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"there is no need to seek demonstration that no crows are black; it is sufficient to produce one white crow; a single one is sufficient." - William James

Vitor I wish I could be there to watch when it comes your turn to cross over. I'm thinking it would be very entertaining! The Universe must have a sense of humor!

Some psychics are fake. True! Some humans are liars. True!

So?

Barbara,

So the problem is that Myers and others (Sidgwick, Barrett) were fooled by these false psychics.

Art,

I did not say that a white crow don't exist. But I think very problematic when a scientist is fooled by girls and others. It is not good for his reputation.

It's true that some early researchers were fooled by the Creery sisters and other fakes. Unfortunately, when one is attempting to study phenomena that have never been systematically studied before, there are going to be mistakes. The early researchers, by and large, were willing to admit to their mistakes and learn from them.

The only way to avoid making any mistakes is to take no chances and investigate nothing new.

Myers, as far as I know, doesn't cite either the Creery girls or Blackburn and Smith among the evidential cases in "Human Personality." At least, neither "Blackburn" nor "Creery" turns up in a search of the book's online text.

"The “abridged version on my pseudoscience shelf” was a rhetorical device to ridicule the import of Myers, and to anger precisely those that see so much in him. It worked."

Read: I troll u

I'm sure Dieguez will enjoy Kieth Augustine's online company as they intellectually masturbate each other all over the tumbleweeds of Dieguez familiarly smug and condescending font of rational enlightenment. But then they are our intellectual betters didn't you know? I'm sure they're quite amused everytime one of us non-Ph.D. morlocks manages to pull our knuckles off the ground long enough to gibber out a contrasting view.

Sebastian Dieguez,

I would like to say I'm sorry for my bad english and for to have write that sometimes you seems like a child. I am from Brazil,and my english is not a fluent one.

I would like to thanks Prescott also for his correction.

Best wishes.

Sebastian Dieguez,

one more thing: your IM's review was not the first negative (well, maybe is the first negative review in a magazine...). Julio Siqueira also wrote a review not much positive of the book:

http://www.criticandokardec.com.br/amazon_reviews.htm#kelly

Best wishes.

MP wrote: "If I recall correctly, this was the debate in which Wolpert refused to even turn his head to look at a video of Sheldrake's experiments. He sat with his back to the screen and his head down.

Sheldrake compared it to the churchmen who refused to look through Galileo's telescope."

Indeed it was - see below:

Rupert Sheldrake replying to Lewis Wolpert in the debate:

“Well, I noticed that when the parrot film was showing, Lewis wasn’t looking at it! That film was shown on television … and in early stage of our investigations, he did the same then. They asked a sceptic to commentate. Lewis appeared on the screen and he said, “Telepathy is just junk … there is no evidence whatsoever for any personal, animal or thing being telepathic.” The filmmakers were surprised that he hadn’t actually asked to see the evidence before he commented on it, and I think, this is rather like the Cardinal Bellarmine, and people not wanting to look through Galileo’s Telescope. I think we have a level here of just not wanting to know, which is not real science … I’m sorry to have to say it, Lewis.”

Rupert Sheldrake, giving an interesting example, from the debate:

However, there have been many experimental studies of telepathy under much more natural conditions. One that I particularly like - in fact, it’s one of the very first I ever read - was done by Sir Rudolph Peters who was Professor of Biochemistry at Oxford. Then he moved to Cambridge and I knew him when I worked in the Biochemistry Department at Cambridge.

One day in the lab tearoom the subject of telepathy came up, and at that time I was a standard knee-jerk sceptic and I said, “Oh, it’s rubbish, it’s all coincidence and delusion and so forth.” Sir Rudolph, who was a very intelligent and charming fellow, said, “Well, I’m not so sure.” He said, “I’ve been looking into a case that a friend of mine found,” and he told me about it.

It was a mother who lived in Cambridge with a severely, mentally-retarded son. It came to Sir Rudolph’s attention through a friend of his who was an Ophthalmologist. This boy had very poor vision. When he tested his eyes, he found the boy was getting brilliant results on the eye tests and he couldn’t understand it. He then sent the mother out of the room and the boy’s scores went way down. He couldn’t do it without his mother. They then did other tests and they found that this boy could get all sorts of things right if his mother was there. Of course, they thought, well, this must be the ‘Clever Hans’ effect.

