You are hereForums / Investigation / Science and Scepticism / All metaphysical / paranormal phenomena explained
That's one of the big differences between believers and skeptics. Believers have experienced it, and skeptics can't because they don't believe in it.
When you say skeptic, do you mean 'disbeliever' here? I am no disbeliever. I accept that there is evidence for the paranormal (who could dispute it?) and am extremely interested in explaining it. I don't, however, have any prior assumptions about what that explanation might be.
I have, myself, seen a number of ghosts. Unlike most people in a similar situation, however, I straight away investigated my own sightings. It is so much easier to investigate a paranormal sighting AS IT IS HAPPENING than afterwards when things may have changed. Unfortunately. most of the the time the latter is our only option.
In each case of my own sightings, the ghost turned out to be a misperception. This was despite my having seeing human figures in considerable detail. I can perfectly understand how anyone not aware of misperception would have reported the apparition as paranormal.
Do you know why science is so skeptical of the paranormal/metaphysical world? Because the Church forbade science and scientists from the exploration of spiritual consciousness, which it considered its domain. So ever since science has been ignoring it, dismissing it, pooh-poohing it, denying it.
I'll bow to your superior knowledge if you say that is what happened in the past, however the church has no influence over scientists in the present day.
Science does not 'pooh-pooh' the paranormal. Science works by examining evidence and attempting to explain it by theory and experiment. There is clearly evidence for the paranormal and many scientists have spent a lot of time researching it. However, there are intrinsic problems with studying the paranormal experimentally (see my comments on the difficulties of judging remote viewing experiments above) that make it difficult to come up with a definitive answer to the problem.
The current experimental data show a slight overall trend in favour of the paranormal. This puts a limit on how powerful or prevelant things like ESP could be, making it difficult to see how it could explain the more dramatic spontaneous examples of paranormal phenomena. These more dramatic incidents can, however, generally be explained by misperception, coincidence, etc. It is clear that people have very real and valid experiences of the paranormal. However, it is also clear that in most cases those experiences are created by their own brains without any outside influence or paranormal ability.
Sorry you are skeptical -- there's a whole new world out here to be explored.
If you mean that I'm a critical thinker them I'm not sorry about that at all. Anyone who looks at the world uncritically misses an awful lot.
Recent developments in neuroscience are very exciting for the study of the paranormal. They show, for instance, how when we do not see something well or cannot remember it clearly, our brains unconsciously manufacture experiences to 'fill the gaps'. For people predisposed to believe in the paranormal, such 'manufactured experiences' are clearly likely to include seeing ghosts, UFOs and so on. We are drawing close to a workable scientific explanation for most apparently paranormal experiences.
I believe in the paranormal/metaphysical world (all of which I consider our spiritual nature at work) because I experienced a episode of spontaneous two-way telepathy during a near-drowning incident while surfing off Baja California in 1976.
That incident prompted me -- a paid professional skeptic at the time because I was a daily newspaper editor -- to thoroughly investigate the paranormal/metaphysical world for the next 20 years.
But even though I firmly believe in my spiritual nature's validity, and thus most metaphysical and paranormal experiences, I am not predisposed to other paranormal incidents.
I have never seen a ghost, never had an OBE or an NDE, never levitated, never bilocated. (However, my intuition is greatly heightened.)
So your comfortable logic is not acceptable, although your attitude is far more rational than most. You are, however rejecting all evidence of "paranormal/metaphysical" validity in favor of doubting and thus rejecting it all because the evidence is not 100 percent accurate 100 percent of the time.
You can continue writing off all evidence as "manufactured experiences," while I will continue embracing it as real and fully understandable because it all is a result of our spiritual nature.
Not sure what you mean by 'comfortable logic'. It's not a question of doubting as I thought I explained. I have never doubted the paranormal. I have always accepted that it might exist. That is why I've looked for it for decades and still do to this day. The problem is that the vast majority of apparently paranormal cases have proved disappointing.
Very often a case will sound dramatic and unmistakably paranormal, until you actually investigate it. Then you will find that much of what you heard was exagerrated, mistaken or easily explained. I'm afraid our field suffers from too much hypebole and rumour.
I have also discovered that it is surprisingly easy to reproduce apparently paranormal events in the same conditions as the original observation.
