Lawyer Rebuts Professor’s attack on EVP

(By Victor Zammit, retired attorney)

I was referred to CSICOP’s website and the attack on Electronic Voice Phenomena by Psychology Professor E. Alcock (5th September 05). I state that he is absolutely wrong in his conclusions: he deletes critical relevant information, tries to rationalize his own negative prejudices and gives the impression he is omniscient and infallible about a paranormal activity he shows he did not fully investigate and he does not understand.

I do not accept his description of himself as a ‘skeptic.’ A genuine skeptic doubts but always allows for subsequent acceptance of any given consideration or conceptualization. All members and fellows of CSICOP necessarily are debunkers. Because their minds are already made up before they investigate, they do not doubt. Instead they condemn and denounce anything that is fundamentally inconsistent with their own cherished personal beliefs. 

Initially, who are we dealing with then? (The italics are his own words taken from his article see below)

# Prof Alcock is a fellow of CSICOP and a regular contributor towards a skeptical journal. He is also on the faculty of the annual Skeptic’s Toolbox. (CSICOP’s website)
We are dealing with someone who, as a fellow of CSICOP, has implicitly confessed that he is really a debunker. He is deeply involved with CSICOP which has a fundamental negative presumption that the paranormal does not exist and cannot exist. Inevitably, this negatively entrenched professor cannot be in a position to perceive psi results with true empirical equanimity. That is a huge problem when he tries to assess ANY paranormal activity. We know that his conclusions will inexorably be negative before he even considers them.

# (re spirits) You have no voice box therefore you cannot speak. You have no arms or legs or any means of moving objects …
Here Prof Alcock starts to show his limited knowledge about afterlife matters. Those who empirically researched the afterlife and accept the empirical evidence for it will tell you that when we cross over – we do still have a body – arms legs, etc.. but that it is vibrating faster than the vibration of earth level. Because the voice box is operating at higher atomic speeds, any sound (energy) articulated by a spirit inevitably will be different to earth’s vocal sound. However the elements of white noise can be taken and reconstituted to make a few sharp and short words audible.

# Pattern detection would be the ability to discriminate signal from noise.
Here this materialist professor introduces the term ‘discriminate.’ But one problem with this and other these debunkers is that their particular discriminating power is apriori intrinsically against any validation of the paranormal. This discriminating against psi is deeply drummed into this debunker’s head and accordingly, he will inevitably always opt his discrimination in favor of his own deeply entrenched beliefs and negative prejudices

# Of course, to the skeptic, these characteristics are what one might expect if indeed the ‘voices’ are simply misinterpretations of random, "white noise."
Again, here we have a technical problem of the relationship between apperception and perception – our past determines how we interpret information. A deeply entrenched closed minded debunking skeptic is not going to interpret any voices from white noise as legitimate paranormal voices. Procedurally, any interpretation has to be empirically objective. But before one interprets anything, one has to have expertise and experience in discriminating between random white noise and legitimate human spirit voices. The encumbered debunker’s perception will not allow for any objectivity at all.

# Serious parapsychologists today show virtually no interest in EVP, and modern reports in the parapsychological literature find no evidence of anything paranormal in such recordings.
This is blatantly untrue. Again this closed minded skeptic has omitted to mention the critical work which is obtaining brilliant positive results of Professor David Fontana, Anabella Cardoso and other scientists and professionals see……

# As yet another example of the unbridled enthusiasm and creativity associated with the finding voices, consider the American Association of EVP (gives a few lines of the AAEVP’s statement on EVP.) …And if one surfs the web, sooner or later, one finds sites that offer to sell devices to help you obtain better recordings.
Note the denigrating tone of this materialist in the words ‘unbridled enthusiasm and creativity’ - and the quite untrue imputation that people are going to be ripped off when they buy devices for better recordings. The whole paragraph is an example of the unbridled enthusiasm shown by all debunkers against the paranormal to be found in CSICOP anytime and in the Skeptical Inquirer all the time.

# If the voices aren’t spirits, what are they?  Possible Explanations: Cross modulation: This is a common phenomenon … my record player clearly picked up a local radio station, which one could hear between cuts.
Again this materialist professor is sloppy and has not researched the very best EVP experiments. For example, in the highly successful EVP experiments made at PYE RECORDS ( see Chapter 2 A LAWYER PRESENTS THE EVIDENCE FOR THE AFTERLIFE) highly qualified scientists and sound engineers participated to control every possible of intervening and extraneous variable. It was a controlled experiment in which it was impossible for any stray noises to penetrate the studio.

# Second possible explanation: Apophenia … This refers to a common perceptual phenomenon whereby we spontaneously perceive connections and find meaningfulness in unrelated things. In other words, it involves seeing or hearing patterns where in reality, none exist.
While this argument may be raised about some of the weak EVP voices (and it is constantly raised by people within EVP circles themselves) there are many EVP’ers whose empirical objectivity transcends the trap of apperception- pattern perception. This professor states and imputes that only debunkers escape apophenia - pattern-perception and that debunkers have a monopoly on objective knowledge and objective perception. In other words, "apophenia does not happen to us – only to those we oppose!"

# Given that we can routinely demonstrate this effect, it is only parsimonious to suggest that what people hear with EVP is also the product of their own brains, and their expectations, rather than the voices of the dearly departed.
Another colossal omission by this materialist professor Alcock is that he conveniently deletes the best EVP experiments. This closed minded professor is implying that the scientists and professionals – some of who were skeptics - who participated in the Pye experiments are stupid – allowing themselves to hear voices that did not exist – and these participants in the Pye experiment included:

  • Ken Attwood, Chief Engineer of Pye who stated:
    "I have done everything in my power to break the mystery of the voices without success; the same applies to other experts. I suppose we must learn to accept them."

