The Weiler Psi

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

Why I Chose My Webinar Guests and Why They Matter

A few months ago, after the controversy at TED had died down, I was approached by Ken Jordan of Reality Sandwich about doing a webinar series which will be starting in just a few days.  (I will be co-hosting it with David Metcalfe.  You can find it here.)  I quickly agreed and set about lining up, with David’s help,  guests with a scientific background because I had a very specific goal in mind:  introducing the scientists and innovate thinkers who are providing the ground work for fundamental changes in scientific thinking that are coming sooner rather than later.  It can be extremely helpful to spirituality to get the information from this angle.  If you’re psychically inclined, you can learn a lot about your ability by taking these webinars.  (Ok, I had to do the sales pitch, but I have another point to make here.)  I think that it’s people like my guests that represent the next stage of the New Age Movement.

We are moving away from a division of spirituality and science and starting to really put the two together.  And that necessarily leads to a bit of a dust up with the gatekeepers of the status quo.  As soon as we start legitimizing psychic ability and psychics there will be trouble.  One thing that will always be true about society is that there will always be those that fight change and the only way to make the change happen is to defeat them.  This can be done in a variety of ways, but the best of those is with the truth.  And that is a battle that only scientists and the scientifically minded can fight.  They are the advance guard for what’s coming.

Like it or not, Western society relies on science, not spirituality, as its most trusted source of information.  Any change in the behavior of mainstream science, government and the media will have to come through science and not elsewhere.  What this ultimately means is that respect, legitimacy and status, things that psychic people and spiritual seekers are currently denied, will all need to come about as the result of advances in science.  We therefore need to acknowledge and support the scientists who are making this possible.  These are people whose knowledge is grounded in the methods that our society most readily acknowledges as the source of truth.

One of the things that I hope people will take away from these sessions is that these scientists are also regular, down-to-earth people.  I’ve met or spoken on the phone to many scientists involved in parapsychology and they are all very approachable and friendly and sometimes even funny.

Here’s who the guests are and why they are important:

Jim Carpenter (Jan. 15th) has not only provided an excellent working theory of psychic ability, First Sight, but he also counsels psychic people and helps them cope with their everyday lives.  he wrote recently for Reality Sandwich on the bigotry that is inherent in the sciences towards psychic people.  He’s also a clinical psychologist, so he has the status that comes along with that.  Providing a practical theoretical foundation helps makes psychic ability less mysterious and unknown, which helps reduce scientific resistance to it as well as removing yet another skeptical objection.  Legitimizing psychic ability legitimizes psychic people which increases their status in society.  This is something that Jim very much acknowledges.  That’s a very good thing.

William Bengston (Jan. 22nd) author of the book The Energy Cure, is legitimizing psychic healing through his rigorous laboratory studies with lab mice.  What separates his experiments from many other psychic healing studies is that by using lab mice instead of humans, he was able to have mice that were controls and others that were experimental subjects and he was able to control their environments.  This made his experiments the most robust and convincing psychic healing experiments that had ever been done.  It’s about as skeptic proof as it gets.  Like Carpenter, he’s a PhD scientist, so he has the necessary status in society to be taken seriously.  These things matter.  He also has years of personal experience in psychic healing, so like Carpenter, Bill Bengston has been “in the trenches.”

Dan Booth Cohen and Emily Volden (Jan, 29th) are PhD therapists who practice Systemic Constellations.  (Here is an explanation) It’s an area where people have gone beyond merely looking at interesting theories of consciousness and put them into practice in a methodical and practical way.  I think that it’s particularly important information to be shared because it shows what happens when people stop thinking outside the box and start making the box a lot bigger.  I think that this method of treatment needs to be more widely known and accepted so that people who are sensitive and intuitive have an alternative to regular therapy, which might not be as effective for them.   Treating people in therapy as though their consciousness is not entirely contained within their brains is intriguing, interesting and encouraging.

Chris Carter (Feb. 5) Although Chris is not a scientist like the other guests, he is no slouch when it comes to science.  He has written several books on the scientific skepticism of the paranormal and provided clear, easy to understand rebuttals.  His books, Parapsychology and the Skeptics, Science and the Psychic Phenomena: The Fall of the House of Skeptics and Science and the Near Death Experience were the first to really take the skepticism head on and start aggressively pushing back.  His work is influential and he is certainly one of the people responsible for getting the controversy, including what happened at TED, to the place it is now.  Parapsychology and the Skeptics, his first book, was first published in 2007.  He has also published  a scientific paper on some of the tricks a particular skeptic used to obfuscate some studies.  If you are a spiritual person I think this is an extremely important topic.  Learning about the true nature of skeptics from people have studied them extensively will help you stand up to them and feel better about ignoring them.

Julie Beischel (Feb. 12)  is a scientist who studies mediumship.  Why is this important?  Because investigating mediumship scientifically will ultimately legitimize it.  Systematic approaches also move us from guessing about what mediumship is to actually knowing about it.  This way, mediums can get better at it.   More importantly than that, the Windbridge Institute is screening and training  research mediums.  Standardization is one of the cornerstones of respectability.

