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Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

From: Eugene Frison <cthulhu_calls.nul>
Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2012 19:18:28 -0500
Archived: Sat, 21 Apr 2012 09:15:35 -0400
Subject: Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

>From: Cathy Reason <Cathym.nul>
>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <post.nul>
>Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2012 03:38:24 +0100
>Subject: Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

>>From: Eugene Frison <cthulhu_calls.nul>
>>To: <post.nul>
>>Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2012 10:45:04 -0500
>>Subject: Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

>>The research that is conducted in psychology is done according
>>to the standards of the scientific method, using either
>>qualitative or quantitative methods or both. It makes extensive
>>use of induction, deduction, and abduction (the three modes of
>>inference). It uses controlled experimentation in laboratories,
>>observation in natural settings, computational modelling, and
>>neuropsychological methods to name but a few.

>Evidently your notion of the scientific method is something that
>depends on a lot of complicated procedures and elaborate
>constructions of logic. To me this involves a serious
>misunderstanding about what science actually is - and unlike
>you, I don't think all this is just a matter of opinion.

Evidently you focused your attention on only a small portion of
my list of methods used in psychological research.

That must be how you read my remark above and concluded from it
that I view the scientific method as depending on a lot of
complicated procedures and elaborate constructions of logic.

The above is simply a factual statement listing some of the
various methods that psychological research uses. Several of
these same methods are used in other sciences as well and
are not exclusive to psychology. My remark is simply a short
listing of methods used by science. Psychology uses them too,
as it conforms to the standards of the scientific method.

I don't think this is a matter of opinion. You can find out that
it is fact - that psychology uses these methods during its
approach if you realize there is more to psychology than
Cognitivism. You can also find out that other fields of science
use several of them too. This, without a whole lot of research
on your part.

Do you deny that science uses, let's say, induction or deduction
at times in its approach? Do you deny that science ever uses
controlled experimentation in the lab? Do you deny that science
uses observation in natural settings at times? (Can you say Jane
Goodall in her observations of gorillas?)

Do you deny that psychology uses computational modelling, as do
other sciences? Do you also deny that psychology uses
neuropsychological methods? You seemed to be singing the praises
of neuroscience toward the end of your previous post.

Furthermore, psychology draws heavily on knowledge in other
fields to explain problems in its own field that it is trying to

>The cornerstone of science is: You develop hypotheses and then
>you test them. Without this, your elaborate methodological
>rituals are no better than alchemy, and your reverence for logic
>is just the modern equivalent of Medieval rationalism.

That's what psychological researchers do too - develop
hypotheses and test them. When other sciences use the above
listed methods, it is science. Application of the scientific
method! When psychology uses the same methods, it is "elaborate
methodological ritual no better than alchemy" and the "modern
equivalent of medieval rationalism."

When neuropsychology uses techniques such as functional
neuroimaging or transcranial magnetic stimulation to examine
activity of the brain when a person is performing a task' or to
change tiny parts of the brain to see what effect these areas
have on mental activity, I guess it is not being empirical. The
data accumulated should be tossed out because it is based on
"elaborate constructions of logic." Not!

>The sort of methodolatry which is prevalent in the social
>sciences calls to mind the state of astronomy before the time of
>Johannes Kepler. Astronomy was considered in the Middle Ages to
>be one of the liberal arts - something which could be understood
>entirely in terms of logic and esthetics. The modern notion of
>astronomy as an empirical science would have been quite alien to
>the medieval mind. It was originally alien to the mind of
>Kepler, whose eventual abandonment of Medieval rationalism and
>conversion to modern scientific empiricism can be regarded as
>the beginning of astronomy as a true science.

I think I spoke too soon when I said you displayed a deep
understanding of how psychological researchers proceed. They
also use empirical methods. You clearly can't get past your view
that psychology is nothing but Cognitivism.

Use of statistics is not infallible but used in science. Meta-
analysis improves things. Being aware of 'publication bias' and
of the "file drawer effect" - if taken into account - allows for
falsification. (When the number of experiments producing
negative results reaches such a degree as to seriously outnumber
experiments producing positive results.)

To say that this doesn't happen in psychology is indefensible.

Operationalism is not the demon you make it out to be. It is
used in other sciences, particularly in the medical and physical
sciences. Here it is used to preserve the unambiguous empirical
testibility of hypothesis and theory.

It too is not infallible; it has its limitations which are
understood. (Operational definitions, or functional definitions,
cannot refer to a historical event or they are disqualified as
being an operational definition because of the event not being

Your remark that neuroscience has produced data during the past
thirty years that invalidates the notion that human perception
is inaccurate is just wrong. It may have invalidated some
cognitive assumptions but certainly not this one. This one has
so much backing it up that it's solid. Human vision is a grand
illusion and, as Jay Ingram says in his book entitled Theatre of
the Mind (in Chapter Six, The Grand Illusion), "If you want to
keep believing in your visual prowess, then it's a grand

You might also want to read that chapter and find out about some
psychological experiments that certainly weren't of the
"elaborate methodological ritual no better than alchemy" or the
"modern equivalent of medieval rationalism" type. And, yes,
these _empirical_ experiments were performed by psychologists.
Imagine that!

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