The Nightshirt Sightings, Portents, Forebodings, Suspicions

Stories Latent in the Landscape: Spirits, Time Slips, and “Super-Psi”

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An alternative explanation sometimes given when mediums provide veridical information about deceased persons is “super-psi”—the idea that the medium is actually obtaining the information clairvoyantly and/or telepathically (i.e., from the heads of their sitters). Super-psi has also been used to account for cases of apparent reincarnation: A child psychically acquires information about a dead person and identifies with that person, producing the appearance of actually being that person in a new life and body. Super-psi explanations satisfy the modern rationalist wish not to appeal to life after death as an explanation for these kinds of phenomena; but as Stephen Braude notes in his fascinating study of the evidence for survival of bodily death, Immortal Remains, it can produce highly convoluted explanations that fail the test of parsimony in comparison to the frankly simpler survival account.

If there is an emotionally powerful story lying in wait for us, some past tragic event just waiting to be learned about or pieced together in our near future, it may elicit a precognitive experience.

I think the problem is that making psi “super” precisely sets it up to fail. I am starting to think that the more different things we allow psi to be, and the more omniscient we pretend psychics are, the less compelling psi is as an explanation for anything. The current vogue for nonlocality as an explanatory framework in parapsychology ignores basic questions of information search and retrieval: How is it that a psychic (or anybody, insofar as we are all psychic) can select a specific piece of information in a whole universe of information and recognize it as the right answer? A much simpler and more powerful explanation for some mediumship cases is the reductive, even Pavlovian framework I proposed in the context of Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow: What may seem like telepathy or clairvoyance or any number of other ESP or spiritualist phenomena could be simply producing behaviors or descriptions that are tied to future rewards. Those rewards could include future exciting feedback and other learning experiences.

I have written about this in literary contexts, but other forms of learning, including the consulting of archives or just “learning the truth” through some vivid interpersonal disclosure, should have the same effect. If there is a vivid and emotionally powerful story lying in wait for us, some past dramatic or tragic event just waiting to be learned about or pieced together in our near future, it may elicit a precognitive experience that we will mistake as “synchronicity” or perhaps interpret as a past-life experience, or construct in some other culturally less taboo way than precognition.

The story of “Runki’s leg,” for example, is a nice example from the late 1930s in Iceland, which some take as compelling evidence for survival. It seems to me instead like a vivid case of prophetic jouissance, the engagement of a talented Icelandic “precog” with a compelling and culturally potent story latent in his community and landscape. It is a perfect illustration of the power of ancient myths, archives, and geography to intersect and generate, almost like a hologram, precognitive experiences in a gifted psychic sleuth who, quite naturally and according to his cultural tradition, thought of himself as channeling a dead spirit.

Super-Psi Me

The story is told in a 1975 A.S.P.R. article by Erlandur Haraldsson and Ian Stevenson and examined at length by Braude in his book. Hafsteinn Bjornsson was a noted trance medium who, in a series of Reykjavik seances beginning in Fall 1937, began channeling a “drop-in” personality who complained that was looking for his missing leg that was lost in the sea. (A typical feature of “drop-in” personalities is that they are unexpected and display a strong motive for communicating with the living.) This personality was unwilling or unable to further clarify what he meant, or even give his real name, but he persistently appeared during Hafsteinn’s trances asking for his leg over the next year.

A culture that makes a place for spirit mediumship has arguably created an open channel of precognitive information.

Then on January 1, 1939, when a fish merchant named Ludvik Gudmondsson (previously unknown to Hafsteinn) joined the seance circle, the mysterious legless personality announced that his missing leg was in Ludvik’s house, in a town called Sandgerdi (about 36 miles away). Ludvik indeed had purchased a large house there, but knew nothing about a missing leg. After Ludvik demanded to know who the communicator was, the legless drop-in fell silent for some months, but eventually reappeared and told his whole story: His name, he said, was Runolfur Runolfsson, “Runki” for short, and in 1879 he had drowned after passing out drunk on the shore; his body had washed out to sea and then washed up some time later, but was found picked apart by animals with the thigh bone missing. The bone had, he said, washed up later in Sandgerdi, and after being “passed around,” ended up in Ludvik’s house.

“Runki” said his story could be confirmed by checking the records of a church in a town just a few miles from Sandgerdi, which were then housed in Reykjavik’s national archives. The sitters did this, and found that the drop-in’s narrative partly corresponded to the records: Runolfur Ronolfsson had been a tall Sandgerdi local who disappeared in 1879 and whose decomposed and partially dismembered body had been found on the beach over a year after his disappearance. Ludvik meanwhile inquired among elders in the town about a mysterious femur. Older residents recalled that indeed such a bone had been “going around” during the 1920s. In Norse communities, as in many European societies, a person (or an animal) could not be resurrected intact without their skeleton being whole (more on this detail below), so the townspeople wouldn’t just dispose of a human bone. Eventually, the townfolk said, a carpenter had placed the femur in an interior wall of the house that Ludvik eventually purchased. When they opened the wall in 1940, they found the bone, and gave it a proper burial in the same cemetery where Runolfur Runolfsson had been interred, although his exact gravesite had been forgotten. “Runki’s leg” was thus finally laid to rest. It is important to remember that, although the femur was long, corresponding to a tall person fitting Runki’s description, there is no proof that the bone was really Runki’s.

sandgerdiWhat was going on here? Assuming the medium had not done extensive research and then somehow maneuvered Ludvik to join his seance circle, how could he have known about Runki or the femur, other than through Runki’s departed spirit actually speaking through him? Haraldsson and Stevenson and Braude weigh this assumption against the super-psi alternative, that the medium was really obtaining telepathic information from the sitters. They naturally find the super-psi explanation wanting: Until they consulted the archives to confirm Runki’s story, none of Hafsteinn’s circle (as far as anyone knows) could have possessed the necessary information to enable the medium to telepathically extract it from their heads; and nobody present, even Ludvik, knew about the mysterious femur or how it ended up in Ludvik’s wall, and this detail was not part of the records at all.

But they do not consider that the source of Hafsteinn’s information could have been nothing other than information he would come to read or hear about in his own future. It seems reasonable to me that the arc of his channeling of “Runki” represented his own excited engagement with a really cool mystery, a story latent in his landscape, that his own research and that of his sitters was helping piece together and finally “lay to rest” over the course of 1937-1940.

