---Introduce yourself---

From September 2012 I set myself the task of evaluating the best evidence for (1) the Afterlife (2) the UFO's & alien abduction experience. This work is still ongoing. I find Skeptiko a useful resource in this process.
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Hi everyone,

My name is Troy. I am a graduate student in History at a major university. I have had an interest in the paranormal for as long as I can remember. As a child, I read books about ghosts and enjoyed shows like “Unsolved Mysteries.” In high school, my library had an encyclopedia of the paranormal, “Mysteries of Mind, Space and Time,” or something to that effect, where I first learned about psychical research. Shortly after, I became a member of several paranormal and skeptic message boards, but I was always more of a lurker than a poster. (Incidentally, one of those boards was the JREF board, so I have been reading posts by Paul and Ian, for example, for almost twelve years now.) At the same time, I started to read more in the parapsychological literature, though I still consider myself to be under-read. As far as interests go, I am most fascinated by the early history of psychical research and NDE’s.

To lay my metaphysical cards on the table, I have always been attracted to idealism as a philosophical and spiritual orientation. Unlike others here, I was not brought up in a particular religious tradition. Nevertheless, being interested in the paranormal meant that I would at some point encounter mysticism, and when I did, I was fascinated by the altered states of consciousness that can be brought about by rigorous contemplative exercises. The mystics seemed to have access to a ‘gnosis,’ which made plain the ultimate state of reality: a non-dual state brimming with consciousness. Of course, I could not prove, nor could the mystics themselves (unless siddhis exist and they used one), that these experiences weren’t brain-based illusions, but reading about them had a profound effect on me.

As far as where I now stand, I would have to say that I am an agnostic, slightly leaning toward the reality of psi phenomena. I used to be more of a firm proponent, but several things have recently tempered my enthusiasm. One was a thread on the old board where it became apparent that studies about brain activity during cardiac arrest and C.P.R that Pim van Lommel cited in his book and in one of his articles actually contradicted his argument. I e-mailed several top NDE researchers and never got a reply, except from one saying that although he did not have the time to go into an in-depth explanation, he agreed that van Lommel was wrong, and was surprised he wrote what he did. Another was that Stephen Braude allegedly made some errors in his appraisal of Peter Lamont’s book on D.D. Home. Of course, researchers make mistakes , but these lapses drove home the point that if I wanted to get as close to the truth as possible I needed to go to the original reports. (I am aware of the, quite frankly, massive lapses in some of the popular skeptical literature, so this is definitely a double-edged sword, with one edge longer than the other.) This is a painstaking undertaking, but it is something I need to do to be intellectually honest. Unfortunately I don’t have too much time to devote to this project. In the interim, I read bits and pieces whenever I can, look forward to hearing more about the preliminary results from AWARE, and look forward to reading discussions on this board.
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My old intro slightly modified from the old forum:

I'm an ex-material realist and now something else, although still finding scientific method a usable to arrive at particular form of knowledge, although not all knowledge.

Interested in truth, in all forms - that is the superset of all truths (including apparently contradicting ones).

No personal OOBEs, no NDEs, no absolute faith, no religion and hopefully as little dogma as possible (nibbling at it day by day). Not that this is good or bad, it's just is for me, for now.

My specialty, if anything, pertains to human reasoning, esp. Type I thinking aka intuition (see Kahneman, Evans & Frankish), including it's biases and what appear to be improbable achievements (aka PSI). This is an area of ongoing research both in personal and more scholastic life for myself currently.

A fairly recent member of Society of Scientific Exploration and College of Psychic Studies. Very little experimental testing experience on these matters, but follow the works of Sheldrake, Radin, Bill Bengston, Larissa Cheran, Persinger, Bem, Alexander Trofimov, Courtney Brown, Targ, Tartt and a few others.

Also doing analysis of UFO/anomalous phenomena photos -- basically just learning the tricks of the trade (far from being good at this).

Came here, because want to remove that which is false in my thinking and hopefully gain new insight. Have already gotten quite a bit from the previous forum, and hope to learn much more in this new one. Wish I just had a bit more time to hang around here...
Hi everybody -

When I was young, my parents made my siblings and me go to Sunday school so we would be at least minimally grounded in Christian lore (my parents were atheists but they didn't impose their views on us). I somewhat bought into the fear part of the fear-and-love agenda of organized Christianity, adopting a sort of Pascal's Wager attitude though I'd never heard of that term. Although I never would have called myself a Christian because I was too mystified by 'reality' to make any kind of commitment, around age twelve my agnosticism slipped away from a mild Christian bias to a more neutral position.

