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Why Buddha Isn’t Dead–and Psychology Still Isn’t Really a Science

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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I’ve been mulling over how I should follow up my previous post, the one with the subtle headline “Crisis in Psychiatry!” My meta-theme is that science has failed to deliver a potent theory of and therapy for the human mind. I’ve made this same point previously, notably in my 1996 Scientific American article “Why Freud Isn’t Dead” and my 1999 book The Undiscovered Mind, which was originally also titled “Why Freud Isn’t Dead.”

Best mind-scientist ever?

I was faulted for being too critical in those works, but in retrospect I probably wasn’t critical enough. My “Freud isn’t dead” argument went as follows: In spite of enduring vicious attacks since its inception, Freudian psychoanalysis endures as a theory of and therapy of the mind not because it has been scientifically validated. Far from it. Psychoanalysis is arguably analogous to phlogiston, the pseudo-stuff that alchemists once thought was the basis of combustion and other chemical phenomena.

Psychoanalysis endures because science has not produced an obviously superior paradigm to replace it. If psychoanalysis is phlogiston, so are all the supposedly new-and-improved mind-paradigms proposed over the past century, including behaviorism, cognitive science, behavioral geneticsevolutionary psychology and neuroscience.

An effective mind-paradigm should produce effective treatments for mental illness, right? Countless new psychotherapies have emerged since Freud’s heyday, but studies have shown that all “talking cures” are roughly as effective as each other, or ineffective. This is the notorious Dodo effect. (Those of you who believe, like my Scientific American colleague Ferris Jabr, that cognitive behavioral therapy represents a genuine advance in psychotherapy should check out this new study, which concludes otherwise.) Antidepressants, neuroleptics and other drugs can provide short-term relief for some sufferers from mental illness, but on balance they may do more harm than good.

Here’s how bad things have gotten. Many prominent psychologists, such as Richard Davidson, are promoting meditation as a therapy for troubled minds, even though the evidence for meditation’s benefits is flimsy. Think about that a moment. In spite of all the supposed advances of modern science, some authorities believe that the best treatment for mental disorders might be the method that Buddha taught 2,500 years ago. That’s like chemists suddenly telling us that phlogiston theory—or something even older, like the ancient belief that all matter is made of earth, fire, air and water–was right after all.

I’m often accused of of being too negative, of seeing the glass of mind-science as half empty instead of half full. Actually, even describing the glass as half empty is far too generous. We don’t have a genuine science of the mind yet. The question is when, if ever, will we?

Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

John Horgan About the Author: Every week, hockey-playing science writer John Horgan takes a puckish, provocative look at breaking science. A teacher at Stevens Institute of Technology, Horgan is the author of four books, including The End of Science (Addison Wesley, 1996) and The End of War (McSweeney's, 2012). Follow on Twitter @Horganism.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. mskhanal 1:26 pm 05/10/2013

    this article has nothing to do with buddha and his philosophy

    Link to this
  2. 2. Melanie Tannenbaum 1:32 pm 05/10/2013

    Can I just ask what the motive is here, in writing a title like this?

    You aren’t really demonstrating that psychology is not a science here. You are showing that within *clinical* psychology (one of many subfields), the literature on therapeutic efficacy is mixed and/or inconclusive.

    This doesn’t even mention other research in clinical psychology. Or, for that matter, research in subfields like social, developmental, cognitive, biological, educational…

    It’s understandable if you want to write about the inconclusive literature on therapy. This is your blog, after all! I’m certainly not in a position to tell you what you can and can’t write.

    But don’t you think it might be a little inflammatory and hurtful to post a misleading, overly broad title like “Psychology still isn’t really a science” on a scientific blog network that just launched an entire section devoted to psychology-related blogs?

    Link to this
  3. 3. hungry doggy 3:43 pm 05/10/2013

    Your blog reminded me of an incident back in 1968. I was 18 years old and it was my first day as a freshman at the University of Illinois. Along with about a million other kids I was attending my first lecture in a large introduction to pyschology class. The professor was a true believer in Behaviorism. He started the lecture by telling us that all of human behavior – the entirity of it – could be explained by classical conditioning. At first I sat there stunned thinking that he must be joking. He then proceeded to spend the rest of the course explaining how classical conditioning was the sole key to understanding all of human behavior. Even as a naive 18 year old I knew that this guy knew less about human nature than I did.

