by Denyse O'Leary
One thing I really like about Ben Wiker is his zero level of popular illusions. For example, here is what he says about Sigmund ("all you really want to do is kill your father and marry your mother, and religion is really about your messed-up relationship with the dad you killed and ate - back when you were a cave man, which is why you don't remember") Freud:
Most of this speculation was impure fantasy, a bizarre projection of Freud's fundamental wish that religion be discredited by the most salacious conjectures he could conjure.
[ ... ]
Contrary evidence from experts didn't bother Freud or his devout disciples, however. His wish that his theory be vindicated had determined his use of the experts to begin with. "What he wanted from the experts," notes [biographer] Gay, "was corroboration; he pounced on their arguments when they sustained his own, disregarded them when they did not." In a spectacularly uncritical and hence revealing outburst written near his life's end, Freud defended his cherry-picking of evidence and his obstinate refusal to accept the ever-mounting counter-evidence gathered by ethnologists against his theses: "I am not an ethnologist, but a psychoanalyst. I had the right to pick out of the ethnological literature what I could use for my analytical work." (pp. 172-73)
Somewhat like the right Darwinists give themselves to seize on some minor bit of information that supports their case, and ignore the vast mountain that doesn't.
Freud was in the "man as beast" tradition of Hobbes:
... for all the claims of Freud's originality, he is ultimately indebted to Hobbes for his assumptions and also to those who followed Hobbes's lead. (And to be fair to Freud, he realized that what he was saying had already been proclaimed by "other and better men" who stated it "in a much more complete, forcible, and impressive manner. We are also not surprised, given the length of the pedigree of this view and the centuries it had to seep into the soil of the West and poison it, that the notions of the holy criminal and anti-social hero would eventually take hold of the intelligentsia and hence the popular imagination. (P. 169)Wiker's comments, touched a nerve, at least for me, because I have so often found my nerves grating against films in which some criminal is portrayed as holy (with grossly inappropriate and dramatically unlikely explanations for his behaviour) and some anti-social hero is portrayed as somehow the righteous one (which so rarely happens in real life).
Freud's star has fallen pretty far these days, because the current epidemic of false knowledge has replaced him with evolutionary psychology, which has the advantage of offering us a bigger circus, including lots of apes and monkeys.
The most significant question is, how did Freud's ideas ever get taken seriously in the first place? I remember when they were absolutely dominant in popular culture, and on the lips of every local pundit. For that, I fear, there will be no accounting.
Next: Ten Worst Books 9: Margaret Mead's Coming of Age in Samoa (1928)
Toronto-based Canadian journalist Denyse O'Leary (www.designorchance.com) is the author of the multiple award-winning By Design or by Chance? (Augsburg Fortress 2004), an overview of the intelligent design controversy. She was named CBA Canada's Recommended Author of the Year in 2005 and is co-author, with Montreal neuroscientist Mario Beauregard, of The Spiritual Brain: A neuroscientist's case for the existence of the soul (Harper 2007).
No Pingbacks for this post yet...
|<< <||> >>|
Evolution has become a favorite topic of the news media recently, but for some reason, they never seem to get the story straight. The staff at Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture started this Blog to set the record straight and make sure you knew "the rest of the story".
A blogger from New England offers his intelligent reasoning.
We are a group of individuals, coming from diverse backgrounds and not speaking for any organization, who have found common ground around teleological concepts, including intelligent design. We think these concepts have real potential to generate insights about our reality that are being drowned out by political advocacy from both sides. We hope this blog will provide a small voice that helps rectify this situation.
Website dedicated to comparing scenes from the "Inherit the Wind" movie with factual information from actual Scopes Trial. View 37 clips from the movie and decide for yourself if this movie is more fact or fiction.
Don Cicchetti blogs on: Culture, Music, Faith, Intelligent Design, Guitar, Audio
Australian biologist Stephen E. Jones maintains one of the best origins "quote" databases around. He is meticulous about accuracy and working from original sources.
Most guys going through midlife crisis buy a convertible. Austrialian Stephen E. Jones went back to college to get a biology degree and is now a proponent of ID and common ancestry.
Complete zipped downloadable pdf copy of David Stove's devastating, and yet hard-to-find, critique of neo-Darwinism entitled "Darwinian Fairytales"
Intelligent Design The Future is a multiple contributor weblog whose participants include the nation's leading design scientists and theorists: biochemist Michael Behe, mathematician William Dembski, astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez, philosophers of science Stephen Meyer, and Jay Richards, philosopher of biology Paul Nelson, molecular biologist Jonathan Wells, and science writer Jonathan Witt. Posts will focus primarily on the intellectual issues at stake in the debate over intelligent design, rather than its implications for education or public policy.
A Philosopher's Journey: Political and cultural reflections of John Mark N. Reynolds. Dr. Reynolds is Director of the Torrey Honors Institute at