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Author Topic: Supernatural Stuff.
Tommy_Paine
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Babbler # 214

posted 02 September 2001 09:43 AM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well most of you know my love of being a stick in the mud sceptic. But, remember that I believe that our sense of wonder and awe is not wrong-- just missplaced when it strays from the rational to the supernatural.

I know there are many here to dissagree. I like you still, and no, I don't think you're nuts, or even irrational. You're free to think me a stick in the mud though.

To the point, last night on "Discovery" there was an hour long show on the phenomena of "Stigmata". That's when certain people get bleeding and or wounds in the palms and feet, and sometimes the chest and forehead; supposedly a mark that the person has communicated somehow with Jesus Christ.

The show was pretty even handed I thought. Unlike "Fox" or "The Learning Channel" (or the rest of the media, for that matter) the sceptics where permitted their say.

I didn't catch every minute of the show, but I think everyone missed a vital clue on the debunking end.

Everyone person who had a stigmata in the hands had it in the palms.

The Romans never crucified through the palms. They crucified through the two bones of the arm just above the wrist joint.

So, it seems to me that if these people were having a supernatural experience with Jesus, Jesus would have ignored all the incorrect paintings of himself on the cross, and inflicted the crucifiction wounds in the correct places.

It also seems to me that if this phenomena was due to conscious or even sub conscious ruse, then the perpetrators would have selected the palm for the place of the wound.

Case closed?


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
rasmus
malcontent
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posted 02 September 2001 10:58 AM      Profile for rasmus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Actually, the Romans normally didn't use nails but simply tied the person's arms with rope.

In any case, I've never ever seen a coherent definition of the word "supernatural". Everyone agrees that there are phenomena not accounted for by the present laws of physics; these are not called supernatural phenomena for that. What people normally call supernatural are things which they deny are phenomena at all. But if, for the sake of hypothesis, you agree that they are phenomena, then they're not supernatural -- even if they can't be accounted for by anything like our present scientific knowledge. Normally, I must say, the reason for doubting the existence of such phenomena is pure faith and an a priori conception of what something must be like to be "physical". And part of this faith is an unaccountable belief that what science can presently explain or seeks to explain is more or less what it will ever explain, and that this exhausts the realm of the natural. But there's no reason to believe this, besides overestimating the state of our current knowledge; nor is there a sound reason to believe that something is not real merely because we can't explain it.

The only thing I'll take is evidence that a phenomenon did or did not occur. Talk about the "supernatural" which is just used as a putdown means nothing to me.

[ September 02, 2001: Message edited by: rasmus_raven ]


From: Fortune favours the bold | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Ven. Jason W. Smith
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posted 02 September 2001 12:13 PM      Profile for Ven. Jason W. Smith     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
A very sensible critique, Rasmus.
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DrConway
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posted 02 September 2001 03:55 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Supernaturalism always sticks in my craw like an unchewed jellybean.

People who act like the present state of scientific knowledge will not advance and therefore supernaturalism is "valid" always provoke this response from me: "And do you still believe Zeus threw down bolts of lightning from the sky when he was angry?"

Of course, their answer is "no". My rejoinder is that several thousand years ago, the exact same argument for believing in religiously motivated explanations for common physical phenomena was that scientific knowledge would not advance any further and so it was pointless to find a materialistic explanation for events that occurred.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
'lance
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posted 02 September 2001 04:17 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
M3 t00, d00dz!

On the natural vs. supernatural, that is. In a similar way, I believe, there's no such thing as alternative medicine. Okay, there is, in the sense of medicine not accepted as valid in the Western method. But either a form of medical intervention works, in a way which reasonably can't be ascribed to chance or the body's normal healing processes, or it doesn't.

I realize that isn't quite the philosophical point rasmus_raven is making, but analogies are generally faulty.

quote:
Actually, the Romans normally didn't use nails but simply tied the person's arms with rope.

I thought this was wrong until I did a web search on it.

An Agonizing Death (scroll down)

It's not unanimous, but there's a rough consensus that nails weren't used.

Among other interesting tidbits, timber was apparently so scarce that the Romans had to get it from 10 miles outside Jerusalem for their siege machinery. So both horizontal and vertical bars of crosses might have been used repeatedly.

