We are calling this “episode 269.5.” Our very own Darren McKee appeared on CFRA News Talk Radio for a special Halloween episode of Ron Corbett Unscripted to participate in a debate about ghosts, spirits and the paranormal. If you enjoy a little extra content between regular shows, please let us know and we will try to do it more often!
Download direct: mp3 file
Chapeau, Darren! You delivered some crushing logical blows without coming across as aggressive or unreasonable. Their response to your “religious diversity mean that billions of people must be wrong – why not millions?” argument was priceless. There were certainly times when it was three against one (I’m sure that didn’t surprise you), but you handled everything gracefully and convincingly. It’s certainly interesting to listen to my favorite skeptics when they aren’t surrounded by like-minded folks. Thanks for posting this.
Thank you kindly. I appreciate your kind words, as it was a bit tricky to navigate that fine line of presenting the skeptic side without seeming callous.
As I was listening to the show, I kept thinking “Darren – you need to make this point, you need to say this… Yes! He said it!” Excellent work. It’s very hard to address individual anecdotes since you weren’t there and you’re basing your analysis on what people remember. Most people “just want to believe”.
I do like the “billions of people must be wrong” argument. It really threw Ron. I wish you had been able to talk more about “states of wakefulness” because many of these experiences happen as people are waking up and still dreaming a bit. Your point that waking up isn’t an all-at-once thing and the point about demons sitting on your chest was perfect.
Thanks David, I’m glad I was able to ‘express your thoughts’ 🙂
I wish there had been more time for various aspects of the discussion, but such were the constraints of the show.
Great work, Darren. I don’t know how you could have responded better. There were no instances where I was thinking of something you should say that you did not. The show was made even more enjoyable by the fact that everyone was so damned courteous – no interrupting, no yelling, no personal attacks.
I must say it is frustrating to never be able to make a dent in your opponent’s convictions even when they are so poorly armed. Then I have to remind myself that these debates are not about chaining the minds of the participants, but possibly of the listener.
Thanks, and agreed on the frustration. As Pat had said to me, all we can do is try to plant some seeds.
Pat asked at the top of this episode if we wanted to more shows like this. Yes, please! I sometime feel isolated listening to skeptical podcasts and blogs that I don’t get the other side of the argument enough. This was a good lesson by Darren in how to approach these topics with a believer.
I would have liked to hear more from both guests instead of taking more anecdotal evidence from people calling in. The show took a turn at this point from a dichotomy to almost all in favor of the supernatural. The stories were too long and took away a lot of time of the show without adding anything to the topic itself. Thankfully, I was able to fast forward through these and the numerous commercials.
Darren, from my point of view, you handled yourself very well. You did your best to show that what our human experiences aren’t what we think they are or even real.
This is a great example of “Don’t be a dick.” You were positive and inclusive while bringing it back to reason and facts. Well done, Darren.
Thank you kindly, it’s exactly what I was trying to achieve.
I would mirror the other comments here but I’d also say Darren’s opponent in the debate, despite his belief in ghosts wasn’t pushing his belief all that strongly and admitted there wasn’t any strong evidence for his point of view, just lots and lots of testimonies. This was refreshing as well. Having had many people go from calm to screaming like their on fire at me for simply asking “why do you think that’s true” it’s nice to know the other side can be at least polite. Even when being steamrolled by Darren’s great arguments.
At 8:26, Peter says “The best evidence you’re ever gonna get is to have your own personal experience, Darren.”
It says a lot about the incompatibility of his worldview and the skeptical approach that he openly proclaims that the best evidence for his position is personal anecdotal experience. And that it’s not a reluctant admission either, but something he seemed to consider as a strength.
Usually venturing into the proverbial lions den with the opposing side is pointless, but this was fascinating and I expect useful in terms of actually reaching a different audience. The people who called in were committed believers, but I’m guessing a lot of the audience was new to a skeptical point of view on the supernatural without a firm belief. That was brilliant framing by praising the other guest for suggesting an empirical approach, because now the debate was on your ground, getting off the question of having to respect whatever someone believes.
And I would love extra content!
As Eric said above, “venturing into the lion’s den” is usually pointless, but more so when the den is populated by true believers who can listen intently but dismiss objective evidence based on personal stories.
I was prepared for a fiasco but listened on bravely and was delighted to hear Darren acquitting himself flawlessly. There was none of the frivolous video-game-distractions that sometimes encumber the show itself (thankfully seeming to have lessened with the addition of Pat to the ensemble.)
In short, Darren represented the skeptical community with gracious firmness and was clearly informed and articulate. The Ghost advocate himself was gracious on his part…also a delight to hear. I kept waiting for the Ghost guy to bring up something substantive, but all he managed to gin up was argument based on “I saw something so I believe it was a ghost/spirit.”
I was curious what the listener call-ins would bring and I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised to find that they brought nothing but more ghost stories. I kind of thought that maybe there would be at least some discussion of the points made by the debaters but apparently the callers thought they were sitting around a boy scout campfire and simply wanted to relate, ad nauseam, their encounters. Even Ron Corbett had had enough after 4 minutes or so of the interminable “Case of the Creaking Barn Door.”
But once again, Darren handled the callers’ stories with empathy and aplomb.
Nice goin’ DmcK!
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