Category Archives: Psychology

The antidote for judging, backbiting & similar ills

Whenever the temptation to judge, gossip or interpret peoples’ motives or conduct comes a-callin’ just watch this video and afterwards read this https://biotheorist.wordpress.com/2013/07/24/neither-a-roman-at-the-games-nor-a-supporter-of-those-who-play-at-this-be/:

 

There’s facts and then there’s facts. See how easy it is to create your own reality!

The Wizard of  MusumenHow many times during the course of your life have you created a social or personal reality or embraced one created by others? By this I am not referring to an imaginary playmate or fantasy job or such but, rather, to a reality or fact based on mutual agreement or assent.

Sound crazy? It isn’t. The imminent philosopher John Searle actually devoted a whole book to the thesis that there are 2 kinds of facts: Those that are facts no matter who observes them, and then there are those that only need people’s agreement or assent to them. A fossil ammonite, for instance, is a physical object that remains a fossil ammonite no matter who looks at it or holds it. A church group’s claim that an archangel hovered over their last meeting is a mental reality to those who perceived it but cannot be demonstrated to those who do not share this perception/belief-based perspective (The same can be said of some treatments and diagnostic techniques in the world of complementary-alternative medicine).

Ideally, such perception/belief based “facts” should enrich, uplift, solve a problem/resolve a dilemma or otherwise improve your life as well as that of others or at least not cause or inflict irredeemable (irreversible) loss or harm to those who do not embrace these.

One example I routinely employ to illustrate this is drawn from my own life: Throughout my younger days and well into my middle years I fancied having a daughter but did not (Busyness & distractions and not biological constraints laid waste to realizing this). As I inched into my 40s family and friends would sometimes ask if I had a “plan B” such as adopting a daughter or being a foster parent to a little girl. Given the fact I traveled to projects and assignments a great deal I did not consider this a prudent course of action. However, being a somewhat creative soul I would tell those who asked that, “The best remedy to a closed conventional door may be something novel. I’ll watch and see what presents itself” (I had no idea how prophetic these words would prove-to-be).

In 1999 my peripatetic path took me to Japan where I began teaching ESL courses to university students at, Teikyo kagaku daigaku (photo below – building housing my classroom)  which in English is Teikyo University of Science & Technology (Later on I taught at a variety of private schools, corporations and even did some one-on-one tutoring). During the course of my tenure at TKU I was loaned to Asia University (North Tokyo) for a few weeks to teach intensive, advanced TOEIC exam prep classes.

TKU -1999 (2) - my class was on the 2nd floor

 

Among the things most ESL instructors get around to asking their students is, “What is your dearest dream in life?” While hanging out with my students after class on one particular September day, I had the tables turned on me insofar as they insisted I tell them what “my dearest dream in life is”. I thought for a moment and then said “Well, to have a daughter”. All the young women gathered about me let out a collective “Oooo” and then something very unexpected happened: One of the seniors, Kazumi Shimodate, pushed her way through the crowd and loudly proclaimed, “I want to be your daughter!”. My first thought was “I wonder if Japanese jails have libraries with English language books?!” I then came up with what I thought was a foolproof method of “defusing” what initially struck me as a rather delicate situation: I told Kazumi that I would be honored to have her as my daughter — but in order to “make this so” she needed to get her parent’s permission. I figured this would be the end of the matter though what happened next would prove just how clever and resourceful this young lady was! To whit: Kazumi took a videotape of one of my 2 hour teaching sessions home to her folks. Now, mind you, neither her father — who owns 2 businesses in Saitama –nor her homemaker Mum — understood or spoke a word of English (And I was teaching in English — speaking slowly, yes — peppered with Japanese words and phrases for effect or to clarify a point). Long story short: Kazumi’s folks sat and watch the entire 2 hour tape! Then, her father turned to her and said, “Yes, absolutely — you can make Anthony-sensei (Dr. Anthony) your American father”. The next day Kazumi shared what her father had “decreed” and, with this, my “daughter dilemma” had been resolved. Long story short, Kazumi and I have been father and daughter in our hearts and conduct towards each other ever since.

Princess Kazumi - Asia U - with name

And no, what Kazumi and I did was far removed from anything remotely Japanese. Alien to it actually. However, virtually every single Japanese soul who heard our story and watched us interact was smitten; that is, they found something incredibly charming in our having created or forged something as factual and real to us as any family relationship could be.

This father-daughter relationship by mutual assent and declaration has been a most fruitful one. Among the many blessings it has accorded me, my Nihonjin musume (Japanese daughter) got married and in 2011 presented me with a magomusume (My granddaughter, Wakana) and, in 2014, a magomusuko (My grandson, Yoshito).  I’ve posted many photos of Kazumi and my grandchildren at http://www.pinterest.com/choctawdoc/watachi-wa-nihonjin-musume-magomusume-etc/.

Now, having shared how a “manufactured fact” blessed me and many others, I would ask: If you are not busy explorimenting (my term) with such life affirming & enriching reality-spinning, why not?

Anthony-sensei

© 2015 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved.

RESOURCES & OTHER HELPS

There may be a lot more to you than you think ► extended being: http://extendbeing.weebly.com/

Better insight through self-testing https://biotheorist.wordpress.com/2011/11/26/know-yourself-better-free-on-line-tests-empathy-systemizing-attachment-style-moral-foundation-implicit-biases-etc/

A list of Choctaw Doc’s “recommended books https://biotheorist.wordpress.com/2011/06/19/mind-expansion-books-well-worth-adding-to-your-summer-reading-list/ (Critical thinking, psychology, spirituality included!)

Kazumi, Yoshi & baby Wakana (December 2012)Wakana - August 10, 2014Wakana being her kawaii self - 2-22-2014Yoshito - Decembr 2014

What will you let life do to you in 2015?

whiteboard - free MorguefileWhen you were a young lad or lassie how many times were you asked, “What will you do in life when you grow up?”

I have a different spin on this which is not peculiar youth or young people: What will you let life do to you?

“What do I mean?”, you ask. It’s really quite simple: Every person, influence, work of art and music, hobby, passion, group, tribe and such is writing paragraphs and chapters in the unique storybook which is your life. Your very being may even form a dynamic circuit with select others.

Picture your life as a huge whiteboard. Now walk along and read the entries on it — “the good, bad and ugly”, if you will. As you look around you see the various people in your life writing on your “lifeboard”. What kind of story has emerged? Are you happy with it? If not, how many “bad content writers” can and should be banned from writing on your lifeboard in 2015?

Choctaw Doc

 

►►MY MOST POPULAR BLOG ENTRIES (CATEGORIZED)

Confident BusinessmanCANCER, ALS, REVERSING ARTERIAL BLOCKAGE

Killing cancer, sparing the patient (Targeting tumor cells while leaving normal ones unaffected)

Looking for treatment options for ALS, heart disease, cancer or eczema?

Reversing arterial blockage: Experimental regimen that worked for man facing amputation of his lower legs

 

GIVE ME THAT OLD TIME…THEORY

Is cooking the main culprit behind the arterial blockage seen in the Horus mummies study?

Getting stem cells to target using magnetic means

Papers by Choctaw Doc

HYPOTHESIS: Two ways in which cytomegalovirus carrying male germ cells may play a role in the genesis of autism spectrum disorder

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS): Stimulating Proteasome Activity in Motor Neurons to accelerate degradation of misfolded proteins

 

A SPOONFUL OF NATURAL MEDICINE

Of PQQ, Nutcracker Man & Tiger Nuts (PQQ as radioprotective with heart & nervous system benefits)

Can an ancient Chinese herbal blend turn the tables on eczema?

