Psychology is not a science

Psychology is not a science

The Reproducibility Project results have just been published in Science, a massive, collaborative, ‘Open Science’ attempt to replicate 100 psychology experiments published in leading psychology journals. The results are sure to be widely debated – the biggest result being that many published results were not replicated. There’s an article in the New York Times about the study here: Many Psychology Findings Not as Strong as Claimed, Study Says

This is a landmark in meta-science : researchers collaborating to inspect how psychological science is carried out, how reliable it is, and what that means for how we should change what we do in the future. But, it is also an illustration of the process of Open Science. All the materials from the project, including the raw data and analysis code, can be downloaded from the OSF webpage. That means that if you have a question about the results, you can check it for yourself. So, by way of example, here’s a quick analysis I ran this morning: does the number of citations of a paper predict how large the effect size will be of a replication in the Reproducibility Project? Answer: not so much



Again confirmed, observational studies worthless

Again confirmed, observational studies worthless

Why stop at nutrition? How about the root of psychology/psychiatry? Aren’t those fields’ even worse in being a collection of self-reported/observed ‘afflictions’ compounded by bias and circular logic? From the early days the foundation for psychology has been laid by not truly compos mentis amateurs such as Freud or Jung. They lacked the scientific means & disciplines to properly examine that what they imagined they found. Shouldn’t the whole field of psy ‘sciences’ be reexamined from bottom up, starting with discarding those ancient assumptions as being no more than amusing tales told by the ancients?

The report by Archer and co-workers goes further, saying that continued funding for nutrition studies based on self-reported dietary data “constitutes an unscientific and major misuse of research resources” because people often misremember or deliberately misrepresent their diets. They cite a 2013 PLoS ONE study3 by Archer and two other colleagues, which looked at the prestigious US National Health and Examination Survey (NHANES) and suggested that 67.3% of women and 58.7% of men reported calorie intakes that were so high or low that they were physiologically implausible. The NHANES data were used by the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee in its scientific report to the US government. Archer said in an interview: “Anecdotal dietary data have no place in the scientific literature.”

Nature magazine

Compulsory well-being: An interview with Will Davies

Compulsory well-being: An interview with Will Davies

Happiness when of longer duration becomes normal and it becomes then just the lack of unhappiness. Moments of happiness should be exceptional to maintain their quality. If not the standard of ‘happiness’ need to be risen all the time leading to in the end total unhappiness since there is a limit. Drugs will help for a while. What helps best is to just accept just not being unhappy is the normal state of being. Saves a lot of money on ineffective soft sciences such as psychology.

Mind Hacks

The UK government’s use of psychology has suddenly become controversial. They have promised to put psychologists into job centres “to provide integrated employment and mental health support to claimants with common mental health conditions” but with the potential threat of having assistance removed if people do not attend treatment.

It has been criticised as ‘treating unemployment as a mental problem’ or an attempt to ‘psychologically reprogramme the unemployed’ and has triggered an upcoming march on a London job centre.

Will Davies is a political scientist and the author of the new bookThe Happiness Industry that looks at the history and practice of positive psychology as government and ‘well-being’ as a way of managing people.

We caught up with him to get some background on the recent controversy.

Is this use of psychology in social policy a quick fix or part of a broader trend?

There is a long history…

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The Feminist activist, a male in the wrong body?

The Feminist activist, a male in  the wrong body?

Feminist activist women are masculinized in terms of digit-ratio and social dominance: a possible explanation for the feminist paradox

Guy Madison1*, Ulrika Aasa2, John Wallert1 and Michael A. Woodley1,3
1Department of Psychology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
2Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
3Center Leo Apostel, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium

The feminist movement purports to improve conditions for women, and yet only a minority of women in modern societies self-identify as feminists. This is known as the feminist paradox. It has been suggested that feminists exhibit both physiological and psychological characteristics associated with heightened masculinization, which may predispose women for heightened competitiveness, sex-atypical behaviors, and belief in the interchangeability of sex roles. If feminist activists, i.e., those that manufacture the public image of feminism, are indeed masculinized relative to women in general, this might explain why the views and preferences of these two groups are at variance with each other.

Frontiers In Psychology full article.

Feminism Flounders

Dedicated to my muze: @EsthervanFenema

It’s a common misunderstanding that men and women are equal, a myth perpetuated by generations of idealists fed by the declaration of human rights. Lofty as that declaration is, it holds quite a few misconceptions. Next to the misconception that humanity is one big family of entities who strive all for the common good and thereby gain common rights, there is also the misconception about the equality of the male and female of the species.

