Mod+ 228. Mary Rodwell Advocates for Alien Contactees

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by alex.tsakiris, Nov 5, 2013.

  1. bastaschs

    bastaschs Member

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    First, I didn't "attack" Jules. I attacked Jules' line of reasoning. This is a discussion board. Your defense of Jules' continued ignoring of important points I raised does not speak well for you.

    Second, I don't need to do "research of my own" when the area of expertise is science. To my knowledge, there has never been one single major or minor scientific study of alien abduction. In order to initiate such studies, it is incumbant not on me, but on abduction claimants, to present evidence to science, from which science can work.

    Third, you are employing a double standard: one for Jules, and another for me. You cut Jules all kinds of slack, even though Jules made no attempt to support the reality of Jules' personal "psychic experiences", or to support the reality of physical abduction experiences. You never insisted that Jules do research to support the pro-psychic/pro abduction view.
    But here you are, insisting that I'm the one who needs to provide research. Wrong. That's up to the abduction claimants, and I am not a claimant.

    Fourth, the "wheels meet the road research" is a scientific responsibility based on the claimants' responsibility to provide science with hard evidence. Strangely, you insist on seeing me as a claimant with an abduction case to prove. I am no such thing. So your "encouragement" for me to do abduction research is both unrealistic and unfair.
     
  2. bastaschs

    bastaschs Member

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    I "expect" only that claimants who want people to believe their abduction experiences enter the only public forum that can verify physical alien abduction, and that forum is science. Science does not proceed from dreams, nightmares, delusions, fantasies, etc. Science proceeds from evidence.

    Those, like Jules, who want people to trust their claims of psychic experiences and alien abductions, are absolutely obligated to support their claims with scientific evidence. This is because of their wish that others believe their claims. The public cannot be expected to believe their claims if the claims are not supported by scientific evidence, and scientific evidence cannot be forthcoming until Jules and company - i.e., those who desire that the public accept their claims - successfully present evidence of their claims.

    It is this public aspect of their claims-talk that demands public acceptance via scientific verification. If they were making only private claims and not inviting others/the public to accept them, it would be a different situation entirely. But since they do want others to believe the claims, they have taken on the yoke of public, scientific proof - they have moved from their subjective world out into the external world where claims need proof if they are to be accepted.
     
  3. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I think you are missing Jules' point - which is that it is interesting to know the range of phenomena that are being claimed here. John Mack makes the same point in his book. He is open to the possibility that these phenomena are part mental (probably in the ψ sense) - just as NDE's are. Most people now accept that NDE's happen - whatever their explanation. You could argue that NDE's have not been 'established' by your criteria, but very few skeptics try to argue that NDE's are simply made up.

    I am just starting John Mack's book, "Passport to the Cosmos", but it is clear already that many UFO/abduction reports come from native Americans and are part of the story's they tell of their past - which means they have not just picked these ideas out of modern ideas about space etc.

    You said:
    Something similar must have been said about every concept that we discuss here. The problem, at least in many areas we discuss, is that all evidence can be discarded if you employ enough joker cards - such as assuming the experimenter is a liar - so no evidence ever gets accepted - even tentatively. In normal science tentative new ideas spark new research, but when every new idea gets stomped on hard, this does not work. I think this is a real problem - conventional science has become far too rigid.

    To my mind, one of the things that Skeptiko has repeatedly exposed, is that shed loads of anomalous evidence have been buried by an overly skeptical scientific approach. Not all that evidence is necessary real or useful, but until someone gives it an airing, and cross correlates it somewhat, we simply do not know what it may indicate.

    David
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2013
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  4. chuck.drake

    chuck.drake Guest

    Like Jules, I think you are likely on the wrong road here. No one has requested for anyone else to "believe" their abduction experiences that I am aware of. You can take it or leave it. You brought up Whitley Strieber yourself. He is quite adamant that he doesn't give a fig whether anyone believes him or not. And as you say, he is utterly unsure of exactly what happened to him. But what he is quite convinced of is the fact that what happened is very important.

    Exploring the phenomena of alien abduction is not for everyone. I doubt that science, which has yet to come up with any cohesive theory of consciousness, is going to be very effective in exploring what appear to be the outer reaches of the same subject, which could be the liminal territory between the physical and non-physical.

