Thursday, October 19, 2023

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Freed To A Higher Standard

"Christ hath delivered us, he [Paul] says, from the yoke of bondage, He hath left us free to act as we will, not that we may use our liberty for evil, but that we may have ground for receiving a higher reward, advancing to a higher philosophy. Lest any one should suspect, from his calling the Law over and over again a yoke of bondage, and a bringing on of the curse, that his object in enjoining an abandonment of the Law, was that one might live lawlessly, he corrects this notion, and states his object to be, not that our course of life might be lawless, but that our philosophy might surpass the Law. For the bonds of the Law are broken, and I say this not that our standard may be lowered, but that it may be exalted. For both he who commits fornication, and he who leads a virgin life, pass the bounds of the Law, but not in the same direction; the one is led away to the worse, the other is elevated to the better; the one transgresses the Law, the other transcends it. Thus Paul says that Christ hath removed the yoke from you, not that ye may prance and kick, but that though without the yoke ye may proceed at a well-measured pace." (John Chrysostom, Commentary On Galatians, 5, v. 13)

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Is lack of video evidence sufficient reason to dismiss a supernatural claim?

There's been a lot of media coverage of the Enfield Poltergeist lately, since a play about the case recently started, another is on the way, and a documentary series is coming out later this month. The web sites discussing these things often have a comments section, and certain skeptical objections keep getting repeated.

I won't be focusing on all of those objections here. You can go to my Enfield page linked above for a broader response to the claims skeptics have made about the case over the years. For example, we keep getting told, without documentation, that Janet and Margaret Hodgson have admitted that the case was faked. There's been no such admission. And if a web site discussing the case has one of the photos of Janet being thrown by the poltergeist, we get the usual skeptical response saying that she's just jumping off her bed and that, therefore, the whole case must be fraudulent. There's no indication that the skeptic understands the context of the photo, understands the difference between a throwing and a levitation as the skeptic is defining that term, or realizes that even if the incident in question were faked, it would be a non sequitur to conclude that the whole case must be fake. These people don't seem to understand the supplementary nature of photographic evidence or what they should be looking for in these Enfield photos, among other problems with their thinking. For an explanation of the context of these photos and what people should be looking for in them (e.g., the positioning of Janet's feet in some of them), see here and here. If you understand the context of these photos and know what to look for in them, they actually are significant evidence that something paranormal occurred. They're only supplementary evidence. Like other photographs, they aren't sufficient in isolation. They're an important part of a good cumulative case, though. Simplistic and dishonest skeptics might not want to make such distinctions, but that's their problem.

What I want to focus on in this post is the request for video evidence. It's often suggested that supernatural claims made about the Enfield case or in some other context are suspicious if there isn't video of one or more of the supernatural events.