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Sunday, March 30

Prozac, used by 40m people, does not work say scientists

Prozac, used by 40m people, does not work say scientists

Analysis of unseen trials and other data concludes it is no better than placebo

Full text: the PLoS paper

Sarah Boseley, health editor
The Guardian,
Tuesday February 26 2008

A single Prozac capsule. Photograph: Alamy

Prozac, the bestselling antidepressant taken by 40 million people worldwide, does not work and nor do similar drugs in the same class, according to a major review released today.

The study examined all available data on the drugs, including results from clinical trials that the manufacturers chose not to publish at the time. The trials compared the effect on patients taking the drugs with those given a placebo or sugar pill. ...

You may read the whole article at

If a would-be drug dealer sells his customers what they think is ecstasy, but only gives them sugar pills will they still get high? And is such a "pusher" breaking the law?
Also, do you think that it is possible that other medications besides Prozac that are out in the market are ineffective? If so, please feel free to discuss your thought on the subject.

Sunday, March 16




March 13, 2008

New York Times

The last time I saw Eliot Spitzer, he encouraged me to write about his work involving prostitution. So here goes.

The governor buttonholed me because he wanted credit for passage of a tough state law against sex trafficking. Frankly, he deserves credit, for the law took the innovative step of cracking down on johns by increasing penalties.

The big worry now among those working to stop trafficking is that the Spitzer scandal will add to perceptions of prostitution as a “victimless crime.” On my blog,, one person named “Carmen” argued, “if a man can hire a pro to help improve his golf, why not let him hire a pro to help improve his sex?”

Another poster, who identified herself as a former prostitute in Australia, said she had “never felt exploited or trapped” and added, “It was one of the best jobs I’ve ever had.”

Yet the evidence is overwhelming that, in the United States, prostitution is only very rarely just another career choice. Studies suggest that up to two-thirds of prostitutes have been sexually abused as girls, a majority have drug dependencies or mental illnesses, one-third have been threatened with death by pimps, and almost half have attempted suicide.

Melissa Farley, a psychologist who has written extensively about the subject, says that girls typically become prostitutes at age 13 or 14. She conducted a study finding that 89 percent of prostitutes urgently wanted to escape the work, and that two-thirds have post-traumatic stress disorder — not a problem for even the most frustrated burger-flipper.

The mortality data for prostitutes is staggering. The American Journal of Epidemiology published a meticulous study finding that the “workplace homicide rate for prostitutes” is 51 times that of the next most dangerous occupation for women, working in a liquor store. The average age of death of the prostitutes in the study was 34.

You may read the whole article at

Which approach (if any) do you agree with the most?

Sunday, March 9

Homeschool vs. Public Education

The advantages of home schooling versus public education have been debated for ages and have been a great cause of concern among parents. Parents keen on ascertaining a bright future for their children should dwell on the details of both home schooling and public education, scrutinize them thoroughly, before opting for any one of the two.

The Advantages Of Home Schooling

* The crucial advantage of home schooling is its flexibility. You can select the lessons to perfectly complement your child’s learning aptitude.

You may read the whole article at

Which method of education do you think is best and why?

Sunday, March 2

Freedom of Ignorance

Steven Derocher, February 27, 2008

Tolerance seems to be losing its popularity. We see evidence of this in the acts of violence and hate toward religious institutions across the world. However, some still espouse this vanishing virtue. One such individual is Krister Stendahl. He is the dean of Harvard Divinity School. He also spent a few years as the Lutheran bishop of Stockholm. In a meeting with the press in Sweden, Stendahl outlined three principles that he thought should govern our discussions of the religious beliefs of other people:

“(1) If you want to know what others believe, ask them. Don't ask their critics or their enemies. (2) When looking at the religious faith of others, compare your best with their best, not their worst with your best. (3) Always leave room for ‘holy envy.’"

Krister Stendahl is not of my religion. In fact, Lutherans have a great many differences with my faith. However, he encourages understanding and open-mindedness. This non-judgmental attitude has helped me appreciate Lutherans’ beliefs, as well as the beliefs of others. When I want to know what Lutherans believe, I will ask a Lutheran. When I want to know what Jews believe, I will ask a Jew. If I want to know what a skeptic believes, I will ask a skeptic. And upon comparing doctrine, as Stendahl suggests, I will compare bests with bests. This leads to “holy envy,” or, in other words, sincere appreciation of another’s convictions.

Fran├žois Voltaire taught, “Love truth, but pardon error.” I can appreciate this conviction, and it appears to be illustrative of Voltaire’s “best.” In my consideration of his life’s work, I choose ignore the fact that he was a known skeptic, often leaving little room for “holy envy.” He once said, “Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd, and bloody religion that has ever infected the world.” This is an obviously unfair statement. His biased, narrow-minded conclusion borders on absurdity. In this instance, Voltaire’s observation certainly could have been more generous.

According to a survey conducted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), 10 percent of Americans said they believe Muslims worship a moon god. CAIR also reported nearly 2,000 complaints of harassment, violence and discriminatory treatment in 2005, which was a 30 percent increase from incidents reported in the U.S. in 2004. This, says CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper, is largely due to a “negative and politically charged environment on the Internet and talk radio.” Keep in mind these statistics can only be gathered from the discriminatory acts that are reported. (

Again, I am not Muslim. And again, their doctrine varies from that of my own religion. But I don’t have to be Muslim or even a member of CAIR to see the connection between false propaganda and discrimination.* I cannot understand how anyone would feel justified in believing things about a group they didn’t hear from one of its members. By this same gullible logic I would rather take my Suzuki to a Ford dealership for difficult repairs than I would to the Suzuki dealership. Perpetuating the intolerant ignorance would be just the same as then referring everyone else to the Ford dealership, trash talking the Suzuki dealership in the process.

I fear that too often we would rather agree with those most like us than think for ourselves. Such “mob mentality” is hardly ever founded on reality. When people look to popular opinion for accuracy, trustworthiness is weakened. James A. Haught wrote an essay entitled “Breaking the Last Taboo” over eleven years ago. He begins by citing numerous well-known writers and philosophers. All of the quotations are anti-religion in nature. It almost seems that he takes an innocent, neutral stand, as if to say, “Here is the evidence. I’m just giving you the impartial facts from society’s greatest minds.” As if this wasn’t enough to prove ignorant prejudice, he goes on to contrast these noble opinions with “Christianity’s” worst and darkest deeds. What a perfect example of “comparing bests with worsts!”
There is nothing to be gained from intolerance. Those who feel the need to circulate their opinions about the world should seek thorough understanding.

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