IMG_2361
Blog powered by Typepad

« The simple life | Main | Coming soon! »

Comments

You may appreciate a book called Frequency (The Power of Personal Vibration) by Penney Peirce. A related blogpost is found here:

http://blog.dreambuilders.com.au/journal/2009/5/7/10-reminders-the-intuition-age-is-now.html#entry3914646

She also wrote The Intutive Way. In both books, it is explained how the sender and receiver need to be on the same energy frequency to experience telepathy. This requires mental discipline and the conscious experiece of raising vibration. It is a case of the truth is known as it is felt.

Hi Michael,

Horn also maintains a few separate blogs on her website dedicated to each of her books. You might like to include a link http://www.stacyhorn.com/unbelievable/>to her 'Unbelievable' blog, which has some fascinating material on it - photos, personal letters etc.

Thanks for the post, Michael. The book sounds like a good one. From the reviews, I'm reminded of Ghost Hunters by Deborah Blum, one of the best books I've read in a while. (You've discussed it here.)

The Blum book combines great storytelling with a clear-eyed, balanced look at research conducted over a period of many years by a band of passionate investigators. That seems to be the gist of this one too and I'm looking forward to it.

Just picked up a copy of the brand-new Power of Premonitions by Larry Dossey today. Looks good, but I've read so much on the subject that I'm really hoping he provides some fresh material and cases. This is the one area of psychic experience I know first-hand.

I would simply like to point out that I have never been at a loss for something to do on a rainy afternoon, although I have at times lacked the means and opportunity (or willing companionship) to pursue my most imaginative options. One can hope that in the afterlife, imagination unleashed will be matched by the full creative capacity of the universe. Boredom will be an option only for those who cannot imagine other possibilities.

This comment is not about this post. The book "On the Edge of Etheric" by Arthur Findlay is available as an e-book (pdf document) here

http://www.thegreatquestion.com/books/On_the_Edge_of_Etheric.pdf

On Charles Tart, he has pusblished his lastest book titled "The end of materialism". I'm reading it right now, it's very good.

I've read the Findlay book. It's very good.

Charles Tart is always worth reading also. He has a keen mind and a subtle grasp of the psychological issues involved in psi.

I found the Findlay book very interesting. There is a great deal of evidence in it and it's hard to see how Arthur Findlay could have been so deceived or any real motive for him being fraudulent in some way. He was wealthy, successful and, if anything, had a reputation to lose if associated with the type of phenomena he reports.

We don't often hear about John Sloan but I found this in a book by a former editor of "Two Worlds", Ernest Oaten:

Thousands of people will be familiar with the name of John Sloan, of Glasgow, a most versatile medium, who is the central figure of that fine book by J. Arthur Findlay, "On the Edge of the Etheric."

I was privileged to have several sittings with John, and cherish happy memories of a direct conversation I had on one occasion with Dr Alfred Russell Wallace, O.M.

The trumpet was at the other end of a large circle of some twenty sitters when, immediately behind me, I heard a voice calling my name. It proved to be the famous Dr Alfred Russell Wallace.

He spoke to me concerning my public work, and when questioned showed a complete familiarity with correspondence which had passed between us when he lived at Wimborne.

The séance ended, we adjourned to another room while Mrs Sloan made some coffee. Some of the sitters had departed, but a few of us still remained and sat round the fire chatting.

When coffee was served William Jeffries remarked, “There is only one thing needed to complete a pleasant evening.”

“What’s that?” asked Galloway.

“A good cigar!”

In a few seconds Sloan was under control and the voice of ‘Whitey” said, “Just dim the lights and wait a minute or two, and I will see what I can do.”

In a few minutes there dropped at the feet of Mr Jeffries a cigar, with a glowing lighted end. ‘There you are, Jeffries,” said “Whitey”, and he picked it up, wiped the end with his handkerchief, put it in his mouth and began to puff.

“Where did you get it, Whitey?” said I. And the reply sent us into fits of laughter.

“A fellow was walking along George Square smoking it, and I took it from his mouth and brought it here. He is still looking for it.”

We were, of course, unable to verify that statement, though the house was only a few hundred yards from George Square. But I have often found myself smiling at the discomfiture of a man who lost a cigar from his mouth and looked for it in vain.

I've just published (with the author's permission) a very long paper by Neal Grossman on super-ESP:

http://subversivethinking.blogspot.com/2009/05/neal-grossman-on-super-esp-or-super-psi.html

It has the format of a dialogue between Grossman and Plato and Socrates.

This paper has not been available online until now.

----

Zerdini you have been very privilegied, please share more of your experiences with Sloan. Thanks.

