Michael Britt - The Psych Files - Dr. Daryl Bem and the Parapsychology PSYOP |328|

#21
What is it about the materialist world view that offers people comfort? Apart from a few people making money selling books and doing the lecture circuit, the only advantage to being a materialist polemicist is gaining tenure in a university science department. The rest is mostly downside. Are there really so many geeks whose only status is keeping on message with their peers and scorning the dupes? I genuinely don't see any sacrifice in being open minded to inexplicable phenomenon. Nothing that would raise my blood pressure in the way these guys get riled by conflicting evidence. I think I'm missing something.
I think a lot of people like to feel that they understand reality at some level of detail - whether it be a rough outline or a detailed technical understanding. Getting into this stuff makes you feel all the balls are up in the air!

David
 
#22
Appearing gullible seems to be a genuine fear and evidential science seems to offer at least a route to the truth and away from superstition.
I think that this is a valid point, and a reason why people follow that particular line. However, it only really works within one's own peer-group. Viewed from outside that group, one may still appear gullible or at best misguided. Thus it may not really be about rationality at all, but rather about social pressures and maintaining status among one's peers.
 
#23
What is it about the materialist world view that offers people comfort? Apart from a few people making money selling books and doing the lecture circuit, the only advantage to being a materialist polemicist is gaining tenure in a university science department. The rest is mostly downside. Are there really so many geeks whose only status is keeping on message with their peers and scorning the dupes? I genuinely don't see any sacrifice in being open minded to inexplicable phenomenon. Nothing that would raise my blood pressure in the way these guys get riled by conflicting evidence. I think I'm missing something.
I always picture in my mind. Let's say Richard Dawkins giving a lecture on the absurdity of religion or anything spiritual in general. Here he is up on stage with his usual diatribe proclaiming anything outside of a mechanistic universe, absolute BS and wishful thinking. Calling religion a virus of the mind, categorizing suffering and disease as nothing more than random chance, some get lucky some don't. Downplaying all the wonders of this universe and the phenomena of what we truly don't understand. But don't forget the stuff that gives us hope will one day fit snug in the materialist paradigm and be washed away. I then wonder what happens after that lecture, do people that payed money to see him speak walk up eagerly to get their books signed. "Oh thank you Mr.Dawkins, I find your lectures riveting, knowing that I float on this blue ball in this meaningless universe and I also have no true meaning, well let's just say I am enlightened". I am just dumbstruck to find any personal value to attend one of his lectures, I really wonder what people get out of it?

I found this interview by Amir Aczel, he wrote a book Why Science Does Not Disprove God. I have not read it, but I found the part with his daughter and her encounter with Dawkins pretty funny.
http://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/amir-aczel-why-science-does-not-disprove-god/
 
#24
I am just dumbstruck to find any personal value to attend one of his lectures, I really wonder what people get out of it?
I have no idea, perhaps being in the presence of greatness is a thrill in itself? Challenge a skeptic on reality and you'll get a lot of stuff about being in awe of the universe, and how they find all they need in the values they have made for themselves. Personally speaking I fail to see how an accidental universe can compete with a created universe for awesomeness (I mean, what kind of mind thinks up the one we have, where the furthest known galaxy is 13.39 billion light years* away [and light travels at 186,000 miles per second, and that's just the most distant current contender, the limit is continually put back] as well as creating a water flea?), or how our purpose in this universe may be important and not merely chance. What kind of spiritual giants are hiding in these humble shells, and what might we really be?

*not allowing for universal expansion
 
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#25
Haven't listened to the podcast, but it seems like a been there done that skeptic. Can we get some open minded sharper skeptics who don't ignore evidence and are less ideological? Skeptics that can keep the "debate" sharp and openminded
I think that Michael Britt was truly doing his best to be open minded and look at the evidence... but mediumship??? OMG!!!

Even for people who have had first-hand experiences with ostensible after-death communications, that's not an easy thing to accept. Forget p values and effect size... mediumship???

