Irrational Paganism?

A marvelous firestorm has broken out in the pagan blogosphere to kick off 2009 properly. A prominent pagan podcaster has left the community, throwing his hat in the atheist ring instead. Why? Was it something we said?…

Well, no. It’s worse.

ire8Jason Pitzl-Waters has a couple of posts that summarize the situation, along with other links to posts put up in response, and literally hundreds of comments — and the comments are definitely worth going through. Most of the comments are reasonable, thoughtful, and even moving.

But the podcaster, deo, says he has “outgrown paganism”. He was initially attracted to it because of “romantic tone, fantastical escapism, and promises of deep dark secrets”, and as these elements have lost their allure, he’s found nothing else in paganism to keep him with us. And more: paganism, he’s found, does not offer a rigorous and scientific way of looking at the world. Without that, what have you got? “What a strange set of beliefs to choose!” he says.

He approvingly quotes the blog of Colin McGinn, a philosopher: “We certainly do know that Santa Klaus does not exist, or goblins, or three-legged giants who live in the fridge; it would be daft to be ‘agnostic’ about such questions — and even dafter to remain ‘open-minded’ about them… We indeed don’t know everything, but some things we know quite well — and the complete falsity of religious doctrine is one of them.”

Goodness. Aren’t “we” lucky to be so enlightened!

Ahem.

And deo’s post elicited some remarkable responses. “…eats bugs” said: “I, for one, am … only still calling myself pagan for the sake of my personal history, my own love of theatrics and ritual, and based on certain morals and ethics I learned from paganism at large. But all the supernatural aspects of paganism, all the deity worship, all the magic, philosophically leads to zero, where an accrual of all the data used to say that paganism is one thing leads one to believe this is total bupkiss.” No doubt! And Dr. Myers, after calling spellcraft a “senseless sham”, said: “…as a philosopher… in my judgement, ‘gut instinct’ and ‘intuition’ and ‘it feels right’ are simply not good enough reasons to adopt a belief. Yet these are some of the most common reasons offered for why people in the [pagan] movement believe some of the things they believe. But really, the only acceptable reason for believing something is that the belief is true. This requires an exercise of rational intellectual inquiry: it demands material evidence and strong logical argument.”

Tut tut, pagans! How can you possibly pursue a religious belief without material evidence or logical argumentation? For shame!

Frankly, I was irked.

“Outgrowing Paganism”? Let’s be clear here. You can outgrow your reasons for choosing paganism, sure, absolutely. And yes — the thrill of finding ancient secret truth and dressing up and going into the woods — these are fine things to outgrow. (Or not!) Outgrowing paganism, however, implies that the Master has matured beyond everyone who chooses to call themselves Pagan. That’s… well, that’s a very strong claim.

deo: “I think there are probably two good reasons for holding a belief. The first is evidence. The second is training… I haven’t any proof of any religion’s truth. Nor do I have the training in any other religion. I also will not ‘fake it ’till I make it’ with another set of ‘beliefs’ for the wrong reasons. The only remaining alternative is atheism…. [My] path of inquiry… is constrained by reason and evidence. Religion, therefore, can simply play no part.”

Case closed?

Of course not. deo, how did you decide that reason and logic are the best ways to decide a belief? How did you decide that scientific evidence — as opposed to personal experience — was so damned important? Do you have any basis for that belief? If that’s how you want to limit your personal search, be my guest. But don’t pretend you’re laying down Eternal Truth — don’t claim that irrational, non-scientific searches are childish.

You see, I already tried rational and scientific. I’m not a philosopher, but I’m a linguist, trained in philosophy and logic and semantics. I was atheist, or borderline atheist, for years. I know what lies down that road.

I was never infatuated with pagan ritual. I was never entranced with idea that great secrets might be hiding somewhere. I went through a long period of wanting my personal belief system to be self-consistent, rational, logical, scientific… And I came out of the other side of it, done with it.

You know what I think? Finding the Great Truths of Life rationally and scientifically is (a) impossible and (b) disempowering. (“Trust Your Feelings” is a great intro post to explain why; also “The Search for Truth“.) Does that mean I’ve “outgrown” atheism? No. I’ve outgrown those reasons for atheism. Someday maybe I’ll find other reasons to be atheist, and return to it. But it won’t be because I’m looking for a logical, coherent, scientific belief system.

I’m not concerned that paganism might be irrational. I’m pagan because it’s irrational. And I say that as one who has painstakingly gone all the way to the end of the rational path and seen what’s there.

