Dr. Jeffrey Kripal Explores the Erotic in the Mystical & Religious |369|

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Dec 27, 2017.

  1. Mishelle

    Mishelle Member

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    Your seminars? Please do direct me these! You have a real name?! By all means, I care to hear it!
     
  2. Skeptiko001

    Skeptiko001 Member

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    Oh dear you’ve walked into a lions den. The name is John Ryan (Ryan middle after my uncle) or JR for short but actually the name doesn’t matter. What matters aside from my 4 Masters, fluency in 3 languages, running an international small but hardworking humanitarian team and a local 501c3 nonprofit in New England, aside from being dual board certified in emergency medicine and family primary care, yes, I do run public and security health seminars in Africa and Latin America in how to change local indigenous culture, when infringing on human rights.

    FMG, pediatric and OBGYN medical care, childhood vaccines, clean water, basic housing and genocide/ethnic cleansing which is alive and well in the third world, are all examples of “messing with someone else’s culture” which you think either can or should not be done, at least suggested in your last post. With all due respect, the difference is I walk the walk in disproving you on both accounts in why it should and how it can be done, and our ancestors have been doing cartwheels ever since. Cherry picking the uncommon or obviously grey examples doesn’t negate the brain dead culture-change topics we work on, and in some cases knock out of the park.

    On Skeptiko my goal isn’t to convert naysayers who may not agree with what my team does, after all my small team will working in faroff rural lands will always have more influence then you or anyone who may not support it because In these dangerous hellholes where you would not even have a shot of getting it given you have no local military or political contacts in dangerous third world areas off limits to the West, especially parts of East Africa. No, the goal is to invite those on Skeptiko who are able to gravitate to the larger future picture and give them Some tools of how to at least start doing what it is we’ve excelled at! If you wanna come to a seminar catch a plane to the coast of Somalia ;)

    Cheers
    John Ryan
     
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  3. Michael Patterson

    Michael Patterson New

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    I loved John's observation that "And the very worst part is these local indigenous leaders KNOW our bullshit politically correct culture and use it against us quite intelligently." One of our fundamental problems as a shared culture [in a local and global sense] is that our starting assumptions on what is good and right and true supposes an equality of capacity for moral awareness. In part we have accepted this proposition from a Christian standpoint. But how useful and real is it?

    For example, if we accept reincarnation as real, then people are born into this world with very different backgrounds and from very different times. So there are multiple influences upon psychological dispositions, further modified by actual life experiences [this is a nature, plus past nurture and present nurture kind of problem]. And if we also accommodate what Robert Monroe and others claim we have folk incarnating from all over the place - at least in this galaxy. If these notion are real then humanity is a vastly uneven expression of its potential at any given time, and the best we can say is that those committed to doing good are working in a complex and problematic environment in which simple interpretations of human nature will not deliver what is desired.

    Is this real or true? I don't know, but these ideas are as valid as any assumption we make about the moral capacity of humans. In saying I don't know I do have my opinions, but I can't defend them in open argument. The point is that we do not know, and we form opinions so that we can think about and discuss what concerns us - as well we should.

    I am a huge fan of William G. Gairdner's The Book of Absolutes. Gairdner wrote it as an antidote to what he saw as the creeping tide of relativism on campuses where he worked. Beyond that, neither in Buddhism nor Christianity, in their pristine messages, is there any proposition that doing what is right and good and true is anything more than a personal commitment. There is a vast difference between demanding another be true to themselves and demanding they be true to an imposed code of conduct - and yet there is a necessity that there is a shared minimal code of conduct in any community. But how we balance that notion of individual duty and communal duty in our shared lives is what we must discover.

    What is 'politically correct' is rarely a nuanced or pragmatic perception and tends to be a dogma to which adherence is expected because it's asserted good should be self-evident. But, as John observes, it is often a design flaw in an intervention that is exploit by people who do not give a fig
    for our rationalisations, and who want to define their own goods. It wastes money and often delivers outcomes that are the opposite of that intended.

