The Debunkers Quest

Discussion in 'Reincarnation Questions' started by Deborah, May 6, 2006.

  1. Sunniva

    Sunniva Administrator Emeritus

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    Hi Nightrain :)


    I know you feel very strongly about this and I respect your opinion, but I have to say that I do not share it.


    I can only highly disagree with the general misconception that scientists are the bad guys, who are only out to destroy everything we believe.


    First of all, there's no need to victimize ourselves. If we choose to go out into the world and say: here's the truth - take it or leave it! Then we must also accept the reaction. We must also accept that there is no individual truth - there are individual beliefs, but that is different.


    Secondly, if we choose to play in 'their' field, that is science, we must play by the rules. Critique is what drives science and instead of becoming insulted we should learn from it. There are many, too many, 'researchers' in reincarnation, who are not serious - so we probably shouldn't throw stones at mr. Randi.


    In my work as an archaeologist I meet people regularly, who believe that the pyramids were built by aliens, that Dinosaurs and humans lived together or that a highly advanced civilization ruled the earth from Atlantis thousands of years ago. I am used to being 'on the other side of the fence' when trying to tell them that it can't be, that the facts say otherwise. I am used to being called narrow-minded when I won't accept homebrewed theories and I've been told that I'm part of the big conspiracy to hide the real truth from people. So I'm fully capable of seeing this situation from their, the sceptics and the scientists, point of view.


    I am truly sorry if some people feel they can't post their experiences here, because of fear they might be questioned. I have not at any point felt intimidated, this is still a safe place regardless of sceptics being around or not.
     
  2. Nightrain

    Nightrain Senior Registered

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    I may come on strong at times; but it is not because I am distrustful of science. It is only because of my encounters with fanatics who try to abuse science into the role of crushing any evidence of life after death. They are characteristically snide, dishonest, arrogant and incredibly hypocritical when they accuse honest researchers of fraud and gullibility. And, they are no better, in my mind, than the church's inquisition, which finally lost its hold on Western society only a short 300 years ago.


    I wonder, from a purely non-scientific point of view, whether such people were not, themselves, the same souls who persecuted witches, herbalists and psychics in the name of the church not that long ago. Their style seems almost the same. And, were it not for the relative freedom we have to express our beliefs today, I am confident that hard-core skeptics would have all such people imprisoned. It hasn't been that long ago that there were laws in the United States against psychics giving readings for any purpose other than "entertainment".


    I have the deepest respect for science, and my personal sentiments are deeply appreciative of the sacrifices made by scientists whose efforts have brought us out of the dark ages. However, I would also warn that there lies a danger of establishing in science the same infallible authority that was once given to the Church. We should be constantly vigilant to maintain science as an "ology" rather than an "ism" by which we judge others.


    In the same respect, our interest in reincarnation should be with learning and growing, rather than spreading some kind of belief system. I welcome input from any source that helps us to think beyond our pre-conceived notions. However, it doesn't take superior powers of perception to see through the motives of many JREF followers, whose only purpose is to disrupt and discredit those who have dedicated their lives to the research and study of reincarnation and psi phenomenon. One need only read their spurious criticisms and research their motives as Rob McLuhan has done in his book, to see how their activities have slandered legitimate research and held back science in the name of a new God, called "materialism".
     
  3. Nightrain

    Nightrain Senior Registered

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    As a follow-up to my previous post in which I compared certain fanatical skeptics to the inquisition, I came across the following quote by Stuart Hameroff:

    You can find the full text here.


    Like Hameroff, I have no particular interest in religion. But, it does seem that the fanaticism of some influential scientists is like the Spanish Inquisition in reverse -- the scientists are burning the believers. And, in this case the believers seem to include anyone who even attempts to conduct scientific research into psi phenomenon, or who remains open minded enough to entertain the possible existence of anything not directly measurable.
     
  4. Sunniva

    Sunniva Administrator Emeritus

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    From a sceptic point of view it would make more sense to put out such a reward to someone, who could prove that God does exist ;) :D . The other way around would be far too easy! : angel :tongue:


    I've read your link and I must say that I don't understand it at all : angel Lots of scientific terms and concepts that I don't get, so basically I can't judge whether his arguments are really valid or whether the critics were correct. However, a basic problem I have with the general argumentation and use of science within reincarnation research is that the result is assumed. Whenever a scientific study into reincarnation is conducted it's usually setting out to prove reincarnation or spirituality or God, etc.


    Basically, believers don't want the truth unless the truth fits them. If a study was conducted and the result was that reincarnation wasn't actually 're-incarnation', but a psychological effect taking place in a specific center of the brain and that it had nothing to do with spirituality, would we then accept the results?


    All the scientific studies on reincarnation that I've read is in my eyes build on a wrong premise, i.e. "we are collecting evidence to prove reincarnation is real". However the consequences of that premise are massive. It means the soul exists, that there is an afterlife and ultimately that some divine being exists. We have no physical evidence to back this up however unless we use what is already known and interpret it so that it fits our theory. An example of this is 'the God Particle'. This term comes from physics and has nothing to do with 'God' or spirituality, but explains a sort of multi-purpose particle. However, certain religious groups have taken this concept and used it as proof that 'God' exists, because 'the real scientists said so' :freak: :)


    Long story short :D Basically I think we should just accept that reincarnation is faith, not science.
     
  5. Nightrain

    Nightrain Senior Registered

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    Randi's Million Dollar Challenge


    Very often one will hear the skeptical question being put forth, "If psychic phenomenon is real, why doesn't someone accept James Randi's One Million Dollar Challenge?". Personally, I have to congratulate Randi for contriving such a successful public relations gimmick, for it has seriously turned public opinion in his favor during the past several years.


