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Thread: The Debate Between Science and Mysticism

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    Default The Debate Between Science and Mysticism

    A classic quote from the 'Father of American Psychology' -
    Wherever a debate between the mystics and the scientifics has been once for all decided, it is the mystics who have usually proved to be right about the facts, while the scientifics had the better of it in respect to the theories.
    – William James
    From The Roots of Consciousness / Evaluating Psi Research -
    The history and sociology of science shows that the arguments surrounding psi research are not atypical., Even in the hard sciences, it is possible to find experimental evidence that is compelling to some scientists but contested by others. The outcomes of experiments can always be contested by challenging one or more of the many assumptions upon which those outcomes rely. Such arguments are in most cases resolved fairly quickly by means of further experimentation and argument. In most cases the process of criticism will come to an end. One feature of psi research is that consensus never seems to emerge.

    While the cycle seems like pointless repetition to some, the debate, over the generations, has increased in both subtlety and sophistication. This is the best progress we can expect until such time as a decisive case can be made. The debate is an ancient one. Perhaps it will be finally solved in our lifetime; however, until then, the wisest course is to tolerate the ambiguities, uncertainties and multiplicities of perspective.
    Last edited by zengrifter; February 8th, 2011 at 01:16 PM.
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  2. #2

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    Book Review | Noetic Institute

    Debating Psychic Experience: Human Potential or Human Illusion?

    Reviewed by Stanley Krippner and Harris L. Friedman
    “[The] evolution of modern thought can be seen as emerging from a constant
    struggle between sacred-religious and secular-scientific beliefs.”
    —from Debating Psychic Experience
    The following abridged excerpt is taken from the chapter entitled “Persistent Denial: A Century of Denying the Evidence” by Chris Carter, author of Parapsychology and the Skeptics: A Scientific Argument for the Existence of ESP (Sterling House, 2007). This excerpt, along with Dean Radin’s feature article, “Getting the Facts Straight,” represent our final words (for now) on the current storm of controversy over the anticipated publication of a report in a mainstream academic journal suggesting that psi phenomenon is real. Our purpose is to raise issues not so much of evidential validity but of ideology and belief in exploring the enduring passion of resistance to psi data.

    We suspect that this resistance is more ideological than methodological, and compromises most attempts at a reasoned and objective discussion of the research and its implications. And yet quite ironically, those opposed to evidence of psi make the same claims about its advocates.

    The controversy over the existence of psychic phenomena, now commonly called psi, has been raging for centuries. But it is only in the last 100 years that psychical researchers, now commonly called parapsychologists, have been mostly confined to their laboratories in order to gather experimental evidence. The anecdotal evidence is easy to question and dismiss, and so the critics have demanded – quite reasonably – reliable experimental evidence for the existence of psi. Has such evidence been provided?

    I argue that consistent, replicable evidence has in fact been provided. If this were any other field of inquiry, the controversy would have been settled by the data decades ago. However, parapsychology is not like any other field of inquiry. The data of parapsychology challenge deeply held worldviews, worldviews that are concerned not only with science, but also with religious and philosophical issues. As such, the evidence arouses strong passions, and for many, a strong desire to dismiss it.

    There seems to be a growing realization that ideological factors play a crucial role in several scientific controversies. The philosopher Tyler Burge (1993) has argued that the naturalistic view of the world is more like a political or religious ideology than like a position supported by evidence, and that materialism is an article of faith. More to the current point, the neuroscientist Mario Beauregard (2007) has written:
    Materialists have conducted a running war against psi research for decades, because any evidence of psi’s validity, no matter how minor, is fatal to their ideological system. Recently, for example, self-professed skeptics have attacked atheist…Sam Harris for having proposed, in his book titled The End of Faith (2004), that psi research has validity. Harris is only following the evidence. But in doing so, he is clearly violating an important tenet of materialism: materialist ideology trumps evidence.
    MORE- http://www.noetic.org/noetic/issue-7...ential-or-hum/
    "The dogs bark but the caravan moves on."
    .....................The Zengrifter Interview (PDF) |
    The Zengrifter / James Grosjean Reputation Debate
    -----------------------------------------
    “Truth, like gold, is obtained not by growth, but by washing away all that is not gold.” — Leo Tolstoy........
    "Is everything a conspiracy? No, just the important stuff." ZG

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