The Weiler Psi

Parapsychology Journalism: The People, The Theory, The Science, The Skeptics

Ugly, Hateful Bias from the Mainstream Press

The New Republic carried this headline on one of their articles: Pseudoscientist Rupert Sheldrake Is Not Being Persecuted, And Is Not Like Galileo by Jerry Coyne.  My jaw dropped.  It’s no surprise that Coyne authored the piece of course, his blog writing is full of such hysteria and slander.  In fact, this is a reprint of one of his blog posts. What shocked me was that no one at the New Republic thought that this type of slander was out of line.  Here’s the first paragraph:

Rupert Sheldrake is a pseudoscientist who has made his name promoting various kinds of woo, including telepathy (including in dogs!), immaterial minds, and his crazy idea of “morphic resonance,” a Jung-ian theory in which all of nature participates in some giant collective memory. (He was once a real scientist, trained in biochemistry and cell biology at Cambridge, but somewhere went off the rails.)

If I were an editor this kind of writing would sound all kinds of alarm bells in my head.  I wouldn’t allow a skeptic to be referred to in this way on my blog.  It’s too emotional and insulting.  I’d demand a much more thoughtful piece.  Had the editors at New Republic bothered to check, they would have found that Coyne has no standing for calling Sheldrake a pseudoscientist.

I’m assuming that he is referring to Sheldrake’s work on animal telepathy, the staring studies and the various experiments that tested his theory of morphic resonance.  Coyne has no expertise in these areas and is not qualified to comment on them.  He has never done any parapsychology experiments and his name does not show up in any of the peer reviewed literature commenting on Sheldrake’s work nor has he ever demonstrated any expertise in parapsychology.

Many scientists are skeptical of Sheldrake’s work.  Those who have either commented on his work in peer review or attempted his experiments include:  Richard Wiseman, Susan Blackmore, Chris French, Anthony Atkinson, Steven Rose, Robert Baker and David Marks, to name a few.  NONE of them have ever referred to Sheldrake as a pseudoscientist or characterized his work as pseudoscience in a peer reviewed paper where they would have to prove that assertion.  If you take the time to actually go over Sheldrake’s work, there is nothing about it that justifies the pseudoscience label.  Nichts, nada, zip, zero.

Not only that, Sheldrake has supporters among other scientists.  Marc Bekoff, PhD in animal emotions commented on Sheldrake in this very recent Psychology Today blog article:

While many people question Dr. Sheldrake’s and theories I think it is premature to discount and to dismiss them. His research has been published in prestigious peer-reviewed journals and by well-known publishers and while some of his discoveries cannot be explained by more traditional science this does not mean they are incorrect. In a nutshell, Dr. Sheldrake has collected detailed data on different patterns of behavior that can readily be explained by his theories of morphic resonance and morphic fields that are summarized here.

All I can say about the rest of Coyne’s article is that it maintains the same abysmal level of accuracy.  Predictably, the New Republic got creamed in the comment section of the article.  Most readers recognized what the editors hadn’t: that this was just a hit piece.  It was the sort of drivel that should have stayed on Coyne’s blog, where he preaches to the skeptical choir.

In the article Coyne also accused Deepak Chopra of being a pseudoscientist, which Chopra responded to.  And here is where it gets absolutely nuts: they gave Coyne room on the article to respond.  Right at the top they give Coyne equal billing.  This news site is doing everything it can to slant the discussion in a certain direction and they’re not even being subtle about it.  (I submitted a rebuttal to New Republic based on the fact that my Wikipedia articles were being discussed, but of course, they passed on that.)  Nevertheless the overwhelming bias of New Republic is at least quite obvious.

Other mainstream publications are more subtle.  Chopra recently wrote an article about militant skepticism which was published in the San Francisco Chronicle and the Huffington Post.  The Chronicle simply vanished the on line article by not referencing it anywhere that I could find it and it’s my hometown news source.  The Huffington Post shoved what is essentially a philosophy of science article into the Religion section because Chopra mentioned God once or twice.  (Sheldrake has also been dumped in Religion by Huff Po.)  Sheldrake also had a blog post about militant skeptics and Wikipedia that Huffpo rejected.  (He later published this on his own blog.)