Leg Work

A directly pertinent fact is that Hafsteinn’s name appears in the visitor register of the national archives, where the church records were kept, but several months after the drop-in personality revealed who he was and how he died. Those church records are crucial parts of that latent story awaiting being pieced together by the medium. Crucially, when “Runki” revealed his life story, he told the group that he died at age 52. This was an error—he was shy of 51 when he died—but the same error appears in the church record. J.W. Dunne’s brilliant forensic work in An Experiment With Time showed how clues like number errors can reveal the true precognitive source of psychic dreams that look on the surface like telepathy or clairvoyance or even encounters with the departed. The errant age in this case reveals that Hafsteinn was most likely precognizing the records in the archives, which he may well have visited precisely to gain insight into the information he had previously channeled.

One of the implicit cultural models of the paranormal is the metaphor of the earth as a recording surface: When something tragic, violent, or sad occurs in a place, it is like making a groove in a record that can be replayed again.

Even if Hafsteinn had read the records beforehand, it would still not discredit him as a fraud, because they told only part of the story. The records did not mention the missing leg (only saying that Runki’s remains were dismembered), nor did they say anything about the femur that found its way into the walls of Ludvik’s house. That had to be revealed by Ludvik, doing his investigative “legwork” (so to speak). Importantly, Hafsteinn began producing this information over a year before Ludvik even arrived in his circle, and we can imagine that the initial communications about the missing leg were a kind of precognitive performance dimly adumbrating the future arrival of a man who would ultimately prove to be a key to a mystery somehow involving a leg and the sea.

The detail of a corpse minus a leg bone has particularly mythic resonances in Norse culture, a detail not mentioned by Haraldsson and Stevenson or by Braude. In his 12th Century prose Edda, Snorri Sturluson described how Thor and Loki, while staying for the night with a farmer, slaughtered Thor’s goats for a meal; the farmer’s son secretly reserved a thigh bone for himself and broke it open for the marrow. In the morning, Thor waved his hammer over the goat carcasses and they came back to life … except, one was now limping. Claude Lecouteux, discussing this story, writes that it is a widespread shamanic belief that the soul resides in the bones of a person or animal. (It is a belief that, according to Rene Schwaller, also has deep alchemical roots in Ancient Egypt, where the femur was regarded as the site of the fixed salt or seed, the true substrate or carrier of the individual’s unique and immortal consciousness.) The “skull and crossbones,” which we now use as a warning on poison bottles, was originally a symbol of the capacity for rebirth; the “crossbones” are femurs.

thorgoatsBracketing the question of survival and the afterlife, It is only a time-displacement between Hafsteinn’s utterances and their real or apparent confirmation that makes this (or many mediumistic performances) a paranormal phenomenon. A wonderful puzzle about a drowned man and a missing limb, awaiting being pieced together among various textual and oral history fragments, seems to have echoed back in time along the resonating thread of this talented psychic’s performative jouissance. “In character,” he produced bits and pieces of a puzzle, and only gradually did the larger picture take shape—which must be the great joy and fascination of being a medium, and is precisely why mediums’ information comes in fragments and why they sometimes are caught haunting archives where they can acquire needed confirmatory data. In other words, Hafsteinn’s “paranormally” gained information intermixed with information gained in the usual way, but that real-world confirmation was a necessary part of his performance, and probably the real target of his psi eyes. There seems no reason to doubt that in this case as in so many others, the medium genuinely believed he was channeling spirits, because that was his culture’s construction of mediumistically produced information.

All artists, when they are ‘cooking,’ have the experience that there is some “other” working through them. Writers feel it, singers feel it, sculptors feel it. And, duh, actors feel it. Mediums were the original actors, long before it occurred to anybody to neutralize the practice by calling it “art” and imagining it had no more significance than an evening’s entertainment. Spiritualism and occultism have preserved that special role, providing a safe haven for shamanism in the modern world, at least in some more open-minded cultural contexts like Iceland. Whether you want to think of channeled personalities like the “drop-in” Runki as authentic spirits of the dead or, like the somewhat more skeptical me, as actors’ personae, mediumship is a skilled performance that opens a real psi channel. Under pressure, any skilled performer like a medium is cooking, left brain fully occupied with the physical task, creating the necessary space for the right brain to summon tantalizing bits of information from the precognitive unconscious.

Thus a culture that makes a place for spirit mediumship has arguably created an open channel of precognitive information, even if it is interpreted differently, and even if that information inevitably comes amid a lot of misleading or useless debris.

Stonetapes

Not only bones but also stones and other landscape features can be the sites of “resurrection” of the dead or past events. One of the implicit cultural models of the paranormal is the metaphor of the earth as a recording surface: When something tragic, violent, or sad occurs in a place, it is like making a groove in a record, storing the experience so that it can be replayed again. The right set of circumstances, according to this metaphor, is like putting that record back on a turntable, or popping a tape into the tape deck; a sensitive person is like a phonograph needle or tape playhead enabling the playback.

The appealing idea that spacetime and stone can store memories of events is based on technological metaphors of the modern period … but that is reason we should be skeptical of the idea.

Some version of this metaphor is implicit in ghost stories and in the way we construe the possibility of the past to haunt the present: For instance, a person dies a premature or violent death and then their spirit is re-encountered in the vicinity of where they died. It might as well also be a template for “time slip” experiences, such as the Roman soldiers on a buried piece of Roman road seen by Henry Martindale in a York cellar, the aristocrats at Versailles reported by Charlotte Anne Moberly and Eleanor Jourdain (the famous “ghosts of the Trianon”), or my personal favorite, the aftermath of the Battle of Nechtansmere seen by a 55-year-old woman named E.F. Smith one snowy evening in 1950, on her way home from a cocktail party near the Scottish village of Dunichen.

The idea that spacetime and stone can store memories of events is appealing and “easy to think,” because it is based on technological metaphors of the modern period. But that alone is reason we should be skeptical of the idea. I’ve argued in the context of precognitive dreaming that when premodern philosophers believed the world was structured by an occult system of correspondences (aemulatio, coniunctiatio, analogia, convenientia, etc.), they had unknowingly identified instead the deep structuring rules by which the brain makes meaning by linking things in memory. Another crucial “similitude” between premodern cosmology and the neurobiology of memory is the role of place as a memory framework. Just as the classical art of memory ties to-be-learned material to real or imaginary “loci,” the sensory richness of environments serve as powerful memory associations; this is not because space stores events but because the hippocampus, the brain’s archivist, contains our neural place representations, our maps of space.

