Randi Award

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Jaak Suurpere

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Jun 27, 2001, 5:26:33 AM6/27/01
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ASre there any fictional accounts of Randi Award successfully claimed?

J Greely

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Jun 27, 2001, 8:59:23 AM6/27/01
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jaa...@my-deja.com (Jaak Suurpere) writes:
>ASre there any fictional accounts of Randi Award successfully claimed?

I vaguely recall an SF short some years ago with a thinly-disguised
Randi and a young challenger, and it ended with the two of them
levitating in lotus position, with the implication that Randi had "had
the power" himself all along (actually not an uncommon accusation
against magician-debunkers in real life...). Note that I didn't say I
"recall it *fondly*"...

-j

Joseph Major

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Jun 28, 2001, 8:28:04 AM6/28/01
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In rec.arts.sf.written J Greely <jgr...@corp.webtv.net> wrote:
:

One of the "Friends of Darkover" anthologies had a story with a
Randi-clone trying to prove that the Darkovan laran was phony, and it
turned out that he was a powerful psi-suppressor.

Of course, in the real world (whatever that is), that accusation
is, as was said above, made against Randi.

Joseph T Major
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
"Yrlsqb nx sobshuggum illingoon. Mark my words!"
-- Cyril Q. Kornbluth


--

Dorothy J Heydt

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Jun 28, 2001, 9:50:27 AM6/28/01
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In article <3b3b2...@news.iglou.com>,

Joseph Major <jtm...@shell1.iglou.com> wrote:
>
> One of the "Friends of Darkover" anthologies had a story with a
>Randi-clone trying to prove that the Darkovan laran was phony, and it
>turned out that he was a powerful psi-suppressor.

But Darkovans do not count, they are no longer fully human,
having some chieri genes thinly (usually *very* thinly) scattered
in their inventory.

Dorothy J. Heydt
Albany, California
djh...@kithrup.com
http://www.kithrup.com/~djheydt

Nancy Lebovitz

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Jun 28, 2001, 1:55:51 PM6/28/01
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In article <GFn7s...@kithrup.com>,

Dorothy J Heydt <djh...@kithrup.com> wrote:
>In article <3b3b2...@news.iglou.com>,
>Joseph Major <jtm...@shell1.iglou.com> wrote:
>>
>> One of the "Friends of Darkover" anthologies had a story with a
>>Randi-clone trying to prove that the Darkovan laran was phony, and it
>>turned out that he was a powerful psi-suppressor.
>
>But Darkovans do not count, they are no longer fully human,
>having some chieri genes thinly (usually *very* thinly) scattered
>in their inventory.
>

I haven't read the story, but your average sceptic claims that psi
is impossible in general, not just that it's impossible for humans.
--
Nancy Lebovitz na...@netaxs.com www.nancybuttons.com

Dorothy J Heydt

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Jun 28, 2001, 2:00:11 PM6/28/01
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In article <9hfr37$i...@netaxs.com>,

Since we don't *have* any other sophonts to examine, they're
really not justified in saying so.

E.g., you could have a species whose brains were sensitive to the
EMF emitted by other brains, and learned to interpret it, just as
our brains interpret the photons detected by our eyes. I am,
however, about 99.as-many-nines-as-you-wish percent convinced it
doesn't work for our species.

J Greely

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Jun 28, 2001, 2:57:19 PM6/28/01
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na...@unix3.netaxs.com (Nancy Lebovitz) writes:
>I haven't read the story, but your average sceptic claims that psi
>is impossible in general, not just that it's impossible for humans.

Mental shorthand for Occam's Razor, I think.

-j

David Dyer-Bennet

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Jun 28, 2001, 4:36:44 PM6/28/01
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na...@unix3.netaxs.com (Nancy Lebovitz) writes:

To me, probably not your average anything, but very skeptical, depends
on the flavor. Telepathy is entirely reasonable and ordinary-seeming
to me. I know of no decent evidence that it *exists* in humans, and I
have problems with the convenient assumption that it would work
cross-species (at least if they hadn't evolved together), of course.
--
David Dyer-Bennet / Welcome to the future! / dd...@dd-b.net
SF: http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/ Minicon: http://www.mnstf.org/minicon/
Photos: http://dd-b.lighthunters.net/

Peter Meilinger

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Jun 28, 2001, 4:55:27 PM6/28/01
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In rec.arts.sf.written J Greely <jgr...@corp.webtv.net> wrote:

I remember that story being written by Randi himself, actually.
The older guy was a professional magician who took on an apprentice.
The apprentice asked when he would get to learn the "real" magic.
The magician said there's no such thing, but later on comes
across the apprentice levitating a pencil with his mind. He
then sits down and prepares to become the student instead of
the master.

Pete

Mike Combs

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Jun 28, 2001, 5:00:48 PM6/28/01
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Nancy Lebovitz wrote:
>
> I haven't read the story, but your average sceptic claims that psi
> is impossible in general, not just that it's impossible for humans.

Ahem. Speaking as a skeptic, let me say that the average skeptic claims
only that no reliable evidence of psi has yet been presented.

--


Regards,
Mike Combs
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Arthur: You know, it's at times like this... that I really wish I'd
listened to what my mother told me when I was young.
Ford: Why, what did she tell you?
Arthur: I don't know, I didn't listen!

Keith Morrison

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Jun 28, 2001, 5:41:40 PM6/28/01
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Mike Combs wrote:
>
> Nancy Lebovitz wrote:
> >
> > I haven't read the story, but your average sceptic claims that psi
> > is impossible in general, not just that it's impossible for humans.
>
> Ahem. Speaking as a skeptic, let me say that the average skeptic claims
> only that no reliable evidence of psi has yet been presented.

Nor a plausible and testable mechanism by which it would work.

--
Keith

Pounding Metal Implement

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Jun 28, 2001, 6:08:38 PM6/28/01
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Keith Morrison <kei...@polarnet.ca> wrote in
news:3B3BA494...@polarnet.ca:

And no evidence that it ever has worked, desipte ample opportunities for
those who claim to have such powers to demonstrate them.

Take Russian psychics who claim to be able to stop trains with their minds,
for instance . . .

--
Didn't give 'em any, sir.

Kevin J. Maroney

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Jun 28, 2001, 6:59:40 PM6/28/01
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jaa...@my-deja.com (Jaak Suurpere) wrote:

>Are there any fictional accounts of Randi Award successfully claimed?

It's not sf, but the first episode of the 1989 return of Columbo,
"Columbo Goes to the Guillotine", features a purported psychic who
passes a distance-vision test created by an obvious James Randi
stand-in.

SPOILER TO FOLLOW:

It turns out that the Randi character is seriously indebted to the
"psychic" and the whole thing is a set-up.

--
Kevin Maroney | kmar...@ungames.com
Kitchen Staff Supervisor, New York Review of Science Fiction
<http://www.nyrsf.com>

Ray Drouillard

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Jun 28, 2001, 8:57:36 PM6/28/01
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I remember one that I read in Omni or Analog about twenty years ago. I
can't remember the title or author, though.


Ray

"Jaak Suurpere" <jaa...@my-deja.com> wrote in message
news:8e2e4b9e.01062...@posting.google.com...

