I thought this was a delightful interview – Morse’s humility and good nature shone through. I guess I had a “meta-interest” in listening to it because, as a result of our interaction on the previous Anthony Peake thread, I was trying to figure out where you are coming from and why this stuff is so important for you.
At the very end of the show, which you haven’t provided a transcript for, you said the following (which I have edited, but hopefully kept faithful to what you said):
We need to think about the methodology of NDEs – Morse is finding a higher incidence compared to other researchers. This hints at how much work there’s still to do in NDE research, and how important it is to take a broader look at the body of research and how we might conduct it. Don’t we have to start with something like what Morse has done and say, “these are the factors that we changed in this study (which got 4 times the incidence of NDEs)?” Isn’t there a lot of nuts-and-bolts research to be done to understand what conditions are necessary to observe this phenomenon just as a starting point? |
Hasn’t this idea of God (or whatever) shown that there does seem to be some form of higher consciousness, which can be said from a strictly scientific POV? Don’t we have to try to figure that out before we can move forward? Are we supposed to just ignore that elephant in the room and pretend that we don’t have to somehow work that into the equation? I think we have to. But let’s hear what you think on the Skeptiko forum.
Right - correct me if I’m wrong, but the reason all this is important to you seems to be that you want the scientific community to take work like Morse’s seriously, and to take the idea of a “Higher Power/God” seriously too, because existing research has already convinced you of that.
IOW, you find the evidence, in pure intellectual terms, persuasive despite the internal resistance you had to overcome in arriving at that conclusion. As far as you are concerned, it (“God”) is a valid, scientifically documented phenomenon. And it seems to me that you are in a sense frustrated and irritated that sceptics can’t see it the way you see it. You feel so strongly about it that I infer that’s why you’ve embarked on your journey with Skeptiko, maybe to invoke interest and help further a changed paradigm, or at least open up some closed minds.
At the same time, from other things you’ve said in the past, I gather that you are also seeking to make spiritual progress in your own life, and may have had some kind of spiritual experience yourself.
See, the thing is, I sometimes get this impression that there are two Alex’s. The first is the one who is pursuing the issues intellectually, and the second, the one who is exploring them experientially in his own life. I sometimes find it hard to gauge how to respond to you in discussions on this forum because I’m never quite sure what “mode” you are in and may get that wrong (hence our occasional crossed threads?)
I think we have a lot in common, but maybe our emphasis and/or purpose in being here is different. I usually base my approach on experience; I’m interested in the science because, maybe, it provides insight into, and independent confirmation of, the experiences I’ve had, although doesn’t help me to develop my experiences further. I’ve already accepted the “higher power/God” thing, and that informs how I respond to you and others on this forum. I could solely argue the science, and occasionally do, but that can sometimes seem not very useful or productive to me.
I wonder if your approach is different? Maybe, and again correct me if I’m wrong (I often am!), you’re more focussed on the intellectual side (at least for the purposes and aims of Skeptiko) and perhaps employing that to help you in your personal spiritual search, about which you don’t seem to say much.
If so, it’s absolutely fine that you don’t, but like you say, there is this elephant in the room. For me, it’s the central thing--it’s always there and if I confine myself to the intellectual, I’m not being as true to myself and how this stuff matters on the most intimate level possible. I sometimes wonder if this is the right forum to come to, but I haven’t so far found one better—many other forums that concentrate mainly on the spiritual seem “New-Agey” and totally unconnected to the everyday grind that we all have to navigate. There are a number of excellent contributors here who have a lot of commonsense and I feel I can connect with them. And frankly, I have a need to communicate, to feel that there may be someone out there interested and to have things they too want to share.
Morse let the barriers down—he talked frankly in terms of “God” and yet is obviously well-grounded in the everyday world. He seems to have struck a balance, and I’d imagine that he comes across as credible to sceptics, believers and experiencers alike. As I’ve intimated, his humility and good humour is infectious and disarming. I’m very encouraged that he seems to think it’s getting easier to talk in the way he does to the scientific community.
It’s like I indicated in the last thread—once it’s taken as read that STEs are real and valid objects of study, and do actually indicate the existence of a higher reality, scientific research should really take off, and yes, I suppose that that would give the green light for laypeople to feel comfortable with openly expressing and trying to explore/develop their spiritual awareness. At the moment, it’s almost like the situation we had until recently with being gay, when no one dared come out. Except, of course, in spirituality, we’re all “gay”, whether or not we acknowledge it! :-)