February 25, 2020
Riz Virk, expertise in computer simulation, gaming and AI push the simulation hypothesis beyond materialism. photo by: Skeptiko Hi everyone. I have an interview coming up in a minute with Riz Virk, the author of The Simulation Hypothesis, and a guy who keeps popping up more and more these days in all the right places. Super smart, super accomplished, with a fresh new, very imaginative and very challenging angle on this simulation, are we living in a simulation hypothesis?  He comes at things from a very advanced computer, MIT, cutting edge gaming, virtual reality, AI perspective, and that really brings a lot to the table. Here are some clips from the interview.  Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:46] If you can do it, you will do it and the Luddites never really win, do they? Riz Virk: [00:00:53] Yeah, I mean, if that’s one thing that we’ve generally learned in history is that if something can be done technologically, it’s likely that it will be done. When you talk about simulation, it’s the kind of thing that I lay out in my book, the 10 stages to the simulation point. So these are stages of technology that we will have to develop, and of course, I look at it from a video game perspective. So stage one is the creation of the first text adventure games. Stage two are graphical games like Pac-Man, etc. Getting to virtual reality and augmented reality where we are today. But what I like about the simulation hypothesis is that it provides a bridge between the materialist worldview and the worldview of the mystics and people who think that consciousness is fundamental. And that’s why I’m glad, the first thing you brought up was this distinction between Neo and Agent Smith, because that really is the fundamental tension that I tried to explore in this book is that, is consciousness just a reproduction of neurons, in which case consciousness can be reproduced? Or is it in fact a conscious entity outside that’s playing a role or playing a game? But that’s something that I can discuss with physicists and people at MIT, and I can discuss it with Buddhist monks and I can discuss it with biblical scholars as well, because there are lots of aspects to AI and this idea that the world around us isn’t quite the real world, that perhaps there is another world that we cannot see.   The same thing with spoon bending, right? People will say it doesn’t exist, but many people have seen it. So, I think it’s showing us that the material world is not quite what we think it is, but it’s so far out of the paradigms. So getting back to Jacques Vallée and UFOs, I had lunch with him recently and he told me he investigated a case where there was supposedly a UFO and they said it came down at a 45 degree angle and it actually left some marks on the ground. So there was some physical evidence. So Jacques went back after the original investigation, and he looked at and he said, “You said it went in a 45 degree angle. That means it would’ve had to go through the trees.” They said, “Yeah, but we didn’t want to tell anybody that because nobody would believe us.” Which gets back to, is this a virtual phenomenon that gets materialized when it’s needed? And it’s something that we see. So, I think that’s where kind of explaining how all that works is a task that’s ongoing? Stay with us for Skeptiko. Click here for Fo
February 18, 2020
Anneke Lucas was 6 years old when her mother gave her to a satanic pedophile ring seeking extended consciousness powers. photo by: Skeptiko Hi everybody, I have an interview coming up in just a minute with Anneke Lucas, who I’m still rattled by the story and have been ever since I recorded the interview. Sold into sex slavery at six years old by her mother, horrific accounts that you can hear on YouTube. I just don’t feel a need to kind of drill her and make her replay all that, especially when we had so many a more interesting things to talk about. But you know, she’s a sex slave, six years, old, she was taken to a mansion at 10 years old and put into a dungeon room and a dirty mattress and just raped by the highest level people in government. If you think there’s anything unreal about her story, dig into it. It’s all just real. It’s just crazy. Of course, these aren’t really the questions that I’m interested in. As you know, my pursuit has been this question of this extended consciousness realm and how that might be influencing what’s going on. So here are some clips from this delightful chat. She really is an amazing person. Here are some clips. Alex Tsakiris: [00:01:09] How do you feel when people just deny it? Anneke Lucas: [00:01:13] The collective denial is what is creating the evil at the moment. Things have definitely improved. Those people who are lashing out at me are just not looking so good anymore. They’re just not looking like the scientists versus me, the crazy one, it doesn’t look that way at all. I look like the sound solid person and they seem a little bit crazy.  I still have feelings about it, I have feelings about what is happening in Belgium, which is where I’m from. When people found out that there was a network of politicians there, that were involved in these extremely dark practices, we went from the whole country being in uproar, to eight years later, one man convicted basically, and the whole country completely silent about it after bodies of children were found.  He said when he was caught that he was a small cog in a giant wheel and that he had friends in high places who would protect him. Everything in that case that had anything to do with the existence of this network, having any more prominent people involved, was cut off from the case.  (later) Alex Tsakiris: [00:02:32] There’s another kind of evil associated with that. Anneke Lucas: [00:02:35] Yes, absolutely. There are degrees to which people are too scared for their own skin, you know, for their job or for their life and that’s fair, that’s totally fair, understandable. Alex Tsakiris: [00:02:46] It’s fair, but let’s go back to the first part of your conversation, for the deeper kind of growth. Anneke Lucas: [00:02:51] For the soul it would be best that you do whatever it takes. I’m more concerned with people who have little to lose, but whose opinion is just biased because of the brainwashing that comes from those same people in power who are committing these acts. (later) Alex Tsakiris: [00:03:12] That’s a very secular view of things, which is okay as far as it goes, but what about Russ Dizdar, he dabbled in the occult and now he’s spent the last 30 years working with victims of satanic ritual abuse. So a lot of people don’t like that satanic ritual abuse thing. Anneke Lucas: [00:03:28] Yes, I’m a survivor of satanic ritual abuse. That’s what happens in the halls of power. They’re Satanists. So yes, that’s what happens. And I also work with people who like me, have survived this.
February 11, 2020
Russ Dizdar is ex-law-enforcement and has 30 years of boots-on-the-ground experience with satanic ritual abuse. photo by: Skeptiko I have an interview coming up in a minute with Russ Dizdar. This is going to be a tough one for a lot of folks for a lot of different reasons. Here are some clips.   Russ Dizdar: [00:00:17] I was in Worthington, Ohio at the Police Academy called OPOTA, a law enforcement agent named Thomas Wedge, who wrote a book called The Satan Hunter for law enforcement. So I’m going through all of this, the very evening that I get home, I get a phone call from a frantic woman who said, “Somebody gave me your phone number. I have a stepdaughter that’s in the psych ward. She’s going to kill herself.” She goes into all of the stories about satanic stuff and rituals and blood rituals and animals being sacrificed. I sat down with a 13 year old, she’s there because she keeps writing over and over and over, “The ritual of the flames. The ritual of the flames. The ritual of the flames.” When I finally got enough engagement with her to talk about it, she said it’s a ritual that she has to do on her 14th birthday to prove her love for her mother, her mother, a satanic priestess. So victim, this little girl, as I’m engaging here, began to have other personalities come up. Again, I’m a counselor, I’m trained, I’m in school, I’m trained to do things. I’m listening to this 13 year old and I’m listening to a male personality. Then I’m listening to another personality. (later) Alex Tsakiris: [00:01:27] Why is that so hard to accept for most people? Moreover, why is it completely misrepresented in the media? Russ Dizdar: [00:01:38] I would say the first part of this is the issue of grid. When you talk about investigative journalists that I deal with, psychiatrists, police officers, feds, if it’s not in your grid, in other words, if you’re trying to deal with a MS-13, a gang, they’re real, they’re a real gang, they’re a drug gang. They’re in my city now, up here in Canton, Ohio. They have certain markings, certain hand signs, certain clothing. So there are certain characteristics about a real gang.  So when we deal with satanic crimes, very little teaching on that subject. (later)  Alex Tsakiris: [00:02:11] And I want to make sure we talk about MKUltra. You’ve thrown it out there. We’ve investigated it extensively on this show. It was in response to what they thought was a threat from Russia who was engaged in a lot of this activity. But there was also, as you point out, and I’m sure you will, there was a direct Nazi connection, where we had just picked up their research and said, “Gee, horrible thing that you’ve done, but let’s see if we can do it better.” Russ Dizdar: [00:02:41] Alex, you’re a million percent right on that issue. When it comes to psywarriors, no question that the United States knew that they had to do something in the 50s to counteract what they learned about the Russians, what they were doing. What nobody was saying though… Step back, like you just did, step back another step. Where did the Russians get it? Where did the Americans get it? So, you do go back to the Nazis. Alex Tsakiris: [00:03:06] I mean, you don’t have to go all the way there with the Nazis, but you can’t deny that they were interested in the occult. You can’t deny that those SS uniforms had the little skull and crossbones on them and that they were actively trying to seek all these occult objects in order to empower what they would do. Tell us what you saw and experienced when you were in the castle in Germany.
February 4, 2020
Kevin Annett returns to discuss the nature of evil and the extended consciousness realm. photo by: Skeptiko I have an interview coming up with Kevin Annett, it’s actually a second interview, but I had to go back to Kevin and ask a couple more questions about evil. Here are some clips.  Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:12] And even in preparing for this interview, I have to say, these doubts started creeping in again and I had to go back and had to go and kind of start from ground zero. It’s part of the whole system of how this is hidden, isn’t it? I mean, the whole discrediting of people without much, really evidence to discredit them? Kevin Annett: [00:00:33] Well, yeah, they always say, the bigger the crime, the bigger the cover up and the main cover up begins in our own minds. We don’t have to be told not to read something or listen to somebody, our own fear or conditioning shuts that off before the sensor comes in to do it. Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:49] I just took something really simple that I remembered you said first time around and that’s that you name names, but you go to the “Truth and Reconciliation Committee,” and the first clause, the first edict is, we will not name names, we will not subpoena, we will not…  and it just is so stark.      You want to start talking about these kinds of crimes under the umbrella of religion, it forces them to confront the possibility that these deep beliefs that they have may not hold up to the kind of careful examination. Kevin Annett: [00:01:33] In psychology, when you’re in a state of dissociation, you cannot connect your own behavior with the world around you, you live in a bubble world. I remember talking to a survivor of the Mormon Church in Salt Lake City doing exactly the same crimes against their children that the Catholics do, and this woman said, when she was a girl, she used to be excited when her dad would come home. She’d stand at the door waiting for him, then he’d take her off on rape her in the bedroom. But she was always excited to see him. To me, that’s by analogy what we’re dealing with, because these religions have been covers and masks for the worst crimes in human history and yet people get in bed with them all the time thinking there’s something else. So, it’s a very difficult thing to look at our own conditioning and our own complicity in these crimes, but we all are complicit in some way or another. Alex Tsakiris: [00:02:22] On the other hand, as your life work just dramatically screams out is, we do feel a certain drive to, at the very least, expose this evil. Kevin Annett: [00:02:35] Absolutely, but it’s not the bastards I’m stopping, it’s the thing that possesses them, which also possesses me. After World War II, Robert Jackson, he was the Chief American Prosecutor at Nuremberg, her had put all of the top Nazis on trial, prosecuted them. He was speaking at a Jewish synagogue in Brooklyn, he said, “The SS were no different than you or I, if you put us in the same circumstance, we could have done exactly what they did.”  Any whistleblower faces the same dilemma? It doesn’t matter if you’re vindicated, it doesn’t matter if they say, “Look, Kevin Annett’s been proven true, Canada’s admitted to genocide.” You’re always blacklisted, it never lifts. No one wants to be around somebody who’s been a whistleblower because they might do it again. [00:03:20] Stay with us for Skeptiko.
January 21, 2020
Richard Dolan on UFO disclosure, good versus bad ET, and the consciousness question. photo by: Skeptiko I have an interview coming up with UFO researcher, Richard Dolan. Here are some clips. Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:06] We met with the guy at the DOD, but he’s a whistleblower. All the information he revealed, well none of it’s classified or top secret.  The kid who innocently took a selfie and inside the submarine, he’s in prison, and this is the biggest thing ever, even though it happened 15 years ago. Richard Dolan: [00:00:26] I wouldn’t say that Elizondo necessarily classifies as a whistleblower. I don’t know. I mean, all these people are self-serving. So, the folks at TTSA, it’s not like, you know, they’re all angels and they have no other ulterior motives, what they do. (later) Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:41] All of these guys who are in the military, that was their pledge. Are we at a different point where we’ve totally given up on the idea that we need to hold these people accountable? Is that just kind of out of the window? Richard Dolan: [00:00:53] Oh man, good question. Well, we are in a post constitutional phase. I mean, look we’re in an upside-down world. I call this thing now a legal illegality, that’s really what it is. It’s like this legal framework to protect what fundamentally should be illegal in any democratic oriented society. (later) Richard Dolan: Consciousness clearly is important in some fundamental way to the nature of our reality. And secondly, we have an enormous hole in our general understanding of reality itself. Like there are things we don’t get. So in that hole are things like UFOs. In that hole are things like synchronicities and spirituality and definitely psychic phenomena, PSI phenomenon, absolutely fit in there. [00:01:49] Stay with us for Skeptiko. (continued below) Click here for Forum Discussion  Click here for Richard Dolan’s Website   Alex Tsakiris:: [00:02:01] When it’s all said and done, the UFO/ET thing is going to be understood as one of the biggest things in our history. I mean, it is after all at the center of just about every question we can ask, who are we? why are we here? And that makes it at the center of not just our history, but also the center of our science and maybe even the center of our spirituality. So, if the UFO/ET thing is the big thing, then what are we to make of today’s guest? Because for the last 20 years, Oxford trained historian and Rhodes Scholar finalist, Richard Dolan, has been widely acknowledged as one of the most respected, authoritative, and influential researchers within his field. His many book, I have some of them up on the screen if you’re watching this, and his extensive research articles that I continue to profit from and lean on all of the time, have brought a new level of scholarship and in particular, respectability to a field that really needed it, especially needed it a few years back when Richard started this adventure. He’s the author of a number of books, as I mentioned, including the seminal UFOs and the National Security State series. Also, another book we’re going to talk about,
January 14, 2020
Dr. Hugh Urban brings scholarly rigor to the study of Scientology and Osho, but what about consciousness? photo by: Skeptiko I have an interview coming up in a minute with the very excellent Dr Hugh Urban, Professor of Comparative Religions at Ohio State University and a guy nice enough to put up with my shenanigans. Here are some of the clips. Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:13] The part that concerns me is we have reason to believe that MKULTRA / Men Who Stare At Goats stuff was going on. So I’m just not sure that we can bracket that back into, “Oh, you know, those Scientologists, they were kind of playing off of the cold war jitters that people have.” Dr. Hugh Urban: [00:00:36] But I guess I would say that, I can’t know, as a historian of religion, whether there’s a reality to what they’re talking about, but I can say that they certainly believed there was and took it very seriously.  (later) Dr. Hugh Urban: You can also point to examples within Christianity where the leadership was incredibly corrupted. I mean, the Middle Ages are filled with bad popes, right? Bad popes and bad cardinals. That doesn’t mean that the entire Catholic Church from top to bottom is a corrupt organization. Alex Tsakiris: [00:01:08] Wait, hold on, full stop. We don’t know that. I mean, that’s, I guess, the part that I want to say we’re not doing our job if we don’t ask that question. (later) Alex Tsakiris: Beyond the Eckhart [Tolle] / Oprah Winfrey / new age thing that most people get, what he’s saying about the science of consciousness, is much, much closer to what leading researchers are saying. So I guess returning to kind of this earlier point, if you can’t get consciousness right, if you’re playing  “consciousnesses and illusion” as your atheist  colleague no doubt believes, you’re not even in the game.  Dr. Hugh Urban: [00:01:51] Yeah, that’s an interesting point. And I guess I would say that, well, there’s a couple of answers to that question. There is a movement in religious studies and other fields that is extremely interested in consciousness from different perspectives. But in my own work, I mean, I’m a historian, and so I look at what people do and the texts they leave behind and what we can sort of see. (continued below)   Click here for Forum Discussion  Click here for Dr. Hugh Urban’s Website   Alex Tsakiris: [00:02:16] Welcome to Skeptiko where we explore controversial science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers and their critics. I’m your host Alex Tsakiris and today we’re joined by Dr Hugh Urban from the Ohio State University. I’m going to have to ask Hugh why so many people from Ohio State insist that you say The Ohio State, but I guess we’ll get to that maybe in a minute. Anyways, he is a top-notch scholar in religious studies. He’s written some terrific books, including a couple we’re going to talk about today, one on Scientology, one on Osho, and maybe even talk a little bit about his work in tantra. He has developed quite a reputation within his field. The net net is we have a really smart guy with us today.
January 7, 2020
Dr. Donald Hoffman has proposed a rigorous mathematical model of consciousness that leaves materialism out of the equation. photo by: Skeptiko I have an interview coming up in a minute with Dr. Donald Hoffman, who is, well, he’s a really, really smart University of California Irvine professor, known for his work in consciousness and known for being the first guy to propose a truly rigorous mathematical model for understanding consciousness.  Here’s a clip. Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:26]  Are we  preparing for another version of shut up and calculate? Dr. Donald Hoffman: [00:00:32] So one reason why scientists do mathematical theories is because they surprise us, they become smarter than us, and eventually we become the students of the theory. I do agree that consciousness is the fundamental reality and that it transcends any of our theories and getting a direct connection with that conscious experience is very, very important. I actually spend time every day in meditation doing exactly that. Alex Tsakiris: [00:01:02] And stick around after the interview for some analysis with me and Dr. Rich Grego: Dr. Rich Grego: [00:01:07] Everybody has their metaphysical interpretation of the math and they have math that backs up their interpretation, but the math isn’t the interpretation.   Click here for Forum Discussion  Click here for Dr. Donald Hoffman’s Website     Alex Tsakiris: [00:01:21] Welcome to Skeptiko where we explore controversial science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers, and their critics. I’m your host Alex Tsakiris and as you know, we spend a lot of time talking about consciousness on Skeptiko, but as you also know, if you bring this topic up with most people in your life, you get at best a blank stare and more likely, kind of a slow nodding of the head as they look for a way to get out of the room. So I think that’s what makes it even more amazing that today’s guest, bestselling author and highly regarded University of California Irvine professor, Dr. Donald Hoffman, has been able to break through; The apathy in confusion over the mind/body problem, evolutionary psychology, and what we typically talk about as the hard problem of consciousness. He’s done that through, what is now kind of a, in our field, a famous TED Talk that’s received over 2.7 billion views and is titled, Do We See Reality As It Is? That is quite a remarkable talk, if you haven’t heard it before, it not only shatters the existing brain centric neuroscience model of consciousness, but more importantly, offers a new testable theory to replace it. A theory that is spelled out in his excellent and bestselling book that we’re going to talk about today, The Case Against Reality: Why Evolution Hid the Truth from Our Eyes. So Don, it’s really great to have you here. Thanks so much for joining me on Skeptiko. Dr. Donald Hoffman: [00:03:13] Thank you, Alex, thanks for inviting me. Alex Tsakiris: [00:03:15] Well as I mentioned, you know, there’s this TED Talk that is out there, that is really quite amazing, and I think a lot of people have seen, and there’s also this book.
December 17, 2019
Rev. Michael Dowd brings a progressive Christian spin to apocalyptic environmentalism. photo by: Skeptiko On this episode of Skeptiko: Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:02] If you’re talking about climate change and you’re talking about doing something about it. Michael Dowd: [00:00:09] No, no, no, no, no, no, no. I don’t talk about doing something about it Alex, I talk about doing something in your own heart to prepare for what’s inevitable. Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:18] I’m just saying, if we buy into what you’re saying, isn’t that the inevitable future. It’s not 20 people getting together and deciding they’re going to live a different way, that isn’t going to be the future. Michael Dowd: [00:00:31] You’re wasting time by talking about something I don’t give a shit about. I don’t care about the climate sciences hoax, I don’t care about where some scientists were, I don’t care about that. Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:43] That’s the vibe I got from you from the beginning Michael, and I get from so many people, the death cult environmentalists, they don’t want to waste their time listening to the other side of it. Michael Dowd: [00:00:53] In my world, there’s not another side. Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:58] You’re still calling yourself a Christian. Michael Dowd: [00:00:59] I’m an evolutionary Christian, I’m a Christian… Alex Tsakiris: [00:01:02] You’re a Christian, you haven’t broken free from it. Michael Dowd: [00:01:11] I am a Christian naturalist, I have no supernatural beliefs or other worldly beliefs at all, zip, nada, not one. I’m a Christian naturalist. So if you’re interpreting… Alex Tsakiris: [00:01:21] You have no supernatural beliefs, when you talk about your relationship with Jesus, wasn’t that a supernatural relationship? Stay with us for Skeptiko.    Click here for Forum Discussion  Click here for Rev. Michael Dowd’s Website   Alex Tsakiris: [00:01:38] Welcome to Skeptiko where we explore controversial science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers and their critics. I’m your host Alex Tsakiris, and as a lot of you know, I’m a big fan of the Skeptiko Forum. I love it because you all are so damn smart, I’m always learning stuff from you guys. Take, for example, today’s topic global warming or as a lot of people like to say, climate change. This is a topic that’s been thoroughly hashed out on the Skeptiko Forum, really from all sides, and In a lot of ways I’m super grateful for that because it’s such a great Skeptiko topic, I mean it checks all the boxes. There is the science angle, I mean, what do we really know about climate? What do we know about these climate models, are they reliable scientifically? Can we trust the scientists and who is qualified to speak on climate science? These are all great questions, the kind of stuff that we love to dig into on Skeptiko. But there are other angles to this topic that I think are just so fascinating, again, if we kind of broaden the lens. There’s the political, dare I say conspiratorial aspect of climate, and we certainly get into a lot of that stuff on this show, and I think we can handle it on this topic as well. I mean, what would it mean,
December 3, 2019
Lance Mungia’s Third Eye Spies is a terrific movie, but what’s really behind this new openness about secret remote viewing programs. photo by: Skeptiko I have an interview coming up in a minute with Lance Mungia. He’s the creator of the movie, it’s been out for a little while now, it’s called Third Eye Spies. If you like the stuff we talk about here and I guess that’s why you’re here, then this is a really important movie because it talks about the whole history of the secret psychic spying program, Stargate that we all know and love. So I just wanted to give you a quick heads-up. Lance is fantastic, the movie is fantastic, the  movie is important, but there is this underlying tension in this interview because I don’t exactly see things the same way that Lance does, but hey, who cares? That’s level three, right? We don’t have to agree on everything. Here’s a guy who’s done a terrific movie, here are some clips from the show. Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:55] The storyline that the movie follows is that Russell Targ, who is of course one of the original principal investigators in this Stargate remote viewing program and he’s going to reconnect with all of these people that have been a part of this amazing program and then the threat of the story is, “Okay guys, we can now tell the story that we wanted to tell for so long.” Lance Mungia: [00:01:23] Frankly, he literally showed up at my door with a big box full of documents that were marked  classified, that had been released,  and he starts laying out all of these documents on a table and I started to actually question it, because it was so incredible. I remember going to bed after meeting him the first night and thinking, “Is this guy like for real?” I mean, this is something that is so incredible that I’m only going to really be able to do something like this if I can get everybody, because it was one of those things where, if it’s just one person saying it, it sounds too outlandish. Alex Tsakiris: [00:01:57] The conspiratorial guy that I am, one of the first questions I had from the beginning is, why do you think they released all of these documents? I have a hard time believing it’s just for the vanity or the interest of this sweet old man, Professor Russell Targ, who says, “I’d like to do this final tour,” and the CIA says, “Oh great, well, here’s 60 thousand documents that we never released before.” Lance Mungia: [00:02:27] Oh, I have all kinds of thoughts on that. We think of government as a monolithic thing, the government is coming up with this or the government is hiding this. Government intentionally is very dysfunctional. The presidents and elected officials are always the last to know. Alex Tsakiris: [00:02:50] Would you say the CIA director often falls in that category too, because I would? Lance Mungia: [00:02:55] Yeah, I mean possibly. I would say the CIA director probably knows more than the president does, but Russell and how the two scientists that started this program in the 70s were both already vetted people working within established intelligence circles and they were respected within the intelligence community that had an official oversight. Alex Tsakiris: [00:03:19] Let me just clarify, you’re saying, as opposed , as we do understand it now, some programs that are just black.  Lance Mungia: [00:03:26] Yeah, these were not black programs, these were secret programs but they had oversight, and if you think about something like remote viewing, how easy is it to do remote viewing? Basically you close your eyes, you imagine where your target is hiding and then you write do...
November 15, 2019
Kevin Annett is a former minster turned whistleblower of a now admitted large-scale conspiracy of church and state. photo by: Skeptiko Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:06] Welcome to Skeptiko where we explore controversial science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers, and their critics. At this point, most of us are, at least, a little bit tired of stories about social injustice, but one of the unfortunate consequences of the social justice warrior thing is the proportionality of it. Take, for example, today’s guest. In 1994, as a minister of United Church in British Columbia, Kevin Annett walked into, what he probably thought was his dream job. Now that job turned into a nightmare and a 25-year ordeal as he became a whistleblower of some of the most horrific, holocaust-level crimes in Canada’s history. And worse yet, chances are, you’ve never even heard about any of them. You know, on this show I’m always drawn to stories where one person can make a monumental difference, and Kevin Annett is certainly one of those people. Besides being an award-winning journalist and filmmaker, he’s also become a continuous voice for justice in a very important way. And I think is, as we were just chatting about a minute ago, his story is critical to understanding our culture in general. So, it’s a bit of a long introduction there, but Kevin, it is a great pleasure to have you on Skeptiko and thanks so much for joining me. Kevin Annett: [00:01:49] Thank you, Alex. I appreciate the time to be able to do this. Click here for Forum Discussion  Click here for Kevin Annett’s Website Alex Tsakiris: [00:01:52] So Kevin, of course, we’re going to talk about your books. I’ve just popped one of them up here, Murder by Decree, and people can also check out, which stays up to date on a lot of things that are going on in your world. But you know, I think the easiest place to start is history, the history of what happened. I have a short clip I’m going to play from the movie. I want to let people know this movie, Unrepentant, is available on YouTube.  Let me play this clip. 1: [00:02:23] Unrepentant reveals Canada’s darkest secret; the deliberate extermination of indigenous peoples and the theft of their land under the guise of religion. This never before told tale as seen through the eyes of a former minister who blew the whistle on his own church, after he learned of its murder of thousands of children in its Indian residential schools. What happened to the thousands of children who died or disappeared while in Canada’s Indian residential schools? Why have Canada and the churches responsible for their fate refused to say what happened to them and stayed silent in the face of hundreds of eyewitnesses who claim seeing murders and experiencing obscene tortures in these schools?  Alex Tsakiris: [00:03:00] So Kevin, that’s again a very brief clip from the movie. Please start and tell us the story, just as you have told so many times from the beginning. Kevin Annett: [00:03:11] Well, there’s a lot. I think I’ll touch on the main points that are relevant to the way you set up the interview. I was like a lot of Canadians, even though I was, from a young age involved in politics and social justice issues and all that,
November 5, 2019
Rob and Trish McGregor have explored the sciency side of the paranormal for 30 years and authored more than 100 books. photo by: Skeptiko Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:06] Welcome to Skeptiko where we explore controversial science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers and their critics. I’m your host Alex Tsakiris, and you know, I’ve taken to letting Skeptiko listeners guide me on who I should talk to, and today’s show is a great example of how wonderful that can be, when you let other people take the reins. I am almost embarrassed to tell you that I wasn’t aware of the tremendous body of work, you can see some of the books on the screen, that have been generated by the husband and wife writing team of Rob and Trish MacGregor. Both separately have each become award-winning authors, as well as together, have done some amazing work, and so many of the topics that we love to talk about here on Skeptiko and we like to dive into deeply as they have. So synchronicities, remote viewing, UFOs, ETs, spirit communication, astrology, a lot of other stuff that we haven’t talked as much about. These folks are just a tremendous well of information, and as I just alluded to, it’s quality stuff. They crank out a lot of books, but there’s a lot of great stuff in these books. So I’m blown away, I’m super excited to have them on and to meet them and have a chance to talk to them. Rob, Trish, thank you both so much for joining me on Skeptiko. Trish MacGregor: [00:01:42] Well, thank you Alex. Now if our dog suddenly shows up in this picture, it’s because he’s right under the table here. Rob MacGregor: [00:01:49] Thanks for inviting us. Click here for Forum Discussion  Click here for Rob and Trish McGregor’s Blog Alex Tsakiris: [00:01:50] You guys, as I just mentioned, we’re going to be talking a lot about these many, many books you’ve written and we’re going to play a little game that I like to play called Skeptiko Jeopardy, where you pick the topics and we go where you drive us. But as as I’m often guilty of, I sometimes kind of jump in there and pick the first one and here I guess we have to talk about the books. Rob MacGregor: [00:02:17] Yeah, it started basically, when I met Trish, I was working as a newspaper reporter, a daily paper in Hollywood, Florida and I was assigned to do an article on how the Cuban refugees who come to Florida and the United States after the Cuban boatlift in 1980, and this is, like a couple years later, how they were integrating into our society. Trish was teaching English as a second language at Florida International University, so I interviewed her and we started talking after the interview, and it just turned out that we both had read all of these Seth books and we knew no one else who had, not only had they not ever read the books or heard of them, but had no interest in the subject matter. So it was nice to meet somebody who had similar interests and things went from there. Alex Tsakiris: [00:03:19] Well, that’s fantastic, and as I mentioned earlier, you’ve written on a lot of different topics and we’re going to talk a lot about many of the different ones. We’re going to talk about synchronicities especially, because a lot of people are interested in that,
October 22, 2019
Dr. John Fischer thinks philosophy is the key to debunking near death experience science. photo by: Skeptiko Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:06] Welcome to Skeptiko where we explore controversial science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers and their critics. I’m your host Alex Tsakiris and during the many years I’ve done this show I’ve never had someone ask to come on and straighten me out about something I got wrong on a previous interview with them, or in this case with their co-author, but that’s exactly what we’re going to do today. Dr. John Martin Fischer, a distinguished professor of philosophy at the University of California Riverside, which is right up the road from me, is here to talk about a couple of books that he’s written, one that we featured in a previous episode of Skeptiko, Near-Death Experiences: Understanding Visions of the Afterlife, and another one which is more recent, Death, Immortality and Meaning in Life. John, welcome to Skeptiko, thanks so much for joining me. Dr. John M. Fischer: [00:01:03] Thank you Alex, I appreciate the invitation. And let me just clarify that one reason I wanted to come on the show was that when you had tried to reach me before, I was actually ill and away from my office for some months and that’s why I did not get your messages. But it was entirely my fault and it seemed very rude, I’m sure, but I apologize and I’m happy to have the opportunity now. Click here for Forum Discussion  Click here for Dr. John Fischer’s Website My first interview on this book (one of myfavs:)) Alex Tsakiris: [00:01:35] Well, I’m more than happy to give you that opportunity. And yeah, I did reach out to you initially, but I thought one way we could bring people up to speed is I did have a very good interview I thought, with your co-author, someone who was a research fellow working underneath you and Dr. Ben Mitchell-Yellin, and I thought one way to kind of Kick this thing off is to play a clip from that previous interview that we did. I’ll go ahead and play that clip for the audience right now. Dr. John M. Fischer: [00:02:10] Okay. Alex Tsakiris: [00:02:12] I mean, there isn’t a single credible near-death experience researcher, I can think of, that’s come to the conclusion that you do. Well on what basis do you go against all of this published data by all of the top near-death experience researchers that suggest otherwise? Ben Mitchell-Yellin: [00:02:28] Well, I mean that the first thing to say is you say, look, nobody else has come to the same conclusion as you and I guess the first thing I would want to say is that was the main reason we wanted to write the book. It depends on what kind of research you’re talking about. We did not go out and gather the data, instead we looked at the arguments that people, other people have made on the basis of the data. Alex Tsakiris: [00:02:54] And this one I do have to say Ben, did kind of tick me off. You said that we should be skeptical of those who ask us to dip into our wallet regarding NDE accounts among the blind. Ben Mitchell Yellin: [00:03:06] Oh wait,
October 15, 2019
Kathy Mingo gives a demonstration of aura healing and how it can lead to mediumship. photo by: Skeptiko Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:06] Welcome to Skeptiko where we explore controversial science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers and their critics. I’m your host Alex Tsakiris and as many of you know, one of the goals of this show is to push past the stuck on stupid discussion around extended consciousness, and that’s really where science has pushed us, hasn’t it? I mean, let’s take past life regression for example, science would, of course, dismissed the entire phenomenon with a wave of the hand and maybe a little gibberish about extraordinary claims, require extraordinary proof. Worse yet, we’d be told, as we often are, that it’s actually a scam, perpetrated by greedy new agers, who are looking to exploit the weak and the gullible. So how do we push past that blockade that the pseudo skeptics have built? Well, first of all, I’d suggest that you need the right kind of guest, and I’m thinking and hoping that we might have just that kind of guest today. Kathy Mingo is a psychic and a medium in the UK. She specializes in past life regression and shamanic healing work. She’s going to tell us what that means. She comes to us highly recommended by our friend Claire Broad, who documents her own rather amazing experience with Kathy in her new book. And as a special bonus, as Kathy and I were just chatting about, Kathy has been brave enough and open enough to agree to do… Kathy Mingo: [00:01:41] Or stupid enough. Alex Tsakiris: [00:01:45] But she has agreed to try and do some kind of demonstration. I don’t know how it’s going to turn out. She’d never done anything like this. We’re not like trying to test her in any way, because she said, “I’ve never done anything like that,” but I thought since her work is kind of unusual and unique, that just to give people, to give all of you and me, a sense for what it’s about, we might do a demonstration. So with all that, Kathy welcome to Skeptiko and thank you so much for joining me. Kathy Mingo: [00:02:13] Well, thanks Alex. I’m thanks for having me and hi to everyone at Skeptiko that’s listening in.   Click here for Forum Discussion  Click here for Kathy Mingo’s Website Alex Tsakiris: [00:02:19] Well great, awesome. You know, as I explained to you, I kind of have evolved into playing this little game that I call Skeptiko Jeopardy. Kathy Mingo: [00:02:32] Fabulous Alex Tsakiris: [00:02:34] And this one, since my introduction was kind of limited, I think the natural place to start is with you. Who is Kathy Mingo? Kathy Mingo: [00:02:46] Okay. Well, I’m just a very ordinary person that just happens to do what some people call an extraordinary job. I don’t think it is. I just think what I do is very natural. I do need to put a caveat in, I don’t actually call myself a medium, but when I’m in someone’s auric field, so that’s what I would do. I work through someone’s bioplasmic aura field. So the energy around the body or the aura and just as a by-product, sometimes, well, quite often, people that have passed over come in to say hello. So it’s literally, it’s a byproduct of what I do. Alex Tsakiris: [00:03:24] Can I jump in there with the ques...
