Comments

  1. Murat says

    Had Eddy been a brighter guy, he could have turned the table on Tracie after her example of many many zeros not adding up to a single “one”:

    If you take the number “0.000001” as “zero” just for simplification, then, a million of THAT kind of rounded-up zeros would actually add up to a real “1”.

    🙂

  2. Elaine says

    On the caller regarding the light blowing up when he was talking about his friend dying… Did he ever ask himself why this person would make a lightbulb blow up? If they could interact with the world, why do that specifically?

  3. Mobius says

    For the most part…

    [headdesk]
    [headdesk]
    [headdesk]

    As for Carrie from Oklahoma at the end…let me reiterate what Matt said…Even in Oklahoma you can find atheist and humanist groups to provide community and support in what you are going through.

  4. says

    Matt said “furgle wurgle burgle is either true or false”

    That is actually wrong, I think, because it is not a meaningful statement and does not have a truth value.

    Other prominent example: “This sentence is wrong”. 😀

  5. Monocle Smile says

    @Murat
    And if my aunt had balls…
    If Eddy had done that, it would have been trolling. There’s nothing to be gained from being obnoxious and dishonest purely to indulge one’s ego.

  6. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Eddy waxed as pointless to me.

    He has the common problem of adding up events and then jumping to the end point of Jesus. It’s everywhere. He needs a brain massage, get the blood and electric currents flowing.

    The call was good for reiterating how common it is for our bold faced bias to cloud how we evaluate reality.

    Eddy was an atheist for a probable shitty reason and thus was converted for shitty reasons.

    Austin sounded like he was on edge. Not much to comment on.

    No. No. No. No. No. Jimmy insists on summoning a can of worms. I’m logging out.

    Carrie needs to Google.

    Cute ep. Thanks to the crew and hosts.

  7. HappyPerson says

    extroardinary claims require extroardinary evidence. people like eddie just don’t grasp this fundamental skeptic idea. have the Earth suddenly moved to an entirely new solar system or galaxy. then we’ll talk when it comes to the existence of some ‘supernatural’ power. exploding lightbulbs and falling items off the wall just don’t cut it.

  8. HappyPerson says

    @murat #1. tracie was saying that eddy’s ‘evidence’ is really just a bunch of zeroes. she said that eddie ~thinks they are 0.000001s that eventually add up to 1, but in fact they are really just 0s.

  9. Jimmy from San Antonio says

    I was the last caller to be taken, and I’m surprised that Matt or Tracie haven’t been following the work done on mystical experience. Matt seem to have an issue categorizing Perennial philosophy as an alternative view from theism and atheism. It is an alternative view in the sense that it’s not your traditional perspective on God as practiced in contemporary churches today or your typical atheist notion of “either God exists or God doesn’t exist.” In the beginning, Matt told me, “I don’t mean to be a pedantic prick, the language we use surrounding these things matter.” I agree, so I believe as an atheist, Matt is far too wrapped up in this notion of “either God exist or doesn’t exist” to see an alternative perspective.

    On a previous episode Matt once said, “If someone defined God as a tree, then I could see the tree and admit that God exists.” Of course, he added that he ultimately wouldn’t agree that a tree was God, but my point in offering Perennialism as an alternative perspective is that Perennial philosophy is a perspective in the philosophy of religion which views each of the world’s religious traditions as arising from a single source, that source being mystical experience. So, it doesn’t necessarily throw out God completely as is done with atheism. It instead sees terms like the Beatific vision, the divine, God, nirvana, samadhi, etc. as metaphors that aim to describe the inner experiential phenomena of the mystical experience.

    So the point I was trying to make is that people are now coming to the realization that it was these type of these experiences that prompted those individuals that lived millennia ago to found the religions they founded. It’s not that “mystical experience exist, therefore God exist.” I think that’s missing the point. The mystical experience was once defined by union with divine, the “ground of all being,” the All, the Absolute, etc. these were all metaphors that sufficed in a pre-scientific era. Nowadays, we fully understand that this experience is purely an altered state of consciousness of a very specific sort that has absolutely nothing to do with the supernatural, magic, or the metaphysical in some transcendental nonsensical fashion as many people seem to assume once they see the word “mystical” in the term “mystical experience.”

    What I wanted to ask Matt and Tracie, but I didn’t get a chance ’cause Matt hung up on me was that Johns Hopkins is considering recruiting confirmed atheists to have a mystical experience. I wonder if they’d volunteer for such an experience, then perhaps they can finally challenge their perspective as atheists such as Aldous Huxley, Alan Watts, Terence McKenna, Richard Alpert, Alex Grey, etc. have done so before them. All these people were atheists prior to their mystical experience, and this experience fundamentally altered their perspective and they ended up adopting a Perennialist perspective on religion.

  10. knut7777 says

    Does it irritate you folks as much as it irritates me when a theist says, “I have no explanation for x, therefore I have an explanation for x: Jesus” It’s headbagingly stupid and pervasive.

  11. roguetrooper815 says

    The most powerful encounters you guys have are the ones with people who are at the end of their tether due to indoctrination and you make them realise they dont have to be slaves to religion – like Carrie at the end there.

    Take more of those calls and less of the “true or not true” logic 101 exercises!
    Logic doesn’t convince people of religion – it wont talk them out of it either.

  12. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Listen, Jimmy, it’s a non issue since it’s natural in origin.

    The “Some god exists” statement remains either true or not true.

    You insist on useless jabber for gawd knows what reason.

    This Perri stuff does not shed truth as to whether some gawd exists or not. Until it does you will continue to get, “Who cares!” from people interested in finding the truth of the statement.

  13. says

    I am a big fan of Matt (and Tracie) and in general I really admire his logical abilities. I have learned a great deal from listening to him. This episode was no exception … and then I am mystified by his comments about the protest in Austin. IMHO, in the case of such things he has thrown his critical thinking out the window. If he applied his usual sterling logical principles, such as the default position when evaluating a claim is “to not accept the claim” until evidence is presented, he could not accept the sorts of claims being made at the protest. Yes, there may be some issues that are worrisome but there are many others that are not based on accurate evidence. Seeing through religion is easy, seeing through world view/political issues is much harder. This should not be the case but it is the case.

  14. Amir says

    First caller (Eddie), Let’s assume god exists,
    Which explanation would you want to go count as more probable?
    1- As your friend died, you mentioned his name more times and got to remember more events (like light bulbs, or anything else)

    2- Or his spirit was doing this.

  15. says

    CNN Cameraman attacked by a ghost? Not buying that at all. He got “scratched” by a ghost. I’m allergic to cats, my reaction feels like I’ve been scratched and I get red scratch like lines on my skin. They’re in a house with at least one cat, maybe he’s allergic to cats. A door closes on its own? My bedroom door does that all the time, the pressure in my bedroom is different from the pressure in the hallway and causes the door to shut. Strange shadows and glowing orbs in pictures are very common, bad lighting, dust, dirty lenses, etc.

  16. Jimmy from San Antonio says

    @Chancellor of the Exchequer

    You’re falling victim to the same false duality that Matt mentioned in my chance to speak to him. I understand that he was bringing up what he referred to as “raw logic” or what someone might call Aristotelian logic of the duality true and false or “A or not A.” I still feel that doesn’t apply to what I was trying to explain to him. My point is that yes, it is of natural origin, but what Perennial philosophy is arguing that it has always been of natural origin. That all major religion was a byproduct of the mystical experience. Matt asked me what if I had presented this to a theist, and I replied that I had, but it’s always met with close-mindedness. You see, modern western churches are in the business of keeping people from direct experience.

    Matt is caught up in this duality of either “God exists or God doesn’t exist.” I brought up definition because context in that sentence is important. A pantheist, for example, considers the universe to be God, but of course, Matt would ultimately disagree with that notion of God because he feels that the universe is the universe, it’s not God. However, my point was that if you’re going to define the universe as God, then this will effect the argument of whether God exists or not. If you’re going to define God as the universe, then God exists, so then this duality of “God exists or God doesn’t exist” will have to adhere. So, you can say there are only two options: God exists or God doesn’t exist, but whether that is true or false will depend on how you’re defining God.

    So, Perennial philosophy views all major religion as being founded by individuals who had a mystical experience or perhaps several in their lifetime, and this is precisely what compelled each of them to found a religion. Then words like God, Beatific vision in Christianity, Shekinah in Judaism, samadhi in Hinduism, satori in Buddhism, etc., etc. are then seen as synonymous metaphors born out of the mystical experience. Western religion has been twisted today to mean a supernatural Santa Claus-like entity that a kid could conjure up. I believe this is what you get in a religion that has lost touch with its roots, and therefore relies on conceptualization, intellectual abstraction, anthropomorphization, notions imbibed from a book that probably has been edited and re-edited over centuries and this is what the struggling egos of modernity are left with in attempt to make sense of it all without mystical experience. I truly doubt Matt nor Tracie have had anything remote to a mystical experience, otherwise I really believe they’d consider that there is, in fact, an alternative point-of-view.

  17. Human Being says

    I think pretty much thinks that being skeptic with being ‘close minded’ without thinking how being skeptic means to be open to accepting well supported evicence-based explanation instead of just coming up with made up answers.

  18. Murat says

    @HappyPerson #11

    Yeah, I know that. Tracie’s example was a good one indeed. But it neither made Eddy come to his senses, nor triggered him to act on it and give any kind of a reply. I was just pointing out that Eddy was not capable of coming up with anything other than his initial claim through the whole conversation. So, anything Tracie or Matt said was just too much for him. In this show we have seen people of similar approach standing their ground much better, at least by indulging in counter-arguments and lingual tricks. By mentioning a possible reply, I was targeting Eddy, and not Tracie.

  19. Murat says

    @Jimmy #12

    Hi there Jimmy. I think the misfortunate thing about your call was that it came right after Eddy’s, which had sort of calibrated Matt’s approach to “wrestling with a non-sensical and impenetrable assumption lacking a basis of observation”.

    I don’t know much about Perennial philosophy, but when Matt mentioned Venn diagrams, I said, yeah, that’s exactly where they can never find a common ground to keep talking on. Because Venn diagrams are deterministic by nature, whereas all this new kind of Quantum stuff (something being both there and not, etc) challenge this conventional approach.

    I believe to understand Matt’s frustration over what would actually “matter” by investigating such stuff. Basically, what he’s saying is that, “for all the experience to investigate will be happening within the framework of one’s mind, how is it relevant to what is outside the mind and the perception?”, whereas, correct me if I’m wrong, the argument you come up with is that, though a brain can be seen as a Venn diagram with borders of its defined action, a “mind” is something different, connecting not only to the brain (its source) but also to what is / whatever there may be outside of it, shattering the proposition of its field of observation being “either there, or not there”.

    Still, it’s unclear to me in what way these new experiments differ in terms of source & affect from known types of hallucinations. To prove that there actually is a difference -according to Matt’s approach- what is altered should prove not be limited to the state of the mind, but should at least involve a certain portion of physical reality. Such as, those experimented on having changes in some functions of their bodies for better or for worse. And, furthermore, how can a re-definition of the brain’s capacity take us to a change in the proposition to God existing or not? Yes, it would definitely cover and explain better the psychologial stories behind religions, but, how could we observe if it would take a God for our brains to be even more amazing than we know they are?

    Your topic was worthy of a discussion and I felt that both Matt & Tracie would have indulged in a different approach if your call was the very first. Still, there needs to be at least one fact or even one solid claim to show that Perennial philosophy can shatter or “alter” the known dichotomy about a God existing or not.

  20. pweasel says

    Shouldn’t you enact a 3 derails strike law to avoid dragging the calls? The Higgs-Boson was really a indian-train-class derailment.

  21. Brad James says

    To Jundurg, Matt did not say is this statement true or false he asked if it is true or not true….in reference to furgle burgle. So if the truth value isnt there because it’s nonsense then it is not true.

  22. Brad James says

    To Jimmy, your problem is that you think you discovered a truth. You didnt. You said basically….people who get drunk have a really interested new view of the world and that view probably influenced a lot of history. ….So what? I think you will say…I dont get it, but I believe your point is that through these new brainstates we can discover a new observer/observed existence which adds to what we know about logic. In essence what you are arguing for and not articulating is that through these brainstates, one shares the consciousness with god or oneness, and asking mundane mundane logical questions dont hold the same meaning….am I close? That being said, it’s all bullshit assertion and filled with deepities. If the truth of your claim rests upon the absurdity of truth…then you probably should reevaluate.

  23. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    @17(Eric Holp:)

    C’mon, you can give us some examples, right?

    @18(Jimmy:)

    Mmm, so you find fault in basic “How to logic” procedure?

    I understand that this is a pet you care about but you’re unlikely to get anyone else that’s “caught up in a false duality” to play with it. 🙁

  24. Darren Climas says

    Awesome show, awesome people, just awesome.

    Matt wonderful stuff, love the way you simmer that aggression when dealing with those who are dishonest with themselves, or just too delusional to understand rational thinking.

    Tracie, you are wonderful, smart and beautiful, love to listen to your pearls of wisdom.

  25. Wiggle Puppy says

    @ Jimmy #18

    “Perennial philosophy views all major religion as being founded by individuals who had a mystical experience”

    What does “mystical” mean? What if all major religions were founded by people who had neurons in their brain misfiring and experienced hallucinations? What does that tell you about a) the truth of the religious claims and/or b) religion’s relevance in telling us how we should go about our daily life? To me, calling something “mystical” is a way of trying to imbue meaningless concepts and experiences with some kind of deeper meaning.

  26. Murat says

    @Wiggle Puppy #23
    @Jimmy #18

    “Altered States” by Ken Russell is “the” movie on the subject: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080360/?ref_=nv_sr_1

    What Jimmy says is that some scientists are halfway through this process, and what people say is that even going 9/10 of the whole way would not matter unless the finale provided the kind of result seen in the movie.

  27. says

    Derek:
    >Where did Trace get her t-shirt? I googled it, but I can’t find it anywhere

    A San Diego atheist group. It’s on the sleeve, but I’m not wearing it at the moment. I love it because it’s a woman’s cut, which is hard to find in atheist t-shirts.

    Austin:
    >“how was your day?”
    >Is what I said True or False?

    The correct follow up question, to match what Matt was describing, would be “Was that statement true or not true?” Immediately the mental response should be “that example wasn’t a statement, it was a question.”

    Jundurg:
    In context of Matt’s commentary, he indicated that all statements are true or not true. If the statement does not map to reality it’s “not true.” False was not what he was describing. If he did say at some point “true or false” he misspoke, because he clearly said “true or not true” at least once that I recall. That’s what he was talking about, not true or false.

  28. mi tortent says

    @jimmy from san antonio
    you are typing incoherent word salads. what is mystical experience and why does it matter? the statement god exists or god does not exist is still a binary position, perennial philosophy is not a third option. what part of this are you having a hard time with?

    “So, you can say there are only two options: God exists or God doesn’t exist, but whether that is true or false will depend on how you’re defining God.” yes. but however you define it, it is still true or not true. this is common knowledge, why do you think you have discovered something earth shattering?