So, then he had the mother in a separate room and it still worked. They then did a controlled series of experiments, from the laboratory in Cambridge to laboratories in Babraham, which is about five miles from Cambridge, where the mother was shown a series of cards with numbers or letters on them, in a random sequence, and at the other end of the phone, the boy was told when the trial began and then he had to guess what the number or the letter was. The whole thing was tape recorded as well, in case anyone could have argued there were subtle cues going over the telephone. The results of those trials were very different from the normal laboratory parapsychology trials.

These, in the 479 trials involving numbers, the chance expectation with numbers from 1 to 10, is getting it right 10 percent of the time. He was actually right 32 percent of the time … the significance is there … 1 times (10 to the (minus 27)) and with letters, 163 trials … chance expectation was 4 percent, because there are 26 letters. So, actual success rate, 32 percent (10 to the (minus 75)).

Well, these are staggeringly, significant results, much more impressive than the standard laboratory parapsychology. This is not an isolated example. The Psychical Research literature is full of studies of this kind. No one has ever flawed this study. They’ve simply ignored it, and Sir Rudolph Peters was very eager, when he told me about it. (It’s published in a Peer-Review Journal.) He said, “Would you like to listen to the tapes to see if you can detect any background noise?” I did listen to them … I couldn’t … there was absolutely no sign of it … it was examined by professional conjurers and magicians. No one could find a flaw in it.

So, what happened to it? It subsided into the obscurity that most research on this subject does, because it just doesn’t make it into the mainstream, scientific literature, because it’s a taboo area. Anyway, that’s an example of a study that I think shows quite clear-cut results.

I have been married for 35 years. Every once in a while my wife and I experience brief moments of telepathy. It's fun when it happens but we have absolutely no control over it. It just happens spontaneously. It's like we think the exact same thing at the same time.

I've also read that when people get bored their scores go way down. It's fun at first but it quickly gets boring.

Zerdini,

in which peer-review journal Sir Rudolph Peters published his experiments? What's the title of the article?

Best wishes.

Vitor

I feel sure that Rupert Sheldrake can give you the information if you are really interested. After all he gave the speech and knew Sir Rudolph Peters personally.

Best wishes

Zerdini

Zerdini,

I wrote very recently to Sheldrake, but was Pamela Smart who replied me. That's what she said to me:

Dear Vitor,

Thank you for your email enquiry which I will pass onto Rupert Sheldrake for his reply, which will be delayed until after he returns home at the beginning of September.

There you go enjoy the antici..........................pation :)

Just finished getting my trees trimmed and for about a week I have been thinking maybe that guy will stop by that trimmed my trees about 3 years ago. I kept thinking maybe he would stop by. Well 3 hours ago he stopped by and trimmed my trees at a very reasonable rate. Coincidence maybe but that kind of stuff happens all the time.

I have experienced telepathy in a dream or during a “visitation” while asleep from the other side and it is for real but difficult to explain and who would believe you if you did explain it. It has only happened once in my life but it was awe-inspiring.

Oh everyone might enjoy this too.

http://subversivethinking.blogspot.com/2009/07/critique-of-sebastian-dieguezs-review.html

Thanks for the link, Kris. Looks like Jime did a far more thorough job than I did.

Oh man I loved the fact Sebastian is annoyed that a long book recommended other books for someone to read to learn more about the subject. Some of those books are long too. Shudders. Damn to think one book cannot educate one completely on a subject, shocking..... If I was in a meaner mood I would tell Sebastian if he is truly concerned about this I have some of my childhood coloring books available for him...

Nah WIlliam - trees need to be trimmed in a three year cycle ;)

Sebastian's intellectual dishonesty is stunning.

While I generally don't like to turn away from 'skeptical' criticism because it could potentially be valuable, I just don't see much of it any longer.

The fact that he views this material as an attack on his job astounds me.

A deep part of me wants to see this material taken seriously but at this point I just have to take Dean Radin's word for it that it actually is, just not publicly.

Moving on....

