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Joined: 9/13/2008
Msg: 15
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Is it a science?Page 2 of 2    (1, 2)
Pewople have been intensely studying human thought and behavior since before the written word was ever devised, in that sense, "psychology" is perhaps the most ancient of arts or sciences, even if not called that.
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 17
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Is it a science?
Posted: 7/31/2011 6:29:43 AM
Interesting thoughts. I've been watching Bones a lot, and they have the Bones character complain all the time that psychology isn't real science, but I hadn't thought to ask why. I'm glad for this discussion.

The idea that Freud, or any other early psychology person determines whether or not this is a science, is defective reasoning. If you follow THAT sort of thinking, then there are NO real sciences at all. EVERY scientific discipline has as it's progenitor, superstition, religion, and fantasy. All the sciences we have, evolved into what they are.

The claim that somehow Engineering or Architecture doesn't have real science to it, just because people ADD art to it, isn't a valid observation. Artistic concerns can be added to anything, without causing it to stop being what it is. Engineering in architecture does respond favorably to the "repeatable results" rule of science.

That any given scientific measuring instrument may be relatively inaccurate has NOTHING to do with whether or not the subject area is a science. If anything, discovering that a measuring device is flawed, can be the beginning of determining that a study IS scientific after all, and that it only SEEMED to fail the repeatable results test, due to inaccurate instrumentation.

From the standpoint that the most common definition of whether or not something is scientific, is whether or not the Scientific Method works with it, INCLUDING repeatable, verifiable experimentation, then psychology is NOT a science. In it's most basic form, to be a science, the SAME result must occur when the SAME experiment is followed, every time. What it IS, I couldn't say. The "soft science" label is okay by me, indicating that it is an area of study that DOES demand scientific DISCIPLINE, but can not pass the repeatable results test.
Joined: 11/14/2010
Msg: 18
Is it a science?
Posted: 7/31/2011 9:15:35 AM
I'm too old-school for this hemming and hawing. Something is it it ain't.
Science is when your girlfriend pees on a pregnancy tester from the drug store, it changes colors, and some months later a baby comes out.
When your marriage is not going well, and you both go to therapy to fix it, but next year you are divorced, that's BS, not science.
We have been led down this road of tunnel-vision, culling out those who do not fit the "norm" and attempting to fix them, either by therapy, drugs, or both. A nice and gentle society does not want stray dogs mucking up their paradise.
 SoILL Jim
Joined: 7/27/2008
Msg: 19
Is it a science?
Posted: 7/31/2011 9:16:56 AM
Yes it is science. The science of human behavior and mental processes.
Joined: 1/1/2011
Msg: 20
Is it a science?
Posted: 7/31/2011 10:33:13 AM
I am also okay with psychology falling under the soft science label mostly because until life is but a maze, you will never get all the rats to (re)act in the same and/or predictable and/or repeatable manner as they do in a lab. And even if some human patterns/behaviors/(re)actions can be predicted some, many or most of the time, there are enough differences and variations in our "sameness" to nullify the results that although may apply to some, many or most , do not apply at all to any one individual. To me, a hard science is more about things that are black and white and when it comes to beings, both the people and animal kind, nothing about them, or about the mind rather, is black and white.
Joined: 1/1/2011
Msg: 22
Is it a science?
Posted: 7/31/2011 12:03:15 PM
^ Huh? What does that even mean if you don't mind me asking?
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 24
Is it a science?
Posted: 8/3/2011 7:45:38 AM
Psychology certainly doesn't qualify as a hard science. Whatever psycologists try to do to incorporate scientific principles into psychology is a plus, but by it's very nature, can never be a hard science. You can't create people and subject them to a controlled environment to experiment on them. Even if that was technically possible, it would certainly be ethically questionable.
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 32
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Is it a science?
Posted: 8/12/2011 3:54:46 PM

do you view psychology as a science?
Yes and No.

if so, why?
It's the study of the brain and the mind.

if not, why?
Different sciences have changed over the years. Back in the middle ages and before, subjects like physics and chemistry were treated very much like the way psychology is viewed today, with lots of people holding lots of different hypotheses, based on their observations, with a lot of disagreements, and a lot of strange notions. The same was somewhat true of Mathematics in the times of the ancient Greeks, where Pythagoras burned a student because the student believed that negative numbers could exist.

