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Switch to Forum Live View Scientific Reality vs. Unsupported Imagination.
2 years ago  ::  Apr 23, 2012 - 11:00PM #1
JimRigas
Posts: 2,950

Definition:  (According to "science") whatever can be observed under controlled and repeatable conditions is real and exists in the objective universe.  (The greater the difficulty of explaining the observation through existing physical theory, the more stringent  are the observation rules that must be applied.)   All else is imaginary and thus does not really exist in the objective world.  This is the basic tenet of 21st century scientific reasoning and carries a number of corollaries, four of which I list here:  


 


1.  Human capabilities that cannot be reproduced at will are not real.


2.  Petitionary prayers are ineffective.


3.  There is no god (defined as a self-conscious power that may interfere in the affairs of the cosmos).


4.  There is no life after physical death; once you are dead, you are dead for ever.


 


I personally disagree with the definition given at the very top, and I thus do not consider its listed corollaries as necessarily correct.  I believe that the definition given is an unsupported declaration based on the assumption that today's physical science knows everything, and I strongly believe that this assumption is wrong.  Just because current physical science is unable to identify or control the factors affecting a particular observation should not necessarily render that observation unreal; only uncertain.  The question then becomes how should one proceed in areas which are not "certified" by the scientific authorities as true.   


   


I have recently had some disagreements with Nino, on and off Beliefnet, regarding the objective reality of statements I made that involved spirituality and associated matters and he suggested that I should open the discussion so that others may participate if they wish.  So, do you believe that there is any validity in personal, non-scientific observations related to spiritual or occult maters, or should we ignore them as figments of one's imagination?    How do we deal with them?


 

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2 years ago  ::  Apr 24, 2012 - 8:57AM #2
journeying
Posts: 2,317

Who knows? Last fall I checked out the ghost that was rumored to inhabit our church. She had never been seen but a number of people experienced her presence, usually feeling like someone was always watching. I'd also been told that there was an evil spirit in the church and that an attempt to exorcise her had been tried unsuccessfully.


I learned who she was and talked to her as psychic Sylvia Browne would recommend. She hasn't been felt since and another psychic said she is gone. One woman who stopped attending because of her no longer has the problem.


This is not science. Obviously. But it is an experience shared singly by a variety of people. The older I get the more I am convinced there is far more to our world than we understand or experience.

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2 years ago  ::  Apr 24, 2012 - 9:36AM #3
Dutch777
Posts: 9,113

The scientific method uses the special senses (sight, sound, touch, taste, smell, proprioception, etc.) to analyze physicalities within the matter-energy continuum.  This has produced advanced, technologic civilization, and we benefit enormously from it.


Anything outside or beyond the matter-energy continuum may not be analyzable per the scientific method.  This is the bailiwick of intuition, which may be considered a further sense of apprehending the transcendant reality.

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 24, 2012 - 11:20AM #4
RJMcElwain
Posts: 2,923

Apr 24, 2012 -- 9:36AM, Dutch777 wrote:


The scientific method uses the special senses (sight, sound, touch, taste, smell, proprioception, etc.) to analyze physicalities within the matter-energy continuum.  This has produced advanced, technologic civilization, and we benefit enormously from it.


Anything outside or beyond the matter-energy continuum may not be analyzable per the scientific method.  This is the bailiwick of intuition, which may be considered a further sense of apprehending the transcendant reality.




Agreed. Another term for the above might be "spirituality" which is not scientifically measureable but, nevertheless, is real and exists for many.


The beginning definitions for this thread are reasonable and acceptable to many or most. The definitions do not preclude the existence of God by spiritual definition. So, if you accept the beginning definitions, which oppose the tenets of Theism, then you fall into the categoy of a-theist. Isn't it interesting how clarificaton of meaning can mess up our vocabulary?



Robert J. McElwain

"The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." (Supposedly)Thomas Jefferson

"He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral."
St. Thomas Aquinas

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. Plato
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2 years ago  ::  Apr 24, 2012 - 8:26PM #5
Nino0814
Posts: 1,715

Apr 24, 2012 -- 8:57AM, journeying wrote:


Who knows? Last fall I checked out the ghost that was rumored to inhabit our church. She had never been seen but a number of people experienced her presence, usually feeling like someone was always watching. I'd also been told that there was an evil spirit in the church and that an attempt to exorcise her had been tried unsuccessfully.