The linkage of paranormal phenomena and geography may thus reflect the role of space and place in our mnemonic functioning: If psi is really precognition, and precognition is “just” our memory for the future, then just as place activates memory, it should also activate “premories” of future experiences either in or about that place. What is often left out of ghost encounters and time-slip cases, but can occasionally be extracted or inferred, is the final “revelation” part of the story, where the witness learned “what it was” he or she saw, or learned some detail that provides a forensic clue that the true source of the vision is that scene of confirmation, not the actual historical event.

aberlemnochurchyardstoneFor instance, the Scottish spinster, Miss Smith, knew, as did all residents of her village, that the plain beneath nearby Dunichen Hill was the traditional site of the lake called Nechtansmere and the battle fought on its shore between Picts and Northumbrians in 685 AD, described by Bede. When her case was investigated by an SPR member named James McHarg in 1971, she claimed she had only delved more deeply into the local history after she had her baffling experience. One of the specific details of her vision, a certain roundabout path the Pictish soldiers took as they skirted the ancient mere (long since drained and vanished), corresponded to a spur of the lake as it had been reconstructed by an archaeologist in a journal article Smith admitted reading during her research after the vision. Most tellingly, though, later scholarly consensus has moved the site of the battle to another place entirely; it is no longer thought to have occurred near Dunichen at all. Thus, Smith, perhaps rendered vulnerable by a combination of cold and drink, appears to have precognized historical and archaeological journal articles she read in her avid excitement to confirm or lend insight into her experience, rather than retro-cognizing a bloody battle that was inscribed record-groove-like in the Scottish landscape.

Lost in the Mall

This model, precognizing material or intellectual rewards awaiting us in libraries or in the ground, would also explain how “radiesthesia” or dowsing works. You could even look at “Runki’s leg” as an elaborate case of dowsing: The femur was a mystery awaiting discovery in Ludvik’s wall, just as Ludvik himself was an unknown, unmet person awaiting arrival in Hafsteinn’s seance circle. “Runki” was, in effect, the character and the story that linked the two together. (I am about as poor a psychic as Hafteinn was a skilled one, but I have noticed that psi dreams take this same form: providing puzzle pieces that are the missing connection or short circuit between two latently related things.) Thus even if psi is not about direct “nonlocal” connection to other minds in the present, or to spirits, it is about future physical confluences, the imminent linking of things and people and places IRL, in real life, as well as relevant texts that tie them all together.

Could you effectively create paranormal phenomena by strategically planting made-up stories about places and people in archives?

This raises many interesting possibilities. For example, if hauntings and other paranormal phenomena don’t relate to past events and past lives but to our own future learning or reading experiences about those events or lives, what is to limit this effect to true stories? Could you effectively create paranormal phenomena by strategically planting made-up stories about places and people in archives?

A great experiment for some enterprising young parapsychologist would be to invent a story about a tragedy tied to a particular location, such as a spectacular suicide or murder with some unresolved element, and seed local archives with pieces of this story, ready to be “discovered” by anyone trying to get to the bottom of an uncanny experience. Would people start reporting hauntings in that location, because they spent time in the place and then “stumbled upon” a compelling uncanny story that pertained to it?

It would be a kind of retroactive hypnosis, and there is an analogy to be drawn here with the well-established protocol developed by U.C. Davis psychologist Elizabeth Loftus for creating false memories in research subjects—most famously, false childhood memories of being lost in a mall and rescued by an old woman. Loftus is no friend of paranormal researchers; her body of work has been deployed in the service of debunking abduction claims, precognitive dreams, and other paranormal phenomena. But her work, and especially her famous “lost in the mall” paradigm, is something all anomalists are wise to confront. Would a similar array of story fragments and corroboration by local expert confederates (the caretaker, the maid, the elderly gift shop clerk) have the effect of creating a ghost? Has something like this already been done, for instance as part of MKULTRA?

It helps—or indeed, is probably necessary—if the myth has a hole or incompleteness in it that can be filled imaginatively by the reader himself, acting a part in the drama. The most powerful stories and myths are those that lack resolution, leaving a sense of something incomplete and thus haunting, something that might return, not unlike an unfinished chord progression … or Runki’s missing thigh bone. (More on this idea in a future post.)

dunichenhill

About

I am a science writer and armchair Fortean based in Washington, DC. Write to me at eric.wargo [at] gmail.com.

14 Responses to “Stories Latent in the Landscape: Spirits, Time Slips, and “Super-Psi””

  • Immortal Remains is certainly an interesting book, and represents a fair survey of parapsychological investigations while examining the extent of convergence between the multiple lines of evidence for survival. Indeed, I blame or credit it for starting me off down all those lines, along with a number of others. Regardless, Runki’s leg is certainly one of the most memorable cases in a book that contains a number of them. The mistaken ‘facts’ which are only true in the extant registers (or persons) which have recorded them are certainly the rub for any who would take cases of the type as the strongest evidence for independently existing ‘souls’ or ‘sprits’. It is a phenomenon that, as you note, occurs in other areas of paranormal investigation. Whether it is a feature of Stevenson’s other drop-in communicators (from whom Braude, I believe, takes both the case and the term) I at least can’t say.

    While these probably clairvoyantly-ascertained details seem to feature less in cases of the reincarnation type, it does lead one to ask whether those cases come to light in the countries in which they do not because of a cultural expectation of doctrinal confirmation, but because a psi-permissive culture subtly influences talented children to use psi in a specific way. As is so often the case with matters of survival, however, these changes in perspective seem only to render a final decision epistemologically impossible.

    The whole situation is somewhat analogous to the analysis of synchronicity, which others (e.g. Gallenberger, in a New Ageish context) have linked to PK, to the near or total exclusion of precognition. In so far as Gallenberg claims robust results, perhaps he’s on to something, and in the process lending some explanatory contributions to Braude’s cases of ‘bizarre bad luck’ and related phenomena.

    Speaking of MKULTRA, I wonder if you’ve read Braude’s ‘First Person Plural’ on what dissociation can or can’t do for latent psi abilities. (I have not & am unsure whether he even discusses this.)

  • Thanks MD. I have not read ‘First Person Plural,’ but dissociation in at least some forms is linked to psi abilities. For instance, most of the best remote viewers (Pat Price, Ingo Swann, Joe McMoneagle, Keith Harary I believe) reported out-of-body experiences or even linked their psi abilities to those experiences. In my own limited experience, they are highly psi-conducive states.

    I haven’t read Gallenberger, but I’m wary of PK on its own as an explanation for synchronicity, for reasons I’ve argued elsewhere. Some of what looks like PK (and nearly all of what looks like synchronicity) can be explained as precognition.

  • Eric, let’s continue our “precognition vs. telepathy” dialogue…

    You said you that you are going to read some papers on psychophysical corellations from a distance, published on a Dean Radin’s psi evidence page. I do not hurry you – take as much time for inquiry as you need – but now I want to divert your attention shortly, to the two papers in the “Telepathy and ESP” section – the works of Rupert Sheldrake and Pam Smart (both 2000) with apparently telepathic dogs Kane and Jaytee.

