Debate and Discussion

The supernatural: fact or fiction?
Sir Penguinbuddha at 2:09PM, Feb. 18, 2008
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Well, it seems that whenever someone tries to “prove” the supernatural, it usually turns out to be dismissed or treated as a hoax-case in point, bobhhh's man on mars:it could just be a rock formation. Really, though, things like the supernatural can't be proven by traditional methods, since it's something that's not naturally occuring. Something that is supernatural would be a sort of paradigm shift on what we view to be real, or able to be proven.

Look at it this way: close to half the people in the world believe in a unified deity, and close to all the people in the world believe in SOME deity, but all of them have no scientific proof as to the existance of ANY higher being. It's just that all things science tries to explain, but, really, it can't explain everything, because there's a difference between what someone believes to be true, and what someone knows to be true. When a word such as supernatural is used to explain something, there becomes then no possible way to explain it without changing your perspective on what you believe, because science is very much a series of beliefs just as a religion is. A Catholic trying to believe in Allah is like someone rooted in scientific fact trying to believe in “the supernatural.”

I guess what I'm really trying to say is that when trying to prove the supernatural, it isn't really right to try and prove supernatural occurances to be right, but more to prove them wrong without bringing belief into the equation.

That's my six cents (because two is such a small number), and my apologies if I've offended anyone for bringing religion into this :P
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:38PM
bobhhh at 10:08AM, Feb. 19, 2008
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Sir Penguinbuddha
Look at it this way: close to half the people in the world believe in a unified deity, and close to all the people in the world believe in SOME deity, but all of them have no scientific proof as to the existance of ANY higher being. It's just that all things science tries to explain, but, really, it can't explain everything, because there's a difference between what someone believes to be true, and what someone knows to be true.

Everyone used to believe the earth was flat with dragons hovering off the edge, as well. That didn't make it true. Science can answer a lot of questions, it just depends on the question. You can't prove the supernatural doesn't exist, but you can prove that Uri Geller isn't bending spoons with his mind. :)
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:29AM
arteestx at 4:10PM, Feb. 19, 2008
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Sir Penguinbuddha
Really, though, things like the supernatural can't be proven by traditional methods, since it's something that's not naturally occuring. …

It's just that all things science tries to explain, but, really, it can't explain everything, because there's a difference between what someone believes to be true, and what someone knows to be true. ….

I guess what I'm really trying to say is that when trying to prove the supernatural, it isn't really right to try and prove supernatural occurances to be right, but more to prove them wrong without bringing belief into the equation.
So I'm curious; does this mean any supernatural claim should be assumed to be true? After all, if traditional methods can't prove anything supernatural, then on what basis do we make judgements about which beliefs to believe? How do you prove something supernatural is wrong by methods other than science, natural/traditional methods?

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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:02AM
kyupol at 9:33PM, Feb. 19, 2008
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Thats the whole problem of proving the supernatural.

There are factors that affect the testimony of the one testifying. Such as level of education, profession, etc. The way the person speaks would also affect his/her credibility.

In both sides. The skeptics and the believers, there are intelligent people. Who are very good at arguing their points.

So how's that?

For instance, when my uncle's wife died in the hospital, the next day, he told me that he smelled something in his backyard that “were not of an earthly origin”. He said the smell was the sweetest smell he ever smelled in his life. And the air just made him feel very much at peace.

He said that it was his wife who appeared to him just to tell him that she is fine and is in heaven now.

That is the testimony of my uncle. What is his job? He is an accountant at a respectable firm in the Philippines. What is his education? He graduated from University of the Philippines (this is the toughest university in the philippines. I couldnt even make it in the entrance exam there when I tried) as an accountant.

Now. Why would a respected accountant fabricate a story about a ghost?

A skeptic's possible argument:
It was just your uncle's obsession with his wife that triggered certain chemical reactions in his brain… to a point where it deceived his senses into believing that his wife is there. It is a mere hallucination. Instead of ‘seeing things’, he was ‘smelling things’. He missed his wife so much that his brain was forced to recreate a version of reality by some hormones/chemicals/etc. etc. etc.

As someone who heard that story second-hand, I only rely on the information received. And the skeptic would also rely on the same thing. That his info came from a ‘credible’ scientist.

So its ‘credible’ vs ‘credible’ in the end which sorta leads to a dead end where you get nowhere.


I've seen pretty convincing stories in other forums about reincarnation and about this man who claimed to be able to ‘astral travel’ and how his depression and anger issues were cured by a buddhist monk where the psychiatric system has failed. This man adamantly claims that he saw reptilians in other states of reality that his spirit was able to travel to. That is why he believes in David Icke's reptilian theory.

But what got me interested in the ‘supernatural’ if nothing really happened to me?

I can tell you that I've heard “fiuuuuuu” followed by explosions and the sound of men screaming and gunfire as if a battle is going on. In my house in the Philippines. The Philippines has a brutal history. I can speculate that time is just another state of reality. And that past, present, and future can coexist in the same time and space.

What if I was hearing a WW2 battle going on? I say WW2 because the Philippines was invaded by the Japanese. And the sounds of the explosions made me imagine bombs being dropped.

What if the past, present, and future do not coexist and I was just partly doing some sort of “remote viewing” (err… remote hearing) where I went to a time in the history of my country?

It is also hard to wrap my head around that idea. Since the law of matter states that no two objects can exist in the same space and the same time.


What if I just need some ‘mental help’? I didn't have the best childhood and maybe the stress and all that I had to experience, has messed up the chemical-hormone makeup in my head that I just hallucinated?


Only God knows. I do not know the answer. :)
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last edited on July 14, 2011 1:25PM
arteestx at 3:09AM, Feb. 20, 2008
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kyupol
….What if I just need some ‘mental help’? I didn't have the best childhood and maybe the stress and all that I had to experience, has messed up the chemical-hormone makeup in my head that I just hallucinated?

