Join the Unexplained Mysteries community today! It's free and setting up an account only takes a moment.
- Sign In or Create Account -
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Lotharson

Epistemology and inexplicable mysteries

18 posts in this topic

Hello folks!

I am a progressive Christian having a huge interest for metaphysics, the philosophy of religion, atheism and harcore Skepticism as well as paranormal phenomena.

I believe that epistemology plays a very important role in all discussions about paranormal phenomena.

I think that IF one applies to Ufology the same standards as in mundane fields, we have good grounds for thinking that mankind has been visited for a very long time by deceitful beings capable of breaking the laws of physics (as we know them) and which appear to us currently

under the form of space aliens.

I decided to join this forum because I am genuinely interested to discuss with folks here. Until now most of my conversations were either with Christians or atheists.

So I'm looking forward to reading your answers!

Lovely greetings from Europe.

Edited by Lotharson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello folks!

I am a progressive Christian having a huge interest for metaphysics, the philosophy of religion, atheism and harcore Skepticism as well as paranormal phenomena.

I believe that epistemology plays a very important role in all discussions about paranormal phenomena.

I think that IF one applies to Ufology the same standards as in mundane fields, we have good grounds for thinking that mankind has been visited for a very long time by deceitful beings capable of breaking the laws of physics (as we know them) and which appear to us currently

under the form of space aliens.

I decided to join this forum because I am genuinely interested to discuss with folks here. Until now most of my conversations were either with Christians or atheists.

So I'm looking forward to reading your answers!

Lovely greetings from Europe.

Hello, Lotharson. Welcome to UM!

I don't necessarily agree with your assessment of the UFO phenomenon. I would suggest the likeliest conclusion of applying rational thinking to Ufology is that human beings are very much prone to speculation based on wishful thinking, than visitation by an alien species.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello folks!

I think that IF one applies to Ufology the same standards as in mundane fields, we have good grounds for thinking that mankind has been visited for a very long time by deceitful beings capable of breaking the laws of physics (as we know them) and which appear to us currently

under the form of space aliens.

Hi :)

How do you know they are breaking the laws of physics? and How do you know they are deceitful? Thanks and see you around. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"I don't necessarily agree with your assessment of the UFO phenomenon. I would suggest the likeliest conclusion of applying rational thinking to Ufology is that human beings are very much prone to speculation based on wishful thinking, than visitation by an alien species."

Hi thanks for your opinion!

I don't believe in visitation by space aliens, UFO just means that the phenomenon is really unexplained.

I shall argue on the future on my blog that while there are no extraordinary evidence for UFO, we have normal evidence that in a SMALL minority of cases, something truly weird occured.

This is why I think it is a question of epistemology: do extraordinary claims really demand extraordinary evidence, and if so, is the existence of a non-human conciousness on earth really extraordinary?

Since I am not a materialist, I am open to this possibility.

"How do you know they are breaking the laws of physics? and How do you know they are deceitful? Thanks and see you around. :)"

Thanks! Do you know Dr. Jacques Vallee and his book "Messengers of deception?"

You can find a free electronic copy of the book with Google!

Cheers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"I don't necessarily agree with your assessment of the UFO phenomenon. I would suggest the likeliest conclusion of applying rational thinking to Ufology is that human beings are very much prone to speculation based on wishful thinking, than visitation by an alien species."

Hi thanks for your opinion!

I don't believe in visitation by space aliens, UFO just means that the phenomenon is really unexplained.

I shall argue on the future on my blog that while there are no extraordinary evidence for UFO, we have normal evidence that in a SMALL minority of cases, something truly weird occured.

And yet, even if something truly weird occurred in this small number of cases, it does not follow the weird thing was a visitation by aliens.

"Alien encounters" is, unfortunately for the investigation of UFO phenomena, now embedded into our social psyche and this leads people to presume an "alien encounter" when some weird UFO phenomena occurs. Often the person later embellishes their recollection with typical "alien encounter memes" because that is what belief does - it reinforces assumptions with archetypical 'false memories'.

Most of those "small minority of cases" are based purely on personal testimony. And this testimony is questionable given how we tend to embellish our experiences of the mysterious/unknown as a result of imagination and biases/prejudices. This is not to suggest those giving testimony are willfully lying, it is just how we are.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Lotharson, welcome to UM!