  29. says

    @jimmy from san antonio

    non duality : )
    IMO, this community is necessarily biased… feeding their echo chamber.
    so… is the atheist position true or not true ?
    I don’t give a f**k.
    I follow the example of right / civil conduct by commentators : )

  30. mi tortent says

    @murat #21
    i see jimmy and eddy as very similar people. they are both running a script and are not capable adjusting to questions asked. when asked a question they gave non sequitur answers mostly because they searched their script and that was the closest thing they could come up with, or if there was nothing even remotely related in the script, they just gave a random answer. there was a point when matt asked a question and jimmy happily started answering thinking he was able to stay on script, but he just heard a trigger word, but the question was something completely different. jimmy couldn’t even grasp why matt was getting frustrated, and certainly didn’t consider that matt was maybe having a mystical experience entering the twilight zone.

  31. Mark Stanley-Adams says

    @Carrie
    Just a couple of thoughts on your plight…
    It’s not unusual for someone where you are now to feel some kind of anger. We are often our own worst critics, and it’s completely normal to feel a bit embarrassed and ashamed of ourselves when we realise that we’ve been taken for a fool. Initially it’s difficult to know where to direct that anger, and it’s very common to turn it inward. I’m confident that with time, you’ll feel that you needn’t be so hard on yourself.
    Secondly, on your other point about what you replace your religion with… I agree wholeheartedly with Tracie’s line of reasoning, but here’s another question you might ask yourself; Do you need to replace it? Perhaps merely removing it is all that’s needed. Take a tumor as an analogy – if you have an infection/growth/cancer removed, you don’t replace it with something else.. you just wait for the healthy tissue to grow back, and all that’s needed is a little time and patience.
    I hope that helps

  32. Murat says

    @mi tortent #28

    I see the two callers to be on different grounds. Eddy did not even comprehend the basics Matt & Tracie approached him with, whereas Jimmy seemed to understand their position but took the liberty to challenge it with what he sees as an alternate, uncoventional perspective. Also the things he wrote here suggest that he is well aware of the basic logical principles behind the hosts’ statements, but he does not believe them to be up-to-date and valid on every level.

  33. rodney says

    I think what Jimmy is saying is nonsense, but he is at least expressing himself better here than he did on the show. Please don’t blame that on Matt, you were on for a long time, and given ample opportunity to explain your argument. Sounds like you froze up, frankly, Matt should have hung up on you long before he finally did, the call was going in circles because you couldn’t get out what you were trying to say.

  34. Conversion Tube says

    Funny story.

    Last Christmas day my parents had a party. We had 15 people in the great room. Multiple conversations occurring. My British aunt was there and uttering some phrases that are fine in England but considered rude here. while many of us had several drinks we often laughed at the phrases.

    The conversations in the room went quiet for a short period and for the first time I ever heard, my mom uttered the C WORD.

    No word of a lie the room went quiet

    My finished her sentence with someone, the last word being the C word.

    Then immediately after The Power Went Out and all the lights went out.

    The room irrupted in laughter.

    It was hilarious.

    A room of 15 people

    An old lady utters the C word

    and the room went black.

    I’ll never forget it.

  35. Monocle Smile says

    @Jimmy/Kafei
    Do you really think we’re all that stupid? You’re Kafei, the same nutter who was spouting the same walls of text a number of weeks ago. Screw off.

  36. Monocle Smile says

    @TimC
    Do you have an actual point to make, or is being a smug, boring prick your sole talent?

  37. gshelley says

    For Eddie, the first caller, I wonder if he knows anything about the mythicist position. He brought up the “brother of the Lord” passage as though that was conclusive and didn’t even address the possibility that the alternate explanation (ie it was a title to denote a Christian (simple form)) or even that it is a forgery or interpolation.
    As someone who doesn’t speak Greek, I can’t say how good Carrier’s explanation is – For example, Greek apparently has articles, but this phrase is always given as “the brother of the Lord” rather than “a brother of the Lord” – Is this significant? Probably not, as the Historicists never make this point.
    Similarly, I only see this phrase quoted, not the “Brothers of the Lord in 1 Corinthians 9:5”. In modern English, it seems awkward to interpret it as meaning anything other than a literal brother, but in Greek? I couldn’t say, and the dismissals of the alternatives, and the other uses to suggest Christians would be Brothers of (or in) christ (such as Thessalonians 3:6) are poor. Possibly because the historicists fon’t take mythicism seriously, so don’t really try, possibly because the arguments are actually good and do destroy any sense of certainty

  38. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    I knew I remembered Jimmy from a past post, as I remember him going nowhere then too.

    And Tim is the typical flea in the dog’s coat.

  39. Simon & Mrs Wendy Hosking says

    I really, really enjoy having callers like Jimmy.

    I transitioned out of Christianity via a lot of woo and mumbo jumbo. On the way I did a lot of mushrooms and I can vouch that the ‘mystic experience’ is real. If you don’t know what a ‘mystic experience’ is then you haven’t had enough of the right sort of mushrooms (only partly joking)!

    I do think it’s a fascinating topic and the experience may well be key to the origins of religion.

    However the experience does take place solely in your mind. It can inform you in a profound way about how you relate to the universe, but it doesn’t tell you anything about that universe.

    The questions ‘Do God or Gods exist’ is still a binary question. Gods either exist or they don’t.

    A mystical experience may change your view on the subject, but it doesn’t change the underlying reality of the situation.

    I hope these conversations help other people on their transition out, I think the would have sped up the process for me.

    – SImon

  40. Monocle Smile says

    @Simon
    I don’t think that anyone here disputes that there are sets or subsets of brain states that people call “mystical experiences.” That’s not the objection and despite numerous requests, Kafei has yet to provide even a shred of evidence that the “mystical experiences” that people have today are not only the same as the ones had by shamans in the past, but are the root of all religions. Kafei claims that both are true.

    Also, I don’t see a categorical difference between a “mystical experience” and the feeling one gets after taking a giant shit. John Iacoletti brought this up in the last Kafei thread and it was dismissed on a whim.

    However the experience does take place solely in your mind. It can inform you in a profound way about how you relate to the universe, but it doesn’t tell you anything about that universe.

    I would contest the first statement, depending on the specifics, but I think your point stands. Kafei refuses to have a serious discussion about this point.

  41. Monocle Smile says

    Eddy has no clue what “historical figure” means when it comes to Jesus. He’s wrong, but it wouldn’t matter if we know that there was a jesus and he was executed by Pilate. The character described in the bible did not exist at all; whether or not the name and the rabbi aspect came from a person is utterly irrelevant when evaluating Christianity’s truth value.

    What’s even worse for Eddy is that we don’t even know if Paul existed as described. The “authentic” epistles are thought to have been written by the same person as per scholarly consensus, but we have no idea if it was in fact the same Saul of Tarsus. Lots of what is “accepted” among Christian scholars has been accepted on extremely lukewarm evidence for long periods of time.

  42. Monocle Smile says

    You can hear Eddy’s brain exploding when Tracie asks him to say his dead friend’s name around other lightbulbs. What a maroon. This is just a colossal Texas sharpshooter fallacy and Eddy is almost certainly distorting the real events.

  43. Christianb112 says

    I kind of take a different view on the “mystical experience” debate. I think it is actually important as these experiences relate to religion. While it is separate from the truth of the existence of any god, the fact that I can have these experiences without religion does say something. After being introduced to these ideas in “Waking Up” by Sam Harris, I found meditation to be deeply profound and useful in my life, and I can have these “spiritual” experiences without having to believe absurd claims on insufficient evidence.

  44. Simon & Mrs Wendy Hosking says

    @Monocle Smile #42

    I think the difference between a ‘Mystical Experience’ and the feeling following a big shit is that a ‘Mystical Experience’ can tell you more about yourself. Unless you are having a really, really big shit I guess! But I agree, they are both just thoughts and experiences.

    I do think psychotropic drugs like Psilocybin and LSD may have a useful role in psychotherapy and similar disciplines. I suspect Matt might even be up for a discussion on that subject – but not in the context of TAE. It’s just out of scope really.

    – Simon

  45. pyrobryan says

    The show needs a web page with a live poll where viewers can vote “Move on” or “Keep talking”. That Jimmy call should have been about 5 minutes long and the rest was just pure frustration bordering on rage-inducing.

  46. Rex says

    When Tracie started talking about those sayings like “Pray until something happens” or “God helps those who help themselves,” I was reminded of many years ago when I was a child and I was watching those cheesy Sinbad movies (Golden Voyage of Sinbad, etc). I remember in one of those movies, Sinbad says “Trust in Allah, but tie up your camel.” 😀

  47. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Matt (53:00):

    Now we’re in that scenario much like the experiments where the chickens end up training themselves. So random things will happen when they peck on the thing, and then they develop all sorts of rituals.

     
    Video: QualiaSoup – Superstition (9:56)

    In 1948, American psychologist B.F.Skinner reported some unusual animal behavior. He placed a succession of hungry pigeons inside a cage where an automated machine delivered food to them at certain intervals. And observed the birds started repeating actions that had coincided with the delivery of the food. They behaved as if their actions were influencing the food to appear, as if there were some kind of causal connection – when in fact, there was none. The food would’ve appeared at the same intervals whatever the birds did.

  48. Simon & Mrs Wendy Hosking says

    @pyrobryan #48

    The decision to move on or keep going also depends on who else is sitting in the queue. If they’re talking to the only Theist then it’s probably worth going a bit longer. The audience doesn’t know who else is waiting to talk.

    – Simon

  49. Murat says

    The term “alternative facts” will soon become a hit among apologists. That was exactly what Ken Ham, Ray Comfort etc. had been feeding the public with. Thanks to Trump’s wing woman, from now on a “lie” is something much more sophisticated than just a lie.

  50. Jimmy from San Antonio says

    Murat said:

    Basically, what he’s saying is that, “for all the experience to investigate will be happening within the framework of one’s mind, how is it relevant to what is outside the mind and the perception?”, whereas, correct me if I’m wrong, the argument you come up with is that, though a brain can be seen as a Venn diagram with borders of its defined action, a “mind” is something different, connecting not only to the brain (its source) but also to what is / whatever there may be outside of it, shattering the proposition of its field of observation being “either there, or not there”.

    That’s an interesting interpretation. Yes, Matt wanted to know whether the mystical experience itself corresponded to something in reality. I was honestly nervous calling in, and I was in a small Wal-Mart with customers surrounding me, and at some points I couldn’t hear Matt. The first time he said Venn diagram, I honestly didn’t hear that until he mentioned it the second time, but he reacted as though I could hear him perfectly. I really should’ve been more prepared. I made this call on the clock (I’m a vendor at Wal-Mart), and I couldn’t go outside ’cause it was too windy. It was impromptu, I wanted to introduce the idea to Matt, because I had called in before and mentioned it to Tracie. Matt and Tracie are my favorite hosts, by the way.

    I really wasn’t sure how to respond to that question. I mean, Matt Googled the original study in 2006, but they were just confirming that they could trigger the state then. Once that was established that they could trigger mystical experience via psilocybin, they went on to run clinical trials on heavy nicotine addicts, they had another trial on the terminally ill, and they found in these studies that these people in the nicotine study stopped smoking without recidivism after one single high dose of psilocybin. They found that these terminally ill people were able to come to terms with their death, and live the remaining days of their life with less anxiety and stress. So, there’s obvious great potential for therapeutic application, but what’s the parallel truth that we could gain from that in reality? In other words, how does that answer Matt’s question? There seems to be this motif that people get from the experience that seems to propel you to want to be the best version of yourself in the here and now, but I’m not sure how that corresponds to a “truth.”

    Another characteristic that’s noted in the study is the impression of transcending space and time. People will often say it’s as though all past, present, and future have collapsed into the moment. This description is commonplace of mystical experience, but how do we assess that? Is the truth we’re supposed to realize is that there’s higher dimensions? We can’t even prove string theory or M-theory with our current technology. So, I was thrown a little off by Matt’s question, because I’m not really sure what he meant by that or what kind of “truth” he was looking for. I like the way you phrased it better, how is the mystical experience relevant to what is outside the mind and the perception? Well, Matt and Tracie seemed unfamiliar with Perennial philosophy, but I believe this is the point-of-view one arrives at after having such an experience. I really believe what churches are peddling today is high abstraction, you’re left to imbibe concepts from a book which you have to intellectually make sense of pretty much on your own, because even the priest hasn’t a clue. They’re not engaging in any type of altered states, and to even speak of such things would be blasphemy in that circle. As I’ve said before in the thread, churches are in the business of keeping people from having direct experiences. So the mystical experience, aside from making you a calmer, more patient and appreciative person, it could also drastically alter your perspective on reality, and that’s another major thing this type of experience does. To answer your question, through Perennial philosophy, I believe, is how it’s relevant.

    Still, it’s unclear to me in what way these new experiments differ in terms of source & affect from known types of hallucinations. To prove that there actually is a difference -according to Matt’s approach- what is altered should prove not be limited to the state of the mind, but should at least involve a certain portion of physical reality. Such as, those experimented on having changes in some functions of their bodies for better or for worse. And, furthermore, how can a re-definition of the brain’s capacity take us to a change in the proposition to God existing or not? Yes, it would definitely cover and explain better the psychological stories behind religions, but, how could we observe if it would take a God for our brains to be even more amazing than we know they are?

    I don’t think we realize how amazing our brains are until we have an experience like this. To give you an example of some of the hallucinations seen in a mystical experience, and because you said “According to Matt’s approach, what is altered should at least involve a portion of reality.” Well, reality as we know it certainly disappears in an experience like this, and what replaces it is something alien-like yet familiar at once. There’s nothing to hold onto that could even be considered a “portion of reality” except maybe the dying voice of the ego in your head as you lay in onslaught of these visions. There is a fractal mandala that forms behind closed eyelids. Everyone gets this kaleidoscopic hallucinatory display behind closed eyelids, and the impression you have is as though your brain, being the generator of experience, is now producing every experience possible at once or every pattern it can generate in a simultaneous fashion. We’re not talking about the awe someone has when they stand before a starlit sky, witnessing a birth or death, or a frozen waterfall. In witnessing these hallucinations, there’s this feeling of being overhauled, like a sensory overload. You mentioned brain capacity, I think if when we finally examine this experience rigorously and scientifically, it might be our brains generating massive neuronal activity that gives you this impression of “having all experience at once,” a kind of panesthesia, if you will. I think that’s why people often will reach for metaphors like fourth-dimensional or beyond dimensionality or even “God,” because we think and speak of things in terms of tensed time, and so when we have an experience that gives us an impression of undergoing all experience somehow at once, then words often fail. And the brain in projecting these wild fractal, mandalic geometric patterns that seem to morph into itself at its center very similar to a kaleidoscope, you in turn have this impression that you’re at the very edge of the mind’s capacity to generate experience.

    I mean, that’s just the visual/intellectual aspect of this experience, the emotional response is also somewhat of an overhaul in that people often profess the sense of unconditional love. You will have the impression that the entire world is emotionally asleep. I mean, someone could literally murder your family before your eyes, and you’d still feel compelled to forgive them in that state. This emotive profusion is truly that powerful and inundating, but of course, it’s temporary, and when you return to the baseline of consciousness, all that feeling of infinite emotion is but a memory and while you may return more gentler, kind, patient, etc. you are definitely no saint. The mystics who supposedly were quite righteously moral, i.e. Mother Teresa, Hildegard of Bingen are speculated to have had perhaps a condition where they had these experiences frequently throughout their lives, and so it reinforced values and the moral compass that the mystical experience seems to influence, and so while a single dose might have lasting positive personality changes, imagine if someone had multiple mystical experiences in their lifetime. Michio Kaku has spoken about in his latest book “The Future of the Human Mind” the hyperreligiosity of Geschwind syndrome, and has speculated that religion is ultimately a byproduct of that, but I honestly don’t believe that to be the case for these or even all mystics. I just think maybe Michio Kaku hasn’t caught the memo of the studies happening at Johns Hopkins or of “mystical experience.”

