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oslove

What is a mystery and what is an explanation?

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What is a mystery and what is an explanation?

This web forum is entitled, "Unexplained Mysteries," but what is a mystery and what is an explanation?

To my understanding, a mystery is anything that defies explanation, for example if you see cats and dogs falling from the sky, that is a mystery because it defies explanation.

But wait, what is an explanation? Again to my understanding an explanation is a reference of anything to the ways things are as we accept them, scil., the ways they are, and things understood as anything: an idea, a fact, an event, a place, an animal, or person, a meteorological condition, etc.

So, cats and dogs falling from the sky is a mystery because we cannot accept that cats and dogs should fall from the sky, but rain falling from the sky that's no mystery because we accept it that rain falls from the sky.

In brief, a mystery is anything that defies the ways we have accepted things to be the ways they are.

That women give births to babies, that's no mystery, the explanation being that it is the way things are with women, they give birth to babies.

Now, if a man gives birth to a baby, that is a mystery, because there is no explanation, meaning we have never been accustomed to seeing a man giving birth to a baby.

To sum up:

  • A mystery is anything that is not to our observation a matter of regular occurrence of things.

And an explanation is the reference of anything to the regular occurrence of things.

In regard to evolution (or more correctly, the existence of innumerable diverse living things), and the ouija board: evolution is not a mystery because we are accustomed to see diversity of plants and animals and smaller still organisms or life forms; but ouija board, it's a mystery because we are not accustomed to experience a socalled planchette pointer moving to letters and numbers forming seemingly comprehensible sentences.

As an aside, why then are they arguing endlessly about the theory of evolution? because socalled evolutionists tell us that diversity of living things come about ultimately from chance, but from since God has been discovered by man or believed in however implicitly by man, it is taken for granted that it is the way things are with the innumerable diversity of life forms, that they were created thus by God.

My idea now is to classify what are the unexplained mysteries treated about in this web forum on unexplained mysteries.

oslove

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You made my head hurt with that post :lol:

A mystery is an unexplained phenomenon, meaning we don't know the "how" or "why".

An explanation is stating the "how" and "why" of said phenomenon.

Mysteries and explanations aren't however universal, meaning that a mystery to me may be something commonplace to someone else, with an explanation readily available. (and vice versa) When we are first born the whole world and everything in it is a mystery, as we grow and learn we find explanations for these mysteries, and so on, and so on. Each mystery explained is merely a step in the direction of greater knowledge.

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You made my head hurt with that post :lol:

A mystery is an unexplained phenomenon, meaning we don't know the "how" or "why".

An explanation is stating the "how" and "why" of said phenomenon.

Mysteries and explanations aren't however universal, meaning that a mystery to me may be something commonplace to someone else, with an explanation readily available. (and vice versa) When we are first born the whole world and everything in it is a mystery, as we grow and learn we find explanations for these mysteries, and so on, and so on. Each mystery explained is merely a step in the direction of greater knowledge.

Now, suppose you just give here some examples of mysteries and tell us how and/or why they are mysteries, and some examples of non-mysteries, also how and why they are non-mysteries.

oslove

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I can explain both with one example as long as you entertain the notion that the mystery/explanation is relative to the observer.

An explorer travels to the heart of the jungle and meets a primitive tribe of local people. They haven't had contact with the outside world. The explorer, armed with a gun, fires a shot into the air. To the tribesmen, the loud noise and the smell of gunpowder is a mystery, they have never seem anything like it. The explorer however is well aware of how the gun works. The trigger releases the firing pin which strikes the primer. The primer ignites the gunpowder within the bullet casing, causing the gunpowder to ignite and rapidly heat up/expand the air. The violently expanding gas and air causes the noise, and the smell, but also push the bullet out of the barrel at high speed.

In this scenario, there is a mystery and a "non-mystery" as you put it. It all comes down to perspective. :D

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You have contributed one kind of mysteries, what I call man-made mysteries, which can be further divided in human prowess and human invention.

Your observation that what is mystery is relative to the observer's or witness' lack of acquaintance with the causality of the mystery event, in your example of gun explosion, that illustrates the how aspect of what is mystery.

Now suppose you also tell us in the example of a gun explosion the why it is a mystery to tribal folks still in a pre-technological society?

I really appreciate your participation in this thread.

oslove

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I've never thought about a "mystery" in this context. I've always taken it for granted that a mystery is an unknown and an explanation is an explanation(for lack of a better word) :D It's causing me to think through the process, trying to form it in my head the particulars of an event. Thanks for the questions, as it gives me an opportunity to exercise my feeble mind. :lol:

The tribe in the example would see the gunshot as a mystery simply because they have never been exposed to such an event. They may see it as something "magical". It is probable that they could draw some primitive conclusions about it however, for example they are most likely familiar with fire and its properties. They could possibly surmise that some sort of fire was involved from the smell and smoke from the gunshot. They have also have likely heard loud noises due to striking objects together such as sticks or rocks. They could then draw the conclusion that a large impact of some sort was also involved. Both of these assumptions would be more or less correct, but it is far from a complete explanation. This relates to a lot of our modern attempts to explain mysteries. We can make reasonable assumptions however with a lack of information we can't explain the whole event. These half-explained events are usually what could fall into the "paranormal" or "alien" or "cryptozoid" categories. Since we don't know everything, there are mysteries, and humans have almost a biological imperative to find answers to questions. I think there will always be things that are unexplained, however there will always be someone there doing there best to find out what is going on :D

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I've never thought about a "mystery" in this context. I've always taken it for granted that a mystery is an unknown and an explanation is an explanation(for lack of a better word) :D It's causing me to think through the process, trying to form it in my head the particulars of an event. Thanks for the questions, as it gives me an opportunity to exercise my feeble mind. :lol:

I always try to understand things which I know about and things which I don't in order to learn more exactly what they are, specially things I don't know about.

