A Conversation for Charles Hoy Fort


Post 1

NAITA (Join ViTAL - A1014625)

"who sought to prompt the scientific investigation of the paranormal"

Unfortunately he prefered the uncritical collection of alledged paranormal occurences.


Post 2

Dark Side of the Goon

Fort's writings tend to the sarcastic when he talks about scientists and the tendency of scientists to shy away from "alleged paranormal" occurrences. His uncritical collection of strange events was intended to point out to the world at large that sometimes things happen which do not have an immediately apparent rational explanation.

In keeping with this "uncritical" stance, modern Forteans also seek to avoid having an opinion about data. It's enough to say "This has happened" and leave the explanations to those better qualified to provide them.


Post 3

NAITA (Join ViTAL - A1014625)

"This has happened" is giving too much credit to most of that data. And to anyone qualified to give answers "this is reported to have happened" just doesn't cut it.


Post 4

Dark Side of the Goon

Is this a comment about the reliability of witnesses? Or the reliability of reporting? Or the reliability of skeptical investigation?

Doubting everything is a good approach, but it IS enough that there are reports of a phenomena, from ANY source, to warrant some kind of investigation. Even the simple act of collecting data tells us something, whether it's about the phenomena itself or the people reporting it! A properly sceptical mind will find value in any data, whether it supports and contention or decries it. At the end of the day, if investigation can demonstrate that there is no such thing as (add favourite phenomena here) then that adds something to the store of human knowledge. To deny that there is anything to look at simply because you do not trust the source is blinkered thinking.

My favourite thing of the moment: there's clearly nothing in Loch Ness, but people still see something in the water. If it's not a question of "What are they seeing?" then doesn't the question become "Why are they seeing?" and leads us down a much more interesting path.


Post 5


I agree with above. I don't think you can just dismiss something off hand. Maybe the reports need to be examined further, and other areas researched, but that doesn't nulify the initial report.



Post 6

Dark Side of the Goon

I know I'm preaching to the choir really, but...

There are things in the world that defy immediate explanation. Scientists, in the main, do not waste their time with them. Scientific research into areas of human experience that don't seem to have a practical application are not well thought of.

However, when work IS done all kinds of fun stuff emerges.

For example, the work of the very excellent Dr. Richard Wiseman in the University of Hertfordshire. Dr Wiseman (and I so hope that's his name) has spent the last several years carefully constructing experiments to test no only paranormal phenomena but our assumptions about those phenomena.

In many case, he's shown there's really not much to investigate but people do have some very interesting reactions to certain types of situation.

All fun.

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