Ed Opperman, Trump, Epstein, Why Beliefs Don’t Change

We must not be induced to surrender the standards and principles of fair inquiry and debate. And when invective and sentiment trumps argument and evidence we are lost. There is no point in either side insisting they are obedient to these values. I have surveyed both and neither are.


Do you think sitting on the fence in an ever so slightly superior way will bring any resolution Michael? I’ve tried the ‘spiritual, non ego road’ and it smelled a tiny bit off. I’d rather that we wore our hearts on our sleeves, it’s more honest. It’s where we are, or rather where I am, at least.
 
We are left the subject of guesswork by those motive motivated, and who have the power, to impose their versions of how things should be. When minorities prevail and tyrants dominate reality is closer to the autocratic fundamentalism than it is to western democracy. What we have at the moment is democracy is name only. The real power players are the string pulling minority who want their point of view to prevail.
At a practical level, I don't know anyone in my relationship circles in the U.S. that bemoans their life as being controlled/dominated/directed by some nefarious elite. Quite the contrary, most people I know consider themselves free people and are quite patriotic about the U.S.

I get that we like to talk about the evil elites on this forum as manipulating our every thought and action, but literally no one I know believes this and most certainly no one I know acts as if that is the case.

Is that true in a fundamentalist, autocratic Muslim ruled country? To some degree it may be. However, the sense I get is that a larger percentage of citizens in such a system actually do feel persecuted, controlled, etc. The antithesis of "free".

There's a clear difference to me.
 
At a practical level, I don't know anyone in my relationship circles in the U.S. that bemoans their life as being controlled/dominated/directed by some nefarious elite. Quite the contrary, most people I know consider themselves free people and are quite patriotic about the U.S.

I get that we like to talk about the evil elites on this forum as manipulating our every thought and action, but literally no one I know believes this and most certainly no one I know acts as if that is the case.

Is that true in a fundamentalist, autocratic Muslim ruled country? To some degree it may be. However, the sense I get is that a larger percentage of citizens in such a system actually do feel persecuted, controlled, etc. The antithesis of "free".

There's a clear difference to me.
Expressing the view is one thing. Providing it with the "respectable", "official" status is totally another.

In authoritarian societies, simple expressing of some views is forbidden by the elite circles.

In liberal ones, it is allowed... Yet all views are filtered by the elites, and ones that way disliked are defamed (as "conspiracy theory", "pseudoscience", "extremism" etc.) and are not allowed to enter "respectable" circles and sources.

So, authotarianism vs. liberalism is suppression vs. marginalisation.
 
Not just authoritarian societies.

It’s illegal or soon will be in many states of the US to support the BDS movement, Israel has the power to suppress the thinking of ordinary citizens in another country!

http://imemc.org/article/senators-sneak-amendment-to-make-israel-boycott-illegal/
Who said modern societies are fully liberal? They are partly authoritarian as well. Unfortunately, modern partly-liberal societies drift towards the ever-higher degree of authoritarianism, faster and faster so.

Maybe it is time for libertarian / anarchic societies to be tried?
 
Watching this WW1 series in the background at work today (it seems pretty good to me). Nothing has changed. Now it's the USA leading the way and doing what Rhodes, et al were doing at the turn of the previous century - including control of the media/turning it into propaganda - and for the same reasons; the ideology of cultural superiority/exceptionalism. The British and American intelligence agencies are almost as one. They still work very closely together and have sharing agreements.

But it's not a conspiracy! The "secret society" wasn't so secret. Everyone knew about it. It was just a foreign policy establishment like we have today, right down to being derived from the top schools, elites, etc.. The money grabbing (e.g. S. Africa) wasn't an end, it was a means. The end was (and is) world dominance by a culture that believes in its manifest destiny. Foreign policy, national defense strategies, intelligence gathering, etc. obviously must be conducted in at least some level of secrecy. All of it. Just because there's secrecy doesn't make it conspiracy. If it did, then the government, aside from some domestic issues and policy, would be one big conspiratorial enterprise. The British govt must have been largely on board with the foreign policy cabal. The level of cooperation from the various departments required to carry out something like the Boer War necessitates that.

