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The Whymant report is very interesting IMHO. Other than collective fraud, which given his position I find highly unlikely, I can't see a sensible non-survival explanation for it.

" or some built-in cosmic mechanism that prevents us from getting absolute, unchallengeable proof of an afterlife."

I've thought about it quite often in exactly the same terms. Not just proof of an afterlife but of paranormal phenomena in general.

Edifying post, Michael!

||or some built-in cosmic mechanism that prevents us from getting absolute, unchallengeable proof of an afterlife.||

I don't think this at all. This all comes down to epistemological framework. In my view, NDEs with veridical content are solid proof, but of course materialists are going to challenge every aspect of the framework that makes that belief possible in my mind.

Materialists do not want to follow the implications of their own claims. They will say that Valiantine, Palladino, et al. were mere stage magicians. Well, if so, they pulled off tricks that are truly amazing in their own right, tricks that would of necessity alter our understanding of the possible. But do materialists express interest in seeing where that leads? Of course not. It was all just "tricks," forget about it. :)

"or some built-in cosmic mechanism that prevents us from getting absolute, unchallengeable proof of an afterlife"

This is called by Thomas Campbell in his work "My Big Toe" the "psi-uncertainty principle". He says it is necessary to ensure we remain in enough doubt about extra-physical dimensions to focus on the physical why we're here. As you say, Michael, the tricksterish element is never far away. I kind of imagine naughty little elves and pixies invading the unconscious minds of mediums.

You can download the book free:

http://www.freewebs.com/psilib/

It's in the "not knowing" that the emotion is generated that is needed to imprint the lessons that the soul is here to learn. If we knew absolutely 100% for certain that there was life after death the death of someone we love would cease to be the powerful lesson it is in what it means and how it feels to be separate. We'd just wave goodbye and think "see you on the other side" but because there is always a little tinge of doubt we get emotional and cry our tears and so that moment is downloaded into our memory for ever. It is a lesson we never forget. Trust me, when someone you love dies, you don't forget it.

Peeps, the Standard Model of physics (recently the Higgs particle was detected in proof) can predict particle values to 10 or more decimal places, so there can be no new mystical fields or forces or cosmic mechanisms to discover. Everything is therefore contained within physical reality and there is no room for Psi.

The vacuum has the property that everything that is not forbidden by physical law does happen - so since the standard model is correct up to 100's of GeV, way beyond chemical phenomena of ~eV, there is nothing else to be detected. Sorry.

I have had about six readings with mediums? Psychics of that about 90 percent of psychic projections flat wrong. But 80 percent of information from medium-ship was beyond doubt information that could not be obtained by fraud, cold reading and imagination.
Some information was just phenomenal exact names; exact details even mentioning a person by name who had just deceased and that he had taken a picture of an orange cat that is in my hallway. Alas with that comes some pretty ridiculous stuff. One told me I was the reincarnation of Robert E Lee.(maybe his Horse Traveler)
Others obviously picked up energy of people but got that energy a bit confused. One medium described my youngest son as a very gentle soul, another as dangerous, and hangs out with the wrong people (PhD students?).

I went to Washington and Lee as did one of my sons. He is a good person by but a really tough football/rugby/.wrestler in College. Almost everything told me about my future except on important thing (an undiagnosed serious illness) ,was totally wrong. ON the mediumship readings it was extremely accurate and not general.
For myself I put this down to a couple of factors one the pressure to produce information about the a future that is still has not been determined because of free will. Secondly, almost all mediums explain that they do not get information on a solid concrete form more impressions,and it is obvious ther are competing voices for their attention.

"Everything is therefore contained within physical reality and there is no room for Psi."

Is there room for consciousness?

'we've discovered everything'

oh dear, we're back to the late 19th century again!

Everything is therefore contained within physical reality and there is no room for Psi.

It fellows necessarily from your argument that mind does not exist either. Higgs Bosun is nothing more than a force carrier for mass. It has not resolved much of anything nor does it provide a UFT. Please say hello to the Churchland and Dennet for me. Oh wait consciousness does not exist scratch that.

"Everything is therefore contained within physical reality and there is no room for Psi."

Darn. Guess the game is up guys. We'll just have to scrap all the evidence and get back to reality, huh?

