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Like the religious fundamentalists the ultra skeptics live and have their Being on a very slippery slope. One unexplained phenomenon and that slippery slope gets very very slick and their paradigm comes tumbling down. And that is a big ouch to the ego.

A paradigm is an interesting mental model as it is completely hidden from the view of the person with the paradigm. Now paradigms are not the enemy because without them there would only be chaos but they sure appear at times to be troublesome.

The ultra skeptic must always find an out because it is too mentality painful to do otherwise. I find it interesting that the atheist that is also an ultra skeptic is as rigid in their cherished beliefs as the religious fundamentalist. And even more interesting both the religious fundamentalists and the ultra skeptics believe they alone have a rational mind and are somehow the only purveyors of truth.

Now the lesson I get from these observations is that we must also come to realize that we to have these hidden paradigms that influence our own views about life and maybe the best we can do is to listen carefully to others comments that challenge our views and live an introspective life as Socrates suggested.

Now myself being a former atheist/agnostic I fully expected to find the atheists the most open minded when I started this research into the mysteries of life and wow was I surprised to find they are as rigid in their beliefs as the religious fundamentalist. I suspect my own ego wanted to belong to that group that had after all a rational mind.

"In a comments thread, a reader asked for an example of a single experiment that would conclusively, unambiguously, and inarguably prove the existence of psi - a magic bullet that would slay any skeptic. (He was engaged in an online debate with a skeptic and wanted ammo.)"

I would recommend the commenter join the forums at:

http://psicology-forum.proboards.com/index.cgi

The charter for these forums explains that these forums are for people who accept the validity of paranormal phenomena and want to discuss them without getting side tracked by debating the reality of the phenomena.

We're just getting started there and everyone who accepts the charter is welcome, so please stop by, join the discussions and start some new threads.


Thanks

Can you suspend your disbelief when considering an idea without being emotionally attached to the result of it being either true or false? Without that, you are stuck in your paradigm (thanks William) and will never be free.

Highly recommend the 12 Virtues of Rationality at http://yudkowsky.net/rational/virtues . In some of his other essays the author dismisses the paranormal in spite of both the evidence and his own methods of rational consideration. Oh well...

Excellent post, Michael!

It would be funny if it weren't so true.

“There is no magic bullet.”

Oh but we all have our own belief in a magic bullet.

The Christians have their sacrifice of Jesus so they can have their free pass to heaven, the Buddhists have their meditation practices, the Hindus have their gods, the Taliban have their return to 8th century life, atheists have their belief in materialism and science (scientism), conservatives have their trickle down theories and tax cuts, liberals have their social utopias, capitalists have their free markets, communists have their workers versus capitalists struggles, socialists have their government ownership of wealth, educators have their competitive grades and tests, managers have their performance appraisals based on average, corporations have their results-only mentality, politicians have their speeches and promises, CEO’s have their giving of bonuses, etc,

The list is long but the underlying reality of appearances is not these magic bullets but spiritual or universal laws that few if any write about. As Emmanuel (and Art?) stated where would we go to school if our planet were perfect.

As a consultant I noticed every company I worked with wanted some type of magic bullet. (I.e. two-day seminar to fix the employees never the CEO’s). The big three tried every magic bullet they could get their hands on and made a lot of consultants wealthy. Fortunately (as soul evolution is not about magic bullets) they found no magic bullet as the taxpayers in America have discovered as they bail out two of the three automakers. In my days of consulting we called this search for the magic bullet the flavor of the month club.

Some Hyman's "arguments" are specially annoying because he knows the literature about parapsychology. So, unlike other "skeptics" his opinions don't reflect ignorance but a will to dismiss the evidence.

