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Epistemological Standards in Theory-Formation

  1. Jul 6, 2006 #1

    Les Sleeth

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    I so 100%, totally, beyond all doubt, agree. :tongue2: If I understand you, a "believer" cannot be objective. If that isn't what you meant, please feel free to ignore the rest of my post.

    Now, you seem to criticize theories that "are not particularly scientific." Does that mean you believe science is the epistomological standard by which we can evaluate all claims? The spirit of such a comment is that we need to pursue knowing over self-serving or exciting theories. I wholeheartedly agree with that. But how do you know science really does reveal all that can be revealed?

    If you think it can, then you have put a filter in place that excludes what science can't fathom. Now YOU are the believer who is limited by your own beliefs.


    Not really, but I would concede that theology extends so far beyond the facts as to be useless. But I suspect you are commenting about theism too.

    An enlightened way to view theism is to say the universe may be conscious as a whole, and that aspect has naturally helped evolved life and human consciousness.

    Unscientific? Yes. So what. Science hasn't proven it can answer all the questions. It likes to lay claim to explaining life and consciousness, but it's a premature claim. Science can't support with evidence that chemistry has the self-organization potential necessary for abiogenesis, it can't support with evidence that consciousness emerges from brain matter, and it can't demonstrate genetic changes are capable of creating organisms. So what we have is an element powerful in society because of how dependent we are on technology using that power to bully everybody into accepting physicalist/mechanist theory. And guess who are the "gurus" of mechanics? Yep, scientists. Isn't that quite convenient.

    So is the science "believer" self-serving or objective? Are their creation theories self-serving or objective?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 6, 2006 #2
    What I mean is that beliefs, religious beliefs, pertain either completely to the supernatural or at least to an interference of the supernatural with nature. Science is concerned with nature not the supernatural.

    I have no issues whatsoever with any theories relating to the supernatural. Criticizing such theories are without merit since they are based completely or partly on the supernatural.

    What, and how, we know things has been determined by the evolution of our senses and brains in natural selection. Hence we cannot make any absolute claims about it. But our senses are the gateway to measuring the phenomena of nature. So it looks like a yes. :smile:

    Interesting language construct.
    I would word it differently: can we measure everything that exist in nature.

    Some things, and I am speculating here, are possibly not measurable or they cannot be comprehended by us. But that does in no way imply that they must pertain to some supernatural realm.


    The usefulness of something does not in any way exclude the truthfulness of something! In other words it does not have to be true to be useful.
    Fact is that religion is used in society. Many have a need for it.


    Well I do not consider such anthropomorphism, which attributing consciousness, a human idea, to nature is, that enlightened at all. More suitably I would call it blinded. :smile: But again here, just because it is false does not mean it is useless.

    Agreed!
    If someone wants to make theories about the supernatural than that is his business, I don't care. :smile:

    Science cannot prove anything, science is not some god or anthropomorphic entity. We can only make measurements and draw conclusions from them.

    Well these are your words. I do no agree with you on that.
    Again science does not explain anything. :smile: But then again, there is nothing to explain.
    It is the human that wants the explanations: "Why do we exist?", "Why here?", "Why is there a universe?", "Why is there an uncertainty principle?", etc. Nature, neither asks questions not does does it need answers.

    Wow that is a pretty big chunk of stuff you post here. Good for a few separate topics. :smile:
    Again science does not need to support anything.

    My position is that abiogenesis is nothing magic, think about it, from one perspective, self replicating structures are really pests, can't get rid of them once you have them. :wink:
    And it is simply a probability theorem to show that given a set of natural laws self replicating structures will evolve.
    With regards to consciousness, in my view this is simply a human idea. Consciousness does not exist in nature.

    Well a very interesting topic by itself. Often the scientist stays away from the religious realm (and of course many are not) but then they find a need for metaphysics. Platonism, "the mighty math". And the idea that science is more than measurements and predictions. No the scientist can now tell us what is right and wrong, scientifically! The platonic illusion! :biggrin:


    They serve a need. The religious man ultimately cannot or will not deal with the baldness of reality, there must be more, he wants color.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2006
  4. Jul 7, 2006 #3
    One important thing not to forget: we are part of nature!!
     
