Message Boards Message Boards

Science and Meditation

Science and the Powers

Science and the Powers
magick meditation consciousness psychic powers siddhis quantum physics science
Answer
10/14/13 12:15 AM
My apologies if this is already old news, but I find it quite exciting.

It appears that science is getting closer to validating the reality of magick and the powers through meditation.
See http://noetic.org/research/project/double-slit-experiment/

From the abstract (in the PDF download):

"Variables including temperature, vibration, and signal drift were also tested, and no spurious influences were identified. By contrast, factors associated with consciousness, such as meditation experience, electrocortical markers of focused attention, and psychological factors including openness and absorption, significantly correlated in predicted ways with perturbations in the double-slit interference pattern. The results appear to be consistent with a consciousness-related interpretation of the quantum measurement problem."

Well now, if consciousness or mind is responsible for collapsing wave functions, and thus responsible for all gross appearances of the physical world, and mind can train itself, perhaps anything really is possible, including an end to suffering. emoticon

Dean Radin also wrote a book called "Supernormal" where he explains other scientific validations of mostly small but real manifestations of the Powers.

RE: Science and the Powers
crackpottery crankery pseudoscience skepticism
Answer
10/14/13 7:58 AM as a reply to James Phillip Turpin.
It appears that science is getting closer to validating the reality of magick and the powers through meditation.


Nope. The scientific evidence for the paranormal is close to non-existent. That hasn't changed in recent years.

Here is an essay on Dean Radin:

http://www.skepdic.com/essays/radin.html

And some blog posts on the quantum slit experiments explaining what was wrong with them:

http://barenormality.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/attention-double-slit/

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/14/13 11:28 AM as a reply to James Phillip Turpin.
I have noticed significant interest regarding powers and also clashes of supposedly dissolved egos on the interwebs regarding authenticity, attainment, etc.

Powers cannot be intellectualized because they are beyond the boundaries of ordinary logic and science. The big bang itself that we supposedly originate from, is the most puzzling phenomena. If the origin itself is unclear, then how can anything else be really known ? If everything is just a probability, then why rely on scientific possibility ? Maybe science is a tool to suppress our fears of what we dont know and convince us that we do know enough to feel a degree of security.

In my humble opinion, when we create a conscious question we simultaneously also a subconscious answer. It's like a mirror that gets to see anything it wants to on another mirror, but it cannot recognize itself. So nothing is impossible, expect for the ultimate possibility of knowing life itself. This is why in some cultures Enlightenment was so revered as the highest possibility.

Those who are meant to develop powers do so most unexpectedly and seldom ever misuse them. Those who are not pure enough, go on intellectualizing and fantasizing about them.

For someone who has these "powers", it is not a "power" or special. It's as natural as lifting a hand. For someone who does not have an experience, it's futile to even try to understand because thoughts only create more puzzles.

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/14/13 3:51 PM as a reply to Sweet Nothing.
Sweet Nothing:


Powers cannot be intellectualized because they are beyond the boundaries of ordinary logic and science.



Yes, the powers go beyond the realms of sense and reason and right across the boundary to the land of nonsense. Though sadly I cannot help but intellectualise about them as I am firmly mired in impurity.

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/15/13 1:03 PM as a reply to James Phillip Turpin.
Thanks James, that's an interesting article!

ETA: Thanks Sawfoot, those are interesting links as well!

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/15/13 10:08 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
Check out this one on quantum effects of human events: Global Consciousness Project

And Charles Tart's The End of Materialism

Or just get your concentration strong, really strong, say, up to the level of on-demand strong, clear, 3D visualization ability, and play.

Or note that basically everyone I know who really gave magick and the powers a serious go generally backed off later not because there was nothing there but because there was.

Daniel

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/16/13 4:00 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
re: global consciousness

Here is an example, world consciousness altered by Romney acceptance speech!

http://noosphere.princeton.edu/romney.acceptance.html

For a more rational take:

http://www.skepdic.com/globalconsciousness.html

For a review of Charles Tart's book

http://www.skepdic.com/refuge/tart.html


Or just get your concentration strong, really strong, say, up to the level of on-demand strong, clear, 3D visualization ability, and play.

Or note that basically everyone I know who really gave magick and the powers a serious go generally backed off later not because there was nothing there but because there was.


Right, so you get really good at imaging stuff, and then you can imagine stuff?

And if you intentionally or unintentionally induce symptoms of psychosis, it seems like it would be sensible to back off?

I can see that investigation of the powers gives you insight into how your experience is a fabrication and easily disorted, but it seems you can the get the same insight from dropping a ton of acid and afterwards reflecting on how you spent an hour talking to your fridge.

Though if we don't know exactly what happened 13.7 billions years ago*, who knows what is possible! Maybe I can even fly in my dreams!

* According to wikipedia, the universe is 4.354±0.012×10(17) seconds old. Isn't it amazing how accurate that is?

