OOBEs, The Paranormal, and how both sides misunderstand the "proof" problem

#1
It seems an unsatisfactory and frankly, kind of arrogant, intolerant and inhuman response to people’s innocent experiences of the paranormal, down through the decades, and the centuries, to claim that they must all somehow be “confused” or “epileptic” or “fantasy prone” or (insert whatever you wish into that space). It’s not exactly a comforting observation about our species to see one group of human beings treating another group of human beings in that way.

On the other hand, and here is the complicating factor, there is little doubt…no doubt, actually, if truth be told, that the long attempt to procure what might be called indisputable evidence for the paranormal, or absolutely secure evidence, has never succeeded at any turn. As I have floated before, one can’t just ignore that elephant. Either something deliberately withholds that information or else a natural principle precludes it. But what could that natural principle be?

I have put forward the suggestion that consciousness is a phenomenon (actually, noumenon) that straddles possibilities. All “paranormal” phenomena seem strongly associated with consciousness. But then, so are some phenomena usually taken to be non-paranormal like “memory,” “intention” etc.

Simple or naïve realism could be described as the idea that there is a single, absolutely definable “world” or “truth” out there. As I have tried to illustrate in my recent related threads, the belief in such a simple realism dies reluctantly, because it is a creature friendly to our “common sense” experience of the world.

And we can, or at any rate we think we can, procure evidence about normal phenomena which are absolutely determinating in terms of simple realism. Is this man an amputee or is he not? To answer this question we make a determinating observation. We (medically) examine his leg below the knee. No human tissue is there. The man is an amputee. End of story. And by all normal accounts, it is reasonable enough, in such a case, to take that as the end of the story.

But as soon as we press observation into phenomena problematic for simple realism, we begin to run into problems. One such phenomenon is quantum superposition or world line interference (depending on which language you want to use). It’s really just a way of speaking that doesn’t label such a thing “paranormal.” That is exactly what it *IS* in terms of a world conceived by naïve realism. When we examine the interference pattern on a double slit experiment, we tell ourselves we have evidence for this “paranormal phenomenon” and we do, after a fashion, but that fashion is not the fashion of simple realism. We do not observe the superposition directly. We infer its existence by back-reckoning.

To have absolute, unequivocal evidence for a thing in terms of naïve realism, what we are used to calling “proof,” we would need to make a determinating observation. When we alter the apparatus so that we actually find out which slit the electron went through, we are indeed making such a determinating observation. Except that now we have no “paranormal phenomeon” to discuss. Why? Because a determinating observation is an action that has to take place within one world line. In alternative words, it coerces the system to behave according to the assumptions of naïve realism.

In alternative words again…one cannot have unequivocal, determinated, unproblematic evidence of world-line-straddling phenomena from within one world line.

And here again, broadening this out, we have the problem with “proving” the paranormal. It may one day be possible to ‘prove’ these things…but if so, it will not be by protocols of naïve realism. If consciousness *(as per my claim) is space-time-possibility nonlocal, then attempts to observe it or coerce it to naïve realism are always going to fail. Conversely, attempts to find “evidence” for world-line straddling phenomena or knowledge, by means of measurements made from within a particular world line, will fail.

And this is why Aware Protocols can’t and don’t work. The assumption people are making is WRONG! And that assumption is that if NDERs “really are” gaining “paranormal” information during their NDEs or OOBEs, then if we set up a *careful enough* real-world measurement of those events, then they will be discovered to be true.

Except they won’t. Because, secretly, behind the scenes, you are coercing the cosmos in such experiments to (artificially) render itself in terms of space-time-possibility local (STP-local) behavior…and the cosmos just *isn’t* that in its deeper descriptions.

