william.scherk

From the master of Freud debunkers, the book that definitively puts an end to the myth of psychoanalysis and its creator

Since the 1970s, Sigmund Freud’s scientific reputation has been in an accelerating tailspin―but nonetheless the idea persists that some of his contributions were visionary discoveries of lasting value. Now, drawing on rarely consulted archives, Frederick Crews has assembled a great volume of evidence that reveals a surprising new Freud: a man who blundered tragicomically in his dealings with patients, who in fact never cured anyone, who promoted cocaine as a miracle drug capable of curing a wide range of diseases, and who advanced his career through falsifying case histories and betraying the mentors who had helped him to rise. The legend has persisted, Crews shows, thanks to Freud’s fictive self-invention as a master detective of the psyche, and later through a campaign of censorship and falsification conducted by his followers.

A monumental biographical study and a slashing critique, Freud: The Making of an Illusion will stand as the last word on one of the most significant and contested figures of the twentieth century.

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Reading: Freud, the Making of an Illusion

I've mentioned the author Frederick Crews a few times on OL** ... and now I am ploughing steadily through his book "Freud, the Making of an Illusion."  

It's the kind of book people reserve the word 'magisterial' for, so far.  The subject is Freud's story-telling, in essence, and the divergence from the actualities. Crew is the first to exploit the new availability of previously censored or suppressed materials.  He has previously rubbished mythic Freud in some earlier work referred to by the lesser term "tour-de-force."

What will appeal to the Objectivist or Objectivish is the hard line, the hard line for reality trumping bullshit.  Crews was the first to achieve a kind of encyclopedic knowledge of the Freudian-derived Recovered Memory movement and its associated Satanic Ritual Abuse allegations, trials and injustices. He was able to 'wrap it up' like a good prosecutor, with an at-my-fingertips-knowledge of what went down where and when and how and why.

A good taste of what would be to come were you to purchase or borrow the book comes from its Preface, which I quote from (you can also Look Inside at Amazon):

Among historical figures, Sigmund Freud ranks with Shakespeare and Jesus of Nazareth for the amount of attention bestowed upon him by scholars and commentators. Unlike them, he left behind thousands of documents that show what he was doing and thinking from adolescence until his death at age 83. Although many of those records were placed under lengthy restriction by followers who felt both financial and emotional incentives to idealize him, that blackout has at least partially expired by now. More revelations will emerge, but they are unlikely to alter the outlines of Freud's conduct and beliefs as they appear in the most responsible recent studies.

[...]

Of course, hardcore partisans can be counted upon to dismiss this book as an extended exercise in Freud-bashing -- a notion that gets invoked whenever the psychoanalytic legend of lonely and heroic discovery is challenged. To call someone a Freud basher is at once to Shield Freud's theory from skeptical examination and to shift the focus, as Freud himself so often did, from objective issues to the supposedly twisted mind of the critic. Like other aspects of Freudolatry, the charge of Freud bashing deserves to be retired at last. The best way to accomplish that end, however, is just to display the actual record of Freud's doings and to weigh that record by an appeal to consensual standards of judgment.

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  1. totalismCult Warning Signs

    william.scherk posted a blog entry in Friends and Foes

    ...One of the many astute chroniclers of this time wasFrederick Crews, whose "The Memory Wars" still stands out above the rest. I note in passing his most recent book, a stunning tour de force in my opinion. See Freud: The Making of an Illusion. I have mentioned his work a couple of times here...
  2. william.scherk

    Solving a Puzzle-- Understanding Some People's Reactions

    william.scherk replied to Philip Coates's topic in Objectivist Living Room

    ...ThenFrederick Crews saved me. He let me see that crashing through the Dominant Discourse of Freudian Bullshit was a dangerous job. Those who had peddled that shit all the years were deadly opposed to being pushed off their thrones, their departmental thrones, their kingdoms of influence and tenure...
  3. william.scherk

    Emotions as products of Ideas

    william.scherk commented on nealelehman's blog entry in neale's Blog

    ...readFrederick Crews on Freud/psychoanalysis, anything you can get by Allen Esterson, Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen, Frank Cioffi, and the very interesting current-philosophical-outrages site Butterflies and Wheels , a British site that is part of my regular reading. My favourite living philosopher is Susa...

