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Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two

katlaughing 03 Sep 00 - 07:16 PM
bflat 03 Sep 00 - 08:57 PM
catspaw49 03 Sep 00 - 09:03 PM
bflat 03 Sep 00 - 09:13 PM
Escamillo 03 Sep 00 - 10:02 PM
katlaughing 04 Sep 00 - 12:48 AM
Escamillo 04 Sep 00 - 03:23 AM
bob schwarer 04 Sep 00 - 07:32 AM
Bagpuss 04 Sep 00 - 07:54 AM
Bert 04 Sep 00 - 11:46 AM
Helen 04 Sep 00 - 06:06 PM
CarolC 04 Sep 00 - 06:45 PM
Mbo 04 Sep 00 - 06:48 PM
CarolC 04 Sep 00 - 06:56 PM
bob schwarer 04 Sep 00 - 08:07 PM
Kim C 05 Sep 00 - 06:32 PM
Little Hawk 05 Sep 00 - 10:40 PM
hesperis 05 Sep 00 - 11:53 PM
CarolC 06 Sep 00 - 12:40 AM
Sourdough 06 Sep 00 - 02:48 AM
Escamillo 06 Sep 00 - 03:18 AM
Kim C 06 Sep 00 - 11:15 AM
Ebbie 06 Sep 00 - 01:03 PM
bob schwarer 06 Sep 00 - 02:53 PM
Kim C 06 Sep 00 - 02:53 PM
Little Hawk 06 Sep 00 - 05:44 PM
Kim C 06 Sep 00 - 05:59 PM
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catspaw49 06 Sep 00 - 07:25 PM
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Bert 08 Sep 00 - 03:11 PM
katlaughing 08 Sep 00 - 04:22 PM
hesperis 08 Sep 00 - 04:29 PM
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Helen 09 Sep 00 - 05:10 AM
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catspaw49 09 Sep 00 - 03:18 PM
Helen 09 Sep 00 - 11:34 PM
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hesperis 10 Sep 00 - 01:42 AM
Helen 10 Sep 00 - 06:23 PM
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Escamillo 10 Sep 00 - 11:48 PM
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Dave (the ancient mariner) 12 Sep 00 - 12:18 AM
katlaughing 12 Sep 00 - 12:21 AM
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Wolfgang 14 Sep 00 - 09:20 AM
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Escamillo 18 Sep 00 - 05:57 AM
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CarolC 18 Sep 00 - 08:48 AM
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sledge 18 Sep 00 - 10:29 AM
Bert 18 Sep 00 - 11:09 AM
katlaughing 18 Sep 00 - 11:17 AM
sophocleese 18 Sep 00 - 05:39 PM
CarolC 18 Sep 00 - 06:24 PM
Escamillo 18 Sep 00 - 08:14 PM
GUEST 18 Sep 00 - 09:34 PM
CarolC 18 Sep 00 - 09:48 PM
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Helen 19 Sep 00 - 07:01 PM
hesperis 19 Sep 00 - 11:20 PM
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Helen 20 Sep 00 - 06:42 PM
katlaughing 20 Sep 00 - 09:17 PM
DougR 20 Sep 00 - 09:56 PM
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Alice 21 Sep 00 - 11:45 AM
Ringer 21 Sep 00 - 03:33 PM
GUEST,Helen (using IE) 21 Sep 00 - 05:35 PM
CarolC 21 Sep 00 - 06:04 PM
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little john cameron 23 Sep 00 - 08:50 PM
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Little Hawk 24 Sep 00 - 12:09 AM
Helen 24 Sep 00 - 08:52 PM
GUEST 24 Sep 00 - 10:46 PM
Escamillo 24 Sep 00 - 11:02 PM
katlaughing 24 Sep 00 - 11:12 PM
Amos 24 Sep 00 - 11:29 PM
GUEST,John D 24 Sep 00 - 11:51 PM
Ebbie 25 Sep 00 - 12:51 AM
katlaughing 25 Sep 00 - 01:04 AM
Dave (the ancient mariner) 25 Sep 00 - 02:22 AM
Escamillo 25 Sep 00 - 04:19 AM
Dave (the ancient mariner) 25 Sep 00 - 05:41 AM
Ringer 25 Sep 00 - 01:38 PM
Little Hawk 25 Sep 00 - 02:15 PM
DougR 25 Sep 00 - 02:28 PM
GUEST,Amos 25 Sep 00 - 02:51 PM
Escamillo 25 Sep 00 - 03:28 PM
catspaw49 25 Sep 00 - 08:12 PM
katlaughing 25 Sep 00 - 08:50 PM
GUEST 25 Sep 00 - 08:57 PM
Escamillo 25 Sep 00 - 10:28 PM
Ringer 26 Sep 00 - 12:52 PM
Helen 26 Sep 00 - 06:23 PM
Ringer 27 Sep 00 - 06:07 AM
Ebbie 04 Aug 12 - 06:13 PM
Ebbie 04 Aug 12 - 08:18 PM
Little Hawk 04 Aug 12 - 10:13 PM
Amos 05 Aug 12 - 03:10 PM
GUEST,Lighter 05 Aug 12 - 04:01 PM
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Subject: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: katlaughing
Date: 03 Sep 00 - 07:16 PM

None of us were having any luck starting a thread on the real Mudcat, so here we go, on loki. Hope it works.

Helen, I was glad to see that you do place monetary value on your services. I didn't mean to imply that I never accept any; if someone offers me a gift or "love offering", I will accept it. I have many friends who are quite honourable and highly respected, who offer Reiki, Tarot and other services, who do either charge or accept "love offerings."

Anyway, here is Part Two, so have it, phoaks.....

kat


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: bflat
Date: 03 Sep 00 - 08:57 PM

It is so difficult to explain feelings that stay with you regardless of circumstance. One cannot explain the why or what happens when something or someone penetrates the soul of another. It just happens and forever one is inextricably altered. Wish I understood this and what was to become of such dynamic circunstance.

bflat


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: catspaw49
Date: 03 Sep 00 - 09:03 PM

I was about to chastise kat, but bflat, if you can come up with that one you will be hailed as a god or stoned to death, whichever comes first. One of the great universal questions.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: bflat
Date: 03 Sep 00 - 09:13 PM

Ah, Spaw---you are special. Don't change a hair on your head.

bflat


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Escamillo
Date: 03 Sep 00 - 10:02 PM

Up to now, out of three persons who took a position on charging or not charging money for services based upon paranormal or unproved techniques, three agreed to charge or receive gifts.

I confess, I still did not find ONE who absolutely rejects payment for their "professional" services, so this does not surprise me, but I was trying to establish a base of discussion.

Before many people comes to tell me that physicians, engineers and teachers charge for their services, and sometimes they fail, and christian church receives donations and buddhist monks ask for money and etc.etc.etc. I would say that there is a BIG difference, and that's what we are discussing, after all, and until someone demonstrates me that there is no difference.

Any other opinion? ;)

Un abrazo - Andrés


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: katlaughing
Date: 04 Sep 00 - 12:48 AM

Andres, I do not offer any service as a "professional."

Why does it matter to you so much, whether there is a difference or not? I personally see no difference in people giving money or gifts to a religious outlet or, to someone else or institution from which they believe they've received their help.

As has been said before, these things are tools, that is all. Of course there will be people who are fanatics; that is true in almost any discipline.

I do not feel comfortable, in this forum, relating any of the experiences I've had concering phenomena; there's been too much ridicule and too little respect for differing beliefs, IMO.

Oh well, this is one I do not feel like going on with because no matter what I would say it would not convince anyone otherwise.

Spaw, why were you going to chastise me?


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Escamillo
Date: 04 Sep 00 - 03:23 AM

Well.. I'll come back tomorrow, after thinking very well what I'm going to say, because I would regret to hurt people who I really appreciate (and also people that I don't know but deserves my respect). In this subject there will always be cold and analytical minds seeking the truth through facts, and wholeheartedly beleivers who put their soul on what they FEEL is the truth.

However, please don't forget that we cold and analytical minds do enjoy the good things of life too, proof of this is the fact that all participants in the debate are music lovers ;)

Un abrazo - Andr‚s


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: bob schwarer
Date: 04 Sep 00 - 07:32 AM

Oh! my name is John Wellington Wells, I'm a dealer in magic and spells, In blessings and curses And ever-filled purses, In prophecies, witches, and knells. If you want a proud foe to "make tracks"-- If you'd melt a rich uncle in wax-- You've but to look in On the resident Djinn, Number seventy, Simmery Axe!

We've a first-class assortment of magic; And for raising a posthumous shade With effects that are comic or tragic, There's no cheaper house in the trade. Love-philtre--we've quantities of it; And for knowledge if any one burns, We keep an extremely small prophet, a prophet Who brings us unbounded returns:

For he can prophesy With a wink of his eye, Peep with security Into futurity, Sum up your history, Clear up a mystery, Humour proclivity For a nativity--for a nativity; With mirrors so magical, Tetrapods tragical, Bogies spectacular, Answers oracular, Facts astronomical, Solemn or comical, And, if you want it, he Makes a reduction on taking a quantity! Oh!

If any one anything lacks, He'll find it all ready in stacks, If he'll only look in On the resident Djinn, Number seventy, Simmery Axe!

He can raise you hosts Of ghosts, And that without reflectors; And creepy things With wings, And gaunt and grisly spectres. He can fill you crowds Of shrouds, And horrify you vastly; He can rack your brains With chains, And gibberings grim and ghastly.

And then, if you plan it, he Changes organity, With an urbanity, Full of Satanity, Vexes humanity With an inanity Fatal to vanity-- Driving your foes to the verge of insanity!

Barring tautology, In demonology, 'Lectro-biology, Mystic nosology, Spirit philology, High-class astrology, Such is his knowledge, he Isn't the man to require an apology!

Oh! My name is John Wellington Wells, I'm a dealer in magic and spells, In blessings and curses And ever-filled purses, In prophecies, witches, and knells.

If any one anything lacks, He'll find it all ready in stacks, If he'll only look in On the resident Djinn, Number seventy, Simmery Axe!

Thanks to Gilbert & Sullivan


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Bagpuss
Date: 04 Sep 00 - 07:54 AM

I believe in placebos. They work wonders.

Bagpuss


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Bert
Date: 04 Sep 00 - 11:46 AM

I have a friend who never charges for reading hands, runes or Tarot. She says it would interfere with the process.

And this is someone who is good. I've seen guys turn white with fright because she is so accurate.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Helen
Date: 04 Sep 00 - 06:06 PM

Bob S, great song. What is the tune to it?

Bert, I've seen people who charge for Tarot and other psychic readings begin to lose their edge - they start to say the same old things, and one (ex-)friend of mine resorted to trickery some days if he didn't feel that his powers were up to standard on those days.

I have always been reluctant to charge for Tarot and other psychic readings because it is a gift from the universe/creator/god but I have charged for them in some circumstances, usually if I am strapped for cash. I prefer to use all of my abilities in consultations which rely on a number of processes rather than just on psychic readings, and as I said in Part I of this thread, I do use analytical as well as intuitive processes in those consultations, and I am comfortable in charging for those. I have a business degree, a few other qualifications and wide ranging work experience so it all fits into a much bigger picture than just psychic readings for me.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: CarolC
Date: 04 Sep 00 - 06:45 PM

bob schwarer, John Wellington Wells sounds like my kind of guy. ; )

It's good to find another Gilbert & Sullivan person around here. I though I was the only one.

Carol


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Mbo
Date: 04 Sep 00 - 06:48 PM

Yes, but you don't go!


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: CarolC
Date: 04 Sep 00 - 06:56 PM

(stuck to the Mudcat like a limpet)


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: bob schwarer
Date: 04 Sep 00 - 08:07 PM

Helen: The "John Wellington Wells" bit is fron G&S's "Sorcerer". Parts of it scan well as a Limerick.

Bob S.


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Kim C
Date: 05 Sep 00 - 06:32 PM

Maybe I'm drifting, but what is synchronicity all about, anyway? It seems to be happening to me a lot, in relation to one specific person. Any ideas?

We have a psychic here in town who does not advertise, ever, but she's the one the police call when they've run out of other avenues. She's also the one the radio talk shows call at Halloween, and when I used to work for a weekly paper here, we did a story about haunted houses in Nashville, and of course, she was the psychic who visited said houses. (It was a REALLY good story.) Anyway, she is a professional, and does charge for her services, but you have to seek her out first.


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Sep 00 - 10:40 PM

Ah, synchronicity! Well, the universe is actually a gigantic hologram, created by divine intelligence (which each one of us is a part of, by the way, whether or not we know it or care to admit to it). In a hologram all individual aspects can be found in each tiniest part. Each tiniest part contains every detail of the whole, in miniature. That's why the "kingdom of heaven" may be found within oneself, no matter who that one may be, if they choose to truly look for it. The "kingdom of heaven" is the Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But The Truth. It is also Love.

Ha! Yes, I am being serious here, folks.

Okay, so synchronicity is not a bit surprising, because when it is time for birth to be given to a new level of awareness, then that level of awareness simultaneously manifests in every tiniest part of the entire hologram that is All Reality. A number of the conscious beings who are part of that reality will become conscious of that new awareness at about the same time, depending on how well they are tuned in. The guy whose consciousness is all wrapped up in worrying about whether the Giants will win the pennant, however, probably won't, simply because his attention is focused elsewhere. Fine. He's just using free will in the way that suits him.

Synchronicity also often applies to types of events, such as airplane crashes, train wrecks, and more positive circumstances too (which get a whole lot less press coverage, sadly). Ever notice that? Things tend to come in bunches.

Yeah, baby! Dat whole dang hologram is just shakin' wit da news!

Yeah, I know...ya think I'm crazy. So I'm in good company, aren't I? :-)


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: hesperis
Date: 05 Sep 00 - 11:53 PM

Ukrainian (I think it was Ukrainian?) folk mythos says that the whole universe and everything else all started as one small black dit.
A dit is the primary unit of creation. Science has found that subatomic particles can be in more than one place at a time. Perhaps we are all just one subatomic particle that is being/living/creating everything.

Fascinating, dontcha think?


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: CarolC
Date: 06 Sep 00 - 12:40 AM

You're not crazy Little Hawk (a little goofy sometimes, but then, who am I to talk?). And you are in good company.

Yes, hesperis, I think it is fascinating.


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Sourdough
Date: 06 Sep 00 - 02:48 AM

Arthur Koestler wrote an intriguing book called "The Roots of Coicidence". He had been researching and writing another book, "The Case of the Midwife Toad" (some of you may have seen this on NOVA) when he came across a carefully researched lifelong study of coincidence by a German (perhaps Austrian) scientist. Koestler's even handed, open-minded approach is a good example of how I think claims of the paranormal are best investigated.

The book is really about synchronicity and Koestler posits that synchronicity is a force, just like gravity, light, and electro-magnetism. However, he concludes that this does not necessarily lead to a conclusion that synchronicity has meaning, just that it is.

It is a challenging book and I would guess it is not for someone who does not feel comfortable trying to understand the discipline of logical, as well as emotional, thinking. Both have a place, the trick is to respect both and the catch is that it is much easier to reach conclusions based on feeling.

Sourdough


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Escamillo
Date: 06 Sep 00 - 03:18 AM

After thinking two days (which is too much for my thinking parts) I've come to these pseudo-conclusions:

1) People that beleive in the paranormal or psychic phenomena will remain in their beleifs, no matter how many scientific demonstrations in the contrary we could bring to the discussion, because they respond to what they FEEL. Moreover, they don't care about scientific analysis.

2) There always be some exceptions, then it is always worthwhile to keep discussing these matters in a friendly fashion.

3) Along with their false premises, fallacies and wrong information, frequently they bring very useful methods and techniques, especially in the terrain of human behaviour, analysis of voice and gesture, diagnosis of mental disorders, and the unknown processes of cure by self-convincement.

4) ***IMHO***, no person who uses unproven or occult techniques or theories should be allowed to charge for their services, no matter wether the client feels satisfied or not, not to mention possible harm to the client, as long as those techniques are not recognized by any University or Technical School, as it is normal for doctors,engineers, physicists, mathematicians, teachers, and all professionals. This is a matter of common sense, in order to protect the innocent :) I would never allow a person to build my house if I don't see which kind of concrete s/he uses, and even less if I see them praying to the gods for the construction to be solid ! The only way I would accept their charge is when they clearly state "I won't tell you anything that you don't already know, I have no responsibility, and there is no guarantee, this is only to make you feel better." (what is the same that psychoanalysts say, isn't it ?)

5) Some day those persons could discover something important. If they are honest people, they will share that discovery with the society, will submit it to scientists, and will accept if they are wrong, one, three, a thousand times, as scientists painfully do in their own research work. (20 years ago, two local doctors announced some spectacular results in the application of Crotoxine - toxine found in snake poisons - to cancer treatment. Not authorized by local Health authorities, against the opinion of crowds who concentrated every day under the slogan "Crotoxine is life", they migrated to USA, tempted by private laboratories who hired them immediately. However, there was no miracle. More then 10 years after, the technique is still under research. USA labs have a good eye for valuable people, but don't put their reputation on risk.) Note: they were not psychics or alchemists, they were graduated physicians and investigators.

As I'm analytical-musical-poetic-humanistic minded, all these pseudo-conclusions (because they don't conclude anything) may be turned upside down as soon as I see my mistake ! So, I would like to read more arguments and keep learning from all participants.

