Tuesday, January 20, 2009


i honestly never thought i could ever say these words and mean them, but today, after seeing Barack inaugurated, i can honestly say that i am proud to be an American.

God has indeed, blessed America.

Friday, January 09, 2009

by jove, I do think he is serious!!!

follow up post to same sociology list:

couple other ideas came to mind today after listening to a lecture on sustainability...seems to me that we need to be literate in areas outside of our traditional ones. areas that were once included in soc (early American soc), but have been neglected. these include evolution, biology, genetics, ecology; all of these have implications for sociology and sociologists. if we are not aware of the developments in these areas, then we cannot be great teachers, IMO. many of the non-social sciences are making claims about social behavior and social organization; they have more traction than we do because they come from a strong materialist-naturalist orientation. this is not going to change. this has been declared the century of the brain; we need to understand many of these topics much better than we do. in fact, i thought about writing a paper making a case that really what sociology should be interested in is how brains interact with each other; forget about selves or any of that other stuff.

i am sure someone will write such a paper someday; it would be nice for the discipline if it came from one of us rather than from a neuroscientist or a psychologist.
hmmm, do you think he is serious?

my post to a sociology list asking for what qualities constitute a great teacher:

specifically, for us professors of sociology, i would say a fundamental and consistent understanding of the sociological forces that result in us standing in front of a classroom of students on a regular basis. i would argue that if one is not intimately familiar with these forces, then s/he is not going to be a great sociological educator; i suspect that one could still be a great educator, however.

i would go so far as to say that we should be able to teach an entire course of sociology with us as the subject of discussion; starting and ending with how we come to stand in front of a group of students on a regular basis. It's all there...stratification, inequality, conformity, deviance, socialization, status, role, etc.

Monday, January 05, 2009

linguistic isolation

not necessarily a new thought, but the notion of different communities of people using different words (i.e., traditionally attributed to different ethnic groups) seems similar to genetic isolation. minority groups, historically, have remained fairly isolated behaviorally and it appears developed idiosyncratic ways of speaking (use of particular words that those outside of the group may not understand). due to a lack of inter-group interaction, these words remained within those groups and didn't spread to other groups (as in genetic isolation).

father down the behaviorological road toward enlightenment

desire-craving occurs when reinforcers such as compulsive thinking are denied, when those reinforcers are place on extinction. presumably, then, what occurs is allowance of the craving to occur without reinforcement -- craving is the behavior of seeking -- and due to classical conditioning principles, eventually, the craving will subside and calmness will arise.

of course, the time frame for all of this to happen is unknown. given that much of modern, industrialized life requires constant immersion in verbal communities and thinking, the opportunity for this particular craving to extinguish is remote. all it takes is one intermittent reinforcement and it persists. hence, the reason for isolation as in a monastery, ashram, etc.