A very convincing interview with someone who together with a friend had a very close Yowie encounter in Australia.
Science needs to get over itself. And by 'science', I mean those people who see science as some all-powerful entity containing all the answers; those self-proclaimed members of the 'reality-based community' keen to expurgate the threatening breeze of woo-woo bearing down upon the candle of rationality.
Because science itself is just a method, not a position...right?
This post has been brewing some time, but I finally decided to get some thoughts out of my head and on to your screen after seeing this tweet yesterday by the most excellent science journalist Alok Jha, regarding the 'Yeti DNA study' that's been making news this week:
Yetis. Sigh. S'pose nothing else interesting today. Major stem cell paper retracted, you say? Still prefer covering yetis tho? Oh.
— Alok Jha (@alokjha) July 2, 2014
It's not much, I know. But it continues a series of remarks I've seen in recent times where any stories with the sulphurous smell of the paranormal, or at the very least the strange scent emitted by the fringes of science, are seen as taking up important column space that could be devoted to more serious science. And even worse, perhaps spreading dangerous ideas.
Another example: Back in April, we posted a story about anomalous 'lights' on Mars. NBC science journalist Alan Boyle - whom we have known and loved here at TDG for many years for his fun coverage of science, both serious and strange - covered the story as well, in a blog post titled "Bright Blips on Mars Pictures Spark a Buzz Among UFO Fans". The response from some was not so enthusiastic:
— Emily Lakdawalla (@elakdawalla) April 8, 2014
My intention here is not to demonise Emily Lakdawalla or Alok Jha - I'm a big fan of their work, and others who are working in science and/or science journalism. What I am trying to point out is an increasing trend with otherwise intelligent and eloquent science lovers to decry or demean anything that even seems remotely associated with the fringes of science, such as ufology, parapsychology or cryptozoology. Not only is it supercilious, but in some cases it may not serve science so well either - for instance with the 'Mars light' story, myself and a few others pointed out there were in fact two images with anomalous lights, but we were shouted down quickly by those who cleave to Occam; the 'light' was just a cosmic ray artefact on the camera, and the two lights were just 'a coincidence that was going to happen sometime'. A day later though, and many of those same people began excitedly back-tracking, wondering whether the 'light' was actually a reflected flash from a shiny rock. In this case, by rushing to remove any hint of an anomaly, those that love science could well have ended up failing science.
But in many ways too, such a response is understandable. There is no shortage of truly crazy theories about Mars, and anything like the 'Mars light' would no doubt bring some flaky individuals out of the woodwork, claiming it as proof of an intelligent alien civilisation on the Red Planet. Even milder responses, such as suggestions that the Curiosity rover should immediately take a detour and drive over to find out what the 'light' actually was, could be rather annoying - every movement of the rover is planned carefully and must take into consideration both dangers to the vehicle, and the science it is tasked to carry out - and some of the replies to those suggestions were indeed short and sharp.
But here's the thing: responding with annoyance, anger and resentment to these stories was a major fail.
Science educators, who are you trying to reach? Scientists, who is funding your work? If the answer to either question is the general public, then the simple fact is that the weird and the strange are your friends, not your enemies.
Alan Boyle knows that. His story about the Mars 'light' was perfect. It began by pointing out an anomaly, a curiosity, something that any normal reader would respond to with "whoah, a strange light on Mars...what the hell is that?" He then guided the reader into the science of Mars research by pointing out the likely rational explanation. Instant win for science-lovers: educating people as well as bringing focus to what is an amazing scientific endeavour, the robotic exploration of another planet.
Rather than quickly trotting out the first rational 'explain-away' they could come up with, both NASA and others could have used this story as a springboard for so much more. Thousands, maybe millions of people's eyeballs are upon you, do you know how much some people pay for that? "We think the light might just be a camera artifact, but we sure are open to other ideas! It's difficult for us drive the rover in that direction on short notice, but if we get the chance you can be sure we'll be checking out this folks. Keep a close eye on the next round of images we'll be releasing on our website and let us know if you see anything else". There, it's not that hard is it?
Another example: I have always wondered about what damage SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) did to their cause by strongly aligning themselves with the pseudo-skeptical group CSICOP around a decade ago. Two of the organisation's most public faces openly derided the UFO phenomenon, and those interested in it, in blog postings and interview appearances. This seems insane to me...there is vast interest in the general public on this topic, a perfect 'way in' for SETI to use to attract interest in their projects and/or raise funding, and instead they took a dump on their own dinner plate. Most of those truly interested in the UFO topic ended up seeing SETI as the opposition. Fail.
