Dr. Rich Grego, Can Academia Handle the Evil Question? |445|

Alex

Administrator
#1
Dr. Rich Grego, Can Academia Handle the Evil Question? |445|
by Alex Tsakiris | Apr 7 | Consciousness Science
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Dr. Richard Grego explores how academic objectivity has hamstrung our understanding of extended consciousness.
photo by: Skeptiko
Welcome to Skeptiko where we explore controversial science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers in their critics. I’m your host, Alex Tsakiris, and today’s guest is a very interesting guy, he’s a former professional boxer, trained by heavyweight champ Floyd Patterson, quite an amazing thing there. A former criminal investigator who’s worked on many high profile cases before becoming an instructor at the Criminal Justice Institute. And Dr. Rich Grego was also a Professor of Philosophy and World Religion at Florida State College in Jacksonville, who earned his PhD with a dissertation on Krishnamurti and Thich Nhat Hanh. So like I said, an interesting guy and for those of you who’ve been around Skeptiko for a while, you’ll recognize Rich as someone who’s been on the show before, somebody I lean on to, kind of weigh in on topics. He was recently on the interview that I did with Dr. Donald Hoffman, and he provided some great analysis there, but he’s also done some interviews for Skeptiko over the years. So it’s always great to connect with him, and Rich, thanks for joining me on this one. Dr. Richard Grego: [00:01:15] Thanks again for having me.
 
#3
Alex,

I think you simply have to accept that there is a deep irrationality built in to academia. I don't like Wiseman any more than you do, but I guess this is how his mind worked.


******* Imaginary contents of Wiseman's imagination****************

I am cleverer than Rupert Sheldrake, and if I just 'waste' a little of my intellectual energy on this problem, I can debunk the idiot for good.

......................

It is proving remarkably difficult to see exactly what is wrong with Sheldrake's bloody 'experiment', which is coming out in just the same crazy way with me controlling it!

.........................................

OK - by now, I have wasted enough time on this pointless problem - since human and K9 minds are biochemical machines, they clearly can't communicate over distances of miles, but it just isn't worth any more effort to figure this out, so unfortunately I'll have to cheat. Changing the protocol to force his 'experiment' to behave as it obviously should, will be fairly obscure, and I can hand waive over Rupert's objections.
To be fair, I think many people are so devoted to intellectual ideas - such as materialism - that their minds can think that way without even realising what they are doing. Just as theologians probably struggled with the concept of 'original sin' without ever trying to break it up to see if it made sense.

Without sounding too arrogant, I think most people here have come to this site for years, and are content to puzzle over reality without demanding that it fits any neat explanation - our minds have just opened a lot.

Alex, the only way to deal with people like Wiseman, is to ignore them - display them once and then drop them. Sheldrake explained what really happened, but he doesn't endlessly hammer on the door of the Royal Society demanding to be heard. By analogy, imagine a mathematician struggling over all sorts of obscure symbolic problems, trying to cope with an intelligent layman who simply wants to poke fun at him - genuinely believing that the mathematician is mad. The guy scoffs and returns to his friends in the pub, and reports how he got the best of the discussion - but in the end, so what?

David
 
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#4
Without sounding too arrogant, I think most people here have come to this site for years, and are content to puzzle over reality without demanding that it fits any neat explanation - our minds have just opened a lot.
Hubris is dangerous David. I'd caution against buying into your own intellectual superiority as an "open mind". Just as those scientific materialists demonstrate bias, all of us here do as well.

I haven't seen anything to indicate less bias here than elsewhere now that I think about it. The forums certainly seemed much more diverse when I first joined several years ago. There were several active posters who seemed to sit more centrist in the science establishment vs psi science debate. This proved useful for me as there were differing opinions, and more specifically differing opinions that were not just of the "seeking to debunk" variety. It was a vibrant, active and typically respectful debate/dialogue.

Today it reads much more as a community of like minded (read: like "biased") individuals. At least that's my perception.
 
#5
Hubris is dangerous David. I'd caution against buying into your own intellectual superiority as an "open mind". Just as those scientific materialists demonstrate bias, all of us here do as well.

I haven't seen anything to indicate less bias here than elsewhere now that I think about it. The forums certainly seemed much more diverse when I first joined several years ago. There were several active posters who seemed to sit more centrist in the science establishment vs psi science debate. This proved useful for me as there were differing opinions, and more specifically differing opinions that were not just of the "seeking to debunk" variety. It was a vibrant, active and typically respectful debate/dialogue.

