Talk:Peter Breggin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Breggin's formal training[edit]

I really think the author of this article needs to specify Breggin's formal training. Supposedly he went to Harvard for undergraduate school, then to Case Western Reserve Medical school. Normally, after medical school a prospective physician then does an internship, either general or in a specific field, then proceeds to the residency training which determines his or her specialty. At the completion of the residency training, he or she may then take "The Boards" in that specialty, and becomes a Board Certified Physician in whatever specialty he or she trained in. It appears that Breggin went from medical school to some type of research fellowship, then to some vague appointment to NIH, then went to a faculty appointment at Johns Hopkins. These are all top-notch institutions, but what did he research at first? And what was his position at NIH? And in what department was he a faculty member of at Hopkins? Did he do any specialty at all? Is he Board Certified in any field? These are not trivial questions, as they speak to his formal training in the field in which he has made his name, and of which he is so critical. It is not enough to go to a reputable institution, what one does while at that particular institution is equally, if not more, important. From the article (which, by the way, I found very interesting and balanced), it does appear that, at least as far as psychiatry may be concerned, he is somewhat of an autodidact. The problem with autodidacts, of course, is that their erudition is often like a Texas river: a mile wide and an inch deep.Cd195 (talk) 04:15, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

According to Quackwatch, Dr. Breggin is not certified with the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN). He is licensed by the American Board of Forensic Examiners, but this board is not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). While ABMS does also offer subspecialty certification in forensic psychiatry and forensic pathology, Breggin has has not received either certification. While he appears to have passed the National Board of Medical Examiners test, this is the most basic requirement for practicing medicine in the US.
So while Dr. Breggin is licensed to practice medicine, he is not certified by any ABMS recognized authority. In short, he appears to be roughly as qualified as the average intern or resident. ~ Hyperion35 (talk) 04:49, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Interesting appeal to authority, but not being certified with one or another body doesn't mean a person isn't qualified in the field that body claims to have the sole authority on. -- (talk) 00:26, 17 January 2016 (UTC)

The contributor PeterBreggin = Peter Breggin?[edit]

I've noticed that PeterBreggin has made a number of edits some of which imply a personal knowledge of Peter Breggin. Is PeterBreggin Peter Breggin?--scuro (talk) 14:13, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

I've no idea! While it's worth noting that I wouldn't automatically assume a User:SantaClaus was actually Santa, this Peter Breggin certainly seems knowledgeable about the real Peter Breggin, has been making changes to the article which are arguably a little self-aggrandising, and someone has recently tagged it as Conflict of Interest, so perhaps.
I am going to keep an eye on the additions, however: removing referenced criticism as the most recent batch of edits has done isn't on, IMO. Nmg20 (talk) 15:14, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

This is Peter Breggin and I have been making changes on my biography. This week is actually the first time I've looked at it, ever. Really.

I've tried to learn the ropes, to clarify my identity some, to fix up the citations, but not to make substantial additions or changes. I am disappointed and rather surprised that so much attack is permitted on the page. From the page, it would hardly seem that I'd accompished all that much.

More specifically, I am surprised that the quotes from the judges are allowed but apparently I am not allowed to explain anything in rebuttal. For example, what the issues where in the cases, which is important, since they were cutting edge questions in which time as confirmed most of my views, for example, that electroshock causes permanent memory loss. Or the fact that one of the judges went to work immediately after the trial for the defendant's firm.

I am not sure what "referenced" criticism have been removed. There was a reference to a Forbes article which was very hostile, drug-company inspired, and old. The Center for the Study of Psychiatry is patently not confined to me as suggested. I don't even run it anymore, the director lives in NYC, and hundreds of professionals are involved.

Meanwhile, I am typing onto someone else's box--and haven't yet figured out how to start my own.

Do you want to tell me who you are? PB

This is the talk page of an article on Peter Breggin, where informal discussions can occur on the nature of the article. Every contributor also has a talk page. I have a talk page which you managed to also to post a response on. PeterBreggin the contributor(you) also has a talk page. If you would like to start a new section on a talk page, choose "edit this page", go to the bottom of the page, and put (==) two equal signs on either end of a title. ie (==) It's me, the real Peter Breggin (==) DON'T include the brackets. Otherwise go to the section where you would like to post something and hit the edit button next to the title. Generally all contributors post in chronological order so always post at the bottom of the section unless you are responding to a specific post.
Most editors don't use their real names in Wikipedia...and most message boards. There are nuts on the internet!!
There are specific guidelines and rules for posting on your own page and the page of a living person. I'll see if I can't dig this up for you and also I'll contact an administrator. They should be more helpful then I can be. Regards,--scuro (talk) 23:00, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
You should read these policies.
Regards,--scuro (talk) 23:14, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
If you are the real Peter Breggin (this is sounding a little like a song now, isn't it?), then welcome to Wikipedia. Having no evidence one way or the other, I'm not suggesting you're not, merely exercising a little caution. The items I've restored I've done so because they are sourced and verifiable. You may think, for instance, that the Forbes article is unfair, hostile, and drug-company-funded, but Wikipedia guidelines mean that you need to find independent sources to say that; it is not acceptable simply to turn up and say so. Similarly, your criticism of the judges needs sourcing. I'm sure that somewhere the court papers are available online or in print - if you can reference these documents in the article to show that the judge left to go to the defendant's chambers, fine.
Without wishing to kill your enthusiasm with policies, have a look at the ones I've linked above (WP:V and WP:CITE) and WP:NPOV if you have time. Nmg20 (talk) 07:39, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
I have got to the request to have a look at this very, very late. My apologies to all for that. If Dr. Breggin has factual biographical information to help us improve his article, then that would be very welcome indeed. Regarding criticism, its very difficult for Breggin to escape conflict of interest in editing those sections, which is why we ask individuals to keep them contributions confined to the talkpage on articles about themselves. Nevertheless, he may be able to provide us with insight or sources that can ensure this is accurate and balanced. Rockpocket 01:59, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

Never started psychiatric drugs[edit]

Marie588 (talk) 13:00, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

Re: "... I've never started anyone on psychiatric drugs."