(There’s a little grinning Zen monk with a stick.)
childishpaganism

Comments

  1. Thank you for articulating this, Jeff!
    Love,
    Terri in Joburg

  2. Thanks for the link to my blog. I’m glad you stopped by.

    I have to say that I agree and disagree with you in a number of ways. The primary one has to do with, believe it or not, personal experience. I have found over my life that if my personal experiences can’t be compared and related in terms of scientific words, they are to be set aside until there is a time that they can. This does not mean that I have to discard science because I had an image of a white lady walking behind me (which I did), that, at the time, i called the goddess.

    Granted, this creates an interesting quandry, where my need for scientific experience is very personal, and therefore, in terms of this argument, doesn’t follow. Unless, of course, you already approach it all from a rational point of view, which you openly say you don’t, so I digress.

    That said, I don’t think it’s fair to lump all pagans, even us atheistically inclined ones, into a category where suddenly our practices don’t fit our theologies or lack thereof. (I think that’s what I wanted to say). It would be more fair to claim that the entire pagan movement (wiccan or otherwise) is based on the idea that everyone is a shaman/wiseman/sorceror, all related to a reconstructionist point of view, which is false and erroneous if you are looking to the past to model the present.

    More than anything, I think it is erroneous to say that “outgrowing paganism” is kin to saying “I’m beyond paganism.” While it may quite be that for some, I simply feel divergent from its current shape. The idea that we all should be magic workers makes no sense to me, and to many apparently. Therefore, I am outgrowing its current shape. Should it return to a more secular way of living life rather than a watered-down electrolyte of crystal worship and cross-pantheonic misinterpretation, I might look on it more favorably, but as it stands, there is little merit left in a culture that thinks that “magic” is prayer.

  3. Jeff Lilly says:

    Derek, thanks for your thoughtful comment.

    You’re absolutely correct to say that pagan practice can be rationally, even scientifically based; and I was sloppy to imply otherwise. In fact, it is true, as you say (at least as I think you say), that paelo-paganism placed a high value on rational thought. But for myself, I could never call myself pagan if paganism meant a strict adherence to rational and scientific principles. (I am pretty much a Revivalist Druid.)

    And I have no problem at all with a path of personal growth that leads away from paganism. As I said, it depends on one’s reasons for adopting the label. Growing out or away from those reasons is a great reason to drop the label.

    My beef was twofold: (a) saying “outgrowing X” really does imply that X represents a less mature stage — like outgrowing a shirt. If you’ve outgrown a shirt, then only people smaller (ie less mature) than you can still fit in the shirt. This was reinforced by (b) calling the supernatural aspects of paganism “bupkiss”…

    Ahem.

    Taken altogether, it really sounds like you think people who believe in magic — and in their own capacity for magic — are immature and need to have their heads examined. Obviously if that’s what you think, then we can agree to disagree… respectfully. 😉

  4. When my rational, questioning mind finally acknowledged that I never really was a good, accepting, blind, obediant Catholic, the question arose….what WAS I? For perhaps a decade, I was too busy experiencing life to even bother wondering. My path was leading to atheism, as rational deduction woud have led me there.

    When I discovered Wicca, I was filled with joy. Not because I had a cool new theatre to perform, but because I was given an alternative to surrendering to the emptiness of disbelief. I could keep my rational, questioning mind, gaze at the moon with a tad more wonder that cold hard scrutiny would have afforded me, and have a reason to love my home planet and dare to question the superiority of our so-called “higher intelligence”. I do not practice blind faith, and I do not “worship” man-made dieties, but I DO allow myself to be open to possibility, without which I might as well just quit this game altogether, and kill myself, for what point is there to life without possibility?

    I wish Deo the best, but I wish him possibilities, which in my opinion are even better.

  5. I will agree with you, then, I suppose, on outgrowing. However, at the risk of sounding too relativistic, I will add the caveat that everyone has their own finishing point in terms of spiritual growth, and since there is no overall ruler by which to judge such things, I think outgrowing for one might be the exact opposite of what someone else might need to do.

    For me, it’s not completely that magic doesn’t fit a logical philosophy for me, its that all my efforts have been for naught, so, for me, magic is a poor method of reaching spiritual success. I have many friends who claim otherwise for themselves, and, while I don’t understand it, I do try my best to not call it immature.

    That said, if one doesn’t see the world as logical, and is okay with that (even to a teleological degree) then they have every right to practice the way they want to practice, and all I would ever ask of them is to maintain ethical and moral practices consistent with the culture in which they live. I think that is the base starting line for how we should interact with others on a spiritual level.

