Just as he did with Alice Miller, Stefan Molyneux of FreeDomain Radio is now exploiting another doctor’s work. This time, it’s Vincent Felitti and the research he’s conducting for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente. It’s called the A.C.E. (Adverse Childhood Events) Study.
The study is a fairly simple but good idea in that it tries to establish scientific parameters for what nearly everyone intuitively knows; i.e., that people with messed-up childhoods can grow up to have messed-up lives. Molyneux presents it to his members as a giddy revelation. Some of his True Believers have taken the short A.C.E. quiz and are beginning to report their own A.C.E. scores. (It’s easy! Get yours at www.acestudy.org!).
The point of Dr. Felitti’s work is to assess the health-care burden of a number of bad things that can happen in childhood. It assesses 10 possible events that have been divided into three categories:
- abuse (physicial, sexual, emotional
- neglect (emotional, physical)
- household dysfunction (mother treated violently, household substance abuse, household mental illness, separation/divorce, someone incarcerated)
I have no problems with the study itself, although there doesn’t seem to be an attempt to quantify the relative danger of each A.C.E., if any. For example, “my brother smoked weed” and “my father raped me” would each get the same A.C.E. score of 1. If you had sex with a 22-year-old the day before your 18th birthday, that is an adverse childhood event.
Even if the other person was smokin’ hot.
But I suspect most people who view Molyneux’s little YouTube presentation don’t notice how he cleverly misuses the report solely to support and lend credibility to own theories. Remember, Molyneux believes that nearly everyone is badly abused by their parents.
But the A.C.E. Study is about a wide range of possible Adverse Events, not just abuse! Given the report’s very wide criteria of possible adverse events, it’s no surprise that only a little more than a third of the respondents reported having none.
Now that’s perfectly appropriate in the context of the study, I suppose, but Molyneux completely misinterprets the findings for his own ends. He leads you to believe that every event in the study falls into the category of abuse when, in truth, it does nothing to shore up Molyneux’s claim that nearly everyone is abused (and certainly doesn’t suggest that the only solution for any “virtuous” person is defoo his or her family), nor would the doctors conducting the study ever dream of making such claims.
What I’m talking about here is not the problem of childhood abuse, but Molyneux’s continued flagrant practice of Psychologist Abuse; specifically, borrowing the credibility of others to create the illusion that they support his own unsupportable ideas. Would Dr. Felitti really have granted an interview to Molyneux if he had known his work would be misused to encourage current and prospective new defooers? I don’t think so.
So, Vince, if you just googled your name and found this, well, you’re a part of FDR now.
Deal with it.