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34% believe in UFO's I would have thought the number would have been higher. Our own gov had a ufo fly over him and others when the ufo's appeared in phoenix back in the mid nineties. The air force stated they were dropping flares that night; most bought it after all our air force would not lie to us.

The ultimate in arrogance to think we are alone in this universe. About the same as religion thinking the earth was the center of the universe or some believing they are the chosen people of god.

Some suggest the earth is a master’s thesis of a Being on an advanced planet so once in awhile they come down and check things out. When we look at human behavior in wash dc I suspect we are more of a high school project of a giddy teenager on another planet.

"Why be snarky about ESP, which has strong experimental support and is accepted by 48% of the public, including a majority of college-educated persons?"

It's extremely difficult for people to gain in-depth knowledge of any field. People have a tendency to look for simplifying narratives and the "skeptics" simply get all of the air time so very few really take the time to study the evidence. William James summed it up perfectly:

"Round about the accredited and orderly facts of every science there ever floats a sort of dust-cloud of exceptional observations, of occurrences minute and irregular and seldom met with, which it always proves more easy to ignore than to attend to... Anyone will renovate his science who will steadily look after the irregular phenomena, and when science is renewed, its new formulas often have more of the voice of the exceptions in them than of what were supposed to be the rules."

Michael wrote:

"Still, even in these conditions, half the country accepts ESP. That's kind of cool, don't you think?"

Kind of...half your country believes dubious things about Iraq and Creationism as well, so it depends on which half we're talking about...
;)

Kind regards,
Greg

Sorry to post off topic Michael - I sent an email a few days ago regarding your 'Hungry Ghosts' essay. Could you let me know if you received it (and if so get back to me on my request), as I would like to get the Darklore website up and running ASAP. Cheers.

Kind regards,
Greg

The "skeptics" have tried to correlate high education and "superior rationality" with "anti-paranormal" and "anti-God" beliefs. In their view, an educated, mature and rational person shouldn't believe in God, ESP, Ufos, etc.

But polls like that, show how the skeptics "shouldn't be believe this or that rhetoric" is far from reality. In my experience, many scientists believe in paranormal phenomena, but they don't like to talk about it because they see that stuff as not scientific.

The same apply to the belief in God. Most skeptics (as atheists) try to show how a rational and educated people shouldn't believe in God. However, fact is that many well educated people and great thinkers believe in God. In fact, the renowned philosopher of religion and hardcore ex-atheist Antony Flew, has wrote a book about how he changed his mind and why he now believes in God. The book is titled "There is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind" ann you can get it in amazon. (Another ex-atheist, Alister E. McGrath, has written some good books rebutting Richard Dawkins arguments against God and religion).

So, more educated people can have good reasons (scientific, philosophical, etc.) to believe in paranormal phenomena and, in some cases, also in God. (Personally, I'm agnostic...)

Sorry if my english is not good...

Luis

Very interesting poll. Thanks for the post!

I wonder if the results in favor of paranormal belief would not be higher if words like 'rational' have not been so severely hijacked. I can recall way too many times that I have heard words like that being used as a synonym for 'materialist'. For instance; "I don't believe in ___ because I am rationalist." My own college experience changed quite drastically over the years. When I first began my studies I was gushed over for being an atheist/philosophical materialist. Towards the end, when my views changed quite drastically and I began to seriously question those assumptions, many professors began to look at me in a less than favorable light. However, I did run into many people in the same boat. They began their education with the assumption that modern science had disproved anything to do with ESP or spirituality only to have changed their minds through rational analysis. At least some of us were more open to the possibility. And although there were a few sympathetic professors, many students still scoffed during certain class discussions.

