Talk:E. Morton Jellinek

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Omitted log-in[edit]

forgot to log in at UNSW; changes made on 17 June 2006 & 18 June 2006 to Jellinek article were made by Lindsay658 -- showing one of the many UNSW IP addresses ( 01:37, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

Correction of Telling Truth's Errors[edit]

Telling Truth recently altered my earlier text so that it read:

Jellinek studied biostatistics[1] and physiology at the University of Berlin (from 1908 to 1911) and at the Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble (1911). He claimed, apparently falsely [5], to having received a Master of Education degree at the University of Leipzig in 1914.[2] In 1935, the University of Leipzig bestowed an honorary Doctor of Science degree upon him.[3] However, it appears that he tried to present this honorary degree as an earned degree [6]. In 1965, after his death, he received an honorary Doctor of Surgery from the University of Chile.

I have changed the text (and it is not entirely a "reversion") so that it now reads:

Jellinek studied biostatistics[4] and physiology at the University of Berlin (from 1908 to 1911) and at the Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble (1911). He received a Master of Education degree at the University of Leipzig in 1914. In 1935, the University of Leipzig bestowed an honorary Doctor of Science degree upon him.[5]
There is considerable controversy over Jellinek's claim that he earned a "real" doctorate in 1935 (i.e., rather than an "honorary" doctorate) in the form of Sc.D. from the University of Tegucigalpa in Honduras; however, "that university does not currently exist, and no records are available for verification".[6] Although initially declaring the degree from the University of Leipzig to be an honorary degree, he later represented it as being an "earned" degree.[7] In 1956, he received an honorary Doctor of Surgery from the University of Chile.

The following reasons apply:

(1) I had made a mistake in my earlier version; he was awarded the "honorary Doctor of Surgery from the University of Chile in 1956, not 1965 as I had written in the earlier version (and, of course, from this, the degree was not awarded posthumously) -- and this date of 1956 is supported by [7].
(2) There is not now, and there never has been at any time, any controversy over whether or not Jellinek received a Master of Education degree at the University of Leipzig in 1914 -- and any claim that this is otherwise can not be supported by the information supplied within the source quoted by Telling Truth (i.e., [8]) which, in fact, asserts that Jellinek did, indeed, receive such a degree from Leipzig in 1914.
(3) There is "considerable controversy" over Jellinek's claim that he had earned a "real" Doctor of Science from the University of Tegucigalpa in Honduras in 1935. However, as Telling Truth's added reference (Page, P.B., "E. M. Jellinek and the Evolution of Alcohol Studies: A Critical Essay", Addiction, Vol.92, No.12, (December 1997), pp.1619-1637.) indicated on page 1620, "the University of Tegucigalpa in Honduras] does not currently exist, aand no records are available for verification". It is also very clear from Telling Truth's other cited source (i.e., [9]) that this is so.


  1. ^ Although, at the time, what we now call biostatistics was known as biometrics, it is now better to describe Jellinek as being involved with biostatistics, rather than biometry
  2. ^ There is also considerable controversy over Jellinek's claim that he had earned a "real" doctorate (i.e., rather than being awarded an "honorary" doctorate). More information at [1]
  3. ^ However, he apparently tried to present this honorary degree as an earned degree [2]. This has additional significance; because Jellinek was a Jew -- see History of the Jews in Germany.
  4. ^ Although, at the time, what we now call biostatistics was known as biometrics, it is now better to describe Jellinek as being involved with biostatistics, rather than biometry
  5. ^ This has additional significance; because Jellinek was a Jew -- see History of the Jews in Germany.
  6. ^ (Page (1997), p.1620. Also, more information at [3]
  7. ^ More information at [4]

Lindsay658 02:56, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

Disease "Controversy"[edit]

Made slight edit to paragraph regarding the disease controversy. This controversy, such as it is, is outside the medical community, where consensus has been present for decades in both American and international forums. The argument made within the article, that such consensus exists in the medical community due to economic reasons, is a fallacy but represents a position held by some and should therefore be represented within the article. It is important for readers to understand, however, that this controversy is not present within the medical community. The longstanding policy within the AMA that alcoholism is a disease has never been brought up for reconsideration by anyone, and any individual AMA member has a right to do just that. Note that there is a belief within the non-medical community that alcoholism's status as a disease reinforces the AA statement that alcoholics are powerless over alcohol. Within the medical community, that is not the definition of disease. Hypertension is a disease, and that doesn't mean that hypertensives are powerless to help themselves. By the same token, alcoholism's status as a disease does not mean that alcoholics are powerless over their disease. Whether they are or not is a different issue. Drgitlow 14:30, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

