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Same boat as you there; I think something other than hoaxes is definitely going on with UFOs, but I don't think it's actual space aliens. Apart from anything else, why would they travel billions of light years just to briefly abduct random people and flatten cornfields?

Also any comments on this?: http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/06/how-consciousness-evolved/485558/

"Apart from anything else, why would they travel billions of light years just to briefly abduct random people and flatten cornfields?"

Not to mention the rectal probing. They master the mysteries of space and time, and then spend their lives performing unsolicited proctology exams?

But shamans on vision quests, and people who've taken DMT, do report being probed and even vivisected by nonhuman beings. Another similarity between "abductions" and OBEs etc.

Vallee's classic 'Passport to Magonia' (recently reissued!) covered this territory pretty well and he comes to the conclusion that this is a phenomenon that has been with us since the beginning of time, but it has been reinterpreted via the filter of a modern sci-fi aware population.

For modern day space aliens/greys, look back to medieval accounts of fairies and elves, who were said to appear in peoples' homes and steal human babies, leaving changelings in their place - similar to modern day abduction accounts don't you think?

Fairy lights are now UFOS.

Of course you can argue it the other way and say that medieval accounts of elves and fairies were actually space aliens, but i think the idea that this is a multi-dimensional phenomena is much more plausible.

I don't think we need spaceships to meet 'aliens'. We just need to drop some DMT or acid, and we mentally travel to otherworld realms. For the beings who dwell there, it must be odd to see human beings entering their space. They seem to play with us when we do. Certainly, DMT guru Terrence McKenna wrote that the 'machine elves' he met while on DMT trips seemed to react to him with a kind of detached amusement.

I remember a joke in one of Pratchett's books about aliens that got confused and spent their time forming cattle into circles and mutilating crops.

As it would turn out, I saw my first UFO yesterday. Actually, more a UAP (unidentified aerial phenomenon), as the thing didn't fly per se and it wasn't even really an object. Luckily, I had a friend walking with me, and we saw the same thing; otherwise, I would have thought it was something I simply imagined.

We were walking north on the Monon trail in Carmel, Indiana, a few minutes before reaching Bazbeaux pizza. This is an urban and industrial area at this point, so it was like walking on a sidewalk with lots of people and buildings around. It was about 8:30 p.m. and quite bright out still.

Suddenly, somewhat low in the sky and seemingly quite distant, a very bright light appeared for a second or less and winked out. The light was fairly close to pure white and quite small, like a star bright enough to appear in the sky at that hour.

I just asked my friend for her description. She wrote, "I honestly only saw it for a couple of seconds. It was a small but bright light that disappeared as quickly as it appeared in my line of vision."

I *don't* attach any paranormal import to this experience. The light didn't move, other than appearing and disappearing, and did nothing to appear intelligent or meaningful. It *is* hard to explain, however:

Meteor? But it didn't streak across the sky. However, if it was coming directly toward us, it could have appeared as a dot, I suppose.

Fireworks? There was no sound.

Flare? This seems possible. Some type of military flare in the distance.

Right now, I'm far more inclined to assume that there is some sort of mundane explanation than think something genuinely weird was going on.

I write this to show how I as a "believer" approach such a matter. I think Skeptics tend to imagine that if we believe that "paranormal" phenomena in general are real, then we ourselves are experiencing physical phenomena all of the time (hallucinating, imagining, whatever). I think for most "believers," this is not the case. Yesterday's experience was the only UAP I have ever seen. I have seen a ghost once and heard a ghost once (or what I interpreted to be so, in the same room at two different times). There is one other phenomenon I have experienced in my life of a physical nature.

OTOH, I experience psi via myself and my friends all the time. I think the vast majority of paranormal phenomena are of an internal/mental/informational nature.

With respect to the cause and origin of UFOs, I am largely in agreement with Michael. My one big argument against "nuts and bolts" UFOs visiting Earth is what I call the "eff-up argument." It goes like this:

If UFOs being seen is mistake on the part of the beings operating them, why does the level of mistake never end up crossing the line of plausible deniability? I.e., the proverbial landing on the White House lawn. It's just not plausible is it? "Oh darn, they spotted us again! Thank goodness that, as always, we were at an appropriate distance for a minimal amount of time!"

If such appearances are *not* a mistake, then we are left with the proposition that nuts and bolts craft are traveling from parsecs away just to buzz the atmosphere and be seen at a distance and appear in humans' cell phone photos and videos. Further, the craft come in all shapes and sizes and appear rather frequently and are perhaps manned by a variety of species. That would be quite a lot of coordination for a pretty inscrutable purpose, wouldn't it?

