Comments

  1. William Copeland says

    Congratulations Russell and Tracie. Good luck bringing logic and reason into the next year

  2. Jay York says

    Why do christians “know in their heart” with no evidence that their god is true, yet the laws he puts forth aren’t always followed depending on the circumstance they’re in, grace, etc.

  3. Orphan Black says

    About the atheist marrying the Muslim, what’s going to happen when the kids talk to her parents and say they are atheists?

  4. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Fernandes Rui #1:

    Tracie with that beautiful hair again…

     
    Comment: tracieh on “Come on. Really. Don’t do this”:

    I’m not on TAE to get compliments about my appearance. I’m truly sorry if I’ve somehow given that impression to viewers. It was completely unintentional.

  5. Simon Hosking says

    #5 CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain

    Damn I was just about to say how dapper Russell was looking but now that would just be inappropriate.

    I’ll just have to complement both Russell and Tracie on their patience, wit, intelligence and hard work.

    🙂

  6. Pluto says

    That goes without saying, Simon. I’m wondering how many folks connected with what this week’s callers wanted to talk about at great length. Was it just me that was feeling impatient?

  7. Tukiko Troy says

    Yeah, you might want to take a look at the upload and sort it out sync-wise.

  8. SinusWutz says

    Time to start the NACA (New Atheist Community of Austin.) This Douche ran unopposed? Really?

    How comes that Tracie only made vice-president? Oh, right. My soggy knees. Such a brilliant mind could never be the ACA president while connected to a vagina. And now we have Russell to point that out.

    Awesome. *slow-clap*

    Nay! That might be triggering.

    *slow-snap*

  9. Yaddith says

    Caller Jenna raised an interesting question. Is there a genetic component to religion? Some people are undeniably more prone to mystical experiences than others. Personally, when it comes to religion I have always been on the outside looking in. Although I attended church and Sunday school, even as a child I never bought what they were selling. It never occurred to me to believe that something is true simply because someone in authority told me it was true. My mind just doesn’t work that way. Also, whatever religious feelings might be, I seem to lack them altogether.

  10. says

    SinusWutz:

    >This Douche ran unopposed? Really?

    Yes, because we’ve all seen what it takes to be the ACA president, and he was the only person, besides me, who would even consider taking it on. Russell had to think about it. And I said I would do it if nobody else would, but begged everyone to please consider it, because I was willing, but very much not wanting, to give what it takes to step into that role. This is why he ran unopposed–because it’s a hard job nobody really “wants” to do.

    >How comes that Tracie only made vice-president?

    Because I didn’t want to be the president. I honestly am not really interested in being in any leadership role in any association, but took VP because it was open and nobody was running, and *someone* had to step into that role, or we’d have faced 2016-17 without a VP. I would have been *OK* taking Secretary again, but we had someone willing to be Secretary, and rather volunteering for a slot someone else was willing to fill, I agreed to take the position nobody else seemed to be hot to take.

    But the main take away is that I kinda like having my free time and not being obligated to something. I volunteer because so few people are willing to do it (probably for similar reasons), and so I step in when I can when something needs to be done, and it’s not otherwise going to be done. If someone else would have been interested in VP, I probably would have been happy to not even be on the BOD for ACA. Not because I don’t like the group, but I’m not the most motivated “activist,” and they could do better than me when it comes to people with real energy and initiative.

    >Oh, right. My soggy knees. Such a brilliant mind could never be the ACA president while connected to a vagina. And now we have Russell to point that out.

    It has nothing to do with being a woman. In fact, had Jen not stepped down, she would have been welcome as the president. When she announced her intention not to run for another term, nobody, including Russell, jumped for the slot. I said I would be willing to do it, but that I didn’t want to, and that if someone else would do it, I’d be happy to NOT be the president. It was only after some consideration that Russell agreed to give up his own time/resource to step into that role, because it requires sacrifice–which is why Jen stepped down, and why I really did NOT want to be in that role. I am very glad Russell decided he was willing to take that on, and your view about him somehow stripping away a role I didn’t want is actually mean-spirited, negative, and ugly.

    I don’t appreciate being used in misguided attempts to compliment me as a means to try and disparage other people. I don’t like people dragging me into attempts to generated drama and chaos. I’m not a tool or object for others to use in such a way. And the fact you treat me this way, making very bold assumptions as you have, shows me no respect and does not make your point well that it’s Russell who disregards others as human beings.

    Volunteering is not considered a benefit to volunteers. There is a reason many groups are constantly seeking volunteers. People who volunteer are willing to give up time, resources, energy, other obligations, in order to help out other people. The fact you would take Russell’s willingness to consider and ultimately agree to give up all of that for ACA’s benefit, speaks to a misunderstanding of what it means to actually give up those things and commit to others in this way. If it were easy, and not demanding, Jen would be president still, and I might not have been so unwilling to take the role myself. Russell is performing a service, not getting a prize here. You don’t seem to understand that.

    -th

  11. Kurt says

    Tracie and Russell gave Hakam some of the worst advice I’ve ever heard. For one, Hakam seemed somewhat reticent to volunteer pertinent information, so instead Tracie and Russell made assumptions, and sometimes opposite assumptions. I feel like they needed more information about his motives and those of his intended. It seemed to me as though there was more to his situation than he let on, and Tracie and Russell gave him conflicting advice based on incomplete information. If Hakam were asking about something that only affected himself that would be fine, but he’s talking about separating a woman from her family and settling her in a foreign country. There’s a lot more to take into account than how her parents feel about it. How does SHE feel about it? That hardly came up at all.

  12. SinusWutz says

    That was a smack in the face I didn’t even know I deserved. I’ll carry the mark it left with pride.

  13. adamah says

    Congrats Russell and Tracie! 🙂

    (I was wondering if Russell would make a reference to the Nov elections, and I wasn’t let down… 🙂

    @Yahhith said:

    Caller Jenna raised an interesting question. Is there a genetic component to religion? Some people are undeniably more prone to mystical experiences than others. Personally, when it comes to religion I have always been on the outside looking in.

    Yeah, the 1st thing I thought of was the work of Dr. Robert Sapolsky (a Stanford professor of biology) who examined the possible benefits of the ‘schizotypal’ trait vs full-blown schizophrenia, the former being a milder form of the latter (which is often debilitating).

    Here’s a video of his lecture on the topic of biological underpinnings of religiosity:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WwAQqWUkpI&sns=em

    If you don’t want to watch the hour long video (!), in a nutshell he says schizo-variants will also hear voices in their heads (some will experience visual hallucinations, as well), misassigning them to an external source (usually God).

    These people are not ‘making it up’, since their perceptions are very real to them, having been validated within the last decade by scientists using fMRI studies that reveal activity in the auditory centers of their brains (areas which correspond to those activated in non-voice-hearers who hear an external sound). So there seems to be cross-wiring in their brains which leads to the attribution error.

