• About TWIM


    The Warfare Is Mental (TWIM) reflects the mental warfare of an author, screenwriter, publisher and member of the Writer's Guild of America. Family, friends, health, humor, art, music, science, faith, fun and knowledge are some of the things that are important to me.



    TWIM is the first and only theist blog listed on the Atheist Blogroll, which currently contains over 1,000 blogs. It goes without saying that I don't endorse hardly any of the views of any of them. Contact Mojoey for more information.



    Ironically, TWIM won an award for "Best Atheist / Skeptic Site" from this site. Much obliged.



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    You and your commenters are a feast of thinking — great stuff.

    -C.L. Dyck
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    I have no need to engage with racists, so will ignore cl’s further diatribes.

    -faithlessgod,
     CommonSenseAtheism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    cl resists following through on a thought even to provide a solid opposing position, and thus stifles many conversations. It’s a shame since it seems like cl has some brain power that could be applied to the topics at hand.

    -Hermes,
     CommonSenseAtheism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    [faithlessgod and Hermes] fit my definition of trolling. I didn’t take any of those attacks against you seriously, and quickly categorized them as trolls.

    -JS Allen,
     CommonSenseAtheism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    [cl] is, as many have noticed, a master of this warfare. I’ve been following him for quite some time and he’s one of the most effective Christian trolls out there. No one can completely destroy a conversation as effectively as he does, and with such masterful grace and subtly that he rarely gets banned. This isn’t a blunt-force “U R Hitler!” troll, this is the Yoda of trolling.

    -Eneasz,
     CommonSenseAtheism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    This seems to imply that cl is, at least in part, disingenuous in terms of how he responds/what he claims. Is this most likely true, supported by evidence, or merely a subjective claim?

    -al friedlander,
     CommonSenseAtheism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    ...I wanted to get a message to you outside of the context of specific discussions on CSA. You make good, insightful contributions to that site, and since I often agree with you I'm glad there is someone else there defending my positions better than I sometimes can. However I don't think anything of value would be lost if you stopped engaging in personal combat with juvenile snipers.

    -Zeb,
     CommonSenseAtheism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    Thank you for your wonderful response - so reasoned in the race of [Waldvogel's] blustering.

    -Annie Laurie Gaylor
     Freedom From Religion Foundation
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    Thanks for a great Op-Ed.

    -Marianne Ratcliff
     VC Star
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    ...as atheists we need to make sure that someone like cl and any Christian readers of [An Apostate's Chapel] don’t come away with the perception that the atheists caved in or were incapable of responding. I’m sure that a lot of Christians who find cl incomprehensible at times and don’t even bother reading him themselves will come away with an assumption that cl is that sort of rare intellectual theist who can prove that gods exist. And that’s how those inane rumors about the feared xian intellectuals start…

    -bbk
     An Apostate's Chapel
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    You are in so over your head here, you are embarrassing yourself...
    I am well versed in many aspects of evolution biology, through my academic background, and my professional life. Unless your academic degrees and background match mine, cease and desist. Return to philosophy and rhetoric, or whatever it is you perceive your strengths to be. They are definitely not science, even at the high school level.

    -R.C. Moore
     Evangelical Realism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    You're doing a fine job.

    -Prof. Larry Moran
     Dept. of Biochemistry
     University of Toronto
     re: R.C. Moore & others
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    Phyletic change and vicariance (or, drift and selection versus population isolation), as cl points out, are much better ways of describing what are unfortunately more commonly known as micro- and macro- evolution, respectively.

    -Dan
     Biology postdoc
     Univ. of Cyprus
     re: R.C. Moore & others
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    cl says, “The minute you call yourself a Christian or an Atheist or whatever the heck else, you automatically get painted by other people’s interpretations of those words, which are almost always different and almost always distorted.” cl’s point couldn’t be more on. As cl points out there is an important reason for not claiming any real religious (or lack thereof) belief. It puts logical constraints on one's arguments due directly to the bias of the individual that is translating the English to mind ideas of what it means to be religious.

