Peer Reviewed

As I was saying, I’m required by my class to read 1500 pages in addition to the assigned text, so I’ve been browsing the academic archives for articles relevant to pastoral counseling.

Be forewarned: Stay away from the Journal of Pastoral Counseling. It gives a whole new meaning to the concept of Peer Review. Apparently, the question to consider is ever “who are the peers?”

Just a few salient quotes:

> Secularization is based on fact and therefore it will inevitably dismiss beliefs that cannot be proven.
*From: “Psycholgy Versus Religion” (2001)*


> At the beginning there was no antagonism between psychology and religion. There was no psychology.
*From “The Rift Between Religion and Psychotherapy: Can it be Healed?” (2002)*

> A little extra idea! Pastoral Counseling Professors might want to use this book as an added resource to their teaching materials. Or, even add it to their required text list.”
*From: “Pastoral diagnosis: a resource for ministries of care and counseling” (Review; 2002)*

I’ve left off names for charity, but this stuff is positively insipid. The last article was merely a wide-eyed review of a pastoral counseling text (of no known true value, because the reviewer was too aparently capable of being awe-struck), but the other two were personally offensive. The journal name is Pastoral Counseling. This implies a pretty substantial religious foundation, so I had some hopes for something interesting from the articles on reconciling psychology with religion. But from only a single sentence from each, I hope you can detect a pretty significant bias in favor of scientism, over against religion. This is the sort of thing you would expect from poor newspaper journalism, not a peer-reviewed journal. However, in the current milieu, anti-religion isn’t too unexpected. What’s unnerving is that in praising modern science so highly above ancient spiritism, you’d think they’d have the decency to be analytical in their own expressions. Isn’t discrete, systematic thinking what is supposed to separate “scientific” thought from what predates it?

Instead you get the tentative musings of a juvenile mind. The “versus” article referenced above, at one point makes the bold assertion that his conclusions must be derrived from his experience, since that is what has shaped him. This is true, but if you’re going to say this, it should be apologeticaly, since personal experience necessarily colors what is said *against* anything useful that might be universally applied. My experience that people need stability in order to function to their fullest potential doesn’t hold a candle to serious research on the effects of stabiliy on human development. This kind of writing (ironically) is appopriate for a weblog, but this is precisely the sort of thing that a peer is supposed to review **out** of the
journal.

The fact that the peers are reviewing at the grade school level deflates the value of the journal, of peer-reviewed journals as a whole, and generally wastes my time.

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