Proposed new forum: "Reasoning about reality"

Do you support the creation of this new forum?

  • Yes, as named.

    Votes: 5 41.7%
  • Yes, but with a different name.

    Votes: 3 25.0%
  • No.

    Votes: 3 25.0%
  • Unsure / not willing to answer.

    Votes: 1 8.3%

  • Total voters
    12
#21
Oh, and finally, of course all participants on the forum would have dismissed the materialist/physicalist worldview, so that we were beyond kindergarten.
I guess this section would be MOD+, and fortunately we don't seem plagued any more by sceptics breaking the rules!

David
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#22
unless they are to be entirely personal (in which case, we are bound not to interfere, but also not to follow)?
Interesting question in itself - if someone has a private belief that isn't affecting others (through voting or whatnot) should we interfere? What if they are harming themselves?

Not saying there's an easy answer - sometimes trying to do what we think is helpful can actually hurt someone.
 
#23
The real problem, as I see it, is that stuff gets buried. Yes you can search for it if you know it is there, but if you don't you will never find it. For example:

We had an extensive, and fascinating, discussion about the viability or otherwise of evolution by natural selection.

We could use a section that was reserved for high quality evidence for the various phenomena we discuss. Possibly this forum could be read only, and moderators would copy things into it.

Maybe just one extra section that contained links to past items might work instead, I don't know.

David
If threads are going to be moderated, by relocating them to the appropriate sub-forum, then I can see the point in what your saying David. But that's more work for somebody...?

If they are not going to be relocated... Then I can't see the point, as everything will stay muddled, just across more sub-forums.
 
#24
I guess this section would be MOD+, and fortunately we don't seem plagued any more by sceptics breaking the rules!

David
Well you've already got a consciousness forum... and I don't understand how you can discuss reality, but prevent discussion of transformations which work.
 
#25
Well you've already got a consciousness forum... and I don't understand how you can discuss reality, but prevent discussion of transformations which work.
Well I guess you should argue that out with Laird, personally I am all in favour of an evidence section - that new people can go to as they join.

David
 
#26
I'd like to see one or two other such sections - in particular it would be nice to have a section devoted to the best evidence for ψ phenomena, and maybe one devoted to the relationship between science and ψ.

The problem with using threads in the general sections, is that they get buried too rapidly.

David
Good idea, although perhaps - and I seem to remember you suggesting this quite a few months back in another thread - a wiki would be more suited to that task?

I think the name is fine... and the topic is great... if impossible :)

suggestion: let's try and create a Skeptiko blog post out of this... i.e. collect these though, ideas, opinions, interview excerpts into 1500-2000 word essay/post. might give us some momentum and purpose :)

are you up for it Laird?
I think so. It would definitely be a good exercise to distill it all. Will let you know how I go.

I doubt we need anymore forums, nobody knows where to put stuff as it is, and it all gets jumbled up. Threads don't stay on track anyway.
Disorder seems to me like a good reason to introduce more order, not less.

And the idea you can discuss reality, without reference to transformations which actually work (dismissed?) makes very little sense to me.
Just to be clear: "transformations which actually work" are fine, all that would be dismissed is the idea that reality can be entirely explained in materialist/physicalist terms. There are already parts of this board that operate on this basis (rejection of materialism/physicalism).

I guess this section would be MOD+
Yes, it would be a place to reason about and contrast worldviews given an acceptance of the reality of psi, the paranormal, the supernatural and the spiritual i.e. worldviews would have to be able to account for all these.

Interesting question in itself - if someone has a private belief that isn't affecting others (through voting or whatnot) should we interfere?
That depends on what you mean by "interfere". My view? Having a robust debate with them about it is fine; locking them in a room and trying to "deprogram" them isn't.

What if they are harming themselves?
People have the right to do that. Sometimes what seems like harm to an observer is (an attempt at) transcendence to the experiencer, or serves some other valid personal purpose. We might though want to make sure they're aware of what they're doing, and the consequences. If they ask us for help, then let's help; if not, then let's not assume they need it.

Not saying there's an easy answer - sometimes trying to do what we think is helpful can actually hurt someone.
Exactly.
 
#27
Thanks for the candid assessment, Typoz. I'm sure it won't matter much, but in case it does, here's why I chose the provisional name.

