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In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

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

Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby Arouet » 17 Nov 2011, 11:34

craig weiler wrote:We disagree! I see no point in re-arguing everything.


I guess not - though I'll just say that a logical fallacy applies across the board. To every argument. It's a problem of argument structure. You can't carve out an exception for it! If you accept that then you have to accept you are wrong. If you don't accept that then you are denying that its a logical fallacy.
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby craig weiler » 17 Nov 2011, 12:02

The skeptic argument here comes from the belief that psi should be regarded as a belief. Your argument makes sense from that standpoint. But I don't agree that psi is a belief and why should I? It's something real to me. Because I know what it is, I'm in a position to recognize it in its many forms. From my standpoint, all those people experiencing psi is a demonstration of something real happening, so the whole skeptic argument falls apart.

We are approaching this from fundamentally different angles. There is nothing to be done for it.
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby really? » 17 Nov 2011, 12:52

craig weiler wrote:The skeptic argument here comes from the belief that psi should be regarded as a belief. Your argument makes sense from that standpoint. But I don't agree that psi is a belief and why should I? It's something real to me. Because I know what it is, I'm in a position to recognize it in its many forms. From my standpoint, all those people experiencing psi is a demonstration of something real happening, so the whole skeptic argument falls apart.

We are approaching this from fundamentally different angles. There is nothing to be done for it.



I must say you have a talent for answering a question that hasn't been asked ?
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby Arouet » 17 Nov 2011, 13:19

craig weiler wrote:The skeptic argument here comes from the belief that psi should be regarded as a belief. Your argument makes sense from that standpoint. But I don't agree that psi is a belief and why should I? It's something real to me. Because I know what it is, I'm in a position to recognize it in its many forms. From my standpoint, all those people experiencing psi is a demonstration of something real happening, so the whole skeptic argument falls apart.

We are approaching this from fundamentally different angles. There is nothing to be done for it.


I've already addressed this. You and others have experiences. You interpret those experiences. Those are beliefs. Your interpretation could be right, or wrong.

All you can say about people reporting experiences is that they are all having certain experiences. Those are real experiences. They have real perceptions. So there we agree. However, their understanding of their own experiences may be wrong. That is, their belief about their experiences may be wrong.

You may believe that your experiences are immaterial. You may be wrong about that. You may be right about that. But one thing we can say is that a million people believing that these experiences are immaterial is not an argument in favour of them actually being immaterial. They may all be wrong. That's why you can't use the number of people reporting psi experiences as an argument about the underlying reality of those experiences.
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby Jayhawker30 » 17 Nov 2011, 15:22

Craig Browning wrote:
Jayhawker30 wrote:
craig weiler wrote:I am amazed at your cheekiness. You are right and billions are wrong? Somehow you, who has never had a psychic experience, feel confident that your mental abilities are superior to the common sense and rationality of billions of people?

I don't understand that at all.


Well, in that sense he could be like the one lemming not running his ass off the cliff like the rest.


No, Randi is the head lemming. He was smart enough to CONvince the others to buy into his hype. . . tell a lie big enough, often enough and long enough. . .


Oh, don't worry. I already figure that to most likely be the case. I'm just saying that a whole bunch of people believing the same thing could all be very, very wrong.

And/or very, very dead.
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby craig weiler » 17 Nov 2011, 23:36

Statistically, the likelihood that several billion people are wrong about their psi experiences is infinitesimally small. You would have to show why they are wrong to make a reasonable case here.
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby Arouet » 18 Nov 2011, 00:19

craig weiler wrote:Statistically, the likelihood that several billion people are wrong about their psi experiences is infinitesimally small. You would have to show why they are wrong to make a reasonable case here.


Everyone feels pain in their hand when they hit it. How many billions understand that the pain feeling is actually in their brains? Or that their heartache when pining for an unrequited love is not actually in the heart?

Everyone feels happy and sad at times. How many billions have no idea about the underlying effect of serotonin?