    Anyway, I apologize if that sounds like I’ve went off into a tangent, but one thing I didn’t do for Matt is describe a mystical experience, and that’s what I’ve attempted to do here, but I don’t think anyone has coined the perfect metaphor yet. I don’t think I could’ve gone into what a mystical experience is like on the call because it may have simply took too long, and it would be unfair to the other callers, but at least there’s this venue here.

    You see, Matt could have spared the logic 101. I got that, he said, “Either God exists or God doesn’t exist,” but what I was trying to argue is that depending how you define God will determine whether that statement is true or false. If you’re a pantheist, and you define God as the universe, then does God exist? Well, yes, ’cause you’ve defined the God as the universe. Of course, Matt would probably add that he doesn’t accept that the universe is God. Now, if you ask Matt what evidence would he accept for God, his honest answer would be “I don’t know.” And he claims this frustrates the hell out of theists because they expect Matt to have at least a notion of what would convince him, but in a talk with Dawkins, he has made it clear that he wouldn’t know what to accept as evidence for God, so why is he talking to me about the notion “Either a God exists or doesn’t exist” if he can’t even adhere to a definition of his own? That’s a rhetorical question, and of course, as Matt says if there is a God, then that God should know exactly what it would take to change his mind, and the fact that this God hasn’t done this either means that this God doesn’t exist or does not want Matt to know that he exist. Either way, it’s not Matt’s problem.

    What Perennial philosophy is, essentially, is a collection of religious history that references mystical experience. Through scripture and hymns and disciplines and techniques to induce such states, these things are found throughout all religion. Now, the reason it seems word salad to people is the same reason a love song you hear as a kid doesn’t make sense ’til you finally fall in love or experience heartbreak, and suddenly all those songs start to make sense, and the lyrics resonate with you. Well, in that very same way, once you have a mystical experience, then you see all saints and mystics as simply individuals who sometime in their lifetime had this experience. The Bhagavad Gita suddenly makes sense, but that’s because it was a collection of poetry that was inspired by individuals who’d undergone mystical experience. So, if you don’t have nowhere in your recollection to relate to such an experience, it will appear as “word salad.” Christian mystics 100 A.D. were practicing what scholars refer to as “quietism.” Quietism is a technique quite akin to Zen meditation in Buddhism that elicits mystical experience which these mystics referred to as “Christ consciousness.” You see, they refer to it this way because they knew that whatever it was that Jesus had experienced, it was also a potential within themselves. Likewise, Muhammad shivering, fasting in a cave is a classic shamanic example of engaging mystical experience. The Beatific vision or agapé of Christianity, the so-called unconditional love that Jesus supposedly was a living example of is the emotional aspect of mystical experience; a deep and boundless love that is not sexual in nature, but rather maternal. The Shekinah in Judaism is another term that the Perennial philosophy highlights as a reference to mystical experience. It’s no secret that eastern religion is obsessed with the altered state of mystical experience, it’s the very goal of the religion; to experience nirvana or satori in Buddhism or samadhi in Hinduism, and of course psilocybin has been used religiously by shamans for millennia, and you’ll even find mandalic art manifest throughout all the major religions that resemble the hallucinatory phenomenon seen in the mystical experience.

    This is an experience that has been scientifically established to be biologically normal, it’s simply that most of us don’t engage in activities that would produce mystical experience such as mediation, asceticism, the taking of high doses of psilocybin, etc. but we’ve seem to lost touch with it for the most part, and while a torch is kept alive for mystical experience in the peripheries of our culture, it’s by and large out of mainstream thought which is heavily distracted with nonsense. I really apologize for this long response, Murat, but hopefully by attempting to describe what a mystical experience is, then you could understand better the perspective of Perennialism in that God isn’t seen as a binary, either existing or not existing, but all these terms like Allah, Yahweh, God, Brahman, etc. are metaphors transduced from the mystical experience. The attributes we give to this conceptual personal God that I believe came about when knowledge of mystical experience fell into the background, and so God became misinterpretation of the writing of mystics by people who lost touch with the mystical experience, and anthropomorphized God and conceptually deduced him to the nonsense mainstream churches peddle today. So that characteristics given to this God, i.e. omniscience, omnibenevolence, omnipresence, etc. were actually characteristics of the mystical experience that over time were contorted to mean a Santa Clause-like entity in the minds of most theists who conjure God this way. I believe this monotheistic notion of God, of the God that George Carlin spoke about came about through the artist’s depiction in a time where religions had fallen into empty platitudes and hollow ceremonialism in the absence of mystical experience. If you go further back, you don’t find monotheism, but rather find monism or panentheistic (not to be confused with pantheism) notions of the divine that were likely to be born out of the mystical experience. The notion of Brahman in Hinduism is a very good example of this.

    Just like I spoke about the atheist who described this state with the description “it felt as though I was somehow able to glimpse a higher dimension.” Well, someone living thousands of years ago isn’t going to say “higher dimension,” but probably be inclined to call it a union with the divine or the flowing of the Tao depending on the time, culture, language, etc. According to the Perennial philosophy, this was simply a pre-scientific way of referencing the mystical experience, and so it’s not necessarily saying “God exist” as though the personal God of Christianity exist. It’s saying that the mystical has always been the prompting of such utterances within the major religions, that religion itself was a byproduct of such experiences, and it is precisely a natural experience. The atheist sees God as a binary argument within each religion, i.e. either the Christian God is true, but if that’s so that makes the Hindu divinity false, etc. Perennialism is an alternative view in that it sees all major religion as originating for a single source, the mystical experience, and though of the world religions are undeniably diverse and often superficially oppose each other, one can discern a common underlying doctrine founded by individuals who were influenced by mystical experience. Once again, I apologize for the long-winded response, Murat, but hopefully it fosters a healthy discussion on this phenomenon.

    Wiggle Puppy said:

    What does “mystical” mean? What if all major religions were founded by people who had neurons in their brain misfiring and experienced hallucinations? What does that tell you about a) the truth of the religious claims and/or b) religion’s relevance in telling us how we should go about our daily life? To me, calling something “mystical” is a way of trying to imbue meaningless concepts and experiences with some kind of deeper meaning.

    It’s not a vague term at all, and I realize lots of people might be confused when they encounter the word “mystical’ in the term “mystical experience,” but if you’re interested, I found a talk of the leader of the research taking the time to define “mystical experience,” and I’ll post that here. As to your other questions, in my response to Murat, hopefully I addressed them. I’ll leave one last link…

    Sam Harris on “Altered States”

  51. Monocle Smile says

    @Kafei

    The mystics who supposedly were quite righteously moral, i.e. Mother Teresa

    SHUT. THE. FUCK. UP.

  52. Jimmy from San Antonio says

    @Monocle Smile,

    Okay, so maybe Mother Teresa wasn’t the greatest example since there’s so much controversy surrounding her decisions near the end of her life, but my point was individuals like Ghandi who said, “My life is my message,” and Ghandi did lead a life that exemplified austere adherence to non-violence, the goodness in human nature, etc. The mystical experience has proven to have had lasting positive effects on personality, like I mentioned before, people come out of it more patient, more kind, more empathetic, etc. Well, it’s possible that Ghandi was influenced by mystical experience, perhaps several in his lifetime to lead the example he did.

    Well, at least you didn’t respond with something like “tl;dr” (too long, didn’t read), because we seem to live in a Idiocracy lately where people lack the attention span to even read a few paragraphs. However, the response you left is something that goes against the moderation policy. I don’t think our comments are being filtered right now, otherwise I really doubt you would’ve gotten approval on your last comment.

  53. Monocle Smile says

    The mods are generally tolerant of people who lambaste woo monkeys who post walls of bullshit over and over and fucking over again. Do you have anything of substance, or are you content to make shit up?

    And of course, the predictable condescending “you people” with the idiocracy comment. From a fucking Walmart vendor. That’s rich.

  54. Jimmy from San Antonio says

    @Monocle, what exactly is “woo” about what I posted? I’ve mentioned that the mystical experience has been scientifically confirmed. This is not some airy-fairy tale of bullshit as you seem to think. It’s a tried-and-true phenomenon in consciousness, it’s something that can happen to even you. The implications of mystical experience hint towards a Perennial philosophy, and Roland Griffiths has commented on this fact, Michio Kaku has spoken about this topic in his latest book “The Future of the Human Mind,” that religion may very well be a byproduct of hyperreligiosity. There’s nothing woo or bullshit about this stuff, people just haven’t been following the work and therefore are ignorant of the vast implications that these scientific studies have on how we view religion, consciousness, etc.

    And by the way, I wasn’t referencing Idiocracy to refer to anyone here, I’m talking about places like Reddit or other high-traffic forums where instead of bother reading what someone posts out of their sincerity, they’ll simply respond “tl;dr” instead of engaging in an intellectual or sincere discussion on the topic. I work for T-Mobile, by the way. And we go to Wal-Mart’s, Best Buy’s, Sam’s Clubs, etc. I just so happen to be at a Wal-Mart on that Sunday’s episode with Matt and Tracie.

  55. Monocle Smile says

    @Kafei
    The objections and challenges have been laid out in previous threads. Your failure to read or engage honestly has broken my give-a-shitter.

    The vast, vast, vast majority of believers, especially in the US, believe in actual gods that do actual things and interact with actual people. That’s what I care about.

  56. Jimmy from San Antonio says

    @Monocle

    The objections and challenges have been laid out in previous threads. Your failure to read or engage honestly has broken my give-a-shitter.

    That’s untrue. I responded to everyone’s objections. I only stopped participating because the thread was out-of-date. This thread is fresh. What objections do you feel I didn’t address?

    The vast, vast, vast majority of believers, especially in the US, believe in actual gods that do actual things and interact with actual people. That’s what I care about.

    Oh, these are actual Gods, eh? And I suppose they interact by exploding bulbs, right? I believe the point in Perennial philosophy is that there is lots of references towards mystical experience as the origin of the major religions. Alan Watts gives an awesome lecture on Perennial philosphy, and I’ll link it below, although I doubt you would listen to it, I’ll leave it for any other readers of this thread. He explains that in Christianity, Jesus was pedestalized and the one and divine appointed being to have such an experience, and so this squeezed out the possibility of the mystical experience for anyone else. In other words, Jesus had a limitation in that he didn’t know of any religion other than those of the immediate near east. He might know something about Egyptian religion, a little bit maybe about Greek religion, but mostly about Hebrew. There is no evidence whatsoever that he knew anything about India or China. You see, if he had been born in India, and announced, “I and the father are one,” a Hindu might’ve replied, “Congratulations! At least, you’ve found out.” Because they realize that this experience which once was thought of as a union with the divine and now is being discussed as the mystical experience is a potential in every single one of us. Christian mystics living 100 A.D. spoke of it in terms of “Christ consciousness.” Of course, the point is today it direct experience or mystical experience has been completely taken out of the whole equation as contemporary western religions are practiced today, and to even discuss it would be considered blasphemous which is ironic because it may have been the very source that propelled the religion in the first place.

    So, theists in these churches today have this immature conceptual model of God which they’ve conjured up themselves, of course, influenced by their local religion, but nevertheless each theist has their own unique interpretation, because it’s all ultimately conceptual and has no bearing whatsoever in reality. It’s purely out of the fanciful imagination of the theist, and if you ask me, the monotheistic Santa Claus idea of God is one of the most infantile notions of God out there. It’s something a child could conjure, and yet it’s this petty notion of God that atheists seem to, by and large, reject and spend way too much time criticizing. It’s what you get when you try to interpret what religion is without the aid or knowledge of the mystical experience. This is what’s peddled to the “vast, vast, vast majority of believers in the U.S.” They’re expected to imbibe concepts from a book; concepts to be muddled, misinterpreted, misconstrued, handed down from generation to generation to be twisted, misremembered and so forth and so on. What the western religious churches are peddling is high abstraction, a series of concepts which require you to believe based on “faith,” and so their whole notion of reality is heavily distorted into these various concepts, and each Christian or Jehovah’s witness then understands their religion through the lens of their own individual eisegesis. So, their God is a parody of the mystical experience. It’s pure eisegesis, and the only reasons you might care about it are for the same reasons Greta Christina rants about. Like I said before, Churches are in the business of keeping people from keeping people from having a direct experience.

    Alan Watts on Perennial philosophy

  57. Monocle Smile says

    @Kafei

    and yet it’s this petty notion of God that atheists seem to, by and large, reject and spend way too much time criticizing

    You can’t possibly be serious. You have no fucking clue why atheist organizations or the atheist movements even exist. You’re hopelessly lost in your own pea brain and completely divorced from the woes of the world. Believers in this concept are the ones doing harm, so of fucking course this is the concept that comes up most often. You’re blaming atheists for the shortcomings of theists. Fuck you.

    the only reasons you might care about it are for the same reasons Greta Christina rants about

    Is this merely patronizing or are you butthurt about something?

    Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with you? Do you even understand the ludicrous amounts of harm being inflicted by the religious? Or do you just not give a shit about people? Go chew on some more mushrooms, guy with no friends.

  58. Jimmy from San Antonio says

    You can’t possibly be serious. You have no fucking clue why atheist organizations or the atheist movements even exist. You’re hopelessly lost in your own pea brain and completely divorced from the woes of the world. Believers in this concept are the ones doing harm, so of fucking course this is the concept that comes up most often. You’re blaming atheists for the shortcomings of theists. Fuck you.

    Again, another personal attack. Of course, I understand why atheists get involved in such movements. Why do you think I mentioned Greta Christina in the first place? She makes it very clear in her “Why are you Atheists so Angry?” speech. However, if we, instead of arguing this, posited for a moment that this is how it happened, this is how we developed our “religions,” then imagine we’d have a totally different attitude towards these things. Millions and millions of people are being victimized, third-world poverty is being exacerbated, criminal syndicalism is flourishing, ordinary law-abiding people are being criminalized, people are being made to feel guilty about simply trying to understand their own spiritual yearnings and their own place in the cosmos. It’s a tragic situation and it’s retarding cultural transformation because things like psilocybin are illegal. So, I’m not sure why an atheist would be against these type of studies or wouldn’t consider the implications involved. Even at 1 h 07m and 05s mark in the last Sunday’s Atheist Experience episode Matt even says, “I think there’s potential coolness here. I think if anything it would kill off religious ideas about the supernatural.” I definitely agree. I think the problem with the atheist is that they assume religion is inherently some kind of metaphysical or supernatural enterprise when it’s not. It never has been, the supernatural does not exist. I believe it’s been twisted over time to infer something supernatural. I think this adherence to religion as an engine for the supernatural keeps atheists from considering that it may very well, indeed, be a byproduct of a biologically normal phenomenon in consciousness.

