Mod+ 244. RUSS BAKER, THE TAINT OF CONSPIRACY THEORIES

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by alex.tsakiris, May 6, 2014.

  1. Alex

    Alex New

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  2. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Alex's questions at the end of the podcast:

    What do you make of the connection between George Bush Jr. (and his proclamation of born again Christianity) and the cultural battle between science and religion?

    (Bearing in mind that Alex doesn't think GB actually is a born again Christian and appears to be using it to political advantage), what does that mean from the perspective of a conspiratorial worldview?
     
  3. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    What do you make of the connection between George Bush Jr. (and his proclamation of born again Christianity) and the cultural battle between science and religion?

    (Bearing in mind that Alex doesn't think GB actually is a born again Christian and appears to be using it to political advantage), what does that mean from the perspective of a conspiratorial worldview?

    I struggled a bit to interpret what Alex was driving at with these questions, and I also struggled with the podcast because I'm not an American. For whatever reason, whether or not there's any truth to conspiracy occurring in many claimed controversial events in the USA, it does seem to me that Americans are more prone than the peoples of other developed nations to positing and discussing conspiracy theories: it seems a kind of national pastime.

    Here in Europe, we all know that politicians are devious, partners in crime with rich and powerful interests of various kinds, and up to no good, so we don't believe anything they tell us any way. They do underhanded things and try to cover them up? Shock, horror--the pope is Catholic!

    There may be a historical basis for the leaning to the fascination with conspiracy theories in the USA. Europe has a much longer history, and its peoples have seen every kind of skulduggery documented for nearly two millennia, so they have become cynical. The USA was a new beginning, forged in idealism, where maybe people thought they would be able to shape a nation that was free of such things; and the discovery that it's no different in the New World is all the more disappointing.

    I don't sense that it's quite the same in Australia or Canada, which maintained links with their European roots via the British Empire/Commonwealth and of course, in Canada, links with France. Certainly, as a Brit, I sense more sympatico, particularly with the Aussies, than with Americans.

    You only have to watch American TV and films to see how fervent and sincere Americans can be about their constitution and the conviction that their country is the best nation on earth, when really, it's currently only the richest and most powerful nation and as prone to corruption as many other countries, not excluding my own (but at least getting hold of guns is much more difficult over here). At times, it's a bit embarrassing to behold: they can be so naive and ready to believe in principles that their ruling elites long ago abandoned. I can sense why they get so disappointed.

    I don't really have much interest in conspiracies. I suppose that bad behaviour of whatever kind is the antithesis of spirituality and so if George Bush did only declare himself a born again Christian for political gain, it shows he isn't very spiritual. However, Much more serious than that is the engaging in foreign wars that can, directly or indirectly, kill millions; and our own past prime minister, Tony Blair, also has blood on his hands despite his conversion to Catholicism and his ostensibly liberal world outlook. Whether that kind of thing is cynical conspiracy, or plain stupidity and culpable lack of empathy, it's hard to tell. Whichever it is, the result is the same: lots of people needlessly dying because of the arrogance of those in power. Plus ça change.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2014
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  4. chuck.drake

    chuck.drake Guest

    Always a fan of the taint. Conspiracy or no.
     
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  5. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I wasn't really expecting to enjoy this podcast - for the reasons Michael has discussed, but actually, I found it pretty good - particularly the bit about 9/11 and the Saudi family who were seemingly tipped off before the attack.

    Obviously it has relevance to ψ and UFO reports.

    David
     
  6. I don't know if I believe in conspiracies, but only because those controlling the world seem increasingly comfortable with acting openly. Whether it's selling of genetically modified seeds that leave farmers in 3rd world debt schemes or investment banks finding new ways to raid pensions, no one seems to be doing this stuff in the shadows.

    I wonder if the skeptical obsession with the paranormal is part of the general distraction that prevents real change from taking place. Fraud in psychic work could be fixed with licensing, pretty much ending scamming and to a degree delusion by instituting general standards. So really the scamming of victims by fake psychics can be laid at JREF's feet rather than that of proponents, since the former insist on flying the flag of a materialist envagelism.