Only God knows. I do not know the answer. :)
Nice story, but I still don't know whether you think any supernatural claim should be assumed to be true or not. I mean, humans *are* capable of hallucinations, there are people who have mental illnesses, and there are people that have extraordinary experiences, people not trying to scam anyone but who honestly believe in a supernatural experience.

So how does anyone separate a hallucination from a mental illness from a legitimate supernatural experience without using scientific, natural/traditional methods? Or is the answer that we can't and we just assume that anyone who claims a supernatural experience should be believed?

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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:02AM
bobhhh at 4:31AM, Feb. 20, 2008
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arteestx
So how does anyone separate a hallucination from a mental illness from a legitimate supernatural experience without using scientific, natural/traditional methods? Or is the answer that we can't and we just assume that anyone who claims a supernatural experience should be believed?

I am reminded of Peter O'Toole in the film “The Ruling Class” who believed he was Jesus Christ. When quizzed by a psychiatrist how came to that conclusion he responded, “I realized that when I was praying, I was talking to myself”

:)
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:29AM
StaceyMontgomery at 7:32AM, Feb. 20, 2008
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I'm with arteestx (but not as eloquently, alas)

Also, no one has sent me a hundred bucks, indicating to me that the rules of evidence used for the supernatural does not apply to real world situations - like whether or not you owe me a hundred bucks.

Of course, I can say the same things about Weapons of mass destruction in Iraq (Dude! They totally have them! The evidence is that everyone knows they have them! And we have, like, pictures we cannot show you! You gotta believe us!)

I'm sorry, but being skeptical is good for you. It's a smart approach to life. Im confused by the idea that when it comes to the supernatural, I should use different standards.



last edited on July 14, 2011 3:55PM
alibaba at 2:26PM, Feb. 20, 2008
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StaceyMontgomery
Also, no one has sent me a hundred bucks, indicating to me that the rules of evidence used for the supernatural does not apply to real world situations - like whether or not you owe me a hundred bucks.

i really kinda hoped it'd work XD …!

haha, but honestly, i don't think this can work in rl for the following reason: it has no “spiritual” value, meaning that if the believers don't have any benefit from it, they have no reason to believe. people are gullible only then when they feel like they can profit from it (not money-wise).
for it to work, you'd have to have a good spiritual argument, for example:
“money is the material mud which is soiling your soul. free yourself from it by sending it me! i will dispose of it properly… XD ”

in any case, believing in a religion, the supernatural, etc. is generally linked with a “good feeling” of some sorts, since we are very emotional beings.

for example, the reason some people want to believe in a 9/11-conspiracy could be because the true cause for it seems to be too trivial and simple (compared to the consequences), so there “naturally” seems to be a need for a deeper meaning, even though in truth there probably isn't.
the “good feeling” in this case is simply a form of consolation through blaming the government, bankers, etc.

its a similar thing with other conspiracies.
the supernatural, which for most parts is rooted in religion, is a good example for this kind of good feeling as well.

like others already mentioned, the supernatural was a placeholder in old times for things that we didn't understand. it could be called “pseudo-knowledge”, since it explains things, but with explanations based on nothing.
basically everything was considered supernatural at the beginning and gradually debunked.
progress has shown that practically nothing is supernatural or non-testable, however there are still many unanswered questions in science, which have a great social and psychological relevance.
what happens after we die? why are we? what are we here for? and so on.
these kind of (supposedly) metaphysical questions can't be tackled by science that easily (yet), therefore it feels as if a supernatural explanation is necessary.

in my opinion the idea of the supernatural is a form of hope and consolation for the most part (though i don't rule out that it could exist, but i think nobody who claims to know it in our world actually does).
for example, ghosts and spirits and souls are for some people a pleasant idea, because if there were evidence for their existence, this could prove that the human consciousness is a seperate entity from our physical body and it would strongly suggest that things like heaven, angels, devils and god exist.

its similar with ufos, its kind of comforting to think that we are not alone in this vast universe.



kyupol brought up an interesting idea, namely that time and space could be at some points interlinked on opposite ends, this could for example be possible if we imagine time as a spiral similar to our DNA-doublehelix.
however, if this was found out to be true, we would be able to create a theory around it and soon it would become quite natural.

in fact, i can't think of anything that could be perfectly supernatural (above/against the laws of nature), which probably has to do with the fact that we live in a physical world governed by natural laws. therefore, even if the supernatural existed, it shouldn't be possible for it to have an effect on our world and it shouldn't be possible to observe it.
it could only work if the supernatural could turn into something natural, but then it wouldn't be able to act against natural laws (levitate, go through walls, etc.)

i'm not sure if that logic is correct because both the “natural” and the point where it becomes “supernatural” are quite vaguely known yet.
but its a good enough reason for me to be very skeptic when someone claims to know something about the supernatural or having supernatural abilities :) .

ah, btw, kyupol, i think its way more likely that you heard a radio or tv from somewhere rather than hallucinating or remote viewing XD .
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:49AM
kyupol at 6:11PM, Feb. 20, 2008
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ah, btw, kyupol, i think its way more likely that you heard a radio or tv from somewhere rather than hallucinating or remote viewing XD .

It was 3 o clock in the morning. I was maybe 10 years old at that time.

If it was a TV, I'd differentiate it right away. I remember my house had an old TV with poor sound quality. I've taken New Media Design and I know how realistic sfx can get.

Why was that war sound the most realistic and frightening sound I ever heard?!?

It wasnt the only thing that happened there.

One time I heard thumping footsteps as if it were going closer to me. I got scared and immediately jumped out of my bed and rushed to my uncle (he lived in the same house) who normally carries a gun around.

