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cpjason

Quija board challenge to skeptics

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Moon*Ghost

Please don't invite spirits into your home. It isn't cool, The consequnces can be mentally non-reversible

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Neognosis
Please don't invite spirits into your home. It isn't cool, The consequnces can be mentally non-reversible

I agree, mostly because the people who think that they can invite spirits to do anything are already on thin mental ice.

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IronGhost
Please don't invite spirits into your home. It isn't cool, The consequnces can be mentally non-reversible

But Moon*Ghost, I have been using the Ouija for 41 years, and pretty much nonstop. I'm nobody special. Why have I never suffered these horrible mental effects? The Ouija has always been a source of tremendous fun and interest. Even when I have contacted entities that claimed to be "demons" it turns out they were basicaly powerless twits, who were all blather and no action.

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IronGhost

Oh, I forgot to add this:

After my first encounter with the "Thought Astronomer" Balthus Cave, we contacted him many more times, and in fact, I still speak with him today -- he's been a friend for almost 40 years now.

One of the things we wanted to know is what exactly a "baser" was -- which he described as a sort of "thought telescope" as opposed to an ordinary light gathering telescope.

As it turns out, "BASER" is an acronym for: "Brainwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation"

In our world, we have something called a "Laser" which stands for: "Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation"

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Neognosis
Even when I have contacted entities that claimed to be "demons" it turns out they were basicaly powerless twits, who were all blather and no action.

Indeed, twits.

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IronGhost
Indeed, twits.

In fact, in frustration, I once called an Ouija demon a "twit."

His response was good: "IT TAKES A TWIT TO KNOW A TWIT."

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Neognosis

You were, of course, arguing with yourself.

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cpjason

I started this thread partly because I was afraid to use the Ouija board personally and attempt some of the more forbidden types of contact. I thought a hardcore skeptic wouldn't care at all about trying to enrage a demon, so why not see if anyone would try. I was also curious if anyone had tested the Ouija in the past using other methods and I had this question answered very well so thank you.

I still find myself wondering something though. Even if the Ouija can be debunked through testing, can it truly be debunked 100 percent of the time? What if only 1 out of 1000 sessions is genuine, 1 out of 10? I just can't get over the fact that some people that I know fairly well have told me horror stories about the Ouija gone wrong. Are they all just legend or can it happen from time to time? Perhaps real contact is so rare that a true scientific study would take a lifetime.

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Neognosis
I started this thread partly because I was afraid to use the Ouija board personally and attempt some of the more forbidden types of contact.

Think this through rationally....you are scared to move a piece of plastic over a piece of cardboard.

Nothing can be debunked 100% of the time, as YOU CAN'T PROVE A NEGATIVE. EVER. NOT EVER.

Are they all just legend or can it happen from time to time?

They are the results of the ideomotor effect and suggestion. PERIOD. That's it.

But it is of no consequence. the belief in the Ouija board really harms nobody, so I'll go now.

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bee
[so, anyway, I never thought of the incident with the deer-man after that -- until MOMMY suggested that what we actually confronted in the woods that night was the Artifact -- Rantor Rantic.

The reason I became so emotional when MOMMY prompted me to remember this event, and the heroic aid I received from my Beautiful Companion, is that after 17 years of wonderful life and many adventures with my best friend, I buried my Beautiful Companion under a sugar maple in my yard last summer. If you have ever had a dog that you truly love, you know how it is. You want them to live forever, but of course, they don’t, not in the physical sense anyway. And when they leave, they take your heart with them.

When I read this it occurred to me that Rantor Rantic had maybe found your Achilles (spelling?) heel...'he

couldn't scare you....but he got through... with the death of your beloved dog, emotions...via Mommy!

I wonder if, even though 'he's' that bubble thing...he thought...BINGO!... :)

So that’s where this session ends -- but in the future, I’ll give you MOMMY’S explanation of how I could have confronted the Rantor Rantic Artifact in the past, how and why it could appear in human-like form, though not even a living entity, and even though I had never heard of him before we started this particular Ouija session -- on a dare -- from a member of this forum.

I'll look forward to that. I've really enjoyed reading about your ouija board stuff....cheers!... :tu:

[No one is who they think they are,

I pulled this quote out because it resonated with how I am feeling at the moment....thanks for

saying those words.

