Emma Restall Orr, It Took a Druid to Demolish Scientific Materialism |346|

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Apr 18, 2017.

  1. Alex

    Alex New

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    Emma Restall Orr, It Took a Druid to Demolish Scientific Materialism |346|
    by Alex Tsakiris | Apr 18 | Consciousness Science, Spirituality

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    Emma Restall Orr believes animism is more logical and coherent than scientific materialism — she may be right.
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    photo by: Skeptiko
    On this episode of Skeptiko…

    Emma Restall Orr: …that’s the sadness about so much of science, because it’s taken us from where Christianity, and in our British culture Christianity was so thick, and it laid in the authorities, and it told everybody exactly what to think, what to feel, how to behave, and then science has taken over done exactly the same thing, and that was a problem in Christianity, and it’s a problem in science.

    Stay with us for Skeptiko…

    Welcome to Skeptiko, where we explore controversial science and spirituality, with leading researchers, thinkers and their critics.

    I’m your host Alex Tsakiris, and I suppose I rail on and on about the absurdity of mainstream science’s position re consciousness, that is that it’s an illusion, a product of the brain… biological robot… meaningless universe — all that stuff you’ve heard a million times. But the real absurdity is that we still debate it. It’s still respectable for mainstream science, intellectual types, academia types to kick those ideas around and mull them over and really dig into them, when it’s just ridiculous.

    So, it’s quite refreshing when someone who’s totally on the outside, and has the dubious distinction of being a prominent member of the Neo-Druid, Neo-Pagan community, let alone the fact that she’s a woman, it’s just fascinating when someone like that can step forward and just kind of kick the shit out of materialism, very succinctly, very concisely and does so in a way that brings us back to that question that I always ask — how can this be?

    So, Emma Restall Orr is our guest today, she’s the author of many very interesting books, extremely articulate, an excellent writer. Of course, we didn’t agree on some things, but agreed on many more and it was certainly fun and delightful to have her on Skeptiko and to her join me in this conversation.

    ecided to just grab a screenshot of the top 1000 people who have [the highest] Twitter follower numbers, people like Justin Bieber… he had the most Twitter followers, Oprah Winfrey was in there, Dalai Lama was in there. Then we looked for their charts…
     
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  2. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Alex's question at the end of the podcast:

    Has science ultimately failed us in the balance between good and bad? We can look at our lasers and i-phones and GPS's, but on the other side we can look at the things that we might not like about society, culture or the way things are going, however we slice that. So: has science failed us?
     
  3. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I find this podcast very hard to sum up.

    I think Emma's comment about how science has acquired the same intolerance that Christianity exhibited.

    I also liked her comments about the modern cult of victim-hood.

    I also fell in love with Emma's amazing voice!

    As regards the question at the end, I have probably written enough about this already. I think that science only covers a patchy subset of reality, but because it feel it must be describing the whole of reality, it fudges, and splutters embarrassingly as it pretends to explain those things it doesn't have a hope of explaining. It has also been severely corrupted by complacency, money and politics.

    David
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2017
  4. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Emma spoke of anarchy. I looked it up and here are a few definitions:

    A state of society without government or law.

    A state of disorder due to absence or non-recognition of authority or other controlling systems.

    Absence of government and absolute freedom of the individual, regarded as a political ideal.

    I kind of think she meant something like "absence of government and absolute freedom of the individual, regarded as a spiritual ideal". A society in which there is no need of government or law because everyone is sane enough to behave well in their own right.

    We're quite a long way away from that ideal at the moment, not least in science, where rigidity seems to be the watchword. I mean, look at the forthcoming "march for science", which is really a march for conformity mixed in with a lot of left-wing politics. People are being deemed anything but autonomous entities capable of right action.

    Is it a case of darkness before the dawn, or darkness presaging more darkness to come? I reflect that the march wouldn't be happening unless "science" didn't feel itself under threat, which it didn't even a few years ago. Maybe, just maybe, it's a sign that people are beginning to think for themselves...
     
