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Thanks Julie.

There's certainly evidence that those on 'the other side' do sometimes orchestra events. I just find the idea of coordinating radio broadcasts and conversations a bit hard to conceive. On the other hand there are lots of curious occurences like the ones you mention. Dunno.

I find it a bit harsh how skeptics can throw even long-time spokespeople under the bus for relatively minor things. Back in 2009, I recall Paul Kurtz (essentially one of the founding members of CSICOP/CSI) made a statement that people shouldn't bash religion, yet a lot of the skeptical community interpreted it as him defending religion and lumped him with all the woo-ist. Think about it, this is a guy that had a hand in starting the whole modern skepticism movement, and because he is saying we shouldn't blindly make fun of religion (this isn't the same thing as saying we shouldn't criticize it) his decades of reputation within that community goes out the window.

Martin Gardner is the only skeptic I've seen get away with his belief in God, I suspect this might have to do with the fact he is considered the original modern skeptic.

Perhaps we are supposed to take life seriously so that we learn what it was we were sent here to learn? And if we didn't take it seriously and just thought it was all a big joke, a hoax, or illusion it wouldn't evoke the emotion that is necessary to imprint on the soul the memories needed to remember those lessons?
Emotions Make the Memory Last

More Detail, Easier Recollection With Emotional Memories

http://www.webmd.com/balance/news/20050131/emotions-make-memory-last

I agree wholeheartedly, Art. But sometimes a little lightness of heart has its purpose too. It doesn't do always to be looking down into the abyss - especially following a bereavement.
But perhaps we never actually get solid scientific proof of the other dimensions of consciousness, because it would spoil the game. ;)

Spirits not only communicate through radio broadcasts,they communicate through a generated word application.There are clear responses to questions.Quite stunning really and there are so many other things way beyond our current understanding and there are many other things closer to home that we don't understand.

I hate that word 'woo'. Makes me think of PZ Myers and Jerry Coyne. They love to hurl the word 'woo' at anything spiritual.

@Julie Baxter:

[[But perhaps we never actually get solid scientific proof of the other dimensions of consciousness, because it would spoil the game.]]

Yes, I've often thought the same thing. We can have JUST enough quasi-evidence to awaken those who can be woken up (or in the words of Yeshua ben-Yosef: "he who hath ears to hear, let him hear")

- But never QUITE enough evidence to be utterly definitive. THAT would spoil the whole purpose of the game, so an 'anti-spoiler' program must be built into the universe.

So here's a thought: perhaps the Skeptics are doing everyone a favour. Evidence is piling up from all sides, that consciousness is the ultimate Ground of all being; that Mind comes before matter. If we're not careful we'll soon awaken to our ultimate nature as fragments of the Great Mind that is dreaming the universe. But then it would be 'game over'.

So maybe the universe is programmed to produce a Skeptical movement whenever humanity gets too close to rumbling the game. NDEs? Oxygen depletion. Remote viewing? Lucky guesses. After death communication? Wishful thinking. Delayed choice quantum eraser experiment? Some sort of glitch of experimental design. Mystical experience? Hallucination. Etc. Etc.

The evidence is never good enough; the game continues.

@Boo boo:

[[ I hate that word 'woo'. Makes me think of PZ Myers and Jerry Coyne. They love to hurl the word 'woo' at anything spiritual.]]

It cracks me up. It's the Skeptic equivalent of the word 'Satan' - the Great Evil that the Faithful must not even think about in case they become contaminated.

Look at what Christian Fundamentalists call 'the work of Satan' - Acupuncture, ESP, Homeopathy, NDEs, after-death communication, psychokinesis, remote viewing, UFOs, ghosts, Bigfoot, past lives, astrology etc....

Now look at what Skeptics call 'Woo-woo' - Acupuncture, ESP, Homeopathy, NDEs, after-death communication, psychokinesis, ghosts, Bigfoot, past lives, astrology etc....

It's the same freaking religion! (Skeptics just add 'God' to the list, that's all.) In both instances these subjects are given a Taboo Word to discourage the Faithful from looking at these subjects, lest their faith should waver.

Wow! You're right. It is the same! Ha ha!

"Look at what Christian Fundamentalists call 'the work of Satan' - Acupuncture, ESP, Homeopathy, NDEs, after-death communication, psychokinesis, remote viewing, UFOs, ghosts, Bigfoot, past lives, astrology etc....

Now look at what Skeptics call 'Woo-woo' - Acupuncture, ESP, Homeopathy, NDEs, after-death communication, psychokinesis, ghosts, Bigfoot, past lives, astrology etc...."

