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bleah!!! Skeptics are surely desperate to put these news around!

Holy moly, I attempted to remove the citations, and some guy jumped on me like a wild dog.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Reliable_sources/Noticeboard#The_Secret_Life_of_Houdini:_The_Making_of_America.27s_First_Superhero

Thanks for getting them to remove the references, Shii. I'm not surprised at the outburst from the person who (presumably) put up the citations in the first place. But at least he did agree to omit these dubious claims (for now).

But wait! I'm "superficial and unscientific"? Heaven forfend!

Eh, on second thought, being superficial is a feature, not a bug, when you're a blogger ...

Oh yeah, if you try to defend anything related to the "paranormal" on Wili even if it means removing outrageous, wrong information you will get jumped by 10 different "rational Wiki" groups who will insult and attack you. The solution is a greater volume of people who respect this material to fight back.

I just wish I had that kind of time on my hands to patrol Wiki pages all day long!

Michael,

Recently stumbled across your blog. As someone who has had a life-long interest in the paranormal, I just want to say that I'm very impressed! It's extremely rare to find someone (especially on-line) who can discuss these kinds of subjects intelligently, with open-mindedness and yet cautious skepticism at the same time. Hope you decide to keep it up!

Along with Jime's "Subversive Thinking" blog, this has now become my favorite paranormal website.

Glad to see you delving into the Seth material and Norman Friedman's take on the same - fascinating stuff! Also, FWIW, I personally think you're groping in the right direction with your M-space / N-space concept....

Re Eusapia Palladino: I had actually never heard of her until I recently read Deborah Blum's wonderful book "Ghost Hunters". Have you discussed that book on this blog yet?

The link for Leonora Piper is also full of mistakes and half-truths. I tried to remove the mistakes and to give a better description of the sittings but the skeptics only put second-hands sources - skeptic sources, by magicians - and say that the original sources are fringe science.

Their dead hand seems to be on quite a few entries with psi connections. It's rather pathetic really.

Michael: I knew you were going to read that, so I guess I should explain myself! That's my honest opinion of spiritualism in general, after reading Rene Guenon's The Spiritist Fallacy. For my superficial and unscientific news, though, I like to make this blog my first stop!

No problem, Shil. I was just funnin' with ya.

Thanks for the kind words, Warren. I liked Ghost Hunters a lot. I was under the impression I'd reviewed it, but when I searched the archives, I couldn't find a review. I did find this:

http://michaelprescott.typepad.com/michael_prescotts_blog/2007/08/the-will-to-dis.html

Vitor, there's a skeptical Wiki posse that keeps an eye out for any edits that challenge their viewpoint on the paranormal. Although Wiki is a good source of info on noncontroversial topics, I've learned not to rely on it for anything relating to psi.

Michael,
Thanks for the link. A thoroughly parochial and aggressively ignorant review from the NYT... why am I not surprised? Enjoyed your comments.

Shii,
Glad to see someone else has read Guenon's catty classic about Spiritualism - his takedown of Theosophy is worth reading, too (can't remember the name of it). Both books contain a lot of truth, but are very unbalanced, much like Guenon himself. I would like to see someone write a similar tome about Guenon and his movement using a similar one-sided perspective - called "The Traditionalist Fallacy", maybe? :-)

Although Wiki is a good source of info on noncontroversial topics, I've learned not to rely on it for anything relating to psi

Wiki is similarly a totally unreliable source on any current political issue, for the same reason.

Truthfully, Wiki is almost useless in any controversial area - psi, politics, religion, you name it. Their summary of the Amanda Knox trial was so one-sided (against Knox) that Wiki's founder Jimmy Wales had to take a personal role in cleaning it up.

However, for noncontroversial topics it's still a great resource.

I have read both anti and pro-Spiritualist books since I was 12yrs old and never, ever, ever have I encountered such an absurd claim as a psychic researcher having sex (much less WANTING to have sex) with Esuapia Palladino.
Thank you for the nightmare fuel.
What book can you link me to for an encore? "The Randi Hammer" by Jeff Moreland where its claimed that Sir Oliver Lodge engaged in pernicious homosexual activity of an oral nature with Carmine Mirabelli? An excerpt from Skeptic Magazine where charges are levied against Mr. Ed who, after taking a break from Hollywood, hopped on a transatlantic flight to engage in inter-species canoodling with Leslie Flint?

