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Author Topic: An intelligent conversation on the "paranormal"  (Read 6950 times)

Il Palazzo

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Re: An intelligent conversation on the "paranormal"
« Reply #30 on: March 06, 2014, 07:09:36 am »

'Paranormal' is so elevated. Why not just call it baloney?
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Helgoland

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Re: An intelligent conversation on the "paranormal"
« Reply #31 on: March 06, 2014, 07:11:01 am »

PTW, but once something paranormal is established to be true, it is analyzed, explained and becomes normal...
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NobodyPro

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Re: An intelligent conversation on the "paranormal"
« Reply #32 on: March 06, 2014, 07:16:25 am »

There are two sensations I hate that I associated with the paranormal when I was young: the feeling that something is right behind me and looking at the back of my neck while I'm trying to get to sleep, and the sensation of OH GOD LOOK OUT PUNCH INCOMING while almost asleep.

Thankfully they happen very rarely and now instead of leaving me in a state of terror they leave me in a state of "Oh god, not this shit again".
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BFEL

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Re: An intelligent conversation on the "paranormal"
« Reply #33 on: March 06, 2014, 07:25:52 am »

Not sure if this should be counted, and if so I would advise that I still subscribe to the "it CAN be explained, its just sorta freaky right now" view of things.

But anyway, I personally hold some (note: SOME) stock in the concept of objects becoming "attuned" to people. Its a thing I first heard about from martial arts, basically Samurai believed that their sword could hold their energy and become more "in tune" with them, making it easier to use.

My personal explanation for this is also rooted in a Asian idea, specifically: Acupuncture. Or at least the whole "the body has a certain set up for distributing energy within itself" part of it. No idea what the needles are about :P

In essence the "attunement" phenomena could be explained by a persons unique "energy signature" rubbing off on objects they come in contact with often. Everyone's body is different structurally, so it makes sense that energy would flow differently through said body, and if so, then when it flows into an object, said object might on some level have that energy pattern worn into it, similar to how a river can carve out a canyon.

After all, when you touch something friction naturally rubs some of your skin cells off onto it. Its not that hard to imagine that they could still carry some of that energy and transfer it.

Of course, this is all conjecture and even if true, would still provide VERY little overall effect. Although it COULD allow slight increases in efficiency of energy distribution for the blade wielding Samurai :P
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Leafsnail

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Re: An intelligent conversation on the "paranormal"
« Reply #34 on: March 06, 2014, 07:52:11 am »

"Attunement" could also be explained with like... you know, practice.  Handmade swords will all be a bit different, so after using the same one for a while you will naturally get better at controlling it.  And I guess you could also wear down the handle so it fits your fingers better.

The whole life energy thing is pseudoscience, like what is the energy even meant to be.
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Helgoland

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Re: An intelligent conversation on the "paranormal"
« Reply #35 on: March 06, 2014, 07:54:55 am »

Or it could be that the user is slowly becoming used to the tool, getting to know it better... And we already have a valid theory on how that might work. Hell, we can even design a test to decide between these hypotheses: We'll get two people to 'attune' themselves seperately to one object. With your hypothesis, that shouldn't be possible, should it?

Also re:acupuncture - I remember reading that the positioning of the needles is almost completely unimportant. (As long as you don't hit major arteries or something, I guess.) So the whole Qi theory is being undermined...

Ninja's by Leafsnail, who pretty much said the same thing.
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I'm going to do the smart thing here and disengage. This isn't a hill I paticularly care to die on.

Leafsnail

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Re: An intelligent conversation on the "paranormal"
« Reply #36 on: March 06, 2014, 08:04:41 am »

Acupuncture is no better than a placebo, it just doesn't work.
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alexandertnt

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Re: An intelligent conversation on the "paranormal"
« Reply #37 on: March 06, 2014, 08:05:31 am »


Most of those ideas are created because lots of people have a very poor understanding of what energy actually is. Much like quantum mechanics, it has become something mystical, almost romanticised. This leads to stuff like statements that are so vauge and ambiguous that they have no real meaning (but sound nice when inevitably interpreted uniquely by the listener), or people projecting human emotions/characteristics/ideals onto energy and the way it interacts with the world.
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Askot Bokbondeler

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Re: An intelligent conversation on the "paranormal"
« Reply #38 on: March 06, 2014, 08:53:06 am »

Having read a few curiosities about how the brain works and shapes our personality I started to think of ''consciousness'' itself as something absolutely mundane and mechanical to the point where gods and spirits and souls sound completely unthinkable. If I saw a ghost I wouldn't be able to maintain any suspension of disbelief and would probably start nagging him about how dumb the concept of soul is.
Aliens themselves would probably be built so different from ourselves that we'd have trouble recognising them as living things, let alone see them as conscious beings, or even empathising with their ''feelings''. And I think they haven't visited us or ever will. I hold the belief that life is somewhat rare in the universe, that the universe is huge, and that space travel is difficult. ''Intelligent'' life capable of travelling meaningful distances is even more rare, and the average lifespan of space faring civilisations could be several times the entire human history and one would still have an insignificantly small chance of encountering another living space civilisation
And if they did, they'd be underwhelmed by how weird and unrelatable the other is...

