Matthew Perry Wrong About Addiction and Alcoholism in Debate With Peter Hitchens on BBC

The recent debate between Matthew Perry (Chandler Bing from “Friends”) and Peter Hitchens about the nature of addiction and alcoholism on BBC’s Newsnight was utterly painful and sad to watch.

Matthew Perry was there to push a drug court initiative, but shortly into the debate Hitchens called the idea that people can’t stop taking drugs a “fantasy.” A position that Perry called “ludicrous.”

The painful part is that all Perry could do was sling mud; appeal to authority; and, while smugly dismissing Hitchens’s opinions, do absolutely nothing to back up his own assertions. He went on television to debate a man who’s written that addiction is not a disease, and was literally incapable of presenting any evidence to back up his own claim that it is a disease.

This was the best he had – an appeal to authority:

The American Medical Association diagnosed it a disease in 1976. So, you’re saying that that’s incorrect?

Hitchens quickly recognized this as an appeal to authority, and quickly showed why more than a declaration from a medical trade guild should be required to prove the claim. Hitchens snapped back by bringing up the great point that the APA classified homosexuality as a disease up until the 70’s. The point being, such organizations aren’t infallible, and they have a history of questionable disease classification. Surely, Perry could make more of an argument, right?


Hitchens: what’s the objective evidence?

Perry: My life is the objective evidence. I am a drug addict. I am a person that if I have a drink I can’t stop. And so, following your ideology, I’m choosing to do that.

Hitchens: You tell me what the objective diagnosis is to establish the existence of addiction in the human body?

Perry: It’s an allergy of the body and it’s a…….. It’s an obsession of your mind and an allergy of your body… so this is what happens to me, I start thinking about alcohol I can’t stop – I can’t stop thinking about it.”

Hitchens: What’s the objective proof of this inability to stop?

He really had nothing better to say than that. He just keeps repeatedly asserting that addiction and alcoholism are “an allergy” and that he is proof of it. Don’t take my word for it though, check out the video:

Perry kept hurling insults, and insisting that there is proof, but couldn’t answer to what the proof is. He literally presents the allergy / disease theory as if this theory itself is the proof, stating:

I’m in control of the first drink, and so I do all these things to protect myself from not having the first drink, but once I have that drink the allergy of the body kicks in…. this is all… documented alcoholism proof… then I… then I can’t stop after that.

Is the allergy model of addiction / alcoholism true? Absolutely not.

The University of Notre Dame Office of Alcohol and Drug Education states that a true alcohol allergy is “rare” and that:

A person who has a true allergy or low intolerance to alcohol, a small amount of alcohol can cause breathing difficulty, stomach cramps, and collapse.

Does Perry claim to get stomach cramps, breathing difficulties, or that he collapses when he has his allergic reaction to alcohol? Of course not. Nor do any AA members make this claim when they say they have an allergy to alcohol. Instead, he claims that he is caused to drink uncontrollably. Yet somehow, he asserts that this is “an allergy of the body” and that it is “documented alcoholism proof.” He’s simply spouting dogma for which there is no evidence. The sad part is that Perry turned his Malibu home into some sort of rehab; travels the world lobbying for coerced treatment for this allergy; and has now gone on a serious debate show on television armed with ZERO evidence to back up this claim. It’s plain silly.

His concept is of an allergy like no other. Where every other known allergy elicits physiological effects, it is claimed that the allergy to alcohol elicits complex behavioral effects – pursuing, acquiring, and consuming alcohol and/or drugs. It equates this complex purposeful behavior with symptoms such as getting hives, becoming unable to breathe, and going into fatal anaphylactic shock. But all of that aside, is it possible that the introduction of alcohol into the body of an alcoholic triggers a physiological process that causes them to drink uncontrollably? No, it does not do that.