PADMA: Scientifically validated Tibetan herbal blend

 

SPIRTUALITY

More spiritual than religious? Perhaps a messianic God-fearer?

From the “sure to throw off your spiritual gyroscope” department: 3 books — 2 free online & 1 cheap through Amazon

Is global upheaval knocking at the door? (Red moons, ancient prophecies, and more)

The Spiritual Aspect of Holistic Medicine

Did the Almighty send an emissary to the ancient Cahokian (American Indian) people?

The dog you feed the most will dominate your life

Alienation: Pervasive and insidious

 

THOSE WHO DO NOT LEARN FROM LIFE & HISTORY ARE…..(YOU KNOW)

What to do with militant extremists in our midst? It’s a question Americans have faced before

How do you kill 12 million people? Evil then and now: Recognizing & containing it

Dark times and the allure of evil solutions

 

SEX GONE WRONG

Sexless relationships: What accounts for this reverse alchemy (Gold to lead)?

Sexting, Sex Tapes & Sexual Exhibitionism: Why have so many folks thrown caution to the wind?

 

BOOKS WORTH BORROWING, BUYING OR (AHEM) PILFERING

Mind Expansion: Recommending Reading (Books, books & more books)

 

 

Book review: “To Heaven & Back” by Mary C. Neal, MD (Great read but it raises many concerns)

To Heaven & BackI am like many of you reading this fascinated by unusual happenings and accounts including NDEs (near death experiences), UFOs, Bigfoot, and so forth. Actually so long as a claim does not violate the established laws of physics or chemistry and has not already been convincingly refuted by contrary evidence, one must allow that the phenomenon or what-have-you in question might one day garner sufficient proof to compel acknowledging its reality. However, until the jury is in (solid evidence) it is usually prudent to remain agnostic on the matter (With the exception of things believed on the basis of faith and not testable using the tools of science — such as the existence of God).

There is nothing, for example, to disallow the existence of Bigfoot (Sasquatch) or a Yeti. The existence of such primates do not require a violation or suspension of the laws that govern the natural world nor even quality as extraordinary in the same sense, say, as an alien or fairy or ghost would. The problem with Bigfoot and the Yeti lies in a lack of evidence. There has been lots of frauds and biological samples that turned out to be from cows and bears and such, but no hair or tissue DNA (much less corpses) that reveal a previously unknown bipedal primate.

CLICK TO READ THE REST OF MY REVIEW

Sexless relationships: What accounts for this reverse alchemy (Gold to lead)?

no_sex_480_xlargeSexless relationships: What accounts for this reverse alchemy (Gold to lead)?

 

How do you kill 12 million people? Evil then and now: Recognizing & containing it

Color photo from TIME, Inc.

Color photo from TIME, Inc.

Dr. Anthony G. PayneMy good friend Jim Haverlock recently asked, “How do you kill 12 million people?” He was,  of course,  referring to the Shoah or Holocaust. He wasn’t asking about the nuts & bolts of pulling off mass executions but, rather, how did so many ordinary and even extraordinary men and women willingly take part in Hitler’s Endlösung (Final Solution). This is a question that has intrigued and haunted me since early boyhood actually. In fact, as part of my quest for answers I read all of Nazi propaganda minister Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels diaries as a young man plus vol. 1 of “Mein Kampf” (Vol. 2 was unknown when I was a youngster), watched archival film of the Nuremberg & Doctor’s trials, and read just about every substantive book on Hitler, the Nazis and fascism that existed at the time (And everything worth reading on the subject since as well). As anyone reading this who ever took a course in World History knows, both Hitler and Goebbels stressed the use of propaganda and the “big lie” as integral to the creating and sustainment of the Greater Germania they envisioned. And both were extraordinary in their zeal and abilities to forge a monolithic state predicated on a shared national myth, and induce the German people to embrace it via lies, artful use of imagery and symbols, fear, rewards and appeals to entrenched biases that went back not just decades but centuries (Particularly in the case of antisemitism which sadly had its roots in early Christian teachings especially the Hellenized spin on Jesus and his message crafted & promulgated by Saul of Tarsus aka St. Paul. Learn more by reading Paul and Jesus: How the Apostle Transformed Christianity  by scholar & historian Dr. James D. Tabor).

One place to turn for insight is historian Dr. Daniel Goldhagen’s books plus those of psychologist Dr. Philip Zimbardo. They do a smashing good job of laying out the historic, sociological, psychological and economic forces, currents and mechanisms that set the stage for the rise of the Nazis and then sustained them once they were in power.

But, even after you’ve read and mastered these works and others like them you likely find yourself still perplexed by the fact so many people down through the millennia and especially during the heyday of fascism could ignore and in many instances take an active hand in wanton cruelty. After nearly a lifetime of studying human cruelty and complicity in cruelty and evil I know there is no simple answer to “why”. Certainly lack of empathy or reduced or impaired empathy for targets/scapegoats is vital to evil and, yes, lies play a powerful role as well, but there is so much more that works to foster wickedness than lies and people’s failure to detect them or act on them or neglect to search them out and deal with them. However, with this said it certain behooves Americans to be vigilant and to call out wrongs and evil as soon as they come to light.

Things are complicated by the fact that evil and good rely on similar mechanisms and tools to govern (God, too, relies on these – see my op-ed piece on this subject titled “Hitler & HaShem at http://www.healingcare4u.org/hitler-hashem.pdf). Heaven knows our government has used lies of varying magnitude to govern across the years of our country’s existence. Probably Nixon and his “Imperial Presidency” took this to a whole new level and set certain wickedness in motion that has grown in scope to this day. In theory, yes, a super crisis or series of crises could lead to martial law and suspensions of Constitutional guarantees. During the Civil War (or as it is better known where I came from, “The War for Southern Independence”) Abraham Lincoln threw many folks who questioned his administration and policies into jail and kept them there, thanks to his having suspended the writ of habeas corpus. However, people rebelled, the press raised hell and the Supreme Court ultimately undid some of the more egregious acts of hegemony. I think any move to contain social disorder by imposition of a police or ultra-authoritarian state would, at the very least, result in the formation of tens of thousands of militias and resistance groups across the land that would make keeping the lid on the pot problematic if not impossible.

Naturally, best to act now and prevent a quasi-police or full-fledged police state then try to overthrow one that is in-place. Keeping our representatives working and honest is certainly part of that.

While no one has knows the full rhyme and reason behind human evil and its various incarnations, it helps to be aware of and reject ideas, movements, and acts that arise from and feed evil: Among them being intolerance, the marginalization and dehumanization of others especially minorities and other vulnerable groups, and unquestioned belief in authority figures and an unwillingness to call them out when they violate the very civil virtues and Constitutional guarantees they are charged with upholding.

