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Reader Responses to

Debunking PseudoSkeptical Arguments of Paranormal Debunkers

 

 

(Sorted in ascending order, newest at the top)

 

 

 

Winston:

 

Your critique of pseudo-skeptics is right on!  They are tradition-bound materialists opposed to examining evidence that they might be wrong.  Victor has, in his latest newsletter, a lecture by Rupert Sheldrake in which he described the behavior of a “scientist” who refused to even look at evidence for telepathy.  Lawyers have a maxim: “Don’t confuse me with the truth; my mind is made up.”  Criminals under interrogation will say “that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.”  The pseudos cannot be truly described as scientists because they never question their own premises, and they posit their premises as conclusions.  They crave certainty, not realizing that, in my own coinage, “Fiction adores a vacuum.”

 

Your Buddhism critique is excellent.  I am going to forward it on to the minister of our church.  One comment:  the Taoist icon is Yin [not Ying} and Yang.  But thanks for the ENLIGHTENMENT.  Robert Monroe has shown that something like this  can be attained through his techniques.  You must be familiar with the Monroe Institute.  And again, Dr. Brian Weiss has evidence for reincarnation, in the experiences of others.  Remember Einstein said that learning begins with experiences.  Repeatability is not a perquisite of validity.  Man cannot replicate an earthquake or a solar eclipse, but they do happen.

 

John

 

 

Winston,

I am currently taking a course in philosophy in college and having stumbled upon your website "Debunking Common Skeptical Arguments Against Paranormal and Psychic Phenomena", I have decided to use your work as a reference in my paper  I find your arguments to be convincing and feel confident in presenting part of your material in my paper.

I have one question in regards to a story you mentioned in the NDE section (Argument #23).  In the research experiment conducted by Cardiologist Michael Sabom, it is mentioned that the NDEers give "correct but general descriptions" of their resuscitation.  Do you happen to know how Sabom was able to determine the correctness of these descriptions?  i.e. Was he able to contact individuals who were present at the scene of the resuscitation?  I'd just like a little bit of clarification before using this story.

Your site is very interesting and being someone who is always seeking what lies beyond this earth, the information you have provided/discovered has been very comforting.

 


Interesting series, Winston. I read through the first several sections yesterday, and highly respect the way you present the arguments. I'll browse more of it when I have the time.

I was raised in a traditional Catholic setting, and discovered humanism as my niche at age 15. (At 20, I found out what it was called.) Today I still consider myself one.

But what has really turned me off regarding some of my fellow atheists & agnostics is the highly-negative reaction I received from many of them when discovering natural health and the organic lifestyle two years ago, after reading Kevin Trudeau's Natural Cures book. I wrote a long article about it on my MySpace blog in June 2006, entitled, "Your Health is your Ultimate Freedom."

Some of them (and this one guy in particular) scorned me like I was a leper. And when berating my article, virtually all of their arguments were based upon theories, axioms, straw-man refutations, and ad hominem (especially against Trudeau). They always pointed out webpages from Skepdic, CSICOP, Quackwatch, etc. My presentation, on the other hand, is about 15% theory and 85% practice. I primarily say, "Here's what I've tried, and these are the results."

Not all of them are close-minded about it, though. At this last Winter Solstice party I attended, many of them (primarily women) asked me about what I'm doing to look and feel so great, and were very receptive. As for the few who previously berated me, they either semi-ignored me, or seemed to pretend as if I hadn't changed at all physically -- even after nearly two years of my living this way. I guess their little "theorems" must be more important to them than physical reality.

So when reading the first few sections of your pseudoskeptical pages that expose their tactics, I found myself nodding my head constantly -- as it gave me flashbacks to two years ago about the negative reception from several of those guys. My experience also has caused me to lose some respect for publications such as Skepdic, CSICOP, etc. While some of their material is very good, I absolutely cannot give point-blank credence to organizations that seem to imply that my very own lifestyle is a bunch of B.S.

So deep-down emotionally, I've felt a bit of a repulsiveness toward those publications.

Well, that's all from me for now. I'm looking forward to checking out more of your stuff on these subjects!

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Hi Winston,

Thanks for your comments. It took me some time to write (and document) the pseudoskeptic's irrationality, inconsistences and contradictions. I've read many of pseudoskeptics' webpages and books, and I took note of their contradictions.  I thought to add all this in my comment and send it to you as a modest contribution to your great article (for me, a handbook) to debunk pseudoskeptics.

It's ok that you send my comments to your mailing list and add it to your e-book. We need to put together the best information, arguments and references against pseudoskepticism.

Do most Germans believe in the paranormal? I think so. But it can vary according to the specific phenomenon. I think a high porcentage believes in telepathy and, maybe, in ghosts (it's amazing to see that many people believes in ghosts, many of them because personal experiences).

