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Yes, I agree with the points being made here. And I would also humbly point out that this has happened to me..on more than one occasion in fact. I have physically seen, while wide awake, two members of my family who had passed (after the fact). One of those members on several occasions. Very clearly yet somewhat transparent. On one occasion the member was not even looking at me but was happily watching a lively conversation that two of her friends were engaged in. On another occasion, the member looked the same, yet different. All the signs of illness were gone, her eyes were very sharp and clear, almost piercing, and there appeared to be a sort of soft slightly yellowish light around her and lighting up her face and around her hair. On another occasion I saw both parents of a past friend of mine who I did not know had passed who 'spoke' to me by 'thought'. When I saw them they had been passed for about 5 years. One more thing...on another occasion I had something happen that is almost identical to typical NDEs...I saw myself in 3D, fully functioning and looking around the room, wondering how it could be happening, drawn up and moving through great darkness, seeing an oval light that was an entrance to a place. It was very bright in there, 10-15 people who were together...and had a conversation with my dad after he had put down what he was doing and come over to me. He was startled when I said I wanted to stay and said I had to go back, I then travelled back and it all repeated itself in reverse. When I joined back to my body there was a tingle and I was bolt upright. (I can retell the entire dialogue we had but I won't go further for the sake of space of boring anyone.) Just thought I would share it.

Rob, besides your dad did you recognise the other 10/15 people??

I had something similar, I met a group of people also, I didn't know any of them, except one vaguely reminded me of someone I knew in the past but as far as I knew he was still alive, he shared a similar energy and looks, anyway this guy said he was killed by a train accident so must have been someone else.

But don't think the thought hasn't crossed my mind that I may have travelled in the future, but I could be way out.

Hello Hope, I did not recognize the other people only because I stopped at the entrance and was too far away from them to make out facial features with necessarity certainty..I saw them entirely, but could not make out faces. I looked around, amazed at the brightness that did not hurt to view..when looking for a sun..there was none..it looked like a 'sky' but there was no single source, best I cans describe is that it was just 'white bright' everywhere. It was then that I noticed a person bend down as if they actually put something down and started coming towards me, it took a bit before I could distinctly see that it was my dad...and I was astounded. I recall every event of it like it was just yesterday, including the conversation. The people were doing something (I'm pretty sure I know what), but not all of them...a few were just relaxing, a few sitting under a tree. My dad seemed to know I was coming, I think. What's puzzling is that it seemed like it was only perhaps several minutes, yet when I came back it was actually 11 hours later.

Also, the darkness was beyond 'black'...the darkest you can imagine does not describe it..as I 'moved' through it before I saw the oval light ahead of me in the distance.

I was fully aware and able to 'look around' the room when I saw myself from outside the body...fully thinking and rationalizing...but without the 'heaviness' of dragging around a body that you don't even realize is there until something like this happens. Yet, it felt like I had some kind of a 'body'...sensation of definite form.

Michael, thanks for all the effort you make to bring unbiased and fair judgment back to the honest evaluation of psi phenomenon.

This kind of attitude is so common, I'm not remotely surprised by it anymore. There's a similar posting over at Cosmic Variance about how the Parapsychological Association should be drummed out of the Association for the Advancement of Science because clearly, there's (stop me if you've heard these points before) no data, no replicable results, and psi defies what we "know" about science and how nature works. It's a post of staggering, almost resplendent, stupidity.

I've gotten so tired of fighting this battle, I don't waste my time anymore. Every now and again, I'll go onto a comment board wit guns blazing and send the "I know there's no data and this is all crap" types a laundry list of links showing all the strong, independently replicated psi data, knowing they'll never look at it and decide that all the researchers involved must we woo-woo wackos because they gave the paranormal the time of day. Then I wake up and think, "Why am I wasting my breath?"

I find it's much more fruitful to lend books like "Parapsychology and the Skeptics," "Irreducible Mind," "Extraordinary Knowing" and "Entangled Minds" to people I know who are uneducated about psi but curious and open-minded in general, or to send them web links and let them discover for themselves. I've already sent the link to the recent Daily Mail story about spiritual healing to about 50 people. We'll see over time if those seeds bear any fruit. My bet is that in about 5-6 people, they will.

