The Paranormal Debate: part six

Author: David Christopher Lane and Daniel Caldwell
Publisher: The NEURAL SURFER
Publication date: June 1997

E-mail David Christopher Lane directly at

I want to go back to the home base now.

NOTE by Daniel Caldwell:  

Regarding my posting on "David Lane and His Call 
for Testing", David Lane wrote 
that I deserved a merit badge.  Maybe he was being sarcastic?


No, you deserve a merit badge for showing some fine tuned

I applaud your doubts of Babaji, wherein you mention that you think
he may not exist.



But he thanked me for bringing up relevant questions concerning
his guru, the late Charan Singh.  Now when I have replied to 
David in my latest post entitled " Replace Babaji with Charan Singh. . .
.No, Replace Both with Gurinder Singh!!", David's tone seems
quite different.  Even negative I might say.  (See David's own words 
below.)  In my latest posting, I was only repeating and reemphasizing 
what I had written at the end of my "David Lane And His Call for
Testing".  My point was simply that since Babaji doesn't do interviews
and Charan Singh is dead, why not try to test Gurinder Singh.  I will
now try to respond point to point to what David has written.


No, I was simply trying to make you focus on one subject and stop
trying to switch gurus. We can do that, and the same skepticism
should be applied to each and everyone of them.

As for switching from Babaji to Charan Singh to Gurinder, the same
skepticism should be applied to each.

But, as I stated to you before (several times), I am not trying to
prove the paranormal powers of the Beas lineage.

I am already quite convinced that such gurus don't have all-knowing

I have written on this repeatedly.

You may want to test it, but as for me I already have.

DANIEL on Babaji writes:

Of course, you were not satisfied with historical accounts but wanted
Babaji to appear in public, on tv, etc.


Yes, that would be a lovely way to at least provide some evidence
Babaji's existence.

20/20 or Dateline or 60 minutes?

All would be cool.


I did not want to switch gurus or topics but what else could
one say to your demand that Babaji should appear  on TV.  
If this is the ONLY kind  evidence that you will accept, 
then there is little else to discuss! 


Again, Daniel, you seem to have reading problems here. I wouldn't
mind seeing Babaji personally. Maybe he can show up and surf with

That would be a start.

Lest you forget, I said we can start with evidence and build upon

What I was pointing out was the obvious:

Babaji apparently has the ability (it is alleged) to show up
anywhere in his physical body.

Okay, I simply asked him to show up to a skeptics' meeting.

That would be cool.

Daniel, I don't mind if he is camera shy and just wants to come over
my house for a round of cokes.

That would be a nice start.]

But I am not going to succumb to Indian "stories" about his

They may be nice leads, but they do need follow-up.

I suggested 20/20 with Barbara.


I personally would accept 
other kinds of evidence
like historical accounts.  That's not to say that I would be 100%
totally convinced.


I am personally very skeptical of historical accounts when they are
trying to "prove" the miraculous. In these cases especially I think
it is necessary to look for much more compelling evidence,
particularly because we can be so easily misled (think of the
Gospels for instance).

Perhaps Hume's maxim and Occam's Razor are nice tools to use in this

Yes, we can start with historical accounts, but I certainly would
not settle for them in trying to prove the existence of a miraculous
being named Babaji.

Even you conceed here you would NOT be 100% convinced.

Well, I wouldn't even give it a percentage at this stage.


I get the impression from all that you have
been writing on alt.religion.eckankar that you want fast
and easy answers.  All or nothing!  Black and white!  Maybe you 
still have some growing to do.  Maybe in ten or 15 years your
skeptical views will mature and you will see these things in a
somewhat different light.


Nope, I just won't settle for silly answers to important questions.

You have not once shown me any evidence that the paranormal really
does exist in these debates. You have instead raised all sorts of
questions about what type of evidence I would accept.

Fair enough. Babaji shows up and psychic powers repeatedly
demonstrated in a controlled circumstance.

I could be wrong and I am quite open to that.

Yes, I am quite positive that my views in 15 years will change.

But I surely hope that I will not lower my standards for truth, for
facts, for verifiability.

