Are there any paranormal phenomena AT ALL??

From Kai? From Chuck Drake? From me? From Troy?

What reason can you provide that debating with us is more likely to lead you to the truth than reading a good, well thought out book? Whether on mediumship, NDEs, philosophy, ethics, or otherwise?
 
Right, I agree with you. But it’s not just perspective—it’s also the larger context that is important. Science studies topics from quantum physics to cosmology, and seeks to put our understanding in the broadest and most universal context possible. If materialism is a true, then that puts our individual lives in one context. If part of our consciousness exists outside of that small context, potentially intersecting with physical reality uncountable times through processes such as reincarnation, mediumistic communications, etc., then that creates a whole different and larger context to consider our actions in. And in my opinion, that is by no means a small consideration.

Cheers,
Bill
I guess I just don't see it that way. If materialism is true, for me that just means we have to focus on the innumerable contexts already available: us as individuals, us as members of a community, us as intellectual seekers, us as artists, friends, family, parts of our ecosystem, constituents of causes that are important to us, and so on.

There are too many angles to be exhausted by one human life.
 
If there were a greater, ultimate purpose to life, then what you said would have to remain unchanged but for one respect: millions throughout history would still have suffered and died, alone and sad; countless children would still have perished of hunger; and as many would have met their ends in horrible diseases, as young as they did; except that now we would have to say that there was such a purpose as could condone that misery and agony somewhere in this universe, and that, no, it wasn't just an accident. Perhaps, in fact, it was designed or premeditated. Perhaps someone earnestly desired that this should occur. Or was pleasured by it.

Intellectual honesty demands that we ask these sorts of questions, just as it demands that we ask yours. Would you not begin to do so if you saw another human being stand by and watch, innocuously, as others tortured and beat a small child on the street? Doing nothing. Just gazing. And then walking away.

Hi Johann,

Thanks for playing the devil’s advocate. I have actually thought about questions similar to those you posed above. I won’t pretend that I have answers to them. Intellectually speaking, I am agnostic as to the veracity of the paranormal and the mystical. Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed by the complexity of the topic. To even try to come to grips with it I’ve had to acquaint myself with philosophy of religion/science/mind; history of science; anthropology; physics; biology/evolution; religious studies; neuroscience; etc. Mind you, I said acquaint, not master.


Still, I’ve read enough to convince myself - as I am sure you would agree from what I can glean from your posts – that the materialist conception of how the world works is not as ironclad as its supporters suppose. Personally, I am drawn, both temperamentally and intellectually, to panentheism (a worldview which, incidentally, will be given a thorough and rigorous defense in a forthcoming sequel to Irreducible Mind.) According to panentheism, an infinite consciousness manifests the universe within itself and becomes all the sentient beings within that universe. As neo-Advaita teacher Francis Lucille would say, the awareness that is reading these words right now is identical with cosmic awareness. In this sense, we are all God experiencing itself.


If this is the case, then God did indeed condone misery and agony. I have had trouble coming to grips with this, but I remember reading something in T.L.S. Sprigge’s Vindication of Absolute Idealism that struck a chord with me. I don’t have the book handy, so I have to go from memory, but I remember him talking about the Absolute being the experiencer of every experience in the universe. In this sense, then, the Absolute suffers with us, for it is us. Ergo, the little child would never be alone for his or her awareness is, at its deepest root, identical with cosmic awareness/pure consciousness/ God or whatever moniker you wish to attach to ultimate reality. It is all part of what Hindus call Lila, the cosmic play.


Of course, I don’t know if this view is correct, but it certainly seems more hopeful than the one proffered by materialists like Rosenberg. Nevertheless, just because it is more hopeful doesn’t mean it’s truer. All the same, that would be my answer to your questions.
 
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Fair enough. I've considered getting a dog, but I've never had one. So how do you differentiate between your dogs "thinking" they are going out and wanting to go out?
If they want to go out they look at me. If I walk towards the door they will perk their heads up or get excited if I open the door. You read their body language.
 
