tanıyorlardı, aralarında başka kişi ya da kurum yoktu. Mediciler, Tim Parks’ın Ezra Pound’un şiirinden alıntıyla vurgulayarak söylediği üzre, usura’dan (tefecilikten)  gelenin bir kısmını sanatçıya bilimciye verdiler; günah sayılandan gelen paranın bir kısmını bilime sanata akıttılar. Ne oldu? Rönesans oldu!

Kâr etmenin sırrı, Kuzey’de olmayan malı oraya hem bolca hem hızla taşımak, sürümden kazanarak ticari rekabette öne geçmekti: Vakti nakde çevirmek. Günah, çünkü contra natura !

Eh, bilim ile çeliştiği iddia edilebilir mi? Fetih işte. Zafer. Contra natura. (Bilimin özünde erdem niteliği taşıdığını da iddia edebilir miyiz ki, edemeyiz; benim tatminkâr bir gerekçem yok. İnanç derim buna ben ancak; inanca saygı duyarım.)

Daha önceki patron ise, gerek Rönesans’tan önceki Orta Çağda, gerek Klasik Dönem’de, tarikat idi; bilim ülküden besleniyordu: Liderin kimliğinde somutlaşan, içreklikle güçlenen bir otorite. İdeal sayılandan, mükemmellik arayışından—imandan—beslenen ortak emek: İslam alimleri, Pisagor’un ... takipçileri...

İki koşul da şimdikinden iyi: Paraya para deniyor, hamiye hami, güce güç, inanca inanç... Özerkliği mesele edinen yok. İktidarın temsilcisiyle, mutlak iktidar sahibinin ta kendisiyle şahsen tanışıyor olmanın olumsuz bir ahlâki yükü yok. Kucak oturana kıyasla çok büyükse, oturan, yerini istediği gördüğü gibi tarif eder. Günahkâr tefeci (bankacı) Giovanni’nin parası çok, kucağı geniş.

Giovanni, bankayı kuran, Averardo’nun oğlu oluyor. Averardo’nun takma adı Bicci.
Mediciler’den Bicci’nin oğlu Giovanni:
Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici:
Giovanni, son of Bicci de’ Medici


On Duncan Double's view on "DSM-5: a collection of psychiatrist views on the changes, controversies, and future directions"

As Duncan Double correctly points out at http://criticalpsychiatry.blogspot.com/2013/09/stop-thinking-about-dsm-6.html the methodologic problem is inherent in the nature of mental/behavioral phenomena, therefore psychiatric diagnoses will never be better than impressions articulated in standard language –well, “informed impressions” at best.

Thus, genome-wide hunting to leave the rest of the work to expensive informatics is not only boring compared to hypothesis testing and case/cohort reporting, but also pointless when the “phenotype” is a personal impression.

I think the only source of error in the views of psychiatrists on DSM-5, published in the BMC Medicine ( http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1741-7015-11-202.pdf ) cannot be naive wishful thinking. Many of the methods and medications previously approved by the health authorities for the treatment of official psychiatric diagnoses are very expensive, i.e. an offical diagnosis is a lot of money i.e. bad science does have financial value.


Psikoloji, Klinik Psikoloji, TPD'ler, TODAP

Yeni düzenleme psikoloji hizmetini klinik psikoloji ile sınırlandırıyor, psikolojiyle ilgili başka bir tanım içermiyor. Bundan ötürü, birçok yeni üniversitede özensizce sunulan pahalı programlarla klinik psikoloji yüksek lisansı verilir oldu, hatta bazı üniversitelerde bu eğitime öncelikle gelir kaynağı gözüyle bakılır oldu. Lisans eğitiminin değeri teslim edilmiyor.

Buraya kadar doğru anladığım kanısındayım.

Aşağıya, ruh sağlığıyla, psikolojiyle psikolojik danışmanlık ve rehberlikle ilgili herkesin bu hak arama girişimi bağlamında tekrar düşünmesi gereken soruları yazdım. Kendi görüşlerimi de ekledim.  Cevaplarda uyuşma oranı ne olur, bilmiyorum. Yalnız, haksızlığa uğrayanın, yanlışı düzeltmeye kalkışanın isyanı ile meslek şovenizmi arasındaki çizgi ince, onu iyi biliyorum: Yıllar önce Türkiye Psikiyatri Derneği ile Türk Psikologlar Derneği’nin en etkin görevleri aldıkları Ruh Sağlığı Platformu işe bir Ruh Sağlığı Yasası lazım diye başlamış, ama kısa süre sonra birbirlerinin yanlışlarını düzeltmeye kalktıklarından dayanışma bitmiş, iki dernek düpedüz birbirine düşmüştü. (Aşağıda ayrıntı var, ama link arayamadım şimdi.)