To put a specific on this. An NDER overhears a conversation that a doctor has along the corridor. Did they really overhear it? *YES*. Does it really have a “mundane explanation”: sensitive hearing, acoustic qualities of a long corridor, etc, etc. NO. They really did hear it by STP-nonlocal aptitude of consciousness. Can this fact be demonstrated by STP-local investigation? NO. That aptitude actually requires the ambiguity or cosmic behavior of there not being a “single, absolute, determinstic truth or world” out there as assumed in naïve realism, and if this is so then there is going to be no getting away from that, no matter how we protest or torture the attempt. As soon as it can be said with *absolute certainty* within World-Line-Parnia (or whatever) that the subject either DID **OR** DID NOT perceive the symbol on the card to be “X” you have collapsed the situation to a formal experimental description entirely within the terms of a naïve realism assumed to be operating from World-Line-Parnia, and (in terms of the “DID” declaration) that’s a paradox. It can’t happen. This is why simple attempts to obtain proof of the paranormal do not…and cannot, and *will not*…succeed.

The paranormal is there. But it is nested in a deeper showing forth of the nature of being than is ever going to be containable within the assumptions (and hence the experimental “tools” and information structures) of naïve realism.

Is there a solution?
Ultimately, I think only one: to create and move within new, shared probabillity swarms. A mode of investigation where certainty is going to have to be relinquished and possibility accepted. We literally have to release the octopus grip that desires control of a situation we can never fully control.
 
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#2
You're throwing 130 years of parapsychology research under the bus here. Telepathy, in particular, has long since been proven. If you're siding with skeptical interpretations you're not judging the science by its merits, but rather your biases. If you begin with the premise that, as you say, you don't automatically dismiss the experiences of half the planet over the course of recorded history, then it makes sense.
 
#3
No, I don't "throw it under the bus" Craig. I just think it's not looking to the right place when we are talking about consciousness or the paranormal. Simple realism, to which I really append the scientific method, is not going to get us where we want (or need) to go, with these subjects.

Only a post-scientific mode is going to do this.
 
#4
No, I don't "throw it under the bus" Craig. I just think it's not looking to the right place when we are talking about consciousness or the paranormal. Simple realism, to which I really append the scientific method, is not going to get us where we want (or need) to go, with these subjects.

Only a post-scientific mode is going to do this.
I re-read your OP just to make sure I didn't read too quickly and misinterpret what you said, but I don't think my interpretation was out of line at the time. I was just coming at it from a completely different angle and wasn't able to get where you were going with it.

However, now that you've phrased it differently, I understand what you meant and I retract my previous statement.
It's an interesting point you're making overall. It reminds me of the book First Sight by Jim Carpenter. The subconscious psi being "on" all the time and all that.
 
#5
What I am saying here is this. Yes, it is possible for the science process, as normally understood, to glean evidence for the paranormal, but that evidence is inferential by nature. The best scientific evidence for psi is statistical, but this is also the most tenaciously inferential.

Of course, under ideal circumstances, ALL scientific evidence is supposed to be inferential (not proof) but because of the nature of conscious and paranormal phenomena, which I think are more "violently" subversive of naive realism, the issue is much more visible and problematic.

And what I am saying is also this. The debate is locked in a decades-long seesaw that rocks eternally past two stations without resolution: simple realism and skeptical nonexistence. Neither conclusion is satisfactory (imo) and without breaking out of this mindset that debate is doomed to repeat itself to eternity.

And (finally) what I am saying is this. By staging an AWARE protocol, we are effectively coercing nature into a naive realism, because this protocol is in essence making the statement that the information-gleaning consciousness is unequivocally located on the bed. That's the whole point of the experiment after all. If the whereabouts of this observer were ambiguous, there would be no point in even conducting the experiment. But because of this a determinating observation has been made which has already destroyed the possibility of the result sought, because the underlying naive realism built into the structure of investigation makes the result impossible.
 
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#6
What I am saying here is this. Yes, it is possible for the science process, as normally understood, to glean evidence for the paranormal, but that evidence is inferential by nature. The best scientific evidence for psi is statistical, but this is also the most tenaciously inferential.