Ray Drouillard

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Jun 28, 2001, 9:00:47 PM6/28/01
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That's the one I remember :)


"Peter Meilinger" <mell...@bu.edu> wrote in message
news:9hg5jv$mmd$3...@news3.bu.edu...

Peter Meilinger

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Jun 28, 2001, 9:14:44 PM6/28/01
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In rec.arts.sf.written Ray Drouillard <Droui...@home.com> wrote:
: That's the one I remember :)

You said Omni or Analog - I'm pretty sure it was Omni. I remember
reading it while reshelving magazines a few years back.

Pete

Torbjorn Lindgren

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Jun 29, 2001, 1:05:38 AM6/29/01
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Dorothy J Heydt <djh...@kithrup.com> wrote:
>In article <3b3b2...@news.iglou.com>,
>Joseph Major <jtm...@shell1.iglou.com> wrote:
>> One of the "Friends of Darkover" anthologies had a story with a
>>Randi-clone trying to prove that the Darkovan laran was phony, and it
>>turned out that he was a powerful psi-suppressor.
>
>But Darkovans do not count, they are no longer fully human,
>having some chieri genes thinly (usually *very* thinly) scattered
>in their inventory.

Well, there are several "purebread" human that have "laran"/telepath
too in the Darkover stories, so that isn't really a requirement (the
contact ship has something like 3 telepaths that we are told about,
and there are several more later on, IIRC some of the pretty
powerful).

Robert Carnegie

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Jun 29, 2001, 8:05:28 AM6/29/01
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djh...@kithrup.com (Dorothy J Heydt) wrote in message news:<GFnJC...@kithrup.com>...

I suppose you have to define telepathy. At short range, body language
(including flushing) and subtle odour can convey information about state
of mind that you don't necessarily realise you're sending _or_ receiving.
An extremely infantile short story could be written, and probably has.

OTOH, if cell phones keep getting smaller and genetic engineering
keeps getting cleverer, then future humans may be redesigned to
grow their own telecommunications equipment built-in. It's a
long while since I read John Varley's _Titan_ -

Come to think, couldn't a prosthetic phone or radio plausibly be implanted
in the body _now_? Build it into a complete replacement jawbone -
dial either by speaking numbers or by pressing teeth with the tongue.
For instance. A sustainable power source might be tricky - maybe
you'd recharge its battery using the teeth again, plenty of people
already have metal fillings in their teeth.

Mike Combs

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Jun 29, 2001, 1:27:26 PM6/29/01
to
Keith Morrison wrote:

>
> Mike Combs wrote:
> >
> > Ahem. Speaking as a skeptic, let me say that the average skeptic claims
> > only that no reliable evidence of psi has yet been presented.
>
> Nor a plausible and testable mechanism by which it would work.

A very good point.

Keith Morrison

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Jun 29, 2001, 6:10:43 PM6/29/01
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Robert Carnegie wrote:

> Come to think, couldn't a prosthetic phone or radio plausibly be implanted
> in the body _now_? Build it into a complete replacement jawbone -
> dial either by speaking numbers or by pressing teeth with the tongue.
> For instance. A sustainable power source might be tricky - maybe
> you'd recharge its battery using the teeth again, plenty of people
> already have metal fillings in their teeth.

No need to go that extreme. Cell phones are small enough now that you
could get one into the body without having to replace parts, mostly
because you could distribute the components. Run wires under the skin
for an antenna, have the power pack somewhere in the chest where it could
be recharged by induction like a pacemaker, a microphone implanted in
the throat and a speaker in the ear.

The problem would be the infterface for dialing.

--
Keith

pete hardie

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Jun 29, 2001, 8:08:41 PM6/29/01
to
Robert Carnegie wrote:
> OTOH, if cell phones keep getting smaller and genetic engineering
> keeps getting cleverer, then future humans may be redesigned to
> grow their own telecommunications equipment built-in. It's a
> long while since I read John Varley's _Titan_ -
>
> Come to think, couldn't a prosthetic phone or radio plausibly be implanted
> in the body _now_? Build it into a complete replacement jawbone -
> dial either by speaking numbers or by pressing teeth with the tongue.
> For instance. A sustainable power source might be tricky - maybe
> you'd recharge its battery using the teeth again, plenty of people
> already have metal fillings in their teeth.

ObSF _Oath of Fealty_ by Niven and Pournelle

The high level execs of the arcology has just this sort of thing.

--
Better Living Through Circuitry

Carl Dershem

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Jun 29, 2001, 9:00:28 PM6/29/01
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Kind of redefines "obscene phone call", doesn't it?

J Greely

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Jun 30, 2001, 2:44:55 AM6/30/01
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Peter Meilinger <mell...@bu.edu> writes:
>You said Omni or Analog - I'm pretty sure it was Omni. I remember
>reading it while reshelving magazines a few years back.

I'm betting Omni as well, now that I think about it. One of the very
early issues, I think.

-j

trike

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Jun 30, 2001, 7:46:54 AM6/30/01
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Dorothy J Heydt <djh...@kithrup.com> wrote in message
news:GFnJC...@kithrup.com...

I knew you were going to say that.

--
Doug
--
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http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/1910

Spike, Tiggy & Panda's Pug-A-Rama:
http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/1910

Michael Alan Chary

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Jun 30, 2001, 8:07:51 AM6/30/01
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In article <ihdnjt0fb2n86tdb4...@4ax.com>,

Kevin J. Maroney <kmar...@ungames.com> wrote:
>jaa...@my-deja.com (Jaak Suurpere) wrote:
>
>>Are there any fictional accounts of Randi Award successfully claimed?
>
>It's not sf, but the first episode of the 1989 return of Columbo,
>"Columbo Goes to the Guillotine", features a purported psychic who
>passes a distance-vision test created by an obvious James Randi
>stand-in.

It doesn't count, but when I was fifteen or so I wrote a hilarious (well,
I thought it was funny) piece of fanfic about Dr. Strange desperately
trying to get James Randi to debunk him because Doc didn't want people to
really believe he was a sorceror, and, of course, James Randi is too
clever and isn't easily fooled. Wacky hijinks ensue.

--
"There are only two kinds of food: good and bad. Also, all of life's big
problems include the words "indictment" or "inoperable." Everything else is
small stuff." - Alton C. Brown
In Memoriam Douglas Adams, 1952-2001 "Belgium, man, Belgium!"

Danny Sichel

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Jun 30, 2001, 6:37:41 PM6/30/01
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Jaak Suurpere wrote:
>
> ASre there any fictional accounts of Randi Award successfully claimed?


There was something to that effect in the Boxjam's Doodle webcomic a few
months back...

www.boxjamsdoodle.com, in case you're interested.

(If you start the archives from the beginning, the art is REALLY crappy
at the beginning, but quickly becomes stylised and pure.)


"...and James Randi said the million dollars was ours. Big deal."

Philip Armstrong

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Jul 1, 2001, 5:37:43 AM7/1/01
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In article <3B3CFCE3...@polarnet.ca>,

Keith Morrison <kei...@polarnet.ca> wrote:
>The problem would be the infterface for dialing.