Their Talk_Nerdy_to_Me science reporter, Cara Santa Maria, is basically a skeptical sockpuppet, happily regurgitating whatever the skeptical community tells her to say about frontier sciences.

According to my sources, the Huffington Post now has a medical advisory board whose function seems to be keeping out as much alternative medicine as they can get away with.  The Huffington Post bloggers who specialize in alternative and complementary medicine say that it’s much harder to get an article published now that this mysterious medical board has gotten control.

It is very easy for the skeptics to get taken seriously and published, and they are allowed to spout whatever unsubstantiated crap they can think up, while everyone else is held to a different standard.  It’s a bias that’s built into the system that is cultural, not scientific.

The good news is that this state of affairs can’t last.  The controversy is heating up and it will continue to get hotter.  Jerry Coyne’s article tarnished the reputation of New Republic and certainly the dirty trick of allowing him to respond to Chopra in Chopra’s article did not go unnoticed either.

This is what change looks like.  Coyne had to respond because Rupert Sheldrake and Deepak Chopra are fighting back.  And the article pretty much demonstrates the strong Us vs. Them dichotomy in action.  The comment section is equally polarized.  This is only the beginning of what will eventually be a much larger and nastier fight in the near future as more scientists and intellectuals join the fight against the cultural mindset of ideologue skepticism.  As for New Republic, since they have clearly chosen sides, it marks this publication as being useless for science articles, since they will cherry pick those that already conform to their beliefs and cannot be counted on to be either objective or fair.

They are not a large publication, so they could potentially end up suffering for this if they do not learn from this mistake.  The skeptics who support them are not a large enough group to sustain them.  If they are abandoned by the scientific progressives, who simply move on to better sources of news, that could adversely affect them in a big way.  What the New Republic doesn’t understand is that explicitly siding with Coyne could lose them the readers who took the other side.  As a publication, you don’t want to do that too often.

We live in interesting times.

42 comments on “Ugly, Hateful Bias from the Mainstream Press

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  3. Jordan Wm. Burrill
    November 27, 2013

    Hey folks!
    I’m now rummaging through my library, looking for a reference I know I have somewhere – of the ‘scientist’ who actually said that; “Everything there is to be discovered, has been” I’ll find the quote by this sap, at some point. It’s just a matter of time! :/

    • marcustanthony
      November 27, 2013

      It was Lord Kelvin who famously said that. I think he was head if the Royal Society at the time, as well. He said that pretty much everything was known, and that all that was required was calculating a few decimal places. The Universe was exactly one galaxy bug at the time. Now we know if about 100 million. The thing is that you cannot know what you don’t know, by definition. So it is the height of stupidity to say we know everything. I mentioned this issue at the beginning of a TEDx talk in Hong Kong.

      • Tom Butler
        November 28, 2013

        Thanks to all of you. I found the article. It has good historical quotes. While searching the same sting on the web, I found the article: “The End-of-Science Bandwagon Is Getting Crowded,” By John Horgan, February 4, 2013, Scientific American. Hogan authored the 1997 book by the same name in which he interviewed many people including Richard Dawkins.

        In my mind, those who say he was wrong are saying the right thing for the wrong reason. it is not a matter of discovering a new physical principle but more like realizing that there is a subtle energy aspect to everything that changes everything.