It sort of reminds me of when the Dalai Lama was scheduled to speak to a group of neuroscientists at the Society of Neuroscience. A petition went around stating the following: 'it is ironic for neuroscientists to provide a forum for and, with it, implicit endorsement of a religious leader whose legitimacy relies on reincarnation, a doctrine against the very foundation of neuroscience. The present Dalai Lama explicitly claims the separation of mind and body, which is essential to the recognition of the Dalai Lama as both a religious and a political leader.' Can you spot the assumptions?
As it turns out, many suspect the Chinese had a hand in promoting the protest for political reasons. Wow. I guess that is going way off topic.
The point being, there are many highly educated people who accept things outside of the materialist’s assumptions. I suspect that once these basic tenants are recognized just for what they are, assumptions, that number may rise further in the spheres of intelligent and educated people.

Greg,

I've now sent a reply to your email. Your message had been routed into my spam folder for some reason.

Michael,

I came across your blog post here on Psychic Detective and I couldn't post a reply message there since it is closed. However, you might be interested to read on a post here where I described on how the Laws of Physics, disallow such thing as paranormal phenomena to take place. Simply, it means that it doesn't exist in the realm of the physical (material) world.

Still, even in these conditions, half the country accepts ESP. That's kind of cool, don't you think?

Do you think that ESP is a physical phenomena? If you think it is, then all physical phenomena must abide by the laws of Physics. If it is a physical phenomena, then it violates the know laws that we know. See, Physicist Richard Feynman investigation of spoon-bender psychic Uri Geller below:

A Visit With Uri Geller

Dear Falafulu Fisi, are you aware that there are physicists, like Nobel Prize winner Brian Josephson, that have no problem with ESP and the paranormal? I could say a lot more about the Laws of Physics NOT disallowing paranormal phenomena, since I am a physicist myself, but that would take us far beyond the post topic, so I rather leave it at that.

Ulysses said...
Nobel Prize winner Brian Josephson

Are you appealing to authority here? As you know that a Nobel Prize physicist's opinion is irrelevant to the verification of the laws of Physics itself. Physics verifies itself independent of the inventor. Eg, Einstein thought the Universe was static, would you have to go with his opinion because the great Nobel Laureate scientist say so? Nope, because the great scientist was not the creator of the laws of physics, he was simply an observer or inventor of those laws. They were there long before Einstein was even born, and they were still here long after he's gone. Hubble proved that Einstein was wrong in that the Universe is expanding. So, my point is, Physics will reveal or validate itself with or without a human authority as you seem to be endorsing.

Ulysses said...
I could say a lot more about the Laws of Physics NOT disallowing paranormal phenomena

Please give an example?

Ulysses, in your website it quoted this:

The spirit world is real. This is the dimension where spirits dwell.

Could you please define what you mean by real in terms of spirit world? What is your definition of dimension?

I don't think Ulysses was appealing to authority (although I do not claim to speak on anyone’s behalf). Just read the content of his comment. He was merely pointing out the fact that there are other people who are well versed in the knowledge of physics that would disagree with your statement. He was not saying that: If B claims that A is true, And If B is in a position of authority, Then A is True. But if we are on the topic of logic, then your example of Uri Geller is nothing more than an off topic and poor straw man argument.
A quick google of your name shows that you have been an active debater on some of the blogs during the last year. I applaud that. However, you will have to forgive me if I am somewhat suspicious of anyone coming out of the gates with position of absolution in regards to any scientific stance. The scientific method rarely allows for a fixed position. Your example of Einstein and the Hubble telescope was one out of thousands of examples of how dynamic the study of science really is.

Cheers

> The ultimate in arrogance to think we are
> alone in this universe.

I think many people who do not believe in UFOs do in fact believe in life on other planets. They just believe it hasn't come here yet.

