Former psychic spy claims parapsychology is off course. Suffers from Stockholm Syndrome |296|

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Dec 8, 2015.

  1. Alex

    Alex New

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    Former military psychic spy claims parapsychology is off course. Suffers from Stockholm Syndrome. |296|
    by Alex Tsakiris | Dec 9 | Consciousness Science, Parapsychology

    Remote Viewer Dr. Paul Smith has concerns about the direction of parapsychology research. Also doubts 9/11 remote viewing.

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    photo by: David Webb

    A few years ago, when the kids were younger, they loved playing hide-and-seek in our backyard. Our version of the game was played at night. The finder was granted the use of a flashlight, but had to cover a fairly large area with many good hiding spots. My kids were darn good at hiding and I wasn’t very effective at finding them — except once! The game had started as usual, but for some reason (probably related to a Skeptiko interview I had done) I had the notion that I should try to psychicly remote view their location. As soon as the thought crossed my mind an image of my oldest son and daughter crouched underneath a wooden play flashed in my mind. Even though I had never had such an experience before, I felt quite sure about what I has seen and immediately ran there. I turned on the flashlight and there they were — exactly as I had seen them.

    While my brush with the remote viewing wouldn’t impress serious parapsychology researchers, or professional remote viewers like today’s guest Dr. Paul Smith, it defiantly left me with the sense that I had experienced something beyond what traditional science can explain. Today’s guest on Skeptiko explores how science is approaching strange phenomena like remote viewing and whether a tradition/reductionist scientific approach is likely to yield results:
     
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  2. K9!

    K9! New

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    Alex, you mentioned lack of forum participation in the show, but the link between the podcast page and the forum were not working when I just tried them. That may be having some effect on forum participation.
     
  3. Alex

    Alex New

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    forgot to refresh... works now. think rest are good, but let me know if you spot any broken links.
     
  4. K9!

    K9! New

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  5. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Alex's question at the end of the podcast:

    Is parapsychological research on the right track? Has it given in too much to materialist-reductionist, institutionalised science that demands we look for physical/neurological explanations for anomalous phenomena, and has that compromised its position? Are some people looking for answers under lamp posts when they actually lost their keys in a dark alley?
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2015
  6. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Alex, If you want to be sure that people are aware of the forum, maybe you could give the link to it in a more prominent way. For example, you could provide the link at the very top of every podcast page and display it in large, bold typeface. It could say something like: After listening to the podcast, why not visit the forum to discuss it? And right underneath that, you could display the "listen now" box. Then you'd know it was the first thing people saw and that they couldn't miss it.

    I'm wondering if two reasons people don't come here as much as they used to is: a). The old-timers have heard a lot of it before and are running out of things to say, and b). Newbies may feel a bit intimidated by the inside baseball that sometimes goes on in discussions. Maybe we could have a sub-forum exclusively for them, or something along those lines? Just a suggestion.
     
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  7. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I'd like to point out another small problem.

    When you bring up the SKEPTIKO main page, it is really easy to miss the fact that there is a new podcast waiting - particularly if someone has added a comment to one of the earlier podcast discussions.

    Wouldn't it be better to have some sort of banner on the main page that spells out the top item.

    David
     
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  8. Alex

    Alex New

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  9. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    K9,

    I think you should clear your browser cache before testing again. Then I think you should be a bit clearer - which page holds the link that isn't right.

    David
     
  10. K9!

    K9! New

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    You're right, David, the links are working now.
     
  11. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I found this a fascinating discussion - exactly the kind of subject that I think SKEPTIKO should focus on.

    It seems that Paul has extraordinary levels of experience of RV - his own and the work of others.

    His discussion of the way multiple RVers could converge on an explanation for various events - such as a plane disappearing - and the way the effect could be potentially messed up by telepathic overlays was fascinating. I think I felt like him, that 9/11 if so politicised, that there really might be telepathic overlays going on, and anyway, if the results can't be verified in some other way, they won't get the investigation any further.

