Hey! Randy

The Problem of Dismissed Reality

Posted by heyrandy on October 14, 2008

Unholy Spirits, Gary North, I.C.E., 1994. Index, footnotes, 426 pages

Available on-line

The occult is today a topic of much interest.  There have always been people who would “read your horoscope, change your fate,” but there has recently been a renascence of interest in the hermetic arts.  We have witnessed it in the interest in Eastern Mysticism, crystals, Wicca, and Satanism.  These things are not new, but the sudden recrudescence of interest in the paranormal is.

North traces the origin of the current surge of interest to the year 1965.  It was the year of the beginning of the counter culture movement.  1965 was not the only year that saw such activity.  North also points out that there have been outbreaks of the occult in Roman times as the Empire ended; at the Renaissance; and, to a lesser extent, at the Reformation.  (I would also add that there is a great deal of demonic activity recorded in the four Gospels at the time of Jesus.)  It is in these times of upheaval that demon-ism and its secondary manifestations become popular.

North begins his book with a discussion of the philosophical basis of modern science.  We are all using a paradigm based on Kantian epistemology.  We cannot know the noumenon, the thing itself; we can only know the phenomenon, what the thing appears to be.  It is important to keep this epistemological basis in mind when evaluating the reactions by science to psychical phenomena.

Exposing the problems science has in dealing with occult phenomena is the real value of North’s book.  The book does examine some of the more well known psychics such as Edgar Cayce and Jean Dixon, but it is really the reaction of the scientific community to the things they have observed but cannot explain where North does us the greatest service.  North shows that the science establishment is a prisoner of its own paradigms.  The facts do not fit what science says is true, so rather that change its model of truth, science just ignores the facts.

This dismissal takes different forms.  Usually it is a charge of fraud; there is often a lot of fraud.  Quacks and fakes abound.  But when fraud cannot be proved, and science cannot offer a rational explanation, the scientists often refuse to accept any proof, averring, “It just can not have happened.”  (North cites an example of an observed psychic surgery that was filmed by a team of North American scientists.  The frame by frame examination of the film showed no sleight of hand tricks.  After the operation the scientist was offered the tissue that was removed so he could take it to his laboratory for analysis.  The man refused it.)

There is the famous “Just give us enough time (and enough of you money) and we will explain it.”  The explanations never come.  Science of this sort counts on people forgetting.  Science is rarely disappointed.

None of this should surprise us.  Science cannot deal with the paranormal.  Science has spent its entire life in the world of the rational.  Demons do not fit the paradigm.  No scientist will be regarded as anything other than a fool to espouse that the real explanation for the paranormal is Satan.

For Christians the message is two-fold:  Science retreats into scientism when it blithely dismisses the supernatural; and when it comes to the occult, Scripture is the only sure guide.


One Response to “The Problem of Dismissed Reality”

  1. slacker said

    The things of The Occult are Noumena, things-in-themselves; since Kantian “reason” is concerned only with “Phen-nomenon” Since God/Free-will/daemons/etc do not make any impression on the phenomenal world they are not valid topics of Kantian reason.

    The scientists reaction should be “this matter is not a valid field of scientific inquiry, ” not “this matter is false”

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