Free will is a practical question for the mindfulness therapist
|September 1, 2013||Posted by News under Intelligent Design, Darwinism, Mind, Neuroscience, News|
But denying it is an article of faith for Darwin’s followers.
Further to “Psychiatrist slammed in National Geographic publication for signing Dissent from Darwinism statement”: There we learn from a book reviewer that psychiatrist Jeff Schwartz’s “obsessions corrupted his work,” which is developing credible mindfulness-based treatments for obsessive compulsive disorder. Signing the Dissent statement was the evidence offered. Such is the fate, presumably, of all who pause at Darwin’s Westminster Abbey grave to say “goodbye” …
The reality is, thanks in part to attitudes such as the reviewer exhibits—judging the treatment by the philosophy of its developer, not by evidence—psychiatry is in such a huge mess that the its handbook, the DSM is no longer accepted in key venues.
The issue, for Schwartz, turns on whether or not there is such a thing as free will. The assumption of free will is critical to mindfulness therapies for practical purposes.
Philosophies and religions have various opinions about ultimate free will. The therapist must ask, is my patient capable of carrying out a program that requires that he choose to focus his attention on A and not B? In practice, this turns out to be true for many patients, which makes the therapy useful. There is neuroscience evidence for brain reorganization as a result, showing that it is not merely an imagined effect.
Now, if someone wishes to claim, as many outspoken advocates of Darwinian evolution have, for example, that free will is impossible, the only thing that a mindfulness therapist can say is, go away. Either they are mistaken or the research results from mindfulness therapies are.
Or—a third possibility— the issues the Darwinians wish to address are not really science issues anyway, but philosophical ones. Put another way, Schwartz wouldn;t want to lose funding for research or treatment on the basis that free will does not really exist when the research results from a mindfulness treatment are actually quite promising. However one chooses to explain that.
See also The Spiritual Brain.