posted on Sep, 26 2012 @ 12:59 AM
First of all, let me say that this post isn't meant as an attack on skeptics. I personally think we all need to be more skeptical, about the ideas of
others as well as our own. But I wanted to open up a general discussion about the way we treat paranormal subjects, and how our negative attitudes
toward certain things that would seem to be supernatural on the surface are limiting our ability to find out what I think would be some pretty
Whenever I read debates about subjects like channeling, OBEs, etc., the main focus always seems to be proving whether or not those things actually are
what they seem to be on the surface, and once that goal is met to the satisfaction of either side, it's dropped without further investigation, and
everyone moves on. I remember an experiment covered by Michael Shermer which he claimed demonstrated that an OBE could be created by magnetic fields.
But, having had personal experience with OBEs, as well as having read a lot about others' experiences, it was clear that this experiment pretty much
only produced a displaced sense of proprioception and didn't actually replicate the many common experiences typical with OBEs, such as buzzing, a
feeling of vibration, paralysis, hypnogogic hallucinations, etc. But although I personally have not seen clear evidence that demonstrate OBEs to be
actual real experiences outside the body as opposed to something created internally, there is an overall consistency to the experience among those
that have it to show that there is some systematic process occurring that is not a result of simple imagination, and given the strangeness of the
experience, it seems that there should be a lot more scientific curiosity about it than there currently is.
Channeling is another subject which I think perfectly illustrates my point. There is such a strong reaction against supposed channelers that once we
evaluate their claims and find them to be false or unverifiable, the interest stops there, and we write them off as quacks without the slightest
interest in further evaluating what might be going on. While there may be some people that really are just making it up, I do believe channeling is
something real, if not in terms of it being a legitimate interaction between the channeller and another entity, at least as a real neurological
condition. I had a friend years ago who did this, and as I consider myself to be fairly competent in judging the character of those I'm close to, I
find it very unlikely that she was just putting on a show when she did it for me. I can't say that she gave me any information that I would consider
to be evidence that she was actually communicating with other beings, but I am completely convinced that she thought that she was, and that both the
channeling and her inability to recall it after she had gone back to her normal state of mind were a real manifestation of something going on and not
just an act. Some of the people doing this may simply have not been able to figure out a better way to make money, but I think at least some, if not
most are definitely convinced that what they are doing is real, and I think it's both unfair and short-sighted to write them all off as
Channeling may or may not be legitimate, it may be some form of completely neurologically based voluntarily induced disassociative identity disorder
that we haven't identified yet, or it may be something completely different. In any case, there are common elements that emerge when it occurs, which
would seem to demonstrate a real and observable process that's taking place. I think that we're selling ourselves short by simply debunking it,
dismissing it as chicanery, and leaving it as that, as I think we're missing out on some potentially very interesting information about, if nothing
else, how the brain works by not studying it further. I mean, even if it is something that turns out to be purely neurological, don't you think that
the ability to willingly induce that kind of dissociative state is something that should be studied more?
I realize that there are limited resources for doing research like this, but given the bizarre nature of some of these things, especially things like
OBEs, which, although we don't know if they are "real" in what they seem to be superficially, are definitely real in terms of being experiences
with common traits that we can study and induce, I really think that there is an unnaturally low level of scientific curiosity that is caused simply
by our negative attitudes towards what these things appear to be on the surface and the fear of being labelled a quack by expressing interest.
What do you guys think about this?