April 6, 2012

"So to believe in magic — as, on some deep level, we all do — does not make you stupid, ignorant or crazy."

"It makes you human."

141 comments:

Andy R. said...

I'm curious how people who are dumb enough to believe in fairy tales will feel about this kind of post-hoc justification.

edutcher said...

The Blonde is a big fan of all that stuff.

She loves mythology, tarot, Wicca, etc. And she collects dragons.

I suppose, after all the "science", and what it sometimes can't do, she needs to rebel.

OTOH, I am very rational, etc. It makes for a very interesting relationship.

There's a reason I've always liked Sherlock Holmes.

rhhardin said...

Everything happens for a reason

Matthew Hutson is the author of the forthcoming book ...

edutcher said...

Andy R. said...

I'm curious how people who are dumb enough to believe in fairy tales will feel about this kind of post-hoc justification.

Considering Hatman participates in nonsense like the Occupation, he should look in a mirror.

chickenlittle said...

Einstein once wrote that all religion was childish superstition.

It seems to me that the formalized, experimental disproof of God's existence would be a high priority for atheist scientists. I'm not aware of one ever succeeding.

Einstein was a man of theory and not theology.

I always thought the two words were related but apparently they're not.

chickenlittle said...

@edutcher: Hatman's religion is called Sullivanism.

Quayle said...

Don't judge us just because the magic we believe in is different that the magic you believe in.

(A new slogan for Mormons.)

Lem said...

I got to handed to the kid in the hat..

He still coming around after horrendous weeks..

deborah said...

Magic for Crack:

http://www.magneticclay.com/store/magnetic-clay-bath-clearout.aspx

Actual magic: a man drawing your bath for you.

Lem said...

.. including a scold from the professor.. it would've had lesser libs running out of the kitchen.

Andy R. said...

It seems to me that the formalized, experimental disproof of God's existence would be a high priority for atheist scientists. I'm not aware of one ever succeeding.

You don't understand how science works.

purplepenquin said...

I say "bless ya" when people sneeze, and I'll knock on wood for good luck. But I don't really consider myself superstitious, rather just a littlestitious.


Am I the only one who got this earworm when reading the post title? But luckily while writing my own comment this one popped in my head instead...which is so much better.

phx said...
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Lem said...

I had to stop reading and come in to say.. I'm diging this article..

At least the sports part..

phx said...
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mesquito said...

I'm beginning to understand the Secretary of Energy.

phx said...
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jeff said...

"I'm curious how people who are dumb enough to believe in fairy tales will feel about this kind of post-hoc justification."

Beats me. Your the democrat, right? So how DID you feel about this kind of post-hoc justification?

traditionalguy said...

Andy R...Why don't you try out an experiment similar the one quoted in the article. The next time you are in a war with personal enemies, try saying David's Psalms out loud. Singing them is good, but just saying them out loud causes your mind to hear them.

The words are powerful because a warrior wrote them down who had the experiences himself.

Since there is no God, what do you have to lose? And the victories promised to us even in the worst situations gets inside our souls which listen to whatever we say, and then we become strong and we win.

You are quite a fighter. Try it out.

Lem said...

The more they felt the turning point to have been fated, the more they believed, “It made me who I am today” and, “It gave meaning to my life.” Belief in destiny helps render your life a coherent narrative, which infuses your goals with a greater sense of purpose.

Auspicious.. happy Easter.

Andy R. said...

The more they felt the turning point to have been fated, the more they believed, “It made me who I am today” and, “It gave meaning to my life.” Belief in destiny helps render your life a coherent narrative, which infuses your goals with a greater sense of purpose.

As science does a better and better job of explaining the delusions that create organized religion, do you think that will cause a decrease in the number of people that believe in these fairy tales? I do.

chickenlittle said...

Andy R. said...

You don't understand how science works.

I find that statement inspirational. In the sense that it inspires me disprove it. :)

purplepenquin said...

Some people say "fairy tales" as if it is some sort of insult, but the joke is on them 'cause fairies are real.



And they wear boots.

Synova said...

"As science does a better and better job of explaining the delusions that create organized religion, do you think that will cause a decrease in the number of people that believe in these fairy tales? I do."

I can't imagine why.

The idea of a "god shaped hole" is hardly a recent one.

I understand that you *want* to believe that others will naturally affirm your personal choices, but it's not likely to happen.

Lem said...

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

Its a race, but its not a competition.. more like a beauty pageant.

chickenlittle said...

purplepenquin said...
Some people say "fairy tales" as if it is some sort of insult, but the joke is on them 'cause fairies are real.
And they wear boots.


Lurve that song!

Lucien said...

Count me out. I don't believe in magic. This is like the pathetic arguments in which religious people claim that atheism is a religion.

DADvocate said...

It seems to me that the formalized, experimental disproof of God's existence would be a high priority for atheist scientists. I'm not aware of one ever succeeding.

You don't understand how science works.


You offer no evidence that you understand how science works. As one rule of logic is you can't prove a negative, you can't prove God doesn't exist. Christianity doesn't pretend to prove God exists, just that He does and that you should accept that on faith.

DADvocate said...

atheism is a religion.

As I just pointed out, you can't prove a negative. Atheism is a belief. You can play the semantics game over which word you use all you want.

chickenlittle said...

@purplepenquin: Same era: link. Stare real hard at the red angel--trippy!

Lem said...

Beginning in April, visitors to NYTimes.com will have access to 10 free articles per month instead of 20.

At the founding of that Newspaper it would have been considered "magical thinking" to suggest that people would, many years later, end up having "free articles"..

"Magical thinking" can be a reality aid..

I'm going to say that for the purposes of this discussion while something exist only in the realm of the imagination.. it is magical.. our brains.. at least mine does.. recalls all kinds of things w/o attributions or characterisations.. it is up to me while in the momentous course of selecting my words what to attribute mesured weight and what not.