The thing about real allergies is that when, for example, you slip peanuts into the food of someone who is allergic to peanuts – they experience the allergic symptoms – whether they realize they’ve eaten peanuts or not. However, with the supposed allergy to alcohol, people do not drink or crave uncontrollably if you give them alcohol without their knowledge. This was shown in a series of carefully devised experiments carried out by researchers in the 60’s and 70’s. They literally gave “alcoholics” alcohol without them knowing, and observed the results – which were that they didn’t uncontrollably seek or crave alcohol. Unlike Perry, I can provide objective evidence to back up my claim that alcoholics don’t literally lose control upon ingesting alcoholic. At the following link, you will find citations for 9 experiments that substantiate my point, and essentially disprove the allergy model of alcoholism / addiction espoused by Matthew Perry and the rest of the Recovery Culture: Do Alcoholics Lose Control? The Results of Priming Dose Experiments Say NO.

The “loss of control” or inability to stop drinking is nowhere to be found when so-called alcoholics are surreptitiously given alcohol. Beyond that, Nancy K Mello carried out a series of experiments which showed that hardened alcoholics could essentially be paid to stop drinking. Recently, neuroscientist Dr Carl Hart of Columbia University showed that the same could be done with methamphetamine and crack cocaine users. He actually ran experiments where he administered these drugs to “crack-heads” and “meth-heads” and then offered them either more drugs, or small amounts of money that they could claim at a later date. As the monetary offers escalated, they tended more and more to choose the money over the drugs.

Now I ask you – if you offered someone money to stop having an allergic reaction to peanuts, would it work? Would they begin to breathe again? Would they come out of shock? Obviously not. Because unlike the supposed allergy to alcohol, real allergic reactions are out of the conscious control of the sufferer.

You may think that Matthew Perry doesn’t mean that alcoholism is a literal allergic reaction to alcohol. You’d be wrong. Watch the video. There’s nothing approximate about it. He states that he has a real “allergy of the body” to alcohol that makes it such that after he has the first drink of alcohol, he “can’t stop.” He’s not alone in this. It is exactly what is taught in AA meetings; The Big Book Of Alcoholics Anonymous (written in the 30’s upon no scientific data); and taught at “Minessota Model” (aka 12-step) rehabs. It’s an absurd theory, and if you want to know how truly absurd it is, check out this video of HLN talk show host Jane Velez-Mitchell – a committed 12-Stepper:

What Jane Velez-Mitchell stated above is the same theory Matthew Perry is espousing – it’s just the logical extreme of it. I realize it sounds crazy, and those who haven’t been exposed to 12-Step programs and addiction treatment may think it’s unusual, but in those environments, it is not. If you spend any time in these environments, you will indeed find plenty of people who tell tales of how they mistakenly ate food that contained alcohol and believe that it literally caused them to drink uncontrollably. It is insane. She literally thinks that hand sanitizer or mouthwash which contains small amounts of alcohol will cause her to drink uncontrollably. And that is where the folly of the idea that alcoholism is an allergy should become painfully clear. This view is dangerous, and in fact compounds people’s problems with alcohol and drugs. See the following link for some research that supports this point: Alcoholics Anonymous Increases Binge Drinking – Brandsma Study.

The reason the allergy model of alcoholism / addiction is harmful is because it creates a powerful expectancy response in people. When they end up believing the slightest amount of alcohol or drugs will send them on an uncontrollable rampage of substance use, then they end up behaving that way. So, everyone who spreads these views, including Matthew Perry, is actually helping people to make their problems worse. They are, in a sense, causing harm. I don’t necessarily blame Perry for this. He was brainwashed by an influential cult, AA, and the highly influential multibillion dollar addiction treatment industry. He doesn’t know any better, and this is painfully clear from his appearance on Newsnight, where all he could muster up as proof of his theories was the theories themselves, an appeal to authority, and an appeal to beliefs he has about his own abilities / inabilities. Hopefully, he watches this video of himself with a critical mind; realizes he doesn’t actually have a case at all; and then investigates the issue of whether so-called alcoholics and addicts actually lose control of their drinking and drugging behavior.