    That course taught me something about human nature and about pyschology. Its just that the lesson I learned was not quite the lesson the professor had in mind.

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  4. 4. gesimsek 3:45 pm 05/10/2013

    The problem lies in modern understanding of human being: as an agent acting autonomously realizing his own self by his own means. No one is capable of rescuing himself from his own desperation (angst), but only possible with love or God’s grace.

    Link to this
  5. 5. elsolo 4:31 pm 05/10/2013

    Your blog is titled “Cross-check”, but you seem to mostly quote yourself. That makes me want to hear more informed opinion from you on topics that you clearly really seem to have considerable expertise in.
    You seem to have a bit of a problem with a word ‘critical’. It does not necessarily mean you have to criticize, but offer a weighted and informed insight.

    Link to this
  6. 6. Chryses 4:49 pm 05/10/2013

    “We don’t have a genuine science of the mind yet. The question is when, if ever, will we?”

    All in good time, John. All in good time. Patience, we are taught, is a Virtue.

    Link to this
  7. 7. John Horgan in reply to John Horgan 6:45 pm 05/10/2013

    Melanie, welcome to Scientific American! We are a diverse group here. If readers don’t like my cranky skepticism, they can sample more upbeat writing by you and others. I will say, however, that there is a long and honorable tradition, dating back to William James and continuing through Howard Gardner of Harvard, of questioning by psychologists about whether their field will ever become a mature, rigorous science. (See Gardner’s essay http://www.humanamente.eu/PDF/Issue11_Paper_Gardner.pdf.) I believe that without this sort of brutally honest self-examination, psychology will never break free of ts long history of embarrassing faddishness.

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  8. 8. Richard Townsend 6:56 pm 05/10/2013

    Well, why shouldn’t the buddhist approach be broadly right? It’s based on experience of what has been observed to work in the past. It’s essentially about training the mind to reduce the power of ego and to increase the strength of positive mental states, for the benefit of self and others. In the same way, body builders build muscles without knowing what’s happening inside.

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  9. 9. N a g n o s t i c 8:04 pm 05/10/2013

    mskhanal, the article mentions Buddhist meditation, and in the context of modern psychology focuses on the meditation part, in that it’s never been scientifically proven to be beneficial to brains or minds.

    Melanie Tannenbaum, the truth can hurt. If Psychology is regarded by some as a science on par with mathematics, physics, biology and neuroscience, then they’re not being very rigorous, and have a somewhat broad idea of constitutes a science.

    gesimsek, hoodoo and fairy tales are more appropriate elsewhere.

    Chryses, I am hopeful, as you are. Minds are simply what happens when brains function. Not to deny that they’re the most complicated dynamic process known. I regard the idea that one day we’ll be able to initiate consciousness in some type of stuff as mind-blowing.

    Link to this
  10. 10. softwarematters 11:52 pm 05/10/2013

    John,

    I for one, want to thank you for being so brutally honest. It’s not only Buddha but other religions that can be more effective dealing with problems of living than the pseudoscientific nonsense brought to the table by psychology or psychiatry. This is something that those who have bought into the cult of psychology/psychiatry don’t want to hear: both psychology and psychiatry were born as attempts to replace the power of religious institutions in dealing with “problems of living”, particularly when it came to legal issues. They have become the very “evil” they sought to fight. I put evil in quotes not because I think that all religion is evil but because that was the motivation of those that started psychology and psychiatry as attempt to replace religion.

    So we have religions replaced with a different belief system, except that said belief system sells itself as being “scientific” when the truth of the matter is that it is no different from any other belief system.

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  11. 11. LarryW 12:05 am 05/11/2013

    I would modify Horgan’s comments substantially, but add educational research, diet, much of medical and pharmacological research and studies to the mix. The problem with each of the areas is not that they are not sciences, but that practitioners put into practice theories that are not supported by the data they do have, making wild claims in the process.

    Recently, there was a medical study on the effectiveness of fish oil supplements. Simple. Give the text group 1g of fish oil, the control group 1g olive oil, and watch for coronary events. Conclusion — no difference. They conclude fish oils is no different from placebo. Science. Not on your life. No controls or data on individuals’ diets, no data on effect of olive oil itself, no tests on higher doses compared to placebo. And no measures of other effects that are claimed by proponents of fish oil supplements. This study should never have been done. It’s as though these people don’t have a clue about how to perform scientific research, and experimental design.