It's the difference between The Judean People's Front and The People's Front of Judea. :)

But in the end it's all fundamentalism, and it's soooooooooo boring.

Yes, Julie. Very boring indeed.

Omg. Have you seen this everythingispointless.com blog? It's ridiculous. Check out the Rupert Sheldrake tag.

Update on Michael Shermer's apparently paranormal experience of the old radio spontaneously turning on. It looks like it wasn't a hoax perpetrated by Shermer and Scientific American to show how gullible most people are. I suspected this. However, Shermer probably got so much flack from true believer pseudoskeptical materialists that he had to use a materialist skeptic blog to cover himself mainly by blaming the editors at Scientific American. He clearly has such a powerful intellect that even if the paranormal came up and figuratively whacked him over the head with a two-by-four (by his having say a deep "realer than real" NDE), he would smugly ascribe it to a hallucination. In other words, it is possible to know that something doesn't exist so firmly that the attitude is "even if it is true I won't and can't believe it".

From http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2014/12/04/shermer-has-a-woo-experience-admits-there-may-be-something-to-it/ :


"I read your commentary, Jerry, and as usual with your critiques in your blog I agree with all your points about my Scientific American column. To clarify matters please see this further explanation of my interpretation, which is that my experience in no way implies something paranormal or supernatural. As I’ve always said (and repeat here), there’s no such thing as the paranormal or supernatural; there is just the normal, the natural, and mysteries as yet unexplained by natural law and chance/contingency.
Much has been made of the subtitle of the original column (stating that my skepticism was shaken to the core), a variation of which was used for the Online title of the essay. As is common in all magazine and newspaper articles, essays, and opinion editorials, the editors write the title and subtitle in a way that will make the article seem more compelling to read, and that is the case here. My Scientific American editors give me much freedom in choosing my own titles and subtitles, but when they have done rewrites for previous columns I have always felt they were better than my original, and this one seemed good to me at the time. But now I see that many readers took it in a way I had not intended. My skepticism is in fine shape.
Hopefully this clarification in Slate will clear up matters. I guess if I had to sum it up even briefer it would be this: Weird things happen. We can’t explain everything. Enjoy the experience. But don’t abandon science or the natural worldview.
Michael"

Interesting, doubter.

The tone of Shermer's article was quite different from the way he now describes it. Originally he wrote that his experience presented him with an example of "anomalous and mystifying events that suggest the existence of the paranormal or supernatural." Now he says he never meant to imply the possible existence of the paranormal or supernatural, and that "science or the natural worldview" (which he apparently takes to be one and the same) leaves no room for the paranormal at all.

His point, he claims, was simply that "weird things happen" and we should "enjoy" them. But the actual article went well beyond this rather bland observation, and strongly implied a worldview-challenging personal experience.

Still, I can't blame him too much for his retreat. I can only imagine the grief he's been getting from fans and friends.

"Still, I can't blame him too much for his retreat. I can only imagine the grief he's been getting from fans and friends."

Then I'll blame him. Sure, it's easy to understand why he's backpedalling. But anyone who claims to be a seeker of the truth, but who discounts his own experience because of flak he's getting from the people around him, is not much of a seeker in my book.

It's certainly not how I'd like to see a leader behave.

Then too, I'd be interested to know how his new wife feels about his about-face. As he described the experience, it was an emotional and profoundly meaningful moment in her life. (And also, apparently, in his, despite that pathetic denial.)

No matter how you look at it, it's not a pretty picture. But I can't say I find it surprising, just disappointing.

"that my experience in no way implies something paranormal or supernatural. As I’ve always said (and repeat here), there’s no such thing as the paranormal or supernatural; there is just the normal, the natural, and mysteries as yet unexplained by natural law and chance/contingency."

Here Shermer seems that conceives the paranormal and the supernatural as synonyms, but they are not synonymous: the paranormal is what can not be explained by currently accepted scientific theories; the supernatural is what is above nature. So the paranormal exists because it is by definition "mysteries as yet unexplained by natural law and chance/contingency".

"I can only imagine the grief he's been getting from fans and friends."

Quite. I recall others posting here to the effect that a characteristic of the sceptic movement is its crushing peer pressure – great if you want to harness that to become one of its leading lights; stultifying in the extreme if you are ready to open up and develop.

Unlike some experiences of synchonicity, what does seem clear is that this hasn't proved transformative for Shermer. Perhaps he is not yet ready for that, in which case fair enough; as I see it these things have a time and place and shouldn’t be rushed. That said, if he is in denial he may well be storing up trouble for himself in the future.

