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  1. Kovacs is offline
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    Posted On:
    11/04/2011 4:59pm


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    Quote Originally Posted by DAYoung View Post
    I like that they speak of the uncertainty principle in quantum mechanics. As far as I know, the mechanics dudes treat uncertainty probabilistically, and save the hand-wringing ontological stuff for...well...philosopher-types like me.
    I just don't see how anyone can go from the uncertainty principle to psychic powers. It's just the usual desperate clutching of straws that people grasp at in the hope of lending some credibility to their quaint beliefs.
  2. DAYoung is offline
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    Posted On:
    11/04/2011 7:26pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cullion View Post
    Damon, have you read this book?

    No, you? If so, any thoughts?
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  3. Flappyhead is offline

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    Posted On:
    11/05/2011 8:52pm


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    The KD comment is **** I've seen before. They write down dream fragments and vague "visions" and when something even remotely close to it happens in real life they claim they "saw it" years earlier. Of course nothing they ever write down is specific, it's always broad enough to be anything.
  4. W. Rabbit is offline
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    Posted On:
    11/06/2011 8:43am

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kovacs View Post
    I just don't see how anyone can go from the uncertainty principle to psychic powers. It's just the usual desperate clutching of straws that people grasp at in the hope of lending some credibility to their quaint beliefs.
    I think there are two ways of looking at it, if you recall our past discussions on quantum physicists who are also theologians.

    The scientific way (like the priest who discovered the quark) is that the uncertainty principle, quantum foam, and other quantum fuzziness is the best place to look for proof of the supernatural (or one's "God"), since that's where all the "undiscovered" science remains. The quantum fringe is, so to speak, one of the great remaining frontiers in science, one that if unlocked tells us many grand secrets about the history and destiny of the Universe and probably even opens up more mysteries. You just have to, you know, follow certain rules like using critical thought and that thing called data.

    This is the Scully Perspective.

    Then there is the other, more batty school of thought that literally dumps every possible supernatural/pseudoscientific/conspiracy theory into the same fringe. Instead of wanting to explore that fringe for science's sake, people use it as their comfort zone....do ghosts exist? Well they must because not everything is explainable. Do psychic powers exist? They must because not everything is explainable.

    This is the Mulder Perspective.

    Whereas the scientist looks at that and says "good, many more experiments to run, we are not yet certain", the quack says "ah, my fantasy fits perfectly right..here".

    And there you have it....the groundwork for the duality of one of the greatest science fiction TV shows of all time.
    Last edited by W. Rabbit; 11/06/2011 8:51am at .
  5. Cullion is offline
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    Posted On:
    11/06/2011 8:49am

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    Quote Originally Posted by DAYoung View Post
    No, you? If so, any thoughts?
    I haven't finished it, I'm about 2/3 of the way through. It isn't gripping material, but it does contain the occasional well documented instance of how professional skeptics aren't always that rigorous in their application of the scientific method, and sometimes appear to ignore a lot of evidence contrary to their own beliefs.

    He labours that last point though, to the point of tedium at times, and he doesn't always seem to recognise that just because somebody with scientific credentials once asserted something which the skeptics failed, (or more likely didn't have time) to refute, it doesn't mean it stands true.

    Still, it's worth a look because every point deserves a counterpoint, and McLuhan is an educated, professional broadsheet journalist (Guardian foreign correspondent now gone freelance) who started out from a mainstream sceptical position before noticing 'gaps' in some debunker's arguments about specific cases.
    Last edited by Cullion; 11/06/2011 8:57am at .
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  6. Kovacs is offline
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    Posted On:
    11/06/2011 11:58am


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    Quote Originally Posted by W. Rabbit View Post
    I think there are two ways of looking at it, if you recall our past discussions on quantum physicists who are also theologians.

    The scientific way (like the priest who discovered the quark) is that the uncertainty principle, quantum foam, and other quantum fuzziness is the best place to look for proof of the supernatural (or one's "God"), since that's where all the "undiscovered" science remains. The quantum fringe is, so to speak, one of the great remaining frontiers in science, one that if unlocked tells us many grand secrets about the history and destiny of the Universe and probably even opens up more mysteries. You just have to, you know, follow certain rules like using critical thought and that thing called data.

    This is the Scully Perspective.

    Then there is the other, more batty school of thought that literally dumps every possible supernatural/pseudoscientific/conspiracy theory into the same fringe. Instead of wanting to explore that fringe for science's sake, people use it as their comfort zone....do ghosts exist? Well they must because not everything is explainable. Do psychic powers exist? They must because not everything is explainable.

    This is the Mulder Perspective.

    Whereas the scientist looks at that and says "good, many more experiments to run, we are not yet certain", the quack says "ah, my fantasy fits perfectly right..here".

    And there you have it....the groundwork for the duality of one of the greatest science fiction TV shows of all time.
    There's positive thinking and there's clutching at straws. Some of those comments following the article were clutching at straws.
  7. Lampa is offline
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    Posted On:
    11/06/2011 10:09pm

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    Comments appear to be either locked or deleted. Anyone save any good ones?
  8. DAYoung is offline
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    Posted On:
    11/07/2011 2:29am

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cullion View Post
    I haven't finished it, I'm about 2/3 of the way through. It isn't gripping material, but it does contain the occasional well documented instance of how professional skeptics aren't always that rigorous in their application of the scientific method, and sometimes appear to ignore a lot of evidence contrary to their own beliefs.

    He labours that last point though, to the point of tedium at times, and he doesn't always seem to recognise that just because somebody with scientific credentials once asserted something which the skeptics failed, (or more likely didn't have time) to refute, it doesn't mean it stands true.

    Still, it's worth a look because every point deserves a counterpoint, and McLuhan is an educated, professional broadsheet journalist (Guardian foreign correspondent now gone freelance) who started out from a mainstream sceptical position before noticing 'gaps' in some debunker's arguments about specific cases.
    Thanks for this. It's easy for doubt to degenerate into myopia or cynicism, and I hope I'm not at that point.

    Also, I'm more interested in the 'why' of the paranormal or supernatural, i.e. what is the psychological or existential appeal? (In doing so, I often presume that it's false, but I'm happy to have my mind changed.)
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  9. DAYoung is offline
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    Posted On:
    11/07/2011 2:30am

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lampa View Post
    Comments appear to be either locked or deleted. Anyone save any good ones?
    I can still see the comments. But they're locked after a few days, to shuffle readers to new material. I got close to 300 comments.
    Martial Arts and Philosophy: Beating and Nothingness
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  10. Cullion is offline
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    Posted On:
    11/07/2011 4:23am

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    Quote Originally Posted by DAYoung View Post
    Also, I'm more interested in the 'why' of the paranormal or supernatural, i.e. what is the psychological or existential appeal? (In doing so, I often presume that it's false, but I'm happy to have my mind changed.)
    I think most of the time it's simple wish fulfilment.

    In the case of people purporting to put people in contact with dead loved ones, it's fairly clear that they're looking to settle unfinished business, what American pop-psychology would refer to as 'closure'.

    People like Uri Geller hold out the hope that if we can make things happen just by really wanting them to happen. He's asking us to believe that we can be Harry Potter, too.

    But there are an awful lot of reports of the 'paranormal' which were downright confusing, or even frightening, for the people involved. I'm not sure what that's all about.
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