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  5. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I saw a comment about this march over at the Discovery Institute. They said (I paraphrase) this march would finally expose the tawdry politicised state of much of science. The organisers are struggling to try to balance the march with respect to LBGT, and racial issues, they have also made appeals to try to keep it peaceful - need one say more?

    David
     
  6. Science is a process which in itself is neither good or bad.

    However, many scientists, fallible like all of us, have failed in a fundamental aspect of their work: following the evidence wherever it leads for the purpose of learning more about humanity and the universe.

    What could be more important to humankind than the knowledge that consciousness survives death? What could more important to science than the huge gaps in scientific knowledge demonstrated by the evidence that consciousness is not produced by the brain, and the unmistakable evidence of design in cosmology and biology


    http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/the-science-scam-is-one-of-biggest.html

    The Science Scam


    (8/2013) The science scam is one of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated in the history of humankind and it has done incalculable harm to individuals and to our civilization. This hoax has been carried out by scientists who deny the true nature of human consciousness revealed by the existence of ESP and the afterlife and it has been going on since at least the 1860's.

    How many billions of people suffer unnecessary grief for lost loved ones who are not really dead but are continuing their existence in another dimension? How many billions of people live in fear of death unnecessarily because they are ignorant of the empirical evidence showing there is an afterlife? How many people suffer unnecessarily from ethnic and religious conflicts that would cease if everyone knew the true nature of the soul and its evolution? How much cruelty continues to be inflicted on victims that would never be inflicted if people understood that when you hurt another person you also hurt yourself? How much selfishness continues to exist that would cease if people understood that you prepare the conditions you will experience in the afterlife by the actions you take in the physical life?

    All this suffering continues to occur because some scientists refuse to give up their self-appointed role as the sole source of knowledge about the universe and their artificial and unscientific attachment to philosophical naturalism as the only way to obtain knowledge about the cosmos. This leads them to reject the many independent forms of evidence for ESP and the afterlife which show that human consciousness is not produced by matter, not produced by the brain, but can and does continue to exist after the death of the physical body.

    In the sections below, you will find links to my blog, web site, and outside sources that explain:
    The evidence for ESP and the afterlife.
    The history of the science scam.
    Notable scientists including several Nobel prize winners who resisted the science scam.
    The causes of the scam.
    Why the science scam is so harmful to individuals and civilization.
    What citizens should do about it.

    http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2013/04/a-history-of-scientific-discoveries.html

    Most people would say that Science has been a huge success. We all know the of the successes in medical science, agriculture, transportation, communications, computers, etc. etc. But what about Science's failures? Consider the list (below) of important scientific discoveries, including discoveries that led to Nobel prizes, that were initially rejected and ridiculed by mainstream science. Scientists have a huge problem accepting the truth when it contradicts their preexisting beliefs. Science should be judged based on its failures as well as its successes.

    There is extensive evidence to support belief in ESP and the afterlife. But mainstream science refuses to acknowledge the truth of these phenomena calling the evidence "pseudoscience". People don't often think about Science's colossal failure to study psi and the afterlife. What could be more important to humanity than our immortality? What could be more important to science than this huge gap in its understanding of the universe? What would the world be like if everyone knew that in the afterlife, they would experience a life review where they felt how their actions affected other people from the other person's point of view? In this regard, Science has failed humanity and itself. Science has given us medicines and conveniences, as well as weapons and pollution, but it has not given us the whole truth.

    Most people believe in ESP and the afterlife. This shows that ordinary people can know things that Science denies. Given the difficulty scientists have recognizing important areas for research, the public and politicians should not be afraid to direct research funds into studies of ESP and the afterlife despite mainstream science's rejection of these subjects.
    http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-harm-caused-by-pseudoskepticism.html

    The Harm Caused by Pseudoskepticism

    This post provides explanations and links to supporting information that show how pseudoskepticism does great harm to individuals and to society.
    ...​

    UPDATE:
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
  7. I don't see anything dubious about "being a prominent member of the Neo-Druid, Neo-Pagan community...", and the implication regarding gender is ... um ... er ... not wanting to break the first law of internet discussions (never insult the moderator) .. I'll call it: ... antiquated.

