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Oak Ridge Forum on Religion and Science, March Mee
The next meeting of the Oak Ridge Forum on Religion and Science is scheduled for Thursday, March 24th, 2005, in the Sanctuary of the Grace Covenant Church at 100C Adams Lane, Oak Ridge. Dr. Neil Greenberg will discuss "Who the Hell Do You Think You Are!?: The Natural History of the Self"

The church is located in the middle of a low building just below the YWCA on the West Turnpike in Oak Ridge, only a long block west of the intersection of Hwy 62 with the Turnpike. You can easily get a map of this area from www.mapquest.com by typing the street address into the blanks.

A social session is planned for 11:00 am, followed by a buffet lunch at 11:30 am catered by the Soup Kitchen, and then by the following event:

Dr. Neil Greenberg will discuss "Who the Hell Do You Think You Are!?: The Natural History of the Self"

Are humans nothing more than a squirming mass of memories enveloped by an ego boundary? At some level, we seem to know that what we call matter, as the physicist David Bohm once observed, is just a ripple on the ocean of reality. But alongside our insignificance, we have the sentiment that we are large - that we "contain multitudes",as the poet Walt Whitman so famously said. The speaker examines how part of the resolution of this seeming paradox is that humans are part of one another. To be "a part of the main",as the poet John Donne put it, is among the hallmarks of the "mystical experience". To become one with the truth you seek is for many of us an extraordinary experience, and one that can, in part, be facilitated or enhanced by an understanding of the proximate (physiological) and ultimate (evolutionary) aspects of its natural history

Dr. Greenberg is Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UTK.

At birth my parents were informed that I was afflicted with congenital ambivalence. My family was assured that this was a self-limiting condition that was not (necessarily) life-threatening. Its principle cognitive expression, however, the need to connect apparently unconnected ideas, might often manifest itself at strikingly inconvenient times. The recommended remedial treatment at the time was gadget therapy and intensive education.

I began studies at Drew University as an English major and ended as a double major in zoology and art. So naturally I began graduate school at Rutgers University in psychology. I emerged a zoologist trained in reptile ecology, so naturally I began my post-doctoral work at the National Institute of Mental Health in neurology.

After five years in the Washington area, I joined the faculty at the University of Tennessee in Zoology and began research in endocrinology. My disciplinary authority issues from publications in neuroanatomy, behavioral neurobiology, neuroendocrinology, and the causes and consequences of stress-sensitive behavior.

While this array of research interests sounds like a chronic protean identity crisis, each step was the inevitable outcome of those that came before. Recent diagnostic procedures revealed that a single idea threaded through each discipline. Tugging this thread in recent years has led to further inevitable seizures of cognitive passion: describing and understanding the role of the biology of stress in our most basic needs (to cope with challenges to survival) as well as our most exalted needs (for aesthetic and spiritual experience). Often these concerns resolve into "science" and "humanities," intellectual domains with a long and tragic history of mutual alienation and other disputes attributable to sibling rivalry.

Making a virtue of necessity I have become involved in UTs University Studies Program, dedicated to fostering interdisciplinary faculty development. Within that Program I often teach an interdisciplinary course, "Art and Organism," about the biology of art and aesthetic experience

Spouses and friends are cordially invited. We will appreciate your sending the names and e-addresses of those who might be interested in attending.

The cost of lunch and incidentals for this event is $7.00 per person. We ask that you notify us by e-mail to rritchie16@comcast.net by Wednesday, March 23rd, with the number in your party that expect to attend. Alternatively a phone call to 483-8998 with this information will be appreciated.

Posted by pking
Mar. 15, 2005