“I always got a bit pissed off with those broadsheet sceptics who make their living being passionately angry about homoeopathy, God, synchronicity or whatever, because it’s as if they can’t get past their emotions, and in their rage they become as faith-driven as the beliefs they criticise. I always said they give scientists a bad name. After all, science has to be about asking unthinkable questions, not closing down debate.” ― Scarlett Thomas, Our Tragic Universe
See the page Obsessive Debunking Disorder (ODD)
In the UK the parapsychologists are being replaced by the highly sceptical Anomalistic Psychologists because the sceptics are more statistically likely to obtain negative results!
Wiki: “In psychology, anomalistic psychology is the study of human behaviour and experience connected with what is often called the paranormal, with the assumption that there is nothing paranormal involved.”
To put this in its simplest terms: Anomalistic Psychology is the study of anomalistic phenomena by those who most strongly deny its existence – studying that which they don’t believe exists.
The paranormal is an expression used by science to describe the unknown, the unexplained, basically it covers all the things that scientists hate – it represents an argument against the Standard Model of particle physics. The majority of the scientific community, notably the sceptics, will descend into deep denial at its very mention. They prefer to live with the assumption that the paranormal does not exist. They explain it away with dubious references to alternatives that are often supported by the most bizarre explanations, anything goes as long as it does not involve admitting that there may be something worthy of serious study.
Psychology on the other hand has always been the black sheep of science because it deals with the mind and the mind (thinking) is not made-up of the matter (particles) that supports the energy-matter-only materialistic universe of science and scepticism. As far as scientists are concerned the mind consists of interactions of energy and matter just like a computer that relies on yes-no, 0 or 1 signals between transistors. But the brain is not a computer, it has no transistors, it cannot be shown to use binary numbers or any other brand of mathematics in its functioning. A computer is an adding machine and a brain with a mind is not. Computers do not think, they follow programs written by programmers who have (hopefully) minds of their own – computers are human-designed machines and living organisms are – according to science – chance events, happy accidents. Scientists have a hard time with this and for this reason and others psychologists need to suck-up to science in order to keep their jobs. Telling the truth about the psychic-mind connection is not the way to go about it. Anomalistic psychology gives psychologists the means to prove to science that they are good old materialistic boys with computers for brains and that denial is a word no longer frowned upon by psychology.
And so we find that senior academic psychologists are training their students in the art of denial: Professor Richard Wiseman, “Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom.” says, “I agree that by the standards of any other area of science that remote viewing is proven, but begs the question: do we need higher standards of evidence when we study the paranormal? I think we do. (…) if I said that a UFO had just landed, you’d probably want a lot more evidence. Because remote viewing is such an outlandish claim that will revolutionize [sic] the world, we need overwhelming evidence before we draw any conclusions. Right now we don’t have that evidence.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remote_viewing#Scientific_studies_and_claims
In fact he doesn’t even know what that evidence would look like because no other branch of science requires the impossible standards demanded by the sceptics.
He has already said, “I agree that by the standards of any other area of science that remote viewing is proven” and so there must be scientifically acceptable evidence. So what exactly is the evidence we don’t have? What constitutes overwhelming evidence, is there an example? This is often called “moving the goalposts” where ever-more evidence is demanded, a delaying tactic used by sceptics that ultimately requires an absolute proof that does not exist, not in any discipline of science and not in everyday life. This is something that Wiseman as a scientist should know, but for the sake of what has become a religion, scepticism or more accurately the pseudo-science Skepticism, he is prepared to deny it.
Remote viewing is not a particularly “outlandish claim” it’s been around in various forms throughout history and it will not “revolutionize the world” – even for those who are able to do it – and almost everyone who is not an extreme sceptic can do it. Remote viewing was sponsored for five years under heavy scrutiny by the U.S. government and it disappeared from view (although it is still used) after complaints from senior scientific sceptics like Richard Wiseman and spies who feared the viewers would read their minds; such was the paranoia.
Known as “Remote Viewer No. 1” Joseph McMoneagle has earned 28 military decorations and numerous awards, to include a Legion of Merit for his Anomalous Cognition and Remote Viewing support to the US Intelligence Community. Do they decorate the military for making outlandish and unproven claims that need proof beyond that required by science? I think not. There is obviously plenty of evidence but Richard Wiseman wants his students and the rest of us to deny that any of it ever happened because its not good for science and it threatens his job as a professional academic sceptic and denier. 2
“During his career, Mr. McMoneagle has provided professional intelligence and creative/innovative informational support to the Central Intelligence Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, Drug Enforcement Agency, Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Customs, the National Security Council, most major commands within the Department of Defense, and hundreds of other individuals, companies, and corporations. He is the only person who has successfully demonstrated his ability as a remote viewer more than two dozen times, live, double-blind, and under strict scientific control while on-camera for national networks and labs in four countries.” 3
There are an incredible number of well known scientific names who can be shown to have been involved in occult and consciousness altering practices. It’s astounding when one considers the opposition from Wiseman and the other sceptics we will encounter. One wonders if modern science could ever have gotten off the ground or how it will continue without them?: Isaac Newton, an alchemist, Robert Boyle, an alchemist, Francis Bacon, a pupil of Elizabeth I’s magician John Dee, and all founders of the Royal Society. Sir William Crookes and Nobel prizewinner JJ Thomson, were occultists and fathers of particle physics, more recently Carl Sagan and Francis Crick, both indulged in mind altering drugs to enhance their thinking. Jack Sarfatti, the theoretical physicist who received metallic voices by phone and Jack Parsons, founder of JPL who was a follower of Aleister Crowley, also not forgetting physicists Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff and the list continues…
It’s unusual in these pages for me to reach a personal conclusion so early-on, but it seems the professor either knows nothing or does not want to know anything about his chosen subject. It appears that a debunking need is not accompanied by a need to know what it is he’s debunking. When it suits the purpose, scientific method goes out of the window along with evidence.
