Hmm quite I had to skip over loads of the who did whats.
I didn't, for instance, mention Cavendish or Carl Scheele either.
Cavendish thought he'd discovered Phlogiston itself (not just dephlogisticated air) when he began messing about with Hydrogen.
Priestly definitely deserves respect for a lot of things but I am quite prepared to be critical of his refusal to to see past Phlogiston, but it's also understandable - he didn't have the weights and measures lavoisier could afford.
But would he of? Would he have changed his opinion that dephlogisticated air was an element. I dunno, I suspect not. Given how much he resisted what lavoisier did, although that was coloured by the debate over primacy, I like to think he'd recognise evidence when it was presented and he didn't.
So my feelings about Priestly are mixed.
but you're right, living next to that brewery helped him with his observations about (what we now call) carbon dioxide.
In the same sense that Descartes spoke of animal spirits flowing out of the Pineal Gland, and animating the muscles, yes I'd agree there all exist in a category of "things that don't really exist" so we can say pretty much what we like about them. (I think Phlogiston was a rather fetching shade of the colour blue... whereas ectoplasm was more yellowy...)
But I disagree mildly about whether or not they are no different
Ectoplasm was largely a fraud perpetuated after the invention of the camera (am I correct to think this?) that relied on in-camera trickery to become 'established'
Phlogiston for all it's errors (which are multiple) was superficially a plausible hypothesis built on ignorance and which sowed the seeds of it's own overthrow by setting -perhaps unintended - the conditions for testable predictions.
That many people were deceived in both instances is I think uncontravertable, but I struggle to reconcile them in my mind as the same
We've been discussing this for a while. :D I don't really go into detail all that often, and that's not gonna change, but I was one of these "spiritual atheist's" through all of my teenage years and I didn't completely shake it until I was about twenty-one (four years ago). I did not believe in god concepts, of course, during all of this, but I did entertain afterlife concepts until I was about eighteen and began studying a bit of philosophy in college. (When I realized that afterlife concepts were purely pessimistic.) Even THEN for a few more years I studied the occult (as I had for years) and saw no conflict between my atheism and it. Looking back now... I don't see how I didn't. Anyway, I just wanted to post a few links to some occultist material for all of your study and amusement. These are the things that I, as a spiritual atheist, prescribed to. Specifically, I studied the painter/occultist Austin Osman Spare (and I still do have a profound interest in the man, but that's cause I love characters from history and he was quite character).
Should I have scoffed at all of this? Maybe. I did gain a lot of meditation techniques and the like that work great after I spend a hard day running cat-5 in buildings, though. And if I hadn't delved deeply into such things then I don't know that I would be the strong atheist I am today.
He is what I would term a spiritual atheist. For the few years he and I had regular contact I never once heard him say anything that made me think he was anything other than an atheist who prescribed to 'woo' and lots of it. :D
I believe there is a legitimate area of inquiry as to the obviously misinterpreted phenomena that causes people to buy into woo woo wholesale and with little queston. It seems that there may be something going on - either solely in a huge number of people's minds - or in reality - that is not well understood.
It is very tempting to simply dismiss it as 'mass delusion.' Well, that's a pretty non-specific answer to an empirically provable situation - a dangerous one at that. If we could understand why people so readily and profoundly buy into what - to us - is so obviously nonsense, we might have a better shot at snapping them out of it. Or not. But I think it behooves us to explore this.
In the process, I think many atheists are willing to re-examine phenomena that we actually don't fully understand with a less anthropocentric or solipsistic eye than many other atheists are willing to. In the process, terms, such as 'spirituality' are attempted to be used for the phenomena, but within the context of an entirely different take on it.
Calling something that is ubiquitous and, potentially dangerous such as religious faith - woo woo - and leaving it at that isn't helpful. Using logic to try and dislodge faith has been found to be insufficient to the task. But if we could show the proverbial blind men that they weren't touching a rope, a wall, a hose, etc. but an elephant instead - maybe more of them would have an aha moment.
So - I find it can take a second to sort out who is simply willing to inquire from those who simply cannot let go of their woo.
In the meantime, I have found it more problematic to use the term 'spirituality' in reference to this inquiry than not. So I have stopped.
The answer is obvious: atheists refer to "spirituality" not in the religious sense of a supernatural spirit or soul, but in the sense of how one is uplifted with awe and wonder when contemplating this magnificent universe and our small part of it.
You cannot separate it from its defined intent; it invokes the First Cause to use the words "spirit", "spiritual" or "spirituality" ... all metaphysical, regardless an individuals intent to rationalise it as otherwise.