Can we believe eyewitnesses… did this 17th century monk levitate? |312|

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, May 3, 2016.

  1. E.Flowers

    E.Flowers New

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    Even if we were to include an evolving personality, all possible aberrations, etc... Would it really matter? If you ask a materialist to tell you "where do the laws of physics come from", the most likely answer will be that they are fundamental and hence, "were always there". The laws of physics are the most annoyingly intricate "thing" that we know of, with a vast number of selective manifestations and characteristics, but they were always there and we do not need to explain from where they came.

    Yet malf here is baffled that there are "too many components" and "different levels of maturity" (BTW, "maturity" is a terrible word for what is essentially the same as describing a characteristic; levels of manifestation in human vs. primitive organisms is nothing more than that, the capacity to manage something, in the same way that birds learned to cheat a fundamental force -gravity- for their benefit) for consciousness to be fundamental.
     
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  2. To be honest I'm not sure what "levels of maturity" means in Malf's post's context, we'll have to wait for Malf to define it I guess...

    If I understand you correctly you're talking about the levels of consciousness is different species, whereas my inclination was to consider the maturation process of a human baby into childhood then adulthood.

    Do you see the manifestations of consciousness as a way for evolution to utilize the capacity for self-awareness in different situations?
     
  3. E.Flowers

    E.Flowers New

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    Pretty much. I see sophistication as a manner in which organisms employ the capacity of self-awareness to improve their lot in life. If consciousness is fundamental, it permeates and its just to be expected that bigger brains/more sophisticated sensory organs would be evolved in order to evaluate and integrate more sensory information (the brain is just that, an organ made for the integration of sensory information) with which to exploit that self awareness as a response to continuos exposition.

    The fact that creatures that are basically brainless still exhibit some characteristics that appear "intelligent" to some degree, does imply that there is more to consciousness than emergence from a brain. And if animals can develop swimming bladders, wings or gills to fit their surroundings, there is no reason why they would not develop the means to exploit another ever-present element.
     
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  4. E.Flowers

    E.Flowers New

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    The idea that some animals lack consciousness, besides being obviously speculative and based on some arbitrary tests (the mirror test, for example), has been challenged and interestingly it appears that even hardcore status quo publications are willing to now discuss if animals like bees are conscious.
     
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  5. The immateralist neuroscientist Tallis had made a similar observation regarding his argument against zombies - if there were beings who lacked conscious experience they would evolve differently from us because our internal systems utilize qualia. We avoid things because we are in pain, we eat because we feel hungry.

    In fact to me it seems various "raw feels" yoke consciousness into participation in the process of earthly life - consumption + reproduction. Perhaps, if those who accept post-mortem survival are correct, the brain as a reducing valve does this to ensure we don't just die and go off back to wherever we started from.

    Yup. Even slime molds apparently can arguably learn, and some - including the Nobel biologist George Wald - have wondered about the capacity of other uni-cellular life forms.
     
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  6. Nicole

    Nicole New

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    It would seem to me that the growth and death cycle is part of how this universe operates. Absolutely nothing is stagnant. Everything is in a constant state of growth, with a short plateau period before it starts to decay and die. If humans were to operate by different laws they would not be part of nature.

    Also, your suggestion of perfection, where no growth is required, sounds like a boring experience after about five minutes. At least this is the insight I gained in my own non-dual realization I shared in a different thread.

    Sorry, but I can’t go into this any deeper. I need a break from all of this for a while.
     
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  7. On the question of evolution an old Prescott article went into Grosso's views:

    "This struggle reaches its climax when the organism dies. In the survival hypothesis, death is simply a transition to a new nonphysical environment, and it is this environment in which psi will come into its own. In this sense, psi is a pre-adaptive function, one that comes pre-installed but achieves its full utility only after death. Grosso:

    My guess is that psi ability is oriented toward adaptation of a new ecological environment, an environment that Telhard de Chardin christened the Noosphere....