By the way, the Daily Mail piece (long link):

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/
health/healthmain.html?in_article_id=408280&in_
page_id=1774&in_a_source

“Yet he is sure he knows it's all bunk. And he is willing to state as much with confidence and conviction.

How much of skepticism fits this description? How much of it is mere bluster by people who have never looked at even one case study of the phenomena they deride?

And why should anyone take them seriously?”

More importantly, why should we allow them to call themselves skeptics?

This mentality goes on all over the place, and it’s certainly not limited to paranormal phenomena. It’s easy to see it in examples like this, but how often are we guilty of the same things? I think it was John in a previous thread who mentioned that people are open minded only within the confines of their current beliefs.

Discovering anything new can be very uncomfortable initially. Most everyone figures they know everything, though they may claim otherwise. I had an interesting exchange with an ‘Objectivist’ over the weekend, trying to point out that his own intellect had boxed him into a particularly rigid view of reality. In return I was informed that I was claiming that ‘A’ was both ‘A’ and not ‘A’ (along with a plethora of additional Rand-speak), and that it might be helpful to read Rand again in order to get a grip on reality. It was quite amusing for me, because it occurred to me that twenty years ago I would have presented the identical argument he was making. So it goes.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way out of this is in beginning to see the degree we all do it ourselves. If I come across information that appears to make me uncomfortable, I try to notice that discomfort, and look into it anyway. I’ve learned over the years that part of discovering the new is in overcoming that original discomfort.

Do I accept all new information without question? Of course not. Much is bunk, and that becomes obvious soon enough. I guess I know enough to know that I don’t know much. It appears that that point of view is rarer than I imagine; I see people everywhere who already know everything.

I’m sure they’re comfortable, but they don’t appear to be particularly wise.

This is standard, Skepticism 101:

Confidently demolish a point that has not been made.

It can be an intentional misdirection, such as I suspect of many of Randi's "debunkings" or be unintentional and based on an arrogance refusal to understand the facts. Examples of this "method" are everywhere.

One of my loves is a quote that in a few short words reveals so much wisdom. Thought I would share these with you.

“The greatest skeptic concerning paranormal phenomena is invariably the man who knows the least about them.” H.H. Price

"The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion." Arnold H. Glasgow

"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments, which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance; that principle is contempt, prior to investigation." Herbert Spencer

"Acceptance without proof is the fundamental characteristic of Western religion rejection without proof is the fundamental characteristic of Western science." Gary Zukav

There's a nice piece by Rupert Sheldrake on skepticism as a weapon:
http://www.edge.org/q2008/q08_11.html#sheldrake

Here's an excerpt:
"In a penetrating essay called "The Skepticism of Believers", Sir Leslie Stephen, a pioneering agnostic (and the father of Virginia Woolf), argued that skepticism is inevitably partial. "In regard to the great bulk of ordinary beliefs, the so-called skeptics are just as much believers as their opponents."

And I particularly like this:
"The more militant the skeptic, the stronger the belief."

Thanks a lot Michael for your response to a skeptic named Chad. I promise too next time to not go off topic sometimes I just get carried away.

Just an aside about a bad example used by the "skeptic" in question. In my personal experience the "time slowing down" effect increases the accuracy of recalled details. I've noticed this when it's happened to me, as well as when people have recounted incidents to me in which they say their perception of time slowed down. It also tends to occur without much emotion, more as a physical effect, in my opinion. Only later do related emotions set in. I think it's a physical survival reflex. In those cases, rather than the person saying, "I don't know what happened," they know exactly what happened, at least from their own perspective of the incident, as if they'd just watched instant replay on a sports broadcast.

Michael what do you think of the patch that can help slow down alzheimers how would the transmission theory explain this? would the patch revive the signal to the nervous system then send signals to the brain and filter's some of those short term memories back to the person.

