I’m so used to being misunderstood, to being the intellectual black sheep, Jeff against the world, that post hatching and having found a type for myself, I find myself rejecting it and its assumptions like I always have with NT world’s; it’s a habit and a survival mechanism and maybe a whole neurotype and it’s not likely to change anytime soon.
All my life I have been battling a broken neurotype, not mine.
It stresses me out, it’s got me pacing and even hand flapping a little, when I hear the charlatans’ noise about “curing” Autists, but our responses also do not satisfy me, I feel that while we are putting up an argument, that we get dragged into accepting some portion of their premise, and I want to lead you in, but you know what, let’s go straight to it, I’ll name it. More than that Autists are not a thing to repair or to prevent, I need to go further, nothing falls into place for me if “Autism” is a thing, at all. It’s not the monster I have identified and wrestled all my life, that was . . . the other thing.
Here’s my premise.
“Autism,” isn’t a thing, I mean it’s a thing, everything is a word, everything is a thing, a vacuum is a thing, but it’s also nothing: space is a “thing,” that is also nothing, whereas matter, now that’s a thing, a thing that isn’t just the absence of another thing. Autism is a thing like space is a thing; whereas . . . I need a better word, for it, please work with me that these are close, whereas Neurotypicality, Allism, being “normal,” – now these are things. Like matter is a thing.
Being normal is a thing, and it is not also just “nothing,” like the word suggests. That’s just the consensus fallacy, if it’s everywhere, it’s nothing – this is backwards, NTs, if it’s everywhere, that’s more like everything than “nothing,” isn’t it? Not asking, or not asking NTs: it is more like everything. Like we’re having the discussion about air again: if it displaces something else, it’s matter, it’s not “nothing,” even if it is everywhere. Even if it is invisible to you.
When the charlatans go to environmental causes, Tylenol, that’s horrible and stupid, Autists haven’t been poisoned, and poisons don’t create neurotypes, but that’s not my area, plenty of good folks are fighting those folks, thank goodness (and also I have had a run at them recently already). What I think I need to answer today is when they start talking about genes. That’s close to a logic I am already looking at, and I have already been developing a genetic theory about that other thing. “Autism,” “has a genetic component,” they say, and . . . duh?
Doesn’t everything alive and all of behaviour “have a genetic component?”
Of course it does, and to say it about “Autism,” is as obvious as it would be to say it about anything, and to say there is “more than one gene involved,” is also true of everything and equally obvious, and I predict that they cannot even say it is associated with any “group of genes,” not yet, they will say, and none of those statements suggest that “Autism” is a genetic . . . unit of any sort. A single gene might, as in some diseases, a group of them might, I think there are things associated with more than one gene, but these have not been identified for “Autism,” and so they have not ‘yet,’ shown the genes to say that “Autism,” is a genetic . . . phenomenon.
OK – I have seen this idea, a group of genes, and I think they will argue, I think they will say they have identified a “number of genes,” now – I don’t think I’m out of date, I think I’m arguing, I’m saying I don’t believe them. This blog is about how I don’t think “Autism” is thing in itself and that there is no such logical grouping. It’s a dispute, not my ignorance – I think. It does get a little circular, both their argument and mine, and I’m not sure there’s any way around all of that with these sorts of constructs. My point is, that it is less circular when we see it the other way around: I am predicting that we can indeed find a “group of genes,” but for NTness, not Autism. Such puzzles always carry an extra level of difficulty when you’re looking at them upside down, trying to prove the negative rather than the positive in the situation.
Their language is doomed to vagueness and complexity, we see it progress: a gene, no, a group of genes, well, a variable number of genes, along with environmental things (like Tylenol) also, well, environment (like Tylenol) and a variable number of genes and also life history (like a lack of “discipline”) . . .
You know what, here, let me flip that over for you. That’s what we’re here for.
Of course, I can’t show you any genes for anything, so, while proof is lacking for “Autistic genes,” at this date, let’s look at some theory, shall we?
What does a genetic . . . entity look like? How do we recognize genes, what sort of attributes do genetic things have?
I’ve thought of four things that we associate with a genetic . . . effect, and they are, in no particular order,
One, heritability: genes explain heritability, our children inherit our genes and our lives, to some degree. It has been dramatically explained how genetic behaviours appear in separated families, most poisonously in the twin studies. Heritability that survives family and cultural disruption, we know this is a genetic matter.
Two, epigenetics: an epigenetic effect is a sure positive sign, if not not always present, but when we see differences in development with the same genes in different environments, we know some gene is taking a cue from the environment and choosing an option.
