The belief that no one has a justified belief in any spiritual phenomenon is irrational

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The belief that no one has a justified belief in any spiritual phenomenon is irrational

Okay, this has been bugging me for a while, so I'm officially challenging anyone who holds to the position that no one has a justified belief in any spiritual phenomenon to put forth a rational justification for that position.  To start off, we'll need some working definitions.  I propose that we use these definition, but am open to revisions:

Justified belief - an opinion, supported by valid logical, inductive, and epistemological reasoning, that a certain proposition is true

Spiritual - that which exists, does not consist of any form of matter or energy currently recognized by the physics community, and has been observed by specific individuals either directly or indirectly

Note that spiritual does NOT mean supernatural... supernatural would imply that the phenomenon doesn't need to follow natural laws, but a spiritual phenomenon that's an inherent part of the universe, and is a normal everyday occurrence that we just don't typically recognize, would be a natural phenomenon.  I offer 3 specific examples of phenomenon which some people would consider to satisfy these criteria, but I make no claim as to whether or not any of these actually do:

Chi/ki/qi - Many martial arts disciplines and alternative medicine practices claim that there's a kind of "spiritual energy" that's present in each of us and in the world around us.

Ghosts - Some people think that it's possible for a person's spirit/soul to linger around their place of death after said death has occurred.

Reincarnation - Some people think that a person's spirit/soul incarnates in multiple physical bodies over the course of history.

 

Also, let me just point out that I am not claiming and would not claim that it's irrational to not believe that any spiritual phenomena exist.  I also am not claiming and would not claim that it's irrational to not believe that anyone has a justified belief that a spiritual phenomenon exists.  It would be a false dichotomy to assume that you have to either believe that something is true or believe that it is false.  So, saying the burden of proof is on those claiming that spiritual phenomena exist, while certainly valid as a justification for not believing that any spiritual phenomenon exists, is not sufficient justification for believing that no one has a justified belief that a spiritual phenomenon exists.

 

I think it's fair to say that in order for a person to have a justified belief in a phenomenon, that phenomenon would have to actually exist, so if someone had a justified belief that a specific spiritual phenomenon did not exist, that would be sufficient grounds to rationally believe that no one has a justified belief in that specific spiritual phenomenon, but would not be sufficient grounds to rationally believe that no one had a justified belief in any spiritual phenomenon.  However, it's rather difficult to demonstrate the non-existence of a phenomenon which doesn't consist of any form of matter or energy currently recognized by the physics community.  So, how do people justify the belief that no one has a justified belief in a spiritual phenomenon?  Here are some common arguments I'm aware of:

1) There have been plenty of people who've made public claims of spiritual abilities, and have been revealed as frauds.

2) If a spiritual phenomenon really existed, and if people were aware of it, then someone would have claimed the $1 million prize from the James Randi challenge by now.

3) If a spiritual phenomenon really existed, and if people were aware of it, then it would have been demonstrated experimentally and recognized by the physics community by now.

4) In all my years of life, I've never seen anyone who had a justified belief in a spiritual phenomenon, therefore I have a justified confidence that there probably exists no such person.

And here are my counter-arguments for each:

1) There certainly have been plenty of cases where people used slight of hand and other tricks to pretend to have a spiritual ability, and a number of these people have been exposed as the frauds they are.    This is an excellent justification for why people shouldn't readily believe claims about spiritual abilities, but it's not sufficient to justify the belief that no one has a genuine spiritual ability.  Assume that 99% of the people that make money from allegedly using spiritual abilities as a service for customers are frauds... have enough skeptical investigations been done to be able to use induction to be confident that if the remaining 1% were genuine that it's statistically impossible that a member of that 1% was not investigated?  Of course, it would be an unreasonable burden to randomly investigate every such person, so for purposes of debunking professionals' spiritual claims, I would recommend targeting their credentials rather than the individual practitioners.  For example, if a skeptic organization or a consumer organization were interested in debunking, say, acupuncturists, the way I would recommend going about it would be to check their credentials, and debunk 2-3 practitioners from each acupuncture school, thereby discrediting the schools and the accreditations they provide.  Of course, all of this only deals with people who profit from claims of spiritual abilities, and does nothing to demonstrate that no one has a spiritual ability that they don't advertise or make a living off of.

2) There are many issues that someone considering attempting James Randi's challenge (and actually qualified to pass it) would have to weigh.  Of course, before they could even get to that point, they would first have to know that the challenge exists... and I managed to go through the vast majority of my life without ever hearing about it, so I'm sure there are plenty of people that don't even know it exists.  But, once that's out of the way, the next major issue is whether or not the person in question considers it worth becoming famous for.  The JREF does not allow anonymous applicants, and it reserves the right to record and publish any demonstration an applicant performs.  An extension of the fame issue is the issue of everyone knowing that they have a rare skill.  There's probably not going to be any agreement about how much, if at all, that would be a problem... but I'm pretty sure there are religions out there that advocate killing witches, and power-hungry people that would wonder how they could profit from a rare commodity.  Finally, the question has to be asked, how would it change the way people think?  Maybe there are people out there that would like to share the information but worry that if word got out that James Randi's challenge had been passed, cases of people fraudulently claiming to have supernatural abilities to prey on those who lack critical thinking skills would vastly increase.  Furthermore, the JREF doesn't accept any application that they believe would put the applicant at a risk of injury, which would rule out many martial arts demonstrations.  So, there are a number of other explanations for why a person might choose not to claim the JREF's prize besides the obvious one that they might not have an ability worth demonstrating.

1, 2, & 3) Just because a person might not have the skill to reliably demonstrate a spiritual ability doesn't imply that that person doesn't have a justified belief in a spiritual phenomenon.  If they were to witness someone else performing a spiritual ability, or if they were to witness some spiritual phenomenon which was not an ability performed by a person, and if they could verify that no fraud or deception was being employed to trick them, then they would have a justified belief in a spiritual phenomenon, but would not have the ability to demonstrate that phenomenon.

3) One of the greatest strengths of the scientific community in general is the requisite for repeatability.  If one scientist does bad research, other scientists can review it and perform their own experiments.  This is important, because it makes the findings more reliable over time.  If an event occurs only very rarely and unpredictably, however, it's not repeatable, and can't be accepted by the scientific community.  In this way, false positives are avoided, but some things may be real which are not yet accepted.  Also, try a quick though experiment.  Take the discovery of subatomic particles as an example.  There was a certain point in time at which a physicist discovered that subatomic particles exist.  Prior to that point in time, the physics community had not demonstrated experimentally and recognized the existence of subatomic particles.  Now, this thought experiment is not quite enough to demonstrate that the reasoning in argument #3 is invalid, because it's not a parallel situation... in the case of the subatomic particles, we can presume that no one had knowledge of them before the physicist who made the discovery.  The belief that I'm asserting to be irrational is not that no spiritual phenomenon exists (for which this counter-argument would be sufficient)... it's that no one has a justified belief in any spiritual phenomenon, which is a weaker belief, so I'm making a bolder claim by asserting that it's irrational.  That is to say, it's possible for a phenomenon to exist and be entirely unknown, but it's not possible for a phenomenon to not exist and be known.  So, this thought experiment only rules out why spiritual phenomena not being discovered scientifically is not sufficient, but doesn't address the issue of why a layman might happen across justification without it being adopted by the scientific community.  Some obvious possible reasons include: if the evidence the layman observes is not repeatable, if the observation is internal, apathy, and concern for what technologies might be developed as a result.

4) This argument bugs me the most, because it doesn't have much to do with the issue in question, and is just a case of bad induction.  There are 2 quantities to consider here.  First, what percentage of the earth's population have you observed, and second, on average what is the likelihood that for any person you have observed, you would have successfully recognized the quality in question (in this case, a justified belief in a spiritual phenomenon) upon such observation.  Multiply those two quantities together, and you have a justified level of confidence, expressed as a percentage, that no one on earth has the quality in question.  In this case, the probability of recognizing someone with a justified belief in an area that most people don't ask total strangers about would be quite low, and the earth's population is quite large, so even if you've observed 1 million people, the percentage of the earth's population observed is still very small.  Multiplying two very small percentages together yields a much smaller percentage than either operand, so this line of reasoning fails.