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On 8/8/2018 at 4:36 PM, Darrell Hougen said:

Yikes!

My error, not Crews's.  I use the Chrome speech-to-text dictation extension [WSS: Added link Aug 9 ] SpeechnotesX Voice-typing

Quote

Yikes again! Is that the alternative to objective standards of judgment?

Well, he is appealing to the general reader, who may understand 'consensual' as process of concerted scrutiny and the fruits thereof, scrutiny in the mode of scientific, legal,  historical reasoning, argument and 'state of the art.'  A  standard agreement with reality.  If you read it in context the alternative is Freudian hand-waving and slophouse epistemology.

Thanks, both gentlemen, for your one-liners and scoffs.  This book may not be for you, and not because it has 700 plus pages.  If you read a chapter, I imagine you would be thrilled to have a strong argument against the evasions and bullshit of Freud apologists.

 

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William, I just ordered Crews’ “Freud, the Making of an Illusion” at Amazon, thanks to your mentioning it and after reading the reviews there. Although I’m well acquainted with Freud’s many bad arguments, cheating and outright lying in propagating his “science”, not to mention his often otherwise reprehensible behavior, I think that a book with some 700 pages can still furnish me some juicy new details about the life and methods of the Viennese quack. Thanks for the recommendation!

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I will definitely read this.

Freud deserves to be bashed, especially for his "theory" that girls experience anxiety at lacking penises  as they grow up. Most girls would tell you they would feel much more anxiety at suddenly acquiring one.  Even before I had a clear idea of what a penis is (and you would be shocked at how old I was when that happened) I knew that this idea was fantastically ridiculous.

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I'm not going to debate about Freud. I see him in a much different light.

OK, OK. I'll mention one thing. I like that, lacking scientific material at the time to use as a standard, he relied on timeless myths and stories to draw up his hypotheses and theories and otherwise work out his ideas about human nature. These stories work like the telephone game where you call one person, tell a story, that person calls another to repeat the story and so on. By the end of the chain, the story is completely different. But if you look, there are parts that remained the same. This is an indication of something in common with all the people in the chain. Do that over centuries and what is left over in the stories is universal resonance. Freud relied on really ancient stories that are still told today. Those who see how this works make millions. George Lucas, for example, says thank you very much. :) 

I do want to mention something, though. As a general rule, be careful with presentism. This is a term used by historians for a certain form of anachronism. It means replacing ancient contexts with current standards, then judging the people of the time through the modern lens, usually blaming them for "being so stupid" or immoral or whatever.

For example, Galileo, Kepler and Newton not only believed in alchemy, they worked hard at it.

Calling them quacks because of this is a case of presentism.

Michael

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1 hour ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

I'm not going to debate about Freud.

Thanks. It isn't interesting for everyone ...

Who does debate about Freud, or at least engages in discussion with Freud-supporting analysts, researchers, and apologists --  is Frederick Crews. For those who don't want to buy or borrow a five pound book (or, of course, in Kindle format), there are a few non-paywalled articles from earlier in his career. I recommend a couple for those who want to give his arguments a shake and a look-see. 

For example, you can read a part of an extensive exchange of letters and view from 1995 (from the New York Review of Books): Freud and Memory: An Exchange | Matthew Hugh Erdelyi, reply by Frederick C. Crews

Another exchange is Return of The Freud Wars, also in the NYRB in late 2017.

The Guardian has a revealing exchange between Crews and notable psychoanalyst Susie Orbach. The article is How we feel about Freud: Susie Orbach and Frederick Crews debate his legacy. I include a section from the top of their to and fro. I highlight one bit that could intrigue Michael:

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Frederick Crews: No one disputes the enormous extent of Freud’s influence. The question before us is whether we ought, on balance, to be grateful for it. You revere Freud because he helped to make us the sages we are pleased to be – people who can’t even “think about what it means to be human” in non-Freudian terms. But perhaps it is time now to remove those blinders and think afresh.

