2 of 3
2
Jean Mercer - Child Development: Myths and Misunderstandings
Posted: 18 June 2011 01:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2425
Joined  2007-07-05
Jean Mercer - 18 June 2011 05:08 AM

Yes, there’s an Amazon quotation from him (K.V.) among the reviews of the Berne books.

How can a successful writer not be psychologically astute?  Possibly even more so than someone who gets their psychological knowledge from books and courses.  A writer needs to get inside readers’ heads to create characters that they want to read about.  Many psychologists just need to get hired by bureaucracies.

I was simply indicating the difference in the number of reviews between the two books and the majority of rating for The Games People Play are 4 and 5.

psik

 Signature 

Fiziks is Fundamental

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 June 2011 01:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  14
Joined  2011-06-14

Being “psychologically astute” is not the same as having studied the evidence from systematic research on mental and behavioral phenomena. A “psychologically astute” novelist attributes to his characters thoughts and feelings that are congruent with his potential readers’ beliefs about the nature of human beings. Popular psychology like TA also is congruent with what many readers already think, so they like it.

Actual psychologists (most of whom are not psychotherapists) use systematic investigation to test their own and other people’s beliefs about human beings, and quite often they find that the evidence doesn’t support those beliefs. Then a lot of people don’t care to hear about it. You may remember the flap some years ago when a meta-analysis showed that most children who are painlessly sexually molested don’t have any problems as a result of their experiences.

If you are using the term “psychologist” to mean “psychotherapist”, we’re definitely talking at cross-purposes here.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 June 2011 02:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  14
Joined  2011-06-14

Thanks for the promotion , Barrett Dorko. PT and PH people have made wonderful contributions to this issue (evidence basis), and to the essential issue of transparency of reporting.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 June 2011 04:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  8
Joined  2007-06-25

Thank you. I’ll tell my readers you responded personally. It’s rare.

A long discussion regarding further problems with evidence may be found here, “Is Evidence-based Practice Making Us Stupid?” http://www.somasimple.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5828

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 June 2011 12:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
Jr. Member
Avatar
Rank
Total Posts:  10
Joined  2011-06-18

Well, the guest made mention that her initial rocket science comparison was probably going to draw angry letters from rocket scientists ... but the way she delivered the comparison still leads me to believe that she thinks it’s a good one.  Well, here’s the “letter” smile

While I think the guest discussed some interesting material, and I think her work is very important, she does herself a disservice by making the comparison, which reveals a profound ignorance of what rocket science is (disclosure: I don’t work as a rocket scientist anymore, but I have Aero/Astro degrees from Caltech and Stanford, and am pretty qualified to speak on the subject). 

In our language, rocket science and brain surgery are held up as the epitomes of complexity.  I’m sure many people would like to think that what they do is more complex than those two subjects.  So, there’s a natural pissing contest aspect to this.  That said, rocket science actually is tremendously complex. 

The guest’s description seems to imply that she thinks rocket science is the same thing as a simplified computer model of rocket science.  A discipline where everything has an exact answer, where you only have to plug in the right variables, and the computer spits out a black and white answer.  She described her science as being one where you could only get average answers, that still had an inescapable variation on either side of that average, because of the complexity and variability of human psychology.  In fact, that’s exactly what happens in rocket science, too.

For example, one of the difficult problems in rocket science is picking materials that hold up to the extremes of temperature, pressure, radiation, speed, vibration, etc.  When you use engineering materials, you don’t know when those materials will fail.  You have estimates, based on alloys of a given assumed composition (aluminum isn’t just aluminum, and steel isn’t just steel, and nothing is pure).  You try to predict failures with statistics that suggest a certain lifetime, but everything down to microscopic flaws in the material will influence whether you achieve the life cycle estimate, or have early failures. 

Another example is that rockets don’t get teleported into space.  To get there, and get back (if they come back), they have to go through the atmosphere, and that subjects them to weather.  I hope everyone understands that there’s no equation that predicts weather with perfect certainty.  Remember Challenger?  Even in space, you have solar weather (e.g. cosmic radiation) that fluctuates, and will affect the operation of electronics.  We’re still struggling to predict sunspot activity, as followers of recent climate science news will note.