You may call lowering standards a sign of progress;
I call it the first sign of gullibility.

Dan, truth should be able to survive some hard questions.

And if it can't, then I don't think it was true to begin with, but just
another form of human deception gone undetected for too long.

Our gullibility to believe claptrap has a long history.


Concerning Babaji, you want a TV appearance.  That's apparently
the only thing you will accept.  Fine and good.  But testimony,
historical accounts, eye witness accounts are no good either; you
characterize such "things" as "stories".  With this attitude you can
throw all of history into the dustbin.  Don't get me wrong.  One
should be careful in accepting any kind of evidence.  But according
to my limited understanding there are different kinds of evidence,
different kinds of proof.  


Yes, Daniel, we have already been through this territory. I am all
for historical records, for stories, and for witnesses. But I won't
necessarily accept them as "proof" for that which is "miraculous."


Because I know how easily we can be deceived. I also know, in light
of my travels to India and elsewhere, how a given phenomena may be
explained in a much simpler and easier way.

That is why I asked for Babaji to show up to skeptics and be tested.

I don't think that is an unreasonable request.

And we can always start slowing: Babaji and I go surfing first.

I warm him up to the idea of a mass appearance on T.V.

Maybe I tell him to cut his hair and get a suit, you know, so he
looks real nice and all......

There's the kind of evidence we all accept
in daily life as we go thorough our daily routine, trying to make intelligent decisions and discovering  what is what?  Who's knocking at the door?  Who left  the cap off the toothpaste? Etc. Etc.   Then there's
historical evidence about things that we did not personally witness.
Who killed Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman?  Who really bombed
the building in Oklahoma City?  Did George Washington chop down
that cherry tree?  Did Hitler kill himself or did he escape to South
America?  Was Paul Twitchell really in communication with Rebazar
Tarz?  Did Madame Blavatsky commit fraud and bury a cup and saucer and
later palm it off as sometime materialized?  Was the Master Koot Hoomi
really Thakar Singh?  Etc. Etc.


Sorry, Danny boy, but you are blurring categories here.

Don't confuse Ron Goldman with Rebazar Tarzs.

The former didn't claim miracles, nor did his followers;
the latter did and so do his followers.

In talking about Ron Goldman I don't have to prove something beyond
the rational mind, beyond science, and beyond the known laws of
physics and medicine.

With Rebazar Tarzs, I have to do that and MORE.

Be careful; your blurring the lines is misleading.


Barring Babaji's appearance on TV, apparently you will accept nothing
as evidence. 


Daniel, I have stated repeatedly that I would love for Babaji to
show up for cokes at my house. Do you read my stuff or do you just
like to mislead our readers?

Yes, as I have said before, we can start with Babaji showing up at
McDonald's and then move from there. We can build on that.

But I am not going to accept the Miraculous nature of Babaji on the
basis of isolated reports that have not been thoroughly or
comprehensively substantiated.

Naturally, it would be much more ideal for Babaji to show up to
skeptics on T.V. since that way WE can all get involved in the

Then, of course, we would want to examine Babaji (remember this is a
cottage industry in India: tens of people now claim to be this
Babaji, some of them have already died! oops!) and determine--if
possible--his age or his amazing physical resistance to death......

I know India quite well, Daniel, and the naiveness that some have is
amazing..... I also know how much duplicity can go on in the name of

This Babaji idea has spawned lots of imitators (or are they the
real thing?) and lots of gullible people have been duped in the

Holding out for a high standard seems quite reasonable to me.

Why should our standards for a fudging used car being higher than
for a miraculous being?


I personally would accept Babaji's appeareance in my
room with Michelle and me as witnesses. This would not be scientific
but good enough for me.  Of course, those who were not present would
be skeptical of such a "story".  But since Babaji probably won't be
appearing to
me, --- either I can just set aside all of the "stories" about him and
do something
more productive or else I can approach the "stories" from a historical
point of
view and see if I can come to any tentative conclusions.  You see David,
I am open
to varying degrees of evidence and proof.  I said in previous posts I
had no
firm opinion one way or the other about Babaji.  I have only casually
Yogananda's book and other books about him.  I have never taken the time
and effort to do serious historical research on Babaji.  If I took the
time and effort,
I might have an "opinion" on him. But my opinion would be based on an 
assessment of the historical evidence, i.e., the evidence which we do
have. Now
maybe that evidence is not compelling enough to lead one to accept
existence.  Apparently your standards of evidence and proof are so high
none of the historical evidence would meet those standards.  


