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The Paranormal is it Fake?


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#46    White Crane Feather

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 03:35 PM

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You seem much more interested in talking about the assumptions that you have assumed (ha) that I have made rather than what I'm actually saying.  I'd go with expanding arguments phenomenon, if they follow what is being discussed, over the expanding strawmen phenomenon any day.

That's because what you are saying is built on assumptions.

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I agree that is asinine, haven't seen any scientists do it though.  And I seriously doubt that you have the expertise to evaluate studies on cognition.

All do respect LG I do not buy into the religious belief that 'scientific' research can only be evaluated by self proclaimed experts. The common person can make good judgments as well with simple critical thinking. With that said, don't confuse my constant spelling and grammar mistakes with lack of education, im often typing a mile a minute on my iphone, answering emails, monitoring accounts all while going about my day. If you want me to list why I am very qualified to evaluate many kinds of studies, then I will, but I think measuring our shlongs is beyond the scope of the discussion.


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Well in a fairly fundamental way they are not orders different, neither has been demonstrated or shown to actually be 'real' as far as a spirit world existing, despite people interpreting their experiences that way.

By whose criteria? You want physical evidence of a non physical reality. Good Luck with that. This is not a straw man . A philosophical materialist/physicalist  cannot, by philosophical decree, accept any kind of evidence that is not based upon baryonic matter/energy. There are other kinds of evidence LG. There is a body of evidence that is fairly large, but no one is going to be able to bring back a spirit world rock like you might be able to do with mars. But before you engage me in the conversation, you should arm your self a bit. You should read Susan Blackmore's book where she proposes the dying brain hypothesis, then the rebuttals, then look up the myriad of NDE reports, then the criticisms, then the criticisms of the criticisms. Then look up ongoing experiments on the issue included in the Aware Study on other studies on consciousness. If you have not done this than you have no business offering your opinion as anything other than materialistically biased assumptions.

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What book, what are you talking about?

I was not talking about "a book". I was suggesting that you should see for yourself.

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Thankfully I never said that so as is becoming all too common, you are talking to the LG that exists in your head.  Why is it so difficult to actually respond to what I said rather than acting like I'm biased against the immaterial?  I'm 'biased' against the immaterial to the same degree you are biased against leprechauns, and for the exact same reasons.

You act like it. The only information I have to go on is how you present yourself. You argue from materialist position. If you personally are not biased against the immaterial that's fine, but if you are insinuating that there is no immaterial to be biased against because I cant possibly be biased against leprechauns then my point is wholly made, and your goggles are thick indeed. Besides I rather like the little guys. ;)


What is it actually that you want me to respond to that I have not. Why don't you present in in a bullet format and I will respond in the same way. Point by point number by number.

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I think terminology is important; I haven't heard of anyone saying that spiritual 'benefits' are irrational or illogical, just that the idea that these 'benefits' are actually derived from a spirit world may be irrational.  People can and do derive benefits from falsehoods.

that was a autocomplete error. I meant to say "spiritual Beliefs".

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How about we stop pretending that we can psychoanalyze people we don't really know, and that people who disagree with you are 'uncomfortable' and cultish?  If you really need to do that, you should do that after you've actually addressed the detailed arguments.  I know I'm verbose in my posts sometimes but I do that for a reason:  I try to lay out the specific steps in my thinking so that someone who disagrees with me can say, "LG, I agree with statements 1 and 2, but I think you're wrong on statement 3 and here's why".  It helps to establish the groundwork and the agreed-upon points from which differences can be analyzed.  You'd apparently prefer to sidestep all that and instead provide your amateur diagnosis of how people who disagree with you are biased in their thinking; I'm not sure you realize that I could provide similar assertions about deficits in your thinking and your biases on this topic but I won't as it's a bad, unevidenced, irrational argument.  Unless you really think you can get all that detailed information about people you don't know from a few posts, which is ridiculous.

Fair enough I just proposed a solution. Bullets or numbers. point by point. What would you like me to address?


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I don't want to get into a discussion of 'materialism', and you provide a link to cognitive supporting what I already said about how you are not using that term correctly (although I agree that you are using the term how other people have also used it, incorrectly)?


