Suggestions for Alex's Book

#1
I'm not sure where to start this thread but thought perhaps here was as good as place as any.

My goal is to send Alex a suggestion about his book and perhaps start a thread where others can do the same.

My suggestion:
To my mind, one terribly important piece of data is the missing data which is not talked about enough. By missing data, I mean things that we should "reasonably" have but which we do not have. Two examples spring to mind:
-I accept psychics and mediums. There is something real there. It has been documented for at least 150 years and has probably been around as long as people have existed. Yet, in all that time there are no mediums who can predict the horse races or the stock market. There are also no mediums who can reliably dial up the dead and reel off "sustained specifics" (i.e. lots of details on tap to convince a skeptic). Why is this?
-Similarly, we have had lots of UFOs but we have no nuts and bolts that have fallen off them and we don't even have any good photos. How is this possible?

This is talked about a bit by Kennedy: http://jeksite.org

One obvious reason is that "good" data is dismissed by the skeptical view of society. That's fair but there is more to it than that. I believe psi is actively evasive and capricious.

What does this mean? In my opinion it means that we are not dealing with a difficult to study natural phenomena but rather we are interacting with one or more intelligences who are playing a kind of game with us. Who then is this? Taking the medium/psychics example, I think it makes sense that there are multiple agents ("spirits") involved that that there is also a "regulator" who stops spirits from stepping over the line. This regulator would appear to be always present (it is never not there so there is never a crossing of the line) and to never make errors (again, the line is not crossed) and to have absolute authority (all spirits obey it).

Who can that be? "God" is the only answer in my opinion. This then makes these spirits "agents" of God.

My avatar is a game piece for this reason. I see all this as a kind of game. Anyway, my 2 cents.
 
#2
There are also no mediums who can reliably dial up the dead and reel off "sustained specifics" (i.e. lots of details on tap to convince a skeptic). Why is this?
Take a look at any of the books by John and Martha McGinnis, such as "Straight Talk From Heaven", and you'll see that this is more than possible.

However, look a bit more closely and you'll see that this isn't a party trick, or a game for amusement. The information given must serve a purpose. And not particularly a purpose that we choose, but rather one which is guided from those on the 'other side'. Whether one uses the word God or some other term, the overall intention seems to be an uplifting and positive one. Frankly, convincing a few sceptics doesn't seem to be a primary goal, rather the intention is to speak to those who would listen.
 
#3
This regulator would appear to be always present (it is never not there so there is never a crossing of the line) and to never make errors (again, the line is not crossed) and to have absolute authority (all spirits obey it).
I don't think this is the case. The phrase "absolute authority" implies a lack of free will, and goes against information I've come across from various sources.
 
#4
Frankly, convincing a few sceptics doesn't seem to be a primary goal, rather the intention is to speak to those who would listen.
I agree but think it goes further. Nothing is presented that would "settle" the matter. Seems to me there is a goal of keeping the skeptics going.

Thanks for the tip off on the book.
 
#5
I agree but think it goes further. Nothing is presented that would "settle" the matter. Seems to me there is a goal of keeping the skeptics going.

Thanks for the tip off on the book.
Well, I wonder whether "keeping the skeptics going" is related in a slightly convoluted way to the idea of free will. Rather than being battered into submission, people get to make their own choice as to what they believe. Or it may also be related to the reason why we don't all clearly remember our own past lives - such knowledge might clutter up our thinking and distract us from simply living.

As for the book, you may not find it useful, feel free to ignore it.

Edit: actually, I may have overstated the relevance of the book in this context (though it's still worth a look in its own right). From memory, without being sure of the circumstance, I think there was at least one case of a 'personality' who declined to give information which might be considered "proof for sceptics" and many of the others tend to give new insights rather than 'trivial' facts. Perhaps I was wrong to suggest it here. Apologies if my earlier post was misleading.
 
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#6
One obvious reason is that "good" data is dismissed by the skeptical view of society. That's fair but there is more to it than that. I believe psi is actively evasive and capricious.
Hi Alan... thx for starting this thread.

re above... maybe, but that's kinda presupposes a lot. It kinda anthropomorphizing this larger consciousness in a way that's bound to be wrong.

besides, the book is going more in the direction of "why science is wrong" rather than trying to figure out what the "right" answers are :)
 
#7
Well, I wonder whether "keeping the skeptics going" is related in a slightly convoluted way to the idea of free will. Rather than being battered into submission, people get to make their own choice as to what they believe. Or it may also be related to the reason why we don't all clearly remember our own past lives - such knowledge might clutter up our thinking and distract us from simply living.
I absolutely agree and this is a great summary. Thanks. My key point though is that there is a data point here which supports the existence of God. My goal in starting the thread is to simply draw attention to this data point as it is often overlooked.
 
