Dr. David Skrbina isn’t afraid to go where other academics dare not go… like the Unabomber, panpsychism and Jesus.
So I was getting ready to publish this interview that I have coming up with Dr. David scrubbiness, who. Actually co-wrote a book with the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski. And I was wondering, does anyone even still remember that whole thing and what that’s all about? And then I found this.
Ted Kaczynski was part of the Harvard LST studies. Let’s see.
Yeah. They cooked his brain. And then he disappeared, worked as a professor to earn enough money. So he could buy a cabin and implement his plan to kill everybody who was involved in technology.
So he’d stop this takeover of the human race, which probably is true. That’s one of the things that’s disturbing. It’s just like, well thought out.
And also the argument is sad. Technology will inevitably lead to better technology, which inevitably leads to artificial intelligence, which is inevitably going to take over the world.
Okay. So if it’s good enough for a Joe Rogan, the grand master of alt media, and one of the most popular and important media figures of our age, you know, certainly if you ever look at the stats, Much more important than anyone on CNN, CNBC, Fox, any of that? Just higher rating, more influence.
Especially with the important demographic, but I digress because I’d go further and say, I think.
Like a lot of people, Joe kind of misses the point regarding Ted Kaczynski. Here’s a clip from the upcoming interview.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:01:27] , the pushback, isn’t your intellectual interest in technology or the ill effects of technology it’s that you kind of promoted a serial killer in the process of doing it.
Dr. David Skrbina: [00:01:40] Well, yeah, absolutely. And I was always sensitive to that, you know, um, I mean, I’ve always spoken against it. It’s not like I’m endorsing what he did. But on, on sort of on the one hand, we have that situation on the other, you know, we have. We have to deal with the arguments in the manifesto. And there are very strong arguments against industrial technology.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:02:00] Yeah, but David, there’s a hell of a lot of room between throwing the baby out with the bath water and promoting Ted Kaczynski.
Who, again, I keep saying serial killer and you keep saying Unabomber or whatever. I mean, he would have killed, he would have gone on killing. He planned on, you know, bombing a commercial airliner.
Dr. David Skrbina: [00:02:18] If we’re gonna, you know, not going to promote people, who’ve killed innocent people. Okay. There’s a long list of people who’ve killed far more innocent people than Ted Kaczynski has. We don’t even know the statistics about how many innocent people got killed by our military strikes, implicitly going to our president. So no one really gives that a second thought and we just respect them and we salute them and so forth where you like them or not.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:02:40] So one of the things I brought up to you in email was the link between Ted Kaczynski and MK ultra, and again, uh, you know, there’s an interesting link here that people will find is the gifted child thing. Cause there’s a lot of these gifted children, Jeffrey Epstein, another gifted child love these gifted children, Gloria Steinem, another gifted child gets pulled into intelligence programs, and that kind of thing, but certainly Ted Kaczynski fits the gifted child profile.
He goes to Harvard, he gets pooled into an MK ultra program run by Henry Miller, who is good friends with Sydney Gottlieb, who is our Josef Mengele of the MK ultra program.
Dr. David Skrbina: [00:03:23] Yeah. So from, from what I, from what I know about the situation, it’s kind of a bogus cover story, right?
So, I guess I could elaborate on how. I think Rogan and a lot of people are just focused on. AI is strong. AI is coming, look out, look out is just kind of pumping up the fear factor and missing the larger point. I think I hinted to it there, but I really don’t want to kind of. Sidetrack that from this interview, because I think it’s covered pretty extensively in all the stuff we get into, because the second part of this interview with Dr.
Gets right to the heart of what. Joe Rogan. Everyone else misses the materialism versus idealism thing.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:04:06] We can move on off of that. Let’s talk about panpsychism a little bit, I don’t want to get too far into that because you know, the, the interest level and patients, people have for that is, is pretty limited, but we exchanged some emails on that.
I sent you my kind of go-to guy, Dr. Bernardo Castro, who’s quite prominent in the consciousness circles. And in addition to a PhD in philosophy has a PhD in computer science, which I think some makes some really interesting. And he worked at CERN, right? So he understands the fundamental physics kind of thing, and where we’re at in understanding a world out there versus a world in here.
So you kind of pushed back and said, Hey, no, you know, Castro, I don’t think he knows what he’s talking about. Well, maybe we can start there. I mean, what, what go ahead.
Dr. David Skrbina: [00:04:57] Yeah, well, right. So, I mean, I don’t know all the details of, of his work, for example, in his case, I’ve read some bits and pieces. I’ve read some interviews and a couple of little snippets from his books.
Um, but yeah, I mean, he portrays himself as a kind of an idealist philosopher, , which stands in contrast to typical physicalism or materialism. Right.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:05:18] But aren’t you a long way from materialism?
Dr. David Skrbina: [00:05:22] Uh, yeah. I mean, I, I agree with him. I, I, as far as I know, he’s an opponent to materialism and I am too. Right.
And then what they really miss is the third part of this interview. , which is a complete channel shift is scrubbing. It points out because he did write a book called the Jesus hoax. Here’s that clip.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:05:42] Why did you write the Jesus hooks?
Dr. David Skrbina: [00:05:44] So we’re clicking around channel three. Now here. This is really jumping around.
Well, I guess when the, when I started digging into the data, right? So I started coming up with, let’s say the time, the timelines, right.
Scholars for a number of decades. And it took me a while to sort of really understand this scholars, anthropologists, basically, and literary experts have made good, good progress in dating the parts of the new Testament.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:06:10] Okay. I like part of the story, not all the story. , I don’t know how anyone contradicts your read of the state of modern, biblical slash religious scholarship. It is abysmal for anyone who comes in from the outside, a science guy, a business guy like me, you start reading what these people are writing.
And you’re like, who is minding the store in terms of publishing this stuff? It’s just so silly.
Dr. David Skrbina: [00:06:37] Well, right. So, I mean, if you look at, I mean, who’s doing academic work on Christianity, So the first, in the first case, they’re mostly Christians.
I mean, this makes sense, right? I mean, you’re going to have you have Christian schools, Christian universities, Christian colleges, and Christian professors. And they’re going to be most interested in the story. They’re going to do the research and the publication and write the books. But of course they’re Christians.
So they’re believing the story they’re following. They’re buying the basic line. They’re basically believing the Bible and they’re quibbling about the details. And they’re trying to explain it
Okay. Those are a lot of clips, but it’s good. Interview stick around.
I chat with David’s Cobain is coming up.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:07:12] Welcome to skeptical where we explore countries, heal science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers and their critics. I’m your host, Alex Securus. And today we welcome Dr. David’s Cobina to skeptical. David is a professor of philosophy at the university of Helsinki in Finland.
Formally before that he held positions at university of Michigan Dearborn, Michigan state go green and other us university. He’s also the author of several books that I think are very interesting. And we’re going to talk about today. The one I first contacted David about was the Jesus hoax.
Um, but he’s the author of several other books as well. And then, you know, strangely enough, I ran across his introduction to the book technology, slavery by the serial killer Ted Kaczynski, which he published in 2010. So that’s certainly going to be something we’re going to want to talk about as well.
David, welcome to skeptical. Thanks for joining me.
Dr. David Skrbina: [00:08:22] Yeah. Hi Alex. Thanks. Thanks for having me glad to be here. A lot of interesting things to talk about here, for sure.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:08:28] Absolutely. So, like I said, I mean, my original interest was in the Jesus’ hoax because I’ve been doing a lot of interviews on that first century, Roman history and how it all rolls forward.
But then, you know, like I said, I mean then the first thing I stumbled across after that was your thing on panpsychism, which I think I can’t really square where you’re coming from on that, because I read like a book that you’ve edited. That sounded perfectly exactly like idealism. And I sent you my go-to guy, Bernardo Castro, and you weren’t too, too kind to, uh, to his take, which doesn’t seem that different from yours.
But so that’s something we might want to talk about. Panpsychism but the first thing, I mean, then I ran across the thing of Ted Kaczynski and I’m like, I don’t know. You gotta, you gotta tell us. I mean, that’s the first thing that people are going to be. Is going to be a stumbling block for, for a lot of people.
Why would you send hundreds of letters to the guy and then write an introduction to his book?
Dr. David Skrbina: [00:09:35] Well, right. So yeah, I mean, each of those topics is a, is a full show in itself, right? So I’m going to give you a sort of the short version here, but basically I have several areas of academic interest, right? So philosophy of technology has been a long area of interest, environmental philosophy, philosophy of mind, and then general social political, philosophical issues.
And I’ve, I’ve taught courses in all those areas. I was a long time critic of technology, what it’s doing in the world, in the modern world. Um, this goes back a long time to my undergraduate years at university of Michigan. Um, I had a pretty prominent, uh, friend and professor there, Henrik Skulmoski, who was one of the early critics of technology from a philosophical standpoint.
And, and he, and I got to be good friends and we remained friends for a long time until his death a few years ago. , but he really introduced me to some of these really skeptical views on technology. Really got me thinking critically about things, introduced me to other readings by people like Ilitch and Mumford and , and this is going back to yeah.
The early eighties. Right. So it’s a long way back. so I had a lot of background. I was really interested. I was really sort of, uh, studying technical subjects at that point. So I was, I was well-versed I understood the mathematics. I understood how computers work, I’ve taken programming classes. So I knew all about the whole sort of how technology worked at a pretty fundamental level.
And I knew it was, there was problems. I mean, I could see that there was difficulties and, uh, you know, that went along until the whole sort of Unabomber thing came along. This was in the early to mid nineties. Uh, if you recall. so that was, yeah, kind of a whole interesting thing in itself, you know, where I was following his, uh, the developments and the little snippets of, uh, the manifesto that would show up in the newspapers from time to time.
And you get interesting little tidbits, a little clues about what was going on. Uh, and then they published the whole manifesto in late 95. So I immediately got a couple of copies of that. Still have copies of that paper from that day. Um, immediately transcribed it into a, into a word document. This was almost like pre-internet days and you couldn’t get anything online.
So you had to kind of manually type these whole things in. So I spent typing that manifesto, uh, into a word form that I could work with. and then of course, a few months later, six months later, he was, uh, uh, arrested right captured by the FBI. His brother turned him in. And then we found out who he was Ted Kaczynski.
Uh, I was really, I mean, just amazing, amazing coincidence. I mean, it turned out that he’d gone to my university. He got his PhD from the university of Michigan where I was, uh, where I had been a student and was teaching, uh, his background was in mathematics. My first graduate degree was in mathematics. I have a master’s in mathematics prior to my PhD in philosophy.
So, all right. I was just amazing coincidence his to his, uh, to his background with, with my own. uh, so later, I mean, so that kind of went away subsequently. I got my PhD completed that started teaching at the university of Michigan. Uh, one of the first things I wanted to do was to teach a course in philosophy of technology in particular are a critique of technology.
And I quickly found out that no one in the whole U of M system had ever taught a course on philosophy of technology. They just, they had never done it. So they told me, they said, yeah, you sure you could teach a class, but if you, if you want to do it, you have to create the class from scratch from nothing.
So I said, yeah, sure. I can do that. So I started pulling together material readings, historical readings, and current readings and critical views about technology. Of course, I had to include something on the, from the unit Barnhart, cause he was the most famous, recent skeptic or critic of technology. I had the manifesto, but at this point this was in 2003.
Uh, it had been a number of years since he was arrested, he was put in jail. And of course, then he goes away, right. The media doesn’t talk about him. He’s kind of lost down the memory hall and they never, yeah. You hear nothing for years. I, I didn’t really know what was going on with him. What his situation was.
Was he, well, was he dying. I knew nothing. So just out of the blue, I wrote him a letter just to kind of a simple letter just said, uh, Hey, I’m interested, interested in your background. I’m preparing some material on a new course. Just curious what your thoughts are about the manifesto and maybe other, other developments in the, in the, you know, whatever it was six or seven years since then, just the very simple letter was really not expecting any, any answer at all.