If, as you say, psychoanalytic theory has functioned as a powerfully shaping “explanatory tool”, surely it matters whether Freud’s explanations ever made empirical sense. If they didn’t, the likelihood is considerable that he raised false hopes, unfairly distributed shame and blame, retarded fruitful research and education, and caused patients’ time and money to be needlessly squandered. Indeed, all of those effects have been amply documented.

In your writings, you assert that Freud’s emphasis on the Oedipus complex was androcentric and wrong; that he misrepresented female sexual satisfaction and appears to have disapproved of it; that envy of the penis, if it exists at all, is not a key determinant of low self-esteem among women; and that his standard of normality was dictated by patriarchal bias, thus fostering “the control and subjugation of women”.

This list, which could be readily expanded, constitutes an indictment not only of harmful conclusions but also of the arbitrary, cavalier method by which they were reached. Yet elsewhere in your texts, you refer to Freud’s “discovery of the unconscious” and to his “discovery of an infantile and childhood sexuality”. Were those alleged breakthroughs achieved in a more objective manner than the “discovery” of penis envy? What are the grounds on which any of Freud’s claims deserve to be credited?

Susie Orbach:  We are on different planets here. My job is to listen, to engage with the world of the analysand, to hear their difficulties, confusions, conflicts, agonies and questions. These don’t come pre-formed. There is nothing formulaic about the conversation in the consulting room. It is a space of exploration.

Knowledge is provisional. It is not static, and the kinds of knowledge of the consulting room exquisitely express this. [...]

Here's another fairly short recent Crews piece from the NYRB, "Freud, What's Left?" -- a review of Freud: In His Time And Ours, a book by Elizabeth Roudinesco ... it's behind a paywall for non-subscribers, but the gist is lit.

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[...] The trouble was, however, that by 1953 there were two competing creation myths. According to the one that Freud himself had propagated, all of his female patients had told him that they had been molested in childhood by their fathers; but Freud had stumbled across the Oedipus complex when he realized that those “memories” were only fantasies serving to disguise the girls’ own incest wishes. Freud’s published papers from 1896, however, along with his recently recovered letters to his best friend of the 1890s, Wilhelm Fliess, exploded that tale; it was Freud himself who had tried, unsuccessfully, to convince his patients that they had been abused. Moreover, the Fliess letters showed that Freud had initially thought of the Oedipus theme in connection with his own “hysteria”; and he had abandoned his “seduction theory” emphasizing childhood abuse many years before deciding that every psychoneurosis is rooted in repression of the Oedipus complex.

Which of the two imperfect stories was Jones going to tell, the one about Freud’s ceasing to believe his female patients or the one about his flash of introspection, assimilating all humankind to his own nervous case? If Jones had been writing for the sake of historical truth alone, he would have had to choose—or better yet, to expose the dubious features of both hypotheses. The point, however, was to encourage faith in psychoanalysis; and so, as in the gospels, Jones…

Faith!

 

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1 hour ago, william.scherk said:

(Quoting Frederick Crews): No one disputes the enormous extent of Freud’s influence. The question before us is whether we ought, on balance, to be grateful for it. You revere Freud because he helped to make us the sages we are pleased to be – people who can’t even “think about what it means to be human” in non-Freudian terms. But perhaps it is time now to remove those blinders and think afresh.

William,

This kind of sanctimonious bullshit is, to me, er... sanctimonious bullshit.

Just from this paragraph alone, I see it is religion without a traditional god. Anything but critical thinking. After all, if this guy can't even get his readers correctly identified, how in hell is he going to do anything but wallow in gotchas, some valid and some not?

I neither love or hate Freud. Yet to this genius, despise or worship Freud are the only two options available, except maybe being brainwashed by Freud for the human cattle and avoiding this brainwashing for the Superior Man (like him, for instance).

Horseshit, to use an academic term.

Yes, I am glad Freud busted through the taboos of the times so that others could follow in developing psychology. No, I don't worship Freud, nor even agree with him on many things. And I am neither brainwashed nor an elitist. (I own up to crazy at times, though. :) )

I gave my reasons for liking Freud. I find the kind of evidence he used in the absence of anything else a very good attempt at making sense of the unknown. Let Crews make his career off the back of Freud. People like him always do since they could never equal the work of a pioneer in a million years. The good news is Crews will never succeed in replacing the good things Freud did with Crews's own string-of-gotchas mythology--not without a state censor for the world and a hell of a lot of propaganda. In the age of the Internet, I doubt that will ever take.