However, sometimes Hyman's opinions are amazing. For example, in the report, he wrote: "Only parapsychology, among the fields of inquiry claiming scientific status, lacks a cumulative database"

The reply by Jessica Utts couldn't be better: "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"

http://anson.ucdavis.edu/~utts/response.html

Also, in reply to such misleading opinion, Charles Honorton wrote in his classic paper "Rhetoric Over Substance": "How can we reconcile the "century of failure" argument with the critics' admission that there are "astronomically significant" effects and their failure to demonstrate even plausible alternative explanations for those effects? The answer, they say, is that parapsychology lacks "cumulativeness." "Every science, except parapsychology," Hyman says, "builds upon its previous data. The data base continually expands with each new generation but the original investigations are still included. In parapsychology, the data base expands very little because previous experiments are continually discarded and new ones take their place." The "astronomically significant" effects for which they have no plausible alternative explanations are, Hyman says, based upon "retrospective" meta-analyses of many similar experiments. Truly skeptical readers should be alarmed by the logical contradiction in this argument: if parapsychology is "noncumulative," and if each new generation of parapsychologists discards the findings of earlier generations, how could there be "astronomically significant" effects in meta-analyses that are, by definition, the cumulation of findings from many earlier studies? Hyman refers only to meta-analyses of two relatively recent research areas, the ganzfeld and random number generator experiments (Honorton, 1985; Hyman, 1985; Radin & Nelson, 1989). He overlooks other meta-analyses, such as those discussed by Broughton and Morris involving precognition experiments (Honorton & Ferrari, 1989) and psychokinesis research with dice (Radin & Ferrari, 1991), both of which involve the cumulation of research findings going back to the 1930s"

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2320/is_n2_v57/ai_14890637/pg_2/?tag=content;col1

So, the argument of "lack of cumulativeness" is another of Hyman's (false) assertions against parapsychology.

But if you want to read Hyman's debunking rhetoric at its best, don't miss this long article by Gary Schawrtz exposing Hyman's methods:

http://www.enformy.com/Gary-reHymanReview.htm

I hope historians of science document such cases of unjustified intellectual resistance to accept good evidence for psi and other unconventional claims.

It would be a lesson for future scientists and researchers.

Zetetic chick,

Some of these skeptics are government "agents":

http://www.geocities.com/chs4o8pt/suppressed_parapsychology.html

By the way, thanks for linking to my web site (chs4o8pt). (Could you send me an e-mail at the address on my site? I couldn't find contact information on your blog - Thanks)

Mr. Prescott,

I think you should know Wiseman's opinion about remote viewing:

"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." Richard Wiseman Daily Mail, January 28, 2008, pp 28-29

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-510762/Could-proof-theory-ALL-psychic.html

Maybe in your list you should put a new criticism:

14. Science has not a high standard of evidence when we [skeptics] study the paranormal

Best wishes.

If a person takes the view that it is not an outsider's job to convince you or anyone to shift awareness, then debates lose momentum. Every being has free will to determine which battles are worth fighting and which ones are better left alone. If a person nurtures the idea that consciousness is a very personal, multi-sensual journey, then that person recognzies the truth about anything is always felt and understood at soul level. Tapping into inner knowing is a space beyond simply believing in something. It is where doubt does not exist. Pema Chodron reminds human beings that each person already has everything he or she needs to feel completely alive and aware. If you choose to block or obscure certain visions or sensations to prevent the self from sensing, then you do that for your own growth.

"If you choose to block or obscure certain visions or sensations to prevent the self from sensing, then you do that for your own growth."

That's very thought-provoking, Liara.

“If you choose to block or obscure certain visions or sensations to prevent the self from sensing, then you do that for your own growth.”

Do we choose to block or obscure certain visions or sensations? Who does “you” refer to? The ego, soul, spirit?

This is a very interesting and profound statement. Who does the choosing and why do we seldom listen to that inner voice. That growth has a lot of suffering tied to it.

“Pema Chodron reminds human beings that each person already has everything he or she needs to feel completely alive and aware.”

This is a typical Buddhist statement but does not explain the origin of that unawareness that does not allow us to utilize that “everything he or she needs to feel completely alive and aware”.

