Scepticism isn't just for claims of the paranormal

Teralek
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Scepticism isn't just for claims of the paranormal

"September's Festival of Science, organised by the British Association (BA). Usually this annual jamboree is all about Britain's top boffins telling us how close they are to finding everything from cures for cancer to the keys to the cosmos. The journalists turn out in force, dutifully write it all down and try to forget they've been writing exactly the same old cobblers for years.


But this time they had something different to report: a row sparked by the decision of the BA to include a session on parapsychology. The speakers were all scientists, among them the biologist Dr Rupert Sheldrake, who spoke about claims that people can telepathically sense who is calling them on the phone before they pick it up. He reported the results of a small study which he claimed showed there might be something in telephone telepathy. Kaboom! Before you could say "statistical significance isn't plausibility," the great and the good of British science were
telling journalists how outraged they were about such ideas being
aired at the BA.

Among them was Professor Sir Walter Bodmer, the distinguished geneticist and cancer expert, who said it was "quite inappropriate" to have such matters discussed without someone on hand to give "a proper balancing counter argument." Given the huge public interest in telepathy, I'd say it was perfectly appropriate for the BA to organise a session on the subject. As for a balancing counter argument, the BA had lined up one of Britain's leading critics of parapsychological research, Professor Chris French of Goldsmiths College, London, to take part in the post-session discussion. Still, this clearly wasn't enough for the likes of Peter Atkins, professor of chemistry at Oxford University, who dismissed the whole idea of telepathy as a "fantasy," with no good evidence
to support it.

Again, it would have helped if Prof Atkins had done his homework before sounding off. Evidence for telepathy has been uncovered by researchers at perfectly respectable universities. That said, most of the evidence is indeed pretty unimpressive, with effects close to chance levels. Indeed, one of the most intriguing aspects of Dr Sheldrake's findings presented at the
BA was the humungous size of the effects he reported. Yet I must say I do, for once, have some sympathy with the finger-waggers. I too worry about scientifically questionable findings being paraded in public without "proper balancing counter argument." But it's not the claims about minor urban legends like telephone telepathy that bother me. It's the endless cries of "Eureka!" by mainstream scientists claiming to have made life-changing breakthroughs. The real problem with BA meetings is how such claims have been trotted out for years without anyone thinking they might benefit from the "proper balancing counter argument."

Take Sir Walter's own speciality of genetics. Over the years, the BA has given countless scientists carte blanche to trumpet the biotech revolution, and the wonders of genetic medicine. Back in 1988, one speaker told delegates of how decoding the human genome may lead to "the prevention or treatment of most major human chronic diseases," and even explain the genius of Bach.
No-one-demanded a sceptic be available to question all this. Yet it should certainly have been treated with scepticism. Nowadays, academics talk openly of the "myth" of the biotech revolution, which has failed to transform medicine in the way its cheerleaders predicted, while talk of genes "for" traits like genius is widely rejected. It was Sir Walter who was making those claims in 1988. True, he never said such breakthroughs were guaranteed. Nor did he predict when they might come to pass. And in any case, isn't it the job of BA presidents to promote science? Sure, but not if it ends up promoting a view of science closer to fantasy than fact."


 

 

Robert A.J. Matthews, (Focus magazine January 2007) is a British physicist, mathematician, computer scientist, and journalist.

Perfect example of scientific bigotry! Science is made by humans, humans are not impartial; partiality is enemy of the truth.

______________________________________________________________
"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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As a Physicist,

As a Physicist, mathematician and part computer scientist myself, first I need to note that Robert Matthews is outside his scope of expertise to comment on biotechnology. While undoubtedly the field has been overhyped, so has the field of nuclear fusion for example. Because new difficulties arise, it doesn't mean that the field is useless or shouldn't be pursued. By that logic we have NO CHANCE of curing AIDS and cancer, so an AIDS/Cancer patient is doomed. 

Also if humans are not impartial how are decisions on ANY LEVEL made? By that defeatist logic, nothing can be accomplished, because people are not impartial. Forget court orders and passing laws, imagine how hospitals would work if every doctor tried to enforce their opinion. I certainly hope that it's not me due for a dangerous operation. 

Once enough evidence is compound that supports a hypothesis, and it passes rigorous tests, it becomes a theory and any "partial" dissent is dismissed as unsupported. If any dissendant gathers sufficient data to support his view, his hypothesis can be considered and further tested. 

tl;dr your skewed view of science is skewed.

