Saturday, June 29, 2024

Famous Freud Critic Died

Evolutionary biology professor Jerry Coyne writes on the death of Sigmund Freud's biggest critic:
And having read a lot of Freud myself, being appalled as a scientist by its empirical vacuity, I agreed with Fred: Freud was simply a charlatan, fabricating theories that were never tested, pretending he had hit on the truth, and stealing ideas from others. As you know, Freud did, and still does, dominated the mindset of Western intellectuals. But Freud was also tendentious, an intellectual thief, and a miscreant in his own life, as well as a cocaine addict whose addiction influenced his work.
The strange thing is that Crews was a literary critic, not a scientist. Why didn't scientists expose Freud for what he was?
“Freud: The Making of an Illusion” was his most ambitious attempt to debunk the myth of Freud as a pioneering genius, drawing on decades of research in scrutinizing Freud’s early career.”

I read many reviews of that book, and virtually all were negative, for they were written by acolytes of Freud, many of whom, lacking a scientific mindset, had no idea that his theories were fabricated, false, or untestable. Even now Freud has a strong grip on the therapy culture, and you can still find expensive analysts who will make you see them several times a week at unbelievable prices. They may mutter a few tepid disavowals of Freud, but their technique is based on Freud’s model. ...

One unlikely cause that he devoted himself to in recent years was to assert the innocence of Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach who was convicted in 2012 of sexually abusing young boys and is now in prison.

“I joined the small group of skeptics who have concluded that America’s paramount sexual villain is nothing of the sort,” Professor Crews wrote in one article in 2021, adding, “believe it or not, there isn’t a shred of credible evidence that he ever molested anyone.”

He also went after “recovered memory therapy” in league with his friend Elizabeth Loftus (see my post here, which contains a comment by Fred). That, too, rests on no empirical evidence, but simply on the wish-thinking assertions of therapists and prosecutors.

I agree with all of that. The evidence presented in court against Sandusky was entirely based on recovered memories from those getting large financial settlements for claims.

I think that there is something wrong with the brains of those who believe in Freud. Or who believe in the guilt of Sandusky.

In the Sandusky case, it is not just that the accusers were biased or not credible. The whole story is wildly implausible, and unlike anything that has ever happened. It was a big news story precisely because it was so shocking, but none of it was true.

You would have to believe that an ex-employee was openly sodomizing young boys on the Penn State campus, with the knowledge and tacit approval of the administration and coaching staff. Impossible.

As for Freud, his legacy was promoted mostly by Jews. Freud was a secular Jew, and very much a hero to Jews and Jewish-inspired thinking.

Update: A Coyne comment argues for Sandusky's guilt, based on (1) many accusers; (2) he once used a public shower with an underage boy; and (3) his denial sounded lame.

Yes, there were about a dozen accusers, but they were all based on recovered memories from many years later, contradicting earlier stories. The shower may have been inappropriate, but not at all comparable to criminal sodomy. And we cannot decide guilt based on how he denies it.

But the real scandal is the accusation that the Penn State staff knew about horrible crimes and covered them up. That is absurd, and contrary to all the evidence.

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