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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Field Notes

Positive Psychology Package
Positive psychology explores the factors that make life worth living, such as happiness, through the study of positive emotions, positive character strengths, and positive institutions. (Lindsay Lyon, U.S. News & World Report)

•"Daily Diet" of Positive Emotions
•Increasing Your Happiness
•Using Positive Psychology in Your Relationships
•Teaching Resilience With Positive Education

Negative Power of Positive Thinking?
Despite what all those self-help books say, repeating positive statements apparently does not help people with low self-esteem feel better about themselves. In fact, it tends to make them feel worse, according to new research. (Rob Stein, The Washington Post)

Happily Ever After
Happiness does not consist in whatever you might be feeling—after death, of course, you might not be feeling much at all—but in what others feel about you. It consists more precisely in the stories that can be told about you after your death. This is what the Greeks called “glory,” and it expresses a very different understanding of immortality than is common amongst us. (Simon Critchley, Happy Days Blog, The New York Times)

New In Vitro Fertilization Program for Orthodox Jews
An unusual collaboration between religion and science is making it possible for Orthodox Jews to undergo infertility treatment in Montreal. (Janice Arnold, The Canadian Jewish News)

Paleontologists Visit the Creation Museum
In one of the largest gatherings of critics since the northern Kentucky museum opened two years ago, the scientists in the area for a conference took a field trip to get a glimpse of the marketing tactics used by the other side of the evolution debate. (Jeffrey McMurray, Associated Press)

Breaking Down Evolutionary Psychology

David Sloan Wilson: Evolutionary psychology, once the darling of the public media, has been dumped in a recent Newsweek article by journalist Sharon Begley. Return accusations are beginning to fly from evolutionary psychologists, who accuse Begley of willful distortions and scientific incompetence (e.g., 1, 2). As usual for romantic quarrels, there are legitimate grievances on both sides that get lost in a hail of recriminations. (The Huffington Post)

What Should Science Do?

Sam Harris and Philip Ball discuss the conflict between religion and science. They do not agree. (The Reason Project)

Universal Code

Where do we human beings fit in this big picture? Is there a pattern to creation that the human imagination can glimpse? And is it through science, religion, or art that we can best seek the answers? This summer's exhibition at the Power Plant in Toronto, titled "Universal Code: Art and Cosmology in the Information Age," brings together artists who engage in this kind of philosophical grappling. (Sarah Milroy, The Globe and Mail)