    The peculiar – and, I think, highly important for our debate – fact is that the observable changes in dogs’ behaviour were strongly corellated not (only) with the moment of their owners’ return to them (which can be easily explained by preconition), but with the moment of the owners’ leaving the work and starting their journey home. Such corellation is difficult to explain by precognition – dogs never learned, and hardly cared, when their owners were leaving the work; it was the time of reunification with them that was important for them. Such characteristic of dogs’ behaviour, is, however, easily explained by the telepathic hypothesis: if dogs did had a psychic link with their owners, it is quite understandable that they were able to feel their leaving.

    What do you think?

  • A dog’s sense could be just that of the initiation of probable entanglement. That of course would be sensing the conditions becoming energetic enough to promise reward.

    You know, sometimes a dog will hang out at the grave of the imprinted owner, trying to sense a repeat after the fact.

    That is why they have a sense of smell that their world informs.

    Cats will do this, too. Actually, mostly everything except for modern humans.

    Call that what you will. Faith in the possibility of a rough copy, maybe just wanting some entanglement in space and time.

    A better examination would be to ask the dog when the imprinted owner began to perform work to answer the request of need, with the purpose of making that happen.

    That is the sense of of man thinking about his dog with or without other clocklike needs that require attention.

    And vice versa.

  • Hi Vortex. I don’t find those cases that persuasive (of telepathy at least), although frankly I don’t find very much experimental evidence, even of precognition, that persuasive anymore. I’ve gotten jaded; experimenter effects are so ubiquitous in this kind of research, just like in psychology more generally. Are the dogs entangled with their owners or are the dog/owner dyads entangled with the experimenter, or is it all entangled with our wishes for telepathy to be real? It’s the easiest thing in the world to slice and dice your findings about a pet, or your dreams, or whatever, and present it as a scientific paper with statistics, etc. It’s all preaching to the choir, though, unless you are making a larger persuasive case or offering a new and compelling theory.

    I won’t deny there is interesting data for telepathy out there (just like there is interesting data for other things I don’t personally much believe in, like survival, etc.). But none of the evidence I’ve seen seen really shakes me by the lapels and convinces me it couldn’t be something else, or an experimenter effect.

    I think a more worthwhile approach at this point is to search for patterns and commonalities and find theories that fit the bulk of the evidence. As far as I’m concerned, precognition is easy to account for theoretically, based on available or soon-to-be available physics, and can explain a vast array of phenomena that get miscategorized as other things. There are also very fascinating reasons why people resist the idea of precognition, which alone is reason we should be pursuing it — there’s something there that strongly resists scrutiny, and that is highly suggestive if you have a psychoanalytic or deconstructive sensibility. Telepathy on the other hand is really “easy to think,” which gives it a whiff of cultural fashion (i.e., easy communications technology metaphors, which is all telepathy ever was) as well as wish-fulfillment (we want telepathy to be true for all kinds of psychodynamic reasons). I’m not interested in thinking easy thoughts, so I’d be disappointed if telepathy turned out to be why these dogs behave that way. 🙂

    (And remember, in my model, it wouldn’t be that the dogs are ‘precognizing their owner’s return’ but rather producing a behavior tied to future reward. The reward could be an entailment of their performance in the experiment — i.e. “entanglement” with the experimenter.)

    Tell me, why do you want telepathy to be real?

  • “Why do you want telepathy to be true?”

    Usually, questions like these, being aired in a midst of debate, make me feel wary. They are a common indicator that your opponent is either unable or unwilling to dismantle the case you presented, and now turns to the personal attack – which, in the end, will only obscure the issue being discussed (and will add a lot of unnecessary stress and tension between the debaters). However, as I said in one of my previous comments, on one of your previous blogposts, I do NOT think that you are zealously attached to your models – to the contrary, you seem to be rather tolerant to your opponents’ positions. So, I will NOT presume that the “subjective turn” of the dialogue which you propose is a veiled attempt to start a standard “character assassination” exercise; I suppose it to be an invitation to the improved level of transparency about the motivations and intentions which underlie our positions. To your credit, you always were quite open about your own subjectivity, and were not pretending to be driven by nothing but some kind of pure impersonal will to objective knowledge, which, according to the adherents of naïve scientism, all True Scientists possess (and which actual real-life scientists are always diluting with a damn lot of subjective psychosocial and politeconomic stuff). So, I will not claim that my own view is absolutely objective, and free of more subjective longings and impulses; as anyone else’s view, it is definitely not. Below, I’ll try to explain some of my attitudes towards telepathy and precognition, and why my rejection of your attempt to reduce the former to the latter is based on a something more that its (apparent) objective inability to fit the data in a parsimonious and coherent way.

    The most powerful reason for my interest towards telepathy may be summarised as such: unlike both precognition and psychokinesis (the two types of psychic phenomena which you seem to accept), telepathy is a TRUE game-changer – not just for a bunch of Academia-dwellers, but for mankind as a whole.

    Let’s imagine: how deep and powerful would be a change in human life if we will accept (and, in time, will learn to handle) precognition? Not as powerful as you might think, I’m afraid. Yes, we will be able to feel the problems coming before they actually come. We will be better prepared for our possible futures. But the core problem of human psyche and human society – the abyss of mutual estrangement – will remain intact. It possibly would even become worse, since intrapersonal information coming from the future, not only from the past, may lead people to spend even more of their time immersed in their own individual worlds, and forgetting to learn from everyone else.

    And the learning from the others is a skill that is dangerously deficient in a vast majority of people. For a minuscule minority willing to examine a whole range of wildly diverse world-pictures that a modern life can provide, the observation of a blind certitude and willful closed-mindedness of nearly everyone else is a true torment; for me personally, it is an existential horror of a darkest degree. Differentiation of worldviews is a most wonderful condition, which potentially liberates a curious searcher from the prison of his own specific mentality, and allow him to look into the countless alternate realities of other individuals, communities and organisations. All what is needed is an exploratory, not denunciatory, frame of mind: looking into the realities of the others, one should seek for a novel insights and useful lessons, not for a way to “debunk” opposing views and “prove” to oneself, once again, how intellectually superior and morally elevated one is. Yet, the “debunking” attitude is the dominant one among the people; subsequently, almost everyone’s personal reality looks like a castle under siege, with drawbridge risen, gates barred and ditch filled with stinky sewer water; the only reason to open the gates is to perform a counter-attack against the supposed enemy. Such “castle” metaphor may seem exaggerated, but it is not – after long experience of observing the empty and fruitless (as well as hostile and bitter) debates of any kind it became obvious to me that most dialogues are not that dialogic at all; they more like parallel monologues, with each participant living in his own private world and occasionally looking out to horrify himself with the supposed deviations from the Obvious Truth (that is, his very specific position) and enrage himself with the perceived “delusiveness” or “maliciousness” of others (who, for some incomprehensible reason, fail to see HIS Obvious Truth as their own one).

