A- Opponents of Skinnerís Theory:
# Humanists - Behaviorism in general treats man as if he is the product or puppet of external events and has no free will for him to control himself. It essentially dehumanizes man and therefore cannot comprehend the intricacies of the mind and personality, nor can it explain feelings, goals, or creative thoughts such as art or science (Mischel,W.,1993, pp 314-15)
# Robert C. Bolles - The problem with Skinner's
article is that he doesn't realize that natural selectionists take more
into consideration than just the great causal effect of survival of the
fittest. In fact, they rarely use it to explain anything, choosing instead
to rely on smaller cause and effect
mechanisms. Skinner on the other hand refuses to use the small events and instead uses his initial grand theory of selection by consequence to explain everything. Skinner needs to realize that there may be more than one way or mode of looking at things. The mind is composed of both thoughts and feelings as well as stimuli and response and Skinner is wrong in believing otherwise.
# Bo Dahlbom - While Skinner uses Darwinian ideas to present his theory, he overlooks a lot of obvious concepts that clearly contradicts his ideas. According to Darwinian thought, humans are constantly improving themselves in order to gain better self-control. However, self-control only plays a factor if humans have free will. This simple idea of gaining self-control automatically negates Skinner's theory from agreeing with Darwinian ideas of natural selection (Dahlbom, 1984, 484-6).
# Michael T. Ghiselin - The problem with Skinner's ideas are that they are oversimplified as well as exaggerated. Not all human actions are initiated due to a previous stimulus. Humans have a distinct thought process that affects their decisions (Ghiselin, 1984, pp 489).
# Jonathan Schull - The problem with Skinner is that he believes that by believing in the whole environmental selection process, one must also reject any ideas which claim that people themselves can act as causal events and cause change. The fact is societal change is caused by just such a person, an initiating agent. Skinner refuses to admit that his linkage between selection in individual humans and selection in society goes deeper and indeed thought processes and people contribute to the whole causal selectivity proposed by Skinner (Schull, 1984, pp 497-8).
# Gestalt psychology - It demonstrates through
its research that there is something internal that manipulates stimuli
input. These variables can be:
memory, expectation, motivation, and attention. Skinner cannot adequately demonstrate that all mental events are indeed a product of the environment.
# Albert Bandura's - His experiments show that people can learn by observation and not just experience and reinforcement. His study suggests the presence of symbolic processes that are present before any responses.
# Christian Information Ministries - There is no place for a rebel in Skinner's ideal society. But rebels are what bring about the intellectual and moral growth of a society.
B- Supporters of Skinnerís Theory:
# Duane M. Rumbaugh - The reason why Skinner's
idea isn't widely accepted in society is because it takes the blame off
the shoulders of people and pushes it on the environment. This would be
bad for the survival of society so therefore, by Skinner's theory of societal
evolution, the theory
will never be accepted as true as it may be. Yet, despite its failure of acceptance and Skinner's claims of environmental creation not personal creation, the "selection by consequence theory" is a good theory and one he deserves credit for (Rumbaugh, 1984, pp 496-7).
# William Vaughan, Jr. - There are three
major revolutions in history that changed the view of mankind. The first
brought in by Copernicus, which said that mankind is a but a speck in the
vast universe, and Darwin's second, which said mankind is nothing more
than a machine working towards
survival of its genes, left intact the belief that man is a moral, thinking being. The third, Skinner's selection by consequences, destroys that showing that free will is no longer a truth. However hard this may be to accept, it is better to believe a truth than a lie (Vaughn, 1984, pp 501).
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