Anyhow, what the video describes is exactly what we have today in the US. Same objective and same methods.
 
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In liberal ones, it is allowed... Yet all views are filtered by the elites, and ones that way disliked are defamed (as "conspiracy theory", "pseudoscience", "extremism" etc.) and are not allowed to enter "respectable" circles and sources.
I don't see that at all; at least in the U.S.

All sorts of things influence people in their environment: media, people of fame, academia, heck even this relatively new thing called "internet influencers". I see a wide dispersion in views from even these sources of influence. There certainly isn't any sense of a synergistic, elite-driven cogent agenda. Its more like noise. What you'd expect generally from a disparate free thinking society.
 
I don't see that at all; at least in the U.S.

All sorts of things influence people in their environment: media, people of fame, academia, heck even this relatively new thing called "internet influencers". I see a wide dispersion in views from even these sources of influence. There certainly isn't any sense of a synergistic, elite-driven cogent agenda. Its more like noise. What you'd expect generally from a disparate free thinking society.
?!!! :eek:

Eh... Try to publish something non-negative on parapsychology in a "respectable" mainstream source, or to represent it in a non-negative way within a "respectable" mainstream institution.

Or, if you really like it hard and harsh, try to do the same with 9/11 Truth.

If you're into extreme stuff, with the criticsm of some vaccines (even a very moderate one).

Good luck with that. You'll need it.
 
?!!! :eek:

Eh... Try to publish something non-negative on parapsychology in a "respectable" mainstream source, or to represent it in a non-negative way within a "respectable" mainstream institution.

Or, if you really like it hard and harsh, try to do the same with 9/11 Truth.

If you're into extreme stuff, with the criticsm of some vaccines (even a very moderate one).

Good luck with that. You'll need it.
What's your point? People do what you've suggested all the time; literally. Sure, the tribal/groupthink backlash may be there but that has nothing to do with an evil group of puppet masters controlling what people think. There's also the potential that some of the backlash is warranted as a lot of contra-mainstream stuff isn't very well supported by evidence.

The point is: the average, certainly middle class and up American doesn't walk around all day lamenting their lack of freedom and person volition. Quite the contrary, as most people I know tend to lament their inability to maximize aspects of their life with the freedoms and resources they do have.
 
What's your point? People do what you've suggested all the time; literally. Sure, the tribal/groupthink backlash may be there but that has nothing to do with an evil group of puppet masters controlling what people think. There's also the potential that some of the backlash is warranted as a lot of contra-mainstream stuff isn't very well supported by evidence.

The point is: the average, certainly middle class and up American doesn't walk around all day lamenting their lack of freedom and person volition. Quite the contrary, as most people I know tend to lament their inability to maximize aspects of their life with the freedoms and resources they do have.
The MSM narrative is broken. The media is on a desperate search to find the evidence that fits its narrative of socially approved – dare I say it Politically Correct – conspiracy theories, like “Sexism” the conspiracy of an entire gender to actively dominate another; or “Racism”, the similar conspiracy of an entire race to do the same to every other race. Example: Covington Kids witch hunt. This is fine if it fits the narrative of one’s own echo-chamber, and if one never comes into contact with other races, or with the poor or working class.

I enjoy Skeptiko and the Opperman Report because they aren’t afraid to present counter-mainstream views and refreshing alternate theories.
 
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What's your point? People do what you've suggested all the time; literally. Sure, the tribal/groupthink backlash may be there but that has nothing to do with an evil group of puppet masters controlling what people think. There's also the potential that some of the backlash is warranted as a lot of contra-mainstream stuff isn't very well supported by evidence.

The point is: the average, certainly middle class and up American doesn't walk around all day lamenting their lack of freedom and person volition. Quite the contrary, as most people I know tend to lament their inability to maximize aspects of their life with the freedoms and resources they do have.
Silence,
I like your outlook. Being new here, I'm wondering what the working definition of "conspiracy" tends to be for this group (if there is one).

