Sunday, October 28, 2007

Crackpot award for Bodehamer

I have decided to continue my crackpot awards: see here, and here. But I am now going to include anyone who proclaims theories on stuttering that are completely ignoring well-established neuroscience facts on stuttering from the last 10 years. I mainly think here about structural and functional brain differences in young and adult people who stutter, and about genetics. Bob Bodehamer is a "good" example:
The cause: There could be several causes for blocking including genetic predispositions and/or developmental problems. However, our concern is not primarily about the first cause of blocking. Our concern is with what has continued the behavior. We believe that it is the meanings placed around those early experiences of struggling to speak that have become well learned which continues the behavior. This explains how most children grow out of stuttering while some don't - it is about the meanings that the child placed around the behavior.
This statement is just plain non-sense in the light of the most recent research. He permits that these first blocks could be triggered by genetics, and these blocks are enough to learn bad habits which results in long-term stuttering. So what happens to the genes afterwards? Are they self-destructing and not play a role anymore? Also, brain scans clearly show that the brain structure of adults and young people who stutter is different than fluent speakers. There is a physical manifestation. People who stutter do not have misplaced meaning, they have misplaced brain structures. In fact, what is happening is that the physical cause STAYS THERE even for children who recover, and provokes learned behaviours for those who don't.

He should stop playing the theoretician. Science is not theology, his day job as a Southern Baptist pastor. The empirical reality informs the theory, and not the other way around. I just hope he at least does not think that the Earth was created 7000 years ago. If he wants to contribute constructively, he should acknowledge that stuttering has a clear physical component. And no-one is disputing that the effects are also learned behaviour. And here is where he can use his NLP to minimize the effects, but I doubt it is any more effective than other treatments.


Anonymous said...

The NLP description of stuttering is just a bunch of gobledegook. Words without meaning, placed on a chart. How did they start interfering with PWS anyway?
(Confused thinking has no claim on religious people alone BTW)

Tom Weidig said...

I don't know how they got into stuttering. Unfortunately, quite a few people are listening to them, because what they say makes sense to them. But unfortunately it contradicts empirical evidence.

Of course, everyone can be confused whether religious or not. However, I draw a line when it obviously conflicts with empirical facts like evolution. I did meet a Southern Baptist priest in a plane who told me that the world was created 7000 years ago and that I am deluded.

Anyway, this blog is about stuttering and not about religion...

Anonymous said...

honestly tom,

i've been stopping by every once and a while for about a year now (like once a month or so)

and this blog gets better and better. you do more good than you know -- thanks!!

ig88sir said...

His book also put me behind 55 USD. A bit too much in a ecomony/work place that filters out PWS (even science and tech/IT).

I think the first 2010 crackpot award should go to John Harrison for debasing the Mcguire Programme into the laughable circus it currently is.