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Garrette
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Quote:
On 2013-05-28 09:20, George Hunter wrote:
It has been suggested in this thread that the bibliography disproportionally features studies that support paranormal possibility, but the several "debunkers" I have read cite only opposition studies, and they barely acknowledge the existence of studies with a different outcome; with a sweep of the hand, such outcomes are "impossible."
I know that such "debunkers" exist, just as there are "believers" who exist who refuse to acknowledge mundane explanations for experiences they unreasonably insist can only be paranormal. And let's be clear: I myself am biased just as I suspect everyone in this thread is biased. There is nothing wrong with being biased; it is virtually impossible for humans not to be biased. The issue is whether we can control for our biases when investigating matters that will lead us to draw conclusions. None of us can do that perfectly, but we can all do it if we take the time to learn about hidden biases and common fallacies.

I used to be biased in favor of paranormal beliefs, very strongly so. It was partly my attempts to prove the reality of the paranormal that caused me to recognize my own failings and to ultimately discard those beliefs, despite having multiple experiences I used to believer were undoubtedly paranormal and which rival most experiences I have heard others describe since.

But discarding studies simply because they are pro-paranormal is not really in most skeptics' toolkit, though I can understand why it appears so. Speaking only for myself, I am fairly well read when it comes to the paranormal (though I admit I have dropped off lately), and I have read literally hundreds of pro-paranormal studies which have been touted as the final proof positive. Without fail, the studies have come up short of the hype (I will reiterate my one possible exception regarding Wiseman's Sheep-Goat effect, but the best that can be said of that is that more studies, better refined, are in order, not that the effect actually exists). Most of the times the flaws in the studies are discernible with a simple but determined reading. Sometimes it takes a particular specialist or expert to pick out the errors (I can do layman's statistics pretty well, but when they get too in depth I have to find help to see if it was done correctly). Frequently I contact the authors to ask questions.

Where do I find the studies I look at? Most often it is in forums like this one, but I also used to participate in pro-paranormal sites. For a while I subscribed to the Society for Paranormal Research and received their journal (the JSPR). One would think that the JSPR represents the best of paranormal research, and the articles in there were unquestionably presented as such, but they were embarrassingly bad. I can't recall the name of the last article I wrote the author about, but it concerned what he (the author) claimed was indisputable proof of mediumship. It involved a seance in Iceland which revealed a near-simultaneous fire in Europe. Since the seance occurred before the telegraph or telephone had reached Iceland, mediumship seemed the only answer. In the article, the author listed everyone present and cited as proof the fact that immediately after the seance and before verification of the fire arrived by boat, the key members of the seance approached the local pastor (vicar? priest?) who entered it in his churchbook. Other such "proofs" were mentioned in the article.

But what were the references in the article? Two books, each written by a member of the seance, the earliest being written around ten years after the fact. The churchbook? Not in the references. I emailed the author and asked if I were misreading the article. His response confirmed that the two books were his only sources and that no one had ever found the churchbook or even looked for it.

It is only after years of reading such disappointingly poor articles and studies that I have come to an admittedly somewhat cynical viewpoint when another article or study is cited as proof. I'll believe it when it withstands scrutiny, and I am willing to take the time to do it (when I have the time), but I hold out little hope and do not take someone's word that this is finally The Big One. I become further cynical when lists such as Radin's are brought out, and those lists include items that any reliable researcher would not include if he wishes to be taken seriously. Targ & Puthoff come to mind.

Short version of the above: No, I don't believe. Yes, I'm biased. But, yes, I can be persuaded though it will take more than the list provided here.


Quote:
The category of "paranormal" may, unwisely, lump a range of experiences together that may not be intrinsically connected, in the sense that if you "prove" (or disprove) one, you have proven (or disproven) everything in the alleged category. So, for example, if some out-of-body experiences are valid, that does not mean that alien abductions necessarily occur; or if telepathy is valid, that does not validate psychokinesis.
I agree completely, as would most skeptics in my experience.
Mind Guerrilla
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My sleep paralysis consisted mainly of perceiving a malevolent presence in the room and, occasionally, some guttural sounds.

I always thought of my sleep paralysis as creating a kind of feedback loop. As I lay there I'd wonder "Am I frozen because I'm scared or am I scared because I'm frozen?"

Sleep paralysis happened to me during that twilight state between being awake and being asleep. I believe this is the same state (theta brainwaves) reached in deep hypnosis, when people are highly suggestible and when hallucinations are most easily induced.
Jon_Thompson
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Quote:
On 2013-05-27 15:05, Mind Guerrilla wrote:
How does one distinguish between an actual experience and an incredibly vivid hallucination?


