Psychics who solve crimes

  • #51
Les Sleeth
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zoobyshoe said:
Here again, what I don't like about Les' argument is the underlying emotional reasoning: he is trying to bully Chronos into seeing the matter as a false choice between open mindedness and closed mindedness from fear. He is threatening Chronos with the label of cowardice if Chronos doesn't adopt Les' idea of an open mind. Les' did the same thing earlier, refering to the skeptical view as "gutless".

So, really, Les has given Chronos the choice of being one kind of coward or another: afraid of the unknown, or afraid of his label of him. The intelligent parts of Les' analysis get swept aside by these emotionally intense paragraphs, in which he ascribes all sorts of motivations to other people. This kind of emotional pressure is an automatic red flag.
You have a point, I was feeling something similar last night when I reflected on what I wrote. You can address me directly if you like, I will listen to legitimate and sincere criticisms. I can get a little emotional about this, and let me tell you why.

I have been debating here for a long time, and have run into a certain attitude again and again. It is an attitude that is disrespectful to anyone who doubts physicalist theory (and it used to be a lot worse before mentors started requiring members to be more polite). The attitude is often scornful, with a pinch of condescension, and a healthy portion of "I know the Truth, and only science reveals it."

Under the guise of being informed and objective, individuals give evaluations of potentially (i.e., not necessarily) non-physical aspects of reality. Many times the argument is made "in the name of science," when really it is in the name of physicalism. So the points are made with an ontological assumption in place that hasn't been shown to be true yet.

Why should I let that bother me? Because you can't get anyone to admit they are selecting information which supports their belief system while ignoring and distorting information which is contrary to their belief system. So seldom is there a fair debate. That is how Chronos argued here.

You say I gave him a false choice between "being one kind of coward or another: afraid of the unknown, or afraid of his label of him." That wasn't the choice I offered at all. What I did was confront, albeit too emotionally, his dogmatic, uninformed evaluation of the subject under discussion. BTW, I think highly of Chronos, and you too Zooby (and most of the excellent thinkers that populate this site). It is just one attitude that disturbs me, which I recognize as exactly the same attitude I endured from the religious fundamentalists I grew up around. And I mean, EXACTLY . . . the tactic of assuming something is true, exaggerating the significance of the facts you have supporting your belief system, and then filtering and distorting contrary facts.

Tell me, should there be a standard for opinions from PF representatives? In fact, in a science forum dedicated to educating people, shouldn't there be (and isn't there already) a standard for all participants? Why is it that crackpot physics theories are mercilessly ridiculed and banned, but the science side gets to spout misinformation about anything that doesn't fit their ontology? It is a double standard, and yes, it tends to piss me off every time I see it, and I see it often.

I agree I should learn to keep my frustration out of my arguments, but what is wrong with insisting on unbiased, informed opinions in a public forum?
 
  • #52
Moonbear
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zoobyshoe said:
I've never heard the term "sensitive" applied like that, but I agree with the notion. The successful crime solving "psychics" are really just excellent detectives who know how to interpret facts that seem vague and ambiguous to other people with great accuracy.
I haven't read the whole thread yet, but I was almost wondering the opposite. What if so-called psychics are successful because they aren't limited by the training and experience detectives have? In the example of the vehicle submerged 500 ft into a lake, the detectives hadn't searched that far because of how improbable the location would be. But, the psychic, not being concerned with probabilities, could have guessed that location simply because it hadn't been searched yet, and the detectives who were initially reluctant to search there were now prompted to keep going despite their training telling them they shouldn't. Usually, psychics get called in as a last resort, so it really could be as simple as looking at what has already been searched and picking the improbable locations...when all the probably locations have been exhausted, that's what you have left. If they get it right, they get lauded as a great psychic, and if they get it wrong, the detectives brush them off as yet another fraud and you never hear about them again.

So, could "psychic detectives" really just be people who think outside the box on investigations? If you brought them in on more cases right from the beginning rather than only on the ones where all the detectives ideas have been exhausted, would they do as well or seem as impressive?

On the other hand, you could be right, that they are good detectives who can put together subtle clues or view things with a fresh perspective rather than following a formula.
 
  • #53
Ivan Seeking
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I think there is a failure to recognize the odds in these cases. One person mentioned the lottery. But that analogy fails since, yes, someone nearly always wins the lottery, but there are also millsions or even tens of millions of people playing. In some of the cases that I know about, and I promise to get back to this soon, the odds of someone getting lucky are really beyond anything reasonable. And it's not like we have millions of psychics out doing police work. In many cases the person who provides "psychic" insights isn't even recognized as a psychic. They are just people who had visions, or dreams, etc.
 
