• Guest, The rules for the P & N subforum have been updated to prohibit "ad hominem" or personal attacks against other posters. See the full details in the post "Politics and News Rules & Guidelines."
  • Community Question: What makes a good motherboard?

350 health professionals sign letter to Congress claiming Trump's mental health is deteriorating dangerously amid impeachment proceedings

Page 3 - Seeking answers? Join the AnandTech community: where nearly half-a-million members share solutions and discuss the latest tech.

fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
70,068
18,808
136
Ethically, the situation is very complex. Ethics is not the field of finding universally correct moral answers. Ethics is a quest for a useful framework when competing goods need to be weighed against each other. It is not the only framework, but I prefer using the four principles framework:
Beneficence -- helping a patient
Non-maleficence -- not hurting a patient
Autonomy -- respecting a patient's wishes
Justice -- dealing with equity, etc., for the greater system

Here we potentially put non-maleficence and autonomy at odds with justice. There is not a universal right way to weigh things, but generally if you are doing a physician task (diagnosis, treatment recommendations) for someone you have not established care for and not examined and going against their individual interest and choice, it demands a pretty high bar.

My biggest question here is, should any individual or collection of individuals cross that boundary, does it have any positive practical effect? Most of the time we are dealing with unknowns, e.g. you can't predict who will have an infection after surgery, but this doesn't mean you don't use evidence to weigh likely risks and benefits.
While I am not a mental health professional I believe they have not only the right but the duty to speak out if they have cause to reasonably believe someone with the capacity to end tens or hundreds of millions of lives in a matter of minutes is suffering from serious mental and emotional deterioration.

It’s much like impeachment. Will it remove him from office? Probably not. That doesn’t absolve the House from its duty.
 

feralkid

Lifer
Jan 28, 2002
14,961
2,257
126
An expert or medical professional stating that the President or anyone else they have never spoken to or personally examined has specific medical condition(s) is very problematic. When the only observation is via very bias means, it is reckless at best. Considering it's the President, it does nothing but to create panic and unfounded fears in less than mentally capable people.
FYI, the term is "biased" and it doesn't mean what you think it does.
 

soundforbjt

Lifer
Feb 15, 2002
15,871
3,449
136
It's funny, the police & FBI employ the use of mental health professionals when looking for serial killers and no one thinks, boy that's unethical, but apply it to a leader who could do far more damage and it's suddenly unethical.
 

interchange

Diamond Member
Oct 10, 1999
7,285
1,998
136
While I am not a mental health professional I believe they have not only the right but the duty to speak out if they have cause to reasonably believe someone with the capacity to end tens or hundreds of millions of lives in a matter of minutes is suffering from serious mental and emotional deterioration.

It’s much like impeachment. Will it remove him from office? Probably not. That doesn’t absolve the House from its duty.
There is an additional element that I worry about even in casual or online supposedly anonymous discussions. I have patients who are Trump supporters, and I think it is plenty possible speaking out publicly can cause harm to them.
 

pmv

Diamond Member
May 30, 2008
6,899
2,230
136
It's funny, the police & FBI employ the use of mental health professionals when looking for serial killers and no one thinks, boy that's unethical, but apply it to a leader who could do far more damage and it's suddenly unethical.
From what I've heard the whole 'criminal profiler' thing is not what it's cracked up to be in movies and on TV. Their record is not great. In fact it's downright terrible, they usually get it wrong, possibly no better than a random guess. I remember it was a spectacular and damaging failure in the infamous Rachel Nickell/Colin Stagg case.



So as much as I, in my layman capacity (unconstrained by any code of ethics from the professional body for random-opinionated-people--on-the-internet), think there's something very badly wrong with Trump, I actually don't know I attach much weight to a supposed expert verdict, beyond what already seems obvious.

In fact, I wonder whether interchange's point above applies generally - it seems kind of dangerous in multiple ways if psychology itself comes to be seen as having a political bias/agenda (if you are troubled Trumpian, would you want to go to a head-shrinker for help if you saw the whole lot of them as being on the other 'side'?).