Let me answer that with a short poem:

Reality is not what we see.
It's the map, not the territory.
Smoking Camel
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Replicating synchronistic events is not a problem. They happen to people all day every day.
I no longer smoke camel cigarettes.
Garrette
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On 2013-05-28 13:07, Smoking Camel wrote:
Replicating synchronistic events is not a problem. They happen to people all day every day.
I know what "synchronistic" means, but I am not sure of its application here. If you mean that events that seem far too coincidental to actually be coincidental happen every day, I agree, but I emphasize that they only "seem" too coincidental; they aren't actually indications of anything paranormal. Even if they were indicative of something paranormal, they are not replicable at all despite there being myriad of them.

Somebody winning the lottery is a near certainty. A particular, pre-designated person choosing the correct lottery numbers is a near impossibility (though not, of course, actually impossible).
Garrette
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Quote:
On 2013-05-28 12:50, Jon_Thompson wrote:
Quote:
On 2013-05-27 15:05, Mind Guerrilla wrote:
How does one distinguish between an actual experience and an incredibly vivid hallucination?


Let me answer that with a short poem:

Reality is not what we see.
It's the map, not the territory.
I'm a poetry fan, and this one is nice, but I don't think it aids in determining the actuality or falsity of the paranormal.
Smoking Camel
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Quote:
On 2013-05-28 14:00, Garrette wrote:
Quote:
On 2013-05-28 13:07, Smoking Camel wrote:
Replicating synchronistic events is not a problem. They happen to people all day every day.
I know what "synchronistic" means, but I am not sure of its application here. If you mean that events that seem far too coincidental to actually be coincidental happen every day, I agree, but I emphasize that they only "seem" too coincidental; they aren't actually indications of anything paranormal. Even if they were indicative of something paranormal, they are not replicable at all despite there being myriad of them.

Somebody winning the lottery is a near certainty. A particular, pre-designated person choosing the correct lottery numbers is a near impossibility (though not, of course, actually impossible).


I don't think this is fair. Its easier for me to quote someone else than type my own argument here:

David Metcalfe writes:

"The paranormal, it turns out, is as much about meaning as matter. And we -- not as surface egos, but as some still mysterious force of consciousness -- are its final authors. If the paranormal, though, is as much about meaning as matter, as much about the subject as the object, then science can never truly grasp it, for science must turn everything into an object and cannot treat questions of meaning. We thus need a new way of knowing, a way that can embrace both the sciences and a new art of reading ourselves writing ourselves."

Whether or not they are provable in a laboratory setting, anomalous experiences remain a part of life for a surprising number of people. Gallup polls show that 17% of the population in the United States claim to have had a UFO experience. The Baylor Religion Survey, as detailed in NYU Press' recent publication Paranormal America, shows that, in the United States, 45% of women and 32% of men believe in the existence of ghosts, and 31% of women and 28% of men believe in telekinesis. Taking into account the various categories of paranormal possibilities close to half of the population believes in, or claims to have experienced, something out of the ordinary in their lives.

These statistics show that the paranormal is a significant motivating factor in how our culture develops and understands itself. The hope fostered in the formation of the SPR was that by investigating these experiences we would be lead to a deeper understanding of ourselves and our place in the world. Ultimately the secrets of anomalous experiences, whether they are purely psychosomatic or actually based in fact, go right to the heart of the secrets of human experience itself."



I don't believe The "seem" paranormal cannot be dismissed that easily.
I no longer smoke camel cigarettes.
Smoking Camel
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Quote:
On 2013-05-28 16:16, Smoking Camel wrote:
Quote:
On 2013-05-28 14:00, Garrette wrote:
Quote:
On 2013-05-28 13:07, Smoking Camel wrote:
Replicating synchronistic events is not a problem. They happen to people all day every day.
I know what "synchronistic" means, but I am not sure of its application here. If you mean that events that seem far too coincidental to actually be coincidental happen every day, I agree, but I emphasize that they only "seem" too coincidental; they aren't actually indications of anything paranormal. Even if they were indicative of something paranormal, they are not replicable at all despite there being myriad of them.

Somebody winning the lottery is a near certainty. A particular, pre-designated person choosing the correct lottery numbers is a near impossibility (though not, of course, actually impossible).


I don't think this is fair. Its easier for me to quote someone else than type my own argument here:

David Metcalfe writes:

"The paranormal, it turns out, is as much about meaning as matter. And we -- not as surface egos, but as some still mysterious force of consciousness -- are its final authors. If the paranormal, though, is as much about meaning as matter, as much about the subject as the object, then science can never truly grasp it, for science must turn everything into an object and cannot treat questions of meaning. We thus need a new way of knowing, a way that can embrace both the sciences and a new art of reading ourselves writing ourselves."

