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David Henson

Definition And Explanations

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papageorge1
30 minutes ago, XenoFish said:

You claimed evidence caused you to believe in the paranormal/supernatural. I went the opposite direction. I believed in it then looked for answers, the more I learned the less I believed. I skepticism and doubt increased.

We are changing the subject but that is fine with me actually. What were your issues to make you say 'the more I learned the less I believed'? What did you learn that could make you believe everything paranormal is bunk?

 

36 minutes ago, XenoFish said:

The reason people pray is because they know that deep down they are powerless. It's a form of control or an illusion control. 

They can also objectively believe as I do that there are conscious beings in the universe that care and can hear prayers. I don't feel powerless down deep as you seem to think.

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XenoFish
1 minute ago, papageorge1 said:

We are changing the subject but that is fine with me actually. What were your issues to make you say 'the more I learned the less I believed'? What did you learn that could make you believe everything paranormal is bunk?

Hypnapompic/hypnogogic hallucination, sleep deprivation, suggestion (including self-suggestion), self hypnosis, visual and auditory hallucinations, pareidolia, high electromagnetic fields, false memories, and the list goes on and on and on and on........My favorite was the lack of repeatable and testable results. Which leads to a hell of a lot of cognitive and confirmation bias. 

4 minutes ago, papageorge1 said:

They can also objectively believe as I do that there are conscious beings in the universe that care and can hear prayers. I don't feel powerless down deep as you seem to think.

If you truly felt powerful and in control why would you even need to pray? Those 'beings' exist because you believe they do and they are a product of your own imagination. You're angels and demons live between your ears.

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papageorge1
Just now, XenoFish said:

Hypnapompic/hypnogogic hallucination, sleep deprivation, suggestion (including self-suggestion), self hypnosis, visual and auditory hallucinations, pareidolia, high electromagnetic fields, false memories, and the list goes on and on and on and on........My favorite was the lack of repeatable and testable results. Which leads to a hell of a lot of cognitive and confirmation bias. 

Each of the things you listed have some merit I agree but in my objective analysis I do not see how those explanations could cover everything; people knowing things they could not have reasonably learned through normal channels, physical activity, multiple independent sightings, etc.. Most paranormal phenomena is spontaneous and unpredictable so is not subject to reproducible tests. I also objectively believe there are repeatable tests like Ganzfeld (done know on five continents), triple-blind tests with Gifted Mediums that have been ridiculously successful, etc.. I know there are some so-called skeptics that will tell you no parapsychologist is capable of doing a proper test but from my investigation that assertion just seems unreasonable.

10 minutes ago, XenoFish said:

If you truly felt powerful and in control why would you even need to pray? Those 'beings' exist because you believe they do and they are a product of your own imagination. You're angels and demons live between your ears.

I personally rarely pray but I objectively believe there are beings that can hear and answer prayers. But I believe in the existence of a spiritual world with spiritual beings and you do not so naturally we see prayers differently.

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XenoFish
1 minute ago, papageorge1 said:

I personally rarely pray but I subjectively believe there are beings that can hear and answer prayers. But I believe in the existence of a spiritual world with spiritual beings and you do not so naturally we see prayers differently.

Corrected that for you. Because all you've mentioned so far has been subjective. You're personal experience/beliefs. 

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papageorge1
13 minutes ago, XenoFish said:

Corrected that for you. Because all you've mentioned so far has been subjective. You're personal experience/beliefs. 

I am not agreeing with the correction. You must have glossed past my argument that I objectively considered the reasonableness for a 'normal' explanations for seemingly spiritual phenomena and found normal explanations clearly insufficient to explain the full body of evidence.

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Liquid Gardens
1 hour ago, eight bits said:

Oh, I don't doubt that you are the very picture of rationality, empricism and consistency.

Ha, I guess if you say so, not sure I would.  There are differences of course between personally being rational and consistent (or arguing even that people should be) and arguing that being rational and consistent makes for stronger intellectual cases for the truth of a proposition.  One of those differences is that I only claimed the latter, not the former.

Quote

A famous skeptic reportedly stated,

"I want to believe as many true things, and as few false things, as possible."

but that just isn't the deal we're offered. The deal is your choice:

to believe as many true things as possible, while shouldering a tolerable burden of false things

OR

to believe as few false things as possible, while maintaining a tolerable prospect of finding out true things

OR

to optimize something else altogether (e.g. the overall number of mistaken positives and negatives),

I'm not clear what you mean by 'that just isn't the deal we're offered'; I thought that you were stating that this is the deal we're offered and this necessarily breaks down into the three choices.  His statement seems to implicitly optimize something else altogether to me, due to the 'and', as well as his being a skeptic.