Note: that pseudo-sceptical, pseudo-scientific debunkers require no evidence or knowledge to reach a conclusion. Once a sceptical conclusion is reached and the pseudo-debunking is complete it takes on a life of its own among other sceptics and for them it becomes a standard ‘fact’. How can anyone do a ‘scientific study’ on a subject whilst also denying its existence?
The Telegraph informs us that: “The psychology professor, famed for his mass-participation experiments, which explore the curious science of everyday life, travelled to a mystery site in the UK, whereupon he sent a Tweet. Participants were asked to pinpoint his location by selecting it from a line-up of five photographs. As only 15 per cent of people correctly predicted Prof Wiseman’s location – despite a 20 per cent probability – he pronounced RV to be a hoax.” 4 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/lifestyle/wellbeing/6110544/Can-psychics-be-good-for-your-health.html
Professor Wiseman is a pathological sceptic, a bona fide active member of the thought police and a seasoned debunker and as such only those who agree with his extremist sentiments are likely to be interested in his Tweets. There is also a very good and scientifically tested reason why his followers score below probability in psychic experiments, something we will explore a little later on this page. Wiseman knows all about this but still insists on carrying out psychic experiments with subjects who are known to be highly unlikely to show any positive psychic ability. Had he used genuine remote viewers for the experiments the result may have been very different, but this is the way a pseudo debunking works.
Richard Wiseman and an Email:
After reading his Wiki bio I wrote to Professor Wiseman and asked him the following questions:
1. There was a recent survey that showed that the more senior the scientist, the more sceptical they are likely to be, but I don’t seem to have that one handy at the moment. Does advancement in a scientific career depend on the extent of ones scepticism?
2. You appear to agree that remote viewing has been proven by scientific standards and yet you suggest that higher standards are required. There is very little scientific interest regarding paranormal subjects apart from the usual, seemingly obligatory, debunking. I personally find this to be of a low quality and often more incredible than the subject being debunked. What improvements would you suggest?
3. Although I’ve never seen a UFO myself, I find it difficult to write-off the huge witness testimony that exists. The scientific stance on this reminds me of Antoine Lavoisier and his “no stones in the sky”. I am drawn to the conclusion that of the very few scientists who have actually bothered to study UFO’s, all seem to have become believers. Their results are quickly waved away as if they never existed and they become persona non grata in the scientific community. I’m thinking of John Mack in particular at the time of writing. Science appears to be big on window dressing but has nothing in the shop. I would be grateful for your comments on these questions as I’m not the only one asking them.
The Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology (whose job it is to inform the public) did not to reply to my questions, but he did send me a link: “ 5 http://www.csicop.org/si/show/heads_i_win_tails_you_loser_how_parapsychologists_nullify_null_results
For those who can’t be bothered to read his long diatribe, his main point seems to be that he objects to the idea of using potential or known psychics in psi experiments. What Wiseman wants is akin to insisting that Olympic contestants can only take part in the games if they have never taken part in the sport. 6 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_psychic_abilities
One can only assume that he would prefer to use those who actively resist the idea. In other words he wants other sceptics to participate in experiments that they vigorously deny for reasons that support theirs and his own agenda. This is only one of several examples in these pages where we have illogical, biased, scientific, circular reasoning where science becomes totally unscientific when it suits the purpose.
There has, historically, been a tendency among psychologists to lobotomise difficult subjects and this seems to be a recent example.
Maybe it’s “The Sheep-Goat Effect” that Richard Wiseman is hoping for?:
I’ll use The Skeptic’s Dictionary for balance: “The sheep-goat effect refers to the fact that believers in psi tend to do better than chance in psi experiments, while those who don’t believe in psi or don’t believe it has any relevance in experiments tend to score below chance in the experiments.” http://skepdic.com/sheep-goat.html
Even the mighty SKeptic’s Dictionary has no answers to this one! Can this be why Wiseman wants all the experiments done by sceptics? Get enough of them all getting negative results and Ta Dah, you can wipe-out other branches of parapsychology at a stroke leaving only his own anomalistic psychology, that denies it all – king of the hill. 7
Gertrude Schmeidler and the Sheep-Goat Effect,
“In 1942, Gertrude Schmeidler, professor of psychology at City University of New York, set up a questionnaire to explore students’ beliefs about psi. She used the term “sheep” to refer to those who were confident about the reality of psi and “goats” for those who doubted its existence or its pertinence in the context of the test. After the questionnaire, she gave the students a classic psi test with ESP cards in which they tried to guess sequences of target-cards. Then Schmeidler compared the results of the psi test and those of the questionnaire. The remarkable conclusion was that the “sheep” had a significant deviation above chance, while “goats” were significantly below it… This difference between believers and disbelievers, known as the “sheep-goat effect,” has been confirmed by many other researchers.” 8 http://archived.parapsych.org/sheep_goat_effect.htm
Psi Missing: according to Mario Varvoglis, Ph.D., “Psi missing is one of the most startling discoveries of modern parapsychology. At times, certain individuals persist in giving the wrong answers in psi tests. The accumulation of systematically wrong answers can be so flagrant that it suggests something quite different than a mere lack of psi abilities: it is as if people use psi to consistently avoid the target, unconsciously “sabotaging” their own results!” So it follows that they may be able to sabotage the results of others! I think Mario Varvoglis is zeroing-in on the weird and tortured mentality of the sceptics who see self inflicted sabotage as a bona fide means to an end. 9 http://archived.parapsych.org/psiexplorer/belief1.htm
Even Wiseman’s own colleagues complain: Dr. Daryl Bem, Emeritus Professor of Psychology, Responds to Parapsychology Debunkers – Cheating? “Without accusing him of actually being dishonest, he has now published the three studies that he and French and Ritchie tried to get published in several journals that rejected it. I replied with a comment on that. If there’s anything dishonest there, it’s when you publish an article, even if it’s of your own three experiments—they did three experiments that failed trying to replicate one of my experiments—you always have a literature review section where you talk about all the previous research and known research on the topic before you present your own data.