And how do you explain a lump suddenly appearing in the spot near your cabinet? A lump on the ground. And the wood around it isnt cracked or anything. It was just perfectly wrapped around that lump.

And how do you explain seeing white glowing eyes staring at me from the ceiling?

Also, how do you explain hearing flapping wings as if there is a large bird outside. No not only that. My friend. She said she saw an aswang and rushed into the house terrified. If she was the known liar, I'd dismiss it right away as a practical joke. I looked into her eyes. I saw fear. The expression on her face. It was a legitimate fear. But she could be acting, right? lol she's a shy girl who couldnt even try to sing or tell a lie. The last one you'd expect to pull off something that convincing.

I did not see it but I heard it. An aswang. After more research on that, It seems that there is a connection between an aswang, and David Icke's reptilian theory. Think about it. Aswang = Vampire = Reptilian. All of them reportedly drink blood and shapeshift. And have no empathy for their victims.

What a coincidence. I guess that all the crazy people in every culture of the world imagine the same things consistently.

Maybe so maybe not. And it fascinates me.


Another thing that I demand an explanation for is this:

Why are there so many missing children?

The work of sick pedophiles? Just how many pedophiles are actually lurking in the corner just to snatch children and molest them? Child molesters are usually people with access to children like a teacher or a religious/community leader, or a family member. The kids dont go missing. They just get touched inappropriately.

Or probably they just running away from dysfunctional families. If they run from a dysfunctional family, wouldnt they eventually come out since a kid who runs away on impulse is most likely unprepared. Hunger and loneliness would be their worst enemy that will force them to give up.

If they are missing, where could they have gone to?

I suspect a more sinister agenda that involves missing children… and also possibilities that they were abducted by aliens (either willingly or unwillingly) or “folded” in and out of overlapping dimensions. Or possibly went by accident to the past or future? I dont know!!! :(
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last edited on July 14, 2011 1:25PM
mapaghimagsik at 11:28AM, Feb. 22, 2008
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Tantz Aerine at 11:34AM, Feb. 22, 2008
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arteestx
So how does anyone separate a hallucination from a mental illness from a legitimate supernatural experience without using scientific, natural/traditional methods? Or is the answer that we can't and we just assume that anyone who claims a supernatural experience should be believed?

I will take a shot at answering this before reading the posts below that :)


I think that there are many ways to ‘prove’ something, even when you may not have the means to measure or quantify it. After all, the whole sum of social sciences measure and study things that cannot be looked at under a magnifying glass or with a special dye or even with special scanning equipment ;)

now WITHOUT (pay attention to this), without making any remark of whether I believe or not in the supernatural or what I would define as supernatural, I would say that a good way to measure whether a person is mentally ill, hallucinating or has experienced something that was true is look at this person as a whole:

a. Is this person leading a normal, healthy life (within the measures of society and interaction with it… as ‘normal, healthy life’ is a term many can argue as utopic lol! ) free of any documented mental illness, recent stress unusual for their usual stress levels, or anything extraordinary that can mark this person as being mentally ill or otherwise under the effect of extenuating circumstance?

b. Is this person benefitting from what they are claiming? If they are gaining from this, in terms of money, fame or other social benefits, then I'd be somewhat more skeptical about their claims.

c. Is this person mentioning this experience one who has ‘cried wolf’ often? Or is it a person that has been documented as one who does not in general walk into such things?

d. Has this person been given a thorough physical?

If the answers to that are pointing to a person who would not normally make up or in any way fabricate a story like that, I'd say at least they should not be dismissed in their claims. Believed? I would have to listen to them closely, and see just how ‘supernatural’ what they experienced was. ;) But then we'd enter into definitions again, and things like that.


Now, if anyone's interested in my personal opinion, I'd say I do NOT think there can be anything supernatural. There can be a gazillion things man is unable to explain or justify with the knowledge and technology man has, but that would not make it ‘supernatural’, just ‘beyond human explanation’. FOr those who have read my posts in others threads, I would say that this includes my concept for God ;)

Hope that was contructive for you :)
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:07PM
alibaba at 5:00PM, Feb. 22, 2008
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@kyupol:
an aswang? you mean, this kinda animal:
http://www.coasttocoastam.com/timages/page/Aswang091006a.jpg

what would you say if i told you that a zoologist already found a creature that resembles a giant bat which drinks blood and kidnaps children?

lol, just kidding XD.
but seriously, don't you notice the major flaws of this aswang idea?
its supposed to be a shape-shifting monster. how could your friend have known that the thing she saw was an aswang?

if you think about it, it is quite clear that she was simply superstitious. this has nothing to do with being crazy or a liar. this has more to do with a persons upbringing.
if you, from birth, are told that there exist evil creatures in our world which feed on bad children, then it will get stuck in your mind and you'll imagine an aswang whenever you see something that you can't explain. things like that happen all the time even to normal, educated people.

the way you describe that creature its clear that you follow the myths and superstitions centered around it. almost every culture has some mythical creatures; leprichauns, chimeras, ghouls, fayries and so on. there are thousands of these creatures. but they are all imaginary. this means, there could exist undiscovered animals which look similar, but they are neither evil nor magical, because these are concepts which only exist within the human minds.

kyupol
What a coincidence. I guess that all the crazy people in every culture of the world imagine the same things consistently.

consistency…? i don't see the slightest hint of consistency here…
fairy tale creatures are fantastic and weird and completely different from culture to culture. some are based on real animals, some are mixed up and others are completely imaginery.
the only thing they have in common is that they are told to little children to make them believe that if they misbehave, a magical monster will come and eat them.
really, its just a form of entertainment our ancestors have thought of hundreds of years ago.
its possible that unknown species exist, but they are as magical and evil as mah teddybear :) .