  4. Jordan Wm. Burrill
    November 25, 2013

    Hi Craig and company!
    First: Thanks Craig for making a draft of your book available! I hope you don’t mind if I put a link to it on my face page to help to get word of it out? I’m now delving into it – along with Dr.James Carpenter’s “First Sight”. Whew! That makes six books I’m trying to get through, simultaneously. 😛 But, I’m enjoying them both VERY much!
    Second: TNR is a kinder, gentler fascism, which leaves them way outside the mainstream of journalism; along with The Humanist, The American Atheist, The Scientific American and The Skeptical Inquirer. ‘Utopian socialists’ always end up at a fascist end point. The 18th century ‘utopian socialist movement (historically), was an attempt to recreate the ‘spiritual’ communities of the new Testament (such as the Amish and the Quakers); based on a citing The New Testament book of “The Acts of the Apostles”, in which small, local groups of ‘believers’ chose to combine their personal resources for the good of the group’s purpose of caring for each other. This does work in small actually ‘spiritually’ communities (NOT Commune-ism) – where each person is actually ‘listening’ to God for direction. When ‘The State’ (Humanists), replace God and personal responsibility with ‘The State’ (fallible humans and their ideologies), then they become their own god. ‘The inmates are now running the asylum’! The humanist god also seeks to be the all powerful and the final arbiter of everyone’s personal life – hence they create themselves as a god, in their own image.
    This will be the end point, if their hysterical, reactionary militancy is allowed to end free inquiry and the ‘Enlightenment’ era that we still live in – for now!
    The radical and unconstitutional court paradigm of replacing ‘the freedom of religion’ with the substitute ‘freedom FROM religion; ends free speech and free inquiry of the ‘Enlightenment” ideals that built our modern world.
    One of the great founders of modern physics Sir Isaac Newton, was also a Bible scholar and an early explorer of the modern research area of Bible codes matrixes – but, you are NOT supposed to know that! That would sacrilege against the religion of ‘Scientism’! In fact, one of the largest of the bible code research groups is named after Newton. It doesn’t really matter what any of us may think of ‘bible codes’, etc. Free inquiry IS the thing that IS in peril, by those who wish to decide for us what is acceptable to study or think and what isn’t!

  5. Michelle Gibson
    November 25, 2013

    Fred Bloggs: I am in complete agreement with you. Here’s what I posted at Paranormalia:

    Wow. Just wow. People like Coyne really seem to personally *hate* Sheldrake, or so it seems to me. You can feel the anger emanating from his words.

    I don’t understand it. Sheldrake is quite mild-mannered, in general and he doesn’t tend to make malicious attacks upon people. So Coyne and Myers and everybody else think Sheldrake is totally wrong and that his ideas are ridiculous. But why do they have to be so angry and hateful about it? Why do they have to be so disrespectful to Sheldrake, who has never done anything to them?

    I notice Coyne takes exception to Sheldrake being granted the privilege of airing his views in a BBC interview. He says “I wonder why the BBC gives Sheldrake a voice at all?” Rupert had better look out – maybe Coyne will stage a campaign to have him banned from any further BBC interviews!

    But Coyne’s apparent displeasure that the BB giving Sheldrake a “voice” gives us an insight into the desire for Stalinist suppression and censorship that appears to be a mainstay of *some* prominent sceptics. They want Sheldrake, and others like him, to be stigmatised and silenced. Does Coyne not realise that in a liberal, tolerant and open society, everyone should be allowed to have their voice? Why should people like Sheldrake be excluded from places like the BBC simply because their worldview is in conflict with the philosophy dominating mainstream science today? All Coyne is essentially doing is advocating bias and bigotry against people who are different.

    Coyne and others like him may *say* they want a liberal and tolerant society, and perhaps even think they do, but they don’t. These people are not tolerant, far from it. They want a society in which people with fringe views (like Sheldrake) are suppressed.

    The way people like Coyne go on about Sheldrake, you’d think he’d eaten their babies or something.

    Instead of dumping his spite on a harmless individual like Rupert Sheldrake, Coyne would be better served by criticising James Randi for being a board member of the FMSF (it’s funny how these pseudosceptics shriek about people like Sheldrake practicising “pseudoscience” but have not a word of criticism for Randi’s ties to the FMSF, which itself is a pseudoscientific organisation) and raise questions as to why CSICOP installed Vern Bullough (a board member of a paedophile magazine) as its human sexuality editor. Sexual abuse of children is a very real and harmful problem. Sheldrake giving talks is not.

    • mtpitre
      November 25, 2013

      The skeptic movement/atheist movement is known for defending pedophiles and rapists. Look at the sexual harassment scandal within the Atheist Movement. The very fact that supposed rationalists can’t even get past defending aggressive acts such as pedophilia and rape says a lot for this so called movement. One thing these movement do is constantly put themselves above others when they are even worse than the people they claim to be defending us from. There was one case in which an Australian skeptic association sent a anti vac woman death threats and also sent her a picture of a women being raped (if I am not mistaken) because she linked vaccinations with autism. Yes you may disagree with someone but sending them death threats and violent pictures? I called that being a savage. Apparently it was found out that good portion of these people were ex cons. Let me look for the link.