October 1, 2019
Bruce Fenton uses solid science to back up his remarkable conclusions about the origin of humans. photo by: Skeptiko Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:00] 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 have an interview coming up in a minute with this gentleman, you can see on the screen if you’re watching, his name is Bruce Fenton, and during the interview I’m going to do my best to shoot down his theories, I’ve lined up a couple of points. But I’ve got to warn you that at the end of the day, I’m going to probably have to admit that I can’t, and that’s a huge problem because what Bruce Fenton and his wife Daniella claim to have done with their research is nothing less than crack the code on human evolution, crack the code on our origins. And done it in a way that, I’ve got to say, will completely upset everything you think you know about the whole Out of Africa thing, the Darwin thing, and even more significantly the who we are, why are we here thing. So, like I said, I’m going to plough forward, I’m going to do my best, but I just have to warn you, your world may shift rather radically about an hour, an hour and a half from now. Bruce, welcome to Skeptiko, it’s been so great getting to know you and thanks so much for joining me. Bruce Fenton: [00:01:35] Thank you, it’s a pleasure. I’m really looking forward to the chat and hopefully, yeah, everyone gets something out of it. Click here for Forum Discussion  Click here for Bruce Fenton’s Website   Alex Tsakiris: [00:01:42] Great. Well, I’ve been leaving up on the screen this Skeptiko Jeopardy board, which is a little game I like to play, but let me back up and maybe you could give us a brief bio of you. We could go on and on, it’s just amazing, your personal experience is amazing on a lot of different levels, both in terms of what you’ve experienced, experienced in the way that people talk about experiences and strange experiences, but also just in terms of your experience in terms of doing real research an d interfacing with science and all that stuff. And then we could get into Daniella, your wife, and some of the strangeness of that. I do want to bring it back to three books because we’re not going to specifically talk about these books during the show, but we’re going to pick out pieces. So I’ve laid a lot on the table there to unpack but tell us a little bit about who you are and maybe what these books are all about. Bruce Fenton: [00:02:41] Yeah, I mean in terms of research and an interest in, I suppose, mysterious subjects with the ancient mysteries, the workings of human consciousness, and a lot of other things, my beginnings in that go back to perhaps 11 years old. I remember having a collection of cards called the Ancient Mysteries of the World Set, which they came free with tea leaves my grandmother would buy and she would give me these cards. And they just got me an interest in these topics, things like crystal skulls, pyramids, lake monsters, all of the strange things that we’re all probably familiar with from mysteries and occult and all the rest of it. That’s probably where I’d say I got interested, but in terms of real research, I guess,
September 24, 2019
Richard Cox gives us a deep dive into the spirituality of 9/11, schizophrenia and suicide. photo by: Skeptiko Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:00] 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’m really excited about today’s show, because I’m not just a podcaster and I’ve been a podcaster for a long time, but I got into podcasting because I was a listener and I still am a podcast listener today. I love to share the work of people who really inspire me and there’s a guy who has really been knocking it out of the park lately. You might have seen him on the show before, his name is Richard Cox, but he has a show, The Deep State Consciousness podcast. So Richard, thanks so much for joining me and welcome to Skeptiko. Welcome back. Richard Cox: [00:00:48] Thank you Alex, thank you. Nice to be back.   Click here for Forum Discussion  Click here for Richard Cox’s Website skeptiko-428-richard-cox Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:52] So, let’s see. Of course, you are being roped into playing Skeptiko Jeopardy. You knew that coming in, so there’s kind of no secrets in any of that. Richard Cox: [00:01:05] Yeah, but it’s more high-tech than last time I was on, this is really exciting. I listen to the show, I haven’t seen this, this is like, really, like we’re on a game show now. Alex Tsakiris: [00:01:13] Yeah, you’re right. We’re taking it to the next level. Sure, sure. Okay, I’m going read the Skeptiko Jeopardy board, for those who are just listening along. It starts out with, Deep States. 9/11. Podcasting. Cultish. Trauma. Medium, Non-Duality. Suicide and ET. Now, you have not been given a heads-up in any of these topics. So we’re going to get the raw unedited version of Richard Cox. I’m going to pick the first one, because I think it’s only appropriate, since I did just a little bit of an introduction. You tell us more about the podcast. Richard Cox: [00:01:56] Okay. Well, I never intended to do a podcast, I fell into it because I was doing some work with Tim Freke, a philosopher, a previous guest on the show, republishing some of his books. And I felt like Tim goes through so many different things, There are a lot of subjects he’s covered in the past, like Zen and gurus, that he’s written books on perhaps, but there was nothing on YouTube and I thought, “Hey, someone should interview about this,” and no one was. So I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring and see if I could pull off an interview. And he wasn’t too awful, people told me, so I sort of liked it. And then I realized that I knew all of these interesting people who were just quietly living their lives and I felt the world deserved to hear a bit more from them. So initially, I thought I’d just do one or two and then I kept finding that I knew more and more interesting people. So that’s how I kind of slipped into the whole podcast thing. Alex Tsakiris: [00:02:44] Maybe we’ll just leave it at that, because I think we’ll get into that as I let you pick the next topic that we might go to. Richard Cox: [00:02:56] I’m going to run roughshod over all of these boundaries, so you’ll have to watch me there Alex. I mean,
September 17, 2019
Claire Broad believes she’s learned what the dead are trying to teach us. photo by: Skeptiko Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:06] 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 have to admit that I’m always a little bit nervous before I interview psychics and mediums. I don’t know, I guess I feel a little bit exposed or something, like they’re going to read my mind and even though they tell me they don’t do that and they’re not on all of the time, I always have my doubts. Maybe that’s why when Watkins Publishing contacted me about this new book from today’s guest, Claire Broad, I hesitated. But the truth is, I was also instantly intrigued by this really quite amazing medium and her desire to find a scientific understanding for all of these many incredible experiences she’s had in her life, and how that led to her becoming a medium, a much sought-after and respected medium. So Claire, welcome. Thanks so much for joining me. Claire Broad: [00:01:11] Thank you Alex. It’s great to be here, and hi to all of your listeners.   Click here for Forum Discussion  Click here for Claire Broad’s Website Alex Tsakiris: [00:01:15] Claire has an absolutely terrific new book out with a kind of cheeky title, What the Dead Are Dying to Teach Us. So we’re going to talk a lot about that because it really does answer so many questions that I had going in. I mean, I kind of hit her and her publicist pretty hard saying, “Hey, I don’t do book interviews,” and I got through the book and I was like, “Man, I’ve got to do a book interview on this.” Claire Broad: [00:01:42] Oh, that’s a compliment. Alex Tsakiris: [00:01:45] But you know, you kind of understand the Skeptiko inquiry to perpetuate doubt vibe, so you’re open to that and we might go some other places. Claire Broad: [00:01:58] Yeah, I’m open to all of that. I’m questioning just as much as anyone else, so I get the whole doubt thing. I’ve had it in buckets. Alex Tsakiris: [00:02:06] Great, great. Well, you know, I think doubt is a very spiritual thing, and I think it’s much more of a spiritual thing than faith, but that might be something we talk about more. So this new book, it’s great. You’ve also written another book, actually a bestselling book Answers from Heaven. You wrote that with Theresa Cheung. So you’re a pro at this, right? Claire Broad: [00:02:35] Well, I wouldn’t say that. In the book I’ve just written, I explain how I did not ever see myself as a writer. It wasn’t something that was even on my radar as something that I thought I would do. I kept receiving messages from different mediums, spiritual practitioners, for the last 23 years telling me that I had come here to write books and I scoffed to be honest. It wasn’t until Answers from Heaven came along, because because Theresa Cheung, who is a Sunday Times bestselling author and a Cambridge College graduate in theology, when she approached me asking for help to try and understand this minefield of a subject, which is mediumship and after-death communication, it wasn’t until that happened that I took it s...
September 10, 2019
David Mathisen has compelling evidence of a worldwide system of ancient knowledge in the stars. photo by: Skeptiko Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:06] Welcome to Skeptiko where we explore controversial science with leading researchers, thinkers and of course their critics. One thing that especially fascinates me is things hidden in plain sight, things that are not obvious until someone points it out and then once they do, you’re like, “Yeah, I kind of knew that.” It’s hard for me to imagine a better example than the stars in the sky in the universal stories that are told about those. I mean, why all of the epic myths? Why all of the heroic warrior God adventures? And why the heck are all civilizations, from all different parts of the world, telling the same story? Think about that last one for me. So there’s this ancient guy in Polynesia sitting on a surfboard looking up at some random blob of stars, because that’s what they look like to most of us, and he’s telling the same sacred story as some Viking in Iceland who’s buried up to his waist in snow, and the same story that some African tribesmen hold sacred as something that’s been passed on forever. That’s not supposed to happen. That’s not explainable by our current understanding of how anthropology works. We don’t have any archaeological evidence to support why all of these civilizations would be connected in that way. Well today’s returning guest, David Mathisen, has almost single-handedly change the way we think about stars, and the star myths associated with them, and this hidden in plain sight kind of thing that I just talked about. His books, Star Myths of the World, Volume One, Two, Three. I think you’re up to Volume Four now, aren’t you David? David Mathisen: [00:02:07] Yeah, Volume Four is Norse Myths and it was published in 2018 Alex. Alex Tsakiris: [00:02:12] There you go see, I’m one volume behind. Hard to keep up with this guy, and he’s got a bunch of other books that will introduce you to excellent books, overwhelmingly clear convincing, I would say at this point undeniable evidence for the universal star myth hypothesis. But what’s really cool, and I know I’m going on here for a while, but I wanted to get it up to this point because what’s really cool about today’s interview and what we’re going to get into, is the messages behind those myths. So if we can get to the point of saying, “Yeah, that seems pretty undeniable,” then we ought to take the next step and say, “What might be the message behind it?” I mean, if there was some great teacher, and just put a pin in that for a second, who took the trouble to spread this perennial wisdom throughout our world, throughout ancient civilizations, throughout our planet, then maybe we want to figure out what they were trying to tell us. So that’s what we’re going to do today with my fantastic guest, star myth master, David Mathisen, who I have total respect for as a fellow seeker on the path, I [unclear 0:03:24] to you, even though in typical Skeptiko fashion of inquiry to perpetuate doubt, I’m probably going to have some contentious points with you on a couple of these issues. But that’s the kind of stuff I like to do, the level three discussion beyond the kind of usual stuff. It’s so great to have you back David. I’m so glad you initiated this because this whole conversation is taken on a life of its own that I am really, really excited to get in the middle of. So, let me step back and say, welcome and thank you for joining me.  
September 3, 2019
Sean Webb believes he’s cracked the happiness code with neuroscience and consciousness research. photo by: Skeptiko Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:06] Welcome to Skeptiko where we explore controversial science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers and their critics. As you all know by now, we cover a lot of different topics on Skeptiko, but it seems like we always return to the question of consciousness, and what’s up with that little voice inside your head and why does it seem to always be conspiring to make you unhappy? Well, that’s exactly the question of today’s guest Sean Webb has sought to answer. As a young smart successful rising star, Sean had achieved everything that should have made him happy, so when he faced the fact that he wasn’t, he decided to find out why. This eventually led to Zen meditation, a deep dive into neuroscience and a spiritual breakthrough that rapidly transformed him from a gun collecting, money driven materialist to a consciousness expert and a spiritual seeker who believes he may have cracked the code to happiness. Sounds good, right? Well, hold on a minute, because while preparing for this interview, and in true Skeptiko inquiry to perpetuate doubt fashion, I also found some points of disagreement between Sean and I with regard to consciousness. So, what you’re about to hear is an interview with a guy who’s done some truly amazing research and personal transformation work with regard to consciousness and spirituality, but what you might also hear is a good old-fashioned kind of friendly debate among seekers on the path. This is going to be fun. You rarely find people that are this intelligent and at the same time open, willing to hash things out. Sean, it’s really exciting to have you here on Skeptiko and thanks so much for joining me. Click here for Forum Discussion  Click here for Sean’s Website Sean Webb: [00:02:18] Thanks for having me Alex, it’s a real pleasure. I’ve heard your voice and number of times, from past episodes that I’ve heard that have all been interesting and I was just like, “Wow! Alex reached out, I’ve got to go.”   Alex Tsakiris: [00:02:30] Fantastic. Well, you are the author of the red book and the blue book, as you like to call it, Mind Hacking Happiness Volume I, Mind Hacking Happiness Volume II: Increasing Happiness and Finding Non-Dual Enlightenment. So if the titles and the graphics look light and funny wait until you get to that subtitle, Fighting Non-Dual Enlightenment. Sean Webb: [00:02:59] Yeah, I wish I could have thought of something a little more creative for the titles of these books but unfortunately these two books started out as one book and I just kind of had the goal of saying, hey, let’s just lay it all out there, soup to nuts, from a seeker who starts it, you know, step one of wanting to understand their mind. Well, let’s talk about all of the stuff that their mind does that blocks them from discovering the deeper truth within, so that they can understand then understand it and mess with that process, break that process and then get around that process to be able to find their deeper truth within. So the red book winds up being the first half of this huge book that was, here’s how your mind works and here’s ho...
August 28, 2019
Debra Diamond was an elite Wall Street analyst before discovering her ability to talk with the dead and dying. photo by: Skeptiko Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:00] Welcome to Skeptiko where we explore controversial science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers and their critics. I’m your host Alex Tsakiris. We all know that psychic mediums seem to offer a unique view into these extended consciousness realms that I’m always talking so much about and although the best science seems to suggest that there’s a reality to what mediums do, science is backing that up like our friend Dr. Julie Beischel has done so well. We’re also left with a lot of questions about the apparent contradictions, unanswered questions [mediumship presents]… and then we get into NDE science and it gets even more confusing. There are questions about, what is the near-death experience really all about? How does it relate to the after-death communication that mediums are bringing back? And then if we add to the mix, things like terminal lucidity, and shared NDEs, the whole field can get even more complicated. Fortunately, we have today’s guest Debra Diamond who has used her extraordinary gifts as a psychic medium along with her really amazingly keen analytical abilities, although as you’ll find out, it’s not so surprising. Her former career, where she was a very accomplished Wall Street money manager and professor at Johns Hopkins University where she taught students some of the tricks of the trade, in terms of investments and investment analysts, but she had that kind of background, and then she’s brought that with these intuitive psychic abilities that she’s honed, to bring us just a very unique and emotionally powerful perspective on the entire dying process. So, this is really, I think, going to be a terrific talk. Debra has gone way beyond afterlife communication and readings to actually doing research. I think, as I hope we talk about, some groundbreaking research in NDE science, stuff that hasn’t been done but is being approached in a scientific way. And now with this latest book that we’re going to talk about today, Diary of a Death Doula, she’s actually shared what she’s learned, going into the hospice environment and bringing everything that she knows about NDEs and about-death communication into working with people who are approaching death. This is really some amazing work. Debra your books are just great, I couldn’t stop reading I was absorbing and making notes and running out of time and that was my only limitation, but I’m really really, really glad that I’ve met you and that you’re joining me here today on Skeptiko. So thanks so much for being here.   Click here for Forum Discussion  Click here for Debra Diamond’s Website Debra Diamond: [00:02:56] Well, thank you Alex. It’s a pleasure to be here, and as I said, I’m a big fan of yours. So it’s especially great to be able to share my new book with you and talk about my first book, Life After Near Death and really this whole area, as you said in your introduction, about near-death experiences, after death, life after death and after-death communication and really this whole issue, as you pointed out,
August 13, 2019
Mary Rodwell is a trained therapist who’s 3,000+ cases suggest an ongoing genetic manipulation experiment. photo by: Skeptiko Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:00] Welcome to Skeptiko where we explore controversial science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers and their critics. I’m your host Alex Tsakiris. Now, today I know is going to be a tough show for a lot of people, because even if I tell you that during the more than six years I’ve known returning guest Mary Rodwell, that I’ve always found her to be among the most forthright, open, honest researchers in the UFO and the ET non-human intelligence contact kind of field, that’s not going to amount to much. And even if I told you, which I will, that Mary has always been among the first people to look for a scientific understanding of what she does, for academic verification of what she does, and that that’s why she collaborated with the folks from the FREE Group to compile the first academic survey of contact experience. And even if I told you that she’s world-renowned and recognized as an expert in this field and that she’s authored books, like the one you can see on the screen, The New Human: Awakening to our Cosmic Heritage. I can tell you all that stuff and in a lot of ways it just isn’t going to matter, because unfortunately the result of Mary’s research, the inevitable conclusion that she’s come to is really going to shake you to your core. It shakes me to my core still and I’ve had all of this time to marinade in it and talk with her and interview her multiple times and debate with David Jacobson, all the rest of it that we’ve done, it’s just hard stuff to take. But if anything, that’s what gives me even more respect for this woman and this amazing researcher who has stuck by her guns, stuck by her methodology and year after year has just compiled more and more evidence of this rather remarkable astonishing story that we are really part of a cosmic heritage and part of a genetic engineering, ongoing genetic engineering project that we’re really not in control of. So Mary, it is so great to talk to you again and welcome you back and thanks for joining me. Mary Rodwell: [00:02:36] Alex it’s always a pleasure. What can I say and thank you for the intro. You’re already preparing people to have their paradigm just slightly shaken and stirred. Click here for Forum Discussion  Click here for Mary Rodwell’s Website Mary Rodwell: [00:02:36] Alex it’s always a pleasure. What can I say and thank you for the intro. You’re already preparing people to have their paradigm just slightly shaken and stirred. Alex Tsakiris: [00:02:50] Well, you know, it’s funny because I posted, before this interview, a post to say, “Hey, any upcoming questions for Mary Rodwell?” And then was surprised because the Skeptiko audience is really on it. We cover all of the topics related to consciousness, extended consciousness, NDEs, contact modalities, ET, the whole thing, they’re on it. There’s still all this resistance and I get it, I understand it and I don’t need to defend you, your work stands on its own, but I just kept saying to folks, “I don’t get it.” Every way I look at her work, I cannot poke holes in her work,
August 6, 2019
Dr. Gregory Shushan’s research into near-death experience across cultures rankles skeptics and believers.   photo by: Skeptiko Alex Tsakiris: Welcome to Skeptiko where we explore controversial science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers and their critics. Now, most of us at this point accept that near-death experience science provides a unique way for serious researchers to look at some of these deep mysteries of the afterlife, but we also know that that road to discovery is filled with a lot of potholes. There are stuck in the mud academics who can’t bear the thought of having been wrong for all of those years, there are well-meaning Christians, new-agers and spiritual seekers, and I’d have to throw myself in that category, who want to claim NDEs as their exclusive domain. The barriers to really understanding the deeper implications of NDE science are many and that’s what makes it so exciting when someone like today’s guest, Dr. Gregory Shushan comes along. He’s got a new book, Near-Death Experience in Indigenous Religions, and it looks to me to be one of those books that really delves so deeply into one of the questions that has really been central to the ongoing discussion about NDE science. It’s a question that’s interested both skeptics, they’ve picked it up as their cause, and proponents, they’ve picked it up as their cause, and that is, what are we to make of NDE accounts across cultures? And a follow-on question to that is, how might those experiences have impacted those religious traditions that we see and the spiritual beliefs, which we’re going to have to deconstruct a little bit? So, the basic question usually kind of falls into, does the lack of consistency within the NDE accounts across cultures, do those mean that, as the skeptics would have us believe, and skeptics I’m just using to fill in those people in one camp who then use that to bolster their claim, that maybe this is more of a delusional kind of thing that people are creating in their head. Or another way of looking at it is, do the patterns, the deeper patterns within these accounts suggest that maybe NDEs have an even more richer, deeper influence on these cultures, all the way to maybe even being the source of the religions we see? So this is an awesome interview we have coming up, a deep dive. Anthropology, religious history, NDE science, a world-class scholar, a recognized expert in his field, it’s really, really great to welcome you Dr Shushan to Skeptiko. Thanks so much for joining me.   Click here for Forum Discussion  Click here for Dr. Shushan’s Website  Dr. Gregory Shushan: [00:03:05] Thanks Alex, and thanks for that great introduction. That was a really good summary of some of the thorny problems that this kind of research has to deal with. Alex Tsakiris: [00:03:14] Well, it’s just the beginning and I guess that’s what I appreciated about reading your book. I just mentioned off air that I feel like I missed the point in a lot of ways when we talked a few years ago, and I don’t want to beat myself up too bad because I got one point. But I kind of missed the larger point of your approach, your methodology as an academic who is looking at this in a very serious way and there are a lot of issue...
