Dr. Myke Merrill is a trainer, consultant and pastor who thinks there are no bad emotions?
[00:00:00] Adam 22: Lil Nas X has pissed off a lot of people over the weekend as he unveiled his new music video and the part that has people most offended is when Lil Nas X slides down a stripper pole from heaven to hell and gives the devil a lap dance. Despite all the hate and judgment Lil Nas X has had time to clap back at all the hate he was receiving over the weekend. There is a mass shooting every week that our government does nothing to stop, he pointed out to one person, me sliding down a CGI pole is not what’s destroying society. The sneaker collaboration with mischief which I now realize that’s how it said it contained a Nike Air Max 97 with satanic imagery and a single drop of human blood in the midsole. Many people were upset about the blood and felt that Lil Nas X was trying to possess people accusing him of worshipping Satan.
[00:00:42] Alex Tsakiris: Well, that’s a story the Lil Nas X story that you probably heard about months ago. And that’s probably because I’ve been holding on to this interview for a while. And for various reasons. It’s an interview with a Christian pastor named Dr. Myke Merrill, who absolutely is convinced that there are no good or bad and there is no evil. And you can imagine how that pushed my buttons as to why evil matters guy. So let me just play a couple clips from the upcoming interview. And then we’ll get right back to it. Hold the rear is it’s painful. As a Christian pastor, is there a moral imperative connected to this issue? Is there right and wrong? Is there good and bad?
[00:01:28] Myke Merrill: When I watched that, that is a marketing ploy that worked.
[00:01:35] Alex Tsakiris: It’s funny that you say that as a Christian pastor because that’s the same shit that I hear from atheists and occultist.
[00:01:42] Myke Merrill: I teach people how to connect with God, as far as I understand who God is. My lack of knowledge does not dissuade me from teaching what I do know.
[00:01:56] Alex Tsakiris: And like I say, “That’s absolutely awesome.” My kind of thing is, follow the data. And relentlessly follow the data.
[00:02:07] Myke Merrill: Absolutely.
[00:02:08] Alex Tsakiris: Well, don’t go saying 69% reduction on COVID masks, follow the data understand what you’re talking about, be rigorous. But hold on, cuz I said all this in the email, and you just completely glossed over. You didn’t respond to anything. I sent you a survey with 20 questions you didn’t answer. But one or two, everything was another. You’re kind of oppositional, I get that I can be that way too. But here’s the point. I base my belief on the extended consciousness on the reality of what you’re talking about. Because I do believe this reality. Hold on, like you always want to grab the wheel, don’t you? I love it. Whenever a guy says, “I’m in the driver’s seat.” It’s up to you. Those I know it. Those are the people always want to grab the wheel. That’s the evidence. That’s what happens. It’s not what Christian say, there’s not some big bad judge up there. It’s gonna come down on you. You judge yourself. But the other thing that says, “There is a right and wrong, that’s real. That’s inside you. You know what’s right and wrong. There isn’t this relativism? There isn’t this? Oh, there are no good and bad emotions.” Of course, there’s good and bad emotions. That’s the whole idea of choosing right versus wrong. We should be on the same page. But we’re not and that’s the problem. And that’s what Lil Nas X brings into focus. No, that’s not good Lil Nas X. It’s not okay. And to idolize satanic, do what thou wilt. Just feed yourself feed your ego. Those are not good emotions. It’s just not good for your soul. Welcome to Skeptiko, where we explore cut for seal science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers and their critics. I’m your host, Alex Tsakiris. And today we welcome Myke Merrill to Skeptiko which could be as we were just kind of alluding to could be a very, very interesting chat. Myke is a very distinguished trainer, speaker and author of why do people act that way? And what can I do about it a very kind of interesting book that has a lot of, I think will might lead to some Skeptico topics, even though kind of indirectly. And then Myke is also a pastor at Parma Christian Fellowship Church, where he lives in upstate New York. Again, Myke is, this guy kind of multifaceted, very plugged into the corporate world with his training and stuff like that, but balanced with this Christian Fellowship Church pastor that he is so of course with that background, he would be the perfect guy to talk about Lil Nas X tweaking on Satan, the video that I sent him. Like I said, this could be kind of an interesting ride we kind of got connected through Mark Palmer from my family thinks I’m crazy podcast. And I’m really grateful for Myke agreeing to join me on a kind of merging my journey, in a way with some of the stuff he’s been doing. So, Myke, welcome to Skeptico, thanks so much for coming on.
[00:05:21] Myke Merrill: Glad to do it. This sounds like a lot of fun. I am adjusting myself a little bit. So I can be looking right at you instead of off to the side. There we go.
[00:05:29] Alex Tsakiris: I’m going to be looking off to the side all the time, so don’t worry. So, people are going to be curious, right from the beginning, why that very great title, a very great hook. Why do people act that way? And what can I do about it, give us the thumbnail sketch.
[00:05:48] Myke Merrill: I started out counseling with a psychology orientation clinical approach, which basically puts people in a box, once you figure out what their symptoms are, you solve the box, you try and make sure that you know what their problem is. And then you solve their problem because they fit in a box. I found when I started working with real people, everyone hates that. They don’t want to be stuck in a box. They just want to talk about what’s going on in their lives. So I spent about 10 years listening, and not giving advice, not directing, not solving people’s problems. As I did that, I found that all emotions fell into one of five categories, I developed a counseling orientation, that there are only five basic emotions. The Why Do People Act That Way? book, in essence, explains the five emotional systems, and then how they fit into a person’s perspective on reality. But we develop the theory a little bit further than that. The four colored heads on the front of the book you had up there a moment ago, are yellow, red, blue, and green. And they represent four different complexes that go into the way a person develops their own personal sense of reality, the yellow head is perceptions. I think there are 10 of them. The red head is emotions. I think there are five systems. The blue head is motivations, I think there are five basic drivers. And the green head is behaviors. And I think there are two essential pathways that regulate all of behavior. But they’re not independent, bright yellow, bright red, bright blue, bright green jumped from one to the next, they actually interact with each other. So the Vann diagram looking image there shows how the motion changes behavior, it changes perception, perception changes motivation changes the motion. So the answer to the question, why do people act that way, is in what we call the cinnamon diamond, that little interaction between all four of them with a question mark in it. And the second question is as important as the first, why do people act that way? What do I do about it? So those are the two questions that I heard over and over and over in 40 years of working with people at all ages from young children all the way through, see elder senior citizens who were in the process of dying, every situation of life.
[00:08:30] Alex Tsakiris: Sounds good, sounds very progressive psychology kind of stuff that kind of well versed in, I put a big maybe by all of that. Now this also, how does this or does this intersect with your life and your work as a pastor, and I understand you’re writing a book from a Christian perspective on that too, what is the intersection between those two, because I didn’t exactly see it right off the bat?
[00:08:58] Myke Merrill: I didn’t write the book from a pastoral point of view or a biblical point of view. But a reality point of view, the concept that we have in essence is what we call reality intelligence. And we’re emotional intelligence is one quarter of the way we see reality the other three complexes fill in that piece. It really has to do with how every individual senses what is real to them, and how do they find their place in that reality. When the sense of reality or a person’s place in it is conflicted, or has friction or is broken. An individual says, “Life is not working for me, I experienced the trauma. I don’t have an answer to this important question. My responses are damaging to me and to others.” So what we do is examine how does a person see reality, and what their place is in that reality. And if they find that destructive or difficult, we work to resolve it. If they don’t have a problem with it, I don’t have a problem with it. It’s not up to me to say, “You have a problem with your life, because I think you’re wrong.” I learned decades ago, that does not work with people and its really ineffective way of approaching any kind of situation. So I just stopped doing that.
[00:10:30] Alex Tsakiris: Great, great so maybe that’s the shoehorn into this video that I’ve shared with you and I’ve already keyed up the audience on. This was quite the news, Lil Nas X working on Satan. You watched the video?
[00:10:49] Myke Merrill: I did. Yeah.
[00:10:50] Alex Tsakiris: And were you familiar with the controversy before?
[00:10:53] Myke Merrill: Yeah, sure, drop of blood issues, blah, blah, blah.
[00:10:57] Alex Tsakiris: Okay, let’s play that for folks who don’t know anything about it just so we can tee up the conversation because I think it gets into this question of what is morality and is there a moral imperative is there good and bad objectively, as opposed to subjectively in some way so here is no jumper news. These guys actually do a really good job on this so hats off to them, Adam 22 and AD I think are, Adam 22 and AD are going to tell us what’s up here with Lil Nas X.
[00:11:30] Adam 22: Hey, everybody, welcome back to no German news. It’s Adam 22. He would demand AD, let’s get right into these stories. So first story, Lil NAS X has pissed off a lot of people over the weekend as he unveiled his new music, video and collaboration with M-S-C-H-F. When Lil Nas X dropped Montero on Friday, he immediately became a trending topic on social media as various people were upset about his use of satanic imagery. The part that has people most offended is when Lil Nas X slides down a stripper pole from heaven to hell and gives the devil a lap dance. Despite all the hate and judgment Lil Nas X has had time to clap back and all the hate he was receiving over the weekend. There is a mass shooting every week that our government does nothing to stop. He pointed out to one person, me sliding down a CGI pole is not what’s destroying society, the sneaker collaboration with mischief which I now realized that’s how it said it contained a Nike Air Max 97 with satanic imagery in a single drop of human blood in the midsole. Many people were upset about the blood and felt that Lil NAS X was trying to possess people accusing him of worshipping Satan, former NBA player Nick Young took to Twitter saying that he would no longer be allowing his kids to listen to Old Town Road, “My kids will never play Old Town Road again. I’m still debating about wearing Nike after this. Come on Nike a drop of blood for real?” His tweet …
[00:12:48] Alex Tsakiris: Okay, we can stop it there. Like I say, I think it is relevant, really to some of the core issues in your book, Why Do People Act That Way? And What Can I Do About It? And it is certainly core to my project in terms of why evil matters, and kind of getting off of the relativism fence and trying to get to some of the core issues. So, I don’t know what your answer is. But as a Christian pastor, is there a moral imperative connected to this issue? Is there right and wrong? Is there good and bad?
