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Dave Beans

Are Psychic's Just Cobblers Or Dangerous Cobblers?

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It would be possible to match up behaviours associated with an agreed description of love.

So you have no evidence then?

I am shocked that someone such as yourself who is so sceptical of so many things actually believes in something that people call love but for which they can provide no proof.

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My Lord, may i call my first witness to the stand. Professor Carl Sagan...

If you can get Carl Sagan to testify, then I think you're definitely on to something.

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It would be possible to match up behaviours associated with an agreed description of love.

It would, and that's about all you can ever do when it comes to human (or animal) reactions. I have no objective way t tell whether what emotions i feel, anyone else feels or what I see, taste and smell are exactly what anyone else does. We learn to respond in certain ways, to develop behaviours, and can objectively observe similar behaviours in others and try to map them onto our own experiences of what the corresponding experience might be. That's all we can do.

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Actually it did.

Maybe you're confusing people's' expectation of what technological development could deliver with what science would/could encompass. I'm not aware of any fundamental scientific law that was believed in 1900 that would preclude manned flight. Indeed, the science (as opposed to technology) that took us to the moon and back was centuries old.

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These are just words

Of course. This is a forum and words are all we have ;)

- prove it. Go on, prove it....

Well, as I've indicated the situations we're talking about are exactly the ones where one might usefully apply Occam's Razor. If there were proof then one would not want to, and indeed it would not apply. So I'm struggling to understand the relevance of a demand for "proof" to a situation where I've already said I'd use OR.

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I think there's an extra factor here which doesn't come into play in the flying machines analogy, and that's the fact that unscrupulous people might use their purported powers to exploit others. It's all very well to be open-minded about these things, but excessive credulity might open people up to being swindled or worse. I'm sure that some of the practitioners of these psychic things (not to mention alternative medicine, money-making schemes, and so on) are perfectly sincere, but there's no doubt that there are people involved who are knowingly dishonest.

OK but television is used to swindle people, control their political opinions, sell them tat and corrupt the youth. Does that make television the result of excessive credulity? Obviously not, so I suggest that the morality or the usefulness when conning a gullible public has sfa to do with the subject . . . with respect!

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Of course. This is a forum and words are all we have ;)

Well, as I've indicated the situations we're talking about are exactly the ones where one might usefully apply Occam's Razor. If there were proof then one would not want to, and indeed it would not apply. So I'm struggling to understand the relevance of a demand for "proof" to a situation where I've already said I'd use OR.

Carl Sagan used Occasm's Razor in respect to both love and to whether life existed elsewhere in the Universe or on another plain of existence.

Alas, as you can provide no proof of your love for your wife and children, nor their love for you, there really isn't a lot left for you is there.

I would put off buying that house.

:lol:

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Carl Sagan used Occasm's Razor in respect to both love and to whether life existed elsewhere in the Universe or on another plain of existence.

Sure.

Alas, as you can provide no proof of your love for your wife and children, nor their love for you, there really isn't a lot left for you is there.

Well, I've explained quite carefully why I think they do, using Occam's Razor and discussing the basics of perception and mapping onto experience. I'd suggest that actually i've made a far better case than you've ever seen before ;)

The point is that I can use Occam's Razor to make informed decisions about things that lie outside the realm of hard proof. I do that for the supernatural, and when I do I can be as certain of its non-existence as I can that my family love me. That's good enough for me.

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I think there's an extra factor here which doesn't come into play in the flying machines analogy, and that's the fact that unscrupulous people might use their purported powers to exploit others. It's all very well to be open-minded about these things, but excessive credulity might open people up to being swindled or worse. I'm sure that some of the practitioners of these psychic things (not to mention alternative medicine, money-making schemes, and so on) are perfectly sincere, but there's no doubt that there are people involved who are knowingly dishonest.

I think it quite possible that all human beings on occasion suddenly know things accurately that reason or ordinary observation apparently did not tell them. For most people it does not happen often, it is not usually that important, and can certainly not be repeated at will. It is no big deal, as they say, and it is not much use in day-to-day living, mainly because of its frustrating unrepeatability. However, there are people to whom it happens more often, but it is less advantageous than it first appears. The ability to repeat it at will would be the key thing and no-one has ever seemed able to do this, without resorting in the end to fraud.

Somehow the images and words in one person’s mind are being communicated to another. We normally do this by language, gesture, physical representation as in drawing. We take them for granted but precise explanation of how they work exactly still perplexes the scientists and the philosophers. Could there be yet another way of communication, erratic in its efficacy, yet ultimately perfectly rational and scientific, but not yet covered by a provable hypothesis? Some people will recognise this phenomenon of very occasionally knowing exactly what someone else is thinking, even down to being able to describe an image in another person’s imagination. I have done this once or twice. No idea how I did it, but there was nothing occult about it as far as I was concerned. Unfortunately there is a long and sorry list of people who did seem able to able to see into other people who then quickly resorted to fraud to keep the attention and money rolling in, from Shayk Al-Qadir al-Maghrebi, the 19thc. Magician of Egypt, down to our own Doris Stokes.

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Sure.

Well, I've explained quite carefully why I think they do, using Occam's Razor and discussing the basics of perception and mapping onto experience. I'd suggest that actually i've made a far better case than you've ever seen before ;)

The point is that I can use Occam's Razor to make informed decisions about things that lie outside the realm of hard proof. I do that for the supernatural, and when I do I can be as certain of its non-existence as I can that my family love me. That's good enough for me.

