Editor's Note: Epilepsy is not a Mental Illness

This past week Big Think published a post by Mark Roeder that compared the financial system to epilepsy. After reviewing reader comments, Mr. Roeder has published a corrected version, which can be viewed here. The corrected version has also been re-posted to Facebook here. In addition, Mr. Roeder has issued this comment:


I apologize if this article has caused offense, which was certainly not my intention. All references to mental illness have been removed from the post. However, I stand by the accuracy and usefulness of the analogy because it is clear that there are some remarkable similarities between the epileptic brain and the modern financial system. It would be unfortunate if these similarities could not be explored for fear of upsetting people. Otherwise we would be confined to analyzing the financial system solely through the prism of economics, which has not served us well recently.

Big Think has also decided to issue the following editor's note.

While the original headline in Mr. Roeder's article identified epilepsy as a mental illness, that was in error. As Mr. Roeder noted, the headline has now been changed, along with additional corrections throughout the article.

We would also like to point out that the subject of Mr. Roeder's article is about financial trading, not mental illness. He erred in conflating epilepsy with mental illness, and Big Think erred in publishing the article with that headline.

However, we stand by Mr. Roeder's article, which we consider an interesting and legitimate way of rethinking the financial system. We also recognize the pitfalls that are inherent in cross-disciplinary thinking. Not everyone is an expert in every field.

It is our hope and belief that the Web as a whole and this site in particular can serve as a platform for advancing knowledge, that is to say, a place where people can synthesize feedback and correct and amend mistakes.

We certainly hope that is what happens in this case.

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