The tipping point is here and now?

Do you think that "the tipping point" of cultural attitudes towards paranormal is reached?


  • Total voters
    28
#1
Recently, Penny Satori released her book "The Wisdom of Near-Death Experiences". During the launch of the book, the series of articles were published in Daily Mail, dealing with topics like veridical NDEs, precognitive NDEs and children's NDEs.

This series of articles was astonishingly successful. Daily Mail editors characterised it like that in the summary article featuring the best published material:

This week the Mail has been serialising intensive care nurse Penny Sartori’s compelling research from her amazing new book The Wisdom Of Near-Death Experiences.
The response from our readers has been unprecedented, with thousands getting in touch to share their moving stories.
Penny Satori has already made two blog posts about this book: the first about the release of the book, and the second one about its glorious sucess. She wrote:

I have had an overwhelming response since my book has been serialized in The Daily Mail on Saturday 25th January, Monday 27th January and another two articles planned for Tuesday and Wednesday. There have been many comments on the Daily Mail website and it is very encouraging to see so many people speaking so openly about their experiences.

It’s really great to see this really important subject being taken so seriously.
These events, along with TED controversy, may be one of the many signs that "the tipping point" is actually reached. Psi skeptics have already lost their cultural hegemony (if they ever had one). In such a case, the subsequent change of attitudes in academia may happen sooner than we expect.

What do you think? The Great Transformation has started, and from now it will only accelerate day by day? Or these are just the first steps, and we shold not be too enthusiastic? Or, maybe, our hopes are grossly exxagerated, and we will have to wait for decades for the actual change?
 
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#2
Dean Radin thinks people are starting to pay attention.

I disagreed:

What worked more than 100 years ago still works today: Ignore the evidence and ridicule anyone who tries to discuss it so everyone else will be afraid to bring up the subject.

I am not optimistic about the power of the truth to win out against a dedicated propaganda crusade. What is different today than 100 years ago? There was a time when mainstream scientists including Nobelists Richet, the Curries, Strutt and other non-Nobelists but still well renowned mainstream scientists such as Lodge and Crookes, even Robert Boyle in his day studied psychic phenomena. There is still a long way to go before the field even catches up to where it once was.

There are too many examples of successful propaganda. So many people confuse political propaganda with truth that world leaders are elected because of it. There are complete DNA sequences for three individual Sasquatch and mainstream science ignores it while disinformants spread false stories to discredit the research.
and added this

The government remote viewing program was classified. They claim they cancelled it, but that was based on an analysis of only unclassified data so many people think it was actualy moved deeper into the black budget. When the government wants to protect a classified technology, they prevent it from being developed by private citizens and corporations. So there is a good possibility that there is some involvement of the intelligence agencies etc. in suppressing the truth about psi. Some evidence of this is the fact that DARPA employed Ray Hyman to debunk Uri Geller.
 
#4
What do you think? The Great Transformation has started, and from now it will only accelerate day by day? Or these are just the first steps, and we shold not be too enthusiastic?
I lean more towards the former, but also agree with the latter while remaining pretty enthused. ;-) We're definitely seeing some very positive trends, but I think it might still take a couple decades for a major paradigm shift. Although, things like AWARE are a bit of a wild card, which could cause substantial swings in either direction, depending on the outcome.
 
#6
Do you think there is any reason to expect a positive result in the AWARE study would be more influential than the many previous positive results such as Bem's study, or the Targ Puthoff Nature paper?
I do, because it won't rely on statistics. It will be harder to explain away over repeated replications with tighter and tighter controls on info leakage. Most of the skeptics on this forum have stated that AWARE has the potential to be a game-changer for them.

That said, there is always wiggle room and those who want to refuse positive results, will find room here too. I just think it will be more persuasive. Heck, I am a propoment who buys into the psi evidence. AWARE will still be more persuasive to me, as well.
 
#9
Goal post 1: A hit on an AWARE target is proof.
Goal post 2: You need more hits
Goal post 3: It has to be replicated by another group of researchers
Goal post 4: it has to be replicated by a skeptical group of researchers
Goal post n+1: you need to refine the protocol
Goal post zeta: You need more trials. A meta analysis of cherry picked studies shows there is no effect.

(wait sitting down)
 
#10
I plumped for the middle option, but that may be more wishful thinking than anything else.

One thing is new, though: the Internet. More and more people are using it to examine claims that oppose various kinds of consensus: something that would have been much harder and perhaps even impossible a couple of decades ago. Conventional news sources are really beginning to feel the pinch and most of them may pretty soon be extinct. There are quite a number I wouldn't shed a tear over, either.
 
#11
I plumped for the middle option, but that may be more wishful thinking than anything else.

One thing is new, though: the Internet. More and more people are using it to examine claims that oppose various kinds of consensus: something that would have been much harder and perhaps even impossible a couple of decades ago. Conventional news sources are really beginning to feel the pinch and most of them may pretty soon be extinct. There are quite a number I wouldn't shed a tear over, either.
The only decent thing about CNN these days is Anderson Cooper.
 
#12
Speaking from a UK perspective, skepticism is entrenched, but it isn't a long lived phenomenon. Knee jerk reactions against every belief is agitprop of the multimedia, internet world. In my lifetime terrestrial television has moved from Evadne Price having her own TV horoscope slot, to Richard Dawkins' broadsides. It has to be recognised however, that the media is out of touch with the general population, for whom spirituality and belief of some variety is a given. As the middle classes have grown and the working class shrank, the polemical strand has expanded, but to ordinary people it's still mostly seen as Punch and Judy boffins whacking one another, and as much relevance to them as a sideshow to the real world.
 