In Germany, exists the respective pseudoskeptical organization. It's called GWUP, and it has the same agenda, rhetoric and methods of CSICOP. And there are some good german websites debunking GWUP (e.g. http://www.skeptizismus.de/ ). A former member of that group, Edgar Wunder, wrote a long and excellent article exposing the methods and agenda of GWUP. Wunder's contribution is very important, because he was an "insider". Sadly, it haven't been translated to english language. If you understand german language, or have german friends, that article is a must read:
http://www.psychophysik.com/html/re-061-skeptizismus.html

(Also, you could use a free online translator to translate that article to english.)

Winston, recently I get a copy of an excellent parapsychology book. It was written by Chris Carter and titled "Parapsychology and the Skeptics":
http://www.parapsychologyandtheskeptics.com/

Carter destroys the best skeptical arguments using the scientific evidence of parapsychology. He deals only with the best criticism of informed pseudoskeptics (like Hyman, Blackmore, etc.), not with the rhetoric, polemic and propapandism of Randi and others. 

I think that book is a great contribution to scientific parapsychology. Carter's next book will cover afterlife evidence. I hope Carter's books be translated to german and other languages. They can very useful to convince open mind scientists.

Thanks Winston,
Jürgen

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Dear Winston:

 

I'm Jürgen and I write you from Germany. Let me tell that your article about debunkers/pseudoskeptics of PSI is the best handbook to debate with them. I used to debate pseudoskeptics as a pastime, using the arguments and tactics of your article. However, currently I don't debate with them anymore because I realize that they're inmune to rational discourse and scientific evidence for PSI. Their minds have been damaged by false data and rhetoric spread by professional debunkers. They're lost any critical faculties to examine pseudoskepticism.

 

I have strong interest in psi research (specially near-death experiences), spirituality and philosophy and sociology of science. I realized the existence of your article, reading the article titled "NDE rhetoric, debunking the debunkers?" ( http://www.nderf.org/NDE%20Rhetoric.htm ). The author (Jody) uses many of your arguments against debunkers, and adapts them to their specific arguments against NDEs.

 

There are 3 articles about pseudoskepticism that everyone should know. The best is yours (because it deals with all the arguments of debunkers). Another good article is "some notes on skepticism":

 

And the third one is the article of parapysichologist Charles Honorton titled "Rhetoric over substance: the impoverished state of skepticism":

 

I'd like to comment in some specific points of pseudoskeptics and their arguments:

 

1)Anecdotal evidence and testimonies: as you explained in your article, pseudoskeptics claims that anecdotal evidence and testimonies are worthless as scientific evidence. But that claim is false: there are some sciences that use testimonies as valid evidence, e.g: forensic sciences:

 

There is a complete field called psychology of testimony and forensic psychology that deals as the realibility of testimonies and their scientific use:

 

In fact, Richard Wiseman wrote in the Skeptical Inquirer a paper titled "Eyewitness testimony and the paranormal" ( http://csicop.org/si/9511/eyewitness.html ) where he writes: " Much of the evidence relating to paranormal phenomena consists of eyewitness testimony. However, a large body of experimental research has shown that such testimony can be extremely unreliable"

 

Look that Wiseman wrote that testimonies "can be" (not IT IS) extremely unreliable (not that IT IS extremely unreliable). PseudoSkeptics tend to confound a possibility with a fact.

 

Wiseman adds an interesting point that most pseudoskeptics forget: "In short, there is now considerable evidence to suggest that individuals' beliefs and expectations can, on occasion, lead them to be unreliable witnesses of supposedly paranormal phenomena. It is vital that investigators of the paranormal take this factor into account when faced with individuals claiming to have seen extraordinary events. It should be remembered, however, that such factors may hinder accurate testimony regardless of whether that testimony is for or against the existence of paranormal phenomena; the observations and memory of individuals with a strong need to disbelieve in the paranormal may be as biased as extreme believers. In short, the central message is that investigators need to be able to carefully assess testimony, regardless of whether it reinforces or opposes their own beliefs concerning the paranormal"

 

As we know, pseudoskeptics only invalid the testimonies in favor of paranormal, but not against the paranormal. In fact, they use testimonies to debunk the paranormal, for example:

 

a)In the entry "Sai Baba" of the skeptic dictionary ( http://skepdic.com/saibaba.html ) you can read above a link titled "Witnesses" and other links titled "Conny Larsson's story" and "charges of Sai Baba with many counts of molesting boys"

 

b)PseudoSkeptics like to claim that Richard Feynmann "debunked" or "exposed" Uri Geller. But in close inspection, Feynmann experience with Geller was an informal, anecdotal account of Feynmann, not a laboratory scientific test published in peer-review scientific journals:

