Atheists in a Spiritualist??? Church

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Atheists in a Spiritualist??? Church

Post by Admin on Tue Mar 17, 2009 11:20 pm

Unfortunately this is what many of the New Agers see Spiritualist Churches like this one sounds a very bad case which I would leave quickly.

http://www.ziztur.com/2009/03/faith-infiltration-circle-of-light.html
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Re: Atheists in a Spiritualist??? Church

Post by obiwan on Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:57 am

Having said that, as a non-Spiritualist myself, it bugs me when people make dismissive statements about communications via mediums when they clearly have not done any research. Grrr. (Though in this case I can see why lol)

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Re: Atheists in a Spiritualist??? Church

Post by Admin on Wed Mar 18, 2009 2:24 am

Hi Obi,

Yes you can see why in this case it was pure "psychic" work no Mediumship whatsoever no evidence just someone sitting thre and saying something they can't prove for you to accept or reject "if it does or doesn't make sense to you or fit what you want"lol
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Re: Atheists in a Spiritualist??? Church

Post by zerdini on Wed Mar 18, 2009 10:43 am

Admin wrote:Hi Obi,

Yes you can see why in this case it was pure "psychic" work no Mediumship whatsoever no evidence just someone sitting thre and saying something they can't prove for you to accept or reject "if it does or doesn't make sense to you or fit what you want"lol

I found the comments at the end more interesting!

Z

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Re: Atheists in a Spiritualist??? Church

Post by Ziztur on Mon Mar 23, 2009 3:19 pm

Hi there!

My name is Ziztur, and I own the blog linked to in the OP.

I have a question. How did you come to the conclusion that I "clearly have not done any research"? I'd be interested to hear your answers.

-Ziztur
www.ziztur.com

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Re: Atheists in a Spiritualist??? Church

Post by obiwan on Mon Mar 23, 2009 4:14 pm

Hi Ziztur. Firstly I wouldn't argue with your description of your visit to a spiritualist church - my experience has been similar if not as entertaining. In your comment you refer to belief in "spirit guides" as irrational. I assumed you have not read much or any of the historical research on mediumship and hence arrived at that conclusion. If you have read some of the research and still reached the conclusion that acceptance of guides is irrational I don't understand how, as there is a significant body of research accumulated over 150+ years by well recognised authorities. I am not saying one has to accept all or even part of it but to reject it as irrational when there seems to be so much evidence over so many years doesn't seem logical to me. Hope this helps to illustrate my perspective.

Also I think perhaps you may be confusing Spiritualism with New Age beliefs such as reiki, crystals etc (maybe the churches you visited were as well! Smile). As an aside Acupuncture is recognised in the UK as an alternative medical technique and is often offered by General Practitioners of medicine. Although I would agree that in an emergency a hospital is the place to head for, your remarks seemed to lump acupuncture in with crystal therapy and other similar ideas.

For the record, I am not a Spiritualist, a practitioner of acupuncture, medium, clairvoyant or psychic Smile

obiwan


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Re: Atheists in a Spiritualist??? Church

Post by Ziztur on Mon Mar 23, 2009 4:52 pm

Hi there. Thank you for your thoughtful response.

I have actually read quite a bit of the historical research on mediumship and spirit guides. My conclusion is that there is no evidence that the consciousness survives death, and so any speaking to spirit guides is an abstraction, I.E. People are not genuinely speaking to consciousnesses that have survived death. Though for the record, one can be an atheist and believe that the consciousness survives death.

There is also a significant body of research that has been conducted by certain organizations such as among others the James Randi Educational Foundation, The Center for Inquiry, and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry which have found no evidence of mediumship or communications with bodiless consciousnesses as well as other paranormal or suprernatural phenomena. Further, there are no articles on mediumship published in reputable science journals, rather they are published in journals such as the "Journal of parapsychology" the "Journal of Spiritual and Paranormal Studies", the "Journal of the Society of Psychical Research", etc.

Can you tell me more about these recognized authorities of mediumship?

Concerning the confusion of spiritualist beliefs with reiki, crystals etc - I have been to two spiritualist churches (which, granted, is a teeny tiny sample size) and both of them incorporated mediumship, crystals, and reiki. I also was once a spiritualist before I became an atheist, approximately a decade ago. It is my opinion that most spiritualists also believe in reiki and crystal work as well as other paranormal or alternative phenomena. I do know the difference, but they are often found in the same spaces and grouped under the more general term of "new age".

Concerning acupuncture, most medical journal articles I have read show that either research is not robust enough for me to come to the conclusion that acupuncture works better than a placebo, or if research does happen to be robust enough, the conclusions of said research are that acupuncture is at best a placebo. Might I refer you to a great article by Harriet Hall, which ban be found here.