The skeptic’s reference to the perception of time slowing in crisis being illusory and a consequence of memory function was brought to mind again by Barbara’s comment. I too had been a little, um . . . skeptical (?), upon reading media reports on David Eagleman’s original paper that had ‘proven’ this, because it had conflicted with experiences that I have had.

So, a few moments ago I decided to do a quick search to find a reference to the original paper, which I found. I also found an http://www.i-newswire.com/pr149159.html>article referencing another paper that had found that the original Eagleman piece was seriously flawed, and that the time-slowing effect is real.

Eagleman’s paper spread across the internet pretty quickly, yet I hadn’t seen a reference to the rebuttal before now.

Leo, the transmission theory and the production theory have the same explanatory value for diseases like Alzheimer's, so not much you can say about it.

"More importantly, why should we allow them to call themselves skeptics?"

I call them scoftics.

"Every now and again, I'll go onto a comment board wit guns blazing and send the "I know there's no data and this is all crap" types a laundry list of links showing all the strong, independently replicated psi data, knowing they'll never look at it and decide that all the researchers involved must we woo-woo wackos because they gave the paranormal the time of day. Then I wake up and think, "Why am I wasting my breath?""

The funny thing is that the most sophisticated of the "skeptics," Ray Hyman, actually admits that he can't explain away the best evidence.

Eric: And yet, he can't bring himself to believe in it. Confirmation bias, anyone?

I think he may, in secret, believe in it, but in public, can't risk declaring that for the damage it would cause him.

"How much of skepticism fits this description? How much of it is mere bluster by people who have never looked at even one case study of the phenomena they deride?"

I gauge their knowledge by the "skeptics" and "psychics" that they mention. If they're only aware of people like Randi, Shermer, Geller, and Sylvia Browne then I know that they haven't reviewed the evidence in depth.

Such self-professed "skeptics" need to have some experiences of their own. My conviction was forged with the death apparition of my father. When confirmatory information validates the event, your view of exisitence is FORCED to change. Once the initial shock is past, the changes begin (IF you can tolerate them: note the reactions of athiests to their own NDEs-cognitive dissonance) and such reports can no longer be dismissed. Those who label themselves as "skeptics" will increasingly find their comments ignored, and "true" skepticism (open-minded and undecided) will suffer. Kierkegaard was right in noting that another way of fooling the self is to fail to believe what IS true.

Such self-professed "skeptics" need to have some experiences of their own. My conviction was forged with the death apparition of my father. When confirmatory information validates the event, your view of exisitence is FORCED to change. Once the initial shock is past, the changes begin (IF you can tolerate them: note the reactions of athiests to their own NDEs-cognitive dissonance) and such reports can no longer be dismissed. Those who label themselves as "skeptics" will increasingly find their comments ignored, and "true" skepticism (open-minded and undecided) will suffer. Kierkegaard was right in noting that another way of fooling the self is to fail to believe what IS true.

eric do you have the link were ray hyman admits he cannot explain the best evidence for psi?

I’m not sure that even if sceptics “have some experiences of their own”, it would necessarily help. I saw somewhere here that there are scientists “on the other side” who carry on being scientists because they refuse to believe they’re (physically) dead! (And to be fair, their stance is no different from religious fundamentalists refusing to accept anything but the literal truth of the bible). It is said that the current blinkered scientific paradigm will inevitably subsist until it is replaced by a new model (as Einstein replaced Newton). So if “consciousness” can somehow be factored into the equations, sceptics would come round –we’d have a new mathematical model of reality they could relate to. Terms like “relativity” imply the relevance of the observer, and that’s going in the right direction. I reckon that when the ‘observer’ moves from the periphery of the equations to the centre, we’ll be there!

"I’m sure they’re comfortable, but they don’t appear to be particularly wise."

Wisdom is what you learn after you know it all.
(A paraphrase of a remark by John wooden.)

"eric do you have the link were ray hyman admits he cannot explain the best evidence for psi?"

