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Old 03-02-2016   #11
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Re: Do you believe in the paranormal?

I do believe in the paranormal. I think Religion is one way of man understanding things that exist at the boundaries of our comprehension. Whether beings known as angels, demons, etc. are existing on a supernormal plane, or if the same could be said for the spirits of the departed, is entirely within my belief system.

When and if all things become known will we credit science or Religion?

Lucian pigeon-holed the letter solemnly in the receptacle lettered 'Barbarians.' ~ The Hill of Dreams by Arthur Machen

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Old 03-02-2016   #12
Robin Davies
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Re: Do you believe in the paranormal?

When I was young I used to enjoy reading about ghosts, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, the Yeti, thoughtography etc. It was all part of my fascination with "weird stuff", which later expanded to include surrealism and bizarre arty movies.
I used to think the evidence for the paranormal was quite good but of course most of the books on the paranormal are written by believers and, like them, I wanted to believe. As I got older I found more sceptical literature and realised how gullible and uncritical I had been. The evidence for such things is just not good enough to convince me. I'm still susceptible to the allure of a good report of ghostly goings-on , though I suspect my interest is mostly due to nostalgia for my credulous childhood.
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Old 03-02-2016   #13
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Re: Do you believe in the paranormal?

Lovecraft sums up my view on the issue perfectly:

"All I say is that I think it is damned unlikely that anything like a central cosmic will, a spirit world, or an eternal survival of personality exist. They are the most preposterous and unjustified of all the guesses which can be made about the universe, and I am not enough of a hairsplitter to pretend that I don't regard them as arrant and negligible moonshine. In theory I am an agnostic, but pending the appearance of radical evidence I must be classed, practically and provisionally, as an atheist."
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Old 03-02-2016   #14
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Re: Do you believe in the paranormal?

Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Plores View Post
Well, I agree with you sir/madam.

But for the sake of discussion, why do you not believe in the paranormal? Do you find the thought abhorrent? old fashioned superstitiousness? ignorance?
I don't believe in it because we have no reliable evidence, at least that I am aware of, that such things exist. I'll admit to finding the sorts of people who indulge in such fantasies, depending on the specimen, intellectually lazy or emotionally cowardly. Most mean well and are just gullible. Lovecraft's statement of practical atheism, quoted below, exactly captures my viewpoint. In some technical sense, I'm an agnostic about the supernatural/paranormal, but if I'm being honest I'm basically an atheist. Not that weird things don't happen, strange beings don't exist, unexplained events don't occur; I just don't think any of it can be attributed to something "spiritual" or otherworldly. Boring, I know. Of course, I'd be happy to recognize the existence of ghosts, hobgoblins, or three armed Venusian werewolves if sufficient hard, reproduceable evidence could be documented, but then that would bring the discussion into the realm of the normal and natural.
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Old 03-02-2016   #15
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Re: Do you believe in the paranormal?

I don't, but have some reservations about it. Assuming that time is the 4th dimension and it's occurring in a single everlasting instant and we only perceive it linearly due to being three-dimensional beings, Revenant's suggestion that ghosts might be a rip in the fabric of space and time makes enough sense for me to accept it as valid, for instance. And I recall a quote from a Michael Cisco story. Might be paraphrasing due to bad memory, but it was something like: "From the point of view of physics, language is indistinguishable from noise. Therefore physics does not comprehend all that exists."

But I guess that accounts for the paranormal in a very vague and general sense, and the term could be easily replaced with preternatural, supernatural, and the like. But if we go down into specifics... well, I think there I'm highly skeptic. First example that comes to mind, UFO's (if that can be regarded as paranormal.) If you see something flying and can't tell what it is, that's literally an UFO—but I do not believe there is some space civilization that is trying to (or already made) contact. But I do believe there may be life in other planets, though it's most likely fungoid or insect-like lifeforms, perhaps creatures that aren't carbon based at all defying our conception of "life"... but no, I don't believe in humanoid species that have developed societies and technology much like ours, let alone mastered intersterllar travel.
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Old 03-02-2016   #16
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Re: Do you believe in the paranormal?

This has already been generally broached by, for example, Quentin, but it's worth digging in on it:

If we're talking about belief in the paranormal, then what are the standards for normal relative to which we judge anything in theory or reality to be "para" that? If we're talking about belief in the supernatural (which is just the older name for what was rebranded as paranormal a century or so ago), then what are the standards for natural relative to which we judge anything to be "super" that?

