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  Topic: Emergence of beliefs re origins of species, in school-age children (article)< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
Kristine



Posts: 3061
Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 03 2008,12:42   

I found this via my school login, but there's a public link to the full article here.

Quote
Although Piaget did not explicitly address children's understanding of biological origins, he did theorize that there would be predictable developmental changes in children's beliefs about origins and that they would be found across domains. Specifically, Piaget (1929) proposed that preschoolers first believe that natural objects--animate and inanimate--were, like artifacts, made "for man" to satisfy his wants or needs, and then later "by man, or god," where god is simply regarded as an extension of "man" (pp. 352-356). Around the sixth year, the limits of human capacities become evident to the child, and a theological God is invoked as the creator. Only in the later elementary-school years after children are exposed to the relevant scientific knowledge would children appeal to natural rather than artificialist causes.

Piaget's position was challenged on the grounds that preschoolers do appear to understand that the human capacity to create objects is limited mostly to artifacts (Gelman & Kremer, 1991 ). Moreover, Carey (1985) found that young children do not conflate animacy and inanimacy, in that they reserve intentional or psychological explanations for animate rather than inanimate phenomena. Carey's (1985) findings also indicated that a distinct biological explanatory structure emerges from a naive intentional psychology around the late elementary-school years, and it is only at that point that children's biology is comparable to an adult biology. Thus, from either Piaget's (1929) or Carey's (1985) perspective, a predicted developmental sequence for children's understanding of species origins might include an age-related shift from an initial artificialism or creationism (species created as the outcome of the intentional actions or desires of "psychological" beings such as humans or God) to evolutionism. This shift would be likely to occur around 10 to 12 years of age, when, according to Carey, children begin to group humans and animals together as biological entities-animals-and when, according to Piaget, there occurs a notable decrease in artificialist reasoning. This shift should be evident to the extent that children have appropriated the relevant knowledge base.


Quote
Preadolescents who knew the most about fossils and who had evolutionist parents were more likely to be strongly evolutionist themselves. Conversely, preadolescents who knew the least about fossils and whose parents were creationist were more likely to be strongly creationist. Moreover, preadolescents' fossil knowledge appeared to block the overwhelming effect of parents' creationist beliefs on preadolescents' expression of creationism. These findings indicate that the effect of cultural beliefs should play a role in any discussion of children's naive biology (see Hatano & Inagaki, 1996), and that religious beliefs might be an important and underresearched factor in the expression of a folk biology among U.S. populations (see Evans, 1999, 2000; Jackson, Doster, Meadows, & Wood, 1995).
[emphasis mine]

--------------
Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

AtBC Poet Laureate

"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

  
J-Dog



Posts: 4402
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 03 2008,14:58   

I think the Creo's know this, and do their utmost to bend the minds of their kids when they are as young as possible.   Fortunately, some of us are able to break thorugh the initial programming and get to the other side.

I think it would be an interesting study, Research Lady, to see what studies are available that research the how and why of it.  Why are you and me and most of the other posters here not caught up in religious leanings and "mysteries", and Wes and FTK still are?  (Sorry Wes, I am not in any other way, shape or form, linking you to FTK and how her mind works - or doesn't work!)

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Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
Kristine



Posts: 3061
Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 03 2008,15:45   

Quote (J-Dog @ Jan. 03 2008,13:58)
I think the Creo's know this, and do their utmost to bend the minds of their kids when they are as young as possible.   Fortunately, some of us are able to break thorugh the initial programming and get to the other side.

I think it would be an interesting study, Research Lady, to see what studies are available that research the how and why of it.  Why are you and me and most of the other posters here not caught up in religious leanings and "mysteries", and Wes and FTK still are?  (Sorry Wes, I am not in any other way, shape or form, linking you to FTK and how her mind works - or doesn't work!;)

It seems that the relevant studies on the connections between religiosity and personality styles/coping mechanisms are being done in Europe, on European subjects. In addition, there seems to have been a decline of such studies since the 1970s.

Religiosity, Moral Attitudes and Moral Competence (abstract)

Personality, Identity Styles, and Religiosity (abstract)

I'll try to find full text.

--------------
Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

AtBC Poet Laureate

"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

  
J-Dog



Posts: 4402
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 03 2008,15:48   

Quote (Kristine @ Jan. 03 2008,15:45)
I'll try to find full text.


Only if you are done with your homework first young lady!

re:  Decline in the '70's... Would that be because those Evil Social Scientists know they are doing Satan's Work, hmmmm?



--------------
Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
Kristine



Posts: 3061
Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 03 2008,16:09   

Quote (J-Dog @ Jan. 03 2008,14:48)
 
Quote (Kristine @ Jan. 03 2008,15:45)
I'll try to find full text.


Only if you are done with your homework first young lady!

re:  Decline in the '70's... Would that be because those Evil Social Scientists know they are doing Satan's Work, hmmmm?


Homework smomework. Semester got out weeks ago and grades were posted today - two As if you please!

What happened in teh 70s? Disco died, did it not? :)

--------------
Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

AtBC Poet Laureate

"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

  
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 03 2008,16:14   

Quote (J-Dog @ Jan. 03 2008,14:58)
I think the Creo's know this, and do their utmost to bend the minds of their kids when they are as young as possible.   Fortunately, some of us are able to break thorugh the initial programming and get to the other side.

I think it would be an interesting study, Research Lady, to see what studies are available that research the how and why of it.  Why are you and me and most of the other posters here not caught up in religious leanings and "mysteries", and Wes and FTK still are?  (Sorry Wes, I am not in any other way, shape or form, linking you to FTK and how her mind works - or doesn't work!)

Yes you are you just don't have the guts to own up to it.  

(Sorry, feeling a little nasty today, please disregard as it will soon pass.)

  
Kristine



Posts: 3061
Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 03 2008,16:33   

Good, I'll just ignore you then.

From "Personality, Identity Styles, and Religiosity":
Quote
Personality and religiosity
Early research into this relation using Eysenck’s model of personality (Psychoticism, Extraversion and Neuroticism; Eysenck & Eysenck, 1968) confirmed the hypothesis that religiosity corresponds, at least to some extent, to individual differences in personality traits. Although some authors failed to find a link between religiosity and personality, a series of studies in a variety of denominations and cultures converged on the conclusion that religious people tend to be lower in Psychoticism (Francis, 1992, 1993; Francis & Katz, 1992; Lewis & Joseph, 1994; Lewis & Maltby, 1995; Maltby, 1999). Regarding the other dimensions (Extraversion and Neuroticism), no such convergence was reached.

More recently, Costa and McCrae (1978, 1992) presented the Five Factor Model of personality (FFM; Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism, Openness to Experience), which can be regarded as an extension of Eysenck’s model, with Agreeableness and Conscientiousness providing a two-dimensional view of low Psychoticism (McCrae, 1996a; Digman, 1997) and Openness to Experience constituting a new element (Costa & McCrae, 1995). Although some studies resulted in positive relations between religiosity and both Agreeableness and Conscientiousness (Kosek, 1999, 2000; Taylor & McDonald, 1999), these relations are typically low (Saroglou, 2002b), and sometimes even absent (Saucier & Goldberg, 1998; Streyffeller & McNally, 1998; Saucier, 2000). Regarding the other factors, no clear relation with religiosity emerged (Saroglou, 2002b). Nevertheless, McCrae (1999) has urged attention to Openness to Experience in order to understand religiosity. Individuals high in Openness to Experience can be characterized by an active motivation to seek out the unfamiliar, which goes hand in hand with tolerance of ambiguity and open-mindedness, and which leads those high in Openness to Experience to endorse liberal socio-political values (McCrae, 1996b). Hence, Openness to Experience is considered highly relevant towards social attitudes and ideologies (Riemann, Grubich, Hempel, Mergl, & Richter, 1993; McCrae, 1994, 1996b; Trapnell, 1994; McCrae & Costa, 1997; Van Hiel, Kossowska, & Mervielde, 2000). The importance of Openness to Experience towards religiosity was supported by Streyffeler and McNally (1998), who found liberal and fundamentalist Protestants to differ with respect to this factor only, and by Saucier (2000), who found Openness to Experience to negatively relate to alphaism (a social attitude dimension comprised of, among other things, conventional religion).


Quote
The importance of identity styles
In order to gain insight in the nature of the relation between Openness to Experience and the religiosity dimensions, Duriez et al. (2004) examined whether this relation can be explained by the way late adolescents process identity-relevant information. In this respect, Berzonsky proposed three different identity styles: The informational, the normative, and the diffuse/avoidant identity style. Information-oriented individuals deal with identity issues by actively seeking out, processing and utilizing identity-relevant information. In other words, information oriented individuals will try to inform themselves about the consequences of their own choices and actions prior to making autonomous decisions. When confronted with information that is dissonant with their self-conceptions, they will attempt to revise and accommodate their selfperceptions.

Instead of making autonomous decisions, normative oriented individuals focus on the normative expectations and prescriptions held up by significant others (e.g., parents or authority figures) and reference groups (e.g., a certain religious tradition). Normative oriented individuals adhere rigidly to their identity structures, into which they assimilate all identity relevant information. Finally, diffuse/avoidant oriented individuals procrastinate decisions about personal problems and one’s identity. According to Berzonsky (1990), this identity style results in a fragmented and loosely integrated identity structure.

I can't find a link to full text that I can share; I can only get this through my student login. I don't know much about psychology.

--------------
Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

AtBC Poet Laureate

"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

  
Mr_Christopher



Posts: 1238
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 03 2008,17:50   

I have always found the training deity known as Santa Claus to be an interesting subject.

Even before they can talk children are lead to believe in an all knowing, wish granting all powerful entity who keeps a 24/7 surveillance over them and also keeps a score of their misdeeds and good deeds.  Of course good children are rewarded and nasty kids get the coal.

The bait and switch happens as soon as they see through the santa charade where they are weened from santa to god/jesus.  Just like Santa, god/jesus is all powerful, keeps score, grants wishes, keeps them under constant surveillance and punishes the bad people while rewarding the good ones.  Instead of coal, of course, god/jesus sentences you to enternal suffering and torture (god/jeebus is not quite as jolly as old saint nick, in fact he's an irritable bastard by comparison).  Eternal water boardng is just fine in the christian scheme, no wonder that dick cheney calls christianity home.

Anyhow, grown ups feed some really nasty, sick ideas to innocent children and we wonder why there are so many idiots of sickos in this world.

I have two children and we play the santa game at my house but they have been told santa is make believe from day one.  my daughter asked me the other day if jesus is make believe too.  cracked me up!

Edit - coz I can

Quote
Preadolescents who knew the most about fossils and who had evolutionist parents were more likely to be strongly evolutionist themselves.


This is interesting personally. Much of Texas was a shallow ocean not too long ago so we're rich in fossils.   My daughter is 4 and my parents live on 5 acres of limestone.  When she's staying with them she is always out and about looking for (and often finding) fossils.  She also finds intersting shaped rocks and calls them "dinosaur bones".  But anyhow, it's amazing to see a child that young have a curiosity and appreciation for fossils.