No, Daniel, the evidence on Babaji (as a miraculous being, thousands
of years old) has not been forthcoming.

Yes, I am most open to reconsidering my position, just as I might
reconsider my position that Elvis lives on Venus.

But lest you forget, we have MORE stories that Elvis lives on Venus
than Babaji exists. We have MORE reports on Elvis in the afterlife,
more reports of Elvis at the local Deli, etc.

Sorry, but I don't think Elvis lives either, but that's not because
there are not lots of reports on him. There are! Much more than on

It is just that I won't believe in miracles on sketchy testimony.

I have no problem with my standards.

And they are not even that high.

Hey, I can be a cheap slut at times. If Babaji shows up, I will
apologize and I will even pick up the tab for lunch.

Gosh, I would do the same for the King, as well.

Interesting sidebar: You know, I am sure, that Elvis was a big fan
of Babaji's [i am serious]. Maybe they are hanging out with Rebazar
in Tibet for the annual Valley of Timir golf tournament.

I hear Fubbi Woods is predicted to win.


For example, apparently Steve R. would not accept ANY of your evidence,
concerning Twitchell and his birth date.  What were his standards of
proof, etc.?  I don't know.  I wonder if he even consciously knows.


Again, Daniel, you are collapsing categories. My research on
Eckankar does not prove the miraculous, but the mundane. And, as
such, is open to confirmation and disconfirmation from a number of

Proving the existence of Babaji is a much trickier thing, especially
since he doesn't like to show up to skeptics.

Yet, even in the case of Steve's skepticism, he does ALL of us a
favor, since he then (more or less) forces us to STRENGTHEN (not
weaken or lower) are modes of evidence.

I have repeatedly stated (quite seriously) that I am a big fan of
Steve's, despite all the weird titles he likes to give me.


Because his repeated skepticism forces me to show MORE (not less)
lines of plagiarism. It forces me to try to track down Twitchell's
driver's license (again, divergent lines pointing to the 1922

It forces me to think of alernative hyptheses, even if at times

All of this has provided us with more, not less, evidence.

Skepticism helps even those who are already convinced.

More doubting shouldn't make the phenomena go away.

It should, rather, strengthen our understanding of exactly what it

I applaud Steve's doubts of my work on Eckankar.

That's why I love A.R.E.

I don't get believers here.

I get doubters.

It helps laser beam the research.


For example, I have had OOBEs in which I was able to confirm later the
of what I had observed out of the body.  I would have to be foolish to
doubt my
own honesty and sanity in these matters.  Even some of my friends and
relatives can
confirm some of the details.  And it is for this very reason (that they
confirmed the
details) that I became convinced that I was not merely hallucinating but
"seeing" real things.   Of course, to a third party this may all be
"stories", not evidence.
True, these things may not be "scientific" evidence as you want to
define the term; but
people can be sentenced to death on "stories."   Let's try to keep
things in perspective. 


Nice start, Daniel, but have you thought about much simpler
alternative explanations?

Have you tried "repeating" the test?

I am game. 

Want to try it with me or with any number of skeptics?

I suggest reading Feynman's own study of OBE's (he used to do them
himself); it is quite interesting.

I too have had some quite interesting experiences in this arena, but
I like to think of simpler explanations and i like to probe deeper.

I am all for that.

That is why I proposed, lest you forget again, the five digit test.

And, lest you forget again, if you didn't like that test, something
else that you think may deeper our understanding of his phenemona.