I notice you did not mention presentism and the danger of it with Crews's kind of analyses.

No worries. I don't expect you to.

Michael

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3 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

I do want to mention something, though. As a general rule, be careful with presentism. This is a term used by historians for a certain form of anachronism. It means replacing ancient contexts with current standards, then judging the people of the time through the modern lens, usually blaming them for "being so stupid" or immoral or whatever.

For example, Galileo, Kepler and Newton not only believed in alchemy, they worked hard at it.

Calling them quacks because of this is a case of presentism.

The point is not so much that Freud was wrong about so many things, but that he has become famous by unscrupulous behavior, lying about his supposed "successes" (which were completely imaginary), while having great pretensions about being a scientist and innovator, so that is fame was totally undeserved. That is what makes him a quack, and to condemn him for that is not "presentism", as we have a good counterexample in Charles Darwin, who lived even somewhat earlier than Freud, and who was by all standards, also current ones, a brilliant scientist, even if he for example was wrong about the mechanism of heredity. Darwin: an honest, scrupulous scientist with great respect for the facts, Freud: a lying, deceiving charlatan who had little regard for the facts (and who had great contempt for his patients).

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On 8/8/2018 at 6:20 PM, william.scherk said:

My error, not Crews's.  I use the Chrome speech-to-text dictation extension [WSS: Added link Aug 9 ] SpeechnotesX Voice-typing

Well, he is appealing to the general reader, who may understand 'consensual' as process of concerted scrutiny and the fruits thereof, scrutiny in the mode of scientific, legal,  historical reasoning, argument and 'state of the art.'  A  standard agreement with reality.  If you read it in context the alternative is Freudian hand-waving and slophouse epistemology.

Thanks, both gentlemen, for your one-liners and scoffs.  This book may not be for you, and not because it has 700 plus pages.  If you read a chapter, I imagine you would be thrilled to have a strong argument against the evasions and bullshit of Freud apologists.

 

Hi William,

I don't mean to be dismissive. I figured the first was a typo, but the second I couldn't let go. Of course, the alternative to Crews is not Freud. That's a false dichotomy. I've never been a big fan of Freud or of psychology in general. I can't claim to know enough about Freud's views to really critique them, but the little I've read or heard sounds like nonsense. Piaget and other early childhood developmental psychology are probably better.

Adult psychology has the misfortune of being contaminated by politics. One's opinions about the proper rolls of men and women in relationships and society are often colored by one's political views. If those opinions are used as the standard by which one judges whether a person has a psychological problem or not, then the standard of normalcy is also contaminated by politics.

Having said that, I think the idea that standards of truth should be "consensual" or determined by consensus is misguided. In one of your other quotes above, Crews uses the term "objective" which is the usual standard of scientific truth. Rand imported the term "objective" into the realm of morality, but objectivity is certainly not unique to Objectivism.

And no, I don't plan to read Crews's book on Freud. I'm not that interested in Freud, among other things.

Darrell

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, Max said:

The point is not so much that Freud was wrong about so many things, but that he has become famous by unscrupulous behavior, lying about his supposed "successes" (which were completely imaginary), while having great pretensions about being a scientist and innovator, so that is fame was totally undeserved. That is what makes him a quack, and to condemn him for that is not "presentism", as we have a good counterexample in Charles Darwin, who lived even somewhat earlier than Freud, and who was by all standards, also current ones, a brilliant scientist, even if he for example was wrong about the mechanism of heredity. Darwin: an honest, scrupulous scientist with great respect for the facts, Freud: a lying, deceiving charlatan who had little regard for the facts (and who had great contempt for his patients).

Max,

So why do you think Freud's work has been taken seriously by so many people over the years? Because humanity is nothing but stupid people who believe--and keep believing for long periods of time--lies merely if they are told by a cunning liar?

The only times I am aware of when a lie has been accepted by many people for a long time is when power is involved. Those in power like to lie to keep their power, and since they control propaganda arms, they keep their messages alive among the people they control.