Zerdini I misundertood your post, I read it very fast, and I thought that the experience with Sloan was yours... Sorry, you're not so old... :-)

You're right Jime - I'm not that old! lol

Maybe it was in a previous incarnation? lol

I don't believe in reincarnation - but I did in a previous life!

Zerdini, why you don't believe in reincarnation? What do you think of Stevenson's research?

For the record, Zerdini is not that old, he is only 93 years old... lol.

Jime, thanks for posting Grossman's article, I'm reading it, I agree with Grossman's argumentation.

Findlay's book is one of the best survival books in existence (far better and convincing than many of the current books on the topic). I doubt that an open mind skeptic read it carefully and doesn't change his mind after it.

Zetetic

Are you talking about this book?

On the Edge of the Etheric

Yes, Kris.

Findlay has other books, but that one is excellent.


I don't believe in reincarnation - but I did in a previous life!

I woldn't be surprised if that joke's more than 93 years old, but it's the first time I've heard it. Very funny, Zerdini!

For the record, I have the spanish translation of Findlay's book in a PDF file. If anyone here speak or read spanish, or want to have the spanish translation of it, send me an e-mail.

As far i know, the spanish translation is not available in hard copy; it only exist as a e-book.

Thanks

Can I get your recommend reading list.

Still learning alot about this subject. Only been studying it now for 10 years :).

I just finished rereading Irreducible Mind and I do not know how many times I have read Is there and Afterlife by Fontana

Hi Kris,

Fontana's book is a superb book. Definitely, it's one of the best books on afterlife. If you have read it, you know "almost" everything about the afterlife evidence.

In fact, Fontana mentions Findlay's research as a good example where the evidence is good and not easily explainable in terms of normal processes. This is another support of Findlay's excellent research. But you need to read the book by yourself to see the powerful case for an afterlife that Findlay has made.

Another book I'd recommend is "Your Eternal Self" by Craig Hogan. It was published in 2008. A very good book, indeed.

On parapsychology, Jime mentioned Charles Tart's "The End of Materialism". Dean Radin recommends this book in his blog.

I finished the reading of it several days ago, and I can say it's one of the best parapsychology books that I've ever read. Period.

As Michael says, Tart has a "keen mind and a subtle grasp of the psychological issues involved in psi" and I'd add that he has an impressive erudition and command of the relevant literature.

There are other very good books, and probably you're familiar with most of them. Many have been discussed in this blog, or commented by Michael.

But the above ones are in the "must read" category.

Hi,

I am having an argument with Harriet Hall, a professional "skeptic" at a science blog. She wants me to give her one example of a parapsychology experiment that has not been debunked as resulting from fraud or error. I told her there have been very many high quality experiments, that parapsychology has its problems but are not generally criticized for fraud or error, at least not any more.

But she keeps asking for one example that has been examined by "rigorous scientists." Of course she will find a reason to reject any example I give her, but I want to try. Does anyone here know of a relatively simple experiment that everyone agrees is high quality, and which has been scrutinized by anti-psi skeptics?

I had mentioned RV at SRI and Ganzfield studies, but she doesn't accept any of those. I'm sure Dean Radin must have many high quality experiments that no one could debunk.

Please help. Thank you very much.

Pec, maybe you should to give her this example of a paranormal claim examined by a "rigorous skeptic" who's gotten a positive result:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3N1dIUTbZTo

It won't convince her, but she will have to question the competence of the "skeptic" who did the test.

NDE studies would be another option. Ian Stevenson's reincarnation studies have been replicated too.

I had mentioned RV at SRI and Ganzfield studies, but she doesn't accept any of those.

If she won't accept the Ganzfeld studies, there's not much point in talking to her. The Ganzfeld studies were conducted in accordance with rigorous restrictions designed by ultra-skeptic Ray Hyman himself. Even Hyman admitted that the results were unimpeachable, though he still refuses to accept the existence of psi, saying "I have no control over my beliefs."

saying "I have no control over my beliefs."

Since that materialistic "skeptics" don't believe in free will, I think Hyman's confession is an accurate and consistent statement (in his worldview)

Lol.

Michael,

She says Ray Hyman is a friend of hers and she denies he ever accepted the validity of any parapsychology research -- although of course he has acknowledged that there are effects. Somehow, she won't accept that and she ignores all my careful rational arguments. I have a PhD in experimental psychology so I understand the basics of statistics and methodology.

This is what she said, after I had explained that even skeptics agree there is high quality research that cannot be explained away:

"For the third time: I challenge you to provide a single example of a positive parapsychology result that was carefully scrutinized by rigorous scientists and was not found to have fatal flaws."