We live in a big complicated world. No one person could possibly understand everything and much has to be done by small groups with specialized knowledge and access. That is even more the case when secrecy is necessary to prevent competitors or enemies from defeating the next move. Every ship has a captain. The captain cannot explain every decision to every deck swabber. Corporations are run by boards of directors. The board cannot explain in detail every decision that is made is to everyone down to the last copy room employee. Generals don't hold breifings with the enlisted men to share strategy and receive input about it. The tribal chieftain doesn't reveal all of his thinking to each and every Indian. Parents make decisions that are perhaps beyond the child's ability to understand and thus issue dictums like, "You're not allowed to play with Johnny" or "Be home before dark". Do we say the parent or the general is a "conspirator"? In all of these situations, the majority of those impacted get a general high level statement from the top crafted to what the underlings can understand. "There's a boogey man that will grab you if you stay out past dark". "Tomorrow we will land on the beach and free Europe", "Were maximizing profits by acquiring smaller competitors"....all else, like the detailed methods, is a conspiracy?

Are we saying that a conspiracy is any situation where the little guys or the outsiders/non-specialists/non-need to knows aren't given detailed information about everything that insiders are doing and thinking? If that's the case, then a lot of people here should accept that they are going to be perpetually disappointed with society.

It is natural that elites make the decisions. That is what most people want. Once upon a time one became elite because one demonstrated on was smarter, tougher, more courageous, more energetic, etc.. That is kind of watered down a bit these days, yet still, elites are, on average, heads above the average Joe in at least the intelligence department. IMO, we overestimate how smart the smart people are supposed to be and thus point to their blunders as evidence of their unworthiness. Yet we seriously underestimate how stupid even an average intelligence is and thus have unrealistic expectations about democracy. This all in light of the incredible complexity and capriciousness of the world we live in and try to control. Humans are incredibly flawed, limited and irrational. The top 2.5% just a little less so than everything to the left of them on the bell curve.

So yeah, most Americans in the middle class and up don't feel like they are being duped or controlled. They don't even think about that. They have their jobs, their families, their social lives, their hobbies and vices and that gives them a full enough life. They don't want the stress of figuring out how to deal with the Islamic State or famine in Africa or when to raise interet rates or any other of a myriad of big issues. They elected someone to do it. They watch local news to see what is happening in their own communities. Very few people, as a %, actually watch cable news for national/international issue coverage at home. They dedicate an hour a day, tops, to news intake of any sort. They just don't care. Not caring, how can they experience the angst of being victims of "conspiracies"?

As for the paranormal being the target of a conspiracy to keep serious reporting out of the news, I think that Is a sticky wicket. When it comes to mediums, psychics, UFOs, Bigfoot, what have you, the odds of encountering a fraud or delusional person is much higher than the odds of meeting up with the real deal and it's hard to know which is which because there is usually murky non-material evidence (if any). The media just doesn't have the time or resources to filter through all the stories that would come their way if they opened that door. And then there is material science as the dominant paradigm. Of course material science will fight back against "woo". As I have been saying, fighting is always over ideology. How material science fighting back is a conspiracy is beyond me. It sometimes appears to me that "conspiracy" = a giant whine that my ideology is losing - or -that I'm a smart guy but I didn't get invited to the party.
 
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Parents make decisions that are perhaps beyond the child's ability to understand and thus issue dictums like, "You're not allowed to play with Johnny" or "Be home before dark". Do we say the parent or the general is a "conspirator"?
In the case of parents their intent is usually the wellbeing of their children, (I think with the general it’s not so straightforward). That’s not the case with a conspirator, their intent is to deceive the victims, for their own nefarious reasons. They don’t care about people in general, they only care about their tribe or themselves. Conspiracies are everywhere!

I think some conspiracies are more easily defined than others, 9/11 was very likely a conspiracy imo, where with the vaccine question it is more difficult to say, but both are immediately seen by the mainstream as ‘topics which should not be questioned’! Maybe that’s a decent way of seeing if something is seen as being in the possible conspiracy set, ask a question about it on social media. If the responses quickly include ad hominem attacks then the chances are you’ve struck gold! A safe way to stay onside is to say something derogatory about people that ask such questions, an example might be “9/11 truthers just don’t get it, do they!”

