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Author Topic:   Precognition Causality Quantum Theory and Mysticism
Modulous
Member (Idle past 275 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 196 of 237 (532657)
10-25-2009 10:26 AM
Reply to: Message 194 by Kitsune
10-25-2009 8:13 AM


Re: Fields
I take your points about morphic fields, as I have all along really. I think the debates we're seeing here are reflecting the individual attitudes several of us expressed in the pseudoskepticism thread. I agree that there is little evidence for morphic fields, which puts me in the "I don't know" arena. Presumably you are more of the "little evidence means I am doubtful" persuasion.

I'm more concerned that Sheldrake is being as specific as he is when he has no grounds for being so specific.

Maybe some kind of field or fields is/are involved. If gravitational and quantum fields, why not a telepathic field?

I'm not saying it can't be a field. My question is what indicates that it is a field as opposed to some other mechanism?

If you agree that there is no reason to suspect that it might as a result of the action of a field any more than any other possible mechanism - then I put it to you that you agree when Sheldrake says specific things about this field, such as 'individual and collective memories may be stored in morphic fields' he has no scientific grounds for doing so.

He isn't the first or only person to suggest the idea that the brain isn't the repository of consciousness and I find it intriguing. Materialistic reductionists who believe that the physical actions of the brain alone result in consciousness, don't like it for obvious reasons.

Without knowing how one system is meant to communicate with the other - I'm at a loss as to how to really go about testing that they do.

It is my suggestion that instead of trying to come up with some vague hypothesis that creates no specific testable predictions we just concentrate on testing telepathy under a variety of conditions and continue to try and develop a hypothesis that can explain all previous results and allow us to predict future ones.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 194 by Kitsune, posted 10-25-2009 8:13 AM Kitsune has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 198 by Kitsune, posted 10-25-2009 11:20 AM Modulous has acknowledged this reply

  
Kitsune
Member (Idle past 2471 days)
Posts: 788
From: Leicester, UK
Joined: 09-16-2007


Message 197 of 237 (532659)
10-25-2009 11:05 AM
Reply to: Message 195 by Modulous
10-25-2009 10:04 AM


Re: People that Know experiments
Modulous, I've been trying for half an hour to find the second source I used for that post -- the one about the 25-card run -- and to my frustration it eludes me. I'm going to have to say that we can exclude that, since I can't give you any proof, and let the link I did post stand. Separating the subject from the actual cards by a significant distance in another building would seem to eliminate a number of possible problems and opportunities to cheat.

On the one hand you are saying the experiments were a rousing success, demonstrating some kind of ESP. On the other hand you suggest maybe the cards are dull or there wasn't a suitable empathic link.

A "rousing success"? The results were successful 30% of the time, which is statistically significant, but they were still missing 70% of the time. What I had in mind when I said that were other well designed experiments with negative results. If you take a large random sample of people, it will likely include a mix of those who have a talent for the ability, those who have some ability, and those who are poor at it. Probably you would end up with a negligible result, and you would be averaging out the talented individuals you would want to study further.

Many skeptics seem to want spectacular results before they would consider the possibility that a paranormal phenomenon is real. But the controls they often insist on could negatively influence the results. I think it's reasonable to consider the possibility that ESP or telepathy are best demonstrated when someone is relaxed, in a natural environment, and sending a message of importance to someone with whom they have an attachment. Sitting in a lab with people watching you, and pressure from them as well as possibly from oneself for results, could well be counterproductive. I understand the need for a controlled environment but there are surely ways to compromise.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 195 by Modulous, posted 10-25-2009 10:04 AM Modulous has acknowledged this reply

    
Kitsune
Member (Idle past 2471 days)
Posts: 788
From: Leicester, UK
Joined: 09-16-2007


Message 198 of 237 (532660)
10-25-2009 11:20 AM
Reply to: Message 196 by Modulous
10-25-2009 10:26 AM


Re: Fields
I'm more concerned that Sheldrake is being as specific as he is when he has no grounds for being so specific.

Well if someone like Duane Gish makes claims about evidence for a worldwide flood, we can be justifiably indignant because he is deliberately ignoring evidence that shows that this is nonsense. The evidence to the contrary exists.