I'm so glad that's all sorted out now. LMAO

Michael - it's time to close your blog as we have reached a point where we now know everything and nothing left to be explored beyond :-).
Please spread the message to Michael Tymn and related all you know - all should be closed with immediate effect!! :-)

Also this idea of "uncertainty goes hand in hand with the Afterlife to keep us off balance or reasons XYZ"...

Go back to the year 1350 anywhere in the world, or the year 1750, and the existence of the Afterlife would just be considered an everyday fact. In 1750, at least, the concept of an "atheist" would be known to more educated people, and there would be a few. But if you questioned the Afterlife in most eras of human existence, you would be looked at cross-eyed--people just wouldn't know what you were talking about. They took the existence of the Afterlife to be common knowledge, just like the sun rising in the morning.

Was there still fear and uncertainty associated with death? Of course. We instinctively fear it, and we can't just visit the Afterlife as easily as the next village. But was there some "Trickster" preventing people from having confidence in their continued existence? I don't see any evidence to that effect.

And I don't see that force at work today, either. Evidence continues to build, and in very consistent, approachable ways. I really don't see much of a block at all, aside from the prestige that atheists/materialists have held in the scientific community and thus the news media since the 19th century, with Christians also fighting against the evidence for their own ideological reasons.

And Art, I think your theorizing that we need to have uncertainty for the sake of separation doesn't work either. You would need a controlling authority that makes the uncertainty *just so*--and I don't see that. For example, why allow any evidence to exist at all if maximal separation were the goal?

Hi Matt

Did they simply take the afterlife for granted because it was the received wisdom, or because they had no better explanation for phenomena we now understand differently, or because of superstition do you think?

"Is there room for consciousness?"

No. Philosopher Dan Dennett says consiousness is an illusion of the brain, by the brain, for the brain (Consciousness Explained, 1993) –it’s an epiphenomenon. It’s quite easy to fool the senses into seeing what isn’t there or to interpret things wrongly. Split brain patients have contradictory impulses – there is no unitary intent. Neurobiological research shows quite conclusively that consciousness is just a post-facto add-on to our decision making -“we” don’t actually make our decisions, they go on behind the scenes in the brain subconsciously.

The organism is more easily controlled if it doesn't have to bother with the complexity of dealing with discrete starts and stops –so it treats the range of subliminal and self-aware states as if they were all part of one consciousness. This phasing between states does not affect the self-image of the individual organism and simplifies its control interface. As we have so many parts of the brain bolted on by evolution, there could never be just one person in there. We’re each of us a committee and often self-contradict. If we adopt rationalism as our philosophy of life (based on materialism and maths) we can attempt to minimise our tendency to be inconsistent and subjective.

Uh---"Elevated",---I mean "Drifter",--- I mean "Forests". It's difficult to disguise "Stupid"!

Peeps, the Standard Model of physics (recently the Higgs particle was detected in proof) can predict particle values to 10 or more decimal places, so there can be no new mystical fields or forces or cosmic mechanisms to discover. Everything is therefore contained within physical reality and there is no room for Psi.

You are saying that we already know everything about the universe and therefore cannot exist psi? You're wrong, we have not developed a theory of everything, and in the early twentieth century, some scientists believed to have discovered everything, and then developing quantum theory and proved them wrong, as in your case.

Psi phenomena are not incompatible with the theories of modern science:

http://userpages.umbc.edu/~braude/ftp/pages/pdfs_pubd/braude--Psi%20and%20our%20Picture%20of%20the%20World.pdf

"Is there room for consciousness?"

No. Philosopher Dan Dennett says consiousness is an illusion of the brain, by the brain, for the brain (Consciousness Explained, 1993) –it’s an epiphenomenon.

If there is no room for consciousness, then this means that consciousness does not exist, not even as an epiphenomenon, but no matter what you write or what Dennett writes, I am conscious is the most accurate I have in the world. Moreover, consciousness is the only thing that cannot be apparent but not real, because if it looks like it hurts his foot, then the foot really hurts, but my foot does not exist, which in consciousness
appearance and reality coincide.

Moreover, if we say that consciousness is an epiphenomenon of the brain, then this is not true, because there are experiments on how people can alter their brain activity through meditation and the placebo effect exists.

Split brain patients have contradictory impulses – there is no unitary intent.

You commit the fallacy of considering these pathological cases are representative of the general. Not so, because even split brain patients do not have a unit, normal people have a unit that is no less real because of the existence of these pathological cases.

Neurobiological research shows quite conclusively that consciousness is just a post-facto add-on to our decision making -“we” don’t actually make our decisions, they go on behind the scenes in the brain subconsciously.