    Of course, there’s a strong genetic association with schizoids (-phrenia/-typal), where a family history is a risk factor. So that’s only one possible mechanism where some individuals may be more genetically-prone to religiosity than others, since for someone who experiences auditory hallucinations, the concept of a ancient book filled with characters who also hear voices isn’t that foreign to them. In fact, it’s actually quite the opposite, since it validates their experiences.

    It’s as if the Bible were written by voice-hearers for voice-hearers, it’s message resonating in an especially strong way for this sub-set of humanity.

    (Hopefully Jarod (the caller from last week’s show) is reading here, since the same applies to whatever personal experiences he may be relying upon to believe in aliens and UFOs, be it a manifestation of ‘sleep paralysis’, or as a manifestation of his schizotypal perceptions.)

    And as pointed out by the hosts, the mix of parents of different religions (or with an atheist as one of the parents) typically allows the child to make a choice, and that choice may include “none of the above”.

    That is an option which few children who have both parents (and grand-parents, etc) in the same religion will experience, since the deck is so heavily stacked against them (esp. if they face losing their families by being considered as an apostate, being shunned by them and treated as if dead, as JW’s will do).

  14. gnostic says

    First of all, thanks to Russell and Tracie for stepping up and taking on these roles. (And to the secretary, and the previous volunteers for these positions, and everyone else who keeps the lights on and the wheels turning.)

    Secondly, SinusWutz, you shouldn’t be wearing anything with pride here, you should be apologizing. That was a shameful comment.

  15. says

    Kurt:

    >Tracie and Russell gave Hakam some of the worst advice I’ve ever heard. For one, Hakam seemed somewhat reticent to volunteer pertinent information, so instead Tracie and Russell made assumptions, and sometimes opposite assumptions.

    I recall specifically stopping and asking him for more information on more than one item. In fact, noting he was reticent to supply it means we have to proceed with the information he IS willing to supply, which we did. As he was on the call, if we stated or implied assumptions that were incorrect, he was there to correct us. Did he? Did we disregard it when he did? If he didn’t, what would make you think what we assumed was incorrect?

    > I feel like they needed more information about his motives and those of his intended. It seemed to me as though there was more to his situation than he let on, and Tracie and Russell gave him conflicting advice based on incomplete information.

    I agree, if you hold back relevant info, you get shit advice. But I kept it to the issue he described. What Hakam did was basically call the show and say “I’m in this building that is burning down around me, and I notice my shoe is untied. I’ve stopped to tie it, can you give me your view on the best knot to use?”

    Of course there was a lot of stuff going on we didn’t know, but his question boiled down to: Should I participate in a Muslim wedding or press to have her participate in a non-Muslim wedding–thus pissing off her family? He didn’t ask if it was a good idea to be in the relationship or to advise him about future kids, etc. Although the conversation reached into all of that–it wasn’t his question. He didn’t ask for our opinions or advice on the overall situation, only on the wedding question. I kept the response to his specific question and respected his boundary to NOT ask us about the rest of the situation.

    >If Hakam were asking about something that only affected himself that would be fine, but he’s talking about separating a woman from her family and settling her in a foreign country.

    Yes, that is what he was talking about. He seemed to understand that, and I believe we got that point as well. Did we seem unclear that we teased out that he intended her to come live with him in Sweden from Indonesia? I thought we spent a great deal of time addressing when/whether her family would be likely to interact with them, and how much. He seemed to agree the situation was that she would go back to visit *them* at some intervals, such as every few years. That’s what I recall discussing.

    > There’s a lot more to take into account than how her parents feel about it. How does SHE feel about it?

    He said that there was contention. Ergo–she wanted him to have the Muslim wedding to keep the peace, and he wasn’t totally on board with that. He called because they were at odds on this question. So, how she felt about it was addressed. I mean, It wasn’t like we could conference her in to give her views, so we had to take him at his word as far as her preferences vs. his.

    > That hardly came up at all.

    I’m not sure what you mean. He said they had discussed marriage. She was on board with moving to Sweden, and was OK with his atheism. Her concern was her family getting upset about his atheism, and so was asking if he’d be willing to fake a Muslim wedding in order to just keep future peace for her. So, she’s good moving away. She’s good letting him lie to them. And we even addressed her views on children–that he and she had discussed that the children should make up their own minds. I’m not sure I know what you mean about disregarding her views (as available through him/his call)?

    Can you be more specific? Her feelings about what (that would have impacted his question)?

  16. Monocle Smile says

    @Sinus
    If you really don’t understand that you were an asshole in your first post, then you need to take five and learn how to human.

  17. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Wow. Tracie, sorry about the trolls / creepers. You do great work! It is appreciated.

  18. walter says

    Thanks Russel and Tracie for the P and VP volunteering. Also thanks for hosting and co-hosting. Russel also on the NonProphets podcast! Yeoman’s duty, man.

  19. Marcos says

    I’m intrigued about the mention of a “wall in youtube” and Seth Andrews. Care to explan it a bit?

  20. Russell Glasser says

    It was a cheap, silly joke that was actually a shot at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

    …That’s the joke.

  21. John Phillips, FCD says

    Any reason why the Atheist Experience archive link for this episode only downloads a 145 KB image file. The other episodes appear fine.

  22. Yaddith says

    adamah: Thanks for the link! I really enjoyed this video. I was especially intrigued by the connection between OCD and religious ritual. I had always wondered why religions put such an emphasis on ritual cleansing.

  23. says

    Sinus:

    >That was a smack in the face I didn’t even know I deserved. I’ll carry the mark it left with pride.

    It’s odd to me that you feel you were somehow “smacked” by my comment. I went back to re-read it, and thought it was very mild. About 90% of it was simply explaining the reality of the situation at ACA/the board elections in a very sterile way. And then I pointed out the meanness in your comment (I didn’t say anything mean back–just pointed out you were being mean), and then said that I don’t like it when people try and use me by dragging me into whatever personal drama they’re trying to generate with someone else. But again, I didn’t say anything nasty about you other than that it wasn’t kind of you to use me in that way.

    I don’t see how merely pointing out what you’re doing is any sort of assault on you, even speaking hyperbolically. Metaphorically, it’s like someone punching me, and then me saying “That was a mean thing to do. I don’t care for people being mean like that.” I would find it odd for them to reply, “I’m wounded by your words.”

    You weren’t legitimately being complimentary to me. You were using compliments aimed at me as a thin (and not well disguised) veil to insult Russell. I don’t know, nor do I care, what your issue is with Russell. But I’d prefer to be left out of it.

