New age, horoscopes, reincarnation, levitation etc

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Discussion by: Bumbi
I have a very close person in my life who is the exact opposite of me.  We have had endless discusions on the topic of reason and belief but to no avail. 

I have read a decent amount of literature that equipped me when talking to people like your next door churchgoer who’s not quite sure why he’s paying for service he does not understand well but my friend is a whole different story. She mocks religion, especially Catholics (you have 90% of them in my country) and think that people who belive in Yahweh or Allah are sheep. 

On the other hand she is convinced that she is the exact opposite from sheep because SHE IS DIFFERENT. She knows goverments are not telling us everything (or anything), doctors hide ‘all the good stuff’ because they want to keep humanity ‘in control’. 

She also ‘feels’ that the human brain has no boundaries, and can probably levitate, teleport, and transmit thoughts. 

She realizes that she doesn’t have a single piece of evidence for such statements, but what’s frustrating is that she doesn’t care. Besides, ‘the human brain has no limits’. Basically, anything you can imagine in your mind can exist.

This wouldn’t bother me so much since it can be viewed as philosophical standpoint, but it gets a lot worse: reptile people who control the human race, intergalactic wars that are happening without us knowing about it … Oh, there’s lots more… Mayan prophecy, 12 levels of human mind, afterlife, prelife, reincarnation … oh, just stop me now.
 
You might think – there’s no cure, she should be put on medication, but she is rather intelligent. The problem is, the way I see it, ‘hippy’ parents, a difficult childhood, too much imagination and the lack of an inquisitive mind. Being inquisitive where it counts, that is. Asking questions in the right places. 

How would you battle this sort of wacky philosophy? Her philosophy is so broad and fantasy-like that almost anything can fit. That’s what makes it impossible to make sense out if it and have a meaningful discussion. Not from lack of trying, I tell you.

P.S. English is not my native language so please be sympathetic.

108 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t know if this is a similar thought (I am a Christian) but I was listening to John Lennon’s “Imagine” on the radio a few days ago and it has the line…”and no religion too”.  the radio presenter mentioned it as an anthem for Atheists.  I guess John Lennon might be in the same category as you have mentioned – he didn’t like religion but was very religious/superstitious also and into TM in a big way.

  2. Your friend shows a presuppositional tendency. In other words, if she can imagine something, then that ‘something’ actually (necessarily) exists, but at a level that automatically exceeds the capacity of her imagination.* James Randi has a million-dollar check with her name on it, all she has to do is give incontrovertible evidence for her claim(s).

    Your English is better than you think. Not to worry.
    ___
    * Yo Plantinga, did I get that right?

    • In reply to #2 by ZenDruid:

      Your friend shows a presuppositional tendency. In other words, if she can imagine something, then that ‘something’ actually (necessarily) exists, but at a level that automatically exceeds the capacity of her imagination.* James Randi has a million-dollar check with her name on it, all she has to do…Already tried that and Randy Makes sure if might lose he will make the rules so hard to comply with and then he will tell you that he won’t participate it’s just a scam.

  3. We have a disposition for faith. What your friend is doing is simply fulfilling their evolutionary instinct to have a servile belief in something mysterious or unknowable, because it provides explanations where there are none.

  4. Thanks for your answers. I like theJohn Lennon analogy, it makes sense, especially when she’s a big fan of his.

    Its funny how she’s fullfiling evolutionary instincts, when she *thinks* that evolution is true, but there’s no saying that there are other possibilities. This sort of relativism, not the good kind, annoyes me. It’s like everything goes. She could fit in her reality anything, be that evolution or goblins *sigh*

  5. You get a lot of New Agers erecting huge stacks of stones thinking they are mystical and spiritual. Little do they know the reasoning behind this practice. In ancient times, ‘The Most High’ was a volcano. The higher the volcano the greater the awe and wonder. The Hebrews worshipped volcanoes, the Egyptians built pyramids to emulate volcanoes, the Mayan worshipped volcanoes and also built pyramids to try to entice the fire monster to reside amongst them, there is even a pyramid in Saudi Arabia where there are also volcanoes. In fact, there is a strong correlation between the locations of volcanoes around the world and the locations of pyramids.

    I bet your friend believes in the mysticism of pyramids. Tell her about this link. Tell her that the ancient Hebrews were as ‘pagan’ as pagans.

    Christians/Muslims/Jews denigrate New Agers and New Agers denigrate Christians, etc. What they do not realise is that they are so similar.

    Another thing about New Age beliefs is that frauds are drawn to them. Look up ‘Sai Baba fake’. What a joke! Try getting a New Ager to believe he is a fraud, even in the face of Youtube evidence of his slights of hand, and you will struggle. That’s because believing he is a fake would require giving out negative energy. The New Age is a dream environment for tricksters because no-one wants to question anything. It is a realm of suckers.

    Which does remind me of being in church……

    • In reply to #5 by The Fog Horn:

      You get a lot of New Agers erecting huge stacks of stones thinking they are mystical and spiritual. Little do they know the reasoning behind this practice. In ancient times, ‘The Most High’ was a volcano. The higher the volcano the greater the awe and wonder. The Hebrews worshipped volcanoes, the Eg…

      Just like when a woman picks up a car when her child is trapped under it. It’s not possible. I find skeptics to be the biggest pseudoscientists of all. They will do anything they can to manipulate the facts so that they will appear to be correct. Even carry out bogus studies to prove that what they say is correct even though the premisses and the design of their experiments are completely flawed.

  6. I think she sounds great.  Could be lots of fun to be around.

    Maybe she has some talent as a writer of fantasy?  There must be a way to harness such a creative imagination.  Otherwise, stop being such a downer, sit back, and enjoy.   It’s ok to Just Make Stuff Up, as long as you know you’re doing it.   Never let truth get in the way of a good story.

    Believing it – I mean, really, believing it, as opposed to just pretending to in order to get a rise out of someone – is another matter. 

    I’d be very wary of attempts to rein in her powerful imagination – treatments, therapies, medication (heaven forbid!) – all sounds like going the way of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.  Or ThoughtCrime, as in Orwell’s 1984.

    At least, since she doesn’t trust governments, she knows there are liars and frauds out there,  hopefully she’ll be as skeptical as anyone about any particular snake-oil vendor, even while she may enjoy their stories.

  7. I’ve met many people of this type. Yes, O’Hooligan is probably correct; she’s probably lots of fun.  Pass this woman a bowl of whatever and she’s probably into it. I also get where you are coming from.

    New Age types believe that they are enlightened because their mind is on a higher level than most people. Excluding the concept of Consciousness, they are probably right. New Age types tend to be nonjudgmental (except toward traditional religions in which people are not.) They are open to people of different lifestyles, tend to really care about people, want peace and cooperation, and believe everyone is on their own spiritual path of some sort. Sheeple follow organized religion in which prayer is rote and they are told what to do.  In the end (after many lifetimes) – everybody gets IT.  Self-acceptance and acceptance of others is generally strived for. People  here complain about the intolerance of people when they went to church. It was difficult for me to get used to people on atheist websites who belittle, complain, and act with unskilled behavior. My former church filled with pretty together people except for a few nuts.

    This friend is probably a master at bridging two seemingly uncommon
    things or ideas together. She could make an ice cream cone and Jupiter
    go together. Making sense and feeling “right” are more important than
    something actually being true.

    Here’s the problem. You don’t know the lingo – and I don’t mean English – I mean space cadet. Unfortunately, I cannot be with you to help you out since I am fluent in space cadet. Yet, I don’t know if I can help you because I don’t think she can help herself. I have a theory. This stuff is a big waste of time because they don’t
    want to look at something differently for a variety of reasons. It’s a distraction for avoiding seeing life as it is and dealing with it. It’s much more fun to dwell in possibility than to realize your shortcomings. If you believe life is an illusion then you’re supposedly OK living in another delusion or idealizing because strangely she believes that these ideas are real. The best you can hope for is that she takes full responsibility for her life – financially, legally, professionally and in all her relationships.