Of course, under ideal circumstances, ALL scientific evidence is supposed to be inferential (not proof) but because of the nature of conscious and paranormal phenomena, which I think are more "violently" subversive of naive realism, the issue is much more visible and problematic.

And what I am saying is also this. The debate is locked in a decades-long seesaw that rocks eternally past two stations without resolution: simple realism and skeptical nonexistence. Neither conclusion is satisfactory (imo) and without breaking out of this mindset that debate is doomed to repeat itself to eternity.

And (finally) what I am saying is this. By staging an AWARE protocol, we are effectively coercing nature into a naive realism, because this protocol is in essence making the statement that the information-gleaning consciousness is unequivocally located on the bed. That's the whole point of the experiment after all. If the whereabouts of this observer were ambiguous, there would be no point in even conducting the experiment. But because of this a determinating observation has been made which has already destroyed the possibility of the result sought, because the underlying naive realism built into the structure of investigation makes the result impossible.
I come from a New Age background, where the predominate assumptions were much different than this. Ambiguity was both expected and embraced for the most part making naive realism pretty much non existent. Psi was pretty well understood generally, if not in specifics and the idea of a betwixt and between, which I think you're partially referring to, was considered to be part of reality. In fact a lot of religions embrace this as well.

The reason I'm bringing this up is that when we look at the debate, it's only occurring in one portion of humanity: academia and the sciences. The rest of the world doesn't have this problem because they haven't taken such a narrow view of reality.
 
#8
Either something deliberately withholds that information or else a natural principle precludes it. But what could that natural principle be?
I agree either "something" is withholding that information or else a natural principle precludes it.

My vote, however, is that "something" is withholding it. Who/what is that something? Well, since the "something" is able to do the following:
-Prevent 100% of UFOs from dropping bolts/screws/parts.
-Prevent 100% of UFOs from having really good photos taken.
-Prevent Parnia from having success (I agree he won't have success).
-Prevent CIA investigation of remote viewing from having a concrete conclusion. It WAS interesting enough that things went on for a long time but results were not conclusive enough to continue the program (as evidence by the fact that it is public now, if it had given real results then it would still be secret).
-Prevent any mediums from winning the lottery.
-Prevent 100% of ghosts from going on TV and doing interviews.
-etc. The list goes on through everything in the paranormal field.

Paranormal stuff, if you look into it, is compelling. I find it impossible to dismiss 100% of UFO sitings. I find it impossible to dismiss 100% of medium stuff. I find it impossible to dismiss 100% of NDEs. Yet, none of it ever goes anywhere.

Who/what can have power over all that? Who can regulate all of this? Who can sustain that regulation over decades and make zero mistakes? To me, there can only be one answer: God. It is maddening but clearly God is a God of plausible deniability. :)

Anyway. That's my thinking on it all.
 
#9
It seems an unsatisfactory and frankly, kind of arrogant, intolerant and inhuman response to people’s innocent experiences of the paranormal, down through the decades, and the centuries, to claim that they must all somehow be “confused” or “epileptic” or “fantasy prone” or (insert whatever you wish into that space). It’s not exactly a comforting observation about our species to see one group of human beings treating another group of human beings in that way.

On the other hand, and here is the complicating factor, there is little doubt…no doubt, actually, if truth be told, that the long attempt to procure what might be called indisputable evidence for the paranormal, or absolutely secure evidence, has never succeeded at any turn. As I have floated before, one can’t just ignore that elephant. Either something deliberately withholds that information or else a natural principle precludes it. But what could that natural principle be?

I have put forward the suggestion that consciousness is a phenomenon (actually, noumenon) that straddles possibilities. All “paranormal” phenomena seem strongly associated with consciousness. But then, so are some phenomena usually taken to be non-paranormal like “memory,” “intention” etc.

Simple or naïve realism could be described as the idea that there is a single, absolutely definable “world” or “truth” out there. As I have tried to illustrate in my recent related threads, the belief in such a simple realism dies reluctantly, because it is a creature friendly to our “common sense” experience of the world.