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You completely ignored

You completely ignored perspective in your definition of "justified belief".  That person may damn well believe they are justified in their belief through what they consider to be sound reasoning.  That doesn't mean a thing. 

If somebody said to you, "My mother is the best cook in the world", you would need certain evidence to believe that statement - like the kind that would be good enough to prove to the Culinary Institute of America.  Sure that person may have sampled a lot of mother's cooking, and his opinion may be justified in that regard.  But is his mom really the best cook in the world?  The evidence will tell us so.  This may be an absolute statement, but really its not far fetched - certainly somebody out there has to be the best cook as judged by the evidence.  There are no super natural claims here.

It gets even worse, consistently worse, when you start adding on supernatural beliefs.  Ghost stories for example require more evidence that "justified belief" - which cannot even be used in this case, as a person does not know what they are seeing, and often will see things relevant to their cultural dictates.  For example, how or in what manner a ghost appears will not be the same in America that it is in Spain, or Mexico, or the middle east.  This is because ghost stories told in those regions are different, and when people "see" ghosts they are really not seeing anything - their minds "fill in" the blanks with the stories they've heard, as part of an instinctual survival tool we have evolved.  It's called pareidolia.  Now this why we see faces on the moon, on mars, Jesus on food-stuffs, etc.   We see a pattern, our mind fills in the blanks with memories, often with illusions. 

The problem is that people so often turn these illusions into delusions.  That doesn't even cover all the bases.  You would need to quantify what a soul is that person believes they are seeing, you would need to explain how "supernatural" can materialize in "natural" and can be seen by "natural" eyes, yet leave no "natural" traces.  (If it is energy, for example, why no residue or burn marks - imagining that the energy needed to "materialize" would have to at least scorch something)  You would need to locate the functions of the body controlled by a "soul".  These factors would need to be determined before one could even being to "logically justify a belief." 

Finally, you ignore intent.  Ever wonder why the most prominent ghost sightings and alien abductions happen in trailer parks?  Srsly.  Read my article on ghost stories and hauntings.

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QuasarX
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QuasarX wrote:Justified

QuasarX wrote:
Justified belief - an opinion, supported by valid logical, inductive, and epistemological reasoning, that a certain proposition is true

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
You completely ignored perspective in your definition of "justified belief".  That person may damn well believe they are justified in their belief through what they consider to be sound reasoning.  That doesn't mean a thing.

Are you saying that it's impossible to have objective standards for logic, induction, and epistemology by which a the justification of a belief can be determined?  Are you saying that even if such objective principles were followed diligently, the bias of an observer is so inherent that it can never be trusted?  I'm not trying to put words in your mouth... just trying to understand your objection.  If you think my definition is insufficient, is there another you would recommend instead?

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
If somebody said to you, "My mother is the best cook in the world", you would need certain evidence to believe that statement - like the kind that would be good enough to prove to the Culinary Institute of America.  Sure that person may have sampled a lot of mother's cooking, and his opinion may be justified in that regard.  But is his mom really the best cook in the world?  The evidence will tell us so.  This may be an absolute statement, but really its not far fetched - certainly somebody out there has to be the best cook as judged by the evidence.  There are no super natural claims here.

Actually, this is not the same kind of situation.  "Best" is an entirely subjective judgment... in other words, the claim "My mother is the best cook in the world" is by nature an opinion rather than a fact.  Even if the claimant were to sample every dish from every cook in the entire world, "best" would still be a matter of his personal preference.  The existence or nonexistence of a phenomenon is a much more concrete, objective matter.  Also, I didn't make any assertion regarding supernatural beliefs, only spiritual beliefs.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
It gets even worse, consistently worse, when you start adding on supernatural beliefs.  Ghost stories for example require more evidence that "justified belief" - which cannot even be used in this case, as a person does not know what they are seeing, and often will see things relevant to their cultural dictates.  For example, how or in what manner a ghost appears will not be the same in America that it is in Spain, or Mexico, or the middle east.  This is because ghost stories told in those regions are different, and when people "see" ghosts they are really not seeing anything - their minds "fill in" the blanks with the stories they've heard, as part of an instinctual survival tool we have evolved.  It's called pareidolia.  Now this why we see faces on the moon, on mars, Jesus on food-stuffs, etc.   We see a pattern, our mind fills in the blanks with memories, often with illusions.

Again, I didn't mention anything about supernatural phenomena... but clearly the cases you're referring to were not cases of people with a justified belief in an objective sense.  Now if, hypothetically, a person were to see a ghost, and then had the ghost throw a chair at him, that would be much more justification for the belief in a ghost than just that person thinking that he saw something that kind of looked like a person.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
The problem is that people so often turn these illusions into delusions.  That doesn't even cover all the bases.  You would need to quantify what a soul is that person believes they are seeing, you would need to explain how "supernatural" can materialize in "natural" and can be seen by "natural" eyes, yet leave no "natural" traces.  (If it is energy, for example, why no residue or burn marks - imagining that the energy needed to "materialize" would have to at least scorch something)  You would need to locate the functions of the body controlled by a "soul".  These factors would need to be determined before one could even being to "logically justify a belief." 

Finally, you ignore intent.  Ever wonder why the most prominent ghost sightings and alien abductions happen in trailer parks?  Srsly.  Read my article on ghost stories and hauntings.

Oh, I wouldn't disagree with the statement that most ghost stories are false.  But, even if they're all false, that's only 1 possible phenomenon.  To say that no one has a justified belief in any spiritual phenomenon is a much broader claim.


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QuasarX wrote:Spiritual -

QuasarX wrote:
Spiritual - that which exists, does not consist of any form of matter or energy currently recognized by the physics community, and has been observed by specific individuals either directly or indirectly

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
You would need to quantify what a soul is that person believes they are seeing, you would need to explain how "supernatural" can materialize in "natural" and can be seen by "natural" eyes, yet leave no "natural" traces.  (If it is energy, for example, why no residue or burn marks - imagining that the energy needed to "materialize" would have to at least scorch something)

Again... not talking about supernatural... but if souls were made of energy, at least of a form we were aware of, then one of them would likely have been detected already, unless the rest of our bodies were enough of a distraction to make them unnoticeable.  As far as materialization and scorching, that just sounds like wild speculation.  In any case, a phenomenon doesn't need to be completely understood to be observed.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
You would need to locate the functions of the body controlled by a "soul".  These factors would need to be determined before one could even being to "logically justify a belief."

Well, that would certainly be good evidence, but I wouldn't say that no other evidence would be valid.  If a child sees his ice cream cone melting, is he not justified in believing that it is, in fact, melting just because he doesn't know that materials phase shift from solids to liquids when their temperature increases?


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I dont think the definition

I dont think the definition of spiritual is '

'Spiritual - that which exists, does not consist of any form of matter or energy currently recognized by the physics community, and has been observed by specific individuals either directly or indirectly'

Surely the definition of spiritual is that which exists that can NEVER be recognised by the physics community, not what is currently recognized.

There could easily be forces out there we don't understand but doesnt make it supernatural merely beyond currently knowledge. Maybe there is some sort of weird soul that can survive outside our bodies (not likely but still possible) but there is no evidence that this couldnt be observed, measured and studied


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mrjonno wrote:Surely the

mrjonno wrote:
Surely the definition of spiritual is that which exists that can NEVER be recognised by the physics community, not what is currently recognized.

Hmm... an interesting point....  www.dictionary.com gives this definition for 'physics': the science that deals with matter, energy, motion, and force.

So, I guess, for something spiritual to be recognized scientifically, and depending on the specific nature of the thing in question, it might have its own field of study, hmm?  Maybe a better definition would be something like this?

Spiritual - that which exists, does not consist of any form of matter or energy currently recognized by the scientific community, and has been observed by specific individuals either directly or indirectly

Your thoughts?

mrjonno wrote:
There could easily be forces out there we don't understand but doesnt make it supernatural merely beyond currently knowledge. Maybe there is some sort of weird soul that can survive outside our bodies (not likely but still possible) but there is no evidence that this couldnt be observed, measured and studied

Yes, that's my point exactly.  We don't know everything there is to know about how our universe works, so how can we say that nobody has seen or recognized something real that isn't yet common knowledge?


