Science and demonic posession

Discussion in 'Critical Discussions Among Proponents and Skeptics' started by Brian_the_bard, May 15, 2017.

  1. Brian_the_bard

    Brian_the_bard Lost Pilgrim Member

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    I saw a video that spoke of so-called demonic posession cases and then looked for a scientific view and saw how it woulkd be easy for witnesses to imagine a person experiencing a pseudo-seizure to be levitating. I'm not sure about reports of speaking in tongues and I wondered if anybody has any debunking info on this phenomenon in relation to known "posession" reports. Also any other points of discussion on the subject.
     
  2. Lol. Why would a person having a seizure be confused with levitation?

    Do "skeptics" even try anymore?
     
  3. E.Flowers

    E.Flowers New

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    Can't say much about possession, but to be mistaken with levitation it would require some Olympic-level seizures to accomplish... As well as a very gullible public that has never been exposed to seizures in the first place.
     
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  4. Brian_the_bard

    Brian_the_bard Lost Pilgrim Member

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    I'll try and find the video I saw. When her back arches, she almost lifts herself off the bed and it looks impossible but it is just a pseudo-seizure, not posession. I'm not gullible but I might have believed it if I hadn't been given real information about it.

    Here we go:

     
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  5. chotki

    chotki Member

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    Some adventuresome anthropologists who have studied spirit possession phenomena have come to the conclusion that something is going on that defies materialist explanations; i.e., Edith Turner. The necessary caveat to this is, yes, many alleged possession cases can be safely discarded as mental illness, confabulation, etc.
     
  6. bsanch123

    bsanch123 Member

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    Here's an interesting article regarding possession. Dr Neil Martin of UCLA Medical Center was shown a video of an alleged possession and this was his response:

    "It doesn’t look like schizophrenia or epilepsy,” he said. “It could be delirium, an agitated disconnection from normal behavior. But the powerful verbalization we’re hearing, that’s not what you get with delirium. With delirium you see the struggling, maybe the yelling, but this guttural voice seems like it’s coming from someplace else. I’ve done thousands of surgeries, on brain tumors, traumatic brain injuries, ruptured brain aneurysms, infections affecting the brain, and I haven’t seen this kind of consequence from any of those disorders. This goes beyond anything I’ve ever experienced—that’s for certain.”

    The article can be found here:

    http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/10/father-amorth-the-vatican-exorcist[/QUOTE]
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2017
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  7. E.Flowers

    E.Flowers New

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    I still don't see how that could be mistaken with levitation, or how that would be remarkable per se. This show was clearly directed to the layperson.
     
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  8. Laird

    Laird Member

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    Nice. I hadn't heard of Edith Turner before, and found this gem of an article by her (not strictly about demonic possession, but about spirits in general): The Reality of Spirits.
     
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  9. Brian_the_bard

    Brian_the_bard Lost Pilgrim Member

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    Somebody who is scared because they think this is demonic posession could easily imagine the victim is being lifted upwards off the bed. I personally find it hard to believe that even demons can cause humans to literally defy gravity.

    I'm looking specifically for a scientific view of speaking in tongues - not the sort where the language is incomprehensible but where known languages are involved, assuming any such cases are real. I would also question why a demon would want to make somebody behave absurdly like the victim in a bad seventies horror movie.
     
  10. Brian_the_bard

    Brian_the_bard Lost Pilgrim Member

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    "But the powerful verbalization we’re hearing, that’s not what you get with delirium. With delirium you see the struggling, maybe the yelling, but this guttural voice seems like it’s coming from someplace else."

    Why do you think a demon, presumably using the victims vocal cords, would speak in a gutteral voice? Is it doing it deliberately to sound like a B-Movie character?
     
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  11. Brian_the_bard

    Brian_the_bard Lost Pilgrim Member

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    Re Enfield https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enfield_Poltergeist

    "Janet was detected in trickery; a video camera in the room next door caught her bending spoons and attempting to bend an iron bar.[9][10] Grosse had observed Janet banging a broom handle on the ceiling and hiding his tape-recorder.[11] Ventriloquist Ray Alan thought Janet's male voices were simply vocal tricks. According to Playfair, one of Janet’s voices she called "Bill" displayed a "habit of suddenly changing the topic – it was a habit Janet also had".[12]

    When Janet and Margaret admitted their pranks to reporters, Grosse and Playfair compelled the girls to retract their confession.[3] They were mocked by other researchers for being easily duped.[13]

    The psychical researcher Renée Haynes had noted that doubts were raised about the alleged poltergeist voice at the Second International SPR Conference at Cambridge in 1978, where video cassettes from the case were examined.[14] The SPR investigator Anita Gregory stated the Enfield poltergeist case had been "overrated", characterizing several episodes of the girls' behaviour as "suspicious" and speculated that the girls had "staged" some incidents for the benefit of reporters seeking a sensational story.[3][6] John Beloff, a former president of the SPR, investigated and suggested Janet was practicing ventriloquism. Both Beloff and Gregory came to the conclusion that Janet and Margaret were playing tricks on the investigators.[15]"
     
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  12. Laird

    Laird Member

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    Brian, you just committed the cardinal sin of relying on Wikipedia for an objective take on a paranormal subject. That just doesn't happen: Wikipedia is dominated by pseudo-skeptics who make sure that every paranormal article conforms to their preferred narrative; the psi community for whatever reason/s (likely that it is out-gunned, out-manned and has been out-manoeuvred) doesn't fight this battle on that terrain - the pseudo-skeptics are far more organised and fervent.