For the record, although I think he did a good job knocking down Perry’s appeal to authority and pressing him on evidence of loss-of-control, I don’t think Mr Hitchens’s views are all that impressive either. Although he has apparently argued in one of his books that addiction is not a disease (I haven’t read it), Hitchens is obsessed with jailing people for substance use. The public discourse on addiction today always revolves around a false dichotomy: treat em or jail em. Both sides of this debate are arguing for coercion – watch the video again, Perry actually says that drug courts are needed to stop people from using drugs, and that they can’t initiate this change in habit voluntarily. As far as I can tell, the “treatment” side wants to force people into living how they see fit by confining them to asylums of sorts, and the “jail” side wants to do the same by putting people in jails. There is a third option – butt out of people’s lives. By engaging in the treat em or jail em dichotomy, Hitchens does harm to the choice side of the debate about the nature of addiction. I believe that a better way to help people with these problems is to first undo the harm of the disease model which teaches them that they cannot change, and then to show them that they may have better, more rewarding life options available to them – then leave it up to them to choose what they will.

One more thing – Perry said that Hitchens’s book (which expresses the opinion addiction is not a disease) is “the only book in modern times that has this ideology.” This is very untrue. Here’s a list of the best books expressing the idea that addiction is chosen behavior:

Heavy Drinking by Herbert Fingarette

Addiction is a Choice by Jeffrey Schaler

The Diseasing of America by Stanton Peele

Addiction: A Disorder of Choice by Gene Heyman

And here’s an important excerpt from a recent book by Sally Satel MD, very apropos to the topic of drug courts and whether alcoholics lose control:

IN December 1966, Leroy Powell of Austin, Texas, was convicted of public intoxication and fined $ 20 in a municipal court. Powell appealed the conviction to county court, where his lawyer argued that he suffered from “the disease of chronic alcoholism.” Powell’s public display of inebriation therefore was “not of his own volition,” and the fine constituted cruel and unusual punishment. A psychiatrist concurred, testifying that Powell was “powerless not to drink.” Then Powell took the stand. On the morning of his trial, he had a drink at 8 a.m. that his lawyer gave to him, presumably to stave off morning tremors. Here is an excerpt from the cross-examination:

Q:     You took that one [drink] at eight o’clock [a.m.] because you wanted to drink?

A:     Yes, sir.

Q:     And you knew that if you drank it, you could keep on drinking and get drunk?

A:     Well, I was supposed to be here on trial, and I didn’t take but that one drink.

Q:     You knew you had to be here this afternoon, but this morning you took one drink and then you knew that you couldn’t afford to drink anymore and come to court; is that right?

A:     Yes, sir, that’s right.

Q:     Because you knew what you would do if you kept drinking that you would finally pass out or be picked up?

A:     Yes, sir.

Q:     And you didn’t want that to happen to you today?

A:     No, sir.

Q:     Not today?

A:     No, sir.

Q:     So you only had one drink today?

A:     Yes, sir.

The judge let stand Powell’s conviction for public intoxication. A second appeal followed, this time to the U.S. Supreme Court. It, too, affirmed the constitutionality of punishment for public intoxication. “We are unable to conclude,” said the court, “that chronic alcoholics in general, and Leroy Powell in particular, suffer from such an irresistible compulsion to drink and to get drunk in public that they are utterly unable to control their performance.”

Satel, Sally; Lilienfeld, Scott O. (2013-05-16). Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience (pp. 61-62). Basic Books. Kindle Edition.


  1. Rick Hagedorn says

    I enjoyed watching the video and kudos to Hitchens. But the notion that a person is in control of the first drink only is entirely consistent with the nature of how alcohol works in the body. I may decide I’m going to have one, but the elixir that alcohol is can and often does change my mind. Deciding to buy alcohol is a choice. Deciding when to stop after it’s running around… elusive area of choice there. Where’s the choice at that point? That’s why it’s referred to as under the influence. This entire article is a good argument for tea totaling since we usually need our un-influenced mind to make sane rational choices.

  2. Mike says

    Great Post! After spending the past 5 years as a active AA member I can spot the rhetoric from a mile away. What’s sad is that they take it for fact. I found the part about the extreme view of people not being able to come into contact with alcohol even in the smallest amount without fear of going on a binge particularly interesting. I have been abstinent for over a year and got a cold a few months back and knowingly took cough syrup with alcohol in it. I took it as prescribed and stopped when then symptoms went away and half the bottle is still in my cabinet. I never felt a compulsion to drink while taking it, I just felt the compulsion to sleep!

