Why is ESP lumped with less credible phenomena?

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there is something that has always bothered me about how society and the scientific community view paranormal concepts- it makes sense as to why things like ghosts/UFOs/fairies are not taken seriously- but the various subtle forms of mental phenomena called 'psi' or ESP are QUITE different in terms of credibility- lack of scientific knowledge of the physical systems involved[the brain and it's electrochemical structure] and the relative tameness of the reported phenomena-


the rational basis for dismissing paranormal claims is the result of our empirical knowledge of the world- for example alien invasions are considered highly unlikely because well tested astronomy/astrophysics show us that the distances and number of stars and resource costs involved are highly prohibitive- and the study of the history of our own evolution and technical development compared to cosmic timescales would make it highly unlikely that visits between different evolved intelligent species would ever resemble the standard concept of biological alien flying to earth in a spaceship- similarly with ghosts everything that we know about biological death and chemistry shows no process whereby the structure of the brain and body is copied into some incorporeal medium after the death of the body that can continue an equivalent process of living/thinking without the biological substrate-

however with ‘psi’ there is nothing like a body of empirical knowledge to provide any reasonable person with a bias against it! consider the science we DO have concerning the neurochemical system that is the brain:

PHYSICS- the physics of the brain would be the physics of the complex micro/nanoscale electrochemical interactions of proteins and organic chemicals- chemistry covers the the vast majority of basic interactions of molecules- but the whole system could not be modeled to any accuracy without the physics of neurochemical systems given the complex interdependent feedback dynamics of neural systems- however at this scale WE HAVE NO THEORY- this is the micro scale where classical physics breaks down and quantum mechanics takes hold- and what we do know about what Quantum Gravity should end-up looking like actually IMPLIES some of the phenomenology of ‘psi’! the nature of an observer in a quantum system when considering a system in which billions of different measurements of electric currents are occurring and feeding-back with the system observed- and somehow these interactions emerge as the conscious observer- all suggest a quantum system in which the kinds of phenomena called ESP could occur- [no Penrose like microtubule device is needed] from an MWI point-of-view Psi would only be a trivial form of quantum interference that can cause some modulation of the history of an observer- although this sort of thing can lead to quantum flapdoodle of the worst kind- it should be noted that the most credible forms of psi experiments with RNGs and the experiments that demonstrate Bell’s Inequalities are essentially the same type of experiment!

COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE- one could argue that if we understood how the brain functions and that observed function disputed the claims of PSI- then it would be reasonable to treat Psi like any other crackpot idea- however we only have some basic frameworks for theories of Consciousness/ Memory/ wakefulness/ qualia/ etc- and absolutely nothing we have seen suggests anything about Psi either way- only that we are dealing with a immensely complex system of electrochemical signals that somehow provides the brain with a computational substrate- we know that our minds are the sum result of how all these signals interact with each other and connect in a modular hierarchical fashion- but no details that could be the basis of support for or against subtle phenomena like ESP

PSYCHOLOGY- now we have the slipperiest ‘science’ of all: psychology- what need be said here other than beside some basic behavioral tendencies there is no theory here at all- it is merely a set of notions generally applied to various obvious and conscious aspects of a brain’s output- again nothing here to show support for or against psi- other than perhaps knowledge that there are many ways the brain can trick itself- so Psi claims must be examined beyond eyewitness evidence


to sum up- Psi/ESP phenomena are viewed as having no credibility among scientists and scientific bodies- however there seems to be no rational basis for this bias as the sciences we have to describe the brain: microscale physics [electrochemistry]/ cog sci/ psychology are all incomplete at best- and nothing in these fields really contradicts with the basic claims of Psi/ESP- so if the social bias by the scientific community against Psi is NOT based on empirical thinking is it perhaps actually a hold-over of more primitive superstition and fear against ‘sorcery’ propagated by The Church? this would make a lot of sense- considering it is Western scientists who typically are the most reluctant to even consider paranormal concepts-
 
