What Was Fort REALLY On About?

bonehead

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#1
It is my contention that many aficionados of Charles Fort have completely missed his real importance to modern thought. Many speak about Fort as if he were nothing more than an eccentric curator of a virtual museum of late Victorian curiosities. This certainly is the view taken by the majority of contributors to Fortean Times magazine. The magazine mostly occupies itself with the debunking of Fortean ephemera. It takes the conventional scientific epistemic tack (rational materialism) that the only things that are "real" are material in nature. Everything else is only convenient fodder for snarky prejudiced debunking.

This, of course, is contrary to what Fort was about. In fact, this was the very kind of thing that Fort worked so hard to inveigh against. He questioned the "damned" data of science because science, in its rational materialist fervor, refused to look at so many things that happened and could not be explained in conventional material terms. Simply attributing them to mirages, fantasy and tortured "conventional" explanations was not an intellectual probing, but a case of intellectual denial. Fort knew this and that is what his eccentric curating was really all about.

The late Colin Bennett understood Fort. And there are a few others of us out here that actually "get it". It is to them that I dedicate these Fortean essays.....


Buddha Was a Fortean

Even though he lived hundreds of years before the birth of Charles Fort, Buddha knew what it meant to be an inveterate questioner. And that is the special dish that Fort brought to the table: questioning.


But this is not the simple curiosity that questions our world in pursuit of answers. That is for lightweights and posers. It is a questioning that questions the questioner and the questions themselves. So, what about answers? Surely you jest! When you go down the Fortean road, answers are – if not irrelevant – certainly relative. Buddha himself summed up this paradoxical mind game succinctly: “All descriptions of reality are temporary hypotheses.”


This is a distinctly wobbly and uncomfortable mindset for people who wish reality to be cut and dried. It eschews comfortable assumptions and cuddly “teddy bear” pet theories. It avoids the simplistic “this is this and that is that” explanations of conventional science and looks into the mirror reflection of reality and asks, what can we possibly know that is not a product of mind?


Ultimately, the only thing we can know is our consciousness. And it always works best when it is empty of judgments and notions, the ersatz manufactured goods of mind. I am not sure that Fort completely cottoned onto this last point. But Buddha sure did. He wallowed in it like a hog in a slop-hole. They call that slop-hole enlightenment.


I wouldn’t say Fort was enlightened in the Buddhist sense. But he certainly was able to rise above the masturbatory mental machinations of conventional academics. Then he took the scientific dogmatists out to the wood-shed for the epistemic spanking they so richly deserved.


But alas, he suffered the fate of most heretics. He was marginalized by smaller and less honest minds; minds with fancy degrees and social clout. And thus Fort was relegated to a mostly forgotten footnote in history.


But his subversive outlook has won him many admirers. He is considered by many to be the father of “paranormal” studies. For instance, he may have proposed the idea that people are abducted by aliens. He was also an early theorizer that UFOs are peopled by extraterrestrial beings. In these instances, and many others, he was far ahead of his time.


Fort is a shining example of what it means to be a skeptic. Not the stilted inbred dogmatism of our UFO pseudo-skeptics, but the honest to god skepticism of a mind that questions all assumptions. And that was what Fort was really about. He found the soft white underbelly of science - its unexamined assumptions - and plunged his knife in deeply. The cries of pain were palpable and predictable. But science, being the lumbering dolt that it is, applied its Hello Kitty band-aid and continued on with its old delusional ways as if nothing had happened. Indeed, ignorance is bliss.


But a Fortean state of mind is a hard one to maintain. It takes a willingness to swim upstream, against the current of unexamined social assumptions. It also takes discipline. That’s because it is a lot easier to believe in something than to believe in nothing. Ultimately, that means not knowing stuff.


Who would have thought that it was smarter to not know stuff? Many intellectuals are allergic to this idea. But they don’t know any better. Academia has a spastic compulsion to explain everything. This sometimes leads to fuzzy assumptions which have little basis in reality. It seems that consensus thinking is a dim bulb which only evolves slowly and reluctantly.


