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I've had a few afterthoughts. YouTube now allows regular posters who are popular (and who meet other criteria?) to have "channels" to which viewers can "subscribe" (i.e., get e-mail notifications when a new episode is posted).

In addition, channels that get a lot of subscribers, viewers, and up-votes get paid enough to make it possible to make a living of sorts as a regular YouTube Video-logger. So a DDY Challenge could pay for its overhead maybe six months after it got launched, so long as a few people volunteered their time to supervise the operation, edit footage, etc.

I hope that, once the protocols are firmed up and the glitches have been worked out, many of these tests could be conducted and video'd by college (or even HS?) students, under the supervision of their teachers.

Here's what I'm hoping would eventually happen. Every week or ten days there'd be a new episode. There could be multiple tests, starting with the colored-card-in-envelope test. The obvious next choices would be a staring-detection test and a telephone telepathy test. Testees for these two would be usually new each episode.

A protocol for envelope testing might be for the testee to put the white-card guesses in one pile, the dark-card guesses in another pile, and the temporarily unsure envelopes in a third pile, for ultimate evaluation by the testee at the end of the session.

Episodes could be 10 to 15 minutes long, depending on how much dead time was edited out and how much introductory material was included. There could be supplementary textual material too, and lots of links to other psi-related material.

"Betting" could be handled by allowing online viewers to donate money to an "umbrella" charity organization that, in turn, would donate contributions to either JREF or IONS (say), depending on whether the testee won or lost.

There could be an on-screen scoreboard showing the running total of hits, where appropriate. For instance, with envelope testing, the count would be updated after each envelope was opened on-screen. (Only the envelopes in one of the piles would have to be opened; the score of the other pile could be deduced from it.)

Total success rates for all episodes of this test to date could also be shown on the scoreboard. This would (hopefully) get really impressive after a year or two, showing the odds-against-chance approaching astronomical levels. (It would amount to a sort of meta-analysis.)

I could see this series becoming quite popular. People like quiz shows, and they're fascinated by the paranormal. I could also see TV networks buying rebroadcast rights to individual episodes and/or to a "Best Of" compilation.

Indeed, excellent comments by RK.

At the end of the day, I don't think our society is interested in doing this right now. As I've noted before, psi in the US is caught between fundie Christianity and fundie atheism, neither of which wants it to be true.

I think the cracks are showing in the armor, but it's at the grassroots level. The average person has some paranormal experiences or has friends that have had them. People are interested, and there's money to be made in media by feeding those interests, but the elites definitely don't want to go through the revolution right now of admitting that a new worldview is in order.

Give it another 10-20 years, though.

The YouTube idea is clever, but if you really let skeptics run it, they would put out such a bad vibe that they would probably quash the psi one way or another. You'd really need at trusted neutral people.

As well as on Youtube, you could do it on The People's Voice.

Matt Rouge says:

"The YouTube idea is clever, but if you really let skeptics run it, they would put out such a bad vibe that they would probably quash the psi one way or another. You'd really need at trusted neutral people."
OK. But Skeptics would have to be looking over the shoulder (via webcams or Skype, or in person off-stage) to make sure to no safeguards against cheating or error were omitted. And the Neutrals would have to be educated by them in the ways previous tests have been flawed.

Alternatively, or in addition, there are certain Skeptics who lack the evil eye (so to speak). One notable (Bigfoot) Skeptic I dealt with personally (now deceased) would qualify: Michael Dennett. There are skeptical magicians who are also civilized--I've interacted with at least one. I gather that Chris French in England doesn't put out too bad a vibe--Rupert Sheldrake is happy to assist his attempted replication of telephone telepathy.

RK,

Fair enough!

One other thing that skeptics do, however, is never accept statistical justification for anything.

1/1,000 chance and he gets it? Well, he just got lucky that one time! It's bound to happen now and then. After all, it's not like 1 in a trillion or something.

Oh, but we've got a *bunch* of guys who have done that?

Oh have you, really?

Yeah, look at this meta-analysis! There's only a 1 in a zillion chance that this was due to chance!

[Per Michael's observation in the last post] Oh, but that meta-analysis has been DEBUNKED! Didn't you know Prof. Aldritch of Melbourne U scattered that to the four winds?

Oh no he didn't, in fact... [arcane arguments about complicated statistics follow that laypeople can't possibly follow].

You really can't win with these people. They will never, EVER admit that anything on their proscribed list of phenomena has been proved true. It's going to be fraud or error forever as far as they are concerned.

Thanks for engaging with me, Matt. "Engagement" of this sort allows me to flesh out my proposal. I urge others to step up to the plate.
======

Matt says:
You really can't win with these people. They will never, EVER admit that anything on their proscribed list of phenomena has been proved true. It's going to be fraud or error forever as far as they are concerned.
But we CAN win. We don't need to get them to make an admission. We need only play the "Why Don't You Take the DDY Challenge?!" card, as they have been doing successfully with the MD Challenge for decades, and their credibility will be shot. They can't decline to bet against the psychic of the month on the DDYC YouTube show if they expect to be taken seriously.

The DDY Challenge offers Skeptics even odds to bet for an outcome that ought to occur 60% or so of the time. If they won't take such a bet, they're chicken, and we can refute them thus: "Pock, Pock, Pock!"

PS: Matt wrote: "One other thing that skeptics do, however, is never accept statistical justification for anything."
But JREF did accept the CONCEPT of a statistical proof at 1000 to 1 odds when it negotiated with Pavel Ziberov.
"1/1,000 chance and he gets it? Well, he just got lucky that one time! It's bound to happen now and then. After all, it's not like 1 in a trillion or something."
But that reasoning implies that Skeptics ought to keep betting forever against the monthly psychic, because the odds are on their side in the long run.
Four comments upthread, Matt wrote: "I don't think our society is interested in doing this right now. As I've noted before, psi in the US is caught between fundie Christianity and fundie atheism, neither of which wants it to be true."
I disagree that those two "fundies" constitute anywhere near a majority of our society. They're just the most intense opinionaters.

BTW, what's this site's opinion on how easy it will be to find psychics who can score 55% or better, 90% of the time, in 100 trials in a Black-or-White-card-in-an-envelope test?

I'm hoping there are at least a dozen in the US who can do so and who would like to participate as a testee. (It would help if they live near a large city where Skeptics and organizers can also be found, or if they are willing to drive there.)

PS: Wouldn't it be great if some psychics could do envelope-reading via a webcam or Skype. That would simplify the logistics greatly--and also reduce the opportunities for cheating. (However I seem to recall that the renowned Polish psychic Stefan Ossowiecke wanted to touch the envelopes whose contents he was detecting.)

RK,

I'm glad to help. I probably have seemed more negative toward your idea than I really am, as perhaps my following comments will show...

||But we CAN win. We don't need to get them to make an admission. We need only play the "Why Don't You Take the DDY Challenge?!" card, as they have been doing successfully with the MD Challenge for decades, and their credibility will be shot. They can't decline to bet against the psychic of the month on the DDYC YouTube show if they expect to be taken seriously.||

I think we can win and such a show would be a cool idea. I think the winning would consist, however, of showing non-skeptics that this stuff is real. Skeptics would relate to your show in whatever way is best for their polemics. Dodging, taking potshots, denouncing from the sidelines. If a skeptic participated to ensure that the protocols were legit, then s/he would simply be denounced as a non-skeptic and woo fellow traveler, etc.

||The DDY Challenge offers Skeptics even odds to bet for an outcome that ought to occur 60% or so of the time. If they won't take such a bet, they're chicken, and we can refute them thus: "Pock, Pock, Pock!"||

Yes. The Randi Challenge was a stroke of genius on the part of the skeptics. It has allowed them to say for decades, "Well, if that were true, he/she/it/they/you could win a million dollars!" Now, we know that the Challenge is bollocks, but then we have to argue, again and again, why the challenge is bollocks, which then is a distraction from the original arguments.

It would be nice to have something like that on our side, albeit legit. "Hey, if you're a skeptic, are you betting on these challenges? No? Why not?"

The other issue I see is that negation is easy, proving something is hard. I'm not sure psi challenges could be held again and again and deliver results like clockwork. Getting psychics to deviate positively from chance is not that hard; getting them to consistently beat 1000-to-1 odds is probably not easy.

||But JREF did accept the CONCEPT of a statistical proof at 1000 to 1 odds when it negotiated with Pavel Ziberov.||

If he were to get it, however, they would just say that he happened to get *really* lucky that one day. Or they would accuse him of cheating, etc.

IIRC, one Randi challenge for a dowser was to guess which of a pair of cups had something in it--and he had to get 20/20 right. That's a 1/1,048,576 chance of it happening by chance! It's just ridiculous. So... if he got 19/20 right, then his ability *wasn't* proven? Lol.

||I disagree that those two "fundies" constitute anywhere near a majority of our society. They're just the most intense opinionaters.||

They also have outsized influence. For example, maybe 75% of a fundie congregation might have personal experience of psi. But the preacher can't admit that psi is real. Same thing with the media, which are cowed by atheist-materialist "scientific" authorities.


Hi again, Matt. Thanks for volleying with me. Here are my responses to certain of your statements:

"If a skeptic participated to ensure that the protocols were legit, then s/he would simply be denounced as a non-skeptic and woo fellow traveler, etc."
Some Skeptics would resort to that tactic out of desperation if the DDY Challenge were consistent over a long period in embarrassing Skeptics, and/or if some reasonable-sounding objection to the DDYC's premises or procedures could be offered. But I can't see how such objections could be made, given the degree of control the DDYC's procedures would grant the Skeptics. (The "file drawer" objection wouldn't be credible, because if an episode with unfavorable results were "pulled," the Skeptic overseeing it would squawk.)