#13
Speaking from a UK perspective, skepticism is entrenched, but it isn't a long lived phenomenon. Knee jerk reactions against every belief is agitprop of the multimedia, internet world. In my lifetime terrestrial television has moved from Evadne Price having her own TV horoscope slot, to Richard Dawkins' broadsides. It has to be recognised however, that the media is out of touch with the general population, for whom spirituality and belief of some variety is a given. As the middle classes have grown and the working class shrank, the polemical strand has expanded, but to ordinary people it's still mostly seen as Punch and Judy boffins whacking one another, and as much relevance to them as a sideshow to the real world.
I will say though, that in the UK skepticism seems a lot more polite and gentle than in the US. We do not, thank goodness, have people like Jerry Coyne. Despite them not agreeing with the psi hypothesis, both Chris French and Richard Wiseman are actually fairly friendly and not demeaning. The former signed the TED petition, which I think is a great testament to his character as a decent bloke. Yes Dawkins says stuff, but his fanbase consists mostly of his twitter followers and guardian readers, I haven't heard him say anything particularly prominent recently. And as someone who is an atheist in regards to the abrahamic god, I don't think calling people deluded really wins them over.
 
#14
I plumped for the middle option, but that may be more wishful thinking than anything else.

One thing is new, though: the Internet. More and more people are using it to examine claims that oppose various kinds of consensus: something that would have been much harder and perhaps even impossible a couple of decades ago. Conventional news sources are really beginning to feel the pinch and most of them may pretty soon be extinct. There are quite a number I wouldn't shed a tear over, either.
This has been the point of Craig and me for long - Internet is a real game-changer. No way to supress alternative views and discussion today. That's why all authoritarians, from conservative governors to no-less-conservative parents, are badly scared that this demonic Web will corrupt their subjects/children. What they are afraid of, in fact, is simply losing the control of infromation and communication, which is the very cornerstone of all and any opression. All opressors want to see themselves (and to be seen by opressed) as "protectors", "guardians", "saviors", "helpers", "keepers" etc. As long as their subordinates sincerely beleive that all what is done to them is done "for their own good", authoritarian regime lives. But, as soon as opressors' (self-)deception is easily exposed by the Web surfing, their days are over.

The only decent thing about CNN these days is Anderson Cooper.
The the growing numbers of alternative media sources (usually Internet-based) is another good sign I perceive. Look for this Natural News article.
 
C

chuck.drake

#15
This has been the point of Craig and me for long - Internet is a real game-changer. No way to supress alternative views and discussion today. That's why all authoritarians, from conservative governors to no-less-conservative parents, are badly scared that this demonic Web will corrupt their subjects/children. What they are afraid of, in fact, is simply losing the control of infromation and communication, which is the very cornerstone of all and any opression. All opressors want to see themselves (and to be seen by opressed) as "protectors", "guardians", "saviors", "helpers", "keepers" etc. As long as their subordinates sincerely beleive that all what is done to them is done "for their own good", authoritarian regime lives. But, as soon as opressors' (self-)deception is easily exposed by the Web surfing, their days are over.



The the growing numbers of alternative media sources (usually Internet-based) is another good sign I perceive. Look for this Natural News article.
But there is much that is false in the information that is presented on the internet. If we don't teach people to discern what is more or less likely to be factual then the internet is not that helpful. It is great if someone wants to learn about Mahayana Buddhism its history and practices, but a nightmare if someone wants to research UFOs.
 
#16
The internet certainly democratizes publishing and increases the speed of communication. But it has its limitations too. People tend to wall themselves into their little enclaves and surround themselves with like minded sources of information, confirming their biases. Has the internet had any effect on pseudoskepticism up to now? Are politics less corrupt? If you voted for them, they are persecuted. Only if you voted against them, are they corrupt.

There was a time when everyone with a ouija board was writing a book and people thought it was the tipping point, but the pseudokeptical propaganda and disinformation had its effect and interest faded away. If you want a technology that democratizes psi, it is the ouija board. I don't think we realize the power of propaganda because ... well you have to have an "evil mind" to understand how easy it is to manipulate sheep, all you need is a few sheep dogs to dish out ridicule and sow confusion with misinformation ... and the sheep are ... herded where you want them except for maybe a few strays running around all in different directions at cross purposes.
 
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#17
But there is much that is false in the information that is presented on the internet. If we don't teach people to discern what is more or less likely to be factual then the internet is not that helpful. It is great if someone wants to learn about Mahayana Buddhism its history and practices, but a nightmare if someone wants to research UFOs.
If we will choose to teach our children proper media literacy, like Marjorie Heins from the Free Expression Project, a staunch opponent of age-based censorship, argues, instead of supressing their critical, creative and comparative thinking with censoring and controlling their access to new information, we might soon meet a generation ready to deal with the great amounts of controversial and contradictory information on the Web. Unfortunately, for now, parents appear to be obessed with "protection" of their kids from the "bad" (according to their worldview) information, which teach them nothing but bitterness of being disempowered and mistrust.

BTW, Marjorie Heins' "Not in Front of the Children", a book-sized argument against age-based censorship, can be downloaded free in a pdf format. A highly recommended reading.
 
#18
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#19
It's important to also remember that the rabid anti-spiritual sentiment of the Coyne/Dawkins variety is largely confined to the Western World, and even then mostly the internet and academia.

In South Korea, for example, you can get a check up and get prescribed both "materialist" medicine as well as acupuncture. In India there's probably more of a divide, though still some syncretism between the poles of "science" and "magic".

This isn't always a good thing - see STEM majors still accepting the caste system - but I think you'd see much greater acceptance of work like Tuckers. It might even be more productive that skeptical evangelism in that it would at least accept reincarnation while providing evidence that the notion of karma is in serious need of revision.
 
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