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IAIN
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http://www.visionlearning.com/library/mo......p?mid=49

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atom#Origin......c_theory

so there you go - from a philosophical view point, you can have a theory about something, and believe in it - without knowing how to prove it true...

sometimes it just takes time, energy and thought to help shape more clearly those original thoughts...

...and we can allow ourselves to be wrong along the way too...there's no shame in trying to understand something afterall...

it took (roughly) from 350BC to 1789 to even start getting to grips with atoms...

so why so down on psychic? and please, before any of you start, we are not discussing mediumship here...

psychic is not a dirty word...
ALEXANDRE
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Quote:
On 2010-11-13 18:41, IAIN wrote:
you can have a theory about something, and believe in it - without knowing how to prove it true...



Very interesting links, Iain, thanks!


And also, people can actually experience something and not be able to prove it. Like having a specific dream and not being able to prove it to anyone else in the world that you actually had that specific dream.

You had the experience, absolutely, but you just can't prove it.
DekEl
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I most definitely agree with you on this one IAIN.
You can purchase my works at: http://www.GetMindTricks.com
entity
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Quote:
On 2010-11-13 18:41, IAIN wrote:

so there you go - from a philosophical view point, you can have a theory about something, and believe in it - without knowing how to prove it true...

sometimes it just takes time, energy and thought to help shape more clearly those original thoughts...

...and we can allow ourselves to be wrong along the way too...there's no shame in trying to understand something afterall...


I have a theory that reindeer can fly. I believe it, because my parents told me it was true when I was a child; and I once dreamed of a flying reindeer, so can't I say that I honestly experienced a flying reindeer? I don't know how to prove it true. I could push reindeer off of a tall building, hoping to find at least one that could fly, but that doesn't seem to bear much fruit. And in the end it only proves that those particular reindeer, on that particular day, either could not, or chose not to fly.

I actually thought I'd found one a few years back, but it turned out that they were shooting a movie in my neighborhood and the reindeer was held up by wires, so it was a fake. But that doesn't meant that ALL flying reindeer are fakes, does it?

Shall I place a great deal more thought, energy and time into the research of the possibility of flying reindeer? After all, if it could be proven, it would be a momentous occasion for humankind -- and revolutionize the travel industry, the energy industry, physics and zoology.

And there's no shame in trying to understand if reindeer can fly... is there?

My questions:

A. Might there come a point when I should stop looking for proof that reindeer can fly and just accept that they can't, in order to put my time to better use?

B. Is it all right for me to just tell people that flying reindeer exist until I find one who actually can?

- entity
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Iain's talking about experiences people have and that are attested throughout history and across cultures. What does that have to do with a hypothetical experience no one has or believes in?
entity
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I've read about flying reindeer in books for years, seen them in films, and from what I understand, it's a cross-cultural phenomena. I'm sure that we could find individuals from many cultures who believe, as I do, that flying reindeer exist. Lots of people I've spoken with remember hearing reindeer land on their roof at Christmas when they were children.

If it can't be proven or dis-proven, how do you know I'm wrong?

There seems to be some scientific research to bolster my belief:

Professor Ian Stewart of Warwick University says, “Reindeer have a curious arrangement of gadgetry on top of their heads which we call antlers and naively assume exist for the males to do battle and to win females. This is absolute nonsense. The antlers are actually fractal vortex-shedding devices. We are talking not aerodynamics here, but antlaerodynamics.” This phenomenon arises on the wingtips of Concorde, but it is only apparent on antlers at very high velocity. However, in order to deliver all the presents, the reindeer have to fly at speeds of 6,000 times the speed of sound, far in excess of the speed required for antlers to generate lift.

- entity
Decomposed
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Raindeer quit flying when we were forbidden to say the word "Christmas."
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Entity, I have one…
Your hours of research and high hopes shall not be in vain.
More details to come.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urd1blwS6oM
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Quote:
On 2010-11-13 18:41, IAIN wrote:

so why so down on psychic? and please, before any of you start, we are not discussing mediumship here...



I believe that people don't build their view on reality on basis of proof. They build their models of reality on the notion of utility.

Many people, wizzing about in this money driven consumer society have no use for psychic abilities it will not aid them in their commute to work, work or in watching the soaps when they come home. Sure it might be fun for them to read minds but it does not add any utility to their lives.

There is no place for premonitions when people can find out what is on TV later with a TV listing, or what time the train will arrive at as they run the same time every day, what they will be doing at work that day as they do the same every day.