Sorularım, görüşlerim aşağıda, birlikte.

1. Klinik psikolojiye özel önem atfedilmesinde (yeni düzenlemenin biçimlenmesinde) rol oynayan etmenler nelerdir?

2. Psikoloji lisansı olanlar arasında bu konuda görüş birliği var mıdır?

3. Bu dalı değerli kılan sadece yeni düzenleme olmasa gerek; çünkü klinik psikoloji, bildim bileli en saygın yüksek lisans programıdır. (Bunun biçimlenmesinde “klinik vaka” ile ilgilenmeye atfedilen değerin etkisi olsa gerek, ama önemli olan orası değil, geçiyorum.)       

4. Toplumsal Dayanışma İçin Psikologlar Derneği’nin (TODAP) hedefleri görüşleri Türk Psikologlar Derneği’ninkilerden farklı mıdır? TODAP’ın görüşleri hedefleri Türk Psikologlar Derneği’nce aynen benimsenmiyorsa bunlar hangileridir?

5. Psikoloji eğitimine ve lisans eğitimi olanların hak ve görevlerine odaklanan bir STK’nın buna toplumsal dayanışma vurgusunu neden eklediğini anlamıyorum. Doğrudan kurulacak bir ilgi var da ben anlamadıysam, biri anlatırsa tekrar düşünürüm. Hak aramak dayanışmanın ta kendisi değil mi? Toplumun başka kesimleriyle dolaylı ilgisi olabilir elbet, ama herhangi bir STK’ya kıyasla daha yakından değil.     

5. Fizyoterapiyi diyet uzmanlığını icra etme hakkının lisanta kazanılması, öncelikle bu mesleklerin niteliğine dolayısıyla eğitimlerinin mecburen sahip olduğu özelliklere bağlı. Başka bir deyişle, bu konularda lisans eğitimi veren fakülteler psikoloji bölümlerine göre meslek okullarına daha yakın sayılır. Klinik psikolojinin yaygın kabul gören tanımını düşündüğümde, bunun iş edinmeye yönelik yüksek lisansı elbet gerektirdiği düşüncesindeyim. Bu nedenle, klinikçilik hakkı bakımından yapılan kıyaslamaya ne fizyoterapi uygundur ne de diyet uzmanlığı. Yeni düzenleme psikoloji lisansını tanımıyor psikolojiden klinik psikolojiyi anlıyor diye psikoloji lisansını klinik psikoloji eğitimi saymak ya da psikoloji bölümlerini meslek okullarına dönüştürmek neden gereksin?

(Psikoloji lisansının ruh sağlığı hizmetindeki önemini 2006’da TPD ile TPD ortak çalışmasını yürütürken, o zamanki Başkanlar Şahika Yüksel ve Gonca Soygüt ile biz Dernek MYK üyeleri, birlikte hazırladığımız bir metinde belirtmiştik; o görüşüm değişmedi. Kısa bir süre sonra Türkiye Psikiyatri Derneği’nin yeni Görev Grubu bu konuda bizimkinden farklı bir tutumu benimsedi; bunu eleştiren bir yazıyı kendi derneğimin üyelerine ve Görev Grubu’ndaki arkadaşlarıma yazıyla bildirdim. Şimdiki girişimde etkinlik gösterenlerin bir soluk alıp o metinleri okumalarını öneririm. Önemli değerli görüşler olduğuna inandığımdan değil, tutarlılık için, konunun yeni olmadığını bildirmek vurgulamak için.)



İşdüşkünü 01 –Günahyığan: Kurt Wallander

Sorumluluğu talep etmiş olmak başarısızlığa özür olmaz, biliyordur. Kurtarma arzusunun sabit kalamadığını, usançtan hışımdan kaçamayacağını da görmüştür; ellisini geçmiş.

Ne var ki, kısır döngü güçlü artık: Boşa çıkan her çabanın telafisi, yeni bir savaş, yeni harcanma.

BBC Henning Mankell'in romanlarından trajik bir karakter çıkarmış, Wallander.

Ben olmasam Ystad halkı ne yapar? sorusunu sorsa kendine—imasız—? İki iyilikten bir son olur: Perişan olurlar, der, çalışır, tükenir, tıkanır, ölür. Ya da, ben olmasam da olur, der, dedektifliği bırakır, biraz soluk alır, tıkanır, ölür.

