A Lawyer Presents the Case for the Afterlife


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'NEW SCIENTIST' fails to pass the 'legal test.'

The 13th March 04 issue of the British based journal NEW SCIENTIST (NS) made "The Power of the Paranormal" its main theme. It had three special reports and its full front page depicted a large bent spoon - misleading the reader by asking why won't the paranormal 'surrender to science.'

NS failed to pass the test of 'legally admissible' reasoning in publishing two of the articles which used inferior reasoning. A third article by Robert Matthews is far more balanced, more incisive, more informative and more acceptable. So I'll only be dealing with the first two articles.

The first two articles are full of negative mis-description, critical deletions and are aimed at raising doubt about the validity of psi. They are full of anti-psychic nuances and give one the impression of a Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan trying very hard to write about blacks with equanimity.

The first anti-paranormal article 'On the edge of the known world' was published by NS without the author being named. Why not? Intellectual cowardice? Is it implied that the editor of NS wrote the article? What was the anti-psychic writer afraid of - being eternally remembered for his specious and deficient reasoning? Or was it perhaps because of an attempt to willfully mislead?

In the first two sentences of this article, I detected four egregious fundamental errors of fact and interpretation. First, psi empiricists would strongly object to being negligently labeled 'believers.' Empiricists who accept the existence of psychic phenomena will tell you that it is NOT a matter of 'beliefs', it is a matter of empirically accepting the objective evidence being tested. Just because you accept that 7+5=12 you are not a 'believer' in arithmetic. Accordingly, it is erroneous in the extreme to label psi empiricists 'believers.' The phantom writer of the first NS article deliberately chose the terminology of the skeptics and subjectively accepted the argument of those hard core traditional scientists who reject anything psi. But other more balanced empiricists will tell you they do NOT have the luxury of 'beliefs' and would be insulted by the sloppy derogatory descriptive label of 'believers.'

Secondly, I do not accept the contention in the first sentence that '…skeptics and believers have been struggling for more than a 100 years to show whether or not psychic powers exist.' There are many empiricists AND scientists (including from earlier times Sir Oliver Lodge, Sir William Crookes et al and more recently Prof Gary Schwartz, Dr Dean Radin et al) whose attitude is - as mine is - that psi DOES exist and it is skeptics who have the problem of not accepting psi. The negatively minded expresses it as a 'struggle' - we empiricists do NOT.

Also, '… yet still there is nothing even approaching a definitive answer.' That is most unfair and unreasonable because that statement shows that the phantom author of the NS article has NOT read, studied, analysed or understood the empirical evidence supporting psi. What has to be strongly stated here is that there will never be sufficient psi evidence for those skeptics who do not want to accept it. Clearly, the inevitable conclusion is that the writer of the first article is a closed minded skeptic being a judge in his own cause.

Fourthly, the same writer asks, '… so, why don't we know (about psi)?' The answer is very simple: the skeptics have not done their homework. No wonder the skeptic writer exhibits negative prejudice and colossal ignorance about the objective evidence for psi.

These four blunders in the first few lines of the article epitomize the tone of the whole article which shows the intentional negative bias of the phantom writer. Space does not permit me to deal with the numerous other blunders of the first article.

Now let's go to the second anti-psi article by John McCrone (JM). Overall it is a cynical, negative attempt to belittle and dismiss psi. Again either the writer is too intellectually lazy to discover the most impressive objectively conducted experiments or his intrinsic bias restricts his research to material which is fundamentally consistent with his own deeply entrenched negative partiality. Why not? Hereinafter are only just some of the issues raised from his article:

1) as hereinbefore stated, JM uses the unfortunate label of 'believers' - a favourite trick of the skeptics to undervalue the work of those empiricists who have accepted the validity of psi. This has already been dealt with above.
2) JM states about the 'experimenter effect', ' …the outcome of an experiment hinges upon the beliefs of the person running it.' That is a typical skeptic's view. As an empiricist I would reject that kind of general definition of the 'experimenter effect.' Empiricists would argue that the experimenter effect relates to a situation where a negatively minded experimenter will negatively affect psi experiments. But those who are NOT negatively minded are NOT necessarily 'believers'. Those who do not decide the outcome BEFORE the experiment commences and who are open minded are NOT likely to negatively skew or influence in the results in any way. Further, JM states, '… believers tend to get positive results. Skeptics don't.' Skeptics have NEVER obtained positive results in psi experiments! That's why they are skeptics - I state that they are technically not competent to conduct objective empirical experiments when professional empiricists do get positive results!
3) 'The return of the experimenter effect is leading some skeptics to claim that parapsychology is regressing back into the pseudoscientific dark ages.' Interesting, this low level propaganda type of statement was highlighted by giving it extra size and extra bold print. It is one of the most unscientific, negatively prejudicial and loaded statements JM makes. Which skeptics specifically are claiming that? On the basis of what evidence? Or is it JM's own 'projection'?
4) 'No single experiment could be trumpeted as proving the existence of psychic powers.' Again, I reiterate, either JM is totally ignorant of the most important psi evidence or he is using NS space to attack the paranormal thinking he is going to kill it. Others with more substance tried and failed - no doubt JM will inevitably fail too. Why has this JM not tried to rebut the voluminous evidence in The Conscious Universe- the book by Dr Dean Radin one of the most highly credible psi scientists we have to day? Intellectual cowardice? Intellectual laziness? Wilful and intentional misleading of the readers? OR all three?
5) Why has JM cited Richard Wiseman, implying he is objective experimenter? The track record of Wiseman shows he is a debunking, closed minded skeptic. Whilst psi scientists with the highest credibility are getting positive results, Wiseman has NEVER produced positive results ever. Pre-cognitive psychic Chris Robinson stated that Wiseman was willfully most unfair when he tried to do a report on Chris, misreporting to make the results favourable to skepticism. That would show that Wiseman will keep on obtaining negative results as long as he remains a closed minded skeptic.

