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Old 03-05-2016   #31
Salitter
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Re: Do you believe in the paranormal?

Quote Originally Posted by Ibrahim View Post
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?
This is just silly, so I'm forced to assume you're trying to be funny. I used the term validity in its sense as a scientific term, where it means logically or factually sound. I like the "idea" of a prehistory in which hobbits, dwarves, immortal elves and nasty orcs played out a quasi-medieval drama (i.e., I find it attractive), but that doesn't make it any less fictional. Your subjective experiences are unreliable as sources of information to the extent that they can't be replicated. Just so I'm clear, I'm using "reliable" as a term of art here as well. There is no "valid for whom". Either I can show you the ghosts in my attic and we can agree we've both seen them, or I can't (and so far as I know, no one has ever been able to demonstrate such a phenomenon). Your statements are either tongue in cheek or deliberate sophistry...
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Old 03-05-2016   #32
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Re: Do you believe in the paranormal?

Quote Originally Posted by Salitter View Post
Either I can show you the ghosts in my attic and we can agree we've both seen them, or I can't
Butting in and sidestepping some of the other aspects of your point, I'll just interject: wrong. Or at least, laden with assumptions that are not self-evidently true. What's the warrant for assuming a universal circumstance of empirical and even epistemological and phenomenological egalitarianism? Are we all able to perceive exactly the same things? Aren't the right perceptual organs and faculties required to perceive something? And doesn't some perception shade into subtler realms beyond the mere five-sensory sort, where some kind of prior mental or epistemological training is required for a person even to notice something? I'm talking about in areas that aren't even considered paranormal. The practice of physical science requires such training. So does the act of reading. Does an illiterate person actually see the same page of printed text that a literate person sees? Does a literate but uneducated person actually see on a page of Proust or Nietzsche or Ligotti the same thing that is seen by a person with prior preparation and a deeper mental, moral, and philosophical context? Regarding ghosts or whatever, isn't it theoretically possible that one person might possess a sense or faculty that another person lacks, and/or that some kind of training or preparation might be present in one person and lacking in another, so that person A might "see" (in whatever sense) a ghost (in whatever sense) in your attic while person B, standing one foot away, might not?

I don't consider this a trivial point.

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Old 03-05-2016   #33
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Re: Do you believe in the paranormal?

I'm always astonished what a boring, stale and mechanistic universe we inhabit, despite the alleged weirdness of quantum mechanics or 'Dark Matter and Energy'.
Yet we don't observe things or people in two places at the same time or ghostly apparitions from the n-th dimension. All we can experience is that the laws of physics don't care about little girls being squashed to a pulp in a car accident.
I think it's this uncaring universe that makes people flee to supernatural beliefs or magical thinking because it would somehow imply that the universe does care (even if its after them).

Hope is a lack of information.

Last edited by Alarm Agent; 03-05-2016 at 01:32 PM.. Reason: typos
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Old 03-05-2016   #34
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Re: Do you believe in the paranormal?

" This is just silly, so I'm forced to assume you're trying to be funny. I used the term validity in its sense as a scientific term, where it means logically or factually sound."

Yes, really? Is the scientific definition of 'valid' really 'logically or factually sound'? Or does validity signify the measure of applicability of an experiment?

It is odd to come to something that is clearly not a scientific discussion with a scientific vocabulary. That is a bit like discussing coffee in terms of giraffes, say.

But let's look at your statement according to your own definition. 'The attractiveness of a notion has no bearing upon its validity/logical or factual soundness.'

You would agree, i think, that a logically or factually sound notion is not the same as an example of logic itself, or the same as a fact in itself, else you could have simply written 'fact' instead of 'notion.' Thus we may ask, what interposes itself between a fact and a factually sound notion?
That is, of course, the observing mind- in all its human subjectivity.
This turns a fact into a notion.

And this was exactly my original point- that we cannot extricate the subjective from the discussion, however we may want to honour logic or facts. If it is true that the attractiveness of a notion has no bearing upon its validity, then this is equally true of the argument itself. But you demonstrate this better than i ever could, in the vehemence with which you defend a notion that you seem to find- attractive?

"What can a thing do with a thing, when it is a thing?"
-Shaykh Ibn Al 'Arabi
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Old 03-05-2016   #35
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Re: Do you believe in the paranormal?

My situation is similar to that of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, where the paranormal is seen as part of everyday life.
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Old 03-06-2016   #36
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Re: Do you believe in the paranormal?

I've had several spooky experiences in my life but the answer is No. Occam's razor cuts deep.
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Old 03-06-2016   #37
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Re: Do you believe in the paranormal?