Another factor contributing to the issue is that for those intimately involved in science, the minutiae are important. Those things that might seem boring to others are important. But, members of the reality-based community, here's the reality of the situation: Joe Public out there is coming home from a long day of (often mindless) work, looking for a combination of entertainment and education in the one or two hours they might have to spare before going to bed and then wading through the same shit all over again. Would you like to listen to a bricklayer bemoaning the lack of understanding in the general public about the finer points of a good mortar? That's what you sound like folks. People's time is valuable, and they don't want to spend it hearing you whining about how everyone else doesn't invest enough time in what you find valuable.
So get out of your echo chamber, stop being so stodgy and pretentious about what you do, and entertain the punters while you educate them! Bring out your Bigfoot, kick-start your UFO, do what you need to get the story across and have some goddamn fun while you do it! And you know what, in the process, you might even find that some of those weird anomalies you're using to educate people have some interesting science to them as well and could be worth a closer look...
More and more I suspect that consciousness is far more complex, rich, and all pervasive than we can even conceive of. My feelings currently, lead me to say that not only is consciousness a part of everything, but that it functions on more levels and connects in more ways than we can process. We see such a small sliver of our existence. We see a very limited view, and we see it through our little bubble of self-awareness and ego. That is how we interact with this wonderful world, though. We need that ego, that sense of identity here to have this experience. I do believe it is not unlike playing a computer game. Our higher self, or whatever you want to call it, is the player, outside the computer, and in order to access the game we need an interface, which is the computer, or our brain, that allows us to live in cyberspace. The closer to virtual reality we get, the more accurate this description may be. I am not saying I think we are living in the matrix or a computer simulation, although I by no means rule it out. I am just using it as an analogy. The character you play in the game has limited information compared to what you do. Maybe, if we could construct a game where the character learns and your part is to guide it to what it needs to know and learn in order to get where it needs to go, that may be the best analogy to who we are here. Some players are good, some are not. Some can communicate to their character in ways that make it very clear to it what way to go. Synchronicities, signs, omens. Other players are asleep at the wheel, or just really bad at getting through to their characters. They become the materialists. The closed minded. And maybe that is part of the game, variations are needed to progress the world.
I look at the research being done on children who can recall past lives, and it seems that many of them died violent deaths. The same is said of haunted locales. The ghosts are the ones who died a violent death. Is there something about dying suddenly or violently that loses an ending process the rest go through? If you die in your sleep, peacefully, is there a transition that takes us back to that higher self? Maybe when you die violently, you stick around, you want to play again, so you haunt if you were really attached here, or you just want to reset and try again. These are not beliefs on my part, just some idle speculation. Maybe the reason some children remember past lives is because they didn’t process things properly because of the way they died. I can hold a decent amount of doubt about hypnotically regressed past lives. Hypnosis is unreliable, and once you’ve lived more than a few years, you really don’t know what information you have been exposed to subconsciously. Our brains seem to work as a filter as much as anything else. Takes in 100%, shows you .0001%. Shows you what is important or what fits your belief system. It’s a tool; you have to train it otherwise by breaking patterns and habits. Then it shows you more. Then you start to see the shadows, not just the light. Children, though, there are some very good cases where there is no way the child could have reasonably known what they know, especially at such young ages. Even training from parents can’t explain it, if they were attempting a hoax. These kids seem to be recalling very specific, detailed information. They seem to show genuine emotion about the events they recall. And sometimes those past lives have been found and information verified. It takes one, just one, to be genuine. I think we have far more than that. Which then begs for an explanation. I honestly can think of only a few possibilities. One, and most likely, is that it was their past life. I think Occam’s Razor points there. It simply is what it seems to be. It may also be, that consciousness, working like an all-encompassing field, allows one to access it and focus in on one specific part. Maybe that is what happens, these kids, not yet trained in the ways of this world, focus in on a life, recorded in that field, and attach themselves to it. I think this is less likely, and I am hard pressed to come up with any other good possibilities. We can’t dismiss them, well you can, but that would not be intellectually honest. If even one is genuine, that is all you need. I think there are plenty of genuine cases. Maybe it’s that computer user communicating information about their past character In the game, intentionally or not.
