ANTI-STORY

My least favorite professional liars: PR people, speechwriters, and scientists

There is a very scary article in the Feb. 10, 2014 New Yorker, about a scientist (Tyrone Hayes) who discovered in the late 1990s that the herbicide atrazine, made by a company called Syngenta, grossly disrupts the hormonal systems of amphibians. Other researchers have since argued that groundwater contamination from atrazine poses a severe risk [...]

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Why “Bill Nye the Science Guy” is not called “Bill Nye the Facts Guy”

I was both bemused and pained by the furor kicked up on Facebook a few days ago by the Bill Nye/Ken Ham evolution vs. Creationism debate. Along with others equally ignorant, I waded into threads to assert that I knew (really!) what “science” was and wasn’t. Shortly I found myself in the kind of feeding [...]

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Review of Anatomy Of An Epidemic: This is your brain on psychiatric drugs

Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America by Robert Whitaker Crown, 404 pp., $26.00 About three-quarters of the way through Robert Whitaker’s expose of the psychiatric drug industry, Anatomy Of An Epidemic, I found myself beginning to worry. Whitaker’s claim is that contrary to what [...]

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Plot twist in the story about antidepressants?

It occurs to me that we can think of the massive use of antidepressants and similar drugs in this country as involving a kind of story: depression is caused by such-and-such, the drugs will cure it by such-and-such an action, and everything is groovy. So say the drug companies in their TV ads; so hope [...]

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Good article on Marsha Linehan, creator of Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Linehan is of the giants of modern talk therapy; in creating Dialectical Behavior Therapy, she went well beyond conventional CBT by including mindfulness and acceptance components, thereby more effectively reaching many people in deep distress about who they feel themselves to be. This article in the New York Times is a particularly nice celebration of [...]

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Psychiatric medications as super-placebos

This isn’t directly related to my interest in the psychological aspects of language as behavior, but it does bear on the question of why humans suffer psychologically in the first place, and on how such suffering should best be treated: a review in The New York Review of Books of three books on what seems [...]

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A note about language as behavior

My interest in language as behavior (rather than as we normally think of it, as something that simply describes the world) began quite abruptly back in early 2005. That was when I discovered a relatively new kind of talk therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, or ACT.

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Wayne Dyer vs. The Best American Spiritual Writing 2007

I have never been religious, but like so many other people I wish often that I had faith. By faith I mean a sense of transcendence, of connection, of the world being more than a junkyard filled with quarreling humans or a machine to be explained by scientists. A world bigger than our definitions of [...]

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Repealing the Law of Attraction

I picked a friend up from the bus stop the other day to drive them up to the art colony run by my girlfriend. This friend asked how I was doing, and being in a self-deprecating but decent mood I said something I hoped was witty: “Oh, smelly, grouchy, and broke, but I’m okay.” My [...]

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No plum blossoms for us

Something I’ve been musing about for awhile is the strange way we in the West, including many of us interested in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, choose to convert spiritual work into psychological work.

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