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QuasarX wrote:Spiritual -

QuasarX wrote:
Spiritual - that which exists, does not consist of any form of matter or energy currently recognized by the physics community, and has been observed by specific individuals either directly or indirectly

Your definition begs the question. How do these individuals *know* that what they observed 'does not consist of any form of matter or energy currently recognized by the physics community'? They may *believe* that what they experienced has no physical basis, but they don't *know* that.

The clear argument against believing in non-physical spirituality is Occam's Razor, the principle that we should not accept those ideas that can just as easily be done without. Spiritual *experiences* may have a physical basis, so there is no reason to assume that the experiences point to a reality beyond the physical. Have you ever seen a magic trick? Pretty convincing, eh? It *looks* like the only explanation is magic. But does that mean that magic exists? No. It doesn't. There is a physical explanation for what *appears* to be magic. Likewise with spiritual experiences.

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if the question is

If the question is "is the belief that no one has a justified belief in any spiritual phenomenon irrational..."

wikipedia partially defines irrationality as belief in the supernatural without evidence (this includes higher powers or beings, such as God)

I agree with this definition. Unfortunately there is no physical evidence of any supernatural forces. Hence, the term supernatural. So, it is very rational not to believe in the supernatural as a default.

Since there is no physical evidence, and can never be any, then would one be willing to allow personal testimony as evidence? If so, then it may be possible to slowly build evidence for the supernatural. Most would need so much personal testimony that it would be practically impossible to convince oneself of the supernatural (since people lie and are mistaken). It would have to be true testimony to be justified. The odds are very stacked against this.

The only other evidence would be personal experience which could also be mistaken and often is as Rook_Hawkins points out.

since justification hinges on truth we can argue forever to what amount of personal testimony "should" be necessary. Some would say a lot. Some would say no amount is enough for me.


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To have a justified belief

To have a justified belief that the spiritual experience points to a *real* spiritual (as per your def'n of non-physical) phenomenon, the person would have to conclusively show that this experience can *not* be explained by physical concepts. They would essentially have to be well-versed in physics, i.e. a physicist, and they would have to have some form of evidence that the non-physical exists. Aside from the impossibility of such evidence, even if such evidence were possible, the person would also have to have followed the scientific method to establish that their conclusions were not biased. Therefore, this person would have to have a scientifically recognized theory of the non-physical. Such a theory does not exist on this planet. If it did, we would have heard about it through the scientific pulbications, which is an essential part of the scientific method. Therefore, it is not justified to believe in non-physical spirituality.

BTW: I hold that such a theory is by its nature impossible to construct, since science can only deal with the physical. But, even granting that evidence of the non-physical were possible, the lack of such a theory is justification for believing no one has a justified belief in the non-physical.

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Your definitions are a bit

Your definitions are a bit skwronky.

Belief - holding a thing to be true and real.

Knowledge - Justified True Belief.

Justified - adhering to and passing tests for logical validity, empirical reality, and objective verification.

True - Objectively existing as described.

 

These are not my definitions.  They're generally agreed upon by most of the philosophical world, and disagreement usually comes in the form of additional conditions, not a reworking of the base definition.  For instance, many (including myself) say that knowledge must also be intentional.  In other words, if I tell you that there's a quarter in your pocket right now, and there is, it's not knowledge.  It's true and justified, and I may well believe it, but I don't have the evidence and objective verification, so it is not knowledge.

Now, with these (correct) definitions, there is no such thing as knowledge of spirituality, for there is no objective verification.  Also, any belief, whether true or not, cannot strictly be called justified because it fails the tests of objective verification, and quite possibly empirical reality.

I think it's not impossible for you to get where you want, but you have to change your wording a little to be philosophically sound.  It is quite rational for someone to have a belief in spiritual things, or even the supernatural.  That's because we can reach a valid conclusion that either or both exist.  All we need is untrue data.  With false premises, we can reach the conclusion that god, or spirits, or esp, or ufo abductions exist, and the conclusion would be valid, and therefore rational.  The only time it's irrational to believe in such things is when either:

1) We have true data and use invalid logic

or

2) We have true data and ignore sound logic

or

3) We have false data and use invalid logic

 

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Isn't using data that

Isn't using data that doesn't have evidence for it's being true irrational though?

 

Example:

 

All cats are immortal

all immortal things are gods

Therefore the Ancient Egyptians were right and all cats are gods.

 

Completely valid logically, though the first premise is obviously false and the second isn't necessarily true. So even though it's technically valid it would be a very irrational thing to say.

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Quote:Isn't using data that

Quote:
Isn't using data that doesn't have evidence for it's being true irrational though?

Only if you have evidence that the data doesn't have evidence.

 

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Really not sure I get this

Really not sure I get this thread,

 

If someone can come up with evidence that ghosts exist then the study of ghosts becomes physics and possibly biology

If someone can come up with evidence that life exists after the death of the body then that becomes biology

If someone can come up with evidence that god exists than the study of god becomes well all sciences

 

Science is the methology in obtaining information about the universe it isnt the actual facts themselves. The the whole material/non material thing just doesnt make any real sense.

If its exists its material in one form or the other

 

 

 

 

 


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I agree with the above posts

For personal testimony to have weight as evidence, the person who is judging the supernatural event should be well versed in physics, con games, magic tricks, slight of hand, hypnosis, etc...to be able to say that the event was "apparently" not natural. Still, the likelihood of it being supernatural only increases slightly due to our general lack of knowledge of all natural things. It would take a lot of these testimonies to add up to significant weight or a lot of supernatural events to accumulate weight of evidence. This would still not be scientific evidence.

By definition, no supernatural events are testable or repeatable and therefore cannot be studied through scientific method.

If the "supernatural" event was repeatable, then by definition it is no longer supernatural. Scientific method would eventually figure out the natural cause.

 

 


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QuasarX wrote:Actually, this

QuasarX wrote:
Actually, this is not the same kind of situation.  "Best" is an entirely subjective judgment...

But somehow supernatural claims are objective?

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Ghosts arent real.

Ghosts arent real.


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Supernatural claims

could only be considered objective to those who agree on their individual subjective beliefs. Objective may be the wrong word. Maybe axiomatic is a better word. Or just "agreed upon terms" is better. "  Supernatural events are always subjective to the person who experienced them.  Some may call it "scientific" or logical to try to rule out all natural possibilities. At best I might call it abductive logic. But there is no way to deduce any supernatural claims as being true.


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circle

Hambydammit wrote:

Quote:
Isn't using data that doesn't have evidence for it's being true irrational though?

Only if you have evidence that the data doesn't have evidence.

 

   Hamby   I think we can say you are talking in circles here.   " evidence.. that you do not have evidence."

   Can we stay with our traditional  RRS  statement    "you claim an imaginary friend; You have to prove it is real."

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Quote:   Hamby   I think

Quote:
   Hamby   I think we can say you are talking in circles here.

Sorry.  I should have put a smiley or something to indicate humor.

Smiling

 

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Rook_Hawkins wrote:QuasarX

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

QuasarX wrote:
Actually, this is not the same kind of situation.  "Best" is an entirely subjective judgment...

But somehow supernatural claims are objective?

I don't think so, nor would I suggest that to be the case.  Supernatural, as I understand it, means not bound by the laws of nature.  A claim is an assertion of something as a fact.  I'm not talking about the supernatural, and I'm not even necessarily suggesting that there would be any claims.  I'm talking about some hypothetical natural, spiritual phenomenon which could either have been observed somehow or could have caused some observable effect.  The hypothetical phenomenon, then, would be what I'm referring to as objective, not the observation of it.  To go back to your food example, the appropriate corresponding claim would not be that "My mother is the best cook in the world", but rather that "My mother is a cook."

However, I think Hamby (and others) might be right that my definitions need adjusting.  I wasn't very confident in them to begin with... I just haven't yet thought of better definitions to use.


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Quote:However, I think Hamby

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However, I think Hamby might be right that my definitions need adjusting.  I wasn't very confident in them to begin with... I just haven't yet thought of better definitions to use.

What do you have against the correct ones?

All you have to do is adjust your statement slightly, and you're right, and philosophers the world over will be happy.  There can be a rational and untrue belief because bad data can yield valid and false conclusions.  So, there's no such thing as knowledge of or justified belief in the spiritual or supernatural.  However, there are people who are being rational by holding such beliefs.

 

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Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:
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However, I think Hamby might be right that my definitions need adjusting.  I wasn't very confident in them to begin with... I just haven't yet thought of better definitions to use.

