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Chapter 9: Therapy 
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 Chapter 9: Therapy
Chapter 9: Therapy

Please talk about Chapter 9: Therapy here. :coco:



Tue Jan 13, 2015 5:54 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 9: Therapy
To my delight, this chapter began with a quote:-


“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”

― Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes


I would here point out that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a convinced spiritualist and there are several books on the subject. One in particular being entitled: Joseph McCabe. (1920). Is Spiritualism Based On Fraud? The Evidence Given By Sir A. C. Doyle and Others Drastically Examined. London Watts & Co.

This chapter annoyed be more than somewhat. Sexual abuse of children by figures in authority over them - people whom they should be able to trust, like their own parents, is by no means the same as imagined alien abduction. It is insulting to such people for Sagan to lump them in the same psychological group. These children are damaged by the betrayal of their trust as much as by the actual abuse.

On page 155 of my book, the paragraph beginning ....In all three classes - specialists.....Where he gives reasons why specialist therapists can mislead victims, or use them to further their careers or bank balances....does not help to fill us with confidence that all memories of abuse are false......I cannot see what he is achieving towards his argument in all those odious anecdotes. Whatever happens in the world - climatic catastrophes, oil spills....etc. There is always an 'expert in the bleeding obvious' brought forward to pontificate...It infuriates me. 'There is going to be a heavy frost - minus 10 degrees below - so I would advise that you put on gloves and a hat'.......grrrrrrr. :angry:

Page 156 - paragraph beginning....If we fail to cope ....This is a very bald example of Sagan stating opinion disguised as fact....We can all quote anecdotal evidence to attempt to prove a point and I do think Sagan is taking it too far in this book. I also think he has covered the ground for alien abduction to excess.


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Thu Jan 29, 2015 1:07 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 9: Therapy
Penelope wrote:
Sexual abuse of children by figures in authority over them - people whom they should be able to trust, like their own parents, is by no means the same as imagined alien abduction.


What page is this on? I'll read through it. I would think that if Sagan made this comparison, it is in respect to a detail or characteristic, rather than a general comparison.


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Thu Jan 29, 2015 2:26 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 9: Therapy
Page 149 -

The existence of any false accusation of childhood sexual abuse - especially those created under the ministrations of an authority figure - has, it seems to me, relevance to the alien abduction issue. If some people can with great passion and conviction be led to falsely remember being abused by their own parents, might not others, with comparable passion and conviction, be led to falsely remember being abused by aliens?

The more I look into claims of alien abduction, the more similar they seem to reports of 'recovered memories' of childhood sexual abuse. And there's a third class of related claims, repressed 'memories' of satanic ritual cults - in which sexual torture, coprophilia, infanticides and cannibalism are said to be prominently featured.


This is to quote but a couple of paragraphs, but the whole chapter is discussing these matters from the same perspective. It is a very cynical attitude.

I realise that Sagan wrote this almost two decades ago and it is only very recently in the UK that instances of historic abuse of children by politicians, television personalities, and pop stars are coming to light. Cover ups by those in authority, not to mention well-known cover ups of such abuse by the catholic church, protecting priests etc.

Not just evidence given by people who suffered abuse as children but the finding of explicit images on the computers of the accused abusers many of whom are household names.

These trials and accusations are going on now in the UK - and have been for months and months. With all this going on here, it is just hard to deal with Sagan's implication that so much of it is imagined.

Bad timing I suppose. Distressing never-the-less.


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Thu Jan 29, 2015 3:21 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 9: Therapy
Penelope wrote:
This is to quote but a couple of paragraphs, but the whole chapter is discussing these matters from the same perspective. It is a very cynical attitude.


I don't see anything wrong with the passage Penelope. You have to remember that a man like Sagan intends what he means. He mentions in the first sentence a specific type of child abuse case - the ones that are false accusations. Of course there are many real cases of child abuse, and they are heinous. But there are false accusations as well. He is making no judgement here between the two.

The point of the passage is that memories can be manipulated.


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Post Re: Chapter 9: Therapy
Quote:
The existence of any false accusation of childhood sexual abuse - especially those created under the ministrations of an authority figure - has, it seems to me, relevance to the alien abduction issue. If some people can with great passion and conviction be led to falsely remember being abused by their own parents, might not others, with comparable passion and conviction, be led to falsely remember being abused by aliens?
- C Sagan

It was a poor comparison by Sagan and would have been better left out as a comparison, in my opinion.

