Thursday, 3 May 2012

EMS: Altruism

in graduate school i had the good honor of studying with a number of genius scientists on the cutting edge of lots of cool things.  brent slife and richard williams had been professors in undergrad who i just couldn't let go of when i joined the clinical studies group.  drs. slife and williams did philosophical/theoretical psychology.  i loved it.  i still tell all my fellows/interns to get the "what's behind the research" book.

it was in dr. slife's personality theory class that 2 of my social work grad student buddies and i crashed of the 2 year clinical psych program mandatory curriculum.  i was shocked when we discussed altruism and a number of students said that they didn't believe that Christ's sacrifice, which they take literally as him bleeding from every poor for their sins AND being nailed to a cross ... i mean they can get real graphic about it, they argued that he did it so that he could be the king of the world.  punctuated that my choice to change from psychology to social work was a good one. (thank-you dr. burlingame and norman!)

dr. slife isn't mormon, he had tranferred from baylor.  i asked him why, he told me the students at BYU took school more seriously.  i was glad that he was as shocked as i was at these psych students.

i'm also grateful for scientists like Dr Randolph M. Nesse who helps those who are quite disconnected from their own divine nature can hear in very scientific and objectified terms how alturism is and always has been part of man.  it is who we are ...

any way, without further adeu:

Dr Randolph M. Nesse: Professor of Psychiatry, Professor of Psychology, and Research Professor at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. His work shows how runaway social selection can shape human capacities for altruism, empathy, and complex sociality that are otherwise difficult to explain.

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