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When will psychology finally be recognized as a pseudoscience?
#31
RE: When will psychology finally be recognized as a pseudoscience?
(May 12, 2021 at 8:42 pm)John 6IX Breezy Wrote:
(May 12, 2021 at 7:08 pm)vulcanlogician Wrote: I actually like Freud. (Although I recognize his methods are highly problematic.)

There was a certain depth to the early psychologists that has since been lost. They were philosophers of sorts; and viewed the mind rather like a cosmos. Psychology today is often dry and technical in comparison. And it has completely sacrificed the individual at the alter of statistical analysis.

Yes, Freud had a lot of ideas, especially early on, that I wouldn't recommend as therapy. But Civilization and Its Discontents and some others are great books. 

Perhaps the main reason that he is out of fashion is the fact that he says we have internal contradictions in ourselves which preclude coming to any sort of happy resolution. That is, a happy life can't be purchased, it can't be prescribed with medicine, and it can't be achieved through therapeutic breakthroughs. It certainly can't be reached through any method that an insurance company can cover. 

This is not something that optimistic and consumerist Americans want to hear. 

Like Nietzsche, Freud takes his atheism to logical conclusions that famous modern atheists shy away from. The New Atheist types are often good pre-Freudian 19th century Progressives, who think that once we get rid of religion then science and technology will give us utopia. Freud explains why that's not possible, and his reasons are very hard to argue against.
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#32
RE: When will psychology finally be recognized as a pseudoscience?
What americans, in your head, imagine that? I'm legitimately curious. When did you start believing the worst about the man closest to your right?
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#33
RE: When will psychology finally be recognized as a pseudoscience?
Google is better than a psychologist

Psychology is not a science, in the sense in which it is physics and biology
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#34
RE: When will psychology finally be recognized as a pseudoscience?
(May 13, 2021 at 4:18 am)Interaktive Wrote: Google is better than a psychologist

It depends on what you want. You can ask Google a question and sometimes it will give you the right answer. On the other hand, a good psychologist can ask you a question, and when you answer it it reveals yourself to yourself. 

Quote:Psychology is not a science, in the sense in which it is physics and biology

I agree with this, but I think that's not a bad thing. There is no reason to think that only physics and biology are worthwhile, or that other approaches to human problems can't be helpful. 

Psychology addresses the mind -- the way people think and feel. Biology can sometimes help with such issues, but this too is less definitively proven than some people like to think. SSRIs, for example, have been widely touted as a solution to lots of problems, but the objective scientific evidence for their effectiveness is very much in question. Maybe all this will change someday, but certainly not in our lifetimes. 

I am also skeptical whether it would be a good thing to have drugs that fine-tune all our feelings for us as we wish. The mechanical model, in which the mind is a machine that can be repaired with the proper tools, may not be what's best for people. (Though for people who are really suffering -- of course they should do whatever helps.) 

You won't read any of his books, but for more open-minded people I recommend the work of Adam Phillips, a British psychotherapist and writer. His readings of Freud (while not accepted by everyone) seem very wise to me. (He also has lectures on YouTube.) Psychoanalysis, and psychology in general, may be best thought of as something sui generis, not science and not art. I think of it as a kind of applied literature. It has to do with story-telling, and how we construct mentally what we are and what has happened to us. It isn't carried out in the interest of objective truth (as science purports to be) and it isn't created for disinterested aesthetic reasons (as literature is). But a person in therapy works sort of as a writer does, looking at the raw materials of what happened and arranging it into something coherent and meaningful, something that makes sense and can be lived with. The conclusions the analysand comes up with may not be true (and therefore not scientific) and are certainly not disinterested (and therefore not art) but to him they may be deeply significant. 

In a sense the paradigm case would be Proust, who lived a selfish and blame-worthy life, but who redeemed all of it by making a brilliant narrative. Not that any of us is going to rise to Proust's level, but the principle is nearly the same.  

I'd also like to point out that Freud had splendid taste in Persian rugs, among other things. I'd kill for a couple of qashqais like he had in his workroom. 

https://www.freud.org.uk/about-us/the-ho...tic-couch/
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#35
RE: When will psychology finally be recognized as a pseudoscience?
I agree that there are cases in which psychology studies are conducted in a pseudo-scientific manner. In fact I think this is largely caused by people who believe in scientism, as you seem to -- they think that a thing has to be scientific to be meaningful, so they shoehorn it into a scientific shape where it doesn't belong.

There was a study a few years ago that got a lot of attention among atheists on forums like this one. It purported to show that religious people were more likely to take nonsense statements seriously than atheists were. But the design of the study was wildly biased. It was hilarious, really.

The test consisted of a series of statements and the subjects judged whether the statements were nonsense or not. The researchers had decided in advance which sentences were meaningful. Naturally, the ones they pre-approved as meaningful were the ones which accorded with their own ideology and view of the world. They thought they were testing how people reacted to nonsense, but they were really testing which people agreed with their ideology.

They should have stopped pretending to be scientists long enough to read Derrida. It just isn't possible to decide in advance whether a sentence is meaningful or not -- the meaning is created in the mind of the reader. A sentence which seems like gibberish to one person will spark associations and meaningful responses in someone else.

So the attempt to be scientific may lead to poor research, when what's being tested isn't really scientifically quantifiable.

This, combined with the reproducibility crisis in all of science these days, makes psychology particularly problematic.
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#36
RE: When will psychology finally be recognized as a pseudoscience?
What psychological theory has made a specific prediction that has been tested, thereby refuting the theory?

At *best* psychology seems to be at the 'data collecting' stage prior to actually doing science. But without theories that make predictions that can be tested that thereby force a reconsideration of the theory, there is no science.

There are certain branches that seem to be getting closer to science: those that involve neurology and the biological aspects of the mind. But this is still very much in infancy.

Psychology still seems to be at the level of alchemy: there is a lot of interesting data being collected, but there is also a lot of hokum and nonsense. There is a hope it will actually evolve into a science (as alchemy did to chemistry), but that is going to take a LOT more work.
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#37
RE: When will psychology finally be recognized as a pseudoscience?
Scientologist quacks tend to have a dim view of psychology.

Personally, I find psychology to be more useful than religion.
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#38
RE: When will psychology finally be recognized as a pseudoscience?
(May 13, 2021 at 8:22 am)polymath257 Wrote: There is a hope it will actually evolve into a science (as alchemy did to chemistry), but that is going to take a LOT more work.

See, I don't think it should. I think it should stay its own thing. It gets into trouble when it strays.
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#39
RE: When will psychology finally be recognized as a pseudoscience?
Classical and operant conditioning make testable predictions.  Too many here are focused on early theorists while ignoring Skinner and the like.

For those who wax philosophical over every little thing (eyeroll included), let me ask:  do we really want a science that links neurology to thoughts?  Because that's sounds dystopian AF.
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#40
RE: When will psychology finally be recognized as a pseudoscience?
(May 13, 2021 at 8:54 am)Ranjr Wrote:  Too many here are focused on early theorists while ignoring Skinner and the like.

Skinner's major work was published in 1938. That probably seems pretty early to people working now.

Quote:For those who wax philosophical over every little thing (eyeroll included), let me ask:  do we really want a science that links neurology to thoughts?  Because that's sounds dystopian AF.

Why are you rolling your eyes about philosophy while posing a philosophical question? Do you hate yourself for asking? That would be an issue for psychology.
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