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Top psychology mag column asks if creationists are sane

Just when the reputation of psychology is mired in continuous scandals, a column in Psychology Today asks if creationists are sane.

Along with denial, two other factors connect creationism with mental illness. The first is psychosis, which is an extension of denial. If psychosis is marked by the discrepancy between one’s personal view of the world and the consensual view, creationism holds onto the personal view at all costs, refusing to accept what is abundantly clear. True, if creationism became the majority view, its psychotic character might be mitigated. Except that this majority view would have no more valence than the belief so widely held about the relationship between the sun and the earth before Copernicus proved how the latter orbits the former, and not vice versa.

“Psychosis” is a dangerous word to throw around, as it is medically actionable.

No wonder the psychiatrists’ manual is no longer considered scientifically useful due to lack of validity. And it is hard to tell psychological “science” from spoof.

It’s one thing for “cool crowd” psychologists to fall on their sword but do they have to do it in public?

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8 Responses to Top psychology mag column asks if creationists are sane

  1. Actually the shoe is on the other foot:

    Are atheists mentally ill? – August 14th, 2013 – Sean Thomas
    Excerpt: “Let’s dispense with the crude metric of IQ and look at the actual lives led by atheists, and believers, and see how they measure up. In other words: let’s see who is living more intelligently. And guess what: it’s the believers. A vast body of research, amassed over recent decades, shows that religious belief is physically and psychologically beneficial – to a remarkable degree.,,,
    [I hope this next part doesn't upset too many people, but...] the evidence today implies that atheism is a form of mental illness. And this is because science is showing that the human mind is hard-wired for faith… religious people have all their faculties intact, they are fully functioning humans. Therefore, being an atheist – lacking the vital faculty of faith – should be seen as an affliction, and a tragic deficiency: something akin to blindness. Which makes Richard Dawkins the intellectual equivalent of an amputee, furiously waving his stumps in the air, boasting that he has no hands.”
    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/n.....tally-ill/

    Christians respond better to psychiatric treatment than atheists: – July 21, 2013
    Excerpt: “Our work suggests that people with a moderate to high level of belief in a higher power do significantly better in short-term psychiatric treatment than those without, regardless of their religious affiliation. Belief was associated with not only improved psychological wellbeing, but decreases in depression and intention to self-harm,” explained Rosmarin.
    The study looked at 159 patients, recruited over a one-year period. Each participant was asked to gauge their belief in God as well as their expectations for treatment outcome and emotion regulation, each on a five-point scale. Levels of depression, wellbeing, and self-harm were assessed at the beginning and end of their treatment program.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....are-crazy/

    Research on tweeting shows Christians happier, less analytical- June 30, 2013
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....nalytical/

    In fact there is something quite out of kilter with the ‘New’ Atheists non-belief in God:

    When Atheists Are Angry at God – 2011
    Excerpt: I’ve never been angry at unicorns. It’s unlikely you’ve ever been angry at unicorns either.,, The one social group that takes exception to this rule is atheists. They claim to believe that God does not exist and yet, according to empirical studies, tend to be the people most angry at him.
    http://www.firstthings.com/ont.....gry-at-god

    In fact, there are actually studies that show that people who do not believe in a soul are a little bit more anti-social, self-centered, i.e. psychopathic, than the majority of people who do believe in a soul and God:

    Anthony Jack, Why Don’t Psychopaths Believe in Dualism? – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?l.....zOk#t=862s

    In fact, in the measure of irrational beliefs, it is found,,

    Look Who’s Irrational Now – 2008
    Excerpt: “What Americans Really Believe,” a comprehensive new study released by Baylor University yesterday, shows that traditional Christian religion greatly decreases belief in everything from the efficacy of palm readers to the usefulness of astrology. It also shows that the irreligious and the members of more liberal Protestant denominations, far from being resistant to superstition, tend to be much more likely to believe in the paranormal and in pseudoscience than evangelical Christians.
    http://online.wsj.com/article/.....54585.html

    Which just goes to prove the old saying, “when you believe in nothing, you’ll fall for anything”?

    Music and verse:

    AWOLNATION – “SAIL” (Official Video)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPtSKimbjOU

    2 Timothy 1:7
    For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

    supplemental note:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter”.
    J. B. S. Haldane ["When I am dead," in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209.

  2. “If psychosis is marked by the discrepancy between one’s personal view of the world and the consensual view . . .” I guess Einstein was psychotic when he challenged the consensus view.

  3. News:

    No wonder the psychiatrists’ manual is no longer considered scientifically useful due to lack of validity.

    It is scientifically useful. I used it about an hour ago.

    It’s also clinically useful to some extent, as it helps clinicians figure out what treatment is likely to help someone with a mental illness.

    The idea that creationists are mentally ill, is, of course, bunk.

    If someone is mentally ill, and has delusions, they may be psychotic. If they are not mentally ill, and have delusions, then they are not psychotic.

  4. You are ‘spot on’ when you say the boot is actually on the other foot, Philip. In fact, I was thinking the very same thing about the materialists early this morning, while still in bed.

