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Straight Talk: The Ganzfeld (Advocates & Skeptics only)

Discussions about Psychics and Psychic Phenomena, Extra Sensory Perception, Telepathy, Psi, Clairvoyancy, 6th Sense, Psychokinesis, etc.

Re: Straight Talk: The Ganzfeld (Advocates & Skeptics only)

Postby really? » 11 Sep 2011, 11:24

Arouet wrote:Wait - so I'm going about it in the most difficult way possible but also dogmatically?

That's a neat trick! :lol:


From the start this debate was never about finding the truth of psi. It was a veiled attempt to point out every word uttered to the contrary, every objection made by a skeptic is wrong. A quote from this very thread illustrates this.
It is skeptic nonsense that demonstrates a complete lack of understanding about psi or human potential. It is an attempt to skew results towards null to fit the skeptic narrative. Duh.
Last edited by really? on 12 Sep 2011, 03:40, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Straight Talk: The Ganzfeld (Advocates & Skeptics only)

Postby ProfWag » 11 Sep 2011, 21:35

craig weiler wrote:I personally, have no faith that you can be convinced by any amount of evidence. And that's really where I have to stop.

I would like to stay mature in my comment to this, and I apologize in advance, but I have to say that this comment is a cop out. I can guarantee you that we skeptics would be convinced if there was substantial evidence, but as of today, that has not materialized. If a minimal amount of a possible statistical anomoly makes you feel good that psi is an absolute, then more power to you. From my standpoint, as long as you don't cheat innocent people out of their hard-earned money, I couldn't care less what you believe. Why should you feel so much need to convince us otherwise?
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Re: Straight Talk: The Ganzfeld (Advocates & Skeptics only)

Postby Twain Shakespeare » 12 Sep 2011, 01:49

ProfWag wrote:
craig weiler wrote:I personally, have no faith that you can be convinced by any amount of evidence. And that's really where I have to stop.

I would like to stay mature in my comment to this, and I apologize in advance, but I have to say that this comment is a cop out. I can guarantee you that we skeptics would be convinced if there was substantial evidence, but as of today, that has not materialized. If a minimal amount of a possible statistical anomoly makes you feel good that psi is an absolute, then more power to you. From my standpoint, as long as you don't cheat innocent people out of their hard-earned money, I couldn't care less what you believe. Why should you feel so much need to convince us otherwise?



That would be a good topic for a thread, Prof. Why do people strive to convince, convert?
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Re: Straight Talk: The Ganzfeld (Advocates & Skeptics only)

Postby Jayhawker30 » 12 Sep 2011, 06:14

The truth becomes truer as more people believe in it.
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Re: Straight Talk: The Ganzfeld (Advocates & Skeptics only)

Postby _Ice_Ages_14_Aces_ » 12 Sep 2011, 10:49

craig weiler wrote:Ice Ages,
No one who has the ability to see this data objectively doubts the existence of psi and they have moved on. When you look at the accumulation of positive evidence in parapsychology you cannot reasonably reach any other conclusion. You don't need to lump it together into a huge meta analysis, the existence of several positive databases in different areas is enough. The only way you could possibly doubt this is if you attack everything in detail while forgetting everything else. Anyone who does that is an idiot.

The bar for acceptance is not that high. While many scientists may quibble over it, this is something that is observed all over the frigging planet. Entire cultures accept its existence. That we should find something that everyone except a small percentage of the world population accepts as real is not at all surprising.

You're good with stats. What are the odds that roughly 50% of the US population was delusional when they said they had experienced some form of psi? Bear in mind, there is no evidence that they are any less logical and rational than skeptics.

So yeah, the Ganzfeld doesn't need to be absolutely perfect. It meets better than ordinary standards of science and that is enough. They've proven their point.


Sorry Craig, but I don't consider anecdotal accounts as evidence for psi since they come from uncontrolled environments and are easily biased. In fact, many psi experiences that people had reported turned out to be explained by conventional means instead of unconventional ones. Furthermore, these anecdotes can be easily explained as coincidences, hallucinations, selective-memory, etc. Well, given the billions of people living in this planet called Earth, it is very likely many will get what looks like psi when they are in fact, coincidences. The fact that something is very unlikely doesn't mean it will never happen, it will happen on the long run. The only evidence I'll accept as psi is if the people can consistently get statistically significant results in legitimate psi experiments......

By the way, I don't believe all anecdotes are false....

I agree with you that something interesting is going on with these ganzfeld experiments; however, I disagree with the psi proof.