Wrong, neurobiological research has not shown conclusively that, because surely Libet's experiments have other correct interpretation:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22144-brain-might-not-stand-in-the-way-of-free-will.html

We’re each of us a committee and often self-contradict.

True, but it is also true that we have some unity over time. To deny it is not science but ideology.

Addressing Elevator's latest post:

Nothing has been provided to vindicate his opening assertion that consciousness is an illusion -- indeed saying consciousness is an epiphenomenon directly contradicts this stance and he's said it in the same sentence! So the poster is a bit confused here. Dennett doesn't think consciousness is an epiphenomenon, he thinks it's an illusion! i.e that it doesn't in fact exist.

Also I would like to address the claim that we don't make our own decisions. Does this equate to the claim that consciousness is always wholly causally inefficacious? I'm afraid this cannot be maintained as I demonstrate at the following link:

http://existenceandreality.blogspot.co.uk/2008_01_01_archive.html

Neurobiological research cannot show that which is impossible. Even ignoring the conceptual incoherence in supposing consciousness plays no role in our thoughts and behaviour, the research that Libet undertook and similar experiments are far from conclusive anyway. The experiments claiming to predict our choices 7-10 secs before we make them have a 60% success rate when there are 2 options eg to press a button with either the left or right hand. Not a 100% as many people insinuate! 60% might not be considered all that impressive when we consider there is a natural proclivity for many people to use one particular hand to press the button -- most probably the right hand for most people.

The crucial question here is how are they choosing? What they should be doing is attempting to curtail any natural proclivity on their part to use one hand or the other and to attempt to approximate a random choice -- that is simulate a toss of a coin in their heads. Predicting at a 60% success rate would be impressive if they did this, but I very strongly suspect they did not.

Not sure where Elevator's going with the Split brain patients. If he's arguing that there's 2 or more streams of consciousness associated with our bodies, then that's extremely interesting, but what does he think it implies?

Really he's not saying anything. I don't even know what he's arguing for.

First, I'm sure Elevated is not Forests, since his argument is much more sophisticated, and his syntax is a lot better.

Still, I think there are inconsistencies in his position. Here are some:

"Philosopher Dan Dennett says consciousness is an illusion of the brain, by the brain, for the brain ..."

Philosophers say a lof things, but that doesn't mean they're right. How does Dennett practice philosophy without using consciousness?

"Neurobiological research shows quite conclusively that consciousness is just a post-facto add-on to our decision making -“we” don’t actually make our decisions, they go on behind the scenes in the brain subconsciously."

Subconsciously? But I thought there was no consciousness. (The subconscious is a form of consciousness.) And how did researchers prove this without using consciousness? Were their conclusions after-the-fact add-ons? If so, how can their conclusions be trusted? Or do they exempt themselves from their own rules?

"The organism ... treats the range of subliminal and self-aware states as if they were all part of one consciousness."

Self-aware states? Again, that sounds like consciousness to me.

"This phasing between states does not affect the self-image of the individual organism..."

The self-image of the organism? That also sounds like consciousness.

"If we adopt rationalism as our philosophy of life (based on materialism and maths) we can attempt to minimise our tendency to be inconsistent and subjective."

But if we're not conscious, there is no "we" (no self). And if all our decisions are made at a non-conscious level, we can't choose to adopt rationalism or any other philosophy. In fact, we can't choose anything. And how can we have a tendency to be subjective if there is no such thing as consciousness (subjective awareness) in the first place?

The basic problem with any such argument is that it begs the question. It assumes the existence of a conscious, self-aware mind on the part of both the arguer and his audience. Thus the argument is self-refuting: it must accept the existence of consciousness even in the act of denying it.

Actually, the only way to be consistent in denying consciousness is to express no thoughts at all.

Couple more things.

"Philosopher Dan Dennett says consciousness is an illusion of the brain, by the brain, for the brain ..."

An illusion experienced by whom? The self? But the self is an illusion. So it's an illusion experienced by an illusion?

You see, the position, when parsed, reduces to incoherence.

That's not to say I disagree with all of it. I do think that many of our decisions are made at the subconscious level and are merely rationalized after the fact by our conscious mind. But the subconscious is part of "consciousness,' just as the submerged portion of an iceberg is part of the iceberg.

