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This skeptic blogger girl has the wrong idea about this site

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Re: This skeptic blogger girl has the wrong idea about this site

Postby NinjaPuppy » 10 Aug 2009, 20:36

Excellent find Eteponge. I like this quote the best-

I have a blog and I made a post about SCEPCOP awhile back...they recently found it and a bunch of them have started making massive comments on it, so many LINKS!!!


Massive comments? Let's examine the evidence, shall we? There are 15 total posts (minus this one and the two after you found her comments on another forum). Of course the first one from Winston points out her blog and her tactics. The rest are pretty much in house conversation or 'nice to see you' comments when she does finally check the site out. Then Winston adds a few more points in conversation as does Student of Sophia and another welcome and then your findings.

MASSIVE COMMENTS? Oh the horror! I guess she felt attacked when we all ganged up on her to say, "Welcome".

I guess it's ok for her to say what she pleases in her blog for all the world to see but it's not ok for the person she wrote about to read it or make comments on a blog that asks for comments?
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Re: This skeptic blogger girl has the wrong idea about this site

Postby LinzeeBinzee » 10 Aug 2009, 23:51

NinjaPuppy wrote:Excellent find Eteponge. I like this quote the best-

I have a blog and I made a post about SCEPCOP awhile back...they recently found it and a bunch of them have started making massive comments on it, so many LINKS!!!


Massive comments? Let's examine the evidence, shall we? There are 15 total posts (minus this one and the two after you found her comments on another forum). Of course the first one from Winston points out her blog and her tactics. The rest are pretty much in house conversation or 'nice to see you' comments when she does finally check the site out. Then Winston adds a few more points in conversation as does Student of Sophia and another welcome and then your findings.

MASSIVE COMMENTS? Oh the horror! I guess she felt attacked when we all ganged up on her to say, "Welcome".

I guess it's ok for her to say what she pleases in her blog for all the world to see but it's not ok for the person she wrote about to read it or make comments on a blog that asks for comments?


I wasn't complaining that you guys had come and commented, I was glad that you stopped by. I expected it when I made that post. But when the comments are so long and when they contain so many links and you guys tell me that I have to read every bit of that information it's unreasonable. There aren't enough hours in the day for me to read everything. I can't stomach 90 minute videos of Dean Radin, I'm not going to buy a book, but I did eventually open every other link that you guys had posted there and most of it was just links back to this website or studies that had been debunked long ago by people more experienced than me.

I did not feel ganged up on (even though you weren't just saying "welcome" in the comments...some of you were calling me brainwashed by Randi, someone called me "skeptically stupid", "naive", etc.), but I did feel like I was in information overload, which is why I posted that thread on the JREF. Which, by the way, I was well aware that you would find. I knew before posting that members of SCEPCOP had also posted in that thread.

I'm not too sure why I'm posting here again as I'll probably never change your opinion of me which is of a naive, closed-minded pseudo-skeptic.

I'm just going to say one thing though to explain why I'm not in a panic over your so-called evidence.

Rather than reading books by paranormalists I read books and listen to podcasts teaching me about things like brain chemistry, human evolution, etc. Things by scientists who specialize in their fields and who back up their research with a wealth of evidence. And what I've taken away from learning this stuff is that the world is pretty much as we see it.

The evidence so far shows that consciousness is a result of activity in the brain, and once someone is dead that activity is gone, so I don't believe in a soul or I don't believe that the physical person is separate from the "self". It would take a lot of assumptions for me to believe that after someone dies there consciousness lives on, or that someone can communicate with another person without language. It'll take more than a few poorly designed studies to convince me otherwise. Of course you've heard this before, but "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". Nothing you linked to on my blog constitutes extraordinary evidence.

I should make an example of this and show her quote in my treatise of how pseudo-skeptics react when presented with evidence.

