Jason Louv, A Strange Mix of Scientism and Magick |385|

#41
Your medical technology point is too broad, penicillin is a very far cry from a 30+ vaccine schedule for infants. And science didn't really 'discover' anything there, I do believe they just isolated something already present in nature. That is not the case today, we've been artificially creating all kinds of nonsense with very adverse affects. And polio is one of the big propaganda pieces that first pushed vaccines on the population to begin with. Here's an interesting video that discusses a fuller version of the story and while I haven't vetted his sources they seem legit and as I've also spent many sad hours watching parents' stories on VaxxedTV on YT, I cannot just blindly applaud medical science/technology, especially with all the current craze around nano-tech in our foods and medicines which has not been tested or even openly debated in public, just pushed on us like cattle.
The debate about vaccines and Louv's foolish dismissal should be tempered by the reality of the US vaccine injury compensation fund (google it if you are not familiar with it). Here's this from the US Supreme Court

CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT

No. 09–152. Argued October 12, 2010—Decided February 22, 2011

The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 (NCVIA or Act) created a no-fault compensation program to stabilize a vaccine market adversely affected by an increase in vaccine-related tort litigation and to facilitate compensation to claimants who found pursuing legitimate vaccine-inflicted injuries too costly and difficult. (there's more and I will happily email the pdf I down loaded to anybody who wants to read it) (the bolding is mine)
 
#42
One of my laments on this forum was that we seem to be fighting battles that are already one and unable to move to the next stage of integrating the implications of those victories. It is very hard to go to the next stage.
I've not been long enough on this forum to know, but I found it cute you wrote "already one", Freudian slip? :) I don't see it in any case, in the short time I've been here, the 'battles' are ongoing I think, and I hope, I see them as necessary, but that could be just my own current stage.

For me the real struggle is breaking out of the materialist mindset and developing a secular language that treats the metaphysical as natural and normal - demystifying it and demysticalising it.
And b/c I don't know anything about these books and even these subjects, but I do know language a bit, I'd say this is so very key, not even just the 'normalization' process, but even more fundamental, understanding that the English language was meant, actually created, to obstruct access to the 'right' brain. My goal lately is to get beyond the language and look at the symbols and try to understand from that perspective. I have a long way to go.
 
#43
I've not been long enough on this forum to know, but I found it cute you wrote "already one", Freudian slip? :) I don't see it in any case, in the short time I've been here, the 'battles' are ongoing I think, and I hope, I see them as necessary, but that could be just my own current stage.



And b/c I don't know anything about these books and even these subjects, but I do know language a bit, I'd say this is so very key, not even just the 'normalization' process, but even more fundamental, understanding that the English language was meant, actually created, to obstruct access to the 'right' brain. My goal lately is to get beyond the language and look at the symbols and try to understand from that perspective. I have a long way to go.
Put that won down to tiredness - but I should edit more carefully. The battles are ongoing, yes, but they are repeats. Louv is fighting a battle already lost - rather like the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail (still is great on YouTube). By that I mean that the materialist argument is increasingly being exposed as bluster and bs. But the materialist power base (political and economic) remains entrenched. The trouble is, however, that rather than enjoying the victory and moving on many of us are stuck in materialist mental mud and mistake the emotion of uncertainty for the emotion of loss. We have won the right to validate the metaphysical without apology - as belonging to proper knowledge (science). Love strives to sow confusion by claiming that in rejecting scientific materialism we are rejecting material science and ludicrously claims we will end up back in the middle ages if we do this. He is trying to make anti scientific materialism the same thing as anti-science.

If you go back through the Skeptiko shows you will find a consistent demonstration of (scientific) materialism's failure to represent its own case in a plausible way. Its a 100% fail rate. And yet we struggle to move. Nobody has a map of this future. We are in new territory (intellectually, emotionally and spiritually) and we are milling around without confidence in the compasses we have - because they are mostly intuitional for now.
 