So whether the sightings are eff-ups or not, it doesn't make sense that they would be physical craft visiting Earth.

The same argument applies, however, that UFOs are "glitches" in the Matrix. If they are mistakes or plane leakages of some sort, what constrains their appearance, makes the sightings of the same general nature? People report a pretty limited range of objects in the sky, aesthetically speaking. People don't report dragons flying around, for instance. If we agree that UFO phenomena are real (and I think there is no denying they are at this point), then there does seem to be some type of intelligence behind them causing to appear *just so* and not in a wild variety of forms and intensities (i.e., huge squadrons darkening the skies for hours at a time).

Michael wrote, "I don't think it's actually true that evidence for UFOs is as good as evidence for life after death." I know what you mean, but, strictly speaking that is comparing a phenomenon (UFOs) with an interpretation of related phenomenon (life after death). But I agree with what you mean: phenomena related to life after death are, as you say, much easier to study, and they are more commonly experienced. One might even say that they are experienced by a large percentage of the population, whereas UFO phenomena are not. Further, life after death phenomena do rather consistently exhibit consilience, as you have pointed out, leading us to believe that the Afterlife is "real." To my mind, UFO phenomenon do not point to any particular interpretation. They are just there.

Chel,
I sometimes enjoy listening to all of these 'scientists' when the sit around and 'shoot the shit' about what mighta, coulda, shoulda, woulda happened 400 to 700 million years ago. Theories about evolution and survival of the fittest are just that---theories---and they were proposed by Charles Darwin and others less than a couple hundred years ago. While it might be interesting to think about these things. I don't take any of it as the ultimate truth about reality. What is left out of most or all of these theories is the possibility of spirit entities using evolution as a way to create. That is, what we see in slow time on earth, when speeded up in eternity is just the process of creation by intelligent design.

Alfred Russel Wallace, co-originator with Darwin of the theory of natural selection and evolution believed in a whole hierarchy of spirits at different levels of development who guided evolution of species along certain predetermined outcomes. That is probably why he was pushed to the sidelines and that few people associate him with theories of evolution and survival of the fittest.

I have to say that I think that Wallace's ideas might be worth looking into. I recommend his writings which are certainly better written than those written by Darwin. Both men however were men of their times and their writing reflects their cultural biases.- AOD

Ok, here's what I have to say about alien life. Sticking my neck out here.

Earth is a young planet and the universe is so much older-even science understands there must be life out there. Travelling millions of miles in a short amount of time is not likely to be an issue, if you are superior in intelligence, and as one person put it here we are possibly a mere amusement, just as we are amused by those behaviours of our forefathers.

Misinformation and belittling those who have alien experiences mimic the same reactions people have to psychics, and their experiences. the woo, woo group.

I think its a case of reading up on some of them. I have read quite a few, and they seem quite legitimate, just as psychic experiences I have read.

Heres an article, on US military. I think this is the guy I read about years ago who was inside the building guarding the missile, when a mothership came and hovered overhead. The missiles if I remember, take 4 steps to start up, or shut down, for security, and I think the US president is rung before doing so. This just shut down. He rings his superior and he asks him back if he has been drinking. I recognised him later in 2006 i think it was, on BBC news, he was canvassing with his group to get freedom of information from the military.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/ufo/8026971/Aliens-have-deactivated-British-and-US-nuclear-missiles-say-US-military-pilots.html

Edgar Mitchell I know spoke frequently about it, as he said they were often present at official function with military, and presidents who became friends and divulged to him. Speak out though, and people think you are a nutter.

I could go on. Years ago however I was painting our house and used to listen to talk back radio. Some how it got round to aliens, and a guy who monitored satellites rung in and said how frequently they saw what appeared to be craft moving at tremendous speeds, which could not be man made.

I know even at Roswell, when they pulled out that pathetic weather balloon (how you could mistake that), we all think nothing happened. But those in the area said the surrounding fields were crawling with military for days and they were not allowed near, for a weather balloon?. Just sayin... Lyn x.

I just couldn't resist sharing one of Charles Darwin's 'scientific' statements.

"I could give many facts showing how anxious bees are to save time..." Page 91: "The Origin of Species."