July 30, 2019
Courtney Brown talks about where remote viewing has been and where it’s headed.   photo by: Skeptiko Alex Tsakiris: … we are in the middle of disclosure. I mean the New York Times is coming out and saying, “Oh, yeah, there really are UFO videos released by the Department of Defense,” and then, you know, [original remote viewing researcher] Dr. Hal Puthoff is putting his name in there and saying, “Yes, this is all real, and ETs are real and UFOs are real,” and here you are sitting back, Dr. Courtney Brown, and this has kind of been your thing for the longest time. You’re well, well-known inside the remote viewing community as we just talked about, but have you given much thought to where are you are right now, in terms of this stuff that seems to be coming around what you’ve been talking about for so many years?  Dr. Courtney Brown: Yeah, it looks like it’s a bit of a wave but we’ve seen these waves happen before and, you know, you just have to, it’s like, just don’t believe it until you actually see it. So some people are coming out and saying some things but in terms of a mass level of disclosure, I don’t think that’s going to happen right away.    Click here for Forum Discussion  Click here for Courtney’s Website Click here for Farsight Institute Read Excerpts: 421-courtney  Alex Tsakiris: Dr. Courtney Brown, thanks for joining me. You know, I did a lengthy introduction to this interview that people will hear before they jump into this conversation, so I don’t need to go over all that again, but I did want to thank you so much for joining me. I think you’re such an important figure inside this, I guess I want to call it consciousness community. Your work is amazing. I think you’re especially important in light of everything that’s going on today, and I’m a little bit surprised when I set up this interview, I was a little bit surprised that, hey, everybody’s got to be talking to this guy about this stuff.  I mean we are in the middle of disclosure. I mean the New York Times is coming out and saying, “Oh, yeah, there really are UFO videos released by the Department of Defense,” and then, you know, the RV  original guy. Dr. Hal Puthoff is putting his name in there and saying, “Yes, this is all real, and ETs are real and UFOs are real, and here you are sitting back, Dr. Courtney Brown, and this has kind of been your thing for the longest time. You’re well, well-known inside the remote viewing community as we just talked about, but have you given much thought to where are you are right now, in terms of this stuff that seems to be coming around what you’ve been talking about for so many years?  Dr. Courtney Brown: Yeah, it looks like it’s a bit of a wave but we’ve seen these waves happen before and, you know, you just have to, it’s like, just don’t believe it until you actually see it. So some people are coming out and saying some things but in terms of a mass level of disclosure, I don’t think that’s going to happen right away.  The reason is that the mass level of disclosure where governments actually say, “Yeah, this was going on,
July 23, 2019
Mark Gober went from investment banking to writing a book that dives deep into consciousness anomalies.   photo by: Skeptiko   Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome Mark Gober to Skeptiko. Mark is a successful Silicon Valley venture capitalist and strategist turned author. He has a terrific book, An End to Upside Down Thinking, which is certainly right up our alley here on Skeptiko. Mark, thanks so much for joining me.   Mark Gober: Thank you for having me Alex.  Alex Tsakiris: So I met you through my friend Rick Archer who I can never give enough praise to for his very excellent show Buddha at the Gas Pump, which I think has really set the tone for so many of these questions about consciousness and transcending that consciousness, which your book is precursor to. I mean you have to at least be able to address the topics you’re talking about, in terms of materialism and scientific materialism in particular, but I thought Rick did a great job and then I was super excited in this interview to kind of extend that and see where we might take that beyond that. So awesome.   Mark Gober: Sounds good.   Alex Tsakiris: So I  like playing this little game that I call Skeptiko Jeopardy and I particularly like it in this case because as I mentioned, so many of the topics you’ve covered in your book, we’ve covered a million times on Skeptiko, a billion times with a million guests and a lot of the same people you’ve talked to as well.  So really, I think the cool thing about that is it’s an opportunity to kind of move past that and dig into some of the deeper questions in terms of the implications of An End To Upside Down Thinking beyond the proof.     Click here for Forum Discussion  Click here for Mark’s Website Click here to purchase Mark’s book Read Excerpts: Alex Tsakiris: But before we get there, you do have an interesting background and I’m sure people would love to hear more about that. So tell folks a little bit about this. You’re a super smart guy, a Princeton guy, and then also this outstanding tennis player. I mean Silicon Valley, you’ve kind of got it all, the whole package. Why do you want to throw it all away and pursue the spiritual path?   Mark Gober: Well, this was not planned. This is all actually pretty new for me. After I graduated from Princeton, I worked in investment banking in New York during the financial crisis, so that was 2008 to 2010. I wasn’t thinking about consciousness then at all. I left Wall Street and joined my current firm, it’s called Sherpa Technology Group, now based in Silicon Valley. I’m a partner at the firm and we advise companies on business strategy and intellectual property matters. So when innovation is involved and patents in particular, we help companies with strategy and helping them transact assets. That’s what I do by day.  It was in about August of 2016 when I first started hearing podcasts that exposed me to topics related to consciousness that I had never heard about before in any serious way, and at first I wasn’t, it didn’t like change my life or anything but I started to hear enough independent accounts that a lightbulb kind of went off,
July 16, 2019
Dr. Robert Davis’ research into peak experiences reveals multiple paths to extended consciousness realms. photo by: Skeptiko Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome Dr Robert Davis to Skeptiko. Bob is an internationally recognized expert in the field of sensory neuroscience. I was just browsing his curriculum vitae before we talked here and way beyond my comprehension, but I have to take it for what it’s worth. He’s a guy who’s had a stellar academic career, all the usual stuff, articles in scholarly papers, NIH grants, called to conferences to speak, all of this stuff.  And then, like we like to say on Skeptiko, you know, the universe knocked more or less. Bob and his wife had a rather lengthy UFO sighting a few years back that led to his first book, The UFO Phenomenon. Then he had a rather remarkable shared near-death experience or shared death experience, I should say, if you know what that is, leading to his second book, Life After Death.   And to top it all off, he has this rather remarkable Kundalini experience, a peak experience that more or less leads to his third book, and one that we’re going to talk a lot about today, Unseen Forces: The Integration of Science, Reality and You.  Click here for Forum Discussion  Click here for Bob’s Website Click here to purchase Bob’s latest book Read Excerpts: Alex Tsakiris: Bob awesome, awesome work. Thank you so much for joining me   Dr. Robert Davis: Alex, it’s really a pleasure to be with you. I’ve been listening to you for quite some time.   Alex Tsakiris: Well, great. You were telling me that a little bit beforehand and that’s always good to hear, especially because I want to try something different here. I’ve just started trying it out lately, but I really like the way that it goes because it launches us into these level three kinds of discussions, and in the email exchange we had back and forth and because you’re a listener to the show, you know what I mean when I say level 3. We don’t have to go over the basics, we don’t have to try and painstakingly deal with all of the stupid skeptical nonsense, and we can get to some of the real issues that are important to the people, like you and I who are deeply into trying to figure this stuff out. So are you ready?  Dr. Robert Davis: Oh, I’m ready. Let’s go  Alex Tsakiris: Skeptiko Jeopardy. For those who are listening along here are my categories for you. Mind Equals Brain. Biofield. NDEs versus Abductions. Different World, and we’ll explain what that means, but that’s one of the key ideas from the book. Time and Space. Peak Experience, obviously we have to get there. Xanax, I’ve got an interesting spin on how much we should rely on the medical field to save us from the spiritual emergencies that are no doubt there. Kundalini, we’ve got to talk about that. And of course, I always have God on the list because God seems to be left out of these discussions all too often.  So, Dr Robert Davis, please pick your category.   Dr. Robert Davis: Well,
July 9, 2019
Joshua Cutchin’s massive collection of Bigfoot cases points to an extended consciousness phenomenon. photo by: Skeptiko Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome the fantastic Joshua Cutchin to Skeptiko. Josh is a really remarkable researcher and author known for his insanely well-researched books, I’ve thrown a few of them up there on the screen, and on his just vast knowledge of all aspects of the paranormal. This guy, as you’ll find out as we do this show, is kind of a walking casebook of paranormal cases and you seem to be able to access those deep into your online database there at a moment’s notice, which is so fun.   This interview is long overdue. I really wanted to have you on last year to talk about your book, Thieves in the Night, an amazing book. I was late to the party, maybe we can talk a little bit about that. I know you have a new book coming out on Bigfoot and I want to make sure we talk about that. I mainly just wanted to get you on because I just so admire your work. So thanks for coming on, great to talk to you.   Joshua Cutchin: Well, thanks for the kind words. I genuinely appreciate it as someone who has listened to Skeptiko for a long time. It means a lot to live out this sort of surreal life where your hobbies and your real life sort of get mixed together. So I really appreciate it. Thank you.   Alex Tsakiris: Yeah, that is a whole funny thing isn’t it, because that’s really how we both are? I don’t want to spend a lot of time going into that because we’re both kind of pressed today, but that’d be a great topic for another conversation, is how we got into this and then again, like you just said, I totally relate, living out this kind of surreal kind of, “Am I really talking to this person?” I mean, that’s the sense I get every time. Last week I was talking to Dr Diana Pasulka and I was like, “Wow! This is fantastic.”  But the purpose for your visit today is to play Skeptiko Jeopardy, a new idea that I just invented, and you know what, this is going to be good because this is really going to move us along quickly, which we both need.  There I have nine topics up on the screen, Bigfoot, The Pope, NDEs Versus Abductions, Creating Reality, really co-creating reality, Time and Space, Pan-Paranormal, that’s who you are, Drip, Drip, Drip, Left-Hand Path and God.   So Josh, you get to pick and then we get to talk.   Joshua Cutchin: Well this is so predictable given where I am in my life, but it’s just where my head space is. I’ll take Bigfoot for a hundred Alex.  Click here for Forum Discussion  Click here for Josh’s Website Click here to purchase Josh’s books Read Excerpts: Alex Tsakiris: I like the pick; I just think you’re a little bit conservative. I would have gone, oh wait, oh Daily Double.  Joshua Cutchin: Alright.   Alex Tsakiris: So tell us what’s going on with Bigfoot. This new book looks and sounds fantastic, you’ve dug into it really far. So maybe tee that up a little bit, but then just tell us your interest in general and your bottom line on what you think Bigfoot is,
July 2, 2019
Dr. Diana Walsh Pasulka’s stellar academic background didn’t prepare her for Silicon Valley’s billionaires and their breakaway civilization. photo by: Skeptiko Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome. Dr. Diana Walsh Pasulka to Skeptiko. In 2012 today’s guest was at a high point in her career, a well-respected Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, research awards, a successful book with Oxford University Press. She had even gained tenure, which as we all know is almost impossible to do these days. Then Diana the universe winked at you, didn’t it? A colleague noted that your account of a Catholic saint and her encounter with an angel sounded a lot like a UFO story that led you to a UFO conference. You met the amazing Chris Bledsoe, who told you about his encounter with ETs that seemed more technological than biological. Next, you’re off to a UFO conference in California where you just happen to land a personal tour of your old hometown, Silicon Valley with none other than Jacques Vallée. So, quite a journey and that really set you off on this six-year journey taking you from your academic religious conferences with our friend Jeff Kripal at Rice University to harvesting  space junk from secret crashed UFOs in the New Mexico desert and with Silicon Valley meta experiencers who don’t think twice about ordering a thousand-dollar lunch from the Ritz and hopping on a private jet like an Uber and ultimately back to your roots in the deepest walls of the library of the Vatican. Click here for Forum Discussion  Click here for Diana’s Website Click here to purchase ‘American Cosmic’ Read Excerpts: Alex Tsakiris: Wow! What a story what a book. Congratulations on American Cosmic, a brilliant book and welcome to Skeptiko. Thank you so much for joining me. Dr. Diana Walsh-Pasulka: Absolutely happy to be here. Alex Tsakiris: So I really just kind of skimmed the surface which would almost sound unbelievable to anyone who heard that introduction and think, “Oh, there’s more?” But there’s like a lot more. Tell people your kind of opening line when someone bumps into you on the airplane and says, “Tell me about American Cosmic.” What do you say? Dr. Diana Walsh-Pasulka: Right. Okay. So people in my field of religious studies, this is kind of a well-known joke among us. We never tell people what we do when we’re on airplanes because you know, they will inevitably think we’re ministers or priests in the formation or something like that and want to know that type of stuff and that’s not what we do. So we are in interdisciplinary fields, you know, where archaeologists, sociologists, historians and things like that, and what we do is we don’t really weigh in on the reality of beliefs. You know, people believe in all kinds of things. They believe in Vishnu, they believe in Jesus, they believe in Muhammad and things like that and we don’t say yes or no to those, what we do is we study the effects and practices and these kinds of things. So, if somebody asks me about American Cosmic, frankly, I’d have to figure out who they were and because that bo...
June 25, 2019
Alexis Brooks interviews on extended consciousness and UFOs, and goes where mainstream media can’t. photo by: Skeptiko Click here for Forum Discussion   Click here to listen to Higher Journeys Radio Click here for Alexis’ Website Read Excerpts: Start 00:00:00 Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome Alexis Brooks to Skeptiko. Alexis is a well-known journalist into consciousness and UFO communities, as well as being a bestselling author and host of Higher Journeys Radio, a show you might have checked out if you’re at all familiar with these fields and you’ve come across her excellent work. It’s really a terrific show, some fantastic interviews with many bestselling authors, many folks that you’ve already listened to here on Skeptiko but Alexis brings so much to those interviews. It’s just a great pleasure to meet her. Alexis, thank you so much for joining me on Skeptiko. Alexis Brooks: Alex, what a pleasure and just said my namesake, I love it. You know, I’ll never forget your name. And listen, let me just say right off the bat, I have somewhat recently become familiar with Skeptiko, but I’ve got to tell you, a quick study and I’m loving it already. I think I said to you offline that we have several mutual colleagues in common, all of which sing your praises. So I am delighted to be here, honored. Alex Tsakiris: Well, I think that’s super nice of you to say. I want to give people a little bit of the background of the origins of this interview because it really did just spring from listening to your show and saying “Wow, this is the kind of stuff covered in the way, in the in-depth way that really does try and get at the deeper questions on things, that I really want to engage in conversation with.” I have this thing where I think that journalists like yourself, podcasters who are going through and reading these new books as they come out and then digesting them and assimilating that information and trying to make it fit with everything else that they’ve learned. You’re just a wealth of knowledge. I just think of all of the interviews I can do; these are the kinds that I think can be most valuable because you do have such a unique perspective and that goes beyond just kind of singing your praises or patting you on the back. I think you sit in a really unique position and I’m excited to take advantage of that and bring that to the Skeptiko audience. Alexis Brooks: Thank you. I do appreciate that, and I have to tell you, as I’m listening to all of these accolades which I don’t know that I can live up to, I will say this time and time again Alex, I am no more than my guests. I am the one who is blessed, as I think we both are, to have such a spectrum of knowledge. I say I’m the luckiest gal on the planet, that I get to engage with these clearly thought leaders that are leading the charge on what we call this new age, if you will. So every show I do, and as I said, as soon as we finish up, I’m going to be getting on with someone who I greatly respect, Neil Kramer for the third time he’ll be on my show. I learn so much. I’m really the one that’s getting the gift, I have to tell you and because I do have a natural thirst, hunger if you will for these big questions, I always have, it feels right, it’s easy to engage, to talk about things that you enjoy, absolutely. Alex Tsakiris: Well, that’s a great lead in for, just the real basic question. Who is Alexis Brooks?
June 18, 2019
Author, scholar and psychotherapist Mark Vernon traces the evolution of consciousness. photo by: Skeptiko Alex Tsakiris: Today, I’m delighted to welcome Mark Vernon back to Skeptiko. He’s got a new book coming out in a couple months, A Secret History of Christianity and he was nice enough to send me a review copy of the book. You can’t go and order it right now, but you can go and preorder it on Amazon, which is nice. The great thing about Mark and the great thing about this book is, man, he just has a way of talking about these topics that are important to me in a way that I just enjoy having a conversation about. He’s written a bunch of other books. He’s been on the show before and I thought this was a great opportunity to have him back and talk about some of the topics that we’re dealing with here on Skeptiko  and get his take, in particular his take relative to this research that he’s done on A Secret History of Christianity. Click here for forum discussion   Click here for Mark’s Website   Click here to preorder Mark’s book: A Secret History of Christianity Read Excerpts: Alex Tsakiris: I should also mention that Mark has a PhD in ancient philosophy, and I was just asking him, who’s that over his shoulder and who did you tell me it is? Mark Vernon: It is Socrates. Alex Tsakiris: It is Socrates. So the Greek great thinkers will pop up again and again probably in this dialogue and in the book. Mark is also the co-host of the Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogues, which is just outstanding, which we’ve talked about before on this show with, of course featuring Rupert sheldrake. He’s also a professional psychotherapist and along with working with individual clients there in London, he also serves his community with this great volunteer work in that area too. And that’s certainly, not only you’re to be commended for but I think it just rounds out the person that people will know you to be and find you to be, in terms of truly this person who’s engaged with the larger spiritual community and what that means. So Mark, welcome back to Skeptiko. Thanks so much for joining me. Mark Vernon: Well thanks Alex, it’s really nice to be back. I very much enjoy your show, so it’s great to contribute. Alex Tsakiris: Well, it is a contribution. You know the last time you were on I titled this show, Is Christianity Worth Saving? So that will just give people a sense for how you’re willing to go there, and that’s one of the things I really appreciate, is that we can have these kinds of discussions, much needed discussions, even though they don’t necessarily jive with where we’re coming from. It’s just great to get intelligent people to contribute to this dialogue that I’m trying to have. So, awesome, awesome stuff. Let’s see, where to start? You know where I thought we’d start is, I love this quote for you, and the larger question is, who is Mark Vernon, and then, why do you feel nervous when you’re called a Christian? Mark Vernon: Yeah. It’s because the word Christian means so many different things and I’m not sure if I want to be labeled with the thing that I’m being labeled with when the word Christian pops up, but it’s also a big part of my own story.
June 11, 2019
Alex poses four questions about our relationship to extended consciousness realms and discusses the future of Skeptiko. photo by: Skeptiko What’s this war in the heart of nature? That’s the extraordinary Jim Caviezel. Why does nature vie with itself? The land contend with the sea? From the extraordinary movie, The Thin Red Line. Is there an avenging power in nature, not one power but two? It’s a movie that poses a very big, big picture Skeptiko kind of question and in today’s show, a very rare solo show where I’m going to be pulling together a bunch of clips and asking for some input from you, in terms of directions I might go. Click here for forum discussion Click here for Alex’s book  Click here for TruthBump Episode One ft. Miguel Conner Read Excerpts  I wanted to start by playing for you a clip from a guy I really admire and have for a long time, Miguel Conner from the very excellent Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio podcast. And deeper we go my beloved truth seekers, deeper into the wastelands of matter and graveyards of broken dreams. Please allow me to introduce myself and keep you company as you’re… No need Miguel, I can do that. This clip you just heard is from a video that I’ve produced and just am releasing today on YouTube. I’m a little bit embarrassed for this because it’s taken me well over a year to figure out a way to put this together and put it out and it has some real flaws to it. The project was supposed to be a much grander project where I would bring you some of the ideas from some of the podcasters I most admire and I think are really changing our understanding of truth and reality and Miguel certainly fits that category and he’s one of the first ones I started with. So let me play you a little extended clip from this new video, which you will find on YouTube. Miguel Conner: I think the beauty of podcasting is that you can literally have a PC and a mic and very little else and you can connect with scholars in Oxford, you can connect with researchers in Australia, you can bring them into your room and then you can spread that information out. What I like about Gnosticism is that you can take it as psychologically, spiritually or material. I mean, you don’t have to believe that there are these giant Archons in heaven oppressing your life, the Archon can be the boss of your job. Write your own gospel and live your own myth and for my life, I’ve got my myth that I’m trying to live and my gospel. Carl Jung said we have inner archetypes in mythologies that reside deep within our conscious and when we bring those our we can actually start changing the narrativ...
June 4, 2019
David Sunfellow’s decades of study on near death experiences has led him to some clear-cut conclusions about the purpose of life. photo by: Skeptiko Satan: Fallen one, I am Satan, I am your god now. There is no escape. That of course is Kenny from South Park on his trip through hell. Satan: Feel the delightful pain. Saddam Hussein: Hey Satan, did you hear the news? A war just broke out up on earth. Satan: Meet Saddam Hussein, my new partner in evil. Kenny: Huh? Saddam: Move over Satan, you’re hogging all the fun. Yeah. Yeah. Man, this is getting me so hot. The playfulness that South Park creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone show in dealing with hell is truly masterful and it has a direct link to today’s show. Because as you know, beyond the love and light aspect of the near-death experience, which is overwhelmingly the most significantly reported experience, like 80%, 90% of people report that, there are are reports of hellish NDE experiences. And they are significantly under-reported. They’re under-reported by experiencers who are undoubtedly afraid of facing the ridicule and judgement that comes with saying, “Yeah, I was in hell.” People will think, “Yeah, why were you in hell, what have you done wrong that I don’t know about?” But they’re also under-reported by NDE researchers… if you’re an NDE researcher, do you really want to report the hell thing? What do you do with that? What do you do with the, often very Christian, biblical baggage that comes along with that? Do you, as some do, immediately distance yourself from it, “Oh, that can’t be real in the way that you’re thinking about it… it’s a cultural overlay.” Can we really make those kinds of assumptions? And what is the end game for making those kinds of assumptions for a consciousness that extends into and interferes with the data in the extended consciousness realm. Well these are some of the issues that we get into on today’s show with the very excellent David Sunfellow. Alex Tsakiris: …if we’re going to play the game, if we’re going to follow the data, this isn’t the data. David Sunfellow: Jeffrey Long, his research very much supports the idea that there are these hellish realms. In fact, here’s a quote from him that says, “The most frightening things that I’ve encountered in my life are not from fictional books or scary movies, but from near-death experiences with hellish content.” So he’s not saying there’s no hell, he’s just saying that God is not sending people to hell, which is a common theme among near-death experiencers as a whole. Alex Tsakiris: I think they’re saying something else. The way I read this data is, “there are a lot of scary movies out there and you may have to watch a scary movie,” that may on your path to help your overall learning and guiding of your soul to where it needs to be, but don’t take the fucking scary movie too seriously. That’s what data comes through, over and over again and says. And that’s what I guess I’m saying about Jeff Long, is yeah, what you said is technical true, but his overall conclusion is that it’s not anything to be feared, it’s part of your soul’s experience. It’s a small movie that you will walk into an walk out of. This is a deep dive into NDE research and how we might use...
May 28, 2019
Rey Hernandez’s contact with non-human intelligence has led to the most comprehensive scientific study of extended consciousness experiences and the paranormal. photo by: Skeptiko [clip from Project Blue Book] Crazy about that saucer, eh? The whole town’s on edge about it. Everyone that comes in here, that’s all they want to talk about. Well, you can tell them all it was just the weather. No aliens in Florida right now. Yeah, that we know of. That’s a clip from the new History Channel series, Project Blue Book and although some claim that the series doesn’t stick close enough to the real history of the US government’s investigation into UFOs and ET contact, I would suggest that it does a pretty good job of reminding us of that history and documenting that history. Because, of course, the problem is, real science of this kind, the kind that Dr Allen Hynek in Project Blue Book was trying to do, is hard to come by. Rey Hernandez: We had numerous PhD academics involved in this. We had a PhD statistician involved, Dr Russell Scalpone. We had the advice of Dr Dean Radin throughout this process. So it was really a collaborative research effort with academics and researchers. Alex Tsakiris: This is a total paradigm shift. I don’t care how much you’ve studied UFOs. I don’t care how on the cutting-edge you think you are of conspiracy, alt news, whatever. What we’re asking people to do is take that leap to say, “Okay, well then somebody has to study what’s going on, and here’s a guy who studied it, and he studied it scientifically and now let’s talk about his findings.” And we’re talking about fricking reptilians versus greys versus spirit beings and we’re comparing and contrasting the percentage of people who said they had this kind of contact or that kind of contact. So before I get onto this interview with the very excellent Rey Hernandez, who has nearly single-handedly created this entire movement of the scientific investigation of contact experiences and he’s drawn to them some of the brightest and most important advanced thinkers we have of our time. I just can’t say enough about what he’s done and about what he reveals in this interview. But before we get to that interview and my poking at Rey, which you’ve got to know I’m going to do, let me return to the Project Blue Book clip, because there’s another interesting little point from that scene that relates to today’s interview. So the lights on the game would have given out approximately 50,000 Lumens. On a clear night, 5,000 feet, that would diffuse to approximately 100th of that, taking into account the fraction, wind current, the fact that the balloons, cone shapes. What are you saying? Did you just put on that song? Yeah, why? In your notes you said that Fuller said, the song, that song, told him that he was in danger and you’ve just put it on. Because one of the findings from Rey’s work, and a messy finding it is, is that the UFO, ET stuff cannot be easily separated from all of that which we call paranormal. Rey Hernandez: These were overwhelming positive experiences. Number two, it resulted in a positive transformation of the experiencer. Number three and four is that these experiences were primarily not physical, they were primarily paranormal. That was number three. Number four is that these experiences involve a manipulation of space-time. Stick around, I have a great chat coming up with Rey Hernandez.
May 21, 2019
Anthropologist Dr. Brian Hayden traces the long history of using supernatural claims to grab power. photo by: Skeptiko Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you have been witness to the unspeakable horrors of the defendant’s heinous crimes. That’s a clip from the new Netflix movie about Ted Bundy. For years I’ve carried this guilt that I’m to blame for everything. And yeah, we’re back to talking about the nature of evil. it’s about another missing girl, isn’t it? Ted, did you do it? No. Not because I’m drawn to it but because avoiding it may be missing an opportunity to more fully understand, what I keep calling this extended consciousness realm. Now as it turns out, today’s guest, the very excellent Dr Brian Hayden, has studied this evil, if you will, from a whole different perspective that traces it back to our earliest recorded history and what he’s discovered may cause you to rethink everything you think you know about evil. Alex Tsakiris: Ted Bundy is back in the headlines through doing this big movie and everyone’s excited about it. Dr Brian Hayden: Right. Alex Tsakiris: The secret story and Ted Bundy, if you really dig into it, satanic worship again, and then he meets other folks were going, “Yeah, I’m connected with these spiritual forces,” and he is now trying to make this connection with the malevolent spiritual… Dr Brian Hayden: Yeah, but he’s buying into a system that he feels is going to be able to let him do what he wants to do and that system, that conceptual system is really a product of secret societies and institutionalized religions. It didn’t exist before that. Alex Tsakiris: Unless there’s a reality to it, right? Dr Brian Hayden: Well, that’s an open question. Is it one of our constructs, another self-serving construct of secret societies or is there any reality to it? And that is an open question. Stay with me for my conversation with Dr Brian Hayden. Click here for forum discussion Click here for Brian’s website Read Excerpts  Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome Dr Brian Hayden to Skeptiko. Brian is a member of the Royal Society of Canada for his contributions in archeology and had a distinguished career at Simon Fraser University, during which he authored several important academic books and many, many papers exploring the prehistory of religion, ritual and our relationship with the supernatural, just to name a few topics. Brian, welcome to Skeptiko and thanks so much for joining me. Dr Brian Hayden: Well thank you, it’s a pleasure to be here. Alex Tsakiris: Let’s start with the very basics, improve on my intro, who is Brian Hayden? Dr Brian Hayden: Well, I’m an archeologist, but I’ve always been trying to find out what the archeological remains represent, in terms of what people did, how they organized their societies,
May 14, 2019
Investigative reporter Sarah Westall dives deep into the the insidious cycle of human trafficking, prostitution and human compromise. photo by: Skeptiko (clip from the Sopranos) Forget it, this game is not for you. No, it’s just, you know, I was thinking it would be a kick. Davey, you’re a nice guy, I like you, okay? But trust me, this game’s not for you. I don’t want to see you get hurt. That’s a scene from the Sopranos. Here Tony is luring his lifelong friend into a card game that he can’t afford. …You told me not to get in the game. Why do you let me do it? Well, I knew you had this business here Davey, it’s my nature. The frog and the scorpion, you know? Hey, you’re not the first guy to get busted out. This is how a guy like me makes a living, this is my bread and butter. Yeah, the scorpion and the frog, isn’t that the way it is? I mean, some of us are just put here to exploit other people, that’s what we do. Sarah Westall: …he ended up working for the New York Police Department. They brought him in and said, “Can you figure out what’s going on with this prostitution problem that we have?” So, he was put in charge of figuring out prostitution. He said it took him three weeks to figure out that everything we’d learned about prostitution was BS. Prostitution, at its core, is about human trafficking. The majority, 99% of them are forced to be there and if they don’t do their work, the stuff that happens to them is really incredible. Then he also talks about the human compromise, the human compromise at the very highest levels. Admirals in the military, CEOs, people running for president. Alex Tsakiris: So compromise… I get a prostitute thing, and when I say prostitute, that may conjures up the wrong image, because in some cases, yes, it is some woman and we can imagine it like Pretty Woman in the movie [even though it’s not], but in other cases we can’t even pretend  it’s that.. when it’s an 11-year-old boy or a 9-year-old girl, or all of these other really sick things that are out there. But let’s lump all of that together and [call it prositution], then we have some room in the back of an apartment that has a bunch of hidden cameras and microphones in it, the target is going to be lured back in there and then at the end of the day the person who was taping it, the person who has that stuff is going to go and knock on that guy’s door and say, “Look what I’ve got, what are you going to do now?” Or, “I’ll tell you what you’re going to do now.” I’ve explored this topic before on Skeptiko, and I’ve always come at it more from the spiritual angle, in terms of the nature of evil Because the Crowleyan, Luciferian, “Do what thou wilt,” fuzzy morality around evil never seemed very satisfying to me, and I wanted to approach the topic from that direction.  What’s interesting about today’s show, with the extraordinary investigative journalist who you just heard, Sarah Westall, is that she takes us into the same evil from a different direction, the pragmatic, Tony Soprano, get things done perspective. Sarah Westall is doing great work and I commend her for bravely covering this topic that is systematically and intentionally ignored by the mainstream media for reasons that are all too obvious.
May 7, 2019
Dr. Philip Goff is a philosophy professor who dares to challenge biological-robot-meaningless-universe party line. photo by: Skeptiko (clip from Dr. Strange) I spent my last dollar getting here you’re talking to me about healing through belief… You’re a man looking at the world through a keyhole and you spent your whole life trying to widen that keyhole to see more to know more and now on hearing that it can be widened in ways you can’t imagine you reject the possibility. I reject it because I do not believe in fairy tales about chakras, or energy, or the power belief there is no such thing as spirit. That’s a clip from the 2016 mega sci-fi hit Doctor Strange. This scene really captures a  scientist at the tipping point. We are made of matter nothing more… just another tiny momentary speck within an indifferent universe. You think too little of yourself. Oh you think you see through me doing what you don’t, but I see through (Dr. Strange is thrown out of his body)… what was that? I pushed your astral form out of your physical body. What’s in that tea? psilocybin? LSD? Just tea, with a little honey. Of course wouldn’t it be great if it was that simple, but the  transition from the materialistic scientific paradigm into what lies beyond is anything but clean, and there are a lot of hangeroners as today’s guest Dr. Philip Goff (author of Galileo’s Error) has experienced. Philip Goff: There is a philosopher who’s very good friend of mine a very warm and pathetic guy very kind cares about the world but he doesn’t think consciousness exists it’s always incredible to me that it you know in a sense he thinks you know no one has ever really felt pain. I think one of the big problems in that position is all of scientific knowledge is mediated through consciousness… thinking that you could have scientific evidence that consciousness doesn’t exist is a bit like thinking astronomy can tell us that there are no telescopes. But one of the questions for me is how much of this hangeroner stuff should we tolerate, should we accept as just part of the change process, versus calling it for what it is: Alex Tsakiris: you know in academia it’s really easy who gets the grants? who gets promoted? who doesn’t get promoted? who doesn’t get tenure? they get pruned off the tree and at the end of the day you wind up with what we have now. we wind up with you debating with Jerry Coyne, which again I  know I get push back when I say this, but he’s just really incompetent. I’ve had him on the show and he just… just gets major things wrong that he’s supposed to know about. and yet he’s put forward and propped up. He’s at University of Chicago, been around forever, and this goes on and on. so that that’s the social engineering project, not that people don’t legitimately believe [in materialism] it’s just that the people who are really thinking this thing through are not presented as credible.
April 23, 2019
Self-described materialist-atheist, Tom Jump debates near-death experience science. photo by: Skeptiko   stop humming that song that’s Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg from the movie, The Other Guys could you not smile like that… now you’re asking me to mask my emotions because of how it makes you feel and that I will not… stop being so overtly happy about doing shit work you moron hey guys reminder the police union picnics coming up this weekend my wife’s making her famous deviled eggs again my waistline is furious — it’s a bad time Bob  I have an interview coming up in a minute with Tom Jump, a self-described materialist atheist who contacted me, and took me up on my “anytime-anywhere” offer regarding debating in NDE science skeptics. And even though the interview wasn’t nearly as tense as that interaction between Farrell and Walberg, it did get me thinking about how hard it can be to tolerate other people. I mean, I’ve been going at this for a long time and I’ve interviewed plenty of skeptics so I know the process can be very frustrating. As you’ll hear in this interview, the funny thing about skeptics is they don’t seem to care about the things they say they care about, like science and logic and reason. I’ve dug into the near-death experience science quite thoroughly so I don’t have to pull any punches in this introduction and I can point out how incredibly weak Tom’s home-cooked theory is, but I got to tell you, it’s really no weaker than a lot of the skeptics I’ve had on the show who’ve published academic papers, of course that begs the question what’s really going on but since that’s a level two question and this is a level one discussion I don’t think we’re going to get there. So, while TJump’s grasp of near-death experience science may not be that solid, are his blind spots any worse than what we regularly run into with Fundy Christians, and radically sounding Muslims, not to mention pedo Pope supporters and wacky Zionists. where can we turn? oh and don’t let me forget we have to remain spherically neutral or we might upset the Flat Earth crowd. there’s Lib-tard-trans craziness and legitimately scary alt-right maniacs right there alongside people who can’t stand me talking about UFOs even though they’re on the front page of the New York Times. So, in that mix do I really need to be upset that TJump doesn’t know Pim van Lommel’s and has never heard of Sam Parnia or any of the other near-death experience researchers? Heck no, in fact, I give him credit for stepping into the arena and trying to defend the indefensible. Click here for forum discussion Click here for TJump’s YouTube channel  Read Excerpts 0:05 – 0:10 so Alex thanks for coming on you’ve done
April 9, 2019
Robert Forte has lived at the center of the psychedelics/entheogens/mind control revolution. photo by: Skeptiko Do you know where you are, right now? I’m in a drug trial. What do you think is wrong with you? I’m sick. That I don’t matter. That’s Emma Stone and Jonah Hill participating in a futuristic drug experiment in the Netflix series, Maniac. What would you say this trial is showing you about yourself? Is this therapy now? It’s not therapy, it’s science. Science indeed. I mention that the show is futuristic but it’s cleverly not futuristic because, as many of you know, the history of government sponsored, pharmaceutical-based, social engineering mind-control stuff is well established. But we might even take it one step further, as today’s guest Robert Forte does, and say that the history of psychedelic drugs is a microcosm of the history of religion (Entheogens and the Future of Religion). Alex Tsakiris: I really want to understand how you’re juggling these two things, because what I hear from Wasson is this both and kind of thing. Yeah, he’s a lying ass, CIA lifetime player, yes, but I also get the sense that he’s someone who either before, during or after, has woken up to the larger reality that he’s stumbled into or that he’s been pushed into. Robert Forte: Well, I’m glad you put it that way because I’m still kind of… when I think back to my meetings with Wasson, he had a very peculiar personality around me. I think there was some genuine affection and respect for me as a young man, who really wanted to understand what was going on. You know, I don’t really know, I’d really love to go back into his archives and read more of his letters. I gave a lecture in New York shortly after my realization of his relationship to the American fascists and then my access to the archives was denied. Now, this is another one of those level-3 Skeptiko conversations that kind of goes in a lot of different directions, including the LSD movement versus the LSD movements. We talk a lot about Timothy Leary, since today’s guest spent quite a bit of time with him. We talk about his early history. His experience with the CIA. His claim that the CIA wasn’t all bad in the early ‘50s but then they turned bad and he turned against them. And I love Leary’s quote that a third of what he said was bullshit, a third of what he said was dead wrong and a third of what he said was a base hit, but a 333-batting average makes you a Hall of Famer. We also talk about Aleister Crowley and whether he really was the sick puppy he seems to be and how he’s involved in this mind-control thing. And of course, we talk about Robert’s amazing journey through this entire psychedelics, entheogen thing, including his relationship with clandestine CIA operative, Gordon Wasson. We also talk about Ram Dass, Neem Karoli Baba and contrast Ram Dass to Timothy Leary in some ways you might find interesting if you’re at all into that stuff. This guy Robert Forte is quite an amazing figure in history that you probably haven’t heard about. Stick around for my interview. I think you’ll really enjoy it.