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back to earth
4 hours ago, papageorge1 said:

We each are our own judge of that. A true skeptic is skeptical of the skeptics too.

When someone uses 'big words' makes claims and then is asked about the specifics and meaning of what was said ... and cant or won't answer, and then just ignores it and starts up the some elsewhere .....   its more than just a personal judgement of  'hollow content ' . 

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back to earth
4 hours ago, XenoFish said:

I would seriously love to see such 'evidence'. 

.... wait for the evasion on this one !   :) 

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back to earth
4 hours ago, papageorge1 said:

What would you seeing such 'evidence' look like?

Ahhh .... there it is !  

I do believe Xeno asked YOU what 'it would look like '    ? 

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XenoFish

If any valid evidence that is proven to be true was presented. I think a lot of us would change our opinion, but that the difference between objective and subjective proof. If you've got objective proof let's see it. If it's subjective, it's an opinion.  

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papageorge1
4 hours ago, XenoFish said:

If any valid evidence that is proven to be true was presented.

How do you 'prove' evidence of spontaneous ghost/spirit events that happens unpredictably. Visually? No, you hallucinated/misidentified. Photo? No, it could be faked. Audio Capture? Faked or background interference. Physical phenomena? Could be lying or mistaken or tricked. Sensed? Just imagination. Voice heard? Imagination or some natural source. etc., etc.

In the end the word 'proof' in anecdotal cases is really not meaningful. We each use our judgment and I believe that some seemingly ghostly/spiritual experiences can correctly be discounted as in the realm of the 'normal', but the chances of the millions of similar human experiences all having a natural explanation seems beyond remote in my judgment.

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Emmisal
11 hours ago, XenoFish said:

If you can actually repeatable prove that something supernatural or paranormal exist, feel free to change our minds. 

First, there's a difference between presenting evidence and persuading someone. Evidence is objective while persuasion is subjective. That's why two people can observe the same evidence and still arrive at two different interpretations. If the evidence you've seen so far doesn't convince you, fine. But to claim that all the millions, possibly billions of people through human history including the intelligent ones who have experienced and believe in the supernatural are just imagining things is too arrogant a claim. Agnosticism, I believe is a more reasonable position.

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Mr Walker
On 25/12/2016 at 0:16 PM, David Henson said:

What do you think spirituality is? To me it is the exploration of the spiritual, spirit being the unseen forces in our lives. For example, the Greek word spirit, pneuma is where the English words pneumatic and pneumonia come from. The Hebrew word for the same is also translated as breath, or wind. An invisible active force that produces results. Does skepticism really only imply unbeliever or doubtful? Do you think that knowledge of the unseen, or spiritual, is impossible as skepticism seems to imply?

 

Spirituality is a conceptual  awareness or  mental construct possessed by humans which not only enables, but in some senses compels, us to think in a certain way,  Self aware consciousness IS the human spirit but it manifests in many forms from love, through creativity  through the ability to act courageously or altruistically it gives us the choice to construct ourselves and to be the individual human beings we decide we want to be.  it can cause some neurological feedback creating guilt,  anxieties, conflicts, and even neuroses, but it is  also the most powerful and defining ability  of the human mind, and gives us the power to shape not only ourselves, but our world, via will and skill.  

scepticism can be healthy until it is taken to extreme just as faith and belief is healthy until taken to extremes   With material/ factual knowledge, one can seek and find if material factual knowledge is true or false  and so faith and scepticism are irrelevant But in thee areas where we lack data and knowledge to verify truth or falsity,  and must chose between faith and scepticism, evolution seems to have erred on the side of faith /belief as the most beneficial construct. It is safer to run when the bush rustles rather than to be sceptical about the presence of a danger in the bushes.    

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Mr Walker
On 25/12/2016 at 3:28 PM, davros of skaro said:

To me being spiritual is giving your Dopamine Reward System more credit than it's due. 

I can hike the top of the mountain by me, look around, and get chills. Others take it as a supernatural event believing religious fiction. While others do drugs to get the same effect.

We are pleasure seeking evolved mutated crazy Apes, and need to balance the old part of the brain with the new.

