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From Accountant to Future Teller

Posted in VGP/Skeptics & Believers | Date: July 18, 2012
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Some months ago I was researching the increasing popularity of the paranormal phenomena. I found that this phenomenon is historically influenced by the antagonism of two groups in different levels: the skeptics and the believers. One group can be as close minder as the other one in their own opinions and beliefs, but it is from this conflict where I learn most.

In this journey, and thanks to the intervention of a good friend, I had the luck to meet Ariana, a professional tarotist, who lives in Spain. She has the unusual background of being first an accountant and then a psychologist before she decided to leave her rationalist professions and use the power of the cards and planets to help people. Below you can find our chat:

Only for Addicted to Paranormal TV Shows!

Posted in VGP/Skeptics & Believers | Date: May 17, 2012
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Are you addicted to paranormal TV shows? I can’t help it. I go from one to another looking for that something that I never really find. I don’t consider myself a believer, neither a skeptic and that’s the problem. I belong, like many others; to that group in the middle looking for that elusive evidence to validate or not our suspicious about the existence of paranormal phenomena. The term 'Paranormal' is defined as a phenomenon or an experience that is beyond or unexplained by conventional theories of science.

Paranormal television shows like Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures are becoming incredibly popular. We watch them, then, to give proof and validation to some of our experiences or fears. If anyone is looking for more scientific proof, rather than anecdotal evidence, these shows promote to provide that.

The paranormal/supernatural-investigation subgenre has cropped up on cable television over the last few years, which includes “Ghost Hunters,” “Destination Truth,” “Ghost Adventures,” “Ghost Hunters International”, “Fact or Faked” and a few others. Each one promises to take a skeptical approach in its investigations and to rely on science to confirm or disprove paranormal claims. So far not one has been able to consistently keep that promise, but we still watching them hoping that in one episode that promise will fulfilled.

Zener Cards: Above the 20%.

Posted in VGP/Skeptics & Believers | Date: April 10, 2012
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I’ve been practicing with the Zener cards for a while, looking to find out any extrasensory perception (ESP) giftedness in myself, without getting more than the average 20% of guessing. I have also tried them with everybody who wanted to volunteer for the test. Nothing yet, but I am not giving up. I am sure there is some gifted candidate out there. I am determinate to reproduce the success that Dr. Rhine got in 1931 in his laboratory.

The Zener cards were created by Dr. Karl Edward Zener, a psychologist from Harvard University who in 1930, along with colleague J.B. Rhine, devised the card symbols that were used by Rhine in early ESP tests. Rhine called cards bearing these symbols "Zener cards" in honour of his colleague.

The Zener Cards consist in a standard pack of cards containing 25 cards, each portraying one of five symbols, viz., circle, cross, square, star, and waves. The cards would be shuffled and a receiver would then try to guess the cards that a sender would try to telepathically communicate. Or a subject might try to guess which card from the deck would be turned up next. A correct "guess" is called a "hit". Anything significantly higher than an average 20% hit in the long run would indicate some possible ESP condition.

Polls: Believers winning over Skeptics? I can’t believe it!

Posted in VGP/Skeptics & Believers | Date: March 02, 2012
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"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." - Albert Einstein

In 1633, the Church condemnation of Galileo Galilei, was one of the most dramatic incidents in the long history of the relations between science and religion. Galileo had published a year before that the sun-centered system was the physical truth and was convicted of grave suspicion of heresy for "following the position of Copernicus, which is contrary to the true sense and authority of Holy Scripture.” Galileo was placed under house arrest for the rest of his life.

But beginning the 16th century, the Protestant Reformation, the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment began to erode the position of authority held by religion. A new willingness to confront religious authority and a new respect for reason and its accomplishments began to counter established ways of thinking based on revealed religious truth.

As a result, modern philosophy began to separate from theology, and new philosophers began constructing a universal, human rationality independent of faith. For the first time in human history, it had become possible to not simply ponder faith and its forms of expression, but to challenge it as a fundamental truth—and to even question the very existence of God.

The western culture can be facing a deep religion crisis and God might not be as popular as used to be, but it doesn’t mean that believers are a specie in danger of extinction. They not only survived, they are even more than the skeptics and growing in number.