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Succesful applicant passes JREF prelimanary

Discussions about the James Randi Educational Foundation and its Million Dollar Challenge.

Re: Succesful applicant passes JREF prelimanary

Postby Nostradamus » 12 Apr 2010, 23:16

There was a preliminary test on May 9, 2009. A psychic was going to do a reading of 10 people. Then the 10 people tried to pick out their reading. If 5 out of 10 can picked out their own reading, then the psychic Patrica Putt would go on to the final MDC test. It turned out that no one picked their own reading.

Afterward Patricia Putt who had been happy about the protocol for the test said,
I'm not in the least disappointed that the results did not go my way. I was stunned at first but when normal thought re-entered my head I realised that I was never going to win the barriers presented in the protocol were too much even for me to surmount


""With them [the volunteers] being bound from head to foot like black mummies,
they themselves felt tied so were not really free to link with Spirit making my work a great deal
more difficult


But a year earlier she stated:
"I have no objection to the sitter being anonymous as those for whom I do phone Readings are never seen by me the only difference being that I do have voice contact. For me it has been the sound of people's voices that bring Spirit in - and no I am not asking them to give me hints. In fact if I think my client is talking too much I will tell them in a tactful manner to
be quiet.


These quotes came from http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/swift-blog/549-patricia-putt-mdc-test-protocol-failure.pdf
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Re: Succesful applicant passes JREF prelimanary

Postby Nostradamus » 12 Apr 2010, 23:23

In July of last year a dowser tried for the preliminary. I had no idea so much testing was happening. What happened is shown here: http://phyzblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/tam7-million-dollar-challenge-connie.html
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Re: Succesful applicant passes JREF prelimanary

Postby Nostradamus » 12 Apr 2010, 23:32

While poking around looking for MDC testers I bumped into the following claim:
Because Ms. Putt made ten readings, and according to her each one of the women read did in fact choose a reading that she thought fit her best! In other words, Putt says that because each women did pick one of the readings, there must have been something in that reading that the woman felt fit her, and therefore Putt scored a perfect 10/10.


So Putt has decided after the fact that she got 10 hits, because each person followed the protocol to choose 1 reading.
Here are her words from http://richardwiseman.wordpress.com/2009/05/06/testing-a-medium-results/#comment-4608
Yes, the day had gone as the Randi Foundation had planned it with no girl i.e. no 8 picking on the message 8 but with hindsight I realised that every girl had accepted each and every message that I had written down not one had been discarded, not one thrown away each and every one of the ten girls had gone away with something to me this makes a total of 10 out of 10.

The rules said that each person would choose 1 reading. They did. What if Putt had turned in 10 blank sheets of paper and each person chose a blank sheet as required by the rules. Would that have been 10 out of 10?

Finally, it should also be noted that none of the 10 people were bound as Putt claims.
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Re: Succesful applicant passes JREF prelimanary

Postby Azrael » 12 Apr 2010, 23:38

Believers of paranormal always try claim Randi has an excuse to not pay out, seems the testeees have plenty of their own excuses.
I'm always very skeptical of any situation where someone's notability hinges on their connection to another notable person
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Re: Succesful applicant passes JREF prelimanary

Postby Nostradamus » 13 Apr 2010, 01:33

I did find a person named Karen Sellers that applied for an MDC test for a claim of TK. Her application did not go through because they could not agree on a protocol. She claimed to be able to move a key on a string in a sealed jar, but wanted to actually touch the jar or place the jar on a table she could touch. She did produce a video she sent in showing what she could do. The video clearly showed here touching the table. She said she was not rocking the table. It was suggested that she place two identical jars on the table and move one key but not the other. Both keys swung indicating that she was indeed moving the table.
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Re: Succesful applicant passes JREF prelimanary

Postby Nostradamus » 13 Apr 2010, 01:43

There was another TK person that could not agree to a protocol. He claimed he could use "gosts" to move a needle or pointer. The email chain between this person and JREF was quite funny. At one point he changed his message to use a light gray font that he called "gost proof "ink" grey" because it decreased the chance of gosts reading it. This guy wouldn't comply with any requests so nothing took place.
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Re: Succesful applicant passes JREF prelimanary

Postby Nostradamus » 13 Apr 2010, 03:15

After a bit of searching I found a number of comments on the Yellow Bamboo issue. The following list of failures in the protocol occurred in the test, which was done after the JREF and YB had broken off negotiations. This test was not an official preliminary test. The YBs claim it is, but the fact is that they can't show the signed final document because negotiations never got that far. So here are the complaints from JREF on the unofficial test with YB.