What Wiseman never tells people is in Ritchie, Wiseman and French is that his online registry where he asked everyone to register, first of all he provided a deadline date. I don’t know of any serious researcher working on their own stuff who is going to drop everything and immediately do a replication… anyway, he and Ritchie and French published these three studies. Well, they knew that there were three other studies that had been submitted and completed and two of the three showed statistically significant results replicating my results. But you don’t know that from reading his article. That borders on dishonesty.” 6 http://www.skeptiko.com/daryl-bem-responds-to-parapsychology-debunkers/
Richard Dawkins debunks dowsing on YouTube
At the end of the video clip every single dowser has failed and Richard Dawkins is saying that the dowsers prefer denial – to retain their delusion even when confronted with the truth. (What he’s actually saying is that they are all stupid) There are countless other videos on YouTube that show successful dowsing, a system used for centuries dating back to times when it was the only method available for finding water. It’s surprising that the human race survived in ancient times without anomalistic psychologists to find food and water.
But, there is an alternative “truth”, we are told that: “Psi missing is one of the most startling discoveries of modern parapsychology”. The dowsers look to be genuinely surprised at their failure after achieving positive results for most of their lives. Here we see a possible vindication/verification that Richard Dawkins and Chris French’s scepticism is having a detrimental Psi Missing effect on the dowser’s ability to perform. 10 Its a theory just as valid as that of Dawkins and backed by scientific evidence. It needs testing, but I’m at a loss to understand how this can be achieved within anomalistic psychology where every researcher is a sceptic and the results are all slanted to the negative by the Psi Missing effect.
Preconceived ideas just don’t work for science or anything else!
Rupert’s Resonance: more on the interesting paradox, Scientific American magazine:
The theory of “morphic resonance” posits that people have a sense of when they are being stared at. What does the research show?
(Rupert) Sheldrake responds that skeptics dampen the morphic field, whereas believers enhance it. Of Wiseman, he remarked: “Perhaps his negative expectations consciously or unconsciously influenced the way he looked at the subjects.”
Perhaps, but wouldn’t that mean that this claim is ultimately non-falsifiable? If both positive and negative results are interpreted as supporting a theory, how can we test its validity? Skepticism is the default position because the burden of proof is on the believer, not the skeptic. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/ruperts-resonance/
This is where scientific method falls-down: It appears that the negative influence of scepticism has already been proven and it’s time for the sceptics to show that it proceeds from other sources than themselves. Otherwise the sceptics are instrumental in proving the case for psi, but this time with both a positive and a negative.
Can it be that Richard Wiseman et al, who certainly know about this, are hoping to use psi to help dispel an age-old, according to them, ‘delusion’ about psychic abilities? And don’t forget folks, the next time you see a shrink, these are senior psychologists, teachers and scientists. It makes you shudder don’t it? Anomalistic psychology is a purely sceptical area of study that assumes the paranormal does not exist. It endeavours to prove that those who experience the paranormal are either nuts or charlatans, hallucinating, observing optical illusions, dreaming, unqualified to comment on observations, unscientific, deluded or suffering from an eclectic assortment of medical conditions, mental and physical.
It never occurs to the sceptic that they themselves may be deceived by their own psychic bias… and they set themselves up as our arbiters of reality. Their confidence is grounded in their unwavering belief in consensus sceptical science (physics, examined in other chapters). A subject that they never expose to the light of scepticism or critical thinking, because they believe science to be the wellspring of all reality. Thus we have yet another binary, (either sceptical science or deceived), a simple-minded, dumbed-down world view that fails to take account of past research and scientific failure. Historically, sceptical science has relied on the mundane and reliably repeatable, to support its philosophy. The things that happened yesterday will happen tomorrow, like a sunrise at 06:00 A.M. at a certain time of the year – measurements are what science likes and does best. Such certainties fail when researching subjects at the edge of perception, but these have now become grist for the mill of the anomalistic psychologists who hope to make them debunkable, quantifiable, statistics and thereby wave them away.
Both historically and recently, sceptical science has systematically failed to assess the basic needs of the human psyche, largely as a result of the sceptical paradigm, as anyone who has seen a ghost, an angel or a UFO will testify, science has refused to look at the evidence. There are many who will not take kindly to being called insane by the deniers and the blinkered. The sceptics have traditionally given parapsychologists a hard time and now with anomalistic psychology they have it all to themselves. The outcome, judging by their past rationalisation performance is likely to be entertaining, but teaching pseudo-debunking to eager students is much easier than teaching real evidence-based science.
Those who possess the various psychic abilities tend to look upon parapsychologists with a mixture of pity and humour and they have always regarded the sceptics as being deliberately blind and destructive. This is because they are seen as missing the point. That scepticism, in the form that it’s presented today is just a back-door means of killing the debate that everyone else wants to have. Applying scientific scepticism in the form of anomalistic psychology is seen as an absurd academic caricature of Scooby-Doo, where the outcome is a foregone conclusion. It’s not science and it’s not psychic research, it’s pretentious nonsense and denial – academic pseudo science.
Anomalistic-psychology, according to Wiki: In psychology, anomalistic psychology is the study of human behaviour and experience connected with what is often called the paranormal, without the assumption that there is anything paranormal involved. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anomalistic_psychology
But, ‘with the preconceived assumption that it does not exist,’ is the very thing that makes it unscientific.
One would expect that extreme scepticism combined with scientism would grab the attention of psychologists as a subject for serious study? It is inevitable that such extreme views will ultimately lead to an excess of dogma, denial and bias. But no, because it’s so prevalent among scientists and the dogma of science denies that it is biased, it has to be kosher. 😉
We’re on a ride to nowhere
Come on inside
Takin’ that ride to nowhere
Teaching anomalistic psychology to teenagers, guardian.co.uk: Why introduce students to a field of psychology investigating claims that fly in the face of mainstream science? From September, anomalistic psychology will be offered as an option on the A2 psychology syllabus for A-level students from the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance, the largest of the three English exam boards.
