Mod+ 229. The 5 Things You Need to Know About Skeptiko

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by alex.tsakiris, Nov 12, 2013.

  1. Alex

    Alex New

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    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 22, 2015
  2. Steve

    Steve Member

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    Great.

    I've listened to the podcast and I'm with you.

    I am not among the brighter of your forum members Alex, but even I can tell when a horse is being flogged pointlessly ! Maybe less of the head and more of the heart ?
     
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  3. chuck.drake

    chuck.drake Guest

    I like the idea of the "next step." Of exploring the intersection of the liminal experiences. I see that as Skeptiko 2.0 in a way. And while I think it is kind that you have provided a swim lane on the new forum for those who still deny even the most basic experiences like telepathy or precognition, it should be made quite clear that that lane is the slow Skeptiko 1.0 lane.
     
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  4. cker

    cker New

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    YES! Thank you Alex… and great job pointing out in a consise and articulate manner (a nice summary of my book actually!) the ‘problem’. It is very important to bring these realities regarding ‘research’ to light…and how a worldview hung up on belief of ANY kind can paralize progress when people get ‘stuck on stupid’ (great term!: ) debates. It’s crucial that people consider that much of these SOS debates are designed to distract us and may have the intent of taking up air time while focusing attention away from the germain research regarding the question of “Who are we...wet computers or spirits having a human expereince?”


    Although Sam Parnia in the clip you played sounds logical and balanced, if you dig deeper as I did for my research you find he might just be a frienemy….sounds like we can trust him (think Obama) as an open-minded researcher fighting to support discovering the truth and yet .... As noted in my book: He stated in at least one interview that he expects the results of the AWARE study will show that NDE might be just an illusion saying, “If, on the other hand, it’s just an illusion, it’s a trick of the mind, which it may well be and I suspect it will turn out to be (emphasis mine), then we would expect no one to be able to see those pictures.” So beyond his bias was his support of his poorly designed study which depends on patients (who are having an NDE) just randomly discovering his hidden images. My response to this (which was backed up by Bruce Greyson who reported what NDE’ers mentioned to him about the design of the AWARE study): Who the hell is looking for random hidden images in a hospital OR when they are having an NDE? They are dealing with the shocking fact that they died… seeing loved ones freaking out and getting pulled to a white light!


    The AWARE study is one of the few studies to catch the world wide lame stream media’s attention and so again we have to question if there is a concerted effort to promote the work of those who appear to be doing honest research...in an attempt to build our confidence that non-materialist research is being done...when in fact it may not be at all.


    The bottom line is that curruption throughout our system is epidemic. There isn’t a day that goes by anymore that another huge grevious lie is uncovered and so we must understand… and thank you soooo much for stressing this on the show….the challenge is not to blindly trust but to dig deep to uncover those with agendas to keep the truth hidden or maintain control with their worldview intact.
     
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  5. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Hi Alex,

    That is a good reminder of how you got to your present position (I still think you should write a book about the whole experience!) and I realise you couldn't put too many clips into that talk, but maybe it would be worth adding one or two more on the website - such as the Wiseman/Sheldrake debate, or one of the many skeptics you have interviewed vs Dean Radin.

    David
     
  6. Arouet

    Arouet Member

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    This disrespects both the skeptics who are giving their honest opinions and the proponents who you presume are so dim and distractable as to be able to have multiple discussions at once.

    Personally I think most people are legit - trying to have interesting discussions. The great thing about a forum is that it is possible to have multiple discussions - multiple threads - at the same time. Sure there are trolls - as there are on any forum. It's the nature of the beast.
     
  7. Typoz

    Typoz Member

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    Well, if I recall correctly that's a pretty old quote, dating back to the UN conference in 2008. I think Parnia has had to be very pragmatic. He has his own personal views - which seem to change with time - but he also has to sell his research to those who would be prepared to fund it, and to those who would have to tolerate it taking place in their particular establishment. I think he of necessity had to very much avoid sticking his neck out too far in order to get the AWARE project airborne at all. The fact that it has continued beyond the initial three years illustrates what I'm coming to understand here, that this will have to be a slow, step-by-step process, each one building upon the last, rather than going all out from the outset and risk having no support, no backing, no project at all.
     
  8. chuck.drake

    chuck.drake Guest

    I don't see some of the members of this forum as having much of a place in the next phase discussions, the skeptiko 2.0 stuff. Those discussions about hashing out the statistics behind the ganzfeld, etc. are no longer intended to be the meat of this forum. The real discussion is well beyond does psi exist. The real discussion is: we know psi exists, we know there is a mystery, now what are the boundaries of the mystery? How do we describe the boundary of the mystery given recorded human experience. This is not about the lab. It is not about statistics. It is at the very core of what it means, not just to be human, but to exist as a conscious entity in the middle of this enormous mystery. If you are stuck on trying to prove psi exists, you are stuck in the other lane. Move aside.
     
