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Ah, the righteous arrogance of crackpots

It all started when the Everything Else Atheist posted a somewhat scathing exchange between herself and a professor at her college. This professor had been bringing in students to participate in “psychology experiments” which were actually efforts to identify psychic premonitions.

EEA wrote to him with some extremely reasonable concerns about whether proper scientific rigor had been followed in a domain that is traditionally overrun with pseudoscientific hacks. Among other suggestions, the professor responded by asking EEA to read The Conscious Universe by Dean Radin. At that point there was another, somewhat more frosty exchange of emails.

It gets fun here, because Dean Radin apparently googles his name every single day to see who might be talking about him. A commenter found the Everything Else Atheist blog because Radin descended from his ivory tower to dismiss EEA on his blog for being an uppity atheist.

Of course, responding to clueless broadside rants against atheists is what us Tiggers do best, so away we go!


I remember

Ah, the righteous arrogance of youth.

Wait wait, stop right there. Oh, this is going to be too much fun.

So right away after just one sentence, Radin telegraphs his compulsion to latch on to superficial personal aspects of his target… the very definition of an ad hominem. We have a long way to go before we reach the end, but I want to point out that not once in this entire post does Radin ever actually respond to her criticism.

I remember what it was like to feel intellectually superior to my college professors, many of whom seemed to be dullards who understood nothing. I grew out of that phase when I started to apply genuine skepticism, not just to others’ beliefs, but to my own.

Radin mocks the temerity of those who would criticize a college professor, thereby offering an argument from authority, since those in high academic posts must never EVER be challenged. Which is a weird position to take, considering that Radin himself frequently has to explain that the scientific community doesn’t take him seriously because of a massive conspiracy against him. Uh, what is it that he grew out of, exactly? Beats me.

Here is a good example of a young person who fits the profile of adolescent certainty (some people never grow out of this stage). Once a Christian, she lost her faith, followed by a commonly observed flip-flop — she became a fervent atheist.

Atheists, especially young ones in the midst of existential crisis, do not yet appreciate that their strong stance against religious faith is just faith of another color (i.e., scientism). They are also unable to distinguish between beliefs based on empirically testable ideas vs. beliefs based on faith. And like most true believers in scientism, they become very concerned that one might conduct experiments where the underlying mechanisms are not yet understood. I wish I could say that most students grow out of an over-reliance on the certainty of prevailing theories, but as I mentioned in my previous post, unfortunately many don’t.

Oh, this is rich. First, like many apologists for woo striving to assert themselves as Real Intellectuals, Radin performs a little armchair psychology. His hypothesis is that nobody EVER disagrees with his point of view unless they are undergoing some sort of “crisis.”

Then he launches into a tirade about “scientism.” Now I don’t know about you folks, but the only context in which I ever hear this is from smarmy post-modernists who wish to appear clever by deriding science as a legitimate means for finding things out. Wikipedia helpfully supplies:
“The term scientism is used to describe the view that natural science has authority over all other interpretations of life, such as philosophical, religious, mythical, spiritual, or humanistic explanations, and over other fields of inquiry, such as the social sciences.”

Okay, so here’s Dean Radin, exuding scorn for EEA because she applies the concepts of science to a realm in which he implies that it does not belong, since presumably it is information of a “philosophical, religious, mythical, spiritual, or humanistic” nature and not science at all. And you know, that’s cool with me. Radin’s under no obligation whatsoever to care in the slightest about silly concepts like “scientific method” and “peer review” and “academic honesty” or anything like that.

But wait a minute, let’s remind ourselves of the context which brought about this exchange. A professor in EEA’s science department was attempting to perform a science experiment in which he proved that precognition has scientific merit. And as support for this position, in lieu of offering up scientific research, he helpfully steered EEA towards Radin’s book. Gee, I think somebody might want to notify this professor about how Radin really feels about science.

Her angst centered on an experiment studying precognition. Impossible! Violates natural law! Must be pseudoscience! With that attitude, any evidence offered, however obtained, can only be fraud, or worse.

Of course precognition is not prohibited by physics. The laws of classical and quantum mechanics are time symmetric, and there are many serious articles (this link has just a few examples) available on the topic of retrocausation, which is far more interesting and complicated than a superficial scan might suggest.

I’d just like to point out that at no point in EEA’s post did she actually say any of this nonsense. She didn’t say “ZOMG precognition that’s like totally against the laws of NAYCHER!!!” Those hysterics are entirely from the voices in Radin’s head. What she said, rather, was that (1) parapsychology is not taken very seriously among the scientific community; (2) it’s had a really long time to produce the kinds of results that would make it worth taking seriously; and (3) the professor’s techniques are riddled with holes that even an undergrad can see.

What does Radin do to respond to these charges? Well, he makes fun of her, and simultaneously manages to confirm her issues by blowing off requests for scientific rigor as “scientism.” Good job, Dean.

Besides my own books (The Conscious Universe is finally in paperback!), I recommend Larry Dossey’s new book to get a feel for the art and science of precognition.

But doing one’s homework can be so taxing….

Hey, remember earlier when I said that Radin never bothers to actually address EEA’s arguments? Maybe I should apologize for that because here’s where he…

Oh wait, no. No, he’s just trying to peddle his books.

I remember the sanctimonious pride that accompanies feelings of certainty, and I’m glad I outgrew it.

Thank goodness Dean doesn’t have any lingering sanctimonious pride or feelings of certainty, because otherwise his post would have been really hard to read.

Comments

  1. says

    Er, so how is a "strong stance against religious faith just faith of another color?" again?I hear this charge from theists all the time – that we as atheists seem to be oblivious to the difference between belief based on nothing (faith) and "belief" based on evidence and reasoning (knowledge or perhaps educated belief) and that our position is therefore bankrupt.I keep seeing the opposite – the confusion on this distinction seems to originate from the believer camp and _we're_ the ones having to point out the difference here when it comes to justifying scientific approaches over religious nonsense.The phrase "investigation rather than revelation" comes to mind as a shorter description of the preferred method of finding out about our world.Science prevails over religion nowadays as the explanatory device for our reality for a good reason. The confusion seems to be on the theist side, not ours.LS

  2. says

    Good post!I just wanted to comment on the term "scientism." While it is used sometimes by people to attack science as a legitimate way of finding things out, I do not think the wiki definition is entirely accurate. Science is a human construction that is specifically designed to help us in understanding the natural world. And it is the best thing we have ever created to do that. Science would be the appropriate way determine things about the paranormal, so long as they have an effect on reality. This is an appropriate use of science, and the professor makes no sense in using the term scientism to describe what is happening there. But, using science to try and determine our morals, political or economic systems, is not appropriate, and trying to use science to prove your position on those things is an act of scientism. This is not to say that science cannot provide some support to those claims. Like, when deciding if it is ethical to, for fun, pave over the entirety of South Carolina and turn it into a parking lot, environment science can tell us about the impact that would have on the environment, but it cannot tell us, full stop, if such a thing is ethical.I think the wiki definition you gave is incomplete and inaccurate. Science is not appropriate for judging religious claims, if those religious claims make absolute no reference to anything that happens in the natural world (of course, if it has not effect on the natural world, no one is capable of making any judgment about it, and you might as well be talking about nonsense, in my opinion). And an additional fyi, I have heard scientists use the term scientism, and those who study history and philosophy of science use the term to criticize other scientists when they other reach. However, this is not one of those times

  3. says

    You missed Radin's intentions of his post. He was providing an example of a person that had come to preconceived notions and expanded out to the common claims he sees every day from uninformed people (like yourself). The fact that you started off this blog post with: "It gets fun here, because Dean Radin apparently googles his name every single day to see who might be talking about him." is hilarious because in no way is that a founded claim. Where did you drag this out from?You took it all as one big attack on her personally which it was not meant to be. But hey, this is common amongst people that lack critical thinking skills and have no awareness of context. And then 'EEA' is kinda hot, not too bright, but good looking. Rush to her defense from that bad old guy ripping apart her ignorance and confidence in her preconceived notions!And Radin wasn't responding to her 'charges'. She didn't have a leg to stand on from the beginning and it shows by the manner in which her material is being continually brutalized in the responses section to her post.If you don't know anything about psi, and call it pseudoscience/woo/etc. than you deserve to get ripped apart.And she is.

  4. says

    I…honestly can't tell if Dogmatic's response is satirical or not. The handle would make me think that it's just too blatantly stupid NOT to be satirical but…I just don't know.