Do whatever you want, but since you all think I'm such a naive, brainwashed idiot I don't see why quoting me in your treatise is helping to make your case. I'm new to this and still learning, and hardly anyone even reads my blog. If you really want examples of "pseudo-skeptics" reacting to "evidence" you'd be more credible quoting Joe Nickell or James Randi. Quoting some random "skeptic blogger girl" who's "brainwashed by Randi" won't help your case. But if you do quote me in there please let me know, I think it would be hilarious and fun!
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Re: This skeptic blogger girl has the wrong idea about this site

Postby Scepcop » 11 Aug 2009, 02:03

Hi Linzee,
Well I don't want you to feel like we're ganging up on you. We just want you to consider evidence and other sources you haven't tapped into yet.

I hope you won't abandon us but at least hear us out and consider the evidence and sources we give you. That's all. I'm sorry for the character judgments on your part, but you reacted exactly the way I predicted you would. Anyone can can claim to be open and rational and objective, but as you know, actions speak louder than words. This site doesn't focus on character attacks though, but on evidence, reason and substance. So we try to keep it at that.

You say you don't have the time to read all the links, videos and books we recommended. That's fine and understandable. No one can read everything out there. But at least consider them, slowly one bit at a time, that's all we're asking. Is that reasonable? At the very least, you can suspend your judgment, as Pyrrho, the founder of Skepticism, taught. You don't have to believe or disbelieve. Why not just consider all the data and put yourself in a state of suspended judgment until you learn and understand more? There is no rush to draw your conclusions yet. You are still young anyway it seems.

See here to understand what true skepticism means, from its founder:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skeptic

However, you say you've read some articles from scientists who support the materialist viewpoint. If you can do that, why not read a little of the other side? There are also scientists who support paranormal phenomena as well. There are scientists on both sides. For example, Dr. Gary Schwartz is a fully accredited scientist who is Harvard educated, and has found positive results in his controlled experiments with mediums that could not be attributed to cold reading or fraud.

Skeptics have not debunked such studies, as you claimed. They merely spouted conjecture and the rest of the skeptical community took their conjecture as Gospel proof and quickly declared the whole thing "debunked" because that's what they wanted to see.

Speaking of scientists and your brain hypothesis, did you know that Dr. Wilbur Penfield was the father of neuroscience and said that he concluded that memories were not stored in the brain? Look it up. It's fascinating.

Here is an article about how memory may have holographic properties:
http://appliedcognitivescience.net/A%20 ... Brain.html

Just consider all this ok? I only asked you to watch a 90 minute video. It wasn't that much to ask. You go to theaters to see 2 hour movies right? So you can do this too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qw_O9Qiwqew

Is your motivation fear or truth?

One last thing. Know this. The pseudo-skeptic camps are on the losing side. Every day their theories become invalid as the evidence building points to our side, not theirs. They will soon be outdated ancient history.

Also consider their no-win position. In order for them to be proven right, they have to prove that ESP, ghosts and UFO's don't exist, which is an impossible task since you can't prove a negative for various reasons. But for us to be proven right, we only need to prove ONE ESP or ghost case to be genuine out of a hundred, and we win. Therefore, it's only a matter of time before the denial stops and becomes outdated.

Now ask yourself this: Do you want to be on the winning side or not? Currently, you are not on the winning side. Have a look :)

PS - Check out these short videos explaining why mind is not the brain. Ponder some possibilities for now.



“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.” - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
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Re: This skeptic blogger girl has the wrong idea about this site

Postby Scepcop » 11 Aug 2009, 03:08

BTW Linzee, regarding your mind doesn't survive brain death theory, check out the case of Pam Reynolds here, who had a full blown NDE during a flat brainline and flat heartline. It baffled her doctors. The video is only 10 minutes, don't worry. Can you spare that? :)

“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.” - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
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Re: This skeptic blogger girl has the wrong idea about this site

Postby NinjaPuppy » 11 Aug 2009, 03:21

Fascinating.
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Re: This skeptic blogger girl has the wrong idea about this site

Postby Scepcop » 11 Aug 2009, 03:22

Hi Linzee,
Well I went ahead and made an example out of you :) I hope you don't take it personally though.