I know I can give her an answer she can't argue against, but I want to make sure my answer is accurate. Can you help? It would be wonderful if I could get even one of those "pseudo-skeptics" to question their dogmatic materialism.

There is so much that has been written and I am just not sure what would be the best example to give her. She is not satisfied with generalities, but wants some kind of direct and simple answer.

I know I can give her an answer she can't argue against, but I want to make sure my answer is accurate. Can you help? It would be wonderful if I could get even one of those "pseudo-skeptics" to question their dogmatic materialism

Pec, as a trained psychologist, you know that is not probable that she question her materialism. It's an ideology, a worldview, and evidence incompatible with it is not taken seriously.

For materialists, flaws in the research is more probable than flaws in materialism. As consequence, she will prefer question the former than the latter.

Any evidence you could give to her will be dismissed. If the evidence is positive, she will challenge the scientists' competence; if it fails, she'll ask for replication; if you give her replication, she'll say it hasn't been published in serious journals, etc. The point of this strategy is to reject any evidence you can give her.

You can't rationally argue with people like this, since they're not open to reason or facts. All you can say will be used as evidence against the paranormal.

In fact, the reference to "rigorous scientists" assume that all the positive results have been gotten by "non-rigorous scientists".

But what criteria has she used to determine who're "rigorous scientists"? With this ploy, they can reject any positive evidence claiming that it was gotten by non-rigorous researchers.

Even if you "win the argument", you won't convince her (it will be only a pyrrhic victory). Cognitive dissonance, confirmatory bias, and personal and professional prestige (debunking psi) will guarantee that she won't change her opinion.

You're wasting your time.

Regarding Hyman, when she says "he ever accepted the validity of any parapsychology research" she is arguing against a straw man, since that the point is not if Hyman accepted or not such research, but if he could to refute the evidence. He couldn't.

In this paper, Hyman wrote: "Although, I cannot point to any obvious flaws in the experiments, the experimental program is too recent and insufficiently evaluated to be sure that flaws and biases have been eliminated. Historically, each new paradigm in parapsychology has appeared to its designers and contemporary critics as relatively flawless. Only subsequently did previously unrecognized drawbacks come to light. Just as new computer programs require a shakedown period before hidden bugs come to light, each new scientific program requires scrutiny over time in the public arena before its defects emerge. Some possible sources of problems for the SAIC program are its reliance on experienced viewers, and the use of the same judge--one who is familiar to the viewers, for all the remote viewing.

4. The statistical departures from chance appear to be too large and consistent to attribute to statistical flukes of any sort. Although I cannot dismiss the possibility that these rejections of the null hypothesis might reflect limitations in the statistical model as an approximation of the experimental situation, I tend to agree with Professor Utts that real effects are occurring in these experiments. Something other than chance departures from the null hypothesis has occurred in these experiments"

http://www.ics.uci.edu/~jutts/hyman.html

Hyman's comment "I cannot point to any obvious flaws in the experiments" refutes her opinion about parapsychology experiments being debunked as resulting from fraud or error.

The remaining Hyman's comments only shows his wishes and hopes that the future will expose flaws in the expertiments (flaws that he couldn't point out"), and his speculations about "possible" (non actual nor confirmed) sources of flaws.

He is using the future as an argument to cast doubts about the actual and current evidence (because he couldn't refute it).

And when Hyman says "I tend to agree with Professor Utts that real effects are occurring in these experiments", it refutes her assertion that Hyman hasn't accepted the validity of any parapsychology program, since that if he didn't accept it, why did he accepted the evidence suggesting the existence of real effects in such experiments? Is he accepting the evidence supporting the existence of "real effects" but not the experiments that produce that evidence?

Hyman adds "However, the occurrence of statistical effects does not warrant the conclusion that psychic functioning has been demonstrated. Significant departures from the null hypothesis can occur for several reasons. Without a positive theory of anomalous cognition, we cannot say that these effects are due to a single cause, let alone claim they reflect anomalous cognition"

In this case, his argument is about the interpretation of the evidence, not about the existence of real experimental effects. And if real effects have been gotten, then Harriet's assertion that all the the experiments are flawed is incorrect.

Don't waste your time arguing with her. Only a suggestion.

I don't think it's wasting time, because it makes me think harder about the question. There really aren't any clear answers because if there were, everyone would already agree. If I could show her a simple experiment done by many researchers that always demonstrates psi, she would agree. I believe people are basically rational -- I don't care what some psychologists say, I wasn't trained to agree with all psychologists, just learned how to do experiments.

i believe people are rational and if you can show them in some convincing way that the earth goes around the sun they will believe you (most will, although of course there are always a minority of nuts).