If he could ---he didn't. This is a typical statement of the science behind Darwin's theory. Many, many more like this.- AOL

Supernatural by Kripal and Strieber goes into this. Nice two part interview on Where Did the Road Go:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8YEe4LoFw4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qLZZcSosbg

Matt wrote, "People report a pretty limited range of objects in the sky, aesthetically speaking. People don't report dragons flying around, for instance."

Actually they did at one time: "In A.D. 793 the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle reported 'fiery dragons . . . flying in the air,' and almost a thousand years later, in 1762, a 'twisting serpent' supposedly cavorted over Devonshire."

http://science.howstuffworks.com/space/aliens-ufos/ufo-history3.htm

Later on, mechanical "serpents" were seen: "During the 1850s and 1860s in Nebraska, settlers viewed some rather unnerving phenomena. Were they luminous 'serpents'? Apparently not, but instead elongated mechanical structures. A Nebraska folk ballad reported one such unusual sighting:

"Twas on a dark night in '66
When we was layin' steel
We seen a flyin' engine
Without no wing or wheel
It came a-roarin' in the sky
With lights along the side
And scales like a serpent's hide.

"Something virtually identical was reported in a Chilean newspaper in April 1868 (and reprinted in Zoologist, July 1868). 'On its body, elongated like a serpent,' one of the alleged witnesses declared, 'we could only see brilliant scales, which clashed together with a metallic sound as the strange animal turned its body in flight.'"

http://science.howstuffworks.com/space/aliens-ufos/ufo-history4.htm

I seem to recall a spate of alleged sightings in the 19th century or earlier involving full-masted sailing ships seen floating in the sky. There also were many purported sightings of dirigible-like vessels shortly before the dirigible was invented.

It appears that people are seeing *something*, but are interpreting it in terms most familiar to them. In a culture where belief in dragons is prevalent, people see dragons. Where sailing ships represent the latest and fastest transportation, people see flying schooners and galleons. When the idea of dirigibles is taking shape, people see dirigibles. In our outer-space-obsessed age, we see "flying saucers" piloted by "Martians."

The mutability of the phenomenon suggests, to me, that there is a strong psi component. Whatever witnesses may actually be seeing, their minds render it as an image that makes some kind of sense to them.


I don't believe that I have ever seen a UFO. I have seen an occasional 'light' in the sky similar to what Matt saw. Usually I have seen them at dusk when the sun is low on the horizon or slightly below the horizon. Depending on my angle of view, these lights appear to blink in and out but in some cases, as I continued to watch I was able to detect an airplane reflecting light from the setting sun. If the plane was flying directly toward me the 'light' appeared to stand still. As the plane moved either right or left the light faded or "blinked off" . I have seen satellites lit up this way by the setting sun.

It would be interesting to know if anyone has seen these lights on a cloudy day or at times other than sunset or sunrise. - AOD

I'd rather have a reply which doesn't bash evolution. "Theory" in the scientific sense does not mean "guess", it means (I know Wikipedia's not the best source for many things but definitions of words are fine) "a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through the scientific method and repeatedly tested and confirmed through observation and experimentation".

Concerning UFOs, a case certainly can be made for at least some UFOs being some sort of psychic manifestation from another plane of existence. However, using this type of explanation for all the cases comes up against the large number where there is a definite observation of physical apparent "craft" that interact with the (often multiple) observers and with electrical instrumentation. These are the aircraft pilot UFO sighting reports.

Richard Haines has conducted extensive research in this area. These reports are especially important because of the credibility of the observers. He now has a catalog of over 3,000 pilot reports, of which approximately 4% involve transient electromagnetic effects associated with the presence of strange objects.

http://www.nicap.org/papers/92apsiee.htm  - Fifty-Six Aircraft Pilot Sightings Involving E-M Effects - Haines (1992)

Abstract: "Reports of anomalous aerial objects (AAO) appearing in the atmosphere continue to be made by pilots of almost every airline and air force of the world in addition to private and experimental test pilots. This paper presents a review of 56 reports of AAO in which electromagnetic effects (E-M) take place on-board the aircraft when the phenomenon is located nearby but not before it appeared or after it had departed. These effects are not related to the altitude or airspeed of the aircraft. The average duration of these sightings was 17.5 minutes in the 37 cases in which duration was noted. There were between one and 40 eye witnesses (average = 2.71) on the aircraft. Reported E-M effects included radio interference or total failure, radar contact with and without simultaneous visual contact, magnetic and/or gyro-compass deviations, automatic direction finder failure or interference, engine stopping or interruption, dimming cabin lights, transponder failure, and military aircraft weapon system failure. There appears to be a reduction of the E-M energy effect with the square of increasing distance to the AAO. These events and their relationships are discussed. This area of research should be concentrated on by other investigators because of the wealth of information it yields and the physical nature of AAO including wavelength/frequency and power density emissions". 

