About the Show
Skeptiko.com is an interview-centered podcast covering the science of human consciousness. We cover six main categories:
– Near-death experience science and the ever growing body of peer-reviewed research surrounding it.
– Parapsychology and science that defies our current understanding of consciousness.
– Consciousness research and the ever expanding scientific understanding of who we are.
– Spirituality and the implications of new scientific discoveries to our understanding of it.
– Others and the strangeness of close encounters.
– Skepticism and what we should make of the “Skeptics”.
Steve Taylor, On Scientism, Spirituality and Going Softly |500|
Dr. Steve Taylor thinks science needs spirituality.
Click here for Steve Taylor’s Website
His new book: Spiritual Science: Why Science Needs Spirituality to Make Sense of the World
Click here for forum Discussion
Audio Clip: [00:00:00] And then there’s Jong Il’s golf game, he is reported to have once claimed to have shot a 38 under par round, as you might expect, no highlights to bring you from that round.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:12] That’s a news report from CNN, well I guess if you can call what CNN does as news. But anyways, it’s about obviously this fantastic golf round of the dear Leader Kim Jong Il. The late great Kim Jong Il and it’s a funny story and I thought it’d be kind of an interesting capstone to Episode 500 of Skeptiko and in this episode, of course you’re going to hear a lot of the same stuff like it or not, that you’ve grown accustomed to with Skeptiko, a clip will explain.
Audio Clip: [00:00:51] My point is you got your book wrong. It’s not that science needs spirituality. Science is doing everything it can to keep spirituality infiltrating where they’re trying to go. So when I’m saying, is that you can sort of trace materialism to historical factors, cultural factors, which are not necessarily linked to the social engineering process.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:01:16] That is, by the way, our very excellent guest, Dr. Steve Taylor, who is a terrific guy and we really synced a lot of things, but not so much in some other things, again, what you’ve come to expect with Skeptiko. But I want to get back to the golf story, because it’s very skeptical as well. First off I gotta tell, you haven’t heard the clip that first introduced me to the golf story, I don’t even know this thing about Kim Jong Il, but a couple episodes back, which will be coming up because the order that I’m putting these out is a little out of sequence. Matt Whitman, a guest from the 10 minute Bible hour terrific guest really loved having this guy on. Anyways we’re talking about the credibility of different sources and he brought up as an example, yeah well of course, I mean, no one would believe the North Korean government issuing a press release saying that Kim Jong Il’s shot 38 under par, including, by the way, five hole in ones on that route. So we laughed, got our chocolate, made the point, kind of moved on. But as I, a lot of times do, I got to thinking about that and I said, is that really a real story? How did it come down? And the reason I did it, as I’ve explained so many times on this show, is that I’ve been duped. So the first thing I did is just a quick Google search. Is this really a story that’s out there? And yeah, it’s this story that’s turned into this meme and it’s kind of echo chamber example of how wacky North Korea’s is. So next layer down, I found a link, five top fake news stories about North Korea and like this it’s really interesting, I don’t know how to make this any quicker, I’ll try and make it as quick as I can. But in these five myths, what they start out with, their number five on the list is North Korea beat Brazil in the World Cup and won the World Cup. And then they go on to say how this isn’t really a myth inside of North Korea,
Ralph Blumenthal, On John Mack and the Alien Abduction Non-Reality |499|
Ralph Blumenthal, is a veteran NYT journalist and has written the ultimate biography of John Mack.
Click here for Ralph Blumenthal’s Website
His new book: The Believer: Alien Encounters, Hard Science, and the Passion of John Mack
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Audio Clip: [00:00:00] Getting in the truck. You put this shit on the accelerator, then when I yell go, you go Nick.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:12] That’s from the movie, The Signal, where Nick and Haley, along with another MIT student whose name I can’t remember, are on a cross country trip to kind of work on some issues with Haley and his relationship, but what they don’t realize is that the hacking, they did it MIT is following them because actually, it was part of an alien abduction government sponsored program, really alternative reality simulation kind of thing.
Ralph Blumenthal: [00:00:39] How about last year?
Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:42] I hope not. Because as wacky as that might sound in the sci-fi movie reality or in, it might be a lot closer to the non reality we’re all in. And at the end of the day, that’s really what this amazing book by today’s guest and author Ralph Blumenthal, who’s written a biography about John Mack. Well, that’s what it’s really all about. Here’s a clip from the interview.