#44
If you go back through the Skeptiko shows you will find a consistent demonstration of (scientific) materialism's failure to represent its own case in a plausible way. Its a 100% fail rate. And yet we struggle to move. Nobody has a map of this future. We are in new territory (intellectually, emotionally and spiritually) and we are milling around without confidence in the compasses we have - because they are mostly intuitional for now.
For sure, you are right, I have been listening long enough to see that. (notice my word choices, automatically confusing the sense words)--for this reason I believe far less in editing than a language lover should, no matter if tired or angry or buzzed or otherwise! I expect these little slips are trying to tell us very much, just like our dreams and even our fantasies, which then get lost in translation from image to word.

So would you say that the 'intuitional compass' are lost, or lacking? Is that what is causing this 'milling around'? What about explorers who needed no maps? Those folks certainly have existed in the past, where are they now, do you think? I often think the real issue with the culture now is we have lost fundamental instincts--my dogs know what to eat and not eat, even in 'the wild' of our land here, all our critters know, even the chickens, how is it we no longer know what nourishes us and what kills us?!

Do you think the territory is actually new (intellectually, emotionally, spiritually)? I tend to think we've been here before, but that's 'instinct' I suppose on my part. I often wonder if it's some of the child-rearing practices of civilization that have forced a separation from our instincts. For example, telling children they must obey adults, any adults, even when they know these adults are corrupt and amoral. This happened several times in my own youth, so that's what makes me really questions this practice. It really seems like to me we have become so obedient to authority and systems and constructs that most folks can't even recognize intuition anymore, they look automatically to an outside influence of 'expertise' to explain their own internal processes. It would seem that to strengthen our own internal compass, our "GOD-given' instinctual intuition would be the way out of this quagmire of lack of confidence to forge ahead without a map is the answer to why/how we keep expecting the losers of the battle to 'join us' and 'provide a map'?!

On the fact that they have lost, I'm right there! So why do we keep looking to them though, as if they are the ones to create the new game?
 
#45
On the fact that they have lost, I'm right there! So why do we keep looking to them though, as if they are the ones to create the new game?
Because, despite all the chatter, we’re miles away from a pragmatic, cogent alternative that’s going to get results in the same way ‘physicalism’ has. As we’ve discussed there’s a proven, if not perfect, history there.

Scientific methods based upon materialistic philosophy have been highly successful in not only increasing our understanding of nature but also in bringing greater control and freedom through advances in technology.

Currently any immaterialist alternative is made up of disparate groups, whose only common ground is to snipe at (often poor strawman versions of what they see as) ‘materialism’... Or even confusing it with consumerism! :D Politically, it’s like watching an opposition party with no workable policies.
 
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#46
but also in bringing greater control and freedom through advances in technology.
Greater control and freedom to whom?

And I don't think there has been a greater understanding of nature thanks to our modern science, I do think we have less now of an understanding of nature than we've ever had. Just because you can name it, does not mean you understand it. We have not succeeded significantly in my honest understanding of things. Not for 5 generations, at least. We have replaced intuition with cognition, and it is not helping us all that much in our hearts and health. And, so some think we can go to the moon, and for that we pay a price so so very dear. I see no freedom in these 'advances' NONE AT ALL! I'd rather have polio back than this so greatly modern and advanced 'vaccine schedule'! What is so great, seriously?!
 
#47
Greater control and freedom to whom?

And I don't think there has been a greater understanding of nature thanks to our modern science, I do think we have less now of an understanding of nature than we've ever had. Just because you can name it, does not mean you understand it. We have not succeeded significantly in my honest understanding of things. Not for 5 generations, at least. We have replaced intuition with cognition, and it is not helping us all that much in our hearts and health. And, so some think we can go to the moon, and for that we pay a price so so very dear. I see no freedom in these 'advances' NONE AT ALL! I'd rather have polio back than this so greatly modern and advanced 'vaccine schedule'! What is so great, seriously?!
Well I took that quote directly from here (number 4):

http://opensciences.org/about/manifesto-for-a-post-materialist-science

I guess it just reinforces my point about no cogent single voice as alternative.
 