kyupol
Why are there so many missing children?
i don't know the statistics but i kinda doubt that they are outside a normal range…
i never heard anything strange about that. there are thousands of car-crashes, suicides and abductions every day.
you also have to consider that children are curious and naive. they get easily lost. they trust strangers even if they are being told not to. its tragic, but is it reason enough to suspect a sinister agenda behind it…?

this is exactly what i said in my previous post: whenever something tragic happens for reasons that seem to appear trivial, our minds automatically want to believe that there must be a deeper meaning behind it.

kyupol
Another thing that I demand an explanation for
i find it quite funny the way you put it XD.
think about it for a second.

what a skeptic says is something like: i can't give a definite answer because the data is too vague to make a conclusion, but when following common sense, its very likely that there is a natural explanation.
you say: you either tell me what it exactly is or i must conclude that its something supernatural. or: because you can't explain it, it must therefore be supernatural.

while even a skeptic won't completely exclude a supernatural explanation, it simply doesn't make sense to start with it because its by definition unexplainable.

example: if you see a guy floating and think: "this is impossible! it must be supernatural.“ then you have already lost. if you believe in the mystery, then you won't be able to solve it.
however, if you think: ”this looks impossible! but there must be a natural explanation." then you will perhaps find out that that guys name is david copperfield or criss angel and it is a trick including ropes, etc. XD


one other thing that should strike you as dubious about supernatural ideas:
according to my experience, almost every second or third person claims to have experienced something supernatural. its terribly common. impossibly common.

a good deal of it is even recorded. but the funny thing is, that the more data there is available for a supernatural phenomenon, the greater becomes the tendency that it can be exposed as a natural phenomenon or simple illusion.
statistics show that the better digital cameras become, the less supposedly supernatural things (ufos, ghosts, etc.) get shot.
which quite evidently shows that most supernatural phenomena are simply tricks which our minds and eyes play on us.

recently scientists were even able to simulate out of body experiences. it has become apparent that nothing leaves the body there, its just a trick of the brain.

another important thing to understand with supposed supernatural experiences is the humans nature to anthropomorphize everything.
we see faces, eyes and human figures in door knobs, trees, fog, rocks… well, everywhere.
we have been “programmed” this way through natural selection. its generally advantageous in our lives, but it has side effects, namely we tend see “things”, especially in darkness.




@Tantz Aerine: i agree with your points, but i think they are just the tip of the iceberg.
there is so much complexity in our brains that even completely healthy, normal people can easily fool themself into believing completely illogical stuff.
believing or not-believing in the supernatural is much deeper rooted in our psyches than we may think.


if you have time and interest, here's a very informative, but lenghty video of a presentation by PZ Myers talking on a similar topic:
http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=-8809660521227813170
http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=1800447793352878072
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:49AM
Winterman at 5:39PM, Feb. 22, 2008
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No such thing as magic. No such thing as the supernatural. No demons, ghosts, spirits or any other magical manifestation. It's all just leftover bits of old ways of explaining the universe.


last edited on July 14, 2011 4:51PM
kyupol at 6:34PM, Feb. 22, 2008
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A ‘trick of the brain’. All about ‘upbringing’ and supersition.

A way for the ancestors to entertain themselves.

Ok if thats how you want to put it. :)

There is no point in me trying to say “NO. YOU ARE WRONG AND I AM RIGHT. MY VERSION OF REALITY IS THAT WHICH IS THE TRUE VERSION OF REALITY!!!”

Your freedom to choose your reality is respected. I am just here to give other people a different view of things so I'd just share my opinions and experiences regarding this.

b. Is this person benefitting from what they are claiming?

Think about it.

Who benefits from a population that believes in their inferiority? Who benefits from a population that believes that there is all there is to this life? The little compartmentalized box.

There is more to the human body than what the medical books tell you. While I do not claim to be a medical expert, I've wondered. Why do some of these so-called ‘men of science’… doctors, engineers, chemists, etc. Believe in the presence of a God? Believe in the human soul? And all other types of mumbo jumbo. If science explains everything, why arent all these highly-educated scientists atheists?

There was this lump underneath my armpits. It wasnt exactly acne but it was irritating and slightly painful. It was annoying. All I did was push my finger deep into it and pray that it will heal. Including visualization of it being healed. Of it going away. I tried a little trick I've read in some so-called ‘psychic’ forum. About visualizing healing energy coming from the center of your body, into the target area. Then breathing slowly and clearing the mind of all thoughts except the healing of the area.


Ok that didnt work. I was disappointed.

But I sprinkled water on it and did the same visualization that it will be cured.

And after maybe 4 days, it reduced in size and eventually disappeared.

Just because I believed that the water will cure it.

It is very interesting just thinking about it.

You know that book/dvd called the secret? I watched the dvd before and I just laughed and shook my head. I was like… “ok… what a load of bullshit!!! ahahahahaha! How can a bunch of people actually believe superstitious mumbo jumbo such as that?!? AHAHAHAHAHAHA! What idiots. Who actually believe in that so-called supernatural stuff about God, aliens, ghosts, demons, and all that bullshit about chakra, chi, and all that crap!”


Until a series of events happened that caused my belief systems to collapse and I was in a state of total helplessness and depression. My state of mind was like “Uhh… why not? I might as well try this ‘mumbo jumbo’. There is nothing to lose. I might as well try out those ‘bullshit’ I've read about in some shitty-looking video or website or book or I've heard from all kinds of other people. Nothing to lose.”

In the end, the end result is a new me.

I am me I am free.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 1:25PM
kyupol at 8:08PM, Feb. 22, 2008
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Is this person benefitting from what they are claiming?

I just thought about this.

How do I benefit by explaining the supernatural possibility of reality in a place that is pretty much not too accepting of this idea?