Today it reads much more as a community of like minded (read: like "biased") individuals. At least that's my perception.
I was kind of expecting that sort of response from you - but maybe there isn't a decent answer to non-materialism, you can scoff and call people 'anti-science' - which is hardly intellectual, and gets people banned from this forum if they don't heed the warnings - or you can pretend that it is permitted to claim to replicate an experiment while actually changing it - which it damn well isn't, or you can just try to ignore us, but it is clearly an intellectual slippery slope. Even the central theory of physics - Quantum Mechanics - has interpretations that favour our point of view. Finally, every now and again, someone prominent switches sides, such as Christof Koch.

David
 

Alex

Administrator
#6
Still listening but to briefly answer the question of what’s a cult vs what’s a religion: a cult is freshly cooled lava, pumice, black, sharp, light weight. Religion is old dense river rock rounded off and smooth and somehow managing to stay current in a landscape that has changed many times.
nice :)
 
B

Baccarat

#8
Hubris is dangerous David. I'd caution against buying into your own intellectual superiority as an "open mind". Just as those scientific materialists demonstrate bias, all of us here do as well.

I haven't seen anything to indicate less bias here than elsewhere now that I think about it. The forums certainly seemed much more diverse when I first joined several years ago. There were several active posters who seemed to sit more centrist in the science establishment vs psi science debate. This proved useful for me as there were differing opinions, and more specifically differing opinions that were not just of the "seeking to debunk" variety. It was a vibrant, active and typically respectful debate/dialogue.

Today it reads much more as a community of like minded (read: like "biased") individuals. At least that's my perception.
I agree its a good board but it lost its edge. I miss the skeptical posters actually. It's good to keep the mind sharp with topics like these
 
#9
I disagree... that's just giving up. I don't think we have to take the game seriously but if we're going to step onto the playing field...


this is the deeper spiritual truth, eh :)
The point is, Rupert Sheldrake has posted a rebuttal of the guy on his website, but he recognises that he can't bring him down with the system as it is now, so he doesn't spend his energy trying.

Personally, I'd rather you focus more in interesting thinkers in the field. The old guard will slowly become irrelevant, the trick is to have something interesting to replace them.

David
 
#10
I agree its a good board but it lost its edge. I miss the skeptical posters actually. It's good to keep the mind sharp with topics like these
I do too, and people like Paul C. Anagnostopoulos provided quite a lot of interesting links, and him and I had some very good discussions. He simply stopped posting.

My feeling is that raw materialism is basically impossible to argue for if you assume that your audience is well informed. I guess very few materialists are enthused by their belief. They don't have an answer to the Hard Problem, they just try to dodge the issue, they don't have an answer to the question of the origin of the specific information stored in DNA, they just try to dodge the issue, they can't explain how NDE's can reveal new information to the individual, so they dodge the issue, etc etc. Good science grows by exploring the big mysteries - such as the Hard Problem - the problem is, good science is less and less in evidence.

I mean thinking again about Richard Wiseman. I suppose his hunch was that there is SOMETHING wrong with Rupert's research. He could have started from the fact that he couldn't refute Rupert's research by repeating the experiment, and made a name for himself by exploring what is really going on in this case in greater depth. Ostensibly this would be a win-win position for him. If he pulled down Rupert by showing the flaw in his experiment, he would get great kudos for that, if on the other hand he showed telepathy was a real phenomenon, he would also be justly famous.

However, science is structured so that if he came to the conclusion that dogs did indeed have a telephathic link with their owners, his career within science would be over - so he cheated and pushed the problem under the table. That scenario is repeated over and over.

David
 
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#11
Alex,

I think you simply have to accept that there is a deep irrationality built in to academia. I don't like Wiseman any more than you do, but I guess this is how his mind worked.



To be fair, I think many people are so devoted to intellectual ideas - such as materialism - that their minds can think that way without even realising what they are doing. Just as theologians probably struggled with the concept of 'original sin' without ever trying to break it up to see if it made sense.

Without sounding too arrogant, I think most people here have come to this site for years, and are content to puzzle over reality without demanding that it fits any neat explanation - our minds have just opened a lot.

Alex, the only way to deal with people like Wiseman, is to ignore them - display them once and then drop them. Sheldrake explained what really happened, but he doesn't endlessly hammer on the door of the Royal Society demanding to be heard. By analogy, imagine a mathematician struggling over all sorts of obscure symbolic problems, trying to cope with an intelligent layman who simply wants to poke fun at him - genuinely believing that the mathematician is mad. The guy scoffs and returns to his friends in the pub, and reports how he got the best of the discussion - but in the end, so what?

