Debunking (The Method)

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I am interested to know if there is a set procedure in which to follow when trying to debunk something or someone claiming to have paranormal abilities. I would have thought the method would be pretty specific to the case but there must be boxes that must be ticked for any case.

I would be quite interested if anyone had some information on how someone would go about debunking a psychic, I am interested in how you could actually prove this, or what your results have to show to dissagree with psychic ability.

Thanks. I know Psychics are probably talked about all the time, but this thead is trying to find the method in which someone must follow to debunk something.
 

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  • #2
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Probably the best debunker was James Randi since he could frequently duplicate the hoax and then show exactly how it was done. There is a pretty good site at www.randi.org

At the end of the day, almost nobody will believe the debunking. If you have enough critical thinking ability to follow and accept the debunking demonstration, you probably weren't dumb enough to believe the hoax in the first place.

I think the answer is pretty clear that there have been no proven psychic abilities up to this point. So, it's a lot like believing in Santa - if you do, you do; if you don't, you don't. There's no rational way to discuss an imaginary figure.
 
  • #3
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Well that is what I thought, it probably wouldn't make a big difference if you got some well supported evidence that Psychic did not exist, as believers are not interested in changing their mind.

After thinking about this a bit longer, you could probably debunk Psychic ability but probably not Psychic belief...

Thank you for your help.


Let me then change my question then, how would someone go about trying to debunk something? I will ask this as a general question, though this may be a mistkae as I don't know if you can talk about it so generally.
 
  • #4
Ivan Seeking
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Scientific investigations do not include the notion of debunking. If you can test a claim, then you may or may not find evidence to support the claim. Debunking is motive based in that the intent is to show fraud or error. So this is more a fringe notion than a scientific one.

I tend to think that reasonable people seek to explain, not debunk. Debunking is for TV shows.
 
  • #5
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Do you mean explain an alternative for how it may work?
 
  • #6
Ivan Seeking
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The idea is to approach any claim with objectivity and not a biased motive. Randi tends to debunk frauds, and that's great, but not all false claims are fraud. And sometimes stories that sound incredibly silly can make perfect sense given the proper context and information.

As for psychic claims, I personally tend to think that there may be rare and uncontrollable psychic phenomena that don't lend well to testing because like lightning, no one knows when it will happen. The reason for this is that I have heard accounts from people that I believe in spite of the lack of repeatability or proof. I find at least a few stories more compelling than the lack of scientific evidence. But I wouldn't bet the farm on it. :biggrin:

We have a recent thread about "psychics" who find murder victims and such. There is always a way to doubt stories like that, but there is evidence that they have some success in that bodies have been found. There is really no way to know if any of these were legitimate psychic finds or just flukes.
 
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  • #7
russ_watters
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Scientific investigations do not include the notion of debunking. If you can test a claim, then you may or may not find evidence to support the claim. Debunking is motive based in that the intent is to show fraud or error. So this is more a fringe notion than a scientific one.
Dunno, that sounds like a pretty good description of a piece of the scientific method to me!

Thus, the ideal way to debunk a claim is the same way you disprove any hypothesis or theory: by applying a scientific test and seeing if it fails. If it fails, then you can evaluate the failure for fraud and error.

The problem, however, with many claims of the paranormal is that they are not debunkable because it is not possible to examine them scientifically. This is similar to the crackpot perpetual motion claims we get here regularly. We typically are not given sufficient information to scientifically evaluate the claims (we aren't going to do the tests and generally they haven't done them either). So the scientifically appropriate thing to do with a claim that can't be evaluated is to simply summarily reject the claim, but without prejudice: if better information becomes available, it can be re-evaluated.
 
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  • #8
Ivan Seeking
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The scientific method is about finding evidence. Debunking often involves cherry picking the evidence [which usually involves ignoring evidence] to produce an alternative explanation that can no more be proven than the original claim; and then insisting this is the real explanation when there is no way to know. This is the result of motive. And this is when we usually see an improper reference to ocham's razor.

So perhaps the real test is whether the debunking claim can be tested, or if is no more provable or compelling than the original claim. There is also the issue that claims may or may not be interpretations of events. Is the debunker debunking a claim of an event, or a claim of the proper interpretation for an event?

For example, if you watch and listen you will hear this time and time again:
Claim: I saw a UFO
Response: You couldn't have seen a UFO because it would take too long for aliens to get here.