This would account for the lack of nails, or associated injuries, in the few skeletons of people believed to have been crucified. And for the "ample" literary and artistic evidence for the use of ropes.

[ September 02, 2001: Message edited by: 'lance ]


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
rasmus
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posted 02 September 2001 05:34 PM      Profile for rasmus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
But either a form of medical intervention works, in a way which reasonably can't be ascribed to chance or the body's normal healing processes, or it doesn't.

I realize that isn't quite the philosophical point rasmus_raven is making, but analogies are generally faulty.


That's pretty much exactly the point I am making, 'lance.

DrConway, by your example, what you mean by "supernatural" is what Hume means by "miracle" in what is a rare example of a fairly conclusive philosophical argument, Hume's argument against miracles.

Another online version is here:

gopher://gopher.cc.columbia.edu:71/00/miscellaneous/cubooks/offbooks/hume/hume24

I fully agree with Hume's argument. What I disagree with is ruling certain phenomena out because they don't tally with known science. This is plainly irrational. Of course one might argue that I thereby disagree with Hume. No, it's rather that I remain agnostic given reasonably credible accounts of phenomena that are very unusual. I don't posit that there are certain types of phenomena which do not obey the laws of nature because this is a nonsense to me.

By the same token, there really is no reason to believe that the human brain is so perfectly adapted to cognition of the universe that it will eventually solve all scientific problems (and in any case, you can't determine what counts as "all scientific problems" without reference to existing theory, which begs the question; the class of phenomena to be explained is in principle open-ended).

[ September 03, 2001: Message edited by: rasmus_raven ]


From: Fortune favours the bold | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
'lance
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posted 02 September 2001 06:13 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
That's pretty much exactly the point I am making, 'lance.

Shucks, 'tweren't nuthin'. (And me a lowly geologist... )

quote:
No, it's rather that I remain agnostic given reasonably credible accounts of phenomena that are very unusual.

But does your definition of "reasonably credible" change depending on just how unusual?

Personally, if I hear of a very unusual phenomenom I'm more than agnostic. I simply don't believe it without unusually convincing evidence, on the "extraordinary claims require extraordinary support" principle.

Or perhaps you mean you accept the report of the phenomenom, you're just simply agnostic about what it represents (I forget the philosophical term).

For example: I've known three people who've told me they've seen ghosts (in one case) or experienced something ghostlike (in the other two). I don't believe any of them lied, and I don't think they're given to hallucinations or delusions. Something happened to them.

(I'm agnostic on the subject of ghosts, incidentally. I suppose they're possible, and I'll believe in them when I see one).

But in each case the incident happened after the person had gone to bed, or indeed had been asleep for a while.

So listening to my friends I couldn't rule out dreams, or those weird things that happen when you're not quite awake but not fully asleep either. Of all the strange and mysterious things in the universe, the human mind must be the strangest and most mysterious.

All that's to say: I accepted the phenomena while remaining agnostic about their meaning.


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
rasmus
malcontent
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posted 03 September 2001 12:19 AM      Profile for rasmus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well ghosts -- that's a case where I'm agnostic. Two of my most hard-bitten science-addled rationalist friends, no make that three, have seen ghosts. One account in particular was convincing. A friend was staying at her girlfriend's family's house for the first time and in the night she saw a young native-looking man on the stairs. In a panic she ran back to her girlfriend who then said, "didn't we tell you? there's a ghost!" Specifically, the ghost of a young native man. Well there are all sorts of ways to explain this away but still it's interesting.

Another friend, who has never before or since seen this type of thing and doesn't want to, one night came down to the kitchen to get some food and saw an old woman chopping carrots. In a panic he turned away but then when he turned back she was gone.

A third friend, another hard-bitten rationalist, an anthropologist, lived in a village in rural India where, as is usual, the well was haunted by ghosts, which he saw, or thought he saw.

These are all, especially the first, relatively credible accounts to me. I remain entirely agnostic as to how they ought to be interpreted.