ESP and PK are nothing but abstracts created by the mind that help us comprehend the phenomena, but not the phenomena itself. ESP and PK may not be ESP and PK, but some unknown phenomena that is beyond our comprehension.. This is not to say that ESP and PK are false, but there's a possibility these abstracts will change based on new empirical evidence/observations.

Why not? This is the essence of science, which is tentative and self-correcting, not a motivation for proofs.
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Re: Straight Talk: The Ganzfeld (Advocates & Skeptics only)

Postby craig weiler » 13 Sep 2011, 00:25

Ice Ages,
Furthermore, these anecdotes can be easily explained as coincidences, hallucinations, selective-memory, etc. Well, given the billions of people living in this planet called Earth, it is very likely many will get what looks like psi when they are in fact, coincidences. The fact that something is very unlikely doesn't mean it will never happen, it will happen on the long run.


This isn't actually true. You are confusing something being explained, with something being explained away. In the former, there is evidence that shows how something occurred. In the latter, the first explanation that fits the current belief system is accepted as fact. Your examples fall into the later category.

The coincidences explanation is a good example of this. There is absolutely no proof that this is a valid theory. None. It is a guess, nothing more.

When you remove testimony as evidence and say that it is invalid, then you have no legal system and you can pretty much chuck the entire field of psychology out the window because they rely heavily on "anecdotal evidence." So to utterly dismiss this, especially when the numbers are truly gargantuan, is folly. There is no scientific justification for it; you are just picking and choosing who you want to believe.
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Re: Straight Talk: The Ganzfeld (Advocates & Skeptics only)

Postby _Ice_Ages_14_Aces_ » 15 Sep 2011, 02:36

craig weiler wrote:This isn't actually true. You are confusing something being explained, with something being explained away. In the former, there is evidence that shows how something occurred. In the latter, the first explanation that fits the current belief system is accepted as fact. Your examples fall into the later category.


Wrong. There is a lot of empirical evidence that shows that some or probably most of the anecdotal cases of psi turned out to have mundane explanations. For instance, there was an anecdotal case about a person who believes that he or she is either telepathic or is being mind-controlled by the C.I.A. simply because he/she can hear voices in his/her mind. at the end, It turned out that the person was suffering from a mental illness known as schizophrenia. There are more cases than this that turned out to have a conventional explanation by the way.

The coincidences explanation is a good example of this. There is absolutely no proof that this is a valid theory. None. It is a guess, nothing more.


How can you possibly say coincidence is not a valid theory for anecdotal cases that are supposedly psi??? Coincidences happen all the time, it's ubiquitous in fact.

When you remove testimony as evidence and say that it is invalid, then you have no legal system and you can pretty much chuck the entire field of psychology out the window because they rely heavily on "anecdotal evidence." So to utterly dismiss this, especially when the numbers are truly gargantuan, is folly. There is no scientific justification for it; you are just picking and choosing who you want to believe.


Unfortunately, the problem with psychology is they suffer from confirmation and publication bias just like other scientific disiplines (Except for parapsychological studies). Psychologists who publish their research in peer-reveiw journals only publish positive studies and ignore the negative ones (a.k.a. file-drawer problem). In addition, they have the tendency to continue the experiment untill they find the effect when the effect is in fact a false-positive. So are some or probably most psychological studies biased? Yes

You may be right, I am just picking and choosing what I accept. It's just that I don't accept anecdotes as evidence, only experimentation....
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Re: Straight Talk: The Ganzfeld (Advocates & Skeptics only)

Postby craig weiler » 15 Sep 2011, 02:51

Ok. You've made your position clear. I flat out don't agree with it, but I understand where you're coming from.
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Re: Straight Talk: The Ganzfeld (Advocates & Skeptics only)

Postby ProfWag » 15 Sep 2011, 06:13

craig weiler wrote:Ok. You've made your position clear. I flat out don't agree with it, but I understand where you're coming from.

This statement made me think of something. I don't have data to back me up (just my observations), but if you ask 50 different people about their belief in psi, I'm pretty confident you'll get 50 different answers--especially dependent on what all is asked of them about psi (is it possible--is it a reality--is TK a reality--RV--etc., etc. etc.) Same is true of religion.
I guess the bottom line for me is that's it's fun to discuss because with all of the experiments, observations, and articles, there are still 50 different opinions. If there was something concrete to it psi, then why are there still so many different opinions?
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Re: Straight Talk: The Ganzfeld (Advocates & Skeptics only)

Postby craig weiler » 15 Sep 2011, 08:39

Almost nobody knows about the experimental side to any great extent, and that includes scientists of pretty much every field. It's just not well known.