From Kai? From Chuck Drake? From me? From Troy?

What reason can you provide that debating with us is more likely to lead you to the truth than reading a good, well thought out book? Whether on mediumship, NDEs, philosophy, ethics, or otherwise?
Not sure if that was directed at me? I didn't think I was debating you :) and as far as Kai I was trying to point out other avenues that he might explore. In fact I am reading a good book at the moment:

http://www.amazon.com/World-Grain-Sand-Clairvoyance-Ossowiecki/dp/0786421126

Many people here share links and pointers to many interesting topics. That's mainly why I come here.

Cheers,
Bill
 
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Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
I find it interesting that you guys say that. See, that doesn't work for me. I suppose it's a temperament thing, but I am too aware of mortality. Some people say that makes every moment more valuable to them, and I envy them that. For me though, if there is no consciousness post mortem, it's really precisely equivalent to having never existed. An infinity eternity of darkness behind. WHOOF! (some light for a nanosecond) and an infinite eternity of darkness in front. What does that amount to?
Why does having an extended or infinite life make you feel any better? I ask not sarcastically but because I've never been able to figure out why that helps.

~~ Paul
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
ETA: By the way, anyone in particular I should watch out for? I've never seen you provide convincing evidence of materialism and I stopped reading Linda's posts because I don't understand them. As it stands now, I guess it would have to be Paul who changes my mind, but that hasn't happened yet.
Since I believe that physicalism and idealism are probably equivalent modulo terminology, I won't be trying too hard to change your mind. ;-) I'm more of a "why are you making that assumption" kind of guy, rather than a "I think you should assume this" sort of person. Most of the time, anyway.

~~ Paul
 
Why does having an extended or infinite life make you feel any better? I ask not sarcastically but because I've never been able to figure out why that helps.

~~ Paul
I guess "extended" wouldn't be enough. An inifinite life would mean that there is no point in time where everything before is "lost". There is no multiplication with zero.
 
I would not go around raping, killing and pillaging if horn-beak materialism is true. But I suspect this is more of a biologically tuned social suppressor acting upon me. I also recognize that it wouldn't make the damnedest bit of difference whether I do or not, from any imagined ultimate perspective. While I sympathize for any suffering creature, I also recognize that all the “sad sufferers” of history effectively never existed either, along with me, if consciousness is simply a flash in the abyss. And yes, it makes a difference to me that the suffering individual no longer exists, will never exist again, and as I said above, effectively never existed. As of NOW, to that individual, there’s effectively no difference whether he ever suffered or not, or whether she suffered horrendously all her life.

“Why would extended or infinite life make me happier?” It wouldn’t taken alone, or stated like that. A longer life of the kind we presently endure might give us more oppoertunities for recreation or love, but it also gives us more opportunities to contract a hellish disease, get kidnapped by terrorists, slip and fall and break my neck, and all the other polarized possibilities of this life-form. It would need to be something different, imo, rooted in eternity (eternity not taken as a wearisome extension of time) and it would need to be a connection of consciousness to that (hypothetical) other state. In other words, there would need to be at least SOME species of conscious continuity between what I now take to be “me” and THAT. This is very different from saying that I have to be that, though, or even that “I” as such have a need to continue at all. But this scenario is awfully different from the Total Eclipse scenario, to me, in many ways, and yes it does alter (at least) the moral question too. If a “dreamself” suffers and wakes up to discover that “it” was really “me” and it was “me” that was dreaming, just as an example, this is different from “a dreamself lives and dies” and its suffering was a pointless blip in greater pointlessness.

Now I am in general known for being a neutral monist, rather than a materialist, and this brings into scope certain possibilities that aren’t contained in the materialist remit. However, because I am not a dualist I also cannot make sense of “nonphysical” worlds and so on.
 
