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69 responses to “Spooky action at a distance, and perhaps closer at hand”

  1. Salient Green

    I think perhaps there is an error in thinking that quantum particles can ever be separate rather than thinking about the interconnectness of all matter and the nature of that state.

  2. Paul Norton

    To my simple mind, unburdened by more than a minimal knowledge of physics, space/time reality seems absurd. Old Democritus reasoned that matter could not be infinitely divisible, and so hypothesised the atom. I reckon exactly the opposite. However small a particle is it must be made up of something and therefore capable of further division, which is absurd. On the other hand, if you consider the cosmos, however big it is, there must be more space beyond, which is also absurd.

    I’ll have to re-read The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene (and recommend it to other readers who want to engage with the ideas in our Brian’s post) but he suggests that below the Planck length the dimensions of time and space as we know them may cease to exist and other kinds of dimensions exist, which would have implications for divisibility.

    Also, as I read Greene and current physics generally, beyond the universe is not more space but nothing.

    The notion of infinite divisibility has exercised some of the best philosophical minds over the yonks.

  3. Tim Dymond

    Nigel Kneale dramatised the scientific search for ghosts years ago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lV5kqdOHIoo

  4. Link

    I had a man step out of my wardrobe in a terry toweling hat once and ask me to help his daughter. That was a lucid dream, but sure as eggs are eggs he was standing in my bedroom. I also saw a goblin standing by the bed I was in, looking at me quizically– you know big ears about 4 foot tall, big goblin eyes. That was in another lucid dream and that was interesting. I then read ROC Crombie’s book Meetings With Fairies. and I’m pretty convinced he had no reason to lie and was not delusional.

    I consider myself to be a rational person so I began to wonder about fairies and wtf they were. I decided they were ‘real’ and were made up generations and generations of thought patterns and myths. We had created them and for some they do exist or they exist beyond our abilities to see i.e. beyond space and time.

    If you can get your head around the ideas of Swedenborg then all this paranormal, supernatural stuff seems quite reasonable. But try explaining that to the scientific establishment–well actually no you don’t. A case of never the twain should meet. I did wonder if these smaller and smaller particles of energy that scientists continue to discover ever began to merge with spiritual worlds. But no, my teacher said the two never actually meet. Matter is matter and spirit is spirit, they may have a correspondential relationship but they never actually ‘join’.

    I think most agree that there is ‘something’ beyond space and time but it’s really difficult when you’re in a body on planet earth, thoroughly bound by time and space constraints to conceive of it.

  5. jules

    A good friend from high school died young. He had cancer and fought it for several years before finally succumbing.

    I hadn’t spoken to him for a while, and so didn’t realise he was v sick. The night he died i had a dream and it was very realistic. I lived in Melbourne at the time and I was standing on a corner near where i lived. The corner of Swan and Church streets in Richmond. His car drove past and his mum was looking out the back, straight at me, and she was bawling her eyes out. No one was driving. She was possibly crying more than she or any person could. Normally dreamscapes are out of kilter slightly, but this dream wasn’t. it was a perfect recreation of that place in reality. I don’t think I’ve ever had a dream where a dream landscape or place was as accurate a representation of reality.

    I didn’t realise he had died at the time, but the dream stayed with me for days. Every time I went past that corner (for a few days anyway) it reminded me of the dream. A few days later I had another incredibly realistic dream set in Richmond. Basically it was like the last scene of Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em (the 1988 film). As the dream finished in a nuclear fireball the phone rang and woke me. I knew it was bad news – my mother told me about my friends death. Doesn’t sound that odd in retelling, but I have dreams every night, and they rarely make an impression like that “one on the corner” did.

    salient green @1 – totally agree – if the big bang happened then at some level, however trivial, all matter (and possibly all of everything) is entangled.

  6. Link

    BTW I am not an atheist. I think atheists are going to be pretty hard up to explain a great deal of what occurs on Planet Earth and its surrounds, not that non-atheists have any answers as such but they may have a few more clues to work with that could yes eventually be scientifically discovered and explained.