[00:13:30] Myke Merrill: To me when I watched that, that is a marketing ploy that worked. That’s not about good and evil. That’s about getting eyes on and ears to listen and pocketbooks to open up to buy music. And the extreme nature of, the weather guy in my town has breaking news about how hard it’s going to rain tomorrow. Stay tuned and watch. Everything is extreme. So what’s happened in rap music over the last 25 years is what used to be shocking, unbelievable. How can anybody possibly do something like that? A woman with her shirt unbuttoned to the third button, you’ve got to why I’ve never been that again. So we just keep upping the intensity of the marketing. He didn’t slide down a pole. Satan is not a woman who’s wearing a black leather outfit. He’s not twerking Satan. It’s a CGI image that’s designed to get people engaged in conversation and guess what? It worked!
[00:14:45] Alex Tsakiris: Yeah, it’s funny that you say that as a Christian pastor because that’s the same shit that I hear from atheists and occultists. And I just interviewed this guy, Mitch Horwitz, and I love his bio, Mitch Horwitz is a story of alternative spirituality and one of the most brilliant voices in esoteric mysticism and occult and then you push, and you say, “Are you a Satanist?” And it’s, ‘Yeah.’ And then it’s all this kind of coated speak about, what the real purpose and goal might be of Satanism. He talked to the Aleister Crowley, you know, it’s the same kind of thing. So, back to the question, is there a moral imperative, is there right and wrong?
[00:15:33] Myke Merrill: The challenge that we have in asking that question is, what is the nature of evil itself? In the questionnaire that you sent to me, I answered that question with, there really is no such thing as cold. There is no such thing as darkness. Darkness does not exist, cold does not exist. Cold is the word that we use for an absence of heat. Heat is actually something real. There is energy from a source, infrared or some method of electromagnetic energy that actually exists, creating what we call, ‘warmth.’ When that’s gone, when it doesn’t exist. We have a word for that absence. It’s called, ‘cold.’ When light is emitted from a light source, Albert Einstein struggled to define what is the nature of light. Does it bend as time stay up with light on and on and on? Very interesting stuff to look at that. But when light is absent, or blocked, we have a word for that. It’s called, ‘darkness.’ But darkness doesn’t exist. It’s only the absence of light. So the question is what actually is evil? ‘Evil’ from the Greek word, “Pani Ross,” the original word Pani Ross, meant ‘grudging.’ It meant to have no generosity, it meant to be miserly. And so when it was not so much that there was a component called selfishness, it was the absence of being generous. So when you take the goodness of God Himself, and block that, eliminate that, take that away supplant it, you end up with what we call evil. So a moral imperative would imply that the opposite side of it is there’s a disincentive or a requirement away from that. But in the nature of God, God is he doesn’t have to explain himself or herself for themselves, or whatever it happens to be. So the absence of the goodness would be what we would call evil, in my view.
[00:17:58] Alex Tsakiris: In your view. Good. We’ll kind of talk more about that. I’m still having a little bit of trouble. As a Christian, do you believe in historical Jesus?
[00:18:08] Myke Merrill: Sure.
[00:18:09] Alex Tsakiris: So you believe that there was this …
[00:18:13] Myke Merrill: A historical Jesus, don’t change your question. Do I believe in historical Jesus? Do I believe that there was a historical Jesus?
[00:18:19] Alex Tsakiris: You’re worried about me changing the question? How are you worried?
[00:18:22] Myke Merrill: If I agreed to your statement then you change the question that sounds like I’ve agreed to the second question. I haven’t done that yet. Go ahead. You are in the driver’s seat, not me, I’m a guest here.
[00:18:33] Alex Tsakiris: What do you think I was going to change the question to that would be problematic?
[00:18:39] Myke Merrill: I have heard people change the question. So do you believe that he took physical bread and fed 5000 human beings all at once, with five loaves and two fish, if that historically happened?
[00:18:55] Alex Tsakiris: I wasn’t going to go there, I was going to go that there is this tribe of people. We call them the Jews now, whatever they were called back then …
[00:19:04] Myke Merrill: Tribe in Judah.
[00:19:06] Alex Tsakiris: They had their thunder god. And they recognize that all the different countries and they weren’t countries back then. But everyone had their different God and they protected their people, and they had their thunder god. And then that’s who Yahweh is. And then so you believe that then Yahweh has this child through a virgin birth and this child is born it is the Son of God, and there is this original sin thing going on. And this is a sacrifice that’s made by God through the death of this child that then that moment in history changes everything. And so the basic tenets of Christianity from a historical perspective, you are down with that?
[00:19:52] Myke Merrill: Yeah, sure.
[00:19:53] Alex Tsakiris: Okay, so we…
[00:19:55] Myke Merrill: I wasn’t there so it doesn’t matter. You weren’t
[00:19:58] Alex Tsakiris: What do you mean that you weren’t there, so, it doesn’t matter?
[00:20:00] Myke Merrill: I wasn’t there 2000 years ago, that’s all by testimony or by record. The question is, is there a God? Or are there multiple gods? Or are there forces? One could say, it’s different for each person, you don’t believe in that there is no God for you, I believe that there is a God for me. Or we can say there’s an actual reality that human beings struggle, first of all, to perceive, and second of all, to describe what they perceive. Is there an absolute reality that we try to ascertain? Or is there no absolute reality? Even in that question, the lack of an absolute reality would be an absolute reality, that there is no absolute reality, that would be an absolute reality. So, I think there’s an absolute reality. And our challenge as human beings, is to perceive what is and then to find ways of describing that.
[00:21:05] Alex Tsakiris: Well, that’s going to get into a discussion about consciousness, which maybe, we’ll have because I’m not sure where you really stand on that, and whether that’s directly relevant. But I want to kind of drill into this a little bit further, because my reason for doing this so that people don’t think I’m going too far afield here is the way that non-Christians like me, relate to Christians, like you, is often kind of cloaked in a lot of kind of coded speech, that sounds like we’re really talking about the same thing, when in fact, we really aren’t talking about the same thing. So where if we talk about evil, or if we talk about the moral imperative, or good or bad, and or if we talk about the historical Jesus, I’m going to return to the historical Jesus. So, you accept and I accept beyond this kind of reality kind of thing, which gets a lot deeper, it gets into philosophical idealism versus materialism versus Pan psychism. And we could have that whole talk about that, and about whether the world is out there, or that the world is a co-creation of me and my mind, but we’re going to set that aside, because that’s a different discussion. And we’re going to pretend that there’s a world out there. And then I’m going to ask you, as a Christian,
[00:22:22] Myke Merrill: We take that as a given, we’re not pretending, we’re taking it as a given, …
[00:22:26] Alex Tsakiris: I don’t take it as a given. I’m more …
[00:22:28] Myke Merrill: … for this discussion. Otherwise, if we don’t take it as a given, and we don’t have that point and start talking about that.
[00:22:35] Alex Tsakiris: Well, yeah. And we will in a minute.
[00:22:37] Myke Merrill: So you can say we’re pretending I’ll go with that.
[00:22:41] Alex Tsakiris: Well, in that, then, if we do want to try and understand. Yes, I’m with you, if we’re going to play the game, what I call the consensus reality game. And that is that Myke sees reality a certain way. And it turns out, as we write books and talk to each other and share this language, we have a pretty close consensus on what that reality is. And part of that reality is that there is a history. And that yesterday did happen yesterday, even physicists tell us that that’s not necessarily true. And there were these people called the Romans and that they had this territory in Judea, and then they had this whole thing. So in that sense, I guess I feel I need to still kind of pin you down on, who this Jesus character is, because I think Christians really wind up with kind of a hard time if you’re really going to own this kind of Son of God risen on the third day, and I believe it because these, because this book I have tells me so I just is that where you’re coming from?
[00:23:53] Myke Merrill: Sure. Do you have a problem with that?
[00:23:55] Alex Tsakiris: I don’t think it stands up to scrutiny. I just
[00:23:58] Myke Merrill: It didn’t stand up to your scrutiny. You can own that.
[00:24:03] Alex Tsakiris: Myke, well, let me finish the sentence.
[00:24:06] Myke Merrill: Go ahead. I’m sorry.
