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Thank You, Steve

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  • hokusai67
    I would just like to thank Steve Stubbs for making me think, and this is, after all, the point of any discussion, is it not? Hoku
    Message 1 of 6 , Dec 22, 2001
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      I would just like to thank Steve Stubbs for making me think, and this
      is, after all, the point of any discussion, is it not?

      Hoku
    • Steve Stubbs
      ... Hi, Hoku: Thanks. Some people would question whether thinking clearly, or thinking at all, is the point of this list, but at least you and I agree. I
      Message 2 of 6 , Dec 22, 2001
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        --- hokusai67 <wauxhail@...> wrote:
        > I would just like to thank Steve Stubbs for making
        > me think, and this
        > is, after all, the point of any discussion, is it
        > not?
        >
        Hi, Hoku:

        Thanks. Some people would question whether thinking
        clearly, or thinking at all, is the point of this
        list, but at least you and I agree. I just recently
        encountered a couple of resources which can assist
        list members in developing their critical thinking
        skills if they are interested.

        The first is web page which discusses materializations
        and contains a canon of clear thought:

        http://www.indian-skeptic.org/html/is_v01/1-3-4.htm

        The purpose of the page is summarized by the following
        statement:

        "During three field trips to India to study claims
        suggestive of psi-phenomena the investigators were
        able to observe at close range some unexplained
        occurrences which took place in the presence of Sri
        Sathya Sai Baba."

        Now notice this comment:

        "Although no conclusions can be reached on the
        phenomena observed and described in this account
        because they occurred under informal conditions, it
        seemed worth while to report the events because of the
        challenge they offer to carry out further studies of
        this well-known Indian religious leader under
        well-controlled experimental conditions."

        Note that the researchers said "no conclusions can be
        reached on the phenomena observed and described in
        this account because they occurred under informal
        conditions."

        They were not discounting the possibility of unusual
        phenomena, but merely said that they and not Sai Baba
        had to control the conditions before the stories would
        have scientific validity. That standard can also be
        applied to other reputed miracle stories, such as
        those of Blavatsky. If the stories indicate that the
        conditions were poorly controlled, the miracles may be
        real, but the stories do not constitute scientific
        evidence. The Hartmann story is clearly in this
        category. So is the Ootan Liatto story. This is not
        aggressive skepticism, as has been charged, nor is it
        an effort to "bother" fundamentalists with
        uncomfortable truths or to "explain away" something
        someone else might wish to believe in. It is simply a
        canon of scientific and historical criticism which
        does not imply any judgement on the events being
        recorded.

        The page has some interesting stories which will amuse
        lovers of the marvellous.

        Now consider this page, also on Sai Baba:

        http://psg.com/~ted/bcskeptics/sbmir/db-book.html

        This page announces itself as an "abridgement" of
        claims which "will be useful for assessing the claims
        made about Sai Baba's psychic powers." Now notice
        this statement, which contains an important message:

        "It will be helpful to have these writings [containing
        paranormal claims] detached from the theology. If the
        theology is sound, it will stand on its own. But the
        psychic claims also stand on their own, in the sense
        that we can raise the question whether these miracles
        ever occurred independently of discussing what they
        illustrate about Sai Baba's theology."

        Hear, hear. This criterion also applies to those who
        say that Blavatsky's miracles or the identity of the
        mahatmas and so forth are somehow inextricably tied to
        the validity or non validity of her philosophical
        theories. The truth is, both can be considered
        separately. That is just one of the illogical
        statements in David Pratt's paper. Pratt's paper is
        well worth reading as an exercise in learning to spot
        illogic.

        Those who have followed the career of The Amazing
        Kreskin for any time know he does not claim mysterious
        abilities but is a performer. Some time ago one of
        his performances was video taped and examined by
        professional magicians, who were unable to figure out
        how he did the trick, despite their special skills.
        After playing the tape again and again they were
        finally reduced to studying it frame by frame. Then
        they caught him. That they had to go to such lengths
        is a testimonial to this performer's amazing degree of
        skill. It is also a testimonial to the ability of
        video tape to unmask a trick, however skillfully it is
        performed.

        Unfortunately, it also says we should keep the issue
        open, no matter how carefully we observe something
        which appears to be paranormal.

        Magician Doug Henning claims he can reproduce every
        one of Sai Baba's miracles by non miraculous means.
        Apparently he is right. Like Kreskin before him, Sai
        Baba has been unmasked using video tape. The
        difference is that Kreskin is an honest trickster.

