24.12.09

Judge David ‘death’ Debenham Shawnee County Court Whorehouse- Merry Christmas! (The Murder of Motherhood pt 2)

 

Maybe we could call this the 12 days to truth- no Christmas cookies here- I hurt and I am angry a normal reaction to a very heinous and horrific OUTRAGE!

 

Dear Judge David Debenham Shawnee County Court Whorehouse Merry Christmas - from my dear mother watching you from heaven!  Ohhhhh…. wait I am in contempt for this beautiful tribute video—So be it…

My mother says ‘fuck you” (as do I)- ‘’when they circumcised you they threw away the wrong part”-my daughters Granny that you denied (as the video below shows)

Its not bad enough that you have to screw up your own daughter after the death of your wife ( oh how the court hallways talk)  but you have the ‘lack of balls’  to stop fucking up the lives of OTHER little girls (my daughter) how the mother dead mother of your daughters must be- as she looks down on this x-mas evening upon your new wife and family and her precious daughters you tossed away.

But OHHHHHHHH wait you are only defending the father- who still maintains the coffin.. but wait your a GOOD Judge/god- little man syndrome-

I have noting left but the truth- the same truth that still stands 16 years later! I have nothing better to do with my time than to exercise my 1st amendment right- ( as you know my own mother died this time .. Merry fucking Christmas Judge ‘death’ Debenham. FUCK YOU! and all the other court whores ( each will get their own special post) See M. Jill Dykes- two down….

Oh, dear Judge did you know that the real Claudine Dombrowski is WORLD WIDE???  Her sites her blogs her name- is everyone's- This mom will never go away- and neither will the shit that this court CONTINUES to try to keep Silent

.. WE are the world

and

… WE are every where

 

for now, this will serve as a Christmas card to all the whores of this Court all who have and are- a part of the Inter-American Commission Human Rights Petition – for ohh gee guess what- HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLTIONS!!!

how proud you must be as you ‘cheer’ each other tonight- while so many suffer from YOUR profit.

keep on violating all Human Rights, Constitutional rights ( as if that ever did exist) Bill of Rights and the list goes on and on…. There is no justice- JUST-US- the  lawyers, Judges and Other court whores- keep playing your silly games… the truth remains simply- the truth.

Google your own name Judge David Debenaham - no need to Google my name with yours- your a star on your own-

and we are only just beginning.

On Jan 8th, 2010 when you sever my rights – recall it must be because I am a threat to my daughter- NOT YOU! and the court whores!

Judge David ‘death’ Debenham- ‘SOLD’ to the highest bidder denies even in death human rights.

 

 

[viddler id=54da6203&w=437&h=370]

http://www.viddler.com/explore/AngelFury/videos/2/

Merry Christmas Mom, Merry x-mas my daughter- I miss you both..

I will never give up!!

[blip.tv ?posts_id=1982954&dest=-1]

 

23.12.09

Media Bias -- the Sean Goldman Brazil abduction stories -justice’s posterous

 

Media Bias -- the Sean Goldman Brazil abduction stories

 

 

The New York Times and Rep. Chris Smith say: "The boy was taken to Brazil in 2004 by the woman who was Mr. Goldman's wife at the time..." So much for throwing the parent card. That wasn't "the woman who was Mr. Goldman's wife".  That was the little boy's MOTHER, who bore this child, and who took him home, away from the New Jersey she hated, and into the bosom of her extended family, where she herself had grown up. The Goldmans did not meet and commence their relationship in New Jersey.  They only married and settled there once Bruna already was pregnant with Sean. Had Goldman been reasonable and allowed the child's mother to go home as she had begged to do, and to retain custody of the baby she risked her life to bring into the world, he would not have a complaint now about having been cut off. But selfishly, he did not do that.

"...relatives of Mr. Goldman's ex-wife, who died last year, were exploring legal options that would enable them to keep Sean..." Once again, "ex-wife" is used instead of "mother". Motherhood is invisible. The relatives are described as if they are strangers, rather than the beloved family members and home this child understandably does not want to leave. They include blood relatives of the child, with whom he has lived for nearly his entire childhood memory with his mother, who recently -- ironically -- died in childbirth.

Pandering Rep. Smith has called David Goldman the "primary caregiver" and the child's "best friend", again ignoring the woman who gave birth to the child and actually was the child's closest attachment. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/23/world/americas/23rio.html

Is the situation painful and difficult? Of course. But propaganda does not help. While the U.S. press and politicos condemn Bruna for bringing her baby with her to Brazil, and now also condemn the boy's real emotional family for wanting to protect him, the same media ignore that what the father seeks to do to this child who just lost his mother is exponentially worse. Notwithstanding the ignorant peanut galleries who chime along in favor of men's rights to declare where their chattel women and the children they bear must reside, mothers of children who are abducted from them don't seem to get Congressional Resolutions or incessant international media coverage. That apparently is reserved mainly for mothers AS abductors. The expedient application of a faux gender neutrality to parentage primarily for the benefit of fathers' rights is Orwellian.

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22.12.09

A Letter To Sean by SUSAN MURPHY MILANO

A Letter To Sean

http://murphymilanojournal.blogspot.com/2009/12/letter-to-sean.html

On November 28th, 2009, Karen Kahler and her daughters Emily and Lauren were shot to death by Karen's estranged husband while they were visiting her grandmother, Dorothy, for the Thanksgiving holiday. Dorothy was also shot and died a few days later.

Sean, a 10-year old son, escaped while bullets were being fired upon his family by his father inside the house, running for his life and surviving this horrific tragedy, phyically unharmed.

[As a violence expert and veteran to surviving family homicide, I was moved to write this young man a letter. Although I am using Sean's name it could have been Craig, Jennifer, Alice, Tom, Christopher, Bobby, Kathy, Lisa, Andrew, Laci, Conner, Cheryl with a list that goes on and on of children left to find their place in this world without those whom they love and, more importantly without answers.]

Dear Sean:

This is your first holiday without your sisters, grand grandmother and mother.The events that lead up to their deaths will for a very long time play out over and over in your mind as if you are watching a scary movie. You will have terrible nightmares, cold sweats, and be woken by a soft tender voice comforting you, suggesting "you to go back to sleep, it's okay. It was only a dream." But, you find going back to sleep difficult. Instead you may cry or get angry. And that is okay.

While you are awake, during the day, something will remind you of the tragedy. A dog barking outside, a silly commericial on television or simply the closing of a bedroom door. It doesn't take much really to remind you of what happend. And in the months to follow you will probably wonder when will you stop feeling so horrible. When will the pain go away? Some days will be better than others. And sometimes the pain you feel will be with you as if it were your worst enemy. You can't tell it to go away. You are not able to run from it. It will be your companion for many months.