Sure lots of lights are mistaken, ships as people used as explanations in earlier times. These are culturally expected explanations. But there is a ton on experiences by people, possibly as much as there are spiritual experiences. I think it is still stigmatised, more so than mystical phenomena so many do not tell of what they experienced. A number are by pilots who dont want to lose their jobs, and those in the military who cant divulge.

I have heard pilot transcripts, and a pilot of a 747 come forward over Argentina I think it was, the whole plane saw it, some 300 people. the military guy i mentioned is older now and left the Military, and that is when a number come forward to tell of what really happened.

Here is Secure teams footage ( and you may poo poo their efforts, but a number can't be explained) of what appears as an intelligently operated craft. Around 3.32 seconds you will see it move across the sky, stop then about turn.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDZWjZE2mWE


Of course people are mistaken sometimes, but it doesn't explain all the phenomena, similar to those spiritual experiences we have. Other life in the universe is also highly likely, more so than the likelihood one would say of life after death. Lyn x.

Michael wrote,

"It appears that people are seeing *something*, but are interpreting it in terms most familiar to them."

Right. Yet, to build on your point, the question is why the variety is more or less consistent in each era? What "regulates" that? It is a similar question to, "If NDEs are merely hallucinations, then why don't people imagine comforting ordinary scenes of great variety instead of journeys within certain parameters?"

Re AOD's speculation about a reflection of the sun off an airplane, that's a good idea, but I think the position of the sun and the light in this case makes it implausible. We were walking due North, and I believe the sun was not above the horizon at that point, either of which factors would have prevented a reflection based on the time of day. Also, the light was pure white, whereas the light of the sunset would have been orange to some degree, I would think.

\\"Something virtually identical was reported in a Chilean newspaper in April 1868 (and reprinted in Zoologist, July 1868). 'On its body, elongated like a serpent,' one of the alleged witnesses declared, 'we could only see brilliant scales, which clashed together with a metallic sound as the strange animal turned its body in flight.'" - michael Prescott//
--------------------------

When I read this story it always reminds me of the Chinese Dragons during Chinese New Year, and what is interesting is the creature is seen as being benevolent, loving in fact. Another thing I find interesting is how "holographic" the whole story sounds to me. Like the connectedness and oneness in holographic film and described by near death experiencers.

Excerpt from "Riding the Dragon" by Dr. Taudo in mystical experiences of Scientists,

"The vision had become as solid and as clear as my normal waking experience. This was no daydream or fantasy. The solid walls and floor of the auditorium had become somehow mildly transparent, allowing me to see everything there clearly, but at the same time being able to look "beyond" and "below" to see this great reptile - or, at least, parts of it. It's size was so enormous that I could not see where it ended. It's back seemed to stretch forever and the number of beings it extruded from itself was infinite - and they were infinitely varied. As they stretched away from me I could see them less clearly, and my attention seemed to stay focused more closely at hand.

The back of the beast was extremely intricate, with scales or plates that did not overlap, but were tiled like the shell of a turtle. The color was predominantly green, but with intricate patterns of tan, white, and various subtle patterns of iridescent, almost jewel-like, colors. It was inexpressibly beautiful, and shimmered as it subtly moved. It was somehow surrounded by a warm, comforting darkness, and what light there was seemed to come from within it.

I sat amazed and completely engrossed. I was so enthralled by the beauty I saw that I could think to do nothing else but stare in absolute awe. As I looked far "beyond" the walls of the room, over the back of the beast and into the distance, it made a sinuous, fluid-like movement, reared up its huge head, and looked back at me.

The head was enormous, flattened, and comprised of plate-like armor of a tan color. The eyes were protected by the overlap of these plates forming triangular recesses from which reptilian eyes of deep gold gleamed. In those eyes, to my astonishment, I saw tremendous compassion and - humor! I swear it smiled - at least with its eyes. I was filled with a sense of connection, attachment, or friendship with this enormous reptile. Although no words were exchanged in that brief eye-to-eye encounter, it seemed to me the message was clear:

"So, for a moment, you see. Relax. Don't take yourself so seriously! All is well. We are forever one."

http://issc-taste.org/arc/dbo.cgi?set=expom&id=00070&ss=1

Here's a few pilots experiences over time.You may say some are inaccurate reporting or sighting. But I seariously doubt they all are. He also explains how pilots are muzzled, and why we don't possibly hear of incidents so much.

http://www.ufoevidence.org/documents/doc1779.htm

Cheers.