If I'm following you correctly, I guess I'd disagree that when comparing Ufology to other more mundane fields there are good grounds to think we are being visited by aliens. You refer to 'normal evidence' and 'extraordinary evidence' on your links, but I'm not clear on where you are drawing the line. Are you saying that if we applied the same standards of evidence that justifies believing in continental drift we should also come to the conclusion that we are being visited by aliens? I would disagree, to me the reason that you need 'extraordinary' evidence isn't that you must clear a higher bar of evidence than other claims, it's that you have to provide much more evidence because of the breadth of the claim. Whether continental drift occurs and what is the mechanism behind it is relatively straighforward compared to ufology. Presumably we have evidence that continental drift does occur and exists, that's already a big difference as we don't know that aliens exist at all. The evidence that we most have for ufos takes the forms of testimonials, which are not very reliable on their own; we have millenia of testimonials of visitations by all different kinds of supernatural creatures, we know that people hallucinate and many times are very poor at correctly interpreting unknown events like these, we know that eyewitness accounts are not very reliable, we know that the nature of memory is not perfect, we know that sometimes people just lie or perpetuate hoaxes, and we have extraordinary evidence supporting all of these. In contrast, the evidence for continental drift doesn't really rely on testimonials anymore than the existence of the moon does.

You also note on your your link that the person who found some 'normal evidence' for continental drift was ridiculed originally and not believed until more evidence was gathered. This isn't that uncommon and isn't really indicative of anything or isn't an argument for ufology; alchemy and the ether were also treated with skepticism also, and as it turns out with good reason.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Progressive Christian to me is the same as other kinds of Christians that pick, and chose what they believe of their doctrine.

The UFO phenomenon is full of false information, and money grubbers.In my opinion 95% of the stuff about it is bunk, and for many reasons.

To defy known physics is to have hyperdimensional technology.Such technology would make both space, and time travel easy.

The math, and cosmology shows us that there can be an intelligent race beyond our own that has at least 1 million years of a technological age before our very own.

Aliens could have a prime directive that prevents them from letting themselves to be known to another primitive race that still think that disease, and dust devils are caused by mythical beings.

To me the Human race are the ones being decaitfull to each other, and has a long history to prove it.

Do you think a race that conquered the problems we have today, and maybe even death it's self needs Jesus in their life?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I don't believe in ALIEN visitations, I take the view of Jacques Vallee that we are in a contact with a non-human form of consciousness which can manifest itself in many ways. It might also be a physical manifestion of our collective unconscious, as Jung speculated.

" The evidence that we most have for ufos takes the forms of testimonials, which are not very reliable on their own; we have millenia of testimonials of visitations by all different kinds of supernatural creatures, we know that people hallucinate and many times are very poor at correctly interpreting unknown events like these, we know that eyewitness accounts are not very reliable, we know that the nature of memory is not perfect, we know that sometimes people just lie or perpetuate hoaxes, and we have extraordinary evidence supporting all of these. In contrast, the evidence for continental drift doesn't really rely on testimonials anymore than the existence of the moon does."

Of course!

But if a relibable witness can have powerful hallucinations occuring just at the right moment, like in Valensole in the southern part of France, then what warrant would we have for believing the same type of witnesses reporting more mundane things such as industrial espionnage?

For surely if a reliable and mentally healthy man could have entirely hallucinated weird non-human beings on his lavender fields (who by the way left physical traces) then surely a reliable man could also have hallucinations concerning drug dealers who made their trafic in his field.

Strangely enough everyone would believe him in the second case even if the evidence were way weaker.

As for continental drift and meteorites, it is all too easy to say in hindsight they should not have been viewed as extraordinary.

Edited by Lotharson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Davros: "Progressive Christian to me is the same as other kinds of Christians that pick, and chose what they believe of their doctrine."

You could replace "Christian" by Marxist, Capitalist, ecologist, feminist, socialist etc... this would work as well.

All people try to use their brain to decide which aspect of a book or of a doctrine they deem to be true or helpful.

As long as you are not professing that the book is inerrant, there is nothing irrational or incoherent about that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Davros: "Progressive Christian to me is the same as other kinds of Christians that pick, and chose what they believe of their doctrine."

