Psychiatrist Anthony Daniels, who writes under the name Theodore Dalrymple, sounds about as dubious about "evolutionary psychology" as I am. He writes in the New York Sun,
"The Freudian claim of explanatory power was false, as was the Marxist claim, and as the Darwinist claim, the most popular such explanatory claim today, will prove to be false.His main target, however, is Sigmund Freud, of whom he writes,
What, if anything, did Sigmund Freud actually discover? What concrete human knowledge would be lacking if he, or someone very like him, had never lived?
With most scientists, the same questions would not be hard to answer. In the case of William Harvey, we might say: He discovered the circulation of the blood. Though philosophers may tell us that all scientific hypotheses are provisional, no one now seriously expects a future scientist to discover that the blood does not, in fact, circulate.
Freud also claimed to be a scientist in the strictest sense of the word (though his world outlook was more scientistic than scientific), but all of his supposed discoveries, such as that of the Oedipus complex, were highly speculative. With little independent empirical evidence to support them, his theories were more like inventions than discoveries. No one would take seriously a doctor who concluded from the fact that a young man had broken his leg playing football that playing football was the one and only cause of broken legs; but this was more or less Freud's method.
Dalrymple's essay provides much interesting information about how Freud's theories boasted a veneer of scientific respectability, mainly (it seems) because they were an alternative to traditional explanations.
Note: My own doubts about evolutionary psychology (which is what I assume Dalrymple means by "Darwinism" in the context) stem from the fact that it attempts to find "explanations" for human behaviour in supposed events that occurred before recorded history and somehow got passed on in our genes. That recalls Freud's efforts to find explanations in unconscious childhood traumas. It is very satisfying to people who need an explanation for their behaviour, but do not want it to be a traditional one. One must finally say, about all of it, "maybe ... but maybe not, and there's really no way to know."
No Pingbacks for this post yet...
|<< <||> >>|
Evolution has become a favorite topic of the news media recently, but for some reason, they never seem to get the story straight. The staff at Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture started this Blog to set the record straight and make sure you knew "the rest of the story".
A blogger from New England offers his intelligent reasoning.
We are a group of individuals, coming from diverse backgrounds and not speaking for any organization, who have found common ground around teleological concepts, including intelligent design. We think these concepts have real potential to generate insights about our reality that are being drowned out by political advocacy from both sides. We hope this blog will provide a small voice that helps rectify this situation.
Website dedicated to comparing scenes from the "Inherit the Wind" movie with factual information from actual Scopes Trial. View 37 clips from the movie and decide for yourself if this movie is more fact or fiction.
Don Cicchetti blogs on: Culture, Music, Faith, Intelligent Design, Guitar, Audio
Australian biologist Stephen E. Jones maintains one of the best origins "quote" databases around. He is meticulous about accuracy and working from original sources.
Most guys going through midlife crisis buy a convertible. Austrialian Stephen E. Jones went back to college to get a biology degree and is now a proponent of ID and common ancestry.
Complete zipped downloadable pdf copy of David Stove's devastating, and yet hard-to-find, critique of neo-Darwinism entitled "Darwinian Fairytales"
Intelligent Design The Future is a multiple contributor weblog whose participants include the nation's leading design scientists and theorists: biochemist Michael Behe, mathematician William Dembski, astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez, philosophers of science Stephen Meyer, and Jay Richards, philosopher of biology Paul Nelson, molecular biologist Jonathan Wells, and science writer Jonathan Witt. Posts will focus primarily on the intellectual issues at stake in the debate over intelligent design, rather than its implications for education or public policy.
A Philosopher's Journey: Political and cultural reflections of John Mark N. Reynolds. Dr. Reynolds is Director of the Torrey Honors Institute at