the complete debate with materialists see this
The Masks of Materialism
The following is a response to Aparthib's
|“Not being dogmatic is not
the ONLY criteria for being rational. Rationalism pre-requires
lot more than just not being dogmatic in religion, politics etc.
A general skepticism is ALSO a requirement.”
I am in agreement with the above. Dogmatism is irrational but it is not
the ONLY criteria for being irrational. You can be credulous and that is
irrational too. That is why I said dogmatic people (whether religious,
ideological or philosophical) are the other face of the same coin. (i.e.
the credulous religionists). The difference is in semantics and the
content of the belief but the attitude is the same. For example they are
with you all the way as long as you do not poke in their dogmatic
beliefs but if you do you have crossed the line and they feel the
irresistible urge to insult you.
|So it is possible for someone
to be not dogmatic about religion YET be irrational, when any of
the other prerequisites for rationality are not met (e.g one
prerequisite being not believing in any claims of truth without
That is absolutely true. Another example is also those who reject any
idea that defies their notion of the truth, e.g. an alternative
|An a priori belief in the
paranormal occurrence due to anecdotes may not be a dogma, like
the belief in religion or communist dogma, but it is still not
consistent with rationalism (i.e skepticism), because OBJECTIVE
EVIDENCES (A prerequisite for a scientific belief) are not yet
available for the occurrence paranormals.
Anything that is INCONSISTENT with reason must be discarded. Reason is
human’s only torch of guidance. However it is also irrational not to
be skeptic about our own notion of reality. Let us make an example:
I personally do not think extraterrestrials can visit the Earth and that
is because of the distance. However I do not discard the possibility. I
do not deny this possibility categorically and “religiously”. Is it
possible to travel at speeds just below the speed of light? Is it
possible for the ETs to enter into a suspended animation state to come
here? We know at higher speed time slows down. Is it possible that
wormholes in the space could exist that could make space travel much
faster? Is it possible that there may be other physical laws that we
have not discovered yet and once we discover them we will be able to
travel very fast to other solar systems? Well these are all
possibilities. They seem to be more fiction than reality but still they
are not impossible. The last point is crucial. As humans we are just
discovering the world around us. There is certainly much more that we do
not know. So I am skeptic. If I had to assign percentages to my belief
on this subject I say there is 99.9% chance that intergalactic travels
can never happen. But there is also 0.1% chance that I could be wrong on
this subject. This position is neither credulous nor dogmatic. If my
views were 100% on either position then I would be either credulous or
dogmatic. Both credulity and dogmatism are irrational. You may prefer
one to the other, but in reality that preference is a matter of personal
taste. A skeptic is neither credulous nor dogmatic. Doubt everything
means doubt your own beliefs. It is already known that you doubt beliefs
of others. Skepticism is, doubting everything including and specially
your own beliefs.
We both know the dangers of credulity. We both fight this mind’s
sickness. However dogmatism is just as dangerous as credulity. We saw
what dogmatism can do. Enough to remember communism, which is one of the
offshoots of materialism. We have to fight this absolutist way of
thinking. We can only know what is false, but we can never know what the
The response of your points 3 and 4 is already in my above statement.
In these points you again tried to explain Brent’s controversial
statement. He wrote:
And you say what he actually
wanted to say is:
|The opposite of dogmatic
denial isn't rationality; it's uncritical credulity.
|"The opposite of
dogmatic denial isn't NECESSARILY rationality; it COULD BE
The fact is that both dogmatic denial and uncritical credulity are
irrational. Unless you state that dogmatism is rational I see no logic
in the above statement.
In your point 5 you wrote:
|I did not state it that way,
but yes, if anecdotes are proven to be true by scientific
measurements then they assume the status of a genuine
OBSERVATION. No paranormal anecdotes have passed that test. When
I talk about anecdotes, I meant the ones that have not been
verified by scientific (i.e objective) observations (Like milk
form Ganesh), they remain as anecdotes, not observations. Where
is the room for confusion here? You are too bogged down with
semantics it seems.
The confusion was caused by your own statement. In your first message
example, the case of Hindu Lord Ganesh oozing milk was a real
occurrence. Here the occurrence was scientifically measurable.
It was not just personal testimony. But the occurrence was
explained by science. Even if there was no immediate
scientific explanation available there is no justification for
rushing into a non-scientific explanation invoking vague and
undefined objects or entities.
You say the phenomenon was:
- a “real occurrence
- scientifically measurable.
- It was not just personal testimony.