    • Fred Bloggs
      November 25, 2013

      Hi Michelle,

      You make two points which I think are important. Firstly that one would think Sheldrake had eaten Coyne’s children, such is the latter’s level of bile and invective, and secondly that Sheldrake is harmless.

      Sheldrake may me a mild-mannered English academic but from the viewpoint of Professor Coyne and his fellow-travellers, he is the most dangerous person on the planet.

      Sheldrake has done something far worse than eating Coyne’s children, he has threatened Coyne’s worldview.

      Like his fellow hard line atheist/materialist Richard Dawkins, Jerry Coyne appears to believe that Charles Darwin has explained everything about the origin and evolution of life. He has defended Darwinism as if the whole future of humanity depends on accepting, wholesale, the views of a 19th century scientist as being the last word on the matter. Darwin was undoubtedly a genius of the first rank, but anyone who has studied the history of scientific thought knows that no genius, no matter how eminent, has ever closed the book on any aspect of science.

      And in this connection it’s noteworthy that both Coyne and Dawkins are keen proponents of the ‘end of science’ attitude – the notion that (in Dawkins’ words) “everything in the universe is either fully understood or well on the way to being understood”. These guys simply cannot close the book on science quickly enough, in case anything slips through that might upset their cosy certainty.

      I confess I am quite at a loss to understand this attitude. For one thing, I can’t grasp these gentlemen’s thinking. Do Messrs. Coyne and Dawkins REALLY believe that we will have much the same understanding of the universe in 100 years’ time as we do now? How about in 1,000 years? 10,000? 100,000? Do they REALLY believe that a biology teacher in the year 102,000 CE will be telling his students that an English naturalist had got absolutely everything sussed by 1859? One would have to be a master of self-delusion to buy into this view.

      For another thing – If a well-qualified person such as Sheldrake produces an apparently ‘off the wall’ theory which is (a) coherent and (b) testable, then what’s the problem? If the theory is bunk it will be shown to be such in the fullness of time. That process is known as ‘science’.

      There is no need for Thought Police tactics such as banning Sheldrake’s talks, altering his Wikipedia page, trying to deny him BBC airtime or burning his books (as the late John Maddox recommended.)

      Censorship tactics are a fear-based response from people who have a deep seated psychological need for the universe to be the way they want it to be.

      • Tom Butler
        November 25, 2013

        Fred Bloggs, you said: “everything in the universe is either fully understood or well on the way to being understood” Do you have a good reference for that? I have known it was true. There is even what is considered a school of thought to that effect, but I have not been able to find a good reference.

        Research using very good science has established that there is something a lot like an ubiquitous nonlocal subtle energy field associated with living organisms and which is influenced by intentionality. Craig had a blog about “First Sight: A Comprehensive Theory of Psi” (October 31, 2013). Part of that hypothesis is that people sense the world first via sensing that subtle energy field (psi informed) and express intention at least partially via a psychokinetic influence on that field. Rupert Sheldrake’s Hypothesis of Formative Causation depends on that effect for evolution of formative fields (morphic fields).

        The science is also pretty clear that mind proceeds and survives brain (duality). If that is true, then the only part of who people really are that is physical and subject to mainstream physics is the biological organism mind inhabits during a lifetime. The rest–thought, memory, worldview, imagination–is nonphysical. We need not go so far as to say their is a greater reality or survived, sentient personality. The Super psi hypothesis settles for mind surviving as a memory.

        If any one of these concepts is shown to be valid in the eyes of mainstream academia, then the entirety of science will need to be expanded to accommodate a different view of reality. Mainstream sciences are not necessarily wrong, just incomplete. Some fundamental concepts, such as entropy would necessarily be modified to include the effect of intentionality expressed as an external influence on what are now thought to be closed systems, but I am sure the academics are up to that.

        • Fred Bloggs
          November 26, 2013

          Hi Tom,

          Please note that I was quoting Richard Dawkins with the phrase ‘everything in the universe is almost fully understood’ – I don’t, of course, subscribe to this nonsensical view myself!

          Unfortunately I can’t give you a specific reference for this, but I can tell you that Dawkins spoke these words in a video which I saw on YouTube. I think I was too busy picking my jaw off the floor to make note of the internet reference!

