Blog Two – Evolution and Psychology

My major is psychology, specifically a B.S. in psychology, and evolution, as well as biological and other science in general, has played a very interesting part in shaping my academic experience. In my “hard” science courses (biology, chemistry, physics, etcetera), the foundation and content of the knowledge presented was objective, quantitative, experimentally backed information. Psychology, a social, or often described, “soft” science, studies the psyche, whose nature presents a lack of easily measured and manipulated variables; preventing it from being approached in the same quantitative manner. This has allowed for highly conflicting opinions, a lack of objectivity, and the application of political ideals in research and presentation. I have found the political slant and rhetoric presented, so often unambiguously, in, alongside, and through my psychological textbooks and lectures jarring and scientifically unprofessional.

I began my college career as a genomics major, however after working in a laboratory for two years, I found the type of working environment that accompanies the major untenable for my temperament. So I explored more frontier sciences that required a broader application of knowledge. Inherently with that choice, I also committed to a field that lacked an established objective, coherent approach to itself. Since making that choice, however, I have found that my foundation in genetics and microbiology has granted me an objective approach to psychology that I often find completely lacking in many of my co-major peers. This has hardened my dedication to psychology, as people with a foundation and outlook similar to my own are the only way to bring psychology coherency; and, perhaps more importantly, begin to remove the political taint I have found so abhorrent and debilitating to the field.

To present an example of the extent of the political opinion apparent in psychology, a 300 level class I took recently utilized a widely accepted textbook written by a well credentialed author. The author slowly, but surely, included more and more progressive political rhetoric and terminology over the course of the book, a common propaganda technique also known as “boiling the frog.” The last chapter concluded with an outright, literal call for any psychologist, for the sake of psychology and humanity itself, to take political action against conservatism and in favor of progressivism. My response to this was to write an essay, for one of the required assignments, on how preposterous it was for the professor and author to claim objectivity, and that psychology is a science equal of chemistry, biology, and physics, but simultaneously and intentionally intertwine politics into its very nature. I pointed out that any textbook proposed for a chemistry, biology, or physics class that had as many political terms, or outright calls for political action, would never be considered seriously, let alone used for a course; in fact, the book would be derided and scoffed at.

Evolution is accepted and utilized in psychological teachings and principles, yet, alongside it, they will present information, as fact, that clearly contradicts the very nature of the theory of evolution itself. This type of Orwellian double-think seems to be commonplace in psychology; when it occurs, it generally follows political ideology when evolution does not support the outcome that is “politically desirable.” So, not only does not teaching evolution degrade the coherent understanding of the natural system around people at large, as the article upon which this post was prompted explains, the refusal to accept aspects of its tenets achieves similar results in well-educated individuals, who do understand evolution, and who really should know better.

One thought on “Blog Two – Evolution and Psychology

  1. Hi!
    I was very interested to read about your genomics background and switch to psychology. I think it is really interesting that the background in the “hard science” classes has been so beneficial to your study of psychology. Even though both majors are technically science, you made it very clear that they both differ so entirely much- even in the most basic ways. I understand that evolution is extremely important in the teaching of both sciences.
    The issues you brought up with politics in psychology was really interesting and pretty unexpected. Being a policy major, I have been surprised to see each way in which politics seems to sneak its way into almost every part of life. I agree with you when you state that politics should stay outside of science which is supposed to be based on fact and not feelings- objectivity is very important, no matter if you like the other sides point or not.

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