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Uncommon Descent is a moral cesspool, a festering intellectual ghetto that intoxicates and degrades its inhabitants - Stephen Matheson

  
Assassinator



Posts: 479
Joined: Nov. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 03 2008,18:03   

Don't forget it's not only with christianity, it's the same with loads of things. It seems that, explained simplified, parents think that if they are christian/jewish/islamic/hippy/capitalist/communist/whatever there childeren are that too by default. How wrong can they be? I'm so glad I really have nó idea what my parents beleive or think. I really have no idea what they hold imporant, what morality they live by etc etc. Just totally nothing. Yes it may sound distant, or cold, but at least I have the space to think about stuff without having they're thoughts in the back of my head. I'm starting to find out now however, but I'm 17 now so I don't copycat them in that way anymore ;)

Edit, because Christopher did:
Reminds me when I was that age :D (e.a 10 years ago, not that long now I think of it) Ever since one of my relatives showed me a little fossil of something, just a shell or something, I kept looking and looking when we visited rocky places or beaches. I never really found anything though, I'm jealous at your daughter. I even caught myself last year when we visited Italy when we went up a ski-slope in the summer. Even then I was looking at the ground, scanning the rocky path and picking up odd looking rocks. Self-reflecting, it's funny :p

  
Lou FCD



Posts: 5402
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 03 2008,18:19   

Here on the SE NC beach, we are always picking up little sharks' teeth.  Gajillions of them.

I had friends in from Philly over the holiday, and we (of course) went to the beach.  I started showing them what to look for and they were very enthralled with picking them up.

One of them suddenly asked me, "Why are they black?  I thought sharks had white teeth."

"I dunno.  Maybe some sharks have black teeth?  The lady at the Maritime Museum had shown some to us a few years ago, and we just started picking them up when we went to the beach."

Next day we went to the newly remodeled North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores.  Whilst there, we asked.

Turns out all those teeth are fossilized teeth.  Huh.  Who knew?  I'm like the king of fossilized shark teeth finding.

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Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

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Annyday



Posts: 583
Joined: Nov. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 03 2008,18:59   

Quote (Kristine @ Jan. 03 2008,16:33)
I can't find a link to full text that I can share; I can only get this through my student login. I don't know much about psychology.

Here's a quick, cynical semi-inside look at the history of psychology for you, which might towards the end sort of begin to reflect my impressions of those papers. As a forewarning, I've got a severe American bias (some of this is only true here), and I'm a disillusioned bastard.

There was a guy named Sigmund Freud who thought our minds (and everything) were reflected in our noses and that cocaine was a miracle cure for everything, even and especially addiction. After the friend who gave him the nose idea botched a therapeutic nose surgery terribly and skipped town, Freud became disillusioned and changed the focus of his theory to the penis and - the revolutionary part- ideas about it, rather than just the organ itself. (He also repudiated cocaine after a properly controlled trial indicated it was not a miracle cure.)

Freud went on to study a number of patients, displayed extremely severe confirmation bias (and, some argue, fabricated patients entirely), threw in some observations about child development and how the mind actually seems to work, and founded the science of psychology. Almost from the start the discipline had internal problems, and within decades his former pupils were bringing up rival theories. Carl Jung argued that a mystical merging of the feminine and masculine aspects of the subconscious was at the heart of all mental phenomenon, Otto Rank argued the intense trauma and separation from the mother at birth was central, dozens of different theories about the stages of childhood development came to rival Freud's, and so on. What Freud called the "sexual hypothesis" was threatened, and then everything went to the dogs.

Pavlov's dogs, in particular. Ivan Pavlov trained dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell by causing them to associate it with food, thus demonstrating the process of conditioning. Within a few decades, psychologists got the idea that you could measure human response this way too, and thus learn all the mysteries of human nature. Forward a few decades, a bulk of psychologists realized that human response is a good deal more complex than salivation in dogs. Those psychologists interested in how the brain works begin to devise increasingly scientific experiments into specific mental faculties and traits. You can still find these intrepid cognitive psychologists today, desperately clawing their way towards being an honest-to-God hard science.

Those still interested in personality rather than brain functioning, however, began a quest for the Holy Grail of Psychology, the One True Test. Basically, these psychologists seem convinced that if they could just come up with a personality test that measures the real fundamental traits of human personality, they could finally begin to crack the code and figure out how we work. Since Freud, Jung, Rank, Adler, and everyone else hadn't figured out everything yet, they were clearly just using the wrong theories and not enough tests. The data this kind of test generates can be interesting, but you have to sift through the jargon, poor interpretation and outright speculation their presentation is laced with to actually learn anything, which is annoying as hell.

... the latter two links certainly fall into that category, IMO, and I don't want to try to translate them from personality test jargon into useful concepts even for my own benefit. It's too painful and it's probably not worth it, since the "dimensions" they're trying to study the "relations" of are usually trendy semi-ephemeral constructs of the tests used to measure them.

The way I hate on personality tests, you'd think I'd been orphaned by one or something. Regardless, the first link seems to have a sane methodology attached to it, so I'm gonna finish reading that, wait for the cynicism to wear off, and maybe make a constructive contribution.

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"ALL eight of the "nature" miracles of Jesus could have been accomplished via the electroweak quantum tunneling mechanism. For example, walking on water could be accomplished by directing a neutrino beam created just below Jesus' feet downward." - Frank Tipler, ISCID fellow

  
The Wayward Hammer



Posts: 64
Joined: April 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 03 2008,19:13   

Oh, Annyday you should keep that anger.  I went to a company "charm school" (actually several times - something didn't stick) and we took those crappy personality tests with four letters.  Kiersey - Bates, I think.

Because, you know, there are only 16 personality types in the whole world.  

Makes horoscopes look scientific.

  
Annyday



Posts: 583
Joined: Nov. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 03 2008,19:54   

Heheh. I did a check. Keirsey-Bates is a variant on the Myers-Briggs test, which was developed in the forties based upon ideas from the twenties and hasn't really changed since except for some cosmetic changes and marketing.

Thing is, even among personality tests that's not really a fair target. Myers-Briggs variants for businesses are to personality tests what homeopathy is to pharmacology. Whatever errors the academics who do personality tests at large might be guilty of, comparing them to the guys who peddle them to businesses is just mean.

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"ALL eight of the "nature" miracles of Jesus could have been accomplished via the electroweak quantum tunneling mechanism. For example, walking on water could be accomplished by directing a neutrino beam created just below Jesus' feet downward." - Frank Tipler, ISCID fellow

  
Kristine



Posts: 3061
Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 03 2008,23:03   

Quote (Annyday @ Jan. 03 2008,17:59)
 
Quote (Kristine @ Jan. 03 2008,16:33)
I can't find a link to full text that I can share; I can only get this through my student login. I don't know much about psychology.

Here's a quick, cynical semi-inside look at the history of psychology for you, which might towards the end sort of begin to reflect my impressions of those papers. As a forewarning, I've got a severe American bias (some of this is only true here), and I'm a disillusioned bastard.

There was a guy named Sigmund Freud who thought our minds (and everything) were reflected in our noses and that cocaine was a miracle cure for everything, even and especially addiction. After the friend who gave him the nose idea botched a therapeutic nose surgery terribly and skipped town, Freud became disillusioned and changed the focus of his theory to the penis and - the revolutionary part- ideas about it, rather than just the organ itself. (He also repudiated cocaine after a properly controlled trial indicated it was not a miracle cure.)

Freud went on to study a number of patients, displayed extremely severe confirmation bias (and, some argue, fabricated patients entirely), threw in some observations about child development and how the mind actually seems to work, and founded the science of psychology. Almost from the start the discipline had internal problems, and within decades his former pupils were bringing up rival theories. Carl Jung argued that a mystical merging of the feminine and masculine aspects of the subconscious was at the heart of all mental phenomenon, Otto Rank argued the intense trauma and separation from the mother at birth was central, dozens of different theories about the stages of childhood development came to rival Freud's, and so on. What Freud called the "sexual hypothesis" was threatened, and then everything went to the dogs.

Pavlov's dogs, in particular. Ivan Pavlov trained dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell by causing them to associate it with food, thus demonstrating the process of conditioning. Within a few decades, psychologists got the idea that you could measure human response this way too, and thus learn all the mysteries of human nature. Forward a few decades, a bulk of psychologists realized that human response is a good deal more complex than salivation in dogs. Those psychologists interested in how the brain works begin to devise increasingly scientific experiments into specific mental faculties and traits. You can still find these intrepid cognitive psychologists today, desperately clawing their way towards being an honest-to-God hard science.

Those still interested in personality rather than brain functioning, however, began a quest for the Holy Grail of Psychology, the One True Test. Basically, these psychologists seem convinced that if they could just come up with a personality test that measures the real fundamental traits of human personality, they could finally begin to crack the code and figure out how we work. Since Freud, Jung, Rank, Adler, and everyone else hadn't figured out everything yet, they were clearly just using the wrong theories and not enough tests. The data this kind of test generates can be interesting, but you have to sift through the jargon, poor interpretation and outright speculation their presentation is laced with to actually learn anything, which is annoying as hell.

... the latter two links certainly fall into that category, IMO, and I don't want to try to translate them from personality test jargon into useful concepts even for my own benefit. It's too painful and it's probably not worth it, since the "dimensions" they're trying to study the "relations" of are usually trendy semi-ephemeral constructs of the tests used to measure them.

The way I hate on personality tests, you'd think I'd been orphaned by one or something. Regardless, the first link seems to have a sane methodology attached to it, so I'm gonna finish reading that, wait for the cynicism to wear off, and maybe make a constructive contribution.

I'm in total agreement about Freud. (He thought coke was the real thing because he wanted to get rich.) Thing is, we had to take that Meyers-Briggs thingie (again) for my management class this past semester. Yes, hello, the proper answers are situational. Am I an introvert? Mostly, but I belly dance - am I an extrovert, then? I must be either-or! Right? :)

Ugh. But I found the three personality styles (informative, normative, and diffuse/avoidant) to make intuitive sense. Really though, I haven't studied psychology since my freshman year of college a million years ago.

I find education theory and child development interesting, particularly Piaget and Vigotsky, but really, I'm out of my league here. Skinner was torture to read, too, but I must say, behaviorist methods help if you have OCD (as I do).

I think psychology without biology is a bunch of thrown darts at a target.

--------------
Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

AtBC Poet Laureate

"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

  
Ftk



Posts: 2239
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 03 2008,23:14   

Quote
I think psychology without biology is a bunch of thrown darts at a target.


LOL...

Sorry, just found that kinda funny.  Forget it.

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"Evolution is a creationism and just as illogical [as] the other pantheistic creation myths"  -forastero

  
IanBrown_101



Posts: 927
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 04 2008,05:31   

Quote (Ftk @ Jan. 04 2008,05:14)
Quote
I think psychology without biology is a bunch of thrown darts at a target.


LOL...

Sorry, just found that kinda funny.  Forget it.

Why? It's pretty accurate.

Biochemical and neurological functions are quite high on the list of probable causes for many things, although (and I don't think Kristine was saying this) they aren't the whole deal.

[EDIT] Incidentally, does this mean we're going to get FtK's Psychology 101 class?

I hope it's as good as your Philosophy 101. That was...interesting.

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I'm not the fastest or the baddest or the fatest.

You NEVER seem to address the fact that the grand majority of people supporting Darwinism in these on line forums and blogs are atheists. That doesn't seem to bother you guys in the least. - FtK

Roddenberry is my God.

   
Ftk



Posts: 2239
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 04 2008,07:21   

Quote (IanBrown_101 @ Jan. 04 2008,05:31)
Quote (Ftk @ Jan. 04 2008,05:14)
 
Quote
I think psychology without biology is a bunch of thrown darts at a target.