    I haven't looked into the Enfield poltergeist in any depth, but it is covered in bits and pieces in a book I have read: Randi's Prize, by Robert McLuhan. Robert investigated these sort of cases thoroughly in the literature, reading both skeptical and proponent arguments and accounts, and I found his take on it all refreshingly balanced. His overall finding is in favour of the existence of the paranormal. Maybe if you want to do some real digging, you might start with that book, and follow up on the references he provides if you want to rely on your own judgement rather than on his? But please, ignore Wikipedia - or, if you are going to use it, then carefully and thoroughly investigate every claim made on the page, going right back to the root source(s), and being aware of the general pseudo-skeptical bias.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2017
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  13. Laird

    Laird Member

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    Oops, just realised I offered nothing in the way of justifying this claim: here's an article, Wikipedia: Captured by Skeptics, with many references, some of with which I'm already familiar and would recommend to you, e.g. Rome Viharo's site, Wikipedia We Have a Problem (the case studies are probably a good place to start), as well as Rome's Skeptiko interview, as well as our own Craig Weiler's book, Psi Wars: TED, Wikipedia and The Battle For The Internet.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2017
  14. Laird

    Laird Member

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    "Somebody who is scared" - sure, but isn't it better to rely on more objective witnesses, and do you doubt that serious people do rely on more objective witnesses? Or are you tempted to buy into the pseudo-skeptic mindset that there are no serious investigators of the paranormal; that they are all credulous and gullible? If so, I'd recommend a rethink. Some major ("mainstream") scientists have investigated the paranormal and come away believing in its reality. Jim_Smith has a page listing well-credentialled scientists who validated the existence of psi, and/or the paranormal, and/or the primacy of consciousness, and/or the existence of a God of some sort: Eminent Researchers. Edit: which is not at all to discredit or ignore the work of parapsychologists and paranormal researchers who might not be as "mainstream", I just thought that the "mainstream hook" was the easiest to cast.

    Well, that's fair enough, we all have our notions of what is possible and impossible according to that which we have experienced to date, but, to put it a little crudely... weird $#@! happens in this reality, man. I don't rule much out other than the contradictory, and even then, I suspect that reality at base can only be explained through paradox, which might on our level appear as a base contradiction. That said, I have not personally experienced or investigated any claims of levitation, including by the demonic (edited to add: but I do regularly experience the disembodied voices of malevolent spirits).
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2017
  15. Laird

    Laird Member

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    Why do you like to play music? Because it's in your nature, perhaps? Why then couldn't/wouldn't it be the same for a malevolent spirit: that speaking in that way is simply in its nature?
     
  16. E.Flowers

    E.Flowers New

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    I suppose that the family, friends, etc. that are not trained could be shocked, this is what muscles can do when restraints are taken away, but any M.D. should be able to tell the difference between this and something extraordinary.

    As far as gravity goes, we only have approximations and 'ideas' of how it works, we still don't know for certain if it truly is the fundamental force that we expect or if it's emergent, and without further answers for all we know there may be ways to 'cheat' it.
     
  17. Raimo

    Raimo New

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  18. Brian_the_bard

    Brian_the_bard Lost Pilgrim Member

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    I can see what the materialists on skeptiko have to put up with. The absurd bias in proponents here is frustrating! I know wiki has a problem - I have known it for ages but the girls were caught on camera fair and square and admitted it. That is a fact, not a bias. I won't read books on the subject because they never ever question anything or give an unbiased report. I suppose they wouldn't sell so many copies if they did! And why should I accept one authority as unbiased rather than another anyway?
     
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  19. Typoz

    Typoz Member

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    I don't have any particular knowledge or opinion of this case. However, it might be less troublesome all round to refer directly to original sources, rather than going via the intermediary of wikipedia, which has the effect of undermining any legitimate argument you might have.
     
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  20. Laird

    Laird Member

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    So, you're not going to read a book by one of the original investigators, and presumably you're instead going to rely on a known pseudo-skeptical source (Wikipedia)? It seems you've made up your mind (without reading it) that the author just wants to sensationalise to sell books. Do you think this might be just a little bit of a biased perspective to come from? Maybe? Just a little?
     
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