Anomalistic psychology, Lesson One: Seeing is not believing. You need a scientist to do the looking
Chris French, guardian.co.uk: In just a short extract from Dr. Chris French’s newspaper article I found the following agenda where he says: “Studying paranormal claims is as much about revealing imperfections in the human mind as it is about flying saucers, ghosts, extrasensory perception and psychic healing…accepting the evidence of your own eyes can be a mistake… (don’t believe what you see)
personal experience is often a very poor guide to reality… (Don’t believe what you experience)
Both perception and memory are prone to errors… (Don’t believe what you remember)
heavily influenced by our prior beliefs and expectations… (Ignore your beliefs)
Hallucinations are much more common than most people realise… (you will see things that are not there)
Memory is also prone to errors …many of our recollections are not even distorted versions of events that we have witnessed but instead are complete fabrications…
…paranormal experiences may well be based upon such false memories.
Furthermore, its reliance upon replicability, self-correction, critical evaluation by peers, and ultimately upon empirical data means that we can legitimately have a higher level of confidence in well-supported scientific theories than in other assertions about the ultimate nature of reality…” (scientists don’t suffer from any of the above)
This blatant appeal to authority is leaving nothing to chance and at a stroke he wipes out our cognisance, ability to think for ourselves, our free will, our logic and imagination, our memory and our common sense. Which is replaced with “critical evaluation by peers” and “well-supported scientific theories”, claimed to be “superior to other assertions about the ultimate nature of reality”. I wonder what Carl Jung would think of all this?
So, information from a scientist about something science is unwilling or unable to study, is superior knowledge? Well that’s fine if you want to become an amnesiac zombie, controlled by authoritarian academics who are only looking for a cushy job for life. The paranormal does not lend itself to ” self-correction, repeatability or critical evaluation”; as any serious researcher knows, it regularly flies in the face of scientific research, it is unpredictable. Science does not like unpredictable and denies it on a regular basis.
True critical thinking includes examining the very source and history of information. But science coupled with pseudo scepticism, with its own very questionable agendas, unscientific biases, dogmas, self aggrandisement, half-truths, lies and exaggerations is not science. Does Chris French think we are all stupid? Well, yes, he probably does, because he knows that so many of us will hang on his every word simply because he happens to be a scientist.
But if we think critically about his list of our “unreliable senses”, we realise that if we believe this to be true then everything that we perceive is an illusion. This may be true but surely scientists are human and prone to just the same human illusions, mass psychology, experimenter bias and all other mental foibles. Is he saying that scientists are not human, that they possess super-human qualities? Is he saying that we are only able to perceive truth through science? If he is, then we are back to the medieval religious situation and religious dogma rather than true enquiring science! Of course, the idea behind all of this, as with all science driven education, is to instil an inferiority complex in the student that leads to a complete dependence on scientists to do their thinking. To make them feel unworthy to compete intellectually with their scientific peers and heroes. There are those of us who are getting a little tired of pontificating scientists:
Times, “Scientific-truth-is-not-the-only-truth-out-there”, timeshighereducation.co.uk:
Nevertheless, scientists, perhaps more than most people, dislike the idea of questions that cannot be answered. They may therefore be tempted to try to answer questions for which there can be no evidence one way or the other, or where it does not make any difference whether you answer yes or no. In some cases it may be the proper role of philosophy to insist that the meaning of such questions or proposed answers should be made clear and call scientists to heel.
We have a constant reminders from what has become a minor industry in TV programming about those who’s life is being made a living hell by hauntings in their homes, news reports of multiple sightings. There are regular testimonies from those who tell us that having been sceptics, they are now believers due to traumatic events experienced. I would suggest that every sceptic spends a night alone in one of our most haunted abodes rather than pontificating from a computer desk.
skeptiko.com with a K: Announcer: On this episode of Skeptiko, Dr. Chris French.
Guest: Dr. Chris French of the University of London discusses his skeptical research of Dr. Rupert Sheldrake’s Telephone Telepathy experiments and the psychology of skepticism:
Chris French: But we did have 100 trials with the data though (carried out by brainwashed sceptical students hoping to pass exams). The standard kind of set up which Rupert has used before in previous studies where you have four potential senders, one receives one of the four senders is selected at random, makes a call through to the receiver. Before the receiver picks the phone up, they say who they think it is that’s calling. And we – these experiments are quite hard to set up. We wanted to be able to film, wanted it to be very well controlled, wanted to film the receiver, wanted to film the sender. And obviously, the receiver has to have four people they feel they’ve got this special rapport with.”
Above is a typical example of how a sceptic debunks a paranormal claim. What they say they are attempting to achieve is complex, difficult, slanted in their own favour and likely to fail for reasons given above. There are much simpler methods that will test for psi. What they are really doing is a biased, sceptical, pseudo-debunking exercise. Dr. Chris French is the co-ordinator of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit. The basic philosophy of the unit is that the paranormal does not exist (attempting to prove a negative). He is, more likely than not, working with sceptical students who are also motivated to debunk the paranormal in order to pass exams’, a double bias whammy for any paranormal effects. (remember the sheep and goats) Sceptics only work with certainties and foregone conclusions just like watching Scooby-Doo, you know it will be a man in a mask.
We have already seen above that his colleague, Professor Richard Wiseman also a sceptic, has admitted that remote viewing is already proven but still wants to debunk it. Are we expected to trust the results of those who claim to know the answers in advance? Are we expected to accept preconceived and biased ideas as science?
Dr. Rupert Sheldrake responds:
“Then you create conditions of nervousness that interfere with the phenomenon. It’s rather like saying to Chris French or somebody else, you claim you can have an erection. I want you to prove it right now, on camera, on demand. And then have people with clipboards sitting around saying, “Right. I want to see it right now.” They probably wouldn’t be able to have an erection on demand under those conditions. And I think that psychic phenomena are sensitive to context. I think that skeptics doing experiments in a way that implies extreme distrust of everyone involved is likely to be inhibitory of the phenomenon.”