Common language is more pertinent than strict definitions. Did you know what I mean? Yes you did. Why worry about semantics?  With that said....ugggggg.... I was not using it improperly. You are missing the tree through the forest.

"The theory of cognitive dissonance in social psychology proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance by altering existing cognitions, adding new ones to create a consistent belief system, or alternatively by reducing the importance of any one of the dissonant elements.[1"

a fundamentalist that receives all kinds of information that their cult leader is wrong will alter or limit their cognition of what is actually there. Materialist that should know better faced with the implications of Various experimental results in quantum mechanics do the same thing. Highly intelligent people creating all kinds of materialistic 'explanations' instead of acknowledging the elephant in the room. I have seen it dozens and dozens of times. All of it is; "adding new ones to create a consistent belief system, or in the case of actual evidence: "reducing the importance of any one of the dissonant elements". I can get into detail if you want, but it should be on a different thread.

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Yes, I do see a very glaring problem:  you've basically ignored what I said and continue beating the straw out of something I didn't say.  I specifically said I don't take 'materialism' as an assumption and you just provide the above as if I think it is an assumption.  A tentative conclusion from the evidence is not the same as an assumption, evidence of a spirit world could come any day; I, and centuries of humanity, have been watching for some good evidence of its actual existence but still not much has been produced yet.

Tons have been produced. Its your assumptions that limit you. I know its difficult to see blue through red goggles, the filter prevents it. As I have mentioned, you are waiting for a moon rock to land in your hand when the nature of what we are discussing do no allow for rock like evidence.

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It's not in the primary school system because no spirit world of any sort has ever been shown or demonstrated to actually exist.  You can learn about what religions believe, yes, in almost any college, but that doesn't mean it's true; you can learn about Shakespeare too but it doesn't mean that his plays are fully accurate historically.

Its not in the primary school system because we have separation from church and state and anything close to spirituality falls under fire. Even group meditations are forbidden because people get touchy about it. The primary school system is not about facts its about indoctrination and citizenry. Why else do you think they teach our children twisted history. From the thanksgiving feast to Hiroshima, facts are NOT apart of primary school. Sorry to burst that bubble for you.

Its not just religions, there are many courses on Asian spiritually, Greek mythology, New age emergence, and Native American Spirituality. Of course it does not mean its real, but it doesn't meant that its not either....Sheesh. As pointed out to you primary school isn't really in the business of reality either.

Anyway. Arguing about arguing is pointless. What do you want me to address in bullet formatting. Maybe that will clear up some issues. ;)

Edited by Seeker79, 31 May 2013 - 03:46 PM.

"I wish neither to possess, Nor to be possessed. I no longer covet paradise, more important, I no longer fear hell. The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning, but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, But I did not observe it until this moment. Now I see that I will never find the light.  Unless, like the candle, I am my own fuel, Consuming myself. "
Bruce Lee-

#47    scowl

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 03:48 PM

View PostxFelix, on 30 May 2013 - 11:10 PM, said:

Courtesy: http://dictionary.re...e/disbelief?s=t
So yes, the absence of belief is disbelief.

Apparently you didn't bother to look at this link or you were not able to understand it. It does not say disbelief is the "absence of belief". Please look at it again.

Disbelief requires "inability" or "refusal" to believe something. We are perfectly willing and able to believe something given evidence that it is true or exists. This is not disbelief by this definition.


#48    scowl

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 03:53 PM

View PostxFelix, on 30 May 2013 - 11:10 PM, said:

Dang this evidence proving that the paranormal is fake must be top secret, nobody wants to present it..

That's because it doesn't exist and you are the only one in the world who believes it could exist.

Edited by scowl, 31 May 2013 - 03:53 PM.


