Fortean phenomena

Discussion in 'UFOs, Ghosts and Monsters' started by Magical Realist, Nov 16, 2016.

  1. paddoboy Valued Senior Member


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    Your being dishonestly obtuse again MR!
    You take your pick like I said......I just prefer to be nice to you and just accept that you are gullible and impressionable....

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  3. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Oh so you AGREE with the quote defining me as a hypochondriac because of my alleged disordered imagination. Got it. The slimy art of adhoming again..
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2016
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  5. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    If the cap fits, and all that. :shrug: Your choice my old friend, I certainly can't stop you flittering all over the place trying to escape the corner you have painted yourself in.
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  7. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    LOL! You mean like quoting something and then disclaiming what it said I was? Yeah...
  8. paddoboy Valued Senior Member


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    Again MR, if the cap fits, wear it.

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  9. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    You really can't help from insulting people can you? Have you ever tried?
  10. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    Yes, lets forget the cap, and talk of pots and kettles and the colour black.

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  11. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Magical Realist:

    Yeah, that's what I would expect from you. It ought to, but it doesn't. Which proves my point.

    Are you saying you're on the bandwagon that cell phones cause brain cancer, or whatever? Do you also go the step further to believing that evil scientists and/or government types know this is true but want to suppress the information for corporate profit/career advancement/insert-other-conspiracy-nonsense-here? It's right up the alley of the usual stuff you buy into wholeheartedly.

    I've told you before: I'd love it if these phenomena existed. Well, some of them, anyway.

    The videos are dodgy for the many reasons I have explained carefully to you in the past. They include: the poor quality of the actual footage, the uncontrolled nature of footage; the lack of background information to confirm the legitimacy of the footage; the likelihood of fakery in many cases; the dubious provenance of the footage (i.e. we usually can't confirm who made it, where it came from, where it was taken, the identities of people appearing in the footage, the trustworthiness of either the makers or participants etc.); the fact that these videos are rarely, if ever, subjected to any proper analysis by actual experts, as opposed to true believers; the fact that the videos are often entirely anecdotal, based on stories people tell rather than first-hand evidence of the events alleged; numerous suggestive features of the videos themselves that raise doubts about their authenticity; the low trustability of the sources of many of these videos, when they can actually be identified at all; and many many more.

    You're asking the wrong questions. What you should be asking if why should anybody take the videos themselves seriously, given the reasons I have listed above, and more?

    Really? Got a time stamp or two so I don't have to wade through the entire thing? From what I watched, the filmmakers seemed ready to believe that the guy had amazing supernatural powers all the way through.

    Tell me how the tests they did ruled out fakery. What specific controls did the makers put in place to prevent fraud? If they talk about those controls in the video itself, please direct me to the appropriate time stamp.

    It gets a lot better than some grainy, dubious youtube footage, believe me.

    That's possible. This is one reason why peer review and duplication of results is important in science.

    I have asked you many times now to post the details that you think rule out trickery. Will you do that, or not?

    No. It doesn't matter if this one guy is a faker. No doubt you'd still have hundreds more videos that you'd still believe in even if this one was shown conclusively to be a fake. On the existence of magical Chi energy (or whatever), I'm sure you have utter faith in its existence, because it's magical and fun.

    I agree that it is quite possible to live your life in ignorance of science. You can take the technologies that science has given you completely for granted, and ignore the methods that have led to the advances in human knowledge that have made your life expectancy much longer than that of even your great grandparents. You can live in a world of fake news, and fake stories, and lying frauds, and never worry about science. It's a pity you choose to waste so much of your time on this, but it's your life to do with as you wish.

    Let's hope you never have a medical emergency that requires an intervention that relies on modern scientific knowledge. Let's hope that Chi Guru Guy can wave his hands over you and magically cure your cell-phone-induced brain cancer.

