Mod+ 240. DR. DAVID LANE NOT SANDBAGGED — PATRICIA CHURCHLAND PART 2

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by alex.tsakiris, Mar 12, 2014.

  1. Alex

    Alex New

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  2. Ian Thompson

    Ian Thompson Member

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    At last, a sane skeptic!
     
  3. Good stuff. Was interesting to see him support the Ganzfield experiments. Shows he's open to having his mind changed. Be curious to see what he thinks of Krippner's work.

    One thing I'd note is if some proponents are "cheap sluts for the paranormal", then some skeptics are "cheap sluts" for the Singularity and its promise of conscious AIs and uploaded brains.
     
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  4. malf

    malf Member

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    I really enjoyed this interview. Thanks Alex.
     
  5. P.J.

    P.J. Member

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    Now I'm not going to listen to it. Forget it.

    I wonder what this "cheap sluts for the paranormal" thing is all about... Oh well.
     
  6. Ian Thompson

    Ian Thompson Member

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    Still worthwhile for you to listen to, PJ, despite some strange language used.
     
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  7. Matt²

    Matt² New

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    Great interview. One of the top most productive and level headed discussion I've listened to.
     
  8. billw

    billw New

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    Good interview. I would have asked him the details of his Xenoglossy experience.

    Cheers,
    Bill
     
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  9. Rod

    Rod Member

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    ALEX: You state at the end of your interview with Dr. David Lane that you would like to hear from listeners. You’ve hear from me before. You therefore know what it’s like to be contradicted when you have accepted some part of the conventional wisdom. You don’t think you have? You never acknowledged my comments on population growth which flew in the face of the conventional wisdom of the population explosion. You may think this is irrelevant –consider the mind-set this implies: arrogance. You know a lot about parapsychology (and a lot of other stuff) and have nothing to learn from critics of political economy or demographics, etc. Yes, I find it very arrogant of you not to reply or acknowledge something that contradicts you. And I’m seeing this in your interviewing manner –a great limitation, I think. You also never came back to me on my questions about the abduction phenomenon –an area Michael Persinger (also interviewed by you) has a similar line. To refresh your memory:

    “In connection with abduction phenomena I wrote:

    What seems to be at the essence of things and therefore worthy of study is how and why the military-industrial-intelligence complex is engaging in all this.

    Alex replied:

    I think that's a valid question... and might be the "essence of it", but I'm not sure we know that. The STE hypothesis would suggest that it is not the essence of it.

    You seem to be using one hypothesis to invalidate another. Please be a little clearer, if you can spare the time.”

    Yes, that’s not on, is it? I mean just stating (as world expert) that another hypothesis contradicts the one I am suggesting! I don’t know how much Persinger has pursued this but he would not be alone in thinking that military-intelligence may have a lot to do with the matter. And as you presumably wanted me to ask this question, I’ll oblige now: WHAT is the “STE hypothesis” –couldn’t find it anywhere. You seem to be using obscurantism to come out on top here, and simply end the thing before you get tripped up in all sorts of irrelevant debate –I’ve seen you doing this elsewhere, by the way.


    Finally, you’ve divided the world far too simplistically into materialists and non-materialists. Look, I spent years of my life in a dialectical-materialist formation, without really accepting many of the postulates handed down by its leadership about the historical record. People may be “materialist” about one question and “idealist” about another, even within the same discipline, and yet you stand there judging people for standing on the sidelines (just as the Marxist-Leninists would have done of non-believers in their philosophical code) and being agnostics. But you can be agnostic on one thing and not on another –again, even within the same discipline. It might be better not to use this labeling approach more than is absolutely necessary.


    I hope that next time I write I shall be able to be more positive about you because I learn things from you –but having spent a long time under teachers who hurt me I haven’t got much patience for more of them.
     
  10. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Alex's question at the end of the interview:

    What does it take for you (the listener, on a personal basis) to change your position?
     
  11. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    What does it take for you (the listener, on a personal basis) to change your position?

    Great interview: one I really enjoyed, but maybe more on that later if the forum manages to behave itself.