 

c)At the time of William Crookes, pseudoskeptics quoted a testimony of Volckmann to debunk Crookes investigation with the medium. Victor Zammit rebutted that testimonial evidence of pseudoskeptics:

 

It's obvious that pseudoskeptic's permanent damaged and biased mind give more credit to anti-paranormal uncontrolled/anecdotal testimonies against mediums than laboratory scientific experimentation with mediums, as the recent triple blind study of Dr.Gary Schwartz:

 

The same apply to Ufo evidence:

 

d)PseudoSkeptic Joe Nickel used the testimony of Michael O'Neill to cast doubts on John Edwars: "An article in Time magazine suggested John Edward may have used just such chicanery. One subject, a marketing manager named Michael O'Neill had received apparent messages from his dead grandfather but, when his segment aired, he noted that it had been improved through editing"

 

Matt Nisbet, also uncritically accepted as valid the testimony of Jaroff and O'Neill: " In support of his assertions of Edward's possible hot readings, Jaroff detailed the experience of Michael O'Neill, a past audience member on Crossing Over who had been the subject of a reading by Edward. According to O'Neill's account, producers of the show had spliced into the final program clips of O'Neill nodding yes into the videotape after statements by Edward with which he remembers disagreeing. In addition, according to O'Neill, most of Edward's "misses," both in relation to him and other audience members, had been edited out of the final tape.

O'Neill also claimed that before the show, assistants to the producers had gathered information about audience members, including their names and family histories. O'Neill also told Jaroff that most of the conversations among the audience while they were seated in the stands waiting the start of the show were about dead loved ones, information that could have been picked up by microphones strategically placed about the amphitheater"

 

2)PseudoSkeptics are totally ignorant of the sociological/philosophical problems of science:  For example, they like to use terms like "pseudoscience" or "pathological science", but don't explain the conceptual and theoric problems of these terms and the fact that past theories called "pathological" are now recognized as good scientific theories:

 

Also, they ignore that scientific establisment tend to be conservative and, many times, hostile to unorthodox theories. For example, there is experimental evidence of confirmatory bias in peer-review system used in scientific journals:

 

And the methods used to suppress the scientific dissidents are never discussed in pseudoskeptical magazines:

 

And the existence of monopolies and scientific research cartels (and their influence in scientific enterprise) are systematically ignored:

 

The pseudoskeptic's solid and consistent ignorance of these sociological/burocratic problems of science makes him very credulous and uncritical of accepted scientific practise. They have a very naive idea of science.

 

3)PseudoSkeptics are uncritically accept almost all "official" stories: As an example, pseudoskeptic Michael Shermer uncritically accepted and defended the official story of 9/11, in spite of massive evidence of the inconsistences and valid criticism of the official story:

 

4)Religious agenda: as you have shown in your article, most pseudoskeptics are atheists  and scientific materialist. They use the "scientific" rhetoric as a propaganda to promote a materialistic/anti-spirituality worldview. As an example, take the book of Lewis Wolpert titled "Six impossible things before breakfast". There, Wolpert try to promote atheism as the only rational option because there is not "evidence" for God. (By the way, Wolpert also tries to debunk psi phenomena with the same argument). To a criticism of Wolpert's book and rhetoric, see:

 

PseudoSkeptics/dogmatic atheists' rhetoric, propaganda and behaviour is, maybe, one of the reasons that atheists are considered America's most distrusted minory:

 

5)"Scientific witch-hunting" and fascistic behaviour. When the pseudoskeptic has the opportunity, he uses "witch hunting" practiques, intimidation, censorship, etc. to fight "enemies". As an example, look at pseudoskeptics actions against Wilhelm Reich:

 

6)Debunkers are supporters of obsolete and refuted philosophies (e.g. positivism): most pseudoskeptics are dogmatic supporters of positivism: the philosophy that states that the only authentic knowledge is scientific knowledge, and that such knowledge can only come from positive affirmation of theories through strict scientific method:

 

Thanks Winston for let me share my thoughts with you.

 

Best wishes

 

Jürgen


------------------------------------------------------------------


Hi Winston,

Thanks for add my e-mail to your reader response page. Yes, I'm from Spain. I found your great article searching for refutations of dogmatic christians and atheists. A friend told me of your articles debunking both of them and passed me the links. I really enjoy them so much.

I've been following the controversy between the so-called "new atheists" (Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, etc.) and God believers/religion followers. My opinion is that most of atheists' argumentation is fallacious and dishonest. But a point by point refutation of atheism haven't written yet.