    That's the Whitley Strieber who has made millions selling books about his supposed contact with alien beings, I assume. Here's you complaining about career-obsessed scientists who are in it for the money, while you're happy to shell out to Whitley and help line his pockets with cash. That's probably because (a) he is pushing what you already believe, and (b) you probably consider him some as some kind of maverick fighting the evil establishment conspiracy of career-obsessed scientists, or whatever. Having no method of thinking to distinguish crap from fact, you follow Whitley on the basis of a kind of faith.

    Another unverifiable anecdote, in other words.

    Who, exactly is this "reputable university professor"? Can we contact Professor Dan and ask him to verify the story reported by Whitley?

    Let's suppose that Whitley didn't just make this up and Professor Dan is real and the story is one that Professor Dan wants to stick to. Does that mean that his cup of honey magically teleported into the flour tin back in August of 1980? What evidence is there of that, other than Professor Dan's say-so? There's none.

    So, Whitley could be telling lies. Or Professor Dan could be telling lies.

    But let's assume that both of them are telling the truth as they believe it. Does that prove magical teleportation? No. Because Professor Dan could have imagined the thing. Perhaps he imagined an event that never actually happened, after the fact - a false memory. We know that false memories are not uncommon. Or perhaps Professor Dan absent-mindedly stuck his honey jar into the flour, with no conscious memory of doing so. That's not impossible either - see the keys-in-the-fridge story, above.

    And, let's face it. If Whitley isn't telling fibs, then Professor Dan is not very bright. We read 'When Dan told this same story to a group of us at a private academic gathering, he added his own immediate conclusion at the time of the original event. "I knew at that instant," he explained to us, "that materialism is false."'

    In other words, Professor Dan didn't even bother to consider other explanations, but stupidly jumped to a probably-false conclusion. And this is assuming the events even happened as described.
  12. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    Yes. He has a bunch of youtube videos of dubious provenance.

    Ten, or 100, or 1000 dubious videos are no better than 1 in establishing the reality of any of the woo that MR is peddling. One good, reliable video would be infinitely more interesting than 1000 crappy, unreliable ones.

    The context of what you are responding to is important, Yazata. I was not claiming the MR lacks a plethora of dubious videos there.

    Specifically, MR made the claim that he has proof that fakery was ruled out in one specific video - the one that shows some guy supposedly burning paper with the power of his mind. I have asked MR to present his evidence regarding the scientific controls placed on the demonstration with the burning paper. He claims that demonstrator is not faked, and says he has proof it was not faked. This is the lie he is telling. This is the lie I have called him on.

    See above. The context is important. This is not a matter of my disagreeing with MR. This is about his lie that he has specific evidence about one specific video that he said he has.

    On the general point, I agree with you!

    MR obviously has thousands upon thousands of dubious videos that claim to show all kinds of "paranormal" events. With so many to choose from, you'd think he would have found one that he was willing to have examined in detail by now, but apparently he hasn't. You'd also think that he might have one that has a chain of supporting evidence, such as: where the footage came from, who took it, where and when it was taken, independent verification of the authenticity of the footage, etc. But apparently he doesn't.

    James Randi offers a $1 million prize to anybody who can demonstrate something paranormal under lab-controlled conditions (which are arranged and agreed to in advance in consultation with potential claimants).

    For some reason, most believers in the paranormal, and especially the ones making a healthy living out of promoting the paranormal, never want to take up Randi on his offer. They come up with all kinds of reasons why they don't need that million dollars, and why they wouldn't donate it to charity etc. They also claim that the entire process is somehow set up so they will fail, even though they only need to demonstrate abilities or phenomena that they typically claim happen all the time, or that are controllable at will.

    Of course. Any rational person must accept the possibility. I do. And I think you'll find that you're misjudging the 90% you mention.

    Now, that's a different claim. You're not merely saying that such things are possible, but you are saying you believe they are actually happening.

    I am interested. Can yougive me some examples of the kinds of paranormal things that you think might be real and actually happening? Also, I am interested in your reasons for believing that these things are (a) happening and (b) paranormal.

    Denial is something that can only happen once something is established as true or likely to a significant number of people. Denial means sticking your head in the sand and ignoring inconvenient evidence.