March 26, 2019
Dr. Jeffery Martin thinks he has cracked the code to well-being — an impressive list of researchers agree. photo by: Skeptiko Intro Meow. What a bitch, am I right? That’s James Franco from the movie The Interview. No, you’re not right. He’s not being a bitch. He’s completely right. He’s motherfucking peanut butter and jealous. He’s not jealous. Talking about haters. Now, the interview I have coming up with Jeffery Martin is quite long, extensive, talks about a million different things (including his new book, The Finders). But one of the points I had to pull out, because it just intrigues me, is the hater aspect of it. Here’s a guy, who by all accounts, has made some major strides in advancing the ball, in terms of our understanding of consciousness and more importantly, our understanding of how the transcending of consciousness, in a kind of non-dual way, relates to wellbeing. So, there’s some social science research combined with some practical shut-up and meditate stuff that is truly stunning. But, haters gonna hate. Alex Tsakiris: It’s so unique what you’ve done, we just can’t stress that enough. Whether people like it or don’t like it, whether you’re that grumpy Buddhist neuroscience type who’s sitting there going, “This isn’t it,” or whether you’re a spiritual seeker who’s so attached to your own tradition that you feel like this guy is going to take the secret sauce out of what you already know. There are all sorts of reasons to be a hater on this stuff, and I’m sure you’ve encountered all of them. Jeffery Martin: Yeah, we have a scientific framework, not a religious framework. I’m not a religious scholar. We have had such a massive amount of hostility directed at us in recent years as we’ve conducted these experiments and as we have been, sort of more routinely transitioning people from these various systems. And we’ve done, I feel like a lot of outreach. We’ve allowed a lot of people from those systems to use our programs for free or even subsidizing them in other ways or even adapting things in other ways and allowing them to run them in person, because they’re more comfortable running things in person. I feel like we’ve done as much as we can do to really sort of reach out and yet there’s still just such hostility that comes from those folks. I mean, how happy can you really be if you’re that hostile? If you’re really experiencing this stuff, it’s hard to be that hostile. Like I said, there’s a lot to this interview and I’m tempted to stack up a bunch of clips, so you listen to, what I think are all of the most important parts of this interview. But I’m not going to do that, I’m just going to throw it to the wind and see what you pull out of it. Stick around, my interview with Dr Jeffery Martin is up next on Skeptiko. Click here for forum discussion Click here for Dr. Jeffery Martin’s Website
March 12, 2019
Gordon White of Rune Soup returns to talk Magic, ET and neo-liberal social engineering? photo by: Skeptiko I’m not much of a sci-fi fan. David (from the movie Prometheus): Am I interrupting, I thought you might be running low? But maybe I should be more of one. Charlie Holloway: Pour yourself a glass pal. David: Thank you, but I’m afraid it would be wasted on me. Charlie Holloway: You think we wasted our time coming here, don’t you? That’s a clip from Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. David: Your question depends on the understanding of what you hope to achieve by coming here. Charlie Holloway: What we hoped to achieve was to meet our makers, to get answers. Why they even made us in the first place. And darn, if it doesn’t get right to the heart of the issue. David: Why do you think your people made me? Charlie Holloway: We made you because we could. David: Can you imagine how disappointing it would be for you to hear the same thing from your creator? Why does it seem like we are compelled to try and “create better than the creator Gods,” as my friend Miguel Conner says. And why do I get so pissed off when I learn that that’s exactly what we’ve been doing? Alex Tsakiris: They weren’t doing this from a shamanic or a magic perspective, they were doing it, as near as we can tell, “Let’s figure out how the fucking aliens do it and do it the same way. Let’s see if we can break people open in order so that we might perfect this technology.” That’s what intrigues me Gordon, what if there really is a technology component to this? And in that respect, maybe we would look at the shamanic and the magic traditions that you’re talking about in a different perspective. Gordon White: I would just say, before we talk about the technology thing, if we are comparing the projects there of trying to weaponize these capacities of these children, that is kind of trying to break into the spirit world, and the word shaman is culturally bound, we all know that, we know what we’re talking about. What you will find in cultures that has this as a function within it, is that the spirits choose them. So, you don’t torture all of the children in a tribe, you find the ones that the spirits have picked and go, “Unfortunately for you my little son or daughter, you’re not going to have a very good life. You get to be the shaman.” So, as you might have figured out by now, today’s guest is Gordon White of Rune Soup. Someone I feel like I can open up to about all of my deepest, darkest extended consciousness fears and that’s what we do in this interview, along with me doing my usual poking and prodding, but who better to do that with than folks that you genuinely like and respect. Stick around for my interview with Gordon White. Click here for forum discussion Click here for Gordon’s Rune Soup Website/Podcast Read Excerpts
March 5, 2019
Bryan and Anthony from the Badventist podcast, can Christians access extended consciousness? photo by: Skeptiko Sometimes people say to me, “Pastor Jeff, how do you know there’s a God?” and I say, “It’s simple math. God either exists or he doesn’t.” So, let’s be cynical, worst-case scenario, there’s a 50/50 chance, and I like those odds. That’s wrong. That’s a clip from Young Sheldon, a TV show about a brainiac kid who likes to tell adults how stupid they are and how smart he is for following science and logic. You’ve confused possibilities with probabilities. According to your analogy, when I go home, I might find a million dollars on my bed or I might not. In what universe is that 50/50? Alex Tsakiris:  Now, if you’ve listened to this show very much you know that the science versus religion debate (non-debate), is an itch I can’t resist scratching… …And when I say, is Christianity worth saving, why is it necessary? I mean, it’s really cool that if you travel to a foreign country and you get really sick that you have a network that you can tie into. That’s awesome on a practical level, but on a spiritual level, if that is based on some things that are not true, in the way that we normally think about things being true, have you kind of made some compromises there that may inhibit your spiritual growth? Bryan: I struggled with that question, like, oh yeah, why don’t I study Sufism or pickup Zen Buddhism? Alex Tsakiris:  That’s Bryan Nashed from The Badventist podcast. Bryan’s a young guy in his early 20s who along with his podcasting partner Anthony joined me today to rehash these questions about Christianity and about, regardless of whether or not it can hold up to the scrutiny of Young Sheldon, it might still offer a language with which to access the very real, scientifically established, realms of extended consciousness. Bryan: The answer that I came up with was, “Oh, because the Christian language that I grew up with is the most accessible language for me to interact with the spiritual.” Alex Tsakiris:  Stick around, my interview with Bryan and Anthony from The Badventist podcast is coming up on Skeptiko. Today we welcome Bryan and Anthony from The Badventist podcast. Two young guys who are really blazing a new trail in the progressive Christian movement. I met Bryan a few months ago and he helped me out a great deal with some Skeptiko projects and then I was super excited to hear that he had started his own podcast along with Anthony. I listened to a couple of them and I thought they were so relevant to some of the topics that I’ve been haranguing people about lately, that I really wanted to have these guys on. Click here for forum discussion Click here for Badventist Podcast Read Excerpts Bryan: Thanks so much for having us in our cartoonishly large headpho...
February 19, 2019
Kevin Day, was a TOPGUN Navy Air Controller when he was thrust into one of the biggest UFO events in history. photo by: Skeptiko Sunday, November 14th, 2004, morning. The Nimitz deck crews busy launching F/A-18F Super Hornets helicopters and E-2 Hawkeye electronic warfare planes. The mission – simulated air defense… That’s a clip from the very excellent documentary that you’ll find on YouTube, The Nimitz Encounters, and we’ll get back to that in a minute. But first… First this morning we’re going to be talking to Leslie Kean, New York Times reporter who first reported on the Navy departments release of UFO footage that really changed the world.  It was one of history’s most important stories and I’m very proud… Now, that was Whitley Strieber interviewing, of course, Leslie Kean who you’ve heard on this show who broke the New York Times story, the obvious, at least to me, politically controlled PSYOP release of UFO information. But I want to play that clip because Whitley does put it in perspective. This is the biggest news story ever and if Whitley’s too [alt-alt 00:01:13] media for you, go to Fox News. UFOs have captivated the public interest for decades, but they’ve always been dismissed, including by me, as the province of whackos, but that is changing, thanks to some remarkable video tape and first-hand accounts from very sober people who are trained to identify aircraft. These are aircraft apparently that are moving in ways that appear to violate physics, that are flying very differently from any aircraft ever observed and way faster than any plane that we know any foreign country has. What is this? That’s of course Tucker Carlson doing a mea culpa on the UFO thing. So, the point being, how could this have happened right under our noses, right during our watch and why do so many people still not get it? Well, some people get it. Nearby, the guided missile cruisers USS Princeton has been tracking unknown aircraft that appear and disappear from her sophisticated Aegis radar screens. The SPY-1 radar is one of the most advanced sensors ever deployed. The Princeton’s main role is air defense of the Strike Group for the past few days. Senior Chief, Kevin Day, has noticed these peculiar craft appearing on his radar screen, and some… That’s today’s guest, Kevin Day (author of Sailor’s Anthology). 20-year Navy veteran and TopGun Intercept Controller who was drawn right in the middle of not only one of the [biggest UFO disclosure events in history], but into the middle of a UFO contact experience. Kevin Day: After this now famous Commander Fravor intercept happened, I went back up into combat and I found one of these things on the radar and I got the relative bearing from the ship. I went up topside and I looked at that thing through the Big Eye binoculars and I think that’s the moment, if I had to say there was a moment, that was probably it, when I saw it with my eyeball. Whatever affected me happened then. I mean, when Chakataya [sp] told me that I was incredibly important to what’s about to happen, I didn’t know what to think.
February 12, 2019
Dr. Christopher White traces multidimensional science concepts through spiritual thinking. photo by: Skeptiko I keep having these vivid dreams like thinking weird things. What sorts of things? If you’re watching any popular TV shows or movies about the future of technology, like this clip from Netflix is Black Mirror, you know the future. Your fate is being dictated. You’re not in control. And you know it’s not very good. Today’s guest look past the dystopia and sees something else. Alex Tsakiris: Where you were going and reaching towards with the shared near-death experience and Raymond Moody and the higher-ordered geometry, is there the possibility to actually imagine a higher-ordered science that already exists and then where does that take us? Chris White: Well, maybe. Certainly, one thing that you find, when you study the history of science in the last 150 years, is that scientists have been pretty committed to policing the boundaries of their disciplines. One thing that they rule out is any kind of philosophical or even spiritual reflection, right? You see that, in my first book that I mentioned earlier, it looked pretty closely at the history of social sciences, you know, sociology, psychology, psychiatry, science is a mind and brain. And one thing that the founders of those disciplines really work hard at is squeezing out any mention of any kind of spiritual thing, or any, even philosophical questions. Maybe you’re right, that in the future, when scientists and social scientists are less allergic to or less afraid of thinking about these other orders of existence or thinking about spirit, maybe that opens up a whole new way of thinking about and doing science. I really enjoyed having Dr Chris White on Skeptiko today and we talked about other topics like whether much of this dark, dark dystopic, apocalyptic science stuff is socially engineered… is designed to make us feel even more isolated, afraid, alone? It certainly keeps us away from any kind of deeper examination of spirituality. So, it’s a great chat with a very distinguished and deep thinker. Stick around for my interview with Chris White.  Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome Dr Christopher G White to Skeptiko. He’s here to talk about his new book, Other Worlds: Spirituality and the Search for Invisible Dimensions. Now, I don’t usually read a lot of book blurbs on this show, but this is a really good one. So, let me read this in, because it will give you an idea of where he’s coming from. “For a long time people have argued that the rise of science has caused the decline of religion. Other Worlds, this book, presents a different perspective, showing that modern Europeans and Americans often use scientific ideas in imaginative ways to develop new enchanted views of nature. The book examines the history and imaginative power of one scientific idea in particular, an idea that has been crucial to modern physics, as well as modern science fiction, and that is the idea that the universe has a higher invisible dimension.” Very, very nice. I should also mention, real quickly, that Chris, I’m going to call him Chris here, has a PhD from Harvard and is Professor and Chair of Religion at Vassar, one of the top liberal arts colleges in the United States....
February 5, 2019
Conner Habib is a sex workers’ rights advocate with a rigorously intellectual take on spirituality. photo by: Skeptiko Charlie Chaplin, The Great Emperor: “I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there’s room for everyone and the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone, the way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men’s souls”. Alex Tsakiris: So, if you are materialistically focused and you’re disconnected from the spiritual compassionate part, we can all see that and point at that and go, “Oh, how terrible.” But when we see the atheist Heather Berg, USC disconnect, we’re unable to do the same and say, “Well, your compassion is disconnected from the deeper spiritual reality.” “It cries out for universal brotherhood, for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world. Millions of despairing men, women and little children, victims of the system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.” Conner Habib: Ask ourselves consistently “Am I evil?” It’s almost like the opposite of, if you can ask yourself if you’re crazy, then you’re not crazy. If you can ask yourself if you’re evil, then you actually do have the potential to become evil, because if you never ask, then you’re just in this way of compulsive sleepwalking forces, like everybody else, and nothing you do is really evil, but also nothing you do is really good. Like, you’re not really acting out of intention at all, so you’re not really able to extend to love and compassion for a real and an intentional purpose, for a meaningful way to people. And that is the gift of the possibility of evil to us, that’s the gift of free will to us, is that, the separation, the ability to do evil means that if we look at that, we ask ourselves that, then we can do good in the world. I have an interview coming up in a minute with Conner Habib, and you just heard both of us talking over the very great and famous Charlie Chaplin clip from the The Great Dictator. And while I almost feel like we can’t possibly do justice to a clip like that, I did want to set the stage for a discussion that I feel like has been going on in the background here on Skeptiko for a while, and that is the link or maybe better said, the disconnect between spirituality and progressive social thinking. I mean, when you listen to Charlie Chaplin, who the heck disagrees with any of that? But at the same time, does anything Charlie Chaplin is saying there, does any of that make any sense, if there isn’t a larger spiritual reality? So, in this interview we talk about that. It takes us a little while to get there, there’s a lot of other things that Conner and I talk about. It was a great chat, a really interesting chat, and I appreciate having the opportunity to talk to Conner, since I’ve known him for quite some time and he’s never been on Skeptiko.
January 29, 2019
Robert Schwartz is a hypnotherapist who believes patients can discover their pre-life plan. photo by: Skeptiko … scientists tell us that the giant tsunami wave that devastated Southeast Asia in 2004 wasn’t as big as we usually imagine. It’s not that they got hit by a 20-foot-tall wave, as depicted here in the 2012 movie, The Impossible. It’s that they got crushed by a 20-foot wall of water that was miles and miles deep… and the human suffering that it brought is unimaginable… hundreds of thousands died… millions of lives were destroyed… and the devastation will go on for generations. But maybe not. Robert Schwartz: You’ll remember that a number of years ago there was a natural disaster in Southeast Asia, there was a typhoon and monsoon that killed about 100,000 people. I’ve asked about that event in the research I’ve done for planning Your Soul’s Gift and what I was told, in the channeling sessions, is that those 100,000 or so souls, before they were born, they looked at the earth and they said basically, “We would like the earth, as a planet, as a whole, to be in a certain frequency or vibration by a certain in linear time, and if it looks as if the earth is not going to get there, we agree to give our lives in a large scale natural disaster, because we know that the result of that disaster will be a worldwide outpouring of love and support and aid and compassion that will elevate the frequency of the entire plant. Alex Tsakiris: I think for a lot of people, including myself, that’s just an unsatisfying answer. Let me be clear, I don’t mean to be dismissive or condescending of today’s guest, Robert Schwartz. I believe he’s a true spiritual seeker and someone who dedicates his life to helping people and I don’t know if he’s right or wrong about the soul’s plan, raise the consciousness of the planet thing. I don’t know, but I want to know, at least, I want to investigate the best that I can. I want to have this level three discussion beyond the complete denial that consciousness exists and be on the Pollyanna, good-natured but misguided acceptance of every opinion on the matter. I want to get to level three. Intelligent, earnest, truth seekers like Rob, who are trying to figure out what all of this means. Stick around. My interview with Robert Schwartz about what goes on between lives is coming up next on Skeptiko. Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome Robert Schwartz to Skeptiko. Rob is a trained hypnotherapist who helps guide people through past life regressions. He’s also the author of two very popular books, Your Soul’s Plan: Discovering the Real Meaning of the Life You Planned and Your Soul’s Gift. Rob, welcome to Skeptiko, thanks for joining me. Robert Schwartz: Thank you Alex, it’s a pleasure to be here with you.
January 22, 2019
Ed Opperman is a private investigator turned podcaster who changed my beliefs, but not his own. photo by: Skeptiko … today’s show is about changing your mind changing, your beliefs, but as often happens on these shows it turned into a something else. I mean, how else can you explain how I could go from this: Alex Tsakiris: … [Ed] you seem to follow data wherever it leads. That’s what I care about. And that’s what I hear from your show. It’s awesome. It’s rare. To this: Ed Opperman: …well, I would end it there because, you want to change my mind, I don’t think it’s gonna happen. I don’t have to justify my faith to you. What’s your need to change my mind? Alex Tsakiris: I get that it sounds like I’m desperate to change your mind, I’m really not. This is the Skeptiko process for me — follow the data wherever it leads. I see in you someone who’s following the data, and then when it comes to this topic it’s like, ‘no, I don’t really need to follow that data.’ I hear this all the time, people say ‘I’m a smart guy if that was true I would know it.’ So, this episode has a lot of layers to it and I’m tempted to pull them all apart and lay them all out and explain them, but I don’t really think that’s what you want, or what I want. I want to let you know up front that the episode has a lot of political flavor to it, but not for the sake of politics, this is an episode about what I used to believe, why I believed it, and I came to change those beliefs. Click here for forum discussion Click here for Ed’s website Read Excerpts Alex Tsakiris: I’m a, follow the data wherever it leads, guy, I’m interested in the spiritual understandings that we can gain from analyzing the data in that way and I’m just a little bit surprised by the Christian, born again thing, on your part. Ed Opperman: Okay. I’ve read the Bible, probably a dozen times, back to back, I’ve read The New Testament probably about 30 times, probably more. Like I said, I live this. Alex Tsakiris: But, the Bible in not reliable in the way that most Christians think it is. Ed Opperman: Well, I would end it there because do you want to change my mind? I don’t think it’s going to happen. Do I have to justify my faith to you? What’s your need to change my mind? Alex Tsakiris: I don’t have a need. I get that it sounds like I’m desperate to change your mind, I’m really not. I’m pointing out, in the same way that this, to me, is the process, this is the Skeptiko process, for me. It’s like, follow the data wherever it leads, and I see in you someone who’s following the data and then when it comes to this, it’s like, “Well no, I don’t really need to follow that data because I’ve already done it.” It’s like I hear all the time from people,
January 8, 2019
Marisa Ryan has undergone rigorous testing of her skills as a medium, so what does she know about the big stuff? photo by: Skeptiko …On this episode you’re going to hear from a medium who is really really good. I say that because she’s been tested by somebody I rely on in terms of after-death communication research and that’s Dr. Julie Beischel… so our guest (Marisa Ryan) has been tested and certified at the highest level and that’s really cool because it means you can ask her anything and she has all the answers, right?Well, not exactly but you can still ask her anything. You can ask her all these deep big picture questions. here is some of the stuff I asked her. …this is kind of insane, I mean I’m asking the biggest questions and I’m just turning them over to Marisa because she can talk to Spirit. For example, these people in these laboratory settings are able to have precognitive experiences. Well, what the hell does that mean? …I’ve had other guests on the show that have said our understanding of reincarnation is  mistaken because of our misunderstanding about time and that we’re really living multiple lives simultaneously?…let’s talk about near-death experience and mapping out these extended Consciousness Realms. I mean, what is the near-death experience from a spirit standpoint? What is spirit telling us? Why do people have those how are they different from OBE, astral travel, lucid dreaming?So it was really cool to talk to Marisa. So cool that when we’re done I couldn’t resist asking her to do a reading for me… and I paid for it… no quid pro quo… but I wanted to see if she could do it do for me and since one of the big things going on in my life as the father of four teenagers… as long as you stretch that age limit a little bit… so I asked her questions about parenting. So I don’t play that whole reading because it’s kind of personal, but I can tell you a little anecdote that I think is significant to make and that’s that we’re doing this reading and she connects with my father on the other side in Spirit form, if you I believe all this stuff, which if you’re listening to this, I guess you probably do, or at least open to it. So I’m like “Dad, come on, help me out here.”Here’s the point. What would you expect put a female nurturing medium who is a mother herself to say in this situation? If you were skeptical, and thought she’s just going to say some standard stuff. What would you expect her to say?  How about this? “Like I hear I’m saying.What do you mean I’m supposed to jump in and help. You’re on your own.”Well, I got to tell you when she said that I nearly fell off my chair because that’s my Dad. That’s my dad to a tee. I can’t tell you how many times he said that exact phrase. So this is the part of medium readings that is hard to convey to people who are not convinced, or super skeptical, who don’t want to try or be open to something more. It’s not about the data. The data is great. The research of Dr. Julie Beischel confirming statistically that this stuff happens is statistically significant… that’s grea...
December 21, 2018
The post Steve Briggs, Meditation and Indian Yogis Lead to ET |397| appeared first on Skeptiko - Science at the Tipping Point.
December 11, 2018
Mark Booth’s view of our secret history looks way beyond churchy Christianity. photo by: Skeptiko Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome Mark Booth to Skeptiko. Mark is probably best known as the author of The Secret History of the World, an international bestseller from 2008, that really changed the way we think and talk about esoteric wisdom, secret societies, mystery schools, and it was also a book, I think, that has played a part in weakening the grip of this kind of soul-crushing, scientific materialism that we talk about so much on this show. Mark, it’s great to have you here, thank so much for joining me. Mark Booth: I’m so pleased to be on your show, I admire it enormously and I admire your cast of mind. You’re curious about everything, but you don’t want to be stupid, and I think, if there is a God, he doesn’t want us to be stupid. So, that’s a very sensible attitude to take. Alex Tsakiris: Right-on to that, and in that spirit, I really want to have, what I like to call a level-3 kind of discussion here because level-1 is, as our culture would say, “Why would you listen to Mark Booth? I mean, that’s just ridiculous, don’t even pay any attention.” Then, level-2 is the people who just admire and so greatly are inspired by your work, as they should be, and say, “Yes, we must believe everything that Mark says.” Then, it’s level-3, that we don’t have enough of, where it says, “Gee, this a wonderful dialogue to engage in.” Here is someone I truly believe is a hero, to have stepped forward and fought these tremendous cultural forces that you just have stacked yourself against, but let’s dig into it a little bit further. That’s my speech, that’s where we’re going to go, so if any time you think I’m poking you too hard, let me know. We need to have that next level of discussion. (continued below) Click here for forum discussion Click here for Mark’s website Read Excerpts Start 35:59 Alex Tsakiris: So, there’s all of these different viewpoints about this extended consciousness, which is again this level-3, getting past the idiocy of the Neil deGrasse Tyson, Joe Rogan, “Oh, it’s all bullshit,” kind of thing. Then, kind of looking at it more deeply, I just don’t see where Christianity, for the most part, in the general sense, is willing to embrace that in a way of saying, “Okay, let’s look at all of that stuff and try and make it make sense to us,” in terms of answering the questions about how we should live our lives, you know? Mark Booth: I think if you’re saying that you would expect to find answers to questions about LSD experience and after-death experiences in the bible, that’s a little unfair. I think that really, Christianity is part of an evolving dialogue, which involves the other religions and the other mystical traditio...
