I was looking over the comments on my article at Salon, and realizing that we’re in a privileged position here. The kooks don’t last long in the searing heat of the Pharyngula comments section, so we only rarely see the woo peddlers confidently blithering away…but there they are, spouting inanities as if there are no fierce hunters of woo in the neighborhood. But we are watching. Some critics are responding intelligently over there, but they’re outnumbered, I think.
So here are a few excerpts for your amusement.
I brought up the subject out of curiosity because if Myers is a telepathy denier, then he is a shade dogmatic. My own experience has convinced me that telepathy happens, most often on the level of feelings, but sometimes including mental content. Unlike NDE’s, of course, nothing can be claimed to follow from this about survival after death.
Show me the evidence. “Feelings” are not evidence.
I’m not reporting a scientific experiment, just a belief – a conclusion – reached on the basis on personal experience. It’s not a belief I wouldn’t absolutely *never* give up, but it would take a lot to dislodge it.
Several people made comments like this: NDEs aren’t “science”, therefore you can’t disprove them with science. They’re complaining about me, though, not Beauregard, who’s trying to claim he has scientific evidence for the phenomenon. Why weren’t they telling Beauregard to get out of town in his original post?
Here’s another example of this double-standard.
I find it hilarious how up in arms you guys are getting about this. I never got the impression that Beauregard was making any definitive statements in either of his articles. He was writing about some things that may or may not have happened, and it is up to the reader to decide what they want to believe. The fact is, you don’t know, Dr. Myers. Don’t act like you do, because absolutely no one in the scientific world can explain NDE’s definitively.
Except Beauregard, apparently.
What hilarious nonsense, though: “He was writing about some things that may or may not have happened”. Right. Shall we just say they didn’t happen as he described and be done with it?
This person then goes on with a strange tirade about science.
I understand getting offended by something you consider pseudo-science, but your entire profession is based on theories that are constantly up for debate and can ALWAYS be proven wrong. I would like you to say something positive about this subject, because as of yet you have not made a single statement that confirms you have any interesting ideas about it. To brush aside so many people’s accounts of similar experiences AND the positive effects they have had on people’s lives is arrogant, and frankly pretty unscientific. There will always be, and should always be, things we can’t explain in this world. Deal with it.
I didn’t brush those experiences aside, of course. I explained them: NDEs are the product of psychological confabulation. I know, my answer doesn’t mention ghosts, though, so he rejects it.
You can trust him, though. He’s a scientist.
Dude, I have an M.S. in Biology from a well-respected university, where I studied under a University Fellowship. I do think I know what it means to be a scientist.
Heh. He has a Masters Degree…in Science!
I would be far more impressed with Myers’ overheated insistence on how scientific he is if he weren’t so keen to use such emotional and emotionally charged words and phrases such as “very silly article,” “feeble,” “some very, very strange beliefs,” “babbling piffle,” “nonsense,” and the like. Why does Myers care so very much that some people are open to the ideas that Beauregard espouses? Because he clearly cares a great deal. I’m sorry, I’m not buying the “I care because I’m a scientist!!” meme. He clearly has an emotional investment in people not believing that there could be life after death. His side of the aisle loves to use the argument that people WANT to believe that there is life after death, so that negates their entire argument. But if someone like him WANTS to believe that there isn’t, then that doesn’t disprove their position, nooooo, oh no. I find this rant disturbing, not scientific. I’m not in any position to evaluate the science of the original article, but if Meyers is so scientific, then he could have given his rebuttal in a cool and unemotional way instead of resorting to insults. Give me a break. My understanding is that scientists are openminded. Myers’ stance in this rebuttal clearly does not fit that very basic criterion. His mind is made up. I would wager that it wouldn’t matter what evidence was presented, he wouldn’t accept it.
Awww, tone troll is sad.
Myer’s should just blast holes in the research but he is ranting and raving like a lunatic. Editors at Salon- Can you get some qualified columnists to discuss these topics? I’d suggest Dean Radin for one side and someone other than biologist Myers on the other. Maybe a physicist?
Then follows several comments where they talk about how I ought to be replaced with a physicist. Of course, it must be a physicist who is sympathetic to magic.
But I don’t count. See, I’m just a biologist, not a neuroscientist.
Leaving aside the sarcasm and nonsequiturs in your “response”, how exactly are you qualified to evaluate the work of Beauregard? You state that you are a biologist, not a neuroscientist or psychologist. Are you an expert in life forms with or without brains?
Well, actually, I have a Ph.D. from the Institute of Neuroscience at the University of Oregon, but I’m not playing credential games. You just to be competent and aware of the basics of the scientific method to see that Beauregard was babbling bullshit.
Also, the references to some “primordial matrix” may seem odd at first, until you realize it sounds very similar to Jungian theory. And there are many things empirical science has still not been able to explain that are commonplace. We still do not know why women menstruate per the lunar cycle unlike other mammals, or why bumblebees can fly. Yet they do, and always have.
You had me laughing at Jung. But I have to correct you: women do not menstruate on the lunar cycle, and in fact the phase of the moon pretty much has nothing to do with reproductive physiology. We also know how bumblebees fly; google “clap and fling” for lots of links to the details of the aerodynamics.
Wouldn’t you know it, but someone has to trot out vibrations. It’s always vibrations and quantum with these weirdos.
Again, paranormal “events” and and realities exist in a frequency range beyond current measuring tools. Arguing that they should is silly and about as productive as the old joke about the guy looking for his keys under the lamp post.
Before radio and TV was invented, the frequencies for them existed. If you told someone like Myers in 1300 about them he would have burned you at the stake.
This rationalist-reductionist viewpoint is an archaic dinosaur. In 50 years people will look back and wonder at the cache of such a primitive, mundane world view.
Many of the materialists here are progressives politically but don’t realize in this debate you are the right wing.
You either get it or you don’t. And since its a karmic issue, no one is to blame.
What exactly is that frequency, Kenneth? Be specific. I can look up the electromagnetic spectrum as well as anyone (well, as anyone but you), and I don’t see the mysterious gap that we can’t measure.
I’m not a burny kind of guy, so you probably wouldn’t have to worry, even in 1300. But then as now, I’d ask you for your evidence for radio waves and psi waves or whatever silly stuff you’re going on about. Got any? Or are you just talking out of your ass? I can show you instruments that record radio waves and give us good reason to believe they are there. No one can do the same for your paranormal powers, so until you do, those beliefs should be rejected.
One last example, then I’m done. My karma is full up right now.
I understand what Meyers is saying but I was watching a PBS documentary on the sun. They explained why the sun doesn’t burn out and why it doesn’t fly apart. I just want to know how they know that for a fact.
Complex answer: the sun is a massive nuclear fusion engine. Gravity compresses the core causing the fusion of hydrogen atoms into helium, which generates energy and heat, which causes the expansion of the star. These forces of compression and expansion are currently in balance. (Yes, I know, stellar nucleosynthesis is more complicated than that.)
Simple answer: Look up during the day. There’s the sun. It’s still burning, and it hasn’t flown apart. You can tell by looking at it.
But what do I know? I’m just a biologist.