But the data is in. The whole process has been automated and randomised to eliminate any unconscious influence at any stage of the experiment. All that's left is a disagreement over the interpretation of results and that's not what we're discussing surely.
The data isn’t “in” on it at all. We barely understand it enough to talk about it. Just the case of autistic savaunts taken ALONE is enough to tell us that the unconscious mind has the capacity for tremendous formalisms that seem miraculous. And savaunts have no idea how they do what they do. But due to some brain irregularity, this formalism has leaked into consciousness.
 
My reasons for being hard nosed about some of the psi claims is because I am very wary about "false positives" with respect to world views that may differ from the present consensus. One of these problems is the disconnect between the level of claim in NDES for "interconnection" and the tiny, tiny (if at all) level of interconnection borne out by the world. The two just don't match up. Even if one in a thousand dogs DOES somehow know when it's owner is coming home, this is such a far cry from "I seemed to know the thoughts of everybody in the world" (as I once read in an NDE).
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
I would not go around raping, killing and pillaging if horn-beak materialism is true.
"Horn-beak materialism"? It's certainly my day to learn new terms.

But I suspect this is more of a biologically tuned social suppressor acting upon me. I also recognize that it would make the damnedest bit of difference whether I do or not, from any imagined ultimate perspective.
I think you're ignoring the "do unto others" perspective.

While I sympathize for any suffering creature, I also recognize that all the “sad sufferers” of history effectively never existed either, along with me, if consciousness is simply a flash in the abyss. And yes, it makes a difference to me that the suffering individual no longer exists, will never exist again, and as I said above, effectively never existed. As of NOW, to that individual, there’s effectively no difference whether he ever suffered or not, or whether she suffered horrendously all her life.
Again, I'm not sure how living forever changes this.

“Why would extended or infinite life make me happier?” It wouldn’t taken alone, or stated like that. A longer life of the kind we presently endure might give us more oppoertunities for recreation or love, but it also gives us more opportunities to contract a hellish disease, get kidnapped by terrorists, slip and fall and break my neck, and all the other polarized possibilities of this life-form. It would need to be something different, imo, rooted in eternity (eternity not taken as a wearisome extension of time) and it would need to be a connection of consciousness to that (hypothetical) other state. In other words, there would need to be at least SOME species of conscious continuity between what I now take to be “me” and THAT.
But why does time-independent eternity and some other kind of consciousness make you feel better? In particular, are you sure the situation wouldn't have to be so different that it would not really be you existing forever?

This is very different from saying that I have to be that, though, or even that “I” as such have a need to continue at all. But this scenario is awfully different from the Total Eclipse scenario, to me, in many ways, and yes it does alter (at least) the moral question too. If a “dreamself” suffers and wakes up to discover that “it” was really “me” and it was “me” that was dreaming, just as an example, this is different from “a dreamself lives and dies” and its suffering was a pointless blip in greater pointlessness.
Ooh, I'm not really understanding this. If it is not really "you" continuing, then why do "you" feel better about this scenario now? Your current self really does disappear when you die, and some stand-in continues on.

~~ Paul
 
Paul, I certainly don't ignore the suffering of other beings while they exist. But how can I "do unto others" that don't exist any more. At best, I am doing unto their memory, and whatever social value that may be taken to have, it's an abstraction with respect to the experience of that particular once-living being.

Also, I am not "really me" even from 10 years ago. What matters is that there's a vector of continuity between "me ten years ago" and "me today." So as I was explaining in my post above, a continuity of consciousness would be necessary between this state and THAT.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

Then I think you should avoid reading any threads in CD or exposing yourself to any information that might lead you to possibly changing your mind on this topic. We can't control when our minds will be changed in reaction to new information and you might read something that changes your mind, leading you to go on some rampage or something.
By this logic all materialists should refrain from publicly spreading their views lest they trigger a reaction in subsets of the public.
 
Hi Johann,

Thanks for playing the devil’s advocate. I have actually thought about questions similar to those you posed above. I won’t pretend that I have answers to them. Intellectually speaking, I am agnostic as to the veracity of the paranormal and the mystical. Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed by the complexity of the topic. To even try to come to grips with it I’ve had to acquaint myself with philosophy of religion/science/mind; history of science; anthropology; physics; biology/evolution; religious studies; neuroscience; etc. Mind you, I said acquaint, not master.