I read of a method developed in Japan where you wear a wrist strap
which detects the vibrations in your bones from tapping your fingers
together, and translates the taps on different fingers
appropraitely. I'm sure this kind of thing could be adapted for an
'embedded' phone.

Phil

--
http://www.kantaka.co.uk/ .oOo. public key: http://www.kantaka.co.uk/gpg.txt

John DiFool

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Jul 1, 2001, 10:47:36 AM7/1/01
to
Mike Combs wrote:

> Keith Morrison wrote:
> >
> > Mike Combs wrote:
> > >
> > > Ahem. Speaking as a skeptic, let me say that the average skeptic claims
> > > only that no reliable evidence of psi has yet been presented.
> >
> > Nor a plausible and testable mechanism by which it would work.
>
> A very good point.

A very BAD point. Regardless of how you feel about the
significance (or lack therof :-p ) of recent highly-controlled psi
experiments with very high levels of statistical significance (let's
debate that in another time and place-for now I'll just state that
anyone who says they are a 'skeptic' and then denies any sort
of significant findings at all in the paranormal field is just
presenting their bias and nothing else), there is no absolute
requirement for a coherent theory of psi to be presented along
with the data for same. The lack of any sort of workable theory
of gravity didn't make Newton's observations moot, did it? (note
that we are still waiting on that score) People saw spectrums and
rainbows for eons-does their lack of understanding of how a
spectrum is formed thus invalidate thier observation of ROYGBV?
This is a prime example of the kind of pernicious bias brought
against psi research which is NEVER presented against any other
realm of inquiry-because people don't have an emotional stake
(either way I will note ;-) in say the interaction of larval centipedes with
high montane forest soils and nematodes. Will your world really
completely fall apart if psi is proven to be real? Jeez...
Any theory of psi (if it ever comes along-I'm not claiming such
mind you), since it by definition must involve an emergent view of
a consciousness not limited by the brain, will likely not be able to be
explained via the usual reductionistic languages and methods which
science has typically used. I.E. it WON'T overturn the so-called
"Laws of Nature" (apples won't all of a sudden start falling up), but
will instead transcend them as let them be seen as only applying to
base phenomena (stars, atoms, boulders, etc.) but incapable of
allowing us to understand higher-order states (just as you can't explain
the joy of experiencing a sunset-wow spectrums!-, or the meaning of
guilt in MacBeth, or why Hitler was the way he was via purely
empirical/logical means).
I'm sorry if this doesn't satisfy those who will only accept
'proof' or explanations which have purely physical, base
kinds of components, but there you have it. HOW you look
affects WHAT you find...

John DiFool


Keith Morrison

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Jul 1, 2001, 3:32:58 PM7/1/01
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John DiFool wrote:

> > > > Ahem. Speaking as a skeptic, let me say that the average skeptic claims
> > > > only that no reliable evidence of psi has yet been presented.
> > >
> > > Nor a plausible and testable mechanism by which it would work.
> >
> > A very good point.
>
> A very BAD point. Regardless of how you feel about the
> significance (or lack therof :-p ) of recent highly-controlled psi
> experiments with very high levels of statistical significance (let's
> debate that in another time and place-for now I'll just state that
> anyone who says they are a 'skeptic' and then denies any sort
> of significant findings at all in the paranormal field is just
> presenting their bias and nothing else), there is no absolute
> requirement for a coherent theory of psi to be presented along
> with the data for same. The lack of any sort of workable theory
> of gravity didn't make Newton's observations moot, did it? (note
> that we are still waiting on that score) People saw spectrums and
> rainbows for eons-does their lack of understanding of how a
> spectrum is formed thus invalidate thier observation of ROYGBV?

There are two ways that I'll except some new phenomenon: the first
is observation of the effect. The second is theory about how the
phenomenon might be observed and then creating the test to see if
it can, in fact be seen. *That's* what I was talking about.

People could see rainbows and gravity. That falls into the first
category. They postulated neutrinos by theory and then created
the experiments to see if they could find them. That's the second
category.

What, exactly, is your problem with that?

--
Keith

Erik Max Francis

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Jul 1, 2001, 4:16:29 PM7/1/01
to
Keith Morrison wrote:

> There are two ways that I'll except some new phenomenon: the first
> is observation of the effect. The second is theory about how the
> phenomenon might be observed and then creating the test to see if
> it can, in fact be seen. *That's* what I was talking about.

...


> What, exactly, is your problem with that?

I suspect he thought you were suggesting an "and" relation between the
two mechanisms, rather than an "or" one.

--
Erik Max Francis / m...@alcyone.com / http://www.alcyone.com/max/
__ San Jose, CA, US / 37 20 N 121 53 W / ICQ16063900 / &tSftDotIotE
/ \ Nothing is potent against love save impotence.
\__/ Samuel Butler
blackgirl international / http://www.blackgirl.org/
The Internet resource for black women.

Riboflavin

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Jul 1, 2001, 7:00:32 PM7/1/01
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"John DiFool" <jdi...@earthlink.net> wrote in message

> A very BAD point. Regardless of how you feel about the
> significance (or lack therof :-p ) of recent highly-controlled psi
> experiments with very high levels of statistical significance (let's
> debate that in another time and place-for now I'll just state that
> anyone who says they are a 'skeptic' and then denies any sort
> of significant findings at all in the paranormal field is just
> presenting their bias and nothing else),

Why is it that whenever someone mentions psi experiments with positive
results, they always neglect to name the experiments and rant about those
terrible skeptics who ignore said experiments? Do you really think people
are going to change their minds about the existence of something purely
based on your assertions that there are experiments showing it to be true?
If 'I don't believe every person that posts to Usenet claiming there are
experiments that show their theory to be right' is bias, then call me
happily biased.
--
Kevin Allegood ribotr...@mindspring.pants.com
Remove the pants from my email address to reply
"I mean, can you imagine a meeting with John Galt sitting at the
table? Better not drink any coffee beforehand. Take a book. Or a noose."
- James Nicoll


Charles R Martin

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Jul 2, 2001, 12:05:59 AM7/2/01
to
"Riboflavin" <ri...@mindspring.com> writes:

> "John DiFool" <jdi...@earthlink.net> wrote in message
> > A very BAD point. Regardless of how you feel about the
> > significance (or lack therof :-p ) of recent highly-controlled psi
> > experiments with very high levels of statistical significance (let's
> > debate that in another time and place-for now I'll just state that
> > anyone who says they are a 'skeptic' and then denies any sort
> > of significant findings at all in the paranormal field is just
> > presenting their bias and nothing else),
>
> Why is it that whenever someone mentions psi experiments with positive
> results, they always neglect to name the experiments and rant about those
> terrible skeptics who ignore said experiments? Do you really think people
> are going to change their minds about the existence of something purely
> based on your assertions that there are experiments showing it to be true?
> If 'I don't believe every person that posts to Usenet claiming there are
> experiments that show their theory to be right' is bias, then call me
> happily biased.