Recently (in June I think) in a coast to coast interview with Art Bell, Radin said his next book would be about a meeting he had with several top psychologists and a few others considered innovators in their fields. The meeting was held out of country and none of the people involved would agree to go unless their names were never released. He presented the evidence for psi and they loved it. Can't wait to hear more about this. He also said distance appears to matter for psi, which was previously under an assumption that it did not. Just a heads up.

“Nah WIlliam - trees need to be trimmed in a three year cycle ;)”

Well then I am right on schedule.

"But I think very problematic when a scientist is fooled by girls and others. It is not good for his reputation. "

I expect heterosexual male scientists to be more easily fooled by young women than by anyone else.

That does not indicate bad observation skill so much as the mental static caused by heterosexuality.

Similarly, I expect young men would be distracting for homosexual male scientists.

Also, a *group* of young women, colluding together, ought to have an easier time defeating a single observer than a single subject would have defeating a group of observers.

"Materialism has not been destroyed by the cross-correspondences or by NDEs, because materialism is simply unaffected by the multiplication of GHOST STORIES. "

Soviet military sites, however, have been exposed by American remote viewers, because American remote viewers can get photographic confirmation, and thus Soviet military sites are in fact heavily affected by remote viewing.

The multiplication of remote viewers is so powerful that the USA refuses to entirely declassify it.

"That being said, I need to confess. I sort of lied."

"So yes, I did a negative review, with a sarcastic tone. But that’s only fair, as IM is a direct attack not on my “worldview”, but on my JOB."

It is very hard to make a man understand something when his salary depends on NOT understanding it.
-Upton Sinclair

OK so let me get this straight (no pun intended), all psi research should be carried out by asexuals? :)

As an aside, has anyone noticed Radin is an anagram of Randi? Is there something we should know?

Of course it should be carried out by asexuals.....to stop them 'feeling' Randi ! ;)

Paul Said:

"As an aside, has anyone noticed Radin is an anagram of Randi? Is there something we should know?"

I like to think that the truth lies somewhere between Randi and Radin...

Go figure: only in a Universe where particles are at the same time waves can the truth... lie! And yet, paranormal evidence, far less weird than that, is dismissed offhand.

P.S.: Thank you, Michael, for posting this blog subject (and thank Victor Moura too)

Julio Siqueira
http://www.criticandokardec.com.br/criticizingskepticism.htm

Michael Prescott said:

"By 'figures,' he means mathematical figures, i.e., numerical tables. Of course there are plenty of books on psi that are chock-full of figures. Rhine's ESP experiments were purely statistical."

I have a feeling that he did mean, too, pictures. He says in his review "the book is painstakingly redundant, astoundingly arrogant in its claims and intents, utterly humorless, contains no figures, boxes or tables whatsoever, and what's more, is unaffordable to its targeted audience."

He seems to think that "humor" is a necessary component of the scientific endeavour. I will try to contact him to discuss, among other things, this "humor" issue and the way the organized skeptic movement uses (misuses) it...

Julio Siqueira

"I have a feeling that he did mean, too, pictures."

So my english is not so bad like I thought!!! :-)

"I have a feeling that he did mean, too, pictures."

"Figures" would not be used that way by a native English speaker, at least in America.

"is unaffordable to its targeted audience"

That complaint struck me as especially odd. IM is basically a college-level textbook. This article says the average college textbook costs $61.66:

http://www.back2college.com/shock.htm

The article appears to be a few years old, so the average price is probably higher now. Some textbooks cost more than $100. IM is $63.96 at Amazon.

I do wish the book were cheaper, though. Memo to the publisher: How about a softcover edition without the CD?

I agree with Sebastian that IM is written in a dry, academic style. But again, it's a textbook.

I will be trying to start a constructive exchange of viewpoints. I published a first post on his blog:
http://phantomologist.blogspot.com/2009/06/irreducible-mind-fills-much-needed-gap.html?showComment=1249057952973#c7984894748122318691

Let's see how far we can go down the rabbit hole... :-)

Julio Siqueira

Michael Prescott said: " 'Figures' would not be used that way by a native English speaker, at least in America."