 

 


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The point is that science

The point is that science lobbies only finance and approve what they see fit. Science should be impartial, it is not.

Every idea should be given the chance to be heard and evolve despite your preconceptions, needs and your taboos. Clearly Sir Peter Atkins had his own preconceptions and wanted to pass on to others his ideas of what it is fact or fantasy that in essence should be censored from scientific talks.

This happens much too often I'm afraid...

______________________________________________________________
"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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Teralek wrote:The point is

Teralek wrote:

The point is that science lobbies only finance and approve what they see fit. Science should be impartial, it is not.

Every idea should be given the chance to be heard and evolve despite your preconceptions, needs and your taboos. Clearly Sir Peter Atkins had his own preconceptions and wanted to pass on to others his ideas of what it is fact or fantasy that in essence should be censored from scientific talks.

This happens much too often I'm afraid...

I think the mistake here is equating 'science' as a whole with the individuals behind certain projects...  Those are people have interests just like everyone else.  Of course they're fallible.  Especially since the people in charge of the funds hardly ever understand the implications, they have to be both scientists and salesmen.  The difference is that a scientist's claims, though embellished, are rooted in logical assumptions.  Some pseudoscientifical-new age BS claim is rooted in ignorance and superstition. 

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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I know who is on the phone -

I know who is on the phone - I can tell because I have caller ID.

 


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True! Science as a concept

True! Science as a concept does not have any prejudice. People have prejudices.

Still we shouldn't jump at a scientist talking about his research about ESP, Near death phenomenons, Poltergeist, or whatever, just because our mental structure cries "NEW AGE BS!!". Even the most logical man can make illogical assumptions. We could be wrong. Tolerance in science is needed. All forms of censorship must end.

Democratization and impartiality at science is all I want. The best way to achieve that is to be the most humble person one can be. In regards to what we really know or what we think we know.

With this I'm not saying I want witchcraft at science fairs... the scientific method is the minimum standard...

______________________________________________________________
"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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I think the following

I think the following 'comic' from xkcd is quite appropriate:


If telepathy were real, I think people would have used it. I doesn't fit in any known model, and there are plenty of explanations for some types of telepathy (body language, mainly).

The only problem is that I witnessed an unofficial experiment that proved telepathy is quite real.


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Thunderios wrote: The only

Thunderios wrote:

 

The only problem is that I witnessed an unofficial experiment that proved telepathy is quite real.

I bow to your intellectual honesty! 

I'm not against any "unexpected" scientific research. I like to be surprised. Although I also don't believe in most things on that list I'm not going against anyone investigating it and presenting their findings in a science event.

______________________________________________________________
"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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 Let's analyze the content,

 

Let's analyze the content, and the rhetoric.

Quote:
Again, it would have helped if Prof Atkins had done his homework before sounding off.

Really?

Why? Was he out of line to do so?

Quote:
Evidence for telepathy has been uncovered by researchers at perfectly respectable universities.

They've uncovered evidence?

Oooooo....sounds like there may have been a 'coverup', or some controversial findings.

Quote:
 .... most of the evidence is indeed pretty unimpressive, with effects close to chance levels.

Some controversy...

 

Teralek wrote:

True! Science as a concept does not have any prejudice. People have prejudices.

Well duh....

Why aren't you thankful no one was burned at the stake for heresy by the leaders of 'science'.

Teralek wrote:
Democratization and impartiality at science is all I want.

There are no laws preventing anyone from pursuing those scientific endeavours, if they wish.

But, if someone wants to earn a living doing it, they need someone willing to 'buy' the premise, first.

That's the 'game'.

No one is 'buying' it.

Blame the player, not the game.

 

 

 

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


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cj wrote:I know who is on

cj wrote:

I know who is on the phone - I can tell because I have caller ID.

 

lol, I wonder if they took that into consideration in the study.  (it seems that a very high percentage of people that exhibit telepathic abilities, subscribe to the Call Display feature, hmmm )

 

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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 Teralek wrote:True!

 

Teralek wrote:
True! Science as a concept does not have any prejudice. People have prejudices.

 

Fair enough. The problem being that scientists are people and they depend on lots of other people to do their work. They need funding from the financial world and equipment from the engineering world. That stuff is not had lightly and the people who do that work are also people who depend on other people.

