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Old 08-22-04, 11:46 PM
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Stabile Stabile is offline
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Hey, SB:

Here are some quick points from the end of your post:

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*STABILE - To be clear, we believe that AD/HD is symptomatic of an ongoing speciation event.*

(SB) …scientists (are) attempting to understand …the genetics of ADD (by) find(ing) …‘mutations’ that …predispose the individual to the disease…

(several examples…)

…the argument is that mutations …conferred an advantage at some point in our evolution, but (they) are not of any use to us today…

an example (is) (t)he immune reaction …to parasitic infections (that) bears …similarities to the pointless …reactions …to dust mites and to grass pollen.

…why (would) genes conferring a risk of ADD have selected…(c)ould …Hyperactivity …increase…survival, (or) Inattentive type within females increase the likelihood of mating?
There’s a desperate sense to the genetic studies I’ve seen. The problem is that the statistical view has a compelling nature, and the dangers aren’t obvious. But the result is bad science, in my not so humble opinion.

What we are increasingly doing, in this modern world of studies that reanalyze and reinterpret data from other studies, is giving up on the scientific idea of actually explaining the mechanisms at work in some process of nature.

There is even an idea being promoted that it is somehow morally incorrect to try to understand such connections when they involve the function of the mind. This by some big guns, too, most notably Noam Chomsky.

Here is our problem with the type of study that you cite: we know that there is an additional level of logic between the context that is directly affected by genetic information and the conscious experiential context in which we identify AD/HD. This additional layer of logic makes the contribution of the genetic material indirect, at best.

Think of a person driving a car in which the brakes have failed, perhaps because the alloy used in the brake lines wasn’t appropriate for the stress of the application.

ADD is comparable to the emotional situation of the driver as he/she bears down on a sharp curve, out of control.

The kind of genetic information in these studies is comparable to the concise metallurgical definition of the alloy.

There is an obvious connection to the failure and the situation, but it is only a tiny part if the whole.

In the context of the situation, most would agree that considering such information would be a dangerous waste of effort. It isn’t any help at all in dealing with the issue of staying calm and getting the car stopped safely.

When we are able to talk specifically about the connection of the genes involved to the mechanisms that give rise to various symptoms of AD/HD, then such information might be of some interest.

If that doesn’t do it for you, try this:

There is a strong (and correct) statistical relationship between a certain percentage of high speed automobile accidents and blown tires. But the problem isn’t poor design, substandard materials, or anything else to do with the tires. It’s almost always due to under inflation, and that’s a social problem with the driver, not a mechanical problem with the tires.

It’s like that. We just make note of these kinds of genetic studies for now, because they might have an interesting application in the future. But other than that, we ignore them. The people doing them aren’t interested enough in what they’re studying to even try to connect their results to ADD.

And that doesn’t do it for us. We set out to understand this stuff. It’s not like it’s rocket science.

OK, it is, but they could still try a bit harder…

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In effect …certain changes within DNA maximized the potential of that DNA to survive and propagate. Viruses like HIV have the capacity to mutate quickly, to avoid any restraints on their growth …and this evolution occurs quickly, …essential to …the survival …of their DNA.
You have to be careful of how you characterize this stuff. It’s not an ‘ability’, even though we humans have a powerful impulse to see it as such.

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…in stark contrast to lower organisms, higher eukaryotes evolve much less quickly…
Not necessarily; next generation adaptation has been observed. There isn’t anything in principle that prohibits it.

But we’re not talking about the same thing, here. We’re talking about a speciation event, a fact that is almost universally misunderstood. Speciation events are a special case in evolutionary theory, involving a species wide emergent system.

Speciation is an emergent event with a dynamic entirely different than the sort of evolutionary systems usually studied.

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Is it possible that we should be searching for the reason for ADD, not in the future but in the past?
Nope, but it’s an annoyingly popular idea. Don’t get us started. (grin…)

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Have we been subject to sufficient selective pressure and over a sufficiently long time-frame to support the theory that we are evolving towards ADD, as opposed to evolving away from ADD?
This is only a counter-argument, and don’t forget I’m an ADDer – I’m just an ADDer that likes to test theories ( :-) ).
Emergent systems don’t have the same idea of selective pressure. In fact, this point of view tends toward the incorrect, because it misses the point of selective pressure.

The best way to describe how selective systems work is the idea of the ‘magic filter’. Our son Bryan did a classical gene splicing experiment for a science fair project when he was in eighth grade. He focused right in on the interesting question, which is how the massively random splicing results in correct sequences.

Of course, the answer is simple: it doesn’t. The process makes zillions of incorrect strands, and then runs them through the magic filter: only the pitifully small percentage of correctly assembled strands can produce a viable organism.

Selective pressure is a magic filter, and such filters have a very important characteristic: they don’t deselect. In the absence of any competition, traits tend to hang on. This is an important source of adaptive characteristics.

