It is a common argument by those who are opposed to evolution's implication for religious belief to label Darwin as a social Darwinist and a racist. Adrian Desmond and James Moore's book Darwin's Sacred Cause has gone a long way towards dispelling any claims that Darwin sought to justify black inferiority (in fact, as they show, it was just the opposite). However, the claim that Darwin inspired social Darwinism is a persistent argument and those that proffer it will stoop to any level in order........ Read more »
Elshakry, Marwa. (2003) Darwin's Legacy in the Arab East: Science, Religion and Politics, 1870-1914. Princeton University D.Phil. Thesis. info:/
“Teen Pot Use Linked To Psychoses“, “Teen pot smokers at high risk of mental illness“,”Study finds cannabis use is ‘crazy-making’” are the headlines being produced about some new research that finds a link between cannabis use and psychosis
But are the headlines justified? Well, headlines like this are rarely justified. A more interesting question worth asking [...]... Read more »
Frisher, M., Crome, I., Martino, O., & Croft, P. (2009) Assessing the impact of cannabis use on trends in diagnosed schizophrenia in the United Kingdom from 1996 to 2005. Schizophrenia Research, 113(2-3), 123-128. DOI: 10.1016/j.schres.2009.05.031
McGrath, J., Welham, J., Scott, J., Varghese, D., Degenhardt, L., Hayatbakhsh, M., Alati, R., Williams, G., Bor, W., & Najman, J. (2010) Association Between Cannabis Use and Psychosis-Related Outcomes Using Sibling Pair Analysis in a Cohort of Young Adults. Archives of General Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2010.6
Over the past few years, deep brain stimulation (DBS) has emerged as a promising treatment for severe psychiatric disorders that haven't responded to conventional approaches. A new paper from the University of Florida reports on a trial of DBS in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and unlike most DBS studies, it was placebo-controlled: Deep Brain Stimulation for Intractable Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.Six patients were implanted with electrodes in the "ventral capsule/ventral striatum" (VC/V........ Read more »
Goodman, W., Foote, K., Greenberg, B., Ricciuti, N., Bauer, R., Ward, H., Shapira, N., Wu, S., Hill, C., & Rasmussen, S. (2010) Deep Brain Stimulation for Intractable Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Pilot Study Using a Blinded, Staggered-Onset Design. Biological Psychiatry, 67(6), 535-542. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2009.11.028
by Drew Rosielle MD in Pallimed: a Hospice & Palliative Medicine Blog
A few analyses from the Coping With Cancer Study have been published recently, all in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. We've published extensively about the CWCS (see here for more). Briefly, it was a prospective, US multi-institutional study of several hundred advanced cancer patients (& their family caregivers) which measured at baseline, among many things, characteristics of patient coping, communication with clinicians, and care preferences. Patients were followed through death, and ........ Read more »
Loggers, E., Maciejewski, P., Paulk, E., DeSanto-Madeya, S., Nilsson, M., Viswanath, K., Wright, A., Balboni, T., Temel, J., Stieglitz, H.... (2009) Racial Differences in Predictors of Intensive End-of-Life Care in Patients With Advanced Cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 27(33), 5559-5564. DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2009.22.4733
Mack, J., Weeks, J., Wright, A., Block, S., & Prigerson, H. (2010) End-of-Life Discussions, Goal Attainment, and Distress at the End of Life: Predictors and Outcomes of Receipt of Care Consistent With Preferences. Journal of Clinical Oncology. DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2009.25.4672
Balboni, T., Paulk, M., Balboni, M., Phelps, A., Loggers, E., Wright, A., Block, S., Lewis, E., Peteet, J., & Prigerson, H. (2009) Provision of Spiritual Care to Patients With Advanced Cancer: Associations With Medical Care and Quality of Life Near Death. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 28(3), 445-452. DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2009.24.8005
“Ok brain. I don’t like you and you don’t like me. Let’s just do this and I can go back to killing you with beer.” - Homer Simpson
A new piece of research has elicited headlines around the world in today’s newspapers such as “Coma patient ‘talks’ with his thoughts” and “Coma victim talks via brain [...]... Read more »
Monti MM, Vanhaudenhuyse A, Coleman MR, Boly M, Pickard JD, Tshibanda L, Owen AM, & Laureys S. (2010) Willful Modulation of Brain Activity in Disorders of Consciousness. The New England journal of medicine. PMID: 20130250
Martin M. Monti, & Audrey Vanhaudenhuyse. (2010) Willful Modulation of Brain Activity in Disorders of Consciousness. The New England Journal of Medicine. info:/10.1056/NEJMoa0905370
