Maybe my previous post, to daverupa, wasn't so far off-topic after all.
My only concern is whether this previous post is able to comfort my anecdotes. They remain huddled for the time being but they certainly still require reassurance. I have it on authority to publish that they are now willing to also accept a machine that goes beep. Provided the beeps actually mean something.
One of the differences between science and not-science is that science typically demands 'objective' evidence and dismisses personal experience as 'merely anecdotal', with a heavy emphasis on the 'merely'. But there are whole swathes of subjects in which 'objective' evidence is simply unavailable, starting with what goes on in our minds.
Agreed. Dr David Chalmers in a very interesting and instructive discussion on the hard problem in neuroscience, among other things: http://bloggingheads.tv/videos/1187
If science wants to extend its reach to these subjects, it will have to alter its definition of 'evidence', and/or develop the jhana-meter and TSA-wand.
(Calm down, anecdotes. It's not going to happen.)
Until then, science should, logically, admit its ignorance and its inability to investigate these areas - and keep out.
I think I said something like that before, actually.
Stephen Jay Gould. Non overlapping magesteria: http://www.stephenjaygould.org/library/gould_noma.html
And that's the thing. Scientists are not unable to investigate the validity claims about things like jhana (and rebirth...etc.) But as you point out, these are entirely different modes of knowing. So if you want to know something about the physical/material world you can follow the basic injunctions proscribed by empirical science, but if you want to know about jhana (or your previous lives etc.) then there are a completely different set of injunctions to follow. These injunctions are to be found among the teachings of the Buddha and his noble disciples.