@STFIU: awesome, thanks. BBCode mode is back after all.
The problem with debating sleep psychology is that barely anything is proven. Like I said, until we have empirical evidence feeding back from dreams, it's all up in the air. You needn't assume I have ulterior motives in simplifying what I was saying to avoid jargon: it wasn't arrogance or delusion at all.
Maybe arrogance or delusion is an uncharitable interpretation, but you seem to be under the impression that there is some objective reality (even if we don't know what it is) that unites everybody's
experience of dreaming, everywhere
. Maybe there is, but this is itself a proposition that requires proof. It seems far more likely to me that even we discover what the true biological purpose of dreaming is, the nature of the experience for each individual is still going to vary greatly.
Nobody has the authority to declare anything with regards to this without their own widely ranging study to back them up, which none of us have.
In general I take the view that people's reporting of their own first-person experiences is authoritative as to the nature of the experience itself (although conclusions about objective reality derived from first-person experiences can of course be totally wrong).
Sure, you can take an ultra-skeptical view that "you don't really know what you are experiencing", but this is pretty useless in practice, as it rules out all study of conscious experiences that aren't empirically measurable (which is most of them), and tends towards the solipsistic position that nobody in the world except yourself actually has any subjective experiences at all.
I could just as well argue that since I don't like avocados I should be "skeptical" of anyone else who claims that they do
like them, since my study of the nature of human taste preferences doesn't support the idea of avocados being a desirable food.
With regards to WILD, I've only ever heard bad things. Every experience I've heard or read about is people ending up paralysed in a waking nightmare because they got carried away, which is sleep paralysis.
Well, perhaps if you poll a group of narcoleptics who suffer from sleep paralysis you will find overlap between the two experiences, but they are really quite separate things. Sleep paralysis is (from what I've read) a half-waking state in which you are aware of the world around you and your inability to move; WILD is a full dream state in which you have no awareness of the world around you but are aware that you are dreaming.
Maybe there is an increased risk that you could transition from one to the other, but I don't see why this should be any greater for lucid dreaming than any other kind of REM sleep, or that somebody who has never suffered from sleep paralysis would suddenly start to experience it as a result of trying to induce lucid dreaming.
Similar to a religious debate, for as long as it's about lucid dreaming I've really nothing to offer that isn't skepticism.
I don't see much connection really. Religious debates are about the nature of objective reality, not just what happens inside someone's head. Of course people sometimes claim to have had religious experiences, but the source of conflict is the conclusions about the universe they draw as a result (i.e. "God exists"), not about the quality of the experience itself.