What do you have against the correct ones?

All you have to do is adjust your statement slightly, and you're right, and philosophers the world over will be happy.  There can be a rational and untrue belief because bad data can yield valid and false conclusions.  So, there's no such thing as knowledge of or justified belief in the spiritual or supernatural.  However, there are people who are being rational by holding such beliefs.

That would defeat the purpose of the discussion, I'm afraid.  Whether the statement is that anyone who believes in a natural, spiritual phenomenon must necessarily hold that belief without justification, that anyone who believes in a natural, spiritual phenomenon might have some justification for their belief, but that belief would still be false, there is still an assumption being made that no natural, spiritual phenomenon can exist (or alternately that no natural, spiritual phenomenon could be in any way observable).  I don't see any justification for making that assumption... in other words, to use the definitions you pointed out, such an assumption appears to be an unjustified belief for which the truth value is unknown.

Hambydammit wrote:
Belief - holding a thing to be true and real.

Knowledge - Justified True Belief.

Justified - adhering to and passing tests for logical validity, empirical reality, and objective verification.

True - Objectively existing as described.

Hmm... you're right.  I don't just mean justified belief, I mean justified true belief.  The reason I hesitated to use the word knowledge, however, is that it's not a requirement that these people know how the phenomenon works... just that they have a justified true belief that the phenomenon exists.  I suppose a better term for what I was thinking of as knowledge would actually be understanding.

Hambydammit wrote:
Now, with these (correct) definitions, there is no such thing as knowledge of spirituality, for there is no objective verification.  Also, any belief, whether true or not, cannot strictly be called justified because it fails the tests of objective verification, and quite possibly empirical reality.

Am I right, then, in understanding your objection to be that it's impossible to have an objectively justified belief in the existence of a spiritual phenomenon because you think it's impossible to have an objectively justified belief in anything?


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natural wrote:QuasarX

natural wrote:
QuasarX wrote:
Spiritual - that which exists, does not consist of any form of matter or energy currently recognized by the physics community, and has been observed by specific individuals either directly or indirectly

Your definition begs the question. How do these individuals *know* that what they observed 'does not consist of any form of matter or energy currently recognized by the physics community'? They may *believe* that what they experienced has no physical basis, but they don't *know* that.

The way I'm thinking of this problem, the individual doesn't need to know that a phenomenon meets any definition of spiritual, they simply need to have some knowledge of a phenomenon that actually does meet a relevant definition.  That said, I acknowledge that the definition of spiritual I've suggested may not be the best that's possible, and am open to suggestions for modification or replacement.


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JustAnotherBeliever wrote:If

JustAnotherBeliever wrote:

If the question is "is the belief that no one has a justified belief in any spiritual phenomenon irrational..."

wikipedia partially defines irrationality as belief in the supernatural without evidence (this includes higher powers or beings, such as God)

I agree with this definition. Unfortunately there is no physical evidence of any supernatural forces. Hence, the term supernatural. So, it is very rational not to believe in the supernatural as a default.

Like many people, you're equating spiritual and supernatural, but the only way such an equivalence could be justified is if it could be shown that spiritual phenomenon must necessarily not follow natural laws.  I don't see any justification for such an assumption.

JustAnotherBeliever wrote:
Since there is no physical evidence, and can never be any, then would one be willing to allow personal testimony as evidence?

Well, I wouldn't assume that there would be no physical evidence.  But, in any case, for the purposes of this problem, personal testimony is irrelevant, because even if we assume that there's a situation in which personal testimony could be admissible as evidence, in order for someone to get valid personal testimony, some other person would first have to satisfy the conditions of the problem.


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Quote:That would defeat the

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That would defeat the purpose of the discussion, I'm afraid.  Whether the statement is that anyone who believes in a natural, spiritual phenomenon must necessarily hold that belief without justification, that anyone who believes in a natural, spiritual phenomenon might have some justification for their belief, but that belief would still be false, there is still an assumption being made that no natural, spiritual phenomenon can exist (or alternately that no natural, spiritual phenomenon could be in any way observable).  I don't see any justification for making that assumption... in other words, to use the definitions you pointed out, such an assumption appears to be an unjustified belief for which the truth value is unknown.

'Supernatural' (and 'immaterial') are broken concepts

 "Spirit" is equally incoherent

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What the hell is a natural

What the hell is a natural spiritual phenomenon.

The words natural and spiritual are effectively totally opposite words.

Its like saying can you tell a true lie, or can you have a black white car it does not compute

 


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Spiritual phenomenon do not

Spiritual phenomenon do not exist, nay, cannot exist.  I challenge you to provide me with evidence that something that's not either matter nor energy can exist.  I challenge you to provide me with any scientific evidence of 'spirit'.  Spirit is in exactly the same category as supernatural; it is something that by its very definition cannot exist in this universe.

Spirit implies a disembodied consciousness unless you are using a special definition and a 'natural, spiritual phenomenon' is a complete oxymoron.  Consciousnesses do not exist disembodied from the very things that contain consciousness (brains).  To believe otherwise is to subject yourself to dumbfounded looks and unanswerable questions about your contradiction when you turn around and deny the existence of the ultimate disembodied consciousness (god).  It's just stupid.  Further, your special definition of supernatural is unnecessary and dishonest.  Supernatural is not something that does not follow natural laws, it is something that is not natural; it cannot exist.  Likewise, any 'spiritual phenomenon' in order to be natural would have to be natural, which would make it anything but a spiritual phenomenon.  Can you tell us exactly what you mean by spiritual phenomenon?  If you mean ghosts, you're crazy.  If you really mean something more akin to spirituality, then there was no need for this thread.  In fact, there is no need for this thread as the broken concept of 'spiritual' has been dealt with before ad nauseam.

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If we use the best

If we use the best definitions provided in this thread to this point, Hamby's, I think the phrase "justified belief" is about as close to an oxymoron as one can get without being an oxymoron.

Maybe it's just the oxy part that is missing.


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QuasarX wrote:That would

QuasarX wrote:

That would defeat the purpose of the discussion, I'm afraid.  Whether the statement is that anyone who believes in a natural, spiritual phenomenon must necessarily hold that belief without justification, that anyone who believes in a natural, spiritual phenomenon might have some justification for their belief, but that belief would still be false, there is still an assumption being made that no natural, spiritual phenomenon can exist (or alternately that no natural, spiritual phenomenon could be in any way observable).

Just to be clear, we did not show that it is unjustified to believe in a natural 'spiritual' phenomenon. We showed that your definition of spiritual as being non-physical is unjustified. As an example to show the distinction I'm making, it is possible that spiritual phenomena exist as physical events/entities, and are merely misinterpreted by people as being non-physical. I'm not talking about ghosts and whatnot. I'm talking about hallucinations and experiences that people mistake for ghosts and whatnot. There is a physical explanation for that, and so it is justified to say that all experiences of spirituality are physical in nature. Physical is a subset of natural. So, we did not deny that spiritual phenomena can be natural, we denied that it is justifiable to believe that they can be non-physical.

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QuasarX wrote:natural

QuasarX wrote:

natural wrote:
QuasarX wrote:
Spiritual - that which exists, does not consist of any form of matter or energy currently recognized by the physics community, and has been observed by specific individuals either directly or indirectly

Your definition begs the question. How do these individuals *know* that what they observed 'does not consist of any form of matter or energy currently recognized by the physics community'? They may *believe* that what they experienced has no physical basis, but they don't *know* that.

The way I'm thinking of this problem, the individual doesn't need to know that a phenomenon meets any definition of spiritual, they simply need to have some knowledge of a phenomenon that actually does meet a relevant definition.  That said, I acknowledge that the definition of spiritual I've suggested may not be the best that's possible, and am open to suggestions for modification or replacement.

That depends entirely on what distinction you are trying to make. Are you trying to determine whether it's possible to justifiably believe in the supernatural? Or just 'that outside of physics'? What are you trying to get at?

