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Woke wars: When psychology blew clear from science


People usually find out accidentally when the Woke have moved in. They don’t believe the warnings. But then they discover how deep it is:

My concern is that the APA no longer functions as an organization dedicated to science and good clinical practice. As a professional guild, perhaps it never did, but I believe it is now advancing causes that are actively harmful and I can no longer be a part of it.

I originally became engaged with the APA in a futile effort to “fix from within.” Much of this focused on the APA’s deeply misleading policy statements in my own area of research: violence in video games. The APA maintains a policy statement linking such games to aggression, despite over 200 scholars asking them to avoid making such statements, a reanalysis of the meta-study on which the policy was based finding it to be deeply flawed, and the APA’s own Society for Media and Technology asking them to retract it. Other policy statements related to research areas I’m familiar with such as spanking appear to be similarly flawed, overstating certainty of harmful effects.

In the clinical realm, the APA’s advice has similarly been questionable. A 2017 recommendation highlighted Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT; in which I am myself primarily trained) as treatment of choice for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It remains in effect despite several meta-analyses subsequently finding CBT has little benefit over other therapies. More controversial were practice guidelines for men and boys which drew deeply from feminist theories, dwelled on topics of patriarchy, intersectionality, and privilege, and arguably disparaged men and families from traditional backgrounds. This guideline is actively harmful to the degree it both misguides therapy in favor of an ideological worldview and likely discourages men and families from more traditional backgrounds from seeking therapy.

Christopher J. Ferguson, “My APA Resignation” at Quillette (December 31, 2021)

In so many disciplines, it is coming down to: Do you want to be science or Woke?

Prediction: Most Big Science will buckle and agree to be Woke in defiance of fact. Real science will increasingly depend on the rebellious outliers. Happened before.

In the realm of behavior, real science has ALWAYS been separated from academia. Marketers and advertisers have always understood the real motives of real people, and have determined by careful and constant experimentation how to turn those motives into sales. polistra

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