    -Bobaloo
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    Just who in the bloody hell do you think you are, you Christian piece of garbage, to come here barking out orders? You're an arrogant, condescending piece of shit. You seem to think you're an intellectual of sorts, when all you are is a Christian who's read a few books. John, everyone, this really is the limit. BR, I'm more than a little annoyed that you continue to engage him. I'm out of here. I have better things to do than to waste my time with these cretins.

    -Cipher
     Debunking Christianity
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    How old are you CL? I'd guess you have not yet experienced much life. I'd say you were under the age of 21, too young to be here. I don't give a damn what you think of me or my deconversion at all. You're too stupid to realize that regardless of it you must deal with the arguments in the book. They are leading people away from you [sic] faith. I'm seriously considering banning you cl, as I've heard you were banned on other sites. You are much too ignorant for us to have a reasonable discussion.

    -John Loftus
     Debunking Christianity
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    I admired the way you handled yourself in the discussion on John's blog. I'm not patient enough to keep my sarcasm in check with some of them blokes, but appreciate those who are.

    -David Marshall
     re: Debunking Christianity
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    cl, I have to say, while I fundamentally disagree with you, you are an individual which I highly respect. I think your responses are always well thought out and your insights always well thought out and pertinently derived.
    [Y]ou have made me a stronger atheist in my regards to critical thinking and debating. I really can’t wait to hear more from you. Hell, I’d even buy you a drink, good sir. Cheers!

    -Parker
     Evangelical Realism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    Bottom line? Sometimes I think he's right about certain arguments, and I don't have a problem admitting that. Other times, however, I think he's wrong, and I've called him on that. But I have found he can be pretty reasonable if you (1) don't overstate your case, (2) make concessions when you have, and (3) insist he do the same.

    -Lifeguard
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    I like it when [cl] makes me stop, think and question if I am making unfounded assertions or if I am being sloppy. What has been annoying me about cl of late is that he is being excruciatingly anal...

    -seantheblogonaut
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    I really can't thank you enough for catching me on my error in rhetoric. I always love a good debate! And I always enjoy your posts, as well! Keep up the great writing and the excellent eye for detail!

    -BZ
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    You make me smarter...

    -Mike G.
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    ..thank you, cl. I discovered your blog on a random web search and saw it as an oasis amidst a vast desert of seemingly intractable theist-atheist debate.

    -Sung Jun
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    It's good to be able to discuss with people who are open and respectful, and know that disagreement does not mean disrespect... You are to be congratulated, not only for your patience, but also your ability to hold an ever-growing debate together with an impressive degree of structure.

    -Ritchie
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    My tone is derogatory... [cl is] ignorant and credulous and deserves to be mocked... In the time he's been here, he's shown a consistent pattern of antagonizing everyone he comes in contact with, monopolizing threads, derailing discussions with perpetual complaints, quibbles and demands for attention, and generally making arguments that display a lack of good faith and responsiveness... it's become intolerable. I'm not banning him, but I'm putting in place some restrictions on how often he can comment.

    -Ebonmuse
     Daylight Atheism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    This is no defense of the annoying cl, but what a self-righteous, prissy atheist you turned out to be, Ebonmuse. I'm disappointed in you, stealing a strategem from the theists.

    -The Exterminator
     to Ebonmuse
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    I certainly didn't get any bad impression about cl, and I can't relate his comments with any of the things (Ebonmuse) said above. I actually thought it was quite interesting to have him around.

    -Juan Felipe
     Daylight Atheism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    Please continue to allow
    cl to post his views and make it clear that he is still welcome. And let me be clear, cl is not a lunatic.

    -Curtis
     Daylight Atheism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    With one exception, you are the most coherent and intelligent theist I've seen on this site...