Whether or not they are provable in a laboratory setting, anomalous experiences remain a part of life for a surprising number of people. Gallup polls show that 17% of the population in the United States claim to have had a UFO experience. The Baylor Religion Survey, as detailed in NYU Press' recent publication Paranormal America, shows that, in the United States, 45% of women and 32% of men believe in the existence of ghosts, and 31% of women and 28% of men believe in telekinesis. Taking into account the various categories of paranormal possibilities close to half of the population believes in, or claims to have experienced, something out of the ordinary in their lives.

These statistics show that the paranormal is a significant motivating factor in how our culture develops and understands itself. The hope fostered in the formation of the SPR was that by investigating these experiences we would be lead to a deeper understanding of ourselves and our place in the world. Ultimately the secrets of anomalous experiences, whether they are purely psychosomatic or actually based in fact, go right to the heart of the secrets of human experience itself."



I don't believe The "seem" paranormal can be dismissed that easily.
I no longer smoke camel cigarettes.
Fire Starter
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Journeys out of the body by Robert A Monroe is a fantastic book if anyone want's to read up on the subject.I myself got interested in the subject of OOBE in the late eighties after waking from a dream and floating over my sleeping body even seeing my own REM. I did do a lot of experimentation and could get the vibrational state but I did get very scared so never took it any further, nearly getting out is proof enough for me that this phenomena does exist and very real at the time to the person experiencing it.
Slim King
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If you read the Blue Sence you will find hundreds of cases where PSI has helped solve criminal cases.... It also reveals how Pseudoskeptics dogmatically refuse to look at the entire picture due to their presuppositions and closed mindedness.
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
MrPoponi
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I already had in my life four out of body experiences. Seem to be very real. It's something different than a dream because the level of consciousness is different. So already studied, I believe that all this can be explained naturally. Our brain is an amazing machine. Also I think that religions may have had its origin based on these experiences.
Sean Giles
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Quote:
On 2013-05-28 17:14, Fire Starter wrote:
Journeys out of the body by Robert A Monroe is a fantastic book if anyone want's to read up on the subject.I myself got interested in the subject of OOBE in the late eighties after waking from a dream and floating over my sleeping body even seeing my own REM. I did do a lot of experimentation and could get the vibrational state but I did get very scared so never took it any further, nearly getting out is proof enough for me that this phenomena does exist and very real at the time to the person experiencing it.


Monroe has some good techniques for getting 'out'.

If you got to the point of vibration (not everybody experiences the vibrations leading up to seperation), then you were almost there.
funsway
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So, what is the difference from a "unitive experience" as explored by experts like May in WIll and Spirit and other writings?
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst

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Fire Starter
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Yes you are right there Sean just quite scary stuff to mess with I think.You certainly have had some fantastic experiecnces described.I studied the 7 chakras and Kundalini yoga/ meditation and have opened the 7th chakra/third eye/thousand petaled lotus and have seen the very bright golden light,also have experienced the ethric tube/tunnel that is very strange blueish mist in colour and pulls you towards it.At this point I got scared as you have the feeling that if you let yourself go, then you will leave your body.I did have a lot of correspondance with DR Susan Blackmore who had dabbled in it but them became quite skeptical.
George Hunter
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Garrette (and all):

Sorry for this delayed response. I am also, overall, on the doubtful side, but am more doubtful of some experiences that have been lumped in the "paranormal" category than others. To be specific: on the fence about telepathy, a little more dubious of clairvoyance, still more dubious of precognition; on-the-fence, if not somewhat affirmative, about some out-of-body experiences, on the fence about ghosts, quite doubtful of alien abductions. As a Methodist Christian, I believe in the probable reality of supra-mundane personalities classical called "angels" and "demons"--but nowhere near the cartoon caricature of either.

I am increasingly aware that known empirical scientific methods may simply be incapable of understanding some experiences, whether normal or paranormal or spiritual or relational experiences. I was schooled to expect honest researchers to admit their biases, to state their hypotheses, and then do their best to DISPROVE their biases and hypotheses. Also, that kind of rigor appears to be largely absent in the two camps of "believers" and "skeptics."

George
Garrette
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Quote:
On 2013-05-28 16:16, Smoking Camel wrote:
Quote:
On 2013-05-28 14:00, Garrette wrote:
Quote:
On 2013-05-28 13:07, Smoking Camel wrote:
Replicating synchronistic events is not a problem. They happen to people all day every day.
I know what "synchronistic" means, but I am not sure of its application here. If you mean that events that seem far too coincidental to actually be coincidental happen every day, I agree, but I emphasize that they only "seem" too coincidental; they aren't actually indications of anything paranormal. Even if they were indicative of something paranormal, they are not replicable at all despite there being myriad of them.

Somebody winning the lottery is a near certainty. A particular, pre-designated person choosing the correct lottery numbers is a near impossibility (though not, of course, actually impossible).


