October 15, 2017 | David F. Coppedge

The Heart Is Desperately Wicked

Self-deception seems hard-wired into the human psyche, and scientists are not immune from it.

Jeremiah was right; “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Consider the following examples.

Mass murderers think they are good people

Sociologists at Ohio State were shocked when interviewing participants in the Rwanda genocide of 1994. In that horrendous act of evil, about a million Tutsis were murdered mercilessly by the majority Hutus. According to Phys.org, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, created by the U.N., listened as some 75 perpetrators of the murders testified about the reasons why they acted the way they did. Most of the murderers shoved memories of their actions into the background, and told interviewers they were such nice people, they couldn’t possibly be guilty of such crimes.

“Genocide has been called the crime of crimes, and these accused perpetrators very much understood that,” said Hollie Nyseth Brehm, co-author of the study and assistant professor of sociology at The Ohio State University.

“They were trying to protect their reputation. Rather than acknowledging their role, they emphasized what good people they were and talked about their good deeds and admirable character traits.

But are the Ohio State sociologists good people for rationalizing the rationalizers? Nyseth Brehm said, “When it comes to genocide, we like to think that the perpetrators are irredeemably evil, but they are notthey are psychologically normal people who are acting this way under social circumstances.” Brehm pretends to understand the evil within others, but in her view, isn’t she acting this way under social circumstances herself?

Contrived research supports political bias

Spanish sociologists, using a contrived questionnaire and a limited sample (240 students at one university, 80% female), concluded that conservatives are biased against minorities. This self-fulfilling prophecy was guaranteed by the materials and methods used in the study. Publishing in PLoS One, two sociologists, using apparent erudition and math, accomplished little more than confirming their own political ideology while pretending to be neutral. “In sum, our results contribute to the understanding of which specific components of the conservative values are related to the sensitivity to develop illusory correlations, which could be taking part in the development of prejudices against social minorities.” The lack of definitions, lack of controls and subjectivity make this paper worthless as a scientific study, though it mimics the format of a scientific paper.

Most scientific papers are wrong; evolutionists to the rescue

At New Scientist, a headline shocks readers: “Most science papers turn out to be wrong. It’s time to fix that.” The subtitle clarifies, “Research findings often crumble under the microscope. Rows over the best way to fix this must end so we can stop trust in science crumbling too, says Robert Matthews.” The article sounds like a bad cop movie script:

In these times of fake news, it’s good to know that there’s still one source we can rely on: the scientific community. Wielding rigorous standards of evidence, researchers can be counted on to give us trustworthy insights amid a sea of nonsense.

Yet this, too, is fake news. For decades, scientists have been using flawed methods for turning raw data into insight about, say, the effectiveness of a new medical therapy or method of teaching. As a result, the research literature is awash with findings that are nothing more than meaningless flukes. No less shocking is the fact that researchers have been repeatedly warned about the problem, to no effect.

The article ends by wallowing in bad news about unreliable statistics and lack of consensus about what to do. Matthews gives his final advice:

It is time for statisticians to bury their hatchets and reach a pragmatic consensus. Unless they do, researchers will simply stick with the flawed methods they’ve always used – and leave the rest of us struggling to tell the fake breakthroughs from the real ones.

But wait— who’s ‘the rest of us’, New Scientist? Aren’t you staunch evolutionists? So you’re expecting readers to believe you can “fix” the problem? Aren’t you the ones who think we are nothing more but evolved matter, and that morality evolves? Aren’t you the ones promoting survival of the fittest as the standard of morality? Who’s fixing the fixers?

More examples of self-deceived ‘scientific’ theories

You can tell a self-deceived theory because it is self-refuting when applied back to itself.

How truth wins in opinion dynamics along issue sequences (PNAS). In this paper, Noah Friedken and Francesco Bullo see ‘truth wins’ emerging in ‘natural systems’ of ‘opinion dynamics’ (i.e., interactions of people). “Consistent with all mathematically based science on dynamical natural systems, the goal of this field is to find an empirically supported parsimonious general mechanism of opinion updating that unfolds on any influence network topology and, thus, explains a large domain of observed realizations of influence system outcomes.” They think that ” the distribution of initial opinion errors (for all individuals nested in independent groups) evolves over time along an issue sequence toward a distribution in which the frequency of true initial opinions dominates.” But without the existence of an independent canon of truthfulness, their own paper falls under the evolving opinion dynamics within their own network topology (i.e., academia). As such, it is not true.