I am a fan of "reasoning" because reason is, as far as I can tell, the best way to exclude obviously bogus interpretations of "reality", and to synthesise (or at least aid in the synthesis of) apparently disparate views of reality. e.g. if somebody says, "God tells us that this square is a circle", then we can deduce some things from that (assuming some normative logic, which, of course, is not a given) - either that this "God" is illogical and thus unlikely to be real, or that the person telling the story is illogical and thus not to be trusted. And given the focus of this board, Skeptiko, we have a lot of "squares" and a lot of "circles" to start off from i.e. NDEs, OBEs, STEs, non-dual experiences, etc. That gives us a starting point from which to say "OK, well, hey, *this* line of evidence says *such and such*, but *this other* line of evidence says the exact opposite... reason tells us that they can't both be true, and so we need to find some reasonable way of synthesising the two, and here's one possibility".

Now, you suggest inspiration or direct knowing, and I would *definitely* not discount either, but... how are we to evaluate these? Ultimately, are we not going to have to subject them to comparison with the inspirations and direct knowings of others, to see whether or not they are compatible? And isn't this going to, ultimately, be a matter of *reasoning*? e.g. so-and-so's inspiration is that the Christian apocalypse is upon us, but such-and-such has a direct knowing instead that we live in a cyclical universe, and that good follows evil follows good, on and on to eternity. Surely we need some means of *reasoning* between these inspirations or direct knowings, unless they are to be entirely personal (in which case, we are bound not to interfere, but also not to follow)?

As for "reality", I find that it's a nice "container term". I would generally interpret it in the sense of spiritual/metaphysical systems, but it equally applies to systems such as the biological (e.g. evolution versus intelligent design) and the political (Trump versus Sanders, or liberal versus conservative): these are all part of "reality", broadly conceived.
.
Hi Laird, hi everybody, after a few days spent "licking my wounds" (only psychological wounds, luckily, but still, I'm still feeling shaken and very angry...) I'm back here because as I said before I feel that after all there's nothing more worthwhile for me to do than trying to make sense of this weird (and occasionally truly horrific) existence I'm experiencing. And the contributions people post in this Forum, though I obviously do not agree with all of them, truly help me in my inquiry so thank you all once again. I just saw this thread as I was trying to go back to the posts I had not replied to a few days ago, just before the terror attacks here in Brussels, and I wanted to say that what you propose (this new Forum, or thread) sounds very appealing to me. I also agree with what you wrote about 'reasoning" in your post which I quote above - I, too believe in reasoning, and to me too it's very important to ascertain the COMPATIBILITY (as you rightly pointed out), between the various theories people have come up with, including as a consequence of their experiences. Compatibility means logical compatibility of course. I do not believe at all that experiences, i.e. the "feelings" or "intuition" we get from an anomalous experience, are necessarily a glimpse of "the truth". Lots of factors could play a significant role (the imaginative functions of the mind, our cultural background, deception by "entities", the Trickster thing, whatever that is, etc etc) By the way, to those who say that "compatibility" is not important because it may be the case that there is no logic behind existence, and so (according to them) "the truth is that there is not truth" my reply would be "well, that in itself would be THE truth"....so in the end, logically, there is bound to be an ultimate truth (even if it should be the disappointing one - for me- , that is, that there is no ultimate logic and meaning to anything whatsoever "happening" to whatever exists, including us), and that's why I am searching for it. I'm not saying that we'll ever know for sure in the sense of having proof of it of course, but my own existential aim is a lot more modest: I strive to develop a consistent theory that I personally find convincing based both on objective evidence (what happens in consensus reality) and on my personal experience. That would be my life's achievement....wish me luck! I only need to convince myself, not others, and even this has proved impossible thus far....
My proposal for the title of this new Forum/thread you suggest would be: "Existence: what is happening (to us / to it) and why?". This is because we may not know exactly or agree on what "reality" is: I usually refer to "consensus reality" (which would be the part of it on which most of us would agree on: that there is a pretty cruel world out there where people get killed in terror attacks, for example, while we don't have much consensus about what may lie behind it), but we all "feel" that we exist. And we all feel that something is going on, "happening", all the time. If we are all in this Forum, I am pretty sure we're all wondering WHY (though that may just be me....I can't just observe and accept the fact that I exist). Oh yes, and maybe a wiki could also be an option, good idea!
 