LOL...

Sorry, just found that kinda funny.  Forget it.

Why? It's pretty accurate.

Biochemical and neurological functions are quite high on the list of probable causes for many things, although (and I don't think Kristine was saying this) they aren't the whole deal.

[EDIT] Incidentally, does this mean we're going to get FtK's Psychology 101 class?

I hope it's as good as your Philosophy 101. That was...interesting.

Oh, no, I agree with the both of you.  :)

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"Evolution is a creationism and just as illogical [as] the other pantheistic creation myths"  -forastero

  
csadams



Posts: 124
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 04 2008,07:51   

Childhood Origins of Adult Resistance to Science
Science 18 May 2007: Vol. 316. no. 5827, pp. 996 - 997
(article posted here)

 
Quote
Resistance to certain scientific ideas derives in large part from assumptions and biases that can be demonstrated experimentally in young children and that may persist into adulthood. In particular, both adults and children resist acquiring scientific information that clashes with common-sense intuitions about the physical and psychological domains. Additionally, when learning information from other people, both adults and children are sensitive to the trustworthiness of the source of that information. Resistance to science, then, is particularly exaggerated in societies where nonscientific ideologies have the advantages of being both grounded in common sense and transmitted by trustworthy sources.


 
Quote
The main source of resistance concerns what children know before their exposure to science. Recent psychological research makes it clear that babies are not "blank slates"; even 1-year-olds possess a rich understanding of both the physical world (a "naïve physics") and the social world (a "naïve psychology") (5). Babies know that objects are solid, persist over time (even when out of sight), fall to the ground if unsupported, and do not move unless acted upon (6). They also understand that people move autonomously in response to social and physical events, act and react in accord with their goals, and respond with appropriate emotions to different situations (5, 7).

These intuitions give children a head start when it comes to understanding and learning about objects and people. However, they also sometimes clash with scientific discoveries about the nature of the world, making certain scientific facts difficult to learn. The problem with teaching science to children is thus "not what the student lacks, but what the student has, namely alternative conceptual frameworks for understanding the phenomena covered by the theories we are trying to teach" (9).

Children's belief that unsupported objects fall downward, for instance, makes it difficult for them to see the world as a sphere—if it were a sphere, the people and things on the other side should fall off. It is not until about 8 or 9 years of age that children demonstrate a coherent understanding of a spherical Earth (10), and younger children often distort the scientific understanding in systematic ways. Some deny that people can live all over Earth's surface (10), and when asked to draw Earth (11) or model it with clay (12), some children depict it as a sphere with a flattened top or as a hollow sphere that people live inside.


Perhaps this is the part most relevant to this topic:  
Quote

The examples so far concern people's common-sense understanding of the physical world, but their intuitive psychology also contributes to their resistance to science. One important bias is that children naturally see the world in terms of design and purpose. For instance, 4-year-olds insist that everything has a purpose, including lions ("to go in the zoo") and clouds ("for raining"), a propensity called "promiscuous teleology" (15). Additionally, when asked about the origin of animals and people, children spontaneously tend to provide and prefer creationist explanations (16). Just as children's intuitions about the physical world make it difficult for them to accept that Earth is a sphere, their psychological intuitions about agency and design make it difficult for them to accept the processes of evolution.


(edited: formatting)

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Ftk



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 04 2008,07:55   

Well, csadams, we'll have to change that!!!  Can't have those children looking out at their world and thinkin' "design".  God forbid!  Clearly, the world looks like a lump of chaos.

BTW, both my boys received A's in science this semester....no resistance there! :)

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"Evolution is a creationism and just as illogical [as] the other pantheistic creation myths"  -forastero

  
IanBrown_101



Posts: 927
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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 04 2008,08:04   

Quote (Ftk @ Jan. 04 2008,13:55)
Well, csadams, we'll have to change that!!!  Can't have those children looking out at their world and thinkin' "design".  God forbid!  Clearly, the world looks like a lump of chaos.

BTW, both my boys received A's in science this semester....no resistance there! :)

Yes, because the USA's level of science education is so magnificent....

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I'm not the fastest or the baddest or the fatest.

You NEVER seem to address the fact that the grand majority of people supporting Darwinism in these on line forums and blogs are atheists. That doesn't seem to bother you guys in the least. - FtK

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csadams



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 04 2008,08:15   

FtK, scientific explanations often do defy common sense.

You accept that the sun orbits the earth, right?*

Why?






From what you've observed, the sun comes up in the east every morning, traces a path across the sky, and sets on the west.  The moon follows the same path.

"Common sense" would tell you that you live in a geocentric universe.  Which is why "common sense" could be defined as "a set of pre-conceived notions which may or may not have anything to do with reality." (sorry, can't remember who said that first)

The research seems to show that before they understand the science, children make up all kinds of stories to explain why the world works the way it does.  Sometimes the trusted adults in their lives reinforce those stories.

Hopefully, other trusted adults will lead those children to the accepted scientific understandings:  that the earth does, indeed, go around the sun.





*or perhaps I'm making an assumption here . . .

(ps congrats on your sons' science grades.  I guess I'm raising slackers . . . one whose science ACT is a measly 34.)

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Stand Up For REAL Science!

  
csadams



Posts: 124
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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 04 2008,08:28   

Quote (J-Dog @ Jan. 03 2008,14:58)
I think the Creo's know this, and do their utmost to bend the minds of their kids when they are as young as possible.

Hence the Kentucky monstrosity:



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Stand Up For REAL Science!

  
Assassinator



Posts: 479
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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 04 2008,09:12   

Quote
Hopefully, other trusted adults will lead those children to the accepted scientific understandings:  that the earth does, indeed, go around the sun.

IMO, csadams, that's a bad thing too. Parents shouldn't lead there children like that, not in anything. Adults can't be trusted, they want too dearly that they're children do things the adults think are best for them.
They should let there children go free, develop logic themselfs and experience things by trial and error. Yes let them get hurt, let them break an arm or leg, let them make bad choices and mistakes because they're all learning moments.

@Ftk:
As csadams says, scientific explanations often ignore common sense. Common sense is only handy for your own mental comfort. Just think of quantum-mechanics, an electron can be on 2 places at once.

  
Kristine



Posts: 3061
Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 04 2008,09:29   

Quote (Ftk @ Jan. 04 2008,06:55)
Well, csadams, we'll have to change that!!!  Can't have those children looking out at their world and thinkin' "design".  God forbid!  Clearly, the world looks like a lump of chaos.

BTW, both my boys received A's in science this semester....no resistance there! :)

Congratulations on their terrific grades.

As I made clear in another thread (I cannot remember which one, but I went off about how irritated I was by leftist pseudoscience and Lenny backed me up), it is not enough that educated people know the "right" answers. It drives me nuts that some people “know” that the earth is round or that we evolved but can’t say why they know. The whole point is to understand why we can say something is true or false according to the evidence, and why science does not give us the kind of "absolute" truths that religion proffers.

In our VTS curriculum work at my museum, we allow what we call the naïve viewers (first- or near-first-time viewers of a work of art) to describe what they see in a painting. “What do you see in this artwork?” (Though they are mostly school-age children, naïve viewers can be of any age; the relevant factor is exposure to the work.) Sometimes a person will give an answer that seems strange, or is actually wrong according to the painting’s metadata. We don’t “correct” that person, we say, “What do you see in the painting that makes you say that?” That person then has to point to his or her evidence, if possible. By doing this, we slow the conversation down, allow participation from everyone, reserve judgement, and emphasize that right now we are focusing on observing, not on interpretation or a regurgetation of art history. In this manner, the naïve viewer develops a relationship with the artwork by a series of stages:

Stage I: using senses, memories, and personal associations to tell a story about what’s happening in the painting.
Stage II: using a developing sense of technique and aesthetic to judge a work’s craft. In this stage, modernist and surrealist works and others will appear “weird” to the viewer and may even repulse them.
Stage III: adoption of the analytical and critical stance of the art historian.
Stage IV: the viewer seeks a more personal encounter with the work and critical skills are put in the service of feelings and intuition as the viewer explores the underlying symbolism.
Stage V: the “re-creative” viewer willingly suspends disbelief before a painting that is now known intimately yet continues to reveal surprise and insight.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the educated religious believer likewise goes through these stages with regard to a “sacred” scripture or text. (These stages seem to apply to one's developing relationships with literary texts.)

Likewise, when one is standing on the earth naively looking at the sunset, it is not “wrong” to perceive that the sun seems to be orbiting the viewer or that the earth is flat. However, if one is going to expand one’s frame of reference to include views from space, then it is wrong to hold steadfast to the original view (turning it into a belief) in terms of this new reference, when a clear look will reveal a more sophisticated picture.

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Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

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"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

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Assassinator



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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 04 2008,09:45   

It's not wrong as in that it is indeed true that it looks like it does. It's not corresponding with the factual evidence though. Same with design. Yes I agree that sometimes life looks design, I won't disagree with that, but it's something interly different if it is actually designed, e.a corresponding with the facts.
I fully agree with
Quote
“What do you see in the painting that makes you say that?”

I think that question is absolutly vital when you're raising kids, since it highly promotes the children to think about there own ideas themselfs rather then being told things wich not only happens with religious parents or religious schools, but also with normal science-education. Even my own parents want to do that with me, but I'm not taking that. That may be 1 of the reasons why I'm constantly fighting with my dad.

  
Kristine



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Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 04 2008,11:18   

Quote (Assassinator @ Jan. 04 2008,08:45)
It's not wrong as in that it is indeed true that it looks like it does. It's not corresponding with the factual evidence though. Same with design. Yes I agree that sometimes life looks design, I won't disagree with that, but it's something interly different if it is actually designed, e.a corresponding with the facts.

You said that more succinctly than I did, but that is indeed what I was getting at.

 
Quote (Assassinator @ Jan. 04 2008,08:45)
I fully agree with
   
Quote
“What do you see in the painting that makes you say that?”

I think that question is absolutly vital when you're raising kids, since it highly promotes the children to think about there own ideas themselfs rather then being told things wich not only happens with religious parents or religious schools, but also with normal science-education. Even my own parents want to do that with me, but I'm not taking that. That may be 1 of the reasons why I'm constantly fighting with my dad.


The interesting thing with VTS (and I think this curriculum is briliant) is that religious artworks tend to not work well with it. For example, a teacher brought up the fact that her students said this painting


looked like "a bunch of friends at a party." The painting? Gerrit van Honthorst's Denial of St. Peter. Oops!

I suppose that, being the painting aims to depict a lie, one could explore why the artist chose to portray such a pivotal moment in this benign manner; or one could ask if the physical artwork is being limited by the fact that there is supposed to be but one interpretation; but those are subjects too complicated for first-time viewers of a painting. At any rate, VTS does not seem to be suited for religious art, or straight portraiture, etc.

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Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

AtBC Poet Laureate

"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

  
Annyday



Posts: 583
Joined: Nov. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 04 2008,14:27   

Quote (Kristine @ Jan. 03 2008,23:03)
I'm in total agreement about Freud. (He thought coke was the real thing because he wanted to get rich.) Thing is, we had to take that Meyers-Briggs thingie (again) for my management class this past semester. Yes, hello, the proper answers are situational. Am I an introvert? Mostly, but I belly dance - am I an extrovert, then? I must be either-or! Right? :)

Ugh. But I found the three personality styles (informative, normative, and diffuse/avoidant) to make intuitive sense. Really though, I haven't studied psychology since my freshman year of college a million years ago.

