Dr. Jim Reads About Archaea, Bacteria, and Protists from Brooker on Biology
Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Sunday, January 17, 2021
Friday, January 15, 2021
Dr. Jim Reads Darwin's Origin of Species, Chapter 11
Chapter 11, On the Geological Succession of Organic Beings
"[T]he degree of perfection or highness, and natural selection will tend to render the organization of each being more specialized; though leaving many creatures with simple structures fitted for simple conditions of life, and in some cases even degrading the organization, yet leaving such degraded being better fitted for new walks of life." (Darwin, Origin of Species, p. 174).
Freud on the Unconscious and How Trauma Affects Feelings:
Dr. Jim reads from Freud, The Unconscious about the Instincts or Feelings an Emotions:
Freud defined an instinct as "the concept on the frontier between the somatic and the mental..., the psychical representative of organic forces." (Instincts and their vicissitudes, p. 112). He then wrote about "emotional impulses" that are "perceived, but misconstrued. Owing to the repression of its proper representative it has been forced to become connected with another idea, and is now regarded by consciousness as the manifestation of that idea"--"the idea has undergone repression." Three such vicissitudes are possible: 1. suppression "so that no trace of it is found; 2. affect, which involves a "qualitatively colored" mood; or, 3. "it is changed into anxiety." (Freud, Repression, p. 153).
Freud, S. (1915). The Unconscious. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XIV (1914-1916): On the History of the Psycho-Analytic Movement, Papers on Metapsychology and Other Works, 159-215
Monday, January 11, 2021
Dr. Jim Reads Augusten Burrough's A Wolf At The Table: A Memoir of My Father
"My mother’s voice is my home and when I am surrounded by her sounds, I sleep."
"All a rainbow is light that walks behind a raindrop and its colors fall out."
In this chapter Augusten tells a story of when he was 8 or 9 and his desire to have physical proximity and touch by his Father. His father was highly avoidant/dismissive. Augusten at 8 or 9 conducted an experiment to see how often his dad rejected his overtures for physical contact. It was 100%. Augusten then recounts how he gathered a shirt and pants from his dad stuff them with bedsheets towels and pillows and use that to satisfy his need for proximity to his Father. This went on for months until his Mother discovered the artifice and put everything away without discussion.
Dr. Jim Reads Brooker on Biology, Chapter 55
Dr. Jim reads Chapter 10 of Darwin's Origin of Species,
"We shall, perhaps, Best perceive the difficulty of connecting species by numerous, intermediate fossil links by asking ourselves whether future geologists will be able to prove that are different breeds of cattle, horses and dogs are descended from a single stopped or from several aboriginal stocks. This could be effected only by the discovery in a fossil state of numerous gradations; and such success is improbable in the highest degree." (p. 160)
"The great oceans are mainly areas of subsidence, the great archipelagoes areas of oscillations, and the continents areas of elevation. But we have no reason to assume that things have thus remain from the beginning of the world. At period long antecedent to the Cambrian epoch, continents may have existed where Oceans are now spread out; and oceans may have existed where our continence now stand. Nor should we be justified in assuming that if, for instance, the bed of the Pacific Ocean were now converted into a continent, we should there find sedimentary formations in a recognizable condition older than the Cambrian strata, supposing such to of been formally deposited; for it might well happen that strata some miles nearer to the center of the earth, which had been pressed on by an enormous weight of water, might've undergone far more metamorphic action than strata nearer to the surface." (p. 165)
Sunday, January 10, 2021
"Everyone says you should be nice all the time but no one really is, so if you do what you should band be nice all the time, you're probably gonna get screwed." (Hart, 1998--A Child's Machaivelli: A Primer in Power)
"Unrestrained altruism is a strategy that generally does not pay."
