I'm bowing out of all future "paranormal" threads.

I’ve taken all references to “paranormal” topics out of my profile. In the future I won’t initiate such threads or post in them, not even to lend moral support to those I perceive to be on “my side.” In fact, I probably won’t even read them, since all the arguments have been made by both sides already. (Note to nitpickers: I’m still going to participate in philosophy threads. I will specifically avoid particular hot-button topics, including but not limited to ghosts, psi, the afterlife, astrology, divination. I will also avoid those “paranormal” topics in which I take the nominally skeptic side, such as bigfoot and ufos.)

In response to the above, some wit is surely bound to say, “No one cares, dude.”

Good! I want to fade into the background and just be an ordinary poster here. Recently I’ve had fellow posters more or less campaigning for my banning in the Pit; I find this scary, especially since I perceive myself here as a nice person who wants to debate sincerely and cleanly. But even excluding those persons who react to me (or to what they imagine me to be) in this extreme fashion, the negativity in the “paranormal” GD threads (and their uglier sisters in the Pit) is too much for me to take. If that makes me a wimp, so be it. I’m not interested in being a whipping boy, a martyr, a mod-fighter, or any kind of focus of attention.

To those to whom I have fought negativity with negativity, I apologize. This goes against my New Age belief system. My karma is my responsibility, and that’s why I’m posting this–to clear the air. Now that I have officially bowed out of any future debates on so-called paranormal topics, I look forward to interacting with you amicably on such topics as business, economics, politics, science, art, and life in general.

This message is in the Pit so that those who feel a desire to flame may do so. I have no intention of flaming back. In fact, I won’t be participating in any more debates or threads (besides this one) until the election is over.

So, what you’re saying is that you’re a whiny attention whore? The way you fade into the background is not by starting a thread proclaiming “I am officially FADING INTO THE BACKGROUND!”

I had a premonition that this would happen.

Whiny, yes, but this is my last stand as an attention whore. :slight_smile:

Actually, there is a point to this. In the future, when the battles begin to rage over some paranormal topic, people will wonder where I am; I’m a regular in such threads, so to speak. But through the power of this thread they will be relieved of wondering why I am not participating.

BTW, Ilsa, whence the hate and anger? That is something I don’t get about certain regions of SDMB, and it really seems to have gotten worse of late.

I think you’re generally pretty groovy, Aeschines. Not that my opinion really matters.

If I may advise; no matter what the topic, likening your opponents to children or the mentally ill is gauranteed not to advance the discussion in a positive manner.

Correct, and I apologize for the comment. It was in the Pit, but I’d like to think I hold myself to a higher standard.

I hope that you and I can interact amicably in the future.

Let’s just repeat that several times.

And remember, when you use such tactics, you pretty much disqualify yourself as a “pretty nice person.” Just an FYI.

Good that you apologized for past behavior, though.

Oops, your post snuck in before mine, Aeschines.

Not hate and anger; exasperation. I tell you from experience here: people do not care what you think. No one will be kept up at night after having participated in a paranormal thread wondering “Oh my goodness! Where is Aeschines? What does he think? What will he say?” The best way to fade into the background is not to start a thread broadcasting it. There will be no relief from this thread, only much rolling of eyes. Witness–>:rolleyes:

I thank you for the affirmation. :slight_smile:

OK, I see your point.

I really did want to clear the air, however, and make a fresh start. I hope that this thread can help facilitate that.

Well, it doesn’t mean much. I like just about everybody. :slight_smile:

You are. Get over yourself.

This is a wise move, friend Aeschines. I, too, decided to absent myself from those threads when I felt I’d said and cited everything that I believed would convince the reasonable observer of my position, which can be summarised thus:
[ul][li]Paranormal:A clearly demonstrable ability or phenomenon which the current rigorously tested scientific paradigm asserts cannot happen. Thus, “cutting edge” science and poorly understood phenomena (black holes, quantum entanglement etc.) don’t count since they are not expressly ruled out, and historical paradigms don’t count since they hadn’t been rigorously tested. [/li][li]The current, rigorously tested neuroscientific paradigm is that brain activity does not transmit information any more than the does sound of a computer’s fan, nor can it manifest as a physical force, nor can it detect objects or states of matter by means other than via physical sensory apparatus. Under the above definition, clear demonstration of any such ability or phenomenon would count as “paranormal”.[/li][li]Paranormal phenomena and abilities have simply never, ever been verifiably demonstrated in careful, rigorous tests. One woman who believed in the paranormal even spent a quarter of a century trying somehow, anyhow, to demonstrate it in conditions which excluded luck and cheating, repeating every experiment she heard had worked elsewhere, without success. Countless claimants of paranormal abilities have been either caught cheating outright or had their abilities reproduced perfectly by those skilled in legerdemain.[/li][li]This does not prove that the paranormal doesn’t exist (anymore than I can show that invisible garden fairies don’t exist). But we must ask what a reasonable conclusion is, heeding the lesson of William of Ockham: that a plurality ought not be proposed unnecessarily. It could be that paranormal phenomena or abilities are either extremely weak, or extremely sporadic, or that they disappear in the presence of doubt (or pencils, or some other utterly minute influence) to the extent that they do an incredibly good impression of not being there at all. The question we must then ask ourselves is which alternative is more likely. Why are these things so rare that not a single one has been repeated or verified? [/li][li]Setting the needle of one’s Belief-O-Meter to not-quite-zero is perfectly reasonable, and this is what I do: entertain the possibility that these things happen only when the planets align, or that they’re so weak that they manifest as a power to guess coin-flips 0.0001% better than chance, or that “doubt” or pencils can somehow affect them. But to actually believe in these things - to push the needle past 50% - this is surely to ignore Ockham’s Razor entirely.[/ul][/li]Aeschines, I know you believe that some paranormal phenomena are convincing, including some personal experiences of yours. All I ask you to do is stick around here and we can explore them (I have already directed you to the work of V.S. Ramachandran, which correlated profound Near Death Experiences with synchronicity in the temporal lobes similar to a form of epilepsy.) You might well find that there are equally convincing physical explanations for those convincing phenomena. I know that you have the intellect and the strength of character to reassess new arguments and evidence. I assure you that whatever you bring to the table will be explored with the same intellectual honesty on my part.

I don’t think there’s anything particularly wrong with having a hobby-horse subject - take SentientMeat, for example - always banging on about the concept of Sentient Meat, and all the more lovable for it. OK, it can be a bit tiresome if done in a way that is stubbornly impervious to reason (like Lekatt, for example).

But… if you intend to withdraw from such discussions, why bother to announce it?

I wish I had your faith in people, SentientMeat.

Heh. SentientMeat’s post wasn’t there when I began composing my reply. Honestly.

Heh heh, guilty as charged, Mange, but I’m heartened to hear that you find it endearing! Perhaps I should change my username to LoveableOffal. :slight_smile:

I think your username should be WisestOfTheWise. You are my mentor, and I can only aspire to your level of intellectual honesty and prudential judgment. If my theology did not provide that you and I are one in spirit, I would abandon it.