Why do so many of God’s followers seem to prefer their boxed-in religion over God? Listen to their rhetoric and you might wonder how a Supreme Being could be so narrow and small, so angry and unattractive. It’s time to start over with an honest conversation instead of a box. If God does exist, there should be some clear indications of his being. And if humans bear God’s image, as the Bible indicates, then we should be able to connect with (...) God on some level. This book is about God, not religion. It’s about questions more than watertight answers. It’s about the experience of God more than it is about incontrovertible evidence that he exists. God can’t be seen, but he can be found. And while he can’t be fully explained, he can be known and experienced. Religious boxes have a way of blinding us to spiritual reality. So this dialogue is all God, no box. Are you ready? (shrink)
A basic aspect of emotional responding to music involves the liking for specific pieces. Juslin & Vll (J&V) fail to acknowledge that simple exposure plays a fundamental role in this regard. Listeners like what they have heard but not what they have heard too often. Exposure represents an additional mechanism, ignored by the authors, that helps to explain emotional responses to music.
This essay seeks to demonstrate how ministers and others can enhance attentiveness to God in a culture that does much to distract us. Through such practices as fasting from technological distractions and retreating, we can open ourselves to God’s transforming love and allow that love to flow through us in our everyday lives and ministries.
Although music is universal, there is a great deal of cultural variability in music structures. Nevertheless, some aspects of music processing generalize across cultures, whereas others rely heavily on the listening environment. Here, we discuss the development of musical knowledge, focusing on four themes: (a) capabilities that are present early in development; (b) culture-general and culture-specific aspects of pitch and rhythm processing; (c) age-related changes in pitch perception; and (d) developmental changes in how listeners perceive emotion in music.
Music is universal at least partly because it expresses emotion and regulates affect. Associations between music and emotion have been examined regularly by music psychologists. Here, we review recent findings in three areas: the communication and perception of emotion in music, the emotional consequences of music listening, and predictors of music preferences.
Deliberate practice and experience may suffice as predictors of expertise, but they cannot account for spectacular achievements. Highly variable environmental and biological factors provide facilitating as well as constraining conditions for development, generating relative plasticity rather than absolute plasticity. The skills of virtuosos and idiots savants are more consistent with the talent account than with the deliberate-practice account.
Authors frequently refer to gene-based selection in biological evolution, the reaction of the immune system to antigens, and operant learning as exemplifying selection processes in the same sense of this term. However, as obvious as this claim may seem on the surface, setting out an account of “selection” that is general enough to incorporate all three of these processes without becoming so general as to be vacuous is far from easy. In this target article, we set out such a general (...) account of selection to see how well it accommodates these very different sorts of selection. The three fundamental elements of this account are replication, variation, and environmental interaction. For selection to occur, these three processes must be related in a very specific way. In particular, replication must alternate with environmental interaction so that any changes that occur in replication are passed on differentially because of environmental interaction. One of the main differences among the three sorts of selection that we investigate concerns the role of organisms. In traditional biological evolution, organisms play a central role with respect to environmental interaction. Although environmental interaction can occur at other levels of the organizational hierarchy, organisms are the primary focus of environmental interaction. In the functioning of the immune system, organisms function as containers. The interactions that result in selection of antibodies during a lifetime are between entities (antibodies and antigens) contained within the organism. Resulting changes in the immune system of one organism are not passed on to later organisms. Nor are changes in operant behavior resulting from behavioral selection passed on to later organisms. But operant behavior is not contained in the organism because most of the interactions that lead to differential replication include parts of the world outside the organism. Changes in the organism's nervous system are the effects of those interactions. The role of genes also varies in these three systems. Biological evolution is gene-based (i.e., genes are the primary replicators). Genes play very different roles in operant behavior and the immune system. However, in all three systems, iteration is central. All three selection processes are also incredibly wasteful and inefficient. They can generate complexity and novelty primarily because they are so wasteful and inefficient. Key Words: evolution; immunology; interaction; operant behavior; operant learning; replication; selection; variation. (shrink)
For a long time, several natural phenomena have been considered unproblematically selection processes in the same sense of “selection.” In our target article we dealt with three of these phenomena: gene-based selection in biological evolution, the reaction of the immune system to antigens, and operant learning. We characterize selection in terms of three processes (variation, replication, and environmental interaction) resulting in the evolution of lineages via differential replication. Our commentators were largely supportive with respect to variation and environmental interaction but (...) critical with respect to replication, in particular its appeal to information. With some reservations, our commentators think that our general analysis of selection may fit gene-based selection in biological evolution and the reaction of the immune system but not operant learning. If nothing else, this article shows that the notion of selection is not as straightforward as it may seem. (shrink)
Hull et al.'s analysis of operant behavior in terms of interaction and replication does not seem consistent with a genuine selection model. The putative replicators do not replicate, and the overall process is more reminiscent of directed mutation than of natural selection. General analogies between natural selection and operant reinforcement are too superficial to be of much scientific use.