As Jess correctly mentioned, I am not appealing to authority --quite the opposite. My point is that a physicist, like anyone else, can have an opinion about something and it should not come as a surprise that we find physicists with opposing opinions about the paranormal. Being a researcher or a professor in physics does not necessarily qualify someone as an expert in anomalous phenomena. Regarding my website, please take a look at the Afterlife section where I try to explain the essence of the Survival Hypothesis under the current paradigms of physics and science, by suggesting that if we were to ask the question “what survives”, we would have to accept that “whatever” survives, i.e. the self or the personality core with its memory and awareness, it exists in a non-physical state, meaning that it exists in a dimension beyond the 3D world known to physics today and/or they consist of a field of subtle energy not yet recognized by the physical sciences. But if tomorrow the reality of a multidimensional universe is accepted in physics or a new form of “subtle” energy is discovered in physics, then there would be no need to hypothesize the non-physicality of the surviving self. The way I see it, our current limitations to understand survival and the paranormal are due to the limitations of the scientific method under the current reductionist-materialist paradigm, and these limitation could be easily overcome if/when the scientific community at large decides that it’s time for yet another scientific revolution.

Ironic that Mind Hacks moderates their blog comments!! You really have to be a hacker to get "liminality" on the web!!! I'm already banned from scienceblogs through SEED (thanks to Professor PZ Myers, another Minnesota-based SEED blogger who has recently been sued for blog libel!).

Anyway George P. Hansen stated in our email correspondance that I had achieved a state of "liminality" and if I remember correctly I had informed this blog about his book which I, myself, discovered after finding the new book on David Hume (at a used bookstore).

But then someone posted on my blogbook -- http://mothershiplanding.blogspot.com. Hansen's definition of liminality. Nevertheless it's a term from anthropology which is very much like parapsychology. As I replied -- I.M. Lewis studied altered states of consciousness for healing and Lewis argued they were made due to social conditions -- mainly oppression of females. So when anthropologist Paul Stoller accidently achieved paranormal powers after doing participant observation anthropology in Africa, I.M. Lewis dismissed him as a crackpot. So much for "liminality."

Oliver Sack's new "Musciophilia" book relies on the music and trance research which gives a universal process to create paranormal powers. In the Bushmen culture, representing 90% of modern humanity, the men dance while the women sing. The ultrasound harmonics (of very precise singing) creates heat that ionizes the serotonin so that it can bypass the blood brain barrier, transducted through the right-brain vagus nerve.

This creates an internal climax for males -- which is also how females regularly climax. After continual ionization then the whole endocrine system gets really hot (thymus, kidneys) and then turns into electromagnetic fields (chi, prana) for healing powers. The pineal gland then gets ionizes create light that can be shot outside the body -- this is the same as spirit exorcism.

Light that is not harmonized (synchronized) manifests in the body as electrochemical blockages -- damaging the organs. The energy in the body cycles every two hours, per organ, as per the circadian cycle that is now resonated with the moon and sun through the pineal gland connection that has been made via natural resonance overtones.

This process relies on complimentary opposites as the inherent model for reality -- so the formless awareness or pure consciousness is FEMALE (most of Nature does not need males). Western science relies on symmetrical analysis, so that the left-brain is cut off from the right-brain transformation of the body's electrochemicals.

After enough practice then the body fills with electromagnetic energy and no food is needed (this is called "bigu" and chemistry professor Rustom Roy held a conference on "bigu" -- a peer-reviewed academic article documented that people can go months without food and yet not lose weight or energy).

Here's a thought. Falafulu seems to make a point of saying Brian Josephson's comments are irrelevant because physics operates whether the rules are 'discovered' or not.

However, Falafulu also says "If it is a physical phenomena, then it violates the known laws that we know.".

Isn't that contrary to what he was saying? It doesn't matter if it does contradict the known laws. Whether we know of its existence or not is irrelevant. If it happens, it happens and it doesn't matter if it flies in the face of everything we know.

After all, "Physics verifies itself independent of the inventor."

"I think many people who do not believe in UFOs do in fact believe in life on other planets. They just believe it hasn't come here yet."

that opinion by these people suggests if we cannot visit other planets then other planets cannot visit us.

this still suggests arrogance from my point of view. there appears to be some evidence that all levels of technology/intelligence are visiting this planet which makes sense to me as there appears to be an evolution of consciousness happening in the universe and every planet may be at a different place of this evolution.

personally I have never talked to anyone that thought there was life on other planets but none have the ability or desire to visit us nor seen a poll that measured that.

when I first started teaching in 1975 at the college level I asked students to raise their hand if they believed in ufo's only a few did but 20 years later many more would raise their hands. there appears to be a growing number of believers.

we would visit other planets if we had the technology to do so. consciousness appears to be forever seeking its reality and the mysteries of the universe.

