The  idealist, theist, deist, pantheist or panantheist cosmogonies, the spiritist, spiritualist, mystical and religious many belief systems act with references which indeed are consistent  within these systems.

The religions too are ideologies  as regards  the social psychology. All of  them have ideas of their own  about  the Holy Creator,  about  God and they all have  belief and reference systems whose data bases are  full of  angels, jinn(s) and other supernatural-spiritual beings which are all consistent within the framework of their faith.

It has been observed that some honest  individuals with a powerful  auto-criticism mechanism do not escape from self criticism too.

With respect to an individual’s belief system a ‘’problem of  the soul’’  may be because of   a jinn that has entered into him or a Poltergeist and in order to get saved from this he  may  go  to a hodja, to a spiritual healer, to  an exorcist, a medium, a pyschic or a specialist on jinn(s). As a matter  of   fact, we know that starting from the most ignorant upto the most sophisticated person many individuals are trying to use one of  these means.

There are many books going around in the market which are telling about the methods of   beating (!)  the jinn that has obssessed the patient. After reading these  the reader does not know  whether to be furious with rage or to laugh at what has been written.   It is interesting that the superstitious indivuduals who have written these books  are being praised and complimented by university professors and  anchormen on the tv.  I had witnessed such an event during  a live tv program in which I was participating and had written  about it in an article which I  had  published.

The reason why I am insisting on such a point is that in the true/real  Islam there is no place for such  perversities and I know that the people who are doing these are charlatans or mentally ill people.   Otherwise,  I respect all kinds of  beliefs that are reasonable, down to earth and which are not openly in contradiction with  our  logical thinking. In the above statements the main  principle and the starting point is  the fact that  they do not have any relation with science whatsoever.

When  something  is claimed to be scientific, then the support of  that application/practice  should be dependable, convincing and valid.

In spite of all these epistomological arguments and in spite of  Heraclitus’ statement  ‘’You cannot wash yourself in the same river twice’’;  I am thinking that empiricism that has  an agnostic attitude  and the principle of being practical are the foundation stones  of  the positive science.  In other words,   any kind of knowledge/information can be considered as scientific when it is obtained either  by direct observation or  when  a theory based on assumptions is proved by conducting  several experiments  and confirmed by various other  observers too.   When a piece of knowledge/information is obtained through any of  these methods, then it is named as objective information in science and philosophy.

However, any piece of  information obtained through inspiration, intuition, sixth sense, by means of   a dream or  through a divine inspiration  is named as ‘’subjective’’ information/knowledge.

The objective knowledge can be proved wrong and it  can be changed or replaced by new, dependable and convincing information.

Whereas, the subjective information is dogmatic and it is based on dogma (the set of  beliefs that people are expected to accept without reasoning) and its main attribute is to be unchanging (it cannot be changed).  It is only possible to make some comments on such dogmatic information and these comments too  create some new subjective information. 

Objective information is a matter of opinion and it is always subject to change and advancement, whereas the subjective information is a matter of faith and most of  the time discussing about is also strongly forbidden.

Unfortunately, in the American language the word ‘’to believe’’ is being used so easily  and the Turkish writers who have been  much   influenced by this usage have started to speak about ‘’belief’’ even regarding the  scientific subjects and the ‘’opinion’’ has got lost.

This semantic disorder has also upset the contemplation process. For example,  there is no longer any difference between ‘’having faith in Allah’’ and ‘’to be in the opinion that Freud’s model for psyche  is correct’’.  The loss of this extremely important epistemological point  has furnished the scientists with scientific theories which they worshipped like their faith and divided them into different sectarian camps.

Another semantic problem comes from the wrong usage of  the word ‘’soul’’  in the Turkish psychiatry.  The Arabs are using the word ‘’ilm-i nefs (the science of the self )’’ for the word psychology and not the word ‘’ilm-i Ruh (the science of the soul’’.

Instead of  ‘’the mind’’ when we say ‘’the soul’’ then, the meaning  is confused with that of  the soul in metapyhsical-religious meanings, so all the charlatans who claim themselves to be mediums, psychics, healers and ‘’reincarnation therapists ’’  say ‘’we also are dealing with the soul as you do’’ and they find the right to place themselves as colleagues of  the psychiatrists or even consider themselves as superior to them.

However, a psychiatrist deals with the mind, in other words the psyche and in this sense the organ of  the soul is the brain.   Some may consider this approach as too much reductionist.  As a matter of  fact, in the history of psychiatry there has been too much debate on this subject. 

However, the subject has been enriched after Adolf Meyer has put forth the concept of psychobiology and when George Engel has correlated the ‘’biopsychosocial model’’ and ‘’the theory of general systems’’ with the existence of  the human being.  He has criticised the methodologies of  Karl Jaspers, Karl Wernicke and Sigmund Freud and  said that he has found them too much polarized and he has emphasized the necessity that in psychiatry there must be a ‘’pluralist epistemology’’.   This eclectic behaviour has been criticized by some and it has been supported, moreover developed by some others. 

As it is impossible for us to know what the soul in the metaphysical sense is or what  the spiritual beings such as the jýnn or the angels are and as we cannot prove them by experiements or observations, then we can say that these are not the data that can be used in the positive sciences.

For example,  the subject of reincarnation which means that the soul will come back to life in another body after death cannot be the subject of  a scientific argument, because neither the soul  nor the afterlife realm are the subject of some objective information/knowledge.  They can only be the subject of  a theological argument, in other words they are the subject of  faith.

By means of hyhpnosis taking the individuals back to their former lives and assuming that the events that they have experienced during those times have caused their  present problems and trying to delete these problems from the memory is beyond science, moreover dangerous. Similarly,  the superstition ‘’the evil eye/ the negative glance’’ which is avoided by most people is also beyond science,  because its meaning is not clear. 

As Popper has pointed out, by means of  the positive science and the objective information that it uses as an ingredient  the science, the technology and the life standard of  the human being advances at full speed.

The positive science takes as a basis  the objective information/knowledge and if this is not the case, then the development and the advancement becomes impossible. Similarly, the science of medicine is a branch of  the positive science dealing with the human health.  Therefore, it is compulsory that  the medical people, for instance  the psychiatrists should use and take as a guide the objective information.

A psychiatrist can start his work by praying, by wishing something or he may not do anything at all and whatever he does is  his personal choice. However,  when it comes to the scientific applications one should never ever  add or combine  his subject of  faith with these .

Again, as Popper has emphasized, I am also of  the opinion that the modern religions of our time (including Marksizm and Leninizm) are not against this basic principle. This is the most important scientific moral principle.

We are not moralists, but thearapists.

We do not have the right to impose our ideologies, beliefs or our choices, tendencies to our patients. We are not responsible for judging, baptising or sanctifying our patients, but we are responsible for curing them. 

Prof.Dr. M. Kerem Doksat
Ýstanbul - 28.07.2004


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