Posted: Mar 29, 2010 10:31 am
by Mr.Samsa
katja z wrote:
I disagree with the analogy to the extent that ideas from alchemy aren't around anymore, while Freud's ideas are, so it's probably useful to know just what in our "common sense" about human psychology comes from Freud's work.

Sure, but we could also argue that my analogy is wrong because Freud wasn't trying to turn basic elements into gold. An analogy is only useful for general points, once we look at the finer details all analogies will fall apart ;)

I do understand your point though, I just can't think of another example of some person or field that was so hugely popular and infiltrated common thinking, without actually contributing any real information to the field as a whole. Perhaps it's similar to teaching Lamarck when teaching molecular biology? A lot of his ideas are common in people uneducated in biology, yet he was completely and utterly wrong like Freud. (To be fair though, Lamarck's ideas weren't crazy, they were just based on incorrect inferences, whereas Freud was an antiscientific idiot)...