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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 » 27 Nov 2011, 05:38

really? We're talking about people reporting their experiences. Belief is not the issues.
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby Arouet » 27 Nov 2011, 06:36

huh? we've been talking about whether people have accurately assessed their experiences and whether a lot of people believing their experiences are psi lets us conclude that it is actually psi.

We stipulated from the start that people have had and reported these experiences!
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby craig weiler » 27 Nov 2011, 10:43

It's not necessary to determine whether people are accurately assessing their abilities and it's not possible in this case anyway, as you pointed out. When you reach the huge numbers, such as with psi experiences, you have to treat them as a group, and this requires a shift in tactics. You can't just assume that they might be mistaken because the obvious retort to that is: All of them? If even one person is right and has had an actual psi experience, there you go. Psi exists. If you are going to insist that they are wrong, then you need an answer that works extremely reliably because if several billion people are wrong about their experiences, there has to be an extremely good explanation for that.
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby Arouet » 27 Nov 2011, 11:35

First of all, you're acting as if no one has ever discussed the reasons why people believe things that are wrong. They have.

But again, your problem here is that you're committing a logical fallacy. I hate to keep on repeating it, but you are basically carving out a special pleading for psi. We don't assume they are wrong. We simply won't assume they are right - at least not without good reason. You've shifted the burden of proof in addition to the logical fallacy.

Maybe read the wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argumentum_ad_populum
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby ProfWag » 27 Nov 2011, 19:56

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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby craig weiler » 28 Nov 2011, 11:51

A ship in harbor is safe, but that's not what ships are for.
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby Arouet » 28 Nov 2011, 13:26

I'm not saying that there aren't a lot of people who have reported paranormal experiences, but I think you have to be wary of any study that suggests that 50% of people recall having past lives. Even Ian Stevenson, arguably the most studied parapsychologist on this issue, noted that its rare, and involves mainly young children who forget about it by the age of 6 or so.
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby craig weiler » 28 Nov 2011, 23:24

If you wish to explain how billions of people can report all these psi experiences and be wrong, I'm willing to entertain your explanation. It just better be an extremely good one that can be reliably demonstrated to affect over three quarters of the world's population and not skeptics.
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby Arouet » 29 Nov 2011, 00:05

But it does affect skeptics!

On a regular basis, for example, I'll think I see a monster spider walking across my bed. My heart starts to beat like crazy, I'll stare intentenlty trying to find it and will on ocasion even swat at it! Sometimes I'll even turn on the light. After I get over my groggy haze, I realise that it is tricks of the light and shadown, and my mind. There really was no spider. But at the time I clearly (well not clearly, its blury and I'm not using my glasses) saw something critering across.

I've sometimes though I've seen people too, just standing there, and again sometimes I'll turn on the light. no-one there.

I'll sometimes get bad feeling about things, and sometimes they are right, sometimes they are wrong. I'll sometimes think of a friend and have them call. A few years ago as I was getting to walmart, I suddenly had the idea to call an old dear friend who I hadn't spoken to in awhile - I had a whole conversation with him, hung up, Then he called me back and he told me: "hey, you didn't wish me happy birthday!"

I've had feelings of spirituality. I've sometimes thought that I felt that someone was staring at me.

I'm a person just like any other, and have these same experiences. I think I just analyse them differently. It's not about intelligence - again, we are hardwired to spot these things. Paradolia plays a huge part. Confirmation bias. and ohers. Not too mention our relatively poor perceptive abilities (both visually and auditorily) along with relatively poor memories.

Now, none of that definitevely proves that psi is not real, but it helps explain why people do perceive these things and reduces out confidence that thy are correct.

Many people believing one thing may be evidence in favour of that thing - but its weak evidence, and generally unrealiable. I get why it has an impact on you - I just thnk you should keep its probabative value pretty low.
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby ProfWag » 29 Nov 2011, 00:33

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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby ProfWag » 29 Nov 2011, 00:42

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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby Arouet » 29 Nov 2011, 00:58

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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby craig weiler » 29 Nov 2011, 01:04

Who is this leading scientist you speak of? I'm not familiar with that. Wiseman? Blackmore?

The ganzfeld has never been unreplicated. There was an extremely poor meta analysis done by Wiseman, that appeared to cast doubt on the studies, but it has been thoroughly discredited. Otherwise all of them have been positive. The experimenters have solid evidence, they just can't get anyone to look at it. Do you do no research at all on this subject? That's rather common knowledge.

Getting back to the subject, can you definitively demonstrate a psychological mechanism that both triggers people to have experiences that they mistakenly believe to be psi and show that skeptics are somehow protected from this mechanism?

Psi comes in many forms, but it is all psi, whether we're talking seeing ghosts, poltergeists, crisis apparitions, reincarnation, near death experiences, telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, psychic healing or what have you. I am not interested in the opinion of psychologists, but rather studies that clearly show a psychological effect known to create certainty about these effects.
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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby ProfWag » 29 Nov 2011, 03:37

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Re: In defense of the JREF Paranormal Challenge

Postby ProfWag » 29 Nov 2011, 03:41

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