Mod+ 240. DR. DAVID LANE NOT SANDBAGGED — PATRICIA CHURCHLAND PART 2

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by alex.tsakiris, Mar 12, 2014.

  1. Rod

    Rod Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    Messages:
    17
    On March 15, 2014, Vortex wrote:

    "STE" is spiritually transformative experience, I suppose…

    Thanks Vortex, for explaining the term, and I suppose, too, that this is the meaning Alex had in mind, although he has not followed it up.

    But, of course, it changes nothing about my initial reaction to his statement:

    “You seem to be using one hypothesis to invalidate another. Please be a little clearer, if you can spare the time.”

    If you want to challenge a theory or support another one, evidence is surely required.

    However, just because one explanation fits for some observations, this doesn’t mean it fits for all. I would give the following example to explain this.

    A boy goes out to a lake one day and sees some beautiful ducks swimming a little way off. He makes a note of their plumage, looks them up in the bird book he has with him and discovers that they are a species not known in his country. He walks around the lake and finds some men with guns aiming at them. “Oh, please don’t kill those ducks –they are very rare here.” Then one of the men opens his bag and the boy sees a duck just the same as the ones on the water in the bag sitting there very quietly, but as he stares at it he sees that it is not a real duck but artificial. “They are decoy ducks” the man says –“Made in Taiwan. If you ever see them here you’ll know that they aren’t real.” The boy is embarrassed and goes away. Two years later he goes to the lake with a friend and spots a duck of the same kind there again. “Oh,” he says with the tone of the experienced bird-watcher, “just a decoy.” But the other boy goes on watching it and as his friend walks away along the path that goes around the lake this friend notices that the duck is moving its tail and flapping its wings while it sits on the surface. He shouts to his the first boy to come over. His friend stops and asks why. “That decoy duck of yours is moving its tail and its wings.” “Well,” says the boy, “then the makers must have got more sophisticated.” And he walks on. The other boy looks back at the duck just in time to see it flying away.

    I have seen quite a few sites in which evidence is presented strongly suggestive that the hand of U.S. military intelligence is involved in the abduction phenomenon, and this includes mind control of various kinds, which leads into many other phenomena. But it is still very far away from this site: the channels created here do not converge with those created there. There is no connection as far as I can see –the idea that at least some, maybe most, maybe all abduction experiences are set up by U.S. military intelligence is completely discounted on this site –as far as I can see.

    However, even if you do discount the thesis, why not take a look for the sites that discuss it anyway, interesting in themselves. Some of the stuff they offer is mad and obsessive –like most ideas today, people let themselves run away with them. If you find yourself discounting their content as far-fetched, cold-war propaganda or the like, you may find yourself in the debunking class.
     
  2. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    Messages:
    4,466
    This was a good interview! At least David Lane had the sense to realise where Churchland had gone too far, but maybe I would have wanted to push him further on the idea - which she seemed to approve of - that the brain might 'secrete' consciousness just as the pancreas secrete insulin! I think it was just before the whole interview went pear shaped, and it did seem to sum up a cop-out position, in which she wanted to use a verbal sleight of hand to avoid discussing the difficult part of consciousness.

    I guess it might be worth devoting a podcast to fraudulent gurus/psychics etc. It is a painful subject, but it might be good to know what is out there!

    David
     
    Bucky likes this.
  3. Ian Thompson

    Ian Thompson Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2013
    Messages:
    349
    Home Page:
    There is almost a contradiction in this idea:
    These people want to say that consciousness has no causal power or energy on its own (hence no dualism).

    But also that all causation involves energy transfer.

    If so, the consciousness must have energy. And hence causal power!
     
    Sciborg_S_Patel, Ian Gordon and Bucky like this.
  4. Inner Space

    Inner Space New

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2014
    Messages:
    48
    What does it take to change my position?
    Great interview - Dr Lane is certainly a skilled thinker and communicator.
    When I commenced university I thought materialism or physicalism must be correct (after all that's what the philosophy teachers were telling me) and parapsychology was pseudoscience. One day I was sitting in a Cognitive Science class run by the philosophy faculty at my uni when the tutor stated that neuroscientists did not understand how the brain constructed our three dimensional spatial representation of the world. On quiet reflection to this comment I started to ask myself the following questions - 'why would the brain construct a three dimensional representation of the world if there is no one to look at it? How does this three dimensional representation of the world in the brain come to be conscious? If the brain does construct a (conscious) three dimensional representation of the world, does that mean that the world I perceive merely exists in my head? If the the world I see is a really just a construct of my brain than that thing I perceive and call a brain must be a construct of my real 'brain' which I can never directly perceive. Further contemplation of these head spinning questions about consciousness and space (let us not even touch on consciousness and time) started to make me think differently about all those 'anomalous data' connected with parapsychology. I would not say I now believe that parapsychological phenomena exist, but I certainly no longer think it to be pseudoscience and the closer examination of materialism that my inital contemplation about space and consciousness induced in me has certainly led me to believe that materialism is almost certainly a philosophical dead-end.
     
