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Many Pointilist Paintings To Truth

28 May

Example #12I think Jim Manzi nails it.

Russ: Yeah, I think we have a lot of romance about randomized control trials like this, because they remind us of science.

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Kenneth Waltz, IR Theorist, RIP

14 May

Kenneth WaltzKenneth Waltz, a giant among the pantheon of grand theorists in political science and an exponent of structural realism, was an undergrad poli sci major’s best friend. His amazingly-constructed arguments exemplify for me how science is communicated, because they were easy to encapsulate for exams and discussions. Only, in the middle of writing those capsule summaries, those same pithy words often worked themselves into my brain and sparked reflection at the wrong time. But the resulting torrent of paragraphs filled entire exam booklets and essays with borrowed profundity. Here’s an example:


For all the reasons I love this argument, Waltz’s contention that nuclear proliferation promotes stability provokes admiration as well as outrage.

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Psych War

13 May

DSM-5Illustrating the overwhelming and disturbing authority social group dynamics play in human culture, rival schools of psychiatrists in Britain and the U.S. are set to war over how psychiatry itself is classified.

In a groundbreaking move that has already prompted a fierce backlash from psychiatrists, the British Psychological Society‘s division of clinical psychology (DCP) will on Monday issue a statement declaring that, given the lack of evidence, it is time for a “paradigm shift” in how the issues of mental health are understood. The statement effectively casts doubt on psychiatry’s predominantly biomedical model of mental distress – the idea that people are suffering from illnesses that are treatable by doctors using drugs. The DCP said its decision to speak out “reflects fundamental concerns about the development, personal impact and core assumptions of the (diagnosis) systems”, used by psychiatry.

Dr Lucy Johnstone, a consultant clinical psychologist who helped draw up the DCP’s statement, said it was unhelpful to see mental health issues as illnesses with biological causes.

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