I can't imagine any plausible objection to the premises of the DDYC, except the far-fetched and unconvincing objection that Bayesian statistics should be used.

I don't think that such sniping would cow enough potential Skeptical overseers to make a difference. There is a large candidate pool -- maybe 1000 persons with good enough Skeptical "cred" to be acceptable prima facie participants -- out of whom many would be undaunted. Many of them are so deluded that they sincerely believe their own side's baloney about Skeptics "only asking to see the evidence," "only wanting to ensure that no cheating or unconscious bias is involved," etc.

If such sniping DID prevent participation by all "credible" Skeptics, it would amount to chickening out, and would be perceived as such by the general.

"Yes. The Randi Challenge was a stroke of genius on the part of the skeptics. . . . It would be nice to have something like that on our side . . . ."
Exactly! That was what got me started on this idea.
"I'm not sure psi challenges could be held again and again and deliver results like clockwork. Getting psychics to deviate positively from chance is not that hard; getting them to consistently beat 1000-to-1 odds is probably not easy."
Well, Stefan Ossowiecke did so, and so apparently has Joe McMonegal (sp?), but those people are 1 in a billion.

That's why I lowered the bar in my subsequent comments here to (roughly) 2-to-1 or 60% odds, per my guesstimate that that would equate to 55 hits out of 100 trials (or, for the sake of brevity on a TV show, 28 hits out of 50). That rate ought to be achievable, especially if our side is allowed to substitute-in whatever psychic is currently “running hot” in our pre-trial warm-ups, to skirt the decline effect. (Such substitution oughtn’t to be objectionable from a Skeptical perspective, because Skeptics disbelieve in the existence of a “hot hand”—and doubly so when it comes to psychic performance.)

Even if Skeptics occasionally win a bet, because the psychic didn’t get over the 2-to-1 “bar,” that would only win a battle in a losing war. What would matter more, at the end of 10 months, or 100 months, would be the psychics’ TOTAL hit rate. 580 (say) hits out of 1000 would amount to beating 1-in-500 (per my SWAG) odds. 5,800 hits out of 10,000 would be an astronomical achievement—one that would completely drain Randi’s $1 million, if JREF had the nerve to put its money where its mouth is.

However, psychics are unlikely to achieve such a high score in envelope-guessing. Rhine didn’t get such results, IIRC, with his similar Zener-card tests. Our side ought to focus on tests where high scores come more easily to more people, such as staring-detection and telephone telepathy, even though the latter test would be more complicated to monitor to Skeptics’ satisfaction.

“IIRC, one Randi challenge for a dowser was to guess which of a pair of cups had something in it--and he had to get 20/20 right. That's a 1/1,048,576 chance of it happening by chance! It's just ridiculous. So... if he got 19/20 right, then his ability *wasn't* proven? Lol.”
Randi had to act that way, because his $1 million was at risk. To avoid that sort of over-the-top behavior, a test set-up should involve bets of much smaller amounts of money over multiple tests that stretch out over time, to diminish the devastating effect of lucky hits and to enable constant adjustment of procedures to correct perceived possible flaws.

BTW, I think dowsing would be a good ability to test, partly because it is so common, and partly because I think such tests would “make good TV.” I don’t accept the negative results Randi (et al.?) has obtained with running water as conclusive, because dowsing is used successfully by workers for utility and construction companies to locate something different: pipes and cables.

I think dowsers could be taken blindfolded by Skeptics to sites where there are blueprints documenting the locations of such items underground and successfully locate them. A few successful tests could be dismissed by Skeptics as lucky hits, but a string of successes would require an absurd conspiracy theory to explain away.

“They also have outsized influence. For example, maybe 75% of a fundie congregation might have personal experience of psi. But the preacher can't admit that psi is real. Same thing with the media, which are cowed by atheist-materialist "scientific" authorities.”
The solution is to switch to a new playing field where such censorious gatekeepers lack much influence, like YouTube.

Take it away, Zanuck! (Or IONS, or . . . .)

BTW, I am trying to recall if the one challenge I mentioned above had not a 20/20 requirement but a 10/10 requirement. That would be a 1/1,024 chance.

The thing is, a 1/1,000-ish chance would be a bad bet for the JRF when 1,000,000 is on the line. That gives you a mathematical expectation of losing a significant amount of money= .001 * 1,000,000 = 1,000. You would *expect* to lose a grand every time you took that bet! And, realistically speaking, if they were testing people all the time with those odds, eventually they would lose. I mean, test 1,000 people, you would expect to lose the million bucks once.

This is another flaw in the JRE challenge that I have not seen mentioned much. A million bucks is enough money that the odds need to be set arbitrarily high to ensure that the dough isn't lost. But the stakes are of course higher than just the money. Losing would mean the JRE, and by extension the whole skeptical community, would have to admit that something they considered paranormal is real. Of course, they can't allow that to happen.

So there is a disconnect between what odds they have to "charge" and what actual statisticians and scientists would consider "fair" to prove that a phenomenon is real. This isn't just academic; things like the efficacy of drugs have to be proven all the time with stats, and we certainly don't require 1/1,000,000 odds to do it.

Matt says: "A million bucks is enough money that the odds need to be set arbitrarily high to ensure that the dough isn't lost. But the stakes are of course higher than just the money. Losing would mean the JRE, and by extension the whole skeptical community, would have to admit that something they considered paranormal is real. Of course, they can't allow that to happen.

"So there is a disconnect between what odds they have to "charge" and what actual statisticians and scientists would consider "fair" to prove that a phenomenon is real."

Yep. Now that you've mentioned it, this is a reason for not allowing capital-S Skeptics to be in charge of all the testing. Presumptively neutral persons like professors of psychology should be allowed to oversee many of the tests. Since psychology professors are more skeptical of the paranormal than any other branch of academia, Skeptics should not find this objectionable on its face.

Each professor might oversee only one or two tests per year. This rotating oversight would tend to prevent either "side" in the debate from getting a stranglehold on the operation of the DDY Challenge.

Professors would be given a set of guidelines for conducting each type of test. These guidelines would be fleshed out and modified as experience accumulates. Any variations from the guidelines in any test should be documented. (This is to prevent Skeptical professors from employing procedures that are intended to block the operation of psi and deliver a negative result. One such professor has published a paper claiming a negative result for the staring test, when the variations on Sheldrake’s test that he introduced had nothing to do with preventing cheating or “leakage.”)

A video file containing the test would be e-mailed to the Oversight Committee at IONS or wherever, which would edit it, or send it back for re-doing, or add commentary before and after it, and finally post it on its YouTube channel, which would automatically alert all channel subscribers.

Neither IONS, nor the professors, nor any Skeptics on the Oversight committee would suffer monetary loss from any outcome of a weekly or monthly test. Betting would be done by uninvolved persons and organizations. (There probably should be a rule that persons involved in the testing shouldn't be betting on the outcomes.)

RK,

Interesting conversation, yes!

||Some Skeptics would resort to that tactic out of desperation if the DDY Challenge were consistent over a long period in embarrassing Skeptics, and/or if some reasonable-sounding objection to the DDYC's premises or procedures could be offered. But I can't see how such objections could be made, given the degree of control the DDYC's procedures would grant the Skeptics.||

They wouldn't accept any control, is the thing. Pick any lobbying group. What they are for or against is their whole raison d'etre. If any member gets convinced, they will just be kicked out. The group itself will do anything and everything to advance its position. The would probably just take the tactic of scoffing at the show and use what I call the "fallacy of the glancing blow," by which any tiny flaw they can possibly find is treated as though it discredits the whole. Insofar as the show was deleterious to their position, they would avoid it like Fukushima on a windy day. Deny deny deny, avoid avoid avoid.

||I can't imagine any plausible objection to the premises of the DDYC, except the far-fetched and unconvincing objection that Bayesian statistics should be used.||

Right, so they would use implausible objections.

Don't get me wrong. I like the idea of the show. We need a consistent platform with some credible controls for psychics to strut their stuff a bit. And it could be a weapon for our side of the debate with the public at large. But the skeptics won't budge an inch. They are inevitably going to lose members over time (not that they are a huge group now, just intelligent and well-organized and possessed of a dogma on which it's easy to maintain consensus: deny everything!), but I think they will still exist well after psi is accepted in the mainstream.

||If such sniping DID prevent participation by all "credible" Skeptics, it would amount to chickening out, and would be perceived as such by the general.||

I agree.

||Exactly! That was what got me started on this idea.||

It's a good idea. I was mostly just disagreeing with how skeptics would relate to it.

||That's why I lowered the bar in my subsequent comments here to (roughly) 2-to-1 or 60% odds, per my guesstimate that that would equate to 55 hits out of 100 trials (or, for the sake of brevity on a TV show, 28 hits out of 50). That rate ought to be achievable, especially if our side is allowed to substitute-in whatever psychic is currently “running hot” in our pre-trial warm-ups, to skirt the decline effect. (Such substitution oughtn’t to be objectionable from a Skeptical perspective, because Skeptics disbelieve in the existence of a “hot hand”—and doubly so when it comes to psychic performance.)||

Remember that people are incredibly, almost preternaturally stupid about statistics. They will appreciate a skeptic beating big odds, but little victories over time will be hard for them to understand, especially with media skeptics telling lies the whole time.

||Even if Skeptics occasionally win a bet, because the psychic didn’t get over the 2-to-1 “bar,” that would only win a battle in a losing war. What would matter more, at the end of 10 months, or 100 months, would be the psychics’ TOTAL hit rate. 580 (say) hits out of 1000 would amount to beating 1-in-500 (per my SWAG) odds. 5,800 hits out of 10,000 would be an astronomical achievement—one that would completely drain Randi’s $1 million, if JREF had the nerve to put its money where its mouth is.||

They would not participate in the betting.

||Randi had to act that way, because his $1 million was at risk. To avoid that sort of over-the-top behavior, a test set-up should involve bets of much smaller amounts of money over multiple tests that stretch out over time, to diminish the devastating effect of lucky hits and to enable constant adjustment of procedures to correct perceived possible flaws.||

Yep, I ended up talking about this in my next post here.

||I think dowsers could be taken blindfolded by Skeptics to sites where there are blueprints documenting the locations of such items underground and successfully locate them. A few successful tests could be dismissed by Skeptics as lucky hits, but a string of successes would require an absurd conspiracy theory to explain away.||

They will be happy to provide that! "Maybe Uri Geller could see through this hole in the wall that was up high and through which a bunch of cables were run. Yeah, that's how he did it..."

||The solution is to switch to a new playing field where such censorious gatekeepers lack much influence, like YouTube.||

I would welcome and support it!