Evolution of flexibility and rigidity in retaliatory punishment (PNAS): Four evolutionists toss another ring into the common game within academia of evolutionizing all human behavior. They fail to realize that this mode of explanation undermines their own theory. If “Natural selection designs some social behaviors to depend on flexible learning processes, whereas others are relatively rigid or reflexive,” then logically it also ‘designs’ the social behavior of writing papers about evolution.

Working group urges better access to safe abortion, in developing world (Medical Xpress). What, exactly, is a ‘safe abortion’? This is like pretending there is such a thing as safe murder or safe suicide. This article uses the word ‘safe’ 30 times, and ‘health’ five times, as in the ‘World Health Organization’ working to provide more access to ‘safe’ abortions. The authors of this article, and all those working on the project, presume that an abortion is ‘safe’ if only one person dies instead of two. But if more babies die because of easier access to ‘safe’ abortions, is ‘world health’ better?

‘My genes made me do it:’ Behavioral genetic evidence in criminal court (Phys.org). The authors of this article worry that genetic evidence can backfire in court:

The use of genetic data to establish a physiological basis for violent or impulsive criminal behaviors is occurring more frequently in criminal trials. However, a new review finds that genetic evidence used in the courtroom is not likely to be effective in convincing judges and juries that the defendants are less culpable for their actions.

The self-refuting nature of genetic determinism is easily seen here. If violent criminals are not culpable because of free moral agency, then neither are scientists and criminologists responsible for their theories. They pretend to have rational reasons for presenting genetic evidence that could exonerate criminals, but according to their own worldview, their genes make them behave this way.

Why does divorce run in families? The answer may be genetics (Science Daily). Another notion based on genetic determinism is that certain people are genetically predisposed to divorce. This idea is based on a false syllogism: Premise: Genes control behavior. Observation: Divorce often runs in families. Conclusion: Genes are responsible.

The study’s findings suggest that it might be useful for therapists to target some of the more basic personality traits that previous research has suggested are genetically linked to divorce, such as high levels of negative emotionality and low levels of constraint, to mitigate their negative impact on close relationships.

“For example, other research shows that people who are highly neurotic tend to perceive their partners as behaving more negatively than they objectively are [as rated by independent observers],” Salvatore said. “So, addressing these underlying, personality-driven cognitive distortions through cognitive-behavioral approaches may be a better strategy than trying to foster commitment.

This advice presupposes objectivity, but where is the gene for objectivity?

Remember when you find that word ‘useful’ in a science article to ask, ‘Useful to whom?’ By reflexively applying these psychologists’ own notions to themselves, we could suggest it might be ‘useful’ to cure their genetic disease of self-refutation by employing a strategy that mitigates the underlying, personality-driven cognitive distortions about objectivity through use of cognitive-behavioral approaches on the psychologists.

When we see self-deception in others, we have to ask about the degree it occurs in ourselves. Since humans vary widely in opinions, and because our sense organs are not reliable, the only standard for objective truth is the Creator. Jesus declared himself to be “The way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), and said, “Follow me” (Matthew 16:24). The Light of the World leads us out of the darkness of self-deception into the light of truth. But how do we know He is the true light, that lights every man that comes into the world (John 1:9), when other messiahs proclaim themselves bringers of enlightenment? Jesus offered a test: “You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15-19) Scientists who concoct self-refuting ideas or rationalize evil bear fruit that devours itself; this cannot be right. Christ not only taught principles that nourish the good fruits of love, humility and altruism, He demonstrated his truthfulness by fulfilling numerous prophecies about coming to save sinners, by dying on the cross in our place, and by rising from the dead.

Secular materialists who pretend to speak truth would run in circles if they relied on their own self-refuting ideas. So they plagiarize notions of objective truth from the Judeo-Christian worldview – the only worldview testifying that objective Truth is real, and having evidence to back it up.

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