#################

If we are going to have a thread about the powers in the science section (as opposed to the powers and magick section), here is an example of a scientific approach to what (to me) is interesting about the powers:

www.richardwiseman.com/resources/review.pdf‎

Belief in psychic ability and the misattribution hypothesis: a qualitative review.
This paper explores the notion that people who believe in psychic ability possess various psychological attributes that increase the likelihood of them misattributing paranormal causation to experiences that have a normal explanation. The paper discusses the structure and measurement of belief in psychic ability, then reviews the considerable body of work exploring the relationship between belief in psychic ability, and academic performance, intelligence, critical thinking, probability misjudgement and reasoning, measures of fantasy proneness and the propensity to find correspondences in distantly related material. Finally, the paper proposes several possible directions for future research, including: the need to build a multi-causal model of belief; to address the issue of correlation versus causation; to resolve the inconsistent pattern of findings present in many areas; and to develop a more valid, reliable and fine-grained measure of belief in psychic ability.

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/16/13 6:50 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:


Right, so you get really good at imaging stuff, and then you can imagine stuff?

And if you intentionally or unintentionally induce symptoms of psychosis, it seems like it would be sensible to back off?

I can see that investigation of the powers gives you insight into how your experience is a fabrication and easily disorted, but it seems you can the get the same insight from dropping a ton of acid and afterwards reflecting on how you spent an hour talking to your fridge.


That is a perfectly useful point of view most of the time, and if that one works for you at this time, more power to you, as it were. Actually, plenty of people could benefit from more of that point of view, I think, and so, from a pragmatic point of view, it has a lot of merit, in general terms, and I am a pragmatist above all else.

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/16/13 8:03 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
If by "point of view" you are referring to the idea that our conscious experience is a fabrication (produced by our brains) then I agree it is a useful point of view, in so much that it matches the modern scientific perspective on how the mind works (which links nicely with some buddhist ways of thinking about it).

Since I have been linking to the skeptic's dictionary, here is an entry for the pragmatic fallacy.

http://www.skepdic.com/pragmatic.html

"The pragmatic fallacy is committed when one argues that something is true because it works and where 'works' means something like "I'm satisfied with it," "I feel better," "I find it beneficial, meaningful, or significant," or "It explains things for me.""

If believing the world is the way you want it to be, in some cases, where you think it is appropriate, and that makes you happy, then all power to you, too.

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/16/13 9:27 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
lol.. the fallacy fallacy.
Also, although science is great, philosophy in the sense of thinking through basic assumptions and taking responsibility for that is great too, and the problem with lots of scientists in my view is that they don't really think those things through. Just watch a scientist try to do philosophy. Now, that's not to say there isn't a lot of ridiculous stuff in the category 'philosophy', it's just that, there are whole subteranean metaphysical structures that go along with the culture of science which aren't themselves scientific, they're just what scientists believe , take for granted.

This really seems to come out in scientific approaches to consciousness/experience. It's often pretty silly stuff. After all, from a materialist standpoint, we can describe everything 'important' without reference to experience at all-- it's just stimuli in--> moves around through nervous system--> response out. There is absolutely no need to even reference experience when describing the human being materialistically, and we can indeed describe the human that way, and this way of describing humans has its own set of pragmatic consequences.

What's the deal with descriptions and descriptive paradigms after all? Isn't it funny that a descriptive paradigm like materialism can be applied to human beings, by humans, and completely write off the very experience of the humans doing the description? Not to mention of those being described? What's really interesting is that history and cultural anthropology and sociology all have very interesting things to say about the origin and propogation of the basic descriptive paradigms of modern hard sciences and yet many hard scientists don't seem to find that very interesting.

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/16/13 10:02 AM as a reply to . Jake ..
ah, the good old fallacy fallacy fallacy! The point of raising fallacies is they highlight errors in human reasoning, which can be useful in understanding how people can come to have paranormal beliefs.

Examining frameworks is all well and good, but there comes a point when philosophers do philosophy and scientists do science. They are different disciplines with different training, and I wouldn't expect a philosopher to be very good at science.

Whatever its flaws, it seems a much safer bet in trying to understand the nature of ourselves and the universe than "who knows, anything is possible" or "whatever I think works, works" approaches.

I would take issue with your conception of how scientists think about consciousness, that experience is unimportant. This form of extreme materialism might have had some validity in the past (and perhaps is still a view held by many) but it is not recognisable to me as a description of how people think about the mind in the current research of consciousness studies.

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/16/13 11:10 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
fallacy fallacy fallacy fallcy lol lol ;)

I agree, current 'consciousness studies' doesn't rely on the materialist viewpoint. I was just pointing out that it is a logically coherant viewpoint with which to interpret experience, which is absurd, since it doesn't address experience at all, and that is why more than logic and evidence is needed to really approach understanding reality, at least in its full existential dimensions. (I'm using logic and evidence as loose shorthand for science here).

sawfoot:


Whatever its flaws, it seems a much safer bet in trying to understand the nature of ourselves and the universe than "who knows, anything is possible" or "whatever I think works, works" approaches.