Matt says: “I would welcome and support it!”
OK, that makes two of us—only 9,998 to go!
“Remember that people are incredibly, almost preternaturally stupid about statistics. They will appreciate a skeptic [sic—“psychic” meant?] beating big odds, but little victories over time will be hard for them to understand, especially with media skeptics telling lies the whole time.”
First, I think you mis-typed “skeptic” for “psychic.” Second, people aren’t all that stupid about statistics. Sports fans and poker players are surprisingly sophisticated about them. Third, people do understand the concept that “the house has the edge, and that edge wins for it over the long haul.” Since they understand that, they can understand that “little victories over time” signify that psychics have the edge over Skeptics.
“They [JREF] would not participate in the betting.”
Well, maybe not as an organization, but JREF members (and other Skeptics) should; and JREF ought to make it easy for them by including a Meet the Challenge bet-donation button of its site. It’s a lose/lose situation for Skeptics: they’ll lose if they bet, and they’ll lose if they chicken out of betting.
“They will be happy to provide that [absurd explaining-away]! "Maybe Uri Geller could see through this hole in the wall that was up high and through which a bunch of cables were run. Yeah, that's how he did it..."”
Skeptics were able to get away with baloney like that because the venue, including the wall, of SRI’s test of Geller wasn’t videotaped and online. No longer! The audience will not distrust their eyes when they can see that a Skeptic’s “explanation” is preposterous.
“If any member gets convinced, they will just be kicked out. The group itself will do anything and everything to advance its position. . . . Insofar as the show was deleterious to their position, they would avoid it like Fukushima on a windy day. Deny deny deny, avoid avoid avoid.”
But when the whole world is watching, so to speak, such groupthink–based “denialism” would become counterproductive. Furthermore, I’m sure that many Skeptics are realistic and honest enough to realize how it would appear to outsiders and would resist such unprincipled behavior—and not just because it “looks bad.”
“We need a consistent platform with some credible controls for psychics to strut their stuff a bit. And it could be a weapon for our side of the debate with the public at large.”
Yes! I think having a central video outlet for psychic testing overseen by an organization that would filter out the chaff would be a “winning” move.

I think that there should be several levels of “The Psychic Show” (or whatever we call it). The first level would involve tests overseen by the sponsoring organization, such as I initially proposed on this thread. The second would not—it would include tests overseen by professors or teachers. Results of such tests would and should not “count” as much as results of the first. A third level would be the rebroadcast of tapes of previous tests, such as Sheldrake’s and/or Wiseman’s test of Jay-Tee (sp?), the dog who, it is claimed, knew when his owner was coming home. (I hope there is previously unseen or rarely seen footage of other controversial psychics of the past, like Ted Serios, etc.)

Also, YouTube comments should be enabled beneath each test-thread. Any worthwhile suggestions or critiques posted there should be taken into account in future testing. It might actually take years to refine procedures enough to satisfy all reasonable onjections—but if it must be so, so be it.

“ But the skeptics won't budge an inch.”
We won’t know until we try. I suspect that, at a minimum, lots of them will be wobbled in their faith, even if they won’t publicly and initially admit it. The result of that would be a reduction in the quantity and vociferousness of Skeptical comments and threads on psi, which would be a “win” of sorts for us.

Beyond that, I think there would be, over time, a softening of the public positions of big-name Skeptics on psi, and even a few conversions—especially of persons directly involved in overseeing the testing.

Holdouts among Skeptics might refuse to budge an inch, but they’d become isolated behind enemy lines and irrelevant to the outcome of the battle. They’d actually become public embarrassments to the Cause of Skepticism (truth-through-testing, supposedly).

Can somebody explain to me why this "psychic" can't get it right 100% of the time?

Can somebody explain to me why Hank Aaron couldn't hit a home run 100% of the time?

His lifetime batting average was .305, meaning he struck out almost 70% of the time!

Obviously the guy was a fake.

Okay, more seriously ...

Psi seems to encounter a lot of interference from normal sensory input, subconscious influences, even the emotional vibes of the people around you. And like any intuitive skill, it is hard to control. That's why it's known as a "wild talent."

It's also why the Stargate program was eventually closed down. The remote viewers exhibited spectacular hits but also blatant misses. Their abilities couldn't be written off as mere chance, but also couldn't be depended on when sending (say) special ops teams into combat. There was just too much fluctuation in the quality of their output - sometimes amazing, sometimes lousy.

If psi were 100% accurate, there would be no controversy about its existence. But it's maddeningly unpredictable. Psychics have good days and bad days, just like athletes who get on a winning streak or go into a slump, or writers who turn out fluent prose one day and feel blocked the next.

Human abilities, especially when creative or intuitive in nature, are just not as reliable as the workings of a well-maintained machine.


"Can somebody explain to me why Hank Aaron couldn't hit a home run 100% of the time? His lifetime batting average was .305, meaning he struck out almost 70% of the time!"

Michael, Michael! Your baseball knowledge is atrocious, more than a lifelong fan can stand! :)

Batting average has nothing to do with strikeouts or home runs. Remember-- there are groundouts to consider too, as well as flyouts, singles, doubles and so on.

Your point is a good one, though, and applies to many professions. (Though maybe not surgeons.)

Back in the days when I was an outside sales rep, I used to use that same baseball analogy to get through the days when no one was buying. I'd think to myself, the best baseball players are paid to make an out 70% of the time!

It helped a lot. Until it stopped helping, anyway, and I gave up the notion of being rich, and got back into music and teaching.

This matter of percentage of psychic success is reminding me of a project that currently has me thoroughly engaged--studying my precognitive dreams. I've got all my recorded dreams (about 200) entered into an Excel table, and it's now clear to me that a rather startling percentage of them are psychic (at least, to my satisfaction).

I don't want to share that figure yet, but I couldn't resist putting out a teaser into this relevant conversation.

Not the same Paul as me - FYI :)

RK,

I think your show is a good idea, but it will have to be managed *very* carefully. Apropos of Michael's comment, have you read "The Trickster and the Paranormal" by George P. Hansen? I'm almost done with it, and I would call it required reading for anyone on our side of the debate. Hansen points out the marginal nature of psi and how orgs working with it tend to be unstable.

I think Hansen is right, although I don't think he knew the reason why (he seems to believe it's inherently unstable). I think psi is unstable because we access psi for the most part when we engage in 4D thought, that is, access the Fourth Dimension, which is the Astral Plane. The Astral is an inherently unstable dimension of thoughtforms (my studies point me in the direction of believing that all non-prime even dimensions are unstable too). Psi doesn't end with the 4th, of course. The Afterlife is 5D and above, and psi exists there too, naturally. That is why, when New Agers talk about "Ascension," they always talk about attaining 5D, never 4D. The reason is that 4D is no stopping point.

So, on your show, you are going to have people working in 4D a lot of the time, and that has repercussions. It will tend to inject a chaotic vibration into the proceedings. This is also why religions have tried to keep people from using psi: hanging out in the Astral can produce impressive results, but it's not very conducive to spiritual development.

Now, if you had 5D psychics on there, it would be different. But they are very rare; spiritually attuned people are just starting to go 5D, and that process itself can be quite rough.

Some more thoughts:

||First, I think you mis-typed “skeptic” for “psychic.”||

Yep!

||Second, people aren’t all that stupid about statistics. Sports fans and poker players are surprisingly sophisticated about them.||

And I have an MBA and did lots of quant and understand them to some degree too. But people who are into stats are not the norm!

Imagine someone getting 52,000 hits out of 100,000--quite significantly above chance to someone who understands these things. A layperson could look at that and say, "Dunno, it doesn't seem like that much." I have tried to explain the significant results obtained in the Ganzfeld experiments to people and received blank stares.

That is the trouble arguing about these things with laypeople. The are *not* qualified to make judgments about meta-analyses. Only a "real" statistician can. Well, the skeptics can find one to deny anything, and we have ours, and then it becomes a proxy war with our experts against their experts.

||Third, people do understand the concept that “the house has the edge, and that edge wins for it over the long haul.” Since they understand that, they can understand that “little victories over time” signify that psychics have the edge over Skeptics.||

Yes, you have a good point. Putting one's money where one's mouth is has an effect. If the psychics kept making money via the show, that would count for something.

||Well, maybe not as an organization, but JREF members (and other Skeptics) should; and JREF ought to make it easy for them by including a Meet the Challenge bet-donation button of its site. It’s a lose/lose situation for Skeptics: they’ll lose if they bet, and they’ll lose if they chicken out of betting.||

If people *do* start losing money on the show, the skeptics will say that it's rigged, the show is ripping off innocent people, etc. It just occurred to me that the legal implications are also dicey. Gambling laws and whatnot.

||Skeptics were able to get away with baloney like that because the venue, including the wall, of SRI’s test of Geller wasn’t videotaped and online. No longer! The audience will not distrust their eyes when they can see that a Skeptic’s “explanation” is preposterous.||

Yes, this will be quite helpful.

||But when the whole world is watching, so to speak, such groupthink–based “denialism” would become counterproductive. Furthermore, I’m sure that many Skeptics are realistic and honest enough to realize how it would appear to outsiders and would resist such unprincipled behavior—and not just because it “looks bad.”||

Skeptics don't resist unprincipled behavior--they epitomize it! They are a social club, a secular religion, and a lobbying group. If someone does not toe the dogma line, they are no longer a member of the club.

