The Relationship Between Science and Religion

markrkingston1

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#31
...If there is an "all-pervading spiritualism of the Universe" then it must still exist in some form, somewhere. And if it exists then it is amenable to scientific investigation (one day, even if not today)...

One could say the same about ghosts.
Quite so. Ghosts, much like the UFO phenomena, are potentially amenable to scientific investigation. Repeatability is a difficulty with many Fortean phenomena but, even so, if they exist (even if it just inside people's minds) then they can be objectively investigated, either now or in the future.

In short, I reject all forms of mysticism and spiritualism based upon what one might called 'unanswered questions'. Whilst mysteries are intriguing, finding the answer to them is what counts to me; the truth is the goal. I like watching stage magic tricks, for instance, but I enjoy finding out how they were done far more. I want the secrets, not the illusion. :)

At the level of cosmological physics, science is at the point where experimentation has reached a limit. At least for the time being.
Indeed, it's just a matter of time. The principle remains sound.
 
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Jim

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#32
At the level of cosmological physics, science is at the point where experimentation has reached a limit. At least for the time being.
INT21
Not so sure? Science really never reaches a limit where new research - experimentation isn't ongoing. In fact as time marches on new experimentation only increases since much of it is propelled by the finding of earlier scientist. This and the apparatus for scientific investigation is constantly evolving towards improvements, thus leading to future finding via experimentation. This is true in all fields of true science, electronics, electromagnetics, earth sciences, zoology, medicine, astronomy, physics (which is in some ways relates to all sciences), etc., etc..
 

INT21

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#33
Jim,

Hopefully, through it's continued striving, science may be able to provide a positive answer to you sons problem; and for many like him.
There are still many things we don't know about just how the brain works. Or what we could do to improve the situation.

In the field of cosmology, particularly (no pun intended) the issue is that we are reaching a point where our instruments can't get any further.

The Cosmic Microwave Background appears to be a wall to investigation as at this level Hydrogen is 'stand alone' and not part of any molecule.

We can't see through it.

But spiritual pursuit would appear to be part of a different realm altogether. No Universe required.

INT21.
 

markrkingston1

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#34
Not so sure? Science really never reaches a limit where new research - experimentation isn't ongoing. In fact as time marches on new experimentation only increases since much of it is propelled by the finding of earlier scientist. This and the apparatus for scientific investigation is constantly evolving towards improvements, thus leading to future finding via experimentation. This is true in all fields of true science, electronics, electromagnetics, earth sciences, zoology, medicine, astronomy, physics (which is in some ways relates to all sciences), etc., etc..
Very well said. This is my view too.

In the field of cosmology, particularly (no pun intended) the issue is that we are reaching a point where our instruments can't get any further.

The Cosmic Microwave Background appears to be a wall to investigation as at this level Hydrogen is 'stand alone' and not part of any molecule.

We can't see through it.
I know you were replying to Jim with this message but it nevertheless seems to me that the comment of Jim to which you were replying in fact addressed what you say here quite well. I.e. If the cosmic microwave background is currently a problem then so be it but it does not follow that it is some kind of magically absolute barrier. It is something that in time will be dealt with through the normal course of technological and scientific development. I can well imagine it might take a while but that doesn't mean that any difficulties it currently represents are forever scientifically insoluble. Just as its discovery was down to scientific progress, so is study of it.

But spiritual pursuit would appear to be part of a different realm altogether. No Universe required.
Surely spiritual pursuit is a human construct and is thus fundamentally part of the the universe (or universes maybe) in which we exist.
 

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#35
... But spiritual pursuit would appear to be part of a different realm altogether. No Universe required.
This represents the fundamental and unavoidable limiting factor. I can't say I agree with the 'no Universe required' bit. To my mind it's something more like 'the Universe affords, but does not and can not deterministically predict.'

The type of science into which we can invest the most justifiable faith is by definition ill-suited (at best) for addressing, much less explaining, 'faith' or 'justification' in individual human experience or collective human behaviors.
 

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#36
Mark',

..It is something that in time will be dealt with through the normal course of technological and scientific development. ..

Agreed.
However, in this case it appears that, because at the time of the Big Bang (and Inflation) Should you chose to accept that theory, the cosmos was filled with material that does not permit the passage of light.
And as light is what we are using to delve into these regions then the wall seems insurmountable, at least for the moment.
However, if the Big Bang theory is incorrect, which I suspect, then all bets are off.

INT21
 

dr wu

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#37
I don't think that 'science' as we know it will ever have all the answers to the Universe and Reality.
The problem as I see it is what Kant alluded to with his concept of Ding an sich...the thing in itself.
We can never really know a thing as it really is because we are observers externally interacting with a thing through our senses.
I'm no expert on western philosophy but this is similar to what many eastern teachers have said millennia ago in that unless one is that thing one can not truly know that thing. This grows into the idea of being 'one with the universe'.....before one can truly understand the nature of Reality.
The idea that 'science' through external observation will reveal the meaning of all of this is imho an illusion. This is not a knock on 'science' but an inherent human limitation due to our form as we are.
 

INT21

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#38
Dr wu,

Or as the Ancient Romans used to be fond of saying.

quoniam res ipsa loquitur

'The thing speaks for itself'

INT21.
 

dr wu

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#39
Dr wu,

Or as the Ancient Romans used to be fond of saying.

quoniam res ipsa loquitur

'The thing speaks for itself'

INT21.
Never heard that one before ...not familiar with ancient Latin sayings...but it doesn't answer Kant's problem..imho.
 

INT21

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#40
True,

I haven't read Kant. Peterson refers to him a lot.

Time to go to the library.