Fort himself was primarily a contrarian. Raised with a strict and abusive father, he developed an early disdain for authority. Being an intellectual, this predisposed him to question the stuffy assumptions of science and ferret out the uncomfortable data that science rejected as improbable or, worse, fantasy. The fact is that conventional science, with its hard materialist bias, is too limited in scope to encompass the full breadth of human experience. It is a philosophy which sees anything outside the material realm as illusory.


Buddha sets this presumption in its proper place. Buddhism suggests that the rational mind (the ne plus ultra of science) not human experience, is the source of illusion.


Buddhist enlightenment is, in fact, a philosophy one step beyond Charles Fort. It goes beyond simple contrarian questioning of socially imposed assumptions. It stems from the understanding that only the empty mind is truly in a position to parse the reality of human experience. The hard won “knowledge” of science is a series of preconceived notions which act as impediments to the understanding of true experience. Both Buddha and Fort recognized that the banishment of preconceived notions is a necessary palliative for the prevention of truth decay.


This should not be thought of as anti-intellectual or anti-scientific. It is merely the understanding that our assumptions do not and cannot prepare us for experiencing reality as it truly is. Science is fallible. It is, like most human experience, corrupted with the delusion of ego. And it is through the dissolution of ego and the embracing of our most core being, our consciousness, that illusion disappears.


But the old lumbering giant is still out there with its tattered Hello Kitty band-aid. The superannuated dinosaurs still hold court and swear the earth is flat. They don’t seem to know it yet, but the materialist paradigm is in its death knell. And, being the stubborn old coots that they are, their ideas probably will not die until they do. Too bad it has to be that way.


However, I am optimistic about the future. Quantum physics have shown us that the ancient lessons of metaphysics were an accurate picture of reality and how it works. These ideas have been with us throughout human history. But somehow, over the millennia, they have been understood by only a small minority of people. Buddha was one of them.


Quantum thinking builds on the ideas of Einstein’s physics. Quantum theory makes as much of a leap over Einstein as Einstein did over Newton. It is a radical shift in epistemology. It is the clarion call for the entre of consciousness into scientific understanding. I think the science of the 21st Century will stem from an understanding of consciousness and its intimate connection with our material reality. And when we get there, the lumbering giant will be deader than Fort himself.


The universe is far greater than the breadth of our prejudices. Just think of the fun we could have had if we all thought like Buddha, or even Charles Fort. In order to understand the universe, we must reject our preconceived notions. Otherwise we are not skeptical truth seekers, but dogmatists. It is never too late to change your mindset…..

END
 
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bonehead

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#2
Fortean Fallout: The End of Rationalism?

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

- Albert Einstein



Charles Fort espoused an incisive viewpoint that cut through the crap of post-modern scientific thinking. He uncovered a way to bring human thought to heel by pointing out the contradictions, misapprehensions and delusions seemingly inevitable to any epistemology that does not, in turn, subject itself to a similar rigorous introspection.


In a Fortean universe, reality is in a constant state of flux, intersecting with temporary hypothetical human definitions that we often label “objective” or “true”. But objectivity does not exist in fabricated human mindsets. Mindsets are inherently subjective, thus all objective analyses are irredeemably tainted by human subjectivity. This paradox is at the root of all knowledge and experience because you cannot know or experience anything that does not first pass through the distortion filters of your mind and personal belief systems.


This is a sticky wicket indeed. If you think you know something, that “knowledge” becomes a distortion lens that affects how you see things. What you think you know may not be a true or complete understanding. That is not something you actually “know”, but merely a superstition. It is the post-modern version of religious beliefs about the ultimate nature of reality.


Fortean thinking is an intellectual double bind, where you must know nothing to fully grasp anything at all, and anything you think you might know becomes the enemy of true experience or knowledge. To emerge unscathed from that conundrum, one must have the empty mind of Buddha, and the innocence of a babe in the woods.


A Fortean Analysis of Forteanism

Ironically, Fort deflated the conceits of rationalism with their own favorite weapon: rationalism. That’s probably why he was condemned outright - they could not refute him with logic. As a threat to cultural authority, it was easier to renounce him than to honestly deal with his probing questions.