Recently, I've read two very good piece of information against dogmatic atheism:

1)The first one is this article of Alan Roebuck titled "How to respond to a Supercilious Atheist":
http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/01/how_to_respond_to_a_supercilio.html

2)Also, the book "The Irrational Atheists" is a very good response to Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens. You can download this book (in pdf format) for free here:
http://irrationalatheist.com/freedl.html

I think a refutation of atheism's best arguments don't need to be a defense of God or religions or paranormal (in theory, an agnostic can criticize atheism without to defend God). It's enough to show the double standars, unproven assumptions and pseudo-scientific tactics of these people. For instance, the argument "If God created everything then who created God" doesn't make any sense. We don't need to have an explanaition for the explanaition, because if it's requested in all the cases, we couldn't explain anything. It would drive us to a infinite regress.

Also,  scientific atheists like Dawkins ask for "evidence" of  God, but they never told us what kind of evidence convince them.  (You've addressed this type of tactic in your paper). They see God as an (false) "scientific hypothesis", not as a philosophical position or worldview. They confound the scientific with the philosophical level. This clever trick is used to bring to the scientific arena a non-scientific debate (of course, you can use many arguments from science to argue in favor or against God; but it doens't make it a scientific discussion).

As I said in my last e-mail, I think a refutation of atheists' best arguments is needed, and you're the right person to do it. But something is also true: atheists don't have many positive arguments (to prove their position). Most of their arguments are negative: criticism of religions or concepts of God. But many of these negative arguments are fallacious or based upon distortions and half-truths, or improper mixing of (materialistic) philosophy with science.

Maybe, some specific points could be addressed in a hypothetical or eventual article against atheism:

1)Moral and values in an atheistic worldview. Are moral values an objective reality? What's the evidence for it?
2)The sense of life to an atheist. Have the life a objective sense or finality?
3)Evidence that atheists would accept to believe in God. (Some former atheist have accepted evidence for God. As an example, recently former atheist Antony Flew changed his mind, and now he's a deist. He wrote a book, as his last philosophical legacy, titled "There is a God". You can read the story here. A recent interview with Flew can be read here.)
4)Positive evidence for philosophical naturalism and materialism.

I think the above points are the weakest points of the atheist's position.

Maybe, in your next updating of the debunking skeptic paper, you consider to add some arguments or commentaries in your argument # 29 on atheists. It may give some idea to new readers about the relationship between skepticism and atheism, and how they use similar (or the same) arguments against God or the paranormal.

Regards!!!!
Deya


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Hello Mr.Wu,

Your treatise "debunking pseudoskeptical arguments of paranormal debunkers" is the best refutation of pseudoskeptics' arguments, tactics and fallacies to reject the evidence for paranormal phenomena. I've recommended your article to every person that I know.

I'd like to suggest you a similar treatise debunking fundamentalist atheism; because your argument #29 (on atheists) is good, but very short.

As you know, the recent assault of atheists/skeptics on God is not only very lucrative, but it's a indirect assault in parapsychology and alternative sciences too. These "new atheists" include in their books chapters on parapsychology, ufology and paranormal phenomena, and they try to debunk them with the same anti-God/anti-spirituality pseudo-scientific rhetoric and fallacious arguments.

Also, they defend Darwin's theory as an article of faith, and accuse any scientist who dares to question it or criticize it.  They use the "creationist" label as an ad hominem ploy to avoid scientific valid criticism against Darwin's theory. Fact is that many scientists question, as scientific and sound arguments, that theory. As an example, you can read the well-documented scientific papers of spanish biologist Maximo Sandin (he's not a creationist, nor a religious person. He's a biologist who considers the Synthetic Theory of evolution has many flaws and should be replaced by a new scientific theory). You can read Sandin's papers at:

http://www.uam.es/personal_pdi/ciencias/msandin/synthetic_theory.html
http://www.uam.es/personal_pdi/ciencias/msandin/biology.html

But dogmatic/fundamentalist/irrational atheists will interpret these criticism as a defense of God, religion or creationism (most dogmatic atheists are quasi-paranoid and see God, religion and faith in every corner; they suffer of black/white thinking, a typical psychological sign of irrational fanatism) when, actually, they're valid scientific criticism against synthetic theory of evolution. (Sandin doesn't mention "God" or "creationism" in his papers. He's writting on science, not on religion)

There are some good websites exposing the fallacies of fundamentalist atheism (e.g. http://www.atheistdelusion.net/ ).  Also, some good refutation of atheist's basic philosophical foundation (e.g metaphysical naturalism/materialism) have been written. As an example, read philosopher David Wood's sound criticism and clear exposing of the fallacious arguments of Richard Carrier's book Sense and Goodness without God in defense of atheism and naturalism:

http://www.answeringinfidels.com/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=86

But most critics of atheism are Christian apologetics. So, many people may consider that these (very good) criticisms are biased.