  24. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    As long as the first caller realizes when someone is up to being engaged in conversations about religious belief she’ll be fine, family usually provide the most instances to discuss issues, as they’ll want to know why, how and when you started feeling that way and contrasts can be made between you and them. It’s almost guaranteed that doubts would be shared between both atheists and theists about religion but it’s the apologetic nature that needs to be confronted, before you can open the door to someone seeing your point of view.

    I agree with @Pluto. I too grew rather impatient on that call, though I understand that it’s interesting to hear. I find going through that amount of trouble plus the future trouble that will result depending on the measures that they both take to be enough that marrying someone you haven’t spent extensive time with(I know that they met up according to him)to be unpractical. I realize that everyone is different and have differing levels to what is troublesome & what is not, however marrying a Muslim woman who can’t hear you say your truthful disbelief in god with a heavily religious family I find to be a bit much. Not even delving into the geographical differences.

    On the call about how religious indoctrination takes differently for everyone, I’d believe that goes without saying. It’s been shown that different ideas only take to some groups of individuals, religion would be no different, ime.

    I like hearing from black & Asian atheists, it shows that the dominant image of white male atheists is very well on the way to being changed and for the better.

  25. walter says

    I’m with Russell on the Swede-Muslim marriage. Pretending to be Muslim is not a trivial one-day thing. If the Swede goes back to Indonesia and anyone finds out he is not Muslim any more, then he faces 5 years imprisonment officially.

    But reality is that this is just the first of a long line of problems which they do not yet realize.

    In any case, I hope it works out.

  26. SinusWutz says

    Next time Russell talks about how women and minorities are kept out of the atheist community because of inherent systemic sex- and racism, please just quote post #11 to him.

  27. Kafei says

    heicart:

    The caller from San Antonio in the video mentioned a different aspect of the underpinnings of religiosity, and that’d be “mystical experience” or I’ve also heard “hyperreligiosity” which is term Michio Kaku uses in his most recent book “The Future of the Mind.” However, as the caller points out, these are terms that are interpreted quite specifically now in neuroscience, psychology, etc. So, I think Dr. Robert Sapolsky is mistaken by referring to shamanism as meta-magical schizotypalism. Shamans exploited an entire complex entheogens, and these entheogens such as the psilocybin being used at the Johns Hopkins research taking place has shown that entheogens induce “mystical experience,” not “meta-magical schizoypalism” as it turns out. Of course, things like psilocybin or ayahuasca have been used for thousands of years, and usually contain this chemical family of entheogens capable of inducing this experience.

    However, let’s not be confused here and assume that we know what “mystical experience” means. Let’s let the leader of the research define “mystical experience” before someone here thinks a “mystical experience” is something a Christian says when he says, “I feel God in my heart,” to which Matt Dillahunty might reply, “Well, maybe you should go see a doctor.” In other words, we’re not talking about metaphysicizing heartburn. We’re NOT talking about the deep feelings of awe people have when they stand before the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls or witnessing a birth or death. We’re talking about a colossal altered state of consciousness which exhibits very peculiar characteristics. Here’s Rolland Griffiths, the leader of the psilocybin research defining the experience.

  28. adamah says

    Kafei said:

    The caller from San Antonio in the video mentioned a different aspect of the underpinnings of religiosity, and that’d be “mystical experience” or I’ve also heard “hyperreligiosity” which is term Michio Kaku uses in his most recent book “The Future of the Mind.” However, as the caller points out, these are terms that are interpreted quite specifically now in neuroscience, psychology, etc. So, I think Dr. Robert Sapolsky is mistaken by referring to shamanism as meta-magical schizotypalism.

    Wow, I may not have been paying close enough attention, as I didn’t get any of that from that particular caller (perhaps the ‘Rashomon Effect’ is at work here?).

    I instead heard her more as a layperson who sees others labelling ANY unexplained event as a “mystical experience”, and attributing it as a manifestation of “God’s mysterious ways” (and note the same Greek prefix, ‘myste-‘, referring to ‘secret, occult (hidden), unexplained’).

    (Heck, I’ve known JWs who thought God was personally looking out for them when they found their lost car keys, or located a front-row parking spot, etc, viewing all of these benign and random events as “proof of God’s blessings” on them.)

    And maybe it’s just a manifestation of ‘availability heuristic’ at play, but as we’ve seen from another thread, apparently even so-called ‘Super Atheists’ misuse terms where the common usage vastly differs from that used within the scientific community (e.g. the (ab)use of the scientific term, ‘theory’., so common amongst believers).

    But my broader point remains: whether the person is ingesting hallucinogenic substances is somewhat of a red herring to MY comment, for you’d readily admit the condition of schizophrenia exists (!), and that a milder variant of it (schizotypal) also exists: that’s one clear-cut example of a greater biological tendency some individuals have towards experiencing “mystical events” (schizoid manifestations may include schizophasia, delusions, hallucinations, etc, often misattributed to their ‘speaking in tongues’ or hearing the voice of Gods).

    I didn’t mean to limit the scope of my comment to only schizoids: there are many other etiologies which may also lead to experiencing both auditory (voice-hearing) and visual (hallucinatory) phenomenona, the most obvious example being the recent death of a loved one.

    For reasons that remain unclear, these people are known to experience such hallucinations, even if they don’t carry a diagnosis of schizoid or ingest entheogens.

    Tracie, it seems like you’re more aware of the biological roots of religiousity than many, and you also have a unique platform from which to raise awareness of biological manifestations which can lead to mystical thinking (e.g. I remember you mentioning ‘sleep paralysis’ in a prior episode, a biological phenomena that also leads many to reinforce their beliefs in aliens, demons, Gods, etc).

    Increasing public awareness of such ‘mystical’ biological phenomena is only going to rob God of His ‘thunder’, since such experiences remain in the domain of the supernatural in the minds of many believers, at least until someone takes the time to explain it from a biological naturalistic perspective.

    I’d encourage you to help raise public awareness of the phenomena of voice hearing, since perpetuating ignorance only benefits religious thinking.

    And although it’s written for non-medical professionals (i.e. lay people), here’s a good site to check out:

    http://www.hearing-voices.org

    It’s a UK-based movement that works towards the goal of dispelling the many urban myths surrounding those who hear voices (and are often stigmatized, as a result, since they’re assumed to be mentally-ill).

    The HVN forms support groups, allowing such individuals to share their experiences, offering advice on how to deal with hearing voices to realize that it’s their own internal voice, and not some external outside agency.

  29. Vivec says

    @28
    That the ACA does not seem to have a problem with racism or misogyny, that does not preclude such a problem existing within atheist communities as a whole. I’ve been to one that there was pretty much just the atheist version of a homophobic bro’s club that got handsy with waitresses.

  30. says

    adama said:

    Wow, I may not have been paying close enough attention, as I didn’t get any of that from that particular caller (perhaps the ‘Rashomon Effect’ is at work here?).