It is natural that elites make the decisions.
Is it really? How is that working so far? This question could be the seed from which a thick book is written. I guess it’s simply natural selection at work. I will ask a few of my own questions in response to your statement:

What makes a person elite?
Is intelligence measured by a simple IQ test?
How much of America’s thinking is truly independent? (Not influenced by mainstream media.)
Do you care about life continuing on earth?

I am somewhat saddened but not really surprised at seeing how you think Eric. Fear is at the heart of this type of thinking, we are so propagandised to think about others in a fearful way.

It’s nobody and everybody’s fault. If the U.S. is an example of the elite running things, then God help us all. The Brits are just further along the path, on the downhill from where the US finds itself at present. What next depends possibly on God more than anything we can do for ourselves. (I’m not typically religious btw) I think we are on the brink of wiping ourselves out, but maybe it has to be this way, if we are to see the errors of our way.

Here’s something to think about, I’m more concerned about the nuclear thing than anything else:

 
As for the paranormal being the target of a conspiracy to keep serious reporting out of the news, I think that Is a sticky wicket. When it comes to mediums, psychics, UFOs, Bigfoot, what have you, the odds of encountering a fraud or delusional person is much higher than the odds of meeting up with the real deal and it's hard to know which is which because there is usually murky non-material evidence (if any). The media just doesn't have the time or resources to filter through all the stories that would come their way if they opened that door. And then there is material science as the dominant paradigm. Of course material science will fight back against "woo". As I have been saying, fighting is always over ideology. How material science fighting back is a conspiracy is beyond me. It sometimes appears to me that "conspiracy" = a giant whine that my ideology is losing - or -that I'm a smart guy but I didn't get invited to the party.
Eric! Sticky wicket!? Plainly you are a denizen of the now faded British Empire. I must say you have posted one of the more rational options I have encountered for ages.

I think the 'conspiracy' of materialistic science fighting back supposes a conscious act of denial 'the truth' - and hence a deliberate act of conspiracy. The alternative is an act of intent to defend what is really believed (no matter how impaired the process of formulating that belief might be). Does that act involve any deliberate distortion or misrepresentation of 'the truth'?

i think it is fair enough to say that some materialists engage in conduct that is deliberately political, involving dreadful reasoning in order to support their claims. But this is not uncommon when folk who are used to self-indulgent internal conversations are challenged by outsiders. They are not orientated toward objectively disciplined argument, so they talk crap that can be quickly discounted. But the same is precisely true of the believers who believe in woo.

The mistaken notion of the woo believers is that their positions are perfectly rational - but to insiders, not outsiders. I am a woo believer and I know that what I think and believe is preposterous and even dangerous nonsense to anybody who has no shared foundation to their 'knowledge'.

People are not natively open minded. We focus on what need need to know to survive, and maybe flourish. Beyond the rudiments of biological existence we enter the realm of profoundly subjective psychology - and in this case I mean that term in the original notion of psyche - soul.When birds of a psychological feather flock together they build a discourse that reinforces their shared theme. They misattribute rationality and call it reason. And suddenly what they believe is reasoned and what others believe is irrational.

We all do it. I do it. Its part of our psychological make up, and hence our cultural interaction. But we can know we do it and so act to not be as unconscious and stupid as others.

A conspiracy requires knowledge of wrong doing, and this is the fundamental problem with the whole 'conspiracy theory' meme. Not all acts of strategic self interest are conspiracies for the simple reason that the notion of wrong doing does not come up. That does not mean that such acts are not illegal or immoral. One of the things I have taken from the Mueller investigation is the idea of 'consciousness of guilt'. Some people who make be classed as psychopathic or sociopathic have no sense of guilt. We may think they conspire, but they do not.

When I go back to Dawkins and Hitchins there was more evidence of conceit and intellectual sloppiness than any sense of conspiracy. Both believed deeply and passionately in the rightness of their cause. I think they were flat out wrong, but nothing more. I told Hitchins, but he didn't bother replying.

So, in sum, error does not equal conspiracy.
 