I would add this: Although I’ve been a democratic socialist since 1985 I find some ideas and notions articulated by conservatives and even some right wingers of merit. As a Southerner whose ancestors go back to Revolutionary War times (and beyond) in South Carolina, Georgia and Mississippi, and whose paternal and maternal forbearers lived under the Stars & Bars (Confederacy) and in some instances fought for the C.S.A., I inherited a mix of ideas and notions, some worthy of consideration if not embrace, others that had no substance when they were articulated long ago and never will.  Of those that I deemed worth hanging onto was the longstanding Southern distrust of a powerful central government running everything including many aspects of people’s everyday lives. Although you might think a democratic socialist would welcome an all powerful centralized government, I emphatically do not. History shows all too clearly that the concentration of power in the hands of strongmen leads to abuses and skullduggery of the worst sort. Actually there are at least a few liberal thinkers who would prefer to see a decentralization of power in the US and other countries, and even the break-up of powerhouse countries into small nation-states (Especially those that are unstable or might become so and with this attempt to retain order and stability by imposition of a police or authoritarian state). I’m sure a world comprised of small, less powerful nations, say, the size of Switzerland, would by no means avoid many of the ills that plague major powers today, but I can’t help think they would have less influence and thus less ability to work evil in the world. And for those that do, their neighbors could form temporary confederations and impose various kinds of sanctions or, when regrettably necessary, military containment (Hey, sometimes the only way to stop a thug is send in the police).

But until power shifts from Washington to the states (if it ever does), best to keep an eye on the politicians on Capital Hill and do everything possible to keep our representatives working, honest and limited in the evil they can do. The same applies to the press and other so-called sacred American institutions.

Dr. Anthony G. Payne (waxing philosophic from his porch swing)

RECOMMENDED ADDITIONAL READING

My spiritual watering hole website: http://summerclouds.weebly.com/

Why does God allow evil (Theodicy)? See Are you an atheist, religionist, deist, fideist or ???

CBN video presentation “God & Hitler”: http://www.cbn.com/700club/features/churchhistory/godandhitler/index.aspx

Restoring Abrahamic Faith by Dr. James D. Tabor

The Jesus Dynasty: The Hidden History of Jesus, His Royal Family, and the Birth of Christianity by Dr. James D. Tabor

The Brother of Jesus and the Lost Teachings of Christianity by Rev. Jeffrey J. Bϋtz

How Jesus Became Christian by Barrie Wilson, Ph.D.

Forged: Writing in the Name of God–Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are by Bart D. Ehrman, Ph.D.

Supernormal Stimuli: How Primal Urges Overran Their Evolutionary Purpose by Deirdre Barrett, Ph.D.

The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty by Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen

Copyright 2013 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved.

Female sexuality: Just when the waters seemed to have cleared a little

Young Woman with Her Hand on Her Belly and Man Beside Her WritingSigmund Freud once said something to the effect that the one thing that truly eluded him was deciphering female behavior & sexuality (I read all his works by age 12 or so but still wrestle with some aspects of his claims & insights). I must admit that the range of plasticity in women — much culturally & socially influenced if not determined — is daunting (Men, by contrast, often seem like trolley trains on a one-way track). Now comes yet another book that is sure to confound any attempt by anthropologists, psychologists, sociologists and others to solve what Freud could not: http://www.alternet.org/sex-amp-relationships/memoir-female-lust I have come to the tentative conclusion that the best recourse is surrender — as in starting one’s 2nd childhood early and returning to those simplier, less confused days when everything was explained or solved by 30 or 60 minute TV shows & news specials as well as movies & mini-series. Either that or go mad and adopt a “Laugh In” or Timothy Leary spin on reality.

Your mind as universe & what you can do to change it

MIND - UNLOCK - FREE MSDo you like it when a new way of looking at a situation or phenomenon comes to mind or is introduced to you by someone else? If your answer is “yes” then you probably will enjoy what I am about to share.

Back during junior high I was riveted by Einstein’s General Relativity and the unified, very cogent spin it offered on gravitation. Before your eyes glass over rest assured what I have to share does not get into physics but, rather, borrows something from it you will readily understand and (I hope) appreciate.

Einstein described gravity as a geometric property of what is called spacetime. Picture spacetime as a trampoline, and then mentally set a heavy object on its surface, let’s say a bowling ball. What happens?  The bowling ball produces an indentation in the trampoline fabric or curvature. This is what the sun and earth and other objects in the universe do to spacetime.  If one increases the mass of an object then the curvature increases. This very brief YouTube video does a smashing job of graphically illustrating this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoaOHvy5AcA      

Now I want to analogize this to human psychology. Here is how:

We are all born into this world with anything but a tabula rasa or blank slate. In addition, to built-in brain circuits (modules) that favor survival as well as give rise to and sustain all kinds of behavioral propensities, there is evidence of stored memories including elements of language acquired in utero and emotional and mood wiring at unconscious as well as conscious levels.

 Using the spacetime analogy, the trampoline fabric in this instance is affect (mood, emotions and affective logic circuitry) as it animates and informs most non- or un- conscious and conscious brain processes. This fabric is studded with various objects – bowling balls or planets or whatever image tickles your fancy – which are variously non- & un- conscious as well as conscious predispositions, drives, et cetera.

With this picture in mind, let’s say you reach adulthood and spend a great deal of time engaging in helping others, say as a volunteer or medical professional or cleric. This feeds the objects on the trampoline that both feed & inform charity and altruism which grow and by so doing dwarfs other objects (pursuits, needs, desires, etc.) and eventually produces enough deformation in the fabric to bring smaller nearby objects into orbit (or subjugation, as it were). The same process is true of people who, say, feed their sexual appetite or conversely, starve it (Perhaps 20% or more of marriages in the US are sexless according to some experts. While this may reflect large numbers of people with attachment or other personality disorders, it may so reflect neglect of one dimension or object in the sexual constellation of self and the feeding of others, say cyber-fantasies).          

So of what real world good is there in knowing this? In-a-word your universe consists of objects whose size and influence reflects your focus or conversely neglect. So if you something is wrecking your peace or that of your marriage or professional life, sketch out your universe and see which aspects (objects) are being overfed or underfed. Then focus on shrinking or conversely growing them.

How to do this? It really is simple but this is not to say easy. Change your behavior,… your conduct. The rest of you will follow suit if you do so and stick with it.

Don’t believe remodeling your personal universe can be done in this way? Go to Amazon or whatever shopping website you prefer and search out “Strangers to Ourselves” (subtitled “Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious”) by Dr. Timothy D. Wilson (Sherrell J. Aston Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia). If you are in a rush after receiving this insightful tome, turn to chapter 10 and read it in its entirety.      

TO READ MORE ON ATTACHMENT DISORDERS GO TO http://bit.ly/Xjqsja

SUPPLEMENTAL READING:

University of Pennsylvania Dorothy Swaine Thomas Professor in Sociology Dr. Randall Collins classic work “Interaction Ritual Chains” (Princeton Studies in Cultural Sociology)  

From a review of Dr. Collins seminal work by Gary Alan Fine that appeared in Social Forces
Volume 83, Number 3, March 2005 pp. 1287-1288 | 10.1353/sof.2005.0029

“Simply put, Collins argues that interaction rituals produce emotional energy, the gathering of which is a central motivating force for individuals. Affect is the engine of social order. Those interaction rituals that are most effective in generating emotional energy are the ones that bolster institutional stability. We seek emotional energy the way that felines seek catnip—it gives us a buzz. Collins stands athwart the cognitive turn in social psychology, finding affect where others find thought, and indeed valuably devotes a chapter to demonstrating the various ways in which thinking must be linked to emotional entrainment.”

https://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&type=summary&url=/journals/social_forces/v083/83.3fine.html     

AFFECTIVE LOGIC: http://affect-logic.com/5.html

EXTENDED BEING: http://extendbeing.weebly.com/

Summer Cloud’s Watering Hole

© 2013 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved.