And we can't do that with psi, as far as I know. I have read a lot about it and the reality of psi is obvious to me. And since I believe people are essentially rational, I believe the paranormal, mystical and visionary experiences of people in all times and cultures are in some way real.

It's obvious to me that materialism is a false philosophy, It doesn't even make sense, because no one can say what matter is exactly. But Harriet Hall and her friends have strong feelings against all mystical claims.

I guess it helps them feel superior and gives them a sense of security. It allows them to believe that modern science has a basic grasp of how things work, so it's reassuring.

Most people, if they ever think about it, can see that materialism is wrong and they don't need parapsychology to convince them.

I think Harriet argues with me because she really wants to know if she has missed something. She doesn't want to believe in materialism if there are strong reasons to doubt it. There are certain kinds of evidence that would convince her, which are much stronger than what would convince most people. I am not sure what though.

Ok, let's see if you can convince her. I predict you won't.

Let me know if I'm wrong, and Harriet accept the reality of psi and the falsehood of materialism based on your best arguments and evidence.

We have two hypotheses here:

1)Harriet is an open mind rational person who is looking for the truth and could be shown wrong with arguments and evidence (your hypothesis)

2)Harriet is a materialistic pseudo-skeptic, who has made up her mind about the non-existence of the paranormal, and will try to debunk or dismiss any evidence you can present her. (my hypothesis).

Since that both hypotheses are factual and testable, they can be shown true or false. So let's to test them (your debate with her is a good test).

Finally "It's obvious to me that materialism is a false philosophy, It doesn't even make sense, because no one can say what matter is exactly. But Harriet Hall and her friends have strong feelings against all mystical claims"

But why is that obvious for you and not for Harret? If the falsehood of materialism is obvious, any rational person would accept it as false (and if she see the obvious falsehood, but denies it, then she's being irrational).

But if a person doesn't consider an obvious falsehood as false, then 1)It is not obvious at all; or 2)It's obvious but some non-rational factor (like "strong feelings" or bias) prevents the person to see the obvious. In the latter case, the person is being irrational in the sense that non-rational factors are preventing her to see the truth and forcing in her false conclusions.

I also believe that most people are rational, but not in all the moments or regarding all the topics. Many of them are rational in a field, but absolutely irrational in another.

Regarding parapsychology, the debate is not about evidence but about the interpretation of it. And the interpretation depends of philosophical assumptions.

If your assumption is materialism, then psi (and the afterlife) can't exist; and no possible evidence could refute it because there is no room for it.

But as I said, this is my hypothesis regarding Harriet. It can be shown wrong if Harriet accepts the reality of psi and the falsehood of materialism after being confronted with the best parapsychological evidence.

Let me know the results of your debate with her, to know if they confirms your hypothesis or mine.

Realpc, I think what's going on with the skeptic is the typical story that skeptics tell themselves: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. What you could try to do is help her to see that "extraordinary" is not an objective quality. It's a subjective opinion.

All facts are equal. None of them is inherently more or less extraordinary than any other fact.

"Extraordinary" is an emotional appraisal of how something strikes them, not a quality of the evidence they are disputing, so when they ask for "extraordinary" evidence, whether they know it or not, they are asking for evidence which appeals to their emotions in a powerful enough way that their emotional prejudices against whatever the "extraordinary" thing is are overcome.

So if you raise the standards of evidence for something which you regard as extraordinary and lower them for things which you do not regard that way, you are equivocating. Rational people try not to do that.

Further, even if methodology is sometimes flawed that doesn't mean the results are false. It means we can't be sure the results are what they appear to be. But it doesn't mean they are false.

As far as "one piece" of evidence: Ask her if she believes global warming is caused by humans. If she says she does, ask her for "just one" piece of evidence that proves it, and hold her to proving it by just that one piece the way she expects you to prove it by one piece.

The point being that sometimes a conclusion can only emerge from way more than "just one" piece of evidence. Sometimes it builds up from a host of disconnected sources until it begins to occur to you that something more than coincidence is happening here.

Harriet believes that all parapsychology evidence is the result of fraud or error. I don't know where she heard that; it's probably pseudo-skeptic propaganda. She challenged me to show her one experiment that has not been shown to be the result of fraud or error. So I should be able to do that. But I don't have a specific example to give her -- that's all I need.

If I give her an example of a good experiment she can always say it has not been examined by a "rigorous" scientist (by which she probably means an anti-psi pseudo-skeptic).

But all I have to do is prove to her that there are experiments that Ray Hyman has examined and did not find any fraud or error. I posted a quote from Hyman on her blog where he says he had not (yet) found any fraud or error in Ganzfields performed by Honorton.