 

And so on down the line...

 

Granted, I don't think that it was appropriate for that old fart to demand "a proper balancing counter argument." Science works or not by putting the information out there and letting it sink or swim. If you stop to think about it, how is that demand so much different from the creationists arguing for “equal time” in biology text books?

 

Past that, I suspect that you may have missed a large part of what science really is. I will assume that you have seen the scientific method written out formally. However, it can also be written out otherwise to show the underbelly of science. Allow me to do so.

 

Science begins when a scientist realizes that a certain set of facts may not quite add up the general way that is thought. He says “that's funny” and starts to think about matters.

 

Eventually, he has to guess at an answer. Really, if there were no guesses, there would be no science.

 

Now he needs to do some experimentation. This takes money. In the modern world, it often takes quite a bit of money and the scientist has to go to the money people to get it.

 

When the money people get involved, then questions that are not directly about science come to the fore. The scientist may need an expensive laser. The money people are aware that a laser that is good enough was bought for a different guy a couple of years ago and that other guy is now done with it. So the deal for the first experiments is that stuff that the university does not already have can be bought but the laser is going to have to be reused.

 

Really, the scientist is not required to know the details of every laser in the whole university. He only needs to ask for an expensive laser. After some back and forth discussion, all parties eventually come to an agreement on the money and time that will go into the new idea.

 

A year later, the scientist may not have really world wide news level information but he may have preliminary information that is worthy of another round of funding. With luck, the second round might be more on point than the first round.

 

At some point, a paper will be produced and it ultimately has to go out into the world to sink or swim.

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Eh, I don't know.  I'm not

Eh, I don't know.  I'm not sure what point there is anything in researching para-anything outside of psychology studying the people making the claims but if people want to waste resources on it that's OK I guess, it won't make it past peer review unless it can be replicated and these little studies never seem to be.

 

I think the main fear is legitimizing sloppy or biased science that will give the gullible or the predatory types more ammunition....but that already happens so we don't have anything else to lose, do we?

 

As long as the science organizations are brutal in peer review I'm fine with having stuff take place out in the open.  Sunlight is good, even better for far out ideas.  Who knows, maybe someone will actually come up with something workable someday.  I'd love it if some of this woo stuff was actually true, imagine what a shakeup that would be!  I just doubt it will happen since so many have tried and failed to find anything.

People like Luminon say it can be found but no-one is willing to risk looking, but I don't buy that.  The first person to put woo on the science map would be immortalized.

 

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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mellestad wrote:Eh, I don't

mellestad wrote:

Eh, I don't know.  I'm not sure what point there is anything in researching para-anything outside of psychology studying the people making the claims but if people want to waste resources on it that's OK I guess, it won't make it past peer review unless it can be replicated and these little studies never seem to be.

 

I think the main fear is legitimizing sloppy or biased science that will give the gullible or the predatory types more ammunition....but that already happens so we don't have anything else to lose, do we?

 

As long as the science organizations are brutal in peer review I'm fine with having stuff take place out in the open.  Sunlight is good, even better for far out ideas.  Who knows, maybe someone will actually come up with something workable someday.  I'd love it if some of this woo stuff was actually true, imagine what a shakeup that would be!  I just doubt it will happen since so many have tried and failed to find anything.

People like Luminon say it can be found but no-one is willing to risk looking, but I don't buy that.  The first person to put woo on the science map would be immortalized.
 

No!

Why can't this (http://www.sheldrake.org/Articles&Papers/papers/telepathy/exptests_abs.html) investigation be funded? Do you fear the claims that may come or are just questioning the method? If you are afraid of the claims then you have prejudice and preconceptions inside your mind which are enemies or scientific progress.

If you are refering the method, fine by me. It seems Rupert Sheldrake followed those formalities and got published on a science journal. In fact this is obvious since he was at a science presentation! People are indeed trying to make serious investigations about "woo" but as you can see from Focus article it is very very hard... and this is just an example. For starters few people and institutions finance these kind of investigation and then comes the prejudice and shunning from inflated egos. 

______________________________________________________________
"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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Teralek wrote:mellestad

Teralek wrote:

mellestad wrote:

Eh, I don't know.  I'm not sure what point there is anything in researching para-anything outside of psychology studying the people making the claims but if people want to waste resources on it that's OK I guess, it won't make it past peer review unless it can be replicated and these little studies never seem to be.