  3. Rick Hagedorn says

    I don’t see how there are spaces in prison for it. Just saying. That’s where Hitchens needs to get a grip. The criminal justice system is so-so and won’t be improved by skanky nasty big harsh punishments for drug use. I knew what a DUI was before I got one. Do you really need me in one of your fornicated piece-of-shit institutions? Of course not; of course not.

  4. sebastian flyte says

    by dsm standards i think i am and alcoholic and have been for 15 years. when i stop drinking the only effect is depression. i think that people who drink much more than i, have a disease, in the sense that abstinence may be deadly and their alcohol intake is shortening their lives. from all that i’ve read americans greatly exaggerate the harm from alcohol compared to continental europeans. a centenarian in sardinia drank a liter of wine a day according to his daughter. probably exaggerated also, but i am suspicious of the anti-drink people as much as i am suspicious of alcohol apologists.

    hitchens and perry are clueless in one respect: people very often drink or do drugs to escape. that is, they have problems which as mightily as they would like to solve them and as mightily as they may try to solve them, they can’t solve them. i think whether it is religion or drugs or alcohol the human condition even in utopia requires release or what the hindus call moksha. but, i also think that contemporary america and britain, the most unequal and least socially mobile countries in the developed world, are toxic environments. the ultimate problem of the addict is seldom the substance per se. sometimes it is, but those cases are rare.

    i expect i will keep drinking but less than i do now. strangley, i’ve drunk more heavily over the last 6 months than ever and i’m now stronger than ever, in terms of bench press, etc.

  5. sebastian flyte says

    peter hitchens is the brother of the late, not so great, christopher hitchens.

    listening to the “debate” hitchens dismisses the putative “success” of court ordered treatment as having too few studies yet goes on to claim that deterrence works without citing any studies. he may be right, but he made a fool of himself on that point.

    and the issue of why people drink too much or do drugs is ignored. in britain, and i beleive also in the us, alcoholism of the dsm variety is actually more common the greater the income and education. heavy drinkers have lower all cause mortality than non-drinkers (and that’s not from all the former alcoholics among non-drinkers). it’s only the truly life threatening, vomiting blood, variety that is more common among the poor. but inequality and lack of mobility makes for drug abuse and alcoholism and mental illness more generally. the ULTIMATE problem isn’t psychiatric or ex nihilo. this is never addressed. it is outside the acceptable realm of discussion. and obviously lack of opportunity is motivation to drug dealers. my guess is the fraction of drug dealers from good families is negligible.

    • Kevin says

      We are all entitled to our opinions, but I would be interested to hear your thoughts on how Christopher Hitchens wasn’t so great. Friendly question, just wondering.

  6. Trish says

    The “allergy” theory is my favorite bogus and incoherent addiction claim.

    I’m deadly allergic to beestings.

    I was stung at an outdoor art show last summer. I had to spend pretty much the entire day in the paramedic tent because even immediate treatment (I was within a couple of yards of the first aid tent when stung) doesn’t prevent the sting from causing a heart attack later on.

    The claim that addiction is a form of allergy in which the allergic person seeks out the the substance that causes an allergic response for fun – that would be like me hitting a beehive with a stick for fun. Ridiculous.

    • MerlinYoda says

      For crying out loud, the “allergy” claim was not meant literally … and just because all “allergies” we encounter are associated with negative immediate effects (ranging from sneezing to anaphylactic shock and everything in between) doesn’t mean there’s not a theoretical “allergy” that could be more positive … even enjoyable (for example, if your body formed an “allergy” to cancerous cells, would make it pretty easy to find and treat the cancer then).