  5. Jul 8, 2006 #4
    Science, philosophy, and religion – all have a common ground and purpose.

    What does exist, what doesn't, and all of "existence" in between – is their common ground.

    Explaining it is their purpose.

    Until they become one – we will have a misunderstanding.
     
  6. Jul 11, 2006 #5
    Couldn't agree more. Who cares whether a theory is scientific, religious, philosophical, mathematical or completely interdisciplinary. We can use the same standards of reasoning and proof regardless.

    MeJennifer - This is one of the most curious statements I've ever come across. Are you suggesting that it doesn't exist, or that it's supernatural?
    Many philosophers conclude that all knowledge begins in experience. Are you suggesting they're all wrong, or that knowledge is impossible?
     
  7. Jul 11, 2006 #6

    Les Sleeth

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    First let me apologize for being less than clear about my point, and that I made it off topic from original thread. My main point is what a priori “belief” does to objectivity and our ability to conduct intelligent discussions.

    It appears to me from your statements that you “believe” lots of things you don’t know are true, and you are using that belief-base to judge. For example, you seem to think that any discussion of God must also be a discussion of supernaturalism. The term "God" is applied to the idea that a consciousness could exist with the power and ability to create. Why do we, as educated individuals, have to frame the question of universal consciousness in past theological speculation? It was superstitious populations that first imagined God was supernatural, but all our observations show a perfectly natural universe. If the universe is conscious, then it seems more logical to me to posit that consciousness developed naturally. But to get back to my point, if you didn’t “believe” things about the God concept, I wouldn’t have to try to get you to “unbelieve” it so we could talk about the possibility neutrally.

    A second “belief” you admit to holding is that science is the epistemological standard by which we can evaluate all claims . . .


    The epistemology of science is grounded in sense data (i.e., experience), and of course we use our brains to plan experiments and interpret results. Science has amply demonstrated it “works” to reveal the physical universe and how to manipulate it, so as far as I am concerned there is no question science is effective in at least those respects. But certainly measurement doesn’t tell us everything about even what we actually can measure. Do you think all that you can measure about my experience of eating a delicious meal is all that consciously went on with me? You only measure what is measurable, but just because one is obsessed with measuring doesn’t mean one should reduce understanding the universe to what we can measure.

    What you don’t know is if sense data and brain functions are the only experience that brings knowledge to a human being. I will assume you are unfamiliar with my past posts, so let me repeat one of my regular exceptions to sense-brain epistemology. The Buddha practiced a discipline in samadhi meditation that requires one to withdraw from the senses and experience consciousness in an entirely different way than one experiences through sense data. There is a long history of people who realized through this method (many spending a lifetime mastering it), and it is from them that the most credible reports of a universal consciousness have come. If you only rely on your senses to know, then how are you going to evaluate an epistemology that specifically excludes the senses? Because you “believe” science is the standard, what happens is that your belief becomes a filter which automatically excludes all one can’t fathom through the sense-brain epistemology known as science.

    Further, once having embraced science as one’s exclusive epistemology, one may then “believe” some of its dogma. For example, (relying on your above statement) how do you know natural selection (plus chance mutation) determined things? Have you or anyone observed natural selection creating an organism, or is it that you make the HUGE leap from size, shape and color adjustments (just as Darwin did) to claim organ development came about through the simple adaptive process which has been observed? What we do know is that life evolved (after the protozoan stage) for hundreds of millions of years, and we know common descent is well-supported by DNA distribution, protein sequences and morphological factors. We also know genetic variation and natural selection can make minor adjustments to fully developed organs, which in turn can cause resistance to breeding with earlier forms and lead to speciation.

