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Skepticism II



Previously, I said that skepticism is malicious and that skeptic organisations such as CSICOP do precisely what their name implies—they police the psyche, they are the psychic cops; they want to be the arbiters over experience. You might think this is a little unlikely, after all skeptics usually say that they want to protect the pubic: they want to protect little old ladies who lose their entire pensions to unscrupulous preachers; and they want to stop desperate parents who fly their terminally ill child out to India to have various bones rattled over him by a witch doctor—and at a general level they want fewer people gulled by YouTube videos about Atlantis and the reptile race that rules our planet. Yet, really, nobody is quite so concerned with little old ladies and terminally ill children. Believers and skeptics alike claim this motivates them, but this is not what really motivates anyone—nobody is that nice.


Skeptics have campaigned with vigour against homeopathy. It was a favourite target for the late illusionist James Randi, who would happily discuss at length how foolish it was to think that a substance diluted to galactic proportions with water could heal somebody. Yet Randi rarely mentioned how homeopathy came to prominence in the first place: it came to prominence because the medical establishment was so hopeless that you were better off with the homeopathic treatment than the actual treatments on offer from the butchers—better off not just from the placebo effect but simply because a glass of water was less harmful than anything the quacks might try on you.


What skeptics fail to realise is that medicine contains just as many nonsensical and harmful aspects today as it ever has. Although men like Randi were aware that PhDs are nonsense and the university-media complex hopelessly muddled, this did not stop their belief in scientific medicine—a belief which manifested in subtle ways. Really, what skeptics like Randi lacked was wisdom.


America has been gripped by an opioid epidemic for over a decade; it has killed and disabled many people—yet this was all carried out by a pharmaceutical industry protected by peer review and science. Further, this disaster involved no “woo”; unlike homeopathy, no vaguely magical ideas were propagated in this disaster—it was entirely materialist in nature, and so offered little interest for skeptics; even though it was a con.


Yet if it had been required to offer all patients who survived a car crash with serious injuries homeopathic pain relief first and to reserve opioids as a last resort a great many lives would have been saved. When Randi disdained homeopathy he never mentioned that its placebo effect is demonstrable. Skeptics would be the first to shoot down the above proposal; and you might think that skeptics neglect the placebo effect due to an oversight; no, these are intelligent men: they do it because they are malicious.


They would rather a woman with multiple aches and pains—women always have multiple inexplicable aches and pains—take a prescribed medication with untold consequences than for her to drink water with homeopathic medicine in it and feel better from what is almost entirely a psychosomatic condition in the first place. To attack homeopathy undermines its efficacy, since the placebo works on trust: skeptics want it not to work because they are malicious people who would rather you were hooked on artificial drugs.


In exactly the same way, you could say that Coca-Cola is a massive fraud that needs to be busted by skepticism; after all, Coca-Cola is just corn syrup (not even real sugar) and fizzy water—it is an anti-product; it does not even conform to the minimum requirement for a drink, it does not quench your thirst—it leaves you more thirsty than before you drank it. Millions upon millions of people are conned—yes, really—through clever advertisements and celebrity endorsements to buy a product that damages them; even more pernicious, Coca-Cola targets sports events to create the impression that it is healthy. This is as deceptive as any phoney preacher, and on a much greater scale. Yet the skeptics do not care, and they do not care because this a material matter.


This gets to the nub: what skeptics really despise is consciousness—and it so happens that religion is the primary repository for the way humans express their consciousness. The skeptic wants people to be weak and “protected” (by them); and in order to achieve this you must detach people from awareness—they must not be allowed to see, itself an implicitly religious notion. You always have to suspect people who say they want to protect you—be sceptical of them, you might say—because really they intend to control you, and to achieve this they withhold information or negate your experiences. RD Laing was right about schizophrenics: the schizophrenic experience is inhuman, akin to spiritual enlightenment—and in its inhuman nature it perceives the sadistic and very subtle games humans play with each other, hence the paranoia.


Opposition to consciousness explains why skeptics are flatfooted when it comes to subjects such as astrology. They look at astrology and say: “This nonsense idea that the planets could influence a person’s life. Why, gravity from Mars couldn’t possibly influence you in any significant way.” It sounds very sensible, especially when garnished with the relevant figures. Then you pause and ask yourself, “When did astrologers ever mention gravity, anyway?” They never did: the skeptic attacks a strawman.