I think members of this group are going to diminish over time. But 20 years from now, or 50, or whenever it becomes acknowledged by the media and general population that psi is real, I think there will still be "skeptics" toeing the line of old-school atheism, just as there are those who deny evolution because of their religion.

||Yes! I think having a central video outlet for psychic testing overseen by an organization that would filter out the chaff would be a “winning” move.||

I think it would have lots of interesting results, and just one of them would be sticking it to skeptics, so I applaud the idea!

||I think that there should be several levels of “The Psychic Show” (or whatever we call it). The first level would involve tests overseen by the sponsoring organization, such as I initially proposed on this thread. The second would not—it would include tests overseen by professors or teachers. Results of such tests would and should not “count” as much as results of the first. A third level would be the rebroadcast of tapes of previous tests, such as Sheldrake’s and/or Wiseman’s test of Jay-Tee (sp?), the dog who, it is claimed, knew when his owner was coming home. (I hope there is previously unseen or rarely seen footage of other controversial psychics of the past, like Ted Serios, etc.)||

These are really great ideas, and... well, I hope you make moves to make this a reality!

||Also, YouTube comments should be enabled beneath each test-thread. Any worthwhile suggestions or critiques posted there should be taken into account in future testing. It might actually take years to refine procedures enough to satisfy all reasonable onjections—but if it must be so, so be it.||

Yes, feedback would be valuable. Maybe having a dedicated web forum for sincere contributors would be good to have in addition to YouTube comments.

||We won’t know until we try. I suspect that, at a minimum, lots of them will be wobbled in their faith, even if they won’t publicly and initially admit it. The result of that would be a reduction in the quantity and vociferousness of Skeptical comments and threads on psi, which would be a “win” of sorts for us.||

A show done with a superb level of quality and readily apparent integrity could do this. Anything less than that would be blood in the water to them (they will attack *any* possible thing they can, whether it's pertinent to the truth value of the content or not). That said, even an imperfect show could convince non-combatants.

||Holdouts among Skeptics might refuse to budge an inch, but they’d become isolated behind enemy lines and irrelevant to the outcome of the battle. They’d actually become public embarrassments to the Cause of Skepticism (truth-through-testing, supposedly).||

Well, this last sentence shows a misunderstanding of skeptics! They have a rigid belief system that they *brand* as being open to new evidence. But they are *not* open to new evidence qua evidence. That's why I like your show idea, however: the only real thing that can change the way skeptics relate to the evidence is to have the evidence publicly aired and publicly accepted. Yes, this will cause some faith wobbling and some desertions in the skeptical armed forces, but more importantly it will make them much less potent as influencers of the fence-sitters.

A really good example is gay marriage right now. When gays were closeted and not unified, they had little power. Now that they are out, people realize that their friends and relatives are gay, and they support them. Does this convince the fundie Christians to change their minds? Some, but the mass acceptance of gay people as just people has blown away the influence of the preachers and whatnot on this issue.

I think the same thing is going to happen with psi. Right now there is social shame attached to calling yourself a psychic and talking about one's paranormal experiences. The reality of NDEs has eroded this quite a bit--people talk about them more now, so a lot of people have friends and relatives that have had them. Your show could help more people come out of the psychic closet. Critical mass is achieved, and then people would then just scoff at the skeptics: "Psi is a THING, dude!"

So please do your show!

Bruce, what I don't know about baseball fills many books. I didn't even like "Field of Dreams." :-)

Paul, I sorta thought it was a different person ...

....just sayin' :)

Thank you for the article, it is rather useful, will certainly try to experiment what you have indicated... there may be only one point I want to mention in more detail, My partner and i wrote an e-mail to your handle about it.

Matt Rouge said: “I think your show is a good idea, but it will have to be managed *very* carefully.”
Yes. Or maybe No—it could be that “a fiasco-by-fiasco approach to perfection” (as advocated by Stewart Brand) is the way to go—or anyway is unavoidable. (One book that should help a bit is YouTube: An Insider’s Guide to Climbing the Charts by Lastufka & Dean.)

A source of steady and substantial income, ideally from a bequest, would give The Psychic Show a chance of being run professionally—and would give it the initial traction most start-ups lack.

“A show done with a superb level of quality and readily apparent integrity could do this. Anything less than that would be blood in the water to them (they will attack *any* possible thing they can, whether it's pertinent to the truth value of the content or not).”
I agree. But I think that their attacks could be countered in the Comments columns, and by follow-up re-tests that leave no room for nit-picking. A large quantity of successful Staring Tests, done by different professors in different venues, would have a cumulative impact. (“Quantity has a quality all its own.”)

There’s no way to avoid a “running battle” with Skeptics. But here we have a chance of winning the war, or at least of winning most battles, after a few years.

“That said, even an imperfect show could convince non-combatants.”
That’s something I’m counting on.
“Apropos of Michael's comment, have you read ‘The Trickster and the Paranormal’ by George P. Hansen? . . . . Hansen points out the marginal nature of psi and how orgs working with it tend to be unstable.”
I haven’t read it yet, but it’s on my to-do list. From what I gather about it, I’m already sensitive to the trickiness of the topic that it talks about. Wheels within wheels, shifting sands, and all that. (See also p. 92 of the book I cite below.)
“So, on your show, you are going to have people working in 4D a lot of the time, and that has repercussions. It will tend to inject a chaotic vibration into the proceedings. . . . . Now, if you had 5D psychics on there, it would be different. But they are very rare; spiritually attuned people are just starting to go 5D, and that process itself can be quite rough.”
Too bad we can’t reincarnate Stefan Ossowieki. (See Ch. 2 of Stephen Schwartz’s book, The Secret Vaults of Time.) Schwartz wrote of him, “He was not so much a psychic as a man deeply committed to a spiritual pilgrimage in his inner life.” (pp. 67–68) So evidently he was at the 5D level—and was therefore able to perform consistently at an astoundingly high level (p. 67).
“That is the trouble arguing about these things with laypeople. The[y] are *not* qualified to make judgments about meta-analyses. Only a "real" statistician can. Well, the skeptics can find one to deny anything, and we have ours, and then it becomes a proxy war with our experts against their experts.”
Skeptics have been able to get away with that My-Expert counterpoint because the dispute has been diffuse. There’s never been a centralized court of public opinion on universally accessible video where the consensus of statistical experts has been summoned up to issue a judgment on the claims of Skeptical expert-phonies such as Wiseman. Dozens of true experts could be video’d testifying that Skeptical attempts to explain away the Ganzfield studies are bunk.

Ideally, statistical organizations could also be prevailed upon to examine Wiseman’s claims and officially disavow and debunk them. (This latter probably would require the involvement of a big TV network production company, to lend presumptive neutrality to the process and to make it awkward for Skeptics to dodge cross-examination.)

“If people *do* start losing money on the show, the skeptics will say that it's rigged, . . .”
Well, one thing they could do (and will do, if they are sincere) would be to set up THEIR OWN Psychic Show (“The Thousand Dollar Challenge”?)—and then WE can argue (convincingly I think) that THEIRS is the one that is rigged. When both sides let it all hang out, allowing for side-by-side comparisons of their claims and counter-claims on YouTube’s archives, with comments and links enabled, the public and its opinion leaders will finally have a way to see the controversy steadily and see it whole, and thereby be able to accurately assess the credibility of such Slimy Scoftic Subterfuges.
“. . . the show is ripping off innocent people, etc.”
Scoftics would be the losing bettors, and they can’t credibly claim wide-eyed innocence. The Psychic Show itself (as such) wouldn’t be taking money from anyone—winnings would just flow through it to those individuals and organizatons that bet and won.
“It just occurred to me that the legal implications are also dicey. Gambling laws and whatnot.”
The Long Bet organization gets around that by treating bets as donations to one of two charitable foundations, depending on the outcome. Neither of the “bettors” wins anything, so no gambling “in the meaning of the act” is involved. This Long Bet model is what I originally espoused in my comments at the top of the thread.

If Intrade were still in business, or if it manages to resuscitate itself, it could handle betting from its home base in Ireland, where it’s legal. (US participants must mail checks to it, or use a “bank wire,” since the US won’t allow credit card companies or PayPal to make transfers to companies involved in online gambling. (Maybe Bitcoin would work, once its volatility settles down.))

The US “Feds” may eventually relent on opposition to online gambling, since it would be a source of tax revenue. Or maybe enough US states will allow online gambling within their boundaries, and across their boundaries to other states with which they have a pact, to allow most US residents to make bets.

