'One-third of us suffer from some form of mental illness, and that much abnormal behavior results from malfunctioning of the chemical systems within our brains.' Franklin Marshals, (Pulitzer Prize twice winning journalist)
The emerging science of "molecular psychology" is basically concerned with molecular influences on human behavior. Scientists are keenly interested in the relation of biology to behavior. What influences do genes have on behavior? How do they influence behavior? Discoveries in psychological science have proven that a brain-behavior relationship clearly exists. The environment interacts with Biology in many complex ways that make us who we are.
There are around 100,000 human genes. It has been suggested by various scientists that significant numbers of these are likely to influence behavior. In attempting to decipher the systems of biological behavior, biological neuroscientists study cellular and molecular level behavior, searching brain anatomy and physiology, and neuro-genetics for answers.
What gaps still exist in our knowledge of genetic influences? Constructing a map for the complex genetic sequence and perceiving the relationship of these genes to behavior is a tremendous challenge that needs multi layered inter disciplinary work. Developing a sophisticated molecular psychology, with contributions from both molecular biology and psychological science, will put us in a far better position to understand genetic influences on behavior.
Franklin's New Science:
According to the author of 'The Mind fixers,' the molecular psychology revolution in the study of brain biochemistry, will solve the ills of the world. Franklin makes the argument that such a perfect world will be possible within the near future. Franklin writes, "We are mechanisms, pure and simple, explainable without resort to the concept of the soul ...That is the central, cold, hard, emotionless truth of the revolution in molecular psychology. If we really desire the safety we seek, the safety from chemicals and radiation and war, then we must renounce the romantic, dualistic view of man.' So we have first to accept and admit that we, humans, are species of animated complex machines. Franklin tries to push the argument that mental illnesses are just biochemical, in the hope to remove the stigma associated with depression and schizophrenia.
In the introduction, he admits his campaign to spread the word about molecular psychology. In addition, he uses biochemical based arguments to inform mothers on the probable root cause of psychological problems, but blames blind mothering for unleashing such biochemical malfunctions.
"It is unfortunate that a writer of Franklin's caliber has filled 'Molecules of the Mind' with such simplistic pronouncements. At the heart of the book is an important and captivating story--the search for the biochemical basis of behavior, particularly mental illness. ...For many, the story will be a familiar one: mapping neurotransmitters in the brain and tying them to specific behaviors; a discussion of the dopamine hypothesis of schizophrenia and the links between other neurotransmitters and other behavioral problems; ... Nevertheless, Franklin does a good job of explaining the science behind such discoveries, as well as of integrating those developments and others into a coherent story." Joseph Alper, Psychology Today, July 1987
on October 16, 2005
I always give Jon Franklin 5 stars, he's the man! But not this time. For one, he doesnt practice what he preaches about writing, in this instance. The writing reminds me of boxes I toss stuff in; it's all valuable and interesting stuff but there's no cohesion or philosophy beyond the shared box. Here it's just stuff in a book. My second objection is Jon comes across as a sycophant in this book. He's not an objective reporter, he's an acolyte. And finally, when Franklin concludes that alcoholics and criminals are 'ill' and deserving of better consequences than their conduct normally gets, I hurled the book across the room. It's not the killer's fault, he's.....ill (I'm so touched by Franklin's caring I'll never smile again). Of course, Franklin never gets around to illustrating what sort of consolation prize the dead get for the killer's or drunk's illness. Strangely enough the victims arent part of the equation. PC Crap is what this book is.