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  • #2
Ivan Seeking
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there is something that has always bothered me about how society and the scientific community view paranormal concepts- it makes sense as to why things like ghosts/UFOs/fairies are not taken seriously- but the various subtle forms of mental phenomena called 'psi' or ESP are QUITE different in terms of credibility- lack of scientific knowledge of the physical systems involved[the brain and it's electrochemical structure] and the relative tameness of the reported phenomena-


the rational basis for dismissing paranormal claims is the result of our empirical knowledge of the world- for example alien invasions are considered highly unlikely because well tested astronomy/astrophysics show us that the distances and number of stars and resource costs involved are highly prohibitive- and the study of the history of our own evolution and technical development compared to cosmic timescales would make it highly unlikely that visits between different evolved intelligent species would ever resemble the standard concept of biological alien flying to earth in a spaceship- similarly with ghosts everything that we know about biological death and chemistry shows no process whereby the structure of the brain and body is copied into some incorporeal medium after the death of the body that can continue an equivalent process of living/thinking without the biological substrate-

however with ‘psi’ there is nothing like a body of empirical knowledge to provide any reasonable person with a bias against it! consider the science we DO have concerning the neurochemical system that is the brain:

PHYSICS- the physics of the brain would be the physics of the complex micro/nanoscale electrochemical interactions of proteins and organic chemicals- chemistry covers the the vast majority of basic interactions of molecules- but the whole system could not be modeled to any accuracy without the physics of neurochemical systems given the complex interdependent feedback dynamics of neural systems- however at this scale WE HAVE NO THEORY- this is the micro scale where classical physics breaks down and quantum mechanics takes hold- and what we do know about what Quantum Gravity should end-up looking like actually IMPLIES some of the phenomenology of ‘psi’! the nature of an observer in a quantum system when considering a system in which billions of different measurements of electric currents are occurring and feeding-back with the system observed- and somehow these interactions emerge as the conscious observer- all suggest a quantum system in which the kinds of phenomena called ESP could occur- [no Penrose like microtubule device is needed] from an MWI point-of-view Psi would only be a trivial form of quantum interference that can cause some modulation of the history of an observer- although this sort of thing can lead to quantum flapdoodle of the worst kind- it should be noted that the most credible forms of psi experiments with RNGs and the experiments that demonstrate Bell’s Inequalities are essentially the same type of experiment!

COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE- one could argue that if we understood how the brain functions and that observed function disputed the claims of PSI- then it would be reasonable to treat Psi like any other crackpot idea- however we only have some basic frameworks for theories of Consciousness/ Memory/ wakefulness/ qualia/ etc- and absolutely nothing we have seen suggests anything about Psi either way- only that we are dealing with a immensely complex system of electrochemical signals that somehow provides the brain with a computational substrate- we know that our minds are the sum result of how all these signals interact with each other and connect in a modular hierarchical fashion- but no details that could be the basis of support for or against subtle phenomena like ESP

PSYCHOLOGY- now we have the slipperiest ‘science’ of all: psychology- what need be said here other than beside some basic behavioral tendencies there is no theory here at all- it is merely a set of notions generally applied to various obvious and conscious aspects of a brain’s output- again nothing here to show support for or against psi- other than perhaps knowledge that there are many ways the brain can trick itself- so Psi claims must be examined beyond eyewitness evidence


to sum up- Psi/ESP phenomena are viewed as having no credibility among scientists and scientific bodies- however there seems to be no rational basis for this bias as the sciences we have to describe the brain: microscale physics [electrochemistry]/ cog sci/ psychology are all incomplete at best- and nothing in these fields really contradicts with the basic claims of Psi/ESP- so if the social bias by the scientific community against Psi is NOT based on empirical thinking is it perhaps actually a hold-over of more primitive superstition and fear against ‘sorcery’ propagated by The Church? this would make a lot of sense- considering it is Western scientists who typically are the most reluctant to even consider paranormal concepts-

Evidence? Can you show me official military or other accounts in which ESP was measured? I can reference military RADAR data that measured the presence of UFOs; in addition to simultaneous visual confirmations by multiple witnesses including pilots.
 
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  • #3
russ_watters
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Yeah, strange you are going into such detail regarding the lack of theoretical foundation (that isn't a good thing, btw...) and you don't mention at all the fact that psi phenomena are testable.....and they fail to show that the phenomena even exist.
 
  • #4
DaveC426913
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Russ beat me to it, and I speed read it.

The apparent credibleness of ESP is offset by the ease with which it can be tested in a controlled environment (compared to the other examples you cite).

And yet still not so much with the proof.