    If you do address her views, don’t get confrontational. If she brings something up, just state the facts and use this as a conversation starter or drop it. You could also add a fact or interesting current event into a conversation. Also, if the two of you witness someone who uses a logical fallacy, point it out and explain it to her. Point out how someone else “begs the question”, uses an” argument from authority”  etc. Comment – “Did you hear that argument from authority?  Just because someone else is highly regarded doesn’t mean that they are correct or more knowledgeable. By doing this you start to build a common vocabulary and understanding. Then somewhere a long distance  from now you could say. “Hey you just used an argument for authority. How is this guru so much better and wiser than others?

    • In reply to #8 by QuestioningKat:

      I’ve met many people of this type. Yes, O’Hooligan is probably correct; she’s probably lots of fun.  Pass this woman a bowl of whatever and she’s probably into it. I also get where you are coming from.

      New Age types believe that they are enlightened because their mind is on a higher level than mos…

      Just like transcendental meditation, it doesn’t work.

    • In reply to #8 by QuestioningKat:

      I’ve met many people of this type. Yes, O’Hooligan is probably correct; she’s probably lots of fun.  Pass this woman a bowl of whatever and she’s probably into it. I also get where you are coming from.

      New Age types believe that they are enlightened because their mind is on a higher level than mos…

      No you are the authority and you know don’t you

  8. I have a similar situation with my 40 year old son.
    For me it is frustrating to see that he, a.o. a rheumatic patient, refuses to seek medical treatment.
    So far it was never such a problem because he was only responsible for himself.
    This has changed when he became father of a lovely daughter and denied her to get vaccination.

    His views are strongly influenced by a mutual 66 year old friend who believes almost anything.
    Both are heavily relying on information found on the internet, e.g. at http://www.naturalnews.com.
    I have had plenty heated but fruitless discussions with both of them.
    They really think that science is not only just another believe, but that it is corrupted by the big money industry.

    Generally, the argument my son is using is that I cannot show one document, based upon independent investigation, that clearly demonstrates the benefit of vaccination, but that he can come up with plenty counter-examples.
    From his viewpoint he is right.

    Help..

    • In reply to #10 by BertMorrien:

      I have a similar situation with my 40 year old son.For me it is frustrating to see that he, a.o. a rheumatic patient, refuses to seek medical treatment.So far it was never such a problem because he was only responsible for himself.This has changed whe1!n he became father of a lovely daughter and denie…

      Funny because in Sky and Telescope magazine, of which I am a regular reader as I am an astronomer, one of the researchers made a comment tongue in cheek, that orthodox findings provided assured funding, even though the article was about some unorthdox findings about the pulsations of the size of the sun. Everyone knows that only accepted views get funding. No it’s not manipulated!

  9.  Plenty of “old” diseases like Polio are back on the rise (mostly in impoverished countries.) The older generation has witnessed this disease and knows first hand the benefits of vaccination. Show him Polio statistics before and after the vaccine. Then show him statistics of Polio back on the rise after people stopped taking vaccination seriously. Do this with whooping cough (explain herd immunity) and show the death statistics of infants.

  10. “How would you battle this sort of wacky philosophy?”

    from personal experience i’d say don’t bother. I know people who have exactly the same beliefs, so similar in fact that your example and an example of a friend of mine share more beleifs than any two catholics I’ve ever met so I personally think “new-age/conspiracy-theorising/mayan-prophecy/ufo-spotting/ass-hattery” should be recognised as a major religion.

    there is no difference. first premise: all other beliefs are false (a scientific viewpoint would be to use reason to dismantle individual tennets). second premise: anyone who doesn’t believe you has in some way been convinced by “the enemy”. catholics have devils, these guys have the CIA.third: there are two sides to life; good and evil. no social complexity just simple dogma.

    like all religions of course science is the enemy, while at the same time science will be used to back up the most rediculous claims. logic goes out the window. aliens pop over to earth on spaceship so small and with such advanced technology that not one major telescope can spot them (they are powerless against the mighty handi-cam though), yet at the same time, humans are incapable of walking on the moon even with the largest rocket ever built. the so called faked landings (and sadly i know too many people on this mantra) are supported by the fact that the footage taken does not look like it was directed by george lucas. NASA managed to pay off literally millions of individuals who to this day continue to lie about the fact they were monitoring a space craft that landed on the moon, yet they were unable to afford a decent special FX director to make the footage look more like flash gordon.

    There is nothing you can do. treat them like any other believer, avoid discussing it until they come to you to talk about their doubts

  11. The best approach is probably to provide positive assertions and gently demonstrate how they contradict others. Rather than reacting to a ridiculous assertion with a description of why it’s logically problematic, look for other cases where that logical approach can be applied. The main thing is to consider their emotional state when imparting information, along with those generally associated with the information. Atheism and scepticisms’ application to religion and other woo have been skilfully associated with hostility, for instance. So apply them to something else more neutral or positive, e.g. repairing some shoes or assembling an art project. Once they get the principle, present religion in such a way that it’s easy to apply the mode of reasoning to it. This may take quite a few attempts and reminders. It’s also useful to present things in terms that they appreciate. They may have the reasoning equivalent of dyslexia (or illiteracy, in some unfortunate cases), but that doesn’t mean they’ll never get it. It’ll just take longer.

  12. “She also ‘feels’ that the human brain has no boundaries, and can probably levitate, teleport, and transmit thoughts. “

    she’s not entirely wrong. the human brain has been inventing flying machines for decades, transmitting thoughts through the use of language for millennia and teleportation has been achieved at a quantum level in labs

    • In reply to #14 by null:

      “She also ‘feels’ that the human brain has no boundaries, and can probably levitate, teleport, and transmit thoughts. “

      she’s not entirely wrong. the human brain has been inventing flying machines for decades, transmitting thoughts through the use of language for millennia and teleportation has be…
      Studies done with many thousands of people in Europe have shown that people know when someone is looking at them even though they can’t see the person watching them. Be scientific and not superstitious, as most skeptics are. They call their superstitions hard facts, when in fact they don’t even really understand the universe. Spend about twenty years really studying things and then form your opinions. Then you will have a basic understanding.

  13. OHooligan, interestion point of view, I’ve never thought about it that way. Since it really is true what QuestioningKat said
    ‘New Age types tend to be nonjudgmental (except toward traditional religions in which people are not.) They are open to people of different lifestyles, tend to really care about people, want peace and cooperation, and believe everyone is on their own spiritual path of some sort.’
    It would really be wise to cool off. I always have the truth in mind and value it highly but the fact is that she’s really easy to get along with, and her openmindness let’s her be that way.. I should stop being a party breaker I guess :)
    I keep forgeting what’s the real trouble with religion, it’s not the fact that it is a pile of rubbish but the fact that it is the cause of some major problems around the world.

  14. A lot of it is meta-explanations or meta-themes, i.e. it is a kind of mythology on top of something more concrete. Belief in this case is not a solid commitment like a religious person (based on faith) or a scientist (based on evidence) would make.  Rather it is a temporary state, adopted (in this case) for probably emotional reasons — i.e. it has a practical use to your friend at an emotional level.

    For example end of the world stuff (2012) is probably something to do with needing to feel that kind of final ultimatum or terror or urgency.  A positive use of that state would be to become less emotionally attached to useless things, i.e. a kind of spring clean.  For example, compare the two questions: “Why do people go to terror movies?” versus “Why do people believe in a coming apocalypse?” — both create an emotional state, one temporarily, the other over a slightly longer period. This is living the ‘movie’ in real life — for a while at least. You could think of it as an extended form of role-play.

