Dean Radin is about the most prominent parapsychologist on the planet. But as the head of the Discord’s Elite Para-Abnormal Research Team (DEPART), I pack some serious blog clout myself. We had nearly a dozen page views yesterday. But I’ll let the readers decide who won this important impromptu iPhone exchange.
First off, I love Radin. I read his Conscious Universe a long time ago and I plan to get my hands on his latest book Supernormal shortly. I am always trying to keep up with all the latest paranormal research. What? You thought I just learned this stuff from watching Ghostbusters?
|Tell him about the Twinkie, Ray. It went Chapter 11.
In my opinion, Radin and Rupert Sheldrake are two of the greatest parapsychologists the 21st century. They are two scientists pushing the envelope in a forbidden area of research, often delegated to the factual freak show, the consciousness carnival (Bill Lie the Pseudo-Science Guy joke omitted).To the chagrin of the scientific community, they conduct scientific, peer-reviewed research that often casts into doubt the established scientific paradigm. Skeptics tend to dismiss their results, mostly because they haven’t actually read the research or they refuse to believe its implications—at least that’s what Alex Tsakiris is always going about during his popular “Skeptico” podcasts.
These guys bring great research to bear on the hot topics of psi phenomenon, alpha wave meditation, animal psi, remote viewing, and remote hot girl-on-girl psi alpha sorority viewing. Okay I made that last one up, but it sounds like I should look into that.
Here’s an overview: I believe science will eventually discover the mind is not limited to the brain. I know, I know…heady stuff (pardon the pun), but there is no—absolutely no—evidence that consciousness is housed solely the brain, so if there’s some evidence emerging to the contrary, do the math, or at least don’t be afraid of the math. That’s supposed to be the point of science.
I believe the brain is a filter which allows us to better function and understand this dimension. As I watch Alex Bone stumble over toward the bar I would like to add, some of us better than others. Anyway, I listened to the latest podcast on “Skeptico”, but I was kind of annoyed for a couple of reasons. For one, our host, Alex Tsakiris, took us on a side tangent wherein he takes the republican position that climate change isn’t happening.
Here’s the excerpt from “Skeptico”:
Dean Radin: So we are faced almost daily now with extremely unusual weather patterns and yet when we look at what’s happening in politics it’s as though this is nothing. And it actually doesn’t even matter what the cause is. What matters is it becomes a topic of discussion about what we do about it.
Alex Tsakiris: But that’s really problematic because if we look at climate and we look at it scientifically, it’s just another rat’s nest. The biggest news scientifically in climate has to do with both the UN governing body and NASA coming out and saying that in the last 17 years there’s been no global warming.
So I sent this to Tsakiris:
Zano: I watched the latest Radin podcast: first off, I don’t know how anyone can refute climate change. Not only do 9 out of 10 climatologists think it’s happening, but—I don’t know why it’s never explained like this—but if you turn up the oven to 450 and it holds there for a time, you’re still cooking the bird. These are still the hottest years on record, pause or no, amidst the hottest century. The hike will resume at some point to 475 and at some point the bird will certainly burn.
Tsakiris: Beuller? Beuller?
I am still awaiting his reply, but hey he friended me on Facebook, which is almost as …….jerk.
Back to parapsychology: Tskakiris is convinced the tables are finally tipping toward proof for a whole field of parapsychology currently regarded by the scientific community as “GOP House level bullshit.” But if no one “credible” is even looking, what’s the point?
I understand why there’s some hesitancy. When I once broached the subject of eastern wisdom and integralism, a professor friend of mine said, “I don’t want to believe that.” And that’s the problem. Worse still, she also made me pay the tab.
You see, a scientist would say, eventually science will prove or disprove psi phenomenon. Umm, not really. Not if no one reads relevant studies, its results, or its implications. Here’s a relevant Sheldrake study here. I am not particularly interested in whether or not my dog knows when I’m getting released from jail, because 1) I don’t own a dog, and 2) I was acquitted. But any pursuit of knowledge deserves a fair shake…not a roll over and play dead.
I am not, as yet convinced about psi research, but I have found the skeptics in this area are biased and somewhat douchey. I take exception to the fact that science refuses to even glance over and say who’s a good boy? Who’s a good boy? They have dismissed the whole matter without actually investigating it. Hell, that’s my job.