I learned who she was and talked to her as psychic Sylvia Browne would recommend. She hasn't been felt since and another psychic said she is gone. One woman who stopped attending because of her no longer has the problem.


This is not science. Obviously. But it is an experience shared singly by a variety of people. The older I get the more I am convinced there is far more to our world than we understand or experience.




You may not be able to scientifically prove anything about the source of the phenomenon [caused by spirits], but you could scientifically prove that a particular rite or practice worked to eliminate the phenomenon.


Western medicine approves the use of acupuncture because it works.  They cannot prove the exisitence of Qi, nor do they fully know why it works [however Western medical explanations exist], but they can verify the phenomenon.  


No serious scientist is studying exorcism because it does not consistently work.  It is not because spirits or demons are outside of study.  Whenever there is measurable phenomenon, then you can apply the scientific method.

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2 years ago  ::  Apr 24, 2012 - 9:39PM #6
journeying
Posts: 2,317

No exorcism involved. I simply talked to our ghost Sara Israel. I told her her work at Christ Church is finished. It is time for her to continue her journey. To go to the light, to Jesus, to Godde. I told her her husband Rogers is waiting for her and has been for far too long. But mostly that she needs to go to Godde. I'm told she hung around for awhile then left. I hope.


By the way, I was nice, friendly, non-judgmental.

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2 years ago  ::  Apr 24, 2012 - 11:09PM #7
JimRigas
Posts: 2,950

Journeying's  experience relates to one of the presumed reasons that ghosts hang around:  They don't really realize that they are dead and that they don't belong in this world anymore but wherever spirits are.  So you talk to them gently to convince them to let go and continue along their natural way.  (There is a couple in my church who practically do this as an avocation.   Of course they don't openly speak about it, certainly not to the rector.)


But this exemplifies the kind of information about spirituality that exists but is uniformly ignored.  Here we had an environment where many people felt some ghostly presence, and they even formed an opinion about who it was.  Then someone takes it upon herself to talk this ghost and the ghostly presence disappears.  And this disappearance is presumably recognized by all those who had originally felt its presence.  One can attribute it, of course, to a case of group delusion.  But notice, however, that the belief in ghosts is more widespread than the belief in the effectiveness of exorcists; especially a non-trained one as was the case here.   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!

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2 years ago  ::  Apr 24, 2012 - 11:33PM #8
journeying
Posts: 2,317

Of course I'm as skeptical as the next person about this situation. The evil presence had been felt by a wide variety of people over many years. Most had never mentioned it to anyone until I started asking. We have enough problems in our parish without having to deal with an evil spirit. I knew that everyone else had treated her as an adversary. I tend to think Sylvia Browne is a bit nutty but what do i know? I thought it worth the effort to follow her advice and try to have a civil conversation with Sara, tell her I felt no animosity and try to convince her to go to Jesus. Certainly couldn't hurt anything, eh? The church feels better to me. But that probably is more the result of having some negative people leave.

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2 years ago  ::  Apr 25, 2012 - 9:17AM #9
JimRigas
Posts: 2,950

Apr 24, 2012 -- 11:20AM, RJMcElwain wrote:


The beginning definitions for this thread are reasonable and acceptable to many or most. The definitions do not preclude the existence of God by spiritual definition. So, if you accept the beginning definitions, which oppose the tenets of Theism, then you fall into the categoy of a-theist. Isn't it interesting how clarificaton of meaning can mess up our vocabulary?




I am unclear as to the exact conclusion that you have reached and are expressing.

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2 years ago  ::  Apr 25, 2012 - 9:43AM #10
JimRigas
Posts: 2,950

Apr 24, 2012 -- 8:26PM, Nino0814 wrote:


You may not be able to scientifically prove anything about the source of the phenomenon [caused by spirits], but you could scientifically prove that a particular rite or practice worked to eliminate the phenomenon.


Western medicine approves the use of acupuncture because it works.  They cannot prove the exisitence of Qi, nor do they fully know why it works [however Western medical explanations exist], but they can verify the phenomenon.  


No serious scientist is studying exorcism because it does not consistently work.  It is not because spirits or demons are outside of study.  Whenever there is measurable phenomenon, then you can apply the scientific method.




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

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