    The relevant example of the aforementioned attitude is debates between “left-wingers” and “right-wingers” in politics: both sides believe (and, it seems, quite sincerely so) that their opponents are controlling and exploiting everything and everyone, reducing them to a poor bunch of repressed victims. To make the example more concrete, “right-wingers” usually insist that “left-wing” protesters are free to do everything they want – crush, smash, beat and burn – with impunity, since they already control the elite circles, while “right-wing” protests are being suppressed with merciless brutality. Funnily, “left-wingers” claim that the situation is exactly the opposite: every attempt of “left-wing” protest is a subject to a harsh attack by authorities, who, at the same time, quite lenient to the “right-wing” protesters no matter what they do. After watching these political spectacles of angry mutual condemnations (and tearful self-victimisations) for countless times, I can’t but say that the actors of such spectacles live in parallel universes – Left-Wing Universe and Right-Wing Universe, respectively; such description is not as metaphoric as it sounds, since these two political tribes have not just different ideals and morals, but different FACTS: they literally perceive only what they expect to perceive, and unable to notice the events that the other side does notice. Such “reality split” between them turn into communication jam of breathtaking severity. But the blackest horror lies not even in the jam itself, but in the virtual impossibility (at least, by using “normal”, not paranormal, means) to overcome it: any attempts to demonstrate the evidence which any of the sides missed, or vocalise the arguments which they ignored, is met not with examination of the claims, but with hysterical howls and vehement personal attacks: any person who sees the world differently is unthinkingly dismissed is either “delusional” or “deceptive”. The attempts to breach the walls of the “castle under siege” are not permitted.

    Well, here we return to the question of telepathy. It seems to be the very paranormal mean to overcome communication jam I mentioned above. Unlike the standard forms of sending information to others – semiotic messaging or older pre-semiotic signals, such as intonations of voice, facial expressions and bodily postures – telepathy, in my understanding of it, is something more than a mere communication; it is COMMUNION. It is not just information package which is sent to the other to be received or denied, processed or suppressed. It is a “qualia exchange”, or even a “qualia merging” – a violation of interpersonal boundaries in which two (or more) individual minds are penetrating (and receipting) each other in a form of supra-individual fusion. It is (probably) NOT total dissolution in each other – one still maintains one’s selfhood – but he had to give up the strict separation between his world and worlds of others, allowing the two-sided (or many-sided) flow of mentations. Telepathy is, to call it so, “de-Othering”.

    And now the walls of the besieged castle are tumbling down. The two armies separated by them merge with each other; they are no longer separated by walls, and now they see each other freely. They can, at last, notice that their alleged enemies are as much human beings as they are; they are not like the scary monsters, oft-described within the castle walls. The contact with them can be not only combative, but friendly…

    Of course, such pretty peaceful scenario is not inevitable; there is a sad but probable alternative – the battle will proceed even after the walls have fallen: two armies wouldn’t try to examine each other closely, they will be scared out of their minds by the presence of the enemy in the immediate vicinity and fight to death.

    So, I do NOT claim that telepathy, even if mastered by many and to a high degree, would be a kind of panacea against willful blindness and mutual hostility. A merging with the others’ minds and individualities may possibly become not (only) a transformative revelation, but a debilitating shock. Yet, even if at least some people, sometimes, would be able to experience the direct perspective of the others’ realities within their own, and overcome the self-imposed mental isolation of theirs, it would be an evolutionary breakthrough comparable with the invention of language and other symbolisms – an advancement from communication to communion (at least for the people who will be able, and willing, to accept such advancement).

    Anyway, the introduction of telepathy is simply bound to cause social unrest on a unimaginable scale. For many, it would be a source of fear, and an argument against such introduction; but I, being an anarchist, would rather be happy to witness the worldwide political upheaval. It would be a perfect chance for a global metamorphosis that all the consciousness-expanding paradigm-shifters desired for so long, and so desperately; but, despite their love-and-light preachery, it is highly unlikely to be a peaceful, painless change. It is more likely to take a form of an insurrectionary wave (or, probably, SEVERAL insurrectionary waves) that will lead to a radical reshaping of society. Such uprisings would be likely to include the people who are more telepathically-prone and telepathically-accepting – and, I suspect that subversive and transgressive groups and types of all kinds would be much more prone to become telepathical than the state agents, whose very mentality is based on the decisive alienation from the rest of the population – and, especially, from the (potentially) insurgent segments of this population. Of course, anarchists are also not very likely to demonstrate the solidarity and mutuality which they like to endorse so much; to be honest, most anarchists spend a good amount of their time quarreling between each other and denouncing each other, usually because of ideological differences. But I still hope that the love and will to freedom, which they, despite all the petty inter-group conflicts, do share, will be a better basis for enhanced telepathic proneness than a power-worship of state enforcers.

    To summarise: the proliferation of telepathy among the populace is a viable chance to start a global transformation because of its possibility to increase the human potential not only on intrapersonal, but also on (much more important) interpersonal level. Precognition is simply not enough to produce the social revolution (and evolutionary leap) of the magnitude I desire.

    This is my main subjective reason to be interested in telepathy. There are some others, of course – for example, my strong philosophical leanings toward trinitarianism and opposition both to monism and dualism. But this comment is already pretty long, isn’t it? So, I think it won’t harm to stop here…

  • Thanks for your thoughts, Vortex. I certainly don’t disagree with your wish/hope for greater human understanding and communion. The views you express are echoed throughout the parapsychology community — I recently attended the annual meetings of the PA and SSE, and some of the talks (Larry Dossey, for example), expressed essentially the same thing. (You’d like his book “One Mind.”) But I am not alone in thinking that the evidence does not necessarily point to a “telepathic capacity” in humans. Precognition evidence is more robust and compelling, and explains a lot of the data just as well. I highly recommend Ed May’s recent interview on New Thinking Allowed, which articulates the “precognition only” view very well (although in relation to ostensible remote viewing): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ybMdxvMSbI

    Consider this: We can imagine or wish for a “lateral” psychic connection to other humans in the present moment, OR we can realize that we are being psychically pulled toward REAL connection to other humans in our near future. Without that real connection, how do you ever know it was ‘telepathy’ and not your own solipsistic fantasy? For me, that real-world connection that psi orients us toward is ultimately more redemptive, in any case.

  • I think that human telepathy is self selective. That would exclude all the rest of life that rides along as engrams to fill in the rest of the universe. That would be a modern version of the old shape shifters and black magicians that abused the connection. Precog is a bus that involves most everything.