But there isn’t any purpose, or anticipation. Stuff just happens to be there, or it doesn’t. In an emergent system, the combination of external circumstance and internal happenstance conspire to weave a tapestry that is completely new, initially resisted but ultimately prevailing. And what it gets woven into is just accidental, or perhaps serendipitous.

The single underlying principle is that an organism will take advantage of anything that pops up, in any way it seems to render an advantage.

That makes it all the more remarkable that there’s a similarity between the original event that gave rise to homo sapiens and the event currently underway. Both involve the development of a commonly shared internal logical experiential context.

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OK-so where does my ad hoc theory fall down?
I find it quite difficult to understand how ADHD with hyperactivity and ADD-Inattentive type, with such seemingly different behaviours can be as tightly bound as they appear to be (ie within the same syndrome and with the same medications). Although Inattentive Type is more common in females, what is driving the appearance of Inattentive type in males (my type)?

From a poll on this site, it appears as though Inattentive type is the most common form of ADD in adults.
It’s probably a good idea to quash the impulse to categorize things until you have a good sound sense of their context. We find that the various types you mention aren’t really all that helpful.

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In actual fact, I prefer your theory for explaining Inattentive Type in males ( :-) )
Thanks – we like it. (big grins…)

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– Why?
Because I think it is associated with a tendency towards philosophy and contemplation. I feel that our society is flawed in that we are taught from an early age that having an expensive house, car, holiday etc… ie capitalist ideals are our goals in life. Although these are associated with an increased likelihood of our DNA being propagated ie finding a mate, is it possible that a tendency towards philosphy could break this evolutionary imperative and actually herald the next stage in evolution ie towards the development of a better society.
Well, there’s a bit of a stretch here. These things are not actually “associated with an increased likelihood of …finding a mate”. Instead, they’re a complicated sort of flag that has been co-opted to signify some underlying suitability for reproductive success.

But the joke is on us; the pursuit of these ‘flags’ only results in the appearance of the underlying characteristic. Does anyone really believe that Donald Trump actually represents the best chance for reproductive success?

Incidentally, this refers to the status driven modern reproductive strategy, one of two that all humans possess. The other is a primitive strategy Kay and I call “quickie under a bush.”

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Alternatively, I don’t think there’s any dispute that the majority of ADD diagnoses occur in the United States. Is it possible that this is due to an increased awareness of the problem –or- an increased frequency of ADHD genes in American society (since individuals choosing to leave their native country and colonise America would have been more likely to exhibit aspects of ADD eg ‘thrill seeking’)
No, not thrill seeking. Forget those terms, until we can all be sure we understand the context.

This is a good example of how the thinking on this stuff is backwards. One of the low level drivers we all possess is called the ‘social impulse’. The social impulse is the strongest of our low level drivers, and the most poorly understood. It touches almost every aspect of our existence.

In this context, the significant bit is a feeling of empowerment and determination to correct any behavior that signals an incorrect understanding of reality itself. That’s the fundamental difficulty that normals have when confronted by ADD.

That’s also the short description of the social pressure that resulted in the colonization of America. Draw your own conclusions, but it’s running from something that’s more threatening towards a less threatening situation, not risk taking or thrill seeking behavior.

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–or- perhaps related to the unique cultural pressures that an American will feel whilst growing up.

Using a generalization, it appears to me as a non-USA resident, that Americans are subject to great pressure to succeed, in the terms I described above. Is it possible that the stress associated with growing up in this environment increases the likelihood of any underlying ADD mutant genes expressing their functionality? In formal genetics speak, that is, that stress increases the penetrance of ADD susceptibility genotypes. OK, so to rephrase that last bit, Is it possible that ADD is a disease that has arisen through the unnatural (at least through our evolution from lower organisms) stress that is placed on Americans (and now spreading to other Western countries) to achieve?
If life were simpler, would symptoms of ADD be seen? I will retire at some point in the next 10 years to France, and I’m sure that without the stresses and strains of succeeding in our current cultural climate, that ADD will cease to be a problem.
No, no, yes, no, …wait, I lost my place. (grin)

OK, the problem we have with this up front is the characterization of AD/HD as a disease. It’s not. It’s also not a disorder, or due to a deficit of attention. In fact, it’s more accurate to characterize it as due to an excess of attention.

Again, we don’t see any reason to make this more complicated than it needs to be. Occam’s razor holds, and the simple answer is that there actually is a single, simple underlying causative factor that gives rise to the amazingly complex array of symptoms and behaviors that are associated with AD/HD.

The complexity in how it’s expressed is a clue to the complexity of the system that supports it, i.e., us. Since we came from the other direction, from the complex expression itself, we aren’t surprised by the occasionally contradictory nature of AD/HD. But if you start by looking at AD/HD, it is a big stretch.

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So…I guess I’m asking whether ADD has its roots in evolution, but is only becoming a problem because of the way that we collectively currently choose to drive our society forwards.
Hmmmm… Are you suggesting, then, that cultural influences could be looked at as a sort of external genetic material? (grin…)

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*Stabile-Every ADDer …is faced with the fact that we have …knowledge about ourselves and our (reality) that sets us apart…*

(SB) …the reason why (we are) better (at)contemplative thought, is that (we’re) better at focusing inwards, rather than outward(s)...

