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Thread: Should anecdotal evidence be dismissed so quickly?

  1. #1 Should anecdotal evidence be dismissed so quickly? 
    Forum Professor WVBIG's Avatar
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    Should anecdotal evidence of anything paranormal, or anything at all really, be dismissed so quickly? According to "The Honesty Experiment" 92% of Americans are honest: https://honestyexperiment.wordpress....ty-statistics/


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    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG View Post
    Should anecdotal evidence of anything paranormal, or anything at all really, be dismissed so quickly?
    Not at all. Anecdotal evidence often serves as the impetus to begin research into something. While by itself it's not compelling it can indicate what's worth researching.


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    Forum Professor WVBIG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG View Post
    Should anecdotal evidence of anything paranormal, or anything at all really, be dismissed so quickly?
    Not at all. Anecdotal evidence often serves as the impetus to begin research into something. While by itself it's not compelling it can indicate what's worth researching.
    I wish more scientists felt this way. Most seem to totally ignore it
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    I wish more scientists felt this way. Most seem to totally ignore it
    Probably because they're sure a scientific reason exists. Maybe it's safe to say there is no such thing as paranormal, especially if it can all be explained scientifically. I think the world is still waiting for proof of anything beyond this mortal coil.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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  6. #5  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG View Post
    I wish more scientists felt this way. Most seem to totally ignore it
    Nope: they're simply tired of the same old unsupported cr*p being peddled.
    Given the large number of investigations that have been performed - with zero result "in favour" of actual "paranormal" - it's a (very) safe bet that further anecdotes would turn out to be the same tired nonsense as all previous claims.
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG View Post
    According to "The Honesty Experiment" 92% of Americans are honest: https://honestyexperiment.wordpress....ty-statistics/
    So what?
    Does it give statistics for honestly mistaken?
    You appear to be assuming that there's only two possibilites: correct (in their claims) or lying. This isn't the case.
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG View Post
    I wish more scientists felt this way. Most seem to totally ignore it
    ?? That's how many discoveries get made. A single anomaly is noticed by a scientist. "Hmm, that's odd," he says. "Let's see if I can reproduce it." If he can, then he has discovered something new. It could be minor - it could be huge.

    Example - Constantin Fahlberg. He was a chemist at Johns Hopkins around 1880. He was working in the lab, finished up and had dinner. He forgot to wash his hands. As he was eating he thought "wow this tastes really sweet for some reason."

    Now, had he stopped at this point, he would have discovered nothing. But he went back the next day and tried tasting very small quantities of what he was working on. He tested it on animals, then tested it with volunteers. He had discovered an artificial sweetener - saccharin.

    But, again, you have to do the work to duplicate and characterize it.
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    Moderator Moderator Janus's Avatar
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    On the other end of the spectrum we have Giovanni Schiaparelli and his "canali" (channels), later championed by Percival Lowell as "canals".
    I have no doubt that both men were being perfectly honest in depicting what they saw, It's just that what they saw don't actually exist as features on the surface of Mars. So even experienced observers can be fooled into misinterpreting what they see.
    "Men are apt to mistake the strength of their feelings for the strength of their argument.
    The heated mind resents the chill touch & relentless scrutiny of logic"-W.E. Gladstone


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    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Speaking of anecdotal..... I was only person in the Nursing Home room when my MIL died 3 years ago. The family was on a death vigil. My wife and other relatives had left to grab a coffee. Hey, timing is everything. I remember sitting there thinking this is rare, seeing someone actually die. At that moment a brilliant blue rectangular shaped light briefly illuminated the ceiling from across an otherwise dimly lit room. When everyone returned, I mentioned it and of course some people thought I had some sort of religious experience. I refused to believe that and eventually went home pondering what in hell just happened. It wasn't until couple days later I figured it out, with some luck. When I was walking through a darkened hallway at home I saw the same light shape on the ceiling. I realized then it was coming from the cell phone I was carrying, it would light up when an email arrived. Turns out I remembered my cell phone was on top of a dresser in the death room facing the ceiling. At that time i never put 2 and 2 together.

    That's how easy it is to venture past a scientific explanation. Even if alien spaceships actually patrol our skies or a real hairy biped simian roams the woods.....there's a scientific explanation. I think if it occurs, real or imagined, there's science behind it. IMHO there is nothing paranormal, it can be explained.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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