The problem with research articles is that it honestly takes an advanced education (whether formally or if you educate yourself) to understand the difference between robust research and weak research.

I work in the field of occupational therapy research, where client motivation is a major factor in participation of therapy. Though the profession is moving toward evidence-based practice, practitioners still often prescribe modalities for clients even though there is no evidence that they work better than other kinds of therapy - for example a client might ask for a night splint for his hand after a hand injury, and even though repetitive activities have been proven to be the best method for rehabilitation, we will prescribe the night splint anyway because it has been shown that clients with splints are more motivated and thus have better outcomes, though in truth the splint does nothing but act as a placebo - it makes the client feel better and motivates them. From my research on the subject of acupuncture, I have come to the same conclusion - that acupuncture leads to better outcomes due to a strong placebo effect and thus the lumping you mention.

Ziztur
www.ziztur.com

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Re: Atheists in a Spiritualist??? Church

Post by obiwan on Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:44 pm

Ziztur wrote:Hi there. Thank you for your thoughtful response.

I have actually read quite a bit of the historical research on mediumship and spirit guides. My conclusion is that there is no evidence that the consciousness survives death, and so any speaking to spirit guides is an abstraction, I.E. People are not genuinely speaking to consciousnesses that have survived death. Though for the record, one can be an atheist and believe that the consciousness survives death.

There is also a significant body of research that has been conducted by certain organizations such as among others the James Randi Educational Foundation, The Center for Inquiry, and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry which have found no evidence of mediumship or communications with bodiless consciousnesses as well as other paranormal or suprernatural phenomena. Further, there are no articles on mediumship published in reputable science journals, rather they are published in journals such as the "Journal of parapsychology" the "Journal of Spiritual and Paranormal Studies", the "Journal of the Society of Psychical Research", etc.

Can you tell me more about these recognized authorities of mediumship?

Concerning the confusion of spiritualist beliefs with reiki, crystals etc - I have been to two spiritualist churches (which, granted, is a teeny tiny sample size) and both of them incorporated mediumship, crystals, and reiki. I also was once a spiritualist before I became an atheist, approximately a decade ago. It is my opinion that most spiritualists also believe in reiki and crystal work as well as other paranormal or alternative phenomena. I do know the difference, but they are often found in the same spaces and grouped under the more general term of "new age".

Concerning acupuncture, most medical journal articles I have read show that either research is not robust enough for me to come to the conclusion that acupuncture works better than a placebo, or if research does happen to be robust enough, the conclusions of said research are that acupuncture is at best a placebo. Might I refer you to a great article by Harriet Hall, which ban be found here.

The problem with research articles is that it honestly takes an advanced education (whether formally or if you educate yourself) to understand the difference between robust research and weak research.

I work in the field of occupational therapy research, where client motivation is a major factor in participation of therapy. Though the profession is moving toward evidence-based practice, practitioners still often prescribe modalities for clients even though there is no evidence that they work better than other kinds of therapy - for example a client might ask for a night splint for his hand after a hand injury, and even though repetitive activities have been proven to be the best method for rehabilitation, we will prescribe the night splint anyway because it has been shown that clients with splints are more motivated and thus have better outcomes, though in truth the splint does nothing but act as a placebo - it makes the client feel better and motivates them. From my research on the subject of acupuncture, I have come to the same conclusion - that acupuncture leads to better outcomes due to a strong placebo effect and thus the lumping you mention.

Ziztur
www.ziztur.com
Hi Ziztur

I don't think we are going to have a meeting of minds, not with me in any case. I have seen much of the research and can't conceive how you could possibly dismiss it all. We will have to agree to disagree. I think JRF have done very little research - I would be fascinated to hear what it is you think they have researched compared to 150 years of intensive research by some of the finest minds in (coincidentally) science eg Sir Oliver Lodge,Sir William Crookes et al.

It is interesting that you have rejected the SPR as a source of scientific research given the record of their presidents and vice presidents. I am not qualified to comment on papers in mainstream science journals however I don't think there is much if anything in them on this subject. As to why not, one could either assume that's because there is no substance to them, or because there is some intrinsic prejudice towards this type of material, or because research in this area does not attract the kind of funding that other research areas do and hence there are fewer people doing it. I am sure if you were to ask someone like Rupert Sheldrake he would be able to cite chapter and verse. You might find his website interesting as there is quite a bit of current research material there. If someone like Sir Oliver Lodge for example isn't a good enough authority for you then to be honest I am at a loss to suggest who might be.

As to acupuncture - again I am not a practitioner, however the point I was making is that it is offered as a treatment by many mainstream medical practitioners - presumably they do that because their patients get some benefit - whether it's a placebo effect or not. Thank you for explaining why you lumped them together - I can now see why you did that, however I don't see them in the same way. It would be disingenuous for me to engage in debate on the subject of acupuncture further other than to say you kindly referred me to one particular study - are there others out there that would indicate the opposite? I have definitely seen evidence of acupuncture used to control pain and as an alternative to anaesthesia - presumably you would say this was all suggestion or fake?