> that opinion by these people suggests if we
> cannot visit other planets then other
> planets cannot visit us.

True, there are a variety of standard arguments that are used by people who I would say are of the 'SETI mindset': "Aliens ARE likely out there, but they couldn't have possibly come here". Most of them are easily rebutted.

> this still suggests arrogance from my
> point of view. there appears to be some
> evidence that all levels of
> technology/intelligence are visiting this
> planet.

I would say that there is evidence that strange things appear in the sky that can't be accounted for by naturalist explanations or known technology. It does not necessarily follow that they are ET in origin.

Some of the reports in UFOlogy seem consistant with ET visitation, but other encounters seem to suggest more paranormal UFO origins. I have no idea what is really going on there, but I try to avoid the UFO = ET assumption

Chris Carter's book Parapsychology and the Skeptics addresses the topic of "the laws of physics" in considerable detail. I recommend it to anyone interested in this aspect of the psi controversy. The book can be ordered through the publisher.

In regard to the energy conservation argument that Dr. Fisi makes in his linked essay, Carter's reply is that psi may involve quantum phenomena. One interpretation of QM is that the observer causes a particular outcome to manifest itself. This happens when the observer's consciousness collapses a spectrum of possible physical states into a single point - thus "selecting" one outcome out of many.

Now, if we posit that brain states are ultimately determined by quantum phenomena (perhaps at the level of microtubules), then consciousness is simply a constant, ongoing process of choosing one brain state over a variety of alternatives. In this way consciousness could directly influence a physical system without violating the law of energy conservation. The same argument can be extended to the possibility of one person's consciousness influencing another person's brain states (telepathy) or even a physically dead person's consciousness influencing a living person's brain states (mediumship).

In any case, the "laws of physics" are not fully known, and are more accurately regarded as models that have not (yet) been falsified. At some point these models probably will be superseded by a more comprehensive theory that unites all the fundamental physical forces and integrates relativity theory with QM. Even this will not be the "last word." There are always new questions, and for this reason an attitude of dogmatic skepticism is both unwarranted and unproductive.

tony s: the evidence “suggests” that these ufo's are being controlled by some type of intelligence. There was at least one sighting of aliens standing beside a spaceship then flying off witnessed by a policeman.

Also there is video of a spaceship moving away from a missile fired by either Russia or the usa.

I personally suspect that they have keeping an eye on us since the dawn of this planet earth. It would not surprise me if they have had control of some of the missing links of our evolutionally process. Darwinism has enough gaps in it you could drive an aircraft carrier through them.

"However, you might be interested to read on a post here where I described on how the Laws of Physics, disallow such thing as paranormal phenomena to take place. "

Sean Carroll over at Cosmic Variance made a similar claim. If these phenomena aren't allowed by the "laws of physics," then I have to say so much the worse for our current physics. There is something missing from the picture. A rational, unbiased evaluation of the evidence should indicate that there is a high probability that some of these phenomena are real.

Major said...
If it happens, it happens and it doesn't matter if it flies in the face of everything we know.

Thanks for spotting my semantic mistake Major. I meant in that post that if one had to accept these things (paranormal) exist, then there is a contradiction in existence itself, since its building blocks & foundations sit right on top of conservation laws. If you take away conservation laws to accommodate a room for paranormal (which itself defies conservation laws), then existence itself collapses. This leads one who accepts paranormal to conclude that we are merely here as an illusion, nothing is real, since the foundation of reality is supported by conservation laws . To sum it up, if one is to accept paranormal, then he/she has to accept that we're just day dreaming, where nothing is real (similar to illusion depicted in the movie - Matrix). However if one is to accept that we aren't not like the movie matrix, but we exist in real physical world (conservation laws is the foundation) then paranormal is out the window, no ifs no buts.

