Wednesday, 12 December 2007

But is it Scientific?

No. The study of psychotherapy, paranormal events, and spirituality - to date - are not scientific. By its very definition science is repeatable objective observation of a phenomenon. And those topics do not easily lend themselves to an objective study. The nature of these topics there is some undefineable quality, something we know is there but cannot measure. Does that mean that they are less valid or true - nope. But in our current culture it seems that we value science over just about everything else. And unfortunately in my area of work and study, if I don't order my values this way I tend to be thought of as someone who is in the wrong field. One of the professors even said that yesterday at the talk - the presenter had people who believed in a higher power or something bigger than themselves to put up there hand, and some of us (me included) did. And the prof essentially said that although our beliefs were up to us, we should think hard about whether we were in the right field. I know I am where I need to be - perhaps not the right area of research, thus I am switching, but in academia. I feel a sort of calling - I am good at what I do and when I'm in the right lab I feel really passionate about what I do. When teaching I get a sort of excitement that I don't get from other work interactions. So the professor is wrong - I am in the right field and these beliefs can co-exist if we want them to.

I hope this makes sense because I am quite tired. I didn't sleep very well or solidly last night. But now I am going to a PhD thesis defense that could last 2 hours. I am glad - my job is to sit and listen and show my support of the student (who is a friend/acquaintance).

1 comment:

Coach Susan said...

Catie,
Not having read blogs for a while I am completely out of the loop on all your writings but your blog is so full of little gems (like this one!) I feel compelled to comment on each.

That's insanely cheeky of that fellow to call out his colleagues for what amounted to public humiliation! I would be tempted to report him to some academic authority. I can't decide whether that is the least of his sins or the greatest.

His "logic" is flawed in so many ways, not least of which is evidenced by a long solid tradition of church men and women upon whose history and great work he himself stands (my Catholic women's college's science building was named after the monk Gregor Mendel). Modern Science owes its very existence to practices such as alchemy. The man obviously needs a sound education in the History of Science. Although, it's doubtful he would ever get one. Scientists, being human, are not above a bit of revisionism.

I'd rather have you teach me science than the presenter who considers himself more of a scientist because of the rigidity of his thinking. How on earth can a "I can't see it so it's not there" person ever formulate theories, let alone prove them?

Ultimately, scientists like this make me laugh since they themselves are merely espousing yet another "Belief System" called Science but are in such denial of their own humanity that they cannot see it for what it is.

I would far rather have you as a teacher. Allowing for different beliefs, thoughts, and backgrounds will make you infinitely more sensitive and successful in passing on science's version of Truth.