For several reasons the Buddhists refuse to ask the question what is the origin of our ignorance. To their credit the enlightened Hindus and the Buddha did ask about the origin of suffering. Although during my research into Buddhism about 2/3 of Buddhists monks that responded to my question as to the origin of suffering confused symptoms with the origin of suffering.

If a person takes the view that it is not an outsider's job to convince you or anyone to shift awareness, then debates lose momentum

It's true.

For a correct understading of intellectual resistance to evidence of the paranormal, I suggest to adopt a multi-level approach. In my opinion, there is not "one" factor, but severals of them:

-In intellectual dogmatism, caused by the psychological need of make sense of the world in a consistent way. All of us have this need, but only some address it in a dogmatic way.

-Philosophical assumptions, in this case, materialism.

-Professional prestige constructed or based on debunking the paranormal.

When you add the these factors, then you can understand Wiseman's opinion that remote viewing is "proven" by conventional standars of science, but he is not convinced yet... (in any other context, it would be a confession of clear irrationality)

Also it explains Hyman's rhetoric, or Blackmore's position.

Look at the fact that if such "skeptics" admite that psi exist, then all their debunking efforts, professional competence and personal integrity could be seen as fraudulent or misleading. They have to keep their position until the end.

This is a reason why probably many of the readers of this blog could know, in advance, that the discussion between Pec and Harriet wouldn't cause in the latter any change of mind in favor of psi, regardless of whatever arguments or evidence Pec could give to her.

Currently, I'm very interested in the psychological aspects of this kind of dogmatism. My online friend philosopher Jeff Meyerhoff has written a lot about the psychological motivations of philosophical belief.

See for example his last post on The Interplay of Personal Psychology and Philosophy

http://philosophyautobiography.blogspot.com/2009/05/interplay-of-personal-psychology-and.html

For the record, in the comment I made there, when I talk about "skeptics", I'm not refering to paranormal pseudoskeptics (who are believers in materialism), but to philosophical skeptics (people who deny the possibility of objective knowledge). Meyerhoff is sympathetic to this skeptical position.

Hi chs4o8pt,

My e-mail address is in the profile of my blog.

Anyway, I'll contact you soon by e-mail.

Zetetic chica,

?Como dice "profile" en espanol?

No vido su e-carte.

Adios!

Oops, my fault. I run my browser with javascript turned off for enhanced security. I just turned on javascript and I can see your e-mail address.

In spanish would be "Chica Zetética".

Profile is "Perfil".

By the way, your website is very good.

Hasta pronto!

"By the way, your website is very good."

I'm thinking of turning it into an action movie: A guy gets laid off from work and starts watching John Edward reruns in the afternoon, he begins going to a spiritualist church, takes classes and becomes psychic, discovers a government plot to suppress parapsychology, uses psychic powers to defeat the CIA henchmen and then ....??? I'm not sure how to end it. Maybe: he starts a new career doing a mentalist routine in seedy night clubs.

Michael Prescott - you're the professional, what do you think?

Off Topic-

Arthur Findlay's books are available free in these links

The book "The Way of Life"

http://www.rait.airclima.ru/books/The_Way_of_Life.doc

The book "Where two worlds meet"

http://www.rait.airclima.ru/books/Where_Two_Worlds_Meet.doc

Other afterlife e-books, are available in this website

http://www.rait.airclima.ru/lib.htm

I understand that materialists have an emotional aversion to the idea of paranormal phenomena, and that it's difficult or impossible to reason with them. I have tried many times and I know how irrational and dogmatic they tend to be. For example, Steve Novella said Dean Radin's presentiment experiments had essentially no effect because the effects were small and therefore could have been by chance. I explained to him that the whole purpose of inferential statistics is to determine the probability of effects occurring by chance. 2 out of 4 of Radin's presentiment experiments had significant results, one was borderline and one was not significant. All were in the predicted direction.

Novella's statement was pure nonsense -- but he would not admit he was wrong!

Hyman said that increasing the power of an experiment increases the odds of false positives! He said parapsychology often uses a large N and that can explain away it's results! I told Harriet Hall that was a nonsensical statement, and she had no reply.

