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Indepth Review Of Richard Dawkins' "Enemies Of Reason" Film

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Re: Indepth Review Of Richard Dawkins' "Enemies Of Reason" Film

Postby Eteponge » 05 May 2010, 09:35

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Re: Indepth Review Of Richard Dawkins' "Enemies Of Reason" Film

Postby Eteponge » 05 May 2010, 18:49

I want to discuss Dr. Gary Schwartz's current triple-blind protocols for a moment. Skeptics, I want to know exactly what is wrong with this current set up ...

In these controlled experiments, a random sitter (out of a very large undisclosed pool) is randomly selected, and a random proxy sitter (of no relation to the sitter, and has never met them before) is randomly selected from the same pool to take the physical place of the person actually being read. The medium is placed in one room, and is not allowed to talk to or see the proxy sitter, who sits in another room. So, the actual sitter being read is not present, but a proxy sitter of no relation is sitting in for them, and even they cannot speak to the Medium. All of this is done blind to the medium, the sitters, the proxy sitters, and the researchers. Then a second reading is done, this time for the proxy sitter themselves. After both readings are over, both readings are then given to the true sitter who was not physically present during the reading, who examines, judges, and determines which of the two readings was meant for them, and the overall accuracy of the psychic information and of the alleged deceased relatives who came through during the reading. Matching their own reading from the two readings is highly significant.

I don't exactly see where the problem is. Most critiques I've read online about Dr. Gary Schwartz are attacking his EARLY Experiments (circa 2000 - 2003) which were only single-blind, and had various design errors, which he later corrected, and stepped up the controls.

Here's audio from a debate that Dr. Gary Schwartz had with Skeptic Michael Shermer on the topic of his experiments, where Michael Shermer critiques Dr. Gary Schwartz's experiments, and then Dr. Gary Schwartz responds and tears them apart ...

The Skeptic's Cage Debate With Skeptic Michael Shermer and Dr. Gary Schwartz
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Re: Indepth Review Of Richard Dawkins' "Enemies Of Reason" Film

Postby ProfWag » 05 May 2010, 20:44

"In his book The Afterlife Experiments, Schwartz describes the Herculean efforts he went through to understand cold reading. He knows that many tricksters use cold reading to defraud others by pretending to know secrets about them and he wanted to make sure than none of the psychics he tested was a fraud. However, in his zeal to understand cold reading, he overlooked the most essential element in the process: the way subjective validation functions in the evaluation of any reading. Forer and others have been able to get a high rating of accuracy for phony readings without cold reading. Schwartz has been so diligent to make sure his subjects weren't cheating that he overlooked the obvious: the high ratings given psychic readings were probably due to subjective validation. Ruling out cold reading and cheating, while important, are not sufficient to ensure an accurate assessment of rater bias."
Robert T. Carroll
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Re: Indepth Review Of Richard Dawkins' "Enemies Of Reason" Film

Postby NinjaPuppy » 05 May 2010, 20:52

the high ratings given psychic readings were probably due to subjective validation. Ruling out cold reading and cheating, while important, are not sufficient to ensure an accurate assessment of rater bias."


It's pure speculation. Where's the proof??? One man's "probably" is another man's excuse.
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Re: Indepth Review Of Richard Dawkins' "Enemies Of Reason" Film

Postby ProfWag » 05 May 2010, 20:58

Here's a question that I am a little curious about. Why do all the mediums who want to have their abilities validated only go see Dr. Gary Schwartz at the Univ of Arizona? If they are so confident in their abilities, why don't they go knocking on the door at Harvard, Yale, or a host of other Psychology Departments?
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Re: Indepth Review Of Richard Dawkins' "Enemies Of Reason" Film

Postby ProfWag » 05 May 2010, 21:00

NinjaPuppy wrote:
the high ratings given psychic readings were probably due to subjective validation. Ruling out cold reading and cheating, while important, are not sufficient to ensure an accurate assessment of rater bias."


It's pure speculation. Where's the proof??? One man's "probably" is another man's excuse.

Well, if we had proof one way or another we wouldn't be debating it, would we?
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Re: Indepth Review Of Richard Dawkins' "Enemies Of Reason" Film

Postby NinjaPuppy » 05 May 2010, 21:01

If a 'believer' tried to pass off that quote in favor of anything paranormal or unexplained, you skeptics would have a field day.

As far as your next question about Schwartz being so popular. I can't answer for other people and unless we have someone here who has actually considered the options, we may never know.
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Re: Indepth Review Of Richard Dawkins' "Enemies Of Reason" Film

Postby NinjaPuppy » 05 May 2010, 21:04

ProfWag wrote:Well, if we had proof one way or another we wouldn't be debating it, would we?

Since it is always said that you can't prove a negative, we can only have proof one way.
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Re: Indepth Review Of Richard Dawkins' "Enemies Of Reason" Film

Postby ProfWag » 05 May 2010, 21:18

NinjaPuppy wrote:If a 'believer' tried to pass off that quote in favor of anything paranormal or unexplained, you skeptics would have a field day.

As far as your next question about Schwartz being so popular. I can't answer for other people and unless we have someone here who has actually considered the options, we may never know.

Which quote are you referring to Ninja? The entire Carroll quote?
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Re: Indepth Review Of Richard Dawkins' "Enemies Of Reason" Film

Postby NinjaPuppy » 05 May 2010, 21:19

My original quoted quote is the one I am quoting: :D

the high ratings given psychic readings were probably due to subjective validation. Ruling out cold reading and cheating, while important, are not sufficient to ensure an accurate assessment of rater bias."