#8
re above... maybe, but that's kinda presupposes a lot. It kinda anthropomorphizing this larger consciousness in a way that's bound to be wrong.
I think a bit of "anthropomorphizing" is perhaps justified. This "other" would appear to be making decisions just like we make decisions. There is a decision against certain types of information coming from the spirit world. There is a decision against "materially useful" precognition (precognition on demand or stock market quotes or reliable crime solving). In short, there is a decision to be mysterious. This is not the behaviour of a natural phenomena. The spirit behaviour is not the behaviour of a "group of people", it is the behaviour of a "regulated" group.

So, I'm not saying "God is just like us". I am saying that there are decisions here and that making the decisions requires "God like" power so therefore one can assert that "God" must be behind the decisions.

This is perhaps very important as you can then "construct" a "Grand Unified Theory" of the paranormal which is simply that "God is behind it all". I'm not sure I believe that myself but it is interesting to consider. One obvious criticism is that it is then a "conspiracy theory" but there is one difference from most conspiracy theories: God is capable of carrying out the conspiracy.

Like I said, not sure myself, but I think there is a data point here. Perhaps I am wrong and need to consider more data (such as the book mentioned by Typoz).

Actually one more example, in remote viewing there is no real problem with identifying the correct location. This is inconsistent with the idea of just being able to remote view. If you can remote view, then you have the whole world (or, indeed, universe) that you can view. How do you choose? Even if you know where you want to go, how do you find it? My hard disk finds information all the time but my hard disk has an index which the software can access. We can assert that the "software" is in the remote viewer's brain/spirit in some way but who has constructed the index? Consider the size and complexity of the index; it is God like. So, to my mind, it makes more sense to assert that the remote viewer is being "spoon fed" information by a separate intelligence than to assert that he/she has some talent to see things in other places.

besides, the book is going more in the direction of "why science is wrong" rather than trying to figure out what the "right" answers are :)
That's OK. Figuring out what the "right" answers are is certainly a challenging thing to do (understatement of the millennium) and perhaps belongs in a second book. I have actually thought of writing this myself but can never quite decide where I am going with it... Also there isn't really a full book in it, more like a paper I guess.
 
#9
I absolutely agree and this is a great summary. Thanks. My key point though is that there is a data point here which supports the existence of God. My goal in starting the thread is to simply draw attention to this data point as it is often overlooked.
Ok, at least we have some level of agreement. As for the data supporting the existence of God, I don't disagree, in fact it has been crucial to my overall understanding of this whole subject area.

I think on the other hand, there are those who would reject evidence for psi precisely because it is presented in a format which entangles the more mundane phenomena with any concept which might link it in with religion. This is a step-by-step journey of exploration of a broad subject area, and I think one of the aims must be to avoid alienating potential readers with extra baggage at an early stage. As for the later stages, In my opinion we need to be clear that this is not about selling any specific religion, but rather about encouraging people to each find their own path.
 
#10
You have to prove the existence of ghosts and that ghosts were once living people. Hammer this hard with lots of evidence. If ghosts exist, then life after death exists. The near death experiences make sense, and this whole epiphenomenon explanation of consciousness crumbles.
 
#11
One more thing which has occurred to me after reading Nick Bunick's book. Here is the thing, when you look at the thread that happened after the show about Nick Bunick you see that it was terribly off topic and lacking in basic info. Why? Because nobody had read his book. I think this problem has happened many times on Skeptiko.

There is no 100% solution to this but I think that there are a number of keen people on this forum who sometimes buy the books featured. So, I wonder if this problem could be partially alleviated if Alex announced the next 1 or 2 podcasts at the end of each podcast and included the name of the guest and any book which may be featured. This way some people might buy the book in advance and then contribute to the thread.

Just a thought.
 
#12
Actually, one obvious thing is that this would not have to be announced in the podcast but could instead be put in a prominent place on the forum/website...

Anyway just a thought.
 
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