EXTENDED BEING (Hubpages article)

FROM DR. PAYNE’S ARTICLE “EXTENDED BEING” on Examiner.com

“The quiet punctuated by the flow of water in that aqueduct made it possible to experience not just quiet and relaxation but more so (for me anyway) a unique situation in which conscious thoughts and awareness dipped and other things came to light. One of these was a dynamic running “mental clip” (representation) of Kaoru that was interacting with me at a very subtle level. There was a spoken and unspoken dialog going on. I realized that part of her was alive within me but not solely as memories and warm associations; there was a dynamic sort of circuit at play which was influencing not only my thoughts and mood but also some elements of my personality, i.e., I was being influenced by specific personality traits she exhibited that I found appealing and was even internalizing some of them (And while mirroring and mimicry mechanisms were undoubtedly involved in this process, there was seemingly more to it than this). She had become part of the “we” that is “me”!”

CLICK TO ACCESS MY HUBPAGES ARTICLE: http://anthonypayne.hubpages.com/hub/Extended-Being-The-You-That-is-Many

EXTENDED BEING WEBSITE: http://extendbeing.weebly.com/

Alienation: Pervasive and insidious

Take a moment and read through the eight book quotes below.

“Today, concern about man’s alienation is expressed by many: by theologians and philosophers who warn that advanced in scientific knowledge do not enable us to penetrate the mystery of Being, and do not often widen the gulf between the knower and the reality he tries to understand…”  CLICK TO READ MORE

KNOW YOURSELF — BETTER: Free on-line tests (Empathy-systemizing, Attachment style, moral foundation, implicit biases, etc.)

How Does Your Mind Work?  Psychological tests developed by Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, Sally Wheelwright, and their team at the University of Cambridge, England, can give you insight into the way your brain functions. Take the tests to find out your EQ (empathizing quotient) and SQ (systemizing quotient.)

Romanticizing/Pragmatizing Test (RQ/PQ)

What is your attachment style?  This interactive survey takes about 5 minutes to complete. The questionnaire is designed to measure your ‘attachment style’–the way you relate to others in the context of intimate relationships. When completed, the site will reveal your attachment style, and provide a brief summary of what is known about your attachment style on the basis of contemporary scientific research.

Attachment in Past and Present Relationships

Marriage Builders® Forms and Questionnaires – Tests & effective intervention methods developed by one of America’s most successful marriage & family therapists, Dr. Willard Farley, Jr.

What are your moral foundations? (On-line Test) – This test is designed to explore the kinds of moral foundations you use when making judgments about what is right and what is wrong

Personality, Leadership, and Self-Esteem – This test is designed to explore your personality, leadership preferences, and your sense of self-worth

Implicit Association Test – The “Implicit Association Test” offers one way to probe unconscious biases. In this 10-minute test, you will be presented with words or images and asked to respond as quickly as possible.

Depression Screening Test by Ivan Goldberg, MD – -brief 18-question online automated quiz to help you determine if you may need to see a mental health professional for diagnosis
and treatment of depression

Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scale

Online Psychological Tests

Cybersex Addiction Test

Internet Addiction Test

Partners of Internet Addicts Test

Sexual Addiction Screening Test (Women)

Sexual Addiction Screening Test (Men)

Know Yourself Tests – PSYCHOLOGY TODAY  – Career Health IQ Personality Relationships

Alienation: Pervasive and insidious  (Examiner article) by Choctaw Doc

EXTENDED BEING WEBSITE: http://extendbeing.weebly.com/

Mind expansion: Recommended Reading

Books - free MS photoPurity of HeartALL THE BOOKS LISTED BELOW ARE ONES READ & RECOMMENDED BY CHOCTAW DOC

CRITICAL THINKING

 

You Are Now Less Dumb: How to Conquer Mob Mentality, How to Buy Happiness, and All the Other Ways to Outsmart Yourself  by David McRaney 

Fads & Fallacies in the Name of Science by Martin Gardner

The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan, Ph.D.

Snake Oil Science by R. Barker Bausell, Ph.D.

The Scientist As Rebel by Freeman Dyson

Any and All Books by James Randi

Blind Faith: The Unholy Alliance of Religion and Medicine  by Richard P. Sloan, Ph.D.

Ignorance (How It Drives Science) by Dr. Stuart Firestein

Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks by Ben Goldacre, M.D.

A Skeptic’s Guide to the Mind: What NeuroscienceCan and Cannot Tell Us About Ourselves by Robert A. Burton, M.D.

 DEEP ECOLOGY

Deep Ecology: Living As If Nature Mattered by Bill Devall & George Sessions

Deep Ecology for the Twenty-First Century by Bill Sessions

Green Rage: Radical Environmentalism and the Unmaking of Civilization by Christopher Manes

A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold

FICTION (with a powerful message)

House of Earth by Woodie Guthrie

HEALTH & MEDICINE (including stem cell medicine)

Click this link to access Dr. Christopher Centeno’s new 52 page e-book titled “The Stem Cells They Don’t Want You To Have” (FREE download): http://bit.ly/NPlVmZ

Snake Oil Science by R. Barker Bausell, Ph.D.

The Anatomy of Hope: How People Prevail in the Face of Illness by Jerome Groopman, MD

How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman, MD

Blind Faith: The Unholy Alliance of Religion and Medicine  by Richard P. Sloan, Ph.D.

 HISTORY/POLITICS

1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed (Turning Points in Ancient History) by Eric H. Cline

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Mataxas

Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields by Wendy Lower

Xenophon’s Cyrus the Great (The Arts of Leadership & War) edited by Larry Hedrick

Eyewitness Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chambers by Filip Muller

The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Dr. Stephen Greenblatt

The Un-Civil War: Shattering the Historical Myths by Leonard M. Scruggs

Slavery Remembered: A Record of Twentieth-Century Slave Narratives by Paul D. Escott

Worse Than War: Genocide, Eliminationism, and the Ongoing Assault on Humanity by Dr. Daniel J. Goldhagen

Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto by Vine Deloria, Jr.

The Face of Imperialism by Michael Parenti, Ph.D.

The Rich And The Rest Of Us: A Poverty Manifesto by Travis Smiley & Dr. Cornel West

The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution by Bernard Bailyn

Narrative of the Life of David Crockett of the State of Tennessee by David Crockett

HUMAN NATURE & PSYCHOLOGY

Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives — How Your Friends’ Friends’ Friends Affect Everything You Feel, Think, and Do by Nicholas A. Christakis, MD, PhD, James H. Fowler, PhD

You Are Now Less Dumb: How to Conquer Mob Mentality, How to Buy Happiness, and All the Other Ways to Outsmart Yourself  by David McRaney     

The Self Beyond Itself: An Alternative History of Ethics, the New Brain Sciences, and the Myth of Free Will by Heidi M. Ravven, Ph.D.

The Self Illusion: How the Social Brain Creates Identity by Bruce Hood, Ph.D.

The Illusion of Conscious Will by Dr. Daniel M. Wegner

What Do Women Want?: Adventures in the Science of Female Desire by Daniel Bergner

A Skeptic’s Guide to the Mind: What NeuroscienceCan and Cannot Tell Us About Ourselves by Robert A. Burton, M.D.

The Archaeology of Mind: Neuroevolutionary Origins of Human Emotions by Drs. Jaak Panksepp & Lucy Biven

The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies—How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths by Michael Shermer, Ph.D.

50 Popular Beliefs That People Think Are True by Guy P. Harrison

Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite: Evolution and the Modular Mind by Robert Kurzban, Ph.D.

