Four Horsemen of the Cultural Apocalypse – Criminology, Psychology, Sociology and Theology – Adventures in Pseudoscience

Social Issues

  • Author Randy Gonzalez
  • Published March 2, 2019
  • Word count 3,328

Historic attempts, feeble and selfish at best, the four horsemen of the cultural apocalypse long endeavored to establish their relevance for defining human nature. For the tip of psychic iceberg, the regression devolved from philosophical contemplation to pretentious claim of scientific validity. Behold, they came from the darkness of human intentions, to claim truths yet to be found in the shadowy mysteriousness of human intentions, motivations and eternal damnation. As to pundits, politicians, the public and the proselytes for each cause, or school of thought, or cult of confession, they fostered arrogance of speculation deemed "scientific".

Of those not seriously qualifying as a science, as in astronomy, biology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology, by way of rigorous analytic contention, philosophical conjecture conspired to make its creations inventive nightmarish creatures. In the realms of academic, the path of least resistance, the trails the herd frequently travels and the walkways crowded with mass gullibility, sleight of hand mesmerized the many. As to the usual suspects, in the treachery of myth, magic and metaphor, the four collude their smug piety in egregious fallacies of inference. Of that, the wayward pretenses of magical thinking deludes the masses in simplistic thinking.

Complicity is found in the ease by which degreed sanctification blusters in the hallowed sanctuaries of anecdotal regurgitation, flashbacks through history and bogus claims of research validity. Where the challenge comes in mathematical analytics, biologic physicality, subatomic microscopy, astronomical forensics, and proof of scientific validity, the horsemen excuse their shortcomings in appeals that hope springs eternal. Subjective validation supersedes facts. Their bafflegab trespasses upon many boundaries, as criminology, psychology, sociology and theology strike back with a vengeance. None dare disagree and breaks from the formation.

In the adventures of pseudosciences, anything is possible, and yet, the mere mention of the word should not engage fear, animosity or condemnation. Nothing about the term should invite excommunication, exorcism or execution, but instead encourage the intensity of continuous investigation. No silver bullets, holy water or laying on of hands should amass a counteroffensive against those who might question the scientific authenticity of myriad conjectures. Healthy skepticism in the pursuit of intellectual vitality, by insistence upon investigative scrutiny, questioning and doubting specious generalizations, is creative and productive.

Nonetheless, the mention of anything that might sound like, look like, or feel like a hint of something akin to "pseudoscience", the emotional reactivity transmutes a seemingly normal looking individual into a venomous demonic entity. The question arises as what constitutes normal, or better yet, what is a "reasonable person". Additionally, the query begs the timeline as to when it became acceptable to advance varying levels of stupidity or ignorance in terms of hunting down the truth and proving evidence to support any assertion. The negativity is nauseous.

As to that historic point of reference, in article of major online science journal, the writer ponders at what point in U.S. history it became part of the social mainstream to accept fiction over facts. Further, as one of the founding fathers claimed well-reasoned thinking processes, supported by scientific validation, and persistent testing and systematic study to prove or disprove, are essential to the revelations of truth beyond doubt. The hint is in the writings of historic scientific investigators and those who contributed to the Declaration of Independence.

While people have a right to their beliefs, at least to some degree in the West, knowledge advances wisdom which transforms civilization, not by mere conjecture based on opinion, but by intense study, rigorous testing and analysis, argument and dispute. Additionally, belief systems either transform over time, or remain static prone to stagnation. Regardless, continuous introspective assessment within each individual is essential.

Further, ongoing discourse is vital, as each ought to understand the other given their perspective, time and place, maturity, experience, innovation, growth and discovery. As most are where they are at a point in time, based on at least the forgoing, but also their selfless attention to rigorous analysis of their ideations that channel into propositional viewpoints. Disagreement is indispensable, while peer review is a fraud, unless the laboratory, or the crime lab, the microscope proves the assertion at hand by the physical nature of scientific validation. Alternative philosophical fascinations often remain fixated on unsubstantiated illusions.

Ideological claims are insufficient without the stringent testing of evidentiary authentication by the weight of physical realm provability. As to that, beliefs, especially those of an occultic, supernatural or cultic philosophical standpoint are immensely tainted by the bias of subjective validation. Key to the maturation of experienced real-world credibility includes the degree to which transformation has chosen a higher path of informed enlightenment. While everyone should labor to transcend their personal egoistic intentions, most will be unwilling to concede their self-interests. Unfortunately, arrogance contrives to make pseudoscience into a science.