Harriet does not seem to care that Novella and Hyman make absurd statements about statistics when they criticize parapsychology experiments.

On the other hand, I do think, if parapsychology has proven psi so conclusively, it should not be so hard to argue with materialists. I don't know if they are lying, but they always say there are no experiments that can be performed by any experimenter with the same results. I answer them by saying that experimenter effects can't be screened out when studying psi effects, so some experimenters get results while others may not. Susan Blackmore became a materialist because she never got results.

I think that if parapsychology had truly repeatable experiments the debate would be over by now. I think that people can be very dogmatic and close-minded, but that most people are ultimately rational when faced with obvious evidence.

I think that if parapsychology had truly repeatable experiments the debate would be over by now

Parapsychology has repeatable experiments. According to Dean Radin "As we'll see, psi experiments are indeed repeatable. They're just not trivially easy to repeat. For that matter, hardly anything involving skilled human performance is absolutely predictable, except perhaps stubbornnes in the face of evidence one doesn't wish to see" (Entangled Minds, p. 98)

And "To explore this imnportant question of repeatability of psi experiments, over the next few chapters we'll review more thatn thousand experiments. Taken together, we'll find that these studies provide repeatable, scientifically valid evidence for psi"(EM, p.99)

So, the argument of lack of replicatibility is false. You can't replicate a psi experiment in EACH individual case because it depends on human performances (in the same way that some medicaments doesn't work in each patient, since that it depends on individual bodily reactions to it), but it doesn't imply that repeatibility has not been achieved in scientifically valid ways.

The arguments of Novella, Hyman, Wiseman and others "skeptics" are sheer rhetoric, not scientifically valid arguments. It's pure ideology masked in scientific jargon.

Susan Blackmore became a materialist because she never got results

Actually evidence suggest that Blackmore could have gotten some positive results; but it is not sure since that her experiments were seriously flawed. It has been explained by Rick Berger, in his critical review of Blackmore's experiments:

"During my aborted meta-analyses of Blackmore’s published work, I was struck by patterns in the data suggestive of the operation of psi.18 Much of the veracity of the published work is now in question, when compared with its original unpublished source. Without a serious meta-analysis on the original unpublished source material, complete with weighting for flaws (which can plausibly be shown to relate to study outcome), the issue of whether the Blackmore experiments show evidence for psi cannot be resolved. As evidenced by the recent Hyman/Honorton exchanges regarding the meta-analyses of the Ganzfeld research (Honorton, 1985; Hyman, 1985b), such an approach cannot resolve the integrity of a database—it can only point out its weaknesses and make recommendations for future research. Combining the results across the Blackmore database of experiments would certainly yield heated disagreement if positive results emerged, though the negative conclusions drawn by Blackmore about each published experimental series and their combined results have remained, until now, unchallenged."

http://www.psiexplorer.com/blackmore_critique.htm

Blackmore's expertiments don't warrant any conclusion about the operation of psi in her database.

Michael,

Well stated. You might add that the experimenter as well as other observers were all hypnotized by the subject being studied. I think that was one of the claims made against Crookes in his observations of D.D. Home, i.e., Home hypnotized them all.

As you know, it was also claimed that Crookes had a romantic interest in Florence Cook, the medium, but that could fall under reason #12

Incidentally, Michael, as I recall from previous discussions, you had strong reservations about Florence Cook. I just recently finished reading Epes Sargent's 1876 book, "The Proof Palpalbe of Immortality," which details a number of other sittings with Cook by other researchers, all of whom validated her. Hard to believe that so many of them could have been duped by this 15-year-old girl under test conditions.

"To their credit the enlightened Hindus and the Buddha did ask about the origin of suffering. Although during my research into Buddhism about 2/3 of Buddhists monks that responded to my question as to the origin of suffering confused symptoms with the origin of suffering." - william
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Because that's the way the Physical Universe is made. The question is "why?" Why do we have to spend some 70 odd years here in a physical body living in a physical universe? What is intrinsically different about the physical universe that necessitates the need to spend a certain proportion of time here? I think I know the answer.

