Nirvanam wrote: I am with you on this. What I am saying is that what we think is irrational at a particular point in time may later be proved to be rational with general growth in knowledge in many related areas. History is proof enough for this.
No, you're not with me on this. I think you're exploiting an ambiguity in the word "rational", whereby some people might say that at one time it was "rational" to talk about, say, the ether, but that now it has been proved to be "irrational" (and that "therefore" there's no barrier to magic). But that's not my line at all.
Reason is a tool. Either you use it or you reject it. You may make mistakes even if you adopt reason/science/empirical enquiry. You may, for example, think that ether exists. That doesn't mean that when ether was ruled out of models of physics that the previous acceptance of it was "irrational". It might mean that believing it now in the teeth of the evidnece is "irrational".
The point being that "magic" - the rejection of reason - can never become rational. Either you adopt science or you do not. Regardless of what happens to the state of our knowledge over time, failing to adopt science means you fail to contribute to knowlege. All advocates of esoteric ideas have to do to join the genuine seekers after knowledge, is to adopt genuine scientific methods.
I'll put all that another way: it's not what we claim to know which is rational or irrational, but our grounds for claiming to know it.
Dan wrote: You are not open to figuring whether there is a possibility of such a thing. I am. Does it make you a more "rational" person than me, I doubt. Does it make me a person who believes in magic: I don't think so. I am open to the possibility because I have experienced feeling better when someone would touch my forehead with their palms when I was having a bad headache. The warmth of that touch relieved my pain for that moment in time.
No, I'm not open to that "possibility" (let's be clear, everyone knows that physical contact is generally good for wellbeing, that's not what I am not open to. What I am not open to is magical explanations of the explanation for that feeling of wellbeing generated by physical contact). I'm not open to lots of stuff that people make up. Who cares, though, what I personally am or am not open to? It doesn't matter what I think.
Because, all advocates of magic have to do is adopt the tools of science and reason and do some proper empirical investigation of their bizarre notions. Then I can bluster and fuss and put my fingers in myears and go la la la all I like, but if the results of rigorous tests are positive, then I'll not have a leg to stand on.
Really I'm a very open minded man. I'll accept anything if it's been rationally tested. All I'm really closed to is stuff that people invent and which they refuse
to subject to the tools of rational inquiry, because they think, wrongly, that there are other routes to knowledge.