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Re: Hodson & Science

Sep 20, 1996 12:14 PM
by Murray Stentiford


>But I'm beginning to think that the problem we have is the confusion of
>the word science with the word knowledge.  Science is a method of
>discovery, a method of gaining knowledge.   The two are not the same.

Exactly, but science has to be big enough to deal with *all* the stages of
gaining knowledge, from the very earliest when all is darkness and chaos, to
the latest when it has turned into common knowledge.

>Show me the data and then come up a with a way to replicate it and then
>I'll call it science.

That's a bit too narrow for me. Although cosmology is inherently
unrepeatable, it is undoubtedly science - a young science, but science
nevertheless. The scientific method can still be applied; you just find
suitable hypotheses and methods to test them. In cosmology, you build some
kind of mathematical model round a particular insight, then you test its
predictions against various things you *can* observe, like the properties of
light coming from distant galaxies.

You begin with small, modest, or maybe very general hypotheses where you
have a chance of checking them out.

One of the key points about science is that it revolves around and is
funnelled through, the human sensory system. If 99.9 % of the population
have just 5 well-developed senses, most people are going to think that's all
that science is concerned with, but there's no need to exclude the others
with an extra sense from the scope of science. That's where the real
exciting stuff, the next frontier, is.

If science can't cope with it, it's still too small, but nothing a bit of
growing up might not fix, though.

>Without objective, and by that I mean available to people other than the
>prime experimenter, data, all you have is anecdotal evidence, which does
>not mean that it is not true, or the conclusions drawn from it are not
true.  But there is no way of really knowing if it is or it isn't.

Yes, this is a key point. Duplication is of course hard to find when
embryonic or extremely rare faculties are involved, but the world of inner
experience is not devoid of it. The experience of light in various ways, is
common, right down through history. The growing mass of accounts of Near
Death Experiences show many kinds of similarity as well as many kinds of
individual differences. The same goes for mystical experiences in which
certain themes recur, in differenct combinations or variations in each case.
There's a lot of info. being gathered on these. See the front of the Quest
book called "The Common Experience" by Cohen and Phipps where they describe
a Religious Experience Research Unit (now under a different name in England.

>Unsupported testimony is not science

That's too categorical an exclusion for me. Science should be big enough to
look at anything, even if it doesn't know what it means yet!

>and there is no way any clairvoyant testimony can be supported right now.

I wouldn't draw that line there. Problem is it's one of those assertions of
a negative that are impossible to prove. Somebody could be quietly doing
accurate, verifiable, clairvoyance in their own backyard and you might never
hear of it. It only takes one to blow the hypothesis, and you never know
what's around the corner.

Hodson did a preliminary trial of examining fossil fragments with inner
senses, in close cooperation with a scientist in the field, in South Africa
in the 60's. In theosophical terms, attempting to look at the akashic record
associated with them, to see if he could pick up scenes or images of the
creatures that they came from.

He managed to see several kinds of ape-like creatures, and described their
general appearance, the environment, and numerous anatomical features like
how much the jaw was protruding etc.

Hodson reported that the experience was like going down a dark tunnel and
emerging into the light of day of a scene where the creature was. It seemed
to lock into "real time" to the extent that when the scientist asked whether
the thing had a flat nose, Hodson would say "I can't see just now because
it's looking the other way. ... Oh, it's turned around now. Yes, it has a
fairly flat nose." kind of thing.

The scientist collated the many different features Hodson described in
several repeated sessions, and compared them with current knowledge, then
classified them according to whether they agreed with current knowledge, or
disagreed, or there was no current knowledge to compare them with. It was
more detailed than this, and this is just a quick outline.

Anyway, Hodson scored extremely highly on the points that could be compared
with current knowledge and agreed with it, way beyond any score that might
have sent an ESP experimenter into orbit. I've got more detailed info.
somewhere in the midst of our stuff since since we moved house not so long
ago. I've also corresponded with the scientist concerned, so he's real. (Or
is he? Maybe there's a ghost writer out there .... We may never know.

>It may be true, or it may not be.  We have no way of knowing and to accept
>the idea that such work can be scientific in the same way that mixing
>nitrogen, carbon and sulfur is is pure nonsense.

It would be, but that's not what I'm suggesting. It can still be
scientifically dealt with.

>Show me the data and then come up with a way to replicate it and then >I'll
call it science.

Yes, I'd love supported, repeated evidence from inner perception too, but
it's a way off in the future as far as public science goes, and meantime, we
can be thoroughly scientific in the way we deal with what we've got.

It takes a mind that is courageous, creative, imaginative, well disciplined
and superbly flexible. That means able to hold hypotheses and imaginings in
mind while examining them, then *letting them go* when finished with.

Failure to let go is part of the cause of superstition and conservatism and
resistance to change throughout the whole human race. Even theosophists and
scientists can do with a bit more of the ability to let go, now and then.

Member TI and the TS in NZ

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