Occam’s Razor, a much cited logical tool and very popular among debunkers and skeptics, states that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. What the skeptics actually mean is the simplest explanation that does not violate the present scientific belief system. By their definition any explanation that is counter to a materialist-reductionist model is adding complexity and is therefore wrong.
However, from the viewpoint of the experiencer the simplest explanation is that what they experienced was real. ” I had a dream and a few days later it came true.” I saw my grandmother three days after she died.” “During the birth of my child I watched the whole procedure from a place near the ceiling.” These are all events that have been described to me by people attending my lectures. These are ordinary people bravely sharing with others extraordinary events. For them an application of Occam’s Razor involves a belief that what they saw was what actually happened. Surely to apply clever-sounding “scientific terms” such as “paramnesia”, “autoscopy” or “hallucination” is actually making the explanation more complex, not simpler.
If such experiences were vanishingly rare then maybe the “scientific explanations” (which are not actually based upon any in-depth research or analysis but are simply hypotheses created to have such experiences accommodated within the present paradigm) may hold water. But these experiences are not rare; they are extremely common and have been reported across history and across all cultures.
A significantly large number of human beings have reported, and continue to report, subjective experiences that seemingly fly in the face of known science. Now either all these people are lying, or they are embellishing normal experiences to make them become paranormal. Assuming that most people are honest and gain nothing from sharing their extraordinary experiences this approach makes no sense. Indeed, many of them face ridicule and potentially accusations of insanity … a strong incentive to not report the experiences. As a sociologist this intrigues me. Why would people risk their reputation and social standing and even face ostracisation by describing these experiences to others?
Contrary to what the self-proclaimed protectors of rationality proclaim, most people are not stupid. They are not simply misinterpreting natural phenomena. They are not falling into the trap of confirmation bias. Whatever the ultimate explanation these experiences are real as far as the experiencer is concerned.
There have been a handful of incidents in my life that are totally inexplicable within the present scientific paradigm. I know with absolute certitude and that these experiences happened. These have included precognitive Deja vu sensations, precognitive dreams, powerful synchronicities and subjective time dilations. Materialist-reductionists can present their “explanations” over and over again to me but I know that the incidents happened EXACTLY as described and were proven by subsequent events.
Over the years I have been presented with powerful evidence of the extraordinary, for example Graham Nicholls’ precognitive OBE experience from 1999. When I have presented this to skeptics I have received the standard response of denial. That is that it was simply a “coincidence” (always a popular fall-back position that then allows the skeptic to show their amazing, and solidly scientific, knowledge of probability and statistics. However, this is deliberate obfuscation because, in the final analysis, their “explanation” proposes a coincidence of huge power and one that is shrinking lay unlikely but just happened to “coincide” with Graham’s precognitive OBE). Indeed, when faced with such denial of the facts I am reminded of my many “discussions” with fundamentalist Christians with regards to the literal truth of the Bible. In my opinion both groups are “fundamentalists” in their automatic denial of anything that counters their strongly-held belief system.
Seeking out genuine explanations for these experiences is what motivates my writing. My books are NOT written because I wish to prove the existence of psychic experiences, alien encounters, OBEs, NDEs, precognitions or apparitions but because I want to explain them. When I decide upon a subject for a book I have no preconceptions other than the phenomena deserves exploration. I then go where my research takes me. If my reading of academic papers and interviews with experiences lead me to conclude that there is a rational, logical explanation that fits within the present scientific paradigm, so be it. I have followed through and my curiosity has been satisfied. If I did this all the time I am no doubt I would be the darling of the skeptic community. But most times the experiences and research suggests to me that our present scientific model is incomplete and that these experiences demand that we dig deeper to gain full understanding of what is going on. This is because I really am totally objective when it comes to such things. I have no prior beliefs, philosophical, religious, or scientific, to hold me back. I do not have any academic credibility to worry about nor do I Have any academic tenure to protect. I simply go where the facts lead me. All I then do is present the information to my reader and ask him or her to come to their own conclusions. I do this by carefully registering every reference document …. To the journal, year and page locations. I always, if possible, describe the counter arguments and similarly give the references. As far as I am concerned my books are there to engender debate and discussion, not force a belief.
As far as my critics are concerned this approach makes me an unqualified pseudoscientist peddling woo-woo nonsense to the ill-educated and the intellectually naïve. If that is what they believe so be it. I know why I write what I do and I do not intend to stop anytime soon.
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