Sunday, January 3, 2021
Dr. Jim Reads Darwin's Origin of Species, Chapter 8, Part 2 and Part 3
From Richard E. Leakey's Illustrated Origin of Species:
"There seems to me too much misery in the world. I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding with within the living bodies of caterpillars…" (Charles Darwin in correspondence to Asa Gray (1860) as Quoted in Richard E. Leakey's edited version of Darwin's Origin of Species, p. 143)
Saturday, January 2, 2021
Dr. Jim reads from David M. Buss's, Evolutionary Psychology (pp. 24-27)
Dr. Jim reads Chapter 8, Part 1 of Darwin's Origin of Species.
"No instinct can be produced through natural selection except by the slow and gradual accumulation of numerous slight, yet profitable, variations." (Darwin, Illustrated Origin of Species, Leakey (ed.), p. 131).
Friday, January 1, 2021
Thursday, December 31, 2020
Wednesday, December 30, 2020
Dr. Jim reads Charles Darwin's Origin of Species, Chapter 6 Difficulties of the Theory, Part 4, beginning with p. 119 to the end of the Chapter.
Stayed tuned. My next reading will be from Chapter 7 Miscellaneous Objections to Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection.
Tuesday, December 29, 2020
Dr. Jim Reads from Darwin's Origin of Species, Chapter 6, p. 114 beginning with Special Difficulties of the Theory of Natural Selection.
One of the interesting points made in this section of Darwin's magnum opus is found at p. 116 where he had been detailing how nature presents itself with a great deal of variety but little in the way of innovation. "Why, on the theory of Creation, should there be so much variety and so little real novelty?" he wrote. "Why should all the parts and organs of many independent beings, each supposed to have been separately created for its proper place in nature, be so commonly linked together by graduated steps? Why should not Nature take a sudden leap from structure to structure? On the theory of natural selection, we can clearly understand why she should not; for natural selection acts only by taking advantage of slight successive variations; she can never take a great and sudden leap, but must advance by short and sure, though slow steps."
Sunday, December 27, 2020
Mind-Body Connection and Decision-Making
I've been fascinated by and studying the ability to make wise decisions that promote long term health and wellbeing in humans for a very long time. In fact its been a preoccupation of mine since I was child. One's ability to curb temptation in all it's forms--food, drug, alcohol, cutting, sexual behavior, displays of rage/angry outbursts, etc., predict long term wellbeing.
Before turning to science, I'm sure I spent at least a thousand hours puzzling over the issue informed by reading spiritual literature about the freedom or bondage of the will (Martin Luther (the monk), Jonathan Edwards, Puritan writers, C.H. Spurgeon, and other. I studied Martin Lloyd Jones' works on Romans and Ephesians and studied all I could about temptation, Romans 7, I Corinthians, II Corinthians, Ephesians, Galatians, Philippians, I and II Peter, Revelation, etc. I've come to the ultimate conclusion that generally speaking religion confuses conformity with the group and group health with wise decision-making.
Aristotle's Golden Mean where balance and moderation win the race captures the boon to society and individuals who comprise the community that comes with what Barkley (2012) called executive function. Barkley's view of executive function drew upon Dawkin's (1982) ideas about adaptation, selective pressures (phenotypic expression of genes interacting with one's environment).
Herein lies where I'm at right now in this fascinating area of study which I believe is foundational to both individual and collective pursuits of health and happiness.
New research coming from evolutionary psychology is using metatheory informing the natural sciences (i.e. evolution) to explore this concept which I find in the writings of Bowen et al. on Differentiation of Self, Mischel and Schoda/Zelazo/Lieberman, and Banaji and Greenwald/Kanneman and Tversky and many others including the writing of Theodore Millon and his colleagues and Seymour Epstein. A happy sharing of information across academic / scholarly domains is facilitating a wealth of new information informing our understanding of this essential borderland between the mind and the body / the spirit and the flesh and the problem of self-regulation / emotional regulation / and wisdom.