We all suffer from confirmation bias. We all have defiicient memories. We all have similar brain structure.

But remember that I'm not saying that these billions of people are wrong about their psi experience. What I'm saying is that the mere fact that many people believe their experiences are psi does not entail that they are correct in their analysis.

Millions of people have person experiences that they believe are communications with their god. Or that what they perceive is a sign from their deity of choice. Do we say that that means they must be actually getting a message from their deity?

It's a simple concept: millions of people can be wrong. More to the point, millions of people almost assuredly are wrong, to at least some extent, on a great many things.

Just having people have an opinion on something is not in itself evidence that their opinion is correct.
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby craig weiler » 18 Nov 2011, 07:50

Psi has an evidence trail. You think of someone suddenly that you haven't seen in ages and they call you two minutes later. You suddenly know that your close relative has died although they were far away and you won't hear about it for awhile. Or someone sees a ghost or knows that something will happen ahead of time. These are a few of the things that happen over and over again that finally convince people that something psychic is happening. You don't need to know the mechanism to realize that it is happening.

I wouldn't call that opinion or belief.

Just like you don't need to know where you're actually feeling pain to know that your thumb hurts with gawdawful excrutiating, searing, unbelievably torturous pain after it got smashed. (Trust me on that one. Don't try it yourself.)
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby Arouet » 18 Nov 2011, 08:46

craig weiler wrote:Psi has an evidence trail. You think of someone suddenly that you haven't seen in ages and they call you two minutes later. You suddenly know that your close relative has died although they were far away and you won't hear about it for awhile. Or someone sees a ghost or knows that something will happen ahead of time. These are a few of the things that happen over and over again that finally convince people that something psychic is happening. You don't need to know the mechanism to realize that it is happening.


And yet its still possible for them all to be mistaken. It's a LOGICAL fallacy. It's about argument structure. X people believe Y so Y must be true. It's a fallacy. No matter what the topic.

With psi all you can conclude about the number of reported experiences is that people are reporting such experiences. For anything else you need more data - not just logical argument.

We're simply talking about argument framing here. Not sure that I can add any more here, so I guess I'll drop it.

I wouldn't call that opinion or belief.

Just like you don't need to know where you're actually feeling pain to know that your thumb hurts with gawdawful excrutiating, searing, unbelievably torturous pain after it got smashed. (Trust me on that one. Don't try it yourself.)[/quote]
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby craig weiler » 18 Nov 2011, 11:07

The odds that billions of people are mistaken about their experiences are, as I said, infinitesimally small. That's just common sense.
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby Arouet » 18 Nov 2011, 11:22

craig weiler wrote:The odds that billions of people are mistaken about their experiences are, as I said, infinitesimally small. That's just common sense.


How are you calculating those odds?

In any event, the rules of logic don't go by common sense.
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby Jayhawker30 » 18 Nov 2011, 11:41

Gentlemen, do you ever get the feeling that maybe this is a subject that can't possibly be argued?
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby Arouet » 18 Nov 2011, 11:48

Jayhawker30 wrote:Gentlemen, do you ever get the feeling that maybe this is a subject that can't possibly be argued?


Never seen an issue like that! :D

So what's your take?
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby Jayhawker30 » 18 Nov 2011, 12:56

I think proof for or against something like this... really can't be found in the words of others. It's just too subjective to factually argue, I think.

I mean, people try and go out there and run tests to scientifically prove or disprove this stuff, but the results always get muddled in controversy for one reason or another, positive or negative. I see so many different, emotionally driven interpretations of the same thing that, rationally, I couldn't trust anyone's word on what's what, especially if that word is second hand to another person's second hand account of what actually happened.


The only things I can trust is what I've seen for myself, with my own eyes. There is no solid ground to stand in the whirlwind of paranormal debate.
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby Arouet » 18 Nov 2011, 19:30

We're not talking about empirical proof here (or evidence, since we can't ever really prove anything!), we're talking about a particular logical argument.
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