After Christmas and New Year's it will be time for you to go back to school. At first you will have the feeling of your body being in a kind of thick fog. And your feet will not feel as if they are touching the ground as you walk. I suggest a relative sew in marbles or a few coins in the cuff's of your pants. This will help you feel like you are weighted down in some way. At the start of your first day back you might notice mom's driving or walking their kids to school. This will make you miss your mom all the more. You might be overwhelmed by this and ask the person who took you to school to bring you back to the house. You are not ready yet. This is a normal feeling.

Once you start feeling a little better and return to school try and get involved in a sport that you enjoy. Try to make friends with other kids in your class. And if you are invited to do something after school over on the weekend, accept the invitation only when you feel ready. Sometimes adults make us feel like we have to try or do something we do not feel ready or comfortable doing. Use your best judgement in each situation.

Maybe start your own private journal. Include the times you shared together with your Mom. The trips you took or how she made a special meal you enjoyed. On holidays make your mom a special card and place it in the journal. When your mom's birthday approaches do something special that she might have enjoyed sharing with you. If she had a favorite saying remember to write it down so you will always remember her words. Keep special photo's in the journal or on a disk. If your mom's voice is on her cell phone or the house phone on a recording ask a relative to make a few copies for you so you can hear her voice when you are feeling sad.

The most important piece of advice I can offer you is that you are stronger than you may believe. When you have bad days remember that your mother, although she is in heaven, lives in your heart. And even though you are not able to see or touch her in human form, she walks beside you proudly, from the moment you awake, until the time you rest your head at night.

The love of your Mom will remain with you, Sean, every single precious moment as you grow and build your own life, finish school and someday have a family of your own.

POSTED BY SUSAN MURPHY MILANO'S JOURNAL AT 00:01

LABELS: ANSWERS, BRUTAL MURDER, CHRISTMAS LIGHTS, DAVID LETTERMAN, DEATH, FAITH, GOD, HOLIDAYS, JOURNAL, KAREN KAHLER,LOSS, MISSING LOVED ONE, PAIN, SURVIVE

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4 Cases of Moms Killed or Injured During Child Custody Encounters/Exchanges (Dastardly Dads)

 

gawd knows I have been on this list I am alive only because they stopped all visitation- I do not see my daughter. We have to end this- it is insane! ThX Dastardly Dads

http://dastardlydads.blogspot.com/2009/12/dad-murders-mom-during-child-custody.html

http://dastardlydads.blogspot.com/2009/12/dad-found-guilty-in-murder-of-estranged.html

http://dastardlydads.blogspot.com/2009/11/child-drop-off-leads-to-estranged-wifes.html

http://dastardlydads.blogspot.com/2009/10/dad-charged-with-assaulting-estranged.html

http://dastardlydads.blogspot.com/2009/09/dad-murders-mom-during-scheduled.html

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Fathers: Do you want full custody of your child without having to pay ANY child support?

Fathers: Do you want full custody of your child without having to pay ANY child support?

All you have to do is sexually abuse your child.

Just make sure that NO ONE is looking and make sure there is NO physical evidence. If your child doesn't tell his/her mother, do it again until whatever you do disturbs your child so much that your child will tell Mom. Then just sit back and relax. Your work is done!

BE SURE to document how upset your ex-wife/girlfriend gets when she hears about what you did. The more she tries to protect the child, the more she'll look "crazy" because there are NO witnesses and NO physical evidence.

Then find a court evaluator and a lawyer who do "parental alienation" cases. They will tell the judge that your ex-wife/ex-girlfriend has "Parental Alienation Syndrome" and/or "Munchhausen Syndrome"

Just Google "father's rights" and you'll find plenty of help with this legal strategy.

Remember to stay cool when you're in court. The more composed you appear, the more your ex will seem crazy because she'll KNOW you sexually abused your child

The court won't protect your child from further abuse because there's NO proof and YOUR the biological father with the RIGHT to raise your child! It's important to say things like "I want shared custody" (even though you really don't).

When you see the case start to go your way, remember to play the part. Look worried and say things that make the judge think that you are concerned about your ex's mental condition. Say that you want her to have contact with your children but that her contact should be "supervised" so she can't continue to "alienate" your children from you.

The judge will take your children from her and give her only "supervised visits" Once that happens, watch how upset and "crazy" she'll get!

Contact the "father's right's" groups. They'll help you find the right people to talk with about this winning strategy!

Sick strategy? Yes. A national scandal bigger than the Catholic Church scandal.

Posted by:
silencedmother 7:50 AM

 

I have seen similar comments all over the internet about how Islam has the right idea, that the men are treated right, etc.

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/ChrisCuomo/fighting-liam-fathers-custody-battle-continues/comments?type=story&id=9315571

Comment

I am continually amazed at how tainted opinions are towards women. The comments that the 'male ruled courts' are unjust towards women astounds me. What percentage of fathers are awarded custody of their children while they are held financially responsible, even when in cases where the mother is unfit by any measure? Where is it written that a mother is a better parent than a father? We are victims of a society that believes a woman is "special" because she has a ####. In truth, women are passive aggressive, manipulative, and vengeful. They emasculate boy children and convince girls they are special because they have a ####. Where would these women be without a man and his penis? This entire attitude is so off the mark. After all, Eve would not exist without Adam's rib. Women weaken the human race. The nation of Islam has the right idea. They truly know how much women are truly worth.

Posted by:
DesertColonel 2:37 AM

Mark As Violation

Fighting for Liam: Michael McCarty Rails Against Italian Courts for Not Protecting Son

Italian Authorities Say They Can't Locate Mom but She Made a Statement to '20/20'

For most Americans, a trip to Italy means a romantic getaway. But for Michael McCarty, who has made more than 15 trips to Italy over the past two years, these treks have been anything but an escape. That's because he is desperately trying to bring back what means the most to him in the world: his 8-year-old son, Liam. McCarty's ex-wife, Manuela Antonelli, took Liam to her native country more than two years ago, and he's been fighting to get him back ever since. After hitting continual... Full Story

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21.12.09

Parental Alienation Syndrome is Misused in Child Custody Cases involving Domestic Violence

Note: Cross posted from [wp angelfury] A Human Rights Issue-Custodial Justice.

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Parental Alienation Syndrome is Misused in Child Custody Cases involving Domestic Violence

Blog Ads Civil Rights Voting Act Human Rights Civil Rights Class Action Civil Rights Court Cases Civil Rights Law Firms

http://www.livestrong.com/health-article/parental-alienation-syndrome-misused-child-custody-cases-involving-domestic-violence_5756f861-0f31-40da-dd63-30b30d4b3ee5/

Friday, November 14, 2008

By Womens Legal Resource

To watch a video of the PAS Debatehttp://www.mandjshow.com/videos/parental-alienation-syndrome/

I first learned about PAS, Parental Alienation Syndrome during my divorce. I would hear lawyers argue this syndrome over and over again in custody battles. This syndrome hit a nerve, being four credits shy of a Bachelors Degree in Psychology, I never read anything about this syndrome in any of my studies. So, I went back to my psychology books to re-read information maybe I skipped and still, I found nothing about PAS. Then continuing on with research, I found the following information which shed much light about this mysterious syndrome which I will call the “Judicial Syndrome”:

The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), the Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project (DV LEAP), Stop Family Violence, and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, four of the nation’s leading domestic violence victim advocacy organizations, call on the media and the courts to rectify the misunderstanding and misuse of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) in custody cases.