And we can, or at any rate we think we can, procure evidence about normal phenomena which are absolutely determinating in terms of simple realism. Is this man an amputee or is he not? To answer this question we make a determinating observation. We (medically) examine his leg below the knee. No human tissue is there. The man is an amputee. End of story. And by all normal accounts, it is reasonable enough, in such a case, to take that as the end of the story.

But as soon as we press observation into phenomena problematic for simple realism, we begin to run into problems. One such phenomenon is quantum superposition or world line interference (depending on which language you want to use). It’s really just a way of speaking that doesn’t label such a thing “paranormal.” That is exactly what it *IS* in terms of a world conceived by naïve realism. When we examine the interference pattern on a double slit experiment, we tell ourselves we have evidence for this “paranormal phenomenon” and we do, after a fashion, but that fashion is not the fashion of simple realism. We do not observe the superposition directly. We infer its existence by back-reckoning.

To have absolute, unequivocal evidence for a thing in terms of naïve realism, what we are used to calling “proof,” we would need to make a determinating observation. When we alter the apparatus so that we actually find out which slit the electron went through, we are indeed making such a determinating observation. Except that now we have no “paranormal phenomeon” to discuss. Why? Because a determinating observation is an action that has to take place within one world line. In alternative words, it coerces the system to behave according to the assumptions of naïve realism.

In alternative words again…one cannot have unequivocal, determinated, unproblematic evidence of world-line-straddling phenomena from within one world line.

And here again, broadening this out, we have the problem with “proving” the paranormal. It may one day be possible to ‘prove’ these things…but if so, it will not be by protocols of naïve realism. If consciousness *(as per my claim) is space-time-possibility nonlocal, then attempts to observe it or coerce it to naïve realism are always going to fail. Conversely, attempts to find “evidence” for world-line straddling phenomena or knowledge, by means of measurements made from within a particular world line, will fail.

And this is why Aware Protocols can’t and don’t work. The assumption people are making is WRONG! And that assumption is that if NDERs “really are” gaining “paranormal” information during their NDEs or OOBEs, then if we set up a *careful enough* real-world measurement of those events, then they will be discovered to be true.

Except they won’t. Because, secretly, behind the scenes, you are coercing the cosmos in such experiments to (artificially) render itself in terms of space-time-possibility local (STP-local) behavior…and the cosmos just *isn’t* that in its deeper descriptions.

To put a specific on this. An NDER overhears a conversation that a doctor has along the corridor. Did they really overhear it? *YES*. Does it really have a “mundane explanation”: sensitive hearing, acoustic qualities of a long corridor, etc, etc. NO. They really did hear it by STP-nonlocal aptitude of consciousness. Can this fact be demonstrated by STP-local investigation? NO. That aptitude actually requires the ambiguity or cosmic behavior of there not being a “single, absolute, determinstic truth or world” out there as assumed in naïve realism, and if this is so then there is going to be no getting away from that, no matter how we protest or torture the attempt. As soon as it can be said with *absolute certainty* within World-Line-Parnia (or whatever) that the subject either DID **OR** DID NOT perceive the symbol on the card to be “X” you have collapsed the situation to a formal experimental description entirely within the terms of a naïve realism assumed to be operating from World-Line-Parnia, and (in terms of the “DID” declaration) that’s a paradox. It can’t happen. This is why simple attempts to obtain proof of the paranormal do not…and cannot, and *will not*…succeed.

The paranormal is there. But it is nested in a deeper showing forth of the nature of being than is ever going to be containable within the assumptions (and hence the experimental “tools” and information structures) of naïve realism.

Is there a solution?
Ultimately, I think only one: to create and move within new, shared probabillity swarms. A mode of investigation where certainty is going to have to be relinquished and possibility accepted. We literally have to release the octopus grip that desires control of a situation we can never fully control.
I have come to a similar realization. I originally was supportive of the AWARE protocol, but I have changed my mind. Psi and the paranormal don't make an appearance when you have pre-specified the form which that appearance takes. You only know what form it will take after it has appeared.