In "The Elusive Quarry," he admits that nobody has offered a satisfactory "normal" explanation for the Home phenomena or the Ganzfeld results (he still thinks that the scientific community shouldn't take parapsychology seriously). He also agreed with Jessica Utts that the CIA remote viewing evidence can't be explained away. Hyman is an obscurantist, but at least he has some semblance of intellectual honesty.

I wonder what Hyman thinks of the evidence for survival of bodily death like the cross correspondences he probably thinks even less of it then the overwhelming evidence for psi.

Michael H., thanks for pointing out the article in re the time-slowing-down effect. I saw this experiment demonstrated in physicist Michio Kaku's TV special docu series about "Time." It was fascinating, especially since I have experienced this phenomenon personally. Kaku went on to explain that linear time as we perceive it is truly created in the brain; in fact, we couldn't operate in this 3D world of matter without our brains keeping track of time - our very memories are dependent on this sense of time. So, in reality "out there" there is just eternity. Time is in the brain, and its "passage" is what we experience getting from here to there in the 3D world because matter is so dense - we can't move from A to B instantaneously.

Also, regarding career skeptics (vs. merely open-minded/neutral skeptics) - they are true believers (that psi are bunk, delusions, not real); they are no different than fanatical true-believers of fundamentalist religions. Nobody wants to be wrong - that's where that uncomfortable sensation comes from when new information is presented - it's the fear of being wrong. They are so firmly dug in in their beliefs, no amount of coercion or fact-filled argument will change their minds. The only difference between the religious fanatics and the skeptic fanatics is that while the former put their faith in religious dogma, the latter (skeptics) put their faith in scientific dogma, but limited by what science knows now rather than what science has yet to learn. The skeptics are boxed in by a self-limiting paradigm. Any new, mind-boggling scientific breakthrough which introduces an expanded paradigm will make the skeptic extremely uncomfortable because it turns their world upside-down and inside-out. Change for some is extremely difficult to accept, whether they get on board willingly or are dragged kicking and screaming, but those who cannot adapt will go extinct...

Don't waste breath and energy on these fanatic skeptics, because the fact is, they, as souls, have chosen this particular path or role to experience in this life in order to learn to move beyond "the box"; a few may break out of this mold/role and grow and evolve, but most will not. The skeptics, like the religious fanatics, will not change until they are ready to change from within - and it may take a psi experience of their own as an epiphany. But chances are, ironically, as long as the skeptics continue to limit their paradigms and remain in the box of what science currently knows, they will likely never experience psi. To experience psi, one's consciousness must expand beyond individual consciousness or sense of self, which is something most skeptics are incapable of even imagining! In reality, IMO, they are afraid to go there beyond the frontier; they are more safe and comfortable right where they are, in known scientific territory.

If it weren't for visionaries like Galileo, the Wright Brothers and Einstein, how far would science have advanced? We'd still be in the Dark Ages. Consciousness - vision, imagination - must be able to soar free, beyond the little self, beyond the confines of what most people believe is currently possible to what CAN BE.

Don't waste breath and energy on these fanatic skeptics, because the fact is, they, as souls, have chosen this particular path or role to experience in this life ... - Wendy
--------------------------------------------

Yep, but I think it's just more duality and separation for the soul to experience, to imprint on the soul what it means and how it feels to be a separate, unique, individual. The feelings of oneness and connectedness are so overwhelming in Heaven that it may be impossible to become a separate, unique, individual so it has to be accomplished in the phyiscal universe.

"I flew into it. it was so amazing overwhelming it was like it so hard to explain it was as though I was one with the world I knew everything I felt everything I was here and there it was as though as I one with the whole universe, it's just so beautiful words can't explain it." from Mani O's NDE:
http://www.nderf.org/mani_o's_nde.htm

Great post, Wendy, and I agree with everything except the assumption opening the third paragraph. The recognition of the parallels between all lines of fundamentalist thought is especially on target.

It’s amusing reading through all of the comments here, because all of the posters are consistently pointing out the flaws in the thinking of the “skeptics”, which are obvious to anyone who’s a little more open-minded.