“Child custody cases are among the toughest cases courts have to handle. And in custody cases where domestic violence is involved, the judges have an even higher responsibility to ensure that the safety of family members is not dangerously impaired by misleading - and legally unjustifiable - ‘parental alienation syndrome’ theories,” said Sue Else, president of the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

“Parental Alienation Syndrome” is a claim that has been used to suggest that some parents try to undermine their children’s relationship with the other parent, typically the noncustodial parent, by making false statements about that other parent, most often in the form of abuse allegations. In fact, actor Alec Baldwin made that claim about his own child custody case in a recent interview with Diane Sawyer.

“PAS is being used by some abusers as a tactic to demonize parents’ attempts to protect their children from abuse, denying victims of domestic violence justice in the courts. The fact that some parents behave badly in ordinary cases is no reason to ignore real abuse when it is presented to the court,” also stated Else.

Joan Meier, DV LEAP’s Executive Director, said, “PAS was invented to defeat child abuse claims - and it has been remarkably successful in misleading family courts into believing that women who are sincerely trying to protect their children and themselves from abuse, are just seeking to end the children’s relationship with their noncustodial father.”

According to NNEDV, DV LEAP, SFV, and NCADV, victims of domestic violence face a surprisingly uphill battle in family court to win custody of and safety for their children. All too often, courts award custody and unsupervised visitation to parents found to have committed domestic abuse. Many courts handling custody cases do not understand the dynamics of domestic violence and fail to properly factor in the impact of abuse when considering the best interests of the child.

“The most important factor judges should be weighing in making custody decisions is the safety of the mother and children, and the introduction of PAS overshadows this critical need for safety,” said Rita Smith, Executive Director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Meier states that research has shown that children become “alienated” from a parent for a variety of valid reasons, most often resulting from the parent’s own negative behavior and relationship with that child.

“The proponents of ‘parental alienation syndrome’ are purveying invalid junk science is not even legally admissible. PAS has been emphatically rejected by the Presidential Task Force of the American Psychological Association and by the National Council of Juvenile & Family Court Judges. Leading researchers in the field of custody have agreed that PAS has no scientific validity and the only courts to address the issue have found it inadmissible,” said Meier.

“With the increased media attention surrounding the release of Alec Baldwin’s book, it is important to let the public know that victims of domestic violence are being silenced through the use of ‘parental alienation syndrome.’ We cannot afford to consign thousands of children to unsafe custody or visitation with abusive parents because family courts have come to believe that abuse allegations mean nothing more than a campaign of alienation,” said Else.

Freud found that women were “hysterical” could this be an extension of hysteria, I think not. I was abused both emotionally and physically, I will not allow a judge to tell me what I feel or don’t feel. I had enough of that banter with my ex-husband’s lawyer, who in a court of law stated, “I was a hysterical woman”, and by the way, was a woman.

Alec Baldwin exhibited threatening behavior toward his child which happened to end up on the Internet.  As a mother, you better believe I will protect that child from that behavior. If a man does that, especially in the public eye, you loose your right as a parent and now become a perpetrator of violence.  So when a woman protects her child from violence, she is labeled, with PAS Syndrome and deemed by the court as withholding the father’s right to visit with his child. I don’t think so.

Technorati Tags: ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Note: Cross posted from [wp angelfury] A Human Rights Issue-Custodial Justice.

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Domestic Situation Leads to Woman's Death VIDEO

http://www.timesdaily.com/article/20091221/NEWS/912219996/1011/NEWS?Title=Domestic-situation-leads-to-woman-s-death

 

Domestic situation leads to woman's death

By Tom Smith
Senior Staff Writer

Published: Monday, December 21, 2009 at 11:20 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 at 11:20 a.m.

ZIP CITY - A Lauderdale County woman was shot and killed and the father of her children is accused in her death.

The couple were meeting for parental exchange of their two young children Monday morning, authorities said.

Lauderdale County Sheriff Ronnie Willis said Hollie Elizabeth Newbury, 24, 21400 Lauderdale 14, was killed during the domestic altercation.

Newbury was pronounced dead at the scene by Lauderdale County Coroner Andy High. Her body was sent to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences in Huntsville for an autopsy.

Christopher Michael Rich, 31, 1801 Lauderdale 298, Florence, is in jail and charged with murder. He had been living at a residence on Lauderdale 8.

The shooting took place outside a residence at 10881 Alabama 17, which is just past the Zip City Senior Citizens Center.

Willis said his department was notified of the shooting at 9:48 a.m. He said Rich was taken into custody within 30 minutes after he drove to the Lauderdale County Courthouse parking lot and tried to contact a family member to take care of the two children while he saw an attorney.

Rich is being held in the Lauderdale County Detention Center without bail at this time.

Guardian AD Chargem- M. Jill Dykes Topeka KS paid for by YOUR $Tax $

Note: Cross posted from [wp angelfury] Family 'Lawless' Court Whores.

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Court Whores and Court Appointed Child Abusers since they have decided that THEY are immune I will have to begin a blog posting campaign on EACH one.

Google your own names those who profited from the blood of my family- your silence is NOT mine and I am Silent no more!

Hit list

Odyssey- Where Sexual Pedophiles get re integrated back into the home with victims- Grant money funds this- FYI- NOT battered Mommies- We strive ONLY to Serve the Perpetrators: Kara Haney, Drex Flott…..

Donald R. Hoffman, Jason P Hoffman- ALL COURT quackos evaluations, criminal records, Judge Debenham, Dr, Rodeheffer and Dr Albott both known better as Dr. Pedophiles- see www.KansansForJudicialAccountability.com  and the list will keep growing along with 16 years of documentation and recordings….

But this one is for

M. Jill Dykes, G.A.L

email: faith_full_@hotmail.com

1243 SW Topeka, Blvd., Suite B

Topeka, Kansas 66612

 

btw Jill Dykes- although your OPININION under Supreme court rule 100 entitles you to kill..; it DOES NOT entitle you to defend against the ethics charges and Behavioral Sciences Board- And Charge the county for your defense- by your own hand…. in your over time expenses- below( note the time ACTUALLY spent with the child she is court appointed to Abuse?

.5 hrs good fucking gawd!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaOwVPugJ5Q&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

2009_1-14- GAL M. Jill Dykes Court Appointed Abuser submits for OVERTIME pay

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Is Psychology a Science? NO! - ‘Self-Made’ For Profit Court Whores

Note: Cross posted from [wp angelfury] Battered Mothers Rights - A Human Rights Issue.