[ EDIT ]Waitaminnit...

"with ‘psi’ there is nothing like a body of empirical knowledge to provide any reasonable person with a bias against it! "

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this argument tantamount to "let's not let the facts stand in the way of something would be cool"?
 
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  • #5
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the post addressed the specific issue: that REGARDLESS of evidence for or against there is no real theoretical problem with psi because there is no complete therory yet that models a complex system like the brain- it is frustrating that after I explicitly stated this the 3 responses thus far both miss the point and just go back to the 'extraordinary evidence...' rhetoric- all the other ESP threads deal with that and I generally agree with you- but this is entirely INVARIANT of evidence- it is a question of the rational basis behind skepticism in ESP BEFORE evidence is even considered- especially considering the lack of knowledge that doesn't support that skepticism

"Evidence? Can you show me official military or other accounts in which ESP was measured? "

"you don't mention at all the fact that psi phenomena are testable.....and they fail to show that the phenomena even exist."

as to evidence- I refer to ther HUGE body of peer-reviewed published science that shows overwhelming evidence for Psi- 80% of Dean Radin's last book "Etangled Minds" was nothing but uninterpretwed data from 1019 published articles [only the peer-reviewed results published in Nature/Phys Rev/etc that survived skeptical challenges are counted] with [according to Radin] a combined probability against chance of 1.3x10^104 to 1 - this stands up as strongly as just about any theory in any physical science- onwe can argue that Radin himself is a crank- but here he just dumps experimental data without any interpretation- so any arguments againt Radin's personal views are irrelavant


so once again: can anyone comment on the issue of this thread instead of the usual 'evidence' arguments found in all the other threads about ESP?

it is precisely this issue of lack of knowledge that leads me to the conclusion that Psi/ESP are more credible than other 'parnormal' concepts-

the only conjecture I make here is that bias against ESP has more to do with western religion than any actual scientific grounds- as there are no scientific theories yet for brain-like systems!
 
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"I can reference military RADAR data that measured the presence of UFOs; in addition to simultaneous visual confirmations by multiple witnesses including pilots.""

to illustrate the point I am making about the theoritical consideration and NOT evidence- let us look at UFOs and ESP-

while there is some circumstantial evidence for UFOs- there is considerable theoretical evidence against the INTERPRETATION that UFOs are biologically evolved intelligence that built industrial spaceships and flew them through interstellar space to earth- the speed of light and the vast distances involved/ the limits of resources/ the limits of biology/ etc

however- even only considering the very dubious anecdotal evidence for ESP/Psi [I am not dealing AT ALL with the "1019 credible experiments"in Radin's book] there is NO theoretical evidence against the basic interpretation of ESP as some form of modulation of the physical environment by the intent of a conscious observer- becasue there are no physical theories of the brain's function which favour or argue against that interpretation-

"isn't this argument tantamount to "let's not let the facts stand in the way of something would be cool"?" obviously not! Occam's razor cuts off things that would be cool but have no theoretical basis- but in the case of Psi- there is no theory of the system involved- so Okham doesn't favor for or against- plenty of anecdotal evidence for- and circumstantial evidence against [frauds caught in the act] but no theoretical evidence for or against means no rational basis for SCIENTIFIC bias against ESP/Psi-
 
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  • #7
DaveC426913
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"...there is NO theoretical evidence against the basic interpretation of ESP as some form of modulation of the physical environment by the intent of a conscious observer..."


So ... your argument is that, since there is no evidence that says it CAN'T be true, that means it should be taken seriously?



I refer you to http://www.bautforum.com/member.php?u=3603":
"I say there is an invisible elf in my backyard. How do you prove that I am wrong?"
 
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  • #8
russ_watters
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the post addressed the specific issue: that REGARDLESS of evidence for or against there is no real theoretical problem with psi because there is no complete therory yet that models a complex system like the brain- it is frustrating that after I explicitly stated this the 3 responses thus far both miss the point and just go back to the 'extraordinary evidence...' rhetoric- all the other ESP threads deal with that and I generally agree with you- but this is entirely INVARIANT of evidence- it is a question of the rational basis behind skepticism in ESP BEFORE evidence is even considered- especially considering the lack of knowledge that doesn't support that skepticism [emphasis added]
Sorry, that just plain isn't how science works. Unless you are expanding on an existing theory, science starts with the observation of and investigation of a new/unexplained phenomena.