    The discussion about viewing the moon made me wonder if anyone had tried remote viewing Pluto before the recent New Horizons fly by.

    David
     
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  12. Hurmanetar

    Hurmanetar New

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    Great interview! :)

    I'll forgive him for not being a 9/11 truther. I also don't place much weight on remote viewings that cannot be verified. It seems to me that the practical usefulness of RV (aside from exploring psy in general) is to gather some leads to be tested knowing that some leads will be off base due to noise or overlay or whatever. The RVs of 9/11 could provide some useful leads if there ever were a real investigation.

    I read one of Joe McMoneagle's books some time ago which was fascinating. I especially enjoyed the "just for fun" RVs done on Jesus and Cydonia and the Pyramids and primitive man and others. They give us fun food for thought but could be way off base. Some of his RV'd predictions for the future also seem to have been way off base.
     
  13. Ian Gordon

    Ian Gordon Ninshub Member

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    I haven't finished listening to this one, so maybe I'll have something to say at the end of it. But I agree that part of it is a), Michael. I also agree that the forum should be made much more visible on the website.
     
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  14. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I wonder if he feels as I do. I think ψ and politics simply don't mix, for several reasons:

    1) Nobody will believe anything an RVer says about the subject. The only way would be for an RVer to privately offer some hints to an investigator.

    2) As Paul kept saying, the best RV's happen when the person knows nothing about the event.

    3) If ESP overlays are a real phenomenon, RV is going to be unreliable.

    @Alex, I have always assumed that Building 7 collapsed because of all the stuff falling on it from the twin towers - remember, most of that stuff fell in a fairly small area. Is there a reason not to believe that scenario?

    David
     
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  15. lhl

    lhl Member

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    Oh boy! Where to begin?! WTC7's manner of falling is widely held within the 911 truth movement as the best evidence something is wrong with the official story. It has been discussed at length in the 911 thread in this forum. It's a complicated and technical matter with many claims and counter claims. So I think it would derail the this thread to discuss it here in great detail. But to briefly answer your concrete question I would stress the following two points:
    1. According to the official report by NIST on WTC7 falling debris played no role in significantly weakening the structure. It only served to get the fires started, which NIST claims were the sole cause of the collapse.
    2. There is eyewitness testimony of large explosions going off in WTC7 before the towers fell. (Google 'Barry Jennings' for details).
     
  16. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    OK - I am willing to believe that the US government is capable of such an evil act, but candidly it isn't that interesting to me - certainly not as potentially interesting as remote viewing!

    I guess I'm also suspicious that any one-off event can be meaningfully analysed in such detail. I mean people know how to extract information from plane crashes because there have been a fair few over the years. That doesn't stop a lot of opinions flying around, but are they really informed - I don't know.

    I think I will listen to the interview again, and comment more on the other content of the interview.

    David
     
  17. Alex

    Alex New

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    agreed. but the real story here is that Paul is making all these claims without having seen the published, unedited work they did. even the trailer shoots down much of what Paul is saying:
     
  18. SkepticRecruiterRecruiter

    SkepticRecruiterRecruiter New

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    Yes. The reason would be not wanting to sound like a retard.
     
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  19. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Alex,

    In view of your interesting spontaneous RV, t might be an interesting if you went on one of Paul's courses yourself! It the RV process works in real time, it should be possible to explore the accuracy of the whole process.

    David
     
  20. soulatman

    soulatman Member

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    I really enjoyed this show.

    Dr Smith seemed like a really nice and honest guy, and his experience with RV comes across as credible, authentic and very impressive. However, what also came across was that he clearly has a world view that he is comfortable with, and he doesn't want to look too hard for things which may fundamentally make his world view less comfortable. I believe the term is cognitive dissonance?