INT21.
 

markrkingston1

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#41
I don't think that 'science' as we know it will ever have all the answers to the Universe and Reality.
The problem as I see it is what Kant alluded to with his concept of Ding an sich...the thing in itself.
We can never really know a thing as it really is because we are observers externally interacting with a thing through our senses.
That is rather the point of science. By creating experiments that either disprove or confirm a particular theory about a 'thing', we get closer to the real nature of the 'thing' being examined. We don't necessarily need to see the 'thing' itself to know more about it.

And so it is certainly true that there are aspects of the 'thing' in question that we might have missed because they were not part of a theory dealing the 'thing' and so were not tested by experiment or seen through some form of observation (not necessarily using our own senses). However, further theory and experimentation may well find them.

It is also true that the more we know, the more questions we have. So it is de facto true that science will never have all the answers to the universe because more questions will always have been raised.

So it seems to me that Kant was correct but only in a facile sense; his allusion to the thing itself being somehow unknowable is an appeal to vague spirituality. Our own limited senses are not in fact a limitation due to our ingenuity. We can in effect extend our senses through technology and clever theory and subsequent experimentation.

As we know more and more, it really does seem that there is no magic. There is only that which has not yet been addressed scientifically, perhaps because scientific and technological development are not yet sufficient to properly address it. Perhaps A. C. Clarke was a better philosopher than Kant[1].

I say this in the nicest way (because it will upset some) but this thread is bringing me to the conclusion that 'spirituality'[2] is bunkum, just another form of religion or superstition for the nominally unreligious. ;)



Footnotes:-
1: Clarke's Third Law: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarke's_three_laws

2: Spirituality: That is to say an apparently vague belief in something more than ourselves existing in some vaguely magical form that must be resistant to scientific examination, otherwise it would lose its magic and emotional fulfilment appeal. I.e. Just like religion, superstition, gods, supernatural beings, and so on.
 
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Jim

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#42
This is true. Take magnetism for example. Can't see it directly but it's needed for all electric motors. It can also be measured in unit's of Gauss or Teslas . Just one of countless examples of phenomena that can be measured but not seen with our human senses.
 
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EnolaGaia

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#43
... So it seems to me that Kant was correct but only in a facile sense; his allusion to the thing itself being somehow unknowable is an appeal to vague spirituality. Our own limited senses are not in fact a limitation due to our ingenuity. We can extend in effect our senses through technology and clever theory and subsequent experimentation. ...
Kant's distinction between noumena and phenomena was not an appeal to any extrinsic spiritual or magical realm. It was a hardcore rationalist's concession to the differentiation between an extrinsic stimulus and an observer's impression of that stimulus - i.e., acknowledgement of a psychological (cognitive; perceptual; take your pick ... ) domain of interactions necessarily distinct from the physical domain in which the stimulus is observed.
 
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markrkingston1

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#44
Kant's distinction between noumena and phenomena was not an appeal to any extrinsic spiritual or magical realm. It was a hardcore rationalist's concession to the differentiation between an extrinsic stimulus and an observer's impression of that stimulus - i.e., acknowledgement of a psychological (cognitive; perceptual; take your pick ... ) domain of interactions necessarily distinct from the physical domain in which the stimulus is observed.
Fair enough, although it should then be recognised that the process of science and development of technology (i.e. tools) are the solution to the problem of subjective limits of human mind and perception. Ingenuity (in the form of science and technology) allow us to objectively measure the true nature of that which we cannot see unaided (or only see subjectively).

Kant is not wrong to identify a difference between subjective and objective, of course, but it is isn't a significant barrier to knowing the objectively true nature of the universe. We have ways of working around our subjective limits, both in terms of mind and senses.
 

Carl Grove

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#45
That is rather the point of science. By creating experiments that either disprove or confirm a particular theory about a 'thing', we get closer to the real nature of the 'thing' being examined. We don't necessarily need to see the 'thing' itself to know more about it.

And so it is certainly true that there are aspects of the 'thing' in question that we might have missed because they were not part of a theory dealing the 'thing' and so were not tested by experiment or seen through some form of observation (not necessarily using our own senses). However, further theory and experimentation may well find them.

It is also true that the more we know, the more questions we have. So it is de facto true that science will never have all the answers to the universe because more questions will always have been raised.

So it seems to me that Kant was correct but only in a facile sense; his allusion to the thing itself being somehow unknowable is an appeal to vague spirituality. Our own limited senses are not in fact a limitation due to our ingenuity. We can in effect extend our senses through technology and clever theory and subsequent experimentation.

As we know more and more, it really does seem that there is no magic. There is only that which has not yet been addressed scientifically, perhaps because scientific and technological development are not yet sufficient to properly address it. Perhaps A. C. Clarke was a better philosopher than Kant[1].

I say this in the nicest way (because it will upset some) but this thread is bringing me to the conclusion that 'spirituality'[2] is bunkum, just another form of religion or superstition for the nominally unreligious. ;)



Footnotes:-
1: Clarke's Third Law: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarke's_three_laws

2: Spirituality: That is to say an apparently vague belief in something more than ourselves existing in some vaguely magical form that must be resistant to scientific examination, otherwise it would lose its magic and emotional fulfilment appeal. I.e. Just like religion, superstition, gods, supernatural beings, and so on.
If that is how you define "spirituality" then I think we would all agree it is bunkum. Certainly a lot of New Age beliefs fall directly into this category.
On the other hand, if it is possible, as many mystical teachers have asserted, to train the mind to control its tendencies to depend on the intellect and the emotions, then to develop its equally valuable intuitive abilities, then "spirituality" might become a more viable target.
Your point about scientific method is correct, but it leads on to the conclusion that science can never achieve total understanding, merely successively more useful theories. While a particular theory is in the ascendant, then it is treated with religious awe, and anyone who questions it may be treated like a heretic. The differences between science as it actually is in operation, and what it claims to be, are quite obvious. The average scientist is someone who has decided to believe in science, not actually to put it into objective practice. I recall Hynek's tale about the conference of astronomers who were interrupted by the news that UFOs were flying around outside. Out of the hundreds present how many went out to see for themselves?
Zero.
 

