Archive | December, 2015

A word or two about prayers

5 Dec

I’ve prayed. I’ve had enough prayers answered to warrant a belief in a deity or ‘The Secret’. So why don’t I ? Magical thinking. My logical brain can’t support it.

Hereticdoc

History

In modern times, “religion” can be as difficult to define as “brain”, with multifarious facets to include prayers to deities. Our technology is currently able to tease out some of the neurobiological similarities and differences between believers and non-believers, as well as divergences between individual believers.

Regardless, prayers have been a part of our human psychology and neurology for possibly longer than religion itself. Both “answered” and “unanswered” prayers feed into our innate confirmation bias and our primate social needs; it’s possible that we evolved as a species to pray just as we evolved grooming, and other behaviors. For many people in the west, prayer may be more of a self-soothing ritual more so than it is about actually talking to anyone else.

Organized religion likely surfaced as a result of the Neolithic revolution and provided economic stability by means to collect taxes, and religion eventually evolved and morphed…

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Say Hello to Australopithecus deyiremeda, A Newly Discovered 3.4 Million Year Old Hominid

4 Dec

I love archeology!

Anthropology.net

This fragment of upper jaw (shown) was discovered sitting on top of the sediment in the Woranso-Mille area of central Afar in Ethiopia. Anthropologists have now identified it as belonging to a new species of early human ancestor called Australopithecus deyiremeda that lived between 3.3 million and 3.5 million years ago This fragment of upper jaw (shown) was discovered sitting on top of the sediment in the Woranso-Mille area of central Afar in Ethiopia. Anthropologists have now identified it as belonging to a new species of early human ancestor called Australopithecus deyiremeda that lived between 3.3 million and 3.5 million years ago

A study published in Nature today announces the 2011 discovery of Australopithecus deyiremeda a hominid that lived between 3.3 and 3.5 million years ago. The species is represented by a maxilla, mandible and dentition found in the Woranso-Mille area of the Afar region of Ethiopia about 22 miles from the spot where the remains of Australopithecus afarensis were found. A. afarenis is thought to have lived between 3.9 million and 2.9 million years ago.

The size of the jawbone and the shape of the teeth of the new species resemble that of afarensis, but the researchers lay claim in their paper…

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Examination of normal and pathologic fear

2 Dec

Hereticdoc

Have a safe, educational, and happy Halloween

Overview

Sight, sound, and other sensory input are initially the processors and contributors into our central nervous system of fear in our species. The sensory inputs specifically directly into several areas in our brain starting with the thalamus, then to the amygdala and cortex, generating a nearly immediate fear response. We  become conscious of our fear by either a direct or an indirect pathway, depending upon the stimuli in the environment and situation; we have evolved a highly sophisticated fear response as this is a vitally important emotional component in our repertoire.  This emotion may become pathologic in a variety of scenarios, and I will pay some  minor attention to PTSD.

Fear is the reaction to a perceived threat. Anxiety is the fear response when no threat exists, and which may become pathologic. In the case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the…

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