    Can you give some examples of paranormal things that you think people might be in denial about?

    Right. On this we agree.

    MR's problem is that, for some reason, he appears to consider his dubious video collection as strong evidence of the woo. Maybe you can do a better job that I can of explaining to him why he is wrong and we are right. I don't seem to be getting through.

    How do you discover what the weather is likely to do tomorrow?

    One way would be to consult an astrologer. Another way would be to watch a weather report produced in consultation with a meterological scientific organisation. I know which one I'd trust more, and why one is more likely to be trustworthy that the other in this regard. How about you? But MR might say that the guys and gals at the weather bureau are all there merely to line their pockets and promote the conspiracy that "science" has all the answers about predicting the weather, whereas Mystic Meg the Astrological Forecaster is in her business out of the goodness of her heart, and that we should trust her forecasts without considering her record of accurate or inaccurate weather prediction, because she's not part of some evil corporate mechanism.

    They have "explanations" galore. Unfortunately, those explanations tend to be runaway flights of fancy wherein the proponents jump from step 4 to step 27 while ignoring step 1, which is establishing that there's something there that needs a non-mundane explanation in the first place.
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  13. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    No..I'm saying I'm off your corporate bandwagon that says cellphones are totally safe and don't cause cancer. I do so based on that study I posted. Are you just going to pretend to not have seen that?

    None of those complaints are adequate to dismiss a filmed documentary as "dodgy". The video quality doesn't reflect on the authenticity of the filmed events. The identity of those making the film is irrelevant. Background on the video itself isn't necessary to determine that the events really happened as filmed. Analysis by experts is never necessary to prove that the filming was real. Eyewitness reports included in the film verify and don't detract from it's authenticity. And there is no low trustability about the source of the video seeing it is a documentary made for TV. If it were all faked it would never have been aired on TV. The documentary would long by now have been known as fake by the media and blackballed. So once again, you have no reason for calling these films dodgy anymore than any other documentary or news story or historical footage available from YouTube.

    There IS some background on the video I just discovered:

    "In a series of documentaries by Lawrence Blair, the writer, presenter and co-producer of the internationally acclaimed TV series Ring of Fire, we find an Indo-Chinese healer, a doctor of Chinese acupuncture who referred to himself as “John Chang.” The Emmy award nominated and winner of the 1989 National Educational Film and Video Festival Silver Apple awards documentary discussed the varieties of volcanism and earthquake activity around the Pacific Rim. While it was not focused on healers nor the unexplained, this particular interview “stole the show” for many viewers.

    The Blair brothers termed the man “Dynamo Jack” to conceal his identity, as “Chang” was a variation of his Chinese surname. Far from simply “wow-ing” them with his ability to heal using acupuncture, the claim was that he was actually sending a type of electrical current through the acupuncture needles. The crew didn’t seem to believe it until they felt it for themselves… What he showed them next made believers out of them all…"---

    No..I asked the right question. And until you have proof a video or a documentary has been faked, there's no reason to take your claims that it is seriously at all. Remember, when you make a claim, you need to support it.

    Just watch the whole video. I'm not goin out of my way to do anything for you.

    Watch the whole video and find out.

    Oh so now the videos are too grainy? Where was it too grainy? Give me a time stamp.

    I can't watch the video for you. You have to do that yourself.

    You haven't even come close to proving this guy faked anything. And you certainly have no credibility claiming so. You need evidence of fakery. That's how science works.

    That world of fake news stories and lying frauds is YOUR world not mine. That's the world you live in. In reality, news stories on TV and documentaries are highly reliable sources for anyone who isn't living in a paranoid bubble like you are. If they don't meet your high criteria for credibility that's not on me. That's on you and your inability to accept compelling evidence when it's put right in front of you.

    I don't know James. According to you any doctor could be total quack. No peer review of his diagnosis. No confirmation of his diagnosis by experts. Anecdotal accounts of my symptoms. No rigorous controls over the lab data. Grainy MRI photos. All so totally suspicious.