    Thanks for having this dialogue with me. Please, let’s keep going! We are promoting the growth of intellectual paganism, haha!

  6. Jeff Lilly says:

    Alex, thanks for dropping by and letting us know your thoughts. I definitely agree with you about leaving possibilities open. I have heard tell, from a couple of sources, that the denizens of the Otherworld will tend to leave you alone if you close your mind to them — they will not force themselves on you. So if you ever want to have a chance of seeing all there is to see in the universe, you have to keep your mind open to everything.

  7. Jeff Lilly says:

    Derek — I see what you’re saying about different vectors of growth, and I absolutely agree. Point made!

    If I may venture a guess, I think you’re probably an excellent magician, but you don’t realize you’re doing magic. That’s the way most people are. 🙂 If you cast spells without conscious intent, as people tend to do, then events in your life will appear to be random, when in fact they’re entirely directed by your attitude.

    I’ll give a very simple example. I’ve been struggling with cash for the last couple of months; I’ve had trouble scraping together enough for gas and food, at times. I did some meditation, and realized that whenever I visualized my wallet, I saw it as a black hole that sucked things away! So I replaced that image with a shiny gold coin, and did some other magical techniques to reinforce that. A few days later I had a couple of unexpected windfalls, and I bought a new wallet, and visualized the gold coin in it very firmly. Things have continued to be much easier in that department. So I replaced a spell I was subconsciously casting — an “I’m poor” spell — with a conscious spell — “I’m rich”.

    Regarding “maintaining ethical and moral practices consistent with the culture in which they live” — I’m not sure what you mean. Are you suggesting that someone who believes in irrationality may act randomly or asocially? These are very different things, I think. I may not ultimately believe in cause and effect, but I do believe in social norms and mutual respect. 🙂

    And I’m delighted to continue the dialogue as long as your patience with me holds out! 🙂

  8. Regarding the ethics and morals question, it’s one thing to practice how you want, but another thing if it hurts others. Granted, the definitions of harm differ from culture to culture, which is what I was intending. So, you can be completely irrational if that fits your world view (i.e. followers of Eris) but its not okay if your practices include stealing, murder, etc.

    Now, about “unconscious spellwork,” I have to disagree with you on that grounds that this sounds like confirmation bias. It also smells of “law of attraction” which fails under its own weight. I will give you a specific example. I had a dream a few months ago that I received, in the mail, three checks. I don’t remember the first two amounts, but the last amount was $400 exactly. Having dreamed this, and even getting a little hopeful over it, I have not had any checks arrive at my door, even though I’m expecting one from my cable company. This does not line up with the spell casting you are talking about, and if the check comes in four months, eight months, a year, and I attribute it to my dream, who is to say this isn’t confirmation bias.

    While I do think that magic, if it works at all, is merely a psychological trigger for the self, I don’t think that the method of spell casting you mention is plausible. I can want person X to love me with all my heart and mind, and even do it for all the right reasons, but that will not make it happen. It probably doesn’t improve my chances even, because how would you be able to observe “improved chances?”

    That said, if buying a new wallet, working a few hours overtime, or doing a little side work comes about because you chose to do it and you cast a spell to prepare your mind for it, then that sort of magic follows along with other observable practices. I leave myself notes all the time, and some would say that is a form of magic, because it is preparatory for actual events. But if magic works unequivocally, regardless of circumstance or medium, then I should also be able to summon an elephant out of thin air, a la The Secret.

  9. My Wife (The Priestess of Pendragon Hold) introduced me to the workings of magic when she worked a spell asking for ($200, not a penny more, not a penny less) which we thought at the time would be enough to repair our failing speptic system. Within a couple of weeks, we recieved a notice from the IRS that they wouldn’t be taking the $100 a month installments we owed them for two months (conveniently equalling $200) out of our checking account while they converted over to a new computor system. Now, of course, I could have accepted that as pure coincidence, and that it was going to happen wether we had cast a spell or not. All I know for sure is that we asked for a specific amount, put our intent out to get it anyway we could, and there it was. Why argue? Every spell since has returned our need in form or another, and perhaps it only supplemented fate or our own efforts, but it matters not if the job is getting done. As long as we regognize that magik does not overrule the laws of physics and that it can’t work without some effort on our part, I think we can avoid getting supid about it. No, we do not, nor will we ever believe that we can conjure a Mammoth out of a hat just because we think it would be cool. And as attractive as the idea might sound, I doubt we could seriously conjure up a million dollars (winning the lottery, perhaps) because, quite frankly, we don’t NEED it. I believe that magik can provide for reasonable NEEDS, but desires are something else entirely. THOSE, I believe, call upon the universe to give something up that you can’t necessarily give back, and there must be a balance or everything would just go to hell in no time at all. Not that I believe in “hell”, mind you……grin…….