    I read this from Mack last night,

    "The idea of consciousness as an infinite source of energy and form to which each being has access makes it perhaps inappropriate to consider each communication of Paul's--as, for example, his presence at Roswell--in terms of whether is it literally factual or concretely "happened" in linear space/time terms. I appreciate that this will not satisfy anyone who still hold to a view of reality that is limited to the physical four dimensional universe. On the other hand, there may be some value in challenging our restricted epistemology and expanding our criteria for evaluating information to include the power or intensity with which something is felt and communicated and the potential utility the knowledge may have in relation to our contemporary dilemmas." --Mack, Abduction. p. 239.
     
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  5. bastaschs

    bastaschs Member

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    David, thanks for your courteous and civil comments. I agree, with Carl Jung, that some paranormal events may occur in "the psychoid realm" - a veritable "twilight zone" between psyche and matter. Jung said that UFOs were deeply subjective and symbolic, as well as being "projection carriers" of the xollwctive unconscious. Ditto with certain purported cryptids - sometimes Nessie acts like an aquatic animal, but sometimes "she" acts like the classic each uisge - the legendary water horse. There are apparently "solid" phenomena that sometimes behave as if they were spirit as well as matter.

    Actually, NDE's have not been established according to my criteria, for the simple reason that the criterion that I bring to the abduction debate is that of hard, objective evidence. No doubt NDEs happen, but they are evidentially useless unless they contain an OBE. Research is just beginning in an organized sense to test for "the veridical OBE" - and that is the kind of testing and evidence that meet my criterion.

    I am not so sure that Native peoples have reported UFOs via their origin/spiritual narratives. Of course, modern Native use of Ayahuasca includes "UFO-like" visions, but it also includes visions of jungle cats and enormous snakes.

    So, I am not convinced that a mythic UFO, passed along generations, over thousands of years (including "biblical UFOs"), corresponds closely enough to WW II - to - present-day UFOs. That is, do ancient/mythic UFOs have the aerodynamism, the metallic carapaces, including bolts and machine parts, that can only be the product of a modern (to us) or a futuristic (to them) technology?

    That is, is the mythic UFO described as sufficiently technologically advanced to "pass" for the modern UFOs with which we are familiar?

    Another consideration from myth, oral tradition and ancient texts is that they must be understood on their own prescientific terms, and in order to do this, we must first understand their symbology before we try to turn it into a literally-read "nuts and bolts" report of UFOs. In this regard, much mess has been created by Von Daniken, Sitchin and plenty of others who anachronistically project modern notions back onto ancient cultures. An ancient writer reports "shields" in the sky, and right away we supposedly have a flying disk. But what if the shields referred to, in that time and culture, were not disks, but arrow/ or square/ or rectangle-shaped? What if the "shields" are purely metaphors for a divine "sign in the sky"? Then obviously, we've lost the Ancient Astronauts "piloting" the "shields". Etc.

    "reports come from native Americans and are part of the story's they tell of their past - which means they have not just picked these ideas out of modern ideas about space"

    Yes, they surely didn't pick out our ideas of the modern UFO (unless they were time-travelers into the future, heh heh). That's an important point. Their "UFOs" are not necessarily our UFOs. As Jung demonstrated, cross-culturally the Mandala Circle is a universal symbol of wholeness. Therefore, it would not be surprising that much Native myth and religion - as well as modern myth and religion - should be replete with Sacred Circles and Spheres, whether in the sky, on land, or in the sea.

    Again, the criterion I bring to the subject: evidence. Reports and myths from ancient sources do not constitute evidence. The UFO as we know it has measurable effects - it throws back a radar echo, it leaves landing traces, it interferes with electronic/electrical function, it has been photographed/taped/filmed, it has left traces on human subjects (see Jacques Vallee's Confrontations for a chilling account of the Colares, Brazil UFO invasion and the burning light beams associated with it).

    But Native/biblical/ancient accounts are not subject to the above evidential standards. Moreover, when the ancients wrote or spoke about odd sky phenomena, we cannot be certain if they were speaking literally or mythologically/allegorically. What might look to us moderns as an ancient "UFO report" may not be a report at all, but rather a mythological statement, a holistic archetypal expression emerging not from sky and space, but from the inner space of the collective unconscious. The true UFO report is a strictly modern phenomenon, "modern" meaning at least from the French "Enlightenment", when myth started to be separated from observable and testable facts.