People are not natively open minded. We focus on what need need to know to survive, and maybe flourish. Beyond the rudiments of biological existence we enter the realm of profoundly subjective psychology - and in this case I mean that term in the original notion of psyche - soul. When birds of a psychological feather flock together they build a discourse that reinforces their shared theme. They misattribute rationality and call it reason. And suddenly what they believe is reasoned and what others believe is irrational.

We all do it. I do it. Its part of our psychological make up, and hence our cultural interaction. But we can know we do it and so act to not be as unconscious and stupid as others.

So, in sum, error does not equal conspiracy.
Michael,
You get what I'm saying! What people are calling conspiracies I call business as usual.

I've been listening to some of the Opperman shows on youtube. I had never heard of him before Alex's interview.

So far I'm hearing;
1. I have no idea what I'm talking about or how the world works; so conspiracy!
2. I'm a con artist listen to this fun tale of mystery and intrigue I'm spinning
3. There must be meaning in life. Nothing happens by accident; so conspiracy!
3a. I'm "connecting dots" and don't get the that correlation doesn't equal causation and circumstantial evidence doesn't equal proof; so conspiracy!
4. I have the facts all wrong, so conspiracy!
5. The govt needs to tell me everything they do. There should be no classification of info. Since there is; conspiracy!
6. Everyone believes what I do (no matter how far out) and what I believe is obvious truth. If you're against it; conspiracy!

PS - I'm an American
 
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In the case of parents their intent is usually the wellbeing of their children.
The elites would say that you are like their children and they are doing things that are for your wellbeing. In most cases the elites would be right. Are you going to run the economy? Meet with world leaders? I don't mean that as an insult. Have you ever seen that movie, "A Few Good Men"? I like Col Jessup and his famous "You can't handle the truth" statement. IMO, he was the hero of the movie, although Hollywood wants us to see him as the villain. Jessup was a realist.

BTW, there are bad parents that abuse children. There are also parents that intend to direct and protect their children, but end up harming them in some way anyhow. The parents do what they *believe* is best for children. Sometimes it is not a good fit for the child. Just because there is a bad outcome doesn't mean it arose from bad intent. Sometimes a bad outcome is better than a worse outcome.


Is it really? How is that working so far? This question could be the seed from which a thick book is written. I guess it’s simply natural selection at work. I will ask a few of my own questions in response to your statement:

What makes a person elite?
Is intelligence measured by a simple IQ test?.
Well, graduating from an elite school is supposed to prove that one has successfully cultivated one's superior intelligence.

I am somewhat saddened but not really surprised at seeing how you think Eric. Fear is at the heart of this type of thinking, we are so propagandised to think about others in a fearful way.
I think it's working very well. We are enjoying unprecedented prosperity and freedom. Look at human history!

What fear? IMO cooking up conspiracy theories is a symptom of fear of a paranoid flavor. Also, what is wrong with fear? It's a natural human response to situations that can result in bodily harm, death or other significant loss. We evolved to have fear because it is very useful to survival.
 
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Conspiracy theories are not fundamentally different from any other theories - each of them should be assessed independently, by its own merit. They should not be all mixed together and evaluated as they were some whole, singular thing - which they are not.

Interestingly, there are two types of people who do mix them all together.

The first type are the members of the ruling elite and their supporters, who paint all conspiracy theories as equally nonsensical and thus not deserving of a careful examination and an open debate... with an exception to the mainstream, elite-approved conspiracy theories like the Russians' global plot to destroy Western democracy. According to them, Western elites never conspire... while non-Western, especially anti-Western, elites are doing it all the time.

The second type are the non-elite conspiracy fans, like Alex Jones and his ilk, who immediately believe any conspiracy accusation and thus form a worldview where everything is a conspiracy.

I, personally, may describe myself as a moderate conspiracist: after my own evaluation, I think that some conspiracy theories are true, even if many other are false. The best example of the conspiracy theory proven true is 9/11 Truth controlled demolition one - there is simply no way to avoid it after one has really studied the evidence (hard and solid) and argumentaion (sane and rational) that its proponents present. The only counter-argument left to its opponents is a social one: "the members of our elite circles simply couldn't done something as atrocious as that, it's too much!!!" Sorry, but evidence and logic point to them quite clearly. And, knowing how much blood is on their hands already, after all the wars of aggression initaited by them where the lives of both foreigners and Americans were sacrificed without any visible remorse or even hesitation, after many-lives-devastativing internal "police state" measures like "war on drugs", it is hardly unlikely that they will have something against killing a few thousands more. They have already killed tens and hundereds of thousands, if not millions; so, why not?

