Science, What Science?

What is Science?

The American Psychiatric Association claims that “Rigorous, published, peer-reviewed research clearly demonstrates that treatment works.” Note that it doesn’t mention the word “scientific.” This is because psychiatric studies are based on opinion, subjective tests and wishful thinking.

Science is the systematically arranged knowledge of the material world that has been gathered in a four-step process: 1) observation of phenomena; 2) collection of data; 3) creation of a hypothesis or theory by inductive reasoning, and 4) testing of the hypothesis by repeated observation and controlled experiments. And it should be workable and invariably right for the body of knowledge in which it lies.

According to Margaret Hagen, Ph.D., psychologist and lecturer at Boston University, these are some of the key criteria for a science: “The findings discovered through observation in one laboratory must be replicable in another laboratory. Data measured and gathered by one instrument must be the same as data gathered by another similar instrument. And thus the objectivity comes not from an individual practitioner but from a system that demands consistent and repeatable results.”

Psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey bluntly states: “The techniques used by Western psychiatrists are, with few exceptions, on exactly the same scientific plane as the techniques used by witch doctors.”

Eighty scholars who assessed facts, theories and methods of psychology in a 1963 study called “Psychology: A Study of Science,” concluded that it was delusional to think of psychology as a science: “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.” Coordinator of the study, Sigmund Koch, stated: “Throughout psychology’s history as ‘science,’ the hard knowledge it has deposited has been uniformly negative.”

Further, psychologist Roger Mills, in his article “Psychology Goes Insane, Botches Role as Science,” says: “The field of psychology today is literally a mess. There are as many techniques, methods and theories around as there are researchers and therapists....With over 250 separate systems of psychotherapy, each claiming superiority over the rest, it is hard to view such diverse opinions as scientific or even factual.”

According to Peter Huber, author of Galileo’s Revenge: Junk Science in the Courtroom, “Junk science is the mirror image of real science, with much of the same form but none of the same substance...it is a hodgepodge of biased data, spurious inference, and logical legerdemain [trickery], patched together by researchers whose enthusiasm for discovery and diagnosis far outstrips their skill” and, now and again, is “outright fraud.”

In 1995, Dr. Rex Cowdry, psychiatric head of the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, told Congress, “We do not know the causes [of any mental disorder]. We don’t have the methods of ‘curing’ these illnesses yet.” Further, “the ultimate goal” of “preventing [schizophrenia] has largely eluded scientists.” In the same breath, he asked the government to hand over more than $558 million in annual research funds—which today, has now escalated to over $1 billion a year.

No brain scan, blood or other physical test has advanced the “science” of psychiatry since then. Today, psychiatry and psychology’s claims are classic junk science.

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© 2006. Citizens Commission on Human Rights South Africa. All rights reserved