    Similarly other beliefs are useful to her to address other things at the emotional level. It is like giving names to things as yet unnamed. ‘Reptile’ stuff may be about explaining a kind of pattern of control, and the attitudes of the powerful. Other people might explain it in more direct terms. The mythology may be distracting, but it is just a way of expressing something concrete in abstract terms — just not the abstract terms you’re familiar with. At least that’s how it seems to me.

    I find the same thing with religious people. If someone calls on God to bless me, I just look at the underlying motivation, and that is that they wish me well. Ignoring all the mythology, at the fundamental level there is one person wishing another well, and I can’t object to that. So your challenge is to see through the mythology to what it is all really about.

  15.  Lennon, like a lot of people in the 60′s, was into all sorts of things for a short while and then moved on. He wasn’t into TM very long and later wrote a great song mocking the Maharishi called “Sexy Sadie”. But in general I agree with your point, Lennon was a good example of someone who was  “spiritual but not religious”, he tried all sorts of new age approaches to psychology and philosophy.

    • In reply to #18 by Red Dog:

      Lennon, like a lot of people in the 60′s, was into all sorts of things for a short while and then moved on. He wasn’t into TM very long and later wrote a great song mocking the Maharishi called “Sexy Sadie”. But in general I agree with your point, Lennon was a good example of someone who was  “spiri…Are you sure Sexy Sadie was not about Marilyn Monroe?

  16. Sort of agreeing, again.   Nothing has been invented that hasn’t first been imagined.  Imagine flying, when it was impossible.  Imagine going to the moon,  like Jules Verne did.  Now, imagine the next impossible thing. 

    How do you tell if it’s truly impossible, or  only impossible right now because the scientists and technologists and engineers have not yet applied themselves to making it?

    From Wikipedia:
    Clarke’s Three Laws are three “laws” of prediction formulated by the British writer Arthur C. Clarke. They are:

      – When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost
    certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong. 

    – The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible. 

    - Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

  17. Interesting enough.  Of course volcanoes must have had an Impact on the locals.  Easy enough to imagine people trying to explain what’s just happened:  the gods got angry etc.   But then they gave us fertile ground as some kind of compensation.  Go figure.  Easy also to imagine how smooth talking opportunists might try to take advantage.

    But of course, having seen StarGate, I know that pyramids are really docking stations for a particular model of iSpaceship.

  18. Maybe you are joking ot maybe you are serious. Nothing would surprise me. Humans will go to extreme lengths to cling on to illogical ideas. I’ve come across plenty of people who at first accept the volcano god theory, accept it sounds perfectly logical and then dismiss it for a more fanciful and sci-fi theory.

    If only more people were ok with the mundane, maybe the whole world would now know that the Abrahamic religions were based on volcanoes.

    • In reply to #26 by The Fog Horn:

      Maybe you are joking ot maybe you are serious. Nothing would surprise me. Humans will go to extreme lengths to cling on to illogical ideas. I’ve come across plenty of people who at first accept the volcano god theory, accept it sounds perfectly logical and then dismiss it for a more fanciful and sci…

      Where was this volcano and how did people think it was yahweh. Do you know what Yaweh means? Yod= I He= am Vav = that Yod= am. Yes humans will go to extremes to cling to weird ideas.

  19. Pity she never took an interest in science; too late now. This ‘I believe in anything’ nonsense can lead to harmful consequences, of which there is no shortage of examples. Please do not assume it is 100% benign.

  20. Pity she never took an interest in science; too late now. This ‘I believe in anything’ nonsense can lead to harmful consequences, of which there are numerous examples. Please do not assume it is 100% benign. 

    • In reply to #28 by JimJFox:

      Pity she never took an interest in science; too late now. This ‘I believe in anything’ nonsense can lead to harmful consequences, of which there are numerous examples. Please do not assume it is 100% benign. 

      What science are you talking about? Quantum mechanics states that the universe would have come into being due to random quantum fluctuations in the matrix, but this presupposes a super existing state where the quantum formulas can’t fluctuate in and create at state of existence. The law of the conservation of information states that information cannot be destroyed. This is proven by the fact that there is no information loss in a black hole. Therefore all the information in the universe was present at the big bang/ We call this the laws of nature. For the pseudoscientific skeptic they call the origins of the laws of nature a just so story- things are just the way they are because that’s the way things are, not that the information was emanated from a super state of non-existence as quantum mechanics tells us.

  21. Oh come on.  Do I need to put smileys and LOL on things that are clearly tongue in cheek.  Rent Stargate and eat some popcorn for f***s sake.

    So, it’s volcanoes all the way down.  Well, beats turtles I suppose.   Take that how you will.

  22. Aaargh!!!  What an ugly website.   I couldn’t stand it enough to actually read any words.   Still, that’s probably the point.  Like the reason Nigerian Scams always say they’re from Nigeria – it immediately puts off anyone with an ounce of sense, as these are not their target market.

    Congrats robert for being able to suppress the gag reflex long enough to look at that site.

  23. I’m from Croatia :) you were on the right track though :)
    Funny you should mention this site, not two days ago me and a co-worker of mine laughed are a** off when he showed it to me. There is a croatian version too. I ‘love’ how it looks like the worst MySpace page ever! It’s amazing that no one thinks, hey if he is intergalactical overlord with 10 mil (!) spaceship fleet, how come he doesn’t make a decent looking web site?

  24. I take an interest in such things. I believe none of these mystical things, but I study them. I find I respect people who believe this nonsense by finding a sincere interest in these beliefs and always being charitable in my assumptions.

    For instance: Reptile people, this comes from David Icke’s mythology, which is inspired by the Maclean triune model of the brain. Reptiles are entities without access to the frontal (mammalian) lobes of the brain. Alcohol induces this state, as do many pathogens, toxins, abuse, stress, and skewed values. The frontal lobes are thought to be where we process compassion, morality, empathy, and other traits that are known to go along with hair and nipples.  Believers in this myth identify many politicians as reptiles. This is how they denote an absence of moral judgment, of humanity. They may also look at a serial killer as a reptile. Perceiving a reptile is intuitive (in the valid, scientifically modeled sense of intuition as a cognitive function)

    In addition to Icke, many thinkers have modeled the human experience this way. Terrence McKenna and H.P. Lovecraft both referred to Reptiles as licentious being with no morality, which is how I feel after a bottle of wine and a brain scanner can verify this model. It’s like a language. You can learn to speak it. Sometimes people have brilliant minds and no access to intellectual resources outside of the vast, complex web of New Age hokum, and that is what they fill their heads with. Some people can talk about Star Trek as possessing the sum of human wisdom, because that’s what they studied. For others it is Homer, or the Bible.

    Perhaps you are the incurious one, with no education in her mythology, her language. If she has flaws (as we all do) they will be colored by these bizarre beliefs. I believe truth matters and absurdities lead to atrocities, so it’s not relative, but absent severe character flaws, if you have a problem it’s probably a personal one.

    Also, if it wasn’t for these nutjobs who believe Reptilian overlords are injecting mercury into babies, I wouldn’t know that naive doctors do that. Injecting babies with mercury (thimerosol) is incredibly stupid of us, and there is no scientific evidence to prove it is harmful. People have mystical notions of science, real faith in it. They don’t understand science so they misrepresent it and say it is safe to inject babies with mercury, which is something science can never say. As this offends reason, people are emboldened in their zany ideas of conspiracy, as they actually make more sense (sadly). I would sooner believe Scientology, than the claim it is safe to inject mercury in babies. Some people have to pick the lesser of two absurdities, as not-knowing is an acquired taste.