#48
Well I took that quote directly from here (number 4):

http://opensciences.org/about/manifesto-for-a-post-materialist-science

I guess it just reinforces my point about no cogent single voice as alternative.
I think a single voice would be a worry. Material science has been multivocal - collaborative and contentious. Many, probably most, of the early material scientists were religious or spiritual. Materialism has sought to constrain those many voices into one singular core dogma. Personally I delight in material science and the technology it has developed - though I am conflicted over the social justice and environmental issues that tend to get buried below the glossy hype of flogging product. But breaking up that moral voice is a tactic of materialism. With that I have an issue.

When Robert Monroe started to spontaneously get out of his body in the 1950s he thought he was ill or going mad. Since then, and from my own direct experience encountering the paranormal has been considered to be aberrant - wrong, the consequence of stupidity, gullibility or madness. Back in the middle ages, so loathed by Louv, there was still an accepted sense of the uncanny and natural otherworldly aspects to reality. Christianity began to shut that down and then the materialists took over. A singular effort have been made to render our birthright invalid. Why?

Now, as we are recovering that sense of validity we have no confidence. Although we are being gently led to be aware of the vast ocean of opportunity we crowd, instead, on the shore and think it radical if we get our ankles wet.

I do not want a single coherent voice. Rather I want a cacophony of passionate voices all processing their own responses to what they seek, desire, intuit or experience. From my own experience I know there is support and guidance for those who push out from the shore - but it is not an adventure without peril and adversity. There's an old saying that has haunted me from my youth - faint heart ne'er won fair lady. Back then it was a love I dared not surrender to - and lost. Now I think in terms of Sophia - Wisdom in some traditions and Soul in others.

I have been motivated to write a lot in reaction to Louv because I see him as predator who thinks those milling on the shore are fair game to be lured by his egotistical notions. Professional writers are motivated to earn a living by writing books whose contents are not necessarily in the service of the reader. Publishers are motivated by what sells, not what is good and right (if they could know). I am learning to be wary of podcasters who use their shows to generate income. It is not that I object to profit and earning income -it is just that doing so generates a risk of compromising quality for gain. That is a natural and proper risk of commerce. The predator/prey model is not a moral issue, just what is natural.

But it exposes those who are stimulated to seek or inquire to predation without them being aware of the reality of that risk. That risk is increased when we lack confidence in our intuition, and our moral compass. You need only look at the post modern love of moral relativism to appreciate that it is easy to unsettle a natural sense. It is equally easy to manipulate suppressed anger into moral outrage. finding the balance between confidence in a personal position and living in a collective soup of confusion and ambiguity is not easy. We have no good models any more, no sound cultural heroes. Look at what has happened to Jesus as the moral exemplar of a culture raised in the Christian tradition. Now Donald Trump is held up as a pragmatic moral hero by influential Christians because he may cause the reversal of Roe v Wade or embroil Israel in a bloody and final conflict. The Buddha is an option to some, but even he is confusing.

Who are the exemplars for now? In historic terms no-one comes to mind. In myth it is hard to find a candidate. Jesus is in rehabilitation for some. There is a Position Vacant sign out and there is a weak field of candidates. Louv is one such, and mercifully the Skeptiko forum folk see that plainly.

In the past single religious models were thought the answer - a single Nicene Creed type of approach. These days, as is testified by the growth the Spiritual But Not Religious (SBNR) trend it is very much a DIY and Pick n' Mix approach - and that is both exciting and perilous. It is exciting because it enables individuals to articulate their own POV with confidence, and perilous because that POV might be assume to be the end point, rather a 'than where I am at the moment' statement.

