How Franz Joseph Gall
Relates to the
Heresy of Decisional Regeneration
|Franz Joseh Gall (1758-1828) is known as the father of phrenology, which although thoroughly discredited today as psuedo-science, started the irrational view that continues to this day as psychology, that is, that the mechanical operations of the brain account for the entire explanation for the activity of the soul, including morality and salvation, reducing spritual excitemenst to a syndrome (see Conversion Syndrome).|
Franz Josef Gall made a study of insane people and saw a correlation between behavior and the shape of the skull. He subsequently identified specific parts of the brain, the relative sizes of which he determined to be the cause of personality types and development of which inexorably affected mental and moral faculties. His theories were called Phrenology, accepted by many (until the Nazis were defeated in 1945) as provable scientific fact. Phrenology helped establish psychology as a science, contributed to the emergence of the naturalistic approach to the study of man, and played an important part in the development of evolutionist theories, anthropology, and sociology. It is appropriate that this thoroughly discredited “science” was the foundational premise of modern psychology. Phrenology was the tip of the humanistic, materialistic iceberg in the move away from spiritual explanations for the activities of the soul of man.
It is no accident that as ministers like Henry Ward Beecher (a poster boy for Phrenology) used this psuedo-science as a alternative explanation for man's condition. he said, ""all my life long I have been in the habit of using phrenology as that which solves the practical phenomena of life. I regard it as far more useful, practical, and sensible than any other system of mental philosophy which has ever evolved." For more on the connection between Phrenology and liberal Protestant thought in the 19th century, see Phrenology.
Here is the Scottish Common Sense Realism explanation for what Sigmund Freud would later term “conversion syndrome” presented by Archibald Alexander in 1840:
“This contagion of nervous excitement is not unparalleled ; for whole schools of young ladies have been seized with spasmodic or epileptic fits, in consequence of a single scholar being taken with the disease. There are many authentic facts ascertained in relation to this matter, which I hope some person will collect and give to the public, through the press. It will not be thought strange then, that sympathy should have a powerful influence in increasing and modifying the feelings which are experienced in religious meetings; nor is it desirable that it should be otherwise.”
This was Scottish Common Sense realism presenting psychology as the better explanation for what was previously seen as spiritual phenomenon. Whitefield and Edwards allowed for demons and the Holy Spirit being unseen forces acting on individuals that were particularly suceptible to suggestion. Scottish Common Sense realism did away with this embarrasing possibility with psychological explanations. Was Scottish Common Sense Realism right to side with psychology?
A recent study showed a 64% failure rate of modern psychological studies previously thought to be proven science. An international team of experts repeated 100 experiments published in top psychology journals and found that they could reproduce only 36% of original findings. The study, which saw 270 scientists repeat experiments on five continents, was launched by psychologists in the US in response to rising concerns over the reliability of psychology research.
Here is the finding:
Science magazine 28 August 2015: Vol. 349 no. 6251 DOI: 10.1126/science.aac4716
Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science
Reproducibility is a defining feature of science, but the extent to which it characterizes current research is unknown. We conducted replications of 100 experimental and correlational studies published in three psychology journals using high-powered designs and original materials when available. Replication effects were half the magnitude of original effects, representing a substantial decline. Ninety-seven percent of original studies had statistically significant results. Thirty-six percent of replications had statistically significant results; 47% of original effect sizes were in the 95% confidence interval of the replication effect size; 39% of effects were subjectively rated to have replicated the original result; and if no bias in original results is assumed, combining original and replication results left 68% with statistically significant effects. Correlational tests suggest that replication success was better predicted by the strength of original evidence than by characteristics of the original and replication teams.
Reproducibility is a defining feature of science, but the extent to which it characterizes current research is unknown. Scientific claims should not gain credence because of the status or authority of their originator but by the replicability of their supporting evidence. Even research of exemplary quality may have irreproducible empirical findings because of random or systematic error.
There is concern about the rate and predictors of reproducibility, but limited evidence. Potentially problematic practices include selective reporting, selective analysis, and insufficient specification of the conditions necessary or sufficient to obtain the results. Direct replication is the attempt to recreate the conditions believed sufficient for obtaining a previously observed finding and is the means of establishing reproducibility of a finding with new data. We conducted a large-scale, collaborative effort to obtain an initial estimate of the reproducibility of psychological science.
We conducted replications of 100 experimental and correlational studies published in three psychology journals using high-powered designs and original materials when available. There is no single standard for evaluating replication success. Here, we evaluated reproducibility using significance and P values, effect sizes, subjective assessments of replication teams, and meta-analysis of effect sizes. The mean effect size (r) of the replication effects (Mr = 0.197, SD = 0.257) was half the magnitude of the mean effect size of the original effects (Mr = 0.403, SD = 0.188), representing a substantial decline. Ninety-seven percent of original studies had significant results (P < .05). Thirty-six percent of replications had significant results; 47% of original effect sizes were in the 95% confidence interval of the replication effect size; 39% of effects were subjectively rated to have replicated the original result; and if no bias in original results is assumed, combining original and replication results left 68% with statistically significant effects. Correlational tests suggest that replication success was better predicted by the strength of original evidence than by characteristics of the original and replication teams.
No single indicator sufficiently describes replication success, and the five indicators examined here are not the only ways to evaluate reproducibility. Nonetheless, collectively these results offer a clear conclusion: A large portion of replications produced weaker evidence for the original findings despite using materials provided by the original authors, review in advance for methodological fidelity, and high statistical power to detect the original effect sizes. Moreover, correlational evidence is consistent with the conclusion that variation in the strength of initial evidence (such as original P value) was more predictive of replication success than variation in the characteristics of the teams conducting the research (such as experience and expertise). The latter factors certainly can influence replication success, but they did not appear to do so here.
Reproducibility is not well understood because the incentives for individual scientists prioritize novelty over replication. Innovation is the engine of discovery and is vital for a productive, effective scientific enterprise. However, innovative ideas become old news fast. Journal reviewers and editors may dismiss a new test of a published idea as unoriginal. The claim that “we already know this” belies the uncertainty of scientific evidence. Innovation points out paths that are possible; replication points out paths that are likely; progress relies on both. Replication can increase certainty when findings are reproduced and promote innovation when they are not. This project provides accumulating evidence for many findings in psychological research and suggests that there is still more work to do to verify whether we know what we think we know.
SCIENCE EDITOR’S SUMMARY
One of the central goals in any scientific endeavor is to understand causality. Experiments that seek to demonstrate a cause/effect relation most often manipulate the postulated causal factor. Aarts et al. describe the replication of 100 experiments reported in papers published in 2008 in three high-ranking psychology journals. Assessing whether the replication and the original experiment yielded the same result according to several criteria, they find that about one-third to one-half of the original findings were also observed in the replication study.