User talk:WaterPlanet

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Hello and Welcome to Wikiversity WaterPlanet! You can contact us with questions at the colloquium or me personally when you need help. Please remember to sign and date your finished comments when participating in discussions. The signature icon Insert-signature.png above the edit window makes it simple. All users are expected to abide by our Privacy, Civility, and the Terms of Use policies while at Wikiversity.

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You do not need to be an educator to edit. You only need to be bold to contribute and to experiment with the sandbox or your userpage. See you around Wikiversity! --Abd (discusscontribs) 16:15, 6 September 2015 (UTC)

--Better late than never. Excellent work, great conversation. Thanks. --Abd (discusscontribs) 16:15, 6 September 2015 (UTC)

Due to the fact that you have been absent for a month, I copied your list into a sources subpage in order to preserve it for posterity: https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Parapsychology/Sources/WaterPlanet - I featured it prominently in the collections and books subsections.
I really appreciate your efforts, and I will be purchasing every book listed not available on archive.org or hathitrust.
I have become more skeptical, though not completely, as a result of engaging some of the antagonistic literature. I certainly have my disagreements with much of it :), though thank you for putting it all in one place.
My project will probably be the only effort from a proponent that attempts to engage the breadth of this literature, and I appreciate your provision of it.
Regards, Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 04:28, 10 July 2015 (UTC)

Yep thanks or storing those sources. I have read or owned most of those books. Ray Hyman, Chris French, Richard Wiseman, Paul Kurtz etc are not worth reading in my opinion.. It seems to me that most of the best skeptical literature was from the old days, what most of the modern skeptics do is either regurgitate the old arguments or not aware of the older works (Daniel Loxton mentioned this). John Nevil Maskelyne Modern Spiritualism: A Short Account of its Rise and Progress, with Some Exposures of So-Called Spirit Media (1876) and John Mulholland Beware Familiar Spirits (1935) are a very good books written by professional magicians who actually spent time investigating paranormal claims first-hand. Unfortunately masterpieces like Stuart Cumberland's Spiritualism: The Inside Truth (1919) is a very rare book that cost a lot of money to obtain and only a few people have probably read it in the world. Only amazon and eBay will have these kind of books and they will only turn up probably once a year, if that.

I do not have time to post huge commentaries on all your research but I would like to show you Madame Blavatsky and Henry Slade were undoubtedly fraudulent. Hopefully I can post that this month. Obviously paranormal claims are much bigger than just spiritualist mediums. If you look at Ufology, there are the best cases like the Robert Taylor incident, Rendlesham Forest incident, Val Johnson incident and the Lonnie Zamora incident. I have studied these cases in depth and to me there are possible prosaic explanations for them all but it is not an easy task like sassing out the obvious fraud of some spiritualist mediums using cheesecloth ectoplasm or magicians tricks to move tables. There is a lot of fraud and hoaxes in Ufology and it is honestly not worth looking into the hundreds of cases out there filled with dubious claims (there are millions of books published on these cases but only a handful of skeptical books), but look up those four main cases if you have some spare time. WaterPlanet (discusscontribs) 16:54, 11 July 2015 (UTC)

Miracles[edit source]

Schrenck-Notzing favored (Phenomena of Materialization, p. 31) the following hypothesis as regards the mediumistic phenomena – that some people can transform their physiological store of energy, and transmit it through space, but that simultaneously they would suffer a loss in bodily energy. He held that “[T]he mediumistic form of energy can be compared, as regards velocity of propagation, with light, and it appears to have polarity, for there are persons whose actions neutralise each other. This view implies no fundamental contradiction of any laws of Nature. We have, therefore, the possibility of a science." Moreover these psycho-dynamical phenomena, “comprise indefinite, undefinable, and unintelligible capacities of the human organism, which perhaps every one possesses to a quite small and unrecognisable degree, but which some personalities possess to such an extraordinary extent that they succeed in expressing their vital and psychic activity beyond the limits of the body. These powers disappear with the mechanism which produces them, and have, therefore, no survival.” Of the scientists involved in metapsychics, he stated that “all the investigators who have lately studied the phenomena of physical mediumship […] incline towards a rejection of the spiritistic theory in favour of the psychodynamical conception, and towards a purely observational attitude…”

The psychical researcher and philosopher Stephen E. Braude in the "Anomaly called Psi" debate, likewise made the argument that séance room phenomena do not violate the law of conservation of energy. See his contribution.

If the skeptical literature can be refuted, then it is probable that the ostensible association of this with trance phenomena would mean that less energy is expended on normal psycho-physiological processes, and therefore lends itself to abnormal processes. The physicist and mystic David Bohm had an interesting belief, excerpted here, and of tangential relevance of hypotheses related to altered states, that will probably be of relevance should there be found evidence for the phenomena that overcomes the counter-hypotheses.

As regards research, I have much material yet to put up here. Thank you for your recommendations.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 22:53, 11 July 2015 (UTC)

I think it's easier if I just give you a load of sources like on that list and we stay on neutral terms and try and help each other collect sources. Debating these topics personally it is rare for anyone to ever agree on anything. I avoid internet forums because all people do is viciously attack each other. It is a controversial subject where proponents and skeptics are at war with each other and they will deliberately not agree on anything, will cherry-pick pieces and never ever praise each side's work.