Sagan seems to try to weave a lot of his opinion with a smattering of science.

Here is some information from the American Psychology Association website about "suggested memory"

Quote:
The issue of repressed or suggested memories has been overreported and sensationalized by the news media


Quote:
First, it's important to state that there is a consensus among memory researchers and clinicians that most people who were sexually abused as children remember all or part of what happened to them although they may not fully understand or disclose it. Concerning the issue of a recovered versus a pseudomemory, like many questions in science, the final answer is yet to be known
- emphasis mine

http://www.apa.org/topics/trauma/memories.aspx

Most people who've been sexually abused as children remember some of that abuse.
The issue of "psuedo memories" is still under scientific examination today. There's a lot to be known even today.

Sagan again is out of his realm of expertise. Psychologists know more now than they did in Sagan's time. Sagan is not a psychologist.
For Sagan to mention Alien sexual abduction/abuse in the same breath as child abuse is, in my opinion, arrogantly presumptuous, irresponsible, and distasteful.



Thu Jan 29, 2015 5:50 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 9: Therapy
Quote:
The point of the passage is that memories can be manipulated.


He could have just said that instead.

Here's how he could have said it:

"memories can be manipulated"

But when you're a cosmologist I guess you can make claims related to child psychology.



Last edited by ant on Thu Jan 29, 2015 6:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: Chapter 9: Therapy
Quote:
Interbane:


The point of the passage is that memories can be manipulated.


Yes, you are right. I realise that is what he is emphasising; but labouring the point.

Another of our senses which we can't trust. The trouble is in cases of child abuse - our senses and judgement are all we have. If child abuse is suspected, that child must be removed to a safe place. If that means taking it from its parents, sometimes wrongly, then that has to happen because children have been tortured and killed when social workers have erred on the side of parents and guardians.

There will always be cases of children lying, or if babies, displaying bruising other than caused by abuse, but the responsibility is to protect the child for whatever reason. It is a harrowing job and one which I couldn't do, but it is necessary.

I'm sorry, but abduction by aliens is a bizarre claim and a case has never been proved. Child abuse has been proved, many times, therefore I think he should have chosen another subject to compare.

I am looking forward to the chapter on Detecting Balloney. It is taking a long time and a lot of dross to get to it. I am, however, reading on.


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Thu Jan 29, 2015 6:03 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 9: Therapy
Quote:
I'm sorry, but abduction by aliens is a bizarre claim and a case has never been proved. Child abuse has been proved, many times, therefore I think he should have chosen another subject to compare.


I'm not so sure on this point either. Although, I don't know how to discuss without offending you. I understand the vast majority of child abuse cases are real. I've had supplemental child abuse training(darkness to light), and they deliver a ton of horrible facts. It's a depressing topic.

But when I consider the false cases, there is something of scientific interest in the middle of the emotional turmoil. Specifically, the way in which memories can be manipulated by the questions that are asked. This could be a matter of media hype, as ant suggests, but I think there are a few cases where this was confirmed. They are worth noting if we're to talk about memory alteration and how that relates to alien abductions.

The point is, how far are we to trust our memories? It's not that there aren't monks who've memorized entire books. We all wish we were that person. But the point to take home with you is that when you rely on your memory, you could be setting yourself up for failure. So skepticism toward your own memory isn't a bad thing.


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Post Re: Chapter 9: Therapy
The point is the point could have been made without a comparison with child abuse allegations
Particularly when Sagan has no expertise in psychology particularly in areas of memory suppression as it relates to cases of sexual abuse.

Jesus Christ. Cant anyone disagree with HOW Sagan chooses to make a point?

I know because he's a scientist he's like a prophet but jeez.



Thu Jan 29, 2015 10:02 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 9: Therapy
ant wrote:
Jesus Christ. Cant anyone disagree with HOW Sagan chooses to make a point?

I know because he's a scientist he's like a prophet but jeez.


You are more than welcome to disagree with him, and I'm allowed to disagree with you. What it seems you're after is the freedom to be disagreeable without being challenged about it. I agree with a lot of what's said, and with a lot of the stuff you say, but it's the stuff that I disagree with that motivates me to post. There's a sort of selection bias at play between us and sparks always fly. I think I'm too often inflexible, and that makes my posts irritating. I really am sorry about that.