    That is why some of this is not about human anything. Sometimes that is just the weather, or a migration, or a cryptid.

    I think when a species becomes fragile and self selective, perhaps that is like dealing with a precognitive gap that is self imposed in order for the next stuff to assert itself. Of course, simple stuff would take advantage of those cognitive openings.

    The simple stuff does not worry about complexity. Any more than the physical constants need to scale any farther then just one small forever into the next.

  • Interesting comments from Vortex. Like him, I kind of “want” telepathy to be real, but I also find your ‘precognition’ line of thinking persuasive. I’ve had a couple of dream-related events this summer (one of which involved a dream from years ago, with a ‘confirmation’ revelation that was quite unexpected), but no ‘telepathy.’

    Vortex: When you mention ‘trinitarianism,’ I’m assuming that you’re NOT referencing Christian doctrine, since you put it up in contrast to monism and dualism, which are ontological positions. I’m not familiar with trinitarianism as an ontology. Tell us more?

  • To Ahck-N-Rotten:

    Thanks for the compliment!

    As you rightfully noted, my trinitarianism is NOT Christian – it is a (meta-)philosophical position. Such position is exceptionally rare, and I can quickly recall only three prominent people supporting it: the first one, famously, Karl Popper, with his widely known “Three Worlds” ontology; the second one is Rupert Sheldrake; the third one is Roger Penrose.

    My version of trinitarianism strongly differs from Popper’s “Three Worlds” – unlike Popperian position, my one is fundamentally anti-realist one; all three spheres I recognise may be called “psychic” in some sense. These spheres are vital, social and cultural ones, consisting, respectively, of actual phenomena, communal values and semiotic meanings. Despite their active interaction, neither of the spheres can be reduced to the other(s) or determined by the other(s).

    I once wrote a private letter to my pen-friend, philosopher, psychologist and psychi researcher Titus Rivas, which contained good description of differences between there spheres, and mentioned perils of confusing them. I will ask Titus for permission to post it here openly – it will clarify a lot!

  • *** Ok, Titus Rivas gave me a permission to publish our private letter – which I do, in a revised and edited form. Eric, Ahck-N-Rotten, I would like to read your responses to my thoughts below. ***

    Here I intend to describe the perils of the indiscriminate confusion between ontological, epistemological and axiological categories – the confusion with is quite common in all controversial areas of inquiry and policy.

    The distinction between ontic, epistemic and axic (“axic” is the word I propose as a description of axiology’s subject matter, made by analogy with “ontic” and “epistemic”) questions is the distinction between “what”, “how” and “why” questions.

    The ontic questions are questions of phenomena, of direct existence. Ontology inevitably starts with the experience as such; and, while its models may move much further experientialism, to the realist postulating of the “objective reality” beyond mere phenomena, experiential problems remain fundamental. And experience is simply datum, a given; it, as such, cannot be true or false in intellectual sense; neither can it be right or wrong in a moral sense. It can only be perceptually good or bad in the existential sense – this is, blissful or distressful, delightful or hurtful. On experiential level, the question that be answered is harmfulness versus harmlessness, the presence or absence of actual identifiable harm to the experiencing subject. Such presence or absence, in itself, can tells us nothing about the moral standing of harmful or harmless action in a society; it cannot provide us with a clue about the validity of its intellectual justification.

    To discuss the intellectual validity of a justification, we have to move to the area of the epistemic. Here, we can debate about the true and false – of difference between intellectual truthfulness versus fallaciousness. Here we are dealing, primary, with meanings, with semiotically expressed models, within a cultural context, formulated in an intelligible and comprehensible way. Again, while there is a possibility for an epistemologist to present a model claiming “objective knowledge” beyond simple meaningfulness, the questions of meaningful interpretation are still primary. Epistemically, we can examine whether the particular model is internally consistent or self-contradictory, whether its argumentation is coherent or just arbitrarily comprised without any identifiable sequence. With an intellectually valid model we can, and should, build a “bridge” from the epistemic toward the ontic, performing the inquiry into its adequacy with the empirical data (in case of deductive models) or sufficiency of its initial empirical foundation (in case of inductive ones). We can also – and this is important! – examine the (potential) social impact and implications of the model, which points us toward the third inevitable component of any worldview – the axiological one.

    The effects of the model for a society, and the circumstances it will face in a process of being presented and promoted among the populace, is in the area of axic questions. Now we have to ask ourselves about right and wrong in the ethical sense, about rightfulness versus wrongfulness. So, we are in the need of evaluation, of scrutinising our values. Unfortunately, such scrutinising is notoriously painful for the vast majority of people – we are much more used to affirmative propagation of the values we consider to be right than to the doubtful examination of them. Yet such examination, performed in a critical ethical debate, is necessary for any genuine moral change and progress.

    Of course, the three areas I described above are strongly interrelated and constantly interacting between each other: mutual influence of perceptual, interpretative and evaluative factors in human psyche is widely known. For an ordinary worldview, these factors are so deeply intermixed and conflated that boundaries and differences between them are sometimes simply lost. Such obfuscating, blurring conflation is counter-productive and sometimes even openly dangerous, since it leads to a whole range of misperceptions, misinterpretations and misevaluations – and a lot of calamities which they produce.

    These perilous conflations may be classified as six types of fallacies. Two of these fallacies – “naturalistic fallacy” and “moralistic fallacy” – are already known; but I will add a second type of them both. The third one, “intellectualistic fallacy”, is my invention; it will also be divided into two types.

    So, naturalistic fallacy of types 1 and 2 describes mistaking the ontic for, respectively, epistemic and axic. Two intellectualistic fallacies refer to mistaking the epistemic for ontic and axic; moralistic ones – mistaking the axic for ontic and epistemic. Below I will provide a detailed explanation of all six fallacies.

    Type 1 naturalistic fallacy is confusing the phenomenal for the meaningful, claiming that empirical evidence itself contains the rational explanation, or even makes any rational explanation illusive and unnecessary.

    The first statement is common among the hardened empiricists who dismiss any theoretical work and knowledge, insisting that “evidence should speak for itself” and interpretation of any kind can only add illusions to the hard data. Such claims entirely miss the point, since evidence never “speak for itself”; each data complex can be interpreted in a countless possible ways, and even a purely descriptive characterisation of it already implies a theoretical framework of identification. Insisting on a particular interpretation as “self-evident” actually presupposes a covert, implicit intellectual background which is not recognised as such by the claimant; it turns one’s theoretical assumptions – oftentimes, highly dubious or irrational assumptions – into “hard facts” that are immunised against rational questioning. It can lead to a worldview that is not just plain inadequate, but persistent in its inadequacy, since it is unable to recognise and criticise its own theoretical underpinnings.

