Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Read All About It

From Rose Eveleth comes an absolutely gorgeous article on autistic potential, spurred by the work of Mottron, Souliรจres, Dawson and colleagues. The article makes a nice blend of realism and affirmation, and might be the best bit of autism-related journalism I've yet to see.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

On the Prowl

Scientists are perfectly free to keep looking for the source of intelligence inside the human brain. But they might as well keep looking for the luminiferous ether while they're at it.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Balanced Approach

I will say this much in defense of Ami Klin. His description of autistic perceptual characteristics comes with a corresponding (and fairly accurate) description of non-autistic perceptual characteristics, along with an appreciation for the merit and deeply ingrained nature of those characteristics (see for instance the answer to the next-to-last question here). This is an approach I wish the Mottron research team would seriously consider. Indeed, if we could combine the best of Ami Klin's observations and Laurent Mottron's research and ideas, we might arrive at an informative and mutually clarifying description for these two fundamental forms of human perception. But alas, blind spots continue to be the norm within autism research.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Calibrating the Eye-Tracker

Ami Klin is making a fundamental mistake in emphasizing early autistic attention towards objects. When autistic toddlers line up toys, they're not intrigued by the toys—they're intrigued by the line.

Friday, November 11, 2011


The one consistent finding throughout autism research is that whatever autistics do, it's wrong.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Liars and Hypocrites

If I'd known that curing autism would be so easy, I might not have raised such a big objection. But according to recent reports, all we need to do is train autistic individuals to be better liars and hypocrites, and they'll become virtually indistinguishable from their neurotypical peers.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Many people attack science because they don't want to think. I attack science because scientists don't want to think.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

How Do I List Thee? Let Me Count the Ways

Oh, I just relish authorship discussions like this one. They always leave me wondering how Darwin or Tolstoy would have handled such dilemmas.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


It's nice to see the media attention being given to Laurent Mottron, Michelle Dawson, and their immediate colleagues in conjunction with the appearance of Dr. Mottron's commentary Changing perceptions: The power of autism (which sadly is behind a paywall). I've never been one to be hesitant about expressing my dissent from some of these researchers' positions and views, but this has always been done in the context of great admiration and respect for their overall effort. These are scientists who have consistently led the way in providing autism research that is affirmative, encouraging, accurate and productive for autistic individuals, a stance which has demonstrated both courage and insight. Any positive attention they get is well deserved and well earned.

[Update: It appears that the paywall restriction has been removed. More applause.]

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Kierkegaard's Lemma

When being a Christian was unpopular, unrewarding, even dangerous, then we had true Christianity. Science is no different.