That may be true but is somewhat misleading. It does not reflect that Dr. Breggin does prescribe psychiatric drugs to clients who transfer from other psychiatrists and who are already taking such prescriptions.

Selective use of the term 'unreferenced'[edit]

It is indisputably problematic that in Scuro claims this statement (bold text denotes changes):

In Brain-Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry and other books and articles he rejects the idea that a scientist must participate in controlled clinical trials in order to justify his expertise.

becomes "unreferenced" when edited to:

In Brain-Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry and other books and articles he rejects the idea that a physician must participate in controlled clinical trials in order to justify his or her medical opinion.

yet neither statement is referenced! The only difference is that the former is a blatant straw-man and non-NPOV smear against Breggin (like so many other statements of wiki-editor opinion in this entry). So Scuro clearly appears to define 'unreferenced' as: "unreferenced and not derogatory of Breggin." Or perhaps Scuro can explain to us how the former became unreferenced when it became not derogatory of Breggin.

Furthermore, Breggin is not a scientist and has never claimed to be. He is a private-practice psychiatrist, and thus physician. The first statement Scario favors is a classic staw-man in fabricating a false position for Breggin not reflecting a position he's taken and then scoring a fallacious hit by making it seem as if he's defined a special status for himself of being a scientists who need not conduct studies. It's horrible that wikipedia provides a platform for such non-NPOV abuse of persons. (talk) 17:22, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

The addition of this material, "invokes an instance of argumentum ad populum against Breggin, stating", is a personal judgement call and consequently should be referenced. Hopefully it is now clear what I had meant by "unreferenced". If you had simply asked I would have told you. Assume good faith! Altering my name in a derogatory manner and falsely attributing behaviour to me goes against wiki policy and assumes bad faith. Desist in your counterproductive behaviour or you shall be reported once again. --scuro (talk) 18:21, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
Your edit said: "changes add judgmental tone that are not referenced." So in fact you did imply illogically that the claim became unreferenced. You also claim one should assume 'good faith' and then immediately accuse me of intentionally altering your name, when it was a typo in one case. 'Scario' is not a derogatory term that I know of.
To confirm my initial point, the alleged source of the claim that Peter claims to be scientist who does not need to conduct studies is Brain-Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry. However, that text (1997) says: "Peter R. Breggin, MD, is a psychiatrist in private practice in Bethesda, Maryland where he works with children and adults, and families." The more recent edition has similar wording. Neither claims Breggin is a scientist. So the entry that Scuro defends is in fact an abusive fabrication. For pointing out this naked falsehood that misinforms wiki-readers Scuro is trying to have me barred by reporting me. (talk) 18:50, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
This is all a bit of a storm in a teacup, isn't it? I find myself agreeing wholeheartedly with the idea that Breggin isn't a scientist, and couldn't agree more with the idea that it is an "abusive fabrication" to call him one. Can we find a primary or secondary source which says this so we can include it in the article, ideally verbatim...? Nmg20 (talk) 19:48, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
The point is he does not claim to be a scientist and implying that he does is a straw-man. In the meantime, don't you agree that the statement in question should be omitted or reverted to the edit I made? It seems that obviously defamatory claims against persons should be held to the highest degree of necessary confirmation and not maintained until someone can support them. And moreover, the quote I provided above from the alleged source contradicts the claim. (talk) 20:00, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
Not entirely, no. Your edits disclaimed his failure to publish any actual research by saying "though this is not a prerequisite of holding a professional medical opinion". This is true as far as it goes, but if you were looking for someone to act as an expert in any medical field, you would expect them to have conducted controlled clinical trials and published the results; it is a prerequisite of making consultant status in the UK, for example. Further, it is a basic tenet of science that if you argue against the prevailing scientific viewpoint, and that viewpoint is based on the results of clinical research, it is incumbent upon you to conduct and publish research supporting your alternative viewpoint. Your edit misses both these crucial points.
That said, thank you very much for finding something he's published which appears on pubmed, and for finding the Primary Psychiatry article - both those are fine. The link to the Journal of Mind and Behaviour study seems to be a reproduction of the contents page from the university of Maine website, which is not ideal, but still an improvement on what we had before. Whether it constitutes a valid reference I doubt. The supposed "theoretical paper, review [or] analysis" in the Archives of General Psychiatry turns out to be none of these but rather a letter to the editor - but again, this is a very helpful addition.
So a mixed bag, but overall I think parts of your edits were helpful. Nmg20 (talk) 20:48, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
But Nmg20, you're expressing your opinion that physicians need to conduct clinical research in order to express an qualified opinion. However, the fact that numerous peer-reviewed journals have published Breggin over the years (enter breggin[author] at means that regardless of your opinion, the scientific community has expressed the opinion that Breggin's opinions and analyses are suitable for inclusion and consideration in the arena of the scientific inquiry.
And yet curiously, in your other reply you say: "Stephen Barrett, however, is a retired psychiatrist, and so is qualified to have an opinion [...]" But both Barrett and Breggin are psychiatrists. So I presume Barrett has published clinical research, right? Can you tell us about it? Are there any peer-reviewed papers of Barrett's (other than those published by activist groups who agree with him)? If there are not such studies or papers, are you going to express your concerns leveled against Breggin objectively against Barrett too? Or are the allegedly objective criteria being applied by wiki-editors to Breggin specially designed for him. (talk) 19:29, 27 July 2008 (UTC)
That is not just my opinion, Ninety-Six. May I suggest doing some basic research here on wikipedia before resorting to the rhetorical crutch that is the POV accusation? The idea that you need to base your practice on sound research is a key component of every medical system in the world, as espoused in the concept of evidence-based medicine. If you go on from there to the article on the scientific method which it links to, you'll perhaps understand a little more about the medical approach to matters of science. It may be very different to how one might operate were one wishing to flog books to people afraid of illnesses they - and we - don't understand, but in medical matters you are required to base your practice on research, and by extension if there is no research to support the practice you wish to use, you are required to carry out that research.
Breggin's "papers" have been discussed here previously - they are almost all editorials in the journal which he himself founded, the few exceptions are decades old, and there is a world of difference between editorialising and clinical research.
Stephen Barrett's publications are listed in his own wikipedia article; again, some research would have helped you here, and I've no inclination to do your work for you by checking whether his work has been included in peer reviews, particularly when this is Breggin's talk page, not Barrett's. Your comments about "activist groups" are classic appeals to unspecified Dark Forces at work so I don't propose to give them any of my time, and you seem to have got it into your head that I am some sort of Barrett-champion. I am not - I only mentioned him to try to explain what an appeal to authority was, hoping to help you to realise that you can find out a lot of this stuff yourself on wikipedia if you do a little bit of work before posting. I hope you enjoy evidence-based medicine, the scientific method, and Barrett's publications. Nmg20 (talk) 20:51, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