    Is this merely patronizing or are you butthurt about something? Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with you? Do you even understand the ludicrous amounts of harm being inflicted by the religious? Or do you just not give a shit about people? Go chew on some more mushrooms, guy with no friends.

    No, I’m not butt-hurt. Of course, I give a shit about people. However, I would say religion is not the culprit here, it’s ignorance. And religion as it’s practiced today allows this ignorance to flourish. And this topic is definitely worth of discussion, and I’m sure I’m not the only one that believes that is so.

  59. Monocle Smile says

    @Kafei

    So, I’m not sure why an atheist would be against these type of studies or wouldn’t consider the implications involved

    You are the Grand Central Station of “not getting it.” You didn’t get EL’s criticism, you didn’t get StonedRanger’s criticism, you didn’t get Simon’s criticism, you didn’t get John Iacoletti’s criticism, you didn’t get Matt and Tracie’s criticism, and you DEFINITELY don’t get my criticism. Nobody is fucking objecting to the studies that you sensationalize.

    people are being made to feel guilty about simply trying to understand their own spiritual yearnings and their own place in the cosmos

    Word salad. This is meaningless twaddle.

    I think this adherence to religion as an engine for the supernatural keeps atheists from considering that it may very well, indeed, be a byproduct of a biologically normal phenomenon in consciousness

    Utterly irrelevant. You fight irrational beliefs with education and reason. You don’t tell people to drop a shit ton of drugs and hope it cures them. I don’t merely want people to give up their religious beliefs. I want them to come out the other side being skeptical and reasonable. You’d rather they be druggies. Seriously, your post reads like you think psilocybin would solve world hunger or some shit. It’s loony-bin talk. Also, you still haven’t actually demonstrated your claim that all religion traces back to “mystical experience” despite countless demands. You seem to expect us to just believe whatever you say without question.

    However, if we, instead of arguing this, posited for a moment that this is how it happened, this is how we developed our “religions,” then imagine we’d have a totally different attitude towards these things

    Nope. I could not give less of a shit. I care what people believe TODAY and that’s it.

  60. Wiggle Puppy says

    @ Jimmy #62

    “I’m not sure why an atheist would be against these type of studies or wouldn’t consider the implications”
    The implications seem to be that brains do a bunch of crazy things and that experiences people sometimes label “supernatural” may just have a natural cause. This are hardly groundbreaking ideas.

    “’I think there’s potential coolness here. I think if anything it would kill off religious ideas about the supernatural.’ I definitely agree.”
    The mountains of evidence that identity is a product of the brain (personality changing when the brain is damaged, memories disappearing with Alzheimer’s, split-brain patients identifying as both theists and atheists) hasn’t done much to kill off ideas about a soul. People are good at compartmentalizing knowledge and ignoring stuff that doesn’t fit their preconceived assumptions.

    “I think this adherence to religion as an engine for the supernatural keeps atheists from considering that it may very well, indeed, be a byproduct of a biologically normal phenomenon in consciousness.”
    I have no clue what you’re talking about here. Is it very possible that people labeled as “prophets” in centuries past and revered were, in fact, having psychotic delusions? Yes, it’s very possible. I know few atheists who would find this speculation surprising. You seem to be enamored with ideas that are completely familiar to atheists who have bothered to educate themselves on these topics, and you are slathering on layers of cool deeper meanings to stuff that is just kind of mundane. Stop.

  61. Simon & Mrs Wendy Hosking says

    @Jimmy from San Antonio

    “I think this adherence to religion as an engine for the supernatural keeps atheists from considering that it may very well, indeed, be a byproduct of a biologically normal phenomenon in consciousness”

    On the contrary, I think religion is an inevitable consequence of the faulty wiring in the human brain. I think it is perfectly natural for people to ascribe the unknown to supernatural forces. I think the mystical experience i a natural phenomena which can be achieved through a variety of means (including drugs).

    However – and this is the important bit – none of this suggests in any way that the supernatural is real!

    Could study into this area yield benefits to our species – certainly. That’s a separate issue.

    TAE is primarily about religion and what people believe and why. Discussions of whether hallucinogenic drugs could be beneficial for psychology etc are not really on topic. In fact it’s really quite irrelevant.

    – Simon

  62. Jimmy from San Antonio says

    Monicle said:

    You are the Grand Central Station of “not getting it.” You didn’t get EL’s criticism, you didn’t get StonedRanger’s criticism, you didn’t get Simon’s criticism, you didn’t get John Iacoletti’s criticism, you didn’t get Matt and Tracie’s criticism, and you DEFINITELY don’t get my criticism. Nobody is fucking objecting to the studies that you sensationalize.

    I realize that. What they seem to be objecting to are the implications of such a study. That these experiences are biologically normal and that are arguably foundational to the human ethical and moral codes that seem to part of all the world’s spiritual and religious traditions.

    “People are being made to feel guilty about simply trying to understand their own spiritual yearnings and their own place in the cosmos.”

    Word salad. This is meaningless twaddle.

    Maybe to you, but as you know I do not concur. Because of course, I’m talking about people who are struggling with doubts within their religion, and made to feel guilty of those doubts by their own religion. Not everyone is a comfortable atheist like yourself. I’m referring to people who stay away from something as beneficial as psilocybin because it’s illegal and aren’t even allowed to use it in a religious or shamanic context as opposed to recreational.

    Utterly irrelevant. You fight irrational beliefs with education and reason. You don’t tell people to drop a shit ton of drugs and hope it cures them. I don’t merely want people to give up their religious beliefs. I want them to come out the other side being skeptical and reasonable. You’d rather they be druggies. Seriously, your post reads like you think psilocybin would solve world hunger or some shit. It’s loony-bin talk. Also, you still haven’t actually demonstrated your claim that all religion traces back to “mystical experience” despite countless demands. You seem to expect us to just believe whatever you say without question.

    I never said this experience was for everyone, so your accusation of that I’d rather everyone be druggies is simply your own assumption. Psilocybin in the context used in the study is definitely not addicting. No one returns saying, “More please.” They’re left with an experience that they will perhaps ponder for the rest of their lives, and never bother in partaking in another mystical experience. I don’t know what would solve world hunger, but I believe it’s quite obvious that psilocybin is something that does have great therapeutic potential among other benefits. Every study done thus far has shown that time and time again. Also, I could see how you might think I’ve made such a claim. I don’t think that’s what Perennial philosophy professes. It doesn’t necessarily claim mystical experience as the origin of religion as fact. It’s a perspective within the philosophy of religion that views all major religion as having these mystical experiences at their root. So that the Beatific vision of Christianity is one and the same with the samadhi experience claimed in Hinduism.

    At the 1h12m43s mark in the episode, Tracie tries to clarify what Matt’s getting at, and I responded that, “If you see all religion as a by-product of mystical experience, then the underlying core of whatever they profess — when you scratch all the major religions, what you’ll find are the insights gained from mystical experience.” Matt hastily responds with, “That’s a fallacy! Have you confirmed that they are?!” And I responded by saying, “That is what Perennial philosophy is.” And Matt quickly retorts, “You cannot test for that!” You see, if I had given a chance to speak, I was going to add that it’s not necessarily a scientific confirmation. We, of course, don’t have the preserved mummy of Christ to see that his neurological configuration was prone to these type of experiences, but what we do have is accounts, scripture, collected anecdotal data written by mystics throughout the ages that is highly suggestive of this particular altered state dubbed mystical experience. I’ve mentioned before that Perennialism is an attempt to dissect religious and scriptural literature in a manner of exegesis that highlights characteristics of the mystical experience in scripture, hymns, narrations, etc. It will acknowledge techniques in the major religions that aim to induce mystical experience such as the quietism practiced by mystics in Christianity or Theoria or contemplative prayer in Greek religion which are very akin to the meditative techniques found in ancient Buddhism. It is defined as the cessation of volition which is aimed to induce mystical experience. Perennial philosophy dissects religion in a very similar fashion of how Roland Griffiths dissects one of the volunteer’s description which I’ll link here to reveal characteristics of the mystical experience.

    I wasn’t telling Matt that it was all confirmed, and I had even started off with the statement of, “If you see all religion as a by-product.. ” I said “if,” and despite that Matt was quick to respond as though I had stated it as fact, but it only seemed that way because he cut me off in the middle of my sentence, because right after he said, “You cannot test for THAT!,” I was about to respond with, “No, you cannot… ” and Tracie interrupted me, but I was going to say, no, you cannot test for that. We don’t have the mummy of Christ or a time machine to see if Siddartha Gautama was, in fact, undergoing mystical experience, but what Perennial philosophy investigates is thorough interpretation of religious literature, meditative techniques, shamanic methods involving plants or fungi, etc. that all are highly suggestive of an involvement with mystical experience. I mean, mysticism is something practiced and observed in all major religion, but it isn’t a concrete scientific affirmation that Gautama or Muhammad had such experience.. All we have is highly suggestive conjecture, because there’s evidence to suggest that Gautama probably engaged in disciplines such as asceticism which would induce mystical experience, likewise Muhammad was fasting in cave, this is a classic shamanic setting that would induce such an experience. That is what Perennial philosophy is, and I understand how it could be misinterpreted in that fashion that you’ve assumed. I also apologize for that, because that’s not how I was attempting to express it. I want to represent it as it is being represented in these fields of science, and in the books of the authors who are writing about this stuff like Michio Kaku or Rick Strassman. One of the reasons I participate in these blog discussions is to better articulate these ideas, and perhaps I could call again one day into the show and present it as it’s intended.

    Nope. I could not give less of a shit. I care what people believe TODAY and that’s it.

    Well, like I said, if you consider Perennial philosophy, then what people believe today is complete obfuscation, it’s a distortion of what the religion originally professed. It’s all based on abstraction, it’s a parody of mystical experience contorted into the conceptualization of God as entity, a personal Santa Claus-like entity which George Carlin was fond of ridiculing. That’s why so many people give it up, because they are unable to make sense of it. I mean, people who still buy into that nonsense were people who were perhaps once like yourself who didn’t question basic principles or concepts which they were expected to believe based on unquestioning faith.

    Wiggle Puppy said:

    The implications seem to be that brains do a bunch of crazy things and that experiences people sometimes label “supernatural” may just have a natural cause. This are hardly groundbreaking ideas.

    No, I don’t think that’s what the studying is saying. On my last call with Tracie, Russell was the host, they emphasized that they understood that, and I quote, “We’re agreed that people have ‘weird mind experiences’,” my retort was that I know that these atheist hosts know that people’s brains “do a bunch of crazy things,” but this altered state is defined quite concretely, so that it’s not simply “weird brain experiences that overlap with other weird brain experiences,” they can define it to a tee. I suppose you can see it labeling “supernatural,” but I don’t think that’s how it’s exhibited in the studies. They say there’s an experience that is biologically normal, but within the mystical experience itself, it contains characteristics that might give the volunteer the impression of something “supernatural.” I mentioned this characteristic of transcending space and time which is commonplace of the mystical experience, and I suppose you can consider that as an impression of something “supernatural,” but nevertheless how people articulate it, whether they call it God or a higher dimension or a sense of the supernatural is only said because this is how they chose to articulate the inner subjective impression of this experience which seems to be universal in that many people reach for these type of metaphors. In other words, an atheist may not believe that he was in literal contact with a higher dimension, but nevertheless articulates it in this fashion because that was the best way to describe the felt circumstances or impression of this particular experience. You’re right, it’s not a ground-breaking idea. We may find that this idea flows back before Perennial philosophy to the traditionalist school of thought, back into Neoplatonism, and perhaps all the way to our initial religious impulse in shamanism or anamism, etc.

    Cousin Ricky said:

    I think I strained my eye muscles during Jimmy in San Antonio’s call.

    All apologies, brother.

  63. Simon & Mrs Wendy Hosking says

    Jimmy what is your point?

    If I understand you, you think the mystical experience (which can be drug induced) is really really significant.

    Does this have any bearing on the question of the existence of god(s)?

    No? Lets move on.

    – Simon

  64. Jimmy from San Antonio says

    @Simon

    TAE is primarily about religion and what people believe and why. Discussions of whether hallucinogenic drugs could be beneficial for psychology etc are not really on topic. In fact it’s really quite irrelevant.

    I disagree. I’m part of what you labelled as “people,” and I adhere to different beliefs. I don’t think it’s simply about hallucinogenic drugs being beneficial to psychology, but as these studies are emphasizing, our brains are hard-wired for such experiences. The hallucinogenic substance isn’t necessarily required for a mystical experience to occur. There are disciplines which can bring about this experience naturally, and the major speculation behind that is because our brains contain endogenous compounds which resemble that which trigger these altered states; i.e. N,N-DMT. And if the Perennialist view holds any water, then these states are directly related to the foundations of religion, and may offer an explanation of how religions get their traction.

    Does this have any bearing on the question of the existence of god(s)?

    I really believe the word “God” muddies the entire conversation. It’s a vague word that people define differently. I tried pointing this out to Matt, but he was fixated on adhering to what he referred to as “raw logic.” I adhere to ignosticism which aims to define the word “God” before any debate or discussion takes place. You use the word “God” as though it had some kind of universal definition, and the definition that people use most commonly might be that of a personal God, the God that rewards or punishes you after you die, etc. So, depending on how you define God will effect the statement: Does God exist? If you’re a pantheist, then the universe is God, and so you have your answer if you can confirm the universe exists, right?

    Well, I believe the Perennial philosophy offers a completely alternative point-of-view in that it sees all the major religions as deriving from a single source being the mystical experience so that Jesus, Muhammad, Guatama, etc. were all mortal human beings, human as you and I, who sometime in their lifetime had a mystical experience or maybe even several that led them to each become the founder of a religion. So that because these individuals were separated by cultures, times, language, etc. they would inevitably introduce religions that at a glance seemed unique or contradictory to one another, but when examined closely would exhibit a similar essence. The individuals that founded the major religions simply lived in times and cultures that would exemplify and shape the local founded religion, but the underlying core concepts of these religions would nevertheless be one and the same.

  65. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    This is dizzying. I have brain throw up from this circular turn of events.

  66. Murat says

    @Jimmy #69

    As Matt was trying to take you on the grounds of basic logic / conventional approach, he asked if the statement “There is a God” was true or not ture. You replied to that by saying that depended on the definition of God. For Matt’s point at the time was to demonstrate how to handle a statement by use of logic, he said the definition of God was irrelevant, which does make sense.

    However, if you define God as “the sole being that can jump into and out of existence”, the statement will be both true and not true.

    It does not change how logic is put to use, but it changes the efficiency of logic in terms of investigating theistic claims.

  67. Jimmy from San Antonio says

    @Murat

    Yes, I understood what Matt was talking about, but he was referring to “raw logic” or what’s referred to as Aristotelian logic and these ideas are also present in Boolean logic. I believe the definition of God is quite relevant. You mentioned a God as a “sole being that can jump into and out of existence,” and this would make God both true and not true depending on what time you measured God’s occurrence into existence. Well, there are other conceptions of God where God is not defined as an entity at all or a metaphysical being whatsoever as in the Brahman of Hinduism. This divinity is defined as a panentheism meaning it is essentially all the universe itself, and also exists beyond it. Physicists have compared the notion of Brahman to 11-dimensional hyperspace in M-theory.