The bolding and larger font is mine.... for the record.
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Re: Indepth Review Of Richard Dawkins' "Enemies Of Reason" Film

Postby ProfWag » 05 May 2010, 21:23

NinjaPuppy wrote:My original quoted quote is the one I am quoting: :D

the high ratings given psychic readings were probably due to subjective validation. Ruling out cold reading and cheating, while important, are not sufficient to ensure an accurate assessment of rater bias."


The bolding and larger font is mine.... for the record.

Cute quote... ;-)

I'm not so sure I agree though. I mean, hopefully believers would want to rule out anything that could be determined as subjective in their experimental search for the paranormal. I would think anyway...
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Re: Indepth Review Of Richard Dawkins' "Enemies Of Reason" Film

Postby NinjaPuppy » 05 May 2010, 21:33

ProfWag wrote:Cute quote... ;-)

I'm not so sure I agree though. I mean, hopefully believers would want to rule out anything that could be determined as subjective in their experimental search for the paranormal. I would think anyway...

I totally agree with you that hopefully believers would want to rule out anything subjective. However, where is the proof that there was bias?

I am questioning the validity of this statement:

the high ratings given psychic readings were probably due to subjective validation. Ruling out cold reading and cheating, while important, are not sufficient to ensure an accurate assessment of rater bias."


In comparison to Eteponge's original post:

In these controlled experiments, a random sitter (out of a very large undisclosed pool) is randomly selected, and a random proxy sitter (of no relation to the sitter, and has never met them before) is randomly selected from the same pool to take the physical place of the person actually being read. The medium is placed in one room, and is not allowed to talk to or see the proxy sitter, who sits in another room. So, the actual sitter being read is not present, but a proxy sitter of no relation is sitting in for them, and even they cannot speak to the Medium. All of this is done blind to the medium, the sitters, the proxy sitters, and the researchers. Then a second reading is done, this time for the proxy sitter themselves. After both readings are over, both readings are then given to the true sitter who was not physically present during the reading, who examines, judges, and determines which of the two readings was meant for them, and the overall accuracy of the psychic information and of the alleged deceased relatives who came through during the reading. Matching their own reading from the two readings is highly significant.



How can you have any bias on a triple blind protocol?
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Re: Indepth Review Of Richard Dawkins' "Enemies Of Reason" Film

Postby ProfWag » 05 May 2010, 21:46

Because his experiments resulted in an approximately 80% validation rate. If one were to conduct their own experiments with people who don't claim or even believe in that ability (in other words, "guess work"), their results would also be about an 80% validation rate. Hence, it's subjective whether or not the results were due to people actually talking to dead people or if the results were due to guess work.
If John Edward could talk to dead people, then he should be able to talk to Jimmy Hoffa and find out where he's really buried rather than validating that he just wanted to pass on to his family that "he's doing okay."
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Re: Indepth Review Of Richard Dawkins' "Enemies Of Reason" Film

Postby NinjaPuppy » 05 May 2010, 21:58

ProfWag wrote:Because his experiments resulted in an approximately 80% validation rate. If one were to conduct their own experiments with people who don't claim or even believe in that ability (in other words, "guess work"), their results would also be about an 80% validation rate.

Where does your claim come from? If I were to do a my own experiment, you mean that my findings would be 80%?

Hence, it's subjective whether or not the results were due to people actually talking to dead people or if the results were due to guess work.
If John Edward could talk to dead people, then he should be able to talk to Jimmy Hoffa and find out where he's really buried rather than validating that he just wanted to pass on to his family that "he's doing okay."

Where is the data that confirms that Jimmy Hoffa is even dead other than a court ruling for legal purposes and an educated guess, since he was born in 1913? Where are any findings that a dead body has a GPS locator for a spirit to know a fact such as this?
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Re: Indepth Review Of Richard Dawkins' "Enemies Of Reason" Film

Postby ProfWag » 05 May 2010, 22:05

Eteponge wrote:Anyone truly reasonable would try to refute the *actual counter points* brought up by Dr. Gary Schwartz, rather than pulling a "Geraldo says he is a con man, therefore he is a con man! Fox News wouldn't lie to me! You are taking the Con Man's side of the story where he debunks each and every point Geraldo made! That's unreasonable! Wahhh!" type of response.

Dr. Gary Schwartz shot down each and every accusation Geraldo made on his show with counter data. If you want to convince me he's wrong, provide proven rebuttals to each of Dr. Gary Schwartz's response points, rather than going, "Geraldo and Fox News say's he's a con man, so he's a con man, and can't be trusted! Fox News is fair and balanced, the spin stops here!"

Funny how when Randi, Shermer, Dawkins, etc, has attacks leveled against them, like Randi's Blackmail Tapes, you accept their side of the story as 100% factual at face value. Hmmm, double standard much?

For the sake of fairness, let's assume that Geraldo was biased in his assessment of Schwartz being a con man.
Here is a statement from Allison Dubois from her website:
" ... I do not endorse Dr. Gary Schwartz. I was disappointed to find out that the four years that I spent in the lab for "science" are, in my view, being misused by Dr. Schwartz -- even after I expressed my disapproval.

Gary says that I asked him to write a book about me which is a figment of his imagination. I actually asked him to NOT write a book about me which his publisher Hampton Roads is well aware of since they were served by my attorney before it released....He points to an e-mail from a year ago that he cut and pasted and only shows part of the e-mail trying to make the argument that I said I'd endorse his book.

Participating in lab studies with Dr. Schwartz was never to be a for-profit venture. I always understood that we were participating in scientific studies to help us and the world gain a better understanding of our abilities. Several of our "sitters" in the lab, unknown to many of the mediums, turned out to be writing their own books. In turn, Dr. Schwartz wrote forewords for those books or was mentioned in them. I was promised complete confidentiality and anonymity in how Dr. Schwartz and the University would report the results of these studies. Needless to say, I as well as other mediums were surprised to find our participation in the lab featured in so many other books."
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