Quick Memo to the Pagan Community

Link to YouTube.com video for those who may need it.

Despite being a polytheist, I manage to keep a reasonably open scientific mind about the world around me. I don’t accept any “spooky” story at face-value, and I examine spiritual experiences critically and open-mindedly before concluding that it was spiritual and not something completely mundane or ordinary. That’s simply what open-mindedness is: The willingness to consider other possibilities or perspectives as well as new ones before forming one’s own conclusions. The video goes into far more detail.

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5 thoughts on “Quick Memo to the Pagan Community

  1. From the very first sentence this video assumes that there is such a thing as “non-scientific concepts”, but it is obvious that “non-scientific concepts” here is used as just a convenient catch-all for any ideas the maker of video disagrees with.

    I think it is fair to assume that Johannes Kepler and Isaac Newton were adepts at “scientific thinking”, but they were both deeply religious men who devoted much of their lives to serious investigation of Esoteric ideas that the maker of this video would certainly label as “non-scientific”.

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  2. “I examine spiritual experiences critically and open-mindedly before concluding that it was spiritual and not something completely mundane or ordinary. That’s simply what open-mindedness is: The willingness to consider other possibilities or perspectives as well as new ones before forming one’s own conclusions.”

    But it would seem that you have formed your own conclusion — that it is mundane or ordinary — before it is spiritual.

    I, of course, absolutely agree with critical thinking ; however, criticism can go way overboard, and a phenomenological approach requires true open-mindedness which SUSPENDS JUDGEMENT — INCLUDING CRITICAL JUDGEMENT — until one has fully digested the phenomenon. THEN, follow-up analysis can critically examine the phenomenon.

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  3. “Requiring evidence before accepting claims”.

    First of all, it should be noted that a claim has been made. One can assess the sincerity and trustworthiness of the person making the claim. If the claim is about their experience, the report of their experience should be handled as such.

    At this point in time, there is no place — if one is TRULY open-minded — to EITHER dispute OR accept the claim. The proper response is an agnostic one, not a hostile one. In other words, “I don’t know.” You don’t yet know about this claim. You can express a mixture of both interest and skepticism. “I’ve never experienced anything like this before myself, so I have no experience with which to compare it. Can you tell me more about this experience?”

    I still think the approach in this video constitutes reality-policing, which is close-minded. It’s perfectly fine to speak about things which are inside and outside your experience, but to make presumptions against claims outside your experience simply because they lie outside your experience is completely illogical.

    This video makes some very good points, but it still edges up against scientism, and that’s annoying.

    Being skeptical of skepticism is a COMPLETELY rational and acceptable stance. I don’t see any irony in it at all. It has to do with proportion.

    Being eager to disbelieve is no more virtuous or correct than being eager to believe. Calling people “gullible” because they are willing to believe something may simply at times demonstrate a subjective preference for disbelief, which is an easy, unthoughtful way of approaching things.

    The fallacy in the idea that “once enough evidence accumulates” one can reconsider is that those who are eager to disbelieve will never do the followup work to demonstrate its existence! People don’t data-collect about things they don’t believe exist! It takes some level of at least hypothetical advocacy, rather than kneejerk condemnation, to be able to continue to accumulate the evidence necessary for dogminded skeptics to reevalute.

    These caveats said, the author of the video makes a lot of good points, especially about people reconsidering ideas they automatically dismiss. This is a good exercise for us all.

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  4. While I cannot summon quite the eloquence of the previous posters, I can say I wish this little video were required watching within the Pagan community. It is a little tiresome to run into folks whose minds are so open that a portion of their brain mass has apparently fallen right out!!!

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