    What we don’t know is if chance mutation created the original organs; that is, we know incredibly favorable genetic variation had to have happened to create organs, but we don’t know what was behind that variation. Was it mere chance, or could something conscious have directed it? Right now we cannot observe positive mutation generating organs, and we also do observe that most mutation by far is destructive or neutral. Yet physicalistic science believers claim chance is perfectly capable of being a creator. Have you or anyone observed chance behaving as propitiously as it must have to produce zillions and zillions of happy accidents over upwards of 800 million years (liberally assuming metazoan life might have started with the last major oxygen level increase)? “Zillions” is the level of chance-action necessary for molecules to make the complete transformation into all the organs that make up organisms (i.e., zillions of beneficial genetic mutations had to take place with nothing more than chance directing things).

    Since now we can only observe adjustments to existing systems, and since we have never observed chance behaving so advantageously, why would any objective thinker believe those two factors are organism creators?


    Right, I was speaking in shorthand. I meant, science believers explain . . .


    You misstate the situation. Abiogenesis wasn’t self-replication alone. The organization necessary to create a self-replicating, metabolizing system capable of evolving or being evolved into animals is a level of self-organization no chemist can demonstrate is possible by physical principles, even when the chemists themselves are consciously directing processes. It is a typical argument, but logically fallacious, to pick out one factor of life and show how chemistry can do some of it. Life is a lot more than chemistry, it is an unprecedented display of organization that physical science cannot duplicate. What we need is an appropriate organizing force, so when physicalist “believers” try to stick in impotent examples for that, they are exaggerating the evidence they have and ignoring what that don’t have so they can maintain their beliefs. Once again, a priori belief has skewed their objectivity.


    Another science believer tactic for what can’t be explained through measurement and physical principles is to “dismiss” it. There again the filter is excluding things. Imagine a person with his ears plugged trying to see music, and when he fails to see it he claims, “there is no such thing as music.” Well, is it music that is lacking, or is it his perception skills that are lacking. If you exclusively embrace an epistemology that only gives you measurements and physical information, should you expect to find anything else??? Is the proper interpretation of that situation to project your limited view onto reality, or is it more intelligent to accept science for what it both can and can’t do, and stop making claims about the nature of whole of reality based on one’s limited investigation of it?


    I hope you know by now I am not talking about religion, I am talking about the ability to experience in a way that leads one to suspect the universe is conscious. I have said it takes practicing using consciousness a completely different way than one does when doing science. However, as for me, I like the “baldness of reality,” and I love what science helps me understand. I just don’t think scientism enthusiasts present bald reality when they enter into discussion about the origin and evolution of life and consciousness. Their interpretations are twisted, exaggerated, and filtered so that physicalistic theory looks a lot better than the facts support.

    My opinion is, some of this is from hating religion, some of it is because they don’t want to use their consciousness in anyway but what it takes to do science, and some of it is because right now those who can do science get to be part of a very successful group the world is highly dependent on. Egos, careers, status, fortunes and more are part of the rewards for doing well in the most effective intellectual discipline in history. We’ve all heard the phrase “power corrupts,” and I don’t think science lovers are excluded from the danger of that.
     
  8. Jul 11, 2006 #7
    But sleeth, we don't know what exactly CAN explain "everything", but don't you think it's the healthiest assumption to make?
    We have tried for hundreds of years to solve the mysteries of the universe, and time and time again, the only reason we were able to ask those questions, was because science brought forward a new discovery.

    We couldn't have figured out ANYTHING about the external world had we not used science to discover new things.

    I mean how could you think yourself to the conclusion that the earth revolves around the sun, had you not had any empirical evidence about it?
    You couldn't even imagine what the sun WAS to begin with, all you would see would be a blinding spot in the sky.

    It was astronomers, physicists and mathematicians that brought forward the discovery that the earth revolved around the sun, what substances the sun was made of etc.

    Just think about it, where would you be now, in your philosophical studies, had it not been for the scientists?

    So my point is, why should it be any different now? Why are you making the assumption that scientists can't solve consciousness from brain matter, organization in the universe etc?
     