I heard someone say on Coast to Coast a couple months ago, that consciousness is just in the brain, we know this, the science is finished on it. Really? Well, there is a headline, when exactly did science PROVE, beyond any doubt or further possible study, that consciousness is just in the brain? Right, never. I think the first key to knowing someone has an agenda or dogma present, has to be when one says, the science is finished. By its nature, that is never true. There is always more to learn. It’s been said many times in the past, Charles Fort used to make fun of that claim back in the early 1900’s when, I believe, The Royal Academy of Sciences said science was complete. I could be wrong about the institution, it’s been a while since I’ve read his books. They said this, while still saying that rocks couldn’t fall from the sky. I think that anytime someone says the science is complete, they automatically lose credibility. You hear it in debates about evolution, about global warming, about consciousness. I think that, if anything, cutting edge science is actually proving that consciousness is NOT just in the brain. Taking an honest look at scientific studies of PSI, they statistically prove that it exists. Debunkers, with no knowledge of statistics, and an agenda, claim they are unimpressive. They are not. They are solid science that consciousness can access data from outside in ways that are not understood. One of the most common points I hear made is this, if you get knocked out, you’re out. When you regain consciousness, you realize you didn’t continue to exist while knocked out. Well now, sounds reasonable. Proves nothing, especially when you realize that you have many dreams every night, yet remember very few, some remember none. Does that mean they were not there? No. If you character gets knocked out in the game, your higher consciousness is unaffected, your user is still there, but unable to influence the character in the game. The same with brain damage. This is also cited as proof that consciousness is in the brain and only in the brain. But again, if your computer has issues, or your game character has some damage, it doesn’t affect the user. Your higher self is still intact. In another way of looking at it, you drive your car. If the car blows a break line and you can’t stop it, does that prove that the driver is the car? It makes as much sense as saying that brain damage proves that consciousness is a side effect of the brain. Neither thing is proof. The brain is more likely an interface, not a generator of consciousness. It is the vehicle we use.
Let’s take it a step further. When we look at paranormal phenomena, let’s say UFO’s, we see that they somewhat conform to our expectations. Kenneth Arnold saw flying V shaped craft. Boomerang like. The press called them Flying Saucers. Later, actual saucers were seen. Does that mean these sightings were false, or, are people seeing something that has no definitive form to us? We put it on the phenomena. Monster sightings may be more of the same. Something is there, and until it has a form, descriptions may vary, but the more that see it, the more it defines itself, using our conscious expectations. People are certainly seeing something in the skies, on the ground, and elsewhere, that defy easy explanation. Sure, there are misidentifications, and hoaxes, and such, but there are simply too many strange encounters by reputable people, sometimes with a level of evidence as well, to dismiss them all. And what about that evidence? It never lives up to what it is expected to be. That pancake from the flying saucer? All normal ingredients, although rather unpleasant to taste for some reason. A hoaxer would have tried to make it exotic, not simple and bad tasting. These things may be an intrusion into our reality of something that needs our conscious expectations to give it form that we can interact with. We may see a flying saucer or bigfoot, but what is really there is much stranger to us, so much so we can’t see it’s actual form with our limited senses and perception.
To take this even further, all of reality may function like this. In the last few decades the idea that if you want something enough you can cause it to happen with a sort of magical wish fulfillment is likely complete nonsense, but on a deeper level, we may draw to us what we need. As individuals, families, towns, etc. Consciousness may bring out that which needs to happen, which may occasionally be what we want to happen. It’s kind of like saying, if you want your wish to come true, make the right wish. Our users, out there beyond the game, may be able to control the environment we are in. And maybe there are users above them, and they are consciousness of the group, the family, town, planet, etc. Go deep enough, and maybe you can interact with them, make some requests, have a subtle amount of influence. Work some Magick. Isn’t that what most Magick and ritual is all about in the end? Affecting the unseen. Tweaking the hidden structure. Accessing the deep consciousness that pervades everything. It’s rich and complex, and we can’t understand it. Our brains are very limited devices. Eventually we’ll get an upgrade. Maybe as a reward for a certain level of success here. World peace, for real, and everyone get booted up level and we have all new challenges. Doesn’t look very hopeful right now if that is the case. I think it’s important to watch for those hints from our Higher Selves. I find life gets much easier the more you can see. Is that an illusion? I doubt it, but even if it is, the result is positive, so why change it? There’s no real way to know. If it works for you, use it! It’s a matter of faith. Not religious faith, not belief in a deity or dogma, but faith that if you listen, the universe will guide you. Subtly but effectively. We are made of consciousness. It’s in everything, everywhere. This can’t be proven, but to some of us, it is very hard to not see.
"Perhaps Deshere is giving us a glimpse into one of the most intriguing aspects of all of the Mirage Men's elusive tricks: They did not have to perfect the brainchildren born in the labs of mad scientists – or necessarily even get the ideas to work at all – as much as lead the world to believe so. A preferred mind control technique may have been to lead a subject to believe his handlers possessed effective mind control techniques."
