DEBUNKER RAY HYMAN DEFAMES PSI INVESTIGATOR
What follows is a general
assessment of the legal implications of Prof. Ray Hyman's attack
on Prof Swhartz' (pictured left) afterlife experiments.
I have had many interested parties asking me to
look into professional debunker Prof. Ray Hyman's fundamental
anti-psychic partiality. This is because there have to be valid
reasons for Hyman's continued hostility and 'negativity' towards
psychic matters when psychic phenomena are being proved in so
many parts of the world.
Prof Ray Hyman's overall treatment of Prof Gary
Schwartz' The Afterlife Experiments is regarded by psi investigators
as most unfair, highly willfully negative, full of omissions,
full of misrepresentations and lies.
In any legal context, grossly unfair and unreasonable
conduct such as willful misrepresentation, malice, omission of
critical information and 'lying' in an imputed endeavor to do
harm to Professor Gary Schwartz' reputation is actionable per
se (see below).
Further, a history of any wilful omissions and
misrepresentations to ridicule, denigrate and belittle would contribute
towards the malice element.
Preliminary issue: Was Prof Ray Hyman deeply negatively
prejudiced against psi before reviewing Prof Schwartz' afterlife
research? Initially, before anything is stated, if the answer
is in the affirmative it would indicate prima facie malice.
This is critically important to all of us because
as Professor Charles Tart, a highly respected psi empiricist stated:
"Despite more than a hundred years of the
highest quality scientific research which, to any genuinely rational
mind, demonstrates the existence of several kinds of paranormal
phenomena (telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition and psychokinesis
being the major ones), parapsychology research remains marginalized,
rejected and actively persecuted. As a psychologist that tells
me there are powerful, irrational forces involved" (Prof
Charles Tart reviewing George P. Hansen's incisive book The
Trickster and the Paranormal)
Hyman has consistently NOT found anything positive
in psi in the last fifty years or so while a number of prominent
psychic researchers, physicists and other scientists with the
highest credibility and sensitivity to psi have - people like
Nobel Prize winner Dr Brian Josephson, Dr Dean Radin, Prof Gary
Schwartz, Dr Jessica Utts, Dr H E Puthoff, Dr Charles Tart, Prof
Ian Stevenson and so many, many others.
Considering this, it becomes vitally important
to ask the key relevant question: notwithstanding Hyman's qualifications,
are there powerful irrational forces which cause him to lose all
technical 'competence' to conduct psychic experiments and evaluate
psychic material with true empirical equanimity?
Read the following passage very carefully:
"Belief in paranormal phenomena is still
growing, and the dangers to our society are real
days of government budget-cutting the Defense Department may be
spending millions of tax dollars on developing 'psychic arms'
Please help us in this battle against the irrational. Your
contribution, in any amount, will help us grow and be better able
to combat the flood of belief in the paranormal."
Ray Hyman put his name to that willful extremely
negatively prejudicial statement in 1985 (Hansen 1991:198). Yet
he has the audacity, the effrontery and cynicism to try to assess
serious psychic research by some of the most highly credible scientists
in the United States.
Hyman indirectly threatens psi empiricists with
'ridicule' and 'risking their reputation' is a kind of indirect
bullying and malice that would not be acceptable by scientists.
The latter part of the statement '
good thing for the growth
' does not reduce his threat. In 1981 he wrote:
"I have no quarrel with any scientist who
wants to investigate the claims of an alleged psychic. Indeed,
the willingness of such men to risk their reputation and to
face ridicule is probably a good thing for the growth of science
in the long run."
Further, Hyman as chair of a parapsychology subcommittee
for a National Research Council committee allowed a report stating
among other things that there was "no scientific justification
from research conducted over a period of 130 years for the existence
of parapsychological phenomena" (Druckman & Swets, 1988
In doing so Hyman apparently misrepresented and
misled his superiors by willfully and knowingly omitting the conclusions
of the NRC commissioned work by Robert Rosenthal which were fundamentally
inconsistent with and diametrically contradicted Hyman's statement
These are just a couple of examples of extremely
serious matters showing Hyman to be seriously irretrievably one
sided and dedicated to an anti-paranormal crusade. Asking him
to evaluate material on paranormal matters is not dissimilar to
asking the head of the Ku Klux Clan to give an impartial dissertation
on the potential and merits of the negro.
