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December 09, 2007


Dr. Robert Epstein

These issues were dealt with beautifully in a 1998 book by retired neuroscientist Elliot Valenstein called Blaming the Brain. Also see my recent blog and podcast, "The Truth About Brain Science" at:


Damn you, Doctor! As if I didn't already suffer from info-o-load (see, I don't even have time to write all the words out!), now you give me a whole bunch of new ideas to examine and a new list of sites to read and digest! Please, sir, there is a limit to the how much joy in learning one can handle!

Seriously though, thanks for the post. Even though I am a layman, information on neurology and its influence on any human behavior gets my juices going! I love "scientific" analogies and "proofs," (even if they are later dis-proved), because just like placebos in medicine, such proofs are helpful when convincing a client or an audience to accept some helpful insight or adopt a positive behavior. But apropo to your article, there are definite limits. A doctor would never prescribe meditation for cancer in place of radiation!

When using science in a popular setting, one must not overstate the case. And never forget there are limits to the number of actual "proofs" in science. And of course, the action I encourage must always be in the best interests of my clients.

I especially liked your "lite-brite phrenology" analogy. Terrific! I have perused Dr. Amen's books before and wondered if he was going too far. As tempting as the use of brain scans might be in the segregating and criminizing of innocent individuals(!), given the plasticity of the brain I wouldn't be surprised if one day we discover its nearly as easy to change one's scan as it is to lower one's blood pressure.

"First, do no harm."

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