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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
katlaughing 06 Sep 00 - 06:44 PM
catspaw49 06 Sep 00 - 07:25 PM
katlaughing 06 Sep 00 - 08:09 PM
katlaughing 06 Sep 00 - 08:28 PM
GUEST 07 Sep 00 - 01:50 PM
Ringer 07 Sep 00 - 05:24 PM
Wolfgang 08 Sep 00 - 11:47 AM
katlaughing 08 Sep 00 - 01:20 PM
Dave (the ancient mariner) 08 Sep 00 - 01:48 PM
Dee45 08 Sep 00 - 02:58 PM
Bert 08 Sep 00 - 03:11 PM
katlaughing 08 Sep 00 - 04:22 PM
hesperis 08 Sep 00 - 04:29 PM
hesperis 08 Sep 00 - 04:37 PM
Helen 08 Sep 00 - 05:40 PM
Amos 08 Sep 00 - 06:23 PM
CarolC 08 Sep 00 - 11:41 PM
Amos 08 Sep 00 - 11:47 PM
Escamillo 09 Sep 00 - 12:16 AM
Escamillo 09 Sep 00 - 12:32 AM
Amos 09 Sep 00 - 12:43 AM
Escamillo 09 Sep 00 - 01:07 AM
Helen 09 Sep 00 - 05:10 AM
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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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