    Perhaps, because I’m not sure I’m following what you’ve said, but let’s look into it, shall we? Just to be specific, when you say “her” below, you’re referring to Tracie, not the caller, correct? Because if I’m not mistaken, I believe the caller was a male, but I could be wrong. The name read Jimmy, but I realize this is an androgynous name. The conversations starts at about 53:29.

    adama said:

    I instead heard her more as a layperson who sees others labelling ANY unexplained event as a “mystical experience”, and attributing it as a manifestation of “God’s mysterious ways” (and note the same Greek prefix, ‘myste-‘, referring to ‘secret, occult (hidden), unexplained’).

    I’m not sure who you’re referring to here when you say “her,” but this traditional term “mystical experience” is adopted and defined by Rolland Griffiths who is the leader of the research done at Johns Hopkins University involving using psilocybin as a psychological tool into the investigation of “mystical experience.” I’m not sure if you caught the link I left, but this experience is defined very specifically, and it doesn’t involve in instance of “God’s mysterious ways” (whatever that means). I think the issue people have is that this word “mystical” is that it’s associated with the ‘supernatural,’ however my point here is that this research is not at all referring to anything supernatural or magical or the mysteriousness of divine agency or anything, but rather something, again as the caller says, natural.

    In other words, if they have a theist volunteer undergoes a full-blown mystical experience after having intravenously been dosed with psilocybin, and afterwards the volunteer describes to the researchers involved in the study that he felt as though he “met God” at the height of the experience. The researchers do not interpret the theist’s account as a literal encounter with the divine, but instead simply regard the theist’s account as a description of the experiential content of this altered state of consciousness. To give an another example, I’ve heard an atheist recount an experience with DMT by saying, “It felt as though I was somehow able to glimpse a higher dimension.” Now, again, the atheist may not believe he literally saw a “higher dimension,” but nevertheless this was the impression of the experience to the atheist and I believe it’s these type of common descriptions that speak to the profundity of the experience itself. In other words, we’re not talking about synchronicity or as I mentioned before, witnessing a birth or death or standing before the Grand Canyon. We’re talking about a particular altered state of consciousness that has been extensively studied over the decades and that exhibits very particular and profound characteristics all which are concretely defined within the published article produced by this research, and also very thoroughly via talks given by the leader of this study like the one I linked.

    adama said:

    (Heck, I’ve known JWs who thought God was personally looking out for them when they found their lost car keys, or located a front-row parking spot, etc, viewing all of these benign and random events as “proof of God’s blessings” on them.)

    And maybe it’s just a manifestation of ‘availability heuristic’ at play, but as we’ve seen from another thread, apparently even so-called ‘Super Atheists’ misuse terms where the common usage vastly differs from that used within the scientific community (e.g. the (ab)use of the scientific term, ‘theory’., so common amongst believers).

    It’s funny you mention that example of the JW, because in Jungian psychology, these instances are referred to as “synchronicity,” which is another concept that was mentioned by that same caller. However, I wouldn’t equate a “mystical experience” to a “synchronicity.” I’ve actually never heard the term “super atheist.” I’ve heard of a “strong atheist” or what’s also called a “gnostic atheist,” and I’ve also heard of an anti-theist, but not a “super atheist.” Perhaps you can clarify for me. I know that theists very naïvely attempt to say that evolution is false because of the word “theory” associated with evolution. However, if they cannot understand that this term is used in the context that a scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of such facts, then you’re wasting your breath.

    adama said:

    But my broader point remains: whether the person is ingesting hallucinogenic substances is somewhat of a red herring to MY comment, for you’d readily admit the condition of schizophrenia exists (!), and that a milder variant of it (schizotypal) also exists: that’s one clear-cut example of a greater biological tendency some individuals have towards experiencing “mystical events” (schizoid manifestations may include schizophasia, delusions, hallucinations, etc, often misattributed to their ‘speaking in tongues’ or hearing the voice of Gods).

    Well, there’s different things to be said about this. I mean, first of all, how many psychiatric residents who are the people who come most in contact with schizophrenics (whatever that means) — how many psychiatric residents have ever seen an “unstoned schizophrenic”? Very, very few, because the very first thing that happens is for the convenience of physicians and the nursing staff is some outlandish drug is brought into the picture which then deflects this “healing process” from ever reaching any kind of natural conclusion. In fact, some professionals in the field believe such as Dr. Seth Farber believe that schizophrenia is simply a catch-all umbrella term for forms of mental behavior that we don’t understand. In the 19th century, there was a term “melancholia,” which we would now call bi-polar depression, so forth and so on, but all forms of sadness, unhappiness, maladaptation, so forth and so on, were poured into this label meloncholia. Now, schizophrenia is a similar thing. I have been studying these various topics such as mystical experience, schizophrenia, STPD, etc. for just a little over a decade and a half now, and I remember being in the Tolman library reading about some drug, and I stumbled across this book on a shelf and I just pulled it off, it was a book about schizophrenia, and it said if I may paraphrase, “The typical schizophrenic lives in a world of twilight imagining, marginal to his society, incapable of holding a regular job, these people live on the fringes content to drift in their own self-created value system.” I said, “That’s it! That’s it! Now I understand!”

    You see, we have no tradition of shamanism, we have no tradition of journeying into these mental worlds; we are terrified of madness. We fear it because the western mind is a house of cards, and the people who built that house of cards know that, and they are terrified of madness. Tim Leary once said, albeit he supposedly has denied being the author of the quote, but whoever said it, it was a brilliant statement that can be interpreted as a very enlightening pun. Someone once said, “LSD is a psychedelic substance which occasionally causes psychotic behavior in people who have not taken it.” Right? And I would bet you that more people have exhibited psychotic behavior from not taking LSD, but just thinking about it than ever exhibited from taking it. Certainly in my family, I watched my parents both go psychotic from the mere fact that LSD existed. They would never have taken it. There is a great phobia about the mind. The western mind is very queasy when first principles are questioned. Rarer than corpses in our society are the untreated mad, because we can’t come to terms with that.