Hyman, a proven negatively minded skeptic, should
NEVER try to asses any psi research. It is most unfair, unreasonable
and inequitable abuse of academic position for Hyman to continue
to give the impression he can perceive psi with equanimity! An
adjudicator with integrity is one who has a proven track record
of strict objectivity in psi assessment. Hyman does NOT have this.
Why then should Hyman have ANY credibility
when assessing psi?
Hyman has every right to be skeptical. His beliefs
are his own. He can stay with CSICOP in any capacity till he dies.
But it would be cheating, lying and fraudulent conduct on his
part to try to project himself as having the technical competence
(legal sense) to assess psi impartially. I state that the cumulative
effect of decades of public anti-psychic crusading would continue
to motivate Hyman to be anti-psychic. Otherwise:
1. he could become the object of 'ridicule'
in the United States and the world if after decades of negative
results he suddenly finds psi proved,
2. it would impute that he was WRONG all the
time in psi matters,
3. it would impute that he did not conduct his
previous experiments with due objectivity and due diligence,
4. it would impute he was motivated by covert
incentives to find against psi,
5. it would possibly impute technically 'fraudulent
conduct' to find against psi,
6. it could even impute willful 'lies' and 'willful
7. he would lose any status he has in the eyes
of his contemporaries,
8. he would automatically lose his 'authority'
on skeptical assessment,
9. he would lose all credibility,
10. he would lose any funding,
11. he would become a non-entity,
12. he would be dumped by the materialists and
hard core skeptics,
13. he would inexorably be ostracized into obscurity.
Inevitably, for Hyman (or anyone) this would be
a huge price to pay. Quite objectively there are powerful incentives
for Hyman to consciously or unconsciously continue to be highly
negative, to be highly critical, highly captious about successful
psi reports; he could even be expected to deepen his anti-psychic
bias. In fact, he is emotionally and intellectually programmed
not to perceive psi with equanimity - and to continue to remain
negatively prejudicial against positive psi results.
What would be the predictable response of a hard
core skeptic like Hyman who:
- spent his whole lifetime finding negative results,
- attained professional recognition and 'status'
for his negativity,
- was massively reinforced for his negativity,
- is occasionally sought by the media for his
- has used his position at university to promote
skepticism and denigrate psi,
- is on record for articulating anti-psychic
- was/is on CSICOP executive actively disseminating
if you tell him: "You are absolutely WRONG
in your beliefs; you are WRONG in promoting skepticism; you are
WRONG in being anti-psychic; now there is ubiquitous unrebuttable
objective scientific evidence showing that psi is valid ?"
There would be extreme denial, immediate hostility and a tendency
to ridicule the opposite view. There would be a physical response
by way of heightened anxiety - (this could be shown by way of
EEG); there would be intense rationalization of the held beliefs.
Hyman would argue and over-rationalize his own entrenched skeptical
beliefs that he feels comfortable with.
Psychologists call this process 'rationalization
to avoid cognitive dissonance.' This means there will be a lot
of justification for the held beliefs against the inconsistent
information - even if the 'inconsistent' information is scientific!
Further, Neurolinguistic Programing tells us that
whenever a person such as Hyman is confronted with information
which is directly opposite to his/her own beliefs, critical 'deletions'
occur - the mind starts to filter out information - leaving out
and information which could be biologically and emotionally destabilizing.
All these negative processes can be seen very
clearly in the way Hyman tried to ridicule Prof Gary Schwartz'
scientific study of mediumship (Hyman 2003).
