Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Scientism and Sugar Research
I dropped out of grad school in 1974. I was in the Developmental Psychology Dept. at Teacher’s College, Columbia University when I was offered a 4 year fellowship to get an Ed.D. in the Education Dept. there. Piagetian Developmental Theory was just emerging at that time and it was perfect for helping me understand the entire range of my interests, from the Mathematics of Scientific Research to understanding Consciousness and LSD. I even got to be in the back of a room with a couple of hundred other developmentalists for a visit by Piaget to NYU in '74.
In considering projects for a doctoral dissertation, I was very much interested in two topics. The personality correlates of parental style and the issue of cognitive matching for learning theory. Apparently, still two of the most important issues in the world IMHO, that most everyone is deluded about. I realized at the time that I was clever enough to design a study that could prove anything I wanted, and that there were folks out there as clever as me, with opposite opinions and we would spend the rest of our lives doing that dance.
I pretty much ‘knew’ what was true. I was becoming much more interested in ‘why’ I believed what I believed, actually where do beliefs come from, etc. I had read Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, I had just become aware of some of Stan Grof’s work on ‘levels’ of consciousness, which combined with Piaget placed me solidly in what I started to call Developmental Epistemology.
What I was beginning to formulate, now well established by a number of thinkers, especially Ken Wilber, is that there are basically five levels of Belief Systems - Tribal, Religious, Science, Postmodernism and Integral. They function as classic Stages in that each stage solves problems that the previous cannot, and organizes information in a ‘better’ way. For instance, to offer one of Kuhn’s best examples, Lavoisier’s Elemental Theory is ‘better’ at explaining a whole bunch of chemical and physical phenomena than Phlogiston Theory.
So how is it that a plethora of ideas, equivalent to Phlogiston Theory, prevail in the marketplace of ideas today? WTF is happening with all of the falsification of evidence, as well as false accusations of falsification, that seems to dominate discourse?
We find out ‘the Sugar Industry’ paid researchers at Harvard in the early 60s to ‘cook the books’ on the medical data, lie about fundamental research to make it look like something was true that wasn’t. Millions of lives damaged. No one is really shocked. We are used to the idea that ‘Science’ has been coopted, perverted, undermined, suppressed, rejected, and fundamentally pimped. It seems that money and power have been able to buy it, that same money and power has taken over the media, military, police and we are all slaves to it.