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Laird Shaw

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Laird Shaw is a former admin of Skeptiko forum and a current admin of PsienceQuest.net. Both Shaw and Psience Quest promote belief in psi and the paranormal,[1] both of which are pseudoscientific beliefs.

Views[edit]

Laird is a good example of crank magnetism: he believes in many irrational things and pseudo-sciences, including a form of demonic possession (that demons/evil spirits "influence" humans), mediumship, plant-woo (i.e. the belief that plants are conscious), intelligent design, reincarnation, and so on.

Religion and spirituality[edit]

Shaw is an advocate of "ditheistic moral dualism" which takes influence from the religious ideas of Gnosticism.[2][3][4]

On Christianity:

I think Christianity is correct that there are both divine and demonic spiritual forces and entities; I think it is correct that Christ both existed and exists, and that he has both moral and spiritual authority and power... Throwing out all of Christianity because parts of the Bible don't seem to make sense, though, seems foolish to me. Militant atheism in the sense of being aggressively anti-religion, is, in my view, utterly misguided.[5]

On demons:

Demonic beings, and potentially a supreme evil being going by a name like Satan or Lucifer, exist and can communicate with and influence "ordinary" human beings. I have been communicated to verbally by such a being, and have been, at times, influenced by metaphysical evil to the point of paralysis. So, when various posters to this thread speculate that paedophiles - whom we know exist - are being driven by evil spirits (demons), my reaction is "That's entirely possible - plausible even".[6]

On evil:

The existence of evil in the fullest sense is explained as an independently existing metaphysical force. This is the key advantage of this explanation: an adequate justification for evil, not as part of any “divine plan”, but as that which has its own, contrary, plan.[7]

On reincarnation:

Based on the evidence, reincarnation is a likely reality, and I'm not sure whether it makes much difference whether I were to live a thousand years incarnated in one body or in multiple.[8]

Paranormal[edit]

On consciousness:

I believe that (1) consciousness is not generated by a central nervous system (CNS), but instead has a *relationship* with any relevant CNS, and (2) there are other physical systems with which immaterial consciousness can enter into relationship, which certainly includes plants and even microbes.[8]

On mediumship:

Extremely likely to likely. Why? Because of veridical information which cannot be explained by trickery. e.g. the double(triple?)-blind studies conducted by Julie Beischel. I must say though that when it comes to the proposition that the communication comes from the actual supposedly deceased entity, I am agnostic. There are plenty of spirits out there who watch our every move and who could potentially impersonate any being whom they have observed. Not all of these spirits are benign. Thus, I would be unlikely to actually consult a medium, and would certainly be very wary of any advice they offered that was supposedly from a deceased friend/relative.[9]

On plants:

There is much evidence that plants *are* conscious — evidence both in the realms of modern science, as well as in ancient spiritual systems, especially indigenous spiritual systems, and especially animism.[8]

On psychokinesis:

Whilst I have never experienced this myself, I have seen a lot of apparently legitimate evidence that this occurrs, ranging from rigorous experiments on Uri Geller to accounts by people I trust (e.g. Dean Radin) of successful spoon-bending parties. Also, there is the PK Man - and whilst I haven't read this book, I have heard quite a bit about the man at the centre of it, and it sounds persuasive.[9]

On Uri Geller:

Here's my position for the record: based on the evidence I've read and seen, I've personally concluded that Uri Geller has psychic powers. Is it possible that I'm wrong? Is it possible that he cheated? Sure, but you could say that about almost anything. It's possible that I'm wrong that the country Spain actually exists — I've never visited it for myself. Am I as convinced that Uri has psychic powers as I am that Spain exists? Not quite, but it is my (provisional) conclusion.[10]

Evolution and intelligent design[edit]

Shaw is supportive of intelligent design.[11] On evolution, Shaw states:[12]

I am more and more convinced that neo-Darwinist evolutionary theory is bankrupt.

Mental illness[edit]

On schizophrenia:

As an ongoing survivor of some fifteen years, across three states, of the "mental health" system here in Australia, and having been diagnosed with "schizophrenia" at some point in those one and a half decades, I have always been vehemently opposed to the rights violations inherent and primary in being involuntarily sectioned and "treated" in psychiatric wards, as well as afterwards in the community on "treatment orders". I have always seen my "illness" in a combination of psychological/psychic and spiritual terms: as a psycho-spiritual condition. I have always seen medication as objectionable - perhaps even evil - even though, having been originally forced onto it, I then found (and now find) it difficult to avoid and withdraw from, not least of all because, if, in withdrawing, I re-enter a psycho-spiritually fraught state, I then come to the attention of concerned individuals, and inevitably find myself once again incarcerated in a psychiatric prison, and forced back onto medication, typically after having been subjected to electro-convulsive therapy (ECT).[13]

Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia

Shaw has discussed the group Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia as "activist editors".[14][15]

Diet[edit]

Shaw is proponent of "fruitarianism" and has described his own diet as "ethical botanical fruitarianism".[8]

PsienceQuest.net[edit]

PsienceQuest.net contains the following threads:

External link[edit]

References[edit]