November 27, 2018
Jan Van Ysslestyne is the foremost expert on  classical shamanism of the Ulichi. photo by: Skeptiko Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome Jan van Ysslestyne to Skeptiko. Jan has written a very impressive new book titled Spirits from the Edge of the World and she’s here to join me in a conversation about shamanism and all sorts of related good stuff. Jan, we’re doing a take two of this interview, we did a little audio change here, but thanks again, so much, for joining me on Skeptiko. Jan van Ysslestyne: Thank you so very much, it’s a pleasure to be here. Alex Tsakiris: This is a really interesting topic and you were so generous to contact me you said, “Alex, I think we should talk about this amazing work I’ve done with this group of people, these native people in this remote area of Siberia and they’re the Ulchi people.” And as we were just chatting a minute ago, they are really the original shamanistic culture, that is where the name, the origin of the word shamanism comes from, these and the surrounding culture, right? Jan van Ysslestyne: Correct, yes. Alex Tsakiris: So, you’ve done this incredible deep dive into the work and I have to tell people that the book is really great, very well written, nicely compiled, and then I go to your website, it’s absolutely beautiful. You have these beautiful infographics with all of these teachers from the tribe and you have them laid out in their lineage and you have some great audio and video that you’ve collected. So, I guess the place to start again is to give folks a sense of how you came to study these people and what the process was like. You just told me it’s taken you a number of years, you’ve had these folks come and visit you for over ten years and you’ve learned their language. Tell us the whole story, if you would. (continued below) Click here for forum discussion Click here for Jan’s website Read Excerpts Start 00:11:52 Alex Tsakiris: The main thing that I wanted to talk about, because I don’t care about the Ulchi, I’ve never going to meet the Ulchi, I care, only in the sense of what they can inform, in terms of all of my other kinds of things, and all of these competing ideas we have about this extended consciousness reality, right? So, the Ulchi say one thing, the NDEs say another thing, the ET says another thing, the astral traveler say another thing. I mean, are we looking at just a different cultural overlay, it’s the map versus the territory thing? How do we figure that out? Jan van Ysslestyne: Well, I don’t think so. My concern was a lot of people go specifically into this field, is that they go and gather up all of this data and they come back, and they translate what they think that they’ve observed from a very mechanistic, linear, reductionistic, Western approach, and I think that’s kind of putting the cart before the horse. Personally, to really understand another culture, you have to liberate yourself from your own culture as best as possible and you have to go into another culture and know that you know nothing, you know nothing John Snow, you’re completely ignorant. You need to learn to think in a different way. Alex Tsakiris: Why? Let me challenge that in a Skeptiko way. This is, kind of, the shut up and calculate model alternative. So,
October 26, 2018
Evan Carmichael has channeled his success into a passion for helping entrepreneurs. photo by: Skeptiko Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome Evan Carmichael to Skeptiko. Evan is a successful entrepreneur who’s channeled his own success into a passion for helping others succeed in reaching their potential. He’s created an enormously successful YouTube channel and two excellent books. I really enjoy, Your One Word: The Powerful Secret of Creating a Business and Life That Matter and The Top 10 Rules for Success. Evan, welcome to Skeptiko. Thanks for joining me. Evan Carmichael: Thanks a lot Alex, and that voice, man, I should have had you do my audio book. That’s something special. Alex Tsakiris: Really? I just drank a smoothie, maybe that’s it. Evan Carmichael: Yeah, keep it. Yeah, keep the smoothie. Alex Tsakiris: So, you were just joking a minute ago, Skeptiko is generally a show about consciousness science… these “who we are, why are we here” big picture stuff, but in some ways that’s really just a cover story because what I’m really interested in is truth-seeking and truth-seekers and I think there’s a wonderful overlap with the stuff you’ve done about believing and about entrepreneurship. I was wondering if we could talk about that connection. So, right off the bat, do you see a connection between truth-seeking and this believing/entrepreneurship/reaching your full potential? Evan Carmichael: Yeah. I think everybody has Michael Jordan level talent at something, but we just done, one, realize what it is, we don’t try enough stuff, or two, we don’t believe in ourselves to go after it. I think the question of human potential is the world’s biggest problem. I think something like cancer should have been solved already. I think the woman who solves cancer is an accountant right now and hates her life, but she either, one, never tried biology, never got interested in it, never got the opportunity or she went after it but then it seemed to risky, it was a safe bet, somebody talked her down from it and she took the safer path to go and be an accountant. So, I think that’s everybody. I think Michael Jordan is just as talented as everybody else. I think we all have that ability inside of us and so that’s the path that I’m on, is trying to help people uncover that. Whether they become an entrepreneur or something totally different, that’s okay, but I think everybody has a well, a deep well of talent inside them and are meant for greatness. (continued below) Click here for forum discussion Click here for Evan’s website Read Excerpts: Alex Tsakiris: Awesome. I don’t know if that really gets at the truth seeking thing, but that was so beautiful,
October 16, 2018
Jasun Horsley examines the intersection of social engineering and spirituality. photo by: Skeptiko Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome Jasun Horsley to Skeptiko. Jasun is the author of several books, including, Prisoner of Infinity (Prisoner of Infinity: Social Engineering, UFOs, and the Psychology of Fragmentation). He’s also the creator of the extremely interesting AUTICULTURE blog and the Liminalist podcast, again, playing around with this idea of multiple realities. Jasun Horsley: …there’s something very real that has been co-opted, has been redirected by groups and agencies in different programs for various different reasons. One being, of course, just to exploit it, the spiritual potential of the psyche, or psychic potential of the human body, that has all kinds of uses, it can be weaponized, but also to anticipate, if there is this potential within us as human beings, that enables us to discover true autonomy, the true experience of ourselves and our nature within creation, like you said at the beginning, “Who are we, and why are we here?” To really uncover that answer, as individuals, would make us beyond the reach of any kind of control or manipulation or exploitation. (continued below) Click here for forum discussion Click here for Jasun’s website Read Excerpts: Start 00:18:50 (after intro) Jasun Horsley: What Prisoner Infinity addresses, is to what extent has a narrative actually been cynically manufactured to superimpose on top of a reality that simply can’t be reduced? But we will go along with that, we will conspire unconsciously and become complicit with the reduction of an experience and an encounter that is trying to pull us out of the prisoner of our illusory identity selves and introduce us to a greater reality. Alex Tsakiris: You know what Jasun, let me interject something, because that’s a fantastic point, that socio-spiritual engineering, but I have to tell you, that came through even stronger for me in the non-UFO stuff. Now, I don’t know if we want to jump into that now, but like the examples in the co-opting of the New Age movement is kind of an example. I don’t know if you’re totally comfortable with the parallels, but the methods for socio-spiritual, which is what you’re adding to it, the spiritual, the socio-spiritual engineering, are all over the place. It’s almost like they have the playbook, they bring it out, they just kind of run the plays, find out which ones work, and they kind of do it again and again. To me, and this is my read of it, I maybe jumping ahead, but it doesn’t matter if it’s ET or if it’s New Age or if it’s psychedelics, same shit. You know, Gloria Steinem, women’s movement, “Oh no, we know how to do that.” Gloria Steinem, outed as CIA, lifetime actor, and then when she’s outed she comes out and says, “Oh yeah, but I did it because I had to help the women who really lived for the cause, it’s the only way to do it.” Again,
October 2, 2018
Tim Freke and Richard Cox join me for a freewheeling talk about stuff they usually don’t discuss. photo by: Skeptiko Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome Tim Freke and Richard Cox back to Skeptiko for what I hope will be entertaining freewheeling dialogue about all sorts of stuff that I’ve cooked up. Tim Freke is, of course, a bestselling author, an acclaimed international speaker, as well as a “standup philosopher” with a deep love for deep truth, which I share with him, and it’s just always drawn me to Tim’s fantastic work. I consider him a friend and a colleague and he’s always great to connect with. I’m very glad to have him on today. Richard Cox is the co-host of Tim’s podcast and he’s created just a really good podcast of his own called Deep State Consciousness Podcast and I’ve really enjoyed talking to Richard over the last year or so and diving into his world and some of the podcasts that he’s gotten into, that seem to have a great synergy and crossover with a lot of the stuff that I’ve done here on Skeptiko. So, both of you, Tim and Richard, this is going to be so fun. Thanks for joining me. (continued below) Click here for forum discussion Click here for Tim’s website Click here for Richard’s Deep State Consciousness Podcast Read Excerpts: Start 00:12:58 Tim Freke: The thing which unites and divides science and spirituality is science reaches out into the object and goes, “What is it?” and spirituality reaches back into the subject and goes, “Who am I?” So, if you reach back into the subject and go, “Who am I?” you eventually find the ground of consciousness, so then that’s the ground. Whereas, if you reach out into the object you find an objective ground. We thought it was material, it turns out it’s not, it’s energetic or informational. But, that’s the paradox, that’s the paradoxity of those two things. The question is, is either actually the ground, because it looks to me, now we have this evolutionary understanding which our ancestors didn’t have, that it’s harder for us then to go that consciousness is the ground of reality because it looks like, very strongly, that consciousness, this ability to know that you exist, is an emergent quality. It wasn’t there for the first 10 billion years at least. Alex Tsakiris: Why would you say that, what evidence do you have for that? Tim Freke: That’s it’s an emergent…? Well, I would say the opposite. There is evidence that it has emerged with life, because we don’t find it in other things, not consciousness, not the knowledge that we exist. Therefore, the idea that it’s the constant ground is an assumption and we’d have to go, what you’ve done then is you’ve taken this idea, which is essentially a God idea, and you’ve plonked it at the beginning in the same way that people have been plonking at the beginning forever and going, “We just assume that’s there.” What I think we can do is see it in a different way. So,
September 25, 2018
Al From Forum Borealis joins me for a  conversation about technology and consciousness. photo by: Skeptiko (machine generated transcript… very hit or miss :)) 0:00 – 0:07 on this episode of Skeptiko oh I think 0:03 – 0:10 the shaman thing may be wrong they may 0:07 – 0:15 be looking at a very underdeveloped 0:10 – 0:17 sense of manipulating aspects of 0:15 – 0:19 consciousness when we look at ancient 0:17 – 0:20 agriculture we say wow they did pretty 0:19 – 0:22 good they had that little stick and they 0:20 – 0:25 drove it in the ground and then they 0:22 – 0:27 stuck a fishin in the with every corn 0:25 – 0:31 seed and it grew hey good for them right 0:27 – 0:34 now we get a hundred times that by doing 0:31 – 0:36 all this kind of manipulation some of it 0:34 – 0:38 good some of it bad but we figured out 0:36 – 0:40 how to do that at a whole different 0:38 – 0:42 level oh I think we’re under impressed 0:40 – 0:44 of course there’s something you fail to 0:42 – 0:47 see in that reasoning look they were 0:44 – 0:48 having archaea consciousness or magical 0:47 – 0:50 mythical depends when we’re talking 0:48 – 0:52 about so that means that they were 0:50 – 0:55 dealing with the same things but they 0:52 – 0:58 were expressing and experiencing 0:55 – 0:60 differently look I said people had a 0:58 – 1:02 different kind of consciousness before 0:60 – 1:05 that means that what they perceive it 1:02 – 1:08 was also different people in nature like 1:05 – 1:11 Oz Norwegians we know the wages are very 1:08 – 1:13 artistic or I should say agnostic we’re 1:11 – 1:17 probably the most secular one of the 1:13 – 1:19 most secular in the world right now but 1:17 – 1:21 all the Weejun when they go to the 1:19 – 1:25 mountains when they go to the forests 1:21 – 1:28 they become extremely humble and they 1:25 – 1:30 connect with something now we prefer the 1:28 – 1:32 technical way to explain it rather than 1:30 – 1:34 the mythical because we lost from that 1:32 – 1:38 part of consciousness but it’s still 1:34 – 1:42 there and we still know about it I’m 1:38 – 1:46 leaning towards the idea that the 1:42 – 1:50 consciousness soul connection is not 1:46 – 1:53 what we think it is it’s not as special 1:50 – 1:58 it’s not as unique it’s more malleable 1:53 – 2:00 than maybe we’ve thought stay with us 1:58 – 2:08 for skeptiko 2:00 – 2:12 [Music] (continued below) Click here for forum discussion Click here for Al’s Forum Borealis website Read Excerpts: 2:08 – 2:14 well as promised this week I have a 2:12 – 2:18 little bonus episode of skeptiko and 2:14 – 2:20 that is part two of my interview with al 2:18 – 2:22 borealis from forum borealis you know
September 18, 2018
Forum Borealis is a podcast unafraid to tackle the big picture questions of life, consciousness and conspiracy. photo by: Skeptiko Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome Al Borealis to Skeptiko. Borealis isn’t his real name but that’s part of the stealthy imagine that he’s created. Al is the creator and host of the very excellent Forum Borealis podcast, a podcast that seeks to bust all sorts of paradigms, be they scientific, political, religious, historical, conspiratorial, all of them and any of them. What’s really unique and special about Al is the way he goes about that and what his show is all about, and that’s what I really want to get to today in this special coming out party. I’ve actually managed to unmask Al, so you’re listening to this audio but if you want to go up on YouTube, if they allow it on YouTube, you’ll actually see Al on camera. That’s a first, right? Al Borealis: It’s a first, but I didn’t say I didn’t wear a mask. Alex Tsakiris: Yes, do not be fooled. So, just a little bit more. When I say it’s a special show, I mean, where else are you going to give five hours of interview with Peter Levenda on UFO disclosure? I mean, that’s remarkable. Al Borealis: Yeah. Alex Tsakiris: Where else are you going to get six hours or more with Joseph Farrell just on JFK and all of it? I’ve listened to every minute of it, it’s spellbinding. I mean, it’s just fantastic stuff. Al Borealis: Thank you. Alex Tsakiris: And then throw in a couple of hours with the famous 88-year-old, past-lives researcher, Erlendur Haraldsson. I mean, this is just a diverse deep-dive into topics that weave together in a way that listeners to this show will understand, but I think most people are still left on the outside looking in, in terms of wondering how all of that can happen. So, Al, it’s just fantastic. I so love and appreciate your show and I’m really grateful for you joining me today on Skeptiko. (continued below) Click here for forum discussion Click here for Al’s Forum Borealis website Read Excerpts: Al Borealis: It’s such an honor to be invited. You know, I told your friend Gordon, I think I came clean about the fact that before we started our own podcast, I didn’t listen to podcasts, too old school, but I did listen to yours. So, it’s pretty cool that I’m on yours then, I’ve been a big fan, as you know. Alex Tsakiris: Well, it’s really cool to have you obviously, and I just want to share, I thought I’d share with people a little bit. I told folks what you’re about, but I want to share a little bit of the vibe that you create at Forum Borealis just by playing a little bit of the intro that you do, so that people can get, just a sense, a feel for what’s going on. This is from the intro to Forum Borealis. Al Borealis: Is it spooky? Alex Tsakiris: It’s interesting. We’ll let it play for a few seconds. Into… Greetings from the North and welcome to Forum Borealis. Alex Tsakiris: That, of course,
September 4, 2018
Dr. Donald DeGracia, breakthroughs in cell research and a deep understand of the yoga/consciousness link. photo by: Skeptiko I have an interview coming up in just a minute with Dr. Donald DeGracia from Wayne State University School of Medicine. Don is a brilliant guy. His details of his day job are way over my head as he’s doing some very advanced research on stroke victims, and cell death, and he’s received grants from the National Institute of Health grants and all of that good stuff.  And he has a totally different approach to it, a non-linear approach.  But, what you’ll hear in this interview is that none of that stuff really matters much because what Don’s about is something much deeper… it has to do with spirituality, the nature of consciousness and the connection to yoga. Of the hundreds of people that I’ve interviewed, Don is one of my favorites, particularly because you won’t hear about him in a lot of other places. You won’t see a lot of interviews with him, he’s not out there pumping books, he gives his books away for free, and his thinking is just imaginative, unique and he’s not afraid to tell it like it is. So, it’s an interview I really enjoyed doing, I hope you enjoy listening to it. Alex Tsakiris: So, we already told folks you’re there at Wayne State University, in the department of physiology, you’re a professor, but you have this secret life, you have a couple of secret lives, but one of your secret lives is you’re really into comics and you’re wearing your Comic-Con… What t-shirt are you wearing there? Dr. Donald DeGracia: Black Panther. Alex Tsakiris: There we go. Dr. Donald DeGracia: That’s the original Black Panther for all the Black Panther fans out there. Alex Tsakiris: You have comic street cred, you don’t shy away from it, but you also have this other secret life of a yogi, and I think that is so cool and we relate to each other because I’m a yogi, and anyone’s a yogi who says they’re a yogi, you know? I had a guy… Dr. Donald DeGracia: Effectively, yeah. Alex Tsakiris: Yeah, well it’s true. I had a guy on the show recently, and the guy was a total, in my opinion, a total pretender in terms of this, kind of, deeply spiritual, kind of, wise kind of guy. So, we kind of got into it a little bit and I said, “Yeah, I’m a yogi,” and he goes, “What kind of yogi? What’s your heritage, what weekend retreat did you go to?” kind of thing, and it’s like, “No man, yogi is a state of mind. It’s a philosophical shift, anyone can be a yogi,” right? Once you’re a yogi, you’re not a yogi anymore, because it transcends that, but I kind of don’t want to get too… Dr. Donald DeGracia: No, I agree with that completely, yeah, it’s totally a state of mind. Yeah, that’s one of the awkward things about when I talk about yoga, because people ask me what I do, do I practice meditation and things like that. I do Yama and Niyama, that’s what I do, because I’m not advanced enough to do meditation. Alex Tsakiris: Yeah, explain that. Dr. Donald DeGracia: It’s the truth. Alex Tsakiris: That’s awesome. Dr. Donald DeGracia: It’s the truth. Alex Tsakiris: Explain that. Dr. Donald DeGracia: Well,
August 21, 2018
Mike Clelland has forever changed how we think about owls, ET and extended consciousness. photo by: Skeptiko I have an interview coming up with Mike Clelland. If you don’t recognize the name, but you’ve heard about this thing with UFOs and owls – that’s Mike. He’s written a couple of great books on this topic (The Messengers, Stories from the Messengers) and it’s a fascinating little area to pull apart, in terms of understanding how this extended consciousness stuff merges with this UFO alien abduction stuff. So, we talk all about that and we also talk about the connection between that experience and the near-death experience and other extended consciousness experiences and it was great. I really enjoyed having Mike on the show and I hope you enjoy this interview. Alex Tsakiris: Why do you suppose you were the one chosen to tap into it, or do you believe that you were the one chosen to tap into it? What are your thoughts around that? I mean, Google, ‘owls – UFO’, bam, there’s one guy, you’re the guy. Mike Clelland: Yes. I have pondered, I have no proof of this. So, I have a missing time event in 1974. I don’t have any memories of being onboard a UFO, but, all the stuff around it sure seems like that. Did they like zap me, did they like sit me down in some sort of altered state and say, “In 45 years you will be the guy who answers five emails a day about owls.” So, I’ve wondered that, and it feels like that. I have no proof of it but it kind of feels like that. My life was going one way, boom, it just shot off in a different direction and now I am stuck with this, and I have to say, it is so wildly rewarding. It is so fun to have this small little niche. I keep on thinking, like the high school history teacher, if the student came up and said, “I’m going to write a report on World War II,” the history teacher would say, “Oh, let’s rein that in a little bit.” So, you would kind of go from being in the Pacific, to an island, to one guy, to one boat, to one [unclear 00:03:03], to one afternoon and then you write your report. That’s what it feels like to me. It’s like, “Well, golly, I can write a book about UFOs,” and it’s like, “Don’t go down that road.” But, this tiny little freckle has been so rewarding, and it was out there, and I looked, and I found a lot of them. In a lot of books there’s a paragraph or two about owls. Alex Tsakiris: Well, that’s kind of the point. It was out there, but it wasn’t out there. Mike Clelland: It was whispered, and it had a small… and it was mostly, what would be referred to as the screen memory aspect of the owls, which is a part of the UFO abduction research. It is a small part of it but the more interesting thing to me is people are seeing real owls in these moments. That, to me, is remarkable. (continued below) Click here for forum discussion Click here for Mike’s website Read Excerpts:
August 7, 2018
YouTube’s Steven Crowder asked, Did Jesus Exist? Joseph Atwill answers. photo by: Skeptiko Today we welcome Joseph Atwill back to Skeptiko. Joe is the author of Caesar’s Messiah, he’s been on this show before, but I invited him back because I ran across this very popular video that asked the question, Did Jesus Exist? The video was published by the popular YouTuber Steven Crowder and I thought it was interesting not just from a Bible-geeky standpoint, but as a way of understanding this new Christian confidence that’s rising in response to satanic/pedo/globalism stuff that’s hung on many liberals these days: Alex Tsakiris: I want to go back to the Steven Crowder thing, so I’m going to play the, We Proselytize Less. Steven Crowder: You know I’m a Christian… I certainly would say, you know, ironically enough, we get a lot of comments from atheists with Alexa. I think I proselytize, we all proselytize far less than the skeptical atheists’ community now. Alex Tsakiris: So, this is a point that I think you and I might have a different of opinion on, but I get what he’s saying. There’s this new force among Christians who have this political chutzpah now, that Jordan Peterson, Dinesh D’Souza, Steven Crowder and I would even throw my friend Rupert Sheldrake in the category of saying, “Yeah, I’m a Christian, so what? It’s not relevant. Listen to what I say and evaluate my opinions on these other topics because I’m right.” I don’t think we’ve seen that in a while and I think when we contrast that with some of the, I’ll use the term ‘libtard’ silliness, there’s a certain traction they get because the left and the liberal point of view has been so exaggerated and has lost any connection with logic or reason, but these Christians are standing tall in comparison. What do you think? Joe Atwill: Well, I think that’s true and I think that there are a lot of Christians that, as you say, stand against globalism, can be seen in some way standing against globalism because they’re trying to retain the culture and religion in the smaller group. They don’t want to sacrifice that, their cohesiveness and their values as globalism is just evaporating all of this stuff and taking it over with this atheistic machine world. But, I would just point out that Christians are actually fairly easy to herd into globalism and that part of globalism is that the slaves seldom know they’re being enslaved, because the controllers are very, very smart. I’ll give one really good example, to show you my point, which is that the first, one of the first globalisms that was ever created was the feudal system, whereby all of the different ethnicities and races, cultures in Europe were globalized and you have basically a monolithic religion that was used to set up the slave state and the religion was Christianity. Christianity was the mind-control device that the oligarchs had at that time to be able to basically set up a system where people wouldn’t rebel because they believed that there would be this workers’ paradise, that they just believed the representative of the Pontiff Maximus, the Pope, who was just obviously a mask for the ruling families. (continued below)
July 24, 2018
Jason Louv has a reputation as a chaos magician, but he’s down with materialistic science-as-we-know-it? photo by: Skeptiko I have an interview coming up in a minute with this guy, Jason Louv about his new book on John Dee and I wanted to give you heads-up because this is, as far as I can remember, the most confrontational interview I’ve ever published on Skeptiko and I wanted to say two things about that. First, I’m okay with that. I’m okay with some heated exchanges and some disagreements, particularly in this case because this guy has done a ton of interviews on this book and the topics we clash over most people will find surprising… particularly that he has such a strong favorable opinion about scientism,  and materialistic science-as-we-know-it. The other thing is, he’s really closed down re conspiracies. He doesn’t “believe in conspiracies,” whatever that means. I wanted to bring this up because it’s such a litmus test. If you don’t “believe in conspiracies” you are on the outside of our culture looking in because conspiracies are at the heart of culture shaping. They’re at the heart of politics, they’re at the heart of money, they’re, unfortunately, at the heart of corporate science — they’re at the heart of everything important to our culture. So, to say, “I don’t believe in conspiracies,” and at the same time to say, “I believe in magick,” is… well, I wish I could have gotten there earlier in the interview 🙂 But, I think it’s important, I think it’s important to understand that and bring that forward, especially from a guy who’s made such a splash with this book. So, here then is my interview with Jason Louv. (continued below) Click here for forum discussion Click here for Jason’s website Read Excerpts: Alex Tsakiris: Let’s start with the book, your publisher was nice enough to introduce me, so we are hereby obligated to talk about this really rather remarkable new book, it’s getting a lot of attention, as well it should, it’s really pretty fantastic. What I want to focus on here, tell people about the book, they should go out and get the book, even though we’re not going to spend a lot of time in this interview talking about it, they should get it. Talk about what I’ve underlined there, the occult and this empire architecture that is John Dee and why he is relevant to anyone, whether they’re super interested in magic or not. Jason Louv: Okay. So, the book is called John Dee and the Empire of Angels and it’s a history and a biographical take on Dr. John Dee, who was Queen Elizabeth 1 court astrologer and scientific advisor. He was a real-life magician, he was interested in magic and not just for silly things ...
July 10, 2018
Jeff Riddle has created a new style of podcasting aimed at creating lasting change. photo by: Skeptiko We’re Always in the Middle. Jeff Riddle: I’ve talked about this before, that “we’re in the middle”…  in 400 years people in the future are going to look at us and just think how stupid and silly we were for the things we did and believed. There’s a humility in that, in that we are moving towards something and yet we don’t know where, and so there’s this idea that we’re always in the middle. So, we’re always in motion but we don’t really know where we’re going to get to and we’re going to die without ever having gotten there, at least as far as we know here in the physical sense… Alex Tsakiris: I absolutely love this idea of we’re always in the middle… [history is one example] but obviously you’re also tapping into the deeper personal spiritual understanding of, “Hey man, we’re never going to get there. We never really are away from where we came. We’re always in the middle.” So, I think that’s really cool. (continued below) Click here for forum discussion Click here for some of Transcend website Read Excerpts: Alex Tsakiris: So, for me, step one of that process is to follow the data. I always say, “Follow the data wherever it leads,” kind of thing. But, in preparing for this episode and listening to what you’ve put together, I actually had a slightly different take on this and I love where it took me because what I realized, and this may seem really obvious, but we all have our own data. So, following the data is both, you know, the real part of following the data that’s out there, but we have our own data and not in a, kind of fake, “Every snowflake is unique,” kind of way, but in a way that, “I have some real stuff that I’ve figured out in my life experience that I bring to the table as my data and I can share that with you and you probably don’t know it and let me tell it to you,” kind of thing. So, I thought we might talk a minute or you might talk a minute about what’s your data. You mentioned the baseball thing. That’s part of your data. You know some stuff from that. Tell us about that data and then tell us what other data you have. Jeff Riddle: There’s a paradox here in that the position, the professional stance in the work that I do, and even in trying to produce these transcend episodes, is to remove myself as much as I can from it. It’s one of my beefs with the industry, is that people come in and say, “Look what I’ve done. Look at me, I’m great. I have a private jet or a fancy car,” they get on Facebook and take pictures of themselves in that way and then they use that to shame people into feeling like they don’t have what they have and that’s what gets them to buy. We’ll get into this, but I have a huge issue with that approach. I actually think it reinforces the problem. It literally, the industry that I’m in actually recreates more of the problems so that they can continue to sustain. So, there’s a dilemma there in the data, in the sense that,
June 26, 2018
Dr. Jack Hunter has blazed a new trail called paranthropology, but that’s just the start of his paradigm busting. photo by: Skeptiko Jack Hunter: It’s kind of like murky territory. I know that Gordon [White of Rune Soup], for example doesn’t like the idea of panpsychism and he, like you, was talking about panpsychism is kind of like a backdoor materialism again, at the end of the day. Alex Tsakiris: I think it’s a crutch. I think it’s the last bastion of materialism holdouts… one foot on the dock, one foot in the boat, kind of thing… Jack Hunter: It’s on the way towards animism but it’s not willing to go all the way. When we talk about panpsychism for example, we’re talking about some kind of, like a fundamental kind of consciousness, or a fundamental awareness that’s not consciousness as we understand it, it’s the basis of awareness. Whereas, when we’re coming from an animistic perspective, that other consciousness has just as much agency and intention in the world as we do, they just express themselves in different kinds of ways. So, the consciousness of a rock isn’t necessarily just some kind of, like a flatline background consciousness, but actually it possesses its own agency and intention in the same way that we do, but it expresses its agency and intention in the world in a very different way, perhaps over, like vast, vast timescales or things like that. Alex Tsakiris: This is fun because this is now an opportunity to take the conversation one step further because I’m listening to you and Gordon and all your cool thoughts on animism and I’m thinking, “But guys, you’ve missed the point. It’s on the way towards what?” Again, I mean, take these different wisdom traditions and I’ve always been interested in yoga and in the East and in particular Vedanta and non-dual kind of thinking. Hey man, all of those people, they’re saying, “Sure, spirits are here, spirits there, spirits everywhere.” On the way towards what? It’s about transcending that spiritual reality and getting to what’s next. So, it does seem to me to be somewhat of an arbitrary stopping point to say, “Ah, we’ve got it. We’ve arrived. It’s animism.” No, it’s like this discussion you were having about, does animism subsume idealism, “No, of course not, because idealism is really closer to that non-dual, vedantic kind of thing that says… it all goes into one. The wave and the ocean are separate only because we imagine them to be separate. (continued below) Click here for forum discussion Click here for some of Jack’s website Read Excerpts: Alex Tsakiris: Welcome to Skeptiko where we explore controversial science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers and their critics. I think we have the right guest to fill that promise today. Dr. Jack Hunter of Paranthropology fame is joining us. Jack, welcome to Skeptiko, welcome back, thanks for joining me. Jack Hunter: Thanks for having me, it’s good to be back. Alex Tsakiris: You were on a while back with this very ...
June 12, 2018
Dr. Mariana Caplan think yoga is just what psychology and psychotherapy needs. photo by: Skeptiko Alex Tsakiris: Welcome to Skeptiko where we explore controversial science with leading researchers, thinkers and their critics. My guest today is Mariana Caplan, who has a new book, Yoga & Psyche. Mariana, welcome. Thanks so much for joining me. Mariana Caplan: It’s a pleasure to be here, I’m looking forward to it. Alex Tsakiris: I am too, I was so excited to read this book. I am such a yogi and I have been such a yogi for so long, and I think that anyone who’s ever stepped on the mat and had a sense that more is going on than just these poses. Mariana Caplan: Great, so my whole adult life has been spent studying, practicing and teaching in these parallel traditions, though I really do prioritize the role of student, when we’re talking about something as vast as yoga or as deep as the psyche, which is connected to the world of psychology. Alex Tsakiris: …make the case for yoga and psychology. What’s the science? What’s the most compelling science that you cite in the book that you think makes the case? Mariana Caplan: So, with two doctoral students several years ago, I worked to survey all of the academic research to date at that time. Not only in yoga and psychology, but yoga and neuroscience, yoga and trauma, trauma and psychology, mindfulness and psychology and so forth. And we surveyed over 200 published academic articles and we summarized it for people. Essentially there’s ample scientific documentation. But yoga, even without the psychology, this most basic practice of physical postures for a period of time, minus all the extra goodies that I think are so enhancing, addresses and has proven to be beneficial for, just name a handful; anxiety and depression, eating disorders, suicide prevention, autoimmune disorders, wellbeing, attention deficit disorders, there’s a huge list. All the sciences summarized in a people friendly way in the book. But basically, the science has shown yoga’s benefits on most major categories in the DSM, which is the Diagnostic Statistical Manual, it is the most mainstream and useful, in many ways, text to survey all the psychological disorders known in the western world. (later in the interview) Alex Tsakiris: …and until we’re real about this and real about the causes of why psychology has gone down this pharmacological model and has pushed it, even when the data comes back and says, “Hey, depression, mild depression, this multi-billion-dollar industry, it is not more effective than placebo, but we still sell billions of dollars of this.” So, I love that you say, “Maybe we’ll just grow out of this and keep going guys” but, maybe not, these guys have a strong financial interest in keeping things the way they are. So, what are the changes that you’ve seen in your career and how can we expedite it? Don’t we need to call these people out?  Mariana Caplan: I agree with everything you said. When we talk about calling these people out, it brings an image of  amorphic “them”, and for me, I don’t know how to do that. So, I do what I do know how to do, which is… Alex Tsakiris: I know who they are because I talk to them all the time. One of the things I try to do is invite them on this show and I...
May 29, 2018
Chris Knowles spots pop culture deception in phony celebrities and the Catholic church. photo by: Skeptiko Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome the very excellent host of The Secret Sun blog and the author of such books as, Our Gods Wear Spandex, The Secret History of Rock ‘n’ Roll and The Complete X-Files. If you’re watching this video you can see all of those up on your screen. Chris Knowles is here. Chris, welcome back. Thanks so much for joining me. Chris Knowles: Great to be back, really looking forward to this. (later in the interview) Chris Knowles: …What people really need to understand is that while all this was going on and it’s interesting too because you have Catholic imagery with a number of very prominent celebrities, female celebrities dressed as scarlet women. One of the best examples of this is the rapper Nikki Minaj, who said that she was dressed as the devil and she was wearing this long flowing red dress, with what’s called a waterfall trail, but… Alex Tsakiris: And didn’t you say there was another one where it’s something, an ode to the abyss?  So, it’s not just that they’re doing the Easter play and showing the devil. They are venerating and celebrating… Chris Knowles: Yes, I believe that was the Ariana Grande dress which was of The Last Judgement, the apocalyptic symbolism is very strong here. So, what people really need to understand is, that image that you’re looking at right now on screen, which is that twelve-foot alien demon and it’s not like I’m just using it [unclear 00:11:34] here, that’s what it actually is. That’s what’s it’s presented as, that’s what the artist who created it explains it as and look at that image. If that’s isn’t like something out of Hieronymus Bosch’s worst nightmares, I don’t know what is. It’s a twelve-foot demon, with the three heads similar to the Janus heads or the Cerberus heads or the Hecate Triple Goddess kind of feeling there. I think… Alex Tsakiris: But, we’ve got to switch back to the cultural bracketing on this one too, right? Because as soon as you say that, someone’s jumping in saying, “You fool! It’s just art. People in the art world do all sorts of crazy stuff”, and you pull them back and go, “Well no, let’s go back and look at the intent of the artist, what they said they were trying to communicate. Let’s look at it from the spiritual dimension and analyze whether there’s any evidence for that to be true and then let’s look at the people who have decided that this should be presented in this way and what are their beliefs?” I think, that it’s so difficult to switch people over, because that one bracket is so strong and is so dominant. It is the ‘Good Morning America’ bracket and it is so comfortable because we have been entrained, if you will, to be comfortable with that bracket. So, we just get into it like a warm bath, as Marshall McLuhan said… (continued below) Click here for forum discussion Click here for some of Chris’s website Read Excerpts:
May 15, 2018
Phil Watt seeks a deeper spiritual truth that embraces life, but doesn’t ignore conspiracy culture. photo by: Skeptiko Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome Phillip J. Watt to Skeptiko. Phil is a fellow podcaster — which is always fun for me — he’s also quite a spiritual seeker, a former social worker, an out-of-body traveler, a lucid dreamer, a bunch of other stuff and you can add to that list an author of a very cool new book titled, The Simulation. (later in the interview) Again, this gets to this topic that I, kind of, just touch on sometimes and it might be fun to stretch it out into a little bit of a longer discussion, and the phrase I always put on it is backdoor-materialism. So, it’s like, we’re out there preaching post-materialism, “Hey, materialism doesn’t work, and consciousness is the underlying fundamental nature of everything and everything arises out of consciousness,” and then as soon as we get any kind of momentum, we want to go back and go, “And here’s how we can measure it, control it, make it better, optimize it.” It’s like, wait a minute, in what way would that mean anything to use empirical means to study the efficacy of…? I mean, there’s an underlying contradiction there that begins with the assumption that driving this back into the material world, and measure it in some way, is somehow good, useful, important for some goal that we have ill-defined and we really think we’ve moved past. Do you get where I’m at all coming from, with the backdoor-materialism?   Phillip Watt: Yeah, but I would say that the material world isn’t the material world, it’s an expression of reality and when we look at our scientific investigation into that expression of reality, if we look through a different lens, we’re going to see it differently, we’re going to have different results. But we shouldn’t be looking at it as, “Well, science is only the study of matter.” Science isn’t the study of matter, science is the organic investigation of humanity into reality. So, how that unfolds, how we measure and actually interact with the so-called material world, which is very much connected to the quantum physical world, it’s connected to the observer and the collapse of the wave function into a particle experience, all the way the co-created process happens, as well as things that we don’t know about. (continued below) Click here for forum discussion Click here for some of Phil’s work Read Excerpts: Alex Tsakiris: I hear you and I’m going to bring you back to a point where we were at in our prior discussion that, to me, gets at this question in a beautiful way and I was telling you about my story with my friend and excellent host of the terrific show, Buddha at the Gas Pump, that I always reference, because it’s an incredible show with so many incredibly spiritually, awakening people as Rick calls them. And one of them is Amma, known as the hugging saint,
May 1, 2018
Dr. Michael Shermer isn’t swayed by near death experience science, but has he read the literature? photo by: Skeptiko Today we welcome Dr. Michael Shermer back to Skeptiko. Dr. Shermer is a bestselling author and creator of Skeptic Magazine. His latest book on consciousness and the afterlife is, Heavens on Earth: Alex Tsakiris: A couple of years ago I interviewed Jan Holden from the University of North Texas, who, along with Dr. Bruce Greyson from the University of Virginia, two of the most prominent names in near-death experience research, they compiled the book, “The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences,” mainly for people in the medical community, so that when they encounter someone who comes up out of a cardiac arrest and says, “Hey, I had this incredible experience,” they can be, at least, familiar with what they tell them. At the time they published this book Michael, in 2009, they had over a hundred peer-reviewed papers they included in their book. By now, there’s over 200 peer-reviewed papers. I don’t see any of that in your book. Michael Shermer: I think it’s important to make it… Well, look, I don’t have to cite everybody that’s ever written on the subject. Alex Tsakiris: But you don’t cite any of them. Michael Shermer: Yes, I do, oh yes, I do. Alex Tsakiris: Pim van Lommel, Sam Parnia, who else? Michael Shermer: Yeah, yeah. Alex Tsakiris: You misrepresented both of them, but you at least cited them. Michael Shermer: But anyway, let’s back up for a second and… Alex Tsakiris: And I’d have to say, Eben Alexander, I want to talk about him, but technically he’s not a near-death experience researcher, he’s a Harvard neurosurgeon who had a near-death experience and wrote a book about it, right? Michael Shermer: That’s right, but he knows a lot about it, he knows as much as you do, as much as I do, because he’s… Alex Tsakiris: But he hasn’t published peer-reviewed papers on looking at the science. Michael Shermer: A peer-reviewed paper thing, that’s a red herring. I’m not denying that people have real experiences. You’re treating this as if the experiences represent some other dimension, a heaven, a place to go, and that is not at all what these peer-reviewed papers indicate. All they say is that the people that have the experiences, have very real experiences, which I agree. The experiences these people have are very real. The question is, is do they represent just neural activity or neural activity and something else, and I claim that none of the research I’ve read, none of the stories, none of the papers are evidence of an afterlife. (continued below) Click here for forum discussion Click here for Dr. Michael Shermer’s website Read Excerpts: Alex Tsakiris...