Bir gün cesedin başında dikilip kaldı, gözleri takılmış, dolmuş, arkadaşı "hayırdır?" diye bakıyor ya da soruyor, bu da diyor ki "hiç anlayamadım neden, şu battaniyedeki desen beni hep acayip hüzünlendiriyor."

Evet, ölür.

Kızı Linda Hanım'ı, mizacı kedere yatkın olmasa masaldan çıkma sanırsınız. Al, görünüşü şu:

Tatlı, çok tatlı. Babasına bakarken daha da güzel gülümsüyor. Ama çoğu zaman acı acı.


Cumhuriyet Bilim & Teknoloji'nin kapak konusu: "Sınırsız güç beyinde olumsuz etkiler yaratıyor."

Çeviri şuradan:

Saçma yazıya alışkınız da, şu ifadedeki kendinden emniyet ve üstün ... devlet vatandaşı tutumuna ne diyeceğiz? : "Türkiye ABD Avrupa ve Orta Doğu için özel önem taşır; Tayyip Erdoğan'ın sorunları bundan ötürü hepimizi ilgilendirir."
Dalga geçelim bari; makaleyi değerlendirelim --adam nöropsikologmuş. 

I assume this article is based on—if not only on— scientific knowledge and reasoning. This entitles all readers to present their views in the same context: Peer reviews, if you will.

I suggest, in fact, that we play “peer review” –always helps me learn and practice.

Here’s my voluntary contribution:







Dear Editor,

This brief article reflects the author’s personal (subjective) view; it relates more value judgements and personal impression than any convincing scientific consideration. Conclusion is vague. Paper’s potential contribution to practice is limited at best.   

Certainly no one could object to an expression of personal opinion. In this article, however, almost every view that is presented is accompanied by an attempt at scientific justification. (I will not elaborate on this inconsistency; suffice it to briefly state that value choices are choices, their defence must be based on ethical—not scientific—reasoning, in fact the latter is neither necessary nor sufficient for justification.) This article’s crucial flaw is its carefree and vague use of psychological concepts and phenomena for which normally a meticulous definition is expected in any discipline, be it neuropsychology (the author’s field), social psychology or humanities.

My queries and critical comments are below, inserted into the text body in parantheses and in italics.  


Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan has held power for 10 years, during which period his country has experienced unprecedented economic growth and international prestige. (1. Clarification needed for “unprecedented economic growth”: Unprecedented by previous Prime Ministers of Turkey or a PM of any other country? 2. Reference needed for “growth” as well as for “prestige”.)     

Power and success are two of the biggest brain-changing drugs known to mankind, however, and no human being’s brain can survive unchanged such large infusions of these two drugs. (A metaphor is acceptable in a scientific article only when a very original finding is presented. Rhetoric is something that authors of science resort to; it cannot be readily expended only to replace the precise expressions that are hard to find simply because the concepts dealt with are complex. Rhetoric is in the service of the average reader who may not readily appreciate the presented novelty or place it into the right context.)  Edrogan’s (Please replace with: Erdoğan’s) response to this week’s demonstrations in Turkey show that he may not be an exception. (Exception is undefinable if “no human being’s brain can survive unchanged”.)  

Power’s effects on the brain have many similarities to those of drugs like cocaine (Reference needed.): both significantly change brain function by increasing the chemical messenger dopamine’s activity in the brain’s reward network (1. Reference needed 2. Brief defnitions needed for “the reward network”, “chemical messengers” and “dopamine”. 3. Elaboration needed on the physiology of the reward system.). These changes also affect the cortex (Elaboration needed on “the cortex” and other anatomical regions that are primarily relevant to the reward system, as implied by the word “also”. Reward pathways—implied to be involving not only the cortex but other—probably subcortical—structures must be briefly described.) and alter thinking (Vague expression: Both “thinking” and “alteration” need specification, as they have several meanings even in colloquial use.), making people more confident, bolder – and even smarter (The conjunction “even” is confusing. Please clarify: Does it imply that smartness is a counterintuitive consequence of the changes mentioned above or that it is contradictory by definition with the two other attributes mentioned?)

(The two paragraphs below will not be reviewed in detail. Please apply reviewer’s previous queries regarding the meanings and contexts of the words used and provide references whenever necessary.)