In reading from a Journal entitled Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences this morning published by the American Psychological Association I came across an article written by Professor Hill of Texas Christian University citing research on this issue. I had previously come across the idea that problematic use of drugs and alcohol (and by extension overeating, sedentary lifestyle, etc.) involved a trade off of gratifying behaviors by discounting cumulative effects on one's health. Use of drugs, alcohol, etc. make logical sense in dealing with bionegativity--"a personality constellation in which one or more part processes disturb the total function of the organism" (Angyal, 1941, p. 329).
Substance use disorders have been hypothesized as behaviors intended to establish positive homeostasis (Kaye, Gendall, & Strober, 1998; Magnavita, 2006; Van der Kolk, 1994, 2003, 2014). Growing up in dysfunctional homes where yelling, violence, and dysregulated emotions prevail so disrupts the nervous and associated systems of the body that bionegativity becomes the norm for the members of such families.
All of which is to say I am really pleased this morning to see Gassen and his colleagues (2019) publish a cross-sectional research article on the relationship between inflammation (which can be quantified/measured by serum cytokine concentration) and the quality of one's decision-making, and, in particular the ability to delay gratification for greater long range pleasure/life enhancement--i.e. health and happiness.
Banaji, M. R., & Greenwald, A. G. (2013). Blindspot: Hidden biases of good people. New York: Random House
Barkley, C. (2012).
Executive functions: What they are, how they work, and why they evolved. New
York: The Guilford Press.
Davies, P. T. & Martin, M. J. (2013). The reformulation of emotional security theory: The role of children’s social defense in developmental psychopathology. Development and Psychopathology, 25, 1435-1454.
Dawkins, R. (1982). The extended phenotype. Oxford: W. H. Freeman and Company, Limited.
Gassen, J., Prokosch, M. L., Eimerbrink, M. J., Leyva, R. P. P., White, J. D., Peterman, J. L., ... & Boehm, G. W. (2019). Inflammation predicts decision-making characterized by impulsivity, present focus, and an inability to delay gratification. Scientific reports, 9(1), 1-10.
Hall, M. C. (2013). The Bowen family theory and its uses. Chevy Chase, MD: International Psychotherapy Institute E-books.
Johnston, J. R., & Campbell, L. E. G. (1988). Impasses of divorce: The dynamics and resolution of family conflict. New York, NY: Free Press
Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking, fast and slow. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Kaye, W., Gendall, K., & Strober, M. (1998). Serotonin neuronal function and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor treatment in anorexia and bulimia nervosa. Biological psychiatry, 44(9), 825-838.
Lieberman, M. D., Gaunt, R., Gilbert, D. T., & Trope, Y. (2002). Reflexion and reflection: A social cognitive neuroscience approach to attributional inference. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology, Vol. 34 (p. 199–249). Academic Press.
Magnavita, J. (2006). Personality-guided relational psychotherapy: A unified approach. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association
Mischel,W., Shoda,Y.,&Rodriguez, M. (1989). Delay of gratification in children. Science, 244, 933–937.
Noone, R. J. (2014). Differentiation of self as a multigenerational process. In P. Titelman (Ed.), Differentiation of self: Bowen family systems theory perspective (pp. 96-111). New York: Routledge
Van der Kolk, B. A. (1994). The body keeps the score: Memory and the evolving psychobiology of posttraumatic stress. Harvard Review of Psychiatry, 1(5), 253-265.
Van der Kolk, B. A. (2003). The neurobiology of childhood trauma and abuse. Child Adolescence Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 12, 293-317.
Van der Kolk, B. (2014). The body keeps the score: Brain, mind and body in the healing of trauma. New York: Viking.
Zelazo, P. D., & Carlson, S. M. (2012). Hot and cool executive function in childhood and adolescence: Development and plasticity. Child development perspectives, 6(4), 354-360.
Tuesday, December 22, 2020
Monday, December 21, 2020
Sunday, December 20, 2020
Dr. Jim reads Darwin's Origin of Species, Laws of Variation, Chapter 5, Part 2:
Darwin wrote at p. 102 "For myself, I venture confidently to look back thousands on thousands of generations and I see an animal striped like a zebra, but perhaps very different constructed, the common parent of our domestic horse, the ass, the hemionus, quagga, and zebra."