Three, sameness: when we share a gene, we share a trait, not one for one necessarily, but species share a whole lot of their genes while all of life share a few, almost. “Species,” means a high level of shared genes, and when we see shared attributes, especially across diverse environments, we know we are seeing shared genes. Accordingly, the more uniform a given group is, a given species, the less variability it displays, this indicates a higher percentage of shared genes than perhaps another, highly variable “species,” has, and the more variable species has more genes that they don’t all share – think perhaps species with mountain and lowland versions – but the more they are all the same, the more we know their genes are too.
To phrase it for use here, I want to say that the more uniform a group is, the more “genetic,” it is, that is to say the more it would be accurately defined by defining the gene, or as I’ve been saying, the genetic . . . something. Genetic overall effect, I suppose. I mean, I don’t only want to say it. I think it’s a fair example of how we use the soft term, “genetic,” in conversation, and I try not to want to say untrue things, of course don’t we all. We will judge for ourselves, I guess, but if you don’t agree, things will look more circular later, I’m afraid. I’m trying to set it up, but with a change of viewpoint, not by dispensing with the truth, I hope.
Inasmuch as ninety-some percent of shared genes makes a species and a hundred percent makes you an identical twin or a clone, more similar means more “genetic,” – ah, there it is. It means more of the “genetic component.”
That ought to do it! It just takes me a bit sometimes.
Four, evolution: when a trait or an effect is growing or shrinking, being selected or deselected over time, when evolution is happening, it happens in your genes, if we see polar bears fading to tan, we know there are grizzly genes, they are converging. When we see species getting bigger or smaller or changing how they use the environment, we know their genes are changing too.
Some of my reasoning will rest upon reasoning that as far as I can see, is only mine; I will be expecting you to accept AST, Antisocialization Theory, my idea that humanity drives itself to more and more antisocial behaviours by way of its attempts at social control, my idea that no-one traumatizes humans except humans, that we are horrible and destroying the world because we treat ourselves horribly and for no other reason. It’s the materialistic ideological opposite of “Human Nature.” It’s all I ever talk about, see the blog.
I will attempt to give you a way around it where possible, but I’m nothing if not holistic, and it won’t really work without it. Nothing works with the Human Nature myth gumming up the science, and cynic that I am, you know I think that’s the point of it.
Alright let’s apply these criteria and find out who’s a genetic . . . whatever and who isn’t, shall we?
“It runs in families,” sure it does, of course it does, wait – what does? “Autism?” So, “Autism,” “runs in my family?” Again, yes, sure it does – but it’s not the only thing that does. I’m pretty sure my family has a non-Autistic streak too. The rest of them aren’t blank molds, waiting to be coloured in, they’re not “nothing,” if they’re not Autistic, are they? More like everything, if you count them. If we don’t just leave them out of our equations. Hmm.
I’m afraid I’ve just talked myself out of “Allism,” as my term, I’ll go back to my generic, “NTness,” again, because my point is it’s the concrete thing – and Allism is defined as simply “not Autistic,” that’s not a definition for my thesis, obviously they can’t just define each other that way, and I’m going the other direction, where it is “Autism,” whose definition will simply be “not NT.” With a better word some day, I hope. My apologies to the community, that word is not going to work out anymore when I’m finished revamping the entire movement and the world. To say, “Allism runs in families,” instead is merely a grammatical tautology, not my point at all. We should find a way to say NT to mean something more specific, but that’s a bridge too far just now.
NTness it is.
The point of this is that this is not a grammatical tautology, but a real one, there is some real, heritable thing being passed along that isn’t Autism, some genetic . . . structure that is its own thing, and again, isn’t “nothing,” or “Human Nature,” or any sort of a functional default that is necessarily good or “natural,” or just the way God planned it. But either way – if it’s only grammar to you, it’s still clear that both neurotypes “run in families, Autistic and not Autistic.” If it’s only grammar to begin with, it’s still grammatically true. Logically, if “Autism runs in families,” so does the other thing, or there would be nothing but “Autism.” Right?
For me, there are two possible genetic things in this conversation, both possibly actual, heritable things in the world, and perhaps it’s one or the other, or perhaps it’s both. So, that’s One Point each. Both things look genetic, based on their heritability, to me, “Autism,” and “NTness.”
It’s a One-All tie at this point. They could both be genetic . . . forms of order by the first test.
Now, this is all overview, I am not a biologist, and when I say “genes,” or “alleles,” or even if I name one as I’m about to do, know that the names and the details don’t mean much to me, that this is all theory and someday your details will catch up. I won’t be held to some genetic detail from 2020, this is all made from macro observations, no minutiae is going to invalidate it for me.
This seems to be a feature of some genes, or some genetic effects, that they have options, depending on what they detect about the environment, that affect an organism’s development. I believe some genetic diseases or conditions come on during development as genetic options are settled, isn’t that right? Classic epigenetic effects are things like . . .wow, Google seems useless, nothing but cancer, and it seems confused with mutation. Things like a foetus sensing its mother’s malnutrition and adjusting how the person processes proteins for their life, this is an example, the Dutch Winter Babies – I’m not sure anyone’s proved that this extends beyond the womb, but wouldn’t it?