#49    White Crane Feather

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 04:01 PM

Quote



Belief disconfirmation paradigm [edit]

Dissonance is aroused when people are confronted with information that is inconsistent with their beliefs. If the dissonance is not reduced by changing one's belief, the dissonance can result in restoring consonance through misperception, rejection or refutation of the information, seeking support from others who share the beliefs, and attempting to persuade others.
An early version of cognitive dissonance theory appeared in Leon Festinger's 1956 book, When Prophecy Fails. This book gives an account of the deepening of cult members' faith following the failure of a cult's prophecy that a UFO landing was imminent. The believers met at a pre-determined place and time, believing they alone would survive the Earth's destruction. The appointed time came and passed without incident. They faced acute cognitive dissonance: had they been the victim of a hoax? Had they donated their worldly possessions in vain? Most members chose to believe something less dissonant to resolve reality not meeting their expectations: they believed that the aliens had given earth a second chance, and the group was now empowered to spread the word that earth-spoiling must stop. The group dramatically increased their proselytism despite the failed prophecy.[7

http://en.wikipedia....tive_dissonance

"I wish neither to possess, Nor to be possessed. I no longer covet paradise, more important, I no longer fear hell. The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning, but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, But I did not observe it until this moment. Now I see that I will never find the light.  Unless, like the candle, I am my own fuel, Consuming myself. "
Bruce Lee-

#50    scowl

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 04:07 PM

View PostSeeker79, on 31 May 2013 - 04:14 AM, said:

Is a publicity gimmick. You would not even know who James Randi is without it.
]

I saw James Randi many times on the Johnny Carson show in the late 70's and early 80's before he declared the million dollar challenge. It was the first time in my life I heard someone daring to question the existence of ESP, remote viewing, clairvoyance, and other paranormal abilities which I and my friends had been told were scientific facts. I thought he was a grumpy, ignorant, close-minded old man until I borrowed "The Magic of Uri Geller" and "Flim Flam" from the library.


#51    Heaven Is A Halfpipe

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 04:45 PM

View Postscowl, on 31 May 2013 - 04:07 PM, said:

][/size]

I saw James Randi many times on the Johnny Carson show in the late 70's and early 80's before he declared the million dollar challenge. It was the first time in my life I heard someone daring to question the existence of ESP, remote viewing, clairvoyance, and other paranormal abilities which I and my friends had been told were scientific facts. I thought he was a grumpy, ignorant, close-minded old man until I borrowed "The Magic of Uri Geller" and "Flim Flam" from the library.

lmao who told you they were "scientific facts"?

I'm shocked that all the notorious skeptics aren't all over this thread...and that my links to two respected and scientifically versed individuals who have made studies and drawn paranormal conclusions have been flat out ignored...that says it all to me.

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#52    scowl

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 05:01 PM

View PostHeaven Is A Halfpipe, on 31 May 2013 - 01:12 PM, said:

Earlier this year (2007), the world's first conference on orbs took place in Sedona, Arizona, where several scientists controversially stated that they believed orbs were indeed a genuine paranormal phenomenon. Professor William Tiller, a theoretical physicist who spent 35 years researching consciousness and matter at Stanford University in California, reminded the conference that what we see with our physical eyes comprises less then 10 per cent of the known universe.

William Tiller is famous for conducting the most naive and laughable uncontrolled ESP and remote viewing experiments ever passed as science back the 70's. These studies were not funded by Stanford and would not have passed any kind of peer review.

He didn't study consciousness at Stanford and was not a theoretical scientist there. He was a professor of material science specializing in crystallization. He has strong beliefs in psychic energies and continues to perform uncontrolled experiments with something he calls "magnoelectric energy" which is way cooler than the boring electromagnetic energy we've been studying for centuries. For some reason no one has been able to reproduce his experimental results which include remarkable claims like positive results with psychic surgery.

The title "scientist" doesn't mean much.


#53    scowl

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 05:26 PM

View PostHeaven Is A Halfpipe, on 31 May 2013 - 04:45 PM, said:

lmao who told you they were "scientific facts"?

Back in the 70's, it was the Age of Aquarius. Everyone was in a real mellow groove about the future, man. We had so many books, movies and television specials about UFOs, Bigfoot, ESP, and other incredible things that they were generally accepted as 100% real by most enlightened people. Uri Geller, Kreskin, and other psychics were on television all the time doing things that looked like magic tricks but we were told they were for real. When 60 Minutes did a piece on the successful ESP and remote viewing experiments done by Stanford scientists, there was no doubt that soon many of us would be communicating with each other through telepathy and police departments would be hiring full-time psychics to find criminals. Anyone who didn't believe this was close-minded or frightened of the future.