      I doubt Perry knew knew the proper medical terminology offhand, comparing it to an “allergy” is pretty damn close to what actually occurs with addicts (most especially alcoholics). Allergies in the clinical sense are a hypersensitivity of the immune system to certain substances (one common one a lot of people have is an allergy to various pollens that cause them sinus problems). Similarly someone with alcoholic tendencies will have a sort of “hypersensitivity” to alcohol such that they will form a chemical dependance more readily than average person with all other characteristics being equal… with harder drugs this difference in ease of forming a chemical dependency will lessen such that it matters less whether one has a genetic predisposition to easily becoming addicted to certain substances or not but the *physical* addiction is jut as real.

      What’s dangerous about Hitchen’s “there’s no such thing as addiction, it’s all will power and people can quite cold-turkey” idea is that there are literally circumstances that an addict can *die* from withdraw symptoms if they just quite cold turkey (most notably heroin addiction when requires that addict to take methadone as a chemical replacement for the heroin to “step down” from their addiction towards sobriety).

      Even Perry agrees that the *first* drink is under his control, but the subsequent drink that will likely follow are out of a drive that isn’t one that can just simply be reasoned with or put out of one’s mind (and, yes, you could *objectively* refer to his experiences as proof of addiction just as much as you could any other psychological disease/disorder that has it’s roots in physiology). It’d be like diving under water, going to he surface for air and diving back down again but, immediately upon diving back in, having some of the wind knocked out of you but someone telling you that you shouldn’t need to come up for air because the last guy that dove in stayed down for 20 seconds easily (a bit of a reversal of the circumstances, but the level of instinctive impulse , even if the impulse doesn’t reflect actual need, would be comparable). The underlying problems of the conclusions Hitchens makes is that they do not reflect the circumstances of all users of intoxicating substances; some will heavily use those substances and be able to quit on their own but some will not be able to do so regardless of how much “will power” they have without some sort of help (be that help a social support structure, pharmaceuticals to break the chemical dependency, or both). On that same token, how many people have become alcoholics because people saw other people that weren’t as sensitive to it’s effects drink more and have no problem (i.e. they were able to do without it afterwards) but weren’t able to do the same and thought it was because they didn’t have a strong enough will to when the actually issue was much deeper.

      • says

        Dr Carl Hart on heroin withdrawal:

        “When we think about heroin physical dependency, people see it portrayed in movies as being this potentially deadly thing,” he said. “It’s not deadly, or potentially deadly. You can’t die from heroin withdrawal, but you certainly can die from alcohol withdrawal. Heroin withdrawal is like the flu. If you’ve had the flu, you’ve had heroin withdrawal. It’s not pleasant, so I don’t want to minimize that … but this notion that you can die from heroin withdrawal, that’s just simply not true.”

        Here’s where he said it:
        Here’s who he is:

        Nobody has to choose between methadone and death from heroin withdrawal, because you don’t die from heroin withdrawal.

        • Jen says

          No, you probably won’t necessarily “die” form heroin withdrawal. And while that quote is correct to some degree, it’s not fully correct. It’s more like: Imagine having the stomach flu. Now imagine having the stomach flu for weeks. THAT is a heroin withdrawal. That being said, it may not kill you but you could get pretty dehydrated and feel pretty darn awful.

      • Kevin says


        So many glaring problems in your post. First, the allergy claim was in fact to be taken literally, as it is a pillar of the AA program at it’s core. Regardless, to let Perry off the hook for not really knowing what he was saying when he took the allergy approach suggests to me that he, in fact, has no idea what he is talking about, should not be a spokesman on the issue, a pompous one at that. His reference to the 1976 ruling by the American Medical Association should be taken with a grain of salt. Before this time, insurance companies would not fork out money for 30 day treatment centers, so a lobbying effort was conducted to declare it a disease for insurance coverage. Not exactly scientific fact, and, even if it was, we’ve learned quit a bit of the last 30 years, rendering this ruling useless to begin with. Finally, Perry does not say that the first drink is under his control…he says it’s under his control to avoid the first drink altogether because he knows he would not be able to stop from there. This is likely due to the fact that he is a weak willed momma’s boy looking to make excuses for his lack of self control. Finally, your scuba diving incident example…when addicts have had guns pointed at their heads with the ultimatum of don’t put that needle in your arm or I’ll kill you, they tend to miraculously stop. You can’t point a gun at someone with pancreatic cancer and tell them to not have cancer.

