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Old 10-12-2015, 07:50 AM
 
Location: Maine
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Interesting article: http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/201...=fb-share&_r=1
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Old 10-12-2015, 10:19 AM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
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I think the phenomenon existed before religion... rather than being proof of any religious beliefs, it's likely religion evolved around attempts at explaining what humans were already experiencing (just like any other natural phenomenon).

Maybe someday we'll figure out why people REALLY see fleeting images of other people who are supposed to be dead or silver disks blasting across the sky at impossible speeds, just like we figured out lighting isn't angry gods throwing spears down from heaven or that the sun isn't some dude riding across the sky in a flaming chariot.
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Old 10-12-2015, 10:53 AM
 
Location: Greenville, SC
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I have long thought that within a few generations of the establishment of a permanent colony on Mars, there will be stories about people who have encountered relict Martians in the outback. Or their ghosts. There's something about our nature as humans that leads us to experience the paranormal (or seek out the numinous). I posted the following in a bigfoot thread here about a year ago.
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Many cultures around the world have legends of the hairy man or wild man of the woods:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wodwo

In Basque mythology, they taught us things like agriculture and metal working. Some have suggested these legends represent remnants of ancient memories of our interactions with Neanderthals, Denisovans, etc.

As [another poster] points out, there is great cultural value to these stories, defining who a people are and where they come from. For many of us modern Westerners, unfortunately, we've lost our defining stories, and the wodwos have retreated to the far forests and river bottoms. Legend and myth simply means untrue things to us rather than being the defining stories of our cultures. The Sacred Groves have been emptied of their power as are many of the churches of our traditional religions; so some of us find solace in UFOs, or the paranormal, or cryptids.

The search for Bigfoot is, therefore, a search for meaning; but the True Believers need to ask themselves: if you grab his foot and hold on, will he tell us your heavenly names or greet you with silence? Do you really want to find what you're looking for?
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Old 10-12-2015, 01:16 PM
 
Location: Loudon, TN
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Thanks everyone who posted the links to articles in this thread. I enjoyed the articles and they've inspired some further reading on my part. I do believe that our brains are sort of hardwired to look for patterns and causality. I think that much of what passes for the supernatural is simply our brains trying desperately to put discrete bits of information into a pattern, just as pareidolia causes us to see faces in the clouds and on a tortilla. My own experiences of "contact" from deceased family members could easily be explained away as coincidence by someone else, but to me the timing and complete "out of the blue" factors surrounding these coincidences give me pause. As an atheist and a rationalist, it creates a dissonance between my own rationality and my emotions. For these reasons I am torn between believing that all mediums are either outright fakers or simply lucky guessers, and wanting to see if a medium could give me proof that could not be gleaned from investigations, or guessing/probabilities, and commonalities in all folks who've lost family members. Could they give me a nickname or info from a long ago private conversation with the deceased? Could they tell me things that only I and the deceased would know? Someday perhaps I'll give it a try, just to set that question to rest.
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