If I'm making any sense.

btw.. that's how I read Chips comments.. its like an adventure of discovery.

n.n said...

We should be careful to distinguish between philosophy (e.g. faith, axioms) and science. The latter is necessarily restricted to a limited frame of reference, while the former is, by design, open to interpretation. It is only when a phenomenon is mutually consistent that the two can be considered to legitimately overlap.

purplepenquin said...
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purplepenquin said...

Lurve that song!

;)

Thanks for posting it (and the Santana one too!) I had already posted a couple youtunes, so I was hoping someone else would pick up on the reference and do so.


That aside, all this religion and science talk reminds me of the Arthur C. Clarke quote: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic"

Which leads us to the Book of Ezekiel:

I looked, and I saw a windstorm coming out of the north--an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing metal,and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures. In appearance their form was that of a man, but each of them had four faces and four wings. Their legs were straight; their feet were like those of a calf and gleamed like burnished bronze. Under their wings on their four sides they had the hands of a man. All four of them had faces and wings, and their wings touched one another. Each one went straight ahead; they did not turn as they moved. Their faces looked like this: Each of the four had the face of a man, and on the right side each had the face of a lion, and on the left the face of an ox; each also had the face of an eagle. Such were their faces. Their wings were spread out upward; each had two wings, one touching the wing of another creature on either side, and two wings covering its body. Each one went straight ahead. Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, without turning as they went. The appearance of the living creatures was like burning coals of fire or like torches. Fire moved back and forth among the creatures; it was bright, and lightning flashed out of it. The creatures sped back and forth like flashes of lightning.


I wasn't there at the time, so I ain't exactly sure what happened...but that whole book in the Bible sure seems to read like a sci-fi novel. (Sci-fact?)

leslyn said...
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Lem said...

I went to walk the dog and this song came on my top rated random setting.. honest..

Rooms On Fire..

Somewhere out in the back of your mind
Comes your real life and the life that you know
It seems like it was the creation of some of those same old things
It seemed to be the only thing left out in the light

Lem said...

I dont know.. I'm just thinking out loud here.

Aren't metaphors "magical thinking".. a little bit?

Maybe that's why the professor is so strict about their use.

SukieTawdry said...

Destiny and fate butt right up against free will.

wyo sis said...

Wherever you find meaning isn't that a good thing? It's better to have meaning than not to have meaning. I can't think of a way to live that doesn't contain some kind of framework of belief. What would be the point otherwise? Others may think your particular way of finding meaning is nuts, but if it isn't harmful to you or others, it isn't unlawful and it helps get you through your day what's the harm?
If the thing that gives your life meaning is real or true so much the better. Go out and find it if you don't already have it. I hope it gives you joy.

Clyde said...

Even though I know that there is no scientific cause-and-effect to it, I would never say out loud at work "Gee, the machine is running well today." Because as sure as I'm sitting here, that would jinx things and the machine would break down. You should only say that things are going well when they are finished.

The Norse understood this. From the Havamal:

"Praise no day until evening, no wife until buried, no sword until tested, no maid until bedded, no ice until crossed, no ale until drunk."

SukieTawdry said...

Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.

Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.

The scientists’ religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.

When the solution is simple, God is answering.

God does not play dice with the universe.

God is subtle but he is not malicious.

Those are also things that Einstein once wrote.

wyo sis said...

What good does it do to be disdainful of others belief? You might find out later they were right all along. It's remarkable how much the common sense beliefs I once held in contempt hold up over a lifetime.

bagoh20 said...

I don't think I do believe in any "magic".

"...realizing we’re just impermanent clusters of molecules with no ultimate purpose would overwhelm us..."

I do find that, all by itself, to be "magical" no matter why or how it happens. It's just incredible that the complexity and simplicity of it works, and that I can be aware of it.

I can't think of any superstitions that I use or buy into, and, I don't find that to be problem or leave me missing any resource that I need. I've been close enough to death before to be pretty sure it was gonna happen, and I didn't feel I was missing any tools to deal with it.

That said, I could also see myself finding religion some day... or not. I see no need to push my view about it either. I'm just sharing.

I have absolutely no horse in the race. I think the race is beautiful, and If I could just decide to have it one way or the other I would prefer a God as some greater purpose that brings the justice home, but either way, it's damned cool and I'm glad to be a part of it. I only wish the band played longer.

Synova said...

I have always viewed magical thinking as a specific sort of thing different from superstition or religion or even belief in spells. This fellow sort of mashes them all together, it seems to me.

I've accused people of magical thinking when they seem to be convinced that what they want to be true, will be true, because their hearts are pure. I've said "clapping for Tinkerbell" and other things to try to explain it.

It's not superstition or religion. Neither superstition nor religion insist that what is real will different than it is because someone wants it to. Religion is a framework that surrounds your life (and may or may not involve a deity) and superstition is trying to figure out the rules so that you can do the little things to appease the architects of your misfortune. With spells or superstitions (salt over your shoulder, etc) you may attempt to change what happens by those rituals. With religion you may attempt to change what happens by appealing to a person who may or may not answer the prayer the way you want.

In any case, the rules are what they are and the world is what it is and the supernatural parts do *not* bend to your will, or even care what you think of them.

It's every bit as rational to try to understand what *is* in the supernatural as in the natural. Neither change simply because you prefer them different than they are.

But magical thinking has always seemed the proper way to describe something *else*. And that unreason can apply every bit as much to the natural and beliefs about the natural as to the supernatural. It's applied constantly to things like economics. I demand that life is fair, and what seems right to *me* is how truth is defined. Truth doesn't exist, only preferences. Wishes. And will.

If I believe *hard* enough, outcomes will change.

Synova said...

"With spells or superstitions (salt over your shoulder, etc) you may attempt to change what happens by those rituals. With religion you may attempt to change what happens by appealing to a person who may or may not answer the prayer the way you want."

This should be followed by...

You may change what *happens* but you don't change what *is*. Not in either of those belief systems.

