Teaching the Psychology “controversy”

I make no secret that I think the ID slogan of “teach the controversy” is nothing but a baseless appeal to uninformed citizen’s sense of fairness. If there’s a controversy, both sides deserve to be heard. However, with ID, there is no credible scientific controversy.

But ID isn’t the only false religiously driven controversy out there today. The new pet religion of crazies like Tom Cruise, Scientology, seeks to undermine psychiatry. Their claim is that psychiatric drugs are extremely harmful. They point out things such as the fact that, although we frequently use terms like “chemical imbalance”, scientists have never been able to determine what chemicals these would be.

What they fail to note the overwhelming success of treatments. Instead, they cherry pick examples that support their position. But in reality, even before science developed the germ theory of disease and illness was believed to be the cause of humors or demons, we were still able to recognize that certain plants had excellent restorative powers.

Thus, it does’t necessarily require a complete understanding of the cause to recognize a treatment.

But as with the ID movement, Scientologists damn the facts and support “teaching the controversy”. Unfortunately for them, they don’t have the full support of an entire political party to push their agenda. However, it seems they’re trying.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Kenneth Dunkin (D) endorsed an exhibit that describes psychiatry as a pseudoscience and claims that it pushes pills and is, somehow, related to Nazism (sound familiar?).

The exhibit was created by “Citizens Commission on Human Rights”, an organization created and paid for by the Church of Scientology (ie, their version of the Discovery Institute).

The display has promted visitors to contact the Illinois chapter of National Alliance for Mental Illness with complaints and confusion over the authority of the exhibit. Yet Dunkin stands by his sponsorship, saying, “There is a culture that says if you don’t use this drug you can’t be cured. In fact, no drug can cure you.”

While I certainly agree that this culture is far too dependant on medications as a quick fix and a way to hide from underlying problems, to claim that medications can’t assist in cures and are worthless is a dangerous extreme that is opposed almost universally by scientists.

These pseudoscientific “controversies” play on the ethical fairness many of us feel, but little on logic. Sadly this trend seems to be growing and threatens to undermine science.

47 thoughts on “Teaching the Psychology “controversy”

  1. Chicago Tribune: Please register or log in

    Bah, screw that shit.

    psychiatry…related to Nazism

    Right, name calling will get them what they want.

  2. Here’s the full text:

    An Illinois state representative who sponsored the return of a controversial Scientology-linked exhibit to the Thompson Center this month says he supported the display because it offered “an alternative perspective on psychotropic drugs.”

    In endorsing the exhibit, which describes psychiatry as a pseudoscience that pushes pills and is similar to Nazism, Rep. Kenneth Dunkin cited the brutal medical research performed by the Nazis as well as the inhumane Tuskegee Syphilis Study, which conducted testing on poor minority sharecroppers.

    “I am not a Scientologist but someone has to give an alternative perspective,” said Dunkin, a North Side Democrat.

    The exhibit, “Destroying Lives: Psychiatry Exposed,” was created by the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, founded by the Church of Scientology. It closed last week.

    Scientologists view psychiatry as fraudulent. Tom Cruise, a prominent Scientologist, had a public dustup with fellow actor Brooke Shields last year over her use of anti-depressants, adding fuel to the fire.

    When the same exhibit went up at the Thompson Center in December 2003, the administration of Gov. Rod Blagojevich sought to have it removed. The display was reinstated in January after attorneys concluded the display did not promote a religious point of view.

    The Illinois chapter of National Alliance for Mental Illness reported receiving several complaints last week from people who found the content of the exhibit offensive and were confused by the Citizens Commission’s official-sounding name.

    Katherine Rush, who works in the building, said she contacted Dunkin’s office to complain.

    “The problem with Scientologists asking a state rep to sponsor the display is that it makes it awkward for another politician to say anything critical,” Rush said. “It makes it personal.”

    Meryl Sosa, executive director of the Illinois Psychiatric Society, said she wondered why Dunkin would endorse an exhibit featuring “disturbing” images of institutionalized patients in restraints and undergoing electroshock therapy. It also connects the use of psychiatric drugs to high-profile murders and school shootings.

    “We couldn’t figure out what was behind his thought process to publicly sponsor it,” she said. “The affiliation with a state legislator … has put it in a different realm. It makes it look legit.”

    Marla Filidei, the Citizens Commission’s vice president, said she couldn’t recall how the connection with Dunkin was made. But he is not the first politician to lend his name to the exhibit, which has been shown in more than 145 cities in 18 countries, she said.

    “The only place we’ve had a problem has been Illinois,” she said, referring to the Blagojevich administration’s earlier efforts to block the display.