  • #54
Les Sleeth
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Moonbear said:
I haven't read the whole thread yet, but I was almost wondering the opposite. What if so-called psychics are successful because they aren't limited by the training and experience detectives have? In the example of the vehicle submerged 500 ft into a lake, the detectives hadn't searched that far because of how improbable the location would be. But, the psychic, not being concerned with probabilities, could have guessed that location simply because it hadn't been searched yet, and the detectives who were initially reluctant to search there were now prompted to keep going despite their training telling them they shouldn't. Usually, psychics get called in as a last resort, so it really could be as simple as looking at what has already been searched and picking the improbable locations...when all the probably locations have been exhausted, that's what you have left. If they get it right, they get lauded as a great psychic, and if they get it wrong, the detectives brush them off as yet another fraud and you never hear about them again.

So, could "psychic detectives" really just be people who think outside the box on investigations? If you brought them in on more cases right from the beginning rather than only on the ones where all the detectives ideas have been exhausted, would they do as well or seem as impressive?

On the other hand, you could be right, that they are good detectives who can put together subtle clues or view things with a fresh perspective rather than following a formula.
The biggest obstacle in this discussion is the fact that few people making comments here have been able to watch the program. Your theory would be a perfectly reasonable one if it fit the facts, but it isn't really what is is being reported on the program. From what is presented on the program, either there is something to psychic ability (and I'm not saying it there isn't a natural explanation for psychicness), or the program "Psychic Detectives" is misrepresenting the facts.

As Ivan points out, the odds that the psychic could get so many things correct without prior knowledge of the case make lucky guesses, mere intuition, "sensitives" and thinking out of the box inadequate explanations for what is being reported. In the case of the truck under water, the woman had that vision without knowing the landscape. She only knew the man was missing and that it was unlike the man not to show up where he said he would. If it were just this one case, we could imagine the woman might have lied and actually did know the landscape, did have facts of the case, or maybe even drove by where the truck went off the road and saw tire tracks, etc. (IOW, did have more info that was reported).

But using that as an explanation for all the cases reported doesn't work because there are a number of instances where people without any prior psychic experience, and who know nothing about the crime or accident, just have a vision of the event and are so disturbed by it feel they have to follow up.

Also, there are many cases (and these are the ones I think are hardest to explain) where the psychic knows nothing of the case (and insists detective tell him/her nothing but what the crime was), who want to feel an article of clothing or a picture. In one case, detectives at first thought they knew a grandson had killed his grandparents, but his alibi was tight. They'd matched up some information to another man, but he didn't know the grandparents and had no motive to kill them.

Completely confused by conflicting facts in the case, the detectives flew to another city to try out a psychic they'd heard of. They took six pictures with them (of which two were the grandson and the other person they had info on). When they handed the pics in an envelope to the woman to look at (who knew nothing about the case except it was a murder), she told them she didn't want to see the faces and had them place the pictures face down. After feeling them, she said of the grandson picture "he planned it, he was there when it happened," and then of the other man she said, "he did the murder." When the police said the grandson had an airtight alibli, the psychic said, "he did it, I am certain, check his alibi again." Back in their home town, when they pressed the issue, the dectives found out friends were lying for the grandson to give him an alibi, and he'd hired the other man to commit the actual murders after he used his key to get the man in.

Now, that could be pure luck it is true, but pure luck doesn't account for this sort of thing happening in so many cases. That's why I say everyone who wants an informed opinion about this needs to watch the program. It is example after example of accurate information provided via the psychic's visions and feelings that is proven accurate because it solves the crime or mystery. In most of the cases, the information is NOT acquired by studying the facts of the case. So if it isn't a scam by Court TV, the only thing I myself can conclude is that there isn't yet a reasonable alternative explanation to the claim that psychicness (whatever that is) is really occurring.

BTW, the new season of "Psychic Detectives" starts this Wednesday. :cool:
 
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  • #55
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WIth refernce to the story in the opening post, this was quite a big story here in Italy for a few days. The explanation given for the psychic medium's success is that there was only a stretch of road a few kilometres long where she could have gone in, and fewer places where she could have crashed without damaging riverside structures (four, if I remember right). The police had searched three of those locations in 2003, but not this bit because it was too deep.

And someone earlier said she drew a map. I heard she was being driven along the lakeside road when she said "this is the place" (or words to that effect).
 
  • #56
Moonbear
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Les, I didn't know this thread was about that program named "Psychic Detectives." I saw part of one show and turned it off. You're basing a lot about "odds" on a show that is obviously picking only the success stories and not looking any deeper into why they were successful. From the brief bit I watched (there was a murder in some house and in the part I saw, a detective was taking the psychic to the murder scene and they asked to just walk along the street to pick out the house themself, claiming to "feel" the murder happened there), it was obvious the so-called psychic was picking up clues from the detective. When you walk down a street and know one house had something special about it, you tend to look at it more and you could see that's what the detective was doing, giving away subtle, and probably unintentional, cues as to which house it was, and the so-called psychic picked right up on that (if they were serious about showing the psychics were legitimately experiencing something rather than just putting on a dog and pony show for the cameras, they'd have sent her down the street alone without the detective who was giving away the non-verbal cues...or for that matter, who knows where the camera crew was set up and whether she noticed them panning more often toward the house in question).