    Actually this account wasn't written by Whitley Streiber but by Jeffery Kripley, a professor of religious comparative studies at Rice University. I have no reason to doubt a thing he said here. But I'm sure you do. Do I care? Nope..

    No..he changed his name to protect his identity. And not Whitley. Jeffery. Guess he didn't want some paranoid nutcase like you frantically knocking on his door at 3 in the morning demanding scientific validation of his experience.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2016
  14. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    Anyways MR what other mysterious things do you have for us.

    I would like to see anything that as James said where we can identify the people involved and something recent that really makes you wonder what really happened.

  15. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member


    It's a goddamn personal experience James. Just like 90% of everything that happens to you or anyone else. There's no evidence of any of that occurring at all. We just have his testimony. Which is totally credible.

    No..people don't imagine such things nor do they absentmindedly and with great effort bury a jar of honey in a tin of flour that they had just seconds before put in the sink without remembering doing any of that. That's just stupid.

    I left that part of the account out not anticipating anyone being crazy enough to suggest he didn't rule out other things in that moment of utter impossibility. People usually do that you know James. They don't need you to do it for them:

    "He went thru all the usual skeptical rebuttals: that this feat was a trick or show designed for an audience (where was the audience?)..that he had somehow hypnotized himself and put a wet jar at the bottom of the flour tin himself (the later is a nearly impossible feat he later learned--he tried)...that his unconscious mind had played a trick on him and somehow traded places with his conscious mind for the duration of the experience (then how to explain the fully conscious and fully remembered sensation of the tin suddenly becoming heavier?) None of these "explanations" really resolved anything, ofcourse. They were more unbelievable than the event itself, which was already outrageous enough."---ibid. pg. 201..
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2016
  16. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    That certainly sounds more reasonable than something mystical.
    Could drugs or grog be involved?
    Could someone else in the house have played a trick on him?
    If mystical why?
    Some spirit playing tricks ...why?
    What happened with my keys in the fridge. Was I rushing and trying to tidy up and in the rush placed the keys on the butter box...or did some entity decide for what ever reason to hide the keys so I was late and avoided a car accident?

    I really think putting the keys on the bitter box whilst rushing is the most probable explanation.
    And what is the difference in the key situation and the honey in the flour.
    Why is there any need to think something other than absent minded took place?
    I just do not understand this need to look for mystical explanations are folk that bored, they seek nonsence to make their day tolerable?

  17. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Quote where I have ever claimed to believe in astrology or admit you are lying to make me look foolish. Put up or shut up James.

    Actually it'd be you who'd doubt the weather forecaster, lacking any crucial information about his credentials, or the repeatability of his forecast in a lab, or his being published in a peer reviewed journal. Oh and let's not forget that the forecast can't be real because it is actually on TV. We can't trust anything we see on TV, right? It's all just entertainment right? And well, it is just HIS anecdotal account ya know. I mean how can we rely on anecdotal accounts? It's all just so iffy isn't it?

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    Last edited: Nov 24, 2016
  18. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    How long since you have been to a movie MR?
    How realistic are the scenes of violence, life threatening action, and explosions and accidents that we see?
    How are you able to sit there with s straight face and expect people to accept that the thousands of videos you have re Aliens, Bigfoot, and whatever paranormal events are real?
    Why are you so quick to embrace all of them, yet so quick to deride the sciences that have given you the power to converse with people half way round the world?
    The you get all uppity, indignant and upset when people suggest you a hypochondriac and have disordered imagination, or are gullible and impressionable, and dare to suggest other possibilities are the cause, other than your own totally biased, gullible opinions.

    Truthfully, I believe you should to be left to your own sources, with your own thread and with no comment allowed by anyone else.
    Perhaps then the lack of attention may see you go elsewhere, where like minded people gather, and are gullible and willing enough to heap the praise and agreement on your claims as you so dearly wish for.

