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Still Waters

Can Skepticism Blind You to the Truth?

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Beany

:lol: Cool, good point..

but the logic isn't about ego controlling what you have nothing to do with, it has everything to do with perception...

And you've used a great example here because I am from New Zealand, and know nothing about Buffalo Bills.. Therefore from my perspective/perception, (if I had an over inflated Ego) they don't exist.. And neither do Buffalo Bill Fans, because, deduced from available logic, if Buffalo Bill's don't exist then their Fan's don't exist either... There.. Point proved in a kind of stupid way...

But... That example is no different to Logical v's Magical thinking.. Both exist.. But by allowing ego to choose a side, we blind ourselves to a greater truth..

Brilliant.. but flawed, and I'm not smart enough to pinpoint the flaws except that the laws of the universe have been around a lot longer than Magical thinking, then Alchemy, Then Science... The momentum of our civilization began with magical thinking, and so rightly deserves some praise and recognition..

Yeah, I've always leaned towards the scientific side, but I practice what you'd probably call the mystic or magical as well.

IMO Magical thinking has got us to where we are today with scientific thinking, so personally I wouldn't so dismissive of magical ideologies.. And as Far as true Skepticism goes, I think people should rely on their own faculties of deduction, and not some pre-determined logic created for them by a so called authority.. Discovery and experience are the most trusted teachers of perception.. Everything else IMO is parroted and flawed.

And the universe will continue to operate as it does, with or without what we all universal laws or perceptions or magical thinking or inductive or deductive reasoning, all of our attempts to explain or understand or organize. I wonder how much of this conversation is more about trying to find our place in the big picture instead of actually looking at the big picture. The problem with looking at the big picture is that we'll only ever see just a small corner of it, yet from that glimpse we begin drawing conclusions, fashioning truths, formulating laws. Would Newton ever have dreamed that his theories were not universally applicable, since subatomic particles apparently were never informed of the laws of Newtonian physics? Yep, we have a lot to learn, science is only in its infancy, the universe is an immensely complex construct, we as a specie are just newly born. I've no doubt the future holds some amazing scientific discoveries, I just hope I'm around for some of it.

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Merc14

And the universe will continue to operate as it does, with or without what we all universal laws or perceptions or magical thinking or inductive or deductive reasoning, all of our attempts to explain or understand or organize. I wonder how much of this conversation is more about trying to find our place in the big picture instead of actually looking at the big picture. The problem with looking at the big picture is that we'll only ever see just a small corner of it, yet from that glimpse we begin drawing conclusions, fashioning truths, formulating laws. Would Newton ever have dreamed that his theories were not universally applicable, since subatomic particles apparently were never informed of the laws of Newtonian physics? Yep, we have a lot to learn, science is only in its infancy, the universe is an immensely complex construct, we as a specie are just newly born. I've no doubt the future holds some amazing scientific discoveries, I just hope I'm around for some of it.

You are one of the good ones Beany. Very much enjoy the back and forth and respect your opinion, demeanor and intelligence immensely. So busy right now but we/I need to start a thread and look at the next level.

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aquatus1

There is a somewhat apocryphal tale that one runs into sooner or later in the academic hallways of the physics building. I've heard it in a couple of different forms, but I think this version, written by a former professor of my acquaintance, sums up the lesson and the moral the best. Please forgive him for the format; in all fairness to him, he did so because at the time, it encompassed a large part of the group he wanted his lesson to be imparted to:

"I have a feeling," Harry said finally, "that we're coming at this from the wrong angle. There's a tale I once heard about some students who came into a physics class, and the teacher showed them a large metal plate near a fire. She ordered them to feel the metal plate, and they felt that the metal nearer to the fire was cooler, and the metal further away was warmer. And she said, write down your guess for why this happens. So some students wrote down 'because of how the metal conducts heat', and some students wrote down 'because of how the air moves', and no one said 'this just seems impossible', and the real answer was that before the students came into the room, the teacher turned the plate around."

"Interesting," said Professor Quirell. "That does sound similar. Is there a moral?"

"That your strength as a rationalist is your ability to be more confused by fiction than by reality," said Harry. "If you're equally good at explaining any outcome, you have zero knowledge. The students thought they could use words like 'because of heat conduction' to explain anything, even a metal plate being cooler on the side nearer the fire. So they didn't notice how confused they were, and that meant they couldn't be more confused by falsehood than by truth. If you tell me that the centaurs were under the Imperius curse, I still have the feeling of something not being quite right. I notice that I'm still confused, even after hearing your explanation."

