Are there any paranormal phenomena AT ALL??

#41
PJ, my point is that real phenomena are discernible in the physical world. This includes quantum phenomena, to the extent that theories concerning them can securely be said to interface with reality. Without that, we have "rhetorical science" (superstrings, multiple universes, dark matter, etc...)
I'm sorry, but this doesn't make any sense.
 
#42
I think that shows a lack of understanding about both the crop circle and bigfoot phenomena, which are both sufficiently intriguing when looked at in depth.
I used those examples because of the relative weight of scientific research dedicated to them. If someone wants to begin a thread on the viability of relic hominids in restricted habitats, or whether they are zooform in nature, or the history of crop devils and their sociological impact on contemporary modern circle making, they might have the basis for a sensible discussion. Kai did not pose the question in such a way, but resorted to unanswerable pejoratives from the outset. As he always does.
 
#43
Okay - I was surprised the OP asserts things like "Why is no one using PK to crush blood vessels?". Last I checked Radin was measuring the movement of photons. Similarly, Krippner's dream telepathy experiments did not involve people pulling off Charles Xavier type tricks.

Really though you should pick a particular topic and discuss why you find the research to be wanting. If you just tell us all the research is bad we don't know what you've read.

More and more I don't think the paranormal is meant to be repeatable in a way that would lend itself to materialist pursuits like assassination or espionage. I think there's a reason the paranormal is associated with the Trickster.

If I were the Trickster - who is ultimately a teacher and protector for humanity - I wouldn't allow such abuse. Thus if the pararnomal exists -and I'm more than willing to say that's a BIG if - I believe it is a call for those who are willing to seek the Mystery for spiritual rather than material purposes.

Jung would say:

"This path to the primordial religious experience is the right one, but how many can recognize it? It is like a still small voice, and it sounds from afar. It is ambiguous, questionable, dark, presaging danger and hazardous adventure; a razor-edged path, to be trodden for God’s sake only, without assurance and without sanction."

Now I think the path may ultimately be a razor-edged path, but IMO one can begin within some safe boundaries like meditation and lucid dreaming. While I've yet to try any psychedelics, my understanding is good ayahuasca churches should have professionals on hand.
Sciborg, it's difficult to reply to this because acknowledging that psi is a "trickster" seems to me just different wording for saying that it is not, after all, what it appears to be, and what we believe it to be, which I think is likely true. After all, it's not as if we've had a short time to discern the modus operandi of these 'phenomena'. But surely the simplest interepretation of tricksterism is that something is professing to exist which perhaps simply does not.

It's true of course that other interpretations of tricksterism might be mounted. For instance, that the world is a "matrix like" space and so on, but these lead to assumption-heavy cosmologies, imo, which soon edge into the space of conspiracy theory. I'm not sure it helps me to believe that the paranormal exists if I have to believe in a complex conspiracy scenario first.
 
C

chuck.drake

#44
I used those examples because of the relative weight of scientific research dedicated to them. If someone wants to begin a thread on the viability of relic hominids in restricted habitats, or whether they are zooform in nature, or the history of crop devils and their sociological impact on contemporary modern circle making, they might have the basis for a sensible discussion. Kai did not pose the question in such a way, but resorted to unanswerable pejoratives from the outset. As he always does.
I get your point. I rarely venture into this forum for all the reasons you are talking about. But I find Kai to be well read on some subjects like the OBE and he is an intelligent guy. I am truly interested in why one person can "see" behind the anecdotes, and other folks just simply reject them out of hand. I'm not particularly gullible. I'm reasonably intelligent. I don't really care one way or the other about the nature of reality. I'm just as happy to have the "paranormal" be a load of crap as not. I just don't see it that way. For me it's a gut thing. And I imagine for Kai it's a gut thing as well, just the other way.

I can't comment on any of the published studies because they bore me. They don't hold any sway for me. Anything that needs to be proved by statistics for me is just not of interest.
 
#45
I think that shows a lack of understanding about both the crop circle and bigfoot phenomena, which are both sufficiently intriguing when looked at in depth.
I didn't mention Bigfoot, though clearly I could have done. It is easy to forget that crop circles, indeed everything on that list, was treated very seriously by many enthusiasts for many years. I've been in them myself. I once upon a time delivered a lecture on them at Glastonbury. Don't assume that you know about a person or their life trajectory just because you've been exposed to a few posts of their most recent thinking.