Note, that you can't have the 2 together, ie, accepting conservation laws of the physical reality, plus accepting the paranormal which defies conservation laws. It is one or the other.

Luis,re:
>However, fact is that many well educated people and great thinkers believe in God. In fact, the renowned philosopher of religion and hardcore ex-atheist Antony Flew, has wrote a book about how he changed his mind and why he now believes in God. The book is titled "There is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind" ann you can get it in amazon. (Another ex-atheist, Alister E. McGrath, has written some good books rebutting Richard Dawkins arguments against God and religion).
So, more educated people can have good reasons (scientific, philosophical, etc.) to believe in paranormal phenomena and, in some cases, also in God.<
Thank you for this info! I will be looking for these books. My personal hero, C.S. Lewis was also an atheist before he converted to Christianity and has some most excellent books, including transcripts of his radio debates with some well known atheists of the time.

Richard Faynman's "investigation" of Geller? That link is refers to an informal visit of Feynman to Geller, not a controlled investigation of laboratory. It's a anecdotal evidence, based on the TESTIMONY of Feynman. His specific observations in this case can't be confirmed by independent researchers. Feymnman didn't publish his "investigation of Geller" in peer review scientific journals like science o nature (only in the Journal of the Southern Californian Skeptics, and it's not a scientific journal)

But this "investigation" is enough to skeptics (because it's against the paranormal).

But if you refer to experimental investigation with Geller, it's worthless because this have methodological flaws, experimenter biases (is not Feynman biased against the paranormal when he said "You see, I had been through a lot of experiences, and I knew that time and time again these things don't work. I had read a lot of stuff about extrasensory perception, and studied what was known, because it was very interesting to me, but it always ended up in tawdry nothing. So I had every expectation that this was just some kind of a trick"?) etc.

This a clear exameple of doble stantards.

It's curious as skeptics critique the testimonies in favor of paranormal phenomena, but they quoted them when they're against the paranormal.

In other words, anecdotal evidence is invalid (except if it's against the paranormal). This is the reason why "Double standards in the application of criticism" is a sign of pseudoskepticism:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudoskepticism
http://www.anomalist.com/commentaries/pseudo.html
http://www.skepticalinvestigations.org/anomalistics/practices.htm

Interesting...


William said...
I think many people who do not believe in UFOs do in fact believe in life on other planets. They just believe it hasn't come here yet.

William, I don't have an opinion on whether aliens exist somewhere or not, since if they do exist, those aliens which are made up of physical material (atoms or sub-atomic particles, etc), do obey conservation laws as observed here on earth. Mind you that conservation laws is the laws of the universe and not the laws created by the human inventors, so it is universal right across the existence of physical reality regardless of how far apart point 'A' from point 'B' in the universe.

I am against those UFO proponents who are arguing that those alien beings simply violate conservation laws, such as some of the UFO abductees have claimed to have seen those aliens walk thru a solid wall with the wall itself staying intact. This is a clear violation of the conservation laws. I have no problem if aliens exist somewhere and they have visited us here on earth, where they abducted their victims via bursting thru the front door (as cops does) or a side window to reach the victims. See, this is no violation of conservation laws.

So, Physics does not prohibit the existence of aliens. I mean laws of Physics says nothing about whether they exist or not. It simply says that any physical entity in this universe must abide by its universal laws, and that includes aliens.

Luis said...
But if you refer to experimental investigation with Geller, it's worthless because this have methodological flaws, experimenter biases (is not Feynman biased against the paranormal when he said "You see, I had been through a lot of experiences, and I knew that time and time again these things don't work. I had read a lot of stuff about extrasensory perception, and studied what was known, because it was very interesting to me, but it always ended up in tawdry nothing. So I had every expectation that this was just some kind of a trick"?) etc.