If a one year-old senses its own famine and had any developing left to do, can we assume some things are adjustable well into development? I would think so, I mean I do think so, I’m quite certain this is the case but that I am not in that business and am having a little trouble finding the proof for you. The idea is central to AST, I must have seen it somewhere. Oh, there it is – identical twins have the same genes to start, and epigenetics, response to environment, is understood to be responsible for any differences between identical twins at all, which clearly exist.
AST has it that the so called warrior alleles operate that way, and I think that’s my example, everyone thinks that – it’s just a poor example because it’s exactly my thesis, AST’s premise that some genetic effect like the warrior alleles happens for people, and that no-one makes the environment one to activate those alleles, I mean set the worse option, but us. This environment is called, “spanking.” It has a special name, it’s not just “hitting,” or “beating,” and it’s only called that when we do it to humans in childhood, during development, because it is epigenetics.
We see the effect, as I said in a recent blog, when children, born sweet and helpless become hard and aggressive as they age to “maturity.” Spanking sets the options of your warrior alleles to “war.” At least it does for most people. I have been trying to make this case for years; if I haven’t convinced anyone yet, it must be impossible. For me, this is the epigenetic effect that rules human life.
We must pause to admit that the “warrior alleles,” have suffered the same process as “Autistic genes,” that at first it was “the psychopath gene,” then the name change and the caveats, depending on other factors, then only in extreme abusive environments, along with or without many other genes, etc., etc., it is difficult to say anything with any power in this complex business. But the less extreme function seems clear and independent of microscopic detail, how people grow up to “be strong,” more reliably than that they grow up getting more sensitive. If you don’t see it, you probably think nothing and no-one is strong enough, which makes my point in an even more powerful way.
To some of us, at least.
It seems that perhaps it fails for some? For many Autists in particular? Can we not be counted upon to get “strong?” This is my AST view, that this is the DEPT, this is what is so wrong with us, we cannot be trusted because we are apparently no damned good in a fight.
Not sure I can continue. This is a controversial point, I’m not sure anyone is going to follow me so far. There is a lot of talk online about Autistic sense of fairness and justice and on the other hand the ones who would “cure” us are quick to say we resist the training. Look, I guess I can’t speak for all Autists, maybe any of them, I am pretty new, and as I said at the start, I’m not a very good follower – but it never changed me. I am as opposed to spanking today as I was when I was one year old.
I don’t think I have that warrior allele thing in nearly the same measure as normal people do, and I suspect a lot of us Autists are like this. Can you see where I’m going? I think NTness displays the epigenetic effect of people growing up strong and mean, and I’m not so sure “Autism,” has that.
I think we’re at Two to One now. In this sense, NTness is a genetic . . . function, and “Autism,” lacking this attribute, may not be, at least is not proved to be by this logic.
Which has diversity, which conforms?
Am I done? It’s tempting. More than tempting, why insult you? Maybe in the LSD halcyon days of the sixties I would have had to but . . . you have media, right? Enough said.
Three to One. Next!
AST again: I think we’re getting worse, I mean something is. I don’t agree with the existing conversation, I don’t think we’re “better,” than the chimpanzees because I think we have a chance to know better and we never take it. We don’t rule and kill the whole world because we are “better,” than any damn thing, try this – the chimpanzees probably don’t kill as many chimpanzees as we do anyway. We are worse, and getting worse all the time, and we don’t take any responsibility for our horrible selves and talk about “Human Nature,” insisting, promising, to never change. For hundreds of years now, maybe thousands of years, wars keep getting bigger. Standing still in the river of life changes you, and trying not to change only means you are choosing the worse option when the world changes, and suffering a reduction in your viability and quality of life.
It’s not just me and AST that thinks so, it’s the same meme that we are Fallen, that we have gotten worse, perhaps the biologists have a slightly less negative view, they say that we retain the nastiness of the chimpanzee and have only extended their destructive capabilities, not that we are getting worse within ourselves, only that we are not getting better. That’s better, huh.
This is my long held, and long considered from every side that I can imagine worldview, AST, that we keep making ourselves worse, in an act of misguided self-directed evolution, and it’s about the species in general, but:
. . . but I didn’t know about “Autism,” that my mindset may not be a one-off, but a type, and I wasn’t aware of the Indigenous Critique either. It is amazing to learn that my self-taught understanding of the world that few of my white friends understand or agree with happens to line up with a common Autistic set of traits, but far more amazing that it does with the pre-European North American way of life.
