So, if “Psychology Isn’t Science”…

by Bruce Chapman
Evolution News and Views

Every so often an article appears taking psychologists to task for claiming the purple mantle of “science.” As Alex B. Berezow explains in the Los Angeles Times, in the latest of such articles, the rules of science are strict.

“Psychology isn’t science,” he contends, “because psychology often does not meet the five basic requirements for a field to be considered scientifically rigorous: clearly defined terminology, quantifiability, highly controlled experimental conditions, reproducibility and, finally, predictability and testability.”

Are those, in fact, the agreed requirements of science? Sometimes one sees them applied in similar fashion to intelligent design. But, strangely, they don’t seem to get applied to evolutionary biology, and specifically to neo-Darwinism. In that field, terms’ definitions often change depending on the audience (“evolution” itself being an example). Quantifiability? (How?) Highly controlled experimental conditions? (You’ve got to be kidding.) Reproducibility? (Name one.) And, “finally, predictability and testability.” You can get a lot of hand waving over this topic, but no precision.

It seems that the term “science” itself is not very scientific. Perhaps Alex Berezow needs some new, post-modern, fully reductionist criteria that apply when judging sciences of which he approves, such as Darwinian evolution, and others he uses for those, like psychology, of which he does not approve.

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