Are our skeptical attitudes towards the paranormal limiting legitimate scientific inquiry?

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posted on Sep, 26 2012 @ 12:59 AM
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Hi everybody,

First of all, let me say that this post isn't meant as an attack on skeptics. I personally think we all need to be more skeptical, about the ideas of others as well as our own. But I wanted to open up a general discussion about the way we treat paranormal subjects, and how our negative attitudes toward certain things that would seem to be supernatural on the surface are limiting our ability to find out what I think would be some pretty interesting things.

Whenever I read debates about subjects like channeling, OBEs, etc., the main focus always seems to be proving whether or not those things actually are what they seem to be on the surface, and once that goal is met to the satisfaction of either side, it's dropped without further investigation, and everyone moves on. I remember an experiment covered by Michael Shermer which he claimed demonstrated that an OBE could be created by magnetic fields. But, having had personal experience with OBEs, as well as having read a lot about others' experiences, it was clear that this experiment pretty much only produced a displaced sense of proprioception and didn't actually replicate the many common experiences typical with OBEs, such as buzzing, a feeling of vibration, paralysis, hypnogogic hallucinations, etc. But although I personally have not seen clear evidence that demonstrate OBEs to be actual real experiences outside the body as opposed to something created internally, there is an overall consistency to the experience among those that have it to show that there is some systematic process occurring that is not a result of simple imagination, and given the strangeness of the experience, it seems that there should be a lot more scientific curiosity about it than there currently is.

Channeling is another subject which I think perfectly illustrates my point. There is such a strong reaction against supposed channelers that once we evaluate their claims and find them to be false or unverifiable, the interest stops there, and we write them off as quacks without the slightest interest in further evaluating what might be going on. While there may be some people that really are just making it up, I do believe channeling is something real, if not in terms of it being a legitimate interaction between the channeller and another entity, at least as a real neurological condition. I had a friend years ago who did this, and as I consider myself to be fairly competent in judging the character of those I'm close to, I find it very unlikely that she was just putting on a show when she did it for me. I can't say that she gave me any information that I would consider to be evidence that she was actually communicating with other beings, but I am completely convinced that she thought that she was, and that both the channeling and her inability to recall it after she had gone back to her normal state of mind were a real manifestation of something going on and not just an act. Some of the people doing this may simply have not been able to figure out a better way to make money, but I think at least some, if not most are definitely convinced that what they are doing is real, and I think it's both unfair and short-sighted to write them all off as charlatans.

Channeling may or may not be legitimate, it may be some form of completely neurologically based voluntarily induced disassociative identity disorder that we haven't identified yet, or it may be something completely different. In any case, there are common elements that emerge when it occurs, which would seem to demonstrate a real and observable process that's taking place. I think that we're selling ourselves short by simply debunking it, dismissing it as chicanery, and leaving it as that, as I think we're missing out on some potentially very interesting information about, if nothing else, how the brain works by not studying it further. I mean, even if it is something that turns out to be purely neurological, don't you think that the ability to willingly induce that kind of dissociative state is something that should be studied more?

I realize that there are limited resources for doing research like this, but given the bizarre nature of some of these things, especially things like OBEs, which, although we don't know if they are "real" in what they seem to be superficially, are definitely real in terms of being experiences with common traits that we can study and induce, I really think that there is an unnaturally low level of scientific curiosity that is caused simply by our negative attitudes towards what these things appear to be on the surface and the fear of being labelled a quack by expressing interest.

What do you guys think about this?




posted on Sep, 26 2012 @ 01:12 AM
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just to answer your thread title...
yes they are!



posted on Sep, 26 2012 @ 01:24 AM
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Problem is that there is no money in investigating the things which need to be investigated - like ghosties, and anything experiential which suggests an existence outside of our limited 3d world. We actually may find out a lot more about our world if these things were investigated but unfortunately it has to be left to governments like USA & USSR who can afford self-funding of these experiments and then they use the results as ways to control us more.

I know there are rumours that the UK royal family have in past generations gone to psychics but they would not like the fact to be blasted about as it is still even these days unacceptable. The Queen Mother used to use homeopathy I believe and that is not publicised much either. Homeopathy has to do with energy medicine and that borders on pendulums, ghosties, lay lines, and everything else which gets lumped together by skeptics.



posted on Sep, 26 2012 @ 01:28 AM
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reply to post by Nanocyte
 


I am a skeptic about everything you mentioned in you OP, I am a more...science minded type, I came in here wandering if you were like myself and skeptical, or a "nutjob" ( only my opinion on these subjects) like so many others about them.