    A shaman, on the other hand, is someone who swims in the same ocean as the schizophrenic, but the shaman has thousands upon thousands of years of sanctioned technique and tradition to draw upon. In a shamanistic society, if you exhibit “schizophrenic tendencies,” then you are immediately drawn out of the pact, and put under the care and tutelage of master shamans. You are told, “You are special, your abilities are very central to the health of our society, you will cure, you will prophecize, you will guide our society in its most fundamental decisions.” Now, contrast with a person exhibiting schizophrenic activities in our society is told, “You don’t fit in. You are becoming a problem. You don’t pull your own weight. You are not of equal worth to the rest of us. You are sick. You have to go to the hospital. You have to be locked up. You are on a par with prisoners and lost dogs in our society.” So, that treatment of schizophrenia makes it incurable. Imagine if you were slightly odd, and the solution was to lock you into a place where everyone was seriously mad? That would drive anyone mad. If you ever been in a mad house you know that it’s an environment calculated to make you crazy, and to keep you crazy. You see, the point is that this would never happen in an aboriginal or traditional/shamanistic society. I really apologize for this long-winded response, but I feel passionately about these topics, and terms like schizophrenia and STPD are bandied around in this thread as they they hold some kind of concrete definition in neuroscience. They don’t. Truth be told, the very diagnosis of schizophrenia and its subsets are based upon its relative definition to the DSM-5 (Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition) which is an out-dated book by three years. So, because they’re merely categorized based on a broad spectrum of behavioral patterns characterized by “social and interpersonal deficits marked by acute discomfort with, and reduced capacity for, close relationships as well as by cognitive or perceptual distortions and eccentricities of behavior, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts.” (That’s straight out of the DSM-5) many people today in fact attempt feign schizophrenia in hopes to be diagnosed with it in order to benefit from the pharamceuticals handed out by health insurance companies, and paid for by governmental stipends.

    adama said:

    I didn’t mean to limit the scope of my comment to only schizoids: there are many other etiologies which may also lead to experiencing both auditory (voice-hearing) and visual (hallucinatory) phenomenona, the most obvious example being the recent death of a loved one. For reasons that remain unclear, these people are known to experience such hallucinations, even if they don’t carry a diagnosis of schizoid or ingest entheogens.

    Well, I believe my point is still maintained. That sure, there’s many etiologies out there to explain these related phenomena. However, what people I feel don’t realize is that even a term like hallucination is broad. There are many types of hallucination; visual, auditory (voice-hearing or noises afar sound close and noises close sound afar), gustatory, olfactory, proprioceptive, tactile, chronoceptive, etc. The hallucinations that associate themselves with “mystical experience” can be defined, as the caller says, “to a tee.” These are very specific experiences that exhibit very specific hallucinations. The point is that hallucinations come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and due to different types of conditions. I have had my encounter with hallucinations in various types of manner. I was actually a volunteer in the original 2006 study of “mystical experience” involving psilocybin at Johns Hopkins that the caller mentioned. I’ve also experienced seizures where I’ve had hallucinations and hallucinations through use of other drugs such as heroin, and I submit that these experiences are quite different.

    adama said:

    Tracie, it seems like you’re more aware of the biological roots of religiousity than many, and you also have a unique platform from which to raise awareness of biological manifestations which can lead to mystical thinking (e.g. I remember you mentioning ‘sleep paralysis’ in a prior episode, a biological phenomena that also leads many to reinforce their beliefs in aliens, demons, Gods, etc). Increasing public awareness of such ‘mystical’ biological phenomena is only going to rob God of His ‘thunder’, since such experiences remain in the domain of the supernatural in the minds of many believers, at least until someone takes the time to explain it from a biological naturalistic perspective.

    I agree, Tracie was far more aware. I mean, she even helped the caller in the articulation of his ideas (while pulling up her sleeves like a boss at the [57:18] minute mark of the episode) which I thought were exactly on point. I would have preferred if the dialogue stayed between Tracie and that particular caller, because Russell was the one that hung up on him and judged a book by its cover with the criticism of “Cool story, bro.” Although Tracie was unfamiliar with Perennial philosophy when the caller asked, she was nevertheless familiar with psilocybin, only she assumed the caller was talking about “mushrooms” in the very beginning. She was close. The study used, again as the caller rightly pointed out, pure psilocybin intravenously given to volunteers. Russell, on the other hand, was unfamiliar with either topics. No offense to the guy, but I think the conversation could have taken a much more interesting direction of Tracie had addressed this caller specifically. And I’m not bias. I really feel like this research is important. I want to leave you with a very beautifully composed video on YouTube documenting the mainstream’s media’s involvement of following this type of research. It does end with Joey Diaz and Joe Rogan, but his story is a contribution to those who are paying attention. Brian Redban has had an experience that I think describes the more particular aspects of this experience. Prior to Redban’s experience, he was a doubter like most agnostic atheists and theists. “It’s the rumbling of the universe coming.” – Joe Rogan
    However, in this explanation, he accounts is telling towards those who have this type of experience.

    adama said:

    I’d encourage you to help raise public awareness of the phenomena of voice hearing, since perpetuating ignorance only benefits religious thinking. And although it’s written for non-medical professionals (i.e. lay people), here’s a good site to check out:
    http://www.hearing-voices.org

    It’s a UK-based movement that works towards the goal of dispelling the many urban myths surrounding those who hear voices (and are often stigmatized, as a result, since they’re assumed to be mentally-ill).

    The HVN forms support groups, allowing such individuals to share their experiences, offering advice on how to deal with hearing voices to realize that it’s their own internal voice, and not some external outside agency.

    Most people haven’t encountered hallucinations or voices, and therefore have no clue what to think about them. If you’ve any suggestions, please tell. However, as far as I’m concerned, that endeavor is a dead enterprise.

  31. mfbiux says

    Hey guys, any idea if there are going to be shows on the month of August? Thanks!

  32. says

    I would caution you to be very careful about giving advice to a Muslim, especially a female Muslim about disobeying her parents. There is a very real problem with honor killings in some Muslim communities, and I would hope you would not be feeling so cheery if you found out that a Muslim woman was killed due to your flippant response to a problem.

  33. Monocle Smile says

    Then by all means, Devocate, enlighten us. I don’t see anything resembling a point coming from Sinus.

  34. adamah says

    Kafei said:

    Perhaps, because I’m not sure I’m following what you’ve said, but let’s look into it, shall we? Just to be specific, when you say “her” below, you’re referring to Tracie, not the caller, correct?

    Hmm, I thought the caller was female: talk about a MASSIVE case of “Rashomon Effect”!

    🙂

    I’ve actually never heard the term “super atheist.”

    I was referring to someone who’s posting under that moniker and claims to be an atheist, but is posting in another thread about his so-called, “THEORY of super-immortality”.

    My point (which you seemingly agree with?) was that it’s an uphill battle to address the typically theistic (and the rare atheist) tendency to abuse scientific terms.

    But notwithstanding such tilting at windmills, the question in my mind is if that definition of a “mystical experience” is agreed upon within the broader scientific community?

    I remember being in the Tolman library reading about some drug, and I stumbled across this book on a shelf and I just pulled it off, it was a book about schizophrenia, and it said if I may paraphrase, “The typical schizophrenic lives in a world of twilight imagining, marginal to his society, incapable of holding a regular job, these people live on the fringes content to drift in their own self-created value system.”

    Wow: talk about the book creating a massive bias via stigmatization, which is exactly what groups like HVN are trying to counter via public education.