    Do you demonstrate it?

  25. Approval from an airhead is something to be valued? Pffftttt

    “doctors hide ‘all the good stuff’ because they want to keep humanity ‘in control’ “
    This one takes the cake- what’s ‘the good stuff’…homeopathy?
    This delusional woman (NOT QK- the subject of the post) really irritates me!

  26. ” it’s not the fact that it is a pile of rubbish but the fact that it is the cause of some major problems around the world.”

    However, these two things are intimately related. The embassy attacks were, at least in part, driven by a conspiracy theory.

  27. Natural herbs and ancient wisdom, usually. Part of the idea is that medicine and medical practice is a system of control; that’s not entirely untrue, historically.

    Approval? No, trust. You can’t readily explain things to people if they don’t trust you. If she was an airhead, she wouldn’t be able to imagine so much.

  28. This is what I think is not appropriate here- irrational assertions. Airheads are those who disable their bullshit meters, or don’t have them. Skepticism is the primary weapon of rationality and the airhead lacks it. 
    Much”ancient wisdom” is nothing but woo. If you think modern medicine is a “system of control”, then 

    1. Don’t use it  and pray you don’t fall ill
    2. Go to a more suitable site 
    3. Discuss with fellow eccentrics

    but please don’t do it here

  29. “new age people” tend to not have the social or political influence to cause too much damage (unlike religious types). however, their airy-fairy views on life are very attractive to some. and if something is attractive, it’s marketable so it becomes harmful through the use of the dreaded media.

    in the UK we have publications like “The Daily Mail” which, while making a very servicable litter tray lining, has the harmful side effect of having words printed on it telling you what to think about doctors etc, which has led to a backlash against evidence based medicine. in particular with regards to vaccinations which has led to an increase in dangerous childhood deseases.

    just to get everyone’s blood boiling, I’ve enclosed a link to a publication specifically designed scare people off rationality:

    https://t.emvcdn.com/3/4/1/110

  30. It has been stated here a couple of times that the New Age is not powerful or political. However, having studied it quite extensively I have to disagree. Just because we cannot see what power and influence the movement has does not mean it hasn’t any. One very powerful thing is does do is brainwash people via Youtube videos, of which there are thousands. If you look up, ‘Gallactic Federation of Light’ you will find a huge number of videos, some stating that ‘the others’ (Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists, etc) will be wiped out and a new way of life will start for the chosen few who have meditated enough, got their chakras right, etc. This is of course not dissimilar to the Christian rapture.

    I’ve not watched too many of these videos as they are very brainwashing and may contain tachistocope projections. I do know though that there are many people who do watch them and do believe in their validity.

    Who makes them? Are they made by loons with nothing better to do and with no intention of causing harm? If just loons, they have certainly gone to a lot of trouble to achieve nothing.

    The voices on these videos have been altered by a computer to make them sound more alien. However, on some I did detect a Russian accent. Is mind control the new weapon of Russia, a country that is very New Age?

    It’s just a thought but do not dismiss the New Age as harmless. It’s followers are as fanatical as any religious nutjob and, in my experience, can be very nasty and self centred. After all, they believe that to ascend they must focus on biological improvements (mediation, chakras, etc) while shutting out negativity. This makes a person dispassionate to the point of dismissal of the suffering of others. It makes them only care about themselves….if they get deeply enough into it.

  31. tend to agree. i think someone not long ago on here told a story of how an innocent question on the workings of a “healing crystal” at a market stall left him hospitalised with a crystal shaped wound on his head.

    i’ve met two types of new-age peddlers, the con-artists and the believers, neither take kindly to being asked to back up their claims

  32. Id probably agree that new age belief is at its most dangerous when it collides with medicine. The problems with anything is possible if you release your inner energy,use your mind, channel your chackras, align your quantums etc, really come to the fore when you believe you overcome any illness by meditation, potions or what have you. 

    I tried in vain last year to get the BBC to remove posting on a forum saying that Russian herbal remedies cured cancer one hundred percent of the time whilst chemotherapy killed you. There are the clinics in the Philippines where thousands of people a year are fleeced of their savings when they have a “psychic” operation  to remove tumours. If you’ve seen “Man on the Moon” you’ll know how that tricks done.I personally knew someone who when diagnosed with curable breast cancer and went off looking for an alternative cure. When things got worse she went back to her doctors and was told it was too late. There can be a huge cost to being open to far out ideas whilst at the same time being paranoid about medical science.

  33. Ouch!

    Religious affiliation, which includes the New Age, gives the believer narcissistic supply. That is why most religious people will feel slighted if you say anything challenging about their beliefs, can often become enraged and can, at worst, kill you. That is because your talking is a threat to their narcissistic supply and they rely on that supply, in varying degrees, to bolster their ego and keep a stable sense of self.

    Added to that the fact, as you pointed out, many in the New Age earn money from peddling their beliefs and you get narcissism mixed with the defence of shaky validity to be paid for services rendered.

    It would probably be more dangerous to shout, ‘What a load of rubbish!’ in the middle of a New Age conference than to do it in the middle of a Wahabi mosque, and that is saying something. I once danced facing away from the dj at a trance party while all others faced towards him, lemming-like. I nearly got run off the dancefloor by a woman coming at me like a giant crab. Whatever you do around these people…..do not dare to be original.

    • In reply to #52 by The Fog Horn:

      Ouch!

      Religious affiliation, which includes the New Age, gives the believer narcissistic supply. That is why most religious people will feel slighted if you say anything challenging about their beliefs, can often become enraged and can, at worst, kill you. That is because your talking is a threat…

      Nasa just announced that there are billions of worlds like the earth in the galaxy. The sun is young star. Many stars like the sun are billions of years older meaning that if life evolved there it would be a billion years more advanced than us. There is an astronomer named Dyson who’s formulas show that a civilization would completely colonize a galaxy in far less time than that and would be everywhere in the galaxy. probably observing primitive cultures like our own.

  34. I also had stones thrown at my car resulting in lots of chips in the paintwork after making a few comments under a Galactic Federation of Light video on Facebook. The culprit, a firm believer in New Age ascension and a ‘friend’ on FB, was eventually caught rock in hand.

  35. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

    It doesn’t take long to find a New Age video which tells its viewers that only New Agers will survive something horrible, that those getting in the way of this utopian dream will be removed, etc….

    I once watched on that said everyone but New Agers will die a horribly painful death soon. And what makes it worse is seeing posts on social media made by New Agers expressing their yearning for it to happen!

    Just like all utopian dreams, the New Age creates psychopathic minds.

  36.  I don’t see anything inconsistent between being an atheist and doing yoga. You can do yoga without believing in any new age mumbo jumbo, the same goes for meditation. In both cases I think there are benefits that have been measured scientifically, things like reduced stress.

  37.  What exactly is “narcissistic supply”?  I’ve read a fair amount of psychology and mental health literature and never come across that term. I’ve also met a lot of new agers and have never come across the violent stone throwers you seem to run into so often. All the new agers I’ve ever met have been pretty mellow.

  38. I had a friend almost just like the one you describe.  He thought religion and the like were all nonsense but believed about every conspiracy theory there was.  Honestly, I had to stop being his friend.  It just became too ridiculious for me to handle. 
    People like this just do not understand what constitutes evidence.  And there is really no way to change their mind.  I couldn’t take it anymore and had to just distance myself from him to keep from screaming at him that he is a stupid idiotic moron.

  39. Thanks for all (non-polluting) responses, however, most were about the futility of the believers and, I think, virtually all readers of this discussion are already convinced of that.