Slight edit, indeed!!!
As a beginning point, the purpose of this Wikipedia article (as it is with all Wikipedia articles), is to provide an account of the contributions made by Jellinek, and to address in the most neutral and even-handed way possible, the various “mysteries” associated with the man, his work, and his claims of possessing various academic qualifications, the way in which aspects of his work inter-acted with AA, and the extent to which he has or has not remained a contributor to the current debate on matters concerned with the excessive ingestion of alcohol.
It is not to take any sides in the debate that still rages on whether or not so-called “alcoholism” is a disease, a behaviour, an instance of akrasia, or any other explanation.
Despite this proviso, it is quite proper to re-direct readers to other parts of Wiki -- as I have done -- if they need to read more about such things. However, it is my belief that the majority of people who consult the article about Jellinek will either already know about the “alcoholism is a disease” controversy (and, therefore, will not need to look elsewhere), or be entirely uninterested (and again, have no need to look).
As with all good Wikipedia articles, the article is designed to guide a reasonably well-schooled, but non-technical reader through a quagmire that may still not be clearly understood, in all of its convoluted intricacies, by even the best educated experts; i.e., as distinct from those who are somewhat blinkered by their loyalties to the theories or policies that drive particular professions or particular disciplines and, are, therefore, not reliable informants.
It has been designed so that they can "position" the individual who is the subject of the article within their milieu, their times, and their discipline(s); and, moreover, and most particularly, understand where other people who refer to the subject of the article today are either correct or incorrect when they do so in such a way.
It is not designed to take sides – which is precisely what you are doing!
My response to your piece above is as follows:
(1) I completely disagree with your statement that the "controversy" about whether "alcoholism" is a "disease" only exists outside the "medical community" -- and, by the way, you have not defined what you mean by "medical community").
I have, however, changed the paragraph in question to read an entirely different, neutral way; and I must warn you that, if you attempt to manipulate this version, to fit your unusual perspective, I will immediately treat it as an act of malicious vandalism.
(2) In the absence of any historical understanding, one might suppose that your enthymeme,
“Alcoholism IS a disease, BECAUSE the AMA has declared it to be such”, is a very persuasive argument.
However, as anyone with any understanding of the development of the delivery of medical procedures and technologies – such as, for example, hypnosis – knows only too well that the driving force behind any such declaration is to declare, once and for all, that ABC is now a condition to which (in this case, AMA members) "professionals' can now legitimately address their therapeutic efforts.
Unpacking this enthymeme into its complete syllogism, however, we find the following:
First Premiss: Any AMA member who attempts to treat a non-designated condition does so against the express wishes of the AMA; and therefore, does so at their own considerable personal, professional, and commercial risk.
Second Premiss: The AMA has now declared the condition known as “alcoholism” to be an AMA-designated condition.
Conclusion: Any AMA member may now treat the condition known as “alcoholism” with complete AMA approval and with the complete support of the AMA malpractice insurers.
(3) I take enormous offence at your embedded implication that I have anything to do with, or have any sympathy for AA. I have written an accurate and objective and historical account of Jellinek’s life and work, with no hidden agenda of any kind.
(4) The fact that you are so constantly wasting the valuable time of Wiki-people such as myself with these entirely unwarranted intrusions of your narrow, idiosyncratic opinions relating to the question that so-called “alcoholism” may or may not be a disease, over a wide range of Wiki-sites, and that you are so constantly meeting such consistent opposition to your self-assumed omniscient view ought to have, by now, in my most humble opinion, brought you to a position where you might have come to understand that "the question of whether or not alcoholism is a disease is still a matter of considerable dispute, highly polarized debate, and extremely heated argument within the entire health care community that deals with alcohol-related problems" – or, is it simply a case that you are the only individual in the universe that has the 100% correct view on everything?
I simply hope that you cease and desist this behaviour, and try to understand that the Wiki is a vehicle for informing, not for indoctrinating.
Might I suggest that, instead of creating all of this trouble, you personally spend all your time, effort, and resources in constructing a super Wiki-article on the topic, in which you clearly detailing all of the arguments for and against, in the hope that it might become a beacon in the darkness that we "lesser mortals" inhabit. Please "Go Away!" and bother somebody elseLindsay658 05:58, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