That is my point. Dieguez, like myself, is not a native speaker of the English language. So he might (might! really very low probability) have this "picture" meaning in mind. Nevertheless, by the whole of that passage, it seems that he would very gladly welcome pictures throughout the book. Also I think that "figures" may be something very dry too, isn't it. I mean, crude numbers, even in non-numerical format (like: "one million," or "odds of twenty to one") can be considered figures. Anyway, he complains about the dryness of the book

In the summary of the latest Esalen Survival Seminar it was mentioned that IM will soon be coming out in paperback.

"If quantum mechanics hasn't profoundly shocked you, you haven't understood it yet." - Niels Bohr
--------------------------------------------

The whole idea that the so called material universe is in anyway "material" has been completely demolished by quantum physics. Sub-atomic particles are hardly like anything we normally associate as being matter. They can appear and disappear, sometimes appearing as waves and sometimes as particles, instantaneously communicate with each other and sometimes even seeming to communicate with the people who study them. The matter that materialist seem so attached to at it's smallest scale is very little like anything we understand as matter.
--------------------------------------------

"Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real. - Niels Bohr

If the Copenhagen Interpretation is correct, then quantum physics deals a death blow to materialism, since it means that consciousness actively helps shape the universe.

But many physicists reject the Copenhagen Interpretation. There are many competing theories. All of them agree on the data but disagree on what the data mean.

Well, I just read Dieguez post here in this blog and also his post in his own blog. And I must say I am kind of amazed by what he said (i.e. by very many things in it). There seems to be very strong emotions involved in the whole stuff. For me, it is a moment for a pause...

Julio Siqueira

Hi, Sebastian Dieguez here.
I'm not very fast on threads, which is why I made a long reply in the first place. For present purposes, it said pretty much all I had to say. I feel pressed nevertheless to add a few clarifications after the load of comments that I have just read (by no means all of them about my humble self).
First I want to congratulate Vitor for his output about the Creery and Smith-Blackburn fiascos. Indeed these affairs are not in HP (although Smith makes appearances), but the problem here is that they are not in IM either! I also thank him for the link to Julio Siqueira. Thanks also to Julio for then getting interested, I will get back to you on my blog soon. Finally thanks to dagezhu for this most wonderful quote from Upton Sinclair:
"It is very hard to make a man understand something when his salary depends on NOT understanding it."
Nice. Is it from "Mental Radio"?

Some people here don't seem to understand the heart of my review. I'm assuming most people here have read or know about IM, so let me sate as briefly as possible what I wrote in my review. It is simple, instead of simply summarizing chapter after chapter and trying to debunk page by page (hey, it is Skeptic magazine, after all), I looked at the overall logic of the book. And it appeared that the entire volume can be summarized as follows: on the one hand, there are the limits of neuroscience and the so-called "explanatory gap", on the other hand we have what the authors call "rogue" phenomena, medical wonders and paranormal data that by their own account are still-controversial. Combined, these two things point to some vague hypothesis about "transmission", but, again by the authors own account, no viable theory that might justify the displacement of the current paradigm, which works just fine anyway. It is an argument from personal incredulity about the progress of neuroscience, mixed with weird stuff that are either poorly understood or very controversial, that leads to no theory. But it surely produces a good deal of bitterness towards "mainstream" scientists and the big bad "current paradigm". That's not enough, the book fails on the premise it states as its subtitle: it is not turned "toward a century for the 21st century", it is turned toward the past. I think the book failed. The point here is that foreknowledge or lack thereof of Myers’ antics is secondary to the issue. And so are my childishness or my smugness. Quite modestly, my review did its job as a review.
So yes, IM is a propaganda attack on my job. Just like an evolutionary biologist feels, or should feel, attacked by any creationist pamphlet whose purpose is to save students from rampant “materialism”.
As for the stance I hold regarding "debates" with believers of all kind, it is true: I prefer a good laugh rather than a serious and useless fight. For one thing, I keep in mind that the most important thing for a book like IM, indeed its unique goal, is to be first taken seriously. But that doesn't mean we can't have a discussion (although I had some bad echoes from someone who merely tried to do so).
One last thing: by "figure" I mean figure. Open any issue of a "mainstream" scientific journal, there are figures. Figure 1, Figure 2, and so forth. There are tables too. Table 1, Table 2, ... And yes, in a handbook explicitly directed at students, you might also want some "pictures", or even "drawings", why not.

Also, I'll be responding to Subversive Thinking's review of my review on my own blog, they don't take comments there. I might be slow, though.