    "Not all that evidence is necessary real or useful, but until someone gives it an airing, and cross correlates it somewhat, we simply do not know what it may indicate."

    True. But what does the subjective, purely internal, "mystical" claim made earlier by Jules, actually indicate? Certainly it's wonderful material for psychologists, especially Jungians (of whose work Dr. Mack was very fond). But a purely psychological experience cannot be considered scientifically valid unless it is supported by physical evidence. How does such material "get an airing" - outside of books like Mack's, Striebers, and similar others?

    So, yes, in a narrow sense, it does get "aired" - i.e., people buy the books. But how does purely subjective material get aired in the arena of science? The most you usually get is a pile of materialist-reductionist "explanations" of "why the brain creates abduction scenarios". What you never get is a scientific airing of the evidence for physical abduction - and this is to be expected, since none is ever put before reputable scientific bodies (the case of Dr. Leir and his implant removals, for example).

    So a true airing out would be to bridge claimants' subjective narratives with external material supporting evidence. As far as I know, this has never been seriously attempted. Until it is, there is an unbridged gap between claimants' "I know I was abducted" and scientists' "Where's your evidence?"
     
  6. Bucky

    Bucky Member

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    Possibly ... yes.
    http://lithiumdreamer.tripod.com/ufoart.html

    Cheers
     
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  7. bastaschs

    bastaschs Member

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    As I have stated several times, I'm fine with "liminal" territory, e.g., Carl Jung's "psychoid realm". My point is that those who claim to have been physically abducted and physically probed and physically taken in a physical craft to outer space, cannot expect to receive a scientific hearing until they can provide physical evidence of their claims. And there ought to be some expectation of physical evidence - just as there is with UFOs which sometimes leave landing traces, reflect radar echoes, etc. If an abductee claims that specific physical things were done to his/her physical body, a reasonable expectation is for some kind of physical after-effect. Inasmuch as a nonmaterial "ghost" causes effects in the material world, it has taken on an aspect of that material world, if even for a very brief time. Ditto alien abductors. At some point their liminality takes a turn to the mundanely physical, as when impregnating females, stealing their fetuses, or performing anal probes. Any of such gross (not to mention crass) procedures bring with them a reasonable expectation of physical evidence.
     
  8. chuck.drake

    chuck.drake Guest

    I think some of us may simply have different goals regarding the study of phenomena like this. I won't speak for Alex because I never really know what he's going to say and I wouldn't presume to anyway. But for me I just couldn't care less what science thinks about abductions or the OBE or any other similar subject. I really don't care about science at all. But I see that for you science is of critical importance. I think that's great. For me the study of this material is intensely personal, intensely spiritual. Sometimes it seems entirely literal and sometimes entirely metaphorical, depending on the day or the hour. And I'm perfectly fine with that.

    What I really don't care for is for people who stand up on a soapbox and denounce and marginalize the people who are claiming these experiences and the people who spend their time exploring them. If it's not your cup of tea, then move on and drink some other kool-aid. Their are lots of different flavors in the world. Why spend so much energy urinating in someone else's cup?
     
  9. chuck.drake

    chuck.drake Guest

    That's cool. But what if the experiences, though they seem to take place in the physical, are actually entirely within an imaginal realm? Does that invalidate the experience for you? Because it doesn't for me. And in that case, there simply may not be any physical evidence.

    Are the abductees making a claim that requires some physical recompense? Is that why they should need to provide physical scientific evidence? I think they want to be heard. I think they want their very real experience to be taken seriously and why shouldn't it be? They have clearly experienced something. And that something is cloaked in language and symbols related to "other". Why not simply let them and the researchers hash it out? Play it out to the last degree? See where it takes us?
     
  10. Bucky

    Bucky Member

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    It's not that physical evidence doesn't exist. Implants are extracted from people that claim alien abductions.
    Withley Strieber tried to have his own removed but failed, because the "thing" was moving around.

     
  11. Ian Gordon

    Ian Gordon Ninshub Member

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    Last edited: Nov 9, 2013
  12. Bucky

    Bucky Member

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    Great collection. Thanks
     
  13. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I disagree. Many NDE's contain information about the resuscitation procedures, including many quirky details. Those details have to have been gained while the brain is starved of oxygen (even if some oxygen arrives from cardiac massage), which is itself remarkable.