        Did Blavatsky materialize objects out of thin air? I
        am quite convinced she believed, based on what she
        came to believe during her spiritualistic years, that
        it was possible in theory. Nobody would have written
        an entire book on it, disguised as a cosmological
        theory, who did not believe it was possible.

        I am furthermore convinced that she was sincere when
        she said demos of materialization were demonstrations
        of the validity of her theories.

        I am also convinced that she was familiar with certain
        yoga practices which are almost unknown in the west,
        and which are described in certain Indian texts, which
        relate to this. Some of the comments she made
        indicate clearly that this is true. How diligent she
        was in practicing it or whether she practiced at all
        is unclear. She seems to have spent all her time
        entertaining or writing and not meditating.

        What is not clear, except to True Believers, is
        whether she had any success at it or if she did
        whether she succeeded consistently enough that she did
        not have to supplement her real phenomena with sleight
        of hand. True Believers will say we must believe
        whatever they believe. More objective observers will
        refer back to the quote at the beginning of this post:

        "No conclusions can be reached on the phenomena
        observed and described ... because they occurred under
        informal conditions."

        If herbs were burning in the room, as they were during
        the Ootan Liatto incident, and there is clear evidence
        of drug influence, it is not reasonable to steadfastly
        conclude that things were being materialized in the
        room.

        The only way to know for sure if Blavatsky could
        materialize dishes is to materialize your own dishes,
        either in your cupboard or buried in your front yard.
        When you can do that, then you will know that it is
        possible. Unfortunately, going to see Sai Baba is not
        enough.

        As for ne, I am going to go naterialize a salad. I am
        hungry.

        Steve


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      • danielhcaldwell
        ... Steve, much of what you say above merits thoughtful consideration and I agree with the thrust of what you say. I certainly agree that we should have a
        Message 3 of 6 , Dec 22, 2001
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          Steve, you wrote:

          > Note that the researchers said "no conclusions can be
          > reached on the phenomena observed and described in
          > this account because they occurred under informal
          > conditions."
          >
          > They were not discounting the possibility of unusual
          > phenomena, but merely said that they and not Sai Baba
          > had to control the conditions before the stories would
          > have scientific validity. That standard can also be
          > applied to other reputed miracle stories, such as
          > those of Blavatsky. If the stories indicate that the
          > conditions were poorly controlled, the miracles may be
          > real, but the stories do not constitute scientific
          > evidence. The Hartmann story is clearly in this
          > category. So is the Ootan Liatto story. This is not
          > aggressive skepticism, as has been charged, nor is it
          > an effort to "bother" fundamentalists with
          > uncomfortable truths or to "explain away" something
          > someone else might wish to believe in. It is simply a
          > canon of scientific and historical criticism which
          > does not imply any judgement on the events being
          > recorded.

          Steve, much of what you say above merits thoughtful consideration and
          I agree with the thrust of what you say.

          I certainly agree that we should have a positive skepticism toward
          various claims, etc. But I believe we should realize that there is a
          brand of skepticism, whether one calls it "agressive" or not, that
          can "explain away" any paranormal experience or for that matter any
          claim in science.. For good examples of this, I refer you to the
          extensive literature produced by many members of CSICOP and published
          by Prometheus Press. Read for example C.E.M Hansel's
          book "debunking" the paranormal.

          This type of "debunking" and "skepticism" can explain away even the 2
          paranormal cases (HPB) that you mention in one of your previous posts.

          I repeat again below what I wrote earlier regarding the type of
          argument and method employed in this type of skepticism.
          ----------------------------------------------

          Steve, you wrote:

          ". . . . if chicanery is a plausible explanation, then the story
          is not evidence of anything."

          Steve, here is a statement that clearly shows me that you do NOT
          fully understand the vital difference between possible/plausible and
          probable. You can take ANY experience of the paranormal and ANY
          experiment in parapsychology and think up plausible and/or possible
          natural explanations for the experiences or experiments.

          C.E.M Hansel in his skeptical books on parapsychology is a master of
          looking for plausible or possible counterexplanations for the most
          famous experiments in parapsychology.

          Here is an example from another writer.