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#28
I have introduced a new thread in "Guidlines and Introductions" as an experiment. The idea is that the top post will contain sections with links to significant debates on this board (and there are a lot) and links to other 'must read' information. To keep it tidy I propose to incorporate suggestions from you all (post them in the new thread) in the main list, deleting your posts as I do this. Please confine your posts to a title, and a list of links.

If this works well, it will act as a contents list of SKEPTIKO, so that, for example, all the discussions about reasoning about the nature of reality will be visible.

If you don't like this idea, or (better!) want to make suggestions, here might be the best place to discuss it.

David
 
#30
Hi Laird, hi everybody, after a few days spent "licking my wounds" (only psychological wounds, luckily, but still, I'm still feeling shaken and very angry...
I think we all are, hypermagda - and to think that this seems to have been their second 'best' alternative - they wanted to attack the nuclear power station nearby.

I hope neither you nor your family were caught up directly in what happened?

David
 
#31
No, I was not working that day. Just luck (and a series of "lucky synchronicities", I could add - but maybe it's all in my mind) . Anyway it was a pretty close call, that's the stop I use for work. And I had a flight (which I cancelled) to catch exactly two days after the attacks, so I could have been at the airport, too. What happened certainly has a big impact on our daily life, as you can imagine. There are still police operations underway, police sirens all the time, the other day two terrorists were shot and wounded by the police in Brussels, the "Peace march" was cancelled today because there are still too many dangerous people at large and the police is struggling to cope....it feels quite overwhelming still. First and foremost, I think of the victims, the many wounded, some horribly maimed (the terrorists put shrapnel in the bombs). Thank you for your sympathy, it means a lot.
 
#32
I feel I should say a little more about my viewpoint, though it may be off-topic here, nevertheless there is a risk of being misunderstood if I don't explain further.

My educational background was strongest in the sciences and particularly mathematics and physics. I've earned a living much of my life as a software developer. That's a whole lot of rational and logical thinking going on there. It's one of my strengths.

But real life, the living of it has all sorts of experiences which don't fit. At some point what happens is either our model of the world we live in, or the way we think about it, starts to creak and groan under the constraints of rational thought. When that happens, there is a gap into which new models of the world may be introduced, new ways of considering things. What I am deliberately doing is to avoid committing to any fixed idea. My choice is to not be constrained, the ideas I hold are fluid. This is very much a personal position, and I don't try to recommend it to anyone else.
 
#33
What I am deliberately doing is to avoid committing to any fixed idea. My choice is to not be constrained, the ideas I hold are fluid. This is very much a personal position, and I don't try to recommend it to anyone else.
This is my approach too - but I would recommend it to others, I think. Getting committed to one concept of reality seems uncomfortably like being converted to a religion. The comfort of feeling you know the truth can lock you into a framework that doesn't really work.

This seems to have happened in science too. Evolution by natural selection fits less and less well as the intricate contents of a cell get exposed, but very few in academia want to admit that publicly.

David
 
#34
This is my approach too - but I would recommend it to others, I think. Getting committed to one concept of reality seems uncomfortably like being converted to a religion. The comfort of feeling you know the truth can lock you into a framework that doesn't really work.

This seems to have happened in science too. Evolution by natural selection fits less and less well as the intricate contents of a cell get exposed, but very few in academia want to admit that publicly.

David
Not a problem for me because I don't feel at all I know the truth, otherwise I wouldn't be here. But certainly I would like to know the truth. Wouldn't you? Otherwise why are you here, if I may ask? (I'm not being flippant, I'm genuinely interested in your motivations).
 
#35
I've just changed my vote, as I was simply satisfied with having such a topic to discuss. But reading Typoz posts and thinking about it, I think 'reasoning' is not really an appropriate word, while some may also not be happy with 'reality,' it is close enough to pointing to a vague topic to which probably no words would adequately fit.

Like Typoz and David, I think such thoughts on such topics should remain fluid, and attempts to nail them down might fit with some, but not with others.
 
#36
Not a problem for me because I don't feel at all I know the truth, otherwise I wouldn't be here. But certainly I would like to know the truth. Wouldn't you? Otherwise why are you here, if I may ask? (I'm not being flippant, I'm genuinely interested in your motivations).
Well mine is a pragmatic view. We aren't going to know the whole truth at least until we are dead (and I still don't 100% rule out the possibility that that might mean oblivion). Another possibility is that we enter a state in which our knowledge is still incomplete.