Biologically, mentally and spiritually they are not equal, they are completely different. They have different bodies, brains, minds, capacities etc. These are biologically predefined. Ages of evolution caused the two genders to be good at some tasks, worse at others but not at the same. Whole neural networks are setup at birth to make that so, environmental feedback only serves to train them.

Along comes feminism. At first for good reason. Women didn’t have the same rights as men, and where treated as second rate humans. Which was a wholly one sided view perpetuated by religious doctrine and completely false. So that got corrected, women got the same rights as men.
Strangely enough nobody thought to attach also the duties which came with privileges leaving the balance somewhat in favor of women. Worse still, to make up for the millennia of female maltreatment even positive discrimination was introduced.

Which left women with a strong feeling of entitlement but overall without the capacity to take part in the acquired rights. Which created a new wave of feminism, the feminism of complaint. Every time women didn’t make the grade this was due to those awful men not giving them their just dues. Fervently the followers of the doctrine of female entitlement battled against the perceived injustice creating a whole new world where us versus them took over.

Men should come down a notch or two so women could more easily take their entitled places. Over the years this resulted in a society where the born with capacities were disconnected from daily life, men had to behave more like women and women started to behave more like men.

The direct result of this are generations of men and women who lost their footing due to the forced roles they had to assume and for which both were not exactly fit. Now none was feeling well in their roles as unisex beings.

Man/women kind should return to what they are good at, instead of desperately trying to deny that nature has reserved different roles for both. Denying your true self can only lead to insecurity, anxiety and various mental issues.

Stop floundering feminists. Start taking yourself seriously as a woman. Accept both genders are unequal, but not thereby more or less worth. Stop bitching about what the world does to you and take control of your own life. Stop trying to level the playing field by forcing men and women into some lowest common denominator, but go and prove yourself by just doing your thing.

Psychiatry Is Not Based On Science

This piece written by PHILIP HICKEY, PH.D. would have been what i would have written if i weren’t so lazy. It’s deadly sober accuracy describes the fallacies of psychiatry (and in my view, psychology also) perfectly. This post by Phil should be in all newspapers, journals and whatever so humanity can get some counterweight against the ‘everyone is crazy except us professionals’ meme that sweeps the world. Hardly a day goes by and one doesn’t see an event where a ‘psychological support team’ is present to caress the poor tender souls of the onlookers, or a new mental ‘disease’ gets focused on to scare people in taking their unruly children to a psychiatrist to get drugged.

by Phil on June 1, 2013

On May 27, David Brooks, a New York Times columnist, wrote a piece on psychiatry called Heroes of Uncertainty.

It’s an interesting and somewhat contradictory article. Here are some quotes:

“As the handbook’s [DSM-5] many critics have noted, psychiatrists use terms like ‘mental disorder’ and ‘normal behavior,’ but there is no agreement on what these concepts mean.”

“What psychiatrists call a disease is usually just a label for a group of symptoms.”

This is beginning to look like an anti-psychiatry article. But then:

“Psychiatrists are not heroes of science. They are heroes of uncertainty, using improvisation, knowledge and artistry to improve people’s lives.”

“They certainly are not inventing new diseases in order to medicalize the moderate ailments of the worried well.”

So what we’ve got is a kind of middle of the road article. Psychiatrists are basically good guys (heroes, actually), but their subject isn’t as scientific as they claim.

If I were a psychiatrist, I think I would have just left it alone. But the not-scientific jab had to be addressed, and psychiatrists Jeffrey Lieberman and Jack Drescher weighed in with comments.

Dr. Lieberman is president of the APA and a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University.

He opens his rebuttal with this paragraph:

“While I share David Brooks’s frustration over the slow progress in finding the biological causes of mental disorders, I am concerned about his opinions on the scientific basis of psychiatry and the clinical care that it provides to millions of people. The brain has proved to be infinitely more complex than any other organ in the human body, and the functions that mediate behavior are the most highly evolved in the animal kingdom.”

There’s a lot of spin in here. Firstly, David Brooks, in his article, never expressed any “frustration over the slow progress in finding the biological causes of mental disorders.” What he said was:

“Furthermore, psychiatric phenomena are notoriously protean in nature. Medicines seem to work but then stop. Because the mind is an irregular cosmos, psychiatry hasn’t been able to make the rapid progress that has become normal in physics and biology.”

What he’s saying here is that mental phenomena are inherently too complicated, irregular, and changing to ever yield the kind of scientific certainty that one finds in physics and biology. And that’s what Dr. Lieberman can’t let go of, because that is their Holy Grail – that “one day” we’ll know the underlying biological causes of “mental illnesses,” and psychiatrists will finally be real doctors.

