Inamorata Question #18 - The Agony of Defeat?

by Joseph Gangemi

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Inamorata Question #18 - The Agony of Defeat?

Unread postby Liz » Sat Feb 18, 2006 11:50 am

Pg. 314. “The unspoken goal of all psychic investigations is to fail; that is to say, for the unexplained to defy our best efforts to explain them. Which begs the question: How do we know we have brought our best to bear on a problem, if all the while we’ve been hoping in our hearts to be defeated?”

What say you?
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Unread postby Betty Sue » Sat Feb 18, 2006 12:58 pm

McLaughlin did try to bring his best to bear on the problem and hoped that his best would be defeated. It turned out that Finch was not as pure as McLaughlin had hoped since he fell for the lady, but, nevertheless, the group was not defeated---Mina did not get the prize.
If I were in on a psychic investigation, I would truly love to come to the conclusion that the psychic ability was genuine. Yet I know I would never stop trying to prove that it wasn't. So I guess I would say that I would never know if the best efforts had been used.
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Unread postby Endora » Sat Feb 18, 2006 1:10 pm

I think that as most investigators, most people in fact, have a belief in the afterlife, deep down they want some proof. So they allow the evidence that they can see to be clouded by 'ifs', they give small benefits of doubt that they really shouldn't. They wouldn't act this way in a purely scientific experiment. So they can't have done their best. The solution to me seems to have your investigations done by those who believe that there is no light at the end of the tunnel, no afterlife. They would be far more rigorous in the search for trickery.

Incidentally, begging the question is a term given to a circular argument to which there can be no logical end, . It is a well known fallacy, or weakness of argument structure. You can see how this works with the quotation:

How do we know we have brought our best to bear on a problem, if all the while we’ve been hoping in our hearts to be defeated?
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Unread postby Bix » Sat Feb 18, 2006 1:18 pm

I agree, Betty Sue, that McLaughlin did try to bring his best to the investigation and probably went overboard to be as honest and ethical possible, to compensate for knowing in his heart that he wanted to be defeated. I think Finch also tried harder and harder to disprove Mina the more he had feelings for her. It's interesting to think what would have happened if McLaughlin had been able to continue on with the tests. Instead, he sent his "most promising student" and Finch invented all sorts of gadgets and tests that advanced the testings. And in the end, despite their very best efforts, they both failed, as Finch said, "We had both wanted to believe - with a devotion bordering on desperation - that Mina Crawley was real." Yet, as you said, Betty Sue, they had not really failed. Mina didn't win the money, but she was not completely debunked either.
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Unread postby Bix » Sat Feb 18, 2006 1:20 pm

Endora wrote: The solution to me seems to have your investigations done by those who believe that there is no light at the end of the tunnel, no afterlife. They would be far more rigorous in the search for trickery.
Excellent point, Endora.
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Unread postby Liz » Sat Feb 18, 2006 1:26 pm

Endora wrote: Incidentally, begging the question is a term given to a circular argument to which there can be no logical end, . It is a well known fallacy, or weakness of argument structure. You can see how this works with the quotation:

How do we know we have brought our best to bear on a problem, if all the while we’ve been hoping in our hearts to be defeated?


That is fascinating, Endora. I had no idea. :dunce: This is the definition from Wikipedia:

In logic, begging the question is the term for a type of fallacy occurring in deductive reasoning in which the proposition to be proved is assumed implicitly or explicitly in one of the premises. For an example of this, consider the following argument: "Politicians cannot be trusted. Only an untrustworthy person would run for office; the fact that politicians are untrustworthy is proof of this. Therefore politicians cannot be trusted." Such an argument is fallacious, because it relies upon its own proposition, in this case, "politicians are untrustworthy", in order to support its central premise. Essentially, the argument assumes that its central point is already proven, and uses this in support of itself; the question remains, "begging" to be answered.

Begging the question is also known as petitio principii, and is related to the fallacy known as circular argument, circulus in probando, vicious circle or circular reasoning. As a concept in logic the first known definition in the West is by the Greek philosopher Aristotle around 350 B.C., in his book Prior Analytics, where he classified it as a material fallacy.

The term is usually not used to describe the broader fallacy that occurs when the evidence given for a proposition is as much in need of proof as the proposition itself: the more accepted classification for such arguments is as a fallacy of many questions.
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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Sat Feb 18, 2006 1:37 pm

I think my head hurts :perplexed:

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sat Feb 18, 2006 1:45 pm

I know mine does, GG! :headache:

I think one thing that makes the investigation of the paranormal more difficult is that there is/was so much trickery and so many frauds. In a scientific experiment the subject is not usually trying to trick the investigator so it seems you have to be one step ahead of anyone you are trying to investigate therefore you can't figure out every angle. It reminds me of the corollary to Murphy's Law that "It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious!"
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Unread postby gilly » Sat Feb 18, 2006 11:10 pm

That reminds me of Johnny and his idea that he puts himself out there,and the worse thing that could happen is that he fails...But that notion of failure can be a seductive one too..So failure can sometimes be good....Failure is another one of those selective words,it depends on your point of view....Also if you judge a final outcome as a failure,it doesn't mean that the whole experiment has been pointless..Maybe the doing of the experiment is more significant than the outcome..[I think I'm tieing myself up in knots here.. :-O ]
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Unread postby Theresa » Sun Feb 19, 2006 12:18 am

gilly --

Reading your post made me think of a quote by Thomas Edison about the number of times he failed before he invented the light bulb: I didn’t fail ten thousand times. I successfully eliminated, ten thousand times, materials and combinations which wouldn’t work.

So, in that sense, no experiment is a failure. It just might not have the outcome you expect.

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Unread postby Liz » Sun Feb 19, 2006 12:19 am

gilly wrote:That reminds me of Johnny and his idea that he puts himself out there,and the worse thing that could happen is that he fails...But that notion of failure can be a seductive one too..So failure can sometimes be good....Failure is another one of those selective words,it depends on your point of view....Also if you judge a final outcome as a failure,it doesn't mean that the whole experiment has been pointless..Maybe the doing of the experiment is more significant than the outcome..[I think I'm tieing myself up in knots here.. :-O ]


Gilly, I think you may have a point here. I'm not sure that it's possible to prove it either way. So maybe just the exercise in itself is the important.
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Unread postby SamIam » Sun Feb 19, 2006 10:12 pm

Hmm...I have to get back into the groove since I just got back from skiing. It was totally awesome. Anywho, I agree that skeptics make great investigators because they are looking for proof and they won't settle for no as an answer. It's that simple because they are looking for proof there's a chance they might find it, but someone who does believe doesn't want to find proof because they already believe so they don't need to find proof through a psychic.
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Unread postby gilly » Mon Feb 20, 2006 11:13 pm

That's a wonderful quote about Edison,theresa..He was a wise man. :cool: ..
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