By this reason, given the great success of both of your articles (debunking pseudoskeptics and debunking Christian fundamentalism), you're the right person to write a new treatise: "debunking every argument of fundamentalist atheists". Only you can do it.

Kind regards,
Deya

 

 

Dear Winston,

 

Your article "debunking pseudoskeptical arguments on paranormal debunkers" is a must read to any person who seeks to understand the nature of pseudoskepticism. I grasped the basic ideological foundation of pseudoskepticism when you wrote: "Eventually, I realized that their skepticism was not about an open inquiry for truth, but rather a philosophy they used to manipulate data to fit their beliefs". This is the essence of pseudoskepticism and the basic truth that any person should know about it.

 

This fact was also explained in the parapsychologist George Hansen's book Tricksterbook and the Paranormal. Hansen documented the influence of atheism in the debunking movement:

http://www.tricksterbook.com/ArticlesOnline/CSICOPoverview.htm

 

Also, I read Paul Sandoval's "rebuttal" of your article, and I think Sandoval's response is a superb example on how to use ad logicam fallacy (or fallacist's fallacy http://www.fallacyfiles.org/fallfall.html) to win arguments. He creates a straw man and then tries to spot logical fallacies in your reasoning and arguments, but he doesn't refute them. As you wrote, pseudoskeptics use philosophical semantics to win arguments. They try to impress the readers using pompous language and erudite pseudological terms, instead of using sound reasoning and facts to rebut and refute arguments.

 

Your comments on pseudoskeptic's argument on alternative medicine is very good. Pseudoskeptics love to debunk alternative health methods and use anecdotal evidence to "prove" the inefficacy of these methods, but don't say nothing about the thousand of deaths per year caused by conventional medicine:

http://www.noblindmen.com/Is%20US%20Health%20Really%20the%20Best.htm

 

In fact, some pseudoskeptics like quackbuster Stephen Barrett are uncritical apologists and propagandists of conventional treatments. Fortunately, these quackbusters have been exposed as liars in U.S. courts and their ties with FDA, AMA, etc. were unmasked:

 

http://www.canlyme.com/quackwatch.html

http://www.bolenreport.net/feature_articles/feature_article060.htm

http://www.humanticsfoundation.com/barrettvsrosenthal.htm

http://www.quackpotwatch.org/

http://www.chiro.org/LINKS/QUACKWATCHERS.shtml

http://www.healthfreedomlaw.com/

 

Your article was the first on-line resource to expose the fallacies, motivation, agenda and dishonesty of pseudoskeptics. Currently (and maybe inspired by your article) other people are doing their job to unmask and document the dishonest tactics of peudoskeptics on specific cases:

http://paginas.terra.com.br/educacao/criticandokardec/criticizingskepticism.htm

 

Kind regards

Jessica

 

 

Dear Sir,
 
My name is Nenad Djurdjevic, I'm the moderator and co-admin of the website:
http://www.bosnian-pyramid.com.
 
I found your articles about "Debunking PseudoSkeptical Arguments of
Paranormal Debunkers Revised 2006" very interesting.
 
I'm preparing a topic about (healthy) skepticism, debunking and
pseudoskepticism in our Forum: http://www.bosnian-pyramid.com/forum/,
 
so, I would like to ask herewith your permission to include and post some
of your articles in that topic.
 
Thank you in advance!
 
Kind regards
Nenad Djurdjevic
 
alias Hyperborean
Moderator and Co-Admin at:
http://www.bosnian-pyramid.com

 

 

dear Winston

I am in the process of reading your article entitled "debunking common skeptical arguments against paranormal and psychic phenomena". I can tell you have really given this topic a lot of thought. I think this article is very well done. as I have been doing research for the past 15 years on such topics as meaning and purpose of life and life after death I have found it interesting how rigid the beliefs are of atheists who happen to be skeptics. especially those skeptics that belong to skeptic organizations. this was a surprise to me when I started because I considered myself a skeptic and probably considered myself atheist/agnostic. I was not impressed even as a child with most religious beliefs as many did not pass even simple logic and reasoning tests. I knew from experience that religious people tended to be rigid in their beliefs but was totally surprised how rigid atheists in general were rigid in their beliefs.

 

I am sure you know this but I find it interesting that when professional skeptics appear on TV to comment on paranormal events their explanations most of the time do not even address the event and almost always they only comment on one piece of evidence of the event rather than take the evidence as a whole. for example crop circles, because a couple of guys in England admitted to making crop circles skeptics state that is the reason for crop circles when in fact they are appearing in many countries in the world. one professional skeptic stated crop circle investigators should take up collecting stamps and not waste their time researching crop circles. if the world took his advice I wonder how many discoveries would have been made in human history. this person contradicts his very belief in his insistence on using the scientific method as the only way to discover truth. his belief has closed his mind to the possibilities of new discoveries. in 1899 the head of the patent office in Washington dc stated to congress that the patent office should be shut down because all the inventions that are possible have been made.