In my opinion, all spiritual experiences are physical in nature. (I'm a physicalist; see my video on the topic for an explanation if necessary http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZLJwauVj0E) The physical entity of importance is not matter or energy or space or time, but information. Information is a physical entity that exists as relations between other physical entities. You can think of it as the 'state' of a system. Think of an email. Does an email exist? Yes. I can download it from a network, I can load it up from my hard-drive, I can display it on screen from RAM. In each case, the storage medium is different but the email remains the same, because it contains the same information. Likewise, the genes that define my body are stored in DNA, but those same genes are copied to RNA. Through technology, we can extract those same genes from my body, store it on a computer, compress it, encrypt it, send it via email, and (theoretically) re-encode those same genes into a human cell in Australia. The genes are the same, but the medium and encoding change. Information exists, and it is the key to understanding how 'spirituality' can be an entirely physical phenomenon.

For example, you experience a 'ghost'. What really happened? Typically, these are hypnagogic hallucinations. Essentially, they are confused neurons, mistaking what is imagined for something that is real. The hallucination exists, physically, in your brain, as encoded information (the imagined thing) which has been interpreted incorrectly (related to reality, when it should have been related to the imagination).

So, for a person to say that they 'know' that their experience of a ghost proves that ghosts exist as non-physical entities is just an argument from ignorance. "I don't know why I'm hallucinating, therefore my hallucination is real." I have personally experienced a hypnagogic ghost. As it happened, my imagination picked a living person for me to hallucinate, so the ghost-hypothesis is falsified. But it was a very convincing hallucination at the time. It's just that I never assumed that it was supernatural or non-physical in any way. That would have been unjustified.

There are other kinds of 'spiritual' experiences, as I'm well aware. But in every case, there are plausible physical explanations, and an argument from ignorance is not justified in any case, ever.

So, again, the question back to you is, what kind of distinction are you trying to make?

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Quote:Hmm... you're right. 

Quote:
Hmm... you're right.  I don't just mean justified belief, I mean justified true belief.  The reason I hesitated to use the word knowledge, however, is that it's not a requirement that these people know how the phenomenon works... just that they have a justified true belief that the phenomenon exists.  I suppose a better term for what I was thinking of as knowledge would actually be understanding.

Umm...

So... I'm right, but you don't like it, so you'd like to change the definition so that your statement can be true?  I don't get it.

First, I didn't say they had to know how the phenomenon worked.  I said they would have to have knowledge of it, which is impossible.  To have knowledge of it, which (whether you like it or not) is justified true belief, the following must be true:

1) Something spiritual exists

2) It is empirically verifiable and falsifiable

3) It has been verified and falsified

4) The person claiming knowledge can attest to 1-3 with scientific certainty.

 

Now, if you want to talk about understanding of a spiritual event, you're going to run into a similar problem.  I can tell you that I understand glumbelfarb, but if glumbelfarb is not a real thing, my sentence means nothing.  Since the word "spiritual" literally refers to nothing, having knowledge of it is having knowledge of nothing.

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Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:

Quote:
Hmm... you're right.  I don't just mean justified belief, I mean justified true belief.  The reason I hesitated to use the word knowledge, however, is that it's not a requirement that these people know how the phenomenon works... just that they have a justified true belief that the phenomenon exists.  I suppose a better term for what I was thinking of as knowledge would actually be understanding.

Umm...

So... I'm right, but you don't like it, so you'd like to change the definition so that your statement can be true?  I don't get it.

No, sorry... I meant that you're right that it's better to stick strictly with the formal definitions... I allowed my subjective interpretation and memory of additional connotations in which some of those terms had been used to influence my starting definitions/terms, which seems to have led to some confusion about the issue I'm trying to address.  Sorry about that.  I haven't changed my ideas or opinions on the issue yet, and also, the purpose of this thread is not to try to find a way to make the statement true... it's to try to determine whether or not a line of reasoning that appears to me to be irrational is, in fact, irrational.  I've spent a lot of time thinking about this, and I haven't been able to come up with any rational justification for the opinion that I'm trying to describe, but it's a bit tricky because there are other similar opinions that I do consider to be rational and justified.  I'm used to discussing these kinds of intellectual issues in person, where such confusion is more easily identified and resolved during the give-and-take of a conversation.  I apologize for the inconvenience... I know you guys have plenty of other issues to tackle, but the feedback here has been quite helpful, and I think I'm getting a handle on the nature of the stumbling blocks that we're running into.  I think I can clear things up as a result... I just want to spend a little more time to be as sure as I can be that it'll put us on the right track first.  I'm grateful to everyone who has participated in this thread so far, and I'm trying to make it worth your time.

 


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Heh.  I'm glad it's

Heh.  I'm glad it's helping, Quasar.  I think I'm more confused than I was at the beginning, but I am glad that you're getting it straight.  Are you at a point where you could do a set of definitions and bullet points so that I can grasp what you're trying to call irrational?  If you want more help, I think I'll need a cheat sheet.  To my reading, all of your questions have been answered, which means either I don't understand the question or you don't understand the answers.  It would help me to know which it is.

 

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Sorry, this is a bit more of

Sorry, this is a bit more of a strain than I'm used to... trying to see the issue from everyone's point of view at once to make sure we end up being on the same page for discussion... it's making my head hurt.  Let me sleep on it, and I think I'll have something worth posting tomorrow.


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Okay, I think I see now

Okay, I think I see now where I went wrong with my original definition of spiritual.  The definition I came up with doesn't properly include a lot of ideas which I consider to be irrational but which are commonly considered spiritual, and it does include a lot of ideas which I consider rational and are not commonly considered spiritual.  Also, my original definition is dependent on a criteria which is not constant over time (specifically, our body of scientific knowledge which is continually being updated).  So, I've entirely reworked it not in terms of where I think it "fits" philosophically but instead focusing on the commonality that all spiritual ideas seem to share.  Also, to properly define all of the views expressed so far in this thread, I think we need to define more terms as well, and I'm trying to define them formally so that they can be used to develop logical conclusions.  So, here's what I've come up with:

Nouns:

Existence (no plural) - the set of everything that objectively exists

Phenomenon (pl. phenomena) - a descriptor of one or more aspects of existence

Belief (pl. beliefs) - an opinion about which of the following adjectives accurately describe a phenomenon or a belief

Adjectives:

Real - consistent with existence.  Opposite: unreal.  Describes: phenomena.

Natural - constrained by laws inherent to the nature of existence.  Opposite: supernatural.  Describes: phenomena.

Substantive - consisting of or being composed of something (anything).  Opposite: not substantive.  Describes: phenomena.

Physical - represented by the current body of knowledge encapsulated by the physical sciences (physics, chemistry, biology, geology, etc.).  Opposite: nonphysical.  Describes: phenomena.

Spiritual - having the quality of being a component of life or a form of life which is not biochemical, electrical, or thermal.  Opposite: nonspiritual.  Describes: phenomena.

True - correct and accurate always.  Opposite: false.  Describes: beliefs.

Justified - either shown to be necessarily correct by a solid logical proof (either formal or informal) or all of the following: epistemologically shown to have a 90% or higher likelihood of being true by valid use of induction; shown to have a basis in objective reality by accounts from other first-hand witnesses which verify that the experiences were not simply imagined; and validated by the careful consideration and falsification of any reasonable alternative hypotheses, including any possibility for dishonesty/deception.  [The point has been raised that justification is subjective, in other words, people sometimes disagree about what constitutes valid logic, valid inductive reasoning, and valid epistemology.  This is a rather involved issue to get into, so I would hope that we can assume that a form of argument or line of reasoning is valid if it produces a correct conclusion for any correct assumptions to which it is applied.  If it can be shown to produce an incorrect conclusion for any correct assumptions, it is fallacious and invalid, and so it cannot be used as to show that a belief is justified.]  Opposite: unjustified.  Describes: beliefs.

Justifiable - capable of being justified.  Opposite: unjustifiable.  Describes: beliefs.

I'm presuming that existence is objective and consistent in its nature, so any phenomenon, then, must be either real or unreal, natural or supernatural, substantive or not substantive, physical or nonphysical, and spiritual or nonspiritual.  Beliefs, however, are subjective, and though some of them will target objective phenomena, others target subjective beliefs.  For this reason, it's possible to have logically contradicting beliefs, such as: A) Belief B is true B) Belief A is false.  In this case, neither belief can be said to be true.  Also, while we can have specific and categorical beliefs about phenomena, for example, the belief that any phenomena which is supernatural must also be unreal, it's possible that the belief will be justified by one person and not justified by another, although a belief which is justifiable is always justifiable regardless of who believes it.  This makes the issue a bit more complicated, but I see it as an unavoidable complication due to the inherent nature of beliefs.