    -Steve Bowen
     Daylight Atheism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    I'm rooting for cl. I hope he perpetually manages to skirt the rules enough to do his damage, forcing rule revision after rule revision, ad nauseum. Awesome! Let's watch as Ebon, ever more frustrated, continues to struggle to figure out how to keep his precious private blog neat and tidy as cl keeps messing up his papers while one by one, readers leave due to an every increasing administrative presence. Outstanding! Well I won't go. The thought of this sounds like the most entertaining thing that probably would have ever happened on Daylight Atheism. Hot damn!

    -PhillyChief
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    Your visit has been something of a reality check to me. It seems that when you present rational arguments and criticisms, many commenters feel territory slipping and then work up vaporous or leaky responses. I also want to remark that your presence here has considerably moved me to try being a more careful and understanding debater...

    -Brad
     Daylight Atheism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    I do have a lot of respect for you too. You seem to be a very intelligent and thoughtful individual with a knack for getting to the bottom of a problem, cutting through all the bullshit rhetoric on the way down. The fact that many other atheists seem to unreasonably despise you bothers me a lot, because I think that maybe they aren’t acting in good faith.

    -Peter Hurford
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    I am not going to waste any more time parsing your comments to decide if they've crossed the line or not... So I banned you.

    -Greta Christina
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    Be rude... cl invites rudeness. Would you want an incontinent little puppy coming into your house?

    -(((Billy))) the Atheist
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    Note to all my regular readers: Since An Apostate’s Chapel is a free-speech zone, I don’t censor conversations.
    As it appears that cl is a troll, please note that I will not be responding to him any longer. I ask that you refrain from doing so, as well. Please don’t feed the troll!

    -The Chaplain
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    …I can’t reconcile being a "freethinker" with banning speech. [cl's] comments are not offensive in the normal understanding of that term, and he poses absolutely no threat except perhaps to some imagined decorum. Why can’t atheists lighten up, for no-Christ’s sake?

    -The Exterminator
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    Is it going to distract from my meal when crazy uncle cl starts blathering out nonsense, pick his ears with a carrot or start taking his pants off? No. In fact, it might actually heighten the experience in some amusing way. So no, I don't see cl's work as damage.

    -PhillyChief
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    I am beginning to suspect that you are a troll cl. Albeit an evolved troll, but a troll nonetheless. Perhaps we should all stop feeding the troll?

    -GaySolomon
     Evangelical Realism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    [cl is] is either a sophist or an incompetent when it comes to the english language... (sic)

    -ThatOtherGuy
     Evangelical Realism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    I’d say cl is pretty sharp... it may be tempting at times to think that “the other guy” is arguing out of some personal character flaw rather than a sincere desire to acknowledge the truth, I still think it’s better to debate respectfully... It is disrespectful to make unsupported accusations against people, e.g. by suggesting that their views are caused by an intrinsically corrupt and immoral nature.

    -Deacon Duncan, 3-9-09
     Evangelical Realism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    [cl] cannot refute my facts, so he needs must find (sic) some scapegoat in order to claim that he has confronted the enemy and proven them wrong... cl, sadly, has proven himself to be the sort of guest who comes into your living room and sneaks behind your couch to take a crap on the floor, just so he can tell all your neighbors how bad your house smells and what an unsanitary housekeeper you are... an interesting case study in the negative effects a Christian worldview has on a reasonably intellectual mind.

    -Deacon Duncan, 6-17-09
     Evangelical Realism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    I strongly discourage discussion of the character, abilities, motives, or personal ancestry of individual commenters, as tempting as such comments may be at times. I discourage the posting of comments that make frequent use of the pronoun “you,” as in “you always…” or “you never…” or “you are just so…”, when directed at a specific individual.

    -Deacon Duncan, 4-9-09
     Evangelical Realism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    I won’t be publishing your most recent comment because it’s a return to the same sort of schtick you’ve pulled here before: re-writing other people’s arguments to make yourself look misunderstood and/or unfairly accused, taking “polyvalent” positions so that when people address your points you can claim to have said something else, distorting other people’s arguments, trolling for negative reactions, and so on.