For non-practitioners in the various schools of philosophy, particularly those who transferred from the classroom to the faculty room, and never set foot in the real world, the challenge of credible scientific validation remains daunting. So much so, that "field research" often passes on as anecdotal observations, interviews, surveys and speculations regarding other research. In the regurgitation of previous opinionated speculations, sometimes, a facade of "scientific" is attached to the inquiry. Sooner or later, others begin to accept the "scientific validation".

The gamesmanship becomes even more pervasive as that public begins to accept ideological perspectives as "conclusive proof" of an unsubstantiated claim. While some investigators have tried to foster a round table discussion on issues of "real science" versus "pseudoscience", as well as "peer review" versus critical analysis, the experience has been less than satisfactory. Particularly in the world of academia, where fantasy sometimes becomes a defensive theory, challenges to the pretentious allegory of fiction masquerading as fact, usually invites severe reaction.

To claim or otherwise perpetrate the illusion of a science, a particular school of thought, or ideology, etc., does little to promote problem solving in everyday matters of human behavior. While various doctrinal and dogmatic traditions assert a scientific basis, the reality is such that a claim of using "scientific methodology" is a shallow appeal the practicality. By the convolutions of magical thinking, it is a leap of faith from theory to evidentiary validation. And, in the 21st century, reflecting the words of one scientist, people may have forsaken the ability to distinguish between science and science fiction. Personal bias skews every point of view.

For the inclination to subjective validation, bias enters every query. Control of that predisposition by way of some effort at objectivity is vital to any investigation. Accordingly, this suggests the influence of the investigators personal beliefs. Attempts have been made to identify preconceived notions and their influence in relation to ideological partiality. Depending on the survey and the organization conducting the survey, results may vary to some degree. In this regard, one study of religious inclination by a major research agency, as pertains to a "belief in God", suggested little of 80% of the participants believed in a "higher authority".

That is to say, the majority claimed a belief in a divine being or supernatural entity that influences their lives. On an education basis, those with graduate degrees were reported to have a believability range of about 70%. Of course, the temptation here is to speculate on the influence of belief systems and the claim of "scientific methodology" among the pseudosciences. Where two thirds of educated persons believe in the supernatural, how does that impact objectivity?

The illusionary intricacy assumes many parts of the whole. Taking belief systems from "cultic", or dogmatic sources, the comingling of presumptive errors compound the mythic proportions by which fallacies of inference transition to accepted hastily drawn conclusion. In collusion with multiple facetious claims, unsubstantiated by the organic rigors of physical evidence, whether microscopic or cosmic, viewpoints, opinions and gossipy flirtations mutate into grotesque forms of imaginative superstitions. In most controversies of argumentation and debate, as regards human behavior from a mental analysis, interactivity of interpersonal exchange should be cautiously anticipated. One or more participants may not have achieved sufficient maturation.

To confront or otherwise interact in more profanely productive ways, a certain degree individualization is necessary. Bias, prejudice, immaturity, inexperience, lack of close contact with reality, and so on, stifle energetic intensity for enlightened liberation. As suggested in the forgoing, dogmatic and doctrinaire beliefs constrict visionary processes. This suggests probable generational rift, as younger generations may not have arrived at levels of competency strengthened by years of experience, education and personal transformation. Mature, adult, grownup and wiser insightfulness requires extraordinary investment of well-differentiated selflessness.

An example of the youthful indifference to adventurous discovery outside the monogamous constrictions of institutional conformity, comes in the form of limited and defensive perspectives. One aspect is easily attacking alternative points of views, such as the ease by which schools of thought in psychology quickly condescend the medical specialty of psychiatry. That is fascinating intrigue of extraordinary bias, especially considering the roots of psychology. Opinions are not evidence of extraordinary discovery for the complete explanation of human nature.

But of course, in main stream American society, any conjecture can be accepted without question as scientific efficacy. Of which, the frauds perpetrate the worst afflictions over a weakened society. In a dumbed down culture, self-imposed of course, anything is believable. Plus, bias reflects the academic arrogance of fearful, self-absorbed, child-like infantile narcissism. In this, as for example within the collegiate communities, academia perpetrates the fantasy as fact, absent materiality of scientific proof. And yet, the hypocrisy runs rampant.

On the offensive, in a celebrity worship culture, any actor of famous characterization can pontificate on any social issues and be accepted as authorities. While free speech is one thing, and an opinion is good anyone else’s, expertise is quite an exception. Opinions, gossip and rumors are not evidence. To use one’s wealth, status and influence is not equitable.