I think you are correct that it can be difficult to decide whether research is good or not. In some instances, I agree, the issue at debate can be somewhat arcane and specialised. However when faced with personal testimony from so many eminent and rational people, and plain ordinary honest down-to-earth people too, over so long a time, some of which has been examined in detail by the finest minds of their day do you think it is reasonable to dismiss the body of evidence in its entirety? If you do, then once again we must agree to differ. I am not saying I think you should accept it, I am simply saying I don't think it is reasonable to dismiss it.

As to whether one can be an atheist and still believe in the survival of consciousness; I would say people seem to be capable of believing almost anything Smile. It depends what you mean by God - I would describe myself as an agnostic. I don't know whether there is an all pervading intelligence or not. At the moment I am soley interested in understanding the case for survival of consciousness. The issue of whether there is a God or not and if so what 'IT' is like is not of primary importance to me. I think there is a lot of evidence to support surivival. You clearly don't, I can't understand how you can be so certain if, as you say, you have read the research of Lodge and Crookes or more modern considerations of the evidence for example Fontana.

I do not view it as my mission to change your mind, though others on here might Smile
Kind regards

PS I have an honours degree in science and post graduate professional qualifications - do I need more than that before I can understand the subject or make an informed decision on scientific debate? Smile (half in jest)

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Re: Atheists in a Spiritualist??? Church

Post by Admin on Mon Mar 23, 2009 11:13 pm

Hi Obi,

What a wonderful case you are presenting both about acupuncture and the research behind the case for proof of survival. I agree entirely on your points.

Hi Ziztur and welcome, this is a thinking persons forum about Spiritulaism, so it is good to be challenged. You will find that many here have done serious and deep research, which is also reflected in the articles in the main area of the forum. Your comment
"It is my opinion that most spiritualists also believe in reiki and crystal work as well as other paranormal or alternative phenomena. I do know the difference, but they are often found in the same spaces and grouped under the more general term of "new age""

Unfortunately too many Spiritualist Churches have allowed the New Age in, in the USA Reiki seems the normal form of healing and I believe that has come about because of the legal framework. Other countries use Spiritual Healing which takes a fundamentally different approach to Reiki. I have no problem with crystals as a healing adjunct although they are not part of Spiritualism.

In serious Spiritualist churches you will find crystals, ascended masters, angels and indigo children do not find their way in. The most important things, to us, which I am endeavoring to ensure is reflected in the body of this forum, are the Philosophy, the proof of survival to bring truth, the science reflected in the years of research and finally our belief in a God.

I am a Spiritualist and have now been so for 25 years, I am a spiritual healer, dowser (nothing to do with Spiritualism of course), platform medium, researcher/writer, teach psychic and spiritual development classes on a voluntary basis except for a few courses. Oh by the way I have been a CEO of a manufacturing business of 130 staff, general manager of production in a major wine company, successful finance manager of large companies, have a Business Degree, Accounting Qualification, double post graduates in Marketing and Management also a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management.

My wife has been involved for 43 years is a teacher of mediumship and healing, serious writer and researcher of the subject, platform medium (working over 10 years in the Uk for 28 churches in the East London area) another willing volunteer. By the way she has degrees in teaching, social work and a law degree plus a masters.

I hope that, with Obi's academic resume is sufficient to convince you that we are serious and critical researchers and students of the subject on this forum. There are many with similar academic backgrounds involved on here...

Cheers

Jim
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Re: Atheists in a Spiritualist??? Church

Post by Bill on Tue Mar 24, 2009 1:05 am

What a pleasure it is to read such a well reasoned and articulate debate.
As Jim has pointed out, this is what he started the site for.
Hopefully there is more to come. I hope that it continues in the same spirit.
Well done.

Bill

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Re: Atheists in a Spiritualist??? Church

Post by zerdini on Tue Mar 24, 2009 6:14 am

Bill wrote:What a pleasure it is to read such a well reasoned and articulate debate.
As Jim has pointed out, this is what he started the site for.
Hopefully there is more to come. I hope that it continues in the same spirit.
Well done.

Bill

I concur - well done!

Z

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Re: Atheists in a Spiritualist??? Church

Post by Admin on Tue Mar 24, 2009 6:21 am

Hi,

I should also have said including those with many years involvement, research, study and involvement either in the Spiritualist movement or even in questioning it.

Jim
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Re: Atheists in a Spiritualist??? Church

Post by Ziztur on Tue Mar 24, 2009 2:32 pm

I think though, that if we are to continue our debate, for the sake of simplicity we should split it into its component parts.