 

I think the main fear is legitimizing sloppy or biased science that will give the gullible or the predatory types more ammunition....but that already happens so we don't have anything else to lose, do we?

 

As long as the science organizations are brutal in peer review I'm fine with having stuff take place out in the open.  Sunlight is good, even better for far out ideas.  Who knows, maybe someone will actually come up with something workable someday.  I'd love it if some of this woo stuff was actually true, imagine what a shakeup that would be!  I just doubt it will happen since so many have tried and failed to find anything.

People like Luminon say it can be found but no-one is willing to risk looking, but I don't buy that.  The first person to put woo on the science map would be immortalized.
 

No!

Why can't this (http://www.sheldrake.org/Articles&Papers/papers/telepathy/exptests_abs.html) investigation be funded? Do you fear the claims that may come or are just questioning the method? If you are afraid of the claims then you have prejudice and preconceptions inside your mind which are enemies or scientific progress.

If you are refering the method, fine by me. It seems Rupert Sheldrake followed those formalities and got published on a science journal. In fact this is obvious since he was at a science presentation! People are indeed trying to make serious investigations about "woo" but as you can see from Focus article it is very very hard... and this is just an example. For starters few people and institutions finance these kind of investigation and then comes the prejudice and shunning from inflated egos. 

 

It can be. If you want it funded, no one is stopping you from sending a check. I'll save my money, thanks.

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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Teralek wrote:No!Why can't

Teralek wrote:

No!

Why can't this (http://www.sheldrake.org/Articles&Papers/papers/telepathy/exptests_abs.html) investigation be funded? Do you fear the claims that may come or are just questioning the method? If you are afraid of the claims then you have prejudice and preconceptions inside your mind which are enemies or scientific progress.

If you are refering the method, fine by me. It seems Rupert Sheldrake followed those formalities and got published on a science journal. In fact this is obvious since he was at a science presentation! People are indeed trying to make serious investigations about "woo" but as you can see from Focus article it is very very hard... and this is just an example. For starters few people and institutions finance these kind of investigation and then comes the prejudice and shunning from inflated egos. 

If you want to pay for it go right ahead, my taxes are already high enough.

If the US Congress isn't going to pay for PBS, Education or the Clean Air Act why should a woo project be funded. There has been enough tax dollars spent studying the mating habits of praire dogs.

You want it, you pay for it.

____________________________________________________________
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Point taken. Still the

Point taken. Still the shunning remains and that has no right to exist. Much less in this hypocritical way shown by this Sir Atkins. Civil disobedience to intolerance! I proclaim! LOL 

______________________________________________________________
"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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Teralek wrote:mellestad

Teralek wrote:

mellestad wrote:

Eh, I don't know.  I'm not sure what point there is anything in researching para-anything outside of psychology studying the people making the claims but if people want to waste resources on it that's OK I guess, it won't make it past peer review unless it can be replicated and these little studies never seem to be.

 

I think the main fear is legitimizing sloppy or biased science that will give the gullible or the predatory types more ammunition....but that already happens so we don't have anything else to lose, do we?

 

As long as the science organizations are brutal in peer review I'm fine with having stuff take place out in the open.  Sunlight is good, even better for far out ideas.  Who knows, maybe someone will actually come up with something workable someday.  I'd love it if some of this woo stuff was actually true, imagine what a shakeup that would be!  I just doubt it will happen since so many have tried and failed to find anything.

People like Luminon say it can be found but no-one is willing to risk looking, but I don't buy that.  The first person to put woo on the science map would be immortalized.
 

No!

Why can't this (http://www.sheldrake.org/Articles&Papers/papers/telepathy/exptests_abs.html) investigation be funded? Do you fear the claims that may come or are just questioning the method? If you are afraid of the claims then you have prejudice and preconceptions inside your mind which are enemies or scientific progress.

If you are refering the method, fine by me. It seems Rupert Sheldrake followed those formalities and got published on a science journal. In fact this is obvious since he was at a science presentation! People are indeed trying to make serious investigations about "woo" but as you can see from Focus article it is very very hard... and this is just an example. For starters few people and institutions finance these kind of investigation and then comes the prejudice and shunning from inflated egos. 

 

I'm not even sure you read my whole post, lol.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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No human being is perfect.