I think there is some value in listening to someone who truly believes that he is open minded and capable of accessing a scientific study purely on a methodological basis find out that some things just cross the line and can't be assessed that way no matter how hard you try. We all have our lines in the sand. I think mediumship was way over the line for Michael Britt. But one has to give him kudos for trying.

It would be interesting to see him go further in this and really get into Beischel's work. I'd love to hear a conversation between the two of them because they both comes across as reasonable people who just happen to have very different worldviews. But I think that might be asking too much of Britt.
 
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Alex

Administrator
#26
And Britt is not alone in this. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of podcasts and blogs all affirming the same worldview; all recycling the disinformation churned out by Wiseman, Watt, Blackmore, French, Shermer and a few others. Is it orchestrated? It might be but I don't think it needs to be. Anything these guys say will be parroted unquestioningly by the likes of the BBC and the Guardian in the UK, Scientific American and much of the mainstream media elsewhere in the West.
ok, I'm gonna keep pounding the drum -- conspiracy theory. Dig into any one you wish. I recommend 9/11 because there's so much good easily accessible info (start with https://www.corbettreport.com/episode-308-911-trillions-follow-the-money/ if you seek iron clad proof independently verified by several national regulatory agencies). JFK and RFK are good also, but too distant. Just dig in and don't give up until you get all the way thru to the other side. Then, come back and look at psi/consciousness/NDE skepticism... a lot of the same stuff in different form.
 

Alex

Administrator
#27
I don't know if there is a plot (or not), but I've watched them (Carolyn Watt's etc) act a bit cliquey at SPR conferences... Pulling some delegates chairs away from the main group and sitting at the back of the conference room whispering and smirking. The different feelings I've got from them from time to time being a little contemptuous of the other delegates, some sense of superiority, and pricklyness...

But then I got some of the same feelings from delegates with opposing views... A bit cliquey, and gathering round their proponent hero's... minds also made up about what is going on.

In the centre I found very very few genuinely open minded individuals, an ex chancellor of Durham Uni, if IIRC was simply interested, and open minded.... and willing to mix.

Sure, I thought some of the speakers were deluding themselves... but I didn't move the chairs and sit right at the back away from the other delegates, whispering and grinning.

So I don't know if it's organised, or just happens... that these different groups simply spring up, in response to each other. But somewhere in the middle, genuine searching for a better explanation for very rare phenomena... just seems to get lost.

I see pretty much the same mix of people on here...
interesting. thx.

ok, let's say you wanted to influence such a group -- how hard would it be? make sure a grant goes a certain way... make sure a job promotion happens... and a demotion as well... get a little increased media attention here and there... we're talking peanuts in terms of money/power. so, how long would it take to change the direction of the group?
 

Alex

Administrator
#28
I think a lot of people like to feel that they understand reality at some level of detail - whether it be a rough outline or a detailed technical understanding. Getting into this stuff makes you feel all the balls are up in the air!

David
agreed. this is the deep fear of change... please pass the Bible and leave me alone.
 
#29
I wouldn't discount the conspiracy idea. We have been warned since forever not to meddle with the supernatural. First by the church (which threatened people with hell) and then by materialism (which argued that the supernatural doesn't exist and anyone taking an interest in such things must be insane).
You have to wonder why.
 
#30
Questions at the end of the podcast:

What do you make about Alex's claim about the "psyop" thing? The claim, for instance, that we cannot understand the situation with Daryl Bem -- the misrepresentation and hijacking of science by Richard Wiseman -- if we aren't willing to consider the conclusion that a psyop operation has been in progress? If we just look at it as action by an individual player to subvert parapsychology, doesn't it seem less understandable?

Or, is Alex going too far in drawing this conclusion?
In order to understand what is happening in the physical world, you have to understand what is going on in the non-physical realms. The earth is not supposed to be heaven, it is supposed to be a place to have experiences that you can't have in the spirit realms. One kind of experience you can't have in the spirit realm is being a materialist. So, yes, there is a conspiracy, a psyop, but the conspirators are not who you think they are.
 