Legal assessment of phenomena and reasoning are superior to what we have read in NS because there would be no deletions and everything stated would be subject to cross examination for credibility, to seek the truth. With absolute certainty, JM would fail his materialists and skeptics very badly. JM consciously or otherwise tries to persuade the reader to accept his deeply entrenched materialistic partiality by willfully deleting critical and relevant information.

In a courtroom JM would be asked something like, "Have you ever heard of Dr Dean Radin?" "Or Professor Gary Schwartz?" "Or Professor Jessica Utts?" - and a host of other leading empiricists and scientists who have accepted the objective EVIDENCE of the existence of psi. Further, JM would be asked if he ever heard of and studied the most dramatic empirical evidence for psi experiments that he FAILED to mention in his article. JM (and other materialists) would be asked about certain psychic phenomena which have been demonstrated by some of the most credible psychic people on earth. Why did the NS, the phantom writer of the first anti-psi article and JM FAIL to mention Natialia Demkina with the X-Ray vision, a most powerful psychic who has been investigated by scientists and found her to be genuine. The question would be, "If you are not calling these highly credible witnesses cheats, liars and frauds, what evidence do you have that these phenomena were not experienced - especially when the critical psychic demonstration was evidenced by hard core skeptics?"

Further, the legal process through cross examination and expert witnesses would elicit some very peculiar information - e.g. 'beliefs' of some of the scientists and writers on science - such as JM. A lawyer would have no problems at all in showing in an impartial venue that some scientists and writers actually 'believe' that reductionist science is the only criterion for assessing the existence of any phenomenon. Fundamental beliefs, whether in science or religion or in anything else are hard-wired into our systems and anything which remotely tends to challenge them will be met with hostility and anger.

The legal process would show that in the world to-day science is split into at least two camps: the old, traditional reductionist science and the 'new science' - supported by many modern scientists particularly physicists - where unexplained phenomena involving non-physical energy is NOT dismissed or discarded but is being given more research- because the understanding non-physical energy will have huge consequences.

If a phenomenon has been experienced and accepted having happened by competent impartial objective authority as in the case of the abovementioned Natalia Demkina, why is not orthodox science accepting this phenomenon? Why is it that orthodox scientists assume that any successful psi experiment has to be fraudulent? Why is it that these said orthodox scientists fail to explain the phenomenon?

Legal reasoning would admit in evidence that some phenomenon has been experienced if it has been verified- especially if observed under repeatable conditions by very highly credible empiricists. Just because orthodox science cannot explain such a phenomenon, it does NOT mean the phenomenon did not occur or was not experienced.

Psychic phenomena have been recorded for more than two thousand years of history. No matter what the critics say, the acceptance of psi is growing exponentially. In the last twenty five years voluminous empirical evidence has been produced and researched by the governments of major counties including Russia, China, Israel, the U.S.

Is NS implying that there is a world conspiracy among some of the most brilliant men and women scientists who walked on this planet earth who accept psychic phenomena? Do they get together at world conferences to fool the rest of the world? The level headed would say 'we think not!'

An open-minded reader would be impressed by the number of brilliant scientists and empiricists participating in a Conference sponsored by the Institute of Noetic Sciences next June discussing the afterlife and mind-matter: D Byron Ph.D., Jane Kata Ph.D., Ed May Ph.D., Dean Radin Ph.D., Marilyn Schlitz Ph.D, Professor Russell Targ Ph.D, Jessica Utts Ph.D. And with absolute certainty, these scientists are not going to accept beliefs in lieu of empirically based research. The skeptics - and the NS debunkers might try to mislead you to believe that.

One most definitive statement I would like to make: not ALL scientists are traditional hard core debunkers or skeptics and against psi as the NS tries to impute. I would say that most physicists and many other scientists who genuinely investigated psi AGREE that it does exist and needs more research and more refinement.

It is clearly understood that if some astute scientist is going to criticize the inadequate contemporary scientific methodology or if scientists confirm that there is such thing as non-physical energy then in some not too advanced universities these scientists could be bullied. Learning that there is such a thing as non-physical energy scares the daylight out of some scientists and will inevitably cause a revolution in science - it is happening now.

Victor Zammit