Reading through the Skeptiko pages, we find that Rupert Sheldrake and Chris French are far from being enemies, they are bosom buddies… and why not, they are both academics? Sheldrake continues to sell lots of books, French and Wiseman get to keep their lucrative academic jobs. Everyone is happy except the student who is given a bogus course that has nothing to do with the paranormal or psychic ability. Nothing to do with flying saucers, ghosts, extrasensory perception and psychic healing, it’s about indoctrination and teaching the sceptics brand of pseudo-debunking. The course is a scam, and those who teach it are academic racketeers.
I was somewhat disappointed with the early chapters of Rupert Sheldrake’s book ‘The Science Delusion’ although I did enjoy the rest of the book. His understanding of the origins of modern science is lacking, even by academic standards. He seems not to have realised that it is now a well known fact that what we call Science, was derived from Alchemy in its entirety, the more esoteric content being discarded by the Newton et al crowd. He bemoans the loss of what was already there at the beginning and wants whatever it was reinstalled! We see a scientist who realises that science is failing and yet has little or no concept of what it is he is trying to change and why. I wish him well.
With thousands of reports of ghost sightings throughout history and the many more that go unreported, it could be said that most people see a ghost at some time during their lives. I know that I plainly saw one at my workplace whilst looking for a colleague.
Of all the literally, thousands of UFO sightings – I must admit that I’ve never seen one, – but I would not deny the experiences of so many others. Of all the still pictures, sightings with confirming radar images, and the miles of video footage, that cannot possibly be hallucination. Of all the sightings by scientists, the military, police, airline pilots and other trained observers, the last resort of the anomalistic psychologist scoundrel is that it’s all trickery, fakes, coincidence and that such things do not exist. They claim that such apparitions cannot exist because scientific theory (physics) says so. Theories are not reality and as we will see on other pages, science invents its own realities of convenience to support science.
nature.com: The rise of anomalistic psychology and the fall of parapsychology?
“Funding for such research is inevitably more difficult to obtain in times of economic uncertainty. Scarce research funding will be invested in areas where the probability of success is high and the history of parapsychology shows all too clearly that studies in this area often involve huge investments of time and resources and produce nothing in return. Without a genuine breakthrough in the near future, can parapsychology survive for much longer? Without psychic powers, its difficult to know but I certainly would not bet on it.” http://blogs.nature.com/soapboxscience/2011/12/19/the-rise-of-anomalistic-psychology-%E2%80%93-and-the-fall-of-parapsychology
The sceptics have not allowed the parapsychologists to do their job and are now replacing them. Debunking has become a popular pub game.
Arthur Koestler, The Koestler Bequest. A look back at one of the pioneering researchers into coincidence and parapsychology, By Paul Devereux writing for forteantimes.com: “Long-time psychic researcher and SPR member, Guy Lyon Playfair, author of many books including This House is Haunted: Investigation of the Enfield Poltergeist (1980) and Twin Telepathy (2003), is characteristically blunt in his views. Koestler would have been as bored as I have been by yet another meta-analysis, paranormal belief scale or conference presentation of yet another negative psi result, the sole purpose of which is to inflate researchers CVs, he grumps. Academic parapsychology on the whole isn’t going anywhere. Researchers have been coming up with the results for years, but sceptics will always say there are flaws in the methodology there’s nothing else they can say and still justify their sceptical position.
Dr Adrian Parker, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, holds similar views. He was the first PhD psychology student to emerge from Beloffs supervision at Edinburgh, and is well known for his Ganzfeld work. I am not that impressed by the 12 or 14 universities said to be doing parapsychology in the UK, he declares. This is just a political figure, good to cite.
He laments the tactics used by some parapsychologists who call what they do anomaly research. In his opinion, this fools no one. If there is to be a name change, let us go back to psychical research, he advises. He feels there is a great gap between university attitudes towards parapsychology and the public and media interest in the area.”
For the student: Caveat emptor – Let the buyer beware.
Arthur Koestler bio here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Koestler
For those who want a serious history of scepticism and its effects on paranormal studies, I would recommend: Natural and Supernatural, A History of the Paranormal, by Brian Inglis.
Jessica Utts Investigation of Remote Viewing, en.wiki: “In 1995, the American Institutes for Research (AIR) appointed a panel consisting primarily of Utts and Dr. Ray Hyman to evaluate a project investigating remote viewing for espionage applications, the Stargate Project, which was funded by the Central Intelligence Agency and Defense Intelligence Agency, and carried out initially by Stanford Research Institute and subsequently by SAIC.
The two reports opposed each other, with the Utts’ report saying “a small to medium psychic functioning was being exhibited” and that “future research should focus on understanding how this phenomena works, and how to make it as useful as possible. For instance, it doesn’t appear that a sender is needed. Precognition in which the answer is not known until a future time, appears to work quite well”. Hyman’s report stated that Utts’ conclusion that ESP had been proven to exist, “especially precognition, is premature and that present findings have yet to be independently replicated”. Funding for the project was stopped after these reports were issued. Jessica Utts also co-authored papers with Edwin May, who took over Stargate in 1985.
Jessica Utts is on the current executive board of the International Remote Viewing Association, IRVA.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jessica_Utts
Compare the report in the Daily Mail: dailymail.co.uk: “In 1995, the US Congress asked two independent scientists to assess whether the $20 million that the government had spent on psychic research had produced anything of value. And the conclusions proved to be somewhat unexpected.
Professor Jessica Utts, a statistician from the University of California, discovered that remote viewers were correct 34 per cent of the time, a figure way beyond what chance guessing would allow. She says: “Using the standards applied to any other area of science, you have to conclude that certain psychic phenomena, such as remote viewing, have been well established.
“The results are not due to chance or flaws in the experiments.”