    Yes, but in another sense we all know what consciousness is because we are all conscious.

    My attitude to animism is that it is a form of or an approximation of idealism.
    http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2015/03/realizing-ultimate.html
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2017
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  8. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Yes, and it is a threat of their own making. For example, they chose to exaggerate the evidence for evolution by natural selection because they picked a fight with creationists. Even though epi-genetics involves conventional scientific ideas, its existence is often buried in debate because it is embarrassing, so imagine the problems they may encounter in the near future. I rather hope they suffer a domino effect in which one piece of dodgy science collapses, and that triggers more debate in the next area and so on.

    David
     
  9. Laird

    Laird Member

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    I listen to podcasts quite rarely, these days - not because of any issues on the producer's side, but because I am awfully picky with how I "waste" my ears. Given that, it was a rare event (no offence intended, Alex), that I chose to listen to this one. The promise that hooked me was: a coherent explanation of the philosophy of animism, with the benefit of a proven critic (our esteemed host) who doesn't hold back on "what needs to be said".

    Awesome!

    I am very partial to the spirituality of indigenous "Australians", having had a "strange" experience which validates it, and, given that indigenous Australians are animists, I thought I might get a sense of "how it fits together", of how "the animist worldview coheres", including for my brothers and sisters who were here in this land before me.

    Unfortunately - and again, I mean no offence by this - the interview didn't quite work out that way, as I had hoped. Alex asked all sorts of interesting questions, and got all sorts of interesting answers, in a voice which David rightfully points out is extraordinary, and I value the interview process and its results as such very much... but as for the question, "What is animism and what does it hold to be conscious?" - the question which I would have thought would be crucial... we were left wanting.

    Is Jenny's toy bear conscious due to the human love that has been bestowed upon it? Does a chair, given the careful workmanship with which it has been constructed, experience emotions when a person sits upon it? - these are two very simple, perhaps even childlike, but on the other hand non-obviously answerable, questions that I would have liked to have been put to Emma. What exactly does animism say about consciousness, particularly about "objects" which materialism would barely deign to recognise, let alone as sentient? The interview simply didn't go there. This was quite disappointing to me. And I haven't even talked about plants, the more "reasonable" candidates for "animistic consciousness".

    Once more, I have to emphasise that I very much value the interview as it is (or was), I just feel that the very fundamentals of the topic on which it was predicated were not even really broached, let alone explored.

    Argh, Alex, I feel like I'm $#@!ing on your turf, man, and I have to emphasise again that I mean no disrespect - I'm not even sure that in your shoes, I would have satisfied my carping self, but... well, sometimes a guy has to offer a (hopefully respectful) critique. What exactly is animism? What does it hold to be conscious, and why? How does it differ from panpsychism? These are (some of) the questions I would have loved for you to have asked! Maybe, if Emma sees fit to participate, you could invite her to this thread to answer them with her gracious yet solid personality.
     
  10. Alex

    Alex New

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    great 2 sentence summation!

    I know we all probably feel like we're pounding on the same stuff, but I think there's some merit in doing so. better than the phony/misguided endless bunny trails of "new materialistic discoveries" or rehashing of how "science isn't the problem..." yes, science is the problem because it only explains a tiny part of reality, but pretends to capture it all.
     
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  11. Alex

    Alex New

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    nicely put... and I don't understand how anyone thinks this is ever gonna happen. It's another version of "if everyone thought like me..."
     
  12. Alex

    Alex New

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    I guess the irony was lost in translation.
     
  13. Charlie Primero

    Charlie Primero Member

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    Alex, I wish you would not say "F*ck" in your interviews.