Stanfordian scientists have attributed age-related financial risks with differential accumbal activity. Honestly, this begs a philosophical conversation of how we can control financial risks of the elderly without jeopardizing their basic human rights.... Read more »
Samanez-Larkin, G., Kuhnen, C., Yoo, D., & Knutson, B. (2010) Variability in Nucleus Accumbens Activity Mediates Age-Related Suboptimal Financial Risk Taking. Journal of Neuroscience, 30(4), 1426-1434. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4902-09.2010
A little while ago, I wrote a post about an article in Science about the relationship between “objective” measurements of “quality of life” and subjective measurements of “life-satisfaction”. The article found a very high correlation between these measurements leading the authors to claim that there was now “objective verification” of the subjective measurements often used [...]... Read more »
Oswald, A., & Wu, S. (2009) Objective Confirmation of Subjective Measures of Human Well-Being: Evidence from the U.S.A. Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.1180606
Schwarz, N., Strack, F., & Mai, H. (1991) Assimilation and Contrast Effects in Part-Whole Question Sequences: A Conversational Logic Analysis. Public Opinion Quarterly, 55(1), 3. DOI: 10.1086/269239
Norbert Schwarz, & Fritz Strack. (1991) Context Effects in Attitude Surveys: Applying Cognitive Theory to Social Research. European Review of Social Psychology. info:/
Oishi, S. (2003) The contextual and systematic nature of life satisfaction judgments. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 39(3), 232-247. DOI: 10.1016/S0022-1031(03)00016-7
Schkade, D., & Kahneman, D. (1998) Does Living in California Make People Happy? A Focusing Illusion in Judgments of Life Satisfaction. Psychological Science, 9(5), 340-346. DOI: 10.1111/1467-9280.00066
Back in the time of the “black and white” motion picture days, when “talkies” weren’t even born, we still could make out the essence of what Charlie Chaplin had to “say”. We understood his unspoken words, courtesy a system of neuronal networking, called the mirror neuron system. Another example: you observe a man kissing ‘his’ girlfriend, ‘your’ neuronal network that would otherwise activate when you ‘actually’ kissed her, would fire! Mirror neurons are at work. Seems t........ Read more »
Iacoboni M, Molnar-Szakacs I, Gallese V, Buccino G, Mazziotta JC, & Rizzolatti G. (2005) Grasping the intentions of others with one's own mirror neuron system. PLoS biology, 3(3). PMID: 15736981
Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4
Richard Hofstadter wrote in Social Darwinism in American Thought that this political theory was "one of the leading strains in American conservative thought for more than a generation." In this series I have shown many of the inconsistencies that exist in the literature on social Darwinism and have emphasized the main objections that scholars have raised about the utility of the term.
In Part 1 I presented the standard definition of social Darwinism as defi........ Read more »
Hodgson, G. (2004) Social Darwinism in Anglophone Academic Journals: A Contribution to the History of the Term. Journal of Historical Sociology, 17(4), 428-463. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-6443.2004.00239.x
Many non-Australians might not know it, but Australia is overrun with feral vertebrates (not to mention weeds and invertebrates). We have millions of pigs, dogs, camels, goats, buffalo, deer, rabbits, cats, foxes and toads (to name a few). In a continent that separated from Gondwana about 80 million years ago, this allowed a fairly unique [...]... Read more »
C.R. McMahon, B.W. Brook,, N. Collier, & C.J.A. Bradshaw. (2010) Spatially explicit spreadsheet modelling for optimising the efficiency of reducing invasive animal density. Methods in Ecology and Evolution. info:/10.1111/j.2041-210X.2009.00002.x
Albrecht, G., McMahon, C., Bowman, D., & Bradshaw, C. (2009) Convergence of Culture, Ecology, and Ethics: Management of Feral Swamp Buffalo in Northern Australia. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 22(4), 361-378. DOI: 10.1007/s10806-009-9158-5
Bradshaw, C., Field, I., Bowman, D., Haynes, C., & Brook, B. (2007) Current and future threats from non-indigenous animal species in northern Australia: a spotlight on World Heritage Area Kakadu National Park. Wildlife Research, 34(6), 419. DOI: 10.1071/WR06056
Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3
In Quentin Skinner's celebrated history The Foundations of Modern Political Thought he writes that:
If the history of political theory were to be written essentially as a history of ideologies, one outcome might be a clearer understanding of the links between political theory and practice.
