Tim Freke & Richard Cox, UFOs, 9-11, Climate And Truth |391|

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Oct 2, 2018.

  1. Mishelle

    Mishelle Member

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    I've been thinking a lot about Alex's hilarious comment that "everything is a conspiracy, even where to buy the fucking buns!" and my agreement with it and how that sounds to I expect most folks. So I wanted to try to make a small case for this truth, if possible. Hopefully there are those reading who might be interested.

    What's the difference between conspiracy and collaboration?
    Here are 2 simple examples with which I want to try to unpack that question. I chose these 2 expressly b/c very few folks will have any emotional investment in them.

    1. The Iran-Contra scandal was a huge media story with public trials all over television in the U.S. in the 80s when I was in high school. That was a long time ago. Clinton was deeply involved when he was governor of Arkansas. Notice wiki never uses the term conspiracy, though this is most certainly the greatest example of an "outed conspiracy" to precede 9/11. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran–Contra_affair

    "The Iran–Contra affair (Persian: ماجرای ایران-کنترا‎, Spanish: caso Irán-Contra), also referred to as Irangate,[1] Contragate[2] or the Iran–Contra scandal[citation needed], was a political scandal in the United States that occurred during the second term of the Reagan Administration. Senior administration officials secretly facilitated the sale of arms to Iran, which was the subject of an arms embargo.[3] They hoped, thereby, to fund the Contras in Nicaragua while at the same time negotiating the release of several U.S. hostages. Under the Boland Amendment, further funding of the Contras by the government had been prohibited by Congress."

    The drugs/weapons were exchanged through small regional airports, most well-known being the one in Mena, Arkansas. I won't go into the details, it's a huge story that demonstrates the involvement and complicity of police, media, government and locals on every level. There were those who benefited, like the crews that had to be hired to service the facilities, from cleaning, to maintenance, to guards, to training, etc. Then there are the professional-level folks--the reporters, lawyers, local politicians, etc. Then there were those who did not benefit, like those who lost their young boys, murdered for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and then covered up. Or those who died from drug overdose and 'accidents' as drugs took over these small towns. When they made this 'scandal' into a flashy Hollywood box office hit staring Tom Cruise, another layer of folks benefited 3 decades later. Now that's a conspiracy that keeps on giving. How many of those who cleaned the floors at the airport and saw something very strange was clearly happening ever believed themselves to have been involved in a conspiracy?

    2. And now for a little light conspiracy story. The ladies of our local Stitching club (that is older ladies who sew, quilt, crochet, etc.) have met every Tuesday at the Senior Center for 7 years. Last month the main organizer announced they would have to move to the church. All the ladies were curious as to why. They were told that the Board did not like them using the space b/c they did not support the local politicians enough and did not donate enough and it cost money to maintain the room and the Senior Center was not benefiting enough from the ladies' presence. (Probably the masonic lodge in town is too small and they need more meeting space, but that's just speculation on my part.) They'd wanted the ladies out for a long time and finally managed to stress out the head of the Stitching Club to the point she felt she had no other choice but to find another location. So she did. Do the ladies understand that this collaborated effort to expel them from the Senior Center was, by definition, a conspiracy?

    What makes folks so afraid of this word? Could it be that far more folks understand they are regularly involved in them yet want to be able to continue to benefit without remorse? That a few can so easily herd the many should raise huge alarm bells, yet instead what most often happens is those who yell "Conspiracy!" are shuffled into the fringes, which is also an act of conspiracy!

    So, back to my question, what is the difference between conspiracy and collaboration? Before you say simply that conspiracy involves malicious intent, consider the employees at the Mena hangar, and the Board members at the Senior Center. I look forward to any comments and reflections. :)
     
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  2. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Mishelle,

    Somehow I can't quite imagine you as a member of a stitching club!

    I suppose all I can really say, is that a lot of descriptions actually lie on a continuum - how hot does a summer day have to be in order to call it 'hot' - how big does a meal have to be to cal it a banquet, etc.

    Of course, if your club was pushed out because it didn't contribute to Democrat politicians, then I think you should publicise that in your community in time for the November elections!

    David
     
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  3. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Etymologically, conspire = con (together or with) + spirare (to breathe). So you conspire if you breathe, because you always breathe with others. Unless, that is, you are a solipsist = solus (alone) + ipse (self), in which case you breathe alone since there is no one else to breathe with.

    Hence only a solipsist could possibly be innocent of conspiracy.

    I rest my case. ;)
     
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  4. Richard Cox

    Richard Cox Member

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    Hello Michael,

    I too was raised loosely within the Protestant Church, I found a move towards materialism in a pure sense to be an escape from that. An escape from supernatural (and to me superstitious) notions of a God who writes books.