Seriously- ahh studying. Lyn x.

I have seen those simple flashes of light more than a few times, about half turned out to be a plane when observed longer and when the plane was coming in my direction. Evening and morning are typical times.

I think everyone of every belief about what the brain really does and how it works can agree that this is fun: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5f56Ynb01E

"Yet, to build on your point, the question is why the variety is more or less consistent in each era? What "regulates" that?"- Matt

The collective mind regulates it, IMO. I no longer believe that individuals are distinct thought generating units. Rather, we are all, to some extent, psychically connected not only to each other, but to various spiritual layers (energy fields, ancestors, deceased and living members of the same race, same culture, etc., gods/godesses, morphic fields and finally, god itself). All of this is going on all of the time.

I also think that all of the above mental and psychic energies are responsible for what we call "evolution". Darwinian diversity is clearly what Darwin said it is; environmental pressures emphasize reproduction of certain features *within* the genetic makeup of a species. If there's a gene or genetic combination that leads to longer beaks in a finch and a longer beak helps the finch grab a nutritious berry better than a short beak, then the longer beaked finch will become prominent over time. We know this and see it in action.

What is nothing more than speculative theory and what there is no proof for, is that genetic mutations take place such that a feature arises that was never before a possibility within the genetic makeup of a species. This would be a lizard becoming a finch. So many systems within the animal and so many genes that would have to mutate at the same time for a lizard to become a finch. When science proposes this kind of evolution theory they are indulging in just so stories because they don't know and are afraid to say that.

I'm not so sure Matt. While from your vantage point the sun was below the horizon, from the vantage point of a plane several miles in the sky, the sun would still be visible. And light reflecting from the metallic body of a plane would be white since the plane at a high altitude would be free from the effects of the atmosphere close to the earth which produces the colors we see at sunset. Light emitted from the sun is white light not orange.- AOD

I wonder if the 'dragons' people were seeing in the sky in AD 793 might have been the Aurora Borealis with it's jaggedly, changing trail of red and green light. - AOD

"Yet, to build on your point, the question is why the variety is more or less consistent in each era? What "regulates" that? It is a similar question to, "If NDEs are merely hallucinations, then why don't people imagine comforting ordinary scenes of great variety instead of journeys within certain parameters?"

If some UFOs are projections of the collective unconscious, then it is normal that these UFOs reflect the prevailing culture in every age, because every culture creates such UFOs. And on NDEs, evolution could be the limiting condition, besides the NDEs records are more varied than is generally believed, although I do not consider that NDEs are caused by the nervous system due to consistent experiences while the nervous system decays and extrasensory veridical experiences.

I do not know what to believe about UFOs. Some cases indicate something strange, but that is not sufficient to conclude that they are alien ships or something paranormal as psychic projections.


Chel,
I didn't mean to imply that living organisms do not change over time, clearly some of them do change (evolve). although apparently there are a few that change very little or not at all. e.g., trilobites, mollusks, cycads, equisetums, probably many algae and diatoms and others. Many living organisms have become extinct in one form but might continue in another form, e.g., dinosaurs to birds.

But at some point, if I really believe in another reality inhabited by spiritual beings then I have to take a stand and consider that the involvement of spirits may be part of the evolution of species. I either believe in spirits or I don't.

Alfred Russel Wallace and great science writer and thinker put forth his ideas about evolution, survival of species and intelligent design in his book "The World of Life." I recommend again that everyone interested in evolution, and spiritualism read his book.

Let me quote Alfred Russel Wallace concerning his belief in spirit involvement in the evolution of species

"My first point is, that the organising mind which actually carries out the development of the life-world need not be infinite in any of its attributes---need not be what is usually meant by the terms God or Deity. The main cause of the antagonism between religion and science seems to me to be the assumption by both that there are no existences capable of taking part in the work of creating other than blind forces on the one hand, and the infinite, eternal, omni-potent God on the other. The apparently gratuitous creation by theologians of a hierarchy of angels and archangels, with no defined duties but that of attendants and messengers of the Deity, perhaps increases this antagonism, but it seems to me that both ideas are irrational. If, as I contend we are forced to the assumption of an infinite God by the fact that our earth has developed life, and mind, and ourselves, it seems only logical to assume that the vast, and infinite chasm between ourselves and the Deity is to some extent occupied by an almost infinite series of grades of beings, each successive grade having higher and higher powers in regard to the origination, the development, and the control of the universe."

