Dr. Jeffery Martin, Can He Transition Our Ego-Centric Culture? |456|

Alex

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#1
Dr. Jeffery Martin, Can He Transition Our Ego-Centric Culture? |456|
by Alex Tsakiris | Jul 14 | Consciousness Science, Spirituality
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Dr. Jeffery Martin seeks to shift our fundamental sense of well being, and his numbers prove he can.
photo by: Skeptiko
[Clip 00:00:00 – 00:00:59]
That’s Will Smith from The Pursuit of Happiness. Boy, I love that movie. And as far as how it fits, how it connects with today’s very long, but I think insightful in so many ways, interview with Dr. Jeffery Martin, well, I think that’s kind of an Easter egg. We’re all going to have find that and figure out if there is that connection or not. But at least I think there is so see what you think.
Alright, here’s a clip from the interview and I picked one from, this is such a long interview, I pick one from almost the end, so maybe you get an idea that there’s a reason to stick around to the end.
Jeffery Martin: [00:01:36] And so Dean [Radin] and I were talking about his experiments… he was doing like chocolate intention experiments or something at that time, and he like gave me this piece of chocolate that was infused with the intention of love or something, and it gives me the chocolate and asks me if I feel any different, and stuff like that. And I love chocolate, I was just grateful for the chocolate. I was hungry by that point. I took a while to get to it, it was longer than I was expecting. And I was like, well, before she leaves, let’s look at her data.
So we were in the other room and it’s got like these bar graphs sort of on the screen. So it’s walking her through the trial and he’s like, “What did you do on this one? Do you remember what you did on this one? Do you remember what you did on this one?” So on and so forth. And all of them were like, I don’t know, kind of middle of the road bars. And then there was this one bar that was like, kind of off the charts and he gets to that when he’s like, “Do you remember what you did at this one?” And she just sort of looked at him, and then she sort of looked over at me and the other person from our lab that was visiting with me, and you could tell that she didn’t want to say. So she tried to give some sort of half-ass sort of response to it, and I’m like, I’m not going to settle for that, “You were really precise on the other ones, what did you do on this one?” So she pauses for a while and she looks at us some more and she thinks about it and she says, “Well, there’s this thing I can do, where I can kind of make myself go away.” And she describes basically being able to put herself into this temporary non-symbolic experience, and she’s like, “That’s what I was doing when I did that bar.” And I thought, that’s very interesting.
 
#4
"And as we explored in the last interview, you know, the thing about Jeffery is, from the beginning, he’s been all about the science, all about the numbers, and by the best standards we have, the gold standard type standards within psychology and the social sciences. It’s hard to argue that he hasn’t really cracked the code here. "
Hi Alex,

Can you post links to the scientific publications describing Dr. Martin's research that supports the contentions made in the podcast. It is hard to argue anything without knowing the details of his methods and results.

I don't dispute that meditation improves well-being, but I have a lot of experience and opinions on the subject of the podcast but what is the point of me listening to a 2.5 hour podcast before commenting here if every time I might disagree with Dr. Martin I have to argue against claims of "gold standard" scientific research that I cannot criticize because I don't have access to details of the research - details such as whether the studies involved control groups and blind protocols, whether assessments were made subjectively by the meditators or objectively by researchers, how terms are defined, how effects were measured, what is the drop-out rate for the course and whether the stated benefits of the course are calculated for for all students or only those with the ability to complete the course, ie what the numbers really mean.

Since you have been critical of "science" in the past, I am sure you are aware of the replicability problem and how statistics have been used to mislead so I think you must understand why it is necessary to examine the details of the research in order to assess its reliability.

I don't dispute that meditation improves well-being, but if someone says their system is better, or it produces certain quantitative effects, or that it is based on science, the onus is on them to provide the proof - particularly when they are asking people to pay for classes and books etc.