Back in 2009 I rewrote my Masters Honours thesis in which I tried to make sense of my paranormal experiences in the context of my own culture. It was a difficult and traumatic experience. But having to satisfy academic standards pushed me into areas of intellectual (and emotional) discipline I would not have otherwise experienced. That was an immense growth experience. Any game player knows that playing by somebody else's rules is character building. The danger of SBNR is that it is easy to become seduced by one's own opinions.

So rather than a single cogent voice what I think we need is a single cogent approach that enables individuals to progress their own struggle for self-awareness via system of disciplines that provides feedback and guidance. That is available to us in two ways - an inner process of 'spirit' guidance and via forum like this one. The Skeptiko forum has two huge pluses. It is not related to any mechanism for generating profit for Guy (aka Alex), and it is delicately but well managed. This is a school. It is an antidote to the Louvs of this world. It is a safe place to explore. I have learned a lot in the short time I have been involved.
 
#49
Books on magic tend to fall back on old ways of thinking, and the one writer who seems to have something useful to say in a way that straddles the old and the present is Gordon White – and even so he is a work in progress – and perhaps that is the most valuable thing -evolution of thought rather than posing as an expert who has gotten to where he/she wants to be. Gordon, incidentally, observed that people seem to be using the term ‘chaos magic’ in ways that are very different. I think Alex should have Gordon on the show to talk specifically about the growing popularity of magic – and what is chaos magic v magic in a more general sense.
He has been on:

http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threads/gordon-white-will-magic-kill-parapsychology-366.4040/

You are right - the term "Chaos Magic" rarely seems to be defined at all :(

David
 
#50
Well, I've been trying to read Radin's "Real Magic" all summer now and can get only half-way through so far, which is on this very subject it seems, but it's duller than dirt. In fact, it's dirt that's been keeping me away from the book! :)
I haven't read that book, because from his discussion (somewhere) I got the impression that he redefines magic to include all successful parapsychology experiments (which in a certain sense is obviously true). That allows him to rehash the contents of his previous books in terms of magic.

Can you tell me about the half you have read? What made it dull?

David
 
#51
post modern love of moral relativism to appreciate that it is easy to unsettle a natural sense.
So well put. But I like constructive post modernism:
The latter movements [deconstructive post modernism] seek to dismantle the notions of system, self, God, purpose, meaning, reality, and truth in order to prevent, among other things, oppressive totalities and hegemonic narratives that arose in the Modern period. Constructive postmodernism, on the other hand, seeks emancipation from the negative aspects of modernity through revision rather than elimination. Constructive postmodernism seeks to revise and re-synthesize the insights and positive features of Modernity ...
For example, modernity’s worship of scientific achievement, combined with lingering Aristotelian doctrines of substance and efficient causation may have led to a mechanistic materialist worldview. Deconstructive postmodernism would combat this worldview by undermining the efficacy of science, claiming that all observational statements are actually about our own culturally-constituted conceptual scheme, not about an independently real world. Constructive postmodernism seeks instead to leave natural science intact, because empirical observation itself produces evidence against mechanism and materialism when it takes in a sufficiently broad data set (that is, all of human experience, and not just experience of “physical” objects).
Source: https://www.iep.utm.edu/processp/

You are right - the term "Chaos Magic" rarely seems to be defined at all
The Wikipedia page on Chaos Magic seems to chime with my general impressions on the subject:
Chaos magic differs from other occult traditions such as Thelema or Wicca in that it rejects the existence of absolute truth, and views all occult systems as arbitrary symbol-systems that are only effective because of the belief of the practitioner.[4][5] Chaos magic thus takes an explicitly agnostic position on whether or not magic exists as a supernatural force, with many chaos magicians expressing their acceptance of a psychological model as one possible explanation.[5][6]