To lump it together with, for example, David Icke's convoulted and unsubstantiated reptilian / Illuminati erotic fantasies is plainly false, if not outright stupid, and a sign either of a gross misunderstanding or a deliberate propaganda attempt.
 
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Jessup was a realist.
Jessup was a nutcase.

The elite’s are often nutters too. In my work I used to see those that I considered good operators, sadly they were invariably quite well balanced, and didn’t want to climb the greasy ladder. That appears to be nature’s way.

Well, graduating from an elite school is supposed to prove that one has successfully cultivated one's superior intelligence.
Elite schools like Eton? Where putting your todger in a dead pigs mouth is part of the graduation process. Is that a sign of higher consciousness? Judge (sic) Cavanaugh would fit right in. You call it elite, I call it depressing. The so called elite are often far from straight A students, despite having every opportunity. They are basically self appointed, even if they appear not to be. See this video.


I think it's working very well. We are enjoying unprecedented prosperity and freedom
With apologies, your son has paid a heavy price. What does he think? You may be enjoying unprecedented prosperity and freedom, but you choose to ignore the price being paid for it by others. (Iraqi’s, Libyans, and many others including US citizens not as fortunate.)

What fear? IMO cooking up conspiracy theories is a symptom of fear of a paranoid flavor. Also, what is wrong with fear? It's a natural human response to situations that can result in bodily harm, death or other significant loss. We evolved to have fear because it is very useful to survival.
Just because you don’t choose to call situations ‘conspiracies’, doesn’t make it so.
No, we evolved to react to fear because of imminent danger, hopefully short term, not this permanent mental grinding down the media imposes on us. An hour a day is WAY too much. Fear is the opposite of love. Your worldview is very short of love imo.
 
Elite schools like Eton? Where putting your todger in a dead pigs mouth is part of the graduation process. Is that a sign of higher consciousness? Judge (sic) Cavanaugh would fit right in. You call it elite, I call it depressing. The so called elite are often far from straight A students, despite having every opportunity. They are basically self appointed, even if they appear not to be. See this video....

With apologies, your son has paid a heavy price. What does he think? You may be enjoying unprecedented prosperity and freedom, but you choose to ignore the price being paid for it by others. (Iraqi’s, Libyans, and many others including US citizens not as fortunate.)
My son thinks that the Afghans (and the Iraqis - he was there too) are stupid flunkies that are not salvageable. They will continue to live short brutish lives. He also thinks terrorists and the people that harbor them need to be killed. So does my daughter and son in law - and so do I. I don't think you have a clue as to how many enemies of the US and of western civilization are out there and formulating plots to attack us every day. Please spare me the "America as bad guy that created these people" argument. It's BS. Sometimes we try to work with these bastards and then they turn on us. That is stupid tactics, IMO. We should kill them wherever we find them without mercy. They will never change. Sorry if that offends your spiritual sensibilities. You get to enjoy pacifism b/c someone else is doing the dirty work and keeping you safe.

Your problem - and it's a common one - is that you're an idealist that thinks there is a possible utopia that would be led by wise spiritual philosophers (of course by your definition what of that looks like). You've convicted Kavanaugh based on flimsy testimony that has been shown to be full of holes. So another problem is that you bring incredible bias to the table that you cannot see within yourself.

I was born into an elite situation. I went to an exclusive school K-12 with names you'd recognize; the scions of captains of industry. I skipped the Ivy League thing because I didn't get a scholarship and my parents were divorcing and the money just wasn't there. We were barely able to afford the situation I was born into in the first place. Eventually, I burned bridges and left all of that for several years while a disillusioned, still relatively young, man. I too had fantasies about a more down to earth lifestyle and more down to earth people, a more spiritual existence and all of that jazz. I can tell you that there is no such thing. The working class is just as rife with perversion, lies, crime, general pettiness and everything else that is ugly about people. So are the gurus, new agers; all of them. Only they are less goal oriented, less intelligent, less organized and generally more simple minded. That is the human condition. The perfect that you seek doesn't exist. There is only the good enough. You are comparing what is to what will never be. You are going to be perpetually frustrated and that is not conducive to spiritual development. See Herman Hesse's Siddhartha.