  10. It seems unlikely that magic would serve you at every point. That would mean that every time someone prayed, they would get what they want, even if they put effort into the mix. It just seems unlikely. In this sort of situation, we must address things with Occum’s Razor. Unfortunately, with something like this, it would be nearly impossible to figure out the true reason why everything fell into place for your particular purpose. But in that case, the next reasonable and available conclusion is that it was coincidence, and that you have extraordinary luck. Some of us, myself included, have not had such luck, and not for lack of force or lack of will.

    There are too many uncertainties, and simply dialing up magic as the cause is confirmation bias.

  11. Jeff Lilly says:

    Alex and Derek: Fascinating viewpoints! I essentially agree with Alex, although I hold a rather stronger view: I think you COULD conjure a mammoth out of a hat, but (a) you would have to absolutely and completely believe it was possible, and (b) you would have to deeply WANT it — “want” in a very strong sense that could probably be equated with “need”. I wrote extensively about this in a couple of earlier posts, in which I explained my own method of magic, and some further ruminations on what kind of “wanting” is required.

    Derek, the upshot is that conscious, intentional magic is HARD to do. Unconscious, unintentional magic is very very easy.

    As for our good friend Occam: in my opinion, the research on confirmation bias is muddied and inconsistent. I’m not convinced it exists. 🙂 It’s probably worth posting on at some point.

  12. And as for those “deep dark secrets” Deo was hoping to acquire during his foray in paganism, well, WHAT deep dark secrets? We have pretty much opened to all the collected knowledge we have all gathered in our practice, and for the most part none of us have come across wondrous wizardry that only the likes of Merlin could have performed.

    I believe the most amazing “secrets” I personally have discovered thanks to Wicca is an appreciation for the wonders that have always been right in front of me.

  13. I think we have crossed a line, where all the information regarding science is discarded. Baby with the bath water if you will. Sure, it might seem that you can get the things you need with magic, but most of the time, there are easier ways to explain this without jumping to the cosmic, and in most cases I can think of, the magic violates the laws of nature.

    Now, given that paganism and its practices are studies in nature, why would they so directly violate the already proven?

    Ultimately, magic seems to come down to whether or not you call the results of something magical or not, which is truly confirmation bias. I’d be willing to hear examples of the contrary.

  14. When something happens that I had previously desired and actively called upon to happen, I of course take a step back and ask myself how likely it is that it would have happened without my concious intervention. Coincidence will explain one, two, maybe even three consecutive events. After that you are really pushing it to remain with the party line.

    I think it is paramount to ALWAYS allow for happy accidents, but in light of the fact that inaction rarely allows for something to happen, I say just keep up the good work (magik in my case) and perhaps later when the events start to pile up you can perform statistical analysis and either explain it away or confirm your suspicians that you haven’t been fooling yourself.

  15. Jeff Lilly says:

    Derek… Remember that I used to be atheist myself. I know all these arguments. 😉

    I was calling into question the hypothesis of “confirmation bias”, not all of scientific theory, or even the scientific method. That said, science is a poor tool for studying the human mind, unless or until our brain imaging techniques get much, much better. I say this as one who is married to someone with a degree in cognitive science from MIT. Testing whether an instance of magic is really confirmation bias requires not only a huge sample set, but reasonable knowledge of whether or not a “spell” was cast correctly, which depends crucially on the mental state of the caster, and can’t presently be measured.

    In other words, there is (right now) no way to prove magic scientifically. That doesn’t mean it’s false, of course. There is also no scientific way for me to prove that you are a conscious being, but that doesn’t mean you’re a necessarily robot.

    You may agree to this, but object that it’s simpler to assume that magic is not at work, since we have confirmation bias available as an explanation, and that doesn’t require mystical forces. This would be true, if I were suggesting that the world consisted of all the normal, humdrum things plus a bunch of mystical, paranormal things. However, what I’m suggesting is that ALL things are creations of consciousness, which is actually a very simple claim. It’s not scientific, it’s not testable, but it is simple — much simpler than, say, quantum mechanics.