Uh, and then, uh, yeah, about three weeks later, I got a nice handwritten response. She said, thanks for your letter of Dr. Scrubby Corvino. I’ll follow up with a full response shortly. And then about another couple of weeks after that, I got a 22 page handwritten letter answering in detail, all of my questions and that really sort of kicked off the process.
Of course, this, there was lots of interesting things going on. He had some new ideas, he had some. Some new materials, some new essays that he had written in, in the prison. he had some thoughts on, you know, developments in society. , I started sort of pressing back on it. I am, um, uh, correct. Just one thing he didn’t really have was that was a constructive criticism and there was lots of things.
One could say against him and against the ideas in the manifesto. And so I started pushing back on him and I’d say, well, what would you say if someone said this and what about this? And maybe what about this point? And then he was responding to him with his replies, to my criticisms of his view in lengthy detailed letters.
Uh, again, this was a slow process because it takes weeks, you know, for a letter to go back and forth. Eventually we had a lot of material. I mean, there was, I could tell there was a lot of ideas and things in there, and I suggested at one point, well, you know, there’s enough stuff here. You could probably put out a book.
And he agreed. He said, yeah, that’s fine. But uh, he said, I don’t know how to do that. And I’m in, I’m in Brisbane. And I said, well, I know how to do books. I’ve published books before. So I started pulling together material, started making some contacts and, and doing what I could to try to get, get a book published.
And eventually it took a few years. It was a kind of a slow and tedious process. We had a lot of people that rejected us out of hand because they did not want to publish anything by the Unabomber, but some people did. And we eventually found a couple of publishers. There was a version done in Europe and then a version in the U S uh, the book technological slavery was a result.
I wrote the introduction to the book and a large chunk of that book about one quarter of that book was letters to me. So he taken those responses that he wrote to me, and he put them all together. And as a, as a second whole section of the book, and those were his responses to my criticisms.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:16:22] Okay. So I’m a tech guy, undergraduate in information systems. And then I went into business and then I went back to get a PhD in artificial intelligence and then started an AI company. So, and on this show, then I left and started a company again, because I wanted the money. And that was probably a good decision for me, not for everybody, but I’m, well-versed in, uh, in a lot of these issues that you’re talking about, very interested in the strong AI proposition, the simulation proposition have spoken to some very intelligent PhD people about all that kind of stuff that I’m really impressed with.
But I think, and, and, you know, I mean, I don’t want to totally, you know, kind of grill you, but you understand the pushback, the pushback, isn’t your intellectual interest in technology or the ill effects of technology it’s that you kind of promoted a serial killer in the process of doing it. So, you know, you understand the pushback.
Dr. David Skrbina: [00:17:30] Well, yeah, absolutely. And I was always sensitive to that, you know, um, I mean, I’ve always spoken against it. It’s not like I’m endorsing what he did. And I said, well, okay, these are terrible crimes. And of course, three people got killed and 23 people were injured badly. And, uh, you know, I I’ve never condoned what he did.
but on, on sort of on the one hand, we have that situation on the other, you know, we have. We have to deal with the arguments in the manifesto. And there are very strong arguments against industrial technology. Uh, uh, they’re they’re well presented. They’re very logical. They’re very clear. They’re very rational.
So I guess the question is, do we, do we sort of just throw out the whole package? Do we stay well, we’re not going to talk about anything that this guy did. We’re not going to talk about any of these issues. We’re not going to talk about the questions, the challenges that we all face in a modern technological world.
We’re just going to put that all aside because here’s a guy who more than now, what, more than a third to a 20 or 30 years ago, because he killed three people and injured several others. So I guess the question is, yeah. Do we do ourselves any favor by doing that? And the answer is clearly, no, I mean, this is an, uh, potentially an existential risk to humanity and the planet and to say, well, look, you know, we w we’re not going to talk about this guy and we’re not.
And by, by a connection, we’re not going to talk about the arguments. Because he did some bad things, uh, two or three decades ago. I mean, it’s, it’s just, you know, throwing out the baby with the bath water to the extreme, you’re harming yourself. You’re, you’re, you’re avoiding these that difficult, but important discussions just because, well, okay.
The guy, yeah. Committed some crimes. I mean, he got caught, he’s punished. Uh, we all accept that. I accept that. Um, but we still need to talk about the issues because we face those issues. Whether you, whether you like Ted, what he did or not, whether he’s dead or alive, that doesn’t matter. We still face these issues and we still need to talk about them.
He has one take on these issues and it’s important to talk about those along with other issues. It’s not his, it’s not the only take, uh, in my course, I talk about many perspectives, but, but certainly his is an important, uh, voice in this, in this dialogue.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:19:35] Yeah, but David, there’s a hell of a lot of room between throwing the baby out with the bath water and promoting Ted Kaczynski.
Who, again, I keep saying serial killer and you keep saying Unabomber or whatever. I mean, he would have killed, he would have gone on killing. He planned on, you know, bombing a commercial airliner. So, you know, I mean, I just think there’s fine to talk about the ideas. No one is suppressing. There’s a lot of people who have spoken very, you know, forcefully and very intelligently about including yourself about the , potential ills of technology.
You get it. I don’t have to pound on it too much, but I just think you’re going to find a lot, but you already have, um, you’ve you’ve you pay the price probably 10 times over, but.
I think what it gets to David and this is the part that I think it gets to is we’re going to talk about the Jesus hoax and we’re going to talk about how academia can be incredibly naive and tone deaf.
And just for the rest of us normies, who’ve stepped out of that world. They just go, these people are stupid. They’re just stupid when it comes down to it.
Dr. David Skrbina: [00:20:41] Well, I don’t know if
Alex Tsakiris: [00:20:43] this raises to that level, but it’s like, no, you don’t promote a serial killer by writing an introduction to his book. You just don’t do it.
Dr. David Skrbina: [00:20:51] Yeah. Well, okay. I mean, I guess, you know, there’s, there’s different opinions on that. Uh, um, I mean, if we’re, if we’re gonna, you know, not going to promote people, who’ve killed innocent people. Okay. There’s a long list of people who’ve killed far more innocent people than Ted Kaczynski has. I mean, you can start with any president in recent years up until the including one who probably issues military orders to kill more than three people every day.
And we don’t even think twice about it. We don’t even know the statistics about how many innocent people got killed by our military strikes, implicitly going to our president. So no one really gives that a second thought and we just respect them and we salute them and so forth where you like them or not.
So, I mean, we have to keep it inspect in perspective, right? I mean the loss of three peoples it’s terrible to tragedy, but you know, we’re looking at a system that’s potentially going to kill millions or billions and to say, well, we’re not going to talk about this guy. Cause he killed three people. I mean, that’s just, that’s just a, you know, losing track of the proper scale of the problem here.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:21:52] Boy, you are going to have a hard, hard time advancing that argument. And I’m not in favor of drone strikes against Yemenis, a wedding parties by Barack Obama or all the other ones who have done it. I get that argument, but I just don’t think you understand the line and I’ve already pounded on an enough so we can move on, but that’s going to be a hard one to hard. One to sell is equating a Ted Kaczynski with anyone else who claims to have a clause kills people, you know?
Dr. David Skrbina: [00:22:29] I mean, yeah, yeah. I mean, for what it’s worth, you know, his was a unique case and he never actually advocated kill it.
I guess we, we tend to forget this right here. He viewed his situation as unique because he needed to get into the public eye. He needed the notoriety to enforce the publication in his view of the manifesto in a high visibility venue. And so, in a sense, and this is what he said anyway, that this is what drove him to this sort of bobbing campaign.
He never recommended it for other people. He never suggested it in the manifesto. If you read the manifesto, there’s no suggestions. He could have said anything he wanted because they agreed to publish it. Because I’d get out there and kill, kill, kill. He said nothing. There’s no, not a single word in the manifesto about killing other people, sending bombs, nothing.
He’s never suggested that to me or to anyone else. So I think he viewed it as a, as a sort of an exclusive unique situation that he was in, that he felt was necessary at the time. Okay. I mean, we can judge it negatively or positively. He was caught, he’s paying the price. And then I, then, then, like I said, okay, now that’s past history.
That’s decades in the past, and now we’re here and we have to either talk about the issues or we can try to sweep it aside.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:23:40] So one of the things I brought up to you in email was the link between Ted Kaczynski and MK ultra, which on one hand you acknowledge. And, uh, what’s the guy’s name at Harvard? And again, uh, you know, there’s an interesting link here that people will find is the gifted child thing. Cause there’s a lot of these gifted children, Jeffrey Epstein, another gifted child love these gifted children, Gloria Steinem, another gifted child gets pulled into intelligence programs, uh, and, and that kind of thing, but certainly Ted Kaczynski fits the gifted child profile.
He goes to Harvard, he gets pooled into an MK ultra program run by Henry Miller, who is good friends with Sydney Gottlieb, who is our Josef Mengele of the MK ultra program. And you shot back to me. And you thought that on one hand you acknowledge there’s some connection there, but it’s really kind of a distraction in order to kind of paint a different picture on Ted Kaczynski.
What do you have to add to that? What can you tell
Dr. David Skrbina: [00:24:46] us? Yeah. So from, from what I, from what I know about the situation, it’s kind of a bogus cover story, right? So, um, you know, the, the, the, the mainstream media and the government and the, and the, uh, local administrations and so forth, I mean, they they’ve long wanted to discredit Kaczynski what he did, what he said, his arguments in the manifesto.
They, they really want to dismiss it because it prevents a fund presents a fundamental threat to, to the power of a technological society. If you’re trying to undermine technology, this is, you know, defeats the basis of your modern society. And, and so they were anxious to, uh, undermine his arguments. So the problem is when you look at the manifesto, The arguments are very solid.
They’re sound arguments. They’re logical, there’s, there’s justification for them. They have a very hard time tackling the arguments themselves. So like everybody does, when you can’t do that, you take your next best approach, which is you attack the source. You do a kind of ad hominem attack against the person who’s presented those arguments and you try to undermine his credibility.
So I think this is what they’ve done. They’ve played up this story, including some of the early so-called biographers of Kaczynski about this relatively a very minor incident. When he was an undergrad at Harvard, he was a seems to have been involved in kind of an inter interview. It was really an interview process where he spent sat down for some number of a few hours.
I don’t think it was days or weeks or months. I think it was a relatively short period of time. I’ve seen some of the transcripts from this discussion. He was interviewed by, by, uh, these guys. And it was, it was kind of, uh, uh, uh, and experimentation on, on, on duress, right. Or psychological stress where, where they would bring in these bright students, they would press them for their arguments and they would, they would push back and they say, well, that’s ridiculous.
And that makes no sense. And you don’t know what you’re talking about just to push back on these guys, to put them under these conditions of, of sort of a, kind of a stress, stressful situation. And I guess, right. To sort of see how they react and what their response was, you know, um, raising the level of stress a little bit and so forth and just, and just seeing how they reacted.
And apparently it was a kind of a psychological study. Um, but when you read the transcripts of what was going on, it was very mild. I mean, it was just little, little sort of niggling points and little personal insults and just little, you know, like little sniping criticisms, which, you know, you would almost, you would almost pass it off as well.
Okay. This guy’s a jerk or he’s just being stupid or he doesn’t like me or whatever, you know, if you were just a normal student, um, So, I mean, th th this was really the extent of it. It was, it was really a very minor, virtually inconsequential, uh, period of time that he talked to these, uh, these, uh, these researchers.
Um, but of course, the mainstream media and the mainstream view wants to portray this as some kind of mind warping, you know, brain altering process whereby they distorted the whole, his whole outlook on the world and they made him hate humanity, and they turned them into this, you know, serial killer, uh, as a way of, I think, as a way of undermining his basic position, which is he has a logical and rational argument for what, for what he says.
So, so again, it’s a, it’s a sort of a, an ad hominem attack against Kaczynski, uh, really with just sort of a kernel of truth, but there’s really virtually nothing to it. And in any case, it has no bearing on the actual arguments that he presents. So I think the whole thing is kind of a smoke screen just to sort of.