I can't think of any power structure that needs to keep presenting lies about Freud. So I am at a loss to understand his endurance if lying is the standard. (I have my own theories about Freud's value and endurance, but, from your hostility to Freud, I doubt a discussion would be fruitful. But I'll try a little.)

Here's an interesting case for you, Margaret Sanger. She was a eugenicist and bald-face racist who wanted to abort and sterilize black people until there were none left on the face of the earth. She literally wanted the black gene pool eliminated from humanity. Would you call that quackery? Evil quackery at that?

But she is used by feminists as a figurehead all the way up to today. Including black feminists. Since she opened the first birth control clinic in the US, her story is useful for feminists as an origin story. So they downplay her evil unscientific side--a side that she presented as science. In other words, they try to erase her "quack" stuff from public knowledge. Why? Because of power. The people who use her managed to get and keep power. (Why that is is another discussion, but basically power-mongers of this nature do bait and switch well.) 

Now think of this. Eugenics was an extremely popular pseudoscience at the time of Freud. Eugenics was among Sanger's scientific expertise. At time time, there were lots of scientific papers on eugenics, scientific conventions, etc., and yes, lots of unwarranted claims. For some reason, after it became evident that it was a pseudoscience (a vile one at that), people stopped believing in it.

As an aside, it is making a comeback among elitists through genetic engineering, cloning, artificial intelligence, and so on, although they don't call it eugenics because that name is toxic (especially after the Nazis). These knuckleheads literally want to breed the bad people (to them) out of the human race. But, being elitists, we see power emerge again as one of the primary motivations.

Back to Freud. People have never stopped believing in the power of myths as a door into the subconscious once he showed how it worked. It didn't work perfectly, but it did work (and worked well enough to get psychology rolling). I don't agree with calling that quackery. I consider that to be one of Freud's main contributions to mankind. 

You say your evaluation is not based on presentism. So do you know of another school of psychology at the time Freud started that was solid enough to use as a standard to call Freud a quack? Would you call the doctors who fought the black plague in the Middle Ages quacks? The only reason not to is because they had no other standard to compare against at the time. So why is that process different for Freud?

I know a little about psychology. I don't think Freud's more outlandish claims are taken seriously by anyone these days. Yet his legacy persists. Why? I'm not convinced that the "people are suckers--full stop" concept is the correct explanation. I hold there are parts of Freud's work that are true, but I'm not going to read a 700 page gotcha book that seems to be written solely to dubunk every word Freud said, including "the" and "and" so I can play gotcha with the author (or his fans) in order to check that idea. The mere fact that Freud put psychology on the map as a science is a great enough achievement for me.

On another point, I'm not much up on Freud's dishonest promotion of himself (frankly, I'm not much up on Freud), but if that is your main reason to call him a quack, you probably are not a fan of marketing and advertising. :)  Yet without marketing and advertising, most of which is based on exaggerations and, yes on some concepts handed down from Freud that work (I can give examples going back to Eddie Bernays when he first tried a Freudian idea with his "Torches of Freedom"--which is a great story, but outside the scope here), products would not get sold. Also, there's a lot of stuff we use in our everyday lives you would have to call quackery since dishonesty has often been a character flaw of creative geniuses throughout history. (Google this and you will find a lot of information on it.)

We don't have to like that this is the case, but to ignore it is to blank out reality.

We can surely keep the good ideas of people with character flaws and dismiss the bad stuff. In fact, that's exactly what people do over time. That's how technology and the growing bank of shared knowledge has progressed and has resulted in the marvels we see today all around us. And it's how I imagine it will continue to progress.

Quack by quack, one quack at a time... :) 

(btw - That's a quip. I say that in case you happen to have a weak funnybone. :)

Michael

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On ‎8‎/‎9‎/‎2018 at 4:46 PM, caroljane said:

I will definitely read this.

Freud deserves to be bashed, especially for his "theory" that girls experience anxiety at lacking penises  as they grow up. Most girls would tell you they would feel much more anxiety at suddenly acquiring one.  Even before I had a clear idea of what a penis is (and you would be shocked at how old I was when that happened) I knew that this idea was fantastically ridiculous.