No human being is perfect. Even outside the issue of religion, we can all fall for something because we are not being skeptical enough.

In my race to get into a house, because my mom was moving to a retirement home, I allowed the Real Estate bully me when I asked questions. As a result of not being more forceful, or dumping him all together, I "trusted him", Now, the house is not terrible by any stretch. But after finding quite a few things wrong with it, it opened my eyes up to what human beings are capable of selling.

I get so tired of people accusing me of being negative by simply pointing out another point of view that questions their position.

Even on issues of drinking and driving. I have a policy, even if one beer is involved, you don't drive, or I don't get into a car with you. I have allowed people to convince me "you're being paranoid", and maybe in some cases I am. But all it takes is that ONE TIME, and even if I am not driving, I could be arrested for DIP or have to walk home are call for a ride or get stuck where I am at. ALL a pain in the ass.

Thinking about an issue ANY ISSUE and questioning it isn't a matter of hating the person who makes the claim. It is a matter of quality control to insure quality of output of data.

If I had known before I bought the house the little tricks they used to masked the problems the house had, I would have called them on it.

"Wear your safty belt" isn't assuming that you are going to have an accident. It is a recognition of scientific study that if you wear it, when you get into an accident you are more likely to survive.

Skeptics also attack bullshit like JFK conspiracies, Big Foot, and even claims that the Transporter from "Star Treck" is a real possibility.

It is the same healthy skepticism I have when some dreamy eyed Redskin fan says, "Well have a great team next year due to this draft and our trades", I'll have to wait and see because 17 years of data since the last Super Bowl would not indicate that.

So to the believers reading this. WE REALLY DO NOT HATE YOU. But your claims and some in your camps drive us nuts with your naked assertions and your behaviors. Our skepticism is pragmatic and healthy, and can help you, the believer, see why we say what we say, and it really is ok to be wrong. Being wrong isn't the worst thing in the world, it simply means that you get to learn something new.

But no, skepticism isn't just about god or superstition. It can also keep you from a high interest credit card, bad home loan, or bad used car.

If whomever is selling a claim says "trust me" run the other way unless they allow you to verify.

 

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No human being is perfect.

No human being is perfect. Even outside the issue of religion, we can all fall for something because we are not being skeptical enough.

In my race to get into a house, because my mom was moving to a retirement home, I allowed the Real Estate bully me when I asked questions. As a result of not being more forceful, or dumping him all together, I "trusted him", Now, the house is not terrible by any stretch. But after finding quite a few things wrong with it, it opened my eyes up to what human beings are capable of selling.

I get so tired of people accusing me of being negative by simply pointing out another point of view that questions their position.

Even on issues of drinking and driving. I have a policy, even if one beer is involved, you don't drive, or I don't get into a car with you. I have allowed people to convince me "you're being paranoid", and maybe in some cases I am. But all it takes is that ONE TIME, and even if I am not driving, I could be arrested for DIP or have to walk home are call for a ride or get stuck where I am at. ALL a pain in the ass.

Thinking about an issue ANY ISSUE and questioning it isn't a matter of hating the person who makes the claim. It is a matter of quality control to insure quality of output of data.

If I had known before I bought the house the little tricks they used to masked the problems the house had, I would have called them on it.

"Wear your safty belt" isn't assuming that you are going to have an accident. It is a recognition of scientific study that if you wear it, when you get into an accident you are more likely to survive.

Skeptics also attack bullshit like JFK conspiracies, Big Foot, and even claims that the Transporter from "Star Treck" is a real possibility.

It is the same healthy skepticism I have when some dreamy eyed Redskin fan says, "Well have a great team next year due to this draft and our trades", I'll have to wait and see because 17 years of data since the last Super Bowl would not indicate that.

So to the believers reading this. WE REALLY DO NOT HATE YOU. But your claims and some in your camps drive us nuts with your naked assertions and your behaviors. Our skepticism is pragmatic and healthy, and can help you, the believer, see why we say what we say, and it really is ok to be wrong. Being wrong isn't the worst thing in the world, it simply means that you get to learn something new.

But no, skepticism isn't just about god or superstition. It can also keep you from a high interest credit card, bad home loan, or bad used car.

If whomever is selling a claim says "trust me" run the other way unless they allow you to verify.