I don't think this is fair. Its easier for me to quote someone else than type my own argument here:

David Metcalfe writes:

"The paranormal, it turns out, is as much about meaning as matter. And we -- not as surface egos, but as some still mysterious force of consciousness -- are its final authors. If the paranormal, though, is as much about meaning as matter, as much about the subject as the object, then science can never truly grasp it, for science must turn everything into an object and cannot treat questions of meaning. We thus need a new way of knowing, a way that can embrace both the sciences and a new art of reading ourselves writing ourselves."

Whether or not they are provable in a laboratory setting, anomalous experiences remain a part of life for a surprising number of people. Gallup polls show that 17% of the population in the United States claim to have had a UFO experience. The Baylor Religion Survey, as detailed in NYU Press' recent publication Paranormal America, shows that, in the United States, 45% of women and 32% of men believe in the existence of ghosts, and 31% of women and 28% of men believe in telekinesis. Taking into account the various categories of paranormal possibilities close to half of the population believes in, or claims to have experienced, something out of the ordinary in their lives.

These statistics show that the paranormal is a significant motivating factor in how our culture develops and understands itself. The hope fostered in the formation of the SPR was that by investigating these experiences we would be lead to a deeper understanding of ourselves and our place in the world. Ultimately the secrets of anomalous experiences, whether they are purely psychosomatic or actually based in fact, go right to the heart of the secrets of human experience itself."



I don't believe The "seem" paranormal cannot be dismissed that easily.
I'm not sure what you mean by it not being fair. I'm not trying to blindside you.

As far as the piece you quote above, I'm sorry, but I find it empty of meaning. It has two main points which when boiled down amount to the following:

1. We can't prove paranormal claims, but that doesn't matter, and

2. Since a lot of people believe a lot of different things, some of it must be true.

It is possible I am misreading, but if I am I will need you to point it out to me.
Garrette
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Quote:
On 2013-05-28 17:53, Slim King wrote:
If you read the Blue Sence you will find hundreds of cases where PSI has helped solve criminal cases.... It also reveals how Pseudoskeptics dogmatically refuse to look at the entire picture due to their presuppositions and closed mindedness.
No. The Blue Sense explores claims of psychics solving criminal cases and finds them largely unfounded and exaggerated in their retellings. And that's from Truzzi, perhaps the least dogmatic of the skeptics.
Garrette
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Quote:
On 2013-05-28 21:08, George Hunter wrote:
Garrette (and all):

Sorry for this delayed response. I am also, overall, on the doubtful side, but am more doubtful of some experiences that have been lumped in the "paranormal" category than others. To be specific: on the fence about telepathy, a little more dubious of clairvoyance, still more dubious of precognition; on-the-fence, if not somewhat affirmative, about some out-of-body experiences, on the fence about ghosts, quite doubtful of alien abductions. As a Methodist Christian, I believe in the probable reality of supra-mundane personalities classical called "angels" and "demons"--but nowhere near the cartoon caricature of either.

I am increasingly aware that known empirical scientific methods may simply be incapable of understanding some experiences, whether normal or paranormal or spiritual or relational experiences. I was schooled to expect honest researchers to admit their biases, to state their hypotheses, and then do their best to DISPROVE their biases and hypotheses. Also, that kind of rigor appears to be largely absent in the two camps of "believers" and "skeptics."

George
No problem on the delay in response. My time comes in spurts that cannot always be anticipated, so I may drop out for long periods myself.

You are correct that, in my words, science cannot explain everything, but that means there is something we do not know. Using a lack of knowledge as a basis on which to claim knowledge (of the paranormal or spiritual, etc.) is not a mark of wisdom or insight. And the scientific method generally involves the attempt to disprove a hypothesis while controlling for biases. That's why I admitted earlier that I am biased. I am. Nothing wrong with that, just as there is nothing wrong with believers in the paranormal having their biases. The issue is whether those biases are controlled for when conducting experiments and when reviewing the research.
Slim King
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Quote:
On 2013-05-28 21:22, Garrette wrote:
Quote:
On 2013-05-28 17:53, Slim King wrote:
If you read the Blue Sence you will find hundreds of cases where PSI has helped solve criminal cases.... It also reveals how Pseudoskeptics dogmatically refuse to look at the entire picture due to their presuppositions and closed mindedness.
No. The Blue Sense explores claims of psychics solving criminal cases and finds them largely unfounded and exaggerated in their retellings. And that's from Truzzi, perhaps the least dogmatic of the skeptics.

Ha H Ha Ha ... Truzzi was the whistle blower on the crafty yet untruthful pseudoskeptics!!!! In fact I think he invented that name for you guys!!! LOL
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
mastermindreader
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The fact remains that "The Blue Sense" hardly supports the proposition that psychics have been very helpful in in solving criminal cases.

Marcello had an open mind about psychic claims, but he was hardly a wide-eyed believer in all things paranormal.
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