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Frank Merton

Arthur Clarke :)

If Clarke had said that I would have credited him. Clarke said something similar to the effect that technology seems magical.

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Whisperer

"the teacher turned the plate around." Thats the first thing I thought while I was reading it....and I quite often get caught out from failing to look at the obvious first....

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Frank Merton

I have the maybe unfortunate tendency when I'm being tested to assume I've been told the whole story, so I just assumed this was from a book about magic and in such places abnormal things happen.

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aquatus1

Weren't you confused about a physics class being taught in a magic place? ;)

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Frank Merton

I would assume even witches and wizards sometimes need physics. I noted for example that they appeared to be under considerable centripetal force when making sharp turns on their brooms.

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aquatus1

I would think the purpose of magic is pretty much to cover for a lack of physics. As for brooms, they tend to work more under Aristotelian physics than anything we use nowadays.

In all cases, the point of the story is that it is remarkably easy to fool oneself into thinking one understands something simply because they can explain it. If one can consider the practice of scientific methodology as being the discipline of eliminating variables, and the practice of Critical Thinking as the discipline of evaluating information, then the practice of skepticism can be considered the discipline of eliminating the variables that have not merited inclusion. All three sound very similar, but the differences, small as they are, are crucial, and it is not uncommon to mismatch the results of one with the conclusions of another.

After all, the rational have as many faults as the irrational. We're just a bit better at admitting it.

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Beany

You are one of the good ones Beany. Very much enjoy the back and forth and respect your opinion, demeanor and intelligence immensely. So busy right now but we/I need to start a thread and look at the next level.

Look at the next level? I'm tired already!

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Professor T

And the universe will continue to operate as it does,...................................... I just hope I'm around for some of it.

:D Brilliant...

And I'm sure all of us will be around for all of it........ In one form or another... :unsure2: whether we believe it or not..

......I wonder how much of this conversation is more about trying to find our place in the big picture instead of actually looking at the big picture....

:D Brilliant...

But I also wonder how much of this conversation is more about trying to own the big picture instead of understanding it..

I still maintain that Ego is the blinding element.. and when reading this thread from beginning to end it's not hard for me to see that, what with all the bickering, subtle exasperation's, and moderator intervention.. Then again, I have already come into the picture from that stand-point of Ego being the blinding element, so perhaps I'm a victim of my own subtle perception..

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White Crane Feather

Here is a hint, if a theory answers 90% of the question, you can make 100 changes and those changes will only effect that final 10% or some fraction of it, the rest of teh theory is sound. "Compounded 36 times equals 100%. Oy Vey. The fact that I offered you a chance to correct your error and all you could come up with was a snide remark speaks volumes re. the subject of this thread.

Didn't have time for silliness there my friend, to many fronts.. You are assuming that the 90% is remaining fixed and that a theory being refined only within the 10% that remains unknown. This simply isn't the case. As new information emerges the theory itself changes not just the parts that apeared to not be worked out. Science attempts to fit the theory to nature not the other way around. My original comment holds. If what you suggested we're true and we only changed the last 10% science would not work ;)

The theories we have now to explain things will look nieve to those 500 years from now. This is the only constant in the progression of knowledge. As I mentioned before, just because something works dosnt mean that its actually what is happening.

Edited by White Crane Feather

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SolarPlexus

Just read my sig

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aquatus1

White Crane, it sounds an awful lot like you are equating a valid theory with a correct theory.

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White Crane Feather

White Crane, it sounds an awful lot like you are equating a valid theory with a correct theory.

Maybe like more correct. The entire point was that we know what we think now will look light years different in the future. Description is not explanation. Realativly is a better description ( with elements of explanation) than netoning physics, but make no mistake it is quite different, even though Newtonian physics is very accurate. Now if somone tells me something can't exist because Newtonian physics has not described it I will laugh. There is no room for black holes, time dilation and other things in old physics. Not to mention spacial expansion, universal horizons, multiple dimensions ( if the exist).... Etc Etc.

Edited by White Crane Feather

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Merc14

Didn't have time for silliness there my friend, to many fronts.. You are assuming that the 90% is remaining fixed and that a theory being refined only within the 10% that remains unknown. This simply isn't the case. As new information emerges the theory itself changes not just the parts that apeared to not be worked out. Science attempts to fit the theory to nature not the other way around. My original comment holds. If what you suggested we're true and we only changed the last 10% science would not work ;)

The theories we have now to explain things will look nieve to those 500 years from now. This is the only constant in the progression of knowledge. As I mentioned before, just because something works dosnt mean that its actually what is happening.

So in 500 years the whole of Newtonian physics will be disproved?