    In essence MR, it is really a sad state of affairs, how any human could believe all the nonsense that yourself and river claim and infest this forum with.
  19. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Don't let the door hit you in the ass troll...
  20. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    You're being silly and obtuse again MR.
    Not all TV is questionable...not all u tube is questionable...not everything one may read is questionable.
    But when they fail reasonable scientific review and common sense, and are the source of some unknown, unqualified uncredentialled nut, then they need critical review and to be exposed for the nonsense they are.
    Another question before I go MR: are you in any ghost, goblin, woo club or orginization?
  21. paddoboy Valued Senior Member


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    I'm mortified!!
  22. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Good post.

    I do not understand why Yazata so often goes out of his way to defend MR. As you point out, the basic issue is that MR continues to rest his various contentious claims on uninvestigated video evidence. Both Yazata and MR are quite plainly intelligent enough to have understood by now why this is useless, in the context of scientific propositions. And yet MR continues to do it, without sanction. He's got the point, but deliberately chooses to continue as if he hadn't. I think he acts in bad faith (and I'd like to see him banned, but that is just my personal view.)

    And periodically, Yazata will defend the practice and make emotional claims about the mindset of most people on this forum, as if we were all like Paddoboy or something. This too I find very odd, considering Yazata's general thoughtfulness and erudition.

    Nowt so queer as folk.
  23. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Several reasons.

    1. MR is my friend. I knew him (online, never in person) for some ten years before either of us arrived here. (I knew CC back then too, but she doesn't attract the abuse that MR does.) I defend my friends when I think that they are being bullied and unfairly attacked.

    2. I don't like the idea that if a conclusion is believed to be true, if it's atheist or pro-mainstream-science or something, then all arguments for that conclusion must therefore be strong and defensible arguments. I'm a critical-thinking instructor at heart, and I'm motivated to criticize what I perceive as weak arguments and sloppy reasoning, regardless of who is doing it or what conclusions the arguments are being used to support. People on Sciforums have a tendency to get lazy, to join up with the perceived 'good guys' in Paddoboy's little war and then turn off their brains. (I've noticed you doing that.)

    3. And regrettably, I'm human. I have a tendency to react emotionally to insults, flames and perceived rudeness. I get mad, and sometimes my anger shows through.

    4. I'm less likely to question MR's massive credulity than to question his opponents, because MR is a minority of one around here and he typically has ten or twenty opponents who don't need my support. I don't feel like piling on and often side with the underdog. (No matter how many 'likes' it costs me.)

    5. I'm inclined to think that much of the general public treats science as if it is a new religion and anything perceived as non-scientific as heresy and heathenism. Science has become the new gnosis, the source of knowledge of the origin of the universe, the universe's fundamental principles and mode of operation and its ultimate fate. We are supposed to believe that science sweeps away religion and provides not only the best, but the only source of reliable information about anything. One isn't even thinking properly unless one is thinking scientifically. Unfortunately, real knowledge of science is only open to a small minority who devote some ten years of their lives to earning a PhD. So for most people out there, science is as much a matter of faith as religion ever was. I don't think that's healthy but don't know what to do about it, apart from prescribing a little skepticism and humility. You and I have already argued about that.

    6. I'm also inclined to think that some of science's conceptual supports aren't nearly as strong as many people seem to think. I think that we are surrounded by mysteries at every moment, by things that humans don't fully understand. All one needs to do is ask 'why' about any deep question, ask 'why' again about the answer, and repeat that process for just a handful of steps to arrive at the frontiers of existing human knowledge about almost anything. So I get nervous when people start to proclaim certainties that I don't think are fully justified down at the foundational level and when they claim to know things that I doubt that anyone really knows.

    7. Which implies that I'm sympathetic to MR's desire to find anomalies. I think that they probably do exist. I don't think that our current scientific understanding is the last word on reality, so I'm inclined to suspect that exceptions and problem cases do exist. While I don't think that MR's examples are very convincing, I don't want to totally condemn his search. I don't think that he does any harm so long as his threads are posted in the appropriate forums, and think that all the hostility and rudeness directed his way (including your calling for his banning) is uncalled for.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2016
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