    It's low-class, and I struggle to avoid using it in my speech.
     
  14. Alex

    Alex New

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    Hi Laird... thx for this awesome post. I think we're much more in sync than you might think. I went in looking for the same, but her answers kept throwing up stumbling blocks.... e.g.
    - we're all connected to land and blood -- really?
    - I "no longer" think reincarnation is true -- really?

    So, Emma's deep understanding of animism has led to this? I felt a little like I do talking to atheists and fundy Christians... i.e. if you can't get the big stuff right I have limited patience for the rest. Of course, this is a huge overstatement in the case of Emma as she has some really awesome and profound things to say, but I was still surprised with some of the place she took things... and how her ideas seem out of sync with frontier consciousness science.
     
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  15. Alex

    Alex New

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    WTF :)
     
  16. I forgot to say most published research findings are false:
    http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/articl...ubject.html#articles_by_subject_bogus_science
     
  17. Laird

    Laird Member

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    I see your frustration with answers that seem obviously wrong, Alex. That said, here are some thoughts on your critique:

    For us European colonisers, of the USA in your case, and Australia in mine, this might seem like a very mistaken claim, but to the people here before us... well, the indigenous "Australians" have been here for - by some estimates - over 100,000 years. 100,000 years, man. According to them, they were here right from the start, however long ago that was! Colonised Australia is only 230 years old. There is little to no distinction for the indigenous "Australians" between land, culture and spirituality: the land holds and perpetuates the Dreaming, which encapsulates and maintains their culture, which is equally the expression of their spirituality. Really, man, the land is everything to the indigenous (natively animistic) cultures: it is their placeholder, it is what gives them their sense of identity and meaning. And when you get to know indigenous Australians, relationships are another sort of everything, too. They have words for relationships that we barely dream of! Sister-in-law's brother's cousin's second son? They've probably got a single word for that! So, again, blood, like land, is vital to indigenous cultures. Perhaps, from this perspective, Emma's claim makes some sort of sense? And sure, I understand you objecting to it as a universal claim; one that applies to all of us, but in the context of animism, and especially applied to animistic cultures, I don't think it's all that objectionable.

    I thought about trying to tackle the reincarnation objection, but I have nothing nearly so compelling to say about it, so I'll leave it at that. :)
     
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  18. Alex

    Alex New

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    right/sure, but it's not really limited to this land or that land, or the land you're on now, or the land that yr ancestors were on when they got in the reed canoe and crossed the big ocean, or the land in space that yr descendants might occupy.

    seems like there's a little bit of back door materialism creeping me. if our consciousness is the unlimited, unbounded source of all then this "my connection to my land" thing seems a little off. "be here now" suggests being with the land -- now. being with the blood we all share -- now. some of us move around... we're still "connected."

    and on a very down to earth level, I happen to know folks with adopted children. are we to believe they are "less connected" because of this blood thing... seems ridiculous. I'm with Raymond Moody on this one. He tells the story of how is adopted son told him about looking down on him and his non-biological mother and deciding to join this family/soul-group. I suspect this is how all families (biological and not) are formed.
     
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  19. Laird

    Laird Member

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    Well, not to be a total jerk, but in some cultures, it very much is. I don't think I could express it any more clearly than I did in my last post. You and I are products of post-colonialist culture, where the entire world is (at least seemingly) open to us, and we have no particular ties to any particular place other than "ordinary" sentimental ties. To certain indigenous cultures, though, the thought of moving across the world on some sort of whim is... well, unthinkable: they have a responsibility to maintain their land and its animals, plants, spirits and Dreaming, through song, ritual and ceremony; they very much are tied to specific places, which their descendants will be too. I mean, I get what you're saying: it's not like that for us, or for most people in the world. That's fine. But for certain cultures, when you take away their land, you take away everything.
     
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  20. Laird

    Laird Member

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    This page puts it better than I can: https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/land/meaning-of-land-to-aboriginal-people

     
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