[00:24:07] Alex Tsakiris: So, this is again, if we’re going to play the consensus reality game, then one of the things we do is we have certain … This is what science is about. This is what academia is about. So we set up this system. We’re all biased. We all come with certain beliefs. And then this is the way we wrestle it out. And we have these accredited institutions. We have people that write scholarly papers and they’re reviewed by other people. And I’ve talked to a bunch of those people. And that is the basis of my opinion. I just had an interview, a wonderful interview with Dr. Elaine Pagels. from Princeton University, they’re close to you up there in the northeast, extremely respected, Obama wrapped that, essentially the Nobel Prize for the Humanities around her neck in 2016. She’s just super respected in the Religious Studies Community. So Elaine Pagels comes along She goes, “Hey guys!” Again, because part of her story is that she’s a woman in a male dominated, Christian dominated kind of world. And she says, “What about this stuff over here? What about this stuff in the Nagamadi desert? What about all these things we dug up? What about the Gospel of Thomas, which he’s most well-known for?” And she says, objectively, “There’s really no reason to exclude this from the Gospels, other than the kind of political shenanigans that Constantine took.” She says, “We have a better record of it, it probably predates most, if not all, the Gospels. Why shouldn’t we consider that?” So on a very basic level, is Christianity open to archaeological advancement? Sure, doesn’t look like it is. But how would we factor that into your beliefs?
[00:26:03] Myke Merrill: Were you asking all those questions as rhetorical questions?
[00:26:06] Alex Tsakiris: Well, which one do you want me to expound?
[00:26:09] Myke Merrill: Yeah, you have about eight questions from the woman from Princeton, that we’re all rhetorical questions. Why don’t we accept this? Do we have an openness? Those are all questions, they’re not answers. They’re not statements. They’re questions.
[00:26:25] Alex Tsakiris: What’s the problem, Myke? The point is, you got the Nagamadi library and you got the Gospel of Thomas. Are you down with that? Is that, are you?
[00:26:34] Myke Merrill: Yeah, sure. Those are documents, their perspectives. What’s the issue?
[00:26:40] Alex Tsakiris: The issue is that calls into question, I think that the history of the book that you’re talking about. I don’t think the book stands up.
[00:26:51] Myke Merrill: Why do you think that?
[00:26:52] Alex Tsakiris: One of the reasons I just said and what the reason
[00:26:56] Myke Merrill: I think the Gospel of Thomas exists. And that calls into question, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
[00:27:03] Alex Tsakiris: Well, I think you know it just to kind of make the connection there. Why is the Gospel of Thomas left out?
[00:27:11] Myke Merrill: It the Gospel of Thomas, and left out of the Canaan are left out of historical study?
[00:27:17] Alex Tsakiris: Well, left out of the Canaan by a serial killer kind of sociopath called Constantine, who constructed the New Testament. I mean, this is not, this stuff, this kind of basic, this is the kind of stuff, right? This is the kind of stuff that doesn’t make its way into the conversation between Christians and non-Christians. Because we either get the roadblock kind of thing that you’re doing or don’t go there, or I don’t have to defend my beliefs are, my beliefs should be kind of my beliefs or my beliefs and they’re beyond question. I don’t, that’s maybe, overstating where you’re coming from, but I don’t feel like …
[00:27:53] Myke Merrill: It might be.
[00:27:54] Alex Tsakiris: Okay. So…
[00:27:56] Myke Merrill: Yeah, in a certain sense, what you’re accusing me of you’re doing also, you have a set of beliefs you have. You weren’t there in the 325 when the Canaan was set, you don’t know what can’t and what Constantine actually did, you have some records, you have some written material. And you take that as having an absolute value, where Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, or the historical canonized record is not treated with the same credibility as the Gospel of Thomas. If I want to take Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and build my belief system on that, then how about that? That’s what Christianity does. And if you want to oppose that, I’m good with that. And that going to undermine what I regard, let’s go to the resurrection, because really, ultimately, everything else falls into place under the resurrection. The resurrection …
[00:28:52] Alex Tsakiris: I don’t think so.
[00:28:54] Myke Merrill: Why not?
[00:28:54] Alex Tsakiris: [unclear 28:54] because why is the resurrection, that Christians have decided that that’s some special event. And they’ve, first we would have to establish the authenticity of all this stuff leading up to the resurrection, you can’t just pin everything on one kind of event and your whole thing, because none of it holds together. Not the whole cosmology of it doesn’t make any sense to most people that say, I don’t have any experience with a thunder god who sacrifices his son, all that stuff, just the whole Adam and Eve story in original sin, and we’re all sinners. Most people are just like, this is completely kind of ridiculous. Once I get past the fact that this was programmed into me as a young child.
[00:29:41] Myke Merrill: Sure, I’m good with that. So if they don’t want to believe that I have no problem with that at all.
[00:29:45] Alex Tsakiris: Don’t you want to get to something closer to the truth, though? Don’t you want to kind of know as much as you can, what’s real and what isn’t?
[00:29:52] Myke Merrill: Sure, and I do that every single day of my life. I’ve done all of my I’m 67 years old, and I have done that every single day of my life. Have you ever been with someone when they died? At very last breath has their spirit left their body and they grew cold?
[00:30:11] Alex Tsakiris: No.
[00:30:13] Myke Merrill: I’ve been with about 70 people. The first one was my mother. She was Jewish. We were not religious. We were secular. We were wealthy. We were, my grandfather was very invested in the creation of the State of Israel. It was a Zionist. The salvation of the nation was having one’s own country, not in Madagascar, or not somewhere in Russia, or off on the side, but back in the Holy Land, they repossessed the Holy Land. That was his view. My mother had no religious training. She did not raise, Me and my father is a Gentile, my mother’s a Jew, and she got cancer. And from my age 11 to age 15, I watched this vibrant, intelligent, educated, very socially astute young woman who had five children of which I was the second become a skeleton, parts of her were carved off, thrown in the trash, cancer throughout her body, where Ashkenazi Jews, with the bracket to failure. And I sat in the hospital room, my father was an alcoholic, he’s on drink. And he worked on the space program. He’s a smart guy. But he drank all the time. And my older brother had run away, because he didn’t want to deal with the stress. So he was gone. And that left me as the functionally oldest one of my family. As I was sitting in that room, no premeditated anticipation, no Sunday school, no, Adam and Eve stories, no, nothing, nothing! I had the sense somebody got up and walked out of the room. It is not repeatable. It’s not scientific. But no matter what you say, I know I was in that room. And something happened. Something left the room.
[00:32:18] Alex Tsakiris: Who left the room?
[00:32:21] Myke Merrill: I was there with my mother as she was dying.
[00:32:24] Alex Tsakiris: And her soul left the room?
[00:32:25] Myke Merrill: I have no, I don’t know what happened. Let me finish the story. So I went out and got a nurse and I said something just happened. She came running in for Code Blue, blah, blah. My mother’s on all the machines that kept her heart going. She had cancer riddled throughout her body. She was about 75 or 80 pounds. I had washed her body. I had taken care of her wounds. I had cleaned up all the vomit every time she threw up her toast and tea for months. My father couldn’t deal with it. I dealt with it all the time. I was incredibly close to my mother. So the nurse came and checked all the machines. I said, “I’ve already looked at the machines, and it’s all the same.” She said, “What happened?” I said, “Somebody got up and walked out of the room.” That was my mother’s body and me. That’s it. There was only two people in the room. She said, “Your mother probably just died.” I said, “What does that mean?” She said, “It was probably her soul leaving her body.” I said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She said, “Well, everybody has a soul. It’s what keeps you alive. And when the soul leaves the body, some people can perceive that and some people can’t.” So in the 50 years I’ve been a pastor, I have found that to be true. A woman member of my church had four children, one of whom was terrified, absolutely shaking in her shoes terrified. She was going to be in the room and her mother died. We had vigil for that family for about three days in hospice. At one point late in the afternoon, this particular daughter said, “I’ve got to go get a cup of coffee. Can we just take a moment to leave?” I said, “I’ll sit with your mom. You and your sisters can go get a cup of coffee.” She walked out of the room. I can hear her steps in the hallway and her mother died. How did her mother do that? She had been in a coma for days. How did her soul know how to leave her body, the moment the daughter was terrified? Another man his name was Rany. He had a 11 of his …
[00:34:37] Alex Tsakiris: Hold on, Myke, cuz we’re kind of getting … No, I agree with you on all this stuff. So and I said this, okay, but hold on. Cuz I said all this in the email, and you just completely glossed over. You didn’t respond to anything. I sent you a survey with 20 questions you didn’t answer but one or two. Everything was an other, other, other. You’re kind of oppositional. I get that. I be that way too. But here’s the point. I base my belief on the extended consciousness on the reality of what you’re talking about. Because I do believe this reality. Hold on Myke, you always want to grab the wheel, don’t you? I love it. Whenever a guy says I’m in the driver’s seat, it’s up to you those I know it. Those are the people always want to grab the wheel. Here’s the point. I went searching. I was a business guy. I was raised Greek Orthodox. I was raised Christian. I thought it was kind of bullshit. Because all the guys, all the men I knew thought it was bullshit. You just something you do. You get together, you talk about business, you talk about this, and that. And then you go listen to all that stuff in Greek, which I didn’t understand because I didn’t speak Greek. So it was about businesses, about money. When I got done with business, I said, “I want to understand who am I? Why am I here? Is this real? Is science who consists on telling me I’m a biological robot in a meaningless universe. And when it’s over, it’s over. There’s nothing is that true?” I’ve found out that that is not true. The best evidence we have for that is that consciousness is real, consciousness extends beyond bodily death, the best science we have for that is probably near death experience science, because these people are clinically dead. It also incorporates in a bunch of the stuff, terminal lucidity, which is the, I’m sure you’ve seen, if you’ve been with that many people in hospice who are sick and dying, they’ll be in a coma, they’ll have extreme Alzheimer’s, before they die, inexplicably completely outside of our neurological model. They’ll sit up in bed, they’ll say, ‘goodbye’ to everyone. They’ll tell them where they bury, or have a cup of coffee saying, “Don’t forget, my instructions are over here and do that. Okay?” All this is highly evidential of the fact that conscious that there is this extended consciousness realm, and that we connect with it. It’s also I don’t know why you slide off of this. It’s awful, also, completely confirming of the idea that there is a moral imperative, consistently. And I just talked to Dr. Jeffrey Long, who has compiled the largest database of near death experiences, and he doesn’t screw with the numbers. And he doesn’t try and play around. He just reports it as it does. God is consistently coming back. This idea that you are not judged as Christians think you are not judge, your soul judges yourself. That’s the evidence. That’s what happens. It’s not what Christian say, there’s not some big bad judge up there, what’s going to come down on you, you judge yourself. But the other thing that says, “There is a right and wrong!” The thing that you felt from the time you were five years old, and you thought about stealing piece of candy from the store. That’s real, that’s inside you, you know what’s right and wrong. There isn’t this relativism, there isn’t this? Oh, there are no good and bad emotions. Of course, there’s good and bad emotions. That’s the whole idea of choosing right versus wrong. So we don’t want to digress into this relativism, we want to move Christians towards the real spirituality that you’re alluding to, not this school yard book that has the answers to all the questions, we should be on the same page. But we’re not and that’s the problem. And that’s what Lil NAS X brings into focus. No, that’s not good Lil NAS X. It’s not okay. And to idolize satanic, do what thou wilt. Just feed yourself, feed your ego, it doesn’t matter. Those are not good emotions, good ideas, good things to move forward. And it’s not because some bad God’s gonna strike you down. It’s just not good for your soul.
