Zen...And the Art of Debunkery

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Humorous essay by Daniel Drasin, figured it might get a few chuckles:

Zen...And the Art of Debunkery

What is "debunkery?" Essentially it is the attempt to *debunk* (invalidate) new information and insight by substituting scient*istic* propaganda for the scient*ific* method.

To throw this kind of pseudoscientific behavior into bold--if somewhat comic--relief, I have composed a useful "how-to" guide for aspiring debunkers, with a special section devoted to debunking extraterrestrial intelligence--perhaps the most aggressively debunked subject in the whole of modern history. As will be obvious to the reader, I have carried a few of these debunking strategies over the threshold of absurdity for the sake of making a point. As for the rest, their inherently fallacious reasoning, twisted logic and sheer goofiness will sound frustratingly familar to those who have dared explore beneath the ocean of denial and attempted in good faith to report back about what they found there.

So without further ado...


In a similar but more serious vein:

"The Fear of Psi", by Stephen Braude.

It’s tempting to account for my reaction by appealing simply to the fear of the unknown. But that won’t get us very far. There are lots of unknown things which don’t scare us at all. So what was it, specifically, that frightened me? Of course, on the surface at least, it appeared that something other than the three people in the room caused the table to move. So perhaps I was afraid of the possibility of discarnate agency. But why should that have been frightening?

Granted, I might have recognized that the table movements were ostensibly produced by a discarnate agent, but that doesn’t mean I took that option seriously. Although I’m hardly certain of this, I may well have been too blindly and thoroughly entrenched in my few philosophical conceits for the possibility of discarnate influence ever to have been a live option in my mind, even unconsciously. In any case (and more importantly), since that time there have been other contexts in which I’ve genuinely suspended my customary philosophical prejudices and allowed myself to entertain seriously the possibility that discarnate surviving personalities were influencing events around me. For example, I did that often during the several years I spent getting to know the healer Olga Worrall.

But at no time did I ever experience fear in connection with the phenomena I observed. I recognize, of course, that the very possibility of postmortem agency raises the spectre of hostility and revenge from beyond the grave, just as a matter of principle. If we can influence the world at all after our bodily death, clearly that influence can be either positive or negative. Nevertheless, my guess is that the potential threat of discarnate influence is simply not as deeply intimidating as another possibility: namely, that one or more of those present in the room psychokinetically – and unconsciously – caused the table to move.


From another thread:

Who’s Afraid of Life After Death?

I'm not sure if Grossman is right about how good the evidence is, as I've not done a deep reading of NDE evidence, but he does have some ideas about materialist evangelical psychology:

The evidence for an afterlife is sufficiently strong and compelling that an unbiased person ought to conclude that materialism is a false theory. Yet the academy refuses to examine the evidence, and clings to materialism as if it were a priori true, instead of a posteriori false. I suggest several explanations for the monumental failure of curiosity on the part of academia. First, there is deep confusion between the concepts of evidence and proof. Second, materialism functions as a powerful paradigm that structures the shape of scientific explanations, but is not itself open to question. The third explanation is intellectual arrogance, as the possible existence of disembodied intelligence threatens the materialistic belief that the educated human brain is the highest form of intelligence in existence. Finally, there is a social taboo against belief in an afterlife, as our whole way of life is predicated on materialism and might collapse if near-death experiences, particularly the life review, was accepted as fact.