Skeptiles: Episode 16 – The Inscrutables

Skeptiles: Episode 16 – The Inscrutables

Skeptiles Skeptiles for January 5th, 2013 the super late edition in which Joe is away on a gig and Scooter and Shawn interview comedian James Inman on his view of spirituality and consciousness and we discuss the underground documentary The Unbookables which features his comedy.

We will now be on a weekly schedule again, so look for a new show next week!



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Related Links:

The Unbookables

James Inman

10 Things Electromagnetic Fields Can Do To Your Brain

Pirate Radio USA (documentary)

Pacifica Foundation Mission Statement

Lew Hill



3 Replies to “Skeptiles: Episode 16 – The Inscrutables”

  1. Show’s getting better! Moved on to my home-ground; psychedelics! Never saw God either, but I got a good look at the universe from the outside – I’ll never forget that! Overall, I agree with Scooter on ‘what’ these drugs do (remove filters). There’s a really great analogy for this in the fifth HHGTTG book (Mostly Harmless).

    I agree with the new guy (James, is it?) – more front-line atheists could do with be a bit less ‘dry’ and scientific and allow a little of the Leary/Lily/Huxley/R A Wilson/Sub-Genius/Discordian counter-culture in. Sam Harris in particular seems to me to be almost pitifully entrenched within the mechanical-deterministic view of the universe. I came to read his book ‘Free Will’ after a discussion with someone at a party about whether we have free will (long, interesting discussion, that I will omit here but would be happy to discuss with you if you ever want to) and his argument seemed to rely almost entirely on the fact that he bought Harris’ argument. The problem is that a deterministic universe is (as far as I know) a write-off; the universe is for practical purposes non-deterministic, so suggesting our minds are deterministic is a bit contrary AND almost completely avoids the actual interesting questions about the brain, the mind, consciousness, memory and how all that crap works. That said, such dry soberness does lend an air of respectability to the movement that would otherwise be absent – would Hitchens have achieved so much if he’d been more like Leary? I doubt it…

    I thought a really interesting point was touched upon when James said “I’ve never seen any scientific evidence for the supernatural” and Scooter (I think) said that would be a contradiction in terms. Being a sci-fi geek I’ve read alot of far-out literature that posits [fictional] natural causes for ‘supernatural’ phenomena. Yes, this would mean that the phenomena isn’t actually ‘supernatural’, but I guess my point is that even though as a sceptic you should always require extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims, just because something appears ‘supernatural’ doesn’t mean it isn’t natural. I just read that back and what I’m trying to say is clearer in my head… Ok, it sounds like a tautology, but I guess I just feel that some ‘supernatural’ may be real, but, if it is, then it’s actually a natural aspect of the universe and not actually ‘supernatural’, just unexplained…

    Incidentally, although I’m an atheist and a sceptic, I also carry about the Tao Te Ching and consider myself a wayward-taoist. My favourite bit is the first couple of lines:

    The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao
    The name that can be named is not the eternal name

    Or, paraphrased, the ‘map is not the territory’. The model is not the universe. The math is not the process. Always wise to bare in mind. Also highlighted quite well in ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’, along with other ideas (mostly the rubbishing of Aristotelian either/or logic).

    Wow, good week for podcast, dull week for work; I’ve written a fucking essay! I will leave you with an insightful piece of writing by the late, great, Douglas Adams – a great deconstruction of how and why religion could be useful and beneficial:

    PS – BTW, you had about 15min of dead air at the end; was there a hidden track you forgot to add?

  2. There’s no relation between Lew Hill & Ray Hill, is there? I seem to remember that Lew Hill was gay (& childless), but maybe I’m already confusing him with Ray.

    Great show. Please, stay dry and scientific and naturalistic. There’s way more than enough woo out there without y’all adding to it.

  3. Shawn here. About the dead air: oops! That was my fuck up! Forgot to clip it off the end, you didn’t miss anything.

    Rob: There is no relation between Lew Hill and Ray Hill.

    Thanks for your comments, guys!

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