 

I also think people that believe almost anything said about the paranormal can be a bigger danger to advancement in knowledge than the skeptics. maybe we need them both as a check and balance. I somehow have this feeling that the universe is right on track and in our ignorance we are unable to see this perfection in action.

 

anyhow great article on skeptics. I had one skeptic tell me that skeptics don’t have beliefs only opinions. how is that for the ultimate in denial.

bill

 

 

Hi Winston,

 

My name is Gary Osborn. I'm the author of The Serpent Grail (Watkins 2005) and The Shining Ones (Watkins 2006).

I writing to you to say that I found your treatise, Debunking PseudoSkeptical Arguments of Paranormal Debunkers absolutely fascinating and spot on.

I would like your permission to place a link to it on a page on my website - or even the whole article if that's OK.

 

http://garyosborn.moonfruit.com/

 

Looking forward to hearing from you.

 

Best wishes,

Gary Osborn

 

 

Hi Winston. My name is Travis, and I've been heavily researching Paranormal Phenomenon for over eight years now. I've been very interested in Paranormal Phenomenon all of my life due to many very convincing personal paranormal experiences that I've had all throughout my life that continue to intrigue me, as well as from hearing many profound personal anecdotal accounts of paranormal phenomenon from many very sincere family members of mine and from very sincere friends of mine and others, and from documented research books on the matters, etc, on quite a grand scale over the years. I began heavily researching Paranormal Phenomenon online about eight years ago and I continue to do so. I'm also heavily into Spirituality, Mysticism, and Direct Experience of God. (Heavily in a Shamanistic, Taoist, Buddhist, Hindu, and Judeo-Christian Mystic [Gnostic; Kabbalist] Panentheistic Context.)

I too have been in many debates with skeptics, and I too have noticed many of their clever cop-out tactics in not having to deal with the evidence that doesn't agree with them. I always go for the jugular in debates, I always present the stuff that I *know* they cannot explain away, and I give many quotations and sources to support the validity of the claims being made, as well as any website links discussing the topics indepth. What's their answer to it all? Universal Conspiracy Theory and *all* of the phrase cliches mentioned in your article "Debunking Common Skeptical Arguments Against Paranormal and Psychic Phenomenon".

Your article was a breath of fresh air to read. It let me know that I'm not alone in pointing stuff like this out to people, and that someone else like me can stand up to the skeptics and point out the fallicies in their own close-minded personal dogma driven pseudoskepticism. You explained everything so perfectly, I was just amazed at how well you picked their arguments apart and posted many excellent examples of hard evidence of paranormal phenomenon in such an amazing fashion.

I've been debating skeptics for years, and it has crossed my mind a couple of times to try to make an article like this, but now that I've read through yours, I see there is no need. You hit the nail right on the head ten times over.

What gets me though, is I do not understand how these close-minded people can get their minds set like that, and actually *want* there to be nothing paranormal or supernatural in the world. I've personally heard from many skeptics that they actually *want* to be erased, that they actually *want* death to be the end for them, and that they truely *hope* there is nothing. Others I've heard from say they actually *don't* want death to be the end but that they "know" there is nothing after death, and that they "know" that the idea of the afterlife is nothing more than a fairly tale created by weak-minded people who can't accept "reality". *rolls his eyes*

They say, "I'm just a bunch of random chemical reactions, nothing more."

I've actually shown some of these depressing skeptics the existing paranormal evidence for life after death on a caring rather than in-your-face level, hoping to cheer them up and let them see meaning in life, and as expected, they violently attack it, ridicule it, use character assasination, go with the weakest skeptical explaination, ignore anything unexplainable that doesn't agree with them, and are through with it, case closed. *shakes his head in sorrow*

I wonder what their transition is like after death. Do they spend several thousand years in unprogressed ignorance thinking that their ongoing afterlife experience is merely a prolonged hallucination? I feel for these people. Their potential spiritual life is stagnated/blocked from them due to their close-mindedness, and much of what they do with their life is attempt to "deconvert" others from spirituality and spiritual ideas, and believe in nothing. I remember reading a post from one woman on a forum I visited, stating that her immediate family was once highly spiritual people who believed in a higher power, soul, afterlife, etc, and that she successfully "deconverted" them all through "science and logic", and now they all think like her and believe there is nothing. *mind boggle*

I'm thinking that in the above context, either the close-minded skeptical side is truely stronger, or there are just so many people ignorant of current paranormal evidence and it's implications that they are thus gullible enough to seemlessly sway to the close-minded skeptical side so easily and let the likes of James Randi be their charismatic secular guru to think for them and don't do enough personal inner soul searching for themselves to find the truth. I'll say it's the latter.

