Month: March 2013

206. Rick Archer From Buddha at the Gas Pump on Meditation and Spiritual Practices

Interview with Rick Archer host of the website and Youtube channel, Buddha at the Gas Pump. Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview with Rick Archer of, Buddha at the Gas Pump.  During the interview Archer talks about a thought experiment he uses to better understand our place in the universe: Rick Archer: Here’s the game: zoom out to the level of perspective where you can watch the Andromeda galaxy collide with the Milky Way over the next 8 billion years. Realize, of course, that that’s actually a very, very tiny localized event compared to the whole universe but it’s big enough for our purposes here. Then imagine as you watch that over 8 billion years all the trillions and trillions of lives playing themselves out on all the inhabited planets in those galaxies. Each one of those lives seems very real and serious to the person living it, but from that perspective they’re like little fireflies winking in and out, even faster than that. Billions and trillions of little strobe lights going on and off. Now zoom it down, past the human level down to the level of the plank scale and you discover there is no universe. It’s just all a field of pure potentiality in which even a cubic centimeter of empty space at that level has more energy than all the energy in the entire manifest universe. That’s essentially what you are. Now zoom it back to the human level.  Here’s what you are in expressed form, in a manifest, living form. But, this perspective as a human being is no more real than the zoomed out cosmic perspective or the zoomed in plank scale perspective. Those are just different perspectives on reality. We just have a peephole as a human being. Just a little peephole and yet we can actually culture an awareness that is cosmic like that. That does transcend time and space. That’s vast. That’s eternal. That can be our living reality. That can be the sort of substance of our lives. That’s what enlightenment is all about, which is the question you started this interview with. It’s not a pipedream; it’s not a fantasy. It’s something that many people have lived throughout history and something that we would have a very interesting world on our hands if it were commonplace. All the problems and travails that beset us as a civilization today would be just distant memories if that were a common experience.  Buddha at the Gas Pump Website Click here for YouTube version Click here for forum discussion Play It  Listen Now: Download MP3 (91 min.) Read It: Today we welcome Rick Archer to Skeptiko. Rick is the creator and host of Buddha at the Gas Pump, a website and YouTube channel that features an amazing collection of interviews with all sorts of interesting thinkers, spiritual teachers, and enlightenment-seeking individuals. Rick, I’m a big fan of your show and I’m so happy to welcome you to Skeptiko. Rick Archer:   Well, the feeling is mutual. I started listening to your show for the first time last Tuesday and now it’s Saturday and I think I’ve listened to six or seven of them, which means over an hour a day I’m listening to Alex while I ride my bike and wash the dishes and stuff. I’m thrilled by it. I’m going to continue listening. You and Bill Maher and Bill Moyer are my favorite podcasters now.


205. Michael Tymn Explores the Forgotten History of Psychic Mediums

Interview with author and parapsychology investigator Michael Tymn examines the work of Leonora Piper. Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview with Michael Tymn author of, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife.  During the interview Tymn talks about his research: Alex Tsakiris:  There are two ways we can look at this turn of the 20th century history.  We can look at it in terms of forgotten history, which is the angle you take.  If only we could go back.  If an honest person, an open-minded person would look at this data it’s pretty hard not to be extremely aware that there is a significant amount of this history that’s been lost. But, I’ve got to wonder if there isn’t a totally different way of looking at this history.  Isn’t it a textbook game plan for the kind of scientism, for the spirit of denial that we live in today?  If you want to look at how to take overwhelmingly significant evidence and bury it, sweep it under the rug, and embarrass all the people who’ve touched it, here’s the way to do it. Mike Tymn:   I agree. That’s one of the reasons I wrote this book and the four other books that I’ve written. It’s to try and resurrect this stuff because it’s so little-known. I’ve talked to a number of parapsychologists and they don’t know it themselves. I remember one who didn’t even know who Frederic Myers was. You talk about Leonora Piper, Sir Oliver Lodge, or Gladys Osborne Leonard, they’re all names they recognize but they don’t know any of the history. I don’t know what they teach them when they’re pursuing their degrees in parapsychology but they seem to avoid the early stuff. Michael Tymn's Website Click here for YouTube version Click here for forum discussion Play It  Listen Now: Download MP3 (45 min.) Read It: Today we welcome Michael Tymn to Skeptiko. Mike is the author of several books relating to afterlife communication and mediumship including, The Articulate Dead, The Afterlife Revealed, and his latest that we’re going to talk about today, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife. It’s a book published by White Crow Books which is a place where you’ll also find Mike’s excellent blog. Mike, welcome back to Skeptiko. It’s great to talk to you again. Mike Tymn:   Thank you very much for having me on, Alex. Alex Tsakiris:   So you’ve written this book about Lenora Piper, someone who many people who are interested in mediumship and history in general might know, but I think there are a lot of people who don’t know who Leonora Piper was. I guess that’s the natural place to start.


204. Dr. Julie Beischel’s Research Asks — Does a Reading From a Psychic Medium Help Relieve Grief?

Interview with psychic medium researcher Dr. Julie Beischel explores the practical applications of a reading from a psychic medium. Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview with Dr. Julie Beischel author of, Among Mediums: A Scientist’s Quest For Answers.  During the interview Beischel talks about her research: Alex Tsakiris: We’re taking these very deep, personally meaningful topics  in a very stark, scientific, clinical way, and that ok because it helps us get some distance from it. But on this issue of grief, if we look at it the way you have, it really breaks down pretty nicely as a question we can ask scientifically. There are people who report this condition. We’ll call it grief. We treat this condition. We send them to a talking psychologist or psychiatrist and that person talks—talks—talks—talks. Then we measure afterwards. Sometimes they’re better; sometimes they’re not. Or, we send them in and to get some kind of pharmacological treatment. They get these little pills and they take them, pop--pop--pop. They either get better or they don’t. We measure that. You’re suggested that there are some other people, ones that have a had a  reading with a medium  and they report that this has relieved them of their grief. And in the same way we’re measuring these other treatments, we can measure them. That is how it breaks down, isn’t it? Dr. Julie Beischel:   Yeah. And, that’s my training -- drug trials. I used to design these kinds of experiments.  There’s a protocol, and there’s a control group, and a treatment group, just like a drug trial. Instead of a drug it’s a mediumship reading. I designed this very specific protocol using a standardized grief instrument and two different funders have found it to be not what they were looking for. But it needs to get done. We’re now in the process of reaching out to the public to try and get support for that study. It really needs to be done. The same thing like when we just want to look at the validity of the mediumship information. We have to start at the beginning. Are they reporting specific and accurate information? Does it make people feel better? We did a pilot study and people reported anecdotally that it made them feel better. Dr. Julie Beischel's Website Help Support Dr. Beischel's Grief Research Click here for YouTube version Click here for forum discussion Also of Interest: Gerald  Gaura, a Psychotherapist treating acute, emergent psychospiritual crises, and anomalous phenomenon. Visit his blog at Parapsychotherapy X Play It (Interview With Dr. Julie Beischel) Listen Now: Download MP3 (55 min.) Read It: Today we welcome Dr. Julie Beischel to Skeptiko. As Founder and Head of Research at the Windbridge Institute, Julie is one of the world’s leading researchers studying psychic mediums. Julie holds a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Toxicology from the University of Arizona. She’s here to talk about her new book, Among Mediums: A Scientist’s Quest for Answers. Dr. Beischel, welcome. I guess for those of us with a long memory I should say welcome back to Skeptiko. Dr. Julie Beischel:   Thank you so much for having me again.