Helgoland

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Re: An intelligent conversation on the "paranormal"
« Reply #39 on: March 06, 2014, 09:08:55 am »

Aliens themselves would probably be built so different from ourselves that we'd have trouble recognising them as living things, let alone see them as conscious beings, or even empathising with their ''feelings''.
Well, if you think about it, it's quite probable they'd be similar to us, at least to some degree:
1) They'd be made from the same elements, and it's a reasonable assumption that they'll be carbon-based as well - it's rather hard to form carbon-free polymers, and you kinda need polymers. From this follows that they'll be active in a similar temperature range, and that they'll have pretty much the same basic needs as us. Given that we're thinking about a rather active being, it's further reasonable to assume that they need to breathe.
2) They'd be intelligent, so they won't be tiny (I heard a guesstimate of 10cm as the lower bound for intelligent life); 1) implies that they won't be overly huge, either.
3) They'd manage to reach us, which implies technology, which indicates a social creature, which means they'll show some of the same basic behavorial patterns as us. The number of genders is anyone's guess, but I'd expect two, or at least hermaphroditism - more and it's unnecessarily complicated, less and you get problems with evolution and stuff. There's a reason there's so few asexual animals/plants, and that so much energy is expended on mating behaviour.
4) They'd be capable of innovation (see 3) ), which means that each individuum must be of a rather high intelligence - an anthill will never use tools, and true hive-minds are impossible because of the need for communication between the single units. That high level of intelligence means that the population density must be low-ish to avoid starvation, which means the (original, natural) social units must be small or medium-sized, just like with humans - which implies a psychology that is at least not completely alien to us.

Please note that I'm not talking about the details of their shape, biology, sociology etc. - I'm just trying to do broad deductions and show that they'll be more similar to us than you might think.
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Arguably he's already a progressive, just one in the style of an enlightened Kaiser.
I'm going to do the smart thing here and disengage. This isn't a hill I paticularly care to die on.

Askot Bokbondeler

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Re: An intelligent conversation on the "paranormal"
« Reply #40 on: March 06, 2014, 10:23:21 am »

Ah but the details would make a lot of difference. Then there's transhumanism, that is practically a requirement for long distance space travel and would take us even further from our original common place. For example, a human hivemind might be perfectly possible in the near future, you just have to accept Google's terms and conditions and grant it direct access to your thoughts

And those broad deductions are great to write plausible science fiction, but I doubt their predictive value, after all we just have one case to study. I accept that most aliens are likely carbon based, though.

GlyphGryph

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Re: An intelligent conversation on the "paranormal"
« Reply #41 on: March 06, 2014, 11:11:41 am »

The problem here is that all the REAL paranormal stuff quickly gets turned into science.

Radios! Cell Phones! Particle Accelerators! Neutrino Detectors! Pain Guns! X-Rays! Infrared Goggles! Sonar! Mind/Machine Interfaces (and their siblings, Mind/Machine/Mind interfaces!) Hell, we've even got Crystal Power! (pizoelectricity, biotch!) Powered Flight! Remote viewing via a device we refer to as "TV"! Telekinetics in the form of advanced magnets!

All of these things are basically pure magic, allowing invisible forces to operate over a distance and cause physical results, to detect things behind barriers that we can not see, to communicate over large amounts of space instantaneously (or close enough).

The problem with Randi's challenge is that his rules against "cheating" are rules against any of the things people promising actually working.

Magic is real, and we have made it our servant. Every single special power the paranatural have supposedly claimed to possess are things of which we are entirely capable, and the things which do not exist that they claim must exist are things which we could create if we so desired.

The Paranormal has become normal, because magic is now mundane. Congrats, everyone! Science conquered the paranormal and discovered it was just another tool to stick in the toolbelt.
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kaijyuu

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Re: An intelligent conversation on the "paranormal"
« Reply #42 on: March 06, 2014, 03:35:45 pm »

If magic existed it'd just be another branch of physics.
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sjm9876

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Re: An intelligent conversation on the "paranormal"
« Reply #43 on: March 06, 2014, 03:42:06 pm »

If magic existed it'd just be another branch of physics.
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misko27

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Re: An intelligent conversation on the "paranormal"
« Reply #44 on: March 06, 2014, 03:56:03 pm »

If magic existed it'd just be another branch of physics.
Another way of looking at it is "We had magic. We call it Science now".

A lot of what might be considered Magic is just the natural laws coming into play. You can make a balloon stick to the wall after rubbing it on your hair? "Well you see, there exists this force that exists in all things, that attempts to balance itself out. When you rub the balloon on your hair, you mess up the balance on both hair and balloon. The residual effect of this force seeks to rebalance itself, and sticks to the wall. We often use this force to make specially attuned stones float."

Magic.
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