It is unknown when the term "chaos magic" first emerged, with the earliest texts on the subject referring only to "magic" or "the magical art" in general. Furthermore, they often claimed to state principles universal to magic, as opposed to a new specific style or tradition, describing their innovations as efforts to rid magic of superstitious and religious ideas.[5][page needed] [7]
Other magical traditions like Wicca, Qabalah or the Golden Dawn system combine techniques for bringing about change with "beliefs, attitudes, a conceptual model of the universe (if not several), a moral ethic, and a few other things besides."[8] Chaos magic grew out of the desire to strip away all of these extraneous elements, leaving behind only the techniques for effecting change; hence the emphasis is on actually doing things – i.e., experimenting with different techniques, rather than memorising complex rules, symbols and correspondences – and then retaining those techniques that appear to produce results.[8][9]
This "pick'n'mix/D.I.Y" approach means that the working practices of different chaos magicians often look drastically different, with many authors explicitly encouraging readers to invent their own magical style
The central defining tenet of chaos magic is arguably the "meta-belief" that "belief is a tool for achieving effects".[12] In chaos magic, complex symbol systems like Qabalah, the Enochian system, astrology or the I Ching are treated as maps or "symbolic and linguistic constructs" that can be manipulated to achieve certain ends but that have no absolute or objective truth value in themselves[8] – a position referred to by religious scholar Hugh Urban as a "rejection of all fixed models of reality",[4] and often summarised with the phrase "nothing is true everything is permitted".[13][12]
Some commentators have traced this position to the influence of postmodernism on contemporary occultism.[4][13] Another influence comes from the magical system of Austin Osman Spare, who believed that belief itself was a form of "psychic energy" that became locked up in rigid belief structures, and that could be released by breaking down those structures. This "free belief" could then be directed towards new aims.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaos_magic

Alex's interview reminded of this blog post about magicians that don't seem to believe in magic:

https://inpeaceprofound.com/2016/12/14/of-the-limitlessness-of-magic/
There is an epidemic: magicians who don’t believe in magic. This takes many forms, from Western ritualists who don’t understand even the rudiments of astrology upon which most Western ritual magic is founded to activists who think that magic is just performance art, from witches who think it’s a fashion statement to Crowley fans who think it’s all psychoanalysis with fancy costumes—it’s a plague of missing the point.
Man, I'm trying not to post for a while, but it's hard! :)
 
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#52
Can anyone concretely tell me what Jason’s views on God, the afterlife, etc are? I have literally never been so confused in my life. Idk how he can write about the empire of angels but be a materialist? Does he believe in those things while also being a materialist? I read a Reddit thread where he was answering fan questions and nothing in his responses seemed atheistic.... especially when talking about angels. I am so damn confused.
I think these are really good questions. Caveat: I know of Jason only what I've heard in this Skeptiko interview, and from a bit of digging around his websites and googling, so I am no expert on his beliefs and am totally open to correction. That said, this statement seems pretty good for answering your questions, jerbear_13: Magick for Atheists: Why Belief is the Enemy of Magick. Despite the title, the approach Jason seems to be advocating is more like agnosticism than atheism (which he seems not to endorse); maybe even something like the "shut up and calculate" school of quantum mechanics but for magicians:

[G]etting the result is only half the battle. The other half is in the interpretation of the result. As I've hinted at above, the interpretation you choose will determine your life going forward (and if you're a magician, you should maintain freedom of interpretation at all costs). A purely atheistic interpretation will put you right back in the unenchanted flatland of modern life (and that's no fun); a religious interpretation will make you a slave of your own hallucinations and superstition (and that's really not fun, particularly for the people you inevitably start ranting at); and a magical interpretation will allow you to keep repeating the experiment and probably enjoying your life a lot more as a result (which is a lot of fun).
Also interesting for me in that article is an affirmation of that which he seemed to deny in his interview with Alex: that magic can be studied scientifically (this might be of interest to Michael P given his response to that part of my post):

So no, you don't need to believe anything to attempt occult exercises. All you need is a willingness to try something weird within the realm of your own mind, and see what happens—just like any good scientist would.
I think that the polarisation in Jason's interview with Alex was unfortunate, and that perhaps both participants agree more than they disagree, which was the point of my first post in this thread - a less polarised interview might have allowed views like the above to have been properly realised. That said, there were legitimate disagreements where I would also affirm sides as opposed to simply sketch the disagreement - most notably Alex's climate change denial. Having expressed my views on this issue more than once, though, there seems to be little left to say (in summary: a risk management approach strongly suggests taking action to minimise greenhouse gas emissions whether or not you are totally convinced in the magnitude of the risk, given the magnitude of its effect were it to be realised).