Fallacy of appeal to authority[edit]

About deleting my edit, Scuro says:

"The addition of this material, "invokes an instance of argumentum ad populum against Breggin, stating", is a personal judgement call and consequently should be referenced."

But it references wikipedia and logical fallacies are hardly 'personal judgments'. But let's talk about it. The statement I noted as invoking argumentum ad populum (which should instead be the fallacy of appeal to authority) is this derogatory statement about Breggin made by Stephen Barrett:

"he would like you to believe that his clinical experiences and investigations have enabled him to reach a level of insight that is greater than that of the majority of mental health professionals".

Can someone explain (1) how that statement is not an appeal to authority, and (2) why, if it is, wiki-readers should not want to identify instances of fallacies? (talk) 19:49, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

Sure. An appeal to authority requires that the person being appealed to is not an expert in the field. The article here gives the example of Arthur C. Clarke being quoted on dental floss.
Stephen Barrett, however, is a retired psychiatrist, and so is qualified to have an opinion on whether someone's psychiatric views are valid or not. That's not to say he's an inviolate authority, but he's is an authority. Nmg20 (talk) 20:51, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
Nmg20, there are number of descriptions of what appeal to authority (AtA) constitutes. Some note, in line with your comments, that AtA is about appeal to inappropriate authority. But other descriptions favor a broader meaning more indicative of the phrase. Take for example the fallacyfiles, which gives this intuitive example of AtA:
1. Authority A believes that P is true.
2. Therefore, P is true.
That's a straightforward interpretation of how an "appeal to authority" works. In this case, Barrett's argument amounts to:
1. Most doctors believe that P is true.
2. Doctor x believes that P is false.
3. Therefore, doctor x is wrong.
But 3 does not logically follow. (talk) 19:08, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

I'm coming at it on a much simpler level. Take this passage written by user, "But it references wikipedia and logical fallacies are hardly 'personal judgments'. But let's talk about it. The statement I noted as invoking argumentum ad populum (which should instead be the fallacy of appeal to authority) is this derogatory statement about Breggin made by Stephen Barrett". I can reference many things to Wikipedia, that doesn't mean I can use them in a personal argument, and post that on Wikipedia. If someone of note has made these observations, by all means reference them and post the citation. This is an encyclopedia and the persuasive essay format should be avoided. In an essay we try to persuade readers of our viewpoint and we do that by characterization of the subject through observed "proofs". Do you understand my objection now? It would be nice if you identified yourself, the claw marks look familiar. Also proof reading your posts will stop that nasty habit of misspelling other contributors names. Thanks ahead of time. --scuro (talk) 22:30, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

Size of Bibliography[edit]

The size of the Bibliography section is ballooning, it needs paring down to what illustrates Breggin's career and views. Wikipedia is not a place to store the CV or list of publications of someone.... --Crusio (talk) 19:51, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

Agree. Any dissenters? Nmg20 (talk) 10:46, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
I think that it suffices to cut this down to 3-5 representative publications. For those interested, all his publications can be found on his home page. --Crusio (talk) 12:38, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

Overstated claims, citations, and POV[edit]

The article should be carefully checked. Just today, I found two claims that were really overstated. The first was that Breggin "was selected by the National Institute of Health (NIH) to be the expert on brain injury caused by ECT at the 1985 NIH Consensus Development Conference on ECT" (emphasis added). Turns out (see ref in article) that he was just one of many speakers at a session organized by the consensus panel and that he was not even a member of this panel (and the latter apparently mostly ignored Breggin in its conclusions). The second was that "Breggin is a life member of the American Psychiatric Association". Sounds really impressive, until one looks up the APA website and finds that "Any member who has reached the age of 65 and has belonged to the APA for a total of 25 years, may choose to begin a dues-reduction schedule, culminating in Life Member status and exemption from APA dues."

An anonymous IP has been making numerous edits today. Many edits just added superfluous info that only seems to be geared to make things look impressive (for instance, adding that his latest book is published by "the Springer Publishing Company", something that is already said in the way-too-long bibliography). Another addition is that "EHSS is received and archived at the National Library of Medicine (pubmed: 101231408[NlmId])". If EHSS would not be indexed by NLM, that would be more remarkable. As it is, this is not interesting and, in any case, whether indexed or not this info does not belong here but in the article on the journal.

