Research shows that if patients believe they are taking the real drug, they are more confident of improving and, so, improve even if they are actually on the placebo. Conversely, if they suspect they are taking the placebo, their expectancy of improvement declines, and so does their improvement.
There was a time when papal encyclicals were treated as virtual pronouncements of papal infallibility. There are still a small minority of Catholics who cite Pope Paul VI's 1968 document Humanae Vitae - which outlawed artificial birth control - as the word of God.
Peter Breggin, an American psychiatrist, had been criticising SSRIs since the early 1990s. He wrote 'Talking Back to Prozac' (1995) to repudiate psychiatrist Peter Kramer's 'Listening to Prozac' (1993) - a bestseller which claimed that Prozac made patients 'better than well.'
The issue of the environment as seen by Pope Francis is not a matter of purely scientific or, indeed, theological debate: it involves economic and political views on how the world's poor can be brought out of poverty while protecting the environment.
I'm very impressed by the imagery in the 'Apologia', which is a kind of sustained poem. It's not just a piece of apologetics of the sort you find in Jesuit literature: 'Why I came over', and so on. It's a tremendously rewarding book but requires perseverance on the part of the reader.
Alasdair MacIntyre is one of the world's most influential living moral philosophers. He has written 30 books on ethics and held a variety of professorial chairs over the past four decades in North America.
One of the threats to Christianity in the 21st century is this idea that religion is best understood as a kind of aesthetic experience, and that you can get all your morality from that.
I find it significant that, even though contemporary philosophy tends towards forms of determinism, in the wider culture people are deeply into naming, shaming and blaming each other. So we haven't lost that sense of conscience.
Depression is a devastating illness, causing great suffering in the afflicted and anxiety to their nearest and dearest: it can hit at any age.
Pope Francis emphatically does not buy the argument that poverty can be alleviated by the 'trickle down' effects of wealth creation. He is deaf to arguments that the global economy has brought a billion people out of poverty. He is convinced, in short, that the best and only way to expel poverty is fairer distribution of the world's goods.