Still, I’ve read enough to convince myself - as I am sure you would agree from what I can glean from your posts – that the materialist conception of how the world works is not as ironclad as its supporters suppose. Personally, I am drawn, both temperamentally and intellectually, to panentheism (a worldview which, incidentally, will be given a thorough and rigorous defense in a forthcoming sequel to Irreducible Mind.) According to panentheism, an infinite consciousness manifests the universe within itself and becomes all the sentient beings within that universe. As neo-Advaita teacher Francis Lucille would say, the awareness that is reading these words right now is identical with cosmic awareness. In this sense, we are all God experiencing itself.


If this is the case, then God did indeed condone misery and agony. I have had trouble coming to grips with this, but I remember reading something in T.L.S. Sprigge’s Vindication of Absolute Idealism that struck a chord with me. I don’t have the book handy, so I have to go from memory, but I remember him talking about the Absolute being the experiencer of every experience in the universe. In this sense, then, the Absolute suffers with us, for it is us. Ergo, the little child would never be alone for his or her awareness is, at its deepest root, identical with cosmic awareness/pure consciousness/ God or whatever moniker you wish to attach to ultimate reality. It is all part of what Hindus call Lila, the cosmic play.


Of course, I don’t know if this view is correct, but it certainly seems more hopeful than the one proffered by materialists like Rosenberg. Nevertheless, just because it is more hopeful doesn’t mean it’s truer. All the same, that would be my answer to your questions.
There's a sequel to irreducible mind?
 
The data isn’t “in” on it at all. We barely understand it enough to talk about it. Just the case of autistic savaunts taken ALONE is enough to tell us that the unconscious mind has the capacity for tremendous formalisms that seem miraculous. And savaunts have no idea how they do what they do. But due to some brain irregularity, this formalism has leaked into consciousness.
You misunderstand me. I meant the data is in with regards to our illustrative example of an controlled psi experiment. Like I said, randomisation controls for subject response bias and automation controls for experimenter bias during data collection and analysis. It doesn't matter whether these human biases are cognised or not - these measures will control for them regardless. Savaunts are irrelevant since we're talking about a controlled experiment.
 
You misunderstand me. I meant the data is in with regards to our illustrative example of an controlled psi experiment. Like I said, randomisation controls for subject response bias and automation controls for experimenter bias during data collection and analysis. It doesn't matter whether these human biases are cognised or not - these measures will control for them regardless. Savaunts are irrelevant since we're talking about a controlled experiment.
Of course it matters. If you cannot tell whether you are mistaking triangles or squares for circles, then you will have no idea that your "psi effect" is rooted in this formalism.

Also, feedback-powered micro pk experiments are controlled, but this doesn't stop the possibility that the effect being witnessed is a form of savauntism (i.e. unconscious formalism)...so I can't see how that's irrelevant.
 
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We can't control when our minds will be changed in reaction to new information and you might read something that changes your mind, leading you to go on some rampage or something.
That's a good point. I'm wary of condemning anyone for their responses unless I have good reason to believe they are a) mentally stable, b) being mischievous or disingenuous in some way. It is easy to get drawn into knockabout internet games in which conduct appears to be playful even robust, only to discover the light-heartedness suddenly withdrawn.

There have been skeptics on this forum whose mental health I would have to question, on the other hand appeals for empathy can be one of ploys to stop meaningful challenges. I find intellectual pissing contests distasteful, even on the odd occasion I feel more armed for the debate, as I'm acutely aware the intellect is only one way of viewing the evidence, and not always the most revealing. A useful approach is to view an internet forum as a pub, there are those where bad language and accusations are the norm, and those where barbs are cloaked in erudition, but just as sharp. The fact someone regards themselves as bright and talks like an ill-informed fool, shouldn't necessarily allow me to tell them as much.
 
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