Experiencing separation imprints on the soul what it means and how it feels to be separate, something that can't be learned in Heaven due to those overwhelming feelings of oneness and connectedness so often mentioned in NDE's.

Physical pain (and any other sensations, both positive and negative) imprints on the soul the parameters of the body, bits of information, like pixels on a TV screen, teaching the soul what it means and how it feels to be "inside" a body. Scratching an itch, combing our hair, brushing our teeth, stubbing our toe, hitting our funny bone, eating a hot pepper, mosquitoes, poison ivy, any and all sensations builds bits of information that the soul will use, after it crosses back over into the Spiritual Universe, to create whatever kind of reality that it may wish to create because Heaven seems to be a place where thoughts are things and consciousness creates reality.

And lastly the soul experiences time and space - because so many NDE's say that time and space don't really exist in Heaven so the soul has to learn what time and space look and feel and act like so that it will be able to use the information to create it's own universe.

The alternative is exist in eternal connectedness floating in some kind of surreal ethereal universe floating in eternal nothingness for eternity.

There is so much about life that can't be truly understood unless you first experience it for yourself. All of our five senses can only be understood if you have first spent some time experiencing them.

Art, the question is are we to live our lives in ignorance of our spiritual heritage? Why can't materialist reasoning accept the possibility of spiritual existence?

“Art, the question is are we to live our lives in ignorance of our spiritual heritage? Why can't materialist reasoning accept the possibility of spiritual existence?”

Those are interesting questions. What prevents us from awakening to our “spiritual heritage?” We may have knowledge of our spiritual heritage but realization removes all doubt.

A realization is very very rare and cannot be taught, it must be experienced. We know little if anything about the realization process. I personally have had only one experience in my life that may qualify as a realization.

First there was some type of revelation or awaking then a realization, which was like perfectly clear thoughts or awareness and then a smile on my face. Within one second I knew that I knew about the role or meaning of variation in a relative phenomenal world, which at the time I called understanding variation, and I had no idea the future implications of this “realization”.

Then I spent the next 12 years trying to teach to others my realization as it applies to business process improvement with little success. Maybe one person got it out of several thousand I taught at seminars. She stood up and kept saying “oh my god”” oh my god, we have been doing everything wrong with our employees” or something to that effect.

I wish to this day I had stayed in contact with her and see if indeed it changed the way she viewed the world.

It may sound arrogant to state one has had a realization but I have no idea why it occurred. And be careful what you ask for, as the ego can get very frustrated at not being able to share a realization with others.

It appears there is a very subtle but profound difference between a realization and an insight. I only know it comes in an instant and it changes the way you view the world forever.

Several years later after years of intense seeking and meditation and asking the same question over and over in my mind, living with Buddhist monks, Hindu monks, Catholic priests that realization helped me to connect the dots between oneness, innocence, ignorance and suffering.

My being for the most part atheist with shades of agnostic little did I realize at the time that my “realization” had spiritual implications? Now I see that all knowledge indeed all realizations are spiritual. Stated another way all experiences are spiritual.

“Why can’t materialist reasoning accept the possibility of our spiritual existence?”

Another good question, which I suspect, has many answers. One being the material world looks and feels so concrete and final. Also we get very attached to our physical bodies and much of the world honors, promotes, idolizes and conditions us to view the physical over the spiritual. I.e. Miss California.

If you were going to show the validity of psi to the scientific community you'd have to show evidence based on repeatable experiments, not a single experiment. So your reader doesn't understand that a single experiment isn't actually accepted by scientists unless it can be repeated by others to the same result.
Don't you think that if there were anything to psi it would have been validated by now? How many years of testing has psi been through and produced results that are totally in accord with the laws of chance?

I think #8 "The experimental protocol was flawed in some unknown way that may be determined in the future." has to be the most revealing.
For a person who prides himself in the use of logic to come up with that one-- revealing.