“Skeptics don't resist unprincipled behavior--they epitomize it!”
That assertion is an instance of the fallacy of division (that what is true of a collective entity is true of all its components). There are SOME who are principled—and many more who would be if they were, so to speak, put “under oath” (in an effective court of public opinion), instead of just shooting off their mouths in their echo chambers without potential consequences (of immediate refutation before the whole world and ensuing embarrassment).
“They are a social club, a secular religion, and a lobbying group. If someone does not toe the dogma line, they are no longer a member of the club.”
They wouldn’t be able to banish Hyman if he were to say that he could find no flaws in the procedures and findings of the Psychic Show. He came close to saying that about the Ganzfield tests. He was able to work collaboratively with psi researcher Honornton.
“I think members of this group are going to diminish over time.”
I think there’s been a lowering of the reasonableness of the Skeptical movement over the decades. Craig Weiler wrote in Psi Wars:
“I’m also not seeing the same kind of confidence in the skeptics that do go online and argue. . . . they seem to have lost some of their mainstream appeal. . . . I see . . . less of the more even-handed type of skepticism. Skepticism seems to be losing the middle ground.”
(Kindle Location 4481)
BTW, here are some other juicy quotes from Weiler’s book:
“The science of parapsychology has slowly made its way onto the Internet and is circumnavigating skeptical interference and forcing a sharing of facts. As a result, more people are becoming aware of the enormous gap between the facts of parapsychology and the skeptical mainstream viewpoint . . . . This is creating a cultural storm that could not have taken place at any other time in history. . . . All of western society is having to face its ultimate heart of darkness.” (Location 210)

“This was the first time I had seen so many well-informed people come out of the woodwork in support of the other [paranormal] side. . . . Most of the time, these discussions are overwhelmed with such intense skeptical negativity that most people give up trying to discuss anything. . . .”
“But, at TED, people were arguing with the assumption that their opinion might be meaningful and they trusted the crew at TED to take them seriously.”

“The open discussion that took place is the kind of situation that skeptics cannot win if knowledgable people show up to the discussion.” . . . Skeptics usually avoid this kind of battle. They get into positions of authority and work behind the scenes to fulfill their agenda. This strategy has worked magnificently on Wikipedia. . . .

“This supports my hunch that the Internet is changing how science is done by making skeptical gatekeeping much more difficult.”

“On the surface skeptical criticisms can seem very convincing but as soon as they come up against an intelligent rebuttal they melt like a snowman in August. What set the TED debate apart from the normal state of affairs was that it was all out in the open where skeptics had absolutely nowhere to hide from their mistakes or pretend that they weren’t mistakes.”

“One outcome of this is that skeptics are being forced into the intellectual debates which expose the weakness of their arguments and more importantly their arrogant attitudes. One of the hardest things to convey to other people not familiar with the debates is the unreasonableness of skeptics, but in these comment threads it’s there for everyone to see.”

“The Internet has given the opposing [psi] side two tools it never has had before, we now have an easy way to find each other and we have a way to spread scientific information that skirts the normal walls that science builds around ideas it doesn’t like.”

“We are all essentially standing in the same town square. It’s completely new territory for mankind.”

“The Internet is creating a great dialectic on a scale never dreamed of by philosophers.”
(Locations 696, 713, and 986, 992, 1013, 2283, 4227, 4333 & 4466. See also 4303)

Back to quotes from Matt:
“These are really great ideas, and... well, I hope you make moves to make this a reality!”
“So please do your show!”
I’m afraid I’m more of an Idea Man than a Doer (at least in the psi arena), to echo this very amusing cartoon http://s7.photobucket.com/user/RogerKni/media/Misc/ideaman-300_zpsdf3c4624.jpg.html?sort=6&o=0&_suid=138772580158908538306572008878
“they are *not* open to new evidence qua evidence. That's why I like your show idea, however: the only real thing that can change the way skeptics relate to the evidence is to have the evidence publicly aired and publicly accepted. Yes, this will cause some faith wobbling and some desertions in the skeptical armed forces, but more importantly it will make them much less potent as influencers of the fence-sitters.”
. . . . . . .
“Your show could help more people come out of the psychic closet. Critical mass is achieved, and then people would then just scoff at the skeptics.”
You GET IT! How I hope that others will too!

PS: Following up on my earlier comment, I can foresee a fourth level of Show: Amateur videos sent in as commentary, pro and con, on previous shows. For instance, utility workers might send in videos showing them locating (or failing to locate) underground pipes and wires. These could be incorporated, after some editing (and maybe requests for a more professional re-do), into a formal episode. (If still too raw, they could still be posted in comment threads.)

PPS: speaking of “the Trickster”: I wonder if the reason dowsers tend to fail in controlled tests like Randi’s is that the set-up is too new. I.e., dowsing can detect only pipes and hidden water that has “aged” for a while. (This could be tested by asking dowsers to detect pipes at a newly constructed facility.) Or, worse, maybe an artificial set-up of pipes and covered water-tubs somehow prevents the phenomenon from working just because the phenomenon doesn’t cotton to being tested. (Special pleading, I know, but it MIGHT be true.)

Afterthought: Change the penultimate sentence above to end: ". . . in this manner."

RT,

Thanks for more good thoughts. I love the quotes from the book.

I don't have a point-by-point rebuttal. Two main areas where we might someone disagree:

I don't think skeptics are principled, and I don't think it's the fallacy of division on my part. I haven't met those principled skeptics or encountered them online--because principled thinkers *don't* brand themselves as "skeptics"! there are plenty of soft atheists who would say about psi, "Hmm, I don't know. I doubt it, but I'm not sure." The social system of skeptics doesn't allow such fence-sitting.

I guess you could say that self-branded skeptics are principled in that they rigidly toe the party line. But that's not what we mean. The trouble is that their catechism has contradiction built into it, in that they brand themselves as open to new evidence but in truth absolutely do not allow themselves or each other to do so.

The other issue is that I think you underestimate the damage skeptics could do to the show if directly involved, as well as the PR damage they would constantly be *trying* to cause with respect to the show.

I think one reason that skeptics are against psi is that they self-select based on inability to experience it and potentially on ability to actually suppress it. You mentioned dowsers failing--well, it's hard to be psychic when negative disbelieving people are breathing down your back.

I experienced this a lot in my 8 years in Japan in the area of language. I am a very good speaker, but sometimes I would encounter people who just did not *believe* that a white guy could speak good Japanese, and man! you can really feel the reality distortion field that comes with that.

As a psychic, I just know not to read to doubters, but I have experienced it a few times. It is hard to tell the difference, however, between doubters shutting you down or just refusing to interpret anything you say as "hits."

Also, the skeptic harpies would constantly mock the show. Anything and everything. Fat psychic on the show? They'd mercilessly make fun of him/her (this is another way in which skeptics are unprincipled: their behavior is generally just plain nasty, and instead of policing that in their social group they seem actively to encourage it). I think it would be more effective and demoralizing than you imagine right now.

All that said, the show is a great idea. Funny cartoon you linked to. Maybe you could go into doer mode this once? :)

Matt, speaking as a skeptic-- no longer of the capital-S variety, due to personal experiences of an extraordinary nature, but still self-identifying as someone who wants evidence before feeling comfortable believing in something -- I have to say you're being as polarised and closed minded as you clearly think all skeptics are. I can't deny that during an earlier period of my life I was insufferably sure of myself about things that I shouldn't have felt so sure about. So, certainly I might have emanated a strong "reality distortion field" which would have harshed your mellow. But there's a big difference between that and being unprincipled. When a skeptic wants to scrutinize evidence from every angle, and distrusts the conditions under which the experiment was conducted, and demands more trials if results come in which seem too good to be true, that's not unprincipled. That's just the scientific method.

Yes it's slow. Yes it sometimes results in a longterm failure to acknowledge data that doesn't fit into current paradigms. But if I may echo the famous quote about democracy, the scientific method is the worst form of inquiry into the nature of the physical world, except for all those other methods that have been tried.

This is a separate issue from skeptics who argue in bad faith or use dishonest tactics. There are certainly many self-professed scientists who will stoop to dishonesty because they believe they are right or they have something to gain; this however applies to human beings of all stripes, and psychics and holy men are hardly exempt.

Distrust the skeptical movement? Fine. Good science thrives on such wariness. Paint all skeptics with one big "unprincipled" brush? That just gets us to circle the wagons. Imagine if you said the same thing of Democrats/Republicans/Greens/Feminists/Christians/Vegetarians/Pro-Lifers/Pro-Choicers/Gays/Straights/White guys who speak Japanese (pick whatever one bothers you the most if I were to call them "always unprincipled"). If you actually want more skeptics to ever do more than snarl, you might consider that we are human beings too, capable of changing our minds slowly over time, given enough repeated exposure to data which might cause reasonable doubts.

Michael, Rogers, others: As for the experiment proposed here, it looks very interesting. I genuinely would like to see it happen, although I am not as certain as to the certainty of the outcome as everyone else seems to be. Having lived through certain crazy phenomena myself now, I know that there is more to heaven and earth than were dreamed of in my philosophies. But as to just what that "more" entails and doesn't entail, that I am not quite sure.

This has been a great discussion to follow. Really enjoyed it!

I think the show is a fantastic idea. Matt has some concerns that are probably fairly valid re; skeptic reactions.

Maybe one way to keep it all legit and beyond skeptical cheap shots would be to have the games run by professional licensed gaming establishments (e.g. Las Vegas casinos).

I did some research as a result of reading this thread and apparently the licensed casinos don't believe in any real psi effect - or if they do at all they think it is either to weak or too fleeting to have a significant impact on their bottom line*. So they shouldn't be scared off from the game if you tell them that they psychics will be playing.

I think it would be hard to argue with the show if Las Vegas were to be involved. After all, Vegas is the master of making money off relying on the mathematical odds. If Vegas House gets on a losing trend, something real must be happening.

Also, it would be great advertising for Vegas if the psychics came out on top. Think about how many people would to Vegas after taking psi ability enhancement classes - and still lose to the house.

* One article I read stated that maybe some on the casino side think there is a real psi effect, but that the whole psychology of Vegas is set up to create anti-psi/countermeasures. People stop listening to that "inner voice" when at a Vegas table, whether that inner voice be that of reason and common sense or psi impressions.