See here. You are mentioned and quoted near the bottom :)

http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/evidence.php

Also, your claim of "no evidence for the paranormal" has also inspired me to add these paragraphs in that link above. Thank you for the inspiration :)

Perpetual Denial of Evidence and Cognitive Dissonance

Pseudo-Skeptics are always saying, "There's no evidence for any paranormal or psychic phenomena" no matter how much evidence is shown to them, even if it's a mountainful. They always find excuses to deny or dismiss the evidence, even in the most unreasonable and irrational manner, then go back to repeating this claim as though it were a religious Gospel Law that could never be overturned. This is extremely aggravating because it's like trying to reason with someone who chooses to be blind and ignorant, and in total denial of facts and reality.

But the reality is that for some popular paranormal phenomena such as ESP or ghosts, there is plenty of long standing evidence of several types - anecdotal, experiential and scientific. Controlled scientific experiments have yielded positive results for ESP for many years. From the 1940's with JB Rhine, to Charles Tart, Dr. Gary Schwartz, and many other scientists, positive and consistent results for psi have been found to exist far above chance under controlled conditions. And series of psi experiments that have been repeated for years known as The Ganzfeld Experiments, Autoganzfeld Experiments and PEAR (Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research) have yielded statistically significant and consistent results above chance as well.

In addition, the anecdotal and experiential evidence is overwhelming. At least half the population of the world has had paranormal experiences, and according to the National Science Foundation, "60% of American either AGREE or STRONGLY AGREE that some people either possess psychic abilities or extrasensory perception". That's A LOT, no doubt. Common sense would tell you that if half the people in the world have experienced something, then it's pretty much certain that there's something to it other than fraud, misperception and fantasy, especially since a good number of these experiencers include credible down-to-earth people as well. Likewise, large percentage of people of all types from all walks of life have experienced ghosts too.

So you see, the evidence for such common paranormal phenomena is huge. As Parapsychologist Author Dean Radin has said, the evidence for psi is so solid and robust that if the same quality of evidence existed for something non-paranormal, it would definitely have been accepted as proven. But because the paranormal is considered taboo in the scientific establishment, there is a sort of censorship and knowledge filtration toward it. There is an automatic negative stigma and bias toward it that assumes that only crackpots believe in such things. So any scientist who openly supports the legitimacy of paranormal phenomena seriously jeopardizes their career and image among their colleagues. Thus, most scientists who believe in some paranormal phenomena will not declare it publicly, but become close enthusiasts. Mr. Radin discovered this, as many scientists confided in him their secret unofficial interest and belief that some of the paranormal is real.

Even in regard to UFO's there is plenty of evidence for them, albeit not proof. UFO photos and videos are controversial and vague of course, but many credible eyewitnesses, including Air Force Pilots and Astronauts, have seen them. They've also been tracked on radar doing aerial maneuvers that man-made aircraft could not do. (And as you know, hallucinations do not appear on radar.) In one famous official incident known as the Washington Merry Go Round Incident of 1952, jet fighters were scrambled to intercept UFO's after they had been tracked on radar. Afterward, to quell public panic, the incident was quickly dismissed though never fully explained. Nevertheless, something significant happened to trigger the alarm and scrambling of fighters, and it wasn't "zero evidence" for sure. In addition, public coalitions such as The Disclosure Project have brought forth a large pool of high ranking government, military and intelligence officials and insiders, over 400 currently, who have confessed to personal knowledge of government involvement with UFO's and ET technology, and the cover ups and secrecy surrounding it. (See a video of their testimonies at a public conference here)

Now, that's certainly NOT "zero evidence"!

Nevertheless, pseudo-skeptics who claim to only want evidence continue to declare that "there is no evidence" when they get plenty of it from credible sources. Obviously, they are in a state of perpetual denial and cognitive dissonance. They deny and filter out anything that doesn't fit into their materialistic reductionistic view of reality, especially anything that has to do with paranormal or conspiracies, no matter what evidence is presented, even if its documented and scientific. One thing they are they not open to is possibilities. Any possibility that challenges the views of the establishment is simply not possible to them, even if the claims of the establishment itself are not scientific or contradicted by facts. It doesn't even have to be paranormal, it can be ANYTHING that opposes the official version of events, including conspiracies and lies by corrupt government officials or even the existence of shadow governments (which were acknowledged to exist in the 80's with the Iran Contra Scandal). Thus, their bias and blind faith in authority as dogma is revealed.