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http://www.arachnoid.com/psychology/

 

Is Psychology a Science?

Copyright © 2003-2009, Paul LutusMessage Page

Revised and updated 05/12/2009

Introduction | What Is Science? | What Is Psychology?
Present-day Human Psychology | The Architecture of Science | Psychologists on Psychology
Conclusion | Further Reading | Feedback

(double-click any word to see its definition)

Introduction

Since its first appearance in 2003, this article has become required reading in a number of college-level psychology courses. Because this article is directed toward educated nonspecialist readers considering psychological treatment, students of psychology are cautioned that the terms "psychology" and "clinical psychology" are used interchangeably.

The field of human psychology is a powerful force in modern society, and its influence is widespread – in language, law, the social contract, and in our perception of ourselves. Because legal decisions are sometimes made based on psychology, decisions that might cause someone to be incarcerated or freed, it is important to establish whether psychology is a science or a simple belief system. We should determine whether psychology can be relied on to objectively support the social and legal policies that are based on it. In modern times, such a serious public burden can only be borne by a field that is based on reason, on science. Which leads to our question: is human psychology steered by science?

What Is Science?

In order to consider whether psychology is a science, we must first define our terms. It is not overarching to say that science is what separates human beings from animals, and, as time goes by and we learn more about our animal neighbors here on Earth, it becomes increasingly clear that science is all that separates humans from animals. We are learning that animals have feelings, passions, and certain rights. What animals do not have is the ability to reason, to rise above feeling.

Science's goal is to create reasonable explanations (theories) to describe reality – theories that rely, not on feelings or passions, but on evidence. Science defines “evidence” in a special way that will seem rather strict to someone only familiar with the legal definition. To science, evidence is gathered and evaluated (and sometimes discarded) according to some rigid rules, rules meant to assure that a scientific theory reflects reality to the best of our ability.

How strict are science's rules of evidence? Well, let's first compare science to law. The legal definition of evidence is (as one example) a set of observations that appear to associate a particular person with a particular event. Typically, legal proceedings begin with an investigation meant to collect evidence, followed by a trial that establishes whether that evidence meets a criterion – “beyond a reasonable doubt” in criminal proceedings, and “according to the preponderance of evidence” in civil proceedings (in the US). This, by the way, is why O. J. Simpson was found innocent in criminal court, but found guilty in a subsequent civil proceeding – using the same evidence, he wasn't guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt,” but he was guilty “according to the preponderance of evidence.”

In an embarrassing and tragic number of cases, innocent people have been placed on death row (and sometimes executed) based on evidence that, notwithstanding the innocence of the convict, met the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard, when evaluated by a jury of 12 upstanding citizens, people whom we shall charitably assume paid no mind to the color of the defendant's skin. Relatively recently, new ways of gathering evidence – like DNA testing – have proven the innocence of a fortunate few death-row inmates, and others who might have gone unpunished have been arrested.

The point here is that legal evidence is not remotely scientific evidence. Contrary to popular belief, science doesn't use sloppy evidentiary standards like “beyond a reasonable doubt,” and scientific theories never become facts. This is why the oft-heard expression “proven scientific fact” is never appropriate – it only reflects the scientific ignorance of the speaker. Scientific theories are always theories, they never become the final and only explanation for a given phenomenon.

As to the ever-popular expression “scientific law,” this is often an earnest effort by scientists to bridge the gap between the level of certainty required in science and that accepted in ordinary life. In fact and strictly speaking, there are no scientific laws, only theories about which we are very certain, like entropy and gravity, which, if they were to be tersely expressed in everyday language, would read: “Eventually it will break, and when it does, it is going to fall.”

About scientific evidence, philosopher John Stuart Mill said, “No amount of observations of white swans can allow the inference that all swans are white, but the observation of a single black swan is sufficient to refute that conclusion.” This saying aptly summarizes the difference between scientific evidence and every other kind of evidence, and it dramatizes the difference between science and ordinary human thinking.

This very strict evidentiary standard is essential for science to provide its riches, and it is no problem for people who have been properly educated. But in the lives of people for whom “evidence” means “he said, she said,” certain problems are inevitable.

When properly conducted, scientific investigations never draw conclusions directly from observations. This may sound unnecessarily strict, but it is necessary for science to accomplish what it does. To demonstrate this, here is a hypothetical conversation between a psychic wannabe (PW) and a scientist (S):

PW: “I successfully predicted 100 coin tosses, therefore I am psychic.”

S: “How many total coin tosses were there?”

PW: “200”.

S: “So you guessed half correctly, and half incorrectly, yes?”

PW: “Yes – isn't that amazing?”

S: “No, not really. It is the outcome predicted by chance.”

(a day goes by ...)

PW: “I correctly guessed eight coin tosses in a row! Now that's proof that I'm psychic!”

S: “How many total coin tosses this time?”

PW: “Umm, 256.”

S: “With that many coin tosses, eight sequential correct guesses has a probability of ½ of coming about by chance. You might be psychic, but there is a much more likely explanation – chance.”

This example highlights a cardinal rule of science: Always consider alternative explanations, never accept anything at face value.

In everyday life, people are regularly taken in by con men who rely on public ignorance of reason and science. Here's an example – you receive a mailing from someone who wants to be your financial advisor. He predicts that the stock market will fall (or rise) during the next month. At the end of the month, his prediction turns out to be correct. Then, for six months straight, he mails you a prediction, and each prediction turns out to be correct. In a quick calculation you realize you would have made several million dollars by following his advice.

Having “proven” his abilities, the financial advisor now wants you to give him control of your portfolio. His is the best performance you have ever seen, he obviously has special skills, what do you do? Well, hopefully you follow the cardinal rule:Always consider alternative explanations.

Here is a very likely alternative explanation – the “financial wizard” is a con man, a hustler. Here is how this well-known con works:

  1. At the beginning of the six-month period, the "wizard" mails a prediction to a list of 16,384 people. He tells half the people the market will rise, the other half that it will fall.
  2. At the end of the first month, he drops half the names from the list (those who got an incorrect prediction) and mails a new prediction to the remaining names.
  3. He repeats this procedure for six months, each month dropping half the names and keeping those that got a correct prediction.
  4. At the end of six months, he has a list of 256 very hot prospects, each of whom has gotten a seemingly miraculous run of correct predictions, each of whom might just sign up for his "services," each of whom is about to be swindled.

These 256 "marks" (the con-man term for someone about to be “serviced”) must either consider alternative explanations, or they stand to lose a lot of money. And very important: for those who decide to accept the con man's services, their decision isperfectly reasonable when based on everyday perceptions. Just like many of the claims of the practitioners of clinical psychology, and to someone unable to think critically, it is perfectly reasonable, and it is wrong.