Perhaps one layman’s impression of rocket science concerns orbital mechanics, which is one and only one part of rocket science.  Within an environment with no atmosphere, some of the orbital mechanics equations can be quite precise.  However, when the spacecraft is relaying data back to the ground, or even to its onboard computers, it doesn’t know where it is or how fast it’s going.  It only knows what sensors tell it.  Sensors do not know truth.  They only estimate measurements, and there’s error in any physical sensor.  Part of rocket science concerns how to interpret the sensor data, and make corrections to yield the best result.  Anyway, I hope this brief explanation offers a look into some of the complexities of the field.  Obviously, I could go on indefinitely about nuances of rocket science completely lost on general technical minds.

I know rocket science wasn’t the topic of the podcast, but I never like to see scientists undermine their message with faulty logic, or false claims.  Statements like the one made by the guest only demonstrate ignorance, and distract some members of an audience from the intended content.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 June 2011 05:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2425
Joined  2007-07-05
n8r0n - 20 June 2011 12:31 AM

The guest’s description seems to imply that she thinks rocket science is the same thing as a simplified computer model of rocket science.  A discipline where everything has an exact answer, where you only have to plug in the right variables, and the computer spits out a black and white answer.  She described her science as being one where you could only get average answers, that still had an inescapable variation on either side of that average, because of the complexity and variability of human psychology.  In fact, that’s exactly what happens in rocket science, too.

I think she is right that brains and psychology are more complex than rocket science.  But I think rocket scientists could do a better job with psychology if they were interested.  Psychology is too complicated for most psychologists.

My college psych book had the statement, “Intelligence is what intelligence tests measure.”  I couldn’t stop laughing.  But that is actually a famous statement from the 1920s by a psychologist.  Non-psychologists are not supposed to see how dumb that is.

psik

 Signature 

Fiziks is Fundamental

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 June 2011 05:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  14
Joined  2011-06-14

That’s actually a perfectly good operational definition, but if you want to spend your time discussing whether rocket scientists are smarter than psychologists, I’ll leave you to it.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 June 2011 11:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  14
Joined  2011-06-14

Eh? Why heavy on the Ms.— just out of curiosity?

As for being co-author of PBB, this was a misstatement made by Karen Stollznow and her staff (if she has one?), and I just didn’t think it was important enough to correct. PBB is an edited book and I am one of the contributors, not a co-author in the usual sense. The editor, Dale McGowan, who manages that website, had the idea for the book and contacted a number of people to ask them to write essays bringing their own ideas and expertise to the issue as it’s defined in the book’s subtitle. My piece is about the process of moral development and how it is and is not related to religious instruction. I thought McGowan got a pretty broad selection of contributors, including the Rev.Dr. Roberta Nelson, who wrote a piece called “On Being Religiously Literate” which I thought was excellent.

In short, I didn’t “feel the need”, nor did I agree with everything in the book (try agreeing with everything Penn Jillette says). I did accept the invitation as an interesting challenge to my ability to connect developmental research with a real-world problem, and of course as a way to review in my own head my personal and parental experiences with this issue.

Domokato seemed to want me to describe some myths. I did speak of a couple on the interview— the very disturbing Primal Wound myth, for one. But i don’t think I’ll type out all the others! Get your library to buy the Myths & Misunderstandings book, guys.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 June 2011 11:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  9301
Joined  2006-08-29
byenzer - 21 June 2011 10:23 AM

BTW:  George, did you ever come across that link you mentioned?

I believe it was in HERE somewhere.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 June 2011 03:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  782
Joined  2009-07-17
George - 16 June 2011 07:04 AM

Dawkins is wrong and he should know better by now as he was explicitly told by the psychologist Steven Pinker while discussing this topic that parents have no influence on the behaviour and the personality of their children—if I find the link I’ll post it later.

Really? (I don’t mean that as flippant as it may come across. I’m genuinely interested.) Perhaps naive on my part, but doesn’t parents use of negative and positive rewards alter behavior? My continually reminding my children to ‘use their manners’ and correct them when they don’t, won’t alter their behavior? If so, weird.

I’ve often argued with my wife about various conventions of parenting we use for teaching manners, et al. Having different parents (whew!) we learned different social conventions. Simple but different. Like elbows on or off the table during a meal. Neither is fundamentally right or wrong, but the conventions instilled in us as children sure seem to follow us into adulthood. (Assuming I ever get all the way there. smile)

Take care,

Derek

 Signature 

“It is noble to be good; it is still nobler to teach others to be good—and less trouble.”—Mark Twain

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 June 2011 08:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2425
Joined  2007-07-05
Jean Mercer - 21 June 2011 05:18 AM

That’s actually a perfectly good operational definition, but if you want to spend your time discussing whether rocket scientists are smarter than psychologists, I’ll leave you to it.

