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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
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The Dematerialization Crusade

What have spiritualism and dematerialization added to the body of certified knowledge? Although many proponents of dematerialism have been distinguished scientists, they earned their stripes by inventing theories or methods that had little or nothing to do with that.

Spiritualism is the belief in the real existence of immaterial entities such as angels, ghosts, and freely roaming souls. Dematerialization is the attempt to rid the sciences of the matter concept, thus replacing materalism with spiritualism.

Alternative medicine is likely to be the most popular and best-paying spiritualist business, as shown by the many clinics offering homeopathic, acupuncturist, and chiropractical treatments (Randi 1982; Sanz 2016). Contrary to a widespread belief, the clientele of these practices are not uneducated persons but people who have heard about them at schools and universities (Alcock 2018). We reject them not because of philosophical bias but because they have failed experimental tests on top of having failed to exhibit the mechanisms of their purported efficacy (Bunge 2013). Thus, the homeopathic nostrums are mainly water, which explains why they are usually harmless except when they divert very sick people from scientifically based treatments.

The painter Wassily Kandinsky (1912) gave perhaps the best description of dematerialization in the plastic arts. He strove to substitute form for content or matter, as in his own paintings, in particular his compositions, and those of Paul Klee, Piet Mondrian, and some of the surrealists. For instance, I see Kandinsky’s “compositions” as decompositions or disintegrations and cannot help being amused by Magritte’s paradoxes.

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