Two recent science stories, one in anthropology and the other in physics, have me wondering which field is "hard" and which "soft." The first story involves the decision of the American Anthropological Association to delete the word "science" from its mission statement...
As an old hippy I still get a kick out of anarchy, mayhem and challenges to authority. As a father, teacher, journalist and all-around pillar of the community, however, I've come to see the upside of the status quo more than I did in my carefree youth...
My last post talked about the depressing lack of progress in treatments for depression and other common psychological disorders. Talking cures and antidepressants alike are subject to the "dodo effect," which decrees that all therapies are roughly as effective—or ineffective—as one another...
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...
The approach of Thanksgiving, that quintessential American holiday, has me brooding over recent scientific portrayals of Native Americans as bellicose brutes.
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"...
Why war? Darwinian explanations, such as the popular "demonic males" theory of Harvard anthropologist Richard Wrangham, are clearly insufficient.
Homosexuality is a lifestyle choice. Or so religious conservatives would have us believe. But liberalism is in our genes. Or so researchers at the University of California, San Diego, and Harvard University would have us believe...
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"?...
The passing of the mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot has triggered in me a wave of nostalgia for the 1980s, when Mandelbrot and other researchers seemed to be creating a scientific revolution...
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