    Politcal correctness is the opposite of authentic moral discourse that allows what is good to be agreed between participants in an intervention. That opposite sentiment restores the power of self-determination in a messy, uneven and complex human reality. It allows that any interaction is more than a doer/client interchange that is modelled on the priest/congregant formula that made Christianity strong. It is a failed formula. Political correctness admits no duty upon the devotee to be authentic or responsive to any consideration of individual or nuanced need. The old formula assumed some magical transformation happened when a priest was ordained. It didn't. But still the politically correct imagine that they are magically transformed, and morally uplifted, by the act of adopting their particular dogma. They are not.

    We really do need a new moral discourse. And it must be one that admits existential intimacy and authenticity between any parties engaged in a moral transaction. Kinda what Jesus would do if he were real.
     
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  4. Mishelle

    Mishelle Member

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    I'm not following you here, cartwheels for what? Which ancestors? I am fully prepared to be proven wrong on anything, would quite like it actually, that's why I'm here. It seems I've said something here to make you defensive and that was not my intention.

    Sounds like you have a lot of experience and I'd be interested to learn of your successes and how they were achieved. Your first post that we should all be doing something rather than just talking about it, then listing what should be done, sounds a lot like what I heard during my years in the Peace Corps. I was quite idealistic back then, to say the least. Perhaps I am growing cynical with age as the changes I see I participated in making were not what I'd have chosen had I realized what they would come to look like.

    If you are making a positive impact on folks' lives in 3rd world, more power to ya. But I imagine you've seen your fair share of unintended consequences, no? Would you care to share some of those?
     
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  5. Skeptiko001

    Skeptiko001 Member

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    Wow you knocked it the hell outta the park. This post should be on every college campus and handed to college students before even setting foot on campus.

    John










    QUOTE="Mike Patterson, post: 121223, member: 1286"]I loved John's observation that "And the very worst part is these local indigenous leaders KNOW our bullshit politically correct culture and use it against us quite intelligently." One of our fundamental problems as a shared culture [in a local and global sense] is that our starting assumptions on what is good and right and true supposes an equality of capacity for moral awareness. In part we have accepted this proposition from a Christian standpoint. But how useful and real is it?

    For example, if we accept reincarnation as real, then people are born into this world with very different backgrounds and from very different times. So there are multiple influences upon psychological dispositions, further modified by actual life experiences [this is a nature, plus past nurture and present nurture kind of problem]. And if we also accommodate what Robert Monroe and others claim we have folk incarnating from all over the place - at least in this galaxy. If these notion are real then humanity is a vastly uneven expression of its potential at any given time, and the best we can say is that those committed to doing good are working in a complex and problematic environment in which simple interpretations of human nature will not deliver what is desired.

    Is this real or true? I don't know, but these ideas are as valid as any assumption we make about the moral capacity of humans. In saying I don't know I do have my opinions, but I can't defend them in open argument. The point is that we do not know, and we form opinions so that we can think about and discuss what concerns us - as well we should.

    I am a huge fan of William G. Gairdner's The Book of Absolutes. Gairdner wrote it as an antidote to what he saw as the creeping tide of relativism on campuses where he worked. Beyond that, neither in Buddhism nor Christianity, in their pristine messages, is there any proposition that doing what is right and good and true is anything more than a personal commitment. There is a vast difference between demanding another be true to themselves and demanding they be true to an imposed code of conduct - and yet there is a necessity that there is a shared minimal code of conduct in any community. But how we balance that notion of individual duty and communal duty in our shared lives is what we must discover.

    What is 'politically correct' is rarely a nuanced or pragmatic perception and tends to be a dogma to which adherence is expected because it's asserted good should be self-evident. But, as John observes, it is often a design flaw in an intervention that is exploit by people who do not give a fig
    for our rationalisations, and who want to define their own goods. It wastes money and often delivers outcomes that are the opposite of that intended.

    Politcal correctness is the opposite of authentic moral discourse that allows what is good to be agreed between participants in an intervention. That opposite sentiment restores the power of self-determination in a messy, uneven and complex human reality. It allows that any interaction is more than a doer/client interchange that is modelled on the priest/congregant formula that made Christianity strong. It is a failed formula. Political correctness admits no duty upon the devotee to be authentic or responsive to any consideration of individual or nuanced need. The old formula assumed some magical transformation happened when a priest was ordained. It didn't. But still the politically correct imagine that they are magically transformed, and morally uplifted, by the act of adopting their particular dogma. They are not.

