the complete debate with materialists see this
Aparthib bridges the gap and
An email received from
|Below I am presenting an 8
point summary of the main points
of the debate on the paranormal from the rationalist
hope this would help to bridge the gap between proponents of
paranormal and skeptics. Much of it may turn out to be matter
of pure semantics.
1. The view that paranormal phenomena MIGHT exist or
MIGHT have occurred, IS NOT debatable.
2. The following two views ARE debatable :
A. paranormal phenomena DO exist or must have occurred
in a given instance of anecdotal claim.
B. Paranormal phenomena CAN NEVER occur, or that NONE of
the anecdotal claims of paranormal occurrence ARE true.
2. Rationalists/Scientists take the general view of (1).
If proponents of paranormal also hold the general view (1),
then there is no need or any point for a debate.
3. The debate can only ensue if Scientists took the view of 2-B
or the paranormalists took the view 2-A.
4. Rationalists/Scientists only assert that anecdotal claims
be a reliable and objective basis of verifying the occurrence of
paranormal in a given instance, regardless of the personal
credibility of the anecdotist or their number. This view does
not contradict view (1) and does not necessarily imply view 2-B
5. The view of 4 is demanded by science and TRUE skepticism. So
view 4 cannot be a dogma, because science and skepticism itself
does not contain any element of dogma.
6. Since by 4, anecdotes cannot be a scientific or rational
criteria for the occurrence of paranormal, anyone claiming
that a paranormal occurrence has taken place based on purely
anecdotal claims cannot be a TRUE rationalist/skeptic.
7. If one takes the view that it is in principle not possible to
verify the occurrence of paranormal by scientific observations,
because paranormal by definition is beyond science (This is the
view taken by Ali Sina), then one can only take the view (1) and
say nothing more. To say that a paranormal HAS occurred in a
given instance has to be totally based on personal faith,
if it is indeed beyond scientific means to verify its existence,
then it does not make a logical sense to even assert that it HAS
occurred. A categorically affirmative/negative statement by
defintion has to be objectively (i.e scientifically) verifianble
in principle. If it is stated as a faith then it cannot be
by rationalists, because a debate bewteen faith and reason is an
8. Ali Sina alleged that by dismissing paranormal events without
examining the claims carefully, Scientists/Skeptics are proving
to be dogmatic and pseudo-rationalists. His conclusion is based
on the interpretation that Scientists/Skeptics are dismissing
the paranormal "occurrences". But really
dismiss "Anecodtal Claims", not "Paranormal
crucial difference is being ignored by Ali Sina despite repeated
clarification. If Scientists/Skeptics accepted (opposite of
dismiss) anecdotes as the conclusive proof for the *occurrence*
of paranormal, then they would cease to be scientists and
In other words he will be questioning science and skepticism
by questioning the scientists and skeptics who are just
the criteria of science and skepticism.
Thank you for the clarification. The truth is however that although many
of claims of paranormal are anecdotal and therefore it would be
impossible for anyone to prove or disprove them not all such phenomena
Last night a friend who is following our debate called and asked me to
watch a TV documentary called Unsolved Mysteries. This documentary was
about Energy Healing. The good thing about it was that it was not
anecdotal. In one case a woman was blind and she recovered her eye
sight. Her doctor was there to testify. In another case they showed a
video tape of woman fully paralyzed with lugaric disease then she was
talking and walking perfectly normal. The progression of her recovery
was filmed and her doctor came to testify. Lugaric disease has no cure
(Steven Hawking is affected by lugaric disease). They showed a doctor in
Japan who measured the brain activity of a patient with tumor while she
was being treated by the ďpsychic therapistĒ. He took the pictures
of the brain and the tumor. The tumor shrank in eight minutes to 50% of
its size without the healer touching the patient. In one other case, a
manís leg was so severely damaged that it had to be amputated. Her
mother in her desperation called an energy therapist. The doctor was
also interviewed. He said I thought this is absurd but since I did not
see any way this could harm the patient I conceded, despite that I
scheduled the amputation. The foot started moving in the first session
and the patient recovered completely after a few months.
Now these stories for you are just anecdotes. I could be lying after
all. However, it is not really difficult to verify all these claims by
interviewing the doctors and seeing their medical records. The program
is called Unsolved Mysteries and is shown in many televisions. One can
contact the producer and get the phone numbers of these doctors who
appeared in the documentary and verify their claim.
I actually forgot completely talking about energy therapy. This subject
fascinates me. I heard of a man in Iran who teaches this therapy and
desired to go there and learn it myself. Unfortunately I am not able to
go to Iran for obvious reasons. I came to know about this Iranian man
from a show in an Iranian L.A. based television. (NITV) A man who
claimed he had learned the energy therapy from that guy in Iran made a
reputation among that Iranians in North America. One interesting case
was an American patient of him. This person showed his video tapes when
he was in wheal chair and then how he regained first the feeling of his
toes and then started moving his legs. When he appeared in the show he
was walking with the help of crutches.
The producer of the show, who is not a nonsense woman, said before
inviting this man on her show she wanted to test him first. So she
called him to work on her 90 year old mother and she filmed it. Her
mother had 101 diseases and constantly in pain. After several sessions
all pains were gone and she was walking and looked perfectly healthy.
One could even see her complexion had changed and she was full of life.
She could not hold her hand steady. But after a few sessions she proudly
kept her hand in front of the camera with no shake at all. I learned
that she died one year later. The producer of the show said that her
mother lived the last year of her life with no pains.
My request from those who want to be known as rationalists and skeptics
is please stop this haughty and sneering attitude of we know everything
and you are credulous. Be humble. We humans have not yet discovered many
mysteries of this universe. Donít let people like James Randi or
Shermer pull wool over your eyes. If you are skeptic act like one. If
the word spirit offends your sensibility donít use it, but investigate
the energy field that all humans, animals and plants possess.
Acupuncture works. This is not just anecdote. The acupuncturists say
they manipulate the energy field or qi. Find out how and why it works.
Acupuncture is not just a placebo. It works even on animals. These are
not fairy tales and anecdotes. These are facts that can be tested and
measured scientifically. Denying these facts doesnít make you
intellectuals. It makes you bigots. Horse laugher is not the distinction
of scientific people. It is the behavior of stupid people.
Paranormal of course covers a lot of field. Some of that are really
beyond science and hence not relevant to scientific scrutiny. Like for
example the dreams coming true. This is a personal experience. Some of
them however are very much measurable scientifically. The energy therapy
is one of them. The responsible thing for the scientific community is to
study the latter cases. Verify them and regulate them.
Unfortunately as long as these faculties are dismissed, they canít be
studied and hence regulation is impossible. So these fields are left
open to charlatans and mentalists who with no qualification or ability
fool people to make a buck.
Many years ago naturotherapy was unregulated. Anyone could pick up an
herbal book and prescribe natural remedies. Now you have to be a
physician to practice naturotherapy and it takes you seven years to
qualify. The same thing should be done for energy therapy. There are of
course more charlatans in this unregulated industry than the real ones.
Of course they get some results but those results are placebo effects,
i.e. internally induced healings. Now acupuncture and some other
holistic medicines are taught in a few universities and the
practitioners are required to be licensed. The Vancouver General
Hospital is a very prestigious hospital in North America and has a
department dedicated to holistic medicine, including acupuncture. There
was of course a great resistance to that until the burden of proof
became so overwhelming that it had to be taken seriously.
The same steps should be taken for energy therapy. Energy therapy works.
It does not matter how it works and why it works. The point is that it
works. If it works it must be taken seriously. Facts must be separated
from fiction and the charlatans weeded out.
Thanks again for writing,