via West Hunter
Who could have guessed that?
Some of the players are seriously bothered. Michael Inzslicht, a
dealer in stereotype threat and ego depletion: ” As I said, I’m in a
dark place. I feel like the ground is moving from underneath me and I no
longer know what is real and what is not.” It’s the end of the world
as he knows it – but I feel fine.
Cyril Kornbluth had a similar crisis of psychology occur in one of his novels, The Syndic.
One psychologist showed that a rival school’s constructs simply didn’t
correspond to the emotions and reactions of randomly-sampled
populations. He tried the same acid test on his own school’s constructs
and found out that they didn’t correspond either. That didn’t frighten
him: he was a scientist. (!) Everyone from full professors to
undergraduate students joined the feeding frenzy and wrecked everything
so comprehensively that the field ended up as dead as palmistry. Of
course, in the novel, the revisionists weren’t quite right: psychology
collapsed because of a massive outbreak of sanity – the neuroses had
gone away. I don’t think that’s our problem today.
Maybe we need to show some patience. Western medicine was worse than
useless for two thousand years after Hippocrates, but it all turned out
OK, not counting people like George Washington who would probably be
dead by now anyhow. Someone impatient might have shot all the doctors in
1600 and asked people like Pascal and Fermat to start over from
scratch: that would have been a dreadful mistake, surely? Alchemy had a
lot of practical results, unlike medicine, but it too generated false
theories for thousands of years. Maybe some of our current
pseudosciences (fengshui? molybdomancy?) will someday become real and
powerful. I’m not holding my breath, but who knows? There are more
things in heaven and earth.
Maybe we’ll see the end of science in some other area – say a
complete theory of physics, which would be particularly likely if we’re
living in a simulation. Then, with a little luck, we’d see a conquest of
the hallowed halls of psychology by red-handed physikers in search of
full-bodied wantons and grant support, just as displaced Huns kicked
The real question is what purpose should social psychology serve? If
the point is to learn new truths, trying to straighten out the existing
players is unlikely to be the most effective path. They don’t seem to be
terribly smart or insightful – if they were, they wouldn’t be in this
mess. They’re obviously not mathletes. They really, really want some
fairly silly things to be true – that’s a huge handicap, one that shows
no sign of abating. Judging from the state of the field, curiosity is
not their strongest passion.
If I were King, I would fire them all and start over with new
personnel. We have it in our power to begin the world over again.
There’s no point in being inhumane about it: we could retrain them for
jobs more suited to their capabilities (by teaching them THE WORDS).