Every now and again I say something so universally brilliant on my podcast The Experience that I can’t afford to let it slip into audio heaven virtually unnoticed. Rather, the universe can’t afford it. Take, for example, what I said last week. I don’t remember what it was, but it was so brilliant I thought I should write about it and didn’t. Now it is lost forever. God knows I’m not listening again for it.
Well, I’m not making the same mistake this week. On this week’s episode… I think… it’s a two parter–I think this happened in part 1. If not, part 2. The point is, at some time over the next two weeks listeners of The Experience will hear me say something brilliant. You get to read it now. You’re welcome. And it is this….
We live in the Stone Age of our own culture. What that means is, although we’ve advanced our knowledge since Newton of how things do and don’t work in physics, on the day-to-day level, we still live like Einstein never happened. We still think and behave mechanically in a fluid world.
That’s not the brilliant thing. In fact, it’s kind of offensive to those cultures who already had a handle on the fluidity of existence before our scientists dismissed them as savages while they “discovered” for themselves what was already well-known in different languages and with meanings our scientists cannot acknowledge because they believe in objectivity devoid of any meaning even though such a thing, they admit, does not exist.
That’s not the brilliant thing either, but it’s closer. The brilliant thing?–The thing you can use to shut up debunkers with their arrogance, their smarm, and their tiny penises (yes, including Sharon Hill) is this: There is no such thing as scientific proof.
Reality works the way it does–oh, let’s give it a number–99.99999% of the time. This means that in a fraction of a fraction of instances, it does not work that way. The laws of physics are not fixed, they are probable. Don’t take my word for it. Allow “scientific fundamentalist” Satoshi Kanazawa to explain:
We all get that, right? I mean whether you clicked the link or not. We get that there is no such thing as scientific proof, only probabilities great and small. If we all get that then by its own logic there will be points in time when improbable things happen–and this is where paranormal, ufological, and miraculous stuff come in. Therefore, it is unscientific to exclude the impossible not because we need to keep an open mind or because anything is possible in the let’s-pretend-not-to-make-judgements New Age way, or the “See? I told ya! Evolution’s a stupid theory! Gawd made us!” way, but because by its own internal logic this is how reality works. Reality includes the unreal. The unreal we’ll define as the thing that probability dictates likely won’t happen because everything we currently know as a rule says it won’t but it does anyway at least once because… probability.
And fractally speaking, this is the way it works in paranormal data, too. Take ufo sightings, for example. We know that a high percentage of UFO reports are explainable. They are hoaxes or mistaken aerial phenomena, planets, satellites, reflections, birds, insects–go down the list of knowns. Let’s be generous and say that 99.99999% of all ufo reports have a mundane explanation. That leaves a fraction of a fraction that are not. The classic debunker answer is that the unexplained cases are just unexplained, not unexplainable. Someone will crack those cases eventually, fitting them into our known physical “laws”, unless the facts have been lost to history and it’s too late to investigate properly–but it was likely a kite or something because 99.99999% of reports are.
But they are wrong. By their own logic, there will be a fraction of a fraction of instances that are unexplainable because they originate from without our reality box. They trickle through a hole in the wall, barely perceptible unless you leave a bucket underneath and collect the instances. Which is what researchers, historians, and storytellers do. But then debunkers dismiss witness reports as anecdotal as if that dismissal is itself wholly meaningful. It’s only meaningful 99.99999% of the time.
So we know improbable aerial phenomena exist and we know it’s not enough to poo-poo all of the reports and stories in anticipation of a mundane explanation. What I’ve presented here is the mundane explanation and if we acknowledge it, we may just have that paradigm shift so many people are waiting for. The irony is, it’s been with us in our society at least since Einstein, but we refuse to evolve into what we know to be true. In fact, in the article I cited above, the author still refuses to get what he himself is saying. Let’s take a look at the last paragraph from Kanazawa’s piece:
The creationists and other critics of evolution are absolutely correct when they point out that evolution is “just a theory” and it is not “proven.” What they neglect to mention is that everything in science is just a theory and is never proven. Unlike the Prime Number Theorem, which will absolutely and forever be true, it is still possible, albeit very, very, very, very, very unlikely, that the theory of evolution by natural and sexual selection may one day turn out to be false. But then again, it is also possible, albeit very, very, very, very, very unlikely, that monkeys will fly out of my ass tomorrow. In my judgment, both events are about equally likely.
Yes, unlikely. But possible. And if you replace your ass with your bedroom closet and normal monkeys flying out of it with monkeys and/or clowns and/or aliens doing acrobatic flips, you’ve just described an improbable situation that has been reported numerous times from confused, often embarrassed people who admit such things because they happened. And based on your own logic, it’s your job as a scientist or science writer to embrace that.
In closing and to belabor the point, it is likely that every time I stub my toe it will hurt. A lot. But someone somewhere in the world has or will report their toe moving through the furniture when they should have stubbed it. They might be lying. They might be wrong. They might be delusional. Or it might have happened. That it will happen to you or me is less likely than winning the lottery, so it’s good to remain skeptical. But to those who have won lotteries, the likelihood was 100%. Debunking has no place. Not even within the debunker’s own “rational” framework, for even there the improbable situation breaking all of the rules we think we know has a probability factor. And that fact only need be pointed out to render the debunker’s input moot in any false argument. Probably.
What are the odds I wouldn’t end on that?