Academic Reasons to Distrust Psychologists

Open any Psychology textbook and there will be references to Sigmund Freud everywhere, even though he’s been largely dismissed as an unscientific philosopher. I understand why he was historically significant, but they waste a lot of time on him, as though they can’t let go of their founder. I always have doubts about the reliability of studies on sentient beings, and the test results often say more about the researchers than the subjects, like writing about your findings when you look at a Rorschach ink blob.

Scientific Misconduct

But even when the Psychology studies appear reliable, fraud occurs. The first Psychology book I read in 8th grade was by Marc Hauser, and he has been convicted of 8 counts of scientific misconduct. Daniel Dennett, my least favorite of the ‘4 horsemen of the non-apocalypse,’ didn’t even have the balls to throw him under the bus. I understand he’s met him before, and probably cited him, but I’d call my best friend a liar privately and publicly if he fraudulently lied to the world.

twitter dennett marc hauser

Another of the 4 horsemen, (Richard Dawkins) also cited Marc Hauser’s surveys on moral dilemmas in the later half of  “The God Delusion.” I haven’t found anywhere on the web where he renounces him either, and I do hope that he makes a note that those surveys should be suspect due to the originator if his book ever has a second edition.

Seriously, how do these New Atheists expect do hold the moral ground if they can’t call out their own fraudulent behavior or pseudoscience? I may be an Atheist, but I so strongly detest the tribal mentality of religious groups, that I don’t want to be part of any group that is afraid of self-criticism. I think it’s reasonable to call myself an Atheist, (since I am a skeptic in regards to religion,) but I have no need for other labels that group me with hypocrites.

If New-Atheism means I’m an Anti-Theist, then that’s an appropriate label, but I’m still going to tell people not to group me with anyone who can’t admit their mistakes. This is not how science is supposed to work, and they”re not setting a good example for morality without religion.


One thought on “Academic Reasons to Distrust Psychologists

  1. Some science is simple such as physics (I know, a few will argue how complex particle physics has become) such as, an object will remain at rest unless acted upon and an object in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon. Of course “force” is simply undefined, perhaps an oversight. But it is human behavior that is quite complex. when we wish to ascribe reason to behavior we enter uncharted territory. Freud tried to make sense out of human behavior through both observation and conjecture. Id smoking a cigarette really an “oral fixation”? well, what would be a better description? Watson and Skinner had a word for it, habituation. And that is a term that has yet to be disproved.

    Now consider that psychology is a science when it comes to cognition and neuroscience. Of course the cognition part is really great until one reaches the stumbling point. What is consciousness? Sort of like the speed of light, everyone knows it is a constant, can’t be superseded. Except on the sub atomic level and then only for brief periods of time. Science and math are full of contradictions. One of my favorite is set theory. Every set has at least one element, except the null or empty set. Did we just run into a contradiction?

    Yes, there is an awful lot of bullpucky when it comes to what may be described as abnormal psychology, except they now call it clinical psychology. Well go figure. I thought the classes I took last century were correctly labeled. Unfortunately mental health issues are still mental health issues regardless of how much you dislike psychology as a science. You see, many mental health problems last a lifetime. You and I might suffer a little anxiety or a little depression, everyone does. But for those whose conditions last possibly the length of their lives it is no laughing matter.

    So while you knock all psychology as false and useless, it’s not. I was married to a woman with some severe psychological problems. I could only take sixteen years of it, she still has the problems. Psychotropic drugs are, well, useful, but their usefulness comes at a price. Some rot your teeth out. what do you prefer, extreme anxiety or rotten teeth? I’ve been reading psychology since 1965 and I have seen a great deal of change. Physics never gets it right the first time, or the second, or the third. Why do you expect perfection for psychology? thou doth protest too much.


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