links for 2010-10-14

  • When the map of the human genome was presented to the world in 2001, psychiatrists had high hopes for it. Itemising all our genes would surely provide molecular evidence that the main cause of mental illness was genetic – something psychiatrists had long believed. Drug companies were wetting their lips at the prospect of massive profits from unique potions for every idiosyncrasy.

    But a decade later, unnoticed by the media, the human genome project has not delivered what the psychiatrists hoped: we now know that genes play little part in why one sibling, social class or ethnic group is more likely to suffer mental health problems than another.

    (tags: science genetics)
  • Societies come together slowly, but can fall apart quickly, say researchers who applied the tools of evolutionary biologists to an anthropological debate.

    Using archaeological records and linguistic analyses rather than fossils and genes, they created an evolutionary tree of political forms once found in Pacific islands.

  • The Catholic Herald reports that the Church has given its backing to a campaign called "Night of Light", which aims to "reclaim Halloween for God so that it is transformed from a night of darkness into a great Christian festival once again".

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