#31
interesting. thx.

ok, let's say you wanted to influence such a group -- how hard would it be? make sure a grant goes a certain way... make sure a job promotion happens... and a demotion as well... get a little increased media attention here and there... we're talking peanuts in terms of money/power. so, how long would it take to change the direction of the group?
Well there is no doubt people with power and/or money can influence things in the direction they want.
 
#32
So Alex - do you think the powers that be know that this supernatural stuff is real (from experiments the military did in the 50s and 60s, say) but are deliberately suppressing it via a few well placed shills in the academy and media?

Sounds plausible.
 

Alex

Administrator
#34
So Alex - do you think the powers that be know that this supernatural stuff is real (from experiments the military did in the 50s and 60s, say)
no doubt in my mind

but are deliberately suppressing it via a few well placed shills in the academy and media?
IMO it's not so much a "shill" kinda thing as it is just watering and feeding what naturally evolves... and promoting ridicule of the stuff you want to go away.

realted... http://skeptiko.com/john-brandenburg-outsourced-ufo-research-325/ ... you outsource the research, then monitor the progress with a fake Junior College professor who turns out to be a DIA agent.
 
#35
ok, but this is problematic. our vantage point is always in this physical world... even when we report the non-psychical.
The physical/non-physical dichotomy is problematic. It appears there is nothing "non-physical" about afterlife areas. Just as there is nothing really "non-physical" about the dream space.
 

Alex

Administrator
#36
The physical/non-physical dichotomy is problematic. It appears there is nothing "non-physical" about afterlife areas. Just as there is nothing really "non-physical" about the dream space.
I think I see your point. I guess we could also turn it around and say there's nothing "physical" about our consensus reality. words get in the way, but you get the idea.
 
#37
Forgive me for saying this, but who the H was that?

For some reason Alex referred to this guest as "open minded", but all I heard was a skeptic true believer! Faith first, evidence can be dismissed later!

Wow. Annoying, frustrating, painful.

Thanks for doing the show, but it wasn't comfortable listening.

Not sure of it's value either. Once again dancing with people who may believe themselves to be open minded, but who in reality are just another one of the mainstream faithful. A peon in the church of mindless materialism.

May have been more helpful if he displayed the courage of his obvious underlying convictions, then at least we could have heard them directly challenged and defeated.

This guy however is a sceptic in sheep's clothing.
Sorry to be so rough, he sounds like a perfectly pleasant man, but not an intellectually rigorous nor honest one. He was simply defending his faith.
 
#38
Personally I don't mind listening to Alex wipe the floor with these materialists. This guy's arguments were piss-weak, however. I mean embarrassingly so. And I know we're all specialists working on our tiny little bits of disjointed knowledge nowadays but a psychologist who claims to know nothing about consciousness - really??

The thing to remember about academia is that it's like this giant reality-producing machine. It holds a complete monopoly on what is regarded as truth and knowledge. And it has been co-oped. This exercise in capture started in the early 20th century by people who suddenly realised how important scientists are in warfare and threw tons of money at them.

I agree that they don't have to use shills. Not in an overt way. Universities and academics dance completely to the tune of their funders and this is probably all you need to know. And I say this as an academic.
 
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#39
What is it about the materialist world view that offers people comfort?
It reinforces the still dominant paradigms of mechanistic modern industrial culture. Mass production makes things for consumer markets. Labor contracts treat individual workers as interchangeable parts. Political discourse groups people into demographic voting blocks. At every turn individuals are treated like cogs in a vast deterministic machine. Or so it was. But things have been changing for a while. Niche markets, 3D printing and customization, decentralization of intellectual content. That can be very disorienting - moving from a mechanistic perspective on life to an organic and participatory one. Our culture hasn't caught up - including our approach to scientific inquiry.
 
#40
I have to laugh when peer review is held up as the gold standard of authoritative research. In the more esoteric subjects there are only about three people world wide who are up to speed, and they're all reviewing each other's research. Things like multiverse theory gain respectability without a shred of evidence, it really is bizarre.
 
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