Saturday, March 18, 2006

Cargo Cult science

During the Middle Ages there were all kinds of
crazy ideas, such as that a piece of of
rhinoceros horn would increase potency. Then a
method was discovered for separating the ideas--
which was to try one to see if it worked, and if
it didn't work, to eliminate it. This method
became organized, of course, into science. And it
developed very well, so that we are now in the
scientific age. It is such a scientific age, in
fact, that we have difficulty in understanding
how witch doctors could ever have existed, when
nothing that they proposed ever really worked--or
very little of it did.

But even today I meet lots of people who sooner
or later get me into a conversation about UFO's,
or astrology, or some form of mysticism, expanded
consciousness, new types of awareness, ESP, and
so forth. And I've concluded that it's not a
scientific world.

Most people believe so many wonderful things
that I decided to investigate why they did. And
what has been referred to as my curiosity for
investigation has landed me in a difficulty where
I found so much junk that I'm overwhelmed. First
I started out by investigating various ideas of
mysticism and mystic experiences. I went into
isolation tanks and got many hours of
hallucinations, so I know something about that.
Then I went to Esalen, which is a hotbed of this
kind of thought (it's a wonderful place; you
should go visit there). Then I became
overwhelmed. I didn't realize how MUCH there was.

On the other hand, all new ideas were once thought
beyond science.

Could it be that we're on the verge of many new
discoveries with all this "scientific" speculation
going on?

It's a tough line to walk.

Bottom line: Forget theory. Does it work...or not.