I am openly exposing myself to ridicule.

I've discussed ‘supernatural’ stuff in other threads you probably saw and I got called a nutjob.

I've sometimes talked about this stuff in the office and while most people there are nice and dont outrightly call me stupid names, I can read between the lines that they think I am insane.


But what is my motivation then?

I cannot answer that.

I just feel that it is some kind of thing that I must do. Its almost like I'm following a computer program of some sort.

Ooh… I must be some space alien sent to educate the earthlings. lmao!

lol!
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last edited on July 14, 2011 1:25PM
Tantz Aerine at 1:12AM, Feb. 23, 2008
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alibaba
@Tantz Aerine: i agree with your points, but i think they are just the tip of the iceberg.
there is so much complexity in our brains that even completely healthy, normal people can easily fool themself into believing completely illogical stuff.
believing or not-believing in the supernatural is much deeper rooted in our psyches than we may think.


Of course it is just a very cursory, very preliminary set of questions to begin with. :)

People are subject to manipulation and do believe very illogical stuff, but that is not limited just to the supernatural only- a person who will refuse than an abuser beating him/her at their whim does not love them is a far bigger leap in illogical belief than believing in the existence of aliens or the ability to bend spoons with one's mind. However very few seem to address those believing the former with the same intolerance reserved for those who believe the latter.

What I am saying is that like most things in our society, there is a double standard in what we consider as ludicrous and what we do not.

However you will find that ‘healthy, normal people’ are free of at least the basic manipulation traps (such as a destructive relationship) and approach with a very simple set of logic rules every issue that demands evaluation- and the only thing I would say is that if one of those claimed to have had a ‘supernatural’ experience, I would certainly look twice before dismissing it.

How many of us can claim they are ‘healthy and normal’ with the above set of standards? I'd say very few. ;)

 
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:07PM
ozoneocean at 3:40AM, Feb. 23, 2008
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Winterman
No such thing as magic. No such thing as the supernatural. No demons, ghosts, spirits or any other magical manifestation. It's all just leftover bits of old ways of explaining the universe.
Actually, that's not completely true: the assertion or the proposed reason for the origin of magic et.

You see, it depends on how we define and look at things, quite apart from the fact that we only know about a very small part of our world and universe currently. I mean, for all the hundreds of thousands of years humans have existed, we only just managed to see a live giant squid in its own natural environment just a couple of years ago. -If something as prosaic as that is so difficult… Well, it would be moronic to assume we can make definitive statements about the limits of what's possible.

That's not to say that I believe in ghosts and what have you, but it's a much more logical and scientific approach to leave the book open rather than closed: Sensible to look at those things as improbable but not completely impossible.

As for old was of explaining the universe; more than anything it's just a different way of looking at things in general, not an explanation at all. Explanations are what replaced them.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:30PM
StaceyMontgomery at 4:35AM, Feb. 23, 2008
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The Problem with *the Secret* and other such New Age crap is that they seem kind of wrong and …evil.

Seriously.

Because at the heart of *The Secret* is the insidious idea that the various poor people of the world - the sick and the lost and the needy… they are all just getting what they deserve.

They thought bad thoughts. They caused the drought. They caused the plague. Their evil thoughts made it all happen.

*The Secret* is just a very nasty creed for people to take credit - not just for their hard work - but for their good luck. And to look down with smug superiority on everyone else. *The Secret* is just about feeling superior.

And BTW - the supernatural almost *ALWAYS* turns out to be about feeling superior. Whenever I listen to someone go on about their supernatural experiences, they eventually end up telling me how they are descended from Atlantean Saints or a reincarnated wizard or whatever - The Supernatural always turns out to be about being better than everyone else. The moral is always - Im Harry Potter, you're a house elf.

It isn't just that the supernatural isn't true - it's that it seems to exist to make people feel superior.

That was probably what it was invented for. When our ancestors were cave-men with the whole world against them and life was hard, they invented the supernatural as a series of fun stories that made them feel good about themselves. It was the Star Trek and the Star Wars of the Dawn of Time.

Now it's just reruns.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:55PM
ozoneocean at 5:26AM, Feb. 23, 2008
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I disagree entirely. You're taking your personal, modern day reactions, and social experiences with the idea and applying that far too broadly.

Like saying "I've had coffee and it was bitter and gross, how can anyone like it? they must all be lying, deluded, or just drinking it to be superior, in fact I think it was designed for that very purpose!" lol!
-The very practise of coming up with such an idea is arrogance and ignorance incarnate.

The fact is that the world is a massive place with lots of diverse ideas and concepts. Multitudes of ideas and stories have come together to make our culture what it is today, and throughout history the prevailing ways of looking at the the wider universe have changed many times. To many older cultures the supernatural didn't explain things, it was simply real- just another fact of life. And that's the point; when we say weather patterns are influenced by EL Ninio currents, or that lightning is caused by charged ions in the atmosphere or whatever, they'd have just said “gods”, “demons”, “spirits”, and so it was.

I don't have a problem with that. If lightning is a spirit or a demon to you, so be it.

The fantasy of personalities and stories behind those so-called spirits was something other, normally more for modern entertainment than something people actually thought about.

As for “new age” faddists… well, we all know that's mostly more about escapism that anything else.

What gets me is people who think they can understand the vastness of the entire universe enough to say that THIS definitely exists and THAT doesn't. If you think that YOU are living in a little closed in fantasy world. The best we can normally say is that THIS exists definitely and THAT idea is probably too silly.