    We really do need a new moral discourse. And it must be one that admits existential intimacy and authenticity between any parties engaged in a moral transaction. Kinda what Jesus would do if he were real.[/QUOTE]
     
  6. Skeptiko001

    Skeptiko001 Member

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    Yes the intention was not to be fresh, just blunt. I’d rather pull people forward here because the parts that I know as truth are cultivated from years of my trials and tribulations in nitty gritty shit situations with lots of mistakes and unintended consequences starting out, like anyone. The worst of it was not knowing when to step over local bullshit damaging culture (again defined by earlier set of commonsense human rights aforementioned) but also the “art” of how to move past that sneakily or openly. Yes, sometimes it’s better to address an elephant in the room. Other times it’s “sneaky sneaky” to get the job done.

    At the end of the day we all shudder hearing “end justifies the means” but you have to remember in what context. There was plenty of showboating and bullshitting we had to do to get access to people we wanted to help and the golden rule is as long as no one innocent gets hurt along the way, then the ancestors are doing cartwheels. As in all past Spirits that both my Shamanic experience and logic and Hearing multiple spiritual leaders in third world areas, we all agree on one thing: it is likely the real hell is the one experienced by our Creator and spirits in the afterlife watching genocide after genocide, another FGM, another child sold into sex slavery, the list for destroyed human rights goes on. There’s a lot of problems on the world, but one can only posit the absolute shit they must have to identify with while they watch billionaires send themselves up in outer space for fun while Boko Haram has their way with 10year old girls. My little group won’t change all of it but we will “Machi“ it up as best we can to stop what we can

    JR








    QUOTE="Mishelle, post: 121225, member: 3966"]I'm not following you here, cartwheels for what? Which ancestors? I am fully prepared to be proven wrong on anything, would quite like it actually, that's why I'm here. It seems I've said something here to make you defensive and that was not my intention.

    Sounds like you have a lot of experience and I'd be interested to learn of your successes and how they were achieved. Your first post that we should all be doing something rather than just talking about it, then listing what should be done, sounds a lot like what I heard during my years in the Peace Corps. I was quite idealistic back then, to say the least. Perhaps I am growing cynical with age as the changes I see I participated in making were not what I'd have chosen had I realized what they would come to look like.

    If you are making a positive impact on folks' lives in 3rd world, more power to ya. But I imagine you've seen your fair share of unintended consequences, no? Would you care to share some of those?[/QUOTE]
     
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  7. Michael Patterson

    Michael Patterson New

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    I am not disparaging science or the scientific method. Rather I am concerned that science can be used as a weapon against research that bothers some folk because they know that methods applied to physical science don't work in what is essentially social science. An earlier Skeptiko guest, Henry Bauer wrote Science is Not What You Think. In it he provides a detailed critique of a number of popular notions about science, including the value of the peer review process. I am not saying that what Bauer wrote is gospel, but it gels with other critical assessments of science. Rupert Sheldrake is another who has written critically on science. His book is called The Science Delusion in Australia and the UK, but the title is watered down in the USA.

    I am not suggesting we are uncritical of the works of Long and others. A sceptical approach is always best. I read Long's God and the Afterlife very carefully. I technically have two science degrees, but in Social Ecology (a Masters and Masters Honours), so I don't approach Long's work without some appreciation of rigorous research methodology. The problem is that if you know enough of the insider jargon you can call any study into question. If you look at Michael Cremo's work in Human Devolution you will further appreciate that stuff we think is settled science is nothing of the sort.

    My assessment of Long's work is also based on whether or not it fits with the general body of knowledge on human consciousness. Now this stuff isn't science. It is supposed not to be science because it is disreputable. But the fact is, and here we must go to Kripal's Authors of the Impossible among many others to find that 'science' refused to engage in non-material in inquiry back in the latter part of the 19th century, despite strenuous efforts. Alfred William Wallace, the co-founder of the Theory of Evolution was a devoted inquirer into the paranormal (Cremo, in Human Devolution covers his work extensively), as were many other notable thinkers of their day. But the materialistic mentality of orthodox 'science' won the day through ridicule and intimidation, and not argument.