For example now, what is to understand something?

According to my thinking, it is to accept something as it is and at least to live with it even though not liking it.

For instance, people say: "You don't understand me," ultimately whatever they mean it is their request to put it mildly or even to put it strongly demand that you accept them for what they are and live with it, even though you don't like it.

So also with my description of what is mystery and what is explanation.

Mystery is anything that does not occur regularly in our experience.

Explanation is the referencing of anything to the ways things are as a component of the ways things are, i.e., in our experience.

In the case of a gun explosion, you give the how of the gun explosion, the physics, mechanics, chemistry, and human intervention; you call this a mystery to people who don't know the technology of firearms and explosives.

If you examine really carefully, you are saying that people see it a mystery because they don't observe such an event regularly in their world of experience.

Try this experiment, you are a complete stranger in a tribe of pre-technological people, who never until you appeared had any acquaintance with humans from a technological society, but they are very gentle and very hospitable: they share with you food, water, and a safe place to stay in specially at night.

The following morning you fire your gun at the dawn of day upward and away from human presence, they were amazed and even alarmed owing to the loud sudden noise; then you go about your business whatever business you have planned for the day, trekking the forest, swimming in streams, etc.

Tomorrow morning at the break of day, you fire your gun again, and again the third day; on the fourth day and if you continue to do that act every dawn of a new day, do you think that just on the fourth day of your routine gun firing, they will give you and your gun explosion any further attention?

No, it's no longer any mystery to them, because it has already become a regular occurrence.

You say for them it is a mystery because they don’t have the explanation from physics, mechanics, chemistry, and acoustics; but you have.

Have you tried to expatiate on what is an explanation aside f rom just stating that “an explanation is an explanation (for lack of a better word) :D”?

See if you can understand what I mean by my description of what is an explanation:

...an explanation is the reference of anything to the regular occurrence of things. (See above, post #1.)

solove

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...

My idea now is to classify what are the unexplained mysteries treated about in this web forum on unexplained mysteries.

oslove

At this point in time I think explained mysteries can be divided most broadly for our benefit into the following three kinds which might be overlapping but for the most conspicuous aspect in each class.

[Not in any order of importance]:

  • 1. Useless except for being entertaining

2. Useful to avoid for being harmful

3. Useful to cultivate for being helpful

In #1 we have all kinds of reports of unexplained mysteries which cannot be observed directly by people who want to examine them, for example, Bigfoot; all such reports are useless except for entertainment to hear and read about [ -- but for people to make money talking and writing about them, who are smart to make money thus ].

In #2 we have such things as the ouija board which is as I observe almost generally warned by experienced people to be harmful, so they are useful to avoid for being harmful; now it is the at least curiosity of investigators to meticulously examine them to genuinely find out whether they are in fact harmful or just harmful by attribution of people who dabble in them.

In #3 we have such things as psychokinesis as with Geller's spoon-bending by mind power, and dowsing to search for water vein below the earth; of the two examples, dowsing is more useful to the general public, than spoon-bending which is only useful to Geller as he makes a good living performing the 'unexplained mystery'.

So, why do you guys here say about the division?

oslove

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creative.

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Corrigendum:

The words in bold in the quotation reproduced below should read:

unexplained mysteries (instead of explained mysteries).

At this point in time I think explained mysteries can be divided most broadly for our benefit into the following three kinds which might be overlapping but for the most conspicuous aspect in each class.

[Not in any order of importance]:

  • 1. Useless except for being entertaining

2. Useful to avoid for being harmful

3. Useful to cultivate for being helpful

In #1 we have all kinds of reports of unexplained mysteries which cannot be observed directly by people who want to examine them, for example, Bigfoot; all such reports are useless except for entertainment to hear and read about [ -- but for people to make money talking and writing about them, who are smart to make money thus ].

In #2 we have such things as the ouija board which is as I observe almost generally warned by experienced people to be harmful, so they are useful to avoid for being harmful; now it is the at least curiosity of investigators to meticulously examine them to genuinely find out whether they are in fact harmful or just harmful by attribution of people who dabble in them.

In #3 we have such things as psychokinesis as with Geller's spoon-bending by mind power, and dowsing to search for water vein below the earth; of the two examples, dowsing is more useful to the general public, than spoon-bending which is only useful to Geller as he makes a good living performing the 'unexplained mystery'.

...

Please be guided accordingly.

oslove

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