    What I mean by this is that around four years after the events of that fateful September morning in 2001, I started to become very interested in what happened after stumbling upon what I then thought was an absolutely crazy and disrespectful suggestion that what we thought we saw, and what we were told, did not in fact happen. I nearly left it there, and had I done so, that might have been it, but I didn't. I found there were tons of questions, and tons of inconsistencies. This was incredibly uncomfortable psychologically, and filled me full of emotions like anger, fear, paranoia, helplessness etc, and something in me broke.

    The reason I felt something break within me ultimately was that this new and undeniable information catapulted me from believing I lived in a world which although was full of unfairness and injustice, was largely governed and overseen by slightly ignorant, bumbling and greedy people, who were well meaning and humane with goals that were ultimately seeking to make the world a better and safer place, to the exact opposite - a world governed and overseen by insatiable and inhuman unfeeling monsters. Nobody wants to wake up in that world - and that is a real danger when one goes looking with too much interest into this particular topic.

    Believe it or not, what rescued me from living in that nightmarish reality was to some degree Skeptiko - because it opened the door once again for there to be the possibility (probability) that life is more than this dark bleak meaningless and heartless world we seem to live in, and it did so in a credible fashion by looking honestly and openly at data that until then I did not even know existed (because materialism dominates the mainstream information channels so completely).

    The reason I say all this is that in Dr Smith's case, I heard someone who on the one hand is refreshingly a person who understands and has experimentally and empirically verified that the mainstream version of reality (materialism) absolutely cannot be the case, but who conversely also seems to be a very conservative individual who suffers from biases and emotional reasoning (rather than logical and deductive) just like most of us do when faced with information which has the potential to change our world view, and just like materialist scientists do, and people who think as I used to about that September in 2001 even after being presented with overwhelming evidence against it.

    Cognitive dissonance is incredibly powerful in its effects, and is clearly in operation in all these because if we are to accept this new information, it means letting go of cherished assumptions and beliefs about who we are, where we are and what is going on.

    It was interesting how when Alex brought up Courtney Browns research, that without seeing it, Dr Smith immediately began to volunteer the possibility of experimental bias, poor methodology, Courtney's credentials being less established than his own, courtney having "strange" notions about what is going on, mars etc. This to me was very enlightening, because until now, I had just kind of assumed that once one makes the crossover from "Materialist" mind-set to another that is "non-materialist" in some way, that we somehow had outgrown a more confined way of thinking, and were less susceptible to the influence of cognitive dissonance and the resultant cherry picking of information to reinforce what were are comfortable with.

    This interview woke me up to the fact that we all still need to be on out toes, and that no matter how far we come, and how radical a change we may implement in our world view, we may still have deep cognitive bias that is protecting us from uncomfortable truths either by denying them outright, or by avoiding looking at them with any real effort. We are all still susceptible - (What ME? Never! I'm a Buddhist! LOL)

    However, he did make a good point about experimental verification, and falsifiability. I find myself agreeing that simple experiments which elegantly and simply show that accurate information is being obtained through non materialist means is the best way to verify that consciousness is not confined to a lump of meat, nor can be produced by a lump of meat. So for example, remote viewing a base on Mars really isn't going to give any of us a good foundation for believing that materialism cannot be the case, because we will probably not be finding the base with the mars rover any time soon so we can say wow, not only do we have martian neighbours, but materialism is dead! So I get that, and agree with that.

    Great interview. Lots thrown up. I really liked Dr Smith, but was very jarred by his quick need to undermine a colleague to keep his world view in tact, and guess he thought that Alex would share his view (as it is the mainstream view I guess), which is why he was so quick to say how it obviously couldn't be the case lol. Oh, also I liked the early part about Carl Popper setting the "falsifiability" criteria of the scientific method (which I happen to believe is an incredibly sharp and necessary contribution to the scientific method), and that physicalism doesn't need to abide by it. Great stuff.

    Trying also to get used to the new skeptiko jingles lol. I am used to the guitar riff, but I actually like the occasional change in musical intro.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2015
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