  5. says

    Forgive me if I'm being Poed…"You missed Radin's intentions of his post. He was providing an example of a person that had come to preconceived notions and expanded out to the common claims he sees every day from uninformed people (like yourself)."How is the criticism preconceived. She spelt out WHY it was a bad idea and why the study seems like a pipe dream. Even if you disagree with her you can't say it was due to some dogma."The fact that you started off this blog post with:"It gets fun here, because Dean Radin apparently googles his name every single day to see who might be talking about him."is hilarious because in no way is that a founded claim. Where did you drag this out from?"It's a joke. Tell me does your psy research indicate that psychic powers are disproportionate to a sense of humor?"You took it all as one big attack on her personally which it was not meant to be."Except…you know it was basically dismissing her as a moron for being an atheist and young…" But hey, this is common amongst people that lack critical thinking skills and have no awareness of context."Gaaa….er….DUUUUUR….*inaudiable rage*Find me evidence of psychic phenomena then we will talk. For reference the CIA, who had a strong interest in it and sank A LOT of money into it found it fruitless. It has no mechanism that falls within reality. The only way I could find it to work is if there is some 'ghost spectrum' outside the EMS spectrum that psychic phenomina works through…but even then there would be SOME organ or mechanism in the human brain for detecting such things, chunk of ractive metal, a sensory organ, whatever. We know pretty much how the brain gets info and nothing is hooked up to any psychic organs." And then 'EEA' is kinda hot, not too bright, but good looking. Rush to her defense from that bad old guy ripping apart her ignorance and confidence in her preconceived notions!"Yes, the science student is a nice dumb bimbo. Tell me…what do you do for a living? Way to expose some horrific misogony there. HAHA OH THOSE WOMANS….THEY'RE SO CUTE WHEN THEY'RE ANGRY AND THINK THEY MATTER.."And Radin wasn't responding to her 'charges'. She didn't have a leg to stand on from the beginning and it shows by the manner in which her material is being continually brutalized in the responses section to her post."Except she did and it isn't.Her legsa) evidence so far is to the contrary to the premiseb) The premise has no presented mechanism other than supernatural abilityby B it is therefore by definition psuedoscience. "If you don't know anything about psi, and call it pseudoscience/woo/etc. than you deserve to get ripped apart.And she is."No one knows anything about PSYchic phenomena because it seems not to exist. Perceptions of it exist but it does not seem to exist on its own. This is evident by the lack of proposed mechanism. There's no evidence for psychic phenomena. Show me a video of a telekinetic or telepathy that couldn't be done through scam and then people will be glad to give it weight. There's no reason for the lack of evidence for psy save for it's own non-Resistance.

  6. says

    Well, not only the handle, the statement itself is pretty absurd, but I'm willing to assume it's legit, considering some of the other stuff I've read by fools like him.I would really like to know, if we're so ignorant of the "science" around "psi" what evidence he has that even vaguely, slightly, in the smallest fraction of a way, supports such a concept, because I'm willing to bet that it most assuredly does not exist. In all the years I've been following skepticism I have never seen a single legitimate claim made about "psi" so unless they have great studies stowed away in the closet somewhere, this guy is clearly just talking out of his ass like every other woo believing clown and not only that, he's doing it in a condescending manner too, which I believe entirely justifies me responding in kind as I have. You sir, are a fool, and it shines gloriously for all to see.I suppose that whole second section applies to both the person the original blog post is criticizing and Dogmatic.

  7. says

    I LIKE the idea of studying precieved psychic phenomina and I think this is obvious bunk. Apparently he is serious. I have to share his response to me on the EEA blog when I basically pointed out there's no organ that would account for Psychic ability."Ing, do as eastern sciences do.Don't assume that the mind is an epiphenomenon of the brain."He may not need it but the most of us fucking need our brains to exist.

  8. says

    Dean Radin squeaked a reply to this blog post:"Just confirms my original post. Arrogance plus uninformed certainty is a highly combustible mixture."That it is, Dean. That it is.Don't worry — as with the original post, there's no need to tax yourself by actually replying to anything that was said. Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt, as Abe said.It's okay, your misogyny troll is doing that part for you.

  9. says

    Again, you keep pointing out that it 'doesn't exist' but you don't know a damn thing about the data.This is the entire point of Radin's post as well as mine. You, and EEA, speak out of nothing but pure ignorance. You've never looked. You just assume there to be no evidence or that its all fraudulent. And therefore you feel justified in claiming that its pseudoscience or woo or whatever you've convinced yourself that it is.And Ing, I just boggle at how stupid that was. I'm not denying there is a brain. My God. Do you know anything about dualism? or mental monism? You people are everything that is wrong with science. You have illusions of knowledge and put it forth as dogma to write off that which you don't understand or don't want to believe.The very core of this issue is that I've actually looked at the data. You haven't. You're the other side of the creationist coin. Pure ignorance and yet certainty.

  10. says

    As per usual, anyone who disagrees with you must be completely arrogant right?Man that pissed me off! How can you not respond to any of someone's actual criticisms of your idea? Talk about a fear-based position. Hearing criticisms and differing opinions only helps to come to a better understanding of the possibilities of potential truth.. . . but that's not what he wants.What a douche.NIKOhttp://kingofdeprecation.blogspot.com

  11. says

    I'm pretty sure Dogmatic is for real. He was joining in pretty voraciously on the post on Radin's blog. Personally, I don't think Kazim's accusation that Radin was googling himself is unfounded. This guy obviously has a huge disdain for people who question his idea, and possibly feels the same about atheists in general, so why on earth would he be a regular reader of EEA's blog?Seriously, Dogmatic, if we're so hopelessly lost in our "atheistic scientism" just go away and go lick Dean's ass some more. We're hopeless right? Who cares what we say about psi if it's real anyway? Won't we just eat our words later on anyway? Are we putting out bad skeptic vibes that will make the experiments not work?I do find it interesting that discussions on things like this always end up at this sort of weird stalemate where the skeptical side accuses the proponents of being too eager to believe the phenomenon, and the proponents simply accuse the skeptics of being too eager NOT to believe it. Just tell Dean to stop googling himself, stop worrying about belittling 21-year-old undergrads on his blog, and get to work on something that will actually convince people. Until then, it's just the first scene in Ghostbusters as far as I'm concerned.

  12. says

    "While Sheldrake’s ideas have resonated with the general public and some physicists such as David Bohm,[1] they have often met with a hostile reception from scientists.[3] Neurophysiologist and consciousness researcher Christof Koch, for example, has stated that discussing Sheldrake's ideas is a "waste of time," given the absence of hard, physical evidence and Sheldrake's lack of understanding of modern neurobiology.[3] Henry Bauer compared Sheldrake's ideas to Wilhelm Reich's generally discredited claims of orgone energies.[35] In his Skeptic's Dictionary, Robert Todd Carroll stated, in an article highly critical of Sheldrake's theory of morphic resonance, that "although Sheldrake commands some respect as a scientist because of his education and degree, he has clearly abandoned conventional science in favor of magical thinking."

  13. says

    again the people claiming that we show poor critical thinking skills cracks me up. Part of critical thinking is investigating those who disagree with you. If either your or Dogmatic had done so, even with a quick wiki you would have seen that your examples studies had people who worked on them saying the conclusions were, to quote Dr. FrankenSTEEN, "DOODIE!"I'm honestly baffled. What is wrong with you people? Here's the thing, PROVIDE A FUCK MECHANISM. Even if something like psionics exists it means nothing if you a) can't show it and b) can't provide at least a good working mech for how it works. If psionics existed it should be relatively easy to demonstrate. Instead we get very very lame 'conclusions' that do not NEARLY breach the horizon of 'bad methodology'. What you are proposing is contrary to not just one science but just about every feild. How does psionics work? What causes it? The brain has no input for ANY physical phenomena that could account for it, not does it have any organs or glands that could emit what ever the hell ghost spectrum psionics would have to work through. HOW WOULD IT FUCK WORK!? Look, I like the idea of paranormal it's a hobby, I have a butt load of books on the unexplained, cryptids, etc. I was excited at the possibility the recent bigfoot hoax would be true, believe me. But having studied the idea of psionics and the science out side it; it's just not frakking likely. Look either provide a mechanism on how it's supposed to work or…just show it even exists in a clear manner. Have someone bend a fuck spoon with no tricks for James Randi, then I'll be glad to admit I was wrong and push for greater research into the mechanism. It would be a entirely new physiological process…one that would entirely rewrite biology; I would be on the forefront pushing for research here.

  14. says

    Did you even glance at those papers or did you just dismiss it right away? Those papers are mainly telepathy experiments. Simple experiments based on simple statistical results. Istead of just agreeing with our fellow skeptics, why not take a look at the data for your self.

  15. says

    "Did you even glance at those papers or did you just dismiss it right away?Those papers are mainly telepathy experiments. Simple experiments based on simple statistical results. Istead of just agreeing with our fellow skeptics, why not take a look at the data for your self."Because the data has been exposed as DOODIE. Why don't you read the Protocols of Zion before you dismiss Holocaust Denial?