If watching your favorite sports team helps them to win, you're simply following the rules.

traditionalguy said...

Purple Penquen...As I remember Ezekiel was a reporting on a spiritual vision of God's glory. So that ends all further inquiry by this world's science guys. it can only be seen withthe help of only revelations in scripture.

The 4 faces that Ezekiel saw on each creature were the faces of a man, a lion, an ox and an Eagle. These are said to represent the 4 faces/personae of God's Eternal Son.

Each one is presented in one of the 4 Gospels: In Matthew He is the Lion face who is King. In Mark he is the Ox face who is Servant. In Luke He is the Man face who is Man. In John He is the Eagle face who has spiritual eyes.

God seems to have us outnumbered.

Carnifex said...

Science does not answer all questions, it merely answers the questions it deigns to hear.

Story time...

As a younger man, back in the dark days of AOL hegemony over the internet, I would haunt chat rooms. And I Would chat/argue, tell stories etc...much as I do here.

One friend I had met was a woman who lived in North Carolina. We intrigued each other that we met for a weekend of...doing things. But at the end of the weekend, we mutually decided that we would just be friends. No spark so to speak.

She was a fascinating woman, who claimed to be half Romany, and half Cherokee. Both reputed to be a mystical people, she believed she could foretell the future by reading Tarot cards, and see peoples aura, and pretty much new age-y an a lot of stuff(except for her love of Nascar...I don't think that's big in the New Age set).

After returning home some time passed, and I made other friends, but still kept taking to the woman in NC.

Eventually, I met a young girl who lived in Manhattan Kansas. We would chat in rooms I would set up by ourselves because while an absolutely beautiful young woman, she was also a quadriplegic, and it took her a long time to type something out. She had a stick she held in her mouth she used to type with. Because it took her so long to hold a conversation, many people wouldn't bother with her. I am extremely patient, and found her charming, witty, smart, and attractive in every way. We even attempted a few phone calls but with my bad hearing, and slow listening, I literally couldn't understand her, so we gave that up.

One night I had a vivid dream about the girl in Kansas, that we had met. I had to wait till after work to talk to her about the dream. When I informed her about the dream, she told me that she had almost the same dream. Comparing notes, we discovered that the dreams were very similar.

As we chatted on lightly joking about great minds thinking alike, the woman from NC popped on line. "My friend in NC just got online" I said,"she reads peoples futures with Tarot cards. Would you like her to do a reading for you?"
"Yes, I'd like that very much" came the reply.

So I opened up another IM window and said "Hi. Could you give a reading for my friend in Kansas?"(I'm paraphrasing these conversations)
"Sure, let me get my cards" she said "give me a few minutes"

When she got back online she Im'ed me "I need her birthdate to give a reading" So I Im'ed the girl in Ks. then relayed the info to the woman in NC. After a few minutes wait she came back. " I see love in the future for her, possibly marriage, and the rest is cloudy" I was underwhelmed.

The woman in NC asked me then, "What brought this up? Did something happen?" So I explained about the similar dreams. She then told me to relay this message to the girl in KS, and to follow her directions myself. She said we were to "Close your eyes, and think about the dream"

Game for anything, I did it. And I felt the weirdest sensation I ever felt. It felt like someone reached through the top of my head and tickled my brain.

My eyes popped open in shock! The woman in NC IM'ed me again. "Don't be scared. It's just me." she typed.

The girl in KS IM'ed me "What the hell was that?"

Even though we were separated by hundreds of miles, we both felt something at the same time. Something that shocked us both.

The woman in NC asked me to set up a chat room because she had to explain somethings to us that were very important. I did, and I learned a lot of strange stuff that night, and had more crazy experiences. Stuff science denies. The night ended with me unplugging my computer, and fleeing the room as too alien to stand anymore.

But I experienced it. I can't deny what happened so I have to deny as closed minded those who would reject my experience out of hand.

traditionalguy said...

BTW If you have ever spent time in Vegas, you know that the run of luck is very much believed in by gamblers who get that from using intelligence and their experiences.

leslyn said...
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jimspice said...

I'm fairly certain I don't have any magical beliefs, at least not that I'm aware of, and still would like to consider myself human.

leslyn said...
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bagoh20 said...

Well I for one, most assuredly do live up to every single word of scripture I spout, and I always have.

bagoh20 said...

Don't the religious and atheists alike both believe that "everything happens for a reason"?

chickenlittle said...

Leslyn wrote: It is a fundamental principle of logic that one cannot prove a null.

Your hypothesis that God is a priori a nullity is based on? Works? deed? history? belief? a certain lack of something?

I was thinking of God's existence (evidenced by works and deeds) as a hypothesis to be be disproven.

Carnifex said...

@leslyn

I'll look it up but I can assure you, this wasn't a dream, and the woman in NC told me a lot that cleared up stuff that happens to me enough that it freaks me the hell out. For true skeptics, pointing out that the US Army had a 30% success rate using remote viewing techniques should be enough to set off every alarm bell existing. By all rights, there should at best be a success rate approaching zero.

Animals have shown to become excited by the return of their owner with no indication that it was going to occur, for example, the owner comes home early.

I remind people that the Aboriginal people of Australia believe their dream life is every bit as valid as their waking life. We do spend a third of our life in dreams.

I was always a skeptic of people who believed in reincarnation. They always seemed to be famous people. At least that's how they are portrayed by society today. But meeting these people will, or should open your eyes.

I don't enjoy having weird stuff happening to me. I get mocked by friends, co-workers, relatives. It would be so easy to lie and say "Nothing happens that can't be explained" but I always was a stubborn ass.

Until science starts to investigate the spiritual world, they will be willfully blind to the entire experience of being alive. Much to their detriment.

Palladian said...

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Palladian said...

I wonder if Andy R. can pull a rabbit out of his crooked hat?

leslyn said...
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bagoh20 said...