Oh, and by the way, I recently came across a Skeptic's Report Article that claimed to "debunk" your Article in question and called it "pleading a lost cause". I read through it, and it was PA-THE-TIC. I laughed at how weak and poorly presented the critic's "rebuttals" were compared to yours, and he cleverly omitted (but still linked to) your hard anecdotal evidences that were far too strong for him to explain away, and so he ignored them, and wouldn't comment on them. He also often fell into the exact same traps that you were critiquing in your Article, the most often of which was the famed "anecdotal evidence proves nothing" repeated over and over endlessly. I was going to suggest that you answer him, but I realised in reading his weak "rebuttals" indepth that there is really no need to. The close-minded skeptic's side is truely "pleading a lost cause". ;)

*Cheers you on*

Travis (Also known as "Eteponge" or "Parupunte_Medapani" elsewhere online)

 

 

Hi Winston!

Sorry it took so long to respond - I've had a lot on my plate lately. Things seem to be gearing up again in the Investigation arena with the holidays over and done with. We've gotten two more requests in as many days so I've been coordinating and making phone calls. I also had an MP3 Radio Interview with The Night Watchman of the Night Watchman Chronicles yesterday - pretty cool!

Thank you for allowing me to quote you in my book. I have to say that you've got the BEST arguments I've ever seen. I've always said pretty much the same things in my arguments with those PseudoSkeptics out there, but you do it SO eloquently and intelligently! I've shared your article with many people - they're all impressed as well.

For a sneak peek at what the book is about - here's a link to check out:

www.liftingtheveil.moonfruit.com

The Orange County Ghost Hunters is a paranormal investigation team that I started last year. We've since grown to 12 investigators and we've done just over a half a dozen investigations. My goal is to remain open minded yet objective, so our team is made up of both psychics and "debunkers" but we're all believers. I myself am a psychic, channeler and demonologist. We also have a remote viewer. A good mix I think. :)

If you're ever in the area, PLEASE feel free to call!

Thanks again and look forward to hearing from you again,

Warmest regards,
Diana Akroyd (Only A Distant Relation to Dan)
www.OrangeCountyGhostHunters.com

 

 

Wow Wu!  Just took a quick look at your site, and I'm looking forward to getting into it. We have a lot of ground in common here, I think.  I have a pretty strong background in religion and the so-called paranormal too, and have come out of it all as a non-sectarian theist. 

 

You would very likely appreciate my book FUNDAMENTAL BLASPHEMY, which I wrote after spending two years in a fundamentalist ministry as disciple to a patriarchal prophet.

 

I'll attach an E-book version of it which you might be able to access. Some servers won't take it because it is an .exe file.  You can also find a lot of that book and another, the early new-age study, DOWSING FOR HIGHER CONSCIOUSNESS, in the form of excerpts and articles on my site.

 

and yes, I am covering a living by writing, though there were a lot of years I wrote and wrote and never saw payday.  I presently have a screenplay in production.  check out mockingbirdfilms.com and follow the links to THE BLACK MESSIAH MURDERS.

 

Mockingbird Films

 

Best regards,

James

 

 

Hi Winston,

 

I just wanted to commend you on your article. We share all the same interests as well as similar religious backgrounds that I too feel caused me to search for answers. While reading your article, I felt as if you were speaking for me. I've had the very same arguments with pseudoskeptics and in my own way, have had many of the exact same responses as you.

 

I've just completed an autobiographical book about my spiritual awakening and research of the paranormal and I was wondering if I might be able to quote you on your Occams Razor argument. Would that be possible?

 

I want to keep this short and sweet, but kudos to you on your well thought out, written and thought provoking article. It's provided me with the ammunition I will more than likely need once my book is published as it will certainly receive MUCH scrutiny.

 

I wish you only the very best in your future endeavors!