Even if a highly credible source with a long history of accuracy suddenly makes a paranormal claim or a claim against an established view, they automatically dismiss it as bunk before even looking into it. If they do look into it, it will not be to learn the truth about it, but to debunk it. They will even deny evidence from scientific experiments as well. All the while, they tout, "Show me the evidence. Where's the evidence?" Yet when they are shown the evidence, they merely dismiss it or ignore it, acting as though they heard nothing, then go back to repeating that there's no evidence. I've seen them do this for years, in the media, on websites, in forum discussions, and on my own mailing list. It's as though they were deaf and totally belief oriented, seeing only what they want to see.

The problem for pseudo-skeptics is that their denial and cognitive dissonance does NOT erase the evidence from reality. It may erase it from their own minds, but it does not the erase the evidence itself. Thus, it can be said that they are deluded and do not face up to reality.
“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.” - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
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Re: This skeptic blogger girl has the wrong idea about this site

Postby ciscop » 11 Aug 2009, 03:49

scescop
also dont take it personally

but you are doing precisely what she is critizing of here
you just spread a lot of links and info
and if she doesnt wants to read them she is the one failing
try to share just ONE link at a time when arguing with skeptics
otherwise is just pointless
you just write and share and she isnt interested in reading it... whats the point?
there is no communication happening :p
the paranormal is a hugeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee field, try just one topic, one investigator at a time
way easier to discuss

so chose a topic and build from there :D
For every person who reads this valuable book there are hundreds of naïve souls who would prefer to have their spines tingled by a sensational but worthless potboiler by some hack journalist of the paranormal. You who now read these sentences join a small but wiser minority. Martin Gaardner (Psychology of the Psychic)
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Re: This skeptic blogger girl has the wrong idea about this site

Postby Eteponge » 11 Aug 2009, 04:18

LinzeeBinzee wrote:studies that had been debunked long ago by people more experienced than me.

Proof? Anyone can claim to have "debunked" something. You start talking about *ANY* paranormal topic or paranormal case or paranormal study, and a Skeptic will speak up and say that it's been "totally debunked by someone much more experienced than me", then they will link to this "debunking", and it's generally a Skeptic article that sounds very convincing to anyone who *hasn't actually read and examined the data and research* of the topic in question, but to those who are familiar with it, is clearly seen as being full of factual errors, distortions, exaggerations, and omissions of data, and lots of clever talk to make it look like there is "nothing there".

If you read just Skeptic Articles and not the actual data and research of what they are discussing, you will be bamboozled quite easily, not being able to fact check what the Skeptics are saying with what the data actually suggests.

You can't suggest someone like me of being one-sided, because I read Csicop, Skepdic Dictionary, Skeptico, and other Skeptic Websites and Skeptic Articles to see what they have to say about X and Y, and then re-examine the data, and boy oh boy, factual errors, distortions, and omitting dazzle shot veridical details in particular cases is rampant.

The thing is, many Skeptic Sources love to leave out important veridical details in particular cases in an attempt to make a case look far less spectacular than it actually is. You wouldn't know the full story unless you read the actual data and research in question.

You need to go back and forth, back and forth, comparing what the Skeptic Sources say against the actual Data and Research in question, and the Arguments of the Skeptics against the Counter-Arguments of the Proponents, in order to filter out the crap and bias, and get to the bottom of things. To not do that is confirmation bias, where you only read and consider sources that agree with you, which would make you no different than a religious fundamentalist.

If you are in a position to criticize research and data, you should not do a half-assed job, like many sources critical of it do, is what it boils down to.

LinzeeBinzee wrote:I'm just going to say one thing though to explain why I'm not in a panic over your so-called evidence.

Rather than reading books by paranormalists I read books and listen to podcasts teaching me about things like brain chemistry, human evolution, etc. Things by scientists who specialize in their fields and who back up their research with a wealth of evidence.