I make an issue of this because I really object to the way in which organised religion claims to know it all (or at least as much as man is supposed to know) and becomes rigid and aggressive as a result - gosh, I don't need to remind you of that right now. I think some of that aggression comes from seeing ones beliefs pitted against others. Both beliefs look less certain then, so you hate people with other beliefs.

I am using the bold face belief to mean the religious, or other extreme dogmatic variety of belief - which is normally a fairly mild word.

David
 

Ian Gordon

Ninshub
Member
#37
If there is concern about subdividing the forum, another idea would be to post the relevant threads in a subforum like Other Stuff or Extended Conscious And Spirituality, but all using the same title for the beginning of the thread:

e.g. Reasoning about Reality 1: Does Evil Exist?, Reasoning about Reality 2: Does Life Have Meaning?, etc. etc.

Looking at the examples of threads proposed in Laird's opening post, it seems to me some of these DO have a natural home in the Extended Consciousness & Spirituality subforum (like Steve's I Think I've Got The Answer) - especially when they involve information gleaned from experiencers, whether OBErs, NDErs, channelers, etc, and talking and thinking about those. I personally see no reason to separate these out from the rest of the forum topics.

If some people, however, want to make threads where the purpose is really speculation without special recourse to information transmitted by a paranormal source, and with more of a philosophical/free-to-speculate-in-any-way tone, as I said they could be posted in one of these subforums using the same title at the beginning, so that it would be easy to find these threads in that subforum.

"Speculating About Reality" sounds good to me, among other options (The Philosophers' Corner, say).

I also think people should not make too much about the word "Spirituality" in the "Extended Consciousness and Spirituality" subforum. IMO, the word should be understood in its broadest possible sense - as in, the spiritual (beyond purely physical) nature of reality, the "greater reality", not a moral or religious view (spirituality as bettering oneself).
 
#38
Here come multiple responses in a single post...

My sympathy to you, hypermagda, I'm glad that you escaped a tragic fate. As you point out, it is a difficult to understand fact of existence that so many do not escape such a fate - which of course would be a key "data point" to discuss on any new forum.

I'm back here because as I said before I feel that after all there's nothing more worthwhile for me to do than trying to make sense of this weird (and occasionally truly horrific) existence I'm experiencing. And the contributions people post in this Forum, though I obviously do not agree with all of them, truly help me in my inquiry so thank you all once again.
It's a key attraction to me of this board: I am already sold (partly through personal experience, partly through science) on the existence of psi and of a whole "realm" beyond the materialistic, so the next logical point of inquiry is, "OK, so what does it all mean? Can we - on this board - take a similarly rigorous approach to the nature of reality as a whole as we have taken to the existence of psi?" And the answer seems to be, generally, "Yes", albeit that the strict Western scientific method can't always be applied to these bigger questions. So, for me, the powerful value of this board is as "a peer-reviewing collective of rational investigators into the big questions, having already accepted the answer to the 'smaller' question of whether we live in a spiritual universe". All I'm really suggesting is that we identify and make it easy to find where these "investigations and peer-reviews" are occurring on this board.

If people don't like the proposed forum name, that's fine. If they don't even like the idea of adding a new forum, that's fine too. So long as there is some way of identifying and collecting these discussions, I'll be satisfied. Maybe even David's new "index" thread (could) serve(s) the purpose well enough.

I just saw this thread as I was trying to go back to the posts I had not replied to a few days ago, just before the terror attacks here in Brussels, and I wanted to say that what you propose (this new Forum, or thread) sounds very appealing to me.
Nice, I'm glad you're on board with the idea.

I also agree with what you wrote about 'reasoning" in your post which I quote above - I, too believe in reasoning, and to me too it's very important to ascertain the COMPATIBILITY (as you rightly pointed out), between the various theories people have come up with, including as a consequence of their experiences. Compatibility means logical compatibility of course.
Yes. And this is not to deny the need for creativity, insight and intuition in coming up with the theories in the first place, it is only to emphasise that once we have a theory, we need to apply critical thinking towards it. I am, though, open to the possibility that I have gotten the emphasis wrong in the proposed name, and that the emphasis should be on genesis rather than analysis.

