Thanks for the polite response.
Adamah, If Cofty had experienced the things I have he/she would attribute them to an intelligence beyond ours and beyond the main premise that physics relies on, cause and effect. This is because it would be the only thing that would explain the strategic nature of what I experienced and that of others. I try to be very careful with my wording but I am talking about myself as well as others I know or have heard of when it comes to such experiences.
Well, then it's hard to help determine what OTHER alternative explanations may exist as the cause, since you cannot provide details. But that's OK, since we can talk about this generally, in non-specific terms.
The primary concern to keep in mind is the danger of jumping to conclusions as to what may be the cause, thus falling for the logical error known as "appeal to ignorance". Despite the name, it has NOTHING to do with someone being an ignorant person, but instead refers to when people conclude that since they are personally unaware of what may be causing the preception, then there is NO other possible explanation but to attribute it to a supernatural cause.
The problem is that the brain is a very complex organ and it often plays tricks on all of us, and there's a HOST of explanations which exist that aren't well-known. Of course, perceptions are unique, variable, and as stated in another thread recently, perceptions are NOT reality itself, but only personal mental MODELS of reality which will vary on one's other beliefs, attitudes, biases, prior experiences, etc.
The reason I haven’t given more specific examples from personal experience is because it would be to invite abuse as fadetogrey has already resorted to. I prefer a calm environment to debate in reasonableness as opposed to what passes for debate here often times. Saying that, I do feel you are a reasonable guy to debate with.
Thanks; I try to maintain an open-mind, and not to hastily jump to conclusions (and believe me, I had to eat a LOT of crow sandwiches in order for THAT point to penetrate through the steel plate in my numb-skull)!
Your point about “accounts of personal experiences are considered to be amongst the weakest forms of supportive evidence available” I agree with. Here is the problem I have. Some of the experiences I could relate include also witnesses to the events in some cases, which are a better form of evidence; that I could not reproduce on this forum. I would be accused of making them up or worse, the witness statements of corroboration.
Well, unfortunately there's also HUGE problems with eyewitness evidence, even when it's an entire crowd of people witnessing some "miracle", eg the 'Miracle of Fatima':
Problem is, most saw only a beautiful dramatic and spectacular moving sunset worthy of a photograph, whereas others felt a spiritual experience and saw the Sun moving around in the sky (which sounds ALOT like it was the result of staring at the Sun, with an after-image burned into the retina making it APPEAR to be jumping around).
Even if only one person, eyewitness evidence itself is fundamentally unreliable, since people often don't see what they THINK they're seeing (for a number of reasons, including the following demonstrated in this video):
The only way the evidence could operate would be if you knew me personally and my friends, so you could make your own judgments better as to the authenticity. This may sound like a copout but it is the truth. I could well be mentally ill or some charlatan and I cannot prove otherwise here for obvious reasons. That said I can’t deny what I have seen and experienced either, so there is a bit of an impasse here. I would hope though that some might `see` from how I write that I am at least honest but people make their own minds up regardless sometimes.
The problem is that people CAN being absolutely and COMPLETELY HONEST in their accounts of their perceptions, but they still are WRONG (as the video above may have shown). In fact, people who actually DO honestly believe are often the most compelling at convincing others, since they aren't lying: they GENUINELY DO BELIEVE what they say. That however doesn't mean that they are CORRECT in what they claim, or haven't only managed to fool themselves: that's the very definition of self-deception, which is all-too-common.
Credibility is a very vital commodity when it comes to written information in the form of points of view and making a case, particularly when science is not the criteria for testing such claims as the supernatural as only science can be reproduced is such ways. What credibility would I ever have on a board with such outspoken atheists? My world view is seen as the enemy and by extension me also. I don’t think you see it that way but some do unfortunately.
For the record, I don't see anyone as "the enemy" here, since, for one, I honestly truly don't BELIEVE in God(s)! While it's fun to quibble at times (!), I do post in an attempt to help others I won't even meet in real-life, and that's satisfying to me.
Now, I suppose if a theist believes in Satan, then THEY might conceivably see me as one of Satan's elves/demons, and might see ME as the enemy? However, that's kinda the point: there's a liberating value in letting all of that theological fantasy "junk" go by the wayside, since it really only clutters the mind (just as hoarders become prisoners to their possessions, when their homes become shrines to their compulsion of collecting what others would see as "junk" that controls them).
And FWIW, I really don't care what someone CLAIMS their Worldview to be, precisely for the same reason mentioned above: people can CLAIM to be something, but then act in a manner that's inconsistent with their claimed beliefs. It really doesn't matter to me, though, since there's nothing that can be done about it, as people have to recognize it for themselves to allow for personal growth and change (and many people don't want to do that, but prefer to look for excuses to protect their delusions; they're only fooling themselves. As William S Burroughs said, "Hustlers of the World, there is one 'mark' you cannot beat: the 'mark' inside").
As to your point about the Turin shroud, I understand and agree that it doesn’t prove it is genuine. I will go one further and say no test can ever prove it is genuine, even if it is because no miracle can be proven via a scientific test. The best it can do is strengthen the case in the minds of those open to the possibility of science not being the answer to all things.
True. However, the GREATER mental error is to assume there IS an answer to ALL things, some giant disembodied Craylike supercomputer "brain" called God (who's apparently been in energy-saving sleep mode for 5,000 yrs).
When it comes to dealing with unknowns, science openly admits what it doesn't know, but it's at least attempting to find an answer, if not today, then someday. It's a process of constant improvement, constantly updating what we know.
On the other hand, religion says we don't know all things, but God's ways are mysterious and perhaps He will reveal the answer to us "at the right time". There's nothing that can be done to know EVERYTHING, and it's not even desirable to try: we don't want to run ahead of God, to become smarter than Him.
BOTH groups are essentially saying the same thing about there ARE things we currently don't know, but the DIFFERENCE is that science doesn't sit around on hands, waiting for an answer to be provided by God.
What happens if science is right? Look around you: humanity enjoys precisely the benefits we all enjoy today.
And what happens if theists were right? IF not for the prior camp, we'd be living in caves waiting on God to provide answers. And by riding on the coat-tails of the science camp, is God going to be pissed since 'flawed men' tried to save some lives by treating disease, feed starving people, i.e. improving the Earth NOW?
Even if such a God existed, would you really WANT to exist in a Universe where such God(s) are mean-spirited bully, unstable control freaks?
(Not to suggest that I believe there's a snowball's chance in Gehenna for 'Bible Jehovah' existing.)
However my point with the shroud is only to correct those who say it has been proven a fake, as it has not been. I appreciate you are better informed than some, which frankly is a delight including your lack of abuse or attitude.
Well THANKS for saying so!
And I'll be honest with you and everyone else here, as I don't believe in passively-aggressively pulling punches. There's TRULY no need for the agro in these discussions, since it's not about winning arguments, pissing matches, etc but trying to keep things positive and helping others to liberate their minds from a cult, and cultish-thinking (which includes a belief in doctrines that support cults, whether religious or otherwise).