Of course, this doesn’t wash with sceptical scientists. Professor Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire, refuses to believe in remote viewing.”
Wiki again (with the usual suspects), cannot mention the positive scientific evidence for fear of losing it’s sceptical status and so it lies through it’s collective teeth: “There is no credible scientific evidence that remote viewing works, and the topic of remote viewing has been described as pseudoscience.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remote_viewing
Wiki: “Ray Hyman (born June 23, 1928, Chelsea, Massachusetts) is a Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon, and a noted critic of parapsychology. Hyman along with James Randi, Martin Gardner and Paul Kurtz is one of the founders of the modern skeptical movement. He is the founder and leader of the Skeptic’s Toolbox. Hyman serves on the Executive Council for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Hyman
Robert Anton Wilson said: “Mr. (Martin) Gardner has an infallible method of recognizing real science and of recognizing pseudo-science. Real science is what agrees with his Idol and pseudo-science is what challenges that Idol. Colin Wilson has written, ‘I wish I could be as sure of anything as Martin Gardner is of everything.’ Not all the Popes of the 20th Century collectively have dared to issue as many absolute dogmas as Mr. Gardner.
Robert Anton Wilson, The New Inquisition.
The sceptic controlled Wiki says: “A variety of scientific studies of remote viewing have been conducted. Some earlier, less sophisticated experiments produced positive results but they had invalidating flaws. None of the more recent experiments have shown positive results when conducted under properly controlled conditions. This lack of successful experiments has led the mainstream scientific community to reject remote viewing, based upon the absence of an evidence base, the lack of a theory which would explain remote viewing, and the lack of experimental techniques which can provide reliably positive results. It is also considered a pseudo-science.
According to ace sceptic James Randi, controlled tests by several other researchers, eliminating several sources of cuing and extraneous evidence present in the original tests, produced negative results. Students were also able to solve Puthoff and Targ’s locations from the clues that had inadvertently been included in the transcripts.
Professor Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire, and a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) has pointed out several problems with one of the early experiments at SAIC, including information leakage. However, he indicated the importance of its process-oriented approach and of its refining of remote viewing methodology, which meant that researchers replicating their work could avoid these problems. Wiseman later insisted there were multiple opportunities for participants on that experiment to be influenced by inadvertent cues and that these cues can influence the results when they appear.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remote_viewing
Remote viewing is not a secret and anyone can do it if they are prepared to put their scepticism on temporary hold. There are numerous web pages with instructions and it’s really a very simple technique. Try it for yourself and ignore the disbelievers!
JESSICA UTTS’ RESPONSE TO RAY HYMAN’S REPORT
of September 11, 1995
“Evaluation of Program on Anomalous Mental Phenomena”
Professor Jessica Utts
Division of Statistics
University of California, Davis
September 15, 1995
“Ray Hyman’s report of September 11, 1995, written partially in response to my report of September 1, 1995 elucidates the issues on which he and I agree and disagree. I basically concur with his assessment of where we agree and disagree, but there are three issues he raises with regard to the scientific status of parapsychology to which I would like to respond.
1. “Only parapsychology, among the fields of inquiry claiming scientific status, lacks a cumulative database (p. 6).”
It is simply not true that parapsychology lacks a cumulative database. In fact, the accumulated database is truly impressive for a science that has had so few resources. While critics are fond of relating, as Professor Hyman does in his report, that there has been “more than a century of parapsychological research (p. 7)” psychologist Sybo Schouten (1993, p. 316) has noted that the total human and financial resources devoted to parapsychology since 1882 is at best equivalent to the expenditures devoted to fewer than two months of research in conventional psychology in the United States.
On pages 4 and 5 of their September 29, 1994 SAIC final report, May, Luke and James summarize four reports that do precisely what Professor Hyman claims is not done in parapsychology; they put forth the accumulated evidence for anomalous cognition in a variety of formats. Rather than dismissing the former experiments, parapsychologists build on them. As in any area of science, it is of course the most recent experiments that receive the most attention, but that does not mean that the field would divorce itself from past work. Quite to the contrary, past experimental results and methodological weaknesses are used to design better and more efficient experiments.
As an example of the normal progress of inquiry expected in any area of science, the autoganzfeld experiments currently conducted by parapsychologists did not simply spring out of thin air. The original ganzfeld experiments followed from Honorton’s observation at Maimonides Medical Center, that anomalous cognition seemed to work well in dreams. He investigated ways in which a similar state could be achieved in normal waking hours, and found the ganzfeld regime in another area of psychology. The automated ganzfeld followed from a critical evaluation of the earlier ganzfeld experiments, and a set of conditions agreed upon by Honorton and Professor Hyman. The current use of dynamic targets in autoganzfeld experiments follows from the observation that they were more successful than static targets in the initial experiments. The investigation of entropy at SAIC follows from this observation as well. This is just one example of how current experiments are built from past results.
2. “Only parapsychology claims to be a science on the basis of phenomena (or a phenomenon) whose presence can be detected only by rejecting a null hypothesis (p. 8).”
While it is true that parapsychology has not figured out all the answers, it does not differ from normal science in this regard. It is the norm of scientific progress to make observations first, and then to attempt to explain them. Before quantum mechanics was developed there were a number of anomalies observed in physics that could not be explained. There are many observations in physics and in the social and medical sciences that can be observed, either statistically or deterministically, but which cannot be explained.
As a more recent example, consider the impact of electromagnetic fields on health. An article in Science (Vol. 269, 18 August 1995, p. 911) reported that “After spending nearly a decade reviewing the literature on electromagnetic fields (EMFs), a panel of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) has produced a draft report concluding that some health effects linked to EMFs such as cancer and immune deficiencies appear real and warrant steps to reduce EMF exposure… Biologists have failed to pinpoint a convincing mechanism of action.” In other words, a statistical effect has been convincingly established and it is now the responsibility of science to attempt to establish its mechanism, just as in parapsychology.