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Re: Atheists in a Spiritualist??? Church

Post by zerdini on Tue Mar 24, 2009 3:34 pm

Ziztur wrote:I think though, that if we are to continue our debate, for the sake of simplicity we should split it into its component parts.

Ok why don't you start with part one?

zerdini


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Re: Atheists in a Spiritualist??? Church

Post by Ziztur on Tue Mar 24, 2009 5:22 pm

Okay, we could probably comfortably start with the evidence that the consciousness survives death. I am not sure exactly which research you consider authoritative proof of such, as we can point out that some research is fraudulent and/or not robust and/or not replicable, making it a poor example.

Could you give me a reference to an authoritative experiment or article? I do have access to many professional journals online (due to my ties with Washington University in St. Louis) and so I can probably find them if you give me a reference only, but if you have an online source, that would be helpful as well.

Kind regards,

Ziztur
www.ziztur.com

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Re: Atheists in a Spiritualist??? Church

Post by obiwan on Tue Mar 24, 2009 5:54 pm

Ziztur wrote:Okay, we could probably comfortably start with the evidence that the consciousness survives death. I am not sure exactly which research you consider authoritative proof of such, as we can point out that some research is fraudulent and/or not robust and/or not replicable, making it a poor example.

Could you give me a reference to an authoritative experiment or article? I do have access to many professional journals online (due to my ties with Washington University in St. Louis) and so I can probably find them if you give me a reference only, but if you have an online source, that would be helpful as well.

Kind regards,

Ziztur
www.ziztur.com
Hi Ziztur - thanks for the reply. I would be interested to know a bit more about you, what you have read etc. Otherwise you might just get a list of things that you have already looked at.

obiwan


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Re: Atheists in a Spiritualist??? Church

Post by zerdini on Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:29 pm

There is also a significant body of research that has been conducted by certain organizations such as among others the James Randi Educational Foundation, The Center for Inquiry, and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry which have found no evidence of mediumship or communications with bodiless consciousnesses as well as other paranormal or suprernatural phenomena.

You're kidding me aren't you? If you regard Randi's rants as 'research' there is little point in discussing this with you.

zerdini


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Re: Atheists in a Spiritualist??? Church

Post by Admin on Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:12 pm

Ziztur wrote:Okay, we could probably comfortably start with the evidence that the consciousness survives death. I am not sure exactly which research you consider authoritative proof of such, as we can point out that some research is fraudulent and/or not robust and/or not replicable, making it a poor example.

Could you give me a reference to an authoritative experiment or article? I do have access to many professional journals online (due to my ties with Washington University in St. Louis) and so I can probably find them if you give me a reference only, but if you have an online source, that would be helpful as well.

Kind regards,

Ziztur
www.ziztur.com

Interesting thought Ziztur, is there one definitive piece of research or is it, as I feel, a body of evidence from a variety of research. I actually feel it is the latter, a whole body of reports, which is going to make even the survival of consciousness a long job. We also have ,by the way, reverse fraudulent and not robust research, which is used by those who say there is no survival. Houdini was caught cheating when trying to prove Crandon was a fraudulent medium, as just one of many examples. Much of the argument put forward is that it is our scientific duty to absolutely prove our case and not the responsibility of those who doubt to do this. As others have said the JRF hardly does substantive research and most sceptics try just to pick holes. Yet you have dissmissed the SPR which has, over many years stringently tested these matters. You also ignore that some of the SPR researchers, such as Harry Price, appeared determined to prove fraud in genuine mediumship at any cost (and even appears to have been somewhat of a fraud himself).

Survival of consciousness, well we have all the genuine review material by the SPR, I know you will rubbish it but Prof Garry Schwarz Afterlife Experiments, (however, where are your comparible scientific reviews disproving it), we have also had one of the mediums involved Rev Anne Gehman work at our mission she is a senior figure in the NSAC and excellent medium. Then we get to the serious NDE research, Professor Botkins induced afterlife contacts and the work of Stevenson at the Department of Personality Studies.

By the way are you an absolute sceptic, or do you accept psychic and telekenetic potentials. I would guess you do not accept ghosts or remnant energies. The group in my latest foundation course were introduced to the latent energy potential in the human body as part of a transition from the work on psychic development to the potential of contact with Spirit. I use it as a basic understanding of the latent talent for, shall we say magnetic healing, which is indicative of the basis which can be used as we develop to Spiritual healing. I mention this because I use spoon bending as a fun example, now 3 people successfully bent very sturdy stainless steel spoons, without force or chemicals, in front of the rest of the group. Now JRF would deny the potential of this and say we committed fraud as far as I understand their position, but that is pure hogwash as my own eyes have shown me sufficient proof of the reality of things outside our physical daily experience on a series of different exercises, especially in teaching people how to dowse.

Cheers

Jim
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