Prof Gary Schwartz' comments (on Hyman's attempt
to rebut the mediumship experiments) show that Hyman LIED and
MISREPRESENTED Schwartz's work and made critical omissions in
the endeavor to reject and make nugatory Schwartz' qualitative
research. Read for yourself the numerous times Prof Schwartz corrected
Hyman's misrepresentations and lies- read
article on wayback machine.
From the legal perspective after reading Ray Hyman's
public comments on Gary Schwartz' afterlife research Hyman has
unfairly violated the good name, character and reputation of Gary
Schwartz and the empiricists who were involved with the afterlife
This is because, according to Prof Gary Schwartz,
Hyman willfully lied, willfully misrepresented Schwartz' research,
knowingly made many misrepresentations about Schwartz' research
that would amount to the imputation that Schwartz is not competent
to conduct empirical research into a psi phenomenon.
Hyman says specifically "Probably no other
extended program in psychical research deviates so much from accepted
norms of scientific methodology as does this one".
This statement alone is highly defamatory - simply
because of the obvious harm it has done and will do to Prof Gary
Schwartz AND because no impartial experts from around the world
would agree with such a groundless generalization in context of
historical psi experiments done.
Hyman's same words inexorably exhibit the legal
ingredient of malice.
Further, the facts that Hyman does not have a
track record as an empiricist, is not widely published academically
and is an armchair critic with years of executive membership of
negatively entrenched CSICOP, coming across as anti-psi crusader
and thus professionally restricted- should alert publishers to
their potential absolute legal liability.
Hyman exercises a carefully crafted technique of 'verbal terrorism'-
of repetitive hit and run ridicule, distortion and misrepresentation
which is couched in pseudo technical language to bamboozle and
fatigue the non-initiated. The damage is done by his tone notwithstanding
anything that Schwartz might subsequently write in reply. Hyman
also comes across as a zealot on a crusade. He himself writes
about using "emotional charges and sensationalistic challenges
(to) garner quick publicity" in order to "persuade the
media" (Hyman 1987). This is clearly 'verbal terrorism.'
Some of the very serious actionable imputations of Hyman's unfair
criticisms include - list not exhaustive- that Prof Gary Schwartz:
- is not competent as a psi empiricist,
- is to be ridiculed for his psi research,
- is a person to keep away from,
- does not deserve funding,
- is wasting resources on researching psi,
- had to lie to obtain positive results,
- had to 'positively' manipulate his research,
- lacks depth of understanding in psi research.
I urge the reader to read Schwartz' rebuttal.
Schwartz comes across as having been most unfairly and inequitably
treated by Hyman's continuous illegitimate and illegal negativity.
Some of the issues of Hyman's endeavour to belittle, denigrate,
ridicule and dismiss Schwartz's research are, very briefly:
- Unscientific' statement to ridicule; Hyman
and six other experienced professional mentalist magicians and
cold readers admitted that they could not apply their mentalist
tricks under the strict experimental conditions [no knowledge
of the sitter's identity, and no verbal or non-verbal visual
or auditory cues/feedback]. Yet Hyman stated that if he had
a year or two he MIGHT be able to figure out a way to fake what
the mediums were doing under experimental conditions (Schwartz
- Hyman makes sloppy and stupid errors in basic
information about Schwartz' background - indicative of the overall
treatment of his review of Schwartz' research. (Schwartz 2003
- In spite of not being able to account for the
data or to duplicate it using cold reading or fraudulent methods,
Hyman uses a tone of extreme sarcasm and ridicule toward the
very idea of physical survival, omitting to inform readers unfamiliar
with the field that that idea was shared after extensive investigation
by some of the most brilliant scientists who ever walked this
" even more extraordinary- that medium's (sic) can actually
communicate with the dead. He is badly mistaken" (Schwartz
2003 p.5) and "Even more eye-opening is Schwartz's apparent
endorsement of the mediums' claims that they are actually communicating
with the dead (Schwartz 2003 p.6)".
Hyman is deliberately very harmful in his imputations
when he states that the experiments with John Edward and George
attracted considerable attention "because
of Schwartz's credentials and position."
