Month: September 2013

222. Jean-Charles Chabot Explores Spiritual Hypnosis

Click here for YouTube version Click here for forum discussion Click here to post comments on Interview with hypnotherapist Jean-Charles Chabot examines the use of hypnotic regression for spiritual growth. Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview with Montreal-based hypnotherapist Jean-Charles Chabot.  During the interview Chabot talks about the use of regression therapy in overcoming phobias: Alex Tsakiris:   Can you give us a quick example of a case where there was a memory from early in life, and they forgot about it, and then once they remembered it resolved some phobia for them. Jean-Charles Chabot:   I’ll give you a couple of examples, one with regression in this life, and one in a past life.  For example, a person had a fear of spiders. She said, “I don’t remember anything about what could explain this fear of spiders.” She couldn’t get close to a spider. So I brought her into an altered state of consciousness and I asked the unconscious mind to go back. So the first event the person went to was when she was young, lying beside a pool. She’d just gotten out of the water and there were drops of water dripping down her body. At some point there was some itching and there was a spider there. She just freaked at that point. Then what we usually do is we can ask the person a question, and say, “I don’t want you to think. I want you to feel. Does this emotion feel new like oh my god, what is this? Or does it feel familiar, like oh, not again?” It was familiar to her so I said, “Okay, now we’re going all the way back to the source.” What was very interesting was that she was about two years old and she was playing with a spider that was on her. When you’re one or two years old it doesn’t matter, right? It’s just a spider; there’s nothing wrong. She takes the spider and she puts it in her mouth. For a kid, no problem. But the problem was when the mother saw this and said, “No!” And then, boom, association of spider and dangerous, spider bad, mommy doesn’t like it so I shouldn’t like it. That’s where it all started. It’s very interesting when you have things like that that you understand where it comes from and you can do some techniques. One technique among others is the “informed child,” where you instruct the child what he would have needed to know to be conditioned by this and then we eradiate this knowledge. There are many things you can do. Alex Tsakiris:   Were you able to help her over her phobia, then? Jean-Charles Chabot:   Oh, yeah. It was really interesting because afterwards for me, I like to test my work. Afterwards we went into the basement looking for spiders. We found some little spiders and she could have them on her finger and she was like, “Oh my god, I never did that before.” It was really amazing. I said, “Okay, let’s take it a step higher. Let’s go to the pet shop. I had in mind like these tarantulas, those big spiders. I didn’t know they were really dangerous, so I just went to the counter and asked if it was possible to look at the tarantulas, to clear it with them. The people at the counter were like, “I’m not touching those. They can sting.  They can really hurt. They won’t kill you but they can really, really hurt.” Then the owner came and said, “Oh, they’re really nice. As long as you don’t do anything that irritates them, like blowing on them or sudden moves or stuff, it’s all fine.” So he took a spider and told her to put her hand like a bridge. The spider came and she just had this amazing feeling of oh my god, this is amazing. She could do it without any problem. Jean-Charles Chabot's Website Play It  Listen Now: Download MP3 (63 min.) Read It: Welcome to Skeptiko, where we explore controversial science with leading researchers, thinkers, and their critics. Today, hypnosis. In fact, a very controversial area of hypnosis—past life and between life regression, where people purport to recall and recover memories of living in a previous life, or the time they spent between lives. Quite out there, if you will, so before I start with this interview I thought I’d share a little bit about the path that I’ve taken in trying to get my arms around this topic. Let’s start with reincarnation. Obviously, billions of people believe reincarnation is true. Moreover, thousands of people have reported personal experiences or memories suggesting that it’s true. Is there any scientific evidence for this? Now since I know the Skeptiko audience, I know that a lot of you know that there’s actually quite a bit of very good evidence.


221. Atheist John Loftus Explains Why He’s a Biological Robot

Click here for YouTube version Click here for forum discussion Click here to post comments on Interview with atheist and Christian debunker John Loftus examines the philosophy of atheism. Alex Tsakiris:   When we falsify this idea that you are a “biological robot”, and accept that’s absurd, and once we get past the idea that consciousness ends at death, which again, that’s where the evidence points, then a lot of things start falling differently in terms of how I orient myself to the world, how I orient myself to other people, how I orient myself to morals, purpose, meaning in life. You are not a biological robot, John. John Loftus:  Okay. I disagree. I’ve said why. Alex Tsakiris: You say, “I am a biological robot. I am going to stand by that.” Right? That’s what you’re saying? John Loftus:  Well, there’s no evidence for invisible beings, right? Entities. Alex Tsakiris: But you, as you live your life, you live your life like a biological robot? John Loftus:  Everybody does. That’s all there is. Alex Tsakiris:  Okay. John Loftus:  Well, you have to look into the philosophical quandaries with trying to distinguish between mind and body. I mean, I taught the Introduction to Philosophy classes that you would probably be interested in looking at how they’ve tried to relate the mind and the body. They just really can’t do it. It’s really ludicrous to see how they do that. (interview transcript continued below) John Loftus - Debunking Christianity UPDATE: Follow-up Email Exchange (click here) Play It  Listen Now: Download MP3 (64 min.) Read It: Welcome to Skeptiko, where we explore controversial science with leading researchers, thinkers, and their critics. I’m your host, Alex Tsakiris, and this episode of Skeptiko is yet another in this series I’ve been doing on Atheism. Now I do feel a need to tell you a little bit about how I came to do this interview because, as you know if you’ve listened, you just heard a similar kind of debate with philosophy professor Dr. Stephen Law. Actually, these two interviews with Dr. Law and John Loftus came about as the result of my interview on Episode 217 with Gary Marcus, because Gary Marcus is this NYU professor of psychology, bestselling author, writes frequently on consciousness issues, yet if you listen to the interview you’ll hear how he stumbled with some basic questions about consciousness.