I cant prove this theory. I just believe it to be true.
I no longer smoke camel cigarettes.
IAIN
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Quote:
On 2010-11-13 22:08, entity wrote:

My questions:

A. Might there come a point when I should stop looking for proof that reindeer can fly and just accept that they can't, in order to put my time to better use?

B. Is it all right for me to just tell people that flying reindeer exist until I find one who actually can?

- entity


a) it depends on how important it is to you, and possibly others? that thought on atoms lasted nearly two thousand years before there was anything leaning towards 'proof'...it was merely theory or hypothesis before then...

b) I don't think that sentiment was raised in anyway in my original post? you could tell others you have a theory I suppose...

turns out, those fellas who first thought that dividing a stone in half until you coul not anymore - were actually correct...but couldn't prove it...it took science to catch up with the theory before it could be proven...

the difference (i think) with psychic "power" is, for quite some time, it was almost accepted/proven to be true - not by science (though it was certainly fooled several times) but by a mixture of people...

my questions:

a) can we say categorically NOW, that psychic ability definitely doesn't exist?
b) if yes, why?
c) do you feel we have given it proper testing for a decent amount of time? (bearing in mind we gave nearly two thousand years to arrive at the mere beginnings of atoms)
d) is the way we test for psychic ability wrong? could it be we are testing the wrong abilities in the wrong way and it all needs to be looked at again?

again, just some thoughts...
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Quote:
On 2010-11-13 22:08, entity wrote:
Quote:
On 2010-11-13 18:41, IAIN wrote:

so there you go - from a philosophical view point, you can have a theory about something, and believe in it - without knowing how to prove it true...

sometimes it just takes time, energy and thought to help shape more clearly those original thoughts...

...and we can allow ourselves to be wrong along the way too...there's no shame in trying to understand something afterall...


I have a theory that reindeer can fly. I believe it, because my parents told me it was true when I was a child; and I once dreamed of a flying reindeer, so can't I say that I honestly experienced a flying reindeer? I don't know how to prove it true. I could push reindeer off of a tall building, hoping to find at least one that could fly, but that doesn't seem to bear much fruit. And in the end it only proves that those particular reindeer, on that particular day, either could not, or chose not to fly.

I actually thought I'd found one a few years back, but it turned out that they were shooting a movie in my neighborhood and the reindeer was held up by wires, so it was a fake. But that doesn't meant that ALL flying reindeer are fakes, does it?

Shall I place a great deal more thought, energy and time into the research of the possibility of flying reindeer? After all, if it could be proven, it would be a momentous occasion for humankind -- and revolutionize the travel industry, the energy industry, physics and zoology.

And there's no shame in trying to understand if reindeer can fly... is there?

My questions:

A. Might there come a point when I should stop looking for proof that reindeer can fly and just accept that they can't, in order to put my time to better use?

B. Is it all right for me to just tell people that flying reindeer exist until I find one who actually can?

- entity



Entity, this is brilliant critical thinking Smile

xx
I come from the future to culture you poor sods with fire.
IAIN
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A few other thoughts...

a thought that bill hicks had about people thinking they could fly - why not take off from the ground like ducks and other do? you don't have to leap off a building to try it out...so pushing your reindeer off buildings just seem illogical and a bit cruel...stop it entity!

as can often happen, we feel the urge to use an extreme to try and win an argument, when there is no argument to be won...this is just a discussion...

do we fell a hundred years of various tests is "enough"? when we consider it could be a massive breakthrough for the world that is...
Eshla
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Quote:
my questions:

a) can we say categorically NOW, that psychic ability definitely doesn't exist?
b) if yes, why?
c) do you feel we have given it proper testing for a decent amount of time? (bearing in mind we gave nearly two thousand years to arrive at the mere beginnings of atoms)
d) is the way we test for psychic ability wrong? could it be we are testing the wrong abilities in the wrong way and it all needs to be looked at again?


A. Yes we can say they do not exist

B. Because the definition of psychic is something supernatural, but another definition of a psychic is that it must exist within our world (usually within a human being). And if it did exist within our physical world, then it would NOT be supernatural by definition, it would be natural. People seem to think that supernatural means anything that cannot be explained, this is not true. If David Copperfield made the whole of New York dissappear completely for ten years, this would be a NATURAL occurance, not a supernatural one. A supernatural event never takes place in our NATURAL realm.