    Dr. Carl Bell, a prominent Chicago psychiatrist who like Dunkin is African-American, called the exhibit “not an alternative view, but a harmful view.”

    The mistrust of psychiatry in minority communities “only widens the gap in health disparities,” he said. “[Dunkin] thinks he’s helping constituents, but he’s actually harming them.”

    The legislator said he stands by his sponsorship. “There is a culture that says if you don’t use this drug you can’t be cured,” Dunkin said. “In fact, no drug can cure you.”

  3. Now, if the Scientologists had attacked Freudian psychology as being a pseudo-science, I would have more or less agreed, given its dismal success record.  Yes, reliance on drugs can be dangerous, and must be considered carefully.  But the success rate of Prozac and similar treatments, even if their precise effects are unknown, speaks for itself.

    And it’s not as if Scientology has anything better to offer…

  4. I would guess they assume that if people don’t go to a shrink they might come to Scientology to solve their problems instead.  On the other hand it may simply be that Elron didn’t like the profession, and they’re just carrying on his dislike without much rational thought simply because it was the will of the “Great Leader.”

  5. Elwed: I can’t figure out Scientology’s profit motive. How does ranting and railing against happy pills boost their bottom line?

    One word: Dianetics:

      Dianetics is a set of ideas and practices regarding the relationship between mind and body that were developed by author L. Ron Hubbard. Hubbard believed most mental and physical problems are caused by traumatic memories (which he called “engrams”) that are stored in the unconscious mind—in his terminology, the “reactive mind.” The goal of Dianetics is to become rid (or “cleared”) of this portion of one’s mind. Once at this state of “Clear,” according to Hubbard, an individual becomes able to function at his or her full potential.

      Hubbard first introduced Dianetics to the public in April 1950, in an article published in the magazine Astounding Science Fiction. In his subsequent book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health (also 1950), Hubbard presented Dianetics as a revolutionary and scientifically developed alternative to conventional psychotherapy and psychiatry, claiming that it could increase intelligence, eliminate unwanted emotions and alleviate a wide range of illnesses he regarded as psychosomatic. The central practice of Dianetics is “auditing”, in which a “pre-clear” (usually with the assistance of a counselor called an “auditor”) attempts to confront the engrams in his reactive mind, thus treating the wide variety of conditions that they cause. Auditing frequently employs a device called an E-meter, which measures the electrical resistance of the human body and which followers of Hubbard claim “measures the spiritual state or change of state of a person”.

    They’re against happy pills because it’s in direct competition with their idiotic belief system.

  6. “There is a culture that says if you don’t use this drug you can’t be cured. In fact, no drug can cure you.

  7. One thing the Scientologists are good for:  if you ever catch yourself thinking “So many people believe in Jesus- how could they all be deceived?”, just consider at all the people who believe we’re inhabited by Body Thetans…

  8. Zilch: … just consider all the people who believe we’re inhabited by Body Thetans…

    It’s a scary world in which we live … not. LOL

  9. It is is a scary world, but you can’t let this drag you down. It’s a bit disheartening, though, that whatever crap one person comes up with,  there’s another one who’ll believe it.

    Say, I have this invisible bridge to sell…

  10. Elwed: Say, I have this invisible bridge to sell…

    I have this invisible pair of rose coloured glasses to sell …
    I was gonna say ‘invisible being’ but no one woulda bought it. LOL

  11. From the book God-101.com“Say something enough times, with enough conviction, and people will believe just about anything!”
    Allan

  12. Did I mention that the invisible bridge can only be passed if you have faith in it? If you take a plunge, your faith clearly wasn’t strong enough.

  13. moses/Allen: The Big Lie, virtually guaranteed to work. It wouldn’t surprise me if there’s math to figure out how many repetitions are needed for how big a whopper.

  14. Did I mention that the invisible bridge can only be passed if you have faith in it? If you take a plunge, your faith clearly wasn’t strong enough.

    I remember that scene: Indiana Jones had to step into apparent empty space to cross the chasm…

  15. a prominent Chicago psychiatrist who like Dunkin is African-American

    so what? Why do newspapers feel the need to mention things like this? Howdoes it enhance the item?

    PS LJ- your avatar appears to be corrupted- it looks like Jason Donovan doing a Rolf Harris impression…

    (from ‘The Big Book of how to be slapped by an Aussie)

    PPS Bad luck against Brazil- Oz deserved more.

  16. Yea, those Crazy Scientologists, probably 10 Million in Number agree with all the other major religions of the world probably 500 Million, That we are Spiritual Beings, Isn’t that absurd?

