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Matter can be created from light - scientists will demonstrate

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Feather
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Re: Matter can be created from light - scientists will demonstrate

Post by Feather on 7th June 2014, 11:59

Maybe it's not science, eg the study of physical objects, but we've reached an impasse if we apply physical rules to this research. I, for one, am glad that there exist many researchers who are not content to stay in a rut but would rather investigate all things, however strange they may seem to be. Their minds are open in the spirit of pioneers. They are not making irrefutable claims. They are merely doing research.
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Umberto Cocopop
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Re: Matter can be created from light - scientists will demonstrate

Post by Umberto Cocopop on 7th June 2014, 14:24

You seem to be under the impression that this sort of inquiry isn't taking place elsewhere! This isn't pioneering thinking. It's just adopting and rebranding research methodologies that already exist. The problem with it arises when these qualitative, non-scientific methodologies are treated as if they're a new, paradigm-shifted way of doing science and determining truth values.

Inquiry can discover:


  • Validity

    Is the phenomenon true or false, is it supported by empirical evidence, etc?
    .
  • Utility

    Why do people believe this? What does this belief mean to people? Which sociological and cultural factors are involved? etc.

    These things are independent of a claim's validity.


Validity is determined by scientific inquiry (i.e. objectively). Empirical claims need to be made and evidence sought that can test (i.e. potentially falsify) the claim.

Utility can be investigated by using interpretive, descriptive, experiential, etc., methodologies (i.e. subjectively). These methodologies can determine why people believe, what it means to them, describe their experiences, etc., but they can't determine whether the believed-in phenomenon is true or not.

Researchers, in general, will take a 'horses for courses' approach to inquiry and choose the appropriate methodology for the type of research they're doing. Sometimes, quantitative, empirical research needs to be done (is breast or bottle feeding better for babies?) and at other times qualitative research is more appropriate (e.g. Why do women choose to breast or bottle feed?). The key here is to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each approach and use them accordingly.

The problem with the argument that we need to stop limiting ourselves by sticking to 'reductionist', 'western', 'orthodox', etc., science and adopt a 'new', 'paradigm-shifted', 'open minded' science instead is that all they're really doing is blurring the distinction between objective and subjective research methods.

The argument sounds reasonable - but it's fatally flawed. What they're proposing is that we infer objective truth values from subjective data.

Now I don't know if I've explained that particularly well, it would help if everyone was aware of research methodologies for example, but the reasoning really is flawed.

Does God exist?
- A scientific research method would need to be used to answer this. (valid)

What does belief in God mean to people?
- A qualitative methodology would need to be used (e.g. interview people). (valid)

Does God exist?
- Let's interview people who've experienced God's presence for themselves. (Invalid)


If you attempt to answer empirical questions by using subjective methodologies you cannot obtain valid answers. That applies everywhere - it's not just to do with paranormal claims.
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Feather
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Re: Matter can be created from light - scientists will demonstrate

Post by Feather on 7th June 2014, 16:05

What if cosmologists discovered that there were indeed many dimensions--or even universes-- would you be surprised ?



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Re: Matter can be created from light - scientists will demonstrate

Post by Kitkat on 7th June 2014, 17:41

@Umberto Cocopop wrote:The problem with the argument that we need to stop limiting ourselves by sticking to 'reductionist', 'western', 'orthodox', etc., science and adopt a 'new', 'paradigm-shifted', 'open minded' science instead is that all they're really doing is blurring the distinction between objective and subjective research methods.

Having spoken with Jack Hunter, and also with Cal Cooper, another of the contributors to Paranthropology (and listened to their talks and lectures at the ASSAP conference), I got the impression regarding the research work that they are involved with and the aims of Paranthropology on the whole - that rather than "blurring the distinction between objective and subjective research methods", it would be more appropriate to say that the idea is intended to act as a blending, rather than a blurring - a working together and a sharing.  Certainly makes sense to me anyway.
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Umberto Cocopop
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Re: Matter can be created from light - scientists will demonstrate

Post by Umberto Cocopop on 7th June 2014, 19:38

@Feather wrote:What if cosmologists discovered  that there were indeed many dimensions--or even universes-- would you be surprised ?

Not really - unless the evidence they presented to support their claim came from some people's experiences while under the influence of hallucinogenics...

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Umberto Cocopop
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Re: Matter can be created from light - scientists will demonstrate

Post by Umberto Cocopop on 7th June 2014, 19:40

@Kitkat wrote:Having spoken with Jack Hunter, and also with Cal Cooper, another of the contributors to Paranthropology (and listened to their talks and lectures at the ASSAP conference), I got the impression regarding the research work that they are involved with and the aims of Paranthropology on the whole - that rather than "blurring the distinction between objective and subjective research methods", it would be more appropriate to say that the idea is intended to act as a blending, rather than a blurring - a working together and a sharing.  Certainly makes sense to me anyway.

