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All metaphysical / paranormal phenomena explained


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soulman
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Re: All metaphysical / paranormal phenomena explained

Try this on for size:

http://www.skeptiko.com/peter-bancel-global-consciousness-project/

And maybe this will interest you. (No slur intended.)

"Getting Comfortable With Stupidity" from Entangled Minds

Those embarking on the study of scientific study, and particularly for those pursuing important work on unknown edges of science, would serve themselves well to be comfortable with the "absolute stupidity" they will confront when solving research questions. Academia likes to follow the path of studying prior work, grading on knowledge already known, and glossing over the simple fact that important discoveries begin when one embraces the "stupidity" of not knowing the results of the direction taken. The emphasis on results-only testing can lead to the ultimate stupidity of arguing against the unknown simply by choosing only to look at what is known. As Martin A. Schwartz postures to all scientists, researchers, and cutting edge intellectuals of any caliber: "Our ignorance is infinite, the only possible course of action is to muddle through as best we can."

(The link for this didn't copy over. You can find the original at: http://www.anomalist.com/ for today's listings.)

Mysteryshopper
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Re: All metaphysical / paranormal phenomena explained
soulman wrote:

Academia likes to follow the path of studying prior work, grading on knowledge already known, and glossing over the simple fact that important discoveries begin when one embraces the "stupidity" of not knowing the results of the direction taken. The emphasis on results-only testing can lead to the ultimate stupidity of arguing against the unknown simply by choosing only to look at what is known. As Martin A. Schwartz postures to all scientists, researchers, and cutting edge intellectuals of any caliber: "Our ignorance is infinite, the only possible course of action is to muddle through as best we can."

I can really sympathise with this! For years I followed the same fruitless pursuit of the paranormal using the same failed methods as everyone before me. But a few chance observations made me realise that there was a much better way, borrowing from other disciplines as many innovators have done before. I started looking at scientific breakthroughs in disciplines not directly linked to the paranormal. The results were astonishing.

I, and others, found that apparently paranormal experiences were being explained by neuroscientists who had no interest in parapsychology. Perception was the key. Frankly, until recently we knew almost nothing about it. We still no little but there is enough to see that it can easily explain the vast majority of apparently paranormal experience, which used to be so inexplcable, without rercourse to the paranormal. What little might be left unexplained once this revolution has passed may still require the paranormal, if it exists. But I doubt it will be recognisable to most paranormal investigators who still follow the well trodden paths to nowhere in particular.

In the mean time these are exciting times with different strange experiences being explained satisfactorily for the first time all the while. It is ironic indeed that much of the research is coming unwittingly from scientists with no interest in parapsychology at all.

When I was young I thought we could solve the mysteries of the paranormal in a generation. As I gew older I thought it might take centuries. Now I'm optimistic it might happen in decades! Exciting times indeed!

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soulman
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Re: All metaphysical / paranormal phenomena explained

MS:

I'm glad I finally posted something you could agree with.

You haven't commented on the primary assertion in my books, that all paranormal/metaphysical/etc. episodes are events which are primarily spiritual in nature.

I've had that assertion out before the paranormal public, through blogs like this one, for almost 10 years without one single person refuting the claim.

Care to chew on that for a while?

Mysteryshopper
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Re: All metaphysical / paranormal phenomena explained

I'm primarily interested in the causes of individual paranormal reports. So far I, and others, have found that most reports are caused by misperception, some by hallucinations (with various causes like REM intrusion, weak complex magnetic fields etc), coincidence and a number of other natural causes. The reason so many cases are misattributed to the paranormal lies in the common misconception that humans are objective recorders of their environment, which is a long way from the case.

I am developing investigation methods to spot natural causes much more easily, allowing investigators to concentrare on those cases that could potentially be really paranormal. Much of what we think we know about the paranormal is based on cases actually caused by natural causes meaning we probably have completely the wrong picture. Indeed. much of what people find in cases reflects fictional representations of the paranormal in the media. People are finding what they expect to find rather what is really there.

So, in answer to your question, I think it is premature at present to try to explain the paranormal because much of what we think is pararnormal simply isn't! I read all the time about what ghosts are supposed to be able to do and yet when asked to name a credible case where it happened, people cannot. They base their knowledge on rumour, speculation and media coverage and cases with known natural causes. Until we know the true characteristics of the paranormal, or even if it exists, I don't see how any explanation is feasible.

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soulman
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Re: All metaphysical / paranormal phenomena explained

For the record, I didn't write the introduction to the "dealing with stupidity" blog item, beginning "Academia likes to follow the path of studying prior work..."

It is from the Anomaly.com website which introduced the item.

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soulman
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Re: All metaphysical / paranormal phenomena explained

I had little hope you might be wise enough to at least consider my premise that "all paranormal/metaphysical events are in reality our spiritual nature at work."

If you are truly "primarily interested in the causes of individual paranormal reports" (as you claim) I would at least hope you would consider it a possibility.

But then, Mr. "Open-minded," you have this take: "I think it is premature at present to try to explain the paranormal because much of what we think is pararnormal simply isn't!"

So how can you possibly call yourself "open-minded" when you reject all/most evidence of the paranormal?

I think you are talking out of both sides of your mouth, and aren't the least bit convincing about being "open-minded" when investigating the paranormal.

You can't have it both ways, dude.

Mysteryshopper
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Re: All metaphysical / paranormal phenomena explained
soulman wrote:

I had little hope you might be wise enough to at least consider my premise that "all paranormal/metaphysical events are in reality our spiritual nature at work."

