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Thesis/SummaryEdit

In this episode, we are going to explore a question that many an atheist lies awake pondering - why do people believe some things that are not really supported by a high level of evidence (well, any evidence at all). Joining us in our quest, is another one of Emma's American internet friends, "Stars". As you will hear, Emma and Stars met years ago through a now defunct podcast that explored esoteric topics such as these with a good dose of humour. So, the girls have an interest in what we shall call "the paranormal", but the boy - not so much. Let's get ready to rumble.

Joe, Stars. Stars, Joe.

JIS of The Week (Joe to read)Edit

Now before we introduce you properly Stars, we must indocrtrinate you with the JIS of The Week.

JIS stands for "Jesus Is Saviour" (dot.com). This is an awesome website that has more comedy gold than you could ever hope for as a podcast host. Every episode we search JIS dot com for words of wisdom that relate to the topic of this week's discussion.

This week it's Joe's turn to read it.

So, Stars, are you ready to receive the JIS that Joe is about to bestow upon you?

OK, here it is.

From the page entitled "The Great Pyramid"

(http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/False%20Religions/Illuminati/great_pyramid.htm)

On the back of a US dollar bill, you can see a pyramid with a flat top. No one has been able to explain why the Great Pyramid would have been built without a capstone. This is an interesting story associated with a visit to the top of the great pyramid. Many tourists have climbed to the top, which is not an easy journey. One such person was Sir Siemen's, a British inventor. He climbed to the top with his Arab guides.

One of his guides called attention to the fact that when he raised his hand with outspread fingers, he would hear an acute ringing noise. Siemen raised his index finger and felt a distinct prickling sensation. He also received an electric shock when he tried to drink from a bottle of wine that he had brought with him. Being a scientist, Siemen than moistened a newspaper and wrapped it around the wine bottle to convert it into a Leyden jar (an early form of a capacitor). When he held it above his head, it became charged with electricity. Sparks then were emitted from the bottle.

One of the Arab guides got frightened and thought Siemen was up to some witchcraft and attempted to seize Siemen's companion. When Siemen's noticed this, he pointed the bottle towards the Arab and gave him such a shock that it knocked the Arab to the ground almost rendering him unconscious. When he recovered, he took off down the pyramid shouting loudly. What kind of natural phenomena on the top of the Great Pyramid could produce such an electo-static effect? It would be interesting to conduct additional physics experiments on the top of the Great Pyramid.......

Carefully notice that (Em's add: on the US dollar bill) the capstone is separated from the pyramid. The pyramid base represents mankind, as incomplete and wanting. The capstone represents the enlightened few, i.e., the Illuminati, who reign in power over the world, and control the masses through the occult. Biblically, Satan is the god of this sinful world (2nd Corinthians 4:4), and appears as an angel of light (2nd Corinthians 11:13,14). The Bible teaches that Satan was previously, Lucifer, one of the archangels in Heaven. Lucifer rebelled against God, demanding equality (just as the feminists do), and was cast down to the earth. {C If you understand that Satan is a master deceiver and liar, and always appears in a deceptive form, then it becomes much easier to understand the occult, and how they operate. Many of today's top U.S. politicians are occult members, attending Satanic ceremonies annually at the Bohemian Grove in California. The occult is rich in symbolism, that the average person doesn't understand, and tragically has no desire to understand. The Illuminists blatantly mock the woeful ignorance of society today. The masses are as sheeple, headed for certain destruction.

We are living in the Last Days. That pyramid on the back of every U.S. dollar is everywhere today. It is Masonic, a demonic cult that operates as an organization within an organization to deceive the public and ignorant lower-level members. Charles Russell (founder of the Jehovah's witnesses), and Mary Baker Eddy (founder of Christian Science) both have giant Illuminati pyramids parked atop their graves.

The Great Pyramid was built unfinished, because Satan has desired to unite mankind once again in rebellion against God, since his plot was thwarted at Babel in Genesis 11:1-9. It certainly seems plausible that the reason why the Illuminati pyramid on the back of every U.S. dollar is unfinished, represents Satan's plot and desire to finish what was begun at the Tower of Babel. Genesis 11:8 says they were building a CITY, and not just a tower. God stopped them not only from building a tower, but also the entire city. I firmly believe that city to be the New World Order.

STARS!!!Edit

So Stars, tell us about yourself. Oh, and BTW, you may hear Stars calling me "Spooky" or "Spookytooth" during this episode - that was my name on the forum through which we met so that's cool.

Stars: tell us as much as you want to about yourself - where you are, how you grew up, what you do, why you wanted to talk about this topic....

a few specific questions:

  • tell us about your podcast and plug it as much as you want to
  • if you are OK with it, tell us about your upbringing in terms of religion, church etc, and your views on that topic now.
  • what is your favourite meat and why, and how much of it could you eat at one sitting?
  • how much do you love cats?

Our Topic: The ParanormalEdit

So, let's talk about the paranormal.