My current thinking of course is a product of my life of experience so far.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#46
I'm not sure it helps me to believe that the paranormal exists if I have to believe in a complex conspiracy scenario first.
I think the important thing is whether the paranormal is important enough to you to seek it out on its terms rather than yours. There may be contraindications to meditation or lucid dreaming but I'd expect them to be rare.

Since people have claimed to experience Psi via dreams and via meditation, I'd take that as a starting point. I myself go back and forth whether it really matters to me, but really it's my laziness coming to the fore. After all there isn't that much work involved in having lucid dreams, and meditation seems like it'd be good for most people.
 
#47
I'm sorry, but this doesn't make any sense.
My point is really about statistics. Statistics can be a powerful tool especially when married with other corroborating forms of evidence. I am suspicious when statistics, especially tiny effects or unreplicable effects, are the only evidence that is pointed to for existence of a phenomenon (excluding anecdote). If I have to examine a rank of figures to know whether psi is possible, and I can't look in the actual world and see it, then it is much more likely, I think, that subjective elements in the process of using and interpreting the statistics are the real effect showing up.
 
C

chuck.drake

#48
I didn't mention Bigfoot, though clearly I could have done. It is easy to forget that crop circles, indeed everything on that list, was treated very seriously by many enthusiasts for many years. I've been in them myself. I once upon a time delivered a lecture on them at Glastonbury. Don't assume that you know about a person or their life trajectory just because you've been exposed to a few posts of their most recent thinking.

My current thinking of course is a product of my life of experience so far.
I can't see how my comment in any way reflects on your knowledge of bigfoot or crop circles. I am simply saying that both subjects offer enough interest for those willing to dig deeply. Neither subject is the giggle fest that many make them out to be.
 
#49
Sciborg, it's difficult to reply to this because acknowledging that psi is a "trickster" seems to me just different wording for saying that it is not, after all, what it appears to be, and what we believe it to be, which I think is likely true. After all, it's not as if we've had a short time to discern the modus operandi of these 'phenomena'. But surely the simplest interepretation of tricksterism is that something is professing to exist which perhaps simply does not.

It's true of course that other interpretations of tricksterism might be mounted. For instance, that the world is a "matrix like" space and so on, but these lead to assumption-heavy cosmologies, imo, which soon edge into the space of conspiracy theory. I'm not sure it helps me to believe that the paranormal exists if I have to believe in a complex conspiracy scenario first.
The whole idea behind trickster theory is to make sense of something that is already known to exist. If something exists, then it exists, no matter how elusive it might be. It doesn't matter if it doesn't map onto our current understanding of how reality is supposed to operate, namely, the operations of an entirely objective one.
 
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#50
Why do I discuss it?

Partly for the small flame I still hold that despite all these glaring weaknesses, there may still be something to it after all. But I'd be lying if I didn't say that I felt that is awfully precarious. I've lived through a number of the things on my initial list. I remember them well. It's awfully difficult to believe in phenomena that really have no practical application.
 
C

chuck.drake

#51
The whole idea beyond trickster theory is to make sense of something that is already known to exist. If something exists, then it exists, no matter how elusive it might be. It doesn't matter if it doesn't map onto our current understanding of how reality is supposed to operate, namely, the operations of an entirely objective one.
I think that is a good point, PJ. One has to consider whether they feel the current scientific lens is capable of explaining the true nature of reality. I for one feel that it is likely inadequate.
 
C

chuck.drake

#52
Why do I discuss it?

Partly for the small flame I still hold that despite all these glaring weaknesses, there may still be something to it after all. But I'd be lying if I didn't say that I felt that is awfully precarious. I've lived through a number of the things on my initial list. I remember them well. It's awfully difficult to believe in phenomena that really have no practical application.
What is the practical application of art?
 
#53
I get your point. I rarely venture into this forum for all the reasons you are talking about. But I find Kai to be well read on some subjects like the OBE and he is an intelligent guy. I am truly interested in why one person can "see" behind the anecdotes, and other folks just simply reject them out of hand. I'm not particularly gullible. I'm reasonably intelligent. I don't really care one way or the other about the nature of reality. I'm just as happy to have the "paranormal" be a load of crap as not. I just don't see it that way. For me it's a gut thing. And I imagine for Kai it's a gut thing as well, just the other way.

