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Michael,

Thanks for the kind words! I wouldn't go so far as to say Shermer made a fool of himself, but some others who listened have shared your opinion and conveyed that to me. I actually felt like I liked Shermer better after hearing him, he's nothing like the thoroughly unpleasant James Randi. He also sounded a lot less sure of himself than I expected for most of the debate.

Hill's results are quite astonishing and I hope other studies are done to attempt to replicate his results.

It looks like MS is generally a nice guy, but he makes some important methodological mistakes.

-- "Holocaust denial" has nothing to do with natural sciences proper, it needs to be considered from culturological POV.

-- Religion most certainly cannot be assessed / rejected from scientific positions.

-- Paranormal studies are non- / pseudo- scientific. The problem is, paranormalogists simulate scientific method without actually understanding or following it.

Henry,

First off, what is a "paranormalogist"?

Secondly, Dr. Rupert Sheldrake wrote two papers published in Nature as well as a host of papers published in Planta and other well-respected, completely mainstream scientific journals. He was the director of studies in biochemistry and cell biology at Clare College, Cambridge. Dr. Gary Schwartz authored more than 400 research papers and was chosen to edit 11 academic journals. I'm supposed to believe that these guys don't understand the scientific method? Perhaps you might shed some light by critiquing the methodology in some of Sheldrake's papers available on the web.

I just checked this e-mail experiment. No, this methodology does not look good.

Reasonable test should be completely automatic, all communications and calculations performed by a program on a certain site. Desciption and text of the program should be open.

At certain moment, participants login and start playing. In the end, they get a report.

This site could easily accumulate huge stats and then everything will be clear. No, I don't think it will work ;-)

HJ,

Why is your methodology (with no way to prevent cheating) more sound than Sheldrake's experiment where the subjects were videotaped to help prevent cheating?

What exactly is your problem with Sheldrake's experimental design?

The article is published in Perceptual and Motor Skills which actually can't check what is going on.

But if the author will hire somebody to develop the program, everybody including Computer Science specialists will be able to check how it works. Then experiments will be easy.

Just thought more about it. Main problem with e-trtelepathy is taht people acn cheat the computer and talk to each other by phone or using another e-mail accoutvr or Web site. Any sound e-telepathy coexperiemnt system needs to take care about this possibility in some way.

Anyway, it is all up to the authors to develop a good protocol, show it to computer specialists for certification and make it generallly available. Before this, there is nothing much to talk about.

Damn, sorry for the typos ;-)

I actually wrote the review of the skeptic's cage debage at the request of Rupert Sheldrake. It's now posted at Skeptical Investigations, in addition to AMNAP.

Mike,

Thanks for making us aware of that debate.

Perhaps people would take skeptics more seriously if they actually stuck to the facts and scientific methods and left the rhetoric out of the studio. Here we had three scientists debating a laymen about scientific subjects. Michael Shermer certainly sounded like an amature against these solid scientists. His debating techniques were more suitable for internet chat rooms than serious scientific venues. Shermer did not make his side look good in this debate.

Michael Shermer was also the guy who critiqued psychic/medium John Edward a few years ago in his magizine Skeptic Magazine. I have rarely come across such a poorly written piece of journalism. Much of the the information and examples provided to debunk Edward was verifibly inncorrect and had no place being in that article. Since the article was full of falsehoods that could easily be proven as such, it completely destroyed any sort of legitimate skeptical critique of Edward. Mr. Shermer should find a new occupation, because he is not doing professional skeptics any favors with his sloppy practices.

A powerful reply to a typically sloppy Shermer hit piece is found here:

http://www.skepticalinvestigations.org/whoswho/vanLommel.htm

Although Dutch researcher van Lommel's English is not flawless, his command of the facts comes through loud and clear. Shermer obviously had not done even the most basic homework before mischaracterizing van Lommel's work.

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