Sunday, December 03, 2006

Freud, again: Freudian analysis "not science"

In "Freud's Will to Power," medic Ronald Dworkin, reviewing the latest book on Freud by Dr. Peter Kramer (November 29, 2006), remarks,
In real science, things are given names because they have value- hence the words "atom" and "molecule." In Freudian psychoanalysis, things have value because they are given names "Oedipus complex," "castration anxiety" - and only because enough people have been convinced of their value. If scientists ignored atoms and molecules, these particles would still exist and exert vital effects. If Freudian concepts are ignored, their value, their very existence, is gone forever. Freudian analysis is not science; it is fashion, totally dependent on public acclaim.
Freud did not discover the unconscious. Other doctors had written on the subject before him. Nor did he discover phenomena like Freudian "slips," "displacement," and "transference." What he did was give these mental phenomena names, turn them into symbols, and then use these symbols to create road signs and boundaries in the vast infinite of the human mind. He was just one more man of letters who tried to tame that monster of energy: life.

Order out of chaos. Will to power. These may be the only truisms about human nature in the whole Freud saga.

Kramer's book addresses "Freud's irritating tendency to generalize whole theories of human nature from a handful of personal observations."

Actually, many lay people have noticed and commented on that very thing for decades - and were told that they did not know what they were talking about or that psychological problems caused them to think as they did. Remember that, any time you are being asked to believe anything that ignores or defies evidence known to you.

Funny thing, they keep having to dig up the old boy and sock him around again. But, in fairness, an enormous amount of damage was done by Freud's theories, and surprisingly little good. I mean, if you compare him with Pasteur or Jenner or Paul Brand, for example. (Brand either discovered or made widely known the fact that the main cause of loss of digits in leprosy is the fact that the leper is insensitive to pain, and is heedlessly permitting serious damage. He was widely quoted as wishing to give lepers the "gift of pain," for this reason.)

My other blog is the Post-Darwinist, which keeps tabs on the intelligent design controversy.

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