And, equally, from the other direction, it seems a bad development if it comes to be seen that only those with the right credentials can judge that a President is unfit for the job. I don't need someone with letters after their name to tell me that!

And I personally struggle to shake off a suspicion that psychology _does_ have a political bias/agenda (that it's intrinsically 'liberal', which is not the same as 'left' or 'right'). I really struggle with how one can have a definite view on what constitutes mental ill-health unless you also have a view on how people _should_ be and what constitutes 'normal'. It can't be value-free, surely?
 
Last edited:

BUTCH1

Lifer
Jul 15, 2000
19,378
1,044
126
Girl, I want you here with me
But I'm really not as cool as I'd like to be
'Cause theres a red, under my bed
And theres a little yellow man in my head
And theres a true blue inside of me
That keeps stopping me, touching ya, watching ya, loving ya
Paranoia, the destroyer
Paranoia, the destroyer
Cool, the Kinks are criminally underrated.
 

soundforbjt

Lifer
Feb 15, 2002
15,871
3,449
136
From what I've heard the whole 'criminal profiler' thing is not what it's cracked up to be in movies and on TV. Their record is not great. In fact it's downright terrible, they usually get it wrong, possibly no better than a random guess. I remember it was a spectacular and damaging failure in the infamous Rachel Nickell/Colin Stagg case.



So as much as I, in my layman capacity (unconstrained by any code of ethics from the professional body for random-opinionated-people--on-the-internet), think there's something very badly wrong with Trump, I actually don't know I attach much weight to a supposed expert verdict, beyond what already seems obvious.

In fact, I wonder whether interchange's point above applies generally - it seems kind of dangerous in multiple ways if psychology itself comes to be seen as having a political bias/agenda (if you are troubled Trumpian, would you want to go to a head-shrinker for help if you saw the whole lot of them as being on the other 'side'?).

And, equally, from the other direction, it seems a bad development if it comes to be seen that only those with the right credentials can judge that a President is unfit for the job. I don't need someone with letters after their name to tell me that!

And I personally struggle to shake off a suspicion that psychology _does_ have a political bias/agenda (that it's intrinsically 'liberal', which is not the same as 'left' or 'right'). I really struggle with how one can have a definite view on what constitutes mental ill-health unless you also have a view on how people _should_ be and what constitutes 'normal'. It can't be value-free, surely?
Results of the famous “Coals to Newcastle” study found that the predictions made by profilers were accurate about 66% of the time.

But they usually don't result in successful arrests.
 

pmv

Diamond Member
May 30, 2008
6,899
2,230
136

But they usually don't result in successful arrests.

To be honest, any study that involves both the Metropolitan police and psychologists is one I'm going to be skeptical about. Cops and shrinks are two groups I really don't trust to honestly evaluate their own methods.

That the police might report that a profile 'helped in solving the case' doesn't mean that it actually did. That's not an objective measure of success. There's a very obvious "placebo effect" likely to be involved there.

The Met were of course the very ones who screwed up so profoundly in that Colin Stagg case. And the list of unreproducible studies in the psych field is a very long one (yet another one of the big names in the field of psychology - Hans Eysenk - was recently exposed as using fraudulent data, I note). So, while I realise I lack the time, energy and capacity to evaluate that study on it's own terms (something I'd clearly have to do, before making any rash executive decisions, if I were mysteriously put in charge of police procedure), I nevertheless remain quite skeptical.

And glancing at it here, it doesn't seem hugely compelling - it looks, at first glance, to be all about self-reported subjective claims of the police officers, and the results and conclusions in section 6 don't really say it does anything more than make the cops feel better about things, psychologically. There doesn't seem to be any suggestion of an objective benefit.



It also seems to be contradicted by the later studies mentioned in that Vox article.
 
Last edited:

ASK THE COMMUNITY