Quin,

Thanks for your comments. Some responses.

First, as a general response, there are a lot of people who self-brand as skeptic, and therefore, certainly, there are those among them who are principled and open to the evidence (probably mostly young people or new converts, so to speak). My point is *not* that skeptics just *happen to be* a bunch of jerks. Rather, just like you, people will drop out of the group once they come to believe in things that that social group doesn't believe in. Or they will be pushed out. Similarly, those who won't tolerate the skeptics' use of mockery as a debating tactic (among other dirty tactics) will either leave or be pushed out. So you really are left with a large group of dogmatic, nasty people who nevertheless claim to be paragons of "openness to evidence." I do think this social system makes skeptics systematically unprincipled.

||I have to say you're being as polarised and closed minded as you clearly think all skeptics are.||

As for polarization, I don't see any reason to be "nice" to skeptics when it comes to debating. I don't have any problems with them as human beings (though someone like a Randi who has power and uses it to make the world a worse place, yes, then I have problems).

How am I being close-minded, though?


||When a skeptic wants to scrutinize evidence from every angle, and distrusts the conditions under which the experiment was conducted, and demands more trials if results come in which seem too good to be true, that's not unprincipled. That's just the scientific method.||

It depends on the situation. Doubting a rigidly conducted experiment because it violates your belief system is *not* the scientific method. It's the opposite thereof, actually.

||Yes it's slow. Yes it sometimes results in a longterm failure to acknowledge data that doesn't fit into current paradigms. But if I may echo the famous quote about democracy, the scientific method is the worst form of inquiry into the nature of the physical world, except for all those other methods that have been tried.||

Oh please. This is the bad skeptical habit of talking as if your (former) side "owns" science, the scientific method, and truth itself. And as if people on my side of the debate believe just anything. It's a completely false characterization and is another example of a lack of principle (falsely portraying the other side of the debate). We have plenty of debates on phenomena right here on this blog, such as about Helen Duncan and other mediums.

Another skeptical trope is talking as if there were one "Manual of the Scientific Method" that all "real scientists" agree on and that delivers Absolute Truth if followed to the letter. This is also false. If only epistemology were that easy.

Further, the scientific method needn't be slow. Sometimes you can run experiments and prove that something is true or false rather quickly. Sometimes you can invent something that just works.

||This is a separate issue from skeptics who argue in bad faith or use dishonest tactics.||

The problem is that there is a social group that brands itself "skeptic," and the majority of people who so self-brand *do* behave in ways that I find totally unacceptable. It's not as though the skeptics I have met online have been a mixed bag; their behavior has been remarkably consistent. And so has the behavior of the major media skeptics.

||There are certainly many self-professed scientists who will stoop to dishonesty because they believe they are right or they have something to gain; this however applies to human beings of all stripes, and psychics and holy men are hardly exempt.||

Correct, no one is exempt from having their behavior criticized.

||Distrust the skeptical movement? Fine. Good science thrives on such wariness. Paint all skeptics with one big "unprincipled" brush? That just gets us to circle the wagons.||

Circle away. This is polemics. I have been very clear about what I mean by "unprincipled" and how that situation arises. I am not going to say skeptics are bad people who beat their pets.

||Imagine if you said the same thing of Democrats/Republicans/Greens/Feminists/Christians/Vegetarians/Pro-Lifers/Pro-Choicers/Gays/Straights/White guys who speak Japanese (pick whatever one bothers you the most if I were to call them "always unprincipled"). If you actually want more skeptics to ever do more than snarl, you might consider that we are human beings too, capable of changing our minds slowly over time, given enough repeated exposure to data which might cause reasonable doubts.||

It's good that you dropped out of the group (although you still say "us"), but I am not interested in engaging skeptics and trying to convert them. I engage in polemics to discredit the skeptical position, to prevent them from misleading more people, and to educate people as to the nature of their belief system. I'm committed to arguing in good faith, however.

Just to be clear about something. I have debated skeptics online. I started back in 2002-ish, before I (or anyone, really) understood how the Internet and online anonymity worked. I tried to have good, honest arguments with skeptics, and I encountered the meanest bunch of a-holes ever who never seemed to have the slightest qualm with using the crudest logical fallacies to get their way in an argument. Further, the usual tactic was to gang up and simply make fun of me, whenever they could. In my view, it's a sick, sad social group that stands for nothing and, in fact, is standing in the way of scientific progress.

Thanks again for interacting with me, Matt. I think you bring up points that deserve to be dealt with, because others would bring them up later, down the road. This is my response to your penultimate post, not to the one you've put up after it.

Matt Rouge says:

RT,
RK,
“Thanks for more good thoughts. I love the quotes from the book.”
There are lots of good quotes in Weiller’s Psi Wars, especially regarding his (sometimes implicit) claim that when there is a focused, widely watched psi controversy in which psi’s heavy hitters participate, with neutral moderation and curatorship, the Skeptics can’t win—and the whole world can see their loss.

That is what inspired me to write up a proposal for a Double Dare You Challenge. If it could replicate those conditions, it would deal psi Skepticism a mortal blow.

“I don't think skeptics are principled, and I don't think it's the fallacy of division on my part. I haven't met those principled skeptics or encountered them online . . . “
You’re encountering a biased sample, consisting of in-your-face confrontational types. There is, in such situations, usually a silent majority that is less rabid and more reasonable.

For instance, when I explored the JREF site apart from my topics of interest, I was shocked to find certain forums on less controversial subjects where there was dialog (among Skeptics) that was civil, informed, productive, and intelligent. Such persons, even if they aren’t really up-to-speed yet on psi, might be tapped as members of a board of oversight of the Psi Show. (New title, because many working dowsers don’t consider themselves to be “psychics.”) Such long-running JREF contributors would have Skeptical “cred” and could be acceptable overseers.

“. . .--because principled thinkers *don't* brand themselves as "skeptics"!””
Tangent: I’ve adopted a coinage I implore other Outsiders to adopt: Capital-S “Skeptics,” which is a polite term for what I call “scoftics” when I’m exasperated. I.e., “Skeptics” are scoffers and knee-jerk “debunkers” in “skeptical” disguise. When uncapitalized, “skeptic” retains its original meaning of doubter and cross-examiner.

Principled thinkers aren’t usually active members of Skeptical organizations (e.g., convention attendees or authors of Skeptical books) or online warriors for the Skeptical cause, so they aren’t much noticed. But there are some, like CSI-board member Elizabeth Loftus, who helped to debunk the Recovered Memory craze. She’d be a good choice, being a psychologist who is presumably reasonably adept with statistics.

And hundreds of principled thinkers are subscribers to Skeptical magazines and donors to Skeptical organizations. In addition, there are tens of thousands of principled thinkers who (not knowing any better) are sympathetic to the Skeptical cause from the sidelines. Such silent sympathizers include thousands of big names in science (and the arts), (among whom are hundreds of Nobel laureates). Feynman was an example. If a half-dozen such persons were picked at random, they’d very likely behave responsibly, collectively.

If they didn’t, it would redound on Skepticism, because the whole world would be watching over their shoulders. Since they know that, they’ll very likely mind their manners

“The other issue is that I think you underestimate the damage skeptics could do to the show if directly involved, as well as the PR damage they would constantly be *trying* to cause with respect to the show.”
Well, one response is that I’d rather have them on the inside pissing out than on the outside pissing in. IOW, if there were respectable Skeptics like Loftus, etc. invoved, their assurances that things were on the up-and-up, and their readiness to check out any suggestions of skullduggery outsider-Skeptics might make, should sooth their savage breast.
“Also, the skeptic harpies would constantly mock the show. Anything and everything. Fat psychic on the show? They'd mercilessly make fun of him/her (this is another way in which skeptics are unprincipled: their behavior is generally just plain nasty, and instead of policing that in their social group they seem actively to encourage it). I think it would be more effective and demoralizing than you imagine right now.”
What you describe might happen—for a while . But I’m not looking at the short term. I’m not looking to score a quick knock-out. (Except in providing an immediate “snappy comeback” to the taunt, “Why don’t you go win Randi’s MDC if you’re so psychic?”) If the Psi Show can put out 26 episodes a year, it won’t matter at the end of the year if a half dozen were flawed or were “fails.” It REALLY won’t matter at the end of five years. By that time we’ll have slayed the Gorgon . . .
http://s7.photobucket.com/user/RogerKni/media/BF%20Kitakaze/Triumph/ac1392c0.png.html?sort=3&o=13
. . . and victory will be ours.
http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y254/RogerKni/BF%20Kitakaze/Triumph/698046b6.jpg

But if this show is NOT set up (and funded), psi advocates will be spinning their wheels as much by then as they have for the previous 130 years.

“I think one reason that skeptics are against psi is that they self-select based on inability to experience it and potentially on ability to actually suppress it. You mentioned dowsers failing--well, it's hard to be psychic when negative disbelieving people are breathing down your back.”
Agreed. Close observers of certain tests should be neutrals respected by both sides, or Skeptics who lack the evil eye.
“All that said, the show is a great idea. Funny cartoon you linked to. Maybe you could go into doer mode this once? :)”
I’ve got too many other irons in the fire. And I’m not needed (except maybe as a part-time consultant) to make the Psi Show a success. As Mencken said, “It doesn't take a majority to make a rebellion; it takes only a few determined leaders and a sound cause.” We’ve got the sound cause, and there are lots of determined, knowledgeable psi advocates around. They can get the show on the road without me.