April 18, 2018
Dr. Bernardo Kastrup on the growing acceptance of his controversial theories of consciousness. photo by: Skeptiko Today we welcome Dr. Bernardo Kastrup back to Skeptiko. Bernardo is the author of several books on consciousness and has created quite a stir with his recent articles in Scientific American: Alex Tsakiris: These people will be recognized by people in my community as skeptics or as materialists, but these people are just generally regarded as scientists, as mainstream scientists. We’re talking about Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Krauss, Neil deGrasse Tyson. Neil deGrasse Tyson, whether we like it or not, is the face of science for many, many, many Americans, so let’s see what mainstream science has to say about consciousness. Here we go, I’m going to play this clip. You can see it there, I’m going to play it. Richard Dawkins: But you can say something about the question which you really would wish to know the answer to, and for me it would be, what’s consciousness, because that’s totally baffling. Neil de Grasse Tyson: Richard, you know what I think, not that you ask, but what I think on this is, consciousness has, kind of, baffled us for a while and evidence that we haven’t a clue about what consciousness is, is drawn from the fact of, how many books are published on the topic. We’re not really continuing to publish books, not really, on Newtonian physics, it’s done. So, the fact that people keep publishing books on consciousness is the evidence we don’t know anything about, because if we knew all about it, you wouldn’t have to keep publishing. So, what I wonder, what I wonder Richard is, whether there really is no such thing as consciousness at all and that there’s some other understanding of the functioning of the human brain that renders that question obsolete. Bill Nye: To that I’ve got to say like, oh wow! Alex Tsakiris: I’m laughing, but what is so funny about that. Bernardo Kastrup: The idea that maybe consciousness is not there is probably the weirdest, stupidest idea every conceived by human thought. I mean, where does thought take place? It takes place in consciousness. So, here we have consciousness, speculating about the possibility that consciousness does not exist and it may not be there. I mean, the very thought is an in your face contradiction and the fact that something like this is not only seriously entertained, but even verbalized with a public with the public exposure of the gentleman we just saw, is a worrying sign of cultural sickness, a very serious one. (continued below) Click here for forum discussion Click here for Dr. Bernardo Kastrup’s website Read Excerpts: Alex Tsakiris: The other thing that got me, and I hope you just comment on, because you are a philosopher and an expert in logic and in your books you do a wonderful job of deconstructing the silliness down to a level that is extremely comprehensive and well tho...
April 3, 2018
Dr. Dean Radin’s interest in psi phenomena is leading him to scientifically investigate magical practices. photo by: Skeptiko Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome Dr. Dean Radin back to Skeptiko. Dean is, of course, Chief Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, as well as a bestselling, award-winning author.  Dean is truly a scientist, as most of you know, because most of you are familiar with his work, and I have a little photo here of the video of him actually in a lab, with a very, very interesting experiment that I think is just fundamental to how we understand consciousness and science, but it’s not even an experiment we’re going to talk about today, because today we’re going to talk about Dean’s new book, Real Magic: Ancient Wisdom, Modern Science and a Guide to the Secret Power of the Universe. (continued below) Click here for forum discussion Click here for Dr. Dean Radin’s website Read Excerpts: Alex Tsakiris: So, the book is out April 10th of 2018, and it’s titled, Real Magic: Ancient Wisdom, Modern Science and a Guide to the Secret Power of the Universe. A title only an agent or a publicist or a publisher could really come up with, right? Dr. Dean Radin: You got it. Alex Tsakiris: Well, it’s awesome to have you back and to reconnect with you. You know, if we could, I obviously want to talk about the book a lot, but I really wanted to start with another subject, and a subject that, I don’t know, you’re a pretty humble guy, so I don’t know how you’re going to feel about this, but it’s really the topic of legacy. I’m sure you’ve thought about this a little bit. I remember way back, to when I interviewed you, many, many years ago when I was starting this show, and I wrote a book a couple of years ago on consciousness and the first chapter of the book opens with this little vignette of me talking to you and I’m asking you about these scientists, two pretty respected scientists, Ray Hyman, from the University of Oregon and Steve Novella, from Yale, Neurology. These guys are laughing at you, they’re actually laughing at Dean Radin and the kind of work that he does and the kind of research that he does, and I just can’t help but think how interesting this history is going to look. Because, when we write this history, there’s no way you’re not right in the middle of it, and if this paradigm change that is happening, we can’t even say it’s about to happen, it’s happening, I mean the materialistic, dopey, mind equals brain, there is no consciousness, I mean that science is gone or is leaving the station for all, except the very diehards. What’s it going to look like Dean? How do you think you are going to be viewed in the longer lens of science history? Dr. Dean Radin: It’s been said of Sibelius, I think actually Sibelius, the composer said this, that he was severely criticized during his musical car...
March 20, 2018
Dr. Rupert Sheldrake finds scientific support for benefits of spiritual practices. photo by: Skeptiko Alex Tsakiris: Today I’m so happy to welcome back Dr. Rupert Sheldrake to Skeptiko. Dr. Sheldrake who has, not only appeared on Skeptiko several times over the years, but through his encouragement and guidance was really instrumental in the creation of this show, is truly one of my favorite guests to have on. So Rupert, welcome back. So good to talk to you again. Dr. Rupert Sheldrake: Glad to be with you again Alex. Alex Tsakiris: The reason for this visit today is this new book you’ve written, Science and Spiritual Practices: Transformative Experiences and Their Effects on Our Bodies, Brains and Health. Quite a new book, and I was saying, when we were chatting about it just a minute ago, it is great to see you back out there, just really hitting the trail with this book, doing a lot of appearances. It looks like you’re doing workshops and also lectures. So, how is all of that going for you? Dr. Rupert Sheldrake: Well, it’s going very well. So far, this book is only out in Britain, it’s not coming out in the US until Autumn of 2018, but most of this activity is in Britain at the moment, so I don’t have to travel very far, but there’s a huge amount of interest in this and I’m really excited about all of the themes in this book. Alex Tsakiris: There is a lot of interest. I started watching your interview with Russell Brand and I thought that was fascinating on a number of levels, how did that go? Dr. Rupert Sheldrake: Well, Russell Brand is an extremely intelligent person. Here in Britain he’s very, very well-known as a comedian and as a, sort of, public intellectual. He wouldn’t like to be called that probably, but he’s very curious. He’s on a, kind of, spiritual quest himself after years of drug addiction, heroin addiction and alcohol addiction, sex addiction etc. He did a 12-step program which changed his life. He’s got a new book out himself called, Recovery, which is about recovering from addictions and he’s on a, kind of, spiritual mission at the moment. He was curious and interested about this new book of mine and we get on extremely well. We had a really good conversation. He reaches a huge audience. Alex Tsakiris: He does reach a huge audience and the other thing that I thought was interesting about the pairing and the conversation, we’ll try and link to it so everyone can see it, because it’s really a great conversation, but I think he’s this transitional, transformational kind of figure, in a lot of ways, in that pairing him with you, he’s calling bullshit on all the old atheistic, materialistic nonsense that you’ve called bullshit on for so long, but he’s doing it in a different way, coming at it from a different angle, and he’s pulling in a lot of different people. So, I think there’s an interesting synergy with that message, even though you’re coming at it from a lot of different ways. Dr. Rupert Sheldrake: Yes, I think so. He’s become very disillusioned with the, kind of, consumerist society, and his message about addiction is not, are you an addict or not, but where are you on the addiction spectrum? Is it just compulsive Facebook messaging etc? He sees consumerism, all these as forms of addiction. So,
March 13, 2018
Meryl Klemow and Beau Hufford  join me in studio to talk about their new podcast, Campfire Sht Show. photo by: Skeptiko (Meryl Klemow and Beau Hufford are heard cutting it up off-mic)… That’s Meryl and Beau from the Campfire Shit Show and you’ll hear a lot more about them, and you may come to understand what that show is all about and maybe even why I decided to do a kind of wacky show on conspiracies. I think it came out great, I think these people are extremely talented and are on the edge of where podcasting is really going. They do such a great job and it was so fun having them here in the studio for a little while to talk with me. It really doesn’t require a lot of introduction, let’s get right onto the show. Alex Tsakiris:  Today I have a special, if you will, episode of Skeptiko, special for me at least, because Meryl and Beau from the Campfire Shit Show podcast are actually joining me in my little home studio. So, you guys, welcome. Thanks so much for being here. Meryl: Thank you. Beau: We’re so excited to be here. Meryl: We are trapped in the dungeon if anyone is wondering. Alex Tsakiris:  If you never hear from Meryl and Beau again… Meryl: Just leave us here, it’s really nice. So, we’ll just stay and serve me food like once a week or something, we’re fine. (continued below) Click here for forum discussion Click here for Campfire Sht Show Read Excerpts: Alex Tsakiris:  It’s great to have you here. So, Meryl, I met you online because I have this whacky idea of doing this conspiracy show, kind of thing, and it’s a new project and I ran across you and it just was so fun because you were such a cool person, and you are into conspiracies, like I am, which was cool. You then introduced me to this awesome podcast that you do with Beau here, and you guys have such a great dynamic and I really enjoyed it and I thought this might be fun to talk about, both from the conspiratorial angle, which we both are interested in and I’m interesting in, and I’m always trying to pull Skeptiko listeners in, because I say, this is essentially, one way or another, it’s the heart of what Skeptiko is about, because we run into these conspiracies whether we want to or not. I’ve certainly run into them, just trying to follow the trail of consciousness science. So, with that, I thought I’d turn it over to you guys to do a little bit of introduction. Tell us more about yourself, tell folks about the Campfire Shit Show. Beau: Go for it. Meryl: Okay, I’ll start. I’m Meryl. I’m one half of Campfire Shit Show and I worked for 11 years in the music industry… Oh nice [unclear 00:02:57]. Alex Tsakiris:  That wasn’t on screen. See, they’re only seeing you. Meryl: Oh yeah, exactly, okay yeah. I just say, [unclear 00:03:06], I have a sickness where I just [unclear 00:03:08] with their body parts. I would say I got into the, kind of, conspiratorial realm, or whatever realm, a few years ago. I actually had a weird thing, that we can talk about,
March 6, 2018
Dr. Penny Sartori is a front line near-death experience researcher. Her conclusion — it’s about light and love… well mostly. photo by: Skeptiko I have an interview coming up in a minute with the very excellent Dr. Penny Sartori, about her new book, The Transformative Power of Near-Death Experiences. I’ve covered near-death experiences a lot and I seem to have a little bit of a different take on it than others who cover the field. It’s especially fun to talk to such an accomplished scientific researcher as Dr. Penn Sartori, but, I wanted to contrast that with a little movie clip, maybe this one… (Movie clip from Ted2… Nurse calls out )  Code Blue – Room 134. There’s nothing quite like Seth MacFarlane in a teddy bear costume, I never could bring myself to watch those Ted movies, but it’s an interesting cultural overlay on this topic of near-death experience, because one of the questions is, to what extent is this over-the-top fear of death we have a product of our medical establishment and our media? And to what extent does near-death experience science relieve that fear of death, and lessen the grief associated with death? As we’ve talked about before research suggests, it clearly does… in fact, it seems to be overwhelmingly better than any other treatment we know of… but to what extent is medicine responsible for perpetuating [fueling fear of death as opposed to reflecting what we already feel, believe and have been culturally instilled with? So, that’s one of the topics we talk about today with Dr. Sartori. We also talk about this “light and love” thing, which I think is so interesting and is the focus of her latest book. Of course, the “light and love” NDE coincides with the data. If you look at Dr. Jeff Long, he’s collected the data and it’s certainly about light and love 80% to 90% of the time. But, what about those other times? What about the hellish near-death experiences? What about the black void that some people face and fear so greatly? So, those a couple of things we talk about. We also talk about the connection between near-death experience and other transformative experiences. Very, very interesting stuff from just a terrific guest, who really does have a great new book. I hope you check out The Transformative Power of Neath-Death Experiences. My interview with Dr. Penny Sartori is coming up next on Skeptiko. (continued below) Click here for forum discussion Click here for Dr. Penny Sartori’s website Read Excerpts: Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome NDE researcher and author Dr. Penny Sartori to Skeptiko. Dr. Sartori has, along with Kelly Walsh, who you’ll hear about in a minute, they have written a new book, titled, here it is if you’re watching this video, The Transformative Power of Near-Death Experiences: How the Messages of NDEs Can Positively ...
February 20, 2018
Dr./Colonel John Alexander has seen a lot that can’t be dismissed or explained… but is he willing to admit UFOs are real? photo by: Skeptiko Today we welcome Dr. John Alexander to Skeptiko to talk about his new book, Reality Denied: Firsthand Experiences with Things that Can’t Happen – But Did. Dr. Alexander is a retired US Army Colonel, with a list of military and non-military distinctions, which are way too long to mention on this show. He’s one of those people, as you’ll hear about when he talks about this book, who really has seen it all and done it all, at least it seems that way. Fortunately, he has written a book about it. John, welcome to Skeptiko, thanks for joining me. Dr. John Alexander: Glad to be here. (later in the interview) Alex Tsakiris: You know, John, I’m reading this amazing book of yours and I’m reading these amazing stories, some of which we just have to cover because we have to get this out there, for folks who don’t have a chance to read it, and you really should read Reality Denied. If you can’t find a dozen just completely paradigm shattering stories there, just by sticking your thumb into the book at any random place, well then, I don’t know how you couldn’t, I guess, is my point. But I kept reading this book and I’m trying to square it with what, I guess is, for a long time been the general overriding meme associated with John Alexander, which is, this guy who debates people at UFO conferences, saying that, “The government doesn’t know anything about UFOs and if they did, I would know that they did, and I know, and they don’t and…” What is that whole meme all about, is that an accurate characterization of the way a lot of people think of you? It seems to be out there and is it true? Dr. John Alexander: I can’t speak to what other people think, but I don’t think, particularly with the recent revelations, that I can say, if it were there I would know about it. I think you’re talking about the recent stuff that [unclear 00:20:12] has been fortunate enough to release on studies that are going on. What you find is, you have tiny pockets of people who have had personal experience and the ability to research that. One of the things I mention in all of these phenomena, UFOs, near-death experiences, precognition, you know, take your phenomena, remember the government, whatever that is, is made up of millions of individuals, and what we know is, across the board, that a vast number of them, probably more than a majority, have had some kind of psychic experience in their life. If it’s UFOS, probably 10% have actually seen something that they believe. [Adult 00:21:05] and particularly in the military, who have been in threatening situations, you find people who have had near-death experiences. Now, one of the areas where I get into some difficulty in, is that when you get into these areas, and say, “Well, the government should study this,” I’m talking about the US government now, I argue that’s not necessarily the case. You do not expect that the government is responsible for confirming one’s individual belief system. Although, to be fair, and this goes to, I think, to all of the various phenomena,
February 6, 2018
Michael Tsarion’s books ask tough questions about our occulted history and its impact on modern culture. photo by: Skeptiko What do you think about race? And what does it have to do with the extended consciousness stuff I’m always talking about? (clip from the movie, Get Out) Hey Chris, I want to introduce you to some friends. This is a David and Marcia Wincott, Ronald and Celia Jeffries, Hiroki Tanaka and Jessika and Fredrich Walden. Too many names to remember, but hi. Do you find that being African-American has more advantage or disadvantage in the modern world? It’s a tough one. Yeah, I know man. Hey man. They were asking me about me about the African-American experience, maybe you could take this one. Sorry man. Get out… (screams)… get out… get out! That’s a clip from the 2017 Oscar nominated movie, Get Out. It is a movie that approaches some of these topics of race, genetics, blood lines, in a rather new and novel way. But from my perspective, from the Skeptiko perspective of consciousness and extended consciousness, it just sounds like bullshit. Alex Tsakiris: I mean, I’m just going to be really blunt. I’m looking at a picture of you and I’m going Irishman? Man, this guy’s pretty brown skinned, and then I’m reading your background and you say in your bio that your grandfather was this, kind of, famous Sikh, right? Michael Tsarion: That’s right. I am Irish with Norwegian background and part of my family comes from Northern India. When you say Sikh, that’ll pretty much nail it for people because within Sikhism there’s several different castes and the highest caste, the philosopher caste, was called Jat, and my ancestors came from the Jat Sikhs. So, these are a philosopher caste. This is a caste that is known to be pure Aryan and pure Caucasian. So even though the tone of the skin maybe off-white, you know, darker because of the hot climate and that my ancestors moved over to India, they are, in fact, Caucasians. So, on both sides of my family, it’s Caucasian blood there, partly from Norway and then the Norwegians came over. Alex Tsakiris: This history, the land, the blood. You feel like that’s important to you? Michael Tsarion: Yes, it’s important to me, yeah. (later in the interview) Alex Tsakiris: I’m with you on that, and I think you’re right to point that out and point all the corruption that often comes with religion, because it’s essentially about controlling people. No matter how good the idea is initially, it becomes institutionalized and it becomes this vehicle for control, because it’s pushing on all the same buttons, right? So, your ‘spiritual’, whatever that means to you, development, opens you up and makes you vulnerable to some very human, cultish, manipulative kind of things, and we see that happening again and again. But let me slow down because sometimes we get into talking inside baseball and people aren’t following, and let me tell you a little bit about my journey with Skeptiko, because when I approached these topics for myself, I was relying on science as you alluded to. I thought there were problems with the way that this fake dogmatic materialism was being applied, but I liked the method. So, one of the first questions I came to was this question of co...
January 23, 2018
Dr. Dr. Julie Beischel has become the preeminent researcher of mediumship and after death communication. photo by: Skeptiko We’ve come along way toward gaining a scientific understanding of after death communication, mainly thanks to the work of one researcher, Dr. Juile Beischel. Julie returns to Skeptiko to talk about her latest work at the Windbridge Institute. Dr. Julie Beischel: Yeah. I’m really worried, they’re medicating young children as schizophrenic, because they’re saying they’re hearing voices. We try and take what we know and provide it to different audiences. I know how to speak researcher, so we’re working hard on trying to take this information and convey it in a way that, the general public, it’s good for them, clinicians, so they know about the reality. I was at conference with clinicians once, and I talked to one woman and she was tremendously surprised that the mediums on our team don’t walk up to people in the grocery store parking lot and give them messages. No, that’s completely unethical, our mediums don’t do that. They agree to a code of ethics and that includes, you don’t provide information to someone who didn’t ask for it, because you don’t know if they’re ready to hear it. That’s a very big concept to get your head around, and the grieving person might not be ready for it. I’ve heard mediums say that in a grocery store line, “You have to tell my wife. You have to tell my wife this message,” and the medium saying, “No, I don’t. I’m not going to do that. You’ve going to have to encourage her to ask me what I do for a living, that’s as far as I go, but I’m not going to tap your wife on the shoulder and say, ‘I have a message for you.’” (continued below) Click here for forum discussion Click here to help Julie continue this research Read Excerpts: Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome Dr. Julie Beischel to Skeptiko. Julie is the co-founder and director of research at the Windbridge Research Center, which really is the preeminent organization for the study of mediums and mediumship in the world. As we just talked, for one hour, because I forgot to press the record button, there’s really two sides to saying that, there’s a good and a bad side that this little research center, that Julie has started and, kind of, nurtured along for so long, is really the best there is in the world. It’s a great testament to her and what she’s done, but it also is a little bit of a statement about where we are in general, in trying to get a better handle on survival and consciousness studies that, kind of go against the mainstream neurological model that is rigidly holding onto its position. So, Julie is also, I should mention, the author of several books related to this topic, that you can find on Amazon, and she’s just a great guest and a great friend. Julie, welcome back to Skeptiko, for a third time, because we just did an interview a minute ago. Dr. Julie Beischel: Yes, we did. It was a lovely hour we just spent together. I’m pleased to be here.
January 9, 2018
Dr. Andrija Puharich researched ESP and psychedelics, brought Uri Geller to the USA, and held seances with aliens… all while working for the deep state. photo by: Skeptiko (clip from the movie Altered Minds…) MKUltra… (disturbing music)… No matter how deep you dig, the only thing you’ll find is more lies… (disturbing music) I’m not the monster in the closet with the electrodes and the drones… oh my god! That’s a clip from the 2015 movie, Altered Minds. The movie gives a human side to the story of MKUltra. That is, the horrible mind control and psychedelic brainwashing experiments done on behalf of us Americans, and Canadians too, by our deep state friends who were “keeping us safe.” The reason I play this clip, and the reason why it’s particularly relevant to today’s wide ranging show on Andrija Puharich, is that our history, the history of parapsychology, the history of the deep state, the history of mind control, the history of the paranormal, is always a lot more complicated than it seems, and that’s because there are these amazing people like Andrija Puharich, who are at the center of these stories. Greg Mallozzi: We have footage of this, I mean, he was there, with a rather small team, I think a guy with a video camera and maybe two other people, a translator, and you know, it’s just incredible, just to think about in the early 50s, here is this guy, romping through the jungle finding these mushrooms. What he did was, he would bring them back to his laboratory in Maine, the Round Table Foundation and he would do all sorts of ESP experiments. So, he would test somebody when they were not on mushrooms, and then he would test somebody when they were dosed on mushrooms, and like you said, his theory was that, when you’re on these things it enhances your ability, it enhances your extrasensory perception ability. Personally, I think there were some really interesting results. This is in The Sacred Mushroom book, if you read it, and there’s a little bit in his book, Beyond Telepathy, which came out around the same time, and there’s very convincing results. Of course, you know, people have all their different opinions on this kind of stuff, but… Alex Tsakiris: Let me jump in there, because part of the reason that people have a lot of different opinions is because of the way the whole psychedelic thing plays out, right? Greg Mallozzi: Yeah. Alex Tsakiris: So, you’ve already set it up, that he has these folks that he’s talking to, Army connections, what we call deep state connections, intelligence connections, but again, as you said before, we’ve got to put this in context, and I would add, we have to put it in a historical context. This is right after World War II, we don’t know what’s up. We know we’ve dodged a major bullet, in terms of controlling the whole world with fascism, so the CIA, the new minted CIA has kind of got a blank check to go and do whatever they have to, to kind of “keep us safe,” kind of thing, you’ve got to imagine. Greg Mallozzi: Exactly. Alex Tsakiris: Now, we find out later that one of the things they got interested in, really early on was, how do we control people… and what if we could control people? They can always spin it around and say, “Hey, we’re trying to protect you, we don’t want other people controlling you. So,
December 27, 2017
Dr. Jeffrey Kripal’s new book connects his interests in the paranormal and erotic elements of mystical religion.   photo by: Skeptiko (Indian music plays on bus as tour operator speaks) Alright, so welcome to Tantra Tour: The Heart of India. That’s tantra guru, Laurie Handlers from the film, Tantric Tourists. She’s telling her brave band of loyal tourists how her tips for a better sex life can lead to spiritual enlightenment. (Laurie Handlers) In tantra we use our sexual energy to fuel our bodies with our vital life force… Well, at least if we can get the guys to go along… From then, they’re usually shooting it out and when they shoot it out it robs them of their vital life force. So in tantra, men learn to experience their sexual energy internally, like women already naturally do. Maybe I shouldn’t be too quick to throw Laurie under the tour bus. As you’ll hear from today’s guest, the very excellent Dr. Jeffrey Kripal, the link between the esoteric and the erotic goes a lot deeper than we think. In this interview, Jeff and I not only talk about his new book, Secret Body, but also the role that academics are playing in this struggle we have over religion and spirituality. We talk about UFOs since Jeff has done some incredible work in this area. But the main focus of this interview is the connection between the esoteric and the erotic, the moral and the stuff that we maybe, sometimes, too quickly discard as being immoral. Alex Tsakiris: Is there a hierarchal nature to consciousness, because there sure as hell seems to be? I mean, that’s what all the near-death experience research says, research says. That’s what the past lives research says. That’s what the medium research says. It says there’s a hierarchical structure to consciousness. Dr. Jeffrey Kripal: Sometimes people have profound life-changing religious experiences in situations, which are dangerous or deadly or traumatic, and sometimes, deeply charismatic spiritual teachers, who can change people instantly with a touch or a look, can also engage in abusive, sexual abusive or physical abusive behaviors. What I’ve seen over the years is people who want to say that it’s all either pure light and happiness and love or it’s all nonsense, it’s not real. What I’m trying to plead for is, actually it’s messier than that and sometimes we can have profound religious experiences in amoral or even immoral situations. Stay with me, my interview with Dr. Jeffrey Kripal is up next on Skeptiko. (continued below) Click here for forum discussion Click here for to Dr. Jeffrey Kripal’s website Read Excerpts: Alex Tsakiris: The underlying question seems to be, okay, if we get to the point where we accept that we’re in a post-materialistic world and that there’s this extended consciousness realm, which you accept as, kind of, a given in your work,
December 12, 2017
Dr. Antti Savinainen’s new book on the Finnish Mystic, Pekka Ervast adds to our understanding of the afterlife. photo by: Skeptiko (scary music and sounds from  Jacob’s Ladder) Where do you go when you die? Actor, Tim Robbins got a glimpse in this cult classic, Jacob’s Ladder. And I guess that’s how it is with the afterlife. I mean, we know it’s probably going to work out okay, but what if it doesn’t? So, we keep asking the questions, we keep looking for the answers and once in awhile we come across people who seem to know. Dr. Antti Savinainen: There are no devils in hell, there are just human beings who have evil thoughts and habits and then, as Richard mentioned, there are some kind of thought forms, which are formed by people, but using those evil and murderous, those kinds of thoughts, and they have so much power that they exist there for some time. If a person has, kind of an affinity, harboring those negative feelings and thoughts throughout their life, or at least to some extent, then it might be that this is somehow attracting these lower levels in afterlife. I find it interesting that negative near-death experiences, they tend to reveal that these stages are felt by people who go briefly to the other side, so to speak. That’s today’s guest, Dr. Antti Savinainen, Antti Savinainen, who along with Jouni Marjanen and Jouko Sorvali, has written a new book about the Finnish mystic, Pekka Ervast who, back in the 1890s had a series of amazing mystical experiences that revealed to him what really happens after we die. It’s an interesting book because it has so much overlap with the modern-day near-death experience research. And it raises some of the same questions  we always come back to, regarding science and materialism and our need to try and know and understand this topic from reason, and at the same time, our appreciation for the fact that we know, deep down, reason can’t really get us there. In this interview we’re also joined by the very excellent biblical scholar and spiritual scholar, Richard Smoley, who wrote the introduction for this book. So it was great having him on as well. Before we get started with the interview, let me just mention that Antti has informed me that the book is available, actually right now, as a free eBook. It’s an excellent book, I’ve read it, it’s nicely formatted, it’s not like a cheap freebie, throwaway kind of thing, well-researched. Again, with an excellent introduction by Richard Smoley, it’s just a great book that’s available for free (From Death to Rebirth). So, that’s kind of a cool thing and I’ll of course have the links to that in the show notes. This was a fun interview for me, we talk about all sorts of topics, all the way from the idiosyncratic nature of these mystical experiences and how much are we to trust, My Big Toe, kind of simulation theory, kind of things, versus a total full-blown spiritual or even Christian mystical experience. We talk about backdoor materialism and medicine in particular and whether a proposed head transplant,  that’s supposed to happen in 2018, will reveal anything more about how we might understand consciousness. Then, we even venture off into biblical scholarship and biblical studies, just a little bit,
November 28, 2017
UFO Researcher Stanton Friedman on Jacques Vallee and alien consciousness technology. photo by: Skeptiko (Mark Zuckerberg, CEO Facebook) Now, when we talk about augmented reality, there are three important use cases that we think about… That’s Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, spreading Facebook’s Brave-New-World-Gospel re the merging of consciousness and computing. He’s actually taking his foot off the pedal a little bit with this group of developers. If you search for some of his more freewheeling discussions he straight-up talks about mind reading, telepathy and even mind control. It’s all part of Facebook’s glorious future. And, you know what? He might be right. Skeptiko has always been about controversial science and spirituality related to consciousness, but if we’re going to be honest, we have to accept that technology has a role to play in cutting through some of the philosophical bullshit that sometimes dominates these discussions. I mean, when mind reading is another app you can download on your iPhone 20, some of the “spiritual” questions surrounding consciousness will be answered. Same goes for UFOs. The main question that’s dominated the UFO field for the last 10 years is whether we should remain focused on nuts-and-bolts technology related questions/issues, or shift the focus to experiences and experiencers. Jacques Vallee has been a leading thinker in this area linking modern UFO encounters extended consciousness phenomena. I’ve covered this topic in my recent interview with him and my interview with Robbie Graham. But since we had not heard from anyone in the nuts-and-bolts camp, I decided to turn to Stanton Friedman for this episode. Stan and I talk about a number of things. One of the things we talk about is this technology angle as it relates to the “consciousness stuff” that shows up in the UFO phenomenon: Alex Tsakiris: One thing I want to throw out there and get your opinion on, because again, I come at this whole thing from a totally different perspective, my main interest is consciousness science. We study near-death experience, psi phenomenon. Last time I had you on I thought you did a marvelous job of connecting us to the Betty and Barney Hill case and how that leads right into some of this extended consciousness stuff, that again, no one ever gives you credit for, they always say, “Stan’s the nuts and bolts, saucer guy and that’s all he knows,” and that hasn’t been my experience. Let’s leave that aside for a minute and I’ll tell you, when I hear somebody talk about UFOs and they lead with, and lean too heavily on the technology component, I’m always a little bit leery. I mean, we’re talking about information that would completely change our understanding of who we are, where we came from, why we’re here and then you’re going to lead with, “Oh, and it’s going to be free energy for your car.” I mean, it may be free energy, but the social implications are so much bigger, I do always feel like I’m being distracted, and I don’t know how you feel about that. Stan Friedman: Yes, I agree with you. I agree with you, there are a lot of distractions out there. I keep telling people, when I have a chance, that I’m convinced that the aliens know a heck of a lot more about the crazy stuff, if you will, near-death experiences and mental telepathy, you know, stuff like that, that the rest of the scientific community doesn’t want to d...