Anyway, I'm not going to base much of anything on a show that can use creative editing that leaves us with the incomplete picture of all the information the so-called psychic had available, including their interactions with detectives, seeing the full landscape around the murder scene. We can miss vital information of how the so-called psychic is making their decisions simply due to the camera panning to a close-up of their face instead of that of the person they're talking to.

I'm not saying they can't be really psychic, just that there are still plenty of alternative explanations, and unless you're present to observe everything the so-called psychic is able to observe from the moment they learn of the case to the conclusion, there is no way you can make a determination of whether there is a natural explanation for their success when you're viewing a TV show from your armchair where days/weeks/months of investigation are condensed into a highly edited 30 minutes of airtime.
 
  • #57
Ivan Seeking
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Moonbear said:
Les, I didn't know this thread was about that program named "Psychic Detectives."
Strictly speaking it's not, though obviously this plays into the discussion.

What motivates my interests are many cases that predate the show by years or decades.
 
  • #58
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Hmm...I decided to start looking for more information online. I first was just planning to find examples of cases solved by psychics to see if there were any more ordinary explanations that presented themselves for the results, but as I was hitting the Google "pavement," I came across something different. I have not verified any of these sources yet, but it seems to present some interesting food for thought along the lines of this topic.

From: http://skepdic.com/psychdet.html
"These guys don't solve cases, and the media consistently gets it wrong," says Michael Corn, an investigative producer for "Inside Edition" who produced a story last May debunking psychic detectives. Moreover, the FBI and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children maintain that to their knowledge, psychic detectives have never helped solve a single missing-person case.
And further down in the same article, this statement really caught my attention...I never even considered this angle before!
While it is true that some cops believe in psychics, many simply use them for their own purposes...
Cops are more likely to use psychics to cover up their real sources of information, to protect an informant, or to conceal the fact that information was obtained illegally. Finally, some cops use psychics, or even pretend to be psychic, to psych out superstitious suspects.
If that's true, then we can't even use the word of the cops on the case as verification that the information the psychic provided wasn't previously known to them.

Another source with explanations of "how they do it."
http://www.csicop.org/specialarticles/police-psychics.html [Broken]

And one specifically debunking a publicized case:
http://www.parascope.com/en/articles/notSoPsychic.htm

I'm just finding page after page of articles explaining the same thing; the psychics aren't psychic, the stories are their own self-proclaimed stories, they hinder more than help investigations and send police on wild goose chases on faulty leads they are obligated to check out, which wastes resources and detracts from their focus on the real leads.

This one is a two-part story written by a former FBI profiler.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7295650/
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7320305/
 
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  • #59
Les Sleeth
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Moonbear said:
Les, I didn't know this thread was about that program named "Psychic Detectives." I saw part of one show and turned it off. You're basing a lot about "odds" on a show that is obviously picking only the success stories and not looking any deeper into why they were successful.
I jumped into the middle of this and mistakenly thought it was based on the program "Psychic Detectives." Apparently it isn't, but the program is currently making the most cases available for public scrutiny. That scrutiny will include all the anti-psychic detectives around the world who will no doubt be trying to discredit anyone they can (as the writer in your link did with Ms. Renier). So if you ask me, this is a good thing for Court TV to be offering; at least we are being given access to the claims.

And why shouldn't they pick the successes? My interest is when/if it really happens, and particularly to someone who's never had such experiences before. I am far less impressed with people who claim to do the work professionally, even though that isn't a reason to automatically discount them. And I don't think one has to believe that people who might have psychic experiences necessarily can control when they have them.


Moonbear said:
I'm not saying they can't be really psychic, just that there are still plenty of alternative explanations, and unless you're present to observe everything the so-called psychic is able to observe from the moment they learn of the case to the conclusion, there is no way you can make a determination of whether there is a natural explanation for their success when you're viewing a TV show from your armchair where days/weeks/months of investigation are condensed into a highly edited 30 minutes of airtime.
That's true. But you also can't overlook the picture a skeptic and dedicated debunker can paint with carefully selected information. Are there fraudulent psychics? Of course, lots and lots of them . . . so many that the field is utterly muddy from the fakes. The skeptic will quite deliberately pick out every fraud he can find and put him/her in the spotlight, while not even coming close to applying the same rigor in finding anything legitimate.

