Culture Intelligent Design Psychology

At ENST: Why argue with intelligent design of the universe? Offer drive-by psychotherapy instead!

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From O’Leary for News at ENST: Writing at The Conversation, psychology professor Jeremy Shapiro at Case Western Reserve University proffers his opinion on why many laypeople doubt the scientific consensus on questions such as climate change and biological evolution: 

As a psychotherapist, I see a striking parallel between a type of thinking involved in many mental health disturbances and the reasoning behind science denial. As I explain in my book “Psychotherapeutic Diagrams,” dichotomous thinking, also called black-and-white and all-or-none thinking, is a factor in depression, anxiety, aggression and, especially, borderline personality disorder.

Dr. Shapiro seems not to have read much writing by ID theorists and it is a good bet he has not done psychotherapy with them. He goes on to explain:

For example, the biologist James Shapiro (no relation) discovered a cellular mechanism of genomic change that Darwin did not know about. Shapiro views his research as adding to evolutionary theory, not upending it. Nonetheless, his discovery and others like it, refracted through the lens of dichotomous thinking, result in articles with titles like, “Scientists Confirm: Darwinism Is Broken” by Paul Nelson and David Klinghoffer of the Discovery Institute, which promotes the theory of “intelligent design.” Shapiro insists that his research provides no support for intelligent design, but proponents of this pseudoscience repeatedly cite his work as if it does.

As it happens, a person not accustomed to black-and-white thinking might navigate without difficulty the idea that the work of Shapiro (the biologist) could support a theory of intelligent design whether or not Shapiro approves of such theories. That is not an unusual thing in science. More.

8 Replies to “At ENST: Why argue with intelligent design of the universe? Offer drive-by psychotherapy instead!

  1. 1
    asauber says:

    So the reason this crackpot psychologymnist needs to whip the insanity card out on people who disagree with him is because he needs to try and maintain the facade of science being something worth believing in.

    Science is only ever worth what it can produce. If it’s producing new technology that helps people live better, then you’ve got something.

    If science is being used to concoct worldviews it’s always going to be wrong.

    Science Dude needs religious devotion from the crowd just as much as any preacher ever needed.

    Andrew

  2. 2
    Charles Birch says:

    The history of science shows us that the scientific consensus is completely wrong just as often as it’s right.

    That being so, surely a skeptical attitude towards ‘Establishment science’ is actually a sign of good mental health rather than the reverse.

    The notion that ‘questioning the Establishment equates to mental illness’ is one which the commissars of the old USSR would have understood and enforced.

    I can’t remember which Aldous Huxley novel contained the following conversation, but the words have stuck in my head down the years:

    “You have to be skeptical – unflaggingly skeptical – of bishops and bankers and politicians and professors, otherwise you’re lost.”

    Sage advice, and offered, somewhat ironically, by the grandson of ‘Darwin’s bulldog’, Thomas Henry Huxley.

  3. 3
    groovamos says:

    Wait a minute. I thought that evolution was compatible with ID. And that the RM/NS hypothesis at the heart of Darwinism is what is incompatible with I.D. and with James Shapiro’s findings too. Maybe it is too complicated for a psychologist to see that hypotheses challenging an orthodoxy are going to have something in common.

    And make no mistake, RM/NS is a hypothesis. We have not seen on here any Darwin true believers answer yours truly when asked for proof of mutual non-correlation among random mutations in a chain to new form or function. The best we get from the pros in the field is that holy randomness is the null hypothesis, and so it rules. Get the irony, Mr. Jeremy Shapiro? A theory widely accepted due to a hypothesis that has not been and may never be provable? And people thinking about this major conundrum for Darwinism are so, you know, mentally ill, right?

  4. 4
    EDTA says:

    Where I see the most all-or-nothing thinking is among those whose intellects have not matured. It’s the easiest kind of thinking, and leads to a simple world, which is what the less intellectually mature desire. We all start there as children, where the world has to be simple for us to even begin to comprehend it. Sadly, too many remain in that world.

    The fact that people with various mental challenges also fall back to black-or-white thinking just corresponds to the fact that their faculties are not operating at full capability either.

    Genuine, thought-through science questioning is a much deeper phenomenon than what he thinks it is.

  5. 5
    aarceng says:

    groovamos @3
    I don’t think that the RM/NS hypothesis is incompatible with I.D. in all cases. E.g. I think it is a very good explanation for adult lactose tolerance in humans; and nylonaze in microbes.

    The question is whether RM/NS can explain everything. Many ID advocates have explained why they believe it can’t.

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    All these supposed ‘supplemental theories’ to neo-Darwinian evolution all fail, as Stephen Meyer has pointed out in his book “Darwin’s Doubt”, at precisely the same point in that none of them are able to explain exactly where the information is coming from. Only Intelligence has ever demonstrated the capacity to create information.

    Darwin’s Doubt by Stephen Meyer – (Part 3 – Post Darwinian models) 11-23-2013 by Paul Giem
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iREO1h4h-GU&list=PLHDSWJBW3DNUaMy2xdaup5ROw3u0_mK8t&index=9

  7. 7

    BA77 @ 6: Exactly. All forms of Darwinism fail miserably. Like the original version, they all amount to little more than faith-based ideologies readily embraced by a/mats.

    Also, “Darwin’s Doubt” is an excellent resource but readers will also benefit from reading “Debating Darwin’s Doubt” which is Stephen Meyer’s (and others) response to weak a/mat objections.

  8. 8
    ScuzzaMan says:

    @Charles Birch:

    The history of science shows us that the scientific consensus is completely wrong just as often as it’s right.

    It’s much worse than that. Every single scientific theory has been overturned and replaced by something more accurate. Every single one of them was wrong and there’s zero probability that our current “standard” theories are not equally wrong.

    The scientific consensus on every question is, at any randomly chosen point in time, inevitably and unavoidably wrong, as a consequence of two facts of human existence:

    1. Our data is incomplete
    2. Our cogitation engine is imperfect

    Our arguments can always be improved, our data supplemented, but neither is perfect nor in theory perfectible.

    C’est la vie.

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