 

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Teralek wrote:Why can't this

Teralek wrote:

Why can't this (http://www.sheldrake.org/Articles&Papers/papers/telepathy/exptests_abs.html) investigation be funded? Do you fear the claims that may come or are just questioning the method? If you are afraid of the claims then you have prejudice and preconceptions inside your mind which are enemies or scientific progress.

If you are refering the method, fine by me. It seems Rupert Sheldrake followed those formalities and got published on a science journal. In fact this is obvious since he was at a science presentation! People are indeed trying to make serious investigations about "woo" but as you can see from Focus article it is very very hard... and this is just an example. For starters few people and institutions finance these kind of investigation and then comes the prejudice and shunning from inflated egos. 

It's a 'Single Blind' test.

Science does not consider those tests, as anything but preliminary. For good reason.

It says it right in the beginning of the white paper. The examiner conducting the test, knew who was the caller, and the one being called.

The one who was calling the 'phone picker upper' probably knew the identity of the phone picker upper, as well. Both the 'examiner', and the 'phone caller' can either intentionally, or unintentionally do something that gives indication to the participant who is 'blind', that can skew the results.

'Double Blind' and 'Triple Blind' tests remove those types of variable.

 

There's no reason to scream 'cover up!'.

The JREF has been offering a 'Million Dollar Prize', for years, to anyone who can conclusively prove supernatural phenomena.

 

 

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

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It has been noted that the

It has been noted that the more carefully and rigorously the tests for these phenomena and 'abilities' are set up, the smaller are the deviation from chance.

This is a good indicator that there is nothing there.

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Just wanted to point

Just wanted to point something out.

 

People distribute funding to various scientific endeavors in a bias manner.  I'll agree with this, but this alone does not mean that science is biased.  All this means is that we're biased in where we apply science.  The science itself can still be non-biased in each of these areas.

 

Personal bias affects what research is done.  Yet this does not necessarily bias the results of that research, especially when we seek peer review and independent confirmation.  Thus while the areas in which we seek conclusions and the rate at which we find them may be biased, the actual conclusions can escape this bias.

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redneF wrote:It's a 'Single

redneF wrote:

It's a 'Single Blind' test.

Science does not consider those tests, as anything but preliminary. For good reason.

It says it right in the beginning of the white paper. The examiner conducting the test, knew who was the caller, and the one being called.

The one who was calling the 'phone picker upper' probably knew the identity of the phone picker upper, as well. Both the 'examiner', and the 'phone caller' can either intentionally, or unintentionally do something that gives indication to the participant who is 'blind', that can skew the results.

'Double Blind' and 'Triple Blind' tests remove those types of variable.

 

There's no reason to scream 'cover up!'.

The JREF has been offering a 'Million Dollar Prize', for years, to anyone who can conclusively prove supernatural phenomena.

It is possible however hard... What I have comprehended from his methods, the examiner called the participant after he knew who was going to be the caller, so he could note his guess. The only way the participant could get a subliminal message was by the voice tone of the examiner since they were over the phone. Since they were not familiar I find this hard to believe. But yes this is preliminary not just because of that but because of the size of the sample which I find to be a bigger problem than the double blind thing.

Again my point is to criticize the reaction of some people who apparently want to censor some areas of investigation calling for more skepticism (even when there is) and conveniently forgetting to be more skeptical in other areas which really need to be more criticized

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Teralek wrote:What I have

Teralek wrote:

What I have comprehended from his methods...

You don't understand why those kinds of single blind tests are not considered serious. Because in a single blind test like that, the statistical odds are usually no better than a coin toss.

It's the same with single case studies.

They are prone to 'false positives'.

One could do a survey of 1000 child molesters, and find that the 1 thing they (the sample group) all had in common, was that all of them put cream in their coffee.

The 'study' finds that 'the child molesters all put cream in their coffee.'

That's the 'conclusion' of the study.

The study could have been very well done, and with no margin of error, and with all the people studied having passed lie detector tests, to determine that they were telling the truth.

The 'conclusion' therefore, is 'valid'.

This would be considered (by news media and journalistic standards) as 'compelling evidence'.

Solid evidence that of 1000 child molesters studied, all the child molesters put cream in their coffee.

It would be 'logical' that this study shows an incredible consistency between those surveyed.

But the 'headline' would read "STUDY FINDS THAT CHILD MOLESTERS PUT CREAM IN THEIR COFFEE"

 

But, it still don't mean squat, for 'scientists' for the simple reason that they know that 'correlation does not = causation', and that you can get 'false positives', during experiments.