The attitude of some here, and of the writers found at your links, seems that of the uberskeptic (as opposed to the healthy skeptic, which I consider myself to be :biggrin: ). A comment in one of the articles gives us a clue as to what the problem is: supernaturalism. You can see that's the assumption when evaluating psychic ability, plus the predilection of the scientific mind to want things neatly packaged in physical principles. It just might be that everything which is real can't be explained scientifically, and also isn't supernatural. Scientism devotees only think science answers all, they don't really know it can answer all.

I haven't said that psychicness is a fact, I have argued for a more open look at the claims. Your brief look at "Psychic Detectives" hardly qualifies as thorough. I don't know what you saw, but I do know most of what the skeptics in the links you gave are complaining about with fakes isn't what's being reported on that program. I've already acknowledged that the program may be sensationalizing or even scamming us, and they certainly might in good faith trust someone's account who is lying or concealing facts. But for now, not knowing any of that, and with a mind open to the possibility that psychicness can happen, I don't see a reason to insist in public forums that it's most likely fake, like some here have no hesitation to say.

I say, it is only a good thing to bring the claims out into the open, and hope that it contributes, one way or another, to finding out what is really going on.
 
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  • #60
Moonbear
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Les Sleeth said:
It just might be that everything which is real can't be explained scientifically, and also isn't supernatural. Scientism devotees only think science answers all, they don't really know it can answer all.
Huh? Science is a method of inquiry. The answers are either there or not, science is the way we seek the answers and test the claims.

Your brief look at "Psychic Detectives" hardly qualifies as thorough.
I didn't claim it was thorough, just that I decided it wasn't worth my time to watch.

I don't know what you saw, but I do know most of what the skeptics in the links you gave are complaining about with fakes isn't what's being reported on that program.
How do you know that? That sort of program is precisely what they are discussing, that the information that would allow a person to debunk the so-called psychic is conveniently left out in the interest of ratings. The audience is only given what the producer wants to show us, and if they themselves have fallen for the ruse, their view is biased. Who wants to see the edits and scenes cut that show the so-called psychic rattling off 10 wrong locations and 20 different names they acquired from another detective? I'd like to see a skeptic given full access to the information of those televised cases and see if they come to the same conclusions.

I've continued reading (all I entered in my google search was "psychic detectives" nothing about skepticism or debunking, and other than the articles on the show itself, I just got article after article debunking various claims), and it seems the odds aren't so far off for psychics. Detectives were claiming that for high profile cases, 100s of people will call in saying they are psychic and have information, and the vast majority is completely wrong...all it takes is one of them to guess right, or guess vaguely, to then claim they helped solve the case. Then a TV show can recreate the case with the so-called psychic filling in details that were not included in reality.

Regarding the TV show, from an episode called "Mental Maps", they talk about the case of a little boy lost and the psychic help of Phil Jordan (I just got this from the episode blurb on the Court TV website, here: http://www.courttv.com/onair/shows/psychic_detectives/mental.html [Broken] ). So, since you're claiming that show is different than the other examples I provided, I looked up Phil Jordan to see if this case has been debunked (I just picked the first episode in the drop down menu to decide who to look up first).

Here's my first hit:
Unfortunately, the story has become "mythologized," according to Kenneth L. Feder and Michael Alan Park, who investigated the Kennedy case for my book Psychic Sleuths (Nickell 1994). They demonstrated how facts have been exaggerated and the story subjected to various embellishments. For example, the psychic's own accounts (Jordan 1977, 1999) fail to mention the T-shirt, a detail given in Arthur Lyons and Marcello Truzzi's The Blue Sense: Psychic Detectives and Crime (1991, 74), citing Fate magazine and the tabloid National Enquirer. It is repeated by Jenny Randles and Peter Hough in their credulous Psychic Detectives (2001, 86-88), which, astonishingly, ascribes the Kennedy case to 1982!

Moreover, Jordan's map was vague and contained erroneous details. It was apparently of little use in the search, during which Jordan supposedly received vibrations telling him "to go here, to go there" (Feder and Park 1994). Jordan had, by his own admission, chosen an area of the woods that "no one had searched" (although Randles and Hough [2001] report otherwise). "Just as I was ready to give up, he says, "I looked down and saw the footprint of a young barefoot human headed up the trail." Even with such good luck, Jordan happened to be elsewhere--in a ravine--when other searchers in the party actually located the lost child. They had heard him "yelling for help" (Jordan 1999, 58-63).
http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2843/is_3_28/ai_n6090290
 
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  • #61
Moonbear
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I should also point out that when I saw that one episode of "Psychic Detectives," I was under the impression it was a reality TV type show, where camera crews follow psychics on active investigations. As I'm reading more on the Court TV site, I realize these are actually re-creations of old cases, which, for me, lowers the credibility factor even further. It would be hard enough to determine if there are body cues or other information being given to the psychics in just an edited live version, but when the show is re-enactments of old cases, there's no way to take it as anything more than entertainment. I'll have to withdraw my criticism of the body cues being given by the detective, since obviously it was a re-enactment...I don't even know if it was an actor or the real detective in the part.
 
