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Still Waters

Can Skepticism Blind You to the Truth?

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GodIsWearingBlack

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..

You've hit the nail on the head. It's all about your own ego.

It doesn't matter if I believe you or not. If you think you're having these experiences, and can back them up with anecdotal evidence based upon your own experiences, what the hell does it matter what anyone else thinks? It's still real for you. Just like my reality is real for me. If someone can come along and prove either of us wrong, with actual facts, then yes, that would be a problem, and we'd have to either ignore the facts and carry on believing what we do, or change our perspective to align with the new facts.

I think the problem a lot of people come into is, they not only want to believe their reality is real to themselves, but then show everyone else "the light" and have them believe too. And everyone else doesn't have the same unique experiences that you do, or that anyone else has, for that matter. So it's pretty much impossible, unless you're gonna sway the weak minded who will believe anything they're told, or aim for those who are desperate to believe anyway, and just need a little story to push them over the precipice.

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Beany

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.

Nor does it make it untrue, either, nor should we invalidate our own experiences in order to fit in with others. Questions, explore, investigate, certainly, but if after doing those things, our original impressions are more or less intact, we should not abandon them because people will think we're weird or crazy.

I've made up my mind, tentatively, and decided that in order to remain in integrity, I sometimes need to speak my truth about this. It's not fun opening one's self up for criticism and ridicule, so I'm cautious about how & where I share my experiences, but for me, bottom line, there's nothing in my history that leads me to distrust my senses, intelligence, critical thinking, perceptions, observational skills, ability to reach fairly accurate conclusions, or the ability to make good decisions, or to conduct effective research. These events, the supernatural, may not be scientifically provable, which isn't the same as saying they are not "real."

Edited by Beany
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Professor T

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

Brilliant...

Very true...

Frank wrote it eloquently as "Open minded skepticism"

And that level of skepticism should be at the control of everyone who uses it and not a force that controls me.. Like I said earlier, "(believe it or not, most people are slaves to their perceptions.)" open minded skepticism can be turned on and off or moved to cover ideas or objects of concern. I control my skepticism and my decisions move it.. It doesn't control me, and how I perceive the world..

Meh, that's not to say I've never been gullible too, and won't be gullible again.. Gullibility usually ends up with you getting stung.. But normally you only get stung once..

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pallidin

I have not read the entire thread(just the 1st page) so please forgive me if I am repeating what someone else might have said...

My opinion: The "paranormal" does not appear to be subject to repeat investigation leading to repeat "disclosure"

This creates a problem with regards to authentication.

Perhaps it's meant to be that way, in order for us to have "free will"

I don't know. Just speculating.

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Hawken

Brilliant...

Very true...

Frank wrote it eloquently as "Open minded skepticism"

And that level of skepticism should be at the control of everyone who uses it and not a force that controls me.. Like I said earlier, "(believe it or not, most people are slaves to their perceptions.)" open minded skepticism can be turned on and off or moved to cover ideas or objects of concern. I control my skepticism and my decisions move it.. It doesn't control me, and how I perceive the world..

Meh, that's not to say I've never been gullible too, and won't be gullible again.. Gullibility usually ends up with you getting stung.. But normally you only get stung once..

I can remember an elderly woman in her 80's telling me that when she was in school in the 1940's, the teacher told the class that it would be impossible to go

to the moon because their was no oxygen in space. Well, guess what. A few decades later man did go to the moon. The mindset of that day was skeptical of

such a task. But this proves that no matter how difficult or out of the ordinary something seems to be, It doesn't mean t's impossible. That even applies today.

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Beany

I have not read the entire thread(just the 1st page) so please forgive me if I am repeating what someone else might have said...

My opinion: The "paranormal" does not appear to be subject to repeat investigation leading to repeat "disclosure"

This creates a problem with regards to authentication.

Perhaps it's meant to be that way, in order for us to have "free will"

I don't know. Just speculating.

I think you're right. It doesn't lend itself to scientific study because it can't be reproduced in a lab with controls in place, and the events are random. But this applies mostly to the hard sciences, there are other "soft" sciences that address these issues.