Audio Clip: [00:01:14] What John Mack has done, along with a bunch of other people has shifted the burden of proof. These experiences that people are having are not the way that we’d normally talk about them real, because my read of it is they are real, we just don’t know what real is anymore. What are your thoughts? Right, absolutely, you could not, I couldn’t have said it better. Now John often said, if anyone has a better explanation, I’m willing to hear it. So it’s not mental illness, it’s not a mass delusion because these people don’t get together. It’s not publicity seeking because they shy away from publicity. They don’t want to be known, they’re questioning, they wish it wasn’t true. It’s not books they read or movies they’ve seen cause kids two years old tell these same stories. So he’s eliminated all these other things that it’s not. So then he says, Okay so as far as I know, nothing has happened to these people other than what they said…
Alex Tsakiris: [00:02:11] Welcome to Skeptiko, where we explore controversial science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers and their critics. I’m your host Alex Tsakiris and today we welcome Ralph Blumenthal to Skeptiko. Ralph is the author of The Believer, Alien Encounters, Hard Science and The Passion of John Mack. I really love the title by the way Ralph, it captures so much to anyone who reads the book you know, there’s some kind of, you’ve done a lot with just a few words there, even with the end, The Passion of John Mack I thought was great.
Ralph Blumenthal: [00:02:46] Thank you, thank you. Well a lot of work went into that title.
Alex Tsakiris:[00:02:50] You know, titles are important, I know they are ,
Whitley Strieber, Jesus Stuff |498|
Whitley Strieber knows a lot about the alien abduction phenomenon and has written new book about Jesus.
Click here for Whitley Strieber’s Website
His new book: Jesus: A New Vision
Click here for forum Discussion
That’s a clip from the movie, the last temptation of Christ and that’s David Bowie. Believe it or not. Playing Pontius pilot. You know, I usually like to keep these introductions rather short and kind of let all of us kind of figure this stuff out, have our own experience with it, but I kind of feel like I need an expanded. Introduction to this one, because I’ve had a couple of interviews lately with some Christian friends, people I really, really like honor and respect who seemed to just not be grokking the basics of my understanding of this. So let me kind of lay this out. Number one is.
I honor her. Your spiritual experience, your Christ consciousness experience. If that’s what it is. And not because I’m a particularly nice guy, but because as you’ve heard the data compels me to understand that you are more than a biological robot, meaningless universe, that there is this extended realm and that you could very well be connecting with it in some way that makes.
Christ consciousness. Very real.
So I’m down with that. But if you’re going to connect. Your spiritual experience with history and history is tricky, but let’s just pretend there is this shared consensus reality that we call history and we all try and agree on. Let’s just kind of make that a given if you’re going to connect your spiritual experience with some texts, with some documents, with some archeological evidence. Well, then that’s a different discussion.
And here’s the rub. The gospels.
Are not historical. Like if you go to seminary, And you study this stuff deeply. You learn that pretty quickly. I said, Okay. Yeah. You know, there’s different translations. There’s contradictions, there’s conflicts, all that kind of stuff. Even most Christians kind of get that. They’ve kind of been beat up by that enough and there’s enough popular books. They get that they can’t take their gospels. Literally.
but there is this lingering, false impression. Among Christians that, you know, despite those problems. The gospels are still well, basically historical. I mean, I kind of got the gist of it. Here is Jesus meeting with poncho pilot. I got to tell you, go look at your gospels. That is right out of the gospels.
But it didn’t happen. I mean. The best evidence we have.
And before I get to that evidence, let me just stop right there. Because if what I’m about to present to you is true or even close to true or leaning towards true. Then I want you to start wrapping your head around the implications of that. Cause it’s not just about the movie. It’s about the gospels.
And the gospels are talking about a scene from history. Jesus sitting down kind of hashing it out there with old ponchos pilot. If that didn’t happen. And it is in the gospels and it’s reported by all the gospels, just in different ways. Well then. You see what I’m saying?
William Ramsey, Lawyering Christianity |497|
William Ramsey is an attorney turned investigative report who exposes occult related crimes.
Click here for William Ramsey’s Website
Abomination: Devil Worship and Deception in the West Memphis Three Murders
Click here for forum Discussion
Audio Clip: [00:00:04] The story of Jesus is the greatest story ever told, that helped shape Western culture, teacher, leader, saviour.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:19] Okay, enough of that. That’s from the History Channel. It’s a documentary, of course on Jesus, they run it every year around Easter and it’s a way to try and attach some history to the whole Jesus thing in a way that really isn’t very historical. And that whole topic is particularly relevant today’s show. I mean, that’s what today’s show was about. I have a Christian history’s Smackdown with a guy I really like and respect. Attorney turned author and investigative researcher, journalist, William Ramsay, who was nice enough to kind of indulge me in this dialogue about this history. Here’s a clip.