Sure, and people do argue like that sometimes, but I think in particular reducing the pragmatic viewpoint to "whatever I think works, works" is silly, and obviously a paper tiger. It just fails to meet that point of view on its merits. At the bottom, what pragmatism is pointing at, is the relationship between representations and experience. It's a theory of truth. It says that representations don't so much 'correspond' with experiential realities; that's not where representations get their 'truth'. More to the point, pragmatism points out that how we choose to represent things comes partly from what we want to do with/about them. I would think given some basic knowledge about contemporary science this epistemological position would be fairly uncontroversial. It's basicaly a way of avoiding dogmatic statements of Truth.

Different descriptive frameworks can be logically incompatible yet functionally both have uses. The old theories of truth would have a problem with that, and would at least assume that our representational systems are gradually converging on the One True and Final Perfect Representation of Everything-- witness contemporary physics. Aside from the fact that this is a mere assumption with absolutely no evidence to back it up, from a phenomenological standpoint it is rigorously demonstrable that it is false, in that it is simply ignorant of the nature of representations. Not to say this assumption doesn't drive some developments in physics. But it also comes with a lot of arrogance and isn't required in the first place in order to look at creating better/different models of physical universe.

The point is, science can actually function to help us understand ourselves and other systems in universe without any metaphysical assumptions at all. It can just be a collection of models and practices. And that would be more pragmatic than constantly, generation to generation, reifying current models and practices as Truth (or as 99% of truth, to be finished soon when we find the higgs boson or whatever the next little peice is.) Thie history of science is full of moments when that expectation of convergence on the final peice of the puzzle to produce a Unified Scientific Theory of Everything shattered against anomolous data, and far from being a failure for science, this seems to result in major breakthroughs. So why not embrace that and let go of the need for that Complete Theory? And dig up the metaphysical artifacts of scientific culture which inhibit the expansion of science's pragmatic power? I guess that's what relaly annoys me about 'skeptics' is they could do a lot more good if they were to debunk the metaphysics of scientific culture than following their obsession with pseudo-science. Maybe we need philosophical skeptics who can debunk the pseudo-philosophy of scientific culture.

Oh and also, there have certainly been some philosophers who were very knowledgeable about math and science; Heidegger was an alternate on the Mathematics PHD dissertation committee and seems to have got on quite well with some physicists in his day, and understood what they were getting at. Why not the other way around? Wouldn't a bit more of a multidiciplinary rennaisance model also be more pragmatic for the sciences and philosophy? Isn't that indeed what some of the leaders of consciousness studies are trying to do?

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/16/13 12:10 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
So why not embrace that and let go of the need for that Complete Theory?


What is the alternative exactly? I really am just not sure what you are saying about that.

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/16/13 1:03 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
Sure, you know, on one level this is just me spouting stuff that I'm triggered to spout by the topic. But on another level, this is actually pretty important I think.

The question is:
What's wrong with having a bunch of models used in different applications? Why would we even want One Single Model? Especially now that we are getting to know that the way models/maps/representations work is by selectively highlighting aspects of things and leaving lots of stuff out-- that's how they work. So how could we have One True Model of Everything?

Maps are a good example. For one use we need a topo map, for another, a political map, and so on. We don't think "oh if only there were One Correct Ultimate Map, then we would never have to switch maps!". It's just quit epractical to use different kinds of maps (of the same territory) for different applications.

On a deeper level, this ties in with practice and awakening (for me anyhow). That's because in my experience, I notice there is an urge in me to have a coherant narrative about my life, and a coherant model of what I am and how I fit with everything. But there's a built in confound with this: the nature of maps, models and stories is to leave things out, highlight and emphasize other things, etc. As the process of awakening or whatever you want to call it deepens, this urge towards having everything identified and pinned down lessens. From what I can tell that's because experience, and whatever I am prior to those representations (stories, models, etc), just by nature exceeds those representations and so as there is greater clarity about what I am/this is, phenomenological clarity in lived experience, the less hold stories, models and identifications has on the flow of experience and the greater the sense of liberation.

I think about this (model it) in terms of experience having two channels, an impressionistic-impulsive channel of 'raw' impressions/responses and layers of collating functions that use perceptual labeling and narratives to collate past experience and bring it to bare on the present and anticipate the future. There is nothing wrong with this collating activity as such as it clearly brings structure to the flow of impressions and impulses and makes development (in the conventional sense) possible-- but experiencing oneself as actually existing within the projections of that collating activity is a) simply untrue, existentially and b) but one phase of development, the phase in which one develops a quasi-stable fixed identity and worldview. It is more satisfying for me at this time to deepen the experience of life to a more inclusive and open mode that includes the flow of impressions and impulses as they arise, as after all, all of the representational collating activity of percetual labeling and narrativizing is actually taking place as part of this impressionistic/impulsive flow. This obviously has implications for things like identity, worldview, and the experience of being a fixed experiencer/agent who is having experiences and carrying out actions. That model doesn't reality check against the flow of impressions and impulses.

But I wouldn't claim that this model is "true" of experience, rather, it is useful given how I'm relating to experience right now, and the simple fact that it seems that I am currently motivated to experience life outside the confines of maps and models (without rejecting maps and models) and this model helps me to collate the experiences of being-beyond-models.

