Re: Theos-World To Bart & Steve: The Gebhard Letter
Apr 20, 2004 11:33 AM
by Bart Lidofsky
Daniel H. Caldwell wrote:
Notice that Bart is able to do EXACTLY what Ray
That is true. In which case, one must decide which explanation is MORE
"it is ALWAYS possible to 'imagine' some scenario
in which cheating, no matter how implausible,
could have occurred."
occurred. . . .His or her 'unpacking' of methodological assumptions
tends to render the experiment into an anecdotal form. . . .This
unpacking strategy makes the 'perfect' ESP experiment an
Well, perfection IS impossible, however, by setting up proper controls,
an experiment CAN be made where the explanation of ESP is more plausible
than the natural explanation. Also, very often, a natural explanation
can be tested by redesigning the experiment to exclude the possibility
of that natural explanation.
A major problem with the current scientific paradigm is that it is
designed to eliminate the factor of consciousness, which makes it very
difficult to measure and test phenomena that involve the factor of
consciousness. However, nobody has yet come up with a solution to that
Bart UNPACKED the phenomenon. He looked for POSSIBLE flaws or other
possible factors that would invalidate the paranormal feature.
"this type of argument and the process of unpacking an experiment or
a testimonial account becomes a game in which the critic cannot lose."
Only if the "unpacked" explanation is more plausible than the
"supernatural" one. For example, another "unpacked" explanation would be
that Gebhart had been hypnotized into planting the letter himself, and
to forget about it later. However, that is highly implausible.
"If you receive a letter from a relative that  bears what looks
like her signature, that  refers to family matters you and she
commonly discuss, and that  was postmarked in the city where she
lives, the probability is very great that she wrote it."
That doesn't mean that there isn't evidence that makes the possibility
of a forgery MORE probable. And that doesn't mean that there isn't a
possibility that the teacup and letter were true occult phenomena.
"The contrary hypothesis would need at least as many opposing signs
[of evidence] in order to take root in your mind---though the
POSSIBILITY of forgery. . .is always there."
"Isn't it possible that  the relative's signature was forged, and,
isn't it possible that  some "forger" was somehow privy to family
matters, and, furthermore, isn't it possible that  the forger
could have mailed the letter in the city where your relative lives to
throw you off the track?"
And your actions depends on the cost of trusting the letter vs. not
trusting it. For example, these days, people often receive emails from
people they know, postmarked from their email address, sometimes even
containing personal information, containing virus attachments (the last
occurs when there is a lucky guess). I would NEVER open up an
unsolicited .exe or similar attachment without first checking with the
sender, regardless of how authentic the email appears.
My point is that it is ALWAYS POSSIBLE to suggest cheating or forgery.
Nothing. However, when does not have enough information to tell
something for sure, then one is stuck with going by the weight of the
evidence at hand. And I was specifically asked if I could come up with a
plausible explanation as to how it could have been trickery.
But to make these suggestions does not PROVE that the letter is a
forgery. In other words, what does this "isn't it possible" type of
argument actually prove?
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