    They fit the anecdotal definition of repeating the same action and expecting a different outcome. They get a different outcome from what they had expected, yet continue to base their thinking on the same assumptions.

    Nor can the progress of science itself make any impact on their assumptions. I’ve used the term, ‘catatonic’ to describe them, admittedly in a sense limited to the imperviousness of their mindset in relation to empirically and mathematically confirmed truths.

    Can catatonia be a synonym for the most monumental denial? It seems kinder than the accusation of ‘psychosis’, as well as being more accurate, since it is too characteristically human to be a psychosis. ‘Denial’ suggests at least an attempt at a rational rebuttal, which, in the case of materialists vis-a-vis theists, would not be be possible.

    Totalitarian governments have favoured the accusation of a psychosis against dissidents, since it is easier to lock the victims up in a secure institution on that basis.

    I can’t talk, mind you. I’d have those who have used their power in the establishment to act maliciously against genuine scientists of integrity, prosecuted. Their professional sanction would have ensued automatically from their professional incompetence.

    And as for rejecting papers submitted for peer-review, and then stealing the ideas…! Right off the scale of professional depravity.

  5. “True, if creationism became the majority view, its psychotic character might be mitigated.”

    IOW, psychosis is simply disbelief in the majority view? What bunk (to use EB Liddle’s term).

  6. Except that this majority view would have no more valence than the belief so widely held about the relationship between the sun and the earth before Copernicus proved how the latter orbits the former, and not vice versa.

    So Copernicus was also psychotic? Or was that everyone else who doubted him?

    From the article:

    It’s a myth, but like many myths it serves a psychological purpose which is to provide a storybook sense of simple origins, which allays people’s fears. Those who believe this myth to be the truth are in a state of denial.

    So Jesus Christ was wrong when he described the Christian standard for marriage as one man and one woman? He believed in the creation of Adam and Eve. And he is widely regarded as the greatest man ever to walk the Earth, so I think I’ll take his opinion over what Psychology Today says.

    If psychosis is marked by the discrepancy between one’s personal view of the world and the consensual view, creationism holds onto the personal view at all costs, refusing to accept what is abundantly clear.

    I’d add that people who don’t believe in free will are also delusional. It’s their personal view, but it flies in the face of basic common sense and logic.

    Oh, and I know psychology is one of the soft sciences, but most laypeople know that the consensual view isn’t always the correct one; c/f the mention of Copernicus above. He was right, and everyone else was wrong. I wonder if the author of this piece noticed the irony.

    To paraphrase from the very funny Futurama, this article is bad and the author should feel bad.

  7. On behalf of all creationists WE will admit to be insane and accept treatment( paying with proceeds from famous ID bookwriters) IF its shown CLEARLY about the evidences proving evolution etc etc.
    If they fail to prove it and thus must retract creationism is a wrong denial of what is obvious THEN these article writers must get treatment for their figments of the imagination !
    Lets do this!!

  8. The use of a couple of terms in this blogger’s scree bears some close examination IMHCO (emphasis added):

    Along with denial, two other factors connect creationism with mental illness. The first is psychosis, which is an extension of denial. If psychosis is marked by the discrepancy between one’s personal view of the world and the consensual view, creationism holds onto the personal view at all costs, refusing to accept what is abundantly clear…

    Psychosis used to be defined as a discrepancy between one’s perception of the world and objective reality (and probably still is among practicing professionals as opposed to media lackeys).

    I have “personal views” on a lot of things. How to part my hair, whether I like Burger King or Wendys, whether I vote Red or Blue, and yes, whether I believe that lighting hitting a muddy pond a billion years ago gave rise to humanity.

    But it used to be that psychosis could not be invoked against me on something like the muddy pond thing unless a Whopper spoke to me out loud, told me who to vote for, then transported me back in time to a cloud where I, as Thor, plucked and launched one of the bolts that made up my hair which started what we, somewhat sloppily, define as life.

    But of course, in the academy and the media nowadays, to believe in anything like “objective reality” is almost as proscribed as creationism.

    So what to do as a well-published non-fiction hack? Well, why not turn a problem into an opportunity? (Jes’ like they learned me in grad school! Heck it may even evolve into some kind of textbook treatment, which the members of that captive market known as “students” have to buy! NOTE: Visions of sugar plumbs are nowhere in the academy, the media or in practice ever considered psychotic.)

    In making the attempt, I’d say this wag at Psychology Today has latched onto an ideal (not to mention popular) solution. Replace objective reality with with a logical fallacy. Shazam! Now he and the orthodox for whom he is a tool can judge people’s personal views, if they disagree with their own, about what actually happened in that pond on mental health grounds. Perfect! (Though hardly original.)

    Yes dear friends, your sanity or lack thereof must be determined by an Argument from Authority. Of course, just on the issue of creationism. For now, anyway…

    Clearly, Stalin would have no problem at all with the above. And as a matter of fact he institutionalized as insane people who disagreed with him politically on the exact same logic.

    And who is it, Ms. Liddle who is slouching toward totalitarianism? The creationists? Ha ha ha. Yeah, go ahead. Pull the other one.

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