Carnifex,

I can believe you had the experience you say, but I also beilieve it can be explained by normal processes, mostly psychological. If you can prove it to be paranormal, then James Randi has $1 million waiting for you. Over 1000 people have tried to prove it with no one ever doing since first offered in 1968.

I find it very hard to believe that if such a thing existed that this opportunity would not produce at least one proof in over 4 decades.

I do accept that it seems very real when it happens, and I've experience it myself without believing it supernatural.

If you are sure, get that money. My finder's fee is 10%.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Randi_Educational_Foundation#The_One_Million_Dollar_Paranormal_Challenge

wyo sis said...

It's foolish to deny the experiences of another person. I've had very real experiences that others would say were simply "magical thinking." For lack of any other way to describe it. Carnifex has as well. Should we say they didn't happen simply because someone else doesn't believe it?

bagoh20 said...

I can imagine our species exploring the far reaches of the universe and understanding most of it processes, and possibly even discovering a unifying law, but still not being able to answer WHY. That's the realm of religion, which will explain science, not the reverse.

Lem said...

I remember seeing an illusion in the back of Dennett's book Consciousness Explained.

It consisted of a grid with lines that changed color just so that our consciousness makes up a circle where there is none.

It was pretty neat.. right there on the page, right in front of you, no physical circle.. no circle!.. but your mind makes one up.. and it cannot be helped nor avoided.

Andy R. said...

I was thinking of God's existence (evidenced by works and deeds) as a hypothesis to be be disproven.

You really don't understand science.

Are you playing some kind of dumb religious persona to discredit people who believe in god and make them seem stupid?

Carnifex said...

@Leslyn

What I usually experience is more closer to the "Dream Time" of the Aboriginies I mentioned. On the night I related the woman from NC told me I have at best a minor psychic talent, in that I visit people, places, things, and times, on a plane that exists separate from our own limited 3 dimension world. A lot of people do it, most just ignore it, or pass it off as a real dream as opposed to a real experience. The biggest problem I have with it is that I've seen my death, and I really don't want to die like that.

This is one of the reasons people experience Deja Vu. A scientist will pooh pooh the idea of any knowledge of future events. I argue that matter, energy, and time are intertwined. Neither can be destroyed, only altered. So the flow of energy to mass distorts time, so too does the flow of time to energy distorts matter, etc.

Sometimes, I think if I understood string theory better I could explain it better. I have only once ever seen a SF writer make the point that if you have an FTL ship, you have by definition, a time machine.

Others postulate planes of existance where ideas and memes vie for survival in a Darwinian idea jungle, or ocean, or plain. Our language lacks the terms for such a place, how can we even begin to understand it? I could easier describe a blue tesseract to a blind person. The color would be no reference, nor the impossible shape doubly so, so what frame of reference can be used, other than through experience. At least then we could acknowledge the shared experience, if not the experience itself.

bagoh20 said...

In the end, "Why?" is the only question that really matters; even a 4 year old knows this, and they will always stump you with it. Even if Dad (or Mom) is a great scientist.

Carnifex said...

I know about Randi. And like an atheist he would disregard ANY proof as being able to be done by conventional slight of hand. How can I "prove" I felt something? I wasn't the instigator either, I was the recipient.

Its not a matter of proof, it is a matter of faith. Like I said I don't enjoy being mocked or considered gullible. Because I am not gullible for one. I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but my IQ tests out at 144, not quite genius range.

Andy R. said...

Like I said I don't enjoy being mocked or considered gullible.

Well, you're saying things that makes it seem like you're gullible and deserving of mockery, so you've put us all in a very awkward position.

LoafingOaf said...

Everything happens for a reason?

Like the National Review the leading magazine on the right, having one of their writers - John Derbyshire - expose himself as a hardcore racist.

And they haven't fired him yet.

Notably, most of the right-wing blogosphere hasn't found it bloggable yet. They obsessively read all the news. We know they know of it. But no comment. Hmm.

Michael K said...

Or it may make you an Obama voter.

Michael K said...

"Like the National Review the leading magazine on the right, having one of their writers - John Derbyshire - expose himself as a hardcore racist. "


You are so dumb you probably couldn't read one of his books. He is a satirist, oaf.

I'd ask you for a link but don't have enough respect for you to ask.

bagoh20 said...

"How can I "prove" I felt something?"

A feeling is not anything unique and certainly not supernatural, while the reach of imagination is almost endless.

The things you are describing sound like ones that have been tested before, and not proven beyond random probability. If your experience is something that can't even be tested, then it sounds like it has no connection to the world outside your mind, which would mean it's well within the realm of the perfectly normal.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

I hope you know a lot more/ than what you believe in.

Or, I hope you know a lot more than what you're believin'.

This is very personal.

LoafingOaf said...

You are so dumb you probably couldn't read one of his books. He is a satirist, oaf. I'd ask you for a link but don't have enough respect for you to ask.

I wouldn't want to be respected by someone who respects filthy minds that come up with scummy essays like this: The Talk: Nonblack Version by John Derbyshire

Why is it that you needed me to link you? Oh, because InstaPundit on down haven't been so "insta" on this one.

But Josh Barro wrote in Forbes:

So, while Lowry is advising blacks not to worry so much about the systematic profiling of blacks as criminals due to their race, his colleague Derbyshire is writing a piece specifically urging white people to engage in such profiling, among various other racist nonsense.

And this is the problem for Lowry and other conservatives who want to be taken seriously by broad audiences when they write about racial issues. Lowry wrote a column containing advice for black Americans. Why should black Americans take him seriously while he’s employing Derbyshire? If Lowry wants NR to be credible on race, he should start by firing John Derbyshire.

Maybe it's time for the right-wing media to clean house?

Penny said...

Well, I might be "crazy"?

But do all the crazies give it up to the NYT's even crazier fees for online access?

Penny said...

Not YET!

Penny said...

Course when they play their "Yeti" card?