    -Deacon Duncan, 10-8-09
     Evangelical Realism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    [E]gomaniacal troll.
    You win... You’re a disingenuous sophist through and through, cl. And a friggin’ narcissist to boot! Since I’ve thoroughly and purposefully broken the Deacon’s rules of engagement, I shall consider my right to post henceforth annulled, and move on - dramatic pause, lights out.

    -jim
     Evangelical Realism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    He either thinks in a very weird way or he's quite the con artist.

    -mikespeir
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    I will gladly admit that I have a boner for cl. Maybe some day I’ll even earn a place of honor on cl’s Blog of Infamy.

    -Eneasz
     Evangelical Realism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    Long time reader first time poster... I like reading what you
    have to say over at Daylight Atheism so I figured I'd pop in here.

    -Pine
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    He's just a jerk
    that likes to argue.

    -KShep
     Daylight Atheism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    You’re not a reasonable thinker in my book. You’re simply an arguer, for better or worse. I’m Michael Palin, you’re John Cleese. You’re just a disputation-ist, bringing everything into question...

    -jim
     Reason vs. Apologetics
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    Motherfucker, this is an interesting blog... Quite the group of commenters.

    -John Evo
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    You are very articulate, and I can only assume that it's a result of high intelligence; an intelligence that's interested in, and can understand, healthy debate. However, at every turn, that's not what I or others seem to get.

    -ex machina
     Daylight Atheism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    You are a troll, a liar, and a useless sack of shit. Not only that, but you're still wrong even after moving the goal posts and trying to re-write history. So, you can stop cyber stalking me now and trying to provoke me. I know what you are doing, and you are doing it so that you can whine about how I'm being irrational and mean to you and stroke your pathetic martyr complex. You're a pathetic attention whore and I've already given you too much attention. So, back the fuck off, stop following me around the intarwebs and trying to provoke me, and fuck off.

    -OMGF
     Daylight Atheism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    I would just like to say that, OMGF, having read the debate as a neutral observer, some of the things cl says about your style of argument are true, IMO. It is quite hasty, which means you occasionally haven't got the central point cl is trying to make...

    -John D.
     Daylight Atheism
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    ...this is a difficult question that deserves more than a kneejerk reaction, not to imply that you're kneejerking. You're the least kneejerking person I've met.

    -Quixote
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    If you’re here playing devil’s advocate, then, hey, you do a great job at it, it’s a service, keep us sharp... You’re a smart guy, but those are exactly the ones who give the worst headaches!

    -Lifeguard
     An Apostate's Chapel
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    You are a waste of time, cl. A big fat black hole of bullshit sucking in everyone who comes into contact with you.

    -Spanish Inquisitor
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    As for all that harsh invective that's come your way, umm... I gotta say, I've seen some of the invective, but I haven't seen the behavior on your part that called for it. Maybe I've just not seen enough? I don't know... from what I've read, I can tell that you're a smart person, and whether you deserved any of that treatment or not is quite frankly immaterial to me; I just want to deal with the smart person at the eye of that storm.

    -D
     She Who Chatters
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    I now think that you’re an atheist, just having fun at other atheists’ expense. If that’s the case, kudos.

    -The Exterminator
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
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The Strange Case Of Ingo Swann: Anomalous Mental Phenomena, I

Ingo Douglas Swan (Ingo Swann) is a Colorado-native and consciousness researcher who, along with laser experts Russell Targ and Harold ‘Hal’ Puthoff at Stanford Research Institute, pioneered the field of remote viewing (RV), an anomalous mental phenomenon where subjects gain information by means outside the traditional senses.

Swann sees remote viewing as an innate human ability that can be activated and practiced like any other muscle, and not all parapsychologists or practitioners share this view. As we might expect, like many others, Swann claims to have had paranormal experiences since youth. He developed interests in biology and art, and later enlisted in the army, stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky. He cites Aldous Huxley’s The Doors of Perception as an influential book in his life. After spending time in Korea and the Far East, Swann returned stateside to pursue art, and eventually found himself employed by the United Nations. He has undeniable connections to Scientology, and there are all sorts of varying opinions on to what extent, and why.

