As a retired forensic psychiatrist, I sadly predicted the rising damage this virus would inflict, and is inflicting, on our social fabric. Covid-19 threatens to leave our domestic and social relations in tatters — jobs matter, fatalities matter, but sanity and social peace matter more. My work with 50 murderers in Parkhurst, then UK’s flagship prison, warns me that more murders happen within families, than anywhere else. Calls to mental health help-lines are rocketing upwards, while refuges from domestic abuse are overwhelmed — why? Where is the standard psychiatric input? Why are the lessons learnt about Adverse Childhood Events (ACE) not being implemented in orthodox medical practice?
Psychiatry is as ill-prepared for this epidemic of intra-family abuse, as the UK and US governments were for Covid — in both cases, the fault is ideological. It’s a commonplace among critical psychiatrists that drugs are not the answer — time to engage with real social ills, including murder.
And here, “science” matters most. Since 1980, psychiatry has pursued a version of science which sounds well, but is not only basically flawed, but contravenes millennia of medical practice. The scientific flaws are of wider interest — namely does Hume’s critique of causality still hold, and has it been confirmed by the Uncertainty Principle? Does the multiplication of the Hubble Constant and other anomalies, indicate a deeper problem?
In a recently published paper non-partisan, non-theological Quaker insights are deployed, to trace a lucid and confident pathway through the quicksands of Quantum Mechanics (synopsis, summary and opening section, appended below). The upshot is to re-focus “science” on the biosphere, thereby helping revitalise our intrinsic resilience and creativity. A radical re-think is proposed. Some may find the issues the paper raises, daunting — but ignoring them, allows the social aspects of the present medical crisis to worsen.
whyQuakerism is more scientific than Einstein
can Science learn from Religion? :: how can we know anything? ::
Kant’s inconclusive awakening :: any number of Big Bangs ::
multiple medical causative factors ::
criteria for a post-Einstein Science ::
the scientific criteria for mental health :: Quakerism to the rescue ::
mental health mediaevalisms ::
a Quaker way with words, rules & wars :: IN CONCLUSION :: references
summary: NEWTON’s laws of motion predicted that light would travel faster from a moving source — it doesn’t. Einstein was convinced that unruly electrons had no place in an orderly, understandable universe. Both assumed that human knowledge could be perfected, mathematically, and that a coherent scientific account of the world we find ourselves in, not only exists, but is available and open to dedicated human enquiry. This paper argues that Hume, Kant and recent work on Hubble’s Constant render this idealistic position untenable. The remedy proposed is not to tighten scientific definitions ever further, but to reposition Science so as to prioritise the biosphere. This entails placing the process of living organisms centre stage, since they defy the Second Law of Thermodynamics, thereby reducing Uncertainty for all — an approach best exemplified in clinical medicine, where despite unbridgeable gaps in medical knowledge, healing can and does take place. Using Quaker insights developed in the 1650s, a non-theological pathway is offered which emphasises human creativity and social cohesion. Unhappily psychiatry today, under the guise of being 100% scientific in the Einstein way, discards three counts of millennial medical wisdom, with catastrophic consequences, as shown by scientifically valid data. A healthier approach to mental and social health, emphasising trust and consent, is described.
Keywords:Hubble’s Constant, Einstein, relativity, epistemology, entropy, Truth, Trust, Consent, mental health, social health, global health
Can Science Learn From Religion?
“God does not play dice with the universe”. Einstein devoted his life to patterns, especially in mathematics. So it’s no surprise that Quantum Mechanics stuck in his throat, for at its heart is the Uncertainty Principle, the very essence of patternlessness. There was, and is, no way round it — you have to choose, either where an electron is, orwhere it’s going — you can never knowboth at the same time. Since nothing (including us) moves without electrons, that’s an eternal problem. So, for the brave-hearted, there’s at least as big a black hole in our knowledge of subatomic particles as ever there was with Religion. The speed and position of all electrons vary inversely, what you gain with the one, you lose with the other, and always will. This isn’t going to change, ever — there’s simply no room on an electron for a location device. Uncertainty is built into the very fibre of our subatomic world. The only way technology can use it, is to deploy human ingenuity and devise a workaround — much as we have to do everywhere else.
Einstein protested. If he could have mustered scientific or mathematical evidence against, you may be sure he would have done so — but even he could find none. So, in extremis, he fell back on his religion. Here we have the preeminent scientist of our era, resorting to the one topic Science was meant to “explain” (think Galileo). Either there is more hidden among the extensive paraphernalia of Religion for us still to unearth, or the universe differs decidedly from what we have been expected to believe — perhaps both. Beliefs matter — and this paper examines how one unusual view of religion allows us to trace a rational, non-theological pathway through the primeval chaos. To do this, it exploits the way the scientific method was originally meant to work. Science should be providing us with a human activity that is ruled, not by dogma, not by pre-judged expectations, but by what works experimentally. Stripping away some of its accretions could liberate it once again.
Einstein wrote his letter, which includes the above quotation, 100 years ago. Since then, while Quantum Mechanics has progressed out of all recognition, “God” has taken a back seat. Yet the challenge which Einstein sought to answer, remains unresolved. Is there, in reality, any fundamental pattern to our cosmos? Can there be, in practice, any underlying rationale to all the diversity we see? Or is it basically as chaotic as the Old Testament said it was to begin with. This entails revisiting epistemology, working out how we know things, and indeed how there are other things we can never know. It helps to borrow insights from a somewhat unexpected quarter — Quakerism.
Quakerism is little known, and perhaps even less well understood. Commonly associated with a certain commercial brand of cereal, it is thought of either as too nebulous to carry much weight, or too flimsy and idealistic for the everyday challenges of this cruel world. However, closer acquaintance offers a different perspective. It was born in the interregnum, between the beheading of one king, and the coronation of his son. A number of religious flowerings took place in that extraordinary decade — filling the gap left by the abrupt dissolution of all established clergy. What is unusual about Quakerism, is that it has lasted 370 years, not unscathed, but with certain basic, and indeed vital principles, still in play.
how can we know anything?
Science above all else, is about knowing. Where’s the scientific evidence to justify that view, or underwrite that action? What’s the “science” behind that statement, that opinion? Scientists are credited with “breakthroughs”, with eradicating shibboleths, and pointing a way forward that may not be immediately obvious, but which not only makes sense, but will make things better. A picture is being built up, arduously, with infinite patience, that will “explain” why things work they way they do, and thereby enable us all, to live happily ever after. This picture is said to be different from other, earlier views of where we are, what the cosmos is like, and where we’re going. This view is even thought to merit the accolade “scientific” — more, it claims to be the only one there is. . . . .
Dr Bob Johnson 22 May 2020 Consultant Psychiatrist, (retd)
P O Box 49, Ventnor, Isle Of Wight, PO38 9AA, UK.
e-mail DrBob@TruthTrustConsent.com www.DrBobJohnson.org