RE: theos-talk Marion Meade "explains" HPB's cup and saucer incident???
Jan 24, 2012 10:06 PM
by Govert Schuller
I think it's quite unreasonable to expect Meade to bring the investigation
of the 'cup and saucer phenomenon' to your level 4 of 'probability' of
either confirmation or refutation, while the one and only person who could
have brought the phenomenon to a solid step 4 refused when challenged to do
so and threw a tantrum, which, procedure-wise, cannot be found in any of
your steps of discovery.
Later, one of the participants of the picnic and, Major Philip Henderson,
wrote to the Times of India:
"On the day in question, I declared the saucer to be an incomplete and
unsatisfactory manifestation, as not fulfilling proper test conditions. My
reasonable doubt was construed as a personal insult, and I soon discovered
that a sceptical frame of mind in the inquirer is not favourable to the
manifestations of the marvels of Theosophy." (Mr. Hodgson's Report, p. 266)
Meade's step-2 hypothesizing that trickery was a very good, reasonable,
naturalistic explanation for the phenomenon based on her step-1 gathering of
observational statements is imo quite acceptable given the fact that she is
in no position (like any of us) to gather step-3 experimental data in this
particular case, let alone get to a step-4 probable theory.
Maybe you meant that Meade is not properly processing the level-1 statements
by the picnic participants and therefore doesn't get her step-2 hypothesis
right. I'm open for that.
In short, you are chiding Meade for not producing something which, even
according to your own discovery protocol, is procedure-wise impossible,
while HPB, who was allegedly capable of producing something satisfactory
according to evidentiary protocol, refused to do so.
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On
Behalf Of Daniel
Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 11:42 AM
Subject: theos-talk Marion Meade "explains" HPB's cup and saucer incident???
BELOW is what I wrote on Theos-Talk years ago using an example from Marion
Meade's book on HPB to show how Ms. Meade "uses" (misuses) the 4 step method
I recently wrote to Govert about here at Theos-Talk.
> Brigitte Muehlegger now tells us to look for an
> explanation about the teacup and saucer incident in
> Marion Meade's MADAME BLAVATSKY, p.223-224.
> Brigitte, do you actually agree with Meade's
> Is Meade's explanation just one of many "possible"
> explanations or is Meade's explanation the most
> "probable" explanation in light of all the known
> evidence? In other words, are we at step 2 or at step
> 4 with Meade's "explanation"?
> Anyway, as Brigitte ponders the above, I give Meade's
> "At the time and even later Alfred could find no
> loopholes in what came to be known as 'the cup and
> saucer incident.' He based his conviction mainly on
> the fact that Madame Blavatsky could not have known in
> advance that there would be seven guests in the party,
> as the judge had arrived only at the last minute.
> OBVIOUSLY she did know, and so did Patience Sinnett
> because Olcott overheard her telling the butler: 'It
> was very stupid of you not to put in another cup and
> saucer when you knew that the other gentleman would
> have to have tea.' It seems reasonable TO ASSUME that
> H.P.B. had instructed Babula to bury the cup and
> saucer, then led the picnickers to the spot herself.
> In fact, this notion had already occurred to the judge
> and police chief who later in the afternoon examined
> the site. Their final conclusion was that it was
> theoretically POSSIBLE for someone to have tunneled in
> from below and thrust the cup and saucer up into the
> place where they were discovered. Apparently Babula
> later confided to Emma Coulomb that this was exactly
> what he had done. In the experts' opinion, the
> phenomenon could not be accepted as scientifically
> perfect and, somewhat indelicately, they
> challenged her to repeat it under test conditions.
> Helena, who had worked hard to stage the tableau,
> could not keep herself from exploding. Henry vividly
> remembered that 'she seemed to take leave of her
> senses and poured out upon the two unfortunate
> skeptics the thunder of her wrath. And so our pleasant
> party ended in an angry tempest.' " Caps added
> Well, Steve, what do you think of Meade's
> Now a few more questions to ponder:
> Is Meade actually explaining the incident [at step 4]
> or is Meade simply speculating [at step 2]? See 4 Step
> Process at:
> Is Meade simply using the "unpacking" method I've
> described before?
> As Ray Hyman wrote: "it is ALWAYS possible to
> 'imagine' SOME scenario in which cheating no matter
> how implausible, COULD HAVE occurred." Caps added.
> This is a step 2 technique.
> Is Meade simply using the "possibility/plausibility"
> method of argument? See
> for an example.
> Has Meade followed the Barzun and Graffe dictum?
> "The rule of 'Give Evidence' is not be be violated. .
> . .No matter how possible or plausible the author's
> conjecture it cannot be accepted as truth if he has
> only his hunch [which is not evidence] to support it.
> Truth rests not on possibility or plausibility but on
> probability. Probability 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."
> Caps added.
> Daniel H. Caldwell
> BLAVATSKY ARCHIVES
> "...Contrast alone can enable us to appreciate things
> at their right value; and unless a judge compares
> notes and hears both sides he can hardly come to a
> correct decision."
> H.P. Blavatsky. The Theosophist, July, 1881, p. 218.
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