This deep questioning into human mindsets pointed to the uncomfortable truism that post modern thought almost never subjects itself to a thoroughgoing analysis. Instead, it occupies itself with beliefs supplied by culture and the past. The presumed depth of science is little more than deceptive surface fluff. Ultimately science, like religion, is just another cultural tradition that shapes our thinking. It is a maelstrom of conflicting polemics and culturally defined beliefs involved in a game of epistemological chicken, all vying to become the ascendant belief of the day. New beliefs always eventually supersede the old ones. Thus, the “facts of science” function in precisely the same way as fads or fashion.


Yet, Fortean thinking itself is just such a belief system. The difference is that it does not try to define an outside reality but, instead, occupies itself with questioning human thinking. It analyzes the interface between our thinking and our presumed “reality”. Without this understanding, knowledge is inevitably little more than personal brainwash.


Knowledge requires a presumed “out there” – the reality we sense - and a subjective “in here” – the contents of our mind - to make it function. The frontier connecting those two things is the shaky world of personal beliefs. That gray area is a loose mixture of imagination, cultural brainwash, emotional investments and the only “real” experience we can ever hope to know. It is at once the nebulous - yet primal - Dreamtime of the Australian aborigine and the putative “hard” reality of science. Human knowledge does not define reality. Knowledge is a political system, a subjective synthetic interface that defines our relationship with reality. We function through what we think. That defines us, not reality.

Making Reality About Everything Else

Science operates from the assumption that the universe is something outside of us. The scientific belief is that reality is discrete and detached from our influence. This notion is the basis of scientific objectivity. But even science had an inkling that the objectivity of individual scientists cannot be trusted. That is why scientific protocols demand repeatability and peer review.


The pre-established beliefs of scientists invariably apply a subjective taint to the exercise of science. A perfect example of this is Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. The problem here involves Darwin’s atheism. Many will say this is irrelevant. Hardly. Darwin’s object was to replace the blind beliefs of religion with something more rooted in reality. He wanted to discover what made nature tick. Well that, and get that annoying God guy out of the picture.


The thing is Darwin was not an agnostic: a skeptic who was unsure what it all means. Darwin disbelieved in God. That is a rigid belief, even if a negative one. To put it simply, the only explanation that would do for Darwin is one that supported his preconceived assumption: there is no God. I think it was this motivation that set him to posit the cornerstones of his theory: random mutation and natural selection. These are nebulous inchoate theoretical mechanisms specially designed to negate any potential organizing force in the universe. Call that God if you like.


Had Darwin been an agnostic - one who holds no belief one way or the other - he might have attributed the obvious coherence of evolution to a coherent process. An open mind would have allowed him to consider theories that explained evolutionary congruity as coherence. But believing there can be no coherent organizing power – i.e., God - he was forced to attribute evolutionary coherence to an incoherent process.


This dichotomous thinking is typical of reactionary-ism. It deliberately subverts logic to suit a desired outcome. Rather than following the dictum of Occam’s Razor - looking for the simplest and most elegant solution that explains the evidence - Darwin chose accident and logical obfuscation instead. Einstein said “God does not play dice”. Darwin implied God is dice.


If religion distilled down to one word is: God; then Darwin’s theory for the origins of life distilled down to one word is: whoops. Everything is the result of a freak accident. Without an over-arching causative force, the only other possibility left for Darwin was creation via slipping on unseen banana peels. He named those banana peels random mutation and natural selection.


It was not Darwin’s scientific observations that shaped these ideas, but his beliefs. Belief systems do not define reality. Belief systems define us. So, when the important questions lead us to either the freak, pointless accident of creation, ala Darwin, or the intellectual dead end, everything rationalized away, ala Fort, then rationalism has let us down. It has left us holding a bag full of nothing. It is Zen without the practical part.


The only thing left, then, is rebooting our relationship to reality. But more rationalism won’t get us there. That is a dead end. We need to channel the imagination already inherent in our belief systems more productively. We need to acknowledge the intuitive and utilize it in more proactive ways.

(continued next post)
 
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bonehead

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#3
Here, Have an Intuition

Rationalism only brings us to stasis if we follow it to its end. The same can be said of intuition. Followed to its end, we wind up living in a dream world of imagination. But wait a second - isn’t that how Fort defined human knowledge: imaginary? So, according to Fortean thinking, we already live in a world of imagination. Imagination shaped into cultural mindsets, is as much a part of the borderland between in-here and out-there as our cold, hard material world is – perhaps more so.