    They even claim that with LRH technology and E-Meter( Meter that picks up thought just below your conscious level) They can get back your Spiritual memories of your spiritual past. They claim if you played a piano last life time and you got your memory back of that life time, you would regain the ability back. Isn’t that just crazy?

    It makes more sense that we are just bodies, a piece of meat, that thinks, and that Drugs, balances the chemical imbalances in our brain and with those balances corrected, we become normal and are able to recall our memories(THIS life time Only). Now that makes more sense. It is not Science Fiction and is much easier to believe, Right?

    It makes more sense we spend 70 years learning and learning and learning to just die and all that knowledge , gone. Now that is real analytical and is the truth, Right?

    To claim that God is a Spiritual Being, and if we were to wake up or grow up to who we really are we would be Spiritual Beings too With the same spirtirual abilities and Powers? Come on they are just crazy. That is just Science fiction.
    To think we are really Spiritual beings, that have amenesia on who we really are. That the Pain of our past lives and the pain of the births, have caused amnesia. Pain causes amnesia?

    I remember some Science fiction show that someone got amnesia and forgot who he was. To think we have amnesia on a whole track scale? WOW

    They claim that Drugs , because it screws up your time track is another reason you can’t remember. Crazy. When I drank to much or took too many drugs, my memory was perfect, the next day,I thinK? Well maybe, No.. That can’t be right.

    Then they claim that If you take responsibility for all your bad acts, you will feel so good, that you will literally float right out of your body. Rediculous, Doing confessionals make you feel good? Doing confessionals of your whole time track, makes you feel so good you become yourself, a completely different person, Rediculous. When they find out who they really are, I’ll tell you who I really am. I know who I am. I know I am this body, I am my name , I am Solid, I know I am taking my body with me when I die, Right?
    They claim you can just KNOW when your out side your body. Come on a spirit just knows, crazy.

    Yea those crazy Scientologists, little do they know that we are just a piece of meat. While they are out there outside there body being a total extrovert, able to see the source of there problems and floating around doing things with out a body, exterior to life, Crazy. I know I am an intovert, I know life is very hard and very real, very solid. TO think that life gets less hard or real as you transend the physical and that the real answers to who you really are and the real universe ( THE spiritual?) Yea right, I’ll just have to wait till I die to find out. Having that knowledge know, what good does that do me? To be cause over the mental or spiritual makes you cause over your life, yea right? I never get what I hold in my mind? They are looney, arent they?

  17. VR: I can’t tell if that rant was serious or not.

    Mmmm. I lean towards his being a scientologist, but I could be wrong. wink

  18. John: I lean towards his being a scientologist, but I could be wrong.

    Could it be that SEB has just experienced its first Scientologist proselytizer? Historic if true.

  19. Scientologists are evil nuts who defame, libel, and sue anyone who speaks out against them. Biggest scam in the world they are. To attend “Clearing” sessions you have to pay money, and lots of it. Namely the nice low starting price of $2,000 USD. Oh, and let’s not even get started on their “workshops”, which can run you between $10,000 and $25,000 USD PER WORKSHOP.

    All Scientology is, is a big money-making scam for the people at the top of the pole. Anyone under those top people (and especially celebs) are either too brainwashed (or braindead) to see what is going on, or are so embarassed at having been scammed out of so much cash that they don’t quit, thus perpetuating the scam risk-free for those at the top.

    Scientology is what I call a “Quasi-Religious Pyramid Scheme” (TM).

  20. Yes, I think we’ve been drive-by scientologized.  What a thrill.  I can feel all my body thetans trembling.  They know that we’ve made contact with a rep of the True Hubbard, and they know that their days are numbered.  Actually, though, they’re safe as long as they can keep me from shelling out my baptism fees to the Scientologists.

  21. Double-dipping again.  Just wanted to put in a personal plug for VoijaRisa’s blog, Angry Astronomer, which has all kinds of user-friendly and fascinating info about astronomy, but also well-reasoned commentary such as this post here at SEB.  Check it out.

  22. Hey, that is a cool site!  I especially liked the photo tour of the observatory.  When I was a kid I used to ride my friend’s motorcycle up to the observatory and bug the grad students.  They were friendly and showed me lots of stuff.  No computers then.  Thanks for the link.

  23. Lost Hussar: LJ- your avatar appears to be corrupted- it looks like Jason Donovan doing a Rolf Harris impression…

    Ah stop it, mate. I find compliments too hard to handle. LOL
    Brazil won as I knew they would. It’s cool.
    I haven’t kept up with where the Dutch are. I can switch allegiances like *snap*.