That would just be normal research. I don't know these guys, but if they're making these sort of claims, then they're just plain wrong.
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Re: Matter can be created from light - scientists will demonstrate

Post by Feather on 7th June 2014, 22:06

As I said before, they are not making any claims that I know of. What they are doing is research.



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Re: Matter can be created from light - scientists will demonstrate

Post by Umberto Cocopop on 8th June 2014, 12:54

@Feather wrote:What they are doing is research.

But if they're taking the approach that you've outlined in this thread then everything I've said applies to them too.

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Re: Matter can be created from light - scientists will demonstrate

Post by Feather on 8th June 2014, 22:57

I agree, but there's no harm in what they are doing, is there?



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Re: Matter can be created from light - scientists will demonstrate

Post by Umberto Cocopop on 9th June 2014, 15:07

@Feather wrote:I agree, but there's no harm in what they are doing, is there?

Don't get me wrong, doing qualitative research into this area could do a great deal of good in increasing the overall understanding of the issues.

What I'm cautioning against is accepting that qualitative research methods can give rise to the sort of empirical knowledge that's gained from scientific* research methods. This isn't "new science" it's just drawing conclusions from inappropriate forms of evidence.

Remember, even very clever people can resort to all sorts of mental gymnastics when it comes to reasoning about things they want to believe in.

I have read some of the content from their journals, some of it high quality, some less so, and there definitely is a theme of accepting 'personal experience as a guide to the nature of reality' in there.







* It's not a case that scientific=good and non-scientific=bad. e.g. Discourse Analysis, which I particularly like, is non-scientific. It's still very useful though.
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Re: Matter can be created from light - scientists will demonstrate

Post by Feather on 9th June 2014, 15:23

Thanks fot that. They make no secret of the fact that they set some store by personal experience. Most of what I've heard about that is very questionable to me. Hunter is thorough in that he goes way back in time to the dawn of History and before it to discover and learn about ancient philosophies. That in itself interests me. He probably wonders why such beliefs --or similar--have lasted so long and seem to be global. What do you think about that? Is it that we are dominated by fear of the unknown so we have to make it known in some form?



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Re: Matter can be created from light - scientists will demonstrate

Post by Umberto Cocopop on 11th June 2014, 13:12

@Feather wrote:He probably wonders why such beliefs --or similar--have lasted so long and seem to be global. What do you think about that? Is it that we are dominated by fear of the unknown so we have to make it known in some form?

We seem to be 'hard wired' for superstitious/magical thinking. You can speculate about the possible evolutionary factors that gave rise to this (and many do) but if it's a built-in tendency we have then we should expect that such beliefs will be present in all cultures in all times.

There are many proposed mechanisms by which superstitious beliefs arise. Some are explained by things such as our propensity to search for patterns, detect agency and apply meaning to events going into overdrive, whereas religion may have arisen as a product of systems of morality that arose as we started living in larger groups - power and control systems are needed in systems of morality. NOTE: if this is the case then morality gave us religion and not the other way around!

So I don't think that the fact that things such as afterlife beliefs, religions, etc., being universally present in human cultures and societies means that there must be something in them. They simply indicate that these ideas arise because of the fundamental way that humans think.


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Re: Matter can be created from light - scientists will demonstrate

Post by Kitkat on 11th June 2014, 14:04

@Umberto Cocopop wrote:I don't think that the fact that things such as afterlife beliefs, religions, etc., being universally present in human cultures and societies means that there must be something in them. They simply indicate that these ideas arise because of the fundamental way that humans think.

I'm inclined to agree with that (last sentence).
I have seen that notion put forward before (the first sentence quoted) and have inwardly questioned it.

Environment also imposes a huge influence on humans' way of thinking - and respective environments can differ greatly from one part of the globe to another, and from one generation to another.
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Re: Matter can be created from light - scientists will demonstrate

Post by Umberto Cocopop on 12th June 2014, 20:43

@Kitkat wrote:Environment also imposes a huge influence on humans' way of thinking - and respective environments can differ greatly from one part of the globe to another, and from one generation to another.

For me, it's the fact that such variables can alter the beliefs of humans that indicates the ultimate source of the belief is within us.

Gods have 'existed' throughout human history as far back, and as wide reaching, as we can go but I wonder just how many versions there have been? This suggests to me that we create gods to suit our needs (which are based on how we think) and not because there really is or are god(s) out there.

So, lots of variations on themes based on time or location (i.e. environmental factors) indicates that the root of these beliefs is the human mind.
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Re: Matter can be created from light - scientists will demonstrate

Post by Feather on 12th June 2014, 20:54

That begs the question-what is in us? This leads on then to the old chestnut as to whether the mind is just the brain or does the mind exist outside the brain which would be merely a relay station.



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