    Believing unreservedly in the Infiinite and the whole concept of infinity and where that’s at, means that pretty much anything that can be conceived of can be realised or even through its conception has already been done. But yeah, good luck trying to explaining that to a sceptic.

    BTW, comment whore that I am today. Weekly Horrorscopes are up at my joint.

  7. Salient Green

    jules, certainly gravity and magnetism connect all matter and compared to the power of those forces here on earth, they are trivial in the vastness of space, yet they connect.
    I wonder if a useful analogy of lightspeed vs entanglement could be shouting an instruction vs tugging a (taut) string.

  8. faustusnotes

    I’m extremely suspicious about any extrapolation of events from the quantum level to the macro level. For example, matter may be both a wave and a particle, but human beings do not have wave states. So just because some weird stuff happens at the quantum level, doesn’t mean it can be used as justification for weird stuff or supernatural behavior at the macro. Furthermore, I’m suspicious that quantum entanglement represents not real action at a distance, but a flaw in our understanding of how the sub-atomic world works. Or, it can’t actually be used to transmit real information, and thus is not actually a meaningful action at a distance.

    I’ve never had any supernatural experiences at all, and I don’t see what they have to do with atheism, for two simple reasons:

    1) if magic were shown to be real tomorrow it doesn’t say anything about god, it could just be a force like gravity, and

    2) if someone revealed to me tomorrow the truth of the existence of the christian god – i.e. some incontrovertible evidence of the existence of that god – then as a scientist I would be obliged to accept this as “true.” However, as a moral being I would be obliged to stand in opposition to the sick and evil morality of that god.

    I’m sad that there is no magic in the world, but glad that I’m not obliged to stand in opposition to an omniscient being that is also as profoundly evil as the god of the bible.

  9. alfred venison

    member of the audience:- and if when you die you should find yourself face to face with your maker, what would you say then?

    bertrand russell:- i would say: god, why on earth didn’t you make yourself more apparent?

  10. Darin

    I have a recurring dream that I’m flying a plane. It’s an old plane with a ring grip on the joystick. Suddenly, there’s a loud bang, and my leg feels all wet. Then everything spins and I get very sleepy and everything goes dark. That’s it. I have it at least a couple of times a year and have done so as long as I can remember. Certainly from before I was 10.

    I don’t feel scared, or anything else. It feels normal, if that makes sense? But always exactly the same.

  11. Terangeree

    I just dream entire 1930s and 1940s British and Hollywood movies (usually film noir, but there’s the occasional musical or wartime propaganda film) that were never actually made.

  12. Salient Green

    Brian, which brings us back to Japerz “There’s simply a great deal about the fabric of reality that we don’t comprehend.”
    Just as my string analogy is inadequate to explain the interconnectedness of all matter and non matter, so is trying to explain the process as a reality beyond space time. Rather it (entanglement) could be the very essence of reality in which space/time/gravity are just a part and constitute the limit of our understanding at this point.

    faustus, the bible is a construct of man. God is love and love is life and life is good. The opposite of life is death and death is evil. Death being the complete lack of life. Whether you believe in God or not, by definition God is not evil.

  13. j_p_z

    “matter may be both a wave and a particle, but human beings do not have wave states.”

    I respectfully beg to differ:


    Oh and also, since people were discussing LSD on another thread (and LSD is certainly not irrelevant here)…


    You wanna tell me that’s not a wave state?