Is this fair?  Are these definitions clear and sufficient?  Are the terms which these definitions reference sufficiently understood and agreed upon that we can have a meaningful discussion?  As always, constructive criticism is welcome and appreciated.


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I would dispute the

I would dispute the definitions in the following cases:

QuasarX wrote:
Existence (no plural) - the set of everything that objectively exists

I would hold existence to be everything that exists, period. I would hold 'the known universe' to be everything that objectively exists.

Quote:
Spiritual - having the quality of being a component of life or a form of life which is not biochemical, electrical, or thermal.  Opposite: nonspiritual.  Describes: phenomena.

What about nuclear? The forces holding the atoms together, which are a component of life, are nuclear forces that are neither biochemical, electrical, or thermal. So are quarks spiritual? Also, your usage of 'life' is ambiguous. Life is one of those things that is notoriously difficult to define clearly.

Quote:
True - correct and accurate always.  Opposite: false.  Describes: beliefs.

I don't think such a definition of 'true' is useful, because I can't think of anything that is correct and accurate *always*. I propose the idea that truth is like an arrow. If an arrow is true, and it is fired skillfully, it will likely strike its target. If the arrow is not true, then no matter how skillfully it is fired, it will likely miss its target. The more true an arrow is, the more likely it will be accurate. Thus, truth is about making predictions. The more accurate the predictions a theory makes, the more 'true' that theory is. If it makes bad predictions, no better than chance, then it is less 'true'. Thus, Newton's Laws are true, but Einstien's Relativity is more true. But Newton's laws are still true, within their domain. You will still get accurate predictions for speeds much less than the speed of light.

There is no 'truth' which is true always. This is usually called The Truth(tm), and it does not exist in practice. However, it may be that there is a single Truth out there, corresponding to reality, but which can never be known to us. In practical terms, though, The Truth(tm) is a fantasy, and we should settle for our arrow-like truths.

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natural wrote:I would

natural wrote:

I would dispute the definitions in the following cases:

QuasarX wrote:
Existence (no plural) - the set of everything that objectively exists

I would hold existence to be everything that exists, period. I would hold 'the known universe' to be everything that objectively exists.

Ah, I see... I meant 'objectively' to distinguish from 'subjectively', in other words to imply that it should be all that genuinely exists and should be uncolored by our perceptions.  But, I guess you're saying by applying the adjective 'objectively', it implies that it must be thought about, and so must fall within the known universe?  Fair enough; the term 'objectively' can certainly be removed if it's causing confusion.

natural wrote:

Quote:
Spiritual - having the quality of being a component of life or a form of life which is not biochemical, electrical, or thermal.  Opposite: nonspiritual.  Describes: phenomena.

What about nuclear? The forces holding the atoms together, which are a component of life, are nuclear forces that are neither biochemical, electrical, or thermal. So are quarks spiritual? Also, your usage of 'life' is ambiguous. Life is one of those things that is notoriously difficult to define clearly.

I consider nuclear forces and subatomic particles which are an inherent part of biochemical processes as being included in the category of biochemical, whereas any nuclear forces and subatomic particles which are not part of a biochemical process yet were part of life would be spiritual.  I don't think that a spiritual phenomena, if real, would be beyond the reach of eventual scientific discovery, so to try to define them using a transient definition of physical would be problematic.  I see your point, though... by attempting to enumerate the properties that define a physical body, I run the risk of leaving something out, which would then fall into the category of a spiritual phenomenon under this definition.  But, to try to use a blanket definition of physical runs into the original problems of time dependency and, now that I think about it, differences in subjective knowledge of scientific discoveries.  Ideally, the definition would not refer to physical knowledge at all, but how does one formally define a category of unknown phenomena when the underlying nature of those phenomena is not known without making use of that which is known as a reference?

Essentially the idea which I'm trying to convey is that a phenomenon would be considered spiritual if and only if it demonstrated that life extended beyond the boundaries of physical bodies.  It works for all of the following: souls, ghosts, and prescience, because those involve spiritual life extending beyond physical death in terms of time; qi/ki/chi, telepathy, telekinesis, and clairvoyance, which involve influence or awareness extending beyond the body in terms of space; and even levitation, which would necessitate an external physical force to offset the pull of gravity.

As for the definition of life... now that you mention it, I do recall my biology teacher saying that even within the field of biology, there's disagreement about what should be included in the definition of life, and what shouldn't.  I'll get back to you on that one, since I'm already falling asleep.

natural wrote:

Quote:
True - correct and accurate always.  Opposite: false.  Describes: beliefs.

I don't think such a definition of 'true' is useful, because I can't think of anything that is correct and accurate *always*. I propose the idea that truth is like an arrow. If an arrow is true, and it is fired skillfully, it will likely strike its target. If the arrow is not true, then no matter how skillfully it is fired, it will likely miss its target. The more true an arrow is, the more likely it will be accurate. Thus, truth is about making predictions. The more accurate the predictions a theory makes, the more 'true' that theory is. If it makes bad predictions, no better than chance, then it is less 'true'. Thus, Newton's Laws are true, but Einstien's Relativity is more true. But Newton's laws are still true, within their domain. You will still get accurate predictions for speeds much less than the speed of light.

You're using fuzzy logic?  I suppose in that context, physicalism seems somewhat more reasonable, though I still have a major complaint with it.  However, here are a few examples of beliefs that I have recently formed which are true always:

* In typing this forum post, I pressed keys on a keyboard.

* During the time span in which I was typing this post, there was at least 1 cup in the same room that I was in.

* I did not change which shirt I was wearing during the time span in which I was typing this post.

You see, these beliefs are correct and accurate always because they are constrained in scope by conditional qualifiers, so at any point in time and space, the beliefs are still logically true in terms of predicate logic.  The beliefs don't make any claim about any point in time and space outside those in which the beliefs are bounded, so they are true vacuously in those cases.  That is, for [If A then B], when and where A is false, the statement is logically true regardless of the truth value of B.  In the absence of such qualifiers, specifically limiting it to myself and this forum post, those beliefs would be modified to look like this:

* Typing forum posts involves pressing keys on a keyboard.

* There is a cup in the same room as any given person.

* No one changes shirts between starting and finish forum posts.

Any of these beliefs might be false in some cases, which means they're not reliably predictive and therefore shouldn't be considered true beliefs.  The statement 'taking homeopathic remedies leads to improved health' is certainly true in some specific cases (by coincidence or the placebo effect), but it's not true reliably, and so it shouldn't be considered a true belief.  Someone might use a speech recognition program or an input device designed for someone paralyzed from the neck down.  Someone might be in a room that doesn't have a cup in it.  Someone might change clothes at some point before starting and finishing a forum post.  Now, I understand that it seems useful to have a way to distinguish between something that's always true, something that's never true, and something that is true in some cases and false in others.  However, this can be done quite easily without resorting to fuzzy logic:

* Typing in forum posts involves pressing keys on a keyboard in the majority of cases.

* There are sometimes cups in the same room as people.

* People change shirts between starting and finishing forum posts in less than 25% of cases.

In the case of Newton's laws, the predictions are never completely accurate.  They're close, and the difference may be too small to notice, but it's there.  Newton's laws are certainly useful... they have a lot of value, in fact... but the complaint I'm making doesn't deal with usefulness, it deals with assumptions about truth.

natural wrote:

However, it may be that there is a single Truth out there, corresponding to reality, but which can never be known to us.

Assuming that this means a single truth value, which doesn't change depending on who the believer is, for each specific belief then this is what I'm trying to define.  It's okay if it can't be known to us... I still think it needs to be included in the definitions, even if it's just so that point can be made.


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Isn't "spiritual" just a

Isn't "spiritual" just a sexed up word for the "unknown", like the word "god", which neither I have a personal problem with because I freely admit I am in awe of the all of what I AM experiencing , and 100% part of.

Welcome to life , the AWE .... the spiritual, the force, gawed, awela .... etc... Now what ???  Whats the point?..... oh yeah,  WOW WOW WOW .....Hey, I already knew that .....

              When can the party really start ??? The party of AWE ! 