In other words we were victims of the popular media who didn't understand science and had no skepticism whatsoever. Anyone could claim to have a paranormal ability and get on Real People or That's Incredible. When they were later proved to be frauds (like the guy who "psychically" moved a pencil on a table with his mind... and a very thin thread) we never heard about it. They remained in our minds as proof of the untapped abilities of our brains which would soon be understood! When respected shows like 60 Minutes repeated that claim, who were we to argue?

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I'm shocked that all the notorious skeptics aren't all over this thread...and that my links to two respected and scientifically versed individuals who have made studies and drawn paranormal conclusions have been flat out ignored...that says it all to me.

They have been ignored because they have a reputation for profiting by unfounded claims and by conducting unreproducible experiments.


#54    Heaven Is A Halfpipe

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 06:08 PM

View Postscowl, on 31 May 2013 - 05:01 PM, said:

William Tiller is famous for conducting the most naive and laughable uncontrolled ESP and remote viewing experiments

A skeptic would find them to be "laughable" wouldn't they? If you actually read the article, you'd have seen that Tiller was not the man the article was about, he just happened to mention we can't sense 90% of the universe. Which is a scientific fact, no? If you have better scientific accolades, I implore you to argue otherwise.

View Postscowl, on 31 May 2013 - 05:26 PM, said:

Back in the 70's, it was the Age of Aquarius. Everyone was in a real mellow groove about the future, man. We had so many books, movies and television specials about UFOs, Bigfoot, ESP, and other incredible things that they were generally accepted as 100% real by most enlightened people. Uri Geller, Kreskin, and other psychics were on television all the time doing things that looked like magic tricks but we were told they were for real. When 60 Minutes did a piece on the successful ESP and remote viewing experiments done by Stanford scientists, there was no doubt that soon many of us would be communicating with each other through telepathy and police departments would be hiring full-time psychics to find criminals. Anyone who didn't believe this was close-minded or frightened of the future.

They have been ignored because they have a reputation for profiting by unfounded claims and by conducting unreproducible experiments.

So nobody told you they were scientific fact. People gave their beliefs via television and books (they still do) and you chose to adopt those beliefs. I highly doubt scientists were running around telling people it was all real, since they can't all agree now.

The psychologist has a "reputation"? I've never even heard of him before, nor the researcher for NASA. Would you care to use your knowledge of psychology to discredit there being evidence of a soul? And while you're there, use your scientific knowledge to discredit those number of scientists who openly said they believe "orbs" (unexplainable ones of course...) are the sign of something unknown which would come under the term "paranormal".

I look forward to it.

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#55    White Crane Feather

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 06:46 PM

View Postscowl, on 31 May 2013 - 04:07 PM, said:

][/size]

I saw James Randi many times on the Johnny Carson show in the late 70's and early 80's before he declared the million dollar challenge. It was the first time in my life I heard someone daring to question the existence of ESP, remote viewing, clairvoyance, and other paranormal abilities which I and my friends had been told were scientific facts. I thought he was a grumpy, ignorant, close-minded old man until I borrowed "The Magic of Uri Geller" and "Flim Flam" from the library.
Forgive me, most people under 40.  Would not know who he is. Hehehehehe

"I wish neither to possess, Nor to be possessed. I no longer covet paradise, more important, I no longer fear hell. The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning, but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, But I did not observe it until this moment. Now I see that I will never find the light.  Unless, like the candle, I am my own fuel, Consuming myself. "
Bruce Lee-

#56    Sakari

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 06:58 PM

View PostxFelix, on 30 May 2013 - 12:46 PM, said:

Let's keep the thread simple, show me proof the Paranormal doesn't exist. Use verifiable sources, and if you're not an actual doctor don't make diagnostic theories you are not qualified to make.


" Paranormal " is very vague.

There are a lot of topics that can be deamed " paranormal ".......Some I have shown facts as to what they are. Others, I do not know.

Really depends on what topic of " paranormal ".


If using Doctors Journals, as " facts " to diagnosis is against the rules ( with links an quotes ) that is like taking away a baseball players arms and legs and telling him to go play ball.