    Science progresses through small steps of well controlled experiments. Almost no results will have practical value and almost none should make it into the public press much less without a coherent roadmap of studies needed to come to a scientific conclusion.

    This stuff, in general, is so bad it gives actual science a bad name, and allows any old opinion to compete with the results of real science.

    Perhaps, peer reviewed results is far too late for these areas. We need peer-review of the proposed study by those expert in both the substantive area and experimental design before the proposed study can be funded and implemented.

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  12. 12. joewhitehurst 3:53 am 05/11/2013

    An excerpt from my dissertation proposal:

    Given the foregoing discussion of the controversies among competing approaches to management development training, it seems reasonable to ask whether the phenomenon of management development might be systematically studied so that the process can be better understood. Since at one level it is a question of individual human experience and behavior, one might suppose that one could turn to psychological science for appropriate theories and methodologies or even a most widely accepted theory and method–at the very least a rational and sustainable philosophy of science. Unfortunately this is not a simple task. In fact, it is not even a possible task because, as Sigmund Koch has pointed out: “never has the field been comparably obfuscated by the babble of so vast and contentious a plurality of parochial voices” (1975, p. 480). In the same exposition, Koch, whose entire career has consisted largely of directing the massive, empirical, 10 year self-study of “the” Science of Psychology (commissioned and supported by the National Science Foundation and the American Psychological Association), urged his peers to seriously consider the study’s following conclusions:
    The hundred year history of what is called “scientific psychology” has established beyond doubt that most…domains that psychologists have sought to order, in the name of science and via simulations of the analytical pattern definitive of science, do not and cannot meet the conditions for meaningful application of this pattern….Many legitimate and important domains of psychological study then, cannot be called “science” in any significant sense, and continued application of this misleading metaphor can only vitiate, distort, or pervert research effort. I am saying that–in fields as close to the heart of the psychological studies as perception, cognition, motivation, and learning; and certainly social psychology…and the empirical study of phenomena relevant to the domains of the extant humanities–in all these areas, such concepts as law, experiment, measurement, variable, control, and theory do not behave sufficiently like their homonyms in the established sciences to justify the extension to them of the term science. To persist in the use of this highly charged metaphor is to shackle these fields of study with exceedingly unrealistic expectations concerning generality limits of anticipated findings, predictive specificity and confidence levels, feasible research and data-processing strategies, and modes of conceptual ordering. The inevitable heuristic effect is the enaction of imitation science rather than the generation of significant knowledge. Pursuit of imitation science, though a highly sophisticated skill, can only lead to the evasion and demeaning of subject matter and to a constriction of problematic interests. It is a deadly form of role-playing if one acknowledges that the psychological universe has something to do with persons. This kind of spurious knowledge can result in a corrupt human technology and spew forth upon man a stream of ever more degrading images of himself. (Koch, 1975, pp. 493-494)
    One notable exception to this dreary picture of what the doctrine of behaviorism produced during its 10 decades of dominance, is George A. Kelly’s “Theory of Personal Constructs.” Kelly’s theory is an elaborate ccount of the why’s and how’s of psychological change. Formulated and first elaborated and applied in the
    realm of individual psychotherapy during the 1950′s, this increasingly popular comprehensive approach to an entire science of psychology, appears to be ideally suited for studying the psychological aspects of management development which, prima facie, is about psychological change. Nevertheless, for reasons which need not concern us here, this unique approach to a science of psychology has, until quite recently, remained little understood or utilized by mainstream scholars. In fact, psychologists who have been exposed to Kelly’s theory have had a difficult time reaching a consensus on how to construe it. In a book which Kelly’s untimely death interrupted, Kelly had this to say about how others had construed his theory:
    Personal construct theory has…been categorized by responsible scholars as an emotional theory, a learning theory, a psychoanalytic theory (Freudian, Adlerian, and Jungian–all three), a typically American theory, a Marxist theory, a humanistic theory, a logical positivistic theory, a Zen Buddhist theory, a Thomistic theory, a behavioristic theory, and Appolonian theory, a pragmatistic theory, a reflective theory, and no theory at all. It has also been classified as nonsense, which indeed, by its own admission, it will likely turn out someday to be. In each case there were some convincing arguments offered for the categorization, but I have forgotten what most of them were. I fear that no one of these categorizations will be of much help to the reader in understanding personal construct theory, but perhaps having a whole lap full of them at once will suggest what might be done with them.

