Steve, I appreciate your efforts to clarify your position on my research of Paul Twitchell and Eckankar. In the mood of civility, I will try my best to answer some of your objections: 1. You state that I have somehow misread your previous post, wherein you raise several questions about Peebles, lawyers, and my personal beliefs. However, in that piece you asked me to give you some answers to pertinent questions (like what do I really believe). I did provide you with my positions on a number of subjects. If you have further questions along these lines, please feel most free to ask. Yet, it may be better in future discussions to at least admit that I answered some of your queries, even if you may not like my responses. 2. You go on about Mike and his work. My previous post said nothing whatsoever about Mike. It was rather two posts prior that I made a postscript comment about him, saying that he has devised a test wherein the concerned believer can actually "disprove" his skepticism. Personally, I think it is a fair test. Twitchell, in the piece TALK TO GOD, claimed to have bilocated to Vietnam to look after a woman's son. I see no problem if an interested participant of "astral" travel tried to project to Mike's office. (Sidebar: I am well aware of the distinctions Eckankar makes between "astral" travel and "soul" travel; are you, additionally, aware that Twitchell did not make such clean distinctions in his early writings, and often confused the two? Don't believe me, to be sure, please read ORION, SEARCH, and the PSYCHIC OBSERVER.) Call it bilocation, lower astral travel, or soul travel in the slow lane, the overall point is the same: Can someone "prove" the efficacy of out-of-body experiences by simply reading a six-digit number in a controlled experiment? And if they cannot, then the question is "why not"? I mean, if we can bilocate to Vietnam, if we can bilocate to Washington, D.C. (as Twitchell once claimed that Kirpal Singh was doing when he dictated parts of the Tiger's Fang to him back in the late 1950s), if we can bilocate to Venus, then why not to Mike's office? It is this type of experiment, if done successfully, which would disarm the skeptic. It would also properly "arm" the would-be mystic with a powerful argument for something trans-rational. Personally, I think that is the way to convince doubters. The fact that it has not been done repeatedly or is scoffed at in this forum, naturally leads a skeptic to remain skeptical. I would be utterly delighted to have someone in this very forum read Mike's digit code. It would be a great piece of evidence to use in favor of the transpersonal. 3. You make an interesting analogy about how a bad apple does not spoil the whole apple cart. I like the analogy, but I do not think it aptly applies to Paul Twitchell and Eckankar. A better analogy (and all analogies, of course, are limited in their appeal and import) is "the liar who gives car directions." Here's the scenario: Let's imagine that we are lost in L.A. traffic and we need to get directions to go to La Jolla (never mind the improbabilities that you and I are in the same car.... just teasing).... We want to go check out the caves at the cove. We pull off and we ask directions from this nice young guy with blue eyes and a southern accent. He tells us to take the 101--the Hollywood Freeway--to the Ventura Freeway and then go North again until we reach Topanga Canyon. Get off at Topanga and go East, until you reach Chatsworth...... La Jolla Cove is off Tampa on the right. Being naive, we follow this guy's directions and we get completely lost. Chatsworth is not La Jolla and we have been skunked. So being in a less than pleasant mood we go back to the same place where this young man gave us directions. We find him and we discover to our bewilderment that he lied. He just made the directions up--some of it from what he thought he knew, some of it from stuff he didn't know, and some stuff just from his imagination. But now he tells us that even though he gave us wrong directions to La Jolla, and even though he lied to us about other significant details about his life, he KNOWS the absolute right directions to the astral city of Sahans-dal-Kanwal. Geez, he says he has been there numerous times and he is a very reliable guide. We hem and haw, we debate and we wait. Why? Because if this guy, who lives in the L.A. area (a place that we can even see for ourselves) cannot give us accurate directions in the here and now, why should we believe that he is going to be an accurate guide to a city that we cannot see with our physical eyes and exists in a plane that defies the known laws of astrophysics? Here comes Paul Twitchell: He lies about his birthdate He lies about his birthplace He lies about his sister's life (she never did go to India or study art in Paris, by the way) He lies about his parents He lies about his travels to India and elsewhere He lies about his friends He lies about his spiritual biography He lies about the sources of his information And who does he lie to? He lies not to strangers, mind you (he does that too), but