"no one" says: "Maybe one way to keep it all legit and beyond skeptical cheap shots would be to have the games run by professional licensed gaming establishments (e.g. Las Vegas casinos)."
Good one! I can see them overseeing the card-in-envelope tests, and maybe the staring tests. But the other stuff would be too much out of their ballpark. And probably they wouldn't want to get involved until the Psi Show had "grown up" to the point of being perceived as professional and successful. So I think they shouldn't be a major participant--unless they think it would be a good publicity stunt for their particular casino.

Another bunch of outsiders who should probably be invited to participate would be the Mythbusters.

"I did some research as a result of reading this thread and apparently the licensed casinos don't believe in any real psi effect - or if they do at all they think it is either to weak or too fleeting to have a significant impact on their bottom line*."
Check out the recent book Inner Vegas by Joe Gallenberger. A Kindle edition is $8. He claims or implies he's been able to use psychic powers, in conjunction with the participation of a dozen or so friendlies (to counter the countermeasures?), to win at Vegas for years, primarily at craps and roulette. It's a very readable book.

Maybe Gallenberger could help set up an arrangement with the casinos. He got the casinos to cooperate with giving his group a special table, and even operating it in a hotel room, when he was visiting with his group.

By the way I notice the google group is inactive. I made a post there earlier today. I would love to read what some of you might say about it.

Quin said:

"I am not as certain as to the certainty of the outcome as everyone else seems to be. Having lived through certain crazy phenomena myself now, I know that there is more to heaven and earth than were dreamed of in my philosophies. But as to just what that "more" entails and doesn't entail, that I am not quite sure."
It would be a laugh and a half if, after lots of effort to get the Show rolling, it were a flop (from our perspective). Maybe the Pranksters on Olympus would find that outcome fitting. Maybe they'd think it would be doing humanity a kindness, because we can't handle the truth.

What comforts me is that staring, telephone telepathy, and Ganzfield tests have achieved a 33% success rate over a long period of time, beating a chance rate of 25%. All we need is time--years of semi-weekly testing--to win. Time was General Kutusov's ace in the hole (as quoted in War and Peace).

As for guessing the color of a card in an envelope, Ossowieki could do that at over 90%, IIRC. If our psychics could score 55% or better hits two-thirds of the time, a meta-analysis at the end of the year would yield a dazzling win.

Another thing that comforts me is that our side can substitute-in whatever psychic is having hot hand at the moment. This should negate the decline effect.

Matt Rouge,

Rather than get into a point by point about what the scientific method is or isn't and so forth-- that's not really the kind of argument I was trying to drive at. And I understand that your perspective has been shaped by years of debating with jerks, but that's the internet for you.

Let me try putting it this way. Regardless of your position in any debate, if your goal is honestly to try to sway anyone from a different side-- rather than just make yourself feel vindicated-- you have a far, far better chance of moving people if you don't go around calling groups that they think they belong to words like "unprincipled". I mean, it's just human nature. We are not entirely rational creatures, we all raise our defences when tarred with wide brushes.

I urge you to consider what it really gains you to say things like "Skeptics epitomise unprincipled behaviour" and then double down on it when challenged. I would suggest that it certainly won't lead to a coolheaded analysis of any evidence you might then offer to them, let alone any changes of heart big or small.

Roger Knights,

Well there's only one way to find out!

To be honest, psi research is not something I've ever looked closely at. It would be nice if it's a real thing, but that's precisely why so many people are skeptical. I think it's a healthy thing to scrutinise extra carefully results that just happen to support things we would like to be true.

RT,

More good thoughts from you! Re this point:

||You’re encountering a biased sample, consisting of in-your-face confrontational types. There is, in such situations, usually a silent majority that is less rabid and more reasonable.

Tangent: I’ve adopted a coinage I implore other Outsiders to adopt: Capital-S “Skeptics,” which is a polite term for what I call “scoftics” when I’m exasperated. I.e., “Skeptics” are scoffers and knee-jerk “debunkers” in “skeptical” disguise. When uncapitalized, “skeptic” retains its original meaning of doubter and cross-examiner.||

But I made it clear that I was talking about *self-branded* skeptics.

*True* skeptics who currently are atheists but *truly* have a mind open to evidence? No problem with that!

It's a confusing situation that the Skeptics (as you prefer) use to their advantage. Those who *choose* to self-brand as "skeptics" are (unless naive) members of a rigidly dogmatic secular religion. When called out on that, they appeal to the positive connotations of the word "skeptic" and say, "What us? 'Skeptic' *means* questioning of, but totally open to, any new evidence!"

Nice rhetorical trick!

I am *only* calling members of that group. Capital-S Skeptics and Scoftics are good names, but they are not as yet universally recognized.

Matt Rouge, I have no problem with *real* psi researchers who have a mind open to evidence that their position might not be true. It's only those who *self-brand* as psi researchers who I have a problem with.

Do you not see the problem with the statement I just made? Your litany of self-defined gradations of "skeptic", defining some as better than others, but still allowing yourself to make generalized aspersions on skeptics in general, will pointlessly alienate you from any otherwise openminded skeptics you come across.

"Scoftics" I have mixed feelings about. If it is used to refer only to a particular subset of unusually rude and nasty skeptics, I guess I see its utility. If it drifts into lazy usage as a snarl word against skeptics in general, though, I think it's about as needlessly divisive as words like "Republitard" and so forth.

Capital-S Skeptic doesn't bother me too much. May I suggest also the phrase "Professional Skeptic" or "Professional Debunker"? I think it's a pretty clear nuance that people who make their livelihood from being in opposition to something are probably not approaching the issue with an open mind.

Quin says:

""Scoftics" I have mixed feelings about. If it is used to refer only to a particular subset of unusually rude and nasty skeptics, I guess I see its utility. If it drifts into lazy usage as a snarl word against skeptics in general, though, I think it's about as needlessly divisive as words like "Republitard" and so forth."
One of my main worries is that overuse will weaken the "punch" of the word. This overuse happened around mid-century to two "punchy" political jibes: "crypto-fascist" (a fascist sympathizer who concealed his inclinations by the use of code-words) and "soft on communism" (a person who not only didn't oppose communism vigorously but who also had a crush on it.) Accordingly, I've boldfaced the sentence below wherein I caution against its overuse. That sentence appeared in my letter defining the term in Fate magazine in September 2005.

But I don't think that the use of "scoftic" will "increase divisiveness," because the term that it aims to replace, "pseudo-skeptic," is more accusatory and nastier. (It implies up front that Skeptics are deliberately phony and deceptive, which can't help but escalate the heatedness of a dialog. "Scoftic" doesn't plainly imply conscious phoniness and deceptiveness.)

Anyway, I don't think the other side is entitled to overly polite treatment, given its promiscuous use of use of the boo-words "woo" and "pseudoscience." I think it deserves plenty of pushback on the linguistic front. So here's my definition:

During every vigorous and prolonged controversy each side invents nicknames for its opponents to indicate their errors, wrong-headedness, and bad faith. The best ones are so pointed and barbed that they “stick,” permanently damaging the public image of the other side. One such term is “woo,” another is “pseudoscience.” They effectively suggest the enemy’s rational “shell” conceals an inner “nut.” The further implication is that pseudoscientists are not only biased but untrustworthy. In thrall to their Inner Nut, they are prone to Believers’ Blather: exaggeration, omission, evasion, obfuscation, absurd reasoning, etc.

Our side’s comebacks have lacked its punch and pizzazz. Neither "fundamentalist materialism" nor "pseudo-skepticism" nor "pathological skepticism" nor sneer-quoted “skepticism” can match it as a Tenacious Taunting Tag. But my term, “scofticism,” fills the bill. It too implies its targets are posers: their posture of Rational Doubt (“Show me the evidence”) masks Die-Hard Denial (“I’ll see it when I believe it”). Its further implication is that scoftics are not only biased but untrustworthy. In thrall to their Inner Nut, they are prone to Slimy Scoftic Subterfuge: exaggeration, omission, evasion, obfuscation, dissimulation, etc. (Bills of particulars can be found on anti-scoftic websites. Start at http://www.amasci.com/weird/wclose.html and follow the links.) My thumbnail definition of scofticism is “UNhealthy skepticism.” This is a play on the common phrase, “a healthy (dose of) skepticism.”

My coinage (which I’ve used since 8/13/03 on Bigfoot Forums, derives of course from scoffer and skeptic, hence the spelling (please retain!). It floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee, so I urge its widespread adoption. However, it shouldn’t be applied to every disbeliever, only to those who are far from fair-minded, and who justify themselves by citing certain scoftical Doctrines of Denial. (An examination of which would require a longer article.)

BTW, Matt Crowley, a Skeptical neighbor of mine, posted that letter in its own thread at http://orgoneresearch.com/2012/01/12/the-origin-of-the-word-scoftic/ .

Quin says:

"Capital-S Skeptic doesn't bother me too much. May I suggest also the phrase "Professional Skeptic" or "Professional Debunker"? I think it's a pretty clear nuance that people who make their livelihood from being in opposition to something are probably not approaching the issue with an open mind."

But there are only a few dozen people who are employed by Skeptical organizations or who make their living in large part from being Skeptical by book-selling or lecturing. So the terms have limited applicability. I also don't like using Debunker unless it is coddled in sneer quotes, because it concedes too much at the outset to the other side.

Quin,

||Matt Rouge, I have no problem with *real* psi researchers who have a mind open to evidence that their position might not be true. It's only those who *self-brand* as psi researchers who I have a problem with.

