Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Caner and Credulity:

      While doing research for my book, "Found Wanting Frauds In The Church From Todd to Caner",   the thing that kept coming back to me was how can anyone be so gullible as to follow the people whose claims I was researching? If someone came to me and told as Bill Schnoebelen {1} has claimed, that he was a vampire I would automatically assume that he was off his rocker. Yet Schnoebelen has continued his road show for years and apparently can't sound so crazy that some people will not support him. In the Case of Caner this is even more inexplicable. Granted the claims Caner made about his background is not as outrageous as Schnoebelen's they are just as much lies as the ones Schnoebelen spouts. In Caners case however the people that support him are those whose education and position should lead them to better judgment. Why is it that one person can hear a lie and see it for what it is while another swallows it whole.
      A possible explanation I think is shown in Massimo Polidoro's "The Final séance". It  discusses the friendship and later the feud between Harry Houdini and Arthur Conan Doyle. Both Houdini and Doyle were intensely  interested in life after death. Houdini was desperately looking for a way to contact his deceased and beloved mother while Doyle was stricken with grief by the death of his son in WW1. Both looked into the new and false religion of Spiritualism. Doyle the creator of the super rational Sherlock Holmes had rejected Christianity for agnosticism. With the death of his son he could not live consistently with his Agnostic world view. When he embraced spiritualism he did so with an unreserved fanaticism that knew no bounds. Houdini also wanted to believe but his experiences as a Magician and a Mentalist made the quackery of the fake mediums obvious. Doyle on the other hand was blind to it. Time and time again Houdini would demonstrate how the mediums pulled their stunts. Even when faced with proof the most that Doyle would often say is that the medium, being unable to perform every time would sometimes engage in fakery just to please the audience.
        Eventually the friendship could not survive the conflict. It is interesting to note that Houdini often pointed out that time and time again scientist and academics would be dumfounded by displays that the often much less educated magicians could see through. It was observed that the scientist assumed they could not be fooled so if they couldn't readily explain a phenomenon they would assume that it must be something otherworldly. thus a man like the Scientist Sir William Crooke could fall completely for spiritualism.
        Consider the position of people like Geisler and Ankerberg. How hard would it be for them to admit to themselves that Caner had so obviously hoodwinked them? If you read their statements in defense of Caner it is hard to believe that it is the language of rational, much less educated men. Is it like Conan Doyle that they are so committed to their certainty of their own judgment that they become totally gullible, or do they have baser motives? If it is the later then they need to examine their consciences. If it is the former then the Fate of Arthur Conan Doyle is illustrative. The man who conceived of Sherlock Holmes wound up believing in the Cottingly Fairies, Fake pictures of pixies and a gnome created as a  prank by two nine and sixteen year old girls.


{1} http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBdWRT-5H4Q http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBdWRT-5H4Q

No comments: