Philosophy, paranormal, supernatural and mysteries: what is real?

Hearing reports of the unexplained leads to self-tutoring. The tutor reflects about what is true, or real.

In the scientific culture, real means repeatable.

Many reports are available of sightings of cryptids, ghosts, UFOs, etc. In some cases, there is even physical evidence.

If the sightings are discounted, it’s because they aren’t repeatable: you can’t necessarily expect a similar experience if you return to that site.

I have a point of view about that:

Last summer I spent some weeks in Nanaimo, during which time I developed routines. Therefore, people down there could have observed – and even come to expect – me at certain places in Nanaimo, at particular times each weekday. However, I left Nanaimo: now, if you were to try to observe me there at one of those routine times, you’d be unable to repeat the observations you made during those summer weeks. My existence, in Nanaimo, faces scientific doubt.

It might be very difficult to prove I was ever in Nanaimo. So far as I recall, my wife paid for everything, so likely no credit card receipts place me there. All you’d have are witness accounts – people who recall seeing me there, including my wife.

Witness accounts are often mistrusted, however, when it comes to alien or sasquatch sightings, etc. Therefore, was I ever in Nanaimo? (Of course I was, but once again, that’s just my own account:)

I’ll be posting more about points of view on what’s real.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Philosophy: absence of evidence vs evidence of absence

Tutoring philosophy, evidence – or absence of it – is a constant focus. The tutor discusses the meaning of “absence of evidence”.

Typically a skeptic will point to lack of evidence as satisfactory proof, from their point of view, that X doesn’t exist or can’t be true.

In opposition, a researcher of paranormal or supernatural phenomena, or even a conspiracy theorist, might claim that even without available proof, X might indeed be true.

Interestingly, as long as premise X is unproven, neither point of view is wrong.

Likely, the reason that absence of evidence, commonly, is good enough to conclude falsehood is due to our legal system. The prosecution must prove, with evidence, a suspect’s guilt; if they can’t, then the suspect is innocent, though they may in fact have done the crime. In that context, absence of evidence practically means that claim X is false.

However, in defense of the believers’ point of view, a fresh investigation might begin with no evidence, but manage to discover it. (Anyone who watches investigation shows knows that.) Then, premise X swings from “false” to “true”, even though, ironically, it was true all along.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Beyond science: paranormal vs supernatural

Tutoring English, the meanings of words might be surprising. The tutor shares a recent discovery.

Paranormal: inexplicable by known science.

Supernatural: outside the laws of nature.

Are paranormal and supernatural synonyms? The answer depends on how you define science and nature. I’d argue that the laws of nature and the laws of science are inseparable, since science exists to describe nature.

If a law of nature is that animals try to survive, then suicide is supernatural. It may not be paranormal, however, since it’s possibly explicable by psychology.

If ghosts indeed do exist and appear, then they are paranormal. However, it may be a law of nature that entities return in spirit form, but merely a law that, as yet, is not widely known by humans in some socieities.

Source:

Gilmour, Laura (editor). Collins Essential Canadian English Dictionary & Thesaurus. Glawgow: HarperCollins, 2006.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.