  5. ghost

    ghost New

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2014
    Messages:
    804
    Materialism must bow to particle-wave duality. It's as if all particles of matter have their own quantum field, their own spirit. That's why, in the two slit experiment, opening of the second slit causes these invisible ghostly waves to interfere with one another. Wave functions and quantum fields only tell you that nature undermines scientism and materialism. But to prove there is an afterlife, you need a disembodied spirit to cooperate with you.
     
  6. David Eire

    David Eire New

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2014
    Messages:
    338
    Personally I didnt much like Dr Lane's approach.

    What I did find interesting about the interview is that Alex confirmed the criticism I made as to his interview with Churchland; i.e. that Alex went into it with the intention to 'out' or 'get' Churchland; and I think that was a shame and a mistake. I would have preferred a more engaged interview with Churchland.

    I am on the same side of the issue as Alex; but I think a less adversarial and dismissive approach to those on the other side would be better.
     
  7. ghost

    ghost New

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2014
    Messages:
    804
    If a strong enough argument for the existence of ghosts can be made, an argument based on tons of audio, video evidence and testimonials, then Churchland's position will crush like a beer can. What's left are the near death experiences that give you a picture of the afterlife. The ghost evidence is the strongest evidence because the hauntings and attacks by ghosts (biting, scratching, shoving, punching, choking, tugging) is the most physical. The apparitions caught on video are the toughest arguments to refute.
     
  8. ghost

    ghost New

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2014
    Messages:
    804
    Alex, the evidence for ghosts is enough to crush and destroy any neuroscientist's epiphenomena explanation of consciousness. Hammer them hard and hammer them often.
     
  9. malf

    malf Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2013
    Messages:
    4,048
    I'm not sure. I've done most of my ghost research by watching episodes of Scooby Doo. Most ghosts tend to be the creation of older men, with some sort of grudge, using costumes or elaborate projection systems?
     
  10. ghost

    ghost New

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2014
    Messages:
    804
    lol
     
  11. InGoodWeTrust3

    InGoodWeTrust3 New

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2015
    Messages:
    7
    That was a joy to read! Wow, I will be re-reading from time to time I think.
    Wanted to read through the thread before I got to writing my thoughts on the show, but I had to say bravo immediately after reading that.

    Take care
     
  12. InGoodWeTrust3

    InGoodWeTrust3 New

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2015
    Messages:
    7
    First and foremost, at 27 minutes 30 seconds I knew David's thoughts and opinions were worthy of respect, at the very least. The ability to say "I don't know" without fear, or reservation, is such a critical indicator of the validity of someone's statements.
    The whole rest of the interview reinforced it for me, I enjoyed all of what David had to say. Not agreeing completely in all regards, but certainly understanding that what he had to say was thought-out and relevant. His opinions were a good contrast to Alex, while still finding lots of common ground.
    After reading Gabriel's first reply I could not help but see there was a definite hypocrisy in which types of people David is willing to discredit. If I were to assume a reason for the bias, it seems that most people who invest a lot of time in one person/subject are not interested in making their past efforts obsolete. It sounds like David had a profound change when he discovered his belief system could be faked, and so was able to expose it and still to this day is overly skeptical of it. As is often the case, people don't want to believe they can be deceived in the same way again, because they are now more weary of it. So an extra skepticism is developed, to a point where another deception is easily embraced as being the truth. Now I wouldn't go so far as to say that David is in the materialist camp, cause he is definitely very open minded, but I would say that bias still remains from that first realization of being lied to.
    Of course that is all just an assumption made by a guy that doesn't know anything. :)

    I really like the complement given, and the quote made, when he addressed Alex as being a skeptic of the skeptics. The quote was from F. Scott Fitzgerald and I found it to be a beautiful one:
    The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.

    F. Scott Fitzgerald

    I only wish that being a skeptic of the skeptics was not needed, seems a true skeptic would do that for themselves. At least any first-rate intelligence would :)

    In closing, I plan on following the line of the conversation in the beginning of the podcast further. The early work that Dr. David Lane did sounds incredibly interesting, and I cant wait to read more on the guy that was an offshoot of L. Ron Hubbard.
     
