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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 craig weiler » 09 Nov 2011, 21:40

Nostradamus,
This study is a replication, but the other studies were from years ago and are not even referenced on line. I only found out about them by reading a book about something else. The Trickster and the Paranormal by George Hansen. I can't provide you with any links. My internet is dodgy right now, making my searching frustrating.

Do you want to understand psi, or are you just looking for ways to say it doesn't exist? Your statements are so completely one sided towards disbelief on every area surrounding this subject that I'm having a hard time taking you seriously.
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby Arouet » 10 Nov 2011, 01:16

craig weiler wrote:It's been done. That was the Wiseman and Schlitz study I was referring to. Wiseman is a skeptic and Schlitz is a believer. These studies are extremely well controlled as is the case for most parapsychology studies. (They always have skeptics on their asses, they have to be good.)



I read it awhile ago, I'm not sure that it was precisely testing in the manner that I suggested, I'll have to dig it out again.
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby Nostradamus » 10 Nov 2011, 04:24

craig weiler wrote:Nostradamus,
This study is a replication, but the other studies were from years ago and are not even referenced on line. I only found out about them by reading a book about something else. The Trickster and the Paranormal by George Hansen. I can't provide you with any links. My internet is dodgy right now, making my searching frustrating.

Do you want to understand psi, or are you just looking for ways to say it doesn't exist? Your statements are so completely one sided towards disbelief on every area surrounding this subject that I'm having a hard time taking you seriously.


It's hard to take you seriously when you claim that a study is some sort of proof. These studies show that when constraints are tightened the paranormal goes away. I have yet to see anything that suggests psi exists. Everything suggests it does not exist. Why would I assume something exists until proven otherwise?
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby craig weiler » 10 Nov 2011, 12:40

Why would I assume something exists until proven otherwise?


The problem isn't a lack of evidence, parapsychology has proven its case. The problem is your lack of objectivity. I haven't seen you demonstrate an ounce of skepticism so far. You're just at war with an opposing viewpoint.

It's your job to be reasonable and fair minded. When you can do that, then you'll be a real skeptic.

About 75% of Americans and most of the world accepts the existence of psi. It's not that big a deal. You can be part of the minority that runs around claiming it isn't proven and doesn't exist if you want. Whatever does it for you.
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby NinjaPuppy » 10 Nov 2011, 22:59

craig weiler wrote:The problem is your lack of objectivity. I haven't seen you demonstrate an ounce of skepticism so far. You're just at war with an opposing viewpoint.

It's your job to be reasonable and fair minded. When you can do that, then you'll be a real skeptic.

Craig - From my experience on this forum as well as other 'skeptic' forums, Arouet is the most objective person here when it comes to good old fashioned skepticism. ProfWag is second and Nostradude has recently returned so I'll need more evidence as to where he now lies with his level of skepticism. You're preaching to the choir with Arouet.
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby craig weiler » 10 Nov 2011, 23:37

NinjaPuppy,
I was directing my comment to Nostradamus. I agree about Arouet and ProfWag. They're pretty good as far as skeptics go and I've mentioned that several times. They will freely admit when they don't know something.

Nostradamus? Not so much. I'm seeing too much of that I-have-to-be-right-at-all-costs mentality.
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby NinjaPuppy » 11 Nov 2011, 03:43

craig weiler wrote:Nostradamus? Not so much. I'm seeing too much of that I-have-to-be-right-at-all-costs mentality.

That's because he usually is. Nostradude never makes claims that he can't substantiate. He's one smart cookie.
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby Craig Browning » 11 Nov 2011, 04:08

craig weiler wrote:NinjaPuppy,
I was directing my comment to Nostradamus. I agree about Arouet and ProfWag. They're pretty good as far as skeptics go and I've mentioned that several times. They will freely admit when they don't know something.

Nostradamus? Not so much. I'm seeing too much of that I-have-to-be-right-at-all-costs mentality.


It's magician's ego, they (we) have to know everything :lol:

It's amazed me over the years, how people that enjoy the legerdemain assume instantly that there is no such thing as "real" magic or mystery in life even though they tinker with an art form that specializes in making the fantasiful "real" and "experiential". What amazes me even more is how so many superimpose the idea of "atheism" onto certain 19th & early 20th century performers that likewise investigated paranormal situations, particularly the Spiritualists and Mitt Joint operators. They "forget" that Kellar, Thurston and Houdini all three were quite devout in their faith; Thurston was even heading to seminary school prior to accepting Kellar's nod and Harry H was well known at Temple and arguably, was a believer who simply became enraged upon finding the charlatans. . . I've seen this happen with believers and working psychics upon discovering that there are methods by which to fake things well enough to start a church.

:cry: No, the magic society of our present has been poisoned by the antics of three or four pompous asses that started making things a "big deal" in the 1950s & 60s. Not because it was a "real" concern of theirs but because they couldn't make a living in show biz and Houdini had proved how lucrative "Debunking" can be. Sadly, very few of these idiots ever stepped into an actual charlatan's operation or investigated those "known" hustlers that tend to kill interlopers such as they might describe themselves. They aim only for soft, safe targets that will give them headlines; even the UK Ian Rowland goes to far as to encourage such tactics -- harassing local Readers and "exposing them" so you can get a bit of cheap press; this coming from a man who has NEVER done Readings or worked in the Psychic Industry in a manner that involved genuine commitment of heart, mind and soul via which the work becomes part of your livelihood. . . but only "part" in that the true Readers tend to stumble on the carnal part of things, giving away their assistance more than not. . . something the Cynics either negate, ignore or belittle -- NEVER seeing it for what it is.