Un abrazo - Andrés


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Kim C
Date: 06 Sep 00 - 11:15 AM

Well, y'know Andres, every Mulder needs a Scully to retain the great Yin and Yang of the Universe. I believe Newton knew that when he said that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. :)

I'm still not sure I understand synchronicity!


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Ebbie
Date: 06 Sep 00 - 01:03 PM

Here are my pseudo-conclusions:
There is no such thing as love, scientifically speaking. The reported phenomenon is not tangible or repeatable or predictable.
There is no such thing as death; the concept of extinguishment is not scientific. How can something that was not be?
For that matter, the same thing can be said about sleep: The belief that beings go regularly into a dormant state is not a logical one. Too sci-fi for me.

There are lots of other things I do not believe. What I do believe is much more difficult. :~) Ebbie


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: bob schwarer
Date: 06 Sep 00 - 02:53 PM

Does yesterday still exist? If it only in the mind is it still real?

Bob S.


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Kim C
Date: 06 Sep 00 - 02:53 PM

Ebbie, you are not the only one. I have heard that even science is not really sure why we sleep. I mean, sure, we sleep to refresh ourselves, but why? It's not like any really magical thing happens.

Personally, I believe in science, but I also believe there are things that science cannot, and never will be able to, explain; because there are those workings of the Universe that are incomprehensible to the mortal mind. If we could comprehend them, we would be Masters of the Universe, and clearly, we are not, and are not meant to be so.

I wonder about an awful lot of things, but like Spaw, I try not to mind too much. :) Wasting time trying to comprehend the incomprehensible is like teaching the pig to sing. I would rather learn me a few new songs instead.


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Little Hawk
Date: 06 Sep 00 - 05:44 PM

Ebbie - you said "there is no such thing as death". You are right. Death is simply a doorway into a different form of life...not in a physical body...but in a body of an entirely different sort. As for the physical body of the deceased, the atoms composing it don't die either, but they cease working together in a cooperative fashion for the purpose of maintaining that body form, and they disperse, taking up new roles of infinite variety. Some of them go on to inhabit new bodies at various times. Nothing dies except appearances, and appearances can be misleading.

Kim - we ARE intended to be Masters of the Universe, but that doesn't mean it's gonna happen today or next week. And if we did master it, then there would be larger matters to consider. The story never ends.

We sleep because the soul needs to get out of the body and refresh itself. It's tough for a soul to be in a body. That's partly why babies cry a lot, plus they are perturbed about their largely helpless condition.

Yesterday exists (for us here and now) only as a mental concept in the fields of time. The only thing that absolutely exists at all times is the present, and whatever it contains. That's why it's called "the present". It's a gift. The "future" is a potential gift, waiting to be realized as "the present". There are multiple possible futures. You select them through the creative use of free will, and that can be affected in some ways by the free will of others...which is why we are essentially all sovereign, but we must deal in relationship with each other at the same time.


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Kim C
Date: 06 Sep 00 - 05:59 PM

THAT is really HEAVY.


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: katlaughing
Date: 06 Sep 00 - 06:44 PM

Basic metaphysics, well put. It is also easier to understand and accept, IMO, if one believes in reincarnation, thus karma and spiraling, hopefully, to a higher plane of consciousness each time we live a lifetime.

kat


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: catspaw49
Date: 06 Sep 00 - 07:25 PM

So Hawk.......You're a frustrated philosophy major trapped in the sixties or what? Trust me ..... You'd have fit right in.

Personally I have travelled to the there from the here, leaving now and arriving then...but upon arrival I had magically been transported not to the there but to the here and not to the then but to the now. It was all very frustrating as I had lost my bus tokens and ran out of change somewhere else that was after then and prior to now and the bank was closed.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: katlaughing
Date: 06 Sep 00 - 08:09 PM

Spaw! You have GOT to read Parek Godwin's "Waiting for the Galactic Bus!" You'd love it, could've been written by you or at least starred you as a main character!


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: katlaughing
Date: 06 Sep 00 - 08:28 PM

That should be "Parke", sorry...then read the sequel, "The Snake Oil Wars."


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Sep 00 - 01:50 PM

It's useful that there should be Gods, so let's believe there are. -- Ovid


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Ringer
Date: 07 Sep 00 - 05:24 PM

KimC & Little Hawk both talk about being "meant" to be Masters of the Universe. Meant by whom, pray? (Going off on hols imminently - to the revolting French - so probably won't read a reply for 10 days or so.)


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Wolfgang
Date: 08 Sep 00 - 11:47 AM

I think I want to make some comments at this point. You must have waited for me to do that with more or less joyful anticipation.

(1) Science claims things not studied by it don't exist . That is a completely false conception of science displayed, e.g., by Ebbie. First, there are, of course, hundreds of studies in physiology, psychology and sociology about love, death and sleep (including the very interesting question why do we...). Second, even if there were no study yet, no scientist would ever make statements about nonexistence of observable facts. The limits of science are not that it cannot study certain subjects (it can and does) but that it restricts itself wisely to a certain type of questions (those that can in principle be decided). Other questions are not scientific which does not at all mean that they are uninteresting or should not be asked at all. There is no field where there is not room for unscientific questions. For instance, one species of common house fly is thoroughly known, that is it has been dissected so often in such detail that each single neuron and all its interconnections are known. It is known how it steers itself, how it reduces its velocity when approaching a surface (and why it often fails when the surface is a window) and much more. But if you ask the researcher how does it feel to be a housefly she'll shrug her shoulders.

(2) Filling the void with fanciful theories. Often, when the correct scientific response is 'Don't know (yet)', people like to fill the unknown with fanciful theories (several example in this and the precursor thread). Yes, you could claim as long as the dynamics of throwing dices are not completely known that too small to see entities from distant worlds permeating each cube inch of our world guide the dice so that it seems to follow rules that the uninitiated call 'chance'. But neither does such a 'theory' predict anything testable, nor can we conclude from that it is not refutable that it may therefore be true (a logical fallacy known as argumentum ad ignorantiam).

(3)Synchronicity. One such fanciful theory that explains nothing at all is synchronicity. C.G. Jung may have been a good therapist but he was a lousy scientist whose statements about statistics only can serve as a warning example. He has invented the concept of synchronicity to fill the void that seems to be left open when you assume that chance alone is operating. Many persons, especially believers in paranormal phenomena (see astrology thread), largely underestimate how often seemingly meaningful coincidences are bound to happen by chance alone. If there is nothing in the data that shows any deviation from a chance distribution, there is no need of any further theory, especially if this theory makes no testable predictions or, when testable, wrong predictions.

(4) Seeing a pattern where there is none. Humans are very creative, are able to detect contingencies from nearly no data at all, to spot rules with a minimum of input. That's the good news. The bad news is that they often see contingencies when there is nothing there at all. A prime example are the nurses who 'know from experience' that some things are different in their hospitals when the moon is full (more/less births; more suicides). When you count (and in a hospital the data are still there to look at) you more often than not find nothing at all. Nurses often don't want to believe this ('you must have overlooked some data') though the scientific analysis used exactly the same database as their own experience has used (just minus the memory distortion). It is very hard to convince humans that a relationship they claim to see doesn't exist after all. Scientific experiments on that tendency (to see nonexisting contingencies) are so strong evidence because they carefully control (better than in real life situation) whether there is a signal in the noise or not (and then compare their subjects performance in the signal condition with that in the no signal condition). This is one of the reasons why psychics' (I use this word as a convenient short term for people who claim to have psychic abilities) performance so often breaks completely down when tested under controlled conditions.

(5)Psychics and divination. Humans would like to know what to do best in uncertain life situations involving risky decisions. Since ages of old, many different methods to gain this information (divination) have been used. Astrology is a better known method, tarot is also quite well known, hydromancy (reading coffee grounds or tea leaves) is less known, but there are dozens other methods (interpreting the flight of birds, the smoke of incense, palmistry, dowsing, geomancy, I Ching,...). Psychics have used many of these methods and in some cases no visible method at all for client consultation. I do not deal here with the fraudulent psychics (most of the better known psychics have been caught red-handed, see Houdini, A Magician among the Psychics; many fraudulent psychics work these days, see Keene, The Psychic Mafia), but with those who genuinely believe to have psychic abilities. The question a scientific analysis has to respond to is what supports this belief, and why are their clients nearly always contented.
Ray Hyman (who has worked in psychic consulting as a youth until he found out, when challenged, that telling his clients the opposite of what he 'saw' led to exactly the same client satisfaction) explains it beautifully as 'cold reading', a mixture of educated guesses and a silent collusion between psychic and client to make sense out of a reading with many possible interpretations. It works even better if you leave the interpretation as much as possible to the client (don't say, e.g., 'there's a Mabel in your life', say 'I get the name 'Mary' or something similar. Does that ring a bell with you?' Works much better if you leave the job of making it fitting to the client). It also works better, we know from many experiments, if you take money. People value anything, whether valid or not, higher if they have paid money for it.
Why are clients satisfied? They have a caring person listening to them and their needs, wishes and anxieties and helping them to make some difficult decision or to get some sense out of (or: in) their lives. They do not recollect later that they have done most of the make it fitting job themselves but think that the psychic is responsible for that. Do I mean that these readings do not work at all? Not in the least, they do work, but not for the reasons the psychic thinks they do. (S)he could use anything as the input (see above for a big choice), it would work just as well as her/his chosen method. It works as good as a caring friend who listens to you and rarely asks questions or offers advice, but asks you back instead how you feel about it (similar as the Rogerian method of counseling) and what you feel you would like to do. From this perspective, there's nothing in this situation that is not explainable by known factors.
Will psychics change their minds about their assumed abilities? Rarely if ever (even if tested negatively). They get a daily feedback that it seems to work, they never test seriously an alternative hypothesis and there is too much at stake for them (self esteem, appreciation by others, money) to consider a more mundane interpretation.

Well, that was a short contribution to the title theme of the thread , namely Explaing the unexplained.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: katlaughing
Date: 08 Sep 00 - 01:20 PM

Wolfgang, there are a lot of assumptions made on your part concerning what those with psychic abilities believe or not, as well as what they are willing to understand or pursue for more understanding.

I, for one, am very tired of the sceptics on the Mudcat, intimating that those of us who feel otherwise are "fanciful", have "assumed" abilities, or any of the other denigrating things I've read. It is also not true, at least of myself, and I dare say of Helen and BearHeart, too, that we "rarely ask questions or offer advice." That is where my psychic/intuitive abilities come into play the most.

Some of us are serious students of ancient metaphysical teachings which do delve into the practical application of metaphysical laws, which are proven to us through scientific experiments, which we conduct together and on our own.

Again, I would ask, is it necessary for the sceptics among us to denigrate, make assumptions, and generally treat with disdain, the spiritual beliefs/practices of some of the rest of us? I thought Mudcatters had more respect for one another's diversity than that.

kat


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 08 Sep 00 - 01:48 PM

I have witnessed, and been directly involved in phenomenon that science fails to describe in conventional language; or find reason and purpose for. The existence of such phenomena confounds the sceptic and scientist alike. Try to be open minded on all things; we may yet invent the words to explain all one day. Yours, Aye. Dave


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Dee45
Date: 08 Sep 00 - 02:58 PM

I like Little Hawk's slant on all this and am inclined to agree with him.

I have a friend who is a psychic, as well as a homeopath and spiritual healer, and as well reads auras and eyes.

He has assured me on more than one ocassion that everything you are, you get to take with you when you leave this particular earthly plane. I find that comforting, although it would be nice if I could take my arms and hands with me as well as I'd like to continue playing. *BG*

I posed a question to him recently. The question concerned what if the entire physical universe was sucked down a black hole? Would we continue to exist on whatever other metaphysical level we were currently occupying or would all these souls, be lost in this process as well?
His answer was that we continue on in a dimension that transcends but also exists on a separate plane from the physical universe.

And also, (assuming the physical universe continues onward without being destroyed by black holes or other phenominum), we continue to have the free will to decide whether or not we wish to reincarnate and come back for "another round" or continue onward to future levels of knowledge.
Comments?


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Bert
Date: 08 Sep 00 - 03:11 PM

Hmmm,
reading the above messages I seem to be seeing some evidence of double standards.

If a palm or Tarot reader is not right 'all the time' then they are fakes.

But a Doctor can treat someone for AIDS, or some other incurable disease, and charge them handsomely for their services and potions with the sure knowledge that the patient is not going to be cured.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: katlaughing
Date: 08 Sep 00 - 04:22 PM

THANK YOU, BERT!


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: hesperis
Date: 08 Sep 00 - 04:29 PM

Yeah. Herbal medicine is so dangerous, that modern science has been very busy isolating compounds from plants and other things, and then selling the results over the counter. Like Aspirin from willow bark. Aspirin can cause a host of side effects, and yet it's available over the counter. Stevia is a sweetener that has been used for centuries with very few side effects, and it is banned in Canada (as far as I know) because it's used as a sugar replacement for people with diabetes... Therefore it's a medication, not an herb. Aspartame is pretty bad for you, I've heard.

Then there's the other side of it: People who use herbs, confident in the false belief that herbs are always safe.
They probably are safer than isolated compounds which haven't been used by people for millenia, but some herbs can pack a pretty powerful effect!

How many people know that common culinary herbs, such as sage and rosemary, are toxic in large quantities?
That's not even starting on the herbs that are commercialized by the alternative health industry, such as vervain for sleep, which is addictive if used too often.

When Doctors say that herbs aren't affective because you can't administer an exact dose of the exact right sustance to clear out the illness, they forget that individual human systems are built differently anyway!

Always be careful with medications, wherever they're from.


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: hesperis
Date: 08 Sep 00 - 04:37 PM

And then there's Edgar Cayce...

Somebody explain him!


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Helen
Date: 08 Sep 00 - 05:40 PM

Wolfgang,

What sort of studies have you made of psychic abilities? Have you conducted experiments? Have you read a bit of scientific literature? A lot? All of it? What are your scientific references in making your assertions?

I agree with katlaughing: you are making a lot of unsupported assumptions in your statements, and you have also stated it in a circular way so that if anyone says "Just because you, Wolfgang, have not witnessed psychic phenomena it doesn't mean it doesn't exist" then you can respond with statements about memory distortion, and people believing what they want to believe despite the data or evidence to the contrary.

What data, what evidence? At present you are making unsupported statements and until you show me data, evidence and solid scientific references I have no obligation to take your statements as anything other than your own opinions and beliefs. Which is exactly what you are saying to us.

Since you have never tested any of us, and you have not even questioned any of us about our psychic experiences you cannot, as a logical and rational human being, make assumptions about us. Ill-formed and untested assumptions are not only very annoying and offensive on a personal level, they are also unscientific.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Amos
Date: 08 Sep 00 - 06:23 PM

The core fallacy of mechanistic-bound "scientism" when it approaches phenomena that are described as being spirtual in nature is to ignore the difference between the two realms and insist that "scientific rigor requires mechanical replication no matter who does it". Which is perfectly true for physics experiments. Experimenting in the extra-physical domain, it would be pretty stupid.

The qualitative differences between the matter-energy spacetime continuum domain and the domain of being is so great and so fundamental that it would take a moron, hypnotized by a psychotic, to assume that you could apply the measuring instruments of one to the phenopenology of the other. It would be ridiculous.

The best analogy I can think of for embracing such a crude misconception is imagining some complete primitive from a deep jungle or some such getting a sudden opportunity to go to visit folks in Westchester, and then trying, for example, to discover the true source of the communications he received through the telephone by analyzing the wires and chips in the phone itself. Make it a wireless phone and you have a pretty tight analogy.

One of the things that really confuses this collapse of differences is that the mechanism of trauma, overwhelm, and other kinds of extreme stress often induces beings to hide behind a safe solution of imitating matter and acting solid, dense, persistant, unimaginative, stimulus-response-driven and unaware (all of which are characteriustics of matter and energy, pretty much) in order to duck from the pain of seeing or knowing. The comical thing is that millions have been spent in the last thirty years to try and make machinery which will act as though it was actually being, percieving, understanding, knowing, being aware and communicating, all of which are characteristics peculiar to life itself, not matter and energy.

Thus the best we could possibly be gradually succumbs into a pale and cheap imitation of matter, and the species undertakes huge projects to make of matter a p[ale, cheap and highl;y unsatisfactory imitation of life.

Maybe we need serious help on this planet....

A.


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: CarolC
Date: 08 Sep 00 - 11:41 PM

Amos,

I think you're brilliant. You have my deepest respect and admiration. (No matter what Wolfgang does to you in his next post.)

Carol


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Amos
Date: 08 Sep 00 - 11:47 PM

Wal, shucks, Ms Carol, I am honored. Wal... shucks! :>)

A.


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Escamillo
Date: 09 Sep 00 - 12:16 AM

Amos, nice to see you here ! I see your point, but I think it is not exactly the subject under discussion, because scientists don't try to observe spiritual phenomena at a microscope. No, the problem is that many people since many centuries ago, have been investigating on their own, based upon wrong information and false reasoning, trying to emulate the scientific methods but never understanding them very well.

