Can You Fly?

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  1. Beelzedad profile image58
    Beelzedadposted 13 years ago

    I can't and I don't think anyone else can, yet many believe they can. Why is it that they believe they can fly, when it's quite impossible?

    In other words, many claim things that violate the physical laws of the universe, like defying gravity and flying. No one has actually claimed they can fly, but they certainly have made claims that are equivalent to defying gravity.

    When asked if they would like to hear explanations as to why their claims are equivalent to defying gravity, they disappear into the woodwork, embracing these impossible beliefs. They continue to believe this has something to do with them, that they are special in that they can see or experience these things when all the while what they are claiming can't possibly exist.

    So, what conclusions can we draw from this phenomenon?

    1. psycheskinner profile image80
      psycheskinnerposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Could you be a little clearer about what an earth you are talking about--e.g. who made what claims?

      1. Beelzedad profile image58
        Beelzedadposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        The claims made are not specific to any one case, they are claims that are made within the pseudoscience and paranormal genre.

        What they are specific to are the laws of physics. I used gravity as the example because flying is probably the least and most easily refuted claim one could make. If someone makes the claim they could fly, a simple demonstration would suffice for the claim to be valid.

        That's why claims for other alleged phenomenon are more rampant as they are easier to make and require no evidence, like ghosts, auras and other such spiritual entities. They are claimed to be seen or experienced and vanish almost as quickly as they came. The only remaining evidence are the testimonials.

        The problem overlooked by those making the claims isn't one of having to provide evidence in light of the claim, but the fact that those making the claims don't really understand why the entity they claimed they saw or experienced cannot possibly exist in the first place as it's very existence defies and violates physical laws, just like the claim for flying violates laws of gravity. smile

        1. psycheskinner profile image80
          psycheskinnerposted 13 years agoin reply to this

          Well I can only think of one example that fits your description (yogic levitation), so I think you may be making a straw man argument. The reasons will be specific to the claims being made, like the 'out of body' sensations experienced during deep meditation.

          1. Beelzedad profile image58
            Beelzedadposted 13 years agoin reply to this

            How am I making a strawman argument? What does yogic levitation have to do with it?

            And, those reasons are...? smile

            1. psycheskinner profile image80
              psycheskinnerposted 13 years agoin reply to this

              You say there are a lot of examples, I suggested one which you apparently don't accept.  How about you provide one so at least I have some chance of knowing what you are talking about?

              1. Beelzedad profile image58
                Beelzedadposted 13 years agoin reply to this

                Oh yes, my bad. Yogic levitation would be a claim of defying gravity, not really flying like Peter Pan. There isn't any compelling evidence for it, but it certainly is a claim.

    2. Don W profile image81
      Don Wposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      If the claim, as in your example, is something that can be objectively verified, then testing the veracity of it is possible. Scientific method is a process that does exactly that. What a person believes is another story.

      On the other hand, what if the claim is something that can't be objectively verified? What if the nature of the claim sets it outside the scope of scientific method? Some theistic beliefs fall into this category. How would you evaluate such a claim?

      Some will say it's untrue because of lack of supporting evidence.
      Some will say it's true because of lack of refuting evidence.
      Some will say it's not possible to answer the question.
      Some will say if it can't be objectivity verified, it's irrelevant anyway.
      Some will 'know' it's true for some reason or other.
      Some will 'know' it's false for some reason or other. 
      Some will say it's very unlikely.
      Some will say it's highly likely.

      Whichever approach is taken in evaluating such a claim, the fact remains that the conclusion is no more than a guess. World-views may be formed on the basis of those guesses, but they are guesses nonetheless, no more, no less.

      There may be various reasons (cultural, historical, sociological, political, psychological) why some people take a particular approach to evaluating such a claim compared to others, but I think problems arise when people suggest that their approach to evaluating such a claim is the approach to evaluating such a claim. Then we end up in the ludicrous situation of people arguing over a claim, the truth of which they can only guess at. But I'm off topic.

      1. Beelzedad profile image58
        Beelzedadposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        It could only be evaluated as a statement of faith and nothing more. The claim can only be shelved in light of evidence.

        But, we can all agree that if the claim was not based on an observation, it remains a statement of faith, and nothing more.

        But, there is a difference between a "guess" and an educated guess, in which the guesswork is based on previously verified evidence.

        Not really, Don, you always provide much food for thought, something quite amiss here.

        I like the approach used by a biologist who shall remain nameless. It was an analogy about how if science used the same reasoning and logic that is used by believers of religions.

        He started out by stating that religions are quite geographical in nature and that each geographical religion held different worldviews from each other based on their belief systems and how they build their knowledge base.

        He used the extinction of dinosaurs as his example.

        A large group of scientists located in one particular area of the world believed the dinosaurs became extinct because of viruses and diseases while another large group on the other side of the world believed it was a lack of food while still another large group somewhere else in the world believed it to be a meteor.

        This is how religions work but not how science works. Notice that the method religions use to build their knowledge bases couldn't possibly work in finding out why dinosaurs became extinct.

