Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search


marylandblue's Journal
marylandblue's Journal
June 3, 2018

Yale scientists have identified a possible neurobiological home for the spiritual experience

If spiritual experiences have a neurobiological basis, does that mean we will always have some form of religion with us? For purposes of this discussion, I'd like to point out that religion does not equal belief in gods. There are religions that don't have gods or where gods are minor elements. But all religions talk of spiritual experiences.

June 1, 2018
Yale University

Yale scientists have identified a possible neurobiological home for the spiritual experience -- the sense of connection to something greater than oneself.

Activity in the parietal cortex, an area of the brain involved in awareness of self and others as well as attention processing, seems to be a common element among individuals who have experienced a variety of spiritual experiences, according to a study published online May 29 in the journal Cerebral Cortex.

"Spiritual experiences are robust states that may have profound impacts on people's lives," said Marc Potenza, professor of psychiatry, of the Yale Child Study Center, and of neuroscience. "Understanding the neural bases of spiritual experiences may help us better understand their roles in resilience and recovery from mental health and addictive disorders."

Spiritual experiences can be religious in nature or not, such as feeling of oneness in nature or the absence of self during sporting events. Researchers at Yale and the Spirituality Mind Body Institute at Columbia University interviewed 27 young adults to gather information about past stressful and relaxing experiences as well as their spiritual experiences. The subjects then underwent fMRI scans while listening for the first time to recordings based on their personalized experiences. While individual spiritual experiences differed, researchers noted similar patterns of activity in the parietal cortex as the subjects imagined experiencing the events in the recordings.


June 3, 2018

Giuliani threatens to go to court if Mueller subpoenas Trump

Source: The Hill

Rudy Giuliani on Saturday threatened to take special counsel Robert Mueller to court if he attempts to issue a subpoena against President Trump.

"If Mueller tries to subpoena us, we're going to court," Giuliani said in an interview with ABC News. Giuliani, a former New York City mayor, joined Trump's legal team in April.

Giuliani’s warning arrived just hours after The New York Times revealed that Trump's lawyers sent Mueller a 20-page letter in January arguing that Trump couldn’t obstruct justice because he has unfettered authority over all federal investigations.

Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/390432-giuliani-threatens-to-go-to-court-if-mueller-subpoenas-trump

The constitutional crisis is coming.
May 21, 2018

Is this our moment in political time?

In his book, the Politics that Presidents Make, Stephen Skoworek outlnes an influential theory of presidential politics that postulates that presidents are made or broken based on their position in "political time" which defines what type of president he is and how successful. He looked at every presidential election since 1800 to develop this theory. He proposed 4 types of presidents:
1) Reconstructive - A president who creates a new political coalition in a regime that dominates the next few decades, ex. Roosevelt, Reagan.
2)Affiliated - A president from the reconstructive president's party who succesfully continues the regime, ex Truman, Johnson, Bush I, Bush II.
3) Preemptive - A president from the opposing party who opposes the regime with limited success - ex. Eisenhower, Clinton, Obama.
4) Dysjunctive - A president from the reconstructive president's party who comes late in the regime and unsuccessfully tries to continue the regime with modifications, ex. Hoover, Carter.

To see how this works, let's start with Carter. In 1976, Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and the Presidency. In theory, they held all the cards. Carter tried to continue the Roosevelt regime, bringing in new environmental regulations, but also went against it by cutting other regulations and trying to cut spending. He also unsuccessfully tried to enact healthcare and energy legislation. He didn't get along well with Congress He spent most of his first two years with underwater ratings and lost seats in Congress in 1978. He was unpopular in 1978 to 80, mishandling things like the energy crisis, a bad economy and the Iran crisis. Then, of course, he barely beat back a primary challenge from Ted Kennedy and then he lost to Reagan. Reagan won in a landslide, taking over the Senate and gaining 34 seats in the house. He went on to become a reconstructive president - creating the current Republican orthodoxy of tax cuts, free trade, amnesty for immigrants, deregulation and slashing the social safety net. We've operating under these assumptions ever since. We've all lived through all or most of this era, so I don't need to tell you about it.

Let's jump ahead to Trump. In theory, Republicans hold all the cards. But they are having a hard time holding to together. Trump is trying to break with Republican orthodoxy on immigration and free trade. He's had no legislative successes except (barely) for tax cuts. He doesn't get along with Congress. His ratings are underwater. He sounds like a dysjunctive president so far. If this theory holds, then there will in fact be a blue wave, he will face a primary challenge (several Repubs have already expressed interest in this) but a new fresh-faced Democrat will overcome a crowded field and win in a landslide with new ideas that will last a generation.

That's why I think the Blue Wave is real, despite Trump's rabid base and the supposedly safe red districts. If so, it won't Mueller or his crazy tweets that do Trump in. It will just be our moment in political time.


