Re: virus: Phaith page on

Eric Boyd (
Thu, 3 Jun 1999 12:20:49 -0400


Rhonda Chapman <> writes: <<
The most agile minds of our time are often thwarted by this very programming. There are many concepts far to complex for "modern" man to establish as fact. Unfortunately, many feel compelled to invalidate and discard any idea which can't be laid out in fact. The universe is no where near so simple. Although coincidence is scientifically and mathematically improbable, coincidence is often the only rebuttal for "mystical phenomena". I'm really glad to know that you keep a more open mind.

There is something here that doesn't sit very well with me... I'm having a hard time putting my finger on it, but I think it has to do with the fact that you've excluded the middle. There are tactics one can use between "proof" and "invalidation" (which is actually negative proof). I like reason. Even if we can't be sure, we can attempt to establish a case (for or against, or both) -- and to the extent that the subject in question is falsifiable, we *should* proportion our belief to the evidence.

Which is to say, I'm fine with "mystical phenomena", so long as they remain unfalsifiable. As soon as you cross the line, like Redfield did in _The Celestine Prophesy_, and start postulating energy fields with tangible effects (or whatever), you are outside the realm of phaith and mysticism, and inside science. Unfalsifiable yet meaningful propositions are actually quite difficult to find -- the most common examples are normative theories (such as KMO's phaith in the Value of Consciousness).

Re coincidence -- it's largest fallicy is counting the hits, but not the misses. (mostly because it's easy to remember the hits, but very difficult to even notice the misses: *that* is everyday life).

I have a question for KMO: do you think that phaith should/can be used to strengthen belief in falsifiable propositions? For example,

"If truth is the goal, rationality is the way"

is a falsifiable proposition, with (IMO) lots of evidence behind it, but no certainity. Is it really beyond the scope of phaith? If not, do we have to change the definitions and our understanding of phaith?