    As for why nature-loving pagans would believe in and practice the supernatural: we are not required to limit ourselves to science’s definition of nature. 🙂

  16. I would agree regarding lack of evidence. We don’t have enough evidence to say, categorically, there is no magic or anything supernatural going on here. In the event we do, trust me, I will be jumping for joy. However, there is enough evidence to show that magic is unlikely, and to simply say, “well, if you can’t prove it wrong, then it must be true,” is a misunderstanding of how evidence and examination work. We can’t prove a negative, but we have to prove a replacement option.

    Also, it sounds like you are in favor of the whole idea of life as a Dream, and we are the dreamer. Poetic sure, but there is little philosophical or empirical evidence to give much credence to this one either. So we can’t say, equivocally, this is true.

    Reducing ourselves to a strict definition of nature? Hardly. But observing what nature is by what we can do inside of it, and celebrating those tasks… I think that holds more to the ideals of paganism on all fronts more than magic ever could.

    That all said, I could tackle the idea that magic-use comes from the idea that we are defeated by our natures, and using the supernatural to overcome is part of the process, or even the big cop out. However, this is all nuts.

    *laughs* One day, I’m gonna write a treatise on why magic is the opposite of paganism. Paganism was supposed (by all my reading) to have been based on reality, where we saw the divine in everything because everything existed in creation, and we saw the dualism of nature because nature is dual, male and female; and that we looked at ourselves as gods and goddesses so that we might take control of our own lives with our own hands. Belaying all this to supernatural forces seems a bit…empty to me.

  17. I think magik is no more “supernatural” than the electric light bulb was back before that “wizard” Edison harnessed electricity, something that once was only observable during thunderstorms. So, no, I do not find it “opposite” paganism anymore than our use of Gods and Goddesses, since rather than attempting to claim that these entities exist strictly in and of themselves, we create them as metaphore, and interact with them accordingly. Even mostly secular humans use Santa Claus as a metaphore of the joys of gift giving and allow their children to enjoy him for awhile, before dashing the illusion for them when it’s time to leave fantasy behind and deal with the real world. Catagorizing aspects of nature in order to interact with them is not “supernatural” so long as you understand what you are doing and why.

    pssst….I think bluetooth is really magik…….pass it on…..

  18. Jeff Lilly says:

    Alex and Derek, thanks for the stimulating discussion! I got inspired and wrote an article about science and magic last night; I hope to make it available in the next day or two.

    Derek: You’re absolutely right that magic isn’t necessarily true just because it can’t be disproven. What I was trying to say is that science can’t (presently — maybe ever) prove or disprove magic at all. Science has nothing to say about magic. I disagree that there is “enough evidence to say that magic is unlikely”; I don’t think there’s any SCIENTIFIC evidence either way. So I rely on my personal experience.

    As for “life is a dream”: I do lean that way, but I agree there’s no scientific evidence for it. I don’t know how there could be. As for philosophical evidence for or against it — I don’t even know what that would be. “Life is a dream” is just an opinion I hold, one that works well for me.

    Finally, I agree with Alex that the boundary between natural and supernatural is an arbitrary one. I think we want to be careful that we don’t define “natural” as “things science can measure”. Things that are commonly called “supernatural” may be very natural indeed. A simple example: reincarnation is something science simply cannot say anything about, yea or nay; but the natural world is so full of cycles of birth and death and rebirth, so resonant with repetition-with-variation, that reincarnation seems (to me at least) like the most natural thing in the world.

    Alex: I was totally with you up to the point when you said the gods were metaphors. I think Apollo is just as real as you are. 🙂

  19. Personal experience only goes so far. Now, if one is willing to come to terms that a personal experience is just that–personal–then I can’t argue. However, if ever one decided that their personal experiences were overt truth, then we have a problem, and we probably all agree on that.

    I am a musician. There have been many times when, playing or listening to a piece of music, I have had what many would call a “religious experience.” Now, there is some evidence that something is going on in the brain at this time, but generally it is still something that escapes words. I can talk about it all I want, but still never say anything meaningful to anyone else other than myself. Partly, this is because most of my words are not really words, just gutteral sounds. Empirically, there is little room for magic, however, as the experiences thereof do not reach beyond the people experiencing them. Even those who are targets of spells and the like cannot claim that they were influenced by magic unless they are predisposed to think so. If magic cannot be proven to exists beyond the personal and the ethereal, then it doesn’t exist for everyone, just those who practice it. So to return to a point you made earlier, unconscious magic casting can’t be possible for me, because I am not disposed to think it is possible.