May 8, 2018

What is a belief system?

The term gets used here a lot, but I honestly don't know what it means. I've never used it prior to participating in the Religion Group here at DU. Some hypotheses I have about what it might mean are:
- a specific belief
- a random belief
- a group of related beliefs
- a group of unrelated beliefs
- a world view
- an ethical view
- a religious faith

There are probably other possibilities. All of them seem to fit some contexts but not others. Sometimes it seems assumed that everybody has one. Other times it seems more like it's recommended we should have one, and if we don't bad things might happen. Can anyone enlighten me?

May 2, 2018

Dr. Bornstein's medical notes that Trump doesn't want you to see

Mr. Trump has multiple severe medical conditions. He is spineless, gutless, brainless and his front and rear ends are interchangeable. There is apparently no cure for these conditions, however, despite these deficits, I have been able to keep him alive with a mixture of amphetamines, steroids and a diet limited to hockey puck hamburgers.

April 6, 2018

I agree it's exclusionary

I look it at like advertising. Ads are geared to a target demographic. Sometimes you see an ad you hate and wonder why they made it, but it could be you are just not the target demographic.

April 6, 2018

So I went over to Reverend Barber's website


And it is clearly trying to create a progressive version of the 1980s Moral Majority. They state "This Higher Ground Moral Declaration provides a moral agenda for our nation on issues including: democracy and voting rights; poverty and economic justice; workers’ rights; education; healthcare; environmental justice; immigrant rights and challenging xenophobia; criminal justice; LGBTQ rights; and war-mongering and the military."

All things that every progressive whether theist or not should support. But if you look at the bulleted list below the intro, each point provides a religious quote, usually from the Bible, and a secular argument. What they are calling "moral arguments" are really religious arguments. Furthermore, throughout the site, you can see the pictures, the wording, the leadership, the events are all clearly aimed at a religious audience.

So my questions are these:

For religious folks: Do you really think atheists would feel comfortable at events sponsored by these groups and using this sort of language? I am sure they won't turn an atheist away. But if they are not the target audience, wouldn't they rather go to a less overtly religious event?

For atheists/agnostics: Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Give that most people in America identify with a religious faith, and the right has successfully created a powerful rightwing religious movement, isn't it good that the religious left form a countermovement? It's a given you don't share their religious values, but if you share political values, can you work along side them?

My position is that this is a very good thing. Religion is still a powerful force in this country. Ceding religious politics to the right has brought us Donald Trump. But giving up on religious voters completely is not the answer. Surely some see the hypocrisy are looking for an alternative that speaks their language.

March 25, 2018

I will do my patriotic duty and offering my legal services to Trump

My qualifications include:
- I don't have a law license, so I don't have to worry about ethics.
-I can pretend to be a lawyer on TV and the Internet.
-I don't have any other clients to conflict with.
-I don't have a reputation to lose.
-My kid's terrible twos were really terrible and lasted four years.
-I charge much less than other lawyers (advance payment only).

So Mr. Trump, if you are reading DU please contact me through this website.

March 18, 2018

Do we have a Constitutional Infection?


Even amid the constitutional degradation of this moment... rejuvenating mechanisms are very much in evidence. On a daily basis, features of our democratic culture look more like antibodies fighting off an illness than like the rot before an inevitable collapse.

Journalists have been relentless and ferocious and effective in unmasking and reporting the truth—and news institutions have developed more committed readership as a result. A broad democratic coalition of citizens is mobilizing against Trumpism—most recently in a Pennsylvania congressional district believed to be so solidly Republican that Democrats let the incumbent run unopposed in recent elections. Other institutions, including the very FBI that Trump is assaulting, are knuckling down and doing their jobs in the face of pressure. This is not the stuff of a rotting democracy.

Trump can whine and he can fire senior FBI officials, but he has been singularly ineffective either in getting the bureau to investigate his political opponents (they have not yet “locked her up”) or in dropping the Russia investigation, which continues to his apparent endless frustration. If this is constitutional rot, it's inspiring a surge of public commitment to underlying democratic ideals—including the independence of law enforcement.

What we are seeing, in other words, is a little more dynamic than rot, a phrase that assumes we know the outcome. It’s more like constitutional infection or injury. The wound may indeed lead to a crisis; it may become gangrenous. But to describe the United States today as facing a constitutional crisis misses the frenetic pre-crisis activity of the antibodies fighting the bacteria, alongside the antibiotics the patient is taking.

We are definitely in a period of sustained constitutional infection. The question is whether we can collectively bring that infection under control before we face an acute crisis.
March 5, 2018

handwritten material is a routine request

So no surprise they would ask. But if it's a witness planning to cooperate, he will turn it over.

Profile Information

Member since: Tue Nov 8, 2016, 02:02 PM
Number of posts: 12,344

Journal Entries

Latest Discussions»marylandblue's Journal