This is a classic debunking trick intended to discredit witnesses by putting words in their mouths. "I saw a UFO" does not neccessarily equate to the claim "I saw an alien spacecraft". But many debunkers can't seem to tell the difference. Or, they take the claim competely out of context, as is discussed next.

Many debunkers would be far more respectable if they just admitted that are predisposed to disbelieve anyone who makes a claim that they find to be objectionable. But instead they produce silly theories that aren't even consistent with the claim. We often see this when there is no other way to dismiss the claim. One example would be when a pilot says that he saw a UFO the size of an aircraft carrier [JAL 1628], and Phil Klass responds by saying that the stars were bright that night and that he probably saw venus. Or when an Air Force security person [supported by the deputy base commander - Woodbridge AFB] claims to have spent thirty minutes with a UFO that was sitting on the ground, while on duty, [he even claims to have touched it] and the debunkers respond by claiming that he really saw the light from a local lighthouse.

Or one of my favorites: There couldn't have been a UFO that night because we would have seen it on RADAR... as if this is a reasonable objection. If there really are alien spacecraft [or whatever] flying around from time to time, and these are what some people see, then to assume that RADAR would detect them is lame in the extreme considering that even we can evade RADAR.

Next, there are many phenomena that are not repeatable on demand. It is silly to link these all with perpetual motion claims because perpetual motion claims could easily be tested. The claimant has the choice to allow proper testing or not. By your logic, NASA photos of sprites should be debunked because NASA can't produce a sprite. Nor can they tell us when or where we may witness one - just like UFO claims, and, perhaps, just like some claims of psychic phenomena.

What we often have are alleged witnesses to an event that can no more recreate the event than a witness to a murder can recreate the murder. The only difference is that with a murder we usually have a body, but not always.

I once saw a woman running madly throught the streets claiming that someone had stolen her child, but I could never prove that I did. She disappered before I could even call the cops. Does that mean my claim is false? [it's not btw]
 
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  • #9
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The idea is to approach any claim with objectivity and not a biased motive. Randi tends to debunk frauds, and that's great, but not all false claims are fraud. And sometimes stories that sound incredibly silly can make perfect sense given the proper context and information.
If you read Randi's accounts of the tests he performs for claimants of the million dollar prize, you will see that he considers most of the candidates to be honestly deluded people. Frauds know they are frauds and don't accept to be tested by a magician, someone that knows everything about deception.
But frauds can mislead scientists, that is why so many researchers claim to have evidence of paranormal events.
As for psychic claims, I personally tend to think that there may be rare and uncontrollable psychic phenomena that don't lend well to testing because like lightning, no one knows when it will happen. The reason for this is that I have heard accounts from people that I believe in spite of the lack of repeatability or proof. I find at least a few stories more compelling than the lack of scientific evidence. But I wouldn't bet the farm on it. :biggrin:

We have a recent thread about "psychics" who find murder victims and such. There is always a way to doubt stories like that, but there is evidence that they have some success in that bodies have been found. There is really no way to know if any of these were legitimate psychic finds or just flukes.
Psychics that claim to see the location of bodies use general arguments like: The body is in a wooded area and not far from a body of water.
Of course, the preferred location to hide a body is in the woods and not in plain view of people. And, except in the desert, any place you choose is near an unspecified body of water: a river, a creek, a lake, a pound, a reservoir...
 
  • #10
Ivan Seeking
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I am talking about "psychics" who find bodies.

I have yet to see a bebunker or Randi find a body that the police can't.
 
  • #11
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I am talking about "psychics" who find bodies.

I have yet to see a bebunker or Randi find a body that the police can't.
If you read carefully what I wrote, I only mentioned Randi in response to your previous allegation that he only debunks frauds. Most people that accept the challenge are honestly deluded and this is recognized by Randi.

As for the alleged psychic detectives, some of them may be also honest people that believe they have paranormal powers, but others are vultures praying on suffering people. I don't think Randi has ever debunked any, but what they provide is general informations that fit dozens of places.
Can you cite some psychic that really found a body?
 
  • #12
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Common sense can get us a long way toward evaluating "psychic" abilities. Was there a big surge in warnings to law-enforcement or governmental agencies leading up the the attacks on the world trade towers? If not, why not? Those towers had eclipsed the Empire State building and the statue of Liberty as icons of Manhattan. Certainly, their destruction was an event significant enough to trigger "some" latent predictive abilities, if they exist.

