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Switch to Forum Live View Scientific Reality vs. Unsupported Imagination.
2 years ago  ::  Apr 25, 2012 - 8:04PM #11
Nino0814
Posts: 1,717

Apr 25, 2012 -- 9:43AM, JimRigas wrote:


As I said in my opening posting " (The greater the difficulty of explaining the observation through existing physical theory, the more stringent  are the observation rules that must be applied.)"  The grudging acceptance to the efficacy of acupuncture may reside in the knowledge that there exists a discrete physical path along which pain and other messages are transmitted from the body to the brain.  One can postulate then that there may be points along this path where the insertion of a needle may block this transmission.  This reasoning allows us to accept less than 100% success rate by explaining that in some cases the acupuncturist missed the location of the proper path or connection juncture. 


The  acceptance of acupucntures efficacy is not due to an understanding of how it works, but on the evidence that it does work better than a placebo in the treatment of some ailments.


The situation is more difficult in most spirituality situations.  Proving the efficacy of exorcism, for instance, requires proving first that the spirits to be exorcised do exist;  something difficult to do since they presumably do not consist of a scientifically detectable material substance. 


If an exorcist was effective in treating people who were suffering from mental ailments, then you would have many teams of researchers exploring exorcism.  Just like in acupuncture, the researchers interest would be in the evidence of the rite's effectiveness.  There is no research into exorcism [except by those who have an aprior belief in spirits and demons] because their is no evidence in the rites effectiveness.  Even the new testament indicates that exorcisms are not always effective.  Jesus' train disciples were not always effective and were told that some exorisms require "prayer and fasting".  IMO that is evidence of its ineffectiveness. 


A similar example is the investigation of poltergeist activity since the source location and the manner of its operation cannot usually be accurately proven. 


Why can't that be evidence that the phenomenon is something other than a spirit?





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2 years ago  ::  Apr 25, 2012 - 8:13PM #12
Nino0814
Posts: 1,717

Apr 24, 2012 -- 11:09PM, JimRigas wrote:

 There are thousands of similar stories, but the more distant they are the more fictional they sound.  So how do we deal with them?  The easiest thing is to ignore them; after all they are nonscientific!



Measuring phenomenon is something science can do, and it does it very well.  Science cannot verify that the source is a spirit but a scientific investigation could confirm that something is happening. 


There are even TV shows that attempt to show research, but they are obviously not following scientific methods. IMO there is no reason to study this stuff, because it has not risen to the level of anything but folk legend interest [ex: big foot, extraterrestrials, and the Loch Ness monster]  


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2 years ago  ::  Apr 25, 2012 - 11:16PM #13
JimRigas
Posts: 2,950

Nino said:


The  acceptance of acupucntures efficacy is not due to an understanding of how it works, but on the evidence that it does work better than a placebo in the treatment of some ailments


I assume that the placebo consisted of acupuncture at the "incorrect" locations.  Correct?

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2 years ago  ::  Apr 26, 2012 - 6:39PM #14
Nino0814
Posts: 1,717

Apr 25, 2012 -- 11:16PM, JimRigas wrote:


Nino said:


The  acceptance of acupunctures efficacy is not due to an understanding of how it works, but on the evidence that it does work better than a placebo in the treatment of some ailments


I assume that the placebo consisted of acupuncture at the "incorrect" locations.  Correct?




Jim,


I am not sure how they controlled for the placebo effect, but all vaildations of treatments do control for it.  They may have included acupuncture treatment in a full research project that may have compared acupuncture to other medical treatments. The placebo could have been a sugar pill.


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2 years ago  ::  Apr 26, 2012 - 7:26PM #15
Nino0814
Posts: 1,717

Near death experiences [NDEs] also fit under this thread "Scientific Reality versus Unsupported Imagination.


Below is a response to a Salon article.  Why does such uncritical stuff get published?  Perhaps because readers want to believe it, and will therefore buy the magazine to read the article.  It sells magazines, but such bias is very far from a critical evaluation of NDEs, as this article rightly challenges: http://www.salon.com/2012/04/26/near_death_distorted/

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2 years ago  ::  Apr 26, 2012 - 10:31PM #16
JimRigas
Posts: 2,950

Apr 26, 2012 -- 7:26PM, Nino0814 wrote:


Near death experiences [NDEs] also fit under this thread "Scientific Reality versus Unsupported Imagination.


Below is a response to a Salon article.  Why does such uncritical stuff get published?  Perhaps because readers want to believe it, and will therefore buy the magazine to read the article.  It sells magazines, but such bias is very far from a critical evaluation of NDEs, as this article rightly challenges: http://www.salon.com/2012/04/26/near_death_distorted/




Yes, Maria's shoe is famous in the literature of NDEs, and so also is its refutation.  I discussed NDEs in the book you bought on pp. 183-185, and on note 11, on p. 384, I discussed how with the passage of time these stories have become increasingly more flowery and unbelievable, including from its originator Raymond Moody.


