Debunking Antidepressants

On Sunday, 60 Minutes on CBS discussed Irving Kirsch’s work showing that anti-depressants are no better than placebos for all but the most severe cases of depression.

The Loving Story—A Valentine from HBO

On Valentine’s Day, HBO presented the documentary The Loving Story. The film tells about an interracial couple in Virginia in 1958 jailed for violating the state’s anti-miscegenation law. Their case eventually led to the Supreme Court’s 1967 unanimous decision in Loving v. Virginia declaring laws against intermarriage unconstitutional.

Debunking Ritalin

Ritalin and similar stimulants have no long-term effects on improving the attention and concentration of children with ADD; but they do have significant side effects.

What Does It Mean to Look Jewish?

I was walking down the street near my house; and a man I had never seen before stopped me and said “Hiya Rabbi! I haven’t seen you since the wedding.” As you may have guessed, I am not a rabbi.

What Does the Brazilian Census Tell Us About Race?

The 2010 Brazilian census says that, for the first time, the country is majority non-white. To Americans, Brazil has always had a non-white majority. How is this possible?

Ending the Global War on Drugs

The War on Drugs has become such a disaster for our Latin American allies that former Presidents of key countries are uniting to oppose it.

An Additional Reason Races Don’t Exist

Why is it that so-called racial features are variable (e.g., skin color varies from dark to light) rather than fixed (e.g., the belief that one biological race has dark skin color and another has light skin color)?

Lessons from Ken Burns’ Prohibition for the War on Drugs

In an amazing act of self-restraint, Ken Burns avoids all mention of the War On Drugs during his excellent three-part PBS series Prohibition. The parallels are, however, so exact, so numerous, and so painful that pointing them out feels like belaboring the obvious.

Yet One More Reason Races Don’t Exist

Do “racial” features vary together in “syndromes?” What can we learn by observing people on a New York City subway?

The Main Reason Races Don’t Exist

What have genetics and archaeology revealed about the history of the human species?

How the Meaning of Time Changes

"Did George Washington live in the time of the dinosaurs?" My daughter's question, when she was growing up, was an understandable one.

A Solution for the Gay Marriage Controversy

A church wedding in Brazil gave a clue to a simple solution for resolving the gay marriage controversy.

Another Reason Races Don’t Exist

Logic, the powers of two, and the history of human population growth combine to deliver a surprising message about race.

Why Johnny Can’t Read Writin’

In the old days of limited literacy, some people’s schooling ended before they learned cursive. They would apologize for their limitation by saying, “I can read readin’ but I can’t read writin’.” Apparently, increasing numbers of elementary schools feel that printing is good enough, and no longer teach handwriting.

Proposed Federal Legislation Would End Marijuana Prohibition

Today, June 23, 2011, historic bipartisan legislation to end marijuana prohibition was introduced in the House of Representatives. If passed, marijuana would come to be treated in a variety of ways by the various states, as is already the case with alcohol and tobacco.

Loving Day

This Sunday, June 12, is Loving Day; and celebrations and commemorative events will take place around the nation. Loving Day is the 44th Anniversary of the 1967 unanimous Supreme Court decision in Loving v. Virginia, striking down anti-miscegenation laws.

Understanding the Race Concept Cross-Culturally

There is little understanding of, many misconceptions regarding, and many false implicit assumptions concerning the race concept.

Black In Latin America on PBS—Two Out of Three

The PBS series Black In Latin America showed that the concept of race varies from one culture to another, and that people’s race changes when they travel to a country with a different set of cultural categories.

The Malleability of Ethnicity

The number of Native Americans has been increasing faster than can be accounted for by the birth rate. Sound impossible? This is just one of many surprises that emerge when you look at ethnicity up close.

What Do Names Tell Us? Part V—Gender

Names communicate a lot of information, which is subject to both interpretation and misinterpretation. For example some names are used by both girls and boys. This discussion of what names tell us about gender is the fifth in a five part series.

What Do Names Tell Us? Part IV—Social Class

Names communicate a lot of information, which is subject to both interpretation and misinterpretation. This discussion of what names tell us about social class is the fourth in a five part series.

What Do Names Tell Us? Part III—Race and Religion

Names communicate a lot of information, which is subject to both interpretation and misinterpretation. This discussion of what names tell us about race and religion is the third in a five part series.

What Do Names Tell Us? Part II--Last Names

Names communicate a lot of information, which is subject to both interpretation and misinterpretation. This discussion of last names and the cultural information they may (or may not) convey is the second of a five part series, "What Do Names Tell Us?"

What Do Names Tell Us? Part I--Popular Names

Names communicate a lot of information, which is subject to both interpretation and misinterpretation. This discussion of popular names is the first of a five part series "What Do Names Tell Us?"

Is Barack Obama Black or Mixed?

Barack Obama's election as President symbolized for many a triumph over prejudice. But for some the question remains--is he black? As with all such questions, it depends on what you mean by black. 

How to Raise Smart Kids Chinese-Style

Many people believe that Asians are smarter than average, and that intelligence is a form of innate potential that cannot be altered. The Chinese style of child rearing suggests otherwise.

How Should Racism Be Defined?

The word racism has been used to refer to hostile acts, antagonistic emotions, negative attitudes, and specific beliefs. An anthropological definition offers conceptual clarity. 

Is Anthropology Scientific? Beats Me.

 As I tried to figure out whether or not anthropology was scientific, I was reminded of Lewis Carroll's Through The Looking Glass.

Which Is In A Bigger Mess Over Culture—Psych. or Anthro. ?

I was dismayed, if not surprised, by Alice Dreger's post, No Science, Please. We're Anthropologists. The removal of references to "science" from the American Anthropological Association (AAA) mission statement pulled the rug out from under cross-cultural psychologists. 

The Trouble With Double-Blind Placebo Studies

Double-blind placebo studies have been called the gold standard for testing medications, especially psychiatric ones. Unfortunately, there are significant problems with double-blind placebo studies.

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