[00:35:40] Myke Merrill: Well, if you judge yourself, what’s the standard that determines whether that actually is good or is not good? [unclear 38:47] is good. He says, …
[00:38:50] Alex Tsakiris: but he’s wrong.
[00:38:50] Myke Merrill: But how e’s wrong? He’s judging himself. You don’t judge him. He judged himself.
[00:38:57] Alex Tsakiris: So, for us as a culture, right? Because that’s what we’re
[00:39:03] Myke Merrill: There’s gonna big bad guy out there who’s gonna judge? Then how can you climb into that seat and judge him from outside of himself? You can’t do that.
[00:39:11] Alex Tsakiris: Well, here’s the point is that, of course, we can’t do anything because the other thing that comes back from this extended consciousness realm, and we can get to this extended consciousness realm, through multiple ways, and through multiple cultures, which is the other big problem with Christianity, it’s so centric on our culture, that it’s just absurd to think that it just doesn’t make any sense. So, if you go and look at people who’ve, like, one of my favorite go to guys is a guy from Oxford, Dr. Gregory Shushan, who took the near death experience research and again, he’s not Christian. He’s not even sure he’s into extended consciousness. He just follows the data, near death experience, cross culture, cross time. So now he’s looking at people in Polynesia accounts from six 30 years ago, before the Reverend, any Westerners or white people, he’s looking at people in the plains Indians, he’s looking at all over the world throughout time. And he’s finding that their afterlife beliefs are based on near death experience encounters. There’s a reality to traveling beyond this life. And there’s information there that can come back and inform the spiritual life of not just the individual who had it, but it’s so resonates with everyone in the community, they go, “Wow, I guess that is the right way to be”, I guess, in the answer to the question. Who are we? Why are we here? That sounds like a better answer than the book.
[00:40:44] Myke Merrill: Okay. That’s good for you.
[00:40:48] Alex Tsakiris: But here’s where it leads. And here’s the problem because what we’re trying to do is understand how this fits into culture. And we want to know, “Is it okay to judge NAS X?” Or do we have to do like Myke is saying and to say Hey, man, you know, there is no what although woke people say which is like hey, there’s it’s all relative and this and that. So I was think about this interview I had with FBI agent Bob Hammer, former FBI agent Bob Hammer, and he went undercover to infiltrate NAMBLA you remember the NAMBLA?
[00:41:32] Myke Merrill: No.
[00:41:33] Alex Tsakiris: They kind of biggest hit was in their appearance on South Park, the North American Man Boy Love Association. This is a real group. And they actually back in the 90s, a little bit of political power. And it was a political front organization. But it sucked in some kind of just naive social scientists, liberal psychologists into this, “Hey, maybe, it’s okay for 50-year-old men to rape and torture little boys and girls.” I mean, if it’s kind of consensual, maybe that’s okay. So anyways, Bob Hammer, the FBI. So we got to infiltrate this group, so he infiltrates this group. He finds that there’s absolutely no political sensibility or political motivation behind it. It’s a front organization for men who are doing exactly that, planning and carrying out attacks on little boys. And the one point that the story I really like is he says, “He was in Times Square undercover. And these guys had planned a little field trip to Toys R Us back when he was in Times Square, and you could stand up on the second balcony and look down. And he realized that all these grandparents and parents who were just having a good time with those kids were eye candy for these people up above who were not just sexually fantasizing, but what he said, fantasizing about how they could hurt and destroy the soul of these kids.” That’s really what it’s about for a lot of these people. But the point of all that was, I wanted to go to the extreme so that I could ask him a question about evil, is that evil? And he said, what all of us would say, Myke, unless we just want to kind of bullshit around and have some kind of, “Yeah, that’s evil.” And those emotions that those people are experiencing at that time, we would best label as evil. And this guy, Bob Hammer said, “If I could, if I was an undercover, I would have thrown him over the frickin rail and enjoyed watching their heads bladder open on the thing, but I couldn’t and I didn’t.” So is that evil?
[00:43:40] Myke Merrill: Throwing them over that the balcony?
[00:43:43] Alex Tsakiris: No. Is it evil for these men? to do that? Are those bad emotions that they’re having?
[00:43:48] Myke Merrill: Sure. Absolutely.
[00:43:52] Alex Tsakiris: So with that, then we have established that there is evil. And with that we have established that there is a moral imperative. And there is right and there is wrong, and it’s not a relativism thing.
[00:44:04] Myke Merrill: But I see that only if there is a standard that that actually exists outside of whether I judge myself, if I judge myself, no one has the right to say that what I my judgment is absolutely wrong or essentially wrong. Not if I’m the one who judges myself. If I am judged by don’t call it Yahweh, don’t call them Jehovah. Don’t call them God the Father. Don’t call them Jesus dad. Don’t call them Abba. If there is some actual being, sentient being who holds final authority to judge then there is a standard which exists for everyone everywhere for all time, or that doesn’t exist. If for what is evil for one cannot be determined as evil for another. If there is no external standard.
[00:44:13] Myke Merrill: I think to me, you’re kind of overthinking it. I’m going to go to your to your question. The question I asked you on consciousness. And again, you picked other. I have consciousness. Yes, I’m in here …
[00:45:22] Myke Merrill: [unclear 45:21] other was actually a legitimate option. I picked it just to annoy you.
[00:45:27] Alex Tsakiris: Well, you didn’t annoy me, you just further confirmed what I thought I was kind of getting into here, which is, “Hey, man, this as long as you’re cool with it, and I think you are, you’re not like, thrown off. I am totally cool with it.” I like getting to the heart of things. And sometimes that’s hard to do. But in terms of consciousness, I had such great answers. Yes, I’m in here. It’s the only thing we know for sure. Which really, scientifically, really, philosophically, but also scientifically is the correct, is the correct answer. The only thing we can know for sure, is that we are conscious. I don’t know if you’re conscious. I don’t know if you’re AI or whatever. The only thing we can know is I’m conscious. So you missed that one. And then you didn’t fall for the false answer.
[00:46:17] Myke Merrill: Wait, read the sentence of top the top one. Yes, read that sentence.
[00:46:22] Alex Tsakiris: That your answer or what?
[00:46:24] Myke Merrill: Yours. Yes. What’s the right answer?
[00:46:27] Alex Tsakiris: Yes, I’m in here. It’s the only thing I know for sure.
[00:46:31] Myke Merrill: What is in mean, in that statement? That’s what confused me, I’m in here. I’m in what, a can, in my body, in the world? And that doesn’t mean anything to me. My mind is an epiphenomenon of brain activity. I parsed that word out. And I thought that sounds like something made up a phenomenon. But it’s an epi. It’s an epitome phenomenon of brain activity. Consciousness.
[00:46:55] Alex Tsakiris: This is the predominant model of consciousness within science is that you are your brain. You’re an epiphenomenon of your brain. I didn’t invent that. “This is consciousness is an illusion.” This is Daniel Dennett. “Consciousness is probably nothing,” Neil deGrasse Tyson. “It’s a social construct,” Sam Harris. This is our culture. So what Lil NAS X is about and the reason that video is, is that this is what culture is telling your kids, your kids are grown now your awesome grandchildren. I’m envious of you holding those grandkids. I want that I have four kids my own. I’m doing everything I can they don’t listen.
[00:47:35] Myke Merrill: I have 13 of them.
[00:47:37] Alex Tsakiris: Damn you. But the point is that, from this seat of consciousness, go ahead.
[00:47:49] Myke Merrill: Consciousness is a construct, to be conscious, aware sentient. Understanding perceptive, to me is a blend of our perceptions of which there are 10 that I see, emotions, how I respond to that. Motivations, how I am constructed to prepare to behave, and how I act. And that’s interactive. To me, that’s what being consciousness. I find, you’re actually asking a legitimate question, or which of these do you agree with? Don’t give me other as an option. I’m just gonna put my answer, which is as legitimate to me as quoting Albert Camu.