Perhaps this is not the best quote from Wallace but I think it is ideas like this that got Wallace sidelined by mainstream materialistic science. Darwin on the other hand, stated early on that it was his goal to prove that there was no special creation by a god. That endeared him to the hearts and minds of the academic intelligentcia. - AOL

AOD,

I can't rule out what you say. It's just hard to imagine that causing that bright of a pinpoint light, but at the same time the whole thing didn't really seem "paranormal," so who knows? :)

Juan, IMO NDEs are also experienced per the local collective mind. That is why westerners see what they see and East Indians for example, have a somewhat different NDE experience. I suspect the afterlife experience is also shaped by psychic influences of the group an individual belongs to; family lineage, race, culture, epic, etc. I know this isn't a popular notion these days because modern social science theory has it that we are all exactly the same regardless of the things I mention. However, there is evidence to suggest we are not; not in this world and not in what we experience of the next. "Spiritual" people also do not like what I say because they buy into the social science concept and fear abuse of humanity if it were otherwise. But mostly because they seek some ultimate truth- IMO, there isn't one. It's all just interpretations through the filters I mention.

Matt writes: "I *don't* attach any paranormal import to this experience. The light didn't move, other than appearing and disappearing, and did nothing to appear intelligent or meaningful. It *is* hard to explain"

It sounds exactly like the 'spirit lights' that I see at close quarters from time to time. They can be spatially located and, sometimes, appear to be intelligently directed.

AOD: I'm not sure it did. Didn't pretty much all scientists of the time believe in God? My expertise is on the biological rather than historical side so I may be wrong. I do know Darwin self-described as agnostic.

AOD,

Great quote from Wallace! Definitely reflects my way of thinking.

@ Chel :

I wrote a critique of Graziano's theory of consciousness here:

http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threads/how-the-light-gets-out.3010/#post-84113

I suppose it could be updated, though I'd also note two years later and the man has - instead of producing some ground breaking papers - taken to mocking those who'd oppose his ideas with the courtesy of the Atlantic.

Though I give some credit to the paper for publishing "Can Neuroscience Understand Donkey Kong, Let Alone a Brain?":

http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/06/can-neuroscience-understand-donkey-kong-let-alone-a-brain/485177/

Matt,
It may be that the ancient Greeks and Romans were not so far out after all. Wallace's ideas would fit in with a hierarchy of gods and goddesses, each having some authority over some part of creation. Isn't that what some of the ancients thought? I myself hope to be able to have some input over the development of the budgerigar (Budgie). I think a pink variety would be nice. - AOD

Michael Shermer's written a book comparing Darwin favorably with Wallace, IIRC.

Meandering off the subject again- one for you Michael.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/guest-column-pilots-ufos-article-1.2177099

Lyn x.

Oh, Michael (I feel weird calling an older man I don't know by his first name, I'm so British), someone's comments on your old "Curiously Literal Mind" post: http://benevolentwanderer.tumblr.com/post/145912016779/the-curiously-literal-mind
I'm not sure whether or not these comments count as a case of CLM or a relevant critique.

This is slightly off-topic, but is on topic regarding thoughts. What are we to make of the placebo effect? There appear to be numerous studies that this is a real thing - that patients will feel better when they think they're getting "real medicine," but instead are just getting sugar pills.

One theory I recently read is that the patient's expectations - in other words, their thoughts - affect the brain's pain center. But this seems to strike down the whole materialist theory. How can a nebulous thought change the material (the brain)? Instead, the filter theory of consciousness seems better able to explain the placebo effect.

Roger,
Apparently Michael Shermer has not read much of Wallace's writing. This seems so incongruent to me that Shermer would have anything favorable to say about Wallace in light of Wallace's strong views on intelligent design.

Did I understand your comment correctly? - AOD

Kathleen, you might was to read Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=the+biology++of+belief.

I recall that there was also a study doing fake knee surgeries and compared them to people who had the real knee surgery. As I remember, those who had the fake surgery did about a well as those who had the real surgery. - AOD

Kathleen wrote,

||One theory I recently read is that the patient's expectations - in other words, their thoughts - affect the brain's pain center. But this seems to strike down the whole materialist theory.||

Right! It does IMHO. I think there are two "paranormal" phenomena that are widely recognized as existing but whose implications are ignored: the placebo effect and dreaming. The latter is simply seen as an ordinary part of life, even though its existence in an ostensibly materialist world is difficult to explain when one really thinks about it.