It is you who are missing the point - your argument is an irrelevancy.
 
  • #9
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There is no evidence that there is not life somewhere out there in the universe that is using some as yet undiscovered physical phenomena to travel light year distances to visit Utah for Cow Love either.

There are lots of things that we cannot disprove, such as me being ruler of the entire Universe, but that doesn't mean we should take it seriously.
Science has to be based on evidence, there is nothing wrong with testing flaky science but don't say it's true just because you can't prove it's categorically not, make an assumption on the probability based on testable evidence; thats what science surely is all about.
 
  • #10
russ_watters
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"...there is NO theoretical evidence against the basic interpretation of ESP as some form of modulation of the physical environment by the intent of a conscious observer..."


So ... your argument is that, since there is no evidence that says it CAN'T be true, that means it should be taken seriously?
By "theoretical evidence" SetAI means no theoretical foundation/explanation. There is certainly plenty of emperical evidence that says it isn't true, just no theoretical foundation that specifically addresses it (which isn't the same as a theory that rules it out - see below). As you said before, setAI is claiming it should be taken seriously because science hasn't ruled out the mechanisms by which it would work. That is certainly not scientific, as your invisible elf and my invisible elephant would attest (yes, my invisible elephant talks to me - does that make me psychic or just crazy?).

And while specific mechanisms aren't discussed, there are plenty of related theories that certain psi phenomena would violate. Precognition, for example, clearly violates what we know about time and information. Telekenesis - motion without force? So while our understanding of the brain is incomplete, we have plenty of good, basic scientific theories that rule out pretty much every psi phenomena.
 
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  • #11
russ_watters
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To be specific for you:
the post addressed the specific issue: that REGARDLESS of evidence for or against [1] there is no real theoretical problem with psi [2] because there is no complete therory yet that models a complex system like the brain-[3]

so once again: can anyone comment on the issue of this thread instead of the usual 'evidence' arguments found in all the other threads about ESP?
1. Critical to your point, yet you are arguing around it.
2. Not true.
3. Not relevant.
 
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  • #12
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"...there is NO theoretical evidence against the basic interpretation of ESP as some form of modulation of the physical environment by the intent of a conscious observer..."


So ... your argument is that, since there is no evidence that says it CAN'T be true, that means it should be taken seriously?



I refer you to http://www.bautforum.com/member.php?u=3603":
"I say there is an invisible elf in my backyard. How do you prove that I am wrong?"


I point out that Van Rijn, like myself, has no backyard, thus there can be no invisible elf in it, though invisible elves may exist elsewhere. HA!
 
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  • #13
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By "theoretical evidence" SetAI means no theoretical foundation/explanation. There is certainly plenty of emperical evidence that says it isn't true, just no theoretical foundation that specifically addresses it (which isn't the same as a theory that rules it out - see below). As you said before, setAI is claiming it should be taken seriously because science hasn't ruled out the mechanisms by which it would work. That is certainly not scientific, as your invisible elf and my invisible elephant would attest (yes, my invisible elephant talks to me - does that make me psychic or just crazy?).

And while specific mechanisms aren't discussed, there are plenty of related theories that certain psi phenomena would violate. Precognition, for example, clearly violates what we know about time and information. Telekenesis - motion without force? So while our understanding of the brain is incomplete, we have plenty of good, basic scientific theories that rule out pretty much every psi phenomena.

While I don't disagree, i must take issue with your wording, its disingenuous.

What is gravity in GR? Its not a force, motion due to gravity is really apparent motion in a non-inertial frame. Why do hurricanes spin? Its not due to a real force.

What we 'know' about time and information applies in inertial frames where SR holds. In non-inertial frames all sorts of fun things can happen. Energy isn't even necessarily conserved then.

I don't so much disagree with you, as much as disapprove of making statements about what we 'know' without considering the limitations of that knowledge. Assumptions are everything in the quest for Truth, and they must be ruthlessly minimized and prosecuted.
 
  • #14
russ_watters
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Forces are tough because at some level all forces are invisible, but that does't change the fact that:

1. Gravity is extremely testable.
2. Gravity had a theoretical framework that accurately describes it.

Telekenesis is/has neither.
 
