Marisa Ryan, Certified Psychic Medium Tackles Big Picture Questions |398|

Incredibly interesting, Richard. Not sure quite what to make of it, mind. It'd probably be inappropriate to discuss it here lest I derail the thread. Tell me, is the only place to discuss it on YouTube as there doesn't appear to be a forum or comments section on your site? Also, how does one access extra content?

I've created a thread for the interview in the Extended Consciousness & Spirituality section of this forum, all the links are there -

http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threa...ession-and-freedom-with-jerry-marzinsky.4244/

Maggie - I don't know if we mentioned it in the interview but Jerry was in contact with Wilson van Dusen, they were co-authoring a book when he died. I read chapters from The Natural Depth in Man in preparation for the interview.
 
The proposed mechanism of random mutation coupled with natural selection seems to me to be absurd given the huge improbability of such a thing having led to thousands of precisely targeted proteins in each of millions of species (8,700,000 according to some estimates). Each one of those proteins can be hundreds or thousands of amino acid units long, each in turn requiring a very specific triplet of nucleotides in a specific place in a sequence.
One of the concepts that used to make me believe in Darwin's Theory, was the idea of natural selection. Natural selection over hundreds of millions of years was clearly a force to be reckoned with. However, a year or two back, we had some fairly intense discussion about evolution (which you obviously remember) in which it became clear that there are many situations in which natural selection cannot operate:

1) Natural selection can't really hone anything before the first life form on Earth - yet some sort of complex chemical apparatus (even if was not DNA as we know it) was clearly needed, and had to develop without natural selection.

2) DNA codes for proteins, and these are strings of typically hundreds of amino acids. There are 20 amino acids, so proteins can be thought to be analogous to sentences (where I suppose one 'amino acid' would correspond to a space!). Clearly these sentences (or rather the DNA that codes for them) could only develop one mutation at a time. However, almost all of these intermediates would have no value to the cell, and thus could not be picked out by natural selection!

3) Many proteins need a complicated regulatory mechanism to determine when they are expressed. Without such a regulatory mechanism already in place, a new protein would probably suffer negative selection when it first appeared on the scene!

Natural selection only works well when something can be improved in simple steps.

David
 
2) DNA codes for proteins, and these are strings of typically hundreds of amino acids. There are 20 amino acids, so proteins can be thought to be analogous to sentences (where I suppose one 'amino acid' would correspond to a space!). Clearly these sentences (or rather the DNA that codes for them) could only develop one mutation at a time. However, almost all of these intermediates would have no value to the cell, and thus could not be picked out by natural selection!
Agreed. I am an evolutionist, but not an abiogenecist. The third letter of the DNA XXX codon is very interesting. It is organized around a very methodical progression heuristic, which could not have been imbued by polarity, handedness, molecule scaffolding or hydrophobicity or any other direct chemical influence. Yes there is method to the assignment of the 2nd letter of the codon (3 RNA/DNA nucleotides, or a 'word' of DNA equating to a protein) based upon the corresponding protein molecule complexity (as specified in PubChem). Plus, the third letter is critical in the most ancient of life on this planet - which runs against evolution's prediction that a 2 codon life was necessary for a significant period of time.

There are 64 logical permutations, 4 of them operands (an amino start and 3 logical stops), and 60 of them assigned to the 20 proteins besides methionine (the start amino acid).

Now while this does not completely falsify abiogenesis, it does introduce magic into its epistemology - rendering it a pseudo-hypothesis at the moment, because we are not examining its critical path magical claim as we should. Graphic is from Embargo of the Necessary Alternative is Not Science

The idea that life might have arrived here from somewhere else, very early on in Earth's existence (3.9 - 4.2 Bya) is right now an Embargo Hypothesis. That means, someone is afraid.

 

Alex

Administrator
There are 64 logical permutations, 4 of them operands (an amino start and 3 logical stops), and 60 of them assigned to the 20 proteins besides methionine (the start amino acid).

Now while this does not completely falsify abiogenesis, it does introduce magic into its epistemology - rendering it a pseudo-hypothesis at the moment, because we are not examining its critical path magical claim as we should. Graphic is from Embargo of the Necessary Alternative is Not Science
very cool but I don't totally get it... off to read yr blog post :)
 
How sad the book wasn’t finished Richard, has any of it published, perhaps as an article?