The placebo effect gets hand-waved away by some Skeptics, while others (who are savvy enough to see that it undermines their worldview) actually argue against its existence or at least try to minimize its importance. What I find funny is when people argue against a position by saying something like, "Oh that's just due to the placebo effect," as if the fact that the phenomenon's paranormal nature is dismissable simply because people have recognized its existence and given it a scientific-sounding name. I would be like explaining poltergeist phenomena by labeling them the "poltergeist effect."

Completely off topic, but its the only place I have to report it while its still fresh news.

Two days ago, a day after the news headlines, a friend in Australia texted me the following...I ought to say he's never made any previous claims or allusions to psychic experiences or the like. And though this is a friend of a stranger story to you so has no evidential value, I can only say as I know him there's no question to me he's simply reporting the facts as they happened.

"Oh by the way, that massacre in the US? I had an eery feeling the night I went to 'Pulse' nightclub - I was saying to Theo (my friend), "I can just imagine how easy it would be for a deranged man to just come in here armed and blow everyone's brains out". That was in 2005. He said my face was as white as a ghost and told me to stop being silly, that we were completely safe. I obviously had a horrible vision. I felt really uneasy in there. It was a great nightclub, imo the best in America with a heavy Latino influence - but something about it just felt not right to me "

AOD: You misunderstood me. Here's what I wrote: "Michael Shermer's written a book comparing Darwin favorably with Wallace, IIRC." there's nothing surprising about that.

Actually, he hasn't yet published it; it's part of his doctoral thesis.

Shermer did have a Fortean experience with his wife's defunct radio piping up at the right moment with the right tune. (Covered here I think.) So he's become more open-minded.

Thanks Roger. I guess the 'IIRC' threw me. I would like to read Shermer's comparison of Darwin and Wallace. I am aware of Shermer's "Fortean experience" as you say but when I read it, it seemed to me that it was just something a love-sick newlywed would put together under the stress of a wedding to reassure or impress his new wife. I am getting very jaded about these things Too many reports seem to be based on a 'will to believe' and they make anomalous things out of questionable natural, coincidental occurrences that may have no significance or relationship to anything. Obviously not every radio, microwave, television or light that comes on by itself is evidence of communication from spirits. It could be that they are just faulty wiring and coincidences, somewhat like Jung's synchronicity. - AOD

AOD: But Shermer hardly had a will to believe. And his recounting of the event didn't benefit him. His followers would mostly be affronted. (Does anyone know what their reaction was?) And it seems real doubtful to me that he is the sort of person who would engineer an elaborate prank like this.

There is a fuzzy nucleus of convincing paranormal reports, and Shermer's seems like one of them, because of what I said above.

It doesn't matter if other reports of interference with electrical devices are less convincing, and maybe mostly imaginary. That's just "noise."

Roger,
But what are the criteria to determine between what is just "noise" and what is spirit interference with electrical devices? I don't think that Shermer engineered this as a "prank". I just think it may be that he was caught up on the emotional vibrancy of the moment.

I used to think that my dying grandfather somehow turned on my television and lamps in my bedroom, even though I had turned them off when I left the house, as they were blaring when I returned from the hospital where he was in hospice care. Shortly after I got home, my uncle called me to say that my grandfather had just died. For a while I used to think that maybe my grandfather somehow affected these electrical appliances and turned them on to let me know he had died. Now, after almost 30 years have passed, I am not so sure and think that probably it was just an electrical fluke.

Later, my microwave started to come on by itself, usually at 2 or 3 in the morning. It annoyed me so that I had to throw it out and get a new one which has worked perfectly without fault since then.

We may not consciously think that we have a 'will to believe' but I'm guessing that most of us subconsciously have a 'will to believe' as it satisfies some deep anxiety we all have about dying.

Almost all of my many, many relatives have died and so far I have not experienced anything that would indicate a communication from any of them. Oh, maybe I have had a particular strange dream in which some of them appeared, sometimes in a way very incongruent with the way they were in life, even in a bizarrely humorous way. On reflection of those dreams I could put together a story that explained the dream even if the dream was silly. None of the dreams seem to be prognosticative. But whatever I might imagine as an explanation for the dream or the self activating electrical appliance it is not the same as hearing the voice of my mother at my bedside or seeing her appear in my kitchen as an apparition. - AOD

My two cents’ worth on the UFO* subject.