  16. says

    God I really should do thsi on my blog..b.een meaning to start that in earnist. Look I'll homor you. Here's a snipit of his publications An Automated Online Telepathy TestJournal of Scientific Exploration (2007) Vol 21 No 3, 511-522(by Rupert Sheldrake and Michael Lambert)The Journal of Scientific Exploration is a fringe/psuedo science publication. Not credible peer review…"Videotaped Experiments on Telephone TelepathyJournal of Parapsychology 67, 187-206, June 2003 64, 224-232(by Rupert Sheldrake and Pamela Smart)"Again, not good peer review."A Filmed Experiment on Telephone Telepathy with the Nolan SistersJournal of the Society for Psychical Research (2004) 68, 168-172(by Rupert Sheldrake, Hugo Godwin and Simon Rockell)"What a shock…"Revista Argentina de Psicología Paranormal 15 No.3-4, Julio-Octubre 2004(by Rupert Sheldrake)"No es bueno journal de scientifica.Comprende? Creatonists use these same tactics. publishing in "YOUNG EARTH MONTHY" is NOT good evidence. Publish in the Journal of Neuroscience or I'd even accept the Journal of Psycology (soft science though it may be). Why won't he publish in any journal that doesn't assume he's right?

  17. says

    Ok. Just say what your thinkng "I dont need to look at it because I know I'm right + not good enough peer review =bunk" to prove Deans pointOn the other hand…How many would risk their career to peer review such a controversial topic? It's a taboo in science to even talk about such matters with out being labeld as a heretic. See what happend to Dean and Sheldrake when they came out of the closet.

  18. says

    "Ok. Just say what your thinkng "I dont need to look at it because I know I'm right + not good enough peer review =bunk" to prove Deans point"I'll read it if you get me something from a good journal that hasn't been debunked already.Just say what you're thinking…vowels at the end of words are entirely inappropriate. "On the other hand…How many would risk their career to peer review such a controversial topic? It's a taboo in science to even talk about such matters with out being labeld as a heretic. See what happend to Dean and Sheldrake when they came out of the closet."Look if they don't care enough to publish why the fuck should I care?BTW controversial shit is published all the time. It's how people PROVE controversial shit. For reference there are more published works saying females have inherently lower mental ability than there is about psionics. The peer review process also calls into question the female suck at math results, but at least they have the balls to publish.

  19. says

    "Look if they don't care enough to publish why the fuck should I care?"Didnt know you look up to authority so highly.You and I are both aware of the the fact that there is an underlying bias in mainstream science concerning anything related to psi phenomenon. It's out there loud and clear "it is useless to do study on anything paranormal because its obviously WOO. Are you so naive to think that a major science journal would ever publish things like this. It's not a safe route to take. Even with undeniable evidence they wouldnt publish it, because it would bring so much heat form all the skeptics that make a living on debunking anything that does not fit the current paradigm."I'll read it if you get me something from a good journal that hasn't been debunked already."And thank you for proving Deans point. The reluctance to look at the data, backed up with strong emotions has alot of similarites with your every day fundamentalist christian

  20. Martin says

    Oh joy! (claps happily) Russell has kicked over an anthill of psychic and paranormal believers, and they've come out to bite! Fun!Re: Sheldrake. What damns Sheldrake as a researcher is not only that he's allowed wishful thinking to overcome his scientific rigor in conducting his bogus experiments. It's also that he simply cannot set up a controlled experiment to save his life. Case in point is his absurd "psychic dog" experiment in the early 90's, which got quite a lot of media attention in the UK.Sheldrake essentially claimed that, because a certain young woman's dog appeared to run to the front door every day at the precise moment the woman herself was across town, at work, getting up from her desk to go home for the day, that this constituted evidence the dog was "psychically" sensing when the woman was getting ready to come home. Clearly the dog could have no other way of knowing how to run to the door at that exact time.Sheldrake set up a video camera in the woman's home, as well as one at her work, and caught the dog running to the door right at the same moment the same woman was getting up from her desk. Eureka! I can haz ESP!!1!Except, not so fast. Richard WIseman set about repeating Sheldrake's experiment, setting it up exactly the way Sheldrake did. His videotape, which he showed the 700 of us at TAM5, clearly shows the dog running to the door at close to the very moment her owner begins to leave work. It also shows the dog running to the door, all the fucking time, all throughout the day, responding, as dogs do, to noises outside.So, so much for the "psychic dog."It had apparently not occurred to Sheldrake to figure out any controls (indeed, could he figured any out?) that would filter out all of the other stimuli outside the house that the dog might hear and respond to by running to the door to investigate. With such a deeply flawed methodology, Sheldrake's "experiment" and its "findings" can be dismissed as inadequately scientific.But, as with creationists, mere facts do not stop their zeal, and, in a manner quite contrary to that of real scientists, criticisms of their work, especially those that expose their inherent flaws, are customarily met with vituperative criticism and personal attacks rather than by addressing the substance of the criticisms. Radin's contemptuous (and contemptible) ad hominem dismissal of EEA is par for the course, and exactly in keeping with how Wiseman has been attacked by paranormalists, who have attempted to discredit him in revenge for his debunking in this way:He has been described by the President of the Parapsychology Association as motivated by "obvious self-interest", and by a desire "to support an a priori commitment to the notion that all positive psi results are spurious and all methods which seem to show the presence of psi are flawed."Yeah, those aren't sour grapes. No ad hominem there, nosiree! :-) (Continued… because for some fucking reason Blogger has severely limited comment length. When did that start?)

  21. Martin says

    (…continued)As for Sheldrake and his supporters, their response to Wiseman's debunking has been mainly to lie and claim Wiseman got exactly the same results Sheldrake did. I suppose that's accurate…if you choose to ignore all the other data that didn't support Sheldrake's thesis. Sheldrake, naturally, ignored it, Wiseman didn't.What's ironic here is that Wiseman really does have an interest in paranormal phenomena as an aspect of human psychology. When I spoke to him after his presentation at TAM5 (I had recently gotten in a Wikipedia edit war with an ESP believer who was violating NPOV in the ESP entry by editing it to reflect a pro-psychic slant, and who was also trying to turn the entry into a link farm to his own blog, and throwing in smears of James Randi using the old Fox News "some people say" trick), Wiseman, who's a very funny fellow and great raconteur, simply pointed out, "There actually is interesting research going on into psychic phenomena. Sheldrake just isn't doing any of it."PS: Ing: I must say, "PROVIDE A FUCK MECHANISM!" is the funniest thing I've read in any comment on this blog in the whole three years we've been online. You ought to do T-shirts! ;-)

  22. Martin says

    skiba's moronity: Even with undeniable evidence they wouldnt publish it, because it would bring so much heat form all the skeptics that make a living on debunking anything that does not fit the current paradigm.Yeah, I bet your amazing psychic powers told you that.

  23. says

    "Look if they don't care enough to publish why the fuck should I care?"Didnt know you look up to authority so highly.You and I are both aware of the the fact that there is an underlying bias in mainstream science concerning anything related to psi phenomenon. It's out there loud and clear "it is useless to do study on anything paranormal because its obviously WOO. Are you so naive to think that a major science journal would ever publish things like this. It's not a safe route to take. Even with undeniable evidence they wouldnt publish it, because it would bring so much heat form all the skeptics that make a living on debunking anything that does not fit the current paradigm."You can't debunk reality. The point was that if they don't care enough to risk ridicule for publishing their finds (while also betting they'd get recognition for the greatest scientific find evahz) why should I care what they have to say. They're not willing to do the work necessary so it must not be ALL that important to them. "And thank you for proving Deans point. The reluctance to look at the data, backed up with strong emotions has alot of similarites with your every day fundamentalist christian"Look if you're going to insult me use proper spelling. I LOOKED at the fucking Data. It's still bunk because it's bullshit. The emotion isn't at all at the data. It's at you for being dense. I'm…very impatient with dumbassery today. I've been exposing myself to it non-stop between this and the museum shooter and all the dumb shit Palin does so yes I'm impatient. Get a clue. Look how science works ok. seriously.

  24. says

    ""It's still bunk because it's bullshit."And Dean's point is now completely proven.Thank you."Yes, fine whatever. I'm sure for some reason it is important for you to believe that I am closed minded because I rely on good evidence and don't buy into conspiracy theory.

  25. says

    "Richard Wiseman had admitted that his data flat out replicated Rupert Sheldrake's data.Go ask him."And Steven Ross admitted that his data on the same experiment DISCREDITED the conclusion Sheldrake drew. Sheldrake has a history of confirmation bias. Reputation is everything. Look the point is that just like creationism, no other scientific research would fly under the kind of crap you're trying to argue for psionics. We're not holding psionics to a higher standard of proof, we're holding it to the same level of proof for evolution, RNA and DNA translation, and the mechanisms of calcium channel gene regulation. PUBLISH OR PERISH.