I've recently read that almost 300 milion dollars are spent yearly in the USA only in astrological services, and there are 10,000 astrologers out there offering their service, while astronomers are only 4,000, on whose research only 100 millions have been invested, excluding the NASA but including universities. THAT is the problem, the crude money-making out of popular confidence, and the possible harm involved when people abandon doctors and scientific teachers to adopt occult techniques to solve their problems (physical, mental or social) EVEN in such cases when, for unknown reasons (never explained by the pseudo therapists) they feel better. I think Wolfgang has explained clearly what happens when people wants to beleive. Obviously they go to those who tell them what they want to hear. If doctors were telling them the same, they would monopolize patients.

I would respond to Dee45 that what would probably happen if the whole Universe get caught in a black hole, is.. we and all civilizations would disappear, as (almost surely) thousands or millions of civilizations have already disappeared. Energy and matter would eventually re-appear in some other space, and then life would re-appear again in a thousand different variations. We are not so important to survive as a species. This is an opinion, of course, based upon what science teaches us, and it is curiously similar to what ancient Hindis proposed. This does not make them incredibly wise. There are many coincidences among religious intuition and science, as well as so many discrepancies.

Un abrazo - Andrés


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Escamillo
Date: 09 Sep 00 - 12:32 AM

"But a Doctor can treat someone for AIDS, or some other incurable disease, and charge them handsomely for their services and potions with the sure knowledge that the patient is not going to be cured. "

I agree, Bert, and I know many doctors who are real merchants, however, the difference is that the Doctor will always give you the truth first, and then the recipe. If s/he does not, there are laws to put him in jail.:)

Un abrazo - Andrés


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Amos
Date: 09 Sep 00 - 12:43 AM

Abrazo a ti tambien, amigo.

There is an infinite supply of human stupidity in the world, and I think you can shovel it in great measure off any area which has attracted as much dialogue as the basic nature of our kind. I would point out that classic clanging errors have often been graced with all the diginity of scientific approval and the very best minds. It was a member of the London Academy of Science, I believe, who felt so threatened when the 17th centruy researcher Harvey presented his theory of circulation which flew in the face of the prior paradigm (humours and tides, postulated by the ancient Greek Galen) that he actually said "I would rather err, and stay with Galen, than be right and go with Harvey!". It was men of science, after Ignaz Semmelweiss proved that by washing their hands when moving from the sick wards to the maternity wards they could cut the incidence of mortal childbed fever down by more than fifty per cent, who were so annoyed with him for showing them up as fools that they ran him out of Vienna on a rail. It was leading citizens who allowed the most sensitive women of New England to be persecuted to death as "witches" because they used herbs instead of leeches ( or whatever the issue really was).

I think there are a thousand more examples in the annals of history. There is no question that in any occupation we will find a good distribution of the stupid curve among our fellow bipeds. The issue is not who is stupid but how do you keep yourself open to new insight, new understandings, learning, and flexible but disciplined thought? WHat are human blind spots, and how do they work? I believe that any examination of these issues will bring in its wake a clearer appreciation of the possibility that "Man from mud and mud from a big bang with no cause" is almost as thick and close-minded a proposition as "God climbing into virgins to show how much he cares" or "Feathered serpents crashing to earth to show us how special we are" or the legends of Finn McCool or Paul Bunyan.

With greatest respect,

Amos


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Escamillo
Date: 09 Sep 00 - 01:07 AM

"The issue is not who is stupid but how do you keep yourself open to new insight, new understandings, learning, and flexible but disciplined thought? "

YES, Sir ! Probably there are few people sufficiently wise and generous to find that way to Knowledge. How I would wish to be one.

Un abrazo - Andrés


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Helen
Date: 09 Sep 00 - 05:10 AM

Thank you, Amos, for your insights and your exceptionally clever way with words and thoughts on the page. You have hit on some of the things I have been trying to say over the course of this thread - but I am feeling unable to get my points across effectively for some reason.

(P.S. - totally off topic - my 14 year old nephew, here in Oz, is called Amos)

Helen


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: GUEST,Amos
Date: 09 Sep 00 - 03:07 PM

Well, buy the tyke a pint for me -- us Amosi gotta stick together! And thanks for your kind remarks...


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: catspaw49
Date: 09 Sep 00 - 03:18 PM

I was just curious Helen.............What's your nephew called when he's NOT in Australia?

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Helen
Date: 09 Sep 00 - 11:34 PM

'Spaw, he'll have to wait and find out when he goes o/s I suppose. (mutter,mutter, smart-arses, mutter, possum-puffing ..., mutter, mutter....).

I wasn't sure that Amos would know where I live. The name Amos is very unusual for a kid of his age here. He was named after a great uncle on his father's side, but also after our mother's father whose Christian names were William Amos.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Escamillo
Date: 10 Sep 00 - 01:18 AM

A search of "psychic" plus "university" gave only one reference, the University of Virginia in this link:

Click here

I have no doubt they are serious researchers. They don't make any assumptions, they simply study cases and invite you to submit your case if you are interested. Although no one single case is presented as a demonstration of paranormal phenomena, they keep being sufficiently open-minded to accept any submission, in certain categories (not all).

There are lots of bibliographical references, but I observe that they are always the same authors, a Dr. Stevenson and Dr.Brocher. They seem to be rather isolated, but this does not mean any qualification in any sense.

Helen, Kat, I really don't see anything offensive in what sceptics say (may be some humorous comment that could be out of topic, but nothing else). And please understand that none is arguing against religious or moral beleifs, our problem is just with pseudo science, not even with persons.

Un abrazo - Andrés (not a sceptic - a friendly enemy :)


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: hesperis
Date: 10 Sep 00 - 01:42 AM

I just realized that I said Vervain... I meant Valerian. Valerian is for sleep. Arrgh!
D'OH!
It took me *how* many days...

Yeah, herbal medicine can be downright dangerous, particularly when you don't have the right herb!
::embarassed look::


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Helen
Date: 10 Sep 00 - 06:23 PM

Andrés,

You keep saying that it is a "belief" in psychic abilities. I know that I have psychic abilities - I don't just believe it or have an opinion on it, or feel it - I know it.

Try doing an internet search using the search terms "psychic experiments military"

Also, have a look at this article Click here by Dr Jessica Utts at the University of California, Davis, which came up in that search I did on Google.

http://anson.ucdavis.edu/~utts/air2.html

Helen


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Escamillo
Date: 10 Sep 00 - 11:26 PM

Helen, how happy I would be (and I'm sure many scientists - which I'm not - will be happy too) if these experiments were driving us to some great discovery! Unfortunately the CIA, who was the government agency who conducted the project, was a late financial sponsor, and made the final evaluation, concluded that the statistical results where significant and scientifically acceptable, but the long project (24 years and thousands of subjects studied) did not render any reliable technique for application, and not even an explanation of the cause of the phenomena, and closed the project in 1995.

Prof.Jessica Utts was one of the Statistics specialists who contributed most to the research, but lately was one in a panel of scientists who witnessed (if not backed) the final discredit of the results, and gave reason to the CIA to cancel the project.

This is a response from Dr.Edwin May, with his objections to that final evaluation:a href="http://www.lfr.org/csl/media/air_mayresponse.shtml">Click here

I feel symphatetic with Dr.May's complaints (a 24-year research cancelled !) and would like to see more efforts dedicated seriously to the subject, but, to say the least, there are few chances, and I understand the reasons.

I take your point on the term "beleifs", and won't use it when referring to these phenomena. You are right, that could be part of your knowledge and other's.

Un abrazo - Andrés


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Escamillo
Date: 10 Sep 00 - 11:48 PM

Sorry, the URL is correct but the clicky thing is not. This is the clicky for Dr.May response:

Click here


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Amos
Date: 10 Sep 00 - 11:57 PM

The Stanford Research Institute did a multi-year project throughout the 70's and early '80stesting remote viewing, psychekinesis and other aspects of psychic ability (Targ, Puthoff). One of their subjects, Ingo Swann, had a remarkable degree of accuracy in describing places chosen at random from a map and given to him only in terms of remote site long-lat figures. He told me the story of an upset in the course of the experimentation when he described a rocky shore with water lapping against it and was told it was a 'miss'. He was told the location was in the center of Lake Titicaca, as I recall. He blew up and demanded a finer-scaled map, which when it was acquired revealed a long narrow spit of land extending well into the lak3e right to the intersection of long-lat values he's been given. There had been no sign of it on the large-area map the controller had been using, because the scaling was too large to reveal the detail.

This was just one of many incidents that occurred during those tests in which clear demonstration of abilities beyond the scope of bodily parameters occurred. These anomalies are not well enough understood to provide a workable weapon. It is arguable that they are not ever likely to prove useable for applied destruction, and it is certainly a somewhat foolish impulse to try.

If there were a volunteer who wished to exercise psychic powers to support the Department of Defense it would seem pretty obvious that his best and greatest use, and his most probable zone of success, would be in bringing about a mor amenable frame of mind on the part of the enemy, to quote Klausewitz, rather than to try and do magic tricks by melting submarines or finding underground bunkers. The power of thought goes a lot further applied to the domain of thought than applied to bending spoons.

A


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Helen
Date: 11 Sep 00 - 05:54 PM

Thanks, Andrés, for taking my point on "beliefs".

I haven't read the article by May yet, but I will right now, but from what I read in this article ( http://www.tcom.co.uk/hpnet/rv3.htm ) about remote viewing I suspect that politics and fear of the unknown, and maybe even the influence of fundamental Christian beliefs may have had as much to do with cancelling the project as the effectiveness of the outcomes.

I like the part near the beginning where other forms of intelligence are outlined and the statement that PSI-INT (psychic intelligence) is used only in conjunction with other means of gathering intelligence.

Andrés,

I think you will be interested in the part where comments are made about using psychic abilities to make money. I tend to agree with what the author says: it's a fundamental question, maybe to do with morality, but for me there is a strong sense that if I misuse my psychic abilities I will lose them.

Amos, I agree with your ideas about how the psychic abilities can and should be used.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Helen
Date: 12 Sep 00 - 12:01 AM

Andrés,

I have read the abstract, introduction and conclusion of the article you referred to and it seems to me that May is saying that the CIA didn't do a proper evaluation of the Star Gate project, and that they had come to the conclusion that it should be shut down *before* they did the evaluation and made sure that what they evaluated didn't give the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. My reading of what May says is that he thinks the remote viewing process worked.

I'll read the rest of the article but I'd appreciate it if you would read it again too.

quote from the introduction: "This paper is a critical review of AIR's methodology and conclusions. It will be shown that there is compelling evidence that the CIA set the outcome with regard to intelligence usage before the evaluation had begun. This was accomplished by limiting the research and operations data sets to exclude positive findings, by purposefully not interviewing historically significant participants, by ignoring previous DOD extensive program reviews, and by using the questionable National Research Council's investigation of parapsychology as the starting point for their review. While there may have been political and administrative justification for the CIA not to accept the government's in-house program for the operational use of anomalous cognition, this appeared to drive the outcome of the evaluation. As a result, they have come to the wrong conclusion with regard to the use of anomalous cognition in intelligence operations and significantly underestimated the robustness of the basic phenomenon."

Helen


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Bill D
Date: 12 Sep 00 - 12:04 AM

I hope that those of us who 'feel' as if we have NO psychic abilities will be forgiven for continuing to be sceptics. I cannot even comprehend what it would be like to 'know' that a relative had been hurt, or that something specific was 'going to happen'.

I do know that **IF** I am shown a case where, under laboratory conditions with careful controls, someone can, on demand and repeatedly read minds, levitate objects, identify hidden objects...etc..I will ease my disbelief...until then, I can only wonder at what the sensation is like. (and there is NO one who would love to believe in these things more than I!)


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Mbo
Date: 12 Sep 00 - 12:09 AM

Aye, yer all makin' me head hurt...


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 12 Sep 00 - 12:18 AM

BillD most people who "have it" didnt want it and refer to it as a curse... in many cases you have have no control over it and it can be very disturbing. Yours, Aye. Dave (who knows what he is talking about)


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: katlaughing
Date: 12 Sep 00 - 12:21 AM

There's the rub, BillD. Sometimes those things are felt because of conditions of extreme emergency, need, etc. things that cannot happen on demand.

I am not saying that is true for all psychics or abilities, but for myself, feeling or knowing somethimg comes about, in a non-emergency, because I have deliberately "tuned" in to what I consider to be the Cosmic flow or Divine intelligence, whatever one wants to call it. It would be disrespectful of me to turn on that tap for anything other than to help someone and probably would not work.

That may sound like a cop-out, but it is the truth, for me, anyway. You know I am not Christian, but I do have great respect for Jesus. What do you suppose ya'll would say to Jesus if he were here, today, with all of his abilities? Put him in a lab? I'll bet he wouldn't even bother. Then again, maybe he would, then we wouldn't be questioned so much anymore!*BG*

I read a really good book on the government's remote viewing project, written by one of the participants. When I find it or remember the name I will post it.

kat


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Escamillo
Date: 12 Sep 00 - 12:25 AM

mmmhhh .. (sceptic smile)
The CIA is not an organization of people who fear the unknown, or who have too many religious scruples. We are talking about the Central Intelligence Agency! Frankly, I would rather think that they really did not find any practical application, and decided to put their money to work in another project (Leaving the occidental world unprotected against psi-INT of the Soviets!). Don't you think it's too much? 24 YEARS, 4 different governments, dozens of unsuspectable doctors from well known universities, THOUSANDS of individuals tested, and MANY MILLIONS of dollars spent, what really amazes me is that this project has lived so long. Moreover, if the CIA was not interested any longer, it's curious that NOBODY took the project since 1995 when it was cancelled.

I've read that article, though not in detail, but I find these points to discredit it, always *IMHO*: - That article is not signed
- The style is not of a scientist. There are too many anecdotal stories beginning "One day it happened.."
- First of all, the author quotes and authoritative opinion.. from an ex-CIA officer.
- Worst of all: the article is part of the Uri Geller's official WebPage.
Regarding that part which deals with making money, it is not very clear:
"Ken Bell, for example, believed that psi could never be used to make money, he had read too many stories about psychics who had become failures as soon as they tried to strike it rich."
("he beleived".. "he had read stories.." - not a very scientific assertion. In the contrary, I could assure that Uri Geller DID MADE lots of money)

Besides, there are two ways of making money: 1) to use supposed paranormal senses to know in advance some economical events and take advantage of that. Many people I know of, could be easily considered psychics, and there is nothing illegal or morally objectable, at least not more objectable than the whole world of bussiness. 2) To sell paranormal services as long as the client is satisfied, or convinced enough to pay for advice, or books, or TV shows or long-term contracts. Here, my proposal still applies: no objection, if the psychic clearly states, beforehand, "I won't tell you anything that you don't already know, I have no responsibility, there is no guarantee, and this is to make you feel better." - by now !

**Mention of the CIA is only for documentation purposes and has no intention implicit or implied to express any opinion on any governmental organization and... et.etc** (..heewww!)

Un abrazo - Andrés


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Helen
Date: 12 Sep 00 - 12:36 AM

Andrés

Yes, I realise that the chapter I referred to is a link from Uri Geller's page, although I didn't know that when I first posted the link.

The CIA is funded by the U.S. government which is subject to pressure from the community as well as within government and the fundamentalist Christian can influence, and *have* influenced political and government decisions.

Please, though, have another look at the article you linked to, by Edwin May. That is the one I referred to/quoted from in my last comments.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: CarolC
Date: 12 Sep 00 - 12:51 AM

Bill D,

I, personally, am willing to forgive you, but only if you post some more limericks to the "Don't Post" thread.

Carol


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Amos
Date: 12 Sep 00 - 12:59 AM

The question that really has to be faced here is not whether one person or another has some particular psychic ability. The core question is what paradigm (model) can accurately describe the nature of our kind. There is a tendency in some groups to assert that the model which ends at the outside of the physical body is the final word, because it is the only one that agrees fully with past physics. This is of course a self-referential loop.

But here's the real question: if there is one white crow found, the assertion that all crows are black goes by the boards. If one person in the world has had a genuine experience of sep[arating from the body and perceiving by other means, then the assertion that human nature is bounded by the limits of the body likewise goes by the boards. In its place, some model must be designed which incorporates the "anomolous" phenomena.

If anyone has reviewed the literature on OOB they will find more than one instance where such phenomena have been fairly and accurately reported and substantiated, for example, by the ability to report on things that could not have been seen by the person-as-body.

The principle of Occam's Razor requires that we stick to the simplest explanation that covers the known phenomena. It seems pretty plain that if we must include the range of reported phenomena that exceed the body's range, the most direct model we could use is one which allowed for the fact that the core nature of a person, his most fundamental being, is not physical, but something more. SImply add the single premise that the nature of the species is typically a body being run by a non-physical, or spiritual, being who uses the mind to act as an interface between systems.

The addition of that one simple element can cover a great many "anomalies". That's why I prefer it.


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: CarolC
Date: 12 Sep 00 - 01:52 AM

Amos,

Once again, I am in awe. It's hard for me, as someone who expresses myself almost entirely from the level of intuition, to present these kinds of concepts as precisely, as succinctly, as logically, and as well as you do. Your posts to this thread are breathtaking. I take my hat off to you.