    At the ... postmortem layer of the Noosphere, the purely noogenetic component of organisms, now extricated from the machinery of the physical world, would rely wholly on psi, the pre-adaptive "organ" or function now essential for a new mind-dependent ecology. This particular view of the role of psi in nature is compatible with the pre-adaptive nature of psi in our ordinary terrestrial existence, the fact that we don't need it to survive as biological organisms. It would also account for survival data now understood as reflecting interactions with the postmortem "layer" of the Noosphere. The present hypothesis might also explain why certain types of behavior are psi-conducive, that is, the inverse of behaviors oriented toward survival in the biosphere....

    Living organisms are normally self-regulating and have efficient sensory-motor equipment for coping with the terrestrial environment. An unusual increase of psi capacity would disrupt routine performance. It is easy to imagine how a sudden influx of psi would disoriented organism. Too much information can be as confusing as too little.

    The confusion would extend further than the individual. If there is a master plan or cosmic intelligence acting upon the biosphere, it probably wouldn't permit the untrammeled use of psi among living organisms. Untrammeled psi would wreak havoc on the ecological system. For instance, if large numbers of animals could use psi to escape their predators, the great food chain of natural being would be broken.... The suggestion, then, is that restraints upon psi ability are built into the ecological system, which explains the elusive, marginal, unharnessable and doggedly unlearnable character of psi. Yet psi does erupt into terrestrial experience. But under what conditions? If there is anything to our hypothesis, those conditions are apt to be transbiological. Conditions disruptive of normal biological functioning that reduced attention to life might tend to release restraints on side ability. The most dramatic instance of this discerption from biological functioning is being near death.

    Hence the reports of near-death experiences, and the efforts of mystical ascetics to overcome the body’s natural demands for food, sex, and pleasure in order to bring on a kind of voluntary near-death state."
     
  8. malf

    malf Member

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    Well one can always ask for deeper understanding, everything ultimately comes back to "why is physics and chemistry the way it is?" and there will always be something magical/mysterious/mind-blowing in that. I guess everyone has their own level of satisfaction with a particular explanation or model. I appreciate that many don't find the "conventional" explanations of consciousness satisfying, and I agree that it seems to be a special case not least because it appears to be something reflecting on itself, unable to remove itself from the loop. We don't appear equipped for this.



    Well, you discuss some of the different components below, now numbered. Others would include more. You probably know that some of my interest lies in how what we call consciousness appears to emerge/mature with well documented brain changes in the early months and years.

    It doesn't preclude it (in some way we don't fully understand) but I guess it comes back to what one considers a satisfactory explanation. It's easier to say "consciousness as a fundamental", than consider what that really means.

    No.

    Hmmm...
     
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  9. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I am rather wary of this idea because ψ is defined in a way that excludes physical causes. If for example, it could be shown that people could communicate electromagnetically (as they do using phones!) then that would not be a ψ effect. Precognition seems to be an extremely common ψ effect, and I guess that is more resistant to materialist explanations - unless by TSQM!

    David
     
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  10. Inner Space

    Inner Space New

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    Let's face it, history is full of reputed accounts of levitation, demons, ectoplasmic entities, witches, levitating witches and the rest. These are hardly scientific evidence. I was distinctly unimpressed by the citing of the "Light As A Feather" game. I too remember playing this game in school and whilst I was impressed when we lifted the person with only our fingers, I did not feel a miracle had occurred. There is nothing that defies the laws of physics in this game. Parapsychology is an interesting area of study but there is a danger that empirically unverifiable stories about levitating monks will do more harm then good to the study of anomalistic events. I also think that rather then most people being afraid of accepting that miracles can occur, most people want there to be miracles in the world. However, if you want to believe in miracles, there a more sophisticated ways of looking for them then looking for evidence that there really are gravity defying monks. How I can voluntarily raise my arm in the air is a miracle that needs explaining and in my opinion, no scientist or neuroscientist has explained this as yet.
     
  11. billw

    billw New

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    How many of them, among other written records taken at the time, include "at least 150 sworn depositions of witnesses of high credentials: cardinals, bishops, surgeons, craftsmen, princes and princesses who personally lived by his word, popes, inquisitors, and countless variety of ordinary citizens and pilgrims"?

    Cheers,
    Bill
     
  12. north

    north Member

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  13. Well having mechanisms that are at least potentially inline with either field effects and/or quantum biology is a stronger road to acceptance.

    However, looking at Braude's stuff, Psi throws into the light issues that plague materialist explanations for mental events in general. So it's not that telepathy cannot be accounted for by explanations using non-mental matter - it's that communication in general cannot.