We are talking about the actual research studies and collective data gathered. (These people, so-called "Paranormal Researchers", many have actual scientific degrees, there are some who are actual scientists, some who are medical doctors [especially in NDE research], some who are physicists, Etc). There are research studies out there that *are* double-blind studies out there with strict protocols within paranormal research, that actually follow scientific method. And studies that have been repeated and replicated by others.

LinzeeBinzee wrote:And what I've taken away from learning this stuff is that the world is pretty much as we see it. The evidence so far shows that consciousness is a result of activity in the brain, and once someone is dead that activity is gone, so I don't believe in a soul or I don't believe that the physical person is separate from the "self". It would take a lot of assumptions for me to believe that after someone dies there consciousness lives on, or that someone can communicate with another person without language. It'll take more than a few poorly designed studies to convince me otherwise. Of course you've heard this before, but "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". Nothing you linked to on my blog constitutes extraordinary evidence.

Then you obviously haven't done very much research on the topic at all to make such a that's-it, case-closed, end-of-story statement like that.

Here's what happens when you critically examine the actual data and research in question, and then go read the skeptic sources on the topic at hand, and then compare what the skeptics are saying (their best arguments) with what the actual data and research shows, and then write about it. What happens? You get Etepwned ...

http://eteponge.blogspot.com/2007/09/ne ... -body.html

http://eteponge.blogspot.com/2007/09/re ... ation.html

http://eteponge.blogspot.com/2009/07/ap ... sions.html

http://eteponge.blogspot.com/2009/07/ps ... redux.html

LinzeeBinzee wrote:Do whatever you want, but since you all think I'm such a naive, brainwashed idiot I don't see why quoting me in your treatise is helping to make your case. I'm new to this and still learning, and hardly anyone even reads my blog. If you really want examples of "pseudo-skeptics" reacting to "evidence" you'd be more credible quoting Joe Nickell or James Randi. Quoting some random "skeptic blogger girl" who's "brainwashed by Randi" won't help your case. But if you do quote me in there please let me know, I think it would be hilarious and fun!

Cheer up, have a real life awesome face cat staring at a pixelated awesome face ...

Image
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Re: This skeptic blogger girl has the wrong idea about this site

Postby ProfWag » 11 Aug 2009, 04:30

How do believers debate the findings of the National Academy of Science from 1988 that there has been "no scientific evidence" of parapsychology in the 130 years of research and there is no need for further research? The NAS, if you didn't know, is the congressionally chartered, governing body of science in the United States.
Just curious...
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Re: This skeptic blogger girl has the wrong idea about this site

Postby ciscop » 11 Aug 2009, 04:59

ProfWag wrote:How do believers debate the findings of the National Academy of Science from 1988 that there has been "no scientific evidence" of parapsychology in the 130 years of research and there is no need for further research? The NAS, if you didn't know, is the congressionally chartered, governing body of science in the United States.
Just curious...


1988??
you dont have to go that far.. last year 2008
http://www.harvardscience.harvard.edu/c ... e-esp-real
harvard failed to proove ESP exists
another nail in the coffin...
For every person who reads this valuable book there are hundreds of naïve souls who would prefer to have their spines tingled by a sensational but worthless potboiler by some hack journalist of the paranormal. You who now read these sentences join a small but wiser minority. Martin Gaardner (Psychology of the Psychic)
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Re: This skeptic blogger girl has the wrong idea about this site

Postby Eteponge » 11 Aug 2009, 05:26

ProfWag wrote:How do believers debate the findings of the National Academy of Science from 1988 that there has been "no scientific evidence" of parapsychology in the 130 years of research and there is no need for further research? The NAS, if you didn't know, is the congressionally chartered, governing body of science in the United States.
Just curious...

Give us the full scoop. What research studies / cases / data / evidence did they actually look at? What are their actual explanations for the findings, what are their actual reasons for rejection, Etc, details, details, details. If this is true, I'd like to know all of that information. To be able to fact check what they say versus what the data says.