But these same changes also make people egocentric, less self-critical, less anxious and less able to detect errors and dangers. All of these conspire to make leaders impatient with the “messiness” of opposition and contradictory opinions, which we can see clearly in Prime Minister Erdoğan’s  intransigent and aggressive response to the demonstrators, including his infamous claim that “there is an evil called twitter” and that “social media is the evil called upon societies”.

The neurological effects of unconstrained power on the brain also inhibit the very parts of the brain which are crucial for self-awareness and what Erdoğan has to realize for the sake of Turkey’s future is actually the hardest thing for any human being to appreciate – that his own judgment is being distorted by 10 long years in power.

It is my judgment that no leader can survive more than 10 years in power without encountering massive distortion of judgment of the sort we are witnessing in Erdoğan’s response to the current unrest. No-one – but no-one – is immune to these neurological effects of power and I do not think it is a coincidence that 10 years is the maximum term in office for leaders of many countries, including USA and even the Republic of China. (1. Please provide similar examples 2. Please explain what makes the Republic of China different in terms of the 10-year restriction mentioned. 3. The 10-year specification sounds like a scientific law. I am not familiar with that. Reference needed for proof or at least some reliable evidence.)  

It is the neurologically-created conceit of many powerful leaders that – in the words of Louis XV of France -  “après moi le déluge” (after me, the flood). Power fosters the delusion of indispensability and many political leaders have created havoc in fighting to stay in post because they genuinely believe their abilities are crucial for the survival of their country and that no-one else can do it.

Former British Foreign Secretary Lord David Owen has proposed the existence of a “Hubris Syndrome” – an acquired personality disorder (Please specify the classification system that includes HS.) which arises in some leaders because of the effects of power on their brains. Among others, he diagnosed (Please describe the diagnostic procedure including structured interviews, examination procedures and laboratory findings.). UK Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher  as having succumbed to this disorder, both of whom ingested (Not clear. Specify mode of delivery.) the power drug for that crucial 10 years. (Please cite the original publication by Owen D. and a few research articles that employed the definition to provide reliable results. Comment on the comparability of the studies you will cite and clearly state their degree of reliability)  

The symptoms of Owen’s ‘Hubris Syndrome’ include the following:

  • A narcissistic preoccupation with one’s image (eg, about not being seen to back down and lose ‘strong man’ image).
  • A tendency for the leader to see the nation’s interests and his own as identical, including a tendency to talk in the third person about himself.
  • An  excessive confidence in the leader’s own judgment and contempt for the advice or criticism of others, along with a sense of omnipotence.
  • A tendency to feel accountable to History or God rather than to more mundane political or legal courts.
  • A tendency towards a loss of contact with reality and progressive isolation.
  • “Hubristic incompetence”, where things go wrong because of over-confidence and impaired judgment

Turkey is a vibrant (Please clarify vibrant.) nation (Please clarify nation. Turkey is formally classified as a country. If you refer to some formal but less recognized classification, provide the reference and cite a few studies that were based on this classification.), incredibly important to Europe, the USA and the Middle East (1. Reference needed. If definite proof is not available, please elaborate on available evidence pointing out the importance of Turkey to the nations and regions mentioned. 2. Translational science, being science, is universal. Please specify what makes the interests of Europe, the USA and the Middle East particularly prior.) and it is of paramount importance that its stability is not threatened by a brain distorted by power: there are enough countries surrounding Turkey which have been brought to their knees by precisely this neuropsychological affliction (1. Reference needed.I haven’t come across the use of affliction as a term of neuropsychology.) in their leaders and the world does not need any more.

(The article fails to reach a scientific conclusion. Insert your discussion here, followed by your conclusion. Add practical suggestions, if possible, as would be expected in any paper on translational science. Be as specific as possible, keeping in mind the average reader, who may not be sufficiently familiar to the concepts in your article.)


Lost among translations

A constrained assumption of Greek identity prevailed in the East and the West throughout Hellenization: an almost pretentious adherence to everything Greek.

Romanizing the leading families in the distant and ethnically diverse provinces of the early Roman Empire likewise involved an idealization of romanitas, the Roman heritage. Some families served the military for generations, while others raised and were named as civil servants: Educated, prestigious men, serving the Emperors –some of whom were literally worshipped as Gods.

Our middle school books that taught the language of another Empire included a naive mistake: The Turkish word that referred generically to any government employee translated into English as civil servant: "My mother is a house-wife, my father is a civil servant." As we learnt British reciting where Mr. and Mrs. Brown went for their summer holiday, our fathers, the second- and third-generation civil servants of the young republic ... well, served. They strained to adopt new definitions of the socially acceptable and civilized; they valued the Modern, the City, the West.