[incidentally, feel free to send Mommy or Rantor Rantic over to me, whether to gather information that you don't have access to (such as, say, my email password or pets' names) or just to scare the hell out of me as you described trying with your brother!

Why don't you just 'go direct'.....call him up yourself...or one of his 'evil' bubble buddies?...

I believe the 'trick' is to not feel fear....not to give 'them' an emotional entrance to feed off.

So you should be ok....but, as with IronGhost's Beautiful Companion....those naughty 'evil

spirits' might find a way to get in!

[ Even when I have contacted entities that claimed to be "demons" it turns out they were basicaly powerless twits, who were all blather and no action.

I liked this....because I think you're right....they only have as much power as we give 'them'.

Along these lines...30ish years ago I was involved with an anti-nuclear protest...of course..it

was all terribly serious...the end of the world and all that....but a most enjoyable and liberating

'protest' was LAUGHING at the bomb. It sounds mad to say it now....but it just kind of happened..

for a couple of weeks...someone would start singing that song 'The Laughing Policeman' (you might not

know it...and even in Britain...you'd have to be middle-aged ish to remember it)....so...we'd

sing the song...which developes into loads of ha ha ha ha (the policeman laughing)....and a group

of us would be helpless...rolling around, crying with laughter, completely GONE for ages....outside

this military base...containing cruise missiles. It was like a good spell...to dispell the fear and 'evil'

power....it was sooooooo funny.

I'm almost tempted to delete the above paragraph....but I'm going to leave it alone....because

I THINK it's kind-of on topic.....and you have given so much time to this thread....thought you

might like it.....

'Evil demons' or what-ever they are, are tricky little B*****s....and I think it's very helpful to put them in

their place and call them powerless twits!

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Nucular
After my first encounter with the "Thought Astronomer" Balthus Cave, we contacted him many more times, and in fact, I still speak with him today -- he's been a friend for almost 40 years now.

Just thought you'd be interested to know that the unusual name Balthus Cave seems also to describe some place in a computer game I'm unfamiliar with: http://br.geocities.com/laxiuspowerwalkthr...althuscave.html

A few more hits on Google, I think of the same thing.

Coincidence...?

Yes, probably.

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Nucular
Why don't you just 'go direct'.....call him up yourself...or one of his 'evil' bubble buddies?...

I believe the 'trick' is to not feel fear....not to give 'them' an emotional entrance to feed off.

So you should be ok....but, as with IronGhost's Beautiful Companion....those naughty 'evil

spirits' might find a way to get in!

Next time I have a go at the ouija board, which hopefully will be in the next few weeks as part of something else, I'll certainly do that.

But given that nothing ever happens when I'm at the ouija board with other people I know won't mess around because they're bored, I thought it might be a better bet to get IronGhost to send him over.

Rantor Rantic, Mommy, Balthus Cave and any other evil demons are cordially invited over to my place.

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IronGhost
Just thought you'd be interested to know that the unusual name Balthus Cave seems also to describe some place in a computer game I'm unfamiliar with: http://br.geocities.com/laxiuspowerwalkthr...althuscave.html

A few more hits on Google, I think of the same thing.

Coincidence...?

Yes, probably.

Well, too be fare, and to those who are championing the ideometer effect -- I fully admit here that at the time of the Ouija session, 1969, I owned a telescope called a "Cave Astrola." These were a very popular brand of astronomical refracting telescopes made by the Cave Brothers in New Mexico.

It was a 6-inch Newtonian reflector.

And about 25 years ago, I pubished a science fiction story using the concept of the BASER, as described to me by Balthus Cave, the Thought Astronomer.

Anyone can download the short story as a free e-book from my blog here:

http://ironghost.wordpress.com/2006/12/27/...by-ken-korczak/

I gave the story a slight re-write about 10 years ago to include MOMMY's concept of the Nothing Chamber.

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IronGhost
Along these lines...30ish years ago I was involved with an anti-nuclear protest...of course..it

was all terribly serious...the end of the world and all that....but a most enjoyable and liberating

'protest' was LAUGHING at the bomb. It sounds mad to say it now....but it just kind of happened..

for a couple of weeks...someone would start singing that song 'The Laughing Policeman' (you might not

know it...and even in Britain...you'd have to be middle-aged ish to remember it)....so...we'd

sing the song...which developes into loads of ha ha ha ha (the policeman laughing)....and a group

of us would be helpless...rolling around, crying with laughter, completely GONE for ages....outside

this military base...containing cruise missiles. It was like a good spell...to dispell the fear and 'evil'

power....it was sooooooo funny.