November 14, 2017
Chaos magician and author Gordon White on the blurring of parapsychology and magic. photo by: Skeptiko Nobody does magic quite like Disney. The sciency wizard, the wand, the spells, it’s all burned into our collective consciousness, along with the idea that it’s all silly nonsense, but hey, what about this… (Dr. Dean Radin on RuneSoup) Sorry, I should back up a second here and say I’m talking in a way that a year ago I would never have talked, I would never have used the word ‘magic’ and I wouldn’t have talked about spirits or anything of that sort. That’s Dr. Dean Radin, the Dr. Dean Radin, pre-eminent parapsychology researcher, pioneering researcher and he’s talking with today’s guest, author and chaos magician, Gordon White. So, this is all relatively new for me. I know a little bit more than I did a year ago, because I’ve just written a book on this, but the thing that sparked my interest in looking into the esoteric traditions is, that I’ve been working in psi research for something like three decades, almost four decades now, and I had to think really hard for anybody whoever talked about… a couple of anthropologists will talk about the psychic and Sharman connections as real, as opposed to as theater. In the most recent large book, which is a state of the art book on psi research called A Handbook of Parapsychology for the 21st Century, the word ‘magic’ doesn’t even show up in the index. I found this kind of puzzling because, of course, everybody’s well aware of what the Sharman’s claim to be able to do and we’re well aware of notions of what magic is, at least what is portrayed in entertainment, and I became curious as to why it doesn’t show up. I mean, I’m involved in the profession of studying magic, if we think of magic in the proper terms. So I went through this whole business of seeing if I could synthesize, what are the basic magical practices and seeing if I could map it onto psi research and of course, it completely maps. (Gordon White) It 100% maps, absolutely. It a 100% match. So then I was shocked at, “Well, how come I didn’t know this?” It’s virtually because no one ever talks about it, and then, well why is that? Well, we’re being scientists, that’s why. So, fully take that in for a minute. The leading light of psi research, Dean Radin, is telling us that psi, the stuff that’s blown the lid off of grandpa’s dopey old materialistic science, well he seems to be saying that, that isn’t really science at all, it’s maybe better termed ‘magic’. (Gordon White on Redesigning Society) Yeah, I have this definition down to a sentence now I subsequently explain, which is, ‘magic is a culture specific way of using or interacting with the natural consciousness capacities of a particular human.’ Here’s Gordon again, this time he’s chatting it up with Phillip Watt, on his magic themed podcast, Redesigning Society, but tell me, as you’re listening, does this sound like a podcast about magic or a science podcast, because I’m not sure which is which anymore? So, that might sound a bit circular, but actually if you look across the world at systems or cultures that have never repudiated magic in the same way that the northwest European Enlightenment did, and I’m being very specific about that in Europe because you’re actually finding in southern Europe that it’s carried on merrily in the kind of folk traditions of Itali...
October 31, 2017
Christopher Knowles finds occult symbolism in pop culture and science impossible to ignore. photo by: Skeptiko (News announcer) When you celebrate science, perhaps it’s best to not get carried away. The inauguration ceremony included some, how shall we put it, original choreography. It was quite bizarre… do you associate this kind of dancing with the inauguration of a tunnel? The science journalists you’re listening to are commenting on the opening ceremony of the $7 billion technological marvel that is the Gotthard Tunnel in Switzerland. Here’s another report on this ceremony that the Daily Mail called, “One of the most bizarre opening ceremonies in history.” Dancing construction workers, angels with giant heads and whatever these things are. It’s a surreal ceremony… If you’ve read anything about this ceremony or saw video from the event, you know the uproar was about the overt, and I mean overt, occult symbology on display for some of Europe’s leading political figures. Now look, I know sometimes a goat-headed devil looking figure being worshipped by a flying baby with wings is just good clean fun for a lot of folks, but the recurring use of these unmistakable, and again, let me stress that in the case of the Gotthard Tunnel, the symbology was not hidden — it was really, really in your face — well the use of these occult images and themes, particularly in science and in sciency pop culture, is something that’s hard to just brush aside. At least that’s the opinion of today’s guest, author and creator of The Secret Sun website, Christopher Knowles (author of, Our Gods Wear Spandex): Christopher Knowles: We saw that Gotthard, Switzerland Tunnel, that weird hour-long ritual that so many people have commented on… Wait a second, before I play the rest of this clip, let me point out that what’s really great about Chris’ work, is that when he tackles this stuff, he dives deep: Christopher Knowles: The thing is, is that people just look at that and just say, “Oh that’s Satan, that’s Lucifer and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,” and it’s like, no, you don’t understand what these people are really about, you don’t understand what is really being put across here, you don’t understand the god that this goat figure really represents. It’s not Satan, it’s not Baphomet, it’s not Lucifer, it’s a much more, almost a more troubling figure in history. Now, if you’re not yet convinced that the gods of  Mesopotamia, Egypt and Greece are really relevant to your life, you might want to take a step back and ask yourself, who does care about such things? Christopher Knowles: In that same ceremony we see this woman with this giant baby head and these wings, sort of flown in to this tunnel, it’s just the weirdest thing. I mean, you just can’t believe you’re seeing it, it’s mind boggling. But that’s actually Eros, that’s not Lucifer. These things have specific meanings, they have specific historical context that people overlooked because they don’t understand, they don’t know the history and if you don’t know the history, you don’t know what is really being said here and you don’t know what is really being believed here. You know, you don’t understand what these people really thing. Okay, but maybe you’re still not yet convinced that you should care. Well, let me get all Skeptiko on you, because as you know the primary focus of this show has been consciousness science and an attempt to answer the, “is there more” question. That is, are we more than biological robots in a meaningless universe...
October 17, 2017
Joe Atwill cautions against the resurging interest in psychedelics and entheogens. photo by: Skeptiko (audio 1979 news report) In their never ending search for the miracle weapons, CIA operatives searched here, in the remote mountain areas of Southern Mexico, for what, up until then, had been considered a myth; magic mushrooms. The clip you’re listening to is from a 1979 news report and it’s one of the chapters in the fairytale version of the CIA’s involvement with psychedelics and as strange at that opening ten seconds was; it gets even stranger. They used this man, a part-time chemist for the CIA, to dupe this man, a vice president of a bank and an amateur mycologist or mushroom expert, to try and get to the magic mushrooms and turn them into a drug, but it would be the amateur R. Gordon Wasson, and his colleagues, who would win the race and develop the drug psilocybin from the magic mushrooms. Now, the notion that a Wall Street banker like Gordon Wasson, who is deeply connected at the highest level to the United States government, to the Director of the CIA, to the Council on Foreign Relations, which is the most influential group in Washington, the idea that he was somehow the central figure in the discovery of magic mushrooms in the hills of rural Mexico is just, again… it’s the stuff of fairytales.   But, if we’re to pull apart and truly understand what psychedelics are and how they’ve been used in our culture and how we might use them going forward, well this story might have a lot of significance to those questions, and that is, at least, certainly the opinion of today’s guest on Skeptiko, Joe Atwill. Joe Atwill: They do not have any concern whatsoever for the human value of their subjects. These are lab rats. They knew perfectly well that the drug produced psychosis and they knew perfectly well that a fraction of the people weren’t going to come back, but they went forward with the experimentations regardless. This was all used against us once. The sex, drugs and rock and roll culture was artificial, it was used against us, it really debased and damaged our culture. So now, as we sit here, we have this new era, new drugs, new research, new government involvement. We just aren’t in a position, until we know what is controlling the government, to trust these things. Stick around, all that and a lot more coming up on Skeptiko. (continued below) Click here for forum discussion Click here for Joe Atwill’s website/podcast Read Excerpts: Alex Tsakiris:  Today we welcome Joseph Atwill back to Skeptiko. He’s here today to talk about some of his recent research and writings into the topic of psychedelics, entheogens, how those have been introduced and promoted in our culture, and what the implications of those might be for our culture going forward. Of course, we talked about this subject a little bit a couple of episodes back and I’ve been very interested in bringing Joe’s voice and perspective to this discussion, as I think he has a very,
October 3, 2017
Brian Dunning hosts a popular skeptical podcast, but is the “skeptical community” being pushed to the fringe. photo by: Skeptiko (audio from James Rani’s 2013 Amazing Meeting) Welcome back everybody. Moving right along, as they say, get your seats, get your seats. This is going to be a killer panel, I’m so excited to listen to this. Coming up now we’ve got magicians vs psychics… Is it just me. or does the whole skeptical thing just sound dated? Like this clip from the 2013 Amazing Meeting. Okay, here is the haiku from magicians vs psychics; both groups flat-out lie, you know, magicians, psychics, only one is honest… Dated in a Johnny Carson kind of way. (audio from Tonight Show) James Randi is here tonight and… But it’s still kind of amazing to me, to look back at just a few short years ago, when real scientists like Richard Dawkins and Neil deGrasse Tyson embraced this guy who, as I explained today’s guest Brian Dunning, the creator and host of the Skeptoid podcast , is a proven liar. (Alex Tsakiris) This guy was caught lying over and over. He lied about Uri Geller, he lied about Rupert Sheldrake, he lied to dozens of people about The Million Dollar Challenge and that was found out… he lied about his background, he claimed he was this genius with an IQ of 186 and he didn’t have to go to school, because he had this special [library pass]. I mean, his whole story was just one lie after another. You really consider this guy a mentor? In what way was he a mentor, or someone who you would look up to? (Brian Dunning) Well first of all I want to say I don’t know anything about any of those charges you just threw at him and I don’t judge my friends based on what other people say about them. Now skeptics still can provide a backdrop, if you will, to the real frontier science that’s going on and I tried to explain that to Brian in this interview but we didn’t get very far. So I’ll include some additional clips at the end of this show. But it sure seems to me that this whole skeptical thing is over and, like Brian’s new film, Principles of Curiosity… (audio from film) The result, many of the new science discoveries you hear about on the TV News or read on the Consumer Focused website, really are, more than likely, wrong! It all sounds a little dated. Stay with me, my interview with Brian Dunning of Skeptoid is next on Skeptiko. (continued below) Click here for forum discussion Read Excerpts: Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome Brian Dunning back to Skeptiko. Brian is the creator and host of Skeptoid, a long-running and very popular podcast about Skepticism and he’s just released a new documentary film titled, Principles of Curiosity. Brian, welcome back to Skeptiko. Thanks so much for joining me. Brian Dunning: Hey thanks, it’s been a long, long time. A lot of water under the bridge, it’s good to be back. Alex Tsakiris: How did that lead to this movie,
September 26, 2017
Dr. Henry Bauer explains how market forces have led to the corruption of science.  photo by: Skeptiko Kyrie Irving, is an amazing basketball player, who made quite a stir earlier this year regarding the flat earth theory. Ben Nichols, this is a shout out to you. He came to us with this super conspiracy theory, he said, “The earth is flat.” No, the earth is flat. Oh here we go. No the earth is flat. Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s no way a bright, Duke University educated guy like Kyrie Irving should fall for something anyone can debunk with the United Airlines timetable and some common sense. But take a minute to understand how he formed his opinion. Hopefully they’ll either back my belief or they’ll throw it in the water. I think it’s interesting for people to find out on their own. You’ve seen pictures of the planet thought right? Like it’s a circle? I’ve seen a lot of things that have been… and my educational system has said that was real and it turned out to be completely fake. I don’t mind, I don’t mind going against the grain in terms of my thoughts and what I believe. And with that, you might begin to understand why today’s guest, Dr. Henry Bauer, might cut Kyrie some slack. The popular view of science has not caught up with the present situation where people should be as skeptical about what official science says as they are about what the experts say about any other aspect of society. Now, like I said, the Kyrie Irving flat earth thing caused quite a stir. Did you know that the earth is flat? Kyrie Irving is unfortunately helping to spread it, the conspiracy… Here’s a meme that was played over and over again by the mainstream science media. Middle school teacher, Nick Gurol, said that his students, thanks to Irving, staunchly believe that the world is flat. Gurol remarked, “And immediately I started to panic. How have I failed these kids so badly…?” Yes, panic indeed. How else should a science teacher respond to students that don’t just, well, believe everything they’re told. “It’s definitely hard for me because it feels like science isn’t real to them.” The educator said that he has tried to get the students to understand that the world is indeed round, to no avail. “The influence of Irving was just too strong.” I did ask Henry about this: Alex Tsakiris: Because that’s what I think happens, see, I think people have this growing sense that they’re being lied to, manipulated and bullshitted by science, right? And they don’t know quite how to articulate it. So something like ‘flat earth’ comes along and some guy sounds halfway like he knows what he’s talking about and people are like, “You know what, I’m open to hearing it.” Henry Bauer: We have to be skeptical about what scientists say, because what scientists tell you is not necessarily the same as what science can tell you. Stick around, my interview with Dr. Henry Bauer (author of Science Is Not What You Think: How It Has Changed, Why We Can’t Trust It, How It Can Be Fixed ) is up next on Skeptiko. (continued below) Click here for forum discussion Read Excerpts:
September 19, 2017
Johnny Verive reports on the 2017 IONS conference.  photo by: Skeptiko …And that is why the Institute of Noetic Sciences is so focused on bringing together science, observations, hypothesis, measurements… I have a lot of respect for the Institute of Noetic Sciences. That’s Cassandra Vieten, the current president of IONS, talking at their annual conference. You’ll hear a lot more about the conference coming up on Skeptiko. …All of them have something to do with consciousness… That’s Dr. Dean Radin, chief scientist at IONS. I’ve run across his work many times over the years, it’s always been rock solid. He’s someone who’s kept the consciousness research lamp lit for a long time. I trust Radin, therefore I trust IONS. …And we were orientated such that we were rotating to keep thermal balance on the spacecraft… That’s Apollo 14 astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell, talking about his full on spiritually transformative experience in space that led him to found IONS. …It was of this real knowing, accompanied by an ecstasy… …If you’re going to press me on this, I’m not going to talk to you anymore because I won’t pursue this… Here’s Dr. Edgar Mitchell again. This time he’s in the process of literally kicking the ass of a skeptic who happens to be this Christian guy who’s gone around and asked all these astronauts to swear on the Bible that they really walked on the moon. So, if you watch the video, and I’ll link it up… …Put your left hand on the Bible, raise your right hand and say, “I, Edgar Mitchell…” He literally, at some point, kicks this guy in the ass and puts him out of his house and the guy is clearly a wingnut. But at the same time… …and eternal damnation… That I walked  on the moon on Apollo 14. That I walked on the moon on Apollo 14. Well you know, you’re the first astronaut to do that. We did kind of want to know if he would swear on that Bible and we sure as heck know that there’s a lot more to Apollo than anyone tells us. You’ve been so vocal about UFOs in… Anyone, that is, except Dr. Edgar Mitchell. Why is it so important to you? Well, it’s important because it’s real and since I happen to be one of the earliest of our particular civilization to go to another planet, I naturally have interest in space travel. So anything you haven’t told people about your inner-beliefs about UFOs? My deeper belief is starting to emerge, the evidence that they’ve been coming here for a long, long time and have been influential in the evolution of our civilization. But you know what, that’s not really relevant to this show, unless it is, but you’re going to have to help me figure that out after the show is over. For now, let’s just hear about what went on at the 2017 IONS conference in Oakland. (continued below) Click here for forum discussion Click here for the IONS website Click here for Edgar Mitchell YouTube #1 Click here for Edgar Mitchell YouTube #2 Read Excerpts: Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome Johnny Verive to S...
September 12, 2017
Cody Noconi of the Psilly Rabbits Podcast on whether entheogens and psychedelics lead to deep spirituality.  photo by: Skeptiko [Joe Rogan] My first DMT experience changed everything I thought about the world. The Joe Rogan podcast you’re listening to is hugely popular… [Graham Hancock] So that’s the aliens, an utterly alien realm, filled with alien intelligences who communicate, and of course, the skeptics say, “Oh, it’s all just made up in your brain, but we don’t know that.” This interview with Graham Hancock drew millions of listeners. It’s quite a statement regarding how far our culture has come in trying to understand the relationship between psychedelics and consciousness… [Spiral Out 90704] Let’s go to YouTube, Spiral Out 90704 coming at you. But this next clip may be even more remarkable. [Spiral Out 90704] In one of my videos, there was a comment left asking me if I could make a video explaining why I don’t use entheogens any longer. It’s from SpiralOut90704 and was published for the benefit of his 342 subscribers. It’s titled, ‘Why I no longer use entheogens’, and while the numbers may not be as impressive as the Joe Rogan interview with Graham Hancock, the thousands of trip reports available on YouTube may be an even more significant statement about what’s going with entheogens in our culture. But what does it all mean and what are we supposed to do? Graham? [Graham Hancock] Can we use changes in consciousness to understand the majestic complexity of the universe in which we live? And I think the answer is definitely yes. SpiralOut90704? [Spiral Out 90704] People need to understand that the mind is a very fragile thing, it can be bent in so many strange directions and some people’s mind can’t be bent as much as others and remain intact. Stick around for a show on entheogens and my interview with Cody Noconi. Coming up next on Skeptiko… (continued below) Click here for forum discussion Click here for Cody’s website Click here for Joe Rogan’s interview with Graham Hancock Click here for SpiralOut90704’s video Read Excerpts: Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome Cody Noconi to Skeptiko. Cody is the creator and co-host of the Psilly Rabbits podcast. Psilly Rabbits is kind of a play on the idea of psilocybin, which is one of the things that Cody is very interested in talking about and bringing to people on his very interesting and relatively new podcast. Alex Tsakiris: And you guys will have to just tell people, if they check out your podcast, it isn’t like your usual kind of psychonaut, trippy, “Hey man,” I mean it’s like really intellectual and academic and you get all of these really smart people on there and there’s a lot of references to academic papers and research. So, that’s part of the angle that you bring to it, right Cody?
August 29, 2017
Dr. Jacques Vallée’s 40 years of diary entries disclose a large body of science that’s been intentionally hidden.  photo by: Skeptiko Dr. Jacques Vallée is an almost mythical figure among those interested in UFOs. (movie clip from Close Encounters of the Third Kind) Who are you people? Please, one more question. Have you recently had a close encounter, a close encounter with something very unusual? Who are you people? And while he wasn’t really in that movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, there’s no doubt the French UFO researcher you just heard was based on the real life Jacques Vallée. As it turns out, Vallée was right smack in the middle of not just UFOs but a lot of the most important frontier science that has shaped our evolving understanding of who we are. Take for example telepathy, mindreading – now falling under parapsychology – but go back 50 years to Stanford Research Institute, when Hal Puthoff and Russell Targ, who go on to run the US Military psychic spying program, are investigating this Israeli psychic name Uri Geller. Dr. Jacques Vallée: …were at the SRI cafeteria having lunch, a big round table and Geller was across the table from me and Geller suddenly says, “I want to do an experiment with you Jacques, so I’m going to send you…” This is a great story and you’ll hear the whole thing in this interview, but let me cut to the chase. So Geller instructs Vallée how to do this little experiment and it works. So they take the next step, they’re right there in the SRI café, which kind of blows me away. I mean they’re sitting down having lunch and they go, “Well, what the heck? We have some envelopes left over from the experiment we were just running; let’s use one of those, see what happens? Dr. Jacques Vallée: I thought, I’m going to send it in two things. I’m going to send the whale, which is essentially a fish, I know a whale isn’t a fish but you know, I’m going to send a fish and I’m going to send a water jet that I see through the window. Geller said – all of a sudden he was all business – he took his pencil and he drew something and he says, “Look, I’m going to draw what I’m getting, but I’m not getting one thing, I’m getting two things. I’m getting a fish and then I’m getting a water jet.” So he drew the two things, he didn’t draw the target. There was no way he could have known that I did not send him the target, I sent him two things that I made up, and that’s what he got. Now, it’s almost hard to believe that all this happened exactly the way he’s saying, I mean, this is Jacques Vallée and everything, but come on. Well, here’s the real kicker. He wrote it all down in his journal. So here’s a guy, who’s right in the middle of the computer revolution in Silicon Valley, a world-class computer scientist at the time, and he’s right in the middle of the parapsychology thing, and right in the middle of the UFO thing, and he wrote it all down. And that’s what we’re going to talk about here on Skeptiko. Now, this interview covers a lot of ground in the one hour we had and I did have the chance to ask Dr. Vallée directly about the UFO consciousness link that we were talking about on the last episode of Skeptiko and I thought his answer was quite interesting. Alex Tsakiris: …I hear people use your work as a manifesto against little grey men in spaceships from other planets,
August 22, 2017
Robbie Graham and Robert Brandstetter challenge us to look beyond UFOs, extraterrestrials and disclosure.  photo by: Skeptiko On this episode of Skeptiko… Robbie Graham:  I would be surprised if there were not an extraterrestrial component to the UFO phenomenon. But again, I would be very surprised if the extraterrestrial hypothesis could be proved to be a catch-all answer for the riddle. That’s Robbie Graham, author of a new book, UFOs: Reframing the Debate. What debate? Well that’s a real Skeptiko question like, how does frontier consciousness science, like the recent near-death experience science published by Dr. Sam Parnia as part of his AWARE study, how does that factor into the UFO question? Robert Brandstetter: And they had one piece only that they could use, even that case couldn’t prove anything. Alex Tsakiris: Respectfully Robert, you’re misrepresenting that research. The lead investigator, Dr. Sam Parnia – who’s a worldwide, recognized expert in resuscitation – his conclusion is that consciousness survives bodily death. Dr. Pim van Lommel, Dr. Jeff Long, every researcher who’s actively involved in study near-death experience has come to the same conclusion; you can’t take their work and then just put a spin on it based on your interpretation of it. And does UFO research lead to the kind of deep spirituality I like to talk about? Robbie Graham:  I don’t feel I’m any more spiritual than I was when I first became attracted to the subject, when I was a teenager. I consider myself to be a spiritual person but I’ve shaken my dogmatic attachment to UFOs. And since I’m always keen to look at the conspiratorial angle, how does the deep state factor into this, and what about disclosure? Robbie Graham:  I mean, it really ultimately comes down to where you dinned on how trustworthy and decent governmental structures. If you take them to be fundamentally corrupt and when you recognize that official interactions with the UFO subject have been characterized almost exclusively, well totally exclusively for the past 70 years by deception and by psychological warfare, why do you believe anything that the same official bodies have to say on the UFO subject on a hypothetical disclosure day? Well, you would believe it because you desperately want to believe it. All that and more coming up on this episode of 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 today a show on UFOs. One of our guests Robbie Graham has been making the rounds with this very, very interesting new book that’s getting a lot of attention, UFOs: Reframing the Debate and we’re going to hear from him in just a minute. I putting this together, one of the things that struck me is how surprising it is to me that UFOs are still a taboo subject or that UFOs are not understood as being part of this broader information, anti-establishment, screw-the-mainstream-media kind of movement tha...
August 8, 2017
What Pizzagate reveals about evil. Plus, an ex-FBI agent tells what he learned about sex crimes against children. photo by: Skeptiko On this episode of Skeptiko… Alex Tsakiris: One of the great things about Pizzagate is that it really cuts through a lot of the ambiguity with regard to the the “evil question”, because sex crimes against children are evil, clearly evil. So in that way it really makes clear the question, what is the nature of this evil? Is this evil something we just cook up in our consciousness-is-an-illusion brain or does this evil tell us something about this hierarchical nature of consciousness? Bob Hamer: Had I not been undercover, had I walked past them and heard these men talking like that I would have thrown them off the railing, I mean, it was so disgusting. It demonstrated to me that parents were providing eye candy for these pedophiles and these sick perverts. I don’t know how anyone, just as you had said earlier Alex, how can anyone say that is not evil? 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 the topic of today’s show is not one that’s easy to talk about and not one that you’d expect to hear on a show about consciousness science. I know that because I get plenty of emails asking me when I’m going to get back to NDE and [cyber search 00:01:44]. But hey, there’s an important through line here that I’d like to explore with you that really gets to the heart of what this show is all about, because my primary finding, if you will, from 350 episodes of Skeptiko, is that we are more, that is we’re not biological robots in a meaningless universe, that science tell us we are, we are more. So really, all questions beyond that are about what that more is, what that spirituality is, what that extended consciousness is, where did it come from, what is its purpose, how does it function in our life and in our world? And sure, these are the deepest, most profound questions that you could ask, that people have been asking for thousands of years, and it’s not like we’re going to figure it out on a couple of podcast episodes. The topic is I think, the most important topic we can talk about and in this ongoing conversation that we’re having, I think it’s nice to keep it fresh and relevant with new things that are happening and look at how those might inform or further our understanding of what’s really going on. And Pizzagate, that is the controversy surrounding the alleged occult themed and pedophilia themed emails of Hilary Clinton’s top aid John Podesta are certainly fresh and I would suggest that they’re very relevant to some of these Skeptiko questions I was just talking about in some really important ways. Let me explain… (continued below) Click here for forum discussion Click here for Bob Hamer’s website Read Excerpts: (continuing from above) …First of all the thing that really attracts me to looking at this is that it drives us right to the core of the evil q...
July 25, 2017
Atheist David Fitzgerald seeks to dispel Christian myths. photo by: Skeptiko On this episode of Skeptiko… David Fitzgerald: Whether you’re talking about Islamic fundamentalists or Christian fundamentalists or Libertarian fundamentalists, they all have a lot of the same structures. Alex Tsakiris: Well that’s because they’re all based on these cultish principles. David Fitzgerald: Exactly. Alex Tsakiris: … that’s the part that I feel like is often missing from the public discourse —  it’s cultish folks. We understand how mind control works, we understand how different groups in our society are trying to manipulate other groups and some of those are in a religious kind of framework, some of them are outside of that and some of them are somewhere in between like Scientology, no one thinks Scientology is a “religion” religion, but clearly they’re pushing the same button in terms of cultish practices. David Fitzgerald: Yes. It’s wrong, not even just because it’s correct or incorrect corresponding to reality but because of the way it defends itself, because of the way it perpetrates itself. later… Alex Tsakiris: “Consciousness is an illusion” is NOT true. It’s been falsified over and over again. That’s my gripe with atheists —  it’s more dogma. It’s like, “No, I can’t let go of that idea because I’ve built all this other stuff on it,” … So the Richard Dawkins’ “biological robot” stuff, I mean that’s bullshit. It’s just not true true, you know? So that’s my rub and I don’t understand why atheists aren’t more interested in trying to wrestle that to the ground, but… they’re just like, “No, no, no, it’s true, we can’t really touch that, let’s just move onto the next topic.” Stay with us for Skeptiko… Welcome to Skeptiko where we explore controversial science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers and their critics. As you know I have been pretty hard on atheists over the years and that’s because I think in terms of the big picture questions, who are we, why are we here? The atheistic dogma that we usually hear leaves those folks on the outside looking in, without much to really contribute to those interesting questions. But, on the other hand, I am drawn to the atheist position, in terms of these kinds of outsiders who are willing to challenge the religious existing dogma that still casts a huge shadow, not only on our culture but on the personal lives of many, many people. So, when I heard that today’s guest David Fitzgerald, prominent atheistic biblical scholar if you will, I hate when people revolt when people say ‘biblical scholar’, he’s enough of a biblical scholar for me, but when I saw that he had a new book (Jesus: Mything in Action) I was anxious to get him on, it’s taken a couple of months in the making to make that happen and I know it kind of follows a bunch of other shows that I’ve done on Christianity, but that’s okay, that’s just the way it came out. I really enjoyed the opportunity to talk to Dave. Here is that interview. Click here for forum discussion Read Excerpts: Alex Tsakiris:  Today we welcome David Fitzgerald to Skeptiko. David is an atheist activist,
July 11, 2017
Philosopher Tim Freke’s, Soul Story offers a worldview beyond science and religion. photo by: Skeptiko On this episode of Skeptiko… Alex Tsakiris: …you’re talking about a deep evolution, a spiritual evolution, and I get that, I just don’t know that we can connect it with the dorky, neo-Darwinistic bullshit that we’ve been fed… Tim Freke: My approach is look, there does seem to be the fact of biological evolution, whatever the mechanisms, however we come to understand that.. Then a hundred years ago something amazing happened with big bang theory, when we went, “Look, it’s not just life, it’s not just biology which has evolved, it’s the whole universe has evolved over 13.8 billion years.” … so, this period where we could argue about the biological mechanisms is only the tail end anyway, I mean, clearly evolution can’t be about genetics only because there was no genetics when there was the evolution of basic gases, there was nothing. So the evolutionary process is much bigger than any biological evolutionary process. 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 on this episode Tim Freke joins us to talk about his new book: Soul Story: Evolution and The Purpose of Life (MORE BELOW) Click here for forum discussion Click here for Tim’s website Read Excerpts: Alex Tsakiris: Alex Tsakiris: Let’s give people the basic premise of this ambiguity that you tap into and I think so many people feel and experience between living in a scientific, technology-driven world and yet being drawn to the magical and the mystical part of life, I mean, frame that up, the basic premise. Tim Freke: Well I think, you know, I became a philosopher when I was very young because I wanted to understand my life, and here I am much older and I’m still trying to do the same thing and I want to understand my life as I actually experience it and the way I experience life is very ambiguous; on the one hand I clearly live in a reality which I need to understand in a cause and effect way. When I drop something, it falls and there’s kind of, almost a brutal causality to the world and there’s a level in which it feels pretty chaotic and meaningless, on the one hand. But on the other hand I also experience life to be intensely magical, full of what people often call synchronicities, but those moments when meaning breaks out, when I explored the awakened state, which has been my preoccupation for most of my life. There’s a profound sense that this journey which we’re on is incredibly important, it has deep purpose and somehow I need to come up with a way of understanding the whole scope of reality, which can incorporate both of those. For a long time, I think like many people, I’ve just lived with the ambiguity and tried to ignore it, but as a philosopher, over the 10, 20 years I just can’t do that, I’ve needed to go, look, is there a way in which we can understand this, which honors both of those experiences, which incorporates my experience of life in the way that science address it, but also my experience of life in the way that spirituality addresses it?
