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Dan Agin
Dan Agin's most recent book is Fools and Frauds: How Modern Psychiatry Fumbled the Origins of Mental Illness (Spectrum Focus, 2011). He is also the author of Black and White in America (Spectrum Focus. 2010); More Than Genes: What Science Can Tell Us About Toxic Chemicals, Development, and the Risk To Our Children (Oxford University Press. 2010), and the author of Junk Science: How Politicians, Corporations, and Other Hucksters Betray Us (St. Martin´s Press/Thomas Dunne Books. 2006). He is Emeritus Associate Professor of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology at the University of Chicago. He can be reached at

Entries by Dan Agin

Nota Bene: The Pilgrims Were Illegal Immigrants

(53) Comments | Posted December 1, 2014 | 1:02 PM

Yes. The Pilgrims were illegal immigrants. They landed in America without the permission of the American Indians, who owned the land by virtue of residence for thousands of years. No one except the Indians had the legal right to give them permission. And the Spaniards and the Dutch and the...

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America's Rancid History

(0) Comments | Posted August 26, 2014 | 9:18 AM

Here is a place in the road
Where barefoot whites are looking at barefoot blacks
Looking hard and looking close
Looking and peering and a rubbing of chins
And a bugle blows
And the white chins are lifted
White is better than black, they...

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Book Review: A Book About War and Madness

(1) Comments | Posted May 31, 2014 | 9:39 AM

In truth, the inclination of humans to fight unnecessary wars is evidence that the human species is borderline crazy.

But of course most people reject the idea. Who likes to admit that they're borderline crazy?

Maybe the most powerful modern evidence of human craziness was the First World War, also...

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A Tolerant Society Should Not Tolerate Militancy Against Tolerance. Period.

(0) Comments | Posted April 6, 2014 | 2:16 PM

There's too much baloney flying around, large slices of baloney that often hit you in the face. Recently the baloney slices involve pronouncements about tolerance and diversity. Let me get to the point to make certain the point is understood. It's about the CEO of Firefox who recently resigned, shortly...

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Eight Crazy Ideas That Corrupted the World

(0) Comments | Posted March 10, 2014 | 10:35 AM

Human history is sprinkled with crazy ideas that have caused more horror than can be catalogued -- ideas that at the least provide evidence that the human brain is still a malfunctioning organ. Here are some of the oldest crazy ideas:

1. The Earth is as flat as a pancake...

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A Travesty: Ernest Hemingway and American Booblishing

(0) Comments | Posted February 11, 2014 | 1:33 PM

We recently read for the first time Ernest Hemingway's novel The Garden of Eden (Amazon Kindle Edition, Scribner, 2002. Print length 256 pages).

Anything written by Hemingway is usually interesting and readable. This novel, published long after his death, is about the first five months of a marriage between an...

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Perkinsonism: A Plutocrat Neurological Disorder

(1) Comments | Posted January 27, 2014 | 10:02 PM

Perkinsonism is a rare clinical disorder found in the minority of plutocrats in any society. As a behavioral/neurological disorder, it's characterized by a number of symptoms:

1.--Bragging about one's wealth.
2.--A belief that wealth is evidence of personal value.
3.--Incipient or actual sociopathological behavior.
4.--Obtuseness about the...

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American Poverty: The Way It Was and Our Own 30 Million

(0) Comments | Posted October 25, 2013 | 6:26 AM

We find very few novels, plays, films these days about ordinary Americans struggling in poverty, although a low estimate is that 30 million Americans live in poverty and can't break out of it.

Maybe media moguls don't like rocking the boat and the word gets to the gatekeepers -- the...

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Norman Mailer and the Death of the American Novel

(21) Comments | Posted October 20, 2013 | 11:47 AM


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The Way It Was, the One Percent, and What's Changed?

(28) Comments | Posted October 19, 2013 | 5:14 PM

In the year 1890 we had no TV and radio, nothing but newspapers, and the newspapers noted that year that more than half of America's vast wealth was owned by only 1 percent of the population.

Sound familiar?

It was also noted that cities were confronting the existence of a...

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Conservatives, the Shutdown and the Great Con

(8) Comments | Posted October 2, 2013 | 9:20 AM

It seems that every morning conservative politicians pledge allegiance to the leisure class and the greed for which it stands.

In truth, it's never been any different -- all the way back to the dawn of civilization. Any fair reading of human history makes it easy to connect the dots...

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SCOTUS Roberts Gang and Voting Rights

(0) Comments | Posted June 25, 2013 | 3:00 PM

What is it? Is it law? Is it reason? Is it obtuseness about justice? No, honey, it's none of these. It's money.

In American politics, follow the money and you usually find some clarity. Political philosophy is always a smokescreen -- it's money in the bank that lies behind the...

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Las Vegas East: The Big Bust in Stocks On the Way

(2) Comments | Posted May 20, 2013 | 11:20 AM

Before the Big Bust happens, here are a few cautionary words for the hoi polloi:

One of the reasons for the existence of the stock market is to provide a vehicle for the liquidity of investments by investors in corporations.

But another reason for the existence of the stock market...

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Obama's Failure: A Presidency Without Ideology

(43) Comments | Posted May 1, 2013 | 12:47 PM

There are two ideologies in American politics and they can be stated succinctly:

Conservative ideology: The business of America is business.

Liberal ideology: The business of America is social justice.

In America, sometimes the two ideologies are compatible. More often the two ideologies are in conflict.

An important corollary is...

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Gun Control: Nerve Gas and the Second Amendment

(35) Comments | Posted January 29, 2013 | 11:00 AM

The most important effect of classic nerve gas is the blocking of excitation of muscle cells by nerve cells. The consequence is almost immediate and devastating: convulsions and death by asphyxiation as neural control is lost over respiratory muscles.

One of the major arguments used by the gun lobby against...

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American Idyll: The Gun Lobby and the Killing of Children

(288) Comments | Posted December 14, 2012 | 2:09 PM

So now children in Connecticut are dead and dying because we are too chicken to get guns out of the hands of people who should not have them.

Too chicken or too crazy: Apparently too many people would rather kiss guns than kiss other people.

Yesterday Colorado, today Connecticut, tomorrow...

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Baloney Science in The New York Times

(72) Comments | Posted November 27, 2012 | 4:27 PM

It's unfortunate when the supposed "newspaper of record," The New York Times, presents the public with errors of interpretation and fact in a special section of the newspaper devoted to science: the so-called Science Times. The problem is that the section is touted by the newspaper as an educational device...

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Conservative Hackola: Go Slow

(2) Comments | Posted October 2, 2012 | 1:30 PM

The pitch of conservative hacks is well articulated by the New York Times columnist David Brooks: Life and society are complicated, therefore it's best when making changes to go slow.

A half step forward from the 19th century's Alexander Pope, who told his time that "Whatever is, is right"--meaning no...

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David Brooks and Conservative Confusion

(0) Comments | Posted September 21, 2012 | 3:19 PM

In the midst of our current political circus, there are still serious issues that need discussion, especially since the public is constantly bombarded with shallow thinking by right wing conservatives.

In today's New York Times, conservative columnist David Brooks writes a column extolling the importance of capitalist creative entrepreneurship in...

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America's Two Countries

(12) Comments | Posted August 29, 2012 | 12:33 PM

What we have in America is a poor country living inside a rich country, and our tragedy is the people of the rich country pleasure themselves by acting as if the people of the poor country don't exist. It's understandable, since if they recognize the existence of the poor country...

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