David
Wow! Did Wiseman really say he was way smarter than Sheldrake? I haven't bothered to listen to the show because the subject does not interest me in this context.

If he did, he is a complete wanker. The simple act of comparing oneself to in a competitive way to a respected thinker smacks of naive egocentrism. For me that is enough to to kill interest. I don't care how functionally intelligent a person is; if they are emotionally immature their insights will be degraded and maybe rendered useless.

My reflex in response to the question "Can Academia Handle the Evil Question" was "Of course not!" It is almost a ridiculous question to ask. No. It is a ridiculous question to ask. Can some academics handle the question? Maybe. Can academia as a class handle it? Not a chance.

This is not a question for academics. However, I do appreciate that they might imagine that it falls within their domain of intellectual inquiry. It is not an intellectual question. It is a moral one, and it has a necessary spiritual dimension.

The "Question of Evil" has occupied the best minds of Western civilisation for centuries to no really good effect. The idea that a contemporary academic has something to offer is, I suspect, fantasical thinking. I haven't been convinced by anything I have encountered in 4 over decades of inquiry. Am I a slow learner or is the problem more complex than it seems at first blush?
 
#12
Wow! Did Wiseman really say he was way smarter than Sheldrake? I haven't bothered to listen to the show because the subject does not interest me in this context.
No I was quoting what I imagined him thinking - I thought that was clear, but I have altered it to clarify that!

Thanks for pointing this out! If I had an actual quote like that from Wiseman, you can be sure I'd attribute it properly!

David
 
#13
My reflex in response to the question "Can Academia Handle the Evil Question" was "Of course not!" It is almost a ridiculous question to ask. No. It is a ridiculous question to ask. Can some academics handle the question? Maybe. Can academia as a class handle it? Not a chance.

This is not a question for academics. However, I do appreciate that they might imagine that it falls within their domain of intellectual inquiry. It is not an intellectual question. It is a moral one, and it has a necessary spiritual dimension.

The "Question of Evil" has occupied the best minds of Western civilisation for centuries to no really good effect. The idea that a contemporary academic has something to offer is, I suspect, fantasical thinking. I haven't been convinced by anything I have encountered in 4 over decades of inquiry. Am I a slow learner or is the problem more complex than it seems at first blush?
I still think Wiseman thought something like that - otherwise why would he expect to pull a fast one like that?

I suppose my point to Alex, is that academia has bumped into the edges of its materialist bubble, and simply recoiled in confusion - repeatedly in assorted ways. They clearly aren't up to the job any more. Unless you find an academic who is willing to stick his neck out quite a lot - Donald Hoffman or Jeffrey Kripal, for example, (there are equivalents in the ID debate), it is a waste of time to interview them or to try to correct them or engage with them in any way.

David
 

Alex

Administrator
#14
The "Question of Evil" has occupied the best minds of Western civilisation for centuries to no really good effect. The idea that a contemporary academic has something to offer is, I suspect, fantasical thinking.
I get your point, but that's not really the issue. Hugh Urban is a smart guy... so why is he allowed himself you think it's ok to ignore the consciousness / extended consciousness / evil question. Since you didn't listen to the show :)

Alex Tsakiris: [00:29:08] So this is the point where all of this comes to a head and if you’re Hugh Urban you go, “Well that doesn’t really matter, what matters is that they believed it.” No, you’ve got that completely wrong. That is secondary to whether there is any possible reality to them making connection with an extended consciousness realm and that extended consciousness realm interacting with us and in the formation of this religion. That’s what matters most, it’s not whether they believed it or not.

Dr. Richard Grego: [00:29:48] Yeah, I agree personally, but I get, if somebody feels as though that’s beyond their… You don’t buy that? You think if you do that deeper study, I guess is what you’re saying, that if you’ve done that deeper study of Scientology and what the people are all about and what they’re saying and doing, that you should at least be able to commit yourself to some statement about the veracity of what they’re doing and what they believe?

Alex Tsakiris: [00:30:17] I think it’s a slightly different issue. It goes back to Rupert and Richard Wiseman, Rupert Sheldrake and Richard Wiseman. I can’t look into the soul of Richard Wiseman and tell whether he was being intentionally deceptive. What I can do is I can look at his behavior, and this is to the criminal investigator model. I can look at the behavior and say, was there criminality here? And in the case of Richard Wiseman, did he perform his duties as a fair and honest researcher? And I would say, no, he didn’t. And therefore when Hoyt Edge says these are good people, he’s missed the point. The point is was he deceptive?