          • billy_mavreas (@billy_mavreas)
            November 26, 2013

            “And in this connection it’s noteworthy that both Coyne and Dawkins are keen proponents of the ‘end of science’ attitude – the notion that (in Dawkins’ words) “everything in the universe is either fully understood or well on the way to being understood”. These guys simply cannot close the book on science quickly enough, in case anything slips through that might upset their cosy certainty. ”

            fred, thanks for this insight. it makes the position of these folks clearer while it staggers my brain.

            • Tom Butler
              November 27, 2013

              Billy, my experience with Wikipedia skeptic is that they consider anything that mainstream science does not specifically describe, to be “impossible, and therefore cannot be.” Of course, that is scientism, but the underlying assumption appears to be the Dawkins quote: “everything in the universe is either fully understood or well on the way to being understood.” That suggests a very strong attachment to being correct and moves their point of view solidly into the religion category. For all of their complaints about pseudoscience hurting society, they turn out to be a most pervasive sort of idiologs.

              One cannot usually reason with that kind of mindset.

              • Mostly about Fate and FreeWill a Neil Miller blog
                November 27, 2013

                Found it! About the end of science; please check Science Hobbyist-The End Of Science-1894. This attitude about nothing left to discover is traceable back to, at least, the mid 1800’s. For an intelligent person it ought to be a major embarrassment to spew that garbage. Now, what happened between 1895 and 1905? Einstein, Marie and Pierre Curie, the Wright Brothers, Quantum Mechanics, I’ll have to stop. You see, my tiny little brain just went into circuit overload, both with what happened in those years and the foolishness of Dawkins and Coyne.

  6. placebonetix
    November 23, 2013

    According to Prof. Coyne, “immaterial minds” are a type of “woo”. So he should be able to remove his material mind from its enclosure and show it to us.

    Eventually the professor will find himself to be as fundamentally nonmaterial as anyone else. Unfortunately, he will then be unable to correct his dyspeptic blatherings.

  7. Tim Guy
    November 23, 2013

    Do we know whether this appeared in the magazine? My impression is that it was only posted online. I doubt the magazine would have published this.

    • craigweiler
      November 23, 2013

      No, I don’t know. All I saw was the on line version. Coyne’s piece wasn’t suitable for anywhere but his own blog though.

  8. Fred Bloggs
    November 22, 2013

    The Coyne article is an absolute disgrace. I simply cannot believe that any rational, responsible scientist could pen such a childish article. How old is this man – 14? It’s shocking to think that such an emotionally immature individual should be charged with teaching university students, and dignified by the title of ‘Professor’.

    Coyne would no doubt argue that ‘crazies’ like Sheldrake are delusional, and therefore deserve any amount of opprobrium. I disagree. It is the mark of a civilised individual that they can have a public disagreement – even a very intense disagreement – with someone else, whilst retaining some semblance of courtesy.

    Sheldrake criticises others, but does so in a gentlemanly manner. There is simply no comparison with Coyne, who should, frankly, be put in detention and made to write lines – a punishment suitable for his mental age.

    Coyne’s problem with Sheldrake seems to be that he (Coyne) believes that Charles Darwin was the Messiah, and that the ‘Origin of Species’ is actually the Bible. In other words, Coyne appears to think that Darwinism is some sort of Holy Writ, engraved on tablets of stone, and that like all Holy Writ it may not be questioned, added to or subtracted from – ever. Sheldrake commits the heinous heresy of suggesting that Darwinism may not be the whole story, which for Coyne is absolute blasphemy.

    But however strongly Coyne’s faith has been profaned, he could – and should – conduct himself in a civil manner, instead of presenting his objections in a manner befitting a loudmouthed and offensive Bible Belt redneck.

    One can only hope that any reasonable person reading Coyne’s adolescent rantings might be inclined to think that maybe – just maybe – Sheldrake has been misrepresented, and that his ideas might be worth examining.

  9. Tom Butler
    November 21, 2013

    I like the engineer’s point of view. To an engineer, it should not matter if the reported phenomena are pure magic or illusion as long as they can lead to the development of something that is useful, even marketable. The average person readily accepts the reality of things paranormal. Looking at the pervasiveness of the New Age culture, this is because individuals seek to improve themselves and have found that the academic community offers little help.