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  9. cker

    cker New

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    I lost you sorry...I'm referring not to discussion boards and trolls. I'm speaking of major deceivers ... shadow elite controlling the system and the message who have their tentacles in every aspect of our world. Just this Sat. I spoke with a PhD in molecular biology (Harvard) who left the field because of the insane agenda of big pharma, which she could no longer be part of and maintain her integrity. Or how about this story "The Crash of 2016: The Plot to Destroy America" Thom Hartmann on Democracy Now ...today. Or read any of Chris Hedges work for a frightening summary of just how deep the corruption goes. Not to imagine this is part of NDE research is just naive.
     
  10. Jules

    Jules New

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    Montagnier left the West and had his research lab set up and funded by the Chinese in Shanghai. His reason for leaving? The intellectual imperialism of the West. Keep your eyes on China - the most interesting stuff will come out of there IMHO.
     
  11. Arouet

    Arouet Member

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    There's several lanes on this forum now. My point was that the skeptics here were never saying those kind of discussions as you are talking about here shouldn't happen.
     
  12. chuck.drake

    chuck.drake Guest

    Side note: Interesting video I looked up quick after your reference. I hadn't heard of Hartmann. Sometimes it is difficult given the limited amount of time available to take in information to balance between the outer world and the inner. It seems like you can't do everything.

    http://www.democracynow.org/2013/11/12/the_crash_of_2016_thom_hartmann
     
  13. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I think this is a bit short-sighted. The web is (I think - I haven't really looked) stuffed with New Age ψ websites of various sorts. They have very little influence on most people and are seen as vaguely crackpot. I would agree with you that arguing the statistics of the Ganzfeld experiment (over 30% hits when 25% are to be expected) is pretty futile, but the original principles of science are still relevant here, even if they get abused by people who should know better. I see the whole field of consciousness and ψ phenomena as being akin to the field of chemistry back in the days when it was called alchemy. People scoff at alchemy, but of course, it wasn't a-priori obvious that metals and other elements couldn't (by the methods of the day) be inter-converted - it came out of trial and error.

    Every religion has taken your questions, and answered them with chunks of dogma - which is useless. We really need the scientific method to try to separate what is make believe from what is true. Statistics used sensibly are very useful. For example, I find it interesting that approximately 1 in 5 people who are revived from a cardiac arrest, report some form of NDE. Somebody had to do research to come out with that result. There are also statistics that indicate that a small proportion of NDE's are very frightening, and that the people who suffer these phenomena don't seem to be special in any way - not particularly bad, or 'atheist' or whatever. That is interesting data to have, because without it, distressing NDE's might be blocked out of the picture, or someone could come along and say that only wicked/atheist people have distressing NDE's - which seems not to be the case.

    I think Skeptiko's strength is that it hosts a wide range of discussions - that it doesn't slip down the rabbit hole of some new dogma.

    David
     
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  14. chuck.drake

    chuck.drake Guest

    I'm not sure that the scientific method is applicable in all cases. It could be the case that in order to comprehend the meaning of certain experiences we need to transcend language and reason entirely. I know it is hard from some people to go that far.

    Clearly we will need to use reason as a tool for sorting and distinguishing. But we can't dismiss certain phenomena from consideration simply because we are unable to recreate something in a lab.

    I see this trip as involving the head and the heart. But anyone who still questions the reality of certain psi phenomena are not going to be of much use as a partner in such exploration. That's not meant to be a qualitative judgement against their character. It may be that it is simply not a road that they belong on at this point in their existence.
     
  15. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Well of course, science DOES study things that happen outside the lab, but just because establishment science seems to have got stuck up a blind alley (IMHO) doesn't mean the scientific method is useless here.

    Remember that different people are at different stages in their discovery. If Skeptiko dropped all discussion about the validity of ψ phenomena, it would lose lots of new readers just starting to question the orthodox approach. Also, I think there are 'New Age' types that seem to end up believing anything that comes along - we do need to keep a certain genuine skepticism.

    There certainly do seem to be experiences that transcend reason and language, and they obviously are very hard to deal with regardless!

    David
     
  16. chuck.drake

    chuck.drake Guest

    I'm in no way suggesting that we discard a true skeptical attitude.
     
  17. Alex

    Alex New

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    he's certainly hard to get a fix on... then again, he might just be masterfully turning the materialistic ocean-liner by playing it very close to the vest... let's hope :)
     
  18. Alex

    Alex New

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    I'd be down with writing a book as long as I didn't have to write it :)
     
  19. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    I think the scientific method is key; there's nothing wrong with it in principle. The trouble is, it isn't employed uniformly or even necessarily honestly. The basic idea is to examine the world and allow the information it gives us to be seriously considered. The issue is that at this point, the predilections of observers often cause them to make a judgement not to seriously consider it. We're all guilty of this, but part of scientific training that is under-emphasised is the capacity to be aware of one's own biases and not to allow them to cause rejection of data out of hand. One may not be able to avoid subjective bias, but one should, if one is to call oneself a scientist, or at least to claim a scientific approach, be able to recognise and acknowledge such bias and regardless, proceed with a truly open mind.

