Psychiatry is not science

I hear that often, especially from “harder” science types. Honestly, I don’t disagree. Given the scope of the human condition, however, it is certainly something we should study more, and study better. Like most things medical that can be abused for profit, I would love to see it separated from the current profit driven models. Case in point is this TED talk I recently watched. It covers some humorous and intriguing experiences, and the author touches on a fundamental issue I have with modern psychiatry –  a level of confirmation bias that most would consider unhealthy.

Admittedly, my thoughts on this involve a fairly small set of situations and some anecdotal experiences, but the broader trend of diagnosing ever younger patients with mental illnesses is certainly verified, and I would say, suspect.

By Dan Granot

I chose the Shorter Whitman because of his work, "Song of Myself" and because of my self-deprecating sense of humor. I am under no illusion that I can write successful essays or poetry, but I have been known to write them anyway.


  1. There is science, and there is science. Jung’s version of the word association test is hard science. It may not prove the underlying structures – or even suggest them – but it is definite and testable. Freud’s theories were never testable. Like string theory, that. Lobotomists certainly gave the appearance of criminal negligence to the untutored.
    What bothers me it that I see no evidence of the profession separating the wheat and chaff. Do you?

    1. I would agree. The science is in similar stages to early philosophy, or even early physics. We lack the tools to properly measure and observe, but we do so anyway. The conclusions can be… exuberant.

      In some ways, the application comes before the fundamental understanding. What companies are doing with big data and behavior models is frightening, even if they don’t grasp all the underlying causes.

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