I find education theory and child development interesting, particularly Piaget and Vigotsky, but really, I'm out of my league here. Skinner was torture to read, too, but I must say, behaviorist methods help if you have OCD (as I do).

I think psychology without biology is a bunch of thrown darts at a target.

The interesting and intuitive parts of the Myers-Briggs test are pure Carl Jung. The problem is that it hasn't advanced scientifically since the twenties, and Jung's original writings from that time are more like literary theory (or possibly mysticism) than anything else. Since the Myers-Briggs people want to be Real Scientists, they kind of sweep Jung under the rug, even though everything they've added is nothing but baggage and salesmanship on top of Jung's initial thoughts, IMO.

Skinner and the behaviorists (that would make a great band name) advanced research methodology a lot, but a lot of what they thought more broadly about thought was painfully stupid. There's many mountains of criticism for behaviorism going back to the fifties or thereabouts. On the off chance you have the will and time to slog through it, I think this review of Skinner by Chomsky is right about where it begins. In any event, the Chomskian approach seems to have won. :p

(as a side note: HEY, FTK. THE MASSIVE BOOK REVIEW I JUST LINKED IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT WRITINGS IN THE HISTORY OF LINGUISTICS AND PSYCHOLOGY. THIS IS HOW COMPLICATED SCIENTIFIC DEBATES ARE HELD.)

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"ALL eight of the "nature" miracles of Jesus could have been accomplished via the electroweak quantum tunneling mechanism. For example, walking on water could be accomplished by directing a neutrino beam created just below Jesus' feet downward." - Frank Tipler, ISCID fellow

  
MrsPeng



Posts: 15
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 04 2008,15:38   

Quote (Annyday @ Jan. 04 2008,14:27)
Quote (Kristine @ Jan. 03 2008,23:03)
I'm in total agreement about Freud. (He thought coke was the real thing because he wanted to get rich.) Thing is, we had to take that Meyers-Briggs thingie (again) for my management class this past semester. Yes, hello, the proper answers are situational. Am I an introvert? Mostly, but I belly dance - am I an extrovert, then? I must be either-or! Right? :)

Ugh. But I found the three personality styles (informative, normative, and diffuse/avoidant) to make intuitive sense. Really though, I haven't studied psychology since my freshman year of college a million years ago.

I find education theory and child development interesting, particularly Piaget and Vigotsky, but really, I'm out of my league here. Skinner was torture to read, too, but I must say, behaviorist methods help if you have OCD (as I do).

I think psychology without biology is a bunch of thrown darts at a target.

The interesting and intuitive parts of the Myers-Briggs test are pure Carl Jung. The problem is that it hasn't advanced scientifically since the twenties, and Jung's original writings from that time are more like literary theory (or possibly mysticism) than anything else. Since the Myers-Briggs people want to be Real Scientists, they kind of sweep Jung under the rug, even though everything they've added is nothing but baggage and salesmanship on top of Jung's initial thoughts, IMO.

Skinner and the behaviorists (that would make a great band name) advanced research methodology a lot, but a lot of what they thought more broadly about thought was painfully stupid. There's many mountains of criticism for behaviorism going back to the fifties or thereabouts. On the off chance you have the will and time to slog through it, I think this review of Skinner by Chomsky is right about where it begins. In any event, the Chomskian approach seems to have won. :p

(as a side note: HEY, FTK. THE MASSIVE BOOK REVIEW I JUST LINKED IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT WRITINGS IN THE HISTORY OF LINGUISTICS AND PSYCHOLOGY. THIS IS HOW COMPLICATED SCIENTIFIC DEBATES ARE HELD.)

When I was in grad school I had to do a critique of Chomsky's critique of Skinner's Verbal Behavior. (I will have to look for it.) It may have gone unchallenged in the broader psychological community, but it is something that people studying applied and theoretical behavior analysis have to cut their teeth on.
The elegance of selection by consequences is "misunderestimated" by all sorts of psychologists. I've been out of the loop for too long to provide all the cites and links etc that I should, but that Chomsky review is like a red cape to a bull for me.
I sort of kind of think that selection by consequences is the great unifying driver of life on earth. It works at every level of life from the chemical to the social, from genes to neurons to individual behavior to cultural memes. It drives everything.
So it is a shame to me that because Skinner may have over-reached with some of his broader "painfully stupid" observations, that much of his work, and that of those who have followed, is discarded as too mechanistic. Well, Madison Avenue LOVES operant conditioning.

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"Sacred cows make the tastiest hamburgers." Abbie Hoffman

  
Kristine



Posts: 3061
Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 04 2008,16:21   

Quote (Annyday @ Jan. 04 2008,13:27)
Quote (Kristine @ Jan. 03 2008,23:03)
I'm in total agreement about Freud. (He thought coke was the real thing because he wanted to get rich.) Thing is, we had to take that Meyers-Briggs thingie (again) for my management class this past semester. Yes, hello, the proper answers are situational. Am I an introvert? Mostly, but I belly dance - am I an extrovert, then? I must be either-or! Right? :)

Ugh. But I found the three personality styles (informative, normative, and diffuse/avoidant) to make intuitive sense. Really though, I haven't studied psychology since my freshman year of college a million years ago.

I find education theory and child development interesting, particularly Piaget and Vigotsky, but really, I'm out of my league here. Skinner was torture to read, too, but I must say, behaviorist methods help if you have OCD (as I do).

I think psychology without biology is a bunch of thrown darts at a target.

The interesting and intuitive parts of the Myers-Briggs test are pure Carl Jung. The problem is that it hasn't advanced scientifically since the twenties, and Jung's original writings from that time are more like literary theory (or possibly mysticism) than anything else. Since the Myers-Briggs people want to be Real Scientists, they kind of sweep Jung under the rug, even though everything they've added is nothing but baggage and salesmanship on top of Jung's initial thoughts, IMO.

Skinner and the behaviorists (that would make a great band name) advanced research methodology a lot, but a lot of what they thought more broadly about thought was painfully stupid. There's many mountains of criticism for behaviorism going back to the fifties or thereabouts. On the off chance you have the will and time to slog through it, I think this review of Skinner by Chomsky is right about where it begins. In any event, the Chomskian approach seems to have won. :p

(as a side note: HEY, FTK. THE MASSIVE BOOK REVIEW I JUST LINKED IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT WRITINGS IN THE HISTORY OF LINGUISTICS AND PSYCHOLOGY. THIS IS HOW COMPLICATED SCIENTIFIC DEBATES ARE HELD.)

Thank you, yes, I shall slog. I think it looks like fun!

Have you read any Otto Rank? I’ve been told that I should (The Interpretation of Dreams and The Myth of the Birth of the Hero especially). These recommendations come from humanities people and I’m suspicious of this guy (and all psychoanalysts). Mostly I know about him through Anais Nin’s diaries (themselves full of misinformation).

I tried to read Jung's The Undiscovered Self. I didn't get it. I will admit to liking Bolen’s Goddesses in Everywoman more than I expected, but it’s basically a smarmy self-help book.

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Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

AtBC Poet Laureate

"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

  
Mr_Christopher



Posts: 1238
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 04 2008,17:21   

For the most part the only psychologists who make any sense come from the David Burns or Albert Ellis schools of thought.

Secular religionists like Freud, Jung, or even Skinner to a degree require way too much faith.

For the most part psychology is not that complicated but it is certainly a rich area for secular religions (and assorted nonsense) to flourish.

When these goons talk about the "unconscious" they might as well be talking about the soul.

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Annyday



Posts: 583
Joined: Nov. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 04 2008,17:29   

Quote (MrsPeng @ Jan. 04 2008,15:38)
 
Quote (Annyday @ Jan. 04 2008,14:27)
 
Quote (Kristine @ Jan. 03 2008,23:03)
I'm in total agreement about Freud. (He thought coke was the real thing because he wanted to get rich.) Thing is, we had to take that Meyers-Briggs thingie (again) for my management class this past semester. Yes, hello, the proper answers are situational. Am I an introvert? Mostly, but I belly dance - am I an extrovert, then? I must be either-or! Right? :)

Ugh. But I found the three personality styles (informative, normative, and diffuse/avoidant) to make intuitive sense. Really though, I haven't studied psychology since my freshman year of college a million years ago.

I find education theory and child development interesting, particularly Piaget and Vigotsky, but really, I'm out of my league here. Skinner was torture to read, too, but I must say, behaviorist methods help if you have OCD (as I do).

I think psychology without biology is a bunch of thrown darts at a target.

The interesting and intuitive parts of the Myers-Briggs test are pure Carl Jung. The problem is that it hasn't advanced scientifically since the twenties, and Jung's original writings from that time are more like literary theory (or possibly mysticism) than anything else. Since the Myers-Briggs people want to be Real Scientists, they kind of sweep Jung under the rug, even though everything they've added is nothing but baggage and salesmanship on top of Jung's initial thoughts, IMO.

Skinner and the behaviorists (that would make a great band name) advanced research methodology a lot, but a lot of what they thought more broadly about thought was painfully stupid. There's many mountains of criticism for behaviorism going back to the fifties or thereabouts. On the off chance you have the will and time to slog through it, I think this review of Skinner by Chomsky is right about where it begins. In any event, the Chomskian approach seems to have won. :p

(as a side note: HEY, FTK. THE MASSIVE BOOK REVIEW I JUST LINKED IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT WRITINGS IN THE HISTORY OF LINGUISTICS AND PSYCHOLOGY. THIS IS HOW COMPLICATED SCIENTIFIC DEBATES ARE HELD.)

When I was in grad school I had to do a critique of Chomsky's critique of Skinner's Verbal Behavior. (I will have to look for it.) It may have gone unchallenged in the broader psychological community, but it is something that people studying applied and theoretical behavior analysis have to cut their teeth on.
The elegance of selection by consequences is "misunderestimated" by all sorts of psychologists. I've been out of the loop for too long to provide all the cites and links etc that I should, but that Chomsky review is like a red cape to a bull for me.
I sort of kind of think that selection by consequences is the great unifying driver of life on earth. It works at every level of life from the chemical to the social, from genes to neurons to individual behavior to cultural memes. It drives everything.
So it is a shame to me that because Skinner may have over-reached with some of his broader "painfully stupid" observations, that much of his work, and that of those who have followed, is discarded as too mechanistic. Well, Madison Avenue LOVES operant conditioning.

I tend to think Chomsky's "nativist" approach to language in general and poverty of the stimulus in particular are based upon ill-supported arguments regarding the relatively unknown quantities of brain functioning and language use. That's what's always bugged me the most, and overcorrecting against behaviorism is, on reflection, kind of a part of that since extreme nativism relies upon minimizing conditional learning beyond reasonable inference. If I'm going to border on ad hominem, I suspect language and emotion in general are so often argued as being uniquely near-unapproachable precisely because linguists and psychologists love them to death. Simple and elegant mechanisms impugn the exalted brain's high dignity.

That may be the most incomprehensibly jargon-ridden paragraph I've written since spring. Regardless, I'd be interested in your critique of the critique.