A final example. A friend had repeated and specific premonitions about the death of a professor of hers, and, moreover, told other people (but not him!) about them before he died in just the way she imagined. So that's weird to say the least. What to conclude? I don't know.


quote:
No, it's rather that I remain agnostic given reasonably credible accounts of phenomena that are very unusual.

But does your definition of "reasonably credible" change depending on just how unusual?


Well that's in fact the crux of Hume's argument.

The answer is yes, vaguely. But then my goalposts are not where Hume's are -- I'm not seeking evidence of events that violate the laws of nature.

[ September 03, 2001: Message edited by: rasmus_raven ]


From: Fortune favours the bold | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Trisha
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Babbler # 387

posted 03 September 2001 12:34 AM      Profile for Trisha     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Some things labelled "supernatural" may be completely natural and just not understood or accepted. For instance, recently I "received" a lot of information concerning a person I have not met but known to my daughter (her boyfriend's mother). I somehow predicted her day of death, her favourite colour (for the flowers), that one important person would not make it to the funeral and others would be angry at him, another person who was separated from the family would show up unexpectedly and a couple of other details I could not have known. These things were confirmed to be correct. As this type of thing happens occasionally, I don't consider it supernatural. When it happens, it is usually about someone I pray for but don't know.

As for stigmata, the people are usually those of strong faith and prone to ecstasy-type behaviour. As they believe the nails were in the hands, they would bleed there. I have read articles which relate this to a form of self-hypnosis. I think this is very likely, considering the mind can make the body do all kinds of strange things.


From: Thunder Bay, Ontario | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
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Babbler # 214

posted 03 September 2001 08:07 AM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
That makes sense, rasmus. While I suppose nails could be reused, the timber would last longer with ropes, and the mechanism of execution wouldn't have suffered any for it-perhaps even "improved".


I chose the word supernatural because it most commonly and quickly describes such phenomena to most people.

I'm not quite so agnostic on unexplained events. While I'm not as closed mined as some might think, I do believe the onus of proof is with the person making the claim.

I don't put much stock in claims that require me to prove they didn't happen as described, or annectdotes that cannot be examined.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
rasmus
malcontent
Babbler # 621

posted 03 September 2001 12:04 PM      Profile for rasmus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I bet that's not true. Your beliefs in science will mostly have been acquired anecdotally, without any further examination of the evidence. (And no one's requiring you to prove anything one way or another -- it's your own beliefs that are requiring you to do this. Some people feel "required" to prove that scientific explanations are wrong -- because these clash with other, more fundamental views of theirs.) Suppose you believe in neutrinos. Well what really is the substance of your belief? I bet it's pretty thin. You may have some pictures in your head, some theory that hangs together that you read somewhere -- but why do you believe it? Not because you conducted experiments. You didn't learn from experience about neutrinos, you learned from an authority. Probably what you learned at some point was that you could trust science -- how did you learn that? and what you count as science, is that determined scientifically? -- and then you formed a metaphysical bias towards it, and began believing what seemed consistent with this bias, and disbelieving what didn't. It's not true, for example, that these anecdotes can't be examined. You could examine them by interviewing the people involved, or even going to the place where these things happened. (That wouldn't establish anything other than, perhaps, whether there was something to be explained or not.) That won't happen, of course, if you preclude out of hand that they have any validity whatever. Which wouldn't be terribly scientific.

The test of all this would be a sham article in a pop science journal touting some new discovery that seemed quite plausible "scientifically" but was actually a complete hoax. I bet significant numbers of people would believe it without further examination or thought. In fact, how can you be sure you haven't already read such an article and believed it?

Partly I'm being a devil's advocate here, but partly I'm serious. Most people operate with a fairly pat notion of what "science" is. Moreover why they believe "scientific" propositions and why they think they believe them usually do not tally. Here's a favourite essay of mine, which I do not agree with wholesale, but which I always enjoy:


The fixation of belief -- Charles Sanders Peirce

[ September 03, 2001: Message edited by: rasmus_raven ]


From: Fortune favours the bold | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
MD
recent-rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1300

posted 03 September 2001 03:15 PM      Profile for MD     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Is paranormal the same as supernatural?

I got my B.A. at a small Christian college down here (which one campus wit called a "college for small Christians."