Merriam Webster's dictionary defines it as "not scientifically explainable" (crap definition). But then they link to Supernatural (go Stars!), which is defined as "of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe; especially : of or relating to God or a god, demigod, spirit, or devil."

Interesting.

Also interesting, is the fact that The Macquarie Dictionary (Australia's national dictionary) doesn't include the word "paranormal" at all. BUT, it does include "paraoccupational" - who the fuck uses that word?

For most people, when they think of the paranormal they think of shit like ghosts, UFOs, and cryptids. Joe and I tend to think of God, Jesus and angels, but hey, whatever floats your boat. Other paranormal phenomena that people may not think of as often are EVPs (electronic voice phenomena), near death experiences, past lives, remote viewing, ESP and possibly demonic possession. That's the trouble with distinguishing between the paranormal and religion - you sorta can't.

Where We StandEdit

So Stars and Emma are interested in the paranormal, but let's make it clear that we are not into woo and believing everything that we hear and or see.

We are intellectually interested in what is going on when someone "sees a ghost" or believes they have been abducted by aliens, or have seen Bigfoot. What is that? Is it psychological, a real physical thing, mass hysteria or what?

We don't automatically believe or dismiss reports of paranormal activity.

And mostly, we hate paranormal TV shows like Ghost Hunters and finding Bigfoot.

Have any of us had a paranormal experience?

Possible Explanations for Paranormal EventsEdit

People are crazy (like the bigfoot Fago lady).

Effects of electro magnetic fields - Dr Michael Persinger has done some (not very well replicated) experiments with EMFs stimulating the temporal lobes that produce feelings of other people in the room, or religious experiences.

Persinger reports that many subjects have reported "mystical experiences and altered states" while wearing the God Helmet. The only attempt at replication published in the scientific literature reported a failure to reproduce Persinger's effects and the authors proposed that the suggestibility of participants, improper blinding of participants or idiosyncratic methodology could explain Persinger's results. Persinger argues, mainly on technical grounds, that the replication was flawed.

Ghost hunters like using EMF detectors and seem to think that raised EMF readings are an indication of paranormal activity (cause or effect or neither?).

Faking it - people fake stuff (like the Adamski UFO).

In 1962, Adamski's reputation began to decline after he announced that he would be going to a conference on the planet Saturn..

BUT, it doesn't mean it's all faked.

Neurology - hallucinations, seizures (temporal lobes), ?DMT (Dimethyltryptamine) which is an active ingredient in ayahuasca, but may also occur naturally in the human brain.

Mass hallucinations / hysteria - maybe in some circumstances (like Fatima),

Hypnogogic and hypnopompic states - Mental phenomena that occur during this "threshold consciousness" phase include lucid dreaming, hallucinations, out of body experiences and sleep paralysis.

Other dimensions - ghosts and aliens are from parallel universes and they "pop in" to ours every now and then. Similar to time slips.

cultural/societal expectations - people interpret things they see based on what they expect (e.g. "flying saucers", apparitions of The Virgin Mary etc). Thus, perceptions of what is happening vary depending on the conext in which they occur.

Military experiments - UFOs are military experiments, and ghosts may also be related to advanced technology or mind control techniques.

Hollow Earth - the Earth is hollow and UFOs and cryptids actually come from there.


"Evidence"Edit

Most paranormal experiences are experienced by one person which makes the evidence for them anecdotal. And, really, anecdotal data is not really scientifically credible (it's just a place to start). I guess the question is how many people need to have an experience for it to be accepted as fact?

Also, because of their very nature, paranormal events are impossible to replicate, so researching them is almost impossible. You just have to wait and hope one happens when you're ready to study/measure it.


Trickster TheoryEdit

From George Hansen's web page: The trickster is a character type found in mythology, folklore, and literature the world over; tricksters appear as animals, humans, and gods. They have a number of common characteristics, and some of their most salient qualities are disruption, unrestrained sexuality, disorder, and nonconformity to the establishment. They are typically male. Tricksters often deceive larger and more powerful beings who would thwart them; they may be endearingly clever or disgustingly stupid—both cultural heroes and selfish buffoons. Like much of mythology, their stories appear irrational and are difficult to decipher into logical coherence. Fortunately there is a sizeable body of scholarship on the trickster, in a variety of disciplines, and keys to decoding are found in the concepts of liminality and anti-structure.

Liminal phenomena are typically transient, ephemeral, and have an affinity for chaos, transition, and instability. They are also usually viewed as slightly disreputable.

Marginality is a type of liminality, and paranormal research is viewed as exceedingly marginal, even laughable, by the scientific establishment.

Anti-structure is a synonym of liminality in anthropological theory. The word reflects the transitory, unstable nature of paranormal research groups. Direct attempts to engage the phenomena have side effects; they lead to instability.

Strong manifestations of liminality tend to destabilize established social orders--including bureaucratic institutions of government, business, academe, and religion. Such institutions unconsciously avoid contact with liminal occurrences.

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