The Argument from Necromancy

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
In Spiritualism: Its Present-Day Meaning
(T. Fisher Unwin, july 1920, p. 252)

The Argument from Necromancy is an article written by Arthur Conan Doyle published by T. Fisher Unwin (UK) in Spiritualism: Its Present-Day Meaning, a symposium of answers to 4 questions sent to a number of distinguished people, including Arthur Conan Doyle.

The questions were :

  • 1. What, in your opinion, is the situation as regards the renewed interest in psychic phenomena ?
  • 2. In your view, does this psychic renewal denote (A) A passing from a logical and scientific (deductive) to a spiritual and mystic (inductive) conception of life ? or, (B) A reconciliation between the two, that is, between science and faith ?
  • 3. What, in your opinion, is the most powerful argument (A) For, or (B) Against, human survival ?
  • 4. What, in your opinion, is the best means of organizing this movement in the highest interest, philosophical, religious and scientific, of the nation, especially as a factor of durable peace ?

The answers by Conan Doyle were placed in Part II. Science. C. Mental and Medical section.

The Argument from Necromancy

1. I THINK England is setting fire to the world by restoring fresh and true religion.

2. Religion and science are really the same thing — both of them the knowledge of God and God's works. Religion without science is ignorant faith. Science without religion is to study effects without causes.

3. In my own special case the strongest argument is that I have spoken beyond all doubt after their death with my son, my brother, my wife's nephew and with a friend.

As to the general question, I should say that the absolute agreement of the results and photographs obtained by Schrenk-Notzing in Munich, Madame Buison in Algiers and Geley in France, working with two separate mediums and yet getting hundreds of photographs exactly similar, is enough to convince any one who examines the evidence. Most of our opponents never dream of investigating the evidence first hand.

4. It is organized and arranged from the other side, and will find its own best course. You cannot constrain or regulate the spirit.