markrkingston1

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#46
Certainly a lot of New Age beliefs fall directly into this category. On the other hand, if it is possible, as many mystical teachers have asserted, to train the mind to control its tendencies to depend on the intellect and the emotions, then to develop its equally valuable intuitive abilities, then "spirituality" might become a more viable target.
Is there a substantial difference between New Age 'spirituality' and err... old age 'spirituality'? They seem overall to be pretty similar to me -- vague references to unanswered questions and something elseness, often involving avoidance of the critical faculties.

What exactly is the difference in your opinion?

Your point about scientific method is correct, but it leads on to the conclusion that science can never achieve total understanding, merely successively more useful theories.
I accept this but it still means that science is the best mechanism available to achieve maximum understanding. As I mentioned before, if being at one with the universe is the goal of spirituality then one can surely not ignore science, as it provides the best model of the true nature of the universe available at any particular time.

If one rejects or ignores science on favour of 'spirituality' then one risks being at one with an arbitrary delusion or guess. If one wants true spirituality then use science to understand better what one is being a part of.

While a particular theory is in the ascendant, then it is treated with religious awe, and anyone who questions it may be treated like a heretic.
Well, no. Of course, it is true that there are people (yes, including some scientists) who treat certain theories that way (i.e. with a kind of religious zeal) but it is nevertheless a perversion of the scientific method. The proper scientific method is to treat all theories as suspect, accepted as true only until proven false.

This includes even theories that are well proven and observed in reality, such as evolution. Evolution is taken as fact in practical terms by most scientists and most people because it has much supporting evidence and virtually no contrary evidence. If many scientists react with anger when evolution is questioned, it is (usually!) not for pseudo-religious reasons but because those who question evolution very commonly come up with, at best, pseudo-scientific arguments that hold no rational plausibility.

The differences between science as it actually is in operation, and what it claims to be, are quite obvious.
To the extent that this is true at all, one might observe that (a) humans are humans and it is perhaps understandable if they get attached to pet theories[1], and (b) science is still, despite this, the best way there is of objectively discovering the true nature of reality. The foibles of human nature do not invalidate science; instead science is the tool that humans use to neutralise the foibles of human nature.

I said "to the extent that this is true" because I don't think it is all that true overall.

The average scientist is someone who has decided to believe in science, not actually to put it into objective practice.
I cannot agree with this. It does not match my experience of science or scientists in general. However, even if true, as I observed above, science still works. As I said, science is the tool we use to overcome the subjective nature of humans. Demonstrably, it works.

I recall Hynek's tale about the conference of astronomers who were interrupted by the news that UFOs were flying around outside. Out of the hundreds present how many went out to see for themselves?
Zero.
But what exactly do you think this proves? Does it show that these particular scientists all had closed minds or does it show that they were not easily scammed? I know which I think is more likely, overall.

Were there UFOs flying around outside? How believable, on the balance of probabilities, was the claim that there were such things happening outside?


Footnote:-
1: Which is why the scientific method is (or should be) open and collaborative. It is why papers are published. It is why multiple individuals and groups can and do test competing theories, meaning that any individual's or group's subjective preference to certain theories is balanced out by those who do not share those particular prejudices or preconceptions. This "many eyes" approach has been replicated in the software world with open source software.
 
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Carl Grove

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#47
Is there a substantial difference between New Age 'spirituality' and err... old age 'spirituality'? They seem overall to be pretty similar to me -- vague references to unanswered questions and something elseness, often involving avoidance of the critical faculties.

What exactly is the difference in your opinion?



I accept this but it still means that science is the best mechanism available to achieve maximum understanding. As I mentioned before, if being at one with the universe is the goal of spirituality then one can surely not ignore science, as it provides the best model of the true nature of the universe available at any particular time.

If one rejects or ignores science on favour of 'spirituality' then one risks being at one with an arbitrary delusion or guess. If one wants true spirituality then use science to understand better what one is being a part of.



Well, no. Of course, it is true that there are people (yes, including some scientists) who treat certain theories that way (i.e. with a kind of religious zeal) but it is nevertheless a perversion of the scientific method. The proper scientific method is to treat all theories as suspect, accepted as true only until proven false.

This includes even theories that are well proven and observed in reality, such as evolution. Evolution is taken as fact in practical terms by most scientists and most people because it has much supporting evidence and virtually no contrary evidence. If many scientists react with anger when evolution is questioned, it is (usually!) not for pseudo-religious reasons but because those who question evolution very commonly come up with, at best, pseudo-scientific arguments that hold no rational plausibility.



To the extent that this is true at all, one might observe that (a) humans are humans and it is perhaps understandable if they get attached to pet theories[1], and (b) science is still, despite this, the best way there is of objectively discovering the true nature of reality. The foibles of human nature do not invalidate science; instead science is the tool that humans use to neutralise the foibles of human nature.

I said "to the extent that this is true" because I don't think it is all that true overall.



I cannot agree with this. It does not match my experience of science or scientists in general. However, even if true, as I observed above, science still works. As I said, science is the tool we use to overcome the subjective nature of humans. Demonstrably, it works.