Last year?

--Brant

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Here are a couple of interesting angles by which to approach the critical work of Frederick Crews ... and any enduring greatness of Freud's work (or 'discoveries' or what have you) ...  I was searching the OL archives for previous mentions of Freud and psychoanalysis.  The first is from a thread on Thought Field Therapy:

On 10/6/2010 at 9:00 AM, Jerry Biggers said:

It is much easier to make extravagant claims to the public and back it up with anecdotal personal testimonies, than it is to submit your theories and evidence to academic scrutiny. Usually, those who avoid this sort of thing are wary of having their claims examined by scientific methods (although, in reply, they sometimes make the specious claim that the professional journals refused to publish their research because of bias against them).

Scrutiny is the key term in Jerry's comment, I think.  Objective, critical, reality-based inquiry, to my mind.

The second excerpt is from a thread touching on Kant.  Here Michael takes a moment to lay out key concepts in epistemology -- and a useful discipline in approaching disputes.

On 7/27/2008 at 1:40 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

There is one tendency in many Objectivist intellectuals that bothers me and you just demonstrated it. I want to step outside the different ideas a moment and talk about a method of reasoning and discussing. I mention this because I had to discipline it in myself and in no way am I trying to be hostile.

Jonathan challenged your praise of a person who was not accurate and he cited where the inaccuracies and misrepresentations were. (And it went way beyond the game of "Gotcha!") You let the inaccuracies and misrepresentations slide with your endorsement because you identify with the poster's attitude.

I can't think of anything that weakens an Objectivist argument more than this kind of rhetorical behavior. What it communicates between the lines is:

"I don't care if he's wrong. He's one of mine and he struck a blow for truth (etc. etc. etc.), so to hell with the facts. Facts are not all that important. You don't need to acknowledge them."

Within a context of ideas, this transmits that reason is not the governing value in the discussion, but the tribe is.

I also see Objectivists defend this tribal behavior by calling certain questions dishonest and using that as an excuse not to answer them. (You don't do that.)

Nowadays, I hold as a personal standard that anytime anyone questions the accuracy of what I state or what I endorse, I check it. Accuracy is a premise that always needs checking. It is never a waste of time.

Then I comment on the charge of inaccuracy. It is either correct or incorrect. If it is correct, I alter my statement or endorsement and if it is incorrect, I tell the person he/she is wrong and show where.

From the same posting:

On 7/27/2008 at 1:40 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

I'm a bit of a stickler for accuracy. The more I live, the more I tune out arguments that are based on inaccurate facts, even when they are right (for the wrong reasons).

I have learned to use my own mind in the following manner (I actually chose this): get the facts right, then evaluate.

I have seen too many instances for comfort of Objectivists doing the following (I used to do this): instantly evaluate, then fudge the facts.

The present case is one of those instances. It's just not necessary to fudge facts. Fudging facts weakens arguments to everyone but a small clique.

 

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William,

If this previous post is a gotcha on my view of Freud, it doesn't work. (I appreciate the quotes, though.)

The only thing about Freud I have agreed with openly is his use of mythology (and ancient stories still told today) as a door into the subconscious--and, of course, him putting psychology on the map as a science. This is because I know these things for a fact, and I also know for a fact they have greatly benefited mankind.

I have not seen you address either. 

I prefer not to read a 700 page book debunking the Oedipus complex, Electra complex, death drive, etc., for the same reason I would not read a 700 page tome aimed at debunking Behaviorism. 

Both have things in them that are true and useful, but both involve a lot of errors, scope problems, etc. Besides, that stuff has already been superseded by modern psychology and neuroscience. So what's the point of this attack?

Why don't we go back and gotcha the shit out of spontaneous generation or phrenology or something while we're at it? I mean, there are a couple of 700 page projects just waiting for the zeal of people like Crews to produce to save the world from their toxic influence. Might be bestsellers, who knows?

:) 

Michael

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15 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

So why do you think Freud's work has been taken seriously by so many people over the years? Because humanity is nothing but stupid people who believe--and keep believing for long periods of time--lies merely if they are told by a cunning liar?