A further issue is the addition of a long citation to Hirsch on h-index values. The original edit cited Hirsch quite selectively (see history if you want to see what I mean). Again, this info does not belong here and is already presented in the article on the h-index. Additionally, as it stands now, I think this statement is rather denigrating to Breggin: it basically says that after a long career, he has reached a point where he could be considered for tenure as a mere associate professor. What a lifetime total of 382 citations in the scientific literature means is that his works have been largely ignored by the scientific community. That is an NPOV statement, it does not imply anything about whether his views are right or wrong, it just says something about how they were received by his peers. Another editor, Nmg20, changed this text to "These relatively low numbers indicate that his work is not considered useful and/or influential by the scientific community." This is not correct either, it is a conclusion that this editor draws from the data (and hence original research). Low citation counts means being ignored, that is not an OR conclusion and not a POV. The anonymous IP has reverted me when I put the old text back and I am not in the mood to start an edit war over this. I just would like to note that the way things are currently formulated probably constitutes a violation of WP:BLP. --Crusio (talk) 23:53, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

Once again, Crusio, your opinion that inclusion in the National Library of Medicine means nothing does not cause the fact of inclusion to be omittable. The NLM does not except any medical journal. Journals must meet objective criteria outlined here. But of course acknowledging the the fact of the meta-peer-review acceptance of his journal isn't favorable to the Breggin Black-Eye Committee commandeering this entry. (talk) 05:55, 2 August 2008 (UTC)
Ah, the desperate POV-cry... The publication status of the journal is not relevant to an article about Breggin himself. Find me one other article on wikipedia in which the founder of a journal has that journal's inclusion in the NLM mentioned, please? And the fact here is that both his journals are essentially vanity-pieces with non-existent impact factors - as I posted here previously. Nmg20 (talk) 06:54, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
Dear anonymous. Thanks for reminding me that I still have to pay this year's dues to the Breggin Black Eye Committee, I almost forgot! :-D As for the NLM inclusion, I am rather involved with academic publishing and therefore quite familiar with these guidelines. NLM archives literally thousands of medical journals, even some rather obscure ones. In this sense, inclusion in Medline is not really that notable. As Nmg20 remarks, this is not something that is ever mentioned in articles about persons that founded or edit scientific hournals. In articles about journals, this is not really mentioned prominently either. Most of the time, there is just a sentence saying "the journal is listed in...." with ... standing for a list of databases containing the journal. More important actually is the fact that Breggin's journal has no impact factor. Scientists look at 2 things when deciding in which journal to publish: is it listed in PubMed ad what is its IF. Whatever the case may be, these are factoids that might be mentioned in an article about this journal, not in an article about its founder and I will remove this again. Oh, and by the way, why don't you read WP:AGM when you have a minute? --Crusio (talk) 17:48, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

You may want to use of these tags on the article.

--scuro (talk) 03:54, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

Looks quite horrible now, so perhaps this will be effective in getting this thing cleaned up :-) Thanks for the suggestion. --Crusio (talk) 08:28, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
Appreciate your edits. I ran Breggin through the Scopus tool to check the h-index he'd been given (I'd dispute that what I wrote was WP:OR, but the subsequent associate professor reference is far better than my text which was open to accusations of being POV) and it gave him an h-index of 7, not 14, so I have updated the text to reflect that. I've also listed the Ethical Human etc. journal for deletion, as the page was really just a copy of one paragraph from this article. Nmg20 (talk) 10:50, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. Regarding WoS, you're mistaken. First of all, "Breggin P*" does pop up if you use the author finder. Second, both using "cited reference search" and "search" will give you plenty of hits. As Breggin published a lot before most people's access limits (mine is limited to 1975), the cited reference search is more complete. In addition, it will contain citation scores for books and articles in journals that are not indexed. I calculated the h index by hand from those citation counts. Just repeated the whole thing and I still get 10 (not 14, but even that would be rather dismal for someone whose first article was published in 1964...). Scopus probably gives a lower score because it does not cover literature before 1996 very well. Finally, it looks like your Scopus link does not work for others than yourself, I get "This bookmarked page cannot be displayed" when I click the link.... I'll revert to the WoS scores. I agree with your prod of "Ethical", it's not included in the ISIS JCR either. I'll add a prod2 tag there. --Crusio (talk) 12:12, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
  • A new tidbit of info that I just discovered: I wondered above about the inclusion of "Springer Publishing Company", basically thinking by myself "everybody knows Springer".... Actually, this info is pertinent: the Springer Publishing Company is NOT the same thing as the well-known scientific publisher "Springer Verlag"!! See the company website here. Another instance of making things seem more than they are. --Crusio (talk) 12:26, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
In fact the Breggin-hating editor Nmg20 removed that link just hours before you then post it here as your 'discovery' of a fact that was allegedly being hidden from wiki readers to confuse them. Your ignorance of there being two scientific publishers "Springer Publishing Company" and "Springer Verlag" is evidence neither of bias for Peter nor of any intention of "making things seem more than they are." The fact that the explicit name and link to it the publisher was posted (but deleted by Nmg20) in fact falsifies your accusation. Yet another example of your difficulty in disentangling your limited POV from how the external world actually is. (talk) 02:58, 2 August 2008 (UTC)
Personal attacks, such as accusing me of being "Breggin-hating", are frowned upon here. Indulge in them again and I'll raise your problem formally by way of dispute. I don't hate Breggin - I think he's ridiculous, and every time anonymous editors come on here fawning over "Peter" and making wild claims about the reasons for my deletions from the article (as above, this is an article about Breggin not his journals) and about other editors (your "diagnosis" of Crusio is ridiculous and qualifies for a further warning about personal attacks), it makes clear just how ridiculous. Nmg20 (talk) 06:57, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
Dear anonymous, I am afraid that you didn't interpret correctly what I was saying (WP:AGM might perhaps help here). I did not imply that the publisher was being hidden, the link may have been gone, but the text was there for all to see. It was just that almost everybody knows "Springer" (meaning Springer Verlag), a very reputable scientific publisher. Hardly anybody knows the "other" Springer where Breggin's journal is published. As with the NLM stuff above, where the journal is published is not really very important in the article about Breggin, it would be something to mention in an article about the journal. Mention "Springer Publishing company" prominently here may lead readers to think of the well-known big Springer Verlag, a much more prestigious publisher than the small SPC. That's all. I will ask my shrink to address my difficulties with viewing the external world, thanks for this helpful suggestion. Perhaps my medication should be tweaked a bit. Anyway, shall we now stop accusing people of bias and try to make a readable encyclopedic article out of this? --Crusio (talk) 18:02, 3 August 2008 (UTC)