But what exactly do you think this proves? Does it show that these particular scientists all had closed minds or does it show that they were not easily scammed? I know which I think is more likely, overall.

Were there UFOs flying around outside? How believable, on the balance of probabilities, was the claim that there were such things happening outside?


Footnote:-
1: Which is why the scientific method is (or should be) open and collaborative. It is why papers are published. It is why multiple individuals and groups can and do test competing theories, meaning that any individual's or group's subjective preference to certain theories is balanced out by those who do not share those particular prejudices or preconceptions. This "many eyes" approach has been replicated in the software world with open source software.
Take the last point first. I think, of the two options you give, the first -- that their minds were closed -- is the most plausible, although if you had asked them afterwards, they would probably have said, "You can't fool me, I know that's not possible." How "believable" an event is is just a way of masking subjectivity and bias. A genuine scientist amongst them would have said, "It may not be likely, but I cannot make any assumptions at this stage. I must see for myself." If any of them were genuine, in that sense, however, they might immediately have qualified this with, "Oh dear, nobody else is moving, I had better stay here." In other words, a certain amount of courage is required to go counter to the group thinking. But what does this really have to do with science? It is more a description of a tribe member who wants to conform to the norms of his group.
The account you give of scientific method is accurate, and I too, decades ago, was convinced of its validity. However, a number of experiences over the years informed me differently. Yes, open discussion and dissemination of findings are all vital. Nobody disputes that. But as someone on the Forteana site you must surely be aware that there are many thousands of events that happen every day, and that all potentially have the ability to blow huge holes in our current scientific world view.
Your point that science is aimed at neutralising the foibles of human nature is a good one. It is akin to the rules of law and courtroom procedure in that respect. It is in that sense necessary. But wouldn't it be better to examine these foibles within ourselves and attempt to neutralise them inwardly first? This is much the first step that esoteric teachers say we should take. Applying arbitrary rules and procedures after the fact, as it were, is really only a makeshift solution.
 

AlchoPwn

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#48
Relax everyone, I found it! It had fallen out of someone's pocket and rolled behind the toilet. It looks a bit grubby, but it still works as well as it ever did.
 

markrkingston1

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#50
Take the last point first. I think, of the two options you give, the first -- that their minds were closed -- is the most plausible, although if you had asked them afterwards, they would probably have said, "You can't fool me, I know that's not possible."
The problem is that these are you assumptions and this highlights one of the issues with hypothetical examples: One can conclude anything and 'prove' anything. So the key question is: Did this event (i.e. a gathering of astronomers being told that were UFOs outside) really happen or not? And, if it happened, were there or were there not really UFOs flying around outside?

It seems to me that the possibilities are as follows:
(1) If the event never happened then it tells us nothing substantive or useful, other than to reflect our own expectations.
(2) If the event did happen and but there were no UFOs flying around outside then the astronomers were right, weren't they. They were sensible enough not to be scammed.
(3) If the event did happen and there were UFOs outside then those astronomers who might have been interested in UFOs (remember that there are many branches of astronomy and not all necessarily concern themselves with possible alien visitors) lost a good opportunity to observe a phenomenon at first hand.

So which was it? Did it really happen and, if so, were there really UFOs?

How "believable" an event is is just a way of masking subjectivity and bias.
To an extent, although there is also experience and knowledge. Experience and knowledge can inform a person's reaction to certain new information. It is not closed minded to pass new information (or claimed information) through a reasonableness filter before deciding if and how to react to it.

A genuine scientist amongst them would have said, "It may not be likely, but I cannot make any assumptions at this stage. I must see for myself."

Not necessarily. You are assuming that a genuine scientist would be interested in what you think he or she should be interesting in. But it is not necessarily so.

As I mentioned, not all astronomers work in areas where UFOs would necessarily be of interest. Also, every person there has to balance up the importance of what they have really come to see versus what might (or might not) be happening outside. So there are entirely valid reasons why the astronomer might not have rushed out to see what you just happen to think is important.

Indeed, having an open mind does not mean that one automatically has to drop everything to go and investigate something that someone else (you in this instance) happens to think is important. Not going to look at the putative UFOs is not necessarily evidence of a closed mind.

If any of them were genuine, in that sense, however, they might immediately have qualified this with, "Oh dear, nobody else is moving, I had better stay here." In other words, a certain amount of courage is required to go counter to the group thinking. But what does this really have to do with science? It is more a description of a tribe member who wants to conform to the norms of his group.
Sure, this is a human foible. But that is largely why the scientific process was created: To cope with human foibles and to work around them. The existence of a human foible like this cannot be meaningfully extrapolated to mean that the scientific method is worthless.

The account you give of scientific method is accurate, and I too, decades ago, was convinced of its validity. However, a number of experiences over the years informed me differently. Yes, open discussion and dissemination of findings are all vital. Nobody disputes that.
This is interesting. May I ask what happened?

But as someone on the Forteana site you must surely be aware that there are many thousands of events that happen every day, and that all potentially have the ability to blow huge holes in our current scientific world view.
Quite so. But these anomalous events very rarely succeed in blowing huge holes in current scientific world view. And there's a good reason for this, and it's not scientific closed mindedness (although I readily agree that scientific closed mindedness exists). The real problem, or problems, are:
(1) As I observed in an earlier message in this thread, these anomalous events are often hard to repeat and hard to observe consistently, and this makes them difficult to study with current scientific and technological knowledge.
(2) Many of them, when studied as objectively as possible, unfortunately fail to show anything genuinely world view-changing at all. They are often, as far as currently be ascertained, prosaic events that fit within the world as we know it.