Here is some of what Dr Martin's web site says:
http://finderscourse.com

THE WORLD’S FIRST SCIENTIFICALLY VALIDATED MEDITATION COURSE THAT IS QUANTIFYING STATES OF AWAKENING AND​
PERSISTENT INNER PEACE​
...​
The Finders Course meditation and mind-training protocol is a proven, peer-reviewed, statistically reliable program that is structured to the highest academic standards. Over the last 10 years, over 1000 meditation techniques were cataloged to create the existing course.​
...​
LASTING INNER HAPPINESS IS POSSIBLE​
If you are ready to be happy and establish inner peace, Finder’s Course is for you. Discover freedom from the inner critic and uncover your true nature.​

What is the reference for the peer-reviewed research that proves these claims?

I looked here: http://www.nonsymbolic.org/publications, the third article "Clusters of Individual Experiences form a Continuum of Persistent Non-Symbolic Experiences in Adults" is for academics but is described as "a summary paper" and "out of date compared to The Finders book". There is no date on the cover page.

Thanks
 
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#5
I agree. I considered taking his course but after some internet searches I could not find any information that was not totally subjective, and that his terms being measured were too vague to get any idea of his course's effectiveness beyond self help therapy. The money and time being asked also leads to a strong incentive to report positive results from a participant's perspective, but I was not searching for self delusion and passed on it.
 
#6
Alex,

This might sound the ultimate in nit-picking, but when I download the podcast, I obtain a file skeptiko-jeffery-martin.mp3,
but to be consistent with previous shows, it should be named skeptiko-456-jeffery-martin.mp3

This actually makes a difference to the way I store the shows!

David
 

Alex

Administrator
#7
Hi Alex,

Can you post links to the scientific publications describing Dr. Martin's research that supports the contentions made in the podcast. It is hard to argue anything without knowing the details of his methods and results.

I don't dispute that meditation improves well-being, but I have a lot of experience and opinions on the subject of the podcast but what is the point of me listening to a 2.5 hour podcast before commenting here if every time I might disagree with Dr. Martin I have to argue against claims of "gold standard" scientific research that I cannot criticize because I don't have access to details of the research - details such as whether the studies involved control groups and blind protocols, whether assessments were made subjectively by the meditators or objectively by researchers, how terms are defined, how effects were measured, what is the drop-out rate for the course and whether the stated benefits of the course are calculated for for all students or only those with the ability to complete the course, ie what the numbers really mean.

Since you have been critical of "science" in the past, I am sure you are aware of the replicability problem and how statistics have been used to mislead so I think you must understand why it is necessary to examine the details of the research in order to assess its reliability.

I don't dispute that meditation improves well-being, but if someone says their system is better, or it produces certain quantitative effects, or that it is based on science, the onus is on them to provide the proof - particularly when they are asking people to pay for classes and books etc.

Here is some of what Dr Martin's web site says:
http://finderscourse.com

THE WORLD’S FIRST SCIENTIFICALLY VALIDATED MEDITATION COURSE THAT IS QUANTIFYING STATES OF AWAKENING AND​
PERSISTENT INNER PEACE​
...​
The Finders Course meditation and mind-training protocol is a proven, peer-reviewed, statistically reliable program that is structured to the highest academic standards. Over the last 10 years, over 1000 meditation techniques were cataloged to create the existing course.​
...​
LASTING INNER HAPPINESS IS POSSIBLE​
If you are ready to be happy and establish inner peace, Finder’s Course is for you. Discover freedom from the inner critic and uncover your true nature.​

What is the reference for the peer-reviewed research that proves these claims?

I looked here: http://www.nonsymbolic.org/publications, the third article "Clusters of Individual Experiences form a Continuum of Persistent Non-Symbolic Experiences in Adults" is for academics but is described as "a summary paper" and "out of date compared to The Finders book". There is no date on the cover page.