While I agree that there are problems with the article I think the eight tags are a little overdone. Some tags speak to the same issue. Perhaps the editor who put them in can reflect if some of the tags can be eliminated...especially if the problems have been rectified.--scuro (talk) 22:58, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
good start...wondering if one of the fansite and "contributor with a conflict of interest" tags can be eliminated. Either there is an editor with a conflict, which should be spelt out on talk, or some POV pusher(s) have fluffed it up. The "misleading" tag wouldn't really be needed if the fan tag was there.--scuro (talk) 01:18, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
Done, good suggestion, thanks. --Crusio (talk) 18:08, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

h-index, career context, and NPOV[edit]

The repeated insertion by Crusio of his personal POV about the meaning of the h-index and Crusio's repeated deletion of the objective citation to its meaning by its originator (Hirsh) is prima facie vandalism. Furthermore, the point being made is that an h-index has to be interpreted in context. So saying Breggin has a low h-index relative to academics and scientists is comparing an individual to success criteria in other professions. Applying NPOV criteria requires comparing an individual's success to his career peers. And as we all know, Breggin is a private-practice psychiatrist.

Given that, a good example of a peer to Breggin is Stephan Barrett as both are psychiatrists, and Barrett happens to be a critic of Breggin's whose expertise Crusio is on record admiring in contrast to Breggin. However, in a review at it seems that Barrett's h-index is all of 1, one tenth of Breggin's "lowly" h-index! Now, there are a number of "Barret, S" authors who are not this Barrett. But I only pull up 4 pages of them from which this Barrett is easily disambiguated. And it seems that he has all of 1 genuine peer-reviewed paper at isi (apart from those debunking his paper), unlike 37 papers for Breggin listed at isi. So doing a citation report on Barrett's only isi-listed paper suffices to cover the whole of Barrett's citation report. If there is disagreement, please make this clear. Let's actually try to establish an accurate NPOV peer context for interpreting Breggin's h-index.

This demonstrates that if in an objective NPOV context Breggin's h-index is compared to his career peers, not to those on other career paths, it stands out as uniquely high. What would be particularly relevant would be to find an average h-index for private-practice psychiatrists. I'd bet it's around 1. (talk) 16:58, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

Barrett's h-index is probably higher than 1. This site lists 13 Barrett papers that are pubmed archived. But it would be good to try to build some context of the average or relative h-index of private-practice psychiatrists, if the h-index is to be applied with any objective fairness to such a practitioner. (talk) 23:25, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
I think you two are missing my point. Perhaps you can suggest how we can edit the text to get this point over correctly. I am NOT trying to say (as one of you has done), that Breggin's citation record would be barely enough to get him an appointment as a mere Associate Professor. I only want to say that the scientific community is not paying attention to Breggin's message. Breggin has been publishing for over 30 years and about 10 or 12 citations per year (some of those probably from himself, as is the case with literally everyone publishing in the scientific literature) is really not a sign that scientists are paying any attention to what he is saying. I do not see why this statement is POV. Most of the article discusses Breggin's battle with the scientific "establishment". Saying that other scientists ignore Breggin does NOT imply that he is wrong or anything like that. It only means what it says: other scientists are ignoring him. Perhaps that is because they think Breggin is wrong. Perhaps it is because they are stupid and don't see how brilliant he is, perhaps it is because Breggin's truths are so uncomfortable to them that they don't want to hear about it. I don't know and have no sources for this, so that is why I do not write anything about their possible reasons, just the simple fact that they are not paying attention. As for anybody else's h-index, that info does not belong in this article at all. I know that many people view high numbers of citations as generally indicating that a scientist is doing important stuff, I actually do so, too. However, the reverse is not necessarily true: low citation counts do NOT mean that a scientist is not doing good work: it may not be cited because it is mediocre or it may not be cited because people don't (yet) realize its importance. --Crusio (talk) 18:20, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
Crusio, you completely ignore the point being made. The h-index is a measure of the success of research scientists. The factual data you keep replacing with your derogatory opinion states as much. And as you also know, Breggin is a private-practice psychiatrist. Your opinion that Breggin's h-index means he's ignored ignores context, which in considering we must ask: Is he ignored more or less than the average private-practice psychiatrist? I don't think we can answer that yet, and you seem uninterested in establishing any such fair context. Instead you're consistently misrepresenting him as a research scientist, and then applying a success criterion of research scientists to him. But the meaning of being relatively 'ignored' or 'not-ignored' wrt the h-index properly applies only those whose career paths are properly measured by the h-index. (talk) 02:17, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but I think you still misunderstand my point. The citation data are NOT presented here to evaluate Breggin's career and that is therefore not what I write. They are presented to illustrate that although Breggin has published widely on important topics that are of interest to many research scientists; despite that these research scientists are not citing his works. Mentioning the citation data and adding text that implies this would not even equal associate professor status for a starting scientist is insulting, as far as I can see. --Crusio (talk) 08:04, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

Text deletion by User:Mihai cartoaje[edit]