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Merc14

I think you're right. It doesn't lend itself to scientific study because it can't be reproduced in a lab with controls in place, and the events are random. But this applies mostly to the hard sciences, there are other "soft" sciences that address these issues.

What are these soft sciences?

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Beany

When I first started experiencing the "paranormal", about 20 years ago, I went right down to the bookstore to find something that could help me make sense out of my experiences. I read sociology, psychology, social sciences, ethnic studies, religion, self-help, books of various spiritual traditions & religions, religious leaders, sociology, women's studies, indigenous cultures. At that time, seeing the paranormal was just one aspect of the changes I was going through, and I was looking for some context for my experiences. Maslow's writing about peak experiences was very helpful, as was Jung and Carl Rogers, transpersonal psychology, also literature about the kundalini awakening. Almaas' Diamond Heart series was also very helpful. All of this information helped me contextualize my experiences. I took this information out into the world and began testing it. I began meditating, hosted visits from a Tibetan Buddhist nun, a Sioux healer, and an Ifa priest, joined a discussion group, found people who has experiences similar to mine, found some teachers, continued to read & study. For me, if it's not applicable to my daily life, if it doesn't enhance the quality of my life, if it rests solely on belief, I'm not engaged.

Edited by Beany

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White Crane Feather

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.

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.

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

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:

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.

This is actually a good example. I'd say it would be more along the the lines of realizing that lighter than air travel is only scratching the surface of possible ways of flight. Limiting ones view that we live in an atmosphere and therefore will only be able to use air to travel. There may be was to travel through space without using chemical propulsion and wings. A true --space-- vehicle.

Even so, the analogy isn't really that effective. All I have been pointing out is that the current view in total is likely wrong because we are missing far to many pieces of the puzzle to be able to claim any kind of complete picture. As I have mentioned time and time again science is great and gives us workable concentric rings of description, but that's it. I'm not sure why some on this thread have become so narrowly emotional at my suggestion that everything will likely be different so why should I accept a current definition of reality as true. As you mentioned it might not change drastically but if human knowledge continues in its current curve it will almost certainly change many times over and our current view will likely seem horribly nieve. Maybe not... But I wouldn't count on it.

This debate is interesting because it truly speaks to the cognitive bias alluded to in the title of this thread. So locked are some people into skepticism they often remind me of fundamentalist religionists. This is the reason that modern scientific changes actually sometimes need the previous generation of people to actually die off before they come to fruit.

It's already happening. QM has completely squashed physicalist philosophy. We know that the underlying principals in nature are not physical in nature, yet materialism is still held as a valid philosophical position. It's crazy. Skepticism has truly blinded some to the truth.

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White Crane Feather

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

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.

Newtonian physics is a description. And it has already been proven false because it only works for part of things in nature. It kinda works but not all the way. If we relied totally on Newtonian physics satellites would fall out of the sky, GPS units would not work, and much understanding of the universe from gravitational lensing to why the stars shine would be inaccessible.

My argument hasn't changed, I think you are just starting to see what I meant.

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White Crane Feather

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.

Many times in history similar comments have been made about people who made great changes in science. I'm not saying I'm one of those people I'm no scientist, but its the mindset that is the subject of this thread that is evident in these kinds of responses. There is no reason why a debate can't continue if you point your emotions at my arguments instead of your opinion of me and my thought process.

All of that is irrelevant. I have studied scientific history and I know that the evidence is on my side in this matter.

Edited by White Crane Feather

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White Crane Feather

On this matter also.... Have read lots of books from many of our most notable scientists. A common progression of their books is to give a history of how their ideas and theory's came to fruit. It's interesting to read about their various thought experiments and methods used to begin a line of inquiry.

What I find very interesting is that on a few occasions ideas that might lead to a line of inquiry are rejected or disliked outright because it sounds to much like mysticism or religion... Only to latter be accepted as a possibility simply because it logically works out.

