My previous editorial was meant to be the first step in taking this blog in a new direction. I thought that I was done addressing the subject of intellectual dishonesty, but as it turns out, I’m still getting stuff wrong myself. Rather than being free of the influence of ideological subversives, I’m still framing my arguments according to their rules, and now it’s time to correct that.

I mentioned in one of my previous articles that the scientific method is based upon the philosophy of empiricism. This is flat-out wrong. Science, or “methodological naturalism,” as I shall occasionally refer to it henceforth, is not based on any philosophy, rather, empiricism is a philosophical description of science. I consider my previous categorisation a serious error, not because I made a statement that puts the proverbial cart before the horse, but because of the ideology that makes the claim that all methodology is rooted in philosophy, therefore, one’s methodology is necessarily informed by one’s philosophy. This ideology is called social constructionism, and its premise is that reality itself is nothing more than perception (i.e. electrical signals interpreted by a brain), therefore everything within reality, including science, is a social construct. I do not believe that science is a social construct, and I never have, yet the arguments I have presented thus far have all, at least partially, been framed in a manner that is consistent with social constructionism. Social constructionism, something I am opposed to, is so pervasive, it turns out, that it has tainted my own arguments against it. That ends now.

Methodological naturalism is the process of making models that accurate describe reality and have predictive power. Every organism does this, to one extent or another. Any organism that possesses a defect such that it cannot make an accurate assessment of reality is unlikely to survive, and so natural selection tends to favour organisms that have accurate perception. For example, when a fly gets caught in a spider’s web, vibrations travel through the web and reach the spider. The spider that can instinctively determine the size and location of the fly, based on the direction and magnitude of the vibrations, will be able to feed itself, and therefore survive. Different animals will produce different frequencies and magnitudes of vibration when they touch the spider’s web. A wasp, for example, may become caught, but if the wasp is too big for the spider, the vibrations will be so intense that the spider will instinctively avoid it. The spider that fails to avoid a source of excessive vibration is unlikely to survive. I have personally observed a spider approach an exceptionally large fly in its web, only to retreat when it got close enough to realise how large the fly was. The spider then attempted to approach from a different angle, only to retreat again. This went on for almost ten minutes, because from the far corner of the web, the vibrations indicated a small insect that could be a potential meal, and the spider realised that the fly was too big only when it got close. The spider did not move in for the kill until the fly became exhausted. A paper wasp, on the other hand, would have thrashed about with such force, the spider may have never approached at all. I could easily write several thousand words on the subject of how spiders are able to accurately perceive the world around them, despite most species having extremely poor eyesight, but I think I have made my point for now. The ability to accurately measure one’s surroundings affects one’s ability to survive. Spiders do not think in terms of “frequency,” or “magnitude,” no spider can tell you precisely how many Hertz it must perceive in order to know that the creature that has just wandered onto her web is a male of the same species, because while those concepts are products of nature, the terms we use to describe them such that we can understand are social constructs. In other words, the spider engages in methodological naturalism in order to find food and mates, and avoid danger, just not with the same level of awareness or ability to express itself as humans do. The spider does not act in accordance with any social construct.

Social constructionism, on the other hand, is a pseudoscientific attempt to place delusions on the same level as accurate perceptions of reality, thereby normalising mental illness. A delusion is a fixed, false belief that will not change despite evidence to the contrary. Some schools of thought also include the caveat “and is not in accordance with the person’s culture,” but that is nothing more than a cop-out to make excuses for religious beliefs, as any principled atheist (those are rare, by the way, most atheists are not principled, especially American atheists) will tell you. That particular form of special pleading is the product of social constructionism, and an intellectually dangerous precedent to set. Any delusion may be excused if the patient can somehow prove that their “delusional” belief is perfectly in line with their culture. After all, how small a scale does a culture have to be in order to excuse a delusion? Is a person delusional for believing something that has been beaten into their head by their parents since birth, regardless of whether or not that belief is shared outside of that particular household? Those who believe in the socially constructed definition of “delusion,” as opposed to the purely naturalistic definition, have no answer for such a question, because they have opened themselves up to arbitrary standards. By the same token, since a mental illness is defined as a psychological impairment of personal function, it would stand to reason that, since a delusion is an impairment of an individual’s perception of reality, that delusions are the causes of mental illnesses, or at the very least, fuel them. Unfortunately, there is a growing movement known as mental illness denialism, which to me, reeks of social constructionism.

Mental illness denialism is the idea that there are no “sick” minds, there are only different ways of thinking, in other words, what society has termed “mental illnesses” are simply extreme (or socio-politically inconvenient) cases of neurodivergence. Now then, since I have already bashed religion, and I know that my writing tends to appeal to a more secular crowd, you may be tempted to think that I’m going to go down the road of holding religion responsible for impeding psychology, but you’re wrong. Only the most radical fringes of modern religions (mostly Islam, but Christianity also has its radicals) still hold on to the antiquated idea that even the slightest forms of neurodivergence are an indication of daemonic possession, and that exorcism cures everything from autism to epilepsy. Rather, mental illness denialism is a part of modern pseudoscientific “alternative medicine,” and I suspect, began in direct response to the rigid conformity of conservative collectivism that dominated the western world until about 1970, given that classical liberals are more open-minded than traditional conservatives when it comes to human behaviour and cognition. However, in the past fifty years, the dominant ideology in academia has changed. As is typical of modern liberals, they are using a term that their predecessors coined to condemn their detractors for that of which they are themselves guilty, claiming that mental illness denialism arose as a response to punitive psychiatry in the Soviet Union, and therefore is a “right-wing reactionary movement,” a derogatory phrase used to dismiss any backlash against “progressive” ideas (never mind the fact that “progressive” ideas are usually the backward ones). This type of divisive wordplay is nothing more than linguistic propaganda, since punitive psychiatry is something that all governments have a history of using for the purposes of stifling political dissent, and any medical professionals with integrity routinely denounce this practise, including a handful of Soviet and Chinese physicians, despite the great personal risk.