C. Yes. You may ask why I feel this way? Let me explain:
Everytime we prove a bit of 'supernaturalism' wrong, they simply change their definition of what a psychic can do. For example if we prove they are merely blowwing on the paper (by putting bits of styrofoam infront of it) then they say "Well my psychic energy is causing extra wind". We have falsified psychic ability before, but psychics deliberately make their powers unfalsifyable - which means they can never be put under scientific testing. So yes, we have tested enough.

D. Not really. Here is what you do; you ask them what their psychic powers are, and then you see if they really can do them without any natural help. For example if I claim to be able to see through walls. You take me to an unprepaired wall, behind which even the tester does not know the contents, and you see if I can determine what is exactly behind the wall. If I cannot, then it strongly suggests I am lying. If I never properly sucsseed, I am lying.



Quote:
do we fell a hundred years of various tests is "enough"? when we consider it could be a massive breakthrough for the world that is...


Yes.
I come from the future to culture you poor sods with fire.
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I do not find anything particularly amazing or surprising about this information, and would offer that all discoveries we presaged by someone long ago. This is not magic nor synchrosity, but a function of our ours minds work. This is not to say that a particular discover required study or understanding of “what came before” -- only that the process of turning a dream into something practical is natural and universal.

The value of a premonition is the confidence to act on it, learn from the experience, and then refine one’s perceptions accordingly. Thus, deciding to act on “less than full proof” is a method of testing in the present the validity of “believed things” in your past – the result being and increased propensity for controlling your own future.

This ability/need to act on what one believes rather than knows is a critical factor in evaluating sentience – what separates us from animals and trees (but not always for the better). The key to “predicting” one’s future (getting more of what you want) is always grounded in changing your past perceptions of the importance of information and acting congruently with both internal values and logic systems.

Thus, everyone operates in a practical sense by finding a balance between what they know and what they can conceptualize. Amazingly, the ratio is a constant and has been known for thousands of years. This same ratio determines how plants grow and DNA unwinds. It should not be any surprise that this relationship also effects how decisions are made.

If we consider that “imagination” is the sum total of all that the mind can embrace, then the relationship between what one can conceptualize and “know” in a practical sense is the same as that of knowledge to imagination. Unfortunately, most people substitute what is believed for what is known, making any control over future outcomes very unreliable. People then turn to psychics, psychologist, teachers, priests, etc, in the hopes that someone else can take the blame for a lack of personal accountability.

or so it seems early this Sunday morning.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



ShareBooks at www.eversway.com * questions at funsway@eversway.com
IAIN
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Eshla - could the definition be wrong? and is that because the word psychic has a gloss from Hollywood and other such media...if its about humans having psychic ability, why should it be seen as supernatural? its just an element of being human - or rather, part of the brain that has developed in that direction (for some)?

again - a theory, not a statement...

you will of course get !@#$%^&*ters in all walks of life...thats a given...people trying to fake it...imagine this - if you see a few people on tv claiming to be psychic and are then thoroughly debunked (because they were liars)...

if you could genuinely do "something", would it make you more or less likely to want to appear on tv? (given how the media can portray people - and the sheer amount of people/attention it would attract)

I don't agree that we can say categorically that psychics don't exist...to use the "extreme" argument that people often use, we could say that until we test everyone in the world we can't say it doesn't exist...(just using that as an example of how annoying and ridiculous those extreme arguments are)...

does psychic have to mean what it is currently "defined" as? afterall if it doesn't exist, and has been proven not to - why is there such a fuss and fight over the definition of the word? could psychic be redefined (from anything from mental-prowess in a particular field, to *just doesn't exist*)... do we test everything against this definition, or do we allow what some people claim to define the word?

what percentage of accuracy is needed? even top atheletes are not 100% accurate...from darts to baseball to javelin... every now and again they will mess up... why do we cling to "psychic" being different? sometimes our logic fails us, sometimes we do silly stuff for no real reason... sometimes we even buy clothes we know don't suit us, but we feel buying them somehow "improves" our appearence...
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I lean strongly to entity's position on this matter.

What the two links in the OP demonstrate is that humans make observations that beg explanation then attempt to explain it. That much I think everyone here agrees on.

The next part, though, and the part which in my opinion is more important, is that the proposed explanation does not just explain the observations but (a) explain them better than anything else yet offered and (b) offer some predictability for the phenomena in question.