Supernormal Stimuli: How Primal Urges Overran Their Evolutionary Purpose by Deirdre Barrett, Ph.D.

The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty by Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen

Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields by Wendy Lower

Pornified: How Pornography Is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, and Our Families by Pamela Paul

Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality by Dr. Gail Dines

Party of One: The Loners’ Manifesto by Anneli Rufus

The Lucifer Effect by Philip Zimbardo, Ph.D.

The Biology of Belief by Dr. Joseph Giovannoli

Man’s Search for Ultimate Meaning by Viktor Frankl, M.D., Ph.D.

Faces in the Clouds by Stewart Guthrie, Ph.D.

 RELIGION/SPIRITUALITY

Purity of Heart by Rev. Bert M. Farias [In “Purity of Heart” Rev. Farias eloquently states things which, I daresay, most mainstream and even many Charismatic and neopentecostal congregations either gloss over, tiptoe around or mangle (oftentimes resulting in their landing in the thorn patch of profound legalism). Two thumbs up and kudos to Rev. Farias, whose ministry website is http://holy-fire.org/]

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Mataxas

Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Finding Sanctuary (Monastic Steps for Everyday Life) by Abbot Christopher Jamison

Breakthrough Faith: Living a Life Where Anything is Possible by Larry Sparks

PSALM 83, The Missing Prophecy Revealed – How Israel Becomes the Next Mideast Superpower by Bill Salus

Sooner Than You Think: A Prophetic Guide to the End Times by Sid Roth

The Sayings of the Desert Fathers: The Alphabetical Collection by Benedicta Ward

Jesus’ Words Only (Free in its entirety on-line) by Douglas J. Del Tondo, Esq.

My spiritual watering hole website: http://summerclouds.weebly.com/

The Jesus Dynasty: The Hidden History of Jesus, His Royal Family, and the Birth of Christianity by Dr. James D. Tabor

Blood Kin of Jesus (James and the Lost Jewish Church) by Kenneth Hanson, Ph.D.

Paul and Jesus: How the Apostle Transformed Christianity  by Dr. James D. Tabor

The Brother of Jesus and the Lost Teachings of Christianity by Rev. Jeffrey J. Bϋtz

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan, Ph.D.

How Jesus Became Christian by Barrie Wilson, Ph.D.

Saving Jesus from the Church: How to Stop Worshiping Christ and Start Following Jesus by Dr. Robin R. Meyers

The Bible Against Itself: Why the Bible Seems to Contradict Itself  by Dr. Randel McCraw Helms

Forged: Writing in the Name of God–Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are by Bart D. Ehrman, Ph.D.

The Ancient Roots of Christianity: A Native American’s Look Through Christianity by my fellow Choctaw Nation Tribal member, Rainbow Eagle

God and His Demons by Michael Parenti, Ph.D.

The Real Kosher Jesus: Revealing the mysteries of the Hidden Messiah by Michael L. Brown, Ph.D.

The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction? by David James

The Rainbow Covenant: Torah and the Seven Universal Laws by Michael Ellias Dallen, Esq.

Faces in the Clouds by Stewart Guthrie, Ph.D.

Rats in the Cosmic Laboratory: Is God A Scientist? by Dr. A. G. Payne

Hitler and HaShem (The Almighty) by Dr. Anthony G. Payne

Heart of a Missionary by Dr. A.G. Payne

The Spiritual Aspect of Holistic Medicine by Dr. A. G. Payne

Religion is not about God by Prof. Loyal Rue

The Secret Origins of the Bible by Tim Callahan

Spiritual Evolution: A Scientific Defense of Faith  by George E. Vaillant, M.D.

The Undercover Philosopher by Michael Philips

Why We Believe What We Believe by Andrew Newberg, MD and Mark Robert Waldman

 “WALKING AROUND THINKING ABOUT STUFF”

Extended Being (Examiner article) by Choctaw Doc

EXTENDED BEING WEBSITE: http://extendbeing.weebly.com/

Alienation: Pervasive and insidious  (Examiner article) by Choctaw Doc

Blind Faith: The Unholy Alliance of Religion and Medicine  by Richard P. Sloan, Ph.D.

“Living Longer, Yes! But, Living Well?” by Choctaw Doc

Fascination with Dying and Death as Participation by Choctaw Doc

Is an attachment style problem complicating or undermining your life? (Examiner article) by ChoctawDoc

Dark times and the allure of evil  (Examiner article) by Choctaw Doc

Lego Ergo Sum (I read therefore I am)

Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite: Evolution and the Modular Mind by Robert Kurzban, Ph.D.

The Lucifer Effect by Philip Zimbardo, Ph.D.

The Natural Superiority of Women by Asheley Montagu, Ph.D.

Religion is not about God by Prof. Loyal Rue

http://www.healingcare4u.org/recommended-books.html 

EXTENDED BEING WEBSITE: http://extendbeing.weebly.com/

Problems relating well to God & your fellow man? Your attachment style may be a major contributor

Is an attachment style problem complicating or undermining your life? (Examiner article) by Dr. Anthony G. Payne (Includes a link to an on-line attachment style test you can take)

PAPER: Attachment to God and Parents: Testing the Correspondence vs. Compensation Hypotheses (Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 2005, Vol. 24, No. 1, 21-28)

ABSTRACT: The relationship between early caregiver experiences and attachment to God was explored in the current study. Using the Attachment to God Inventory (AGI) developed by Beck and McDonald, the relationship between parent-child attachment and attachment to God was explored among a college population. In addition, parental spirituality and religious emphases in the home were investigated. Comparisons of the AGI with parent-child attachment measures support a correspondence between working models of parents and God. Respondents that reported coming from homes that were emotionally cold or unspiritual exhibited higher levels of avoidance of intimacy in their relationship to God, a trend consistent with a Dismissing attachment style. Overprotective, rigid, or authoritarian homes were associated with higher levels of both avoidance of intimacy and anxiety over lovability in relationship to God, a trend characterized by the Fearful attachment style.

ALONG THE SAME LINES FROM CNN BLOG: Our Take: Your relationship style determines how you feel toward God

PAPERS: Attachment and Divorce: Family Consequences & much more

Levine, A, & Heller, R. “What Attachment Theory Can Teach about Love and Relationships – The surprising secrets to finding the right partner for a healthy relationship” Scientific American, December 29, 2010

Also check out: Alienation: Pervasive and insidious  (Examiner article) by Choctaw Doc

Sex: We feed the bulldog, but can we tame it?

http://www.examiner.com/holistic-health-in-santa-ana/sex-we-feed-the-bulldog-but-can-we-tame-it

Also check out:

Alienation: Pervasive and insidious  (Examiner article) by Choctaw Doc

OSTEOPOROSIS IN WOMEN: SEMINAL FLUID COMPOUNDS ABSORBED THROUGH MUCOSAL TISSUES HELP PROTECT AGAINST & REMEDIATE BONE LOSS   (Idea/hypothesis) by Choctaw Doc

Is an Attachment-Style Problem Complicating or Undermining Your Life?

http://www.examiner.com/holistic-health-in-santa-ana/is-an-attachment-style-problem-complicating-or-undermining-your-life

See also: Alienation: Pervasive and insidious  (Examiner article) by Choctaw Doc

Delusional Beliefs: A Normative Coping Mechanism?