 

Warmest regards,

 

Diana Akroyd

Founder of the Orange County Ghost Hunters

Investigator, Researcher, Demonologist, Psychic & Soon To Be Author

www.orangecountyghosthunters.com

 

 

Hi Winston

I am very pleased to have found and read your web pages after reviewing Victor Zammit's articles on his web site.  I am extremely interested in the area's of research you and he and many others have and are covering. It is refreshing to see that you manage to articulate So many counter arguments so constructively. You have demonstrated that you are extremely capable of challenging the status Quo and idea's that many would not analysis with such Sharp insight. Well done you. Nice to see (like myself) someone who is in deed forming a healthier encompassment of the complexity and diversity of Paranormal and Psychic Life? Thanks for helping me understand area's where I may have had weak analysis or not seen more clearly the possibilities on applying 'scepticism'. I am  'Open Minded and yes certainly am Sceptic'. I am making an attempt to educate myself about my own experiences, which would feel, embarrassed to try to explain to others or substantiate, as I don’t fully understand it myself. The need to do this makes me sceptic in itself, as any conversation about such tends to make us all need answers to things that confound us. I am more inclined to just accept that we don’t have a satisfactory explanation to date for all these wonderments. Such is the desire to understand complexity in all its forms. I will regard the articles you have written closely next time I do have a paranormal experience although I must admit I don’t think anything I have read anywhere yet explains adequately the experiences or gives Clarity to the mystery. I too need to up date my outlook, as it’s easy to be seduced by reductionism or materialism to think we will find answers by taking things apart and putting them back together.

I like the theory and I know that’s all it is a ‘theory’ that the Mind uses the brain to resonate through to manifest itself.

I am not at all as well educated as you obviously are Winston and I do apply common sense each time I experience something. This too makes little difference so I learn to forget what the big scheme of thins is and feels honoured that I have experiences that make me think outside the restrictive ‘box’ and comfort zones of understanding.

I will research as much as I can to expand my understanding. One thing is for sure ‘we are all in a constant state of transition aren’t we’?

That includes all we know and think we understand. Such ‘refinement’ needs & affords continual growth and flexibility. I look forward to linking back to your web site

To see what new articles you cover and will read with interest what you write.

Well done and thanks for the insight been very informative Winston.

I am researching ‘medium ship’ at the moment and there are few people who Live up to passing the tests described. Like all walks of life ‘Spiritualism’ can and does attract all kinds of people that may or may not be gifted with varying Psychic or Mediumistic ability. Its is hard to measure to validate and verify some messages.  It is also too easy to fake and that’s the problem I have like so many people. A few fakes do a lot of harm and we can all too easily fall fowl of including all as fakes due to one unsatisfactory experience.

I am learning just to observe and keep observing as many mediums as possible and seeing how their styles and delivery’s are demonstrated. I think Gordon Smith’s advise In his new book ‘Unbelievable Truth’ is good advice.

Like you he is grounded and observes the ‘real world’ with a sharp focus.

Thanks again Winston what an excellent read. Look forward to more like that.

Linda

 

 

Hi Mr. Wu - Good job on the article. I was reading a rebuttal by a skeptic, and on the page where you mention Ian Stevenson's 20 Cases, they say that 20 cases (anecdotal stories) is hardly evidence. They completely ignore the fact that Stevenson has thousands of cases, of which at least 200 are completely solid.

 

I was fortunate enough to witness the phenomena of remote viewing personally, so I continue to be amazed by the amount of energy people spend trying to "debunk" pheonmena that are real.  My sessions are documented on my website at http://home.comcast.net/~wjjw/remoteviewing.html.

 

--Bill Walker

 

 

From Whitley Strieber, Author and Radio Host of UnknownCountry.com:

 

http://www.unknowncountry.com/mindframe/opinion/?id=23

 

A Brilliant Rebuttal to the Skeptics

 

It is no secret that many scientists are becoming disenchanted with skeptics groups and the skeptical paradigm in general. Skeptics groups have been losing membership, and some institutions now take a dim view of membership in groups like CSICOP, the Committee for Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal.

 

This is because of a growing concern that skeptics groups and publications are interfering with the progress of science by attempting to compel the rejection of evidence that does not fit existing models of reality. Institutionalized skepticism is beginning to appear more like a religious practice, far removed from the ideals of scientific objectivity which inspired founders such as Dr. Carl Sagan.

 

Winston Wu has now written an essay that brilliantly and decisively rebuts the general skeptical arguments against the paranormal. This is among the best essays ever written on this subject, and deserves extensive study. The essay carefully moves through the entire skeptical lexicon of arguments, rebutting each in turn.

 

As it reveals the fallacy in each argument, it builds a crucial case against the whole skeptical approach to reality, suggesting that it is, essentially, a form of superstition that has the effect of filtering out data if it cannot be explained by accepted scientific theory.

 

The essay suggests that a clear-eyed view of evidence is essential, and that it is lacking both among believers and skeptics. Essentially, Mr. Wu is asserting that the evidence is undigested by science as a result of its being too uncritically embraced by believers and rejected by skeptics.

 

Mr. Wu identifies a difference between healthy skepticism and the cynicism of blanket rejection of evidence.

 

To read Mr. Wu's essay, click here.

 

Also visit Mr. Wu's contra-skeptic website at DebunkingSkeptics.com and participate in the counterskeptic group, SCEPCOP.

 

 

 

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