Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Empathy back in the news

Empathy is a big fad in the liberal news media. I used to post regular updates, but it dropped off my radar until NPR radio had two empathy stories yesterday.

First, they tie it into the Gaza conflict:
In the waiting room at Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital, an Israeli woman was shouting at a Palestinian mother whose son was being treated for a beating he received from a Jewish mob.

"Go away you trash," the Israeli woman yelled at the Palestinian. "I would bury you in Gaza."

A second Israeli woman joined in the verbal barrage, complaining that her taxes shouldn't be paying for Palestinian treatment.

Two other Israeli women came over to comfort the Palestinian mother. But she is in no mood for reconciliation and retorted: "What good will your apologies do?"

My NPR colleague Daniel Estrin witnessed this exchange and it reflects the lack of empathy in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza these days, even in the few communities where Jews and Arabs mix like Jerusalem. ...

Back in Jerusalem, the generational difference in empathy for the other side is striking in the walled Old City, which has Arab and Jewish neighborhoods.
Empathy has nothing to do with it. Palestinian arabs have a religion that teaches extermination of the Jews.

The next story concerns an attempt to drug kids who supposedly do not have enough empathy:

Scratch one more simple explanation for autism off the list. This time it's the idea that children with autism have low levels of oxytocin, often called the "love hormone" because it can make people more trusting and social.

"Our data blew that out of the water," says Karen Parker, a Stanford researcher involved in the most rigorous study yet of autism and oxytocin levels. The study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that children with autism were no more likely than other kids to have low levels of oxytocin in the blood.

The so-called oxytocin-deficit hypothesis has been appealing because social difficulties are a hallmark of autism spectrum disorders. And there have been hints that the social functioning of people with autism improved with a little extra oxytocin, even a single dose.

Next they might try giving oxytocin in Gaza to try to stop the fighting.

This is offensive. It would make more sense to give oxytocin to gay men in order to make them more attracted to women.

1 comment:

paulmurray said...

"Palestinian arabs have a religion that teaches extermination of the Jews. "

I think you might find that you have that backwards.