"the current paradigm, which works just fine anyway"

This is the crux of our disagreement. I don't think the current paradigm does work just fine. It must ignore too much evidence - the sort of evidence presented in IM.

You characterize this evidence as "weird stuff." Well, of course. Any anomalous results will seem "weird." The problem of black body radiation was "weird," too, but it led to the overthrow of classical physics. Dinosaur fossils seemed "weird" at first - they were thought to be dragon bones. The idea that the earth might be more than 6,000 years old was "weird." Continental drift was "weird." Gravity was considered weird by Newton's detractors, who accused him of endorsing the alchemists' notion of influence at a distance. The germ theory of disease was not only "weird," but risible; surgeons laughed at the notion of washing their hands before operating.

Every noteworthy advance in science has been precipitated by anomalous findings - "weird stuff." By definition, any results that fall outside conventional wisdom are going to seem "weird." Only by pursuing these unconventional leads can science make progress. If anomalous results are ignored, science is stuck in the mire of conventional wisdom.

Indeed, I think this increasingly is the case, as science becomes ever more institutionalized and bureaucratic. Where are the breakthroughs? Where is the grand unified theory that will unite all the elemental forces of the universe? Where is the explanation of the emergence of subjective qualia from physical matter? Where is artificial intelligence? Ten years ago it seemed we were on the verge of breakthroughs in all those areas. Today, the goals seem more elusive than ever.

Perhaps the conventional wisdom has reached its sell-by date. It may be time to take a new look at that "weird stuff."

Or we can just ignore it and hope it goes away ...

Sebastian

I am going to give you a small warning . This is not a stupid crowd in here, We are not going to just take your words on things. And do not compare us to creationist simply because we are not convinced by your pet materialism.

Please answer the following for me

a.) how did consciousness come from nonconsciousness?
b.) How did consciousness to human level intelligence arise.
c.) What exactly is consciousness
d.) Why is it impossible for some sort of dualistic model to arise naturally? After all you accept the universe, life and consciousness arose naturally, why couldn't dualism?

No one knows the answer to those question so to insist one can only use one model to explain the data is absurd, doubly absurd especially when the model people are wanting to use does not explain all the data.

Seriously man you cannot kick over an 800 page book with a 4 or 5 page review. That isn't possible.

Have you actually read some of Ian Stevenson's Reincarnation research, just curious?

Have you actually read any NDE Literature, subscribed to NDE Journals or have you chosen just to take Keith Augustine's word on it ( if you have, royale bad move. There are more holes in his "theories" then their are in a screen door)

Postscript to my earlier comment: I want to clarify that I'm not saying *all* anomalous results lead to scientific advances when pursued. Some anomalies are the result of malobservation or even fraud. For instance, Percival Lowell's "canals" on Mars turned out to be an optical illusion. Blondot's "N-Rays" turned out to be the product of suggestion. And the Piltdown Man turned out to be a hoax.

Even so, it's only by investigating anomalies that science can broaden its horizons. Some of these anomalies will be dead ends, but some will not.

When dealing with a mass of anomalous data collected over more than 100 years by researchers around the globe, the possibility that all of it is the result of malobservation and fraud is extremely remote. This is doubly true when the data are supplemented by the everyday experiences of millions of people.

Hi Sebastian,

I think I can summarize my critique of your review by saying that, in my humblest opinion, it was (or seems to be) too much driven by bitterness. My bet is that this bitterness is highly justified. That is, not justified in the sense that the authors really deserve it, but justified in the sense that you most certainly do have your reasons for feeling heavily bitter on this subject. We, spiritualists, are far from saints (saints included... :-) ). Not long ago (some months), I came to the blog of Michael Prescott to kind of defend Keith Augustine, even though he is an atheist-materialist and I am a spiritualist. I thought the attacks Keith was receiving where, somewhat, excessive and unduly. Now I say the same regarding *your* attacks on the authors of Irreducible Mind. I myself have lots of criticism towards this book (just check out my review and my fuller reply to Jime's subversive thinking blog - by the way, Jime was very perceptive in his pieces of criticism against my review, and I can only thank him for our most helpful exchange of viewpoints). But, just to introduce my point, the authors seem to me to be highly worth of serious attention, and they seem to be highly honest and careful in their work. I see no use in burning Keith Augustine. And just as well I see no use in burning the authors of Irreducible Mind; and just bear in mind that one of these authors, Bruce Greyson (if my memory serves me well), was the one that invited... *Keith Augustine* to present his skeptical views on NDE in the Journal of Near Death Studies recently.