    I don’t like the idea to ignore the believers, because they spread their ideas around and the results can be disastrous.

    I hoped for practical ideas and I think the same is true for the starter of this discussion.

    One thing I did, was to give my son a copy of “The Magic Of Rality”, in the hope that he reads, understands and accepts it, with a little pushing of me.

    More generally I think that efforts should be made to lure believers into accessing correct, understandable and acceptable information that make them think again.
    This is not easy; instead of thinking, discussions with my son mainly provoked him to dig up more nonsense from the internet.
    Publishing only is not sufficient, the luring must be done personally.

    Besides richarddawkins.net, there are other valuable websites:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/ri… (The Official Richard Dawkins YouTube Channel)
    http://rbutr.com/ (kind of database concerning contradicting websites)
    http://www.randi.org/site/ (Real 1 million dollar challenge)

    I don’t think this discussion is a good place for good or bad website lists.
    For websites, rbutr.com seems adequate, but I must first dive deeper in it.

    We could try to present a strong contradiction to a specific item on a specific website, and then use it in a personal discussion with a believer.

    Example:
    Google “mercury vaccinations autism” and be amazed.
    Here, the main culprit seems to be:
    http://www.medscimonit.com/ful

    Although e.g. the following excellent website is “Blogging on Peer-Reviewed Research”, it is probably not so good for our purpose because of too much noise.
    http://www.sciencebasedmedicin

    A better idea might be e.g. using the following down-to-earth site, which I eventually found:
    http://faculty.virginia.edu/me

    So, in the next discussion with my son I try to deal with only the mercury issue and hope I know all I need to clear this item up.

    Bert (from the Netherlands)

  40. I don’t run into stone throwers ‘so often’. I have run into a New Age stone thrower once. Why did you say ‘so often’?

    A source of narcissistic supply is anything or anyone that feeds the ego. Every single one of us relies to some extent on narcissm. Without the sources of our narcissistic supply, we would all feel rubbish about ourselves. We all need something to make us feel proud/brave/intelligent etc and we all need someone to make us feel special/loved/admired/etc.

    In the case of religion, people derive narcissistic supply from their affiliation with Jesus/Mohammad/etc or from being known as one of ‘god’s chosen people’. As religion is such an integral part of a person’s life and personality, any threat to it will usually be avoided, attacked or removed. Most religious people will simply close their ears to challenging information and bury their heads in their Bibles. Some will become hostile and a few will become violent.

    The New Age is different as it attracts more narcissistic types due, in part, to the belief god is within. Nothing could attract a narcissist more than something that can make them feel like god or at least gives them the arena to go around unchallenged acting like god. What could be more grandiose than to believe you are a new Jesus?

    Outwardly, most New Agers will appear cool and calm because that is all part of the persona. However, if you were to publicly expose an aspect of the New Age as fraudulent, you would be seen as a threat to the narcissistic supply of the New Agers who witnessed it and the reaction would range from hurt (mild narcissistic injury) to rage and violent retribution (serious narcissistic injury).

    Shouting, ‘This is a load of fraudulent rubbish’ in a New Age conference would be a good way to find out who were the most narcissistic amongst the audience. They would be the ones to sneak off and damage your car to punish you for inflicting narcissistic injury.

    One difference between narcissistically injuring a Christian and a New Ager is that you would mostly be threatening a Christian’s source of love from Jesus. That would normally make a Christian primarily feel forlorn. However, threaten a New Ager’s narcissistic supply and you threaten their chosen lifestyle, their social circle, their fancy dress wardrobe, their hairstyle, their New Age name, their sense of being inline for ascension to 5D earth, their financial investment (they bought a lot of books and DVDs and they don’t want someone to tell them they wasted their money), their time investment (it takes a lot of time to become clued up about the New Age and to learn about all the various practices and revelations)….plus very likely threaten their income given so many in it are earning an income from it in one way or another. In other words, they have far more than a feeling of being loved to defend; they have a complete ‘false self’ to defend.

    I’m not saying all people who meditate are extremely narcissistic or all people who practice yoga would slit my throat if I highlighted the dangers of yoga, but those New Agers who dive into the movement like it’s the next fashion, buy the clothes, change the name and reinvent themselves entirely will likely not take too kindly to someone offering words of honest advice or information on their beliefs….and neither will the self styled Jesuses. This is spiritual materialism at its most extreme and it comes at a high price….and its purchasers will not want to be told they bought shoddy goods.

  41. You know I thought that Karla McLaren article was a fake, because it doesn’t sound like someone who’s been deeply involved in all the new age stuff — and it seems to be saying all the things that sceptics want to hear, like their perfect “star” convert.  But she does seem to exist as some kind of an empath new ager.  How strange. Obviously empathising with sceptics now. I wonder what would come out if she started empathising with Nazis? Mein Kampf? And yes, we need healthy scepticism, but not career sceptics. It’s like some newspaper film critics in the UK — you only read their reviews if you are looking for an excuse NOT to go and see the film.

  42.  “I don’t run into stone throwers ‘so often’. I have run into a New Age stone thrower once. Why did you say ‘so often’?”

    Sorry if I overstated. It just seemed from the tone of your comment that in general new agers tended to be aggressive in your experience and that is the opposite of mine. Probably just reflects the fact that I live in one of the ex hippy capitols of the world, San Francisco.

    “A source of narcissistic supply is anything or anyone that feeds the ego.”

    I don’t think there is any such thing as the “ego”.  I think Freudianism is pseudo-science so I don’t think its concepts have any scientific validity.

  43. Do you have no sense of self? Do you have no identity? Do you not get any feeling of self worth, confidence, self love from anyone or anything? If you do have a sense of self and you do get some feelings of self worth from people and work, etc, then you do have an ego, or whatever you prefer to call it. Your sense of self worth is fueled by good things people say, by looks of approval, by associations with important/good things/people, etc. Are you saying that nothing and no-one affects you? Do you have children? Do you not get a sense of pride when your child achieves something? Do you not feel self satisfaction when your child says you are a good father? Do you not feel great when your wife gives you a loving look? Do you not feel a bit smug when your work is admired? Are you a machine??? Freud did not invent the word or concept ‘ego’. It’s Latin for ‘I’. Are you not an ‘I’?

    I live in one of the most hippy places in the world. Sorry :)

    My experience is that New Agers are more likely to exact revenge if slighted.

  44.  “Do you have no sense of self? Do you have no identity? Do you not get
    any feeling of self worth, confidence, self love from anyone or
    anything?”

    I do have a sense of worth, an identity, etc. I find your reply perplexing. Its analogous to me telling someone “I don’t believe in young earth Creationism” and them replying “don’t you see this wonderful Earth you are standing on?”

    Yes I do see the earth I just don’t think it was created 6,000 years ago. Or in this case yes I have feelings of self, etc. I just don’t think Freudianism is a vallid scientific approach to understand them.

  45.  It is hard. I find it hard too. But the best defence is an offence.

    But what to attack?

    In general I personally think you should attack the reasoning, not the reason. Attack the logic, not the facts the bring forth.

    The fact the come up with are all bullshit… but you know that already.

    Perhaps try to find gaps in his reasoning,.. and attack those. Attack their logic!

    I do not know your situation and I do not know if this works…. but …. try this….

    Next time you have a discussion about these things… record it (perhaps even secretly).

    After you have recorded it,… later listen back and analyse what was actually said. Find logical gaps in his reasoning, failures in his logic.

    Analyse, research a defence on it,…. backed up by stuff you researched about it,… and get right at it the next time you talk about it again.

    You see,… and this is only very human,… you can be overwhelmed by an event, or miss key things in stuff the oponent said during the heat of discussion. There is but ONE way to overcome your adversary,… and that is by studying him/her, .. what he/she said.. analyse… come up with a strategy backed up by DATA… and attack back.