To the Non-Adder, questions relating to the point of life …may never be asked. The Adder …looking inwardly, may ask these questions…

There is a flip-side …abandoning …ideals is fine, as long as there’s something to replace them. Without something to replace them, there(s) no motivation for living.
Sorry, I could have included a bit more about this. I wrote a letter to a friend a while back that addresses this in more depth; if you’re interested, I’d be happy to send you a copy.

The reason we have a greater knowledge about ourselves is that we can encode information much more richly and efficiently using a new kind of logical structure in the brain. Our ability to maintain two (or more) threads of conscious awareness at one time, one of the fundamental experiential aspects of ADD, opens the door to our use of such structures.

A rich encoding is correspondingly rich with implications. We look inward simply because we can. But it’s a mistake to assume that we don’t have just as good a view in the other direction, as well.

The problem of abandoning ideals never materializes, because they aren’t abandoned at all; they’re superceded and displaced. The use of these new logical structures necessarily results in a kind of enforced moral consistency, another point of severe contention with normals.

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*Stabile-We believe dealing with that epiphany is the last and biggest chapter of the story of our drugs and therapies losing effectiveness.*
I’m sorry, could you expand on this point?
A richer and more complex logical structure takes longer to reach maturity – we believe that isolated examples typically begin to mature at about age 40. Clearly, a community (such as this forum) engenders the process. But we’ll be surprised if that can be lowered too much below thirty, maybe twenty-five or twenty-six.

In this, we speak from personal experience. However, the important point isn’t how long, but what results. The epiphany we speak of is a sort of avalanche effect, as the mature logical structure begins to synchronize with nature in an ever more complete way.

Eventually, each point that comes into sync begins to generate more and more additional points, until there is a very real feeling of the whole suddenly coalescing out of the void.

If a rich and complex representation is correspondingly rich with implications, you can imagine the effect of a substantially complete structure. Implications of a different sort spring forth, and they are both irrefutable and impossible to ignore.

Perhaps most fundamental is the absolute sense of exactly how reality arises, and the extent to which it is merely an artifact of it’s own logical representation. A close second is a deep appreciation of how much we cannot express if we are to be restricted to existing language.

Right behind those, and intimately related, is a sense of exactly how much of all of this normals just don’t get, and will never get. We gain a clear insight into the way normal’s use of their brains inherently limits their ability to understand us, themselves, and their context.

What it feels like is the sudden sure understanding that you are Here, and they are all over There, and Here and There are very well defined. And although we can see how we might easily and arbitrarily place ourselves There, if we wanted to make the effort, it’s just as obvious that they haven’t got the same choice.

The certainty with which we are able to see this, and the obvious nature of the distance and difference between us, immediately presents us with several profound and deeply fundamental questions. That immediacy is compelling, and that is the problem.

In a practical sense, it’s like looking at the people all around you every day and not being able to ignore the fact that many, perhaps most, are wearing gorilla suits.

What is it you can say to a person in a gorilla suit? After the novelty wears off (and you realize that they haven’t a clue), it becomes a nagging constant. That’s the challenge for our drugs and coping mechanisms that we were referring to.

And you better have a sense of humor at this point, too, or you can easily be overwhelmed.

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Can I end this message off with a personal comment.
Sure. Isn’t that what we’re here for? (grins…)

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I like taking stimulant medication (though I’ve only taken it for 4 months). I think I have a crude idea how stimulant medication works. I don’t really know why ADD is such a problem now, or how it arose, but I am convinced that I have it.
We agree. But we think everyone has the potential; it’s how that potential is expressed that makes a difference. So in a way, if you can make that statement, you are creating the situation in which it is true.

We can say this, though; we wouldn’t trade it for anything.

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Going back to my original message, (!!) all (!!) that I want ( :-) ) is some form of guarantee that if I take the medication in a certain way, that I will benefit, for as long as I am wedded to the medication, in the same way that I benefited during these 4 months.
After reading your message I am heartened by the length of time for which you have taken the medication, and also by the observation of how you feel that the medication is as effective now, as it ever was. Unfortunately though, I cannot fully grasp the idea of how change in one’s life, can make it appear that the medication is losing its effectiveness.

Hopefully I will soon though :-)
OK, it’s simple, really: if you just consider some circumstance as being distracting in a certain way, you can easily imagine a different circumstance that is more distracting.

If meds are helpful in the first circumstance, and your life changes so that you now experience the second, the same meds may not be enough.

All that you have to imagine now is that having ADD has been a constant influence in you life. As you begin to take the meds, and deal with that fact, your circumstances change by definition. And your new circumstances may or may not require a different level of medication, which will then change you circumstances again, and so on.

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This is kinda’ fun….oh and be gentle to me in your reply, I have ADD…you know.
It is fun, isn’t it? And we could tell…

Thanks. –Tom and Kay
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