  • #16
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Forces are tough because at some level all forces are invisible, but that does't change the fact that:

1. Gravity is extremely testable.
2. Gravity had a theoretical framework that accurately describes it.

Telekenesis is/has neither.

Either you're missing my point or you're ignoring it. I don't disagre with that. I simply took issue with how you presented it. I'm not arguing for telekinesis on the basis of what i pointed out, I'm simply stating that you over simplified your statement and dismissed the caveats that applied to it without even a consideration. It doesn't change the conclusion, but the method is more important than the conclusion--its what distinguishes science.

I'm nit-picking, really.
 
  • #17
russ_watters
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Telekenesis and telepathy are testable.
Perhaps I worded that badly. What I meant was that the effects of gravity can be measured in tests and the data is good (high s/n ratio, highly repeatable). Tests of psi phenomena tend to show nothing, extremely low s/n ratio, and/or lack of repeatability. Ie, test fail to verify that the phenomena exist at all.
 
  • #18
russ_watters
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Either you're missing my point or you're ignoring it. I don't disagre with that. I simply took issue with how you presented it. I'm not arguing for telekinesis on the basis of what i pointed out, I'm simply stating that you over simplified your statement and dismissed the caveats that applied to it without even a consideration. It doesn't change the conclusion, but the method is more important than the conclusion--its what distinguishes science.

I'm nit-picking, really.
I guess I just don't see your point. Certainly I oversimplified my descriptions of the phenomena - it was a 10-line post in an internet forum, not even about those subjects per se!
 
  • #19
Ivan Seeking
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there is something that has always bothered me about how society and the scientific community view paranormal concepts- it makes sense as to why things like ghosts/UFOs/fairies are not taken seriously-

Note that here you stated "UFOs", not aliens from other planets. The evidence for UFOs is there. The question of interpretation is another thing altogether.

If that sounds like nit-picking, then it is you who assumes that UFOs are flown by aliens, not me. :biggrin:
 
  • #20
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I feel like the OP is saying something along the lines of :
The belief that aliens live on pluto is credible because we cannot fully simulate the planet pluto with our computers. So we don't know enough about it. So it's credible. Somehow.

Just because we cannot simulate the human brain doesn't mean we cannot attempt to disprove phonomonae through testing. To believe so is akin also to saying :
You'll never know how fast an apple drops to the ground because we can't model the complete universe yet.
The fact that we don't have the exact specifics on how something works doesn't mean we do not have the means to test what it can and cannot do. (thats a tough sentence to read)
 
  • #21
DaveC426913
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The belief that aliens live on pluto is credible because we cannot fully simulate the planet pluto with our computers.
The above belief (and I note it is NOT the OP's statement) is based on a contested premise - that aliens exist in the first place. If we prove (or simply grant) that initial premise, then aliens living on Pluto (or most anywhere else) is pretty credible.

But the premise is still incredible.
 
  • #22
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But if we can't fully simulate the universe how can we decide something is incredible(like aliens). Just like if we can't fully simulate the brain how can we say that ESP isn't possible.

Once again this isn't my view, just saying that this was how I felt the OP was arguing.
 
  • #23
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I keep seeing replies along the lines of:

since there is no evidence that says it CAN'T be true, that means it should be taken seriously?
I refer you to http://www.bautforum.com/member.php?u=3603":
"I say there is an invisible elf in my backyard. How do you prove that I am wrong?"

my agrument is most certainly NOT that since there is no rigourous theory that says PSi cannot exist- that it should be taken seriously by the scientific communtiy!

rather it is the converse: since there is no theory that supports or challenges Psi phenomena- then why is the scientific community so seriously AGAINST it?

this is rather my whole point- ESP is reviled just as fiercely by many scientists and scientific organizations as is intelligent design! ID is clearly a physically impossible idea that doesn't agree with ANY theory or evidence or SENSE- yet ESP which isn't challenged or supported by theory either way and has comparable amounts of evidence both for and against is despised as certainly untrue just as much as ID- Psi/ESp is not like the "elf in the backyard" it is more like St Elmo's fire- it is not an arbitrary fantastical explanation like aliens for UFOs- it is a hodge-podge of anecdotal and experimental accounts of certain types of brain phenomena without a singular strong explanation- nothing that should offend the scietifically minded-

I am not arguing for PSI to be taken seriously- I am arguing that the scientific community takes it too seriously by strongly opposing it without sufficient jutification-
 
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  • #24
DaveC426913
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rather it is the converse: since there is no theory that supports or challenges Psi phenomena- then why is the scientific community so seriously AGAINST it?
...
I am not arguing for PSI to be taken seriously- I am arguing that the scientific community takes it too seriously by strongly opposing it without sufficient jutification-

Ohhhhh!