Saturday, December 19, 2020
Sunday, December 13, 2020
Dr. Jim Concludes his reading of Bowenian Chapter on Differentiation of Self, Part 4:
When the custody evaluator can remain "anchored in emotional neutrality" in writing it up, the result can promote more reasoned and regulated "self-determined direction" and listening where "pressuring for agreement or to have [one's] way" is discarded in favor of finding solutions to the problem. That is to see where win-win is possible. Kerr and Bowen (1988) wrote "There is no limit to emotional neutrality. It is broadened each time human being can view the world more as it is than as he wishes, fears, or imagines it to be." (p. 111).
Saturday, December 12, 2020
Dr. Jim reads About Bowen's Differentiation of Self, Part 1
In 1975 Wilson wrote about three key properties of social organization: cohesiveness, altruism, and cooperativeness. In the animal kingdom only four groups of animals have been able to significantly develop these properties: (1) colonial invertebrates—coral/the Portuguese man-of-war; (2) social insects (ants, termites, certain wasps and bees), (3) nonhuman mammals (particularly the elephants, chimpanzees, and African wild dogs), and (4) humans. It's important to recognize that high levels of social integration are not inherently "good" for the adaptiveness of a species.
The key to the "level of complexity" of our social organization involves our capacity for abstraction in the service of win-win social groupings and self-government. This capacity enables us to "establish long-remembered contracts and to profitably engage in acts of reciprocal altruism that can be spaced over long periods of time, indeed over generations." Our communication capacities allow us to "far exceed" the colonial invertebrates, social insects, and nonhuman mammals in social organization. This capacity combined with differentiation of self in our families of origin "have reversed the downward trend in social evolution that prevailed over a billion years of the previous history of life."
Kerr, M. & Bowen, M. (1988). Family evaluation: An approach based on Bowen theory. New York: W. W. Norton & Company at p, 91
Wilson, E. O. (1975) Sociobiology: The new synthesis. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press at p. 380
Friday, December 11, 2020
Thursday, December 10, 2020
Wednesday, December 9, 2020
Tuesday, December 8, 2020
Friday, October 18, 2019
Dr. Jim reads Dr. Childress on Attachment and Personality, Part 4
Thursday, October 17, 2019
Tuesday, May 28, 2019
3. In paying attention on purpose (called monitoring) you will also purposely ACCEPT Your thoughts and feelings even if you don't agree or like them.
Recently published scientific research highlighted this acceptance component of mindfulness. Using a dismantling technique in a randomized and controlled test of three different groups, Chin et al. (2019) identified acceptance as a "key ingredient" responsible for mindfulness mediated mental and physical health benefits.
I wish you a mindful day,
Friday, April 13, 2018
Can you imagine how much more efficient our trials and hearings would be if people were able to adhere to Grice’s four maxims of collaborative discourse?
Sunday, July 10, 2016
With Toastmasters you learn how to communicate and lead in a safe and supportive environment. This enables you to practice and learn communication and leadership skills in a place that promotes growth and encouragement.
As you grow in the group it becomes pleiotropic because it begins to improve your relationships and performance outside the Toastmaster meetings into your work, family and other involvements.
So I encourage you to join a local Toastmasters and give it a shot. You'll probably begin to see pleiotropic communication and leadership skills in not just one but several areas of your life.
You are encouraged to come visit the Lemon Street Toastmasters. They meet at the Riverside County Building on Wednesdays from 12:05 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. I and we'd love to see you there.
Friday, April 29, 2016
Flynn (2014) attributed this phenomena to a growing ability to take hypotheticals seriously--an ability which he points out enable moral development https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vpqilhW9uI
Flynn, J. (2014). Why our IQ levels are higher than our grandparents'. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vpqilhW9uI
Forsythe, C., Liao, H., Trumbo, M. C. S., & Cardona-Rivera, R. E. (2014). Cognitive neuroscience of human systems: Work and every day life. New York: CRC Press.