There was quite a lof o sudden "cleaning up" of critical comments, so I reverted. I wonder if some reason will be stated for the deletion. --CopperKettle (talk) 15:41, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

From WP:BLP: "The article should document, in a non-partisan manner, what reliable secondary sources have published about the subject and, in some circumstances, what the subject may have published about themselves." All of those claims were from Quackwatch which has been ruled a partisan website by the Arbcom. It is also a personal website. --Mihai cartoaje (talk) 18:09, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
FYI, regarding the use of Quackwatch as a source.... An amendment to a previous ArbCom finding has been made. In the process, important observations were made about the use of Quackwatch as a source. -- Fyslee (talk) 15:00, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
Most all websites are partisan in some way or another. As far as I see in the link to that ArbCom decision that you provided, it is not said that Quackwatch cannot be used as a source. The text that you deleted contained detailed information about courtcases, including their reference numbers and all that. Do you suggest that either Quackwatch falsified this information or that court cases cannot be mentioned in this article? If you want to remove Quackwatch from the references while leaving the court info, you could do that, if you like, but removing all this info just because it is not very flattering about Breggin is an overreaction. After all, BLP does not say that unflattering information cannot be included, only that it should be sourced. Also, QW is the site of an organization, I don't see why that makes it a "personal site". --Crusio (talk) 18:53, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
Another relevant part of WP:BLP is, "If someone appears to be promoting a biased point of view, insist on reliable third-party published sources and a clear demonstration of relevance to the person's notability." If you had checked that that is what is actually in the cases, they would be primary sources at best, but you probably didn't. Quackwatch is Stephen Barrett's site. Its page on Breggin says, "This article describes why I consider him untrustworthy", which indicates that is self-published. --Mihai cartoaje (talk) 20:02, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
I have written articles in the first person in scientific journals and they certainly were not "self-published". I don't see why Barrett's use of the first person in an article that he writes makes Quackwatch therefore a "personal site". --Crusio (talk) 20:43, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
PS: what about, is that a good source? --Crusio (talk) 23:56, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
The point here is surely that, while neither Breggin nor Barrett are ideal sources, they have both engaged in a battle on their self-published websites. If we're including all the claims Breggin makes on his website, it's entirely balanced to include the counter-claims made in exactly the same vein by those who disagree with him. Nmg20 (talk) 14:51, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
I don't think quoting Quackwatch is a major problem in this context, so long as it is attributed. That notwithstanding, the removal of all unflattering content is not been justified. I have replaced that which is not sourced to Quackwatch. Rockpocket 08:04, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
Please read WP:BLP. If you were to check that that is what is in those cases, it would be original research, undue weight (since you have to dig through case files for negative content), and primary sources. For now, it is only copypasting from QW. --Mihai cartoaje (talk) 08:42, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
I think your reading of BLP is too narrow. If your reading were correct, it would be impossible to include any criticism in such bios, which clearly is not the case. The "accusations" that were removed from the article are not slanderous or libelous, they just say that some people think Breggin's reasoning is faulty. --Crusio (talk) 10:02, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

FYI, regarding the use of Quackwatch as a source.... An amendment to a previous ArbCom finding has been made. In the process, important observations were made about the use of Quackwatch as a source. -- Fyslee (talk) 15:00, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

I also think Mihai cartoaje's interpretation of BLP is too narrow, it does not demand that all critical content be removed, simply that the critical content is not libelous, is relevant, and from notable and verifiable sources. Once again, he or she has removed content that is not sourced to QW. That content documented criticism of Breggin as an expert witness, which is a useful counterpoint in that section.
There are now three or four individuals who have expressed an opposing opinion to you on this matter, Mihai cartoaje. "See talk" doesn't justify your removals, because there is no support for it on talk. I'm replacing the sourced content, again, until there is a consensus for its removal. Rockpocket 22:27, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
As for the justification requested [1] - the content is all based on primary sources which should be used sparingly or not at all - we should only use material published by a third party source. -- The Red Pen of Doom 23:55, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
The majority of that entire section lacks support from third party sources, much of it cite's Breggin's personal website. If primary sources are out, this entire article needs to be seriously culled. Rockpocket 00:23, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
What steps did you take to check that those judges wrote that? --Mihai cartoaje (talk) 05:34, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
  • I am getting confused here. Why are you assuming that nobody checked this info? Perhaps because you did yourself and found that the oythers are wrong? Then why not tell us? And with regard to primary sources: if the comments of the judges are out because they are primary sources, why then can we use Breggin's own publications to write about his criticisms and attacks on Barkley and Ely Lilly? I agree with Rockpocket here that if that is the case, logic would demand that the whole article gets pared down to what is published in reliable this party sources. --Crusio (talk) 08:51, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
Proofs are up to whoever re-adds something. --Mihai cartoaje (talk) 13:19, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Breggin has rebutted the judges' claims [2][3]. If that was true and notable, it would be in biographical articles. --Mihai cartoaje (talk) 13:19, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Breggin has not "rebutted" the judges comments. User:Peter Breggin just said they were wrong and we have nothing but this user's word for this. His argument assumes that the judges did not know what was going on in their courtrooms. This is possible, but if true, that would have undoubtedly raised a stink in the media, especially in such a high-profile case as the Columbine one. Meaning there should be reliable sources on the judges being wrong. Be reasonable. First you remove the judges comments because they are considered primary sources. Now that secundary sources are available, you still remove them by saying that the journalists in those sources just copied Quackwatch and/or don't believe what they write. This is becoming plain silly. --Crusio (talk) 15:03, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
This is getting out of hand. Mihai cartoaje, you have now reverted this material six or seven times in 4 days and your justifications are becoming surreal. Rm per BLP. The first is weasel-worded as an opinion. They don't believe what they say.? [4] Its the judge's comment that is be sourced, not the opinion of the Fox News contributor. Please stop. Rockpocket 17:51, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
An opinion is a weasel phrase and fails BLP. See Wikipedia:BLP#Reliable_sources. In the Bradley article, the author writes that he copied it from QW so it is not more reliable tha QW itself. In addition, the author writes that he has a negative opinion of Breggin because of the Wikipedia article, so it acts like a Wikipedia mirror. It does not say what the author's opinion of Breggin would be if this article was kept free of BLP violations.
I am also removing this: "He has also known to express views that he later rejects, such as that it can be okay for children to have sexual relationships". What happened was the Eli Lilly paid someone to read through all of Breggin's writings to find something negative. The fact that Eli Lilly had to do that to find something negative about him is an indication that it is undue weight. There is no indication that if Eli Lilly had not done this, it would have been anything more than a book that no-one reads at the Library of Congress. There was a report about this on CBC where the journalists lean toward it being undue: "She's seen those companies dig up and air any dirt they can to discredit critics, including Healy." "And he's one of the, he has very, he has no baggage as far as I know. There's no skeletons. And if there's nothing that they can try to dig out to throw at him at trial, then what better way than try to manufacture something." [5] --Mihai cartoaje (talk) 04:42, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
Mihai cartoaje is indeed getting out of hand with his/her deletionism and censorship. MC, you simply don't understand BLP or the sourcing rules here. Wikipedia is all about documenting opinions and facts, using V & RS. This has gone on long enough and must stop. I'm beginning to wonder if you aren't Breggin himself, or acting as a meatpuppet for him, with or without his knowledge. It certainly seems like some type of COI editing. Your edits are disruptive, possibly violate 3RR, and show a degree of ownership that is totally inappropriate. You are just one editor who is refusing to collaborate with a number of other editors, and that creates a problematic situation. Stop the stonewalling, tendentiousness and disruption I'm going to take this higher up so we get more eyes on this situation. A block or ban may be in order here. Enough is enough. -- Fyslee (talk) 06:05, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
Mihai cartoaje has been reported for disruption. -- Fyslee (talk) 06:30, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Using self-published and questionable sources as sources on themselves[edit]