I am not 'writing off' evidence, rather explaining it. If something weird is reported, it does not automatically follow that it is paranormal. It merely means that there is something unusual that requires explanation. If there IS a natural explanation then why invoke the metaphysical?
This could go on forever... let's just say we agree to disagree and let it go at that ...
A little late but welcome to the website Soulman :)
Ian: Thanks for the welcome, belated or not ...
If you like but I thought it was just getting interesting! Can you tell us about this telepathy experience you had - it sounds fascinating?
Sure, I'd be happy to do so.
This is the story, as excerpted from "Awakening The Soul: Book 3: Restoring Your Spiritual Nature":
"To understand the origin of what is written here, and the events that led to this book, I take you back almost 30 years, to a nearly-deserted beach in northern Mexico.
"I was camped amid the rolling sand dunes with a friend, taking a few days off from my hectic newspaper job. While she sat reading in the shade of our camper, I went for an afternoon bodysurfing session. As I swam to the outside break, I realized the surf was almost twice as big as it had been that morning, and was much stronger. Nevertheless, I began riding the waves.
"But all too soon, I was in trouble. I was caught in a swift rip tide, which kept sucking me back out into the pounding 10-to-12-foot set waves perilously near a bank of sharp rocks. I quickly became tired fighting the swift current, but was unable to escape the wide, fast riptide. Soon I was exhausted, and felt my arms starting to go limp. I could feel the panic rising.
"Then I heard the voice of my friend on the beach some 300 yards away. It popped into my mind like a desperate cry for help: “Bill! Bill!” The sound of her voice was so clear, her fright so obvious! I wondered how the sound could have possibly carried the quarter-mile to where I was struggling to survive. Her voice snapped me out of my panic. “God!” I thought, “She must be in trouble!”
"Quickly, I redoubled my efforts while changing my strategy of fighting the rip currents. Digging down deep for one last surge of energy, I swam hard to the outside, toward the looming set waves. As the wave built, I positioned myself near the top of the lip and took off, riding through the turbulent rip section into calmer inside waters. I was able to swim safely to shore, although my tired arms could barely carry me. I ran to the beach, and breathlessly dashed to her side.
“What’s wrong?” I shouted. “I heard you call.” She looked at me curiously, and said, “I didn’t call, but I knew you were in trouble.” Yet she had no way of knowing that – she was sitting on the shady side of our camper, unable to see the ocean in front of our campsite. “Wow,” we said almost simultaneously, “we read each other’s minds!”
"This experience of two-way mental telepathy started it all. This began my introduction to the wonderful world of personal spirituality, the innate human ability to experience aspects of our spiritual nature, often spontaneously and inexplicably.
"Later, my always-curious editor’s mind quickly took over. I wondered about the mental telepathy that we experienced that day in 1977. If mental telepathy is real, I reasoned, then what about all that other metaphysical stuff – like mind over matter, communicating with the dead, and seeing into the future?" (c) Awakening The Soul
Hope you don't mind me quoting from the book -- easier than recreating the story.
You call it two-way telepathy but there was no actual swapping of verifiable information or even deliberate attempted communication. It tends to illustrate my point about things often being not quite as expected when full details are ascertained.
Back to remote viewing:
Are you familiar with the experiments at Stanford Research Institute in the 1980s-90s? They were conducted by two laser physicists, Hal Puthoff and Russell Targ, who were funded by the U.S. CIA.
A retired police commissioner from Los Angeles contacted the team and said he'd like to volunteer as a test subject, since he had always been psychic, and had employed his skills during police work -- often leading police to the guilty party through remote viewing.
Soon Patrick Price became the team's star observer. The experiments were often dictated by CIA requests, and one day a CIA contact came to the SRI, and requested that they get their star remote viewer, and asked him to visit a set of geographical coordinates, and tell what he saw.
Pat Price "went," witnessed, and drew a strange contraption that looked like a giant crane and a large dome.
The CIA agent then produced a photo of the site -- almost a picture-perfect photo of what Pat Price had drawn -- a super secret Soviet nuclear site, where Soviet scientists were attempting to construct a huge nuclear reactor vessel.
Read Targ's "Mind Race" for full details.
Castlerigg Stone Circle is one of the finest in Cumbria, it is spectacularly situated within a panorama of rugged hills of ever changing character, depending on the mercurial Lakeland weather. Read More »