This book changes everything.

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Postby Hungry Ghost » Fri Sep 21, 2007 7:30 pm

I'm willing to accept the possibility of what I'll call anomalous events. By that I mean events that aren't instances of the kind of regularities that we think of as natural "laws".

But I'm not sure that it's rational to believe in such things. As violations of the natural order, anomalous events would be exceedingly unlikely simply by definition. So to steal an idea from Hume's discussion of miracles (which applies equally well here), it's safe to assume that a natural explanation is going to be more probable than an anomalous one.

Actually, there's a real question whether one-of-a-kind events that fall outside the natural order could be explained at all, or could be evidence of anything, even in principle. Explained in terms of... what? Evidence of... what?

True or not, it's still fascinating that people all over the world passionately believe in anomalous happenings. In my own opinion, it's a kind of grass-roots popular religiosity. These beliefs might best be seen as an essentially human attempt, whether conscious or unconscious, to inject a little wonder, a sense of unrealized possibility, into what are often humdrum lives.
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Personal anomaly...

Postby Carl_Reginstein » Mon Sep 24, 2007 9:17 pm

I think this book sounds very interesting, and I will buy it and read it eventually. Like some of the other posters here, I have a reading list about a foot thick to get through first.

However, here's a "personal anomaly" that maybe someone with more knowledge of how the human body works can explain to me.

Sometimes I get the hiccups. I guess everyone does. My dad used to get them, and couldn't stop them - not with water, breathing into bags, etc. One time he was hospitalized and put on super barbituates to try to get them to stop.

Well, when I get the hiccups I can ALWAYS make them stop by simply using "mind over matter". I stop what I'm doing, I hold perfectly still and withdraw into myself, almost like a meditative state (this is very difficult, by the way, when DRIVING). After a few seconds of concentrating on "suppress them! suppress them!" they go away. I breath very shallowly, and have my eyes half shut - almost in a dream-like state.

Why does this work for me?

:?: :?: :?:
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Postby John Bear » Tue Sep 25, 2007 4:29 am

Re hiccups:

I believe that there is a lot of stuff that humans are capable of, in the mind-over-matter direction, but sometimes (perhaps often) it is a major challenge to figure out how. Wiggling the ears seems a good example of this. We all presumably have the muscles and nerves and whatever that can do this, but most people haven't figured out how.

The Tibetans (and others) have learned how to raise skin temperature by up to 10 degrees C degrees, by willing it, and that practice can be taught. (A friend who practices Reiki routinely starts a session by raising the temperature of the skin of her palms by 5 or 6 degrees F. Yeah, I tested this with an instant-reading thermometer.)

And of course the whole biofeedback thing.

So I can't explain what you are doing to control your hiccups, but it seems a part of this phenomenon. A Google search for "hiccup" and "mind over matter" yields many hits from folks who seem to be doing very much what you are, e.g. http://tinyurl.com/323lcl
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Postby Crisper » Tue Sep 25, 2007 11:25 pm

John Bear wrote:
Here's the first chapter of the book:

http://www.enotalone.com/article/11962.html


So I have read that excerpt, and it did not change everything for me. In fact it changed nothing (which may be a comment on me, rather than on the book). What I see is one incident in which the only reason that dowsing appears to be a factor is the timing.

The chain of events is this: the harp goes missing, they look (including posters on a wide circulation), they almost give up, they call a dowser, the dowser points to a specific house on a map, they distribute posters in that neighbourhood, somebody contacts them and arranges the return of the harp. There are many ways to get from the front of that story to the back without necessitating the reality of dowsing. In other words, the fact that the harp was returned after the dowsing does not indicate that dowsing caused the return.

As for the rest of the book, her description in that excerpt does not read like science. It describes bad data mining, with clear confirmation bias. The world is full of coincidence. Our natural and social environment is so complex, there are so many actors, making so many actions, that coincidences are statistically necessary.

I don't know what else she throws in, but PEAR is a red flag. That program spent millions of dollars over more than a decade to come up with zero results.
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Postby Carl_Reginstein » Wed Sep 26, 2007 2:02 am

John Bear wrote:Re hiccups:

I believe that there is a lot of stuff that humans are capable of, in the mind-over-matter direction, but sometimes (perhaps often) it is a major challenge to figure out how. Wiggling the ears seems a good example of this. We all presumably have the muscles and nerves and whatever that can do this, but most people haven't figured out how.

The Tibetans (and others) have learned how to raise skin temperature by up to 10 degrees C degrees, by willing it, and that practice can be taught. (A friend who practices Reiki routinely starts a session by raising the temperature of the skin of her palms by 5 or 6 degrees F. Yeah, I tested this with an instant-reading thermometer.)

And of course the whole biofeedback thing.

So I can't explain what you are doing to control your hiccups, but it seems a part of this phenomenon. A Google search for "hiccup" and "mind over matter" yields many hits from folks who seem to be doing very much what you are, e.g. http://tinyurl.com/323lcl


Thanks John. The web reference is EXACTLY how I do it. I wonder how I figured it out all on my own, without anyone ever having to teach it to me? I first tried it back when I was a young hippy (17 or so) and the whole mind-over-matter/alternate universe kick was on. Funny thing is, it works.