Carol


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Helen
Date: 12 Sep 00 - 07:15 PM

I agree, Carol. Awesome and breathtaking. Succinct, precise, logical All of the above.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: catspaw49
Date: 13 Sep 00 - 12:30 AM

Say Amos, I got a call from your drycleaner....said he couldn't reach you. Your flowing robes are awaiting pickup.......and he said if you get anymore stains on them, he won't be able to help next time.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Escamillo
Date: 13 Sep 00 - 12:36 AM

I've reviewed Dr.May's response after the CIA's decision for which the project was cancelled. And as I said earlier, I simpathize with him, mainly because his effort and his co-workers' was huge, apparently well conducted, and he was really convinced that the results were valuable. I would feel really sad if a 24-year effort (10 years under my direction) was thrown by the boards by the decision of an arbitrary authority. And would defend my points too. However, he probably failed to realize WHO was his boss. What can be expected from an organization whose objectives and methods are classified, from which you will never get an explanation on WHY they started a project and WHY they cancelled it or continued it under secret conditions ? Would you expect logical reasons ? The only thing you may expect from them is a lot of money for your project, until one day you receive a kick in the thinking part instead of a check. Not to mention some obscure methods that they can put in practice when there is a political reason valid for them. If Dr. May had discovered something applicable in defense, it could have been used for attack as well, and he would feel worse than what Einstein felt after Hiroshima.

It was HIS decision to work for that boss, and he must accept their final decision. Or look for another sponsor, if he is sufficiently convinced of his results and does not fear the consequences. I repeat, my sympathy is with him as a scientist.

I'm inclined to think that the problem was simpler. The CIA feared, but neither feared the unknown, nor the religious pressures, nor the community of sceptics opinions. They feared the RIDICULOUS, and the subsequent kick in THEIR parts if they continued sponsorship for something which after a 24-year period (enough is enough)had not given clear and usable results, even did never prove the existence of a minimal, embrionary external psi-MENACE from the Soviets or the Arabs or the narcos.

And please see that neither Dr.May nor his colleages mention any TECHNIQUE, not even the minimal usable technique, not to mention that they never could ascertain the nature of the phenomena, they only state that their results were statistically significant, and the CIA evaluation was biased:

"It is impossible for me to prove whether or not the CIA determined the outcome of the investigation before it began. What is obvious, however, is that the evaluation domain of the research and particularly the operations were restricted to preclude positive findings. "

Some comments on Amos' words later. (Oh, you make my little brain develop muscles. I think with the same part used to sit down, but my brain hurts because of the translation effort!)

Un abrazo - Andrés


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Wolfgang
Date: 14 Sep 00 - 09:20 AM

And he had then come to realize that most remarkable truth...: no truth existed beyond personal experience, and all evidence that contradicted personal belief was to be dismissed (Donna Leon, The Anonymous Venetian)

kat,
I'm tired too of the way how some believers argue, how they bash at a parody of science, how they do not read with care. Your recurring admonitions are extremely one-sided. For instance, I had the intention to leave the astrology thread alone for reasons similar to those given by Escamillo. It was your argumentation which I considered quite unfair that led me to post there, especially your response to Bagpuss. But what is unfair or disdainful, is of course in the eye of the beholder. You write, I have intimated those who feel otherwise as 'fanciful' (you mean me, for I am the only one who has used that word). Go back and read again, I haven't. I have named theories 'fanciful', not persons. And for me that is as big a difference as between calling a person 'stupid' or a particular argument of a person 'stupid'. I prefer to be criticised for what I have actually written. I have made clear my position that the scientific approach can be applied to each domain whenever the question is decidable. Amos says such an assumption can only be held by a moron, hypnotized by a psychotic and is applauded for the post by others. Do you really think that all the disdain, derision and making assumptions come just from one side only?

Bert,
I don't know for sure what you've mixed up (my guess: the concepts of repeatability and success rate), but your argument to which kat shouted 'thank you' is plainly wrong. Never ever has there been the demand that paranormal phenomena should have a success rate of 100% (except in rare cases in which the psychics themselves claimed it). There are no demands on paranormal research that are not also made for mainstream research.
If I'd test you personal choice reaction time in a two-alternatives choice in comparison to a four-alternatives choice I'd expect from the literature that your reaction time is faster in the two-alternatives situation. All of the times? I'd be stupid to expect that, for reaction time is quite variable (and not all causes to that variability are known yet). So I'd perhaps have a success rate (in repeated observation) of about 85%. But whenever I do let's say 100 trials with you, I'd expect to find every time an average advantage for the two-alternatives task That's repeatability. In scientific studies you can have a success rate which is barely higher than chance, but an extremely high repeatability (up to 100%) if you only take a large enough sample
When I use a simple memory experiment in a lecture as a demonstration I might make the prediction that the students will have a better recollection in one particular of two tasks. Not every one of them has, for memory, again, is somewhat variable between persons as we all know. Let's say my success rate on an individual basis is 75% that is ľ of my students show a memory advantage in the predicted direction. My replication, however, is 100% in such a large sample, for whenever I repeat that experiment, I always find the same average advantage (sometimes a bit higher, sometimes a bit lower, but always in the same direction).
Now to parapsychology. Let's take the famous psychokinesis experiments by Schmidt and by Jahn as an example. A clock-type pointer moves (counter/)clockwise driven by a random generator. The subject 'wills' the pointer to go more often in one of these directions. Fifty percent success is the base rate in a two directions condition. The parapsychologists report across experiments a success rate of about 50.2 % that is about every 500 trials one more-than-chance move in the willed-for direction. Not an impressing effect size, but with millions of trials the few extra hits get statistically significant, that is chance alone is not a good explanation (real paranormal ability is but one of the remaining explanations). The problem mainstream science has with this result is not that the success rate is far from 100% and much nearer to the chance base line of 50%, the question is can this effect, however small it is, be replicated in independent laboratories. That's replicability(repeatability) and it has nothing at all to do with success rate, except that with a higher success rate, you need fewer trials to show the effect, if it is real.

Helen,
well, I looked it up on my bookshelf and in my collection of articles this morning to make a rough guess: I've read definitively more than 50,000 pages but not yet 100,000 pages of mostly scientific literature on parasciences (about 15%, I guess is pro, and 85% is contra, which I do not consider too unbalanced, for the contra side is nearly always citing the pro arguments, but often not vice versa). This does not include what I have read about perception and memory illusions in the mainstream scientific literature (roughly, you could double my guess to include these articles and books), which is relevant to paranormal claims as well. I guess you would call that 'a lot' though it is far from 'all of it'? You must have been joking to ask that question whether I have read 'all of it'. If you just know a bit about research on that field you'd know that a person reading without ever sleeping her whole life couldn't read all of it, even only about psychics, by far not.
I understand from reading your paragraph that you are angry at me, but that's about all I understand. Neither do I make unsupported assumptions (they may turn out to be wrong, but that's something entirely different), nor is it unscientific to make assumptions or hypotheses about something not tested yet. It would be unscientific to let these assumptions guide my evaluation of results. But to use knowledge from literature and own experiments to make a 'best guess' hypothesis on a particular claim or story is well within what is acceptable in science. I remain open to change my mind if I see the appropriate data.
You write you take my statements as my own opinions and beliefs. I hope you do. And I'd like to have a bit of that respect for differing beliefs that kat has asked for in this thread. In an open forum it should be possible, in my opinion, to repeat what mainstream science opinion on claims of perception without using the known senses, i.e. extrasensory perception, is and what the hypotheses are on where these claims come from. I believe that what I have written is the best fitting hypothesis as long as I don't know anything more. (support for that opinion: R. Hyman, The elusive quarry, H. Houdini, A magician among the spirits, P. Kurtz (Ed.), A skeptics handbook of parapsychology, M. Shermer, Why people believe weird things, R. Wiseman, Deception and self deception, D. Marks and R. Kammann, The psychology of the psychic, and many, many others)
I often have found especially in talking about my research on illusions of memory a fundamental asymmetry in the respective evaluation of personal experiences and research. Lay persons have not the slightest problems in using arguments from personal experience ('I know it') to challenge scientific results, but often the very same persons do not like at all when scientific results are used to challenge their personal experiences. I think both arguments are in principle valid (as an argument on a case) and should be used for weighting the respective evidence.
I once had a perceptual experience in a night that was quite frightening at that time. It was real for me. Later a friend told me he had an alternative interpretation of what has led to my perception. I thought about it and though my memory of that perception still felt real I saw it was at least a possible hypothesis to explain my perception. Was I mad at him for challenging my perception? Did I say he made unsupported assumptions (he made assumptions, sure, about something he could not know for sure, for he couldn't look into my head)? No, I just said I didn't know for sure but he might be right after all.

I'm very grateful for the link to Jessica Utts' article. I have always read her articles with great interest though I do not share her conclusion. She is highly respected both by parapsychologists and by psychologist. For instance, she is one of the very few believers in the validity of parapsychological findings that has been invited to contribute to the highly sceptical 'Encyclopaedia of the Paranormal' (Ed.: G. Stein). I recommend everybody to read her to find out how the best parapsychological research available is done. And then you might like to follow the link to her homepage and to click there on an article from Ray Hyman for a differing view. Ironically, that is the same Hyman I have mentioned above who is responsible for the 'cold reading' explanation of how psychic consulting works. C.G. Jung would say that this is an acausal but meaningful coincidence that shortly after I mentioned how Hyman explains psychic consulting you link us to a page from where Hyman's opinion on the best parapsychological research is only two clicks away.

Amos,
now which way do you want to have it? I did understand you in one post that you did not support the application of the measuring instruments of one field to a qualitatively differing field. A bit later you tell approvingly of the research at the SRI. They do nothing else than apply scientific methods from research on perception and psychophysics (yes, that's methods from physics applied to perception) on a paranormal question. My impression is that you cite research regardless of methods used as long as you approve of the results, but when it comes to results you do not like, you declare that this type of research does injustice to the field in question.
Thanks for the anecdote from Ingo Swann. That adds to my already not very high opinion of the research at that institute. They do overly complicated experiments with many loopholes and don't exert rigorous experimental control.
As for OBEs (out-of-body experiences), it is extremely doubtful that there has been any substantiation in controlled laboratory research of the ability to see something that couldn't be seen with normal means. However, it is true that there are a lot of fairly detailed and consistent reports of such an experience. The best explanation I have read yet comes from the work of Susan Blackmore, who has had an OBE herself which was very impressive to her and which she only could explain to herself at that time by a paranormal hypothesis. She made her PhD in parapsychology and lost nearly all of her belief in this type of explanations during her experiments. She became quite sceptical through her own experience as a researcher (S. Blackmore, 'Adventures of a parapsychologist'). Her interesting strictly physiological and psychological explanation of OBEs can be found in her book 'Beyond the Body: an Investigation of Out-of-Body Experiences. BTW, her New Scientist article from 22 Sept 1990, 'The lure of the paranormal' also is a very good reading.

I recommend that all of you sometimes use the online
Skeptic's Dictionary if you want to know what the (or: a) sceptical explanation of a phenomenon or an experience is. They cover nearly everything and they give additional references for further reading though I am not happy that they don't give a reference to a paranormal explanation all of the times. Better, of course, and always with references to both camps, is G. Stein, The Encyclopaedia of the Paranormal. So, e.g. hesperis, you don't need to ask for somebody to explain Edgar Cayce, you can read yourself what the sceptical position is. You may not like it, but at least you'll know then what sceptics think.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: GUEST,Luther
Date: 14 Sep 00 - 09:56 AM

Wolfgang, you put in the mildly uncomfortable position of defending Jung, about whom I have no comprehensive knowledge, and in whom I have no compelling interest. But I do remember that he coined the term syncronicity to mean "apparently meaningful coincidence". Now, no rational person would argue that "apparently meaningful coincidence" doesn't exist, the operative word being "apparently".

I also recall with some confidence that Jung was unequivocal regarding his "belief" in astrology, tarot, etc. He was not a believer, rather he was interested in the image of human consciousness reflected in such belief systems.

I'd say that's a legitimate line of inquiry, and quite rational.


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Rachel D
Date: 14 Sep 00 - 10:36 AM

Wolfgang

How glad I am to find someonewith a bit of sense posting to this thread. It is amazing how the human body can make itself see and feel things that defy logic when it has the inclination. When I was in my late teens I read people's auras. I really could see them. Was it coincidence that I was unhappy with few friends and desperately wanted to get in with a crowd of 'alternative' types, who I successfully charmed, at the time? I don't think so. So many people want to feel that they are different or special that they can dupe their body into believing it has 'powers' they have heard about. Thank you for your articulate words.

Rachel D


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: CarolC
Date: 14 Sep 00 - 10:49 AM

Wolfgang, I did have a problem with the way you treated me on the previous "Unexplained" thread. You stated that I had proven to myself that I had dissolved clouds. I never said any such thing. I said that I thought that my experiences demonstrated a pattern that was worthy of consideration. That's all. So, if the accuracy of a person's statements is important, I think it would be worth taking a look at some of your own.

And as enjoyable as it might be for you to find new subjects to use to illustrate your points to your students so as to make your classes more entertaining, I feel that that behavior is demeaning to the person whom you are using as an object of ridicule. For ridicule it is, regardless of how serious the academic setting. Especially if you haven't got your facts straight about what they said.

I think that sometimes a rigid adherence to science gets in the way of a person's humanity. And you are a human being first, and a scientist second. I don't think you can find anything that I've posted in either of these threads that even begins to resemble ridicule of other people's views or opinions. Although I have made a couple of comments about other people's behavior toward others.

Carol


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Bert
Date: 14 Sep 00 - 02:00 PM

I do know that **IF** I am shown a case where, under laboratory conditions with careful controls, someone can, on demand and repeatedly... Diagnose an illness and successfully treat that same illness... then I might suspend my suspicion of the medical profession.

Sorry to steal your line Bill. It's nothing personal against your opinion, which is quite justified. It just seemed like a good line that I could use for my argument as well. My argument being against using double standards for judging anything.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Wolfgang
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 03:42 AM

I'm writing this offline and I'm not going to look at any new posts before posting. No, I don't have any particular person in mind while writing. This is for your information only in order to introduce a more positive element from my side. Some of it might be over your heads, for it is in parts quite tricky. Sorry for that, but I don't know your educational background.
I'll tell you about potential loopholes, mistakes and pitfalls in doing research in parapsychology and on purported (or real?) psychic abilities. I've two aims: First, to warn you about taking too serious your own research at home maybe guided by one of those do-it-yourself books ('How do I find out about my psychic abilities?') which mostly are not worth the paper they are written on. Failing to take into account what is known from 120 years of research in parapsychology might trick you into believing you have found the real thing whereas you only have repeated one of the long known mistakes leading to artifactual results. Second, to make clear to you why even the best results from parapsychological research are looked on with little conviction by the majority of scientists. I'm not writing here for the academic parapsychologists, for nothing you'll read below is new to them. Most of them are extremely clever, know their trade and have learned a lot from past mistakes. They'd have made their way in mainstream research as well if they had chosen to do that.

To whom it concerns

Pitfalls in doing research on psychic abilities

Fraud. The incidence of fraud in parapsychology is (my guess, I have no empirical data) not higher than in mainstream research. Sure, if subjects are paid for performance, a subgroup of them will try to use any information they can get (and not only the one the experimenter wants them to use) to boost their performance. You'll have to be quite careful. Experimenter fraud has been with parapsychology as long as it exists. J.B. Rhine had to fire his already selected successor as head of the institute when that man was caught red handed by his students. The greatest success story in finding out fraud, however, was when by the clever work of parapsychologist Betty Marwick (Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research 1978, 56, 250-277) the Soal-Goldney experiments from the 1930s which once were deemed to be the best parapsychological research available were shown beyond reasonable doubt to have been the result of experimenter fraud. What a pity for Soal that the invention of something he couldn't think of when he cheated, namely the computer, made it possible to find out decades later his way of cheating.
The incidence of fraud in parapsychological research isn't higher than in mainstream research, but the impact is for one simple reason: In mainstream research on humans we also have our private doubts about some results and ask perhaps a close colleague whether he has also failed to replicate a too beautiful result. But then we shrug and go back to work. If the result cannot be repeated it'll disappear from the literature and mostly nobody really cares whether fraud, a statistical fluke, or an undetected experimental error was the reason for the result. In parapsychology however, singular results from 18- or 19odd are still cited as a potential proof, for there are much less demands on repeatability ('we know that psychic abilities vary'). Whereas in mainstream research singular results slowly disappear without corroboration (with them the fraudulent results), the problem of fraud is worse in a science that relies on uncorroborated reports.

