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Posted: 20 November 2010 06:28 PM   [ Ignore ]
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What would it take for any of you to become a believer. (I guess not a TRUE believer because they’re called fools here). What would have to happen for you to believe. Not in ET or UFO’s so much because it’s pretty obvious what would change your mind there and anything other then that might as well forget it.
But in anything else, what would it take for you to believe, they’re out there? Does it always have to include a scientist, or would you believe your own senses, or your relatives? If your spouse told you they had seen something paranormal, would you believe her/him, or are they daft?

[Color changed as per rule 1. Blue is reserved for Admin/Mod official actions. dougsmith—Admin]

[ Edited: 20 November 2010 07:38 PM by dougsmith ]
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Posted: 20 November 2010 06:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Ibby, please familiarize yourself with the rules. Blue is reserved for Mods and Admins, change the color of your font, otherwise you will receive a warning.

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Church; where sheep congregate to worship a zombie on a stick that turns into a cracker on Sundays…

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Posted: 20 November 2010 07:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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asanta - 20 November 2010 06:40 PM

Ibby, please familiarize yourself with the rules. Blue is reserved for Mods and Admins, change the color of your font, otherwise you will receive a warning.

Thanks, got it. grin

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Posted: 20 November 2010 07:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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If it involved something that was known to be scientifically impossible, I’d want more than “a scientist” or a casual report. I’d want some serious study by a community of scientists, with peer reviewed research and replicable experiments.

People who have hallucinations (or dreams!) have two choices: believe the voices in their heads or understand that the brain sometimes fools us, as it does with visual and auditory illusions. We know the brain is prone to see agency in all kinds of things that are not agents. We kick the door if it slams on our foot. We yell at the sky if it rains on an important day. What’s surprising is not that people are fooled into thinking there are ghosts by bumps in the night, but rather that there are people who are clear-minded enough to see past the simplistic first assumptions and try to look deeper.

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Posted: 20 November 2010 09:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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One person stepping up and winning the James Randi Foundation’s Million Dollar Challenge would be a good start.

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Posted: 20 November 2010 10:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Scientists can be fooled too. Randi used two magicians to prove that. It would have to be a result could be replicated and explained either by the laws of nature as we know it, or by an explanation of a hereto unknown law—which could also be peer reviewed and the results repeated. People who are ‘true believers’ tend to find these constrains an anathema.

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Church; where sheep congregate to worship a zombie on a stick that turns into a cracker on Sundays…

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Posted: 21 November 2010 07:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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DarronS - 20 November 2010 09:27 PM

One person stepping up and winning the James Randi Foundation’s Million Dollar Challenge would be a good start.

Excellent point.

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Posted: 21 November 2010 08:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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asanta - 20 November 2010 06:40 PM

Ibby, please familiarize yourself with the rules. Blue is reserved for Mods and Admins, change the color of your font, otherwise you will receive a warning.

Sorry.

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Posted: 21 November 2010 10:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Ibby14 - 20 November 2010 06:28 PM

...would you believe your own senses…


Our senses are not perfect collectors of data.  In fact, they are notoriously bad in many areas.  Your senses tell you, without a doubt, that the Earth is flat.  Your senses tell you that the coin vanished in the magician’s hand.  Your senses tell you that there is something wet up ahead on the hot summer road.  In all cases your senses are 100% wrong. 

Ibby14 - 20 November 2010 06:28 PM


or your relatives? If your spouse told you they had seen something paranormal, would you believe her/him, or are they daft?

They may or may not be daft.  They may truly believe what they saw.  But sincerity doesn’t make something true.

To answer your question: It would take good quality evidence that was repeatable, testable and falsifiable.

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Posted: 21 November 2010 03:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Ibby14 - 20 November 2010 06:28 PM

What would it take for any of you to become a believer. (I guess not a TRUE believer because they’re called fools here). What would have to happen for you to believe. Not in ET or UFO’s so much because it’s pretty obvious what would change your mind there and anything other then that might as well forget it.
But in anything else, what would it take for you to believe, they’re out there? Does it always have to include a scientist, or would you believe your own senses, or your relatives? If your spouse told you they had seen something paranormal, would you believe her/him, or are they daft?

What would a personal perceived “paranormal” occurrence prove?
What would convince me is if the sun stopped shining for just a minute on an otherwise sunny day and the temperature of the earth would fall to -400 degrees, just for a second. For a true omnipotent supernatural being that would not be too difficult, but it would probably convince everyone of the existence of something totally beyond our grasp.
An individual experience is not convincing to me.

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Posted: 21 November 2010 04:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Write4U - 21 November 2010 03:13 PM

An individual experience is not convincing to me.