    About the “nature” of things, I’m a firm believer that the things that truly exist don’t need us to exist. Granted, if we stop experiencing them, we no longer have proof they do exist first hand. But a hand is a hand, even if the person who owns the hand is not there to claim it. Nature is nature with or without us, and actually, a one part of Pagan thought relies on this idea, that the world is alive and doesn’t “need” us. Same can be said of science: it doesn’t need us to work. It has worked far longer than any of us have been around to observe. So, to say we would be defining nature is a misnomer, because we shouldn’t even approach that at all. We can’t. We get to say.

    Alex: I’m all for metaphorical deity. In fact, I think it is much more plausible, healthy, sane, and correct to see the aspects of gods and goddesses as archetypes that are reflected in our own natures. Calling on them as observable and communicable beings is bad theology. It would contradict the nature of a deity.

  20. I consider the Gods and/or the elements as communicable only insofar as I “speak” to them in ritual or perhaps even during silent contemplation, that “speaking” being the only way I am aware of to “communicate” my desires to them, who, actually, are my focal points for the practice of directing my will into the cosmos. Let’s say that telekinesis was a rare but genuine ability of a well trained or genetically inclined human mind; calling on a metaphorical focal point to pick something up and move it might be the only control mechanism such a gifted person might have to use this kind of “power”. We have all “willed” our cars to go left or right via the steering wheel, which once took brute force, now is much easy with the assistance of power steering, but which may graduate to fly-by-wire and perhaps onto neural interface guidance systems which, wow, would be directing our will with something akin to magik (only we will know better).

    As far as the nature of a diety is concerned, if you mean an actual form of higher intelligence, or perhaps a “creator”, I think any really rational person would know how poorly equiped we as humans would be to know the nature of such a being. If any “God” wished us to know it’s nature, I’m sure it would have allowed it already, and none of us would be having these conversations, which is why I believe that religion, of ANY denomination or focus, is nothing but a guessing game played by fools frightened to death of their ignorance.

    i do not consider my practice of Wicca to be religious in the strictest sense. It simply allows me not to abandon hope, or possibilities, to cold, cruel, analytical science, with it’s theory of hopelessness, or to have to embrace irrational religion, with it’s take-it-or-burn-for-it dogmas.

  21. Alex: What you say here makes a lot of sense to me. I have felt that, if a god of some nature does exist, who are we to determine what it thinks or does, and who are we to even say that it exists. It does not need our definitions to be. And as far as the focal point, I would only argue that this would be self-talk, in that you are trying to get your mind and demeanor lined up to your intention, which is completely and totally sane and predictable. Everyone does this anyway.

    Also, I want to applaud you for your last paragraph there. In my opinion, no form of thought or practice should be exercised because it is real or not, or because there is a mystical draw. We have religion and learning to help us make sense of the world, and that is the goal of any mind: to make sense of the non-sensical, even if it is just justifications. There is a rationalism to paganism. The study of magic really is the only thing standing in its way, as far as I can tell.

  22. Jeff Lilly says:

    Derek and Alex: considering in what high regard you place science, and the high regard science has for doubt and question, I am amazed at how certain you are of your beliefs. 😉

    What I know about the gods has mostly come from me asking them point-blank. (If they’re liars, they’re damned good ones.) I am not “defining” them or anything like that. They talk, I listen. I posted an interview I did with Apollo some time ago; if you’re interested in what he had to say (or curious about my mad ravings, however you want to think of it), it’s here. In fact, Apollo addresses many of your points in the interview.

  23. Jeff, while I will read this interview and consider it, I don’t want you to confuse my ideas of science with beliefs. As I said, there is nothing I can say or do that will make the current discoveries of science less true, save joining in the scientific community and joining in the research. Science, as it stands, exists, as it stands, without my permission, or anyone else’s for that matter. Even if gods do exist, science as we know it IS without their approval or help. We can point to evidence of this.

    Also, I always leave the caveat that, should a god or alien or other supernatural event make itself known to me with unequivocally overt evidence, I would be forced to consider it true and real. Same with anything else, from new species of animal to emergent medical practices.

  24. Jeff Lilly says:

    Derek, I understand that you believe that the facts of the world are simply what they are, regardless of what any of us think. I have no problem with your belief, and I wish you luck with it.

  25. Likewise with you. However, in the spirit of growth and kindness, I hope that you can see there is something to be said for the empirical, and that subjective experience is worth less when other people get involved. Have a good one.

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