Not taking a position pro or anti, but here:

http://www.closertotruth.com/topics/mindbrain/212/212transcript.html

http://www.newscientist.com/opinion/opinion.jsp?id=ns22805

http://www.hf.caltech.edu/cgi-bin/hnctt/get/show212/6/1.html

http://www.hf.caltech.edu/ctt/show212/article2.shtml

http://www.noetic.org/ions/about/marilyn.asp (researcher)

The gist of the best-controlled experiments is that under quite
rigidly controlled experimentation, there _seems_ to be a
low-bandwidth, high-noise transmission of information ... sometimes.

Interestingly, under very rigid conditions, with pre-design of both
experiment and evaluation methods, at least one reported experiment
(url ending 'article2.shtml') clearly shows the so-called "observer
effect", ie, if the direct experimenter is open to psi, there seems to
be a statistically significant effect, while if the experimenter is
highly skeptical, there is no significant effect. Since this is the
result of experiments carried on by _both_ experimenters under the
same protocol with the same data gathering and evaluation methods,
this _cannot_ be explained by observer bias.

--
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they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among
these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these
rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from
the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes
destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to
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likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
-- The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Charlie Martin, Broomfield, CO USA 40 N 105 W

David M. Palmer

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Jul 2, 2001, 2:43:13 AM7/2/01
to
In article <m266dch...@summanulla.indra.com>, Charles R Martin
<crma...@indra.com> wrote:

> "Riboflavin" <ri...@mindspring.com> writes:
>
> > "John DiFool" <jdi...@earthlink.net> wrote in message
> > > A very BAD point. Regardless of how you feel about the
> > > significance (or lack therof :-p ) of recent highly-controlled psi
> > > experiments with very high levels of statistical significance (let's

> Not taking a position pro or anti, but here:

...
> http://www.hf.caltech.edu/ctt/show212/article2.shtml
...


> Interestingly, under very rigid conditions, with pre-design of both
> experiment and evaluation methods, at least one reported experiment
> (url ending 'article2.shtml') clearly shows the so-called "observer
> effect", ie, if the direct experimenter is open to psi, there seems to
> be a statistically significant effect, while if the experimenter is
> highly skeptical, there is no significant effect. Since this is the

This can't be the 'experiments with very high levels of statistical
significance' mentioned by DiFool. It presents two trials of an
experiment (one by a believer, one by an unbeliever). The unbeliever
gets a P{|null hypothesis) 64% significance, the believer gets a 4%
significance.

Even the believer's result is not a high level of significance by any
reasonable standard. This level is expected to occur one time in 25
trials just by chance, assuming no systematics. Given that there were
two trials, the odds are more like one in 13. This is, as you say, 'at
least one reported experiment'. The number of unreported experiments,
and the number of reported experiments that show no effect, has to be
taken into account by somebody with more knowledge of the field than
me.

Charles R Martin

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Jul 2, 2001, 12:23:22 PM7/2/01
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"David M. Palmer" <dmpa...@ematic.com> writes:

> In article <m266dch...@summanulla.indra.com>, Charles R Martin
> <crma...@indra.com> wrote:
>
> > "Riboflavin" <ri...@mindspring.com> writes:
> >
> > > "John DiFool" <jdi...@earthlink.net> wrote in message
> > > > A very BAD point. Regardless of how you feel about the
> > > > significance (or lack therof :-p ) of recent highly-controlled psi
> > > > experiments with very high levels of statistical significance (let's
>
>
> > Not taking a position pro or anti, but here:
> ...
> > http://www.hf.caltech.edu/ctt/show212/article2.shtml
> ...
> > Interestingly, under very rigid conditions, with pre-design of both
> > experiment and evaluation methods, at least one reported experiment
> > (url ending 'article2.shtml') clearly shows the so-called "observer
> > effect", ie, if the direct experimenter is open to psi, there seems to
> > be a statistically significant effect, while if the experimenter is
> > highly skeptical, there is no significant effect. Since this is the
>
> This can't be the 'experiments with very high levels of statistical
> significance' mentioned by DiFool. It presents two trials of an
> experiment (one by a believer, one by an unbeliever). The unbeliever
> gets a P{|null hypothesis) 64% significance, the believer gets a 4%
> significance.

No, I'm sure it's not. The ganzfeld experiments have shown the
strongest statistical results recently, I believe.

>
> Even the believer's result is not a high level of significance by
> any reasonable standard. This level is expected to occur one time in
> 25 trials just by chance, assuming no systematics. Given that there
> were two trials, the odds are more like one in 13. This is, as you
> say, 'at least one reported experiment'. The number of unreported
> experiments, and the number of reported experiments that show no
> effect, has to be taken into account by somebody with more knowledge
> of the field than me.

Even the authors of this study simply say that more research is
needed, and in the discussion on closertotruth.com there is a lot of
discussion of improved experiment designs. But, just from the
standpoint of philosophy of science, the _un_reported experiments
shouldn't be considered; as soon as you start to hypothesize a
collection of unreported experiments with negative, or no significant
positive results, you can negate _any possible_ positive result of
_any_ experiment.

Compounding a bunch of different reported experiments through
something like a meta-study is a whole 'nother kettle of fish, but
this approach is pretty controversial even in areas where the property
being studied is well-understood.

As I say, I'm not prepared to argue pro or anti as far as the
existence of psi function goes; I did want to point out in the face of
challenge that there are a number of researchers who are trying to
build experiments that will stand up to all challenges of experimental
design, and in which the experiments do sometimes have reasonably
strong positive results.

Mike Combs

unread,
Jul 2, 2001, 1:36:35 PM7/2/01
to
John DiFool wrote:
>
> A very BAD point. Regardless of how you feel about the
> significance (or lack therof :-p ) of recent highly-controlled psi
> experiments with very high levels of statistical significance

How well-controlled these kinds of experiments are usually doesn't tend
to come out until after skeptical investigators take a look at the
setup. The usual finding is that controls are anywhere from poor to
nonexistent.

> (let's
> debate that in another time and place-for now I'll just state that
> anyone who says they are a 'skeptic' and then denies any sort
> of significant findings at all in the paranormal field is just
> presenting their bias and nothing else),

I define "significant" as a combination of good controls along with
numerically significant results. The reality is that we've seen an
inverse relationship between the quality of the controls and the
significance of the numerical results. Some of us consider this a clue.

> I'm sorry if this doesn't satisfy those who will only accept
> 'proof' or explanations which have purely physical, base
> kinds of components, but there you have it. HOW you look
> affects WHAT you find...

But you're trying to have your cake and eat it too. You want to argue
that there's scientific proof for psi, but at the same time argue that
psi is not amenable to the reductionist methods used by science. Which
is it?

I suspect in truth, you want to continue to call psi researchers
"scientists" and call what they do "science" mostly for the prestige
associated with those words, while at the same time insisting that the
reductionist, "purely physical" approach of science must be abandoned,
and allowing the psi researchers to do so. Maybe science has amassed
the respectability it now commands precisely because of the methods you
insist aren't applicable to psi.

William December Starr

unread,
Jul 2, 2001, 8:25:08 PM7/2/01
to
In article <3B3CFCE3...@polarnet.ca>,
kei...@polarnet.ca said:

> The problem would be the interface for dialing.

An array of twelve (or some other arbitrary number) soft subcutaneous
sensor pads implanted the palm of your left hand (if you're right-
handed). Dial as per normal with your right index finger.