If we accept that telepathy is real, we currently have no explanation for how it might occur. There are other things that we don't know, which the morphic fields idea attempts to explain. You can't say that Sheldrake is deliberately ignoring a priori evidence to the contrary. He is offering an explanation for phenomena that are not currently understood. I have read about a number of experiments he's proposed or done because he's aware of the need to test his hypothesis, but I can't recall many. They didn't stick in my mind because I feel that they weren't rigorously controlled or even very scientific, more anecdotal in nature. For example, to look at the idea that once something is learned by some members of a species, other members will learn it more quickly even if they're not in contact with each other, he took three short, similar Japanese rhymes -- one a meaningless jumble of disconnected Japanese words, the second a newly-composed verse and the third a traditional rhyme known by millions of Japanese. Neither Sheldrake nor the English schoolchildren he got to memorize these verses knew which was which, nor did they know any Japanese. The most easily-learned rhyme turned out to be the one well-known to Japanese.

This doesn't even begin to prove the existence of morphic fields. IMO it's mildly interesting but nothing more really. While he hopes that his "Dogs that Know" experiments and the "Sense of Being Stared At" experiments demonstrate morphic fields too, I think what they really do is demonstrate the existence of paranormal phenomena (which he would call "normal" since it would presumably have an evolutionary origin).

I'm not saying it can't be a field. My question is what indicates that it is a field as opposed to some other mechanism?

Telepathy appears to be something independent of matter and electromagnetism. Conceivably it could be governed by a field, though I believe fields cannot produce actions -- they need a medium. (Cave Diver can correct me if I've got this wrong.) What that is, I don't know. It's difficult to rule a field out because we don't know where they come from or even in essence what they are. It's interesting to imagine that the future of physics could lie in field theory -- maybe there are a lot more of them in existence, governing more in the physical world than we realise. This is "maybe" though. I see nothing wrong with considering all kinds of possibilities. Testing them is another matter.

I put it to you that you agree when Sheldrake says specific things about this field, such as 'individual and collective memories may be stored in morphic fields' he has no scientific grounds for doing so.

I think there are good reasons for suggesting that the seat of consciousness may not be in the brain. I don't think it's impossible that some of our consciousness arises from sources outside of ourselves. But specific morphic fields -- well while I don't understand a lot of what Sheldrake is saying, then personally I have not yet seen any solid proof of their existence.

It is my suggestion that instead of trying to come up with some vague hypothesis that creates no specific testable predictions we just concentrate on testing telepathy under a variety of conditions and continue to try and develop a hypothesis that can explain all previous results and allow us to predict future ones.

Sounds very sensible to me. This is the original reason I became interested in Sheldrake, before I'd even heard of morphic fields.

Edited by LindaLou, : No reason given.

Edited by LindaLou, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 196 by Modulous, posted 10-25-2009 10:26 AM Modulous has acknowledged this reply

    
onifre
Member (Idle past 1121 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 199 of 237 (532662)
10-25-2009 11:57 AM
Reply to: Message 192 by Kitsune
10-25-2009 6:20 AM


Re: Dogs that Know experiments
What is wrong with this?

The problem is simple. I was taught science in school. Some how, and for some reason, telepathy/paranormal events, etc., were not taught to me in school. So the creationist is out of touch with basic science, in most cases. Where as I have to go out of my way to seek out information on telepathy and paranormal events. Sorry that it wasn't that important to me to research it earlier.

For example, it took less than a minute to Google similar research.

So you seek out sources that support your position? Hmm, interesting debate tactic.

- Oni


This message is a reply to:
 Message 192 by Kitsune, posted 10-25-2009 6:20 AM Kitsune has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 200 by Kitsune, posted 10-25-2009 4:50 PM onifre has responded

    
Kitsune
Member (Idle past 2471 days)
Posts: 788
From: Leicester, UK
Joined: 09-16-2007


Message 200 of 237 (532683)
10-25-2009 4:50 PM
Reply to: Message 199 by onifre
10-25-2009 11:57 AM


Re: Dogs that Know experiments
So you seek out sources that support your position?