    Personally, I've rarely found that I have sudden conversions on the road to Damascus except perhaps in simple, readily verifiable matters of fact. What I tend to find is that one day I register that my position is, to some degree or other, different than it once was. For example, after my adolescent rejection of religion, nothing remarkable happened to switch me to being more open, if not to religion, at least to spirituality. I just sort of found myself gravitating more that way, and maybe to some extent that was due to the inevitable onset of life's ordinary realities and disappointments. As the invincible optimism and confidence of youth is increasingly dented, I think the cast of many people's minds gradually and naturally turns more reflective and philosophical. In my case, I rediscovered inbuilt curiosity about, and amazement at, the simple and inexplicable fact of being here as a sentient being: something that had engaged me as a very young boy before the educational system, coupled with religious indoctrination, had enforced a hiatus.

    In the end, what has changed my mind (almost always gradually) is the steady grind of experience. There have been a few "peak"-type experiences, but they have led more to retrospective confirmation than conversion. At no point have I ever been able to say to myself that I possess certainty. I'm still open to change should some compelling piece of evidence be uncovered. For instance, my current opinion is that Darwinism is a crock and can't explain how macroevolution has occurred: but should, for example, some new rock stratum be uncovered that shows incontrovertible gradualism in the development of new species, then I'd have to modify my opinion; likewise if neuroscientific study should uncover exactly how mind emerges from matter. But let's face it, one can't rely on the likelihood of such discoveries: science doesn't often (if ever) come up with black-and-white evidence of this kind. Indeed, much that is often quoted as such evidence, on closer examination, turns out to be much more tenuous than supposed.

    I mean, really, what could ever change one's mind about an opinion other than a stark and undeniable discovery of countervailing fact? Some people seem to fail to distinguish between fact and opinion: seem to think that opinion is fact, whichever side of an issue they might be on. Hence the most useful change of mind anyone so afflicted could have would be the discovery that there's very little certainty about anything whatsoever. Which, in the end, is true scepticism. The people most likely to be correct are those who know they know nothing for sure: but sadly, there's little comfort for many people in accepting that. It can be intolerable for many to face up to their own ignorance, and all their arguments against others are, in practice, designed to keep themselves convinced rather than to persuade those others to change their minds.

    I see science as being rather like a road which it can be useful to take at times, but which doesn't necessarily lead to the desired destination, nor take the most efficient and effective route. Look at how the historical scientific roadmap has developed, and you will see some roads led nowhere, some were temporarily blocked, some are currently wide open and apparently leading somewhere, some that have fallen into disuse are being rediscovered, rebuilt and extended, etc. The map is constantly being revised and updated, and yet in the end, we still don't know what the destination is. The moment we think we do know is when science ceases to be productive, so that we end up going nowhere or round in circles.
     
  12. gabriel

    gabriel New

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    One thing that was disappointing was David Lane's assertion that skepticism was a net good in challenging sloppy thinking. In theory that may be true, but popular skepticism embraces some of the sloppiest, myopic thinking it is possible to imagine. Like you Michael, at age sixteen I rejected the religious teaching I'd been fed from birth and had nothing to do with it for decades. Mostly this was because the model I'd been offered was didactic, unequivocal and taught by people who were not up to delivering the philosophical depth it encompassed in a meaningful way. I suspect those who reject that kindergarten religion seek to replace it with another paint-by-numbers version of reality, which results in the banalities of popular materialism.

    Skepticism has ceased to fulfil its role as a signpost to truth, and has become a self indulgent game. Permanent fence sitting seems to avoid the worst excesses of fundamentalist belief, but addresses none of the pressing moral dilemmas, or answers simple questions like why something rather than nothing. Outraged at the horrors of the human condition, we become permanently infantilised in scientific novelty, waiting for materialism to deliver the nice pill that takes away the nasty stuff. That's not an authentic reflection of the complex creatures we are, or the moral environment we inhabit.
     
  13. Robert Perry

    Robert Perry Member

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    I enjoyed the interview. I really like good-natured exchanges. I have been aware of David Lane's work since the 80s, when a friend of mine got into Eckankar. A few years back, after seeing a dialogue of his on synchronicity on Integral World, I tried to dialogue with him about my book Signs, which he agreed to but which didn't materialize (I should have followed up better).

    Here's what I wish for David Lane--that he went after the skeptics and materialists with the same zeal that we has gone after the guys in the spiritual field. I understand that he's peeked behind the curtain and has been disillusioned. Working in the spiritual field for the last thirty years, I have too. And I think his take-downs of Eckankar, John-Roger, and Sai Baba (not only a sleight of hand artist, but a pedophile) are extremely valuable.