Long story short, through a series of twists and turns and intermingling with New York’s upper intellectual crust, Swann soon found himself at the center of attention as talk began to circulate of his unusual abilities. In one experiment, conducted by Gertrude Schmeidler, a professor at City University in New York, Swann was to cause temperature fluctuations in sensitive equipment presumably on the power of pure consciousness alone. Some of these thermometers were spread openly about the room, others were locked safely inside Thermos containers. The test proceeded by sequence, in which Swann focused on a specific thermometer during each stage of the test. He was not allowed to move about the room whatsoever, and was given 45 seconds to rest between stages. Even amongst the sealed instruments, Swann was able to effect changes in temperature up to almost a full degree Celsius.1

Skeptics can plug their ears all they want, but if we aren’t satisfied to just stick our heads in the sand and claim fraud, bias or methodological inferiority explains the full sum of parapsychological and pastoral literature, the results of these and other studies we’ll discuss still need to be accounted for. These results definitely fly in the face of the modern cerebro-centric view of consciousness, matter, and the human mind.

However, the results of the next experiment are truly remarkable, such that if even 90% of them could be demonstrated fraudulent beyond all reasonable doubt, the remaining 10% would still represent an undeniable instance of anomalous mental phenomena.

 

 

It was late April, 1973. NASA’s spaceprobes Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 were scheduled to pass Jupiter soon after and would be transmitting the first photographs of this planet back to Earth. In the interest of testing the phenomenon of remote viewing over extremely long distances, Swann suggested a viewing of Jupiter before the probes sent their photos back, which could then be compared to the photos. The results of this study were disseminated to various individuals in the scientific, educational and journalistic communities, including two astrophysicists working for Jet Propulsion Laboratories, and a reporter right here in San Francisco. So the story goes.

The experiment began around 6:00pm, local time, at Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park. After three or four minutes, Swann began with the following:

‘There is a big planet there with stripes. I hope it is Jupiter… Very high in the atmosphere there are crystals, they glitter, maybe the stripes are like bands of crystals, maybe like rings of Saturn, though not far out like that, very close within the atmosphere.’

Swann also relayed his perception of a ring or rings around the planet, which even he found a bit unnerving. Since Galileo first peered at them through his telescope, the existence of Saturn’s rings were already a well-known fact. Swann had doubts that maybe he’d accidentally visited Saturn, and the astronomers had doubts that maybe the whole thing was a sham! Worse, Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 failed to return any evidence of Swann’s alleged ring(s) around the planet, and the experiment became mostly an unremarkable anecdote.

Then, in 1979, pictures from Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 were transmitted back to Earth, and with them a remarkable discovery: the existence of the Jovian ring system. Not only did Swann apparently get that it existed, but he also nailed its precise location inside what he referred to as “crystallized” atmospheric layers.” Note that Puthoff and Targ had published the results of their experiment with Swann two years earlier, in their book Mind Reach in 1977. A statistician at SRI Radio Physics Laboratories named Beverly Humphries wrote up a 300-page report of this incident titled ‘Swann’s Remote Viewing Attempt of the Planet Jupiter.’ As far as I can see, the only two things that might explain this are conspiracy, and lucky guess.

Note that the single sentence offered is merely the beginning of Swann’s detailed impressions of the planet Jupiter. Exact phrases indicating Swann’s impressions included, “Hydrogen mantle”, “Storms, wind”, “Something like a tornado”, “High infrared reading”, “Temperature inversion”, “Cloud color and configuration”, “Dominant orange color”, “Water and ice crystals”, “Crystal bands reflect radio probes”, “Magnetic and electromagnetic Auroras (Rainbows)”, “The RING”, “Liquid composition” and “Solid core.” Each of these impressions were later confirmed as Jovian facts, and by no means can we claim Swann could have had access to all of them beforehand. If you think you’ve got a pretty good case for conspiracy theory, well… let’s hear it.