Mathematics changed, and became integrated with cold, hard logic. It later on became accepted in mathematics, that one could only say something was true in mathematics, if it was proved 100% true, by a method that everyone would agree with, no matter what their views were. The same was true of saying something was false. Everything else could only have odds applied to it, and could not be said to be definitely true.

As a result, mathematicians had far less to say than experts in other subjects, but what they said was more reliable and stronger than solid titanium. You didn't even have to take their word for it either, because they had to have proofs that everyone could agree with, or it was no longer considered a mathematical proof.

Something similar happened in other subjects around the time of the Renaissance.

Mathematics was applied to art, to develop the rules of Perspective. This totally transformed art. Now, there was a method to draw and paint 3D objects, in ways that others could recognise instantly as 3D representations of the originals.

The rules of perspective also meant that such a method could be taught. So art was no longer a skill that one either was born with, or was not. It could be taught. So you could establish schools of art, in which people could attend, to learn how to draw and paint. Such schools meant that within the school, more forms of art could be explored, and rules could then be developed to help one make those art-forms to one's satisfaction. So this brought about continued development in art.

It also meant that how one should do art, had much more agreement and consistency. So there were far less arguments about how art should be drawn. One could still differ over which form of art one preferred to use. This was a matter of disagreement over personal preferences, and so was not an argument over what was right, but just a disagreement over individual tastes, which allowed each to accept that the other had their own tastes, and yet could still get on, and admire each other's artwork.

The same happened to physics and chemistry, even more than with art. Nowadays, mathematical precision and mathematical reasoning is found all over physics and chemistry.

The same can happen to psychology. I expect that eventually, someone will, just out of random behaviour, and will realise the benefits of exacting clarity of logic. I would expect that eventually, others in psychology will realise the same benefits, and so eventually, it will be handled much more like the way physics, chemistry, mathematics, and much of art is handled today.

This process does have resistance to it.

Such approaches bring such clarity that many views are clarified as being untenable. Those who work with those views in their careers would then find their career choices are no longer viable. They would have to change to another field of psychology, re-train, and work their way up again. So there is bound to be a lot of "career resistance".

Another form of resistance is "socioeconomic resistance". The changes in views, can lead to changes in society. Once these views start affecting government policy and/or how people do things, these changes to society can cause the same changes in careers all over society, as in the original field. So we see a lot of the same types of resistance.

Another form of resistance is "political resistance", such as when such changes will mean that internationally, our country's status will lower, and our standard of living and power in the world will decrease as a result.

Often the resistance is itself subconscious. Consciously many of us do not want to stand in the way of reason. Nevertheless, most of us seem to have a survival instinct. The above threats to our livelihood and socioeconomic status lower our existing probabilities of survival. So our survival instinct often kicks in, to keep our survival odds as high as we have been used to. The subconscious is a very powerful thing. It can invent complex rationalisations for us. It can even motivate us to argue ferociously on a subject, without us being aware of our own actions. We THINK we are fighting for the rights of women, children, etc. We THINK that we are trying to save the world. We are often only fighting for our own personal power.

Such resistance is not always so obvious. We tend to think of societal changes as affecting whole classes, like "the bankers". In reality, some people in most areas of society is affected, and some people in most areas of society are not affected. So there are lots of people who we think of as being unbiased, who are very biased, and lots of people who we think of as being biased, who are unbiased. We need to evaluate each person individually, because different people are affected by the same things in different ways.

It requires clear thinking to clarify who is and is not subject to this type of bias. Fortunately, this same type of logic can show us who is, who isn't, and who might be. So as long as we ourselves apply it, we then can have a much better idea of why some are for an idea, and some are against.

At this point, we have had a lot of experiments in psychology, with a lot of results, that been repeated again and again, and showed the same results, time after time. Many of these results have quite clear consequences. Many of these consequences, would, if accepted, would mean quite a few upheavals in society. Many of these upheavals would cause a massive change to the status quo, and these changes would mean that a LOT of people would no longer have the respect, power, and socioeconomic status that they currently enjoy. So, quite simply, their subconscious minds are filtering out these conclusions, keeping up the resistance to accepting these consequences.

As a result, we know a heck of a lot from many experiments in psychology, that we are simply not yet accepting.

It's going to take some time, for society to change in such a way, that these people no longer have a need for such subconscious resistance. In the meantime, we are given the impression that psychology is a foggy subject.
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