    (btw, it was also one of the top three most profound theater performances I’ve ever seen, up there with Andrei Serban’s “Fragments of a Trilogy/Trojan Women” and Robert Wilson’s mind-blowing version of “Alcestis” — I mean besides my own work of course, which was mind-blowing for me, maybe not for anybody else…)

  14. paul burns

    When I was in hospital, dying etc in October/November 2011, I also thought I saw some angels but as, at the time, I was blind as a bat with cataracts, I’ll never be sure.
    I’m very very psychic, but over the years I’ve learned to ignore it. (I did predict the date in hospital I would either die or begin to recover – 18 October 2011 – which really freaked one of my friends out, when it came true exactly. Another, who has known me for years, wasn’t at all surprised.) The clairvoyance usually is one of three kinds – thinking of some-one a week or days before I run into them, including people I haven’t seen for years, when I’m going to get a letter – not just mail, but a letter, and when books will arrive – though that only comes true 9 times out of ten. Once in the blue moon I’ll get foreknowledge of a major event – though I didn’t pick up 9/11. Though I’d been seeing aspects of it in peoples tarot cards for years. When I say a major event, I mean something I’ll see on the news that night or in a day or so, that I couldn’t possibly have known about.

  15. Casey

    Paul, I take it you think the tarots can predict the future?

  16. paul burns

    Absolutely. Unfortunately, exactly what they are predicting is not completely clear until after the predicted event happens. But its a bit of a blow-out when it starts happening around you and you realise this is what has been predicted in a tarot reading, or you do a reading for some-one and they come and tell you how its all come true. And then they tell you how. I was a very accurate tarot reader for other people, not that accurate for myself.
    There’s all sorts of problems inherent in tarot reading to do with the fact that the tarot’s idea of time is nothing like ours. You can pick up past, present and future in the one card and you have to be very careful to try and work out what you’re seeing. By past and future I mean a matter of days to years past or ahead. I always found it very challenging to make sure I got it right, and was never sure if I did.
    Its not just suggestibility. There’s a lot more to it.
    For theological reasons, I no longer read the cards. False gods, etc. But that doesn’t mean I reject the fact that they really work.

  17. paul burns

    No problems, Brian. I’m quite happy to answer peoples’ questions on it, if I can, if they have any, though I’ll be off-line from about 6.30 till 10.30 or so tonight. If I don’t know, I’ll just say that.
    I don’t read them any more because a priest whose spirituality I greatly admire – he’s a devotee of Francis of Assisi and Catherine of Siena – told me reading Tarot was breaking the first commandment, and opening portals to negative spiritual influences.

  18. jumpy


    Brian. I’m quite happy to answer peoples’ questions on it, if I can,

    How much and what kind of drugs have you had?
    Do you think said drug have altered your brain?
    Serious questions.

  19. Casey

    Paul I wanted to ask if it was possible that as you read the cards for people you fell into doing cold readings. By that I mean that often the person being read for wants to hear things and moulds the events of her/his life to what the reader offers. The reader might be unconsciously moulding the reading to please the person being read to as well. By that I mean, that often, both sides are being very sincere but there is not necessarily anything psychic going on. I think that often professional psychics who really don’t have psychic skills are just good at cold reading and counselling. (I am not suggesting this of you btw, just a discussion on divination for money here). I asked facebook friends once about the ethics of this. If people getting cold readings from psychics which suggested their loved ones were okay on the other side comforted them, who did it hurt? What was wrong with it? Nobody agreed with me that it was harmless, maybe I didn’t agree with me either. This is off topic now isn’t it? Sorry.

  20. faustusnotes

    Salient Green, how do you know god is love? And how can you completely disavow the bible? It seems to me that christians love the christian god, which must have some kind of link to the bible – which is a document of hate. I don’t know how one can be a christian and not have any relationship at all to the god described in the bible – if so, you can’t be a christian, surely? And if you are completely divorced from that god as depicted in the bible, why do you say “god is love”? There are many religions (the closest one to me now is Shinto) extant and extinct in which this idea is completely missing – it’s a very christian notion.

    I guess the question I’m trying to get at with this is – if you have faith in a god, how do you know which god your faith is in without reference to a human interpretation of the god, a human link through scriptures and institutions? And if those scriptures have any kind of relationship to the god that you profess a faith in, then surely they must reflect something – even if only a shadow – of that god? Otherwise you have to argue that your omniscient, omnipotent god allowed itself to be completely misrepresented by a bunch of genocidal misogynists from the get go. That seems … strange.