That doesn't mean you can't have a determining observation. But it does mean that you can't pre-specify the determining observation. There may be a few investigations which are on the right track, or which minor modification would put on the right track. Let me think on this and see if I can give an example.

ETA: I just wanted to add that I agree that both sides misunderstand the proof problem. It's not just that scientists are using the wrong kind of tests. They are using the wrong kinds of tests because they are basing them off of the experiencers' misunderstanding the specificity of their experiences.

Linda
 
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#10
-Prevent Parnia from having success (I agree he won't have success).
-Prevent CIA investigation of remote viewing from having a concrete conclusion. It WAS interesting enough that things went on for a long time but results were not conclusive enough to continue the program (as evidence by the fact that it is public now, if it had given real results then it would still be secret).

I take issue with these two...

1- Ignoring the statistical hindrances that the AWARE study had from the beginning, it is ludicrous to declare the project a failure given the circumstances. Since both reported OBEs took place outside "prepared" rooms, the only fair classification would be "inconclusive" since the conditions for proper assessment were never met to begin with.

2- We have been told that "the good ones" are still classified, this coming from the former head honcho should be worth something. Claiming that the results were "not concrete" based on a report by Ray Hyman is like believing an environmental report coming from Al Gore. Lastly, Hyman himself was forced to admit that the statistical deviation was too much to possibly be a fluke and this was, reportedly, based on a tiny fraction of the work that was done towards the project's conclusion, when the team was supposedly "aware of its end and lacking motivation". But one has to wonder, even if he had been shown the "good ones", would that change the content of the final report? I don't think so, Hyman had a lot of stock invested in skeptic activism.
 
#11
I agree either "something" is withholding that information or else a natural principle precludes it.

My vote, however, is that "something" is withholding it. Who/what is that something? Well, since the "something" is able to do the following:
-Prevent 100% of UFOs from dropping bolts/screws/parts.
-Prevent 100% of UFOs from having really good photos taken.
-Prevent Parnia from having success (I agree he won't have success).
-Prevent CIA investigation of remote viewing from having a concrete conclusion. It WAS interesting enough that things went on for a long time but results were not conclusive enough to continue the program (as evidence by the fact that it is public now, if it had given real results then it would still be secret).
-Prevent any mediums from winning the lottery.
-Prevent 100% of ghosts from going on TV and doing interviews.
-etc. The list goes on through everything in the paranormal field.

Paranormal stuff, if you look into it, is compelling. I find it impossible to dismiss 100% of UFO sitings. I find it impossible to dismiss 100% of medium stuff. I find it impossible to dismiss 100% of NDEs. Yet, none of it ever goes anywhere.

Who/what can have power over all that? Who can regulate all of this? Who can sustain that regulation over decades and make zero mistakes? To me, there can only be one answer: God. It is maddening but clearly God is a God of plausible deniability. :)

Anyway. That's my thinking on it all.
This is a kind of response that leads me to believe that the only sources you ever see are mainstream media and that you've never looked more closely at any of this. All of these topics are complicated by opposing views and evidence and if you want to form an opinion you have to investigate them in depth. The mainstream is generally biased towards a skeptical viewpoint and tends to omit other arguments and evidence. When was the last time you saw a debunker debunked in the mainstream? It never happens.

Let's take remote viewing: did you ask former Stargate director Ed May what he thought? No? How about Russell Targ? No? They were directly involved, so do their opinions matter more than other people's? Or are you willing to just go by what shows up in Time Magazine?
 
#12
This is a kind of response that leads me to believe that the only sources you ever see are mainstream media and that you've never looked more closely at any of this. All of these topics are complicated by opposing views and evidence and if you want to form an opinion you have to investigate them in depth. The mainstream is generally biased towards a skeptical viewpoint and tends to omit other arguments and evidence. When was the last time you saw a debunker debunked in the mainstream? It never happens.