My proposal for the title of this new Forum/thread you suggest would be: "Existence: what is happening (to us / to it) and why?".
I like it. It seems a little long for the title itself, but maybe it could be a sub-title? And maybe we could replace "(to us / to it)" with "here and beyond"?

This is because we may not know exactly or agree on what "reality" is: I usually refer to "consensus reality"
Well, maybe having "reality" in the title and "existence" in the sub-title would give people the right sense of what is intended?

I have introduced a new thread in "Guidlines and Introductions" as an experiment. The idea is that the top post will contain sections with links to significant debates on this board (and there are a lot) and links to other 'must read' information. To keep it tidy I propose to incorporate suggestions from you all (post them in the new thread) in the main list, deleting your posts as I do this. Please confine your posts to a title, and a list of links.

If this works well, it will act as a contents list of SKEPTIKO, so that, for example, all the discussions about reasoning about the nature of reality will be visible.

If you don't like this idea, or (better!) want to make suggestions, here might be the best place to discuss it.

David
I very much like this idea. Enthusiastically endorsed! I'm not sure it obviates (the need for) the proposed new forum, but that's something we can discuss.

hypermagda: Oh yes, and maybe a wiki could also be an option, good idea!

David Bailey: I don't think wiki is a good place for any discussions of this sort. They will attract the militant materialists who will edit them to spoil them.
Well, firstly, I proposed (on the back of somebody else's historical proposal, I guess I misremembered that it was you, David? It might instead have been Ian) the wiki more for documenting scientific evidence of psi, but it *could* also be used to summarise discussions about reality. Secondly, it is possible to require login prior to editing on a wiki, so that we could vet potential contributors and avoid most of the spam. I have some experience with administering a MediaWiki (the software that runs Wikipedia) wiki, and have also written a skin for that software - the Treeview skin - which adds hierarchical browsing to the sidebar (unfortunately, the skin has a few drawbacks, and I am no longer actively working on it). I know that MediaWiki supports custom login procedures, so that, potentially, the wiki could share login accounts with the forum - so that, potentially, we could limit wiki editing to forum members.

I feel I should say a little more about my viewpoint, though it may be off-topic here, nevertheless there is a risk of being misunderstood if I don't explain further.

My educational background was strongest in the sciences and particularly mathematics and physics. I've earned a living much of my life as a software developer. That's a whole lot of rational and logical thinking going on there. It's one of my strengths.

But real life, the living of it has all sorts of experiences which don't fit. At some point what happens is either our model of the world we live in, or the way we think about it, starts to creak and groan under the constraints of rational thought. When that happens, there is a gap into which new models of the world may be introduced, new ways of considering things. What I am deliberately doing is to avoid committing to any fixed idea. My choice is to not be constrained, the ideas I hold are fluid. This is very much a personal position, and I don't try to recommend it to anyone else.
We have similar strengths and educational backgrounds, Typoz, as well as an identical profession. :)

What you say about old models cracking and new models being introduced is totally compatible with the aims of the proposed forum, and the forum doesn't either require that anybody commit to anything. The point of including "reasoning" is that once you've discarded your old model, you're going to want to critically appraise any potential new models, right? I mean, you're not going to just say, "Whatever comes to me, I accept it: that will be my new model", are you? You're going to want it to actually make sense: to be internally consistent, to explain what we know about reality, etc?

But I think you're also concerned that there's too much focus on analysis and not enough on genesis in the proposed name? Maybe there's a terse forum name connoting the idea of "Creatively and insightfully generating new models of reality and then subjecting them to critical appraisal" - that would seem to satisfy your sentiments, or am I wrong?

I've just changed my vote, as I was simply satisfied with having such a topic to discuss. But reading Typoz posts and thinking about it, I think 'reasoning' is not really an appropriate word, while some may also not be happy with 'reality,' it is close enough to pointing to a vague topic to which probably no words would adequately fit.

Like Typoz and David, I think such thoughts on such topics should remain fluid, and attempts to nail them down might fit with some, but not with others.
No worries, Steve: which name would you suggest instead? Do you think it needs to incorporate ideas of "genesis", "insight", "creativity" and "direct knowing" too, and, as for the "reasoning" part, would you be happier with something along the lines of (though it is too long in practice) "critically appraising models of" rather than "reasoning about"?