Maybe like more correct. The entire point was that we know what we think now will look light years different in the future. Description is not explanation. Realativly is a better description ( with elements of explanation) than netoning physics, but make no mistake it is quite different, even though Newtonian physics is very accurate. Now if somone tells me something can't exist because Newtonian physics has not described it I will laugh. There is no room for black holes, time dilation and other things in old physics. Not to mention spacial expansion, universal horizons, multiple dimensions ( if the exist).... Etc Etc.

This isn't your original argument. Your original argument was that all of science is false. Glad to see you are changing your mind and being a bit more lucid.

Edited by Merc14

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aquatus1
Maybe like more correct.

Still a problem. Just because a theory is valid doesn't mean that it is correct at all, more or otherwise. Nor does it mean that being "more" correct makes what came before it incorrect. Newtonian physics are still every bit as valid, in spite of modern physics being more correct.

The entire point was that we know what we think now will look light years different in the future.

We don't, though. We are open to it looking different, but until such time as it does, we are working with what we have. We are pretty much required to, if we want to progress in any meaningful way.

Description is not explanation.

Of course not. Description is the phenomena. The explanation is the Theory. The behavior is the Law.

Realativly is a better description ( with elements of explanation) than netoning physics, but make no mistake it is quite different, even though Newtonian physics is very accurate. Now if somone tells me something can't exist because Newtonian physics has not described it I will laugh. There is no room for black holes, time dilation and other things in old physics. Not to mention spacial expansion, universal horizons, multiple dimensions ( if the exist).... Etc Etc.

Newtonian physics are largely laws, where relativity is more along the lines of theory. In either case, however, there is nothing in either one that prohibits something outside of its scope to exist, and the amount of people who claims so is so miniscule as to be insignificant.

Earlier, you said this:

In fact while the concept that leading theories can change dramatically is good, the fact that they probably will makes me entirely skeptical that any of them are actually right. Which ultimately makes the entire "scientific" view by and large totally wrong.

This sort of mindset is self-defeating. It is the equivalent of saying that because we have learned about lighter-than-air travel, we should be skeptical about it being right because we might learn about a different way to fly altogether in the future. Moreso, not only will jet travel show lighter-than-air travel to be "by and large totally wrong", we shouldn't even bother with learning about paper airplanes, as theories governing flight are so far beyond the physics of a simple paper glider as to be an entirely different science altogether.

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Merc14

Earlier, you said this:

This sort of mindset is self-defeating. It is the equivalent of saying that because we have learned about lighter-than-air travel, we should be skeptical about it being right because we might learn about a different way to fly altogether in the future. Moreso, not only will jet travel show lighter-than-air travel to be "by and large totally wrong", we shouldn't even bother with learning about paper airplanes, as theories governing flight are so far beyond the physics of a simple paper glider as to be an entirely different science altogether.

He also said this:

In fact while the concept that leading theories can change dramatically is good, the fact that they probably will makes me entirely skeptical that any of them are actually right. Which ultimately makes the entire "scientific" view by and large totally wrong. I only have 75 years or so of life, why on earth would I totally hang my hat and Deni what i see and learn for myself on a concept of reality that know is tremendously likely to be totally and completely wrong.

Both statements are...well....frankly, I don't know what you would call them and I have been warned once so will refrain from saying what I think of this person's thought process. I will say that he provides a great example of the type of logic that leads to believing in the woo woo.

i'll wash my hands of him at this point as I don't need to take a two week vacation debating this mess.

Edited by Merc14
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Beany

Newtonian physics, it has been discovered, doesn't apply to sub-atomic particles. Apparently those particles are outlaws. And science is a discipline that proceeds by very specific hypotheses, either proving or disproving it. Does anyone know of any specific scientific evidence or proof, studies, experiments, etc. on the supernatural? Or are we dealing with unproven hypotheses? This is from scienceeducationreview.com:

Could it not be that what at present appears to be a supernatural

phenomenon might rather be a natural phenomenon that is yet to be recognised? The a priori

exclusion of supernatural-based explanations or claims from science would therefore

unnecessarily impede the further development of our understanding of the natural world.

Explanations or claims that in principle cannot be tested empirically because they lack

specificity are non-scientific explanations or claims. Science cannot reach a conclusion

about (i.e., cannot support or contradict) an untestable explanation or claim. Explanations

that are testable but not contradictable are also non-scientific.

And this is from an article about the M-theory from netplaces.com: Could there be other dimensions to time? Could other frequencies exist that we cannot hear? Do other dimensions, also unseen, exist? Some physicists think so, but this leads to deeper questions such as the possibility of the existence of more than one universe.