I'm letting you know that your source may not be entirely correct, and that it's often a good rule of thumb to look at several sources in order to get a balanced view of a topic. I believe the Skeptics Dictionary is biased, just like a site promoting UFOs and yogic flying and whatnot is biased to the opposite extreme.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 199 by onifre, posted 10-25-2009 11:57 AM onifre has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 201 by onifre, posted 10-25-2009 5:15 PM Kitsune has responded

    
onifre
Member (Idle past 1121 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 201 of 237 (532686)
10-25-2009 5:15 PM
Reply to: Message 200 by Kitsune
10-25-2009 4:50 PM


Re: Dogs that Know experiments
I'm letting you know that your source may not be entirely correct, and that it's often a good rule of thumb to look at several sources in order to get a balanced view of a topic.

When the topic is telepathy and paranormal events (just as if the topic were Intelligent Design) there is no science that is taught to support this, so my lack of knowledge on the subject is not my falut. It's the fault of those claiming that this stuff is real to do the work and bring forth what they find. I've heard about String Theory, M-Theory, Brain Theory, Multiverse Theory, Germ Theory, Theory of Relativity, Atomic Theory, etc.

Where's telepathy/paranormal theory hiding?

There is no "balanced view." There's people who think this stuff is real, and skeptics.

You accuse me of being bias, but you then provided a link to psychicinvestigator.com. You wouldn't consider psychicinvestigator.com bias?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 200 by Kitsune, posted 10-25-2009 4:50 PM Kitsune has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 202 by Kitsune, posted 10-25-2009 5:32 PM onifre has responded

    
Kitsune
Member (Idle past 2471 days)
Posts: 788
From: Leicester, UK
Joined: 09-16-2007


Message 202 of 237 (532687)
10-25-2009 5:32 PM
Reply to: Message 201 by onifre
10-25-2009 5:15 PM


Re: Dogs that Know experiments
I'll try to rephrase the point. I was asking you to be aware that there are other sources that disagree with the Skeptic's Dictionary's conclusions. It omitted the Duke University study I linked to. There are other sources on the web with info about it other than the one you cited. I didn't say I wouldn't personally look at biased sources; in fact I likely would look at any extremes, plus any possible middle-of-the-way interpretations, in order to try to form a balanced view. I think you'd have a hard time explaining why it's sensible to take the word of one source alone, for a topic of which you know little, because it says what you want it to say.

There is no "balanced view." There's people who think this stuff is real, and skeptics.

The balanced view is that there have been successful paranormal experiments as well as unsuccessful ones, and often the results of experiments are debated. Do you deny that the Skeptic's Dictionary missed out information about the experiment I cited and instead focused on negative interpretations of a select few?

Claims of ignorance because you didn't learn this stuff in school are weak, Oni. Nothing stops you from educating yourself. It's up to you whether or not you want to take an interest in the topics under discussion here; but if you join in the discussion with a clear opinion, don't you think it should be an educated one? Just because there is no explanation of how telepathy might work, for instance, does not mean the phenomenon does not exist. I'd be interested in an answer to my earlier question: by your reasoning, would electromagnetism have been "pseudoscience" a thousand years ago because no one taught it in school and no one knew what a photon was?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 201 by onifre, posted 10-25-2009 5:15 PM onifre has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 203 by onifre, posted 10-25-2009 5:57 PM Kitsune has responded

    
onifre
Member (Idle past 1121 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 203 of 237 (532689)
10-25-2009 5:57 PM
Reply to: Message 202 by Kitsune
10-25-2009 5:32 PM


Re: Dogs that Know experiments
I think you'd have a hard time explaining why it's sensible to take the word of one source alone, for a topic of which you know little, because it says what you want it to say.

Oh come now Linda, a topic I know little about? What, I'm not familiar with all the anecdotal stuff out there about telepathy? I know enough about telepathy(as I do about witchcraft, magic, ghosts, etc.) to be able to dismiss it as bogus.

Where's the proof for it? There is none. It's wishful thinking on the part of a few people who believe this stuff is real.

Do you deny that the Skeptic's Dictionary missed out information about the experiment I cited and instead focused on negative interpretations of a select few?

No, I believe they mentioned what Rhine thought he was looking at.

Did you read the whole link? At the bottom when they talked about "abusing statistics"...?

quote:

abusing statistics

Radin goes through some of the criticisms made of the card experiments such as using hand shuffling instead of proper randomization procedures and the physical handling of the cards, which might allow the subject to read the card from impressions on the back of the card. He explains how it took some time before researchers realized that letting the subjects handle the cards or envelopes containing the cards opened the door to cheating. They first separated the experimenter and subject by a screen. Later they put them in separate rooms, and even in separate buildings to avoid the possibility of cheating or inadvertent communication by sensory cues.