How many lives could have been saved if a few self-proclaimed psychics had managed to work up a prescient image of those towers burning and collapsing?

This is not proof that psychic abilities do not exist, and proving a negative is impossible in any case. It is strong evidence that any claims for prescient ability in humans has to be viewed very skeptically.
 
  • #13
Ivan Seeking
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If you read carefully what I wrote, I only mentioned Randi in response to your previous allegation that he only debunks frauds. Most people that accept the challenge are honestly deluded and this is recognized by Randi.
Okay, frauds and deluded people. But I do take exception to debunkers that constantly lie by saying that there is no evidence for any of this. Clearly they are more interested in their opinion than any potentially credible evidence, which is a hallmark of a crackpot debunker.

As for the alleged psychic detectives, some of them may be also honest people that believe they have paranormal powers, but others are vultures praying on suffering people. I don't think Randi has ever debunked any, but what they provide is general informations that fit dozens of places.
Can you cite some psychic that really found a body?
We had one thread recently and have had a number over the years. Since this keeps coming up I guess I will have to dig up some more examples. It is difficult though because many of these reports are in local papers and the links go dead. But anyone who follows this stuff has probably seen dozens of examples at least; with the supporting testimony of the police officials involved.

Here is the recent thread.
https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=89477

Please continue this specific discussion about psychics in the thread linked above.
 
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  • #14
Ivan Seeking
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Here is another key identifier for crackpot debunking:

Evidence for a claim is presented, such as a a body found by a "psychic", and the debunkers provide an alternative explanation that may or may not account for the facts. Given that we can always imagine an alternative explanation [often by citing luck and long odds] we recognize that we have no proof for the claim, but the debunker then interprests this as meaning that there is no evidence. Wrong! We have evidence but no proof. Crackpot debunkers can't seem to tell the difference between the two. Or, they fail to understand that there are different forms of evidence. For example, what many people call weak evidence or no evidence may be highly compelling in a court of law. And to demand scientific evidence for claims like psychic claims [as discussed here] is a logical trap because the scientific community never considers these claims in any professional sense, so there is no way to achieve the status of being scientific. At this time there is no practical way to study this sort of thing in a lab.

Untestable alternative explanations for a claim do not nullify the evidence for that claim. They merely stand as alternative explanations that can't be tested.

Whether the evidence is "good evidence" can be a highly subjective call and debatable ad infinitum.
 
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  • #15
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Here is another key identifier for crackpot debunking:

Evidence for a claim is presented, such as a a body found by a "psychic", and the debunkers provide an alternative explanation that may or may not account for the facts. Given that we can always imagine an alternative explanation [often by citing luck and long odds] we recognize that we have no proof for the claim, but the debunker then interprests this as meaning that there is no evidence. Wrong! We have evidence but no proof. Crackpot debunkers can't seem to tell the difference between the two. Or, they fail to understand that there are different forms of evidence. For example, what many people call weak evidence or no evidence may be highly compelling in a court of law. And to demand scientific evidence for claims like psychic claims [as discussed here] is a logical trap because the scientific community never considers these claims in any professional sense, so there is no way to achieve the status of being scientific. At this time there is no practical way to study this sort of thing in a lab.

Untestable alternative explanations for a claim do not nullify the evidence for that claim. They merely stand as alternative explanations that can't be tested.

Whether the evidence is "good evidence" can be a highly subjective call and debatable ad infinitum.
What counts as good evidence in a court of law is highly subjective, mainly because the jurors are laymen and judge emotionally. Scientific evidence must be much stronger. Proof has meaning only in mathematics. Empirical sciences cannot have proves, they rely only in evidences, but the evidences must be strong in order to be accepted as scientific.
Scientific community has being testing psychic claims for more then a hundred years. There are both believers and skeptical scientists doing research and until now there is no strong evidence for psychic phenomena.
There is no way to prove that psychic phenomena don't exist. You cannot prove a universal negative. You are entitled to believe them, but if more than a century and millions of dollars expended failed to show evidence, allow me to be skeptical.
 
  • #16
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Well that is what I thought, it probably wouldn't make a big difference if you got some well supported evidence that Psychic did not exist, as believers are not interested in changing their mind.



Let me then change my question then, how would someone go about trying to debunk something? I will ask this as a general question, though this may be a mistkae as I don't know if you can talk about it so generally.
Lets try this.

Rational thinking
Confrontation bias.