June 27, 2017
Joe Atwill has a deep state, pro-Roman view of the Bible. photo by: Skeptiko On this episode of Skeptiko… Alex Tsakiris: There’s a famous quote about truth passing through three stages: first it’s ridiculed, second it’s violently opposed, and third, it’s accepted as being self-evident. And I’m reading your critics, these scathing criticisms of your work, and I’m thinking, “This is exactly what’s happening here.” … they’re all saying the same thing, “Atwill’s full of crap; but he’s right about the bible being pro-Roman.” I just want to scream… what the heck do you mean, “The bible is pro-Roman!?” That is the whole story! If the bible is pro-Roman, then Christianity as we know it is not what we think it is. Joe Atwill: Once you accept the fact that [the Bible is] pro-Roman, then you need to take step back and say, “Well then, the Romans probably had an influence in producing it.” Now, you have these events which are oddly parallel between the Roman military campaign and Jesus’ ministry.  At that point, how do you even deny that one is related to the other? Stay with us for Skeptiko… So, a couple of weeks ago I was interviewing Jay Dyer of the very excellent Jay’s Analysis website – that Jay Dyer – and we were talking about film analysis and culture analysis and geopolitics, all of which Jay does a really good job of. But since I had dug into Jay’s work beforehand, I knew there was something else that I wanted to talk to him about because Jay is an orthodox Christian, and somewhat of a biblical scholar. I mean that’s part of his training, and that’s part of what he brings to his website, and he’s open about this in terms of how it informs his worldview, and I don’t mean that in a derogatory way. I mean, Jay’s not like a bible thumper who’s trying to inject scripture verses in every sentence. And Jay’s also a really sharp guy who I have a lot of respect for in terms of his work and his analysis. He’s on point on so many things. But this issue of religion, and in particular his Christian worldview, and how it informs things is something that I just can’t really get away from. I think it’s so central to a lot of things we’re going through today, but I also think that it’s an example of what Skeptiko is so much about, in terms of big picture questions, controversy, and intelligent debate. So, I had this rather lengthy exchange with Jay – got a little bit bible geeky on it – but it was fun and I decided at the end of it that this dialog would be a great way to, kind of bounce me into somewhat of a threaded debate with a guy who I really, really enjoy talking to and I’ve referenced many times on this show, and that is Joe Atwill, author of Caesar’s Messiah. (MORE BELOW) Click here for forum discussion Click here for Joe’s website Read Excerpts: Alex Tsakiris: See but Joe, let me interject something, because I’m not sure I quite see it that way, I think you bring a very important element to this and part of that is that you seem to have been able to put this into a context that few others have been able to really do, and now I’m so glad that we have the term ‘deep state’ to thr...
June 20, 2017
Dr. Karen Jaenke discusses her approach to Consciousness Studies at JFK University. photo by: Skeptiko On this episode of Skeptiko… Alex Tsakiris: I want to read this next question, so folks don’t think I’m sandbagging you. The question I wrote: “Are your students rioting against the university’s secular humanists, demanding recognition of soul and spirit? Are they protesting against atheistic feminism? I’m kidding of course, you but get the point. The central issue, relative to the intersection of consciousness and politics, seems to have been swallowed in a shallow thinking ocean of, ‘not my president’ identity politics.” I mean, the issue here is ‘we are more’, we are more than biological robots in a meaningless universe. We have a spirit. We have a soul. So why not join arms with local seminary students and march on Berkeley? That’s really the battle here and it mystifies me how folks in your camp – of which I am part of – do not see the divide; the real divide is between atheistic materialism, which is the underlying dogma of science, and the kind of creative spiritualism, which is, I think, what you’re whole program is really all about. Haven’t we misidentified the real cause of the friction here? Dr. Karen Jaenke: I’m not sure. I guess Alex, you know, people are going to be where they’re going to be in their consciousness evolution. If people are in an atheistic world, my sense is they’re probably suffering from that, even though they may be gloating from that. So, I mean, I guess my question to you is, why are you bothered by those people? 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 this week a listener suggested guest, and a good one, Dr. Karen Jaenke, who heads up a consciousness studies program at JFK University. So there were two topics I sought to explore in my interview with Karen and she did a fabulous [job]; I really appreciate her coming on and talking about them, because they were both kind of pushing the edge a little bit, but I think she does a great job of putting forth a new and different perspective. Those two issues are: 1) consciousness from a transpersonal psychology and spiritual perspective. That is, doing an end run on the scientific debate about neuroscience. Can we take that path? Where does that path lead? What are the issues surrounding that kind of expansion of consciousness without ever defining what consciousness is? So that’s number one, and the second issue is: 2) Since JFK University, her university, is very outwardly, socially, orientated, what is the intersection between consciousness and politics, and in particular, this expanded view of consciousness and politics? How does that play out, how might our understanding of consciousness inform right action? So, those are the two topics that I wanted to talk about and I did with our guest this week, Dr. Karen Jaenke. I hope you enjoy the interview. (MORE BELOW) Click here for forum discussion Click here for Karen’s website Check out Laird’s: Index of Skeptiko threads & related resources Read Excerpts:
June 6, 2017
Jay Dyer looks at what lies behind scientism and atheism. photo by: Skeptiko On this episode of Skeptiko… Alex Tsakiris: If you go to the website [Edinburgh Secret Society] there’s this big picture, prominently displayed, of this guy completely outfitted in this satanic kind of thing, right? So it’s like, “Hey man, it’s cool, we’re all atheists, you know, you want to sign this little pact with Satan, it doesn’t mean anything, right, go ahead, sign it. You want to perform these rituals… hey, we’re all atheists, it doesn’t mean anything, right?” I mean there’s a real mismatch here that, I don’t think has drawn enough attention. Jay Dyer: From the technocrat controller perspective, I mean, they’re very aware of the fact that atheism and materialism and reductionism, they don’t have the power to hold human belief for very long because they’re not fulfilling, they’re empty and so humans are always going to be moving towards the transcendent. Now, from their vantage point, whether they acknowledge the belief in the transcendent, you know, whether they’re just still rank atheists or materialists or agnostic or actual Luciferians or some form of occultists, regardless I think, from their vantage point pragmatically speaking, they view human psychology that way, that humans are just going to be worshiping something. 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 on this episode an interesting exploration of film and culture and geopolitics and even religion from the very interesting Jay Dyer of Jay’s Analysis. So, as this interview unfolds you’ll see that we go to a lot of new and interesting places that I haven’t heard a lot of people talk about, including what might lie behind the atheistic, materialistic science meme, and also a little bit of a revisit to Christian apologetics since Jay happens to be an Orthodox Christian. And I say ‘happens to be’ because you wouldn’t really know that; he doesn’t lead with that. I mean, he’s just a person with some really cool, smart ideas, it’s really not about his religion, but I guess I kind of made it about his religion at times too because that seems to be important in this discussion. Now, I will let you know that at the end of this exchange that Jay and I had, which I thought was very positive and great, even though we really kind of got into it. I left feeling glad that we had this exchange… and we did talk about doing a follow-up and I do plan to do that.  Here’s my interview with Jay Dyer. (MORE BELOW) Click here for forum discussion Click here for Jay’s website Check out Laird’s: Index of Skeptiko threads & related resources Read Excerpts: Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome Jay Dyer to Skeptiko. Jay is the creator of Jay’s Analysis, a fascinating website [and] YouTube channel that tackles film analysis and philosophy, geopolitics, metaphysics and also really cool stuff that has a lot of overlap with the topics we’ve talked about on Skeptiko.
May 30, 2017
Dr. Jerry Brown believes he’s found new evidence of psychedelics in early Christian art. photo by: Skeptiko On this episode of Skeptiko… Alex Tsakiris: Wait a minute, I’ve heard you say this before; do you think for a second that this idea of recasting Jesus from this born of a virgin, son of God, God on earth being, to someone who’s well-schooled in entheogens and healing… there is no way that’s going to fly with modern day Christianity. Jerry Brown: Whether you believe in all the other stories about The Bible, you can and it is not contradictory to a belief system that says that Jesus was the son of God, if that is your belief, to contemplate that he could have realized his divinity through entheogens. Stay with us for Skeptiko… Welcome to Skeptiko where we explore controversial science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers and their critics. Of course, [we] have to have their critics in there. I’m your host, Alex Tsakiris, and on this episode a really interesting topic that we’ve touched on only slightly here and there and I’m glad to bring it center stage. Dr. Jerry Brown, along with his wife Julie Brown, have written a book, The Psychedelic Gospels… So the issue here is something you’ve probably heard about: were psychedelics a part of early Christian history? Spoiler alert — yes they were. Here’s an anthropologist who has looked into it extensively. He has all the artwork, all the analysis, all the stuff. But, of course, this is Skeptiko. We want to go much further, and the questions I wanted to explore were, what does this mean? Does it mean, like some atheists take it, that Christianity is just bonkers because  “those dudes were just trip’n?” That seems to be the takeaway there from the atheist side. Now, there’s another side, there’s a super progressive Christian perspective, and please don’t ask me to point this person out because I don’t know who or where they are, but they would maintain the Christian narrative about Jesus, and son of God, and virgin birth, and all that stuff, plus they would add that he may have been introducing psychedelic mushrooms as well? And that has to be in play too here because, as you’ll hear, that’s kind of where Jerry is coming from. And then there’s this vast middle ground… so, who was this figure Jesus? What role have these psychedelics played in the development of religions, wisdom traditions, of people just experiencing these extended realms? So, a really interesting topic, a lot to pull apart there and we try and do it all in this interview with Dr. Jerry Brown. (MORE BELOW) Click here for forum discussion Click here for Jerry’s website Read Excerpts: Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome Jerry B. Brown to Skeptiko. Jerry is an anthropologist who, along with his wife Julie, who is a psychotherapist, have written, The Psychedelic Gospels: The Secret History of Hallucinogens in Christianity. Jerry, welcome to Skeptiko. Jerry Brown: It’s a pleasure to be here, thank you Alex.
May 23, 2017
Beverly Gilmour has a rare medical condition that has caused her to experience 100s of NDEs. photo by: Skeptiko On this episode of Skeptiko… Alex Tsakiris: We’ve established [the medical part of your experience], tell us about the spiritual phenomenon… Beverley Gilmour: If you said, “Why have you been having them?” I’d say it’s about our evolution; it’s about learning and every now and then we get these odd cases like mine thrown in, and it gives science, it gives the medical profession, it gives us all an ability to look deep into something that interests us and that might have answers, and spiritually, one of the things that I often hear, if you don’t believe that an NDE is a real event and you say it’s caused by false memories or illusions, I can say, without any hesitation, that’s absolutely not the case. Stay with us for Skeptiko… Alex Tsakiris: Welcome to Skeptiko where we explore controversial science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers and their critics. I’m your host, Alex Tsakiris, and on today’s show a very interesting, challenging account from someone who’s had just an unbelievable number of near-death or real-death experiences. Beverley Gilmour, as you’ll hear in this show, has experienced 30 years of more or less continuous, often near-death experiences, what she’s gained out of that, the message that she has is, I think, quite controversial or at least it will be for some people. There’s definitely a strong Jesus angle to her experience, but she also has an insight in terms of consciousness that is quite unique and quite interesting as well and could have implications for near-death experience research and consciousness research in general. I was extremely skeptical going into this interview, and I have to say, I’m less skeptical coming out. I don’t know what to make of everything that Beverley has to say and you’ll hear that in this interview as well, but I’m not too quick to dismiss what she says either. I hope you enjoy my interview with Beverley Gilmour. (MORE BELOW) Click here for forum discussion Click here for Beverly’s website Read Excerpts: Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome Beverley Gilmour to Skeptiko. Beverley is the author of A Journey of Actual-Death Experiences – Who Am I? The New Divine Teachings of Jesus, A book in which she explores human consciousness and her understanding of it from, amazingly, 30 years of more or less continuous near-death and after-death experiences. It’s really quite an amazing account and I’ve just expressed to Beverley [that] I have all sorts of skepticism but at the same time am anticipating some of the really remarkable things she’s discovered in this medical and spiritual journey she’s been on. So Beverley, it’s awesome to have you on Skeptiko; thanks so much for joining me. Beverley Gilmour: It’s great being here. Thank you for having me here. Alex Tsakiris: So, as we were just talking, you’ve been at this for a while —  that’s not even the right way to say it. You really have to kind of start, I think,
May 16, 2017
Dr. Jeffrey Mishlove has a unique vantage point for evaluating the future of parapschology and psi research. photo by: Skeptiko On this episode of Skeptiko… Dr. Jeffrey Mishlove: In many ways philosophers are pointing out that there’s a conceptional error there and that has to do with confusing technology with science. Technology has been so successful over the last two to three hundred years that we’ve become hypnotized by it in a way, and we imagine that the world around us is like a great big clockwork of some sort and that everything follows a kind of rationalistic materialistic logic. I think that occurs because we project the success that we’ve had with technology onto all of nature, and nature herself does not necessarily obey mechanistic principles all of the time. 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 on this episode Dr. Jeffrey Mishlove joins me. He was actually a guest, like 10 years ago, which we talk a little bit about on the show —  which is pretty amazing — and if you don’t know anything about him, he’s really, really an interesting guy. He has kind of seen it all, done it all, when it comes to parapsychology and has been involved with parapsychology education and public communication about it for a long, long time. His show, Thinking Allowed, which was originally on PBS, and his new show, New Thinking Allowed, are just mainstays for this kind of information. But the other thing I want to talk to him about is this book that he wrote a long time ago called The PK Man, and it’s about his encounters with this guy Ted Owens; we talk a little bit about it in the interview, so I don’t have to repeat it, but it is an absolutely amazing kind of paradigm-shattering account of psychokinesis and psychic powers in a human being, and I don’t know how history has managed sidestep this case, because it’s really well documented in so many ways. So that’s an interesting angle to mix into this little thing. I mean, here’s this guy… he’s been in the parapsychology field for 30 – 40 years, and he’s got this amazing firsthand experience with this guy who could direct thunderbolts with his finger and summon UFOs and make the weather change, incredible! So there’s a lot there to kind of ponder and think about. (MORE BELOW) Click here for forum discussion Click here for Jeffrey’s website Read Excerpts: Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome Dr. Jeffrey Mishlove to Skeptiko. Jeff is the creator and host of New Thinking Allowed, a very impressive YouTube interview show that tackles cutting-edge, conscious related topics as well as some very deep spirituality, which really makes it especially terrific. He does it in a very intelligent way —  a very academic way — but at the same time accessible, at least to most of us. Dr. Mishlove is also the author of several books, including The Roots of Consciousne...
May 10, 2017
Lisa Smartt examines what our final words tell us about consciousness and the afterlife. photo by: Skeptiko On this episode of Skeptiko… Alex Tsakiris: One of the things that surprised me is the playfulness of [these final words]…  “Hey, I’m going to Las Vegas. Hey, we need a fourth for the golf tournament.” What the heck is going on there, what does that say about this other realm [after death] and how we ought to feel about it? Lisa Smartt: Um, it’s so true. One of the stories I loved was from Carol and it was the account of her last words of her father, who was a roofing contractor, and she said, “He would awaken and look at over at me and smile so big and he told me, ‘They have all these kitchenettes over there, there were miles and miles of them,’ and he would be helping build them all.” So there is a sense of almost joy and wonder and awe and not always, I mean I don’t want to sugar coat the experience of dying, because there are people who also… you know, their last words are, “Help me, help me,” and that’s real too. 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 today we have an interesting interview with Lisa Smartt, who is a linguist, has a Master’s Degree from Berkeley, has written this book, Words at the Threshold: What We Say as We’re Nearing Death. And for this book she collaborated with Raymond Moody, the famous Raymond Moody who started the whole near-death experience thing way back. And what they looked at were the words that people say when they’re about to die, in and around the time that they’re dying. So you might have heard of terminal lucidity, and maybe you’ve heard of stories of the profound things people say before they die, there are ton of these accounts, almost all of us have family stories of this kind. So, she’s taken a disciplined, methodical look at what’s being said, and it’s just fascinating.  It has huge implications for near-death experience, but also obviously for science and this question of the afterlife and consciousness and particularly, what I’m interested in, you know, what is the nature of these extended consciousness realms? I think she raises some questions about that as well. (MORE BELOW) Click here for forum discussion Click here for Lisa’s website Read Excerpts: Today we welcome Lisa Smartt to Skeptiko. Lisa’s a linguist whose experiences with her dying father led her to this fascinating investigation into the unique communication that often happens when people are near-death. She’s just written a new book about this titled, Words at the Threshold: What We Say as We’re Nearing Death. Lisa, welcome to Skeptiko and thanks so much for joining me. Lisa Smartt: Oh, thanks for having me; it’s great to be here. Alex Tsakiris: Well this is exciting, it’s kind of new stuff, it’s going to be very much in the vein of other stuff we’ve talked ab...
May 2, 2017
Joy Lin didn’t go looking for spirit communication, but when they came she answered. photo by: 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 on today’s episode, mediumistic, healer, channeler, communicator, and life-coach Joy Lin is joining me. Now, a quick backstory here. I originally heard about Joy through her interview about a year ago on Mysterious Universe; there’s a link in the show notes. It’s a fantastic interview. It tells the story of Joy who was a very well-educated engineer who suddenly and dramatically started having these experiences with spirits. So, she thinks she’s going crazy, goes through all the conventional kind of medical explanations and ultimately winds up with a Reiki healer who says, “No I’m sorry, it’s not that, it’s just that you’re connected now and you’ve got to deal with it.” And she has dealt with it in a pretty amazing way. Now, I know Joy because I contacted her —  and I tell the story later in the interview —   to do a healing for me, because I was going through a health issue and I decided that, while I was at the same time doing conventional therapy (which was a disaster by the way) I would also seek alternative treatments of various kinds, including Joy. While I can’t say her healing, per se, changed anything for me, the intuitive information that she brought through in the healing was dramatically profound and I said, “Wow, you’re the real deal, I have to have you on Skeptiko, because there’s all these issues that keep coming up about what’s really going on with mediumship, what’s really going on with healing, what’s really going on with good and evil and these other realms.” And she has some incredible stories about that by the way, very chilling, if you will, so all that stuff got wrapped into this interview. It was a long discussion, she was here in the studio, we just talked, conversationally, and I had to kind of try and edit it into something meaningful and I hope you enjoy it. It’s about an hour long and it was really cool having here in the studio. Here’s my dialog with Joy Lin. (MORE BELOW) Click here for forum discussion Click here for Joy’s website Click here for Joy’s interview on Mysterious Universe Read Excerpts: Alex Tsakiris: People come to you for different reasons: some people are coming to you for spiritual development, some people are coming to you to get ahead in their career, which isn’t directly tied to spiritual development right? So we kind of have two different —  it seems like —   paths that we’re all going down all the time. More or less, we’re just trying to make it through this life and make good decisions that seem to make our life more comfortable and better, and you are not averse to helping people to do that right? If somebody comes to you and says, “Hey, I’m trying to get ahead in my job, I’m trying to get ahead in my career,” but if somebody else comes and says, “You know what is most important to me, is spiritual development and I don’t really care about the other,” I mean there are two different aspects to this. Joy Lin: Yes and no, they’re one and the same, because getting ahead in their career could help them learn and exper...
April 18, 2017
Emma Restall Orr believes animism is more logical and coherent than scientific materialism — she may be right. 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 [regarding] 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 [have] her join me in this conversation. (MORE BELOW) Click here for forum discussion Click here for Emma’s website Read Excerpts: Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome Emma Restall Orr to Skeptiko. Emma is the author of several books including The Wakeful World: Animism, Mind and the Self in Nature, in which she suggests that animism, this idea that everything, even rocks, trees, stars, are alive with consciousness. Well, she dares to suggest that this radical, crazy idea is actually a coherent alternative to scientific materialism. Anyone who’s listening to this show knows that I’m saying that tongue in cheek, because we all know that scientific materialism has been shown over and over again to be many things, but at its core, just bad science. I don’t think that’s going to be surprising to you,
April 4, 2017
Renay Oshop, uses big data, AI and advanced statistics to challenge what science thinks it knows about astrology. photo by: Skeptiko On this episode of Skeptiko… Renay Oshop: We decided 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… (Later…) Alex Tsakiris: So the chance of these celebrities having that [particular] alignment of those planets is over 90%, and then of the control group, it’s 45%… the odds of that just being chance is far less than 1 out of a hundred right? Renay Oshop: That’s a good summary, so that was step one and then step two on that paper was to show a correlation… (Later…) Alex Tsakiris: So of your list of 86, those are spread across the top 1,000 ranking, so you might have somebody and they might be down [around 900], but the the real stunner is that any one of those 86 who happened to rank in the top 100 had a 100% correlation between that and having this certain position of the planets. Renay Oshop: That’s absolutely right, that’s what we found. Alex Tsakiris: Wow, that is pretty incredible. 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 this introduction’s going to be a little bit of a long one, because this story today is a long one, an interesting one. It’s about astrology. It starts with me getting an email — the kind of emails I love to get from a Skeptiko listener who’s well-informed, is science orientated, and is digging for more. The email is from a guy named Jonathan and he writes… Dear Alex, I write you as a huge fan of your show, out of all your guests it is Dr. Julie Beischel and her rigorous methodology that has impressed me the most. She clearly has a love of science and uses the scientific method to discover knowledge once thought undiscoverable. In that vein, I wanted to introduce you to the work of Renay Oshop, she’s using her genius level mind and mathematical skills to investigate astrology and getting results like Dr. Beishel’s. Now Jonathan goes on, but you get the gist of the email. It Catches my attention. I love Julie’s work, exactly as he said, using scientific methods to unmask bullshit scientific paradigms, he doesn’t say that, I do, and give us a better sense of what’s really going on in these kind of fringe areas that we think may be somewhat true, but we can’t really put our hands on. Astrology? Hey great, [it] fits into that category. We all know it’s bullshit, right? Well, we all kind of think it’s bullshit, but we kind of think maybe there’s something to it. We know the Ancient Chinese were into Astrology, and we have Vedic astrology from India, and then of course we have Ancient Egypt and Babylon, and a lot of history that somehow rolls into the astrology that we see today and gives us this sense that — while this daily reading stuff that we read might not be true — I think a lot of us have a sense that, maybe there’s something there that all these great traditions,
March 28, 2017
Michael Cocks, has been an Anglican Priest for 60 years, so what’s he doing talking to channeled spirits? photo by: Skeptiko Welcome to Skeptiko, where we explore controversial science and spirituality, with leading researchers, thinkers and their critics. I’ve been wanting to do a show about channeling for quite some time because between this crazy scientific atheism, “I wouldn’t believe it even it was true” mindset, and the gullible, “I’ll believe anything as long as I don’t have to think too hard and it doesn’t conflict with my existing beliefs”… between those two, there’s a huge amount of stuff that claims to be channeled material from ascended beings — whatever that means — that purports to communicate the real truth. So when Michael Cocks, an 88-year-old Anglican priest from New Zealand, contacted me about his book, Afterlife Teaching from Stephen the Martyr, I thought, “Wow, here’s a great opportunity, I’m not sure that Stephen the Martyr is even a real being let alone that he’s channeled this book for this guy, great stuff.” So I did, and I have to tell you, I hit Michael with everything: why we should believe it, what he did to verify whether he was really having communication with this historical figure from 2,000 years ago, how he went about verifying that —  which turns out to be quite amazing, I mean he really did the kind of research that you would expect a historian or a biblical scholar to do to find out if there’s anything to it — so [I’ve] got to give him kudos for that. I also asked him about a bunch of other strange things, synchronicities and other pretty amazing things that happened surrounding this whole experience that he had, for 40 years…. Alex Tsakiris: There’s all these idiosyncrasies to the tradition [the channeler] has this deep knowledge of that it is just impossible to believe that this guy from Kent, just, you know, rolls out of bed… Michael Cocks: He couldn’t have known it, it took me 30 years of research before I finally got it right and a lot of coincidences. I considered the Dead Sea Scrolls, everything. It couldn’t have come out of his head. Alex Tsakiris: I think that’s one of the things that people have a hard time wrapping their heads around is — what the heck is Stephen doing coming back and writing books? Michael Cocks: Stephen’s message is very similar to that of the Franciscans: the higher we go, the more we are each other, the lower we go, the more separate we are… Michael Cocks: It starts off [with] a Catholic lady called Olive Ashman, in bed with her husband Tom. Tom, who’s not previously been a medium, but he starts to talk in his sleep and Olive hears a voice say, “Sic Ecclesia, Spiritus, Sanctus,” “thus in the church is the Holy Spirit,” and she found that Tom was able to go into trance and the spirit continued to talk and then identified him with Stephen. The Ashmans were living in Sevenoaks in Kent. I, here in New Zealand, although about that same day received a book of prophecies —  from a lady I didn’t know called Mrs. Cropinger in North Island —  about me and what was about to happen to me. Alex Tsakiris: Okay, so let me get this straight, first of all, what year is this about? Michael Cocks: 1973. Alex Tsakiris: Okay, so this is 1973, so now that’s what 44 years ago and later you discover… you just get the book of prophecies, you don’t know anything about this other experience going on in Kent, but later you find that it happened at exactly the same time? Michael Cocks: That’s right.
March 21, 2017
Daniel Pinchbeck, was a pioneer in exploring consciousness, but now he’s sure the world will end if we don’t trade carbon credits. photo by: Climate change collage Welcome to Skeptiko, where we explore controversial science and spirituality, with leading researchers, thinkers and their critics. Today’s guest definitely fits in that category. Daniel Pinchbeck is a leading thinker about consciousness and he has a lot to say about science in his new book, How Soon Is Now. So why did we wind up having a conversation that sounds like some kind of frick’n political debate? I don’t know, but I think I have some ideas and I need to talk about them, because this crap has been going on for too long now. Ever since this crazy election in the United States, a lot of people in the parapsychology, near-death experience, extended consciousness, whatever you want to call this realm, have been on tilt: Alex Tsakiris: Well earlier on you were kind of defending the mainstream media as saying, “Hey, they don’t get everything wrong.” Certainly they don’t get everything wrong… Daniel Pinchbeck: There is no inconsistency in my perspective, it’s highly coherent. I’ve spent years developing it. I feel that you’re not… like I don’t know, maybe we need to spend six hours haranguing this out, I don’t think it’s going to happen in one podcast. It’s highly coherent and it’s systemic. We have a systemic illness going on. People are lost, people are confused, people are scared, the whole system is designed to make them that way. We can put this thing back into balance, but first we have to have the imagination that it’s possible, and that’s what great thinkers like Oscar Wilde and Buckminster Fuller and Hannah Arendt, to help us to have that imagination, so we have to realize that it doesn’t have to be this way, that we could actually create a harmonic system that works in resonance, in harmony with the ecology of the earth as a whole system. We could do that, okay? Just in the same way we figure out how to fly, just in the same way we figure out how to make smartphones and extract all these rare minerals and fossil fuels from the environment. We could not turn our attention to how do we make this thing work for all human beings, for our entire human family? We have the technical capacity to do that, as Buckminster Fuller said, it’s a design problem and it’s an imagination problem. Alex Tsakiris: Okay. I think it’s okay to disagree, so I don’t have a problem that you don’t see my ideas as coherent or even sensible or anything like that, or that I don’t see yours as coherent, I mean that’s really not the issue. Daniel Pinchbeck: I’m going to meet you at the same level of force that you’re meeting me, because otherwise I feel that I’m not even getting a listening here. I’m sorry, you know? Alex Tsakiris: That’s why I paused before, to make sure you had a chance to talk. So let me kind of respond to what you’re saying, in really a new way, okay, that I think relates to your book in an important way and a way that is synergistic with my approach, because is it possible that the material world, that we’re talking about right, because there’s this spiritual, extended consciousness world, that we were talking about earlier on, that may exist and may have a totally different set of rules than this material “end justifies the means” [world we’re talking about], those two worlds could be different in some important ways, that we don’t realize. I’m just throwing that out as a possibility. So, isn’t it possible that it’s true what a lot of spiritual teachers tell us,
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