The JUDGE CASE by Ernest E. Pelletier: Part Two
Apr 11, 2006 10:45 AM
"The chapter 15 in which Pelletier
tries to make it into something
important is merely a lot of guess-work,
in my opinion."
Unfortunately I find numerous examples of this
kind of GUESS-WORK.
For instance, Pelletier writes:
"WE CAN ONLY IMAGINE, because there is no
strong evidence to support our claim, that
the note was....." Part I, p. 379 caps added
Unfortunately, there are many other examples in Pelletier's book
where Pelletier does NOT openly confess that he is only "imagining"
and does NOT plainly admit that there is no strong evidence to
support this or that claim.
Pelletier does the same kind of excessive speculation
spinning repeatedly in Chapter 17 of THE JUDGE CASE. If I have
time in the future I will give a number of examples.
I criticized K. Paul Johnson for
the same kind of speculation spinning in his books about HPB
and the Masters.
This is what I wrote in my booklet on Johnson's
research and books:
Throughout all three of his books, Johnson indulges in excessive
speculation and constantly violates the historical rule of "Give
Jacques Barzun and Henry F. Graff write on this kind of speculation-
spinning in their classic work The Modern Researcher:
"…the rule of 'Give evidence' is not to be violated without
impunity. No matter how possible or plausible the author's
conjecture, it cannot be accepted as historical truth if he has only
his hunch to support it. What would be more than adequate for
village gossip does not begin to be enough for history. . . .
"The writer. . .[may have] found his hypothesis consistent with the
facts he had gathered, and from this consistency he deduced
confirmation. He may be imagined as saying: '. . . certain facts can
be made to support my view, therefore my view is proved.' But proof
demands decisive evidence; this means evidence that confirms one
view and excludes its rivals. . . . [The author's] facts will fit
his view and his critic's and several other possible views as well.
"To say this is to say that they support none of them in such a way
as to discriminate between truth and conjecture. In short, mere
consistency is not enough, nor mere plausibility, for both can apply
to a wide variety of hypotheses.
"The commandment about furnishing evidence that is decisive leads
us, therefore, to a second fundamental rule: in history, as in life
critically considered, truth rests not on possibility nor on
plausibility but on probability. Probability is used here in a
strict sense. It means the balance of chances that, given such and
such evidence , the event it records happened in a certain way; or,
in other cases, that a supposed event did not in fact take
place. . . ." (Fourth edition, 1985, pp. 174-175.)
In his Theosophical History review (p. 241), Dr. Algeo mentions
Johnson's penchant for speculation spinning and cites an example.
In a single paragraph, Johnson attempts to make a connection between
Ranbir Singh and Morya using the following "possibility-
plausibility" qualifiers: "it is not unlikely . . . may have . . .
it seems possible that . . . perhaps . . . would have made . . .
could have found . . . may have made . . . might have been . . ."
(The Masters Revealed, p. 136)
Unfortunately, Pelletier has also mastered the art of excessive
Dr. Algeo in his review of Johnson's book also observes:
"The rhetoric of . . . [Johnson's] presentation disguises the
weakness of the evidence, perhaps even from Johnson himself."
(Quoted from The American Theosophist, Late Spring/Early Summer
1995, p. 12.)
I see examples of this kind of "rhetoric" in
Pelletier's "presentation" and this only complicates and confuses a
case [The Judge Case] that is already complicated.
Daniel H. Caldwell
Blavatsky Study Center
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