And I would say the same thing here is true. If you cannot come to some determination as to whether or not there’s a reality to that extended consciousness realm, then you need to stop everything you’re doing, and you need to do as much research as you can in order to determine the reality or non-reality of that. You can’t pretend like that isn’t the main thing.
 
#15
Alex, there was so much suspense for me as you refused to give up in so skillfully leading him to acknowledge your point. You even got him to follow the trail as far as his pointing to the possible truth of Gnosticism. Oh if only there had been more time. Gnosticism doesn't cut it IMHO, we don't need an overarching bad guy and we need to perceive / label those evil archons as demons. Do you think you could have got him that far?

Bless you for your persistence and courage.
 
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#16
Alex Tsakiris: [00:30:17] I think it’s a slightly different issue. It goes back to Rupert and Richard Wiseman, Rupert Sheldrake and Richard Wiseman. I can’t look into the soul of Richard Wiseman and tell whether he was being intentionally deceptive. What I can do is I can look at his behavior, and this is to the criminal investigator model. I can look at the behavior and say, was there criminality here? And in the case of Richard Wiseman, did he perform his duties as a fair and honest researcher? And I would say, no, he didn’t. And therefore when Hoyt Edge says these are good people, he’s missed the point. The point is was he deceptive?
Well put it this way, I don't imagine that anyone can study experimental psychology for years without getting numerous hints of anomalous behaviour of various sorts. One aspect of Dean Radin's presentiment experiment, is that it uses standard equipment used in psychology labs! I think people like that must have ways of concealing the truth from themselves - they just play a game. That is why I think they have made themselves irrelevant.

David
 
#17
Hubris is dangerous David. I'd caution against buying into your own intellectual superiority as an "open mind". Just as those scientific materialists demonstrate bias, all of us here do as well.

I haven't seen anything to indicate less bias here than elsewhere now that I think about it. The forums certainly seemed much more diverse when I first joined several years ago. There were several active posters who seemed to sit more centrist in the science establishment vs psi science debate. This proved useful for me as there were differing opinions, and more specifically differing opinions that were not just of the "seeking to debunk" variety. It was a vibrant, active and typically respectful debate/dialogue.

Today it reads much more as a community of like minded (read: like "biased") individuals. At least that's my perception.
I would say though that all things have morph-ability. I would not assume to suggest you stick around until it morphs back to what you'd like.
Up to anyone what anyone decides.
Myself? I like your ideas and views and the doing of the viewing that you do.
Thanks.
 
#18
Fence straddling - spirit or "reality"

Alex I watched your latest with the boxer turned investigator Dr. Rich Grego. But this is not related to the Dr. as such (I do thank him for being willing to bring your attention to some bias as bias).

I had this impression and I thought, "Well why not let him (Alex) take a look?"
I respect you at your level of knowing what's what while also having an eye open to what's not what.

Extended consciousness
Physical "real-ness"

Seems you stand on the edge (sideline or fence between both) looking and watching and investigating with the purpose to find out, "Which one has the greater effect. Which one can effect me (and/or others) most critically? Basically, which one is 'in control here?'"
Or which one might morph to the one which could over-whelm the other to some sort of oblivion. I believe these swap quite regularly.

Anyway, there seems to be a concept that one or the other is not as real as the other or shows cracks its armor. Those cracks you're gonna point out.
"Yeah. Damn right" you might say.

Hummm.... to find out which one can put you (and others) at effect most critically. Which one controls which... the method necessitates observing effect. Ruled out, I wonder is, effect is the cause? But the point here is, where is your participation in either of those existences?

May I offend? I think this is why there is quite some degree of hate (justified as you may) toward the one religion (bullshit cult - same same) that I thought had as its primary stance that cause is primary. But maybe their point was to lead (assist - counsel - etc) with the attitude that life is cause... ignoring any effect. Maybe from the opinion that basically effect as effect has little to no therapeutic value worth investing attention to. That such attention gives life (re-sets effect from being effect to being a cause). Attention to effect makes it a kind of cause... just pondering there.

I hear you saying, "No. No. NO!! Effect is primary!! There IS NO cause unless there is an effect. And I am not going to entertain this non-sense that the effect is the cause."
Ok Alex. Good luck with that, if it is yours.

I wondered, with effect as primary if you can never recognize who you really are in terms of how you are connected to the sources (plural) which cause. How does one connect or be or recognize their having caused if they ONLY "make real" THEIR effect?

I wonder if you might take this stance, "More bullshit, Chris. I think I won't reply..."

But thank you if you have read this.
 