    MysticG likes this.
  13. Alex

    Alex New

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2013
    Messages:
    2,615
    One thing that was disappointing was David Lane's assertion that skepticism was a net good in challenging sloppy thinking. In theory that may be true, but popular skepticism embraces some of the sloppiest, myopic thinking it is possible to imagine. Like you Michael, at age sixteen I rejected the religious teaching I'd been fed from birth and had nothing to do with it for decades. Mostly this was because the model I'd been offered was didactic, unequivocal and taught by people who were not up to delivering the philosophical depth it encompassed in a meaningful way. I suspect those who reject that kindergarten religion seek to replace it with another paint-by-numbers version of reality, which results in the banalities of popular materialism.

    Skepticism has ceased to fulfil its role as a signpost to truth, and has become a self indulgent game. Permanent fence sitting seems to avoid the worst excesses of fundamentalist belief, but addresses none of the pressing moral dilemmas, or answers simple questions like why something rather than nothing. Outraged at the horrors of the human condition, we become permanently infantilised in scientific novelty, waiting for materialism to deliver the nice pill that takes away the nasty stuff. That's not an authentic reflection of the complex creatures we are, or the moral environment we inhabit.

    thx for reminding me of Gabriel's excellent post!
     
  14. MysticG

    MysticG New

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2013
    Messages:
    184
    Good point, this lines up with something I've been thinking about lately. I've come to think that the modern skeptic movement is based in fear - fear of losing face, fear of being wrong in public. For someone who ties their very identity to intellectualism, this is almost the worst thing that could happen.

    Imagining that person who feels they have been deceived by religion...how can this be prevented? How can I ensure that I will never be made a fool of again? This is where the "extra skepticism" you mentioned comes in. I can ensure that I won't be fooled by refusing to even considering anything that isn't already known to be true. So they declare as an axiom:

    1) I won't seriously entertain anything again that isn't 100% proven by science.

    Now we're safe! No need to worry about getting fooled, because I only believe in facts! My back is against the wall and my position is unassailable. Not only that, but with my position being so safe from ridicule, I'm now safe to ridicule everyone who has a weaker position than mine. They can't hit me back, because I don't have any beliefs, only facts! (You see this attitude from many of the drive-by skeptics on this forum.)

    Even disregarding many of the flaws in this stance, there are some problems. Most of these people aren't really scientists. Even those who are can't be an expert in everything. And there are many topics that science doesn't solve. Axiom 1 is actually an unlivable ideal. So it quickly gets watered down into axiom 2:

    2) I won't believe anything that isn't accepted by modern scientific authority.

    The skeptics still believe they are living under axiom 1, but they are actually living under axiom 2. They have placed not science, but the opinions of popular scientists as a gatekeeper to protect their ego. The goal is to get rid of the fear of being duped. The fear of being a sucker.

    In many ways, the modern skeptical viewpoint is the polar opposite of the scientific one. Scientists explore the unknown, following the evidence wherever it leads. Skeptics retreat from the unknown, always running back to whatever idea is dominant in their culture at the time.
     
  15. InGoodWeTrust3

    InGoodWeTrust3 New

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2015
    Messages:
    7
    I love that you mentioned that thought. It touches on something that I have always railed against, specialization, its not a positive in my mind. I originally saw this problem developing in regards to sports. I coach, and I have seen a dramatic increase in kids focusing on a single sport. There are numerous reasons why I find it to be detrimental, and in no case do I see the positives out weighing the negatives. Without going further off topic, I wanted to draw the parallel, because I tend to see specialization being used all around me now. It may be done for a good reason, I know everyone is wrapped up in the "10,000 hours to be an expert" thing, but it seems to overly promote linear thinking. It is great to have experts to reference, but those experts are going to be drawn to see everything around them in their own lens of understanding, without any other dimensions.
    On top of the specialization pitfall, the way learning is structured in schools gives kids little, to no, opportunity to develop critical thinking. It is a constant flood of information thrown at the kids, all to be regurgitated back up in a month for a test, and on to the next lesson. Never any time to doubt, or question, or detail; just keep the pipeline going. Not to say there are not some teachers doing wonderful things, but we sure don't put a big enough emphasis on acknowledging and rewarding the great teachers out there. I'd love to see a huge incentive for teachers too, not enough brilliant people are drawn to doing the job. Everyone would be best served if it were the job that was done the best in this country.
     
    MysticG likes this.

Share This Page