I have been thinking and speaking about an “NT gene suite” for some time now, as opposed to at least my Autistic genes, and honestly, Wengrow’s talk about the Indigenous Critique is an evidence I never dreamed of, too bloody good to be true! You mean there are modern people, whole civilizations, practically within living memory, compared to the long story of evolution I thought I was telling, that didn’t have this problem, at all?!?!?
The Indigenous Critique of “Europeans and their culture,” and my complaints about my life’s difficulties communicating with NT people, they are identical. The Indigenous life the Dawn of Everything describes is exactly the life I pine for, exactly what I would have designed for us all – the life I bloody need. I’m trying not to tell you what it is, this is getting long and I’ve barely begun the book myself, everyone should read that book. And it existed, this life?
Really? Bloody Hell.
Is it really too much to assume some previous state, as those enlightenment pundits did, before all of this? Having watched this toxic thing take over North America, and likely other places, can we not assume it began somewhere and took us over at some point, maybe not so far back as caves and fire? Again, again, if it’s “nothing,” because it’s everywhere or will be soon, you’d say no, but that’s crazy, it’s everywhere, or almost, so it’s something, very, very something. I had been talking about an aggressive gene and genetic drift, and good Lord, if the European Age of Expansion isn’t just that.
Drift counts as “evolution,” doesn’t it? One of evolution’s most powerful vectors, isn’t it? You’re free to disagree, of course, but I think the main thrust of humanity is evolving, not in a positive way, it is adapting to an environment that it makes worse and then it adapts to that – this is a positive feedback loop, thermal runaway, and it is all going to burn. AST suggests that the 21st. century looks exactly like the 20th. century and that this cycle of meltdowns may be the final stage, to be repeated until we do adapt in a different direction, or for as many cycles as this planet can survive it.
Of course I’d love to be wrong about that.
But the other side of the question, this factor – are Autists evolving?
It will be Four to One by me, if not. What do we know?
Not much, to be sure. We’ve only had the word for a hundred years, and we’re still fighting about the definition; I don’t have a lot to work with. We exist, so we are being selected for, somehow, someone is breeding with us, although I expect that nobody knows yet if we are on the wax or the wane or holding steady, and nobody can say we are getting more or less Autistic, for the same reasons. We lack data for evolutionary change happening among Autists at the moment, of course, we haven’t got much of a snapshot yet, but is there anything?
I think maybe I’ll touch genetic similarity after all, not having to make the case for NTness, but just to talk about its relative absence in “Autism.” I won’t be using quotation marks going forward in my life for that, it just helps make the particular point in this blog, that we’re analysing that term.
But there is something about the other health issues, “morbidities” associated with us. There is a word, for illnesses that occur together, “comorbidities,” and technically it’s fine if you have more than one, but I’m seeing an argument that says to use such a term around “Autism,” sounds like “Autism,” is one of them, like “people with EDS often have the comorbidity of being “Autistic,” might pass too, so we’re looking for other terms, less negative, “co-occurrences,” like that.
But, terminology aside for the moment, it’s like, uh . . . it’s a little like “Autism” is a prophylaxis for disorders and problems that at least from an NT, bro-science evo point of view, “should” get people selected out. Again, some talk about “curing,” us for these issues, but somehow we are here, still getting laid and breeding, despite them. No? I mean, on the theory that we aren’t a new thing in the world, and I don’t think any but the most hardline creationist sorts think that.
What I’m suggesting is that the “number of genes along with environmental factors, etc.,” associated with “Autism” seem to be shared with a lot of problem genes, and no force is taking advantage, the leopards aren’t eating us, we are still here despite some liabilities. I have this sense that somehow, our side of the gene pool is un-curated, we are either too small to worry about or too big to fail or something. All this, is my only tiny stab in the dark evidence that perhaps “Autism,” is not presently evolving, that it is not showing that trait that some genetic . . . things do.
With that ephemeral bit of reasoning, and no evidence either for or against to speak of, it seems equally right or wrong to declare one way or the other – but well. This is my blog, and that is the declaration I am here to make: go forth, prove me right, prove me wrong, get us that data, this is science, Laddie, that’s the whole idea.
So, argue, criticize, of course, but I’m at Four to One now, and I expect readers are at Two, Two and a half, maybe Three to One, and I would call that a win.
Conclusion: at this point, I will say that “Autism,” could be something along the lines of a genetic “disorder,” but the data is not in to say so, and it could very well not be a genetic . . . occurrence, while NTness absolutely is one, meeting all the basic criteria.
I will re-iterate, I end most of my stuff with this point, I think, that it is not some small minority of weirdos or their disabilities that are forever at war and driving this planet off three different cliffs simultaneously. That is some typical disability, clearly. Which again, is not “nothing.”
Oh, hey, midnight, so it’s Sunday. Let’s post.
March 19th., 2023