    Such “covert theorising” is recognised by the mystics of “non-dual” (or similar) style, who insist that our very perception is tainted by our semiotics and cultural models; but we can liberate ourselves by turning rational mind off – completely – and enjoying “pure stream of experience”. Yet anyone who carefully studies the products of such allegedly “non-intellectual” altered states of consciousness will soon notice that the cultural influences are still there: the imaginal and narratic structures and “archetypes” are clearly present in the mystics’ ecstatic experiences, and they are still quite specific to the concrete cultural background of the experiencer. Yet, the anti-rational and anti-intellectual attitude, which is common to such spiritual practitioners, precludes them from scrutinising them and leads them to take their experiential “revelations” on face value. Such position can easily lead to the wildest and the most insane worldview possible, with a guarantee that it would never be changed despite all its counter-productivity, since any counter-argumentation is dismissed as a “filthy products of intelligence” (and different experience from another mystics are either ignored or explained away with some rhetorical tricks).

    To finish description of this type of fallacy I need to tackle the common objection of hardcore empiricists and experientialists: the one that intellectual knowledge presupposes that the world is intrinsically rational. In fact, the possibility of intellectual knowledge does not require inherently rational reality; the claim that it does illustrates the very core of type 1 naturalistic fallacy – the confusing of the ontic with the epistemic. The world as such is neither rational nor irrational; it is effectively rationalisable. It means that it is possible to interpret it usefully in a rational way, but any rational explanation, or rationality itself, is not permanently present in the experience; it is constructed by the sentient beings (which does not make it “unreal”, since phenomena themselves are observer-dependent and never fully “objective”).

    Type 2 naturalistic fallacy is fail to differentiate between the phenomenal and the valuable, insisting that some mental phenomena (pity or love, for example) are in and as themselves moral, or that human beings (or any other beings) are fundamentally compassionate and friendly – or, oppositely, incorrigibly cruel and adversarial.

    It is a common idea that there is some kind of “natural” (or “divine”) morality that is only reflected, successfully or unsuccessfully, by the social value systems. Proponents of such claim usually point to the human (sometimes, also to the animal) traits of compassion and friendliness and say that these characteristic feelings are the primordial form of morality; that they are, as such, moral. For them, morality is, for example, just another name for love –to life, or to beings close to you. But, as anyone can observe, our psyche are quite diverse: there is, indeed, strong impulses of mercy and comradeship in us, but they coexist with episodes of aggression and hostility. All these mentations are “natural”; but we have to choose which desires to enact and which to left unperformed; which tendencies to develop and which to control. And such choice – and the whole structure of evaluative preferences which permeate our relationship between each other and to ourselves that is created by interacting and interdependent choices of coexisting individual beings – is not intrinsic either to these basic mentations or the conditions in which they manifest. Its axic value-based nature cannot be reduced to the ontic givens of phenomena.

    It should be added that beyond being erroneous, moral systems based on type 2 naturalistic fallacy, being put into practice, tend to lead to the two diametrically opposite – yet equally counter-productive – attitudes toward relationship between life and society, ontic “human nature” and axic communality. According to the first one, human beings were inherently good until being forced into the artificial and repressive mechanism of society. This idea of beneficial vital forces suppressed by unnatural sociality leads to the myths of the “lost paradise” which transpires primitivist and deep-ecological rejection of human history and civilisation in its entirety. The second attitude is based on the belief in wickedness and viciousness of all humans, which can be only kept in bay by harsh, hierarchical social structure. This position is the one which tends to underpin authoritarian and collectivist regimes.

    I think that society – and culture – are neither horrid suppression of some beautiful primordial vitality nor a totally benevolent salvation from the deadly wilderness. It is just an expectable next stage of evolution, which, whether by design or by accident, tends to lead us to a higher complexity, wider diversity and deeper intensity of existence. Such evolutionary development does not require elimination of the previous stages – our inherent vital impulses, be they somatic, psychic or spiritual, are an intrinsic part of our being, and should not be repressively dampened. Yet our increased social awareness and sharpened cultural reflexivity allow us higher, and more efficient, control and direction of ourselves, which are positive innovations. It is the integrity of different sides of our nature which, I think, we should seek – not oppression of “lower” by the “higher” or disruption of “higher” by the “lower”.

    Type 1 intellectualistic fallacy, mistaking the epistemic for the ontic, is one which lies in the heart of so-called “skeptical movement” and hostile attitudes of academic establishment toward unusual and “heretical” research, such as parapsychology, near-death studies, alternative technology like “cold fusion” (now it is called LENR), or alternative medicine like homeopathy and energy healing. This fallacy is based on a furious, dogmatic belief that the dominant modern intellectual worldview, based on a current set of “fundamental” theories, is absolutely and ultimately true, and therefore any evidence or experience which contradicts it is by definition either fraudulent or delusional. In a sense, such position is a direct opposite of the one of non-dualist mystics: the latter position reject intellection for the sake of their experience, and the latter one refuse to accept any contradictory evidence because of loyalty to some intellectual model. And this refusal lead the supposedly intellectual “skeptics” and “defenders of true science” to the views no less baseless and inadequate that the one of non-dualist “spiritual seekers”.

    As I already said before, rational, theoretical knowledge is valid and necessary – but it does not mean that is should be contradictory, if not totally adversarial, to the factual, empirical one. It is important to the theory to be internally consistent and coherent, since it is a necessary condition for a successful empirical test; completely irrational models are, as Wolfgang Pauli said, “not even wrong”. Yet logical validity of the theory does not guarantee empirical one: even the best idea can be dismissed if it is demonstrably counter-factual – this is, incompatible with the actual evidence and experience. Such evidential tests are necessary for the progress of knowledge, since any particular theory is transient and provisional, destined to leave when the better theory is available. But for “skeptics” and militant defenders of the “mainstream science”, currently dominant theoretical network is considered to be indubitably true; any evidence (as well as any counter-argument) which contradict it is thrown away without a careful examination. Such stance effectively defies the principle of falsifiability (and dubitablity), making the modern dogmas unassailable, since any contradictory data is dismissed exactly because of its non-dogmatic nature. This dismissal makes “organised skepticism”, which proclaim itself to be “the paragon of rationality”, pseudo-rational and pseudo-intellectual movement. Its self-perpetuating “vicious circle”, based on a severe misunderstanding of rationality, serve as a stumbling block for gathering of evidence and attempts to explain it – and, also, for any ethical consideration and responsibility on the part of “skeptics”.