One online source defines the term “delusion” thusly:

delusion

n 1: (psychology) an erroneous belief that is held in the face of evidence to the contrary [syn: psychotic belief] 2: a mistaken or unfounded opinion or idea; “he has delusions of competence”; “his dreams of vast wealth are a hallucination” [syn: hallucination] 3: the act of deluding; deception by creating illusory ideas [syn: illusion, head game]

Source: WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University

This pretty much lines up with how psychiatrist Karl Jaspers, MD, defined “delusion” in his seminal book General Psychopathology. Dr. Jaspers gave three main criteria for a belief to be considered delusional:

  • Absolute certainty (A belief is held with absolute conviction)
  • Incorrigibility (A belief is not changeable by compelling counterargument or proof to the contrary)
  • Impossibility or falsity of content (A belief is implausible, bizarre or patently untrue)

Undoubtedly many of you reading this hold fast to specific religious or other beliefs that meet all 3 criteria. To your way of thinking this is a demonstration of faith, a strength that pleases the Almighty. Nothing will sway you from what you hold to be sacred truth. Maybe you fear dire consequences in this life or the next should you deviate from the faith tradition you were inculcated in as a child or embraced later on. You may not even be able to consider the remotest possibility that what you believe about (say) biblical accounts of miracles or specific stories or accounts could be misinformed, misguided,  or just plain wrong. As one neo-Pentecostal minister put it, “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it”. This appears to be a timeless species of faith down through the millennia of human history.

Many fundamentalist believers and scholars from the major faith traditions engage in the most incredible feats of mental gymnastics to preserve sacred beliefs. Many Christians, for example, believe that their scriptures are inerrant, while abundant evidence exists that their Bible is chocked full of contradictions and is anything but free of error. For example, the book of Genesis alone contains two separate accounts of the creation saga that contradict one another profoundly http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/accounts.html. The same is basically true of the story of Noah and the flood http://www.sullivan-county.com/identity/2cs.htm. But rather than modify their belief system to accommodate logic and fact, they force a fit between religious dogma and contrary evidence (Or just deny the evidence altogether or define or otherwise alter it such that it accord with belief). This imposition of religious dogma or belief on the process and findings of history and science has given the world an incredible array of pseudo-historical and pseudoscientific books, documents, papers and such that, well, help reinforce the delusions of multitudes of “true believers”.

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jim_meritt/bible-contradictions.html –Contradictions in the Scriptures

http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/by_name.html  – Contradictions in the Bible

http://www.nobeliefs.com/DarkBible/darkbible4.htm – Absurdities and troubling entries in the Bible

Mind you, I am not an atheist or an “enemy” of religious beliefs or faith. My family tree is one brimming over with fervent Protestant fundamentalists, southern Baptist deacons, creationists and even charismatic and neo-Pentecostals. My late maternal grandmother, Faye C. Whittle, a rather extraordinary woman who helped aid and encourage my studies in science and medicine, was about as devout a Bible-toting woman as you could hope to meet and fully fundamentalist in her thinking. I did not often challenge her beliefs…..and was especially less inclined to do so as she reached into her eighties and nineties – for reasons I will weave into this essay shortly.

My own quest for “religious truth,” which is to say a faith that is concordant with logic, biblical scholarship, historic fact, and the findings of science led me first to Roman Catholicism, then ultimately to Judaism. Yes, there are some commonly held Jewish beliefs that run contrary to this thrust, but at least there is room for reconciling all this within most Jewish traditions.

Some of you gentle readers are probably having an “ah hah” moment as you read all this. Some will surely be thinking, “Well, if I embrace delusional beliefs, so does he. So does everyone”.

No doubt most of us – even those who are ultra-diligent in their efforts to bring every aspect of their lives into accord with logic, fact and sound reasoning – harbor some belief, conviction or idea that is at the very least unfounded or suspect, but which we resist discarding unless and until contrary fact compels us to. Such a belief or idea may not constitute a full-blown delusion or delusional belief, but it in some respects belongs to the “fraternity”. Psychologists have shown that we all possess cognitive filters that bias what we perceive and believe; mechanisms (if you will) that tend to find patterns in things (often where none exists), discard ideas or facts that contradict cherished beliefs or views, and inflate our own self-perception of being objective. This tendency to be self-deluded and to deceive others has survival value. Deception is part and parcel of nature itself, something documented by field ethnologists and primatologists studying the behavior of chimpanzees and monkeys.  

While not immune to delusional beliefs, in my own case precious few (if any) of my core religious beliefs meet Dr. Jasper’s 3 criteria. How so? In a word, I am willing to modify or reinterpret them to gel with logic and compelling scientific and historic fact. My belief in the Almighty, for example, is resolutely entrenched (A delusion according to many skeptic friends) – but my views on His nature, interaction with humankind, activities and such is amenable to modification in light of reason, logic and fact. Actually, this willingness to modify or discard one’s beliefs about anything that is redefined or overturned by new evidence lies at the heart of the scientific method. Without this plank, there would be little scientific progress. And while this process can and does generate evidence and reasoning that wrecks havoc with many beliefs long held to be sacred, this is not something to be feared or resisted. If religion and religious beliefs are to genuinely enable us to zero in on truth, it must necessarily be informed by the scientific method, critical thinking and hard logic. If not this, there is only a retreat into blind faith – this being often a wellspring of irrationality and, in the case of fundamentalism, a path to unhealthy extremes and even monstrous intolerance and bloodshed. 

Of course, the mere idea that one has birthed, embraced, nurtured or perpetuated delusional beliefs is, for most of us, something we tend to resist or deny. After all, to be delusional or harbor such thoughts is invites the stigma of being weak or intellectually failed or possibly given to a form of pathology (Disease). And I would readily agree that more extreme expressions do indeed reflect a pathological form of aberration or deviance. Especially forms that are divisive, that create or sustain barriers that marginalize others or foster bias, racism or ethnocentrism, or otherwise diminish our individual or collective human potential for caring for others, extending kindness and aid to strangers, and encouraging a peaceful coexistence that denies justice, opportunity and fairness to no person.

But what of delusional beliefs that do not give rise to or involve these negatives? Many would argue that a delusional belief is always antithetical to fullest personal development or best appreciation of reality, and this is a reasonable contention. However, I tend to view “benign” delusional beliefs as an effective coping mechanism; a way of ably dealing with the pain, vicissitudes and ugly moments in life, as well as being a mental tool for handling the contradictions and seemingly irreconcilable aspects of life.  In this sense, I see delusional beliefs as not only a tendency, but a normative coping mechanism.

And in this vein, truly benign delusions can play a useful role when it comes to the genesis or maintenance of our individual and shared (societal) weltanshaung or worldview; the mental constructs of reality we fashion and refine all the days of our lives. They also can have beneficial physiological effects. People who, for example, believe that ultra-diluted homeopathic medicines effect or foster healing despite overwhelming scientific evidence that they do not produce statistically significant results in well designed and executed clinical trials, nonetheless can and sometimes do perceive good things “going on” that in and of itself is encouraging; that may spawn some corresponding benefits such as one would expect when a person stops being anxious and fearful, and adopts a positive frame of mind. There are studies that link this species of faith or belief with reductions in resting blood pressure.

Delusions can also give life purpose or special meaning in some instances or settings. Consider those who vest tremendous money, time and energy in pursuit of beliefs, events or practices that are contradicted by a confluence of historic and/or scientific fact, logic and well honed scholarship. Some actually border on the irrational, while some truly are. However, when such beliefs, pursuits or devotions cause no harm to self or others, do not generate intolerance or violence or other negative behaviors, do not wind up sanctioned by the state, and basically function to endow the lives of believers with a sense of purpose or meaning, then they have arguable utilitarian merit.  

