Amy’s Arguments

  • The philosophical underpinnings of these kinds of “Christian” behaviour “training” models do not sit well with biblical theology.

    The more I read about Ezzo and Pearl’s behaviour modification techniques the more I am reminded of Behaviouristic psychology (the works of Skinner, Watson, Pavlov etc)

    Fundamentally, behavioural psychology advocates the use operant/classical conditioning for behaviour modification (neg or pos reinforcement and the pleasure/avoidance stimulus responses they entail).

    From a purely pragmatic standpoint these often demonstratably work – they get results…for example,

    I see the needle + it causes me pain
    I avoid needles

    I eat chocolate = I feel good
    In order to feel good, I eat chocolate, lol

    …but the understanding of human nature behind it is disturbing from a Christian standpoint.

    At the roots of Behaviourism are a worldview that totally denies that people have

    (a) real emotions (such as love, grief, hatred etc.) our internal states are just a sum of the internal processing of our external behaviour, conditioned according to stimulus response

    (b) personality preferences (unless they’ve been ‘shaped’ through outside behavioural control)

    (c) a moral conscience – people simply learn to “react” and “behave” [so much for God’s laws being written on our hearts and minds…]

    (d) original thoughts/ideas – including the ‘big ideas’ like truth and beauty AND God

    (e) self determination or internal self control [just behaviour patterns that have conformed to external reward/punishment patterns]

    (f) a soul (this is ‘superstition’ which we have been conditioned to believe for purposes of social control or it gratifies some conditioned response)

    OK, so I’ve said that in practise operant/classical conditioning works – we all use it whenever we praise our children for doing something good…but to RELY on punishment/reward for behaviour modification or use it as a sole means of teaching/training a child?

    What a naive and Godless conception of what it is to be a human! Methinks of that song lyric – ‘Despite all my rage, I am still but a rat in a cage!” – Amy in Australia

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