1. A continuous video tape was to be made and only a 12 second video was made.
2. The JREF instructions were for the attacker to walk up to the YB master and tap him with a short piece of bamboo, not run with a long piece
3. He was supposed to be alone, not accompanied by other YB members
4. It was supposed to take place at 10AM, not at night using 3 cars for lighting

The rules were simple and were not followed.

In a follow up some Aussies did some severe ass kicking. The YB masters lost out every time.

Read here http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/weblog/comments/2491/hoax.ico/hoax.ico/P60/
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Re: Succesful applicant passes JREF prelimanary

Postby Azrael » 13 Apr 2010, 05:43

Nostradamus wrote:There was a preliminary test on May 9, 2009. A psychic was going to do a reading of 10 people. Then the 10 people tried to pick out their reading. If 5 out of 10 can picked out their own reading, then the psychic Patrica Putt would go on to the final MDC test. It turned out that no one picked their own reading.

Afterward Patricia Putt who had been happy about the protocol for the test said,
I'm not in the least disappointed that the results did not go my way. I was stunned at first but when normal thought re-entered my head I realised that I was never going to win the barriers presented in the protocol were too much even for me to surmount


""With them [the volunteers] being bound from head to foot like black mummies,
they themselves felt tied so were not really free to link with Spirit making my work a great deal
more difficult


But a year earlier she stated:
"I have no objection to the sitter being anonymous as those for whom I do phone Readings are never seen by me the only difference being that I do have voice contact. For me it has been the sound of people's voices that bring Spirit in - and no I am not asking them to give me hints. In fact if I think my client is talking too much I will tell them in a tactful manner to
be quiet.


These quotes came from http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/swift-blog/549-patricia-putt-mdc-test-protocol-failure.pdf



From Chris French's article
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/ ... paranormal
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Re: Succesful applicant passes JREF prelimanary

Postby ciscop » 17 Apr 2010, 01:48

Azrael wrote:..............according to Craig Browning.

He has repeatedly stated on numerous forums(i'll find the links later)that the JREF had an individual/s who passed the prelimnary challenge for the MDC. When asked for proof of this his reply is "Go find it yourself im not doing your research". Rather childish dont you think? WHy mention it as some kind of fact and revelation of JREF wrongdoing if no evidence is to be offered?
Personally I think it's a lie, a fantasy even. So this thread is here for any lurkers who can back up Browning's fantasy or for Craig to do so himself.

Lets be real here: to all the Randi haters this is gold dust, proof the challenge is a fraud, that they are liars etc. Why would Craig keep this info to himself?! :o


what?
do you mean craig is telling lies?

who knew?...
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: Succesful applicant passes JREF prelimanary

Postby ProfWag » 18 Apr 2010, 20:53

What skeptics of the MDC fail to recognize is that there are at least 2 dozen other challenges that people could turn to for showing their evidence of paranormal abilities. Why is it that it's just the JREF that they want to bash? Not sure, but as I said, if I believed I had paranormal abilities but didn't like Randi's rules, I'd go to one of the other 20+ organizations that offer a prize as well.
Why is it that no one has succeeded at any of the challenges? My belief is that there is no one who has paranormal abilities. I guess it's possible that there are people out there who actually do have paranormal abilities but wouldn't want to prove it. I kind of doubt that the majority feel that way though. I know if I had it, I would want to prove it. Again, that's just me though.
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Re: Succesful applicant passes JREF prelimanary

Postby NinjaPuppy » 19 Apr 2010, 19:28

ProfWag wrote:What skeptics of the MDC fail to recognize is that there are at least 2 dozen other challenges that people could turn to for showing their evidence of paranormal abilities. Why is it that it's just the JREF that they want to bash? Not sure, but as I said, if I believed I had paranormal abilities but didn't like Randi's rules, I'd go to one of the other 20+ organizations that offer a prize as well.