The other thing that gets me is the modern superiority complex: we are smarter, people in the old days were mud-grubbing, ignorant fools, or; our culture is far more enlightened and the others are simply backward.
…It's like the curse of the young: they always think they know better than their parents and that the world was invented anew when they reached wider awareness in their teens, instead of being part of a living continuum that includes their parents and all others that went before, are alive now and will come after.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:30PM
Aurora Moon at 5:35AM, Feb. 23, 2008
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StaceyMontgomery
And BTW - the supernatural almost *ALWAYS* turns out to be about feeling superior. Whenever I listen to someone go on about their supernatural experiences, they eventually end up telling me how they are descended from Atlantean Saints or a reincarnated wizard or whatever - The Supernatural always turns out to be about being better than everyone else. The moral is always - I'm Harry Potter, you're a house elf.

oh, BULLSHIT!! I've had some supernatural experiences, but I don't think I'm descended from wizards or some shit. and whenever I've talked to anybody else who had similar experiences, I don't think I've heard them claim something like that.
If they had, I would had slapped them HARD for making the rest of the people who had weird experiences look bad. Seriously.

and I think I'm a rational person… when I first had those experiences, I looked all over for anything that could had easily explained the strange experiences I had. I looked to science, I looked to the mundane things to explain the cases. Example: rusty pipes that shake could had caused the walls to vibrate, causing that vase on the self to move on it's own.
And when all the logical explanations had been exhausted, That's when I thought: “Well, if there hasn't been any rational explanations found for this experience and yet it happened anyway… MAYBE there's something real about the supernatural.” Emphasis on the MAYBE.

I didn't think it had anything to do with my bloodline, I didn't think it had to do anything to do with whenever I had “superior abilities” that other people didn't… you get the picture.

And I seriously think you're insulting a lot of rational, sensible people who believes in the possibility of the supernatural when you say things like that.
Yes, there may be SOME people who might seriously believe such things, but they certainly do not speak for all of the people out there who's looking to explore the supernatural and find ways to explain it.
I'm on hitatus while I redo one of my webcomics. Be sure to check it out when I'n done! :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:10AM
kyupol at 6:37AM, Feb. 23, 2008
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And BTW - the supernatural almost *ALWAYS* turns out to be about feeling superior.

I believe there is nothing ‘superior’ about that. Or maybe it depends on a case to case basis.

I have heard of other claims that don't sound too glamorous. Such as being a former WW1 German soldier who was killed in a shell explosion. According to him, his ‘proof’ is recurring dreams of an explosion as well as his fascination for weapons that started at early childhood. Such as hiding toy guns and knives under his pillow. His other ‘proof’ is his fascination with martial arts.

Now. How to prove that claim?

It would be convincing if he would give details and names of places in Germany… but it could be dismissed as the work of someone who has done a little research.

It could be convincing showing childhood photos of him playing with toy guns. But it can be dismissed as… ooh every young boy has a fantasy of being Rambo or something.

You see how this ‘reincarnation’ claim can be proven and dismissed at the same time?


NOW UPDATING!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:25PM
ozoneocean at 7:17AM, Feb. 23, 2008
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Kyupol, while I would say that the German soldier idea isn't beyond the realm of possibility (a far out one), and it might be true that the person seriously believed that this thing did happen to him, a better explanation would be that the guy just has a fixation about the thing: a fantasy.

Boys are always socialised to be interested in guns, explosions, war and fighting. That's part of the fabric of our civilisation it seems. It's a massive leap to take such everyday, common things as justification for something so unlikely and unusual.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:30PM
Aurora Moon at 8:50AM, Feb. 23, 2008
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Yeah. a better example of reincarnation could be this:

a child three to four years old starts talking about events that never happened in the family at all. That child also suddenly seems to know a foreign language that nobody in the family or outside the family could had known or taught at all.
The child talks of being some dutch wife or whatever.

Some research done on the family's part leads them to another family who lives in a different country. They talk to this other family for the first time, and the child's descriptions of events MATCH the events of this different family exactly. It was as if the child just suddenly knew everything about the other family's late relative, and there was no real explanation for it. the two families had never had any real contact with each other at all before the strange events.

And you can google those cases of reincarnations which was actually studied by some scientists, if you like. Some was able to be explained very easily,but other stories like the one I used as a example wasn't quite as easy to explain.
I'm on hitatus while I redo one of my webcomics. Be sure to check it out when I'n done! :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:10AM
mapaghimagsik at 8:54AM, Feb. 23, 2008
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Aurora Moon
Yeah. a better example of reincarnation could be this:

a child three to four years old starts talking about events that never happened in the family at all. That child also suddenly seems to know a foreign language that nobody in the family or outside the family could had known or taught at all.
The child talks of being some dutch wife or whatever.

Some research done on the family's part leads them to another family who lives in a different country. They talk to this other family for the first time, and the child's descriptions of events MATCH the events of this different family exactly. It was as if the child just suddenly knew everything about the other family's late relative, and there was no real explanation for it. the two families had never had any real contact with each other at all before the strange events.

And you can google those cases of reincarnations which was actually studied by some scientists, if you like. Some was able to be explained very easily,but other stories like the one I used as a example wasn't quite as easy to explain.

It might be studied, but its never passed peer review as accepted fact. I'm open to the idea, but I think like in many “scientific” experiments the desire of the experimentor for the result to be true can color some of the results.

I tend to agree with the writer who said the mind is a pretty amazing thing without adding witches, ghosts, and goblins. :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:51PM
Aurora Moon at 9:40AM, Feb. 23, 2008
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I agree that if a person has some kind of bias beforehand (such as the desire for something to be true or to be proved false), it can affect results.

That's why I've always tended to read only the cases done by scientists who were more likely to be unbiased in any way at all. I especially like it if it's done by a big group of scientists, instead of just a study done by one person. It makes for some very interesting results. :)

In that same vein, I think that should be the same for anything else on the supernatural. I just wish more people would study that sort of thing. Then we'd be more likely to discover some new logical explanations for things like this that we couldn't had discovered otherwise. Sure, it might ruin the “Mystery” for some people.. but I firmly believe that the more we know about things like this, the better we can address some of the fears that people have about things like that.