Well, they don't. Same as they don't take the Moon Hoax seriously. Of course, pop culture still makes alot of noise about it.

Well OK, some scientists tkae it seriously. Most are in some state of crackpottery. Some genuinely pursue it and that's fine, when they produce convincing evidence, more people will start to listen.
 
  • #25
Moonbear
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as to evidence- I refer to ther HUGE body of peer-reviewed published science that shows overwhelming evidence for Psi- 80% of Dean Radin's last book "Etangled Minds" was nothing but uninterpretwed data from 1019 published articles [only the peer-reviewed results published in Nature/Phys Rev/etc that survived skeptical challenges are counted] with [according to Radin] a combined probability against chance of 1.3x10^104 to 1 - this stands up as strongly as just about any theory in any physical science- onwe can argue that Radin himself is a crank- but here he just dumps experimental data without any interpretation- so any arguments againt Radin's personal views are irrelavant

Huh? Experimental data, but no interpretation, and you say it's peer-reviewed? Why don't you try offering just a few of those peer-reviewed publications for our assessment and see if they really support the claims you say they do.
 
  • #26
russ_watters
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rather it is the converse: since there is no theory that supports or challenges Psi phenomena- then why is the scientific community so seriously AGAINST it?
Well, we've answered that question but you say you don't want to hear the answer....
 
  • #27
Ivan Seeking
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my agrument is most certainly NOT that since there is no rigourous theory that says PSi cannot exist- that it should be taken seriously by the scientific communtiy!

rather it is the converse: since there is no theory that supports or challenges Psi phenomena- then why is the scientific community so seriously AGAINST it?

There are two sides to this issue. First of all, there are theories that challenge so called Psi phenomena: They are called the theories of physics. If physics had an easy way to explain what people claim to experience, then most scientists might say, oh, that's probably so and so happening. But the opposite is true: We don't have the physics to explain such claims. Therefore, evidence must be presented suggesting that unknown physical laws are at work before science can do much with it. And the only evidence that I know of requires meta-analysis, which is thought by some to be a flawed method. In any event, at best, any reproducible "effect" is tremendously small and can't account for the claims often made by individuals. It is also small enough to leave open the possibility that there is no effect at all.

Then there is the issue of personal experience and conviction. Even if you know for a fact that you have experienced a Psi event, unless it is repeatable, there's not much that can be done. Rare and transient events are tough to nail down because you have nothing to work with. I would bet that many scientists would give their eye-teeth for proof of something so incredible as the claims of Psi believers, but most scientists become cynical due to the lack of good evidence. Also, the lack of evidence means no money for research.

In the UFO world, we find a good number of scientists who pursue the subject on their own time due to their personal belief that the subject is worthy of study. In some cases they are compelled to study the subject because they have seen a UFO. Also, there have been publically funded studies of UFOs, including three programs run by the Air Force. When the Air Force concluded that UFOs pose no threat to national security, they recommended the following:

There are a number of universities and professional scientific organizations that have considered UFO phenomena during periodic meetings and seminars. A list of private organizations interested in aerial phenomena may be found in "Encyclopedia of Associations," published by Gale Research. Interest in and timely review of UFO reports by private groups ensures that sound evidence is not overlooked by the scientific community. Persons wishing to report UFO sightings should be advised to contact local law enforcement agencies.
http://www.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?fsID=188
 
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  • #28
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The list of psi experiments done is enormous. Here are just a few examples:

Dean Radins Entangled minds bibliography: http://www.deanradin.com/NewWeb/EMbiblio.html
A giant pile: http://www.parapsych.org/pa_convention_proceedings.html [Broken]
fMRI telepathy: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/..._uids=16398586&query_hl=1&itool=pubmed_docsum
pear: http://www.princeton.edu/~pear/publications.html
global consc. project: http://noosphere.princeton.edu/

There are many more. There is no denying that many (all?) of the hundreds of experiments in above links conclude that there is something going on which looks like psi. There are also replicated findings, such as the fmri one, and also the millisecond precognition, and probably other ones. Im not interpreting the findings, this is just what many of the experiments conclude. Does anyone know if there is just as large a body of studies which show no positive results?