    The next time you visit the dentist, try writing an account of which instruments were used on you, and what they looked like! The task is essentially impossible because of the restricted view you have, and something very similar must apply to resuscitation patients - even if they have their eyes open. Thus I would argue that the typical OBE phase of an NDE offers considerable evidence that this experience transcends materialistic explanations.

    David
     
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  14. Saiko

    Saiko Member

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    My opinion is that it depends.

    First of all . why would another species care about human rights? Even if they were wont to do so, it supposes that the way they view things is similar to how we view ourselves and our realities. Most of us don't think much about " lab rat rights."

    Second, more than most any event I can think of, what constitutes transformative "spiritual" experience is individual. Some people feel that way about a particular sexual encounter.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2013
  15. Saiko

    Saiko Member

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    Do you mean "scientific" or "mainstream materialist science based"?
     
  16. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    I feel like that about dark matter. Pure fantasy. It has emerged nowhere into quantifiable, physical reality. It's made up stuff to account for the speed of rotation of galaxies. The maths just tells you that if any such stuff exists, it would have to exist in such-and-such an amount.

    Abduction reports, on the other hand, have emerged into physical reality and you can find many thousands of people to back that claim up. There's no doubt that some kind of phenomenon is occurring, be it literal or psychological or spiritual. It's entirely scientific to study it.

    Stuff and nonsense. I refer you to dark matter as just one example. There is not one scintilla of evidence for its existence: the evidence is the speed of rotation of galaxies and dark matter is put forward as a possible explanation. People are now looking to see if they can detect it in deep mines. So it isn't factual, yet people are looking for it. Scientists do this all the time with hypotheses: other examples include the aether, which Michelson and Morley looked for although at the time it wasn't factual. They claimed they didn't find it (some dispute this), but most would regard it as still not factual.

    Don't confuse science with the idea of proof. The one thing that science can't do is provide proof. Evidence, yes: proof, no. It can, however, sometimes disprove.

    Saying there was a Big Bang and Inflation and Dark Matter is, from a truly scientific viewpoint, no more evidential than a fairy tale. But people regard it as science because that's what scientists want to call it. Science, in practice, is a matter of consensus and paradigm--unfortunately.

    Putative implants and their authenticity apply to a literal interpretation of alien abductions. Personally, I doubt that the abduction phenomenon is literal.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2013
  17. Saiko

    Saiko Member

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    If your only, or your primary, guideline is " quantifiable, physical" then you're interested in materialism/physicalism not science per se.
     
  18. malf

    malf Member

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    Yeah, I'm confused where this show fits in with Alex's stated claim of "following the data". Fine, if we look at it from a sociological/ethnographical viewpoint, but the interview went way beyond that and lurched in several uncomfortable directions for me. (The idea that starving African children had had their lives chosen for them, I found particularly repellent, btw.)

    However, to be fair to Alex, he didn't want a skeptical viewpoint on this thread, and perhaps, bastaschs, if you were Arouet you would have received a Mod+ for your comments by now! Maybe start another thread on this on the BvS forum, it's where all the cool cats are :).

    ( :) = irony)
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2013
  19. Ian Gordon

    Ian Gordon Ninshub Member

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    If this is sincere, then why this?:
    ---
    What you or I may find repellent doesn't have anything to do with whatever the truth is. And whatever the truth is, the idea that, in some complex way, to some degree, "souls" choose their incarnations and life challenges, is widespread and consistently found in various sources of "psi". What was said here isn't anything new or earth-shattering.

    This seems to imply an agenda or bias against Arouet by the moderators. They can speak to this if they wish.
    Despite the "excuse me, I'm just being humorous", to me this seems to point to a consistent tone and theme in your posts since you first joined Skeptiko.
     
  20. Jules

    Jules New

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    Alex gave a very clear warning before the show that some listeners would find it challenging. He advised us to hang on in there with it because there was content that was valuable that we would miss if we threw the baby out with the bathwater (my paraphrase). I'm capable of identifying "the model" from which someone is speaking and holding that as distinct from the experience to some degree - most people here don't have an issue with that. If the former isn't your cupcake, don't eat it. We can all expand our conceptual notions about the range of possibilities there are for what's going on from listening to the voice of experience.

    Before Einstein came up with the theory of relativity, first he imagined travelling a beam of light.
     
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