I also don't necessarily disagree with the idea that our sense of self can be reduced, in part, to a "committee" of competing voices. Inner conflicts arise from these disputes. Still, there is an overarching unity of self that subsumes these voices, at least in a psychologically healthy person. (Perhaps not in a schizophrenic or a person suffering from some dissociative disorder.) And it could be argued that these voices or personae are merely dramatizations engineered by the subconscious to bring certain s subliminal impulses to the attention of the conscious mind.

Personally, I would say that not only does consciousness exist, but it is much larger in scope than most of us realize, encompassing not only the subconscious but also the superconscious or higher self. F.W.H. Myers' idea of the subliminal self, which includes both subconscious and superconscious, captures this viewpoint very neatly.

All very well said, Michael!

Surely, Elevated, you are aware of the scientists in the past who thought that everything had been figured out? They were wrong. I would think you too intelligent to make the same mistake.

I've read "Consciousness Explained" by Dennet. He includes interesting information, but he himself has no value-add to offer. He doesn't explain a damn thing.

His position, shared by many materialists, is a political one: this consciousness thing sounds too spiritual--so let's pooh pooh it! It's an epiphenomenon, an illusion, no biggie. Ignore the man behind the curtain. At the end of the day, they have nothing to say of worth on the topic, and, even from a materialist standpoint, consciousness remains as much a mystery as ever.

Great rebuttal Michael

I should take back a bit about what I said. Dennet *does* say some interesting things in his book, such as noting that there is no "homunculus" in the brain that serves as the "real" center of consciousness. Rather, (from a materialist standpoint), there is no locus of consciousness in the brain, and what we feel to be a central "I" is simply the result of various processes acting in concert--or not. It is in this sense an illusion or epiphenomenon.

The *fact* that no neural center of consciousness has been discovered is an interesting one--but I think that it undermines rather than supports the materialist perspective. For it would seem that, granted the fact that we *feel* there to be a central "I" and that this feeling and our acting upon it is of key importance in understanding human psychology and society, the lack of a good explanation of same in terms of the brain would seem to encourage us to look *outside* the brain. And that, of course, is exactly what we who believe in psi and the Afterlife do.

Thus, Dennet's philosophical position, in which he denies a distinct origin of consciousness in the brain, *is* of use--to our side.

||Thus, Dennet's philosophical position, in which he denies a distinct origin of consciousness in the brain, *is* of use--to our side.||

To clarify, of course Dennet thinks that consciousness, insofar as it is anything at all, originates in the brain. But he theorizes that it has not a specific and distinct *process* of the brain, nor is located in a specific area or areas of the brain.

"I've always experienced thought transference -- I started writing about it in my diary at the age of seven -- "

Welcome to the forum, Dash. I'm intrigued. Reminds me of the book The Boy Who Saw True. Would you care to talk about some of your experiences, and what it was like to grow up psychic?

Mr Prescott said: “Subconsciously? But I thought there was no consciousness. (The subconscious is a form of consciousness.) And how did researchers prove this without using consciousness? Were their conclusions after-the-fact add-ons? If so, how can their conclusions be trusted? Or do they exempt themselves from their own rules?”

I see your point. My use of the term “subconscious” is better replaced with the term “unconscious”. Dennett says consciousness is "fame in the mind", i.e. the collective activity of lots of unconscious ‘demons’ and that our mind is a serial machine simulated on a massively parallel substrate. Linear, symbolic thought is only what is presented to us when we try to introspect "how we think". Computers were built on this model. But our brains are full of competing and conflicting parallel data.

Dennett shows that there is no such activity as direct “seeing” –there is only judging or concluding. For instance, he shows how repeating patterns (for example Marilyn Monroes on pop art wallpaper) are not actually seen – we observe one Marilyn and then simply assume all the others are the same (if they are not, we simply misperceive). These repeating patterns are definitely not represented in our brains. We have merely inferred or judged that there are repeating Marilyns all over the wall, and definitely feel – feel certain - that we actually see these Marilyns. Similarly, with any scene. Asked to recall a room we think we know well, we will either overlook or misremember all kinds of details. We think we directly experience things that are right in front of us, but really we just conclude that we have experienced them. The act of judging is all we do, and we can easily prove it is often false. We can never say anything is surely true based on perception or on feeling. Qualia (if they exist, which is moot) are utterly unreliable.