Audio Clip: [00:01:10] The most quoted and referenced Christian thinker who knew Peter and all those other people, right? So that’s also another kind of problem with the Josephus kind of view. The gospels being you know, pure political document. But there’s other elements within Christianity that don’t comport with the kind of superficial surface, kind of generalized doctrines that Christians and non Christians perceive as being what Christianity is about.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:01:42] Yeah I just, that winds up sounding a lot like gobbledygook to me. I mean there is no, just because there is no, you know, you can cherry pick out of Paul and cherry pick out of Buddha and I mean again, the part about Christianity that I think a lot of us sit back and go, how are you even processing that is to say, there’s this special time 2000 years ago, well what about all the people that came before? Welcome to Skeptiko, where we explore controversial science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers and their critics. I’m your host, Alex Tsakiris. Today we welcome William Ramsay back to Skeptiko. William is an attorney, researcher, and author and the creator of William Ramsay Investigates, which I think is fantastic. It’s one of my go to podcasts that I always listened to and William was on a while back and we had just a great conversation. I learned so much and if you know this show, you know one of the things that’s really influenced me on, is this kind of deeper understanding of what’s going on in this crossover, a cult reality, Hollywood wink nod, and conflicting that or contrasting that I should say, with kind of the atheistic, secular, wokeness, well none of that stuff could be true. So we had this super interesting conversation last time and the books that he’s written, Children of The Beast, his book about Alistair Crowley, abomination about the West Memphis three, which is really kind of an interesting dive and especially since so many people just don’t know the facts of that case but you do now that I’ve hammered on them for so many times, and then the prophet of evil Alister Crowley, 911 and the New World Order. Is there anything else that you’ve written since then?
Terje Simonsen, The Future of Parapsychology |496|
Terje Simonsen, on the where parapsychology has been and where it’s headed.
Click here for Terje Simonsen’s Website
THE BOOK: A Short History of (Nearly) Everything Paranormal: Our Secret Powers Telepathy, Clairvoyance & Precognition
Click here for forum Discussion
Audio Clip: [00:00:00] Do you do problems? No. Never? I always found them irrelevant, positions that never come up in actual games. Let me show you what I think you might like.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:13] That’s a clip from a Netflix show called The Queen’s Gambit about a woman chess player and I have an interview coming up in a minute with Terje Simonsen, who has written an excellent book about parapsychology. But as you’ll hear, we want to talk about a lot of other things, including chess.
Terje Simonsen: [00:00:33] I used to play chess with the Grand master of the Ordo Templi orientis, here in Norway. And he is quite famous because you know, The Norwegian black metal familiar in the music, they were famous for burning churches, and he was some kind of ideological load staff for them you know, Seaman Miska. And he did not to respect me because, you know, I tried to be a good guy and somehow I felt he was despising that because I wanted out for power and conjuring spirits. And so, but after I beat him seven times in a row in chess, he started respecting.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:01:09] But we did talk about parapsychology too. And I think there is a strangeness to where parapsychology has gone. It’s just made itself irrelevant. And I think part of the reason it’s made itself irrelevant is because it’s tried to thread that needle in a way that divorces itself from spirituality.
Terje Simonsen: [00:01:32] Very interesting. I share lots of your say, General considerations about this. What I miss in parapsychology is the say, the existential aspect of it.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:01:47] Welcome to Skeptiko, where we explore controversial science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers and their critics. I’m your host Alex Tsakiris and today we welcome Terje Simonsen to Skeptiko. Terje has a new book , it’s republication of a book but he’s added some stuff, It’s a great book. A Short History of nearly everything paranormal, our secret powers, telepathy, clairvoyance and pre cognition. This is a book that is getting a lot of attention. It won the 2019 Book Award from the Parapsychology Association.It’s gotten very nice reviews and accolades from no less than Dean Raidn and other folks in the parapsychology community. So it’s really quite an accomplishment and Terje It’s great to have you on Skeptiko. Thanks for joining me.
Terje Simonsen : [00:02:45] Thanks for having me, I’m so good. I have always admired the interviews you have done, so yeah.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:02:51 ] We’ll see what you think at the end. We are going to have a good time. You know the Skeptiko drill, there’s so much to cover. I want to say that this book is is great. Anyone who is interested in parapsychology will enjoy this book. And I think we’ll find it important, it fills in a lot of gaps,
Richard Smoley, Does Magic Work? |495|
Richard Smoley is a respect religious scholar who thinks magic is real.