Why do you think religion or Marxism has been taken seriously by so many people over the years? I don’t think that has happened because humanity is nothing but stupid people (although there are no doubt many of those), but because many people have been indoctrinated from early childhood, absorbing the cultural ideas of their time and environment. That doesn’t tell us much about the quality of those ideas or of their originators and propagators (except perhaps that they were clever manipulators).

In America still 80% of the adult people believe in God, and 56% believe in the God as described in the Bible. Worse still: 38% believe in a young Earth creationism, i.e. that the Earth is at most 10000 years old. The fact that many millions of people in a modern western society believe something that is demonstrably false and contradicts everything in sciences like physics, astronomy, biology and geology, shows that the number of adherents to a theory doesn’t say much about the validity of that theory.

 

15 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

You say your evaluation is not based on presentism. So do you know of another school of psychology at the time Freud started that was solid enough to use as a standard to call Freud a quack?

 

The criterion for calling someone a quack is not whether his theories are wrong – any serious scientist can be wrong. But if you know that your data don’t support your theory but chose to suppress that knowledge and fake your results, if you make up your data out of whole cloth, if you insist in propagating your pet theory while you know or should know that the facts don’t support it, then you are a quack.

 

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38 minutes ago, Max said:

... because many people have been indoctrinated from early childhood, absorbing the cultural ideas of their time and environment. That doesn’t tell us much about the quality of those ideas or of their originators and propagators (except perhaps that they were clever manipulators).

Max,

Really?

Who indoctrinated the first peasants in the communist overthrow in Russia?

That's a premise you need to check.

Michael

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Max,

I'll give you a hint.

59 minutes ago, Max said:

Why do you think religion or Marxism has been taken seriously by so many people over the years?

That's an easy question to answer.

Because they satisfy deep human needs (even Marxism does in its own perverted way).

You will not get reason, Rand, science or anything else to satisfy those needs by ignoring them. You will not erase these human needs with a syllogism.

People feel thirst because thirst indicates a need, so they seek water and water satisfies this need. People feel certain disquiets and longings because these indicate a deep need, so they seek belief and belief satisfies this need. History bears this out since people keep believing by their own volition. Religion is present in all cultures in all times.

This means reality (in this case, the deep human need) will assert itself no matter how much one ignores it.

Let me give you another hint.

The correct reasoned approach is not, "Why do people believe in stupid things?"

That's just a vanity question aimed at making the questioner feel superior.

The correct reasoned approach is, "What human needs are satisfied by belief in general, and stupid things in particular?"

There are many other correctly reasoned questions like this (including, "What is the deep human need or needs being satisfied?"), but this will do for now.

If you ever get curious, this is an excellent starting-point to check some premises.

Michael

 

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A decent little summary article at RationalWiki that is not too snarky, on varieties of "Presentism."  Michael's warning is useful, especially if one can discern where and how an alleged 'presentist' argument has been made, and if/how therefore it is fallacious. 

[I note a non-technical term starting with the letter "Q"  has appeared 16 times so far in this thread ... obviously a portent. ]

Quote

 

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13 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Who indoctrinated the first peasants in the communist overthrow in Russia?

That was not the question, the question was “Why do you think religion or Marxism has been taken seriously by so many people over the years?” or your original question: “So why do you think Freud's work has been taken seriously by so many people over the years?”, implying that it must have some value if people have swallowed it for such a long time.

My question was a variant to show that longevity of an idea is no guarantee for its correctness.

 

13 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

That's an easy question to answer.

 Because they satisfy deep human needs (even Marxism does in its own perverted way).

Perhaps Freudianism also satisfied deep human needs. But that still doesn’t make it valid. Anyway, in modern psychology it is practically a dead horse.

Further, I’ve no ambition to save humanity, but when I see a quack I’ll point out that he is a quack. A modern version is for example Andrew Wakefield, whose fraudulent nonsense about vaccination and autism is still believed by millions of people, with disastrous results.

 

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There has never been any science in The soft sciences. Hence never any science in Freud. The implication of this book seems to be that if you get rid of the fraud what's left over is room for science. That may be except mental illness is a metaphor.