Ultimately, that’s an issue personal to him. On the wider front, if his experience had properly taken root, and he’d stuck to his guns, I doubt very much whether it would have changed the sceptic movement – at least in the short term. He would simply have been ostracised as far as I can see, and that would have been that.

It’s possible in the longer term it might have made a difference; perhaps, in retrospect, turning out to be some kind of turning point. Who knows? And it now looks likely we won’t find out.

Why be so wordy about it? The simple truth is that the man is a moral coward and afraid of becoming 'Billy No Mates'. He deserves to be pitied rather than condemned. Whichever way one looks at it, Shermer's credibility is shattered.

"Why be so wordy about it?"

Because I don't think we are in a position to be so judgemental, Julie. From my own experience people often shrug off "anomalous" experiences, rather than using them as the basis for a transformed world view - and as I see it perhaps for them that might be the right response given their particular level of development.

In particular, I recall a Manchester resident I was staying with at the time having the clearest precognitive dream about the 1985 Manchester air crash two days before it happened. It was so vivid a dream I remember his going out of his way to comment on its clarity at breakfast the following morning (something his wife told me after he’d left for work he’d never done before). Yet while after the crash he didn't go into denial exactly, he nonetheless made it clear that for him it was no big deal or something the implications of which he wanted to discuss.

Of course, this might be down to a deplorable failure to face what has happened and its implications. But it might be because that person is not yet ready spiritually or psychologically to take on board those implications and – especially if they are an atheist or conventionally religious – fundamentally change their life and outlook.

In my view doing that is a huge step whether you are Michael Shermer or my above mentioned acquaintance. We are fully aware of Shermer’s public persona and the associated pressures that would have militated against him taking that step. And if he has backtracked solely for those reasons then, yes, he is a humbug. Others here might see this differently; but for me there could well be other factors of which we are not aware.

Ps. That sounded more than a tad harsh, but I've never mastered the ability to suffer fools gladly. Why try to reason with or about someone who doesn't care either for truth or reason? In the great scheme of things, the likes of Michael Shermer are of very little importance.

Oh dear. That didn't sound very kind either. But never mind.

@Simon: No, I don't think there are other factors. It seems to me that Shermer's public profile and career depend upon his effective denial of the truth of even his own experience. At best that's tedious, at worst it's morally criminal.

Oh dear; there I go again. :/

Hi Julie, I'll think we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one. Cheers Simon

Hi Julie,

That's an excellent account of synchronicity in action you wrote about a few posts back!

I've had a few of these; I fact I think I've had a lot of them, but as Michael has discovered and wrote about in the past, the mind has a strange tendency to forget about them if you don't write them down, so at least you have this written down for future reference.

You may think you won't forget it, but the mind has a funny way. I'm always reminded of this theme in Stephen King's IT (novel and tv adaption), where the characters forget their childhood paranormal experiences in adulthood, almost as if they are not supposed to remember them.

As for their purpose, there may be a variety of reasons, but in many cases, particularly mundane synchronicities, I think it is the synchronicity itself which is the message: it's telling you that there is more to life than simple physical reality; there's an underlying reality which drives everything. The message that there is more to reality than what we can observe is, of course, one of the most powerful and significant messages for us receive, especially when we are caught up in the mundane day to day, or in the throws of personal trauma.

Someone else asked how it could possibly work? I think we are talking about aspects of reality operating at an extremely deep level, and then manifesting and affecting everyday physical reality. We may not understand exactly how this works, but if we consider a vague notion that we, collectively, co-create and manifest our physical reality, then perhaps we can modify it at some deep level, or other agencies from outside can modify it for our benefit or to transmit a message to those 'inside the matrix'.

"But it might be because that person is not yet ready spiritually or psychologically to take on board those implications and – especially if they are an atheist or conventionally religious – fundamentally change their life and outlook."

This is a good point, Simon. Like Julie, I too wrote a comment in which I came down hard on Shermer, but I agree that we're never wrong to be compassionate. Hey -- I was a long-time atheist and denier myself, doing the best I could in the context of my own life.

But I'm also disappointed, and I won't deny it. I guess "mixed feelings" says it best.

Spiritually transformative experiences tend to happen in multiples - meaning that if the other side is trying to get your attention they might not stop with just one mystical or transcendental experience. Michael Shermer might find himself the recipient of more experiences if they are really intent on getting his attention.