  26. says

    To say that psychological journals are bunk is a underestimation. I have read into some of them and found some interesting things in there. One article being about how "ghost" phenomena can be easily replicated by rapid magnetic pole shifts that interact with the brain. Essentially they disprove a good deal of ghost phenomena with a very good case study. There are also quite a few articles such as how the people who believe in psychics/medium are susceptible to bad claims and false memories. These articles lay right beside articles that have some case for psi.I truly believe that these psychological journals are legit. Creationist journals are a laughhttp://www.answersingenesis.org/arjPara psychological journals look at previous data, and examine odd occurrences, usually ending in a debunking of nut jobs.As for suggesting a method need to be achieved for study of psi is simply ridiculous. When a scientist says the brain might possibly be holographic like in storage, you certainly weren't shouting, "There must be a method before you just give us psudeo-science." The method or why it works is sometimes discovered after the phenomena is confirmed. Much like Louis Pasteur and his work.I do agree with Dogmatic to some extent. Simply that most people don't actually know what psi is. True psychic phenomena is pretty useless compared to what we can do with technology. Sure the CIA used psychics, but psychics are like eyewitnesses, not as good as a orbiting satellite. Not to mention the hours spent actually using their remote viewing skills. Other then that, psychokinesis is nearly nonexistent. Apparently it works better then chance, but it's not reliable enough or strong enough to actually be useful. Same with telepathy, it's obviously better then chance by a pretty good margin, but other then that, it's pretty useless.All psychic skills are basically useless when compared with modern day technology. Tellepthy < Cell Phone. Remote viewing < orbital spy satellites. Psychokinesis < loaded dice. And since it seems they disproved ghosts and Out of body experience, we really aren't left with much but another appendix of sorts. It's there, but it's pretty much useless.

  27. says

    Love this. I'm fifteen and have Jehovah's Witness family and family friends. I'm reminded of a certain forty-something zoologist who has made similar accusations against me in debate. Drives me crazy!

  28. says

    "As for suggesting a method need to be achieved for study of psi is simply ridiculous. When a scientist says the brain might possibly be holographic like in storage, you certainly weren't shouting, "There must be a method before you just give us psudeo-science." The method or why it works is sometimes discovered after the phenomena is confirmed. Much like Louis Pasteur and his work."Yes but brain storage is not suggesting something that would be supernatural other wise. Compare the claimsBrain records information to an invisible intangible and undetectable force can transmit data across space and time to the brain, without the brain having any organs for sensing or emitting said force. If you're going to say claim that ALL of science is wrong then you better damn well have some good evidence and support backing it up.

  29. says

    I find this entire discussion interesting. Unfortunately, all we get from the pro psi people is whaargarbl, and from the skeptic side "show me".The cool thing about psi research is that it can be done very inexpensively, so the typical whining about funding really isn't relevant. However, sometimes the psi people lack imagination.So, here is your shot, all you pro psi people. Use your psychic powers to do me harm. But before you do so, contact someone here on the AE blog, say Martin, Matt or Tracie, and tell them exactly what you will do to me, psychically. In a couple of days, I'll post here how I'm feeling, and the people who run this blog will be able to see if the prediction came true. If it does, then you should be able to get funding to do a more formalized study.And you get to put a non believer in a great deal of pain. Win win! Unless you psi people have no stones.Is anyone up for it?

  30. says

    I'm confused. Are the psychic proponents really defending Sheldrake's dog experiment, when it was shown incontrovertibly that the dog ran to the door all the time, at any noise outside? They really don't understand that that refutes Sheldrake's results? That Sheldrake did not use proper principles of experimental design, and therefore his results are worthless?And we're being accused of dogmatism? (That was a lot of question marks.)

  31. says

    maddogdeltaThe psi phenomena does not work that way. It's pretty much impossible to do any damage to any person with it. Like I said, it's pretty useless, especially in comparison with current technology. Ing"Yes but brain storage is not suggesting something that would be supernatural other wise. Compare the claimsBrain records information to an invisible intangible and undetectable force can transmit data across space and time to the brain, without the brain having any organs for sensing or emitting said force. If you're going to say claim that ALL of science is wrong then you better damn well have some good evidence and support backing it up."Psi doesn't suggest supernatural, unless you call the new agey stuff psi, which it isn't. It does have some thoughts as to why it's happening. The whole quantum thing might be applicable but there's not enough technology to tell. The unconscious mind might be picking up on subtle clues and piecing them together for some other skills. There are some suggestions about minuscule alterations of magnetic waves. It's all kind of vague because you are dealing with atomic or possibly subatomic computing. soul_biscuitI think many would agree that Sheldrak is a fraud. I don't know about the parapsychology community, but I would personally consider it bunk. With current technology and it's logarithmic expansion, I would say would could conclusively disprove all psi phenomena or prove it, with better technology. I would keep a watch on it, but wouldn't be to eager to jump up and down thinking that we might have anything super useful. After all, telepathy is awesome, but with our current technology we can easily nearly all biological functions of our body.

  32. says

    @asdfThe psi phenomena does not work that way. It's pretty much impossible to do any damage to any person with it. Like I said, it's pretty useless, especially in comparison with current technology.Ummm… If an effect is so slight that it cannot be measured, just how is it an effect?The challenge is straightforward. If someone can bend a spoon with only his mind, then surely they can cause me to have a headache. If there is such a good body of evidence for how psi should and should not work, then why is it so hard coming up with a demonstration of it working?I mean, let's get real. If I claim "gravity" and you say "show me", I can push someone out of a window and we can watch them go splat. If I claim electricity, I can put your fingers in a light socket to demonstrate the point.Why can't psi be detected. The "technology" argument doesn't cut it. Through technology, we have devices which can make measurements to incredible accuracies, over huge distances. Surely we can set up an experiment where we can eliminate all outside influences, and then Uri Gellar can move an accelerometer with his mind and we can get data from it.So, my challenge stands. Hurt me. Just don't tell me what you are going to do ahead of time. That way, you are protected. It is much easier for me to lie and say that I didn't have that ailment if I know how someone will try to injure me.Anyone with the stones?Bueller? Bueller?

  33. says

    "And you get to put a non believer in a great deal of pain. "Oh they can win this challenge. Trust me, I'm already in a lot of pain.

  34. says

    @IngAs for the Quantum stuff…Inigo "You keep using that word…I do not think it means what you think it means"I usually challenge someone to solve Schrodinger's equation for a hydrogen atom before I allow them to talk about quantum anything.Oh they can win this challenge. Trust me, I'm already in a lot of pain.But they have to give you some kind of pain that you currently aren't experiencing. Plus, they have to predict it ahead of time. That makes it tougher. So if your knee is already hurting, and they claim to give you backache, and you don't get it, they can't claim a win because of you knee.

  35. says

    @ MadDogDelta:I am focussing my psychic energies on you right now and, tt some point in the next 24 hours, you will experience an uncomfortable feeling in your bladder, followed by an uncontrollable urge to urinate. Let me know if I was successful.N.B. For the psychic energies to flow properly through your body your electrolyte levels must be kept high, so you will need to drink at least two litres of water every four hours for the next 24 hours.

  36. says

    On the topic of Sheldrake's abilities to set up experiments and the validity of his data:"The Anticipation of Telephone Calls: A Survey in CaliforniaJournal of Parapsychology 65, 145-156 (2001 by David Jay Brown and Rupert Sheldrake ABSTRACT 200 randomly-selected people were surveyed in Santa Cruz County, California to investigate the frequency and nature of anticipations of telephone calls. 78% of the people surveyed said that they have had the experience of telephoning someone who said that they were just thinking about telephoning them…"Seriously? Don't bother observing the calls or setting up double blind tests or anything, just ask people if they have ever had someone answer the 'phone and say, "Oh, I was just thinking about you!" I tell people that all the time because it's more polite than saying, "Oh, fuck, it's you. I was hoping that I might get away without talking to you for another week or so, but obviously not. Yes, I know I said that I was going to call you, but I was lying because you irritate the piss out of me and I'm too polite to tell you that directly. Someone less self involved might've taken the hint by now, but I guess I'll just have to keep on suffering in polite silence until I think of a convincing way of faking my own death."Maybe that's just me though.

  37. says

    Science is a method of inquiry, not a predetermined belief about facts.Anyone can do their own investigation of the Sheldrake dog experiments — all of the facts are easily available. The bottom line is that Wiseman's data fits Sheldrake's perfectly.As for those complaining that the dog went to the door "all the time" when his owner was not coming home — go read the experimental design, and brush up on your statistics. The point of the experiment is that — yes, Jaytee occasionally went to the window when his owner was not coming home, but went to the window A LOT MORE AND STAYED A LOT LONGER when she was on the way home.That is the whole point of doing a statistical test. To argue otherwise is the same error as someone who points out a chain-smoking great aunt who lived to 110 years in perfect health. . .As for Paul Brown's comment about Sheldrake's survey — it is of course a complete red herring. Yes, Sheldrake did conduct surveys into belief about telephone telepathy (and psychic pets for that matter), but then conducted controlled experiments to see if those surveyed beliefs were justifiable or simply delusional. All of his papers are available on his website — including controlled tests on telephone telepathy. The fact that he also conducted surveys on belief (and offers uncontrolled internet tests for telephone telepathy et. al.) is no reason to attack his controlled, peer-reviewed psi research.