You can't just dismiss Carl Sagan like that with a "sure" - how condescending to him!

Look, there is really no point in going on is there. The blunt reality is that you are just a bag of electro-chemical interactions whereby some molecules have come together to create something that you think of as yourself.

Your wife, your kids are equally the same and whilst you may think they love you, and you love them, you are just here fleetingly as a collection of molecules who perceive they have some connection called love to your family but which is probably solely based on buying things, providing food and shelter and, in the case of your wife, some sexual pleasure every now and then.

Unless, of course, you wish to actually show me proof that you love them and they love you... which, of course, you can't... and which Carl Sagan so eloquently discussed in his work.

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Could there be yet another way of communication, erratic in its efficacy, yet ultimately perfectly rational and scientific, but not yet covered by a provable hypothesis?

Such potential psychic ability has been tested time and again, and when it's done in a proper clinical-level double-blind trial the results are indistinguishable from chance.

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You can't just dismiss Carl Sagan like that with a "sure" - how condescending to him!

Not really. I was indicating that I was already familiar with all this.

The blunt reality is that you are just a bag of electro-chemical interactions whereby some molecules have come together to create something that you think of as yourself.

Probably. But that emerge t property of "self" is important to me ;)

Your wife, your kids are equally the same and whilst you may think they love you, and you love them, you are just here fleetingly as a collection of molecules who perceive they have some connection called love to your family but which is probably solely based on buying things, providing food and shelter and, in the case of your wife, some sexual pleasure every now and then.

Ah, but now you're moving from the molecular-level to the psychological and perception levels. As I've discussed up thread - as X-Quork said - we can map behaviours onto our own experience and then associate them with our own feelings. Occam's Razor indicates that actually our mutual love is the most likely explanation, and since this debate started with the utility of that, I feel that Sagan's example actually validates it rather than negates it.

Can you explain why what Sagan says weakens the utility of Occam's Razor ?

edit; indeed my understanding is that Sagan included Occam's Razor in his "Baloney Detection Kit" as a tool to debunk claims of the supernatural. He was, I think, considerably more sceptical than me.

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Such potential psychic ability has been tested time and again, and when it's done in a proper clinical-level double-blind trial the results are indistinguishable from chance.

That’s the point. As I said, it cannot be repeated, at will, it only happens rarely and unexpectedly. I don’t believe in psychics, but nevertheless occasionally people do briefly know what other people are thinking. Usually they try to provide some rational explanation for it, which is the right thing to do. Sometimes they can’t. I would be surprised if you had not experienced this phenomenon yourself, but you presumably did have an explanation for your ability; for example intelligent guesswork based on previous knowledge of the other person.

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it only happens rarely and unexpectedly.

or possibly not at all ?

I don’t believe in psychics, but nevertheless occasionally people do briefly know what other people are thinking. Usually they try to provide some rational explanation for it, which is the right thing to do. Sometimes they can’t. I would be surprised if you had not experienced this phenomenon yourself, but you presumably did have an explanation for your ability; for example intelligent guesswork based on previous knowledge of the other person.

Co-incidence, based on subconscious reading of face and other physiological signals, and recall bias. Like predictive dreams - make enough predictions and by chance some correspond to reality and it's these that we recall. Why would we recall the rest ?

Why invoke the supernatural ? It's far more likely that the explanation is humdrum

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Not really. I was indicating that I was already familiar with all this.

Probably. But that emerge t property of "self" is important to me ;)

Ah, but now you're moving from the molecular-level to the psychological and perception levels. As I've discussed up thread - as X-Quork said - we can map behaviours onto our own experience and then associate them with our own feelings. Occam's Razor indicates that actually our mutual love is the most likely explanation, and since this debate started with the utility of that, I feel that Sagan's example actually validates it rather than negates it.

Can you explain why what Sagan says weakens the utility of Occam's Razor ?

edit; indeed my understanding is that Sagan included Occam's Razor in his "Baloney Detection Kit" as a tool to debunk claims of the supernatural. He was, I think, considerably more sceptical than me.

You need to read more Sagan.

When the time comes, remember this thread.

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or possibly not at all ?

Co-incidence, based on subconscious reading of face and other physiological signals, and recall bias. Like predictive dreams - make enough predictions and by chance some correspond to reality and it's these that we recall. Why would we recall the rest ?

Why invoke the supernatural ? It's far more likely that the explanation is humdrum

I am not invoking the supernatural and indeed the explanation might be humdrum. You say ` based on subconscious reading of face and other physiological signals’. `Subconscious reading’ by definition is reading other people but not being conscious of the method you are using. I don’t think that differs very much from me saying there might be yet another way of communication, erratic in its efficacy, [it’s subconscious after all] yet ultimately perfectly rational and scientific.

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Guest X-QUORK

So you have no evidence then?

I am shocked that someone such as yourself who is so sceptical of so many things actually believes in something that people call love but for which they can provide no proof.

I've given a reasonable response which you've chosen to belittle without even the courtesy of a counterargument. Play the ball if you want my participation.

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You need to read more Sagan.

Why ? I think I've shown that I've got a pretty good understanding of what he was actually saying about Occam's Razor ;)

edit: Sagan was "the sceptic's Skeptic" and if you're trying to invoke what he has to say about proof as any sort of support for supernatural phenomena, then you've totally misunderstood him.

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." he said. Sums it up, for me.

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  • 277 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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