    However, I have read and seen numerous accounts which demonstrate how impossible it would be for anyone to pass his tests. For one thing, he and his representatives either avoid people who could demonstrate certain phenomenon, or he devises tests which purposely sidetrack the demonstration. My own opinion, after seeing him in action, is that he is a proven trickster and mentalist who has already perpetrated hoaxes and was part of a 1977 controversy with other CSICOP members in which the results of a replication experiment involving the Mars Effect were altered by secretly introducing lower quality samples, then writing an article in The Skeptical Inquirer, which diverted attention from their replication experiment by questioning the quality of the original test samples.


    In Chris Carter's book, "Parapsychology and the Skeptics", he goes into great detail documenting the history of organized skepticism; and it is easy to see why no one has been able to win the Million Dollar Challenge, and why no good medium in their right mind would ever consider walking into that den of...Well, let's just call them deniers, because "skeptics" is just too good a word. After all, a skeptic is someone who practices a healthy trait of critical judgment. A denier, on the other hand, is usually someone who dogmatically maintains their belief in erroneous information, even when the information has been invalidated.
     
  6. Green26

    Green26 Senior Registered

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    A long read, but an interesting article on the myth of the million dollar challenge:


    http://www.dailygrail.com/features/the-myth-of-james-randis-million-dollar-challenge


    I posted this recently on another forum to a skeptic when the topic of some of my paranormal experiences came up and she brought up the subject of the million dollar challenge as put it forward as proof that there are no psychics etc, only con men. I told her Randi himself was a con man and provided this article. She wouldn't even look at it nor respond to my concerns about the challenge, just kept flogging the same old dead horse that there were no psychics, only frauds and Randi's challenge was proof of that. Just goes to show how willing skeptics are to get to the bottom of things.


    Skeptics are not identical to scientists IMO and their purpose is basically to affirm their beliefs about the non-existence of reincarnation, psychics etc by means of rhetorical tools such as Randi's challenge and mock those who don't share their views. It's funny how they view themselves as people without self delusions, yet they display the same attributes and behavior and cognitive dissonance as religious fundamentalists. Skeptics have a lot more in common with the religious than they care to imagine, and it really bothers me that they also see themselves as scientific, as they don't really help science progress IMO. Just like religious fundamentalists.


    A video by Victor Zammit who explains why the challenge is bogus from a legal perspective:

     
  7. Sister Grey

    Sister Grey Senior Registered

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    Yes, I've noticed that and completely agree. I was surprised, really, as to how violently and passionately skeptics respond to anything that's not completely in line with their world view. I was thinking that they had more of an agnostic, 'don't know', 'show me' mind set, but nope. I sometimes think it'd be easier to change the minds of the religious fundamentalists than it would be that of the self-described 'skeptics'.
     
  8. Mama2HRB

    Mama2HRB Senior member Staff Member

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    I, too, think this particular set of skeptics are not skeptics but just want to prove their point and are willing to go to great lengths to do so.


    I would be much more interested in someone who was open to a bunch of different tests that were overseen by a group of other well known skeptics and mediums.
     
  9. Jim78

    Jim78 Senior Registered

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    I think skeptics would try to debunk anything that doesn't fit into their world view. I had a friend debunk the whole idea of reincarnation based solely on the fact that I didn't remember which exit I used to leave the GPO in 1916, even though I told him that I only remember being in the building....not leaving it. He expected me to have complete recall of that life. Although I was able to tell him where I was in the building. Still though, skeptics find their own answers and screw the evidence.
     
  10. SeekerOfKnowledge

    SeekerOfKnowledge Learner

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    You should have asked them whether they remember their first day at school. Yes? Probably so. Do they also remember how they entered the building and classroom? Do they remember how they left it?
    Well, I remember that my grandparents were there, that I was in the yard, that I was in a classroom... but I do not remember how I went from the yard to the classroom and back. According to your friend, this would mean that I never had a first day at school.
    Don't remember something you "should" remember? Not really an argument as long we don't remember each single detail even from our current life if you ask me...
     
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  11. Jim78

    Jim78 Senior Registered

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    In fairness SeekerOfKnowledge, if I had full recall of my past life I'd have no doubt that I would remember my avenue of retreat. I just didn't remember that. I could have lied and made an educated guess that we exited on the Moore Street side of the building because that's where we surrendered but it wouldn't have been a true past life recall. I was as honest as possible to my friend about my memories and he dismissed them.

    I do take you point though. Like, people who remember past lives have become worm food, gone to the ether and come back. Its amazing we have past life memories at all.

    Unfortunately after my friend "outwitted" me with his which exit question he shut me up. He wouldn't listen to any more and to this day won't listen to it. He's patriotic and Catholic so I guess the idea of other lives as other people in other countries goes against his self image.

    Debunkers will always debunk. Next time I expect a debunker to say that my memories cannot be real because they aren't in sepia tones. :)
     
  12. Graham76man

    Graham76man Senior Member

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    We interviewed several people once about childhood experiences. What they reported sometimes didn't match historical facts, which we checked out. But these people were not having past life memories, but their own. Had they been past life memories sceptics would have dismissed them as being false memories and the whole life false as a result.
     
  13. Jim78

    Jim78 Senior Registered

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    My memories do match historical facts though Graham. I just don't remember everything from my lives.

    I take your point though. That's why I try to be as honest as possible about my pl memories. Its the only way to go.
     

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