Having read your OP, I am convinced I am probably beyond being resond with or persuaded into "believeing". As I have never experienced any of the above, despite trying, even in the presence of supposed experts on the subject, who assured me they culd and would " show me the way".

All I ever got out of it was wasted time and not a single "experience" other than boredom.

So as a complete skeptic that thinks everyone involved in these experiences are no more than the equivelent of a gipsie magic ball reader, or terrot card reader, or palm reader, or even the worst insult of all in my opinion just like the "ghost hunters crew" and straight up posers, pretending these things to seem cool to those you think are cool.

Is there really honestly anything to any of this other than self delusion, and schitzophrenia?

If so, am I just not "sensitive" enough? Or maybe, it doesn't work be cause I don't "believe"? If it is because I don't "believe" than doesn't that seem to prove that faith is required, meaning that you only experience it because you believe there by causing imagined episodes to occur?

Not trying to offend anyone, I just trully don't believe in any of this, and would like a straight, non hookie kookie, no nonsense answer, as I truly don't understand the mindset at all.



posted on Sep, 26 2012 @ 02:04 AM
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qmantoo: You do raise a legitimate point. There certainly are a lot of other mundane things that should probably be given more attention but aren't due to the inability to profit from knowledge gained from their study. But really, I think the larger problem is that the reaction to "paranormal" things is so negative that it doesn't even get to the point where people are thinking about how useful knowledge from research into these things could be. I mean, channeling, for example, seems like it could very well lead to a greater understanding of how the brain processes things like personality, and if I were researching something like dissociative personality disorder, for example, having someone who could voluntarily put themselves into a state where their primary identity was altered in such fundamental ways seems like something that would be an invaluable opportunity to learn. I'm not saying that it's necessarily a manifestation of a neurological disorder, but whatever it is, when you look at it like that, don't you think there would be more interest than there currently is if we didn't have such an automatically negative reaction as a society to the so-called paranormal?

inverselyproportional: I think you're missing the point of my post. My point has nothing to do with whether or not paranormal claims are actually "real" in the sense that they represent something supernatural. My point is that there's a certain apathy about investigating things that seem to be fairly strange other than the desire to prove or disprove them in that sense. Taking OBEs for an example, whether you've experienced them or not, I think we can agree that there are enough people that have had the experience and have described traits common to the experience to say that there is something going on besides people simply imagining something, right? And even if the experience is completely internally generated, don't you think that it's strange enough and different enough from most other common human experiences that there should be more interest in investigating it? That some people are able to have an experience that seems real, is distinctly different from a dream state, and that some can even voluntarily create that state is pretty interesting to me, even if it does turn out to be completely mundane. And I think that without the stigma we have towards that particular phenomenon as well as others, we would see at least a willingness to investigate that we don't see now.
edit on 26-9-2012 by Nanocyte because: typo



posted on Sep, 26 2012 @ 02:18 AM
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reply to post by inverslyproportional
 


Over the many years I worked with people so they could experience something directly for themselves I found that a large percentage of Males, and anyone with an extremely strong Mind.. the type where the Mind is actively participating with it's own thoughts and inputs instead of letting go the control... have difficulty, as you described.

Many women on the other hand easily move into a state of No-Mind and find direct experience to begin their own process of 'awakening'.

If we consider the Left/Right brain concept, it begins to make sense as to why my observations are as they are (?). As yet I have no ideas for moving through this apparent block in order to assist more people in their growth process. Perhaps that is something I will spend the next few years working out ?

Hops this helped in some way.



posted on Sep, 26 2012 @ 02:27 AM
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Originally posted by inverslyproportional
reply to post by Nanocyte
 


I am a skeptic about everything you mentioned in you OP, I am a more...science minded type, I came in here wandering if you were like myself and skeptical, or a "nutjob" ( only my opinion on these subjects) like so many others about them.

Having read your OP, I am convinced I am probably beyond being resond with or persuaded into "believeing". As I have never experienced any of the above, despite trying, even in the presence of supposed experts on the subject, who assured me they culd and would " show me the way".

All I ever got out of it was wasted time and not a single "experience" other than boredom.

