Why I’m Studying Psychology

I just read an article published in USA Today that clearly expresses why I’m studying psychology. The link is here.

Simply put: I’m studying psychology because psychologists are getting it wrong. They’re getting it wrong because (1) they are asking the wrong questions, (2) they are starting from the wrong premises and assumptions, (3) they are using the wrong methods to find the answers, and (4) they are using the methods they do use poorly.

I know it’s presumptuous to think that somehow I know better than the rest of the academic world about psychology. I don’t. But I know falsehoods when I see them. As Ezra Taft Benson said, “The precepts of man have gone so far in subverting our educational system that in many cases a higher degree today, in the so-called social sciences, can be tantamount to a major investment in error.” Make no mistake folks. The psychologists you trust to tell you about human nature are getting it wrong, often in very drastic, and often in very subtle ways.

10 thoughts on “Why I’m Studying Psychology

  1. This is an interesting subject LDSP, and one I hope you will address in more detail. What are the questions, premises, assumptions and methods that psychologists are getting wrong? Like you, I ultimately believe in free will. But free will is only one small part of my identity, and perhaps not even the most dominant part.

    The problem as I see it, is that both sides gravitate to extremes. Those who believe in free will often refuse to acknowledge influences that sometimes completely dwarf free will. And scientists who deny the existence of free will shallowly dismiss self-evident moral and spiritual realities.

    And even more fascinating is the doctrine of predestination, and the spiritual determinism in the Bible: “I will close their ears and shut their eyes, that they see and hear not, and be not converted that I heal them not.” Predestination is the ultimate demonstration of grace, completely separate from works. In it’s most extreme form, it seems to me Evangelical Christianity and objective determinism have a lot in common.

  2. I’m sure if you can develop experiments that demonstrate your perspective clearly, you’ll make quite a mark in the field. Do you know of anyone else working towards the same goal?

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  4. So you are saying you are studying psychology because you have no free will?

    That article’s primary premise is silly. It is debilitating to think of free will merely as randomness.

  5. Matt, my guess is he’s studying it because articles like that demonstrate to him the wrongness of various starting points among psychologists.

  6. Then you are not studying it for same reason as most, that reason being that they (or someone in their family) need a psychologist.

    So yeah, psychology divorced from life’s spiritual underpinnings is deeply flawed. But then, all sciences are flawed to some degree by nature of being human institutions.

  7. Psychology’s mistake is not divorcing itself from spiritual underpinnings, per se. It has more to do with the fact that psychology has inherited an anorexic post-Cartesian metaphysics that disallows the inherent teleology or free will in nature.

    I’m a Latter-day Saint getting an MS in experimental psychology, and I’ll let you know right now that you’re barking up the wrong tree. So was I, for a while. I was trying to find free will, spirit, intentionality, qualia, etc. in psychology and couldn’t find it. Then I realized those things are metaphysical, not psychological, and psychology has just simply inherited the wrong metaphysics. I wrote about it (with nauseating depth, I’m sure) on my blog here, as I review a book about Thomas Aquinas: http://valueofsaintliness.wordpress.com/2011/12/14/book-review-aquinas-a-beginners-guide-by-edward-feser/

    Personally, I think a shift back to Aristotelian metaphysics would solve the issues you’re seeing.

  8. A more useful basis for psychology would acknowledge what I call the “separation illusion” and take a more metaphysical angle. The LSD and MDMA experiments of the 70s and 80s indicate that some psychologists were attempting this. But I don’t think mind altering drugs are the only useful tool.

    The knowledge base of Near Death Experiences is large enough to be mined, since modern medical technology has made them commonplace. What’s the common message? OTOH, there is a strong secular humanist grip on the field that would have to be overcome. There is also the medical cartel, whose control over 1/6th of the GDP the Mafia could have only dreamed about.

    So you’re getting a good foundation in the basics, and you need to study for that, but you can keep the gold nuggets and discard certain other kinds of nuggets. Under a more correct psychology, the following Pink Floyd (Echoes) lyrics would make perfect sense:

    Strangers passing in the street
    By chance two separate glances meet
    And I am you and what I see is me
    And do I take you by the hand
    And lead you through the land
    And help me understand the best I can

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