VICTOR ZAMMIT
A Lawyer Presents the Case for the Afterlife
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The Book 4th Edition

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26. Answering the closed-minded skeptics

'We should not go for complete skepticism, but for degrees of probability'.
Professor Bertrand Russell

In sharing the results of my research into the afterlife I have come across many different reactions—from those who readily accept the afterlife as a belief to others who are skeptics and debunkers.

An open-minded skeptic is someone who generally will not accept superstition or beliefs to explain physical or psychical phenomena. He or she will however accept scientifically and other objectively based results. As has been explained, to a person all of the most famous psychic researchers began their investigations as open-minded skeptics.

I am on record for publicly articulating a skeptical view of life. I was not prepared to accept things I was told on 'faith'. I doubted, I questioned, I read, researched and investigated. I still consider myself an open-minded skeptic—but not in the specific and the particular issue of the afterlife because I thoroughly investigated it.

Like the many scientists who bothered to systematically investigate the afterlife, I too came to the irretrievable conclusion that we do survive physical death. The evidence I was able to obtain myself for the existence of the afterlife is for me definitive, absolute, irrefutable and positively conclusive.

However, historically there are also what are known as “closed-minded skeptics” also known as debunkers. These people have already made up their minds about everything. And, like the clergy in Galileo's time, they will refuse to consider even scientific information that contradicts their personal beliefs. They have changed the definition of “skeptic” from “one who doubts” to “one who will never accept”. The term “closed-minded skeptic” as used in this book refers to this group.

Closed-minded skeptics who claimed they investigated psychic phenomena have mostly rejected the results of psychic experiments and observations, even when the results were objectively obtained. Their logic was that if the results proved positive, the experimenter must have been unqualified or there was fraud. They took the role of prosecutor not investigator.

In context of testing the paranormal (psi) and afterlife evidence, it is critically important to fully understand the very serious implications of the ‘experimenter effect’. So far it has shown that professional psi experimenters have become victims of their unconscious (perhaps even conscious), of their negative partiality, when conducting psi experiments.

The classic experimenter effect was demonstrated by Professor Marilyn Schlitz and Professor R. Wiseman (1997 and 1999) in collaborative studies into whether or not a person can detect when someone is looking at them from behind. In these experiments Professor Marilyn Schlitz who is open-minded toward psi phenomena achieved positive results while Professor Wiseman who is a closed minded skeptic did not. This happened even when they used the same experimental equipment and procedures and the same pool of subjects.

Some unreasonably closed-minded skeptics have made most cowardly attacks on the lives and reputations of great men and women involved in psychic science and have been responsible for holding back knowledge of the afterlife for several decades. Many are still operating today, accepting large salaries and grants from the materialists to 'debunk' all things relating to the afterlife and psychic phenomena.

A classic comment which illustrates the inflexibility and the determination of the closed-minded skeptic to block any inconsistent new information was made at one of my meetings at a meeting of Humanists in Sydney, Australia. One hard-core, closed-minded skeptic burst out after I presented the objective evidence for the afterlife:

I would not believe in the afterlife even if you could prove it to me, Victor!

Because of conscious and unconscious deletion, closed-minded skeptics only have some pieces of the jigsaw puzzle. They are NOT seeing the overall picture. Yet some of them have been very vociferous about their unsubstantiable claim that the afterlife does not exist.

I concur with other empirical psychic researchers that even if the perfect demonstration of evidence for the existence of the afterlife?say, materialization of a loved one?was witnessed by closed-minded skeptics, these skeptics/debunkers would refuse to believe the evidence had anything to do with the afterlife.

Historically, closed-minded skeptics and debunkers have opposed every invention and discovery and have made fools of themselves:

• Sir William Preece, former chief engineer of Britain's Post Office, will be remembered for making one of the most 'idiotic' comments in history about Edison's inventions. Sir William stated that Edison's lamp (parallel circuit) was a 'completely idiotic idea'

• professors, including Professor Henry Morton who knew Edison, stated immediately before Edison demonstrated the electric light globe: 'On behalf of science ... Edison's experiments are a ... fraud upon the public’

• the Scientific American, The New York Times, The New York Herald, the U.S. Army, academics—including Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy Simon Newcomb from John Hopkins University—and many other American scientists all heaped derision, ridicule and denigration onto the Wright brothers claiming that it was: 'scientifically impossible for machines to fly!’

• one of the leading scientists from the French Academy of Sciences stated that hypnosis is a fraud and stated after seeing a hypnotized subject with a four inch needle in the top of his arm: 'This subject has been paid for not showing he's in pain’

• another scientist from the French Academy of Sciences, after listening to a record made by Edison, stated: '... clearly that is a case of ventriloquism’

• John Logie Baird, the inventor of television, was attacked by closed-minded skeptics who stated it was: 'absolute rubbish that television waves could produce a picture’!!!

There are hundreds of other examples of how closed-minded skeptics refused to believe anything that was not consistent with their own entrenched cherished beliefs and their five senses.