    To give a brief example and metaphor, imagine that 11-dimensional hyperspace as a “place where all possibilities are contained.” Well, our temporal reality is a kind of a lower dimensional slice through hyperspace that creates our manifestation. Neil deGrass Tyson has used an example of a sphere passing through a sheet of paper. If your life was solely that sheet of paper, and a sphere passed through, from your vantage point you’d first see a dot, that’s the point of contact of the sphere on the sheet of paper, and as the sphere passes through, from your two-dimensional perspective you’d see a circle that would seem to get larger and larger until it gets to the diameter of the sphere, then the circle would start getting smaller again ultimately becoming a point before disappearing altogether. Well, Brahman has been compared to 11-dimensional hyperspace, so the hyperspace in the analogy “where all possibilities are contained” is parallel to the unchanging reality beyond all existence, but it’s also what energy resonates with in our reality in order to exist. This notion of the divine is referred to as a panentheism (not to be confused with pantheism), in that it defines God as greater than the universe and includes and interpenetrates it.

    So, it’s one thing to say whether a door is closed or open. That’s an obvious binary, but to use the word God in that statement is infinitely more vague. As in the example I gave of the Hindu notion of God, the word God can mean very different things that are often antipodal in definition to each other depending on who’s defining the term. That’s why I aim to emphasize ignosticism with an “i” which is a term that refers to the idea that God should be well-defined before any argument or discussion takes place. So, despite what Matt says, definition is quite relevant in that depending how you define God will effect whether the statement “Does God exist?” is true or false. I believe using the term “God” muddies a conversation like this, and so I try to avoid it when possible, because if you ask any Christian you can find to define or explain how they imagine God, each Christian will give you slightly different and unique answers. They may have some overlapping qualities, but you’ll find that no two Christians have the same conceptual model of their said “God.”

    So, I don’t see the view of Perennial philosophy as applying to this binary however you want to define God, because it sees all major religions as byproducts of individuals who engaged the mystical experience. So, then terms like God, Allah, Brahman, samadhi, nirvana, Beatific vision, shekinah, etc. are seen as metaphors that referenced the inner experiential phenomena of the mystical experience or referred directly to the phenomenon in consciousness altogether. Mysticism is, indeed, present throughout all the major religions, but as I said before we don’t necessarily have a time machine to confirm Gautama or Jesus were, in fact, undergoing mystical experience. All we have is accounts in scripture, techniques, dialogues between mystic and disciple, etc. that suggest the mystical experience as the primary source for religious insight. Just because we don’t have concrete proof as in the mummy of Christ, that doesn’t prevent us from considering a Perennialist perspective.

  68. Monocle Smile says

    @Kafei

    Well, I believe the Perennial philosophy offers a completely alternative point-of-view in that it sees all the major religions as deriving from a single source being the mystical experience

    FUCKING PROVE IT. This is one of the main objections! And yet you keep deflecting.
    This also isn’t an “alternative point-of-view.” It’s just another hypothesis despite your blather. All you have is speculation. Who gives a shit? Why should anyone give a shit? Why are you struggling so hard with this simple, simple question?

    Well, Brahman has been compared to 11-dimensional hyperspace

    Shut the fuck up. You wonder why I call you a woo monkey? This is why. This is bullshit. This is nonsense. This is Deepak Chopra all over again. You are straight-up lying when you tie this to physics.

  69. Monocle Smile says

    Also, while the definition of god might be extremely relevant (although you seem to get off on purposefully avoiding your personal definition of god), it was not relevant at all when Matt was going through logic 101 with you. Again, you just don’t get it.

    This notion of the divine is referred to as a panentheism (not to be confused with pantheism), in that it defines God as greater than the universe and includes and interpenetrates it

    Yeah, this is just the output of a random word generator. Maybe your addled brain finds this profound, but sane, rational people deservedly laugh at it.

  70. says

    WOW ! Jimmie and Eddie on the same show ! Matt’s patience was stretched to the limit.
    I wish I were closer to Austin so I could treat him to a good stiff drink.

    I never met someone like those two callers , who didn’t understand a yes / no question without blathering on as if they were defending a PHD thesis. Matt asked about logic, not whether the premise was true or not.
    And here’s Jimmy : still spouting off with a dozen irrelevant topics that belong to the realm of philosophy and metaphysics.
    He really not bound to the Earth very well.

  71. Monocle Smile says

    I believe using the term “God” muddies a conversation like this, and so I try to avoid it when possible, because if you ask any Christian you can find to define or explain how they imagine God, each Christian will give you slightly different and unique answers. They may have some overlapping qualities, but you’ll find that no two Christians have the same conceptual model of their said “God.”

    Do you watch the show? Ever? The term carries some baggage, and while you’ve gone on a revisionist history tear in the past, the overlap matters. Furthermore, as has been said and ignored upthread, this is why the questions on the show are “what do you believe and why?” The show’s hosts acknowledge pretty much EVERY WEEK that there are probably as many god concepts as there are theists, but in the scope of a single discussion, it doesn’t matter. The point is to nail down something concrete with actual traits, but you seem to revel in obfuscation rather than clarification. Cut it out.

  72. Jimmy from San Antonio says

    @Monocle

    FUCKING PROVE IT. This is one of the main objections! And yet you keep deflecting.
    This also isn’t an “alternative point-of-view.” It’s just another hypothesis despite your blather. All you have is speculation. Who gives a shit? Why should anyone give a shit? Why are you struggling so hard with this simple, simple question?

    I’ve already answered that question. I said that I never claimed that it was so, and I’ve pointed out to you repeatedly in recent posts. I’m merely pointing out the fact that mystical experiences exist and implications of the mystical experience as a potential explanation for the origin of the major religions. Sure, it’s a hypotheses that is based on justifiable speculation. Mysticism is practiced in all the world’s major religion. That is to say we find techniques used to induce mystical experience, accounts written by mystics, religious literature that reference characteristics of the mystical experience throughout all the major religions. However, we don’t have a time machine to go back and actually witness and confirm the founders of the major religions were engaging mystical experience. However, there is scriptural evidence to suggest that people like Gautama engaged in various techniques such as asceticism and meditation that would definitely induce a mystical experience.

    Shut the fuck up. You wonder why I call you a woo monkey? This is why. This is bullshit. This is nonsense. This is Deepak Chopra all over again. You are straight-up lying when you tie this to physics.

    You’re the one that seems to be confused here. You act as though I’m equating M-theory to Hinduism. All I’ve said is that physicists such as Brian Greene, Michio Kaku, Fritjof Capra (not to be confused with Chopra) have paralleled by analogy modern physics to concepts in Hinduism. That is not the same as equating these two very different disciplines. You either are skimming through my posts reading them with cursory glances so that you don’t interpret them correctly or you seem to have anger issues that lead you to quickly retort with personal attacks and unwarranted criticism. Either way, your accusations are false.

    Also, while the definition of god might be extremely relevant (although you seem to get off on purposefully avoiding your personal definition of god), it was not relevant at all when Matt was going through logic 101 with you. Again, you just don’t get it.

    Why would I have a personal definition of God? I’m not a theist. I understood what Matt meant, but like I pointed out numerous times before, whether the statement “Does God exist?” is true or false will entirely depend on how you’re defining God.

    Yeah, this is just the output of a random word generator. Maybe your addled brain finds this profound, but sane, rational people deservedly laugh at it.

    No, perhaps like most atheists, you’re unfamiliar with eastern philosophy. I find a lot of atheist I meet seem to be only aware of the religions they’ve abandoned. It’s quite rare to meet atheists who take the time to study other religions like Hinduism, Taoism, Jainism or Buddhism, etc. I think if you were more familiar with eastern philosophy, you’d realize that is not simply the output of a random word generator, but the actual definition of panentheism, which is not to be confused with pantheism, these are two different concepts. It’s a concept that I think boggles the mind of some atheists because they’re used to thinking of God as traditionally conceived within western religion, as the so-called “sky daddy” that George Carlin would parody in his stand-up, and so it’s hard for them to conceive of a notion of the divine that doesn’t involve an entity of any sort whatsoever. That is essentially what pantheism is, a definition of the divine that is at once beyond the universe and includes the universe. So, God in this view is not a ball, a cube, or a metaphysical body or entity of any sort, but rather transcendent of the entire manifestation and also includes and interpenetrates every portion of it.

    Do you watch the show? Ever? The term carries some baggage, and while you’ve gone on a revisionist history tear in the past, the overlap matters. Furthermore, as has been said and ignored upthread, this is why the questions on the show are “what do you believe and why?” The show’s hosts acknowledge pretty much EVERY WEEK that there are probably as many god concepts as there are theists, but in the scope of a single discussion, it doesn’t matter. The point is to nail down something concrete with actual traits, but you seem to revel in obfuscation rather than clarification. Cut it out.

    To the contrary. I actually am trying to do away with all obfuscation and offer clarification. It’s theists which are vague and offer obfuscated views. I mean, just listen to Matt’s discussion with Eddie. What I’m talking about at least has verification in that we can trigger mystical experience in a therapeutic setting, and we can further assess the characteristics of this particular altered state and how mysticism may have influenced religion and its origins. What do theists offer? Exploding light bulbs that could easily be explained away by C. G. Jung’s notion of sychronicity. Of course, I watch the show, I’ve seen lots of episodes, and not a single one addresses the mystical experience or its implications. That’s why I think Matt had so much trouble with it, he hadn’t encountered it before. But I assure you, it’s not the last he’ll hear of it.

    @georgekarpel

    I never met someone like those two callers , who didn’t understand a yes / no question without blathering on as if they were defending a PHD thesis. Matt asked about logic, not whether the premise was true or not.
    And here’s Jimmy : still spouting off with a dozen irrelevant topics that belong to the realm of philosophy and metaphysics.
    He really not bound to the Earth very well.

    I understood it quite well. However, the point I was trying to make and that I’ve explained in many posts now including this one in a response to Monocle is that whether the statement “Does God exist?” is true or false will be dependent entirely on how one is defining God. I believe Matt would have conceded to that if he had given me a chance to explain. He just want to establish Aristotelian logic, and wanted us to both agree that on a duality; either God exists or doesn’t exist, but as I pointed out, God is a vague word and defined in myriads of ways. You might adhere to the definition of God as the all-powerful entity that punishes or rewards you after you die, but that’s simply because you live in an area where, by and large, the presiding religions adhered to are some form of the western traditions, and so the English-speaking people you’re likely to encounter define God in a way that you’re used to, but that doesn’t mean that’s the only definition of God.

  73. Monocle Smile says

    I said that I never claimed that it was so

    Then shut the fuck up. Do you not get it? Nobody gives a rat’s ass about unfounded speculation. What’s so hard to understand about this? You might as well be a Scientologist posting screeds about Dianetics.

    I understood what Matt meant, but like I pointed out numerous times before, whether the statement “Does God exist?” is true or false will entirely depend on how you’re defining God

    This demonstrates that you have no fucking clue what Matt was getting at.

    Of course, I watch the show, I’ve seen lots of episodes, and not a single one addresses the mystical experience or its implications

    Because until you conclusively demonstrate that religion’s roots are definitely centered in this “mystical experience” claptrap, it’s not relevant to the show. Do you ever wonder why so many people, including the hosts, continue to ask why anyone should care even after you post a billion words? Probably not, because you’re too wrapped up in your own nonsense.

    However, the point I was trying to make and that I’ve explained in many posts now including this one in a response to Monocle is that whether the statement “Does God exist?” is true or false will be dependent entirely on how one is defining God

    NO SHIT. Who is contesting this? Do you understand English?
    Panentheism and pantheism are both deepities at best. Word salad at worst.

    So, God in this view is not a ball, a cube, or a metaphysical body or entity of any sort, but rather transcendent of the entire manifestation and also includes and interpenetrates every portion of it

    You call this “clarification?” Yeah, I question your comprehension skills.

  74. Jimmy from San Antonio says

    Then shut the fuck up. Do you not get it? Nobody gives a rat’s ass about unfounded speculation. What’s so hard to understand about this? You might as well be a Scientologist posting screeds about Dianetics.

    Of course, I disagree. It’s not unfounded speculation, because we find mysticism throughout all the major religions. This is nothing like the claims of Scientology which is pure hokum. There’s ample evidence in religious scripture that suggests mystical experience, there’s also numerous techniques found throughout the major religions that are engaged in order to induce such experiences. So, I definitely wouldn’t call this “unfounded speculation,” that I said it’s rather justified speculation especially now that we can trigger this experience on-demand in a therapeutic setting.

    This demonstrates that you have no fucking clue what Matt was getting at.

    What was Matt getting at, then? As far as I can discern, he simply wanted to get me to agree with him on the ground rules of logic; either state “A” is true or false. I was merely pointing out the absurdity in applying this to a God statement, because the word God is too vague to determine to be true or false.

    Because until you conclusively demonstrate that religion’s roots are definitely centered in this “mystical experience” claptrap, it’s not relevant to the show. Do you ever wonder why so many people, including the hosts, continue to ask why anyone should care even after you post a billion words? Probably not, because you’re too wrapped up in your own nonsense.

    I disagree. What has been demonstrated is that mysticism is pervasive throughout the world’s major religions. And it is relevant, the only reason Matt couldn’t see any relevance is because I’m willing to bet he hadn’t really thought about this ’til I brought it up to him, and he still doesn’t know what a mystical experience entails other than what I was able to tell him in the call. He obviously hasn’t been following this work that has been accumulating for decades now, and has gotten more attention through the recent studies at Johns Hopkins that started in ’06 and continue to this day. I guarantee if Matt signed-up for a mystical experience, he wouldn’t be so lackadaisical about the topic.

    NO SHIT. Who is contesting this? Do you understand English?
    Panentheism and pantheism are both deepities at best. Word salad at worst

    Regardless if you think of them as “deepities,” they still refer to specific distinctions of how the divine is defined in eastern traditions.

    You call this “clarification?” Yeah, I question your comprehension skills.

    I question yours as well. Yes, I was attempting to define panentheism for you because you seem to think the word referred to an ambiguous definition. It’s defined quite specifically, thank you very much.

  75. Monocle Smile says

    Conjecture != evidence. You really, really, REALLY don’t get it.

    As far as I can discern, he simply wanted to get me to agree with him on the ground rules of logic; either state “A” is true or false

    Correct, because you refused to do this early in the call. You didn’t agree on the ground rules of logic. And you’re also wrong; it is not absurd to apply this to a god claim, because this is determined after the definition of god has been hashed out in a discussion. These are very easy concepts that you’re failing to grasp.

    I guarantee if Matt signed-up for a mystical experience, he wouldn’t be so lackadaisical about the topic.

    You keep saying shit like this. Not only do I not believe you, but it reveals the true reason you’re here…the exact same reason that religious people proselytize. You’re obsessed with something that you’ve tricked yourself into thinking is cool. It’s not. It’s not anything special, at least not in the way you portray. You’re stretching the facts to their breaking points and fooling exactly nobody.

    Yes, I was attempting to define panentheism for you because you seem to think the word referred to an ambiguous definition. It’s defined quite specifically, thank you very much

    You used a particular collection of words that have zero content. I’m done here; you’re an annoying spammer in my book.

