by Victor Zammit
Retired Lawyer of the Supreme Court of New South Wales,
and the High Court of Australia


Closed-minded skeptics don't get results

It is universally established that historically, closed-minded skeptics have never ever found anything genuinely positive in psychic phenomena. Even if one produces tons of evidence for the absolute validity of psychic phenomena, it is now sadly irrevocably established that the closed-minded skeptic does not have the intrinsic capacity and the equanimity to accept the evidence of valid psychic phenomena.

As you will see hereunder, pouring money onto these said skeptics - as happened in England-in an endeavor to find some positive evidence of psychic phenomena is like foolishly, negligently, wastefully and irresponsibly pouring precious money, energy and time down the drain. Why?

1. Psychology: Rationalization through Cognitive Dissonance

Let's borrow a page from traditional psychology. When a skeptic receives information - say, scientific proof for the afterlife - which is fundamentally inconsistent with his or her entrenched cherished beliefs, the skeptic tries to rationalize his/her beliefs to reduce and to offset the intense biological, emotional and mental anxiety. The intense anxiety is created by the information that the afterlife exists.

The skeptic's mind tries to resist and reject this new information (even if the information is the absolute truth) - hence the cognitive (the mind) 'dissonance' - between the new information - (i.e., the positive evidence for the afterlife) and the skeptic's own personal beliefs that the afterlife cannot exist.

Closed-minded skepticism is extremely difficult to shift because his/her skepticism is 'electrically wired' into the skeptic's neurological, psychological, intellectual and emotional belief system. Thus with absolute certainty, this skeptic inexorably loses all sense of empirical equanimity.

Then the skeptic tries to rationalize his/her own personal beliefs and will try to rubbish, denigrate, dismiss and destroy the new information (including scientific proof of some psychic phenomenon) which gives the skeptic a lot of intense anxiety. This skeptic cannot allow his lifelong deeply cherished beliefs against an afterlife to be proved wrong, to be totally incorrect. So this skeptic will use every trick, every bit of energy and every means to try to rationales i.e., to reduce cognitive dissonance. She will defend her skepticism and ridicule and viciously attack any positive evidence for the afterlife - which is causing the anxiety to the skeptic. I repeat, all sense of scientific objectivity will be lost.

2. Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP)

Deletions, generalizations and distortions. A professional NLP practitioner would view closed-minded skeptics as willfully and/or unconsciously using a series of filters to delete all critical information inconsistent with their existing 'map of reality'. Thus the tendency for modern skeptics in parapsychology is to ignore or to unconsciously censor or filter survival research (the afterlife is impossible so why investigate it?) and concentrate on the ancillary aspects of psychic phenomena - e.g. psychokinesis, cards, etc.

Skeptics can be seen to overgeneralize saying for instance that because some mediums are fraudulent therefore all mediums are fraudulent.

Further, skeptics distort information saying that because it may be possible to reproduce certain phenomena by fraud - even at odds of one billion to one - that they have proven that fraud took place. In this sense, the skeptics find it impossible to transcend their 'metaprogram' (their overriding world view of reality) of materialistic beliefs.

3. Self promotion

One reason why some skeptics, especially psychologists at university, become crusading anti-psychics is to promote their own careers. Academics who are ambitious and want promotion have to publish, have to be seen to be making some noise in society to be noticed. There is an adage applied to university lecturers - "publish or perish". These academics know that there is still some hostility towards psychic phenomena by some powerful recalcitrant members of the establishment - and these academics become sycophantic and play up to this for some immediate or long term personal favors and career incentives.

-- Victor Zammit (May 2001)

<< Return to A Lawyer on The Skeptics

Copyright © 2001 Victor Zammit.  All rights reserved.  --