Luis, I didn't quote Feynman as to show a controlled environment testing of Uri. I quoted him, regarding the most obvious facts of reality that he mentioned:

Feynman: I think the laws of physics are supposed to describe all phenomena.

This is exactly the whole point. Either the laws of Physics is self contradictory or not.

See the following YouTube video, where the laws of physics were shown to be self-consistent after all. Mind you that this was not a controlled laboratory environment, but Uri failed miserably, and that is where Feynman was right in his comment.

James Randi exposes Uri Geller

Falufalu wrote:

"If you take away conservation laws to accommodate a room for paranormal (which itself defies conservation laws), then existence itself collapses. This leads one who accepts paranormal to conclude that we are merely here as an illusion, nothing is real, since the foundation of reality is supported by conservation laws ."

Not even close to being right. When you say "reality", you only mean the current paradigm of reality. When Copernicus blew away the Ptolemaic universe, we didn't think everything was illusion. When Darwin and Einstein challenged their paradigms, we didn't move into illusion. Quite the opposite, examining anomalous findings and proposing new theories moves us to a more refined paradigm of what reality is. The grand illusion is that we have a solid definition of reality.

There's a whole other sub-thread I could tread about how our current paradigm of reality is simply a self-defining axiom of physicalist dogma (if I can measure it, it is real, therefore anything immeasurable is illusion), but that would probably just muddy the waters. The first paragraph above is the clear rebuttal to your mistaken assumption.

Kind regards,
Greg

Michael Prescott said...
In regard to the energy conservation argument that Dr. Fisi makes in his linked essay, Carter's reply is that psi may involve quantum phenomena. One interpretation of QM is that the observer causes a particular outcome to manifest itself. This happens when the observer's consciousness collapses a spectrum of possible physical states into a single point - thus "selecting" one outcome out of many.

There has been mis-interpretation by paranormal believers, that Quantum Mechanics (QM) has somehow validated the existence of paranormal power. This is just one of those new age claims by those who have faced with somethings they can't explain, then it is easy to find a safe haven in jumping to quote QM. Paranormal believers have proposed some yet unknown particle that supposed to mediate messages between the dead and the living, which they called super-psi or quantum field.

This is just another meaningless proposal that proponents of paranormal phenomena have put forward to justify their imaginary non-existence spiritual entity. The following explanation might help.

Quantum Physics Quackery

See, while Quantum Physics phenomena obey conservation principles, some quackers and deluded psychics have jumped the bandwagon and say, that Quantum Mechanics supported the existence of supernatural powers and extra-sensory perceptions. This is not the case at all. This is just pure mis-interpretation .At the same time, they also dissociate these supernatural powers and extra-sensory perceptions from the same conservation laws that Quantum Mechanics obey in order to justify the acausal nature of the extra-sensory perceptions. Anything that is acausal doesn't obey conservation laws. There is only one reason for this, is that psychics & paranormal phenomena proponents have found a sanctuary in Quantum Mechanics as a way to validate their claims, even though Quantum Mechanics is real and obey conservation laws. There is nothing in the formulation of Quantum Mechanics, such in one of a few as Dirac , Schrodinger or Feynman formulation, that indicate any possibility of the existence of such thing as supernatural powers , extra-sensory perceptions via psi particle.

The history of science demonstrates time and again the ill-considered position of those who have advocated their certainty in particular "laws" as derived from the science of the moment, only to have those positions superceded when further discoveries were allowed to do so. Science as we know it has advanced grudgingly on the philosophic corpses of adherents who could not release their grip on their truths, in parallel with those who cling to their religious beliefs. In this light, Falufalu's strict adherence to his gospels only reinforce our weaknesses as humans and further retard the too-slow pace of knowledge acquisition.

Greg said...
There's a whole other sub-thread I could tread about how our current paradigm of reality is simply a self-defining axiom of physicalist dogma (if I can measure it, it is real, therefore anything immeasurable is illusion), but that would probably just muddy the waters. The first paragraph above is the clear rebuttal to your mistaken assumption.