  • #62
Ivan Seeking
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Moonbear said:
Detectives were claiming that for high profile cases, 100s of people will call in saying they are psychic and have information, and the vast majority is completely wrong...all it takes is one of them to guess right, or guess vaguely, to then claim they helped solve the case.
Well, first of all, I don't even recall a high profile case that impressed me so I don't even know what they would be referring to here. But more importantly, how many of those hundreds of calls made by psychics get investigated? The key cases involve one person leading the police directly to the body, not hundreds of haphazard guesses that would have the police running in all directions. And keep in mind that in some cases, the "psychic" was arrested until their alibi was confirmed.

Btw, I don't know the first thing about the show. I've seen it a couple of times and then only by chance. So I don't mean to defend that as a source.
 
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  • #63
Moonbear
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Ivan Seeking said:
Well, first of all, I don't even recall a high profile case that impressed me so I don't even know what they would be referring to here. But more importantly, how many of those hundreds of calls made by psychics get investigated? The key cases involve one person leading the police directly to the body, not hundreds of haphazard guesses that would have the police running in all directions. And keep in mind that in some cases, the "psychic" was arrested until their alibi was confirmed.
According to what I've read (and I still admit that I don't know if any of these sources are any more reputable than the psychics' claims), the police have to follow up on every lead (how far they go with it, I don't know).

Btw, I don't know the first thing about the show. I've seen it a couple of times and then only by chance. So I don't mean to defend that as a source.
I don't know much either. I looked at the description of other episodes, but they don't all list the psychic by name in the little blurb about the episode. Another one that did came up with no hits debunking the psychic. I don't know if that's because nobody bothered to do so yet, or if so far no alternative explanations have come to light and maybe she's one to consider as a potentially credible one.

Another common theme I came across were the warnings of how many so-called psychics show up that are only there to take advantage of the victim's family and to try to con them out of a lot of money by giving them false hope. This certainly doesn't rule out that some people could have a true gift, but just that it's not as common as some might hope to believe when distraught.
 
  • #64
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Les Sleeth said:
The attitude of some here, and of the writers found at your links, seems that of the uberskeptic (as opposed to the healthy skeptic, which I consider myself to be :biggrin: ). A comment in one of the articles gives us a clue as to what the problem is: supernaturalism. You can see that's the assumption when evaluating psychic ability, plus the predilection of the scientific mind to want things neatly packaged in physical principles. It just might be that everything which is real can't be explained scientifically, and also isn't supernatural. Scientism devotees only think science answers all, they don't really know it can answer all.
From your posts I would classify you as a true believer, not as a healthy skeptic (Zoobieshoe could be classified as one).
If you don't want scientific opinions you should not be in a forum named physicsforums , where it is conceivable that the majority of the posters have scientific knowledge or, at least, scientific curiosity. Your concept that scientists claim to know the truth is also a total misunderstanding of the scientific mind. Truth is a metaphysical concept, not a scientific one. No scientist would claim to know the truth. What scientists know is the best actual understanding of a phenomenon. And this understanding is based on evidences obtained by methodical investigation, not by anecdotes.
Of course, a great number of anecdotes in a certain field can encourage some scientists to investigate it. Psychic phenomena are object of investigation by scientists for more then a century. The few positive results reported, that show a reasonable evidence above chance, are of a nature that cannot exclude fraud or flawed methodology. One of the leading scientists that investigated the field, Dr. Susan Blackmore, after years of search without founding any convincing evidence, turned in what you call a uberskeptic, so if you want to call me that, I am honoured to be in such a respected company.
 
  • #65
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Moonbear said:
So, could "psychic detectives" really just be people who think outside the box on investigations? If you brought them in on more cases right from the beginning rather than only on the ones where all the detectives ideas have been exhausted, would they do as well or seem as impressive?

On the other hand, you could be right, that they are good detectives who can put together subtle clues or view things with a fresh perspective rather than following a formula.
I haven't read this entire thread either, but I agree with this blurb. Those referred to as "gifted psychics" I believe do utilize a skill that is outside of the mainstream methods of understanding situations. Perhaps it's another form of human intelligence many of us lack, and don't have a way to test for the existence of this intelligence.
 
  • #66
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I encourage people to be skeptical of both sides. Its easy to just assume that psychic phenomena are the result of fraud, flawed methodologies, or rare coincidences but that isnt really objective thinking anymore.

I find it refreshing that Les Sleeth is skeptical of both views. Les has pointed out that if these things occur, then of course they are not supernatural, but natural. I completely agree with that. The exact properties of human consciousness are not known, so it is not strange to think that this may be some unknown capability of consciousness to collect information through an unknown mechanism.

We need to find out what that mechanism is. We dont need assumptions here, we need a critical look at the data, whereever it leads us to.
 