          In the current web version of his book THE UNKNOWING SAGE, David
          Christopher Lane wrote:

          ". . .I have yet to unearth an airtight, empirical case for genuine
          psychic powers. There are always some uninspected loopholes which
          reveal that natural (versus supernatural) processes were
          involved. . . . "

          David's words sound quite similar to remarks made by the Amazing
          James Randi, who is a member of CSICOP.

          Notice that David Lane says that he has not discovered one AIRTIGHT
          case for genuine psychic powers; and that in all such
          cases "uninspected" [I assume this is a typo for "unsuspected"?]
          loopholes ....reveal that natural processes were involved."

          Exactly how does Lane define "airtight"?

          One dictionary defines "airtight" as follows:

          "having no noticeable weakness, flaw or loophole."

          But the crucial question to ask is: Are those "unsuspected"
          loopholes "real" or only possibilities or plausibilities.

          Also, as far as I know, nothing is 100% airtight, or flawless.

          James MClenon has written about the skeptical strategy of "unpacking"
          any successful parpsychological experiment.

          "The goal of the critic using this strategy is to 'unpack' and
          examine in detail any experiment, and to demonstrate how
          methodological flaws *could* have entered into the experimental
          process, thereby producing an invalid results.. . .The
          critic ...thinks of some...methodological flaw that *could* have
          occurred. . . .His or her 'unpacking' of methodological assumptions
          tends to render the experiment into an anecdotal form. . . .This
          unpacking strategy makes the 'perfect' ESP experiment an
          impossbility. Sooner or later, the critic will ask for information
          that is no longer available, or for a degree of experimental control
          and exactitude that is desirable in principle but impossible in
          practice. . . .[Another] rhetorical ploy is to demand total
          perfection. It is always possible for critics to think of more rigid
          methodological procedures after an experiment has been conducted...
          The a priori arguments of the critics mean it is highly logical to
          assume that, within *all* experiments which successfully 'prove' the
          existence of psi, there must be an 'error some place'."

          This unpacking method can ALSO be used on paranormal experiences.

          Ray Hyman, a psychologist and also a skeptic of the paranormal, has
          agreed that in using such A METHOD OF ARGUMENT, "it is ALWAYS
          possible to 'imagine' SOME scenario in which [for example] cheating
          [or lying], no matter how implausible, COULD HAVE occurred."

          Using such a METHOD is "illegitimate" [as Marcello Truzzi, a
          sociologist and another skeptic of the parnormal points out] because
          by its use, "one can 'hypothetically' explain away ANY result [even]
          in science."

          Turning from paranormal experiments, consider "suspected" flaws in
          regular scientific experiments. Pray tell, is there even one
          experiment in science that has no "possible" or "plausible" flaws?

          In effect, this TYPE OF ARGUMENT and the process of UNPACKING an
          experiment or a testimonial account becomes a game in which the
          skeptic cannot lose!

          Turning to the realm of NORMAL historical inquiry, the historians
          Barzun and Graff point out:

          "If you receive a letter from a relative that [1] bears what looks
          like her signature, that [2] refers to family matters you and she
          commonly discuss, and that [3] was postmarked in the city where she
          lives, the probability is very great that she wrote it."

          "The contrary hypothesis would need at least as many opposing signs
          [of evidence] in order to take root in your mind---though the
          possibility of forgery. . .is always there."

          Please note that the hypothesis that the letter is really written by
          your relative is supported by three positive signs of evidence. But
          as Barzun and Graff point out, even in spite of all that, the
          POSSIBILITY or PLAUSIBILITY of forgery is ALWAYS there! An
          critic using the UNPACKING method could take the ball at this step
          and try to "explain away" the three pieces of evidence.

          For example, the skeptic could "reason":

          "Isn't it possible or plausible that [1] the relative's signature was
          forged, and, isn't it possible or plausible that [2] some "forger"
          was somehow privy to family matters, and, furthermore, isn't it
          possible or plausible that [3] the forger could have mailed the
          letter in the city where your relative lives to throw you off the
          track?"

          And if you (the level-headed researcher) objected to such speculation
          by your resident skeptic, he might quip:

          "Prove to me that the three statements, I just listed, aren't
          possible or plausible! Didn't Barzun and Graff admit that THE
          POSSIBILITY OF FORGERY ...IS ALWAYS THERE?"

