Science in Christian Perspective

Letter to the Editor


F. Wilmer Larson, M. D.

From: JASA 15 (December 1963): 124.

The recent article by Mr. Herje (March 1963) leaves much to be desired. Many of the opinions expressed by him and by those he quotes are expressive of a skepticism about the efficacy of psychoanalytic psychotherapy which I have felt and spoken about for some time. Skinner, Mowrer, and Eysenck have each provided new understanding of the weaknesses of Freud and his disciples. My main objection to the quotations from these men as included in the paper is that they actually do not, in my opinion, do justice to the authors. Mr. Herje recounts the weakness of Freud in philosophy and practice, thus implying that others have done better. I know of no hard data on the superior efficacy of any psychologic school, no matter whether the proponent be theist or humanist.

This brings me to my main criticism. The thesis of the paper, it seems to me, is made up of a series of logical fallacies. To illustrate I will use the following quotation, " . . . it would seem reasonable to argue that any doubt which might arise concerning the validity and/or usefulness of this tradition would likewise raise doubt concerning . . . the social profession . . . and . . . any state institution dominated by this profession." He seems to be trying to say that Freudianism (no further defined) has theoretical and practical weaknesses, therefore social work of today is not useful, therefore the belief in scientific naturalism is inadequate. Somehow this is related to the recent Supreme Court ruling on prescribed prayer.

This putting together of distantly and inconsistently related subjects reminded me of my early college days when I would go to the library and copy a few dozen note cards and then go home and try to shuffle them in such a way as to have a sequence which could be transcribed as a term paper. It sometimes took "long bridges" between thoughts.

In my opinion this paper darkens rather than illuminates both the cause of Christ and the search for methods of helping people to deal with being alive. My only suggestion for improvement would be to separate it into six papers and then present data rather than innuendo.

  Psychiatrist Minneapolis, Minnesota