This being so, we need to try to select what is objective from experience and make it, if you will allow this, into our God. The hard sciences like physics and math do this. Ghosties and ghoulies, on the other hand, will only ever be products of subjective misperception. Ask yourself this: are you really, truly any closer to proving they are objectively real than you were (say) ten years ago? My guess would be: No. Why would this be? Presumably because they are subjective misperceptions rather than objective data.

Well said, "Trees"!! Ok, maybe "hardly said" would be more appropriate but MU!! digresses. lol

Mr. Tymn recently regurgitated A. C. Doyle's "The History of Spiritualism, Vol I" on a Skeptiko pre-rehearsed podreading, er, podcast, FYI.

Valiantine had many evidential (of the survival of death) seances including the coming through of family members of Sir Oliver Lodge and dozens of others.

Valiantine was an outstanding direct voice medium. Try and get your hands on the book ''Wisdom of the Gods'', (free pdf) the book gives an report of the very first physical seance attended by Winston Churchill in 1926 when he was then Chancellor of the Exchequer. Also, ''Towards the Stars'' this book gives an account of earlier sittings with George Valiantine. Both books are by Dennis Bradley.

The rest of the un-elevated, belittling criticisms that drifted in from the forests makes little to no difference. ;)

Truth is simple.


MU!!!

it's about time you made your way over here! lol

I was hoping you would come on board welcome

"Ask yourself this: are you really, truly any closer to proving they are objectively real than you were (say) ten years ago?"

Sure. Even the professional skeptic Richard Wiseman has said,"I agree that by the standards of any other area of science that remote viewing is proven ..." He went on to say that proof of psi requires higher standards of evidence than other sorts of proof, a dubious assertion. But even if he's right about that, he's still conceding that parapsychology has advanced closer to its goal of proving psi. (And in follow-up remarks he clarified that he was talking about psi in general, nor just remote viewing.)

I agree that misperception is always possible, but it is possible in all areas of life, including the hard sciences. The canals on Mars are one example; another are N-rays. But we don't throw out astronomy and physics because of a few mistakes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N_ray

Our best defense against misperception is replication of data by independent researchers. This has been done with psi - see the Ganzfeld tests, for instance. For a good overview of scientific evidence for psi, I recommend "Irreducible Mind" by E.W. Kelly et al. It is a long book and not an easy read, but it stands as the leading academic book in the field.

I might add that we cannot really use the standards of the hard sciences as our exclusive guide. If we did, how would we study history, field anthropology, or psychology? All such areas of study require us to regard eyewitness reports (including introspective reports) as generally reliable. In courtroom trials, life-and-death decisions are made on the basis of people's observations and memories. Yes, mistakes are possible, but the system works more often than not.

I think in your zeal (and Dennett's) to reduce the world to material factors and processes, you're missing the fact that consciousness is integral to reality as we know it. Indeed, sans consciousness there would be nothing to know, and nobody to do the knowing. Dennett's solution - that mental processes are actually unconscious - really solves nothing, When he says consciousness is an illusion, he is assuming the existence of a conscious self that can experience illusions. Ultimately he is arguing that an illusion is experienced by an illusion - a self-refuting proposition.

That's not to say he doesn't make good points about the mechanics of brain function; I'm sure he does.

The conclusions from Libet's experiment has recently been questioned by someone who reproduc the experiment. There's probably no neural correlate that can predict behaviour. I got a feeling it's pseudoscience like prenology. If anyone is interested I can find a link to the article.

Sbu,

I would be interested in reading that, thanks!

Was Geo. Valiantine a fraud? Most possibly. Was he a medium who provided the mediums’ Ultimate, evidence of the survival of death and the continuity of life? Most assuredly.

Which is truly most important, the sin or the inspiration? Was Jesus more the felon (“upended the money changers' tables and the ruined the chairs of those selling doves”) or more the spiritual magnificence?

These pseudoskeptics, many nothing more than organized spiritual terrorists, tear at the very fiber of the afterlife and the peace to be found by men’s souls within it. Is there greater harm or intention of evil or despicable boorishness alive today?

The pseudoskeptical POV is prepared by extraordinarily ordinary and unexceptional hypocrites. Randi, Wiseman, French, Coyne, Myers...and their forum clones...are these people that you would swell you with pride to have rendezvous your daughters?

What happened to the civil, the open-minded skeptics, the logical giants that once underpinned the movement respectfully? They have beaten a path away - wholly understanding the power of the shifting mainstream paradigm to soul-survival certainty - abandoning in their silence the rotting of the materialist model.

