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Article by http://www.petemccormack.com/blog/?p=339
LESSONS IN THE MYSTERY OF SKEPTICISM: Jeffrey Armstrong, Michael Shermer and Vedic Astrology
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.
To go against my nature and get straight to the point is not easy, but here goes:
Simply press here now to watch spiritual teacher and Vedic astrologer Jeffrey Armstrong come out shining against well-known skeptic and debunker Michael Shermer.
That video—but a miniscule moment in the history of, let’s say, mystics and skeptics in conversation—is the actual point of this blog.
But after viewing Shermer’s challenge to Jeffrey and Vedic astrology, you still might want to read what I wrote before I decided to simply write “press here” and send you, as they say in the movie biz, straight to video.
In the essay I offer a summary of the challenge, a few juicy anecdotes, dare I say a little behind the scenes gossip and, of course, the ultimate answer to the mystery of existence.
Unfortunately, due to an old habit, I wrote the damn answer in a code that I’ve forgotten how to decipher.
Anyway, read on.
May I begin by saying, despite my skepticism, I’m a big fan of skeptics. I have to be, seeing as I am one.
Granted, skeptics can be a little mean-spirited. Sometimes they even lack a sense of humour. I think this is due, deep down, to a skeptic’s awareness and fear that they can’t debunk the absolute mystery of existence—or as Gottfried Leibniz put it:
Why is there something instead of nothing?
Or, put a completely different way by Richard Dawkins:
…our own existence once presented the greatest of all mysteries, but that it is a mystery no longer because it is solved.
Hm…uh…well, nonetheless, I have a soft spot for skeptics.
There’s something very comfortingly big brotherish about skeptics, offering their debunking noogies at every unexplained headlock—and wouldn’t you know it, life often is a headlock, so it works out perfectly.
THE SKEPTIC YOGI
Skeptics are obsessed with a version of what the ancient Hindus (and a few modern ones) called Samkhya: in short, the study of matter.
The best of skeptics, indeed, could be called yogis in this path.
And let’s face it, so many things need to be debunked. For instance, most people in the United States believe terms like liberal and conservative still have meaning.
Of course, in the same breath, what needs to be answered is why on earth we all don’t just love each other more and never stop laughing given the fact that we’re existing on a huge, round, rock-like ball that feeds infinite beings, spins through space, is warmed by a spinning ball of fire 93 million miles away, never crashes and we don’t fall off.
But that’s a different essay.
SKEPTICS AND SKEPTIC TANKS
I’ve seen the you tube clips where, say, skeptic James Randi debunks the likes of, say, Uri Geller—either by reproducing what Geller does through magic, or through analysis of Uri on videotape.
Randi’s debunking has, by all accounts, really bent Uri out of shape—without Randi ever touching him, incidentally.
Debunking is pretty fun, it’s true—although I always find it difficult to see someone get excessively humiliated. We are all humans, after all, struggling with the condition in our own ways, all smugness aside.
But enough about my fears—or as Leonard Cohen put it:
Needless to say
I am one of the fakes,
And this is my story.
ENTER MICHAEL SHERMER
Speaking of skeptics, I’ve also seen a lot of Why Darwin Matters’ skeptic Michael Shermer skillfully ply his debunking trade.
Michael has debunked everything from UFO abductions (although he was caught paying off martians) to walking on coals without the aid of shoes or a pep talk to remote viewing without the aid of somehow cheating.
ENTER JEFFREY ARMSTRONG
For, my dear friends, I’ve recently watched Michael Shermer—who had every advantage at his disposal including final edit, home field and his own rules imposed for the study—seeking to debunk Vedic astrology and, in the process of the attempted debunking, spiritual teacher Jeffrey Armstrong.
Michael, it turned out, was unadmittedly yet thoroughly outshined by Jeffrey’s astrology readings at every classic potential debunking moment.
I think most any viewer will be at least intriguingly impressed.