Also, I notice that lots of negative emotions and bad actions arise from clinging to models about who I am and who you are and how things are and how things should be. So living beyond models is important to me in that it is immediately validated in my experience and relationships with positive feedback.

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/16/13 6:08 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
whatever I am prior to those representations (stories, models, etc)


Are you sure that there is something beneath the stories? whatever that thing is, what is fundamentally different about it compared to the stories?

I think about this (model it) in terms of experience having two channels, an impressionistic-impulsive channel of 'raw' impressions/responses and layers of collating functions that use perceptual labeling and narratives to collate past experience and bring it to bare on the present and anticipate the future.


Are you sure that the 'raw' channel really exists? Where is it? Point to it! What are you pointing to?? What is that object that you have labeled??

There is no consciousness/observation/experiencing except for the labels and definitions. I also don't think it is possible to dis-identify from the thoughts/collations. All you can do is have meta-collations which are basically the same as collations.

I think it is a pretty basic assumption here in contemplation land that there is a possibility for non-interpreting awareness or something like that. I really don't buy it anymore. That is why I asked what the alternative to a "theory of everything" is, because I think the "alternative" is just more of the same.

In my analysis "non-interpreting awareness" is just a perfectly unachievable goal made up by "the collations" to insure their continuity. As long as you have this thing which is forever beyond the collations (forever beyond you) they (you) are assured continued attempts to achieve it.

It is more satisfying for me at this time to deepen the experience of life to a more inclusive and open mode


Are you capable of analyzing what makes it more satisfying? Also are you sure that it is more satisfying?

edit: never mind i dont really know if this is true at all, i think i was just grumpy

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/16/13 4:56 PM as a reply to Adam . ..
We have gone a bit off topic, but anyway, I was going to say to just say to Jake that science does involve multiple maps appropriate for different circumstances - physics, molecular biology, biochemistry, biology, ecology, psychology etc.... There isn't One Theory. And I would also wonder if science would really be much better if scientists took more notice of philosophers. My impression is that in the early days of the field (e.g. consciousness studies) philosophers can be useful, but as the science gets stronger the role of philosophy gets marginalised (for a more ancient example, the change of natural philosophy to natural science).

re Adam,

The idea of direct perception, a raw channel that allows us to experience reality directly, is popular in contemplation land as you note (such as in MCTemoticon, but always struck me as a bit nuts - since everything we experience is a fabrication produced by a brain no perception is direct - it is always mediated (and in buddhist speak, dependently arisen). But there are more sensible ways to think about it. In philosophy land, you can distinguish between phenomenal consciousness and access consciousness - and what you are saying is that there is no phenomenal consciousness - there is only access consciousness. This is a tenable position (I think somebody like Daniel Dennett would agree), though saying both occur is perhaps a more popular view (which I would ascribe to). And trying to distinguish between the two (such as showing evidence for phenomenal consciousness in the absence of access consciousness) and understand the relationship is one of the big challenges in consciousness studies. And trying to understand the difference (and our sense of I) in these aspects of our subjective experience (if there is a difference) is one of the big problems in the contemplative path.

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/17/13 9:08 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
Adam and Sawfoot, I am going to try to make a concise response lol! Not my strong suit ;) Meanwhile, I can relate to alot of what you both seem to be saying. Sorry the conversation has taken a tangent. I'll work on a concise reply.

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/18/13 5:02 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
by direct perception, part of what is meant is that

a) rather than taking mental impressions of other sensations as being the same as the sensation that preceeded it, each thing, meaning the sensation and the mental impression, are known to be discrete phenomena that are interwoven rapidly

b) that rather than the content of thought being known without much conscious experience of the numerous, complex, discrete sensations that make up that content, those discrete sensations are perceived as clear sensate phenomena

c) rather than it seeming that some sensations perceive other sensations, the clear and intrinsic comprehension of sensations is known by themselves, where they are, and not by some illusion of certain sensations being privileged with special perceptive powers

it is still true that there is significant pre-processing before the sensations arise, as you point out, but insight practice concerns itself with the realm of sensate experience, so the level you have concerns about is one extrapolated from that sensate level to underlie it

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/18/13 10:05 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Yes, that covers that very concisely!

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/27/13 12:27 AM as a reply to . Jake ..
Jake:

Different descriptive frameworks can be logically incompatible yet functionally both have uses. The old theories of truth would have a problem with that, and would at least assume that our representational systems are gradually converging on the One True and Final Perfect Representation of Everything-- witness contemporary physics. Aside from the fact that this is a mere assumption with absolutely no evidence to back it up, from a phenomenological standpoint it is rigorously demonstrable that it is false, in that it is simply ignorant of the nature of representations. Not to say this assumption doesn't drive some developments in physics. But it also comes with a lot of arrogance and isn't required in the first place in order to look at creating better/different models of physical universe.

