came across an article by G. William Domhoff: Do
Senoi Practice "Senoi Dream Theory?"
by G. William Domhoff.
He starts his article off with the following:
Taylor is seriously misinformed about everything he says concerning the
Temiar and Semai peoples who are collectively called "Senoi" by us, so
I am pleased to have this opportunity to set the record straight.
I say, what arrogance!
Number one is to assume that he, Domhoff, is right on his assertions.
Number two to make a personal attack in public on the web and
representing an international organization, which I helped
found, whose purpose and mission statement makes clear to include many
points of view on dreams.
Domhoff goes on to make a list of points to counter what Jeremy Taylor
wrote before about the Senoi. Some of these points may have some truth
to them but to assert that Domhoff can set the record straight by his
logic alone and without a thorough investigation by committee and
review board and so on is the height of arrogance as I experience him.
First Domhoff fallacy: Because I assert forcefully something as true it
is true. And to quote him:
it is romantic to talk about Senoi as "ranging freely" in the highlands
of Malaysia ..."
Serious though these errors are, they are not directly relevant to the
issue that concerns dream researchers: did Senoi once use "Senoi dream
theory" and then abandon it or hide it due to cultural
disruption? For that issue the following points are critical:
Domhoff wants to prove that assertions about the Senoi originally made
by Kilton Stewart are false. It's all in his little book which he never
tires of pushing as the authority on the subject.
The second great Domhoff fallacy is trying to build a case based on
false premises. One false premise is that latter observers, which he
sometimes quotes, as if they are reliable and Stewart isn't, can tell
us factually what the Senoi were like in the 1930's that Stewart
The third Domhoff fallacy is that his witnesses described are
infallible evidence for his position, that they are truly experts, when
they are not proven by him to be. Again, the fallacy of truth by
assertion, not fact, and not objective evaluation.
on. Nothing hinges on this one alleged dream or on why the captive
allegedly heard about it. The weight of the evidence is so overwhelming
against any unique " Senoi dream theory" that an anecdote like this
recalled many years after the event by a frightened man hoping to
escape imprisonment has no standing whatsoever. Taylor is in fact
grasping at straws instead of adopting the scientific attitude that is
Domhoff attacks the man, makes exaggerated assertions, does everything
to assert that he is absolutely right here. there are a number of
examples in his article like this.
The forth great Domhoff fallacy is that of argumentum ad Hominum, you
attack the person because you cannot sustain a convincing argument
against the the person's statements.
Notice here how Domhoff again attacks the person:
foibles aside, it is a mystery to me why anyone would want to continue
to insist that Senoi practice "Senoi dream theory" if Taylor, Patricia
Garfield, and a few others really can control their dreams through
Yes, says Domhoff, all these people I attack have foibles, with no
mention of his own, but again his arrogance to assert that somehow he
has the right and knowledge to judge Taylor and Garfield here. Again,
the fallacy of asserting truth by assertion, that because he is right
they are wrong, as if "proving" them "wrong" makes him "right."
Domhoff loves to attack, it seems. His is an attacking position, not a
positive one of giving facts himself for a position, any position.
Domhoff does not have a position, like the bitter alcoholic who
is angry at everyone but himself for his condition.
The fifth great Domhoff fallacy is that he assumes that he has proven
statements false that in this case Jeremy Taylor has made and that then
the major Senoi premise that as a tribe, and not just as individuals,
they worked with their dreams. If you can eliminate a few of the pieces
of a pie you then assume you have eliminated the whole pie. This is
There are two kinds of scientific or Judicial proving. One is that a
thing does not exist until proven that it does exist. The second is
that something exists until it is proven that it does not exist.
Domhoff twists his logic here. He assumes that the Senoi did group
dreamwork is a truth assertion that he has proven false. I point out
why his arguments are weak here because of all the thinking fallacies
he engages in. He also tries to assert that more proof than Stewart is
needed before he will believe the truth of what Stewart asserted. Since
he thinks he has proven Stewart false he then states that others have
to prove the Stewart and Taylor assertion true.
