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Survey reveals that 70 to 80 percent of Americans believe in paranormal activity

Paranormal America by Christopher D. Bader,Carson Mencken
Paranormal America by Christopher D. Bader,Carson Mencken
Paranormal America by Christopher D. Bader,Carson Mencken

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  • Karlton Kemerait 5 years ago

    What a sad commentary on the state of the nation.

  • Profile picture of Donna Anderson
    Donna Anderson 5 years ago

    OK, Karlton Kemerait, I give. Why is this such a sad commentary on the state of the nation?

  • Karlton G. Kemerait 5 years ago

    I guess it was just a comment made in exasperation. It bothers me that we live in a country where that 80% of the population believes in the paranormal (maybe higher if you include belief in God). Something without any evidence, and where "evidence" has been offered it has been disproved over and over again. Yet those same people are unable to successfully define a scientific theory or give a accurate description of evolution.

    We wonder why our children are ill prepared to enter society as productive citizens and why we seem to lag behind the rest of the scientific world.

  • Profile picture of Donna Anderson
    Donna Anderson 5 years ago

    Awwww, Karlton. Those 20% of the people who CAN define scientific theory or give an accurate description of evolution can't write poetry or rescue people from burning buildings or teach kids how to play soccer or train therapy dogs or..... How boring would this world be if everyone on the planet was a scientist?

  • Karlton G. Kemerait 5 years ago

    Donna,

    Those 80% who can write poetry, rescue people from burning buildings, teach kids to play soccer or train therapy dogs can do it equally well without the need to believe in the paranormal.

    It seems silly to me that a grown adult would choose to believe in something for which there is no evidence, which has been shown to be fraudulent over and over and, as an industry has produced charlatans and con artists rivaled only by Bernie Madoff in their ability to swindle and take advantage of grieving, frightened and naive people.

  • Profile picture of Donna Anderson
    Donna Anderson 5 years ago

    Ahhh, OK, I see what you mean now Karlton. Sorry about that, I misunderstood. Good point. And you're right - there are plenty of charlatans out there. Look at Sylvia Brown for example, and that miner fiasco she was involved in a few years ago. And she bilked thousands of people out of their hard earned money.

    But people experience unexplained events and supernatural occurrences every day that they don't have to pay for. Not all the miracles at Lourdes or Medjugorje have been explained away by science.

    And some of those 'supernatural' events lead to great scientific discoveries thanks to the scientists who refuse to accept there is no explanation. Look at the strides that have been made in treating mental illness. Centuries ago we believed that mentally ill people were possessed by demons and we drilled holes in their heads to let the demons out. Now we know the scientific explanation and we know how to treat it properly because scientists refused to believe that there was something supernatural happening.

    So I think it's not only a good thing that we have all different types of beliefs - both in the sciences and the supernatural - but it's also necessary for our growth.

  • Karlton Kemerait 5 years ago

    Donna,

    First of all thank you very much for engaging in a conversation. Most people who write articles never give their readership that benefit.

    I am not so sure that you can use the resulting scientific research that occurs in an attempt to disprove paranormal events as justification for their existence. I understand that is simply a way of looking at the "good side", but it is also like saying that it is a good thing Dr. Mengele tortured all those children and dwarfs in concentration camps because look at all the good things we learned. Yes, I agree that is a bit overboard, but the point is still valid I believe.

    I think it is also important to remember that the miraculous cannot be believed simply because we can not find any evidence to explain it away after the fact. The burden of proof is on those claiming that miracles or the paranormal exists and to this day there has never been offered a scintilla of proof to validate a miracle that occurred under controlled conditions.

    In the end, I suppose that people certainly have the right to believe whatever suits their fancy. I just feel it is a shame that we have come so far in our evolution as a species and that as a society we have progressed so far in the sciences yet have such a large portion of the population who lack critical thinking skills, the ability to rationally differentiate reality from fantasy.

  • Profile picture of Donna Anderson
    Donna Anderson 5 years ago

    Karlton, Thany YOU very much for the conversation. And it's not necessary to thank me - that's why I do this. I like to hear from readers and find out what they think.

    And now to really shake up the conversation - if you read Neale Donald Walsh's "Conversations With God" he claims that even people like Hitler and Mengele might be in Heaven because they were only doing what they thought was right.

    But throughout the history of man there has always been a separation between the those who need proof and those who are satisfied to just have faith. And that's a good thing. Without it, we wouldn't be having this 'spirited' conversation! :)

  • Karlton Kemerait 5 years ago

    It is a one of the blessings (an I use that word?) of being an atheist. No heaven, no hell, no afterlife. Hitler isn't treated any better or any worse than Mother Theresa after death.