As far as the first problem is concerned, where events are repeatable, there often is scientific study of them. E.g. Hessdalen Lights. Other phenomena that are (currently) harder to study scientifically due to lack of reliable repeatability are not, however, beyond science in any absolute or fundamental sense. It just requires both technology to improeve and scientific knowledge to expand, as happens every day. There will come a point when technology (particular multi-spectral sensor technology) becomes even more ubiquitous than is currently the case, for example, perhaps allowing for better recording of otherwise unpredictable events and thus more consistent scientific study.

But wouldn't it be better to examine these foibles within ourselves and attempt to neutralise them inwardly first?
In principle, if you can, but (a) I can well believe it is very, very difficult, and (b) you'd be sitting around wasting a lot of time when there are observable, testable, repeatable phenomena happening every day that could be examined.

Let's just get on with it. Oh look, we are getting on with it.

None of this means that we cannot also try to improve ourselves as well. But if we do want to improve ourselves then, as I have observed a couple of time in this thread, science surely must help us do this as it is the best tool we have to inform us about the real state of the universe that we wish to be a better part of.

Applying arbitrary rules and procedures after the fact, as it were, is really only a makeshift solution.
You could see it that way, but it's been very successful. If it's a makeshift solution, and I do see what you mean, then it's one that has worked very well and continues to do so. Indeed, we do not as things stand in reality right now, seem to have a better tool for understanding the true nature of reality. And, for me, spirituality comes from truth, knowing as much as is feasible about the true nature of reality.
 
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markrkingston1

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#51
I forgot to answer your first question about New Age spirituality versus, dare I say, the authentic type. I would say:
1. Traditional teachings were always aimed at and tailored to specific times, places, and cultures. New Agers ignore this and use a "pick'n mix" approach, mixing ideas and exercises from Ancient Egypt, Australian aboriginals, Native Americans, shamans, yoga, zen, anything that takes their fancy.
2. The aim of genuine teaching is to enable the pupil to pass beyond the superficial "belief system" thinking, even if some basic conceptual framework (religious, intellectual, alchemical etc.) had to be used as a temporary prop. However, New Agers believe in everything...
3. Traditional teachings also aim to reduce the pupil's emotional tendencies, whereas New Agers revel in them.
4. New Agers have no critical faculties, it seems to me. The traditional sages always emphasized the need for clear thinking. Many of the teaching stories they employed, however, tend to get turned into "holy scripture" or "misunderstood." The fact that most of them are deliberately intended to have several possible interpretations is ignored.
Interesting, thanks.

One might observe that this, "The aim of genuine teaching is to enable the pupil to pass beyond the superficial "belief system" thinking" is true of science. :)
 

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#52
The problem is that these are you assumptions and this highlights one of the issues with hypothetical examples: One can conclude anything and 'prove' anything. So the key question is: Did this event (i.e. a gathering of astronomers being told that were UFOs outside) really happen or not? And, if it happened, were there or were there not really UFOs flying around outside?

It seems to me that the possibilities are as follows:
(1) If the event never happened then it tells us nothing substantive or useful, other than to reflect out own expectations.
(2) If the event did happen and but there were no UFOs flying around outside then the astronomers were right, weren't they. They were sensible enough not to be scammed.
(3) If the event did happen and there were UFOs outside then those astronomers who might have been interested in UFOs (remember that there are many branches of astronomy and not all necessarily concern themselves with possible alien visitors) lost a good opportunity to observe a phenomenon at first hand.

So which was it? Did it really happen and, if so, were there really UFOs?



To an extent, although there is also experience and knowledge. Experience and knowledge can inform a person's reaction to certain new information. It is not closed minded to pass new information (or claimed information) through a reasonableness filter before deciding if and how to react to it.
1. I think that everyone, whatever their attitudes about the UFO phenomenon, regards Hynek as a totally genuine and sincere person, as well as being a major scientist. So this possibility can be ruled out.
2. If there were no UFOs around, and the person who told them about it was known to be unreliable or telling lies, then they would have been right not to go out. If the person was right that aerial phenomena were there, and the "UFOs" were actually something easily explained, then the astronomers lost, at the least, an opportunity to confront a stimulus, assess it using their knowledge, and show the observer where he had gone wrong; and at best a view of possibly genuine phenomena.
3. Had any of the astronomers possessed a genuine interest in UFOs, and failed to go outside, then what else do we have but a demonstration of conformism to group norms and fear of ridicule?

The problem is that the reasonableness filter can only operate on the basis of existing beliefs and prejudices. Many of the topics that we take very seriously in these forums, would be filtered out immediately by a majority of scientists -- excepting, maybe, those who had experienced similar things themselves.
 

markrkingston1

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#53
1. I think that everyone, whatever their attitudes about the UFO phenomenon, regards Hynek as a totally genuine and sincere person, as well as being a major scientist. So this possibility can be ruled out.
2. If there were no UFOs around, and the person who told them about it was known to be unreliable or telling lies, then they would have been right not to go out. If the person was right that aerial phenomena were there, and the "UFOs" were actually something easily explained, then the astronomers lost, at the least, an opportunity to confront a stimulus, assess it using their knowledge, and show the observer where he had gone wrong; and at best a view of possibly genuine phenomena.
3. Had any of the astronomers possessed a genuine interest in UFOs, and failed to go outside, then what else do we have but a demonstration of conformism to group norms and fear of ridicule?
I agree that Hynek was a reputable person but I have to say that it still doesn't tell us much (or anything) about the full circumstances of this putative astronomy gathering. Without knowing full facts I do not think that any meaningful conclusions can be drawn from the anecdote.

