Channelling is not real

Just for kicks, after reading a recent Jason Colavito post, I Googled Helena Blavatsky channelling. The results are amusing.

The danger and deception of channelling

Excuse my irreverence, but the half-hearted asinine attempted alliteration in that title forces me to read it (and I suggest you read this out loud) as “The wanger and weception of wannelling”.

Read the article of that title linked by my heading above, for a good laugh. It starts off well enough, criticizing spiritualists of the past, as well as mediums who believe that they contact the spirits of the dead. It complains about the sentiments expressed by “the dead”, complains that those sentiments don’t express what those people were known to have believed. A valid point, indeed. It even complains that one person’s channelled Jesus Christ might say different things to another Jesus Christ channelled down the road. (What a surprise! Holy shit, literally.)

Then it takes a dive off the deep end, and proposes an alternative explanation as proffered by Helena Blavatsky, the founder of Theosophy… which I’ll paraphrase as… Heaven is a perfect place of bliss, so when we go there, we can’t return and communicate with the living. We leave behind an empty astral shell, which is then occupied by our space brothers and sisters of the etheric plane, who deceive us and tell us what we want to hear… OK, I totally made up the last part, starting with “space brothers and sisters”. I stopped reading the article when it got to the empty astral shells. (If I put an empty astral shell to my ear, will I hear the esoteric echoes of the etheric ocean?)

Ever heard of Occam’s razor?

Among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected.

If you realize that the messages of channelled entities are not the sentiments of the supposed entities channelled, why not accept the most obvious, simple answer? No entities communicated at all! The messages are coming from the mediums themselves, whether they either commit fraud, or convince themselves that channelling is real and that they really were contacted. Perhaps they’re similar to people who convince themselves that their lucid dreams were really astral travels, then rationalize why they couldn’t see stuff that they should have, or read books that they found, or why they can’t astral travel in groups. (Incidentally, the lucid dreams link is to a well written description of lucid dreams, and is an excellent article comparing lucid dreams to astral travels, offering a compelling argument that they are all dreams. It’s an argument I’d love to write myself, but can’t because I have only ever lucid dreamed by accident.)

That is, assuming that channelling is real, even after you realize that the messages “channelled” are not, involves making some gargantuan assumptions. You must accept at face value that the mediums are not hoaxters, that they really did contact someone or something, that spirits exist without seeing any, that astral realms and other realms besides the physical exist in spite of the lack of evidence thereof, and then, you must make up out of whole cloth some alternative explanation of what channelling really is.

To conclude, the simple explanation, which can be applied equally well to belief in gods, the supernatural/paranormal/psychic phenominon, and also pseudoscience, is this:
It’s all bullshit. Absence of evidence may not always be evidence of absence, so we must be careful, but surely if any of those things were real there would be evidence for them. It is precisely because there is no evidence, nothing, that people can make up outrageously unfalsifiable claims based upon vague criteria that can not be logically disproved, such as Blavatsky’s claim that the spirits of the dead are in a plain where they can’t be reached. (If so, how do you know such a place exists?) It is reasonable to deduce, when somebody has to make many related assumptions that head down a slippery slope, then on top of that fabricate inventive and imaginative explanations to explain their beliefs, we have evidence of absence. Also, if a subject is so contentious that it can be mocked effortlessly as I have done in this post, it probably isn’t true.

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About Jerome

I am a senior C# developer in Johannesburg, South Africa. I am also a recovering addict, who spent nearly eight years using methamphetamine. I write on my recovery blog about my lessons learned and sometimes give advice to others who have made similar mistakes, often from my viewpoint as an atheist, and I also write some C# programming articles on my programming blog.
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3 Responses to Channelling is not real

  1. Pingback: Spam really pisses me off | Skeptical Exaddict

  2. bbnewsab says:

    This is an unusually amusing blog post. Especially when you wrote: “I stopped reading the article when it got to the empty astral shells. (If I put an empty astral shell to my ear, will I hear the esoteric echoes of the etheric ocean?)”

    To answer your question (within brackets above): Of course you will hear those esoteric echoes. And if you are lucky, then you will hear the Cosmic Intelligence itself talking to you as well.

    Liked by 1 person

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