Regarding acupuncture placebos, I googled the subject and discovered that there is a wide variety of acupuncture methods and techniques, and similarly various types of placebo studies.  But the fact that "needles" are stuck in different places on the body, at different depths, according to the practitioner, that they are sometimes connected to electricity and at other times are moved a little back and forth, makes me question the reality of the whole process.   There seems to be agreement, however, that there exists a strong placebo effect and possibly a little real effect.  But as I said, if you do something in a variety of different ways, it is not clear what exactly you are doing.


  

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2 years ago  ::  Apr 26, 2012 - 10:35PM #17
JimRigas
Posts: 2,950

As I pointed out at the opening of this thread, accepted science does not allow for the existence of any kind of spirituality in this world.   Certainly it does not allow for the existence of deities of any type, or of so-called souls that survive a human's physical being.  Yet both of these concepts are basic and integral parts of Christian beliefs.  So what is a "thinking" Christian supposed to "think?"  There are two answers:


1.  Assume that Christianity is an ethical and philosophical teaching about how we should live our physical lives.  Consider the detailed stories describing the belief as a combination of historical myths and metaphorical tales.


2.  Assume that Accepted Science does not describe correctly our physical universe, and there exists room for the presence of nonphysical objects or entities.


As a technically educated person I had always preferred the first alternative.  But in the last few years of my life I became open to the possibility that the second alternative might have some merit.  (1) Why would I think so, and (2) how could it be so?


1.  I first questioned the accuracy and completeness of scientific knowledge when I took time to ponder about the various synchronicity events, including answered prayers, that occurred in my life.  Science explains such events as chance probabilities.  Anything, however unlikely, has some finite probability of occurring; but we should differentiate explanations from excuses and, eventually, the answer becomes a subjective matter.


2.  Where can science be wrong when it successfully explains everything?  Or does it?  Cause and effect relationships are explained impeccably, but probability affected events are not explainable.  We can predict what percentage of a radioactive substance will decay in a given time, but we cannot predict which specific atoms will; an atom under observation is never seen to decay.  Science views the cosmos as a collection of particles, but in fact there are no particles at all until we try to observe them; in the normal state they are just waves.  So science imposes its own anthropomorphic viewpoint on its observations.  Instead of a universe of interconnected and inter-reacting fields it looks at a more restricted universe of particles.  Its conclusions are affected accordingly.                      

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2 years ago  ::  Apr 27, 2012 - 9:47PM #18
slu_magoo
Posts: 996

I like this thread.  Very interesting to read the varying viewpoints.


Personally, I am a social scientist--not a natural/physical scientist--who specializes in qualitative research methods and is firmly entrenched in the postmodernist branch of social and community psychology.  Thus, for me, concepts like reality, truth, and fact take on a different meaning.  I think those concepts are constructed at the individual level, and that one's perceptions are one's realities, truths, and facts.  Even 'universal truths' that come about because of agreements/contracts among people are subject to change when perceptions change.


For me, there is definitely something greater and largely unexplainable.  I have felt its presence, been comforted by it, been aggravated by it, struggled with it, and given my heart to it.  For me, that 'it' is what I call God.  Those are my (perceived) experiences with this (perceived) God.  Regardless of what others might think, that is my reality, my truth, my fact.  I respect that others' experiences and perceptions differ from my own, thus giving them different realities.  But I usually like being around people who share similar realities to my own.


In the social sciences--particularly the progressive ones--this idea that all can be known, measured, and tested (known as positivism) is outdated and largely rejected.  It was replaced by constructivism--the idea that all knowledge is constructed--be it by scientists or others; it is not 'discovered' through scientific testing.  Constructivism is still the prevalant epistemology in the progressive social sciences.  (Positivism still works in criminology and economics, to some extent.)  Constructivism birthed postmodernism.

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2 years ago  ::  Apr 28, 2012 - 10:07AM #19
Dutch777
Posts: 9,113

Please take note of this recognized expert in the field of the relationship between science and religion.  He will be speaking at:


St. Anthony's RCC


Red Bank, NJ


Sunday May 6, 3:30 p.m.


en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Haught


I will be attending with some of my RC friends.  This is where Roger Haight S.J. also gives lectures which I  attend.  Why should Old Dutch be the only non-RC there ?

The Path
To Moon Lake
Doesn't Go
There.

So Walk
Your own Dharma*Path
And Be
Mindful

Dutch
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2 years ago  ::  Apr 28, 2012 - 11:41AM #20
JimRigas
Posts: 2,950

It has been proposed that the really great managers etc. base their decisions on intuition rather than on logical analysis.  On the other hand, it has also been proposed that intuition in nothing other than logical analysis done by the unconscious that has acess to more information than the conscious.

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