You can only do the bolded, BECAUSE you are, by nature/evolved outcome, spiritual . 

awe, beauty, wonder, etc are mental constructs we can only create and hold because we are spiritual beings   or conversely we are only  spiritual beings because we have evolved the level of cognition/ thought, and complexity of language, which allows us to know; wonder, awe, beauty, love etc. If dopamine was the reason for spiritual senses then all animals which produce dopamine would posses the same sense of spiritual awareness as human beings and would construct and  worship gods, imagine unseen forces at work in the world,  have religions etc.  Dopamine is merely a neuro transmitter which enhances motivation productivity and focus  it doesn't make you spiritual or even happy, it simply ALLOWS your  mind to feel those things more effectively.

There are lots of ways to increase dopamine production and thus enhance brain function, from exercise to eating almonds but one can also stimulate production by coming to understand and control the factors in your life which provide rewards, because dopamine production is a reward for "productive" behaviours. 

Edited by Mr Walker

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eight bits

LG

By "the deal is ...," I meant: what is possible for us mortals, regardless of whether we are skeptics or believers. The rub is in that "as ... and as ... as possible" construction. You cannot, in general, simultaneously maximize both sensitivity and selectivity. So, the proposed phrase comes off as a slogan, rather than a definition.

"I want to hold many true beliefs and few false beliefs" is fine. It may be what the original skeptic meant to say. I am unsure whether that would work as a definition of skeptic, though, since a believer might sincerely say the same.

The difference between the two 'types' may be their choice of different means to achieve what is a shared goal (believing many truths and few falsehoods), not necessarily any difference in their goals.

Quote

His statement seems to implicitly optimize something else altogether to me, due to the 'and', as well as his being a skeptic.

That could be, but then what he said wasn't a definition, although maybe it "points" to one.

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Mr Walker
23 hours ago, XenoFish said:

That's because the difference is 'out there' vs. 'in your head.' Spirituality is a psychological thing. Anything can be 'real' in your head, but that doesn't make it actually real. 

You answered emma for me. I would put a more positive spin on it, however,

spiritual awareness is evolution's way of helping us survive as self aware entities,  who actually KNOW very little.

It gives us a skill set to make order out of chaos,  security out of insecurity and sense out of nonsense

 To take one example. Guilt occurs in humans because of a certain overlapping set of cognitive skills/abilities, including awareness of consequence, and an understanding of hurt pain and suffering in self and others. So when we knowingly hurt someone we feel guilt.  In religious/ spiritual terms, our mind constructs a mechanism to resolve that guilt This might be a set of laws, a set of justifications, a set of attempts to explain how and why we act as we do.

 So spirituality, and its offshoot religion, deals effectively with many of the cognitive dissonances in the human mind, shaping them in to a form of tolerable and acceptable order, by designing a belief ,or set of beliefs, about who we are, and why we behave as we do.

They (these belief constructs about ourselves and our relationship to the universe and others)  often suggest better ways of behaving, as well.  . 

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Mr Walker
19 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

My knob's turn range is locked by another gauge though, as I think is the case with many skeptics: the gauge of rationality and empiricism (and IMO, consistency).  My addendum to this trade-off point definition is that I am fine not believing something that turns out to be true if it is entirely rational that I don't based on the state of the evidence and reasoning.  If I read on the internet that someone saw an angel, and my analysis of the argument for the existence of angels shows that there is nothing more than this testimony backing up that proposition, then I'm fine not believing it even if it later turns out to be true.  As a matter of fact I wouldn't really be a skeptic if I believed that, or for example took some other notions to be true based on faith, even if evidence emerges later that shows it was correct.  "How did you get there" is an unstated but implicit and important point in Matt's statement I think.

Even leaving that aside, although there is no concrete objectively 'right' policy I think it's fairly well established objectively, and/or logically, that setting the knob to the extremes does not best get us to our assumed goal:  make as few mistakes as possible in determining the truth value of propositions. Therefore some settings are indeed better than others objectively, assuming what you acknowledged, that no one wants to achieve perfection on just one side of the axis.

IMO you can only survive because the modern world offers protection to/for this form of scepticism You would not last long in past societies where scepticism led to unfavourable and  often deadly outcomes This is not a criticism because , in a sense, modern society allows and enables scepticism and in turn this encourages the abilty to be more sceptical  allowing a better balance between belief and disbelief  IN the city it doesn't matter if the bush rustles because a predator is unlikely to jump out and eat you. Then again, become too sceptical of signs, alwys wait for clear materialistic evidence of danger,  and you are more likely to get mugged. :)

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Mr Walker
13 hours ago, XenoFish said:

It is not so much the belief that is an issue. It's the validity of that belief and in how it's presented. If you believe that god created everything that's an opinion. If you claim that god did it as if it were an absolute truth that's when we skeptics have issues. I could believe that we we're created by aliens, that's a belief. If I say that yes we are the product of alien intervention, I've got to be able to back that up.