    With this note about ethics (and its deficiency in “skeptical” circles), I will pass to the type 2 intellectualistic fallacy – absence of demarcation between the epistemic and the axic; the stance which postulates that rationally truthful model is also necessarily morally righteous.
    This view is clearly erroneous – validating of a cultural view with a rational examination does not presuppose that this view is socially (or personally) beneficial or useful. This examination simply attests the inner consistency of the view, the coherence of the argumentative framework that underlies it; it does not suppose that this view should be enacted in a social sphere. Logically acceptable ideas may be justifiably rejected as morally unacceptable ones, if their realisation requires cruelty towards population, or suppression of individual and communal freedom. Performing scientific experiments on unwilling participants is an entirely rational way to obtain new scientific results; but it is unethical and inhuman act to perform, and this is the reason for condemnation of such practice.

    Probably the most dangerous, sometimes devastative, result of a thinking employing type 2 intellectualistic fallacy is zealotry – the insistence that if the ideology is intellectually true, its tenets may be fulfilled by any means possible, including the most brutal ones. The truthfulness of the idea, however, does not possess in itself an automatic justification of methods used to promote it; the justifiability of social activities needed for such promotion is a separate problem which require ethical debate, not just a purely intellectual one.

    At last, I can examine types 1 and 2 moralistic fallacies, the confusion of the axic with ontic or epistemic. The important issue which needs to be considered here is ethical criticism of the results of scientific and scholarly research.

    To demonstrate how our current pressing moral imperatives can lead us to rejecting both facts and logic I will examine the research which is largely unknown to the wide public; and, when it occasionally did became known, it had always ignited the worst possible scandal. This is the research of intergenerational sexuality – that is, of a sexual relations between adults and children; of paedophilia. It is usually assumed that all such research demonstrates that children can never consent to any kind of sexual activity; that if they participate in it, they are invariably harmed by it; and that paedophiles themselves are insane and degenerate persons. Yet, in fact, there are a lot of empirically valid and intellectually strong scientific and scholarly studies that explicitly contradict all the three statements above.

    The most well-known of such studies is the (in)famous meta-analysis which was performed by three psychologists – Bruce Rind, Robert Bauserman and Philip Tromovitch – in 1998 and published in a highly prestigious “Psychological Bulletin” of the American Psychological Association (APA). It has compilated and analysed the results of dozens of studies researching the psychological consequences of sex with adults for children and adolescents. And the cumulative results of this research was the direct opposite of what most people would expect: most children were shown not to be psychologically damaged by sexual encounters with adults; many of them had positive memories about them, and insisted that they had consented to them voluntarily.

    As anyone can easily guess, the Rind et al. meta-analysis was not eagerly accepted by the public – to put it mildly! The reaction to it was the tsunami of moral outrage. Rind and his colleagues was demonised in the media; the US Congress has, unprecedentedly, issued a statement condemning their research and demanding that the APA should never conduct or publish such works again. All of the critics has assumed, usually without even examining the meta-analysis itself, that it must be experimentally invalid and theoretically weak – just because its results had contradicted the deepest and the most powerful moral prescription of the modern Western societies: the one that demands that the kids should be kept away from adult sex and sexuality at all costs.

    Yet, despite the desires of the critics, the study performed by Rind and his co-workers was strong and well-done, both in its observation and its analysis. The authors refuted the few publications that did examined its methodology, and criticised it, in a detail; its validity was confirmed by the APA, that scrutinised it carefully; later, it was confirmed again, by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); and, in some years, it was successfully replicated with another meta-analysis, by an independent group of researchers. No matter how nightmarishly immoral its results seemed to the most people, its observational and analytic qualities were impressive.

    And, as I have already said in the beginning of my description of two moralistic fallacies, Rind et al. meta-analysis is not some kind of unique outlier: there are a good number of other high-quality inquiries which demonstrate that sex between adults and children is neither inevitably distressing nor invariably coercive for the latter. Yet, there are only a very, very, very few people who can examine such research in a reasonable and impassionate way, not allowing their mind being engulfed with (and suppressed by) the flames of vehement moral outrage.

    This is exactly what I describe as a type 1 moralistic fallacy: the belief that our moral convictions are so fundamentally and unchangeably right that any data that puts them into question must be false. Type 1 moralistic fallacy easily transmogrifies itself into a type 2 moralistic fallacy – the loss of the comprehension of difference between immoral and illogical; it is evident when people who try to defend child-adult sex are preemptively declared insane or perverse by their critics, who maintain that ideas that contradicts dominant moral orientations must necessarily be intellectually twisted and distorted, which they are often not – despite the severe conflict with the current moral standards, the logical framework of “pro-paedophilia” views are often entirely coherent.

    All of the above is not a claim that ethical criticism of research results is an unnecessary practice. Such criticism is entirely relevant and legitimate – as long as it does not presuppose the evidential inadequacy or theoretical invalidity of the research because of its ethically questionable status. The ethical problematic implied by the findings of an inquiry is real; but it is cannot be used as a reason for rejection of the facts demonstrated by the inquiry, or the logical interpretations and predictions inspired by them. It is a separate issue, which, if being necessary, should not be conflated with the other two – evidential and intellectual.

    It is also important to understand that the results of the research which shows the absence of harm and presence of consent in child-adult sexual relations do not, as and in themselves, provide a sufficient reason for an immediate acceptance of such relations (insistence that they does may be deservedly qualified as naturalistic and intellectualistic fallacies described above). One may still try to the defend the current prohibition of them on moral grounds, even if acknowledging that the views of the opponents of such prohibition are indeed supported by evidence and consistent argumentation. Yet, the cause of such moralist would be much harder, still the dominant extreme rejection of child-adult sex is based on a silent assumption that such sex is always enforced on a child, and damages the child greatly. With that assumptions being put into question, the cause for the innate viciousness of intergenerational sexuality would be noticeably weaker than it seems nowadays.

    These are the six proposed fallacies, based on a failure to demarcate between ontological, epistemological and axiological spheres. What do you think of my ideas?

  • I think repeating mistakes of gods and mortals is unwise.

    That is not time travel. It is just desperate.

    Absorbing the young to increase the dead is unwise.

    That will not lead anywhere in particular.

    I do not know about the internal logic of most, that is just repulsive. I guess that becomes an issue when some here have to live with it. It is interesting that demigods always cause stuff that can be scaled in any direction.

    But north and south do not always get along with east and west. leave the kids alone. perhaps leave the gods alone.

    Otherwise, there will be war.

  • Eric, are you going to respond to my comment (published letter to Rivas)? Or produce a new blogpost? I do not hurry you – take all the time you need – but I just want to asertain that you haven’t given up blogging, as many of my familiar bloggers have recently did…

  • Hi Vortex — sorry but I’ve been too busy with work and other projects to do any blogging (or anything blogging-related) for the past month. Don’t worry, I shall return!