In any event, at best, any reproducible "effect" is tremendously small and can't account for the claims often made by individuals. It is also small enough to leave open the possibility that there is no effect at all.
I dont know how many times ive read in psi abstracts that highly significant results were found. Then of course there are the opponents (debunkers, skeptics) who claim the opposite. So it becomes confusing as to who one should believe. Do u think perhaps that ur statement about a tremendously small effect is actually more a middle ground position, rather than a thorough understanding of the correct meta-analysis/interpretation of results? I dont understand all the statistical stuff i need know to be able to decide who is right, so i know im not capable of saying whether the evidence is strong or weak. Im always suspicious when people say they do know.

Even if in reality the effect was tremendously strong, we know that large groups of people can keep denying it, and they can keep trying to confuse the issue with all kinds of interpretations. Just look at what creationists do in order to deny evolution, the age of the earth/universe, etc. This is no conspiracy theory, this is just normal and observed human behaviour of what happens when empirical data challenges peoples worldviews.

Either way, even if the results were tremendously small, i think that justifies a tremendously large amount of scientific research.
 
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  • #29
Ivan Seeking
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The list of psi experiments done is enormous. Here are just a few examples:

Dean Radins Entangled minds bibliography: http://www.deanradin.com/NewWeb/EMbiblio.html
A giant pile: http://www.parapsych.org/pa_convention_proceedings.html [Broken]
fMRI telepathy: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/..._uids=16398586&query_hl=1&itool=pubmed_docsum
pear: http://www.princeton.edu/~pear/publications.html
global consc. project: http://noosphere.princeton.edu/

There are many more. There is no denying that many (all?) of the hundreds of experiments in above links conclude that there is something going on which looks like psi.

None of this means anything without...

There are also replicated findings, such as the fmri one, and also the millisecond precognition, and probably other ones.

The replicated findings are the only ones that really matter. If under peer review these findings are holding up, then that is significant, but I don't know how the analysis calculates out on those. Were the findings statistically significant?

Does anyone know if there is just as large a body of studies which show no positive results?

This means nothing. What matters are the results, not the degree of effort.

I dont know how many times ive read in psi abstracts that highly significant results were found. Then of course there are the opponents (debunkers, skeptics) who claim the opposite.

Part of the problem is referencing sources such as Radin's book. Again, this counts for nothing in the world of science. What matters are published [in a respectable journal], repeatable results, that pass peer review.

So it becomes confusing as to who one should believe. Do u think perhaps that ur statement about a tremendously small effect is actually more a middle ground position, rather than a thorough understanding of the correct meta-analysis/interpretation of results?

My understanding is based on the evidence presented by those who claim results. I have never seen a test that was duplicated and that had siginficant results. That doesn't mean that they don't exist, it only means that I've never seen one.

I dont understand all the statistical stuff i need know to be able to decide who is right, so i know im not capable of saying whether the evidence is strong or weak. Im always suspicious when people say they do know.

It depends entirely on who is passing judgment. As for the popular media skeptics, as far as I'm concerned, they're a bunch of crackpots who bring nothing to the table beyond debunking the most obvious charlatans.

Even if in reality the effect was tremendously strong, we know that large groups of people can keep denying it, and they can keep trying to confuse the issue with all kinds of interpretations. Just look at what creationists do in order to deny evolution, the age of the earth/universe, etc. This is no conspiracy theory, this is just normal and observed human behavior of what happens when empirical data challenges peoples worldviews.

I don't think so. I think if significant results were reproducible, people would be all over this. Considering the potential financial and strategic value of alleged skills like remote viewing or mind reading, I would think that given any real incentive, every politician in Washington, and every corporation would be throwing money at research scientists. There would still be the naysayers, but they would eventually fall into line with the flat-earth society when faced with incontrovertible evidence.

Btw, based on the anecdotal evidence, I think much of this stuff could be real, but I suspect that it can't be controlled or produced on demand, which makes it difficult to study. The precognition studies seemed most promising, but I still need to see where that stands. I only saw the results of the original experiment and never could find any follow-up.