Of course the results are not in accord with chance. There is plenty of evidence showing significant deviations from chance. What of the research by Honorton which even Hyman agreed was not achieved by chance!

Andrew Freeman,
The evidence is all over this blog and elsewhere,please search and don,t be so selective.
Any open minded person(scientists included) that studies the massive amount of evidence which has been compiled,in and out of the laboratory over many decades,can only come to one conclusion,PSI has been validated to the point where more proof of the reality of PSI is not needed and the real puzzle is why people will not accept this and continue to be charmed by uninformed rhetoric.

I think both proponents and skeptics would do well to read about the philosophy of science and sociological studies about science. It is clear that in a lot of cases it is not an experiment which decides about whether something will be deemed scientific or will be rejected. Scientific knowledge is an objective proces but also a very social process.

Art, the question is are we to live our lives in ignorance of our spiritual heritage? Why can't materialist reasoning accept the possibility of spiritual existence? - MarkL
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Because the whole purpose of this physical life is to experience "duality" and separation. If there are believers then there have to be non-believers. It's the way the Physical Universe is made. If there are electrons there have to be protons. + and - . Duality oftentimes leads to separation. We are here to experience separation in every way, shape, and form imaginable. Why? Because there is no duality and separation in Heaven due to it's holographic nature.

In a hologram everything infinitely interpenetrates everything. Each piece contains the whole. I remember reading one NDE where the woman said that we here in the physical universe can't begin to comprehend or understand the feelings of oneness and connectedness in Heaven. I think it may be impossible to develop a sense of "self" in Heaven. We come here to this physical universe to become unassimilated and the way we do that is by experiencing duality and separation; over and over and over again till it's thoroughly imprinted on the soul what it means and how it feels to be separate.

From the moment we are born and we separate from our mothers and the umbilical cord is cut till the day we die and our death becomes a lesson in separation to the loved ones we leave behind our lives are a never ending lesson in separation. Divorce, friends moving away, moving out of our homes, pets dying, trees falling over, individual leaves, separate seasons, cold days and hot days.

Why? Because Heaven is a place where thoughts are things and consciousness creates reality, but there is no way to create our own reality if we don't have some concept of what is possible. The same reason that our hominid ancestors didn't build airplanes, computers, etc. They hadn't been thought of yet. The soul comes here to learn about what time and space look and feel like, what it means to be separate, unique, individual, and gather memories of what it was like to live in a 3 dimensional + 1 time universe.

The alternative is to remain in some kind of Borg like collective floating in an ethereal nothingness for eternity. We come here to become unassimilated.

"I'm thinking of turning it into an action movie ... Michael Prescott - you're the professional, what do you think?"

I'm the wrong person to ask, since I haven't had much luck selling my own stuff lately. But it's not a bad idea, especially if handled in a humorous way.

The market may be flooded with psychic (and fake psychic) stuff right now: Medium, Ghost Whisperer, Psych, The Mentalist ... Still, it could work. Sounds a little like the Mel Gibson movie Conspiracy Theory, which had its moments.

Why can't materialist reasoning accept the possibility of spiritual existence? - MarkL
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The soul's lessons are embedded in our everyday lives and it learns holistically what it's supposed to learn whether want it to or not. To learn holistically means that the learning is embedded in our lives and we don't have to do anything to make it happen. Sort of like learning math while baking a cake or building a dog house. That is the way that little children learn before they ever start going to school. It's similar to the way that baby ducks and geese are imprinted on their mothers as soon as they are born. It's not conscious, it's just automatic. That is the way the soul learns about separation and being in a 3 dimensional + 1 time universe.

Jesus said "The poor are with you always." Why? Why can't we live in some kind of utopian society (like Sweden!) where there is enough for everyone? I think it's just the way the physical universe was made. If there are believers then there will be non-believers. Maybe it's in our genes? Who knows?