But that quote was from the 1990s, so I don't know if he found fraud or errors later on.

I guess my knowledge of parapsychology is not quite encyclopedic and not perfectly current. I have followed it all my life and read a lot about it. But her question is a little tricky.

If I do show her one experiment that has survived the pseudo-skeptics she will still complain that it wasn't replicated a million times, psi contradicts the laws of science, or some other nonsense. But I just need to get her on this.

It's hard because I don't know exactly what research has been examined by the James Randi mob.

Oh by the way sometimes it signed me as realpc and other times as pec. Same thing.

But her question is a little tricky.

Her question is unanswerable, because anyone can claim "fraud or error" about any experimental or observational findings.

For instance, a "young Earth" creationist would tell you that all the dinosaur bones that have been dug up are the result of fraud (the devil put them there to test our faith) or error (carbon dating is unreliable).

People who think the moon landings were staged in a TV studio attribute all the films and photos taken by the astronauts, as well as the moon rocks, to fraud.

Their logic is similar to that of the narrator of Plan Nine from Outer Space, who asks the audience, "Can you prove it didn't happen?"

Since it's impossible to prove a negative, it's impossible to prove that fraud or error did not occur. This is true regardless of whether the evidence pertains to psi or to conventional science.

There is no magic bullet experiment in psi, just as there is no magic bullet experiment in any other science. Some of the most famous experiments in mainstream science have been questioned. The Miller-Urey experiment purportedly showed that amino acids necessary for life could develop spontaneously in the seas of the primordial Earth. But questions have been raised: Did the experiment accurately recreate the atmosphere of ancient Earth? (Almost certainly not.) Did the experimenters tweak the results by interfering with the chemical processes they were studying? (Arguably, yes.) Were the amino acids the right kinds for life? (Some were, but certain vital amino acids were not produced.)

The Michelson-Morley experiment purportedly showed that the "ether" was a myth. But questions have been raised about whether the measurements were made correctly.

The Big Bang theory is widely accepted. Yet maverick astronomers have raised questions about it, claiming that the theory is fundamentally flawed because some of its provisions (like "inflation") are ad hoc, and because photographic evidence may cast doubt on the reliability of the galactic red shift.

The point is, there is nothing - nothing - in empirical scientific studies that cannot be questioned or doubted, and so any and every experimental finding is at least potentially open to the charge of "fraud or error."

You might turn the tables and ask your correspondent to name any single scientific test result in any field that is unchallengeable. I don't mean merely a result that has not been challenged so far; I mean a result that is not open to challenge, one that is beyond the reach of any possible doubt.

In the end, we decide these matters on the basis of the preponderance of the evidence, not one single test. A single test can always be questioned. Maybe the experimenter was lying or hallucinating, or the equipment malfunctioned, or a key variable was overlooked, or everyone in the lab was drunk that day. Far-fetched? Sure, but "Can you prove it didn't happen?"

The whole issue is a red herring.

DMDuncan - I like your example of "just one piece" of evidence to prove the matter. I agree it would be lovely to have all the matters raised satisfied by one piece of information, and sometimes this is appropriate. It occurs to me that it depends on what one accepts as the burden of proof. Proof beyond any doubt is hard to achieve in all but the simplest research. Proof beyond reasonable doubt is the usual criminal burden - again the question is "what is reasonable", proof on the balance of probabilities is acceptable in non-criminal matters. What should the burden of proof be? Should it be bullet-proof evidence which is incontrovertible? Is that reasonable? Or is it a case of small pieces of evidence amassing over a period and which in themselves may not constitute "strong proof" but which considered together might.

Pec wrote:
"I am having an argument with Harriet Hall, a professional "skeptic" at a science blog. She wants me to give her one example of a parapsychology experiment that has not been debunked as resulting from fraud or error."

I don't think it's reasonable to say that every parapsychology experiment has been debunked. Rather, "scoftics" have raised questions about possibly faulty procedures, or have made insinuations about likely cheating, or have said that replication attempts have been unsuccessful. These don't amount to debunkings, but to something milder. In some cases the purported debunkings have been merely cases of airily "explaining away" the evidence.

What I suggest you do is encourage her to read Chris Carter's Parapsychology and the Skeptics ($19, 2007). Here's the link to its page on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Parapsychology-Skeptics-Scientific-Argument-Existence/dp/1585011088/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1243050718&sr=1-1

The Kindle edition is only $4.80, BTW.

One good test the skeptic could try herself on five acquaintances is Sheldrake's telephone telepathy test. It supposedly regularly delivers a 33% success rate in guessing which of four persons is calling, versus a 25% chance-expectation.

The comments to this entry are closed.