The news article Yahoo! News – Scientist Claims Proof Of Afterlife caught my attention for obvious reasons so I checked it out to see what it had to say. Anytime a scientist claims to have proven something considered supernatural I’m more than ready to take a look at what they have to say.
Turns out the news article is about a “scientist” who is pretty well-known to skeptics: The University of Arizona’s Dr. Gary Schwartz, who has never met a paranormal phenomena he couldn’t prove. Here’s some of what the news article had to say:
This reading is part of a science experiment—Dr. Gary Schwartz, of the University of Arizona, is observing.
The Harvard-trained doctor looked for what he calls hits and misses, or the accuracy of the reading.
He’s building on his hypothesis that there is life after death, and that mediums can talk to those who have died. After Vettore’s daughter is contacted, Dubois contacted Vettore’s brother and mother. She is able nail facts, giving details about the relations that she could not have known beforehand.
For instance, Dubois tells Vettore that her mother knows there’s a carrot cake and a bowl of peanuts in her house.
“None of those things do I ever have in my house. I have those things in my house this month, carrot cake and peanuts, so that was weird,” said Vettore.
The accuracy is amazing to Vettore, because she had never met or talked to Dubois before. She said Dubois was accurate in 80 to 90 percent of everything she said.
Yes folks, it’s more of the classical talking-to-the-dead claptrap made popular again by the likes of Sylvia Browne and John Edward. Interestingly enough Schwartz was mentioned recently in another capacity over on the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) website in regards to an article Newsweek did on the JREF Challenge when Randi was asked for someone who disagreed with him and for someone had been tested for the JREF prize. Here’s Randi’s commentary from the site:
Last week’s issue of Newsweek ran a short piece on the JREF million-dollar challenge. When the reporter asked me for someone who disagreed with me, and for someone who had been tested for the JREF prize, I put her in touch with Gary Schwartz and with dowser Mike Guska. Schwartz was quoted in the article:
Gary Schwartz, a University of Arizona professor and an expert on the paranormal, says Randi alters testing parameters. “The phenomena are very sensitive,” says Schwartz. “He doesn’t optimize conditions.”
That comment obviously means that Schwartz himself is clairvoyant, since he’s never been involved with us other than a testing process he conducted at his lab at the University of Arizona on a challenge applicant who used very obvious trickery to fool him. Luckily—though Schwartz didn’t notice it—one of the lab assistants spotted the trick and the hard evidence that proved it. My colleague Andrew Harter, who we’d sent there to observe—but not interfere or comment—also had seen it, and was relieved to see that at least the assistant had been able to spot the trick and was not under the injunction to not point it out, as Andrew was. Under pressure from his colleagues, Schwartz changed his opinion, and declared, not that the girl had been caught, but that the tests had not shown she had powers. That’s the mealy-mouthed procedure we expect. Schwartz had absolutely hard evidence that there’d been a blatant trick performed, but he chose to fuzz out that fact. Oh yes, Schwartz was also at the JREF years ago to hear our input to the design of a proper protocol for testing John Edward, too, and though he praised us for the input and said he’d use it, he decided not to when he allowed Edward to run him down like a steamroller, and blew the tests altogether. His promise to give us a set of the original data was also reneged on, but that was no surprise. Yep, he’s a winner!
What a weak, wimpy statement: “He doesn’t optimize conditions.” Untrue, not that Schwartz would know anything about that. He most certainly “optimizes conditions” like not keeping his eyes open and not maintaining security, so that he gets positive results. At the JREF we provide the very best, most agreeable, most workable conditions, for any and every claimant. As an example, for Mike Guska we bent over backwards to give him a warm-up period, we allowed him every break he wanted, we did it the way he wanted it done, and he agreed both before and after that we’d been fair and generous. Now, as if to feed Schwartz’s delusions, Guska says in hindsight that he wasn’t happy with the conditions—but that’s what every dowser, without exception, says. After failing.
Yes, Dr. Schwartz is well-regarded among fans of the paranormal as well he should be considering all the support he provides for them. It’ll be interesting to see what Randi has to say on this latest bit of news from the Schwartz camp once he catches wind of it.