MM on ME


25 jan 2010




Is Psychology a science?

Hello Tom,

Thanks very much for this reference:


Quote Originally Posted by tomk View Post
You and/or others might be interested in:
"Is Psychology a Science?" - it includes psychiatry/psychological medicine to some extent in what it covers.

Being a psychologist myself I strongly recommend this, and can add that the Conclusion of thuis article that I now quote in part, is the conclusion I reached myself in 1980




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.


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.

After editing this: The part after "(..)" and the text I wrote below it went to bitheaven, without leaving a trace.

Anyway: This is a fine article, that I strongly recommend. (There is some real science done in psychology, though, and even in psychiatry, but it is minority stuff, often also by people with some better education than psychologists get.)

Also, I am quite certain that Wessely, Sharpe and White KNOW this stuff, and indeed trade on it: Few psychologists and few medical doctors have a good understanding of statistics, and what they know of methodology or philosophy of science is usually fit for incantantions only.

This is also why so called "Evidence Based Science" is more an icon or a mockery than real science, in psychology, psychiatry, and also in a considerable amount of "evidence based medical science", it would seem, and especially so in the hands of the Bleijenbergs, for the pseudo-scientists in psychology and psychiatry have learned how to dress up a text AS IF it is based on solid methodology and statistics, although they rarely really understand it, and they also have learned - Wessely has, for certain - how to use the doubletalk and trickery that is part and parcel of "hermeneutics", "postmodernism", "interpretation" etc. in phoney modern philosophy.

Ah well! Thanks very much for finding this excellent article. I strongly recommend it to anyone who believes psychologists or psychiatrists "must be" or indeed "know" *real* science: Most of those I know or read in these so-called sciences don't, and that is a REAL problem, since pseudo-science only helps pseudo-scientists, and no one else.


Maarten Maartensz

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