Interestingly, one of the Turkish words that meant foreigner, originally Arabic and literally meaning outsider—as did barbaroi ages ago for anyone who was not Greek—used to have in those days a positive connotation: Ecnebi referred more to the Western neighbor presumed to be a polite city-dweller (to come from some polis).

Interestingly again, and ironically, the modern servants of the Republic, devoid of the freedom to simply talk about money, let alone any skill of trade, would be blamed a few decades later for being what somehow came to sound like a curse: Petty bourgeois.

Raised by two civil servants, strained for decades to learn, teach, behave and be a good citizen, I feel lost when I witness the police and the citizen literally fighting, or when I cannot help but hesitate to allow my son to walk with his fellows to the agora and shout a few slogans of their peripatetic philosophy --although they sound perfectly reasonable to me. Having tried hard for years to read write and speak the language of the Modern, the Imperial, the Outsider, I am amazed at how lost I am ... in translation.

Translation is flawed by definition, I come to think.


You must speak, shout, love, write,

what have you, in your mother tongue?



Sight flawed, eyeballs float
In sweat mother tongue sways, crippled
In some language breaking
In search of a shelter a home

Ugh ! The adventure, the inviting late young tongue
The stiff challenge, the harsh, the hard
On with the familiarly foreign
Run I, do I run !

Guilt impending with self-conscious hysteria with fun in cheap pun
After all all play is fun all play is sin and
Overjoyed is no less than overkill.

Bahri Sestosun, May 10, 2013


The Following


Kahramanın yarı-gizli habasetini görüp üzerine oynayan kötü-katil var, katilin yansıtmalı özdeşimine karşı duramayan iyi-polis var.
Dostoyevski’nin gariban-habis adamları olsun, Highsmith’in 'beceriksiz'leri, Trendeki Yabancılar’ı olsun, okurun iyi – kötü ayrımı üzerinde görüş ayrılığına düştüğünün seyrek olduğu zamanlarda, tabii ki çarpıcıydı.
İyi-kötü ayrımının keskinliğini kaybettiği, Caroll’la özdeşleşenin de yadırganmayacağı 2013’te ise, bu kurgu sökmüyor.


The arrogant neuroscientist

This is an era of unquestioned belief in positive science and praise for physicalism in human's endeavor of understanding or explaining the human mind.
Claims to the indispensibility of interpretation have recently come to sound louder, though, most probably with the apparent lack of a meaningful question that can be answered by any method that physical sciences offer:
Such statements do not refer simply to what is regarded as a candidate for elimination, as, for instance, the phlogiston has been. The claim is to an ultimate irreducibility of subjective experience, arguing that human experience is more than a set of phenomena that will be eliminated one by one as the right methods are stumbled upon or established by trial and error or designed by brilliant scientists: Unlike, indeed, the phlogiston or Kepler's perfect geometry, both of which nicely exemplify the real residues of the mysticism that have lingered on during transition to experimental science.
Neuropsychoanalysis is, thus, a null expression, or at best a romantic wish for unity through negotiation. This is too good to be true because it targets reduction, not a process of back-and-forth translation. Psychoanalysis will continue to –literally– scare the arrogant neuroscientist who is unaware of or not interested in the epistemology of his own work or how tiny her contribution might be in future's larger perspective.