Thanks
did you read the book yet: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MZVB816
 

Alex

Administrator
#8
I agree. I considered taking his course but after some internet searches I could not find any information that was not totally subjective, and that his terms being measured were too vague to get any idea of his course's effectiveness beyond self help therapy. The money and time being asked also leads to a strong incentive to report positive results from a participant's perspective, but I was not searching for self delusion and passed on it.
I hope you guys pursue this and report back. I don't think it's very hard to do:
https://scholar.google.com/scholar?...ness&btnG=&oq="jeffery+a.+martin"+mindfulness

there seem to be many many citations of this work. this is a good sign

and he has videos of real keynote speeches at real conferences... another good sign:

but again do your own research and report back
 

Alex

Administrator
#9
Alex,

This might sound the ultimate in nit-picking, but when I download the podcast, I obtain a file skeptiko-jeffery-martin.mp3,
but to be consistent with previous shows, it should be named skeptiko-456-jeffery-martin.mp3

This actually makes a difference to the way I store the shows!

David
agreed. my bad.
 
#11
Why did you have to hate on people wanting a new Ford right after I got done drooling over the new Ford Bronco? :)

I had my first "Persistent Non-Symbolic Experiences" around age 19 when playing around with contemplative prayer and reading Bernadette Roberts' book "The Experience of No-Self". I can attest to the greater sense of well-being it brings and the ability to see everything through "The Beautiful Glasses".

The thing in her book that scared me away from it since I was a fundy Christian at the time was where she says something like, "I realized that if there is no personal self, there is no personal God." That made me feel empty and frightened that I was getting off track, so I put meditation on the shelf for a few years.

I later came to believe that the "experience of no self" or "PNSE" as Dr. Martin calls it is a type of experience that the self can have. The "self" or ego is essentially a feedback loop which builds structures such as personality and character.

Without words, without this feedback loop, there is just experience. And since structure creates stress, then dismantling this structure feels like a relief - thus the greater sense of well-being.

As was mentioned, this extra-well being comes at a price. It makes relationships difficult. It also makes it difficult to remove yourself from an abusive relationship or otherwise protect yourself. The Ego or Self has a purpose... it helps us navigate the world. It helps us construct narratives by which we can make decisions about our future rather than be merely carried along by the currents of circumstance.

So in short, the lack of mental stress and structure from PNSE feels nice and it is good to know how to come and go from it, but it can make it easier for you to get carried in a direction you don't want to go and make it hard for you to get unstuck from there. When you're living in the moment and every day is a new day and you don't hold on to judgement and hard feelings and you go with the flow, you are easy prey.

So you need an ego driven mode of being to get you where you want to go and then you need the ability to turn that wordy feedback loop off so you can enjoy the scenery once you get there.
 
#12
So you need an ego driven mode of being to get you where you want to go and then you need the ability to turn that wordy feedback loop off so you can enjoy the scenery once you get there.
I used to go to the Zen center near where I live for group meditation and to listen to talks. Many of the talks were by members who said they dropped out of the rat race to pursue meditation. I thought they were crazy until it happened to me.

I recommend newlyweds and parents of young children to avoid doing too much meditation. I agree it can be ... disruptive ... of your relationships and plans for the future. It reduces your belief in free will for yourself and others. Even if you don't notice a BIG CHANGE, it can sneak up on you in which case it can be particularly pernicious since you don't notice anything has changed, you never think of turning it off.

I think there is a good possibility that if everyone started doing a lot of meditation, the world economy would collapse and billions would starve.

When you're living in the moment and every day is a new day and you don't hold on to judgement and hard feelings and you go with the flow, ...
Spiritually this can be a good thing because otherwise bad karma gets passed on from person to person - you get annoyed so you are inconsiderate of others - but if you start meditating, you stop being so focused on yourself and you begin to absorb the bad karma and the world becomes a nicer place. But I don't think everyone is here for the purpose of getting awakened, some people are here for other experiences. As far as I know no one ever came back from an NDE and said everyone has to start meditating and get enlightened. They mostly say we should treat each other with kindness and love. Personally, I chose meditation to help me do that, but it's not for everyone.
 
