Thwarting the Study by Withholding the Evidence...
- January 26th, 2006
Let's start with an example... Imagine there are two cancer societies... both trying to cure this awful disease. They are in competition in some ways (for funding and the best help they can have working for them,) but share a mutual goal of ending this horrid condition that takes so many lives.
One of these two groups suddenly releases a "Eureka!" news item... They have found a cure for many types of cancer... and when not only the other group, but when doctors, scientists, and even universities ask for their findings and papers... they say, Sorry, we won't be giving those out.
Now, the more cynical of you may say, Well, they probably want to keep the cure to themselves to make more money and avoid people copying their efforts and making money from their work. and you might be right... but not really. You see, like anything else, the drug company can patent their treatment and hold on to it for some time before it can be "generically" available... so why hide research?
Also, real science (findings, papers, etc.) needs peer review (the findings reproduced and acknowledged as correct) to make things official... meaning that the "Found-A-Cure" group, for not releasing the information, would be considered invalid scientifically and would never get acceptance for their treatment from the medical community... No acceptance, no treatments, no money.
...and although money is important, don't we all wish that scientific knowledge that could improve lives and/or answer questions be available without charge? (To be honest, most is...)
...but we're not talking money being the main issue here... nope, it's "proclamations" made without allowing peers to review the findings... which smacks of the words "cover-up".
In the case I'm about to bring to light, I do believe you will agree that it is a "cover-up"... because better bad science for good entertainment than anything else...
I've eluded to them in the past... but I've never named names.
TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) are the stars of the Sci-Fi Network's show, "Ghosthunters"... and many years ago (Y2K+1 to be precise,) they requested that "we" (Torontoghosts) join their group.
At the time, we said No Thank You! nicely and offered a link back to their site... the reason? We were (and still are,) fighting to get Canadian Registered Charity status... and being "affiliated" with another group (especially in The United States) was not a good way to do this.
This response got us a comment that basically "threatened" us that our group would whither and die without being a part of this "enormous" group of sites and investigators... we still said "no thanks".
Since then, members and even the hierarchy of the TAPS group appeared to have had a seemingly general "loathing" for our work... granted, as one example, I'm sure it didn't help when the two main fellows (on the T.V. show,) started using "Doctor" in front of their names (just before the show started airing) and we asked what they're doctorate was in and where it was obtained... they didn't answer... and dropped the credits from their name after a short time.
To be honest, more than a few items about investigation and the study in general that we wrote about... many TAPS members had fairly large issues with... Most of these seem to have now been adopted and re-broadcasted as their own items...
I won't lie to you... I do believe that TAPS started bad, got worse in the middle, and have improved only after they signed their TV deal... but even then, I have not seen them give any credit for anything other than themselves... Harry Price, The Society for Psychical Research, The Rhine Institute, Peter Underwood, Troy Taylor, Loyd Auerbach... never existed... just TAPS.
...but we (in the GHRS) agreed here initially... it was fine... at least they HAD tried to understand and adopt better methods in doing things.
Recently however, it's come to light that should anyone request raw footage or even hard notes from the investigations by TAPS on their TV show... no answer is given.
Their "evidence" is not available for scrutiny... there can be no peer-review.
Now, before I get a poison letter from fans or even the group itself, I know I'm one who's often said things about a lack of peers in this study, surely you can look and realise that universities, students, and even... oh, I dunno... people who you've "borrowed" recent doctrines from without true credit might be considered "peers"?
...or are they NOT a scientific group?
They claim to be... but are they?
While reading several sources, I think it's apparent that they may be a more "fictionalised/reality" program... more soap-opera driven than investigative. Their "catch phrases" show that they are selling the "fear" of the paranormal above all else... no better than the host of shows and acts that did the old "camera up the nose while running and screaming" schtick.
I don't hate TAPS... I never did (despite some rather objectionable e-mails from their crew way back when...) and I don't even wish them any ill with their program and their fans...
What I do wish is that they'd call a spade a spade... and admit, it's a "work".
We felt that "The Committee for Scientific Claims of the Paranormal" should remove "Scientific" and "Investigation" as, on more than several occasions, the infamous remote-debunkers/auto-debunkers employed neither science nor investigations to claim things were fraudulent... and oddly enough, CSICOP did change it's name recently to The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (which we would still argue that "Skeptical" means to doubt, not deny... and therefore is not apt...)
Now, I look at TAPS and their television program... and the unanswered calls for data... and the one case of probable attempted hoaxing (the ghost in tennis shoes aka: The Cloaked Figure at Pennsylvania Eastern State Penitentiary) makes me wish that TAPS, since I do believe we (mostly Sue,) played a part in them dropping the "Doctor" titles from their names, would consider doing the following...
#1: Either release the raw footage... or remove the concept that they are a "scientific organization" from their website and everything else... also, admit that the footage is "not available for scrutiny" so people know it should not be completely trusted.
#2: Admit that there is obviously some if not all of the content from their show which is "produced"... like I said, a work.
I hope these fellows remember that they've paid for their homes on the backs of our study... and therefore on our reputations indirectly as well.