As I mentioned, it is hazardous to try it while driving. I did so about a year ago on a back road in WV and wound up hitting a deer. Hiccups were cured, but the grill of the car had a nice little hole in it. The deer walked away unfazed after doing a 360 in the air over my hood and landing in a pile of snow on the side of the road. Good thing I had dropped speed to about 30 while in my meditative state..... :lol:
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Postby Rich Douglas » Wed Sep 26, 2007 4:11 pm

These areas of inquiry, unfortunately, are riddled with quacks and outright fakes. This muddies the water for all, and dissuades serious discussion, too.

Obsrevations of phenomena are not enough, but even proving that something did indeed happen is often hard. (See quacks and fakes comment above.) Then there is the "how." Even harder.

UFO's exist. There have been many sightings. (And many other fakes, which start out as UFO's but are found out.) What no one has been able to demonstrate to wide acceptance is the hypothesis that UFO's and their occupants are extra-terrestrial. Sure, some have remained unexplained. But a lack of proof is not proof. And the burden of proof is on the pesons putting forth their hypothesis.

This dowser guy may have, indeed, found the house by dowsing. But no one seems to be able to explain how. That lack of explanation doesn't prove he used some sort of ESP-like dowsing method. Two alternate theories are that (a) he got luck or (b) he did have knowledge about the location of the harp he denied having.

Some people simply must believe. Did Uri Geller really bend spoons with his mind? Perhaps. But there was no proof he did. What WAS proven is that on more than one occasion, Uri Geller bent spoons with his HANDS, pretending to bend them with his mind. But despite this exposure, he has many believers to this day.

Who was it that said, more or less, that even if he revealed himself to be the fraud he really was, it wouldn't matter, because the believers wouldn't believe him anyway?

So, the dowser did it. But no one seems to know how. That is not proof of anything, except that he found a harp.
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Postby Rich Douglas » Wed Sep 26, 2007 4:44 pm

Two other things. First, the typos. "Luck" instead of "lucky" and "pesons" instead of "persons."

Second, my comments are not to be meant in any way to suggest the pursuit of such things should not be pursued and explored. I think Velikovsky's ideas were kooky (and incongruent with very observable physics), but the scientific community's reaction to him and his "Worlds in Collision" was wrong-headed. Better to encourage exploration and inquiry than to brush it off because its conclusions don't jibe with yours.

The earth does not revolve around the sun. (But it does.)
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Postby uncle janko » Wed Sep 26, 2007 4:48 pm

I guess I agree with HG and Rich. What strikes me as odd is that people who will indignantly reject "religion" (doesn't matter much which one) will often fundamentalistically or jihadically believe in dosing, etc. [I meant to type 'dowsing', but maybe I should let it alone: it might be physic powers manifesting themselves.] That confirms HG's comment about a kind of d.i.y. religiosity (militant secularism is also, as it comtes its blessings naming them one by one). I don't want to generalise this into yet another is not is too religion thread, but I thought HG and Rich made some good points.

"Do you think Communists don't believe in hungry ghosts? I doubt it!"
--Chou En-lai, assistant to the Great Genocidal Monster, 1957
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Postby Crisper » Wed Sep 26, 2007 4:51 pm

uncle janko wrote:What strikes me as odd is that people who will indignantly reject "religion" (doesn't matter much which one) will often fundamentalistically or jihadically believe in dosing, etc.


And vice versa
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Postby uncle janko » Wed Sep 26, 2007 5:09 pm

Yes, but the *assumption* among what that turd Schleiermacher called the "cultured despisers of religion" is that that happens.
The assumption among the irreligious high-minded is that their own fanatical tendencies are "rational" and "scientific", and the assumption among the vulgarly superstitious is that their own fanatical tendecies are "suppressed" by the genuinely religious/secularist/scientific pointy-heads.
Fanaticism is a *human* problem.
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Postby uncle janko » Wed Sep 26, 2007 5:12 pm

Uh oh: back to topic!

So, do I think weird stuff happens?
People whose intelligence and sanity I have no reason to question have from time to time reported paranormal {is that the correct term--not sure} things to me. Maniacs have done the same. I have never experienced anything like that.

Q.E.N.D.
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Postby Crisper » Wed Sep 26, 2007 5:16 pm

uncle janko wrote:Fanaticism is a *human* problem.


True. And not just in the two cases we touch on above, but also in the case of the militant rationalist who violently attacks both "conventional" religion and believers in pseudoscience.
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Postby Crisper » Wed Sep 26, 2007 5:19 pm

uncle janko wrote:People whose intelligence and sanity I have no reason to question have from time to time reported paranormal {is that the correct term--not sure} things to me. Maniacs have done the same. I have never experienced anything like that.

Q.E.N.D.


Therefore the writer is neither sane nor a maniac.

Q.E.N.D. :P
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Postby uncle janko » Wed Sep 26, 2007 9:06 pm

I couldn't agree more. :twisted:
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Postby Carl_Reginstein » Wed Sep 26, 2007 11:55 pm

uncle janko wrote:I couldn't agree more. :twisted:


Alright. I'm not always the sharpest tool in the shed. What does "Q.E.N.D." mean? I think I have "S.P.Q.R." figured out finally (The Senate and People of Rome), but I have no idea on this "Q.E.N.D." thing..... :?:
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