    Many people assume that schizophrenia is a disabling condition, when that assumption is, in some cases, unwarranted.

    As you pointed out so well, the only thing worse than paranoia experienced by a schizophrenic is that of so-called “normals” freaking out upon considering the existence of people with the condition.

    And as the old saying goes, sometimes paranoia IS warranted, esp. when there often ARE people trying to control you!

    Well, I believe my point is still maintained. That sure, there’s many etiologies out there to explain these related phenomena.However, what people I feel don’t realize is that even a term like hallucination is broad. There are many types of hallucination; visual, auditory (voice-hearing or noises afar sound close and noises close sound afar), gustatory, olfactory, proprioceptive, tactile, chronoceptive, etc.

    Yup, and I apologize for my lax use of terminology (I was writing on the run).

    I’ve also experienced seizures where I’ve had hallucinations and hallucinations through use of other drugs such as heroin, and I submit that these experiences are quite different.

    Darn, your seizures sound much more entertaining than mine: I’ve experienced (3) grand-mal seizures, which resulted in no hallucinations, but only in loss of consciousness (with TBI due to closed head trauma, a few skull fractures and subarachnoid hemes thrown in for good measure).

    Your seizure-induced hallucinations trumps my episodes of dsyphasia, and loss of short-term memory (during the nurse’s assessment of my A&Ox3, it was very odd to not be able to remember for the life of me who the POTUS was, especially when I voted for BO! It was equally odd to speak, but realize I was speaking incoherently and hadn’t even been drinking!).

    🙂

    However my point here is that this research is not at all referring to anything supernatural or magical or the mysteriousness of divine agency or anything, but rather something, again as the caller says, natural.

    And we agree, as the psilocybin-induced “mystical experience” flees the supernatural camp to join the ranks of other natural phenomena, alongside auditory hallucinations (which have been confirmed by fMRI), sleep paralysis, etc.

    The domain of the supernatural grows ever smaller as the domain of natural phenomena grows.

    I really feel like this research is important. I want to leave you with a very beautifully composed video on YouTube documenting the mainstream’s media’s involvement of following this type of research.

    Thanks for the link: I’ll put it on my ‘to watch’ list (and I saw part of the video you posted above).

    On this:

    Most people haven’t encountered hallucinations or voices, and therefore have no clue what to think about them. If you’ve any suggestions, please tell. However, as far as I’m concerned, that endeavor is a dead enterprise.

    Hmmm, why do you say it’s a “dead enterprise”?

    Given what you said above about the way schizophrenics are commonly viewed in Western societies vs cultures where shamanism is a respected tradition, why such a pessimistic view of the prospects of movements like HVN to “demystify” the experience of auditory hallucinations?

    (And I dare say the opinions of how voice heaters interpret the experience, THEIR experience, is largely what matters, rather than having another doctor insist everyone uses a term of which he approves….)

    Granted, God knows you may be offering a poor prognosis for efforts at public education, precisely BECAUSE Xianity is an intrinsically narcissistic endeavor (where many Xians are out to save their own skinny butts, as if the kow-towing ass-kissers of Holy God deserve salvation).

    I often am similarly gobsmacked by the seemingly bottomless depths of irrationality seen in peopke, but then I remind myself that Rome wasn’t built in a day….

    Just today, I noted a step in the right direction when reading an article written in the 2014 Awake! magazine (written for JW’s) that admitted the existence of mental illnesses, and advised members to “seek the advice of a competent healthcare professional”, as long as the advice didn’t conflict with the Bible.

    That’s a seismic shift from the 1970s, when members of the psych profession were viewed with a jaundiced eye, with individuals told to pray to God to treat their illness.

    Raising public awareness is a slog, but change is discernible and hope springs eternal (and I’m reminded of Jesus’ words: “Forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they do…”).

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts here: I enjoyed reading your contributions, and learned something new!

  35. Kurt says

    >…what would make you think what we assumed was incorrect?

    I did not say you made incorrect assumption Tracie, I said you and Russell made opposite assumptions, as in sometimes you assumed one thing and Russell assumed the opposite. By deduction, one of you was wrong, yet at no point did Hakam feel it was necessary to correct either of you.

    > What Hakam did was basically call the show and say “I’m in this building that is burning down around me, and I notice my shoe is untied. I’ve stopped to tie it, can you give me your view on the best knot to use?”

    Right. Had I been speaking to Hakam, I would have told him, “If you have to ask, you probably know you’re making a mistake.” My advice to him would be to not marry her.

    > Can you be more specific? Her feelings about what (that would have impacted his question)?

    Her feelings about the marriage in general. I hate to make assumptions, but based on his name I would imagine a significant number of Hakam’s ancestors were Muslim. I can’t help but wonder if this is an arranged marriage. Hakam says his parents are non-religious, but perhaps they’ve encouraged him into an arranged marriage for cultural reasons? If Hakam is an atheist, living in a largely atheistic country, I don’t see that those cultural reasons are relevant. Perhaps his bride-to-be is also being pressured into the marriage by her family, based on the deception that she’ll be marrying a “good Muslim,” and she has simply resigned herself to it. If their marriage is not based on romance, is there really anything either of them is losing out on? Wouldn’t he be better off seeking a romantic relationship with another atheist, and wouldn’t she be better off having an arranged marriage to a “good Muslim?”

  36. superatheist says

    Kafei(32) A superatheist is an atheist that also believes in superimmortality thus forming superathesim. Superimmortality is a scientific theory that is based on the the fact that the structure and functioning of matter produces consciousness. Identical structure and functioning of matter produces identical consciousnesses. What ties together the self through variations in space, time, and matter is not the body but similarities in structure and functioning of matter within and between different bodies.

  37. Monocle Smile says

    @superatheist

    What ties together the self through variations in space, time, and matter is not the body but similarities in structure and functioning of matter within and between different bodies.

    Okay, buddy, let’s see if you can finally get the point. THIS is the source of my objection. THIS batshit crazy, conceptually fucked bit of nonsense. Everything that makes me “me” is contained within this body. It’s one iteration. That’s it. Me and a clone of me are not one “me.” This is stupidly easy to understand.

  38. superatheist says

    Monocle Smile (40)

    The point is there is more evidence for superimmortality than there is for your “body theory of self”. My experience with discussions is that when a person does not have adequate arguments for their position they get upset. Then they revert to put downs, name calling, etc., as if this proves their position. Superimmortality simply states that if there are other bodies that produce a consciousness that you experience that is “you” also. I am sorry that me believing this concept upsets you so much! The body theory of self had been shown to have so many problems that few professionals that study it, accept it without many “exceptions to the rule”. You might consider looking at this free Yale course called “DEATH” that is on the internet. http://oyc.yale.edu/philosophy/phil-176#overview

    It covers the problems with the “body theory of the self” along with problems with other theories.