Several days before Valiantine’s passing and transition his reported this pre-death communication:

“Eileen E. McAlpine who knew Dr. Whymant at the end of his life wrote that a few days before his death he told her of a ‘brief black-out when he saw two old friends of his, holding out their hands to receive him. They were Mr. F.T. Cheng, the pre-Mao ambassador to the UK and Lionel Giles – keeper of oriental books at the British Museum. They were great friends of his in life. I subsequently had a sitting with F. Jordan Gill, Neville told me, through him, that they had indeed been the first friends who greeted him after he died.’

Good on them. Good on him.

MU!!,

Does your handle stand for "Manchester United"? :)

Anyhow, love your posts, and welcome here!

"Is there greater harm or intention of evil or despicable boorishness alive today?"

I think that's waaaay over the top. And I don't think it's at all helpful to regard one's critics as "evil." As for causing harm and having evil intentions, I'd point to Kim Jong Un, Al Qaeda, and lots of other bad actors around the world before I ever thought about fingering the skeptics.

"are these people that you would swell you with pride to have rendezvous your daughters?"

Personal attacks don't benefit either side. It's one thing to criticize Randi for being deceptive in some of his public claims. It's another thing to say that members of the skeptical movement are just bad human beings. The us-against-them approach is counterproductive.

Let me elaborate a little on my previous comment. I think there are perfectly valid personal reasons why someone would adopt a highly skeptical mindset. I'll just give two of them, though there are many other possibilities.

1. Suppose a young boy is abused by a religious authority figure - molested by a priest, say. It would make perfect sense for that boy to grow up with a loathing of all things religious or even vaguely spiritual. In fact, this would be a sign of psychological health. His motives would not be evil; they would be psychological self-defense.

2. Suppose someone dedicates himself to science and sincerely believes that any sort of spiritual belief is an outdated superstition that opens the door to the dark ages. I think this viewpoint is mistaken - but given that viewpoint, this person would be entirely justified in wanting nothing to do with anything supernatural or paranormal. He would see it as a threat to progress, learning, and the whole humanist project. Are his motives despicable? Hardly; he is acting from high idealism.

It is just too easy to demonize others. Most people really are doing the best they can.

Matt, here it is:

[url=http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22144-brain-might-not-stand-in-the-way-of-free-will.html]Brain might not stand in the way of free will - life - 06 August 2012 - New Scientist[/url]

Quote:
...."Libet argued that our brain has already decided to move well before we have a conscious intention to move," says Schurger. "We argue that what looks like a pre-conscious decision process may not in fact reflect a decision at all. It only looks that way because of the nature of spontaneous brain activity."

So what does this say about free will? "If we are correct, then the Libet experiment does not count as evidence against the possibility of conscious will," says Schurger.
.....

Thanks to Ray and Matt!

To Michael Prescott...spoken like a true civilian who wouldn't know a foxhole from a fox' hole.

If one is unwilling to stand firm against spiritual terrorists then, please, don't toss logs to jump in front of those that will.

MU, these fundamentalist us vs them approach is not helpful at best, and dangerous at worst.

Why did you invite MU over here again Matt?

"Why did you invite MU over here again Matt?"

Hmmm...well at least now I won't be the sole outlier with my occasional rants :-)

||Why did you invite MU over here again Matt?||

I don't know him at all!

I took his tone to be comical, based on what I've read thus far.

Do I recommend actually demonizing skeptics? No. "Love of Neighbor" is the way, I believe.

I think, however, that in the spirit of "hate the sin but love the sinner," it's OK to fight the skeptics' fire with a little fire of our own. For example, I have no opinion about Dawkins as a human being; he's probably a nice guy. But as a pundit, he is an ass fighting against truth. If I ever say, "Dawkins is an arrogant a-hole!" that is shorthand for, "Dawkins in his role of skeptic pundit is acting like an arrogant a-hole."

I too vote that MU should go back to school.

"To Michael Prescott...spoken like a true civilian ..."

We're all civilians. There is no war going on here, just a civil and mutually edifying exchange of ideas.

"If one is unwilling to stand firm against spiritual terrorists ..."

To put this in Will Storr's terms, you've made yourself the hero of your own narrative - and every hero-myth requires villains and dangers. It's a form of self-delusion. Nothing said on this little blog is going to change, save, or doom the world. Chillax, bro. :-)

"I took his tone to be comical ..."