    I would like to humbly propose a guest post from paul b describing his experience.

  21. Salient Green

    Brian, my father lives by your grandfather’s epitaph and tried to instil it in us. I take a more scientific view of God, a more philosophic view of Christ and a more psychological view of the Holy Spirit.

    faustus, I was raised as a Christian and was made to study some of the bible and the bible teaches that God is love.
    Stating that the bible is a human construct is the opposite of disavowing it i would have thought, as the mere human I am.
    The bible is an unenlightened (by modern science) view of the nature of God IMHO. It’s supposedly written by men inspired by God and contains a primitive account of how the universe and the world came about as well as a historical account of some early people and how they lived as lessons for us all.
    While there is plenty of hate/human weakness described in the bible I think you are wrong to say it is a document of hate.
    The ancients who established the original philosophies of what are now the great religions were only men but they were able to look deeply into the natural world and human nature.
    I think Bhuddism, Islam, Christianity and others all show the difference between good and bad and the consequences of taking the wrong way but they have all been misinterpreted, sullied and perverted by evil shits throughout history for their own selfish ends.
    A harmonious society needs rules and good rules are written by clever people. Religion should be about keeping those rules and administering them with regard to changing knowledge but as we know, many religions have lost their way.
    Here endeth the sermon.

  22. jumpy

    [email protected]
    PB has exercised that right in the past and if he does reply I would expect he words it as not to implicate himself in any illegality ( which I believe to be your concern)
    But the fact remains that certain irrational beliefs, visions and compulsions can be caused by past or present drug use.
    That is, I believe, relevant to the discussion.

  23. Salient Green

    Brian’s essay raises the possibility of a connection between certain unexplained phenomena and quantum physics which has it’s own unexplained phenomena. My reasons for contibuting to this thread are that I strongly believe that quantum science will eventually explain the nature of the interconnectedness of everything, in this life and those apparently ended.
    I believe the human race is evolving as a sentient species ATM only in as far as it is doing most things wrong despite the best efforts of various religions and philosophies. I don’t believe we will evolve into the sentient species we are capable of under the stimulus of capitalism.

  24. Mercurius

    Next one for the collective reading list, please…

    An accessible, thorough yet parsimonious primer for the non-phyicsist on quantum mechanics:

    Where does the weirdness go?

    You’re welcome 😐

  25. jules

    Human beings do have wave states.

    Not just the ones that japerz mentioned or this:



    If there is an omnipresent, omnipotent being, a god if you like, that isn’t the uni/multi verse or existence itself then whatever else it is is isn’t the Christian gos as most people understand it. The Christian god is a reflection of most peoples fears and worse impulses and is clearly a human creation because …. well it behaves like a petulant human who is used to getting everything his way. At least that is the way its presented, especially in fundamentalist churches.

    “I don’t like the way some people are behaving so I’m gonna flood the world and wipe out a significant proportion of all land based life.” An idea like that is clearly a human idea. And its obviously stupid.

  26. jules

    Paul B, do you have any vaguely bizarre un/pseudoscientific theories about how the whole tarot thing works? Most divination systems seem to do the same thing. At least to follow the same “meta” process.

    BTW I don’t understand why tarot cards break the first commandment. if there’s a “God” the she, he, it or they clearly created everything. Including tarot cards, and their connection to the universe. And so if you’re gonna put something before God, then you’re gonna do it anyway whether its tarot cards or something else.

    While it may open you to negative spiritual energies as well, the same thing applies doesn’t it? I can see it would be easy to become “enchanted” by your ability to divine using Tarot or something else, but … at the same time, if thats gonna its gonna happen anyway, whether you read peoples cards or just live a “normal’ life.

  27. Katz

    Do androids dream of mechanical sheep?