Of course some species of delusional thinking can obviously set the stage for doing great harm to others. One need look no further then Nazi Germany to see this. In this tragic example from history’s darkest page, delusional beliefs and the pseudo-history and pseudo-science they sprang from and reinforced became ideology, then law, and finally a national religion of sorts. The Nazis elevated malignant delusions to sacred status and then took them to their logical conclusion: Repression, brutality, murder and finally genocide.

Given this, it logically follows that people need to be vigilant in terms of identifying, openly exposing, countering and even legally penalizing all forms of delusional thinking that clearly leads to the deprivation, denial or erosion of basic human rights to any group, creed, religion or what-have-you. Humankind can ill afford a Fourth Reich.

But what of countering benign delusional beliefs that offer solace and comfort? This brings me full circle to my maternal grandmother: She believed that her New Testament was inerrant and, as such, was a reliable and sure guide to all that’s needed to assure a place in God’s realm (following death). Yes, there were many occasions – many kitchen table chats on religion (especially during her more vigorous 60s and 70s) — in which I placed before her facts and reason that clearly demonstrated the errancy of scriptures. This she resisted solely on the basis of her faith, not reason or logic or fact. And while this belief influenced her life and actions to a degree, she did not seek to have this view become the law of the land or promulgated in public schools as fact or paraded as science in the classroom. At first I diplomatically and gingerly challenged her stance, but ceased doing so as she grew older and frailty began to take its toll on her physical and mental faculties. Who would be so callous as to deprive her of a delusion (inerrancy) which was a vital component of her worldview (Especially given its benign, tempered expression, as well as its utility in terms of dealing with her own mortality)? Not me.

“No man is happy without a delusion of some kind. Delusions are as necessary to our happiness as realities.”

-Christian Nestell Bovee

 http://www.famousamericans.net/christiannestellbovee/

 

The cup of delusions runneth over:http://www.crank.net/

A critical look at homeopathy:http://skepdic.com/homeo.html

What is Pseudoscience?http://www.chem1.com/acad/sci/pseudosci.html

THE DARK BIBLE

Foreword

A Short History of the BIble

Atrocities (a few)

Sex, Obscenities, Filth

Morality And Paradoxes

God, Satan, Jesus, Heaven

The Inferior Status Of Women

Bibliography

About The Dark Bible

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/guido_deimel/judaism.html

http://www.religioustolerance.org/imm_bibl1.htm#diff

http://www.dhushara.com/book/orsin/decalog.htm

http://home.teleport.com/~packham/bible.htm

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/donald_morgan/atrocity.html – Atrocities

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/donald_morgan/absurd.html – Absurdities

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/donald_morgan/inconsistencies.html – Inconsistencies

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/donald_morgan/precepts.html – Questionable Guidelines

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jim_meritt/bible-contradictions.html – List of biblical contradictions

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/donald_morgan/vulgar.html – Vulgarities

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/mark_ball/bible.html – Errancy

http://www.angelfire.com/pa/greywlf/biblegod.html – BIBLEGOD – A God of Love or a God of Atrocities and Murder? 

NOTES ON BIBLE PROBLEMS Compiled by Richard Packham

http://home.teleport.com/~packham/index.htm

CONTENTS

MORALITY IN THE BIBLE

MORAL MODELS

HUMAN SACRIFICE

ANIMAL SACRIFICE

WAR

GENOCIDE AND SLAUGHTER

CRUELTY, BARBARITY, VIOLENCE

DECEIT, TREACHERY

LYING

INCEST

POLYGAMY, CONCUBINAGE

PROSTITUTION

ABUSE OF WOMEN, WOMAN’S INFERIORITY

ABANDONMENT OF WIFE, CHILDREN, FAMILY

HYPOCRISY

HOMOSEXUALITY

EXTORTION

CANNIBALISM

SLAVERY

DRUNKENNESS

RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE, CLOSED MINDS

OBSCENE, OFFENSIVE, INDECENT, EROTIC PASSAGES

ABOUT GOD

PUNISHMENTS

GENERAL PRINCIPLES, LAWS

PARTICULAR EXAMPLES OF GOD’S PUNISHMENTS

CONTRADICTIONS

NUMERICAL CONTRADICTIONS

GENEALOGICAL CONTRADICTIONS

DETAILS OF EVENTS – OLD TESTAMENT

DETAILS OF EVENTS – NEW TESTAMENT

CONTRADICTORY DOCTRINE, COMMANDMENTS

CONTRADICTIONS ABOUT GOD

OTHER CONTRADICTIONS

OTHER PUZZLES, ANOMALIES, QUESTIONS

PROPHECY IN THE BIBLE

PROPHECIES OR PROMISES NOT FULFILLED

“FULFILLMENT” OF NON- EXISTENT PROPHECIES

“FULFILLMENT” OF PASSAGES NOT PROPHECIES

PROPHECIES CLAIMED AS FULFILLED

PROPHECIES IGNORED BY CHRISTIANS

PRECEPTS OFTEN NOT OBEYED BY BELIEVERS

OLD TESTAMENT PRECEPTS

TEACHINGS OF JESUS NOT OFTEN FOLLOWED

HISTORICAL / GEOGRAPHICAL INACCURACY, ANACHRONISMS

SCIENCE

EXAGGERATION, “TALL TALES”

WEB LINKS, BOOKS, PERIODICALS

© 2009 by Dr. Anthony G Payne. All rights reserved.

YOU MAY NOT COPY, REPRODUCE, DISTRIBUTE, PUBLISH, DISPLAY, PERFORM, MODIFY, CREATE DERIVATIVE WORKS, TRANSMIT, OR IN ANY WAY EXPLOIT ANY PART OF THIS DOCUMENT. WITHOUT LIMITING THE GENERALITY OF THE FOREGOING, YOU MAY NOT DISTRIBUTE ANY PART OF THIS DOCUMENT OVER ANY NETWORK, INCLUDING A LOCAL AREA NETWORK, NOR SELL NOR OFFER IT FOR SALE. IN ADDITION, THIS DOCUMENT MAY NOT BE USED TO CONSTRUCT ANY KIND OF DATABASE

The Spiritual Aspects of “Holistic” Medicine

The foundation of holism or holistic medicine rests on a triumvirate — body, mind and spirit. Actually, as the mind is an expression of the various regions of the brain — a species of the physical — we are really dealing with body/brain and spirit. The former, of course, has been probed and explored using the tools of medicine and science. No one questions their reality. Spirit, on the other hand, by most definitions is non-material, and thus lies beyond the purview of science; that is, one cannot demonstrate spirit using a gas chromatograph, scanning electron microscope, or any other tool in the armamentarium of science.

But what of the effects of spirit? If it exists, should we not be able to detect its effects on the physical realm? This is a question which now occupies many philosophers, some scientists and physicians, and many laypeople.

One very often cited manifestation of spirit lies in the realm of answered prayer. Numerous studies have been carried out in which patients with a given affliction were divided into two groups: One received prayer (experimental group) and the other (control group) didn’t. The prayers were offered off-site and no one involved in the study knew who was being prayed for and who wasn’t (double-blind).

The bottom line of many of these studies is that prayer appears to have made a significant difference in the relief or cure of the malady or affliction in the experimental group, while those in the control group had no appreciable change in their condition. The rigor of these studies has been found wanting by countless impartial investigators. That is, flaws in study design, methodology and/or execution have basically invalidated the findings of these clinical trials.