Sheesh, some those scientists are asking the same questions we are! They just have the smarts, education, experience, and equipment and funding to prove or disprove it.

Edited by Beany

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Merc14

Newtonian physics, it has been discovered, doesn't apply to sub-atomic particles. Apparently those particles are outlaws. And science is a discipline that proceeds by very specific hypotheses, either proving or disproving it. Does anyone know of any specific scientific evidence or proof, studies, experiments, etc. on the supernatural? Or are we dealing with unproven hypotheses? This is from scienceeducationreview.com:

Could it not be that what at present appears to be a supernatural

phenomenon might rather be a natural phenomenon that is yet to be recognised? The a priori

exclusion of supernatural-based explanations or claims from science would therefore

unnecessarily impede the further development of our understanding of the natural world.

Explanations or claims that in principle cannot be tested empirically because they lack

specificity are non-scientific explanations or claims. Science cannot reach a conclusion

about (i.e., cannot support or contradict) an untestable explanation or claim. Explanations

that are testable but not contradictable are also non-scientific.

And this is from an article about the M-theory from netplaces.com: Could there be other dimensions to time? Could other frequencies exist that we cannot hear? Do other dimensions, also unseen, exist? Some physicists think so, but this leads to deeper questions such as the possibility of the existence of more than one universe.

Sheesh, some those scientists are asking the same questions we are! They just have the smarts, education, experience, and equipment and funding to prove or disprove it.

See, that whole post needs to be the start of a new thread. Copy and paste Beany and then a link so we can discuss. The multiverse theory is similar.

Edited by Merc14

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Beany

See, that whole post needs to be the start of a new thread. Copy and paste Beany and then a link so we can discuss. The multiverse theory is similar.

I have no idea how to do what you said, you do it. This is called delegating. So what sounds crazier, I think I might have seem a ghost OR there may be a whole new dimension inside an atom. Maybe the ghost lives inside the atom in another dimension when it's not out spooking around. See, scientific and supernatural and it all kinda works. And am I the only one who finds the idea of thousands of neutrinos passing through my body every second kind of creepy? I wonder what would happen if someone built a neutrino umbrella to repel them? Would we be wading through neutrino puddles?

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Hawken

Can skepticism blind one from the truth??

hell yes!!!!!

But so can being a true believer blind someone from the truth..

IMO it all comes down to perspective, and being fully in charge of your own perceptions.. (believe it or not, most people are slaves to their perceptions.)

IMO anyone who lay claim to being skeptic or spiritually enlightened are kidding themselves and blinding and binding themselves to a fixed perspective that is incapable of seeing any truth. Instead of standing back and viewing subjects and situations from a neutral perspective they attack subjects with a fixed bias of passive or aggressive energy because their perceptions are screwed over by the Ego of being one or the other..

Totally agree, both sides have their own set perspective and the human ego gets in the way. Nobody likes to be wrong.

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Frank Merton

Here I go being preachy, but I gotta say one needs open-minded skepticism, and that means that just because something kinda works or seems sensible or lotsa people believe it doesn't make it true.

We each have to make up our own minds about things; no one can do it for us, and this is a huge responsibility -- not one we should allow fancy or desire or emotional appeal or the authority of others except those truly qualified to effect.

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Professor T

Here I go being preachy, but I gotta say one needs open-minded skepticism, and that means that just because something kinda works or seems sensible or lotsa people believe it doesn't make it true.

We each have to make up our own minds about things; no one can do it for us, and this is a huge responsibility -- not one we should allow fancy or desire or emotional appeal or the authority of others except those truly qualified to effect.

I totally agree..

And I do hold a certain degree of skepticism..

The fact that I meditate, flounder about with ESP and astral projection and occasionally experience WTF'ishness has no consequence to anyone but myself.. But what Irks me (And I do realize it's because my ego is being attacked) is people who closemindedly say that mine or White-crane's or anyone elses experiences aren't real.. And people who instantly go on the attack.

The attack degrades other peoples experiences. and ultimately experience is the only thing we all have, and we can all count on..

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Hawken

I totally agree..

And I do hold a certain degree of skepticism..

The fact that I meditate, flounder about with ESP and astral projection and occasionally experience WTF'ishness has no consequence to anyone but myself.. But what Irks me (And I do realize it's because my ego is being attacked) is people who closemindedly say that mine or White-crane's or anyone elses experiences aren't real.. And people who instantly go on the attack.

The attack degrades other peoples experiences. and ultimately experience is the only thing we all have, and we can all count on..

There'a gotta be a good balance of skepticism. Not enough makes one gullible, to much makes one narrow.

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