Finally, the proposed explanations are discarded or modified as more and better information becomes available, leading to better explanations with more predictive power.

Empedocles and Democritus and most of those after them followed this model. Observe and hypothesize and test when possible. When an idea was proven incomplete or wrong it was discarded or modified.

You ask "why so down on psychic." For me it is because the proponents of psychic or psi or paranormal too often follow on the first part: They propose an explanation, but they do even that incompletely. Where is the definition of psychic? Is there one or are there many?

Next, for what phenomena does the definition of psychic explain things better than other explanations?

And finally, where are the examples of psychic definitions being modified or discarded?

In the first link in your OP it talks about how Socrates' idea about fundamental substance. Socrates was wrong. Eventually his ideas were discarded because they were found wanting. Observation and testing led to progress and the idea of elements and atoms took root and had predictive power. Contrary to that link, knowledge did not sit still for the thousand years or so that it says Socrates' idea was foremost. There was no period in which everyone believed in Socrates then suddenly one day they didn't. Throughout that time people were searching for better explanations that could be tested and had predictive power.

So why am I "down on psychic?" Because right now the idea offers nothing to our knowledge base and arguably detracts from it by misleading some proponents into thinking there is no need to look further.

As it stands, the only predictive power of psychic, even if it is true, is that some people might have it but they can't be distinguished from those who don't except that they claim it, and everything they offer is validated only after the fact when some mundane process has already done it.

Where are they hypotheses that say "If we do X then this subset of people can perform Y with an accuracy that is Z% better than would otherwise be achievable?"

It doesn't exist, and the reason isn't that skeptics have prevented it. Skeptics have, in fact, cried out for it, but throughout the hundreds and hundreds of years of psychic belief, throughout the period when the idea of atoms and elements and the conservation of mass have all taken root and yielded amazing insights and knowledge, psychic has stayed strictly in the parlour room and darkened seances and offered platitudes.

Sorry that's so long and sorry I'm not a better communicator of my thoughts, but you asked the question so I tried to answer.

Cheers
IAIN
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All well made points...

I'm on neither side really - just thought I'd propose this debate/discussion as a change to the usual arguments and silly name calling...

its going ok so far...

"Throughout that time people were searching for better explanations that could be tested and had predictive power. "

if we use the zenner cards in the same old way, and get the same results - do we look at the manner in which they are used and tested - or do we claim "no psi ability"? should we say that esp testing using those cards yeild no result - so because of the results and therefore say "no psi ability exists"...or is it that those cards just arent very good for testing psi ability?

I ask again - what percentage would be valid? if we say a highly trained athelete or mathematician is asked to do something very difficult within their field, within a certain time limit - what percentage of them being wrong do we allow them? do we allow the same for psychics? or arent they allowed to be wrong sometimes? whats the difference - and why should it be different?
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Quote:
On 2010-11-14 09:17, IAIN wrote:
All well made points...

I'm on neither side really - just thought I'd propose this debate/discussion as a change to the usual arguments and silly name calling...
I'm glad you did. It's an interesting topic.


Quote:
its going ok so far...
Agreed. These discussions have a tendency to get emotional, but they don't have to.


Quote:
Quote:
"Throughout that time people were searching for better explanations that could be tested and had predictive power. "


if we use the zenner cards in the same old way, and get the same results
The last clause is the key.

What are the results? Surely you don't count the times they were used in mentalists' programs. That leaves anecdotes which I would discount, and then formalized tests. Of those, J.B. Rhine's are foremost, and the flaws in his experiments have been repeatedly shown. Moreover, the results aren't standard.

Quote:
- do we look at the manner in which they are used and tested
Absolutely. What is that manner?

Quote:
- or do we claim "no psi ability"?
Or perhaps "no psi ability demonstrated."


Quote:
should we say that esp testing using those cards yeild no result - so because of the results and therefore say "no psi ability exists"...or is it that those cards just arent very good for testing psi ability?
Excellent questions, but I think you have the last bit backwards. You (general you, not you specifically) must define "psi ability" before deciding a good way to test for it. That is one of the huge flaws in the parapsychological community right now. (Note, it isn't universal; some try to test for specific definitions).


Quote:
I ask again - what percentage would be valid?
First, it depends on the defined ability being tested. Second it depends on the specificity of the claim. Third, the real answer to this is best left to the professional scientists and statisticians. Such a percentage can be arrived at, though, just as it can be for non-psi related claims, and there is no reason for it to be the same from specific claim to specific claim.