          But the perceptive researcher should point out to his skeptical friend
          that POSSIBILITIES and PLAUSIBILITIES are not to be confused with
          PROBABLITIES. Barzun and Graffe clearly enunciate an important
          dictum for the researcher:

          "The rule of 'Give Evidence' is not be be violated. . . .No matter how
          possible or plausible the author's conjecture it cannot be accepted
          as truth if he has only his hunch [which is not evidence] to support
          it. Truth rests not on possibility or plausibility but on
          probability. Probability means the balance of chances that, GIVEN
          SUCH AND SUCH EVIDENCE, the event it records happened in a certain
          way; or, in other cases, that a supposed event did not in fact take
          place."

          Unfortunately, far too many skeptics of the parnormal become fixated
          on "possibilities" AND "plausibilities" and never progress beyond to
          considering "probabilities." Such skeptics---after pointing out that
          if two or more explanations are possible or plausible, none are
          proved---SEEM TO BE UNINTERESTED in the question of where the
          WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE lies. Many of these skeptics fixate and
          speculate (almost ad infinitum and ad nauseam) on various
          possibilities and plausibilities ---hoping that careless readers will
          ASSUME that 'something' has been proven or disproven by such
          rhetoric."

          So when David Lane writes: "I have yet to unearth an airtight,
          empirical case for genuine psychic powers. There are always some
          uninspected loopholes which reveal that natural (versus supernatural)
          processes were involved," is he referring to "possible"
          or "plausible" loopholes that he has conjured up in his imagination
          or is he talking about loopholes that can be documented with
          evidence?

          Furthermore, if by "airtight" David Lane wants to convey the meaning
          of perfect, flawless, 100% confirmed, then I would say he is living
          in a "fairytale" world. What is completely flawless? For example, is
          there a medical test in the world that will give accurate results
          anytime, anywhere, under any and every condition?

          One of my major criticisms of K. Paul Johnson's books was his
          excessive speculations about what might be plausible or possible
          without ever going to THE NEXT STEP and trying to determine what is
          most PROBABLE in light of all the known evidence, both pro, con and
          neutral.

          Steve, your statement: ". . . . if chicanery is a plausible
          explanation, then the story is not evidence of anything." shows me
          that you also do not fully understand the vital difference between
          possible/plausible and probable.

          IN SUMMARY, there is no historical account and no scientific
          experiment where there are not plausible or possible
          counterexplanations. Therefore as Truzzi says: "one
          can 'hypothetically' explain away ANY result [even] in science" by
          using plausible/possible arguments.

          Steve, in closing, I give again the Hartmann account below which I
          think you multilated in your UNPACKING method.

          Daniel H. Caldwell
          BLAVATSKY ARCHIVES
          http://hpb.cc

          HARTMANN'S ACCOUNT:

          This morning at half-past eleven I went upstairs to Madame
          Blavatsky's room and had a conversation with her in regard to
          society
          matters. After this conversation the thought came in my mind to ask
          her opinion in regard to a certain subject of which I had been
          thinking. Madame Blavatsky advised me to apply to the Master
          himself, to ask him mentally, and that the Master himself would
          surely answer my question. A few minutes later she said she felt his
          presence, and that she saw him writing. I must say that I too felt
          his influence and seemed to see his face, but of course this
          circumstance will carry conviction to no one but myself.

          Just then another lady came in, to my great annoyance, and expressed
          her wish to have a pair of pincers, which she needed for some
          purpose, and remembering that I had such a pair of pincers in the
          drawer of my writing desk, I went downstairs into my room to get
          them. I opened the drawer, saw the pincers and a few other things in
          there, but no vestige of any letter, as I had removed my papers the
          day before to another place. I took the pincers and was about to
          close the drawer, when --- there lay in the drawer a great envelope,
          addressed to me in the well-known handwriting of the Master and
          sealed with the seal bearing his initials in Tibetan characters. On
          opening it, I found a long, very kind and somewhat complimentary
          letter, treating of the identical questions, about which I had just
          been talking with Madame Blavatsky, besides giving a detailed and
          satisfactory answer to the very question which had so perplexed my
          mind, and a satisfactory explanation of certain matters, which for
          some time had been foremost in my mind, but of which I had said
          nothing at all.

          Moreover, there was in the same envelope a photograph, cabinet-size,
          of the Master's face, with a dedication to me at the back. This
          picture will henceforth be considered as the greatest treasure in my
          possession.