The intuitive is already playing an active part in your relationship with reality. That is where all the cultural beliefs - our “knowledge” - came from in the first place: They are constructs of imagination. And the intuitive works in our lives in other ways as well. Take my typing this article for instance. If I actually think about typing, it slows me down. The rational mind is not your friend in this endeavor. In fact, it will mess you up if you try to engage it in the process. I find the keys a lot easier when I don’t think about it. That is not rational, but intuitive.


And we all have a large number of things we do in our lives daily that we do in much the same way. Take driving a car, for instance. Then you have musicians and artists who dazzle us with their talents: same deal. We all have an inherent force within us that can connect with the Dreamtime. The rational and the intuitive are the yin and the yang of the frontier between the “out there” and “in here” speaking through you.


In fact, the intersection between the rational and the intuitive is where we live. It would behoove us to accept the role the intuitive already actively plays in our lives. Denying the essential part intuition plays in our beliefs or “knowledge” only leads to more delusion. Go ahead, deny it if you must.


But trust me; there is more to it than that. Even Darwin had to make that stuff up. Or he borrowed it from somebody else who did. All theories are made-up explanations at their inception. That is how the intuitive shapes your world-view - even if you do not accept the legitimacy of intuition. You cannot get out of that fuzzy frontier area even if you want to.


The realm of imagination is all around you, and mostly, inside you. Accept it into your life and thinking. It will be there whether you invite it or not. And once we accept its existence we can begin to work with it. We can actively shape the intuitive part of our reality more consciously. That way, the delusions we get are ones we have chosen instead of the unconscious crap we usually get stuck with.


Think about it. That is what Fort would have done.


Bonehead

Your comments are welcome!
 
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INT21

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#4
...Both Buddha and Fort recognized that the banishment of preconceived notions is a necessary palliative for the prevention of truth decay...

But first you have to somehow come to the conclusion that the aforementioned preconceived notion is at fault.

Until someone point out a possible error in the thinking there is no reason to analyse it.

INT21
 

stu neville

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#5
The magazine mostly occupies itself with the debunking of Fortean ephemera. It takes the conventional scientific epistemic tack (rational materialism) that the only things that are "real" are material in nature. Everything else is only convenient fodder for snarky prejudiced debunking...
I'm with drbates on this. The mag, as with the majority of the membership on here examines each case on its merits, explores all possible avenues - but only dismisses when it can conclusively do so. Most of us are here because of the wonder, and the curiosity, and the "what if" mentality, not because we wish to disprove and consign to the bin.

Fort's own attitude - as I'm sure you are aware - was rather more condensed than you imply. His approach to damned data was that it was of equal validity to mundane data despite being mundanely inexplicable, and that until an explanation could be found, then all potential explanations were also equally valid. Which is what the mag, and by extension this site does: just because one incident is disproven it doesn't immediately cast doubt upon superficially similar incidents. We're not fools, but neither are we skeptics. We try hard to get the balance right, and I think we manage it.
 

bonehead

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#7
I'm with drbates on this. The mag, as with the majority of the membership on here examines each case on its merits, explores all possible avenues - but only dismisses when it can conclusively do so. Most of us are here because of the wonder, and the curiosity, and the "what if" mentality, not because we wish to disprove and consign to the bin.

Fort's own attitude - as I'm sure you are aware - was rather more condensed than you imply. His approach to damned data was that it was of equal validity to mundane data despite being mundanely inexplicable, and that until an explanation could be found, then all potential explanations were also equally valid.
Yes, that is true skepticism, as opposed to the other kind.

Which is what the mag, and by extension this site does: just because one incident is disproven it doesn't immediately cast doubt upon superficially similar incidents. We're not fools, but neither are we skeptics. We try hard to get the balance right, and I think we manage it.
Thanks for your response. In my defense I have to say that I read Fortean Times for many years. But I stopped buying it when i got tired of the same old negation by many of the writers. You can hardly expect to be taken seriously when, for example, the Kenneth Arnold sighting is foisted off as being nothing more than a mis-identified flock of pelicans. That sounds exactly like the kind of half-baked "scientific" explanation that inspired Fort to do his yeoman work in the first place. Please. It is an insult to intelligence....

