Re:  More Holes in the Materialist's bucket 

By Aparthib Zaman

E-mail: [email protected]  



I will arrange my response in matched section in the following format (There are 10 such matched sections):

SINA-1: [..] 
APARTHIB-1: [..]

SINA-2: [..] 
APARTHIB-2: [..]


So each response can be tracked in case of confusion due to misalignment, undesirable word wrapping, deleted spaces or paragraph markers etc.

Now on to my response.

This response may well become primarily an exercise to hone one's analytical skills. I believe it may be helpful for Ali Sina and myself. Such logical skills may be well applied to other more important missions.


"Mr. Brent Meeker stated clearly that the dichotomy between dogmatism and rationalism is false." [...] "You say "Brent meant one can be irrational but still NOT dogmatic". Although it is difficult for me to figure out, how one can be irrational if he is not dogmatic.."


You are missing the basic notions of logic. The meaning of the statement "dichotomy between dogmatism and rationalism is false." means that it is not necessarily true that if someone is not dogmatic he must be rational, or that if someone is irrational then he must be dogmatic. There can be a third possibility, e.g uncritical credulity, which is neither rational nor dogmatic. Not being dogmatic is not the ONLY criteria for being rational. Rationalism pre-requires lot more than just not being dogmatic in religion, politics etc. A general skepticism is ALSO a requirement. So it is possible for someone to be not dogmatic about religion YET be irrational, when any of the other prerequisites for rationality are not met (e.g one prerequisite being not believing in any claims of truth without objective evidence). An a priori belief in the paranormal occurrence due to anecdotes may not be a dogma, like the belief in religion or communist dogma, but it is still not consistent with rationalism (i.e skepticism), because OBJECTIVE EVIDENCES (A prerequisite for a scientific belief) are not yet available for the occurrence paranormals. I can't clarify it in any more foolproof way. I am lost as to why you find this simple truth so difficult to grasp. By the way I would like to mention however that Dark matter is an example of something whose existence has been verified by objective evidence but has not been explained scientifically in a satisfactory way. Now here is a case of paranormal! that is recognized by scientists. Will you still complain Ali? :).


He also said: "The opposite of dogmatic denial isn't rationality; it's uncritical credulity."

He is very mistaken. Rational people cannot be dogmatic and dogmatic people cannot be rational. "Uncritical credulity" is irrational.


Please stare at your own observation VERY closely. Your last two sentences are correct. In fact your last two sentences reflect the view of Brent, myself, Randi or any rationalist/skeptic. But your first statement "Brent is mistaken" does not follow from the last two sentences, because Brent's statement does not contradict your last two propositions (Stare again). What Brent said should really have been phrased more accurately (Which is obvious from the context) as: (added words are in CAPS)

"The opposite of dogmatic denial isn't NECESSARILY rationality; it COULD BE uncritical credulity."

So Brent meant that if one dogmatically denies the paranormal (Like Randi et al, as you would allege), then the opposites of Randi et al, i.e those who do not dogmatically deny paranormal, need not necessarily be rational (i.e skeptic), they could be uncritical believers in paranormal. Uncritical belief in paranormal is certainly not consistent with skepticism. There is YET no evidence for a critical belief in paranormal. SO any belief in the paranormal has to be uncritical at this point. Can I make it any more foolproof, anyone?



In your second point you tried to clarify this controversy and wrote:

"By "dogmatic denial" (he was really quoting Sina using such _expression) he meant the denial of paranormal of so-called " pseudo-rationalists".

If that was what Meeker intended to say, he worded it wrongly. He should have stated "denial of dogmatism" and not "dogmatic denial" which means entirely a different thing. "Opposing violence" is not the same thing as "violently opposing". When I used "dogmatic denial" I meant denying the facts and the evidence dogmatically.


You failed to grasp the semantics again Sina. You need to hone up on critical thinking a bit more. Brent meant "Dogmatic denial" in exactly the same way as you meant. He was borrowing your expression to describe Brent, Randi and other "pseudo-rationalists", who YOU think "dogmatically deny" the paranormal. He did not use the expression "denial of dogmatism" here, because he did not mean that either. He clearly used the expression in the same sense as you are using. So why this confusion. All he is saying that if "Ali Sina is opposed to dogmatic denial of paranormal, which (i.e dogmatic denial) Ali Sina claims Brent and Randi and others do (i.e dogmatically deny paranormal), then Ali Sina is not being necessarily rational, he is uncritically credulous of paranormal claims". Another foolproof clarification. By the way a belief based on anything but objective evidence is "uncritical" by definition.



So let us rephrase what Meeker said with the right syntax and see what we get.

The opposite of "denial of dogmatism" isn't rationality; it's uncritical credulity.

Now it makes more sense. If you reject dogmas you can't be called a credulous person. I said this might be a typo.

However the denial of dogma is also rationality. It is rational to reject the dogma. So with the corrections to the sentence, still that sentence is partially true.