Hi, Lindsay. I've obviously said something that you found offensive, and for that I sincerely apologize. The article already indicates that the disease concept of alcoholism is consensus in the medical community (a term that typically refers to physicians, state & specialty organizations of physicians, and the AMA and other similar organizations). That differs from the medical-industrial complex, a term generally used to refer to the medical community as well as all allied healthcare professionals, hospitals, third party payors, and so forth. The article correctly notes that the AMA developed policy based upon this consensus many years ago.

Since you and I have never met and I know nothing at all about you save for the paragraphs above, I never could have suggested that you have anything to do with AA. I certainly don't see a bias in the article either pro or con.

I'm sorry you feel my opinions are narrow and idiosyncratic. And I suspect you've confused me for someone else since you speak as if you and I have crossed paths before. In any case, I hope we can work together to build a consensus for the issue that I've raised here. Tell me about what you'd like the portion of the article I've worked on to say and let's see what we can come up with as a team. Drgitlow 04:09, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

One additional set of points, if I may: I don't believe that alcoholism is a disease simply because the AMA said it is. The AMA's policies are set through a vote in their House of Delegates, not through scientific process. The premises and conclusion that you've set forth above are not my beliefs at all (and I take it from your points that they are not yours either). The AMA does not set disease treatment guidelines nor is there any such thing as AMA malpractice insurers. My initial statement was simply meant to point out that the Federation of Medicine, as represented by US state and specialty medical societies as well as other appropriate bodies, and then as represented by the AMA and other national bodies within the World Health Organization, all built consensus years ago and voted to approve policies stating that alcoholism is a disease entity. Not even a single doctor has asked that this policy be reconsidered after several decades, indicating that consensus remains present - at least within the medical community. I also pointed out that this policy does not have any implications beyond its face statement. I don't mean to ramble on, but I'm trying to figure out what I said that you found provocative. Drgitlow 05:59, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

Yet another triumph for those who burn the books[edit]

To whomsoever you (singular or plural) might be, Drgitlow. . .
As you can now see, the entire paragraph is now missing.
In its current form, the article still tells the Jellinek story without becoming sidetracked by the issues that seem so close to your heart.
I most strongly suggest that you devote your energy to doing something constructive -- like writing a detailed exposition of the entire matter, according to your view, and placing it on Wiki IN A SEPARATE PLACE for all to see.
Now that there is nothing in the article to which you (singular or plural) can object to, I once again say to you "GO AWAY"!!!!!
Just go somewhere else, and bother somebody else, and let me get on with my useful work. Lindsay658 00:18, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Civility is a virtue, and I've reprinted some material from the pillars of the Wiki community here:

Wikipedia is free content that anyone may edit. Recognize that articles can be changed by anyone and no individual controls any specific article; therefore, any writing you contribute can be mercilessly edited and redistributed at will by the community.

Wikipedia has a code of conduct: Respect your fellow Wikipedians even when you may not agree with them. Be civil. Avoid making personal attacks or sweeping generalizations. Stay cool when the editing gets hot; avoid lame edit wars by following the three-revert rule; remember that there are 1,239,198 articles on the English Wikipedia to work on and discuss. Act in good faith by never disrupting Wikipedia to illustrate a point, and assume good faith on the part of others. Be open, welcoming, and inclusive.

Be bold in editing, moving, and modifying articles, because the joy of editing is that although it should be aimed for, perfection isn't required.

I thank you for removing the paragraph and would be happy to work with you should you desire to bring back some form of it in the future so that we may arrive at a consensus regarding its content. Best wishes, Drgitlow 02:00, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Comment by "Ron Roizen"[edit]

This page on E.M. Jellinek is very poor and riven with errors. I'm not cnversant enough with Wikipedia to make the corrections myself but I would be happy to discuss the page's problematic content with the chief author or authors, whomever they may be.

Ron Roizen, Ph.D.