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#13
I hope you guys pursue this and report back. I don't think it's very hard to do:
https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0,5&q=jeffery+a+martin+mindfulness&btnG=&oq="jeffery+a.+martin"+mindfulness

there seem to be many many citations of this work. this is a good sign

and he has videos of real keynote speeches at real conferences... another good sign:

but again do your own research and report back
There is no there there. A paper from 1997, that's it. He may be legit, but sure has a lot of red flags. I'm all for making money, but don't pretend to be something you are not. No peer reviewed publication of his measurable results. Harvard affiliation from taking one online course, from what I read. He is the one that keeps using term Gold Standard in research, well, let's look at it. Will not release the study. I listened to his book after he was on here last year, and was inspired for the first half, then realized this is not real science. There are proven ways to measure subjective results from a study. Academics is good at this. Maybe I am wrong, Jim, help me out here.
 
#14
There is no there there. A paper from 1997, that's it. He may be legit, but sure has a lot of red flags. I'm all for making money, but don't pretend to be something you are not. No peer reviewed publication of his measurable results. Harvard affiliation from taking one online course, from what I read. He is the one that keeps using term Gold Standard in research, well, let's look at it. Will not release the study. I listened to his book after he was on here last year, and was inspired for the first half, then realized this is not real science. There are proven ways to measure subjective results from a study. Academics is good at this. Maybe I am wrong, Jim, help me out here.
Jason,

I think you are right.

The "Gold Standard" for psychology and social sciences does not impress me. That is just rhetoric. It's marketing hype. It's meant to persuade people who don't understand experimental science.

What would impress me is to see a scientific paper that proves what Dr. Martin's claims on his web site is "scientifically validated".

I have been asking for this for years, since the first time Dr. Martin came on "skeptiko" podcast.
 
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#16
Do you know which article(s) proves the claims Dr. Martin's web site?

"Four Month Meditation and Positive Psychology Intervention Shows Highly Significant Results on Well-being, Positive and Negative Emotion, Depression, Stress, Narcissism, and Non-Symbolic Experience."

is a presentation (not a scientific research paper) from 2016 and does not seem to be available on line.

"Change in Sense of Nondual Awareness and Spiritual Awakening in Response to a Multidimensional Well-Being Program"

is an research paper and is freely downloadable, but it is about study of a "6-day Ayurveda-based mind–body program" from 2017. Is that the Finder's Course?

Thanks
 
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Alex

Administrator
#18
Why did you have to hate on people wanting a new Ford right after I got done drooling over the new Ford Bronco? :)
:) I have an explorer


The thing in her book that scared me away from it since I was a fundy Christian at the time was where she says something like, "I realized that if there is no personal self, there is no personal God." That made me feel empty and frightened that I was getting off track, so I put meditation on the shelf for a few years.
wow... never thought of it that way... but yr right!
 
#20
I found this post on reddit:

Hi fellow redditors.​
I've joined the latest Finders Course and I'd like to post here my own review.​
...​
While Finders Course advertise itself as a scientific research protocol on awakening/enlightenment, it's more close to a wellness product sold by an online business (Willow Inc.).​
It is a get-enlightened-quick scheme, that uses an appearance of science as a marketing tool, sells dubious forms of new-age spirituality (i.e. law of attraction, synchronicities), and adopt psychological conditioning in many forms to 1) attract customers 2) sell them an expensive product 3) convince them they reached some sort of spiritual awakening.​
Many people come out of the course believing they have achieved some type of awakening, and while we can't deny that possibility, the main secret ingredient of Finders Course seems to be encouraging self-delusion.​
Most importantly, and as I'd try to demonstrate in the rest of the review, there seems to be a deliberate intent behind Finders Course to deceive people.​
All FC alumni I interacted with seem to be honest believers, that end up even volunteering their free time to support the organization, unaware that they are supporting a scam. To them I extend my compassion.​
I'll now examine some of these claims in more details.​
....​

https://docs.google.com/document/d/...GjsLICuceAjl4nHWE/edit#heading=h.6k2i4rnzrdde
 
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