• Paranormalia is written by Robert McLuhan, a journalist and author based in London. Please contact me at robertmcluhan@gmail.com

« The Dalai Lama | Main | Cross-Fertilisation »

May 26, 2008

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c6d8553ef00e5527f68318833

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Past Lives and The Skeptic:

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

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:

http://www.enformy.com/Gary-reHymanReview.htm

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.

Robert,

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.

The comments to this entry are closed.

ORDER ONLINE!

  • SOME REVIEWER COMMENTS
  • ‘A brisk, bracing look at this continuing controversy, exhaustively researched .. a must-read for anyone with a serious interest in parapsychology and its critics.’
  • ‘‘Packed with accurate information while at the same time surprisingly engaging and fun to read.’
  • ‘‘This is one book that gives a completely objective review of skeptical debunking, and spells out in detail a clear pattern of chicanery which pervades a well-funded and organized campaign against all psi research.’

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

  • ‘These disturbing phenomena seem to deny all our usual scientific ideas. How we should like to discredit them! Unfortunately the statistical evidence, at least for telepathy, is overwhelming. It is very difficult to rearrange one’s ideas so as to fit these new facts in.’ Alan Turing, computer scientist.

  • ‘I have noticed that if a small group of intelligent people, not supposed to be impressed by psychic research, get together and such matters are mentioned, and all feel that they are in safe and sane company, usually from a third to a half of them begin to relate exceptions. That is to say, each opens a little residual closet and takes out some incident which happened to them or to some member of their family, or to some friend whom they trust and which they think odd and extremely puzzling.’ Walter Prince, psychic researcher.

  • When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong. Arthur C. Clarke

  • ‘Science seems to me to teach in the highest and strongest manner the great truth which is embodied in the Christian conception of entire surrender to the will of God. Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abysses nature leads, or you shall learn nothing.’ Thomas Henry Huxley

  • We can always immunize a theory against refutation. There are many such immunizing tactics; and if nothing better occurs to us, we can always deny the objectivity – or even the existence – of the refuting observation. Those intellectuals who are more interested in being right than in learning something interesting but unexpected are by no means rare exceptions. Karl Popper, on the defenders of materialism.

  • If we have learned one thing from the history of invention and discovery, it is that, in the long run - and often in the short one - the most daring prophecies seem laughably conservative. Arthur C. Clarke.

Become a Fan