Dr. Rupert Sheldrake Brings Science to Spiritual Practices |376|

Ooof! A brave man who separates the historic vibrancy of the forum from the presence of a few quality skeptics. ;)
I think the problem is that 'skeptics', or anybody for that matter, can try to pull a shared conversation down a particular line others don't want to go down. "Quality skeptics" have their place of course - if they exist. Sometimes they inject a note of disciplined doubt into a discussion that is riding on enthusiastic ignorance as others explore and think on their feet. Sometimes they lack the subtlety of thought to engage in conversation as opposed to delivering cemented POVs and expecting others to agree with them.

Theres a pretty simple reality about groups that applies here. Attempts to have discussions in a group beyond a certain size will fail because the conversation cannot be sustained in a way that satisfies most participants. Groups tend to be small - and because of that people will self-select in and out of groups until they find one whose 'vibe' is in harmony with them. And even then that may be the case only so long as a dominant atmosphere remains compatible.

It takes only one individual to render a forum unpalatable and drive others to go elsewhere. My experience has been that conversations are ruined by narcissists, dogmatists and bullies - and many of them have been proud to call themselves 'skeptics' - exhibiting an utter lack of understanding of what skepticism is - and giving it a bad name in the process. That's not to say there are not bona fide skeptics - just that real ones are not so common.

There are some folk who call themselves skeptics who are really only 'skeptical' about a few things, and even so they are not exactly skeptical in the philosophical sense. In essence they disagree, usually very firmly and often without any actual depth knowledge - not infrequently not actually getting the point of the discussion in the first place.

However now and then there are those who are well-informed and who disagree on very good grounds. They have quality arguments. From my experience such folk tend not to piss others off or kill conversations.

Its a hard thing to maintain a discussion among strangers in a way that assures mutual respect and patience - so people self selecting to stay or leave is no reflection on anything really. I am impressed that Skeptiko.com hosts and manages a decent community of people who vigorously participate in discussions - and I have no doubt that other forums are equally impressive.

And some conversations peter out .....................
back in 2007 I thought sheldrake was a genius and this was exactly the kind of deep understanding the world needed.

unfortunately, now, being far less gullible... this sounds exactly like the mk-ultra agenda...i.e the Fabian society trying to break down reality and cause psychosis. SHeldrake comes from the same background as all the fabians from the mid 20th century....with the same message as bateson, watts. leary, mckenna, huxley et al.

yeah the crop circles is a dead giveaway.

I just can't see why you are so pissed off with this forum. There is no censorship of anything that you are remotely likely to write! You are free to post whatever you like, but others (including me) are equally free to disagree! Although the list of things that produce a ban has to be somewhat open-ended, here is a list of things that do provoke moderation:

1) Conversations that degenerate into name calling and excessive vulgarity.
2) People who try to post way too much and disrupts everyone else's discussion.
3) People who don't discuss so much as quote Biblical texts.
4) People who push a materialist agenda without any reasoned discussion.
5) No discussion favourable to the sexual exploitation of children is permitted.
6) The deliberate posting of total nonsense.
7) Blatant advertising of a product - usually with no relevance to this site.

Why do you say that? I've always believed the opposition between reductionism and religion is a false dichotomy invented by materialists as a scare story. Lets be clear, religion is not an appeal to logic, it requires belief, aka faith. Materialism holds belief as toxic to the progress of mankind, religion sees faith as desirable, even necessary.
Well I agree that it is a false dichotomy, but just as materialism has focused too hard on logic, I suppose I feel religion is in danger of not focussing on it at all. When I was a Christian, I felt you were only supposed to think logically within a smallish box, and a lot of tricky ideas were usually pushed under the carpet.
It's hard to see how an example of psi indicates God, much less organised religion. Bernardo thinks mind-at-large is responsible, Radin believes in a cloud of consciousness. Neither of these resemble a Christian deity, and both would be at pains to distance themselves from the concept. I've described this forum as post-materialist, and that may be responsible for our differences.
Well those various conceptions fit better with Buddhism, I agree, but I think that every piece of evidence that breaks free of the materialist view of the world, is a boost for religion in general, because a lot of people (myself included for a while) think materialism simply trumps all religious ideas.
. I'm satisfied the phenomena we describe as psi are real, and require no further evidence of the fact, but they don't inform my beliefs. Psi isn't my religion substitute and if it's yours I can see why my opinions would be a problem for you.
Well ψ informs me that the materialist onslaught on religion in its broadest sense is holed below the waterline. Just one indisputable ψ phenomenon achieves that.

Your opinions aren't a problem for me at all - I simply agree with some of them and disagree with others!

What spiritual practices are best?
Here's a new one I just discovered.

Do a few minutes of vigorous anaerobic exercises such as calisthenics (push-ups, pull-ups, squats, etc.), weight lifting, or sprinting before meditating. Anerobic exercise requires a lot of glucose to fuel it so in response the body releases stored sugar into the blood stream. I think what happens is that the rise if blood glucose causes insuln production which increases tryptophan uptake by the brain which increases serotonin levels. Regardless, I find that just a very few minutes makes a big difference in what happens during meditation.

In this new(ish) interview Sheldrake pretty much confirms @Jim_Smith 's idea that he wrote the latest book hoping people would come to an extended perspective on reality via the performance of spiritual practices. Sheldrake also mentioned Susan Blackmore (British sceptic/debunker) coming up to him at a conference and saying that her recent Ayahuasca experience had left her worried about the state of her materialist beliefs.....

Now I feel a little bad for calling the concept of the book boring.
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