Moved to here to separate this thread.
Remember that Jellinek was an extremely controversial figure, and that many of his own claims in relation to the performance of experiments and other research have been unsubstantiated, and that many consider that his actual research, as reported by him, does not support the conclusions that he drew.
Therefore, anything that you write about Jellinek must be objective and must not reflect a personal point of view.
Please list below, in order, your "complaints" -- with, in each case citations from reputable sources -- and, at the same time, list what you understand to be the "truth".
I, for one, would be very interested to examine a detailed list (accompanied by whatever evidence you might be able to muster to support your claims) of the "errors" that you claim this article is "riven with".
Lastly, whoever you are, please always sign your comments. Lindsay658 18:20, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Ron Roizen again: This is my second attempt to lodge a comment; the first one disappeared when I tried to correct a typo. My name is Ron Roizen and my email address is I did offer my name in my very first post and, moreover, I have no idea how it became so mistakenly rendered on this discussion page (I've corrected it). Some samples of my work on the post-Repeal history of alcohol in America are available at my sociology of alcohol web site, at I've kicked around in this field of study for over thirty years. I'd like to offer my corrections and comments on a one-by-one basis. This will allow us to focus on each comment in turn and also allow me to assess the process, which I'm new to. Let me begin with a simple item in the current article:

Comment #1: The current article asserts, "Jellinek’s initial 1946 study was funded by Marty Mann[18] and R. Brinkley Smithers[19] (Falcone, 2003)." This is historically incorrect. Mann's and Smithers' paths did not cross until eight years later in 1954. Yev Gardner, of NCA, was the first to meet Smithers, and Garder introduced him to Mann. There is an appreciative account of Garder's and Smithers' 1954 meeting in NCA's 40TH ANNIVERSARY COMMEMORATIVE JOURNAL (NCA, 1984) at page 10. See also Brown and Brown, A BIOGRAPHY OF MRS. MARTY MANN: THE FIRST LADY OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS (Hazelden, 2001) at pp. 233 et seq. Smithers did bankroll Jellinek's 1960 book -- an action he may well have regretted at some point given that book's ambivalent attitude toward the disease conceptualization. But that is another story of course.


Ron Roizen

Ron Roizen again (2/23/07)

Comment #2: The current article asserts regarding Jellinek's 1946 analysis of the AA Grapevine survey's data: 'It was based on a narrow, selective study of a hand-picked group of members of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) who had returned a self-reporting questionnaire.[20] It is certain that a biostatistician of Jellinek’s eminence would have been only too well aware of the "unscientific status" of the "dubiously scientific data that had been collected by AA members".[21]' The tone of this comment suggests that Jellinek engaged in a kind of concealment or lack of scientific candor regarding the methodological weaknesses of the AA Grapevine survey upon which his 1946 article was based. Particularly the assertion that 'It is certain that a biostatistician of Jellinek's eminence would have been only too well aware of the "unscientific status"....' suggests that Jellinek was keeping the survey's flaws to himself and thereby also leading the unsuspectig reader to believe that his data were strong enough to support important scientific conclusions. But this is a quite incorrect picture of what Jellinek's 1946 paper actually said about the survey in question. In the paper's methodologically oriented introduction Jellinek was quite open about the survey's methodological weaknesses. His narrative even communicated a degree or shyness, reluctance, or embarrassment about even submitting these data to analysis. Of course, exploratory investigation, which the 1946 paper was, allows for some liberties with methodological norms that confirmatory science does not. Still, Jellinek went to considerable pains to alert the reader to the survey's weaknesses. The survey was undoubtedly done on a shoestring and by the Grapevine's editors. It was distributed simply as an element of one edition of the still pretty new magazine. Jellinek's narrative described that the Grapevine had a circulation of about 1,600 and that the 158 responses receive represented only about 10% of the total circulation. He further explained that the 15 questionnaires returned by women were too few to allow separate analyses by gender and also that the women's responses appeared not to pattern with the male responses - so he excluded them. The other exclusions resulted from incorrectly done questionnaires and AA groups that had filled out the questionnaires collectively - i.e., the group members recorded their average responses for each survey question. He was left with 98 analyzable questionnaires. Jellinek also discussed the potential impact of the fact that this survey was conducted on an AA membership. Additional weaknesses were also discussed. A reference to Jellinek's 1946 paper is offered in the "List of Significant Works by Jellinek" section of this Wikipedia article but it appears that the article's methodological section has not been read. Jellinek's forthcomingness about the Grapevine's survey is a far cry from the image of concealment offered by the current Wikipedia article's text.