That is what happened to me. I had several years of precognitive dreams, synchronicities, even to the point of hearing a voice one time that told me what my wife was fixing to do. It left little doubt in my head that there is more to our Universe than meets the eye.

"But I'm also disappointed, and I won't deny it. I guess "mixed feelings" says it best."

Me too Bruce! No torch for Shermer in my earlier comments. He is a leading light in a movement that seeks to denigrate and ridicule something that should be taken seriously - or at least treated with respect by way of a properly sceptical approach. When something like this happens, therefore, it is more than understandable that he should in turn attract ridicule. And if he does now find himself stuck between a rock and a hard place I find it hard to be sympathetic.

But looking beyond that this whole subject I find both complex and fascinating. That's why I find those such as yourself, Bruce, who have made the journey you describe so interesting. Why do some who have these experiences make it and some don't? Perhaps those who don't are in denial. But I can't help feeling that for some it just isn't in their 'incarnation plan' or whatever some of the messages from mediums suggest we sign up to before incarnating - presumably due to some sort of development need.

Simon Oakes said:

"Why do some who have these experiences make it and some don't?"

For me, the short answer is: because the journeys back to wholeness on which we souls are embarked are infinite in variety.

I do feel though "Simon" it's time for science to become a complete science rather than a pseudo science. In the wise words of "Seth" ..

‘‘It is the worst kind of arrogance to ignore the existence of paranormal experiences on parts of large portions of the population, and dangerous to operate with hypotheses that do not include such larger versions of reality. Science wants to be free of myth, yet it sets up its own. Only science’s myths lack all of those qualities that give men hope, zest, cheer, or faith, by denying not only the meaning of man's universe but of his very being, reducing his world to a spiritual and psychic vacuum, shoving man out of his own experience and diminishing his sense of stature by denying the events of his psyche.’’
(The Worldview of William James, by Jane Roberts).

By categorising consciousness as irrelevant, and the various other phenomena of heightened consciousness of meditation, NDE's etc as paranormal-

i.e. " Paranormal events are phenomena described in popular culture, folklore and other non-scientific bodies of knowledge, whose existence within these contexts is described to lie beyond normal experience or scientific explanation". (Wikipedia).

It's simply illogical, and highly unscientific. For me, I can't see why they wouldn't query why we have a consciousness in the first place?

So I feel rather than personal development, it's time that push comes to shove, and every member of the science community see that all areas of science are relevant. Lyn x.

Hi Lynn

Many thanks, and by coincidence I am just coming to the end of ‘Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul’! I too find Seth marvellous – not least because of the way he captures the sheer scale and complex dimensionality of the Reality within which we live. For me he is a great antidote to those who approach this subject in too literal minded a way.

I couldn’t agree more with your comments concerning the current mainstream scientific mindset. The Open Sciences website recently flagged up by Michael shows the way forward:

http://www.opensciences.org/

In the meantime, however, as I see it this current mindset is now doing real damage. As you say it is unscientific. With its denial of any meaningful role for consciousness it is also essentially nihilistic – whatever any liberal humanistic pretensions it might claim – and with the help of the internet is driving a pseudo-sceptic agenda that, in the UK at least, is infecting much of our liberal culture and media.

Perhaps this shouldn’t be exaggerated, and it has to be said there is now a marked backlash against Richard Dawkins here. Indeed, he is now verging on becoming a figure of fun in parts of the UK liberal media; so perhaps things are moving in the right direction. But it can, at times, be very depressing to see something so unscientific & philosophically superficial being presented as the final, authoritative scientific view.

“For me, I can't see why they wouldn't query why we have a consciousness in the first place?”

That’s a very interesting question Lynn and the answers, in my view, are likely to be many faceted. But one factor driving the current pseudo-sceptic agenda (which feeds on this denial) for me might be an inability in at least part of our culture to cope with feelings. Just a thought.

Just to add regarding the impact of pseudo-scepticism on the UK media, I'm a great fan of Phil Rickman's supernatural thrillers; and his latest book - Night after Night - in my view is a really good take on this:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Night-After-Phil-Rickman-ebook/dp/B00LRHW9AO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1418287725&sr=1-1&keywords=phil+rickman

"So I feel rather than personal development, it's time that push comes to shove, and every member of the science community see that all areas of science are relevant."

I agree entirely, Lynn. But when one is dealing with a form of wilful stupidity the immediate future doesn't look altogether optimistic. Most people who have personal experience of the paranormal accept that there is a ghost in the machine. Arguing with the likes of Michael Shermer serves no purpose other than to inflate his sense of importance.

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