--BRANT

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6 hours ago, Max said:

That was not the question, the question was “Why do you think religion or Marxism has been taken seriously by so many people over the years?” or your original question: “So why do you think Freud's work has been taken seriously by so many people over the years?”, implying that it must have some value if people have swallowed it for such a long time.

Max,

This is a sidestep. I asked a question you apparently don't want to answer because your premise is flawed.

Your premise? Something can have a continuation without a beginning.

But if something does not have a beginning, how can it have a continuation? In other words, if people did not originally take Freud's views seriously, how could they continue to do so? If people did not take Marxism seriously in the beginning, how could they continue to do so?

So why did they originally take the ideas seriously? Look there and you will see that indoctrination does not fit, therefore it cannot be the fundamental reason people continued to take the ideas seriously.

This is Logic Connected to Reality 101. Causation and all...

Granted, in the few metaphysical positions in Objectivism, reality has no beginning. But that position does not extend to human ideas and their influence on humans.

Michael

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So, for those commenting here (and dear readers) --  who will not be reading the book, and who have not perused any of the links to Crews's other work -- do you have any book suggestions?  I mean, if you accept the broad strokes of the Freud Myth, can you point to a book you have read (or even articles you have read) on Freud?  

I will give one author suggestion: Allen Esterson. Has anyone read of him or his work on Freud's "Seduction Theory"?

Brant, you are partially-correct. Freud gave up his work as a neurologist by the time he visited la Salpetriere and became an acolyte of Charcot -- although he had been trained as a neurological anatomist. 

For a "Sparks Notes"  reduction of the story of Freud-Neurologist and his 'pioneering' work with cocaine ... see the site where I filched this paragraph:

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[...]

One of Freud's most promising areas of research, which he conducted on his own time, had to do with a drug that had only recently been made available in Europe: cocaine. Although the effects of the coca plant had been known for quite some time, it was only in the 1880s that refined cocaine–the active ingredient in the coca leaf–became widely available in Europe. Freud was one of the first researchers to attempt a systematic exploration of its effects on the mind and body. The results of his earliest experiments–mostly introspective reports of cocaine's effects on his own mood, wakefulness, and somatic symptoms–were published in July of 1884 in a paper called "Über Coca" ("On Coca"). His generally assessment of the drug was extremely optimistic: he claimed that it might be useful not only in treating low mood but also in treating morphine addiction. [...]

[Crews new book covers the 'cocaine period' in Freud's life over eighty pages, starting at chapter 5 ...]

[Added: image grab]

whydidfreudabandonNeuroscience.png

Edited by william.scherk

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I recommend Jordan Peterson's views on Freud.

People should look at that if they want to see an intelligent perspective that (I imagine) differs wildly from Crews.

Besides, I suspect the attacks on Freud are indirect attacks on Peterson because he preaches self-reliance rather than nanny-state reliance. So this is as good a recommendation as any for those who want extra grounding in why the debate about Freud, of all things, rages.

At least the only political relevance I see in going after Freud these days is to try to undermine the credibility of a prominent intellectual who is becoming culturally effective--and not in a way the ruling class wants.

Michael

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4 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

I recommend Jordan Peterson's views on Freud.

People should look at that if they want to see an intelligent perspective that (I imagine) differs wildly from Crews.

Besides, I suspect the attacks on Freud are indirect attacks on Peterson because he preaches self-reliance rather than nanny-state reliance. So this is as good a recommendation as any for those who want extra grounding in why the debate about Freud, of all things, rages.

At least the only political relevance I see in going after Freud these days is to try to undermine the credibility of a prominent intellectual who is becoming culturally effective--and not in a way the ruling class wants.

Michael

I had not heard of Jordan Peterson, that is to say I had not read of him (and still haven't) except here from you, although the name rings a dim bell (insert joke here,my dear fans).

I can assure you that my reaction to the Crews' review had nothing to do with  indirectly attacking Peterson, and everything to do with my own reaction to Freud;s theories and the rarefied middle-class Viennese  social incubator in which he formulated them.  He assumed HerrS. and Fraulein C. were examples of he timeless father and daughter relations - yet he never touches on actual incest, or actual pedophilia,, - which  perhaps, never occurred except in fantasy, in his time and place,

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