Sensory leakage. When you play cards and see your opponent's cards in his glasses that is sensory leakage. In a science that studies whether it is possible to gather information without resort to the usual senses, sensory leakage can be a big problem. Well, it surely was, when it could be shown (Kennedy, Journal of Psychology 1938, 6, 149-153) that the cards used in several experiments in Rhine's lab could be read from the backside as well under appropriate lighting conditions. But the leakage can be minor by far. If the sender and the receiver (both words mean persons here) are in the same or neighbouring rooms a minor noise (taking breath, opening the mouth), a minor movement of the head or the eyes and many more things can lead to a performance better than baseline chance without the persons involved even knowing that they have subconsciously read out information using their normal senses. Pfungst ('Clever Hans') has shown that he was able to read peoples' thoughts by just using the information he had from their (mostly) eye movements, an impressing ability, but certainly not beyond normal understanding.
Another example from mainstream research: One of my students in her doctoral dissertation wanted subjects to draw red (blue) beads from an urn. They were paid for getting the right colour (in a chance choice). The toyshops had no beads or similar objects that only differed in colour at that time, so she had the (in principle) clever idea to paint hazelnuts either red or blue. Hazelnuts differ in minor details, but as long as you are not allowed to study the nuts before the experiment you cannot profit from that. I get a deep pleasure from finding out experimental loopholes and therefore I asked her, whether I could have one urn for study. After a bit of training I asked her to test me in her experiment and I showed her that I was able to pick the correct colour without error, even from a new urn with hazelnuts I had not seen before. She was flabbergasted and unable to find out how I did it until I told her. I tightly squeezed the nuts in my hands to get them warmer. The warmth slightly changed the surface properties of the colours and one of the two colours then became a tiny bit more sticky. Easy when you know, but also easy to overlook.
You even can have sensory leakage if the sender and the receiver are in two different rooms at a large distance, and there's no intercom. How that? One example from parapsychology. In one lab they had the two persons involved in completely separate rooms, no visual, acoustic or whatever sensory contact possible. There was nothing but a buzzer to signal the start of a trial (to make sure that the receiver concentrates only when the sender sends a new pattern/picture). After some time one pair of subjects got extremely good results and someone looked closer. Time delay was the solution. The sender took more time with some patterns (the more complicated ones) than with others before buzzing to say 'I'm sending now'. Since this was an experiment with feedback, after some time the very sensitive receiver found a way to get above chance results. He actually didn't know how he did it, he thought he had the real power when in reality he was just very sensitive to minor changes (time delay) being loosely correlated to the sent patterns. When the time delay was controlled by the experimenter the performance returned to chance level.

Randomisation. When two people who might not even have seen each other before or even during the experiment are asked to think of just any number between 1 and 10 and this is repeated many times you'll consistently find that the numbers are more often identical than can be explained by baseline chance alone. Why? People's spontaneous choices are not random at all. The tendency not to chose the extremes (1, 10) or the middle (5) often enough, to prefer the 7,..., leads to extra hits. Bagpuss has pointed out in the astrology thread that humans asked to generate a series of random numbers change too often between numbers. If you are asked to write down a random series of 0s and 1s, like 00101110101....., you'll have too few triplets (three same in a row), quadruplets, quintuplets and so on. From that tendency, better than chance performance can be expected (in some types of experiments) if the randomisation is left to the human brain. Random number tables and random number generators in computers are better but not perfect. They are not truly random they just generate numbers that are identical to truly random numbers for the usual randomness tests (if you see me generating the purportedly random sequence 0101010101010101010101... you'll suspect a deviation from randomness but a test only testing for equal probability of 0s and 1s doesn't spot any deviation), but not for all possible randomness tests. A better solution would be the use of a appropriate control group (e.g., the experimental group concentrates on sending the patterns, the control group does something more interesting while hardly looking at the patterns to be sent at all), and to compare the performance not against the theoretical chance baseline but between the two groups. Deplorably, this is too seldom done in parapsychology, since the effort to yield the same amount of data doubles. The best experiments in this field, however, are flawless in this respect.
As a fake psychic you can use human nonrandom tendencies and influencability to your advantage. Many years in succession, I have done a lecture experiment taken from parapsychology, me being the sender and the students the recipients of information unavailable to the normal senses. Their task was to write down five times in succession what type of brightness (bright/dark) I was trying, so I said, to 'project on their mental screen' (courtesy to fake psychic Kreskin for that figure of speech) while in reality I was merely slowly counting to 20 each time. So a full response could be 'bright, dark, bright, dark, dark' or any of the other 31 possibilities. I always got a statistically significant result without ever cheating once while counting or calculating. The real task for the students later was to find out how I had done it to produce a better than baseline chance result as a 'psychic'. First, I had primed them to start with 'black' in order to secure some extra hits: My name (Hell) is the German word for 'bright', clairvoyance in German is (in retranslation) 'seeing bright', and I used the word 'bright' as my example for explaining one potential first response. Now if you rub one possibility of two under the noses of humans you can be quite sure that they start with the other possibility just to show you they are not so easily influenced. And then I choose as my target sequence (before the experiment, of course, for a direct cheat would not have had any fun for me) a sequence I knew humans prefer (there are data about that), that is e.g. dark, bright, dark, dark, bright, and not, e.g., 'dark, dark, dark, dark, bright' which humans don't consider a good sequence and therefore don't choose.

Retrofitting. If I had not a significant result with the obvious first test I tried for another test (e.g., leaving out the last trial and only counting the first four; and telling them 'That makes sense, at the last trial your concentration was already declining'). In every case, I was able to find a test which showed a significant result with impeccable statistics. But I hadn't told them before the test, which result I would consider evidence for psychic abilities. I told them after I had found out which statistic to use best in this particular case. If you look at the data with one beloved hypothesis in your minds you can easily trick yourself into finding 'evidence' if you allow yourself 'data snooping'. Amos has posted a prime example above (Ingo Swann) how the fitting of a description to a picture is discussed and decided after the fact. A good parapsychological experiment makes it perfectly unequivocal before the experiment which response is a hit and which isn't. If you're discussing that after the experiment, something is seriously flawed.
Psychic detectives make largely use of retrofitting. A boy is missing and the psychic says she sees 'water'. Well, water is always a good guess (in many regions) when it comes to missing boys. The body is found in a lake a ditch, a river, that's a hit. The body is found in a rainy night, that's a hit too. The boy is found safe by a plumber, a hit. The boy was abducted and held captive in a house with a swimming pool, a hit. The boy was keeping himself alive in a cave by drinking water from the walls of the cave, a hit. The boy was murdered by a person with middle name 'Walter', a near hit. You see the game? The unsurmountable problem in these cases is that the evaluation of the performance of the psychic cannot be checked against a chance baserate of success, since 'success' is only defined after the facts are known. That's retrofitting, a serious problem.

Feedback in drawing without replacement. (Skip this paragraph if you didn't like math at school.) If I have 52 cards well shuffled face down and let you guess the suits you should not be better than chance (1/4) the first time if I was careful. If I go on with that one card missing ('drawing without replacement') and have given you feedback on the correct response, you can better your performance by not calling the suit which was drawn the first time. And so on. If you have a really good memory you can't fail with the last card. This is an often very well hidden mistake (I have made it much more obvious here, than it normally is). Even if you do not care about conditioned probabilities and do not try at all to remember the correct responses, the mere tendency of humans to change their responses more often after a hit than after a miss must necessarily lead to better than baseline chance performance. It has been shown (and I also could easily make a better than chance performance if tested as a 'psychic' in many experiments) that even merely telling if the response was correct or not (and not telling what would have been the correct response) is enough to secure a better than baseline chance performance. In this case again, the human tendency to avoid repetitions leads (in some experiments) to more hits than chance alone, but that's very difficult to see. In parapsychology there is nearly always feedback given, for the subjects are much more comfortable this way, but at least, nowadays, drawing without replacement has been replaced by the more awkward drawing with replacement (e.g., reshuffling all cards after each single response). These were but some of the pitfalls (including the major ones but by far not all) in doing parapsychological research, I now turn to the evaluation of these and similar problems

Decline effect and shyness effect. Parapsychologists from the time of J.B. Rhine on and even before have often found to their dismay that the performance of the psychics tested in the labs was larger at the beginning of the experiments than later on in a series of experiments. This was in coincidence (sceptics would say: causal coincidence) with the tightening of the experimental controls. The better you controlled the worse the performance was. Rhine even advised to loosen the controls if the performance broke down to keep the psychic motivated (some of them complained they could not use their powers when such a distrust was displayed by the experimenter). Rhine coined the name 'decline effect' to describe the tendency of psychics to lose the power during prolonged experimentation with tightened controls. Another name is 'shyness effect' (maybe also from Rhine) to describe that under conditions of perfect control the psychics do not perform as good as with weak or even without controls (Should I mention that bloke who published the finding that children could bend spoons much better when left alone with the spoons than when looked at?).
Sadly for parapsychology, long gone are the days of the spectacular results. Nobody ever has been able again to get 25 hits with 25 Zener cards (5 different symbols, that is chance level should be 5 hits, or 20%) as did Rhine to yield odds against chance which were astronomical. Well, he and the subject sat together in a car while doing this experiment and that led some critics to make disparaging remarks and the others to point politely to minor doubts concerning the validity of the data gathered this way.

Evaluation and my opinion.The average effect sizes in parapsychology are declining from decade to decade (with outliers, of course) and results as the 50.2% hits reported by Jahn (where 50% is the chance base rate) I have mentioned in a post above are far from what lay persons think could be considered a genuine psychic effect. Everybody involved knows that this decline of effect sizes goes hand in hand with tighter experimental controls against alternative interpretations. The better controls against alternative interpretations are the more marginal are the results. When Susan Blackmore ('adventures of a parapsychologist') did ganzfield experiments for her dissertation she could not repeat the results from a close colleague despite following his procedures to each detail. She then went to the lab in question for a short visit and described later in a written report some problems she had spotted in the randomisation process (that was the end of her friendship with the other researcher and the last time she was allowed in his lab). When she repeated the experiments with what she thought was a wrong procedure (the other researcher disagreed furiously) she could repeat the results, when she did what she thought was correct, no replication was possible.
What's the state of the art in my eyes. There are a few incompetent researchers in parapsychology (proportionally probably not more than in mainstream psychology). One pair even earned the nickname 'the Laurel and Hardy of Psi' for their display of incompetence and for how they let the psychics interfere with the experiment they were supposed to control. But the majority of researchers (I have a high respect especially for the British among them) are doing impeccable work according to today's knowledge. I have no doubts that they are doing the best they can and do not cheat; I couldn't do better than they. A subgroup of these researchers get better than chance results that are 'statistically repeatable', that is do not show in all experiments for reasons unknown, but show in more experiments than can be expected by chance alone. These results can sometimes be corroborated by colleagues, sometimes not, for reasons unknown. These results have mostly so small effect sizes (see above) that thousands or even millions of trials are necessary to get them significant.
So we have the pattern that the better the controls, the weaker the effect. If all controls the researchers have thought of are used there sometimes seems to be a residual of a minor effect which is much less repeatable than wished for. One interpretation is that this is the real thing, very, very small and not yet under our control. The majority interpretation and my personal opinion is that we don't know for sure what is going on, but by far the most simple interpretation is that one control nobody has thought of yet is missing and with that control the effect will go down to naught. You do not need much of an alternative influence, whatever it might be, to explain a 50.2% result. For persons thinking like that, ESP (extrasensory perception) is better translated as 'error some place'.
After 120 or more years of research, the effects have neither been explained in a theory to allow good predictions, nor can they be produced reliably. I like the example of electricity (magnetism) someone has used with other intentions very much. That also was an extremely weak effect, which once could not be produced reliably and had no theory and was not understood at all. That was a kind of protoscience, i.e. a science at the beginning of being a real science but not having all its attributes yet. As you all know the effects were largely understood in a few decades (rather: years), a theory with successful predictions was developed, the effect sizes were increasing together with our understanding and today the effects can be reproduced on demand (always? Well, nearly, as some of you know from bitter experiences with a computer).
Parapsychologists liken their science often to a protoscience like knowledge about electricity then. I think, 120 years was long enough for several good tries. I'd rather name (well, somebody else actually did, and I repeat it) their field of research as the 'Royal Nonesuch of Parapsychology'. I'd love to see a successful and convincing experiment, but until then I rather follow Susan Blackmore in thinking that the field really deserving study is why humans come to believe into something which with a quite high probability just doesn't exist.

Wolfgang
(hoping that this short paper is seen by you according to my intention: mostly information, a bit of opinion, and both clearly discernible)


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: CarolC
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 04:07 AM

Wolfgang,

It's very nice of you to go to the trouble of typing out all of that information for us. But if you don't take the time to read the things that have been posted since your last post, doesn't the discussion become a little one sided?

Carol


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: katlaughing
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 04:40 AM

Interesting, disparaging, and in some places judgemental. You mention control several times. Scientist must learn, someday, that there are things they will never have under complete control.

Would you have done the same to Jesus and one of his miracles? Put them to a test, see if it could happen everytime, on demand? The ability I have and that of others whom I know, is not something that can be replicated on demand. For me, it comes from my belief in a Higher Power and that is the Source of whatever psychic knowledge I may have. That may seem irrational to you and you may wish to pin it down, but it is an impossible thing.

The scientists/doctors who showed us pictures of a tumour in my mom, then cut her open to take it out, then came out almost immediately to tell us they don't know what happened, but the tumour was gone, it did not exist; these men of science, knew they had witnessed an unexplained phenomenon, one they couldn't possibly try to replicate for study in a lab. We, her family, know that she was healed through music and prayer. The doctors had to admit they had no idea of how she was healed.

My sisters, who are twins, know when the other has been injured, when they are hundreds of miles away from one another.

I do not expect you to understand or to even want to understand; the world you live by is comforting and controlled, why would you want that to change? Please, do try to understand, though, that the gifts I feel I have come from the Cosmic/Great Spirit/God/whatever one wants to call it and I am grateful for that connection and the fact that I am open to it, everyday. It is not something to be abused by trivial use such as performing like a trick dog. It is a serious source to tap into when there is need.

As for your 120 years of study. I belong to an ancient metaphysical organisation which has conducted controlled experiments for thousands of years and which teaches the scientific and practical application of metaphysical laws. To study their teachings requires membership and a committment to many years, usually a lifetime, of study. Many, many scientists have been and continue to be among its ranks of members.

At no time does the org. ever tell people how they must think or do things. In fact, members are encouraged to be walking "question marks" testing and questioning everything the teachings impart in order to prove the principles to themselves.

We are talking about two totally diferent worlds, Wolfgang. I think we should let it go; you with your long lectures, which sound a bit like bullying, and the rest of us with our own stands and beliefs. Opinionated derision is not edifying and serves no purpose other than to hurt feelings and close minds.

Let it go, please, everyone....


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Escamillo
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 05:57 AM

Sorry Kat, you know I love you, but I don't think so and I dont feel as being included in "the rest of us" and would like to not be invited to leave a discussion if I appreciate it, though you may dislike it.

What Wolfgang is bringing here is authentic scientific research, which indeed may be a different world, but I don't see any intention to ridicule anybody's beleifs.

And.. you can't disqualify Medicine with one example. If the same criteria were applied to psychics, you know where their credibility would go, even for beleivers.

Carol, I understand Wolfgang's post as a huge contribution that does not depend on any previous post, because it is not a specific reply to any one, but another important element to take into consideration.

I would repeat: nobody pretends to put Jesus or Brahma or Love or Music on the dissection table. If you want to find an offensive argument against science, that is one. Science can analyze samples of the so-called Holy Schroud (and find that it is a fraud) but it does not mean to put religious beleifs under the microscope. Such interpretation is a big mistake, or is intentionally agressive. While science is not offensive, it is just a fascinating seek for the truth. :)

Un abrazo - Andrés


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Ringer
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 06:22 AM

Hey: I've just discovered that I can psychically break up blockades at oil refineries. Just over a week ago I flew to France (as I mentioned in my post above, where I posed a serious question that no-one has yet bothered to answer) which was experiencing a fuel shortage because the revolting French were blockading refineries as a protest at high fuel prices. I arrived in France, and immediately the protesters broke up and went home. During my week in France (very pleasant, thanks) I saw on the World News that similar protestors in England had caused a fuel shortage there. I recently flew back to England and immediately the revolting English protesters broke up and went home. Spooky or what? On the other hand, of course, it could be my wife who has the power, because she went with me, and she has certain paranormal powers anyway - she can cut steel at 40 paces with that particular tone of voice.


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Wolfgang
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 07:39 AM

Carol,
you're right, if I'd not read at all what is posted here, the discussion would be very one sided. But you've misunderstoood my reasons for posting before reading. This paper was not in response to any particular post, just a bit of information on the state of the art and in my opinion relevant to the topic here. And I did not want to mix up what I had written with particular responses. I posted it and went on reading selected bits from about five days of postings in other threads. And now I'm reading this thread for the first time since my before last post.

You stated that I had proven to myself that I had dissolved clouds. I never said any such thing
Correct, but I still think that my words were a good summary of what you had said. You wrote about the conditions under which the effect shows more easily, you wrote about teaching how to do it, that you've never seen to fail so far. All that I translated for me that you think it's real.
I do not at all think that using your particular post in a book or in an examination task as an example of how not to test an empirical claim is demeaning. However, telling so in this public forum was and I apologise for this. I should have PMed you and not posted here for everyone to read. But there are many more colleagues or persons I have met (in person or as here) whose arguments, articles, reaearch, posts will be used by me to point out what I think are errors of reasoning or faulty experimental designs. Scientists are bound to give their sources and so at least in my book I'll have to give the respective information. One of my ideas once was used by a close colleague as an example of careless use of a formula. It was embarassing for me (but so any fault is), but it wasn't demeaning at all. I've learned a lot from that mistake.

kat,
yes, we better let it go, perhaps. I could respond that e.g. your Jesus example shows that you do know near to nothing about science and its philosophy), but it would not help at all. Stay in your comforting world.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: CarolC
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 08:48 AM

Wolfgang,

I appreciate your apology, and I accept it.

I do want to say this, however. This is not a forum of your colleagues and fellow professionals in your field. This is a forum of people who are having fun, sharing ideas, and being creative with each other.

When you scrutinize the things that we say for content that might apply to your professional endeavors, we end up feeling a lot like bugs under a microscope, rather than people. I, personally, don't feel comfortable with this. I don't think this is an appropriate place for you to be gathering your material.