  38. says

    @asdfThe psi phenomena does not work that way. It's pretty much impossible to do any damage to any person with it. Like I said, it's pretty useless, especially in comparison with current technology.>>Ummm… If an effect is so slight that it cannot be measured, just how is it an effect?The challenge is straightforward. If someone can bend a spoon with only his mind, then surely they can cause me to have a headache. If there is such a good body of evidence for how psi should and should not work, then why is it so hard coming up with a demonstration of it working@maddogdelta>>Spoon bending is fake. All claims of it are bunk. Nobody can do it at all. Is this a strawman? Seriously, if you think psi is talking to the dead, spirit talking, demon summoning, magick, or levitation, you are sadly mistaken.Why can't psi be detected. The "technology" argument doesn't cut it. Through technology, we have devices which can make measurements to incredible accuracies, over huge distances. Surely we can set up an experiment where we can eliminate all outside influences, and then Uri Gellar can move an accelerometer with his mind and we can get data from it.>> First, Uri Gellar is a fraud and nothing much of a magician. This would be equal to saying, because a garbage man can't prove psi, then psi must not exist. Secondly technology can be used to detect psi. We just don't know how it works. Actually I think it would be much fair to say, I don't know how it works, I haven't read any studies of how it works, if there are any reports. Although psi is NOT some super natural wave/beam of some sort many people who are not familiar with psi believe it is. It is a natural effect, we just don't know how it works. Some say it's through some quantum channels, but the brain and quantum physics are so poorly understood by people not in the field it would be impossible to have a decent conversation. That's not even mentioning the lack of information that exists for both the brain and quantum physics as well. I believe that technology is not up to speed to actually prove the how it works question.

  39. says

    Matthew C,If I had a hypothesis that the colour blue affects perception of line length, such that, under blue lighting, a horizontal line appears longer than under white lighting, how would I test that?Since I am testing perception (as is often the case in psychological experiments) I am going to have to ask my subjects for their observations. Perhaps I could show the subjects a white card with a horizontal black line on it under differing lighting conditions and then ask them whether the line appears longer or shorter. The issue here would be that, for some subjects, knowing that they are looking at the same line would influence the response and, likewise, for some subjects, knowing that a difference is expected would influence their response.A better test would be to set up lines of similar length, some differing and some identical, under lights of different colours and then ask the subjects which line is longest. Still not perfect, but I could refine it further from there.What I would not do, under any circumstances, is send out a survey to people asking, "Hey, have you ever looked at a line under a blue light and thought that it looked long?" That would acheive nothing at all and, furthermore, would make me look like an idiot with no understanding of scientific methodology, thus meaning that, when I do run my actual experiment (with four participants and no controls) I would be less likely to be taken seriously by anyone at all.Now, maybe that isn't right and maybe I shouldn't look at the telephone video data and immediately think that, since methods 1 and 2 in the experiment were junk, the data from method 3 looks less convincing, but there you go – I am only human and my perceptions are coloured (no pun intended) by prior evidence of competence. Perhaps if I could examine the actual tapes I might be more convinced, but as it stands the fact that statistical significance was acheived in the later experiments doesn't convince me. Sheldrake just doesn't seem to have enough grasp of experimental methods for me to believe his data; even when what is said about the methodology seems sound, the experiments are incomplete (tests with the call receiver randomly selecting the name, for example)

  40. says

    I posted this there:"I remember what it was like to feel intellectually superior to my college professors… I grew out of that phase "It is quite possible to make your point without irrelevant ad hominem speculation about the other person's motivations or intellectual deficiencies.You're basically saying "Yes, I remember once thinking like you, when I was less enlightened". This patronising tack sounds bad whether it's an atheist saying "Yes, I remember when I was a religious fool like you", or a Christian saying "Yes, I used to be an arrogant atheist like you.".The former still comes across like a fool, and the latter still comes across as arrogant. That you adopt this approach whilst calling HER arrogant is the height of irony. She's still a student – what's your excuse?

  41. says

    @asdfI believe that technology is not up to speed to actually prove the how it works question.That still makes no sense. What you are claiming is that we do not have the technology to detect psychic phenomenon. But, somehow, people detect it all the time without technology, except that it "goes away" under a controlled, double blind test.Answer honestly: Can you detect any of the 50,000,000 neutrino's that are passing through your body every day? Yet, people have built detectors which allow us to detect these particles which almost leave no trace of their passing.Have you witnessed the cosmic microwave background? Yet we have sent spacecraft into bizarre orbits of the sun which have detected this radiation to an incredible accuracy, allowing us to determine how the "big bang" unfolded right until 10E-36 seconds after the expansion started.Have you ever seen an atom? If you go here you can see the letters IBM spelled out with atoms and "photographed" using a scanning tunneling microscope. But you would be oblivious to the letters without the technology.Technology has amplified our sensory capability. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, that human beings have experienced which cannot be amplified, in one way or another, through technology. Got voices in your head? With the right drugs, they won't be just voices, but they will take form and allow you to see them. Get a shiver down your spine, we can turn it into hypothermia. So, if psychic phenomenon exist, we should be able to 1) identify them and 2) amplify them so that we can study them. Unfortunately, every time we have even tried to identify them, it has turned out to be a fraud at worst, or just someone uninformed at best.And the standard "excuse" of "not enough research money" is bull. Set up an experiment, get results, and even if you don't get money from the NSF, you will get it from James Randi. Here is the FAQ (including debunking all the "the money isn't real" garbage.) Just 1) tell them what you are going to do and 2) do it! Pretty simple if it's real.If you are then trying to claim that "just because we can't detect it now, doesn't mean it's not real" I will allow you some leeway. But then I will ask you what your basis for belief is?Consider, someone in 1800 claiming that invisible rays coming from the stars will go through your body and expose photographic plates, so that your bones can be seen. That guy would have been rightly considered a crackpot. In 1900, there was no basis for holding that belief at all. There was no evidence, and there was no way that someone could have "felt" those rays. Sure, we could look back and say "spooky", but it still would have been more likely to be coincidence that he made the claim, not any real knowledge.

  42. says

    @meCan you detect any of the 50,000,000 neutrino'sDammit…off by a factor of 1000 and a penalty for illegal use of apostrophe…50,000,000,000 neutrinos

  43. says

    asdf wrote:I believe that technology is not up to speed to actually prove the how it works question.We're not asking for HOW it works, first we need to see IF it works. You (and Sheldrake and Radin) are making a claim, that there is some effect out there.Just demonstrate that there really is, with a well-controlled experiment. Sheldrake and Radin are laughing stocks because they can't see past their own biases enough to realize that they have major biases.

  44. says

    My cat is at my window, every time I come home, except those times shes not and is sleeping on my bed. That means she is psychic! Or she likes sitting the sun and the fact she goes running to the window every time a car goes by or someone walks by. Psychic, I tells you, psychic!!!!!!!11!!!oneone!!eleventy!!!!

  45. says

    @curt cameronIt would appear as if there is significant data in my eyes. But the whole psi phenomena doesn't interest me so I didn't bother spending any more then a couple of hours pouring over a good deal of documents. I'm not sure of the amount of proof that exists but I believe it is sufficient. Since I'm also not a scientist with any credentials I wouldn't exactly know what constitutes sufficient evidence, for a phenomena to be considered existent.I would warn many people even remotely interested in psi at all to look at the most recent studies. Many of the first studies are wrong, and many people believe that because these studies in the field, at an early age means it's all false. Is science progresses and people learn of mistakes science becomes more accurate. Psychology has gone through this process recently and the same goes for parapsychology.@maddogdeltaJust because we have the technology to do so doesn't mean we can figure it out. Sure we can detect neutrinos. But can we decode the spin of several to a viable computing language that the brain uses? This is one of the main points of how psi works, that is hard to address. We can detected 50,000,000 neutrinos but we don't know if the brain is a quantum computer or a simple digital/analog combination. If the brain is simply a digital/analog system then that would clearly put all claims of psi with the claims of religion. But the evidence points to otherwise. "And the standard "excuse" of "not enough research money" is bull. Set up an experiment, get results, and even if you don't get money from the NSF, you will get it from James Randi. Here is the FAQ (including debunking all the "the money isn't real" garbage.) Just 1) tell them what you are going to do and 2) do it! Pretty simple if it's real."No one has made this claim. That is your second strawman already. YOU FAIL, GOOD DAY TO YOU SIR.

  46. says

    @asdf but we don't know if the brain is a quantum computer or a simple digital/analog combination.You used the word "quantum". Could you do us all a favor and show us the solution to Schrodinger's equation for a Hydrogen atom, demonstrating the eigenvalues for the allowed energy states? If you can, then you will have demonstrated a basic knowledge of quantum mechanics which will allow intelligent discussion of the word "quantum"If not, you are simply echoing brainless babble from the likes of Sheldrake, Chopra, and Radin.No one has made this claim. That is your second strawman already. YOU FAIL, GOOD DAY TO YOU SIR.ummm…. actually it is a very common claim. Sheldrake and Gary E. Schwartz (University of Arizona) have both whined about the lack of funding for their research. Here is a link to an interview where Sheldrake whines about it. And this issue of Swift, the transcript of a Larry King show with Sylvia Browne as a guest, has her whining about the money.So, many people have claimed that there is no money in the research and that the Randi prize is fake. Since the Randi prize is real, that's $1,000,000 for any researcher if they can demonstrate any reality to their claims. But it goes unclaimed. Hmmmm.I don't suppose you could point out the strawmen you claim I am posting. I provided links illustrating that the psychic crowd claims that money isn't available (including the $1,000,000 Randi prize) are false. I also provided links which demonstrate that these complaints are real and not strawmen.Your claim that psi is not spoonbending, telekinesis or any of that other "woo" stuff is interesting. So what is it? You claim there is new evidence, is there a link we can look at? Or do we have to take your word for it?

