Discussions about the James Randi Educational Foundation and its Million Dollar Challenge.
24 Nov 2011, 14:25
Craig, if we all have similar brains, and our brain is hardwired in a way to see patterns, fill in the blanks of memory, perception, hardwired to see the snake in the grass, etc. then we should not be surprised that certain experiences happen and that people have similar perceptions. And we should not be surprised when their perception is incorrect.
No matter what there is something interesting going on with these experiences. But given how little we know about key components of these experiences, most notably how conciousness itself works - we can see how people can get it wrong. Indeed how everyone can get it wrong. We don't know how conciousness works at present so its possible that we all have it wrong. Again, that's why its a poor logical argument. And its difficult to even calculate the stats. No one knows how conciousness works and until we do (whether its material or not) then it puts in doubt any hypothesis on these topics.
(sorry, its late, I'm tired, I know I didn't express myself well there but I'm going to leave it. Might be confusing.)
25 Nov 2011, 23:56
I didn't expect you, or any other skeptic to understand. This sort of reasoning seems to be an especially weak area for skeptics in general. It's an inability to see the big picture. You and most skeptics I have encountered have a need to focus on individual details.
26 Nov 2011, 01:00
Yes. It's because it is the details that are important. The reason is that we are error-prone individuals with flawed perceptions. We are hardwired to spot patterns. And sometimes those patterns don't actually exist. To figure it out demands looking at the details, otherwise you are refusing to recognize our cognitive biases.
26 Nov 2011, 06:41
Yes, details are important. That's why if you're going to hypothesize that billions of people are mistaken about their experiences you have got to show why. In detail. You, know, prove it.
So go ahead, show me the proof that these people are all wrong. It should be fairly obvious since this is so common. Proof, not theories.
26 Nov 2011, 06:57
Craig, I'm not sure if you're being serious or not. You're asking me to debunk billions of hypothetical people. Worse, you're asking me to debunk hypothetical anecdotes about these hypothetical billions of people. And all we can do with these anecdotal stories is speculate, since we have absolutely no information.
We know that one person can be wrong about their psi abilities. Logically that means everyone can be wrong. The only way you can get to probabilities that some of them must be right is to establish that psi is real. Therefore you can't use their belief about psi as a premise in trying to prove psi. It's question begging.
Much better to deal with the actual studies of these potential phenomena and see what kind of consensus arises from them. But you don't want to talk about those. And I'm not saying I'm an expert on them either. I get lost in the stats too. The advantage of a forum is that you have a diverse group of people looking at it.
I still think voluntary OBE's is the simplest and cheapest way to prove to a very high degree of confidence that the mind is capable of existing outside of the brain. You've got one experiment in the 60s that apparently did it. Then the matter was all but dropped. Incredible. If I knew that that was possible and was a parapsychologist, and that there were people out there who claimed to do veridical obes, I'm not sure I could rest until I'd found a few people who could very simply demonstrate that psi is real.
26 Nov 2011, 12:12
P1 One person can be wrong about their psi abilities
P2 More than one person can be wrong about their psi abilities, however, the chance that everyone is wrong about their abilities becomes less and less likely as the number of people grows larger.
C. While it is not statistically impossible that everyone is wrong about their psi abilities, the number of people we're talking about is in the billions, making it very, very close to impossible that all those people are wrong.
That is to say unless you can demonstrate conclusively that some sort of psychological process is at work. Numbers this large demand a clear explanation.
26 Nov 2011, 12:51
What you've just done, again, is set out the fallacy of appeal to population. We're back to square one. It's a fallacy. You have to establish the underlying reality of psi before you can apply your argument. I agree that if we accept that psi is real, then the more people that believe they use it, the more likely someone is correct about it. Your problem is that you're using their belief as evidence of psi - it's begging the question and a fallacy.
26 Nov 2011, 23:19
We are talking about billions, where did you get the impression that we aren't?
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