        1. Don W profile image81
          Don Wposted 13 years agoin reply to this



          There is a difference between guess and educated guess. But there's a problem with the reasoning here. Although it's reasonable to say guesses based on previously verified evidence are more likely to be accurate. It doesn't follow that a particular guess that isn't based on previously verified evidence is therefore false. That's a non-sequitur.

          So while I agree, making educated guesses based on what has been verified is useful and sensible, it doesn't enable us to say a guess is wrong by virtue of the fact that it's an uneducated guess. Even uneducated guesses can be right.

          Absolutely. That would be like trying to saw wood with a hammer. But likewise, trying to apply evidentialism (upon which science is based) to certain philosophical questions, is like trying to bang a nail in with the edge of a saw. Different tools for different jobs. Evidentialism is a useful approach for some questions, but it's useless for others. To explore those questions people can and do develop other approaches. Those approaches may be useless for describing what happened to the dinosaurs, but useful in exploring other questions.

          1. Beelzedad profile image58
            Beelzedadposted 13 years agoin reply to this

            I would agree if the guesswork were immediately concluded to be false. Guesswork and educated guesswork would fall within the parameters of possibilities and probabilities where the guesswork's validity would be quite small compared with educated guesswork based on previous evidence.

            Agreed. I think when we get into the framework of guesswork in which the guess is either extraordinary or seemingly impossible, there would probably be a requirement for extraordinary evidence to support it.

            I would also agree with that if we could establish that those philosophical questions had any relevance to our worldview or not.

  2. Shadesbreath profile image78
    Shadesbreathposted 13 years ago

    Are you saying you actually know people who look you in the eye and say they can fly?  Like Superman or something?

    1. Beelzedad profile image58
      Beelzedadposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      As I mentioned in the OP, "No one has actually claimed they can fly, but they certainly have made claims that are equivalent to defying gravity."

      Hope that helps. smile

  3. kmackey32 profile image62
    kmackey32posted 13 years ago

  4. Randy Godwin profile image59
    Randy Godwinposted 13 years ago

    I don't thin Beezledad meant someone actually claiming they could fly, but something similarly impossible according the laws of nature.  Being invisible, conversing with dead folk, reading others minds, being a woman and thinking they were just as smart as a man, etc.  (Of course I was joking about the last example given!)  LOL!

  5. profile image0
    ShadowKing!posted 13 years ago

    His name was Anthony Thompson. He was a former friend of mine until he went off believing in high fantasy beliefs. One could say it started from our mutual interest in fantasy novels & movies. (Read my profile I DO NOT believe things in fantasy stories are real--I merely love writing about them.) Anyhow, after reading too many metaphysical & supernatural nonfiction books, Anthony began believing in the "possibilities" he read--like "levitating monks". Thus he once confided in me that he would study all he could to learn the location of these alleged "flying Asian monks" and would become a devote pupil to obtain his wings. He took it too far and our friendship was splintered. So yes, like Beezledad is conveying "there are people who BELIEVE OTHER PEOPLE can fly or levitate" but they themselves have not attained this fanciful talent.

  6. WaffleCheese profile image45
    WaffleCheeseposted 13 years ago

    Pretty sure I've spent a lot of time flying... And it follows the laws of physics. umm...I'm a pilot.

    It's pretty easy.

  7. jondav profile image71
    jondavposted 13 years ago

    I think R Kelly believes he can fly.

  8. getitrite profile image74
    getitriteposted 13 years ago

    I belive I'm pregnant...with puppies!

  9. SomewayOuttaHere profile image60
    SomewayOuttaHereposted 13 years ago

    maybe some are referring to 'astralprojection' - read about it when I was a teenager.

    1. psycheskinner profile image80
      psycheskinnerposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Given that none of seem to know what he really means, perhas he could stop being so vague.

    2. Beelzedad profile image58
      Beelzedadposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      That claim would fit the description quite well in which physical laws are defied. No evidence required whatsoever, and only the testimonials of the claimant remain. smile

  10. Daniel Carter profile image63
    Daniel Carterposted 13 years ago

    We fly and levitate in our dreams. People focus enough on their dreams, that despite the laws of physics, they begin to "feel" they are levitating and perhaps flying.

    I'm sorry I don't have links or facts at hand, but there are studies where certain situations are simulated for a participant, and the brain can't decipher whether or not it's an actual experience. Perhaps a personal conviction about the ability to fly is based on such self-created simulation.

    I don't know, I'm just construing information here.

  11. Studio E profile image59
    Studio Eposted 13 years ago

    Every human being can fly just jump off a building or mountain you may not fly up or forward but you will fly non the less. if you want to fly up or forward get a jet pack, i prefer time travel.

    1. Beelzedad profile image58
      Beelzedadposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Kind of like Toy Story flying where Buzz is "falling with style"? smile

  12. sabrebIade profile image81
    sabrebIadeposted 13 years ago

    “The knack of flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.”
    - Douglas Adams

    1. Beelzedad profile image58
      Beelzedadposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I like Douglas Adams and had not heard that quote before. Thanks for sharing it. smile


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