Hi From Sojourner
#1
I am originally from Tamilnadu. After three years at IISc Bangalore, I have been spending the last 40 years in the US.

I was born a Brahmin and suffered all the discriminations against lower middle class Brahmins in the Tamilnadu of my time. My understanding is that this has not changed much, though opportunities in the IT industry seem to be caste free.

Growing up in South Madras [the lion's den :-)], I was also influenced by the views of Periyar. This is what made me an atheist.

The famous psychologist B.F.Skinner has been a very important influence in my life. I hope to write about him in these forums. He was an atheist. He has also won the Humanist of the Year award.

Click here to read an FAQ I wrote on atheism about 8 years ago. This requires serious editing but other than that I stand behind it 100% today.

Looking forward to enjoyable interactions here.
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#2
Hello Sojourner and welcome to the forums. We all hope to read your contributions to the threads here.
Welcome aboard and happy freethinking!
Flowers
Nick
"It's alright, I rarely meet anyone who's able to read it properly. Although personally, I never thought that it to be an odd of a name. Once I give people the pronunciation, they tend to remember my name by easily associating me with it. A unique face, a unique moniker."
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#3
Thanks for the welcome, nick87.

I found out about nirmukta yesterday. [chrumuri-> Premanand->Nirmukta] I am already pleasantly overwhelmed, especially when I read the Facebook page. This doesn't happen usually. Normally, I am the overwhelmee and not the overwhlemed :-)
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#4
(08-Aug-2011, 05:06 PM)sojourner Wrote: Thanks for the welcome, nick87.

Normally, I am the overwhelmee and not the overwhlemed :-)

that reminds me of a joke about the coffer (person who coughs) and the coffee! (the person being coughed on!) Lol
Glad to have you on here. I too am from Tamil Nadu and raised in a liberal Brahmin family, but was never comfortable of bearing the Brahmin Identity. I tore away from religion at a young age and have never looked back! It's good to see that we are not alone in a country that seems to be overwhelmingly religious and spiritual.
Cheers.
"It's alright, I rarely meet anyone who's able to read it properly. Although personally, I never thought that it to be an odd of a name. Once I give people the pronunciation, they tend to remember my name by easily associating me with it. A unique face, a unique moniker."
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#5
(08-Aug-2011, 05:13 PM)nick87 Wrote: that reminds me of a joke about the coffer (person who coughs) and the coffee! (the person being coughed on!)

I need to get ready and rush to work but not before taking the time to wish that much coffee gets into your coffers

Biggrin

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#6
Hello Sojourner, welcome to the forums Biggrin

I look forward to interacting with you here!
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#7
Thanks Ajita.
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#8
(08-Aug-2011, 06:03 AM)sojourner Wrote: The famous psychologist B.F.Skinner has been a very important influence in my life. I hope to write about him in these forums. He was an atheist. He has also won the Humanist of the Year award.

B F Skinner and also the trio of Lorenz, Tinbergen and von Frisch are are often cited in popular science books . Skinner's box and the pigeon's 'superstitious behaviors' are cited in Michael Shermer's 'The Believing Brain' and the 'fixed action patterns' of Tinbergen are cited in Robert Cialdini's 'Influence'.

However, Skinnerian (and Lorenzian) bizarrely don't seem to enjoy as much household familiarity as more outlandish and controversial Freudian and Jungian ideas. There are several reasons for this. Freud and Jung presented their results on neurosis, transference and so on through human case studies which laypersons could identify with. The neuro-ethological approach of Skinner and Lorenz was largely demonstrated in animal experiments*, and therefore perhaps the average reader could not immediately make the connections about the implications for humans, though these findings are more grounded scientifically than anything Freudian. Another reason could be the widespread contemporary appeal of 'holistic' treatments of the mind peddled by latter-day faith-healers and New Age Shamans, whose fawning admirers would dismiss Skinnerian ideas as 'too reductionistic'. Given this setting, articles on Skinner's work seem very well-suited addition to the discourse here.

*It's only after I started typing this that I viewed this documentary which reveals that ethical requirements of psychology experiments (which still remain a work in progress) were once left entirely to the discretion of the investigators who, alas, seem to have recognized few no-go zones. Sigh!

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#9
Quote:laypersons could identify with
Quote:the average reader

Please click here for a critique of one Skinner's major books. I quote some lines from this:

Traditional psychology carries the burden of basic assumptions that agree with folk psychology and, therefore, lend popular appeal to its theories. Needless to say, these assumptions also feature primitive ways of casting some important questions. For example, the assumption that “we” are minds “inside” bodies agrees with millennia of popular opinion, but it is neither a necessary nor a wise psychology.

Some reasons people don't like Skinner is because his ideas are counter-intuitive and challenge man's central place in the universe. They are also very difficult as most things in science.

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