Hyman claims Schwartz' book presents evidence
from 'a series of five reports'. Schwartz says that is a lie and
a gross oversimplification of the extent of the work.
According to Schwartz, Hyman is willfully LYING
(making 'an egregious error of fact') when Hyman states that Schwartz
'does admit that his experiments were not ideal
very last in his sequence of studies used a truly double-blind
format." Schwartz claims that Hyman is ignoring the fact
that a number of the original studies were conducted double-blind
(Schwartz 2003 p8)
Hyman has a large heading "Could it be cold
reading?" after which he makes much of the claim that he
has "devoted more than half a century to the study of psychic
cold readings". He tries to belittle and ridicule by false
analogy on the basis of his supposed personal unverified and unsubstantiated
subjective experiences- pushing subjectivity to its extreme to
try to score a few cheap points. He then goes on to make the outrageously
untrue claim that "we (the panel of seven magicians) all
agreed that what we saw Northrup and Edward doing was no different
from what we would expect from any cold reader" completely
omitting the crucial point that all of the panel members agreed
that they could not apply cold reading techniques under the strict
experimental conditions. (Schwartz 2003 p8-11)
To support his claim Hyman cites Wiseman and O'Keefe
- two of Britain's most negative and notorious anti-psi crusader
psychologists (Schwartz 2003 p13).
Space does not permit me to go into the all details
methodically here. I have reached only up to page thirteen of
Schwartz' rebuttal which goes to 50 pages! On virtually every
page Schwartz highlights problems to be dealt with. Echoing Hyman
"I would have to make this review almost as long as Schwartz'
book" to explain adequately each defamatory implication in
Read other scathing reports against Hyman by leading
academics and other credible empiricists and psi writers accusing
him of willful omissions to mislead, of lying, of misrepresentations
etc. See especially George P Hansen's incisive 1991 article: The
Elusive Agenda: Dissuading as Debunking in Ray Hyman's The Elusive
Quarry and Dr Don Watson's letter
to the Skeptical Enquirer December 2002.
The objective observer will fully understand Hyman, a skeptical
supremo, being so aggressive against Schwartz' research. Is it
any wonder when Hyman was on record for many years BEFORE he read
Schwartz' report for pre-judging the paranormal as 'irrational?'
Hyman would be thrown out of a court of law if he tried to represent
himself as an 'impartial authority on psi!'
We are all informed that Hyman was a stage magician.
This means that Hyman has skills in deception, skills in the 'verbal
sleight of hand,' in making true look untrue, the real unreal.
A magician is trained to fool the people all the time. Hyman as
a magician would be a professional 'trickster' and something we
all should keep in mind when he tries to assess legitimate professional
scientific work which is fundamentally inconsistent with his own
cherished deeply entrenched beliefs.
His whole approach is verbal slight of hand. He
has previously admitted that he has been unsuccessful in explaining
away the results of parapsychology in spite of devoting a whole
career to the attempt. So instead he does a 'double shuffle' and
tries to "justify withholding any attention to the claims
for the paranormal on the part of orthodox science" (Hyman
1989: p.206) on the basis that he has given parapsychology "a
fair and unbiased appraisal" (Hyman 1989: p.141).
Another example of 'verbal sleight of hand' is
when Hyman refers to psychic researchers as 'believers.' This
is a dirty trick and Hyman knows it. There is a definitive distinction
between a 'believer' - someone who accepts personal beliefs blindly
- and investigators like Richard Hodgson, Professor William James
and Professor Hyslop who, although initially were some of the
world's toughest skeptics had the courage to yield to overwhelming
objective, scientific evidence.
Negative prejudicial beliefs and negative partiality
may be conscious or unconscious (the legal implication would be
irrelevant) - as Hyman himself stated, "I do not have control
over my beliefs." This is a powerful statement which explains
his entrenched negativity and his gross misrepresentations and
omissions which Schwartz so effectively countered in his rebuttal.