[00:48:33] Alex Tsakiris: But you can’t say legitimate to me and still be having kind of a discussion inside of there is a field called consciousness studies. And they hold conferences, and they have ideas. And like I said, I’m not inventing the term consciousness is an epiphenomenon of the brain up philosophically, I’m not inventing the idea of idealism, which suggests that consciousness before matter, consciousness is fundamental. So, Niels Bohr and is battling Einstein and Niels Bohr is saying, “Hey, it’s consciousness is fundamental. It seems to be that when we do these experiments, what our participation in them is absolute, whether we choose to be a participant or not. We are because we’re part of consciousness, and that’s bunk, that’s bunk until the end of his life, and he comes back as if the date is what the date is, I can’t disagree.” These are the fundamental questions about consciousness, not on my part. This is what the field says. The point doesn’t agree, the point the field would not accept your definition. Every person constructs a sense of reality through their perceptions. What they would do, they Neil deGrasse Tyson would love that. Daniel Dennett would love that they would say, “Consciousness …
[00:49:47] Myke Merrill: The options that you presented as what I could agree with consciousness is an illusion, [unclear 49:51]
[00:49:52] Alex Tsakiris: But they’re wrong. They’re silly. They’re completely ridiculous.
[00:49:55] Myke Merrill: Then slip them off that list you don’t …
[00:49:57] Alex Tsakiris: No, because it’s the predominant view of science, it’s what they teach your grandkids at school, they teach you that you are nothing, that the moral is meaningless.
who you, as a spiritual person, who understands that there is an extended realm who sat with those people who are dying knows that that’s bullshit.
Right? And it needs to be called as bullshit. And it’s not even accidental. Bullshit. It’s not like they don’t know any better. They knew they do know better, but this is a better way to run the business. This is a better way to control people and have people do what you want is to tell them they’re nothing.
And that life is meaningless and there is no moral imperative. There is no right or wrong. And you know, maybe not, I should do that. Maybe he shouldn’t, we shouldn’t judge that everyone has their own thing.
[00:50:43] Myke Merrill: Okay, man, you’re easy. Well, it sounds to me like what you’re saying is there is a standard of accepted thought and I really should not think for myself, I should agree with what others have already conceived, but the first person who wrote some of those statements thought for himself, but now at this moment, that would be incorrect invalid because there’s already a body of information and view viewpoint that exists prior to me,
[00:51:24] Alex Tsakiris: I got to poke at you, but one more time.
So I was listening through some interviews that you’ve done. And you did this interview why are people so mad about wearing masks or not wearing masks? Right. Remember that during the interview, you were talking about your frustration with people who resisted wearing a mask, and you said we’re past facts.
Those are your exact, that’s an exact quote. And then you went on to say that masks reduce the spread of COVID by 69% on our, you came up with that. And I thought to myself, number one, this guy really doesn’t understand science. And number two, he has kind of mixed up the science that he has gotten his hands on.
And the reason I say you don’t understand sciences science would never say we’re past facts. Science is a method. It’s not a position statement. You got that one wrong in the survey as well, but we’re always moving
[00:52:21] Myke Merrill: towards the more tests I was being graded on. That’s interesting. That’s why I
[00:52:26] Alex Tsakiris: sprung it on you.
That’s why sprung the test aspect on you now, but science is always trying to get more facts so it can know more. And now what’s, what’s even more clear. And I did a show on the mask thing and I kind of debated this guy. He’s a PhD in biology from Carnegie Mellon, and it was just kind of miserable that think that a guy with a PhD.
Cannot understand. It’s just, you know, it goes back to the, it goes back to your book in kind of a strange way. Why do people act that way? And what can I do about it? Because here’s, but here’s the point really is that we aren’t past the facts. We always need more facts. We always need to check ourselves.
So the facts about mask were mayor wearing the facts that, that people like yourself kind of weren’t able to quite grok is that there’s a difference between laboratory testing, where masks were shown to be efficacious and then clinical trials, where for the last. 1520 years because they’ve been running those tests as long as they can, because they were worried about viruses for a long time.
Not just now, consistently over and over again. There’s a normal result. Mill masks aren’t effective in controlling any of these viruses. And certainly in August, 2020, there wasn’t any good or really any, but any good clinical trials to suggest that wearing a mask was effective in not spreading Corona virus.
Now that the data’s in it’s even more overwhelming, we can look at charts of counties that had masks versus didn’t. And there’s no difference state that had masked versus didn’t know difference. Again, the masks might work in the lab, they just don’t work in clinical trials. And then finally, the coup de Gras was Fowchee.
Was they dug into his hidden emails where he says, yeah, I know masks don’t work. They might work for somebody who’s in a hospital and is dying. So that hasn’t really bad. So they don’t spread it to other people, but they don’t work in the general population. But the point that for me was you were so confident.
You were so confident that we’re past the facts. Why are all these ridiculous people out there all frustrated about wearing masks? And you turn that into something of like, they’re have these kinds of emotional disturbances that we need to kind of understand, and that’s. The risk. I think we get, when we apply a social science, psychological explanation without endlessly digging for the facts and we have to balance both, but sometimes we don’t, we don’t balance.
What do you think about the mask thing? Have you changed your opinion?
[00:55:21] Myke Merrill: Some people are going to wear masks. Some people refuse to wear masks. Some people will wear them when they’re absolutely required by some business or social setting to wear a mask. To me, pick what you want to do. What do you want to do?
What do you want to do? Wear a mask or not wear a mask?
[00:55:43] Alex Tsakiris: Like I feel like we’re back to the, back to the Jesus question. What I want is to understand the data and whether or not masks are efficacious,
[00:55:53] Myke Merrill: but eventually you have to get to a behavior that you either engage wearing a mask, or you disengage not wearing a mask.
You can’t do both at the same time. You can only do one. You either wear a mask or you don’t wear a mask.
[00:56:09] Alex Tsakiris: Right. But w why are, why is the data not important to you in making that decision? Yeah, it’s
[00:56:13] Myke Merrill: important to me. So, but the question you’re raising the question of your question, applying to me or to others, what I’m saying is determined the data, wear a mask, or don’t wear a mask.
[00:56:26] Alex Tsakiris: But that isn’t even that isn’t even the question. You don’t have to be good with it. It’s not not question. The question is the link between science and public health policy. That’s what we really care about whether or not do
[00:56:39] Myke Merrill: about it.
[00:56:41] Alex Tsakiris: Well, we do what we’re doing, right? What we do about it is right now we expose, we, we try and have a, an intelligent discussion that gives people a different perspective, because what was promoted was this idea that, that you echo that masks are super effective.
If you don’t wear a mask, you’re not like you said, we’re past the facts, masks work. They’re 69% effective. That turned out not to be true when the data was actually did come in and real scientists reviewed it, that turned out to be kind of a fake news to use the modern thing. So it raises the question of how is public policy interfacing with science and to what extent is the message being distorted.
And then that relates back to NAS X two, which is the, the reason I bring it up is all this stuff fits together. Okay.
[00:57:37] Myke Merrill: So how does science fit with public policy? Are you a public public policy? Writer do you write public policy?
[00:57:45] Alex Tsakiris: I’m a public policy consumer, if you know what I mean? Sure. There are laws in California that tell me when I go to my daughter’s high school graduation tomorrow, what I have to do in terms of certain health protocols that have zero connection with real science.
[00:58:03] Myke Merrill: we may find that in a month or six months or six years or 60 years, that some of the data was skewed based on limited ability to know at the moment in real time that the, that the information was not necessarily complete. And yet either to engage a behavior or to disengage that behavior, you can’t do both.
You can do only one or the other. So in real time at that moment, was it better to say, wash your hands, stay six feet apart, wear a mask. Wearing a mask is a random behavior. Whether it’s entirely affect 69% to me is not absolutely effective. It’s 69% effective, but
[00:58:49] Alex Tsakiris: it’s not 69% effective.
[00:58:52] Myke Merrill: They’re not 10% effective.
[00:58:56] Alex Tsakiris: That’s the science, the science is that there’s
[00:58:58] Myke Merrill: 0% effective
[00:59:01] Alex Tsakiris: clinical trial after clinical trial. That was done in the real world. And a lot of times these are done in hospitals and have one ward where the masks and one ward, not where. Right?
[00:59:13] Myke Merrill: So surgeons and nurses who are doing surgery wear masks and it’s 0% effective.
[00:59:19] Alex Tsakiris: Well, you’d have to go in and I can send you that. You can go watch the, the interview that I did with the guy from Carnegie Mellon, the biologist, but you can go look at that science and you can review it and it’s published. And you know, as far as you said, 0% effective, again, that’s not exactly how science works, right?
No, that’s not what I said. That’s not how science works. Science recognizes that those kinds of studies are a numbers game. So there’s a certain hurdle with ch somebody has to jump over to become a statistically significant result. That would cause action. And we never achieve that. And because the other side of that is if we did achieve that and we said, wow, these masks really are effective.
Then we’d want to do a whole bunch of other studies to find out if there are actually problems with wearing masks, whether they actually. Have health problems associated with them, but we never got to that point because there were never shown to be efficacious. It was kind of a closed issue. And no one knew exactly why because the masks work in the laboratory.
And we think it’s because, you know, when you’re handling the mask or when you’re using the mask or different masks and stuff like that, but that’s, that’s the data and that’s how science is supposed to operate. So again, you have to ask, why are we, why are we out of sync in the same way that we’re out of sync with consciousness, consciousness, not an illusion.
There is this extended realm. There is a God, there is a moral imperative. Why did we say the opposite of that?