    Bach: You take that back!

    No! LOL

    Sadie: Could it be that SEB has just experienced its first Scientologist proselytizer?

    Hope she comes back.
    I’m up to about page 70 in Moses’ book.
    It’s an easy read.
    He has mentioned his (overheard) Hubbard quote a few times.
    I keep it in my mind whenever I hear about scientology. LOL

  24. Me: I haven’t kept up with where the Dutch are.

    I’m leaving here at 7am to go to Sydney to catch a flight to Tassie for the express purpose of dinner on Sat night with my 2nd brother and his crystal-powered wife and her 2×5’10” tall blonde goddess daughters.
    Soooo … I’m up early (5) and the Dutch are playing the Argies.
    How convenient. LOL
    Bummer. Nil all, draw.

  25. Lost Hussar….

    That’s a foul rumour spread by geography that’s too embarassed to admit it’s the one who fucked up.

    I’ve been cheering the cloggies as my ‘2nd team’.  However, assuming we get past Ecuador we face them in the 1/4s.  I like the Dutch- sometimes you get the feeling that for them real life is something that happens to other people.

    and her 2×5’10

  26. I hate the Dutch with their fucking camping trailers all over European streets. Their idea of fun is to back up as much traffic behind them as they possibly can, bonus points if a Mercedes pilot suffers a coronary from the emotional distress of having to drive at 25mph.

  27. …bonus points if a Mercedes pilot suffers a coronary from the emotional distress of having to drive at 25mph.

    Serves him right.  Selber schuld. LOL

  28. My ex-stepsister was married to a Dutch man for a while. They told me a story about how early in their relationship she got so drunk that she crapped all over him…and they still got married. He seemed like a nice enough guy, but I’ve always sort of pondered if there wasn’t something culturally…off about the whole story. It’s only a single anecdotal point and I realize that, but I never want to date a Dutch woman and have her crap on me and then expect me to think it’s ok. Not having to hear that story every year or so was the hidden benefit of my father’s divorce. Hope you all enjoyed it.

  29. Well, I enjoyed it, MrM.  I have to say in defence of Dutch women, though, that I’ve had two Dutch girlfriends, and neither one of them ever crapped on me, or was crapped on by me.  Maybe we were just lucky.

  30. I’ve had a few women crap on me but that’s a different story.
    What I find strange about all European women is that they don’t shave their armpits.
    shut eye

  31. What I find strange about all European women is that they don’t shave their armpits.

    Uh, moses, armpit hair is normal, and it’s there for a reason.  It’s shaving that’s strange.  smile

  32. I don’t shave my face, but not shaving armpits is to me about the same as not shaving your ass. (pun intended)

  33. The missus herself is sick with a cold and moping around the house while I’m trying to work in my office. (It’s casual Thursday, I’m in my underwear and a shirt!)
    To keep her occupied I put on pay TV and rented “Rumour has it” -with all sorts of big stars in it.
    In typical Ellie fashion she came in after the movie and proclaimed “The movie was shit, but BOY, what an ending!”
    This broads a constant source of amusement! LOL

  34. LH: That’s a foul rumour spread by geography that’s too embarrassed to admit it’s the one who fucked up.

    I was wondering if you’d noticed I took the little stick off your a. LOL

    I’m hoping from her 1st marriage if you’re going to perv at them.

    Yes … but I try not to make my perving too obvious.
    I don’t think I succeed 100% but they love their ‘uncle’ John anyway, and being in their 20s, I’m sure they’re both used to being lustfully leered at by now. wink

    Elwed: Their idea of fun is to back up as much traffic behind them as they possibly can

    LOL It may have something to do with the Dutch arrogance BUT at least they’re tolerant, allow dope smoking and euthanasia and, the percentage of non-believers is round 40% of the population as opposed to the good ole USA of just 10%.
    Call me stupid if you want but, I’d rather bother about an arrogant bunch of tolerant non-believers than be bothered by a folly of stupid intolerant True Believers™. smile

  35. From scientology to Dutch crap……I recommend that everyone up their ADD medication by 200%.  Loose minds after all bring heavy fines.

  36. From scientology to Dutch crap……I recommend that everyone up their ADD medication by 200%.  Loose minds after all bring heavy fines.

    Who made you “ubermeister?” Which reminds me that the last time I was in Germany…………..

    cool smile

  37. I have to admit, I don’t get the ‘Dutch’ thing, though it does somewhat parallel your avatar, Moses tongue wink

    I guess there’s only so much you can say about Scientology, except: if you want to run a really big scam, connect it to God or Science, at least in name.

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