  • #67
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Maybe some of these "psychics" are simply lucky, or statistics/probablity majors. ;)
 
  • #68
Les Sleeth
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Moonbear said:
Huh? Science is a method of inquiry. The answers are either there or not, science is the way we seek the answers and test the claims.
Science is a method of inquiry that reveals physical facts, and only physical facts. So if there are facts other than physical ones, science won't reveal them. The "scientism" mind, however is convinced of two things. First, only science gives us real knowledge. Second, because science practitioners only find physical facts, it means all is physical.

What's wrong with that logic? They don't think to consider that what they are exclusively finding is due to how they are looking. Only if you assume the senses and reason are the sole legitimate epistemological avenues will you conclude that "the answers are either there or not" on every subject under the sun.

There is a 3000 year history of people, for instance, learning to develop another type of perception skill by withdrawing from the senses and turning their attention inward. One of the results of that practice is increased consciousness sensitivity, which in turn, practitioners report, reveals information more subtle than the senses alone perceive.

The scientism devotee, certain he/she has the only path to knowledge, may subject that inner practitioner to scientific scrutiny, which of course is 100% dependent on sense data, and then confidently state there is no basis for the inner practitioners' claims of, say, some sense of an omnipresent consciousness.

It's rather arrogant if you ask me; the scientism devotee may have a PhD in his/her field, but it doesn't mean other's haven't acquired another type of epistemological expertise through just as much (or more) dedicated work.


Moonbear said:
I didn't claim it was thorough, just that I decided it wasn't worth my time to watch.
That's fine. But then you won’t have much of an opinion since it is uninformed. Yet it doesn't stop people who are already convinced that psychicness is bogus from venturing one uninformed opinion after another, and then citing all the fellow uberskeptic research one can find to support their a priori belief, while quite obviously failing to look for, or at, anything which might challenge their (uninformed) opinion.

As I have said several times, the ONLY objection I am making in this thread is the pretense of being objective and scientific by people who are anything but.


Moonbear said:
How do you know that? That sort of program is precisely what they are discussing, that the information that would allow a person to debunk the so-called psychic is conveniently left out in the interest of ratings.
How do you know what “sort” of program it is? I know that because I at least watch the program before venturing my opinion about the program. That program may have instances of "precisely what they [skeptics] are discussing," but I am stating that skeptic’s points don't cover all the instances being reported. I carefully qualified earlier what I saw as most interesting. Yet you are focusing on, just as I said you were doing, only those cases that can be debunked. I admitted there's a lot of fakes, and specifically said I was interested in what seemed to stand out as worthy of a look.

Yet after watching half a program, you feel qualified to characterize the entire series. Is this the objective, informed opinion of a scientific mind?

My own impression is that the producers use a broad net looking for program material. If so, it seems possible that, if psychicness is possible, then they may catch something real.


Moonbear said:
The audience is only given what the producer wants to show us . . .
The double standard . . . the skeptics are only citing what they want to show us, but you don’t have a problem with that do you?


Moonbear said:
Who wants to see the edits and scenes cut that show the so-called psychic rattling off 10 wrong locations and 20 different names they acquired from another detective?
More speculation. How do you know any of this? Why would you put forward something you don’t know is true if you weren’t biased to begin with?


Moonbear said:
I'd like to see a skeptic given full access to the information of those televised cases and see if they come to the same conclusions.
This is so revealing! Why would you want a skeptic given full access? Why not give objective minds full access? Is it mere coincidence that all your speculations and suggestions for evaluation are designed to cast doubt?

I wonder, do you think I believe in psychicness at this point? If you think so you are wrong. I am interested because I see the universe in a certain way that would allow it, so I would REALLY LIKE TO KNOW, and not have the idea squelched by uninformed, dogmatic, know-it-all attitudes which, rather than being open to something real amongst the fakes, are so afraid of anything which science can't explain they automatically go into uberskeptic mode from the word go.

Zooby has criticized me for letting my frustration show. Well, how would you feel if a highly educated, socially powerful group were affecting what we can and can't openly consider by using dubious, self-serving methods to cast doubt on something merely because it might be outside the realm of their competence? Grrrrrrrr. :grumpy:
 
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  • #69
Les Sleeth
Gold Member
2,166
2
SGT said:
If you don't want scientific opinions you should not be in a forum named physicsforums , where it is conceivable that the majority of the posters have scientific knowledge or, at least, scientific curiosity.
So far I haven’t heard a scientific opinion. All I’ve heard is uninformed opinions. Nobody yet knows if psychic ability is possible, so why all the skepticism before the fact? Exactly how is that “scientific”?

I have both scientific knowledge and scientific curiosity, as well as a great respect for what science, real science, can actually do. I just don’t believe science necessarily is able to answer all questions. My objection isn’t to science. My objection is to dogmatism cloaked in science.