Deeply entrenched beliefs - be they secular or religious- bring
Hyman's beliefs are not in dispute- they are clearly
materialistic and anti-psychic. There is nothing empirical in
'closed minded skepticism' - and recent closed-minded skepticism
has become a personal belief- a fringe secular religion supported
by less than two per cent of the population. It is way out of
step with current science.
Deeply entrenched cherished negative personal beliefs such as
Hyman's skepticism directly or indirectly skew objectivity and
these beliefs are powerfully hard to shift. Beliefs are not abstract.
They are neurologically hardwired into the body; consistent with
the 'homeostatic principle' for most people any attempt to destabilize
them will precipitate fear and aggression to keep the body in
a quiescent state.
Accordingly, when Hyman reads Prof Schwartz' empirical
verification and validation of mediumship his heartbeat would
accelerate, his nerves become extremely sensitive and over-reactive
and his blood pressure would be raised. To protect his self-esteem
then he could respond aggressively by denigrating directly or
indirectly the inconsistent stimulus. Hyman is trapped in the
'comfort zone trap' - the information which he feels comfortable
However all of Hyman's bluster and obfuscations
do not obscure the fact that empirical proof of the existence
of psychic phenomena has been found consistently for over a hundred
years. And where there is an inconsistency between empirical results
and personal, cherished secular/skeptical/religious belief, positive
empirical results including empirical psychic results inevitably
prevails and will ALWAYS prevail.
Ray Hyman's record in objective psychic history is very sad indeed.
His negativity is very likely to be historically remembered as
having played a critical part in delaying and retarding psi research
- thus allowing other countries to make significant psychic progress
especially in military remote viewing - something the Chinese
government takes seriously by selecting potential psychics from
junior school and continuing to finance psi for military and espionage
purposes ( Dong and Raffill 1997). The view of a number of informed
observers is that history will judge Ray Hyman's closed minded
skeptic crusade for half a century as having been fundamentally
deleterious to the United States national security.
My advice to bona fides psychics and researchers is keep away
from any ALL closed minded skeptics for any assessment. They ARE
NOT 'technically competent' to give an impartial assessment of
the work. Their deeply entrenched anti-psi prejudice will not
let them be fair, reasonable, equitable and balanced.
Funding psi research by closed minded skeptics, those with a history
of negativity and others who underneath the façade of empiricism
have publicly stated a priori negative conclusions about psi,
is a huge waste of resources. It is like pouring melted gold down
Victor Zammit, A LAWYER PRESESNTS THE CASE FOR
THE AFTERLIFE - the irrefutable objective evidence www.victorzammit.com
Dong. Paul and Raffill, Thomas E (1997) China's Super Psychics
Marlow and Company New York
Druckman, D., & Swets, J. A. (Eds.). (1988). Enhancing Human
Performance: Issues, Theories, Techniques. Washington, DC: National
Hansen, George P. (1991). "The Elusive Agenda: Dissuading
as Debunking in
Ray Hyman's The Elusive Quarry" in The Journal of the American
Society for Psychical Research Volume 85, April 1991, pp. 193-203.
Hyman, Ray (2003) "How Not to Test Mediums" in the Skeptical
Hyman, Ray (1989). The Elusive Quarry: A Scientific Appraisal
of Psychical Research. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books.
Hyman, Ray (1987) "Proper Criticism" reprinted in Skeptical
Inquirer, July-August 2001.
Schwartz, Gary (2002) The Afterlife Experiments Pocket Books New
Schwatz, Gary (2003) How Not To Review Mediumship Research: Understanding
the Ultimate Reviewer's Mistake [Online]
Tart, Charles, Review comments on George P. Hansen's The Trickster
and the Paranormal in The Professor's Bookshelf Recommended Reading
by Charles T. Tart [Online]
Watson, Don (2002) Letter to the Editor of the Skeptical Enquirer-
December [Online] http://www.enformy.com/SI-lettertoeditor.htm.
-- Victor Zammit (March 2003)
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