I was pleased to hear that Lee Charles Kelley will no longer be a blogger at Psychology Today. It was a decision that PT should have made long, long ago. Psychology is science, and while their standards may not be as rigorous as The Journal of Psychology, PT is still a science-centered publication.
The relationship between LCK and PT was ill-conceived from the beginning. Kelley, like his mentor Kevin Behan, is a magical thinker; his view of dogs included Borg-like collective consciousness, telepathy, unseen energies and undetectable transfer of information that violated thermodynamics, brain-independent behavior and of course the blind insistence that dogs don’t think. None of these views seemed to fit in a magazine that routinely explores evolutionary psychology, learning theory, cognition, and all other aspects of psychology.
In addition to questionable views, LCK also exhibited contempt for scientists even those that are part of the PT family. Kelley has suggested that Dr. Balcome is liar, Roger Abrantes is “absurd” post “nonsense”, Stanley Coren is “ignorant” and Marc Bekoff is “amnesic”. While LCK eventually issued an apology, it only seemed too little and too late. It marked the beginning of the end for Kelley.
For a guy who was always deleting posts for not having a “polite tone”, LCK seemed to go out of his way to denigrate other PT bloggers, both within PT and outside it. LCK even took time out to visit Kevin Behan’s website to write, “It’s amazing how much time and effort Abrantes has put forth to take a meaningless journey from zero back to zero.”
Another factor that didn’t help LCK was his abysmal scholarship, something I noted in my very first post. In one of his last posts – a rebuttal to this – LCK expressed his disappointment that MacNulty’s ethogram didn’t contain explanations and wrote, “there isn’t the slightest hint or suggestion as to why the animals are exhibiting any of these behaviors”. Including explanations in an ethogram defeats the very purpose of creating one; like coming to the conclusion before you obtain the data. I’m not the only one to note Kelley’s failures; regarding one particular essay, Bekoff wrote that LCK’s claims “fly in the face of solid scientific data.”
In the end LCK’s strange mix of pseudoscience, anti-science and mysticism always seemed out of place in the pages of PT. I am glad he will no longer enjoy the false cloak of authority he received from being a PT blogger. Hopefully this will also mean that less traffic to his blog and less people will be swayed by his questionable views.
Psychology Today should look forward and consider Simon Gadbois as a new blogger; he has impeccable credentials, a solid researcher and a terrific writer. That’s my vote.