I'm just gonna think that's like they have pinochle.

Carnifex said...

I understand the mind playing tricks. I love those things...Do you see a vase or 2 people facing each other? An old hag, or a young woman who has turned away...When I look at those things I see them both. I can force my perception back and forth. All it takes is practice. After all, YOU are in charge of your thoughts. I get tickled when someone tells me someone else made them mad. No, you allowed yourself to become mad.

Here's a good one, while driving I am one of those people who sing. While driving with a co-worker once I started to sing, just out of the blue started to sing. He became annoyed with my singing and turned the radio on. The preset radio station was not only playing the same song, it was in the very same place in the song I was. He looked at me and asked with wide eyes "How the hell did you do that?" Was it coincidence? Possibly, but the chance of doing it is closer to zero than not, and as for repeating it? How about this, radio sends a signal through the air using electricity to a receiver. You know what else receives electric signals? Your brain. Is it possible? As possible as it being chance.

Here's another, I was electrocuted once as a teenager. While in a boat, in a flood, in the dark. Those high tension wires you see running from telephone pole to pole... I grabbed one of those to keep it from hitting me in the eyes. Fire shot 4 feet out the front of the boat. I woke up with both shoulders separated, lucky to be alive at all. But since that day I can't wear a watch. They loose time on me. And I'm not talking the seconds a week, a few minutes a month from a cheap watch. I'm talking days of the calender off. So I tell time by my bodies internal sidereal clock. I am reliable to within 15 minutes. Anybody can train themselves to do this but its one of the arts we lose when we depend on technology. As an aside, I can make a compass follow my finger. I assume it has to do with the electric field generated by our bodies and the jolt I took. By all rights, I should have died a crispy critter that night.(again I cheated death, I've done so several times but as I stated up post, I've seen my death, and I fear it greatly.)

For the morbidly curious, I die alone, trapped, in a burning house. The air becomes so hot it sears my lungs, and I can no longer scream in pain. That's why I fear my death.

Carnifex said...

Andy...trust me, you could never say anything that could hurt me.

leslyn said...
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Penny said...

Does the NYT's know we're playing Hearts?

Penny said...

Don't answer that!

Carnifex said...

At Bagoh I didn't feel this as an emotion. It was a physical sensation. Like when you walk into a spider web is as close as I can describe it. And again, I didn't do it. The woman in NC did it. I suspect most people would find m very average in all aspects of my life except this one.

I have talked with a psychiatrist about what happened, and other things as well. She found me quite sane in every respect.

I can only relate what I have experienced, and what I have experienced makes me question harder than most skeptics. Skeptics dismiss out of hand that which THEY cannot explain. I find that terrible short sighted. As an example, look at Andy.

Penny said...

And don't pay them ONE SLIM DIME until they're playing pinochle.

Andy R. said...

Skeptics dismiss out of hand that which THEY cannot explain. I find that terrible short sighted. As an example, look at Andy.

I'm sorry, what level of consideration should I give to your crazy delusions?

Penny said...

You card players out there know that Hearts is a loser's game.

Right?

Penny said...

Not about getting the "most points".

Whoever has the "least points", wins.

Penny said...

Men have a natural advantage in Hearts.

No "points" walking in.

Penny said...

OK, so they have ONE point.

And it may just be the finest point you ever...

"Heard"?

Penny said...

OK, I misspoke.

Men have ONE point.

It's just that they seem to use their ONE point rather effectively... in the game of Hearts.

Where, not ironically, the loser has the most points, and when women walk in with the two points we were born with, we are already 50% behind. BEFORE the game even begins!, "she said".

Penny said...

ha ha

You buy that?

Well then, I have a DEAL for you!

The NYT's for one slim nickle.

Bruce Hayden said...

BTW If you have ever spent time in Vegas, you know that the run of luck is very much believed in by gamblers who get that from using intelligence and their experiences.

Thankfully, this is not one of the superstitions, magical thinking, etc. in which I believe. Among other things, I have a math degree, a business degree, and have spent a number of years dealing with the gaming industry as a patent attorney. This later means that I have spent too much time working with people who design those games, and one of the big things you discuss is the psychology behind different aspects of the games. After all, there is a running battle between different casinos, gaming companies, etc. to get an edge on the competition.

As a result of all this, the I play low stake slots the rare times I am pressured into gambling, and last time, was happy that I was only down $.25 after an hour's play.

But, for me, my big superstition seems to revolve around Murphy's law. If it can go wrong, it will go wrong. And, as a result, I am unreasonably fearful if I only have one set of car keys on me, and invariably ask for two room keys when staying at a hotel, putting one in one pocket, and the other in another.

I think this superstition comes from the combination of my two careers - first as a software engineer and then as an attorney. Both are professionally paranoid. And, both push you towards a belt-and-suspenders type of attitude. Forty years of this has left its mark on me.

God said...

All humans believe in magic on some deep level.

Contrapositive:

If you don't believe in some sort of magic-- religion, for instance; or whatever the religion du jour of the NYT is-- then you are not human. Subhuman, you could say.

So here we have Althouse and the NYT coming together and declaring that those who insist on logic and rationality, and those who reject mysticism, are all less than human.

It's something that the Left and Right can all agree on! Fire up the gas ovens! Time to deal with the non-believers the old fashioned way...

What a happy sunny day!

Lem said...

It used to be that the tread was exhaustively long before the Nazis were summoned..

But then again.. one comment by Andy could set us back a thousand years ;).. and a thousand comments by the rest, leap us forward into the record books.

The Concrete Dog said...

not long before the
revolutn 1917
i was in the gardn
of a cute old woman from Moscow

she had no idea i was once
a god myself
reducd over time
to just
a gardn gnome

twenty yrs passd
and the czar was dead
intllectuals ruled

they believd in
no god but the state
and millions died
starvd or shot
disapperd in the night

the old lady forgot me
her once butiful flowers
now only weeds

she hid her belief
deep inside
for to believe was
forbidden

im just a retired
god but its curious
how unbelivrs were able
to kill more peopl
in 100 yrs
than belief had killd
evr before

well it maks you
wonder about
chest thumpng
for being rational

ricpic said...

hatboy puts down people who believes in fairy tales while scarfing down the leftist utopian fantasy whole.

chickenlittle said...

