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Why is Wonder Alien to Social Psychology?

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A recent article tries to tackle some important and often-missed points of social psychology.

[Unbridled skepticism] has given rise to a belief that what we think about ourselves and our lives together cannot be held with any confidence until objective, scientific insight into these problems is obtained. The result of taking such a stance on our knowledge in this realm is that we become thoroughly unsure of the only seat of experience available to us: ourselves. Doubt penetrates to the deepest level such that we begin to wonder if we are merely mirages, and the scientific method is seen as the sole means of reassurance that this is not the case. In consequence, the prospect of making genuine discoveries, ones that invite reverence and further inquiry, wilts because method is crowned the despot without which rescue from uncertainty is believed impossible.

Interestingly, that’s very similar to the ideas of Dr. Rakover as expressed in the recent AM-Nat conference. In short, methodological naturalism means that we must ignore the most blatant realities of our lives in order to participate in science.

What does it look like for this to be fixed?

First, there would need to be a genuine shift in how the human person is viewed in social psychology. Having taught themselves to doubt those things most intimately human and that the techniques of science are required for countering this problem, social psychologists see themselves as holding the Rosetta Stone that outsiders lack. This encourages social psychologists to grant themselves a status above the individuals in their studies and feeds an emotional disposition toward them that is of a degrading sort. People become objects of prediction to be bested by the greater ingenuity of experimenters, who have the scientific method at their disposal, and this besting ratifies the cycle of doubt-and-method myopia that sustains their reality.

Healthier and potentially more wonder-evoking visions of the human person can be found in other halls of psychology, as well as beyond them. In my own readings, I have been struck by the ideas of Carl Jung, William James, Carl Rogers, and Sigmund Koch. Some of these names will cause my colleagues discomfort because these men play the game of science by broader rules—or, we may say, by the spirit of the thing—but I hope it is clear that I see this discomfort as a symptom of the very problem I am describing.

It’s a great article – I encourage everyone to read the whole thing.

One Reply to “Why is Wonder Alien to Social Psychology?

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    as to this comment:

    “methodological naturalism means that we must ignore the most blatant realities of our lives in order to participate in science.”

    The imposition of Naturalism onto science prior to investigation (i.e., Methodological Naturalism; only naturalistic explanations are ever allowed in science), is the greatest deception that atheists have ever perpetrated on to science.
    In fact, the practice of modern science is a thoroughly ‘unnatural’ affair. That some creature on earth should presuppose the universe is rationally constructed and that he, of all creatures, should be uniquely endowed with an ability to comprehend that rationality, are presuppositions that are absolutely necessary for the practice of modern science but are presuppositions that are thoroughly ‘super-natural’ in their character.

    The Great Debate: Does God Exist? – Justin Holcomb – audio of the 1985 Greg Bahnsen debate available at the bottom of the site
    Excerpt: When we go to look at the different world views that atheists and theists have, I suggest we can prove the existence of God from the impossibility of the contrary.
    The transcendental proof for God’s existence is that without Him it is impossible to prove anything. The atheist worldview is irrational and cannot consistently provide the preconditions of intelligible experience, science, logic, or morality. The atheist worldview cannot allow for laws of logic, the uniformity of nature, the ability for the mind to understand the world, and moral absolutes. In that sense the atheist worldview cannot account for our debate tonight.,,,
    http://justinholcomb.com/2012/.....god-exist/

    Modern science was born out of Christianity and continues, despite the vehement protests of atheists to the contrary,,,

    The War that Never Was: Exploding the Myth of the Historical Conflict Between Christianity and Science – video
    https://vimeo.com/41224717

    Intelligent Design – Stephen C. Meyer, PhD – (Return of God to science) video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJNMJef-gqU
    Irving Bible Church (November 2, 2014) – Lecture by Stephen Meyer. – How science became separated from its Judeo-Christian foundation and how recent discoveries are returning God to science.