  9. Jul 11, 2006 #8
    Just because brushes are good for making paintings, doesnt mean they are good for creating sculptures aswell.
     
  10. Jul 11, 2006 #9

    Les Sleeth

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    Be careful what you represent me as saying. I have never said science doesn't reveal the physical world to us better than any other approach.

    What I did say is that it is one thing to claim you are discovering the physical world, and another to claim the universe is nothing but physicalness. There are features within this physical setting which are not behaving according to any known physical potentials; and that leads to a second thing I am saying, especially in this thread.

    Why would someone be determined to explain everything as physical? Is that determination coming from an objective, unbiased, desire to expose reality as it actually is, or is it being decided by a belief system already in place?

    If you already believe it is all physical, and especially if you have some self-serving stake in it being all physical, then that can cause one to look only at physical stuff, claim the epistomology which only reveals physical stuff is the only way to know anything, and maintain a filter which eliminates anything that might interfere with your a priori belief.

    The logical, objective view when encountering the universe behaving non-physically (or apparently so) is to admit there might be non-physical factors at work in the universe. The organization behind biology is exactly one of those factors, and so is consciousness. The theories physicalists offer us in these areas are packed with so much exaggerated inference, filtering, dismissing, and illogic that it is clear to me at least that they want a purely physical explanation one heck of alot more than they want the "bald" truth.
     
  11. Jul 11, 2006 #10
    I understand what you are saying, but something is askew.
    Half the point of my post was that of evolution. Not the evolution we see in life, but the evolution of science and ideas.
    Everytime something brand new is discovered, like relativity, atoms, quantum mechanics, electricity, gravity, etc, we see that the whole view of the world changes.
    Something brand new is added into the mix, that makes us rethink how the universe works.
    Sometimes such a huge discovery leads to us rethinking quite a lot of what we thought were true, like the sun/earth example in my earlier post.

    All I'm saying is that, don't judge science or scientists prematurely.
    While undoubtely we don't have the knowledge or tools to empirically explain consciousness right now, who's to say we won't in a few hundred years?

    While scientists have failed miserably at explaining consciousness, I don't see any mysticists or other alternative researching methods making any progress either.

    While some people have made completely logical assumptions on how consciousness works, they have never broken through as true, because there was no empirical evidence to back it up.
    And that's really all that matters here; empirical evidence.
    Literally every piece of fact we know about the universe, has been proven empirically.
    Everything anyone has ever called a fact, has had an empiricial fact behind it to back it up.

    How can we make a coherent world view, if there are no facts to build upon?
    And better yet, how can we embrace any sort of idea that can never be proven empirically?

    In other words; EVERYTHING have some sort of empirical evidence to back it up, otherwise it's not worth anything.
     
  12. Jul 11, 2006 #11
    science is far away from being perfect instrument of knowledge, its just the best there is! Science thrives on error, cutting them one by one looking for and accepting only empirically and repeatedly reproducible experiments.

    like medicine in islamic nations flourished while in europe most of the knowledge was lost during medieval times. Reliance on prayer and miraculous healing abounded. Chants, horoscopes and amulets were widely used throughout Europe.

    We can pray over cholera victim or we can give her 500mg of tetracycline over 12hours, if one has children let it be his/her own pick. (note that if one prefers horoscopes, crystals or what have you it all serves as "prayer")

    If you ask me what does it have to do with consciousness, the answer is that dying of unknown reason and cause was seen at some point of the time about the same complexity consciousness for us today.

    Microbiology and meteorology explains what only few centuries ago was considered sufficient cause to burn a woman.

    Now dont get me wrong, i do not intend to promote science and naturalism as a dogmatic belief. On the contrary, there are a lot of phenomenons that need serious and rigorous scientific explanation. All we can hope for science is successive improvements in our understanding and learning but with no absolute certainty.

    One important thing i want to mention is that science here: i emphasize not the body of facts, the crucial importance of science comes in its WAY OF THINKING and its method of questioning and experiment! The method of science is more important then its findings.


    Belief does not generate any knowledge, science (as i emphasize it) does.