Only real Doctors can post those things?.....Sorry, I am out.


Many things deemed " Paranormal " have answers, plenty of them. And those answers are real. Then, others think they have answers, but those answers have no evidence at all to support them.....What do you choose in a topic like that?






I think this answers a lot :


Why, for example, is belief in invisible, supernatural agents - such as ghosts, angels, dead ancestors, and gods - so widespread? Belief in such supernatural agents appears to be a near universal feature of human societies. There is some evidence that a predisposition towards beliefs of this kind may actually be innate - part of our natural, evolutionary heritage. The Oxford psychologist Justin Barrett has suggested that the prevalence of beliefs of this kind may in part be explained by our possessing a Hyper-sensitive Agent Detection Device, or H.A.D.D.
Human beings explain features of the world around them in two very different ways. For example, we sometimes appeal to natural causes or laws in order to account for an event. Why did that apple fall from the tree? Because the wind blew and shook the branch, causing the apple to fall. Why did the water freeze in the pipes last night, because the temperature of the water fell below zero, and it is a law that water freezes below zero.

However, we also explain by appealing to agents - beings who act on the basis of their beliefs and desires in a more or less rational way. Why did the apple fall from the tree? Because Ted wanted to eat it, believed that shaking the tree would make it fall, and so shook the tree. Why are Mary's car keys on the mantelpiece? Because she wanted to remind herself not to forget them, so put them where she thought she would spot them.

Barrett suggests we have evolved to be overly sensitive to agency. We evolved in an environment containing many agents - family members, friends, rivals, predators, prey, and so on. Spotting and understanding other agents helps us survive and reproduce. So we evolved to be sensitive to them - oversensitive in fact. Hear a rustle in the bushes behind you and you instinctively spin round, looking for an agent. Most times, there's no one there - just the wind in the leaves. But, in the environment in which we evolved, on those few occasions when there was an agent present, detecting it might well save your life. Far better to avoid several imaginary predators than be eaten by a real one. Thus evolution will select for an inheritable tendency to not just detect - but over detect - agency. We have evolved to possess (or, perhaps more plausibly, to be) hyper-active agency detectors.

If we do have an H.A.D.D, that would at least partly explain the human tendency to feel there is "someone there" even when no one is observed, and so may at least partly explain our tendency to believe in the existence of invisible agents - in spirits, ghosts, angels or gods.

For example, in his book Illusion of Conscious Will, Daniel Wegner points out what he believes is the most remarkable characteristic of those using a ouija board (in which the planchette - often an upturned shot glass - on which the subjects' index fingers are gently resting appears to wander independently around the board, spelling out messages from "beyond"):
People using the board seem irresistibly drawn to the conclusion that some sort of unseen agent... is guiding the planchette movement. Not only is there a breakdown in the perception of one's own contribution to the talking board effect but a theory immediately arises to account for this breakdown: the theory of outside agency. In addition to spirits of the dead, people seem willing at times to adduce the influence of demons, angels, and even entities from the future or from outer space, depending on their personal contact with cultural theories about such effects.
Because the movement of the planchette is inexplicable and odd, it is immediately put down to the influence of an invisible agent (though notice the kind of agent invoked varies from group to group depending on their own particular, culturally-led expectations - see Piling Up The Anecdotes).

However, I am not here endorsing the H.A.D.D. explanation for widespread belief in such invisible agents (though I suspect there's some truth to it). Also, notice that, even if we do possess an H.A.D.D, that at best explains the attractiveness of only some wacky belief systems. Many - such as those involving crystal healing, palmistry or numerology - involve no invisible agents.
Note that the H.A.D.D, hypothesis does not say that there are no invisible agents. Perhaps at least some of the invisible agents people suppose exist are real. Perhaps there really are ghosts, or spirits, or gods. However, if we suppose the H.A.D.D, hypothesis does correctly explain why it is that so many people believe in the existence of invisible agents, then the fact that large numbers hold such beliefs can no longer be considered good evidence that any such agents exist. It will no longer do to say, "Surely not all these people can be so very deluded? Surely there must be some truth to these beliefs, otherwise they would not be so widespread?" The fact is, if the H.A.D.D, hypothesis is correct, we're likely to believe in the existence of such invisible agents anyway, whether or not such agents exist. But then the commonality of these beliefs is not good evidence such agents exist. If the H.A.D.D hypothesis is correct, it adds yet another nail to the coffin lid of the suggestion: "Lots of people believe it so there's got to be something to it!"