Something is not true until you convincingly prove it is true. If you
cannot prove convincingly that it is true, then it is false.
Let me give an example from American and Dutch law. In America I can be
taken to court if someone can prove that I have married two wives
without divorce of one of them so that I am a bigamist. In the
Netherlands they have also a law against bigamy but because of this law
they need proof that you are not a bigamist. To get married in the
Netherlands I have to have official, stamped statements from the
governments of the countries I have lived in that show I am not listed
as being married in any of those countries. They assume that I may be a
bigamist and I have to prove in order to marry that I am not a bigamist.
Nice. So Domhoff loves to attack by disproving ancillary statements
that then are supposed to disprove the main or core statement. He
cannot prove that the Senoi did not do community dreamwork at the time
described so he tries to prove that because the Senoi years later did
not seem to do community dreamwork that he has won his case, but he can
give no evidence that comes from the time the main premise is about.
Ah, Domhoff, if you could only think, what a great Caesar you would
Can you convict someone of murder twenty years ago when the witnesses
are dead or now inaccurate? Only if you have inconvertible evidence
from the time such as recent DNA findings from the time of the murder.
Domhoff can find no evidence from the 1930's Senoi to counter the
Stewart claim that they did community dreamwork.
So he engages in still another Domhoff fallacy. It is the attack on
thin air, or straw man fallacy. In this fallacy you set up a bogus
issue and try to convince people it is the real issue. So then you
attack the bogus issue that makes your arguments sound convincing and
unthinking people fall for your bogus arguments.
When Jeremy Taylor holds with Kilton Stewart that the Senoi practiced
community dreamwork in the 1930's then how can the Kilton Stewart
statement be attacked from evidence in the 1950's or later. It can't
but Domhoff acts like it can and asserts that he is attacking the real
issue. Taylor has a right to hold with any observer. If he picks
Stewart over later observers then he has a right to do so, unless you
have compelling evidence from Stewart's time to contradict Stewart.
Domhoff uses spurious little arguments to try and reinforce his bogus
attack, like stating that Stewart was only there a few weeks. I don't
care if Stewart sat on the toilet only once, he still has left
evidence of his presence. So another example of the fallacy of bogus
argument. The last seventh obvious Domhoff fallacy is the assumption
that Domhoff can argue convincingly that ten little arguments or so
will add up to one convincing big argument. This is simply not true.
You cannot convince me the world is flat because ten, even one hundred
people, tell me today they see the world as flat because their eyes
tell them so. Yet the whole world seemed to see the world as flat at
one time in history, and they were all wrong!
So Domhoff, take a powder. Polish your nose. Get the shine off your
logic. Quit fighting windmills. Try and come up with some great
positive results about dreams and dreaming that you created
Use your logic to create and not destroy.
Kaplan-Williams has his web site, www.dreamwork2000.com
active since 1999 with hundreds of visitors a week. Of special note is
Cards Interactive page where
visitors can pick by synchronicity an unknown Dream Card on a dream or
life issue and receive the Dream
Card images and inspirational
wisdom message which may give personal insight to what they are dealing
with. The Dream
Cards have sold over 110,000
copies in nine languages but are currently
out of print in English. Strephon is a weekly contributor to analyzing
issues in dreams that people share at the Consciousness Forum page of Dreamwork2000.com.
Strephon has declared with others the need for a separate branch of
psychology, dreamwork psychology, with an organization in the works
called IDPA, the International Dream and Dreamwork Psychology
Association. He is
presently at work completing with the Romanian Dreamwork center and
other dreamwork psychologists a Dreamwork Training Prospectus that lays
a foundation for training of professionals in dreamwork psychology.
Strephon at age 70 is in "writing retirement" except for high level
trainings for professionals in dreamwork psychology, presently
operating out of the Romanian center. Please enquire for residential
training in a Romanian mountain resort with Strephon and others each