s3raphita wrote:

 > Re "I will prefer a non-woo explanation over a woo explanation because it is 
 > more logically connected to well-established physics . . . ":

 > I prefer a non-woo theory also. And Occam's razor suggests we should always 
 > go for the simplest explanation. But there's a lot of woo in physics: 
 > quantum theory, dark matter, fine tuning, wormholes, . . .

 Quantum mechanics, the standard model is basically the result of attempting to 
explain certain observations. The theory is adjusted by plugging in real world 
measurements. The latest addition is the Higgs boson. This does not mean the 
theory is actually true, only that it conforms to observation. A lot of physics 
is speculative. String theory is the most woo, as so far no one seems to have 
been able to formulate a version that can be tested.

 > Re "Woo depends a lot on personal, internal, messy, incoherent world views":
 Maybe; maybe not. The thing about these psychological put-downs is that 
they're double-edged. Couldn't you claim that non-woo types are 
rigid/frigid/emotionally uptight people who are afraid to admit "there are more 
things in Heaven and Earth . . . than are dreamt of in your philosophy". 
 Also, non-woo types can be playing the role of tough guy - the "no one makes a 
monkey out of me" kind of act. They think they're just being reasonable; maybe 
they're just being defensive.

 We all have messy internal incoherent world views. What I meant to convey 
(which means I failed to convey) is some world views are less coherent than 
others, and the mental model has more logical, experiential, and experimental 
gaps. Science seems to be a procedure to try to close those gaps or make them 
less glaring. Woo seems to rejoice in them, and it often seems as if something 
as mundane as evidence is not necessary to determine truth. 

 There are certainly situations where evidence really cannot penetrate. 
Enlightenment is one example of this. One really has to take it on faith that 
it is a possible experience. You cannot really show it to anyone. You can hint 
at it, maybe convince some that it exists. The whole spiritual game revolves 
around that which is undefined, hidden, invisible. We, here, have all partaken 
in that to a greater or lesser extent. As we investigate this, we may have 
experiences that convince us it could be a valid, i.e., real experience, and so 
are led on. If that does not happen, we drop away.

 Non woo types certainly can be defensive; sometimes, even in the top science 
journals you can detect a certain emotional smoldering lying behind what 
scientists write criticising others in their field. Scientist get attached to 
their ideas as much as anyone, but they know they are stuck in a game where 
their idea can go down the tube at any time. With woo, it often does not seem 
to matter because no matter how outrageous, since evidence is not the major 
criterion, you can continue to promote it, even in the face of substantial 
dis-confirming experience.

 > And don't underestimate the fun side of woo theories. As an example, it's 
 > certainly *possible* that the human race was seeded by aliens millennia ago. 
 > Speculating along those lines can be creepily entertaining.

 Woo certainly can be fun. I just do not think it is real. The reason I think 
enlightenment is real is it is the realisation that there is nothing more to 
life than what one has already experienced all one's life. The search for 
something beyond does not discover something beyond (though at times it seems 
as if there is), it rather exhausts all the ideas one has that there is 
something beyond, and then one is left with what has always been. Nothing new 
under the Sun. So as M said, 'nothing ever happened'. So in the end, you 
achieved nothing, got nothing. There is a certain peace of mind in having 
gotten rid of a lot of speculation you thought was real because you are no 
longer seeking something more. Like waking up from a dream, you have not 
accomplished anything because an hallucination naturally stopped.

 If something seems really strange and mysterious and incomprehensible, is it 
always necessary to formulate an explanation or an hypothesis or theory about 
it? Being in a place where you just do not know is not a bad place. I like to 
speculate, but nothing I say is really true, it's a picture, an incomplete 
snapshot of a mental model in my mind. It may or may not have utility, for me 
or for anyone else. To argue endlessly about what cannot be seen, heard, 
touched, felt, and smelt is a fool's errand. 

 "I was gratified to be able to answer promptly. 
 I said I don't know." -- Mark Twain

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