    If there were some universal consciousness were projecting emanations, why are these emanations so parochial? Unless, of course, this UC were narrow casting, making sure that these emanations were specific and interpretable by their receivers. Such a thoughtful universal consciousness.

    Alternatively, confabulation and coincidence would have to be invoked to explain spookiness. Boring, I know, but possible.

    The non-historic elements of the Old Testament are a mélange of retrofitted fables.

    The New Testament is hearsay redacted by sectaries.

  28. faustusnotes

    Salient Green, the very first chapter of the Bible describes the way in which God set up his own creations to fail. From then on it’s genocide until God kills his own son to “save us.” And it might state that God is love (I don’t recall where) but it makes clear that if you don’t love God he will torture you forever. That’s a fairly … conditional … form of love. Some would say it’s not love at all. Just because the bible says it is doesn’t make it so.

    So I guess I think the key question christians need to be asked is not whether there is proof of the existence of god, but why their faith tells them (against all available evidence) that he is good. Surely his goodness is something that can be tested by evidence, even if his existence is not?

  29. jess

    Just wanted to note that is possible to have a quantum behaviour at a macro scale – I’d recommend people that are interested have a look at Bose-Einstein condensates. They’re not much to look at (the single time I saw one it just looked like a gaseous blob on a screen) but have some pretty cool properties (one being that they are superfluids).

    On a side note: excellent to see LP back up and running. Will there be more climate clippings Brian? Or do you think that horse has bolted? 🙂

  30. paul burns

    As my mind is of the few advantages I have, I really value it and have been very careful to do nothing to damage it. Apart from some youthful indiscretions, I’ve been a non-drug person for so long I can’t remember when I became one. (except alcohol and tobacco – I no longer smoke and rarely drink.)

    I’m not sure if its possible to do really cold readings. The tarot is really fluid with time and I could read stuff for people that didn’t happen until
    a year or two after the reading had taken place. This was extremely common. A lot of the time it took at least six weeks for the predictions to start to come true. The Tarot frequently does not answer the question you ask unless you frame it very very carefully. Rather, it tells you what it thinks you need to know. Not that you can do much to alter what it says, unless it says not to do something. If you go ahead and do it, regardless, you usually end up in serious shit, which has not necessarily been predicted by the reading. It can be seriously spooky stuff and is not necessarily very good for the person you’re reading for, which is why I haven’t read a lot for people for quite a while.

  31. jules

    “If there were some universal consciousness were projecting emanations, why are these emanations so parochial?”

    Katz @ 34 – how can they be anything else? If you are projecting emanations into something that could end up as food, if you don’t make them emanations parochial then that something will be food very quickly. Probably while it ponders the wonderful colours that flicked by in those first 35 seconds after the big bang. It might not even notice it had been eaten.

  32. Casey

    Okay, thanks Paul, that’s rather interesting. I find the Tower card particularly ominous.

  33. paul burns

    jules @ 33,
    how the Tarot works. Perhaps it taps into the subconscious. Automatic writing certainly works that way, and is apparently not considered a major sin by the Church.
    OTOH, the Tarot, while it does deal in archetypes, etc that appeal to the universal subconscious, the kind expatiated on for example in the work of Joseph Campbell, and is based on an imagery that is specifically medieval (probably 13th or 14th century though it could be earlier- the first Tarot I think date from the 1450s in Italy), and were possibly seen as an adjunct to astrology which was practiced by popes, kings, queens and emperors. Harmless, maybe even useful. I suspect the fact that its seen as a portal for negative spiritual forces might date from the 18th/19th century Occult Revival (that is the correct historical term for it btw) when the Tarot became explicitly associated with occultists. Certainly people working in the Order of the Golden Dawn and its offshoots, among which were Aleister Crowley who designed his own set of cards, used the tarot as a means of communicating with occult forces A nasty piece of work the Crowley cards are too. I used to give them as presents to people I didn’t like.
    I think this latter development is why the Tarot are seen as breaking the first commandment.
    FTR, occultists are not the same as witches.