We had to do an experiment for a lab class I was taking and my lab partner and I decided to see if we could affect the growth rates of baby chicks by praying for them.

We had five groups of chicks and my partner Don prayed for two of them to have a negative rate of growth compared to a control group (no prayer at all) and prayed for two other groups to have a positive rate of growth compared to the control group. We put 30 chicks randomly into 5 cages and Don began his prayers.

To control for an obvious way of "fudging" I fed and watered the chicks without knowing which groups he was praying for in what direction.

We weighed them after two weeks and the results were amazing. The average weight of the control group was then 287 grams per chicken and the average weight of the positive prayer groups was 327 grams per chicken. The chances of getting a difference that large was one in a million - highly statistically significant!

Similar results for the negative prayer groups - 267 grams per chick.

I still have no explanation for our results except that Don "believed" that his prayer would work!

We were positively told not to publish our results for fea of our future careers. We never did.

Tommy-Paine:

you said "crucifiction". Did you mean that? Or was that a mistake?


From: So. Cal., at the moment | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
rasmus
malcontent
Babbler # 621

posted 03 September 2001 03:21 PM      Profile for rasmus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Since I'm in a naughty mood, here's another link:

How to defend society from science, by Paul Feyerabend

[ 08 December 2004: Message edited by: rasmus raven ]


From: Fortune favours the bold | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 214

posted 03 September 2001 07:12 PM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Authorities still have to pass sceptical muster. I may accept Nuetrinos or Quarks as a provisional truth, but it isn't the same as blindly accepting argument from authority.

I'll NEVER understand the math. But I can read the peer review. I can examine the idea for tautologies, non-sequitors, ad-hominem attacks and a lot of other latin things. In the end, I might assign the idea the status of "provisional truth"-- or reject it.

And, there's nothing irrational about that. We take such caluculated risks all the time, and it serves us well.

Do you always look to make sure the elevator is there before you walk through the door as it opens? For that matter, do you inspect the cables before you get on? They could be frayed you know.

All science says is that if you follow the methodology that has a good track record for providing the right answers, then one is more likely to be right than wrong most of the time.

That's why when we needed a cure for polio, or wanted to put a man on the moon, no one said "Quick! call a philosopher!" -- They consulted people who used scientific method.

People wanted something done, and done right.

Can I be fooled by a good scientifically posed hoax? Sure I can. So what? I don't think anyone has ever said science is infallible. That's why science needs scepticism.

All science does is work, unlike belief systems, which don't.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 214

posted 03 September 2001 07:23 PM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
What a scandalous ad-hominem attack MD!! Everyone knows I have a speech impediment that makes me substitute the soft "C" sound for the "X" sounds.

How horrible of you.

Kidding. It was a mixtake.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
rasmus
malcontent
Babbler # 621

posted 04 September 2001 12:49 AM      Profile for rasmus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Tommy P., I don't actually think we disagree on anything serious.

quote:
Can I be fooled by a good scientifically posed hoax? Sure I can. So what? I don't think anyone has ever said science is infallible. That's why science needs scepticism.


It's not the fallibility of science I'm calling into question, it's the basis of our everyday belief in scientific claims. You're right to say that:

quote:
And, there's nothing irrational about that. We take such caluculated risks all the time, and it serves us well.


Well exactly, but we are taking a calculated risk because we are, at some level, accepting it on faith. "Explanations stop somewhere."

quote:
Authorities still have to pass sceptical muster. I may accept Nuetrinos or Quarks as a provisional truth, but it isn't the same as blindly accepting argument from authority.

I'll NEVER understand the math. But I can read the peer review. I can examine the idea for tautologies, non-sequitors, ad-hominem attacks and a lot of other latin things. In the end, I might assign the idea the status of "provisional truth"-- or reject it.

But the point is, how much DO you actually do all of those things? And why not? Isn't it because you repose a certain amount of faith in a whole body of attitudes and representations that conform to those you have been taught since childhood to believe are correct? (And btw the way young children are taught scientific facts nowadays differs nary a whit from the way they used to be taught religious dogma, so far as I can see.)