You have presented historical evidence concerning Paul Twitchell.  And I
believe you have presented a good case.  But this evidence is not
scientific and, of course, it could
be "better", etc.  But I am willing to "believe" something based on just
evidence.  To say this is not to say that I will be 100% convinced. 
There are degrees
of belief depending on the kind of evidence, the quantity and quality of
the evidence, etc.


Yes, I quite agree, and that is why Steve and others' skepticism
helps in this arena.

But again, Dan, don't collapse categories.

I was not trying to prove the miraculous with Twitchell, but rather
the obvious or mundane (rightly or wrongly), whereas Babaji's
existence involves the trans-mundane or the not so obvious.

I am willing to concede his existence, but not on LESS than what we
know about you and your existence (we have met, at least!).


I wish I could "guess" the 5 digits in the OOBE test.  Unfortunately, my
OOBE abilities
are spontaneous and not subject to my conscious control.  Maybe these
abilities could be
developed so as to be under my control.  But just because I cannot do
your OOBE test, 
doesn't mean that my previous OOBEs  mean nothing or are worthless. 
Philosophers (even modern ones) often speculate upon assumptions much
more dubious than personal experiences.  


Daniel, first of all get your arguments straight. I never said your
OBE's were "worthless."  Gosh, I love OBE's, but that doesn't mean
we cannot be skeptical of their interpretation and what they may

Yes, we have all sorts of cool experiences. What we are debating is
whether or not these experiences reflect a trans-sensory encounter
or something else.

I realize that my ocean surfing is nothing more than a physical
phenomenon, but I enjoy it all the same.

Also, I asked you to suggest another test, if you didn't like the
five digit one.

Come up with some. It would be fun.


On the other hand, if others claim or believe they can get out of the
body, go to your house in Del Mar and are able to "see" those digits,
then --- by all means set up a test. Better yet a series of tests.  

But my question is:  Even if someone got the number, what would that
really prove? 
I certainly would consider it interesting but what else could be
concluded from it?
Would it really prove something scientifically?  I don't think so. 
Unless it could be
repeated in some consistent way, a one time "guessing" of the digits
could be due
to chance.  Now if the person who "guessed" the number could also tell
us interesting
things about what they saw in your room, like that picture you have on
the wall of
Mickey and Minnie Mouse, ---- then we might have a little more
interesting psychological evidence to go on.  But a one time guessing of
the 5 digits
would be an interesting anecdote, an interesting story and. . . really
nothing more.


Yes, bro, now you are in the groove. Good thinking here. Second merit
badge (with no added sarcasm).


David, you are the one who says you are always willing and eager to
do testing.  You have repeated this probably 100s of times on
alt.religion. eckankar.  I'm sure many readers on this forum will
back up my statement.

Again, maybe you have written somewhere about your questioning
and testing of your guru, Charan Singh and Gurinder Singh.  I have
not read anywhere where you give specific details.  You didn't write
about it in THE UNKNOWING SAGE, did you?  Please tell us
where you have written in detail about what you asked these two
Radhasomai gurus and what tests you asked them to take?


Charan Singh's answer on the question of his knowingness is quite
interestingly revealed in the book, TREASURE BEYOND MEASURE.

Published just two months before his death.

He says quite clearly that he doesn't know and that he never wanted
to be a guru and that he was not what people took him to be.

No need to test. He already admits the obvious.

In my personal interview with Gurinder Singh, he admitted the same.

That he had no idea he was going to be appointed a guru and that
Charan Singh's death was the greatest tragedy of his life.

The reason I am not setting up new tests is because the subjects
themselves have already admitted that they don't know.

If you claim NOT to know how to surf, I see no reason to take you out
at 10 foot Point Panic in Oahu.


Please notice the complete change of tone between David Lane's last
two postings to me.  The first one is positive and the second one is 
negative and somewhat snippy.  And yet in both posts I bring up
Gurinder Singh and the proposal to test him.  In David's first
reply, he ignores and does not mention anything I had said about
Gurinder Singh and when I bring up the subject again, he writes
with this new negative tone.


Negative tone? No, dear Danny, I was just trying to make you focus
on one subject (it's called tracking).