Let's take remote viewing: did you ask former Stargate director Ed May what he thought? No? How about Russell Targ? No? They were directly involved, so do their opinions matter more than other people's? Or are you willing to just go by what shows up in Time Magazine?
Joseph McMoneagle also placed the ammount of results still classified at 99%, noting that Hyman only saw the 1% that is unclassified and that he was not allowed to speak to the viewers or to see the facilities firsthand. If that is so, the agency intended him to publish a negative report since the beginning so they could put an end to the program in a manner that would minimize its impact, we must remember that the investment had gone public and there was a lot of media coverage permeating what was supposed to be a "secret" intelligence operation. Hyman was only brought down to complete the paperwork so that it seemed like a scientific assessment had dismissed the results, but not even he was aware of how much he was not seeing. And yet, despite this and his own bias, he was forced to ackowledge the statistical deviations as something more that just a fluke. I guess that you can't really blame them, since admitting that RV was effective could lead to all sorts of foreign interest.
 
#13
Paranormal stuff, if you look into it, is compelling. I find it impossible to dismiss 100% of UFO sitings. I find it impossible to dismiss 100% of medium stuff. I find it impossible to dismiss 100% of NDEs. Yet, none of it ever goes anywhere.
I mean that is the core of the issue, and you have to make your choice. It is compelling, but it is not compelling in a "scientific" way. It is compelling in the sense that to believe otherwise you have to believe that all your fellow humans who have EVER reported these things are...confused, mentally ill, physically ill, socially ill, stupid, liars, profiteers, etc, etc. Plenty of that going on. But still: it's an inhuman angle to take on your fellow beings, and I suspect says more about those prepared to make it than it does about those for which the determination is supposedly made.
 
#14
I take issue with these two...

1- Ignoring the statistical hindrances that the AWARE study had from the beginning, it is ludicrous to declare the project a failure given the circumstances. Since both reported OBEs took place outside "prepared" rooms, the only fair classification would be "inconclusive" since the conditions for proper assessment were never met to begin with.
If naive realism cannot describe the situation, then they will *always* be inconclusive in terms of determinating observation. I agree that these are interesting observations, and may well be the real phenomena showing its face, but it is showing it, imo, because in the circumstances described, the observation structure cannot be taken as determinating.

Of course, I could always be wrong. Still, this is the view I am trying to structure here...
 
#15
I have come to a similar realization. I originally was supportive of the AWARE protocol, but I have changed my mind. Psi and the paranormal don't make an appearance when you have pre-specified the form which that appearance takes.
I'm not exactly certain what you mean...

If you're saying that a typical NDE OBE experient will never recall any target, that statement doesn't make any sense to me.

Although, I am convinced that an experient will never recall a hidden, secret, real-time target.
 
#16
My claim on this thread is that no form of simple realism, no matter how cleverly or exotically formulated, will be found to be the solution to this problem. If, at root, its assumption is that the world is "simple; real" then such investigation will actually make the situation worse rather than better (in the sense of tighten the conundrum of the OP further).
 
#17
See, it's discussions like these that make me enjoy this site.

I think science has the ability to measure the paranormal. 100 years ago, X-rays existed, but no one knew. You couldn't see, feel, hear, taste, or touch an X-ray, but they were there. Then, a scientist discovered their existence, and now we all know about them. That's how I see the paranormal. We've just gotten there backwards, by discovering the effect before understanding the cause.
 
#18
You may be right, but after pondering it for a long time, I still glean that it's more complicated than that. Imo, our form of consciousness, and the brain that goes with it, simplifies a bundle of world-possibility-narratives into a single coherent storyline that renders a "life liveable by a monkey." Occasionally there are "glitches" in the "matrix" of this storyline, but a principle of paradox exclusion prevents us getting incontestable evidence that the narrative can change/swap or has done so.
 
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