I can't comment on any of the published studies because they bore me. They don't hold any sway for me. Anything that needs to be proved by statistics for me is just not of interest.
I'm also happy to take paranormal accounts on merit. I weigh them, as most reasonable people do, based on the experiencer's credibility, the extent to which they conform to precedent and on gut reaction. I also recognise they are not the same as scientific research, to which some phenomena have been subjected, and don't confuse the two. The thread title is deliberately provocative and assumes a watertight case for the materialist position that does not bear scrutiny. Indulge too many of these threads and a misleading picture of the evidence is presented that has more to do with a JREF version of reality than one based on intelligent appraisal worthy of Skeptiko.
 
#54
The whole idea beyond trickster theory is to make sense of something that is already known to exist. If something exists, then it exists, no matter how elusive it might be. It doesn't matter if it doesn't map onto our current understanding of how reality is supposed to operate, namely, the operations of an entirely objective one.
I think the worldwide pattern of trickster mythology is a kind of bundle of socio-mythic texts that help societies deal with the vagaries of unpredictable natural phenomena (rain season, drought season, health, disease, etc). I don't see in them anything resembling an independent species of evidence that the paranormal exists.
 
#55
What is the practical application of art?
Just on a shortlist Chuck:
Enrichment of physical spaces.
Entertainment and diversion (I suppose this could be applied to paranormal belief)
Financial value for successful artists (since success is subjective, I supposed this could be applied to "successful" telephone psychics etc)
Cultural record.


The more important point is that there is not a problem discerning the existence of art in the public space.
 
C

chuck.drake

#56
I'm also happy to take paranormal accounts on merit. I weigh them, as most reasonable people do, based on the experiencer's credibility, the extent to which they conform to precedent and on gut reaction. I also recognise they are not the same as scientific research, to which some phenomena have been subjected, and don't confuse the two. The thread title is deliberately provocative and assumes a watertight case for the materialist position that does not bear scrutiny. Indulge too many of these threads and a misleading picture of the evidence is presented that has more to do with a JREF version of reality than one based on intelligent appraisal worthy of Skeptiko.
I suspect Kai was bored and was hoping to instigate at least some semblance of an intelligent discussion on an internet forum. That alone would seem a miracle sometimes. I really don't see Kai in the light of the typical JREF cheerleader. I think he is a little more nuanced than that.
 
#57
I can't see how my comment in any way reflects on your knowledge of bigfoot or crop circles. I am simply saying that both subjects offer enough interest for those willing to dig deeply. Neither subject is the giggle fest that many make them out to be.
I wasn't making a giggle fest out of it, Chuck, no matter what some folks here may claim. I was drawing attention to the fact that there is a discernible kind of "life cycle" to each of these phenomena as a social pattern in society. At the end of the life cycle, the phenomenon essentially dies the death that crop circles, for example, are presently undergoing.
 
#58
The core of my case is this. It is, I would say, problematically suspicious if PSI can only be said to exist

a) in anecdote fields and
b) in statistics

I don't know any other phenomena which can actually be called real phenomena with any certainty, which share that problem.
 
#59
My current thinking of course is a product of my life of experience so far.
Exactly! Become friends with someone who is genuinely psychic. It will change your thinking on this. I held your position for many, many years, and completely sympathize. It is the easiest thing in the world to dismiss thousands and thousands of anecdotes like Max’s. You can simply rationalize it away as coincidence—his dream just happened to correspond to actual events. But if you interact with someone who manifests this type of thing over and over, you will reach the point where denying it becomes ridiculous. You also begin to appreciate its spontaneous nature and our complete lack of understanding of the way it works--kind of like our understanding of consciousness itself. This kind of experience is the only thing that will allow you to rationally accept its existence while waiting for the kind of scientific proof you demand—which may or may not occur in our lifetimes.


Cheers,
Bill
 
#60
I suspect Kai was bored...
Being provocative is not the problem. The error is mistaking provocation for rationality, and broad brush attacks for careful analysis. Kai's threads always finish up with a limitless circumnavigation of what's meant by evidence. There are only so many times such threads (which are basically identical) can be taken in earnest. My concern is more to do with the recent spread of such provocation into intelligent areas of the board, and whether we're likely to see more of it. If we do, I think Skeptiko will be no different to any other internet bunfight.
 
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