It must have been almost twenty five years ago that the work of Professor Marius Romme became known in the UK, workshops were held, and the Hearing Voices Movement began. Marius wrote books together with Sandra Escher, the first, Accepting Voices, was published by the charity Mind who were keen to promote their work. Sandra went on to do ground breaking work with children who heard voices. Their books are worth reading, also one called Hearing Voices by John Watkins. If Jerry does come back to answer more questions I would love to know if their is an equivalent organisation in the USA.
 
I am eleven minutes into this episode and already I'm getting goosebumps. That is because the incident she relates with the girl is very similar to several similar experiences I've had, but in dreams. When I dream of ghosts, a not infrequent thing for them to do is show me their wounds or replay how they died. Most often though, they just show the wounds. Also, they tend to just be standing near me in the doorway of my bedroom or standing by the bed. Sometimes, they stood outside the sliding glass door to our backyard. Twice, something happened that was almost identical to what Melissa describes. In the first, I dreamed of a murdered young man. He was about seventeen. He told me he had been murdered. He showed me where it had happened (a nondescript bedroom in a 1960's era house) and how it had happened. He gave me the full name of the murderer and the address of the house. Interestingly, he was aware that I was asleep. He referenced this in the dream, telling me it was very important I remember the details of the crime because his killer would kill again (and had killed before). He urged me to call the police and give them the information so the killer could be caught.

I wanted to remember but was so busy listening to the young man that by the time I woke, I had forgotten the important details: name of murderer, name of victim, address of the home where he was murdered, and the phone number of the murderer. Some people have asked me if I feel guilty sometimes for not warning others of dream warnings. Normally the answer is no, but on this occasion I did because the details were so clearly given. If I hadn't been so groggy when I woke, I likely would have remembered them.

The second dream that reminds me of this interview also involves a little girl. In it, a girl came to me in my sleep and brought me to her home. She told me she had died and that her family was very upset. She wanted me to tell them she was fine so they wouldn't worry any more. It bothered her to see her family so distraught. She emphasized the importance of communicating this to her little brother, who may have been four years old or so. She gave me her name and address also. She added that she had lived very close to where I was sleeping that night. Unfortunately, she said almost everything in Dutch, which I barely understood at the time. All I remembered was the street she lived on, Haagweg, Breda. The street was too long to contemplate going door to door to find her family, and I didn't know Dutch well enough to do an Internet search on obituaries.

Anyway, interesting to hear this because of the similarity to the experience. As Alex says, there is this quality to these experiences that takes me out of the mindset where I only want to look at numbers: how many line items checked, verified, disavowed, etc. Here, it is this resonance that adds to my impression of what she is saying.
 
That was an excellent podcast, crammed with interesting information from someone who has passed Julie Beischel's multiply blinded test of a medium's ability to do what they claim - someone whose information must carry a lot of weight.

She also seems to talk straight - no affectations, and no vagueness.

I do hope that she joins this forum, because when interviewees do that, it makes for a much richer discussion - I can think of a number of questions I would like to ask her, right now!

I don't know how many mediums have managed to pass Julie Beischel's test, but it would be fascinating to see how consistent they are about the 'other side'.

David
Well, I haven't passed the test, nor do I have a basis for believing I could, but can say this much: From what I get in my more interesting dreams, the basis for her opinions is roughly consistent with my experiences but her conclusions aren't always. The big one has to do with God, but that could be that she hasn't had a relevant experience yet. In my case, I accept that God is real. Whether or not there is a hierarchy, one could interpret my experiences as describing a scale of power where God is at the top, or an actual hierarchy as we normally understand it.
 
Alex's question at the end of the podcast:

To what extent should we rely on/trust what mediums tell us?
A very good question. It applies to all psychically derived information. The last paper I wrote is essentially all about this question, though I was talking about psi in dreams, specifically spiritual-themes in dreams. Those kinds of things cannot be validated physically because they have no physical component that can be checked. Mediums provide information that can sometimes be checked because it refers to physical things: people, places, things, and past events. When they cross over to information on the other side, there is no longer any way to verify it empirically. At best, other mediums can be consulted to establish coherence among them but that may not be because the information is true. It could be that they all share a telepathic ability that allows them to unconsciously create agreement among themselves. I don't buy that idea, but I also don't believe they are always right either. There are a few reasons for this.