  39. Kafei says

    adamah says

    But notwithstanding such tilting at windmills, the question in my mind is if that definition of a “mystical experience” is agreed upon within the broader scientific community?

    And we agree, as the psilocybin-induced “mystical experience” flees the supernatural camp to join the ranks of other natural phenomena, alongside auditory hallucinations (which have been confirmed by fMRI), sleep paralysis, etc.

    Yes, I agree, “mystical experience” is describing something natural, but I would emphasize it does lay alongside these other phenomena. You asked if the definition of “mystical experience” given in that lecture I posted given by Roland Griffiths is generally accepted in the scientific community. I mean, it is within the field and those who are professionally involved and familiar with this stuff. Outside of the field, however, I think it takes a bit of informing yourself to actually realize what’s going on here. I don’t think all scientists presume to know what this study is about.

    In fact, I’m not sure if you clicked the link I posted above where Roland Griffiths defines “mystical experience,” he does it in front of colleagues and professionals that either work in the same or related fields. Since this traditional term of “mystical experience” has been adopted by these scientific investigations into this particular altered state, I’m not sure how one could become aware without following the research and informing themselves like I’m sure Tracie has done. She, after all, was able to pinpoint what the caller was talking about, and it’s probably due to the fact that she’s familiar perhaps not with Perennial philosophy, but maybe similar concepts and she seemed to be aware of this term “mystical experience.”

    Hmmm, why do you say it’s a “dead enterprise”?

    I was writing on the run, and I apologize. I was going to elaborate on your point where you said “it’s an uphill battle to address the typically theistic (and the rare atheist) tendency to abuse scientific terms.” Sure, and sometimes it’s not even abuse, but as in the case of this study adopting this term “mystical experience,” it’s like how I pointed out earlier, if you’re not following it, then you’re basically clueless on how to approach this. I meet some atheists that automatically assume that this has something to do with the supernatural or some type of mystic magic or something, and it’s precisely because of this adopted term “mystical experience.” They see the word “mystic” and assume it refers to some kind of supernatural nonsense. It may be an appropriate label, but it can be a confusing one. After all, what else to call this phenomenon in consciousness that has been so intertwined with this type of religious experience? There is this term “neurotheology” that Aldous Huxley introduced, but anytime you include the combing form “theo” in your terminology, it’s going to be met with some furrowed eyebrows. Some skeptical researches have suggested “spiritual neuroscience” or “the neuroscience of religion,” but the person being introduce to this area of study is still met with a broad and vague term.

    Given what you said above about the way schizophrenics are commonly viewed in Western societies vs cultures where shamanism is a respected tradition, why such a pessimistic view of the prospects of movements like HVN to “demystify” the experience of auditory hallucinations?

    I wasn’t aware of a pessimistic view towards that kind of effort, but in the case of Perennial philosophy, I could definitely see why it would be met with a pessimistic reaction. Tracie actually emphasizes this point at about the 1:00:37 mark, I believe. Tracie replies to the caller and says, “Clearly there’s something going on in the brains of these people, and clearly the way that they’re describing it is so similar as to very much point to the idea that they’re the same experience, although I think religious people often don’t like to hear that, like when you tell them ‘this is very, very similar to how people on drugs describe their experience.’ They’re like, ‘No, no, no! It’s not like that!’ And it’s like ‘Yes, it is!'” You can even hear the caller in the background (it’s sort of muffled), but he agrees with Tracie, and says, “Oh, of course, yeah! It’s blasphemous!”

    Oh, it’s definitely blasphemous. It’s blasphemous because it introduces a perspective that contradicts what the Christian or Catholic has been told about their religion. In other words, if I may define Perennial philosophy in a nutshell. Maybe I can make a better effort than the caller. Well, the reason I believe it’s hard to talk about these topics is because the “mystical experience” is a phenomenon in consciousness that most people, theists and atheists alike, have not experienced. So, it’s natural to misjudge exactly what it is. You know, as in the point I made earlier about how you don’t want to metaphysicize heartburn if someone thinks they feel God in their heart. In other words, we want to make a distinction between mystical experience and indigestion. So, people might often mistakenly assume a “mystical experience” is intense awe as in witnessing a birth or death or standing before the Grand Canyon. It’s instead rather a colossally intense altered state of consciousness which is defined by characteristics involving very specific types of hallucination, exaltation of emotion, etc. If you were to have this experience, you’d have no doubt that what you were experiencing was not you’re usual sober consciousness. Griffiths lists six primary characteristics of “mystical experience.” And, of course, this is not “his list.” It’s work that has been done on the scientific study of mystical experience all the way back to the work of Richard M. Bucke and William James. Griffiths elaborates in the link I posted on each of these characteristics which are temporarily felt in the experience before one returns to the baseline of consciousness, and this experience is but a memory, but nevertheless this Psilocybin study has shown that the memory of this experience has positively changed peoples lives for the better, and has even had terminally ill patients come to terms with their own death, and the time they have left, etc. Anyway, here’s the list…

    Unity (the core feature) — An intuitive impression of deeply felt interconnectedness of all people and things; often expressed as “all is one;” also experienced as “pure consciousness”

    Sacredness or Reverence — A feeling of humility in that which is being experienced is somehow greater than oneself

    Noetic Quality — A sense of encountering ultimate reality. Volunteers in the study would endorse items such as the experience was “more real than everyday waking consciousness.

    Deeply Felt Positive Mood — A sense of universal/unconditional love often expressed as extreme peace or bliss, often expressed as heart-opening pour and not sexual nature, but maternal; volunteers would say from this vantage point the entire world seemed emotionally asleep

    Transcendence of Space and Time — Past and present collapse into the present moment. Space becomes vast, endless.

    Ineffability and Paradoxicality — One of the first thing people say after having this experience is “I can’t possibly put into words,” of course people eventually nevertheless during the course of the study people will attempt to pour words onto this experience.

    This is not a common experience, and most people do not have this experience unless they take a high dose of a psychedelic or pursue a religious discipline like meditation, but even these endeavors do not ensure that one will have the full-blown mystical experience. A full mystical experience is defined by meeting a certain criteria on all six of those phenomenological dimensions. So, a volunteer’s description will be recorded, and analyzed in kind of manner of an exegesis, if you will. If all six characteristics are present in the description, then that person will meet the criteria for having a full mystical experience. This method of exegesis is also used in studying historical religious accounts in scripture that could be shown to exhibit these characteristics relative to mystical experience.

    Perennial philosophy basically argues that at the center or origins of the major religions, you will find individuals undergoing mystical experience. That this was the primary engine of religion all the way back to the utilization of an entheogenic complex in ancient shamanism.

