I posted to a blog where a christian was talking about the tradition of meditating/praying in total darkness as the true way to get close to god, and how christians apparently traditionally did this. I responded:
Another way to look at it is sensory deprivation which can induce hallucinations and even psychotic experiences.
“Studies have been conducted to test the effect of sensory deprivation on the brain. One study took 19 volunteers, all of whom tested in the lower and upper 20th percentiles on a questionnaire which measures the tendency of healthy people to see things not really there, and placed them into a pitch black, soundproof booth for 15 minutes. After, they completed another test that measures psychosis-like experiences, originally used to study recreational drug users. Five people reported seeing hallucinations of faces, six reported seeing shapes/faces not actually there, four noted a heightened sense of smell and two people reported sensing a “presence of evil” in the room. Not surprisingly, people who scored lower on the first test experienced fewer perceptual distortions; however, they still reported seeing a variety of delusions and hallucinations. According to the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease the hallucinations are caused by the brain misidentifying the source of what it is currently being experienced, a phenomenon called faulty source monitoring.”
This to me is no different than tribes using peyoti to induce “visions”.
It is not only possible but extremely common for people to subjectively experience things which aren’t real. We do so every night when we dream, and often do so when we’re awake as well.
The scientific approach is to look for evidence outside of our subjective experience and try to tell if it really exists or if it’s just in our heads. And like with out of body experiences, ghost sightings, countless supposed miracle occurrences the objective evidence is usually predictably lacking.
To which he responded:
“you are so wrong. it’s due to the prejudicial premises you establish a priori.
you are an atheist and that’s your premise…But I shall try to answer, although I know that something is preventing you from thinking normally…is it a perverted addiction you have? whatever it is, your thought processes are not straight.
So, just like the LIGO experiment which is looking for gravity waves, and finding none…it is not possible to empirically test for GOD…that is the definition of GOD…duh…GOD is not subject to human manipulation…Gravity waves cannot be found by LIGO because the whole cosmos moves locally and the super exact lasers detect NOTHING. dude, faith is the only certainty. I am not going to waste my breath on you, most probably, unless, and until you admit to refusing to let go of your immoral addiction which is preventing you from seeing the Light of Truth…is is POT? some weird sex orientation? what is it?”
Bravo sir, bravo.