skipair wrote:Hi Laird, I've skimmed through some of your posts here, and it seems to me the main theme is a verging toward anti-science.
Tell me, is this trend something other than your strength of characters saying to the world, "THIS IS WHO I AM"...and then finding whatever mode to help justify it, however 'woo woo'?
Skip, 'woo woo' verges on being insulting and doesn't much inspire me much to engage with you. I'll do it anyway because of our friendship.
It depends on how you define "science": as a method, as a body of knowledge derived from that method, or as a set of assumptions typically drawn out of that body of knowledge. I doubt that anything I've posted is directly contradicted by either of the first two, but it might be contradicted by the third e.g. in such assumptions as that consciousness is purely a manifestation of the physical brain and thus that there is or can be no independent spirit/soul.
I'm disappointed in your suggestion that my posts to this thread are about "seeking justification for who I am": actually, they have been about explaining how I have come to the conclusions that I have come to - it's a pretty straightforward and logical process. If it's not clear to you, then I'd encourage you to return to the start (or just to the point at which David challenged me) and to read more carefully.
I went pretty easy on you in my last post, only to have you respond with an assumed superiority the likes of: "Proper method can still be followed and people can discover the truth for themselves. They don't need me to outline the map, supplying them more theories or theologies to ponder over. I believe in challenging the blocks and not by simply presenting just another block to misinterpret".
So, let me make myself clear: I reject the implication that in relation to truth I am any more "blocked" than you are, and I definitely
reject the notion that your method is "proper", much less superior to mine. Your method, it seems to me, is to make a presupposition (that there can never be a supernatural explanation) and then to twist every piece of evidence to the contrary to fit that presupposition (by suggesting impossible or just very implausible alternative naturalistic explanations). You have done this consistently in every post I have read where you address evidence. Not one of your suggested alternatives in any case explored in this thread has been more plausible than the supernatural alternative. I won't rehash them all as people are quite capable of looking back over them and forming their own opinion.
Let us, though, in any case grant you some small probability of being right in each case. Let us even say that it is as much as 10%. Then, a statistical analysis shows that even with three cases (and there have been at least that many presented explicitly in this thread - mine, Tomas's and Bo1's (not to mention that Bo1's involves multiple cases) - and a fourth one by reference - Roy's) the overall chance that not one of them has a supernatural explanation approaches zero.
I'll address your recent objections to this analysis:
1. "The type of events you are talking about (unexplained events in daily life) cannot be assigned high or low probability that easy, if at all"
Not precisely, to be sure, but of course they can be approximated given a bit of discernment. For example, what is the probability that in a remote rural property whose doors and windows were closed, where all present were seated at a table in the dining room and where no car was heard drawing up outside, a wind in the dining room coming from the direction of the kitchen where there was no door was caused by the opening of a door?
My own answer: effectively zero, but I might grant you some small benefit of the doubt with some figure well under 1%.
2. "And even when we do, you cannot be sure they are independent"
It would be up to you to suggest how they might not be. How, for example, might the odds that a particular wind in a particular house is supernatural be statistically dependent on the odds that the swing of a particular pendulum (Roy's) was influenced by supernatural forces?
3. "Or even if they are, how do you select which to count as "event" to add to the list and which not?"
Simply: select any event that has odds of greater than zero of a supernatural explanation.
4. "And how many times are you able to repeat the whole process to obtain some statistical significance?"
The statistical significance consists in considering the overall odds that not one of the events has a supernatural explanation, not in the repetition of individual events.
The fact of your presupposition you make quite clear in your most recent post: 'Also, supernatural explanations are in my view never "highly probably" since they always raise way more problematic questions than they ever solve'
. You fail, however, to elaborate on what these "problematic questions" might be, nor why they are any more problematic than the implausible-impossible questions you raise in your scepticism.
Will you fail again in your next post to elaborate on my now explicit challenge to you to do so? My guess is that you will, because it seems to me that you are more intent on spin and obfuscation than on truth. In a previous post, when it was convenient to you to try to wriggle out of the fact that your approach is an extreme one of denial, you suggested that there might be some "middle ground" (which presumably you inhabited), and yet, when I challenged you to elaborate on that middle ground, in your most recent post it became more convenient for you to explain that, after all, there can be no middle ground but that "by challenging the one [i.e. Laird's interpretation --Laird], it doesn't mean the whole topic is dismissed": which, peeling away the layers of obfuscation and spin, is simply to say, "There is no middle ground, your path is wrong and my path of denial is the right", isn't it, Diebert? A whole opening paragraph of cruft just to revel in the idea that "Diebert's path is superior". Pull your head in, mate.
