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Critical views of science in the news

Cybertherapy, placebos and the dodo effect: Why psychotherapies never get better

When the media report on a new diet that supposedly helps people lose weight once and for all, I wonder, "Does anyone still believe these claims, given the dismal track record of diets?" I have the same reaction to new treatments for psychological disorders, such as "cybertherapy." In a long, lavishly illustrated article in The New York Times , Benedict Carey reported that psychotherapists are harnessing virtual reality for treating social anxiety disorder, alcoholism, agoraphobia, gambling addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder and a host of other mental ailments.

November 29, 2010 — John Horgan

Scientific regress: When science goes backward

To celebrate the ends of years, decades and other milestones, science publications often churn out "Whither science?" predictions. Just last week, The New York Times Science Times section celebrated its, um, 32nd birthday with a special issue on "What's next in science".

November 16, 2010 — John Horgan

Margaret Mead's bashers owe her an apology

Thirty-two years after her death, the anthropologist Margaret Mead remains a favorite whipping girl for ideologues of all stripes. Did you know that she cooked up the global-warming "hoax"?

October 25, 2010 — John Horgan

Doubts about psychedelics from Albert Hofmann, LSD's discoverer

Psychedelics are back! As readers of Scientific American know, scientists have recently reported that psychedelics show promise for treating disorders such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety in terminal cancer patients.

September 24, 2010 — John Horgan

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