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May 26, 2008


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It all smacks of a Trevor Hall style debunking of a dead pioneer. Crookes, Palladino, Harry Price and countless others have been victims of this kind of thing.

Stevenson's work is incredibly important but IMO not near the top of the list of strongest cases in psychical history, only because of a necessary lack of control involved in these cases.

Good that you mentioned Piper, in her case this effort falls flat every time. Prominent "skeptics" like Martin Gardner have made efforts to dismiss her and her abilities but because this is an impossible task their attacks are so confused and selective that one is left wondering if they actually bothered to consider the positive evidence or if they went into the enterprise just to allay the fears of their brethren, who need constant reassurance that there isn't anything in this whole business.

Expect the debunking efforts to go on forever. But don't expect them to be substantive.

Part of Gary Schwartz's experiments with mediums have included controls for the 'general similarities' argument made by Angel. They include having subjects rate various 'readings' to see how much the information applies to them. I'm too lazy to look it up right now, but the readings NOT intended for a specific subject were rated about 30% accurate. However, those rated by the INTENDED subjects were 70 to 80% accurate. Of course, I am sure Angel would dismiss Schwartz before reading his papers...

On another note, take a look at Return From Heaven, by Carol Bowman, which despite it's unpromising cover, is a very good book showing a researcher applying Stevenson's methods to American cases. The degree of specificity of the past live memories, and the researchers thoroughness, is extremely persuasive. Personally, it moved me from very skeptical to undecided about reincarnation.

Ah, yes, Tony I was going to bring up Gary's work as well. This criticism is nothing new. Gary has responded in detail why Hyman's accusations, based on the same type of an idea, are invalid:


I am especially entertained by this part:


At the two-day meeting I convened of seven highly experienced professional mentalist magicians and cold readers, they all agreed that they could not apply their conventional mentalist tricks under these strict experimental conditions. However, a vocal subset (Hyman was one of the three), made the claim that if they had a year or two to practice, they might be able to figure out a way how to fake what the mediums were doing. My response to this vocal subset was simple. It was "show me."


I used to be terribly interested in these 'skeptic' vs 'paranormal investigator' battles, but I don't really care anymore. Skeptics concocting 'just so' stories and passing them off as legitimate criticism: it has somehow gotten old to me - and not very skeptical.

Personally, I don't understand the point of Angel's "refutation." He hasn't contributed anything substantially new to this debate. Stevenson and Tucker were/are the first ones to admit that the research is far from conclusive and that it is only suggestive at best.


please, see the link http://paginas.terra.com.br/educacao/criticandokardec/imad_elawar_revisited.html

There are very good analysis about the case Imad Elawar, Leonard Angel and Ian Stevenson.

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