Friday, November 16, 2018

Pseudo-Skepticism: A Case Study

Mendacity of all kinds is a part of human experience, but the potential for propagating it has hugely increased—thanks to modern technology.  There is talk of a crisis of truth, capped by the Trumpian meme of “fake news”. Rampant in venues outside politics, fake news spreads lies for political, economic, and ideological purposes.

There’s a species of it I call pseudo-skepticism—a form of fake news, evident in Joe Nickell’s case who writes for the so-called Skeptical Inquirer.  “So-called”, I say, because the term skeptical implies doubt and open-minded inquiry; it doesn’t mean using every dirty trick of omission and distortion to arrive at a foregone conclusion.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Stories Pointing to Another World

Most of us are too busy struggling to survive on Earth to think about what might come after death. But experiences I’ve had have forced me to think about this question, experiences that stopped me cold because I couldn’t explain them. Things happen that force people to ponder the possibility of others worlds.   Well, you ask, are there any? 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Mark Twain And The World of Dreams

The dream is the greatest of all psychic phenomena, for like a god the dreamer is a creator of worlds.  But what are dreams?  Shadows of our waking life, airy nothings? Perhaps not, say some who don’t mind subverting conventional wisdom. According to philosophers C.D. Broad and H.H. Price, our waking minds are immersed in an extended dream world, which continues with its business, even as we carry on in waking reality.

Moreover, there’s a flimsy partition between waking and dream reality.  Dozing off at your desk or on a train ride can plunge you into another world, incongruous and unexpected.  Ingest a magic mushroom or smoke some weed, and a pile of garbage may become an enchanting landscape.  Nearly die and you may find yourself whirling out of your body into a strange light and meeting your dead granny and uncle Harry.     

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Mystery in the Mirror

The other day I woke up and proceeded to wash and shave.  It was still a little dark, so I turned on the overhead light and was startled by the image of myself in the mirror.  “Who’s that?” It flashed on me that I was staring at a mystery.

First my body.  I recalled that about 95 percent of the physical universe, matter and energy, is “dark”—in short, unknown, a mystery.  My second thought was that the origins of living matter is also a mystery. Then something else struck me as strange as I looked at my mirror image.  My mind was invisible! 

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