Here's what you say after making explicit your presupposition against supernatural explanations: "Although I admit there can be situations there doesn't appear any viable option [other than the supernatural one --Laird] and then such answer might at least help people to give it a place. The mind hates open endings and loves a good story after all"
. You are obviously aware that the notion that those to whom the supernatural has been proved true are simply "looking for a good story" is brimming with condescension, because your subsequent "My mind just as well!" is a transparent attempt to mitigate that condescension.
The theme of your posts to me has been one of assumed superiority. You have referred to me as a "newbie" in comparison to your "old dog" self. You have told me that I have a "feverish" mind and that I need to "take a break" and "get some grip". You have dismissed one of my questions by following your answer with "Duh". Most tellingly, even though the level of theory involved was so elementary as to be, in cousinbasil's words, "unassailable", you took it upon yourself to try to "educate" me on a topic about which you quite obviously are uninformed yourself, acknowledging in a massive understatement when called on it that you "might have stated some things not properly".
Let's consider this in light of what you wrote to me in a typically supercilious tone in an earlier post: 'What I am challenging is only your specific view and logic. But you cannot separate them because you think you have some "authority" or "knowledge" on the subject'
. Here you make reference to a false claim to authority and knowledge - I wonder what such a claim might look like in practice; might it look anything like a false assumption of authority to "educate" someone about a mathematical topic on which one clearly lacks the requisite knowledge? And yet where in this thread have I
assumed an authority or knowledge that I cannot justify? Isn't projection fascinating?
In any case, getting back to your statements to the effect that even when the supernatural explanation is the best one, it's nevertheless "just a story": in those cases, then, Diebert, what do you think is the real explanation and why do you think it is superior to the otherwise inescapable supernatural explanation? If your answer is that you don't know what the real explanation is, then on what basis do you reject the supernatural explanation?
Diebert: Then how do you know if the bullet actually attempted to go through the body if there was no mark or other trace? Maybe it went another way or didn't leave the gun at all? It's very hard to research these things outside controlled circumstance. It's quite unlikely you have been able to research all the possibilities.
BO: To answer your question; there was a hole in the center of the back of the chair where this man was sitting. We found the bullet later.
Diebert: That didn't answer the questions at all. As I told you earlier (and you leave that context out) there were many more possibilities obviously. From which side did the bullet enter the chair? Was the hole a bullet hole at all? Was the bullet possibly from another event?
Excellent, a chance to demonstrate what I explained earlier: that your naturalistic alternatives are either impossible or exceedingly implausible - certainly so as to be far less plausible than the straightforward supernatural explanation. I'll take these questions one by one, and, to forestall any criticism, let me make it clear that yes, this is all predicated on the assumption that Bo1 is telling the truth, but, crucially, you have made it clear that you hold that assumption
- "From which side did the bullet enter the chair?" It's hard to believe you ask this question as though it were a rational one. The implication here is that the bullet might have entered from the back of the chair, but even if it had done that, then, given that the hole went right through the chair, the bullet would still have had to have passed through or at least entered the man's body!
- "Was the hole a bullet hole at all?" Considering that at least one person in the room - at least the person to whom it belonged, and very likely the person who was sitting in it from looking at it before sitting down - would have known whether or not there had already been a hole in the chair, this question amounts to suggesting that a hole magically appeared in the chair for some reason other than the gunshot: a suggestion that is in itself supernatural (and certainly less plausible than the straightforward supernatural explanation), unless you want to suggest something bizarre and utterly implausible such as that someone, somehow, unbeknownst to everyone else in the room and prior to the gunshot, drilled a hole in the chair, somehow making it appear like a bullet hole - but now, you see, it starts getting ridiculous, and you can see why Bo1 might have wanted to forestall a process of questioning.
- "Was the bullet possibly from another event?" This question implies that a gunshot went off but that the round was a blank, and that, as in the previous question, a bullet hole magically appeared in a chair in the direction that the gun was pointed for some unknown reason unrelated to the gunshot, and that the bullet found later in the room was unrelated to this gunshot and had somehow been in the room unbeknownst to the owner of the house - and this is supposed to be more plausible than the straightforward supernatural explanation?
Your comment on "the amazing possibilities of the human mind" reads quite interestingly in this light, I think - the amazing possibilities of the human mind to twist the evidence to deny a simple truth.
Diebert van Rhijn wrote:Perhaps I should add that it doesn't need hallucination to misinterpret and misdiagnose the medical state of a victim. Talking bout the experience later in a group can even reinforce the wrong observation. This is well known by people who examine eye witness reports. Good intentions all around.
I find it hard to call your intentions good though: I think you're intent on denying the truth.