What I do know is that everything in this physical universe seems to exist in some kind of dual state. Male and female, gay and straight, black and white, tall and short, fat and skinny, Democrat and Republican, and the polarity that we experience seems to exist in everything.

I think it's that way for a reason and the reason is simple. It's to holistically imprint on the soul what it means and how it feels to be separate. The sum total of all the labels that we wear in life define who we are. Like computer code. After we cross over I think we don't lose that sense of self. It stays with us. We don't become reassimilated. Mark Horton said, "I was unique yet I was the tiniest part of the whole."

http://www.mindspring.com/~scottr/nde/markh.html

"How many years of testing has psi been through and produced results that are totally in accord with the laws of chance?"

Where ever did you get the idea that the results are in accord with chance? If that were the case, all testing would have ceased long ago. There have been countless experiments with results far outside the range of chance. The Ganzfeld tests are just one example. See Dean Radin's books The Conscious Universe and Entangled Minds, or the encyclopedic overview Irreducible Mind by Kelly & Kelly, et al.

"I'm thinking of turning it into an action movie: A guy gets laid off from work and starts watching John Edward reruns in the afternoon, he begins going to a spiritualist church, takes classes and becomes psychic...."
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That bears a very striking resemblance to me. I got laid off in 1998 and started watching John Edward's Crossing Over and became interested in life after death stuff, started researching Survival Science on the internet and found a link to NDE's and the holographic universe and the rest is history. Since then I've had several psychic and precognitive dreams and experiences.

What does everyone this of article talking about how consciousness does have a single seat in the brain.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16775-consciousness-signature-discovered-spanning-the-brain.html

I think we're looking at the problem wrong. Pseudo skepticism in most cases is a mental illness effecting a small part of the population. Most people, if presented with the evidence will accept the reality of psychic phenomens. Many people have had experiences of their own and know it's true from firsthand experience.

The real problem isn't skeptics. The problem is that the government isn't funding parapsychological research. The solution is to lobby congress not complain on the internet.

"What does everyone this of article talking about how consciousness does have a single seat in the brain."

I don't see how it proves the brain produces consciousness. Those results are also consistent with the hypothesis that the brain is a filter that transmits consciousness.

I have a post explaining the transmission model of consciousness here:

http://www.geocities.com/chs4o8pt/skeptical_fallacies.html#skeptical_fallacies_brain

Briefly:
Consciousness is functinally dependent on the brain. But there are different types of functional dependence. Production is one type, transmission is another. If the brain is a filter that transmits consciousness, those faculties of consciousness that pass through the filter are the faculties we have while incarnated. If the filter is turned off you have expanded consciousness which may explain what happens during an NDE. If the filter is damaged it might not transmit some faculties clearly and you have loss of some mental functions like what happend after a stroke or a head injury.

... During sleep, or anesthesia, or coma, the filter transmits nothing and you have no consciousness (unconsciousness).

The transmission explains NDE and other psychic experiences as well as everything the production model explains. Therefore the transmission model is superior to the production model.

"So your reader doesn't understand that a single experiment isn't actually accepted by scientists unless it can be repeated by others to the same result."

"Don't you think that if there were anything to psi it would have been validated by now?"

So what you are saying is, all that is true is demonstrably true by the scientific method, and if it is not demonstrably true by the scientific method, then it is false.

Did I get that right?

I really like the Dr. Pimm Van Lommel article at the IANDS website. He also makes a case for the brain being a reciever and transmitter of consciousness. It's a very good article.
http://www.iands.org/research/important_studies/dr._pim_van_lommel:_continuity_of_consciousness.html

Dr. Pimm Van Lommel is the guy who did the research and article for for the British Medical Journal Lancet.

http://www.iands.org/dutch_study.html

Don't we have in NDEs observations that have been repeated again and again. Vertical evidence has been confirmed in the Sabom, Van Lommel and the Sartori study.