SGT said:
Your concept that scientists claim to know the truth is also a total misunderstanding of the scientific mind. Truth is a metaphysical concept, not a scientific one. No scientist would claim to know the truth. What scientists know is the best actual understanding of a phenomenon. And this understanding is based on evidences obtained by methodical investigation, not by anecdotes.
I haven’t misunderstood anything. I doubt there is such a thing as a purely scientific mind because before being a scientist one is human, raised among influences that have helped determine what he/she is and isn’t open to. The ideal standard may be as you say, but I am not objecting to the ideal . . . I am objecting to what human part is doing.


SGT said:
Truth is a metaphysical concept, not a scientific one. No scientist would claim to know the truth
You are right, the “scientist” I am complaining about never “claims” (read: admits) they are ontologizing or have a metaphysical belief system firmly in place. They almost always claim they are 1000000000% objective. After all, they are working in the objective field of science aren’t they, and when one does that, it cleanses one of all bias. Right?


SGT said:
What scientists know is the best actual understanding of a phenomenon. And this understanding is based on evidences obtained by methodical investigation, not by anecdotes.
What they know, and test for, are physical phenomena. Do you see what I am saying yet?

It’s funny because I have often heard either a scientist or a someone who thinks science can answer all answerable questions say, “that’s beyond the abilities of science to answer.” But in another area of their book, or science TV special, or debate here at PF they give away that they also believe it can’t be real if it is beyond the realm of science. So I’ve come to see the statement “that’s beyond the abilities of science to answer” most often as sham piety.

As I said above, if you ask me it’s arrogant to believe one has the only avenue to the truth, and it’s a bit nauseating to hear that same person pretend to be humble.
 
  • #70
SGT
Les Sleeth said:
So far I haven’t heard a scientific opinion. All I’ve heard is uninformed opinions. Nobody yet knows if psychic ability is possible, so why all the skepticism before the fact? Exactly how is that “scientific”?
If by uninformed opinion you mean that the persons that post arguments contrary to your cherished beliefs are not experts in the field, I must confess that this is true in my case. I am an engineer, not a parapsychologist (by the way, are you one, or just another uninformed person?). I don't know about the other posters, but if you want an informed opinion, http://www.susanblackmore.co.uk/NS2000.html [Broken] did research in the field for 30 years, before convincing herself there was nothing to find.
I have both scientific knowledge and scientific curiosity, as well as a great respect for what science, real science, can actually do. I just don’t believe science necessarily is able to answer all questions. My objection isn’t to science. My objection is to dogmatism cloaked in science.
And who said science is able to answer all questions? In my previous post I already said it is not true and no scientist would claim that.



I haven’t misunderstood anything. I doubt there is such a thing as a purely scientific mind because before being a scientist one is human, raised among influences that have helped determine what he/she is and isn’t open to. The ideal standard may be as you say, but I am not objecting to the ideal . . . I am objecting to what human part is doing.
Of course scientists are human beings and subject to mistakes and biases. That is why a scientific paper must pass through a peer reviewing before publication. And even after publication, a scientific work must be independently reproduced by other scientists before being accepted as the actual understanding of the truth (not the Truth).



You are right, the “scientist” I am complaining about never “claims” (read: admits) they are ontologizing or have a metaphysical belief system firmly in place. They almost always claim they are 1000000000% objective. After all, they are working in the objective field of science aren’t they, and when one does that, it cleanses one of all bias. Right?
If the "scientists"you know claim that, I am sorry to say you are in very bad company. The ones I know are fully aware of their fallibility and are never sure of anything. That is why one uses statistics in experimental sciences.



What they know, and test for, are physical phenomena. Do you see what I am saying yet?
You say that paranormal phenomena are not physical, but you also reject the supernormal hypothesis. What is the nature of those phenomena in your opinion?
It’s funny because I have often heard either a scientist or a someone who thinks science can answer all answerable questions say, “that’s beyond the abilities of science to answer.” But in another area of their book, or science TV special, or debate here at PF they give away that they also believe it can’t be real if it is beyond the realm of science. So I’ve come to see the statement “that’s beyond the abilities of science to answer” most often as sham piety.
Any natural phenomena are answerable by science. May be they cannot be answered by our present knowledge, but someday they will. supernormal phenomena are beyond science. They belong to metaphysics or religion.
As I said above, if you ask me it’s arrogant to believe one has the only avenue to the truth, and it’s a bit nauseating to hear that same person pretend to be humble.
You seem the one that has the only avenue to the Truth.
 
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  • #71
Kerrie
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
827
14
I think we need to get back on topic. This debate is surely a good enough of one to start a whole new topic, but I don't think we should steer Ivan's initial subject off its course.
 