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#57    Sakari

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 07:15 PM

View PostHeaven Is A Halfpipe, on 31 May 2013 - 04:45 PM, said:

lmao who told you they were "scientific facts"?

I'm shocked that all the notorious skeptics aren't all over this thread...and that my links to two respected and scientifically versed individuals who have made studies and drawn paranormal conclusions have been flat out ignored...that says it all to me.


Maybe you should consider another reason....

You get defensive and rude, and sensitive. You can not have a discussion without geting mad, and assuming people are mocking you or being condescending.

That is why many choose not to answer you, including myself.

Hope that answers it......

Not to mention you have asked some, including me, not to talk to you, but now call us out?.....Come on man.

No thanks, I am here to discuss, not fight or keep explaining myself over and over.

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#58    scowl

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 07:28 PM

View PostHeaven Is A Halfpipe, on 31 May 2013 - 06:08 PM, said:

A skeptic would find them to be "laughable" wouldn't they? If you actually read the article, you'd have seen that Tiller was not the man the article was about, he just happened to mention we can't sense 90% of the universe. Which is a scientific fact, no? If you have better scientific accolades, I implore you to argue otherwise.

Uh, 90%? We don't even know how much universe there is.

Quote

So nobody told you they were scientific fact. People gave their beliefs via television and books (they still do) and you chose to adopt those beliefs. I highly doubt scientists were running around telling people it was all real, since they can't all agree now.

Yes scientists were in fact running around telling people it was real. The Stanford researchers (who weren't really doing research for Stanford) were the ones feeding the media with misleading information from their sloppy experiments. Unfortunately my Randi books are at home but they detailed the travesty of their research and self-promotion.

Quote

The psychologist has a "reputation"? I've never even heard of him before, nor the researcher for NASA.

Those of us who have been following the psychic industry since Uri Geller have.

Quote

Would you care to use your knowledge of psychology to discredit there being evidence of a soul?

Sure. Show me the evidence.

Quote

And while you're there, use your scientific knowledge to discredit those number of scientists who openly said they believe "orbs" (unexplainable ones of course...) are the sign of something unknown which would come under the term "paranormal".

Sure. Show me the evidence.


#59    scowl

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 07:32 PM

View PostSeeker79, on 31 May 2013 - 06:46 PM, said:

Forgive me, most people under 40.  Would not know who he is. Hehehehehe

Yeah, I'm old. I read "Flim Flam" when it was first published. And I had read dozens of UFO and Bigfoot books before that.


#60    White Crane Feather

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 08:44 PM

View PostSakari, on 31 May 2013 - 06:58 PM, said:




" Paranormal " is very vague.

There are a lot of topics that can be deamed " paranormal ".......Some I have shown facts as to what they are. Others, I do not know.

Really depends on what topic of " paranormal ".


If using Doctors Journals, as " facts " to diagnosis is against the rules ( with links an quotes ) that is like taking away a baseball players arms and legs and telling him to go play ball.

Only real Doctors can post those things?.....Sorry, I am out.


Many things deemed " Paranormal " have answers, plenty of them. And those answers are real. Then, others think they have answers, but those answers have no evidence at all to support them.....What do you choose in a topic like that?






I think this answers a lot :


Why, for example, is belief in invisible, supernatural agents - such as ghosts, angels, dead ancestors, and gods - so widespread? Belief in such supernatural agents appears to be a near universal feature of human societies. There is some evidence that a predisposition towards beliefs of this kind may actually be innate - part of our natural, evolutionary heritage. The Oxford psychologist Justin Barrett has suggested that the prevalence of beliefs of this kind may in part be explained by our possessing a Hyper-sensitive Agent Detection Device, or H.A.D.D.
Human beings explain features of the world around them in two very different ways. For example, we sometimes appeal to natural causes or laws in order to account for an event. Why did that apple fall from the tree? Because the wind blew and shook the branch, causing the apple to fall. Why did the water freeze in the pipes last night, because the temperature of the water fell below zero, and it is a law that water freezes below zero.