I'm almost tempted to delete the above paragraph....but I'm going to leave it alone....because

I THINK it's kind-of on topic.....and you have given so much time to this thread....thought you

might like it.....

Glad you posted it, Bee. Loved it. When I was a newspaper reporter, I covered a nuke silo protest in North Dakota, and there was a similar event. It was strange, but wonderful, in a way. It made me wonder: I wonder who is really more crazy -- the people who would launch that missile and start the destruction of the world, or the crazy protesters.

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MISTERHIPHOPMAN

I think it's very irresponsible for any1 to mess with a quija board. My friends have been messin' with them recently, and I don't hang out with them nemore because of it. I think it's a very arrogant thing to do... Don't do it! Even if you're a skeptic and you don't believe in quija boards, don't do it!

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lunaticn2008
I would really be interested to see if a Quija board skeptic would go out and buy a board, and try to bring demons or evil spirits into their home. If you really don't believe in Quija boards I challenge you.

Go out and buy one. Use the board often and alone, and try to contact demons and other evil spirits. When you get one, ask it to perform tricks for you to prove it is real. Ask it to appear in your room, ask it to take control of your body, ask it to scare your family. Keep talking to it over a long period of time and be sure to ask it to stay with you forever, even after you stop using the board. Ask it when you will die. Ask it about GOD. Ask it to bring other demons into your home because you like demons so much you want to have lots of them around. Ask it to grant you immortality. Ask it to make you wealthy.

You have to do this believing that you are talking with someone, and keep an open mind. You may not believe that the board will work, but at least have an open enough mind to talk to whatever happens to contact you in a serious way. I see people saying that the Ouija is nothing but a game, but those people saying it never say that they have ever used the board more than a few times, usually when they were little kids. It's easy to be a skeptic and not believe in something if you have never researched the subject yourself personally.

Put your money where your mouth is, and let me know your results, or are you afraid?

There is no way im goign to play with a ouija board and ask it questions like that I already ave enough demons and things like that around me I dont need no more. Ouija boards are not just a game they can get you hurt i know.

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boorite

I think a few concepts need straightening out here. Both Nucular and IG are making progress along these lines, but they seem at irreconcilable odds, which is unnecessary and even misleading. I know some of these points have been made already, but I'm trying to focus them a different way.

First, the concept of the ideomotor effect does not rely on any such construct as "the subconscious mind." It only requires that a person be capable of moving "voluntary" muscles without being consciously aware that he is doing so. If this proposition isn't acceptable a priori, then that's OK, because there is plenty of experimental evidence that cannot be plausibly explained any other way.

I am willing to accept the conclusion, from the well-known experiment, that the movement of the planchette over the ouija board is caused by the ouija board operators, who push the planchette around with their fingers, often without being consciously aware that they are doing so. Thus they spell out messages.

It is, however, a wild leap and a frank non-sequitur to say that therefore the messages thus spelled out must come from the minds of the operators alone and cannot represent information received "psychically." The experimental results do not warrant this conclusion any more than they warrant its opposite. They have, in fact, exactly no bearing on that question. They only reveal the mechanism by which the planchette is moved. The experiment tells us-- for example-- that the planchette does not appear to move by means of psychokinesis exercised by a disembodied observer who can see the board independently of the ouija session participants.

It does not permit us to say with confidence where the messages did or did not come from. The fact that certain "skeptics" take it as prima facie evidence of their materialist viewpoint shows only the most profound sort of bias.

I say so because there is a competing model that the experiment scarcely disproves. I'll call it mediumistic automatism. It has always been a leading model of psychic functioning and especially spirit communication. Examples include not only the ouija board but automatic writing and trance speaking. The idea is not-- and was never-- that the pen or speech apparatus of the medium is being moved by magical forces. They are supposed to move in the usual way. In fact, the idea is precisely to transcribe impressions without the intervention of the conscious awareness, i.e., to do so unconsciously. That's because (according to this model) "psychic" signals are thought to be relatively weak, easily drowned out by conscious activity. They are perceived subliminally, which is to say "below the threshold" of awareness. So the only way to get at them, if they are there, is through some unconscious mechanism-- exactly like the ideomotor effect.