Andy R. said to me:

You really don't understand science.

Are you playing some kind of dumb religious persona to discredit people who believe in god and make them seem stupid?


I do wonder who schooled you in science.

As for religion...I am very much the anti-Sullivanist which makes me your personal nemesis.

Deal with it!

hoyden said...

Is there a difference between believing in magic and believing in God?

Rusty said...

Andy R. said...
Skeptics dismiss out of hand that which THEY cannot explain. I find that terrible short sighted. As an example, look at Andy.

I'm sorry, what level of consideration should I give to your crazy delusions?


If you're going to be fair you have the delusion that government intervention in the majority of people lives is somehow beneficial. Despite all the evidence to the contrary. Your faith, however, will not set you free. Pregressivism is not scientific.



Onward and upward.
Yes. to believe in Magic is stupid and ignorant. Unless there is objective scientific proof to the contrary there no magic. Elvis is dead. There is no such thing as ghosts. We are not being visited by beings from another planet. Ergo crop circles are bullshit.
And no. Nobody from the government has ever come to help anyone without strings attached.
BTW Magic does not = faith. Two totally different animals.

Patrick said...

@Carnifex: One word of advice - I've found that it helps to distinguish between fears and predictions. I fear many things, but those fears don't control my life unless I treat them as predictions. That may help with the whole burning house thing.

Did they tell you how many more titles Kentucky will win before you go?

Phil 3:14 said...

As science does a better and better job of explaining the delusions that create organized religion, do you think that will cause a decrease in the number of people that believe in these fairy tales? I do.

In the same vein, I've wondered when that time comes when neuroscientists have described the neuro chemical reactions that lead to same sex attraction and when they've developed pharmacologic treatments, who will buy them?

Patrick said...

Andy - I too assumed that I knew far more than I actually did when I was in my early 20's, as I assume you are. The thing is, and I assume you will learn this as you grow and mature, super smart people have two ways of showing their intelligence. One is by continually saying "I'm smarter than everyone," hoping that at some point someone will believe it. The other is by marshaling facts, reason and analysis to explain a point. You really need to give the second option a try.

I hear you kids are listening to Taylor Swift these days. You should try this;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYa1eI1hpDE

No reason to be mean, even to those you consider your intellectual inferiors. You may also want to consider that, just possibly, you are wrong on that point.

roesch/voltaire said...

The choice of the word "magic" to apply to faith, belief and fate is an unfortunate choice of words and should have been more narrowly defined. Developing a sense of meaning through a personal narrative that involves a belief or experience of something greater then the self seems to go beyond mere manipulation and illusion.

rhhardin said...

Bob and Ray Four Leaf Clover Farm (2nd interview, with Johnny Carson)

MadisonMan said...

I only believe in the magic in a young girl's heart. How the music can free her, whenever it starts.

That really makes me feel happy, like an old-time movie.

damikesc said...

As science does a better and better job of explaining the delusions that create organized religion

Global warming says hi.

Lem said...

Funny stuff.

Libertarian Engineer said...

God was, through Ezekiel, just toying with the minds of all the tin foil hat club members and little grey aficionado.

Michael K said...

"
It is a fundamental principle of logic that one cannot prove a null"

So you shouldn't try ? All science is based on the attempt to prove a null, which being unproven supports that probability of the premise.

Fen said...

Carnifex: But I experienced it. I can't deny what happened so I have to deny as closed minded those who would reject my experience out of hand.

I hear you. I've had a few "instances" I still can't explain with science or logic.

Fen said...

AndyBigot: what level of consideration should I give to your crazy delusions?

Ah yes, the religious bigot is back to mock people's Faith. So tolerant. So civil.

I find the responses to you amusing. The religious folk are having to explain Science to you. That should be your first hint that you are out of your depth.

And maybe why you're still stuck in your momma's basement?

Dante said...

Religion, Science, etc., are merely people's way of coming up with a comprehensive view of the universe.

I think today we can have a bit of fun against earlier "superstitions," because man has minimized the risk for many things, including crop planting, adequate water flow, disease, pestilence, etc. All of these rage big in the old testament because they are huge problems. Problems that lead to starvation, yet, you still need to decide when to plant the crops, and hope rain comes, etc.

Note, lately it seems to be the new religion of the left, which is so often contradictory (at least they ought to get some axiomatically correct story going, if they want all of us to yield to their on high decisions, you know).

Fen said...

Patrick: super smart people have two ways of showing their intelligence. One is by continually saying "I'm smarter than everyone," hoping that at some point someone will believe it. The other is by marshaling facts, reason and analysis to explain a point.

Good points for Andy. I would add that continually pretending "I'm smarter than everyone" cripples any chance for growth. You'll become a 40yr-old trapped within a teenager's mindset.

leslyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
leslyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aridog said...

Hey Andy R .... considering what your Blogger Bio says, why not let us hear you view on Passover?

Andy R. said...

The religious folk are having to explain Science to you.

Wait, who do you think is trying to explain Science to me. You realize chickenlittle is wrong about science, right? As is Michael K, although less so.

Carnifex said...

I think people are mistaking my comments. My point being tthat most scientist refute out of hand anecdotal evidence, look no farther than the recent polar bear study. The inuit had insisted that the bear population was increasing, and the scientist scoffed at them. My problem is not with science but the scientist who think they know more than they people actually living the bears.

As the Bard said "There is more..." you know the rest.