But what has to be remembered is that the belief of closed-minded ‘skepticism’ in itself is NOT scientific, not empirical. Closed-minded skepticism does NOT have the substance of science or objectivity to show that it is correct. On the contrary, closed-minded skepticism, like religion, is a subjective belief and as a belief it is subject to fundamental error and to complete invalidation.

While there have been many eminent scientists who after investigating psychic phenomena did accept the existence of the afterlife, there has NEVER ever been any scientist in history—a physicist, biologist, geologist, astronomer or anybody else—who could rebut the existing evidence for the afterlife.

The rational and informed searcher will reject the world conspiracy theory—that all those highly accredited scientists in different countries who have worked to show that the afterlife exists got together over the last one hundred years or so to fool the rest of the world.

The afterlife is inevitable and the consequences of it are enormous.

Rebutting the skeptics on EVP and ITC

What do the debunkers say about electronic voice phenomena?
Of the objections raised by the debunkers and closed minded skeptics I quote a leading representative of the hardcore skeptics, an assistant Professor of Psychology at Pace University in the United States, Professor Hines. In his book called Pseudoscience And The Paranormal—a Critical Examination of the Evidence (1987) we are told the following on page 76. Remember, this hardcore skeptic explicitly claims that his work is supposed to be a 'critical examination of the evidence'.

... if one takes a tape recorder out to a graveyard one can record the voices of the dead. How? Put the machine in the 'record' mode with a blank tape and turn the volume all the way up. Then, when you play the tape back, if you listen carefully, you'll hear the voices of the dead. They're not very clear, to be sure, but if you listen long and carefully, you can begin to make them out... the tape recording... is picking up stray sounds from the environment and especially, the sound of the breeze or wind passing over the microphone...

If one expects to hear voices, constructive perception will produce voices... the Indians used to believe that the dead spoke as the wind swirled through the trees. The tape recorder has simply brought this illusion into a technological age (Hines 1987:76).

Now here was the opportunity for this assistant professor to identify the classic research done by some of the world's top scholars and others and to issue a credible scholarly rebuttal of the research on a scientific basis. Here was the opportunity to demonstrate his knowledge of scientific method (if he had any) to rebut EVP.

He was expected to scientifically scrutinize the research of Dr Raudive in Germany, Friedrich Jurgenson in Sweden, Peter Bander in England, Marcello Bacci in Grosseto, Italy, Professor Walter & others such as George Meek in the United States, to name just a few.

The scientists and other reputable researchers mentioned do not go to 'the graveyard'. They usually work in carefully controlled conditions in laboratories with other observers who include amongst them some skeptics, atheists, physicists, engineers, journalists, clergymen, psychics. Sometimes they work in professional recording studios as with Dr Peter Bander's sessions.

The voices are clearly not auditory hallucinations—they have been heard by rooms full of people and by millions of people across Europe at the same time. You can purchase tapes full of them from any of the National EVP Associations (see links at the end of Chapter 3). You can listen to them on the Internet. Thousands of voices have been identified, recorded and corroborated by independent witnesses. Much of the subject matter has been checked and found to be factual. Electronic voice-pattern analysis has matched the voices to those of the person while alive.

Why did this Assistant Professor not deal with any of the evidence, starting with say, the contents of Dr Raudive's international book Breakthrough? Technically, when evidence for the afterlife is presented by the presenter, the onus shifts onto the other party not accepting the evidence to argue on what technical basis the evidence is not accepted.

This assistant professor should have examined some of the best 'spirit voices' of the 72,000 voices taped by Dr Raudive such as the voice of Raudive's own secretary Margarete Petrautski, who called out Raudive's wife's name 'Zenta' and identified herself as 'Margarete'. She then went on to say: 'Imagine, I really exist!'—English translation from German, 'Bedenke ich bin' (Bander 1973: 25).

Assistant Professor Hines should explain why the apparent voices were not really voices and if it is admitted that they were voices, why they were not those of the dead.

He should have taken a sample of this Margarete Petrautski's voice and compared it with the tape recording of her voice before her death as the researchers did. Highly sophisticated voice machines exist today which can accurately and scientifically measure all voice variables, e.g. pace, rhythm, accents, origin, etc. The Margarete Petrautski tapes are excellent subjects for scientific scrutiny because of the exceptionally good quality recordings of her voice. Yet this Assistant Professor chose to ignore scientific method and fall back on his closed-minded entrenched skepticism.

If the Assistant Professor endeavored to adhere to scientific method and showed in some way that he could be technically correct, or that the evidence presented should not be accepted, identifying the project as subjective, one would perhaps discuss the project with him and explore the voices to ascertain where the voices could be coming from.

But he didn't. Assistant Professor Hines chose not to identify the classical scientific work done and being done on EVP on a global scale because he knows this scientific work is substantive and cannot be rebutted.

In scientific method, as in formal logic, as in litigation – court proceedings from the lowest to the highest level, if anyone does not formally rebut the evidence produced, then the scientific evidence stands as absolutely valid until it is rebutted—if ever it can be rebutted. That is a fundamental scientific premise.

My experience with closed-minded skeptics and debunkers however is that some will never listen to reason and will never read the research.

 

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