What of the healings connected with religious shrines, such as Lourdes? There have been approximately 69 healings connected with Lourdes which have met the Catholic church’s criteria for a bona fide miracle — 69 out of the hundreds of thousands of petitions for healing. This is not statistically significant. In short, the numbers do not support the notion that the rate of recovery/healing at Lourdes is greater than would be expected to occur as a result of normal processes. (One can expect a certain percentage of even incurable illnesses to suddenly and inexplicably go into remission. These recoveries happen to non-believer and believer alike — and hence appear contingent on natural and not supernatural mechanisms.)

I know what many of you are thinking — “Leave it to a skeptical, non-believing blankety-blank scientist to trash our sacred beliefs.” If you are nodding your head in agreement — you are dead wrong. First of all, I am a theist. I also believe that God hears and answers prayer — and even heals people through various means including the ministrations of physicians. Well, wait a minute, isn’t this contradictory or hypocritical, given what I wrote above? No, indeed, for I do not allege that my beliefs are based on hard science nor the manifestations of spirit, or God so physically evident as to permit measurement or quantification. In fact, those who believe that spirit, God, or any aspect of the supernatural can be demonstrated in a controlled study or lab experiment invite upon themselves the unenviable task of proving their claims. (It is always incumbent on those who propose the existence of something which can be physically detected and, thus measured, to do just that.) And I, for one, do not believe that they will ever garner any substantive proof. Why?

Consider this: In virtually every religious tradition God requires that humankind both apprehend His existence and relate to him via faith — a conviction based not on the physical and demonstrable, but on sheer belief. If God were to reveal Himself in the lab or clinical trial setting — say, by answering the prayers for healing in an experimental group at rates which exceed chance — the need for faith would be dispensed with. We could base our confidence, our belief in the spiritual and a First Cause (God) on the hard data provided by the study in question.

This, of course, would make God the author of a serious contradiction and would obligate most major religions to toss out many of their principle doctrines concerning the nature of the deity, the need for faith as a requisite for apprehending the divine, et cetera. It would also raise serious questions as to the reliability of revealed truths about God (oral and written traditions).

Since I do not believe God would ask one thing (faith) and then reveal Himself in a concrete, scientifically demonstrable fashion, I am not surprised or dismayed that laboratory experiments and clinical trials do not turn upon any credible data which stands up to scrutiny. I also realize, however, that there are some who believe that faith isn’t the only requisite to apprehending God or the supernatural and will continue to carry out studies aimed at catching a glimpse of the divine in action.

In my opinion they are wasting both time and money, but should they one day prove to be right — if they do incontrovertibly demonstrate the efficacy of prayerful supplication (to God) in healing a given malady — skeptic and believer alike will be making some rather profound changes to their distinct perspectives. This isn’t beyond the pale of possibility. I think, however, that such definitive proof will in some ways weigh more heavily on the religionist then the agnostic or skeptic.

While the debate rages and the studies plod along, what role then should the spiritual play in healing/medicine? I think most physicians — even diehard atheists — at the very least accommodate a narrow species of “spirituality,” in the sense of encouraging hope and making use of patient expectation to afford relief, if not cure.

In holistic medicine, on the other hand, the spiritual element more often takes on a different character and importance. The holistic medical community plays host to wide range of spiritual beliefs, including American Indian, New Age, Buddhist, Christian. As long as this spirituality is not called “scientific” or “hard science-based,” or makes claims which can be tested using the tools and methods of science, its place in the patient care repertoire of holistic health care practitioners remains a matter of personal prerogative. And doesn’t faith and personal prerogative lie at the core of human spirituality?

In the final analysis, I think we will find that the substantiation of faith begins and ends on one’s knees — and in one’s heart — and not in the laboratory. 

© 2009 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved

Softening the impact of having been jilted

If you have recently been jilted or otherwise had a close relationship severed, you are undoubtedly feeling the loss and perhaps even a wee bit of rage (Which actually serves a purpose insofar as it helps one purge the other from one’s life). Your brain is actually going through withdrawal involving the selfsame neurochemical players and brain centers that are involved in reward and addiction. In a nutshell, your dopamine levels are plummeting (sets off cravings), the mood modulator serotonin has taken a nose dive (Blue Funk time), stress hormones are up and there may even be withdrawal symptoms associated with opioid compounds you  produced (and augmented via behavior & diet) which you body is now clamoring for.  The passage of time in concert with physical activity will help take the punch out of this biochemical maelstrom    (More on this can be found in chapter 8 of Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray )

Here are a few non-pharmaceutical measures that may help:

To help raise dopamine levels in the brain:

 Muncuna (Mucuna pruriens) products such as http://www.iherb.com/Mucuna

 Diet: Eat prepared Fava beans (A legume)

 To help raise serotonin levels in the brain:

 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HTP) http://www.biopsychiatry.com/tryptophan-5htp.htm

 Diet: Eat lots of turkey (Tryptophan source – precursor used to generate serotonin)

Take with pyridoxal-5 phosphate – 10 mgs. (A form of B6)

To help modulate stress hormones:

 Standardized Ginseng Extract (Panax ginseng)

 To help curtail endogenous opioids (Compounds generated in one’s body that influence reward and addiction):

Follow the Paleodiet (Fava beans excepted) http://14ushop.com/wizard/living-longer.html

 Ask your doctor about putting you on low dose Naltrexone

Also:

S-Adenosylmethionine (“SAMe”)

Nepsol™   http://www.wellerhealthvitamins.com/nepsol.htm

 N-acetyl-Tyrosine, DL-Phenylalanine http://www.lef.org/protocols/prtcl-089.shtml (Folks with PKU or hypertension should avoid DL-Phenylalanine)

 References

Manyam BV, Dhanasekaran M, Hare TA, ‘Neuroprotective effects of the antiparkinson drug Mucuna pruriens’, Phytother Res. 2004 Sep;18(9):706-12 

Apaydin H, Ertan S, Ozekmekci S, ‘Broad bean (Vicia faba)–a natural source of L-dopa–prolongs “on” periods in patients with Parkinson’s disease who have “on-off” fluctuations’, Mov Disord. 2000 Jan;15(1):164-6

Kaneko H, Nakanishi K, ‘Proof of the mysterious efficacy of ginseng: basic and clinical trials: clinical effects of medical ginseng, korean red ginseng: specifically, its anti-stress action for prevention of disease,’ J Pharmacol Sci. 2004 Jun;95(2):158-62.

Kim DH, Jung JS, Suh HW, Huh SO, Min SK, Son BK, Park JH, Kim ND, Kim YH, Song DK,’ Inhibition of stress-induced plasma corticosterone levels by ginsenosides in mice: involvement of nitric oxide,’ Neuroreport. 1998 Jul 13;9(10):2261-4.

Zioudrou C, Streaty RA, Klee WA, ‘Opioid peptides derived from food proteins. The exorphins,’ J Biol Chem. 1979 Apr 10;254(7):2446-9.

Fukudome S, Yoshikawa M., ‘Opioid peptides derived from wheat gluten: their isolation and characterization,’ FEBS Lett. 1992 Jan 13;296(1):107-11

‘Neuroendocrine effects of SAMe, a novel putative antidepressant,’ J Psychiatr Res, 1990, 24:2.

De Vanna M, Rigamonti R, ‘Oral SAMe in depression’, Curr Ther Res 1992, 52: 478-485.

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