Apart from being filtered through all possible explanations, scientific theories have another important property – they must make predictions that can be tested and possibly falsified. In fact, and this may surprise you, scientific theories can only be falsified, they can never be proven true once and for all. That is why they are called “theories,” as certain as some of them are – it is always possible they may be replaced by better theories, ones that explain more, or are simpler, or that make more accurate predictions than their forebears.

It's very simple, really. If a theory doesn't make testable predictions, or if the tests are not practical, or if the tests cannot lead to a clear outcome that supports or falsifies the theory, the theory is not scientific. This may come as another surprise, but very little of the theoretical content of human psychology meets this scientific criterion. As to the clinical practice of psychology, even less meets any reasonable definition of “scientific.”

What Is Psychology?

Psychology has as its aim the understanding of human behavior, and as a secondary goal, the treatment of behaviors deemed abnormal. Almost immediately upon the formation of the field, efforts were made to place psychological studies on a scientific basis. Early psychological studies were conducted by Wilhelm Wundt at the University of Leipzig, Germany. One of his students, G. Stanley Hall, then went on to establish the first American psychological laboratory at Johns Hopkins University.

Then, in 1900, Sigmund Freud introduced psychoanalytical theory in his book “The Interpretation of Dreams.” This was the first ultimately large-scale effort to apply psychological knowledge to the problem of treatment or therapy.

Human psychology and the related fields of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy achieved their greatest acceptance and popularity in the 1950s, at which time they were publicly perceived as sciences. But this was never true, and it is not true today – human psychology has never risen to the status of a science, for several reasons:

Ethical considerations.

If you want to study the behavior of rats or pigeons, there are no significant ethical limitations – you can kill them, you can cut them up, you can dress them out in EEG probes while they play violent video games, no one will complain. They are expendable, they are animals.

But as to the study of human beings, there are severe limitations on what kinds of studies are permitted. As an example, if you want to know whether removing specific brain tissue results in specific behavioral changes, you cannot perform the study on humans. You have to perform it on animals and try to extrapolate the result to humans.

One of the common work-arounds to this ethical problem is to perform what are called “retrospective studies,” studies that try to draw conclusions from past events rather than setting up a formal laboratory experiment with strict experimental protocols and a control group. If you simply gather information about people who have had a certain kind of past experience, you are freed from the ethical constraint that prevents you from exposing experimental subjects to that experience in the present.

But, because of intrinsic problems, retrospective studies produce very poor evidence and science. For example, a hypothetical retrospective study meant to discover whether vitamin X makes people more intelligent may only “discover” that the people who took the vitamin were those intelligent enough to take it in the first place. In general, retrospective studies cannot reliably distinguish between causes and effects, and any conclusions drawn from them are suspect.

Think about this for a moment. In order for human psychology to be placed on a scientific footing, it would have to conduct strictly controlled experiments on humans, in some cases denying treatments or nutritional elements deemed essential to health (in order to have a control group), and the researchers would not be able to tell the subjects whether or not they were receiving proper care (in order not to bias the result). This is obviously unethical behavior, and it is a key reason why human psychology is not a science.

Blurring of research, diagnosis and therapy.

This blurring is a problem in mainstream medicine as well as psychology, but it has a more severe form in psychology and psychiatry. It is more severe mostly because of the above ethical limitations, which preclude formal, strict scientific study on human subjects.

As a result, ordinary clinical therapeutic treatments are actually (potentially) a mixture of the three items listed above –research, diagnosis and therapy. If the treatment is routine and uneventful, it is clinical therapy, which most people realize is entirely ineffectual in any case (i.e. with an outcome scientifically indistinguishable from speaking to a bartender or your favorite uncle). If the client shows traits useful for diagnosis, the treatment ipso facto becomes diagnostic. If the interplay between the clinician and the client produces a novel, seemingly useful cause-effect relationship, the treatment becomes research. This clinical opportunism is another reason psychology has the reputation it does – very little distinction exists between gathering knowledge and dispensing knowledge.

This raises another ethical issue, that of informed consent. Has the client been properly informed as to the nature of the procedures — will the sessions consist of research, diagnosis, therapy, or some mixture? But there is no remedy for this problem, because the clinician can't tell the client what is going to happen, because he doesn't know, and he is certainly not going to resist publishing any interesting, unforeseen results as research findings.

Overall lax standards.

The items listed above inevitably create an atmosphere in which absolutely anything goes (at least temporarily), judgments about efficacy are utterly subjective, and as a result, the field of psychology perpetually splinters into cults and fads (examples below). “Studies” are regularly published that would never pass muster with a self-respecting peer review committee from some less soft branch of science.

If society correctly evaluated human psychology as a loose grouping of subjective cults and fads, the above summary would not pose any kind of social problem. But in fact there are people who still think human psychology is based in science, all evidence to the contrary. The sad result is that society's engine of legal and social authority is sometimes steered by psychology, sometimes with unjust and terrible consequences. Here is a brief list of historical examples in which psychology's bogus status as a science has produced harm (it is by no means a comprehensive list):

  • During World War I, psychologist R. M. Yerkes oversaw the testing of 1.7 million US Army draftees. His questionable conclusions were to have far-reaching consequences, leading to a 1924 law placing severe limitations on the immigration of those groups Yerkes and his followers believed to be mentally unfit – Jews and Eastern Europeans in particular. Yerkes later thoroughly recanted his methods and findings in an 800-page confession/tome that few bothered to read, and the policies he set in motion had the dreadful side effect of preventing the immigration of Jews trying to escape the predations of Hitler and his henchmen later on.

    The original test results happened to dovetail with Yerkes' explicit eugenic beliefs, a fact lost on nearly everyone at the time.

  • In an effort to answer the question of whether intelligence is primarily governed by environment or genes, psychologist Cyril Burt (1883-1971) performed a long-term study of twins that was later shown to be most likely a case of conscious or unconscious scientific fraud. His work, which purported to show that IQ is largely inherited, was used as a “scientific” basis by various racists and others, and, despite having been discredited, still is.

  • Walter Freeman performing a lobotomy

    In the 1950s, at the height of psychology's public acceptance, neurologist Walter Freeman created a surgical procedure known as "prefrontal lobotomy." As though on a quest and based solely on his reputation and skills of persuasion, Freeman singlehandedly popularized lobotomy among U.S. psychologists, eventually performing about 3500 lobotomies, before the dreadful consequences of this practice became apparent.

    At the height of Freeman's personal campaign, he drove around the country in a van he called the "lobotomobile," performing lobotomies as he traveled. There was plenty of evidence that prefrontal lobotomy was a catastrophic clinical practice, but no one noticed the evidence or acted on it. There was — and is — no reliable mechanism within clinical psychology to prevent this sort of abuse.