If the magazine has taken an editorial turn in the past few years I am un aware of it since I have not read it in several years. I was a faithful reader for years and it was my steadily mounting disappointment that caused me to stop reading. Perhaps we just have different levels of tolerance. And of course, I am entitled to my opinion as are you.

Thanks for your interest!
 

bonehead

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#8
...Both Buddha and Fort recognized that the banishment of preconceived notions is a necessary palliative for the prevention of truth decay...

But first you have to somehow come to the conclusion that the aforementioned preconceived notion is at fault.

Until someone point out a possible error in the thinking there is no reason to analyse it.

INT21
I was not proposing to analyze preconception at all. The object is to keep an open mind - free of such notions. If one leaves their preconceived notions at the door, then the evidence will lead where it will - rather than to some pre-desired conclusion. That was the point of these essays in the first place....
 

rynner2

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#9
The magazine mostly occupies itself with the debunking of Fortean ephemera. It takes the conventional scientific epistemic tack (rational materialism) that the only things that are "real" are material in nature.
It annoys me when such gross simplifications of science as 'materialism' are promulgated. Science deals not just with material things, but with immaterial things like light and radio waves, and especially the mysteries of the quantum world.

To attack science when you clearly do not understand it is pointless, and will win you no followers from amongst those who do understand it.
 

INT21

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#10
Bonehead,

..If one leaves their preconceived notions at the door, then the evidence will lead where it will - rather than to some pre-desired conclusion.

This is the whole point of experimental physics.

To find out if the pre-desired conclusion (the theory) is in fact true.

However, one comes up against a wall when there is no way of proving or disproving a theory.

'Turn off your mind, relax and float upstream' may be all very well for the Beatles, but at some point you have to get your hands dirty and start running some tests.

The Buddha was not know for his skill at practical experimentation. It's all very well wandering around dispensing cosmic wisdom, but it wont pay the bills.

Unless you can find enough people to buy into it.

INT21
 

bonehead

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#11
My apologies to all. I guess I have no audience here. Anyway, thanks for your interest!
 

INT21

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#12
Bonehead,

Don't get discouraged. You have picked a very difficult field to discuss. Simply because there seems to be no way of 'putting it to the test'.

Let's take the following from your original post.

...He questioned the "damned" data of science because science, in its rational materialist fervor, refused to look at so many things that happened and could not be explained in conventional material terms. Simply attributing them to mirages, fantasy and tortured "conventional" explanations was not an intellectual probing, but a case of intellectual denial...

Firstly, scientist have to eat and pay their bill just as the rest of us do. And mostly they rely upon grants to further their investigations. The patrons of these grants mostly require that some kind of payback is seen to be on the horizon; albeit a distant one. So the scientist has to have at least a chance of 'producing the goods'.

Cases like Laithewaite and Ponns/Fleischman show what happens to very clever men who go out on a limb.

So Very few are willing to risk being associated with 'fringe' investigations like, say, trying to prove that everything is the product of consciousness.

No doubt there are people who are doing this even as I write. But I suspect that they either have a very rich benefactor or are living on tins of beans; Spaghetti on Sundays.

Anyone, like myself, who has seen an apparition (actually two) will know that something strange is going on. But until someone can say 'I did this, and this appeared from out of nowhere, and I can do it any time I want and invite you all to witness it'. then it is purely intellectual exercise.

Fort may have been very frustrated by the establishments approach. But he himself couldn't carry out repeatable experiments on his subject.

With things like the consciousness, you run the very real risk of getting ahead of the data. Never a good thing to do unless you have your next experiment figured out.

INT21
 
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INT21

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#14
The response to view ratio for this thread is much better than many of the others.

Take heart from this.

INT21
 

stu neville

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#15
Yes, that is true skepticism, as opposed to the other kind.
No, precisely wrong. We engage in scepticism. Skepticism is the closed minded, "You didn't see X because X doesn't exist" approach.