I went on to get a degree in engineering and a Ph.D. in geophysics and my agnosticism gradually moved to a mildly materialist bias, although I was still too mystified by 'reality' to be at all certain. I spent my career mostly doing R&D in geophysics and worked largely with nuclear physicists, publishing 60+ papers in refereed journals. I took early retirement from a national research lab as soon as I was eligible and my wife and I now live off the grid in far northern California.

Six years ago I heard an interview with Dean Radin, the episode titled "Digital Breadcrumbs" in the ElectricPolitics podcast archives (there are a few other excellent podcasts of direct interest to Skeptiko listeners there). I bought Dean's book "Entangled Minds" and read it, finding it to be rather dry but quite persuasive to a person like me, accustomed to dealing with data in various forms; that book is still the one I would recommend to an open-minded materialist who is comfortable dealing with a lot of data. When I finished the book I thought something like, "Yikes... either we have here a totally unprecedented case of fraud extending over more than a century and involving thousands of people, some with very impressive credentials, or we have a web of vast incompetence involving those thousands of highly qualified people, OR, this stuff is real. My assessment of psi phenomena went from "Perhaps, but I doubt it" to "There seems to be something to this, subject to further investigation." My agnostic bias slipped back to a more neutral position.

That further investigation has consumed much of my time since then, including reading hundreds of books dealing with a very broad range of "paranormal" and other weird topics, hundreds of papers in refereed journals (I joined SSE, SPR, and IONS to gain access to their archives), and listening to myriads of podcast lectures and interviews (I came across Skeptiko in 2009 and have heard most of the episodes). My agnosticism has now moved towards the view that consciousness is somehow primary in the scheme of 'reality', but I remain mystified.

[By the way, if you're serious about this topic area and can afford $85 a year ($40 for students) consider joining SSE (Society of Scientific Exploration). It is a serious scientific organization that currently puts out three publications including a refereed journal and holds an annual meeting and, I think, a biannual international meeting - and they need our support for their lonely and perilous mission. There's lots of good reading in the back issues of JSE. You don't need to be a scientist to join as an Associate Member. The current president, re-elected recently, is Bill Bengston, a Skeptiko interviewee. SSE's broad area of focus largely overlaps that of Skeptiko.]
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I am Juan in the old forum. I studied philosophy career and I have registered in this forum to share some ideas about the afterlife and psi phenomena. But I am spanish and my english is not very good.

See you later!
Hi Alex and Skeptiko,
I came across your show while researching my book, "Near Death Experiences: Doctors and Scientists Go On the Record about God, Heaven, and the Afterlife." I have probably listened to nearly 100 shows so far. Usually on the way to Empower Boxing classes and back :0). I am impressed with how you deal with the skeptics in a patient and professional manner. I am a martial artist and trained hypnotist. I may have taken a Train the Trainers course with Mary Rodwell a few years back. I am fascinated with the topic of NDEs and God. I'm happy to say my book is #1 in Reincarnation and #1 in Religious Studies during its free promotional phase on Amazon Kindle.
Hi Skeptiko community,

I'm Anna, a German living in New Zealand with my young family. I would describe my attitude as to be "open to the truth", or to say it with Alex' words "where ever evidence leads" me. So I am very flexible, if an old belief proofs to be wrong, I will change it, I don't stick to familiar or convenient beliefs. I am still in the process of listening to the archived shows and find Alex' approach very refreshing (e.g. non ego-promoting, honest, kind and very knowledgeable about the research).
Thanks for all the great minds out there, that make the dialogue about the "scientifically proven spirituality" such a fruitful one!

The advent of Nihilism strikes me as something untenable in modern society - and its foundational importance would, if true, rule out life as an impossible act of hopelessness.
Life, for modern man, must seem a state of condemnation where our most cherished beliefs de-value themselves and bring on an anti-spiritual stance where our short gray smidgeon of time is spent hoping for the hopeless.
Nothing of value can be held for true in a society where consciousness has been written out of the equation as having no "Explanatory power".
Can I just say, "me too?" That about sums up why I'm here.