But there were some things the researchers didn’t seem to consider, such as the relationship of theoretical probabilities with real probabilities. In the 1930s, a magician by the name of John Mulholland asked Walter Pitkin of Columbia University how does one determine the odds against matching pairs with five possible objects. Of course, Mulholland didn’t have a computer to do his dirty work for him, so he printed up 200,000 cards, half red and half blue, with 40,000 of each of the five ESP card symbols. The cards were mechanically shuffled and read by a machine. The result was two lists of 100,000 randomly selected symbols. One list would represent chance distribution of the symbols and the other would represent chance guessing of the symbols. How did they match up? Well, they didn’t. The actual matches and what would be predicted by accepted theoretical odds didn’t match up. The total number was 2% under mathematical expectancy. Runs of 5 matching pairs were 25% under and runs of 7 were 59% greater than mathematical expectancy. The point is not whether these runs are typical in a real world of real randomness or whether they represent some peculiarity of the shuffling machine or some other quirk. The point is that Rhine assumed that statistical probability, which assumes true randomness and a very large number of instances, applies without further consideration to decks of 25 cards shuffled who knows how or how often.

Rhine and all other psi researchers have assumed that any significant departure from the laws of chance is evidence of something paranormal. While cheating should be of concern to paranormal investigators, there should be more concern with this assumption. There are two problems with it, one logical and one methodological. The assumption either begs the question (assumes what needs proving, namely that deviation from chance is evidence of psi) or commits the fallacy of affirming the consequent (If it’s psi, then the data will deviate from chance. The data deviate from chance. So, it’s psi.). The assumption is also questionable on methodological grounds. Studies have shown that even when no subjects are used there is significant departure from what would be expected theoretically by chance (Alcock 1981: 159). For example, Harvie “selected 50,000 digits from various sources of random numbers and used them to represent “target cards” in an ESP experiment. Instead of having subjects make guesses, a series of 50,000 random numbers were produced by a computer.” He found a hit rate that was significantly less than what would be predicted by chance “If such significant variation can be produced by comparing random strings with random strings, then the assumption that any significant variation from chance is due to psi seems untenable (Alcock 1981: 158-159).

In any case, it seems to be a bit of an exaggeration for Radin to claim that statistician Burton Camp “finally settled” the issue of the statistical criticisms when he declared that Rhine’s “statistical analysis is essentially valid” (1997: 95-96).

Another example of Rhine’s lack of sophistication with probabilities comes from the fact that when he found subjects who scored consistently below chance, he did not see that this would be expected by the laws of chance. Instead, he took this to be evidence of psychic phenomena. He claimed that subjects who didn't like him would consciously guess wrong to spite him (Park 2000: 42). Some parapsychologists accept this explanation: the phenomenon is termed psi-missing.

Rhine did not convince the scientific community of the reality of ESP, despite his claims that his subjects had been “carefully witnessed” and that he had put into place “special conditions” that “completely eliminates all chance for deception.” That was about as much detail as he gave the world. It wasn’t enough. His lack of detailed documentation simply added to the perception of many skeptics that ESP researchers are too trusting and careless in setting up their protocols.

Parapsychologists generally consider the ganzfeld experiments to be the best evidence for telepathy ever produced in the laboratory, though even these experiments can't distinguish telepathy from clairvoyance.


Claims of ignorance because you didn't learn this stuff in school are weak, Oni.

I'm not claiming ignorance, just as I wouldn't claim ignorance about ghosts, witches and magic. I don't know much about investigating this stuff either, exept the stuff they show on TV. But I don't need to...It's bullshit, there's nothing to have knowledge about.

If you feel knowing a few anecdotal things about telepathy makes you intelligent on the subject then good. I personally don't care to. But I can expose it for being bullshit, as I have done so far.