[01:00:52] Myke Merrill: So let me go back to this story of my mother, which we jumped off of when my mother died, something happened. The struggle that I had was finding words to describe what I perceived in a split. Second, I’m talking a portion of one second. Something happened spiritually consciously. Uh, epistemologically biologic.
I have no idea. I do not know to this day, having 56 years to reflect. On what happened and observing death after death and birth after birth, after birth, by the way, I was there for the four of my children, we aborted one child that had died in my wife’s womb. Uh, I was with two other women who had no one to go in with them, for the birth of their babies that were not my wife, that, that I walked through that experience.
There were, there were numerous situations of the inception of life and the demise of life in all of those contexts, watching people come into a room and all of a sudden a person died. As soon as they walked in the room, somebody left a room that was terrified, and the person died at the moment of a family member needed to call in.
The phone was put by her dad’s ear. She said, Dan, I love you. And he died. I don’t know how those things happen. It’s not scientific because 30 times people died completely irrelevant to who was in the room. What was good. They just died in the middle of the night, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. The reality is the challenge that we have is.
Is how do we understand the experiences of our lives that are not scientifically repeatable? I can’t go into a laboratory, gather some family members and then murder someone to see did anyone perceive the soul leaving the body? We can’t do that. It’s all by anecdote. So the question then comes back it’s.
But from my perspective, it’s by anecdote, I can study all of the research. I can read all the books, but in my life, it’s by anecdote who, what I actually experienced. So I bring that back to the scriptural record of Jesus, dying on the cross. Why do you do that? Let me finish my sentence. The issue is ridicule.
I can take that, but if it’s an honest inquiry, then let me explore.
But you’re, you’re, dimissive dismissive. You are. I’m good with that. I’ve been dismissed before. If Jesus died and rose again from the dead to, to human life, either that happened or it didn’t happen.
[01:04:01] Alex Tsakiris: Okay, so connect that with your anecdote.
[01:04:04] Myke Merrill: So if it happened, if my mother died, I’ve had people say nothing happened, you just made that up. You were waiting for your mom to die. And that was your emotional way of just experiencing, uh, letting go of your mother. That was purely psychological on your part.
And I say, you weren’t there. You don’t know what was my ex, my perception that I cannot explain. I’ve had all kinds of ways in which I’ve resolved conflict and let go of things that Pat’s and stolen bicycles and parents and grandparents. I’ve, I’ve done all that. But what happened the moment my mother died, I can’t explain, but it is as real as anything in my entire life has been.
And someday I am going to die. Something will happen to me. And I’m either comfortable with that, or I’m traumatized by my own mortality. I have counseled and talked with an amazing number of people for whom their own mortality is traumatic. They can’t talk about it. They can’t think about it. They can’t express it.
They can’t grasp it. They cannot imagine what it means for them to be dead out of this body. It’s true. It’s traumatic. And my response to that is there is, is a reality just as you said, there is a God, it’s not the option that for you, there’s a God, but for someone else there’s not, there actually is an independent reality.
What do we call that? God? How does the native American and the person in, in Chile and somebody in China, how do they call that? Having to discover that that’s going to be entirely different? And that’s part of the discovery conversation. I’m good for that. I call that Jesus, but what’s the actual reality.
I’m in a discovery process. All my life. I’m in a discovery process. However, for me, the event of my mother dying and she didn’t come back, it wasn’t a near death experience. It was an actual death experience. She was gone. And, and so when Jesus died, re I mean, whoever the historical Jesus was either he stayed dead or he came back to life.
If not just a swooning and a recovery yeah. Actually died. Now, the people who have had near death experiences. You have to save their grave clothes because they’re going to die. Again. None of the people who went through near death experiences continued to stay alive. After that experience, you don’t,
[01:07:11] Alex Tsakiris: I don’t think you’re, you’re kind of get on the beam and then you kind of venture off into, away from the science.
First of all, you’re selling short these anecdotal accounts because what science really is about that’s the first step of science is to collect, observe what’s going on in this world that we pretend is like we said, we were pretending is out there. So anecdotes is the beginning of data and discovery.
That’s right. And if you look at like, I was referring to Dr. Jeffrey Long, and the reason I love, love, love his work is again, if you believe that the science he’s applied and collecting these accounts, and you believe that he hasn’t rigged the data or scrubbed the data or anything else, which is what I asked him the last time I talked to him, I said, Dr.
London, one thing we have to be sure is you’re not, you’re not filtering this in a certain way in order to come up with a certain views. Absolutely not. You can go, they’re all up there. You can go look at them throughout time. So one of the things you can do, and this wouldn’t satisfy you because you’re pretty locked into the Christian thing, but you’d get, go kind of question whether or not.
The, the primacy of Christianity thing holds up. And what you’ll find is a very mixed review. Some people about half people say I’m perfectly fine with my religion, my belief system that I had. There’s plenty of people that encounter Jesus ISA say Christ consciousness. Cause I don’t know what, how else to call that.
But yeah. But there’s a bunch of people who don’t, and there’s a bunch of people who come back and even people who have multiple and the ease who say, you know, that was what I initially thought. But then I saw something more and that this idea of religion is really not necessary. And they say that consistently, it’s not necessary that we can discern their disintermediate between the books and all the ideas.
And we can have a direct contact with if you want Christ consciousness, or if you want God. Although I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t apply the same definition to God that you would, cause I’m not sure if God is independent and outdoor or if God has some kind of collection collected entity of all our consciousness, I don’t think it matters.
And I think most importantly, you know, for this ridiculous conversation, that doesn’t really matter anything to anyone because none of us know, and that’s the point. We don’t know consistently what people do when they come back from this is they say what you’re saying, which I think is genuine and true.
And I totally agree with, I don’t know. And the one thing I do know is I’m not in a position to know. I believe that when people come back and say I knew everything and now I don’t, because in that state, in that extended realm, in that realm of the God realm, there is all knowing there is all loving.
That’s the most important thing. They come back and say, it’s all loving. But when I come back into this body, I fight with my wife and the ears have more divorce, you know, they have, because they are they’re evangelical and then they go through that. It’s still a life back here, but apparently it’s not a life over there.
So the, the, the big, the big divide that I have is in, I guess what I advocate for is one spiritual disintermediation and two Annette doctrine nation. You know, it’s kind of sad to think that people like me, but so many people are subjected to basically a mind control experiment that is Christianity, that forces a certain kind of belief system.
It’s very interesting that you didn’t come through, come to it that way. But obviously most Christians do. It’s like, I just interviewed a guy not too long ago, Scientology, you know, and I kinda think wacky cult, right. And I interviewed a professor from Ohio state university and the religious professors, you know, uh, on Scientology.
They’re like, Hey man, that’s a new religious movement. We don’t make any differentiation because, cause again, because they’re all atheists, they’re just fronting as, you know, kind of scholarly kind of thing. But what this guy pointed out is he was born into Scientology. What chance did that kid have? Right?
His parents were Scientologists. He was raised Scientology. It took him. I don’t know. I remember probably 20 or 30 years he was writing the propaganda for Scientology. He said, tell the professor, I was writing the propaganda to bullshit guys like him, but it took them that long to Annette doctrinated himself.
That’s what most Christians go through an indoctrination. This idea that I have sin that I am going to be judged, that I need to fear death. No one needs to fear death. That’s a Christian thing. That’s kind of built into people
[01:12:05] Myke Merrill: that hasn’t been my experience.
[01:12:07] Alex Tsakiris: Well, you don’t do it. That’s great.
[01:12:09] Myke Merrill: No people, people who have no Christian background, they’re not people of faith.
I, it cannot be generalized to say that all of them are terrified of death. Of course, or none of them are terrified of death, but the fear of death is not exclusively. A Christian imposition.
[01:12:37] Alex Tsakiris: No, it’s not exclusively, but again, here’s where the data, here’s where the data comes in. Go talk to Jeff Long in his survey, he asks people was sick, fear of death, a significant kind of fear.
I was very fearful of death, blah, blah, blah. He can give you the exact thing. 70% of respondents said that they were on the top two scale, either very afraid or very afraid, right after near death experience, the number goes to 13%. This is off the chart. If you go to a social scientist, if you go to some of your woke friends and social psychology and all that stuff, there is nothing that we have in terms of, uh, counseling in terms of any kind of life-changing experience that would cause that kind of shift in a basic fundamental, , fear like that.
But, and I think that speaks to the, I think that speaks to not, there’s nothing special. What near-death experience, what it speaks to is that there is this extended realm. There is this all loving kind of connection that we have. And if I was going to agree on anything you said, I would agree that it’s about the light.
And the darkness is so overplayed and NAS X in his satanic Nike’s are just people who get sucked into that need to just forget it. It’s all about the light. That game looks attractive, but it’s not
[01:14:08] Myke Merrill: attractive. Right? I understand that. But the, the, the little NAS X video is about marketing. You don’t know that.
Oh, sure. It is. He made the comment, he produced 60 pairs of blood Nike’s thousand dollars a pair. And they sold out in one minute after everyone reacted to his video. And the reality is, let’s just say he had, he had done a video about light and goodness, and being fresh and, and, and having a community hug, no one would buy what he’s doing.
No one would be talking about it. No one would be centering all of their comments in this incredible rage about what little NAS X did, but now they are there. Right. Have you ever
[01:14:56] Alex Tsakiris: looked into, have you ever looked into satanic ritual abuse and the reality of that, or whether or not that’s all satanic panic?