    The appeal for reason is really to the average person–the people who ultimately determine how academia is funded.We almost every day hear reports of people who “did not believe in those things” decide there might be something to what people like Shelrake have been proposing.

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  11. George Williams
    November 20, 2013

    Hi Craig,

    Thanks for the post. I suspect the mainstream media’s bias against psi stems from the influence of relatively savie, high profile scientists / personalities, who have a lot of influence with the intellectuals in media, but who don’t have a lot of actual knowledge of the psi literature. For example, Richard Dawkins or Sean Carroll, just give the conventional (materialistic) wisdom without looking or thinking too hard about the psi data that’s out there.

    It’s a rather interesting dynamic. Thanks again for the work that you do.

  12. obrlnews
    November 20, 2013

    New Republic is the same magazine that slandered Wilhelm Reich back in the 1940’s, triggering a fraudulent FDA “investigation” and the ultimate banning and burning of his books, and sending him to death in prison.

    It was then run by the Communist Michael Straight, a Soviet spy controlled by the KGB (he confessed to the FBI on that years later), edited by Henry Wallace — the old Roosevelt VP fired for his pro-Soviet views, and who was later identified in Venona as a Soviet agent. NR is still a leftist rag, not to be trusted about anything. A forerunner of modern “skepticism”, which includes many old communists. That’s behind their expertise in disinformation tactics.


    James DeMeo, PhD

    • craigweiler
      November 20, 2013

      That’s pretty interesting. I had no idea. I’m grateful that you took the time to share that tidbit.

  13. George Williams
    November 20, 2013

    Thanks for the post (and all the work that you’re doing on this). The bias in much of mainstream media against psi is interesting, and I’m trying to understand it.

    I think the bias has a lot to do with relatively high profile and media savie scientists, who have little actual knowledge of the psi literature, yet have great influence in creating perceptions among intellectuals in the media that parapsychology is “against the laws of physics.” Perhaps because of this bias, someone line Coyne just gets a free pass, while someone like Chopra is giving more scrutiny.

    I hope with the efforts of people like yourself, this will eventually change.

    • craigweiler
      November 20, 2013

      Thank you. 🙂

  14. Paul Kieniewicz
    November 20, 2013

    Craig, I appreciate your support of Rupert and Deepak, both fine men who do great work. However this debate, like climate change and other polarized debates is ultimately futile. No one is ever convinced by being shown evidence that doesn’t support their position. Such evidence only serves to infuriate them even more. People will believe what they want to believe, will behave as assholes if that serves their purpose.

    Ultimately, the skeptics probably serve a useful purpose and they’re best left alone. The worst possible scenario would be for paranormal effects to be universally accepted. Can you imagine the consequences? Psychic wars, psychic weapons would be the first.


    • marcustanthony
      November 20, 2013

      That’s an interesting point, Paul. But it is inevitable that these things will enter mainstream science, and almost certainly within 50 years, and that is a worst case scenario. It could be as little as five to ten years. I’m developing a project addressing the positive, practical aspects of that shift. But yes, the possible misuses of the technology are many.

  15. Mostly about Fate and FreeWill a Neil Miller blog
    November 19, 2013

    Thank you for this post. You right, “it needs to be done.” Perhaps the phrase “Happy Warrior” could guide you.

  16. Jordan Wm. Burrill
    November 19, 2013

    I’m sorry Craig,
    But I would never have thought of “The New Republic” as a mainstream publication! It has a way-leftist (fascist, by ‘definition’), view and agenda that fits perfectly into the reactionary materialist paradigm. I am simply not surprised.

    • craigweiler
      November 19, 2013

      I don’t know that much about them so thank you for that information.

      • Stephen
        November 19, 2013

        I think of TNR as being “high-brow” center-left. Where I think they got in trouble is that the skeptical movement vigorously paints believers in psychic phenomena as being uneducated despite this not actually being objectively true. So I think there is a classist element involved in whole psi debate: like throwing around references to classical literature in everyday conversation, denying psychic effects helps people feel they are part of the smart crowd.