Thanks for your response. In my defense I have to say that I read Fortean Times for many years. But I stopped buying it when i got tired of the same old negation by many of the writers...If the magazine has taken an editorial turn in the past few years I am un aware of it since I have not read it in several years. I was a faithful reader for years and it was my steadily mounting disappointment that caused me to stop reading.
How do you square this with the distinctly present-tense:
This certainly is the view taken by the majority of contributors to Fortean Times magazine. The magazine mostly occupies itself with the debunking of Fortean ephemera. It takes the conventional scientific epistemic tack (rational materialism) that the only things that are "real" are material in nature. Everything else is only convenient fodder for snarky prejudiced debunking.
Further:
You can hardly expect to be taken seriously when, for example, the Kenneth Arnold sighting is foisted off as being nothing more than a mis-identified flock of pelicans. That sounds exactly like the kind of half-baked "scientific" explanation that inspired Fort to do his yeoman work in the first place. Please. It is an insult to intelligence....
Again, wrong. It wasn't foisted in the slightest. It was another possible explanation being postulated - at the risk of repeating myself, one of Fort's central principles was that until a definitive explanation is forthcoming, all possible theories must have some degree of weight. Some may seem ridiculous, but Fort often acknowledged that ridiculous doesn't automatically mean false.

Perhaps we just have different levels of tolerance. And of course, I am entitled to my opinion as are you.
Absolutely. I am utterly committed, on this site, to allowing opinion and resulting debate to flow. All I ask is that it's civil and reasoned. And where there are citations and quotes, that they are accurate.
 

INT21

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#16
Stunville,

..No, precisely wrong. We engage in scepticism. Skepticism is the closed minded, "You didn't see X because X doesn't exist" approach...

Got to disagree.

A skeptic may have doubts about a particular view, theory etc, but is prepared to modify his position if evidence to do is produced.
Nothing closed about a skeptic's mind.

You are describing a denier.

INT21
 

stu neville

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#17
As is your right - but the gulf between sceptic - which with respect is what I believe you describe above - and skeptic is marked. Sceptics don't just swallow anything without critical thought, but more often than not are not anchored to a cardinal standpoint of active disbelief against which any claim is measured, and as a result will by default come up wanting, which skeptics are. Check out the Randi sites to see the contrast in glorious technicolour. The distinction as defined by me here is the one this board has traditionally followed.
 

Naughty_Felid

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#18
Yes, that is true skepticism, as opposed to the other kind.



Thanks for your response. In my defense I have to say that I read Fortean Times for many years. But I stopped buying it when i got tired of the same old negation by many of the writers. You can hardly expect to be taken seriously when, for example, the Kenneth Arnold sighting is foisted off as being nothing more than a mis-identified flock of pelicans. That sounds exactly like the kind of half-baked "scientific" explanation that inspired Fort to do his yeoman work in the first place. Please. It is an insult to intelligence....

If the magazine has taken an editorial turn in the past few years I am un aware of it since I have not read it in several years. I was a faithful reader for years and it was my steadily mounting disappointment that caused me to stop reading. Perhaps we just have different levels of tolerance. And of course, I am entitled to my opinion as are you.

Thanks for your interest!
Just wondered if you could expand on this? Which particular writers? I can get what you mean Rendlesham's fall for example has been well covered over the years in FT. I still think it's way way more open and balanced than the usual media skepticism presented by the likes of O'keeffe, Blackmore and Wiseman, etc.
 

INT21

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#19
Just been re-reading the section ' Buddha was a Fortean'.

And I think it is akin to that dead not dead cat.

It is merely sophistry.

Let me visit the cat conundrum.

According to the story the cat is both dead and not dead until you look. And the act of looking collapses the wave function and you get your answer.

But suppose no one ever looked ? Obviously the cat would, in reality, die of starvation. Would this be considered a collapse of the wave function or maybe just a collapse of the cat ? And as no one had ever looked, how would they know the cat was dead ?

Any normal person would say that the cat was alive OR dead. Not alive AND dead.

I can paraphrase this.

I parked my car outside the house about an hour ago. Is it still there ?

Can I rightly say it is both there and not there ?

And does looking out the window to check count as a collapsing wave function ?

If , why not ?


Also, if I phone my daughter and ask her to check if it is still there, does it count ?

I ask this as, according to some, everything is the product of consciousness. Why should her conscious be aware of the same car situation ?