I had little to do with "UFOs" by experiencing them. I've read about them. I’ve read from a wide variety of sources. Near the end of that armchair study, I came across a remarkable book that presents a summary of everything I have learnt by then:

Michael S. Heiser’s "The Facade"

(I have to say: it’s awful as a literary work; that's about its only weak side.)
It's splendid because it gets well the nuances well, just as the main features of the enigma.

About the old historical sightings of UFOs: I think they are mired with problems. The evidence is either so obscure that it's virtually impossible to verify it, or falls apart or ceases to be compelling under inspection. (viz Jason Colavito's critique of Jacques Vallee's books.)

* As many of us are dissatisfied with the term UFO, I've spent some time thinking of a phrase that would do a better job. How about UI, standing for Unexplored Intelligences?

"No, that's not a real UFO"
"Oh" - replies a poor soul, finding empathy nowhere, starting to disbelieve her senses. Everyone brushes her off.

Yet, hardly anyone ever says, much less agrees about what is a "real," or “valid” UFO.

Such relations can give way to something like this:

"Thank you for your testimony," - said the interviewer at the end of the session.

The interviewed: "But, what do you think it was?"

"It's hard to tell. It IS a valid case of UI. Could be the intelligence of Mother Nature, or of God, - or a demon-like creature! … It could also be ET-s, or terrestrial beings unknown to science. Other options include: a secret military project, or a mind control project of a some organisation. Martin Cannon and Jack Brewer wrote about those possibilities. It could be any combination of these. It could also involve your own mind: the power of your unconscious, or the conscious, in the sense that you could be deceiving me, for who-knows-what reason.
In any case, the information you’ve provided is definitely a product of an intelligence with remarkable characteristics, well worth learning more about. Thank you for bringing it to our attention."

NDE researcher Kenneth compares NDEers with UFO abductees in this conversation with Terence McKenna from 1992:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oD4Bg2qYeI

You should consider writing a book on the evidence for life after death.

I think you hit the nail on the head with Donald Trump. Not only that but I don't think he ever really wanted to be president he just wanted to be the star of the biggest reality show in history. Although I don't doubt that his actual political convictions were fake. To me the term fascism is as meaningless as the word racism. It is simply an apathetic and ad hominem and nothing more. As for Hillary she is living proof of reincarnation in this case Lucretia Borja. Dressing like Ernst Stavros Blofeld , does nothing for my confidence in her. There's no question she will channel her inner Richard Nixon when she's in the White House. I would not be surprised if she ended up in impeachment trial.

The biggest danger to free speech is from the far left not the far right. The only question seems to be will Hillary continue to kowtow to that bunch when she's got the power. Like the Greek God Janus to not only has more than one face by can talk
one mouth.
As for the UFO stuff of course there's evidence that people see unidentified flying objects, various national defense forces have scrambled fighters seen them on radar, recorded them doing things that were impossible for any kind of current technology. Whatever the alien aspect this obviously unproven. One of the main arguments against UFOs is a course the distance between Earth and other possible planets and traveling at the speed of light. Wherever that is contingent upon accepting that the current scientific paradigm is complete which it obviously is not. Even if it were complete we do know that on the quantum level space and time have no real meaning. Since everything that is composed on the atomic level is composed of the activities the subatomic level there is no reason to believe that an advanced civilization could not manipulate the sub atomic level to make things appear at any place and any time.

A physicist at the University of California Irvine Arthur O'Connell has already produced quantum effects on the macroscopic level in strips of aluminum. Of course there's also the great question of the mind matter interface as well. My father used to be assistance stationmaster in Washington DC. He had constant contact with all senators and congressmen and presidents up until the Nixon administration. He told me if you can believe in politics you can believe in professional wrestling. He said and I have come to agree with him that this country is a corporate plutocracy not a democracy.

The government can legally expose you to radiation from which you will perish with impunity. The workers in area 51 which was of course a test site for advanced aircraft were exposed to massive amounts of radiation that seeped up from the old nuclear testing site. Their lawsuits were of course thrown out of court, just like those of the sailors and Marines who are exposed to nuclear blasts in the 1950s. Not to mention the nonsense of MK ultra.

Reality situation where corporations have the rights of an individual, even though those Corporation stockholders may be entirely Red Chinese for all we know.
I think the Balkanization of the United States is inevitable we might as well start discussing who gets the ICBMs.(please not Texas)not only that but I think it's good
irreconcilable differences are irreconcilable differences.

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." HL Mencken

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