Systematic Political Science


Pediatric Psychiatry and Its Use of Functional Behavioral Analysis/Autonomy To View Corporal Punishment Which Fosters X-Phi (Experimental Philosophy) and X- Φ

Dallas F. Bell, Jr.

1. Pediatric Psychiatry

Pediatrics (Gr. paid, child; iatrikos, treatment) is a branch of medicine dealing with the development, care, and diseases of children from prenatal existence to the end of adolescents. Psychiatry (Gr. psych, mind or soul; iatreia, art of healing [I Peter 3:20; Col. 4:14]) specializes in the study, treatment, and prevention of psychopathological disorders. Pediatric psychiatry, of course, would then involve the mental health treatment of children.

The pre-natal (L. natalis, to be born) period begins with the first day of conception called the first trimester. The sperm joins with the ovum or egg to form one cell of unique DNA. The 46 chromosomes (23 from each parent) have the complete genetic blueprint for this specific being from its sex to its eye color. The eternal soul of this new individual expresses self-will by suppressing the mother's immune system only within the implantation site in the uterus. The mother's body does not recognize the unborn baby as her self but will not destroy the new life and will respond to the baby's signals. At day 20, the foundations of the brain, spinal cord and nervous system are already established. The heart self starts to beat by day 21. Brain waves can be recorded by the 40th day. At week 13, the sex of the baby can be seen as its hair grows on its head.

Month 4 or the second trimester begins with the baby hearing its mother's voice and heartbeat as well as exterior sounds. By the 6th month the baby can survive being born. The Bible records John the Baptist leaping in his mother Elisabeth's womb at the 6th month (Luke 1:36-41). In the third trimester, the baby develops all the senses and is due for birth by the 9th month.

After the birth, the prenatal term ends and the newborn period begins and lasts from 0 to 1 month. The next stages of child development are the infant at 1 month to 1 year of age, the toddler at age 1 to 3 years, moral accountability (for healthy and average IQs or higher) of what is right and what is wrong with the ability to accept or reject God at 4 to 5 years of age, pre-hormonal moral autonomy from 6 to 12 years, and adolescent (L. adulescens, young or growing) is a hormonal pre-adult at 13 to around 20 plus years of age.

The latest MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) studies show the brain surges in development in the womb to around 18 months after birth. Then a second wave of development of neurons and extensions occur just prior to puberty (end of the prehormonal period). This event is possibly related to the influence of increasing sex hormones. Myelination is increased in the frontal cortex or frontal lobe which increases the understanding of consequences of action called executive function. Deborah Yurgelun-Todd, when in the Psychiatry Department at Harvard Medical School, has recently shown that adolescents do not recognize facial expression of fear and they exhibit high risk behavior possibly due to mature frontal lobes.

The frontal lobe is not considered fully matured until around 25 years of age which correlates with the onset of schizophrenia for poorly connected cells in the fore-brain that are also poorly myelinated. The general incomplete executive function for healthy individuals in this age group should affect policy concerning the behaviors of soldiers, education, voting, sports, gambling and alcohol use, teen pregnancy, etc. The upper age range of suicidal terrorists is 25 years old. However, caution is always advised when attributing widespread adult executive function to the complicated individualized maturing process. (This cautionary view held by Kathleen Berger, author and professor at City University of New York, was expressed in an email exchange with Dallas F. Bell Jr. in February, 2009.)

The frontal lobe contains most of the dopamine-sensitive neurons associated with reward, attention, long-term memory, planning, and desire. Damage to the frontal lobe can have a variety of results. A confabulation or gross memory error can occur where erroneous memories will seem to be real to the subject. Problem solving skills necessary for multitasking can be impaired, making holding a job or even shopping impossible. Paul Burgess, with the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University College London, has recently demonstrated that this deficit does not affect overall IQ.

The comprehensive assessment of frontal lobe injury is considered to be complex in diagnosis and treatment. For example, impairment of ability to act systematically etc. could be the effect of various disorders of cerebral functions. Successful treatment varies from person to person but basic executive and behavioral abilities can be improved. A restitutio ad integrum of all dysfunction would not realistically be expected to be the norm.

Traditional deficit and disease models in pediatric psychiatry have focused on the bio-chemical aspects of problematic behavior and left off the role of environment and freewill. This undermines a sense of personal responsibility for conduct and hinders treatment. Functional analysis of behavior attempts to look at all variables of problem behavior and is considered by many to be the most important tool for inductively predicting behavioral patterns. (The importance of functional behavioral analysis was expressed by Daniel Connor, author and Division Chief of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in the School of Medicine's Department of Psychiatry at the University of Connecticut, to Dallas F. Bell Jr. in an email exchange in January, 2009.)

2. Functional Behavioral Analysis and Functional Autonomy

The term of functional analysis was used by B. F. Skinner in 1953. Skinner referred to the empirical cause and effect relations between environment and behavior. Since that time functional analysis has come to describe a wide range of procedures. Function could convey the effect a behavior has on the environment or it could involve the relation between two variables in which one varies given the absence or presence of the other. Both uses of the term are considered relevant for functional behavioral analysis (FBA).