          Now, if I know anything at all, I know that my drawer contained no
          such letter, when I opened it, and that there was nobody visible in
          my room at that time. The letter, giving a detailed answer to my
          question, must have been written, sealed and put into the drawer in
          less than four minutes, while it took exactly forty minutes to copy
          it the next day; and finally, it treated a very difficult problem in
          such an elaborate and yet concise manner, that only an intelligence
          of the highest order could have done the same.
        • danielhcaldwell
          Truth rests not on possibility or plausibility but on probability. ... The possibility/plausibility method of argument is a very useful tool in unpacking
          Message 4 of 6 , Dec 22, 2001
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            "Truth rests not on possibility or plausibility but on probability."
            --- Barzun and Graffe, THE MODERN RESEARCHER

            The "possibility/plausibility" method of argument is a very useful
            tool in unpacking and throwing doubt on ANY normal or paranormal
            event/experience/experiment.

            I give below an excellent example of this method of argument from THE
            TRANSCENDENTAL TEMPTATION by Paul Kurtz, a founding member of
            CSICOP. Notice how Kurtz focuses on POSSIBILITIES/PLAUSIBILITIES. I
            put certain words in CAPS to show his technique.

            "Many psychic investigators were apparently impressed by the Fielding
            report on Eusapia Palladino [the famous Italian medium]. . . .Were
            some of the medium's manifestations genuine? . . . Or MAY WE SURMISE
            that Eusapia was more clever than Feilding and his associates? DID
            EUSAPIA HAVE accomplices --- PERHAPS Italians, scientists, and
            friends who had attended several seances, or even Carrington? DID
            SHE USE every trick in the book, changing them to suit her purposes?
            Since she was a voluptuous woman, WERE HER MALE SITTERS taken in by
            her erotic charms and DID THEY FAIL to take the proper precautions?
            Eusapia was OBVIOUSLY a master illusionist, well-versed in her craft;
            and those who sat with her, through skilled in their specialties, MAY
            PERHAPS have been outsmarted by her. The Feilding report denies the
            POSSIBILITY of accomplices or prearrangments in the hotel. But
            should we accept the denial?"

            MAY WE SURMISE....PERHAPS...MAY PERHAPS.

            "Where's the beef?" Kurtz offers only POSSIBILITIES &
            PLAUSIBILITES. But Kurtz does NOT offer any evidence to his readers
            to help them answer his questions. Some readers might falsely assume
            that "something" has been proven or disproven by Kurtz's use of this
            method of argument.

            It should be pointed out that in contrast to Kurtz's "perhaps", the
            Feilding Report offers various kinds of EVIDENCE in support of the
            authors' conclusions.

            That is not to say that the questions entertained by Kurtz are not
            worthy of consideration. But such questions should lead to further
            research on the subject and to the accumulation of evidence.

            In fact, the Feilding Report contains EVIDENCE that would actually
            answer many of Kurtz's questions.

            The above example illustrates Ray Hyman's statement that "it is
            ALWAYS possible to 'imagine' SOME scenario in which cheating no
            matter how implausible, COULD HAVE occurred."

            By using this "possibility/plausibility" method of argument, "one
            can 'HYPOTHETICALLY' explain away ANY result [even] in science [or
            history or the paranormal]."

            My notebooks are full of hundreds of such examples from the skeptical
            literature on the paranormal.

            Daniel H. Caldwell
            BLAVATSKY ARCHIVES
            http://hpb.cc
          • Steve Stubbs
            ... 7 argument from THE ... CSICOP exists for the purpose of pleading a case decided before the fact, just as theosophical fundamentalism does. What I am
            Message 5 of 6 , Dec 23, 2001
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              --- danielhcaldwell <danielhcaldwell@...> wrote:
              > I give below an excellent example of this method of
              7> argument from THE
              > TRANSCENDENTAL TEMPTATION by Paul Kurtz, a founding
              > member of
              > CSICOP.

              CSICOP exists for the purpose of pleading a case
              decided before the fact, just as theosophical
              fundamentalism does. What I am saying is that the
              question remains open until solid evidence is
              produced. There is an important difference there.

              > That is not to say that the questions entertained by
              > Kurtz are not
              > worthy of consideration. But such questions should
              > lead to further
              > research on the subject and to the accumulation of
              > evidence.

              The questions should be dealt with by replicating the
              experiment with improved test conditions.