[01:15:03] Myke Merrill: That’s not what a little NAS X was doing. He was playing a game that knew that people would talk about what he’s doing.
[01:15:10] Alex Tsakiris: My point is, and I think you would freely admit, you don’t know that you’re assuming that, and that’s the, that’s fine. You, you can take that position, but I, you know, when I interviewed, uh, this guy, Mitch Horwitz, one of the points that I really liked is I came down to the end cause he, he’s very, very skillful.
He’s very well, well spoken, you know, and he’s a fantastic writer and he kind of has the cool, you know, painted nails and all the kind of stuff in the satanic stuff all over the place. But it’s like, Hey man, it’s just
[01:15:38] Myke Merrill: our turn, his face, like hell and he’s dead devil. And so yeah, sure. Marketing,
[01:15:44] Alex Tsakiris: no, you are wrong.
My friend, who are your sources of inspiration, he references Michael Aquino, right? Michael acquaint is one of the most horrific pedophiles kind of we have on record. We have, you know, when Michael equina walked through the mall, little girls who got abused at his house in his satanic altar in his house, came running over to their parents saying, daddy, daddy, that’s the man.
And yet this is his source of inspiration to, to dismiss all of this stuff as, oh, it’s just theater. It’s just art. Don’t worry about it. Why would we assume that I take the opposite approach? Anyone who says that they’re into Satanism that do without wilt is perfectly fine and there really isn’t any morality to any of this stuff.
So don’t worry about it. I take them at their word. I don’t understand why you
[01:16:40] Myke Merrill: wouldn’t. I, I think in terms of real Satanism and what Anton Levey and some of the others that are true Satanist do is different. What Lil NAS X is he, he needs people to buy a thousand dollars shoes to stay on his, to go to his, his, uh, his, his record label and download music and listen to his music.
It’s about the commerce of it. It’s not about the say tannic worship of it. It’s about people buying his records and his shoes and it worked. He sold out all of his shoes in one minute.
[01:17:22] Alex Tsakiris: Yeah. I mean, we’re kind of on a dead end there. We just have no way, no way of knowing it. At least you’re, you’re down with the reality there, you know, the whole satanic panic thing is another complete.
Head fake. Yes. Satanic panic is real.
[01:17:38] Myke Merrill: Yes. People. No,
[01:17:42] Alex Tsakiris: no, but the point is there is real ritual, satanic abuse. I’ve had people on the show victims I’ve had, uh, uh,
[01:17:52] Myke Merrill: trying to sell a book or get you to buy.
[01:17:56] Alex Tsakiris: They are, are you kidding all the time, all over the place and Johnny Depp in west Memphis three and, uh, you know,
[01:18:04] Myke Merrill: all that stuff.
That’s part of that. Okay. I’ve been in Haiti and the voodoo priests who are true satanic worshipers. I’ve been in central Africa and deal with children and animals and, and, and entire people groups who have been taken and slaughtered in ritual abuse. They’re not trying to sell a book. They are. They’re not trying to get you to look into their music or style.
They are true satanic worshipers. That’s the danger. That’s where the evil is. But as soon as I say, let me come up with a cool piece of jewelry or on my shoes, I’m going to put a pentagram upside down. That is you’re all going to be scared, uh, into, into recognizing the spiritual power that I have plays games with actual evil.
I don’t think it’s actual evil. I think it’s, I think he’s playing Cosmetica
[01:19:04] Alex Tsakiris: costs. Yeah, I think that’s a very, I don’t know, like there’s real evil in the, there, there, there is really evil. What he
[01:19:14] Myke Merrill: did to my relatives was not to sell books. It was to manage a generation of the mind to create destruction was to sell books.
[01:19:27] Alex Tsakiris: It was to sell books. I mean, what Adam Hitler did was to sell books was to advance himself in the material world. Right. He wasn’t, uh, you know, as despite all the occult stuff that we hang on, it, it, it, it, then there were some members of that group that obviously were like our United States intelligence organization saying, Hey, any help we can get from the extended brown, bring it on.
We don’t care. And you know, and there’s plenty of records for that in the MK ultra program, but it looks like Hitler. He just wanted to own the world. Right. He just wanted to dominate,
[01:19:59] Myke Merrill: but not from a marketing point of view.
[01:20:02] Alex Tsakiris: I think that’s a meaningless distinction. Just like to draw a line and say that little NAS X in his dabbling with the occult or his merchandising, the occult it’s like. That’s like I said to Mitch Horowitz, when we’re out, I’m like, okay, Mitch, you want to play this little game with, you know, Satanism.
Isn’t what you think. It’s about outsider culture. It’s about, you know, being all you can be and better than the creator gods and all the rest of that. So, Hey man, you want to spin that stuff. That’s great. But if you understand that we are co-creators of this reality, which is what you are really all about.
I’m just trying to find point this mic is that we are co-creators. We are either with the light. We are either you’ve lived, it sounds like you’ve lived such an awesome spiritual life and you’ve connected with and brought love and understanding to so many people. I fricking commend that I can see that, right, but there is an intellectual point that needs to be understood here.
So my point to Mitch Horowitz was if you believe we’re co-creators of this reality, Hey, even if it’s a historical site doesn’t really exist and we can’t find it. If we go in, though, it certainly exists. Now there’s certainly a whole bunch of energy. That’s being pumped into that image, into that idea, into that video.
And my point to him is, you know, if it’s just about energy, Why wouldn’t you want to pump it into the Jesus energy? Jesus seems like a bet, even though I’m not even on that convinced that there’s a historical Jesus. I just look at a big picture and say, this guy says, love everyone. Tell the truth. It’s about community, about love and light.
Why wouldn’t I choose that? Why would I choose
[01:21:53] Myke Merrill: this one? Why not? Why not?
[01:21:56] Alex Tsakiris: I do. I choose light
[01:21:58] Myke Merrill: every fucking time, but why? Why doesn’t he?
[01:22:03] Alex Tsakiris: Because he believes the kind of social relativism nonsense that sometimes gets pitched. And I think could be misconstrued from what you’re saying is that there’s Hey there’s no, Hey, he’s just doing it for commercial reasons.
He’s like, no, it’s not a good idea. It’s not, it’s not a good idea. I don’t know why it’s not a good idea, but it’s interesting that even Adam 22 and Ady are these guys who are tattooed from knuckle to, to face even they, and they’re certainly not Christians, even they’re pulling up and going, man, I don’t, I just don’t know about this, you know?
And I don’t want my kids watching this and this just doesn’t feel right. Of course it’s common sense. It’s not right.
[01:22:42] Myke Merrill: Common sense. Oh, okay. So
[01:22:45] Alex Tsakiris: you think it’s right? You think it’s right? You think it’s right? I don’t think it’s
[01:22:48] Myke Merrill: right. You don’t think it’s right. Mike
[01:22:51] Alex Tsakiris: you’ve you’ve you’ve painted yourself into this wokeness corner where you can’t come out of it and say, that is.
Energy that is associated with darkness and evil. And I don’t want to be a part of it. I want to be a part of
[01:23:07] Myke Merrill: make that decision. I am. So the question is, what do you do about it? You can talk about it. You can get all riled up about it. What do you do about it? What I do is I lead a community of people that walks them out of darkness into light.
I actually do that every single week, week after week. And I’ve done it for 41 years in the same town. But in addition to functioning in the little tiny Burg of Hilton, I travel all over the world and train people and teach people and engage them to move from darkness, which doesn’t exist into light, which does exist to move from cold, a cold heart, a cold mind cold relationships, which is the absence of warmth and love and embracing and generosity.
I teach people how to connect with God as far as I understand who God is with with my lack of knowledge does not dissuade me from teaching what I do now.
[01:24:08] Alex Tsakiris: And like I say, that’s absolutely awesome. My kind of thing is follow the data. And relentlessly follow the data.
[01:24:19] Myke Merrill: Absolutely. And mine is follow the experience and find an experience that is beyond the data.
Be careful die. People die of cancer. There’s data. To back that up, I watched my mother die that’s experience and I can’t fit it into a data plan. That proves a point.
[01:24:42] Alex Tsakiris: Well, I did. Yes, you can. Yes, you can. You can approve it.
[01:24:46] Myke Merrill: Can somebody else can, but it’s
[01:24:50] Alex Tsakiris: say in 69% reduction on COVID masks, you followed the data, understand what you’re talking about.
Be rigorous. You know, it’s like when I talked to this guy, this, the scientists, I really, I really, um, I really liked him. His name is Hoffman. He’s at university of California, Irvine out here, Donald Hoffman and a terrific guy, consciousness researcher. And so he says this little anecdote and I’ll repeat it to you.
Even though my own insists, heard of 50 times, he does his presentation on kind of like something you would resonate with that the reality isn’t really out there and that consciousness we are co-creators of consciousness and all that stuff. So I tell him about, um, he says, we talk about spirituality. It turns out he’s a very spiritual guy, although he’s not a Christian.
And he kind of had an uncomfortable relationship with Christian Christianity because his father was very strict Christian. So we were talking about, I think, um, Oh a meditation. Anyways, he says, one day he was giving presentation and this guy comes up at the end and says, this is a Rumi quote, you know, the CFE guy, whatever.
And he says, the word of God is silence. Everything else is a poor translation. And Hoffman says, you know, I thought about it for a minute. He says, okay. So actually I would agree with that if we were all to be in silence and to be connected with the source, however, we find that I’m comfortable with that.