These examples are part of a long list of people who have tried to use psychology to give a scientific patina to their personal beliefs, perhaps beginning with Francis Galton (1822-1911), the founder and namer ofeugenics. Galton tried (and failed) to design psychological tests meant to prove his eugenic beliefs. This practice of using psychology as a personal soapbox continues to the present, in fact, it seems to have become more popular.

What these accounts have in common is that no one was able (or willing) to use scientific standards of evidence to refute the claims at the time of their appearance, because psychology is only apparently a science. Only through enormous efforts and patience, including sometimes repeating an entire study using the original materials, can a rare, specific psychological claim be refuted. Such exceptions aside, there is ordinarily no recourse to the “testable, falsifiable claims” criterion that sets science apart from ordinary human behavior.

One might think that psychology might have learned from its past errors and evolved into a more strict and scientific enterprise. In fact the reverse seems to be the case. Here are two contemporary examples:

Facilitated Communication

This bogus field sprang into existence, fueled by the wish that specific disabled (autistic, severely retarded) people might be able to communicate with their loved ones after all. It purports to allow communication with a disabled person through the agency of a facilitator, someone who typically holds a writing implement (or operates a keyboard) simultaneously with the disabled person, and the two together create a written account of the disabled person's otherwise inaccessible experiences. Frequently, the “communication” seems to reveal that the disabled person is being abused horribly by parents or caretakers. This in turn has resulted in bogus legal actions, spurred by prosecutors who think psychology is a science.

Was this set of beliefs tested and shown to be flawed in a scientific study? No. Was it called into question because of the utterly fantastic content of the “communications”? No again. How then was the fraud uncovered? Well, the PBS television program “Frontline” showed up and taped some typical clinical practice, revealing some aspects of the practice anyone not brain-damaged should have been able to notice, such as the fact that the disabled person was often looking at the ceiling while supposedly co√∂perating in keyboard communication, a behavior that requires one to look at the keyboard at least occasionally. The facilitator, of course, was looking intently at the keyboard.

And finally, after evidence of the bogus nature of both the practice and the communications was demonstrated, was the field abandoned? Of course not – it is still widely practiced, with the difference that TV cameras are now typically excluded from the clinics.

Recovered Memory Therapy

In this variation on the above bogus practice, talk-therapy clients are guided to “recovering” repressed memories, typically of horrible childhood abuse, sexual and otherwise. And, like the above practice, these “recovered memories” sometimes cause people to be jailed for vivid, if imaginary, crimes.

In this case, unlike the above, over time the frequency and implausibility of the actionable claims ruined everything for the eager practitioners, and most clients later decided they were talked into the “memories” by the therapist. There have been a number of lawsuits by disgruntled former clients, and wrongly convicted people have been freed.

But, just as in the case of “facilitated communication,” science played no role in either the creation or destruction of this aberration, this fad. Science played no part in the creation of either field, although properly designed experiments could have been used at the outset to prove that both fads were not remotely what their advocates claimed. And science had little role to play in the later debunking, because psychology is only coincidentally addressed by science.

Some may object that the revolution produced by psychoactive drugs has finally placed psychology on a firm scientific footing,but the application of these drugs is not psychology, it is pharmacology. The efficacy of drugs in treating conditions once thought to be psychological in origin simply presents another example where psychology got it wrong, and the errors could only be uncovered using disciplines outside psychology.

To summarize this section, psychology is the sort of field that can describe things, but as shown above, it cannot reliablyexplain what it has described. In science, descriptions are only a first step — explanations are essential:

  • An explanation, a theory, allows one to make a prediction about observations not yet made.
  • A prediction would permit a laboratory test that might support or falsify the underlying theory.
  • The possibility of falsification is what distinguishes science from cocktail chatter.

This doesn't mean psychology lacks theories. It means the theories, when applied to humans, either cannot be tested in a scientifically rigorous way, or the tests fail without anyone noticing or caring. This explains why psychology's frequent theoretical failures tend to be discussed in a courtroom rather than a laboratory or a scientific journal.

As with most professions, scientists have a private language, using terms that seem completely ordinary but that convey special meaning to other scientists. For example, when a scientist identifies a field as a "descriptive science," he is politely saying it is not a science.

Present-day Human Psychology

One might think the dismal history of psychology and the recent revolution in psychoactive drugs might cause more than a few psychologists to wonder whether their field means anything at all. But the absence of a scientific foundation for psychology means that, like religion, it can prevail in the face of overwhelming evidence that it has no fixed, testable content.

This seems an appropriate time (and context) to comment on psychology's “bible”: the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and its companion, the International Classifications of Diseases, Mental Disorders Section (hereafter jointly referred to as DSM). Now in its fourth edition, this volume is very revealing because of its significance to the practice of psychology and psychiatry and because of what it claims are valid mental illnesses.

Over the history of the DSM and as a result of valiant efforts, this "bible" of clinical psychology has come to define more and more conditions as evidence of mental illness. As an example, in the current edition, the following conditions are defined as mental illnesses:

  • Stuttering
  • Spelling Disorder
  • Written Expression Disorder
  • Mathematics Disorder
  • Caffeine Intoxication/Withdrawal
  • Nicotine use/Withdrawal
  • Sibling Rivalry Disorder
  • Phase of Life Problem

Putting aside for the moment the nebulous “phase of life problem,” excuse me? – “Sibling rivalry” is now a mental illness? Yes, according to the current DSM/ICD. And few are as strict about spelling as I am, but even I am not ready to brand as mentally ill those who (frequently) cannot accurately choose from among “site,” “cite” and “sight” when they write to comment on my Web pages. As to “mathematics disorder” being a mental illness, sorry, that just doesn't add up.

The content of this influential volume, a cornerstone of the practice of contemporary psychiatry, has become so ridiculous that professional psychologists have begun openly deriding it. Professors Herb Kutchins of California State University and Stuart A. Kirk of the University of New York found “...there is ample reason to conclude that the latest versions of DSM as a clinical tool are unreliable and therefore of questionable validity as a classification system.”

Psychiatrist Matthew Dumont wrote this about DSM's pretensions to scientific authority: "The humility and the arrogance in the prose are almost indistinguishable, frolicking like puppies at play. They say: '...while this manual provides a classification of mental disorder...no definition adequately specifies precise boundaries for the concept...' [APA, 1987]...They go on to say: '...there is no assumption that each mental disorder is a discrete entity with sharp boundaries between it and other mental disorders or between it and no mental disorder' [APA, 1987]." It goes without saying that these buried qualifiers do nothing to reduce the apparent authority of this volume among its advocates.

Is the DSM becoming more or less reasonable as time passes? Decide for yourself. Here is a list of years and the number of conditions identified as “mental illnesses” in the DSM for that year:

Year
Number of conditions

1952
112

1968
163

1980
224

1987
253

1994
374

Based on this table and extrapolating into the future using appropriate regression methods, in 100 years there will be more than 3600 conditions meriting treatment as mental illnesses. To put it another way, there will be more mental states identified as abnormal than there are known, distinct mental states. In short, no behavior will be normal.