  47. Martin says

    Matthew C: yes, Jaytee occasionally went to the window when his owner was not coming home, but went to the window A LOT MORE AND STAYED A LOT LONGER when she was on the way home.Matthew, if Sheldrake and his supporters are citing that (and I must restate that I saw Wiseman's video and there wasn't any real indication of it) as some evidence for psychic dog powers, I can only say A) you're a sillier bunch than I thought and B) most certainly are not dog owners. The revelation that a dog would eagerly anticipate its owner's return from work is something any dog owner would greet with a resounding "Duh!"As any dog owner will tell you — and I'm a lifelong dog owner — they are very much creatures of habit. They get used to routines very easily, and any dog training guide will emphasize getting your dog used to routines as a way of building good behavior and bonding with your pet.So if Jaytee was accustomed to her owner coming home from work every day at around the same time, then yes, you would see her becoming more antsy and excited as that time of day approached. Does this prove she's psychic? Well…no. What does it prove? That she's a frakkin' dog! :-DSo I fear Sheldrake has a little more work to do before establishing the existence of canine psi. He could start by disabusing himself of some basic ignorance of the behavior of the species. His fans should join him in that.Dogmatic: Richard Wiseman had admitted that his data flat out replicated Rupert Sheldrake's data.Go ask him.Seriously.Dogmatic, what part of my comment did you either skip over, or were too thick to understand? Like, the part where I stated I DID TALK TO WISEMAN. Wiseman told an entire audience at TAM5 the exact opposite of what you're claiming he said, and he SHOWED US HIS VIDEO to back it up.Which makes you, on the basis of the statement above, a liar, doesn't it?Dogmatic => DIsmissed.

  48. says

    "You used the word "quantum". Could you do us all a favor and show us the solution to Schrodinger's equation for a Hydrogen atom, demonstrating the eigenvalues for the allowed energy states? If you can, then you will have demonstrated a basic knowledge of quantum mechanics which will allow intelligent discussion of the word "quantum"If not, you are simply echoing brainless babble from the likes of Sheldrake, Chopra, and Radin.">> lol are you serious? Fine, I won't talk about quantum mechanics, even though all I did was mention the word and not any specific theories. But then you must admit that all the evidence that point towards the brain as a quantum computer are false. But seeing as you don't have data for that, you can STFU.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16398586?dopt=AbstractSecondly, if your going to use TV mediums and people who claim to speak with spirits, please refrain from talking.You couldn't look up psi in a wiki somewhere?http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ParapsychologyThere are names of the journals you can google at the bottom. I don't feel like posting them right now. I know it's the person who makes the claim to provide evidence and all, but I really don't care all that much. I'm not some nutjob who looks at at random phone call and thinks: OMG it's telepathy I knew it was a telemarketer. Nor am I the type to see dreams as some spiritual realm or believe that NDE's or OBE's are some proof of an afterlife.I'd rather not continue this conversation if you address points that somebody made on a different site (Lack of money claims). Neither will I converse with a person who believes that we know enough about the human brain to say with certainty that all psi claims are invalid. Enjoy your reply nooblet.

  49. says

    I find it funny that he cites the Wiki artical without apparently actually reading it."In contrast, the consensus of the scientific community is that psychic abilities have not been demonstrated to exist.[6][7][8][9][10] Critics argue that methodological flaws may explain any apparent experimental successes.[11] The status of parapsychology as a science has also been disputed.[12] Many scientists regard the discipline as pseudoscience because parapsychologists continue investigation although no one has demonstrated conclusive evidence of psychic abilities in more than a century of research.[13][14][15]Laboratory and field research is conducted through private institutions and a relatively small number of universities worldwide.[16] Privately-funded units at universities in the United Kingdom are among the most active today.[17] In the US, interest in research peaked in the 1970s and university-based research is now slight, although private institutions still receive considerable funding.[18] Most of the recent parapsychology research is published in a small number of niche journals"Let me restate what i thought was MOST important "…no one has demonstrated conclusive evidence of psychic abilities in more than a century of research."More fun bits from the wiki"Additionally, the methods of parapsychologists are regarded by some critics, including those who wrote the science standards for the California State Board of Education,[6] to be pseudoscientific.[49] Some of the more specific criticisms state that parapsychology does not have a clearly defined subject matter, an easily repeatable experiment that can demonstrate a psi effect on demand, nor an underlying theory to explain the paranormal transfer of information.[50] James E. Alcock, Professor of Psychology at York University, said that few of parapsychology's experimental results have prompted interdisciplinary research with more mainstream sciences such as physics or biology. Alcock states that parapsychology remains an isolated science to such an extent that its very legitimacy is questionable,[51] and as a whole is not justified in being labeled "scientific".[52] Many in the scientific community consider parapsychology a pseudoscience because it continues to explore the hypothesis that psychic abilities exist, despite a century of experimental results that fail to conclusively demonstrate that hypothesis"Damn…everything asserted about Psy is bunked by the Wiki artical that's supposed to support your opinion. "Neither will I converse with a person who believes that we know enough about the human brain to say with certainty that all psi claims are invalid."What a nice way to maintain willful ignorance.

  50. says

    @asdf http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16398586?dopt=Abstract Your 'evidence' is an article, from 2005 from the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine? Do you have any credible sources? JACM is well known for publishing articles which have absolutely no scientific basis for the conclusions reached in the article.On top of that, you posted the link to an abstract. I guess posting the actual article might reveal that the methodology is as flawed as Sheldrake's.So, you don't understand what "quantum" means, yet you claim that the brain is a "quantum" computer…. um..do you know what a computer is? I mean, like, how it works… with logic gates, truth tables and all that. Do you understand that the way that a computer functions, and the way the brain functions are two very dissimilar items? That when cognitive psychologists use computer analogies to study the brain, they are just that analogies, not precise models?But seeing as you don't have data for that, you can STFU.STFU? That is the best you have? Someone points out your complete, breathtaking ignorance when you open your mouth and your solution is to tell that person to STFU? Protip: The best way to cure ignorance is to become educated. By telling those who are debating you to STFU demonstrates intellectual capacity on the level of Bill O'Reilly.Yes, that is meant to be an insult.

  51. says

    @Martin"So if Jaytee was accustomed to her owner coming home from work every day at around the same time, then yes, you would see her becoming more antsy and excited as that time of day approached. Does this prove she's psychic? Well…no. What does it prove? That she's a frakkin' dog! :-D"It really wouldn't hurt to look at the actuall paper. It's free online. If your already made up your mind then thats fine, but you should be talking out of your ass and making silly assumptions like that."In a pre-planned series of 12 experiments with randomly selected return times, Jaytee was left atPS parents' flat and PS did not know in advance when she would be returning. Nor were herparents informed. In all these experiments, PS travelled in her own car.PS was beeped on a telephone pager when it was time to set off home. On most occasions, therandom selection of the times and the beeping of PS were done by RS, who was in London, over300 km away. On two occasions (on 19 November 1996 and 1 July 1997) the selection of randomtimes and the beeping was done by another person in London who was unknown to PS or Jaytee""to check that Jaytee was not reacting to the sound of PS's car or other familiarvehicles, we investigated whether he still anticipated her arrival when she traveled by unusualmeans: by bicycle, by train and by taxi."

  52. Martin says

    Posted free online? Well, that's more impressive than in a peer reviewed journal, for sure. (Oh, I forgot, that whole conspiracy by the Skeptic Mafia and all.) Well, where's the paper, and the proof that JT was psychic? What controls were in place to show JT wasn't responding to any of a hundred other outside stimuli? And why, if, as Sheldrake has claimed, Wiseman duplicated his protocols and got his exact same results, does Wiseman's video show the exact opposite? Still not sold on psychic dogs here, sorry.

  53. says

    I actually had a major point/thought to post against the parapsycology people, but was sort of sitting on it due to thinking i might do my own blog thing…but you know what, screw it I'll leave that to the experts like Martin, etc and just focus on my true love of mocking media.Ahem…psionic defenders. The main thing that separates psuedoscience from real stuff is that real scientific work is meant to convince skeptics. The idea is to present your data and results in such way as to make an airtight case against your critics. You in fact welcome the criticism and invite it. A major part of a good scientific paper is to write possible criticisms you expect to get, and explain what steps you took to ensure your experiment takes that into account. You state what could have caused a skew in your results, and if possible say why that is unlikely. Psionic research does not take into account the possibility of such problems. They do not address criticisms in their own work. They do not invite criticism or skepticism. Unlike real science they are offended by it and get personally defensive. A psion studies typically do not state WHY their results cannot be due to experimental problems, bias or statistical flubbing. It's cargo cult science, they're going through the motions but forgetting the important parts of it.