I think that Craig posted a pretty educated guess, way back, when. He mentioned that JREF flunkies seem to get a career boost from the attempt. The other organizations, not so much.
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Re: Succesful applicant passes JREF prelimanary

Postby really? » 19 Apr 2010, 21:31

ProfWag wrote:What skeptics of the MDC fail to recognize is that there are at least 2 dozen other challenges that people could turn to for showing their evidence of paranormal abilities. Why is it that it's just the JREF that they want to bash? Not sure, but as I said, if I believed I had paranormal abilities but didn't like Randi's rules, I'd go to one of the other 20+ organizations that offer a prize as well.
Why is it that no one has succeeded at any of the challenges? My belief is that there is no one who has paranormal abilities. I guess it's possible that there are people out there who actually do have paranormal abilities but wouldn't want to prove it. I kind of doubt that the majority feel that way though. I know if I had it, I would want to prove it. Again, that's just me though.


I think you can add the reason why JREF and Randi in particular receives the brunt of hatred is that Randi and JREF are the big boys on the block in the same way most computer viruses are written to cause Microsoft problems.

As for proving it I'm with you on this. I think the reason why people use the argument ' I don't have to prove anything' is because it allows them to continue to believe they have powers and abilities far beyond those of mere mortals. And too be proven wrong would seriously damage the self image of those that are certain they have special abilities.
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Re: Succesful applicant passes JREF prelimanary

Postby NucleicAcid » 19 Apr 2010, 23:26

The thing is, most people that go into practicing psi do enough to prove it to themselves and probably a few close friends. They will self-titrate and determine the right amount of provability they need for themselves and how much confirmation bias they're willing to accept, and determine for themselves. Some will settle for a twitchy psiwheel or knowing who will call before the phone rings. Others, like myself, need much higher standards of evidence. So of the subset of the general population, the people that go into psi, a subset of that strives for indisputable evidence, even if it is just inside their own home. Of those, some will have more success than others. Of those, maybe only a handful will excel, and be able to do it on demand. So you have a small group of psi adepts, now you have to factor for those who can overcome their performance anxiety and prove it to people in a casual setting (which is tricky because a lot of these people are of the nervous type), and then under very strict conditions. Of those, only some of them will actually know about the existence of skeptical tests, and of that subset, only a few will apply, get noticed by the skeptical group and go through actual testing. Phew.

So whatever fraction of the 6+billion people of the world that is, those are the only people who have a legit shot at one of these tests.

Looking at the general feedstock of the Randi applicants (via the JREF Forum listed applicants), I would say about 1% of those people actually know what they are doing. I haven't really sat down and poured through all of them to find how many people actually had a fair chance at winning the contest by experience of how psi works (mainly cause I get bored of crap like Paranormal Urination and homeopathy and astrology and fecal magicians and more dowsers than you can shake a stick at (LOL!) that make up the bulk of applicants, yes even parapsychologists have the right to call things woo), so it's not the end-all, but I've only seen maybe 2 applicants that I felt could have actually had psi abilities (and those I doubt had the confidence to do it reliably on demand). Everyone else has convinced themselves of having something (usually pretty absurd) by confirmation bias, and wouldn't even be able to prove it to someone like myself.

I'm not at all surprised that the number of legitimate applicants to the Randi test is as low as it is.

Of the legitimate people who have the ability to produce their effect on demand that apply for the contest and get it, then it's a matter of demonstrating it to the most skeptical people on the planet, and you get into theory of whether skeptics have mental influence and all that nonsense. But I haven't seen any people make it to that level at all.

I should start my own contest. The Nucleic Acid Relatively Easy $100 Challenge. Doesn't have to be 100% watertight, that's the whole point of a low bar. Just enough to show that the effect was not due to coincidence, and can do it on demand in front of me.
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Re: Succesful applicant passes JREF prelimanary

Postby Nostradamus » 19 Apr 2010, 23:38

but I've only seen maybe 2 applicants that I felt could have actually had psi abilities

Since it's a short list mind telling us who interested you?
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Re: Succesful applicant passes JREF prelimanary

Postby NucleicAcid » 20 Apr 2010, 01:51

http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=30119
Russell Shipp, Texas Telekinetic. He looked really promising, but the application did not go through, ostensibly for legal reasons. I do not trust the statements by Kramer on the forum.