Many analogies exist between the process of evolution by natural selection and of learning by reinforcement and punishment. A full extension of the evolutionary analogy to learning to include analogues of the fitness, genotype, development, environmental influences, and phenotype concepts makes possible a single theory of the learning process able to encompass all of the elementary procedures known to yield learning.
Activity anorexia illustrates selection of behavior at the biological, behavioral, and neural levels. Based on evolutionary history, food depletion increases the reinforcement value of physical activity that, in turn, decreases the reinforcement effectiveness of eating – resulting in activity anorexia. Neural opiates participate in the selection of physical activity during periods of food depletion.
The interaction of the organism with the environment requires not only reactive, but also active behavior which helps subject to meet the challenge of the uncertainty of the environment. A positive feedback between active behavior and immune system makes the selection process effective.
In their account of learning and behavior, the authors define an interactor as emitted behavior that operates on the environment, which excludes Pavlovian learning. A unified neural-network account of the operant-Pavlovian dichotomy favors interpreting neurons as interactors and synaptic efficacies as replicators. The latter interpretation implies that single-synapse change is inherently Lamarckian.
Seeking parallels among disciplines can have both risks and benefits. Finding parallels may be a vacuous exercise in categorization, generating no new insights. And pointing to analogous functions may cause us to treat them as homologous. Hull et al. have provided a basis for the generation of insights in different selectionist areas, without confusing analogy with homology.
Peer review is a widely accepted instrument for raising the quality of science. Peer review limits the enormous unstructured influx of information and the sheer amount of dubious data, which in its absence would plunge science into chaos. In particular, peer review offers the benefit of eliminating papers that suffer from poor craftsmanship or methodological shortcomings, especially in the experimental sciences. However, we believe that peer review is not always appropriate for the evaluation of controversial hypothetical science. We argue that (...) the process of peer review can be prone to bias towards ideas that affirm the prior convictions of reviewers and against innovation and radical new ideas. Innovative hypotheses are thus highly vulnerable to being “filtered out” or made to accord with conventional wisdom by the peer review process. Consequently, having introduced peer review, the Elsevier journal Medical Hypotheses may be unable to continue its tradition as a radical journal allowing discussion of improbable or unconventional ideas. Hence we conclude by asking the publisher to consider re-introducing the system of editorial review to Medical Hypotheses. (shrink)
An evolutionary model of human behavior should privilege emotions: essential, phylogenetically ancient behaviors that learning and decision making only subserve. Infants and non-mammals lack advanced cognitive powers but still survive. Decision making is only a means to emotional ends, which organize and prioritize behavior. The emotion of pride/shame, or dominance striving, bridges the social and biological sciences via internalization of cultural norms. (Published Online April 27 2007).
Schizophrenia may not have reduced reproductive success in ancestral times as much as it does today, so explaining how genes for it evolved is more understandable given this prehistoric perspective. Ethological analysis of schizophrenia – understanding how basic emotional behaviors, such as dominance striving, are affected by the condition – might prove useful for comprehending and treating its social emotional symptoms.
In this paper, the relationship between the e-value of a complex hypothesis, H, and those of its constituent elementary hypotheses, Hj, j = 1… k, is analyzed, in the independent setup. The e-value of a hypothesis H, ev, is a Bayesian epistemic, credibility or truth value defined under the Full Bayesian Significance Testing mathematical apparatus. The questions addressed concern the important issue of how the truth value of H, and the truth function of the corresponding FBST structure M, relate to (...) the truth values of its elementary constituents, Hj, and to the truth functions of their corresponding FBST structures Mj, respectively. (shrink)