The first is that their information derives from spirits, if their statements are accepted at face value. If so, then they are limited by what those spirits know and what they are willing to divulge. Their personalities will play a role in that, thus creating the possibility of every variation of truth and falsehood that there is. Secondly, their ability will differ from medium to medium. Some "hear" the spirits more clearly, or attract a higher class of spirit. This kind of variation introduces the possibility of errors of translation or knowledge. Last, you also have fraudulent mediums. These, I hope, are fairly easy to spot but his question isn't about them. It is about legit mediums. If we can accept that there are legit mediums, I believe the problems I just mentioned remain.
 

Alex

Administrator
A very good question. It applies to all psychically derived information. The last paper I wrote is essentially all about this question, though I was talking about psi in dreams, specifically spiritual-themes in dreams. Those kinds of things cannot be validated physically because they have no physical component that can be checked. Mediums provide information that can sometimes be checked because it refers to physical things: people, places, things, and past events. When they cross over to information on the other side, there is no longer any way to verify it empirically. At best, other mediums can be consulted to establish coherence among them but that may not be because the information is true. It could be that they all share a telepathic ability that allows them to unconsciously create agreement among themselves. I don't buy that idea, but I also don't believe they are always right either. There are a few reasons for this.

The first is that their information derives from spirits, if their statements are accepted at face value. If so, then they are limited by what those spirits know and what they are willing to divulge. Their personalities will play a role in that, thus creating the possibility of every variation of truth and falsehood that there is. Secondly, their ability will differ from medium to medium. Some "hear" the spirits more clearly, or attract a higher class of spirit. This kind of variation introduces the possibility of errors of translation or knowledge. Last, you also have fraudulent mediums. These, I hope, are fairly easy to spot but his question isn't about them. It is about legit mediums. If we can accept that there are legit mediums, I believe the problems I just mentioned remain.
great points and I really appreciate how you try to wrestle the consensus reality stuff to the ground. Of course, there's a whole other aspect to this... As my friend Miguel Connor says, "don't ask whether Jesus is real, ask whether you are real." am I not the sum total of the stories I've told myself.
 
Agreed. I am an evolutionist, but not an abiogenecist. The third letter of the DNA XXX codon is very interesting. It is organized around a very methodical progression heuristic, which could not have been imbued by polarity, handedness, molecule scaffolding or hydrophobicity or any other direct chemical influence. Yes there is method to the assignment of the 2nd letter of the codon (3 RNA/DNA nucleotides, or a 'word' of DNA equating to a protein) based upon the corresponding protein molecule complexity (as specified in PubChem). Plus, the third letter is critical in the most ancient of life on this planet - which runs against evolution's prediction that a 2 codon life was necessary for a significant period of time.

There are 64 logical permutations, 4 of them operands (an amino start and 3 logical stops), and 60 of them assigned to the 20 proteins besides methionine (the start amino acid).

Now while this does not completely falsify abiogenesis, it does introduce magic into its epistemology - rendering it a pseudo-hypothesis at the moment, because we are not examining its critical path magical claim as we should. Graphic is from Embargo of the Necessary Alternative is Not Science

The idea that life might have arrived here from somewhere else, very early on in Earth's existence (3.9 - 4.2 Bya) is right now an Embargo Hypothesis. That means, someone is afraid.

I've read the post on your blog from which the chart you include comes. I've also read the conversation that follows it in the comments, and I see that I am not alone in finding your prose rather too dense. That doesn't mean that I think you're talking nonsense, more that the density makes it very hard to understand what you are trying to say. This frustrates me because it makes having any kind of conversation almost impossible.

I suspect I could understand better if you tried a little harder to make your meaning clear -- please don't think I'm being pejorative, rather just honest and descriptive. I presume you want to put across your ideas and want to discuss them, but as it is, you might be talking mainly to an audience of one -- yourself.