As for 9/11 controlled demolition, If you believe that, I've got a bridge in Brooklyn I wanna sell ya. I'll give you a great deal! But seriously, that points to a huge problem with all these conspiracy theories. People who don't understand a subject matter listen to people who are on the fringe and, for whatever reason, are selling a pov. Everyone likes to be "in the know" and that eagerness causes them to buy into silliness. It's worse when they are predisposed to paranoia. People, IMO, are first and foremost story tellers. They care less about objective truth than they do about spinning a good yarn. That's before we factor in other motives. The only thing you can believe in these days, especially where the internet is concerned, is what you have deep experience with and what you see with your own eyes and ears in real life...and of course what you find deep within your own consciousness. And, what is true for you may not be true for me. You should consider that before calling people "nutcases". Different souls = different roles = different realities.
 
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(I have reposted the below response so that it is tied to Alex's original post at the top of this thread.)

So this is my first post here, though I have been tuning in to the many great youtube conversations for a while. Nothing was too surprising to me regarding Trump, and on that subject I have nothing to add beyond what others here have expressed. On Ed's Christian faith I have some thoughts.

Alex, I totally get why you challenge people who are critical thinkers in some areas yet happily drop into the faith mode in others, particularly things ethical and spiritual. It seemed pretty obvious to me that Ed has a need to just plain believe in something that can be left beyond rigorous investigation, like an anchor that keeps one moored while everything else is movable by wind and wave. I have observed that when this kind of dependance on faith looms large in a person's mind and life there is often a need to categorize some well know area(s) that others "believe in" as just not up to snuff, even when the supporting evidence is easily found, as with UFO and alien phenomena. Hence Ed's rather lazy justification of disbelief based on UFO personalities rather than research by actual, qualified experts. Really quite something as he said that, yeah, he had read all about it! So while it may not compute how the same person can be such a hard nosed investigator, faith based believer, and lazy skeptic all at the same time, it does make sense from a psychological standpoint. Personal history of course also plays a big role.

Anyway, what I find most interesting about this kind of epistemological compartmentalization, which I think we all must deal with in others AND ourselves, is why it happens. I think it begins early in our life. As thinking creatures we must piece together everything thing we "know" but that always really means what we think we know. As children we initially learn a lot of things by trial and error, pulling on this, pushing on that, arranging things by colors and shapes, tastes we like and don't like, etc. On that level what we "know" is pretty simple and well anchored, with nothing much resting on this level of knowledge beyond what's happening in the moment. But when we learn a language we begin to learn what others THINK about us and the world, and our emotions becme closely involved with meanings and choices.

It struck me years ago that an abstraction as seemingly straightforward as 1+1=2 involves an emotional component that registers it as true in ones mind. You can see this happening when teaching a child to count. At first they don't get it, then they associate the number 2 with the observed objects and the word "two," and fnally when they like and FEEL the experience it becomes true to them. It is the feeling that finalizes the knowledge. If the feeling of rightness does not follow an experience or explanation we may sometimes nod our heads due to pressure or lack of real interest, but we won't really believe the thing is true. Unfortunately, this natural estimation of things often gets beaten out of people, and literally beating people to disavow these kinds of core beliefs has been used to break them and lay he way for mind control. But in a normal mind in normal environments, 1+1+believing=2. Operationally, seeing is not just the passive registering of an experience, seeing is BELIEVING.

