I have been following up Dr. Pamela Gerloff’s post about the ‘Possiblity Paradigm’ with a few comments of my own, most of them on this page. I pointed out a number of logical flaws in her argument, and she has finally replied exactly as I thought she eventually would, by saying “From within your paradigm it appears to be gobbledlygook, and full of logical inconsistences. That's correct, when perceived from within your paradigm,” and “You are trying to understand what I'm saying from within your philosopher/logician's thought framework/paradigm.”
This is the ultimate get-out-of-jail-free card for the purveyor of New Age mumbo-jumbo. If you try to point out any flaw in their reasoning whatsoever, they will simply reply that the flaw is from your ‘logical’ standpoint or ‘paradigm’. It is a limitation of your mind constrained by ordinary logic. And of course there is no reply to that. If your opponent in argumentation refuses to abide by the rules of logic, the argument is over. Except to note that New Ageists nearly always use ‘ordinary’ logic to put forward their arguments. In her original post, Gerloff claims that Lester Levenson exists, and backs up her claim by saying she knows former students of his, which is an obvious appeal to standard scientific reasoning (give evidence). She cites evidence that Lester recovered from apparently incurable cancer as reason for believing the more extraordinary claims, such as being able to withstand nuclear blasts by the power of thought. So she is trying to persuade us using ordinary logic as a first step. Yet as soon as we question her second step, she explains that ‘ordinary’ logic fails. But if that were true, the first step would fail. This is inconsistent.
This reminds me so much of the 1960s and 70s. The 13th Floor Elevators were a 60s band who advocated chemical agents (such as acid and weed) as a gateway to a higher, 'non-Aristotelian' state of consciousness, which would transcend ordinary ‘Aristotelian logic’. I remember many conversations, or what passed for conversations with the smokers of weed and the herb where this very same argument was propounded. Not really arguments, of course. Any substantial logical point was met with that irritating condescending smile of the weeder who is already at the ‘higher state of consciousness’. “You simply don’t understand, man”. The fact being, of course, that marijuana blocks all short-term memory so effectively that any movement from premisses to conclusion – which requires remembering what the premisses were – is impossible.