Cast doubt on the whole guy and make him seem like he’s, uh, yeah, he’s, you know, been a mind altered, uh, you know, dupe of the system or something, which is everything I’ve seen is completely ridiculous.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:28:29] I get where you’re coming from, but it doesn’t really add up to me that this would be kind of a manufactured or promoted story because it certainly doesn’t look good for the.
Powers that be who are in power. And, and as far as discrediting Kaczynski, nobody gives any credence to cause Sinsky and the, and the technology claims, I mean, you, you do, and you might be able to make that argument with someone in a closed room over a course of hours. I know the arguments, I just don’t think that has any sway in the public.
It didn’t when he published the manifesto, it doesn’t today. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t resonate. The what seems more, the reality is the MK ultra reality. And I don’t know if you know the extent of the program, but you know, I’ve spoken with interviewed many people who are a part of that program, including the people in Stargate who were doing the remote viewing, which was under Sydney Gottlieb and including a number of other programs.
You know, I interviewed Whitley Strieber the famous author and the guy who wrote communion. Again, gifted child program, nine years old, San Antonio military base lock them in a Faraday cage, bring animals over, cut them open in front of their head. Uh, cut their head off in front of him. There were all sorts of programs that they were doing, and it all grew out of the, and they were doing it before that the Phoenix program in Vietnam.
And just the last thing I would think they would want to do is kind of wrap themselves around the MK ultra program in order to, I don’t know what Prop up a Ted’s Ted Kaczynski as a mind control victim and minimize the fact of his powerful argument about technology. , the other thing is, I mean, when you say, uh, you know, what you know about the program, I mean, that’s the thing, right?
, we don’t know hardly anything about what they really did,
they only revealed what they did because they didn’t that suit in Canada and they didn’t have the ability to shut down the foyer request in Canada. And it came out. And then as soon as it came to the U S and they ran the Sonic, the Senate committee on it, they shut the whole thing down.
They didn’t release any information. And they said it’s a matter of national security. So I’m just very suspicious of anything we think we know about the program. And then finally, Doesn’t Ted’s brother say I saw it in a documentation on Netflix, so it must be true, but, um, I’m being facetious, but I did hear Ted Kaczynski, his brother say that when he came home from Harvard, after that initial encounter, he was a changed person.
His whole outlook on the world changed. He was bitter and he just seemed to be a very different person. What do you think about any of that? Yeah.
Dr. David Skrbina: [00:31:13] well, I mean, that’s entirely possible, right? I mean, a lot of people go to college as an undergrad is sort of a naive high schooler and they come out of college and their outlooks are really substantially changed because they’re presented with dramatic and striking new ideas that they probably had never considered before.
So, I mean, that’s not that unusual that, that, that, you know, a family sends a kid off to school and they come back and say, wow, this person is very different from the high school that we sent to them, particularly in the case of Harvard, because you’re sending a 16 year old Ted Kaczynski, he was literally still a high school student.
And of course you’re gonna expect dramatic changes, uh, you know, under that kind of experience. So he was already in a kind of an adverse situation. He was already significantly younger than his peers, of course. Um, and probably was expected to perform at higher, at higher levels because he was sort of this, this genius level person.
Um, so I, it’s not surprising that he sees, uh, these changes. I mean, sometimes, you know, students come back from college and they, you know, they have sort of more enlightened outlook. Sometimes they’re more of a S uh, I dunno, could call it a bitter outlook or kind of a, kind of a cynical outlook on the world after they’ve seen some things that they hadn’t hadn’t encountered before.
So I don’t think there’s really anything. Significant about that. Um, and again, I don’t know all the details of, like I say, MK ultra, but, but again, this was sort of not technically part of the program. This was only incidentally connected to somebody who was in the program and anything that involved Kaczynski actually no evidence that he had any kind of significant stress as part of this program.
So, you know, why, why should that get any airtime I made, it’s sort of an interesting curiosity about his background, but, but, uh, you know, once again, that’s a, that’s no different fact than that. You know, he was, he hated his mother when he was three years old or whatever. I don’t know what all his background is.
I mean, there’s interesting facts of all of our histories. Uh, but that, that again seems to have no bearing on. If you think of a case against technology and against his arguments, uh, and, and what he did there. So,
Alex Tsakiris: [00:33:14] okay. We can move on off of that. Let’s talk about panpsychism a little bit, I don’t want to get too far into that because you know, the, the interest level and patients, people have for that is, is pretty limited, but we exchanged some emails on that.
I sent you my kind of go-to guy, Dr. Bernardo Castro, who’s quite prominent in the consciousness circles. And in addition to a PhD in philosophy has a PhD in computer science, which I think some makes some really interesting. And he worked at CERN, right? So he understands the fundamental physics kind of thing, and where we’re at in understanding a world out there versus a world in here.
So you kind of pushed back and said, Hey, no, you know, Castro, I don’t think he knows what he’s talking about. Well, maybe we can start there. I mean, what, what go ahead.
Dr. David Skrbina: [00:34:05] Yeah, well, right. So, I mean, I don’t know all the details of, of his work, for example, in his case, I’ve read some bits and pieces. I’ve read some interviews and a couple of little snippets from his books.
Um, but yeah, I mean, he portrays himself as a kind of an idealist philosopher, uh, which stands in contrast to typical physicalism or materialism. Right. So, uh, you know, it depends on how much detail you want to go onto in these sort of metaphysical theories of mind in reality,
Alex Tsakiris: [00:34:33] but aren’t you a long way from materialism?
Dr. David Skrbina: [00:34:37] Uh, yeah. I mean, I, I agree with him. I, I, as far as I know, he’s an opponent to materialism and I am too. Right. So th th th the question is, of course, so, yeah, just quick background, right? So a traditional materialist in a philosophical sense says all that exists in the world is matter and energy, basically physical stuff.
Right. So to the typical particles and, and, uh, you know, bits of a electric, electric, uh, uh, electromagnetic waves and photons and bits of matter and so forth, right? So, so there’s this, this standard from what all it all it’s real in the world is matter material stuff. Okay. There’s a further, further premise that this matter is sort of in psychically inert or psychologically inner.
It’s not thinking matter. It’s just, it’s just mere matter. It’s dead matter. It just interacts with the through forces and pressures and through energy energetic interactions. And it’s purely driven by these mechanical laws. So the proper, the proper terminology, I think that we should use is this idea of mechanistic materialism.
So the whole universe consists just of matter material stuff, driven by mechanical forces, uh, laws of physics, you know, math described by mathematically equations. And this is sort of the standard traditional view of what materialism means. The problem is to explain sort of what goes on in here, right? To explain consciousness and conscious awareness and the mind in general, because if you look in the world of matter, there seems to not be any conscious awareness things, just look like they’re just stuff like rocks, you know, and, and, you know, and, and dirt and air and stars and planets and whatever, right.
Just, just, just stuff, just that following mechanical laws. So the question for a materialist is how to explain the existence of. Firstly the human mind, which is the only mind we know for sure. And then other minds, presumably animal minds, which most people accept possibly plant minds and then minds beyond even the realm of, of living things.
And this is actually a very difficult problem for any materialists to explain how this actually happens, because it seems to be impossible. It seems like a miracle. It’s almost like humans are some miraculous creature then, you know, God came down one day in zap and we all had this mind that got treated out of nothing.
Um, it really seems like a miracle. So, so there seemed to be some basic flaws in this materialist picture, which says the whole universe for billions of years was just inert, psychologically dead matter and energy interacting, interacting, and then you form planets in early life and complex life. And then there’s, you know, prodo humans, and then there’s humans.
And that at some point being. You know, the mind, the consciousness awareness kicks in and suddenly the mind appears out of nowhere. It’s inexplainable. It’s like a, it’s like a miracle, right? It’s called broody mergence. It makes no sense. And physical lists or materialists have no explanation for how that works.
And I guess the conclusion is that they must be wrong, that it cannot be the case that we have standard mechanistic materialism, because there’s just no way to get from it that to the human mind.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:37:49] I don’t understand the divide though, because when I hit you with the, panpsychism the thing about panpsychism it always seems to me like kind of backdoor materialism, it’s a way to kind of leave the world out there, but then we can still say, yeah, cause it has all these little consciousness, bits hanging along with it, but it’s still out there.
And then I read this from Skolimowski who you said you greatly admired at university of Michigan. And he said,
Dr. David Skrbina: [00:38:13] sounds like a good friend of mine for 40 years. Yep. Great.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:38:17] And you edited, uh, and collected and edited and published, helped publish his writings. Here’s what he writes this new participatory worldview explains how the concept of the world out there independent of mine is incoherent.
Right. Great. We must see mind as actively shaping and creating the world again. Great. Even truth itself. He argues is a meshed in the web of participatory mind and all are encompassed by universal process of cosmic evolution. . I mean, Bernard Castro could have wrote this.
This is idealism. What is the, what is the difference?
Dr. David Skrbina: [00:38:59] Uh, well, first of all, Skulmoski never called himself an idealist ever. Uh, he had this theory called Noetic monism, which was his favorite term and that’s in his, his book, uh, participatory mind. Um, but there’s, there’s different alternatives, right? So, so I guess just to sort of complete my argument.
If you start with mechanistic materialism, but you don’t deny the reality of the human mind. There’s really only two options either. It’s the miraculous rubbed about evolution went along with no mind, no mind, no mind, no mind. And then suddenly at some point, whatever who knows what jellyfish or dinosaurs or, you know, early apes or whatever, and zoom suddenly they get conscious out of nowhere, out of nowhere, literally out of nowhere, which is a miracle that’s one option.
The other option is no, that’s actually what happened was mind built up in complexity over time, just like physical structure builds up in complexity or over time. So the alternative is the pants like a stock option, which says, well, look, there’s some kind of element of, uh, of psychic awareness or mind or consciousness, even in the most elementary particles in the universe.
And so in this sense, mine was there all along in the particles and the sort of the base particles and forces and, and energetic, uh, elements of the, of the early universe. And it just was sort of there. And it builds in complexity over time, just like the physical structure of organisms built and complexity over time.
And so the mind was there all along. That’s the Penn cyclist alternative. That’s the one I support. Uh, and to me, that’s, that’s the only logical alternative to the miraculous Groot emergence, uh, which says, boom, mine comes out of nowhere.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:40:42] Well, I mean, the, the alternative to that is that what all the great physicists at the turn of the 20th century said when they did the double slit consciousness experiment, which is consciousness is fundamental, right?
So there’s a consciousness is fundamental and matter, emerges out of consciousness. And if we look at the foundational physics work like CERN and everything else, that’s what it looks. There’s no matter out there it’s all in abstraction.
I just don’t want to get into a big argument where we’re kind of splitting hairs, but it, I don’t, I don’t see why it doesn’t fit with the consciousnesses fundamental argument.
Dr. David Skrbina: [00:41:21] right. So I guess, I guess you could, there’s different theoretical positions, right? You could say, well, look, consciousness came first. And then the matter came, or there’s only consciousness that doesn’t only looks like matter because you take a certain approach, a certain viewpoint on the, on this consciousness.
There’s somehow the consciousness sort of solidifies into particles and so forth. But
Alex Tsakiris: [00:41:40] hold on, let me just clarify isn’t that what’s Scola Minsky is saying, he’s saying we must see mind as actively shaping and creating the world. And this is neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is one of the ways that we can kind of falsify materialism, but I think it also kind of falsifies panpsychism in that middle ground kind of thing.
Dr. David Skrbina: [00:42:03] Skulmoski was, he was very focused on the human route. So he actually talked very little about non-human consciousnesses to him. That was, uh, either, I dunno, it was not really an issue of interest or he felt like he couldn’t say much. So he’s talking in the realm of human mind. Yes. The human mind brings order and it sort of reaches out into the world and put imposes order on otherwise abstract, you know, just, uh, incoherent movings about, of energy and matter, whatever, in, in, in the universe.
So it’s in that sense, our mind sort of reaches out in the world and sort of creates that reality, the world that becomes real for us. The, the implication, is that anything that has a mind that does the same thing. So if you allow that animals, for example, have minds chimpanzees or dolphins or whatever, they too must also from their perspective, reach out into the world and their minds create a reality for them.