As yet another example, consider learning and memory, which have long been studied in psychology. We know they exist, but brain researchers are just beginning to understand how they work by using sophisticated brain imaging techniques. Psychologists do not understand these simple human capabilities, and they certainly do not understand other observable human phenomena such as what causes people to fall in love. Yet, no one would deny the existence of these phenomena just because we do not understand them.
In any area involving the natural variability inherent in humans, science progresses by first observing a statistical difference and then attempting to explain it. At this stage, I believe parapsychology has convincingly demonstrated that an effect is present, and future research attempts should be directed at finding an explanation. In this regard parapsychology in on par with scientific questions like the impact of electromagnetic fields on health, or the cross-cultural differences in memory that have been observed by psychologists.
3. “Parapsychology is the only field of scientific inquiry that does not have even one exemplar that can be assigned to students with the expectation that they will observe the original results (p. 18).”
I disagree with this statement for two reasons. First, I can name other phenomena for which students could not be expected to do a simple experiment and observe a result, such as the connection between taking aspirin and preventing heart attacks (this has been statisically debunked) or the connection between smoking and getting lung cancer. What differentiates these phenomena from simple experiments like splitting light with a prism is that the effects are statistical in nature and are not expected to occur every single time. Not everyone who smokes gets lung cancer, but we can predict the proportion who will. Not everyone who attempts anomalous cognition will be successful, but I think we can predict the proportion of time success should be achieved.
Since I believe the probability of success has been established in the autoganzfeld experiments, I would offer them as the exemplar Professor Hyman requests. The problem is that to be relatively assured of a successful outcome requires several hundred trials, and no student has the resources to commit to this experiment. As I have repeatedly tried to explain to Professor Hyman and others, when dealing with a small to medium effect it takes hundreds or sometimes thousands of trials to establish “statistical significance.” In fact, the Physicians Health Study that initially established the link between taking aspirin and reducing heart attacks studied over 22,000 men. Had it been conducted on only 2,200 men with the same reduction in heart attacks, it would not have achieved statistical significance. Should students be required to recruit 22,000 participants and conduct such an experiment before we believe the connection between aspirin and heart attacks is real?
Despite Professor Hyman’s continued protests about parapsychology lacking repeatability, I have never seen a skeptic attempt to perform an experiment with enough trials to even come close to insuring success. The parapsychologists who have recently been willing to take on this challenge have indeed found success in their experiments, as described in my original report.”
The question arises: who is the expert in this case? Is it the obviously open minded Jessica Utts, or the extremely sceptically biased and closed minded Ray Hyman? It is unlikely that Hyman has ever done any serious parapsychology and equally unlikely that he has any knowledge of remote viewing, just like Richard Wiseman. We see the same well known names of professional sceptics trotted-out in these so called studies again and again, and it cannot be denied that the names are those of extremely biased individuals. Such bias, we are told, is contrary to good scientific practice and yet it seems to control scientific thinking and opinion. The sceptics are able to pull this off because science is ‘hoist on its own petard’: A scientist will agree that scepticism is an important part of the scientific method, but when scepticism kills the golden goose, it becomes impossible to criticise the scepticism without criticising the scientific method.
The overly rigorous controls imposed on remote viewers are phenomenon killers, also in the guise of good science. This can be claimed because other scientific disciplines do not use such rigid controls. A double blind experiment in physics for example, (an equally esoteric subject), is all but unheard of. But those who are often not scientists themselves are able to control science by using the rules of science itself to impose their own rules of scepticism and thereby prevent any real discovery taking place. Scientists are afraid to do the work everyone expects of them because of non scientific sceptics who seem to have gained the upper hand. It is therefore impossible to get a balanced evaluation of remote viewing from scientists who are active sceptics themselves or are in cahoots with non-scientific professional pseudo-sceptics. As a result, a scientific evaluation of remote viewing or any other paranormal phenomenon is totally worthless. And this is exactly what the sceptics set-out to achieve.
It seems that Chris French is able to get free advertising for his pet magazine, his column in the Guardian, and his alternate (moonlighting) job as “Special Advisor to The Skeptic Magazine”, “having been a former Editor-in-Chief”. It can all be found on the website of Goldsmiths University student recruitment for the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit.
The names of the usual suspects appear:
“The Skeptic is able to obtain support and direction from an international Editorial Advisory Board comprised of highly respected individuals noted for expertise in their specific fields including: James Randi, Prof. Elisabeth Loftus, Prof. Richard Dawkins, Dr Susan Blackmore, Prof. Brian Cox, Prof. Edzard Ernst, Dr Richard Wiseman, … and many others.”
Let’s not forget Michael Shermer the present Editor in Chief of Skeptic magazine
Wiki: “Michael Brant Shermer… is an American science writer, historian of science, founder of The Skeptics Society, and Editor in Chief of its magazine Skeptic, which is largely devoted to investigating pseudoscientific and supernatural claims… Shermer also engages in debates on topics pertaining to pseudoscience and religion in which he emphasises scientific skepticism.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Shermer
And in the New Scientist he writes:, Living in denial: The truth is our only weapon, Michael Shermer “ENGAGING with people who doubt well-established theories is a perennial challenge. How should we respond?
My answer is this: let them be heard. Examine their evidence. Consider their interpretation. If they have anything of substance to say, then the truth will out.
What do you do, however, with people who, after their claim has been fully discussed and thoroughly debunked, continue to make the claim anyway? This, of course, is where scepticism morphs into denialism. Does there come a point when it is time to move on to other challenges? Sometimes there does”. http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20627606.500-living-in-denial-the-truth-is-our-only-weapon.html
The truth about “The truth, our only weapon”, is that when awkward questions are asked about science and scepticism they are ignored, just as the author’s own questions to Professor Wiseman were ignored and replaced with circular sceptical dogma. Michael Shermer is lying, there is a general lack of honesty in sceptical science. Appeals to authority are common, like, ‘you cannot change the laws of physics’. I for one, would like to be told just what are these immutable physical laws? Each and every one of the so called constants has been shown to be variable by the physicists themselves. From Newton to Einstein, physicists have been changing the laws of physics to suit their own theories, a practice that continues to this day.