As I clarified that was not what Brent meant, and that the original phrasing also made sense (With my revised accurate pharsing). Although he would also be right if he had pharsed it the way you put it above, as you also agreed. But this is a red herring, as it was not meant or stated the way you revised it.



If that was scientifically measurable, is it still anecdotal? How can something be scientifically measurable and anecdotal at the same time?


I did not state it that way, but yes, if anecdotes are proven to be true by scientific measurements then they assume the status of a genuine OBSERVATION. No paranormal anecdotes have passed that test. When I talk about anecdotes, I meant the ones that have not been verified by scientific (i.e objective) observations (Like milk form Ganesh), they remain as anecdotes, not observations. Where is the room for confusion here? You are too bogged down with semantics it seems.


Do you realize that all human history is also anecdotal? The fact that the Earth is round for Sheik Abdel-Azi Ibn Baaz, Saudi Arabia 's top cleric and the Flat Earth Society is also anecdotal? In fact since you and I have not gone to the space personally, it is also anecdotal for us. Are you going to deny this too?


As I explained in APARTHIB-5, those anecdotes, like earth being round have been verified by observation, so its a fact, not an anecdote ANYMORE. Before verification, anecdotes are only referred to as anecdotes, they have not been promoted to facts. Flat earth is not even an anecdote, nor en anecdote, but a falsehood, as it has been CONTRADICTED by observations/evidence.


However it is equally irrational to deny all those claims and dismiss them as "anecdotes" because they cannot be proven.


It is utterly frustrating to see you still insist on the expression that I have clarified does not accurately reflect the scientific view. When anecdotes cannot be verified by objective observations, it is only the CLAIM of occurrence of paranormal that is denied, NOT THE OCCURRENCE ITSELF. Science and skepticism requires suspending judgment as to whether the paranormal event in question has truly occurred or not. If you fail to appreciate this simple but important point then you are missing a very cardinal aspect of skepticism. (And you claim to be a skeptic)



I am not saying we should accept that an immaterial world definitely exists. No "body" has been found after all. But should we attack and ridicule the people who come forth to witness?


I will try to remove another misperception once and for all, although I did indicate this before. No skeptic or rationalist ridicules the witness or the witness's sincerity in reporting what they saw. They ridicule only the CLAIM of witness and the paranormalist that their anecdotes constitute an EVIDENCE/PROOF of the OCCURRENCE of the paranormal. Crucial difference, Ali, please pause and reflect on it for few moments, I am confident I an speaking for all scientists/rationalists or if you like "pseudorationalists". You are creating an unnecessary strawmen of skeptical scientists.


Not only he is not searching for the body, which is his duty, he is actually denying that the body exist.


Your analogy is misplaced. The "body" of a man is not a entity/concept whose definition/concept is debated or is in doubt. The police officer is not denying the EXISTENCE of the body as a concept, nor is the existence of the body an undefined concept. In the paranormal case the meaning of "existence" (existence of WHAT?) itself is in doubt. That's the crucial difference. Skeptic or the police neither are ridiculing the act of narrating anecdotal experience. There is also a limit to which you can push the analogy. A crime investigation involves well defined objects and notions amenable to sense perceptions, and there is a moral urgency to reach the most reasonable verdict for justice to the victim, based on anecdotes and circumstantial evidence. There is no such moral urgency in paranormal (A) because there is no victim of any crime needing justice (B) Paranormal claims involve notions/objects that are not well-defined nor amenable to sense perception.


The materialists are not investigating the paranormal phenomena, they are helping in the cover-up and the reason is obvious. Any notion of an immaterial world, shatters their belief in materialism.


Again strawman fallacy. Materialism is not the accurate word for true scientists and skeptics. No "ism" is embraced by science and rationalism. Materialism is an old school philosophical term that is obsolete now. Science is applied rationalism. Whatever logic and evidences leads to one is what is considered best representation of reality to a scientist. Materialism, spiritualism is not the right word to describe that. Scientists can care less what they are called. All that matters is the scientific method. It is a public endeavor. Nothing esoteric. No "ism" involved here. If objective evidence leads to the occurrence of a paranormal event, scientists will be the happiest camper. Science thrives on unanswered questions, mysteries. Besides scientists and skeptics are human too, with emotions. They would also wish that there be some reality beyond what has been observed so far. Nothing to lose, if it DOES exist, only to gain. But is has to be first proven to exist. Personal conviction is not proof in science. It is the mental leap of skeptical scientist where they learn to even doubt themselves (not the experience, but the EXPLANATION or interpretation of it) that sets them apart. By the way I did write in one of my "Science and Metaphysics" series in Mukto-Mona there are already some genuine paranormals in science as well. Dark matter is one of them as I pointed out earlier in this response. It EXISTS! But its satisfactory explanation is not known yet. They are not unhappy because of admitting that this paranormal exists :).

- Aparthib

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