    But by pushing for materialism as a path to a post-Singularity Promised Land, pseudoskeptics fight a pointless war while critical thinking about politics and finance would mean working on something real and genuinely helping the world.
     
  7. Alex

    Alex New

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    nicely captured... thx.
     
  8. Alex

    Alex New

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    ok, but I think this is backwards... "materialism as a path to a post-Singularity Promised Land" is the dominant paradigm... there is no serious intellectual/scientific argument against it... just a bunch of marginalized Christians/religious-types and ultra-tiny groups like us.

    look at Russ Baker... very smart guys who thought a lot about this stuff, but has absolutely no idea about how this relates to the big picture science/life questions.
     
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  9. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Glad you think so, Alex, but I'm still unsure as to the point of your questions and don't really know what kind of response you'd like. I sensed that Baker was also a bit nonplussed. Maybe you could spell it out differently?
     
  10. Alex

    Alex New

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    so, there's the culture war battle (I get that it's more here in the US than Europe, but also suspect it's not as different as most presume). this battle plays out with an imbedded contradiction:
    1. if you're smart/intellectual/rich/powerful you don't pay much attention to religious/spiritual stuff... or you're overtly Luciferian/hedonistic
    2. if you're a "good person" you have a religious/spiritual sensibility
    3. if you're a politician you are in category 1, but have to play lip service to religious ideas (and in the US you have to be outwardly religious) so that you will be accepted as a "good person"

    so, I was just exploring how this embedded lie plays out... I think the Bush family is a perfect example.
     
  11. Actually I think materialism of the no paranormal, no free will, no God type is really tiny. But they - in combination with the superstitious - made it so you can be spiritual but not explore topics like Psi or ghosts. (Even on a program like Closer to Truth they talk about God and mathematical structures residing in some Platonic Realm but when someone mentions Psi the host retreats.)

    The biggest problem is how they've infiltrated the sciences and philosophy, but thankfully neither has a huge hold on the general populace. So it's not a conspiracy so much as two tiny groups - proponents for paranormal research and skeptics who are adherents to the materialist faith.

    But it is sad the group dedicated to critical thinking wastes itself on evangelizing the religion of materialism, when it could be doing more useful things to stop corporate forces from further burying their claws into the populace.
     
  12. Sharon Rawlette

    Sharon Rawlette New

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    I have a further question: How does this idea of politicians' paying only lip service to religion/spirituality fit in with the idea that higher-ups in the government are privy to a lot of information about the reality of UFOs and psi? Do you think they have an entirely non-religious/non-spiritual take on those phenomena? Or do they have a kind of spirituality that they feel compelled to keep private because it doesn't fit into either of the poles of the atheism-Christianity battle?
     
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  13. Alex

    Alex New

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    Hi Sharon... I think we all struggle with this stuff. for example, the UFO reality is undeniable, but most of us don't like to think about it too much... I mean, where do you go with stuff like that?

    same goes for the atheism/christianity thing. do most atheists really think they are biological robots? of course not... but they don't see any good alternative. do most Christians think all that Bible stuff is true? again, no, but there generally really careful about digging to far into what they really believe.

    bottom line... we're all a bundle of contradictions :) we're all manipulators and manipulatees. people like W just take the game to a new level :)
     
  14. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Then you think about an animal behaviourist like Konrad Lorenz. I think it was he who observed a goose that had been frightened at a certain spot along a path. Forever afterwards, it used to take a detour around that spot when it came near it, even though there was no danger there at all.

    We can get brought up in a certain religion, and though we reject it, still feel queasy about saying or doing certain things, or have certain little rituals we perform in threatening circumstances: maybe we cross ourselves or invoke God or a saint. It's all BS, we may think, but still be unable to completely shake off the ritual. And what if it does turn out to be true? Maybe it's better to be safe than sorry...even Mafia types may still go to church for baptisms, marriages and funerals, and wear a cross on a necklace.

