When is ‘proof’ actually proof?

I read an interesting article yesterday here that examines the line between skepticism and denial (the actual link is below as that seems to not be working).

This quote

“There is a distinction between skepticism and denial. There are some deniers who pass themselves as being of the noble title of skeptic unopposed, because the distinction is not readily recognized or made by the general public, and therefore evades the common vernacular. I’ve seen a famous skeptic drift into the denier column on subjects like the paranormal to the point that when asked if his opinion would change if he experienced these things firsthand, he replied that he would immediately admit himself to a hospital where they could find the brain tumor, chemical imbalance, etc that would have to be responsible for the ‘hallucination’. And he was quite serious.”

I myself now believe that consciousness exists outside of our bodies. I have read various studies conducted by intelligent, respected and educated people, for example an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences. The evidence for me stacked up in favour of belief. Saying ‘I don’t believe that because there isn’t the evidence’ just doesn’t work in the face actual studies that have been carried out. Of course one can say ‘that does not fit my idea of actual evidence’ and the argument can continue to infinity…


12 thoughts on “When is ‘proof’ actually proof?

    • It stems from reading a book about the past-life memories of children; I’d really like to detail the exact details of one of the cases but don’t have it to hand right now- I need to stop lending people things! It is called ‘Return to Life’ by Jim Tucker, who is Bonner-Lowry Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia. He fell into this research originally and certainly did not consider himself a believer. His findings are quite amazing.

      • Ah yes, I know of this work and the background study. It is an impressive body of cases. It’d truly change this world if we could find the mechanism by which this might happen and establish it to be true. I wonder if the Templeton Foundation has ever funded research into the field?

  1. Hi Eva, another well-qualified person researching in similar areas is Mario Beauregard, associate research professor at the Departments of Psychology and Radiology and the Neuroscience Research Center at the University of Montreal. I have read his book Brain Wars, in which he details hundreds of research examples that suggest the mind is more than the brain. I reckon his earlier book The spiritual brain would be worth reading too.

    You can read a brief interview in Harper Collins website.

      • In theory Skeptics say their position about questionable (to them) claims is: “That’s interesting; now prove it.” In practice I don’t find that attitude widely practiced in the most popular “skeptic” writers.

  2. I like this post, Eva. For me, proof is when I actually experience something or know someone personally who did. And maybe a few authors I respect – if they said they experienced something, I would probably believe them out of respect. Anything else is well … their experience, not mine. I can think about it, ponder it and consider whether I believe them, but in reality, I don’t trust it until I experience it. Does that make me a skeptic? 🙂

    If something is real (like God) then I want to experience it myself. Then it becomes REAL to ME. Maybe I’m too self-centered that way. I guess I’m tired of “intellectual” or “philosophical” discussions about the nature of spiritual reality. I want something I can actually see, taste, touch and hear.

    • I agree. I certainly haven’t come to belief through any philosophical arguments. My blogging fried. UnkleE ( above) has a great post looking at the mist popular philosophical arguments and I was all ‘nope…..nope….nope’. Although I do like the design argument. But think intelligent design as opposed to evolution is rubbish.

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