Those who created the DSM intended to standardize diagnostic criteria, so that two clinicians similarly trained, when confronted by the same patient, would be able to use the DSM's guidance to produce the same diagnosis. This ambitious goal, had it been achieved, would have greatly improved the image of psychology as a science. But, notwithstanding the DSM's gradual increase in size and weight, this goal is as remote as ever. Even many of those charged with responsibility for creating and editing the DSM acknowledge that it is not the hoped-for validation of clinical psychology's standing as a science.

Tom Widger, who served as head of research for DSM-IV, says "There are lots of studies which show that clinicians diagnose most of their patients with one particular disorder and really don't systematically assess for other disorders. They have a bias in reference to the disorder that they are especially interested in treating and believe that most of their patients have." And, because of clinical psychology's supposed status as a science, the patients don't typically object to the diagnosis they are given. Indeed, some of them embrace the diagnosis, however implausible, and proceed to exhibit all the symptoms the clinician expects to see.

Many conditions have made their way into the DSM and nearly none are later removed. Homosexuality was until recently listed as a mental illness, one believed to be amenable to treatment, in spite of the total absence of clinical evidence. Then a combination of research findings from fields other than psychology, and simple political pressure, resulted in the belated removal of homosexuality from psychology's official list of mental illnesses. Imagine a group of activists demanding that the concept of gravity be removed from physics. Then imagine physicists yielding to political pressure on a scientific issue. But in psychology, this is the norm, not the exception, and it is nearly always the case that the impetus for change comes from a field other than psychology.

The Architecture of Science

Since this article's first publication in 2003, I have been engaged in a running debate with psychologists about whether psychology can be fairly described as "scientific" using commonly accepted definitions of science. Many psychologists have argued that, because psychological research is carried out and published, and because that research meets many of the criteria describing valid scientific research, it therefore follows that psychology is itself scientific.

But this conclusion sidesteps some evaluation points that can be used to determine whether the existence of scientific research within a field grants scientific status to the field itself. Here are the points:

  1. Does research address and potentially falsify one or more core theories that define the field?
  2. Does research honor the null hypothesis?
  3. Does research have the potential to change how the field is practiced?
Point A

Does research address and potentially falsify one or more core theories that define the field? That is an easy question to answer. Let's say I am an astrologer, and I want to carry out a research project — I want to statistically break down the U.S. population by astrological sign. That way, I can order supplies intelligently and focus my efforts appropriately, with an evidence-based idea of who my clients will be. So I consult a statistical database of U.S. births by date, process the data, and break it down by the astrological "signs" (this result is for U.S. births in 2003):

       Aries    334,893   8.19%
Taurus 347,647 8.50%
Gemini 348,053 8.51%
Cancer 342,726 8.38%
Leo 381,064 9.32%
Virgo 363,278 8.88%
Libra 349,643 8.55%
Scorpio 345,045 8.44%
Sagittarius 312,977 7.65%
Capricorn 314,750 7.70%
Aquarius 327,456 8.01%
Pisces 322,418 7.88%
-------------------------------
Total 4,089,950 100.00%



Okay. I have created a scientifically valid statistical result in astrology, and the study turns out to have practical value in the daily activities of astrologers. Does this scientifically valid result make astrology itself scientific? No, of course not. Why? Because, regardless of its practical significance, my research doesn't address or potentially falsifythe core theories of astrology.



When psychologists perform research, some of the results pass muster as legitimate science, but unless those results address and potentially falsify the core theories of psychology, the research cannot confer a scientific status to psychology itself. To summarize, for criterion (A) to be satisfied, psychology must have a theoretical core of testable, falsifiable theories, and ongoing research must address and potentially falsify those theories.



For reasons summarized elsewhere in this article, psychology isn't guided by a coherent, falsifiable system of theories, consequently research can't be focused on those theories, and it isn't possible to falsify a nonexistent or poorly expressed theory. One litmus test of this failing is that (unlike fields such as physics and medicine where practice is ruled by research) the practice of psychology (clinical psychology) is not measurably influenced by thetheories of psychology. On this ground, psychology fails Point A.



Point B


Does research honor the null hypothesis? The "null hypothesis" is a scientific precept that says assertions areassumed to be false unless and until there is evidence to support them. In scientific fields the null hypothesis serves as a threshold-setting device to prevent the waste of limited resources on speculations and hypotheses that are not supported by direct evidence or reasonable extrapolations from established theory.



Does psychology meet this criterion? Well, to put it diplomatically, if psychiatrist John Mack of the Harvard Medical School can conduct a research program that takes alien abduction stories at face value, if clinical psychologists can appear as expert witnesses in criminal court to testify about nonexistent "recovered memories," only to see their clients vigorously deny and retract those "memories" later, if any imaginable therapeutic method can be put into practice without any preliminary evaluation or research, then no, the null hypothesis is not honored, and psychology fails Point B.



Point C


Does research have the potential to change how the field is practiced? The answer to this question is entangled withpoint B above. If clinical psychologists won't honor the null hypothesis, if any idea can become clinical practice without a preliminary scientific evaluation for efficacy and safety, then psychological research can have no effect on clinical practice.



In response to my claim that evidence-based practice is to date an unrealized idea, a psychologist recently replied that there is "practice-based evidence." Obviously this argument was offered in the heat of the moment and my correspondent could not have considered the implications of his remark.



Practice-based evidence, to the degree that it exists, suffers from serious ethical and practical issues. It fails an obvious ethical standard — if the "evidence" is coincidental to therapy, a client will be unable to provide informed consent to be a research subject on the ground that neither he nor the therapist knows in advance that he will be a research subject. Let me add that a scenario like this would never be acceptable in mainstream medicine (not to claim that it never happens), but it is all too common in clinical psychology for research papers to exploit evidence drawn from therapeutic settings.



As to the various clinical practices that have come and gone over the years, none of them arose from scientific research, to then make their way into clinics — so far, it has been the other way around, with researchers struggling to validate a clinical fait accompli. And psychological research, regardless of its merit, has no measurable effect on clinical practice. Therefore psychology fails Point C.



Comparison


Let's compare the foregoing to physics, a field that perfectly exemplifies the interplay of scientific research and practice. When I use a GPS receiver to find my way across the landscape, every aspect of the experience is governed by rigorously tested physical theory. The semiconductor technology responsible for the receiver's integrated circuits obeys quantum theory and materials science. The mathematics used to reduce satellite radio signals to a terrestrial position honors Einstein's relativity theories (both of them, and for different reasons) as well as orbital mechanics. If any of these theories is not perfectly understood and taken into account, I won't be where the GPS receiver says I am, and that could easily have serious consequences.