Greg, you must know that I mean physical reality (physics). If you describe that a man loves a woman, it might be real in the sense of your interpretation, but what is such reality got to do with reality of physics conservation laws? Please, don't get too semantic about word definitions here.

Kevin said...
The history of science demonstrates time and again the ill-considered position of those who have advocated their certainty in particular "laws" as derived from the science of the moment, only to have those positions superceded when further discoveries were allowed to do so.

I agree with your comment here Kevin, however time and time again it has shown that new discoveries just plugs the gaps of our knowledge for things that we never knew before, however those new discoveries always, obey conservation laws. Again in a point I made in a previous message, that without conservation laws, existence would not be possible, both you & me are not here in the first place today to debate on this blog site if conservation laws is false.

In this light, Falufalu's strict adherence to his gospels only reinforce our weaknesses as humans and further retard the too-slow pace of knowledge acquisition.

I am not disputing this at all. Just get this clear picture of where I stand. Any new theories that we're going to formulate in the future and some new discoveries derived from those, they simply fits in well with conservation laws and not contradict it (paranormal does contradict it). Sure Einstein discovered relativity, which describes and predicts new things, but relativity just simply obeys conservation laws (foundation of existence), and that is simply the case I am arguing here. Do we reject existence itself or do we reject the non-existence (paranormal) ? I know which side I am.

Falafulu wrote:

"Greg, you must know that I mean physical reality (physics)."

I find it interesting (and perhaps telling) that you ignored the first paragraph, and responded to the second paragraph (which I told you was *not* the rebuttal). Here it is again for you:

"Not even close to being right. When you say "reality", you only mean the current paradigm of reality. When Copernicus blew away the Ptolemaic universe, we didn't think everything was illusion. When Darwin and Einstein challenged their paradigms, we didn't move into illusion. Quite the opposite, examining anomalous findings and proposing new theories moves us to a more refined paradigm of what reality is. The grand illusion is that we have a solid definition of reality."

I can only assume though, having read your posts thus far, that you are more a troll than someone interested in discussing points of view, with (objective) skepticism.

Kind regards,
Greg

Greg said...
I can only assume though, having read your posts thus far, that you are more a troll than someone interested in discussing points of view, with (objective) skepticism.

Now, to cut it short. Just tell me what reality has paranormal unearthed for us humans?

Ulysses said...
My point is that a physicist, like anyone else, can have an opinion about something and it should not come as a surprise that we find physicists with opposing opinions about the paranormal.

Sure, that is correct, we can all have different opinions but my whole argument is about verification. Show me that paranormal has been absolutely verified.

"Show me that paranormal has been absolutely verified."

Better yet, show me a scientific theory that has been "absolutely verified." Even Feynman expressed serious reservations about the foundations of his own theory (the jewel in the crown of physics), QED. Indeed, there are physicists who are bitching about the validity of current QFT:

"I believe that our failure to really get on top of quantum field theory is the reason for the depressing lack of progress in fundamental physics theory. There have been no successes of theory that are not just applications of 1950's quantum electrodynamics or simple extensions of it. There is no proper field theoretic understanding of bound states (elementary quantum mechanics does far better in this regard than supposedly more advanced quantum field theory). There is no quantum theory of gravity. In regard to that which can be termed "quantum field theory", our sketchy and inconsistent understanding of scattering processes is all we really have to hold up to posterity. I believe that this will all change once we have learned to build a consistent interacting field theory from first principles. As for the drug trips: superstrings, higher dimensions, etc. I look on these as buying a ticket for the National Lottery. You dream of winning, but cannot seriously expect it. The future, I am sure, belongs to those who attack head on. To quote Lord Rutherford: never try to solve a difficult problem, which you may read here as never try to take more than one step at a time.