Also, you really have no way of knowing whether or not I was even serious when I said the things I did. I could have been joking. It doesn't sound very professional to me to be gathering material that is of questionable validity in terms of whether or not the person was even serious when they said it.

I hope you will give the things I have said serious thought. Remember, the rules of your professional world don't apply in the context of this forum. This forum is a creative endeavor. As Max said, it's his work of art.

Carol


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Wolfgang
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 09:19 AM

Psychology is the study of behaviour, and not only of behaviour in the lab. I would never disclose the identity of a person who has said something to me in a conversation or written something in a private mail, but the posts here are written material to which is public access for everybody like any article in a newspaper.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: sophocleese
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 09:38 AM

Thank you Wolfgang for your long well written posting about research into this nest of topics. There's a lot of meat there.

Carol C. I cannot see that Wolfgang's posting was in any way detrimental to a forum where people "are having fun, sharing ideas, and being creative with each other." Rather his postings have helped to keep this discussion interesting and diverse rather than a cozy cuddle among 'believers'.

Thank you katlaughing for my first laugh of this morning.


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: sledge
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 10:29 AM

Kat, pure curiosity makes me enquire, what ancient metaphysical organisation. No disrespect intended.

Wolfgang, intesting stuff.


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Bert
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 11:09 AM

Well I'm an engineer and like Andres I think that science is a "fascinating seek for the truth".

I know that what my friend does cannot be explained by Newtonian Physics or even Dimensional Analysis. So it can't happen!!! But I've seen it enough times to know that it DOES happen.

She can take someone's hand and look at it a while and say something about that person that is unusual enough that it is beyond the realm of a reasonable guess.

For example she was talking to one guy - he was a salesman that she had never met before. She looked at his hand and said one thing "You used to be a singer".
Now that phrasing stuck me as really strange immediately, because I'm a singer and I don't know of any singer who would accept the phrase "used to be". We are singers or we are not singers and "used to be" doesn't come into it. Except for this guy, his eyes opend wide and he said "Yes, I used to sing in a choir". Now for some reason or other he had stopped singing and he didn't consider himself a singer any more.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: katlaughing
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 11:17 AM

Sledge, please see your PM's. I don't feel like providing any more laughs for the day at the expense of my spiritual beliefs.


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: sophocleese
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 05:39 PM

From the Concise Oxford Dictionary,

Control, 1. Power of directing, command.
2. Standard of comparison for checking inferences deduced from experiment, esp specimen, patient, etc., like those being investigated, but not specially treated.

katlaughing, I was not laughing at your beliefs but rather your mix-up with the word 'control'.

Wolfgang's post seemed to me to be an attempt to explain some of the apparently mysterious workings of scientific process to those who do not know how it works. It is similar to defining a word so that everybody in a discussion knows what is meant by it. Wolfgang has his own bias in this thread and he is clear about it. His posts do not 'attack' others but state his position with relevant background material. Clearly it is a subject that he has spent many hours researching. That he should then be told that his posts are disruptive to open-minded, free debate, or that he is deriding your opinions is unsettling and unclear.

I have found this thread very interesting and will continue to appreciate the views of those who are willing to present them.

PS. Were Jesus alive and walking on water today I have no doubt that there would also be scientists trying to figure out how he was doing it.


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: CarolC
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 06:24 PM

sophocleese,

I understand what you are saying. I was not referring to Wolfgang's post in this thread. I was referring to a post in the other thread in which he told me that he is going to use something I posted in that thread as material in his lectures about how not to do experiments. I find that practice to be invasive in the extreme.

Wolfgang,

I think that if you are going to insist upon using this forum in that way, it would probably be better if you kept your activities to yourself and didn't tell anyone that you are doing it. People have feelings. This is a community. When you don't respect the feelings of the other members of the community, they learn not to trust you.

Carol


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Escamillo
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 08:14 PM

Carol, once I said in this forum, that I would immediately leave the Mudcat when more than one member asks me to leave. If you feel that myself and other scientifically oriented (and never offensive) members of the community should go with their music to another place, please get just one other vote and let me know.


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 09:34 PM

Gentlemen, put down your engines.

You are (both your houses) banging your heads against beliefs and structures of "how to know" which far too ingrained than to be dislodged by mere communication, let alone cybercommunication.

The structure of these beliefs -- both those in the rigid disciplines of material science and its rigorous institutionalized skepticism - and those of the more traditional who see a clear divide between the logos of the psyche and the flavorless observation of "behaviour" -- is such that whichever or whatever set you deeply bind to your view, that shall ye experience. It makes no more sense to argue with another's clear-cut experience than it does to try and persuade the blind man at the tail of the elephant that he is mistaken.

You see in accordance with the sum total of your own elected, deep-seated beliefs. The religion of the material universe is th emost popular one around on this planet, for obviosu reasons. But there is no reason for anyone to assume that makes it true. Just widely held.

Amos


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: CarolC
Date: 18 Sep 00 - 09:48 PM

Andres,

I love the fact that you are here in the Mudcat! You have never done anything that was offensive to me in any way! You have my utmost admiration and respect. I would be very sad if you ever left the Mudcat. I don't have a problem with your scientific orientation. I really don't have a problem with anything about you.

My problem is with the way Wolfgang sometimes forgets to treat some of us as people. I wish he had never told me that he was going to use some of my postings in his professional life. I don't think that is appropriate behavior in a forum like this. I'm only asking for consideration of the feelings of others about the way they are treated. I am not asking anyone to change the way they think.

Please don't ever leave the Mudcat!

Carol


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Escamillo
Date: 19 Sep 00 - 02:52 AM

I appreciate your words very much, Carol, and still think that no offense was intended by Wolfgang or others, but the subject does not deserve a discussion. I will quote Sopho because her (his?) phrase called my attention:

"Were Jesus alive and walking on water today I have no doubt that there would also be scientists trying to figure out how he was doing it. "

YOU ARE RIGHT! :)) And probably scientists would prove that it was a myth! And then ? What is the importance of an explained or unexplained legend, compared to His immense message of love and enlightment to humankind ? Wether He multiplied the fish or not, or created wine out of water, is of absolutely no importance, and every scientist, christian or not, will agree, even those who succeed disproving a miracle. But.. psychics who don't have a similar message, and want to contribute to human knowledge, should submit their findings to science, and (as I said before) recognize their mistakes, a thousand times. And forgive those who refute their arguments, at least seventy times seven :)

Un abrazo - Andrés


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: CarolC
Date: 19 Sep 00 - 03:09 AM

Escamillo,

You are a scientist. You deal with facts. That is good. The profession that I have chosen, and that I am still in training for, deals with human interactions, and with feelings. Facts are important to you. Feelings and the quality of human interactions are important to me.

In my opinion, the subject of feelings sometimes does deserve a discussion. However, I think perhaps not here and not at this time.

Respectfully,

Carol


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Wolfgang
Date: 19 Sep 00 - 05:11 AM

Bert,
if you can't think of an explanation within Newtonian Physics that doesn't mean there is no rational explanation within, let's say, psychology or physiology. For instance, I know of a person who can tell after hearing a few words if another person has had any training in singing and whether that training is recent or dates back. That's a feat I cannot replicate at all but he assures that this is just his expertise.
Some people can do astonishing things beyond normal abilities (some of them even don't know themselves how they do it) but not beyond rational explanation.
For me the safest approach is to say "don't know". Even if I can't think of a scientific explanation there might be one.
And regarding your friend, my 'explanation' above is just a wild guess. Possible, yes, with the present state of my knowledge, but I wouldn't bet upon it. There are many others and only one is that the laws of nature do not hold in this case.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Bert
Date: 19 Sep 00 - 12:03 PM

Wolfgang,

That's a good point, there are some things a trained eye can spot. Often you can tell if a person has had ballet lessons by the way they walk. But my friend has no such training and I chose that one example because I felt that most of us could relate to it. She told me that water was important to me, before she ever knew that I was living on river front property at the time.

I don't know how she does it, but she can tell some very close and personal things about people.

The point I have been trying to make is that we should use the same 'standards' of judgement. If we say that these people must produce repeatable consistent results, then we should expect the same thing from the medical profession. I think it's fair to say that 'this phenomenon/treatment works SOME of the time' whether it be Tarot or cancer that we are talking about.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Helen
Date: 19 Sep 00 - 07:01 PM

Wolfgang,

Thank you for the information you have given us. I don't know why you interpreted my last statement as indicating that I was angry with you. I only asked you to give us more information on what you know about the subject, which you have now done.

I agree with Carol that you you have made an inappropriate comment in this forum when you said that you would use her statements as an example in your classes. If we all thought that other Mudcatters, whom we trust, were copying and analysing all of our statements for use in professional studies or occupations in a totally different field to music and creativity then none of us would feel comfortable in posting anything at all. I, for one, think that you owe her an apology.

Another thing I was not impressed about was that you seemed to be making assumptions about the people here who are presenting positive arguments for psychic abilities. You seemed to be assuming that we all accept the evidence of psychic abilities unquestioningly, without any inclination or interest in knowing whether it really works or not. At last, in your long informative post you have given us a more complete idea of where you have obtained your information, and you also said "I don't know your educational background" and for me, that is the first instance where you have seemed to be aware of us as a group of distinct individuals with individual differences rather than a homogeneous mass of people lumped together under a category of believers rather than thinkers.

Amos and Andrés

Thank you for your positive and balancing contributions to this discussion.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: hesperis
Date: 19 Sep 00 - 11:20 PM

Hi, all!

Wow, this thread has been getting HOT while I was taking a break from it!
I have just read ALL of this very long thread, and have a few points:

1. Wolfgang and other "skeptics" are in this thread because they wish to discuss the unexplained. They have all (I think) said several times that they wish that parapsychology could be proven to be real. They are coming in with a point of view that is valid to them, and is not meant to be denigrating to those people who have experienced these things in other ways.

2. Those of us who have experienced unexplained things, and accepted the "spiritual" explanation(s) for those things, are getting very frustrated in trying to explain those things to the "skeptics". This has gone on for several threads, and we are getting a bit weary. I stopped reading this thread for a few days, to think and regroup. This thread is a lot of work!

3. I have experienced things that I can't explain. They probably could be explained, but where would Mystery dwell, then? (That probably makes me a "gullible" softie, but I don't mind.)

4. Ritual connects people to one another. Beliefs connect people to one another. Some people think that people are more important than facts. Some people think that people are facts, and facts are important. Do you see the difference there?

5. I think that it would have been more considerate if Wolfgang had sent a PM to Carol about her "innacuracies", and after discussing it with her, asking to use it as an example for his students, rather than announcing to all of Mudcat that he was going to do that. I find that to be rude, actually. But we all make mistakes. (And here I have singled Wolfgang out, and should have probably sent him a PM about it. (Sorry!))

Wolfgang, I have bookmarked that Skeptics site, and will peruse it at leisure.

Respectfully,
Chagall


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Wolfgang
Date: 20 Sep 00 - 05:46 AM

Bert,
I think I agree completely with you on the necessitiy of using the same standards of judgement. As I said in an earlier post to you, nobody expects Tarot readings to be correct all of the time, just in a well controlled scientific experiment to to be more often correct than by chance alone (in comparison to a correctly chosen control group). If any experiment in medicine (traditional or not) doesn't meet these standards then my reaction is just the same: "case not proven".
To all those that have commented upon my exchange with Carol and asked for an apology, read my post from 18-Sep-00 - 07:39 AM. I have clearly stated there for what I apologise (telling it this way) and for what not (that I'll be using her post in a book). The scientists code of honour demands that any argument is cited correctly, that private communications are not cited without permission, but publicly available documents can be cited without consent and even without asking. Mudcat Forum posts are publicly available documents.
Are you really unaware that the internet and its contents including posts are used by (mainly) social scientists as a giant new source of raw data? There are people out there dissecting the type of argumentation used, studying the social dynamics in discussion groups, counting the number of different words used in order to find out what the impact of the internet is on the language, and many more.
But this theme would merit a new thread.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Helen
Date: 20 Sep 00 - 06:42 PM

So, Wolfgang, you have been operating on a different code of honour than most of the Mudcatters. You operate on the scientists' code of honour. That is very enlightening, and thank you for sharing this information. It puts a completely new spin on this dialogue. In a sense, you have been harvesting our thoughts and feelings and insights without our knowledge but at least you have the decency to admit it openly to us, which is probably more than many of the other "harvesters" will ever do.

It has taken nearly 300 postings to the first and second parts of this thread to find this out.

The analogy which comes to me is of the Japanese code of honour in war. Their values are that to be a captive of war is dishonourable and it is more honourable to commit suicide than to submit to the enemy. As a consequence of these beliefs they are reputed to have treated their prisoners of war with less care and concern than the Christian countries believe that prisoners of war should be treated. (Note: I am saying how they "believe" they should be treated because belief does not always translate into appropriate action in all situations due to individual or collective human actions.)

If members of one culture act honourably according to their own code, but are perceived to be acting dishonourably by another group of people, who is in the right and who is in the wrong? If I were in Japan I would hope that I could act in accordance with their cultural values, in as far as it did not conflict with my own cultural and personal values in any fundamental way, but I would not commit suicide if captured by the enemy. I would follow my own cultural value of clinging to life in the face of diversity.

Is the old saying "when in Rome, do as the Romans do" appropriate here? When in Mudcat do as the Mudcatters do - or believe that we should do, i.e the generally accepted social practices. Or should we all just act according to our own codes of honour and if anyone gets burnt in the process, well, it's only a natural consequence of being part of a "public" internet forum.

Complex human questions requiring complex thought and responses. No easy answers.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: katlaughing
Date: 20 Sep 00 - 09:17 PM

Well put, Helen, thank you, I was thinking along those same lines about code of honour and the Mudcat. It feels like a violation of implied mutual trust, something we've already lost enough of over the past year or so.


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: DougR
Date: 20 Sep 00 - 09:56 PM

Whoa! I don't want to start a civil war in the community, but since when has there been a "code of honor" in the Mudcat? I think there has been a general feeling on the part of most members of the community that one should treat another as they would like to be treated, but a formal code of honor. Don't think so.

Many who have posted to this thread (and I have read every posting) are very emotionally involved with this subject. That's fine, but in such instances, it is awfully easy to get a bit carried away. IMO. DougR


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Wolfgang
Date: 21 Sep 00 - 08:10 AM

You are trying to make a mountain out of a molehill and I'll be trying to correct the proportions.

Just look back to what actually has happened. We had a thread started by Carol with the stated theme to hear anyone's explanation of whatever is unexplained at this time. Well, actually, she did start it for Escamillo but I could read no disapproval of this idea in her starting post.

Well, I get a pleasure out of finding rational explanations for previously unexplained 'things', so it was a fine theme for me. Many of you , I have gathered, feel better without rational explanations, see e.g. Hesperis saying: I have experienced things that I can't explain. They probably could be explained, but where would Mystery dwell, then? If that's how you feel, fine for you, but I sometimes got the feeling that even mentioning a rational explanation of some feat, let alone pointing out details of that explanation, was seen by some of you as intrusion into your beliefs. But I don't think that my contributions were out of the theme of that thread.

Mudcat is a fine place to share ideas and information, mostly on music, but often on other topics as well. And many if not all of us have taken bits of what they have found here to somewhere else. They have retold jokes found here, used recipes posted in Mudcat outside of Mudcat, used information from another poster for their own pages on songs, for publications, papers etc. The use of information found here at other places is widespread. There are webpages out there which indicate that a certain information (on a song, e.g.) comes from such and such a poster in Mudcat. I don't think you see anything wrong with that.

Are there limits to using information in posts outside?. Sure, for me at least. I would not think it correct ever to use a very personal information outside of here. A is unhappily in love, B is happily in love with C, D is sad about having lost a close relation, or even minor details as E cries when hearing a special song, F does hate Bob Dylan are not to be used outside of this forum (if a scientist really would be interested in such things, there is always a way of occluding the individual identity, mostly done by only presenting averaged data).

But for me, it is completely different when a posters just presents information and/or opinion. If anyone of you for instance would feel like using my posts here in an esoteric journal or wherever in order to point out how close-minded sceptics are, I'd smile about it. Except if you did not give my name and where you've found the bit you cite. I insist on being cited, when my words are used. And now it all boils down to the question, what is the type of information Carol has given on dissolving clouds?

After several posts (by others) stating the cloud busting 'can be done...easier than you may think', 'over 500 successful demonstrations' have been made, Carol stated that Cloud busters are a lot more common that some people think and that everyone she has asked so far has said yes to the question whether they had ever tried dissolving clouds. She went on to say that she has taught her son how to do it and that he taught his friends in turn. That seemed and still seems to me just like sharable information, comparable to when Rick Fielding tells us about how to learn fingerpicking.

Now to the target post from Carol. If you want to read it in full and not to rely on my partial rendition, click here. Carol wrote (boldface from me):

For everyone else: If anyone wants to try dissolving clouds, it's not too hard as long as you are realistic about choosing your cloud. On a calm, sunny day with a few puffy clouds in the sky, pick a small cloud that isn't moving too fast as your target. ...
Look at the cloud, and then close your eyes and imagine the cloud dissolving slowly until it dissapears. Expect it to take a few minutes (for me, it takes about ten to fifteen minutes). Before you do this, make a mental map of the other clouds in the area, so you know that your cloud is behaving differently than the others. Otherwise you might think it's a coincidence that the cloud dissapeared. ... I won't suggest that this will work for everyone, but so far, I've never seen it fail. ...