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  13. 13. integral 12:01 pm 05/11/2013

    Forgive me for saying this, but John Horgan is simply not capable of intelligently commenting on matters involving clinical psychology or spirituality.

    Link to this
  14. 14. Harry Anderson MD FRCP 1:06 pm 05/11/2013

    I have actually developed a real psychoanalytic science. It involved the use a research design rooted in the principles of the “Scientific Method”, and the work took 40 some years. In 2011, I published a book that describes the research and the body of scientifically-tested theories it produced. I have some important refinements to add since then, but nothing fundamental.

    The problem is: (a) the professionals are not interested in having a science, strange as that may seem; (b) neither are the critics, even stanger as that becomes. I have collected extensive data that illustrates the phenomenon in both quarters, and will publish it when the writing is completed. Meanwhile, for anyone interested, the book (“From an Art to Science of Psychoanalysis”) is decribed in my website (http.//harryanderson.ca) along with a 1998 paper and an invitation to contribute to an understanding of what I have called “The Resistance to a Science of Psychoanalysis”. (All comments welcome.)

    Link to this
  15. 15. shoffman23 1:09 pm 05/11/2013

    “If psychoanalysis is phlogiston, so are all the supposedly new-and-improved mind-paradigms proposed over the past century, including behaviorism, cognitive science, behavioral genetics, evolutionary psychology and neuroscience.”

    So, until we can explain everything, its all invalid. Sounds like a common complaint from creationists. Please don’t mistake “puckishness” for poorly reasoned argumentation.

    Link to this
  16. 16. chatzida 2:59 pm 05/11/2013

    Neuroscience is definitely a science. We can do and had done experiments on molecular, cellular and organismic level, we know dozens of neurotransmitters and others molecules that DEFINITELY have a role in neurons and most important in behaviour. We use in most cases objective measurements and subject them to statistic analysis. Even better, we can design experiments in animals that establish cause-effect relationship (eg we can knock-out specific genes). And mostly all these are subjected to the falsiflability criterion. If this is not a sciense, then what it is? Definetley, not a phlogiston.. The “If psychoanalysis is phlogiston, so are all…and neuroscience” sentence contains logical gaps.

    And the conclusion “An effective mind-paradigm should produce effective treatments for mental illness, right?” is seriously flawed. An effective mind-paradigm is neccessary for treatments but not sufficient (eg you may be sure about the importance of a neurotranmitter but may not be able to target it efficiently with a drug). Also, we know the cause of many genetic diseases but gene therapy has proven inefficient in most cases. That would mean that we lack a pardigm in genetics? Surely not.
    Moreover, and you should know that, scientific theories did not emerge abruptly in full perfection and with answers in all questions. If that was the case, most probably they wouldn’t be scientific. Methodology is what makes a discipline scientific or not. And neuroscience was built on solid scientific methodology.

    Chatzidakis Ioannis MSc, PhD

    Link to this
  17. 17. NathanM 5:46 pm 05/11/2013

    Despite being an ordained Buddhist, I’d have to answer a resounding “No!” to the question under that picture “Best Mind scientist ever?” Its a common misconception in the West, but the statue in that picture is based off the depiction of a semi-legendary 10th century Chinese monk named Budai, who probably looked nothing like the historical guy who came to be known as the Buddha, a person who supposedly fasted after noon every day. :P

    However, even if that picture caption were to refer to the Buddha himself, I would not answer yes.
    For one, that depends upon how you define “mind” (as the article mentions, a difficult proposition), and even how you define “scientist” and “best.” All of those anyways would be personal judgements based on undefined criteria.

    But I would at least assert that the Buddha designed a particular type of scientific method long before our current scientific paradigm became established.

    Before mentioning that method, I’d like to just provide a quote from one of the discourses attributed to him.

    “don’t go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, ‘This contemplative is our teacher.’ When you know for yourselves that, ‘These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering’ — then you should abandon them.” (from the Kalama Sutta)

    The quote shows a theme that runs through many of the discourses, and introduces a theme that is both the strength and weakness of the Buddha’s methodology in comparison to the Western scientific method. The Buddha taught to base everything upon a framework of your own personal experience. Thus the methodologies you can find in Buddhist traditions do not have any double-blind tests or studies with advanced instruments that can tell us comparative measures of hemoglobin in different people’s frontal lobes, etc., etc.