Re: Rank, The Myth of the Hero was pretty good, except for Rank's heavier neo-Freudian theorizing. If you can ignore most of that, it's a fairly interesting work of comparative mythology in a vaguely structuralist vein. If you can't, I probably wouldn't bother. The Interpretation of Dreams wouldn't happen to be Freud's, would it? Rank would have had a contribution, I think. If that's the one, I found it to be hopelessly muddled when I read it, but that was some years ago. The weird thing is, much of what was "psychology" back then would be considered anthropology, comparative mythology, or lit crit nowadays. As actual scientists Rank, Freud et al haven't kept very well, but when in other capacities some of their stuff still holds up.

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"ALL eight of the "nature" miracles of Jesus could have been accomplished via the electroweak quantum tunneling mechanism. For example, walking on water could be accomplished by directing a neutrino beam created just below Jesus' feet downward." - Frank Tipler, ISCID fellow

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 04 2008,17:37   

I hate to spoil the party, but the above summaries of the history of psychology are inaccurate, ill-informed, grossly misleading, irresponsible and unbecoming of this board.

Not to put too fine a point on it, they read like Denyse O'Leary writing on evolutionary biology.

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Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
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Mr_Christopher



Posts: 1238
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 04 2008,17:40   

I have to admit when we start calling Freud (or Otto Rank) a "scientist" I squirm in my seat, and not in a good way.

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Annyday



Posts: 583
Joined: Nov. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 04 2008,18:03   

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Jan. 04 2008,17:37)
I hate to spoil the party, but the above summaries of the history of psychology are inaccurate, ill-informed, grossly misleading, irresponsible and unbecoming of this board.

Not to put too fine a point on it, they read like Denyse O'Leary writing on evolutionary biology.

If precision were a goal, I would've taken at least a hundred times longer, would've explained entire theories instead of cliff notes versions, wouldn't have hopskipped across decades, and wouldn't have had to call attention to my rather extreme bias at the start. All generalizations are misleading to some degree, but they're not useless.

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"ALL eight of the "nature" miracles of Jesus could have been accomplished via the electroweak quantum tunneling mechanism. For example, walking on water could be accomplished by directing a neutrino beam created just below Jesus' feet downward." - Frank Tipler, ISCID fellow

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 04 2008,18:51   

Annyday -

Well, I see that I've over reacted. I apologize. Or at least I notpologize: your initial (and I see somewhat tongue in cheek) summary is almost beyond retrieval, but your subsequent thoughts on Chomsky vs Skinner are interesting, as are MrsPeng's remarks in response.

In particular, Skinner's essentially selectionist model put its finger on a great deal that was true about both animal and human behavior, and the elucidation of operant learning by Skinner and subsequent behavior analysts still stands as a major empirical discovery. I agree that too much of that was discarded with the cognitive and computational revolutions of the 60's. Chomsky's 1959 review of Verbal Behavior was, of course, devastating, because Skinner's extension of operant learning did badly overreach. But cognitive science overreached as well, and very little of Chomsky's model of deep grammatical structure remains intact today either. But all these early attempts were probably necessary way stations in the development of thought in this still very young field.

What I have always found peculiar about Chomsky was the antievolutionary twist to his nativist position. Although he believed that the underlying structure of human language is innate, he did not accept that it was a product of natural selection. Here he is in Language and Mind in 1972:
         
Quote
In studying the evolution of mind, we cannot guess to what extent there are physically possible alternatives to, say, transformational generative grammar, for an organism meeting certain other physical conditions characteristic of humans. Conceivably, there are none—or very few—in which case talk about the evolution of the language capacity is beside the point.…When we study human language, we are approaching what some might call the “human essence,” the distinctive qualities of mind that are, so far as we know, unique to man and that are inseparable from any critical phase of human existence, personal or social.

Of course, the notion that a biological species can somehow embody an immutable “essence” was one of the clearest casualties of Darwinian’s insight that biological novelty and complexity emerge gradually through descent with modification. It has been left to Bickerton, Pinker, etc. to meld these views in to a coherent whole and argue that simpler innate capacities for grammar are both possible and likely.

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
Kristine



Posts: 3061
Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 04 2008,19:06   

Quote (Mr_Christopher @ Jan. 04 2008,16:40)
I have to admit when we start calling Freud (or Otto Rank) a "scientist" I squirm in my seat, and not in a good way.

For the record I don't consider them "scientists" either. I guess reading their work is more a matter of cultural literacy in my mind.

Bill, you are not spoiling the party. This is not a subject I know much about. Please go there. I'm interested. *edit: I see that you did! Good.*

I am amazed at what is out there in terms of "therapy": repressed memories, past lives, angels, having an emotional trauma because as a zygote you "got temporarily stuck in your mother's fallopian tube" (I kid you not, I heard a "therapist" assert this about her client in a PBS documentary). How does this happen? Don't therapists have to be licensed? (Obviously, they're not scientists either - shouldn't they be?)

But I'll being this thread back to the issue of the origin of creationist and/or religious beliefs with this article from the Atlantic.
Quote
In the United States some liberal scholars posit a different sort of exceptionalism, arguing that belief in the supernatural is found mostly in Christian conservatives—those infamously described by the Washington Post reporter Michael Weisskopf in 1993 as "largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command." Many people saw the 2004 presidential election as pitting Americans who are religious against those who are not.

An article by Steven Waldman in the online magazine Slate provides some perspective on the divide:

"As you may already know, one of America's two political parties is extremely religious. Sixty-one percent of this party's voters say they pray daily or more often. An astounding 92 percent of them believe in life after death. And there's a hard-core subgroup in this party of super-religious Christian zealots. Very conservative on gay marriage, half of the members of this subgroup believe Bush uses too little religious rhetoric, and 51 percent of them believe God gave Israel to the Jews and that its existence fulfills the prophecy about the second coming of Jesus."

The group that Waldman is talking about is Democrats; the hard-core subgroup is African-American Democrats.

Finally, consider scientists. They are less likely than non-scientists to be religious—but not by a huge amount. A 1996 poll asked scientists whether they believed in God, and the pollsters set the bar high—no mealy-mouthed evasions such as "I believe in the totality of all that exists" or "in what is beautiful and unknown"; rather, they insisted on a real biblical God, one believers could pray to and actually get an answer from. About 40 percent of scientists said yes to a belief in this kind of God—about the same percentage found in a similar poll in 1916. Only when we look at the most elite scientists—members of the National Academy of Sciences—do we find a strong majority of atheists and agnostics.

These facts are an embarrassment for those who see supernatural beliefs as a cultural anachronism, soon to be eroded by scientific discoveries and the spread of cosmopolitan values. They require a new theory of why we are religious—one that draws on research in evolutionary biology, cognitive neuroscience, and developmental psychology.


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Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

AtBC Poet Laureate

"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

  
Annyday



Posts: 583
Joined: Nov. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 04 2008,19:46   

Well, yes. As a serious discussion of psychology my original post is quite thin, it's more of a snide rant about the tendency that bothers me in personality tests to pretend at precision and knowledge where there isn't any. I tend to see a sort of thread going from Freud's initial confirmation bias about his cherished nasal (have to include that!) and later sexual hypotheses up to there, and in that particular story the real accomplishments of serious cognitive science are little more than a footnote. Skinner (and everyone else) overreaching himself, on the other hand, needed a mention.

Re: Chomsky, I've always found it odd that he'll assert that we don't fully understand language, but we clearly know it is of such a nature that it can't have evolved by known mechanisms from preexisting systems. He'll be extremely logically exacting elsewhere, but when it comes to asserting the ineffability of language he cheats a little. Compared with the problems in some other approaches, I think it's rather near harmless. It practically begs people to disagree with him and try to make a case for the evolution of language in more detail, which is actually a good thing.

On a semi-related note touched off by the mention of Pinker, I think evolutionary psychology suffers from a problem very similar to behaviorism in overreaching itself. There are a number of rather unparsimonious assumptions entailed in the degree/type of modularity that for instance Pinker will assert. Different types of information processing can be modular, but the products of that processing needn't represent any kind of specific adaptation. Speculating about the evolutionary specifics of why people murder their ex-lovers, for instance, seems entirely far too narrow and specific.

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"ALL eight of the "nature" miracles of Jesus could have been accomplished via the electroweak quantum tunneling mechanism. For example, walking on water could be accomplished by directing a neutrino beam created just below Jesus' feet downward." - Frank Tipler, ISCID fellow

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 04 2008,20:40   

Quote (Annyday @ Jan. 04 2008,20:46)
Well, yes. As a serious discussion of psychology my original post is quite thin, it's more of a snide rant about the tendency that bothers me in personality tests to pretend at precision and knowledge where there isn't any. I tend to see a sort of thread going from Freud's initial confirmation bias about his cherished nasal (have to include that!) and later sexual hypotheses up to there, and in that particular story the real accomplishments of serious cognitive science are little more than a footnote.

IMHO you've merged two quite separate streams within the histories of psychotherapy and psychology: what was essentially the invention of psychotherapy by Freud and others within European medicine, and the history of psychological and personality testing within academic psychology in the United States. They're often presented together in introductory courses, but as intellectual and professional movements they were completely independent. The emergence of clinical psychology following WWII drew upon all of these sources (and more), and hence they tend to run together in the popular imagination.

There is, in fact, a great deal of sound theory and research undergirding contemporary psychological testing, including personality testing. Training and licensure within psychology now insists upon a very acute awareness of the limitations upon the inferences that are justified by these techniques, although individual practitioners may ignore these limitations.  

The Myers-Briggs is NOT an exemplar of the work of academic or professional psychology. It was essentially developed by a woman sitting at her kitchen table and has virtually NO psychometric or clinical merit - although it is wildly popular within pastoral counseling, marriage counseling, and some OD settings. The five-factor model of personality, OTOH, has considerable empirical support, and the factors themselves emerge again and again through factor analysis of a variety of observations and measurements - particularly the personality dimensions of Neuroticism and Introversion/Extroversion (the latter was one of Jung's key concepts that did prove to be correct). However, it is a model of personality that remains mostly descriptive, lacking "moving parts."

I agree that evolutionary psychology has also overreached, particularly the Barkow/Cosmides/Tooby/Buss/Pinker brand of modularism. It may prove much more the case that psychology and cognitive science shed light upon human evolution rather than the reverse. That said, some of the comparative and evolutionary research melding primatology and psychology being done, for for example, at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Department of Developmental and Comparative Psychology in Germany (go here) is fascinating. Tomasello, Call, Hare, and others there have done some stunning cross-species research that sheds very interesting light upon human social-cognitive characteristics, particularly emergence of "theory of mind." (I managed to recruit Brian Hare to serve as external examiner on my dissertation committee. That and Harvey Pekar's depiction of his automobile accident with me in American Splendor (the actual comic, not the biographical movie) last decade will likely have to do as my 15 minutes of fame on this planet.)

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Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 04 2008,22:03   

Badly OT, but when you've only got 15 minutes you've got to milk it.

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Jan. 04 2008,21:40)
That and Harvey Pekar's depiction of his automobile accident with me in American Splendor (the actual comic, not the biographical movie) last decade will likely have to do as my 15 minutes of fame on this planet.



--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
Annyday



Posts: 583
Joined: Nov. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 05 2008,01:29   

I did not know that the Planck Institute had a site up.

Aaanyway, I made a notable jump between Freud and Skinner, but I think that one's warranted. If I recall it all correctly, Freud was convinced he'd discovered the fundamental mechanisms of human nature and that neurology would confirm their exact mechanisms. Basically, he wanted an elegant hypothesis he could hold as a total explanation of a human mind, it's just that it was also wrong.