If there is concern about subdividing the forum, another idea would be to post the relevant threads in a subforum like Other Stuff or Extended Conscious And Spirituality, but all using the same title for the beginning of the thread:

e.g. Reasoning about Reality 1: Does Evil Exist?, Reasoning about Reality 2: Does Life Have Meaning?, etc. etc.
Yes, that's a possibility, and whilst they might otherwise get lost amongst all the other posts, that scheme could probably work with David's "index" thread, so long as people made sure to update the "index" thread regularly (the lack of automation is a drawback).

Looking at the examples of threads proposed in Laird's opening post, it seems to me some of these DO have a natural home in the Extended Consciousness & Spirituality subforum (like Steve's I Think I've Got The Answer) - especially when they involve information gleaned from experiencers, whether OBErs, NDErs, channelers, etc, and talking and thinking about those. I personally see no reason to separate these out from the rest of the forum topics.
Perhaps, though, had this forum been available when Steve created the thread, he might have approached it differently? He might have said, "Here's what I think the answer is, now let's analyse it to see whether it holds up to careful scrutiny" - and then it might have had a better home in the new forum than the existing one.

If some people, however, want to make threads where the purpose is really speculation without special recourse to information transmitted by a paranormal source, and with more of a philosophical/free-to-speculate-in-any-way tone, as I said they could be posted in one of these subforums using the same title at the beginning, so that it would be easy to find these threads in that subforum.

"Speculating About Reality" sounds good to me, among other options (The Philosophers' Corner, say).
Speculation is fine, and it has its place, but it has to be matched with critical thought. There definitely could be speculative-brainstorming threads in the new forum where critical appraisal was temporarily suspended for the sake of creativity, but in the end, you have to subject your creations to the "sniff test", don't you?

Also, "philosophy" is so much broader than the aim of this forum, so I'm not sure it's such a good fit.
 
#39
Speculating About Reality" sounds good to me, among other options (The Philosophers' Corner, say).
Speculation is fine, and it has its place, but it has to be matched with critical thought. There definitely could be speculative-brainstorming threads in the new forum where critical appraisal was temporarily suspended for the sake of creativity, but in the end, you have to subject your creations to the "sniff test", don't you?
Sorry to disagree Laird, but I think there should be somewhere in the forum where people can put down their thoughts without fear of being subject to anything critical, even thinking. :) This subheading of this forum is ' intelligent discussion on science and spirituality'. Many of the topics we discuss here are subjective, outside of today's scientific model, we have seen how difficult it is to apply even a 'sniff test', far less a formal scientifically approved test to controversial topics such as NDEs, reincarnation and the like.

I think we should be content, even happy, to allow conversations and thoughts to wander off the beaten path into areas of philosophy, even fantasy for some. We are mostly intelligent somewhat sceptical thinking people, threads that gather interest will be an adequate 'sniff test', for me anyhow.

I am a great admirer of Stephen Hawking, he's an amazing soul and scientific mind, but surely his saying that "philosophy is dead" is one of the silliest things ever said by a genius. It was surely tongue in cheek, if it wasn't, I'd like to think that he must have been drinking that day. :eek:

So The Philosophers' Corner sounds good to me, Speculating about Reality also. I'm not that bothered really, after all we're just thinking of suitable names for a sub forum of a forum, it's hardly going to cause an earthquake even if we called it Loonies Riffing on Reality.:D
 
#40
Sorry to disagree Laird, but I think there should be somewhere in the forum where people can put down their thoughts without fear of being subject to anything critical, even thinking. :)
I couldn't agree more, Steve! But that place is not (would not be) the forum I'm proposing. The forum I'm proposing would be, ideally, something like a peer-reviewed journal, in which people put forward what they believe to be supportable hypotheses as to "what's really going on". In other words, it would be a serious "scientific quest". This might, as part of the generative process, involve brainstorming threads - after all, unrestrained creativity is part of the process of coming up with solutions. But if you were just "playing around" in those threads, without the ultimate aim of generating a serious hypothesis which could be rigorously scrutinised, then you would do better to post in another part of the board.

At least, that's my vision for this forum. I don't expect you to support it, I just want you to be clear on what it actually is.

Happy Easter Monday, mate. :)
 
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