The point is, science can actually function to help us understand ourselves and other systems in universe without any metaphysical assumptions at all. It can just be a collection of models and practices. And that would be more pragmatic than constantly, generation to generation, reifying current models and practices as Truth (or as 99% of truth, to be finished soon when we find the higgs boson or whatever the next little peice is.) Thie history of science is full of moments when that expectation of convergence on the final peice of the puzzle to produce a Unified Scientific Theory of Everything shattered against anomolous data, and far from being a failure for science, this seems to result in major breakthroughs.


Yes, well articulated!

Science is a beautiful thing. I myself have worked for years as a science editor/writer, but I came from the humanities, scholastically speaking, and am continually amazed at the hardening off of contingent, scientific "truth-value" to Truth by persons who purport to understand science. The scientific method is beautiful because it both insists on verification of sense data and remains open to new, contrary data--no matter what the results of the verification are. But because it is the only discipline that is defined by its method (literary studies has numerous methods), some of its zealous fans make like science has forgotten its own constructed-ness.

There is no such thing as a fact; after all, facts--or, more properly, scientific sense data--never speak for themselves. To become a model, theory, or new hypothesis, they must be interpreted--by humans wielding language and appealing to peer reviewers for community consensus around a contingent conclusion. The beauty of the scientific method is that it acknowledges and builds into its "steps" its own otherwise self-swamping limitations. Because it chases ever-moving truth-value--contingent theories--it never settles for closure. Its very continuity as a closed system depends on what remains beyond its powers of explanation. Why do so many science-minded people these days understand the scientific method so poorly? They seldom acknowledge, for starters, that the scientific method is a method, a human invention made of steps that are taken on faith (ie, pragmatism) to work. And they do work for the circumscribed ends for which humans invented them. . . . .

In the humanities, we were fond of saying, "Science is inscribed in philosophy, which is inscribed in language." For this reason, many involved in the New Physics have started to study linguistics, semiotics, and that sort of representation "itself" model, which you see I must bracket off in quotations marks.

Remember Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle and Godel's Incompleteness Theorem? It's turtles all the way down.

This is not to say any particular phenomenon is "real" or "imaginary." It is to say, perhaps it is "safest" to remain open. Perhaps it is best, if coming from a scientific POV, to speak the truth: "We don't know."

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/27/13 7:01 AM as a reply to Jenny.
Jen Pearly:


Whatever individual scientists might believe in regard to the truth of their models, I think a better generalisation is that they work on the assumption that reality exists independently from our knowledge of it - the assumption of realism. There are lots of discussions amongst philosophers of science on the extent of which scientific models of reality are true - for example, do atoms "exist"? This is all very interesting.

Jen Pearly:


Remember Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle and Godel's Incompleteness Theorem? It's turtles all the way down.



I really no have clue what these three things have in common and what point you are trying to make here. Could you explain?

Jen Pearly:

This is not to say any particular phenomenon is "real" or "imaginary." It is to say, perhaps it is "safest" to remain open. Perhaps it is best, if coming from a scientific POV, to speak the truth: "We don't know."


Jen, do you think fairies are "real"? There recently has been some new scientific proof which I have posted below.

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/4835855

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/23/13 8:35 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:


Or note that basically everyone I know who really gave magick and the powers a serious go generally backed off later not because there was nothing there but because there was.

Daniel


Daniel you often refer to powers in this way. Can you be upfront and say what you mean please?

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/24/13 3:08 AM as a reply to This Good Self.
CCC,

Daniel has written about his personal experience of the powers in some detail.

Along with the other statements in his post it seemed pretty clear to me his intended meaning - another line of evidence in support of a claim that the powers are "real" (i.e. something beyond just misattributions of causality, delusional and confused thinking, hallucinations and so on).

But it struck me as an odd thing to say, in that nobody doubts that people have experiences to which they attribute paranormal explanations. Further, it is hard to doubt that those experiences and the use of those explanations are more likely the stronger your belief in the paranormal and your tendency to attribute those explanations. Furthermore, certain practices make those experiences more likely. And this indicates what? People who seek to attribute paranormal explanations to their experiences and have a strong desire to have those experiences have experiences to which they attribute paranormal explanations to.

And I responded already to other lines of evidence - "if you get good at visualising you can visualise stuff", and the two links.

Just because people report experiences of past lives doesn't make it true that reincarnation exists.
Just because people report experiences of being abducted by aliens it doesn't make it true that aliens have visited the earth and abducted humans.
Just because people report experiences of talking to God doesn't make it true that God exists.
etc...

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/24/13 5:48 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
Again, it is extremely comforting to think that way, and many people do to good effect. I would actually recommend it to most people most of the time, and it apparently is very comforting and helpful for you also, so my doing anything to change it would seem premature and unhelpful.

That said, there are sets of experiences that it is very, very hard for even a skeptical scientist/engineer/doctor type, such as myself, to honestly dismiss in that sort of way and have it make any sense at all.

That said, sense is not always what is most important to people, with a seemingly rational/mechanical/materialistic/scientistic universe being preferred by many to one that is, well, more complex than that.

Said another way, it is viscerally disquieting for many to embrace the possibility that things could be vastly different than the way they were brought up to believe they were, and extremely compelling to habitually and conveniently rationalize all sorts of things as just coincidence, hallucination, false-association, and the like.