        Can we all just agree that Matthew Perry has no business in an argument like this, especially against a well versed journalist? The guy should be on The Biggest Loser by now.

  7. MerlinYoda says

    “He actually ran experiments where he administered these drugs to “crack-heads” and “meth-heads” and then offered them either more drugs, or small amounts of money that they could claim at a later date. As the monetary offers escalated, they tended more and more to choose the money over the drugs.”

    This is not evidence that contradicts addiction but rather evidence of simple economic principles. If they can buy more drugs with the money they get (or buy equal amounts of drugs and have money left over) than the amount of drugs they’re being offered, then of course they’re going to pick the money (and simply buy their drugs later)! Being an addict doesn’t suspend one’s ability to do simple math or exercise basic logic (even if their doing hard drugs appears irrational to the casual outside observer).

  8. Kevin says

    This is the best article I’ve come across on this site. As much satisfaction as I take from it, this was a truly unbalanced debate from the start. Peter Hitchens, and his brother Christopher, disagreed on almost all points aside from what a true piece of shit Bill Clinton was, but each of them possessed a superior intellect, worldliness, and ability to debate. The thought of Matthew Perry, a dipshit nobody who probably didn’t graduate highschool in the same room with Peter is both hysterical and sad. He makes the typical mistake of the disease proponent Nazi by asserting that because he’s too big of a panzy to control his drinking, that this must be the same for everyone, as if one instance constitutes a trend. This cracked me up…Matthew, let me hit you with some knowledge…Friends was one of the cheesiest, most thoughtless, lame, traffic jam of banal, uninspiring humor that ever hit the air waves, and if it weren’t for fourteen year old girls, it wouldn’t have made it past the first season. My suggestion, go get drunk before you start acting like a spokesman for a profound issue your simple brain couldn’t possible articulate…if you don’t, do yourself a favor and don’t square off against the likes of Peter Hitchens who has more intelligence in his right ear lobe than you do in your entire being.

    • MerlinYoda says

      Alcoholics Anonymous makes no claim that alcoholism is an “allergy”; it is not one of their core tenants. They do, however, treat it more along the lines of a disease (i.e. something that they cannot control but rather something they be “cured” from the effect thereof) which is more appropriate. Like I said, Perry’s word choice was poor, but it wasn’t far from the mark as far as conveying the how various physiological differences and abnormalities contribute to people becoming addicted to substances in ways that most people wouldn’t simply due to a genetic predisposition to have a sensitivity to any number of potentially addicting substances.

      I find it rather biased of you to cite Matthew Perry as being pompous but don’t fault Peter Hitchens whatsoever for his *multiple* slights against Matthew Perry. Though it doesn’t excuse the behavior, Perry doesn’t become standoff-ish (e.g. the “Santa” remark) until Hitchens has had a quite a few swipes at Perry himself (as opposed to Perry’s argument)… and yet somehow Hitchens has the nerve of accusing Perry that he’s not taking the issue seriously simply, it appears, because he disagrees with what Hitches is claiming as fact. Hitchens may have had some legitimate points to raise, but his “know-it-all” attitude did him no favors in making a solid argument for his assertion that “addiction” (especially the modern understanding of addiction as a “disease”) is a fantasy and doesn’t exist (it also didn’t help that he failed to present any conclusive and objective evidence to the contrary … more on that later).

      Also, the first drink *is* under Perry’s control exactly *because* it’s his choice whether or not to take the first drink; neither I or he stated otherwise. You’re just rephrasing that point by stressing the choice not to take (in this case, by way of avoidance) that first drink.

      I sincerely hope that you or someone you care for never finds yourselves in the grips of substance addiction as “will power” isn’t the end-all, be-all the answer for overcoming the problem (especially if they deny that they even are addicted in the first place … the old “I can stop any time I feel like it” line). Additional support is required in many cases, whether that support is through some form of counseling (to address the psychological dependency) or pharmaceuticals (to address physical dependency) or a mix of both depends on the underlying cause(s) of the addiction in each case.

