Douglas Coupland, Slogans for the 21st Century (2011-2014)


Like much of life, I’m afraid…

THIS is the true meaning of Negative Psychology, my friends. Melancholia and Futility.

Don’t be fooled by false idols claiming that followers of “Negative Psychology” are all bullies out to destroy others’ reputations, with public shaming as their primary motivation.

I am here to take back the term “Negative Psychology” as an outlook (or mood or stance) in opposition to Positive Psychology, which is mainly for rich white people.

And in fact, sometimes it’s positive to be negative — as Dr. Margaret Nichols, a clinical psychologist, explains:

I acknowledge that for many endeavors, having a positive and confident attitude increases the odds of your success. But as a total life strategy – it’s got some major flaws.  For starters,  unless you’re unusually lucky, as you go through life you will encounter numerous situations where good is NOT rewarded, evil goes unpunished, and bad shit happens to you that you can’t control,  and it happens for no particular reason, let alone a good one.

And positive thinking can get you in trouble here.  For the entire ‘positive thinking’ philosophy rests on two flawed assumptions:  That most of our life is under our control, if only we approach it correctly;  and that things that we can’t control are at least governed by laws  that are fair and just.  In short, the principles of “visualize and you will attain it” and “what goes around comes around.”

…and when bad things happen, it’s all your fault!

Of course, this has nothing to do with academic psychology research or the social psychology replication movement. It’s simply that I didn’t agree with the co-opting of the term for use in the current “replication debate“.  But I’m not a psychologist, and I’m operating outside this debate. I was actively trying to avoid the acrimony, in fact, because I found it depressing.

Finally, “public shaming” has never been my goal (assuming I was included among “a handful of other blogs devoted to exposing bad science”). For the record, I think shame is corrosive, which is laid bare in The Destructive Power of Shame.

But in the end, this blog post is futile, much like everything else I write.


Coupland wall

Images: Douglas Coupland, Slogans for the 21st Century (2011-2014) at the Vancouver Art Gallery. NOTE: the artist encouraged photography and tagging of his work


Dinosaurs and Humans Walked the Earth Together! Peer Reviewed!

“He is Who that created the heavens and the earth and what is between them in six days, and He is established on the Throne of Power [1].”

-opening sentence of Dinosaurs: Extinct or Traumatized? [PDF], by Mohammad Ghannaee Arani in Journal of Trauma & Treatment

Much to the dismay of those who run reputable open access journals, some of the material published under the rubric of “open access” (i.e., vanity publishing or pay-to-publish or “predatory publishing“) is less than stellar. On a few select occasions, however, one can find absolute howlers like a religious treatise on the co-existence of humans and dinosaurs.

The Journal of Trauma & Treatment is published by OMICS Group, which has been noted for its questionable practices:

Jeffrey Beall, a librarian at the University of Colorado, Denver, described OMICS Publishing Group as a predatory Open Access publisher. “Having a large number of titles, as does the OMICS Publishing Group, is typical of predatory Open-Access publishers,” he wrote. “Also typical is each journal’s broad coverage. By offering 68 titles each with a broad coverage, this publisher is tacitly saying it will publish anything.”

Is Beall’s characterisation of OMICS fair? Founder and managing director of OMICS Dr Srinu Babu Gedela insists it is not. “We believe the peer review process is very important … I am confident about the quality of the review process used in OMICS’ journals.”

Dr Srinubabu Gedela may want to reconsider that statement in light of the traumatized dinosaur paper, which I will quote below at length.

Scientifically and evidently speaking, there is no doubt about, and disagreement in, the sudden disappearance of dinosaurs’ species sometimes within the span of time. Paleontologists’ estimate for the dinosaurs’ life time does not match with the time given theologically for the creation of the earth. Anyhow, this study is targeted at relating dinosaur extinction to some blunt or penetrating traumatic events. The author is to provide evidences for the events weather naturally or due to an intentional act of God that were responsible for the nature- or God-induced traumatization of the species. Whatever the reason, there lies this certain fact that human race would not survive on the earth safe and sound if dinosaurs with their giant and custom-made bodies had not gone extinct. Thanks God for this naturally justified traumatization for the benefit of mankind.

Thanks God!!

jesus riding a small dinosaur

Coexistence or Not

Humanity was given dominion over all the lower creatures of the earth [6].