Where bias clouds conjecture and otherwise influences conclusions, observational misinterpretation hazes over the reliability of personal perspective. All utterances should be suspected of cognitive bias, as eye witness testimony is subjected to cross-examination. Yet, frequently, to leverage one’s apparent status of supposedly famous stature and notoriety, to espouse an opinion as though fact or scientific validation, is to use the force and effect of egoistic intimidation. It is insulting and abusive to presuppose one’s socio-economic political status is more relevant than some else. Power and privilege do not infer intelligence.

Such arrogant notions, as for example a Hollywood actor, blabbering about guns and school violence are essentially private opinions. Often such blathering are superficial for fame and personal promotion, and avoid any semblance of scientific or evidentiary authentication. Unsubstantiated speculations do more harm than good and serve to mislead others. In the use of wealth, pretense of authority, and presumed reputation, many frauds are perpetrated.

Given the nature of egregious fallacies of inference, public policy can be adversely affects, as politicians tend to be easy targets of pseudoscience. Such exhibitions of notoriety use the unfair advantage of material success to promote a particular economic or political agenda. Often the result is further erosion of any aspect of intellectual discourse to serve the greater good, or protect the general welfare of the republic. Too frequently, stupidity advances instead of wisdom. When the four horsemen enter the scene of societal interactivity, pseudoscience quickly becomes the imposter impersonating the reality of scientific validity. Fiction replaces fact.

A very quick admonition is to exercise a sense of healthy skepticism by common sense application of cynical analysis. People say and do what people say do because it’s what they desire to do. Claims, assertions and studies of any kind are to be carefully investigated by testing the data, insisting upon replication and ensuring scientific efficacy. At one of the inquiry is the immediate understanding that correlation cannot be confused with causation. Regardless, the intentional collusion is committed every day in the not so hallowed halls of academia.

In the non-science realm of philosophical speculation, anything is possible. Pseudoscience can easily concoct an explanation and assert a correlation as a causation. While comparing an apple and orange side by side, one can infer the relationship as examples of fruit. In terms of a distinctive differentiation, a dissimilar nature emerges. Nonetheless, many can easily conjure along a simplistic continuum claim a specificity of correlation to causation generalities. No matter what the facts may show, some will insist every apple is actually an orange.

Since the comparison of the fruit was conducted over a bushel or a basket or two, the observational bias, and the resulting survey assessment, extrapolate a very broad generalization. Given the fruit’s family tree, seasonal abnormalities, and agricultural inequities, it is easy to infer that all apples and oranges are exactly the same. In other words, one template fits all. After labeling one or more as "bad apples", or "rotten oranges", the diagnosis, or cultivation, transitions to a "cure", which typically means a drug therapy, or pesticide to kill off the psychic contagion.

In the end, a question lingers in the haze of magical thinking, regardless of protestations and threats of retaliation for political correctness violations, and that is what does the scientific evidence show? Followed up by, what does the blood test, x-ray, ultra sound or other lab test reveal? Offenses are easily taken when serious speculation challenges viewpoints. However, when consensus, or by majority vote, a theoretical construct becomes a "diagnosis", skepticism ought to fill the void in the empty spaces around the special conjecture.

The insightful inquisitor chases every element of claims said to be true to the exclusion of every other possibility. Unfortunately, in a devolving society, facts are easily circumvented for the satiation of the most convenient and simplistic explanation. Of which, conjecture is not really an explanation at all. Speculation as to the superficiality of an alleged "mental illness" issue is an opinion based on a theory. It is centuries old dogma exorcizing demons, or fortune telling masquerading as "criminal profiling", or pseudoscience pretending to be science.

Doctrines of the supernatural are schemes of myth, magic and metaphysical suppositions, for which something called faith accepts undefinable phenomena. Faithfulness to an ideology does not insist upon the rigors of scientific validation. Meanwhile, in the hypocrisy of belief, if 80% of the population, including adherents of certain schools of "social studies", believe in things supernatural, bias of speculation has been influenced before the fact.

So, bias influences conclusions about one thing or another, while observations of the biased inquirer has preconceived notions as to subsequent observations. In conjunction, designing a form of investigation, or model to be tested, in conjunction with predisposition aforethought, influences the outcome determined in the results. To this primordial mix, throw in "scientific sounding" jargon and anecdotal references similarly supportive, and a whole scheme of conjecture becomes believable. Now add a spiritual dimension, or occult symbolism, or doctrinaire admonition, and eventually the unsubstantiated claims will be accepted. By politicians, pundits and the public. Willful acceptance follows the easy path of simplistic acquiescence.