 

Teralek wrote:
Again my point is to criticize the reaction of some people who apparently want to censor some areas of investigation calling for more skepticism (even when there is) and conveniently forgetting to be more skeptical in other areas which really need to be more criticized

Your criticisms are unwarranted.

People have been making these types of claims, for generations, and studies have been setup, and they always fail the scientific method.

So, at this point, it's like they've cried wolf too many times.

However, if you want to see some 'tests' that have been set up, take a look at James Randi's YouTube channel, and see how well these 'claims' do.

Here is Richard Dawkins investigating 'dowsers'

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VAasVXtCOI&feature=related

 

 

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

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redneF wrote:Solid evidence

redneF wrote:

Solid evidence that of 1000 child molesters studied, all the child molesters put cream in their coffee.

 

I knew there was something fishy about people who put cream in their coffee... I'll bet Hitler put cream in his coffee too.

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So you mean that he should

So you mean that he should have made the same test with randomly selected people, not just people who claimed that they could guess who's calling?? Okay, that is reasonable.

I don't see that my point is unwarranted about the reactions. He didn't claim anything, he was presenting a study, and he add all the right to do so despite what others believe. He even had skeptics to counter arguement! If someone finds this study faulty they have the right to speak but they don't have the right to censor a study because of their field of study. In this case parapsychology.

Edit: Cant you point me to some other "more serious" studies besides Dawkins and James Randi?

that's like when I ask a political question to someone and they point me to Fox News.... 

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"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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Randi is possibly one of the

Randi is possibly one of the most serious and truly skeptical people, in the best sense, in the area of investigating fringe stuff of all kinds. He is acutely aware of all the ways people can mis-perceive things, fool themselves, especially if they become too attached to an idea.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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oops

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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Teralek wrote:So you mean

Teralek wrote:

So you mean that he should have made the same test with randomly selected people, not just people who claimed that they could guess who's calling??

Yes.

This is called the 'control' group. They are random, everyday, people, who are tested to establish a 'baseline'.

If there are people who are thought to deviate from the 'baseline', they are tested seperately, using the exact same methods as the 'control' tests.

Then, you measure the deviation between the two groups, and measure the 'deviation', in order to isolate what the differences were.

Teralek wrote:
Okay, that is reasonable.

Yes, science is not unreasonable by any stretch of the imagination.

Anyone who is not happy with scientific findings, is simply disappointed in themselves, that their predictions failed.

Teralek wrote:
I don't see that my point is unwarranted about the reactions.

It is unwarranted.

Don't blame the game, blame the player.

Science only demonstrates the differences between claims, and reality. (1)

Teralek wrote:
He didn't claim anything

Then what are we talking about?

Teralek wrote:
... he was presenting a study....he add all the right to do so despite what others believe.

His rights stop, where other's rights begin.

He's entitled to make his own opinions, but he's not entitled to his make his own facts.

 

When people make up their own opinions, without actually having anything that cannot be falsified or certified(*) as a factthen all they have is an argument.

IOW, tell it to the judge, and ignorance, is not a defense.

(*) = proof

Teralek wrote:
He even had skeptics to counter arguement!

So?

What were their counter arguments?

Teralek wrote:
If someone finds this study faulty they have the right to speak but they don't have the right to censor a study because of their field of study. In this case parapsychology.

I don't think you understand.

There is no ban, or order for him to cease his experiments.

But, scientists bid for grants (money) to finance their studies. The ones that are most compelling, or most promising, are the ones that get chosen over others.

If you want to complain about the reasons why they fail to be compelling, see my explanation from earlier on where the disappointment really is. (1)

Teralek wrote:
Edit: Cant you point me to some other "more serious" studies besides Dawkins and James Randi?

I would, but I don't know where you would find anyone who would qualify as more serious than either of those two.

You're alleging something that I do not agree with.

 

Are you asking me to find you more elaborate scientific methods of testing these types of phenomena?

They did many of them decades ago, in both the US, and in the USSR, for the military. The military investigated many claims of supernatural. They would have loved to find supernatural powers.

They wanted to believe.

They were desperate to gain any edge they could over their adversaries.

They would have spent any amount to develop supernatural powers.

But the claims did not manifest themselves when they were observed.