(This article interests me because I see this same kind of "it is futile to resist" meming being propagated in the orgonite community by certain of it's higher profile participants. It happens often enough and blatantly enough that I have come to suspect it is some sort of psyop. When I publicly question the assumption that "they can control our minds" a peculiarly testy backlash occurs as if I have upset not just someone's mindset but have interrupted an agenda. It is highly likely that intelligence assets have coopted the orgonite community for spreading certain ideas agreeable to the general message of fear and futility that is part and parcel of modern media/intelligence activities.)
well, nobody much outside of Italy will weep about Italia. But I do have
to say, that Uruguay was the hungrier team.
And hey, nothing wrong with eating Italian.
This is probably one of the first thing I should of wrote about on my blog. If there is one aspect of the paranormal that is both proven and also very important It is psi. In my view the evidence was enough to establish its existence way back in the 1970's and know with auto-ganzfeld the evidence is even better.
But yet the mainstream scientific community have ignored this effect and worst of all the materialists have seen this threat coming and have taken measures to defend themselves.
CSICOP was formed at a secular humanist meeting since then it has been attacking paranormal claims whilst pretending to be open minded. I very recently had the displeasure of reading an article in "focus" magazine (a British science magazine) that was written by the infamous Susan blackmore.
Since spending a few years experimenting in parapsychology and dismissing positive results As well as pretending to have had an obe. She has been attacking parapsychology. After her first experiment in parapsychology she wrote in her diary "parapsychology is a lot of rubbish".
Yet despite all this claims to have been extremely open minded and says she has spent "decades" experimenting in parapsychology. this has no basis in reality at all.
Anyway the article's contents are easily predictable before you have even read it. She says a top researcher in ganzfeld was a Freud this is a serious claim but she made no attempt to substantiate it.
One thing that is very well documented of course is the various Freud committed by CSICOP but she for some reason fails to mention this.
Anyway that brings me to another point do you think the skeptics secretly believe in psi? I mean they would be in contact with a lot of evidence or is it possible that they might be desperate and delusional.
I think may skeptics have simply made a career out of telling militant atheists what they want to hear. The other point I was thinking about making is what does psi mean? After all it appears to be nonphysical and that suggests a dualistic aspect to the mind. Perhaps looking for consciousnesses in the brain is like looking in a TV for pictures.
What about the future of technology? will we be able to control computers with our minds?
What are the limits of the psychical? does it have any?
If you need a reference to the topic that I am going to write about then you can always head over the the rather infamous website www.debunkingskeptics.com.
Anyway I am starting to feel that the counter-skeptic group is just as bad as the de-bunker group. One of the flaws of the group is that many are not at all that different than the pseudo-skeptics that they go after. By this I mean that the movement seems to expose skeptics to extreme aggression and anger in a lot of their arguments (understandable since the skeptics have done much worse) but we are supposed to be playing the open-minded truth seeker and this gets in the way of that.
Another flaw in the movement is that they support and defend many idea's that are either untrue or extremely unlikely. This is why the skeptic movement has the upper hand when they lump parapsychology with creationism and crystal healing. This is one of the trade marks of the pseudo-skeptic and it is very effective this is why the paranormal community needs to distance itself from the creationist , new-age and denialist community's.
Not only does the community fail in this function but also seems to be detrimental to increasing the validly of the paranormal claims.
I think that "skepcop" gives the paranormal a bad name for a quick chuckle look on their website on the part that talks about the skeptical community. not only is it subtly pompous but it is also unfairly labels the myth-busters.
Well, I suppose I should be glad tings are going well so far anyway and I am but in the romance department things are not going well at all. I met this nice guy so nice and thing is he's so moody one day he's all romantic next day he's just not there. So, best to just move on. We usually text each other daily and we have been talking every day for close to a year and now since last night he's changed he barely said good night and I didn't hear from him at all today. Nothing, not a word. Best to not continue this relationship.
After being so sick this year and in hospital for so long it just doesn't make any sense to be upset about things such as this. I'm very lucky to be well again after being so sick last winter.
Thing is he knew how sick I was and he was just always calling and was so caring even when I was too ill to talk to him he still showed how much he cared. Now that I'm ok he's like every little thing he seems to find fault with and after being as sick as I was I just don't think it's fair that he gets annoyed about the most unimportant things.
