Basic Flaws of Science & Psychology
This article is a Stub. It needs more clarity, organization, and dialogue.
What is a Scientific Truth?
A hypothesis (an idea, an inquiry) is something one is trying to "prove". A hypothesis must be tested with experiments to gather evidence that one can make further hypothesis around to continually test and tweak the idea of what is really going on.
A theory is a hypothesis that has been tested and gained a body of evidence that suggests some measure of predictability. A basic concept of science is that all scientific theories are only theories, not proven. They may have "evidence" that they are true, but they're not known to be true. At any point a new technique, device, or experiment could burst the theory bubble and disprove the theory.
A scientific "law" is a theory that has gained so much evidence that they're pretty sure it's true enough to base further hypothesis on it. Note that it's still technically a theory.
There's a body of evidence around theories that they have defined as the law of gravity — a law of nature — but it is not 100% infallible with absolutely no doubt. At some point, science may create a new way to detect a formerly unknown but observable factor of the universe that sheds new light on whether or not the observable effects of what is currently called gravity is actually what they think it is.
In sum: the only scientific "truth" is a theory that has not yet been disproven.
Science then assumes that the theory with sufficient evidence is true and starts to base further hypotheses and experiments on that theory, assuming it is true.
People are Paramount
Always keep this in mind with regard to science, medicine and definitely psychology: it's not proven true. It's just an idea, a theory, waiting for someone smarter or technology that can offer yet more proof or — as time has shown repeatedly with both medicine and psychology — disprove the theory.
There are scientific theories that are generally regarded as being so well-proven that they're accepted as laws of nature. The theory of gravity is one. We base much of our interactions on it, and it seems to hold up, so science doesn't really question it anymore.
There are far less sound theories in all of the sciences that do not have the body of evidence or proof that gravity has. This is Ok for the most part except when we're dealing with medicine and psychology. Why? Because these not-truths of medicine and psychology have people's lives in their hands.
When we make assumptions that theories are true with medicine and psychology, we're messing around with people's lives. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it does not. And to save face and professional embarrassment, scientists and researchers will bury, sweep under the rug, point fingers, or basically ignore the problems they cause. [Example: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/medical-treatments/des-exposure.html TL;DR: a drug given to pregnant people from 1938-1971 causes them health issues for the rest of their life AND causes their children (of any gender) health problems for their life, as well. They're not sure whether it causes a 3rd generation (grandchildren) issues yet. Oops. Note they're not suggesting that victims get restitution for the mistake.]
The Dreaded Compromise
We need more evidence & science is expensive and slow.
The unfortunate fact is that it takes time and money to gather "sufficient evidence" to ensure the world that a treatment or drug is truly effective and safe enough for general use. Regulatory agencies often allow "solutions" to be rushed to market far before they've reached that point. Sometimes this is for good reason: there are humans who need solutions today and cannot wait until tomorrow. This is a huge conundrum. They then balance the need against the evidence and decide whether it's worth risking people to save them. An unenviable position.
And then the Unethical Happens
This may seem like we're going far afield, but please bear with us because this ethical dilemma doesn't just exist in medicine.
In practice, science often rushes to market that which is financially lucrative, not that which is medically necessary, preventative, or will ease human suffering.
So you end up with Big Pharma selling us a new patented daily pill for a mental health issue (very lucrative) — but not curing cancer (which would mean less chemotherapy sales). It's not in their best interests, and they have a responsibility to their shareholders to increase profitability.
The way publicly owned corporations work, if they spend large sums of money on gathering sufficient evidence for preventative medicine or treatments, they will make less money, then they have failed their duty to their shareholders and will end up in a class-action lawsuit for damages.
This is not "do no harm" anymore. This is robbery.
Psychology as a Science
So, to rephrase, science is based on making predictions based on objective observations.
This is a problem for psychology right out of the gate.
Psychology is attempting to gather objective information about entirely subjective processes. So far, we don't see our consciousness on any objective equipment. Psychology can study brain structures, electrical inputs, in theory it can observe brain activity and neurotransmitters. This is all basically in theory, mind you. To make assumptions about what is being observed, to tie it in any direct way to subjective experience, is completely unproven. Our brain may be like the ram & a hard drive in a computer, storing and retrieving memory and short-term data while our consciousness acts completely outside of the brain chemicals, neurons, and neurotransmitters that we can observe. We just do not know, and it's a big assumption that colors on an MRI equal thought, conscience, consciousness, and anything resembling what humans view as their immortal soul.