    ,,, Modern science was born out of Christianity and continues, despite the vehement protests of atheists to the contrary, to be absolutely dependent on presuppositions that can only be reasonably grounded in the Theistic worldview:

    Science and Theism: Concord, not Conflict* – Robert C. Koons
    IV. The Dependency of Science Upon Theism (Page 21)
    Excerpt: Far from undermining the credibility of theism, the remarkable success of science in modern times is a remarkable confirmation of the truth of theism. It was from the perspective of Judeo-Christian theism—and from the perspective alone—that it was predictable that science would have succeeded as it has. Without the faith in the rational intelligibility of the world and the divine vocation of human beings to master it, modern science would never have been possible, and, even today, the continued rationality of the enterprise of science depends on convictions that can be reasonably grounded only in theistic metaphysics.
    http://www.robkoons.net/media/.....ffd524.pdf

    Even Einstein considered it an ‘epistemological miracle’ that we could comprehend the universe:

    “You find it strange that I consider the comprehensibility of the world (to the extent that we are authorized to speak of such a comprehensibility) as a miracle or as an eternal mystery. Well, a priori, one should expect a chaotic world, which cannot be grasped by the mind in any way.. the kind of order created by Newton’s theory of gravitation, for example, is wholly different. Even if a man proposes the axioms of the theory, the success of such a project presupposes a high degree of ordering of the objective world, and this could not be expected a priori. That is the ‘miracle’ which is constantly reinforced as our knowledge expands.”
    Albert Einstein – Goldman – Letters to Solovine p 131.

    Moreover, if we cast aside those basic Theistic presuppositions about the rational intelligibility of the universe and the ability of our mind to comprehend that rational intelligibility, and try to use naturalism as our basis for understanding the universe, and for practicing science, then everything within that atheistic/naturalistic worldview, (i.e. supposed evidence for Darwinian evolution, observations of reality, beliefs about reality, sense of self, free will, even reality itself), collapses into self refuting, unrestrained, flights of fantasy and imagination.

    Darwinian evolution, and atheism/naturalism in general, are built entirely upon a framework of illusions and fantasy
    Excerpt: Thus, basically, without God, everything within the atheistic/naturalistic worldview, (i.e. supposed evidence for Darwinian evolution, observations of reality, beliefs about reality, sense of self, free will, even reality itself), collapses into self refuting, unrestrained, flights of fantasy and imagination.
    It would be hard to fathom a more unscientific worldview than Darwinian evolution and Atheistic materialism/naturalism in general have turned out to be.
    Scientists should definitely stick with the worldview that brought them to the dance! i.e Christianity!
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Q94y-QgZZGF0Q7HdcE-qdFcVGErhWxsVKP7GOmpKD6o/edit

    To reiterate a sentence from the last post, it would be hard to fathom a more unscientific worldview than Darwinian evolution and Atheistic materialism/naturalism in general have turned out to be.

    Perhaps the most egregious violation of our God given sensibilities by methodological naturalism is its insistence that we do not really exist as real persons but are merely ‘neuronal illusions’:

    “that “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.”
    Francis Crick – “The Astonishing Hypothesis” 1994

    “We have so much confidence in our materialist assumptions (which are assumptions, not facts) that something like free will is denied in principle. Maybe it doesn’t exist, but I don’t really know that. Either way, it doesn’t matter because if free will and consciousness are just an illusion, they are the most seamless illusions ever created. Film maker James Cameron wishes he had special effects that good.”
    Matthew D. Lieberman – neuroscientist – materialist – UCLA professor

    Atheists may insanely claim that they do not really exist, but atheists never put their money where there mouth is.