  34. paul burns

    The Tower. Very sudden, gets rid of old shit, frequently shocking or disturbing. Seen it come up variously as a fire, 9/11, being in a room at night surrounded by hundreds of Xmas beetles, a sudden, unexpected operation. Usually something that’s a bit of a shock to the system, but its not that sinister. The Devil is the really nasty one.

  35. jules

    Paul B.

    Its interesting to hear your dislike of Crowley’s cards. I’ve only had a couple of readings, one was with crowleys deck. All the cards were trumps, cept one or two. if nothing else the images were very dramatic.

    Crowley was raised as a member of the Exclusive Brethren, a group some people might be vaguely familiar with. iirc he totally rejected them and probably took the path he took cos he figured if that lot were on god’s side then the only path a decent person could take was to side with the devil. So at least he got that right.

    I have some interest in the I Ching, well i did years ago. Its an interesting thing. It sometimes seems like a form of mathematics based not on magnitude but direction. Yin being inward or toward you, Yang being outward or away from you. Maybe thats reading too much into it tho. Yin is experienced when you breathe in, Yang when you breathe out. Some people say Yang is male and Yin is female but that actually says more about them.

  36. paul burns

    the I Ching works. Suspect its a key to the subconscious like automatic writing. I’ve used it a bit, but my main interest in it was as a primary source for early Chinese history. Years ago, so no insights there.

  37. Salient Green

    faustus, “God set up his own creations to fail.” That’s just an illustration of us having a free will. I’m pretty sure it was either the natural world or humans that were doing all the killing although God was blamed often enough. As I said, a primitive human construct.
    I don’t believe in a God ‘up there’ or ‘out there’. You’re arguing with the wrong person. My ideas are pretty much in line with the book below. There is quite a lot of the book in the preview section if you are interested

  38. jules

    I’ve more “untrustworthy” stories.

    One was about a twin. She who had a psychotic episode in my house. She was doing a cold turkey heroin detox, had severe sleep deprivation and some odd experiences while she ran off for a few days. But the real weirdness was to do with her ability to predict the future.

    Among many other things she would go on about her sister and how unsafe she was what with planes flying into buildings and all the associated horrors. Her sister was in New York at the time, working in an upmarket art gallery. This was in January 1999. We got sick of her always describing these fantastical and obviously insane scenes that we thought had no basis in reality. Of course we’re all familiar with them now. Its not the only case I’m aware of wrt some sort of precognition about that day, but its the only one that was specific enough and accurate enough to describe what was actually happening, in the place it was happening. I think I mentioned this once in the Missy Higgins thread of doom.

    The thing that strikes me about that episode is how obviously nuts she was at the time, yet she still knew about an event that was to happen over 2 and a half years into the future. It was one of many things she was insanely ranting about, as far as we were concerned, and admittedly many of them had no basis in reality. If this sort of thing happens to other people having psychotic episodes it must add to the stress and discomfort of the experience, and to the difficulty of integrating themselves into “normality”.

    (I’ve just realised its April 1st, but this isn’t an April Fools joke. It did actually happen.)

  39. Ambigulous

    Whiskas Quantumn Prize announced: one year’s supply of food/non-food for Schroedinger’s Cat/non-Cat …..

  40. faustusnotes

    Salient Green, I think your defenses of God are misplaced in this case. He created Adam and Eve “without the knowledge of good and evil” but then told them “do not do this” and punished them when – lacking the ability to understand that they were doing wrong – they broke his rule. That is the very opposite of “free will.” Also, the genocide was explicitly mandated by, and in some cases enacted by, God: see e.g. the 7 plagues, and most especially the Angel of Death, destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, etc.

    Unless you disavow the book in its entirety, it seems to me that you’re choosing to have faith in a god that has never revealed itself to be anything but a monster. But how can you disavow the book entirely and yet profess to believe that the god in question has any relationship to christianity whatsoever?