Hah, as an anecdote it fails to be data, and thus we would be foolish to draw conclusions from it. ;)

Had any of the astronomers possessed a genuine interest in UFOs, and failed to go outside, then what else do we have but a demonstration of conformism to group norms and fear of ridicule?
I would agree. But in practice we know nothing about any of the alleged astronomers allegedly present.

The problem is that the reasonableness filter can only operate on the basis of existing beliefs and prejudices.
I agree but this is not a failing. The nature of reality is that anomalous phenomena are rare, so a reasonableness filter is in practice a useful way to cope with day to day reality. Unless taken to extremes, it does not eliminate the possibility of the extraordinary.

Many of the topics that we take very seriously in these forums, would be filtered out immediately by a majority of scientists -- excepting, maybe, those who had experienced similar things themselves.
Again with the assumptions! ;) Who says that "Many of the topics that we take very seriously in these forums, would be filtered out immediately by a majority of scientists"? (Bold added for emphasis). Well, you say. But I do not necessarily agree.

Sure, some scientists might well closed mindedly filter out all such possibilities but others might, quite reasonably, say "That's very interesting, but I need to be able to collect evidence to make an objective study of the phenomenon. Can you suggest a way to do so? If you can, I might be able to formulate a hypothesis or a theory that can be tested". I've heard that very refrain on more than one occasion from reputable, mainstream scientists. They do not just ignore; they seek evidence. As a Fortean, I can ask for no more from science.
 

Carl Grove

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#54
I agree that Hynek was a reputable person but I have to say that it still doesn't tell us much (or anything) about the full circumstances of this putative astronomy gathering. Without knowing full facts I do not think that any meaningful conclusions can be drawn from the anecdote.

Hah, as an anecdote it fails to be data, and thus we would be foolish to draw conclusions from it. ;)



I would agree. But in practice we know nothing about any of the alleged astronomers allegedly present.



I agree but this is not a failing. The nature of reality is that anomalous phenomena are rare, so a reasonableness filter is in practice a useful way to cope with day to day reality. Unless taken to extremes, it does not eliminate the possibility of the extraordinary.



Again with the assumptions! ;) Who says that "Many of the topics that we take very seriously in these forums, would be filtered out immediately by a majority of scientists"? (Bold added for emphasis). Well, you say. But I do not necessarily agree.

Sure, some scientists might well closed mindedly filter out all such possibilities but others might, quite reasonably, say "That's very interesting, but I need to be able to collect evidence to make an objective study of the phenomenon. Can you suggest a way to do so? If you can, I might be able to formulate a hypothesis or a theory that can be tested". I've heard that very refrain on more than one occasion from reputable, mainstream scientists. They do not just ignore; they seek evidence. As a Fortean, I can ask for no more from science.
Well, you are asking a lot from what I chose as an (extreme) illustration of unscientific behaviour on the part of supposedly objective scientists. As for assumptions: if you meet any of these scientists who might say "That's very interesting, but..." then you might be able to check on the reliability of your own assumptions. My own reaction is that as you well know, 90% of the phenomena discussed here is anecdotal, and a common reaction of scientists asked to look at the data is that "well, you can't rely on human witnesses." Consider UFOs. As you know, when reports started appearing in the 40s there were many scientists who took the line that "you can't rely on anecdotes, you need solid evidence." Then photos appeared, some, like the McMinneville case, still generating a lot of interest. Not good enough. Where's the physical evidence? Then there came landing traces, damaged crops, trees and so on, solid residues, simultaneous multiple radar-visual cases, and yet today the number of scientists who take a serious interest in the subject are tiny, and there are still plenty of the rest so ignorant that they still ask for the type of evidence that has been around for decades. I don't see much improvement in the situation.
The fact is that demanding more and/or different evidence when such evidence is essentially outside our control is unreasonable. We have to accept things as they are.
 

markrkingston1

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#55
Well, you are asking a lot from what I chose as an (extreme) illustration of unscientific behaviour on the part of supposedly objective scientists.
The problem is that at this stage it is just a hypothetical example of allegedly "unscientific behaviour on the part of supposedly objective scientists". Unless we can find more substantive information about the gathering then any conclusions based upon the story are meaningless. As I said, any such subjective conclusions would do no more than to confirm one's own expectations and would tell us nothing objective. I don't even agree that the behaviour as mooted necessarily demonstrated "unscientific behaviour"; we just don't have enough substantive information to tell.

As for assumptions: if you meet any of these scientists who might say "That's very interesting, but..." then you might be able to check on the reliability of your own assumptions.
I have met them. Which assumptions of mine are you referring to?

My own reaction is that as you well know, 90% of the phenomena discussed here is anecdotal, and a common reaction of scientists asked to look at the data is that "well, you can't rely on human witnesses."
And they are correct. Human witnesses alone are poor sources of objective data for scientific investigation. That's reality and it is why repeatability matters for objective scientific investigation. As I said earlier, repeatability is a difficulty but the normal course of technological and scientific progress looks likely to help solve the problem.

By all means, reports from human witnesses can provide one with source information suggesting that there is a phenomenon to investigate and some possible initial hypotheses but, beyond that, human eyewitnesses alone just aren't enough to meaningfully study any phenomenon.