In fact Lenord Suskind's book "the cosmic landscape" and theory is basically a response to his recognition that the anthropic principle does indeed have merit and massive weight. The entire theory is to explain away why we seem to have a fine tuned reality to our type of life. It's a very good and believable theory by the way that lean to myself, so we need not start up an anthropic principal debate, but the point is that many scientists go through great lengths to skirt any possibility of the potential for a metaphysical reality.

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Rlyeh
It's already happening. QM has completely squashed physicalist philosophy. We know that the underlying principals in nature are not physical in nature, yet materialism is still held as a valid philosophical position. It's crazy. Skepticism has truly blinded some to the truth.

Yes, quantum physics has destroyed the concept of a physical universe and therefore itself.

What's crazy is making these unsubstantiated self-contradicting claims, but we know how much you like making them.

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White Crane Feather

Yes, quantum physics has destroyed the concept of a physical universe and therefore itself.

What's crazy is making these unsubstantiated self-contradicting claims, but we know how much you like making them.

I can and have as well as many others substantiated it many times. We also know how much you like to make your posts about the poster... So there is no point in having conversations about each other now is there.

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Beany

The average person and science reaches conclusions based on what is currently known, I can't see any other way to proceed. However, science, as a discipline, and the knowledge derived from it, is fluid, so that what may be understood to be a scientific truth one day, may be on the next day, understood to be only partially true or not true at all, or misunderstood, as in Newtonian physics. As we add to our body of knowledge, our thinking about what is true changes with each new piece of information. I think it's important to remember that our conclusions, our world view, our understanding of natural forces, are always subject to change. I think skepticism is important, but it is not a substitute for science, nor do skeptics speak for science, nor does skepticism provide answers. Skeptics challenge beliefs, but doesn't the very act of believing an alternative explanation change the skepticism to a belief system?

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Beany

Please exercise the self-discipline necessary to refrain from personal attacks, as encompassed in the forum rules of behavior. FYI, we all recognize a personal attack when we see it, and sometimes they give us more information about a person than any other kind of post.

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pallidin

Allow me to collect my thoughts, and I may just have something important to say here...

Skepticism can be both healthy and quite useful if used as a "tool" as oppossed to a continual mindset.

Let me explain. On certain projects I've developed, I think "Yes!, that's the answer!"

As such, my own bias towards "belief" actually hindered the proper progression of the projects.

As I "matured" from project failure, I felt the "need" to apply serious skepticism as a tool to fine-tune the projects.

My mindset would become one of "No, this can't be true" and I seriously meant that internally.

This allowed me to view the projects in a different way, uncovering my mistakes and correcting them(if they could be)

So in short, skepticism can be very, very useful if used as a temporary mindset tool.

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White Crane Feather

Allow me to collect my thoughts, and I may just have something important to say here...

Skepticism can be both healthy and quite useful if used as a "tool" as oppossed to a continual mindset.

Let me explain. On certain projects I've developed, I think "Yes!, that's the answer!"

As such, my own bias towards "belief" actually hindered the proper progression of the projects.

As I "matured" from project failure, I felt the "need" to apply serious skepticism as a tool to fine-tune the projects.

My mindset would become one of "No, this can't be true" and I seriously meant that internally.

This allowed me to view the projects in a different way, uncovering my mistakes and correcting them(if they could be)

So in short, skepticism can be very, very useful if used as a temporary mindset tool.

I think it is important to be skeptical of the skeptic aswell. There seems to be pecking order behavior at work here. Some people seem to be attracted skepticism simply because it provides them an opertunity to have a solid footing over people that have fundamentalist style beliefs. It's an easy target to giggle and point at the fundamentalist.

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Merc14

Newtonian physics is a description. And it has already been proven false because it only works for part of things in nature. It kinda works but not all the way. If we relied totally on Newtonian physics satellites would fall out of the sky, GPS units would not work, and much understanding of the universe from gravitational lensing to why the stars shine would be inaccessible.

My argument hasn't changed, I think you are just starting to see what I meant.

Done with you.

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aquatus1
This is actually a good example.

Gee, thanks. :sm

I'd say it would be more along the the lines of realizing that lighter than air travel is only scratching the surface of possible ways of flight. Limiting ones view that we live in an atmosphere and therefore will only be able to use air to travel. There may be was to travel through space without using chemical propulsion and wings. A true --space-- vehicle.