So as a complete skeptic that thinks everyone involved in these experiences are no more than the equivelent of a gipsie magic ball reader, or terrot card reader, or palm reader, or even the worst insult of all in my opinion just like the "ghost hunters crew" and straight up posers, pretending these things to seem cool to those you think are cool.

Is there really honestly anything to any of this other than self delusion, and schitzophrenia?

If so, am I just not "sensitive" enough? Or maybe, it doesn't work be cause I don't "believe"? If it is because I don't "believe" than doesn't that seem to prove that faith is required, meaning that you only experience it because you believe there by causing imagined episodes to occur?

Not trying to offend anyone, I just trully don't believe in any of this, and would like a straight, non hookie kookie, no nonsense answer, as I truly don't understand the mindset at all.

He's asking that even if it is a form of "schizophrenia" is it not worth investigating. Inducing a "schizophrenic" state at will seems pretty interesting to me, and I think warrants further research.



posted on Sep, 26 2012 @ 11:23 AM
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reply to post by Tayesin
 


Thank you for the response, i see what your saying. as alot of people can be hypnotised, and some that are strong of will cannot.

Maybe I am just one of those types of folks it does not work on, as some are talented artists by nature, and some (me) will never be able to draw a decent stick figure, even after much effort and time spent trying.

I suppose your response makes perfect sense to me, since it is just that some are "born" to do it, other might learn, and some are just hoplessly lost, when trying.

Your words were much better at explaining it then mine, I am a science mind, straight logic, and reasoned deduction, I have a very limited ability to "make up" things. I would say limited imagination, as i have a very good one, I just am at a loss to find the right words to describe my thoughts on the matter.

You have however, managed to sway me that, these things are at least worth much more investigation before I discard them, as I am more than smart enough to know, that mine is not the only way, or mindset, in the world at large.

Once again thank you for your time, and your response, I will be back into the metaphysics forums to lurk, while I try to better understand these things myself.



posted on Sep, 26 2012 @ 12:15 PM
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Yes but how can you not be skeptical if you have no basis of understanding the experiance. From my point of view the first thing that need to be proved and become a common knowledge is how the chakra/energies/pineal gland/sense of touch works in a body and how different frequency sounds can influence the body. The understanding of the paranormal will be easier to understand when more people are expierancing it and it becomes more commonplace.

I am not saying that Chakras are the whole explanation on how the body works but the theory of chakras are very close to how my body works.

I know people here is gonna be skeptical but some people go thru an experiance and they start to be able to feel things that they cannot see.

I will give some example:
A heat located at a point near the spine.
Preasure on the forehead from unknown source.
Caress over the head like something gently touching you.
Pinch on the top end of the nose from above that is really annoying at times and it is a pinch you cannot reach.
Increased sensativity of touch and taste.
The feeling like energy is flowing in you fingers on your right hand.



posted on Sep, 26 2012 @ 01:15 PM
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Science in many ways is skepticism. It's just as interested in proving something wrong as it is right.

The problem with a lot of paranormal phenomenon is that it's difficult to come up with good scientific protocols and experiments to study it. That's especially true when it would seem to involve some kind of non-temporal causality effect. Cause and effect working in what we perceive as reverse time. It's also hard to filter out what would be a "psychic" effect, which would involve knowledge transfer through some unknown means.

We just don't have good paradigms to construct decent scientific studies for these things, which are generally extremely subtle and low-energy, but also can happen in bursts and have an emotional trigger. For instance, someone from your past calling you out of the blue to tell you something emotionally charged, and you knowing before you answer the phone who it is and what it's about. There are anecdotes about that happening all the time, but how do you set up a rigorous scientific test to record or measure it?

Also, it needs to be understood that most scientific research requires funding, and research into paranormal areas generally doesn't promise a result that can be used to create a product to make money $$$! Knowing how some people can influence dice enough to make a living playing craps is no help when you want to make a new toothpaste.

Still, Rupert Sheldrake has come up with a variety of easy, fun tests to explore this stuff, and the results are very interesting. Check them out at:

Rupert Sheldrake



posted on Sep, 26 2012 @ 06:26 PM
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The fact that every culture that exists on this planet embraces some form of paranormal reality - be it ghosts or agents of a god of some sort, paranormal manifestation or miracles - should make this sort of research a requirement, but the truth is that there are too many competing agendas that exist, with each possessing its own power to shut down any such effort before it starts.

