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Doyletics: Distinguishing Science from Pseudo-science
Some critics of the new science of doyletics claim that it is a pseudo-science and not a true science. This essay will consider these questions:
After discussing the requirements for a true science and the characteristics of a pseudo-science, we will be in a position to measure doyletics and determine whether it is a true science or a pseudo-science.
- What are the requirements for a true science?
- What are the characteristics of a pseudo-science?
- Does doyletics meet the requirements of a true science?
- Does doyletics have any characteristics of a pseudo-science?
Our thanks to Professor Patrick Grim for his lecture entitled "Distinguishing Science and Pseudo-Science" for the Teaching Co. which provides the foundation upon which this essay is built. Professor Grim outlines systematically 1) the historical development of the distinction between science and pseudo-science, 2) the requirements for a true science, and 3) the characteristics of a pseudo-science.
Grim's Three Major Requirements for a Science.
I. Inductive - is the science built on empirical evidence? Are the generalizations formed from a foundation of solid experiential facts accumulated over time? This was the first and oldest criterion of what constituted a science.
II. Verifiable - can the predictions of the science be verified? This condition was added by the Logical Positivists in the 19th century, who insisted that the "meaning of a proposition was in the method of its verification." No verification, no meaning.
III. Falsifiability - is it possible to prove some prediction of the science to be false? This condition was added in the 20th century by Karl Popper. This condition is most useful for the hard sciences, such as physics, and was instrumental in the acceptance of Einstein's Theory of Relativity which predicted that gravity would cause light to bend in its path. When a solar eclipse made it possible to test the prediction, a failure would have caused the theory to be dropped, a success made it into an accepted theory.
Grim's Three Major Characteristics for a Pseudo-Science.
What are the characteristics of a typical pseudo-science? What attributes can help us correctly reveal a science to be a pseudo-science? Prof. Grim singles out these three characteristics:
1. Ad hoc -- the science changes as results of experiments come in, so that every result is explainable by the new evidence.
2. Ambiguity -- the phenomena described by the science are of an ambiguous nature, so that more than one meaning is possible. This negates the effect of the II. Verifiable requirement.
3. Initiate -- only initiates can see the phenomena; those not properly trained cannot. This was the problem with the N-rays phenomenon which could only be witnessed by scientists who had been trained in France.
With this prologue, let us examine doyletics: Is it a true science or a pseudo-science? My claim is that it is a true science, and I have taken great care to follow the tenets of science in my investigations and presentation of the material of doyletics. On the other hand, there are some persons who, without taking equal care or rigor, have declaimed the science of doyletics as a pseudo-science. With the solid foundations of a real science and the airy foundations of a pseudo-science laid out above for us by Prof. Grim, how does doyletics stack up?
Does Doyletics meet Each of the Three Requirements of a True Science?
I. Is doyletics inductive?
Yes, its experiential basis was laid down by Doyle Philip Henderson in the last quarter of the 20th century. He worked with thousands of clients and found that the age of five was a line of demarcation for success -- if he stopped the trace above five, the problem returned later, but if he proceeded below five, the problem never returned. Upon the solid foundation of this experimental work, I built the generalizations of doyletics. The Memory Transitive Age is defined to be the age at which human memory moves from doylic storage to cognitive memory storage, and is pinpointed by the data to be five years old.
II. Is doyletics verifiable?
Yes, in trace after trace, users have reported not only receiving relief by the problem going away, but receiving data as to the origin of the problem which in many cases have been subsequently confirmed by a second party. The case of the 60-year-old woman who traced away a fear of scorpions and recovered a memory of a scorpion sting at three is a case in point. Her 85-year-old mother later confirmed that her daughter was stung by a scorpion at three, a memory both she and her daughter had forgotten completely up until that time.
Are all traces successful? No, it depends on the skill of the tracer. The two requirements for a successful trace are HOLD and MARK. When a person fulfills those requirements during a speed trace, the trace has been proven to be successful. Most failures are attributable to a lack in one or both of the requirements. One way to think of this is a basketball metaphor. If you dribble a ball down court to a basketball goal, weaving between the bodies of defenders, arrive below the basket, and shoot, you can make a goal. If you lose the ball along the way because you didn't HOLD onto it, maybe by not recovering it after a dribble, you won't score - that's for certain. If you HOLD onto the ball and you shoot before you reach the basket, you're unlikely to score as well -- your ball will fall short of its MARK.