That said, what I get from your post is that it's abiogenesis vs. panspermia. You seem to imply that abiogenesis refers to something that happened on earth within a relatively short time period at the beginning of its current consensually accepted age (around 4bn years). However, as I see it, abiogenesis doesn't need to be restricted to earth; it could have happened elsewhere in the universe, and panspermia would then be just a mechanism of dissemination. Hence -- and again as I see it -- they aren't alternative theories. You're looking at the one theory and (I think) favouring one shade of interpretation (panspermia) to another (earth-based origin of life).

The real question for me is whether there's been enough time (according to the current consensually accepted estimate, which may or may not be so) for abiogenesis (and subsequent dissemination to earth) to have happened anywhere in the entire universe. 13 bn years is only about three times as long as the putative age of the earth, and if abiogenesis happened elsewhere, the implication is that it happened in the first 9 billion years -- not a huge difference from 4bn years available for it on earth, and not in my view near enough. If you have time, watch this illuminating video from one of the world's best synthetic organic chemists, James Tour:


I don't accept his religious (Jewish/semi-Christian) or philosophical (dualistic) stance, but he makes it plain just how difficult it is for conscious agents like us to play with advanced chemistry, let alone blind mechanism in a mere 9-billion-year time period.

You also seem to be separating the concepts of abiogenesis and evolution. But I'd say that abiogenesis makes no sense unless it prepares the ground for evolution. When is abiogenesis completed? Only when the first living organisms, presumably the archaea/bacteria (prokaryotes, which lack a membrane-bound nucleus) are produced. Bacteria are by no means simple; they are incredibly complex -- far more than a bunch of chemicals that could have fortuitously come to exhibit the properties of living organisms.

There are many species of bacteria, each with different characteristics. Maybe the proposition is that bacteria originated with the one species, and evolution subsequently began to work on it to produce many species; and later, eukaryotic (containing a membrane-bound nucleus) unicells and eventually eukaryotic multicellular organisms. But if so, the original species of bacterium still had to be alive and exhibit all the usual criteria of life -- reproduction, nutrition, elimination, reactivity, and so on. At what stage was the boundary between non-life and life transcended? Is there anything that looks like it that could represent an intermediary stage? Not viruses, methinks, because they depend for their existence and propagation on living cells; I suspect they appeared after the first living cell rather than before it.

If there is something that is intermediate, I'm not aware of it. There seems a stark contrast between even the most complex non-living, and the most simple living, systems. They're about as far apart in complexity as one can imagine. At the risk of using a hackneyed phrase, the leap from non-living to living seems like a quantum one. So much so that the leaps from unicellular prokaryotes to unicellular eukaryotes to multicellular eukaryotes seem fairly trivial by comparison. So in truth I wonder if one can separate abiogenesis from evolution, or whether it's all part of the one progression.
 
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Alex

Administrator
I am not alone in finding your prose rather too dense
I like dense :)


I suspect I could understand better if you tried a little harder to make your meaning clear -- please don't think I'm being pejorative
it seems to me like you are. suggestion... Dig into what ES is saying and ask specific, respectful, questions. we could all benefit from seeing such a dialogue play out.
 
it seems to me like you are. suggestion... Dig into what ES is saying and ask specific, respectful, questions. we could all benefit from seeing such a dialogue play out.
Well, I say I'm not, but it seems to me that you think I'm telling porkies...perish the thought, I'm deeply insulted, sir.:)

There's a little more to this than you know about, but unfortunately my hands are tied and I can't say more. Why not wait for TES's reply, if any? I'd be surprised if he didn't acknowledge the density of his prose, and (hopefully) make an attempt to clarify it. In which case, I won't have to worry whether any question I might attempt to formulate would make sense or appear disrespectful.
 

Alex

Administrator
There's a little more to this than you know about, but unfortunately my hands are tied and I can't say more. .
ok. I was just going by what you wrote and my desire to make the forum inviting to new people. I prefer to see posts the focus on content rather than personality/style stuff.
 