What information is presented , knowledge, facts, feelings, opinions, and thoughts to sort out and clarify. What do you know about the situation, and what do you still need to know?

Put aside the common assumption that you "already know what the problem is
.

People don’t like to be wrong and that anything which shows them to be wrong will be harder to accept. Also, emotional beliefs. confirmation bias aren’t all negative. It also seems likely that information which supports our beliefs is simply easier to deal with on a cognitive level — we can see and understand how it fits into the world as we understand it, while contradictory information that just doesn’t “fit” can be set aside for later.


Often when we look evidence that supports what we believe, we only ask that it leave the door open for our beliefs. But when we find evidence that contradicts what we believe, we hold it to a higher standard. We ask that it prove its findings beyond a reasonable doubt. We hold others to a higher standard than we hold ourselves.

One way that people try to confirm their beliefs is to search for evidence until they find something that supports them. They may do a very detailed, in-depth study of something, but they do not stop and evaluate what they have when they uncover evidence against their beliefs. Instead, they continue on and stop only when they've found enough evidence to support their side to relieve their conscience.
Showing evidence to be not true or to be inconclusive does not, by itself, show a conclusion to be false, but it shows it unreasonable or unwarranted to believe it on the basis of that evidence.
Other people's evidence that your conclusion is false must itself be faulty in some way if your conclusion is true; otherwise your conclusion must be false and there must be something wrong with YOUR evidence for it. Whenever there is evidence that a belief or a conclusion is true, and other evidence that it is false, there must be something wrong with at least one of those sets of evidence.
So, if someone challenges the truth of any of your reasons, you need to be able to give the evidence you believe that reason itself is true, and you then need to show why you think their challenge is itself faulty. In other words, you will be looking at the reason under attack as a conclusion itself -- a conclusion of a "prior" argument or of prior evidence

Evidence and conclusions can be disputed as being either false, unproved, improbable, unclear, or meaningless.


We shouldn't expect everyone to reevaluate their beliefs every time a new piece of evidence comes along.

However, we should draw a distinction between a belief that is well supported by evidence over time, and a belief that only has traditional or popular support.

Reinterpreting Evidence - When people are presented with ambiguous information, they often interpret it to support their established beliefs. When people are presented with unambiguous information that contradicts their beliefs, they tend to pay close attention to it, scrutinize it, and either invent a way of discounting it as unreliable, or redefine it to be less damaging than it really is.

Let's not use bad reasoning or bad science to promote good ideas
 
  • #17
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Probably the best debunker was James Randi since he could frequently duplicate the hoax and then show exactly how it was done. There is a pretty good site at www.randi.org

At the end of the day, almost nobody will believe the debunking. If you have enough critical thinking ability to follow and accept the debunking demonstration, you probably weren't dumb enough to believe the hoax in the first place.

I think the answer is pretty clear that there have been no proven psychic abilities up to this point. So, it's a lot like believing in Santa - if you do, you do; if you don't, you don't. There's no rational way to discuss an imaginary figure.
Houdini was good at debunking too.
 
  • #18
Ivan Seeking
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You cannot prove a universal negative. You are entitled to believe them, but if more than a century and millions of dollars expended failed to show evidence, allow me to be skeptical.
I'm not arguing for proof of a universal negative; I am saying that only a certain types claims can be tested properly. Nor am I trying to convince anyone that psychic events actually occur. My point is that we can't rule out all claims just because people like Sylvia or John Edwards are frauds or because some people delude themselves. And since some types of claims [really entire classes of claims] can't be tested but continue to be made by seemingly credible people as they have been for centuries if not millennia, to flatly deny these claims as false is a leap of faith, not skepticism. Also, to misrepresent the interesting claims or all claims by selecting only chosen claims, such as those tested by Randi - claims that are easy to debunk and only impressive to the most gullible people - is nothing but crackpottery.

True skepticism, or at least credible scientific inquiry requires that one seek out the good cases and not just point fingers at the bad ones. Debunkers only want to see the bad cases that are easy to dismiss. This is why, for example, we almost never see UFO debunkers talking about cases like Iran 76.
http://www.nsa.gov/ufo/ufo00020.pdf

Instead they focus on "fuzzy lights in the sky" and easily dismissed cases that are found in the pop media.
 