  76. Thorne says

    I had a bit of a chuckle with Tracy’s mentioning the phrase, “God helps those who help themselves.” My mother used to use this expression, especially when we kids would ask for something. But she also used to add the statement, “And God help them if they get caught!” Which adds a whole different dimension to the phrase.

    Regarding the discussion with Jimmy about Johns Hopkins drug testing, I had the thought that maybe the reason so many religious conservatives are so adamant about the evils of drugs is because they would have to admit that these “spiritual” states are most likely to be caused by altered chemistry in the brain, rather than anything “mystical”.

  77. Murat says

    @heicart #25

    Behind me there’s a cage with an open door. A bee bird enters and exits the cage in a frequence of 30 times every minute. My stetement is “There’s a bee bird in the cage behind me” and it takes more than 5 seconds for me to complete the statement. As the observer of the situation, applying basic logic, do you:
    a) Confirm that my statement has to be either true or not true
    b) Consider expecting your reply to this as something close to a “yes or no question” within terms of casual communication
    c) Would you lean more on the statement to be true than not true?

  78. Jimmy from San Antonio says

    @Monocle Smile

    Conjecture != evidence. You really, really, REALLY don’t get it.

    I never said conjecture = evidence, and I stated that plenty of times in multiple ways. Perhaps it’s you that doesn’t get it. What we have is justifiable conjecture that has inspired many contemporary philosophers, physicists neuroscientists, psychologists, etc. to write on the topic of Perennialism. And I believe as the knowledge of this natural phenomenon in consciousness continues to grow, it will continue to shed light on religion and its origins, and perhaps even offer insight to consciousness itself.

    Correct, because you refused to do this early in the call. You didn’t agree on the ground rules of logic. And you’re also wrong; it is not absurd to apply this to a god claim, because this is determined after the definition of god has been hashed out in a discussion. These are very easy concepts that you’re failing to grasp.

    Smh. Yes, that’s precisely what I was attempting to explain to Matt. That once the parameters for the definition of God are set, then that will determine whether the claim is true or false. How many times must I spell this out? And I did agree early in the call, I even told Matt that I had never disagreed with basic logic at 1:25:35; I was just trying to jump to this other point that he didn’t let me get to because he wanted to be sure that we were on the same page with regards to what he referred to as “raw logic.” Once he established that, he pretty much hung up on me after that. I’m sure we could have elaborated on the topic, but I’m glad he got to squeeze in one last caller after me.

    You keep saying shit like this. Not only do I not believe you, but it reveals the true reason you’re here…the exact same reason that religious people proselytize. You’re obsessed with something that you’ve tricked yourself into thinking is cool. It’s not. It’s not anything special, at least not in the way you portray. You’re stretching the facts to their breaking points and fooling exactly nobody.

    Absolutely not. I don’t necessarily think this is “cool.” I simply see that it makes sense, and there is definitely evidence of mysticism practiced throughout all the major religions. Matt had asked me if I had confirmed that. I know Matt enjoys debating, and I’ve heard plenty of the man’s lectures and debates, etc. He got a lecture in particular which he labelled “Appeals to Personal Experience.” It’s a talk that dates back to 2015, and it would have been a perfect opportunity to bring up “mystical experience,” but it’s mentioned nowhere in his talk. He refers to other more common phenomenon like synchronicity, numerology, people’s capacity for gullibility, etc. And even in my talk with him, he had to Google “mystical experience.” So, it’s safe to assume prior to the call he was ignorant that such a phenomenon even had existed. I don’t believe this experience is for everyone, because some of us have been sweeping too much denials underneath the carpet of our psyche, and these things which you’ve been avoiding in life can manifest in the experience tenfold. However, public atheist figures like Richard Dawkins has participated in the “God helmet” experiment, but according to Persinger, his brain waves patterns were indicative of the 20% who don’t get this experience, so unfortunately Dawkins felt nothing. Graham Hancock attempted to challenge him to take ayahuasca, and Dawkins said that if he had the right circumstances and the correct medical support, he’d do it. I see Matt as a kind of atheist public figure that perhaps may be not more famous as Dawkins, but definitely has touched a lot of people’s lives. I’m a huge fan of him and how extremely articulate he is, and how he deconstructs arguments. He’s an inspirational guy. So, I think it would be interesting for someone like Matt to test his own prejudices towards mystical experience, and actually work with one of these substances, and see how an experience like this effects his thinking.

    You used a particular collection of words that have zero content. I’m done here; you’re an annoying spammer in my book.

    This was your response to me defining panentheism. Whether panentheism has any content or actual reference to something extant in reality is irrelevant to the fact that they it does possess a specific definition. Other words that I’ve used that you”ve put in this “collection of words with zero content,” maybe you could elaborate and be specific OR not since you did claim you’re “done.” I guess we’ll see about that. And furthermore, if I sound like I’m spamming, then that’s simply because I’ve had to repeat points I’ve made in my very first posts throughout the thread to specifically you. I’ve had to clarify the same points over and over to you until you finally got to them. That’s why I suspect you’re reading my responses with cursory glances. If that makes me an annoying spammer, then fine. I can live with that.

    Thorne says

    Regarding the discussion with Jimmy about Johns Hopkins drug testing, I had the thought that maybe the reason so many religious conservatives are so adamant about the evils of drugs is because they would have to admit that these “spiritual” states are most likely to be caused by altered chemistry in the brain, rather than anything “mystical”.

    Graham Hancock’s idea on this was that religion in any culture eventually became a hierarchy, and bureaucracy got involved and so it eventually became the business of keeping people from having such experiences, and that’s why contemporary western churches, what’s solely spoken about is concepts in the Bible, Watchtower magazines, Awake!, religious apologetics, etc. to individuals in an ordinary state of consciousness who seem to have been inculcated to believe that any other states outside of ordinary consciousness is sin, the work of the devil, etc.

    You see, if you have a direct experience, then you cut out the middle man whether that be the church, the authorities in the church, the local religious community, etc. The church cannot have that, because you, after all, in order for the religion to keep running, require the “middle man” whether that’s the pastor or your “relationship with Christ,” etc. And we base some of our laws on Biblical morality, and that may be another aspect of religion which as been used to influence society. After all, you do find “In God we Trust” on every penny, nickle, dime and 100 dollar bill in this country. It may as well read “This is your God.”

    I really don’t think think any theists are losing sleep over whether what they believe their religion reduces to brain chemistry. I mean, this sort of thing could be said for lots of natural neural processes, like falling in love or experiencing emotion. Dennis McKenna has often made the point that all experience is essentially a “drug experience” because we produce naturally hormones, neurotransmitters, etc. that effect our consciousness. In other words, each one of us is aswim in a concatenation of emotionally subtle-wave phenomena that comes and goes just below the surface of our awareness, yet when we stop to ask to one another, “How are you?” The answer is always, “Fine, fine, yourself?” These are things which we technically refer to as “drugs,” and this natural neurochemistry is constantly effecting us in every waking conscious moment, but of course we don’t think of them the same way because they’re “drugs” of the endogenously produced sort.

    The reason they’ve chosen the term “mystical” in “mystical experience,” is because it relates to the experiences that mystics have had throughout the ages throughout the history of the major religions. This phenomenon has been traditionally categorized as “mystical experience,” but now for the first time these experiences are, to quote Roland Griffiths, “Amenable to prospective scientific study. Further research with psilocybin can be expected to provide unique insights into the biology and psychology of mystical experience, and may hold promise as a paradigm-shifting treatment approach. Speculatively, a mediating mechanism (psychological or otherwise) for a transformative perceptual shift after an introvertive mystical experience is that the individual now “knows” (i.e., strongly holds a belief) that a portal to something of inestimable and ultimate value resides within — an access point to a sense of the transcendent, which is variously described in religious traditions as Soul, Holy Spirit, God, Brahman, or Buddha Nature.”

    It’s well-defined in the study, and if you’re interested, I’ll link to a talk where Roland Griffiths, the leader of this research, speaks on the mystical experience and aims to define it. The quote above can be found in the description. Here’s the link.

  79. says

    @Monocle : “”Does God exist?” is true or false will be dependent entirely on how one is defining God.”
    Goddammit Jimmy : you thick headed jackass !!! You still don’t get it !!!
    ~~~~~~~~~~
    NO ! It cannot be logically true and false at the same time regardless of what you define a god as.
    The definition of what a god is has nothing to do with the question you were asked.
    Matt wasn’t asking you to defend the truth or falsity of whether there is a god or not.
    He asked you about the logic behind whether a statement can be true AND false at the same time.
    A semantic and logical impossibility. ~~~ But you went on about the nature of god as postulated by whoever wrote the last book you read.
    If he asked “What is the capital of the largest State in the U.S.?”, and you answered “Texas!”
    ~~~ That’s the right answer to a different question. Your reply is wrong because you didn’t answer the question asked.
    No bs – no hemming & hawing – no plethora of obtuse verbiage will make your answer the right answer to the question.
    You turned a simple yes/no answer into a term paper for a philosophy class.

  80. Jimmy from San Antonio says

    @georgekarpel says

    “”Does God exist?” is true or false will be dependent entirely on how one is defining God.”
    Goddammit Jimmy : you thick headed jackass !!! You still don’t get it !!!
    ~~~~~~~~~~
    NO ! It cannot be logically true and false at the same time regardless of what you define a god as.
    The definition of what a god is has nothing to do with the question you were asked.
    Matt wasn’t asking you to defend the truth or falsity of whether there is a god or not.
    He asked you about the logic behind whether a statement can be true AND false at the same time.
    A semantic and logical impossibility. ~~~ But you went on about the nature of god as postulated by whoever wrote the last book you read.
    If he asked “What is the capital of the largest State in the U.S.?”, and you answered “Texas!”
    ~~~ That’s the right answer to a different question. Your reply is wrong because you didn’t answer the question asked.
    No bs – no hemming & hawing – no plethora of obtuse verbiage will make your answer the right answer to the question.
    You turned a simple yes/no answer into a term paper for a philosophy class.

    You obviously haven’t been paying attention to the backlog of posts. At what point did I say it can be both true AND false at the same time? Please, point that out. I simply made the point that your answer will either be true OR false depending on how you define God. Please, pay attention before you go insulting and personally attacking people. That kind of behavior is against the moderation rules, by the way!

  81. Scott E says

    Sigh.

    I really really like this show, and Matt and Tracie are two of my favorite hosts, but this was yet another show in which way too much time was spent early in the show on long, abstract, and frustrating exchanges with neither hosts nor callers nor viewers learning anything. As a result, yet again, there was a really interesting and productive call at the end that had to be cut short. Eddy’s call was over thirty minutes long!

    Please start using some timers and cut the early calls shorter. It doesn’t have to be a rigid debate time limit, but callers like Carrie deserve better.

  82. Vivec says

    Man, copy+paste troll or the aggravating scottish guy were both way more interesting than Jimmy. What a waste of limited screentime.

  83. Nubbins says

    Eddy’s conversation was interesting, but when he got to talking about his dead friend, it was quite clear that everything else he’d been talking about was mostly irrelevant.

    He doesn’t believe because he thinks Jesus was historical. History doesn’t play any roll in supporting his belief. He believes because he had an unexplained one off encounter in the context of a traumatic event, and attached that to a semi-liberal version of Christianity that probably dovetails nicely with his other sensibilities while allowing him to feel connected to some transcendent realm. Now that’s completely understandable, I can understand why someone would do that in that kind of scenario. But that doesn’t mean his explanation exists in reality.

    I’m all for digging into people’s actual reasons for believing, but it does mean that you can get waylaid when theists give reasons for believing that aren’t their actual reasons, but instead are post-hoc rationalisations to keep the thinking parts of their brains happy. Sometimes I think they should either just talk about the specific point they bring up and forego dealing with their actual beliefs, or just dive straight into epistemology from the get go and not get mired in a smokescreen argument (which tbh the theists probably aren’t aware they’re even doing ). Sometimes this does happen, but it depends on how much the caller really wants to talk about their specific thing. In this case it was probably more evident because Matt isn’t really a mythicist anyway,

    As a side note, I still don’t quite get the mythicist stance on James. I mean, I’ve read some stuff from Price where he suggests either the term means some kind of half-brother relationship or it’s a kind of title indicating an itinerant missionary or something, but that hasn’t really convinced me. The first doesn’t seem to really do much to historicist arguments because it still situates Jesus in a family relationship, and the latter seems odd because James seems to get singled out for the title (adelphoi is used frequently of course for general relations between Christians, but in Galatians he specifically is referred to in the ‘brother of the Lord way’ unlike the others,, even though he seems mostly to be admin at Jerusalem while Cephas and Paul are out doing missionary stuff).

    If it was a title, also seems it feel out of disuse very quickly in that technical sense as it never really gets used in the same way again – even still, it’s used in a fairly off hand way once in Galatians 1 and not subsequently in Galatians. Not that it makes much of a difference anyway – a historical Jesus doesn’t do a whole lot for Christianity on its own, although of course a mythical one would do even less.

  84. DanDare says

    I don’t have an explanation for the light bulb exploding when it did. That means the only conclusion is fairies. That’s why I now believe in fairies. You can’t demonstrate it was something else.

  85. Monocle Smile says

    @Nubbins
    Remember that the usage of “brother” could depend on the author of Galatians. We don’t actually know who that is; church tradition claims it’s Paul, formerly Saul of Tarsus, but we don’t have anything of real substance to back that up. You’d have to ask Richard Carrier, as Matt mentioned his dispute.

  86. Ralecus says

    I really liked the segment where the caller was making a connection between mentioning a name causes an unexplained phenomenon. I have a similar experience over and over, and I can present a near identical case. But my major point is that I have not created an explanation, I just joke that I have. I will say now that I do not believe there is any connection, but I believe it’s easy to make one.

    My wife who I have been with for a little over 10 years could be my witness (similar to the caller having a witness) and while we both find this equally odd…we still believe in a pretty reasonable explanation. There have been maybe 20 to 30 times where I mention something specific, and then the next day something happens where that very specific something is either nation news, or is brought up in conversation to me by someone…I have 2 examples to present like the caller 🙂

    One day out of the blue I decided to watch “You Can’t do that on Television” I dunno why, I had watched it as a child and it just popped into my head. I watched the episode about the future, really cool. I believe it was aired in the late 70’s prediction things about now and I was pretty close in some areas. Well the next day I’m with friends and one it telling me about taking his child to this school event because yada yada yada, and at the end the principal is going to get slimed, you know like that one show…” and he couldn’t remember but I had just watched it so I joked to my wife that because I watched this show, my buddy brought it up in conversation with me.

    Second, we love watching the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with our children. One night, after lots of viewings I asked my wife if Gene Wilder was still alive? I hadn’t thought about it any other time we watched it but that night the thought just popped into my head…well guess what happened next day? My wife might be starting to be as superstitious as the caller but I am not 🙂 So these are some of the most recent examples out of many, but I don’t record them and have long forgotten them.

    So while my wife may think events in reality are tied to them popping into my brain, I claim that these details are going past me all of the time, but I only notice when it’s something I had recently thought about. And if I hadn’t, my brain just ignores it. Many other great losses last year that I didn’t think about like Prince.

    And caller…their point is you can’t explain it, so you can’t say it’s anything. Science is about being wrong 99% of the time. Scientists also make guesses (albeit educated) and use intuition, but they they work to prove their ignorance and 9 times out of 10 they are wrong, and that’s progress to being right and to making a better guess.