You also add that the occurrence was explained by science without
telling us what that explanation is. I think there is plenty of room for
In this point I said the whole human history is anecdotal, even some
still believe the roundness of the Earth is anecdotal. You did not say a
word about the history but said the roundness of the Earth is not
anecdotal because it can be proven. Was it anecdotal before it was
proven? Some things stay in the realm of theory until proven true or
false. As long as a theory is not contrary to reason it is a theory.
Theories can be false or true.
Acceptance of a theory without evidence is what we call uncritical
credulity. You and I both oppose this. Denying a theory without any
evidence is philosophical dogmatism, and this is what I oppose.
The onus to prove a theory true is not on those who present it as a
possibility. The onus of disproving it is on those who reject it as a
Many scientists, present theories that are considered to be possible
explanations but those theories will be proven right or wrong many years
later by someone else. As long as a theory is presented as a theory and
not a fact and as long as that theory is plausible and not contrary to
logic that is a valid theory. If you categorically deny that theory, the
onus of proof is on you. You can’t deny a theory categorically just
because it has not been proven empirically. If you deny a theory, you
must say what evidence you have found that proves without a shadow of
doubt that this theory is not true.
Darwin based his theory of evolution on his observations. He could not
prove this theory. Those who opposed him pointed to many holes and
“missing links” in his theory. We would have believed them if they
could prove evolution is false. But they couldn’t and the theory of
evolution remained a valid theory until it eventually was proven to be a
The String Theory is a theory. No one has proved it yet. But it is a
plausible and logical theory. If someone wants to deny such theory, the
onus of proof is on him. As long as you remain skeptic, you don’t have
to prove anything, but the moment you make assertive statements in favor
or against anything, the burden of proof is on you.
|It is utterly frustrating to
see you still insist on the expression that I have clarified
does not accurately reflect the scientific view. When anecdotes
cannot be verified by objective observations, it is only the
CLAIM of occurrence of paranormal that is denied, NOT THE
OCCURRENCE ITSELF. Science and skepticism requires suspending
judgment as to whether the paranormal event in question has
truly occurred or not. If you fail to appreciate this simple but
important point then you are missing a very cardinal aspect of
skepticism. (And you claim to be a skeptic)
“Suspend judgment”? Have you been walking your own talk? That is my
whole point. If you did what you said, why we are having this
What is your evidence that paranormal does not exist? The onus is on
those who categorically deny such phenomena and not on those who see the
paranormal as a possible explanation. I agree that most claims of
paranormal are hocus pocus. But why is it so difficult for you to accept
the paranormal as a POSSIBLE theory? The answer is that it goes beyond
your belief in Matter as an end to itself. This is dogmatic materialism.
You may think dogmatic materialism is better than uncritical credulity.
That is a matter of taste. In my view both extremes are the two sides of
the same coin. A true skeptic is neither credulous nor dogmatic.
In this point you denied categorically my accusation that the pseudo
rationalists ridicule or attack those who claim having paranormal
Saying someone has had a hallucination is attack on the sanity of the
person. Someone claims having seen something unexplainable, you come up
with the most bizarre “scientific” explanations to explain it away
as if the person is a child and can’t figure these things on himself.
When all that fails you say he must have been hallucinating or to put it
in a more polite way: “mind is capable of playing tricks on us. Every
absurd explanation will do except the recognition that Matter is not the
Most of us already know when our mind plays tricks on us and when we
have had a real experience, especially after the trick is over. Also
there are phenomena that cannot be explained by any mind trick. We have
had testimony of doctors who have said their patients have reported
their conversations and what they did when they were under anesthetics
being operated. We have stories of people who say they could see their
relatives in the waiting room and overhear their conversations when they
were being operated in the other room. More than 25 years ago Dr.
Raymond Moody wrote Life After Life where he collected stories of people
having NDE. The explanation of the materialists such as Carl Sagan of
those phenomena was untenable. When you say all that is anecdotal, you
imply that either the person reporting this claim is lying or someone in
the chain has concocted this story to fool others. But some of these
stories come from very trustworthy people. Some people who have had such
experiences were transformed completely. The explanation of the pseudo
rationalists are absurd, to say the least. I am not saying that an after
life is the only answer. However I say this is a plausible and logical
explanation. All other explanations I heard from the pseudo skeptic
zealots are not plausible and are not logical. They are in conformity
with their materialistic views of the existence but they do not explain
The inability of the pseudo skeptics in acknowledging the possibility of
an immaterial world is due to their intense faith in Materialism. Faith
and doubt are opposite terms.
