Science’ and the Afterlife - Why attorneys
as just as important as scientists
may shock some people to learn that litigation – court
-especially in cross examinations is just as important as
physical science when it comes to proving the existence
of the afterlife. Cross examination is more than just an
‘art’ – it has certain empirical principles
the way Scientific Method has. Normally, scientists conduct
experiments and indicate what the results are. Then the
scientist interprets the results and writes a paper which
sometimes is peer reviewed.
But in controversial areas of science the credibility and
the prejudices of the scientists working in the field and
the credibility of those who oppose their results become
an urgent, critical issue. Testing the credibility, the
prejudices - and degree of expertise of an expert witness
in science is a standard task for barristers who know that
the outcome of many a trial depends on the testimony sometimes
of one expert witness.
we have seen how scientists working in studies sponsored
by the pharamaceutical industry have allowed their prejudices
and vested interests to influence their findings. According
to Anesthesiology News, the Wall Street Journal, and the
New York Times in 2009 Scott S. Reuben, a prominent Massachusetts
anesthesiologist was found to have allowed his scientific
prejudices – to fake data used in 21 studies which
were published in several anesthesiology journals between
1996 and 2008. Scientific American has called Reuben the
medical equivalent of Bernie Madoff,
concern with fraud and misconduct in published drug studies
has led researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago's
Center for Pharmacoeconomic Research to investigate the
extent and reasons for retractions in the research. In May
of 2012 they released a report which analysed an alarming
increase in the number of journal articles in drug literature
which are later retracted. Nearly three-quarters of the
retracted drug studies were attributed to scientific misconduct
"which includes data falsification or fabrication,
questionable veracity, unethical author conduct, or plagiarism.”
of this year U.K.-based pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline
(GSK) pleaded guilty to criminal charges in the USA and
was fined $3 billion in what even the mainstream media is
calling the largest healthcare fraud case in history. A
nine-year legal federal investigation has exposed GSK's
rampant abuse of the law by illegally marketing drugs, forging
drug safety data, bribing doctors to promote dangerous and
expensive drugs, ripping off Medicare and Medicaid, and
lying about the effectiveness and safety of drugs. It was
the legal process which flushed out the fraud by the scientists.
legal process of cross-examination is one way of testing
the expertise, credibility and motives of a scientist witness.
But when I refer to cross-examination, I refer to those
attorneys who are experts and have full knowledge of the
empirical rules of cross-examination – which are akin
to the empirical rules of Scientific Method. There are many
lawyers who never in their life cross-examined anyone because
they are not ‘attorneys’; they never worked
the courts, in the lower or the higher courts – they
work in legal offices in different administrative areas
of law. Non-litigation lawyers are not experts or competent
in cross-examination and usually do not know the empirical
one example to illustrate how critically important competent
cross-examination by attorneys is. During the Nuremberg
trials in 1945, Hitler’s successor, Herman Goering,
was crossed examined first by American lawyer-politician
Robert Jackson. This American former Attorney General made
a mess of cross-examining Goering.
Jackson showed he did not know the basic empirical laws
of cross-examination! He was playing a politician there-
NOT AN ATTORNEY - when cross examining Goering. That was
fatal. Historians tell us that Goering made Robert Jackson
look silly. But then a highly competent British barrister
(senior attorney) expert in cross-examination, Sir David-Maxwell
Fife, was called to take Robert Jackson’s place. He
had an impressive courtroom record and made Goering look
absolutely ridiculous – cutting him to shreds by brilliant
cross-examination. Sir David saved the day for the free
world and showed he was a master of the empirical rules
When it comes to the issue of the evidence for the afterlife
the skeptical ‘physical scientists’ would be
the so-called expert witnesses. They would be cross-examined
on the extent of their knowledge and prejudices.
famous relatively recent Australian murder case where the
mother Lindy Chamberlain was accused of killing her baby
daughter, it was her barrister whose incisive cross examination
showed that the ‘expert’ testimony of the police
scientist regarding the blood samples found was all wrong.
The accused was subsequently freed from all guilt.
to the legal procedure and something which is not disclosed
in scientific reports, is whether the scientist refuses
to answer critical testing-questions. This is most vital
because in the courtroom the scientist witness is sworn
to tell the truth – and if the witness is caught lying
or refuses to answer a question the witness could go to
Here is an example of a part of a hypothetical cross examination
of an anti-afterlife ‘closed-minded’ skeptic-scientist:
Do you accept there is an afterlife, yes or no…
Skeptic: No, there is no afterlife …
Attorney : What evidence do you have to say there is no
Skeptic: I don’t think there is any evidence for the
Attorney : I did not ask if there was any evidence for the
afterlife. I asked what evidence do YOU have to say the
afterlife does not exist?
Skeptic : I guess there is no evidence proving the afterlife
does not exist.
Attorney : Are you aware that there has NEVER been a book
written by a scientist or anyone that there is no or cannot
be an afterlife?
Skeptic – hesitating: …. Yes, I’m aware
of that. But …
Attorney: NO BUTS … that called for a yes-no answer.
Have you ever read books by highly credible scientists confirming
that there is an afterlife?
Skeptic: There are no real books by scientists about the
Attorney : Have you ever investigated the afterlife evidence?
Skeptic: No, never …. There is no evidence …
Attorney : Have you read books by the scientist Sir Oliver
Lodge on why he after investigation the afterlife accepted
the evidence for the afterlife? Yes or no.
Skeptic: No, I have not …
Attorney : Have you read any of the books mostly by scientists
which clearly explain the afterlife evidence: Professor
Fontana’s Is There an Afterlife, and the books by
Sir William Crookes, Sir William Barrett, Arthur Findlay
(some fifty more books mentioned)?
Skeptic (hesitating): No … I have not read any of
the books you mentioned.
Attorney: NO, YOU HAVE NOT? Why then would you come to a
conclusion about something of critical importance BEFORE
Skeptic: (Not answering)
Attorney: – looking at the judge. Could you tell this
witness your Honor he has to answer the question…
Judge: Yes, yes … (to the skeptic): you must answer
Skeptic: (Still refuses to answer the question):
Judge: If you do not answer the question, I will hold you
in contempt … which means you could be locked up until
you decide to answer the question ….
put on my website three highly informative, entertaining
and interesting hypothetical cross-examinations of two internationally
known scientists and one flamboyant skeptic to show that
cross-examination flushes out the truth about the afterlife
evidence in a way conventional science cannot. I have added
a qualification that I would be more than happy to hear
from any attorney to show where, when how and why the cross-examination
is unfair. In some twelve months since I put these cross-examinations
on my website, I received heaps of positive responses even
from American lawyers but not even one negative. To view
go to the left column of my website: www.victorzammit.com