Because physical theories are rigorously tested and because the practice of physics honors the theories of physics, a gigantic airliner can approach a runway and land in conditions of zero visibility (a "Category III approach"), without significant risk to passenger safety. Public trust is well-placed in physics as a scientific discipline.



New research findings that influence theory are immediately acted upon, and physical theory is modified according to the rules of scientific evidence. The result of a change in theory is that every activity remotely related to physics — civil, mechanical and electrical engineering, among others — is required to change its practice in step with new research findings, and a failure to take the theory of physics into account can easily end the career of someone engaged in the practice of physics.



I offer this mini-essay and this comparison because most of my psychological correspondents have no idea what makes a field scientific. Many people believe that any field where science takes place is ipso facto scientific. But this is not true — there is more to science than outward appearances.






Psychologists on Psychology



The skeptical reader may wonder what psychologists and psychiatrists have to say about the scientific standing of their own field. As it turns out, the more perceptive among mental health professionals freely admit their field is not based in science.





  • In the 1950s the American Psychological Association (hereafter APA) commissioned a study of the scientific standing of psychology. In 1963 the result was published in six volumes as "Psychology: A Study Of a Science" (Koch, S. (Ed.). (1959-1963). New York: McGraw-Hill). Sigmund Koch, the director of the study, came to these conclusions:




    "The hope of a psychological science became indistinguishable from the fact of psychological science. The entire subsequent history of psychology can be seen as a ritualistic endeavor to emulate the forms of science in order to sustain the delusion that it already is a science."



    "The truth is that psychological statements which describe human behavior or which report results from tested research can be scientific. However, when there is a move from describing human behavior to explaining it there is also a move from science to opinion." (emphasis supplied)




    Koch's distinction between describing and explaining is crucial to the issue of scientific standing. It is a simple matter to describe something, and descriptions are often repeatable, but one cannot shape a scientific theory based only on description. For a scientific theory, one must try to craft an explanation of what has been described. With an explanation in hand, one can design an experiment to see if the explanation has general validity. And crucially, the existence of a testable explanation allows the possibility of falsification, the key property of all scientific theories.



    But as it is now constructed, psychology doesn't try to explain behavior, it is satisfied to collect descriptions of behavior. Those therapies that exist are meant to respond to descriptions, without ever taking the dangerous step of offering a testable, falsifiable explanation.





  • In 2005, Dr. Ronald L. Levant (president of the APA), aware of the above history, penned a daring initiative meant to nudge clinical psychology toward an evidence-based model and away from its present reliance on anecdote and belief. But I think Dr. Levant may have misjudged the present state of clinical practice — on hearing his proposal, rank and file psychologists reacted with a mixture of panic and fury. Here is a quote from Dr. Levant's later defense:



    Evidence-based practice in psychology (APA, 2005): "Some APA members have asked me why I have chosen to sponsor an APA Presidential Initiative on Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) in Psychology, expressing fears that the results might be used against psychologists by managed-care companies and malpractice lawyers."


    The rank and file are right, of course. Any effort to move clinical psychology toward an evidence-based model would expose what until now has been a well-kept secret — clinical psychology is not remotely evidence-based, relying instead on anecdotes, dubious extrapolations from animal research, poor-quality retrospective studies and simple belief. To publicly air these facts would trigger a number of legal and practical consequences that psychologists would be wise to avoid. And so far, they have — after a brief uproar in 2005, the APA proposal has been shelved.



    In his most revealing sentence, Dr. Levant says, "... psychology needs to define EBP in psychology or it will be defined for us." This acknowledges something that Levant emphasizes in his article — EBP is a proposal, a wish, not a reality. Scientific psychology lies in the future — at present, we only have the acronym.





  • During the 2006 meeting of the American Psychological Association, psychiatrists admitted they have no scientific tests to prove mental illness and have no cures for these unproven mental illnesses (more here). I've always thought the first step to learning something new is to acknowledge one's own ignorance. It seems the professionals are willing to take this first step.







Conclusion



At this point it must be clear to the intelligent reader that clinical psychology can make virtually any claim and offer any kind of therapy, because there is no practical likelihood of refutation – no clear criteria to invalidate a claim. This, in turn, is because human psychology is not a science, it is very largely a belief system similar to religion.



Like religion, human psychology has a dark secret at its core – it contains within it a model for correct behavior, although that model is never directly acknowledged. Buried within psychology is a nebulous concept that, if it were to be addressed at all, would be called “normal behavior.” But do try to avoid inquiring directly into this normal behavior among psychologists – nothing is so certain to get you diagnosed as having an obsessive disorder.



In the same way that everyone is a sinner in religion's metaphysical playground, everyone is mentally ill in psychology's long, dark hallway – no one is truly “normal.” This means everyone needs psychological treatment. This means psychologists and psychiatrists are guaranteed lifetime employment, although that must surely be a coincidence rather than a dark motive.



But this avoids a more basic problem with the concept of “normal behavior.” The problem with establishing such a standard, whether one does this directly as religion does, or indirectly as psychology does, is that the activity confronts, and attempts to contradict, something that really is a scientific theory – evolution. In evolution, through the mechanism of natural selection, organisms adapt to the conditions of their environment, and, because the environment keeps changing, there is no particular genotype that can remain viable in the long term.



The scientific evidence for evolution is very strong, and evolution's message is that only flexible and adaptable organisms survive in a world of constant change. Reduced to everyday, individual terms, it means no single behavioral pattern can for all time be branded “correct” or “normal.” This is the core reason religion fails to provide for real human needs (which wasn't its original purpose anyway), and this failing is shared by psychology – they both put forth a fixed behavioral model in a constantly changing world.



The present atmosphere among many psychologists and psychiatrists can only be described as panic. This panic is clearly shown in the rapid, seemingly purposeful destruction of the DSM, the field's “bible,” as a legitimate diagnostic tool (because if everything is a mental illness, then nothing is). This panic arises in part from a slow realization that many conditions formerly thought to be mental conditions amenable to psychological treatment, turn out to be organic conditions treatable with drugs (or, like homosexuality, turn out to be conditions not appropriate to any kind of treatment). Further, many traditional clinical practices have been shown to be ineffectual and/or indistinguishable from ordinary experience or nothing at all.



In the final analysis, the present state of psychology is the best answer to the original inquiry about whether it is scientific, because if human psychology were as grounded in science as many people believe, many of its historical and contemporary assertions would have been falsified by its own theoretical and clinical failures, and it would be either replaced by something more scientifically rigorous, or simply cast aside for now.



But this is all hypothetical, because psychology and psychiatry have never been based in science, and therefore are free of the constraints placed on scientific theories. This means these fields will prevail far beyond their last shred of credibility, just as religions do, and they will be propelled by the same energy source — belief. That pure, old-fashioned fervent variety of belief, unsullied by reason or evidence.





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Note: Cross posted from [wp angelfury] Battered Mothers Rights - A Human Rights Issue.

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