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posted by [personal profile] indigojo at 07:57pm on 30/06/2011
I've written a blog article criticising Simon Baron Cohen's recent work Zero Degrees of Empathy (also called The Science of Evil, exposing some of his leaps of logic and other fail:

Simon Baron-Cohen, Autism and Empathy

Also worth reading is Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg's recent essay on this subject; she has also launched a new blog to address that issue.
location: New Malden, UK
There are 2 comments on this entry. (Reply.)
kaz: "Kaz" written in cursive with a white quill that is dissolving into (badly drawn in Photoshop) butterflies. (Default)
posted by [personal profile] kaz at 12:23am on 01/07/2011
Thank you!! I have wanted to rebut Baron-Cohen's nonsense before (autistic definitely-not-male who actually thinks ze has some hyperempathy going on, soooo) but couldn't stomach actually wading through that tripe. I'm glad someone has.

One point I'd like to make: man or woman are a matter of gender identity, not biology (by which I mean, trans people exist!). This actually makes Baron-Cohen's theories even worse, since his "male brain/female brain" business completely fails to account for - for example - autistic trans women, or autistic cis women for that matter, or autistic genderqueer people at all (representing!) and his nonsense about your interests determining your gender is really obviously nonsense.
iamshadow: Picture of knitting needles with the caption Knitting Yet another socially acceptable way to stim (Autknit)
posted by [personal profile] iamshadow at 08:17am on 01/07/2011
Thank you so much for your article.

I'm still a bit messed up about how I feel about the whole thing. I've never been a fan of Baron-Cohen's theories because they didn't fit my reality, but I never actually feared or hated what he was spouting before now. I'm afraid of how many people are going to read these books and accept them as truth, how many people are going to get discriminated against because of unsubstantiated outright lies. So many people out there 'believe' that the theory of mind = truth, that I really fear they're going to swallow this latest stuff without questioning. People are going to be hurt, feared, ostracised, institutionalised and imprisoned if this becomes accepted by medical and psychological professionals responsible for dealing with autists. I wonder if in fifty years, people are going to look back on him as a pioneer, or see him as another Bettelheim, creating a dark era of marginalisation based on being obsessively wedded to an idea, and using influence and charisma to sell it. Either way, it's bad news for the neuro-atypical.

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