Now what else is this than a description how to perform an experiment on cloud busting using control clouds for comparison, with the only personal information being how long it usually takes Carol to perform the act. And an experimental description is open to criticism. I happen to know that a vital detail is missing in the description that, if absent in the actual experiment, is rendering the experiment worthless as a proof for what is purports to prove. Carol's post is not shared as a personal experience (as e.g. Ebbie's post on clouds in that thread), but seems to me formulated completely as a 'to whom it may concern' type of post for everyone to share. Or how else do you read 'for everyone else' and 'if anyone wants'?

If you're honest with yourself, I think you'll admit that if e.g. kat would have written 'Carol, I'll show your post to a group of people I know who try to do cloud busting', there wouldn't have been an outcry, not even a slight admonition that this is breaking confidence. In my perception, the main reason for the outcry (except for my way of saying it here) is that I intend to make use of that post as an example how not to do an experiment.

Look here, how my post reads if I reformulate it approvingly:
Carol, I am grateful for your example how you have proved cloudbusting, for I always look for good examples from real life to make the otherwise sometimes dull lecture on how do to (quasi)experiments more interesting. My students (some of them but I hope only a few will hate me for that) will be assigned the task to spot the dependent and independent variables. And you're post will be cited in my book on experimental methods.

Do you think you would then also have written 'you have made an inappropriate comment in this forum when you said that you would use her statements as an example in your classes'? I strongly doubt it. You wouldn't have minded at all me using a post in a lecture approvingly.

You don't like my opinions and more so my way of stating them and therefore you use this opportunity to jump on me. That's all.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Alice
Date: 21 Sep 00 - 11:45 AM

Wolfgang's point of view is protected by freedom of speech. His messages have been reasonable and respectful. As DougR stated, "getting carried away" is not necessary in responding to Wolfgang. There is no need to censor him or to characterize scientists as having a different code of honor.

This weekend I am going to a conference on illustration and science. Art and science both uses processes of exploration, questioning, discovery, and problem solving. There is much to be learned from what Wolfgang has written if the defensiveness would be put aside. He is not attacking anyone, he is expressing his considerably well educated and experienced opinion.


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Ringer
Date: 21 Sep 00 - 03:33 PM

I wonder why those who believe in paranormal experience and power are so worried by science's view of their activity, as exemplified by Wolfgang. All they have to do is maintain that their power (shorthand for power/experience/etc) is supernatural and science cannot then touch it. Science deals with nature and the supernatural is, by definition, outside nature.


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: GUEST,Helen (using IE)
Date: 21 Sep 00 - 05:35 PM

Alice,

It was Wolfgang himself who stated that he is referring the scientist's code of honour in his use of information posted here.

Wolfgang,

Thank you for restating your original statement to CarolC. It clarifies your position a lot more, and takes away some of the heat of debate, in my opinion. Could you tell us what the flaw in her (quasi)experimental process is, please?

DougR,

There is no stated code of honour for Mudcat, but the accepted practices of being part of this cyber-community, and of posting to the forum have been discussed in great detail over the time that I have been coming here, which is around 3-4 years, I think, and there is some general agreement, as far as I can see, on what is and is not acceptable.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: CarolC
Date: 21 Sep 00 - 06:04 PM

Wolfgang,

You have stated your position reasonably.

You asked, "And now it all boils down to the question, what is the type of information Carol has given on dissolving clouds".

According to the assumptions you have made about my activities here in the Mudcat, my post falls into the category of "information".

This is where we differ. My activities on the Mudcat actually fall into the category of "play", not information. Sometimes information can be conveyed while I am playing, but that is not my main purpose in being here. I am here to play with my friends.

That is why using my posts feels like a violation to me. You are taking something I am doing as a part of my playfull activities and trying to apply it to something serious and scientific. I just doesn't fit, and it doesn't feel good when people use my play in that way.

Do you understand play? Do you play yourself? Do you want your play to be taken out of context and taken apart for its applicability to something that is of quite a different nature? When you do this to me, or at least when you tell me about it, it takes a lot of the joy out of my play. As I said before, if you are going to do this sort of thing, it would be better if you did not tell me about it. If I don't know about it, it can't effect my fun.

Carol


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: DougR
Date: 21 Sep 00 - 07:46 PM

Helen: I've only been around for about a year and a half, so you have me on longivity. I believe that the comments I made earlier were in line with what seems, at least to me, to be acceptable here at the Mudcat.

Anyone who is not aware that anything they post here, however, can freely be quoted, written or talked about by others, etc. is just not viewing the forum realistically, again in my opinion. There is no way to police it, and no way to copywright or protect ones postings.

DougR


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Wolfgang
Date: 22 Sep 00 - 06:15 AM

Back to the theme of the thread:

Early this week, there was the day of St. Januarius, one of the days in the year when the blood wonder in Naples happens. First look at the description from the Catholic Saints Homepage:

St. Januarius Feastday: September 19

St. Januarius was born in Italy and was bishop of Benevento during the Emperor Diocletion persecution. Bishop Januarius went to visit two deacons and two laymen in prison. He was then also imprison along with his deacon and lector. They were thrown to the wild beasts, but when the animals did not attack them, they were beheaded. What is believed to be Januarius' blood is kept in Naples, as a relic. It liquifies and bubbles when exposed in the cathedral. Scientists have not been able to explain this miracle to date. St. Januarius lived and died around 305 A.D. and his feast day is September 19th.

I remember reading when Napoleon conquered Italy the blood refused to liquify, considered a bad omen. Napoleon who knew about the power of (bad) propaganda and obviously believed that the miracle could be produced on demand told those in charge of the miracle that he expected it to happen pronto or else... It happened prontissimo.

But I'm telling this here for another reason. Look at the before last sentence in the account. Sentences similar to this appear nearly always in such accounts and are nearly always wrong. Since centuries there have been many scientific attempts to replicate this phenomenon with more or less success (one idea: the warmth of the hands of the handlers when the phial is turned several times liquifies the fluid which has a low melting point; problem of this idea: there seems to be no correlation of the miracle with room temperature). Here's a better explanation, the best candidate today:

Prof. Garlaschelli thinks that the substance is thixotropic (lowering its melting point considerably after handling and getting solid again when left alone) and has produced a red bloodlike substance which is more or less identical in properties to to substance in Naples. (you want to do the miracle yourself? click) We cannot know for sure what's true until the church agrees to scientific analysis of the substance in the phial like it has agreed in other cases, but one thing is sure: That there is no scientific explanation is simply wrong. The present scientific best guess might turn out to be wrong later, but a possible explanation it is.

Whenever you read the sentence 'there is no scientific explanation' your best guees should be that this is simply wrong.

Wolfgang

P.S.: Carol, would you like me to respond to Helen's question to me here or in a PM to her? (might take some time, for I'll be off for nearly a week)


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Wolfgang
Date: 22 Sep 00 - 06:34 AM

Here's the full scientific article, in many parts readable even for a nonchemist.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: CarolC
Date: 22 Sep 00 - 07:32 AM

Actually, Wolfgang, I would appreciate it very much if you would communicate that information to Helen in a personal message, rather than in the forum.

Thank you very much for asking.

Carol


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: little john cameron
Date: 23 Sep 00 - 08:50 PM

Ah don't know if ah'm buttin in here but ah jist came across this.
ASTRONAUT GORDON COOPER SPEAKS OUT In April 1995 at an Arkansas conference, astronaut Gordon Cooper declared that when he was a USAF officer, a four-man Air Force crew was filming a plane landing-gear test at Edwards Air Force Base in 1957 when a UFO swooped down and landed at the base while the Air Force cameras were rolling. The shocked USAF camera crew later brought the film to Edwards AFB Headquarters. Gordon Cooper personally viewed the film. EAFB commanding officers thereafter shipped it to Washington. Nothing has been heard of since about the film.

Astronaut Cooper is expected to make this revelation in a television documentary to be broadcast imminently. He has been cooperating with Irish film producer Jackie Dunn who is working with a Canadian film production company on this major UFO documentary film.

Cooper, also a former Air Force Colonel, granted a second interview to Sam Sherman, of Independent-International Pictures Corporation, who is producing a film, titled Beyond This Earth, to be released in early 1996. In it, Cooper says that he "had worked on a UFO system with someone who had been in touch with extraterrestrials and was able to gain some knowledge." This person had made a small UFO prototype, and was working on a 50-foot model, with financial backing from an Arab country, when he died. Cooper also talked about the Center for Advanced Technology which no longer exists. They were apparently involved in back-engineering some kind of alien technology. Cooper also talked about a friend who saw the ET bodies at Roswell.
Does anyone know antmore about this? LJC


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: little john cameron
Date: 23 Sep 00 - 08:54 PM

Oops ah forgot.
About the Author:

Richard J. Boylan, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist with a counselling practice in Sacramento, California, USA. Dr Boylan has been a student of the UFO phenomenon since 1947, but in 1989 he began to interview persons reporting extraterrestrial contact experiences. In late 1991 he commenced an ongoing research investigation into ET encounters with humans. He has written two books, Extraterrestrial Contact and Human Responses (1992) and Close Extraterrestrial Encounters: Positive Experiences with Mysterious Visitors (Wild Flower Press, 1994), and has had many articles published. Dr Boylan is a founding director of the Academy of Clinical Close Encounter Therapists (ACCET), and has conducted numerous workshops for mental health professionals dealing with specialised counselling for experiencers of ET contact. ljc


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: little john cameron
Date: 23 Sep 00 - 08:59 PM

Me again.Ah just found this.
http://www.anomalous-images.com/astroufo


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Little Hawk
Date: 24 Sep 00 - 12:09 AM

Little John - good one. I've heard about that incident at Edwards Air Force Base as well. Having seen my own extraterrestrial vehicles, I was not surprised. Jimmy Carter also saw some when he was a state governor, and he spoke to the press extensively about it. He had no doubt that they were extraterrestrial vehicles. After he became president, however, I heard nothing more about the matter. Perhaps those who really hold the power told him to keep his big mouth shut...or maybe he just was too busy with other considerations.

Amos - your comments are marvelous. You ought to write a book on the subject.

General comment on this thread - great stuff! I've not looked at it for some time till tonight. Good contributions by both sides (sceptics and believers, scientists and mystics). And best of all, those who can walk comfortably in both camps.

I think there will always be a debate in any society between those who think man DOES live "by bread alone", and those who think there's more to it than that. Up to at least age 18 I believed nothing but science and rational/logical thinking. Now I believe any number of things that are quite beyond the reach of science (because they are not things confined within the phenomena that we refer to as matter and energy...but rather they are causal things which have produced and brought forth those phenomena of matter and energy (and time) and made them observable...and the causal things continue at all times to support those observable phenomena).

Some people call what I am referring to "God". Others call it the Tao. Others call it the Great Mystery. Others call it destiny or fate or karma.

The guy who thinks man lives by bread alone (I speak metaphorically) does not believe in any of that causal stuff, and he actually tends to feel that the way things are now has occured through a series of accidental happenings, within the workings of natural law, physics, natural selection and so on.

Whereas I feel that the natural laws are themselves part of a structure that was built from the start by a purposeful form of divine intelligence, as is everything.

So, you either believe it's an accident...in which case you are an accident, and everything you do doesn't really matter in the end, because after you die you are gone, gone, gone...

Or...you believe that nothing is an accident...in which case your life has a very important and unique purpose...and everything you do DOES MATTER, and that after you die you are still very much alive (which is what I believe).

Now, I ask you, which of these attitudes leads to a healthier basic psychology? Which of them would tend to ennoble the person, and make the person reach toward higher ideals? Which of them would ennoble others in that person's eyes, and make him "his brother's keeper", instead of someone who simply seeks momentary self-gratification.

The Communists were always very enamoured of the notion that "man lives by bread alone". They were arch-materialists. And that led directly to many of the abuses they inflicted on humanity.

Capitalists, when they go to extremes, are also arch-materialists, consumed by the endless search for more money and more temporal power.

Both Communists and capitalists are happy to use the machinery of science to support their viewpoints....and they both tend to be uncomfortable with spiritual teachings which are non-competitive, which emphasize love and higher ideals. Those ideals get in the way of profits, control, and military supremacy.

Now, I will readily agree that religion has perpetrated equally hideous travesties upon humanity. Even more hideous travesties. Absolutely!!!

However, it is not religion that I am espousing here. I'm not religious, I'm spiritual.

I do not believe that God is a humanlike creature of immense power who sits on a throne judging people and deciding which ones go to heaven and which to hell. That's fundamentalist religion.

So when I counter (or add to, I might better say) the scientific viewpoint with spiritual arguments, don't imagine that I am a religionist!

My idea of "God" (or whatever you choose to call it) is...God is everything...all matter, all energy, all awareness, all being, all seen, all unseen, all potential, all time, all beyond time, all fact, all fiction (which is creative imagination, and is valuable as such), ALL. And it's ALL intelligent and has a clear and definite purpose.

Science is simply a partial way of observing and explaining how the ALL works in the presently observable realms of matter, energy and time. Those realms arose out of something even larger, and ALL of it is "God".

Which means, Wolfgang, that you too are god, although, you're just one little piece of God, one particular aspect of the whole that is God, so to speak...same as me, Spaw, or anyone else, including that fly that just buzzed past your head or the floor you are standing on. Which follows...it is ALL sacred, and we might better recogize that and behave accordingly, like the gods we are meant to be, instead of running around like terrified little death-haunted idiots pursuing limitless amounts of money, fame, military supremacy, and other empty notions of that sort...while we wait for the "grim reaper" to end the game, and sweep it all away. So pass the worlds of illusion.


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Helen
Date: 24 Sep 00 - 08:52 PM

Beautifully stated, Little Hawk. Brought a smile to my face and a glow to my heart.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Sep 00 - 10:46 PM


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Escamillo
Date: 24 Sep 00 - 11:02 PM

Beautiful, that's what it sounds to me too, because I see no incompatibilities among science, beauty, love , spiritualism and faith*. Why should they be incompatible ?

When a sceptic complains about the raise of a new age of obscurantism, occult arts, magic, fallacy, money-making with the supposed paranormal powers, misguiding of the young people, it does not mean, in any sense, that he/she does not appreciate, enjoy and contribute to the spiritual enrichment of us all. I don't study Elgar's music with a microscope, I study it with my heart, to be able to sing it to you, to the world, to myself, for the glory of a God in which I don't beleive as an old hairy man sitting in a throne, but as something inside all of us, that expresses in a tear when listening to that music and that biblical words.

At the risk of repeating too much, I would say that we analytical/reasoning beasts are no more and no less than the rest of the creatures of this world, our lives DO have a meaning, we are here to DO something for the others, and will be remembered when we die, for the work in favor of humankind that we were able to do. What we don't like is pseudo things, be it pseudo-science or pseudo-art, pseudo-humanism, pseudo-professionalism, and especially pseudo-beer.

Do you see our point? (not the last one, of course) :)

Un abrazo - Andrés

* Faith comes in different degrees. We can agree about the importance of the Ten Commandments as a basis for human happiness, but we will not agree on the age of the Earth. As long as beleivers allow us to investigate, our disagreement is not so important after all.


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: katlaughing
Date: 24 Sep 00 - 11:12 PM

Beautiful, Andres. Thank you, darlin'....luvyakat


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Amos
Date: 24 Sep 00 - 11:29 PM

Reason, in the last analysis, must be seen as a spiritual power, or it will not be seen. It is the most powerful manifestation of the human spirit examining a domain which contains no part of it and which cannot portray it -- the domain of matter, space, and time. The ultimate mission of reason is to penetrate the fraudulent facade of apparent matter and reveal the not-yet-known which underlies it.

Regards,

A


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: GUEST,John D
Date: 24 Sep 00 - 11:51 PM

FAARRRRRRRRR OUT!


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Ebbie
Date: 25 Sep 00 - 12:51 AM

Way back there, my post on 'What I Don't Believe' was meant to be facetious. Where it went wrong so that it wasn't understood that way is that I was serious in part of it. Sorry.

One factor that has not been mentioned is that which could be called involvement. Subjects who are sitting there trying to influence cards or intuiting far away scenes or whatever other means are being used to test for extra sensory results are probably on a mostly fruitless expedition. ESP flashes tend to be in response to real situations.

The scientific approach may not factor in all elements. For instance, there have been many studies on the relative intelligence of animals, i.e., pigs are smarter than dogs, cats smarter yet, horses are the dumbest, etc. Well,I happen to know better in the case of some animals and I believe we just don't yet know the correct format for testing them. My father was a horse trainer, and my family have all raised and trained horses, so there have been hundreds of horses in my life. In my own experience, there have been at least two horses that were what I call 'human-oriented'. We have lots of stories about them. The same thing is true of a number of dogs I've known. I'm sure we all have known animals whose minds worked in an unexplainable (unexplained, perhaps?) way. It is my belief that the reason that science has been able to develop this comforting chart is because it has never yet discovered that some animals are too smart to 'perform' unless there is attachment or a perceived reason for performance. (And as they say, as soon as there is one anomaly in your hypothesis, your whole argument is flawed. If you say all human beings over the age of 14 are brown-eyed and then you meet an indisputably gray-eyed one, what do you do? You either throw out your study or you start over, incorporating the new information.)In my long-winded kind of way I'm trying to say that extra sensory abilities and events may not even be successfully test-able, that a cold-blooded format is flawed from the beginning.