Easy trouble free receptivity does not provide the motivational basis of in-depth inquiry. To say that "it turns out that", "it has been reported that", or "it is assumed that", and so on, does not substantiate anything. In fact, to the contrary, immediate challenge should be issued. Any and all claims are to be vigorously tested, debated and questioned. Alleged data ought to receive critical analysis, while opinion, rumor and gossip are never to be accepted without thorough investigation. Likewise, jargon, labeling, and so-called diagnoses from a philosophical viewpoint are to be questioned without hesitance. Included in this inquisition is any pretentiousness relative to anecdotal claims of supposed credibility. Similarly, faith proves nothing.

Motive, means and opportunity is an illusion. This typical "crime solving" rubric sounds nice in a movie or television drama. The public finds this sort of simplicity easy to digest. However, it is misleading. At best, a starting point. Nonetheless, such a perspective can be misleading and counterproductive. In a classical criminological spectrum, such admonitions by an inquirer are meaningless unless evidentiary substantiation suffices the authenticity of scientific validation. Every critical analysis invites the provocation as to whether or not an issue can be elevated to a scientific sufficiency by matters of reliable proof of technical authentication.

Absent serious evidentiary verification, credible legitimacy and substantive multifaceted verification, supposition based on opinion remains insufficient. As research comes in many forms, and data often manipulated to ensure subjective validation, intense scrutiny of any claim is essential. Otherwise, conjecture, assumption, inference, and so forth, are speculative points of interests that demand deeper investigation. To the reference of motive, means and opportunity, yes, fiction writers are fond of any phrase redundantly torturing one cliché after another.

Outside the hardcore sciences of forensic analysis, the "soft sciences", "social studies, or more adversely the pseudosciences, perpetuate grievous fallacies of inference that render an assortment of hasty generalizations. Especially in detective fiction, movies, television, etc., the repetitive nature of fallacies of inference unfortunately carry over into the real world. Unfortunately, people will believe anything. Faulty conclusions, lazily drawn through the zeal of immediate gratification for a definitive "singular theory", erroneously pontificated upon cognitive bias, results in unsubstantiated conjecture. This sets the stage of divisive social policy and hastens the eventual demise of the human species. That point relates to the regressive inclinations of human devolution. In a world losing the imaginative edge of innovation, the decay of analytic insight, and the loss of rational methodology, self-serving infantilism invites a dystopic set of consequences.

Observing post-election vehemence in the grotesque rhetoric of condescension is but one example of a regressively adversarial trend in the American society. An entitled sense of retaliation for perceived claim of "victimization", irrationally justifies a "get even" mentality. Selfishness, the grand scheme of personal enrichment, easily allows the seduction to any mythic or supernatural means to exert power, control and domination over others. From the standpoint of personal belief systems, influenced by ideological extremes of one form or another, the baseless claims of over-simplification justifies egregious fallacies of inference clinging to hasty generalizations.

Lacking the backbone, expressing cowardice in avoiding courageous actions toward wiser ascension, and degrading the freedom of individuality, the social mainstream exhibits an illicit collective consensus that conspires to stifle mature growth. In the process of perpetual putdowns toward another’s perspective because they disagree, expresses the erosion of the free exercise of competitive ideations. Maturation to higher states of mental and physical individuality demands fortitude beyond the normal routine of daily interactivity.

In addition, such evolving transformation bears the signpost of pointing in the direction of an attendant possibility toward a more probable outcome of higher self-realization. Across the superficiality of social media and "opinionated" news reporting, the shallowness of bloated "mindless" conceit wallows in the shortsighted inebriation of degrading arrogance. As such, anti-thinking pervades the array of communal connections with a range of nonsensical notions for the sake of emotional reactivity. In support of the status quo consensus of myriad small-minded illusions, meaningful levels of rational understanding stifle the elevation of society.

As alleged in one major publication, representing one of the four horsemen (criminology, psychology, sociology and theology), an author for the "psyche" realm accuses religion as being representative of faulty reasoning that leads to magical thinking. In so doing, the claimant suggests gross errors of "cognitive bias" in the spheres of religiosity and the paranormal. The argument proposed is that such things are the result of wishful thinking not scientific validation.

Such is a fascinating notion emanating from field closely allied to the psychological aspects within the arena of "social studies". But wait, one could offer by contrast that the "four horsemen" are very closely related in that real science is not a strong element in their entrenched domains. All such accusations, claims and ideological perspectives devolve to speculations based on philosophical biases. Hope springs eternal in the non-reality of subjective validation and ensuring consistent patterns of simplistic conjecture. As such, the status quo remains secure.

Randy Gonzalez is a retired law enforcement professional with over 30 years experience; he holds graduate and post-graduate degrees, and is a criminology expert;

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