And it’s a different kind of reality for a chimpanzee or for a dolphin or for a whale or whatever. And then of course, this goes right down the line. So you can say, well look, any animal I would say has a kind of conscious mind, it’s mine, however simple. It might be reaches out in the world shapes that reality creates that reality for it.
And it makes a reality that that’s coherent for that type of, for that beating for that type of mind. So you could argue that everything in a pants like this, you, everything has that little mental ability. You kind of reached out and shape the world, the universe in a certain way, and to create the reality from its own perspective.
So that’s the pan cyclist position. I, I
Alex Tsakiris: [00:43:29] think, yeah, I just don’t think it. Tackles all the data. Like if you look at I’ll stick with neuroplasticity for a minute, and if you look at Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz at UCLA, and he’s probably published as much as anyone on panpsychism as it relates to consciousness.
And what he found in working with, , patients who are suffering from OCD is that this mind body problem, which isn’t really a problem it’s always been answered is that mind is shaping body. So in his patients, their mind is changing the cell structure of their brains. So it’s not, it’s partly what you’re saying.
It’s partly reaching out and interpreting the world, but clearly at this point, it’s reaching out in reshaping the world. It is in fact creating the world. And I don’t see how you can really interpret the. Double slit experiment any further, you know, and then, uh, I’ll, I’ll stop there, but then we can talk about Dean Raden in his double slit experiment with the meditator where they’re obviously effecting the photon beam.
They’re not just reaching out and shaping the world. They’re changing our physicalist measurements of the world.
Dr. David Skrbina: [00:44:44] Right. So, I mean, you got to be careful because there’s several issues going on here, right? So one is when you start talking about the mind versus the world, that starts to sound like dualism, right?
Alex Tsakiris: [00:44:54] but you get what you get what I’m saying. I mean, the words kind of, how are you going to TA how are you going to talk about this
Dr. David Skrbina: [00:44:58] stuff? Yeah, I agree. I agree. I totally agree. It’s hard to talk about it, but we have to, we have to keep it in our minds. Are we talking about two things like the mind and the physical world, and then they’re working on each other or this one’s driving that or vice versa.
Is that the case, or is it really a monist system in which you really have one basic reality, which has to have one basic set of characteristics and, and, you know, it’s very hard going back to the card, very hard to defend any real form of dualism because it has, it promotes ins insurmountable problems about how did this come about?
How does the interaction work? You know, what, what, how does it affect how we know about things and so forth? It’s the dualism, I mean, serious philosophers, almost completely pushed the dualist options to the side and say, look, this is just simply
Alex Tsakiris: [00:45:45] untenable, right. But we have the experiments we have to deal
Dr. David Skrbina: [00:45:49] with.
Yeah, that’s fine. But you can still explain those in a monist framework. So the question is for most philosophers of mind is all right. Well, look, we got to be a monist of some kind, uh, a plausible Maness. So how are we going to explain right physics and the results of the world and what we know about things and personal experience and intuition.
How can we explain that in a monist framework when there’s not mind and reality or whatever, you know, two separate things, which is very hard to explain how that came about. It’s much more coherent, cohesive, and coherent to explain things within a minus framework. So now, so now what’s the relation between what we call mind and what we call matter or body or physical reality.
What’s that relationship when there’s really only one ultimate substance in the world. Now you could say it’s all just matter. That’s materialism. You could say it’s all really just mind. Which is the idealist scheme, or you can take sort of a different approach. It kind of a neutral monist approach or a dual aspect approach, which is what I favor, which says, well, look, some, in some sense, reality has sort of both these qualities.
It’s kind of like on the inside and the outside. When you look at things from the outside to see as the physical qualities, you see them as matter and physical stuff. When you look at them on the inside, you see the mental qualities things as, as in minded or conscious beings. And really the only thing that we know on the inside is ourselves.
This is where we have to start. We can feel ourselves on the inside. This is why we are aware of things as a conscious being. Uh, and, and we cannot draw the same conclusions except by inference from other people. This is a longstanding problems called the problem of other minds. It works even with humans, actually, it’s actually very hard.
Believe it or not to prove that other people have minds. Right. If I, if I ask you to prove to me that you have a mind, there’s really nothing you can say that can prove to me that, that you do. And vice versa for me, we have a really, a very hard time, uh, just convincing each other that we really have minds.
I mean, it sounds kind of, uh, kind of crazy, but of course we accepted because there’s arguments from inference and analogical arguments, which says, well, this is highly probable. It’s extremely probable that all humans have mines. So we generally don’t bother ourselves with it, but it actually took to approve it as extremely difficult, arguably impossible.
And the same thing applies to animal minds and plant minds and in inanimate minds as well. There’s a kind of analogical or inferential argument says the most plausible outcome is those things also have internal aspects by which they view the world, which we cannot see because we are not an animal.
We’re not a plant, we’re not a rock, uh, to, to us, those look like physical things that are following physical laws of nature, but in the same sense that it’s entirely plausible. In fact, it’s probable that they also have an interior aspect, which we cannot see, which is shared by all of reality. That’s the Montessori aspect.
Uh, and, and to me, that’s, that’s the most plausible, most coherent explanation of things.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:48:44] Yeah. I mean, I think now we’re, there, there really isn’t that the argument here doesn’t seem to have much substance to it. Really, to me, it seems to be this, especially when we look at the entire, you know, business of science, which is still completely wed to materialism.
And that consciousness is an illusion and that you are a biological robot and meaningless universe. I mean, comparing that to quibbling over, uh, these, these minor things where we’re both saying the same thing about mind and there isn’t anything out there to measure so I I’m tempted to move past that, but I can’t because I just not one little thing. Here’s the pushback with philosophers. I’ve talked to so many philosophers on this show, but I’ve often also talked to so many physicists and physicists just don’t stand for that bullshit.
If you talk to a physicist, he’ll point to the data. If you talk to, uh, Jeffrey Schwartz he’ll point to the data and he said, so we have the experiment, here’s the data that comes back, explain it, make it make sense. And you know, when you take Jeffrey Schwartz and you take the fact that the mind body problem is now visible in this experiment, that the mind is creating the body, the mind is creating, it’s it’s back to what scholar Muskie’s saying about creating the world. That’s Jeffrey Schwartz is saying you are creating the world. And I mean, in so many wisdom traditions, including the Tibetan Buddhists on down are saying, yes, you are literally creating the world.
So why the quibble over, you know, common editorial, a bottom up panpsychism
Dr. David Skrbina: [00:50:26] it’s actually not equivalent, right? So we’re talking what’s, what’s ultimately real in the universe. Right. And, and, and there’s really, as far as we know, I mean, there’s a handful of options. What’s ultimately real is physical stuff.
What’s ultimately real is mental stuff. You can call the mental stuff. God, but we
Alex Tsakiris: [00:50:42] don’t have any argument on that. There, there, there is no ultimate reality to physical stuff. Right. It’s just, we just found a way to measure
Dr. David Skrbina: [00:50:50] it. Okay. Oh, so there’s no ultimate reality or it’s an unknowable, ultimate reality is that I guess, right.
You could say that. Well, we could say what we just don’t know. It’s like, well, it’s like saying, well, what happened before the big bang? Well, we have no way of knowing that. So we’re just going to forget about that whole issue. I guess you could say, well, we, we don’t, we, we have no way of knowing what’s ultimately real, so we can just sweep that whole thing aside.
I don’t know.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:51:11] That’s not what we’re saying. I mean, that’s not what I’m saying. I don’t think that’s what you’re saying. What I’m saying is. Uh, w what I think science is saying and where science gets hung up, if there’s a validity to scientific materialism, is that it’s the shut up and calculate thing. It’s the screw, the philosophical shit.
Let’s just get onto, uh, measuring the stuff and seeing if we can build more iPhones. And I think that has a big attraction to people and I get it. But in both cases, we’re just talking about the results of measurements and abstractions that they are, where all the fundamental physics tells us there.
Isn’t an ultimate reality to that. The Higgs at CERN. It’s nothing, there isn’t a Higgs that we don’t have it. Alls we have is what’s left after it leaves. So it’s all in abstraction. And I think physics accepts that and just says, okay, but we can still work with that abstraction.
We can still Mather measure stuff and we can build more iPhone. So let’s get on with it.
Dr. David Skrbina: [00:52:07] So we’re back to the problem of technology by the way, which is actually, which is actually, so I I’ve started said, look, you make mistakes. When you don’t understand the metaphysics and you make bad metaphysical assumptions.
So, you know, the way I’ve explained to my students, I will, I will hold up sort of a metaphorical coin, right. A giant quarter. And I said, well, look, here’s a coin, has two sides. It has heads and tails. And I said, well, look, if I show you the head side, you can see the whole, whole coin. And it looks like heads.
And if I turn it around this way, and I said, well, look, you can see the whole coin. It looks like tails. So if I show it this way or this way you can see the whole coin. To me, that’s a perfect metaphor for the world. The world on one side looks like physical stuff, and if I’m a scientist or a physicist, and I look at the world and I say, I see the whole shebang in it’s just physical stuff, man.
It’s just particles and energy and calculations and physical laws. I can do the whole set. That’s the whole shebang. And in one sense, it is, but you’re only seeing one side of the whole thing because it doesn’t explain what’s going on in here. I can turn that picture around and I can say, look, I can describe the whole world and mental processes and mental concepts.
This is the argument for idealism, by the way, I can describe the whole universe and mental concepts. And then, and then I’m still describing the whole universe, cause I’m showing you the other side of it. And, and you know what you can’t get from the one side or the other, the physical guys can’t get to the mental side and the mental guys can’t get to the physical side.
So you have these funny difficulty difficulties going on in terms of the metaphysics of explaining how this stuff works. But, but we’re guaranteed. You are mistake. And if you take one side of the coin and say, there’s not another side, You’re guaranteed to be mistaken. In fact, you’re obviously mistaken because what’s real about the world is not the physical reality.
That’s not true. The most real fact about the entire universe is that you have conscious awareness period. That’s fact, number one, every other fact is a dubious speculation on your part outside of that fact. So this is, this is the kind of the starting point that you have to go by.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:54:03] Totally agree.
Dr. David Skrbina: [00:54:06] And I think that well, so, so, so your physicist guys are dead, flat wrong, cause they don’t nothing about sort of the, the, the, the most real fact of existence, which is their consciousness, because they can’t explain it.
They don’t know what it is. They don’t know where it comes from. They don’t know how it changes the effects of physical experiments. They don’t know any of that. They don’t know squat because, and they just kind of, well, I don’t care. I’ll just sort of wish I’d just toss that away in those philosophers are all confused and I’ll just deal with the experiments and the particles.
And I’ll just make my cell phones. Yeah, of course you can do that, but you’re making mistakes. You’re making metaphysical mistakes because you don’t understand the nature of reality when you do that.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:54:39] David. I got a, a hundred shows on that and my physicist guys are guys like Don Hoffman, net at UC Irvine.
Who’s super respected and is looking at a mathematical model for consciousness, but he’s completely post materialist. I mean, plus materialism is just. Yeah. I mean, it doesn’t, it doesn’t make
Dr. David Skrbina: [00:54:57] sense for any thinking person. Exactly. That’s that’s, that’s exactly. That’s exactly right. It does not make sense.
And you have lots of difficult challenges to, to make it make sense, but physicists are in a poor position. I’m sorry, I just Hoffman all these guys aside. I’m sure they’re smart guys, but they’re in a very poor position to make that jump from their physical backgrounds, to the mental, the mental aspect backgrounds.
And, and to try to explain this, uh, I mean, I’ve read lots of physicists and, and they make sort of, you know, nice insights and my nice little comments, but they’re really no position to sort of, uh, to, to really understand sort of the whole, the whole realm of metaphysical issues that goes along with that and try to make that full explanation.
Alex Tsakiris: [00:55:37] Uh, I think, I think Hoffman is, and I mean, I think the pushback on Hoffman is that, , mathematics is a more parsimonious way of talking about this than philosophical bullshit. That’s what he says. He says, let’s run experiments and let’s see the data that we get back, which we understand is an abstraction, but let’s see if we can make it fit.