    I think I agree with the overwhelming majority of what you've written. I was only applying my theory to the materialistic science of the past few hundred years, I also have high regard for the Yogic sciences etc.

    I do suspect we had a different science in the past, I very much doubt the pyramids were roped and ramped into place. I also hope we move towards a different science in the future, one that incorporates such philosophies as Idealism and Animism (I also agree with David that political involvement poses a problem for this).

    But... I cannot ignore that materialism gave us flying machines etc. I hope centuries from now we look back on recent scientific achievements as limited by the materialist paradigm, when our technology is merged with consciousness, but we're not there yet!

    To answer you question, 'why does science need to be wrong?' - technically it doesn't, but humans might need it to be. For example, I would contend Galileo needed to believe that God created a material world and gave it consistent rules for him to develop his laws of motion. He felt through studying physics he was studying the mind of God. Had he believed the world to be a dream would he have taken such interest in it? Would he have instead been like the Yogis and looked for the dreamer?

    Now it's technically possible that a scientist could be sufficiently sophisticated to study the world without believing in the reality of it, but would that really happen? Schroedinger ended up an idealist, but started out believing he was outside the cave in reality, only to find he was inside looking at shadows on the wall.

    I believe what I have written here is consistent with your last three paragraphs.
     
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  5. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Yeah. The products of a science based on materialistic thinking can sometimes be beautiful (and sometimes ugly, of course).
    Well put, sir! And within what you've said is the hint that materialism may be a necessary stage in human evolution; without Schroedinger's materialistic understanding of science, he'd quite possibly have found it difficult to eventually gain a perspective from which he could understand and apply materialism without it becoming his all-encompassing world view. It's not unknown for onetime zealots to become the greatest heretics because they came to understand what the object of their zealotry really signified.

    Dabblers in such an object may not have studied it deeply enough to uncover its ultimate shortcomings. People like David and myself (once card-carrying materialists), have now rejected materialism whilst still being able to appreciate its usefulness in certain circumstances; we were both trained in its doctrines to a sufficient level that we could begin to identify those shortcomings.

    The shadows at the back of Plato's cave are, in the final analysis, unreal, but then again they're not entirely useless in helping us deal with life in general and, eventually, being able to make an escape, to see things from a different perspective.

    It's interesting that Idealism (and other "insubstantial" philososphies) came first, then materialism, and now, for some of us, those kinds of philosophy again. I suspect that first time round, human beings had no option but to speculate; then along came materialism and seemingly, judged by its apparently concrete outcomes, offered a final answer to understanding reality. All was well until along came quantum mechanics and threw everything into disarray, proving that materialism as an all-encompassing idea was just a phase, albeit an often useful one.

    We won't get rid of materialism, and I'm not sure I'd want to; but we can perhaps offer it an important, if subservient, role in our appreciation of reality. Just because it's not cock of the roost doesn't necessarily mean we should do entirely without it.
     
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  6. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    It is certainly possible to study a subject without it being real. I suppose a Shakespeare play isn't real, but a lot of people study them. Perhaps using the word 'real' can be a bit simplistic.

    However, I feel that science is increasingly shying away from the bits of reality that challenge it at its roots. For example NDE's have been known about all through history, but even now science seems uncomfortable with them. The really scientific reaction would be to scour the world for anomalous, deeply challenging phenomena because they have the power to expose new scientific ideas.

    Have you read "Irreducible Mind"? It contains a lot of reports from physicians, psychiatrists and doctors that paint an extraordinary continuum from well known psychological and medical phenomena, through to phenomena that are just impossible to square with conventional science. It is long and turgid, but read it in sections - it is really worth it! Maybe you could recommend it to Tim as well :)

    David
     
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  7. Mishelle

    Mishelle Member

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    That's actually a more likely possibility than my initial speculation. And if I threw that thought out to the ladies that might put a few bees in their bonnets!
     
  8. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Further to my last post, I'd add a nod to the old story of the man who was looking for his key under the light of a streetlamp. When asked if that was where he'd dropped it, he had to admit that it probably wasn't, but seeing as it was dark, where else could he look?

    Materialism is a bit like the area in the dark that's illuminated. It might make some sense to search for answers there, and you never know, the answers you find might be sufficient to solve your problem for you. However, the mistake that materialists make is to assert there is no dark area. There might be areas around the periphery of the illuminated area where it's darker, but at some time in the future the council will doubtless install a more powerful streetlamp bulb, brightening the area for the better discrimination of reality.

    My contention is that there are dark areas, no matter how powerful a bulb you install. More, really: that the illuminated area isn't literally real, just an apparent place where answers are modelled using the methodology of science. Come daylight, we'd be able to see the other areas, where there are no models, just reality as it actually is.