To me the most amazing thing about NDE's is the connection between NDE's and the holographic universe. Many near death experiencers say things about their experience that sound very similar to what one might expect of or in a holographic universe. Feelings of oneness and connectedness, 360 degree vision, "all knowledge", during the life review feeling the feelings, emotions, and thoughts of the people they interacted with, communicating telepathically, time and space not existing, everything being made out of light, etc. Very strange. Also some near death experiences say things that sound very "quantum" like. Like stuff being made out of consciousness and what not. Buildings made out of knowledge, time and space not existing, more colors (wider spectrum of the light), more sound, etc. Also some NDE experiencers say that it was "more real" which I always found weird because how could it be "clearer" than clear? But I recently read an article in New Scientist magazine where they were talking about how in a holographic projection there is always a certain amount of blurriness because of the planck constant which says to me that perhaps in the holographic piece of film from which this side is projected from it might be clearer, like the soul somehow travels to the film from which this side originates?

"Prove that an unknown error didn't take place.

There is no magic bullet. "

There is a legend of a Sufi who could induce religious ecstasy that prevented recipients from speaking.

One day in a mosque, a vain scholar tried to debate him.

The Sufi perceived that the scholar was spiritually unadvanced, and invisibly conferred his blessing -- which had the side effect of striking the debater speechless in mid-sentence.

Of course, the Sufi wasn't just playing a prank ... he was improving the scholar's soul.

I am not a Sufi, but if I could have one "magic bullet," I think I would like the speechlessness-inducing blessing. I could keep starting debates with skeptics and blessing them until the correlation sunk in.


On a darker note, if there were any practical way to cause serious harm to someone by unambiguously paranormal means -- call it a curse -- it would be practical to simply curse those who did not believe in the paranormal, until finally common sense dictated that people should fear curses just as much as they fear being hit by a bus.

However, while curses might be real, I don't think I've ever seen an unambiguous curse.

Here is an dishonest intellectual claim

By Jay Novella

Psi has produce 100 years of nothing- no evidence whatsoever.

Hi Leo,

Who should I believe, Jay Novella or Brian Josephson, Nobel prize winner in physics:

On his web site at

http://www.tcm.phy.cam.ac.uk/~bdj10/psi/tucson.html

he writes:

"What are the implications for science of the fact that psychic functioning appears to be a real effect? These phenomena seem mysterious, but no more mysterious perhaps than strange phenomena of the past which science has now happily incorporated within its scope."

Of course if Jay Novella is allowed to define "evidence" as anything he likes, then he can trivially prove that any enterprise has produced any amount of "evidence" he desires.

It's not a question of trusting Novella or Josephson personally - it's a question of, "Are we working with a reasonable definition of 'evidence'?"

And incidentally, I might have to retract my comment on cursing -- Leo MacDonald has linked to JSE papers on cursing at

http://paranormalandlifeafterdeath.blogspot.com/

so perhaps the question is "How much karma would it cost to curse people?"

The final authority on the subject of life after death should be the Bible, which says: "A living dog is better than a dead lion, for the living know that they shall die, but the dead know not anything." Proverbs 9:5 and "His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish." Psalm 146:4 there are many more such texts, but suffice to say, if one really wants yo know what happens when one dies, the answer is in the Bible. And it probably isn't the one you expect.

"The final authority on the subject of life after death should be the Bible"

Why?

"there are many more such texts"

Most of the writers of the Hebrew Bible seem to have believed there is no life after death, though there are scattered references to Sheol, which apparently was viewed as a shadowy abode of wraithlike figures, similar to the Greek Hades.

Some of the later Jewish writings (the ones produced during the Maccabean revolt) take a different stance, saying there will be a glorious afterlife for those martyred in the struggle.

The New Testament, of course, insists there is eternal life for everyone, though only believers will go to heaven.

Other religions have their own sacred texts. I don't see why Jewish or Christian texts should be given priority over all the others.

In any event, although there is much wisdom in ancient writings, I don't recommend reliance on scriptures (of any tradition) when considering the issue of an afterlife. It's better to look at evidence gathered under more stringent conditions, I think.

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