An Apology to Peter Hitchens, a Dialogue, an Opportunity to Advance

Summary: In writing a commentary on the rising incidences of Dyslexia, ADHD, and Autism, Dr. Levinson mistakenly utilized an incorrect secondary source that misrepresented Peter Hitchens views on dyslexia. This presentation attempts to rectify Levinson’s error, clarify Hitchens views, as well as honestly and beneficially integrate our disparate perspectives: “I always try to make lemonade out of my sour lemons.”
Peter Hitchens Valid Criticism of Dr. Levinson’s Mistaken Representation of His View on Dyslexia

Peter Hitchens Comments:

Dr Levinson attributes to me the view that ‘dyslexia’ is explained by ‘increasing numbers of lazy, underachieving individuals’ . I have never said any such thing and do not believe any such thing. I attribute ‘dyslexia’ to the teaching profession’s insistence on clinging to discredited methods of teaching children to read. Nor do I blame the victims of the ‘ADHD’ so-called ‘diagnosis’ (which is nothing of the kind) for their problems. I blame the adults who find it convenient, self-exculpatory or otherwise useful to classify them thus. He should read what his opponents say. He might then learn something. My thoughts on these matters are readily available on line, at my indexed, archived blog.
Dr. Levinson’s Apology to Peter Hitchens

Dear Mr. Hitchens,
Thanks for your correction. I was stupidly misled by reading an equally stupid secondary source as well as one providing your accurate views on both dyslexia and ADHD. This is the first and hopefully the last time I will do so.

For your information, I have read and detailed a great many criticisms of my “challenging” research in A Scientific Watergate–Dyslexia. Many were equally distorted. Many were just incorrect. And some were deliberate falsifications by well known professionals and organizations. To date, I’ve not received one correction such as this. Indeed, some of the worst initial offenders later adopted my cerebellar concepts, albeit claiming originality. Hence the book’s title.

Although I do disagree with your accurate statements, I can readily appreciate them. The current understanding and definition of dyslexia is completely incorrect. And it has led only to confusion. Similarly, the upgraded concepts and definitions of ADHD still require modification since they are too “political” and based on a compromise of differing opinions. Thus many milder cases have been excluded and confusion often reigns supreme.

I admire your own challenging views and the talented way you describe them. However, my perspective is based on clinical experience. Although most of your criticism of educators and inadequate teaching methods has merit, I would like to offer only a few points for your considerations:
1- A majority of my treated dyslexics with/without ADHD respond rapidly and often dramatically to my treatment methods, often within an hour or so. They are suddenly able to better read, write, calculate, remember, calculate, coordinate, speak and process, etc. All other variables remained the same. Regression rapidly occurs upon cessation or change of meds and doses, often by unwitting patient or parent error.
2- I do not believe the meds used are dangerous if properly administered or “driven.” Indeed, the side effects of non- treatment are far greater. By analogy, cars and planes are not dangerous. But their drivers may be. I do not tolerate any side effects from meds I monitor. And I start all meds in very low doses and titrate up.

In any event, I would welcome any further correspondence if you are interested in pursuing our differing perspectives and can forgive my unwittingly misrepresenting some of your views. Indeed, my clinical experience and your writing talent may even lead to a worthwhile integration of disparate views.
You also have my permission to publish this apology wherever you deem best. And I will do the same on my website.
Harold Levinson, M.D.
A Follow-up Dialogue: Corrected Errors Are Opportunities

Peter Hitchens Acceptance of Apology

Sent from my iPad
On Jun 28, 2014, at 3:45 AM, Peter Hitchens wrote:
Dear Dr Levinson,
Thank you for your prompt and honourable apology, much appreciated. If such behaviour were more common, knowledge would advance much more rapidly. Feel free to publish this acknowledgement, if you wish. I continue to disagree with you, of course, but am glad to do so on a basis of honesty and fairness.
Yours sincerely,
Peter Hitchens

