Sunday, October 18, 2009

Oh, you had a personal experience?

Believer: "I had a personal experience which I can't explain, so I know it was (insert supernatural explanation here)."

Skeptic: "Oh, you had a personal experience that you can't explain? Well then, I believe you. I believe you because I know that you are familiar with and understand every natural phenomena there is, so if you can't explain it, it must have been supernatural. Not only that, but I also know that your brain is a more advanced version than a regular person's, and it cannot be deceived, hallucinate, or fail to properly perceive a situation."


Jim said...

It makes me laugh.

Charles said...

I have to admit, this argument fails to hold water with me. On the one hand, people /are/ too superstitious in general. For example, there's a classic story from Richard Feynman. It was widely known that when his wife died, her grandfather clock stopped at the exact time of her death. And eventually someone asked him about it in public, during a physics lecture. And he thought a moment, and said:

"No, I didn't think it was anything supernatural - not for an instant. What probably happened is that the clock stopped beforehand - it was always stopping - and they recorded it as the time of death without realizing it had stopped."

Which shows that people, in general, don't try to think logically. If, on the other hand I actually saw God/A Ghost/Cthulhu/Flying Spaghetti Monsters/demons or whatever, as some of these people claim, I'd probably be pretty happy about it, and while I'd make sure I couldn't think of any easy explanations (hmm, that ghost looks remarkably like a cat...) if I couldn't find one, I wouldn't go out of my way to say 'I must have been hallucinating'.

Now, I'm not endorsing those beliefs. Obviously, we have more nutjob crazy people in the world then sane people. However, if someone honestly believes they have experienced something, you can't really argue with it; its subjective. That doesn't mean it was real, but it seemed real to them.

Now, if only one of these wierd things could appear in a physics lab. Funny how that never works out.

Admin said...

Charles, I agree with you in that it could convince somebody of something. The problem arises when they expect that WE should believe it because of THEIR experience. And when these conversations come up, it's almost always in the context of trying to persuade us.

Nice point about the physics lab. Maybe somebody should set-up a physics lab in a supposedly-haunted house, or bring people to a physics lab to die, and hope that they'll try to haunt it.

tina FCD said...

My sister was shocked that I didn't believe speaking in tongues could be real, "why, our mother has spoke in tongues before", mom doesn't lie.

Admin said...

Tina, try to get a recording of that for YouTube. I'd love to see it.

Jim said...

I love the speaking in tongues thing. Especially when religious people agree that it is meaningless. Or when they speak in tongues while having their brain monitored and the only part of the brain that becomes active is the area that controls creativity. The same area that becomes active when you lie.

Also note that when you send people who believe in ghosts into a house that was never inhabited by anyone and tell them there is a ghost, they will see one. But if you send them into a house with reported sightings, and then say no one ever lived here and there are no ghosts, surprise, they never see one. It's all in the head.

Now, I agree with Charles. People will believe what they want to believe, and I am cool with that. Everyone has the right to their own opinion. But as the Admin stated, when you start to force your opinion on people, condemning others for theirs, that is when enough is enough.

Anonymous said...

time for new content.

Cypher said...

It's a living blog, so what's your point caller?
I'm guessing you are a reader but you believe in ghosts or something so don't want to be embarrased? I might be wrong, but you might just lie.