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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/19/15

An Argument Against the Taxpayer-Funded Research Advocated by Richard A. Friedman, M.D.

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An argument against tax-payer funded psychotherapy clinical trials.
An argument against tax-payer funded psychotherapy clinical trials.
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Duluth, Minnesota (OpEdNews) July 19, 2015: The now former Soviet Union officially outlawed the practice of religion. As a result, religionists in the United States tended to be anti-communist during the Cold War.

Naturally American capitalists also tended to be anti-communist during the Cold War.

Now today in our contemporary culture wars, secular humanists tend to be anti-religion, just as the Soviet communists were.

By definition, secular humanists hold a materialistic philosophic position, just as the Soviet communists did. That is, for secular humanists, there is simply no room in their philosophic position for any serious consideration of the possibility of the immaterial.

By definition, the immaterial is also referred to as the spiritual.

Now, if you hold a materialistic philosophic view of the human person, then both the human body and the human psyche, which depends on the human brain, are obviously material. For this reason, medical doctors in the specialty of psychiatry tend to view all possible problems in the human condition as material.

For example, Richard A. Friedman, M.D., a professor of clinical psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, expresses a materialistic philosophic view of the human person in his op-ed "Psychiatry's Identity Crisis" in the New York Times (dated July 17, 2015, at the NYT website, but published in the NYT print edition dated July 19, 2015.)

Friedman characterizes himself as "a psychiatrist and psychopharmacologist who loves neuroscience."

For Friedman, the entire possible realm of human problems is encompassed by the body and the body's brain that influences the human psyche.

Now, given Friedman's basic philosophic position, he would undoubtedly reduce any possible problems that I might refer to as spiritual problems to problems of the human psyche that depends on the human brain. In short, his materialism is reductive.

But like many secular humanists, Friedman has enormous faith in modern science.

Basically, Friedman argues that more of the taxpayers' money should be allocated for psychotherapy clinical trials research than is currently allocated.

But what if the practice of psychotherapy is not on the right track?

Friedman's reductive materialism to the contrary notwithstanding, what if there really are spiritual problems involved in what ails certain persons?

By definition, a practice of psychotherapy based on secular humanism does not seem to be equipped to speak to spiritual problems or issues, because secular humanism reduces everything about the human condition to the material.

Like Friedman, C. G. Jung, M.D., was a psychiatrist. However, unlike Friedman, Jung was not a secular humanist.

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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

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