Minds can’t be changed by pointing out the flaws in the content of thinking though, or if they can, the change will be incremental and painfully slow. Change will come only from deep within each person, and that will be limited until there’s a broad understanding of the role of thought itself.

Until more undergo the experiential shift involved in discovering how their own thoughts influence their own perception of reality, they will remain largely impotent in any attempt to change others. In other words, the argument needs to move away from, “You need to think differently” towards “You need to realize that you’re thinking.” And that argument can’t be made until someone begins to actually do so themselves.

I don't know if anyone has heard of Dayton Miller who did aether drift experiments and received positive evidence for it

http://www.orgonelab.org/miller.htm

Also notice that ether is coming back now with the idea of dark energy

MP and all, I know a lot of you are interested in Eckhart Tolle so thought I'd let you know that he and Oprah Winfrey are teaching an online class of one of his books. You can find the info on her web site.
Suzie

I mean no offence when I say this but I just thought it was sort of funny that Leo apologised for going off topic, and vowed not to do it again, and then proceeded to do so twice within one day! Ah Leo, what will we do with you, eh?

I find that one thing the Internet has led to is that people can spout any old rubbish, and there's no comeback to it. For example, the skeptic talks about crisis apparitions with authority, and knows nothing about it. When this pointed out, what happens? He stops posting there, and finds somewhere else to spout his nonsense. You find it in all fields.

I'm a big cinema fan, and I often used to post on the Internet Movie Database message boards. I've lost interest now. This is not because people have contrary opinions to me because I enjoy seeing other people's point of view but it was because of the pointless, baseless rubbish people spout on there I just got fed up. There's no comeback. You call them on it, and they just go elsewhere and do it.

Ah, maybe I've gone off topic too now!

Ah Yes Major but what about the countless unseen readers who have been educated by the discussion? :)

Professor Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire, refuses to believe in remote viewing.

He says: "I agree that by the standards of any other area of science that remote viewing is proven, but begs the question: do we need higher standards of evidence when we study the paranormal? I think we do."

Markus Hesse: Wow.

Wow.

Wow.

Now that I've got over my normal awe, I think that he just showed his true colours with that quote: A clear desire to disbelieve. People like these should not be academia.

"People like these should not be academia."

You just wiped out 95% of academia. For most of the world's population our conscious mind is a servant to our beliefs hidden deeply in the unconscious inner dwellings of our mind..

I don't think "skeptics" will change their minds with positive evidence for psi. The reason: the WANT to disvelieve.

Take a look at this video, where Michael Shermer tested an astrologer and get a POSITIVE result:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3N1dIUTbZTo

See the desperation of the "skeptics" commenting that video to explain away the result. (A guy with the nickname "SkepticalFascist" is doing a great job making fun of "skeptics"; See his profile and comments)

We shouldn't take skeptics seriously.

"We shouldn't take skeptics seriously."

but we do; due to the doubt in our own minds.

knowledge about life after death and the paranormal is not the same as realization.

Skeptics drain your energy if you try to debate them - not worth my time anymore
..hope to follow my own advice, but keep on falling in the same trap when my bloodpressure rises from reading stupid articles by intelligent people, like this one: http://cosmicvariance.com/2008/02/18/telekinesis-and-quantum-field-theory/#more-1609
Condensed version: "We've made a thoroughly investigated map. Now, should anybody claim finding anything out there in the terrain not fitting to the map they must be wrong.." Oh,the humanity!

There's good reason to always keep a level head and read arguments from both sides while researching unknown topics, though - I followed Leo's link to http://www.orgonelab.org/miller.htm
Read it & thought Dayton Miller may have found something there, suppressed by later researchers - but then I searched for more recent reanalysis of his data and found this - http://arxiv.org/ftp/physics/papers/0608/0608238.pdf
All his findings lay within the statistical error bars, a form of data analysis not known at his time - or when the Shankland team did their dishonest dismissal of Miller in 1955. Statistical error bars should be well known to everybody who have read Dean Radin's "The conscious Universe" and "Entangled Minds" - and, yes, everybody reading this blog should consider reading them.