    And that darn True/False guy. Here’s a good argument. You say “True or False, you owe me $10,000? False you say? well that depends on your perspective, I think it’s a little bit true because i have this philosophy that we are all one and if we’re all one then what’s yours is mine so pay up.” I think Jimmy actually does owe me $10 grand now, I convinced myself.

  87. says

    @82 murat

    @heicart #25
    Behind me there’s a cage with an open door. A bee bird enters and exits the cage in a frequence of 30 times every minute. My stetement is “There’s a bee bird in the cage behind me” and it takes more than 5 seconds for me to complete the statement. As the observer of the situation, applying basic logic, do you:
    a) Confirm that my statement has to be either true or not true
    b) Consider expecting your reply to this as something close to a “yes or no question” within terms of casual communication
    c) Would you lean more on the statement to be true than not true?

    I think the major issue here is that this isn’t a logic problem, but a communication and biology problem.

    When I say “XYZ exists”, my intent is to reference an instantaneous sample in time… not a timespan, whether I can accomplish that or not. While not explicitly stated (“As measured at precisely 12:00.00PMEST Jan 1, 2017 XYZ exists“), it’s understood between humans that when we say “XYZ exists”, there’s an understood “this instantaneous now

    Suppose a child were sitting in the back seat of his/he parents’ 4wheel off-road monster truck, while plummeting through the Outback…. while trying to fill in circles in a coloring book. The fact this child is incapable of coloring within the lines does’nt mean that there’s a 3rd alternative to the dichotomy: “inside the circle” versus “not inside the circle”.

    If we sample that bird at any instantaneous time, it will always either be inside the cage or outside the cage (as long as we define what “inside” means, such as “100% all mass inside the least radius of the inside walls of the (circular) cage).

    The statement “the bird is in the cage” doesn’t logically apply to a changing-state-over-time scenario. To attempt to provide a yes/no answer would be as unintelligible as the statement, as applied.

    So,
    d) Not applicable

  88. says

    An alternative to the intent of “instantaneous now” is the understanding that the state of a thing is stable enough to be reliably measured.

    In either case, it’s more a communication deficiency than anything else, if there’s a mismatch between what the two parties are trying to talk about.

  89. Murat says

    @Jasper of Maine #89

    That makes it even more interesting. The logical evaluation of a statement being “not applicable” can exactly be what Jimmy (or some other callers and debaters from previous shows) may have been trying to articulate.
    I know about only the very basic arguments of Quantum physics, but it seems their supposed validity may tackle logic in some ways. The example I produced was a daily life situation in reference to that, however, carrying it on actually to the grounds of particles would further sharpen the challenge as something being “both there and not there at any given time” could mean not all of reality is bound by or applicable to logic.

  90. jim60 says

    I am reading Daniel Kahneman’s book Thinking Fast and Slow and it has given me insights into not only my thought process, but why others may believe in things that are not rational.
    Daniel Kahneman is psychologist who has researched why we think the way we do. He has identified two underlying ways of thinking he calls System 1 – fast, intuitive, and emotional and System 2 – slower, deliberative, and logical. These two ways of thinking work together as we go about our lives. As long a nothing novel happens in our lives these two Systems keep errors in thinking and acting on our thoughts to a minimum, but our lives are filled with novel events and then we have to be very careful about what we think and how we act on these thoughts. As Kahneman says in his book Thinking Fast and Slow:
    “The question that is most often asked about cognitive illusions is whether they can be overcome. The message of these examples is not encouraging. Because System 1 operates automatically and cannot be turned off at will, errors of intuitive thought are often difficult to prevent. Biases cannot always be avoided, because System 2 may have no clue to the error. Even when cues to likely errors are available, error can be prevented only by the enhanced monitoring and effortful activity of System 2. As a way to live your life, however, continous vigilance is not necessarily good, and it is impossibly tedious and System 2 is much too slow and inefficient to serve as a substitute for System 1 in making routine decisions. The best we can do is a compromise: learn to recognize situations in which mistakes are likely and try harder to avoid significant mistakes when the stakes are high. The premise of this book is that it is easier to recognize other people’s mistakes than our own.”

  91. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To gshelley
    Concerning “brother of the lord”. I’m taking this from Carrier.

    Read Paul’s letters. It says that when you become a Christian, you are baptized, and you become an adoptive son of the god, and you also become an adoptive brother of Jesus. In this very literal sense, you are a brother, not a blood-brother, but a brother. (Both “adoptive brother” and “blood brother” are literal brothers. For example, try going to severa; people who was adopted and tell them that their parents are not literally their parents – see how they react.) The term “brother of the lord” was used in many places in Paul’s letters in ways that clearly mean “adoptive brother” and not “blood brother”. In other words, “brother of the lord” was commonly used to say that someone was a (baptized) Christian.

    There is one (or was it two?) pots in Paul’s authentic letters where this sort of language was used in a way that some claim strongly suggest a blood brother to Jesus. Carrier argues, and has citations of other peer reviewed support, that the grammar of the ancient Greek does not mean “blood borther”, and the ancient Greek makes more sense with the meaning “adoptive brother” aka “(baptized) Christian”. This particular verse is difficult to translate into English, and translations differ, because people disagree / are ignorant about the grammar of the original ancient Greek.

  92. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Nubbins
    If you want the best Jesus mythicist position, read Carrier. Price has some … “interesting” … ideas. Carrier is much better, and peer reviewed. AFAIK, it’s the only proper peer reviewed mythicist argument. If you have the time, watch one of his youtube lectures where he lays it out, and if you have more time, read his peer reviewed book “On The Historicity Of Jesus”.

    PS: Even Carrier in the book gives a conservative estimate of a 1 out of 3 chance that there was a historical Jesus, but he believes that a better estimate is closer to 1 out of 1000. Even then, that’s not very good odds – would you get into a car that had a 1 out of 1000 chance of exploding? 1 out of 1000 is not that good at all. We have much better evidence for other historical and unhistorical persons.

  93. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Jimmy

    Hi, I’m back.

    That these experiences are biologically normal

    Sufficiently vague that I have no comment at this time.
    PS: One might say that Alzheimer’s is normal too.

    […] these experiences […] are arguably foundational to the human ethical and moral codes that seem to part of all the world’s spiritual and religious traditions.

    Citations please.

    Also, demonstrably false. Counterexample: Mormonism. The evidence indicates that the foundation of Mormonism was that of a crook and fraud, Joseph Smith. Apparently, he did the entire thing to scam a bunch people out of their money, and to sleep with lots and lots of women, including some underage, and some women who were married to other people. So, there goes your blanket claim “all of the world’s […] religious traditions”.

  94. Jimmy from San Antonio says

    To EnlightenmentLiberal

    “That these experiences are biologically normal”
    Sufficiently vague that I have no comment at this time.
    PS: One might say that Alzheimer’s is normal too.

    I’d say that Alzheimer’s a naturally occurring degenerative disease. Sure, but what I think what Roland Griffiths is talking about when he says the implications show that these “mystical experiences” are biologically normal is that we’re hard-wired for such experiences. That one could engage an experience like this without the aid of psiocybin, and have them occur by means of meditation, asceticism, etc. Roland Griffiths elaborates himself in a talk, and there’s plenty on YouTube where he’s going over the peer-reviewed material published in The Scientific Journal of Psychopharmacology. Here’s one that I managed to find.

    […] these experiences […] are arguably foundational to the human ethical and moral codes that seem to part of all the world’s spiritual and religious traditions.
    Citations please.

    What precisely are you asking citations for? Perennialism recognizes mysticism practiced throughout all major religion. From Theoria in Greek religion; the shekhinah in Judaism, etc. that ultimately influenced Eastern Orthodox Christianity in Hesychasm which culminated in the practice of quietism by Christians mystics living approximately 100 A.D. onward. Quietism is a technique very similar to Zen in Buddhism, the cessation of volition to bring about a “mystical union with God.” Of course, eastern religion is all about engaging these type of altered states, and there’s numerous techniques riddled throughout Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, etc. Perennial philosophy recognizes various techniques, terms, religious scripture, hymns, etc. that reference mystical experience.

    I don’t think anyone is arguing that it is factual in the sense that we’d have citations of studies that confirm Jesus was engaging mystical experience. That’s missing the point. I believe it’s more that there’s lots of evidence to suggest that if you go back to the origins of the major religions, you will find individuals engaging mystical experience. However, today we now know that these experiences that were once defined as a “union with divine” are, in fact, very particular altered states in consciousness where one could have an impression of profound unity, a sense of transcending space and time, etc. In other words, these states are in no way less profound than they were when individuals encountered them thousands of years ago, we simply realize today that they’re specific type of altered states of consciousness that may be at the root of all major religion.

    Also, demonstrably false. Counterexample: Mormonism. The evidence indicates that the foundation of Mormonism was that of a crook and fraud, Joseph Smith. Apparently, he did the entire thing to scam a bunch people out of their money, and to sleep with lots and lots of women, including some underage, and some women who were married to other people. So, there goes your blanket claim “all of the world’s […] religious traditions”.

    Perennial philosophy doesn’t include Mormonism. It may likely be that Joseph Smith was a fraud. What Perennial philosophy addresses are the major religions, the religions that are millennia old, not simply a couple of centuries old.

  95. Lillith says

    @Jimmy
    “What objections do you feel I didn’t address? ”

    You didn’t address Wiggle Puppies question despite even quoting it. I wonder why that is. But here, just so you can pretend you’ve answered it again:

    “What if all major religions were founded by people who had neurons in their brain misfiring and experienced hallucinations? What does that tell you about a) the truth of the religious claims and/or b) religion’s relevance in telling us how we should go about our daily life?”

    Someone had mystical experiences. So what?

  96. Lillith says

    @Jimmy
    “Well, there are other conceptions of God where God is not defined as an entity at all or a metaphysical being whatsoever as in the Brahman of Hinduism. This divinity is defined as a panentheism meaning it is essentially all the universe itself, and also exists beyond it. Physicists have compared the notion of Brahman to 11-dimensional hyperspace in M-theory.”

    So what? This STILL does not get you around Matt’s logic question. The statement of your given defintition is either true or not true. I’d hung up on you immediately when you refused to acknowledge that.

  97. Murat says

    @Jimmy #96

    “Perennial philosophy doesn’t include Mormonism. It may likely be that Joseph Smith was a fraud. What Perennial philosophy addresses are the major religions, the religions that are millennia old, not simply a couple of centuries old.”

    Why??? What’s difference between those for a philosophical approach? Will Mormonism grow into the limits of Perennial philosophy 900 years from now?

  98. Jimmy from San Antonio says

    @Lillith

    “What objections do you feel I didn’t address? ”
    You didn’t address Wiggle Puppies question despite even quoting it. I wonder why that is. But here, just so you can pretend you’ve answered it again:
    “What if all major religions were founded by people who had neurons in their brain misfiring and experienced hallucinations? What does that tell you about a) the truth of the religious claims and/or b) religion’s relevance in telling us how we should go about our daily life?”

    The truth about religious claims regarding mysticism is that there is, in fact, an altered state in which you have this instance of what you’ve called “misfiring neurons.” Of course, that’s not necessarily what it is. The truth of religious claims should point to this experience, and they do in that you find mysticism in all the major religions, and terms referring to this phenomenon to be synonymous. And the “mystical experience” offers a literal impression of a unity, where the boundaries of self and other dissolve; people often express the feeling of transcending space and time; it’s a sense of unconditional love for everything and everyone. A full-spectrum mystical experience exhibits this sort of immense love that is spiritual or maternal in nature, and not sexual, etc. It’s well-defined in the study, but these are characteristics that you find within all the literature of the major religion, consider the agapé of Christianity. This is the emotional aspect of mystical experience. It’s believed within the Perennial philosophy that this was the original moral compass, that nature was not mute in their voice of our moral shaping as Jean-Paul Satre supposed.

    And this experience, in turn, always drives someone for the better. There is the theme of becoming the best version of yourself in psychedelics. It’s been given to nicotine addicts and were able to quit with a single dose. Psilocybin (a relative of N,N-DMT) was given to the terminally ill, and they were able to come to terms with their own death, and live out the final day of their life in with less stress, anxiety, etc. So, I’d say the truth is the experience itself, and the relevance in daily life that it influences. Religions consider this experience the pinnacle of truth. Scientific studies have shown that people report it as “more real than everyday experience.” Terence McKenna once said that to remove the mystical experience from rational and societal thought is akin to removing the act of sex from human experience. In other words, a birthright has been taken away. The mystical experience should be seen as a birthright, not some esoteric or footnote blip in our scientific research. Otherwise you’re just a logo-wearing slave under the sway of a higher agenda. The mushroom has spoken: “If you don’t have a plan, you’re going to become part of somebody else’s plan.”

    Lillith says
    January 28, 2017 at 8:00 am

    “Well, there are other conceptions of God where God is not defined as an entity at all or a metaphysical being whatsoever as in the Brahman of Hinduism. This divinity is defined as a panentheism meaning it is essentially all the universe itself, and also exists beyond it. Physicists have compared the notion of Brahman to 11-dimensional hyperspace in M-theory.”

    So what? This STILL does not get you around Matt’s logic question. The statement of your given defintition is either true or not true. I’d hung up on you immediately when you refused to acknowledge that.

    Obviously, you haven’t been following the backlog of the posts here. I’ve answered this question in numerous posts. I even told Matt at 1:25:35 that I never at any point disagreed with that notion. I was simply pointing out to Matt that whether the statement “Does God exist?” is true or false will depend entirely on how you define God. So, I adhere to ignosticism which is a term to the concept that the word “God” should be well-defined prior to any discussion or debate takes place. Of course, once Matt realized we were on the same page, he hung up on me. He said that, “If I let you keep talking, they’re going to fire me, Jimmy. I’m sorry.” I interpreted that as Matt doesn’t usually get this topic, it was a defense mechanism. He finally had something he was unfamiliar with, so he backed off by an emotional response. The Atheist Experience cast behind the scenes just enjoyed his reaction and laughed with him. I admit, I could’ve brought up better points, but I was honestly nervous.

  99. Jimmy from San Antonio says

    @murat

    “Perennial philosophy doesn’t include Mormonism. It may likely be that Joseph Smith was a fraud. What Perennial philosophy addresses are the major religions, the religions that are millennia old, not simply a couple of centuries old.”
    Why??? What’s difference between those for a philosophical approach? Will Mormonism grow into the limits of Perennial philosophy 900 years from now?

    I have only scratched the surface of Mormonism. While Perennial philosophy does recognize numerous techniques in ancient religions relative to methods of induce mystical experience, Mormonism definitely exhibits qualities that could be included into Perennialism. Of course, Mormonism was founded by Joseph Smith who, in attending various churches in his local geography in attempt to find the pastor the spoke the most truth, began to even gain skepticism over his town’s churches in that no pastor in any given church could pacify his satiation for truth. So, he eventually surrendered to nature, and received the grace of God or “vision of God.” One of various visions he would be bestowed. This is quite akin to a myth of religion from mystical experience, so I wouldn’t necessarily say that Perennialism excludes Mormonism. I would think perhaps Mormonism, wasn’t heavily focused on mysticism as professed in the major religions, and which we’ve an abundance of evidence for within all of the world’s major spiritual traditions and religions.

