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reply to: john.d.tullis

Oct 04, 1995 02:18 PM
by Don DeGracia


Thanks for offering your comments in this dialoge.

I appreciate your attempts to find a comprimise point of view in this debate.
Indeed, there is validity in John's viewpoint in spite of my criticisms. The
issues of science, and science and spirituality are many faceted issues and can
be seen from many angles.

< That is, the concept of running repeated experiments (your
point) appears pretty similar to "limiting the scientist to what is repeatedly
observable under controlled condition" (John Algeo's point).>

Yes, the ideas are similar, but not identical. The only limit is one's
imagination for devising ways to test ideas. Its not so much the similarity of
ideas between John and I, but the difference in the implications of the
attitudes implicit in what we are saying. John is implying that science has
limits that prevent it from addressing issues of spirituality or of
transcendance. I am saying essentially the opposite.

<However, I believe that this definition of science is loose. This is because it

raises the question - whose experience? This is why science in general has
avoided spiritual issues - because it is not possible to have controlled

You touch on a very important and fundamental issue here with the question:
whose experience? This gets into issues of consensus reality, issues of
world-views and language. But I don't want to dwell on these broader
implications here, important though they are. More specifically, I am talking
about our experience as indivduals. Let me give a concrete example. I have
learned how to astral project. This is a part of my real and living experience
and it is subject to (within qualified boundaries) the same kind of rational and
logical testing as is physical reality. However, astral projecting is not a
part of mainstream society, although the idea is out there if one wants to learn
about it. Nonetheless, because astral projecting is not as common as, say, our
mutual experience of gravity, that does not mean the experience is invalid or
beyond scientific approaches. Furthermore, astral projecting is indeed an
experience with highly reproducible qualities, and it is something that can be
taught. I have much experience teaching people how to astral project. Thus, as
more people learn this experience, it becomes less "subjective" and more a
consensual thing.

So, yes, my definition of science is loose, but this is necessary because we
(meaning the Human race as a whole) hardly have a grasp on reality to begin
with, so its important we leave things loose so that we may be open to new
discoveries. Its bad intellectual manners to assume we already know and
understand everything.

<there exists "sciences" such as psychology. However, because
psychologist have tended to not insist on controlled conditions, and have
permitted all kinds of theories without trying to strongly test them, many
scientists insist that psychology is not actually a science>

I fully agree with Patrick here. Psychology is indeed a science in every sense
of the word. I don't know where you are getting your information from John, but
your view of psychology is dead wrong. As a matter of fact, there is currently
a scientific revolution underway due to the convergence of a number of fields
including computer science, neurology, molecular biology and cognitive
psychology that is in the midst of creating a whole new science about the brain
and human mind. This is a most formidible science and it would be better if the
general public knew what was happening than to operate under misconceptions.

Anyway, John, details aside, I agree with your sentiment fully. John and I are
both right and we are both coming from different perspectives. However, the
point is to keep balance in one's perspective. Part of my problem with John's
article, aside from facts he was wrong about, was the imbalanced tone to his
presentation. Issues as complex as science have many facets, all of which are
important to understand and appreciate if one wishes to investigate such issues.

Best wishes to you!


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