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  • #19
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Debunkng

Get this link - that guy seems to debunk every fake video or shot in Web. He's now working at "man on Mars" sensation

 
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  • #20
AFAIK there are a few people who use the scientific method to investigate unexplained phenomena. I've even attended lectures where they present interesting investigations. They are pretty rigorous I've got to admit, and number amongst themselves a host of people from the interested, to the downright skeptical to the believer, they model themselves on the Fortean approach, open minded but scientifically rigorous.

Of course science wont recognise them atm, as this field isn't considered scientific, but some people forgo the need for debunking by actually going out there, setting up recording equipment, and sensors, and then using methodology to evaluate it. As of yet they have not found any evidence of ghosts or other psychic phenomena. But that hasn't stopped them from trying. As one of the lecturers once said though, if you think science demands a high level of scrutiny, then the sort of things we have to do to ensure our experiments are not biased or based on false testimony, is even more extreme. Interesting to know there are some organisations that are doing testing based around science at least.

As for debunking, well to be frank, if 99% of the phenomena weren't a total con, then it wouldn't be necessary to expose them in graphic detail. I mean crossing over with I am so psychich honest is just a cold reading trick. Easilly demonstrated by people such as Derren Brown.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7XIf-z1J4w&feature=related


Cold reading.


Making yourself invisible.


Hypnotising a crowd of people.

Most of this is done simply by using mental techniques, yes it's TV but the principles are the same. This guy really exposes how easy it is to fool people into believing all sorts of things, by suggestion, misdirection, and simple psychology. Every trick - although very clever and equally arduous to learn to do as adeptly as he does - is easily explained, if not easily replicated.

Derren Brown would of been burned as a Witch not so long ago. He's a master of psychology and manipulation.
 
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  • #21
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Okay, frauds and deluded people. But I do take exception to debunkers that constantly lie by saying that there is no evidence for any of this. Clearly they are more interested in their opinion than any potentially credible evidence, which is a hallmark of a crackpot debunker.
You say the claim of no evidence is a "lie". Yet what you provided was anecdotal. Even a small spurious million to one effect would be identifiable with good protocols. If you want to understand what the problem with so called psychics is go on some forum and represent yourself as a parent with a missing child. You will be deluged with hundreds of psychics trying to part you with your money and maybe even get lucky with bragging rights.

The debunkers that you call liars are often better at the methods of psychics than the psychics themselves. It's amazing how easy it is to convince (prove -yuk-) to the average person you are psychic. You point out some anecdotal claim and call it evidence. If it does get debunked you throw out another anecdotal claim and say you can't explain that so it's evidence. What do you think we are? Psychics? We can explain the methods. We can give the the odds that your house number starts with one (30.1%). We can come to you and convince you we are psychics. Yet if we don't know every detail of some anecdotal case that you don't know the details of yourself it is evidence, and we are liars if we say it's not evidence? Get real.

Many debunkers either started as believers and even believed we had real powers ourself or is truly looking for a case where such abilities can be demonstrated. Calling us liars is uhh.. inappropriate. Have you ever even investigated the claimed best evidence? You talk about explaining odds of some event. Every time somebody wins the lottery for the second time the newspapers quotes some impossibly outrageous odds. What the odds really says is that somebody will win it a second time every few months. Way better than the odds of you winning it the first time. Yet thousands of psychics bucking for bragging rights and one body in a nearby lake and you have your evidence of the paranormal.

If you think you have a case that can pass muster as real evidence give me a call. If all you have is stories you've heard I doubt you can match what I've seen with my own eyes. Do you go out on your own time and own dime and actually look at what is offered as evidence? Do you take the time to actually go through the published cases presented as evidence and see the games people play to support the their beliefs? Do you know a single technique? Do you see the destruction that unscrupulous people heave on the bereaved? Do you know how many people lose their homes to these people every year? In fact it is hard to convict even when the psychic personally threatens to place the curse if the money is not payed. Do you know how easy it is to make six figure incomes with this crap, especially if you got bragging rights from cops? Yet we are the liars!

How did he know? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G18NfN76bAs"

This was part of the Derren Brown Messiah series where he gets endorsed by 5 of the top US psychic new age players. You can video search Derren Brown for the rest of that show and lots more. He actually gives away some limited techniques.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=Derren+Brown" [Broken]


ETA: oops: it was awhile before I posted
 
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  • #22
Ivan Seeking
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You say the claim of no evidence is a "lie". Yet what you provided was anecdotal.
A dead or live body found by a so called psychic is physical evidence that supports the claims made, and there is no calculation showing that this is all in the odds - there is no way to even calculate the odds of such things so there is no way defend such a claim. And comparisons to winning the lottery are leaps of faith again because we can't calculate the odds.