In point 9 you dismissed my analogy and said:
|In the paranormal case the
meaning of "existence" (existence of WHAT?) itself is
in doubt. That's the crucial difference.
The analogy is accurate. In the above sentence you confirmed what I
said. Doesn't (existence of WHAT?) mean you do not even see the
possibility of such existence? So why not be streight. Why talking about
"withholding judgment" when you already passed the judgment?
Why pretend to be a skeptic when you are a faithful?
I can improve my example to make it clearer. Some witnesses claim they
saw a crime. They saw someone pushing another person in the ocean off
the deck of a ship. The police come in and cannot find the body. The
person accused says he dumped a dummy in the sea and not a person. I
suppose without a body no charge can be laid. Except a bunch of eye
witnesses there is no evidence of the crime. To make the situation
worse, most, but not all the eye witnesses were drunk at the moment. The
police cannot make an arrest without having the evidence of the crime.
That is understandable.
However what is not acceptable is that the police make his mind that no
crime has ever happened, take side with the accused and start casting
doubt on the sanity or sobriety of all the witnesses. That is the job of
the defense attorney and not the police.
When we have people like Mr. Randi et al who challenge anyone to produce
the body, we suspect that may be they are not the investigators but the
defense attorney. People with that attitude are not after the truth. If
they were really after the truth, they would remain skeptical. They may
not be able to lay any charges but that does not mean they should side
with the accused and attack the credibility of the witnesses. Yes most
witnesses were drunk, but this does not invalidate the testimony of
those who were sober and claim having seen the accused pushing someone
off the deck to the sea.
In our case, it would be irrational to accept the claim of all those who
say having seen something suspicious. However it is equally irrational
to dismiss all those claims as hallucinations or “anecdotal”. We
know many of these stories are really hallucinations. But there are some
that do not seem to be so. Here is where one has to put aside the faith
and be skeptic. The Randi team gleefully quotes the testimony of the
drunken witnesses to discredit all the witnesses.
You dismissed my claim that you are a materialist and said:
|“Again strawman fallacy.
Materialism is not the accurate word for true scientists and
skeptics. No "ism" is embraced by science and
rationalism. Materialism is an old school philosophical term
that is obsolete now. Science is applied rationalism.”
First of all I am not attacking science. I do not see anything
scientific in dogmatism. Science is based on doubt and not on faith or
dogmatism. There is nothing scientific in material dogmatism. Please do
not hide behind the science. Science and dogmatism are two different
things. This reminds me of Marx who called his nonsense philosophy
"scientific materialism" or another good one is
"Christian Science". What is so scientific in dogmatic
You say materialism is an old school philosophical term that is obsolete
now. I agree that it is old and obsolete. But that does not mean it is
dead. The white supremacists say Nazism is an obsolete term. It was a
party that does not exist anymore. Yes they are right. However the
philosophy of Nazism is still alive. Obsolete ideas are not necessarily
extinct. Aren’t the religions obsolete?
Let us see how Dictionary.com defines materialism:
Philosophy. The theory that physical
matter is the only reality and that everything, including thought,
feeling, mind, and will, can be explained in terms of matter and
Now can you please tell me in what ways your views differ from this
All I am asking is that you abandon this obsolete ideology and become
skeptics. Is that too much? If you yourself agree that materialism is
obsolete, why you stick to it? Why you defend it?
I have been attacked and endured the arrogance all through this debate
by people who defend the ideology of materialism dogmatically and yet
you say this ideology is obsolete?! I fail to see the rationale behind
these vicious and vitriolic attacks then.
But then again I fail to see the rationale behind the Muslim’s
These debates took valuable time from me – time that I would have
rather spent fighting the dangerous ideology of Islam. But I am pleased
that the argument is finally clear for everyone to see. Of course I
doubt you can see the folly of materialism just as I doubt Muslims can
see the stupidity of their belief.
Beliefs are dangerous and they numb our rational faculty. Dogma is a
byproduct of belief. Skepticism has nothing to do either with dogma or
It is an irony that dogmatic materialists love to present themselves as
skeptics when in reality they are not. Not surprisingly the Muslims also
call themselves "freethinkers".
Let us call a spade a spade for the sake of heaven. Leave the skepticism
aside and call yoursves materialists. It is funny that you are even
embarassed of this name and say it is obsolate. Please enlighten us what
part of that definiciton of materialism does not fit you?
Talk about self deception!