Sunday, May 24, 2009

Fascinated By The Human Brain

Behavioral biology, race and sex differences and non-differences, religion/spirituality, intelligence, morals, sanity/insanity, normal/abnormal - all these are subjects of great interest to me. They all involve neurobiology.

I read several reviews of a book I've got from the library called The Geography of Thought by Richard Nisbett. Truly I should probably quit reading so many reviews before reading the work, it often feels as if I no longer need to read the book! So far I'm disappointed to see that there is likely no specific discussion of neurobiological findings that correlate or not to the culturally induced differences in perception and thought between Asians and Westerners studied in this book. The whole reason I wanted to read this book was to find out if there are such differences and if so, are they genetic or environmental? Do the cultures actually change the physical brain? Now it seems that the focus is simply that culture 'determines' perception to a great extent - wasn't that always obvious?
Still, the first chapter brings up the question of the concept of free will so now I have to read it anyway.

The reviews of this book referred to another book that I definitely want to read - Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature. This one addresses the fears of many that acknowledging genetic differences give rise to a justification of discrimination. I believe it also considers the opposite, that these differences will be used to excuse behaviors by saying "he couldn't help it, he's just made that way."

These two books will tie in quite well with the lecture series Biology and Human Behavior: The Neurological Origins of Individuality that I just finished (watching, not writing, they're by Robert Sapolsky). Sapolsky teaches that the findings are showing experience literally changes the brain physically and chemically; then the behavioral outcome affects the environment of oneself and others which once again, changes or reinforces the brain's working. Fascinating!

I've wondered for a long time, since I've had children at least, how much one's innate traits can be directed. For example, a ... never mind, next post, it's late.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

More expanded

Yesterday I started reading The Da Vinci Code and found all this male/female stuff in it! I figured there was more to the story (the whole 'females are lesser to I AM" nonsense) but an actual conspiracy? It's always difficult in fiction to know what's true and what's based on fact but not actually true. That's all right, research never hurt me so far!

It's an interesting book but I don't see any particular need for research. I loved all that about the treasure hunts (I did a lot of those with my children and they had to break codes, great fun!), the codex (I found one of these before and wanted to buy one for one of my boys; at $400 though I couldn't justify it), mystery and intrigue, religion, etc., very interesting. But it's fiction after all, many points raised are probably worth pursuing but it's not something I care that much about. I certainly don't care about someone's bones, holy relics, etc. True interaction with the HOLY ONE is what matters, that's where truth comes from.

The Da Vinci Code wasn't as complex as I had expected from all the hype, especially since I recently finished a book called The Rule Of Four, same sort of religious/political intrigue that involved ancient cryptology and such, but way more complicated. I'm glad I read them both.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Faithfulness not just 'blind faith'

It seems to be standard practice to consider 'coming to and being accepted by the Almighty' as a very easy, one-step thing. Faith in Jesus is all that's required. But since scripture says the faith OF Jesus, is that different? His faith somehow imputed to us, placed in us? Or faith of a similar magnitude?

What if it's true that the word was actually faithfulness? The same faithfulness displayed by Yeshua is required of us? Not so simple then. That would make sense of knowing that so many 'pray the prayer' but nothing in them changes. It would also help explain why some do change even while doubting since this faithfulness is a gift from I AM in the first place.


I'm thinking there's too much anthropomorphism of God; God is spirit not a man. I AM fits better than God because God is from a word meaning "mighty one" or "mighty ones" and applies to more than the Almighty. I can understand I AM much better because as a concept those words encompass so much more than a god like one of the gods of Mt. Olympus or something. I AM is definitely 'something' outside of ourselves, but something/someone that we can interact with. (Saying 'something', and 'it' feels totally disrespectful but I certainly can't say 'He'; that disregards all the feminine aspects of being, isn't that even more disrespectful? Like saying half of I AM isn't worth our consideration...)

The Bible is a record of people's interaction with I AM and how they understood it. I haven't figured out how the Israelites are supposed to be an example since they failed miserably according to all the bible. Later there was a new covenant made with them where I AM wrote all spiritual laws on their hearts, meaning that these laws would be 'followed' naturally. They wouldn't keep a list of laws, they would do these things because the spirit in them naturally behaves in that way. This is the covenant non-Israelites are 'allowed' into as well, though gentiles were always accepted if they became "Jews".

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Complete Human

I wonder how much the whole X and Y chromosome business has to do with the story of Adam dividing into his male and female components?