Discussions about the James Randi Educational Foundation and its Million Dollar Challenge.
31 Aug 2011, 23:44
Ok, so I did a bit of reading on the Ziborov manner in the JREF threads (just go to the MDC forum and search for Ziborov: a number of threads turn up) and while it does look like JREF was certainly not giving it top priority and could have been clearer in their communications with Ziborov that the situation is not quite so simple. Apparently the applicant was very unclear in what his proposed ability was, it changed over time, and the protocols were not precise enough.
Here's one comment that summarises some of the concerns:
[QUOTE=Andrew Wiggin;5091579]I vote no. My impression from reading the various threads is that Pavel was hoping to find a way to get a protocol accepted that he had a fair chance of beating without paranormal abilities. The occasional good run DOES happen, even by chance, and the chances of winning the million are a lot better than the chances of winning a million by playing the lottery. All you have to do is hypothesize that you are better at obfuscating some things that manipulate chance than the various reviewers are at finding them. It really did look to me like he was hoping at some points to make use of the 'monty hall paradox' with his various photographs and rearrangements. It should be so simple to devise a protocol for this, so when a simple protocol doesn't materialize, and endless complications and caveats are added on over years of discussion, then something's rotten.
There was certainly a lot of critiicms from JREF members about the JREF's handling of the case, but I don't think its clear that that's what did this claim in.
We could discuss it further I guess, though I think the whole thing was dealt with in depth on the JREF forum, including participation from the applicant himself.
04 Sep 2011, 00:58
Thank you Craig!
I believe this particular incident is one of a handful I had heard about and not kept track of, that all the pro-randi types want to ignore, side-step or simply say that "we're" wrong and "misunderstanding" the "science".
In this case, which shell is the pea under. . .
04 Sep 2011, 13:02
From my brief skim of the JREF threads, it appears that Randi did indeed propose to cut it down, but if I understood correctly, did not state that Pavel required to get all right.
The problem is that Pavel then quit the negotiations. That's a pity. I can get why he was frustrated, and don't blame him, and I believe JREF could have handled the negotiations better, but the math could be figured out with 20 trials like it could for 100. As long as it was correctly figured out his odds shouldn't be that affected. This was just for a preliminary trial.
I wish that Pavel had stuck with the negotiations a bit longer.
Craig: if you read the JREF thread there are a number of skeptic regs who criticised JREF's handling of the matter. but it doesn't look like pavel was particularly clear with his protocols either.
Do we know what Pavel has done since? He doesn't need JREF to get together with a parapschologist to flesh out his ability after all!
04 Sep 2011, 21:41
I'll admit not understanding why Randi wanted to cut it to 20 trials. If he thought 100 would take too long he could have reduced it to 80 or 50.
That said, I don't understand Pavel's argument that 20 trials makes it impossible to demonstrate his ability. We're talking about getting a certain statistical hit that beat certain odds. That can be calculated no matter how many trials are suggested.
What am I missing?
05 Sep 2011, 00:03
It's statistics. To beat odds of 1000 to 1 when chance is 50% you need 67 hits out of a hundred. A 67% success rate. To beat the same odds with 20 trials you need to get 18 out of 20 hits. That is a 90% success rate. Pavel did not claim that he could achieve a 90% success rate.
The challenge is to determine whether there is a black or white piece of paper inside an envelope. At the incredibly slow pace of 1 trial per 2 minutes 100 trials would consume about three hours and 20 minutes. More likely is that each trial takes about 45 seconds which would consume about 1 hr 15 min.
The issue of saving time is clearly a red herring.
05 Sep 2011, 00:17
I'll have to read the JREF thread a little more carefully, maybe I'll do that tonight.
I agree that I think the time issue was unreasonable and I think they should have just gone with 100 trials.
But as for red herrings: the MDC is a red herring. I don't know why it occupies such a sore spot for proponents. I'm more interested in the discussions about parapsychology. The MDC is kind of like an entertaining side show.
05 Sep 2011, 01:00
The Zibarov issue is basically a smoking gun that proves that Randi cheats. That's really what we're arguing here.
Here's the page with the damning evidence:http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=119896&page=6
You don't have to go farther back than page 1 of this thread because the previous discussions are consumed with figuring out an acceptable protocol. Pavel needed a lot of help to come up with something testable and while the volunteers were helpful, Randi delayed everything by taking forever to respond, putting the process in limbo for months at a time.
05 Sep 2011, 04:09
I'll take a look. But I'm curious: in the two years since this occurred what steps has Pavel taken to prove his ability. I wasn't able to find anything in google other than a youtube video saying that he'd search for others to test him.
05 Sep 2011, 07:46
I would guess that Pavel has moved on. Without a financial incentive, there is no reason to go to so much trouble to prove yourself.
05 Sep 2011, 22:57
06 Sep 2011, 01:08
For the most part, psychic people don't care what skeptics think. To be truthful, I don't either. I argue merely for the sake of a good intellectual discussion and to understand skeptics better. There is no chance though that I'm ever going to think you're right because I have direct personal experience with psychic phenomena. Nothing beats it. Once you've seen a tree, no one is going to convince you that they don't exist. It's the same with psychic ability.
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