Early analysis of self-injurious behavior (SIB) suggested that SIB might be a product of reinforcement that differed across the spectrum of people with the behaviors. Later studies included empirical investigations of environmental influences that have aided the method of FBA. The effects of social-positive reinforcement on the SIB of children with autism and mental retardation were demonstrated.

In 1998, data suggested that destructive behavior occurred when caregivers issued requests that interfered with highly preferred behavior by "don't" or "do" commands. Subsequent analysis showed that destructive behavior was maintained by contingent termination of "don't" and "do" requests. This suggested that the termination of the "don't" and "do" requests allowed the child to return to a highly preferred activity and was thus positively reinforcing the behavior.

In 1999, a study of a preferred activity interrupted by a "don't" vs. "do" request evoked problem behavior. A "don't" request such as "don't lie on the floor" evoked problem behavior when a "do" request such as "sit in the chair" did not. This suggested that the type of request in addition to the context of the request may contribute to control problems in some children.

Gordon Willard Allport (1897-1967) drew a distinction between motive and drive. Allport's functional autonomy principle is the generalization that motives tend to become independent of their origins, e.g. a child may reluctantly eat carrots due to fear or love of parental reinforcement but as adults they may eat carrots because they like them and not to escape fear or garner the love of parents.

The Bible said thousands of years ago that when children are trained in the way that they should go that when they are old they will not depart from it (Prov. 22:6). In Part III of John Locke's (1632-1704) " Some Thoughts Concerning Education ," Locke wrote that if you want a child that grows up to be obedient that child must be trained very early. The righteous know what is acceptable but the mouth of the wicked speaks forwardness (Prov. 10:32). The righteous know what to say and how to act but the wicked say and do inappropriate things. The scope of the freewill of children, for their sakes and for society's sake, should address the reinforcement of punishment.

3. Corporal Punishment

Rational corporal punishment is described as the deliberate infliction of appropriate pain on children to simulate the consequences for violating natural laws (NL) for the future safety of the child and for society. Corporal punishment is the result of corrective (Heb. muwcar , chastisement or reproof or instruction or restraint) judgment and is redemptive (i.e. to redeem, to buy back, to free). This is a sign of protective love. In Augustine's " Confessions ," he asserted that punishment is necessary for a child to learn. Augustine deplored cruelty but said the pupil is inclined toward evil and must be physically restrained or punished when it is apparent that the evil inclinations are not subdued.

Parents (Gr. goneus, a parent; from the root ginomal , to cause to be) may use the tools of extended family, church and doctors to teach and heal their children. Neither businesses nor government has the proper prospective to assist with children. One family may raise the village idiot but a whole village of idiots will raise all village idiots. Meaning decentralized parenting allows for the needed aberration of genius which would be prevented by societal parenting.

Some brain functions in the prefrontal cortex seem experience expectant. Every normal human has requisite experiences to regulate emotion by mid-childhood. This is why an 8 or 10 year old child that has a temper tantrum is not seen as normal as it would be for a 2 year old child. Given effective parenting, training of the executive function is often observed in oldest siblings, combat soldiers etc. who demonstrate noticeably superior decision making when compared to their peers (all things being equal such as IQ etc.).

Biblically, parents are to protect, train, educate, correct and provide for their children. They are not to have favoritism, be indulgent, set bad examples or show anger toward their progeny. Children are dependent (Is. 49:15; I Thes. 2:7), unstable (Eph. 4:14) and are immature (I Cor. 13:11). Paul said when he was a child he spoke, understood and thought as a child but when he became a man he put away childish things. Children are God's gift (Gen. 33:5), are God's heritage (Ps. 127:3-5), and are a crown of age (Prov. 17:6). They imitate parents for good (I Kings 15:11) or for evil (I Kings 15:26), and are diverse (Gen. 25:27) and playful (Matt. 11:16-19). Children can glorify God (Matt. 21:15-16), can come to Christ (Mark 10:13-16), can understand scripture (II Tim. 3:15), can believe (Matt. 18:6), can receive training (Eph. 6:4), and can worship in God's house (I Sam. 1:24, 28).

Section one of this paper showed that children lack experience and have immature executive brain function. This is why they are commanded to obey their parents (Ex. 20:12; Col. 3:20; Eph. 6:1-4). Unique death penalty circumstances for children's behavior to be executed by the government are disobedience, gluttony and drunkenness (Deut. 21:18-21), for unprovoked cursing of parents (Ex. 21:17; Lev. 20:9), and for unprovoked of hitting of parents (Ex. 21:15). Death penalty circumstances carried out by nature are for mocking men of God (II Kings 2:23-24), for mocking and disobeying parents (Prov. 30:17), and for incest (Lev. 20:11).

Children are to be chastened while there is still hope (Prov. 19:18). Sparing the rod is to hate the child (Prov. 13:24). Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child but the rod of correction will drive it out (Prov. 22:15). Correction is needed (Prov. 23:13-14), is a sign of sonship (Prov. 3:12), brings rest (Prov. 29:17), and can make happy (Job 5:17). To do otherwise is to teach children the lie that there are little or no consequences to violations of NL. To limit instruction to only reasoning with children wrongly teaches that all situations lead to peace, which in reality leads to slavery and death due to peace at any price behavior(s).