I'm not going to get into details as to why Kramer is a liar (perhaps another thread), because all of that is mentioned here:
http://www.psipog.net/art-beware-pseudo-skepticism.html
http://www.psipog.net/randilogs.zip
Complete with email transcripts and logs of the forum posts. Read it yourself. The materials posted on the forum by Kramer (and statements by Randi through Kramer) do not match the actual email exchange, such as editing out "full of shit" to "full of baloney". Plus the blatant fabrication of:

Form your own opinion from Sean's latest email:

Dear Kramer,

I was unaware that you were posting messages. I do not wish to pursue this matter further.

Incidentally,after looking around your site, I find your work very interesting, and I wish you luck with refuting claims that are not valid. A great deal of progress that has been made in our world has been made from people such as yourself who have said "No. That is not true. That is absurd." There are certainly a lot of off the wall things being said on your website.

Would you kindly take my messages off of the internet? I thought that the messages were going to be kept private. I see that you are very tough with people who cannot back up their claims, and I respect you for it. The world needs someone like you bury kooky ideas and claims.

Please e-mail me to confirm that you have taken the messages off.

Good luck in your endeavors to refute the absurd!

-Sean


Sean would have probably taken a stab at the contest, if it weren't for this fiasco. I would imagine he would attempt telekinesis because that was one of his strong suits, I believe. However, I do not blame him for not wanting to put his reputation on the line and jump through multiple hoops, when the people running the test did not even have the courtesy of honesty. What do you expect from professional tricksters?

http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=57362 Dr. Drew - Marital Telepathy
This looked very promising, however the email exchange ended abruptly (like most do on this forum)

http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=41604 - Vadim Kuzmenko, telekinesis
Made some good headway in searching out skeptic fellows in order to test his claim in Russia. However, email exchange ended abruptly.

http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=115239 - Pavel Ziborov, Clairvoyance
It looks like it fell apart during the negotiations of the test protocol, this is the other big bottleneck for applicants. I don't have time to pour through the whole thing, but it sounds like Pavel worked out a good procedure with the forum (setting a very strong alpha level of p < .001, verified by an independent statistician), then when presenting the procedure to JREF, they wanted to make it much more difficult (another common theme, they typically want 80, 90 or greater percent hit rates). At least Kramer is out of the picture now. (not that that has improved my trust in the organization and community).

I think this sums up the attitude:
pavel_do,
Realistically, what do you believe your real success rate to be? Is it at least, say 75%? At least 80%? Is it really only 67%?

It is clear that Pavel is getting frustrated by the language barrier he is encountering here. For the benefit of all the JREF Forum members reading, I believe I can clearly state Pavel's position in a way we can all understand:

Pavel is very confident in his abilities...except when he isn't.


From my experience trying to have a simple, one-on-one, introduction, 3 statements and a conclusion debate on the Richard Dawkins forum, and getting chewed up like a hot piece of meat in a tank full of piranhas, I agree that just negotiating with people dead-set on the nonexistence of the paranormal is extremely exhausting. By page 9, Pavel is beyond flabbergasted, and now the Randites have started making suggestions on already agreed upon conditions, and the negotiations only just tangled from there.

What sounds like ended up happening is that the protocol was mostly agreed upon, but when it came to application to the MDC, they would only allow 20 trials of testing. Pavel said he needed 100 trials, because clairvoyance, not being a superpower, takes time to warm up. JREF wanted unrealistic conditions, grossly inflating the Beta rate (I don't know exactly what it was), and Pavel knew very well the limit of his abilities. He knew he was getting screwed, and had no reason to apply to a challenge he knew he would lose. JREF consistently sets the bar too high, mirroring a trend in parapsychology, where skeptics first demand extraordinary evidence, parapsych provides, and in return, the skeptics move the goalposts back even farther and say, "Do it again."

Pavel sounds very intelligent and makes entirely sound points, has a lot of confidence in his ability, lots of practice, as well as realistic expectations of the limits of his ability (67% as a conservative estimate over a hundred trials is mind-blowing, z = +9.58, p is about ten to the negative 18, 10e-18). I do hope he finds a smaller scale contest with less bureaucratic crap to deal with.

Getting to the point of preliminary testing alone is daunting and exhausting.
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