Pardon the preamble, but now I can go past the particular example of Opperman's beliefs and get at your question about skepticism and spirituality. First of all, I get your mission because it has personally been mine since I was a kid, and has led me to believe and then later disbelieve all manner of factoids and systems, political, economic, psychological, ufological, mythological, scientific, and on and on. At most times I wanted to know what was (in some sense) true, and relied on apparent facts, personal experiences, the ideas and expertise of others, reasoning to steer my inquries, AND anything ranging from subtle attractions to this idea or that, to whole sets of persuasive arguments accompanied by equally strong gut feelings. It all had to somehow hang together, withstand my skeptical approach, satisfy my feeling that there was more to know than most people cared to entertain, and that the results of this kind of quest would ultimately be good. Good in terms of better, more accurate knowledge, helping to make the world a better place for myself and others, and good in a moral and spiritual sense. Broadly and deeply GOOD.

Note that some things I did not (or want to) become skeptical about, as my philosophical studies and thinking ruled out knowingly commiting stupid fallacies, such as using reasoning to show that reasoning is unreasonable, or becoming skeptical about skepticism. (This lifetime is too short to waste time on word games once you become familiar with them.) So now, after 62 years on board and around 50 years of growing and continuous inquiry, many personal PSI and consciousness experiments and experiences, tons of reading and research on UFOs, esoteric beliefs, hard science, and on and on, I realize that it still comes down to the same internal things as they relate to the experienced world: cntinue to visit all the useful places that 1+1+believing=2 can take me, and similarly let curiosity+skepticism+experience=THE JOURNEY take me down a road that, at the very least, is not just a mindless trip on autopilot.

In fact, why knowingly go down any roads, side trips or big cosmic highways, on auto pilot? That is the feeling I got about Opperman when you queried him on Christianity and UFOs. How can one be so careful and commited to facts and reliable stories in one area and then just float in others? Like I said, some people need anchors that are beyond questioning, and at the same time things to disbelieve, thus providing a psycho-epistemological counterweight that demonstrates balance to themselves and others. However, for the skeptic who is also aware of life's spiritual component, I think skepticism is somehow both a mooring AND a directional guide. It is not an object of faith but a faithful ally in our objective to know what's really out there. It objects to all faiths while allowing all inquiries and experiences, for the entertaining all thoughts and possible realities, like a compass that does not point where to go, just where not to stay.

So yeah, I think skepticism is indispensible in all real journeys (even on regular road trips) and especially when it comes to the barely known, the uncharted, the bigger or stranger than imagined, and certainly in the quest to know what life and consciousness is about. Plopping down in comfy spots along the way is just as bad as refusing to look out the window because it may cause some cognitive dissonance! There is no reason to think that the truth about things spiritual will be a nice, familiar story, or that Trump can't be that bad, or that UFOs are real in just the ways we want them to be. Never stop, except when meditating.
 
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(I have reposted the below response so that it is tied to Alex's original post at the top of this thread.)

,,,,,Anyway, what I find most interesting about this kind of epistemological compartmentalization, which I think we all must deal with in others AND ourselves, is why it happens. I think it begins early in our life. As thinking creatures we must piece together everything thing we "know" but that always really means what we think we know. As children we initially learn a lot of things by trial and error, pulling on this, pushing on that, arranging things by colors and shapes, tastes we like and don't like, etc. On that level what we "know" is pretty simple and well anchored, with nothing much resting on this level of knowledge beyond what's happening in the moment. But when we learn a language we begin to learn what others THINK about us and the world, and our emotions becme closely involved with meanings and choices....
I like how you see beliefs and "knowledge" as part of systems. Aldous Huxley, upon experiencing his first dose of mescaline, observed that, while on the drug, if you start with a basic premise, you must follow it to its logical conclusion.(that's more or less a quote from memory). I think that is an important observation on Huxley's part b/c, IMO, psychedelics allow us to observe how we concoct reality. I also like how you add in the emotional component to the process of solidifying what you "know". I believe you are essentially correct. We create systems of "knowledge" based on our fundamental beliefs. The systems are self-reinforcing and internally consistent. The concept of cognitive dissonance avoidance enters here.

If you start with the basic premise that elites are out to get you (or use you mercilessly) and you feel disconnected from the power centers of society (the emotional component), then following to the logical conclusions causes you to believe that your own govt may have blown up the Twin Towers. That will "feel" right to you. Then you take that fundamental bias and filter through the "evidence" so as to confirm what you already "know".
 
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