Do you not see the problem with the statement I just made?||

That statement would be fine if, say, all self-labeled psi researchers were actually Scientologists, and thus people who really engaged in psi research had to avoid the term because "psi researcher" was associated with an agenda that was not implied by the words themselves.

||Your litany of self-defined gradations of "skeptic", defining some as better than others, but still allowing yourself to make generalized aspersions on skeptics in general, will pointlessly alienate you from any otherwise openminded skeptics you come across.||

You're totally missing my point, and I'm not sure how to put it any clearer. Except you have to distinguish between the label and the thing. People who *label* themselves skeptics desire the positive connotations of that word, but they are (a very high percentage of them) dogmatic materialist-atheists. They are not actual skeptics, they are not actually open to the evidence.

That said, you do make a valid point! If I attack "skeptics," those who do not understand that dishonest branding is going on could see me as attacking "skeptical people who are open to the evidence." Thus, I ought to say "false skeptics" or something like that. Something clearer.

And *that* said, I think the word "skeptic" itself has become tainted by its use by close-minded atheists. If someone is truly an open-minded atheist, then they should probably call themselves an "open-minded atheist." Of course, no one is going to cop to being a close-minded anything, so the problem is probably intractable. At least dogmatic believers don't have this issue, since they are *supposed* to be close-minded.

||Capital-S Skeptic doesn't bother me too much. May I suggest also the phrase "Professional Skeptic" or "Professional Debunker"? I think it's a pretty clear nuance that people who make their livelihood from being in opposition to something are probably not approaching the issue with an open mind.||

That works to a degree, but there are a lot of people who do it for free online, and the label wouldn't cover them.

Here’s another Skeptic-Challenge the Psi Show should include: Convincingly replicate the Patterson “Bigfoot” film.

That should be a no-brainer, given that many Skeptics say that “It’s obviously just a guy in an store-bought apesuit,” or that a special suit could be made without much effort. Some have even gone so far as to imply that they personally could perform such a replication. Here are three instances:

1. Matt Crowley, a Skeptical commenter on Bigfoot on the JREF site and a neighbor of mine, who’s given me a not-bad demo in front of my house. He’s managed, IMO, to almost-match “Patty’s” 73-degree shank-lift. He thinks he’s done better.

2. Esteban Sarmiento, an anthropologist with the American Museum of Natural History, who wrote that “Patty’s” “chest girth at 1.75 is less than my own at 1.8 (and probably that of many professional athletes),” that “in all of the above relative values [“body proportions”] Bigfoot is well within the human range,” and that her height is “between 5′8″ and 6′3″ [and her weight] between 190 and 240 pounds, well within the human range.” (Quoted in Christopher Murphy’s Know the Sasquatch / Bigfoot, pp. 97–99)

3. David Daegling, author of Bigfoot Exposed, who wrote: “It hardly seems beyond reason that a set of long johns, a size or two too small, could be squeezed onto a muscular frame and given a nice fur coat to boot. Given this premise, an individual walking along in such a getup would certainly show the effects of muscular activity [similar to “Patty’s”] almost as faithfully as if the person were naked.” (p. 147)

And Randi wrote (in one of his weekly missives a few years ago) that he could replicate the film if someone gave him $5000. That implies that he could easily hire someone to mimic the walk (Crowley?) and make the suit (Daegling? Philip Morris (see below) ?).

But none of the attempts to replicate the film, including a couple by Hollywood costumers “Dfoot” and Jon Vulich, have passed the giggle test. The latter was shown in a BBC documentary produced by Chris Packham called “The X-Creatures”; episode “Bigfoot and Yeti.” It can’t be found online any longer. An absurdly lanky and awkward still photo from the video is here:
http://www.bigfoot-lives.com/html/shooting_the_bigfoot.html

Philip Morris, the North Carolina costume maker who claims to have supplied Patterson with the suit, was so embarrassed by the result of the recreation of man-in-the-suit claimant Bob Heironimus, using his suit, that he refused to give his consent for it to be aired in the National Geographic “Is It Real?” documentary.

Therefore it’s likely that Randi’s attempt would similarly flop, or that he wouldn’t have the nerve to submit it. Either would be a “win” for our side.

BTW, here’s a link to a critique by Bill Munns of various attempts to re-create the Patterson Bigfoot film:
http://bigfootdiscoveryproject.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-bill-munns-discovery-day-v-update.html

There are objective (measurable) criteria that set a high bar, collectively, for a successful recreation. These include a dozen inhuman body-part ratios (length or width relative to each other or to height) and another dozen inhuman gait features, some of them quite subtle. An example is that the weight-bearing shank (lower leg) remains vertical until the shin of the swing shank has risen through 73°. (See frame 323.) My full list can be found in my write-up, “Patty-Walk Scorecard,” here:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/hr18o0229vsguxz/ART-Patty-Walk%20Scorecard.doc

PS: Patty's shank-lift from the vertical in the Patterson film is 73 degrees, vs. a normal 52 degrees for human's (and Heironimus's). See the 2:15-long YouTube video, “21 Degrees Between Bigfoot and Humans,” at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwlRAf7BZOI

PPS: "Dfoot" was the handle of Leroy Blevins, whose video can be found on YouTube. Here's a link to a YouTube critique of his video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NH8n_w_U9UU

Here's a fourth It's easy to replicate claimant I forgot to mention:

4. Greg Long, the 6′9″ author of The Making of Bigfoot, who wrote, “I can do everything that the Bigfoot does in that film” (p. 382) and “. . . anyone can duplicate the Bigfoot’s walk, and with a slightly above average artistic ability you could build a suit like that.” (p. 386)

PPPS: Gait experts (and gait-textbook authors) James Gamble and Jessica Rose of Stanford University conducted a high-tech replication attempt in their lab in cooperation with Bigfoot expert Jeff Meldrum. Laudably, it included an attempt in which the mime wore a Bigfoot suit. It was shown in an episode of the Discovery channel’s “Best Evidence” series, available for viewing for $2 on Amazon here:
http://www.amazon.com/Bigfoot/dp/B007QCWPV2/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1381325257&sr=1-1&keywords=best+evidence+Bigfoot

Their mime did a better job of replicating it, than I expected. But, by my eyeball, his strides were shorter relative to his body height than Patty’s; his toes left the ground while his sole was nowhere near as tilted as Patty’s 90-degree angle; and his lower leg lift was not a match: it was lifted too high—up to the butt—and then bicycle-pedalled forward along too high a track, in order to maintain his balance. This is the same flaw evident in the replicator’s attempt in the “21 Degrees Between Bigfoot and Humans” video I described earlier.

The lab’s experiment unfortunately didn’t include a computerized comparison of the timing and location of the two subjects joint-points in order to objectively decide whether my interpretation is correct or not. Hopefully, with funding, such a comparison could be made, using the data and video the lab collected. Subjectively, Jessica Rose thought their subject had matched Patty’s gait, while James Gamble wasn’t sure.

Roger, some guy from Texas says he shot a bigfoot and recovered the body. He claims it has been tested and will be releasing the findings shortly.

Bigfoot, like Nessie the Loch Ness Monster, is one of those things I just don't buy. In the case of Nessie, the lake wouldn't have a large enough food supply to maintain a population of plesiosaurs. Plus, one of them would inevitably wash up on a beach at some point. In the case of Bigfoot, I just figure that in areas that are increasingly populated, someone would have stumbled across a Bigfoot corpse or some other unmistakable physical evidence by now.

However, it's just barely possible that such things are "real" in the sense of being fleeting intrusions from the imaginal plane - a sort of thought-form realm that transcends the physical - perhaps the place that OBErs visit and in which spirits sojourn after death. Perhaps in the imaginal realm, anything that consciousness can dream up can assume a kind of ephemeral existence, which sometimes can impinge on our mundane world. Scott Rogo develops this idea in his book "The Haunted Universe." (If you search the blog archives for that book's title, the relevant post should come up.)

I'm not saying this is really true, only that it's one way of looking at things like Bigfoot, Nessie, and flying saucers without yielding to the temptation to ascribe mundane physicality to them.

BTW, there is a whole "literary" genre devoted to having sex with Bigfoot:

http://tinyurl.com/lzttkvw

It's been a while since I read it, but special effects artist Jim Danforth's memoir includes an episode in which the people who shot the famous Bigfoot film came to his studio to screen the footage. Reaction of the viewers was mixed, but one animator, David Allen, asked perhaps the most pertinent question: "What was in the saddlebags?" He had noticed that the saddlebags on the team's horses, shown in some introductory footage, were heavy and bulging. As I recall, the Bigfoot hunters did not have a very good answer. The implication, of course, was that the bags were stuffed with the bulky, disassembled Bigfoot suit. But who knows?

"BTW, there is a whole "literary" genre devoted to having sex with Bigfoot"

LOL...oh man, just when I thought I'd seen it all.

Those are all women who apparently have been ravaged by a male bigfoot. I was expecting to see more male oriented books - like guys with a foot fetish.

"Plus, one of them would inevitably wash up on a beach at some point. In the case of Bigfoot, I just figure that in areas that are increasingly populated, someone would have stumbled across a Bigfoot corpse or some other unmistakable physical evidence by now."

Yes. Nessie is obviously not a "real" physical being. Bigfoots, though, carry their dead to secret bigfoot graveyards; like elephants. They are very meticulous about performing this ritual.

;-)

Roger, some guy from Texas says he shot a bigfoot and recovered the body. He claims it has been tested and will be releasing the findings shortly.

Posted by: no one | January 13, 2014 at 08:50 AM

That guy, Rick Dyer, has got some nerve! He was one of the two infamous and confessed Georgia-Bigfoot-in-an-icebox hoaxers of 2008, which got national attention--similar to the attention he's getting now. He says the data will be released Feb. 6 thru 9. That'll be a laugh. Here's a critical Bloggers take, followed by a couple of incisive comments:

http://www.examiner.com/article/bigfoot-hunter-s-claims-completely-worthless-says-bigfoot-bounty-expert

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