And when it comes to sketching the disagreement, I think you might have misunderstood me, David, when you wrote this:

I am not inclined to call all the problems in science 'conspiracy'.
Nor am I, and that wasn't what I was saying in that which you quoted of me. In raising disagreement (between Alex and Jason) over the role of conspiracies in shaping the world, I didn't mean to imply that all, or even necessarily any, of those conspiracies were scientific. That said, I think Michael P's analysis in response to your comment makes some very good points and is generally pretty spot-on.
 
#53
Also interesting for me in that article is an affirmation of that which he seemed to deny in his interview with Alex: that magic can be studied scientifically (this might be of interest to Michael P given his response to that part of my post):
G'day Laird! I am not even sure I understand Louv in the quotes you gave above. Magic, by its very nature has been approached 'scientifically' - at least by the serious devotees to it. By that I mean it is engaged with as a serious discipline of inquiry using experimental and empirical methods. But are we talking scientist as magus or scientist as studier of magicians and magic?

There are, I think, different levels of talking about magic. Some discussion is fit for public exposure and other discussions are not. The suggestion that "All you need is a willingness to try something weird within the realm of your own mind, and see what happens—just like any good scientist would." is not, I think, a sensible thing to put an innocent reader. That can get you in to a whole mess of trouble. It is a reckless suggestion that would, mercifully, mostly yield no results.

Likewise saying "(and if you're a magician, you should maintain freedom of interpretation at all costs)" supposes that a person who fancies themselves as a magician possesses a "freedom of interpretation" that is actual rather than imagined. Louv takes me back to my introduction to magic - and to the discovery of incomprehensible stuff that seemed to make sense, but did not. Here Louv may think he understands what he wrote, but then let him make sense of it others who are asking him questions, especially insightful and penetrating ones. Freedom of interpretation is more claimed than actual. Freedom from what? From belief? Precisely when do you believe you are free from belief?

If we believe what is passed down to us mystics, shamans and magicians of yore underwent powerful preparatory and initiation processes that essentially ratted out the psychological crap inhabiting their minds and emotions (a bit like SEAL training I guess). When you do that you can maybe make declarations about 'freedom of interpretation'. In the absence of formal schools of training most of us have to make do with messy life experiences that push us to the edge of sanity. We must travel our own dark nights of the soul. If we are lucky, we avoid crippling PTS and gain a few insights before we die.

Louv reminds me of people I knew long ago - into magic and mad, but not in a good way. After hearing how he handled Guy (sorry - Alex) I think it is ludicrous that he is teaching anybody anything.

However, in a way Louv has a point. The post modern liberty to be free from privileged discourses does give us a liberty to think and imagine in ways not bound to dominant discourses. If magic works at all it should work based on personal attributes and not recitations of formulae and performance of ritual acts. It does seem true that some people have a knack - some innate attribute that makes magic easier for them. We use the term 'ritualistic' to sometimes mean the performance of acts that are intended to generate effect, but with none of the 'inner workings' (belief, commitment, engagement etc).

Some insist all magic involves spirits. If that is so, then magic is not only done with aid, but with permission. And success in magic requires attitude and qualities of character. Psychological maturity would seem to be desirable, as would a certain capacity for moral discernment. The first step, it would seem, if you want the power that being adept in magic might bring, would be to prepare your character. That doesn't mean holding a bunch of clever dick ideas in your mind. Of course you can be an asshole, attract spirits of questionable character and make stuff happen. That's the power path. The wisdom path is an alternative.

