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True skeptic:

Does anyone seriously doubt that Alfred Russel Wallace, the codiscoverer of the theory of evolution, and Oliver Lodge, knighted for his pioneering contributions to physics, and William James, America's foremost psychologist and philosopher, all rate higher in the history books than Randi and Asimov?
I'm uncertain what wallace's status as a biologist has to do with his authority on paranormal phenomena

Sideways, I think Michael's point is that if one is going to simply appeal to authority, greater figures shouldn't be dismissed in favor of lesser ones.

Nice article. I have seen this psychology too many times to count.

For example, Dr. Richard Wiseman ran protocol for an experiment done with viewer Joseph McMoneagle at the Rhine Research Center some years back, and at the end, based on JM's viewing, the 30 people present were asked to individually choose which of 5 possible targets it might be. RW had control of the target, decoys, etc. 29 out of 30 had a first-place match; the other, a 2nd place match. RW was, as usual, so interested in his own results he walked away and that was the end of it.

There are other, less scientific but similar examples. TIME magazine spent two days getting educated about the science of remote viewing and even trying it out, after swearing they were doing a very serious, indepth article on the subject. When published, there was zero trace of any science, and they packaged the featured lab psychic (McMoneagle) between a guy repeatedly proven wrong, fraudulent (and openly nuts) and another guy with a lot of chest hair and gold chains who talks to the dead.

And then they wonder why the serious people don't want to do media anymore.

Author and scoffer Jim Schnabel, having finished with defrauding a group of crop circle researchers and then writing a jolly book about how weird the people were ( this has bearing on the CC's...), wrote a book about Remote Viewing filled with more "trivial facts" than 4 textbooks. Alas it "accidentally left out" the entire modern science of the subject, which happens to be its most legit recommendation. Oversight? Gee, I wonder. While presenting plenty of 'Joe-the-Hero' stories, all his science conveniently stopped around 1985 or so, just prior to the point when his friend's "psychic method" (sold for thousands at a website near you, for the last decade) was researched, determined to be no more useful than other methods looked at, his contract canceled, and his (somewhat cult-ified) trainees by-default moved into the intelligence unit, which had such a drop in performance compared to its first half, that it was eventually thrown at the CIA like a hot potato, who closed it at the speed of light and took its funding and personnel slots for their (recently-cut) own use.

It hardly helps to 'take on' challenges even from seemingly legit critics, or allegedly well intentioned media or investigators, when all the efforts made only result in what does get done being ignored. And usually free on the part of the psychic, as if they have nothing better to do than have their entire reputation staked on one incident of a notoriously unreliable skill. (Kind of like a single freethrow making or breaking your entire career.)

McMoneagle's now been on 10 of Nippon TV's primetime series "FBI Psychic Investigator" which takes cold cases and looks for missing people. They've found a whole bunch of 'em now. The sketches and detail are amazing. Nobody knew where these people were, not even the law. This is exactly the kind of "on the ground application for intelligence purposes" that was proposed to be effective in the first half (but alas not the second) of the former US government program (now semi- collectively called 'stargate').

That would be the same program that noted scoffer Ray Hyman managed to get nearly-no access to actual materials from, yet still managed to come up with the comment that (despite his zero intelligence credentials) remote viewing had no value in intelligence. (Not to mention his memorable comment that there was clearly an effect but he "doesn't choose to call it psi.")

Of course, science can't measure a psychic successfully "helping" solve crimes or find missing people; this isn't about comparing a session to a few other pictures and choosing the one it best matches and doing statistics all day.

Maybe studying psi in the lab is a little bit like the joke about looking for your keys a block from where you dropped them because the light is better there.

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