This is and always has been the prevailing idea underpinning mediumship (although others exist). So the Penns and Tellers with their blind ouija experiment are in fact refuting a model of psychic functioning that nobody is seriously proposing anyway. It is a straw man argument and nothing else. All of you who keep bringing up the fact that if you blindfold the ouija operator, you get gibberish-- you are all missing the point in the deepest way possible. Many of you continue in this same vein after having the whole thing explained to you, which means you are missing the point on purpose. You're just beating a straw man.

So, are we back to simply "believing" or "disbelieving" things like ouija board sessions on faith? A thousand times no. What is necessary is to evaluate the information. If it is false or known to the participants, then there is nothing at all to explain, and we don't need any psi or ghosts in this instance. I am sure this is often the case, although I'm not sure that it's always the case.

If the information received is verifiable and of a character that the participants could not have known it, then it doesn't matter what the results of the blind ouija experiment are. We still require an explanation. How on earth did the operators unconsciously spell out information that they could not have known? That is the question, if such cases exist, and many here say that they do. Assuming IronGhost is not simply lying to us, this is the question that has to be addressed, and we can forget about the blindfolds because they're profoundly irrelevant.

Edited by boorite

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Episteme

Very well said, Boorite.

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boorite

A footnote:

It is, however, a wild leap and a frank non-sequitur to say that therefore the messages thus spelled out must come from the minds of the operators alone...

I want to point out that in IronGhost's view (derived from those of Bohm, Pribram, and others, as well as mystics everywhere) there is no such thing as one's own mind alone. I don't think we have to adopt this view to discuss the ouija board, but I do think that any honest discussion of psi will eventually lead straight in that direction and away from a purely material realist perspective. We are just not there yet.

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Nucular

Boorite, thanks for your post - it's probably the sort of thing that's needed at this point.

I do largely agree with most of the things you say, though I would like to add a couple of things.

First to say, I absolutely agree that it is a non seq to conclude a priori that, because the ideomotor effect is a well-demonstrated effect, then the information must come from one's own mind. Though I believe I admitted my naturalistic bias in this, I also completely agree that the use or otherwise of this concept will rely heavily on the information obtained via this medium. The ideomotor effect would, after all, be a poor explanation for information which could not have been obtained through natural, as opposed to supernatural, means.

But there are two important concepts which are worth mentioning, and I think, if we unpack some of what you said, are implicit in your posts.

The first is of course Occam's razor. In this case, this could be summarised by saying that if we have two equally valid explanations for a phenomenon, but one of those explanations invokes an extra causal factor which the other does not then, all else being equal, we must tentatively reject that explanation until new data is obtained which cannot be explained without the extra causal factor. Hence, in this discussion, what we need is something which cannot be explained by ideomotor effect, fraud and cheating. That is, something that can be explained through 'mediumistic automatism', which cannot be explained through naturailstic factors. If the effects of mediumistic automatism are identical to those of the ideomotor effect, then it is simply true that the ideomotor effect is the best current explanation.

The second is the old canard that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". I don't wish to use that in the sense that some try to, which is to continually move the goalposts by stating that evidence is still not subjectively 'extraordinary' enough - rather, I think more that in this case that principle would indicate that we can't be inferring major, reality-changing and science-altering conclusions without just grounds, and that these grounds would be dictated through the parsimonious criteria of Occam's razor. Thus, to be using concepts such as the Bohm/Pribram model of mind, we should have adequate evidence for that to begin with, before it becomes a causal factor in another model, else we run the risk of becoming circular.

If the information received is verifiable and of a character that the participants could not have known it, then it doesn't matter what the results of the blind ouija experiment are. We still require an explanation. How on earth did the operators unconsciously spell out information that they could not have known? That is the question, if such cases exist, and many here say that they do. Assuming IronGhost is not simply lying to us, this is the question that has to be addressed, and we can forget about the blindfolds because they're profoundly irrelevant.