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#19
I get your point, but that's not really the issue. Hugh Urban is a smart guy... so why is he allowed himself you think it's ok to ignore the consciousness / extended consciousness / evil question. Since you didn't listen to the show :)

Alex Tsakiris: [00:29:08] So this is the point where all of this comes to a head and if you’re Hugh Urban you go, “Well that doesn’t really matter, what matters is that they believed it.” No, you’ve got that completely wrong. That is secondary to whether there is any possible reality to them making connection with an extended consciousness realm and that extended consciousness realm interacting with us and in the formation of this religion. That’s what matters most, it’s not whether they believed it or not.

Dr. Richard Grego: [00:29:48] Yeah, I agree personally, but I get, if somebody feels as though that’s beyond their… You don’t buy that? You think if you do that deeper study, I guess is what you’re saying, that if you’ve done that deeper study of Scientology and what the people are all about and what they’re saying and doing, that you should at least be able to commit yourself to some statement about the veracity of what they’re doing and what they believe?

Alex Tsakiris: [00:30:17] I think it’s a slightly different issue. It goes back to Rupert and Richard Wiseman, Rupert Sheldrake and Richard Wiseman. I can’t look into the soul of Richard Wiseman and tell whether he was being intentionally deceptive. What I can do is I can look at his behavior, and this is to the criminal investigator model. I can look at the behavior and say, was there criminality here? And in the case of Richard Wiseman, did he perform his duties as a fair and honest researcher? And I would say, no, he didn’t. And therefore when Hoyt Edge says these are good people, he’s missed the point. The point is was he deceptive?

And I would say the same thing here is true. If you cannot come to some determination as to whether or not there’s a reality to that extended consciousness realm, then you need to stop everything you’re doing, and you need to do as much research as you can in order to determine the reality or non-reality of that. You can’t pretend like that isn’t the main thing.
I haven't listened to the show because I have spent the past 45 years contemplating the nature of evil in various ways - and I don't find much contemporary commentary on the subject of any use to me. If I am not bored I just get pissed off.

It really doesn't matter how smart a guy is. As a theme evil is an important thing to contemplate and discuss - up to a point. Getting into the nature of evil without having a very refined notion of right and wrong is mostly just intellectualism. It doesn't get to the root of the matter. And thinking you know right from wrong at a deep level is a peril - there's always further to go.

So I am not suggesting that an academic will not do a decent study on evil, just that it won't be definitive or useful as a guide of any kind. I am not even sure that engaging in exploring the nature of evil is useful at all, beyond being an intellectual exercise. It certainly can't be a moral guide. One need only observe what is done in the name of good to see that we scarcely understand what that is.

Besides evil is all too often a brand that gets stamped on things we get exercised about. It signals the limits of our comprehension and is often a mask for our inarticulate angst. I get into an awful lot of trouble when I engage in discussions on this subject - which is why I mostly avoid it now.
 
#20
I still think Wiseman thought something like that - otherwise why would he expect to pull a fast one like that?

I suppose my point to Alex, is that academia has bumped into the edges of its materialist bubble, and simply recoiled in confusion - repeatedly in assorted ways. They clearly aren't up to the job any more. Unless you find an academic who is willing to stick his neck out quite a lot - Donald Hoffman or Jeffrey Kripal, for example, (there are equivalents in the ID debate), it is a waste of time to interview them or to try to correct them or engage with them in any way.

David
For academics, evil is something to be explored at an intellectual level, but that's not where it lives as a theme. You have to go back a few centuries to find academics with the necessary spiritual dimension to their learning that would give them even half a chance at doing some decent thinking. The west was hamstring by the politics of Christianity when it came to taking about evil. Satan was cemented an essentially a literal fiction by Milton, which was an upgrade from the theological mess. Evil has been so bound up in theological politics I don't even think its a useful idea any more. It has become a theme of popular culture - and not in a good way. It has become a moralistic attempt to brand what is desired and feared.

This is not something academia can handle well - maybe Jeff Kripal and a few others who walk that fine line of inspired spiritual intellectualism.

I respect the fact that Alex has something akin to evangelical zeal when dealing with academics who are still bewitched by the shiny baubles of intellectual certainty. I was listening to an Australian academic rabbiting on about Stoic philosophy and how she 'grew up' and stopped believing in an afterlife. There was no shame or modesty in her flat out assertion of her opinion as fact.

I don't have Alex's zeal. I let a wave of disappointment ripple over me and move on. Her insight into Stoic philosophy was shallow, and a waste of time. She sees it as a kind of defence against the angst of inner nothingness.

Generally speaking academics aren't really useful on anything really deep. There are some great sociologists, anthropologists and psychologists - a some fabulous scholars of religion. But that's not many.
 
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