There is even less evidence for the 'spiritual nature' of humans than there is for the paranormal. Indeed, I've never come across ANY evidence of our 'spiritual nature' so I would be interested to know what evidence you have that it exists. Either way, I can see no obvious logical reason to explain one unknown in terms of another.

Quote:

If you are truly "primarily interested in the causes of individual paranormal reports" (as you claim) I would at least hope you would consider it a possibility.

Since there is very little evidence of a 'spiritual nature' then how are we supposed to describe it and what it can do? Without such mechanisms to look for, there seems no obvious way to even search the paranormal evidence to look for any characteristic signature of a spiritual nature.

Quote:

But then, Mr. "Open-minded," you have this take: "I think it is premature at present to try to explain the paranormal because much of what we think is pararnormal simply isn't!" So how can you possibly call yourself "open-minded" when you reject all/most evidence of the paranormal? I think you are talking out of both sides of your mouth, and aren't the least bit convincing about being "open-minded" when investigating the paranormal.
You can't have it both ways, dude.

I'm not sure what 'talking out of both sides of your mouth' means. I tried it but it didn't work too well, so I guess it was a metaphor for something or other.

Open-mindedness cuts both ways. Someone who is unconvinced of the paranormal should at least consider it as a possible explanation when examining the evidence. By the same token, someone convinced that the paranormal exists should consider that some, or even all, of the evidence may have alternative explanations.

I take the neutral path of simply following wherever the evidence points, without preconception. This can lead to criticism from both 'sides' but that's life. There are disbelievers who would say I was crazy even to consider the possibility of the paranormal. It is unfortunate that the paranormal field is split so profoundly between 'believers' and 'disbelievers, with little common ground, but we just have to live with that.

Having examined a large number of cases, I have found that there are plausible non-paranormal explanations in the vast majority. This includes a lot of cases that 'believers' regard as good evidence for the paranormal. This is because they are generally not aware of the enormous explanatory power of things like misperception.

Recent research has explained some of the apparently convincing paranormal cases in terms of misperception. With misperception it is possible to see a poorly-viewed inanimate object as a person, complete with details like hair, clothing, facial features etc. Our brains replace poorly-seen objects with similarly shaped objects from our visual memory. What is more, because this happens before we even perceive the object, it appears totally real. I have seen such apparitions myself and it is extraordinary how realistic they are.

A great many cases once considered reasonable evidence of the paranormal are no longer acceptable as such. That might seem unfortunate but the truth is always more important than our personal beliefs.

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soulman
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Re: All metaphysical / paranormal phenomena explained

Talking out of both sides of your mouth means you claim to be open-minded (one side) and then in the next breath say you find no evidence that the paranormal exists (the other side).

You said:

"There is even less evidence for the 'spiritual nature' of humans than there is for the paranormal. Indeed, I've never come across ANY evidence of our 'spiritual nature' so I would be interested to know what evidence you have that it exists."

If you'd like 80+ examples of this "non-existent" state of being, I'd humbly suggest you read "Awakening The Soul: The Trilogy," which not only explains those 80+ examples, 10 in depth, and demonstrates how each has a spiritual element.
It also explains why you and so many others in science are such diehard skeptics.

Mysteryshopper
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Re: All metaphysical / paranormal phenomena explained
soulman wrote:

Talking out of both sides of your mouth means you claim to be open-minded (one side) and then in the next breath say you find no evidence that the paranormal exists (the other side).

We've been round this loop several times already. There is evidence and then there robust scientific evidence. They are not the same thing. You can obtain simple subjective evidence that the Earth is flat by looking out of a window. However, there is no robust scientific evidence that it is flat. There may be evidence for the paranormal but, so far, it is not very convincing to those of us who wish to extend scientific knowledge. Much of the evidence for the paranormal is entirely subjective.

I am open-minded in that I accept that the paranormal might exist. If there is good evidence for it then I will accept it. Are YOU open-minded? Are you open to the possibility that there may not be any robust scientific evidence that the paranormal exists?

Quote:

If you'd like 80+ examples of this "non-existent" state of being, I'd humbly suggest you read "Awakening The Soul: The Trilogy," which not only explains those 80+ examples, 10 in depth, and demonstrates how each has a spiritual element.

Why not give us, for the sake of continuing this interesting discussion, your top 5 most persuasive bits of evidence in favour of the spiritual nature of humans? You have 80, I have none, even 5 would be exciting to me!

Matt.H
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Re: All metaphysical / paranormal phenomena explained

This old chestnut again... ;-)

I'm a great believer in the power of science and rational thought - the philosophy and accepted structure of scientific enquiry. However, I'm much less comfortable with the ability of human beings to truly apply any philosophical strucutre.

My view is that we all have our own motivations - conscious or otherwise - that colour our actions. In over ten years of being involved in various walks of "the paranormal" I am yet to meet someone who does not unintentionally bias their actions.

It may be the scientist who disregards a small but critical flaw in a piece of data because that data offers reinforcement of his own opinion; it may be the Spritualist medium who regards any small piece of coincidental "evidence" as proof of his mystical ability; it may be the "ghost hunter" who seizes on some fuzzy bit of EVP as vindication for a cold night spent in a damp ruin.

My point is that we are all inherently fallible. As long as the human mind is involved with the study of the paranormal I don't think we'll ever have resolute answers - people will follow the "maybes" in whichever fashion suits their worldview.

As a final point, we need to be very careful about the current triumphal attitude amongst many scientists and skeptics - I remember watching Hawkins and French undertake a TV "test" of dowsing that had as much worth as a Derek Acorah seance. Just because there has been a rise of idots putting forward ridiculous theories about orbs and the like, it doesn't mean the task of "explaining" the paranormal has become any easier.



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