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Congratulations QuasarX, and

Congratulations QuasarX, and thank you for introducing this idea.  As I read this topic, I see you've had some similar thoughts like me (and a heap of yours) and much better said. My stomach is too sensitive for axiomatic and formal definitions.  You don't have to agree with me, but from my perspective I see your thinking as a progress in welcomed direction, towards what I know. I'm not here to force you to believe what I know, it's not possible nor right. Everyone's own, original insight is valuable here.

I will sometimes use a term of 'frequency', to differ more "spiritual" and less "spiritual" things. It's probably a jargon therm, not invented by me, but it fits well. You know, when an object vibrates or moves, it becomes blurry. When it starts to move faster, it's less visible. In a certain speed, it may be almost invisible, like an air propeller. It's an optical phenomenon (and  how fast an eye can perceive, which is 25 fps) but if you imagine this change in visibility as an equivalent change in solidity, materiality of the object, you will get a provisorily accurate idea, what are the spiritual "frequencies". This is just my opinion how to metaphorically explain this term to those who never heard it before, whole theory is, for now, a bit too complicated me. Fortunately it's just a technical detail, which is not an obstacle with a work with spiritual phenomena.

I have a remark to your latter definition of the word 'spiritual':
Spiritual - having the quality of being a component of life or a form of life which is not biochemical, electrical, or thermal. 
Energy, like electricity (or heat in different cases) is a lower aspect of a certain spiritual phenomenon. Higher aspects of this can be considered 'spiritual'. Nikola Tesla discovered higher aspects of electric energy, which doesn't seem like a classic electricity. Capacitors can, at certain circumstances, produce special effects, which could be best described as a 'spiritual' phenomena, powered enough to be manifested in a physical reality. For example, as extraordinarily big purely white lightning, seeming more like an atmospheric plasma jolts, not heating the room, but creating a cold breeze instead. Other Tesla's inventions works extremely well, out of bounds of contemporary science. The point is, that spiritual phenomena are a part of reality and under some circumstances can more than visibly interact with physical reality. This is, why we want to know them, not just to dwell in spiritual worlds, but to bring this knowledge into a physical existence.
Material world is a part of a spiritual world.
It's like a frequency spectrum, the low end is matter, and it goes up through specific spiritual "frequencies" in which human life is also active, to very high, where it's currently unknowable. It's one spectrum. "Spirit" is superior to matter, it's higher on the spectrum, by understanding the "spirit" we become superior, just as early people by discovering a fire became superior to wild animals, darkness and cold.

I claim, that certain spiritual phenomena are real and must be studied in order to achieve a greater scientific understanding of the world. Such a discovery would give us a great vistas of new inventions and technical solutions. Etheric-material and spiritual levels of existence are subtle and not obvious to notice at first, but the more of possibilities they provide. For example, etheric matter is not necessarily limited by gravity, kinematics and the speed of light! (unless it's made to do so) Even better, solid matter is convertible on etheric matter, and etheric on solid. And we're still in a material area of existence, there are more to discover, with their own sets of qualities. In that direction of development we're on the very beginning.
Whatever scientific enlightment we have today, it's more like a tinderbox, compared to what expects us, if we will research spiritual phenomena seriously, without sarcasm, negativistic -prove it- attitude (which is sometimes even a "first do my work for me and then I will get all the glory as an inventor of etheric matter" - attitude), and rigid ways of thinking. The concept (or in fact, whole n) of spiritual phenomena is as abstract for a scientist, as a 'smell' of neutrinos or 'spin' of elementary particles is for a laic. We, laics, understand it rather intuitively, but there must be eventually estabilished an exact understanding of these phenomena by a serious, systematic research.
But the good message is, that even these phenomena obeys a law of resonance, of action and result, energy preservation, and so on. Once you get the basics, it's workable as any other area of science.
I would be fascinated to read about properties of etheric matter in textbooks, about how matter behaves in this state, how it interacts with non-etheric physical matter, and how to make it interact.

Until then, if anyone will do such a research, I'm ready to provide both less and more detailed schematics of these main "frequencies" of reality and their "sub-frequencies", they might be helpful. Of course, such an effort will first have to find a way how to interact with etheric-material objects on a laboratory basis. Then we can speak about proving something. For it will be needed people who can less or more interact at least with etheric matter, who don't lie and are not mistaken. Among such people an interpersonal confirmation is more than possible, it makes things objective. I modestly count myself among them, but I wouldn't want to have my ass dragged around by paparazzi and printed in all media of the world. I would have to move my social life to canals, in case something would go wrong. If I'm right, in science the reputation is everything. This area must be cleaned from controversy, it's so hot that mere speaking of it publically can burn your nose and put a proverbial butter on a head*. Here, mere writing about
Theoretically, I would be just one of assistants in such a research, it would allow me to gather enough of foolishness to go battling a windmills of academic science, with people who insist on philosophic playing with words and mind exercises of logical validity. For an adequate salary, of course. Not sky high, I mean, I'm a modest guy.
I hope that at least the greed for glory and knowledge will convince enough scientists to do  another amazing discovery and eventually get a well earned glory and knowledge. I'm not a scientist, it's NOT up to me to prove my claims.
Wanting me to do it would be like a Mary Curie Sklodowski would yell at a radium to get the hell out of a heap of uranite and to get to a nearest academy to introduce itself to her scientific colleagues. Driving her in a barouche by the way.


* that's a local saying, to have 'a butter on head' it's like when reporters catches a politician secretly doing something stupid


mrjonno wrote:

There could easily be forces out there we don't understand but doesnt make it supernatural merely beyond currently knowledge. Maybe there is some sort of weird soul that can survive outside our bodies (not likely but still possible) but there is no evidence that this couldnt be observed, measured and studied


See research and books of Robert Allan Monroe, in the Monroe Institute, Virginia.
His discoveries are similar to which many spiritual explorers and mystics claims, just performed by an atheistic, materialistic man, originally audio technician and holder of several patents. Truth is more amazing than faith and fantasy, specially the truth of the etheric-material and spiritual aspects of reality. I'd just emphasize, that Mr. Monroe skipped the etheric-material states, he describes a stuff well above that, he quite overgrew his historical period.

Hambydammit wrote:

'Supernatural' (and 'immaterial') are broken concepts

 "Spirit" is equally incoherent

'Supernatural' is of course a nonsense, it's oxymoron. But the rest is VERY subjective. You don't have defined these concepts previously, so you don't automatically understand them, but I've seen many others to understand it, rational people, of course. Develop your intuition man, don't wait for the system to expand, before your mind can expand.
As for 'justified belief, know so much from my everyday experience, that it refutes any officially known explanations and a true nature of it is quite what I observe. If anyone wants to know more about it, they must know what I know and more. A minute of living in my body would convince every sceptic in the world, and I live in that body much longer. Justified belief? It sounds like a great underestimation, but yes, according to the new QuasarX's definition, it's a justified belief. I didn't once catch a glimpse of a ghosty figure in a dark hallway, I can repeat my experience anytime I want. Several times per day, no problem. It's like you can't switch off your sense of touch. I know what I perceive, I have an access to an extensive theoretical background, which is coherent with what I perceive. (which I didn't write) It's also coherent with experiences of a few of people who I met personally, and similar things described people through the internet.

mrjonno wrote:
What the hell is a natural spiritual phenomenon.

The words natural and spiritual are effectively totally opposite words.

Its like saying can you tell a true lie, or can you have a black white car it does not compute


Where's the problem? Do you know what is natural? That's only a question of contemporary conventions.
What you say, it's like you'd take a wire and say: "there can't go any images or sounds through there, it's all solid metal!"
For all I know, 'spiritual' definitely doesn't mean 'non-natural'.


QuasarX wrote:
As for the definition of life... now that you mention it, I do recall my biology teacher saying that even within the field of biology, there's disagreement about what should be included in the definition of life, and what shouldn't.  I'll get back to you on that one, since I'm already falling asleep.