  54. says

    @ Robert…"using science to try and determine our morals, political or economic systems, is not appropriate, and trying to use science to prove your position on those things is an act of scientism"…Yes, but…In law, ethics, political and economical decision making, there is a factual base for claims that are the foundation of the decision. These facts are what science is about (description of reality) The decision is directly dependant on the economic model and ethical or legal system.So, science might be what it takes to make an argument in favour of a posture, especially if one wants it to be sound and valid.

  55. says

    @MartinI'm not trying to convert you or anything. Im merely pointing out your biased outlook on the subject. Not even taking the time to look at the data of what your arguing against….well it says alot."Well, where's the paper, and the proof that JT was psychic? What controls were in place to show JT wasn't responding to any of a hundred other outside stimuli?"Again all the controls are explained in the paper. Ofcourse its possible that the same "uncontrolled stimuli" occurred every time when the owner was coming home, it's unlickely but possible. The final conclusion is that it's statistically significant, nothing more. As for Wiseman, cant really comment. If he showed a few minutes of video where the dog goes to the window randomly, what does that prove? The dog goes to the window in Sheldrakes experiments too. Because it's statistics, you measure how many minutes spent at the window when the owner was coming home vs. the rest of the time spent at the window. The graphs are on the paper also.

  56. says

    Publish in the Journal of Neuroscience or I'd even accept the Journal of Psycology (soft science though it may be). Why won't he publish in any journal that doesn't assume he's right?Sheldrake published one of his research in a scientific journal with impact factor:Testing a Return-Anticipating Dog, Kane. Anthrozoös, (2000) 13, 203-212 Now, if you want paranormal phenomena with extensive replication published in a neuroscientific journal, or Nature, or Science… here it go!01. DUANE, T. D. & BEHRENDT, T. Extrasensory electroencephalographic induction between identical twins. Science, v. 150, p. 367, 1965;02. WALLACE, R. K. & UNDRITH, G. S. Intersubject EEG coherence: is consciousness a field? International Journal of Neuroscience, v. 16, p. 203-209, 198203. REBERT, C. S. & TURNER, A. EEG spectrum analysis techniques applied to the problem of psi phenomena. Behavioral Neuropsychiatry, v. 6, p. 18-24, 1974;04. TARG. R. & PUTHOFF, H. Information transmission under conditions of sensory shielding. Nature, v. 251, p. 602-607, 1974.05. GRINBERG-ZYLBERBAUM, J. & RAMOS, J. Patterns of interhemispheric correlation during human communication. International Journal of Neuroscience, v. 36, p. 41-53, 1987.06. GRINBERG-ZYLBERBAUM, J.; DELAFLOR, M.; SANCHEZ, M. E. & GUEVARA, M. A. Human communication and the electrophysiological activity of the brain. Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine, v. 3, p. 25-43, 1993;07. GRINBERG-ZYLBERBAUM, J.; DELAFLOR, M.; ATTIE, L. & GOSWAMI, L. The Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox in the brain: the transferred potential. Physics Essays, v. 7, p. 422-428, 1994;08. RICHARDS, T. & KOZAK, L. Evidence of correlated functional MRI signals between distant human brains. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, v. 9, p. 122-128, 200309. WACKERMANN, J.; SEITER, C.; KEIBEL, H. & WALLACH, H. Correlations between brain electrical activities of two spatially separated human subjects. Neuroscience Letters, v. 336, p. 60-64, 2003.10. STANDISH, L. J.; KOZAK, I.; JOHNSON, L. C. & RICHARDS, T. Electroencephalographic evidence of correlated event-related signals between the brains of spatially and sensory isolated human subjects. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, v. 10, p. 307-314, 2004;11. RADIN, D. L Event-related EEG correlation between isolated human subjects. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, v. 10, p. 315-324, 2004.12. STANDISH, L. J.; KOZAK, I.; JOHNSON, L. C. & RICHARDS, T. Replicable Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Evidence of Correlated Brain Signals Between Physically and Sensory Isolated Subjects The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Dec 2005, Vol. 11, No. 6: 955-963Is it good enough for you?

  57. says

    And the peer review of those studies shot down his conclusions. That's how it goes. The point of publishing is to convince your critics not give your supporors weight. Psi studies have failed to do that and rather than rise to the occasion and address criticisms in their methodology or the contrary conclusions in recreations bitch about it. That's not good, not good.

  58. says

    We cited a few damn few with the scientists who worked with him or redid the experiments.Here's the thing, you are judged as a reputable scientist not by how much you publish but by where it's published and even less well known, how much your paper is cited by others. It's citement as a source is a judgement of it's viability in its feild. Psi research does not contribute to the rest of its scientific studies. It doesn't fit into it's feilds. I mean…we listed why there are problems with its evidence and methodology. There are ample ways you can prove it but don't. That's the problem. Until they find a way to convince people who are skeptical with evidence it's not good science. Here's an example. If psionics are part of the brain's natural process, it should be detected by MRI or similar nerial activity monitoring. Someone who makes guesses using clarvoyance and precognicance should have a) better than chance "hits" (significantly so) and b) parts of his brain lighting up that people just guessing do not have. If he's just imagining it like non-precogs do and pretending to see answers than the brain should work the same way as the guesser. To double blind it, there are three groups, Fraudes (actors), pre-cogs (people who think they are pre-cogs), and random sampling (non-precog, non-actors). Proctors do not know who is what group. Idealy the results should not be viewed until all subjects are tested to further blind proctors to any possible bias. If our hypothesis is correct and psionics are a product of the brain we can expect those with snigifcant higher than adverage hit rates should show different mental activity than people either acting or guessing. If someone shows higher hit rate and no different mental activity it can be assumed that this is either a) luck/stastical outlier, b) supernatural or c) cheating; either of which mean it is not evidence for psionics. The actual experiment should be repeated at least, (either 3 different tests or 3 different subject sets). Let's say one test has the classic, square, triangle, circle, wave cards. The next is guessing playing card draws, the third is a placebo trick like where the card 'drawn' does not change at all and is the same each time. A possible 4th study for additional data may be to do each test twice, one with the proctor shielded from the testee behind a screen the other face to face to see if precognitive ability has any connection to body language reading. Most psionic studies are NOT air tight and go under the presumption of psy, rather than testing whether it is true. No statistics have been better than chance and the better the experiment the less the chance of finding 'evidence' for psi is.

  59. says

    James,I think the studies below are exatly what you are asking for.01-The Neuropsychiatry of Paranormal Experiences Journal of Neuropsychiatry & Clinical Neurosciences 13:515-524, November 2001 Michael A. PersingerWe have measured two individuals who have been considered the best examples of psychics. The first, Sean Harribance, is a middle-aged man who sustained at least two brain traumas as a child and adolescent. Several neuropsychological assessments have indicated he displays deficits for tasks that typically involve the right parietal and occipital regions. Mr. Harribance states that he perceives quick images, usually in the upper left visual field, about the person with whom he is speaking or the picture that he is touching. The pictures are touched face down. The information, which he reports spontaneously, contains extremely detailed as well as general statements that far exceed a cold reading. In one study we asked 3 different people to supply 10 photographs, each, of single individuals of their family. Mr. Harribance generated narratives while holding each of these pictures, face down. The narratives were then typed and given to the person who supplied the pictures. Under double-blind conditions, the person read each narrative and indicated who he or she thought it might be. Whereas chance expectancy would be 1 out of 10, the participants accurately identified between 6 and 8 of the 10 narratives as the specific people. The neural mechanism by which this information, which is highly specific, is extracted by Mr. Harribance remains to be identified. What is clear is that when he engages in this behavior there is an increased uptake of tracer as inferred from [99mTc[SPECT within the paracentral and superior lobule of the parietal lobe of the right hemisphere. As first discovered by Cheryl Alexander (unpublished data), focal enhancements of electroencephalographic activity within the alpha band were conspicuous over his right parieto-occipital region during these activities. The ranked accuracy of each statement is weakly but persistently correlated with the proportion of alpha rhythms generated during bipolar measurements over the occipital lobes. Additional experiments have shown that Mr. Harribance, like many individuals who report paranormal experience, valid or otherwise, shows a marked sensitivity to application of complex magnetic fields over the right hemisphere. Harribance attributes his experiences to a spiritual deity whom he senses as a presence. The repeated application of a complex magnetic field over the right hemisphere, without his awareness, was associated with an increase and decrease in the numbers of these intrusions. During these periods there was a transient increase in power within the gamma band (of comparable magnitude) over the left and the right parietal lobes, resulting in a marked attenuation of the usual hemispheric asymmetry. The sensitivity of this man's brain to complex magnetic fields that have been shown to enhance long-term potentiation in hippocampal slices and to affect hippocampally mediated learning and memory in rats43 can be seen in Figure 2. During the presentation of the long-term potentiation pulses over the right hemisphere, the proportion of alpha rhythms was reduced, but it returned to the previous level when the field was terminated. After several presentations of the field, the response habituated. We also found that the accuracy of his images, as ranked by independent experimenters, decreased when these fields were present and returned to baseline when they were removed.

