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Just a minor update. This thread has grown to big for me to follow easily. I am ready every post in it, but real life is taking up a lot of my time right now so I will be very slow to reply. I found the limit of multiple conversations I can hold at one time before I get a headache, and it appears to be less than I suspected.

Once again, sorry, didn't mean to drop out, but I stayed up way to late and even now I am recovering from sleep deprivation and still have an annoying headache. My body seems to want to wake up 2 hours before it should. I'll be back once I get my sleeping back to normal, and get some more time. Even then though I am going to try to limit myself to only a couple posts a day because while I enjoy discussions, it's very easy for me to forget everything else when I get drawn into them.

I'll be back later. JAKInBAndW

You test a large number of these against placebo rituals, where elements of the rituals are changed in ways that ought to invalidate them according to the traditional beliefs, in ways that the patients won't notice, and you find that all of the rituals you test perform no better than placebo.

But but what if you get inconsistent result? Let's say you try the ritual 5 times and the placebo 5 times and it works 2 times for the the ritual and twice for the ritual. Furthermore consider that nothing changed in any of these tests that you could measure. You said the ritual was spiritual, and there for asking for divine intervention. It could be that the ritual was unnecessary and that the divine being decides when it intervenes. If you can't figure out why it sometimes works, or sometimes doesn't than maybe it's because you are asking a sentient being to make a choice and you don't understand their reasoning.

You could say that there was no divine intervention at all, but then you are left trying to come up with more and more complex theories about why it sometimes works and sometimes does not. This might not be a bad thing, but one shouldn't discount the easy solution just because it doesn't match their expectations, nor should they stop looking for another solution just because any easy one that is hard to test is present.

On this site, we generally don't operate on a group norm that people shouldn't confront others' beliefs without explicit invitation.

Oooh! I like it! Yeah sure, I can get behind that. The reason that i am not trying to convince people here of Christianity is because I don't have proof that I feel should convince other people. If I did convince anyone here, with the proof that I have, then I would feel that I had made you inferior rationalists. On the other hand I cannot just ignore my own observations and tests and agree with you when I perceive that you are mistaken. I hope that one day I might find some way of proving that god exists to people without needing them to experience something supernatural themselves. But unfortunately as I believe that I am dealing with a sentient intelligence I feel that is unlikely.

Has your mother ever called anyone when she felt they were in trouble, only to find out that they weren't, in fact, in trouble ? Confirmation bias is pretty strong in most humans.

Not that I remember. My memory could be faulty, but thinking long and hard about it I don't remember it happening.

Wait... she predicted that she would call someone, and then went ahead and called someone ? This doesn't sound like much of a prediction; I don't think I'm parsing your sentence correctly.

She predicted they were in trouble. I think the phrase she used was "I think XXXX is in trouble and needs help." I could be misremembering though.

Why did you end up picking "god" over "psionics", then ?

It's a close call honestly, but if god exists, which I believe he does from other evidence listed in this over-sized thread, then adding psionics on top would be added complexity for no gain. If you already know that the earth goes around the sun because of gravity, why bother coming up with an alternate explanation for why Saturn goes around the sun? It might have another reason, but the simplest explanation is more likely to be right.

Even if that were true, and not a misremembrance or a post-hoc rationalization

I did state that she predicted one in advance to me. Also when my mother called me the first thing she asked was "are you alright?"

You should expect in advance to hear more anecdotes about the times that someone really was in trouble, than anecdotes about the times they were not, so having heard them is very little evidence.

As far as my mother goes I have never once seen her mistake a prediction. Now 2 predictions (and 2 more that she told me about) sounds small, but consider the amount of times that she didn't mistakenly call the probability that something is going on is quite high. For example if you have a deck with 996 blue cards in it, and 4 red cards in it, and you call a red card before it flips once, but never call it before a blue card flips, the chances of you succeeding on are... Um... Do you guys want me to do the math? It's pretty small.

And just because some people think that they can do it and can't, doesn't mean that a person can't do it. Look at all the people who think they are wonderful singers.

Of course I could be misremembering. I could go ask my mother, and my father and see what they say if you like. (Yes I am close to my parents. We have a tight nit family even though I am 24). Of course we could all be misremembering, or lying. Again, you have no way to know, and you really shouldn't even consider taking my word for this.

Honestly mine really isn't any different than what you hear on the internet all the time. If you want to hear it go ahead. When my grandfather died all the people in the room said that they saw a light enter the room. It didn't say anything but they all agreed that they felt peace come over them. My grandfather was a Christian, as were the people in the room. I wasn't in the room, however I did check their stories individually and they matched. Also these were people who haven't lied to me before or since (well, other than stuff like april fools... though one of them never even does that). That, along with my foot, and my Mothers ability to know when her friends are in trouble and make phone calls that I have related in other posts give me reasonably strong belief in the supernatural* world

*(Supernatural yada yada, not understood by science yada yada. Do I need to keep making these disclaimers?)