As for the definition of life, I think like that - does it have DNA? It's alive. It has no DNA? Then it's not alive. This approach may be practical. However, with an exploration of spiritual phenomena we may find a certain degree of life even in minerals, a certain aura of them if you want to say so, on non-material level. "There are various degrees of livingness, as there are various degrees of knowledge", that's an original quote from a certain man.
As for a physical, biologic life, the DNA is a fairly accurate definition, I think.

natural wrote:
However, it may be that there is a single Truth out there, corresponding to reality, but which can never be known to us.
The Truth? It may be only a complete definition of everything, everywhere in all times. There's an axiom, that a copy of system can not be any less complicated than the system itself. All small truths relates only to a circumstances they are in, they're, as I would say it, small stones on one mount of reality. These stones may be on opposite sides of a mount, so they may appear contradictional, but they're both 'true', in their own circumstances.
For example, in discussion with theist, a theistic claim that "man is sinful, so he was cast out of the paradise". Eating the apple against God's order is a transgression of law. In greater sense of understanding, the man proved a sense of curiosity and initiative by taking the apple against the God's order, and was evaluated as capable of surviving outside, able of a further development, and was set free to a wilderness. So, if curiosity is sinful, then we're sinful, but in fact, curiosity is  intended by God and useful for us, thus not sinful. Without taking that initiative, we could live in the paradise as ignorant animals forever, or more likely, God would eliminate the unsuccesful specimens and try another prototype Smiling
So, a one statement may be differently precise, according to circumstances, and may even by evolution of understanding become too unprecise, thus false. In that past time, the original, unprecise understanding is the best we could achieve at the moment, but there's no reason to keep it forever. Unlike you can see in every church.

I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:
Isn't "spiritual" just a sexed up word for the "unknown", like the word "god", which neither I have a personal problem with because I freely admit I am in awe of the all of what I AM experiencing , and 100% part of.
Trust me, the era of exact knowledge isn't over yet. In fact, the "spiritual" phenomena must be all felt, experienced, lived through, mastered, but also applied in real life, precisely described, classified, taught along with arithmetics and reading, further researched and applied into technology, which will improve the life of everyone.
This is a task for all, and you do your job by feeling these truths, to receive an energy and to spread it around, someone else's job is to explore the aspects actively, and someone other teaches the boring, but necessary details on lectures. 
 

I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:
  Welcome to life , the AWE .... the spiritual, the force, gawed, awela .... etc... Now what ???  Whats the point?..... oh yeah,  WOW WOW WOW .....Hey, I already knew that .....

              When can the party really start ??? The party of AWE ! 

Wait for a few years, about two or three, the world hopefully will be in AWE even more than it was for a whole week in 1995 Eye-wink 

 


 

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Luminon, good one, that was

Luminon, good one, that was extra illuminating as to revealing your ideas regarding phenomena.   

As you say "spectrums" and "frequencies", I relate to QM vibrations dicussions. I like your invisible propeller analogy.

This oddly reminds me of the progressive buddhist fans who dispare of the silly folklore surrounding the simple ancient intuition called "reincarnation", which merely suggested all energy/matter is recycled, and isn't that what modern science finally told us !  And heck, that simple Jesus philosophy, "all is ONE" ! Same message.

Gezzz, it's such a shame what the dogmists render of the "AWE", the "Force". There is also a reverse innate problem of closed mindedness sometimes confused as being rational. In practice, the competitive aspect of the science community is not intirely immune to this pitfall. Hey, no one's perfect, but we can improve. Go science, mind power ! 

Don't let fighting dogma hinder your Dreams !       We all want our wings !

 

 


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Many modern-day scientists

Many modern-day scientists possess an abiding faith in the
spiritual. However, these same scientists are caught in a pro-
found conflict between their personal and professional be-
liefs. What they say and what they feel may contradict each
other profoundly. It is difficult to be “objective” about mat-
ters of the heart and spirit. Scientists may compartmental-
ize their faith and can’t conceive of verifying or validating
their spiritual intuition. In other cases they may water down
the nature of those beliefs to maintain some consistency with
their intellectual understanding. Perhaps they simply ignore
the presence of angels and demons in essential scriptures,
or regard them as symbolic or as hallucinatory manifesta-
tions of an overactive religious imagination.

Lack of open dialogue about these issues makes it much more
difficult to even imagine enlarging our view of the reality of
nonmaterial realms using scientific methods. What would
happen to the study of spirit realms if we could access them
reliably using molecules like DMT?

In addition to questions regarding the existence of nonma-
terial or spiritual worlds, we also must consider expanding
the notion of what we may perceive in them. Can our spiri-
tual and religious structures encompass what truly resides
within these different levels of existence? The stories we’re
about to hear go beyond reasonably “straightforward” en-
counters with the Divine or angels, nor are they especially
neat, tidy, or in accordance with what we consider within
the realm of “expectable” spiritual experiences.

I’m hopeful that these reports will accelerate interest in the
nonmaterial realms, using whatever intellectual, intuitive,
and technological tools we possess. Once there is enough
interest in, and even demand for, information about them,
such phenomena might become an acceptable topic for ra-
tional inquiry. Ironically, we may have to rely more upon sci-
ence, especially the freewheeling fields of cosmology and
theoretical physics, than on our more conservative religious
traditions for satisfactory models and explanations of these
“spirit-world” experiences.  - Rick Straussman: DMT The Spirit Molecule

 

 

 

Science help us all!

-RR

 


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I'd have a comment to usage

I'd have a comment to usage of DivineMomentsofTruth, and other hallucinogens for this research. Yes, it's definitely possible, but completely unnecessary. We're capable of exploring all possible spiritual realms by own effort, because on these levels we have placed our superconsciousness and we have a set of soft-material bodies, specially accustomed for travelling these realms and for dealing with impulses from their nature. And modern technology makes it possible even for untrained people.

What these drugs does? They change the way how our brains, (and maybe whole nerve and endocrine system) processes the sensory and extra-sensory input. This gives an access, or better said, kicks us into a dreamworld, which is normally fortunately filtered away. Unfortunately, not entirely, it depends on personal affinity.
By the "dreamworld" I mean specific 'octave' on a spectrum of reality, so-called emotional, or astral realm. A brief introduction...
First 'octave', or rather septave (each one consists of seven qualities) is material world. The sub-frequencies are: solid, liquid, gaseous, and four etheric-material states.
Second 'octave', where any drug and most of dreams kicks us in, is the emotional realm, which also consists of seven sub-frequencies, or qualities. (not specifically named) Which "place" in emotional realm our brain will be literally tuned to, depends on our own affinity to them (or higher) and a nature of the drug. This decides, if it will be a bad trip or a "good trip". It's pretty much uncontrollable and we have already much better technology.

Robert Allan Monroe developed and patented a way how to modulate brain waves by listened sound frequencies, which gives a similar effect. But not only it's 100% safe and controlled, it gives the user a control, it teaches him to modulate his brainwaves in later life, which, for example, allows him to try his own OOBE without a help of technology.
Monroe had invited Eastern monks and swamis, experts on meditation, and showed them the brainwave patterns and results of his technology. The monks said, that this is exactly what do they teach their pupils to achieve for whole tenths of years, while Monroe's sound frequencies does it with brain in a few minutes. Monroe started his research after his own intensive, spontaneous, frequent out-of-body experiences, on which he explored a great part of emotional and mental "planes of existence", viewed a past and future, and confirmed the existence of group superconsciousness, and it's way of higher evolution. His discoveries are identic with other esoteric teachings, for example, reincarnation, with some important details in how it is to be understood. He confirmed an extensive knowledge regarding the 'sense of life', a function of human beings as species and individuals, related to their superconsciousness.
His books are translated, published and distributed by my parents, so I could read them thoroughly without a language barrier.

So, we don't need drugs to explore spiritual (non-material) realms of existence, thanks to R. A. Monroe, the audio technology genius, we can stay in within an area of legality.
For other, more brave or foolish explorers, (trippers) I can tell you about salvia divinorum, it's source of DMT, it's legal in many states, and no ordinary cop will ever differ it among other decorative flowers, which salvia divinorum is, and is mostly planted for this purpose only. As for smoking, it offers short, but immediate and extremely intense meditative trip, for about 20 minutes each. This eliminates a danger of LSD, when a tripper is all the day in danger of flying downwards from window or washing his hands in fire. But anyway, assistance is still more than adviced. And don't take drugs, it's like Nietzsche's staring into abbyss, which stares into you. It messes up with our soft-material bodies and may lead to schizophrenia. Hallucinogens are sacred and should be used with temperance, they're good for blockheaded materialists, to blow away their self-righteous ego. If it doesn't help, then don't give them another dose of a drug, but a good slap and call it "a clap of one hand" Smiling

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.