Wednesday, November 13, 2013

De-Mythologyzing the Scientific Orthodoxy!

Christians are always accused of being hostile to science. The reality is that we are not so opposed.
Many of the Great scientists were believers. The simple fact is that what we as believers are opposed to the prevailing scientific Orthodoxy. The scientist is as human as the rest of us, as subject to prejudice, bias and group think as anyone. In society today we have mythologized the scientist as an objective secular priest, objective and uninfluenced by any kind of outside influence. The reality is otherwise.

An excellent example of this is found in Debbie Nathans book Sybil Exposed. Sybil by the 1980s The belief that multiple personality disorder was a common problem had become widespread. The origins of this movement can clearly be traced to the work of Cornelia Wilbur, and the Book “Sybil” Released in 1973 the books tells of a young woman, given the pseudonym “Sybil Dorsett” goes to Dr. Wilbur for treatment for her bizarre and sometimes destructive behavior. Eventually she appears before Dr Wilbur As another person, a child named Peggy. With the help of Drugs and Hypnosis the Dr. Determines that Sybil’s other personalities or “Alters “ had split off from Sybil's core personality as a means of escaping the enormous and bizarre physical and sexual trauma at the hands of her mother that had been discovered through sessions of Sodium Pentothal and hypnosis. After years of long, {and for Wilbur ultimately profitable} work Wilbur “re-integrated” Sybil's alters into Sybil's damaged psyche.
         Until Sybil, Multiple Personality Disorder, or to use the more modern name, Dissociative Identity Disorder was a highly debated diagnosis with only a handful of cases prior to Sybil. With the Publication of the book and subsequent mini-series the diagnosis exploded to 20 to 40 thousand cases by the 1990s. It became so popular that even Hillside strangler Kenny Bianchi attempted to launch a multiple personality defense. Dr. Wilbur successfully marketed the diagnosis to the point that an entire association, “The International Association of Multiple Personality” with conventions, peer-reviewed journals and everything. Although some, including book reviewers questioned the books veracity they were ignored by the public in its rush to acceptance. While quietly some raised doubts and others sought to uncover the identity of Sybil, the story proved to have long legs with a remake of the TV show being made in 2007. Then in 2012 there was a bombshell, Debbie Nathan’s book “Sybil Exposed” Nathan revealed that the real Sybil {Shirley Ardell Mason} was a troubled young girl originally diagnosed with hysteria. Going to Dr. Wilbur while both were in Nebraska she is treated by Wilbur and the two develop a strong relationship with Mason becoming highly dependent on the Dr. Circumstances separated the two and they did not meet again until ten years later when Mason resumes treatment with Wilbur who now has a very successful practice.

        In the meantime Wilbur has become extremely interested in the idea of Multiple personalities. As is suggested in Nathans Book, Sybil to please Dr. Wilbur convinces her she is a Multiple Personality. (Apparently not a hard sell,) Wilbur decides to see if a book can be written on the subject and succeeds beyond her wildest dreams. It is apparent that Wilbur went out of her way to suppress any doubt even when Sybil's story becomes bizarre. Although some things, {like Masons Claim to have been a courier for British agents and to flown from the U.S. To Amsterdam at the height of WW2 she accepted as fantasies and they were not included in the book.}, A large number of equally
bizarre claims weren't Eventually Wilber decided Sybil/Masons story would make a good book. Flora Schreiber the future author agreed but it needed a happy ending Sybil was obligingly cured.
        Now the MPD diagnosis is now considered to be highly misdiagnosed, if not spurious. The teachings of science, once so certain is now derided. What does this tell us? That those who are so skeptical regarding the claims of Christianity should be as skeptical of their own claims. 

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