Numerous explanations have turned up to put in plain words the coexistence of man and dinosaur and to elucidate the mechanism of the species’ dying out.

. . .

Theologically speaking, in the Bible we are encountered with this account that land creatures including dinosaurs were all created on the same day as the human being and walked this earth in concert with him both coexisting [9], but dinosaurs and man probably lived in their own, separate areas, just like people and large, wild animals do today [10]. According to the holy Qur’an, process of formation of the universe is presented in brief:

“Do not the Unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together, then we clove them asunder and we got every living thing out of the water? Will they not then believe [11]?”

Jesus confirmed that mankind has existed “from the beginning of the creation”, so all kinds of living things were brought into existence in the same initial creation days which are six as Moses confirms as well [12]; and thus, this hypothesis that “the earth was peopled by oviparous quadrupeds of a most appealing magnitude, and reptiles were ‘Lords of the Creation’ before the existence of human race” [13] seems to be of a kind neither logical nor verifiable.

And of course, we get the confident assertion that Evolution is Wrong. In a “peer reviewed scientific journal.”

What is understood from the contentions above is that despite breakthroughs claimed have been made in the so-called science territory, no definite and unchanging speculation is still accepted by all firstly concerning the exact process of evolution and secondly regarding coexistence of human and dinosaurs. Most of the claims are still pending and dependent on verifications to be done some day because the science seems to be still unable to support fully its theories in its own language.

Anyone who is on the Editorial Board of Journal of Trauma & Treatment might want to reconsider your membership, in light of the potential harm to your reputation.

Received December 26, 2012; Accepted January 22, 2013; Published January 24, 2013

Citation: Arani MG (2013) Dinosaurs: Extinct or Traumatized? J Trauma Treat 2:156. doi: 10.4172/2167-1222.1000156

Copyright: © 2013 Arani MG. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

image credits: Dinosaurs and the Biblical Flood and 10 Epic Portraits of Jesus and Dinosaurs.

UPDATE 5/17/13:  OMICS has unceremoniously removed this paper from the J Trauma Treatment website without any sort of retraction notice, which seems odd for a publisher that wants to be taken seriously… So seriously, in fact, that they’ve threatened to sue a blogger for a tidy sum of $1 billion:

A publisher in India called OMICS Publishing Group has threatened to sue a blogger named Jeffrey Beal, who runs a blog called Scholarly Open Access. Beal critiques open-access publishing venues, and and ran a post asserting that OMICS engages in spamming and bait-and-switch. OMICS’ threat would be mundane, except that its lawyer, Ashok Ram Kumar of the Indian firm IP Markets, has chosen to be so very ridiculous. He’s threatening to sue for $1 billion, and to seek criminal penalties in India.

Several days ago I posted a comment on a ScienceInsider story, asking the OMICS Group Managing Director about how the dinosaur paper had passed through genuine peer review. I can only guess that this comment, or perhaps this blog post, led to the unannounced removal of the paper.

But don’t fret, you can still read it here.

The Anosognosia of Philosophers

Philosophers the world over suffer from anosognosia. Their primary disability is that they work in a field, a discipline, that never progresses, yet most of them get state money in the form of salaries. This creates cognitive dissonance and is apparently impossible to live with. So, they develop anosognosia and simply deny that philosophy never progresses. They assert that philosophy does progress, because, after all, we now know that . . . wait for it . . . theory X is true.

-Eric Dietrich, There Is No Progress in Philosophy

via @vaughanbell and @petemandik

Because Pain, Suffering, Death, and Grief Are Such Happy Topics

Text analysis is probably written by a male somewhere between 26-35 years old. The writing style is academic and happy most of the time.


The analysis is based upon 25 posts that has enough English words.

Because My Father Would Have Appreciated the Humor

I’m the friendly person who’ll stick you on a treadmill and refer you for qigong.

The patient, a middle-aged man with advanced lung cancer who is clearly living with his cancer with as much dignity and vitality as could be imagined, is also the healthiest appearing advanced lung cancer patient I’ve seen in a while… It’s kind of like watching one of those Zyprexa ads where you see that attractive middle-aged woman leading this meaning-filled, poignant life full of family and work and you say to yourself ‘Gee I wish I felt like that & I don’t even have bipolar disorder.’

From Pallimed: A Hospice & Palliative Medicine Blog