Skepticism is not taking things at face value, but looking beyond. Driven by a desire to have factual knowledge. Not assumptions. God exist as one of two things. Unknowable and indifferent, or personal thus created by believers. 

 

Is not EVERYTHING we have not validated personally, actually a belief? Some are just more accepted and commonly held than others.  ( I am in part agreeing with you here   One MUST distinguish between knowledge and belief  when making claims)

However many people confuse the two things, even in the most mundane things.   I can say i know how high mt everest is, without being challenged, even though i have no personal knowledge of its height, and am just choosing to believe the data i read.. But if i claim i know  angels are real  this is  immediatelyy challenged as an impossible knowledge claim  because it is NOT a commonly held belief or knowledge. 

There is a third option God is an alien entity encountered by humans who put their own spin on tha t encounter dependent on their own level of technology and cultural sophistication.

 In my experience all 3 forms of god  are possible, but an unknowable and indifferent entity  can not fulfil the functions required to  be classified as a god to/for human beings How a person connects to a god, either via belief/faith or in a material physical way, is ALWAYS going to  be personal, and the relationship will always be constructed around how an individual sees/ perceives, or reacts to, either their concept of god, or their experience with it. For example be afraid of a god, either as a construct or as a material being and it WILL influence he form of the connection you make with that entity.  Love and honour either a construct or a material entity, and it will shape and form your connection to, and relationship with that entity. 

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Liquid Gardens
3 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

IMO you can only survive because the modern world offers protection to/for this form of scepticism You would not last long in past societies where scepticism led to unfavourable and  often deadly outcomes This is not a criticism because , in a sense, modern society allows and enables scepticism and in turn this encourages the abilty to be more sceptical  allowing a better balance between belief and disbelief  IN the city it doesn't matter if the bush rustles because a predator is unlikely to jump out and eat you. Then again, become too sceptical of signs, alwys wait for clear materialistic evidence of danger,  and you are more likely to get mugged. :)

Ha, this is pretty easy to turn around.  IMO the only reason we even have what we call a 'modern world' is because of skepticism; "trust me, I know what I know" is in the opposite direction from the scientific method.  You wouldn't live long in that modern world because our knowledge of medicine would be so stunted that our life expectancy would still be closer to the level of past societies.  Even back when we had to worry about bushes rustling, Caveman Walker would fare no better; he's just as likely to think, 'oh, that must be my physical god just coming by to visit special me' as 'that might be a tiger'.  It is the fruits of skepticism that has provided you the safe civilization in which you have time to entertain your otherwise potentially dangerous and distracting fancies.

In one way according to your particular nomenclature, you are far more skeptical than I am, I accept evidence-based knowledge that I don't personally experience, like Pluto and the danger of cobras.  Paradoxically your kind of (very selective) skepticism leads to greater danger; since you haven't died from a cobra bite you can only have faith that their venom can be fatal, and there's no reason, since you have no 'knowledge', not to just have faith that they are not dangerous.  I'm not sure why you are referencing 'materialistic evidence of danger'; what would be 'non-materialistic evidence of danger'?

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Galactic Goatman

I define them as the following:

Spirituality: The belief in any of the following: Gods, an afterlife, a Hell, a Higher Power or Higher Plane of Existence.

Skepticism: Requiring proof and facts, not jumping to conclusions and being willing to question what you are told.

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Noteverythingisaconspiracy

Please don't enter into a debate with Mr. Walker, it will never end in anything but frustration. :no:

Maybe if we ignore him he will go away.

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back to earth
5 hours ago, Noteverythingisaconspiracy said:

Please don't enter into a debate with Mr. Walker, it will never end in anything but frustration. :no:

Maybe if we ignore him he will go away.

It does stop him bothering the neighbors goat though ..... yes, when everyone has finally had enough , he raves over the back fence to it

 

. Image result for goat unimpressed

 

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Emma_Acid
On 26/12/2016 at 9:38 PM, Emmisal said:

Well, I think that that comment is merely a product of your own imagination.

So who decides whether someone is doing skepticism right or wrong? You?

