The tyranny of pseudo experiments is that so many of the young are sucked into an emotional assessment that has nothing to do with reality. My education has been in various areas, one of which is psychology. Now you may argue that psychology is not a science when talking about the clinical or social side of the room. And I will grant your that the state of educational psychology leaves much to be desired. But once we start talking about the cognitive side of the room we are talking real science. Perhaps that is why when taking my degree I concentrated on that school of psychology. Of course I have been reading about psychology ever since I read my first primer on Freud at the age of fifteen and then continued on through the various stocks of learning. Behaviorism does have a great deal of value although at the time I thought running rats through mazes was little more than stating the obvious. It would take many years of reading a great many of the “giants” of psychology to separate the chaff from the wheat. I still hold that Rogers is an ass. And on that point there ate many who will argue that I am wrong.
Clinical psychology, which is the old code word for abnormal psychology, rarely does much in terms of experimentation. Indeed, most of the experimentation is more about psychotropic drug therapies than anything else. Mental illness, which is a rather tenuous definition, tends to defy our ability to both determine its exact causes as well as to find therapies that will work. It is far easier to find a cure for cancer than it is to find a cure for schizophrenia. One can become functional in society without leading a “quality of life” that many “normal” individuals enjoy. The problem with “mental illness” is that: one, it doesn’t fit the medical stereotype of illness, you know, an individual have a fever or a broken bone; and two, we may often warehouse those individuals diagnosed with some form mental disability. Now many of the socially progressive are horribly ignorant as to what constitutes mental illness and how it may be dealt with as a medical condition. Unless you have had the close contact of living with or caring for someone with such a mental illness disability you cannot begin to imagine the problems. Such care giving affects the mental health of the caregiver. In other words, crazy people can make you crazy, too.
Social Psychology seeks to understand the interactions of social phenomena to individual and group behavior. This really is not a true science for there are no formula that can be deduced from behavior, either individual or group. Most of the tenants of Sociology have been disproved as virtually worthless. So much for Weber’s protestant work ethic. It carries some weight but not much in the long run. The problem with human behavior as represented by the clinical, the educational, and the social psychology schools of thought is that there are not amendable to the rigor of scientific observation and law. Yes, we do observe but any laws we claim to deduce are subject to the verification of experiment. We do deduce a few general principles and maybe a few specific laws, if we are lucky, but human behavior really does not lend itself to and tried and true laws, rules, or regulations. So much of the experimentation is limited to questionnaires where data collection is subject to experimental design. We can do observations of behavior but such behaviors are subject to interpretation. Not exactly two plus two equals four type of proof.
so that brings us back to individuals of goon intentions but back experimental design. such individuals seek to prove their theories, a no no in experimental design. One seeks to prove the null hypothesis, that is, it is not true that my hypothesis is true. The reason for the negative proof is that we want to eliminate bias. But these “social experiments” do anything but that. If one wants to prove that modern society has no humanity one devises and experiment that will prove that point. Think of it as a self fulfilling prophecy. such experiments induce error by their very design. Thus if one dresses up a twelve year old child in the manner of a homeless child with a sign that is full of spelling mistakes that says this child only wants to collect money for his or her younger sister to have a full meal, then the assumption becomes that the average American sees homeless children on the street as an everyday occurrence. Yet most individuals fail to fall for the bait. Is this evidence of a lack of humanity in our society? If I see what appears to be a twelve year old begging on the streets in America I assume the child is a “professional beggar” and I will call the cops to take the child into custody. sounds cold hearted but consider that we employ thousands of child welfare professionals that should be addressing this very nature. Child, where are your parents? This isn’t India where parents or individuals rent themselves out as objects of charitable giving. If one is disabled once can rent oneself out to professional beggars. I’ve seen it many times. and yes, I am cold hearted because I give no money. But that is a moral judgment on my part.
So we have a great many, for the lack of any other phrase to describe these individuals, social con artists whose main function seems to be to drum up adherents to their cause and possibly become donors to the cause, a nice living if you can convince enough people. The tip off is the appeal to emotion rather than to moral activism. Are there homeless children? Yes, the cities have their fill of children from the age of thirteen to the age of eighteen that are classified as children and who are homeless. But these individuals are homeless by design. That is, they will not accept parental authority and hence leave home for the streets. Should we be giving them money for their defiance, their drug use, their refusal to play by the rules? Now we are entering uncharted territory. It is not a matter of humanity, it is a matter of defiance. will I support such a thing? No, better call child welfare services and have these children picked up and placed in detention centers. It’s not my job to support their defiance or parental authority. Are their parents jerks? Yes, but so were mine, at least I though they were. Yes, I suffered from some abuse. But I never stood on a street corner asking for spare change to support a drug habit.
So why write this post? I fell into a trap. There are many teenage bloggers that find these idiots with their videos purporting to tell a truth about humanity. this is the harm that is done, these teens believe all they see and so are surprised if one comments about the stupidity of such videos. It shakes their faith in “humanity” because quite innocently they believed they were helping to expose the lack of humanity as shown by these charlatans. It leaves them scarred and less willing to post such controversy. Perhaps that is a good thing but I think not. This is one of the problems with “social media”, those who have the least knowledge and experience are thrown to the wolves.