You could replace "Christian" by Marxist, Capitalist, ecologist, feminist, socialist etc... this would work as well.

All people try to use their brain to decide which aspect of a book or of a doctrine they deem to be true or helpful.

As long as you are not professing that the book is inerrant, there is nothing irrational or incoherent about that.

If you can understand spoken English then I suggest a Youtube video called "Ancient Aliens Debunked", and it was made by a Christian fyi.

If you are interested in UFO's? I suggest you start with J Allen Hynek, and work up from there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Allen_Hynek

As for me thinking that "The book" is inerrant, or not? I will leave that to the Skeptic, and Spirituality section.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like Hynek and Jacques Vallee, they are or were the most rational ufologists.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But if a relibable witness can have powerful hallucinations occuring just at the right moment, like in Valensole in the southern part of France, then what warrant would we have for believing the same type of witnesses reporting more mundane things such as industrial espionnage?

The warrant you would have for believing a claim of industrial espionage may be greater than believing claims of aliens because there is no doubt industrial espionage. A witness claiming industrial espionage at a company only has to prove that it is happening at the company, they don't have to also show that industrial espionage exists, we have ample evidence that we do. Contrast that with an alien claim where we have to show both that aliens even exist and then show that the witness actually saw them when and where they did. We have evidence that mundane things exist, we don't have evidence of these types of extraordinary things. They are not equal propositions.

As for continental drift and meteorites, it is all too easy to say in hindsight they should not have been viewed as extraordinary.

I don't know what hindisight has to do with it and what the point of your comparison is. Are you just saying that in the past the evidence for continental drift and meteorites was as weak and inconclusive as the evidence for aliens is today, but those turned out to be true, so something?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lotharson

Welcome aboard.

I am still unsure what argument you're making about alien visitations, and based on what evidence, but I appreciate that we are still getting the introductions out of the way. Looking forward to more, later.

davros

Progressive Christian to me is the same as other kinds of Christians that pick, and chose what they believe of their doctrine.

How is it "their" doctrine, except the part they agree with? Wouldn't the rest be, pretty much by defintion, somebody else's doctrine?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How is it "their" doctrine, except the part they agree with? Wouldn't the rest be, pretty much by defintion, somebody else's doctrine?

Some Christians believe a literal Bible in that the Universe is 6,000 years old, and the Flood happened.There are Christians that believe Genesis is a parable, and believe the rest as true.This is from the same doctrine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

davros

Some Christians believe a literal Bible in that the Universe is 6,000 years old, and the Flood happened.There are Christians that believe Genesis is a parable, and believe the rest as true.This is from the same doctrine.

Yes, I've heard that there are both kinds of Christians. Obviously, the contrasting beliefs you mention are not from the same doctrine, but from at least two distinct doctrines.

What makes both kinds of doctrine "Christian," I think, is what they both teach in common. Usually, "Christian" refers to somebody who professes the Apostles' or Nicene Creeds. Other definitions are possible, but anyone who professes at least one of the Creeds is almost universally regraded as Christian, and profession of a Creed accounts for about two billion of those who describe themselves as Christian.

There's nothing in the Creeds about Biblical literalism, the age of the Universe, the Flood, or whether Genesis is a parable. Meanwhile, there are thousands of denominations of creedal Christianity. As your examples illustrate, literally nobody could possibly believe all of the things that are believed by some Christians (both that the Flood happened as told in Genesis and that the Flood didn't literally happen as told there, for example).

It would follow that the only kind of Christian is somebody who "picks and chooses what they believe" from among the possible beliefs that are available to Christians. This would agree with and expand your observation that there are kinds, plural, of Chrisitan who behave that way.

Lotharson

It might also be a physical manifestion of our collective unconscious, as Jung speculated.

Jung is a very big place. It would be helpful if you could give a specific citation (and ideally quote verbatim) what statement of Jung's you are referring to here. I don't recall, off hand, him committing to the collective unconscnious having physical manifestation, except in the cognition and behavior of those who encounter its contents psychologically.

So, he attributed his famous visions of the "fields of blood" to a collective anticipation of a coming world war, something which affected his perceptions personally, but there was no actual blood involved. The war itself was physical enough, but was the behavior of human beings.