There aren't many lab experiments done anymore, on these types of single blind tests by busy scientists. They have more important things to work on.

They simply don't have the time to indulge in weak claims.

Teralek wrote:
that's like when I ask a political question to someone and they point me to Fox News.... 

That's a bad analogy.

If they were conducting tests that showed how inept they were, they would seriously undermine their credibility in their fields of study.

I don't see any evidence of that. As a matter of fact, I see evidence to the contrary...

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

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A serious study...testing

A serious study...testing Lenny Susskind's holographic principle has implications for String Theory:

http://www.symmetrymagazine.org/breaking/2010/10/20/fermilab-scientists-to-test-hypothesis-of-holographic-universe/

 

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If there really was

If there really was something to any of these claims which have been dismissed, we would expect to see them manifested somewhere, by something, or someone, in a really strong and totally undeniable way, instead of as marginal levels of statistical variation.

Really being able to predict the future, or see clearly what was over the next hill, behind all the trees, read other minds like a book, etc, could be expected to a really useful ability to enhance by evolution or long training.

Evolution has come up with a remarkable of physical skills, various kinds of flight, ability to dive to great depths in the ocean, survive in hot springs, very acute sight in eagles, etc. But nothing showing an undeniable, widely visible, 'paranormal' ability, unless you want to count that octopus that was supposed to be able to predict the winner of the Soccer World Cup...

Paranormal, psychic, etc 'powers' have been studied for centuries now, and they still haven't advanced remotely to the degree that other areas of study have, which is a dam good reason for not taking them seriously until they can come up with more than a slight deviation from statistical 'noise'.

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BobSpence1 wrote:If there

BobSpence1 wrote:

If there really was something to any of these claims which have been dismissed, we would expect to see them manifested somewhere, by something, or someone, in a really strong and totally undeniable way, instead of as marginal levels of statistical variation.

Really being able to predict the future, or see clearly what was over the next hill, behind all the trees, read other minds like a book, etc, could be expected to a really useful ability to enhance by evolution or long training.

Evolution has come up with a remarkable of physical skills, various kinds of flight, ability to dive to great depths in the ocean, survive in hot springs, very acute sight in eagles, etc. But nothing showing an undeniable, widely visible, 'paranormal' ability, unless you want to count that octopus that was supposed to be able to predict the winner of the Soccer World Cup...

Paranormal, psychic, etc 'powers' have been studied for centuries now, and they still haven't advanced remotely to the degree that other areas of study have, which is a dam good reason for not taking them seriously until they can come up with more than a slight deviation from statistical 'noise'.

Do you think these are vestiges of a more primitive form of consciousness perhaps where areas of the brain that deal with dreams interpreted experience with something like Jungian archetypes and fanciful ideas of causality?  UFO's and channelers, Loch Ness Monsters and Big Foot. God and ghosts.  It sometimes makes me wonder if there is not something to a social mind or a collective unconscious. Contemporary Myth? Joseph Campbell seems to have found some patterns that are widespread.  Even these interpretations seem as fanciful as what they are suppose to explain.  One theory is that our usage of language developed the syntax of it drove the formation of some of these ideas. We externalize them much as a schizophrenic does. Some even suggest that schizophrenia is a remnant of an older form of consciousness.  It all is at least wishful thinking.


 

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Teralek wrote:The point is

Teralek wrote:

The point is that science lobbies only finance and approve what they see fit. Science should be impartial, it is not.

Every idea should be given the chance to be heard and evolve despite your preconceptions, needs and your taboos. Clearly Sir Peter Atkins had his own preconceptions and wanted to pass on to others his ideas of what it is fact or fantasy that in essence should be censored from scientific talks.

This happens much too often I'm afraid...

I've read Sheldrake's two major books and seen some of his lectures.  He has had 20 years to produce hard evidence. Christof Koch has pointed out that Sheldrake does not understand neurobiology well and has not shown anything worthy of pursuit. On the other hand the late physicist David Bohm strongly supported Sheldrake. Bohm had a bent toward eastern Mysticism. I've read a few articles of more recent work by Sheldrake but have not seen anything that would make a splash in the scientific community. Obviously thinking outside of the box once you've wallowed around inside enough is the way to make breakthroughs. But where are the indications that these ideas of morphogenetic  fields and what have you can be verified or even tested? Where is some soft evidence?

 

 

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