But here's the problem: 1) That isn't what you said, and 2), You directly implied that everyone else was thinking precisely that.

Even so, the analogy isn't really that effective. All I have been pointing out is that the current view in total is likely wrong because we are missing far to many pieces of the puzzle to be able to claim any kind of complete picture. As I have mentioned time and time again science is great and gives us workable concentric rings of description, but that's it. I'm not sure why some on this thread have become so narrowly emotional at my suggestion that everything will likely be different so why should I accept a current definition of reality as true. As you mentioned it might not change drastically but if human knowledge continues in its current curve it will almost certainly change many times over and our current view will likely seem horribly nieve. Maybe not... But I wouldn't count on it.

Are you getting it yet? Are you understanding that you did a double whammy of first insulting our sense of logic (not the first time, not the last, and not even that bad a thing, considering that it drives the majority of the discussion on this forum), but then squared the error by following it up with an utterly false implication that we would not agree with the idea that there is still much, much, more to learn.

This debate is interesting because it truly speaks to the cognitive bias alluded to in the title of this thread. So locked are some people into skepticism they often remind me of fundamentalist religionists. This is the reason that modern scientific changes actually sometimes need the previous generation of people to actually die off before they come to fruit.

No, sorry, can't give the intellectual high ground here. The disagreement here has nothing to do with cognitive bias. This here disagreement is totally and 100% due to your communication skills. Moreso, I would even venture to say that it is a refusal, probably due to some sense of ego, to admit that you made a mistake or changed your mind half-way through the thread.

It's already happening. QM has completely squashed physicalist philosophy.

Not really, no. The physical world hasn't changed at all just because we discovered that there is an underlying truth beneath the truth that governs our world.

We know that the underlying principals in nature are not physical in nature, yet materialism is still held as a valid philosophical position. It's crazy. Skepticism has truly blinded some to the truth.

Why are you freely mixing philosophy and science? Why are you judging science based on philosophy? That's crazy. Nature doesn't care about philosophy. Science doesn't care about underlying principles in other fields. The quantum world is a separate environment so unique it is for all intents and purposes a different reality. The effect is has on the macro world we live in is one thing, the significance of that effect to our understanding of the macro world something completely different.

We know how gravity works, but we don't know why. We don't understand the mechanism. We don't need to in order to work with gravity. Which is not to say we aren't intensely curious about. Someday, we will find out, and it will probably have something to do with the quantum world, but it would be crazy to pretend that what we know right now, living as we do in the materialistic side of reality isn't valid. And it would be downright insulting to pretend that because we are willing to work with the knowledge we have, we are refusing to admit that more knowledge exists. That sort of presumptuous, self-righteous, utterly egotistical sort of remark accomplishes nothing other than turn a discussion on scientific culture into one in which the high school queen bee disdainfully sniffs and turns her nose up, claiming the others are pretending to be as popular as she knows she is.

Why are you getting the reaction you are getting? Because you are acting like the high school queen B. Admit that you made a mistake, or at the very least what you typed was completely and totally different from what you claim you wanted to say, and you will receive a greater degree of latitude. Pretend that you always knew what you were talking about and it is the fault of everyone else they didn't understand you, and you get nothing but the scorn accorded to posers.

Edited by aquatus1
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Beany

My own bias towards non-belief has affected the accuracy or reliability of some of my conclusions. I truly am a skeptic at heart, at it sometimes leads me to harsh judgments of people & people's claims, despite the fact that I have had some of the same "supernatural" experiences they've had. It's like, I can believe my own experiences and trust my own senses and sensibilities and motives, but I'm almost always skeptical of the claims of others. I can make an exception for myself, but not for others, and I don't think that speaks very highly of me.

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aquatus1

Same here. That's why I try to surround myself with people who are willing (and rather frequently quite enthusiastic about) pointing out my errors.

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White Crane Feather

Done with you.