Art, wow, you just expanded my mind! Thanks to you, and thanks, Michael H., too.

Peace!

"People like these should not be academia."

You just wiped out 95% of academia. For most of the world's population our conscious mind is a servant to our beliefs hidden deeply in the unconscious inner dwellings of our mind.

So true, William. I've been spending a little time at the Thunderbolts forum recently, and the parallels I see between what they're facing in cosmology and in what 'paranormal' researchers face is chilling.

The Thunderbolts folks are suggesting that many of the anomalous observations regularly uncovered in astronomy might be explained if one considers massive electrical charges in free space plasma may play a larger role in space than gravity. Their arguments are logically coherent to a layman such as myself, though some of the Electric Universe hypotheses seem a bit "out there", too. (Couldn't resist the bad pun).

Anyway, it's occurred to me that it's because I am a layman and not directly involved in the field that some of these alternative ideas strike me as rational. Yet the PhD's that are actively in the field are convinced that the currently dominant theories are correct, and are continually coming up with ad hoc explanations to support current theory. Simpler explanations are rejected out-of-hand, because accepting them would require rejecting fundamental assumptions. Sound familiar?

It's all over the place. We're all nuts, and don't know it. I think the key is to be crazy enough to know we're crazy. We can start accessing wisdom and genuine reason once we stop telling ourselves we already know everything. In the meantime, it's probably best just to be amused.

i found this article to be interesting.

considering the fact that her brain was developed differently from normal population- yet her consciousness seems intact and normal from other people even though her brain does not allow her to express her self through normal means.

just reading her writing i find it hard to believe that it's the result of nurture. behavior therapy is very limited in developing abstracts thoughts and emotions. it's mostly based on repetition and reward/punishment.

it's hard to imagine that you can turn someone into a writer using this type of therapy. the therapy may have helped her in allowing her to find a medium to express herself through repetition (like learning how to type- which you can only learn by repetition).

i like to think that this case is a very good argument that brain and consciousness are not the same- people with autisms have abnormality in their brains, yet their minds are really not that different from ours after all..

Tom's post broke the comments. Fixing.

Great article, Tom. Talk about accessing inner wisdom. This from a thirteen year-old autistic girl who’s unable to speak:

“I think people get scared with things that look or seem different than them . . . If I could tell people one thing about autism it would be that I don't want to be this way. But I am, so don't be mad. Be understanding."

We might try and apply this to everyone we encounter. It’s worth a shot.

yes I'm 100% behind you on that, so when you go to my blog Michael, think of those very same words :-)

Michael H: "Simpler explanations are rejected out-of-hand, because accepting them would require rejecting fundamental assumptions. Sound familiar?"

Yes, this goes back to Carl Sagan, who said "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". This means that if something appears to bring the whole scientific paradigm into question, it requires a much higher level of "evidence" before it is even considered. In a way, I understand this: it means that scientists filter out people who advocate the Flying Spaghetti monster, etc. How is one to tell who is a nut and who isn't (this links in with the new thread nicely, I think..!)

I had a similar experience the night my mother died.I was on a fishing trip in Northern NC with my son and a friend with his son. We were staying in a motel and I was woken that night by my friend while sleep walking on the balcony of the second floor room we shared.

On being awaked, by my curious friend, I remarked that I had just had a very pleasant and life like visit with my mother who was in better spirits and health that I had seen her in for years.

My mother was in a hospice in London Ontario. When I arrive home I was told she died on the night of my sleepwalking.

I have told my family of this spiritual visit and find my cousin, on my mother's side, has had a similar experience.

My son had a similar experience on the night my wife's car (a small Mazda) was run over by a Semi Truck on the NJ Turnpike. She was on her way to visit him in Massachusetts. She survived with nothing more than severe bruises.

I will not deny these occurrences as they are to me very real. I have greater faith in my instincts and senses now than I did before the experience. I was raised and educated in hard science and am now well over 70 years old.

As JB Haldane said "this world is not only stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine".

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