Yeah, assume the validity of your testing instrument and just go from there.  Nice circular logic.

Physics does not care how smart people THINK they are.  It either works or it doesn’t.  The thinking has to conform to reality.  Is that SANITY? LOL

psik

[ Edited: 22 June 2011 08:29 AM by psikeyhackr ]
 Signature 

Fiziks is Fundamental

Profile
 
 
Posted: 26 June 2011 05:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1482
Joined  2009-10-21

My position, based in part on growing up in a freethinking family, is that it’s more important to encourage critical thinking about the development of human beings than it is to turn every discussion to a battle against theism.

Jumping in a little late here, but I like Nicholas Humphrey puts it:

“If it is ever the case that teaching this system to children will mean that later in life they come to hold beliefs that, were they in fact to have had access to alternatives, they would most likely not have chosen for themselves, then it is morally wrong of whoever presumes to impose this system.”
Nicholas Humphrey, Oxford Amnesty Lecture, 1997

Profile
 
 
Posted: 27 June 2011 04:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  14
Joined  2011-06-14

But—if they don’t later come to hold beliefs that otherwise they probably wouldn’t have chosen for themselves, then it wasn’t morally wrong? And what determines whether they do or don’t come to hold those beliefs? Seems to me something’s missing from this argument. Why isn’t it morally wrong no matter what the outcome is, if it’s morally wrong at all?

And wouldn’t this argument apply equally well to table manners?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 27 June 2011 06:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  14
Joined  2011-06-14

How have I gotten sucked into talking about religious instruction?! I suppose this has happened because of my objection to Dawkins’ statement that it’s child abuse.

Here are a couple of thoughts about that issue:

1. Every adult functioning as a parent provides religious instruction— that is, instruction on his or her beliefs about the origin , nature, and obligations of human beings (the essential material of any religion). This is done by modeling and indirect statements when it’s not done by direct instruction. It’s part of socialization of a child into the family and the community. Absence of belief in organized religious dogmas or in supernatural forces does not mean absence of religious instruction.

2. Whatever one teaches or refrains from teaching children about religious beliefs, the action is not child abuse. Child abuse is a name for actions that cause direct and immediate physical harm to a child; actions that create delayed harm or emotional harm are more usually called neglect. Dawkins’ statement is an an exaggeration for rhetorical purposes, and to take it literally is to downplay the serious plights of children who are starved, burned, beaten, and imprisoned by adults. To say that religious instruction is child abuse is to make the term child abuse meaningless.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 27 June 2011 07:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3121
Joined  2008-04-07
Jean Mercer - 27 June 2011 06:17 AM

How have I gotten sucked into talking about religious instruction?! I suppose this has happened because of my objection to Dawkins’ statement that it’s child abuse.

Here are a couple of thoughts about that issue:

1. Every adult functioning as a parent provides religious instruction— that is, instruction on his or her beliefs about the origin , nature, and obligations of human beings (the essential material of any religion). This is done by modeling and indirect statements when it’s not done by direct instruction. It’s part of socialization of a child into the family and the community. Absence of belief in organized religious dogmas or in supernatural forces does not mean absence of religious instruction.

2. Whatever one teaches or refrains from teaching children about religious beliefs, the action is not child abuse. Child abuse is a name for actions that cause direct and immediate physical harm to a child; actions that create delayed harm or emotional harm are more usually called neglect. Dawkins’ statement is an an exaggeration for rhetorical purposes, and to take it literally is to downplay the serious plights of children who are starved, burned, beaten, and imprisoned by adults. To say that religious instruction is child abuse is to make the term child abuse meaningless.

Oh boy, another example of our linguistic limitations. We have had lengthy discussions on the problems caused by different interpretations of “religion.” Now the difference between abuse and neglect are mucking up things. Your definitions of abuse and neglect are not necessarily universally accepted. For example, look at the helpful link HERE that defines the terms somewhat differently. Specifically, your separation based on immediate versus delayed harm is not found. Indeed, sexual abuse is often a delayed harm and is certainly not properly defined as sexual neglect.
There are degrees of theistic religion and there are degrees of abuse and neglect.

Certainly Dawkins’s statement would apply to fundamentalists who withhold medical care from their child while “providing religious instruction.” I believe you are taking Dawkins’s claim a bit to strongly and you may not be taking the damage done by some theistic parents strongly enough. I can see situations where I agree with you and some in which I do not.

 Signature 

Turn off Fox News - Bad News For America
(Atheists are myth understood)

Profile
 
 
   
2 of 3
2