    (Thanks for the book link, will take a look at the preview).

  41. Casey

    lacking the ability to understand that they were doing wrong – they broke his rule.

    No, they knew. That is the point. He gave them free will, otherwise they would be puppets.

    The better argument, which has just caught me out because I insist on reading reading reading is this little exchange from Angela Carter’s Bloody Chamber where Bluebeard’s wife, who is about to be found out and killed for opening up the chamber of dead wives, is having a conversation with her blind piano tuner.

    “You do not deserve this”, he said.

    “Who can say what I deserve or no?” I said. “I’ve done nothing but that may be sufficient reason for condemning me”

    “You disobeyed him,” he said. “that is sufficient reason for him to punish you”

    “I only did what he knew I would”

    “Like Eve,” he said.

    And ouch, I said, after reading that and remembering that I offered a spirited femo reading of the Fall on the Pope Francis thread.

  42. Casey

    There are so many hidden strands within narratives that you can pull out at any time that collapse any authoritative reading of the bible, I have found.

  43. Casey

    Any authoritative reading of God as despot or not … in the end, it’s all interpretation.

  44. faustusnotes

    No Casey, they didn’t know. I don’t know how you can say they did know. They were created without the knowledge of good and evil. But God told them “you must not do this.” They were created without the ability to understand his injunction, and then they were punished for breaking it.

    This isn’t a thread, or a matter of understanding, as far as I can tell. Every version of genesis contains this same key fact: that A&E did not know what “you must not do this” means, but when they broke the injunction they were punished for doing wrong. It doesn’t matter how much you allegorize or metaphorize, it’s a fundamental moral problem. I think Bluebeard’s wife doesn’t get at it quite, because that story implies God knew Eve would have some mischievousness or trouble making aspect. He didn’t: he created her without evil and then she made a mistake she couldn’t know was wrong.

  45. Casey

    You are reading through a modern western understandings of the word ‘know’. Consider the various translations of the ancient hebrew and greek.

    The term “know” (Hebrew yada, Greek ginosko) or one of its derivatives (i.e., knew, known, etc.) is used in Scripture in a variety of ways. Several times it refers to a man and woman having sexual intercourse (Genesis 4:1,17,25; Judges 11:39; 19:25). Jesus used the term to refer to His regard for His sheep (i.e., people—John 10:27). In contrast to the way of the wicked that will perish, the psalmist wrote that God “knows” (i.e., approves, takes delight in, etc.) the way of the righteous (Psalm 1:6). Paul used the term “know” in Ephesians 3:19 in the sense of knowing “experimentally what intellectually is beyond our powers of knowing”—the love of Christ (Jamieson, 1997). The fact is, like so many other words in Scripture (and in modern times) the word “know” has a variety of meanings.

    When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden everything was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). They had the freedom to eat of “of every tree of the garden” (2:16), but were forbidden to eat of the fruit of one of them (2:17). They knew of God’s good creation and they knew that if they ate of “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (the one forbidden tree), God said they would die (3:2-3). However, it was not until after they ate of the forbidden tree that they actually “knew” (experienced) evil. Thus, in one sense Adam and Eve did know the difference between right and wrong, good and evil (they knew what they should and should not do; they understood moral distinctions), but they did not know of good and evil experientially until after their disobedience.


    Jamieson, Robert, et al. (1997), Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown Bible Commentary

    I’m not arguing, just pointing out. I think, believe what you like. Most of the time I just stumble around myself wondering what the frack is going on.

  46. faustusnotes

    Oh come on Casey, that’s angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin stuff. They knew about good and evil but they didn’t, you know, really know about it. What kind of distinction is that?

  47. Casey

    Well I was just pointing out that we are dealing with ancient texts in translation. If you think that’s crap, no worries. I’m tired and I still have a headache from the feminism thread. I don’t want to fight. You win.