- Oni


This message is a reply to:
 Message 202 by Kitsune, posted 10-25-2009 5:32 PM Kitsune has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 204 by Kitsune, posted 10-25-2009 6:56 PM onifre has responded

    
Kitsune
Member (Idle past 2471 days)
Posts: 788
From: Leicester, UK
Joined: 09-16-2007


Message 204 of 237 (532691)
10-25-2009 6:56 PM
Reply to: Message 203 by onifre
10-25-2009 5:57 PM


Hiding from the evidence
I know enough about telepathy(as I do about witchcraft, magic, ghosts, etc.) to be able to dismiss it as bogus.

And yet you have made no real attempt to show that this is anything but your own a priori determination. You stick to what one website tells you and claim that it's irrelevant or beneath you to look at any evidence to the contrary.

Here is a source that you might try looking at:
Extrasensory Perception
I believe it gives a balanced view of Rhine's experiments, which includes valid criticisms. The door is still left well open for the possibility that the positive results were genuine.

For example, I asked you to look at the protocols for the Pearce experiments where he was in another building from where the cards were being drawn. You have consistently ignored this.

As for the statistical problems cited in your source, this source says:

Many prominent mathematicians in the field of probability who have made a detailed investigation have approved his techniques. In fact, in 1937 the American Institute of Statistical Mathematics issued a statement that Rhine's statistical procedures were not in the least faulty. In most experiments, both significant and chance results were reported and averaged into the data.

Interestingly, your source also insists that laws of probability should explain any anomalous results. The odds may be great at times, but it happens. One problem is that if ESP were a real phenomenon, here is an instant way of dismissing every single experiment by claiming that it is just a normal function of probability.

Let's look at some statistics from these particular experiments:

Between 1880 and 1940, 145 empirical ESP studies were published using 77,796 subjects who made 4,918,186 single trial guesses. These experiments were mostly conducted by psychologists and other scientists. In 106 such studies, the authors arrived at results exceeding chance expectations.

The more trials that occur, the more the statistics ought to average out to pure chance. Are almost 5 million trial guesses not enough for you? I can cite other paranormal experiments besides these where the results were consistently above chance statistically: not equalling chance and not below. Then there's the "Dogs that Know" experiments: in Wiseman's trials, Jaytee was at the window 4% of the time when Pam was not coming home, and 78% of the time when she was. Yet in the experiments where she came home late (after the 4-hour videotaped time period) or not at all, the results agreed with the null hypothesis that Jaytee would be at the window the same amount of time during all the time periods.

It's clear to me, and probably anyone else reading this, that you have gone Straggler's route of denial and bluster. You will not look at the actual evidence and are routinely using logical fallacies as arguments. Unless you have anything new to contribute then I can't see the use of carrying on with this particular discussion. Maybe you could try looking back at some of your comments with a critical eye and consider the thought processes they are reflecting.

Edited by LindaLou, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 203 by onifre, posted 10-25-2009 5:57 PM onifre has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 206 by onifre, posted 10-26-2009 12:46 PM Kitsune has responded
 Message 207 by Straggler, posted 10-26-2009 3:33 PM Kitsune has not yet responded

    
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 205 of 237 (532782)
10-26-2009 11:53 AM
Reply to: Message 193 by Kitsune
10-25-2009 7:55 AM


"I Am Open Minded. You Are Closed Minded"
"I am open minded. You are closed minded". This has become something of a mantra for some here at EvC. But what is actually meant by this?

Well for a start it seems to mean that any criticism of ones arguments can be summarily dismissed. Rather than confront the paucity of evidence in favour of specific extraordinary claims or concede the demonstrated weakness of their position the "open minded" contingent simply flounce off shouting "At least I am open minded". As if this provides some sort of moral victory regardless of any other argument. But aside from this self congratulatory and self deceiving method of denying evidential reality is there anything else that underlies the "I am open minded" mantra?

Scratch beneath the surface and I think the root of this self proclaimed open mindedness amounts to the following: "There must be something here. Not everyone can be lying. Not everyone can be wrong. Not everyone is deluded. You cannot just dismiss the inconvenient experiences of so many of us as irrelevant and untrue". This is definitely the angle from which Sheldrake approaches these issues. From multiple past conversations with our "open minded" contingent here at EvC there can be little doubt that they too take a similar approach to anecdotal or subjective "evidence" as applied to the supernatural or paranormal.