-- William December Starr <wds...@panix.com>

Timothy Little

unread,
Jul 2, 2001, 8:57:04 PM7/2/01
to
Charles R Martin <crma...@indra.com> wrote:
> But, just from the standpoint of philosophy of science, the
>_un_reported experiments shouldn't be considered; as soon as you
>start to hypothesize a collection of unreported experiments with
>negative, or no significant positive results, you can negate _any
>possible_ positive result of _any_ experiment.

That is why simple presentation of a single experimental result is
insufficient to confirm or reject a major hypothesis. The original
experiment gives only an *indication* of a result, and there should be
expected to be many false positives in any field where many
experiments are conducted.

To be truly significant, an originally significant experiment must
be *replicated*. Even then, you should expect some false positives.
By the time you get 3 replications of a given experiment at 1%
significance, you can pretty much rule out chance as an explanation.

In short, you *do* have to worry about unpublished experiments; but
that is taken care of by the scientific requirement that experiments
be replicable.


>As I say, I'm not prepared to argue pro or anti as far as the
>existence of psi function goes; I did want to point out in the face of
>challenge that there are a number of researchers who are trying to
>build experiments that will stand up to all challenges of experimental
>design, and in which the experiments do sometimes have reasonably
>strong positive results.

I'm still rather worried that the effect seems to reduce in size as
the protocols are strengthened. That's usually a good rule of thumb
for an absent effect. However, 1 very good experiment replicated
independently at least 3 times would suffice for me to start
believing.


- Tim

Charles R Martin

unread,
Jul 2, 2001, 9:28:17 PM7/2/01
to

Mike -- Please get up to date on the literature _before_ you insult
the poor folks trying seriously to make sense of this.

Mike Combs <mike...@nospam.comchgnospam2ti> writes:

--

Joe Slater

unread,
Jul 2, 2001, 9:58:07 PM7/2/01
to
Charles R Martin <crma...@indra.com> wrote:
>--
>We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that
>they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among
>these are blahdity blahdity blah ...

Is it really necessary to regale us with 11 lines of political tract
every time you want to post a 2 line message?

jds
--
Joe Slater was but a low-grade paranoiac, whose fantastic notions must
have come from the crude hereditary folk-tales which circulated in even
the most decadent of communities.
_Beyond the Wall of Sleep_ by H P Lovecraft

Charles R Martin

unread,
Jul 2, 2001, 10:25:28 PM7/2/01
to
t...@freeman.little-possums.net (Timothy Little) writes:

> Charles R Martin <crma...@indra.com> wrote:
> > But, just from the standpoint of philosophy of science, the
> >_un_reported experiments shouldn't be considered; as soon as you
> >start to hypothesize a collection of unreported experiments with
> >negative, or no significant positive results, you can negate _any
> >possible_ positive result of _any_ experiment.
>
> That is why simple presentation of a single experimental result is
> insufficient to confirm or reject a major hypothesis. The original
> experiment gives only an *indication* of a result, and there should be
> expected to be many false positives in any field where many
> experiments are conducted.
>
> To be truly significant, an originally significant experiment must
> be *replicated*. Even then, you should expect some false positives.
> By the time you get 3 replications of a given experiment at 1%
> significance, you can pretty much rule out chance as an explanation.
>
> In short, you *do* have to worry about unpublished experiments; but
> that is taken care of by the scientific requirement that experiments
> be replicable.

Hmmm. My immediate reactions are "sure", "no", and "no, wait." This
convinces me that we're having a failure to communicate. I think the
point is that experiments should indeed be replicable -- but beware of
difficulties in the "measuring instruments", whether it's Clever Hans
or "observer effect" -- but to argue that positive results can be
discounted because there is some hypothetical collection of
unpublished negative results is inherently false.

There's also a testability problem in this. I can think of at least
one known physiological mechanism that could account for the "staring
effect", this being the sensitivity of some people to very small
magnetic fields. This sensitivity is rather randomly distributed,
occurring to some extent in about 25 percent of the population; the
outward manifestation of this most often seen is what we call a "sense
of direction". Seeing as humans are themselves conductors, even if
they're not musically inclined, I can imagine an experimental setup
that might lead to a small but potentially perceptible difference in
the local field. Not to mention small differences in the experimental
environment, like whether or not there is some current flow in some
cases and not others.

With a small n, and that kind of distribution of a mechanism, it would
be entirely too easy to have a population effect that confounds your
attempt at control. But beyond that little problem, there is the
further problem that the more or less global question of whether psi
exists is inherently untestable.

>
>
> >As I say, I'm not prepared to argue pro or anti as far as the
> >existence of psi function goes; I did want to point out in the face of
> >challenge that there are a number of researchers who are trying to
> >build experiments that will stand up to all challenges of experimental
> >design, and in which the experiments do sometimes have reasonably
> >strong positive results.
>
> I'm still rather worried that the effect seems to reduce in size as
> the protocols are strengthened. That's usually a good rule of thumb
> for an absent effect. However, 1 very good experiment replicated
> independently at least 3 times would suffice for me to start
> believing.

I'm not arguing that you should believe -- personally, I don't know
_what_ I think in the face of very difficult testability and pretty
equivocal results, opposed with the fact that there are things I've
personally seen happen that I find hard to explain without some kind
of non-local knowledge. The point is, though, that there is a body of
research in which controls are carefully constructed and results
reported in the traditional scientific ways, and this body of results
is _not_ uniformly negative.

Charles R Martin

unread,
Jul 2, 2001, 10:30:32 PM7/2/01
to
Joe Slater <joeDEL...@yoyo.cc.monash.edu.au> writes:

> Charles R Martin <crma...@indra.com> wrote:
> >--
> >We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that
> >they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among
> >these are blahdity blahdity blah ...
>
> Is it really necessary to regale us with 11 lines of political tract
> every time you want to post a 2 line message?

For this week, yes.

--
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that
they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among

Timothy Little

unread,
Jul 3, 2001, 2:05:37 AM7/3/01
to
Charles R Martin <crma...@indra.com> wrote:

>t...@freeman.little-possums.net (Timothy Little) writes:
>> In short, you *do* have to worry about unpublished experiments; but
>> that is taken care of by the scientific requirement that experiments
>> be replicable.

>Hmmm. My immediate reactions are "sure", "no", and "no, wait." This
>convinces me that we're having a failure to communicate. I think the
>point is that experiments should indeed be replicable -- but beware of
>difficulties in the "measuring instruments", whether it's Clever Hans
>or "observer effect" -- but to argue that positive results can be
>discounted because there is some hypothetical collection of
>unpublished negative results is inherently false.

I trust that you do see a difference between doing a single
experiment and getting a positive result at the 1% level, and doing
100 experiments and getting 1 positive result at the 1% level?
Whether the other 99 are published or not is irrelevant.

Ideally, *all* experiments would be published and hence their
results and methods available for study. Unfortunately that doesn't
quite happen in the real world. Hypothesizing 99 unpublished negative
experiments for each positive experiment is obviously going too far, I
agree.