I grew up in sort of an atheist-by-default way. My parents were lapsed Episcopalians and I was left to draw my own conclusions, mostly. Drawing my own conclusions meant that I was eventually utterly convinced that the "biological robot" hypothesis, and the Nihilism that accompanies it, was the truth. I'm still digging out of that hole.

On a personal level, I work full time as a software engineer, and I'm (hopefully) in my final year of a Master's program in Computer Science.


PS: I'm not to be confused with Sandy B from the old forum. Besides being a guy, I'm nowhere near as interesting or prolific ;)
I am excited to be here. Having listened to Alex for a few years now, and having a HUGE thing for consciousness and UFOs, I look forward to learning and sharing with others here that are as curious as I am myself. Thanks for opening the door!:)

Greetings everyone! I'm Matt. Thank you Alex and Skeptiko. I'm really looking forward to discussions and debates on this forum. I feel comfortable and confident that the Skeptiko forum is going to be the platform I've been searching for that represents the ideals of skepticism in it's truest and genuine form; to open mind, suspend judgement, and investigate. A claim that many other forums assert and hand wave in you face, and I think you all likely know which forum I'm referring to, but only pretend and instead act as faux self-appointed gatekeepers of knowledge, imposters that routinely clamor and force legitimate science through a morally and ethically bankrupt academia that is increasingly without doubt governed and motivated financial greed and corruption.
Long time listener of the show (since the very, very early days). I am rejoining because of the appeal made by Alex. I think my first episode was episode 11 and have listened to almost all of them since then.

Really interested in the various directions the show has taken over the years, to be honest I feel Alex is struggling to pick a new direction (which is probably why he wants to liven up discussion on his forum). I have a couple of ideas!

This is my second stint here - I left the forum during the Ben Radford debacle years ago. (The psychic spies). I am going to make my own post on it, or perhaps piggy back of one of the others if I can find someone giving the same opinion about the show as I would make).
Hello, I'm Suzanne from the UK, I've been a regular listener to the Skeptico podcast for a couple of years now and have a lifelong interest in all things mystical, spiritual and metaphysical.
I hope to be able to contribute to some of the discussion and debate on the forums:D
Hello, I'm Suzanne from the UK, I've been a regular listener to the Skeptico podcast for a couple of years now and have a lifelong interest in all things mystical, spiritual and metaphysical.
I hope to be able to contribute to some of the discussion and debate on the forums:D
Welcome to the Skeptiko forum Suzanne. I think it's always an asset to the forum to get as many varied and abroad thoughts contributing to the discussions.
I have been listening to Skeptiko for a number of years but I am new to the forum. I have been interested in the ideas discussed here since I was a child. I have studied the Silva Method (then known as Silva Mind Control) and I have practiced the methods taught by Self-Realization Fellowship. I have taken all sorts of psychedelic drugs, both natural and man made, and somehow have survived into my sixties and managed to become a professor in the field of fine art. I have had several psychic experiences that would be hard to explain as coincidence. I have read much of Sheldrake's work, and find it a reasonable explanation for many of the things science either can't explain or ignores. I am now reading Amit Goswami's The Self-Aware Universe. I sometimes feel that the human race would be much better off if we slept more, like say, 20 hours a day, like koalas.


Welcome, WindUpBird. That is an amazing novel--The Wind-up Bird Chronicles. Definitely on my top ten list.
Welcome to the Skeptiko forum. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

(if you created an entry in the old Skeptiko forum please re-post it here)
Hi everyone. I discovered Alex's podcast show a few months ago and decided to join his forum since I like his style and the subject that he deals with. As my username suggests, I'm an agnostic. I'm also a dualist when it comes to the mind/body issue. I usually discuss/debate on Christianity and atheism, but I am eager to learn more about NDEs since that seems to be where the excitement is at here. I have read a few studies from the Journal of Near-Death Studies and have listened to several shows on NDEs, OBEs, remote viewing, meditation, etc. I really want to get into the books on NDEs, like Jan Holden's book and Chris Carter's book. Next year I will be a full time college student so completeing these books and participating here will probably be limited for the time being.

My favorite show so far was Alex discussion with Dr. Jan Holden - There's Nothing Paranormal about Near-Death Experiences - show #164. That was a good show to expose some of the problems with NDE skepticism.