I don't think magic is a fit topic for science as we understand the term science. We have all heard of the 'observer effect' in quantum science. But we never put a lot of effort into thinking about the observer, beyond presuming they are some dude in a lab coat. The wisdom path seeks to refine the character and the attributes of the observer in the world. When they cease to be 'depraved' and 'attached' the quality of their 'effect' is raised. In essence what we call magic is a development from this and on a spectrum from weak to strong and from shitty to benign. A scientist might benefit from striving to be a magician, but not studying it (other than to realise that it is real).

Louv has this idea of "a magical interpretation" by which you interpret your apparently magical efforts. That can be whatever you want it to mean, I think. There is a difference between having a magical outlook on life and looking at the consequence of your actions in a magical way. Crowley's maxim of 'Do what you wilt shall be the whole of the Law' (Love is the law, love under will) is enticing, as is the Wiccan ideal of 'If it harm none, do what you will.' But if taken up by psychologically and intellectually immature these become licenses for careless enactment of personal intent. A lot of this goes back to John Stuart Mill's essay 'On Liberty' (freely available on line as a pdf). It presumes attributes of self-awareness and self-discipline that do not usually exist.

20th and 21st century magic is still indebted to Mill, as is, I believe, Louv. The words are enticing and exciting, but their meaning is shallow. The more I encounter contemporary attitudes to magic the more I want to get rid of it as an idea.
 
#54
The suggestion that "All you need is a willingness to try something weird within the realm of your own mind, and see what happens—just like any good scientist would." is not, I think, a sensible thing to put an innocent reader. That can get you in to a whole mess of trouble. It is a reckless suggestion
Fair point. I got myself in a pickle by playing with a spiritual device (a Ouija board) that I didn't understand and which I had already been warned off by a friend who had earlier had troubling experiences. The answer to "Try it, what have you got to lose?" is not necessarily "Nothing", and you're right that (paraphrasing you) assuming it is can be reckless. That said, the alternative of trusting in the advice of those who have gone before is not perfect either - trust can sometimes be misplaced. But it does seem to be the better and wiser alternative.

Freedom of interpretation is more claimed than actual. Freedom from what? From belief? Precisely when do you believe you are free from belief?
Fair questions. There is some degree of incoherence in claiming that "freedom of interpretation" is "a magical interpretation". Is it free or is it magical? It can't be both, unless we are to redefine one or the other word.
 
#56
Evolution, consciousness, vaccines, climate change, jfk, cancer treatment, homeopathy, moon landings, 9/11, cattle mutilations, pizzagate, allopathic medicine, magic etc, etc...
Well, I tend to examine each issue separately, and thus my position is neither absolutely "fringe" nor absolutely "mainstream". Let's call it "anti-authoritarian objectivity" - an attempt to evaluate positions on their actual evidential, intellectual and moral qualities rather than on their "authoritative" or "contrarian" status.

So, concerning the issues you mentioned above (and some more)... Here are my postitions regarding them.

Clearly pro-fringe: immaterial consciousness, intelligent evolution (yet without Discovery Institute-style reactionary moralism and "human exceptionalism"), veridical psi phenomena, magic(k) and mystique, child liberationism, anti-psychiatry / post-psychiatry / critical psychiatry, JFK assassination, 9/11 attacks, Deep State and Deep Politics, the USA / NATO imperialism, general decline of academia.

Wavering / doubting: vaccine dangers and efficiency, anthropogenic climate change / global warming, HIV-AIDS causation, GMOs, forgotten ancient civilisations, alternative cancer treatments, homeopathy vs. allopathy, cold fusion / LENR, Plasma Cosmology / Electric Universe, much of ufology and cryptozoology.

Clearly pro-mainstream: moon landings, Pizzagate / Paedogate, Satanic Panic, Illuminati / Freemasonry, Flat / Hollow Earth, Young Earth Creationism, historical veracity of the Nazi Holocaust and the Stalin's repressions (including Katyn massacre), racial and gender equality.