The fact is that 5%, or 1%, significance level is not an infallible
standard by which absolute truth can be determined. It is simply a
useful trade-off between results that *probably* don't mean much and
those that *probably* do. The requirement that the experiment be
independently replicable greatly reduces any of a large class of
reasons for false positives, including those due to chance.


>There's also a testability problem in this.

Sure. The ability to exhibit psi phenomena, if it exists, is not
expected to be universal in the population. Hence a replication of
any such experimental confirmation is almost certainly going to need
to re-test some original participants. The presence of an "antipsi"
observer effect would compound the problem further.

One thing that I think is fairly clear from the published literature
on psi studies, is that psi effects exist measurably only if all the
studied phenomena include such an observer effect. This is not an 'a
priori' implausible requirement of a psi theory, of course. It is
merely a constraint on the set of such theories that correspond in a
satisfactory manner with the available evidence.


> But beyond that little problem, there is the further problem that
>the more or less global question of whether psi exists is inherently
>untestable.

Certainly. On the one hand; if it does exist, it should
(eventually) be repeatably demonstrable, even if not necessarily
reliable nor universal. Whether it would fit people's preconceptions
of 'psi' is another matter. On the other hand, if it does not exist,
no amount of testing will suffice to demonstrate the fact.


> The point is, though, that there is a body of research in which
>controls are carefully constructed and results reported in the
>traditional scientific ways, and this body of results is _not_
>uniformly negative.

I agree. But then, I would not *expect* the body of results to be
uniformly negative, even if psi does not exist.


- Tim

Del Cotter

unread,
Jul 3, 2001, 3:09:14 AM7/3/01
to
On Mon, 2 Jul 2001, in rec.arts.sf.written,
Charles R Martin <crma...@indra.com> said:

>Joe Slater <joeDEL...@yoyo.cc.monash.edu.au> writes:
>> Is it really necessary to regale us with 11 lines of political tract
>> every time you want to post a 2 line message?
>
>For this week, yes.

*Please* don't crosspost this thread to rec.arts.sf.science. Apart from
the usual reasons, Mr. Martin is a known gadfly on that group, and
probably isn't going to behave any better here.

--
Del Cotter d...@branta.demon.co.uk

Charles R Martin

unread,
Jul 3, 2001, 12:04:43 PM7/3/01
to
t...@freeman.little-possums.net (Timothy Little) writes:

> Charles R Martin <crma...@indra.com> wrote:
>
> >t...@freeman.little-possums.net (Timothy Little) writes:
> >> In short, you *do* have to worry about unpublished experiments; but
> >> that is taken care of by the scientific requirement that experiments
> >> be replicable.
>
> >Hmmm. My immediate reactions are "sure", "no", and "no, wait." This
> >convinces me that we're having a failure to communicate. I think the
> >point is that experiments should indeed be replicable -- but beware of
> >difficulties in the "measuring instruments", whether it's Clever Hans
> >or "observer effect" -- but to argue that positive results can be
> >discounted because there is some hypothetical collection of
> >unpublished negative results is inherently false.
>
> I trust that you do see a difference between doing a single
> experiment and getting a positive result at the 1% level, and doing
> 100 experiments and getting 1 positive result at the 1% level?
> Whether the other 99 are published or not is irrelevant.

Of course I see the difference. I trust _you_ see the difference
between having a published result at the 1% percent level, and
asserting that this result can be discounted because you believe
negative results aren't being reported, without being able to cite and
enumerate those negative results.

>
> Ideally, *all* experiments would be published and hence their
> results and methods available for study. Unfortunately that doesn't
> quite happen in the real world. Hypothesizing 99 unpublished
> negative experiments for each positive experiment is obviously going
> too far, I agree.
>
> The fact is that 5%, or 1%, significance level is not an infallible
> standard by which absolute truth can be determined. It is simply a
> useful trade-off between results that *probably* don't mean much and
> those that *probably* do. The requirement that the experiment be
> independently replicable greatly reduces any of a large class of
> reasons for false positives, including those due to chance.
>
>
> >There's also a testability problem in this.
>
> Sure. The ability to exhibit psi phenomena, if it exists, is not
> expected to be universal in the population. Hence a replication of
> any such experimental confirmation is almost certainly going to need
> to re-test some original participants. The presence of an "antipsi"
> observer effect would compound the problem further.
>
> One thing that I think is fairly clear from the published literature
> on psi studies, is that psi effects exist measurably only if all the
> studied phenomena include such an observer effect. This is not an 'a
> priori' implausible requirement of a psi theory, of course. It is
> merely a constraint on the set of such theories that correspond in a
> satisfactory manner with the available evidence.
>

Yeah. I think the technical term for this is "a bummer".

>
>
> > But beyond that little problem, there is the further problem that
> >the more or less global question of whether psi exists is
> >inherently untestable.
>
> Certainly. On the one hand; if it does exist, it should
> (eventually) be repeatably demonstrable, even if not necessarily
> reliable nor universal. Whether it would fit people's preconceptions
> of 'psi' is another matter. On the other hand, if it does not exist,
> no amount of testing will suffice to demonstrate the fact.
>
>
> > The point is, though, that there is a body of research in which
> >controls are carefully constructed and results reported in the
> >traditional scientific ways, and this body of results is _not_
> >uniformly negative.
>
> I agree. But then, I would not *expect* the body of results to be
> uniformly negative, even if psi does not exist.
>
>
> - Tim

--

Charles R Martin

unread,
Jul 3, 2001, 5:10:22 PM7/3/01
to
whh...@kithrup.com (Wilson Heydt) writes:

> In article <m266dch...@summanulla.indra.com>,


> Charles R Martin <crma...@indra.com> wrote:
> >

> >Interestingly, under very rigid conditions, with pre-design of both
> >experiment and evaluation methods, at least one reported experiment
> >(url ending 'article2.shtml') clearly shows the so-called "observer
> >effect", ie, if the direct experimenter is open to psi, there seems to
> >be a statistically significant effect, while if the experimenter is
> >highly skeptical, there is no significant effect. Since this is the
> >result of experiments carried on by _both_ experimenters under the
> >same protocol with the same data gathering and evaluation methods,
> >this _cannot_ be explained by observer bias.
>

> True...as far as it goes. It could also be that the "open" observer
> is less rigorous about enforcing/using/observing the experimental
> protocols.
>
> Consider the cas of N-rays.

True, although in this case I'd suggest you read the paper _before_
making the criticism, as both experimenters went to some lengths to
try to prevent this. But one of the real difficulties with ANY of the
psi expewriments is avoiding this problem, say through "Clever Hans"
effects or even greater subtleties.

None the less, to _presume_ that there must be such an effect to
explain all positive results is irrational and unscientific.

Wilson Heydt

unread,
Jul 3, 2001, 4:50:22 PM7/3/01
to
In article <m266dch...@summanulla.indra.com>,
Charles R Martin <crma...@indra.com> wrote:
>
>Interestingly, under very rigid conditions, with pre-design of both
>experiment and evaluation methods, at least one reported experiment
>(url ending 'article2.shtml') clearly shows the so-called "observer
>effect", ie, if the direct experimenter is open to psi, there seems to
>be a statistically significant effect, while if the experimenter is
>highly skeptical, there is no significant effect. Since this is the
>result of experiments carried on by _both_ experimenters under the
>same protocol with the same data gathering and evaluation methods,
>this _cannot_ be explained by observer bias.