Oh, so then I went on to fill Tsakiris in on my exchange with Radin. What’s interesting about this is, not only did I get a response from Radin (which is exceedingly rare), but he iPhoned me back in less than five minutes…at about 11PM Pacific Time (obviously annoyed).
Zano: I just heard your recent “Skeptico” bit and I have enjoyed your work, but I was stunned no one mentioned Ken Wilber. A lot of the themes you discussed were mentioned in his Marriage of Sense & Soul. He would climb into your lab and has done similar things with controlling brainwaves, even halting them, while hooked up to an EEG. He wants to bring the scientific mind to the yogic and meditative traditions and would endorse anything that would get people more involved with meditation and integral thought.
Dean Radin: Yes, (through gritted teeth) I know Wilber’s work. I could have mentioned him along with many others (you insolent, punk). My new book is intended more for those who are practicing yoga and meditation but have never heard about the siddhis or Wilber, and may not be aware that science has been studying these ideas for over a century (are you aware it’s 11 PM Pacific Time and my iPhone makes this noise, you see. Bastard!).
Italic are implied.
Sent from my iPhone (which makes this annoying noise, you see)
So, essentially, I pointed out how I kind of already heard most of Mr. Radin’s themes from his recent podcast in a book I read more than 15 years ago.
See? That’s how you get a response, kids. Strike a chord (a discord?). Piss them off; it’s the only way to fly.
A pioneer in this area is also Daniel Goleman who covered the results of putting accomplished Buddhist monks into MRI machines. During his next study he plans to let them out. Oh, and Radin ignored my next comment about this because I was far too placating and conciliatory in my follow up email to his iPhone (which makes this annoying noise, you see)…and I probably should have never mentioned midget porn—an oversight.
The rest of the “Skeptico” podcast in question is essentially about Radin’s latest book, Supernormal, where he tries to use scientific technology to explore the states associated with mediation gurus and yogic masters. I have always believed this is important stuff. For those who don’t agree, science cannot explain how anyone can stay healthy squatting in the snow for a week or two, devoid of food and water, while streaming nearly endless midget porn. Okay, I made that last part up, but let’s see you try that Richard Dawkins. Are you up for the challenge? If so I can recommend some websites.
These monks can increase blood flow to little understood parts of the brain and even control their brainwaves. Integralist, Ken Wilber, has been encouraging folks to bring the scientific method and technology to bear when studying these ancient and powerful altered states of consciousness. Actually, so has the Dalia Lama, who can’t seem to get enough midget porn these days. Kidding, I’m sure he limits himself.
Wilber believes these siddhis, or altered states of consciousness, can be studied but they can only be validated by those fellow meditators. He believes only then can the scientific method be applied.
“The people who raise this objection are almost always people who don’t want to look through the instrument of meditation, just as Churchman refused to look through Galileo’s telescope and thus acknowledge the moons of Jupiter. Let them live with their refusal. But let us – to the best of our ability, and hopefully driven by the best of charity of compassion – try to convince them to look, just once, and see for themselves.”
If Wilber is right then quite a reversal has occurred. Organized religion has squelched science for a long, long time but now, at least in one area of human knowledge, science is trying to return the favor. They are ready to dismiss any and all evidence. They are, as Wilber asserts, “throwing out the (spiritual) baby with the bathwater.”
You may be wondering what spirituality has to do with meditation…well, that’s the kicker. People highly skilled at meditating start to share a similar world view similar to pantheism, as covered in my perennial philosophy feature here.
I have always marveled how we can so easily dismiss ages of human insight. Not everything subjective is bullshit; admittedly most of it is, but not everything. Let’s keep in mind, a highly skilled meditator’s mind is more efficient and is, by all accounts, working more optimally—even according to science. So why dismiss all of its introspective insights?
I am not at war with science. I’ll take a scientist over a republican any day of the week, but—and there’s a Kardashian style butt—if you truly let the science lead you where it will, you’re going to start feeling uncomfortable in the years ahead. Are you up for the journey?
Speaking of which, “don’t stop believing.”
Sorry. Edit that out.