I’m aware of some of the various skeptical responses to things like parapsychology and Ingo Swann from people like Shermer, Randi and others. Yet even Randi concedes that 6 of Swann’s 31 claims about were correct, which is just over 15%. Now, of course, I don’t expect any of this to mean anything to those of us who’ve already made up their minds about what is and is not possible in our vast and strange universe. I fully expect that certain subset of skeptics to complain about the anecdotal nature of the evidence, or point to Randi’s website, or focus on the claims Swann got wrong in the Jupiter experiment. Yet, these are just a few anecdotes from the large and extensive body of work conducted with Ingo Swann and dozens of others like him not just in America but around the globe, which occurred over a period of two decades and received funding from high-order government institutions including the CIA.2

Other empirical evidence is consistent with the claim that remote viewing represents a real phenomena. In November of 2001, Michael Persinger published an article in The Journal of Neuropsychiatry & Clinical Neurosciences noting measurable changes in brain activity – bipolar electroencephalographic activity over the occipital, temporal and frontal lobes – during Swann’s remote viewing sessions. Persinger came to the conclusion that, “there was ‘significant congruence’ between the stimuli and Swann’s electroencephalographic activity.” 3

Swann, Targ and Puthoff conducted many fascinating experiments demonstrating the reality of remote viewing and other anomalous mental phenomena. Are we to believe the skeptics and simply dismiss all of them because they don’t fit the pre-existing paradigm of what’s considered most reasonable? Are we going to just pretend the claims being made are impossible a priori because nobody else has tried to reproduce them at will? Had you heard of Ingo Swann and either of these experiments before today? If we presume the data are correct, what conclusion would you draw? If you don’t believe in remote viewing, what might you propose as an alternatively plausible mechanism here? Do you think anomalous mental phenomena challenge the cerebro-centric view of consciousness?

Not that it matters, but author and paranormal lecturer Roy Stenman has met and interviewed Swann in person, and has come to the following conclusion: “I am satisfied that he has made a significant contribution to parapsychology and specifically to the field of remote viewing.” You can see Stenman’s article in support of Swann here, along with Swann’s full accounting of the details here.

The total data from the Jupiter experiments consisted of 3-4 letter size pages of impressions recorded by Swann. CSICOP allegedly refused to accept copies of the reports before they were published.

FOOTNOTES:

1. PK Effects Upon Continuously Recorded Temperature,” Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 67, 1973, pp. 325-40

2. Mind-Reach: Scientists Look at Psychic Ability by Russell Targ & Harold Puthoff, A Delta book, Dell Publishing Co. Inc., 1977