Abstract talking has less effect on immature executive function than non-abstract physical correction. Benjamin Spock (1903-1998) taught a generation of Americans not to punish their children. They became war cowards, drug users and sexual deviants. Prior to their generation, the most common behavioral problem in school was chewing gum in class. Their children, in schools today, commonly exhibit behaviors that range from rape to murder. They are simply behaving as taught by neglectful parents and the Darwinian evolution philosophy of government schools to be either predators or to be prey.

In 1983, a study was conducted to find children's response to unprovoked hitting and inappropriate talking in class. Hitting was much more likely to be judged as wrong than was talking in class. They reasoned that hitting hurts them while talking in class does not. Fyodor Dostoevsky showed in his 1866 novel titled " Crime and Punishment " how the young hero finds that NL is part of the human heart. Adam Smith's (1723-1790) " The Theory of Moral Sentiments " indicates that all people recognize and desire justice and natural jurisprudence should by part of societal law. Israel used that philosophy under Mosses' leadership around 1276 B. C. (Ex. 3-4)--Christian philosophy.

4. X-Phi (Experimental Philosophy) and X- Φ (Christian Philosophy)

Philosophy (Gr. philos, dear or friendly or love; sophia, wisdom) is to love wisdom (to apply knowledge skillfully). Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) in " Pensees " (Thoughts) said if we are simply material, we can know nothing and if we are mind and matter we cannot know things perfectly whether spiritual or corporeal. Almost all philosophers have confused ideas of things and speak of material things in spiritual terms, and of spiritual things in material terms. Today, general philosophy is a gossamer and has largely been declared bankrupt because its atheist members must avoid pragmatic NL that disproves their core beliefs.

The study of wisdom would include empirical data along with abstract concepts. Joshua Knobe, author and experimental philosophy professor presently at the University of North Carolina, is beginning to lead philosophy in a quantitative direction. In light of the facts that children do not blither (they recognize nouns and verbs at birth) and do not want to be lied to or stolen from or to be murdered as proven by NL from theologians etc., Knobe affirms that recent work shows that children seem to have extremely sophisticated moral judgments. He adds that this would be interesting to connect back to issues of theology and in a broader discussion in philosophy. (Joshua Knobe's statements were extracted from an email exchange with Dallas F. Bell Jr. in January, 2009.)

Knobe's balanced approach to his field is being called experimental philosophy which is sometime represented as x-phi (meaning x, experimental; phi, philosophy.) Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) philosophically compared units of measurement as either commensurable or incommensurable (e.g. liters are incommensurable to miles and minutes are commensurable to hours in a day etc.) Kepler used analogical reasoning to cognitively transfer information from a particular source subject to another target subject. This is an inference or argument from one thing to another unlike deduction, induction or abduction where at least one premise or conclusion is general.

Christian philosophy (chi, X, Christ; phi, Φ, philosophy) can be expressed as Χ - Φ and is the perfectly balanced fusion of philosophy and the theology of Christianity. Wisdom comes from the Spirit (Ex. 31:3), the Lord (Ex. 36:1, 2), God's law (Deut. 4:6), fear of the Lord (Prov. 9:10), and righteousness (Prov. 10:31). It is discreet (Gen. 41:33), a technical skill (Ex. 28:3), common sense (II Sam. 20:14-22), a mechanical skill (I Kings 7:14), understanding (Prov. 10:13, 33), military ability (Is. 10:13), and commercial industry (Ezek. 28:3-5).

Paul warned of the inherit problem with philosophy or the wrongful application of knowledge. He said that we are to beware lest any man spoil us through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world and not after Christ (Col. 2:8). The Epicure and Stoic's challenged Paul because he preached to them about the resurrection of Christ (Acts 17:18). Pascal said (ibid), "Which is it more difficult to be born or to rise again; that which has never been should be, or that which has been should be again?" (John 11:25-26; I Cor. 15:17-30)

The philosophy of the last days will witness scoffers walking after their own lust saying all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation (II Peter 3:3-4) until the Sar Shalom ( Prince of Peace ) returns. William Butler Yeats said, in his 1921 poem titled " The Second Coming ," the ceremony of the innocent is drowned. Johannes Brahms' (1833-1897) "Ein deutsches Requiem" ( The German Requiem ) text for Movement II says the Lord's word endureth evermore. This recognizes God's immutability. (Ps. 135:13)


Pediatric psychiatry uses FBA and functional autonomy to see the necessity of corporal punishment which effects philosophy. The highest philosophy is Christian philosophy or X-Φ. The greatest of which is the following salvation philosophy. If the holy God is judge of heaven and hell and who is good, then if we steal we are thieves, if we lie we are liars, if we lust we are adulterous, if we hate without cause we are murderers, if we take God's name in vain we are blasphemers. Therefore, we are all unholy and deserve hell unless we are saved by Jesus' death on the cross to make us good in God's eyes (John 3:16).

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