Well, I say I'm not, but it seems to me that you think I'm telling porkies...perish the thought, I'm deeply insulted, sir.:)

There's a little more to this than you know about, but unfortunately my hands are tied and I can't say more. Why not wait for TES's reply, if any? I'd be surprised if he didn't acknowledge the density of his prose, and (hopefully) make an attempt to clarify it. In which case, I won't have to worry whether any question I might attempt to formulate would make sense or appear disrespectful.
I agree with you, dense can quickly become opaque or ungrammatical!

I remember once reading a book by a well known Science Fiction author, about hot to write an SF novel. One observation was that because SF worlds are typically rather weird, it is best to write in straightforward English. I think most things we discuss here, are weird enough to require the same treatment!

David
 
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Alex

Administrator
I agree with you, dense can quickly become opaque or ungrammatical!

I remember once reading a book by a well known Science Fiction author, about hot to write an SF novel. One observation was that because SF worlds are typically rather weird, it is best to write in straightforward English. I think most things we discuss here, are weird enough to require the same treatment!

David
I disagree. I don't like replies that focus on the poster's Style, and make assumptions about the poster's personality. If you think a post is too dense break it down and ask intelligent questions, then see what the poster responds with.

Or, and this is a biggie, don't reply to the Post in the first place!
 
I disagree. I don't like replies that focus on the poster's Style, and make assumptions about the poster's personality. If you think a post is too dense break it down and ask intelligent questions, then see what the poster responds with.

Or, and this is a biggie, don't reply to the Post in the first place!
Well I wouldn't bother except that I am interested in what TES has to say. I want to interact with him without requiring several rounds of clarification!

David
 
and I see that I am not alone in finding your prose rather too dense. I suspect I could understand better if you tried a little harder to make your meaning clear.
My respectful short answer: No

What I write is original and for the most part novel material, and as such is not written for general public consumption. It is also technically precise material, crafted by a professional who has been paid well to write corporate contracts, specifications, patents, national strategies and scientific studies. The complex and dense material cannot be made clearer by 'trying a little harder'. Trust me - and there are at least 5 scarred-knuckle lessons/reasons wound up in this, which I am not going to go into here. To achieve what you ask on the material you used as an example for your point, from experience, would require a book.

Moreover, you are speaking about only a small portion of my developed material; painting everything I have written with this broad brush - and as your first feedback. Have you read any of the rest of the material? Offering up ignoratio elenchi critique as your first impression, is probably something you should be circumspect about - not everyone is going to view this as clever.

Nonetheless, the set of dense material does act as life benchnotes for a book when I retire - observation logs and benchnote books are appropriately dense material. As a cryptographer, I cannot get the general public to understand my codex notes. Nor should I. It would be a waste of my time. My first diligence is on documenting what I have found - and to do that before I forget it. Not in entertaining people. Hereinafter I may mature and develop it into expanded plain english prose when I retire some day. Until then it is technical writing - quietly read by several noteworthy and serious scientists. I have received book offers as well. All the material contrasts with the inane prose of a simply worded regurgitation blog, on purpose. I am not seeking mass readership. I want quality and depth. This is part of the character and nature of The Ethical Skeptic, and I am not planning to change that.

TES - :) Adding a smiley to also assure you that I understand your point and am not taking it as pejorative. I would simply ask that you take your focus off of me - and keep it on the subject. That engenders trust.
 
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However, as I see it, abiogenesis doesn't need to be restricted to earth; it could have happened elsewhere in the universe, and panspermia would then be just a mechanism of dissemination. Hence -- and again as I see it -- they aren't alternative theories. You're looking at the one theory and (I think) favouring one shade of interpretation (panspermia) to another (earth-based origin of life).
Under the discipline of scientific hypothesis, I am not tasked with ascertaining the reality nor lack thereof, of abiogenesis on another planet. I am only tasked with falsifying it as the null hypothesis on Earth. Panspermia is a SET of alternatives, all of which falsify abiogenesis. There is no Wittgenstein definition for 'off Earth abiogenesis' - so it is not scientific. We have no definition, pretext nor context for it.

Abiogenesis does not have a meaning outside Earth context, ...yet. So to venture there requires me to stack risky sets of brash assumptions which I cannot make - therefore establishing the idea as pseudo-hypothesis.
 
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