    So even with something so subtle as consciousness, we are stuck with science and since science is limited only to what can be observed by any of our senses, we are stuck with physical explanation. (the motivation, ideas, imagination, which way to ride the chariot of science may come from metaphysics or beliefs emerging from our overall understanding of the world and may not be initially supported by science, BUT the new knowledge has to be arrived at by science. This knew knowledge will be integrated into our new world view)

    Spirituality, religion or whatever belief comes through interaction of our senses with outside world. No one posses any sensation other than coming from outside world in and being processed by brain. EVen when god speaks to you, there it would show on fmri scan as you sorting, interpreting and integrating the grammar with the meanings and interoperating all that into already existing frame of reality that is stored in ur brain.

    I hope im not sounding defensive or something like that, I want to share my point of many reasons why i yet did not find any other method of arriving at new knowledge other than science (as I emphasized it).
     
  13. Jul 12, 2006 #12
    The form of reasoning and proof one adopts determines what kind of theory it is. If one uses "scientific standards of reasoning and proof" then the theory that one develops is by definition scientific.

    The problem with, for example, religious or mystical theories is that they do not necessarily adopt "scientific standards of reasoning and proof" - that is why they are not called scientific theories.

    Best Regards
     
  14. Jul 12, 2006 #13
    Equally one could ask why would someone be determined to introduce non-physical explanations?

    The rational reason for adopting a purely physical explanation is parsimony - if we can explain everything on a physical basis (and I believe we can) then why multiply fundamental entities (assumptions) unnecessarily?

    If and when someone can present reliable empirical information about the world which cannot be explained physically, then I might agree that we need to look at non-physical explanations.

    The alternative view would seem to be "let's multiply our fundamental assumptions without limit - if we need to explain something new then we'll just invent a new non-physical process to explain it".

    I disagree. The "logical objective" view would be to first attempt to explain the empirical data based on existing accepted physical assumptions, hypotheses and theories; and only if and when those theories/hypotheses are shown to be inadequate (ie they do not explain the data), then one should consider introducing new non-physical assumptions or concepts to explain the data. That's the scientific method.

    Best Regards
     
  15. Jul 12, 2006 #14
    Bear in mind that mysticism employs the same empirico-deductive methods as physics, and is often called a science. Indeed, it is often called the most sublime of sciences. There is a careful distinction to be made between religion and mysticism as these words are commonly used.
     
  16. Jul 12, 2006 #15

    Les Sleeth

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    Well, if the only "discoveries" you allow to be added to the mix are physical discoveries, why don't you think that is a filter?


    But I don't judge scientists at all, what I am judging is a type of mentality. Some scientists have it, some don't. As I have said many times here at PF, I absolutely love science. I rely on science in debates with my Christian friends, and it always seems ironic to me that I am arguing the exact same point to religious "believers" as I am right here. I think the only way to be objective is to strive not to believe anything.


    LOL! How would you know? You see, you are doing exactly what I said believers do. You are judging the mystical achievements, which you haven't even studied, by scientific standards. They are two completely different epistemologies, each brings a different type of knowledge. And let's be careful what we call mysticism. As Canute correctly points out, as discussed here it doesn't apply to anything (i.e., such as supernaturalism) but the serious inner practitioners who spend decades meditating to achieve the "oneness" experience.

    The Buddha, Jesus, Kabir, Nanak and a host of others could have shown you a thing or two about consciousness, and I see no way what they discovered can ever be understood by science. Science requires your mind to function multipliciously, but the mystical experience requires consciousness to unite into one experience. Until you experience the peace and joy and wisdom of that unity you will never know why so many people pursue it, and with your mind fully segmented into tons of concepts and beliefs, you can't possibly judge the value of oneness.

    When you say the mystics haven't made progress, I realize you mean in terms of providing a rational explanation; but rationality is the stuff of science and philosophy, not the inner experience. "Progress" for the inner practitioner is judged by how deeply one realizes the oneness experience. There need be no competition between two either; the experience of conscious oneness doesn't prevent one from thinking, it justs adds a dimension that was previously unavailable.