True...as far as it goes. It could also be that the "open" observer


is less rigorous about enforcing/using/observing the experimental
protocols.

Consider the cas of N-rays.

--
Hal Heydt
Albany, CA

My dime, my opinions.

Bill Snyder

unread,
Jul 3, 2001, 6:22:53 PM7/3/01
to
On 03 Jul 2001 15:10:22 -0600, Charles R Martin <crma...@indra.com>
wrote:

>whh...@kithrup.com (Wilson Heydt) writes:
>
>> In article <m266dch...@summanulla.indra.com>,
>> Charles R Martin <crma...@indra.com> wrote:
>> >
>> >Interestingly, under very rigid conditions, with pre-design of both
>> >experiment and evaluation methods, at least one reported experiment
>> >(url ending 'article2.shtml') clearly shows the so-called "observer
>> >effect", ie, if the direct experimenter is open to psi, there seems to
>> >be a statistically significant effect, while if the experimenter is
>> >highly skeptical, there is no significant effect. Since this is the
>> >result of experiments carried on by _both_ experimenters under the
>> >same protocol with the same data gathering and evaluation methods,
>> >this _cannot_ be explained by observer bias.
>>
>> True...as far as it goes. It could also be that the "open" observer
>> is less rigorous about enforcing/using/observing the experimental
>> protocols.
>>
>> Consider the cas of N-rays.
>
>True, although in this case I'd suggest you read the paper _before_
>making the criticism, as both experimenters went to some lengths to
>try to prevent this. But one of the real difficulties with ANY of the
>psi expewriments is avoiding this problem, say through "Clever Hans"
>effects or even greater subtleties.
>
>None the less, to _presume_ that there must be such an effect to
>explain all positive results is irrational and unscientific.

Not so. "Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof." If I say
I can fly in an airplane, it would arguably be "irrational and
unscientific" to doubt my claim _a priori_. But it I say I can fly by
flapping my arms up and down, presuming that I'm full of it is the
only sane reaction.

Purely as a matter of common sense, once a certain volume of negative
evidence has been accumulated, the burden of proof is very strongly on
the experimenter. If he expects any reaction other than "Ho hum, more
of that crap," he'd better be able to overcome the presumption.

--
Bill Snyder [This space unintentionally left blank.]

Charles R Martin

unread,
Jul 3, 2001, 8:58:26 PM7/3/01
to
Bill Snyder <bsn...@iadfw.net> writes:

But if there are reputable observers who have _seen_ you flying by
flapping your arms up and down, you'd do well to consider _how_ it
might happen. Cf the old Missouri farmer who saw a giraffe at a
circus and said "there ain't no such animal."

>
> Purely as a matter of common sense, once a certain volume of
> negative evidence has been accumulated, the burden of proof is very
> strongly on the experimenter. If he expects any reaction other than
> "Ho hum, more of that crap," he'd better be able to overcome the
> presumption.

But in order to overcome the presumption, you assume that the
presumption isn't taken as axiomatic.

John David Galt

unread,
Jul 4, 2001, 5:14:11 AM7/4/01
to
Joseph Major wrote:
> Of course, in the real world (whatever that is), that accusation
> is, as was said above, made against Randi.

Why would Randi have to stop something from working? He can, and will,
just disbelieve.

If Jesus Christ rose from the dead tomorrow and demonstrated water-walking,
James Randi would find a way to disbelieve.

Lois Tilton

unread,
Jul 4, 2001, 11:34:27 AM7/4/01
to
In rec.arts.sf.written John David Galt <j...@diogenes.sacramento.ca.us> wrote:

> If Jesus Christ rose from the dead tomorrow and demonstrated water-walking,
> James Randi would find a way to disbelieve.


ObSF: see "The Amazing Grandy" by ALan Arkin in the AUgust F&SF.

--
LT
www.darkspawn.com
Read the first chapter of
DARKSPAWN: the vampire fantasy

Richard Horton

unread,
Jul 4, 2001, 3:27:47 PM7/4/01
to

Ob very recent SF: "The Amazing Grandy", by Alan Arkin, in the current
(August) issue of F&SF. A fellow named Grandy (who is obviously
Randi) sits next to Jesus on an airplane.


--
Rich Horton | Stable Email: mailto://richard...@sff.net
Home Page: http://www.sff.net/people/richard.horton
Also visit SF Site (http://www.sfsite.com) and Tangent Online (http://www.tangentonline.com)

Charles R Martin

unread,
Jul 4, 2001, 3:54:58 PM7/4/01
to
Richard Horton <rrho...@prodigy.net> writes:

> On Wed, 04 Jul 2001 02:14:11 -0700, John David Galt
> <j...@diogenes.sacramento.ca.us> wrote:
>
> >Joseph Major wrote:
> >> Of course, in the real world (whatever that is), that accusation
> >> is, as was said above, made against Randi.
> >
> >Why would Randi have to stop something from working? He can, and will,
> >just disbelieve.
> >
> >If Jesus Christ rose from the dead tomorrow and demonstrated water-walking,
> >James Randi would find a way to disbelieve.
>
> Ob very recent SF: "The Amazing Grandy", by Alan Arkin, in the current
> (August) issue of F&SF. A fellow named Grandy (who is obviously
> Randi) sits next to Jesus on an airplane.

ObTheology: there _is_ always the story of "doubting Thomas" in the Bible.

Keith Morrison

unread,
Jul 4, 2001, 4:02:07 PM7/4/01
to
Richard Horton wrote:

> >If Jesus Christ rose from the dead tomorrow and demonstrated water-walking,
> >James Randi would find a way to disbelieve.
>
> Ob very recent SF: "The Amazing Grandy", by Alan Arkin, in the current
> (August) issue of F&SF. A fellow named Grandy (who is obviously
> Randi) sits next to Jesus on an airplane.

As one fellow put it, Canadians believe Jesus could have walked on water.
But it was probably winter.

--
Keith

Keith Morrison

unread,
Jul 4, 2001, 4:00:46 PM7/4/01
to
Charles R Martin wrote:

> > >If Jesus Christ rose from the dead tomorrow and demonstrated water-walking,
> > >James Randi would find a way to disbelieve.
> >
> > Ob very recent SF: "The Amazing Grandy", by Alan Arkin, in the current
> > (August) issue of F&SF. A fellow named Grandy (who is obviously
> > Randi) sits next to Jesus on an airplane.
>
> ObTheology: there _is_ always the story of "doubting Thomas" in the Bible.

The Scientist's Apostle. I always liked him, myself.

--
Keith

David Rickel

unread,
Jul 4, 2001, 4:19:23 PM7/4/01
to

"John David Galt" <j...@diogenes.sacramento.ca.us> wrote in message
news:3B42DE63...@diogenes.sacramento.ca.us...