Here is the data I believe you were looking for:
http://www.gallup.com/poll/16915/three- ... ormal.aspx

People have opinions based on their personal experiences and backgrounds. In Georgia, where my brother lives, hauntings are completely accepted and normal. Out here on the San Francisco Peninsula? Not so much. We don't have the kind of history that generates that stuff. People with religious backgrounds will believe in the power of prayer to heal, but might not believe in an agnostic New Age Healer. People are funny that way. You can turn your question around just as easily. If there was nothing to psi, why would all these different people have all these different opinions about it?

It's all in how you look at it.
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Re: Straight Talk: The Ganzfeld (Advocates & Skeptics only)

Postby Maaneli » 30 Nov 2011, 15:04

craig weiler wrote:The Milton and Wiseman Autoganzfeld meta-analysis that purportedly showed that there was actually no significant effect was debunked years ago. It had botched statistics and flawed methodology.

Chris Carter: Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 74: 156-167 (2010) Page 12

“Heads I Lose, Tails You Win”,
Or, How Richard Wiseman Nullifies Positive Results, and What to
Do about It: A Response to Wiseman’s (2010) Critique of
Parapsychology

But what Wiseman does not mention is this: it later turned out that Milton and Wiseman had
botched their statistical analysis of the ganzfeld experiments, by failing to consider sample
size. Dean Radin simply added up the total number of hits and trials conducted in those thirty
studies (the statistically-correct method of doing meta-analysis) and found a statistically
significant result with odds against chance of about 20 to 1. (Radin, 2007, pages 118, 316)
The 30 studies that Milton and Wiseman considered ranged in size from 4 trials to 100, but they
used a statistical method that simply ignored sample size (N). For instance, say we have 3
studies, two with N = 8, 2 hits (25%), and a third with N = 60, 21 hits (35%). If we ignore
sample size, then the unweighted average percentage of hits is only 28%; but the combined
average of all the hits is just under 33%.

This, in simplest terms, is the mistake they made. Had
they simply added up the hits and misses and then performed a simple one-tailed t-test, they
would have found results significant at the 5% level. Had they performed the exact binomial
test, the results would have been significant at less than the 4% level, with odds against chance
of 26 to 1. Statistician Jessica Utts pointed this out at a meeting Dean Radin held in Vancouver
in 2007, in which he invited parapsychologists and skeptics to come together and present to
other interested (invited) scientists. Richard Wiseman was present at this meeting, and was able
to offer no justification for his botched statistics.
Nevertheless, Wiseman mentions this study of his in his Skeptical Inquirer article, writing that
“the cumulative effect was small and insignificant.”
And this was not the only problem with the study. Milton and Wiseman did not include a large
and highly successful study by Kathy Dalton (1997) due to an arbitrary cut-off date, even
though it was published almost two years before Milton and Wiseman’s paper; had been
widely discussed among parapsychologists; was part of a doctoral dissertation at Julie Milton’s
university; and was presented at a conference chaired by Wiseman two years before Milton and
Wiseman published their paper.
Here we have a case in which Wiseman nullified a positive result by first engaging in
“retrospective data selection” - arbitrarily excluding a highly successful study - and then, by
botching the statistical analysis of the remaining data.


Craig Weiler,

I am a poster on the Skeptiko forum. There is currently an ongoing thread on the Ganzfeld literature, and I would like to invite you to join the discussion:

http://forum.mind-energy.net/skeptiko-p ... zfeld.html

I have read some of your comments on this forum, and am impressed by your knowledge of the literature. You can also see my comments on the Ganzfeld in the above thread, as well as in this thread (starting on page 9): http://forum.mind-energy.net/skeptiko-p ... edict.html

Looking forward!

Maaneli
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Re: Straight Talk: The Ganzfeld (Advocates & Skeptics only)

Postby Arouet » 30 Nov 2011, 20:42

Hey Maaneli!
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Re: Straight Talk: The Ganzfeld (Advocates & Skeptics only)

Postby Maaneli » 01 Dec 2011, 02:06

Hey Arouet.
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Re: Straight Talk: The Ganzfeld (Advocates & Skeptics only)

Postby craig weiler » 01 Dec 2011, 07:23

Maanaeli,
I've registered and posted at skeptico. It's apparently taking awhile for my posts to get moderated.
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Re: Straight Talk: The Ganzfeld (Advocates & Skeptics only)

Postby Arouet » 01 Dec 2011, 09:42

craig weiler wrote:Maanaeli,
I've registered and posted at skeptico. It's apparently taking awhile for my posts to get moderated.


Only the first post. It's what I've suggested to scepcop here to weed out the spammers. I think you'll fit right in at Skeptiko, see you there!
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