If, however, you are talking about the significance level, I think that the standard of p = 0.05 is fine, though it is frequently misapplied (disclaimer: I am only a somewhat educated layman in this arena; I am not qualified to make real pronouncements here).


Quote:
if we say a highly trained athelete or mathematician is asked to do something very difficult within their field, within a certain time limit - what percentage of them being wrong do we allow them? do we allow the same for psychics? or arent they allowed to be wrong sometimes? whats the difference - and why should it be different?
It's not different. The test is tailored to the claim. If we test Babe Ruth for his ability to hit home runs, we let him define the conditions and the success rate. So long as the claimed success rate is above the average success rate it is testable. I know of exactly zero skeptics who demand 100% accuracy or success for psychics when the psychics don't claim it.
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Quote:
Everytime we prove a bit of 'supernaturalism' wrong, they simply change their definition of what a psychic can do. For example if we prove they are merely blowwing on the paper (by putting bits of styrofoam infront of it) then


Actually, in this specific case (as in many like it) the person doing the testing is doing the redefining. In this case the test was to move the page without moving anything around it. That was never the claim of the person being tested.

The "control" would not have proven anything, had the page moved. If an energy, any energy, is causing the page to move; then it is entirely logical that this same energy would cause other similarly light weight objects around it to move. It would have been poor science to deduce anything from the styrofoam moving other than "a force has been applied in the direction of the page." The source of the force would still be uncertain.

The ploy worked for me because it showed that the person exhibiting this ability, and professing great familiarity with it, did not understand this basic truth. He grasped the first non sense which came to mind instead of realizing the simple truth. That is the sign of someone caught unexpected. Someone familiar with the ability would not have been deterred and would fully expect the styrofoam to move.

Like any good detective, if you can get a person thinking in one direction while your attention is actually focussed in another, you can see into their true intentions by looking around their claimed intentions.

***********************************
Now let's consider this "we have enough examples to disprove..." and I mean aside from the obvious logic of the inability to prove some doesn't exist.

I'll simply put forth as evidence the long illustrious history of examples in which popular science (by which I mean scientists and the so called scholarly minded) has shunned and ridiculed ideas which later in history would be found to become scientific "truth". Round Earths, Sun centric solar systems, and things of similar ilk. This history places enough weight on the scales to cause me to believe that it is just as likely as it is unlikely that through the Forrest of Fakers some true "psychic ability" will come to light.

Science has quietly and somewhat recently added a taste to our human abilities and removed a planet from our solar system.
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"Science is a very human form of knowledge. We are always at the brink of the known. We always feel forward for what is to be hoped. Every judgement in science stands on the edge of error and it is personal. Science is a tribute to what we can know although we are fallible." - Jacob Bronowski

I think of "doing science" as trying to prove that you've had a stupid idea by collecting data about what happens whenever you try it. If a lab can't show that it's a stupid idea, no matter how they try, they publish full details so that others can try to see where they went wrong. If they can only reproduce the results, then maybe the idea wasn't stupid. So, science is: "A way of not fooling yourself" - Richard Feynman.

Doing science is boring and involves collecting lots of data. Because of that, and in view of the quotes above, I don't think any working scientist in any field would ever say something like: "There's no such thing as psychic abilities". Instead, you hear phrases like: "not seen any evidence so far" or "no evidence either way". This doesn't close the door, but leaves it ajar just in case someone can find a way of designing the right experiment and collecting the data, and that's what makes science really exciting. You never know what this essentially simple and time-tested method of designing an experiment, collecting the data and pondering the results is going to discover next. What's more, the implications of a discovery can be used to predict the existence and nature of unknown things, no matter how bizarre, and when they're also discovered, it adds to the validity of the theory that predicted them. The quantum theory is an excellent example. It didn't spring fully formed from Bohr's pen.

This is because, stretching back to the 17th century and beyond, there's an unbreakable chain of knowledge that has slowly and methodically been built upon. It doesn't depend on belief. You can always say things like: "when I drop this ball, it falls to the ground" or "when something hot comes into touch with something cold, heat flows into the cold object" and be confident that these things will happen. You can also be confident that given the number of working scientists in the world, somewhere, is trying to design increasingly better experiments that can be used to accurately measure any psychic ability, no matter how slight. The key, the difficult bit, lies in designing the experiments. Designing good experiments to investigate anything without external influences turns out to be very difficult.
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