    So getting Psi through the door is a first goal and from there we can turn back to, say, Grosso's ideas of what's going on in reality...
     
  14. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Yes, I think physical explanations of ψ are incredibly unlikely for a number of reasons:

    1) As discussed above, ψ includes precognition - maybe it is even the most prominent type.

    2) The brain's neurons are supposed to encode everything - e.g. the concept of a cup - statistically in the weights on the synapses. The statistical structure is supposed to form as people learn, and so be unique to each person - so how can we communicate at that level when everyone will have different statistical structures? More generally, from a materialist point of view, the brain can't have in-built representations for concepts it has not evolved with - e.g. ship, plane, car, that often figure in ψ communication.

    3) Persinger et al propose that ESP is transmitted as very low frequency electromagnetic signals - but there is only a very small amount of bandwidth there, and billions of people 'transmitting on it'.

    4) I am not sure how certain this is, but it is claimed that ESP does not fall off with distance - at the very least it obviously doesn't fall off sharply with distance.

    5) Since there are billions of people on the earth, any form of physical ESP would presumably produce a lot of cross talk - people receiving messages that were not 'meant' for them.

    David
     
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  15. I'd agree that on some fundamental level materialism cannot account for Psi. However I suspect these issues are not necessarily insurmountable to a materialist though I'd be skeptical there are reasonable explanations for all of them.
     
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  16. gabriel

    gabriel New

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    It's worth mentioning that it isn't only saints and sages who are gravity intolerant - although they figure highly in the terraphobic record - plenty of ordinary people have been reported to hover. Whether their ground eschewing tendencies were objective, or they had some means of changing perception in the observer to a similar extent, there is no way of knowing.

    Levitation is a kind of mid-table anomaly in the weird league, and I'm tempted to think some people could pull it off, almost always involuntarily. The strange thing is why a state of inner transcendence is manifest in a physical condition.
     
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  17. hypermagda

    hypermagda Member

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    Thank you Sciborg for asking these clear, excellent questions, which I share 100% and to which I have not been offered any satisfactory answers.....what is this "growth" New Agers and the like-minded seem to talk about all the time, exactly? Ethical/moral? That would be nice of course, but they often say that no matter what the injustice, the horror, the absurdity we face, "it's all good", "it's all about love", "we're all one" (as if there was hardly any need to differentiate between the victim and the perpetrator) - but if it's all good as it is, then what's the point in doing anything at all, including (supposedly) growing? The word "grow" implies a movement from an inferior to a superior state of being, but if "it's all good" already it would seem that we're just going round in circles, or dancing to some kind of chaotic choreography with no specific aim if not that of constantly moving and changing shape....I just don't get it.
     
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  18. Typoz

    Typoz Member

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    These are valid questions.

    When I was younger, I grew very tired of trying to live up to the expectations of society, such as work hard at school, and you'll get as good job, work hard in a job and you'll be able to buy lots of things ... the question uppermost in my mind was - why would I want to do any of those things? After pondering on those questions, my answer was, I did not want any of those things, I just wanted to be. That was on the good days. Other days, I didn't even want to be.

    To some extent one has to find one's own answers, not because no answer is better than any other, but because satisfying external demands will never be sufficient.

    As for growth, I prefer to look on it as a plant or a flower, it is both gentle yet unstoppable. It grows simply because that is its nature. It does not imply struggle to meet expectations, it is only doing what it does, being what it is.

    One other comment, regarding so-called "New Agers". I'm not sure this label means very much, it isn't that there is a single homogeneous set of beliefs, to me it only means those who are disillusioned with tradition and seek something fresh. Beyond that, it means little, though it is sometimes used as a disparaging term by hard-core believers in some religion or other.

    I'm sure I missed the real point of your post, but it deserves an answer, even a poor one.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2016
  19. Obiwan

    Obiwan Member

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    I am inclined to agree with you. Perhaps it's more that we can extract benefit from those situations if we can view them in a particular way, but that they are often clearly not intrinsically good.

    Growth I guess implies some direction. That we are progressing towards some objective.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2016
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  20. Some Grosso interviews that might be of interest:







     
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