Consider UFOs. As you know, when reports started appearing in the 40s there were many scientists who took the line that "you can't rely on anecdotes, you need solid evidence." Then photos appeared, some, like the McMinneville case, still generating a lot of interest. Not good enough. Where's the physical evidence? Then there came landing traces, damaged crops, trees and so on, solid residues, simultaneous multiple radar-visual cases, and yet today the number of scientists who take a serious interest in the subject are tiny, and there are still plenty of the rest so ignorant that they still ask for the type of evidence that has been around for decades. I don't see much improvement in the situation.
The problem with the UFO phenomenon at every stage has been that the evidence available, such as it is, doesn't actually tell us much. Yup, burnt grass. Yup, some elevated radiation here or there. But so what? This tells us nothing other than that the physical evidence exists. What is needed for true scientific investigation is repeatability, so that the phenomenon can be effectively measured objectively in vivo.

Thus it is right and proper to demand more and more and more evidence. That is the only way that progress is made.

As I say, the repeatability problem is certainly a difficulty but it is not some magical absolute barrier forever. Instead, technology and science themselves will (and are) gradually providing the answers. Instruments that are cheap, increasingly ubiquitous, and can record a wide range of data are becoming more common. This will, in time, help alleviate issues of repeatability. Furthermore, scientific advances in general can suggest new ways of examining certain seemingly anomalous phenomena such that we can more effectively focus our efforts on them in detail.

The fact is that demanding more and/or different evidence when such evidence is essentially outside our control is unreasonable. We have to accept things as they are.
Good grief, no!
(a) Without objective measurement you don't actually know in any fundamental way how things really are. This is where science is useful. If you want to "accept things as they are" then you need science to learn, as accurately as possible, what it is that you are accepting.
(b) Demanding more evidence isn't just an arbitrary desire: It is fundamentally how we advance the human state. Surely there is nothing more spiritual than this.
(c) Lots of natural phenomena are "essentially outside of our control" and yet clever theories and experiments can be and are nevertheless created to test them.
(d) If Fortean phenomena are different it is that they have become Fortean phenomena precisely because they are fleeting and rare. This makes the repeatability issue difficult to deal with as things currently stand but not in any fundamental, has-to-be-this-way-forever sense. As I keep on pointing out, as science and technology progress in general, new ways of studying rarely seen phenomena can be and are created.
(e) I do not think it is unreasonable to seek more evidence. As in item b above, what you perceive as unreasonable is, to me, a fundamental expression of humanity, specifically: Finding the answers.
(f) Just accepting things as they are (or as you might prefer to imagine them, perhaps) is, to my mind, a route to stagnation and failure. Better by far to push, push, push to find more evidence and to analyse it as objectively as we can.
 
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Carl Grove

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#56
The problem is that at this stage it is just a hypothetical example of allegedly "unscientific behaviour on the part of supposedly objective scientists". Unless we can find more substantive information about the gathering then any conclusions based upon the story are meaningless. As I said, any such conclusions would do no more than to confirm one's own expectations and would tell us nothing objective. I don't even agree that the behaviour as mooted necessarily demonstrated "unscientific behaviour"; we just din't have enough substantive information to tell.



I have met them. Which assumptions of mine are you referring to?



And they are correct. Human witnesses alone are poor sources of objective data for scientific investigation. That's reality and it is why repeatability matters for objective scientific investigation. As I said earlier, repeatability is a difficulty but the normal course of technological and scientific progress looks likely to help solve the problem.

By all means, reports from human witnesses can provide one with source information suggesting that there is a phenomenon to investigate and some possible initial hypotheses, but beyond that human eyewitnesses alone just aren't enough to meaningfully study any phenomenon.



The problem with the UFO phenomenon at every stage has been that the evidence available, such as it is, doesn't actually tell us much. Yup, burnt grass. Yup, some elevated radiation here or there. But so what? This tells us nothing other than that the physical evidence exists. What is needed for true scientific investigation is repeatability, so that the phenomenon can be effectively measured objectively in vivo.

This it is right and proper to demand more and more and more evidence. That is the only way that progress is made.

As I say, the repeatability problem is certainly a difficulty but it is not some magical absolute barrier forever. Instead, technology and science themselves will (and are) gradually providing the answers. Instruments that are cheap, increasingly ubiquitous, and can record a wide range of data are becoming more common. This will, in time, help alleviate issues of repeatability. Furthermore, scientific advances in general can suggest new ways of examining certain seemingly anomalous phenomena such that we can more effectively focus our efforts on them in detail.



Good grief, no!
(a) Without objective measurement you don't actually know in any fundamental way how things really are. This is where science is useful. If you want to "accept things as they are" then you need science to learn, as accurately as possible, what it is that you are accepting.
(b) Demanding more evidence isn't just an arbitrary desire: It is fundamentally how we advance the human state. Surely there is nothing more spiritual than this.
(c) Lots of natural phenomena are "essentially outside of our control" and yet clever theories and experiments can be and are nevertheless created to test them.
(d) If Fortean phenomena are different it is that they have become Fortean phenomena precisely because they are fleeting and rare. This makes the repeatability issue difficult to deal with as things currently stand but not in any fundamental, has-to-be-this-way-forever sense. As I keep on pointing out, as science and technology progress in general, new ways of studying rarely seen phenomena can be and are created.
(e) I do not think it is unreasonable to seek more evidence. As in item b above, what you perceive as unreasonable is, to me, a fundamental expression of humanity, specifically: Finding the answers.
(f) Just accepting things as they are (or as you might prefer to imagine them, perhaps) is, to my mind, a route to stagnation and failure. Better by far to push, push, push to find more evidence and to analyse it as objectively as we can.
I think we have reached a position where further detailed discussion would be pointless. Incidentally, I have never at any time rejected the need for better data, that is in any case a "given" in my view. And I wouldn't be on this site or doing research myself in time slips if I didn't think that more ways of getting data and testing theories is not going to be possible. But I can think of very few other scientifically trained people actually making the effort to obtain more data and looking for patterns in the data we do have, which is the key methodology at such an early stage. My central point is that the really great scientists aren't afraid to get their hands dirty dealing with anecdotal or other data at this stage of the scientific process (i.e., the inductive stage, as opposed to the hypothetico-deductive stage).
 

markrkingston1

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#58
I think we have reached a position where further detailed discussion would be pointless.
I think you're right.