    "Empirical" means experience, and there certainly is experience-based evidence, lots of it, supporting what the inner adepts have realized. Science believers simply refuse to examine it, which is another characteristic I claimed believers do. That is, they only study what supports what they already believe, and ignore and dismiss what doesn't fit their belief system.


    There are facts if you care to know them. And if you don't that's fine too, but all that is required for the objectivity I am speaking of is to suspend belief. (If you really want a coherent world view, then you most definitely should try out the oneness experience. :smile: Also, conscious oneness isn't an idea to be embraced, it is an experience to be had.)

    But can you see what you are doing? You insist on a "proof" of the sort science requires, and that type of proof is based on externalization. But the inner experience is not externalizable, it is proven to each individual by himself alone. It is an utterly different standard of proof, and utterly opposite way of knowing. The reason, I say, you demand an externailzed proof is because you already have belief in place which tells you that is the only way to know. If there is another way to know, an inner way, you will never allow yourself to investigate that possibility because of the filter you maintain.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2006
  17. Jul 12, 2006 #16

    Les Sleeth

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    First, I have not in any way, shape or form challenged the efficacy of science. I understand it is a method of investigation, and it most definitely produces knowledge. So let's not have any more defenses of science because it doesn't need it.


    Yes, science is stuck with a physical explanation because so far that is all it has revealed. But is that because there is only physicalness, or is it because science is only able to reveal physicalness? The common conclusion by science "believers" is that what they discover is a reflection of reality rather than their investigative method. They conclude that in ignorance of what others have achieved with another investigative method. Science tells us there is a physical universe and how it works. There are other aspects of the universe it is telling us nothing about.


    Keep in mind, I am NOT saying we shouldn't rely on science to investigate those aspects of the universe it reveals. I am only saying that if you believe it is the only way to knowledge, which you clearly admit above, then you have a filter in place which will eliminate anything that doesn't fit your belief. No matter how "objective" you are within the discipline of science, your overall conscious objectivity has been compromised because you are only allowing your consciousness to know a certain way.

    By the way, how do you know the senses are the only avenue to experience? I can report after 30-plus years of meditation there is another realm of conscious experience available to a human being.
     
  18. Jul 12, 2006 #17

    Les Sleeth

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    It isn't a fair comparison. I am not trying to exclude an entire realm of knowledge, as scientism believers are. Further, the realm they want to exclude they know nothing about; they simply want to exclude it because they can't study it within their belief system. I, on the other hand, wouldn't exclude anything that can be known no matter what consciousness skill I had to master in order to know. And even if I personally didn't want to learn how to know in a new way, I would at least be willing to recognize that others might have mastered something I hadn't, and so were able to know in a way I couldn't.

    But that's not what happens with "believers." Believers think they are "right" and everything that doesn't fit their beliefs is "wrong."


    LOL! That is a classic physicalist's argument. Parsimony is another word for filter. It isn't parsimony if your explanations are pumped full of exaggerated inferences to cover what isn't being explained. Parsimony is no excuse for an inadequate description.

    However, you clearly reveal you are a physicalist "believer," so I don't expect you can maintain your objectivity. For example . . .


    ". . . reliable empirical information" translated: evidence science is able to discover.

    Since science can only reveal physical factors (apparently) then you have effectively eliminated any possibility of non-physical investigation. Your "belief" is flitering.


    Nonsense. I'm certainly not suggesting adding crap willy-nilly. Read my response to octelcogopod so I don't have to repeat the idea of another epistemological method that has millennia of experience supporting its claims. The fact that you choose not to study that, and you maintain a filter that rejects that catagory of information is not stemming from objectivity, but from your personal arrangement of your consciousness.


    Well of course you disagree, you are a physicalist believer, so your priorities are set. But in this case that wouldn't be a problem IF you actually did open the door after you couldn't explain things physically. But that isn't what normally happens with believers. What I often see is that they try to cover the gaps with spin.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2006
  19. Jul 12, 2006 #18
    Though that they arent scientific theories says nothing about their validity.
    It only says something about the limits of science.
     