  46. It’s hard or next to impossible to reason with believers of anything and everything. Trying to reason with them is seen as an argument for their wacky philosophy, or ‘I wouldn’t be so eager to prove her wrong’
    She makes so many logical fallacies it’s absurd. I’ve sent her definition of arument from ignorance which can be found in pretty much any sentence she ever said on the topic. Not one argument, but a whole lot of ‘just because it isn’t recognized by most doesn’t mean it’s not true’ – actually she says BECAUSE it’s not recognized by the majority then it MUST be true. An finally, her favorite line – ”I know I can’t prove it, you always try to beat me with logic, I’m not so good with words as you, but it makes sense in my head” The fact is that she’s content with ‘it feels right for me’ and not even sure there is one reality. Quote ‘Whos to say that your and my reality aren’t co-existing? End quote.

  47. Ohooligan referenced:
    “- Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

    Commonly attributed to Arthur C. Clark, from his novel 3001, but it appeared earlier in Dr. Who (Tom Baker).

  48. I live on an island of “New Age” thinkers and it is very annoying. Many dentists here offer aromatherapy and/or acupuncture as a matter of course. Everywhere there are fairy-believing,hippy anarchists who lack critical thinking skills.

    She needs to learn how to think critically and she needs to take the time to become scientifically literate. Belief in magic is for lazy thinkers. Possibly if she understood the art of illusion and how easy it is to manipulate perception? Have her watch the Qualia Soup youtube videos on the supernatural and critical thinking.

    This line ”I know I can’t prove it, you always try to beat me with logic, I’m not
    so good with words as you, but it makes sense in my head” ( and many others like it you have mentioned) make me think she’s either not very smart or possibly has a learning/developmental disability. What is her level of education?

    Your ability to write in English is excellent, by the way. Better than the average undergrad student.

  49. Sorry, still not happy. I wanted to make sure I understood before I said so directly which is why I asked the questions but now I’m sure, your original statement about how new-agers get upset when you interrupt their narcicism or whatever was IMO just pop psychology BS. (Ironically the kind of pop-psych BS I normally associate with new-agers)

    As someone who is serious about psychology I object to people throwing around terms that sound like science but have as much validity as astrology or Freudianism. You really have no actual knowledge or theory or data to make such claims, its really just a way to say you think they are insecure jerks, so fine say insecure jerks, don’t pretend its some deeper theory when its not.

  50. She makes so many logical fallacies it’s absurd.

    I still think you’re missing the point. The purpose of these beliefs isn’t to make logical sense. It is to meet some other needs. They make sense to her at some other level, probably an emotional level. If you can see what needs they are meeting and you can find something better that meets the same needs then you can substitute one for the other. Picking holes in her logic is going to be completely fruitless — IMHO. Have you never read any mythology? Everything is a metaphor, perhaps an incomprehensible metaphor to our modern minds, but clear as day to those whose stories they were. When something “is” something else in these stories you should translate as “has the characteristics of”. If you have the superior intellect, then it should be possible for you to completely understand her and the reasons why she has these beliefs, and then to gently orient her thinking towards the direction you’d prefer. If you don’t yet understand her then you have absolutely no tools at your disposal, no leverage.

  51. You earlier claimed to be well read on psychology but admitted to have never heard the term ‘narcissistic supply’. Now you are saying that anything to do with psychology must be presented in laymans’s terms, such as ‘insecure jerks’. Can you point me to a psychology book you have read that uses such layman’s terms?

    I have no knowledge? I am very well read on the subjects of both narcissism and psychopathy. It is you who doesn’t know the basic term, ‘narcissistic supply’. Are you sure you are not projecting?

  52.  “You earlier claimed to be well read on psychology but admitted to have
    never heard the term ‘narcissistic supply’. Now you are saying that
    anything to do with psychology must be presented in laymans’s terms”

    I don’t object at all to science, on any topic, in fact I like it. What I object to is pseudo-science masquerading as science, which happens with psychology all the time. People throw around terms like bi-polar, narcissism, and sociopath, without understanding what they actually mean.  Just because someone has sad and happy moments doesn’t make them bi-polar and just because someone believes in new age ideas doesn’t make them a narcissist.

    That’s why I asked for a definition of “narcissistic supply”. What you gave me was Freud, or someone built on Freud, which I maintain is pseudo-science.

    But I’m always eager to learn more, please tell me a bit about the theory you are using to make this diagnosis that new age people are narcissists.

    BTW, my qualifications: I have a BS degree in psych, have worked in a psych hospital, and have read Skinner, Pinker, Freud, and many others.

  53. I have spent the last six or seven years reading about narcissim and psychopathy so I do have some knowledge of what I am talking about.
     
    I find your manner slightly bullying. You are also prone to twisting people’s words. I neither said all people who act out on the threat against their narcissistic supply are suffering from NPD nor that all New Agers are suffering from NPD. Please, once again, apologise for exagerating my point to fit your attack.
     
    Do I really need to explain it all again?

    A source of narcissistic supply is anything or anyone that feeds the ego with feelings of admiration, pride, self esteem, etc. Every single one of us relies to some extent on narcissism. Without narcissistic supply, we would all feel rubbish about ourselves. We all need something to make us feel proud/brave/intelligent etc and we all need someone to make us feel special/loved/admired/etc.

    In the case of religion, people derive narcissistic supply from their affiliation with Jesus/Mohammad/etc or from being known as one of ‘god’s chosen people’. As religion is such an integral part of a person’s life and personality, any threat to it will usually be avoided, attacked or removed. Most religious people will simply close their ears to challenging information and bury their heads in their Bibles. Some will become hostile and a few will become violent. Muslims are obviously more narcissistic than are Christians.

    The New Age is different as it attracts more narcissistic types due, in part, to the belief god is within. Nothing could attract a narcissist more than something that can make them feel like god or at least gives them the arena to go around unchallenged acting like god. What could be more grandiose than to believe you are a new Jesus?
    Outwardly, most New Agers will appear cool and calm because that is all part of the persona. However, if you were to publicly expose an aspect of the New Age as fraudulent, you would be seen as a threat to the narcissistic supply of the New Agers who witnessed it and the reaction would range from hurt (mild narcissistic injury) to rage and violent retribution (serious narcissistic injury).

    Shouting, ‘This is a load of fraudulent rubbish’ in a New Age conference would be a good way to find out who were the most narcissistic amongst the audience. They would be the ones to sneak off and damage your car to punish you for inflicting narcissistic injury.

    One difference between narcissistically injuring a Christian and a New Ager is that you would mostly be threatening a Christian’s source of love from Jesus. That would normally make a Christian primarily feel forlorn. However, threaten a New Ager’s narcissistic supply and you threaten their chosen lifestyle, their social circle, their fancy dress wardrobe, their hairstyle, their New Age name, their sense of being inline for ascension to 5D earth, their financial investment (they bought a lot of books and DVDs and they don’t want someone to tell them they wasted their money), their time investment (it takes a lot of time to become clued up about the New Age and to learn about all the various practices and revelations)….plus very likely threaten their income given so many in it are earning an income from it in one way or another. In other words, they have far more than a feeling of being loved to defend; they have a complete ‘false self’ to defend.

    I’m not saying all people who meditate are extremely narcissistic or all people who practice yoga would slit my throat if I highlighted the dangers of yoga, but those New Agers who dive into the movement like it’s the next fashion, buy the clothes, change the name and reinvent themselves entirely will likely not take too kindly to someone offering words of honest advice or information on their beliefs….and neither will the self styled Jesuses. This is spiritual materialism at its most extreme and it comes at a high price….and its purchasers will not want to be told they bought shoddy goods and that their false selves are based on inaccuracies.