The funny thing is, where I'm stigmatized as being a "nut case" that doesn't know what he's talking about, more and more of the younger guys keep asking me for direction and thanking me for giving them ways of seeing and understanding magic (in general) and mentalism (specifically) that goes beyond the stock spiel given by all the cynics and worse of all, the brain washed masses who are deliberately guided away from the older more esoteric understandings tied to the craft as well as the logic as to why the one (mentalism) was deliberately segregated from the other (typical magic).

Pardon my little rant there, the point is still the same however; since the latter 50's to present there has been a deliberate effort made in the stage magic world, to negate the "magick" of faith/belief be it religiously tied such as the power of prayer and the laying of hands or things from the more esoteric depths which just happens to include psychic abilities and parapsychology as a whole. Where (during the 60's) groups like the Christian Magicians Fellowship were applauded and strongly supported members of such groups today keep their ties quiet and only whispered so as to avoid the harassment and bullying so many of their "peers" have to offer.

It's quite a sad thing if you ask me :(
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby ProfWag » 11 Nov 2011, 04:25

craig weiler wrote:NinjaPuppy,
I was directing my comment to Nostradamus. I agree about Arouet and ProfWag. They're pretty good as far as skeptics go and I've mentioned that several times. They will freely admit when they don't know something.

Thanks ya'all!
Now, will you all just quit with that silly psychic crap and get on with your life!
(okay, just kidding...)
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby really? » 11 Nov 2011, 05:36

craig weiler wrote:About 75% of Americans and most of the world accepts the existence of psi. It's not that big a deal. You can be part of the minority that runs around claiming it isn't proven and doesn't exist if you want.

Stop using logical fallacies that being the fallacy of large numbers and the band wagon fallacy.
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby craig weiler » 11 Nov 2011, 08:45

Ninjapuppy: Nostradamus is cherrypicking evidence to come to his conclusions. Just because he has facts does not mean that he is evaluating them objectively.

ProfWag: LOL!

really?
Stop using logical fallacies that being the fallacy of large numbers and the band wagon fallacy.


Well that would certainly make it easier for you wouldn't it? Just explain away a view held by most of the world's population as a fallacy?

If you could narrow down belief in psychic ability to a narrow demographic, you might have an argument. But you can't. It covers a wide spectrum ranging from highly educated to uneducated, from rich to poor and high status to low status. (Skeptics on the other hand, are largely white, male and well educated. It indicates that skepticism is more a cultural trait than anything else.) There have been many studies on this subject and no one can point to any trait that distinguishes believers from skeptics.

Belief in psychic ability also doesn't change much over the year, nor do the demographics. It's not a fad.

Keep in mind that in the US at least, this is despite the fact that it is either ignored or attacked by our educational system.

Fallacy? Methinks not.

Any argument that these people are somehow deluded makes no sense.
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby NinjaPuppy » 11 Nov 2011, 08:46

ProfWag wrote:Now, will you all just quit with that silly psychic crap and get on with your life!
(okay, just kidding...)

But psychic crap IS my life. :lol:
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby Arouet » 11 Nov 2011, 10:11

craig weiler wrote:Fallacy? Methinks not.


It is a fallacy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argumentum_ad_populum

To escape the fallacy you have to look at the reasons for their belief but the mere fact of it being belied by many people is not an argument that it is true. It may provide for a very good reason to investigate, however.
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby really? » 11 Nov 2011, 11:43

craig weiler wrote:Ninjapuppy: Nostradamus is cherrypicking evidence to come to his conclusions. Just because he has facts does not mean that he is evaluating them objectively.

ProfWag: LOL!

really?
Stop using logical fallacies that being the fallacy of large numbers and the band wagon fallacy.


Well that would certainly make it easier for you wouldn't it? Just explain away a view held by most of the world's population as a fallacy?

If you could narrow down belief in psychic ability to a narrow demographic, you might have an argument. But you can't. It covers a wide spectrum ranging from highly educated to uneducated, from rich to poor and high status to low status. (Skeptics on the other hand, are largely white, male and well educated. It indicates that skepticism is more a cultural trait than anything else.) There have been many studies on this subject and no one can point to any trait that distinguishes believers from skeptics.

Belief in psychic ability also doesn't change much over the year, nor do the demographics. It's not a fad.

Keep in mind that in the US at least, this is despite the fact that it is either ignored or attacked by our educational system.

Fallacy? Methinks not.

Any argument that these people are somehow deluded makes no sense.


They could very easily be deluded. From the beginning of this country's history and up to the civil rights movement of the sixties is was thought by many Negros were inferior. During that same time it was also thought that women weren't smart enough to have a say in politics until sense prevailed and women finally got the right to vote in 1920. Those are just two examples. People can very easily deluded themselves
Last edited by really? on 11 Nov 2011, 22:46, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby craig weiler » 11 Nov 2011, 12:21

Arouet,
It would be a fallacy if we were talking about a belief like "the world is flat." Or creationism. But we're not. We're talking about something shared by EVERY culture on earth throughout history. There are records from almost 4,000 years ago where people complained about how hard it was to find good psychics. (The more things change . . .) And waddaya know, everyone seems to agree on how you do it.
1. You need a minimum of distractions
2. Intent without focus
3. Acceptance and belief

Psychic ability is the same everywhere and it doesn't change. Can you think of anything else that fits that description? What possible explanation could there be besides "it's real."
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