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Monday, July 6, 2009

An Application of Logical Rigor

I have occasional meaningful conversations with a certain fellow, and he just emailed me this link, with the text, "Thoughts??" Well, yes, I have a few. Watch the link first. ... Oh, that link is dead now. Watch this one -- it's longer, but there you go. It's what you deserve for coming late. My reply:

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Three possibilities. First, naturalistic. The boy was exposed to WWII movies, via babysitters, cousins, etc, and imprinted with powerful images at a very early age. Nightmares do this. I had WWII nightmares as a pre-schooler too. For real. In the early-mid sixties there was a TV show called Combat with an exclamation point! Foxholes and hand grenades. I remember the realism still. Calling for my mother. The tears and terror of me in the battle field.

The child talks about "the little man", and says it's himself. But his point of view is exterior, as of an observer. We don't think of ourselves as "the little man", we think of other people we see at a distance as little men. Who shot him down? "The Japanese." No. The Japs. No way would a pilot call them "Japanese." Nips, Japs, dirty little yellow bastards. Not an ever-so-PC "Japanese". Bullshit. Did the parents edit it? -- changing it from Japs? Then what else have they changed?

The dad says he wanted "to disprove it," so he looked up the Natoma Bay crew. First, this initial evidence sucks. Therefore, to go through this major hassle, the dad seems predisposed to believe it, which suggests he prepped the boy, unconsciously or not. It's called "the Clever Hans Syndrome" -- unconscious cues that prompt desired results -- very subtle, very effective. The father asks the retired sailor 'did he know some of the people' --"Oh yes, I remember those people". The diction is unclear -- were names suggested by dad, and recognized? -- which means research was already done ... or is the question 'do you remember anyone from the ship', which is a really dumb question. Crew lists are a matter of public record -- here.

The child recognizes various vets. Pictures of the vets when they were young? -- or men 65 years older than when he supposedly knew them? Bob Greenwald would be unrecognizable with age. But a recalled photo of a reunion where oldtimers are wearing nametags... Recalled siblings and possessions -- prep, fraud, unconscious cuing.

And all this is coming to us from the recollection and retelling of the parents. We're not seeing evidence, we're hearing stories, retold, refined, elaborated -- how are we to know? Do they have a vested interest? You know how the TV prophets work -- suggestion, willful self-delusion and fraud. Circus psychics can do what's called a cold-reading. They'll tell you all about yourself, no lie. Because you're unconsciously complicit in their scam.

So, there's a childhood painting. "Where's the other one?" asks the boy. And the adults fill in the blanks: "Why it's a miracle! There was another painting of your sister blah blah blah!" And they provide a host of details. Maybe the kid was talking about wanting another cookie.

"Without any help" the boy knew where the plane went down in Japan. Hm. How did the adults know he was right? Because they knew ahead of time and drove him there. This is why scientists use double-blind studies -- otherwise the "experimenter" pollutes the test, draws out the desired result. And the boy is very emotional at the memorial. Sort of set up by the adults, eh? Following the lead of the parents and film folks, whose brilliant idea it was to even have a memorial. They're already believers. This is crap. The one-star reviews at Amazon, here, tell us the kid gets the plane wrong, the parents took him to an aviation museum before his dreams started, and they took him to two "past life regression therapists" after the nightmares started. Did I say crap yet?

"I hope that [my book] helps people understand the meaning of how precious life is -- how fast it can just blow away." Hm. How is it that the kid gets only old memories, and no adult intelligence? Is the transmigrated spirit only emotional? Like a dog? Is that what a soul is? A lot of saccharine and traumatic memories? Does he remember algebra? Can he speak the French he studied in school? No? Because that's an actual skill, rather than a list of easy things to remember.

They're "not promoting reincarnation". No, not at all. They "didn't believe in it" before James. Oh, okay. Because "believe" is too strong a word? The "fact" of reincarnation, says the boy. Yep. No believers there.

Second possibility, there are spiritual entities that make careful observations of individual lives, and use that information as they will. Some pretend to be ghosts, as of old uncle Humbert who hid his will but the medium gets the answer anyway! Some pretend to be reincarnated spirits, and either outright possess, or oppress, a living soul, whispering into the unprotected ears of small children who are left vulnerable by foolish or worse parents.

Third possibility, reincarnation is real, and all other religions are therefore proportionally untrue. Every evil thing that happens to children -- they deserve it ... it's their karma. The highest law is justice. Love is as meaningless as life itself. Odd, though, isn't it, that this is exactly the belief that we'd expect demons to want us to hold. Still, it could be true. In a universe where there's Evolution, what is forbidden?

Obviously there's a lot to say on the matter. This is a start.


J

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