You can’t take Jeffrey Schwartz and Jim that back into a bottom-up panpsychism model. I mean, you can, but, but in the same way that you respond to my email and say, Hey, we can get around that problem. It just sounds like a lot of extra work to get around the idea that.
Uh, bottom-up panpsychism that? There’s all these little consciousness beings. And when it reaches some its emergence, again, we don’t know what the, , you know, fundamental helmets are, but it reaches some point. It automatically emerges. It winds up sounding like the same, gimme one miracle. And I can explain the rest kind of stuff.
Dr. David Skrbina: [00:56:30] Yeah. Well, no, it’s, it’s it, it combines, it grows in complexity just like matter grows in complexity. So that’s not, I mean, there’s like, you’re you’re
Alex Tsakiris: [00:56:37] you don’t have any proof of that though. You don’t have any proof of that. That’s just the theory, right?
Dr. David Skrbina: [00:56:41] Yeah. Okay. Sure. Right. I mean, right. We can’t prove much of anything.
We’re speculate about evolution of matter and complexity in the universe. Right. So, but the, but the problem is with Hoffman and these guys, you’ve got all the mathematics in the world. You’ve got all the experiments in the world. You’ll never get to conscious awareness, never in a million billion years.
Will you get from that? To conscious awareness because there is an inexplainable gap on there on one side of the universe and they can not get to the other side without, without introducing metaphysical principles. That’s that’s, that’s a kind of a, yeah. That’s just how it is. So I, yeah, but see Hoffman,
Alex Tsakiris: [00:57:12] you don’t, maybe you don’t know Hoffman stuff
Dr. David Skrbina: [00:57:15] because,
Alex Tsakiris: [00:57:17] well, because he says, yeah, and he says, I can totally be wrong, but we have to try.
We have to try and use, uh, mathematics is our most elegant, profound, simplest, most concise way of talking about what that link would be to the, to the metaphysical. We just can’t chalk it up and say, well, that’s the great unknown. We can never penetrate it. If we are going to pay,
Dr. David Skrbina: [00:57:42] it’s not the great, I know, but you cannot use materialist tools like mathematics and experimentation to get you to the non-material side of reality.
That won’t work. It’s just,
Alex Tsakiris: [00:57:53] well, we’re going to, we’re going to argue about stupid stuff. Let’s talk about the Jesus Oaks. No, because, because we’re, we’re, we’re, we’re really, I think the big leap that we’re talking about is materialism and post materialism. So were there tell us about this book, which I really like in a lot of ways, I probably gonna push back on you to the Jesus hoax.
What’s that about? Why did you write the Jesus hooks? Who are you to wrote that? To write the Jesus
Dr. David Skrbina: [00:58:19] hoax? So we’re clicking around channel three. Now here. This is really jumping around. Yeah. Um, okay. Right. So again goes kind of way back to my, uh, middle school days. When I used to have debates with the religious kids in school, I was the evolutionist and the scientist guy, and here were these nutty, but biblical kids who are, you know, big in the Baptist, a Baptist church and whatever.
And you know, they’re, they’re giving us these God stories and I last as crazy. Right. So long, long time sort of going and going back as far as, yeah. Child childhood, basically being a religious skeptic. Um, so this is kind of my, what
Alex Tsakiris: [00:58:59] was your family? What was your, did you have any religious upbringing or where
Dr. David Skrbina: [00:59:02] your parents were?
Well, yeah, when I was very young, so we were Presbyterians, nominally. Uh, I recall going to a Sunday school, you know, once a week, my mom would take me, dad stayed home and worked around the house and, you know, mom would take me, I would sit in Sunday school and, you know, BS with a kid next to me. And, uh, you know, I don’t know if you know, Presbyterianism is it’s really watered down.
Theology is really meant minimalist. And, and to me, I just kinda sat there and just kind of nodded my head and just didn’t really didn’t really believe any of it. So, so I w I was predisposed. I was never really raised religious. I was raised. I guess I would say open-mindedly not one way or the other, uh, but just sort of inclined to be skeptical about things like, like I am about most things.
Um, and so I’ve, I’ve met, I mean, any, okay, so you get to the Bible, you’re reading miracle stories and son of God and resurrections and all these kinds of heaven and hell. So, okay. Any rational person has to be skeptical from the start about these things. And then, and then you sort of, you sort of dig into it and you say, well, what’s the actual sexual basis to the story, right?
You have the new Testament, which is the whole story of Christianity and you start to sort of, you know, wonder what’s going on there. Um, You know, these guys are talking like they know things and they’re sounding very convinced and very compelling. And so who are these guys now? What were they thinking?
What were they writing? This is kind of a interesting context, right? ,
Alex Tsakiris: [01:00:26] at what point were you getting serious about investigating this as a scholar?
Dr. David Skrbina: [01:00:30] Yeah, right. Well, I guess when the, when I started digging into the data, right? So I started coming up with, let’s say the time, the timelines, right.
Scholars for a number of decades. And it took me a while to sort of really understand this scholars, anthropologists, basically, and literary experts have made good, good progress in dating the parts of the new Testament. So you basically have the letters of Paul and the four gospels and some other extraneous pieces.
And they’ve been able to date these things fairly, fairly well. And they’ve also looked for other confirming data about the Jesus story and early the early years of Christianity.
Alex Tsakiris: [01:01:08] Just so we can be clear, you’re referring to the probable time when they were first written, because then we have the whole other dating issue regarding the manuscripts.
Dr. David Skrbina: [01:01:19] exactly. Right. So we don’t have, we don’t have original manuscripts. We have copies of copies of copies, but we can work backwards and we can say, well, look, there was probably an original manuscript written in a certain timeframe. So this is exactly right. And so, so for example, we’ve dated the letters of Paul.
So he wrote nominally 13 letters. Although half of those are considered forgeries. So he’s actually written six or seven that are legitimate. We can date those between the year 50 and 70 a D. And I think Skylar is a pretty strong consensus that the that’s when those letters that’s when Paul lived, that’s when he wrote those letters, he died sometime before the year 70.
So yeah. Okay. That makes sense. That’s when he wrote the letters, sort of the first striking fact to me was, was the gospels. And if you look in the letters, all the letters of Paul, he does not mention anything about the gospels. He doesn’t talk anything about Jesus’ birth. He doesn’t tell you anything that Jesus said, it’s almost like he doesn’t realize that there were any gospels at all.
And in fact, there weren’t because the gospels were not written until after Paul dies. And this was sort of one of the first really enlightening facts for me. And you say, well, look, when did the, when were the gospels written? Well, the experts say, well, look, the first gospel was mark and that was written around the year 70, shortly after the Romans defeated the Jews and their first revolution.
And the year in the year 70, uh, the, the, the X two gospels, Matthew and Luke were written in the mid eighties, a D the fourth gospel. John was written in the mid nineties, a D. These tell the story of Jesus, not the letters of Paul and nothing before the letters of Paul. And then you start to put the whole first century into perspective and you say, well, wait a minute.
Something’s crazy here, right? Because you’ve got the life of Jesus. Jesus lived anomaly from zero to 30, a D it’s the last three years when he performed his ministry and he did all the miracles there’s documents in the Bible, something like 36 miracles, uh, you know, he’s walking on water and raising the dead and calming the storm and the fishes and the loaves and all these, all these miracle stories.
And you say, well, look, where’s the, where’s the contemporaneous evidence. Where’s the evidence from anybody who lived at the time of Jesus at the time of his ministry within a few years after where’s the evidence that people saw these miracles, for example, Some of the miracles were in front of a few people, some were in front of thousands of people.
And if you were there and you witnessed a miracle, there’s a thousands of people, probably hundreds of those people are going to do something. Think about it, they’ll write it down. They’ll tell somebody who wrote it down. They’ll report it. I don’t whatever. Right? Some kind of documentation. It’s impressive thing.
Right? I mean, you’re talking a real miracle here. Right? And instead you look at, you look at what happened and, and you look and you find nothing. There’s nothing. There’s zero zilch, nothing from the time of Jesus’ life. From the three years of his ministry for two decades after the crucifixion, nothing zilch zero, not a shred of evidence, not a letter, not a document, not a carving, no relics, nothing.
Zero. And so wait a minute, how’s that possible? And then suddenly the letters of Paul show up, and this was starting in the year 50 that’s 20 years after the resurrection. And he’s telling you things about how Jesus rose from the dead it’s like, well, yeah, sure. Right. How do you know that it was 20 years ago and then decades after that you get the miracle stories and you get the raisings from the dead.
And then Jesus, uh, the sermon on the mountain, all this stuff shows up 40, 50, 60, 70 years later and say, wait a minute, what’s going on? How could that happen? How could the people decades later know precisely what happened decades earlier? When people at the time said nothing about the story. So immediately, you know, then the warning bells go off he’s, there’s, something’s fishy.
This just doesn’t make sense. What’s going on. And then you think about, well, who is doing this well? Who are these guys? Well, we know they were all Jews, right? So Paul was a Jew. The, the 12 apostles were Jews. And, and we think the four gospel writers, whoever they were, we don’t really know. We think they were all Jews as well.
They were in meshed in a battle with Rome. I mean, this is sort of an indisputable. The Romans came into Palestine in 63 BC throughout the Jewish tribes who are the Jewish rulers who were running the show, threw them out, right. Took over and ran, ran Palestine for what would end up being like 400 years.
And the, and the Jews would have been mad as hell. I mean, anybody would’ve been right? Some former comes in, throws you out of power and takes over and says, now we’re in charge. So you have a whole Jewish mill you in which they’re mad as hell at the Romans, they want to get rid of them. They don’t really like the pagans around them because there’s always this antipathy between the Jews and the, and the non-Jewish masses around them.
And you say, well, look, let’s put two and two together here. You got a group of elite Jews who are giving us a clearly nonsense story about miracle man, and a guy who came the son of God. And he’s raising people from the dead. Why are they doing this? Well, you know, there’s a good chance that they’re doing it too, to create a story, a mythology and a worldview.
That’s going to sort of draw people to their side away from the Roman side, the Roman Pantheon, we’re familiar roughly with that mythology, we’re going to create a world view. That’s going to draw people away from that more to our side, and therefore undermine the power of Rome in our region. And so this is sort of the, the, the essence of this Jesus Hoke story.
We took a guy who either did not exist, or if he did, he was just a regular guy, a mortal human being. Maybe he was a rebel rouser. Maybe he spoke out against the poor. Maybe he got him Cruz kind of self crucified as a fair chance that that actually happened. I don’t doubt that there was a crucifixion.
There could well have been an actual crucifixion. But like everybody else, he would have been dyed, taken down and buried in some unknown to, and we’ll never know where he’s at. And then decades later, somebody gins up a story about this guy who got killed this Jewish rabbi who got killed. And we turn them into the son of God, the miracle man.
And then we start, we start selling the story to the masses, to the Gentile masses, the non-Jewish masses. This is what Paul did. He’s the self-proclaimed apostle to the Gentiles. He’s taking his story to the masses, the non-Jewish masses to get them on, on his side, get them away from Rome. To me. That’s, that’s the story that makes the most sense.
Alex Tsakiris: [01:07:25] Okay. I like part of the story, not all the story. , I don’t know how anyone contradicts your read of the state of modern, biblical slash religious scholarship. It is abysmal for anyone who comes in from the outside, a science guy, a business guy like me, you start reading what these people are writing.
And you’re like, who is minding the store in terms of publishing this stuff? It’s just so silly. And you’re the first person I’ve heard that is willing to go there with the Jesus’ business as it relates to academia. I mean, I guess we all know that, but you’re at least willing to kind of put it out there.
I mean, talk about a scholarship and talk about the, the standard that is kind of non-existent in terms of the craziness that gets published and then talk about the Jesus’ business.
Dr. David Skrbina: [01:08:17] Well, right. So, I mean, if you look at, I mean, who’s doing academic work on Christianity, So the first, in the first case, they’re mostly Christians.
