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

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December 18, 2013

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I'm glad to see that Craig Weiler isn't letting this go. Hopefully it will develop into an larger, organized counter movement.

I don't think the hysterical, and downright vulgar bitterness of the militant sceptics can be overestimated; it's their Achilles heel. Intelligent, civil, yet witty responses from folks like Weiler and others in the spiritual/paranormal community need to be rallied around and supported.

I desperately wish we had an organization similar to CSI that could speak out to the mainstream. Such an organization would have to be more of an invitation only fraternity, rather than an unwieldy mob-like organization open to everybody. Let's face it, we do have our fringe, and the most damning thing about CSI is that it's almost all fringe. We need our better scientists and journalists, who know and respect each other, to band together and speak out as a monolithic voice. I think it can be done.

Now, off to download the book...

"I desperately wish we had an organization similar to CSI that could speak out to the mainstream"

Rabbitdawg, I agree. That is something that the SPR, PA etc. could, perhaps, have been coordinating decades ago and they're not. Why? I suspect that part of the problem could be that, these are scientific organisations that, quite properly, hold no corporate opinion. Also the sort of political thuggery indulged in by the skeptic organisations is deemed 'unscientific' and not worth dignifying by much comment.

So it all tends to be left to individual members of those organisations to act of their own volition. And, of course, as been mentioned before here. Serious researchers and genuine 'sceptics' (Truzzi being the best example) tend not to be that driven ideologically.

Hi Robert,
Thank you for the great review. As I'm sure you know, there is no way to know how a book is going to be received once it's written and out the door.

Thanks again,
Craig

It is pathetically hypocritical to bring the Tea Party into this discussion. Skeptics learn everything the know about paranormal phenomena from other skeptics and are woefully misinformed on the subject. Liberals learn everything they know about the Tea Party from other liberals and are likewise misinformed. Before you make statements about the Tea Party please go to the Tea Party web sites and learn something about them from original sources.

Thanks

That's a good enough recommendation for me.

I have to say my own dealings with the the SPR left me feeling it was somewhat moribund.

A year or so ago, Phillip Roth came across a Wikipedia article about the origin of his novel Human Skin. Roth wrote to Wikipedia to correct them. They refused to change the article. Apparently, he was an insufficient source for the origin of his own novel.

It took Roth publishing a letter in the Mr York Times to get them to make the change. Tells you what you're dealing with...

I could have written a lot more.

It would be possible to write an entire book just about all the things wrong with Wikipedia. People have been raising objections for many years and I had the luxury of picking and choosing from the stories that were available. It was just the tip of the iceberg.

Yes Craig, and it's a bloody big iceberg, at that!

Thanks BTW for doing a lot of the stuff re this that you have (and others working in the background). It's very much appreciated by me, and by many, many other people too - I'm sure!

Thanks Robert. I have ordered the paperback version of the book after reading the sample and comments on Amazon (especially the one asinine anonymous commenter to the reviews). I have personally experienced the trolls on Wikipedia, on my site and on a few other parapsychological websites. I know what damage they can do. Thanks!

All internet discussion and argument is not rational discourse but mental masturbation. Go home and grow and live within your own mind as, in the final analysis, we all do anyway. We are all ephemera.

Well thanks for your contribution david.

For 'mental masturbation', maybe read 'emotional self-pleasuring' ;) I've no doubt that it does apply in many cases - online and otherwise. People who are interested purely in the emotional arousal they get from 'debate', rather than the actual facts.

Well I for one, think I've learned a great deal from online discussions and debates.

I've got to know some very knowledgeable people too.

Me too Paul. It seems apparent to me that some (including those in the skeptical Wiki-fiddling dep't) are driven slightly differently when they go online to 'discuss' these things, though.

It's a rather unedifying image that's been haunting me for years!

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  • ‘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.

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