    The illuminated area, in the absence of daylight, is in some ways better than nothing, but if you use it to deny the reality of anything else, you are perforce limiting the kind of methodological inquiry you can use to discover new things. If science could somehow entertain the idea of searching in the dark, who knows, maybe using the sense of touch or smell rather than sight, it would become much enhanced. But unfortunately, it's fixated only on the illuminated area and the installation of more powerful lightbulbs...

    Ah well. At some point, all analogies reach the limit of their explanatory power. I can only hope that I haven't stretched mine too far.
     
  9. Mishelle

    Mishelle Member

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    That's a very captivating thought!
     
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  10. Mishelle

    Mishelle Member

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  11. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I think my answer to why science needs to be wrong, is slightly different.

    If, say, you want to take science and add to it certain paranormal phenomena, the new theory can't be less complicated than the old materialist science - it has to be yet more complex. We are probably way off a situation where every phenomenon is already known, so our science has to be incomplete.

    Another way of looking at this is to look at Idealism. I'd bet it is the ultimate theory but to really use the theory, you would need to know why things don't happen (usually) in a totally capricious way - why there are rules. So to get at those rules, you can't really start with a theory that seems to permit everything, you have to start with a lesser theory where there are rules - if that makes any sense!

    David
     
  12. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    For Richard Cox:

    I've been thinking: I mentioned Bernardo Kastrup in an earlier post, but didn't ask you if you'd read anything of his. Lots of his stuff - scientific articles, blog posts, books and videos can be found at his website -- click "More" to explore what's available. If you have time to read only one paper, I'd recommend you download and read this pdf, entitled Making Sense of the Mental Universe (this and other academic works of his can also be also be downloaded here).

    It's all about squaring Idealism with the latest findings in physics and I suspect you'll find it fascinating if you haven't already read it. Bernardo is a brilliant writer and has great clarity, all the more so because English isn't his native tongue -- I believe that's Dutch, by the way.

    If you do get time to read it, I'd be interested to hear your reaction.
     
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  13. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Of course, nobody here (I think!) does deny that.

    However it is interesting that some areas of science seems to be giving us less and less. What do you expect to get out of the Higgs boson (if it isn't a statistical freak,or worse still, an artefact created to prevent LHC going down in history as having found nothing! Likewise, what do you expect to get out of the Big Bang, or dark matter?

    These aren't rhetorical questions, I think science is kept honest and delusion free only when there is something tangible to show for the work.

    David
     
  14. Wormwood

    Wormwood Member

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    I would say that science gave us flying machines etc., and that science and materialism are two distinct things, even if mainstream academia would try to tell us otherwise.
     
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  15. Richard Cox

    Richard Cox Member

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  16. Richard Cox

    Richard Cox Member

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    I've read the essays in his book Brief Peaks Beyond and listened to his Skeptiko interviews. I think he's great, top draw. I'll be very interested to read his paper on Idealism and physics thank you.

    The only point of contention I had with his Skeptiko interview (274) was that he seemed to be saying materialism is not necessary for science. I would challenge that in the way I've been doing here.

    What I don't know (and wonder) about Bernado is how he experiences Idealism. To me intellectual reasoning about it, whilst fascinating, is a distant second to being able to shift into directly experiencing the world as arising in consciousness. I din't know what Bernado's thought's are on this, or anyone's here actually.

    Just as a point of interest, I did wonder where Bernado is from, he doesn't sound Dutch to me.
     
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  17. Richard Cox

    Richard Cox Member

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    I messed up the reply above -

    That's a very good point David, regarding people studying, fiction certainly makes me think.
    As a counterpoint I would bring up the historical Jesus debate. It's my contention that hanging on to an historic Jesus causes all sorts of problems for Christians. Why then cling to it so tightly? Why not run to embrace a mythic Jesus? My contention is that history seems more real than myth. History actually happened, whereas myth is just fantasy. From an Idealist perspective this is of course questionable, history is not necessarily more real than myth – but it does seem that way to most people.

    The word 'real' is too simplistic, I'm sure. Perhaps I could then say that the physical world had to appear to be supremely important to Galileo for him to study it. If he felt it was a dream it might not have taken on this importance.

    Regarding literature, I think we get that it is very 'real' it the sense that it speaks to human nature. A further observation though – for literature to become religion people have to start taking it literally.

    I have not read Irreducible Mind, thank you for the recommendation.
     
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  18. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Okay. Maybe you'll be able to comment on it presently.
    I think the part of the interview you might be referring to is covered in this part of the show transcript:

    Dr. Bernardo Kastrup: I think what may be implicit in your question is materialism is a necessary metaphysics for the development of technology and for a pragmatic, effective way of living in the world

    Alex Tsakiris: If not necessary as you said, highly synergistic.