Also, there have been a number of interesting research studies to emerge since 1988, so it wouldn't cover more recent research, such as Pim Van Lommel's NDE Research, Ganzfield, Gary Schwartz, Rupert Sheldrake, Etc.

ciscop wrote:1988??
you dont have to go that far.. last year 2008
http://www.harvardscience.harvard.edu/c ... e-esp-real
harvard failed to proove ESP exists
another nail in the coffin...

I'll check into this. I just sent an email to a good friend of mine who knows his stuff on ESP oriented research, to see what his take on it is.

(My main areas of research are not in scientific studies on ESP particularly, so I'm not really the person to talk to about this.)
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Re: This skeptic blogger girl has the wrong idea about this site

Postby ciscop » 11 Aug 2009, 06:42

yep dont worry
For every person who reads this valuable book there are hundreds of naïve souls who would prefer to have their spines tingled by a sensational but worthless potboiler by some hack journalist of the paranormal. You who now read these sentences join a small but wiser minority. Martin Gaardner (Psychology of the Psychic)
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Re: This skeptic blogger girl has the wrong idea about this site

Postby Eteponge » 11 Aug 2009, 08:40

Okay, I got a response back from Michael Prescott on his take on the Harvard ESP Experiment...

I'm not sure I understand this article. Are they saying that the ESP stimuli were presented simultaneously with the non-ESP stimuli? In other words, the picture was shown to the test subject while simultaneously being shown to a relative or friend in another room?

If so, this sounds like a good way not to study ESP. A better approach, if they want to use brain scans, would be to use the ganzfeld method, where the test subject is placed in a mild state of sensory deprivation and then presented with non-ESP stimuli only.

If the subjects were presented with non-ESP stimuli and ESP stimuli simultaneously, then instead of sensory deprivation, there would be sensory overload.

Besides, it makes no sense. Why would ESP be activated when the information is already being delivered through normal channels? Presumably ESP works to acquire information that is not available to the five normal senses.

The whole thing sounds like a mess. But maybe I've misunderstood the protocol.

He also posted the article to his blog to see if any of his readers have anything to add ...

http://michaelprescott.typepad.com/mich ... -mess.html

He further posted ...

My guess is that ESP operates best when the mind is in a trancelike state. This state may be something as ordinary as a reverie or daydream, or it may be a meditative state, a state of sensory deprivation, or the hypnogogic state that precedes sleep. (Or it may be the dream state of sleep itself.)

I don't think ESP operates optimally when a person is concentrating on something that's right in front of him. If he's studying a picture, he's probably not going to be receptive to ESP impressions of any kind, least of all ESP impressions of the exact same image he's already staring at.

So, if I am correct in believing that the test subject was shown the picture simultaneous with the "telepathic" sending of the same image, then I would not expect the tests to show positive results.

Someone might say, What about Rhine's card- guessing experiments? Wasn't the test subject concentrating in those tests?

From my limited experience in participating in such tests online, I've found that I tend to coax myself into a dreamy, wordless, mildly trancelike state in order to carry out the experiments, and I suspect that many of Rhine's subjects did the same thing. It seems to be a natural response when attempting to tap into one's "intuitive" side. But it would be much more difficult to enter this meditative state if one is intently studying (concentrating on) an image or any other "stimulus." What's needed is a state of sensory deprivation, not stimulation.
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Re: This skeptic blogger girl has the wrong idea about this site

Postby Eteponge » 11 Aug 2009, 08:45

And a link critical of the Harvard Study ...

http://www.skepticalinvestigations.org/ ... html#neuro

The paper ‘Using Neuroimaging to Resolve the Psi Debate’ by Samuel T. Moulton and Stephen M. Kosslyn (Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 20 (1), 2008) must have brought tidings of great joy to sceptics. Not only do the Harvard University psychologists claim their findings to be ‘the strongest evidence yet obtained against the existence of paranormal mental phenomena’, but add that if they are sufficiently replicated, ‘the case will become increasingly strong, with such certainty as is allowed in science, that psi does not exist.’

