Griffin #9

From: John W Burgeson (
Date: Mon Jun 18 2001 - 10:20:48 EDT

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    Here is the 9th installment of my notes on Griffin's book.

    The entire set is now on my web site on page 2.

    John Burgeson (Burgy)
           (source data on issues of science/theology, quantum mechanics,
            baseball, ethics, humor, great cars, a story of God's
    intervention into the natural causation of the universe, etc.)


    Griffin Notes -- chapter 7

    Parapsychology, Science and Religion 62 pages!

    Griffin includes an entire chapter in which he argues that parapsychology
    is "real." He also argues that its reality forms a large part of the
    foundation for the Whiteheadian concept of God.

    I had thought that parapsychology had sort of faded away, but a web
    search shows active research labs at a number of universities, including
    Princeton, Duke (of course), the University of Nevada, the University of
    Utrecht, the University of Edinburgh, as well as a number of smaller
    colleges and independent labs. The Parapsychologist Association is a
    member in good standing of the AAAS (yes -- I know of some who have
    called for its severance).

    I have a bias that parapsychology, as a science, is akin to N-Rays. Five

    1. No repeatability.
    2. No theory to explain how it might happen.
    3. No control over its use; when it happens; how it happens.
    4. Effects (if any) are borderline small. No valid usefulness
    5. 1000s of "experiments" with null results.

    Added to this is the observation that, if I had "psi," and could control
    it, even a little, I would speedily make my way to Vegas and become a
    millionaire. Now it is possible this has, indeed happened, and the lucky
    person took his cash and faded back into the population. But if I posit
    one instance, I must posit dozens (at least). The chance they would all
    be so intelligent to not tell anybody is vanishingly small.

    I tried mightily to overcome my bias as I read chapter 7. But the
    arguments for psi AS A SCIENCE remained (to me) too weak to bother with.

    Do I, then, not believe in "psi" effects -- paranormal experiences,
    religious experiences? The answer is that I do; I have had them (not
    many, but more than a null set). One of these is described on my web site
    at <>>. And so, I'll "buy" Griffin's
    paranormal foundation, without having to buy psi" as a valid science.

    end chapter 7. John Burgeson

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