Why do you say that? Did he hurt your feelings? Obviously you think that
if
Randi drove JC' to a random swimming pool and had JC', dressed in swim
trunks
or naked, walk across the pool while being video taped, that Randi would
later
claim a trick. Or are you saying that he'd admit that JC' could walk on
water,
but would deny that he is Jesus (which seems pretty reasonable to me. The
water walking could be pretty well established, but the divinity would still
be
open to question).


david rickel


Gary Weiner

unread,
Jul 4, 2001, 7:51:21 PM7/4/01
to

Disbelieve what? That he could walk on water? If he passed a Randi
designed, water walking test I'm sure Randi would believe that he could,
in fact, walk on water. He's an honest skeptic.

Would he believe that he was the incarnation of Rabbi Yeshua ben Joseph
or that he was the son of God?

It's hard to design a test for that.

--
Gary J. Weiner \ "When you can balance a tack hammer on
webm...@hatrack.net \ your head, you will head off your foes
http://www.hatrack.net \ with a balanced attack!"
"Hang Your Web With Us!"\ -The Sphinx "Mystery Men"

Rick

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Jul 4, 2001, 10:49:04 PM7/4/01
to
John David Galt <j...@diogenes.sacramento.ca.us> wrote:
>
> If Jesus Christ rose from the dead tomorrow and demonstrated
water-walking,
> James Randi would find a way to disbelieve.

So would I. I want real proof, not parlor tricks.


Cosmin Corbea

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Jul 4, 2001, 11:33:16 PM7/4/01
to
"Gary Weiner" <webm...@hatrack.net> wrote in message
news:3B43ABF9...@hatrack.net...
>
>
> John David Galt wrote:

> >
> > Why would Randi have to stop something from working? He can, and will,
> > just disbelieve.
> >
> > If Jesus Christ rose from the dead tomorrow and demonstrated
water-walking,
> > James Randi would find a way to disbelieve.
>
> Disbelieve what? That he could walk on water? If he passed a Randi
> designed, water walking test I'm sure Randi would believe that he could,
> in fact, walk on water. He's an honest skeptic.
>
> Would he believe that he was the incarnation of Rabbi Yeshua ben Joseph
> or that he was the son of God?

And, of course, Randi may demonstrate he can walk on water too; for someone
of his talents it shouldn't be too difficult. Should we then believe Randi
is also the Messiah?

Regards,

Cosmin Corbea

George William Herbert

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Jul 5, 2001, 1:22:15 AM7/5/01
to
Gary Weiner <webm...@hatrack.net> wrote:
>John David Galt wrote:
>> Joseph Major wrote:
>> > Of course, in the real world (whatever that is), that accusation
>> > is, as was said above, made against Randi.
>>
>> Why would Randi have to stop something from working? He can, and will,
>> just disbelieve.
>>
>> If Jesus Christ rose from the dead tomorrow and demonstrated water-walking,
>> James Randi would find a way to disbelieve.
>
>Disbelieve what? That he could walk on water? If he passed a Randi
>designed, water walking test I'm sure Randi would believe that he could,
>in fact, walk on water. He's an honest skeptic.
>
>Would he believe that he was the incarnation of Rabbi Yeshua ben Joseph
>or that he was the son of God?
>
>It's hard to design a test for that.

There are a number of miracles ascribed to Christ in the Bible that
could be subjected to reasonably foolproof testing were Christ and
God to decide they wanted to (assuming they really exist). Verifying
any one of them would not necessarily validate the whole body of
Judeo-Christian religion, but if you were to rigorously prove
enough of them to Randi's satisfaction I'm sure he and a number
of others would eventually conclude that the odds are high that
the rest of it's true, too, even if you couldn't test for the
existence of God directly.

Unfortunately, that rather would upset the concept of faith as
currently espoused, and seems unlikely to happen.


-george william herbert
gher...@retro.com

Joe Slater

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Jul 5, 2001, 1:36:33 AM7/5/01
to
gher...@gw.retro.com (George William Herbert) wrote:
>There are a number of miracles ascribed to Christ in the Bible that
>could be subjected to reasonably foolproof testing were Christ and
>God to decide they wanted to (assuming they really exist). Verifying
>any one of them would not necessarily validate the whole body of
>Judeo-Christian religion,

Certainly not the Judaeo part ... :-)

Craig S. Richardson

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Jul 5, 2001, 5:21:06 PM7/5/01
to
On Wed, 04 Jul 2001 19:51:21 -0400, Gary Weiner
<webm...@hatrack.net> wrote:

>John David Galt wrote:
>>
>> Joseph Major wrote:
>> > Of course, in the real world (whatever that is), that accusation
>> > is, as was said above, made against Randi.
>>
>> Why would Randi have to stop something from working? He can, and will,
>> just disbelieve.
>>
>> If Jesus Christ rose from the dead tomorrow and demonstrated water-walking,
>> James Randi would find a way to disbelieve.
>
>Disbelieve what? That he could walk on water? If he passed a Randi
>designed, water walking test I'm sure Randi would believe that he could,
>in fact, walk on water. He's an honest skeptic.
>
>Would he believe that he was the incarnation of Rabbi Yeshua ben Joseph
>or that he was the son of God?
>
>It's hard to design a test for that.

ObSF: _Illuminatus_ "Put your hand in my side." Actually a fairly
convincing test, when you think about it.

--Craig

--
David Collins from Burnley: 70K pounds
Luke Weaver from Spurs: 500K pounds
Matthew Etherington from Grasshoppers-Zurich: 1.2M pounds
Leyton Orient 1-0 St. Mirren in the 2003 UEFA Cup Final: Priceless

Robert Carnegie

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Jul 6, 2001, 8:41:57 AM7/6/01
to
gher...@gw.retro.com (George William Herbert) wrote in message news:<9i0ti7$9su$1...@gw.retro.com>...

Also, given Christ's other sources of cash (televangelism, tithing,
real estate) - got to be in Bill Gates' league, surely - the Randi
prize is probably not worth Christ spending the time necessary to
claim it. We are still talking about that prize, right?

John DiFool

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Jul 6, 2001, 10:55:06 AM7/6/01
to
Charles R Martin wrote:

>
> > >If Jesus Christ rose from the dead tomorrow and demonstrated water-walking,
> > >James Randi would find a way to disbelieve.
> >
> > Ob very recent SF: "The Amazing Grandy", by Alan Arkin, in the current
> > (August) issue of F&SF. A fellow named Grandy (who is obviously
> > Randi) sits next to Jesus on an airplane.
>
> ObTheology: there _is_ always the story of "doubting Thomas" in the Bible.
>

I remember secretly admiring Thomas when in Catholic grade school...

JD

--
============================
Those who know do not speak:
Those who speak do not know.
-Lao Tzu
============================


Tom Breton

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Jul 7, 2001, 3:45:09 PM7/7/01
to
In article <co92kto1e5f57m37k...@4ax.com>,

Joe Slater <joeDEL...@yoyo.cc.monash.edu.au> wrote:
>Charles R Martin <crma...@indra.com> wrote:
>>--
>>We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that
>>they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among
>>these are blahdity blahdity blah ...
>
>Is it really necessary to regale us with 11 lines of political tract
>every time you want to post a 2 line message?

I just ignore the idjit. I dropped him into my killfile the moment I
saw he was here.


Gary Weiner

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Jul 7, 2001, 3:12:11 PM7/7/01