Take that TV show Ghost hunters for instance. they have this group of people who go in with some scientific tools, etc. They always look for anything orinday that may explain the strange events first before they get down to looking for anything supernatural. Sometimes they cannot find anything logical that could explain the “supernatural” events… but most of the time they usually can find some explanation for such bizarre events.
There was some people on there with families who were seriously scared for their children's lives. They were actually considering moving away even though it wouldn't had been very good for the children's current development. As seeing if they moved away, they would have to be very tight with their money in order to afford anything at all.
But those guys came in, and discovered plenty of things that could had explained the bizarre things in the home. The number one cause for things falling off walls, sounds of the ground being stomped on, and other things like that?
Broken or rusty pipes moving every time the water ran. those pipes would shake and bang against the walls, move under the floor… creating all those weird noises, and causing picture frames to fall off the wall. In some cases, it even made the walls shake in a way where it would cause vases and other objects to move on their own.
It helped out those families to hear that it was just pipes in the end. It gave them a sense of relief, because all they had to do was fix those pipes and they wouldn't feel so threatened by things they couldn't explain anymore.
Some people want to believe in the supernatural, but I think that in the long run it would help a lot of people out there if the mysteries of the supernatural was to be explained by people who study it or at least know what to look for.
I'm on hitatus while I redo one of my webcomics. Be sure to check it out when I'n done! :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:10AM
Winterman at 10:36AM, Feb. 23, 2008
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Winterman
No such thing as magic. No such thing as the supernatural. No demons, ghosts, spirits or any other magical manifestation. It's all just leftover bits of old ways of explaining the universe.
Actually, that's not completely true: the assertion or the proposed reason for the origin of magic et.

You see, it depends on how we define and look at things, quite apart from the fact that we only know about a very small part of our world and universe currently. I mean, for all the hundreds of thousands of years humans have existed, we only just managed to see a live giant squid in its own natural environment just a couple of years ago. -If something as prosaic as that is so difficult… Well, it would be moronic to assume we can make definitive statements about the limits of what's possible.

That's not to say that I believe in ghosts and what have you, but it's a much more logical and scientific approach to leave the book open rather than closed: Sensible to look at those things as improbable but not completely impossible.

As for old was of explaining the universe; more than anything it's just a different way of looking at things in general, not an explanation at all. Explanations are what replaced them.

No. It's not more logical to leave the book open. If someone posits the existence of something they have to prove it exists. No proof, no thing.

Belief in the supernatural requires acceptance of a host of unproven and unprovable theses. It depends upon a basic ignorance of physics (a good deal of the time) and a terror of the finality of death (in most). There's a massive difference between finding a live giant squid (something for which there was lots of evidence before the actual sighting) and ghosts or magic spells or whatever (something for which there is no supporting evidence).

Life after death is a comforting fiction but it's just a fiction. There's no proof. Reincarnation? The math doesn't work out. There are more people alive now than have lived and died in Earth's history. Where are the new souls coming from? Has anyone ever seen or photographed or otherwise measured a soul? People believe in them out of cultural habit. There's no evidence. Telepathy, telekinesis, pyrokinesis etc. have been studied and, after decades and decades of looking there's no such thing. Astrology is a joke. Stars don't influence life. Tarot? Ditto.

James Randi has a million bucks for anybody who can prove a real supernatural ability or manifestation. He's offered the prize for years. No one has collected. No one can. There's no such thing as the supernatural.

last edited on July 14, 2011 4:51PM
alibaba at 11:58AM, Feb. 23, 2008
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kyupol
I am just here to give other people a different view of things so I'd just share my opinions and experiences regarding this.
well, it would be pretty boring otherwise XD !

kyupol
Why do some of these so-called ‘men of science’… doctors, engineers, chemists, etc. Believe in the presence of a God? Believe in the human soul? And all other types of mumbo jumbo. If science explains everything, why arent all these highly-educated scientists atheists?
as a matter of fact, they are all atheists :) .
almost all.
actually “atheist” is not the right word, a lot of them are deists, pantheists, agnostics, etc. - people who are not strict atheists, but still don't belief in mumbo jumbo (but are sometimes open to certain supernatural ideas).
the scientists who deeply belief in a religion are super-rare. i don't remember the figures, but i think they are only 5%.
also, some scientists are religious, but seperate their beliefs from science strictly, for example ken miller.
and statistics show clear as day that the better educated a person is, the less likely it is for them to belief in the supernatural or not to believe in evolution.
btw, your question is explained pretty well in the two videos i posted above (because humans are basically “programmed” to be superstitious).

kyupol
And after maybe 4 days, it reduced in size and eventually disappeared.
Just because I believed that the water will cure it.
i'm willing to bet my hat that it'd disappear without water and belief in about the same time.
experiments show that people who pray and those who don't heal at the same rate.
its true, however, that some light health problems can cure faster if you have a positive mind (and a stress-free environment).

kyupol
I just feel that it is some kind of thing that I must do. Its almost like I'm following a computer program of some sort.
completely correct. humans just are like that.
i, for example, feel like i'm programmed to debunk that stuff XD .

Aurora Moon
a child three to four years old starts talking about events that never happened in the family at all. That child also suddenly seems to know a foreign language that nobody in the family or outside the family could had known or taught at all.
thats really weird, i never heard something quite like that.
do you happen to have a link? its hard to find such a specific case.

most of the time reincarnation stories have to do with suppressed memories. for example, a person may have lived in another country when she was very young but forgot everything about it after thirty years. suddenly she notices that she can speak the language of that country but doesn't remember that she was born there and knew it when she was young.
but i know of only very few cases which have actually been thoroughly studied under controlled conditions; most of them get debunked quite quickly.