from WP:V:

Self-published or questionable sources may be used as sources of information about themselves, especially in articles about themselves, without the requirement that they be published experts in the field, so long as:

  1. the material used is relevant to the notability of the subject of the article;
  2. it is not unduly self-serving;
  3. it does not involve claims about third parties;
  4. it does not involve claims about events not directly related to the subject;
  5. there is no reason to doubt its authenticity;
  6. the article is not based primarily on such sources;

So the fact that we should not use primary source legal documents does not automatically preclude that we might use primary source material published by the subject of the article. -- The Red Pen of Doom 18:49, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

  • Thanks for clarifying that. So if I understand your point correctly, then Breggin's primary-sourced criticisms of Barkley and Eli Lilly (and other stuff, these are just 2 examples) fall under #3 and should be removed unless an independent secundary reliable source can be found for those statements? --Crusio (talk) 18:59, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
Indeed. In that case Breggin's website and self published material is fine as support for, as an example, his employment history. However, there are numerous controversial claims about third parties made by Breggin that are sourced only to his own site, for example:
  • Breggin testified as an expert witness in the Wesbecker case (Fentress et al., 1994), a lawsuit against Eli Lilly, makers of Prozac. Ultimately, the jury found for Eli Lilly. Breggin later claimed that this was because the plaintiffs and defendants had secretly settled behind closed doors.[32]
  • Breggin also testified to Congress with Fred Baughman. In Congress Breggin claimed "that there were no scientific studies validating ADHD", that children diagnosed with ADHD needed "discipline and better instruction" rather than psychiatric drugs, and that therapeutic stimulants "are the most addictive drugs known in medicine today."[15]
  • Breggin states psychiatric drugs, "...are all, every class of them, highly dangerous". He asserts: "If neuroleptics were used to treat anyone other than mental patients, they would have been banned a long time ago. If their use wasn't supported by powerful interest groups, such as the pharmaceutical industry and organized psychiatry, they would be rarely used at all. Meanwhile, the neuroleptics have produced the worst epidemic of neurological disease in history. At the least, their use should be severely curtailed."[11]
These clearly violates #3 or #4 (self-published claims about third parties/events). There are plenty of others. In short, if other notable individual's claims and opinions expressed in primary sources are deemed unsuitable, then why are Breggin's permitted? Strict interpretation of standards are fine. Double standards are not. Rockpocket 19:31, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
I am not familiar enough with the content of the article to argue strongly, but to me it appears that most of the content above could be validly sourced to Breggin's self published sources as the statements are generally phrased as reflecting Breggin's opinions/what he has said.
Of course, any third party commentary from reliable sources out there that addresses these claims that Breggin makes in his self published sources would need to be included for WP:NPOV.
And there may be additional considerations such as WP:UNDUE that I have not taken into consideration. -- The Red Pen of Doom 20:28, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
So Breggin's claims that "plaintiffs and defendants had secretly settled behind closed doors" are just fine, but a judge's statement "the Court believes that Dr. Breggin's opinions do not rise to the level of an opinion based on 'good science.'" is not? Either unpublished opinions about third parties are permitted or they are not. If a judge questioning Breggin as an expert witness is a BLP issue, as is claimed, then Breggin questioning the actions of the plaintiffs and defendants is also a BLP issue. I have no problem with using Breggin;s website to support claims about himself, but when he uses it to comment on others, I'm struggling to see how it differs per #3, above. Rockpocket 21:17, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Hear, hear! --Crusio (talk) 21:45, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
In my gut I feel that the above examples are 1) indeed helpful to the reader to understand Breggin/his opinions and are 2) phrased in a way that does not validate his opinions and 3) the inclusion in the article is not violation of other individuals protection that we demand under WP:BLP. It appears that two other editors do not agree with me, but I dont know that consensus is decided by 3 editors. Would it be appropriate to do a formal request for comment? -- The Red Pen of Doom 18:22, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
That is a possibility, but perhaps not necessary yet. I feel that we may not be that far removed in our respective positions that compromise is not possible. I have no problem, for instance, to include Breggin's attacks on Barkley and Eli Lilly, as long as it is clear from the article that these are his opinions and/or allegations, not established facts. And I agree that this can be sourced from his own website. Of course, this article has much more important problems than just this. There's a lot of puffery and unsubstantiated claims. This includes exaggerations of the importance of his publications in mainstream psychiatry journals (I always find it amusing and puzzling that many people attacking "mainstream" medicine as being incompetent and dishonest, almost invariably put enormous weight on any recognition they may get from these incompetent and dishonest people), the inclusion of an overlong list of publications (including many minor comments, letters to the editor, etc), etc, etc. I have tried to do something about this in the past, but as soon as one touches these things, several editors with an anti-psychiatry POV pop up and start reverting.... So apologies if I appear sometimes a bit prickly here, because I am losing my patience with all this a bit. --Crusio (talk) 19:01, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Would the creation of a "Bibliography of PB" article where his many but minor publications can rest be a way to clean up some of extranious clutter in this article? -- The Red Pen of Doom 19:14, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Not really, I think. Why would we do this for Breggin when we don't do this normally for other academics? What we usually do in articles on academics is to include a list of selected publications (choosing the most important ones, of course), generally not more than 4 or 5. And, of course, many academics (and I guess Breggin is no exception) have complete lists of their publicaitons somewhere on their website and we can provide a link to that. --Crusio (talk) 19:38, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