No matter where my position is, I'm always anti-censorship and for freedom of speech, expression and inquiry - even for my worst opponents.

I also always remain polite and never insult anyone, my worst opponents included.
 
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#57
Nor am I, and that wasn't what I was saying in that which you quoted of me. In raising disagreement (between Alex and Jason) over the role of conspiracies in shaping the world, I didn't mean to imply that all, or even necessarily any, of those conspiracies were scientific. That said, I think Michael P's analysis in response to your comment makes some very good points and is generally pretty spot-on.
I wasn't really trying to get at you, but to point out the way science opinions can evolve in a very illogical way - nudged along by career concerns, peer reviewers, and a desire not to rock the boat!

When people talk about conspiracies in science, I think they put a lot of people off because they think of scientists explicitly conspiring to conceal the truth. I'm not saying that never happens, but I think it is the exception rather than the rule.

David
 
#58
Before this interview, I liked Jason Louv. From the listening to the appearances of Jason on Rune Soup and on The Higherside Chats,I enjoyed his presentations, I learned a lot about John Dee, and I signed up for his free course in Magic.

I was appalled at Jason Louv's behavior in his appearance on Skeptiko. He was rude, combative, and arrogant. His opinions regarding consciousness, science, and conspiracies are confusing, to say the least. I believe Alex responded to Jason's behavior with aplomb. Alex was restrained and polite, yet he held his ground.

It occurs to me that Jason's behavior was a result of his being unfamiliar with the Skeptiko program style. He was expecting an interview where he could just speak his mind, unchallenged. He was startled when Alex challenged him on some very important points.

I'm glad that the questions Alex asked revealed this side of Jason. I appreciate Alex saving me from continuing to pursue Jason as a teacher, because I now know that the worldview of Jason Louv lacks integrity. Also, he cannot control his childish outbursts. These are qualities that I prefer to avoid when I choose a leader.

It also occurs to me, with conspiratorial irony, that Jason may have been there to try discredit Alex intentionally. Jason works for Google, which is a Deep State operation. He turns to NASA for information, an organization that denies any knowledge of UFO or aliens, and is a PR front to obscure the Secret Space Program. He's partnering with 33rd Degree Mason, Apollo Astronaut Buzz Aldrin for a Mars colony program, using jet propulsion to get there. He still holds out the possibility that AI can create consciousness.

I was more comfortable listening to Alex talk with Michael Shermer. With magicians like Jason Louv, who need militant materialist reductionist atheists?
 
#59
Can you tell me about the half you have read? What made it dull?
I realize what a highly subjective word that is! But maybe you did already nail it, I've heard all these stories before, and I don't consider myself a real researcher of these topics (yet?!). The one part that stands out in the first half is his really cool story about he met his office neighbors, the incredible synchronicity. I guess for me I'm more attracted to anecdotes and I can see how that's not what he's trying to sell. I'm not his preferred audience, I'd say. I like the science and data enough, find it very necessary over all subjectivity, speculation, reverie, but what carries a narrative for me is the personal, that's what gets me excited and finding a work to be a page-turner, even if there's a lot of data there (not in this case do I find it too much data, just too little that sounds new and too little that sounds dramatic/appealing/connecting).

I get the sense he wants to convince his colleagues, and that's totally normal, of course. His goal is to shine in his circle, whereas I prefer those whose goal is to break the mold, to shatter glass, to scream from the rooftops, just my preference. :)
 
#60
It also occurs to me, with conspiratorial irony, that Jason may have been there to try discredit Alex intentionally. Jason works for Google, which is a Deep State operation. He turns to NASA for information, an organization that denies any knowledge of UFO or aliens, and is a PR front to obscure the Secret Space Program. He's partnering with 33rd Degree Mason, Apollo Astronaut Buzz Aldrin for a Mars colony program, using jet propulsion to get there. He still holds out the possibility that AI can create consciousness.
Well that explains A LOT! Poor chump, of course they must come young to be that dumb.
 
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