    If your question is, do I think they were right or blameless simply because they believed they were doing what was correct, the answer would be absolutely not!

    At the point of action everyone believes or has convinced themselves that they should be doing what they are doing or they wouldn't be doing it. The fact that you believe your actions are correct does not necessarily make them moral.

    Do I believe in a universal set of morals, yes, but unlike people who follow "God given" morals, I believe that morality is dynamic and should be based on the results of our greatest thinkers in psychology, sociology, philosophy. It should be the best that science can offer at any given moment in guiding us toward a flourishing human society, where each person can reach their ultimate potential.

  • Profile picture of Donna Anderson
    Donna Anderson 5 years ago

    Good morning Karlton! :)

    I truly believe you're entitled to your own opinion about whether or not God - or a god - exists. But here's the problem I see with your statement.

    You say morality should be based on the results of our greatest thinkers yet that implies that someone is going to have to determine who those greatest thinkers are so we all know who to follow. Personally, I'd rather trust in one spiritual being to make that call than I would a committee of judgemental, opinionated human beings. Who shall we place on that panel? Hitler? Saddam Hussein? bin Laden? George Bush?!

    At the risk of turning this into a religious discussion, we have a list of 10 Commandments handed down from God and on top of that we have the Golden Rule. Now, whether or not I believe in that particular god is beside the point. But those 11 different rules or guidelines are repeated in one form or another in just about every religion on earth - including the pagan religions. Even thousands of years from now, I can't imagine a great thinker, be it a psychologist, sociologist, philosopher or mathematician, coming up with anything that would replace even one of these laws. Therefore, in my opinion, the idea of morality being dynamic is just frightening. Does that mean that today it's morally wrong to rob someone but as long as a 'great thinker' comes up with a good rationalization for it then it will be ok in the future? Because it's possible.

  • Frank John Reid 5 years ago

    Naive types like Karlton G. Kemerait fomently disbelieve in "paranormal" phenomena because they think accepting such things leads to (slippery slope!) belief in the God of the "Religions of a Book" (Judaism, Christianity, Islam). Why they think these ideologies have a monopoly of God, I can't imagine.

    Nor do I think that rare and/or elusive personal experience must be denied because you can't "control" the situation like a lab experiment. You can't "control" (or re-run) History, yet there is historical knowledge (or at least historical very high probability). People do not "believe" in "paranormal" things only because they saw a TV show, or read a tabloid, or got preached-at--they "believe" USUALLY because they, or people near and well-known to them, have had these experiences.

    Thus I myself "believe in" a number of "paranormal" experiences--though I usually can only give a fan of possible hypotheses for them. And I can allow myself to think that God actually exists, though I have no religion at all.

    If Mr. Kemerait had more "faith" in Matter, anticipating that (for example) telepathy might be found to have--might even lead to--novel materialistic physics no more irrational than contemporary quantum goofyness, he might find it easier to consider things he now finds too uncomfortable. He might practice by "believing" in free ball lightning for five minutes each day.

  • Profile picture of Donna Anderson
    Donna Anderson 5 years ago

    Frank John Reid,

    I remember reading somewhere a long time ago that man created the idea of a god as a way to explain those things we can find no other explanation for. And for a long time I let that shape my view on life.

    But personally, I find it harder NOT to believe in SOMETHING. Call me naive or call me an air-head, whatever, but I've just had too many strange and wonderful experiences in my life that have no explanation other than something supernatural. I don't believe in a book god. And the things that have happened to me could be attributed to angels or demons or aliens or leprechauns.

    But the fact is, for me, it's actually a lot harder to try to deny and scientifically explain these experiences than it is to just accept them and appreciate the awe they inspire within.

    I do think, though, that we need people like Karlton, too. I've been accused more than once of viewing the world through rose colored glasses and a lot of people wonder how I make it through the day without just drifting off the face of the earth. :) (and no, I don't do drugs or drink! LOL) We 'dreamers' need the scientists to help keep us grounded in reality.

  • Karlton Kemerait 5 years ago

    Frank,

    If you want to know "why" I believe certain things maybe you shouldn't be quite so presumptuous...maybe you should ask.

    I didn't say we should dismiss people's experiences, rather that those experiences have never been shown to be more than the natural processes of the human mind, nothing supernatural about it. It is not the experience I am questioning, simply their origin.

    Belief in the supernatural isn't "uncomfortable" to me, it is just unreasonable to assume a supernatural origin in the absence of evidence and when there is a perfectly good natural explanation for the same event.

    You put a great number of words into my mouth without knowing anything about me and without even making an attempt at asking. Had this conversation been only the two of us, I doubt that I would have bothered to respond, but since Donna is also involved I felt an obligation to continue what was, a very nice dialog.