Click here for Riochard Smoley’s Website
Click here for forum Discussion
Audio Clip: [00:00:00] You mean I have to live out the rest of my life in this body? No f*****g way. You got me into this, you get me out. I can’t do that Chucky. Why not? Cause you’re an abomination. An outbreak against nature. Now you prefer to take everything I’ve taught you and use it for evil, and you have to be stopped.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:29] That’s Chucky from, I don’t know, one of my Chucky movies. And he’s consulting with the Voodoo doctor that got him into this mess in the first place. Of course, this is more movie fantasy. But again, is it? For anyone who’s really studied magic very much like today’s awesome guests, Richard Smoley, the lines can get rather blurry. You reference black magic, that’s going to be, immediately that’s where everyone goes?
Richard Smoley: [00:01:02] Well I think there is a certain reality to it. Irish taxi driver in Honolulu, who got involved with a native Hawaiian girl and her mother really did not like this at all. She told him whole off but he didn’t. And he suddenly started to become subject to paralysis from the feet up little by little by little by little. So then someone who was familiar with these things said, I think there might be some magic involved here, let me go and talk to this mother. I don’t know, maybe there is maybe not but I think that maybe if he gets on the next boat to the mainland things will be alright. And you know, that evening, this cab driver was right and took the next boat to San Francisco.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:01:51] And speaking of blurry lines, what happens when we apply that same sensibility to Oh, Christianity, Is Jesus an egregore?
Richard Smoley: [00:02:04] No, I think Jesus was a historical figure and…
Alex Tsakiris: [00:02:08] Is Christ Consciousness an egregore because Jesus as a historical figure is kind of a cop out. I mean,Bart Ehrman, who is essentially an atheist thinks Jesus is a historical figure too. He was some wandering guy who went around and said a couple of things. You almost come to the point of saying that in the book, the truth about magic, you say the Christian Gods can best be understand as an egregore. The Tibetan Buddhists call it a Tulpa.
Richard Smoley: [00:02:35] I wouldn’t say so.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:02:37] This is a great level three chat with a truly remarkable researcher and knowledgeable guy. I gave him a pretty hard time, but I have the ultimate respect for Richard. Let’s get right to the interview. Welcome to Skeptiko where we explore controversial science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers and their critics. Today we welcome Richard Smoely to Skeptiko. Richard of course,is a Harvard and Oxford trained scholar in religion and philosophy, and a recognized expert on all sorts of stuff related to Christian mysticism, Gnosticism, Theosophy and all other kinds of stuff that we like to talk about here on Skeptiko. Richard has a new book out The Truth About Magic, which I’m sure we’ll talk quite a bit about. But I’m hoping we can also get him to talk about some of his other research and some of his other work, particularly one that I’ve referenced before on this show and in my book, How God Became God, what scholars are really saying about God and the Bible,
THC brought me here. You have a nice voice and I’m happy to hear what you have to say. 5 stars to you.
Host is full of himself
If you’re going to have a guess let them speak. Who cares about Josephus? Your guess, Whitley wanted to talk about Jesus. But instead, you use a false argument about Josephus and Pontus Pilate. If I was Whitley, I would have ended the interview.
People of your kind, self aggrandizing, want to be intellectual, telling us we all have it wrong and your opinions are the only ones that mattes, can just go back to your mommies and grow up.
Never wrote a podcast review and had to because of the unprofessionalism of Alex right from the start of this interview was very negative.
I came here because I listened to him with Greg Carlwood and wanted to hear his other shows.
Whitley is on a book tour making his rounds and Alex has to hammer Whitley about his knowledge of Josephus throughout the time I listened and would not move on, even when asked several times.
If this was a boxing match Alex got KO’ed in the first round, Whitley had to correct Alex on several occasions - Alex even saying at one point “ I miss spoke”, I actually have a new respect for Whitley after this interview he was so knowledgeable.
As for This interviewer Alex, I found him to be foul mouthed and pompous, he was defiantly reading his facts from a screen throughout his conversation and thankfully Whitney was there to correct him, This is what happens when you mix mental illness and narcissism.
And to use the word “grokking ” in his description of this show meaning “ To comprehend something fully usually with the help of intuition or empathy “ while talking about this subject should have been our first clue