In fact, if everything is the product of conscientiousness, as suggested, The question becomes 'Who's conscious'

If it is mine does that mean that I create everything. That nothing is really there ?

INT21
 

Naughty_Felid

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#20
Just been re-reading the section ' Buddha was a Fortean'.

And I think it is akin to that dead not dead cat.

It is merely sophistry.

Let me visit the cat conundrum.

According to the story the cat is both dead and not dead until you look. And the act of looking collapses the wave function and you get your answer.

But suppose no one ever looked ? Obviously the cat would, in reality, die of starvation. Would this be considered a collapse of the wave function or maybe just a collapse of the cat ? And as no one had ever looked, how would they know the cat was dead ?

Any normal person would say that the cat was alive OR dead. Not alive AND dead.

I can paraphrase this.

I parked my car outside the house about an hour ago. Is it still there ?

Can I rightly say it is both there and not there ?

And does looking out the window to check count as a collapsing wave function ?

If , why not ?


Also, if I phone my daughter and ask her to check if it is still there, does it count ?

I ask this as, according to some, everything is the product of consciousness. Why should her conscious be aware of the same car situation ?

In fact, if everything is the product of conscientiousness, as suggested, The question becomes 'Who's conscious'

If it is mine does that mean that I create everything. That nothing is really there ?

INT21

I always though the smell would give the cat away at some point but Quantum Physicists are never interested when I try to tell them.
 

INT21

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#22
I've been thinking a bit more about this 'consciousness' business.

It is a bit like the depends upon what you mean by 'nothing' problem.

Bonehead contends that everything may be the product of consciousness. I find that a bit of a stretch. BUT, it depends on how you are defining consciousness.

Let us say I wish to build a wall.

That is an act of consciousness. My mind has seen there is a need for a wall. This must fit in with some other great scheme that my mind is mulling over.

But I wouldn't go so far as to say that the bricks are an act of consciousness. They would have existed anyway.

They are the result of someone elses conscious wish to make bricks. And that seems to be simply an application of the knowledge of how to manipulate the ingredients of a brick.

The bricks are made from physical 'stuff'. So is my brain. But is my mind ? It is, I am given to understand, a collection of neurons (physical stuff) through which is passing electrons; sub atomic particles.

The problem is 'where is the connection between these particles and the consciousness that apparently has no substance'.

INT21
 

Xanatic*

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#23
The box the cat is in would be sealed, after all there's a vial of poisonus gas in there with it. So no dead cat smell untill you open it.
 

rynner2

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#24
The bricks are made from physical 'stuff'. So is my brain. But is my mind ? It is, I am given to understand, a collection of neurons (physical stuff) through which is passing electrons; sub atomic particles.

The problem is 'where is the connection between these particles and the consciousness that apparently has no substance'.

INT21
There is a thread on this if you want to explore the ideas further:
http://forum.forteantimes.com/index.php?threads/what-is-consciousness.9240/
 

Cochise

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#25
My apologies to all. I guess I have no audience here. Anyway, thanks for your interest!
You do have an audience, and I for one think you have a point. But it is extremely hard to do what Fort tried to do, which is record just the evidence ('Just the facts, ma'am) without some sort of preconception. It is as fallacious to assume that all 'dammed' events have hyper-scientific explanations as it is to assume that they can all be explained with current science.

But where I whole-heartedly agree with with you is that some 'rational' explanations are more preposterous than the supernatural ones.
 

dr wu

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#26
My apologies to all. I guess I have no audience here. Anyway, thanks for your interest!
As others have already said I definitely think you have an audience here.....(and that's why I mentioned this place to you after our sojourn at the other board.)
I think you are mostly right about your impressions of Fort but are overstating the case. And we have to look at him in relation to the time period he lived. Science has changed a great deal since then. We have had similar conversations before about 'scientific materialism'...and don't think Fort would be rejecting it; questioning it and keeping it on it's toes- yes, but not trying to remove it's relevance.
I also think you are right that FT magazine has at times 'seemed' to be more on the negative than positive side over the years but that's open to interpretation too.

I'm not sure what the difference is between the c and k written terms of skepticism other than a dictionary change by Webster in the US. Must be something subtle I'm missing. ;)
 
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