But yes the old energy hypothesis that some mysterious unknown energy or "vital force" came from the medium's body could account for séance phenomena like ectoplasm or psychokinesis of objects or levitations of tables etc. Back in the day this was called "Odic Force", it's also been called Vril, psychic energy, psychons and many other names. I used to be a proponent of this view back in the day when I was a believer. Schrenck-Notzing was right this was a popular hypothesis, Gustav Geley, Charles Richet, Hereward Carrington favored it etc in opposition to the spiritualist hypothesis. But there is no reason for this far-fetched view. There is no solid evidence to support it. Here is a scientific paper on another proponent Enrico Morselli who held that view [1] it's been linked to vitalism philosophy. C. E. M. Joad associate of Harry Price also held that view. It's obsolete now.

There are no major new forces or energies because they would have been either captured already, there is no possible physical mechanism for them, and they would be to weak to explain the said phenomena, that is explained here by Sean Carroll [2] "The point is that such forces are characterized by three things: their range, their strength, and their source (what they couple to). As discussed above, we know what the possible sources are that are relevant to spoons: quarks, gluons, photons, electrons. So all we have to do is a set of experiments that look for forces between different combinations of those particles. And these experiments have been done! The answer is: any new forces that might be lurking out there are either (far) too short-range to effect everyday objects, or (far) too weak to have readily observable effects." So physics rules out these magical forces accounting for moving objects or tables in séance rooms like Schrenck-Notzing thought.

Schrenck-Notzing was taken in by Eva C. For example stuff like this is undoubtedly two dimensional cardboard cut-outs. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/45/Cardboard_cut_out_with_Eva_C.png

And this was a newspaper clipping taken from the French magazine Le Miroir

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/39/Eva_C_fake_ectoplasm_made_from_newspaper.gif

Are there any valid cases on record for Schrenck-Notzing's psychodynamical conception? I don't think there are. Also take into account Notzing was duped by two other mediums, one confessed to this [3], this medium actually placed his fake ectoplasm in Notzing's pockets during the séances. Notzing was very easily fooled in the séance room. Bottom line is that physical mediumship is just fraudulent from what I have studied. There are only two mediums worth defending with it comes to physical stuff - Daniel Dunglas Home and Rudi Schneider. Whilst I believe they are fraudulent, not all their phenomena has been explained and we are only left with speculation for some of it. Eva C and Helen Duncan, Mina Crandon etc have been exposed many times over and over. Just look on any internet engine for their 'phenomena' it's just cheesecloth or very silly natural substances they were trying to pass off as spirits I see no reason to resort to mysterious or unknown energies which have no proof. I have no idea how we are in this modern century and still some people want to claim it is all genuine, but people need to believe. I understand that. After the 1940s physical mediumship declined, it is because technology increased. Think about camera equipment today. Very little mediums today are physical mediums. They now hide behind cold reading tactics. WaterPlanet (discusscontribs) 12:21, 12 July 2015 (UTC)

As for miracles I have read Alfred Wallace's book on the topic [4] and this is also interesting Evolutionism Combined with Spiritualism: A. R. Wallace’s Approach. So yes I have read proponent literature but I remain unconvinced.
As I put on my user page I am on the fence about a possible afterlife - do not oppose it like some skeptics. I would like it to be true and I have no problem with philosophy. I think we are dealing with a philosophical problem not a scientific one. More on this later. WaterPlanet (discusscontribs) 12:39, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
I probably won't be able to reply to you for a month b/c I am busy w/ other things. I appreciate your reply. If you have anything else you would like to add in this thread, please feel free to reference it.
p.s. - as regards Henry Slade, Klinkowström in a German article claimed secondary validation for the confession of fraud[5] (though see also this), and in "Lives and Letters in American Parapsychology", there is a critique of the ostensible recent defense of the theosophists. For people like Slade, even if proponents have anything valid on him, he is still very sleazy and confessions don't mean much because people like him will say anything to get out of any situation. They have interest as regards the difference between magic tricks and the unexplained, have the counter-hypotheses all been refuted, or have they not (and even then we are dealing with very clever magic tricks)? Transcendental Physics is an interesting read in spite of Carrington's overview, though an actual scientific appraisal would deal with Zöllner's original German texts and directly compare the original primary source literature with secondary evaluations - the view that primary sources should be primarily consulted and secondary sources should be secondarily consulted seems to be a wise one to abide by in studying controversial and/or fringe topics.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 02:01, 13 July 2015 (UTC)
There have been some research projects that indicate the existence of a “Vital Force”, which is what Odic Force was described as. Dr. Sheldrake references some of these in his recent book “Science Set Free, in Chapter Two, Is The Total Amount of Matter and Energy the Same?”
The one I found interesting was done in the late 1970s by Paul Webb where he was able to determine that in test subjects more energy was being used than he could account for in their food consumption: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/33/6/1287.full.pdf He postulated that there existed an unknown energy “x” (vitality, Odic Force, Prana) that supplied on average 27% of total metabolic expenditure.: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7386417Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 19:16, 10 August 2015 (UTC)

Philosophy and Survival[edit source]

If you desire to put forth your arguments here on why Survival is ultimately a philosophical question, I'd be interested.Ben Steigmann (discusscontribs) 21:02, 18 July 2015 (UTC)