If one god is sacked as baseless drivel, then what are the millions of its faithful supposed to do? Just switch their allegiance to the next available god? Yeah, right. And what if nothing other than material existence is capable of being proven as existent - very possible, since material measuring and perceiving technologies are all that are available to the material human beings tasked with determining whether non-material existence does, in fact, exist. Will that settle the debate once and for all? Of course not. No more than the blanket dismissals that already exist, offered by material researchers, who don't even bother to waste the time trying to measure non-material existence with material machines.

This won't get settled regardless of what anyone does or doesn't do to prove or disprove any of it. That said, dismissing it all out of hand, just because you haven't had an experience connected to how others have described it as a real and experienceable phenomenon, does seem a bit intellectually lazy, and more an indication of disinterest in the subject than anything else.



posted on Sep, 27 2012 @ 07:44 AM
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Perhaps. For a well known scientist in he/shes respective industry to start delving into issues like these would certainly damage their name. While it would make you slightly famous in the cirlces of alien nuts and 'ufo-ology', its certain funding would be a lot harder to you, youd look like a joke researching such areas.



posted on Sep, 27 2012 @ 08:51 PM
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inverselyproprtional

If so, am I just not "sensitive" enough? Or maybe, it doesn't work be cause I don't "believe"? If it is because I don't "believe" than doesn't that seem to prove that faith is required, meaning that you only experience it because you believe there by causing imagined episodes to occur?
Yet.... there are new science quantum studies which have determined that "something" only happens/exists when it is being watched/observed? How do you account for that then?

Nanocyte - you dont seem to understand that our imagination IS the reality we experience. If we assume that everything - yes absolutely everything - is energy, then our whole 3d world is made up of our minds being the filter or receiver of various energies. Our mind perceives the energy of a 'table' as vibrating slow enough that we can 'feel' it or 'see' it. If there is energy vibrating at a faster rate we cannot receive that frequency unless we re-tune our receiver or else an anomaly happens when it becomes 'receivable' to our mind at certain times. This is how we sometimes 'see' ghosties, aliens, etc.

inverselyproprtional - If you approach things from this perspective too, it may make a little more sense to you.

Tayesin - I have studied dowsing and pendulums and this seems to be an ideal way to interface between the mind/body receiving energy signals. Most people can dowse if taught correctly and if there is interest to learn. There are so many different ways to detect or amplify the signals we are receiving through our body's muscles or mind, and dowsing leads to a greater understanding of Time and our Universeal energy constructs.

inverselyproportional -

Maybe I am just one of those types of folks it does not work on, as some are talented artists by nature, and some (me) will never be able to draw a decent stick figure, even after much effort and time spent trying.
I think you would be amazed when you consider how advertising and media programs us or gives us subliminal messages and this is exactly what hypnosis does - it bypasses the conscious and gives us messages straight into the subconscious which then acts them out. If you do not realise the ways that media has an effect on all of us, you are not recognising that you too can be 'got at' subconsciously. It does not have to be called 'hypnosis' for it to work. I bet I can say some catch phrases or tag lines and you will immediately know which product I am referring to!


apushforenlightenment -

Yes but how can you not be skeptical if you have no basis of understanding the experiance. From my point of view the first thing that need to be proved and become a common knowledge is how the chakra/energies/pineal gland/sense of touch works in a body and how different frequency sounds can influence the body. The understanding of the paranormal will be easier to understand when more people are expierancing it and it becomes more commonplace.
Energy medicine is the real way to bring this about as there are already some modalities which are orthodoxly accepted as being relevant to health treatment. Accupuncture, and homeopathy are two which are more mainstream, but the philosophy works for all kinds of other more mainstream and fringe methods such as shiatsu, yoga, tai chi, martial arts, - even Traditional Chinese Medicine. There is a homeopathic hospital in London and the UK Royal Family is rumoured to use homeopathy as their preferred method of health treatment.

NorEaster -

This won't get settled regardless of what anyone does or doesn't do to prove or disprove any of it. That said, dismissing it all out of hand, just because you haven't had an experience connected to how others have described it as a real and experienceable phenomenon, does seem a bit intellectually lazy, and more an indication of disinterest in the subject than anything else.
In my mind, there is no excuse for science to ignore this any longer because scientists say that they want to investigate things, but so far have not applied their minds to ways which can be used to measure these 'new' frequencies. Yes, I suppose it IS laziness and apathy, but I bet if there was money available, there would be scientists who would be lining up to investigate it. Call me cynical or what?





 
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