From Jeremy P. Shapiro, a psychologist at Case Western Reserve University, at Raw Story:
Yet many science deniers do cite empirical evidence. The problem is that they do so in invalid, misleading ways. Psychological research illuminates these ways.
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.
This same type of thinking can be seen among creationists. They seem to misinterpret any limitation or flux in evolutionary theory to mean that the validity of this body of research is fundamentally in doubt. 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.More.
Dr. Jeremy Shapiro apparently does not realize that the second rule of medicine* is, “First, who’s the patient?” One does not diagnose a crowd of people one has never met, whose personal histories one does not know.
He is also obviously unfamiliar with the mass of material coming back that confirms evolution as a history but does not confirm the standard, classic Darwinian interpretation thereof. There would be many fewer dissenters otherwise.
But then, why let inconvenient facts get in the way of a good theory? Tenured Darwinians defend their theory regardless. Those who would defend them do the same, it seems.
Jeremy Shapiro assumes that James Shapiro’s work cannot provide support for a view that Shapiro himseslf does not endorse. That’s an error. Such situations are quite common because no one “owns” basic facts.
My diagnosis of a crowd of people who might vaguely remind one of Jeremy Shapiro: Those who cannot deal with a fact base often build an elaborate drama around why it doesn’t really exist or else doesn’t mean what it means, conscripting key players into unfamiliar roles and generalizing about the rest.
The item linked above was originally published at The Conversation.
Note 1: The first rule of medicine is, “First, do no harm.” primum non nocere
Note 2:Re RawStory’s boast on a banner at the page: “Don’t let Silicon Valley control what you see. Get more stories like this in your inbox, every day.” Relax, guys. In this case, I probably wouldn’t know the difference between you and SV. I represent the muffled voice of careful, personal observation over decades. You others can fight it out among yourselves.
See also: Some thoughts on James Shapiro’s valuable work: Natural genetic engineering? Natural popcorn? Or something more important?