    That lot was copied from my earlier post with a few alterations and additions.

    Instead of twisting my words and rejecting new ideas, why not say why it is you disagree with this? If you dislike the term ‘narcissistic supply’ like you dislike the term ‘ego’ then please tell me what you would prefer I use. Feel good factors?

    I’ve witnessed extreme narcissistic injury due to threats to narcissistic supply many times. My experiences do not contradict my knowledge. One example of pathological narcissistic injury due to a threat to narcissistic supply is a mother reacting violently when her son is caught red handed stealing from a shop. To protect the feelings of pride in her son, which is obviously vital to her sense of sense (her ego), she attacks the accuser rather than discipline the son. She shields the source of narcissistic supply (the son) from exposure as a thief in order to keep the narcissistic supply coming and her sense of self intact.

  54. Exert from article below……’For the narcissist, who is in need of distinguishing themselves from “average” people, this is a clarion call. New age cliches such as “You have unlimited potential”, “You are unique”, “you have untapped creative power”, and “You are a divine being” seem to confirm the narcissist’s deepest thoughts, that they are the special person in the crowd, that they deserve to be the center of attention, or that they are above average people.’

    http://www.weirdcrap.com/schol

    You only have to compare the chosen profile photos of New Agers (the type who treat it as an identity transforming spiritual supermarket sweep) to those of say Christians to see that New Agers are more narcissistic than Christians. They are often very ethereal, angelic, perfect, beautiful…often with characters looking upwards, which is a giveaway for narcissism…..nose in the air….basking in the glory of some divine light. It’s a false presentation. Christians tend to have clear facial shots, suggesting some degree of comfort in presenting their true selves.

    There are even subsets of New Agers called ‘Indigo Children’ who are told from a very young age that they are special. Volcano only knows what these kids grow up to be like! Then there are other special humans….Lightworkers. They are so special they are told they must go around telling everyone how to live. Then there are Star Seeds, etc, etc, etc. I wonder if there is anyone left in the New Age who has not adopted one of these titles and is not special.

    Once again, may I repeat, I’m not saying all people who follow New Age beliefs are suffering from NPD. Indigenous people following their culturally adopted wacky belief systems are not who I am talking about.

  55.  I’m sure it goes back longer than that.

    Ah yes from wikipedia “In a 1973 revision of his compendium of essays, Profiles of the Future,
    Clarke acknowledged the Second Law and proposed the Third in order to
    round out the number, adding “As three laws were good enough for Newton, I have modestly decided to stop there”.

    and I have read the book. So I think Dr Who was quoting Arthur C Clarke

  56.  We just disagree on what counts as science. That article you linked to seemed to me nothing more than speculation and double talk, what it really means to be a narcissist, how you differentiate one from your average person who cares about what they look and smell like isn’t defined in any rigorous way. To be honest I would put that article in the same category as postmodern gibberish, it sounds intellectual but there is no actual rigor there, no hypothesis that can actually be tested in the real world.

  57. She has an ok, average level of education. 4 years of high school and a year in PR course.
    She is 6 years younger then me (we’re still at that age where you can tell the difference – or feel it and it can count in discussions such as this one. For example, when I was her age I either still had certain belief in deity or I was starting to question it slowly (complete turn around didn’t last that long, couple of books, couple of months, couple of online discussions and I was done, then came the reading then was only just supporting my new view of things) so I really hope that she has time to get to that place in her reasoning and thinking where it would be possible to start to think completely different about pretty much everything. That where I come in :) (hopefully)

    ”Belief in magic is for lazy thinkers. ”

    Indeed. That’s what really saddens me :( That’s why I’m so frustrated. I guess some part of me feels tricked.

  58. Yes, but I think that picking holes in her logic would be the best way for her to realize that her perception of the world lies on shaky grounds, therefore making her question that perception…

  59. I think you’re being a bit OTT on the ‘everything has to be scientific’ mentality. Maybe you are trying to suck up to someone on here by being so ‘science science science’. Psychology is the study of human behaviour….not machines. That article fits with my knowledge of psychology and fits with my experience with New Agers.

    Like it or lump it, although I suspect for you it will be the latter.

    By the way, your second sentence makes no sense.

  60. Someone probably made the comment–I haven’t read them all–but the best route might not be to meet her head-on and battle her ideas, which she likes, and doesn’t want to back down from. She probably also has the “belief in belief” problem going on, as an ex-girlfriend of mine who told me I should really believe in some faith, whatever it was. 

    The route I’d suggest would be to get her really interested in science– not so much in facts, but in how scientists make discoveries. Evolution and the universe are two of the most awe-inspiring subjects, both in what we know about them, and how we’ve figured it out. I know that when I began getting more interested in science, that was when I began weeding out and eliminating the irrational thoughts I still had. Maybe get her a couple good books–non-confrontational, just fascinating.

    In the meantime, dress up like a reptile and see if she’ll build you a pyramid.

  61. “I’ve not watched too many of these videos as they are very brainwashing and may contain tachistocope projections.”

    Two thoughts:

    1 This sounds suspiciously like those who paraded around holding placards  outside The Life Of Brian – I’ve not seen it but I object to it.

    2 Brainwashing?  tachi-what projections?   Did you mean to come across like all new-age woo-woo conspiracy theorist nutter?   Or did you forget the LOL or smiley?

    Sorry, up to that point I thought you were making some sense.   Was I mistaken?

  62. “..terms that sound like science but have as much validity as astrology or Freudianism”

    You just made my day.  Astrology and Freudianism lumped together in the same basket (labelled “Trash”).   Thanks.

  63.  Thank you, never heard of this earlier work, only read the phrase in 3001. Looked up the Dr. Who, 1978.

    Still, I do prefer hearing it cackled from a pinky-biting, space pirate.

  64. Lend her some reading material from dawkins,randi,derren brown ,penn n tellera book called superstition i forget who by.She is getting her info from reading/watching the web.A little counter argument may convince her.

  65.  

    “..terms that sound like science but have as much validity as astrology or Freudianism”

    You just made my day.  Astrology and Freudianism lumped together in the same basket (labelled “Trash”).   Thanks.
     

    I take it you don’t agree? So which on of these is science?

  66. Regarding science, I assumed that you, like most people on this site (and like me) took it for granted that science is the only reliable way to find any meaningful objective truth. If you don’t think that I would be interested in hearing more about what your alternative method is. Is it verifiable? Repeatable? If it is then it sounds like it might be science under another name if its not then how do you get around things like confirmation bias, the fact that as humans we are predisposed to believe things that fit our existing beliefs?

    Its odd that the more you talk and the more you show me what you consider psychology the more it fits with my idea of new age theories. Which BTW, I don’t mean as an insult.  One of the reasons I started commenting in the first place is that I find all the venom spilled against New Age ideas on this thread to be frankly offensive, totally inconsistent with the idea that we believe in rational discussion and debate. A lot of my friends have new age ideas. I  think they are wrong and at times I tell them so but that doesn’t mean I hold them in contempt or discount everything they say on other topics.

    Getting back to psychology, I realize its not the study of machines, not sure what I said that made you think I thought that.  But in my experience there has been and continues to be an enormous amount of nonsense that gets published on the Internet and in the Main Stream Media masquerading as science about psychology that is in reality just pseudo-science. I actually am very interested in applying science, real science, to that topic, but to do that isn’t nearly as easy as just spouting off theories that can’t be quantified or tested about how people you don’t like all happen to be narcississts.