I mean, this makes sense, right? I mean, you’re going to have you have Christian schools, Christian universities, Christian colleges, and Christian professors. And they’re going to be most interested in the story. They’re going to do the research and the publication and write the books. But of course they’re Christians.
So they’re believing the story they’re following. They’re buying the basic line. They’re basically believing the Bible and they’re quibbling about the details. And they’re trying to explain it
Alex Tsakiris: [01:08:45] as an academic. There, there is completely no even pretense of lack of bias. They’re completely biased. Right? So you wouldn’t go into you, wouldn’t go into another department at the university and have apologists like that, writing that kind of dribble.
You just wouldn’t
Dr. David Skrbina: [01:09:04] see it. No, of course not. Right. But of course, if you’re in a, in a religious, your college or university is taken for granted. Yeah, of course. We’re all Christians here, you know, a Catholic school. Yeah, of course. We all believe that stuff. So in, in many contexts you don’t even get any pushback.
You know, in a secular one of our normal public public university, you should be getting pushback, but you don’t, you get, you get Christians writing about Christian stuff. So, so, so to me, you almost have to, I mean, all these guys, I mean, they make good points and they, they do good, good, solid research, but their basic worldview is not going to be skeptical towards.
The basics of the fact, because they’re biased. So you have to put, put that all into a shelf and say, okay, here’s some interesting factual data, but they’re not going to challenge the basis of the story just because they’re Christians. And so you’re setting aside, I don’t know, 90% or 95% of all the academic material that’s written on Christians is by biased individuals.
So you’ve got to look for the small percentage of people who are at the apologists or maybe scientists, or maybe they’re Jews or Muslims who aren’t buying. The Christian story and you, at least you have a hope there that they’re going to think critically about the basis of the story. Right? In my case, I’m basically a non-religious person.
I don’t subscribe to any religion. Uh, I try to be a rationalist. I try to, you know, like I say, I have a technical background, I have degree in mathematics. So I try to be sort of logical and analytical about these things. And, uh, you know, I’m trying to be open to all solutions, but when you look at it sort of objective, really you, you, you see this was a boatload of nonsense and something else was going on and you have to have the courage to sort of get to the bottom of it and try to give a real story about what, what most likely happened.
Alex Tsakiris: [01:10:41] Let me just interject, because people might want to check out a debate that I saw you two with the guy from Wayne state university there in Michigan. And a nice enough guy really seemed like a, a pleasant guy and he was engaging with you and stuff like that. But. I, I do appreciate that. You just don’t kind of suffer fools, mildly kind of thing.
And the guy gave this thing and I could see you were kind of trying to pick words, you know, and saying, but you ultimately said, do you believe everything you read? And that’s, it’s so captured so many times what I want to scream at some of these books that I read. It’s like, why are you just accepting everything?
That’s just being presented to you just to suck it all in and just take it all in it just, we wouldn’t expect a normal, intelligent person
Dr. David Skrbina: [01:11:28] to do that. But it’s exactly right. I mean, I mean, there’s interesting arguments. It goes back to, well, why do people believe in God? You know, and where do they come to these belief in Christianity?
And you know, there’s an old story about a Bertrand Russell. He’s, he’s looking at arguments for the existence of God. And he says, well, look, you know, most people don’t believe in God or Jesus because of rational arguments. They believe it because they were told by their mother when they were five years old, And okay, so everybody believes mom and you’re raised in this environment, and this is sort of your mindset is your being raised and that’s why people believe.
And then they try to reconcile what they learned with what they believed all along from their earliest years. That’s not a rational viewpoint. This is what I, you know, I, I understand it. But it’s not a rational thing to say. I’m going to believe this stuff basically, because mom told me when I was five years old, I’m sorry.
That’s just doesn’t fly. Right. So, so you’ve got to take a different approach to it. Otherwise we’re just in some kind of arbitrary fantasy land, whatever somebody told me when I was little, I just take it as true. I mean, that’s, that’s nonsense,
Alex Tsakiris: [01:12:23] you know, the other thing and not to pile on this, this one point, because I’m certainly not an atheist, I’m not Christian, I’m not religious, but I’m definitely not an atheist because I don’t think the data falls that way.
Particularly when you look at extended consciousness and we can talk, we will talk about that later because I think it plays into the Jesus hoax story. But you know, even people like Bart, Ehrman who gets away way too much airtime. And I don’t know why the Christians prop this guy up when his Jesus is such a puny little, you know, guy who just random guy who kind of a, one of many messiahs who talked against the, I don’t know why that gets propped up, but it does.
But I, I w I can’t resist bringing this up. The criterion of embarrassment. Which is one of the, uh, analytical textual techniques that Bible critics like Bart Ehrman does. It’s the criterion of embarrassment. The account is likely to be true. As the author would have no reason to invent an account, which might embarrass them.
that this passes some kind of bar where people go, oh, okay, wait. We understand, of course, all the motives of all the people, we understand propaganda, we understand social engineering and none of that could have possibly been in play. We just have to accept it at face value.
I mean, this is the kind of stuff, and this is Bart Ehrman. The seat does this stuff all the time. The other thing you said about Bart Ehrman, which I thought was brilliant, you know, Bart Ehrman, your quote, Bart Ehrman only looks at why we know their forgeries, not why they were forged.
Dr. David Skrbina: [01:13:58] Yeah, exactly. He only goes so far and then he stops, right?
I mean, this, this is why they like him. He’s and this happens on a lot of fields in technology and philosophy of mind, as well as religion. The, the mainstream people like a safe critic. Cause you, cause you got to allow that there are critics out there, but you, but you don’t want a really harsh critic. You want a safe critic that doesn’t go too far.
It doesn’t press the points too much. And then it can kind of be worked around. Right? Well, we see this in a line
Alex Tsakiris: [01:14:23] This is called
Dr. David Skrbina: [01:14:24] controlled possession. Yeah. Well that’s even, that’s even worse. Right? In the worst case, they set up a control the opponent. Then it’s literally controlled opposition.
That’s really bad. But, but of course there are sincere people. And I think that maybe Erman is sincere. I don’t think he’s been set up, but he’s probably a sincerely mild critic and there’s people in technology side too. And they get all the airplay. It’s a lot easier to deal with a mild critic of something than a harsh critic of something.
And, and so the, the, the mainstream media will always prefer the, these mild critics to the real critics, because then that just throws that overturns the whole apple cart. And then they really got a mess on their hands. So, so they liked people like, and they like people like Sherry Turkle and the technology side and so forth, Jaron Lanier, and the technology side, these guys are safe, mild critics, and we can talk to them and we’ll put them on the, on the news and we’ll, we’ll let them write books because they’re, they, we can, we can manage them.
We can live with their critiques because it’s not too harsh, but, but a Jesus hook story or a Nietzschean kind of critique, which is where I was drawing from originally on. No, we don’t want to talk about that. Cause that’s just too dangerous in this tude. It’s too sensitive and it gets to these really the root causes.
And we don’t want to talk about that.
Alex Tsakiris: [01:15:32] Yeah. I won’t belabor this too long, but I want to make sure. I understand the controlled opposition is operating in two ways. One is the complete, , manufactured, controlled opposition, but the other is the kind of organic controlled opposition. You know, I can create controlled opposition just by leaving a few chunks of cheese in the right parts of the maze.
And when people emerge and take that role of, you know, what Stalin called it, the useful idiot thing, right. You know, it’s like somebody is going to stand up at a student group and promote communism. And I never talked to the guy. Great for me, what can I do to, without anyone knowing it, support that idea, cultivate that idea and further it along.
So I don’t think you would disagree with the organic versus manufactured controlled opposition. Cause I think it’s your
Dr. David Skrbina: [01:16:21] point. I mean, it’s that? Yeah, I think we get, I think we get both out there. We see it in politics and you know, a military and economics and other spheres. Right. You, you probably get the organic, the natural listens to your kind of critics and then you get sort of the constructed critics, uh, The who, who really, they really want to control the debate.
So they’ll put, they’ll create their own critic and then they’ll debate him because they know they know his background and they know what he’s going to say. Um, and yeah, I mean, for sure the same thing happens in the, in the Jesus hoax, particularly because there’s the Jewish angle and nobody really wants to touch on this one, cause this is a hot button topic and we can’t blame the Jews for anything.
We can’t make them look bad and we can’t call them liars because while that would sound like terribly bad and antisemitic and all this nice stuff, so nobody wants to go there. So all the safe critics will stop short of pinning, anything on, on Paul or the Jews and, and sort of the harsher critics will say, well, look, this is the reality of the situation.
I’m sorry if you don’t like it, but you know, we’re getting down to the root cause here and we’ve got to understand what their motives were. That’s what you have to do. And that’s one thing I tried to do in my book and. Yeah, I’m sure they’re going to view me as an unsafe critic. So I, you know, I probably won’t be showing up on the weekly news shows anytime because that’s too much publicity for a harsh critique.
It takes people like yourself. We’re willing to do a sort of, you know, really look into the, into the deeper issues and really willing to tackle these things.
Alex Tsakiris: [01:17:39] Right. But here’s where we might kind of take different paths down the road. Yeah, my key figure in this is Josephus, because when we understand Josephus who’s rights before all these guys, we understand the Roman play that is kind of at hand.
And, you know, the quote, I don’t know if I’ll share this with everyone because I play it all the time, but
here is Josephus from war the Jews. And it’s the most important thing in my opinion, that he ever says, and I keep pounding biblical and religious scholars on this. And it’s just, who is an elite power, the power structure within Judea. He’s the insider ultimate guy. Who’s really in control, right?
Among the groups that’s really in control. And they’re completely pro Roman. And what he’s saying now is, you know what these fricking Jews and he is a Jew, he’s not only a Jew. He claims to be like a super Jew. He says, when I was 14, I was in the tempo. I knew everything and all that. So he’s saying, Hey, what really drove these Jews nuts was this Oracle, this prediction that their Messiah would come from Jewish soil.
He says, I got news for you guys. It’s been fulfilled. It’s for spazy in because Hey, you know what the spazy in was actually technically now he was promoted when he was on Jewish soil. This fulfills it. So Jews I’m telling you as someone who went into the cave to commit suicide and then had that, had this relevation.
Now I have a, another revelation and this is it. Yeah. This is the beginning of the PSYOP. To me. There’s no other way to read this other than propaganda PSYOP in order to play a well-worn trick in the Roman playbook, which is, Hey, well, you know, Spears and shields work great. But if I can spin you a story or convince you of something, or co-opt your religious beliefs all the better, it just amplifies my military power.
And why wouldn’t I so. What do you think about Josephus as being the key to understanding the beginnings of this Roman CYA program?
Dr. David Skrbina: [01:19:55] Yeah, so right. So we have to understand Josephus. I mean, he’s been painted as like one of the great traders in all of history was on the Jewish side to the extreme, as you said, he was on the brink of being killed.
He to save his skin, he converts to the Roman side. Cause the Romans are in the process of slaughtering the Jews. He converts the Roman side, agrees to work for, pay for the emperor and be their, their man they’re they’re Envoy to the Jewish world. And he becomes, you know, a well-paid and, and influential because of this.
Alex Tsakiris: [01:20:28] Let me just interject because I think there’s a really important point here that, that I’ve kind of stumbled upon. And I keep playing this out to people, waiting for someone to slap me down and all’s I get is further and further support. And that’s it. If you look at, , the copper scrolls among the dead sea scrolls, the copper scroll is really kind of a treasure list.
It says here’s where the treasure is buried. Here’s these tons of silver that are buried here and here and here. And at the end of it, it says, this is a copy. I think that’s what you see for his head. That’s what you see for is traded because when look at what you’ll see for Scott to see if his gut not only is freedom, but it’s freedom for 200 other people that got to Rome, they got to live in Vespasian Villa, all that stuff.
And the way that this is written, that somehow he was given all that because he predicted, he made some, I predict that this phasing will be upper. Okay. Here’s all your stuff. How about the fact that, you know, all the stuff that we see, all the booty, the loop, the gold that built the Coliseum that we see in the arch of Titus, it wasn’t just laying there for them to come scoop it up.