What these guests all have in common is that their work has broad implications that go way beyond sharing some interesting information.  The line between spirituality and science is getting ever thinner.  They are contributing to a body of work that will eventually change the face of science entirely.  I think that it sends the right message to learn who they are and support their work because it will ultimately benefit us all.

13 comments on “Why I Chose My Webinar Guests and Why They Matter

  1. Emma
    January 16, 2014

    Sad I missed the first one. I’m excited for this!

  2. girtonseeker
    January 12, 2014

    I agree, and you are one of the front movers towards the tipping point. So please keep it up!

    It is fascinating how – despite the passage of time – history repeats itself. This recent act of removing Dr Sheldrake’s talk from TEDx website, as a result of pressure from the militant atheists, mirrors the actions of the Spanish inquisitors in the middle ages.

    Then, the catholic priests convinced of their infallible knowledge, of what true Christianity was, became the zealots – the self-proclaimed guardians of the Catholic Faith. The militant atheists of today, similarly convinced in their infallible knowledge of what is and is not true science, are assuming equally zealous role as the guardians of the scientific truth. By their intolerance of any worldview that challenges theirs, and their preparedness to go extremes, both are characterised by proclaiming the information that challenges their view as heresy; in today’s parlance it is the equivalent of proclaiming Dr Sheldrake’s Talk ‘a pseudo-science’. This is followed by destroying the information, which, at the time of Spanish inquisition, involved the torture of the infidels (to make her retract the heresy). Finally, there was the ritual burning at the stake*, – the final act of destroying the source of information, in order to prevent it polluting the other innocent souls. In the case of Dr Sheldrake’s TEDx talk, step two consisted of public denunciation by “the guardians of true science” – proclaiming the new information to be a pseudo-science, followed by removing the offending information from TEDx website, in order to protect the present status-quo of what is and is not science.

    This behaviour, exhibited both by the guardians of Christian Dogma of Middle Ages (Spanish Inquisition) and the guardians of Scientific Dogma of 21st century known as scientism, is well understood in human psychology. It comes under several names most common of which are: militant narcissism, paranoia, character disorder. They are all characterised by aggression, bordering on violence, towards the bearer of the alternative view that threatens the carefully protected yet highly vulnerable worldview of the sufferer. The paradox is that this behaviour of these, usually, ‘big egos’, is rooted in their low self-esteem – an inability to integrate inherent contradictions in the human psyche and projection of all the uncomfortable parts of themselves on an external ‘enemy’!

    I suggest that time has now come for these self-proclaimed guardians of true science to be exposed for what they truly are, and that the science which they are so jealously trying to protect is set free from their suffocating clutches.

    *Dr Sheldrake is not a stranger to controversy. After the publication of his seminal work ‘A New Science of Life’, Sir John Maddox, the editor of magazine Nature and a Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society, declared that Dr Sheldrake’s book was fit for burning!

  3. Mark
    January 11, 2014

    “One thing that will always be true about society is that there will always be those that fight change and the only way to make the change happen is to defeat them.”

    Them sounds like fightin’ words to me. It’s a good thing that some are willing to fight. There is too much “love and light” stuff coming from the pro-psi side, and not enough fightin’ words, like the ones above. There are evil people in this world, and they are not all the stereotypical evil people who walk around with scowls on their faces. Regardless of how they got that way, there comes a point when you have to realize that they are not very likely to change through reason, and that the only way to proceed is to fight them. I’m glad you realize this, Craig, but I wish more pro-psi proponents realized this.

  4. Thomas Jespersen
    January 11, 2014

    I will unfortunately not be able to attend, but I have been keeping upvoting this on Facebook every time Evolver posted about it 🙂

    Small Things matter as well 🙂

    • craigweiler
      January 11, 2014

      Cool, thanks

  5. David Bentley
    January 11, 2014

    Very very good.

    Wishing you every success and May Health Happiness and Good Fortune be with You and Yours At All Times is the Sincere Wish Of David Bentley

  6. mtpitre
    January 11, 2014

    Awesome List Craig, there is also another scientist you need to have on this list,Robert Lanza . Check this article out Craig It is pretty awesome.

    • craigweiler
      January 11, 2014

      I know about him. He’s not part of the webinar but he got some space in my book.

      • mtpitre
        January 11, 2014

        Craig I think psi stuff is getting more mainstream now. I think give it 5 to ten years and then this stuff will be regular knowledge by then.

        • craigweiler
          January 11, 2014

          I get the same impression. It just seems like change is going to come quickly.

            • craigweiler
              January 12, 2014

              I saw that. People have been passing it around today. I like what Cardeña did there. Especially getting all those people to sign up to it.

              It would be interesting to see how the Wikipedia trolls handle it.

              • Anonymous
                January 17, 2014

                probably by adding more names to the ‘they once were scientists but now they’ve lost it’ list 😉

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