Today, I was online a bit and I see he was too but he didn't bother to message me this morning when I said I just woke up. Normally he can hardly wait to call me. I keep getting mixed signals when it comes to his feelings about us. I guess there really isn't an us at all.
So, it's the middle of the night where he is now and normally I say good night to him but I didn't bother bc he ignored me the whole day. I guess now he'll delete is facebook account bc that's what he does when he gets annoyed about something thing it's impossible to please him. What he wants is to just chat so we can see each other and I can't my connection doesn't work well enough and he just doesn't understand that he thinks I just don't want to talk to him. I don't understand why he'd even think that bc he knows how much I care so why end a relationship and it's been such a great friendship why just toss is away over something so ridiculous when actually the way he says he loves me he ought to be with me instead of acting distant.
I'm beginning to not believe a word he says or has said. Anyway, it's just another day.
— Mommy, when am I gonna get rid of these scars?
The young boy who made that question to his mother is named Héctor. He's one of the 76 kids who was able to be rescued from the fire that claimed the lives of 49 little children, 5 years ago, in the ABC daycare center in Hermosillo, Sonora. Like most of those survivors, Héctor will have to deal with the consequences of that tragedy for the remainder of his life —which explains why his mother would choose to be honest in an attempt to 'toughen him up' & improve his self-confidence, instead of giving him false hopes.
And as for the parents who lost a son or a daughter on that fateful day of June 5th, 2009, they keep clamoring for justice before an unsympathetic government that wishes to sweep the matter under the rug; a government that insists on backing the conclusion of the official 'investigation' —that the fire on the adjacent warehouse run by the local government of Sonora, was caused by a short circuit in a cooler— whereas there's every reason to suspect the fire was deliberately started, and went out of control while someone was burning sensitive government documents.
The loss of those 49 lives was a tragedy. The silence protecting the culprits is the real crime.
5 years ago I wrote the post The ABC's of Impunity; 5 years have passed, and many of the scars brought up by the fire & the silent complicity will never be fully healed.
But some scars do heal in time; and even horrific events such as these can bring up the best aspects of the human history.
The above image shows little Héctor, the boy I mentioned at the beginning of this post; with him is Julio César 'El Negro', the young man who saved him from the flames. 5 years ago, 'El Negro' and his friends were near the day care, getting high; when someone rushed to them alerting them of the fire, he didn't hesitate & forced his way into the burning building, found Héctor & other children & put them to safety.
After that literal trial by fire, 'El Negro' decided to change his ways & rehabilitate from his drug addiction. In saving the life of Héctor, he also managed to save his own.
This post started as a public & personal denouncement of the impunity surrounding the ABC daycare fire; but it has morphed into a homage to recognize the bravery of all those anonymous heroes who rose to the occasion, and risked their own lives in trying to save the lives of the children.
"There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends," reads the Bible. I dare say an even greater love, is when you do it for strangers.
The winds of change are blowing at Madrid's Plaza del Sol and its waving the old Republican flags, which had been kept in the closet for three quarters of a century, ever since generalísimo Franco won the Civil war.
Now the man Franco put in power after he stepped down, Don Juan Carlos de Borbón, is abdicating as king of Spain in favor of his son Felipe. For 40 years he reigned, and during most of that time he enjoyed the support of his people; but all that started to change in 2012... because of an elephant.
When the Spanish people, who were going through their worst economic crisis in modern history, looked at the pictures of their sovereign playing the role of big white hunter on a Safari trip paid with money from the public coffers, their love for Don Juan Carlos quickly started to evaporate.
Perhaps there's some weird connection between this historic event & George Orwell's famous short story 'Shooting an Elephant,' which tells the story of an anonymous police officer stationed in Burma, who is led by circumstances beyond his control to kill an unruly pachyderm at the pressing insistence of the angry natives.
To come all that way, rifle in hand, with two thousand people marching at my heels, and then to trail feebly away, having done nothing – no, that was impossible. The crowd would laugh at me. And my whole life, every white man's life in the East, was one long struggle not to be laughed at.
Well, Don Juan Carlos seems to have been pressed to abdicate by circumstances beyond his control, all right. And in doing so, perhaps he's fired the killing shot to the very concept of Monarchy itself in the XXIst century; ironic, considering how many pundits are right in pointing out that most parliamentary monarchies nowadays enjoy more democratic forms of government, than so-called 'democratic' nations —Russia, anyone?
But, just like that poor old elephant in Orwell's story endured in agony for a long time, I suppose Don Felipe might still have the chance to put on the silly crown & play the role of king for a few more years —something that will surely raise the hopes of a few poor fellows out there...