I'm not saying you're wrong, just that I need to know what page we're on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Liquid Gardens: I am expressing my doubt about the principle "Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence", as I explained here.

As you nicely illustrated, if Maurice Masse had reported seeing industrial or military spies in his field, it would be utterly silly to assert he had hallucinated that, even if he could present no physical evidence for backing his claim.

But in the actual case, you are entitled to believe he had extraordinary hallucinations which incredibly enough occurred just after a helicopter actually landed on his ground and flew away from it.

But if I were to believe this, I would no longer have any warrant for trusting the southern Frenchman if he reported (two months later) to have seen heroine dealers prowling around his field.

For surely this could be a hallucination as well.

I am tempted to adopt the following epistemology: in the same way I would believe in industrial or military espionage, I believe that Maurice really had an extraordinary encounters with weird creature.

I would not, however, jump to the conclusion these were space aliens.

As Hynek and Vallee pointed out, the phenomenon might as well be spiritual in its very nature.

(Incidentally, since I am not a materialist, I don't view this as extremely implausible).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lotharson

I am expressing my doubt about the principle "Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence"

OK, but there are two principles, and although they share the same slogan, they are actually antagonistic and the principles involved conflict with each other.

The principle you discuss is the "Bayesian" interpretation. That is, if something uncertain is unlikely to be true without evidence (I won the lottery), then I require more and better evidence to accept it as true than I require to accept more usual results (I read the numbers twice, if I thiink they are my numbers, instead of just once if they aren't my numbers).

Some people are bothered by various aspects of that. For one thing, all of it is subjective - it is my estimate of "unlikely" that determines my behavior, and your estimate of "good" evidence that drives changes in your beliefs. At best, there might be "objective" probabilities in the problem (the odds that a specific ticket in a particular drawing wins). At second best, there might be a great deal of agreement among different people's estimates of some uncertain prospects (how often would the lottery commission's website post up an incorrect winning number), but personal judgments are always part of any contingent inference, even in professional science.

Notice that there is nothing in the story that depends on the physical form of the evidence. I happened to read about the numbers on an official website. Suppose I couldn't read well, though, but could carry on oral conversation. Maybe I would ask a friend to read the numbers to me (oral testimony), and even compare those numbers to the ones on my ticket and tell me what's there (more oral testimony).

The "Bayesian" interpretation might still govern my behavior, and if I am told that I won, then I might ask a second friend to look at the numbers for me (still more oral testimony). I might even take into account that my friends could be playing a trick on me, and so ask some third person (even still more oral testimony), but eventually, I would be as persuaded by this kind of evidence, just as much as I would have been by reading everything myself if I could do that reliably, although it would take more testimony to have the same effect as less personal reading.

Sagan disagreed with the Bayesian indifference to the physical form of evidence. He made the famous remark to dismiss oral and written first-hand reports of alien abduction. His point was that he would not accept oral testimony alone for the truth of alien abductions. I have never found anything to suggest that Sagan was a Bayesian, so his unBayesian position may have been consistent with his other views. Since a Bayesian should be among the first to acknowledge the subjectivity of all uncertain contingent inference, then that's fine. (IRL, Bayesians are often less accommodating, however, and view any departures from their principles as "irrational.")

I notice that discussions of Sagan's maxim usually emphasize the "Bayesian" interpretation (which he didn't intend, but which is common sense for many people), and gloss over the "no testimony can suffice for some things" element (something he adapted from Hume's remarks on miracles, apparently - Hume died before Laplace proposed the first rigorous account of Bayesian belief and evidentiary reasoning). Many people say they agree with both interpretations, despite their incompatibility. Meh.

Edited by eight bits

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

if the literal definition of being a Christian is to be like Christ ...correction to be a disciple (or follower/student) of Christ, then doesn't the premis, "Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence" kid of contradict the whole idea? Just because something extraordinary cannot be explained, by our understanding of the laws of physics does not mean God was breaking the laws of physics. thats where faith comes in. Are we not supposed to give up all and trust that by following Christ's teachings God will provide for his children as he does the birds of the skies? And that all will be revealed when we are finally in His presence?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.