Date: November 06, 2019 05:27PM
You state that a theory that does not encompass all aspects of a phenomenon is false or incomplete. There is a third possibility: that the evidence underlying the theory is incomplete. That is, and always has been, my position.
COMMENT: When a scientists says that "the evidence is incomplete" to support a given theory; like say String Theory, the scientist is holding out for some evidence that establishes an otherwise speculative theory. The theory may still be right, so the committed scientist continues to research the theory to see what happens. I accept this as a methodological point, but it is not helpful in evaluating what alternative theories might turn out to be true. It just means you have a scientist who is reluctant to give up on his or her theory.
The fact that a scientist hopes his theory is true, has no bearing whatsoever about the evidence in support of it, or against it. So, you are back to an evaluation of theories in themselves, regardless of hope. Now, it is true that some theories are "better" than others from an evidentiary prospective. But that was not your point. What you said was that a "soul" theory of OBEs was per se dismissible because a soul theory does not meet with your requirements of what "evidence" must require. And worse, you refused to distinguish between data that supported your theory, S and D, and data that didn't. That is as unscientific as it gets.
My point is that the very nature of OBEs suggests a soul theory as an alternative explanation as to what is going on. After all, the separation of mind from body is exactly what the experience is! Maybe such a theory will eventually be dismissible, but not because of a pre-judgment about what theories are possible and what theories are not, or because you swept contrary data under the rug.
Your "logic," by contrast, consists of falsely constricting the range of possible answers so that others must follow you down your rabbit's hole. But it is not logically sound to ignore possible explanations.
COMMENT: What on earth are you talking about? Please provide me with a quote where I am "falsely constricting the range of possible answers." Did I say--ever--that a physicalist-neurological explanation was not possible? Of course not. I only asked readers to follow my logic, which showed in no uncertain terms that YOUR logic was fallacious, and transparently so.
> COMMENT: Well, in the first place the lack of
> evidence "is" evidence in some contexts. If I am
> a physicist and spend my career looking for a
> particular particle, with certain properties, does
> that not count as evidence (some reason to believe
> however inconclusive) that the particle does not
That is not a rational argument. Einstein could not find a Grand Unifying Theory. No scientist believes that that indicates the absence of such.
COMMENT: Oh, but your wrong, and inadvertently make my point. There is a distinct trend in theoretical physics now such that scientists are doubting whether a theory of everything is reasonable to expect, a large part because scientists have run into too many stumbling blocks in trying to fine it--including Einstein! (If you want quotes, I will provide them for you!)
Moreover you are manifestly unwilling to apply this standard to your own thought. There is no evidence that OBEs stem from spiritual sources. That lack of evidence would, according to the standard you just adduced, be evidence that you are wrong.
COMMENT: O.K. where did I advance the argument that OBEs stem from spiritual sources. WHERE? Where did I even suggest such a thing. A "soul" theory has nothing directly to do with spirituality or religion. It is just a theory that suggests some form of dualism, a mind-body distinction. And, again, there is a lot of evidence for it, including OBEs.
> But to your point. OBE's that do not have a
> pathological origin tell a scientist something
> very important; and that is that there is
> something about OBEs, i.e. some property, that
> pathology cannot fully explain.
False. The absence of evidence for some forms of OBEs merely indicates that we do not fully understand them AT OUR PRESENT LEVEL OF SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE. That is all it says.
COMMENT: Exactly. So, we cannot rule out theories that are offered to accommodate these exceptions, which is exactly what you are doing.
> So, even if they
> reject the idea of a "soul" out-of-hand, they
> still have to face that distinction. They need a
> more complete naturalistic explanation.
False. The absence of evidence proves that research to date has not found such evidence. That is all one can conclude.
COMMENT: A scientist has to explain the data. That is what scientists do. In the present case, the data includes OBEs that do not involve pathology or drugs. So, their task is to explain all of the data, not just the data fits their preferred theory.
> And if
> they cannot find one, and it appears at some point
> that there is no natural explanation, then they
> must expand their idea of "natural explanation" to
> perhaps include something about nature they do not
Yes. And the new theory will lack foundation until an evidentiary basis is developed. Meanwhile there are two contradictory hypotheses, neither of which has complete evidence. Your protests notwithstanding, that does not mean your unevidenced hypothesis is logically preferable.
COMMENT: I did not ever say a "soul" theory was logically preferable. Why are always putting words in my mouth? But, I did insist that there was evidence for such a theory--because that is exactly what the data (the OBE itself) suggests!
> COMMENT: How about this; By definition there is a
> "substantial difference" between OBEs that we
> understand and those we don't because in the one
> case, we understand it, and the other we don't.
> And presumably there are facts that underlie this
> distinction. There is your argument. Simple and
> entirely logical.
That has been my argument from start to finish. There are facts that we don't understand. Where we differ is that you think that ignorance means your preferred solution is correct. I do not. I reckon our ignorance does not support any hypothesis.
COMMENT: Again, you attribute a view I never, even stated; i.e. that ignorance allows one to adopt their preferred solution. That is ridiculous, and I never said it. You cannot address the points I make, so you manufacture stuff I didn't say and argue against that.