Oft times, those who claim to be the most open minded are just blowing their own horns, ie. progressive liberals who claim to be all for freedom of speech, as long as it's approved by them. The right has it's fair share of these types too, but the left is almost predominantly anti-free speech. Otherwise words like "nigger" "fuck" "bloody", which have all been taboo at one time or other would be understood for what they are, just words, and as every 1sr grader knows "words can never hurt me". Especially if you don't regard the person calling you something derogatory as someone important. Hell, I've been called every name in the book, and truly, the only time it affected me was when someone I loved did it.

As far as my dream traveling, it disturbs me greatly. I don't enjoy it generally, so I make it a point to not remember what I experience.

The burning fear is not a phobia, Ive got phobias. This is entirely different. I believe I know how I will die and it's a particular gruesome and painful way to die. It's just something I would rather not know.

As far as knowing what the winning lottery numbers are, if I was more open to the experience maybe I could, but I really don't remember numbers very well so it's a moot point. But we in the west a so sure in our linear definition of time that when you question it, you are considered a kook. If we were more open to our inner selves instead of walling it off with denial and platitudes, I think we could be even more advanced than we commonly think ourselves.

Smug is not a good quality in someone who purports to search for the truth.

jim said...

Mysticism?
No thanks, I'm lucid.

Magic thinking: nowhere near as cool as it sounds after all.

chickenlittle said...

Andy R. wrote: Wait, who do you think is trying to explain Science to me. You realize chickenlittle is wrong about science,

Science is about testing hypotheses. That's what I said. You're saying otherwise?

Explain.

ed said...

I used to share a house with a ghost. After that very little surprises me so magic is entirely possible.

mtrobertsattorney said...

Is it magical thinking to believe that because x has always caused y in the past, x will always cause y in the future?

If it is, all science ultimately rests on magical thinking.

The Crack Emcee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andy R. said...

Science is about testing hypotheses. That's what I said.

No, this is what you said.
It seems to me that the formalized, experimental disproof of God's existence would be a high priority for atheist scientists.
and
I was thinking of God's existence (evidenced by works and deeds) as a hypothesis to be be disproven.

The first statement indicates either that you don't understand the role of empirics and falsifiability in science, or have a radically different idea of god than most of us do. The second statement just makes it seem like you don't understand how science works.

Like with the person who said that being gay couldn't be genetic because gay people don't reproduce and so a gay gene can't be passed on, I'm having a hard time figuring out exactly how confused you are and at what level I need to start explaining to you how science works for it to make sense to you.

The Crack Emcee said...

You guys are funny:

Damikesc doesn't understand the difference between scientists (who gave us global warming) and science (the method that's destroying GW theory) but still makes a smug post about it - and is probably feeling superior for doing so - even though all he's done is display his ignorance. Hilarious.

Carnifex thinks because he experienced something everyone who tells him that's not evidence of anything is a close-minded idiot. His proof, again - just like Damikesc - is to point to the mistakes of scientists, when further scientific work has proven the inuit correct.

My point? Scientists are human, and fallible, while science is a method - which isn't - and confusing the two is making fools of many.

I did a two-part post many moons ago, showing that most of the scientists online were NewAgers (at one time or still are) and not to be trusted. That isn't the same thing as saying science isn't to be trusted. And it definitely doesn't mean science is a belief system. As a method for discovery, it doesn't require belief, and is more apt to destroy them than reinforce any.

As far as the Bard's comment ("There is more…") he lived in a different time, namely before the discovery of germs, or computers, or space travel. That many forget this - or, especially, what it means - astounds me. We live in an era where science has changed the world into something he, or even our recent ancestors, couldn't dream of and, still, many prefer to hang onto the "ancient teachings" of illiterate desert people, pagans (who have never produced greatness) or simply luddites. An intelligent 10-year old, today, is smarter than the average adult of old (who was lucky to live past 40) and, still, we have these people insisting there must be something wrong with science, and something equally profound about superstition and ignorance, when their very lives (if they're over 40) are it's product. As the old saying goes, "Silly mortals,…."

Finally, to ed, just because you think you shared a house with a ghost doesn't make it "entirely possible." I once had a long talk with a dead friend, but I'm much too aware of the other possibilities to convince myself of such a silly notion. The brain is a miraculous thing, but also dangerous because it's prone to flights of fancy if you're not careful. That people radically underestimate the ability of their own minds to deceive them, I find fascinating:

That they'll openly state their folly, in this day and age, I find more-than-a-little disappointing.

Happy Easter

chickenlittle said...

Andy R wrote I'm having a hard time figuring out exactly how confused you are and at what level I need to start explaining to you how science works for it to make sense to you.

Sorry, Andy R. I'm not seeing the incongruity. So you'd better keep explaining.

Andy R. said...

What is the empirical evidence that God exists that suggests that science should be trying to disprove God's existence?

Andy R. said...

You could also try to explain in what ways you think the existence of god is falsifiable.

Synova said...

"The brain is a miraculous thing, but also dangerous because it's prone to flights of fancy if you're not careful. That people radically underestimate the ability of their own minds to deceive them, I find fascinating:"

This is why I forbade ghost/psychic television in our home. That our brains are so able to lie to us (and more convincingly than anyone else ever could) doesn't disprove anything, but it does mean that our experiences prove nothing.

I'm convinced that it's necessary, though. Being able to fabricate these fantasies may go hand in hand with the most basic ability to reason in the abstract at all. Which makes me sort of impatient with those who insist on their own rationality. (Like the anti-religion commenters on reason.com who think that they're immune.)

I don't think that we can be immune *and* retain the ability to reason. That doesn't mean that we must believe our lying eyes, just that they *do* lie, and people who think that their own eyes don't lie, are not free of the delusion, they're right inside it.

chickenlittle said...

I said upthread: It seems to me that the formalized, experimental disproof of God's existence would be a high priority for atheist scientists. I'm not aware of one ever succeeding.