  • #72
857
2
SGT said:
http://www.susanblackmore.co.uk/NS2000.html [Broken] did research in the field for 30 years, before convincing herself there was nothing to find.
As did Rupert Sheldrake, and he was convinced otherwise.
Back to square one.

On page two i have shown some experiments in which humans could sense what was happening to another human whose brain was being stimulated. They called it:

"Electroencephalographic evidence of correlated event-related signals between the brains of spatially and sensory isolated human subjects."

During such experiments, the human pairs (sender and receiver) felt themselves 'blend into one another'. What kind of mechanism is at work here, and could it relate to what happens to psychic detectives?

I know that psychic detectives sometimes experience the murder through the eyes of the murdered person(or was it through the eye of the murderer?). This definately sounds like blending into eachother, only the other person is dead.
 
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  • #73
SGT
PIT2 said:
As did Rupert Sheldrake, and he was convinced otherwise.
Back to square one.

On page two i have shown some experiments in which humans could sense what was happening to another human whose brain was being stimulated. They called it:

"Electroencephalographic evidence of correlated event-related signals between the brains of spatially and sensory isolated human subjects."

During such experiments, the human pairs (sender and receiver) felt themselves 'blend into one another'. What kind of mechanism is at work here, and could it relate to what happens to psychic detectives?

I know that psychic detectives sometimes experience the murder through the eyes of the murdered person(or was it through the eye of the murderer?). This definately sounds like blending into eachother, only the other person is dead.
As I said in my previous post, many experiments in parapsychology present methodological flaws. Also, in order to be accepted by the scientific community, the experiment must be reproduced by an independent investigator.
In preparation to replicate the Grinberg-Zylberbaum experiment, Todd L. Richards, PhD, et al. from Bastyr University tested the correlation of EEGs taken from different individuals at different instants and noticed that there exists such a correlation, so the null hypothesis invoked by Grinberg-Zylberbaum that no correlation exists if there is no communication between the brains is nonexistent. This does not prove that such communication does not exist, but shows at least one methodological flaw.
https://www.bastyr.edu/research/projects/abstracts/rsj.asp [Broken]
 
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  • #74
857
2
SGT said:
In preparation to replicate the Grinberg-Zylberbaum experiment, Todd L. Richards, PhD, et al. from Bastyr University tested the correlation of EEGs taken from different individuals at different instants and noticed that there exists such a correlation, so the null hypothesis invoked by Grinberg-Zylberbaum that no correlation exists if there is no communication between the brains is nonexistent. This does not prove that such communication does not exist, but shows at least one methodological flaw.
https://www.bastyr.edu/research/projects/abstracts/rsj.asp [Broken]
So this was a pilot study. They conclude:

The proper statistical model must show that the cross-correlation between EEG activity from two human subjects is statistically different from random correlation that we now know can range from -0.37 to +0.46.
So, after finishing the pilotstudy, did they ever conduct the actual experiment?
Yes they did, and here it is:

CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that in some pairs of human subjects a signal may be detected in the brain of a distant member of the pair when the brain of the other member is visually stimulated. These data support the findings of similar studies performed in seven laboratories reported in the peer-reviewed literature since 1963. Research in this area should now proceed with investigation of its physical and biologic mechanism, its generalizability to varying populations and relationships, and its clinical application.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=15165411

On another page on the Bastyr site they talk about these results, and also mention another study they did:

Because Bastyr University—in partnership with University of Washington—has completed some of the most groundbreaking research in this field through the Bastyr/UW Consciousness Science Lab, the producers will be including Bastyr in one of its first episodes.

The Bastyr/UW team tested whether pairs of emotionally bonded participants showed matching (correlated) brain signals even when isolated from each other. While the Neural Energy Transfer study tested pairs who already considered themselves “emotionally bonded,” the SynchroDestiny study recruited experienced meditators trained in a technique called Primordial Sound Meditation, which practitioners say helps to increase a sense of “connectedness” between people, even when physically distant from each other.

Results from both the Neural Energy Transfer and Synchro-Destiny studies showed evidence that correlated EEG and fMRI signals occurred in 15 percent to 30 percent of the participating pairs, depending on the experiment. These results are not only highly significant but also match the results produced in similar experiments at other labs.
http://www.bastyr.edu/development/newsletter/fall04.asp?jump=5 [Broken]
 
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  • #75
857
2
More news from psychicland:

Scottish academics find proof of mediums' ability to use extrasensory perception

Scottish academics claim to have found scientific proof of a 'sixth sense' after completing radical experiments which seek to establish how spiritual mediums obtain information supposedly transmitted from beyond the grave.
The controversial research, led by a University of Glasgow professor, appears to discount the common assumption that mediums are merely picking up signals from body language, or relying on guesswork and prior knowledge.

http://www.sundayherald.com/33398 [Broken]
Unfortunately there isnt much said about the actual experiments.
 
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