Skinner's version of behaviorism couldn't be much more radically different from Freud in the content of his hypotheses, but it's got the same general flaw. He wanted, when it came to humans, to put his experience to use making an elegantly simple explanation of what it means to be human. Freud studied dreams, so naturally his perfect explanation of what it meant to be human was about dreams and dream states. Skinner studied conditioning, so he came up with a conditioning theory of human functioning. Along the same lines, Chomsky's a linguist, so when he set out to quantify the essence of humanity his formula was a grammatical structure.

Basically, they all managed to commit something of the same fallacy with different tools. They did it to some degree in the same tradition because the fallacy itself was embedded in the kind of questions and answers they were producing. Their specific theories aren't particularly continuous, but the approach and ultimate problems are.

I'm making another sort-of jump and taking a considerable bias in putting personality test work into the same continuum, but I think it fits snugly. Exempting the fact that there are fairly extensive arguments for more or fewer factors, the Big Five are basically five clumps of related words. This is an interesting oddity, and when you add in that peoples' descriptions according to them are relatively constant and indicative of their actions and lives you have the beginnings of something sort of interesting.

The thing is, when all you've got handy is statistical analysis, evidently people start thinking they've got something more fundamental. There's very little in the way of all-encompassing theories in this regard, but there's a lot of useless applications of personality testing. The papers I was being such an asshole about to start are a good example of this; rather than measuring certain descriptors, the authors seem inclined to think they're actually measuring personality directly. Instead of starting with any one of a thousand confabulating variables in correlation between a test for social descriptors and religiosity such as what a religious group's language use and prescribed behavior are like, they rush straight to highly abstract explanations about personality affinities for X, Y and Z.

Treating personality tests as if they have that kind of precision is probably never going to stop annoying me. It's reasonably common, and it's demonstrative of the same problem you find everywhere else; when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

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"ALL eight of the "nature" miracles of Jesus could have been accomplished via the electroweak quantum tunneling mechanism. For example, walking on water could be accomplished by directing a neutrino beam created just below Jesus' feet downward." - Frank Tipler, ISCID fellow

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 05 2008,08:48   

Quote (Annyday @ Jan. 05 2008,02:29)
I did not know that the Planck Institute had a site up.

Aaanyway, I made a notable jump between Freud and Skinner, but I think that one's warranted. If I recall it all correctly...[big snip]

You make good points. I also think some babies have gone out with your bath water.

Freud began his medical career as a conventional 19th century neurologist (that was his training), and his first attempt at a systematic theory of human behavior (his Project for a Scientific Psychology, which he quickly abandoned), was grounded entirely in a deterministic neurology. He only later moved on to the analysis of phenomenological data such as dreams, data that also included a large amount of "material" drawn from the free associations and symptoms of his patients. His notions were far from elegant, and not easy to simplify. Most of his absurdities were packed into his psychosexual theory of infant development (and some of his stabs at anthropology); his mostly orthogonal notions regarding the topology of the human mind (conscious/preconscious/unconscious; id/ego/superego) were more interesting and, in some respects, more nearly correct and enduring. Or at least so it has been argued; here is the very bright Drew Westen in an abstract in a relatively recent (1999) article:

   
Quote
At regular intervals for over half a century, critiques of Freud and psychoanalysis have emerged in the popular media and in intellectual circles, usually declaring that Freud has died some new and agonizing death, and that the enterprise he created should be buried along with him like the artifacts in the tomb of an Egyptian King. Although the critiques take many forms, a central claim has long been that unconscious processes, like other psychoanalytic constructs, lack any basis in scientific research. In recent years, however, a large body of experimental research has emerged in a number of independent literatures. This work documents the most fundamental tenet of psychoanalysis - that much of mental life is unconscious, including cognitive, affective, and motivational processes. This body of research suggests some important revisions in the psychoanalytic understanding of unconscious processes, but it also points to the conclusion that, based on controlled scientific investigations alone (that is, without even considering clinical data), the repeated broadside attacks on psychoanalysis are no longer tenable.

(The Scientific Status of Unconscious Processes Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 49 supplement, 1-30.)

Freud's notion that much that could be considered "mental" or "cognitive" is grounded in processes that are non-conscious is, in fact, correct - indeed, we now understand that one's field of consciousness and action is undergirded by massively complex cortical and subcortical activity of which we have no direct awareness. I think that was a stunning and radical insight on his part, made at a time when one's "self" was naively associated with a folk-psychological picture of an entirely conscious, rational agent.

Although Skinner does share the singleminded 'hammer -> nail' quality to which you refer, one needs to be careful about how one characterizes Skinner's hammer. In your first essay you moved from Pavlov to Skinner and described what Skinner was up to as the extension of conditioning to human behavior. But that is potentially misleading for two reasons. First, Pavlov documented a process (classical conditioning of physiological responses) that human beings DO display as completely as do dogs and many other organisms. Secondly, Skinner's operant conditioning is related to Pavlov's classical conditioning in name only, and refers to an entirely different process - the reinforcement of operant behavior by consequences. So Skinner wasn't really extending Pavlov.

What was exciting about both Pavlov's and Skinner's early work (the latter as documented in "The Behavior of Organisms" in 1938) was that both forms of learning were found to be rather lawful, and neither appeared to require much contribution from a conscious, rational agent. The latter is also what was was so threatening and disquieting about Skinner's model - as was the case with Freud's assertion that we are unconscious of many determinants of our behavior and experiences. And little of Skinner's model is "wrong" - most of the learning phenomena he documented are clearly in play in animal and human behavior - it simply proved that behaviorism could not be extended with any empirical grounding to more complex, representationally and linguistically grounded processes. Nevertheless, Skinner's late critiques of the problems inherent in "mentalizing" behavior are very pointed and even quite funny, and worth reading. And, while everyone breathed a sigh of relief when computational and cognitive approaches appeared to restore a sort of "computational self" to psychology, that movement never fulfilled its early promises, as cognitive pioneer Jerome Bruner laments very poignantly in his excellent little book Acts of Reason.

The Five-Factor model DID originally emerge from clumps of words. However, those five factors have been shaking out of word and data clumps ever since Thurstone first reported five factors in 1934, repeated by Allport and Odbert, Raymond Cattell, Fiske, Tupes and Christal, Lewis Goldberg, and most recently Costa and McCrae. Of course Walter Mischel put the brakes on this for a time following his devastating 1968 critique of the field, but it turns out that even Mischel changed his mind about the reality of personality traits. And, it is worth noting that the five factors and their assessment are just one approach to characterizing and evaluating personality by means of testing; there are many others with considerable empical grounding and clinical usefulness - most notably the MMPI-2, which began life with questionable empircal credentials but has since been so well-studied empirically that it has become quite valuable.

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
MrsPeng



Posts: 15
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 05 2008,16:27   

I did not locate my critique (which exists in hard copy only) of Chomsky's critique, but I did find Maccorquodale's, from which, as I haven't had an original idea in my head since I was 4 years old, I most likely cribbed any relevant objections.
I'm still reading Maccorquodale, so I haven't gotten much past his initial complaint that Chomsky was a big meanie head so no one responded, and that Chomsky was critical of someone else's science of behavior, not Skinner's. Reading the first bits of both, I can see that indeed, Chomsky does some fairly significant pooh-poohing of things as ill-defined, which are in fact rather well defined. He is not at all happy with the fact that reinforcement happens in real life, without requiring careful arrangement as it does in the lab in order to demonstrate it. Seems a bit akin to creationists complaints about evolution, actually. Not completely analogous to, but very similar to the "sure, microevolution happens, but macroevolution is impossible." In terms of "Sure, reinforcement can be shown with rats in a box bar-pressing for food, but human behavior is far too complicated for reinforcement to work."

I'm looking forward to finishing both.

If I may also make some bold, sweeping generalizations, I've always though most of psychology was full of baloney. Especially the cognitivists who create all sorts of things in our heads without any sort of way of demonstrating that they actually exist, and then going on to create all sorts of treatment paradigms based on those fictional things in our heads. But that's just my behavior analyst talking. We did not worry about the things in peoples' heads, we worried about the things in their environment, and arranged the environment to best prevent the sort of unpleasant things our clients had learned in their home environments. We had good rates of "success" too. I was often able to assist people who had violent, or other uncivilized sorts of behaviors to transition from isolated environments back into mainstream situations where they could successfully interact with the general population.

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"Sacred cows make the tastiest hamburgers." Abbie Hoffman

  
MrsPeng



Posts: 15
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 05 2008,17:27   

Mr Christopher said:

"For the most part the only psychologists who make any sense come from the David Burns or Albert Ellis schools of thought.

Secular religionists like Freud, Jung, or even Skinner to a degree require way too much faith.

For the most part psychology is not that complicated but it is certainly a rich area for secular religions (and assorted nonsense) to flourish.

When these goons talk about the "unconscious" they might as well be talking about the soul. "

It is somewhat dismaying that you lump Skinner in with Freud and Jung. How does it require faith to accept that much of what we do has been reinforced by our environments? It is demonstrably true. Every frequent flier mile one accrues is a testament to this fact.

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"Sacred cows make the tastiest hamburgers." Abbie Hoffman

  
Mr_Christopher



Posts: 1238
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 05 2008,18:08   

Quote (MrsPeng @ Jan. 05 2008,17:27)
Mr Christopher said:

"For the most part the only psychologists who make any sense come from the David Burns or Albert Ellis schools of thought.

Secular religionists like Freud, Jung, or even Skinner to a degree require way too much faith.

For the most part psychology is not that complicated but it is certainly a rich area for secular religions (and assorted nonsense) to flourish.

When these goons talk about the "unconscious" they might as well be talking about the soul. "

It is somewhat dismaying that you lump Skinner in with Freud and Jung. How does it require faith to accept that much of what we do has been reinforced by our environments? It is demonstrably true. Every frequent flier mile one accrues is a testament to this fact.

For clarity, Skinner made some meaningful yet limited contributions.  But you don't read Skinner and learn anything about how to actually understand or help someone, but you're right Skinner is not a quack like Jung or Freud.

Jung and Freud are interesting kooks, at least in the realm of psychology.  They go best with a fattie, bowl or hallucinogen.  Neither used a scientific approach and both require an enormous amount of faith or at least uncritical thinking.  Best to read them on those nights when you're having a "have you ever REALLY looked at your hand?" moments.

If you want to watch a Jungian/Freudian blow a fuse simply say "prove it" to anything they propose.   And their "unconsious" looks/acts an awful lot like satan.

Seriously.

Don't get me wrong, Freud had some good criticisms regarding religion, but why pollute those observations with a psychologhy that is/was just as irrational and idiotic?

And Jung was an entertaining mystic, let's just not confuse mysticism (transpersonal religion?) with psychology.  

Back to Skinner, the fact that we are sometimes influenced by our environement does not mean we are controlled by it or somehow powerless.

All these guys seemed to over look our frontal lobe and failed to give credit for people's conscious decision making process.  

When it comes to mental health I'll take reality and common sense over myticism, magic and assorted goofiness soaked in faith.

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Uncommon Descent is a moral cesspool, a festering intellectual ghetto that intoxicates and degrades its inhabitants - Stephen Matheson

  
Kristine



Posts: 3061
Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 05 2008,18:58   

Quote (Mr_Christopher @ Jan. 05 2008,17:08)
     
Quote (MrsPeng @ Jan. 05 2008,17:27)
Mr Christopher said:

"For the most part the only psychologists who make any sense come from the David Burns or Albert Ellis schools of thought.

