Skeptic’s Questions and Scientist’s Answers about the SoulPhone™
Consider the quotation on the left from Dr. Carl Sagan.
Dr. Sagan, a distinguished astronomer and communicator of science, was highly respected by scientists and the general public. Dr. Sagan deeply appreciated the importance of responsible skepticism. By responsible skepticism I mean the open minded questioning of all phenomena for the purpose of genuine discovery and understanding.
Dr. Sagan appreciated the importance of discerning between “deep truths” and “deep nonsense.” Furthermore, Dr. Sagan stated that, “It is the tension between creativity and skepticism that has produced the stunning and unexpected findings of science.”
We can ask, does the pursuit of theSoulPhone™
reflect a case of “deep nonsense” based on fallacious premises and faulty evidence? Or, does the development of the SoulPhone reflect a “deep truth” of profound theoretical and practical importance?
Close-minded skeptics will predictably focus on unrelated topics to discredit the science behind this technology. For example, Dr. Schwartz used to ride a Harley, Rhonda was raised in the Christian Science faith, and Dr. Pitstick once dressed up as a Hindu yogi at an award's ceremony that featured a costume party. Critics may use these facts in an attempt to discredit the many years of university-based experimental research.
However, many open-minded people -- even open-minded skeptics -- will examine the data and see where it leads. What follows are eight of most important frequently-asked skeptical questions about the hypothesis of life after physical death and the feasibility of the SoulPhone (in bold), accompanied by rationally justified and evidence-based scientific responses.
As you will discover, none of the skeptical questions challenge the foundations and promise of the development of the SoulPhone. Taken together, they point to the emerging deep truth of the SoulPhone.
Question 1: Does established science require that life after physical death is impossible?
No. In fact, the opposite is true. For example, a basic understanding of the physics of light and electromagnetic fields, when integrated with quantum physics, illustrates how our bioenergy and information persists in the “vacuum” of space (sometimes call the zero-point field) long after physical death. Likewise, the light / energy and information from distant stars persists in space long after the light was emitted from its source star and even long after that star has “died.”
The only exception here is when some of that light is absorbed by another body in the vacuum of space. Even in the latter case, it is usually eventually reemitted back into space (albeit at a different frequency). A core tenet of physics is that energy cannot be created nor destroyed, only transformed. Dr. Edgar Mitchell’s body of work on the quantum hologram provides a foundation for the continuation of our personal quantum fields after physical death.
Question 2: Are all mediums – people who claim to speak to the deceased – frauds?
No. In fact, over the past twenty years researchers from five different universities and institutes have conducted independent double-blinded (or even triple-blinded) experiments with evidential mediums establishing that some mediums are genuine.
Furthermore, the claim made by some super skeptics that the laboratory findings can be explained as due to magician’s tricks (called cold reading and hot reading) is simply false. The carefully designed multiple-blinded experiments rule out these claims as being a rationale and responsible explanation of the totality of the findings.
Question 3: Is all of the information received by mediums vague and general, applicable to anyone?
No. In fact, the research clearly indicates that skilled evidential mediums typically receive information which is highly specific to individuals and their deceased loved ones. The information includes specific names, causes of death, birthdays, professions, hobbies, personal preferences, etc.
The specificity of the information (Question 3) obtained in multi-blinded controlled experiments (Question 2) rules out the related skeptical concern that maybe all of the findings in mediumship research might be explained as reflecting biased ratings of grieving people (see also the answer to question 4).
Question 4: Can all of the findings be explained by non-spiritual, paranormal mechanisms – for example, the hypothesis that the medium reading the mind of the sitter(e.g. client) rather than the person in spirit?
No. Evidential mediums typically do not pick up information which is clearly in the mind of the sitter . For example, these mediums will often not give the sitter certain information she or he hopes to receive. They will often bring through deceased people that the sitter was not expecting or hoping to hear from. Moreover, they will often bring through information that the sitter does not know firsthand, requiring that the sitter contact other family members or friends who subsequently confirm that the information was accurate. They will also sometimes bring through accurate information that relates to future events or events unknown to the sitter and is only confirmed at a later time.
Question 5: Is the hypothesized energy of spirit too weak to be detected with state-of-the-art technology?
No. Contemporary technology includes super-sensitive sensors that can detect, for example, single photons of light generated by individual molecules in a pitch black environment. Ultra-sensitive magnetic sensors can detect micro-fields generated by single cells. Moreover, contemporary computers running new noise-cancelling software programs can reveal tiny signals imbedded in noise.
Finally, many experiments using such equipment document that the technology is sensitive enough to detect the presence of the energy of spirit under controlled circumstances in a “low noise” environment.
Question 6: Can the findings suggesting that the technology is detecting the presence of spirits be plausibly explained as caused by the minds of the experimenters?
No. Although controlled parapsychological research on micro-psychokinesis indicates that some people can have selective effects on sensitive electronic equipment, these effects are typically much smaller and less reliable than the robust findings for specific spirits.
Moreover, spirit detection effects have been replicated using completely computer-automated equipment where (1) the instructions are presented via PowerPoint, including digitally recorded instructions by the experimenter, and (2) no experimenters are physically present when the data are collected.
Question 7: Can all of the findings for mediumship and technology be explained as due to experimenter fraud?
No. There are two primary reasons for this. First, to fabricate all of these findings would require sophisticated collusion between multiple experimenters, mediums, and subjects. Such a level of collusion would be unwieldy as well as highly risky.
Second, survival of consciousness and spirit communication research are inherently highly controversial. Scientists engaged in such controversial and visible research are putting their careers and reputations on the line; to engage in such deliberate fraud is utterly foolish.
Question 8: Can specific spirits actively collaborate in SoulPhone research and even follow precise instructions provided by experimenters?
Yes. As implied above, just as people in the physical can participate in systematic research by following instructions and thereby contribute to knowledge, the same capability applies to motivated individuals in spirit.
The totality of the experimental findings combining evidence from mediumship research and spiritual communication technology research indicates that intelligent, caring, and creative persons in spirit can choose to become responsible collaborators in SoulPhone research. In fact, such collaboration is required for research on the SoulPhone to be successful.
When we combine the answers to the above eight questions, it becomes clear that scientific theory, mediumship research, and technology research all point to the promise of the development of spirit communication technology.
Meanwhile, in a subsequent essay I will address the topic of pseudo-skepticism. I will illustrate the disingenuousness of certain visible professional skeptics (including evidence of fallacious and slanderous attacks on scientists working in these areas) and expose some of their dis-informational tactics.