    I know I said I was going to put that in a nutshell, but it didn’t fit. Having had this experience for myself which I wasn’t even looking for, I happened to stumble upon it out of sheer accident and curiosity, and over time through studying now understand what I experienced is what these neuroscientists are calling “mystical experience.” I’d like to say something that I’ve learned about it. I do consider, as the caller says, that if you’re Gautama Siddartha, and you have a “mystical experience,” you may interpret that experience through the lens of Hinduism, and so found Buddhism. Dr. James Fadiman, a psychologists that has written books on mystical experience, commented on the “mystical experience” of Francis Vaughn and noted that her case was interesting because she had actually just the right education, and the right vocabulary. One of the things that has been learned through researching “mystical experience” is, by metaphor, if you have had this experience, and then you have to put it back in “your little box.” And if you didn’t have any vocabulary, it was very difficult to say anything about it.

    In other words, it’s like the Rashomon effect you mentioned in the beginning. Perennial philosophy is saying there is a universal mystical experience that every human has the potential to experience, however the various religions founded by those individual mystics (a mystic being someone who’s had a mystical experience) each interpreted their mystical experience through the lens of their cultural influence. So, that at the surface, each religion seems opposing and contradictory (Rashomon), but when examined more closely, each are professing the same universal archetypes found throughout all the major religions, the theme of this mystical experience; i.e. the theme of oneness, universal love, etc. (Perennialism).

    Imagine there was this rare phenomenon in consciousness that human beings can potentially induce, and it’s as natural as the bioluminescence of the firefly, but obviously not as frequently occurring. A temporary overwhelming experience that gives you an impression of a kind of panesthesia, of having experienced all experience at once. If you’re religious, you might call it “God.” People who weren’t religious were prone to use descriptions like “beyond dimensionality” or “forth-dimensional.” It’s accompanied with what Christianity might call agapé. an immense unconditional love that is usually described as “spiritual,” but maternal I feel is a better word. It’s such that someone could rape or murder your wife or your daughter, and you’d still forgive this person of course only within that temporary state of mind. I apologize for thisvery extreme example, but it’s an experience that many people underestimate. Not many people have had that experience.

    Of course, mystical experience not the topic at mainstream churches because of course Christianity has become so contorted today, and “mystical experience” has been completely squeezed out of the picture. Now, if you go into historical Christianity as practiced by mystics c. 100 A.D., they were actually using terms like “Christ consciousness” to describe mystical experience and developing methods such as “quietism” to induce mystical experience. Shamans of course have always known to access mystical experience through psychedelics. Hinduism used techniques such as asceticism and until Gautama came along and realized all that is unnecessary, and so meditation replaced asceticism. However, nevertheless, you do seem to have this obsession with altered states.

    I apologize for this long-winded response once again, but as I mentioned before, I’m pretty passionate about this topic. I do want to leave you with one last thing. Perennialism initially started by a group of 19/20th century philosophers, psychologists, thinkers, etc. that adhered to a Traditionalist School of thought, and originally this view was defined as an esoteric movement that all religion was based on the same origin (that origin being mystical experience), but has recently evolved through scientific investigation as a particular altered state of consciousness dubbed “mystical experience” probably because its a term that had already pointed to this altered state, only it was originally defined through a religious context.

  40. Monocle Smile says

    @Kafei
    Wow, that bullet list is some impressive word salad. It’s meaningless babble, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t see anything stopping you from cramming every “report” into some of those points regardless of what the person actually says.
    Drop the bong.

  41. Monocle Smile says

    @superatheist
    You’ve gotten to the troll point. Fuck off and post your crap elsewhere.

  42. superatheist says

    Monocle Smile (44)
    Thanks for your time and effort in discussing these ideas with me and others!

  43. Kafei says

    Monocle Smile says:

    Wow, that bullet list is some impressive word salad. It’s meaningless babble, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t see anything stopping you from cramming every “report” into some of those points regardless of what the person actually says.
    Drop the bong.

    I assure you it is not meaningless babble. The only reason it appears as meaningless babble to you is quite obviously because you’ve never had such an experience, and so you’ve nowhere in your personal history to draw upon in order to relate to anyone one of those characteristics. However, lo and behold, if you were to have this experience, all those characteristics will manifest. Like the caller rightly mentioned, this is not something sneered at, there is multiple studies concerning psilocybin performed at Johns Hopkins all which have been peer-reviewed and published into the Scientific Journal of Psychopharmacology, and some studies of which are still taking place. In fact, they’re recruiting volunteers for a current study. So, if you were interested, you could potentially become a volunteer simply by e-mailing them. I dare an atheist to click that link, and follow through.

    However, I’d like to emphasize that since this enterprise has been heavily tainted with propaganda to the point where after 30 years of no scientific investigation, just recently research has just started to take place concerning this “mystical experience” which is an altered state of consciousness that exhibits all those defining characteristics that I’ve taken from the study and listed here. Due to the taint involved in this area of research and due to the fact that not many people have been following these type of studies and are ignorant about them, it’s not just expected, but it’s inevitable for someone ignorant about these type of experiences to regard that list as a “word salad” when it’s quite obviously not or these ideas are met with such criticisms as “Cool story, bro,” or “drop the bong, man.”

    It’s a shame, because this research is at the very edge of our scientific understanding of these types of states of mind that have traditionally been defined solely through religion, but are now finally getting the proper scientific research it deserves. I believe Tracie responded with an open mind here, and basically kept the dialogue going. Russell basically sat there scoffing and rolling his eyes and held your attitude of “Oh, this is nonsense.” Well, I’ve got news for you. It’s not. No offense to Russell, because this research is not that known about. Tracie knew about psilocybin being the psychoactive ingredient in the psychedelic mushroom, but she didn’t seem familiar with the Johns Hopkins research on psilocybin nor was she familiar with Perennial philosophy. Not many people, including atheists you may think are “well-informed,” are familiar with these concepts. For instance, you can watch Matt Dillahunty’s lecture on “Appeals to Personal Experience” or even his talk on “Appeals to Faith,” two topics which could have easily included “mystical experience,” but he didn’t address it at all. Why? Well, I’d wager it’s because Matt, like Tracie and Russell, is unfamiliar with mystical experience and perhaps even the view of Perennial philosophy despite the fact that he’s an intelligent atheist and is probably aware of a whole slew of other religious concepts, but not this one in particular which I think is where our focus should be since studies like the ones Johns Hopkins hold vast implications for how we view religion, consciousness, etc.

    To be fair, Russell said, “I wouldn’t rule out the possibility, but I’d be skeptical about something a person wrote thousands of years ago.” Sure, but what he might have not realized is that there has been exhaustive exegesis done on religious scripture relative to “mystical experience.” That is the work of pioneers Perennial philosophy, and it continues through Perennialists today.