Is Psychology Schizophrenic?
Psychology is so stuck on an illogical paradigm, it is out of touch
with reality. As it tries to explain schizophrenia, it exemplifies it.
— Belief in evolution is psychology’s form of mental illness. Why? It commits intellectual suicide (proof). —
Many people act strangely; that is beyond doubt. Observation proves it. Patients who seem out of touch with reality cause “normal” people great distress. Watching irrational behavior in patients challenges scientific views of the mind, and challenges the best specialists to figure out how to help those who suffer. Psychologists give it a label, “schizophrenia,” but naming something is not as good as explaining it or solving it. Has materialistic Darwinism been a hindrance or a help?
Challenging the standard paradigm of schizophrenia research (EPFL News, 2 Sept 2022). EPFL in Switzerland bills itself as “one of Europe’s most vibrant and cosmopolitan science and technology institutions.” Someone in the Life Sciences section showed some courage to challenge a big paradigm: what is schizophrenia?
The press release begins by admitting “we don’t know the exact causes of schizophrenia,” and yet calls it a “mental disorder”. Is it really mental? Is it physical? Is it part both? Out of the ignorance comes some guesswork. Scientists, we are told, “think it may arise through a combination of genetics, environmental factors, and problems with the brain’s chemistry and structure.” Combo plates of causes are undesirable in science, because they bring subjective leeway for multiple recipes.
One thing psychology should be able to do by now, if they cannot explain it, is measure it. At the very least, psychologists should be able to differentiate between patients and non-patients. Modern psychology and psychiatry have access to unprecedented technology, like MRIs and CT scanners, to find out what’s going on. But psychologists seem to be out of touch with reality themselves.
Still, most researchers in the field tend to focus on a single paradigm that allows them to establish clear-cut differences between people with schizophrenia symptoms (“patients”) and people without them (“controls”). Researchers attempt to uncover the genetic, neurophysiological, and cognitive mechanisms that might underlie the abnormalities of schizophrenia patients in this specific paradigm. This is what is known as a deep-rooting approach to understanding schizophrenia.
After well over a century of observing, science should know some successful treatments. EPFL professor Michael Herzog finds a flaw in the ointment, a paralysis in the paradigm.
“In many experimental paradigms, the differences between patients and controls have large effect sizes,” says Professor Michael Herzog at EPFL’s School of Life Sciences. “This shows that the experiments are detecting important aspects of schizophrenia, but it also raises two questions: what do these abnormalities have in common, and how representative are they of the disease?”
They say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Psychologists and psychiatrists can’t seem to let go of their obsession with EEGs (electro-encephalograms), using them as divination tools to gain understanding.
The EEG does often seem to find a signal differentiating patients from controls. Dr Herzog looked at 194 EEG results from 121 patients and 75 controls. As hoped for, 69 out of the 194 scans showed a significant difference between them. “But, surprisingly,” Herzog found, “correlations between these EEG features were very low.” What does that imply?
There is no single interpretation of this unprecedented finding. “One interpretation is that all the EEG features pick up a different aspect of the disease, which really demonstrates how heterogeneous schizophrenia is,” says Herzog.
This trusted tool, the EEG, is not able to distinguish whether the cause is genetic, environmental, chemical, or something else. It’s not telling researchers what they thought it would. If this problem were restricted to EEGs with schizophrenia patients, it would be bad enough. But there are worse possibilities:
“Beyond schizophrenia research, our results show that significant group and experimental differences may tell us much less than usually assumed,” says Herzog. “Even significant results with large effect sizes may tell less than what most people believe.”
More Paradigm Blinders in Psychology
The materialist bent in secular psychology often shows up in articles about mental health. The presumption is that behaviors are caused by physical brain states. Are scientists confusing cause and effect? Consider the power of paradigms in the following recent articles.
With ‘chemical imbalance’ theory in doubt, what’s next for depression care? (Medical Xpress, 6 Sept 2022). This paradigm shift is huge. Millions of patients have been treated with SSRIs (chemicals that boost serotonin levels) on the theory that depression is caused by a “chemical imbalance” in the brain. But how much of the apparent benefit was psychosomatic? And what harms were done by messing with this hormone?