Sheldrake writes:

For me, the most persuasive and important evidence is the fact that so many people believe they’ve actually had telepathic experiences. Most people, indeed, according to surveys in Britain, Europe, America and all round the world, believe they’ve had these experiences. Now, some might say, and in fact Lewis Wolpert would say, that this is, in fact, an illusion, that they have been coincidences and they’ve wrongly believed these to be telepathic. Tricks of memory, forgetting when they’re wrong, only remembering when they’re right and so forth, but the fact is millions, hundreds of millions, in fact, billions of perfectly normal, rational people, believe that they’ve had these experiences. Can they all be wrong and so easily deluded? Secondly, there have been many collections of case histories, stories of peoples’ telepathic experiences. These are generally dismissed, in their entirety, as being anecdotal. Sheldrake Wolpert Debate

There are a number of problems with this argument. The main problem is that it is a very evidenced possibility that so many people can in fact be entirely wrong. The human mind is demonstrably and collectively fallible with regard to such beliefs. The second problem is one of consistency. There are numerous beliefs held by a great many people that the proponents of open mindedness are perfectly happy to treat as completely untrue to all practical intents and purposes. The third problem is circularity of argument. Effectively citing belief itself as evidence upon which to justify belief.

Those here who claim to be "open minded" are not open minded at all. Quite the opposite in fact. They have a preconceived paradigm that includes somethingsupernatural and they resist any evidence based challenge to this with the mantra "You are closed minded". Meanwhile they seek to shoehorn the supernatural into whatever gap they think science has left open. Whether it is telepathic dogs, prophetic parrots or ethereal morphic fields of information unhindered by time or space the answer is the same. Somethingsupernaturaldidit. It may be dressed up in the language of physics, in particular the sort of quantum quackery beloved of fraudsters like Sheldrake and his pseudoscientific allies. But ultimately it is no different as an answer to Goddidit. Somethingsupernatural of the gaps is no more valid than the God of the gaps argument it so closely resembles.

So the next time someone here recites the mantra "I am open minded. You are closed minded" ask yourself this: Are they genuinely open minded? Or is that mantra just a method of disguising paucity of argument and underlying unjustifiable assumptions about the nature of evidence as well as deep seated unshakeable beliefs about the existence of "the unknowable"? All encapsulated in a self congratulatory phrase that gives the false veneer of intellectual superiority.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 193 by Kitsune, posted 10-25-2009 7:55 AM Kitsune has not yet responded

  
onifre
Member (Idle past 1121 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 206 of 237 (532789)
10-26-2009 12:46 PM
Reply to: Message 204 by Kitsune
10-25-2009 6:56 PM


Re: Hiding from the evidence
And yet you have made no real attempt to show that this is anything but your own a priori determination.

I won't deny an a priori position of being skeptical to claims that revolve around the supernatural - (and I think I've made it clear in other threads as to why I hold to that). I honestly see no reason to be otherwise.

You stick to what one website tells you and claim that it's irrelevant or beneath you to look at any evidence to the contrary.

This position has nothing to do with what ONE website tells me. I've experienced enough on my own to make the determination. In fact, it's easy with telepathy. I'm not telepathic. I don't need an experiment to point out anomalies, and then tell me that it's possible due to these anomalies. I'm human, I have a mind, and I lack telepathic abilities. Now, you would have to explain why an entire species is not telepathic but for a few people?

If we evolve alone the same path, all of us sharing the same abilities, why would I not be telepathic while a few others claim to be? It doesn't make any sense, not in the least.

If it were a common ability, claimed by many, many people, then I'd say there's good reason to investigate. But for now, it doesn't seem to be common, it doesn't seem worth my time, and a few assertions by a very, very small group of believers does nothing to sway my opinion.

One problem is that if ESP were a real phenomenon

Then why do I, and every single person I know personally, not claim to have this ability? - (We can take a pole on this site to see if anyone claims to be telepathic, if you'd like?)

Maybe you could try looking back at some of your comments with a critical eye and consider the thought processes they are reflecting.

Fair enough, and I will.

I'd like to point out though, that I'm not denying anyone the right to conduct any experiment, and I think that if they do carry out such experiments, in an honest fashion using the scientific method, their work should be peer-reviewed and an overall concensus should be drawn as to the veracity of the conclusions.

But, at the same time, I also see that there is no concensus on these results, that it is still held as pseudoscience, and it is still considered far from establishing any conclusive results by people who are experienced in science.