So, the story does not seem to be that simple: spiritualists dishonest imbecils and atheist-materialist honest genious (or vice versa). There seems to be seriousness in all fronts. And vices on all fronts too. IMHO.

"As for the stance I hold regarding "debates" with believers of all kind, it is true: I prefer a good laugh rather than a serious and useless fight."

And what about "a lively and respectful exchange of viewpoints, with some laughing together." I am not a habitué of Prescott's blog, but I am sure this blog has seen this aplenty (i.e. constructive exchange of viewpoints).

Best,
Julio
-

"This is doubly true when the data are supplemented by the everyday experiences of millions of people."

Correct. And what will the skeptic say? It's anecdotal? It's not scientific?

And what would be the implication of those questions? That ONLY by the scientific method do we establish what is true and false, what is real and unreal?

Who would say such a foolish thing as that with a straight face?

So what is the next step in the argument? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence?

Does anyone who bothers to use that argument think about what it means? Or are they merely following skeptical protocol for answering objections?

Because "extraordinary" isn't an objective feature of the observable world. When one calls something of the kind we discuss here extraordinary, one is expressing a self centered opinion regarding the ontology of things relative to one's own personal experiences.

But if there are aliens on Mars or ghosts in the attic, they are as real as anything you judge to be mundane, regardless of any personal difficulty you might have accepting their existence. Your personal failure to either imagine how they could be real or accepting that however they could be real, THAT they are real anyway, is not an argument against their existence.

Whatever is real is equally real, and any trouble any one has with any part of reality because they don't know how it works or fits in with anything else they know——as if THAT were a precondition for any anomalous phenomena to be real!——is a consequence of their own dogmatism.

And what's the next response? It can't be real because science hasn't established it to be real?

Then we'd come back to the absurd position that ONLY by science do we know what is true from what is false, know what is real from what is not.

And it's quite easy to be dogmatic. All one has to do is to make an unreflective automatic rejection of all things that sound strange, as if that subjective emotion were a debate ending rational argument not to look into any of this material further.

I am not really trying to burn Augustine. However it seems many people consider him and Blackmore to be the final skeptical word on NDEs( Oddly enough some seem to forgot about Woerlee, but that is another discussion) and if you rely simply on those two you will be burned by an informed opposition. ( Blackmore is way out of date, Augustine simply has too many holes, too many unlikely scenarios and in some cases is factual mistaken, ie Pam Reynold's earplugs). Neither one of them really deals with all the data of NDEs adequately.

It has already been noted that Sebastian and Augustine are both Internet Infidels so it is possible Sebastian considered Keith to be far more reliable on NDEs then he really is. That is why I mentioned Augustine.

Kris said: "That is why I mentioned Augustine."

Kris, I think you do have a point. I agree that Augustine has many weakpoints in the arguments he presents as a skeptic. Right now, at the link below (Dieguez's blog) you will most certainly see debatable assertions by Augustine (I do).

http://phantomologist.blogspot.com/2009/06/irreducible-mind-fills-much-needed-gap.html

But I must confess that when I compare Augustine with "skeptics" like Victor Stenger, I feel almost completely, let's say, "satisfied" with Augustine's openness to debate and to truly listening what oponents have to say. In the last days I have been fighting Stenger and friends. Unbearable...
http://www.criticandokardec.com.br/quantum_gorillas.htm

Best Wishes,
Julio

Just by the way: those who like to have some fun in this kind of debates (as Sebastian does, and, I must confess, me too...) can go to the link below in youtube to see Victor Stenger in action while trying to redeem us from the grip of the Quantum Gurus of the New Age... :-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACKVUMioI2w

Hi there:

Dieguez replied to my post. I've just published a response to him:

http://subversivethinking.blogspot.com/2009/07/reply-to-sebastian-dieguezs-comments-in.html

Fantastic blog Jime

I second that!

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