    The Oxford English Dictionary's definition of science is instructive - "the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment". That's a decent condensed definition developed by experts on the English language. So what constitutes "the physical and natural world"? You can't include NDEs and refuse to study them or exclude them and object that the methods employed by those who do are not good science, or science at all. But that is precisely what a science community dominated and intimidated by materialists does.

    The word 'science' has a latin root meaning, in essence, knowledge. Materialist scientists don't get to dictate how we gain knowledge, though they try, by denigrating whatever throws up data and propositions that offends their creed. We could refine the Oxford definition to say science is "the intellectual and practical activity encompassing systematic study to gain knowledge of human reality through observation and experiment". That would still fit the definition of 'science', but liberates it into being a free human inquiry, rather than one defined and determined by the academy. It is similar to saying that Christianity does not own spirituality despite a determined and brutal effort to do so.

    Long's work stands, in my view, as valid and good science. It is systematic, disciplined, and in keeping with the knowledge in that field. It is nothing startling or astonishing. It confirms what is known and adds detail and colour. It is, I think, good solid and honest research.

    Rather than ask whether it should be peer reviewed we first must determine whether it can be. NDEs are not a widely accepted phenomenon, and the evidence is inescapably reports by experiencers. If you deny NDEs then reports by experiencers cut no ice. Nothing they say can be evidence. You can't take experiencer reports and make them conform to evidence rules for science. They are not shared and they are not repeatable. You could get a bunch of sociologists to review the work. They are more Long's peers here than folk with medical degrees.

    As humans we do not depend on others to confirm every aspect of our reality, though it is often comforting when they do. But the fact is that the most potent transformative experiences we have are often when we are alone. Sometimes that's the only way we can have the experience. For example indigenous people may have an initiation rite that sends a young male off on a 'vision quest'. It has to be solitary. We have many unique and unrepeatable experiences that happen when we are alone. If we accept the standard definition of good science these experiences may never be studied and the study given any merit -because the 'rules' some folk invented to define science do not, and cannot, apply.

    Being sceptical means also being sceptical of claims made by 'science', and if Bauer and Sheldrake are worthy pointers, there's a lot to be wary of. Bauer made a vital observation. Science as we know it tends to study stuff that is stable and moves very slowly compared to what is. In the spectrum of human experience that's the easy stuff. Where, for example, is the science of Love - perhaps the most crucial experience we have as humans. Where is the science of justice or freedom? Why are the things that are most essential to us absent from science's agenda? Essentially because they are too complex and too hard. Science is not the arbiter of what is real, or good or true. It doesn't get to pass opinions on matters on which it has no actual knowledge, or which it dismisses without proper scientific inquiry.

    I don't want to seem dismissive of any concerns about the validity of NDE research. But some aspects of 'science' will compare apples with oranges when it suits, and then try to bully us into thinking that's a fair thing. It isn't and it should be called out when it happens. Otherwise science descends into a dogma and a faith.
     
  8. Alex

    Alex New

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    nice. kinda like, "am I willing to take the karma hit by messing with someone else's life?"
     
  9. Alex

    Alex New

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    good points. I like how you remind us that Long's findings are very much in line with a large body published NDE research.

    peer-review is clumsy... it's absolutely essential in fields where it's difficult to assemble a group of experts (i.e. peers), less so when everyone with a keyboard can and does take pot shots at published findings.

    what K9 is doing is a great example of this... this is the peer-review process at it's best... e.g. yr website seems to have a bias toward "light and love" accounts, how is this controlled for within the survey?
     
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  10. K9!

    K9! New

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    So is this your way of saying, "No, there isn't any peer reviewed material to look at."?
     