Jed Rothwell comments in Scientific American: (Michael) “Shermer says that Goodstein concluded that cold fusion was most likely a case of scientists who “convince themselves that they are in the possession of knowledge that does not in fact exist.”
But cold fusion has been replicated in over 180 major laboratories, by roughly 1,500 professional scientists. These replications have been published in roughly 800 papers in mainstream, peer reviewed journals such as J. Electroanal. Chem. and Japanese J. of Applied Physcis. J. He of the Institute of High Energy Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences estimates that the effect has been observed in roughly 14,000 experimental runs (Front. Phys. China (2007) 1: 96 102).
Many of the results were at low signal to noise ratio, but others were high, such as heat from 10 to 100 W, and tritium at 50 times background (Los Alamos, Texas A&M) up to several million times (BARC).
Most of the researchers who have reported positive results are senior, distinguished experts, such as the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, government of India, and the experts at Los Alamos in charge of the Tritium Systems Test Assembly and the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor at Princton. Only senior researchers can get funding because of academic politics.
When a result has been widely replicated at high signal to noise ratios and reported in the literature, that result is real, by definition. There is no other standard of reality in science. If it were possible for hundreds of scientists in hundreds of laboratories to be wrong, the experimental method would not work, and no result would be meaningful, and science itself would not work. If Shermer and Goodstein would substitute some other standard of truth, and ignore replication and peer-review, they are engaged in some form of faith-based religion or a popularity contest, not science.”
They are engaged in telling lies.
Susan Blackmore – A critique of the Blackmore psi (ESP) experiments by RICK E. BERGER Science Unlimited Research Foundation San Antonio, Texas. The Journal of the American Society for Psychical research Vol 83, April 1989, 123-144
ABSTRACT: “A critical examination of Susan Blackmore’s psi experiment database was undertaken to assess the claims of consistent “no ESP” across these studies. Many inconsistencies in the experimental reports were found, and their serious consequences are discussed. Discrepancies were found between the unpublished experimental reports and their published counterparts. “Flaws” were invoked to dismiss significant results while other flaws were ignored when studies produced nonsignificant results. Experiments that were admittedly flawed in the unpublished reports were mixed with supposedly unflawed studies and published without segregation, creating the impression of methodological soundness. Two instances in which study chronology was reordered were found. Overall, it is concluded that Blackmore’s claims that her database shows no evidence of psi are unfounded, because the vast majority of her studies were carelessly designed, executed, and reported, and, in Blackmore’s own assessment, individually flawed. As such, no conclusions should be drawn from this database.”
Read it all here: http://archived.parapsych.org/psiexplorer/blackmore_critique.htm
Bob Carroll: of The Skeptic’s Dictionary: “My beliefs are clearly that of a hardened skeptic. I don’t pretend that I have no experience or knowledge of these matters. For me, the evidence is overwhelming that it is highly probable that any given occult claim is erroneous or fraudulent. Earlier in my life I was a seeker. Looking back, I wish I had had a book like The Skeptic’s Dictionary–a book that provides the seeker with arguments and references to the best skeptical literature on occult claims. Though clearly it is my hope that the seeker will become skeptical, I also hope the seeker will investigate these matters before coming to a decision.” http://skepdic.com/intro.html
Although we are constantly reminded of our need for critical thinking and investigation, we are also directed to – “the best skeptical literature on occult claims” about which we are presumably to remain uncritical. So close your mind to all but the biased pontifications of sceptical, academic science and stop thinking for yourself. It’s easy: all you need is a good scientific education and its goodnight real world.
Carroll’s is a shameless self publicist who’s most outstanding claim to fame derives from getting the facts wrong when pseudo-debunking a subject he seems to know nothing about. On Immanuel Velikovsky’s Worlds in Collision, he writes: “What Velikovsky does isn’t science because he does not start with what is known and then use ancient myths to illustrate or illuminate what has been discovered. Instead, he is indifferent to the established beliefs of astronomers and physicists, and seems to assume that someday they will find the evidence to support his ideas. He seems to take it for granted that the claims of ancient myths should be used to support or challenge the claims of modern astronomy and cosmology.”
Carroll, in common with all sceptics, obviously knows nothing of the history of ‘The Velikovsky Affair’ that took place during the fifties and sixties. He seems unaware that even prominent scientists were applaud by the treatment that Velikovsky received at the hands of almost the entire astronomy/astrophysical community. There was a huge conspiracy against the man that cannot be denied by anyone who has checked the history.
Carroll continues: “It is not surprising that when one thumbs through any recent scientific book on cosmology, no mention is made of Velikovsky or his theories. His disciples blame this treatment of their hero as proof of a conspiracy in the scientific community to suppress ideas which oppose their own. Even now, more than fifty years later, after all of his major claims have been rejected or refuted, Velikovsky still has his disciples who claim he is not being given credit for getting at least some things right.”
Velikovsky’s predictions were ‘all’ verified by scientific observations and Carroll’s conclusion can only be attributed to someone who has only read sceptically-selected second-hand information on the subject:
Even the sceptical Wiki has to admit to some of his predictions:
Wiki, Worlds in Collision – These events lead to several key statements (made by Velikovsky):
1. Jupiter emits radio noises…fact
2. The magnetosphere of Earth reaches at least up to the moon…fact.
3. The sun has an electric potential of approximately 10 (to the) 19 volts…fact
4. The rotation of earth can be affected by electromagnetic fields…fact
(All of these, 1.to 4. have been shown to be scientific facts)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worlds_in_Collision (Wiki periodically tends to change these pages when they are proven to be wrong)
Carroll’s ignorance of this only serves to highlight the level of frustration and desperation experienced by the sceptical community and why they have no choice but to resort to denial induced cheating.
See other pages on scepticism