How many debunkers assign all such events to long odds as a matter of fact when they wouldn't even know how to begin to calculate the odds? That is crackpottery.

To say there is NO evidence is a lie. Also, anecdotal evidence is evidence. It doesn't qualify as scientific evidence, but that specification is almost never included. It is a common mistake made by those who misrepresent the facts; be it intentional or not.

If the ability to cite fraud can be used to disprove any similar claim or to disqualify anyone associated with a particular set of claims, then all of science is in trouble because there are frauds in all walks of life including science.

Do I think Sylvia is a fraud? Of course!!! Do I believe that John Edwards talks with the dead? Of course not!!! The interesting claims [of any sort addressed in this forum] are typically rare and require effort to find. But time and time again we have seen that anecdotal claims can be legitimate no matter how silly or outrageous they may sound on the face of things - ball lightning, earthlights, earthquake lights, sprites/jets/ELVES/TIGERS and other newly names strange lights in the sky, rogue waves, the sliding rocks of death valley, the "mythical" "milky sea" which has now been imaged by satellite, animals detecting disease in humans, and blind-sight, which I would bet has been interpreted as being psychical in the past, and which I think qualified as being "extrasensory" until it was proven to exist [note the irony]. Going back further, to most of the world even the great apes were once nothing but stories that were dismissed by many as nothing but wild stories, as were other "wild stories" about strange new lands. Also, it seems that real "hobbits" have lived alongside modern humans, so one has to wonder about the legends. At one time or another these were all nothing but wild claims void of scientific evidence.

The most common error made by debunkers is to assume that any anecdotal account void of scientific evidence and not easily explained is false or erroneous. It seems that many people can't live with "I don't know". They are compelled to say yay or nay, today - everything must have an answer right now.

Why make assumptions that are not necessary?
 
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  • #23
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But time and time again we have seen that anecdotal claims can be legitimate no matter how silly or outrageous they may sound on the face of things - ball lightning, earthlights, earthquake lights, sprites/jets/ELVES/TIGERS and other newly names strange lights in the sky, rogue waves, the sliding rocks of death valley, the "mythical" "milky sea" which has now been imaged by satellite, animals detecting disease in humans, and blind-sight, which I would bet has been interpreted as being psychical in the past, and which I think qualified as being "extrasensory" until it was proven to exist [note the irony].
Such an argument cuts both ways.

Homeopathy, 2012 doomsday theories, alchemy, alien abduction, ancient astronauts, 9/11 conspiracies, cryptozoology, New Age, witches cause disease, angel therapy, vaccine cause autism, applied kinesiology, astrology, astral projection, bible codes, blood type diet, chakra, chi, dianetics, faith healing, holocaust denial, Nostradamus, numerology, past life regression, satanic backmasking, scientology, telekinesis etc.

"The fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown." - Carl Sagan
 
  • #24
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Such an argument cuts both ways.

...

"The fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown." - Carl Sagan
By the way, they were right to laugh at Columbus. Every learned person in Columbus era knew that the Earth was round and accepted the estimation made by Eratostenes (3rd century BCE) of 46000 km. Since the accepted estimate of the extension of Eurasia was 20000 km, the extension of sea would be too great to be won.
Columbus accepted the estimate of Pierre d'Ailly of around 30000 km. This would allow the circumnavigation.
Happilly for Columbus, he found America in mid trip, or he and his crews would have died of inanition.
 
  • #25
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Anecdotal Evidence.

Anecdotal evidence is based on reports of a specific individual 0r individuals.Based on descriptions of unmatched individual cases, casual observations or indications.It's a report of an incident or event. An anecdote is always based on real life, an incident involving actual persons.

Such evidence is often poor and subject to interpretation. Can it be verified? Can it be duplicated? Can people all agree how to interpret this evidence? If everyone can agree on how to interpret the evidence then it is good evidence. Otherwise you are placing your own subjective value on the quality of the evidence.

Science requires the evidence to be presented and evaluated as to what it means. When a consensus is arrived at the quality and meaning of the evidence, it can help prove a fact. I see no consensus of opinion trying to compare Anecdotal evidence as evidence.

If experts disagree on how to interpret the evidence then the evidence is obviously subjective in nature.The only way to correctly evaluate evidence is for people/experts to arrive at a consensus.
 

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