I must respond to readers’ defense of two books on my Worst Science Books list, Listening to Prozac by Peter Kramer and The Bell Curve by Murray and Herrnstein.
Re Listening to Prozac, it explores, yes, with great philosophical subtlety the implications of a drug that dispels despair and makes us "happy." Is this happy new me really me? And so on, blah blah blah. But the premise of the book is false! If you read the peer-reviewed clinical trials rather than the puffery of Kramer you would know that Prozac and other SSRIs are no more effective than earlier antidepressants, such as tricyclics, and antidepressants as a whole are no more effective than psychoanalysis and other talking cures. When I made this claim in The Undiscovered Mind in 1999, it was treated as highly controversial, but now it's been overwhelmingly confirmed. Moreover, Listening to Prozac's surge to bestsellerhood in the early 1990s coincided with a surge in Prozac sales. If you think this is just a coincidence, you should be on meds.
Re The Bell Curve, depictions of Murray and Herrnstein as champions of truth defying political correctness make my blood boil. Many studies have shown that if you repeatedly tell a group of people—girls or members of an ethnic group or whomever—that they are inferior and there is nothing they can do about it, they will perform at a lower level. In other words, Murray and Herrnstein made a serious social problem worse with their diagnosis and prescription. They are racists, who should be viewed with contempt, not admiration.