It is as if I told a skeptic that an advertisement on the street influences a person’s mind because the model is positioned in such a way as to associate sex with the product and he replied, “Nonsense. The idea that light waves can cause sexual stimulation is total claptrap.” For the skeptic, symbols do not exist—or he pretends they do not exist, anyway. All he has is his pseudo-literalism to sustain a purely materialist outlook, with chicanery by materialists perfectly excused.


To take a personal example, when I was a child I became convinced that I would develop appendicitis; sure enough, this happened—the cause being a tumour and not “regular” appendicitis. “Appendicitis is common enough,” replies the skeptic, “as a child you read a medical textbook and fixated and this unpleasant illness and then, as is quite common, you developed appendicitis—nothing remarkable about that.” Yet you cannot really test that conclusion, not by a scientific experiment anyway—not from a single experience. I could reply, “It was less a fear and more a conviction it would happen.” The skeptic replies, “You feel that way now, but only because you’ve romanticised it over the years.”


A believer might, on the other hand, say it was a message from God or angels or the right-brain’s intuitive knowledge. What neither side, certainly not the skeptic side, will do is let a person sit with their experiences and with a certain mystery—for the skeptic it has to be wrestled away as woo. Yet why not let people have their experiences and the mystery, except from spite?


Spite is certainly in operation here, for skeptics are often from marginal social groups with a grudge against normal society. “If you can’t belong, you betray,” observed one of the Cambridge Spies; and Randi, as previously noted, was estranged from his family, committed immigration fraud, and preyed on young men—perhaps this explains his thirst for vengeance, especially against traditional religions.


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Here is my view: if you want to make every decision based tarot cards—up to and including whether a surgeon operates on you for cancer—then I am fine with that. I have no idea how tarot cards work or if they work, but if tarot cards are so bad for you then you will die soon enough—or fail to reproduce, anyway. If you live, if you pass on the genes for a predisposition to like such activities, then that is the test—perhaps the cards did nothing and were a harmless diversion, perhaps there really was some occult force at work, or perhaps there was some undiscovered material force in play.


Whatever happened it worked for you: the genes for this behaviour type were passed on, so be it. This is the reality filter—the death filter—and it is the ultimate experiment; and the only real experiment for these notions, since we cannot set up several parallel realities and a control reality and test different iterations of you with or without tarot cards. There is no scientific account as to the optimum outcome because there is no replicable experiment for your life—we only have traditions that have proven survival value, and the way nature prunes these traditions is an experiment in a way. We should let people experiment with their spirituality in the common-sense manner put forward by Aleister Crowley—and by Nietzsche in a way, life as a one-off experiment. This is freedom: people may die or maim themselves with the ouija board—so be it, the alternative would be worse.


The alternative, as adumbrated by Randi, lies in state regulation: your churches, your yoga groups, and your séances will be subject to consumer protection regulations. Further, Randi averred, make sure you watch science programs on PBS and the BBC—these are unimpeachable. The state: the coldest of cold gods—and yet we must trust the state, says the skeptic. There is no possible way that the BBC or PBS could lie to you; nor will there be any problems if the state regulates religions, as happened with such success in the Soviet Union.


It turns out the skeptics do believe in something after all: the state. Perhaps this is because the contemporary skeptic movement was founded by Martin Gardner, a man who was trained in philosophy and journalism and who set maths puzzles in The Scientific American—and yet who also admitted he knew no higher mathematics. A journalist with a philosophy degree is another way to say “a priest of the secular state”—and this is what skepticism serves. The tenor is nerdy and not truly scientific—the science journalist science fan club. The psycops, remember—and remember who the cops work for…Yet it is so much more more peaceful in the forest, in the forest with the outlaws.


This is the laughable point about skeptics: the state has done more in history to suppress reality than any other organisation out there—and when the state is presented unadorned without traditional religion, as tested by time, it turns into a machine totally devoted to lies and debasement. Skeptics really do turn up charlatan preachers and phoney psychics; and yet their real thrust is to eliminate consciousness and worship the state—to worship lies.


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