Secular religionists like Freud, Jung, or even Skinner to a degree require way too much faith.

For the most part psychology is not that complicated but it is certainly a rich area for secular religions (and assorted nonsense) to flourish.

When these goons talk about the "unconscious" they might as well be talking about the soul. "

It is somewhat dismaying that you lump Skinner in with Freud and Jung. How does it require faith to accept that much of what we do has been reinforced by our environments? It is demonstrably true. Every frequent flier mile one accrues is a testament to this fact.

For clarity, Skinner made some meaningful yet limited contributions.  But you don't read Skinner and learn anything about how to actually understand or help someone, but you're right Skinner is not a quack like Jung or Freud.

Jung and Freud are interesting kooks, at least in the realm of psychology.  They go best with a fattie, bowl or hallucinogen.  Neither used a scientific approach and both require an enormous amount of faith or at least uncritical thinking.  Best to read them on those nights when you're having a "have you ever REALLY looked at your hand?" moments.

If you want to watch a Jungian/Freudian blow a fuse simply say "prove it" to anything they propose.   And their "unconsious" looks/acts an awful lot like satan.

Seriously.

Don't get me wrong, Freud had some good criticisms regarding religion, but why pollute those observations with a psychologhy that is/was just as irrational and idiotic?

And Jung was an entertaining mystic, let's just not confuse mysticism (transpersonal religion?) with psychology.  

Back to Skinner, the fact that we are sometimes influenced by our environement does not mean we are controlled by it or somehow powerless.

All these guys seemed to over look our frontal lobe and failed to give credit for people's conscious decision making process.  

When it comes to mental health I'll take reality and common sense over myticism, magic and assorted goofiness soaked in faith.

I always thought E. A. Poe was the true discoverer of the unconscious, anyway. He wasn't a scientist (and he had pretty weird mystical beliefs himself) but he was a great storyteller who understood fear and desire and how to lead his readers through their stages. At least he didn't ignore the conscious decision making process.

Freud, Jung, and Skinner were championed in my creative writing classes. Ugh. No wonder my writing professors' own fiction sucked. ;) Propaganda makes rotten art, and there is nothing more false for me than mediocrity. (But don't let me get started on Tom Kinkaid, now a writer himself!;)

I wonder if anyone has studied why some people seem more inclined toward preferring sentimentality in art, and in thought? That seems related to creationism somehow. I wonder if Sam Harris, should he continue his studies, which seem to show that the judgement of the truth or falsity of a statement is apparently governed by the same areas of the brain that judge the pleasantness or unpleasantness of taste and odor would, if he persists, yield answers about why it seems, from my purely intuitive and anecdotal standpoint, creationists like blecchy music, trite poetry, and kitch paintings.

What's going on in this painting?
What do you see that makes you say that?
Hardly VTS material! :p

--------------
Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

AtBC Poet Laureate

"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

  
Kristine



Posts: 3061
Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 05 2008,19:17   

Psychologists help man get sick benefits for heavy metal addiction. :p

And on the same page:

"Book about Jesus saves Swedish writer - twice."

--------------
Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

AtBC Poet Laureate

"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

  
MrsPeng



Posts: 15
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 05 2008,19:23   

Quote (Mr_Christopher @ Jan. 05 2008,18:08)
 
Quote (MrsPeng @ Jan. 05 2008,17:27)
Mr Christopher said:

"For the most part the only psychologists who make any sense come from the David Burns or Albert Ellis schools of thought.

Secular religionists like Freud, Jung, or even Skinner to a degree require way too much faith.

For the most part psychology is not that complicated but it is certainly a rich area for secular religions (and assorted nonsense) to flourish.

When these goons talk about the "unconscious" they might as well be talking about the soul. "

It is somewhat dismaying that you lump Skinner in with Freud and Jung. How does it require faith to accept that much of what we do has been reinforced by our environments? It is demonstrably true. Every frequent flier mile one accrues is a testament to this fact.

For clarity, Skinner made some meaningful yet limited contributions.  But you don't read Skinner and learn anything about how to actually understand or help someone, but you're right Skinner is not a quack like Jung or Freud.

Jung and Freud are interesting kooks, at least in the realm of psychology.  They go best with a fattie, bowl or hallucinogen.  Neither used a scientific approach and both require an enormous amount of faith or at least uncritical thinking.  Best to read them on those nights when you're having a "have you ever REALLY looked at your hand?" moments.

If you want to watch a Jungian/Freudian blow a fuse simply say "prove it" to anything they propose.   And their "unconsious" looks/acts an awful lot like satan.

Seriously.

Don't get me wrong, Freud had some good criticisms regarding religion, but why pollute those observations with a psychologhy that is/was just as irrational and idiotic?

And Jung was an entertaining mystic, let's just not confuse mysticism (transpersonal religion?) with psychology.  

Back to Skinner, the fact that we are sometimes influenced by our environement does not mean we are controlled by it or somehow powerless.

All these guys seemed to over look our frontal lobe and failed to give credit for people's conscious decision making process.  

When it comes to mental health I'll take reality and common sense over myticism, magic and assorted goofiness soaked in faith.

I am going agree and at the same time be picky about reading Skinner and not being able to help someone directly from his work. The entire field of Applied Behavior Analysis, which is rather fruitful, and in my experience helped many many children and adults with severe mental health and developmental issues. While I would not have been a able to apply differential reinforcement techniques based on a reading of  Beyond Freedom and Dignity, the principles I applied,  the behavioral shaping techniques I used, and the successes I had with people who, before Skinner, were warehoused in appalling conditions, makes your apparent dismissal of Skinner go up my nose.

Skinner did overlook the frontal lobe, but not because he didn't think it was important, but because at the time with the techniques available, it was close to impossible to do much of anything with it in terms of reinforcement. Again, you can't read Skinner and come away with anything useful about how your frontal lobe works but you can read
this or this and see that despite the inability in the 30s and 40s to study the effects of reinforcement on the brain, these days it is a rather fruitful avenue of study. Reinforcement occurs at biochemical levels, with contingent relationships among neuronal pathways in our frontal cortexes (cortecies? cortexae? me spelling checker likes none of them).

And I think I must disagree with your assertion that we are not controlled by our environments. There may be some semantical things going on here, but we are integral bits of our environment, inseparable from it, steeped in it, and very much "controlled" by what has happened to us in it, what is happening now, and what we "think" will happen later. Where, exactly, do our conscious decisions come from?  From the brain/environment interaction as mediated by our senses and bodybags.

But then I was steeped in all this stuff 20 years ago, and drank the Skinnerian Kool-aid. It doesn't matter so much what people think about where control for our behavior lies. We still have to behave ethically toward each other, and, one hopes, kindly as well. It is a bit much to ask for people to accept that, while we are responsible for our own behavior, our environments are actually in control. It is counter intuitive, and seems just plain wrong. How can we be both out of control and responsible for our actions? As Curly of the Three Stooges used to say "I'm a victim of circumstance!"

So, anyway, I agree that Skinner himself did not come up with much in the way of practical applications of his science of behavior, but his research opened up very fruitful and useful technologies that help millions of people in very real ways.

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"Sacred cows make the tastiest hamburgers." Abbie Hoffman

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 05 2008,23:10   

IMHO some of you are reacting to secondary and tertiary sources vis both Freud/psychoanalysis and Skinner/behaviorism that are more cartoonish than accurate. Although Skinner and Freud were far from completely successful and you may wish to reject their efforts (as well as the subsequent efforts of cognitive science), you'll be left with the very severe problem of squaring a naive and unexamined folk psychology of agency and "conscious decision making" with the closed causal picture of the world of contemporary science, which leaves precious little room for agency. As it happens, mapping those those riddles onto the frontal lobes, backal lobes, or elsewhere doesn't much help.

More generally, psychology and cognitive science have failed to resemble "the hard sciences" not because the researchers and theoreticians haven't been bright people or have been disinterested in scientific methodology; psychology fails to much resemble physics because the problems it confronts are far more complex and the phenomena it addresses vastly more interconnected, contingent and overdetermined.

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
Annyday



Posts: 583
Joined: Nov. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 05 2008,23:46   

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Jan. 05 2008,23:10)
More generally, psychology and cognitive science have failed to resemble "the hard sciences" not because the researchers and theoreticians haven't been bright people or have been disinterested in scientific methodology; psychology fails to much resemble physics because the problems it confronts are far more complex and the phenomena it addresses vastly more interconnected, contingent and overdetermined.

I agree with you, but the crucial point is that a large number of cognitive scientists don't seem to know this, with the problem getting worse the further back you go. It's not too big an issue when advances in research methodology are a focus, but for those with a greater focus on higher functioning it's grating as all hell.

On another note, I think this whole line of rambles about psychologists is approaching the point wherein it needs to be put down.

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"ALL eight of the "nature" miracles of Jesus could have been accomplished via the electroweak quantum tunneling mechanism. For example, walking on water could be accomplished by directing a neutrino beam created just below Jesus' feet downward." - Frank Tipler, ISCID fellow

  
MrsPeng



Posts: 15
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 06 2008,00:45   

Quote (Annyday @ Jan. 05 2008,23:46)
On another note, I think this whole line of rambles about psychologists is approaching the point wherein it needs to be put down.

Quite agree. Sorry about all that Skinner stuff.

Kristine quoted:
"Individuals high in Openness to Experience can be characterized by an active motivation to seek out the unfamiliar, which goes hand in hand with tolerance of ambiguity and open-mindedness, and which leads those high in Openness to Experience to endorse liberal socio-political values (McCrae, 1996b)."

Is Openness to Experience a "fixed" personality trait? Where does it come from? How is it measured? The preceding sentence is the sort of thing that bothers me about personality psychology:

"...these relations are typically low (Saroglou, 2002b), and sometimes even absent (Saucier & Goldberg, 1998; Streyffeller & McNally, 1998; Saucier, 2000). Regarding the other factors, no clear relation with religiosity emerged (Saroglou, 2002b). Nevertheless, McCrae (1999) has urged attention to Openness to Experience in order to understand religiosity."

The five personality traits under discussion are supposedly well enough defined, and well enough related to each other  to - it appears - fall along some sort of continuum. Yet it seems that if one is able to find a relationship (albeit a negative one) between one of the elements in the array (Openness to Experience) that, if the concepts in question were all measuring some well enumerated and related aspects of personality, that those factors on the other end of the spectrum would therefore be positively associated to religiosity, and yet there doesn't appear to be any relationship at all (at leasts according to Saucier and Goldberg).

So I ask again. What are they measuring? How reliable are the measurements? I get very frustrated because it seems as if there are jumbles of ad hoc categories that seem to make some intuitive sense sometimes but that in general are fairly unreliable in terms of making any decent predictions about how people will actually behave in any given situation.

Getting back to the original topic - which I think is that despite creationist teaching from parents, children who come into contact with "real science" via studying fossils are somewhat inoculated against teh tard by that contact. Did I get that right?  "pre-adolescents' fossil knowledge blocked the overwhelming  effect of parents' creationist beliefs on pre-adolescents' expression of creationism."

So the ability to understand concepts like selection by consequences emerges around the same time as the formal operational stage of development. Seems to make sense.

