My Photo

More Health Information

  • Healia can Help Educate You About Your Health




Consciousness Studies

Integrated/Integrative/Integral Medicine Programs

Integrated Medicine Information and Organizations

Personal Growth and Integration Resources

Sources of Medical Information


What I'm Reading

April 2008

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30      

Resource Pages

« Communicating About Complementary and Alternative Medicine | Main | Chiropractic Treatment in Children with Learning Disorder and Dyslexia »

January 26, 2007


Reg Adkins

Richard you make an excellent point. The availability of research has become tremendous. However, the skills necessary to adequately assess and understand this research is rarely taught. A friend (and former professor of mine) Dr. Robert Bickel has written a book that addresses that skill. At least in the field of applied research the title, Multilevel Analysis for Applied Research: It's Just Regression! is only available on advance order at this point but might be worth adding to your library. I plan to add it to mine.
I enjoy the forthright nature of your work.
Reg Adkins

Richard Petty

Dear Reg,

Thank you so much for your kind note.

I never have any wish to expose other folks' errors unless they may cause harm. After all, I'm quite sure that I've made more than one mistake in my life!

I totally agree with you about the importance of inculcating the skills necessary to assess and evaluate research. Just this morning I was squirming when I heard a medical commentator on the TV completely misquote some new research.

Thank you also for the tip about Dr. Bickel's book: on the strength of your recommendation I have placed a pre-order at Amazon!

Kind regards,



I just stumbled on this blog, and I'm looking forward to subscribing.

I agree that scientists have a duty to make their research accessible to the public, and my own blog is an effort to do so.

Richard Petty

Dear Annalisa,

Thank you so much for commenting.

I have just had a look at your work and I am going to link to you as well!

You may have seen that I also commented on Dean Radin's excellent new book here:

Kindest regards,



I loved the book the "Female Brain" and I think as a son, husband & father of a daughter I only wish I had read it much earlier. If you look at the negative comments they are only on the 2 points outlined in your blog. While I agree there should be as few errors as possible it does appear to be an over reaction for other reasons, none having anything to do with science. The idea that a women's life is so dramatically effected by hormones and not the evils of an oppressive society has stirred the pot. I see her departure from conventional feminist thinking to be the real issue.

Richard Petty

Dear Stuart,

I am sorry that we are not going to agree on this one, and that I must respectfully disagree with you.

I did not want to focus on the book The Female Brain. But if I must, let me make a couple of quick points. It is an enjoyable read. But the frank mistakes and misinterpretations are of huge concern. This is a great example of the Barnum Effect.

What so worries me about this kind of book is that it offers a kind of faux understanding. It is rather like the excitement that many of us feel when we first read Freud. Now, finally, we feel as if we have found explanations for thoughts, motivations and behaviors. But while psychoanalysis is an untestable meta-theory and many of its models and theories have been found wanting or even dead wrong, the assertions in the book are and have been tested. And many of them have been fund to be wrong.

I don’t want to go through a line-by-line analysis of the book. But let’s take a very simple example: her discussion about oxytocin. She simply supports the idea that oxytocin may be the affiliation (a.k.a. the cuddle) hormone. There is some supporting data in humans, but not much. In fact humans seem to act quite differently.

A book like this offers a shortcut to understanding that is built on sand.

I am very grateful for your comments, and I apologize for the delay in responding. They were so important that I am going to write a whole piece about Folk Psychology and Folk Knowledge that will, I hope, contribute to this important discussion.

Kind regards,


The comments to this entry are closed.