I might also add that the way that whole academic system is set up is not conducive to the production of interesting and original research. And this applies to all fields, not just theoretical physics. The tone is set by burned-out old men who have long since lost any real interest in research and seem to do very little other than teaching and politicking. Since they make the decisions about who succeeds them, the few of the next generation who are prepared to abase themselves to the required degree to stay in the system have to stick to mainstream, normally uninteresting research to attain the necessary credentials. To some it comes naturally, I have to admit. But to the ones who actually have something interesting to say, it definitely does not. Nor should it. Questioning is very often an upsetting, anarchic thing to do. This mismanagement probably reflects our society's lack of interest. You will note, of course, that whenever society, or rather the governments that represent it really wants results, something much more akin to a meritocracy emerges: witness the wartime research efforts to develop radar or atomic weapons. No reference was made here to status or sycophantic tendencies. The brightest and best were employed simply because they were the brightest and best. Would that our society would feel the same about peacetime research. In case there are any academics reading this: you are all guilty. Either by things that you have done, or things that you have failed to do. I can hardly think of a single situation of my own or any of my colleagues where boldness and originality have been rewarded."

>Paranormal believers have proposed some yet unknown particle that supposed to mediate messages between the dead and the living

Dr. Fisi obviously did not read my post very carefully, or he would know that I said nothing about an unknown particle. I was talking about the observer effect - the idea that consciousness directly influences quantum processes. This idea is fully consistent with some (not all) interpretations of QM.

However, I agree with Greg's observation that Dr. Fisi is a troll, so I'm not going to waste time in further "debate." If others want to continue the conversation (such as it is), feel free, but I am quite sure that Dr. Fisi is not open to persuasion on this topic.

Ben said...
Better yet, show me a scientific theory that has been "absolutely verified." Even Feynman expressed serious reservations about the foundations of his own theory (the jewel in the crown of physics), QED. Indeed, there are physicists who are bitching about the validity of current QFT

What is your point here? Are you taking the devil's advocates? Of course, that there will be different opinions about different theories. Bitching stops when the predictions of the theory is being observed and verified. Knowledge is progressive, in that we might verify one prediction but it it turned out that it poses other difficulties that were not foreseen before. Einstein proposed the Bose Einstein Condensation (BEC) in 1924. The prediction of this theory was not observed until 1995, where Carl Wieman et al, first reproduced BEC phenomena at Colorado. I attended Prof. Wieman's public lecture here in New Zealand when he came for a scholarly visit in 2005, and he told the attendees, that there were other things that original BEC didn't foresee, but researchers are adding & modifying the theory to cope with those difficulties in order to make good prediction that fits the observation. So, obviously the absolute verification of physical theory is progressive and this is nothing in comparison to paranormal claims, which has no theory at all. It is all hearsay, I mean there is no theoretical foundations (equations) of its existence:

There is no quantum theory of gravity.

There have been researches in Quantum Gravity, although I think that we are still long way from achieving a unifying one. But again, knowledge is progressive.

Ben: when I started my PhD I like most candidates wanted to do something bold and great with my dissertation. After meeting with my committee I was basically told if I wanted to ever get my PhD I had better follow all the past formats for PhD’s to the letter.

So I did almost to the letter even to the point of reducing one chapter down over 100 pages. Another person in the same dept tried something bold the last I heard he still did not have his degree. There are a lot of ABD’s out there and I did not want to be one of them.

My experience with the university system is not complimentary. My volunteer work with 3 and 4 year olds and their outlook on life is so much more rewarding than working with intellectuals. These children are very loving and are very authentic nearly impossible to find in adults. This decline shows itself when children reach about the forth grade.

Open minds? Don’t go looking at the university for them. It appears the more we educate ourselves the more out minds filter out new incoming information that does not agree with our beliefs. Scary thought as I spent 25 years mostly part time to attain that degree. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule.

If I learned nothing else in those 25 years and life, we are much more conditioned and close minded than our wildest imagination.

Teaching a lot of PhD’s in physics and engineering in my seminars taught me much about the human mind and its ability to see only its cherished beliefs. The most difficult seminar I ever taught was 90% PhD’s and I now refer to it as the seminar from h…….l.

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