Skeptic's friend: I saw a UFO the other day.
Skeptic: I don't believe in UFOs.
SF: You think all flying objects are automatically identified?
S: I mean, I don't believe in flying saucers.
SF: You've never been to a Greek wedding?
S: I mean, I don't believe in alien life.
SF: There's speculation of microbial life on Jupiter's moon, Europa, and possible fossil evidence for microbes on Mars.
S: I mean, I don't believe in intelligent life on other planets.
SF: So, you think there's intelligent life on this planet? You're more gullible than I thought.

"人生夢幻耳" - 高井鴻山

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Old 03-06-2016   #38
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Re: Do you believe in the paranormal?

It doesn't bug me if people believe in telepathy, ghosts or werewolves even if I don't. But the people who take hybrids and alien abduction seriously drive me nuts, much like religion makes FP crazy. Such beliefs not only go against logic but make mush out of common sense. What's good for the X-Files shouldn't be dragged into the real world. I like listening to the old broadcasts of Art Bell--it's great amusement and Art was a fine 'straight man'--but when alien abduction is the topic I spin the dial. Free rectal exams are great but come on...

Wait. There's a bright light in my yard and a small guy with a big head at my door and I must answer...
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Old 03-07-2016   #39
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Re: Do you believe in the paranormal?

Quote Originally Posted by matt cardin View Post
Regarding ghosts or whatever, isn't it theoretically possible that one person might possess a sense or faculty that another person lacks, and/or that some kind of training or preparation might be present in one person and lacking in another, so that person A might "see" (in whatever sense) a ghost (in whatever sense) in your attic while person B, standing one foot away, might not?

I don't consider this a trivial point.
Theoretically possible? Sure. Worth time and resources trying to explore that possibility? I don't think so.

There's no evidence to even remotely suggest the existence of such a special sense or a form of training. But there's plenty of evidence for the unreliability of human perceptions and the unreliable interpretation of the same, and there's plenty of evidence for human beings tricking, defrauding, etc. other human beings. You can find examples of all of that in this very field of study.

I'm open to solid evidence, but until such evidence is presented, I'll live my life without any assumptions that anything "paranormal" or "supernatural" exists.
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Old 03-07-2016   #40
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Re: Do you believe in the paranormal?

Quote Originally Posted by Trau View Post
There's no evidence to even remotely suggest the existence of such a special sense or a form of training.
I think you're wrong about that. As I say this, I'm also thinking in terms of the paranormal / supernatural in its broadest possible meaning, encompassing things like religious experience, so please bear in mind that this is involved in my response to your claim.

Quote Originally Posted by Trau View Post
I'm open to solid evidence, but until such evidence is presented, I'll live my life without any assumptions that anything "paranormal" or "supernatural" exists.
What would you accept as evidence of, say, the survival of personality or entity (or whatever you want to call it) beyond the physical body? What about evidence of, say, a spiritual enlightenment or an angelic (or otherwise supernatural) visitation that arrives in someone's life as an apparent irruption "from beyond" and imparts a supernatural wisdom or vision or message? This gets tricky. The edges of the interpretive playing field grow hazy, especially when one considers that A) purported events and encounters of this very type have driven the development of human cultures and civilizations since prehistory; B) such events and realities, if they're real in some sense beyond the boundaries of individual human subjectivity, might well elude, intrinsically and categorically, the possibility of observation, investigation, and confirmation or disconfirmation by scientific or other empirical means; and C) it's impossible to say the question of the reality status of such events and encounters is trivial or unimportant, because of point A above.

You haven't claimed this, but just in case: If a person wants to dispute point B on the grounds that nothing is real that cannot be investigated empirically, this simply opens another wing of the conversation, beginning with the question: Why do you assume that? What philosophical presuppositions stand behind such an assertion?

Quote Originally Posted by Trau View Post
But there's plenty of evidence for the unreliability of human perceptions and the unreliable interpretation of the same, and there's plenty of evidence for human beings tricking, defrauding, etc. other human beings. You can find examples of all of that in this very field of study.
Yes, this is incontrovertibly true. The question thus becomes whether there's any actual, substantial value in continuing to inquire into the possibility of the paranormal. I think the answer is yes, although I'm not necessarily thinking of laboratory parapsychology or psychical research or any such thing. What if there's something involved in the question of the paranormal that cuts directly and immediately to the heart of the human condition? Then it would categorically be worth knowing about, regardless of the fraud and exploitation and sensationalism that have long been associated with the whole thing.

Then of course there's the Fortean-type spin on that final point, which insists that the fraud and sensationalism may not be extraneous but intrinsic. According to this line of thought, since anomalous experiences have happened to humans throughout history and continue to happen today with pretty much the same frequency and distribution across human populations, it might not be unreasonable to attribute a kind of mythic trickster-ish quality to the essence of reality itself. Human chicanery and hoaxing in association with paranormal matters would then be interpretable as just one deranged aspect of a deranged universal game. And now I think I've unexpectedly talked my way into an oblique invocation of something akin to the Ligottian cosmology and ontology of Great Chymists and Clown Puppets.

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