Wednesday, 31 October 2012

A Response to HD Paranormal In Regards to My Criticism of Their Paranormal Diploma.

So Jayne Harris, owner operator of HD paranormal has responded to my criticism of their paranormal diploma. Unsurprisingly, Jayne was unhappy, I would be too if I'd been shown to be selling a product falsely claimed as academic. What follows is a quick response from me posted to their site. One interesting note, since the blog was published there have been significant changes on HD paranormal's site, namely the removal of two associations with prominent and well respected parapsychological associations. It seems that HD are not members of these associations, but Jayne is. Make of that what you will.

 Hi Jayne, thanks for the response, it is especially pleasing as on the ASSAP facebook page you posted " I thoroughly enjoyed this little blog rant although unfortunately for Rob Lea it will not provoke a reaction from me :) " glad you changed your mind. Completely agree about the "8 tweets" passage. You nailed me. What a boob.

Regarding some of the other criticisms:

1. The link I forwarded to you was simply aimed to demonstrated that post-nominal titles cannot simply be created, they must be officially registered. This was a simple demonstration of a point. Without registration, anyone could simply create any self-appointed title to stick after their name after all. You could have Dip.Dem for your qualification in demonology for example.

2. Staying on the subject of post-nominal titles. These titles are piecemeal, comprising of the level of qualification gained and the area of qualification. This is often followed by location of the qualification. As you well know. The suffix "para" is already chosen to a qualification in paramedics, it can't then be used to represent "paranormal investigation". I think you've willfully chosen to misrepresent my argument here. Let's face it you're selling a completely unrecognized qualification here.

3. You claim your course represents, from memory, roughly 40 different aspects of the paranormal and scientific investigation. I assume that all these elements are covered in some detail, as a diploma requires. How did CDP review all this material in 14 days? Remember it's you on your advertisement that detail the thoroughness of the CDP review. I'm only questioning how through this could've been. I also find it interesting that nowhere in your spiel do you actually tell us what comprises the course material. How many books? Who are the authors? What is the additional reading list? Obviously, you must have prepared the course materials, how else could CDP have reviewed it otherwise? So where is it and what is it?

4. "Mr Lea has decided that in requesting a ‘Conclusion’ from learners, I will be expecting them to tell me whether or not a location is haunted based on one investigation."- Flagrant misrepresentation. It seems Jayne you don't even remember your own course requirements. The "Final conclusion" you request is separate to the 1000 word conclusion you also request, it is presented as part of your mini investigation. In your criticism of my post, you omit the word "final" which is handy as this is clearly the crux of my point! You must realize the connotations of the term final conclusion. Final conclusions are never reached in science. You should know this, as I imagine during the course of your BSc in Psychology you reviewed many case studies with conclusions and summations. Were these ever described as "final conclusions"? It certainly seems as if you are asking your students to conclude if a location is haunted or not. 5. The tweet issue *blush*. Yep. Made a complete fool of myself.

6. Regarding me calling Pastor Mike Freeman a "backwards idiot". The quote you present is completely out of context, It was in response to this point raised by Freeman that the Western world should aspire to the third world in it's approach to demons and possession. You can't argue that this isn't backward. Unlike the believers that Jon dismissed as "dumb", Freeman has clear access to contrary information. He lives in the western world where we have access to modern medicine and the wonders of psychology. His suggestion that we disregard this and take a third-world approach to possession IS backwards, and it is idiotic. He isn't misinformed like believers in the ouija board, who aren't dumb, he's ignoring everything he does know to espouse bronze-age superstition. False equivocation Jayne.

7. To be a skeptical implies the application of the scientific method to critique an idea, hypothesis or belief. This isn't a valid approach to assessing your diploma. I could do it to some of the "evidence" your group has presented, for example, the moving doll video you promoted last year in the tabloid press. The scientific method isn't the only method to analyse ideas however. I can assess the claims of what your diploma offers and how valid it is without the scientific method.

8. In the post you state ".. you don’t need, or even have to desire a Phd or Degree to have an interest in the paranormal, it is afterall a journey of discovery for us all if we’re honest. It’s all theoretical. An elitist attitude is not a prerequisite. " I agree. But I would suggest that to better understand scientific investigation and therefore paranormal investigation, if you are interested in a qualification then one in the sciences is far more useful that what your groups offers. You can't argue with this as you proudly boast that your own qualification enables you to teach this course! I'd say it's you that's elitist, why not encourage your followers to also engage in a BSc in psychology? They wouldn't need your diploma then... and you wouldn't get their cash so... ah could that be why?

I happened to notice that as I write this response, several endorsements and associations have been removed from the bottom of your site. Any particular reason for this Jayne? Your followers may like to know why the endorsements from ASSAP and the Parapsychological association are gone.

-Rob Lea, Skeptic's Boot.

 P.S- You note my blog is quite "small". You are totally correct, in comparison to many other paranormal and skeptical sites we are small fry, we exceeded 100,000 hits last year. Tiny I know, but something I'm immensely proud of.

Also, in future, you can't highlight something then state that highlighting said aspect is juvenile, if hold that grammatical criticism is petty, you have to ignore it completely or... yep... you're petty.

P.P.S- You have my permission to replace your ASSAP and Parapsychological association badges with my special recommendation. You've earned it!