Monthly Archives: July 2011
Just like the hippie culture found a pill that conveniently removed the “inconvenience” of pregnancy, today’s hookup culture believes it has found a recipe for removing the inconvenience of emotion: friends with benefits.
Scientifically, though, that’s impossible. We know that thanks to what neuroscientists have learned about a walnut-sized mass in the brain called the deep limbic system.
The deep limbic system stores and classifies odor, music, symbols and memory. In other words, it’s a place for romance (my emphasis), capable of processing a splash of cologne on your lover’s neck, a particular iPod playlist or a bouquet of red roses.
The brain chemicals associated with romance and sex wash over the deep limbic system during a wide variety of sexual experiences, according to research from the Medical Institute for Sexual Health.
Holding hands, embracing, a gentle massage and, most powerfully, the act of sexual intercourse work together to create a cocktail of chemicals that records such experiences deep into the emotional center of your brain.
It’s why we remember sexual experiences and images so clearly.
One of the critical neurochemicals released during sex is dopamine. Dopamine makes you feel good; it creates a sense of peace and pleasure. Anytime your body experiences pleasure, whether it’s good for you (working out) or bad (doing crystal meth), the limbic system gets washed in dopamine.
In essence, it is a “craving” chemical. It makes you want more. It creates addiction. Dopamine attaches you emotionally to the source of pleasure.
Another critical sex hormone is oxytocin, the subject of recent books like “The Chemistry of Connection: How the Oxytocin Response Can Help You Find Trust, Intimacy and Love.” The chemical is released during sexual expression. A tiny dose is downloaded during intimate skin-to-skin contact; a much bigger dose is released during orgasm.
In fact, the only other time as much oxytocin is released as during orgasm is when a mother is breastfeeding her baby. The mother feels its release and is bonded to her child, and the baby’s brain learns for the first time to enter into relationship by connection. I’d say the chemical’s job is to bond us for life (my emphasis).
The knowledge of sexual bonding is nothing new.
I’ve had professors (who were trained in England/American institutions and obviously Evangelical) be very adamant about the veil being torn and therefore we have access to God in such a way we SHOULD say Yahweh. Then I have professors (secular and Evangelical) who’ve studying in Jerusalem and prefer adoni (LORD).
Again, there is the veil of the entrance into the holy of holies. Four pillars there are, the sign of the sacred tetrad of the ancient covenants. Further, the mystic name of four letters which was affixed to those alone to whom the adytum was accessible, is called Jave (Ίαουε), which is interpreted,Who is and shall be.The name of God, too, among the Greeks contains four letters. (Stromata 5.6).
Waltke writes of the matter:
“As an aside, let me explain why I uniquely, in a biblical theology, render God’s personal name- which is represented by the four Hebrew consonants YHWH- as “I AM,” not as “Jehovah,” “Yahweh” (as I did in my Genesis commentary) [n]or “LORD” (as I did in my Proverbs commentary). Providence has not preserved the vocalization of this tetragrammaton (“four letters”). Scribes, who in the Second Temple period preserved and transmitted the Scriptures, read the tetragramation as adoni. YHWH cannot be pronounced. That was the scribes’ intention but not the original author’s intention. “Jehovah” confounds the vowels of adoni with the four consonants. Yahweh, though the probable normalization, is nevertheless speculative. Moreover, it seems to demote the status of the living God to that of just another ancient Near Eastern deity, like Marduk of the Babylonains or Asshur of the Assyrians. This normalization alienates God from the modern reader- at least, so it seems to me.” (emphasis his)
Lately I've been writing about what I think is the direct trajectory of Synoptic interrelations by way of Mark > Matthew > [Marcion >] Luke. That is, that Q isn't necessary to explain the similarities between Matt and Luke; that Luke used Matt as a source (or used a source that used Matt as a source – some heretical Synoptic gospel a la Marcion) and not Q.
I posted an image of the relationship between the Synoptic gospels in one of those posts. There's one part that gives me pause about the whole hypothesis though: The 1% of overlap between Mark and Luke that is not shared in Matt. If what I had originally proposed was true, then Luke could have reconstructed Mark completely using only Matthew, but this is obviously incorrect. This 1% is a single pericope, the one where Jesus exorcises the demon from the synagogue in Capernaum. In Mark, it is Jesus' first demonstration of his
21 They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach.
22 The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.
23 Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out,
24 “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
25 “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!”
26 The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.
27 The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him.”
28 News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.
Similarly in Luke 4.31-37:
31 Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath began to teach the people.
32 They were amazed at his teaching, because his message had authority.
33 In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an evil spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice,
34 “Let us alone! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
35 “Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him.
36 All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What is this teaching? With authority and power he gives orders to evil spirits and they come out!”
37 And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.
So yeah. Luke has to be using Mark here since the wording is near identical. Especially the words that Jesus and the demon(s) speak; the words spoken in Mk 1.24-25 are nearly equivalent to the words spoken in Lk 4.34-35. The only difference is the word λεγων (saying) in Mark is replaced with εα (leave us alone or ha!) in Luke. What's also interesting is that Marcion's gospel also has the same exact spoken words as Luke, except that Marcion leaves out the vocative Nazarene (Ναζαρηνε) since it didn't make sense in Marcion's narrative that Jesus would be referred to as being from Nazareth (by this time, Nazarene had probably already lost its original meaning and was probably equated to one being from Nazareth) as soon as he had descended from the Father straight into Capernaum.
So it might be that Luke is indeed using Mark as a source as well as Matt and Little Marc.
This, as J. Tyson points out in Marcion and Luke-Acts, makes sense of the opening of Luke: That “many” (πολλοι) had composed narratives about the life of Jesus and he set out to write a better account. I can't see how only Mark and Q could be considered “many”. But Mark, Matt, Marcion, (and possibly a source that Marcion might have used; some sort of proto-Luke that looked a lot like Mark) would most certainly fit the logic of “many”. I also can't see how “many” could apply earlier than the existence of any supposed Christian heresies – prior to the 2nd century.
Muhammad Sven Kalisch, a Muslim convert and Germany's first professor of Islamic theology, fasts during the Muslim holy month, doesn't like to shake hands with Muslim women and has spent years studying Islamic scripture. Islam, he says, guides his life.So it came as something of a surprise when Prof. Kalisch announced the fruit of his theological research. His conclusion: The Prophet Muhammad probably never existed.[…]Prof. Kalisch, who insists he's still a Muslim, says he knew he would get in trouble but wanted to subject Islam to the same scrutiny as Christianity and Judaism. German scholars of the 19th century, he notes, were among the first to raise questions about the historical accuracy of the Bible.Many scholars of Islam question the accuracy of ancient sources on Muhammad's life. The earliest biography, of which no copies survive, dated from roughly a century after the generally accepted year of his death, 632, and is known only by references to it in much later texts. But only a few scholars have doubted Muhammad's existence. Most say his life is better documented than that of Jesus.
To [Prof. Kalisch], what matters isn't whether Muhammad actually lived but the philosophy presented in his name.
Absence of proof is not proof of absence. But absence of evidence is always evidence of absence. According to the probability calculus, if P(H|E) > P(H) (observing E would be evidence for hypothesis H), then P(H|~E) < P(H) (absence of E is evidence against H). The absence of an observation may be strong evidence or very weak evidence of absence, but it is always evidence.
The likelihood ratio for X, p(X|A)/p(X|~A), determines how much observing X slides the probability for A; the likelihood ratio is what says how strong X is as evidence. Well, in your theory A, you can predict X with probability 1, if you like; but you can't control the denominator of the likelihood ratio, p(X|~A) – there will always be some alternative theories that also predict X, and while we go with the simplest theory that fits the current evidence, you may someday encounter some evidence that an alternative theory predicts but your theory does not. That's the hidden gotcha that toppled Newton's theory of gravity. So there's a limit on how much mileage you can get from successful predictions; there's a limit on how high the likelihood ratio goes for confirmatory evidence.On the other hand, if you encounter some piece of evidence Y that is definitely not predicted by your theory, this is enormously strong evidence against your theory. If p(Y|A) is infinitesimal, then the likelihood ratio will also be infinitesimal. For example, if p(Y|A) is 0.0001%, and p(Y|~A) is 1%, then the likelihood ratio p(Y|A)/p(Y|~A) will be 1:10000. -40 decibels of evidence! Or flipping the likelihood ratio, if p(Y|A) is very small, then p(Y|~A)/p(Y|A) will be very large, meaning that observing Y greatly favors ~A over A. Falsification is much stronger than confirmation. This is a consequence of the earlier point that very strong evidence is not the product of a very high probability that A leads to X, but the product of a very low probability that not-A could have led to X. This is the precise Bayesian rule that underlies the heuristic value of Popper's falsificationism.
Cross-posted from comments on Exploring Our Matrix:
So, according to mainstream scholarship…
Accurate geographical details = Evidence for historicity.Absence of geographical details (e.g. Sepphoris) = more evidence of historicity, and it even tells us new facts about Jesus, e.g., that he deliberately avoided big cities.*Inaccurate historical details = no problem for historicity/no effect on the historicist model.