  100. Lillith says

    @Jimmy
    “Of course, that’s not necessarily what it is. The truth of religious claims should point to this experience, and they do in that you find mysticism in all the major religions, and terms referring to this phenomenon to be synonymous.”
    No matter how many people claimed to have or actually did have an ‘mystical experience’, none of those prove that their is a god. Thus, my question remains: so what?

    “I was simply pointing out to Matt that whether the statement “Does God exist?” is true or false will depend entirely on how you define God.”

    Absolutely, that’s logic 101. Which is why Matt and I point out: once you have settled on any definition of god, the only options are still only true and false. So what?

  101. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    What Perennial philosophy addresses are the major religions, the religions that are millennia old, not simply a couple of centuries old.

    No true scotsman.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman

    Moving the goalposts.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moving_the_goalposts

    Of course, that’s not necessarily what it is.

    Citations please.

    In particular, this claim is bullshit. We do know that there are no external forces acting on the brain during mystical experiences. A mystical experience is just firing of neurons in the brain with no outside influence, except through the physical senses of the physical body, just like any other firing of neurons. Mystical experiences are not indicative of anything else. We know this.

    PS:
    Your position is not consistent with the religious believers of most religious. If you try to explain your beliefs regarding the word and concept “god”, then most religious believers would (effectively) call you an atheist, and they would be right.

    PPS:
    No one here cares about whatever woo that you’re trying to peddle.

  102. Monocle Smile says

    @Kafei

    The mystical experience should be seen as a birthright, not some esoteric or footnote blip in our scientific research. Otherwise you’re just a logo-wearing slave under the sway of a higher agenda

    And here comes the river. You’re a low achiever pissed at your own crappy T-Mobile-humping life, so you’ve found some woo to make yourself feel special and superior. Just FYI, you’re not special. None of us are in any non-trivial sense. Accept it and move on.

    I could address the laughable doubletalk concerning Mormonism or take you task for continuing to use the term “well-defined” to refer to any of the incoherent, nonsensical concepts you invoke (“unconditional love,” “spiritual,” etc.) or even rip you apart for your escalating claims regarding the real-life effects of mystical experiences (I’m willing to wager that you’re just making shit up concerning addicts, terminal patients, and the assertion that this is “always for the better,” at least in any statistically significant sense), but I have no need to do any of that in detail.

  103. says

    @Lillith

    No matter how many people claimed to have or actually did have an ‘mystical experience’, none of those prove that their is a god. Thus, my question remains: so what?

    First of all, you’ve not defined how you’re using “God” in your sentence. Do you have preconceived notions of what you define as God? What Perennial philosophy is, in a nutshell, is a perspective on religion that views all major religions as having their source in mystical experience, so that the Christian mystic’s experience of the Beatific vision or the Sufi mystic’s dissolution into Allah or the Hindu’s experience of samadhi are all one and the same universal phenomenon in consciousness. I don’t believe Perennialism is attempting to argue mystical experience exists, therefore God exists (however you define God). That, I believe, is missing the point.

    Absolutely, that’s logic 101. Which is why Matt and I point out: once you have settled on any definition of god, the only options are still only true and false. So what?

    So, this makes Matt’s point invalid. The problem with what you’ve said is that there’s no “settled definition.” Each religion might seem to argue their own version of God which in the case of eastern and western religion, the definitions of God are often completely antipodal to one another. Perennialism is outside these semantic arguments for or against God in theism or atheism. It sees all religion as derivative of mystical experience, an access point to a sense of the transcendent, which is variously described in religious traditions as Soul, Holy Spirit, God, Brahman, or Buddha Nature, etc.

    @EnlightenmentLiberal

    No true scotsman.
    Moving the goalposts.

    I’m not sure how these fallacies are relevant to Perennialism. Perhaps you can elaborate on why you think they are.

    Citations please.
    In particular, this claim is bullshit. We do know that there are no external forces acting on the brain during mystical experiences. A mystical experience is just firing of neurons in the brain with no outside influence, except through the physical senses of the physical body, just like any other firing of neurons. Mystical experiences are not indicative of anything else. We know this.

    No one is arguing that it is due to “external forces.” I mean, we don’t know this, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there aren’t “external forces.” I’m referring to things like quantum mind which is a group of hypotheses propose that classical mechanics cannot explain consciousness. It posits that quantum mechanical phenomena, such as quantum entanglement and superposition, may play an important part in the brain’s function and could form the basis of an explanation of consciousness. Whether or not quantum effects influence thought is a valid topic for scientific investigation, however, that’s an aside and irrelevant to the study on mystical experience. Like I told Matt, they’ve established that these experiences are biologically normal.

    PS:
    Your position is not consistent with the religious believers of most religious. If you try to explain your beliefs regarding the word and concept “god”, then most religious believers would (effectively) call you an atheist, and they would be right.

    That’s because most religions today aren’t about direct experiences. They’re about the ego and its delusions. They’re about people trying to figure out what religious scripture means without the aid of the mystical experience, so they’re left to figure it out on their own. So, what a lot of religious people today are engaging in is pure eisegesis. So, that each individual theist that adheres to any form of western religion essentially has their own unique definition of God. No two Christians will have the exact same definition of God, because they only know “God” through concepts, what they’ve been taught, tradition, etc. Their idea of God might generally overlap, because they both derived the concept which they conjure from the a similar source; i.e. the bible, the pastor, etc. While the mystic, on the other hand, believes to have had a direct experience of God. To quote Padre Pio, the Christian mystic, “Through the study of books one seeks God; by meditation one finds him.”

    PPS:
    No one here cares about whatever woo that you’re trying to peddle.

    What I’m talking about is definitely not woo. If you think it’s woo, I’d say you’ve simply misconstrued whatever I may have said. Michio Kaku has written about this topic in his latest book “The Future of the Human Mind,” Roland Griffiths has spoken about the implications of the studies going on in Baltimore, MD which you can find on YouTube. He reviews and explains the peer-reviewed studies that have been done, and talks about possible future clinical trials of recruiting confirmed atheist to volunteer for a mystical experience to see how it effects their thinking, their perspective, etc.

    @Monocle

    And here comes the river. You’re a low achiever pissed at your own crappy T-Mobile-humping life, so you’ve found some woo to make yourself feel special and superior. Just FYI, you’re not special. None of us are in any non-trivial sense. Accept it and move on.
    I could address the laughable doubletalk concerning Mormonism or take you task for continuing to use the term “well-defined” to refer to any of the incoherent, nonsensical concepts you invoke (“unconditional love,” “spiritual,” etc.) or even rip you apart for your escalating claims regarding the real-life effects of mystical experiences (I’m willing to wager that you’re just making shit up concerning addicts, terminal patients, and the assertion that this is “always for the better,” at least in any statistically significant sense), but I have no need to do any of that in detail.

    I was referring to how society is organized in general, and the how capitalism as practiced today treats all human values as commodities. I’m surprised that they don’t charge a quarter for you to use the cart at your local grocery store. I’m not complaining about my personal situation. T-Mobile is actually really easy money. I’d also add that the science disagrees with you, and I’ve said that the term “mystical experience” is well-defined in the study. The concepts I’ve invoked are impressions in the experience, these are metaphors drawn out by the volunteers; a sense of transcending space and time, people will often say that this experience is “beyond dimensionality” or people have even said “time and space did not exist there;” there is also a profound sense of love that is maternal and not sexual in nature, people have felt from that vantage point and swell of emotion that the world might seem emotionally asleep. People have described this sense of powerful love as undying and unconditional meaning ever-forgiving, non-judging, etc. the type of love described as agapé in Christianity. This is the impression in the mystical experience, and of course, it’s usually temporary in duration, and then one returns to the baseline of consciousness; back to this right here. So, to a person who’s never had such an experience or even doubts that such experiences exist despite the scientific work that’s been done and published in the respective Scientific Journal; they might see these terms as “incoherent,” but this deeply felt positive mood/universal love, peace, joy, etc. is definitely a characteristic of this phenomenon in consciousness.

    As for the studies on the nicotine addicts and the terminally ill patients; I’m not making any of that up. You can Google this stuff and find it, but if you’re too lazy, here’s some links:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/22/magazine/how-psychedelic-drugs-can-help-patients-face-death.html
    http://csp.org/psilocybin/

  104. Matt from Australia says

    Jimmy from San Antonio
    I think that from the sounds of it, your position is assuming that all religious reasoning comes down to people people having mystical experiences. Religions are a massive vehicle that umbrella all kinds of things, such as fear of not-existing, need to thank / appeal to an agency etc. All of these things just bounce off each other to rally behind a common answer. “God”.
    You can’t sum up all religiousity with 1 narrow psychological effect.

  105. Meow Meow Meow says

    Eddy lost a friend.
    Eddy is sad about losing his friend.
    Eddy misses his friend.
    Eddy wishes there was a way he could have his friend back.
    Eddy would do just about anything to be able to have his friend back.
    Eddy would tear down reality in order to have his friend back.
    Eddy has changed the way he views reality because he wants to believe his friend is not gone.

  106. grasshoppermouse says

    Eddy seems to have some really bizarre logic. First, his initial argument seems to be an issue with the burden of proof being higher the more outrageous the claim. Yes, if you say you visited the brother of some guy, people will absolutely believe you without much more investigation. This is because they already know that brothers exist, and that people visit them, so it’s logical. Furthermore, it’s inconsequential, so if it turns out to be untrue, it doesn’t make a huge difference in how you perceive reality. Now, if you say you met this guy, and he says his brother can bring the dead back to life and heal the wounded with his god powers, then yes, they absolutely have to have more to back it up before you believe that this magic man exists. So yes, people don’t believe the letter because it’s Jesus, just like they wouldn’t believe the letter if it was about Oberon, because it was about Oberon.

    Also, with the dog the first thing he should ask himself when wondering why the dog won’t go into that room is ‘does the dog know someone died in that room’. With how keen a dog’s senses are, the answer is most likely ‘yes’. I don’t know about dogs, but I know some species of bird, if they see another bird keel over dead and they don’t know why, will refuse to eat any food near where the other bird died and will even alert the rest of the flock to the presence of the dead body so that they, too, will know not to eat the food. This isn’t supernatural, it’s survival instinct, because from the dog’s perspective there was at one time something in that room that could kill a person, and he doesn’t know what it was, so better to avoid the room entirely.

  107. absquereligione says

    Wow, you rarely see somebody so stuck on a idea while proclaiming to be open-minded.

    I think I would have told Eddy: “I claim it is proof of ghosts (not god). So now your claim is down to a 50/50 percent chance because we have the same amount of evidence. Now how would you choose between these two?”

    Great T-shirt by the way

  108. Miriam says

    Speaking to Carrie at the end of the episode, my story is so much like her’s, Plymouth Brethren not Southern Baptist. I also had all those beliefs forced on me from a very young age. There is so much I want to say but one of the most amazing things that happened to me was the realization that suddenly came to me that the universe was actually beautifully empty. I came to a sense that there was a huge empty space out there, beautiful because it was clean and my head was no longer filling it with angels, demons, God, spirits, mystical beings that crowded my existence and my mind. It was no longer cluttered with religious debris and I could actually see and hear both the truth about the universe and the truth about myself. It is a wonderful thing to finally lose that perceived crowd.

  109. Monocle Smile says

    @Matt from Australia
    Kafei has been asked to back up his bald assertion about a dozen times, yet instead of providing real evidence, he just repeats himself. Seriously, all of his posts are mostly reworked versions of the exact same screed. He copies and pastes from himself, though I doubt those thoughts are original.

  110. steele says

    @53MonocleSmile

    MS when did atheists like yourselves become history deniers on the same level as Holocaust deniers?

    What’s even worse for Eddy is that we don’t even know if Paul existed as described. The “authentic” epistles are thought to have been written by the same person as per scholarly consensus, but we have no idea if it was in fact the same Saul of Tarsus. Lots of what is “accepted” among Christian scholars has been accepted on extremely lukewarm evidence for long periods of time.

    http://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/7643

    If you take polyamorous perv Richard Carrier’s garbage at face value, even he concludes Paul existed. Much like you Monocle we could take the nonsense you post on a daily basis and reach a reasonable conclusion that you exist and what was posted on this site was written by the same ignorant, arrogant, pathetic, and foul loser. We couldn’t reach the conclusion that you are reasonable but that is another matter.

  111. Monocle Smile says

    @steele
    Did you even read that article? Carrier concludes that it’s fairly likely that six letters were written by the same person, who was likely named “Paul” or used that name as a pen name, and that he was perhaps a persecutor of christians.
    This is entirely disconnected from whether or not this person was the same Saul of Tarsus.

    Reading comprehension has never been your strength, and neither has honesty, so this trolling bullshit and the gratuitous potshot at Carrier is not exactly surprising. Fuck off, asshole.

  112. steele says

    @MS

    Monocle seriously you expect us to believe that “Paul” wrote (let’s say for sake of argument 6 authentic letters) these letters but decided to lie about being Saul of Tarsus. Look at Galatians

    Galatians 1:22-24

    22 And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they glorified God because of me.

    Paul/Saul was a pretty bad dude and these Christians knew his reputation by word of mouth. These early Christians especially the original disciples knew who Paul was. Also it doesn’t make sense to claim apostleship given you were the biggest enemy the Christians had at the time. Paul had everything to lose and nothing to gain claiming to be Saul of Tarsus. Much like if I came to you and said guess what MS I am now the biggest atheist ever you wouldn’t believe me for nothing.

    While I can admit to trolling, I actually wrote you for your benefit, to save you from looking like an idiot with your nonsense. Seriously unless you have something better than Paul wasn’t Saul because I don’ have his Roman birth certificate then excuse me if I put you in the same category as Donald Trump.

  113. Monocle Smile says

    @steele
    It doesn’t surprise me one shit that you haven’t even passed logic 101. At no point did I make the assertion that Paul was not Saul.

    Those verses from Galatians have fuck all to do with Saul of Tarsus. This is more of you making shit up, which appears to be your sole talent. I would advise you to stop taking every last scrap of church tradition at face value, but I have rules against teaching calculus to dogs that have had strokes.

  114. steele says

    @MS

    Oh no Monocle what have done is proved you don’t have a point as usual. What is up the hostility, I mean more then the usual…lol. Seriously are you off your meds? You teach me calculus, that is a joke! Seriously Monocle I know it is embarrassing me schooling you buts you needs some learning…maybe Betsy DeVos will help the pubic edumacation system from turning out second rank amateurs like yourself Monocle, LOL

    BTW what happened to NARF? I always liked him

  115. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    polyamorous perv Richard Carrier

    Ad hom. Poisoning the well.

    Also, stop being so sex-negative. You should celebrate human happiness and sexuality. Be sex-positive.

  116. steele says

    @MS

    “Sir, a+b^n/n=x, hence God exists—reply!”

    LOL, seriously you teaching anybody calculus makes me laugh and scares me at the same time.

  117. steele says

    @EL

    Honestly EL it just disgusts me that anybody would have sex with Carrier, LOL. Carrier is sex-negative all on his own.

  118. Monocle Smile says

    @EL
    You have very little hope of waking this heavily jilted godbot from the stupor it is in.