As is typical of all ideologies, reactionary or not, there are matters of degree within denialism. The most extreme are those who outright deny the existence of mental health, some of whom also deny the existence of physical health (this is the realm of the fat acceptance movement). Now then, before I continue, I feel compelled to inform you that there is a BIG difference between “alternative” medicine and “natural” medicine. The latter, of which I am not merely a tacit supporter but a somewhat vocal advocate, actually has scientific support, because multiple studies have detailled the precise manner in which lifestyle (of which diet is just one component) affects health. Many foods contain ingredients from which modern pharmaceuticals are derived, so in many cases, changing one’s diet offers the same or better results than simply taking a pill. Unfortunately, our technocratic society puts both “natural” medicine and “alternative” medicine in the same boat, and the prevailing message is that saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is no different from extolling the benefits of urine therapy (yes, that’s actually a thing that some people believe in), because health, as far as the technocrats are concerned, comes only from a syringe. However, before I go off on the “bashing big pharma” tangent, it’s time to return to the subject of mental health.

Mental illnesses are frequently, if not usually, based on delusions. Delusions themselves are not baseless, and are instilled either by mental conditioning or a chemical imbalance in the brain. The cause of this chemical imbalance may be either environmental or genetic. There are far too many known mental illnesses to list here, so let’s dive into a rather controversial subset: personality disorders. A personality disorder is a type of mental illness defined as a maladaptive pattern of behaviour and cognition. Now then, here’s the controversial part – some schools of thought hold that personality disorders, while a real phenomenon, are not mental illnesses, but simply cultural aberrations. There are two possible reasons for this. First, and this is the more innocuous one, is that it’s simply a cop-out, because psychiatrists haven’t the slightest clue how to treat them. Second, and this is far more sinister, is that this an attempt to normalise maladaptive behaviour for the purpose of, say, excusing corrupt politicians, nearly all of whom show the signs of antisocial personality disorder, better known as sociopathy. If sociopathy is classified as a mental illness, then there are legal grounds to prevent those who display it from holding public office, at least in countries where the idea that one must be “of sound mind” in order to do so is actually respected (the United States is clearly not one of them). On the subject of delusions manifesting mental illness, it is important to note that personality disorders are entirely the result of internalised delusions, i.e. delusions about oneself. Unlike delusions about the outside world, delusions about oneself are unfalsifiable, and therefore, utterly unassailable. No-one can claim to know the mind of a mental patient better than the patient knows themself. In the case of those afflicted with delusions of grandeur, any attempt to help the individual is regarded as a personal attack, which is why psychotherapy simply doesn’t work on narcissists or sociopaths. The more severe the level of delusion, the less that such a person can be reasoned with, which is why people with actual god complexes are so irrational and dangerous. The idea that such a malignant mindset is not a severe psychological defect has grave ramifications for society at large. When exploitative behaviour is normalised, when dehumanisation is venerated, when the maladapted are allowed to run amok, when those who speak up and try to stop this nonsense are morally brow-beaten into silence, social cohesion breaks down, and society falls apart. This is where socialism leads, incidentally, because socialism is exploitation masquerading as cooperation, it is avarice masquerading as altruism, insanity masquerading as rationality, and a blood-soaked vanity project masquerading as the emancipator of the proletariat. Socialism is guilty of literally everything that it condemns. But of course, words are just social constructs, they mean whatever we want them to mean, so in the upside-down world of social constructionism, I just gave socialism a glowing review.

Sarcasm aside, the trend that I am trying to expose is the corruption of naturalistic fields with arbitrary social criteria in the name of “cultural sensitivity.” Not all cultures should be considered equal. Many cultural practises are perfectly harmless and should be left alone, but others are extremely damaging, and should not be allowed to continue, much less hold sway over scientific knowledge. There are objective standards for what is moral and immoral, no religious doctrine is necessary to determine those standards, and no government is necessary to enforce those standards. Social constructionism, however, enables moral relativism, it enables the unscrupulous to run roughshod over everyone else, and it enables the subversion of science, i.e. its subordination to ideology. By bringing science down to the same level as all other human endeavours, social constructionists can promote any unsubstantiated claim that they wish with a false sense of scientific legitimacy, while at the same time eroding away the respect that the scientific endeavour deserves. Scientific realists do not need a philosophical justification for methodological naturalism, because methodological naturalism both predates and transcends human philosophy. Denying reality while projecting that denial onto one’s detractors is a luxury of decadent and artificial modern society. In nature, those who deny reality do not survive.

I would like to conclude this little piece by acknowledging the brilliant takedown of social constructionism by King Crocoduck, whose work I have referenced before. Were it not for his latest video series, I would never have even been aware of the flaws in my previous arguments, much less known what I must do in order to correct them.

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