I said I am not going to respond to any critique of my article “What
it Takes to be a Rationalist” I am afraid I could not resist the
temptation. This is not my first broken promise.
thank my three erudite critics for responding to my article and admire
their scholarly mind. However I think I have to respond to them and
I’ll start with the rebuttal of Mr. James Randi
thank you for clarifying your challenge. I had heard this challenge here
and there but did not know who was behind it and what was its exact
condition. Now that you were kind enough to clarify that I have to say
that the challenge is already met and the million dollars should have
already been paid several times.
is not my field of interest. But luckily a couple of nights ago the
Discovery Channel of Canada aired a program called The Ten Ultimate
Mysteries. What a coincidence! It was a show about Crop Circles, ESP,
UFO, Bigfoot, Faith Healing, Spontaneous Human Combustion, After Life
and other related subjects known as mysteries. It also talked about
clairvoyance or “Remote Viewing”. It said that the U.S.
government expended 20 million dollars on this project during the Cold
War to spy on the Soviets and to counter a similar project that the
Soviets had. One of the persons working for this project was Joseph
McMoneagle claims that in 1981 the American General James Dozier,
was kidnapped by the Italian terrorist group Red Brigades. He claims to
have zeroed down on the floor, the street and the city (without being
able to read the house number) and saw the General chained to a wall
heater. This information arrived to the right person in charge of the
search one day after the General was found exactly in the same city,
street, floor and condition as seen by
all means I think this would be quite extraordinary. All you have to do
is to verify this claim. It is possible that McMoneagle is lying. But if
you can verify through independent sources that he actually was able to
see all that while General Dozier was still in captivity, you must
comply with your promise and pay the million dollars. But don’t pay
all that money to McMoneagle, there are other fascinating stories that
defy any explanation, keep enough of that money for others too. In fact
do not pay more than a few hundreds of dollars to McMoneagle because
there are thousands of cases such as his, which beyond a shadow of doubt
prove there is something not quite normal that cannot be dismissed as
coincidence or trick.
perhaps you really did not mean to pay that money and your main goal is
to attract some propaganda. Muhammad also has a challenge. His challenge
is “produce a surah like this”. Many people have produced better
surahs but none of that satisfies the followers of this prophet of
tricks. What satisfies you as proof? The story of McMoneagle, if true,
satisfies me. If true, doesn’t it satisfy you? If not, why not? Have
you calculated the odds of just guessing the city, the street, the floor
and the General being chained to a wall heater? Unless you are a
believer and nothing satisfies you just as no “surah” written by
anyone would satisfy a Muslim to be equal or better than what Muhammad
“revealed”. When faith comes in the reason goes out.
same program talked about an experiment of telepathy. One person was
placed in a room and his associate in another room. The person sitting
in room A was shown various images one at the time, the person in room B
was given four choices to pick the right image shown to the person in
room A each time. Only one of the images was correct. If telepathy did
not exist at all, then the chances of the person in room B picking up
the right answers should not have been more than 25%. However test after
test showed that the answers were correct 34% to 35% of the time.
would say this experiment is enough to prove that there is something to
telepathy and it should not be dismissed as hoax. Now of course the
success rate was not very high, nevertheless it is enough to prove that
there is something to it. I am not concerned about its unreliability at
this moment. All I care is to verify that it exists. When the first
airplane became airborne it did not travel across the Atlantic; it fell
after a few hundred yards. But it proved that air travel is possible.
Today all we want to know is that telepathy is possible. If those
reports are true, then we have to conclude that it is possible.
let me explain why I called the self-proclaimed skeptics,“ self
proclaimed”. Well, it is because I do not see them as skeptics. If
people go to that extent to deny the evidence, as in the case of the
self-proclaimed skeptics then they should not be called skeptics.
Skeptics constantly doubt their own beliefs. In fact skeptics do not
believe. I doubted my beliefs in Islam but I did not dismiss religion
altogether. Then I doubted my belief in religion but sill believed in
God. Then I doubted God. At one point I dismissed any paranormal but now
is paranormal? Isn’t it anything beyond the range of normal
experience or scientific explanation? Well I do think that there are
phenomena that are beyond the range of normal experience, they are not
normal and cannot be explained scientifically. Now this does not mean
that they will always remain beyond scientific explanation. However, the
science of today cannot explain them and that is something undeniable.
If you do not agree, then please explain the crop
circles and if you are sure they are hoax, I will pay you to create
something similar to them overnight without anyone seeing you and do it
on thin ice.
and trying to make sense of the things we do not understand is healthy.
This is how we humans have reached where we are. However, what is not
healthy and I call dogmatic is denial of the evidence of things that we
do not understand.
also agree with your description of science. I am not questioning the
validity of science. My beef is with people not with science. It is
people who are dogmatic not science. As I said dogmatism is not in
what we believe; it is in our attitude. I could believe in many things
that could be wrong. As long as I am willing to let those beliefs go if
they are proven untenable, I am not dogmatic.
is not dogma, but the belief that anything that cannot be explained by
science is not true, is dogma.
I also agree with you that paranormal is not my line of expertise.
However, I personally have had three experiences that cannot be
explained by science and hence by definition they are paranormal. I am
entitled to talk about my own experiences. I already mentioned about the
globe of light. I will talk about the next one now.
was in my bed but not asleep. Suddenly I heard the sound of the breaking
of the chinaware in the closet. I used to put my best chinaware on the
upper shelves of my bedroom closet to keep them out of way. When I
opened the door, I saw that the soup bowl that was sitting on the top of
the plates was shattered in minute pieces. The biggest piece was less
than one square centimeter. No other plate was broken. Now I do not
believe this has to do with ghosts or anything like that. I think this
has to do with some stored tension inside the bowl that shatters it in
this way. However, I do not know of any scientific explanation for this
phenomenon yet. So if it can’t be explained by science, it is
paranormal. That is the dictionary definition of paranormal. Obviously
we do not know much about the life of the atoms and particles. When
science can explain that, we will no more call it paranormal.
I learned that similar phenomena was witnessed by others as well and
they call it poltergeist. Poltergeist means a ghost that manifests
itself by noises, rappings, and the creation of disorder. There are also
reports about objects being thrown in air. I suspect what I saw had
nothing to do with ghosts, there were no bad odors, and the breaking of
the plated did not continue. But if these other reports are true, I have
no explanation for them. I can’t deny that my china broke in pieces
without any pressure exerting on it. This I saw myself. Too bad you were
not there or I would have demanded the million dollars that you offer
for anything not normal. Now you want proof. Is this something I can
prove it to you?
thank you for your response to my article.