  • Profile picture of Donna Anderson
    Donna Anderson 5 years ago

    Karlton,

    I'll agree that it is unreasonable to assume a supernatural origin in the absence of evidence and when there is a perfectly good natural explanation for the same event. But sometimes it's not the event itself, it's the timing of the event.

    There's probably a very reasonable explanation why about 100 fireflies appeared in a swarm on my porch one summer evening - when there were no other fireflies in the yard - but it was pretty cool that they appeared at exactly the same moment I was thinking of a loved one who'd passed away.

  • Karlton Kemerait 5 years ago

    Coincidence? How many times have you sat on a porch or outside or in the house for that matter when 100 fireflies didn't appear or how many porches have had 100 fireflies gather when no one was thinking anything?

    It is just a matter of connecting two events that aren't related.

  • Profile picture of Donna Anderson
    Donna Anderson 5 years ago

    Coincidence is the connecting of two seemingly unrelated events. But I don't believe in coincidence. I think everything happens for a reason. And I know, if you start with a specific event and work your way back you eventually come up with some type of spiritual or supernatural or religious explanation, none of which you believe in.

    But my point is I think there's a certain mix of realist and dreamer in all of us. The scientist or the mathematician or the researcher starts off with "What if..." and so does the dreamer. The ratio of the mix though is what determines which way we turn to answer the question.

    Do I think it's a coincidence that you somehow tripped over this article and we're having this conversation? Not at all. I actually put some extra work in behind the scenes promoting this one specific article. And it attracted YOU. And now I've been forced to look at things from YOUR point of view which has required that I do a little mental calisthenics. Which means I've learned something here. Two unrelated events - post and article and learn a lesson. Coincidence to you maybe, but not to me. :)

  • Karlton Kemerait 5 years ago

    Donna,

    I had missed your previous comment. I AM a dreamer, science and knowledge inspires to great dreams. Without science all I can dream of is an extension of what I already know. With science I can learn far more things than I could ever have imagined. It is the fuel for my imagination, the source of my dreams, it tells me what, one day, may actually be possible.

    Some people think of cynics as dry, humorless, uninspired people who suck the life out of anything resembling fun. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Cynicism, after all, springs not from cruelty or viciousness, but from precisely the opposite: a fatal love of virtue. If we were mere realists, we'd have no need for cynicism; the world would never disappoint us because we'd expect so little of it. But the best cynics are still idealists under their scarred hides. We wanted the world to be a better place, and we can't shrug off the disappointment when it lets us down. Our cynicism gives us the painful power to behold life shorn of its sustaining illusions.

    http://mainereason.blogspot.com/2010/11/atheists-view-of-himself.html

    Enjoy the video!

    - Karl -

  • Profile picture of Donna Anderson
    Donna Anderson 5 years ago

    Karlton - what an incredible video!

    And you're right, at least as far as I'm concerned. I've always had the opinion that atheists had a dull, boring view of life. Like they don't see the beauty of the magic and the mystery.

    But your video is really an eye opener! For one thing, I think maybe I need to re-classify myself as an atheist. Maybe I'm not clear on the definition. I believe that something or someONE created this - but that doesn't necessarily mean I need to worship that entity, or that 'he' even wants to be worshiped. And I happened to catch that one line in your video - "It might still be made by a creator of some kind". So maybe we're closer in our beliefs than we thought.

    For anybody following these comments I highly recommend you watch this video - http://mainereason.blogspot.com/2010/11/atheists-view-of-himself.html - posted at Karlton's blog.

    And BTW - I LOVED!!! the other video you have on your blog, too! I'm going to try to figure out a way to work both of these into articles - and link to your blog of course - but I have to stick to Coast to Coast stuff for this Examiner column so it might take me a while.

  • Karlton Kemerait 5 years ago

    Donna,

    That was so nice of you to say...I feel flattered (even though I didn't make that video).

    What other video did you watch and enjoy...I have links to quite a few on there.

  • Profile picture of Donna Anderson
    Donna Anderson 5 years ago

    Karlton,

    It was this one - http://mainereason.blogspot.com/2010/11/all-manner-of-nonsense.html - the one with the comedian. I realize it's comedy but he makes some really good points and he's hilarious, too.

    I just watched the video about creationism in the classroom and that's just plain scary. They're almost threatening those little kids with snakes and turning into a pillar of salt and being sucked up into the earth! Those poor kids probably have nightmares!

  • Karlton Kemerait 5 years ago

    Donna,

    Thanks! Sorry it took so long...drop by for a visit and leave a comment on my blog if you need anything or just want to chat.

    Thanks

    http://mainereason.blogspot.com

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