      Your “gun” analogy misses the mark (no pun intended). The “disease” of addiction isn’t directly analogous to the “disease” of a cancerous pancreas even though both can fit within the standard definition of “disease” ad a disorder of structure or function in an organism. The former causes ill effects (i.e. illness) due to the introduction of another substance which triggers a certain reaction due to a pre-existing condition (an already “diseased” physiology, relatively speaking, due to genetics). The latter is due to the introduction of some substance (some pathogen for instance) which causes an otherwise healthy physiology to become diseased and bring about illness because of the disease. It’s the order of in which the substance , disease, and illness occur that differs. In both cases, if the substance can be avoided, then illness doesn’t manifest. The difference, however, is that the removal of the substance in the former will allow for the illness to subside as well (although the diseased psychology is still present) but removal of the pathogen in the latter may not be enough (assuming it is even still present) as the damage done that lead to the disease and subsequent illness may be too extensive to reverse the illness by that step alone and would require addressing the diseased structure (in this case, a diseased pancreas).

      In the case of alcohol addiction, threatening violence (especially to the point of immediate death) is going to trigger their innate survival instinct to get them to avoid the substance to which they are addicted (e.g. alcohol) … at least in the short-term. If you’re able to extend the threat indefinitely, (e.g. “I you *ever* stick that needle in your arm again, I’ll kill you”), then I guess you may be able claim to have “cured” them of their addiction as they’re not going to risk immediate death for a quick fix (although they may try to attempt to do so anyway when nobody is watching so as to eliminate the threat of immediate death). However, in the case of the cancer patient, there is nothing that they can do to directly effect their illness as is is stemming from a disease cause by some other substance initially, not the exposure to a substance.

      Also, seeing as I don’t agree to what you bitterly propose concerning Matthew Perry, I’d rather that we could agree that neither the validity nor soundness of an argument should be judged based upon who the party giving the argument is (e.g. no ad hominems such as appeals to authority or title … like “well versed journalist”) . No matter how highly you think of Peter Hitchens or lowly you think of Matthew Perry personally that should have absolutely *no* bearing on evaluating the soundness of the points they put forward in furtherance of their main argumentative points. To write off or presuppose what one party says based on who they are or their personality only serves to prejudices you to their entire argument and prevents any sort of objective analysis. It’s basically a form of what’s known as “poisoning the well” except your doing it yourself to yourself rather some other party doing it with the aim of prejudicing your judgement. From a purely objective standpoint, Hitchens lost the argument as he couldn’t counter Perry’s evidence with anything other than what seemed to boil down to appeals to conspiracy. Perry could be accused of making appeals to authority himself (by citing the AMA rather than by citing various studies done by them and what sort of peer review they underwent), but does at least compensate for it by offering his own experience of being an addict up for objective analysis whereas Hitches follows logical fallacies with more logical fallacies.

      • MerlinYoda says

        I meant for my latest reply here to be a reply to your post on June 10, 2015 at 5:38 PM … either the has screwed up on the placement of it or I accidentally clicked on the reply wrong link.

    • MerlinYoda says

      Also, a side note, Matthew Perry did graduate from high school. I thought I’d mention that since you appeared to be uncertain whether he did or not. It’s actually pretty easy to find out this fact (and as well as where he was planning on attending college) from a simple search on Google (or whatever web search engine you prefer).

      Of course, if you had done so then you couldn’t reasonably make that particular ad hominem attack on his intellect, so, I guess, willful ignorance would have been somewhat beneficial in that case to preserve some level of intellectual honesty (although it’s still a logical fallacy regardless to assume that the lack of a high school diploma somehow infers lack of certain intellectual capabilities and inability to form a solid and sound argument).

  9. Kevin says

    Scratch my former comments…I had not watched the video. I pride myself on not being surprised by much, especially when it is an uneducated, Hollywood dullard pompously speaking out on things his simple mind couldn’t possibly understand, but this truly shocked me. Hope he relapses today and drives off a cliff…no need for people like that as overpopulation becomes an issue.

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