    The Heretic – Who is Thomas Nagel and why are so many of his fellow academics condemning him? – March 25, 2013
    Excerpt:,,,”Fortunately, materialism is never translated into life as it’s lived. As colleagues and friends, husbands and mothers, wives and fathers, sons and daughters, materialists never put their money where their mouth is. Nobody thinks his daughter is just molecules in motion and nothing but; nobody thinks the Holocaust was evil, but only in a relative, provisional sense. A materialist who lived his life according to his professed convictions—understanding himself to have no moral agency at all, seeing his friends and enemies and family as genetically determined robots—wouldn’t just be a materialist: He’d be a psychopath.”
    – per weeklystandard

    Darwin’s Robots: When Evolutionary Materialists Admit that Their Own Worldview Fails – Nancy Pearcey – April 23, 2015
    Excerpt: Even materialists often admit that, in practice, it is impossible for humans to live any other way. One philosopher jokes that if people deny free will, then when ordering at a restaurant they should say, “Just bring me whatever the laws of nature have determined I will get.”
    An especially clear example is Galen Strawson, a philosopher who states with great bravado, “The impossibility of free will … can be proved with complete certainty.” Yet in an interview, Strawson admits that, in practice, no one accepts his deterministic view. “To be honest, I can’t really accept it myself,” he says. “I can’t really live with this fact from day to day. Can you, really?”,,,
    In What Science Offers the Humanities, Edward Slingerland, identifies himself as an unabashed materialist and reductionist. Slingerland argues that Darwinian materialism leads logically to the conclusion that humans are robots — that our sense of having a will or self or consciousness is an illusion. Yet, he admits, it is an illusion we find impossible to shake. No one “can help acting like and at some level really feeling that he or she is free.” We are “constitutionally incapable of experiencing ourselves and other conspecifics [humans] as robots.”
    One section in his book is even titled “We Are Robots Designed Not to Believe That We Are Robots.”,,,
    When I teach these concepts in the classroom, an example my students find especially poignant is Flesh and Machines by Rodney Brooks, professor emeritus at MIT. Brooks writes that a human being is nothing but a machine — a “big bag of skin full of biomolecules” interacting by the laws of physics and chemistry. In ordinary life, of course, it is difficult to actually see people that way. But, he says, “When I look at my children, I can, when I force myself, … see that they are machines.”
    Is that how he treats them, though? Of course not: “That is not how I treat them…. I interact with them on an entirely different level. They have my unconditional love, the furthest one might be able to get from rational analysis.” Certainly if what counts as “rational” is a materialist worldview in which humans are machines, then loving your children is irrational. It has no basis
    within Brooks’s worldview. It sticks out of his box.
    How does he reconcile such a heart-wrenching cognitive dissonance? He doesn’t. Brooks ends by saying, “I maintain two sets of inconsistent beliefs.” He has given up on any attempt to reconcile his theory with his experience. He has abandoned all hope for a unified, logically consistent worldview.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....95451.html

    Even Dawkins himself admits that it would be ‘intolerable’ for him to live as if he were an illusion and that he did not really exist as a real person:

    Who wrote Richard Dawkins’s new book? – October 28, 2006
    Excerpt:
    Dawkins: What I do know is that what it feels like to me, and I think to all of us, we don’t feel determined. We feel like blaming people for what they do or giving people the credit for what they do. We feel like admiring people for what they do.,,,
    Manzari: But do you personally see that as an inconsistency in your views?
    Dawkins: I sort of do. Yes. But it is an inconsistency that we sort of have to live with otherwise life would be intolerable.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....02783.html

    In what should be needless to say, if it is impossible for you to live as if your worldview were actually true then your worldview cannot possibly reflect reality as it really is but your worldview must instead be based on a delusion.

    Existential Argument against Atheism – November 1, 2013 by Jason Petersen
    1. If a worldview is true then you should be able to live consistently with that worldview.
    2. Atheists are unable to live consistently with their worldview.
    3. If you can’t live consistently with an atheist worldview then the worldview does not reflect reality.
    4. If a worldview does not reflect reality then that worldview is a delusion.
    5. If atheism is a delusion then atheism cannot be true.
    Conclusion: Atheism is false.
    http://answersforhope.com/exis.....t-atheism/

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