You tried somehow to say that ghost stories, e.g., were a kind of claim that required sceptical evaluation, that carried a burden of proof that, e.g., a story in a pop science magazine doesn't carry. Well why is that, particularly if one doesn't give the ghost story a particular interpretation? I agree that an interpretation of a ghost story that says "this is the spirit of so-and-so that now haunts this house" is too strong to be supported by the evidence. But to dismiss a large body of reports as all nonsense requiring no further explanation is quite different from looking askance at a highly interpreted version of a ghost report.

So let's be clear (I'm speaking naively here) about the difference between being sceptical about theoretical claims and being sceptical about relatively uninterpreted reports (though ultimately I believe these lie on a continuum). Saying so-and-so's spirit moves on these stairs is a theoretical claim -- one, mind you, that may not be actually inconsistent with the current laws of physics, merely superfluous to them, and unexplained by them, which is a distinction so-called "sceptics" often fail to make. That is, scepticism does not entitle us to make distinctive pronouncements about the admissibility of certain types of accounts as evidence, nor does it entitle us to say, such-and-such does not, cannot, exist! To go that far is actually to speak beyond the entitlements of science.

Now, you reject the idea that you have to "prove" that some accounts of an event are wrong. Well, it's true you shouldn't have to prove that so and so isn't actually the ghost of Aunt Mildred; it's not even clear what it means to claim that, or how one could prove or disprove it. But to discount a piece of evidence out of hand as something that needs no furhter explanation, that is actually a very strong positive claim that does require further backing. An example would be saying that all ghost reports are mere gibberish.

quote:
I'm not quite so agnostic on unexplained events. While I'm not as closed mined as some might think, I do believe the onus of proof is with the person making the claim.

I don't put much stock in claims that require me to prove they didn't happen as described, or annectdotes that cannot be examined.


Well I'm sure there are plenty of unexplained things which you accept quite readily; there is much that is unexplained yet uncontroversially real. The question is, on what basis do you accept these and not others -- what actually is the basis for this?


quote:
Do you always look to make sure the elevator is there before you walk through the door as it opens? For that matter, do you inspect the cables before you get on? They could be frayed you know.

Right, but this is exactly what I'm saying. But that doesn't mean that you have a basis for automatically disbelieving certain accounts altogether just because they aren't already explained by scientific theory, though sceptical disbelief is licensed if these accounts directly contradict scientific beliefs, or have virtually no evidence in their favour. You may have a basis for disputing specific interpretations of a ghost report, but very little basis for dismissing ghost reports out of hand as something that needs explaining. That's just not scientific.

quote:
All science does is work, unlike belief systems, which don't.

Well, science is also a belief system, as I believe you yourself have demonstrated; it may be a belief system that works, for a suitable definition of "works", which will be harder to clarify than it may seem at first. In a memorable rejoinder of Paul Feyerabend to the exclamation that "science has results!" he says that this is a good reason only if you believe that nothing else has had results! And whether you believe that depends on just what results you are looking for. You can define away the problem by saying you're looking for "scientific results" but that begs the question and anyhow is much less fun. That's all for another time, however.

[ September 04, 2001: Message edited by: rasmus_raven ]


From: Fortune favours the bold | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Victor Von Mediaboy
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posted 04 September 2001 02:52 PM      Profile for Victor Von Mediaboy   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
"The only difference between science and religion is that science can be proved wrong." - unknown.
From: A thread has merit only if I post to it. So sayeth VVMB! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
rasmus
malcontent
Babbler # 621

posted 04 September 2001 04:21 PM      Profile for rasmus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
That must be a version of Karl Popper's idea -- if it can't be falsified, it's not science. (Which is itself a variant of the idea that if a sentence can't be verified, it's meaningless. --> and what's the meaning of that sentence? ) Can that idea be falsified? Well, no.

The pauperism of Popperism! *grins mischievously*

[ September 04, 2001: Message edited by: rasmus_raven ]


From: Fortune favours the bold | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Slick Willy
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posted 04 September 2001 05:34 PM      Profile for Slick Willy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Maybe let's bring this a little closer to home. There is a guy names David Blaine who is a magician by trade. To look at what he does for street magic would make you believe that he has some powers beyond our comprehension. If you see one of the specials he has done, you will see the reaction of those he performs for. Complete and utter disbelief in what they just witnessed. Yet he is no different than you or I. For some reason we WANT to lable the things we understand and don't understand into a safe catagory. Natural and supernatural.