Medicine and Science*

One can hardly argue against the necessity of a scientific basis for clinical practice. Science for clinical practice is justifiable by being ethical or reasonable or both: Human life is precious beyond dispute; health and well-being deserve the maximum care and respect of the responsible and authorized professionals; physicians possess the authority and responsibility regarding health and well-being, therefore they must be equipped with sophisticated skills and expertise, as well as extensive knowledge; and science is the most appropriate means to acquire, revise, update and expand such knowledge.
Characterization of medical practice as scientific, on the other hand, may correspond to agreement with either the first or both of the two sets of propositions below, and this decision deserves consideration: (1) The profession must be based on scientific knowledge, and it is possible for the profession to be based on scientific knowledge. (2) The profession must be based on scientific knowledge and only on scientific knowledge, and it is possible for the profession to be based on scientific knowledge and only on scientific knowledge.
We would agree with the first and argue against the second: It is neither necessary nor possible for medical practice to be based only on science. To explicate: (1) Medical profession is inseparable from value choices, which may challenge a strictly disinterested manner with absolute obedience to the scientific principle of neutrality. The ultimate concern of the physician is his patient’s well-being, and this may be bound by other conditions beside scientific facts or even be incompatible with them. (2) Medicine is exercised in the context of human relationship, which involves emotions in every case, if not of the same intensity. It takes special effort to remain fully neutral towards a person whom one strives to heal. In fact, the person who aims to maintain the proper attitude of a scientist and a physician is in a tragic situation, in that she is constanly bound to forgo one of the two to some extent. (3) Clinical research is almost completely limited to inductive-statistical methods, and many clinical phenomena are too complex to lend themselves to generalizations, i.e., the multitude of relevant variables presents a major challenge to study power.
Although medicine is only a profession, and not necessarily an academic one, it is commonly mistaken as a science per se. The confusion is reflected in null expressions like the science of medicine and probably accentuated by the emphasis placed on the unique indispensibility of a scientific basis for good clinical practice.
We approve the expression medical sciences, which implies the distinction: Sciences that guide the practice of medicine, which is a profession. Medical sciences are diverse and they are becoming increasingly specific, from health sociology and epidemiology to high resolution genomics and functional brain imaging. It must be emphasized here, that despite increasing sophistication in modeling and cutting-edge technology , conclusions are based more on generalizations than on demonstration or proof. However, precision in methods, experimental or statistical, tends to be attributed to conclusions, and the illusion of advanced sciences guiding medicine tends to overshadow the robustness of fundamental and indispensible knowledge like definite causality or structural information, established over the years with robust, albeit less sophisticated, methods. For instance, the affinity of haloperidol to dopamine DA2 receptors is absolute knowledge, an established fact, whereas the degree of symptom reduction for a specific patient on a specific dose of haloperidol can never be precisely predicted and only inferred from the probability figures (statistics) of clinical study reports. Similarly, increased survival rate demonstrated for a new antineoplastic agent, an achievement of high-technology, is not a scientific law like the cell theory or the solid information on mitotic division.
Publicity around mental illness and psychiatry has increased following the momentum of neurosciences. Mistaking the accuracy and success of the guiding sciences for the accuracy of information on the phenomena encountered at practice has its repercussions not only in the popular culture but also in the medical community: A widely and firmly held belief in the medical validity of mental illness and an exclusively biological basis for all mental disorders, reminiscent of the psychoanalysis era. The “brain disease” discourse around variations of behavioral traits is not less naïve than that which adhered to narratives pointing out repressed unconscious drives as the cause of neurosis: Both involve knowledge that is partly factual or consistent, both admit a “need for further studies” for the theory to be validated, both include false beliefs reflecting incomplete understanding and oversimplification, and both have a tendency to induce in professionals either strong advocacy, idealization and identification or harsh criticism with disdain. As helpful as the brain disease formulation of severe mental illnesses may have been in –arguably- diminishing the stigma on families, it has disseminated the illusion that the symptom constellations defining each disorder refer to a natural phenomenon, a real disease for which cure can be expected in the near future. Moreover, credit for the big discoveries in neuroscience has been shared by the clinical disciplines that they apply, where, however, most of the “translation” is far from being specific, precisely because the clinical definition is simply a construct with questionable reliability, shaped and modified over the years by many factors, only one of which happens to be brain dysfunction.
Credibility of the disease model in the discipline may be stemming partly from a defensive tendency, building up with the burden of enduring uncertainty in a field characterized by scarcity of definite knowledge, predominance of vague clinical phenomena, blurred distinctions between categories, difficulty  establishing or maintaining objectivity at practice stemming from the nature of the conditions managed. Lack of an introductory course of epistemology in medical schools might be another factor.
Medicine as a pure application of science would only have bad technique or bad science to account for any negative outcome, which may decrease credibility and invite unduely harsh criticism. Resolution of controversies about professional choices by referring to scientific evidence alone would be similarly misleading. Professional determination of method or technique in the actual setting is shaped by many other factors, including individual differences in value choice and reasoning style, as well as the influence of training institutions on professional identity. Furthermore, in sciences that rely on statistical generalization, controversial evidence is the rule rather than the exception, and most of the time controversies simply reflect mathematical error or methodologic flaw in one or more of the studies.
Obviously, professional training is about knowledge and skill development, and regular professional practice rarely involves complex philosophical justification. However, critical thinking is indispensible in order to avoid mistaking subjective, political, ethical, and at times defensive discussions for scientific debate grounded on absolute findings.
* Excerpt from SCIENCE PSYCHIATRY AND THE DSM (Atbaşoğlu EC  & Gülöksüz S)



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