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When science becomes a frontal assault on reason and evidence: Multiple personality syndrome

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Sybil Exposed: The Extraordinary Story Behind the Famous Multiple Personality CaseIn “Sally Field’s ‘Sybil’ was a lie: Best-selling child abuse and split personality author exposed as a FAKE,” (October 17, 2011), the Daily Mail reports,

The shocking account of Sybil, a girl with 16 separate personalities that developed as a result of horrendous childhood abuses, sold seven million copies, and even spawned a recognised syndrome, ‘multiple personality disorder.

The 1973 book told the story of Sybil Dorsett, later revealed to be Shirley Mason, whose personality had been splintered into more than a dozen distinct characters including a baby and two males.

But the titillating tale, serialised across the nation, has now been exposed as a fake, concocted by three women as a calculated money-making invention.

It’ll be interesting to see whether the new book, Sybil Exposed deals with the terrible legal abuses perpetrated in the name of this pseudoscience, destroying lives, careers, and families on the basis of fantasies concocted by people whose grasp of reality was at best insecure.

News staff here have known about all that and more for decades, while writing for the Christian press. But it wasn’t popular to say so directly two decades ago. For one thing, many Christians bought into the pseudoscience, and treated caution and doubt as evidence of hard-heartedness.

We remember a somewhat dimwitted doctor explaining that she was treating a patient for multiple personality disorder, which was verified by the fact that the adult patient sometimes talked like she was eight years old. Which proved it conclusively. Leaving no remainder except the bad will of skeptics like us.

At that point, we hard-hearted just checked out, under a cloud: We were supposedly the modern supporters of the Canaanite massacre of children – responsible for the evils of devil worship, etc.

Yes, there was a devil in there, and there were murders; the best-known victims were Evidence, Reason, and Logic. So when Darwin worship hit the Christian community more recently, we had no illusions whatever about what we would encounter. And have not since been surprised.

Hat tip: Five Feet of Fury

6 Replies to “When science becomes a frontal assault on reason and evidence: Multiple personality syndrome

  1. 1
    Woodbine says:

    Presumably exorcism was the correct route.

  2. 2
    Chas D says:

    I think the OP is trying a little too hard to come up with a list of things that ‘cannot have evolved’ in the assumed time period. From a jawbone, the only item on that list we can examine directly is water intake – oxygen isotope composition gives a means by which we can determine the likely water balance, fresh or salt. So yes, the kidneys would need retooling.

    For the rest – whatever it is that modern whales “require”, we cannot with any certainty state that this whale had. It was not a modern whale.

    – Intra-abdominal counter current heat exchange system? Yeah, if the testes are internal. If they are on the outside, water does a fine job as coolant.
    – Ball vertebra because the tail has to move up and down? As part of transferring propulsion to the tail, then yeah – but otter-like motion and/or use of still-external limbs can precede this. We need some other bones before we can say for sure.
    – a re-orientation of the fetus for giving birth under water? Yes, OK, I’ll give you that one. But a fossil fetus (as has been found in the manatees) would help to pinpoint the stage more precisely.
    – A modification of the mammary glands for the nursing of young under water? Again, only maybe.
    – the forelimbs have to be transformed into flippers? Not essential to be worthy of the designation “fully aquatic”.
    – the hindlimbs need to be substantially reduced? See above.
    – they require a special lung surfactant? Only if they are deep-diving.

  3. 3
    paragwinn says:

    Has anyone on the News staff ever lived with someone diagnosed with a dissociative disorder?

  4. 4

    I think UD is trying to illustrate the nature of miracles 🙂

  5. 5

    What “pseudoscience” are you talking about, news? Psychiatry?

    And what has this got to do with “Darwin worship”?

    I simply do not understand the point you are trying to make.

  6. 6
    paragwinn says:

    Yeah, I didnt think so, you cowards.

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