Again operating on the assumption that IG isn't lying - I do think it's perfectly possible, or even likely, although it's my personal opinion that at least most of the report has some basis in real events - what specifically are those parts which you think need explaining? It's highly possible I've missed something, but I see nothing in those transcripts which would require that extra, 'supernatural' cause; which bits were you thinking about? What 'could not have been known' in IG's transcript?

Edited by Nucular

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eight bits

Whle Boorite, Episteme, Nucular, and I orbit around the same star, I think that I shall play the rogue comet to their respectable planets.

It seems to me that Boorite's core argument about Ouija is no different in principle than what Episteme would say, and has in fact said, about this or that photograph that features a "ghost" who bears a resemblance to a camera strap.

To reach the conclusion that it is a camera strap, I do not think that an invocation of heuristics adds anything to the argument. Unless I already believed Nucular's view (which I do in this case, close enough for government work), I would note that appeal to the ideomotor effect baldly restates the conclusion of the argument.

Occam's razor is an especially weak heuristic, complicated with defamation to the memory of William of Occam, who never wrote any such thing. His name was attached to the various pseudo-Occam catchphrases to bolster them with authority, and falsely.

I think that it suffices to observe that Ouija testimony fails to distinguish between operator recital and paranormal intrusion, just as some spirit photos fail to distinguish ghosts from errant camera straps.

That simply is not an occasion for belief change. Who believes and who disbelieves may both, with equal rationality, continue in their respective beliefs. That circumstance may disappoint one person more than another, but there's a lot of that in life.

As to the testimony of IronGhost, he presents himself frankly as an author of fiction. It is an established convention that fiction may be framed as "based on real events," whether it is or not.

No accusation of lying attaches, but any work of art is legitimately subject to criticism. That criticism may include voicing my own opinion that this fiction is an unconvincing portrayal of the fantasy events depicted.

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Nucular

Thanks eight bits, your rogue comet is most welcome as far as I'm concerned :) I liked your post, and just wanted to pick up on a bit:

Occam's razor is an especially weak heuristic, complicated with defamation to the memory of William of Occam, who never wrote any such thing. His name was attached to the various pseudo-Occam catchphrases to bolster them with authority, and falsely.

I have to beg to differ here: I don't mind whose razor we use - if you prefer, let's change the name to Nucular's razor ;) - and I don't believe it matters who first said it (although Occam actually didn't, he did clearly subscribe to the general concept). Though it has of course been wrongly used and (ironically) used to infer more than the principle rightly can, I hope I haven't done so here. The principle (to quote one of Occam's restatements of the idea directly) that 'what can be done with few assumptions is done in vain with many' underlies a big chunk of the epistemology of science, and also seems to me to be just common sense.

This links directly to your observation about the ghostly camera strap: if both the camera strap and the ghost can account for the data (the blurry photo), but the use of the ghost explanation requires many, many more assumptions than the strap one (which of course it does), then we are not left with a definite explanation; but with a reasonable working hypothesis in the absence of more data. In other words, the default position in the absence of evidence would be that there are no ghosts; the blurry photo is posited as some evidence for ghosts; but there is another explanation which does not require ghosts, and so the photograph turns out not to be evidence for ghosts after all, and we're left once more with none. Occam's razor doesn't imply that 'therefore it wasn't a ghost', but does imply that there is no reason to think it was a ghost.

Same with ouija: unless there are things which indicate that naturalistic explanations are inadequate, there is no reason to conclude otherwise - which is not to say that the supernatural explanations are incorrect, simply that there is not sufficient reason to accept them, pending further data. I don't therefore believe that to continue with both explanations is equally rational: of course many believe that the supernatural explanation is well-evidenced from other things besides ouija, but even if irrefutable, this does not mean that ouija boards are tapping into that. It's perfectly possible that there are ghosts, demons, fairies and interdimensional energy beings plaguing us at every turn - but ouija evidence must be assessed on its own terms, without reference to that unless required. Much as if it was my hypothesis that in some way the planchette was being remote-controlled by Derren Brown - a completely naturalistic explanation for what was occurring, but one which would obviously be irrational to accept without evidence which could not be explained without assuming Derren lurking in the shadows. He may well be - indeed, I often suspect he is lurking, implanting thoughts in my mind and stealing my socks - but without evidence, I'd look pretty silly to claim he is. And the lack of evidence in no way goes in my favour.