One additional thought here: There are so called "psychics" who have found bodies and the like while assisting the police. For me, the skeptical opposition to these cases approaches absurdity. To me this is very simple: If the skeptics are right, then they should be assisting the police. ie. when skeptics start finding murder victims, then I'll accept their position as credible. The explanation that the psychics simply used good logic and made smart choices suggests that any clever skeptic should be capable of similar feats of intellect.
 
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  • #30
DaveC426913
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Just to play Devil's Advocate, I juxtapose the following two statements of Ivan's:

Does anyone know if there is just as large a body of studies which show no positive results?
This means nothing. What matters are the results, not the degree of effort.

Even if in reality the effect was tremendously strong, we know that large groups of people can keep denying it, and they can keep trying to confuse the issue with all kinds of interpretations ... This is no conspiracy theory, this is just normal and observed human behavior of what happens when empirical data challenges peoples worldviews.
I don't think so. I think if significant results were reproducible, people would be all over this. Considering the potential financial and strategic value of alleged skills like remote viewing or mind reading, I would think that given any real incentive, every politician in Washington, and every corporation would be throwing money at research scientists.

It seems to me that in one post, you're struck down a tactic, and then gone and used it in defense of your own argument.
 
  • #31
Ivan Seeking
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It seems to me that in one post, you're struck down a tactic, and then gone and used it in defense of your own argument.

I have no idea what you mean. I was saying that a million negative studies mean nothing, but positive evidence would lead to investment in this sort of research.
 
  • #32
DaveC426913
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I have no idea what you mean. I was saying that a million negative studies mean nothing, but positive evidence would lead to investment in this sort of research.

In one breath, you seem to be refuting that the large size of a body of effort does not lend credence to the body's conclusions. Yet in the next breath you seem to suggest that the lack of "people being all over it" was a valid barometer of it's not being accurate.

Anyway, it's merely a point of order, shouldn't derail the convo.
 
  • #33
Evo
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The replicated findings are the only ones that really matter. If under peer review these findings are holding up, then that is significant, but I don't know how the analysis calculates out on those. Were the findings statistically significant?
Not according the the FMRI

"Sessions were repeated twice to assess possible replication of the phenomenon" "One of the subjects replicated the results."
 
  • #34
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I will just quote the results:

RESULTS: Statistically significant changes in fMRI brain activation and EEG signals were observed when comparing the stimulus-on condition to the stimulus-off condition in nonstimulated subjects (p < 0.001, corrected for multiple comparisons). For fMRI, these changes were observed in visual brain areas 18 and 19 (Brodmann areas). One of the subjects replicated the results. CONCLUSIONS: These data replicate previous findings suggesting that correlated neural signals may be detected by fMRI and EEG in the brains of subjects who are physically and sensorily isolated from each other.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/..._uids=16398586&query_hl=1&itool=pubmed_docsum

There is a hyperlink on that site called 'related articles' which will show related articles.

Here is another one:
Data analyses showed overall significant results for EEG data recorded during the flickering condition (z =-3.28, p = 0.0005) as well as nonsignificant results for data recorded during the static condition (z = 0.35, p = 0.64). Four pairs participated in a replication experiment during which one pair replicated the effect.

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/..._uids=15165411&query_hl=2&itool=pubmed_docsum

Part of the problem is referencing sources such as Radin's book. Again, this counts for nothing in the world of science. What matters are published [in a respectable journal], repeatable results, that pass peer review.
I dont know which experiments in his bibliography were published where or which are replications from eachother. I havent read the book and only know there are zillions of them.
 
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  • #35
Ivan Seeking
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Yet in the next breath you seem to suggest that the lack of "people being all over it" was a valid barometer of it's not being accurate.

The repeatable experiments are my barometer. The fact that we don't have or haven't had definitive evidence results in a lack of scientific interest.

Here is another way of making my point. Probably every teenager destined for a degree in physics or engineering has played with perpetual motion ideas, but this doesn't make perpetual motion schemes more credible. Unless I misuderstood the original comment, the suggestion was that popularity alone is a measure of crediblity, which is clearly false. I thought he meant that with so many studies, there must be something to it. But, maybe I misuderstood what PIT2 meant.
 
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