Punctuation around refs[edit]

Please be careful to follow MOS. No spaces between multiple refs; no spacing between punctuation and ref; no punctuation after a ref, etc.. I just did a major cleanup. Let's keep it that way. Thanks. -- Fyslee (talk) 02:45, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Good job, I've removed the cleanup tag. Xasodfuih (talk) 13:28, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

User:Mihai cartoaje reported at AN/I[edit]

I have filed a report at AN/I. I suggest that Mihai cartoaje and other editors take a look. -- Fyslee (talk) 06:28, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Synthesis in the SSRI section[edit]

I find it a little hard to believe that Breggin had significant role in FDA's black box labeling of SSRIs. The way the that section is written it leads the reader to think that his role must have been so. No third party sources are cited saying that. Xasodfuih (talk) 15:03, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Peter Jensen (psychiatrist)[edit]

I was going to write what Peter Jensen the psychiatrist said about Breggin on PBS, as it's fairly substantive [6], but of course he's a nobody on the wiki. Xasodfuih (talk) 19:11, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Recent removal of child sexuality related criticism[edit]

If we're going to have an NPOV discussion of Breggin's previous views on this topic, and if there are sufficient sources to do it, that would be fine. But it's ridiculous to include "criticism" of something which the body of the article never describes. Even the sources cited never criticize the view per se, other than by way of an insinuation that it's obviously contrary to common sense. But WP:NOR forbids putting words in their mouths. Using the child sexuality issue as way to attack Breggin's unrelated views on psychiatric medication is not journalism. This material isn't up to WP:BLP standards. Alessandra Napolitano (talk) 02:09, 15 November 2011 (UTC)


Time has noted that other mental health professionals worry that "Breggin reinforces the myth that mental illness is not real, that you wouldn't be ill if you'd pull yourself up by the bootstraps...his views stop people from getting treatment. They could cost a life."[5] However, despite this concern, an emphasis on a purely biological explanation of mental illness has actually been associated with an increase in stigma instead of a decrease by at least two studies.[58][59]

You can't add something unrelated by simply putting "however, despite this concern" in front of it. The stigma attached to mental illness wasn't the topic. Ssscienccce (talk) 21:24, 16 January 2014 (UTC)
I have gone ahead and removed this. Tameamseo (talk) 12:44, 26 June 2014 (UTC)

Suicide and violence[edit]

I removed this paragraph because it incorrectly implies that Breggin pioneered the ideas that antidepressants are tied to suicide and violence in 1991, and that these ideas became mainstream many years later.

Suggestions that antidepressants are associated with suicidiality were around as early as 1964. Other articles discussing this connection were published in 1984 (, in 1986 (, in 1987 (, in 1988 (, and was discussed in literally dozens of papers published by other authors in 1990. Pubmed has no Breggin publications on this subject prior to 1992, a year after his 1991 book. He appears to have been riding on the coattails of others on this particular issue.

Some of the papers above also note connections with violent behavior, though this putative connection does not seem to have become mainstream. Treatment guidelines by major medical groups do not note violence as a side effect of SSRI therapy, and the package insert merely notes that spontaneous reports of unestablished causation exist. Two barriers to presenting Breggin as a pioneer of an idea that was only much later appreciated by others in this context are that 1) others suggested a connection before he did, and 2) We have no MEDRS compliant references stating that this idea has ever become widely accepted. Formerly 98 (talk) 18:17, 5 October 2014 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just added archive links to 2 external links on Peter Breggin. Please take a moment to review my edit. If necessary, add {{cbignore}} after the link to keep me from modifying it. Alternatively, you can add {{nobots|deny=InternetArchiveBot}} to keep me off the page altogether. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, please set the checked parameter below to true to let others know.

You may set the |checked=, on this template, to true or failed to let other editors know you reviewed the change. If you find any errors, please use the tools below to fix them or call an editor by setting |needhelp= to your help request.

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

If you are unable to use these tools, you may set |needhelp=<your help request> on this template to request help from an experienced user. Please include details about your problem, to help other editors.

Cheers.—cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 11:31, 10 January 2016 (UTC)