In Part II of this series I highlighted how a common objection to the political theory of social Darwinism is that it was a misapplication of Darwin's science to already existing id........ Read more »
Crook, P. (1998) Social Darwinism and British “new imperialism”: Second thoughts. The European Legacy, 3(1), 1-16. DOI: 10.1080/10848779808579860
Psychiatrists give their patients all kinds of drugs, but in most cases, they do so without ever taking any themselves. Some French psychiatrists found an excuse to try out some drugs in the name of science, and the results are published in a paper just out - Besnier et al's Effects of paroxetine on emotional functioning and treatment awareness.Thirty healthy psychiatrists and clinical psychologists took paroxetine 20mg per day, or placebo pills, for 4 weeks. Paroxetine (Paxil, Seroxat) is a pop........ Read more »
Besnier N, Cassé-Perrot C, Jouve E, Nguyen N, Lançon C, Falissard B, & Blin O. (2009) Effects of paroxetine on emotional functioning and treatment awareness: a 4-week randomized placebo-controlled study in healthy clinicians. Psychopharmacology. PMID: 19826792
An intriguing and tragic story of brain damage is reported in the latest issue of Neurocase: Klüver-Bucy syndrome, hypersexuality, and the law.The authors are Devinsky, Sacks, and Devinsky - Sacks being neurologist and author Dr. Oliver Sacks. Their anonymous patient, a 51 year old married American man, is currently serving a jail sentence for downloading child pornography. But he's not your average pedophile.The man's problems began at the age of 19 when he -first suffered attacks of déjà vu........ Read more »
Devinsky J, Sacks O, & Devinsky O. (2009) Kluver-Bucy syndrome, hypersexuality, and the law. Neurocase : case studies in neuropsychology, neuropsychiatry, and behavioural neurology, 1-6. PMID: 19927260
... Read more »
Flanders WD. (2006) On the relationship of sufficient component cause models with potential outcome (counterfactual) models. European journal of epidemiology, 21(12), 847-53. PMID: 17048084
Last month Wired, announced that Placebos Are Getting More Effective. Drugmakers Are Desperate to Know Why.The article's a good read, and the basic story is true, at least in the case of psychiatric drugs. In clinical trials, people taking placebos do seem to get better more often now than in the past (paper). This is a big problem for Big Pharma, because it means that experimental new drugs often fail to perform better than placebo, i.e. they don't work. Wired have just noticed this, but it's b........ Read more »
Slogger Charles Mudede points to a new epidemiological study on the effectiveness of carrying a gun for self defense [$-a]. Not only does packing heat fail to help in the event of an armed robbery,... individuals in possession of a gun were 4.46 (P That's right, carrying a gun increases the odds that you'll be shot by an armed assailant. It also increases the odds that you'll be shot fatally, by about 4.23 times. The authors interviewed 677 gun assault victims in Philadelphia, from between 2003 ........ Read more »
Branas, C., Richmond, T., Culhane, D., Ten Have, T., & Wiebe, D. (2009) Investigating the link between gun possession and gun assault. American Journal of Public Health. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2008.143099
What is a cognit you ask? It's a basic unit of memory or knowledge defined by pattern of connections between a network of neurons associated by experience.Termed by Fuster in 2006, the construct was created to solve the problematic yet popular view that the human brain is made up of discrete cortical domains dedicated exclusively to visual discrimination, language, spatial attention, face recognition, motor programming, memory retrieval, and working memory.Although the modular modeling of the br........ Read more »
FUSTER, J. (2006) The cognit: A network model of cortical representation. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 60(2), 125-132. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2005.12.015
In this post I discuss the question whether we are our brains. In doing so I introduce the principle of the identity of indiscernibles, brainhood and the cerebral subject, neuro-realism and neuro-essentialism, and the mereological fallacy. ... Read more »
Fusar-Poli P, & Broome MR. (2007) Love and brain: from mereological fallacy to "folk" neuroimaging. Psychiatry research, 154(3), 285-6. PMID: 17350234
As an undergraduate, at my school it was practically a requirement to steal silverware from the campus cafeteria. There were students who'd commandeered full sets of china. The desk clerk at my dorm used to say that the only thing we were learning from our college education was "how to steal."
Somehow it didn't seem wrong to us to steal from the cafeteria (though I drew the line at a single setting of silverware). Plus, we'd heard that at other schools, students used the cafeteria trays as sled........ Read more »
Gino, F., Ayal, S., & Ariely, D. (2009) Contagion and Differentiation in Unethical Behavior: The Effect of One Bad Apple on the Barrel. Psychological Science, 20(3), 393-398. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02306.x
A THESIS in the current edition of Nature Nanotechnology addresses the tricky minefield of scientists’ objectivity; the premise being that, on the basis of several lab studies carried out by social scientists, science is more subjective than many scientists realise.
Such lab studies stem from the desire to understand the creation of scientific knowledge from within [...]... Read more »
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