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Melvin Konner

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Anthropologist/Author/Doctor

Dr. Konner is the Samuel Candler Dobbs professor of Anthropology at Emory University, he is also affiliated with the Department of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine. He has written a number of books ( The Tangled Wing, Medicine at the Crossroads: The Crisis in Health Care, among others). He is contributing editor of The Sciences and writes a column on health and behavior for the New York Times Magazine.In his book, Becoming a Doctor, he writes, "In general I was interested in the role of the chaplaincy in hospitals, and I came to believe it could be greatly expanded. This was ironic for an atheist, but logical for a professional anthropologist." He goes on to describe some of the religious beliefs of the patients and comments, "Although I had been religious as a teenager and could sympathize with all sorts of beliefs, I was now so skeptical that my sympathy seemed hollow. I thought that some patients could profit from talking with someone who at least took seriously the existence of an incorporeal realm, and who could discuss it in terms that would transcend my level of psychologizing." (p. 175)