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"Sacred cows make the tastiest hamburgers." Abbie Hoffman

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
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(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 06 2008,07:49   

Quote (Annyday @ Jan. 06 2008,00:46)
 
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Jan. 05 2008,23:10)
More generally, psychology and cognitive science have failed to resemble "the hard sciences" not because the researchers and theoreticians haven't been bright people or have been disinterested in scientific methodology; psychology fails to much resemble physics because the problems it confronts are far more complex and the phenomena it addresses vastly more interconnected, contingent and overdetermined.

I agree with you, but the crucial point is that a large number of cognitive scientists don't seem to know this, with the problem getting worse the further back you go. It's not too big an issue when advances in research methodology are a focus, but for those with a greater focus on higher functioning it's grating as all hell.

On another note, I think this whole line of rambles about psychologists is approaching the point wherein it needs to be put down.

Again, I highly recommend Bruner's Acts of Reason for his reflections on the early promise of cognitive science and the disappointing outcome. At least one pioneer understands the limitations and problems inherent in the cognitive approach.
 
Quote
Some critics, perhaps unkindly, even argue that the new cognitive science, the child of the revolution, has gained its technical successes at the price of dehumanizing the very concept of mind it had sought to reestablish in psychology...Very early on...emphasis began shifting from "meaning" to "information," from the construction of meaning to the processing of information. These are profoundly different matters. The key factor in the shift was the introduction of computation as the ruling metaphor and of computability as a necessary criterion of a good theoretical model (p. 1,4).

Vis the thread, I seem to recall that Kristine had suggested an interesting topic.

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Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 06 2008,08:32   

Quote (MrsPeng @ Jan. 06 2008,01:45)
The five personality traits under discussion are supposedly well enough defined, and well enough related to each other  to - it appears - fall along some sort of continuum. Yet it seems that if one is able to find a relationship (albeit a negative one) between one of the elements in the array (Openness to Experience) that, if the concepts in question were all measuring some well enumerated and related aspects of personality, that those factors on the other end of the spectrum would therefore be positively associated to religiosity, and yet there doesn't appear to be any relationship at all (at leasts according to Saucier and Goldberg).

So I ask again. What are they measuring? How reliable are the measurements?

The five factors are far from ad hoc - 70 years of research has consistently shaken them out (despite clear methodological problems with individual lines of research). The five factors do not lie on a continuum. Quite the contrary: they represent a factor solution for a large data set such that the factors are ideally entirely orthogonal to one other - that is - vary independently. Each factor itself falls on a continuum from high to low, more or less distributed normally, with most people falling somewhere in the middle. They are measured most easily by means of a 240 item test designed for that purpose (the NEO-PI-R), which more or less provides individuals an opportunity to describe themselves in an organized manner. Six-year test-retest reliabilities for the Neuroticism, Extraversion, and Openness domains of the NEO-PI-R range from .68 to .83 in both self-reports and observer ratings (which is pretty good as these things go). Three-year retest coefficients between .63 and .79 were found for the domains of Agreeableness and Conscientiousness.
     
Quote
[they] seem to make some intuitive sense sometimes but that in general are fairly unreliable in terms of making any decent predictions about how people will actually behave in any given situation.

Of course, that was the heart of Walter Mischel's devastating critique of personology in 1968 - that behavior much more reflects one's circumstances rather than enduring traits. He subsequently changed his mind, and concluded that people vary in the degree to which their behavior tends to be dispositional versus situational, and that that dimension is itself a trait!

More generally, the reality of the Introversion/Extroversion and Neuroticism categories as valid, stable descriptors of personality is quite empirically secure. The other three factors have varying support. What I find limiting about the five factor model is the absence of "moving parts," e.g. any theory regarding why these factors recur across individuals and even across culture (they do).

Here is an original description of the five factors by Costa and McCrae:

- Neuroticism (N):  Neuroticism refers to the level of emotional adjustment and instability exhibited by an individual.  High neuroticism identifies individuals who are prone to psychological distress, unrealistic ideas, excessive cravings or difficulty tolerating the frustration caused by not acting on one’s urges, and maladaptive coping responses.  NEO-PI-R sub-facets of N include anxiety, hostility, depression, self-consciousness, impulsiveness, and vulnerability.  

- Extroversion (E): Extroversion refers to the quantity and intensity of preferred interpersonal interactions, activity level, need for stimulation, and capacity for joy. Persons high in extroversion are sociable, active, talkative, person-oriented, optimistic, fun-loving, and affectionate.  Persons low in extroversion tend to be reserved (but not necessarily unfriendly), sober, aloof, independent, and quiet.  Introverts are not unhappy or pessimistic people, but they are not given to the exuberant high spirits that characterize extroverts. NEO-PI-R sub-facets of E include warmth, gregariousness, assertiveness, activity, excitement seeking, and positive emotions.  

- Openness to Experience (O): Openness involves the active seeking and appreciation of experiences for their own sake. Open individuals are curious, imaginative, willing to entertain novel ideas and unconventional values, and experience the whole gamut of emotions more vividly than do closed individuals. Closed individuals tend to be conventional in their beliefs and attitudes, conservative in their tastes, and rigid in their beliefs. NEO-PI-R sub-facets include fantasy, aesthetics, feelings, actions, ideas, and values.

Agreeableness (A): Agreeableness, like Extroversion, refers to the kinds of interaction a person prefers, along a continuum from compassion to antagonism. People high in Agreeableness tend to be soft-hearted, good-natured, trusting, helpful, forgiving, and altruistic. Those low in Agreeableness (hence antagonistic) tend to be cynical, rude or even abrasive, suspicious, uncooperative and irritable, and can be manipulative, vengeful, and ruthless. NEO-PI-R sub-facets include trust, straightforwardness, altruism, compliance, modesty, and tendermindedness.
 
- Conscientiousness C:  Conscientiousness reflects the degree of organization, persistence, control, and motivation in goal-directed behavior. People high in Conscientiousness tend to be organized, reliable, hard-working, self-directed, punctual, scrupulous, ambitious, and persevering. Those low in Conscientiousness tend to be aimless, unreliable, lazy, careless, lax, negligent, and hedonistic. NEO-PI-R sub-factors are competence, order, dutifulness, achievement striving, self-discipline, and deliberation.

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Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
Kristine



Posts: 3061
Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 06 2008,11:56   

Thank you for that, Bill. I see how inaccurate and garbled the "psychology" championed in creative writing classes can be. Pop psychology at its worst.

We meandered a lot but I have found this entire thread very interesting.

 
Quote (MrsPeng @ Jan. 05 2008,23:45)
So the ability to understand concepts like selection by consequences emerges around the same time as the formal operational stage of development. Seems to make sense.

It does for me too, although the study (first one) doesn't specifically talk about selection by consequences. Gould does, I believe, in Eight Little Piggies, which I've yet to read.

Other factors: natural history knowledge negatively correlated with creationist beliefs; parents who were either creationist or evolutionist (as opposed to exhibiting "mixed" beliefs) tend to more strongly foster an environment that would reproduce those beliefs in their children, parental influence positively correlation with the child's belief, but again, knowledge of fossils tended to allow the child to break away from parents' creationist belief. Not surprising. However, in the younger set, parents' beliefs had little to do with the childrens' tendency to express spontaneous-generationalist views. That seems to be a common phase that young children go through.

     
Quote
Questions about biological origins traditionally have elicited teleological arguments "that everything in nature . . . has a purpose, a predetermined goal" (Mayr, 1991, p. 67). Although present, these kinds of beliefs-in the form of creationism-did not predominate for the youngest elementary-school children in two studies. These children were the most likely of all age groups to explain biological origins in nonteleological terms as the spontaneous emergence of living kinds-spontaneous generationist. Regardless of parent beliefs, it was the 8- and 9-yearold schoolchildren who were the most likely to opt for exclusive creationism. Not until children were in the range of 10- to 12-year-olds was there a regular appeal to evolutionary explanations, although they were more likely to be couched in Lamarckian than Darwinian terms. In this age group, along with children's natural history knowledge, the consistency of parents' creationist and evolutionist beliefs was independently related to the frequency of child creationist and evolutionist beliefs. That this was true only of the oldest children and not the two younger age groups suggests an interactive process.


Lamarckist views persist even among older students educated in evolution:
Quote
Even for those who have studied evolutionary biology, Darwinian evolutionary concepts seem difficult to learn. Across a range of studies with students of different ages and expertise, including advanced biology and medical students, a consistent finding is that most fail to understand natural selection (e.g., Brumby, 1979; Deadman & Kelly, 1978; Ferrari & Chi, 1998; Greene, 1990; Samarapungavan & Wiers, 1997). At best, those who do adopt a biological view of species origins invoke a Lamarckian evolutionary mechanism, the inheritance of acquired features, often despite courses specifically designed to dispel such misconceptions (Bishop & Anderson, 1990).

I know that I slide back into it from time to time.

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Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

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"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

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Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 06 2008,13:54   

Kristine -

Here is a link to an article that appeared in Behavioral and Brain Sciences in 1998 that is somewhat OT (on target!) vis your original question. The printed version appeared with a number of peer commentaries in BBS style (one of my favorite formats for articles of this kind), so if your institution has BBS you should grab that. I'm going to re-read it before saying more, because it has been a few years since I first encountered it.

RB

[edit] to add "somewhat"

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
Kristine



Posts: 3061
Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 06 2008,15:29   

*Whistle* This is exactly on target! In fact I have had thoughts along these lines, that there seems to be an intuitive, universal biological taxonomy that cannot ever be totally replaced by a scientific classification scheme in people's "common sense" experience of nature.
 
Quote
As we shall see, these four corresponding notions issue from a specific cognitive structure, which may be a faculty of the human mind that is innately and uniquely attuned to perceiving and conceptually organizing living kinds. The evolutionary origins of such a faculty arguably involved selection pressures bearing on immediate utility, such as obtaining food and surviving predators and toxins. In no society, however, do people exclusively classify plants and animals because they are useful or harmful. This claim goes against the generally received view that folk biologies are primarily utilitarian, and that scientific biology emerged in part to expel this utilitarian bias from systematic thinking about the living world. Rather, the special ways people classify organic nature enable them to systematically relate fairly well-delimited groups of plants and animals to one another in indefinitely many ways, and to make reasonable predictions about how biological properties are distributed among these groups, regardless of whether or not those properties are noxious or beneficial.


That surprised me.

Nitpick:

 
Quote
Although folk biology and the science of biology share a psychological structure, they apply somewhat different criteria of relevance in constructing and interpreting notions of species, underlying causal structure, taxonomy and taxonomy-based inference. Given the universal character of folk biology, a plausible speculation is that it evolved to provide a generalized framework for understanding and appropriately responding to important and recurrent features in hominid ancestral environments. By contrast, the science of biology has developed to understand an organization of life in which humans play only an incidental role no different from other species.


I read an article, perhaps in The Humanist, by a scientist arguing that we should never use the phrase "evolved to" or any others that imply Lamackian adaptation. I agreed with the author, but easier said than done!

I'm still reading this article. (And I'm wondering what consequences this could have for taxonomies in Information Science*, but that's another topic entirely.) :)

*edited to add: Oh dear, I see that creationists all over the internet are conflating Information Theory and Information Science! *brainfahrt!* :p

--------------
Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

AtBC Poet Laureate

"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

  
MrsPeng



Posts: 15
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 06 2008,18:46   

Thank you very much RB. Very succinct and understandable. I appreciate the explanation. I suppose I ought to make the effort to read up on these things before I start yapping, eh?

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"Sacred cows make the tastiest hamburgers." Abbie Hoffman

  
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