he lies to his wife, Gail (geez, Paul was a lot older than I thought!) and he lies to his official biographer (Brad Steiger told me that Twitchell was the source of his bogus information) and he lies to several thousand Eckists, including his successor, Sri Darwin Gross, the Living Eck Master and Mahanta, who literally fought in court to defend Paul Twitchell's biographical inconsistencies. Twitchell lies about Kirpal Singh Twitchell lies about Swami Premananda Twitchell lies about L. Ron Hubbard Yet, He is a RELIABLE GUIDE to the Vairagi Masters.......... Hey, this guy can't be straight to us on this plane, so why should he be straight about guys like Gakko from the City of Retz on the planet Venus? I am not saying all this to be mean-spirited. I am saying all this because quite frankly I do not understand how we can continually condone Twitchell's amazingly slippery past and somehow think that his descriptions of the Vairagi Masters is accurate. Listen to Paul Twitchell on tape, if you get a chance. Listen to him mess up the dates, the spellings, the biographical details of the Eck Masters--the very people he is supposed to know about it. I need not mention Sudar Singh in this post, as I have compiled a fact sheet on him for a future posting. What's my point? It is not a bad apple spoiling the lot, it is, rather, a liar not being straight to his wife, to his successor, to his biographer, and to his followers. In other words, if Twitchell is going to lie significantly to Gail (which he did on a crucial matter--his past), his beloved wife, then why should I think he is going to tell me, some chump he does not know, the truth? As you may know, the name of Kirpal Singh was edited out LETTERS TO GAIL and replaced with the name of Sudar Singh. How do I know this? David Stewart, an Editor and Print Coordinator at IWP/ECKANKAR told me in person at Menlo Park! So do I think that Paul Twitchell is merely a bad apple with a checkered past? No, I think he is a first-rate yarn teller and we cannot distinguish the facts from his fictions. 4. I do understand that people have inner experiences. What I have debated, ad infinitum, about this concerns their respective interpretations. As I have said repeatedly, we can see anybody we wish within, including Bart Simpson, Flour Tortillas, Jesus, Shabd Yoga Masters, Vairagi Masters, Pam Anderson and Mel Gibson (hey, really?). Why? Because of the plasticity of our minds via our cultural entrenchment. But just because I see the Virgin Mary on a flour tortilla in Del Mar does not mean by extension that she ontologically exists outside of the coordinates of my own cerebral symphony. This is an area for healthy debate and I have written a number of pieces on it, ranging from The Kirpal Statistic to the Unknowing Sage: The Life and Work of Baba Faqir Chand. I am sure this will be a continued topic of discussion; I just wanted to acknowledge that I am well aware of how certain Eckists feel that no matter what I may write about the outer teachings, it does not effect their inner path. All I can do for this post is recommend reading carefully Faqir Chand who addresses this issue at length. 5. Finally (geez Lane, is the surf finally getting good?), Steve mentions sociobiology and Wilson and the like. I realize that I mentioned that I like hard core science and I like certain science writers (including Dawkins), but I did not bring up sociobiology as such for a topic of discussion. I don't mind talking about it, however, if that is what you want to do. In my sociology class we read a wide variety of books and this past semester we read Wilson's fine autobiography, The Naturalist. Several years back one of my students at MSAC even secured an interview with Wilson who was kind enough to talk to the young woman who was studying anthropology. Do you what to know what I think on this subject? Otherwise, I don't know why you brought it up. I am well aware of the limitations of scientists and their talk.... After all it is a human enterprise. There is one big difference, though: Dawkins does not claim to be a God-man with access to the highest regions of existence. Twitchell does claim such. Dawkins encourages criticism (that is why he writes for refereed journals), even if he does not like it. Eckankar has a history of suing or threatening to sue its critics. But leaving all that aside, I think the key to any research is to actually look at the documents themselves. You have repeatedly called my research "biased" and have said that I am "dishonest", etc. I don't mind being called names; as I said before, I get a perverse enjoyment out of the critical give and take. What is key, though, is to see if the information given on plagiarism, cover-up, biographical inconsistencies, stands up outside of Lane's purview. That is, can anyone see the plagiarism for themselves? Can anyone see the name replacements for themselves? Can anyone get the necessary documents and see Twitchell's biographical manipulations? I think very much so. Okay, so we are now debating interpretations. I like the rips..... I await the new episode.