:(

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Mikko-kun

Why are you freely mixing philosophy and science? Why are you judging science based on philosophy? That's crazy. Nature doesn't care about philosophy. Science doesn't care about underlying principles in other fields. The quantum world is a separate environment so unique it is for all intents and purposes a different reality. The effect is has on the macro world we live in is one thing, the significance of that effect to our understanding of the macro world something completely different.

What's this based on? The way I see it, physical and the "other levels" are connected some way. I wonder if nature really doesn't care about philosophy... we're part of nature, us humans, and lot of us seem to care about philosophy. Monkeys ain't that far from us, nor the only other intelligent animals. It's not like there's a steep ravine between us and the rest of the animals, we just make it look like it through technology and advanced communication and by developing our brain-use. Other animals do that too. Doesn't darvinism say all species evolve? What would prevent today's monkeys from being like us in terms of technology millions years after if we allowed them to do their thing?

I just dont understand reducdionism. I do understand sticking to subjects you are good at for a lot of reasons. Reducdionism is different from scepticism, because scepticism is supposed to weight the evidence, not throw it to a trash can nor embrace it without some base. Neither one. Reducdionism and ignorance throws it in a trash can and makes believers take it on face value without any further study. The point of scepticism is to study, not to conclude. Because after conclusion there's nothing. Occam's razor is for reducdionism, not scepticism. Sceptic evaluates and looks from different angles, don't they? Because they can't accept the easy solution. If you're a reducdionist then be so but it's not the same as scepticism, is it? Not meaning this to you or anyone else in particular Aquatus.

We know how gravity works, but we don't know why. We don't understand the mechanism. We don't need to in order to work with gravity. Which is not to say we aren't intensely curious about. Someday, we will find out, and it will probably have something to do with the quantum world, but it would be crazy to pretend that what we know right now, living as we do in the materialistic side of reality isn't valid. And it would be downright insulting to pretend that because we are willing to work with the knowledge we have, we are refusing to admit that more knowledge exists. That sort of presumptuous, self-righteous, utterly egotistical sort of remark accomplishes nothing other than turn a discussion on scientific culture into one in which the high school queen bee disdainfully sniffs and turns her nose up, claiming the others are pretending to be as popular as she knows she is.

Why are you getting the reaction you are getting? Because you are acting like the high school queen B. Admit that you made a mistake, or at the very least what you typed was completely and totally different from what you claim you wanted to say, and you will receive a greater degree of latitude. Pretend that you always knew what you were talking about and it is the fault of everyone else they didn't understand you, and you get nothing but the scorn accorded to posers.

So you're saying he should apologize so he could gain acceptance? Bending down can be a good thing but not for the wrong reasons. Do say I'm wrong if you feel so, but I think you're just mad because you dont like his attitute. Can't blame you if you dont, I think there's a lotta that in the air. But does that make what he says wrong? Maybe harder to swallow, much so when there's argument, we draw thicker curtains over our mind's eyes the more we get into an argument and take sides. It's obvious here's side-taking, nothing wrong, but look what it does.

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Frank Merton

I don't trust my senses, and it follows I don't trust claims of others based on what they have seen or heard. Indeed it is even worse since I see such claims as hearsay, although politeness generally prevents my saying as much. Still, I know full well how people can elaborate.

There is just simply no way around this problem that I can see. The claim, for example, of the presence of witnesses does not increase credibility but actively reduces it.

Is it possible, then, to say we know something -- anything at all -- since all our knowledge of the outside world comes to us through our senses (highly manipulated and censored, I might add, by our subconscious minds working to keep our conscious minds from having too much to handle).

All I can say is that I don't think there is anything I can say I "know," and I think people who claim otherwise are delusional. All we can say is that we think with varying degrees of certainty, based mainly on how we perceive probabilities, that some things are probably true and others probably not.

The only exception I would make to that is where what we conclude is based on logic rather than on experience, and even then we are dependent on the principles of logic being true. For example I strongly doubt the existence of the Christian God, based on what my senses tell me about suffering in the world and the behavior of the members of that religion, and am persuaded logically this is the case based on the self-referential contradictions claims about this god lead to.

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