I don't think so, but if it is a parody, MU should let us know with a /sarc tag or something. Tone is hard to convey on the Intertubes.

This Comment section is about the greatness of one George Valiantine, is it not? Why was Valiantine great? Because he was a cordial human being or an engaging personality? His ectoplasmic phenomena or speaking in language/tongues? No.

Valiantine was great only because of his persistence in providing evidence of the survival of the consciousness of Man and the eternal nature of our souls.

Is it then “over the top” to rightfully declare that pseudoskeptics like James Randi and his clones are disingenuous clowns who bare evil intent and fabricate the very antithesis of Valiantine? Where evil is defined as any survivalist would do so, not Luciferian, but immoral. Where immoral is purely distinguished as “with bad intent” “contrary to conscience or morality or law”; as it is "wrong for the rich to take advantage of the poor"; "cheating is wrong"; "it is wrong to lie".

I abhor the Randis’, the negative energy they {attempt} to pervade this Earth-school in which we exist. Yet, OTOH, MU!! applauds the man’s etheric Self and acknowledges the Randis’ importance.

For it is in contrast that we learn. The ying, the yang; the white, the black, the sun and the moon. Why else are we incarnated on this physical plane? Tea and toast?

The Randi personality, the earthly shell and its productions; the life he pre-planned and through his free will and independence of choice, echoes the materialistic representation of the deficeincy of worth of the human life and the discontinuity of our existence. This “sin of the man”, as accurately suggested above, I find abominable.

Perhaps MU!! will have the honor of being on Randi’s rescue team when he finds himself flopping around in the muck of a lower ethereal realm, passing over but failing to transition, lost in his self-created Roman wilderness of pain. ;)

"Perhaps MU!! will have the honor of being on Randi’s rescue team"

Michael Prescott finds it odd when commenters refer to themselves in the third person.

I think, however, that in the spirit of "hate the sin but love the sinner," it's OK to fight the skeptics' fire with a little fire of our own. For example, I have no opinion about Dawkins as a human being; he's probably a nice guy. But as a pundit, he is an ass fighting against truth. If I ever say, "Dawkins is an arrogant a-hole!" that is shorthand for, "Dawkins in his role of skeptic pundit is acting like an arrogant a-hole."

Posted by: Matt Rouge | March 18, 2013 at 12:00 PM

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This ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

"The play is the thing". :0)

"Perhaps MU!! will have the honor of being on Randi’s rescue team"

Michael Prescott finds it odd when commenters refer to themselves in the third person.

Posted by: Michael Prescott | March 18, 2013 at 03:22 PM

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rofl

MU!! is a well-known internet troll with a long history of abuse. I suggest not to offer a platform to him here, Michael. He will cause havoc sooner or later.

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Talk:Mind-Energy_forum#Trolling_by_MU.21.21_revealed

Michael the problem a lot of psychics have is exactly the same as a lot of artists of every type have. They have particular types of routines and approaches they favour and they like to warm up with multiple rehearsals until they finally feel they're getting in touch with where they want to go and what they want to achieve.

In other words artists're allowed to fail until they get it right but psychics aren't.

If Michelangelo was being tested by the likes of Randi and Wiseman as he set about carving the David they'd probably demand he exchange that chisel he's suspiciously attached to for a paintbrush and if he was still somehow managing to sculpt with that they'd probably insist on swapping that for a ball of wool and then while Michaelangelo was trying to use the wool to rub away some tiny speck of marble and David's pecker accidentally dropped off they'd proclaim "See sculpting's a complete myth!"

But as an industrialist chemist giving a bunch of us lectures at university once told us most of what we'd read in chemistry text books was a load of bollocks because in the real world things don't behave the way they're supposed to or worse sometimes they do and sometimes they don't or even more strangely they suddenly start behaving in ways they never had before but the text books'll brush over this without asking why and the theoretical johnnies'll come up with preposterous explanations like some unknown type of seed crystal must've suddenly come into existence for the first time in one particular lab and then because scientists travel all over the world these completely undetectable dark matter like seeds migrate to labs all over the world too hence experiments which'd been failing for years now suddenly working all over the planet.

In other words even industrial scientists need to warm up and keep rehearsing things until they finally find their groove but they're allowed to in industry because industry isn't arsed about what's supposedly possible or not only will it make money which's probably why psychics like Geller get a better treatment in the private sector.

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