Dr. Rupert Sheldrake Brings Science to Spiritual Practices |376|

Ooof! A brave man who separates the historic vibrancy of the forum from the presence of a few quality skeptics. ;)
FWIW malf, I don't attribute you with those characteristics. Annoying as you could sometimes be, you bought a rare humour to the party which was always welcome. Others treated scepticism as a rhetorical exercise, or a game of last man standing. Pissing in the well is not questioning the water quality.
 
No I know Ehrman isn’t Christian. I read one of his books years ago. Just speaking from the perspective of a historical Jesus debate, specifically I was referencing the part of your podcast where you had said something along the lines of ‘Price shredding up the idea that Jesus existed.’ Maybe I misheard or misunderstood you, but anyways, it’s a good debate.

Ehrman trained under perhaps the most famous biblical scholar of all-time, Bruce Metzger. Somewhere along the line, according to Ehrman, he became agnostic/atheist. He said this was largely due to the problem of evil in the world.
the "evil in the world" thing seems like such a convoluted excuse for atheists.
 
Your join date tells me you don't remember this forum as a vital one, with posts coming in so thick and fast it was impossible to read them all. It had its problems, not least sceptics who insisted on kicking discussions into the long grass, but I'm sorry to tell you this place is a shadow of its former self. One of the things that severely pissed everyone off was the way religion was treated with pariah status, but it wasn't the only thing and people were moderated without trace for all kinds of misdemeanours, real and imaginary. Christianity is still seen as ideologically suspect, tainting its apologists every word as with this Sheldrake thread. If you're down on Christianity you immediately go to the top table, so you'll be fine.
I had heard rumors and viewed evidence of the forum's vital former self. To what do you owe this shadow, besides the one thing you mention? Surely there must be something besides 'Christianity bashing" that has driven the forum into the mud?
 
Alex's questions at the end of the podcast:

How might science interface with and inform the kinds of questions we would have as spiritual seekers? What spiritual practices are best? For which types of people? Measured under which circumstances? What would that then say about the underlying structure and meaning of extended realms of consciousness?
I guess I'm still too novice for this question, b/c the notion of 'spiritual seekers' sounds similar to me as 'truthers' which sounds similar to me as scientism/religion, which then makes me balk at any measure of measuring! Is spirituality the search for meaning, or truth, or connection, or joy, or the all-pervasive divinity, or balance, or the end of suffering, or Oneness? Where science might interface and inform at this juncture, imo, is to craft some real definitions with universal meaning, expand the lexicon, perhaps? I know it's not just me who rolls her eyes with all the Bible talk, we who grew up skeptical in the Bible belt are perhaps too jaded, but do still have a place in this discussion, I dare say. Is what's 'best' what makes folks feel good? Is my idea of what's best for my neighbors really the best for them, and vice versa?

And the thing is, I like this interview, I like Sheldrake, a lot! But I don't think holding up fictions for the sake of 'feels' is healthy for society, under most circumstances. We want to do it, are inclined to do it, b/c it makes us feel better in the moment, but not for the long-term.


I take part in collective prayers for the welfare of local people and people all over the world, and I usually emerge from that experience feeling uplifted and inspired, and I receive a blessing from a priest in beautiful robes. I emerge from that feeling uplifted and inspired and better than if I hadn’t gone.
This sounds really beautiful and it struck me as a most essential part of the interview. I noticed the number of times he says "I".
 
I had heard rumors and viewed evidence of the forum's vital former self. To what do you owe this shadow, besides the one thing you mention? Surely there must be something besides 'Christianity bashing" that has driven the forum into the mud?
You might ask the moderators, past and present. I wasn't around when the house fell in, fortunately.
 
You might ask the moderators, past and present. I wasn't around when the house fell in, fortunately.
I think for me it’s when chunks of it started to going missing, seemingly arbitrarily. There didn’t seem much point posting things that might either be moved around or disappear like the staircases at Hoggwarts.