  60. says

    The second individual with special abilities we have examined was Ingo Swann, a middle-aged artist who developed the process of remote viewing. The procedure was very simple. Pictures from magazines were placed in envelopes and stored in another room. One envelope per trial was selected by a person not involved with the experiment and placed on a table in this room. While Mr. Swann was sitting with another experimenter in an acoustic chamber and drawing his images about the hidden stimulus, electroencephalographic activity was recorded. In our experiments over several days, more than 20 stimuli were employed. Blind rankings by other researchers indicated significant congruence between the stimulus and Mr. Swann's drawings and comments. However, from a neuroscientific perspective the more important discovery was the correlation (r's of about 0.6) between the numbers of unusual 7 Hz spike activity over his occipital (primarily right side source) region and the accuracy of the congruence between the stimuli and his comments (Figure 3). These paroxysmal discharges occurred only when he was engaging in "remote viewing." Later magnetic resonance imaging showed anomalous signals, not expected for his age or history, in the subcortical white matter within the parieto-occipital interface of the right hemisphere. 02-“Neurobehavioral and Neurometabolic (SPECT) Correlates of Paranormal Information: Involvement of the Right Hemisphere and its Sensitivity to Weak Complex Magnetic Fields” International Journal of Neuroscience, Vol 112, No. 2, Feb. 2002, pp. 197-224. Dr. Roll, Dr. Persinger, Dr. Webster, Tiller, Cook.03-Remote viewing with the artist Ingo Swann: neuropsychological profile, electroencephalographic correlates, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and possible mechanisms. Percept Mot Skills. 2002 Jun; 94(3 Pt 1):927-49. Persinger MA, Roll WG, Tiller SG, Koren SA, Cook CM. 04-Disruption of "remote viewing" by complex magnetic fields generated through Windows but not DOS Software around a stimulus site: a pilot study. Percept Mot Skills. 2002; 95: 989-998 PERSINGER, M. A., & KOREN, S. A.Are these studies good enough for you?

  61. says

    This protocol is bad and I will explain why."In one study we asked 3 different people to supply 10 photographs, each, of single individuals of their family. Mr. Harribance generated narratives while holding each of these pictures, face down. The narratives were then typed and given to the person who supplied the pictures. Under double-blind conditions, the person read each narrative and indicated who he or she thought it might be. Whereas chance expectancy would be 1 out of 10, the participants accurately identified between 6 and 8 of the 10 narratives as the specific people."Why woudl you do this? This is…moronic. The narratives can easily provide context known from experience on what the picture might be. They might be Sherlock Holmsing it. Why not do something indeed random and isolated? this just invites outside variables into the experiment. "The neural mechanism by which this information, which is highly specific, is extracted by Mr. Harribance remains to be identified. What is clear is that when he engages in this behavior there is an increased uptake of tracer as inferred from [99mTc[SPECT within the paracentral and superior lobule of the parietal lobe of the right hemisphere. As first discovered by Cheryl Alexander (unpublished data), focal enhancements of electroencephalographic activity within the alpha band were conspicuous over his right parieto-occipital region during these activities. The ranked accuracy of each statement is weakly but persistently correlated with the proportion of alpha rhythms generated during bipolar measurements over the occipital lobes."And their Control group is?….Seriously. Come on people. Him having any reaction means NOTHING if everyone has that reaction regardless of "super powers". " The ranked accuracy of each statement is weakly but persistently correlated with the proportion of alpha rhythms generated during bipolar measurements over the occipital lobes."Having read and written papers, this is grasping at straws. A weak correlation isn't definitive. If they were serious about it they would have investigated this more, isolating variables until they found a strong correlation. Weak corilations can occur by chance or indicate outside factors are sometimes involved. Bad procedure. Let me compare with a real science process I was involved in.My advisor works in equine science. His project was finding the math to calibrate NIR spectroscopy devices for personal small buisness use. This would allow farmers the ability to test manure samples at will instead of using costly wet lab analysis. Now, we did not get our data on manure from one pile…nor did we get it from one horse…NOR ONE FARM. We tested over 800 samples, including some that we knew would be outliers and the NIR wouldn't detect right (such as chicken poo and corn silage). We were blind to the actual make up of the samples, all we knew were the number label. For control the samples were tested by wet lab traditional methods to get the accurate read out. Comparing the two data sets we were able to get an equation for the machine that would fit within acceptable perimeters for personal use. One test subject is near useless. A test without a control is worse than useless it's a waste of fucking money.

  62. says

    01-Why woudl you do this? This is…moronic. The narratives can easily provide context known from experience on what the picture might be.How?02- They might be Sherlock Holmsing it.What do you mean by that?03- Why not do something indeed random and isolated? this just invites outside variables into the experiment. How?04- And their Control group is?….Seriously. Come on people. Him having any reaction means NOTHING if everyone has that reaction regardless of "super powers".Here is their control group:Complex Electromagnetic Field StimulationThe subject's responses to the application of transcerebral magnetic fields were conspicuous. The average numbers of button presses per min (rounded to the nearest whole number) during the 3.3 Hz, LTP, 1.6 Hz, and burst-firing pattern were 12, 22. 8, and 7, respectively. The responses during the no-field conditions ranged between 5 (first interval) and 10 (last interval) presses per min. For the same paradigm, the average person in our studies has displayed between 0 and 3 button presses per pattern.05-Having read and written papers, this is grasping at straws. A weak correlation isn't definitive. If they were serious about it they would have investigated this more, isolating variables until they found a strong correlation. Weak corilations can occur by chance or indicate outside factors are sometimes involved. Bad procedure. Not bad. In fact, they did exatly what you wrote!To discern a possible relationship between the degree of accuracy for the comments and the proportion of alpha rhythms over the occipital area during the statements, one-way analyses of variance (ANOVA) were completed for the proportion of alpha rhythms as a function of the four ratings (incorrect to very specific). To verify that any significant relationship between the degree of accuracy and proportion of alpha rhythms was specific to the real time of the occurrence, lag/lead analyses were completed.The 10th lag was calculated for the rating variables and was employed as the independent variable. Lags 1 through 21 were calculated for the proportion of alpha rhythms. As such, lag 10 for the alpha measure was the same real time as the rating for the statement white lag. 5 for the alpha measure occurred 10 s after the centroid of the statement while a lag of 15 would be die alpha measurements 10 s before the centroid of the statement. All analyses involved SPSS software on a VAX computer. Because the measurements were completed on the same source of variance (the subject) and many of the statistical tests assumed independence between conditions, the values were set at less than .001 for statistical significance.

  63. says

    06-Let me compare with a real science process I was involved in.My advisor works in equine science. His project was finding the math to calibrate NIR spectroscopy devices for personal small buisness use. This would allow farmers the ability to test manure samples at will instead of using costly wet lab analysis. Now, we did not get our data on manure from one pile…nor did we get it from one horse…NOR ONE FARM. We tested over 800 samples, including some that we knew would be outliers and the NIR wouldn't detect right (such as chicken poo and corn silage). We were blind to the actual make up of the samples, all we knew were the number label. For control the samples were tested by wet lab traditional methods to get the accurate read out. Comparing the two data sets we were able to get an equation for the machine that would fit within acceptable perimeters for personal use. One test subject is near useless. A test without a control is worse than useless it's a waste of fucking money.Well…Neuropsychological AssessmentOver a three-day period during 1996, the subject completed a thorough neuropsychological assessment. It involved the administration of approximately 100 norm-referenced and standardized tests (Persinger, 1995; 1999; Persinger & Richards. 1995) that we have routinely administered over the last 10 years to about 300 adult patients who had sustained brain trauma or cerebral damage. The tests included both traditional neuropsychological batteries, as well as those developed more recently to identify specific anomalies. The procedure also involved a neurological screening and tests for intelligence, memory, educational achievement, and personality. All raw scores were converted to z-scores. The profile was interpreted from a clinical context by the second author employing the same methods utilized for patients.Source: “Neurobehavioral and Neurometabolic (SPECT) Correlates of Paranormal Information: Involvement of the Right Hemisphere and its Sensitivity to Weak Complex Magnetic Fields” International Journal of Neuroscience, Vol 112, No. 2, Feb. 2002, pp. 197-224. Dr. Roll, Dr. Persinger, Dr. Webster, Tiller, Cook.

  64. says

    OK it's really at the point where I'd have to repeat myself again and again and you don't get it. So I just politely reject your invitation to join your hallucination.

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