Merry Christmas

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I’m sure many of you will be busy getting to your “destinations” in the next day or two before Christmas. Hope all goes well. Also, my mother informed me it was Eid ul-Adha a few days ago, so best wishes to the Muslim readers (when I was a kid I didn’t know they were two Eid festivals, just assumed that the lunar calender was wack with frequency). Since I’m partial to Greeks, that’s all I’ll say for winter holidays this year. Below the fold, some Christmas music….

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7 Comments

  1. as i like to say  
    from a pagan to a heathen – “Merry Xmas”

  2. Merry Christmas to you too Razib!! 
     
    From an ancestral or cultural Christian agnostic / non proselytizing atheist to another secularist, from the Muslim tradition. 
     
    Actually, there are many things about multi-culturalism I don’t like. One of the things I DO like is the ethos of welcoming others into one’s own religious and other traditions, where they have broad resonance, and also being open to exploring those of others, who are also willing to welcome.  
     
    Merry Christmas!!

  3. Nothing like giving us a Greek dead ringer for Sahlman Rusdie 20 years ago to sing the Christmas carol, and mess with our minds Razib!

  4. You asked in another post with comments now closed to look at untouchable questions. 
     
    Here is one. 
     
    1. We “know” that “addiction” is heritable. (only about 20% of the population – in America – is subject to the “malady”). 
     
    2. We “know” that it is subject to environmental influences. Only about 50% of the susceptible population is “addicted”. 
     
    3. We label some addictions (insulin) as adaptive and others (heroin) as maladaptive.  
     
    Might not our war on “addicts” be a war on those trying to adapt based on their genetics and circumstances? i.e. it is bigoted. Mine might be called the endorphin deficiency theory of addiction. Or in milder cases the CB1 deficiency (cannabis to the rescue) theory of addiction. Or in the case of ADD/ADHD the stimulant deficiency theory of addiction. 
     
    In addition the NIDA supports the genetic theory of addiction plus “something else”. I have pretty good evidence that that “something else” is trauma. 
     
    So not only are we punishing people for their genetics, we are in fact persecuting the traumatized.  
     
    I have been trying to get people to look at this for at least 6 years. Even with the NIDA’s statement on the genetic aspects of the question, it is near impossible to get people interested in these questions. 
     
    It depresses me. I think I’ll have a cigar and a bottle of beer. (Tobacco is an anti-depressant favored by schizophrenics). 
     
    Just as the IQ arguments re: race are untouchable questions so is the question of the nature of addiction. 
     
    BTW I’m a little late for Merry Christmas so: 
     
    Happy New Year.

  5. M Simon: 
     
    The problem with drugs and alcohol is tolerance and withdrawal, as well as intoxication and psychosis. Now some drugs are better in these respects than others. Tobacco does not cause intoxication or psychosis, for example, and use appears to enhance the reward system even well after nicotine has left the bloodstream. Dissociatives (dextromethorphan, ketamine, PCP [though PCP has lots of other nasty effects and often is mixed with dangerous cyanide-like substances]), cannabis, hydrocodone (Vicodin), and methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta) appear to have more favorable tolerance and withdrawal profiles than say, heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine (perhaps due to retarding the mechanism in the brain, which may have a lot to do with the D2 receptor system, that says “TOO MUCH DOPAMINE! TIME TO CUT BACK!”), but are still have substantial withdrawal and tolerance issues.  
     
    The other big issue with drugs and alcohol is that for those susceptible, they tend to take over a person’s entire life and thinking. When I do drugs, it usually begins to take precedence over everything else, which causes a lot of problems. This is not to say that drugs aren’t loads of fun, or even that they aren’t valuable. But anyone who has depression issues should really try antidepressants. I had to try 5 over a period of nearly 3 years before I found the 6th one (Cymbalta) that’s actually worth a damn for me. Note that mixing antidepressants with recreational drugs can be dangerous; though in my personal experience Cymbalta has reduced (street) drug cravings and stereotypical “addict” like behavior and thinking while not causing any negative interaction effects.

  6. m simon asks: 
     
    Might not our war on “addicts” be a war on those trying to adapt based on their genetics and circumstances? i.e. it is bigoted. Mine might be called the endorphin deficiency theory of addiction. Or in milder cases the CB1 deficiency (cannabis to the rescue) theory of addiction. Or in the case of ADD/ADHD the stimulant deficiency theory of addiction. 
     
    We can view a lot of human behavior as an attempt to prevent other people from taking advantage of things to improve their reproductive success. 
     
    Not able to speak the dominant language well? Too bad, but that will affect your reproductive success. 
     
    Made a mistake and got pregnant when it was not really a good time and is going to have a big affect on your reproductive success, or might even kill you? Too bad, ’cause you are a murderer if you kill that fetus. 
     
    Made a mistake and managed to be born male into a poor family? Too bad buddy, you ain’t gonna have any offspring and if you engage in forced copulations, well … you are in trouble. 
     
    Ratcheting up the complexity of society mainly benefits one group of people, but that’s life.

  7. Made a mistake and got pregnant when it was not really a good time and is going to have a big affect on your reproductive success, or might even kill you? Too bad, ’cause you are a murderer if you kill that fetus. 
     
    Regardless of the circumstances (i.e. planned or unplanned), getting pregnant increases one’s reproductive success. Unless you honestly believe that people who abort routinely go on to have three or four babies they would not have had if they had carried the aborted fetus to term. Which they don’t.  
     
    Made a mistake and managed to be born male into a poor family? Too bad buddy, you ain’t gonna have any offspring 
     
    Yes, we all know how poverty correlates with low fertility rates.

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