Ron Roizen again (2/24/07)

Comment #3: The article begins with a claim regarding how Jellinek's name was/is usually rendered; it says: "Elvin Morton Jellinek (1890-1963), or more commonly E. Morton Jellinek...." This does not comport with my experience here in the U.S., where Jellinek is, and was, most often referred to simply as "E.M. Jellinek." (His nickname at Yale, BTW, was "Bunky," and the bust of Jellinek that comes with the Jellinek Memorial Award is affectionately referred to as "the Bunky.") Both of Penny Booth Page's articles on Jellinek refer to "E.M. Jellinek" in their titles ("E. M. Jellinek and the evolution of alcohol studies: a critical essay," Addiction 12:1619-37, 1997 and "The origins of alcohol studies: E. M. Jellinek and the documentation of the alcohol research literature," Br J Addict 9:1095-103, 1988). The reproduced 1964 American Journal of Psychiatry obit referenced in this Wikipedia article refers to Jellinek as "E.M." Examples of the use of "E.M." might be multiplied many times. In the U.S., at least, I'd wager that many newcomers to alcohol studies would not know what either of these initials stands for, even in the age of the web.

Comment #4: Footnote #18 in this Wikipedia article says that that Marty Mann was "the first female member of Alcoholics Anonymous." This is historically incorrect. Mann's story ("Women Suffer Too") appeared in the 2nd and 3rd editions of "The Big Book." Mann's story replaced Florence Rankin's story ("A Feminine Victory") in the 1st addition when Rankin returned to drinking. The Brown and Brown biography of Mann (cited above) also mentions Mary Campbell as a member of A.A. before Mann (see p. 114). A web source also mentions "Jane S." (see Some sources essentially finesse the question by calling Mann the first woman "to achieve long-term sobriety in A.A." Even that claim, however, might be disputed, I'd bet, depending on how one keeps score and how "slips" figure in the computatiion of a sobriety's duration. In any case, te assertion in footnote 18 is incorrect.

Roizen again (2/25/07)

Comment #5: There are more corrections that might be offered but I would like instead to bump my remarks up to a different level. The Jellinek page as a whole is not a good quality article. For example, it should not begin with a discussion of EMJ's degrees (or lack thereof), partly because this is slippery territory where little is known with any certainty, but more importantly because Jellinek did not become arguably the most recognizable scientific personage in relation to alcohol in the 20th Century because of his troubled c.v. He had accomplishments and a history he participated in and helped shape. The article should focus on that story first. Another example of why the article should be rewritten is the current article's over-concentration on the history of the attribution of the disease idea to alcoholism or deviant drinking. The problem here is that such a focus distorts Jellinek's story. Jellinek had other focuses that were at least as important or more important to him and to his fledgling alcohol science community. Moreover, Jellinek was already quite well known in the new alcohol science field before October, 1944, when his attentions were deflected to the disease concept movement. These pre-'44 pursuts are an essential part of his story and the proximate social history. The history of the disease concept text belongs more properly in the Wikipedia page devoted to topic of the alcoholism-as-disease theory. In short, the whole page should be rethought an redone. How to go about this task? So far, the author or authors of the present article have not commented on my various points. I don't even know who they are. (Shouldn't there be a rule in Wikipedialand that authors or conributors of articles should be identified by name? there one already?) My assumption is that these authors are checking my submissions. But it would be nice of them, I think, to offer some intermediate reply just in order to assure me that I'm not talking to the wall in my recent comments! Thanks.

Help, please[edit]

I accidentally deleted "In 1935, the University of Leipzig bestowed an honorary Doctor of Science degree upon him,(1997, p.1620)</ref>" and can't seem to replace it. Thanks for your help.David Justin 15:52, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

Some work being done[edit]

Hello - I'm working on converting some of the external links to inline references. Other tidying as well of course :D E_dog95' Hi ' 06:03, 20 February 2008 (UTC)


The ref for the Page article appears to be wrong, as I can't find the article with the link to the 2007(12) journal. The correct ref appears to be Page, P. (1988). The origins of alcohol studies: E. M. Jellinek and the documentation of the alcohol research literature. British Journal of Addiction, 83(9), 1095-1103. I don't want to change the cite without the original author's verification, however. FemmeBrulee (talk) 13:44, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

Secondary Source[edit] CharlesKiddell (talk) 05:20, 2 May 2013 (UTC)