        • MickeyD
          November 20, 2013

          ” So I think there is a classist element involved in whole psi debate”.Quite. Note how often (including here) you see skeptics disdainfully referring to “the public” in their arguements.

  17. mtpitre
    November 19, 2013

    I always knew Conye was a crackpot but this takes the cake. Kudos to the Scientists and intelligent people who defended Sheldrake and Deepak. I could always see mainstream scientists coming aboard on paranormal stuff. I mean these skeptics are painting themselves into a very bad corner. Sooner or later they will be left in the dust of history known for giving science a bad name as religious extremist do too. I mean these people are pathetic. One skeptic commenter didn’t have anything BS rhetoric to back up his argument and he didn’t know what to say. He was about concede his position until one of his little friends came and put do easter bunny exist? I mean any mainstream scientist would be embarrassed to have such people supporting science. I am glad more scientist are speaking out against these crazy people.

  18. Derek Stephen McPhail
    November 19, 2013

    honour your voice of reason, in the context of the currently rampant hysteria of “militant skepticism”; frantically, trying to bolster the shaky foundation of the prevalent scientific materialism.

    personally, I prefer to conserve my energy, limiting my activities to sharing positive affirmation, with those receptive to the tribal spiritual paradigm and the “sacred sciences” of the ancients.

    all the best, with the inspiring example of your work, as a “spiritual warrior”.

    • craigweiler
      November 19, 2013

      Thanks. 🙂

  19. marcustanthony
    November 19, 2013

    “This is only the beginning of what will eventually be a much larger and nastier fight in the near future as more scientists and intellectuals join the fight against the cultural mindset of ideologue skepticism.”

    It is only a fight if you allow yourself to be dragged into it at the same level at which it originates. To put it bluntly, Coyne is deeply irrational to the point of being almost hysterical. I wouldn’t waste too much time on the guy. It is much more rewarding to focus of the audience that is responsive, or at least open-minded. No matter who you are or what your position, probably 30% of your audience in a public talk is going to be against you at some level. It pays to keep that in mind.

    As long as we are fighting, we are still trapped in a world of belief. We are just fighting with people who believe something that contradicts our beliefs.

    Of course that is fine, as long as you realise what is happening, and can pull yourself out of the drama at will. A lot of people just get lost in the drama of it. Basically 90% of mass media and social media is driven by emotionality, by deliberately evoking outrage. Most of it is just drama and illusion.

    There ways to debate and engage people without fighting, without becoming lost in the mind. I think that is a skill that is both wonderful and necessary to have if we are to develop in spiritual maturity. The skills are very simple. It is just a matter of whether we value peace over the illusion of having the final right answer.


    • craigweiler
      November 19, 2013

      Hi Marcus,
      I’ve increasingly begun to see myself as someone who is recording the battle and documenting the change. This means looking at where we are right now and where we’re going. I agree that there can be a great deal of drama around it, but I think that it needs to be done.

      • billy_mavreas (@billy_mavreas)
        November 25, 2013

        I hope this tough job of documenting the change doesn’t wear down your positivity, craig. it’s tough to slog through mud and not get dirty.

        I noticed how on twitter (yesterday ?) mister deepak himself was throwing insults directly to coyne and i felt upset about it. the high road abandoned, evidently.

        I much appreciate marcus’ adamant position of careful detachment and wonder how tough that must be.

        anyway, i like this blog and the work you do craig and want to see you continue to flourish.


        • marcustanthony
          November 25, 2013

          Billy, you might be interested in the specifics of how this can be done – staying detached when debating people, including when the discussions are personal. if you look at this blog post (see link at end of this para), I outline my own preferred process (it actually refers to the same subject matter as Craig’s blog post). I call it “engaged presence”.

          In practice, most people are too addicted to the “mind” to engage people mindfully. But if you so choose, it is actually quite simple to do.


        • craigweiler
          November 25, 2013

          I try to take a step back from it all. They do get under my skin occasionally, but I really have more important things to do than argue with ideologues. It’s easy to be insulting and get in a snide remark, but they’ll just insult you back. That’s all they know how to do.

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This entry was posted on November 19, 2013 by in Alternative Science, parapsychology, Psi Wars, Skeptics and Skeptic Arguments and tagged , , .
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