There are aspects of my own memories that temp me to contract, forget, and rationalize in similar ways, a temptation I resist, as, unlike you, who feels that the height of sanity is to stay on the what might be termed the straight and narrow, I have slowly and reluctantly come to the opposite conclusion, meaning that I feel that the way to real understanding is to be willing to stretch in ways that are not always so neat, tidy, and reassuring when overwhelming data accumulated across decades points that way.

As Brother Bayes said, enough good data will always swamp bad prior assumptions.

Have you seriously spent any time playing with the powers or had them arise spontaneously?

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/24/13 8:01 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Said another way, it is viscerally disquieting for many to embrace the possibility that things could be vastly different than the way they were brought up to believe they were, and extremely compelling to habitually and conveniently rationalize all sorts of things as just coincidence, hallucination, false-association, and the like.

There are aspects of my own memories that temp me to contract, forget, and rationalize in similar ways, a temptation I resist, as, unlike you, who feels that the height of sanity is to stay on the what might be termed the straight and narrow, I have slowly and reluctantly come to the opposite conclusion, meaning that I feel that the way to real understanding is to be willing to stretch in ways that are not always so neat, tidy, and reassuring when overwhelming data accumulated across decades points that way.

As Brother Bayes said, enough good data will always swamp bad prior assumptions.
+1

Disquieting ---> then willing to stretch (argh) ----> understanding ---> finally, just more stuff

(pali for "stuff": "dhammas", not glorified, not nihilistic).

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/24/13 9:02 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
While you might think of yourself as skeptical scientist/engineer/doctor type, the impression I often get is more like a religious type (for example, writing books about the true teachings of the Buddha, and dismissing scientific explanations).

But there are plenty of skeptical scientist/engineer/doctor types who have a strong belief in God and have had experiences of God which confirms their belief in God. Are you willing to stretch the idea that God exists? Do you discount the experiences of others but privilege your own?

In answer to your question, when I was young, probably around aged 11 or 12, I was quite interested in the occult and the paranormal. I had a few experiences which I recall that at the time I thought were statistically very unlikely, though they didn't replicate. And then as I grew up.

More recently, I have had some experiences which seemed akin to what I have seen described as "seeing with eyelids shut". It seemed pretty obvious to me afterwards that my conscious experience was providing me with faulty information about the closure state of my eyelids.

Because my perceptual experience is fallible! My memories are fallible! I am not a reliable indicator of the state of the world! I am prone to cognitive distortion!

I could also say to you that it is comforting for you (and others) to think that way about the powers, though I wouldn't recommend it to most people (as that road can lead to mental illness), and while my attempts to challenge it might be premature I think they might be helpful....So your attitude comes across as patronizing, as if you are in command of the "truth" and one day, if I am open and brave enough, one day I will see it like you do. Though of course, you probably could level similar charges at me...

Obviously you haven't described all your experiences of the powers, but from what you have written about them (and of others) I do find it easy to dismiss them, though some experiences will be easier to dismiss than others. So you resist the temptation to rationalize your experiences, but give into the extremely compelling temptation to posit paranormal explanations for them. You have decades of data in which you use paranormal explanations to explain, rather than rational explanations. And when new data comes in, your prior assumptions lead you to interpret them in a certain way.

What I would like to ask is what would it take for you to falsify your belief in the powers? Is that even possible?

And just one more point, how can the rational/mechanical/materialistic/scientistic universe be any more complex? That universe is complex beyond comprehension! The complexity of a single brain alone is staggering. That universe is truly amazing and wondrous. Why do you need to trivialize it? What I perceive in those that do this is an inability or unwillingness to try and understand it, which allows it to be dismissed and ignored. It is much easier, for example, to say that we haven't the first idea how consciousness works, and carry on with your own views about it, than actually spending the time and effort to understand the huge literature that does point to an understanding.

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/24/13 1:16 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
Hello All,

Apologies in advance for what will turn out no doubt to be a long, rambling, and mostly incoherent first post. emoticon

Just to introduce myself, with as brief a history as possible to contextualise my post below, my name is manjit, i live in the UK, am 35 years old. Since I can remember (3 or 4?) I have been obssessed with mysticism, god, ultimate reality, "gurus", the paranormal etc. I have experienced, since that age, many varieties of ecstasies, synchronicities, insights etc In my teens I more or less mastered lucid dreamining (astral projection) and had many "adventures" in that realm. I also followed for several years in my late teens & very early 20s, most intensely, an indian religous group called "radhasoami" which is based essentially around guru-bhakti & meditation on the "inner sound" (as is currently being discussed in some currently active threads here). Though I never actually got initiated into the practice as I was too young - I nevertheless had many profound & deep experiences in that group. In my early 20s I experienced a profound "dark night" (to contextualise, this is not the dark night as defined by Daniel....I believe there are multiple levels of "dark night") which was triggered to some extent by my inability to discern objectively verifiable information in my OBE states, and also by reading the works of Baba Faqir Chand, a remarkably, beautifully honest guru in the Radhasoami tradition which destroyed the mythos of that group for me. Some years later, I met with an "advaita" guy locally which pushed me into the so called neo-pop "advaita realisation" state, but concurrently with a truely remarkable set of synchronicities and spontaneous kundalini awakening. Over the years, I have come to find and feel all this is truely worthless and not at all how "seekers" imagine it to be. My current state is one of complete unknowing, and ignorance, simulatenous with a deep & profound understanding of our reality and multi-dimensional beings. Which of course is paradoxical, which is the very nature of this entire pursuit. emoticon