    IMO, the main philosophical position that promotes this is agnosticism: the acknowledgement that we do not know anything with certainty, and indeed, that idea is deeply embedded in the philosophy of science. The day we feel certain about something is the day we stop investigating it: the issue is closed, the science is settled, and anyone who questions it is an idiot, despite the fact that the only way science progresses is when some "idiot" does in fact question it and demonstrates that it's a misunderstanding.

    That's why I said in a recent post that science can never prove anything: it makes progress only by disproving prior misunderstandings, and everything is in some degree or manner misunderstood. On a good day, you'll get even the most biased person to accept this, but that's a very different matter to getting them to apply it in practice. It's not always because they are stupid or mendacious (though Ben Radford in Alex's clip appeared to be so), but because they haven't registered and acknowledged their own biases. Part of scientific training should be to develop scepticism in the truest sense of the word, with particular attention to being sceptical of oneself, ruthlessly identifying and taking steps to offset such bias.

    IMO, the scientific method, were it always applied like this, would be applicable in all cases, including the evaluation of the psi/spiritual experiences of self and others. It's just that most people find it very difficult to live in a world where there's absolutely nothing certain to hang on to. At a certain point in trying to exercise agnosticism, one finds oneself in a state of recognition of ignorance, of how inexplicable the world really is, and can accept that without being perturbed. Einstein said the most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible. On the contrary, I'd say the most comprehensible thing about the world is that it is incomprehensible, and the most amazing thing, that despite our always mistaken understanding, it's nonetheless possible to evolve and learn.

    I do question the reality of psi phenomena in the sense of knowing what they actually are. So, for example, I don't question that NDEs occur, and it's true I have ideas as to what they might represent, but I do question whether interpretations by myself and others of these/other experiences are correct. Sometimes when I read what people have to say about their experiences, I think they may be creating a narrative to explain them, and all narratives possess a degree of literalism that can effectively close off different avenues of enquiry. This is the counterpart of how some scientists try to squeeze the data into a preformed mould, as was illustrated by the one in the clip Alex played where the guy introduced the idea that below the cortical mantle, some brain activity was still occurring, as if that solved the problem of how the patient could see the colour of the suit a doctor was wearing.

    I guess I'm trying to say that, without being stuck on stupid, there's still a lot of scope for genuine discussion, and there are marked differences of opinion amongst proponents. It's this area of discussion that most interests me, and from time to time, discussions here on Skeptiko have caused me to revise my opinion. Since coming here, for example, I've changed my leaning from panpsychism to idealism (thanks to Bernardo Kastrup's contributions), and also revised my views on the issue of alien abductions, which at one time I more or less completely dismissed. It's vital, in my view, that we can have such discussions without the intervention of those who are "stuck on stupid". The new Mod+ category is helpful here, but I would like to see the possibility of members being able to raise threads in that category: it's not clear to me whether/how that could be done.
     
  20. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    The current podcast also raised in my mind a possibility that I'd like to float. Alex beautifully illustrated what he meant by being "stuck on stupid" by using extracts from past podcasts. It struck me that the podcasts are an under-exploited goldmine whereby a number of key issues/questions could be addressed. It's maybe something we could crowd-source. The steps might be something like this:

    1. Identify a list of key issues/questions.
    2. Identify podcasts where they are dealt with.
    3. embed relevant podcasts using media frames, e.g:



    (this would depend on the podcast being available on YouTube, which some are, but maybe not all: perhaps that could be addressed by Alex or crowd-sourced?)

    Accompanying the media frame would be an indication of which particular sections to listen to: e.g. "listen to 5:10-7:16 and 15:40-17:32" plus possible short commentary, e.g. "notice how Dr. Alexander says...thus implying that..."

    4. The result of the crowd-sourcing could be a dedicated forum where each thread would deal with a specific issue. This thread would be permanent and read-only, and a place to which people could be referred.

    To get to threads in 4., we would need to go through a preliminary phase of crowd-sourcing, perhaps one issue at a time, arriving at something that Alex could then C&P over to the read-only forum. As and when new information arose on future podcasts, contributors could suggest adding it into the existing resource in the appropriate place.

    Does that sound too ambitious, Alex? If people liked the idea and we crowd-sourced it, the amount of work for you could be minimised. We wouldn't need to rush: it could be an ongoing project that we as a group could spend a number of months on.
     
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