No, in the same way that I don't decide how the scientific model works. All evidence points towards a universe made of matter that can be measured, not ghosts that can't. And this has just been admitted by someone arguing on your side on this very thread:

On 27/12/2016 at 5:53 AM, papageorge1 said:

How do you 'prove' evidence of spontaneous ghost/spirit events that happens unpredictably. Visually? No, you hallucinated/misidentified. Photo? No, it could be faked. Audio Capture? Faked or background interference. Physical phenomena? Could be lying or mistaken or tricked. Sensed? Just imagination. Voice heard? Imagination or some natural source. etc., etc.

In the end the word 'proof' in anecdotal cases is really not meaningful. We each use our judgment and I believe that some seemingly ghostly/spiritual experiences can correctly be discounted as in the realm of the 'normal', but the chances of the millions of similar human experiences all having a natural explanation seems beyond remote in my judgment.

This is not how you do science or skepticism. Well done for admitting that the paranormal is unfalsifiable - it has no distinct descriptors by which you can identify it, therefore objective study will always be out of your reach. Something that is a "part of human experiences" doesn't hold up as a skeptical or scientific argument for it existing outside of the human consciousness.

On 26/12/2016 at 8:49 PM, papageorge1 said:

I believe in the existence of spirits beyond reasonable doubt from the skeptical consideration of the paranormal evidence.

The evidence does not show that the paranormal exists. And you just stated above - empirical evidence for the existence of the paranormal doesn't exist, because what you're trying to measure doesn't exist.

You cannot say "I've looked at human experiences skeptically and proved that paranormal experiences do exist" - because each and every one of those experiences will have a perfectly mundane (or subjective) explanation, that you cannot possible ever hope to find out about. You stated early there are "millions" of examples of the paranormal in "human experiences" - are you trying to tell us you've skeptically looked in to each and every one?

Edited by Emma_Acid

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papageorge1
3 hours ago, Emma_Acid said:

This is not how you do science or skepticism. Well done for admitting that the paranormal is unfalsifiable - it has no distinct descriptors by which you can identify it, therefore objective study will always be out of your reach. Something that is a "part of human experiences" doesn't hold up as a skeptical or scientific argument for it existing outside of the human consciousness.

In science you can do controlled experiments and study odds against chance over a large number of runs. At millions to one odds against chance, one can logically conclude something interesting is going on.

3 hours ago, Emma_Acid said:

The evidence does not show that the paranormal exists. And you just stated above - empirical evidence for the existence of the paranormal doesn't exist, because what you're trying to measure doesn't exist.

You cannot say "I've looked at human experiences skeptically and proved that paranormal experiences do exist" - because each and every one of those experiences will have a perfectly mundane (or subjective) explanation, that you cannot possible ever hope to find out about. You stated early there are "millions" of examples of the paranormal in "human experiences" - are you trying to tell us you've skeptically looked in to each and every one?

I consider the likelihood of all the various explanations for the phenomena, normal and so-called paranormal and form my own judgment. That is how human intelligence works.

Also I never used the word 'proof' but 'I believe beyond reasonable doubt'.

I believe the hard sciences should remain agnostic to the question of spirits, but my interest in all this is what is most reasonable to believe when the evidence and argumentation from all sides is considered.

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Liquid Gardens
40 minutes ago, papageorge1 said:

I believe the hard sciences should remain agnostic to the question of spirits, but my interest in all this is what is most reasonable to believe when the evidence and argumentation from all sides is considered.

I think it's most reasonable to believe that there is almost no reason to believe in spirits.  The actual 'evidence' is pretty much absent; if we wanted to actually research something about spirits (which has already been attempted to no avail yet), where would we even start?  It's pretty much all testimony which isn't really that valuable all on its own.  How do you know that someone knows something they couldn't reasonably learn through normal channels, how have you validated that?  

Even without evidence, some of the arguments don't fare much better.  If we want to argue there's something going on just because millions of people believe in spirits, then all the more inconsistent that we have no good evidence for them with that large number of encounters.  If we want to argue that there's just too many people having spirit experiences that it's unreasonable that they are all incorrect, then how many past natural disasters were caused by upset gods as lots of people used to also believe?  I'm hard-pressed to even think of any big event or unexplained mystery for which spirits are a good explanation, what to you is the most significant event that has ever occurred that you think is indicative of spirits?  People saying they've gotten messages from the afterlife are a dime a dozen, I'd be looking for something that is more than just people (or small groups of people) claiming things.  

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