If it wasn't as I say it was, if there was a general concensus that it might be true, then universities would be littered with these departments working on these experiments. They are not - and that is no reflection on science, but a reflection on the lack of results from the paranormal community.

Perhaps the onus is not on me to believe anything, but on them to provide convincing results.

As an example: I don't deny evolution, the Big Bang, or gravity, nor do I believe you deny them either. So why is it that we can agree on one set of evidence, but not on the other? I don't have an a priori belief in any of those other theories, yet I agree with the evidence. You agree with the evidence as well, and anyone who looks into it properly will also agree with the evidence. So why is paranormal evidence so unconvincing to the general public and the scientific community?

Is your best answer that, we have an a priori position of denying it? Doesn't THAT sound like the exact same argument creationist put forth as to why scientist deny god had a hand in creation - because science has a naturalist a priori stance?

To me, that's a weak argument on their part, and if you're bring the same reasoning into your argument, IMO, it's also a weak argument on your part.

That's what you need to look at in an un-bias way, the fact that the evidence fails to convince such a large group of intellectual people who deal with investigating our world on a daily basis.

- Oni

Edited by onifre, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 204 by Kitsune, posted 10-25-2009 6:56 PM Kitsune has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 210 by Kitsune, posted 10-27-2009 7:50 AM onifre has responded
 Message 217 by rueh, posted 10-28-2009 11:52 AM onifre has responded

    
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 207 of 237 (532807)
10-26-2009 3:33 PM
Reply to: Message 204 by Kitsune
10-25-2009 6:56 PM


Teach The Controversy?
The more trials that occur, the more the statistics ought to average out to pure chance. Are almost 5 million trial guesses not enough for you? I can cite other paranormal experiments besides these where the results were consistently above chance statistically: not equalling chance and not below. Then there's the "Dogs that Know" experiments: in Wiseman's trials, Jaytee was at the window 4% of the time when Pam was not coming home, and 78% of the time when she was. Yet in the experiments where she came home late (after the 4-hour videotaped time period) or not at all, the results agreed with the null hypothesis that Jaytee would be at the window the same amount of time during all the time periods.

So telepthay is overwhelmingly evidenced but there is a huge conspiracy underway to suppress this fact.

It's clear to me, and probably anyone else reading this, that you have gone Straggler's route of denial and bluster.

Are you going to tell us we should teach the controvesy next?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 204 by Kitsune, posted 10-25-2009 6:56 PM Kitsune has not yet responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 208 of 237 (532815)
10-26-2009 4:05 PM
Reply to: Message 182 by Izanagi
10-23-2009 8:20 PM


Re: Prediction Vs Post-Hoc Analysis
So yes, predictive quality is important

When I was a teacher I used to occasionally do an exercise with my classes. We would take a random and far out claim and discuss how it could be tested scientifically if money, resource etc. etc. were not an issue. Whilst telepthic dogs never came up it is exactly the sort of thing that could easily have arisen.

The kids soon got the idea of control groups, eliminating false positives and the need for specific predicted results measured against actual experimental data as opposed to post-hoc interpreted results or generalised predictions of the "I predict my hypothesis will be proved right" type.

I seriously reckon that some of my kids would have picked holes as large as craters in Sheldrake's dog experiment.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 182 by Izanagi, posted 10-23-2009 8:20 PM Izanagi has not yet responded

  
Perdition
Member (Idle past 1408 days)
Posts: 1593
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


Message 209 of 237 (532825)
10-26-2009 5:09 PM
Reply to: Message 191 by Kitsune
10-25-2009 5:54 AM


Re: Dogs that Know experiments
And my suggestion: hypothesise that telepathy exists, and design experiments to detect it.

Before you can test for something, you have to define what it is, how it would be different from any case where it doesn't exist, and try to figure out anything that could give you a false positive. If you don't define it, you can't test for it.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 191 by Kitsune, posted 10-25-2009 5:54 AM Kitsune has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 211 by Kitsune, posted 10-27-2009 8:07 AM Perdition has not yet responded

    
Kitsune
Member (Idle past 2471 days)
Posts: 788
From: Leicester, UK
Joined: 09-16-2007


Message 210 of 237 (532909)
10-27-2009 7:50 AM
Reply to: Message 206 by onifre
10-26-2009 12:46 PM


Re: Hiding from the evidence
Hi Onifre,

I wonder why you seem so keen to avoid discussion of successful paranormal experiments? For example, Sheldrake's "Dogs that Know" results, and Wiseman's replication of them, seem clear enough -- but something must have been wrong somewhere, right? And the Duke experiments -- something must have been wrong somewhere?