III. Is doyletics falsifiable?
This is a tough criterion for doyletics to meet -- a tough hurdle to clear -- but it is within reach by the tools and technology of medical research. Unfortunately, the subjective nature of a speed trace makes it impossible to falsify doyletics using data taken from a single speed trace. The person may not be doing the trace properly and not be aware of it. The vagaries of doing a speed trace are such that a true falsifiability will require some medical research which deals directly with the physiological data in human beings.
A few years ago a Nova program on PBS illustrated one sample of how such a test might be performed. To my mind, this one set of experiments qualified as a falsifiability test as it was run, and would provide some guidance to setting up a more extensive set of experiments.
The program starred Alan Alda who described a setup with a helmet of electrodes placed on a person's head which fed data to a computer screen which illustrated which portions of the subject's brain being activated during speaking. Two young men were shown talking in their native Oriental language and in English learned as a second language. When they spoke their native tongue, one side of the brain lit up on the screen. When the Chinese man, who learned English before five, spoke one side of his brain lit up. When the Vietnamese man, who learned English at eight, spoke both sides of brain lit up in various places. By designing an experiment similar to this it should be possible to show that something happens at five years old so that five is a demarcation in brain development as predicted by the Memory Transition Age generalization of doyletics. In other words, it should be possible to prove the existence of the MTA by an experiment or experiments that would falsify or confirm doyletics' claim of a Memory Transition Age of five years old.
Since it is scientifically possible to prove whether the Memory Transition Age claim is false or true, doyletics is definitely falsifiable, and it passes the third requirement of a true science.
Does Doyletics have any of the Attributes of Pseudo-science?
1. Ad hoc -- since laying down the tenets of doyletics, it has not been necessary to change a single hypothesis or postulate based on data that has been received, reported, or recorded. Thus doyletics does not have an ad hoc components.
2. Ambiguity -- doyletics does not fare as well with this hurdle. Many of the doyles that people attempt to trace are hard to define exactly and those can be ambiguously interpreted. When the doyle is clearly delineated and sharply defined, the doyle has been successfully traced. But the hard and fast calculations that led to the confirmation of Einstein's theory cannot be found in the field of doyletics. Some doyles will always remain ambiguous. For the ambiguous doyles, there is help in this dictum: "When in doubt, trace it out." In other words, if you're not sure if something is a doyle, you can do a trace anyway. If it was a doyle, it will go away, if it stays, it was likely a physiological response and not a doyle. Doyles are idiosyncratic -- they depend upon some event that occurred to one person, and maybe only to that one person. There can be no handbook of doyles that will describe every possible doyle, because the next person may come up with a doyle that no one ever had before. What I claim, however, is that the mere appearance of ambiguity in some doyles does not prevent doyletics from claiming status as a true science.
3. Initiate -- Do you need to be an initiate to experience a doyle? No, every one experiences doyles every time one undergoes a physical body change due to some sensory input which does not create the physical body change directly. Example: you pull someone's hair and they yell. That's an example of a physical body change due directly to sensory input. Or you pull back the sides of a person's mouth into a grimace using your fingers. If instead of using your fingers, you produce a grimace on a person's face by talking about some food they dislike, like snails or oysters, or brussels sprouts, then you have changed their physical body state by a sensory input (talking) that did not directly affect their physical body by physical manipulation (such as hair pulling). Whether or not you already know about doyles, you experience them. Learning to recognize them will help you to know that something happening to you is a doyle, but they will happen to you whether or not you know them as a doyle. Thus doyletics clears this hurdle easily.
I hope these observations will help you to understand the validity of my claim that doyletics is a science -- and how it meets the requirements for a true science and also how it easily clears the hurdles of a pseudo-science. I have outlined that one attribute, "ambiguity", leads to some confusion, but the confusion is one that appears in every soft science, such as psychology, sociology, anthropology, etc. The appearance of ambiguity is not, by itself, a detriment to a field being called a science.
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