Let me repeat again, I don't think Gugu (Gurinder's childhood

As Aaron Talsky told me last nite, "Why give him the test when you
already know the answer? He can't do it."

Is that clear, Dan, or am I being negative?


Babaji has not made that public appearance yet that you demand.  You
apparently will not consider as evidence historical testimony, records,
Therefore what further discussion could we have on Babaji.  It is all
moot at this point in time.


Yep, it is a real problem when the object in question fails to show
up, huh?


Charan Singh was your guru and in your first (?) edition of THE
SAGE you are willing to concede that Charan Singh had "transcendental


Sorry, but first editions of Unknowing (done in a rag tag sort of
way) never included such caveats.

Quite frankly, I added that section to the stew in light of Dr.
Narang's criticism and in light of Darshan Singh's statement that
the guru DOES know. 

I love Charan Singh very dearly, but I clearly do NOT know whether
he had transcendental insight or not. I do know, however, of some
very nice things he did. 

I love him more now than I did even back then, not because I have
discounted the transcendental, but because I have come to appreciate
the practical.

When I acknowledge what I know (versus what I wish to believe), I
find that I much better off.

You see, Dan, what I am asking you to do with Babaji or the
paranormal is not different than what I am asking myself to do with
what I love most:

Think critically.


If you have changed your opinion concerning his claims, fine
good.  But I have not read anything you have written in which you give
details as to what you asked Charan Singh that could be considered a
test of
anything.  Where is the text of your questioning and testing?  Did you
doubts about Charan Singh when he was alive or was it only after he
Of course you are free to refuse to answer such questions but you have
on the topic yourself in your book and even on alt.religion.eckankar. 
Therefore I believe it is a topic for public discussion.


I am not in doubt about Charan Singh. I love him more now than I did

All that has happened is that I have gotten more skeptical.

As for "testing" him, there is no need.

He has already admitted that he does not know.

I accept him totally as a human being.

A human being I miss more than anything else in this world.

That, perhaps, has been my greatest revelation.

To love the humanness of things.

Quite frankly, I don't know about his "transcendental" insight.

I do know about his effect on me and how kind he was to me on a
number of occasions.

I like to ground my estimation of him on that basis, something much
more tangible.


Since you have repeatedly said you are willing to test this that and the
that you are always willing to reconsider any and all evidence (for
example, various
issues surrounding Paul Twitchell, which you have been most willing to
time and time again in great detail) concerning these controversial
topics; since you
yourself said you are always willing to test, test and retest; in light
of all you have 
written, I thought you would be more than willing to consider testing
Singh.  He is the appointed guru chosen by Charan Singh.  He is the
logical person
to "test" since Charan Singh is no longer alive.  Babaji and Charan are
available:  you say that all the evidence about them are. . . stories.   
If you have attempted to question or test Gurinder Singh, let us know
about it.


Once again, Daniel, read Treasure Beyond Measure by Shanti Sethi.

It contains excerpts from Charan's diaries.

Charan Singh is very clear in his unknowingness, as was Gurinder
Singh in his interview with me.

Charan never claimed to be an enlightened master. Indeed, he tried
to run away from the Dera when he was appointed.

He literally disdained being a guru.

He did do so, he told me, out of his love and sense of duty to his own
guru, Sawan Singh.

As for testing his successor, there is no need on my end.

I am not in doubt about his unknowingness.....


Let the world know.  You have been more than willing and quite happy to
expose the "other" side of Eckankar and Paul Twitchell.  And you say
that you have
found fraud, deception and delusion.  Well, are you willing to write
about those
things dearest to your heart? The true skeptic would.  In light of your
views and
"suspicions", even Radhasomai Beas must be based on. . . .some
combination of
delusion and fraud.  If not fraud, then a great deal of delusion.  Here
chance to set the record straight, just as you have done on Eckankar.  


Better yet, Daniel, read what Charan Singh himself says in Treasure
Beyond Measure. It is quite clear.

As for me, I have already written a large number of pieces on the

As I stated before, I love Charan Singh more now than before, not
because I have had some transcendental insight, but because I have
come to appreciate and admire his numerous fine qualities. Quite
human and quite remarkable.