Regarding the choice of false child abuse accusations, it's because he's using an association that is likeliest to be made by the widest audience. The abuse cases where memory was altered were sensationalized, as you mentioned. A lot of people will make the connection because of that. You're right to question whether or not he studied the actual cases, or gleaned the data from media. But I don't think you can fault the reasoning behind his decision, especially if there is truth to the claims of altered memory.


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Post Re: Chapter 9: Therapy
Quote:
Interbane:

But the point to take home with you is that when you rely on your memory, you could be setting yourself up for failure. So skepticism toward your own memory isn't a bad thing.


Oh, I see. Well I am very skeptical about relying on memories because look at what happens when people witness a road traffic accident for instance. Most of us will remember it wrongly in some respects. Also if two or three people describe one thing occuring a fourth will agree with them.....even if he wasn't going to.....because he questions his own ability. There is a film of some people planted in a crowd, and asked a simple arithmetic question - they ask six people who give the same wrong answer and the seventh who isn't a plant - though obviously hesitant - will also repeat the wrong answer. I get all that, Interbane.

Of course, here, in this chapter we are talking about retrieved memories which are alledged to be hidden in the sub-conscious. Now, when you start messing about with sub- conscious memories of course you get all sorts of wrong data. I mean, we get our imaginations mixed up with our real time anyway.

I don't think Sagan needed to make such a big thing about this point is all.

OK, so far he has pointed out that we cannot trust our eyes because our vision might be an hallucination and neither can we trust our ears because we might be having an auditary hallucination. We cannot trust our memories, which to me is the most obvious and it didn't need all of those unpleasant anecdotes.


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Post Re: Chapter 9: Therapy
Quote:
Interbane wrote:

I'm not so sure on this point either. Although, I don't know how to discuss without offending you.


Thankyou. I appreciate your consideration. Just for the record.....I am only offended if people call me rude names because I don't agree with them. Because, that is bullying.

The thing I hate most is being patronised......I get really snotty when I go to the doctor or any sort of expert and they talk to me as though I have reached my second childhood - which happens a lot when you reach my age. If I feel I am being patronised I turn into a witch.

I like it here on booktalk because you lot NEVER patronise me.. :-D


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Post Re: Chapter 9: Therapy
From the chapter:

"It would be astonishing if a significant number of patients who present themselves to alien abduction therapists had not been so abused [sexually], perhaps even to a large proportion than in the general population"

This is all fine and dandy.

Where's the evidence for this claim, Mr. Scientist?

I dont doubt much of this but when I hear bald claims i want to see the data that backs it up empirically.

I wish the Prophet would have given specific citations/references to studies that back claims like this one.

As an example, when the Prophet claimed that countless hundreds of thousands were burned as witches, the first scholarly study I looked at (see my post about it) states something much different based on available evidence.

I dont doubt the witch trials. But I am skeptical of outlandish claims made by non historians.
Including those made by celebrity cosmologists like the Prophet Sagan.

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Sat Jan 31, 2015 8:41 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 9: Therapy
For me it was a vexing challenge reading this chapter, particularly after reading the comments in this thread, It has been a difficult task connecting the two together. Carl Sagan seems to be asking the Psychiatric Associations and the reader to exorcise greater skepticism towards claims of alien abduction, and false sexual abuse. Additionally CS provides information about satanic cults and their creepy aspects, also a fair amount of statistics covering the rape of woman and especially children. It all gets convoluted in the presentation of repressed memories versus implanted memories. There is a lot going on in this chapter that hides what I think is a lost point, To quote Carl Sagan " Both sexual abuse therapists and alien abduction therapist spend months, sometimes years, encouraging their subjects to remember being abused. Their methods are similar, and their goals are in a way- the same - to recover painful memories, often of long ago. In both cases the therapist believes the patient to be suffering from trauma attendant to an event so terrible that it is repressed." His quote, is to me, the entire context of the chapter, At that time there was not as Ant's link to the APA tells us, enough research into the many aspects of the human psych. From what I gather after reading this chapter plus this thread and various related topics available via google, the diagnostic techniques of the time were not prepared for the onslaught of the many variations of modern mental trauma, whether real or imagined.



Last edited by Taylor on Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.



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