A group experience is no more convincing than an individual.  All the examples I gave—Earth appears flat, magician’s tricks and mirage on the road—are all experienced by groups. 

Likewise the sociopsychological phenomenon of mass hysteria such as the Sun allegedly dancing in the sky at Fátima or confirmation bias examples like streetlights allegedly turning off as people walking by them are all experienced by groups, yet have no basis in fact.  It all comes down to repeatable, testable, falsifiable evidence.

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There are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by the gradual and silent encroachment of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpation.

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Posted: 21 November 2010 04:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Carl Sagan answered this question in book contact (though I have said it before in these forums).  What it would take to believe was the point of the entire book.  He offered one: Pi at digit 10^20 in base 11 turns into a string of 1s and 0s and that the strings of 1s and 0s are not random. The earthlings get tipped off to this fact from the uber powerful aliens who up until that point in the book were busying themselves trying to change the universe in such a way that it would not end due to the spreading out of space.  They tell the earthlings to look and they do, and they discover the prime number primer they had been sent from the aliens in the message from space followed by what appears to be informative bits of 1s and 0s. The earthlings ask did you guys change Pi?  And the aliens tell earthlings we have no fricken idea who could do that or how they could do it, and it is interesting because they had contacted earthlings with a message of their own in a transmission, so that turns out to be foreshadowing to the message in Pi.  You could change the energy emissions in space with our technology to send messages, but what if you had other abilities and you wanted to send a message? But, then Dr. Sagan talks about the problem with even ridiculous evidence, in that, everyone concludes to put a message in Pi you are either a god or someone with an unimaginable ability to change the constants of the universe without destroying it.  The aliens seem mystified of the fact themselves which is saying something considering their goals…  BTW none of this was in the movie.

So, after I read Dr. Sagan’s take on messages I thought to myself,  that is right lets think BIG!  And you should too.

[ Edited: 21 November 2010 04:11 PM by qutsemnie ]
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Posted: 21 November 2010 04:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Rocinante - 21 November 2010 04:01 PM
Write4U - 21 November 2010 03:13 PM

An individual experience is not convincing to me.

A group experience is no more convincing than an individual.  All the examples I gave—Earth appears flat, magician’s tricks and mirage on the road—are all experienced by groups. 

Likewise the sociopsychological phenomenon of mass hysteria such as the Sun allegedly dancing in the sky at Fátima or confirmation bias examples like streetlights allegedly turning off as people walking by them are all experienced by groups, yet have no basis in fact.  It all comes down to repeatable, testable, falsifiable evidence.

That is why I choose the example I did. Such an event would be scientifically observable and recordable. Thus it could be proved that such an event did in fact happen. No scientific observation of a body blocking the sun and broken thermometers would be a clear indication of a sudden freeze when there should not be. .i.e. clear evidence that a Natural Law was demonstrably broken.

[ Edited: 21 November 2010 04:14 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 21 November 2010 07:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I think the question has been answered very well by most of the above posts.  Another few might be if this entity could have published worldwide the next thousand winners in lotteries, horse races, and roulette spins.  Or even better, be able to predict the outcome of quantum phenomena and repeatedly demonstrate that it’s choices are not affected by the Heisenberg Uncertaintly Principle.

Occam

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Posted: 22 November 2010 01:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Ibby14 - 21 November 2010 08:05 AM
asanta - 20 November 2010 06:40 PM

Ibby, please familiarize yourself with the rules. Blue is reserved for Mods and Admins, change the color of your font, otherwise you will receive a warning.

Sorry.

I find it extremely ironic that of all the points brought up, that THIS, was his only response.

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Posted: 22 November 2010 08:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Ibby14 - 20 November 2010 06:28 PM

What would it take for any of you to become a believer. (I guess not a TRUE believer because they’re called fools here). What would have to happen for you to believe. Not in ET or UFO’s so much because it’s pretty obvious what would change your mind there and anything other then that might as well forget it.
But in anything else, what would it take for you to believe, they’re out there? Does it always have to include a scientist, or would you believe your own senses, or your relatives? If your spouse told you they had seen something paranormal, would you believe her/him, or are they daft?

Well “True Believers” are generally considered fools here precisely because they believe in things in spite of the lack of evidence.  They just WANT to believe, in other words.  People seem to want to believe in the supernatural or paranormal or whatever because they think it makes the world a more exciting place.  I think the world is fine just as it is.  The thing that endlessly fascinates me about the “paranormal” is how our senses can be fooled into perceiving things that really aren’t there, or that have a prosaic explanation.

You exclude ET or UFOs (I’m not sure why), but what is this “anything else”?  Can you give me an example?

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