It was buried. It was hidden. They, in a 90 day siege, who’s going to sit around with all their golden gold GI. I hope those Romans who we know are going to eventually kick our ass. I hope they don’t come in here and take all our gold. You bury it. Josephus knew where it was buried. And that was the deal that was struck.
And it struck again in one 30, but that’s a different story. I just
Dr. David Skrbina: [01:21:59] throw that on his hypothesis. There were two later revolutions in one 15 and one 30, roughly. So it was an unending battle. I mean, this was going on for many years, right? From, from the first, uh, re Jewish revolts that was started about the year zero.
There was active resistance to the first major revolt in the year 70 when the Romans destroyed the temple in Jerusalem. And that was shortly after that, that, that Josephus tur turned coat and became a Roman advocate. Right. So I don’t, I guess I don’t know enough about the story of the hidden treasure, I guess it’s certainly possible.
You, you have to assume that the Romans would have taken whatever was in the treasury of the temple. So they hauled off those, those goods that was part of their booty. Maybe they got guys like Josephus to talk and then maybe they hauled away some, yet more, more goods. But I mean, I don’t know if it made it, you know, I don’t know if it made a difference to the Roman empire for God’s sake, you’re talking the Roman empire, right.
Versus, you know, a small tribe of Jews in the middle east. So I don’t know how much wealth they could have had that, that it made that much of a difference. I’m sure they were probably happy to get whatever they could. They could cost the state.
Alex Tsakiris: [01:23:03] I’ll just throw this out. Probably the, the, where it really had leverage is with the spaceman, because Vespasian is.
A soldier, soldier, and he knows what motivates soldiers and it’s money. So, and if you look at the, the period, you know, Vespasian is made emperor during this incredible Turmo where there’s four emperors in a, in a year period. And then he emerges after he goes to Egypt and he pulls all these mercenaries together and then he sails into Rome.
He says, I’m the guy. So imagine so you’re right. Maybe not the whole Roman empire is affected, but imagine if this Bayesean had that loot, could he in a very tumultuous kind of fluid situation, who’s the emperor walk in with the money and the mercenaries and seize power that makes again, that makes much more sense than any other story I’ve heard.
Dr. David Skrbina: [01:23:59] And, and therefore he brings along Josephus as his, as his finance here, basically
Alex Tsakiris: [01:24:04] a financier historian and also somebody who has to, they now are bound by, you know, this is a human intelligence kind of thing. Right. I need to keep an eye on you.
Dr. David Skrbina: [01:24:14] Yeah, yeah, yeah. It could, could, could be, I guess, you know, I, I don’t have a strong opinion either way.
I, I have no problem with that, with that thesis. I think it’s probably as likely that the space in needs of, again, he needs his man to talk to the Jews because you still got the problem with the Jews. Even though you wipe out the temple, you still got active revolt, you have resistance on your hand, you still need the Envoy to Judea.
So you got to find somebody, what are you going to do? You know, they had hared for awhile and then, then you need somebody, you need your own guy. So it’s not surprising. They dig up a guy like that, like a Josephus and they, and they either coerce them or bribe them to, to, to turn coat. Or to, to the Roman side.
And now he’s working for Rome, he’s working for a Vespasian. So everything that comes out of Josephus mouth is, Hey, I love those Romans was the space. And he’s a great guy, man. He was the Oracle, he’s the savior, he’s the Messiah, whatever. I mean, this is, this is the typical, you know, suck up, you know, one oh one, you’re going to play up your boss big time.
Okay. Now that, but that does not, that does not obviate the whole Jesus hooks because do the problem is Josephus seems to not know about the Jesus hoax until the year 92. So, so I mean, it’s very late when he actually publishes within this very small passage on the existence of Jesus. So there’s a long time.
There’s several years in there when he could have written or talked about it. He doesn’t, it’s only very late. It’s not even sure that that’s a legitimate passage in Josephus. It might’ve been added later by. You know, pro Christian advocates, we don’t really know. So, so I can, except pretty much though, pretty much the whole story about Josephus.
And I said, well, look, that has no little bearing on the Jesus hook story, which says it was Paul, the gospel writers in Palestine. They were doing the writing. They were trying to still get back at Rome. Josephus doesn’t want to get back at Rome. He loves her home cause Ron wrong, paying them well, giving them a nice house and lots of perks.
So he’s got nothing against Rome. He’s going to play up Rome, Paul and the, and the gospel writers. They still hate Romans. Like, you know, they hate their guts and they want those guys dead. They want them out of here. They want to destroy them and they, they do that for, for decades. And like you said, until the, to the second and third revolution and in one 15 and one 30.
And so, uh, yeah, I have no problem with it, with the Josephus story at all.
Alex Tsakiris: [01:26:25] The other thing I read in Josephus in that passage that I sent is that the Romans are keenly aware of the social engineering game, as it relates to religion, they’re playing that hard.
And I think we can look back and kind of fail to see, how it might’ve looked to them. Because by all indications, it seemed to me that they thought they had a chance. They thought they had a chance with just CFUs writing that and saying, Hey, you know, if it’s Basie, it is the Messiah.
Maybe it works. We throw it out there. And I just got to believe that. The second act of that is the writing of the gospels or somehow the influencing of the gospels. Right. And that’s how I, if you’re going to put Paul in the front of that story, I’m going to immediately go there and say to what extent is Paul possibly being compromised, being influenced or are the gospel writers being compromised, being influenced to play out.
What the Romans are kind of known to play out, which is again a PSYOP game co-opting kid.
Dr. David Skrbina: [01:27:28] Yeah. So of course, Paul is too early for this. Paul is working between 50 and 78 days before the destruction of the temple, so, right. Okay. So Laura, so you got Paul, so you can’t bring Paul into the story. Maybe you can bring the gospel writers into the story, but you have to get some evidence.
So you have to go and I’ve heard this sort of pushback too. Well, the gospels were pro Roman, right? There’s pro Roman propaganda in the gospels, and God knows how they got there from Josephus or whoever we don’t know. And to me, this is really pretty much nonsense because if you look for the actual evidence, you can find literally four or five passages in the entire new Testament that sound pro Roman.
And I say, well, let’s look at all the passages that are anti Roman that are rebellious or against the Roman worldview or against the wealthy and the powerful. And I could come up with, you know, three dozen of those and you can come up with three or four passages on the other side. So I say, well, look, what’s the preponderance of evidence.
It’s clearly on the anti Roman side. There’s no the stipend close and no one, no one is able to give me a counter argument. There’s, there’s actually very little pro Roman evidence in the new Testament. We’re talking the gospels, the four gospels. This is not there in poly either for that matter. It’s not anywhere in the new Testament.
Very little pro Roman. Propaganda in the gospels. If they did propaganda, I’m not doubt they did it, but they probably did it in another ways, not through the gospels because the gospels were anti Roman propaganda written by the Jews to get back at the Roman overlords. That’s that’s the most,
Alex Tsakiris: [01:28:54] I don’t read the gospels as anti Roman as you do. And I see them as subtly. Pro Roman, you know, the give on to Caesar go the extra mile, uh, ponchos pilot. I washed my hands of this. This is a setup, you know, when I was a kid growing up in Chicago, going to a Greek Orthodox church, you go to a Greek Orthodox church when you were a kid like me, second generation.
I knew only a few words of Greek, so I sure didn’t know that whole thing. Thing. They were spitting out. They’re all in Greek. I had no idea, but you know what I knew, I knew there was that guy hanging up on that wall and that kind of homoerotic Jesus on the wooden thing. And the other thing I knew, I knew those fricking Jews were somehow responsible.
I knew that when the guys got together afterwards and we talked, you know, and stuff like that and joked about the Jews and stuff like that, it was always like somehow they were responsible. I think the Bible is incredibly anti-Semitic, it’s incredibly this blame this on the Jews kind of thing. And then I think the Jews are the Jews which have really kind of a very hokey hokey religion.
You know, this thunder God religion, which doesn’t, it’s the only reason it’s propped up is because of Christianity and Christianity is dependent on Judaism. And Judaism is, seems to me to be playing this role of the antagonist, which at the ultimate, at the end of the day, in a very subtle way, they did kill Jesus.
By the way, you know, that’s the one thing that you got when you were at least what I got as a Greek Orthodox kid, I can’t really read the Bible, but there’s somehow responsible.
Dr. David Skrbina: [01:30:26] So yeah, a couple of things, right? So maybe on a future show, we’ll go through and we’ll compare the program and passages and the anti-roll and passages.
And you can read me the three or four that you have, and I’ll read you the 35 or 40 that I have. And then we’ll talk about the pros and the cons. So I’d be happy to do that. That’ll take a little bit a while, but we’re happy to do that at any time.
Alex Tsakiris: [01:30:44] Give me a couple of highlights that you think are most damning to the, to the Roman, uh, power structure.
And if you have to look them up, that’s fine. And take your time.
Dr. David Skrbina: [01:30:53] Okay, so here’s some antebellum passages, right? So we’re talking about non materialist and wealth pack, uh, passages.
So we, we are railing against the love of money against the wealthy against the powerful, right? Blessed are the poor, blessed are the meek, right? These are not the Romans. These are the common people, right? A wealthy man, you know, the Campbell through the needles. I got a wealthy, man’s not getting into heaven.
Those weren’t rails. They Romans they’re not getting to have only the poor are, um, you could serve either God or mammon. Yeah. Okay. That won’t work. Um, your riches have rotted. We see this in some of the letters, right. Um, Yeah, we have Paul’s letters. We have talked about the present evil age. We have, the slaves will become free.
These are in Paul. Jesus delivers us from Satan from, uh, to God. Right. Um, we talk about there’s these militaristic terms, talking about the breastplate of faith and the helmet of a hope, right? Uh, these things are sort of in first Thessalonians. Um, we have, you know, God will crush Satan, whose mothers talk about Satan.
Who’s the Satan in the world. It’s the Romans, the Roman power. That’s the Satan of the world. It’s not some devil characters running around. If we look at the gospel specifically, we talk about, um, surrender your life, right? Lose your life for my sake. Uh, the first shall be last and the last shall be first, who’s gonna win it’s it’s the it’s the low and the downtrod who were going to win out nation will go against nation.
We will fight again. You know, you will be against your own family. On my behalf, Jesus says, I’ve come not to bring peace, but a sword whoever’s not with me is against me. The end will come. Right? The devil rules, the worldly kingdom. I come here. It says Jesus to cast a fire, bring not peace, but division.
Bring your enemies here before me and slay me. If you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Uh, the whole world is ruled by the evil one, which is Rome.
Alex Tsakiris: [01:32:58] There’s just a couple of ones that pop out, you know, the sword thing I I’m with you. I, I get that. There’s hard, hard to interpret that differently.
Most of the other ones about wealth seem to kind of fit very nicely into the feudalistic system. That a Constantine who is completely a fraudulent kind of character, that, that, that he gets propped up as a Christian Christian ideals. He’s, he’s clearly a pagan he’s sold a viscous from the get go, but that not withstanding.
I mean, the, the counter hypothesis is that that’s exactly what they wanted to create with Christianity among the, among that population is, Hey, your reward will come later. Don’t worry about it. And then you don’t give unto Caesar what Caesar, cause it doesn’t matter, you know, go the extra mile, which, you know, my buddy, Joe Attwell trace down, you know what means, Hey, take that Roman backpack of the soldier and don’t care.
And you’re by law, you’re required to carry a mile, go an extra mile for, for that. So I kind of get what you’re saying, but you understand that it could be interpreted as again, if you look at it as a social engineering project, a way to control people, a lot of that fits in that other camp too
Dr. David Skrbina: [01:34:10] well. Okay.
I, yeah. I mean, you will have to go through the passages in detailed again. Maybe we can do that another time, you know, but, but you know, the, the render to Caesar and pay your taxes and love thy neighbor. I mean, those are literally three or four passages that you see in the gospels. And, and, you know, you, you have to sort of make a coherent story about these things and it’s, I don’t know, there’s, there’s so many that are sort of, you know, violent, revolutionary, rebellious.