Once we've isolated and identified those standards, then it's necessary to inquire about their source. Where do our standards for "normal" and "natural" come from? Are these standards defensible? What philosophical assumptions do they embody and proceed from? Are those assumptions themselves defensible? Our entire current framework for talking and thinking about these things flows from the great revolution in consciousness that was the birth and cultural triumph of material science in the eighteenth through the twentieth centuries. Certain types of knowledge and experience were isolated from the totality of experience making up the human sensorium (both inner and outer), and were elevated and lionized as being exclusively accurate and allowable, while other types of knowledge and experience were disallowed and disavowed. What was -- and is -- the warrant for that? And in what forms might the disallowed and disavowed material return to confront us from time to time?

My own long-developing view is that reality as a whole is far more varied and strange than anyone, working within any paradigm or worldview whether old or new, has ever been able to conceive or is intrinsically capable of conceiving. We effectively create the paranormal /supernatural when we create a sacred canopy (to borrow Peter Berger's famous metaphor) of cosmic meaning for ourselves both individually and collectively, to serve as an orienting framework for our experience of existence. Whenever rents in the canopy's fabric are made by encounters with aspects of reality that we have not incorporated into this collective cosmos, we're confronted by things for which we have no name, no context, no way of handling or integrating them within our framework of meaning. These anomalies inherently appear threatening, horrifying, and often fascinating all at once. Then we start to have conversations and arguments about what they might mean or whether they even really exist.

Obviously, by definition, such an occurrence might well be something as relatively mundane as a cross-cultural encounter. The arrival of Columbus in the New World was a paranormal event for the people who already lived there. A paranormal event doesn't have to mean seeing a ghost, suffering a paranormal abduction, experiencing spirit possession, witnessing a feat of levitation, encountering the Mothman, experiencing supernatural healing (or wounding), receiving knowledge telepathically, or anything else of the classically paranormal sort. But it may well mean such things. My own more-than-suspicion is that the likes of Robert Anton Wilson, Charles Fort, and John Keel were right about the basic nature of things and our fundamental relationship to it all qua our combined biological, psychological, spiritual, and ontological status as human beings. There are more things in heaven and earth, as it were.

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Old 03-02-2016   #17
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Re: Do you believe in the paranormal?

Quote Originally Posted by Salitter View Post
No.

The attractiveness of a notion, by the way, has no bearing on its validity.
On the contrary. A Notion, being a subjectively held thing, gains in validity precisely when it increases in atractiveness, for we may ask- what does it attract? It attracts attention & thus the Notion has validity for that particular attention, which is also a subjective thing, given to it.

On the other hand, if the atractiveness of a Notion has no bearing upon its validity, implying perhaps that validity is determined by impersonal & objective factors, in relation to What exactly does validity stand? Valid for whom?

And so with the supernatural. If i attest that i believe in the super-natural, to which category common usage assigns God as well, then in relation to which, or whose, 'nature' do i stand, since i believe Man's provenance is from God?

"What can a thing do with a thing, when it is a thing?"
-Shaykh Ibn Al 'Arabi
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Old 03-02-2016   #18
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Re: Do you believe in the paranormal?

If ghosts walked (drifted?) around with no clothes on, then I could say "maybe" but it doesn't make any sense to me that both people and their clothing somehow survive death. Thinking about it, it doesn't seem too likely that their skin and bones makes it back either.

So a ghost should have no clothes and probably no fleshy similarity to the person either. What should a ghost really look like anyway?

Souphead.
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Old 03-02-2016   #19
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Re: Do you believe in the paranormal?

To everyone here taking a hard line "no" stance, I'm interested to hear what your estimated reaction would be if you directly experienced a paranormal event? I don't even mean anything as coherent as an angel appearing and telling you to dig up some golden plates or the ghost of a loved one showing up, I mean any kind of "nonsensical" (in the sense of Ligotti's clown puppet) event that would seem to contradict basic facts about the world. It could be anything from walking down the street and suddenly finding yourself in a forest hundreds of miles away, to having a random blob creature emerge from the wall of your room, flail about on the floor for a while and then vanish. Assuming these events weren't accompanied by any "dreamlike" feeling and were perceived as clearly as you normally perceive everyday life, but that you were the only one who perceived them, how would you react? Would you get tested for schizophrenia or have some other kind of brain scan? Or would you just try to forget about it or assume it didn't happen? 
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Old 03-03-2016   #20
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Re: Do you believe in the paranormal?

My stance: it's all bull####.

' directly experienced a paranormal event? '
My reaction to something like that: I would write 'strange story' about it, name creature (last three letters would be 'mon'), and sell my #### on amazon. Name it and then sell it - paranormal no more.

I knew that someday I was gonna die / And I knew before I died Two things would happen to me / That number one I would regret my entire life / And number two I would want to live my life over again.
Hubert Selby Jr.

Last edited by Coa; 03-03-2016 at 05:46 AM..
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