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eight bits

In defense of William, he did not write anything like it, either. The notion first shows up centuries after his death. William was not, in any case, a philosopher of empirical inference. He had other fish to fry.

As to the proposition that this rose by any other name would smell, that an image is caused by a camera strap which resembles a ghost requires the same number of assumptions as that the image was caused by a ghost which resembles a camera strap.

You find the assumptions which contribute to one explanation more congenial with your beliefs than those assumptions which contribute to the other explanation. The next person, with different beliefs, finds it just the other way around.

There is no impersonally valid rule of inference that helps either of you.

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IronGhost

Wow, just a super great post by Boorite, who single-handedly raised our discussion to a wonderful new level -- and then Nucular's response, which was more great stuff.

I have many thoughts, but will take some time to reply. I'm currently "on-the-road" on a short trip, and am quite busy.

Let me just say briefly -- and for the hundreth time here -- I am not simply "lying" about these transcripts. I did a quick count and see that I have posted roughly 100,000 words of transcripts here already since this whole mess started a few months ago -- 100,000 words is the average length of a Stephen King novel. I would have to be some kind of demented serial liar if I would be that persistent of a bullsh*tter, which I simply am not.

These are the "real" transcripts of my Ouija board sessions, but having said that, it does not rule out all kinds of other factors. My friend Eugene, for example, who has personally observed many of my session in person still thinks it's just me screwing with people's minds. I once asked Eugene why he does not believe me that I'm not just making this stuff up. He said:

"Everybody who knows you, Ken, knows what you're like. You're mercurial, you're a trickster. You've even tricked yourself."

I don't think so, though. But I think I just seem like that because of the extraordinary information gleened from the board and some of my other "strange" hobbies. So anyway, I'm very accustommed to people questioning where I'm coming from.

Also, very briefly -- I want to say I am not married to the Bohm/Pribam model -- I simply think their suggestions are moving in the right direction.

But -- I really have to jump off right now -- hoep to get back into the discussion soon. Thanks to Boorite, Nucular and Eight Bits for intelligent discussion.

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Nucular

At the risk of derailing this discussion on this point...

In defense of William, he did not write anything like it, either. The notion first shows up centuries after his death. William was not, in any case, a philosopher of empirical inference. He had other fish to fry.

I'm not sure that's true; the concept may have been refined in the centuries after his death, but I believe it was around beforehand. And the fact that one of Occam's controversial and potentially heretical ideas was that, based on the principle, we cannot know God exists other than by revelation, would indicate otherwise. I'm certainly no expert on the history of this idea, and since I stand by the 'rose by any other name' thing I think it a minor point. But still.

As to the proposition that this rose by any other name would smell, that an image is caused by a camera strap which resembles a ghost requires the same number of assumptions as that the image was caused by a ghost which resembles a camera strap.

I strongly disagree, and I'd be interested to know your reasoning here. Neither sceptics nor believers would likely dispute the existence of all ingredients of the photo suggested in the scpetical account: camera, view, camera strap and cack-handed photographer. Maybe the cack-handedness of the photographer may be in doubt, but actually it's always possible to make a mistake. But the believers' account requires the existence of all of these ingredients, minus the camera strap, but plus ghosts. The assumptions here are that there is a supernatural realm; that something of the self survives death; that this spiritual essence can interact with the physical world; and that this can manifest as an image on a camera which, presumably (being unfamiliar with the actual photo), can occur without being seen by the naked eye. Each of these assumptions would require its own set of assumptions, and these would not be few - far more overall than those required to explain the existence of a camera strap.

You find the assumptions which contribute to one explanation more congenial with your beliefs than those assumptions which contribute to the other explanation. The next person, with different beliefs, finds it just the other way around.

Of course; which is why we need, as you say, an impersonally valid rule of inference to help us distinguish. I believe Occam's razor can achieve this, used sensibly and - ahem - parsimoniously, without overstepping its grounds. Perhaps the fact that it does correlate with my own preconceptions in this case disqualifies me from such comment; but I've certainly had it used against my ideas in the past (quite effectively in the case of, for instance, debate over which psychological theory might best explain certain data), and so I don't think it inevitable that any application of the principle relies on one's own assumptions to begin with, but can rather cast light on those assumptions, and help dispense with ones which are of no present use.

Edited by Nucular

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