    But reading his piece on the Skeptiko Churchland interview, I see that he curiously adopts the opposite stance of apologist for her, trying to put her in the best possible light. I listened to that interview, and it was one of the weirder interviews I have heard in my life. I was left wondering if she had had too much to drink. It was truly bizarre. No wonder it went somewhat viral, as Lane noted. However, if you just read Lane's piece, you come away thinking that she was simply a very articulate defender and clarifier of her intellectual positions.

    What I see with Lane is that, in spite of his obvious and serious attraction to the spiritual side, something has led him to tilt the whole playing field in the direction of materialism. As a result, spiritual frauds are meant to be skewered (rightly so), but that same unforgiving searchlight does not get shined on the materialist side. So with Churchland (and I'm not saying she's a fraud), he ends up, as I said, playing the role of apologist. And with NDEs, he says we should first exhaust materialist explanations before even entertaining spiritual ones. Now I don't know what has led him to tilt the playing field that way. Such things are complex and not even fully understood by the person themselves. But surely he's also peeked behind the curtain on the materialist side and seen things that could lead one to be disillusioned. Why does he give that side and its proponents a pass?

    I would have enjoyed hearing Alex explore that issue with David Lane. What led him to decide that materialism is the favored explanation, with a head start in any issue before we even look at the specifics? Why does he not go after the flaws on that side of the fence with the same zeal with which he has exposed the flaws of spiritual leaders?
     
  14. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    As usual, Gabriel, I enjoyed your highly articulate post, but I do hope you aren't classifying me as a fence-sitter? The way I see it, I have opinions that I defend, but I know that they actually are opinions and not incontrovertible facts. I have to remain open to evidence because I'm aware of my uncertainties, however passionate my leanings.
     
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  15. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    I too enjoyed the general good-naturedness of the interview, but to some extent don't think that was fully reflected in Lane's written piece. As you intimate, his stance is rather puzzling. Plainly, he's more reasonable than most sceptics. Still, he and Alex seem to have finished on good terms, and I don't see why there couldn't be some further exploration in another interview as to why it is that Lane comes down on the side of the fence that he does, though of course that's his prerogative. I do agree that he seemed very reluctant to see the strangeness in the Churchland interview, and the inadequacy of her responses. Reading only what he wrote, you'd barely be aware of that strangeness, which rather made my toes curl just listening to it.
     
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  16. gabriel

    gabriel New

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    In no way, Michael. I characterise the materialist position in that way, because while it appears to be evidence based, it is insatiable for evidence that can never satisfy it. Its endless deferral of any conclusion is not how human beings really are. We continually draw conclusions, some based on evidence, others on intuition and gut feeling, and the fear of those emotions, and their replacement by a philosophy of abstract matter, seems to be a position of denial of what it means to be human.
     
  17. chuck.drake

    chuck.drake Guest

  18. Saiko

    Saiko Member

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    Hmmm . where . .have I heard that before?. . . .Oh, yeah, I've been stating almost that for years. :D It doesn't so much "transcend" since that also places it as being generated by the brain. Consciousness is primary, matter is one of its expressions and " no materialistic explanation will be sufficient to explain it" That's all folks.
     
  19. Vortex

    Vortex Member

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    "STE" is spiritually transformative experience, I suppose: the hypothesis that the alien contacts are not literal, physical abductions by corporeal extraterrestrials on high-tech spaceships, but a classic spiritual intitation, which was undergone by innumerable shamans, mystics and magicians from the begginning of times. The one thing that changes in histrory is cultural lens through which such experience is seen by the person, the semiotic veil which keep in itself the underlying experiential message. The higher spiritual entities were once fairies, then angels, then extraterrestrials; the non-consensual reality into which the experiencer moved was once the Kingdom of Fairies, then Heaven, then Alien Spaceship. What we have here is still some entities from beyond, unimaginably more powerful and knowledgeable than men, who "abduct" people in order to perform the first steps of transformation of some person into higher entity like them: what first percieved by abductee as horrible kidnapping, later is likely to turn into ego-changing lesson of humanism and compassion, ecology and respect to nature, evolution and development etc. And the first shock of "kidnapping" is seen as a necessary eye-opener for the one whose mind was indoctrinated and locked.
     
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  20. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Thanks for the clarification, Gabriel.
     

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