    Is GB truly a born again Christian? If not, is he completely cynical? Do hardcore atheists truly believe that they have no free will, may even not have a consciousness? If they really believed that, would they be as insistent that it's still possible to have moral values that are actually important, and still possible to experience the wonder of life and the universe?

    I agree that we can be a bundle of contradictions. We're all part sincere and part hypocritical. In GB's or Clinton's shoes, with their particular backgrounds, would we behave much differently? Nurture (aka indoctrination, overt or otherwise) is a powerful influence, and few if any of us completely escape it.
     
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  15. I think back to Pinchbeck at his Bwiti initiation, and how he felt that despite all his genetics, history and conditioning there was still a self within him capable of, as he put it, "endless transformation".

    But I think most people don't accept that, though taking a leap of faith and believing it might help them greatly.

    I also think the conditioning context infects how we see the spiritual. Benjamin Franklin wondered about that, how the exchange of prayer for blessing seemed so economical. You also have traditions that tie spirituality to wealth and/or good looks, or even just luck, but this seems to take aspects that should transcend the material and make them fall into basic transactions.

    This probably affects people more than they realize, so even a person who feels the presence of an entity they consider to be God might seek out power and the domination of others while rationalizing their concerns. I recall one priest who said religion's ability to so easily tie into our modern, corporate dominated world was a sign of its failure. The logical case for immaterialism is stronger than even most of the religious going on faith would probably realize, yet if the end result is still the same as the pessimistic bio-robot conclusion (materialist metaphysics -> consumer vampirism) one wonders about the power of the Numinous to effect change.
     
  16. Alex

    Alex New

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    wonderful! do you remember who this was?
     
  17. Matt²

    Matt² New

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    I haven't looked further in to Russ baker's research, but this interview was barely the tip of the iceberg. From my research and wondering through the esoteric world and various investigators, the Bush family has come up often and have played key roles in many conspiracies and appears to have far stranger involvement and connections.

    Beginning with Prescott Bush's and his Nazi connections, this will lead to the overarching occultism that many from the Nazi party were involved with. The Nazi connection alone has enough tangents to occupy weeks worth of study. But, since Alex mentioned Alister Crowley, which it has been alleged is very closely related to the Bush's, research will then inevitably cross paths with the MK ULTRA project and trauma based mind control. Once past this threshold and all of it's interrelated areas, the NLP meme ❝conspiracy theory❞, just does not convey the über high strangeness one will uncover and encounter.

    Alex...it would be a very interesting interview indeed, to discuss these subjects with Freeman Fly. Just a thought...
     
  18. soulatman

    soulatman Member

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    Just wanted to say great show. Interesting information I had never heard before, would have liked to hear more. I think Alex is spot on bringing up the world view issue in relation to the bigger picture and broader issues surrounding 'conspiracy theory', but I don't think Baker really got this, or had really understood Alex's assertion and its ramifications.
    Personally, I have given up with conspiracy theories, not because I think they are implausible; far from it, i think they "explain the data" far better than the official narratives in many instances. I have given up with them, because despite knowing their likely validity, and despite being outraged to the core of my soul, I feel i have no power to change things, and have ran out of energy to try and raise awareness, and stick my own neck on the line, and end up being labelled cooky.
    I now silently resign myself to the fact that eventually, karma or some kind of universal justice will eventually redress the balance, and those people responsible for some of the most heinous crimes in human history, will one day, somehow, have to answer in full for their clandestine and frankly evil misdeeds.
    Great show.
     
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  19. Alex

    Alex New

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    yea, there are a lot of paths to go down... and you haven't even added in the UFO stuff :) But most aren't interested in going very far. The point of my interview with Russ was to show that even if you stay with the "safe stuff"/"well established stuff" you may have to overhaul your worldview.
     
  20. Alex

    Alex New

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    thx. yea, that's why I love interviews like this... it reminds me what a big world of ideas we're in... hard to get everyone on the same page :)
     

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