    BUT specifically as a process for examining personal experience and experimenting with the ways in which one can make adjustments to that experience with the aim of developing a sustainable satisfaction therein, his methods and findings were actually quite thorough in many regards.

    At the basis of those teachings the equivalent to the scientific method that he proposed and worked with is known as “the four noble truths.” This may sound rather hyper religious, but if actually reading the discourses around it, one can see -and test for themselves- a pretty logical foundational system to accomplish that aforementioned aim.

    1. The first step is to identify some aspect of “Dhukkha,” a word with no real English equivalent, often translated as stress or suffering, but closer in menaing to “unsatisfactoriness.” Upon identifying it, one is supposed to fully examine and understand it.
    2. The next step is to identify the origin of that “dukkha.” Through the choice of numerous sub-methodologies, one gets rid of that cause.
    3. Next, the process involves examining the shift that occurs in experience once that cause has been removed.
    4. The last step is called the “path” and basically presents eight main patterns to focus on developing positively. These path factors help develop a positive feedback loop for each of the four steps.

    As the story goes, the Buddha basically spent 15-20 hours per day, every day for about 45 years fleshing out many dimensions and specifics about this methodology and teaching it to others. Whether or not those specifics are accurate, the collection of discourses available today that seems most historically accurate still equates to the length of nearly ten “bibles.” Inside there is a fair amount of what many would identify as religious information. But still well over half of that is made up of incredibly in-depth personal psychological techniques that could merit decades upon decades of modern scientific study (its much easier to simply do a personal thought experiment for what works for you in the moment than a drawn out study to try to objectively see what works for most people).

    “meditation” as presented in those teachings is actually a complex list of thousands of intertwining mental techniques and exercises. I agree that the current psychological and neurological studies on meditation are quite “flimsy.” But I think these discourses attributed to the Buddha are still worthy of examination in further developing a science of the mind. For one, as any field develops, its vocabulary expands. The depth of exploration from one person’s mental analysis shows a vocabulary of mental states that completely dwarfs our current capacity to translate it into English. At the very least, incorporating more Buddhist discourses could enhance both the direction and specificity of what “mind” actually entails.

    Link to this
  18. 18. Aashrai 9:10 pm 05/11/2013

    To me your analysis is incomplete. “An effective mind-paradigm should produce effective treatments for mental illness, right”
    - Not really. An effective theory need not always produce a substantial result. It means that there may be other confounding factors or the theory may be incomplete. It does not mean that it is WRONG!.
    Psychoanalysis endures because science has not produced an obviously superior paradigm to replace it.

    “If psychoanalysis is phlogiston, so are all the supposedly new-and-improved mind-paradigms proposed over the past century, including behaviorism, cognitive science, behavioral genetics, evolutionary psychology and neuroscience.”
    -I agree psychotherapy may not be very effective but its wrong to compare ALL paradigms including evolutionary psychology and cognition or neuroscience with alchemy!! and as an MD I have seen patients who have had tremendous improvements with anti depressants like SSRIs. so you cannot just term every drug as ineffective in the long run.
    the mind is a very complex “system” and we may need to individualize treatment. Science is making steps towards the same. It does not mean that everything science has done till now has been just hocus -pocus!
    There have been studies in behavioural economics which have proved some psychological concepts such as priming to be correct(Ref- Thinking fast and slow, by Daniel Kahneman).
    Last but not the least, Buddha never “taught” meditation. He meditated because it calmed him and maybe helped him focus. It is an individual thing and may not work in the same way for everyone, but it doesnt mean that it may not work at all!!

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  19. 19. barryevans 9:53 pm 05/11/2013

    I’ve been meditating since 1970, mostly in the Soto Zen (“sit down and shut up”) tradition. In that time, the adage “The three requirements for meditation to be great courage, great faith and great doubt” has continued to speak to me.
    I’m very wary of giving any form of instruction to newcomers, since meditation isn’t a “one size fits all” formula for stress reduction, happiness or any other perceived benefit (–if it was, I suspect everyone would be doing it).
    I don’t think there’s anything to teach or learn about meditation, it’s purely experiential, all a vacillator can do is create the environment, perhaps offer encouragement, and leave it to the meditator to discover what they will, unfettered by expectations or instructions. That way, it’s always an adventure, and “experienced meditator” is an oxymoron.
    I wrote about it in my weekly column:
    http://www.northcoastjournal.com/humboldt/meditation-stress-reduction-or-induction/Content?oid=2185618

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  20. 20. rkipling 10:15 pm 05/11/2013

    Melanie Tannenbaum,

    The author of this blog has a B.A. in English and an M.S. in Journalism.