Psychiatric experts, however, say that this understanding of depression was disproven long ago. The theory was first proposed in the 1960s and was promoted heavily in the 1990s when pharmaceutical companies started developing and marketing this new class of antidepressants tailored to this theory.
While SSRIs were moderately effective in clinical trials, the serotonin theory was never proven. And the latest research suggests there is no one cause for depression.
On July 25 on Fox News, Tucker Carlson railed at the pharma industry and the NIH for pushing SSRIs that he thinks have contributed to a generation of drugged young people and parents using pills to keep children under control, with no serious investigation of potential side effects. He finds correlations between violent behavior and the rise of SSRI use. We can’t confirm that here, but if Big Pharma has been making millions of dollars pushing pills based on unproven theories for decades, that alone is a major scandal.
How does nature nurture the brain? (Max Planck Institute, 5 Sept 2022). Changes in the amygdala can be observed in people who took walks in the woods. What does that mean? Does the environment alone have powers to change brain states through physical neurons alone? Are scientists missing something? Is there no soul or spirit involved?
How the brain focuses on what’s in mind (MIT, 5 Sept 2022). Are the neuroscientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology becoming substance dualists? The title differentiates between brain and mind, as if they are distinct. Read on and see that they use “mind” to refer to a power in animals. They appear to be talking about working memory as a physical thing. You decide.
“All the phenomena we think that is important working memory, the bursts of spiking the bursts of gamma are doing what they should do,” Miller said. “It’s all becoming more focused when the animals are performing a working memory task and that naturally reduces the variability. It shows how these new rhythmic elements of working memory are totally compatible with your brain focusing its activity on the task at hand.”
Cognitive neuroscience at the crossroads (Nature Editorial, 24 Aug 2022). This editorial encourages critical thinking about interpreting data from common procedures such as brain scans after two studies showed a lack of reproducibility and robustness in widely-used techniques. Calling this a “growth spurt” in the field, the editors repeat the myth of progress that cognitive neuroscience is improving. The editors (largely evolutionary materialists) seemed to miss the irony in their statement that the corrections “prompted some soul-searching that will hopefully move the field towards more robust work.”
Adults who, as children, had half their brain removed still able to score well with face and word recognition (Phys.org, 17 Aug 2022). This article underscores how much science knows about the brain and the mind. It might also cause doubt about the old myth of brain size as a measure of intelligence in human ancestors.
What makes the human brain different? Yale study reveals clues (Yale News, 25 Aug 2022). With its big lead photo of a hairy chimp pondering reality, this press release underscores the dependence of modern psychology on evolutionary theory. Do you think Yale profs are going to pin human uniqueness on a soul created in the image of God? Think again. Their minds are focused on cells and brain parts.
“Today, we view the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex as the core component of human identity, but still we don’t know what makes this unique in humans and distinguishes us from other primate species.” said Nenad Sestan, the Harvey and Kate Cushing Professor of Neuroscience at Yale, professor of comparative medicine, of genetics. and of psychiatry, and the lead senior author of the paper. “Now we have more clues.”
To better understand these differences, the researchers first asked whether there are there any cell types uniquely present in humans or other analyzed non-human primate species. After grouping cells with similar expression profiles they revealed 109 shared primate cell types but also five that were not common to all species. These included a type of microglia, or brain-specific immune cell, that was present only in humans and a second type shared by only humans and chimpanzees.
This is materialism in action. But like C.S. Lewis quipped, they failed to think about thinking. He said,
The Naturalists have been engaged in thinking about Nature. They have not attended to the fact that they were thinking. The moment one attends to this it is obvious that one’s own thinking cannot be merely a natural event, and that therefore something other than Nature exists. The Supernatural is not remote and abstruse: it is a matter of daily and hourly experience, as intimate as breathing.
By thinking thoughts with only their cells, Yale psychos claim to have more clues while remaining clueless.
Scientists need philosophers and theologians to critique what they think they know.