StaceyMontgomery
That was probably what it was invented for. When our ancestors were cave-men with the whole world against them and life was hard, they invented the supernatural as a series of fun stories that made them feel good about themselves.
most supernatural stories may have been invented, but the reasons are imho a little bit deeper.
for example, life after death ideas have been created in order for our consciousness to cope with the fact that it will someday disappear, which is fairly hard-to-swallow otherwise.
gods and mystical creatures have been created because of our subconscious need and love for anthropomorphization (holy crap, what a long word XD) and story-telling. they have been invented out of a lack of knowledge and a need for humans to understand and explain.
all supernatural ideas are very deeply rooted in social, psychical and brain-related areas and we probably never will “grow out” of it, because thinking rationally is surprisingly the unnatural thing for humans to do.
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:49AM
ozoneocean at 7:38AM, Feb. 24, 2008
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Winterman
No. It's not more logical to leave the book open. If someone posits the existence of something they have to prove it exists. No proof, no thing
Hahahaha, ok, I'll agree to disagree with ya man. :)
I was just thinking how that method of thinking would have worked though if people actually did things that way… I don't think we'd have moved far from the caves personally if we only had faith in what was in front of us at the time.

All I'll say is that the “supernatural” in general is very unlikely, which is why we call it that, but even in my lifetime I've seen a lot of the “impossible” become possible.

I wonder how many of your “logical” assumptions about the world are wrong? I know I've had to adapt and alter a lot of mine over the years.

~BTW, I'm NOT talking about fantasy here, I'm talking about things in general, ALL facets of the world, from the idea that humans can actually alter the planet's global climate, to concepts such as nuclear annihilation, mass extinction, cloning, genetic engineering…
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:30PM
Doplegager at 10:41PM, Feb. 26, 2008
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Winterman
No. It's not more logical to leave the book open. If someone posits the existence of something they have to prove it exists. No proof, no thing. Belief in the supernatural requires acceptance of a host of unproven and unprovable theses. It depends upon a basic ignorance of physics (a good deal of the time) and a terror of the finality of death (in most). There's a massive difference between finding a live giant squid (something for which there was lots of evidence before the actual sighting) and ghosts or magic spells or whatever (something for which there is no supporting evidence). Life after death is a comforting fiction but it's just a fiction. There's no proof. Reincarnation? The math doesn't work out. There are more people alive now than have lived and died in Earth's history. Where are the new souls coming from? Has anyone ever seen or photographed or otherwise measured a soul? People believe in them out of cultural habit. There's no evidence. Telepathy, telekinesis, pyrokinesis etc. have been studied and, after decades and decades of looking there's no such thing. Astrology is a joke. Stars don't influence life. Tarot? Ditto. James Randi has a million bucks for anybody who can prove a real supernatural ability or manifestation. He's offered the prize for years. No one has collected. No one can. There's no such thing as the supernatural.
I can prove life after death in a relatively logical way that functions nearly as well on spiritual levels as it does on secular levels:

The first step is to define what life means. Let's focus on life as being the extent to which a person's personality is able to influence its environment in significant ways. I, as an individual, am alive because I can interact with my environment in significant ways; if I weren't able to interact with my environment, there wouldn't be any way to measure my existence- I wouldn't exist (and, by extension, wouldn't be alive).

The second step is to remove the assumption of free will and/or self-awareness, both of which arguably don't exist to begin with. When I influence my environment, I cause a series of events that interact with other circumstances in a complex, dynamic way. Sometimes my influence becomes negligible, sometimes its connection with my originating actions is overt. Either way, my actions persist in influencing my environment. When a person thinks about me, my past actions influence their current actions- which in turn means that I am able to cause physical changes in the environment without being physically present.

After I die, my actions persist in influencing my environments in complex and dynamic ways. I don't have complete control, but, then, I didn't have complete control when I was physically alive either.

There might be forms of life after death that are more similar to traditional views of ghosts and poltergeists, but that doesn't make the after life I've described any less potent of an influence. There might not be things traditionally described as supernatural, but that doesn't make the after life I've described any less possible. IME, the biggest difference between the ‘natural’ and ‘supernatural’ worlds- between the mundane and the magical- is the degree to which a person is willing to recognize things as being significant (i.e. the degree to which one thing is able to signify another).

EDIT: Scientific inquiry is just one set of paradigms, much like the ‘old’ explanations are sets of paradigms. Despite its own assertions, it is neither more or less valid of an explanation than other paradigms.

Some things are easier to express in German than they are in Latin. Paradigms are like languages, in that each has their own symbol sets that are used to make complex meanings. Some things are easier to express using the vocabulary from one paradigm instead the vocabulary from a different paradigm. Assertions that shoot down paradigms without being fluent in them are akin to someone claiming that English is the only language needed in the world.
Scifi Thriller/Drama: Third Side, updated MTWThFS

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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:13PM
pv_chan at 11:05PM, Feb. 27, 2008
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I have strong opinions on this topic but i'm smart enough to keep them to myself. Yes I believe all the supernaturalness is true, but you can't blame nor bring science into it. Science has certain foundational laws that is MUST follow. the very first one is that you must study phenomena that occur on the physical plain and not the supernatural plain. So science does agree supernatural is out there but it can't practically experiment on it so it doesn't.

There are studies in science however where they tried to disprove God. They found evidence to the contrary. Yes evolution exists but apparently according to science so does God.

I just brought that up cause Some where saying they brought scientist in and you have to wonder, were they actually scientist are just actors pretending to be such because no creditable scientist studies ghosts XD

And with that, don't pick on scientist for not being able to figure it out I'm outta here before i get myself in trouble haha!
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:56PM

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