    For those of you who don’t know, Ms. Tannenbaum is a doctoral candidate in social psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (She did not authorize this message nor does she need defenders. I thought this might be interesting to readers.)

    I’ll let readers of this comment draw their own conclusions.

    Link to this
  21. 21. zstansfi 3:53 am 05/12/2013

    John your rants seem to get less and less coherent with time. If the English language is your playhouse then clarity, veracity and logic have all long since been replaced by monster trucks and moon beams. Rather than try to add to a major issue with reasonable input you’ve just run roughshod over every discipline with even a tangential relationship to “mental illness”.

    If I am to take your argument at face value, then you believe that because there are no clearly effective therapies for mental illness that, therefore, any research conducted on the basis of the mind is pseudoscience? You state this in fewer words than I:

    “An effective mind-paradigm should produce effective treatments for mental illness, right?”

    One might be surprised to hear, after reading your statements, that most disciplines other than psychiatry are not exclusively focused on treating mental illness–so why exactly should we expect this to be true? Clearly, you presume that anyone who has an understanding of how mental functions work should automatically be endowed with the skills and knowledge sufficient to treat impaired mental function. This is a such a bizarre leap of logic I really don’t think it needs refutation.

    You also leaves out the obvious likelihood that “mental illness” is not some coherent button to be pushed and fixed with a single panacea like pharmaceutical medication or general purpose psychotherapy. There is the potential that some treatments currently in use, even if they only marginally perform above placebo at the group level, do have highly meaningful effects on some individuals but not others. We would never know this, however, because this possibility is obscured by the largely invalid system of classification promoted by psychiatry, which clusters together diverse individuals into groups that are unlikely to respond in a coherent fashion.

    Further, you don’t even deem it necessary to address what the vast majority of people who study, talk about or theorize on mental illness believe. Who in their right mind argues that mental illness can be encapsulated solely by individual theories coming out of neuroscience, behaviorism (?? how did that get in here?) or psychology? It’s pretty widely believed at this point that mental illness arises out of some complex interaction between genetic factors, neural development, and life circumstances/experiences. This can be described to some extent at the level of genetic analysis, psychology, neuroscience or even some kind of social theory, but it would be ludicrous to believe that any one of these levels of analysis is solely sufficient to explain the phenomenon.

    Honestly, it’s not your “negative” attitude on this topic, it’s your clear unwillingness to approach a difficult topic with impartiality. I am really starting to think that “puckish” is less a synonym for “provocative” than it is one for “misinformative”. Clearly journalism is not a science, but at least it has coherent goals like promoting honest discourse, right?

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  22. 22. jtdwyer 7:02 am 05/12/2013

    John Horgan,
    Yeah, you got a bad attitude! But I like your analogy: “psychoanalysis as phlogiston”. That you at least touch on valid, sensitive issues is the reason you engender such consternation from practitioners.

    Having helped a close friend with serious mental health issues for a number of years, I lean towards the idea that psychological problems arise more often from brain physiology issues than improper thought patterns. One thing I’ve observed, though, is that treatment protocols vary wisely depending on the philosophy of the professionals applying treatment – this is poor state of affairs for any purported scientific discipline! IMO, a bad attitude is still warranted…

    Link to this
  23. 23. jtdwyer 7:06 am 05/12/2013

    Erratum – “… treatment protocols vary wisely…” should read “… treatment protocols vary widely…” (unwisely).

    Link to this
  24. 24. Chryses 9:53 pm 05/14/2013

    N a g n o s t i c (9),

    “Chryses, I am hopeful, as you are. Minds are simply what happens when brains function. Not to deny that they’re the most complicated dynamic process known. I regard the idea that one day we’ll be able to initiate consciousness in some type of stuff as mind-blowing.”

    That would be awe inspiring, and I hope I live to see that day! I doubt I will, though. Science is a loooooooooooooong way from any hope of understanding epiphenomena of that complexity – at least in the mechanical, reductionist fashion that many see as Science.

    Link to this

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