I miss out in the above far more than I include, of course. More pertinent to my post here; I have read Daniel's MCTB twice, and have been reading posts here for some 3 or 4 years, more or less daily. I have also, please excuse the appearance of arrogance (it *really* isn't, honest emoticon, studied to some exceptional depth all known schools of mysticism, the occult, science & all kinds of research into the interface between physical reality and so called "paranormal" and mystical phenomena.

At this point I would like to add, Daniel, if you've got this far - I very much admire and respect your character and temprament as demonstrated in your interactions on this forum. I find it *genuinely& admirable - I've been around the internet forum block (mostly a lurker, as here - except on one forum many years ago) and you really are exceptional in that way. Personally, I find it reveals far more than peoples claims to "power" or "shakti" or whatever which so many are enamoured of in this realm.

Annnnnyways, after years of lurking, over several days of reading the comments by dear Sawfoot, I felt an impulse to reply, today.

Hi Sawfoot! emoticon

For the last several years I have found it increasingly & exceptionally hard to express my own insights (hence I just enjoy reading those of others emoticon, so please excuse my rambling style - I hope that something of the knowledge base I'm coming from gets through

To begin, my life could be stated as; Extreme believer > Extreme Sceptic > simple knowledge of reality as it is (which happens to be saturated with the possibility of "powers" as they've been called here).

I can't see the OP post, but I believe he states with a priori confidence in the "reality" of "powers"? Your several responses have the appearance (I can't read minds so may be wrong emoticon of being mildly scornful & denigrating of such "beliefs"?

Let me state here, I have read (or audio booked) the majority of works, in full, by Dawkins, Dennett, Sam Harris, Hitchins, Susan Blackmore, Michael Shermer, the Churchlands, etc as well as read their numerous ad hoc articles (and those of many, many other so called "sceptics" and consciousness researchers such as Hyman, David Marks, Geller etc etc).

I have also, prior to reading the above, dabbled in Occult practices specifically geared at manipulating physical reality such as sigil & chaos magic, trance work etc etc In every single instance, I never used any of these for personal gain, but for confirming to myself the reality or not of such things.

I've already written so much, I'm also tempted to just write at this point that NONE of these guys & galls have a clue what they're talking about - but that would be incredibly self-indulgent as so far I've only talked about ME, ME, ME
emoticon

Okay, I would suggest reading all the works of Dean Radin - not JUST the online, fundamentalist materialistic reductionist debunking of him - his work is masterful and supported by a mass of referenced data that the "skepdic" site just seems like a joke in comparison. Really, I've been all round the block and the online militant materialist brigade is gettting more and more boring & utterly irrelevant, yet sinister by the day.

Then read all 3 volumes by Chris Carter called "science and the....". Also read Irreducible Mind.

If you could stomach something a bit more creative, but not quite restricted to the extremely narrow band of reality as viewed through the lens of pre-twentieth century science (there is nothing in contemporary science which excludes the possibility of "powers" - in fact, as many great physicists have said - not psychologists and media darlings like the vast majority of vocal materialists today - psychic powers and the like seem quite *likely*). read perhaps something like "the paranormal & the trickster" to really understand something of what's going on here, and why mainstream media and society will never accept or acknowledge the scientifically proven (to a degree more certain than the beneficial effects of Aspirin, for eg) reality of these "powers".

For consciousness studies, perhaps study the research and data of Wilder Penfielf & John Eccles - the greatest of neuro-scientists.

Further, there are numerous, official statements from sceptics like Hyman, Blackmore and many others where they have openly agreed that to any *normal* standards of science, "powers" have been "proven". Seriously, they're hiddin in plain site.

Then look into why militant sceptic organisation CSICOP changed their name to just CSI - in such utter, unacknowledged disgrace (astrology being proven by their own scientific reasearch, then subsequent manipulation of data to hide their own evidence of such "woo") - sadly, the entire field of militant materialism and scepticism is rife with such deplorable distortions. PS - I have never had any interest, and am personally entirely dismissive of astrology and like - but you can't argue with the "evidence", but you can ignore it like me in this case. emoticon

One of my favourite subjects is the NDE - the profound nature of these experiences has, in my opinion, made a complete & utter mockery of all the numerous (to this very day......rats have a burst of electricity prior to death - NDE's explained!! Hehehe) sceptical arguments against it. It's an extremely fascinating area.

To clarify, I don't personally have any "belief" in anything, and although extremely interested in NDEs (I have had numerous experiences myself, during my kundalini phases, identical to those described) - I am personally extremely wary of taking the narrative of these experiences literally - personally I think reality will be found to be more strange & incomprehensible than we could possibly imagine....seriously, I simply cannot put into words the potentiality and possibilities.....though I am confident the current materialistic reductionist model is laughably incomplete.

