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The six blind men try to figure out the elephant. Image from Patheos.


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Logic is useful, especially when correctly applied, ( in the discourse of epistemology. Illustration from � HYPERLINK “http://researchmeth.wikispaces.com/Ontology+and+Epistemology” �researchmeth.wikispaces.com�


As on Canvas, for anyone not clear about the difference between theory and method and their role in the scientific process, it may help to consult the following resources:

Understanding social theory: � HYPERLINK “https://cnx.org/contents/AgQDEnLI@13.6:QMRfI2p1@13/1-3-Theoretical-Perspectives” �https://cnx.org/contents/AgQDEnLI@13.6:QMRfI2p1@13/1-3-Theoretical-Perspectives�

Understanding the scientific method: � HYPERLINK “https://cnx.org/contents/AgQDEnLI@13.6:uu5Nth4o@11/2-1-Approaches-to-Sociological-Research” \l “42376” �https://cnx.org/contents/AgQDEnLI@13.6:uu5Nth4o@11/2-1-Approaches-to-Sociological-Research#42376�

Understanding research methods: � HYPERLINK “https://cnx.org/contents/AgQDEnLI@13.6:5y6RWnGd@16/2-2-Research-Methods” �https://cnx.org/contents/AgQDEnLI@13.6:5y6RWnGd@16/2-2-Research-Methods�



Yet, useful and crucial as it is to understand subjective perception and cultural interpretation, neither contradict the existence of the Objective. The fact is this: The Berkeleyan thesis is easily refuted by actual experience. Imagine you’re running somewhere in the dark, where you can’t see what’s in front of you. Unfortunately, this includes a brick wall that runs across your path. That solid and extremely hard wall directly ahead of you is still very much there, whether or not you perceive it or know about it or choose to believe in it yourself. It even exists regardless of whether you or your culture of origin builds, values or even believes in brick walls. ( In any case, the wall isn’t going anywhere, regardless of your perceptions or beliefs about it, with a sad but predictable result if you don’t slow down or change your own direction to avoid it. True, tolerance and human understanding do require substantial allowances for individual and cultural perception. But our individual and cultural perception neither cause nor determine the Ultimate Realities we find in the world around us, Seen or Unseen. In any case, Absolute Truth is the Truth, even if (as Gandhi said) only one person correctly knows and perceives what that Truth is.


Anne Hathaway and Christopher Gorham (left), who played Jean and John Groberg in The Other Side of Heaven, pose with their real-life counterparts during a break from shooting the film in 2000. Photo from fanpixfamousfix.com.


Key Difference in Terms

Metaphysical = Other-worldly (spirits, angels, God, Heaven, etc.)

Paranormal = Beyond current scope of scientific understanding (UFOs, Bigfoot, telekinesis, ESP, much of metaphysical phenomena, etc.).


Dumbledore speaking to Harry in his vision, according to the 2011 Warner Brothers film. Image from harrypotter.wikia.com.


Image from feelgraphix.com. This is one of the world’s most dangerous substances, according to � HYPERLINK “http://www.dhmo.org” �www.dhmo.org�. (



Always True Per Se






True by social agreement


Sometimes verifiable



You see it as true

Changes often

Not often verifiable


The Continuum of Experience


Key Takeaway about “Proof”

Proving a fact, or establishing it as Objective Truth, takes a LONG time and a LOT of work. The better we understand scientific methodology, the better we understand that we “prove” exactly NOTHING in the short term. We only assess evidence and whether the evidence supports our conclusions.




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