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View Diary: Bill Nye (The Science Guy): Creationism is NOT appropriate for children. (203 comments)

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    Lots of people have personal experiences of things that aren't true.
    That's true ... but lots of people also have personal experiences that are true.  The fact that lots of people have personal experiences that aren't true doesn't necessarily mean that all the strange things that people report, which science doesn't have an explanation for, aren't true.
    And how can you prove to yourself that your ideas are any more real than their delusions? Especially since those religious ideas don't [...] give you any other indication that they are true other than what GE's on in your mind?
    First of all, I'll repeat that they are not just "ideas."  The positions I lean toward -- (and I always say "lean toward" because I don't claim to KNOW) -- are based on real-life experience.  Some of that experience is indeed fully subjective, and I'm fully willing to admit it might be nothing more than the quirks of my brain.  

    As I mentioned earlier, though, many other experiences, have had very, very specific external corroboration -- things I didn't know at the time of my personal experience.  For me, that puts them in a whole different category  

    One or two of them might indeed be just monumentally odd coincidence.  When they happen over and over and over -- (and when they begin to happen over and over after I start to practice the methods of consciousness-exploring of other cultures which predict that those very things will start to happen when you practice those methods) -- then I have to assume there really something going on beneath the obvious material level of reality.  To me, that is where the data takes me.

    I like what one FBI investigator said:  "To say that coincidence after coincidence after coincidence after coincidence is just a coincidence ... that's just plain stupid."

    (I would be perfectly willing to write about those many experiences in detail ... but I've already tried that here before, only to have the hours of effort I put into it be completely ignored, or dismissed in an insulting one-or-two sentence, "La la la, I don't want to hear it" sort of way.)

    And to address someone else's claim that my experiences are "anecdotal" and thus don't count as "evidence" ...

    Yes, they are anecdotal.  But when my anecdotes match the anecdotes of hundreds, thousands, millions of other people who independently tell  very similar-to-nearly identical anecdotes ... to me, that starts to carry some weight.  There are many kinds of evidence, not just the kind arrived at by strict scientific experimentation.  Otherwise we'd have to throw out huge amounts of human knowledge.  (Heck, we'd have to throw out all the polls on the front page of Daily Kos -- it's just a bunch of people anecdotally reporting their subjective feelings.  Where's the validity in that?)

    Especially since those religious ideas don't help you accomplish anything in the real world, or give you any other indication that they are true other than what GE's on in your mind?
    I've already addressed that some do indeed give me a pretty strong indication that they are true other than what's in my mind:  When there turns out to be very specific, repeated external corroboration -- (and in one case, when physical objects have actually started to defy the laws of physics, as witnessed by me and other people ... and when that impossible occurrence just coincidentally happened to relate very specifically to a powerful dream I had had the night before ... and when both my dream and that impossible occurance also related very specifically to a  recent strange experience of a friend if mine two states away -- who also just happened to have appeared in that dream -- which I didn't even know at the time) ...  That indicates to me it's not just in my mind.

    But this one really grates on me:  

    Especially since those religious ideas don't help you accomplish anything in the real world
    How do you know they don't help me accomplish anything in the real world?  You know absolutely nothing about me and what I've done in the real world.  Making a huge unwarranted assumption based on your own belief system, are you?
    This 'detection' skill you are trying to identify has never, not once, been used to produce any information of genuine usefulness that can't be found through other methods.
    Um ... yes, it has.  I have used it as such.  And it's worked for me.  On multiple occasions.  

    The methods and worldview I've learned from studying and practicing various types of Buddhism, and the Native American shamanistic worldview, have helped me on an enormous practical real-world level ... just as much -- or more -- than the scientific methods I learned in graduate school.

    If you haven't personally practiced and studied the sophisticated, consciousness-focused methods of other cultures, in-depth, over time, then you have no right to express an opinion, yet alone declare a "fact" on the matter.

    When I have lived according to those methods -- (which involve turning off rationality and thinking and analysis, and trusting the inner subjective intuitions and images that come) -- that has led to some of the greatest practical accomplishments in my life -- including things that have been enormously healing for other people.  

    Those incidents include some with the external corroborations I mentioned.  When I've trusted those methods, the strange "coincidences" start to happen more and more, far more than the "one or two in a person's lifetime" that Carl Sagan alluded to.  If I had ignored those "illusory subjective" things, as rationalists would have had me do, some wonderful things wouldn't have been accomplished.

    I hold these "ideas" because I've had numerous indications that it's not all in my head;  and because they seem to lead to practical results in real life.  If they didn't, I wouldn't bother.  What is the explanation for them?  I don't have a clue.  But I've found they work.

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