  48. Roger Jones

    @42, 43

    the I Ching works, and I am actually a power user despite being incredibly skeptical of all that. What it does is to draw strand out of complexity to contemplate on. There have been too many coincidences for this to be random (yes, I’ve done the stats), but being attuned is an absolute requirement.

    I think the lesson is to open your mind and these other things are just tools. Knowing where to be critical and analytic is just as important.

  49. Roger Jones

    Paul Burns,

    given the above, Tarot is ok, but it’s your call

  50. faustusnotes

    ha! I killed a lapsed witch!

  51. Casey

    Behold, FN dances gleefully on my grave just cause I don’t wanna fight about apples and shit. Here we see humanity at its finest. My powers are not yet fulled waxed, FN that is all. So dance lightly.

  52. Casey

    *fully, fully waxed.

  53. Nick

    Adam really was a boring doofus, and Eve wanted the garden to herself. So she tricked him into eating the apple first, thinking God would only punish him. She totally made up the bit about tasting it already herself. God knew the score though and turfed them both out. Men haven’t trusted women since. Women are still trying to get rid of men.

  54. Sniff'n the Tears

    As a godless person I’ve had a couple of epiphanic experiences, the boundariless sense of intense revelation and feeling of complete integration with the world, unmediated by chemicals or ritual or even music, I can understand why people who get there by prayer or meditation or trance beats or mdma are motivated to try and repeat them. Amazing but essentially meaningless.

    A nice insistent walking bass line is a perfectly good everyday replacement, IMO.

  55. faustusnotes

    oh no, Casey has her gravatar back … backs away slowly …

  56. Zabeel the Horse

    Several times it refers to a man and woman having sexual intercourse (Genesis 4:1,17,25; Judges 11:39; 19:25). Jesus used the term to refer to His regard for His sheep

    Proof thet Jesus uz en Inzidder!

  57. Katz

    The conceit that God would place in Paradise something that could never be used, consumed, or experienced demonstrates the extent of the poetic imagination of Bronze Age barley farmers.

  58. paul burns

    Roger Jones, 56,
    Quite agree with you.

  59. zorronsky

    In 1954 I was working a bush block just outside of Yinnar with my Grandfather and an Irish migrant. We were camped close to the Mountain Hut Rd by a dirt track, my grandparents in a caravan, me in a small tent and further up the track in a converted car carrier box our partner the Irishman.
    On a monday morning I climbed out of my tent to walk my dogs and an immense feeling of dread came over me and without premeditated thought I screamed “Bill is dead”.
    My Grandmother tried to calm me but I would have none of it and ran up the track to Bill’s hut. It was empty.
    Bill Quigley was killed the night before after leaving the Darnum Hotel and colliding head-on with a car in Yaragon.
    Bill was buried in the Moe cemetery with only my Grandfather, myself and a priest at his funeral.

  60. monkeytypist

    I’m never had anything that I would describe as a ‘supernatual’ experience. I’m not sure what the term means, to be honest.

    I can’t for the life of me work out what the behaviour of quantum particles has to do with purported phenomena at the human level of experience. Our senses are fallible, yes; that’s been known for centuries and I don’t think we need any particularly grandiose mechanism to explain that. It’s not explained why quantum phenomena would manifest themselves in ways that rather neatly resemble the things that crop up in the well-studied field of human hallucinations.

    If you go back as far as say, Newtonian physics, we already have a perfectly serviceable framework to describe the behaviours of bodies and forces at a human perceptual level. Newtonian physics doesn’t need any particular laws to account for misperceptions or psychological interpolations. Ockham’s razor is past due an invocation here.

  61. Nick

    With the thread title in mind:


    Here’s the first x-ray in 1895 of Roentgen’s wife’s hand. Quite an amazing image. He called them shadow pictures.

    When she saw it, she exclaimed “I have seen my death!”

    It reminds me again of Edison’s phonograph, and the original intended use he had in mind – to record last will and testaments.

    To be able to listen to the voices of your dead ancestors.