They reach these conclusions after a lengthy series of telepathy/clairvoyance tests in which sixteen closely bonded pairs (parent/child, brother/sister, twin, roommate) took part. One of each pair was put in a magnetic resonance imaging machine, enabling the researchers to see the brain at work as it dealt with incoming stimuli, while the other was taken to another room, shown a picture and asked to transmit it mentally to the one in the machine, who was shown the same picture plus a control one, and asked to guess which one had supposedly been sent by psi by pressing a button.

Results were almost exactly at the 50% chance level (1842 correct guesses out of 3687, or 49.9%). The authors found no differences at all in the brain scans made when guesses were right or wrong. Hence their conclusions quoted above.

They do concede that there is evidence for what many believe to be psi, and cite one of Louisa Rhine’s spontaneous cases in which a mother woke at 4 am feeling her son was calling to her for help, and learned later that he had been shot at exactly that time.

Ah, they say, but this is only anecdotal evidence, which is known to be beset by ‘cognitive bias’, ‘availability error’, ‘confirmation bias’, ‘illusion of control’ and ‘bias blind spot’. One or more of these ‘may explain apparently paranormal evidence that people report’. In any case, ‘the positive evidence that has been reported is merely ‘anomalous’,’ and ‘despite widespread public belief in [psi] phenomena and over 75 years of experimentation, there is no compelling evidence that psi exists.’

Having thus dismissed all human testimony because of its ‘inherent uninterpretability’ (an attitude fortunately not adopted in courts of law), the authors reveal their own set of biases by giving a shamefully sloppy and tendentious account of previous lab experiments. Researchers from Myers to Honorton and Sheldrake who have reported positive results are mentioned briefly in passing without readers being given much idea of what they actually did. Meta-analyses are dismissed with a wave of the hand because of their ‘instability’. No mention of the frequently replicated decline or sheep-goat effects. More inexcusably, no mention either of at least five MRI studies (Standish, Achterberg, Kozak et al.)* that did find evidence for psi. So why didn’t Moulton and Kosslyn?

The obvious answer: there wasn’t any in their experiments. Or if there was, the signal was lost in the noise as receivers were asked to make 240 guesses over a 90-minute period. They could not possibly have reached the relaxed state essential for telepathic reception in an hour and a half of non-stop guessing and button pressing.

It seems from the authors’ general tone that this was the result they wanted and expected, and although they concede that ‘absence of proof is not proof of absence’ the title of their paper strongly implies that the psi debate has been solved. One negative result has cancelled more than a century of positive ones.

No serious psi researcher would ever claim to have proved psi to exist. Proof, in 21st century science, is confined to mathematics. Elsewhere, there are only probabilities, and as all those meta-analyses have shown, despite their alleged and undefined ‘instabilities’, the probability that all published (by definition no longer anecdotal) case histories and controlled lab experiments can be explained by chance alone is microscopic to the point of invisibility.

The real debate is between those on whose research these findings are soundly based and those who list spurious reasons to reject that research en bloc. If articles like this one continue to be published, the debate will go on for ever.

* For a summary, see R.A.Charman (2006). ‘Direct brain to brain communication – further evidence from EEG and fMRI studies.’ Paranormal Review October, 3-9.
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Re: This skeptic blogger girl has the wrong idea about this site

Postby Scepcop » 11 Aug 2009, 10:31

ciscop wrote:scescop
also dont take it personally

but you are doing precisely what she is critizing of here
you just spread a lot of links and info
and if she doesnt wants to read them she is the one failing
try to share just ONE link at a time when arguing with skeptics
otherwise is just pointless
you just write and share and she isnt interested in reading it... whats the point?
there is no communication happening :p
the paranormal is a hugeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee field, try just one topic, one investigator at a time
way easier to discuss

so chose a topic and build from there :D


True but I told her that she could take her time and read one link every few days. There's no need to read it all immediately.

But alas she won't even watch a 10 minute video. I think she's just looking for excuses to not look at any evidence.

You know how people are right? You said you have traveled a lot.

I just love giving lots of evidence at once, so that they can't just say "that's all, just one piece of evidence, where's the rest?" or claim that it's too little. It eliminates such a copout :)
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