I can’t say I ever suffered any of the undue moderation others report however that’s probably because I never said anything interesting or controversial :). It certainly seems to have put off some of the more interesting posters, but not all of them.

Then a lot of the more prolific and interesting posters decided they’d had enough and vacated. I keep an eye in here but rarely see much of interest to me these days.

I can’t say I’ve seen widespread Christianity bashing here (perhaps one or two posters seem to have a real beef), at least not on threads I’ve read, but I suppose it’s in the eye of the beholder. If religious sources are cited as an authority here I find it a turn-off but unless it’s posted on a topic I’m interested in I don’t see it. I can’t say it’s a site that’s pro-organised religion but other than individual posters perhaps, it’s never struck me as particularly anti-religious either.
 
I can’t say I’ve seen widespread Christianity bashing here (perhaps one or two posters seem to have a real beef), at least not on threads I’ve read, but I suppose it’s in the eye of the beholder.
I can't recall a single repent-you're-all-going-to-hell type post ever on Skeptiko. When Christianity is mentioned it's mostly a byword for ignorance and/or hypocrisy. TBH I think much of it is a Pavlovian reaction given the lack of original content, and I'm happy to let any latent OCD tendencies loose on its perpetrators.

There have been some well informed commentators on the bible who did a job on Atwill, but they only show up when the forum becomes extra stupid. Most of the time Christianity is mentioned when people are bored and want to stir things up. I'd hate to see mentions of religion banned, but it's hard to recall many intelligent discussions on the topic. Sheldrake's could have been, and Bernardo discussed religion a while ago, but they're mostly tribal bonding exercises for ex-materialists.
 
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Sorry guys I was in a pissy mood when I wrote my last post. It wasn’t really necessary and I sort of strawmanned you guys.
 
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Alex's questions at the end of the podcast:

... What spiritual practices are best? ...
Turning off stress:

http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2018/04/the-parasympathetic-nervous-system-and.html
Turning Off Stress: The Parasympathetic Nervous System And Spiritual Development
...
The sympathetic nervous system is involved in producing the body's response to stress. The parasympathetic nervous system is involved in turning off the body's response to stress.

Anything that activates the parasympathetic nervous system suppresses the sympathetic nervous system and helps you to relax.
...
Learning to turn off stress is also helpful in spiritual development because when you are stressed, you are more likely to be thinking about yourself and your problems ie. being egocentric. But when you are relaxed, you are less likely to be thinking about yourself and more likely to be in harmony with spiritual values like love, kindness, forgiveness, tolerance etc.​
 
I can't recall a single repent-you're-all-going-to-hell type post ever on Skeptiko. When Christianity is mentioned it's mostly a byword for ignorance and/or hypocrisy. TBH I think much of it is a Pavlovian reaction given the lack of original content, and I'm happy to let any latent OCD tendencies loose on its perpetrators.

There have been some well informed commentators on the bible who did a job on Atwill, but they only show up when the forum becomes extra stupid. Most of the time Christianity is mentioned when people are bored and want to stir things up. I'd hate to see mentions of religion banned, but it's hard to recall many intelligent discussions on the topic. Sheldrake's could have been, and Bernardo discussed religion a while ago, but they're mostly tribal bonding exercises for ex-materialists.
Gabriel,

People on this forum have different opinions, and often express them fairly forcibly, but do you really want to come to a forum where everyone is censored to maintain a strict line?

Clearly our core subjects overlap with the concerns of religion, so the subject is bound to come up, and since it obviously hurts you to read opinions that are critical of religion, why not skip over those posts? Alternatively, feel free to participate in the discussion (as you have), but try not to be miffed if others disagree.

You say, " I'd hate to see mentions of religion banned" - well good, because I have zero intention to impose such a ban! I think the relationship between religion and psychic evidence is fascinating. I mean clearly the ideas of Christianity and NDE reports overlap extensively. However, I guess even you are not really a conventional Christian - if such exists - so why not start a thread dedicated to your view of things and how you see Christianity relating to the other religions, and to ψ in general?

