Read the most advanced science of autism causes here. Bypass the commenterati and go direct to the science. Don't waste your time at the sites which pretend "no-one" knows what causes (or what sometimes cures) autism.
This is a website relating to the unchallenged theory of autism, IQ and genius, Personality and Individual Differences 14:459-482 (1993) by Robin P Clarke (the antiinnatia theory). An update review paper is being prepared for publication. Meanwhile you can download the original 1993 publication (presentationally revised) here, and the original 1993 publication (author's reprint) here . (the journal site version is here: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0191-8869(93)90316-U, but without added charts of social class and you may have to pay Elsevier $31.)

Do von Economo neurons produce bigotry?

There is occasionally a scientific paper that stands out with its joining of the dots. One such is that of John Allman et al in respect of von Economo neurons (vens):
Allman JM, Watson KK, Tetreault NA, Hakeem AY: Intuition and autism: a possible role for Von Economo neurons. Trends Cogn Sci 2005, 9:367-73.

His paper could have been even hotter if it had managed to mention how various of its elements had already been raised long ago in my 1993-published paper. For instance the idea that features that are recent in phylogeny (evolutionary history) are more liable to be impaired, and that that is what gets lost in autism (both key concepts in antiinnatia theory). And the antiinnatia theory had started out in its first minutes with the concept of "autism = deficiency of innate prejudices", which is strikingly close to some of the notions therein.

What is rather curious about his von Economo paper though, is the standard values-laden language it contains. We are told that autism is a "disorder" in which these rapid decisions about people are "impaired". I would beg to suggest that the characterisation of the vens as enabling rapid crude decisionmaking about whether or not to view people as friends is a description of bigotry. So perhaps it would be better to consider normal neurotypical to be a "disorder" and autism to involve freedom from an "impairment" which might be advantageous to the knee-jerker but harmful (in excess) to community cohesion. I guess Dr Allman would agree about this now that I have pointed it out.

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