Dr. Levinson’s Appreciation and Attempt at Advancing Mutual Understanding

Dr. Levinson’s Attempt to Better Present His Dyslexia Views
Now that you accepted my apology, may an informal albeit conservative American address you by your first name?
Although we’re “honest and fair” does not mean we must remain stubborn.
If time permits, please read a few of my favorable treatment responses on my website. Most of my patients will even speak to interested enquirers. If you benefit by their insights, perhaps thousands of your readers will too. No critic of mine has ever done so, even those requesting too.
As you well know, criticism is a double edged sword. It can be used defensively to maintain our views and resist change–stubbornness. However, it’s proper analysis greatly benefits all: It exposes blind spots in one or both parties in an honest debate.
Have a nice summer,
Hal Levinson

Peter’s Honest Response to Mainstream Thinking

On Jun 28, 2014, at 10:42 AM, Peter Hitchens wrote:
Thank you. I’ll take a look. My fundamental position on all these alleged complaints is that there may well be, indeed almost certainly are, a small number of children with genuine physical ailments which affect their behaviour or ability to read. They are not helped by being lumped in with the many others for whom this is not true. And nor are the many helped by being lumped in with the few.
I am, however, deeply sceptical about the use of drugs or surgery to alter mental conditions. Neurology (increasingly sidelined and subsumed by a suspect combination of hard and soft science rather ambitiously called ‘neuroscience’) is in its infancy, as most neurologists will themselves admit.
I believe our scientific knowledge of the workings of the brain is primitive, and simply does not license most of the prescriptions and procedures, from stimulants and ‘antidepressants’ to ECT, which are so cavalierly applied . It’s very difficult to obtain objective measures of their effects, placebos being particularly effective on ‘psychological’ problems. It’s also extremely difficult to mount proper controlled double-blind experiments in such areas, horribly easy for drug companies to conceal their results from the public and appallingly easy for those same companies to influence doctors.

Dr. Levinson’s Attempt to Further Clarify His Own Non-Traditional Views
An unwitting need for complexity and overkill as well as maintaining the status quo or resistance to change often masks simple indisputable insights. And scientific narcissism, skepticism, psychopathy and OCD often underly and thus confuse scientists and their scientific endeavors. Do not many breakthroughs result by merely perceiving events before our eyes in a different or novel way.
My dyslexia and related concepts are clinically determined, validated by thousands of observations, explain or encompass all other reported data and views, including yours & those within The Dyslexia Debate, etc. And they have led to new and unexpected insights into phobias, etc.
As a result of my concepts’ “isomorphic validation” and an unexpected therapeutic discovery that helps 75-85-% of treated dyslexic individuals of all ages in completely unanticipated ways, explained only in hindsight, I have stubbornly left the need for double and even triple-blind studies to others who require them. However, I’ve described a simple and foolproof way they can be done. And my simple response to those claiming they are placebos, I am blessed to have discovered a placebo that works so well compared to 0% traditional med improvements. By the way, I’ve also been falsely accused by the prior Orton Society of claiming to cure all dyslexics. Using this confabulated “straw man argument,” they then felt justified in concluding that anyone claiming to CURE all dyslexics must be a FRAUD.
Underlying their fraudulent and ignorant claims were fears of losing control of their DYSLEXIA MONOPOLY as well as fearing that a dyslexia cure will deprive them of income.
Enough said for now.
Dr. Levinson

Should you be open to viewing the benefits of my treatment as well as listening to named and pictured patients report improvements in the underlying “inner-ear” mechanisms responsible for their many and diverse symptoms, just click the side bar on my Website marked Favorable Patient Responses…

About Harold Levinson, M.D.:
Formerly Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at New York University Medical Center, Dr. Harold Levinson is currently Director of the Levinson Medical Center for Learning Disabilities in Long Island, New York. He is a well-known neuropsychiatrist, clinical researcher and author. For more information, call 1(800)334-7323 or visit:


 By Harold Levinson, M.D.

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