I admire the cool way that arguments can be made for the impossibility of what some of us claim to have experienced, and I appreciate the mostly patient way you skeptics have approached it. If I didn't know better I would be pleased to sign on with you. But when you say that an event that we have accepted is not possible in the way that we accept it-that there always is an explainable cause for the perceived effect, whether it is hallucinatory, naive, or an as yet unknown physical law- has no bearing on the fact that it did happen. I will gladly grant that probably all things are finally explainable- I believe that there are universal laws that science has not even begun to address. Arrogance, in the meantime, is unseemly. IMO.

Ebbie


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: katlaughing
Date: 25 Sep 00 - 01:04 AM

Ebbie, I agree, esp. with your last couple of lines.

However, where have you heard that horses were the dumbest? I had always heard the opposite, that they were smarter than the others. I have a wonderful book of stories about uncanny animals and their feats. One told of a horse who spelled out answers to questions using a specially designed typewriter for that purpose.

Another told of a town in, I think it was Germany, which had a goose which always warned the townspeople before the bombings would come during WWII, thus saving most everyone, except one time, when they missed getting the goose to safety and it perished. There are many stories of animals sensing weather long before people know what is coming.

I have always found the horses we've had and those my dad grew up with to be of high intelligence. You can read about one of them in my Thought for the day thread, for today.

Thanks for your well written, even handed posting.

kat


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 25 Sep 00 - 02:22 AM

Ebbie is right. ESP cannot be controlled on demand. There have been some people (as a matter of historical record) who could produce some amazing information on demand. Most forms of ESP however, are not repeatable events; therefore they cannot be scientifically examined. My own experience with such matters is an example. (but I do not wish to debate, or give any more details about) I do not get exact usable information in a timely manner. It can be days, weeks or years before the event. I become very ill, and can be very disturbed (sometimes for days) because of it. Many times I have been wrong about the identity of the person or persons involved, and can never influence the outcome directly; other than by personal preparation if personally involved. The event occurs even if I try to prevent or warn. My wife has seen at first hand how ill it can make me, and knows why I call it a curse. Sometimes this can be very disturbing for everyone involved and I tend to shut up and say nothing because of this. I will very often clam up, and leave a place, because of the effect it has on me. (BTW those of you who know my profession. there are no recorded incidents where an individual with psychic abilities or ESP has helped resolve an incident. We are still told to record any psychic reports sent in)

Horses have the lowest IQ of any domestic animal. They are extremely "thickheaded" and will eat themselves to death if left alone with the feed box open. The vast majority of cases where horses/animals have helped people, can be explained by instinct rather than special ability. However, they are capable of jealousy and love just like any other animal; and in certain circumstances we see exceptions to the rule. Please, all of you, be open minded about such matters as astrology and ESP. It may be that we have not perfected our science to describe paranormal phenomena accurately, therefore all the more reason to continue to study it. Perhaps, (like psychology) it is a science in its infancy. As I said in a previous post, "we may yet invent the words to describe it one day" Yours, Aye. Dave


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Escamillo
Date: 25 Sep 00 - 04:19 AM

Ebbie and Dave, thanks for your valuable contribution.If you agree that those phenomena can't be produced on demand, are of an unpredictable nature, and thus can't be analyzed by science, would you agree that they can be used for commercial advisory services ? as a base for opening a clinic ? I guess not. Thus we would have a point in common, aside from the value we give to spiritual and emotional things, as already said.

Regarding astrology: it is considered an art or tradition among its sustainers, rather than a science (they already learnt that they can't discuss this in a minimal base). It is very different of EPS phenomena because they clearly state that their results are repetitive and precise, and will be happy to "work" on a set of personal data to lay out your birth chart for a fee. No, don't ask the same service to two of them, because their results will be different, and you will be involved in an endless discussion and mutual accusations of charlatanism (and will pay twice).

Last night I saw on TV (Infinite Channel) a detailed analysis of the birth chart of .. Jesus of Nazareth! (somehow they know the exact date and time of birth ). They said that his "tendency" to be a king was given by the aligned position of the Sun with the star Aldebaran and other star (don't remember the name) which, "as every specialist knows" are ROYAL STARS. (?) Each planet and star (as long as they are discovered by the hard work and sweat of real astronomers) are assigned a certain (magical) MEANING, that is the root of their assumptions, and not the influence of the celestial masses or their light. Since that meaning was assigned by themselves, who can hold a minimal base of discussion? . And this magical assumptions are common to all astrologers, not only to those appearing on TV. The study of EPS on honest subjects could some day open new horizons to human knowledge, while astrology is a game, though many people may find it fascinating, as many games are, indeed.

By the way, we need a song dedicated to hard-working scientists, to become as famous as "Acuarius" :)

Un abrazo - Andrés


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 25 Sep 00 - 05:41 AM

Andres. I have met two people who have been both accurate and detailed enough to be worthy of study. One, the wife of a friend, uses coffee grounds as a medium. She started doing it when she was a child in Greece. The other, a co-worker on a ship, studied astrology as a hobby and was remarkably accurate. Neither used their gift/skill as a means to raise money. The Greek lady positively hated to do it (except for friends and family, her husband cajoled her into reading mine) Like me she considered it a curse, because on three occasions she accurately predicted the death of younger relatives. No Andres I do not advocate that they can be used for commercial purposes.


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Ringer
Date: 25 Sep 00 - 01:38 PM

If all is sacred and all is god, Little Hawk, isn't the implication that a Hitler is morally indistinguishable from a St Francis, or Mother Theresa from a whore's pimp, as they're all little parts of god? So when you talk of "higher ideals", how do you judge height?


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Little Hawk
Date: 25 Sep 00 - 02:15 PM

"Instinct" is a word that the scientific mind concocted to describe behaviour that they can find no specific explanation for. Instinct is divine intelligence. It is divine intelligence that also produces great works of art, and scientific breakthroughs by great minds, and that enabled that goose to alert the town about the bombings.

Bald Eagle - good question. All is sacred and all is good, but that doesn't mean that all is desirable from any specific individual's point of view. To be burned is not desirable, but in an experiential sense it is very useful, because from it you gain knowledge and will know how to avoid getting burned again...so in that sense it is good! That's the paradox of reality.

We cannot understand "good" at all, until we have a chance to compare it to "evil" in a relative world. We cannot understand honesty until we have witnessed and experienced dishonesty. The killer or thief is not morally upright in the normal sense of morality, but his actions serve as an enlightening catalyst to the entire human community around him.

Hitler, in a conscious sense, was deluded, and thought that he was defending various of his own people against various evil-doers (as he saw it). His actions were very reprehensible to the majority of humanity, while heroic in the eyes of his followers. So it has ever been. I have known a few elderly Germans who still consider Hitler to have been a fine and idealistic man who was betrayed by unscrupulous lieutenants (such as Himmler and Goering, etc.). People are capable of believing anything.

I do not judge the person, but the person's actions. Hitler's actions were disastrous, misguided, and horrific. Mother Teresa's actions were exemplary. I will always try to avoid dangerous individuals, and I will support efforts to stop them from hurting people, but I will not judge their essential worth as human souls.

We learn from both the good and the evil that is around us. We learn to pursue the good, to be inspired by it, to follow in its path. We learn to abhore the evil, to learn from it, to turn away from it toward the good.

Jesus was able to forgive even those who crucified him, because he knew that all beings are of one spirit, and that Spirit has no blemish. Those who crucified him did not know this. And they knew not what they were doing.

Everyone is morally distinguishable from everyone else, so we need to observe people carefully, and judge their actions accordingly...and, if necessary, oppose them...even sometimes, to the death, I am sad to say. Each one of us must decide on our own. There is a time for all things.

I hope this is a clear answer to your question.


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: DougR
Date: 25 Sep 00 - 02:28 PM

First time I have ever heard that the exact date and time of the birth of Jesus have ever been identified. Did they give their refrences for such a prouncement, Escamillo?

DougR


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: GUEST,Amos
Date: 25 Sep 00 - 02:51 PM

Escamillo, amigo viejo:

If spiritual phenomena exist, they are within the real of science in its highest and best definition. But to work toward a scientific address to it, it would be very important to first differentiate between science as a rationale and science as a method for sorting out the physical universe. It is easy to collapse these two things, since 99+% of our acknowledged science is focused on the latter. But they are different.
The critical difference is that science within the physical, time based continuum depends for its execution on characteristics of "blind repeatability", for the most part relying on the notion that at least above a certain scale, a physical object under identical conditions of space, time and energy will repeat its behaviour. This certainly works, and is why physics is so successful as a science.
However, it is fairly clear that for this to occur, the particles or parts being tested must not participate in awareness, intention, or the ability to create. In fact we tend to assume that these parts have no ability other than blind compliance to the forces of gravity, pressure, mass, time and so on.
If I were a psychic, and someone wanted me to pose as such a mindless element in order to satisfy an arcane ritualistic process for the benefit of academics, I would probably shut down every wavelength outside of straight physical/acoustic/optic/sensory in a split instant.
Trying to test psychic abilities on such terms would be like the old joke of concluding that when you cut off all a frog's legs and tell him to jump, and he jumps not, the reason is he has suddenly gone deaf.

THere is strong anecdotal evidence that the abilities associated with awareness are not even constrained by the unidirectional arrow of time of which we are all so fond -- now there's a real first-class addiction for you!
So the question isn't how do you make awareness and ability act like matter in order to have it answer up to science. The question is rather, how do you design a scientific methodology or way of knowing that can include aware, creating, deciding, perceiving and intending subjects without killing the experiment through suffocation

Warmest regards,

Amos


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Escamillo
Date: 25 Sep 00 - 03:28 PM

Doug, I missed the part when they mentioned how they had found the exact date and time. I guess they found it as magically as they explained the stars influence.

Amos. I'll reply later. (heeeww! no easy job)

Un abrazo - Andrés


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: catspaw49
Date: 25 Sep 00 - 08:12 PM

Simply amazing..............

We have a high percentage of discussion topic threads that dissolve into complete and utter nonsense, but this one takes a new turn. If you recall, this thread started as a request through Carol for Andres for some complete and utter nonsense....."What would Cletus have to say about auras?" It has gone through a complete metamorphosis into a discussion topic thread. I don't recall this happening too often in the past.

This is not to say that it is any less laden with total bullshit than the original idea, its just a more esoteric form.

Simply amazing.......

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: katlaughing
Date: 25 Sep 00 - 08:50 PM

And this is the Second Incarnation of it, Spaw, if one believes in coming round, again, as I do.**BG**


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Sep 00 - 08:57 PM

Spaw,

As above, so below -- the fraction of BS:sanity is similar in this thread to the real mix. Thanks for sharing!!!!

love ya,

Amos


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Escamillo
Date: 25 Sep 00 - 10:28 PM

oh, please don't mention the word "Incarnation", it's a temptation too strong for Spaw and myself, to convert this serious discussion back into an unbeleivable nonsense !! :)))))))))))))))))))


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Ringer
Date: 26 Sep 00 - 12:52 PM

Just caught this before leaving. No time to reply now. Don't think it does answer my question, though, LH


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Helen
Date: 26 Sep 00 - 06:23 PM

'Spaw,

I think this scientifically (grin) proves that most 'Catters are contrary. Start a serious thread and we will turn it into BS, start a BS thread and we will turn it into seriousness (seriosity?). Just makes life more interesting, IMHO.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Ringer
Date: 27 Sep 00 - 06:07 AM

OK, Little Hawk, here's my reply to your post above.

You say (para 2) All is sacred and all is good, but also talk about comparing good and evil (para 3). I'm sure I don't have to point out the inconsistency there.

And you say (para 4) Hitler... was deluded. How do you know it was he who was deluded and not you? Only because his actions were disastrous. But how can actions be disastrous or exemplary if All is sacred and all is good?

It seems to me that you have two axioms which are mutually contradictory: Firstly that all is sacred, etc, but secondly you bring to the party a separate concept of good and bad which you proceed to mix into the first to give you a standard to judge actions by. It may well be that I've got hold of the wrong end of the stick, or perhaps you have a wider philosophy which encompasses and reconciles the two points of view that I think I perceive. But at the moment, it looks a muddle to me, I'm afraid.


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Ebbie
Date: 04 Aug 12 - 06:13 PM

I found this old thread by accident (if there is such a thing) and found it very interestng.

All these many years later, I have a working hypothesis for how a Hitler and a Mother Theresa are equal.

I believe that each of us enters this world with an understanding, a commitment, a contract, if you will and that is to undertake the life we are assigned or have volunteered for and either overcome a previous "bad" experience, or given a frame in which to work, to make it as good as possible. We start out as spirit- and no spirit is inherently superior to any other.

We succeed or fail. Therefore Hitler and Mother Theres respectively failed and succeeded. If my hypothesis is correct, at least one of them will be back...


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Ebbie
Date: 04 Aug 12 - 08:18 PM

Thanks for moving this below, Mudelf!


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Little Hawk
Date: 04 Aug 12 - 10:13 PM

I don't absolutely know that Hitler was deluded, Ringer...but I very strongly suspect that he was. That is what the historical record seems to suggest. Only his most loyal and unswerving supporters would disagree that he was deluded, and I'm definitely not one of them.

Actions can be disastrous when they result in various forms of destruction, loss, and failure that were totally unexpected by he who iniated the actions. That was certainly the case with Hitler's attempts at building a new German empire in the 30s and 40s. ("Reich" means "realm" or "empire") The effort failed utterly, resulted in a partitioned and devastated Germany, the rise of 2 superpowers (Russia and the USA), and the creation of a Zionist state in Israel which is now one of the most effective military powers in the world, AND a member of the exclusive little community of nuclear-armed powers. For Hitler and the Germans this was a disaster. For the Jews is was a disaster. For most of Europe it was a disaster. It pretty much bankrupted the UK. Only the Russians and Americans came out of it with much reason to be pleased by the results of that conflict.

What I meant by "all is sacred" was this: All is sacred in its original or intrinsic nature, prior to the use of free will. The moment you have the use of free will, then relativity arises...all forms of conscious separation arise....and judgements of good and evil arise in the mind of the observer(s).

With free will we have...

you and me
us and them
here and there
"good" and "bad"

And we all know perfectly well what those are..."good" (for us) is what we feel positively toward and "bad" is what we feel negatively toward. Whether someone else agrees with us on those labels in any specific case is totally up to them and is dependent on their use of free will.

What the Nazis were doing (in general) was "good" as far as Hitler and Goebbels and many of their loyal supporters were concerned. It was "bad" as far as a far greater number of people in the world were concerned. These kind of disputes about good and evil have been going on all through history, and they are judged by those who live through them and survive them.

People generally judge something according to how they've been taught to judge it by their culture, their parents, their leaders, their churches, their teachers, their peer group.....they tend to let someone else set up their set of moral values for them, and then they repeat what they were told.

This made it pretty easy for Hitler to get some Germans to arrest and kill Jews (and many other people), and it's made it pretty easy for the American public to passively give consent to a series of wars of choice in the Middle East. A war of choice is not a war where somone attacked you. It's a war where YOU decided to attack someone else first, and you justified it in your own mind. That's exactly what Hitler did in the case of Poland, Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Yugoslavia, Greece, and Russia. (It doesn't apply to his fight with England or France, however, because they declared war on him first, as a result of the Polish invasion.)

Most people are conformists by nature. They tend to believe and follow whatever their society teaches them to believe and follow, and it is on that basis that they decide what is "good" and what is "evil". There are some things (such as rape, murder, theft, fraud, arson, lying, cheating) that almost all societies label as "evil"....so most of us are agreed when it comes to how we see those things. We don't find it nearly so easy to agree on most political issues...

Consider a society that believed that animals have souls, and that they have the same right to life as human beings. In such a society it might well be considered "evil" to kill animals and eat them. And if you'd been born into that society, you would see it as evil...unless you were a real nonconformist and determined to challenge that idea.

To understand a nation, you must first understand what they think is "good" and what they think is "evil". Get that figured out, and you are on the way to at least understanding them, even if you don't agree with them.


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: Amos
Date: 05 Aug 12 - 03:10 PM

What the Nazis were doing (in general) was "good" as far as Hitler and Goebbels and many of their loyal supporters were concerned

It was not. His initial improvement of the economy and morale, perhaps. None of his military adventures, his racist diatribes or his genocidal insanities were good for him or anyone connected with him. If they were believed to be "good" it was for the shallowest, most specious, and most indefensible rationalization.

A


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Subject: RE: Explaining the Unexplained - Part Two
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 05 Aug 12 - 04:01 PM

So if a lunatic does something he thinks is good and right, then it *is* good and right in some sense that sane people have to respect even as they are revolted and outraged?

If Hitler thought the Holocaust was a good idea, in any sense of the word "good," what does that prove about anything except that he was out of his mind?

Surely I'm missing something.

Is it that deep down Hitler only wanted to do the right thing? Unless you're God weighing his soul, what difference would that make? OK, maybe the difference between capital punishment and life imprisonment - but only if you think life in prison would have been an adequate sentence.

IRONY WARNING. THE FOLLOWING PASSAGE CONTAINS IRONY. DO NOT TAKE PERSONALLY.

Oh! Oh! Wait! Maybe the Nazis were sane and everybody else is nuts! I didn't think of that! We really never can tell, can we? Who's to judge? (After all, "History is written by the lying victors.")

END OF IRONIC PART OF THIS MESSAGE.

I guess I just don't understand.


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