  67. Trying to shake someone from their comfortable fantasy? Good luck!

    “the human brain has no limits’. Basically, anything you can imagine in your mind can exist”.Well could be a fun starter. The concept of infinity and why it is meaningless in reality. How we are in fact ‘unevolved’ and imperfect, our total insignificance in the universe, multiverse hypothesis, Quantum theory, wave function collapse, entropy and information, the scales of the universe, how we came to know what we know and the limits of our understanding, then not equating that limit to ‘making stuff up’. There’s a lot of fun science that should redirect her imagination.

    Anyway, I suppose starting with critical thinking. She is obviously not applying it properly. Starting to question and challenge herself, not just others. 

    Why does she believes what she does? Obviously not through solid evidence and personal experience. Why believe in something rather than another. Why is important. A sense of comfort? Seeking patterns?  Thinking she knows something you don’t? What is the strength of the presented evidence against competing philosophies? Knowing and believing are two different thing. What is knowledge and how it is acquired.

    Stuck in a circle of positive reinforcement, perhaps? It is moral cowardice, the opposite of a challenging idea, despite how edgy she might think all this is. What if she is wrong, how would that affect her. Discarding all the baggage and start again, that’s tough.
    Seeking patterns and meaning, mistrust, facing reality, disappointment and lack of a sense of purpose. Think we’ve all seen it in one form or another. 

  68. “Why is it that you call yourself an atheist? You cannot prove there is no god and so far there have been zero scientific experiments aimed at dispproving the existence of a god.”
    There are two problems with that argument:
    1) If we take a scientific approach then we don’t assume things, even things written by nomadic tribes thousands of years ago, just because they haven’t been disproven. We start with the null hypothesis, that any theory is false until supported by evidence. So as someone who believes in science I don’t have to disprove religion, I can simply show how empty the various “proofs” for the existence of God are. 

    2) There are many arguments against religion that I would consider scientific.  I don’t see science as being limited to just the physical sciences. Science for me includes mathematics, logic, linguistics, anthropology,… If you read The God Delusion there are plenty of arguments about probability, etc. that argue against a creator. Or if you read books based on anthropology and history, e.g. Scott Atran’s In God’s We Trust the Evolutionary Landscape of Religion, they provide perfectly credible starting points for a theory on the scientific reasons that humans invented religion that show no supernatural explanation is required. 

  69. ” It’s not all about science. It’s also about having a clear head that is open to new ideas and a willingness to subject those new ideas to logic and reason….and, most importantly, an ability to alter ones beliefs. If that is not you, you are a blockhead as bad as the theists and as much a hindrance to the world.”

    It seems like a contradiction that you want people to be willing to alter their beliefs and be open to new ideas (I want that too) but when someone disagrees with your established beliefs you start calling them “blockheads” and tell them to “like it or lump it”. That seems like the kind of language I used to hear on the playground, not what I expect from someone who wants to have a rational discussion. 

  70. Yeah Yeah,  blockhead yourself, noisy foghorn.  Of course I googled tacky projections.  Subliminal Advertising it was once called.  So, I should be paranoid about what websites I go to in case they take over my mind by Flash Animation.   Well, it’s ok, I’m protected by my tinfoil hat, plus I wear two pairs of 3D glasses.   Upside down.  No, please, don’t be so dumb as to take that literally. 

    I see some copy-pasting going on,  so I can’t tell if you’re addressing me or RedDog, but since it seems to be sent to me first, I’ll take it personally:

    “Why is it that you call yourself an atheist? ”  – well, I don’t think I ever did, actually.  You must have me confused with someone else.  Not that I’m denying it either.

    “You cannot prove…” etc.   Did you lift that line from a creationist website, or did you think it up all by yourself?  RedDog I see has more patience than I , he’s answered that one as if it was an honest question. 

    “zero scientific experiments aimed at dispproving the existence of a god”   That too, come on,  now you look like you’re taking the p*ss. 

    Anyhow, let’s pretend we’re done with the insults, and try playing nice, where I can get back to agreeing with some of what you wrote:  Sometimes it seems to me that there is a tendency here toward the One True Atheism, of the kind that went with Communism of the Soviet variety, if anyone remembers that failed experiment.   I think that’s what got you riled.

    Which is why I referenced Arthur C. Clarke (or Doctor Who.  When time travel is involved, it doesn’t matter who said it first).    

  71. This person sounds like my wife. My wife is a very is in all other affairs a very rational and intelligent person in every other regard but she firmly believes in a spirit world where the deceased are all located and have an influence on many things from good & bad luck as well as the ability to speak through clairvoyance. She has a very kind heart and is a good person and I love her deeply so I don’t often bother her except when it comes to clairvoyance. She has no use for or interest in science, so we get along together fine by not bringing up her irrational belief system. I wish I could offer more helpful advice.    

  72. … so we get along together fine by not bringing up her irrational belief system

    Some people with glass eyes  (i.e. glass replacement lens in the eyeball) can see ultraviolet light.  If you were one of these people and you could see some occasional phenomenon in the world that others couldn’t (“Where’s an ultra-violet video camera when you need one?”), then they may view you as irrational. However their attitude would seem like ignorance to you. Stalemate.

  73. These statements such as “reptile people who control the human race, intergalactic wars that are happening without us knowing about it …” are worrying. Not meaning to offend but it sounds a bit paranoid. Have you ruled out the possibility of mental illness?

  74. You say she is so wacky but how can science explain what psychics know. Seriously every time I hear a debate about religion and the super natural the scientist just says “well there is no proof!”. O great well why don’t I just forget about all the psychics I have heard and seen on tv who actually KNOW accurate stuff that they could not have known. And the new long island medium show (how does that lady know stuff?). I think that it is absolutely brutal that scientists don’t take it seriously at all. I know they cannot prove it! They know they cannot prove it! But to dismiss it altogether as an illusion is dismissing valid evidence. What is wrong with saying that the human mind has developed/evolved to have supernatural power? I am an atheist – I think we should look at the facts.

  75. Lets define for one what astrology is really all about. First of all there are three main systems of astrology. The Hindu, which is based largely on the cycles of time and only loosely connects itself with the stars and the planets where they act mostly as time keepers. The next system of astrology is the Chinese which is mostly based upon the cycles of the years. Then there is the western system which is based upon the influences of the planets, signs and stars. It does not have the same basis in chronology as cycles of time as the other two systems. It was developed very recently and only is now coming into a more perfect of understanding.

    Despite what many people think there are number of advanced mathematical and astronomical concepts now incorporated into western astrology. When the Academy of Sciences was formed by the king of France he had to make concession with the pope that astrology and alchemy would not be included in the agenda of the institution. When the Royal Society was formed in England Sir Isaac Newton was the chair and he studied both alchemy and astrology. He supported that kind of research. His rival however, Sir Edmund Halley of comet fame took over the chair and later banned astrology and alchemy due to the fact that he wanted to be “scientific” like his neighbours to the south in France, not thinking that he was just adhering to the papacy.

    There has never been any real scientific investigation into astrology although you can find bunch of “scientists” who claim that astrology has been disproved. Nothing could be farther from the truth. So, there is lot to know that we just don;t understand. What we have to avoid is getting superstitious about it all and consider that we probably are in error in our judgement in most of these matters, but that does not say that they do not exist.

    This is simple experiment you can try which I have repeated ad nauseum. You need to get a table of the position of the planets. Find out when the moon is void of course. Think about something that you would like to see happen. Mark down the time and the question. Note whether the thing took place, or it didn’t. You will find that more often that chance can account for the event will not occur, or it will happen. or there will be problems. Or if you are looking for a job and the moon is void of course and you see an opportunity apply for the job and see what happens. If you are not going to be scientific about these kinds of things. but rather just tow the party line then you will never get to the bottom of these things.

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