Incidentally, I have never at any time rejected the need for better data, that is in any case a "given" in my view. And I wouldn't be on this site or doing research myself in time slips if I didn't think that more ways of getting data and testing theories is not going to be possible.
Well, clearly we are in agreement here.

My central point is that the really great scientists aren't afraid to get their hands dirty dealing with anecdotal or other data at this stage of the scientific process (i.e., the inductive stage, as opposed to the hypothetico-deductive stage).
Maybe but you still seem to me to be assuming that that is what they should do mainly because you want them to. The people to whom you refer are individuals and each of them chooses their own areas to research. UFOs are just one area and there are already many people (a few groups being very well funded and employing scientists) collecting reports and searching for patterns in the anecdotes. But substantive, objectively measured or measurable data is still very, very hard to come in practice when it comes to Fortean phenomena (especially UFOs, one of my areas of special interest), and that's the key the difficulty at present.

In brief, it seems to me that "really great scientists" are probably quite genuinely better off for now spending their time on areas where they can more rapidly make solid progress. In time, it is possible (likely, I now think) that certain technical elements of the UFO (or should I say UAP) phenomenon may become more amenable to conventional scientific study and, at that time, I expect we'll see more "really great scientists" involved since there will be something solid, for want of a better word, for them to make progress with.

Unless and until such time, there is no reason to think that you are not a really great scientist if you are actively researching time slips. Indeed, time slips are a phenomenon that greatly fascinate me. They encapsulate one of the key conundrums of Fortean phenomena: Are they 'real', in that they are a physical event that actually happens, are they a product of a person's mind (and extend no further), or is there a more complex and nuanced reality to them? When one does not know what one is studying then investigating them in deeper detail becomes that much more difficult.

What are you findings and/or hypotheses so far, if I may ask?
 

Carl Grove

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#59
I think you're right.



Well, clearly we are in agreement here.



Maybe but you still seem to me to be assuming that that is what they should do mainly because you want them to. The people to whom you refer are individuals and each of them chooses their own areas to research. UFOs are just one area and there are already many people (a few groups being very well funded and employing scientists) collecting reports and searching for patterns in the anecdotes. But substantive, objectively measured or measurable data is still very, very hard to come in practice when it comes to Fortean phenomena (especially UFOs, one of my areas of special interest), and that's the key the difficulty at present.

In brief, it seems to me that "really great scientists" are probably quite genuinely better off for now spending their time on areas where they can more rapidly make solid progress. In time, it is possible (likely, I now think) that certain technical elements of the UFO (or should I say UAP) phenomenon may become more amenable to conventional scientific study and, at that time, I expect we'll see more "really great scientists" involved since there will be something solid, for want of a better word, for them to make progress with.

Unless and until such time, there is no reason to think that you are not a really great scientist if you are actively researching time slips. Indeed, time slips are a phenomenon that greatly fascinate me. They encapsulate one of the key conundrums of Fortean phenomena: Are they 'real', in that they are a physical event that actually happens, are they a product of a person's mind (and extend no further), or is there a more complex and nuanced reality to them? When one does not know what one is studying then investigating them in deeper detail becomes that much more difficult.

What are you findings and/or hypotheses so far, if I may ask?
Well, I'm sure you can think of plenty of areas (in your case, UFOs maybe) where an input from a top scientist as opposed to a lesser light would be much appreciated. If they are just waiting for what they might regard as "more solid data," then it behoves them to suggest ways of getting them. As you know, in the 50s there were instances of scientists taking an active interest, and even Blue Book was talking about issuing special cameras. And there were commercially available UFO detectors, actually detecting EM fluctuations. You will know better than I whether anyone has followed up any of these leads or suggested others.
My findings on Time Slips are available here:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/2bci69we0ji3avi/THE ROUGHAM MYSTERY.pdf?dl=0
My working hypotheses are now:
1. The most extreme type of time slips do represent physical integration into another time;
2. "Sensitive" individuals are more likely to experience time slips;
3. Areas high in "Earth energy" generate more reports; this energy is torsion in nature; geological faulting plays a part in modulating the energy; most stone age sites, such as circles, henges, standing stones, were designed to make use of this energy;
4. A detailed explanation of how a time slip develops is probably beyond current physical science. Virtual reality is the only concept capable of accounting for them, and other similar events often called "Glitches in the Matrix."
As you will gather many of these ideas would horrify the more conventional thinkers, and we might have to wait for the real scientist that I have been speaking of to take an interest in this. One real scientist did get involved and made a huge breakthrough regarding torsion.
 

EnolaGaia

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#60
Fair enough, although it should then be recognised that the process of science and development of technology (i.e. tools) are the solution to the problem of subjective limits of human mind and perception. Ingenuity (in the form of science and technology) allow us to objectively measure the true nature of that which we cannot see unaided (or only see subjectively).

Kant is not wrong to identify a difference between subjective and objective, of course, but it is isn't a significant barrier to knowing the objectively true nature of the universe. We have ways of working around our subjective limits, both in terms of mind and senses.
Overcoming the limits of human perception can be a benefit of technological augmentation, but that's not the point here.

Kant's point in making the distinction was that the phenomenal domain is of a different character that does not, and need not, mirror nor be deterministically governed by the underlying physical domain.
 
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