I'm human, I have a mind, and I lack telepathic abilities. Now, you would have to explain why an entire species is not telepathic but for a few people?

I lack gymnastic abilities. Our entire species seems capable of such things, but I can't do them. Does my lack of ability mean that the ability does not exist, and that people who think it does are guilty of wishful thinking? Well you could tell me to go to a gymnastics meet or watch it on TV. There also is evidence that telepathy is real too. Perhaps some people are better at it than others. What's more, it also seems logical to me that if a person spends their life feeling certain that it does not exist, that also makes it difficult for them to perform the ability. Experimenter bias -- negative as well as positive -- has been known to affect an experiment's results. A skeptic loves to hear that as soon as a fellow skeptic stepped in to help out with a paranormal experiment, it was not a success. The desire for it not to be a success, and the lack of belief in the phenomenon's existence, could conceivably interfere with the production of the phenomenon itself. Sheldrake had reason to believe this was the case in some of his "Sense of Being Stared At" experiments.

But for now, it doesn't seem to be common

I wonder what you are basing this opinion on? You, your friends? Sheldrake has found that many, many people will respond "yes" to the following questions: Does your pet seem to know when its owner is coming home by behaving in a characteristic way? Do you sometimes get the feeling that someone is looking at you, and you turn around and find that this is the case? Have you ever got the feeling when the phone rings that you know who is calling, and it turns out you were right? Of course there could be natural explanations for all of these things, which must be tightly controlled for in experiments. Sheldrake has done so and has had success in all 3 areas. Straggler said earlier that millions, even billions of people claim to have had such experiences, or similar, and then he repeated his old argument that they must simply all be wrong. It's such an obviously biased statement that I've given up trying to debate with him because he just repeats it over and over regardless of what anyone says to him.

their work should be peer-reviewed and an overall concensus should be drawn as to the veracity of the conclusions.

Sheldrake's work is published in peer reviewed journals. So is Dean Radin's and that of many other paranormal researchers.

I wonder where this "overall consensus" would come from. Are we back to the elite group of scientists who run the show, to whom you keep referring? I read a paper recently by a chemist and paranormal researcher who made the point that good science -- science that discovers things and wins awards -- often ends up being done by people who have a clear bias and investment in their work, who use intuition, who "keep at it" even when it looks like they may be wrong; who take a "Let's do this and see what happens" attitude. Those who rigorously follow the scientific method and who are highly skeptical tend to end up producing work which is dry, more or less repeats what has gone before, and lacks innovation. He wasn't saying that scientists should do sloppy work or fly by the seat of their pants, but his point about how your little elite cadre stifles the rest of science was IMO an apt one. If you're interested you can read the paper here -- it's called "What Do We Mean By Scientific?".

Is your best answer that, we have an a priori position of denying it? Doesn't THAT sound like the exact same argument creationist put forth as to why scientist deny god had a hand in creation - because science has a naturalist a priori stance?

Paranormal phenomena such as telepathy are not as demonstrable or physical as a rock or a star. That's one reason. Another is that yes, many people seem to want to actively take the belief that such things can't exist, though the vast majority of them IMO are not aware of their own needs that are involved in these beliefs. Finally, the creationist argument you state above is more of a metaphysical one, since we're not looking at evolution or a 6,000 year old earth but the idea of whether a god created the universe. I think that is unprovable because a god could have set the big bang and abiogenesis in motion.

As a side note, I told my husband, an atheist, about the "Dogs that Know" experiments and asked him what he thought. He said it sounded interesting and he didn't see any reason why it couldn't be a real phenomenon. No further debate, just a statement of open-mindedness which did not conflict with his beliefs. I'm still interested to know why there's so much resistance here to this.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 206 by onifre, posted 10-26-2009 12:46 PM onifre has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 212 by onifre, posted 10-27-2009 8:24 AM Kitsune has responded

    
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