Back to Dr. Lieberman’s quote:

“I am concerned about his opinions on the scientific basis of psychiatry and the clinical care that it provides to millions of people.”

This is the spin mechanism known as juxtaposition. The “scientific basis of psychiatry” is juxtaposed (irrelevantly) with “clinical care…to millions of people”. We’re good guys toiling in the trenches of human suffering; therefore our work must be scientifically based! It’s not real logic. It’s Madison Avenue logic, and psychiatrists are getting better at it every day. It’s the equivalent of politicians arranging to have themselves photographed kissing babies or shaking hands with soldiers in wartime.

“The brain has proved to be infinitely more complex than any other organ in the human body…”

Note the phrase “has proved to be” – like this is something that psychiatrists have just discovered. They went looking for their neurochemical causes of complex human behavior, and guess what – the brain is more complex than they had thought! For decades they and their psycho-pharma allies have been telling us that they had it all figured out. But now the beans are spilled. So will they come clean and say: “Guys, we’re a bunch of shysters who have been deceiving you for decades?” No. The brain was just more complex than they had thought. The scale of complexity of the brain has been known for at least 100 years. But perhaps they didn’t teach that in psychiatry school!

Here’s more spin from Dr. Lieberman:

DSM- 5 “… reflects the current state of our knowledge, limited as it may be. This does not negate its value in helping clinicians evaluate and treat patients, as well as the fact that it can and will continue to be improved as subsequent research enables us to better understand the biology of the brain and mental illness.”

There it is again: the “biology of the brain and mental illness.” Still the Holy Grail.

Jack Drescher, MD, is a psychiatrist, and served on one of the DSM-5 work groups. Here are two quotes:

“Like the rest of humanistic medicine, a science of the mind should never lose its heart.”

This sounds good, but says nothing.

“In comparing psychiatry with astronomy, however, Mr. Brooks should remember that in 2006, the International Astronomical Union voted on whether Pluto is a planet. Even astronomy, the hardest of sciences dealing with the most irrefutable of facts, is dependent on its human practitioners’ subjectivity and interpretation of data.”

This is very high order spin. The message that a casual reader would take from this paragraph is that psychiatry is just as scientific as astronomy – “the hardest of sciences.”

The International Astronomical Union voted to designate Pluto a dwarf planet instead of a planet, but no astronomer ever imagined that this had any significance other than administrative. NASA called the shuttle a “vehicle.” They could have called it a “spaceship.” It wouldn’t have made the slightest difference. A botanist can call a plant by its Latin name or its English name. It doesn’t affect anything in the world of botany. But when psychiatrists vote, for instance, to expand their “diagnosis” of depression to routinely include bereavement, this is an entirely different matter, and highlights that the entire taxonomic system is arbitrary and subjective.

A biological analogy of the DSM voting system would be if biologists voted that henceforth geese would be swans. They could vote all they liked, but that will not make geese swans. Biological classification is based on reality, whereas psychiatric classification is based on the subjective perceptions and votes of psychiatrists.

An analogy from astronomy would be if the astronomers had voted to make Pluto a star.

As we often find when we analyze the psychiatric spin, Dr. Drescher is either not too bright or very deceptive.


Psychiatry is under attack for its spurious concepts and its destructive, disempowering practices. It presents no defense based on logic or facts, because it has none. It’s a sandcastle, and the tide has turned.

Last updated by Phil at June 1, 2013.
Original Post by Original Writer

Don’t Call It Autism

Exactly my thoughts. The reason why autism diagnosis rises is because it’s ill defined, the definition describes autistic symptoms not autism. Evidently the profession is rather confused as to what autism actually is. This pollutes the patient base, which in turn makes all research invalid since it’s unknown if participants in studies has autism or only autistic symptoms. This circular logic is the source of present day lack of common cause findings. The common cause is simple, altered white matter in the fetus leads to specific altered neural pathways resulting in a different structure of grey matter due to the neural feedback being directed differently. Which in turn reinforces white matter structures. After birth the job gets finished via environmental input.

The origin of this is imho evolutionary try-outs of getting rid of the hindrance of limbic system supremacy in societal living.

Where a million years ago the limbic system was perfectly capable to handle all events, nowadays it’s completely outclassed and outdated resulting in negative survival indices. Emotional/limbic reactions are a serious threat to human existence.

Confusion surrounding the term “autism” is surely nothing new. The word was first used in 1911 by Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler, who presumably invoked the Greek autos, meaning “self.”

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