So a while ago I thought I would try something just to see what reaction I would get. I took some footage I had shot sometime ago of a much loved dog that belongs to my friend. With that I dubbed a sound track from an tv show. Seperately they have nothing in common what so ever. Together they really make no sense at all. But of those I showed it to, all had worked out some way that it fit together. Each were very different in who or what was seen as the focal point, and the relationship between the sound and the video.
I have done this with about 15 people so far.
I have a feeling that we naturally want to find meaning and sense in all things. So we make them fit rationally to our own liking.

This is why we can leave the things we can't control or understand up to god or whoever, and put into some perspective why things go wrong sometimes.


From: Hog Heaven | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 214

posted 04 September 2001 09:20 PM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
You, Rasmus, require much time and consideration. Seems to me I beggerd off on you once before, so I owe you one.

And, there's side scrolling here. I hate that.

Be that as it may:

quote:
You tried somehow to say that ghost stories, e.g., were a kind of claim that required sceptical evaluation, that carried a burden of proof that, e.g., a story in a pop science magazine doesn't carry.

I'm not sure I tried to say that. I read pop science articles all the time, and yes I run them through the same sceptical mechanisms as I run ghost stories and other "supernatural" claims through. It's just that usually with the latter the baloney detector goes off pretty early in the process.

I understand what you are getting at. You want to posit that when something passes my sceptical muster-- let's say for argument, that man landed on the moon, that because I wasn't there to see it, and know it empirically, that I'm taking on faith the word of others. Perhaps faith, or belief, can be used to mean this. But if it does, then another word has to be used for those who take things on faith based on faulty reasoning, like tautological arguments. "The bible is the word of God because it says so in the bible." There's a wide gulf between that faith and my faith in the moon landing. So much so, I will never agree that they are the same. One is based on the denial of facts: Mine is based on the examination of facts.

quote:
But to discount a piece of evidence out of hand as something that needs no furhter explanation, that is actually a very strong positive claim that does require further backing.

Well, not really. An annecdote does not constitute evidence. And this is based on clear, factual observations. We humans make piss poor witnesses. We hallucinate, we lie to others and to ourselves.

I don't generally go looking to tell people I don't believe them. People are free to believe whatever they like. But, when people want me to accept a claim, then it's not at all unreasonable to require proofs. While it's strident and dogmatic to say "ghosts don't exist", it's not at all unfair to catagorize such claims as "unproved".

Mind you, being imperfect I make no claim that I have not been strident or dogmatic in my time.

With some ideas, such as evolution, a certain weight of evidence builds up until it's more than reasonable to accept it as a provisional truth.

I would put it that sometimes a certain lack of weight of evidence can build up until it's more than reasonable to accept something as a provisional falsehood.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
rasmus
malcontent
Babbler # 621

posted 05 September 2001 03:40 AM      Profile for rasmus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Tommy, my brain is too tired to read your post tonight. I will get to it tomorrow.

A cursory glance suggests that it is entirely reasonable.


From: Fortune favours the bold | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
rasmus
malcontent
Babbler # 621

posted 08 December 2004 09:50 PM      Profile for rasmus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Sorry, Tommy. It took me a while. But I'll do it tomorrow. I promise.
From: Fortune favours the bold | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 08 December 2004 09:54 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I love it!
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5594

posted 08 December 2004 11:06 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yes, well, if the news media weren't reporting on such news worthy stuff as Shrub choking on a pretzyl and propaganda coming out of Iraq, Wshington and Ottawa, then maybe we'd know more about the relief map find at Bashkir in 1999, known as, "the map of the creator", speculated to be millions of years old. Science will have a time explaining that one away. And right off the map for religion.

Or perhaps more Canadian's would be appalled with our child poverty rates. As the concept of an omnipotent God fascinates some, the truth really is all around us. I think it's hidden from view when we have our noses pressed against a single tree.


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged

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