Are we seeing what we think we're seeing? We won't know until we have better equipment and technology. So it's always possible for some new technology to come along and change any science. Maybe someday we'll have a conscienceometer and be able to measure and observe consciousness. Today is not that day.
A Young Science
Some sciences are quite a lot older than the science of psychology. Psychology is often criticized by other sciences for being young and even for being a pseudo-science since it purports to study that which can't be studied, and hypothesize and theorize about that which can't be proven. Even in the last 150 years, the growth of modern psychology, it has been so full of falsehoods, poor observations, junk ideas and theories, misbehavior on the part of scientists and professionals, industry shame, institutionalization mishaps, flagrant abuses against both human beings and animals, and abhorrent experimental ethics.
A Flawed Science
Psychology more than other sciences is very prone to subjectivity on the part of the researchers and theoreticians. We see this early on with Sigmund Freud who obviously had mommy issues, and while he made a great point as to the importance of motherhood — or primary parental figure(s) — on infant development, he emphasized and created many theories according to his own biases. Since we've had myriad researchers who built upon those false pillars, some tearing them down to replace with their own pet theories — markedly better than Freud's in some cases, but still exerting so-called objectivity on subjective issues and processes.
The "Expert" Echo-Chamber
The body of psychological research is created by experts who are answerable to an echo chamber of "experts" and "researchers" who mutually collude and conspire to back up each other's observations. They have egos and prejudices and biases like any other human beings, but they have been set up as the arbiters of what is the "status quo" in society. They both define and defend that which is 'normal'. They even go so far as to name classes "abnormal psychology."
Psychology and the Status Quo
If enough of the populace starts to think differently than psychology they can change their mind, however. Could you imagine a protest outside of a physics conference demanding that gravity be taken out of the list of natural laws of science? Well, that's all it takes for psychology to reconsider whether something is "normal" or "abnormal" — as this happened when people protested the inclusion of homosexuality in the DSM. What was viewed as mental illness became normal. Not because homosexuality itself changed, but because psychologists came around to redefine normality to be more in alignment with society.
It works the other way around too, as disorders are added and removed from the DSM and society adjusts to the "new normal" as defined by psychology.
In this way, a pseudoscience defines 'normal' or 'abnormal' by both preaching to and listening to society. In fact, "preaching" may be the correct word, as there are other places where old mainly white men sequester themselves and talk about unfathomable things in baffling languages and come out with decrees as to who is right and who is wrong. You can search on "psychology guardian of the status quo" in your favorite search engine for articles on and critiques of this issue of psychology playing the alternating role of guarding and setting the status quo.
More to come… stub topics
- What they fail to study in experiments IS the status quo itself.
- They do not question "normal" only "abnormal".
- That right there puts it firmly into psueudoscience because it fails to question its own assumptions that "normal" per whatever the definition of the moment is — is correct.
- They don't experiment on or test whether plurality or singularity is preferable. They don't challenge that assumption or hypothesize or test that assumption.
- Fundamental flaw with decrees of what to correct for is that what they think is abnormal is undesirable. The moment it's "undesirable" it's opinion, not fact. They have not studied the facts.
- No one has quantitatively proven that singularity is preferable to plurality. So the treatment since 1907 assumes singularity is preferable. That makes treatment of plurals unsound, scientifically.
- Research fails to dig into more effective treatments because it's not lucrative.
- Dare we say "double-dipping" — the more bad therapists harm people, the more therapy people need to resolve the therapy-induced trauma.
- Power & control — science controls the narrative and has become so powerful it's impossible to question it. And they'll gaslight the fuck out of you if you try. They control the language, the narrative, the facts, the expertise, etc. They're on shaky territory, and if backed into a corner, they have the means to end you.
Regulation of Subjective Reality
Since science cannot objectively observe consciousness, psychology is an entire "science" based on the regulation and judgement of things that scientists cannot observe.
- If there is indeed no objective definition of personhood, and
- There is no way of measuring or quantifying it, then
- How can we limit personhood or consciousness to 1 per body?