              As we have seen with Sai Baba, some people are so good
              at sleight of hand and some witneses ae so dishonest
              that even seeing is not believing. The only way to
              prove that dishes can be materialized out of thin air
              is to do it yourself. That was you can absolutely
              rule out sleight of hand and every sort of other
              nonsense. Once you prove it possible, then you prove
              the plausibility of claims made in the past.

              > The above example illustrates Ray Hyman's statement
              > that "it is
              > ALWAYS possible to 'imagine' SOME scenario in which
              > cheating no
              > matter how implausible, COULD HAVE occurred."

              That's not quite fair. I open the regrigerator and
              pull out an orange. You can say it materialized out
              of thin air a moment before. I say I put it there
              when I got home from the store last Friday. Neither
              theory can be proved to a True Believer in the other.
              But which one makes more sense?

              > By using this "possibility/plausibility" method of
              > argument, "one
              > can 'HYPOTHETICALLY' explain away ANY result [even]
              > in science [or
              > history or the paranormal]."

              Not true. I place a pot of water over a fire. The
              water boils. The experiment can be replicated. How
              would you explain that away?

              Bear in mind the question here is not of urging people
              to believe or disbelieve what fundamentalists believe.
              The question is one of how to think clearly and
              evaluate evidence.

              Steve


              __________________________________________________
              Do You Yahoo!?
              Send your FREE holiday greetings online!
              http://greetings.yahoo.com
            • Daniel H. Caldwell
              The possibility/plausibility method of argument: An example Truth rests not on possibility or plausibility but on probability. ... The
              Message 6 of 6 , Jul 13, 2005
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                The "possibility/plausibility" method of argument: An example

                "Truth rests not on possibility or plausibility but on probability."
                --- Barzun and Graffe, THE MODERN RESEARCHER

                The "possibility/plausibility" method of argument is a very useful
                tool in unpacking and throwing doubt on ANY normal or paranormal
                event/experience/experiment.

                I give below an excellent example of this method of argument from THE
                TRANSCENDENTAL TEMPTATION by Paul Kurtz, a founding member of
                CSICOP. Notice how Kurtz focuses on POSSIBILITIES/PLAUSIBILITIES. I
                put certain words in CAPS to show his technique.

                "Many psychic investigators were apparently impressed by the Fielding
                report on Eusapia Palladino [the famous Italian medium]. . . .Were
                some of the medium's manifestations genuine? . . . Or MAY WE SURMISE
                that Eusapia was more clever than Feilding and his associates? DID
                EUSAPIA HAVE accomplices --- PERHAPS Italians, scientists, and
                friends who had attended several seances, or even Carrington? DID
                SHE USE every trick in the book, changing them to suit her purposes?
                Since she was a voluptuous woman, WERE HER MALE SITTERS taken in by
                her erotic charms and DID THEY FAIL to take the proper precautions?
                Eusapia was OBVIOUSLY a master illusionist, well-versed in her craft;
                and those who sat with her, through skilled in their specialties, MAY
                PERHAPS have been outsmarted by her. The Feilding report denies the
                POSSIBILITY of accomplices or prearrangments in the hotel. But
                should we accept the denial?"

                MAY WE SURMISE....PERHAPS...MAY PERHAPS.

                "Where's the beef?" Kurtz offers only POSSIBILITIES &
                PLAUSIBILITES. But Kurtz does NOT offer any evidence to his readers
                to help them answer his questions. Some readers might falsely assume
                that "something" has been proven or disproven by Kurtz's use of this
                method of argument.

                It should be pointed out that in contrast to Kurtz's "perhaps", the
                Feilding Report offers various kinds of EVIDENCE in support of the
                authors' conclusions.

                That is not to say that the questions entertained by Kurtz are not
                worthy of consideration. But such questions should lead to further
                research on the subject and to the accumulation of evidence.

                In fact, the Feilding Report contains EVIDENCE that would actually
                answer many of Kurtz's questions.

                The above example illustrates Ray Hyman's statement that "it is
                ALWAYS possible to 'imagine' SOME scenario in which cheating no
                matter how implausible, COULD HAVE occurred."

                By using this "possibility/plausibility" method of argument, "one
                can 'HYPOTHETICALLY' explain away ANY result [even] in science [or
                history or the paranormal]."

                My notebooks are full of hundreds of such examples .

                Daniel H. Caldwell
                BLAVATSKY ARCHIVES
                http://hpb.cc
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