I miss him dearly.

I have only gotten more skeptical, that's all.


Yes, I could write a letter to Gurinder Singh.  But I am a total
But you are one of the experts on
Radhasoami, you are or were a disciple of Charan Singh.  Is there such
a thing as being a member of Radhasomai Beas?  What relationship do
you have with the organization?  I assume you have met him at least
Does he know you?  Have you asked him the hard questions that you would
expect a skeptic to ask him?   Did he refuse to answer, etc.?   


Dan, you seem to overlook what I write.

Let me say it again:

I don't think the guru knows......

Therefore, I don't need to test somebody on how much he doesn't know
when I already KNOW that (word play, yea).

Yes, I am still a follower of Charan Singh. 

Nothing has changed on that score; I miss him more even.

The only difference and it is really quite mundane:

I have gotten more skeptical.


If your views are correct, the followers of Radhasoami Beas are as
and (possibly) deceived as the followers of Eckankar.  Are you willing
set the record straight; to put the present guru of Radhasoami Beas in
the glare of 
truth seeking criticism (as you have been more than willing to do with
Darwin Gross and Harold Klemp)? 


Dan, try reading THE UNKNOWING SAGE (the main text). Faqir Chand
point blank contradicts orthodox R.S. theology.

And who published it?


Try reading the R.S. Tradition and compare it with what orthodox
R.S. theology says about its history.

Try reading the many articles I have posted on shabd yoga.

I have always been a rebel in this regard.

Loving someone doesn't mean that you have to give up your brain.

Nobody has presented more critical information worldwide on R.S.
than me..... And I have taken lots of heat for it.

This is nothing new, this is not a new campaign.

This is merely the extension of what I have always been doing.

Here's a timeline:

1. MAKING in 78 (critical of Eckankar)
2. R.S. MAT (M.A. thesis) in 81 (presents the wide scattering of
R.S. gurus worldwide, mentioning offshoots that some in R.S.
don't want mentioned.
3. THE UNKNOWING SAGE (in various versions) in 81. I present Faqir
Chand's iconoclastic views in the West, even though he contradicts
my own guru and my own path.

I could fill-in the rest, but you get the drift......


Or are you satisfied with what you have already discovered about Charan
Singh and Gurinder Singh?  No more testing and questioning necessary???
Then if you have the answers about them share that information for the
good. Again, if you have written about this in more than oblique/ vague
please let us know where a copy can be obtained.


Yes, here's a real thumbnail answer and not at all oblique or vague.

They are human beings.

That's all.

I don't consider them miraculous or all-knowing.

I also don't think they are thousands of years old
and I also don't think that they have the ability to appear anywhere

Therefore, there is no need to test the obvious:

they are human and they are unknowing.

I accept that and I am quite comfortable with it.

Is that, again, clear enough, danny?


Did you do the same with Charan Singh and Gurinder Singh?
And what questions did you ask and what were their comments?


Yes, Danny, I did, and I came away with a clear sense of humanness
(good traits, mind you) and unknowingness.

Sorry, but there were so many questions over such a long period of
time that it would be difficult for me to recount them all.

Let me just botttom line it:

I accept the humannes of them and don't think anything "miraculous"
is going on in Hume's sense of the term.


Unless you are willing to be upfront with all of this and give
details then most of your readers will have but the foggiest
idea about what your talking about.


Again, Dan, how clear can I be?

They are human, they are unknowing.

I accept that.

Read Treasure Beyond Measure; you will get ample evidence to see
what I mean.


You probably will not like what I have written in this posting.  And
you may even refuse to reply or may give us more replies like your
last, but I appeal to the true skeptic IN you. . . who must be there 


What is there not to like?

You have simply demonstrated that you can be skeptical too.....

I applaud such skepticism.

Now just use it on yourself and your own "close to the heart" kinds
of matters.  

You may too discover what I have seen in my guru:

the beautiful humanness of it all.

I actually like it, by the way.

So did Mary of Magdala.

E-mail The Neural Surfer directly at

I want to go back to the home base now.