David
 
Turning off stress:

http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2018/04/the-parasympathetic-nervous-system-and.html
Turning Off Stress: The Parasympathetic Nervous System And Spiritual Development
...
The sympathetic nervous system is involved in producing the body's response to stress. The parasympathetic nervous system is involved in turning off the body's response to stress.

Anything that activates the parasympathetic nervous system suppresses the sympathetic nervous system and helps you to relax.
...
Learning to turn off stress is also helpful in spiritual development because when you are stressed, you are more likely to be thinking about yourself and your problems ie. being egocentric. But when you are relaxed, you are less likely to be thinking about yourself and more likely to be in harmony with spiritual values like love, kindness, forgiveness, tolerance etc.​
While I agree with that in one way, I feel the way you express this sounds remarkably materialist - which I am pretty sure you aren't!

For example, one reads that one of the amigdala processes fear. Compartmentalising the brain's function in that way can make one think of a machine where different bits have different functions. However, consider how a fear centre might really work - what does it actually do?

Well if I saw a tiger racing towards me, I'd be very fearful.

However if I was in a zoo, and there was a suitable fence, I'd just marvel at the power of the beast.

However, if I knew that there was a dispute about whether the fencing was adequate, I might feel fear once more.

If I wasn't in a zoo, and had a gun, and knew how to use it, I might feel sorrow because I would be safe but have to kill the creature.

What I am getting at, is that the fear centre would have to call on the whole of the rest of the mind in order to even determine if fear was an appropriate response!

This observation seems to generalise - specifying that any portion of the mind/brain - a hormone, a 'component' of the brain, or the parasympathetic nervous system performs some role, inevitably pulls in the rest of the mind!

David
 
I can't recall a single repent-you're-all-going-to-hell type post ever on Skeptiko. When Christianity is mentioned it's mostly a byword for ignorance and/or hypocrisy. TBH I think much of it is a Pavlovian reaction given the lack of original content, and I'm happy to let any latent OCD tendencies loose on its perpetrators.

There have been some well informed commentators on the bible who did a job on Atwill, but they only show up when the forum becomes extra stupid. Most of the time Christianity is mentioned when people are bored and want to stir things up. I'd hate to see mentions of religion banned, but it's hard to recall many intelligent discussions on the topic. Sheldrake's could have been, and Bernardo discussed religion a while ago, but they're mostly tribal bonding exercises for ex-materialists.
I agree there is a huge problem on skeptiko because it is very hostile to Christians. There are many forms of Christianity and many different ways it is practiced. Some of them are hugely beneficial to individuals, and historically Christianity has played a hugely beneficial role in the development of our civilization. But you would never know that from reading skeptiko, because the vast majority of posts that mention Christianity are one sided and biased against Christianity. They give readers a misimpression of Christianity because they never mention its good qualities only the problems. But every human endeavor has imperfections because humans are imperfect. However when Christianity is mentioned on skeptiko, you only hear about the imperfections and you never hear about how those compare to other human endeavors.

And this is just a part of a bigger bias against religion where all of the many diverse and various religions, most of which the writers are ignorant of, are lumped together and condemned because of their bias against Christianity.

The problem is not just misinforming readers, it drives away members so we have fewer viewpoints and learn less. I have pointed out before that the forum is unfriendly to atheists and Christians. Who is left to participate?


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_the_United_States#Statistics

Religion in the United States
...
Christian 73.7
Protestant/Other Christian 48.9
Catholic 23.0
Mormon 1.8
None/Atheist/Agnostic 18.2
Non-Christian faiths 5.4
Jewish 2.1
Muslim 0.8
Other non-Christian religion 2.5
No response given 2.6
Total 100
 
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but do you really want to come to a forum where everyone is censored to maintain a strict line?
I'm happy to challenge anti-Christian rhetoric without the threat of banning. Censorship isn't my bag.
Clearly our core subjects overlap with the concerns of religion
I can see that may be the case in particular instances. I fail to see how psi as a subject invites comparisons with organised religion. Unless you believe a single example of precognition or spoon bending is to court the Inquisition and the collapse of civilisation. In which case I disagree. Materialism has an endless supply of promise notes.
and since it obviously hurts you to read opinions that are critical of religion, why not skip over those posts?
It doesn't hurt me in the least. I only correct the most egregious errors and systemic prejudice. An individual's take on religion is none of my business. They may have personally suffered at the hands of the religious, they may find the idea of God an intolerable imposition on their world view. They may enjoy a healthy social life based on the mutual support of fellow sceptics. None of these things are my concern.
Alternatively, feel free to participate in the discussion (as you have), but try not to be miffed if others disagree.
Does that mean don't challenge them? Or do challenge them but expect a ban for upsetting people? If it's the latter I strongly disagree that I've upset anyone, and I've discussed everything from crop circles, to ghosts, to philosophy on this forum. Can you show an example of miffed-ness on my part?
However, I guess even you are not really a conventional Christian
Not sure how you work that out? I'm a mainstream Catholic, neither archly traditional nor liberal progressive. If you can show where I've transgressed orthodoxy by my views I'm happy to listen. Rupert Sheldrake is way more theologically liberal than me, but that doesn't change my respect for him. He's remarkably sanguine in the face of intolerance generally and I'm sure we'd get on just fine. Indeed we have communicated on affable terms.
so why not start a thread dedicated to your view of things and how you see Christianity relating to the other religions, and to ψ in general?
That would make the forum "all about me" and that's something anyone should avoid in public discussion. I've contributed to all kinds of subjects, and reject the label of apologist. Why don't you start a thread about why you're so intolerant of Christianity? This one is about Sheldrake's take on Christianity in the context of other religions and his scientific background. It's clear you think his beliefs are completely antipathetic to his research, perhaps you'd like to explore why you think that in terms that aren't just hand-waving?
 
That would make the forum "all about me" and that's something anyone should avoid in public discussion. I've contributed to all kinds of subjects, and reject the label of apologist. Why don't you start a thread about why you're so intolerant of Christianity? This one is about Sheldrake's take on Christianity in the context of other religions and his scientific background. It's clear you think his beliefs are completely antipathetic to his research, perhaps you'd like to explore why you think that in terms that aren't just hand-waving?
Sharing your views in one thread would hardly involve you taking over the whole forum :)

I can see that may be the case in particular instances. I fail to see how psi as a subject invites comparisons with organised religion. Unless you believe a single example of precognition or spoon bending is to court the Inquisition and the collapse of civilisation. In which case I disagree. Materialism has an endless supply of promise notes.
I would say that any evidence that materialism is wrong/incomplete is relevant to religions of all sorts.

Anyway, the way International politics is headed, we may all get our DE's and learn a lot more about reality very soon :(

David
 
I would say that any evidence that materialism is wrong/incomplete is relevant to religions of all sorts.
Why do you say that? I've always believed the opposition between reductionism and religion is a false dichotomy invented by materialists as a scare story. Lets be clear, religion is not an appeal to logic, it requires belief, aka faith. Materialism holds belief as toxic to the progress of mankind, religion sees faith as desirable, even necessary.

It's hard to see how an example of psi indicates God, much less organised religion. Bernardo thinks mind-at-large is responsible, Radin believes in a cloud of consciousness. Neither of these resemble a Christian deity, and both would be at pains to distance themselves from the concept. I've described this forum as post-materialist, and that may be responsible for our differences. You, like Richard Dawkins, really do think psi is a short circuit to God. I'm satisfied the phenomena we describe as psi are real, and require no further evidence of the fact, but they don't inform my beliefs. Psi isn't my religion substitute and if it's yours I can see why my opinions would be a problem for you.
 
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