However, we also explain by appealing to agents - beings who act on the basis of their beliefs and desires in a more or less rational way. Why did the apple fall from the tree? Because Ted wanted to eat it, believed that shaking the tree would make it fall, and so shook the tree. Why are Mary's car keys on the mantelpiece? Because she wanted to remind herself not to forget them, so put them where she thought she would spot them.

Barrett suggests we have evolved to be overly sensitive to agency. We evolved in an environment containing many agents - family members, friends, rivals, predators, prey, and so on. Spotting and understanding other agents helps us survive and reproduce. So we evolved to be sensitive to them - oversensitive in fact. Hear a rustle in the bushes behind you and you instinctively spin round, looking for an agent. Most times, there's no one there - just the wind in the leaves. But, in the environment in which we evolved, on those few occasions when there was an agent present, detecting it might well save your life. Far better to avoid several imaginary predators than be eaten by a real one. Thus evolution will select for an inheritable tendency to not just detect - but over detect - agency. We have evolved to possess (or, perhaps more plausibly, to be) hyper-active agency detectors.

If we do have an H.A.D.D, that would at least partly explain the human tendency to feel there is "someone there" even when no one is observed, and so may at least partly explain our tendency to believe in the existence of invisible agents - in spirits, ghosts, angels or gods.

For example, in his book Illusion of Conscious Will, Daniel Wegner points out what he believes is the most remarkable characteristic of those using a ouija board (in which the planchette - often an upturned shot glass - on which the subjects' index fingers are gently resting appears to wander independently around the board, spelling out messages from "beyond"):
People using the board seem irresistibly drawn to the conclusion that some sort of unseen agent... is guiding the planchette movement. Not only is there a breakdown in the perception of one's own contribution to the talking board effect but a theory immediately arises to account for this breakdown: the theory of outside agency. In addition to spirits of the dead, people seem willing at times to adduce the influence of demons, angels, and even entities from the future or from outer space, depending on their personal contact with cultural theories about such effects.
Because the movement of the planchette is inexplicable and odd, it is immediately put down to the influence of an invisible agent (though notice the kind of agent invoked varies from group to group depending on their own particular, culturally-led expectations - see Piling Up The Anecdotes).

However, I am not here endorsing the H.A.D.D. explanation for widespread belief in such invisible agents (though I suspect there's some truth to it). Also, notice that, even if we do possess an H.A.D.D, that at best explains the attractiveness of only some wacky belief systems. Many - such as those involving crystal healing, palmistry or numerology - involve no invisible agents.
Note that the H.A.D.D, hypothesis does not say that there are no invisible agents. Perhaps at least some of the invisible agents people suppose exist are real. Perhaps there really are ghosts, or spirits, or gods. However, if we suppose the H.A.D.D, hypothesis does correctly explain why it is that so many people believe in the existence of invisible agents, then the fact that large numbers hold such beliefs can no longer be considered good evidence that any such agents exist. It will no longer do to say, "Surely not all these people can be so very deluded? Surely there must be some truth to these beliefs, otherwise they would not be so widespread?" The fact is, if the H.A.D.D, hypothesis is correct, we're likely to believe in the existence of such invisible agents anyway, whether or not such agents exist. But then the commonality of these beliefs is not good evidence such agents exist. If the H.A.D.D hypothesis is correct, it adds yet another nail to the coffin lid of the suggestion: "Lots of people believe it so there's got to be something to it!"


http://www.psycholog...nvisible-beings
You are awefully smart for a fisherman Sakari ;) by the way the boys bagged about 20 blue gill in the last few days. Pan fry heaven and guts for the dad traps. Woohooo

Edited by Seeker79, 31 May 2013 - 08:45 PM.

"I wish neither to possess, Nor to be possessed. I no longer covet paradise, more important, I no longer fear hell. The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning, but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, But I did not observe it until this moment. Now I see that I will never find the light.  Unless, like the candle, I am my own fuel, Consuming myself. "
Bruce Lee-




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