It’s hard to see how that fits into a peaceful, loving, just become, go to work, pay your taxes. Don’t rabble, there’ll be a rabble rouser. I mean, that’s what is going to want to portray, but just see all these deed. That’s not what you see. You see all these sort of, you know, a belligerent antagonistic kind of passages that are there, that people have a hard time.
People like at have a hard time explaining the peaceful Jesus people have a hard time explaining. It’s only when you read it as a kind of a, as kind of a hook story and kind of as a manual for sort of rebellion that it starts to make sense. At least in my opinion,
Alex Tsakiris: [01:35:09] David, you’ve been super generous with your time.
I got one more little area. I want it. It’s kind of a hot issue for me. I always bring it up. Sure. One of the limitations, I always feel like we’re dealing with with this history is that we’re not acknowledging that these people are having spiritual experiences, deep spiritual experiences, because we’re all having deep spiritual experiences.
So near death experience science or reincarnation science, which kind of at this point is so conclusive that there is this extended brown and that spiritual experiences, even though we don’t know what they are, are real. do we. Limit this history when we don’t look at it through a spiritual lens. And I just hadn’t had a chance to interview Dr.
Elaine Pagels, who I really enjoyed. And I kind of put this to her and she comes and goes, yeah, well, I’ve had a couple of really significant spiritual experiences and she does seem the divide between why don’t we ever talk about that? And yet that is her personal experience. Do you think we’re leaving the rich, spiritual life of these people out of the equation?
Dr. David Skrbina: [01:36:19] potentially you’re right. I mean, so I’m, I’m I try not to shut off that possibility. I’m open to the idea that there’s some kind of, you know, spiritual aspect of the world, or I, if you want to call it supernatural, I don’t, I tend to not talk in those terms. Um, but there, there could be, let’s say unexplored or misunderstood aspects of reality.
That could be, that could count a spiritual aspects of the world. Then people might have some kind of ability to experience these things or tap into them. Uh, I think, you know, the problem is these tend to be very incoherent and they tend to be served just like, like feel vague feelings or, you know, general insights.
Or I saw the, you know, the bright white light, or I had a feeling of, you know, a positive feeling, you know, float over me or something like that. I mean, sort of very incoherent kind of nebulous kind of concepts. Okay. But maybe that’s true,
Alex Tsakiris: [01:37:12] that’s not really the data that certainly isn’t the near-death experience data.
And I just interviewed Dr. Bruce Greyson from university of Virginia has studied it for 40 years. I interviewed, uh, Eben Alexander who’s the Harvard neurosurgeon. Who had a near-death experience
Dr. David Skrbina: [01:37:27] and then, but the most, what are they saying? It can only be out of body experiences or what I’m trying to, what are they, what are they actually experiencing?
Alex Tsakiris: [01:37:34] One more thing on the table, because I think the most significant, not the most significant, but to tie all that contemporary data in. I like the work of Dr. Gregory, Sean, who did a cross cultural, cross time analysis of near-death experience accounts. And, you know, he’s an Oxford guy, super smart guy.
And his conclusion was that every wisdom tradition that he encountered that there afterlife beliefs in almost every case were based on near-death experiences. So he traced the common elements of the near-death experience with. Thereafter life beliefs. And a lot of times in their culture, they said, Hey, you know, we believed one thing.
And then, you know, running bear had an NDE and then we believed something else and it was confirmed by, you know, all these other people. So we do have a lot of data there. It’s not just, you know, fuzzy, you know? Oh, it’s out
Dr. David Skrbina: [01:38:33] of thing, you know? Okay. Right. So, I mean, even if we allow that there is some kind of survival after death, right.
That’s what we’re talking about. We put that on the tape hypothetic. So, but, but, but still, what does that tell us? You know, they, they don’t, they don’t go to another planet and they’re describing what’s going on. They don’t go up to heaven and talk to God and then come back and say, well, here’s what things that God told me.
I mean, they don’t have those facts, all of this as I survival post death, Okay. I can, I can accept that. I mean, you know, we don’t know what that means is that reincarnation, is it going to another dimension at FRA? You know, nobody really knows. Right.
Alex Tsakiris: [01:39:04] We don’t know for sure. We have a pretty good idea, but here’s where I was going with it.
Not to get too into that whole other area, the way I was put it as the space in, Hey man, I’m a dad, this Payson was a dad. He wanted what was best for his boys. Didn’t quite turn out like that. Cause I think demission killed Titus, but that’s another story. But for spazy in his laying there at two o’clock in the morning and he’s looking up at the stars, just like I do sometimes and thinking what’s going to happen.
Have I done everything I could? What is the weight of my soul? You know? Uh, and, uh, what happened when I ran my soar through that, drew it up in pertaining to, you know, is there a moral imperative? Did I do something wrong? He’s wrestling with all the spiritual questions that we all have wrestled with throughout time.
And no matter how you, you come down on it, It’s real. It’s a real part of who these people
Dr. David Skrbina: [01:39:57] are. Well, so the, the basic question is if your soul, there’s a whole question about whether you even have a soul that can survive death, because if you accept that, now you’re going to do list metaphysics. And we’re back to those problems we talked about before, which is extremely I’ve explained that.
But if we put that aside and say, you do have some kind of soul that survives death, a second part of you, not hard
Alex Tsakiris: [01:40:18] for the idealist though, right? I mean, that’s so hard for the idea
Dr. David Skrbina: [01:40:21] for a lot of people. It’s hard to explain, but, but, but the question is, does the, the life of that future soul in the next life or wherever it is, does that relate in any way to what you do in this life?
And this is a very core question that cuts across all religions and cultures. Right? Do I need to do the right thing here? So that my soul, when I die is happier, better, healthier, whatever. Yes. Well, to me, this is the core of like all religions. This goes back to the Gypson book of the dead and all these earliest early things.
I have to make sure I do the right thing here so that when I go there, I’ll be in good shape and around this very simple fact of which nobody can really confirm. Cause we can’t go there and come back. Really? ?
Alex Tsakiris: [01:41:04] What do you mean really? This is exactly the evidence I’m kind of telling you about.
So Gregory Sean is saying Gregory shoeshine is saying by the best methods we have, that we accept because we can ask people whether they’re depressed and whether they did a particular treatment and whether they’re not. Go ahead. I’m sorry.
Dr. David Skrbina: [01:41:19] But what they can’t tell you is I had a good, I had, I went to the, to the light because I was a good person here.
And I went to a pit of darkness because I was a bad person here. Nobody can tell you that because there’s no evidence for that. That becomes the moralizing theology, which you could speak into all the traditional religious stories. We create religious stories to try to get us to do the good thing, because as a kind of carrot and stick, you don’t want to go.
You want to go to the light place. You don’t want to go to the dark place or what ha what have you, this is back. This is a Plato. This is an Homer. There’s all these kinds of incentives to take advantage of this unknown future realm to try to get you by hook or by crook should do the good thing. While you’re
Alex Tsakiris: [01:41:58] here.
Well, there there’s certainly you can, co-opt it. Uh, and, and, and, and that’s what I always say. It’s the disintermediation thing, but I don’t want to get into that too far, but it’s like, of course, as soon as you have a genuine spiritual experience, count on somebody jumping in the middle of that and saying, okay, now that you’ve had that, let me interpret that for you.
Let me be the mediator of, of what that is, but I would suggest that the data is at this point is, uh, overwhelming. , th the data for reincarnation is irrefutable. As far as I can see it is unchallenged irrefutable. Isn’t a good word. It’s unchallenged. So Ian Stevenson at the university of Virginia, Jim Tucker at the university of gin, Virginia, multiple, multiple published books, papers, peer reviewed journal articles.
They even have physical evidence where birth marks and then they trace the, uh, Proposed or hypothesized a reincarnated, a former life kind of thing, all that kind of stuff. And so the question about the moral imperative really comes down to, is it completely manufactured as you say, or is there evidence that people have encountered an extended realm and have learned something?
And what they’ve learned is that there is a moral impart. There is a moral imperative. And is that in fact factual? Well, the evidence for that, the evidence that we have, and again, it’s the same way of the only way we know if you’re depressed and then we. Put you through a meditation program and it changes your life and you live a different life.
The only way we have David is to ask you, we can do a battery of tests before, but physiologically that’s out the window. It’s really just your subjective experience. So we now have that data for people. Who’ve had a near death experience and we can see how they’ve responded to those questions, but we can also kind of see how they measure on these.
And I just did an interview with, uh, Dr. Jeffrey Long, who has all this data from a social science standpoint, take like fear of death. Fear of death goes from 70%. To being the primary fear that people have to 13% after they have a near death experience, there is nothing in the social science literature that would come anywhere close to that.
There’s no therapy, there’s no drug there’s no anything that would, so there is data there, but we seem to want to turn a blind eye to it and kind of say, well, we can’t really use that data the same way we use all this other data. Right?
Dr. David Skrbina: [01:44:26] Yeah. I know. I suspect there are physiological, uh, explanations for this, right?
So any organism, any organism, human or animal when they’re, when they’re really in a, in a near death situation, probably gets a release, a tremendous release of, uh, you know, endorphins from. No,
Alex Tsakiris: [01:44:49] it’s just that they’ve looked at all of that. I mean, Bruce Grayson university of Virginia handbook of, of near-death experiences, 200 peer reviewed papers at this time, Penn Von llama cardiologists.
I mean, there are so many Davids, so many peer reviewed studies where they’ve studied that in the cardiac arrest ward, where from a physiological standpoint, they can measure all those things. They’ve measured them the best. They can’t, none of those, uh, last gasp of a dying brain things. They just don’t hold up to
Dr. David Skrbina: [01:45:17] scrutiny.
Yeah. Yeah. Well, yeah. I mean, okay. I mean, like I said, I’m open to that except accepted seems then you’re in firmly in a dualist camp if you’re accepting this, because now you’ve got something, a non-physical thing of which is you, your mind or your soul or your spirit, which is going up into space somewhere and coming back down into a new person to an animal or whatever.
I mean that, you know, so, okay. You gotta, you gotta buy in all the way. You can’t, can’t go half ass on this. You buy into a whole dualist scheme and all the, all the typical problems that have been around for 500 years about how to explain how dualism even makes how it’s coherent. I guess that’s, that’s the trade-off right?
It’s not, it’s not just a good news story. You got to, you got a boatload of problems. If you want to sort of accept the, dualist a story that that’s all I would say at this point. Right. And
Alex Tsakiris: [01:46:08] you are going to have the last word on that because you have been extremely generous with your time. And folks, our guest has been the very excellent and not back down from anyone Dr. Davids Sabina, be sure to check out his website. I really, really appreciate the fact that you came on, you tackled everything head on,
Dr. David Skrbina: [01:46:30] yeah. It’s David scrubbing a.com. If you, if it’s, if they’re not able to see the actual website dot com.
Alex Tsakiris: [01:46:36] So noteworthy worthy because you are buried in the Google search. I mean, you will not find you better type it into the web address because there’s a whole bunch of other stuff that we won’t even go with.
Dr. David Skrbina: [01:46:49] My goodness. There’s no more of me in the whole world. So if you find me that’s me, that’s, there’s no other scrubbiness in the whole world, so
Alex Tsakiris: [01:46:56] that’s okay. That’s good. But th the cancel culture thing is definitely on your back, buddy. I mean, there a
Dr. David Skrbina: [01:47:02] target, so, uh, what can you do? What
Alex Tsakiris: [01:47:05] can you do? It’s been fantastic.
Kevin Yan. Thank you for,
Dr. David Skrbina: [01:47:08] okay, Alex. Thank you. Appreciate it.
Thanks again to David’s Kobena for joining me today on skipped co the one question I’d have to tee up is.
What do you think about the Unabomber? Serial killer or a singularity whistleblower. Let me know your thoughts. Check out the skeptical forum, fewer and fewer people there, but that’s okay. Be the one who reignites it. Or track me down any way you like. Lots more to come until next time. Take care. Bye. For now.
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