  20. Jul 12, 2006 #19
    IMO there are a few different ways to explain something, or understand it.

    1. Either understand it on some gut level, that you cannot put into words(aka english) or
    2. A fully (or not so fully) thought experiment where your feelings and thoughts can be translated into language.

    Now, in the first type one cannot explain this to anyone else, you just have some experience of sorts, although I do not believe in such a thing.

    In the second option, should your theories be of this type, then your ideas can be translated into language.

    Now language is a funny thing, language represents symbols; real objects, imaginary objects, and all sorts of abstract good stuff.
    However, our language is based on the external world; every sentence we make, we base on something that we have experienced, or dreamt of.
    The funny thing is; had we not had some sort of sensory system, to absorb stimuli, then we would not have anything to theorize over.

    What this means, is that every thought you ever had or will have, is based on something that your brain created, which again came from something you experienced.
    And since you have 5 senses, even if there was some dimension or plane independent of the physical plane, you would not be able to filter out which signals came from the physical plane, and which came from this "astral" plane, as it were.

    You may say "how do you know?"
    Well here's my idea;
    If every word and every thought you ever had, comes from stimuli, (it comes from stimuli because your brain is the one abstracting the signals it receives), then the only other option is that you are receiving information from another non physical plane.

    Now, i have nothing against this theory, but it seems kind of odd to me, that the brain would rather receive something from another plane, rather than just creating its own abstracted world out of the physical stimuli and signals it receives.

    And if you agree that all your thoughts come from external stimuli, then how can you say that there exists something that isn't physical?
    Furthermore how can your PHYSICAL based language explain something which there are no words for?
    How can the brain even receive signals from something that isn't of the same nature as the brain?

    It all just doesn't make any sense to me.
     
  21. Jul 12, 2006 #20
    I would kindly recommend "why god won't go away" book. This will shed some light on how this experience you talk about comes about in brain and why that experience is as it is [ie. it blocks sensory inputs in ur space orientation/perception=>feeling of oneness]. (if u read it what do u think about that?). (to spare u worries that book does not aim at invalidating that experience, it merely describes it in scientific point of view, how it should be in my opinion)

    Your filter hypothesis is not in place. I do not block my higher sensations, spiritual experience, etc because of my belief that science is the only source of knowledge. (If i did, i did so only when i was indoctrinated believer in god rejecting anything else but my dogmatic belief). Science has set me free, its way of thinking, it demand for rationalization and its methods of objective enquiry is the only way to truth and knowledge. Science made me open minded-unlike belief in subjective experience. (i do confess that the strength of my spiritual experience was strongest when i was at the peak of my indoctrination, i miss it to be hones. [your are giving false choices to say that one has to block the other if prefers one]. I can subscribe to the spiritual experience on my own private level, which is subjective, but I cannot claim that it gives objective knowledge, no matter how strongly I can feel it. Feeling is does not make it truth.

    But, honestly, what objective knowledge meditation give us? It lets us experience our own consciousness different way than everyday experience(of cause because we do so in special conditions), nothing more.

    Basically, spirituality is a private matter. No one can force you to accept one way over the other. As such, it does not aim at explaining reality objectively. To share spiritual experience is to narrate 2 or more versions of the same thing, with different explanation.

    Do you agree that you will never have any experience (knowledge) except by interaction with matter? IF an information does not enter your brain it will not be understood, integrated.

    Can information about physical world enter your brain nonphysically?

    Since even the most spiritual experience has to be processed by brain (withdrawing input will force brain to interpret it somehow, so it still counts as experience to brain), it has to have physical dimension!!!! I do not think at this point in my life that there is extra non-physical dimensions to this universe. If there is it emerges from physical interaction, but does not have its own existence independent of physical.

    I would be most interested what knowledge (objective if you have one) ,if you could describe it, did you arrive by meditation?
     
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