  11. LetsEat

    LetsEat Member

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    https://www.circinfo.org/USA_deaths.html
    Around 100 every year in the USA die and many suffer from gruesome botched circumcisions which can very significantly diminish the quality of life. Regardless, it seems quite absurd to compare acts that are equally morally abhorrent by their death toll rather than by their violations of human rights else we should be as outraged at deaths in the pool as deaths by other means.
     
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  12. Mishelle

    Mishelle Member

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    I don't think the question should be whether or not there are significant numbers of botched circumcisions to justify standing against a practice that is purely cultural and has no need or value to men. European boys are not circumcised, American boys are and there are no significant differences in quality of life, as far as I have heard or experienced, thanks to these practices.

    This entire FGM-hype is a way to get dirty hands into folks' bedrooms, and the wise Africans know this, and post it all over the web.
     
  13. Mishelle

    Mishelle Member

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    The big biz of circumcision:

     
  14. K9!

    K9! New

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    I have not gotten a response from Dr Long.
     
  15. Alex

    Alex New

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    thx for the update. I hope you continue to push forward.
     
  16. K9!

    K9! New

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    I don't know what more I can do if he doesn't respond to emails sent to the website address. I don't have his personal email. I'm not going to harass Dr Long. I suspect he just doesn't have the material I've asked for and doesn't want to talk about any concerns raised about his work.

    No one has come forward with any peer-reviewed material. I would think that Dr Long would have been quick to provide that sort of thing if it existed. Or it could have been linked to somewhere on his website. (If someone else finds it, please send me the link. I would like to read this stuff!)

    The Journal of Near-death Studies is a very sympathetic forum for NDE research that might not fit into mainstream medical journals, so it isn't a case of there being no place to publish this kind of work. Dr Long may not have felt his work was suitable for peer review, or maybe it didn't make the cut, but he's the only one who can answer such questions.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2018
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  17. Alex

    Alex New

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    I guess it all depends on how much you care about this particular issue and what yr willing to do. I hope you pursue it, but it's up to you.

    To yr credit you've already done more than most... a lot of folks like to gripe about stuff, but never take action... then again, as you know, taking action doesn't always lead to results. so again, I'm willing to do the Skeptiko thing once you get something interesting to talk about.
     
  18. K9!

    K9! New

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    You've been in contact with him in the past, so whatever email address you have is one that he responds to. Unless you share that address with me, what more can I do?

    For me personally, the lack of response suggests that my concerns about Dr Long's work are probably justified. There are researchers doing much more credible work, so that is where I'll place my time and attention.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2018
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  19. Skeptiko001

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    Wow you are too cute haha, “FMG hype” lol. The World Health, multiple medical agencies and every local African leader educated In the communities have railed FMG despite whatever they really think about male circumcision (which is also big business absolutely you’re correct and everyone knows that already about American baby boys). But to even think about comparing the two or honoring “indigenous culture” has every educated African leader laughing at you good and hard. The good news is you don’t need to agree with me or any of my fellow overseas workers that have direct connections, contact and positive influence over networks of local leaders, because at the end of the day you have no actual hard influence in these faroff areas. You’re just someone with an opinion on a practice that allows up to 1 in 6 African baby girls needlessly die in some villages, but at the end of the day it will be an educated medical/health ally guy like me that they do listen to so I wield the change. Aside from that, this is all nothing more than keyboard warrior talk.

    People may shudder at the thought of white foreigners “leading” the indigenous, but I get the free pass because I’m for the locals, their safety, their human rights and independence and my group knows how to let them take the credit. And help change the bullshit parts of their “culture” when it botches basic humans rights. FMG will be eradicated soon enough regardless of whatever liberals feel is politically correct or “who’s business” because they’re just keyboard warriors and don’t hold an ounce of actual influence or change my team creates over there!

    Alex may not agree on quite my level of intensity or tenacity but I can guarantee he gets the bullshit politically correct atmosphere that foreigners know how to use against the overly liberals here. Treat people how you want to be treated and in dealing with problems, my special message to anyone out there is when dealing with a specific problem or challenge, remember facts don’t care about your feelings!

    John R
     
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  20. Wormwood

    Wormwood Member

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    Try again. Dr Long did get back to me one time after I emailed him a couple of questions. Good luck!
     

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