Author's interpretation: A scientist (I said atheist scientist but he/she need not be) could take the existence of God as a hypothesis and attempt to test it (prove it "proof it in the original sense of the word). I didn't suggest any experiments to do so, because that's not my burning interest. I'm surprised though given many atheist's ardent desires, that we don't hear of such attempts. But we rarely read of failed experiments.

I'm sorry if that confused you first time around, Andy R. Again, I think I've been consistent throughout.

Steven said...

It seems to me that the formalized, experimental disproof of God's existence would be a high priority for atheist scientists. I'm not aware of one ever succeeding.

The Bible itself actually includes an experiment for testing the existence of a deity. You set up altars, with wood laid on them, and beef upon the wood. Then you have the clergy of the deity pray for fire to light the sacrifice. If the prayer lights the wood, the god exists; if it doesn't, the god doesn't. This is how the Bible claims Elijah proved the nonexistence of Baal and existence of his god.

You set up that very same experiment today, and the people who claim to be followers of Elijah's god start claiming it's unfair, or improper, or—well, they get very, very inventive with their excuses as to why you can't infer the nonexistence of their deity from the failure of their deity to pass the test.

So, apparently we're not allowed to use the same experiment that Elijah used.

So, here's a challenge, chickenlittle. You design a repeatable experiment where one result constitutes evidence God exists, and the other constitutes evidence he doesn't. Then we'll repeat it, say, 100 times. If it indicates God exists at least 95% of the time, I'll concede God exists; if it fails at least 95% of the time, you'll concede he doesn't.

Deal?

Andy R. said...

A scientist (I said atheist scientist but he/she need not be) could take the existence of God as a hypothesis and attempt to test it (prove it "proof it in the original sense of the word). I didn't suggest any experiments to do so, because that's not my burning interest. I'm surprised though given many atheist's ardent desires, that we don't hear of such attempts. But we rarely read of failed experiments.

With your clarification, it remains clear that you don't understand how science works.

Either there is something about God that is empirical and falsifiable, in which case the lack of evidence for God would suggest he/she doesn't exist, or God isn't empirical and falsifiable, in which case science isn't concerned about doing experiments about God.

What part of this is unclear to you?

chickenlittle said...

Either there is something about God that is empirical and falsifiable, in which case the lack of evidence for God would suggest he/she doesn't exist,

If such experiments have been done, they should be summarized. I have not looked. Have you?

or God isn't empirical and falsifiable, in which case science isn't concerned about doing experiments about God.

That seems implausible, given efforts in the past to test Biblical records. Inconclusive, unpublished efforts seems most likely to me.

I clarified how I believe science works at 1:24 and have have explained how that view fits with my previous and subsequent statements.

You have explained nothing about yourself. I am curious about your particular creed of Sullivanism. How did you first get involved in it? I would enjoy explaining to why I believe you are a Sullivanist.

Andy R. said...

Inconclusive, unpublished efforts seems most likely to me.

You don't understand science. I've run out of ways to try to explain this to you.

I would enjoy explaining to why I believe you are a Sullivanist.

I don't know what a Sullivanist is. You are welcome to elaborate.

B said...

"With your clarification, it remains clear that you don't understand how science works."

Actually, it is you that does not understand how science works. I can tell that you have been taught, or rather been exposed to, what is taught to the sophomore liberal arts major about the subject. But as far as actually understanding the process, practice, and application of science in the real world, you sound like just that - a college sophomore with a high regard for the very little knowledge he has. In other words, a naif.

Now I was just making an observation there, so you needn't respond. As a matter of fact, I won't acknowledge a response. I don't really care what you think or believe. I'm not a teacher or professor and couldn't care less about your intellectual maturation. Not my job. But along with the sophomoric arrogance you habitually display, you also appear to have bought into a self-delusion very common on the left. It is the fallacy that as a liberal, you by definition must have more native intelligence and therefore must be more knowledgeable about any and every subject than any republican or conservative. Today it is science. Tomorrow it will be law. The next day politics. I doubt you have any appreciation of just how sophomoric - there's that word again - your arguments seem to the real world practitioners on this blog you so disdain.

chickenlittle said...

I don't know what a Sullivanist is. You are welcome to elaborate.

Greater than 90% congruity in opinion and views with the the man himself. I think it's very hard to be that same opinioned with someone without being a devotee. In your case, (and restricting it to politics) it's your irrational hatred of Palin, a potentially equal but growing resentment of Romney (I won't even mention Santorum, Bachmann etc.); a fixation on gay marriage; a knee jerk hatred of anything that smacks of middle America; an effete urbanity which tends to look like a lack of understanding of vast swaths of the country (this a true intellectual deficiency); an adoration of Barack Obama; an overweening smugness when it comes to scientific matters; a warm embrace of AGW and the drastic measures proposed to confront it; mysogyny...etc.

I could go on.

B said...

Just as a follow up, Andy. I am a physicist, practical, not theoretical, who has hired, tasked, and directed quite a few extraordinary young men and women owning a wide range of scientific disciplines over the years. They represent a tough standard to be sure, but given that, you really don't come off very well. In any way and on any subject.

Andy R. said...

Actually, it is you that does not understand how science works.

Then surely you can provide just one example from this thread of something that I have said that was incorrect.

J said...

Anyone who believes in love believes in magic.

Love is just a chemical reaction otherwise.

Ask an atheist if they believe in love.

EMD said...

"Elvis is dead."

But isn't life more interesting with the possibility that he is alive?

Maybe magic just makes life more interesting.

B said...

"Then surely you can provide just one example from this thread of something that I have said that was incorrect."

Read my comment again, Andy. See if you get it this time. A parrot could enunciate the correct Wikipedia definition of science with perfect clarity. It has nothing to do with understanding.

Andy R. said...

B:

This is what chickenlittle said, "I was thinking of God's existence (evidenced by works and deeds) as a hypothesis to be be disproven."

Do you agree with me that he is misunderstanding science if he thinks the inability of science to disprove god's existence should be thought of as some kind of useful information?