We can look at folk medicine, and see if there are examples of cures which have been passed down through cultures which perform no better than placebo in double blind tests.


though I would point out that not all of them are wrong either. Just the good majority. That's neither here nor there though.

Out of curiosity how does science explain people feeling knowing that people they care about are in trouble? My mother has made 4 phone calls, and I have witnessed 2 where she felt that someone was in trouble and called them. One of those calls was to me and it helped me greatly. While she has missed calling people that were in trouble, she has never once called someone with that intent and been wrong.She told me that it feels like someone is telling her to call them because they are in trouble. I can't know if that is true or not, but I can't think of her ever lying to me. This is even more interesting because one time she told me that she felt she needed to make the call just before she did, thereby predicting it.

I know that she isn't the only person that does this, because I have read many accounts of people who believed a loved one had died when they were across the ocean during WWII.

Personally I would go with psyonics if not god, but that might be because I played to many role-playing games.

Sorry if this seems odd, it was just something that came to mind as I was thinking about supernatural* things.

*(outside of the realm of what human science commonly accepts)

As already pointed out, would it change either my beliefs or your beliefs? I've already recounted a medical mystery with my foot and blood loss. It comes down in the end to my word, and that of people I know. We could all be lying. There is no long term proof, so I don't see any need to explain it. That was my point. What is strong proof to me, is weak proof to others because I know that I am not lying. I have no way to prove I am not lying however so what would be the point?

Many, possibly even all religions though, make claims of supernatural events being witnessed by large numbers of people, and religions make enough mutually exclusive claims that they cannot all be true, so we know that claims of large scale supernatural observations are something that must at least sometimes arise in religions that are false.

That may be the case, and I won't disagree that some claims are fabricated. However for the rest imagine the following: A parent has two children, and he gives a present (say a chocolate that they eat) to each child without the other child knowing. Each child takes this to mean that they are the parents favorite. After all they have proof in the gift. They get into an argument over it. However because their beliefs about why the gifts were given are wrong, the fact that the gifts were given remains.

In the same way it is possible that a supernatural* being is out there, and people are just misinterpreting what the gifts it bestows mean. As far as I can tell it doesn't mind when someone calls themselves a Christian, and follows the Christian faith, so I identify as Christian.

...if a person who claims highly compelling religious experiences is unable to persuade other people, it does not indicate a failing in the other people's rationality.

I would never dream to claim otherwise. I wouldn't even try to convince people that have not had their own experiences. It would prove that you were rather inferior rationalists if I could. Unless you have proof, you should not believe. I am not here to try to convince anyone otherwise. The only reason that I talk about it is that you seem interested in how I could believe, and I suspect that I can point out why I believe to you in such a way that you will understand.

Why does everyone think that I want to convert them to Christianity? Even the churches I go, though they are not super rationalist agree that such a thing is pointless unless the person has some experience in their life that would lead them to believe. Do you often get Christians here trying to convert you?

*(outside of the realm of what human science commonly accepts)

Is "god exists, has the properties I believe it to have, and wants to stay hidden" really the only reason you can think of for the observable universe being as we observe it to be?

My own belief is closer to: "Something very powerful and supernatural exists, doesn't seem to be hostile, and doesn't mind that I call it the Christian God." And while I would answer 'no' to that question, the amount of evidence that there is something supernatural if far greater than the amount of evidence that there are millions of people lying about their experiences.

For instance, every culture has a belief in the supernatural. Now I would expect that social evolution would trend away from such beliefs. If you say, I can dance and make it rain, and then you fail, you would get laughed at. If you don't believe me gather a bunch of your closest friends and try it. The reason for people to believe someone else is if they had proof to back it up, or they already had reason to believe. Humans aren't stupid, and I don't think we've become radically more intelligent in the last couple thousand years. Why then is belief in the supernatural* everywhere? Is it something in our makeup, how we think? I have heard such a thing discounted by both sides. So there must be some cause, some reason for people to have started believing.

And that's without even getting into my experiences, or those close to me. As was suggested, misremembering, and group hallucination are possible, but if that is the case than I should probably check myself and some people I know into a medical clinic because I would be forced to consider myself insane. Seeing things that aren't there wold be a sign of something being very wrong with me, but I do not any any other symptoms of insanity so I strongly doubt this is the case.

I suppose when I get right down to it, either I and some others are insane with an unknown form of insanity, or there is something out there.

*(outside of the realm of what human science commonly accepts)

So what I'm getting from you is that you would ignore your own observations to conform to what others expect? That your belief in a universe without god is so strong that even if I did show you something like this you would refuse to believe it because it didn't fit with your expectations? Then I fail to see how I could ever convince you.

Addendum: Have group hallucinations been proven or disproven?

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