I could go into the numerous experiences and synchronicities and experiences with occult & meditation I have had, or those of a more famous nature, but this post could go on for years and years.

I understand where you're coming from - truely, probably more than you will believe - I've been there, even to the point of denying & questioning my own personal unexplicable experiences. But you get to the point where you realise the so-called "rational" explanations become more ridiculous than the "woo woo" ones emoticon.

There are archetypes and "powers" working through this whole sceptic vs "believer" world views debate going on, that can only be grasped at very deep levels

I am a nobody here (or indeed anywhere emoticon, so of course take everything written with a large pinch of salt - but at least consider there may be things far more mysterious than we can imagine out there - it would be exceptionally arrogant and ignorant not to do so.

I hope you take this post in the good nature spirit they were intended.

Deep bows,

Manjit

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/24/13 1:20 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Dear Pawel,

There are surface realities, and then there are actual realities.

The million dollar randi challenge is a surface appearance. Dig deeper, there's nothing there. Such things as this much , much publicised million dollar challenge are, perhaps, there for a purpose.

Randi & his challenge, to those who actually take the time to dig deeper, is a confirmed fraud and as trustworthy as a chocolate fire-guard.

Peace,

Manjit

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/24/13 11:52 AM as a reply to James Phillip Turpin.
@Sawfoot
What about this?

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/24/13 1:29 PM as a reply to M N.
Mario Nistri:
@Sawfoot
What about this?


What about it? I am not sure what kind of response you were expecting? Oh wow, Dr. Konstantin Korotkov, professor of physics at St. Petersburg State Technical University, has finally succeeded where so many have failed! Conclusive scientific proof in the paranormal!!

But, in the unlikely event that you are interested:

http://skepdic.com/kirlian.html

I would be more interested to hear in your experience of the powers...

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/24/13 1:47 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
Hi manjit d!

Nice to hear from you.

I agree reality is more weird than we can possibly imagine! The world which we live in is truly an amazing place.

sawfoot

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/24/13 2:03 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:
Mario Nistri:
@Sawfoot
What about this?


What about it? I am not sure what kind of response you were expecting? Oh wow, Dr. Konstantin Korotkov, professor of physics at St. Petersburg State Technical University, has finally succeeded where so many have failed! Conclusive scientific proof in the paranormal!!

But, in the unlikely event that you are interested:

http://skepdic.com/kirlian.html

I would be more interested to hear in your experience of the powers...


The other experiment is much more interesting.

I'm not in the mood to try to convince you, the discussion were someone try give some evidence that these thing are real and you try to dismiss them as whatever delusion is clearly not productive.

The point is that I don't see any way to explain the other experiment's findings with any scientific explanation, so I thought it might be interesting to bring it to your attention.

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/24/13 2:47 PM as a reply to M N.
Oh, so the first guy was a crackpot, but the second one is the real deal...

Are you are in the mood to try really try and find a scientific explanation for the other experiment's findings? Here you go:

http://www.skepdic.com/pear.html

In what sense is pointing out that there isn't any good scientific evidence for the paranormal not productive? Because there is no way you could be convinced that isn't "real", no matter what evidence you had that you were delusional?

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/24/13 5:26 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
I'll read that later... however, to theother question: you were asking for my experience, not for scientific evidence.

Because there is no way you could be convinced that isn't "real", no matter what evidence you had that you were delusional?

What evidence did you had that I was delusional?

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/25/13 7:22 AM as a reply to M N.
Mario Nistri:
I'll read that later... however, to the other question: you were asking for my experience, not for scientific evidence.

Because there is no way you could be convinced that isn't "real", no matter what evidence you had that you were delusional?

What evidence did you had that I was delusional?


No direct evidence. What evidence do you have that your belief in the paranormal isn't a delusion?

I am curious: how certain are you that of all the experiences you have had to which you ascribe paranormal explanations to might have more rational explanations? Some of them? None of them?

I think an interesting question is this. Let's say you had 10 experiences for which you couldn't find any rational explanation for. While on their own they might not be convincing, adding them together, you find them convincing that the paranormal is "real", and that the materialist worldview is really missing out on something.

Then, one by one, you find out rational explanations for those phenomena. Perhaps the science improves and what once was mysterious no longer is. Or you just get some new information, or a better explanation. Gradually, one by one, they all get explained, except one is now left unexplained. At what point do you begin to think that perhaps this also could be explained in a rational way? At what point would you start to doubt your belief that materialist explanations could not explain all these phenomena?

RE: Science and the Powers
Answer
10/24/13 5:46 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
Red that; I found two arguments in the link you gave;
1)that the random generators maybe were not random; thiswould mean something only if the experiments were only in one direction, while both upper and lower avarages were tried, and with lots of different machines.
2)that there was a someone responsable for a lot of the positive hits, and if you take that off, then it's not statisically relevant This means that they found someone who was better at influencing results than others and that has results even more impressive.