Dear God, man! The image of a naked Eusapia Palladino astride Charles Richet is now burned into my brain. I must make haste for the Booze Cave.

Warren,

Guenon's book is indeed unbalanced and his use of psychological language is amusingly hypocritical, since he (correctly) viciously attacks people who make psychological arguments in his other books. It seems like he didn't want to admit the real power of spiritualism on the human soul. But at the same time, the other points he makes are serious and worth considering, as they pose a challenge to the entire concept of spiritualism and its most basic principles. I personally found his Traditionalism to be extremely persuasive.

In any case, I hope the 21st century will see a more serious examination of the metaphysical side of spiritualism that doesn't resort to scientific, parapsychological, or pseudoskeptical harangues. That's why I like to keep an eye on recent books and developments. I've seen hopeful signs in various parts of the blogosphere.

Fred,

You have a talent for nightmares.... :-D

For my part, I found the charge that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle conspired, Moriarty-like, to murder his much-admired friend Houdini the most shocking thing I've read in some time, and I thought I was pretty shock-proof.

Shii,

I have been greatly influenced by the Traditionalists, especially Guenon and Schuon, even though ultimately I found that I couldn't swallow their doctrines whole.

Meanwhile, I wish you the very best in your search for serious and impartial treatments of these matters. They're as rare as hen's teeth, which is why I've come to appreciate this blog so much. Please don't keep it a secret if/when you find other good stuff out there!

The person with whom Shii unfortunately fell into communication appears to be one of the unpleasant and bigoted band of sceptics - a subculture of the general sceptic movement which mainly consists of nasty bullies. These individuals are as prejudiced and intolerant as any Nazi. I find it so hypocritical that they will leap all over paranormal proponents for making what they call "outlandish claims" and not backing them up with proper evidence, yet then turn around and do the same thing.

Are they blind to their hypocrisy, or do they realise the double standard and just think it's justified when they do it?

I need a clarification. Is Rational Wiki and Wikipedia the same thing?

Mike, as our Great Poet Dante said by the voice of Virgilio (referring to bad souls in the Hell):
"Don't care of them, but look and go away!"
Skeptics' brain -IMHO- has a total different setting and no one can change it (see Victor Zammit's Website).

"see Victor Zammit's Website"

I've had my run-ins with Mr. Zammit, actually. Here's one:

http://michaelprescott.typepad.com/michael_prescotts_blog/2006/08/love_letter.html

I don't think I'm on his Christmas card list. :-)

"Is Rational Wiki and Wikipedia the same thing?"

No, RW is a separate site maintained by skeptics.

"These individuals are as prejudiced and intolerant as any Nazi."

I appreciate the support, but let's not demonize the opposition. It's a controversial area; emotions sometimes run hot.

"one of the unpleasant and bigoted band of sceptics"

This all falls under what I call the tailgater principle. If some guy is tailgating you, riding on your bumper and making rude gestures, you may be inclined to take it personally. But if you pull over, you'll see him speed past you and race up to the next car in the lane, where he repeats the same behavior. It wasn't personal at all. He wasn't singling you out. He wasn't even aware of you as an individual. That's just the way he drives. It's the only way he knows how to drive.

In a similar way, some people resort to insults and abuse in any disagreement, not because they have anything against you personally, but because that's the only way they know how to argue. It's a habitual, reflexive response. It doesn't really mean anything. All it tells you about them is that they may have some problems with anger management or self-control.

Vitor, there's a skeptical Wiki posse that keeps an eye out for any edits that challenge their viewpoint on the paranormal. Although Wiki is a good source of info on noncontroversial topics, I've learned not to rely on it for anything relating to psi.

Posted by: Michael Prescott | June 26, 2013 at 08:51 PM

Here's an amusing "definition" from the WUWT site:
John K. Sutherland (08:40:19) :
WIKI-WISE: woefully misinformed, profoundly ignorant of the facts, believing only what one is told to believe.

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