3. The Neuropsychiatry of Paranormal Experiences, Michael A. Persinger, Ph.D., C.Psych.

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4 Responses

  1. There is so much here to address concerning your accounting, what makes up evidence, what makes up GOOD evidence, the nature of magical thinking, the parapsychology business, etc., that I don’t know where to begin. Let me just focus in at one point…
    “Skeptics can plug their ears all they want, but if we aren’t satisfied to just stick our heads in the sand and claim fraud, bias or methodological inferiority explains the full sum of parapsychological and pastoral literature, the results of these and other studies we’ll discuss still need to be accounted for. These results definitely fly in the face of the modern cerebro-centric view of consciousness, matter, and the human mind.”
    Your loaded language says it all. Fraud, bias and methodological inferiority are all legitimate concerns here. These and others have been demonstrated to be the basis of countless false claims down through history, yet you treat them in such an offhand way as to to make any serious scrutiny seem facile and insincere. Will these ever account for the ‘full sum’ of these sorts of claims? Of course not, in the sense that every claim could ever possibly be individually examined and categorized. Of course, you could say the same about childrens’ alleged encounters with Santa Claus, or the boogerman.
    Of course, we’ve been all over this with the video games encounter, and neither of us is going to convince the other. Instead, I’ll opt for comic relief, and be off to work. Here’s a short excerpt from Wiki about some claims Swann makes in his autobiography. If the excerpts are accurate (I’ve not read the book myself), he seems like an ‘interesting’ character…
    “In his 1998 autobiography Penetration: The Question of Extraterrestrial and Human Telepathy, Swann describes his work with individuals in the U.S. government who study extraterrestrials, his remote viewing of a secret E.T. base on the dark side of the moon and his “shocking” experience with a sexy scantily dressed female E.T. in a Los Angeles supermarket. He concludes that extraterrestrials are living on earth in humanoid bodies. A friend warns him that there are many extraterrestrials, that many are “bio-androids”, and that they are aware their only foes on earth are psychics. While Swann and an individual known as “Mr. Axelrod” are secretly watching a UFO appear and suck up the water of a lake, they are discovered and attacked by the UFO. Swann is injured but is dragged to safety by his colleagues.”
    This is either quite impressive evidence for all kinds of weird stuff, or a bunch of crap. You can probably guess where I stand on the matter.

  2. [Fraud, bias and methodological inferiority] and others have been demonstrated to be the basis of countless false claims down through history,

    So? Are we evaluating “countless false claims downs through history” here? Or specific claims relating to Ingo Swann? Here we are two sentences into your response and you’ve already yanked things completely out of context.

    Of course, we’ve been all over this with the video games encounter, and neither of us is going to convince the other.

    Speak for yourself. The only reason you didn’t convince me is because you simply asserted your opinion of what’s “most reasonable” accompanied by zero explanation of how it can account for the data. If you actually *showed* how or why your position should be considered “most reasonable” I’d be willing to reconsider my conclusion that gravity and sound waves are insufficient, but I’m not just going to simply accept your opinion, especially without an explanation of how it can actually account for the evidence. The ball dropped in your court on the video game incident, and you left it there.

    This is either quite impressive evidence for all kinds of weird stuff, or a bunch of crap. You can probably guess where I stand on the matter.

    Of course: it must be a bunch of crap, because that’s the “most reasonable” explanation. No investigation or intellectual heavy-lifting needed!
    IOW, jim will believe what jim will believe.

  3. Even giving Swann the full benefit of the doubt, I’m still not seeing how this affects a “cerebro-centric” view of conciousness. “Quantum weirdness” and other such action at a distance phenomenon are well known and well documented.
    If he really has magical powers, then it isn’t a stretch to say that his brain has some curious quantum entanglements that enable far viewing and the like. The line between a “cerebro-centric” view and and immaterial view is the actual presence of a brain. Your own recounting of Swann’s adventures includes brain scans!

  4. Before I even get started on this, I have a question: is the claim that Swann did some strange things, or is it that humans have these abilities? If the former, I’m willing to write it off under “More things than are dreamed about;” but if the latter, then let’s do some good & proper science!
    The reason this is an important distinction is because it frames the terms for the argument. Quite simply, there is an infinitude of possible explanations for the account delivered above, and if I can’t test any of them, then I won’t endorse any of them. I’m not plugging my ears (though I can see why some might, or at least might come off that way), I just don’t care. So if we’re arguing over what Swann can do, well, then I’d like him to tell me what I have written on the pickle jar atop my desk. I mean, I’m being asked to believe in magic here, which I’m OK with – I just need to see the magic first.
    But Swann seems to believe that anyone can do this, so if that’s the case, I’d like to be told how to do it and then find out whether I can do it myself or not. Because that would be a supremely valuable skill to have! But at the end of the day, I need to do enough tests to rule out chance: after all, whether Swann’s got superpowers or not, the fact remains that he may have simply gotten lucky. I need a way to distinguish a genuine remote viewer from a lucky fraud, not simply the ability to say that he might not be a fraud.

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