But invariably, what we want to do is talk and particularly religious people want to talk and talk and talk and talk about Jesus and the resurrection and the book and all the rest of this stuff. And his point is, if we’re going to talk, then I choose to be as precise as possible in how I talk now to him, that means mathematics to me, that means rigorously following the data and not falling into the potholes that I see all over the place.
[01:26:53] Myke Merrill: That’s good. I agree with that.
[01:26:55] Alex Tsakiris: I think we agree on most things. You just, we both just like to drive.
[01:27:02] Myke Merrill: I can sit in the passenger seat. You can in the garbage trucks in my town, There actually are two steering wheels
[01:27:12] Alex Tsakiris: right on
[01:27:13] Myke Merrill: bro. I, I love those trucks
[01:27:20] Alex Tsakiris: that very well said. I think, you know, my bottom line is that the, the proof is in the life that you lead.
I just applaud what you’re doing and what you’re bringing to so many people. I think you are a source of light and goodness, and I think that’s what you bought. I think these conversations are they’re important.
They’re important to me. That’s why I continue to have them. They’re not just to harangue people. It’s to find the dividing line that that often separates us. Tell us more about what people can do if they visit your website.
Why do people act that way.com and what they can find, how they connect with you?
[01:28:07] Myke Merrill: I have a colleague named Mike Wilson who lives in Wenatchee Washington, we’re both named Mike, I spell Myke with a ‘Y’, he spells Mike with an ‘I’. We do a podcast called Gripping Reality. And we train we do consultation we do large scale we do small scale doesn’t really matter. Our as opposed to being philosophical, or theoretical, Mike and I are experiential and practical. We’re pragmatic people in their businesses, in their churches, in their family life, in their neighborhoods, in a racial discussion and challenge in financial failure, every circumstance of life. People that we encounter, experienced tremendous stress. They are overwhelmed with pain. They are terrified. They’re furious. They are enraged, and they don’t know what to do with that. In my language, they don’t know how to resolve the very potent aspects of life as that’s not true of everyone. But it is true for some. I’ve talked with business owners, we do a lot of business training for small business owners who are ready to throw in the towel because they hate customers. They love what they do. They hate the people that they serve, but they don’t know what to do about it. They find themselves becoming nasty old men and women who just despise their customer base or their families or their employees or their vendors. They come to us and they say, “I don’t know what to do with this?” So what Mike and I do is we journey alongside, I own some I’m in my shop of sign making, I have 3500 customers, I’ve traveled all over Western New York area, letting people spill their guts out about what they want for their business and how much they hate doing what they do. And I walk them through how they can resolve these incredible conflicts or stress points, and come out the other side, not avoiding not repressing but resolving these frictions, these destructive nuclear explosions that are going on in their lives. I don’t deal with theory, I don’t deal with analysis, I deal with practice. And so the philosophy of what I’m doing, can be discussed and analyzed, I understand that I appreciate that. But mine is a practice. It is to walk alongside hurting people, even to the point where they die and help them die well, as opposed to die traumatically screaming into the dark night, I’ve seen that happen. Family members who go traumatize, my father committed suicide. So I have been called into many, many families where their children died, where their parents have died, where they’re threatening suicide, where it’s not only clinical, it’s experiential. And they say, “We don’t know what to do. Why is this happening to us?” And I walk them through it, I give them language, so that they can begin to talk about the unmentionables, the unspeakable, even the unthinkable calls that are going on in their life, and it may not be the right language, but instead of talking about fear, let’s talk about exposure. Exposure’s neutral. Fear is terrible. Anger, rage is awful. But empowerment is neutral. So instead of starting out, I’ve had people say, “I was told by my mother, anger is a sin. Don’t you ever, ever, ever get angry because God is going to judge you for being angry.” And I say, “No, anger is neutral. You can be angry at evil, or you can be angry at your next door neighbor. It’s what it’s doing to you. Let’s talk about that.” And as soon as the burden maybe because I’m a minister, or because I’m religiously trained. They’ll say, “Do you think God thinks my anger is neutral?” And I’ll say with a straight face, “Absolutely yes.” It’s what does it do to you. And what do you do with it? Now, did Jesus ever get angry, he brought a man with a withered hand, the historical Jesus, I’m gonna take that out of the context of Scripture. He walked into the synagogue with a man with the withered hand on the Sabbath day, Saturday, for the discussion of learned men that refused to allow a person with disability into that sanctuary. It was not supposed to be there. And then Jesus said to them, “So guys, do you do good on the Sabbath? Let me heal this man,” which was considered sinful, to actually do a work on the Sabbath. He did it right in their face. And in the Greek Scripture says, “And Jesus looked at them with rage, Splagna, a deep moving in his gut, about what the Pharisees were doing to this marginalized, sidelined, individual. And he healed the man in their face and said, Okay, what are you going to do about it?” That to me, didn’t happen historically, I don’t care whether it happened historically, that is a human challenge.
[01:34:18] Alex Tsakiris: That is spiritual genius.
[01:34:20] Myke Merrill: If someone came up with that out of the blue, they’re smarter than Jesus is to have come up with how do you take people of power and bring the most marginalized person into their presence, and then claim to heal … The man who is by the pool of Siloam, Jesus walks up to him and he doesn’t say, “Hey, you know what, I’ve got a special gift for you today. And you’re my lucky recipient of this miracle.” He says, “Do you want to be healed?” And the man doesn’t give him a straight answer. I’ve used that countless times. People in counseling, they’re fit to be tied. they’re overwhelmed with pain. They’re at the edge of their minds. And I’ll take them. Let me ask you a question that Jesus asked the guy a long, long time ago, “Do you want to be healed?”
[01:35:10] Alex Tsakiris: You are good.
[01:35:10] Myke Merrill: Not you know how to be healed, …
[01:35:12] Alex Tsakiris: You’re good.
[01:35:13] Myke Merrill: … Do you want to be healed? And the man to whom that question was first asked, wouldn’t give a straight answer. I’m just curious. And I’ve had people, they will randomly roam all around the territories, you’re doing the same thing that the man in that story did. You’re not giving me a straight answer. Let’s talk about do you want to be if you weren’t a victim of your wound? Who would you be? They don’t know.
[01:35:42] Alex Tsakiris: Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who Have I become.
[01:35:46] Myke Merrill: So I give people language to find resolution. You can call it healing. I’ve seen people get healed of trauma of growing up with an alcoholic father, I was there, I got beaten. But I don’t have PTSD as a result of it. Because I learned how to resolve what I was going through, not only in real time, but an after effect. And I’ve learned how to talk about that. So instead of having the philosophy of it, I have the Praxis. I have the walk, I don’t talk about it, I walk about it. And that’s what I do all over the world.
[01:36:26] Alex Tsakiris: So final question. And I was actually not even gonna ask, but I was interested in what you’re bringing up there, because maybe it’s relevant to our conversation in a way that people will understand. Hey, our guest, again, has been Dr. Myke Merrill, the book that you’re going to want to check out. Why Do People Act That Way? And What Can I Do About It? He’s got a bunch of other material on his website that I think you’ll find really interesting. That’s the name of the book, whydopeoplelikethatway.com. Myke, I really, really do respect your willingness to come on and fully, fully engage. You didn’t back down one bit. And I think we had a discussion that maybe, will spur some thoughts among some people. So I agree.
[01:37:15] Myke Merrill: I appreciate you being here. Alex has been very good. Thank you for having me on. How long did we talk?
[01:37:26] Alex Tsakiris: I don’t know. We got going, man. We got going. I think we’re both talkers. That’s good. I’m just a few weeks behind. But as soon as I get this up, I’ll definitely let you know. And again, I just mean everything that I said. We’re on the same team. So I think it’s good for people to run the same team to kind of look like they’re not on the same team to that helps.
[01:37:45] Myke Merrill: Sure. And I play for the bills and we know what that means.
[01:37:48] Alex Tsakiris: Yep. Everyone’s against the bills. Everyone’s against the bills.
[01:37:56] Myke Merrill: What I love is the chargers Oh, pew lost them.
[01:38:02] Alex Tsakiris: Yeah, I grew up in Chicago, but the one I really, we, my wife and I lived in Dallas. So I’m still my heart kind of the Cowboys. And then you got the most the guy there we just Jones, you know, I mean, that’s just hard one. That’s a hard one. All right, my friend. Thank you again. I do appreciate it.
[01:38:26] Myke Merrill: So much. Thank you. See you.
[01:38:29] Alex Tsakiris: Thanks again to Dr. Myke Merrill for joining me today on Skeptiko. The one question it up from this interview. It’s always one of my big ones, “Is there a moral imperative? Is there good and bad? Do you have good emotions and bad emotions?” Or as Myke insists there are no bad emotions, boils my blood, which is a bad emotion. Let me hear from you. Lots more to come till next time. Take care. Bye for now.
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- Bruce de Torres has used to acting skills as a lens for reexamining our history. Click here for the Bruce de Torres’s website Click here for forum Discussion skeptiko-511-bruce-de-torres Audio Clip: [00:00:00] Where the hell are you? Are you in …
- Dr. David Skrbina isn’t afraid to go where other academics dare not go… like the Unabomber, panpsychism and Jesus. Click here for the Dr. David Skrbina’s website Click here for forum Discussion skeptiko-510-david-skrbina So I was getting ready to …
- Dr. Alexander Moreira-Almeida is a leader in the scientific study of spirituality and health. Click here for the Dr. Alexander Moreira-Almeida’s website Click here for forum Discussion skeptiko-509-Alexander-Moreira-Almeida Video Clip: And if any of you were troubled, I encourage you …