    Dr. Bernardo Kastrup: I think materialism is highly synergistic with the economic system and the power structures that are in place today but not necessarily with the effective development of technology and pragmatic, effective living; and a certain degree of harmony with nature that allows us to have a good, long, comfortable life. I don’t think that materialism is necessary for any of that. Even with the example that you mentioned, shut-up and calculate, means basically that you are ignoring any metaphysics, any ontology. And materialism is an ontology, it’s a metaphysics. When you say shut-up and calculate, you’re also denying not only the quantum-spiritual stuff, you’re also denying materialism. You’re just saying, shut-up and calculate. We know what the patterns and regularities are; we know how they unfold; we can do technology based on the predictions we can make accurately about how they will unfold. And we do not need any interpretation about what the essential nature of these patterns and these regularities will be in order to do technology and live pragmatic, comfortable lives. So I would answer your question in the negative. I would say no I don’t think materialism is necessary for all of that. I don’t think it’s a necessary step in anybody’s spiritual development. I think it’s an understandable and natural mistake that got reinforced for two reasons: initially because the 19th Century cultural ethos was that you would have to have a theory of the universe that as bleak as possible because only tough guys and girls would face that bleak reality; and of course materialism is fairly bleak. So it got reinforced like that and eventually it got reinforced by existing power structures and the economic system. I think that is all it has going for it. I don’t think it’s a necessary step.

    I interpret what he's saying is not that science couldn't have developed in a materialistic framework (obviously not, seeing as it did), but rather that it could have developed without materialism, and if it had, we might be in a better place right now.

    My view is that human beings, being what they are, probably needed a materialistic framework to develop science; it would have been nice if they didn't, perhaps, but they wanted to divorce themselves from what they perceived as the constricting effect of religion -- and maybe they threw out the baby ("spirituality", however one wants to interpret the term) along with that.

    But now, I feel the wheel is coming full circle and science itself, although it has for some time been predicated on materialism, is slowly coming to realise that it doesn't work terribly well (especially as a result of the findings of QM -- see the paper by Bernardo that I recommended). I like to think we're on the verge of a paradigm shift into a science that is more compatible with a spiritual/idealist framework, but we'll have to wait and see. The old guard won't give up easily!

    Ultimately, materialism has defeated itself because at the most fundamental level, Bernardo argues from scientific evidence that the "material" is actually a mental construct that comes about as a result of the interactions of Markov blankets between mind-at-large and its alters. I'm still not quite sure what a Markov blanket is exactly -- I'll be investigating further.
    I think he's made it his mission to try to reintroduce the spiritual (in the shape of idealism) into academia. That's why of late he's been focussing on producing papers that are being published through the usual peer-review process. And he's enjoying some success with that -- having been published in both Nature and Scientific American as well as other accredited journals. I suspect it's not so much that he actually wants to do that, but rather that he's using the best tool available to try to put across his hypotheses into academia, which, like it or not, has such an enormous influence on education and culture. I believe he's just being pragmatic.

    That doesn't mean he hasn't also made great efforts outside academia to popularise idealism, and nor does it mean that he doesn't draw on personal experience. If you'll check out some of his more popular-level material, I think you'll find he occasionally mentions his experiences, though he doesn't emphasise those very much. I put a lot of that down to a natural reluctance on his part to discuss them. Were he to do that, I suspect he'd risk becoming just another "spiritual pundit" who bases his "teachings" on personal experience, and academia in particular could conveniently dismiss what he has to say.
    I've presumed he's Dutch because he studied at the university of Eindhoven, but he may not be. So I've just now asked the question about his nationality on his forum and hope soon to get a definitive answer. If and when I do, I'll post it here on Skeptiko.
     
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  19. Michael Patterson

    Michael Patterson New

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    Hey Richard

    I am not a fan of flying. I will not rant on the theme, but I want to observe that we now have a perfect network for disease transmission. Remember the Spanish Flu? If we had the same thing come back now it would be catastrophic. Quite apart from that we have hordes of bastards tramping over everything because flying is affordable. I live in a location with high tourist value and I am seriously over finding the better part of the populations of Europe, Asia and the Americas clogging up my town. I wish they would stay home and just look at where i live via net based video cameras. That's a better use of technology.

    And I can't help thinking about vimanas, which seem to be a bit sophisticated than what we have.
     
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  20. Steve

    Steve Member

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    Now you tell me! ;)

    I am concerned at the number of aeroplanes that airlines are buying. My last airline has over 300 Boeing 737s with 180 more on order with options for another 100! They’re all pretty new, with an average age of 5.5years, they get rid of a fair few but they are looking to operate over 500 in a few years. It doesn’t bode well for the planet imo.

    43B5FA91-B14D-47F7-A727-81BD4894B0AB.jpeg
     
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