  • Dr Brendan McGann, Director of the Institute of Psychology, Dublin said:
    "I have apparently succeeded in reproducing the phenomena. Voices have appeared on a tape which did not come from any known source." (Bander 1973:132).

  • A.P. Hale, Physicist and Electronics Engineer stated:
    "In view of the tests carried out in a screened laboratory at my firm, I can not explain what happened in normal physical terms." (Bander 1973:132).

  • Sir Robert Mayer, LL.D., D.Sc., Mus.D. concluded:
    "If the experts are baffled, I consider this is a good enough reason for presenting the Voice Phenomena to the general public." (Bander 1973:132).

  • Ted Bonner of Decca and RTE said:
    "This is no trick. This is no gimmickry; this is something we have never dreamed of before." (Bander 1973:106).

Is the dismissal of EVP therefore an example of the debunkers’ own negative pattern-perception and serious brain deletions?  Do their minds delete, not wanting to hear or register EVP voices that more objective people with different beliefs accept?

A real problem for the materialists, the CSICOP debunkers, is that consistent with Psychology’s  principle of COGNITIVE DISSONANCE and NLP principle of deletion– these materialists’ brains may not be allowing them to hear EVP voices.

Why? Because the EVP voices would give these materialists enormous anxiety; their ego self-esteem and reality structure would be threatened and their nervous systems go into panic and even collapse.

# Remember, we process information in two different ways through two more or less separate parts of our brain and nervous system … these two systems often produce contrary results … The "believer" removes the contradiction by bringing the intellect into line with the intuitive interpretation …by coming to accept the paranormal – the EVP voices – as reality and thereby reshaping the intellectual understanding of the world so that belief in such phenomena appears to be rational.
Here, the professor again fundamentally ignores the fact that the above principle can equally be applied to himself, to CSICOP’s debunkers and to other closed minded skeptics. By rejecting the evidence in relation to the paranormal the debunker thereby maintains intellectual understanding of the world so that disbelief in such a phenomena appears to be rational.

Just a quick note on ‘believers’: this materialist professor is ‘projecting’ his own beliefs on to others when he calls psi empiricists ‘believers.’ I and other psi empiricists do not have the luxury of ‘beliefs’ and unless a phenomenon has passed stringent empirical tests we cannot and do not accept it.

The classic empirical EVP Pye tests are strictly scientific. Professor Alcock does NOT have science on his side. Technically, his beliefs against the paranormal cannot be independently substantiated. He believes he is right. He believes his anti-paranormal negative prejudices are right. He believes closed minded skepticism is empirical – it is NOT! This professor is the real believer because there has been strict scientific testing done on EVP – even just recently in Rome by some of the most intelligent scientists and professionals on earth to-day.

# It is very difficult to change such deeply held beliefs, especially if they include a significant emotional component.
That goes for the professor and his colleagues in CSICOP and for all the hard-core materialists around the world. They have deeply held beliefs which are at the basis of their social and professional lives and their sense of identity. We know from experience they are very emotional about their beliefs. Beliefs of this kind are hard wired into our nervous system and are very hard to shift.

# How easy would it be for me to persuade you that voices on a tape really are spirits of the dead? Well, that is probably just how easy it would be to persuade devoted believers that their  beliefs about the voices is wrong.
Again, this professor is neglecting the general principle that any principle he uses to negate the EVP’ers can equally be applied to the debunkers themselves. How easy would it be to persuade this debunking professor – or his CSICOP debunking buddies that their negative beliefs about their voices can’t be right?

# There may be a lesson in this for all of us (CSICOP’s members and other materialists) for we just as surely may be mistaken in some of our own deeply held convictions. This is why we must rely on science …
ABSOLUTELY AGREE professor! Here I totally agree that not only you may be wrong, I state with absolute certainty, that you, CSICOP, their debunkers and other materialists are fundamentally mistaken in your deeply held atheistic, nihilistic and anti-afterlife convictions. No one, not one scientist has ever been able to show in a credible book that the afterlife does not exist or that the paranormal does not exist. On the other hand if you bother to do proper research – there is a plethora of hard core objective evidence for the afterlife and the paranormal accumulated by hard core scientists and empiricists that has never been rebutted. I am offering one million dollars for you, CSICOP or anybody else to show that the evidence for the afterlife is not correct or not valid. You either have to put up or just go away. Or if you can be objective, you may even join us one day – as inevitably all people will, sooner or later.

# The Electronic Voice Phenomena are the products of hope and expectation; the claims wither away under the light of scientific scrutiny.
Again, this professor is indulging in wishful thinking. Why doesn’t he try to rebut the classical EVP tests – starting with the Pye Records scientific EVP testing?

This hard core materialist professor thinks that EVP is the only evidence presented for the afterlife. Wrong! The EVP is also substantiated by some twenty other areas of empirical evidence (see ) that shows that we humans survive physical death.

As to the application of science to afterlife matters, including EVP one has only to read who will be some of those participating in next year’s Afterlife International Conference - Dr Anabella Cordoso, Prof David Fontana, Dr S Darnell, Prof Sylvia Hart, Dr Mario Varvoglis, Prof Mario Festa, Dr E Marabini, Dr Felice Masi, Prof E Senkowski, Dr A Trifimov, Dr Peter Fenwick, Dr W von Lucadou.

Highly intelligent empiricists and giants of science of the past and present have conceded the validity of the afterlife evidence and the paranormal. The evidence for the afterlife is the greatest discovery in human history and the consequences of the afterlife are enormous.

Victor Zammit, retired lawyer. September 2005

Professor E Alcock article

September 2005

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