Michael Shermer has a Paranormal Experience

Phantasms of the Living is a remarkably rigorous work, and it took years to produce. Your assumption that only "prospective" studies with blinding and control conditions is the only basis for valid scientific data is incorrect. You have not only a misunderstanding of what can consist of evidentiary scientific data, which is far broader than you assume, but the nature of science itself.
I'm talking about the kinds of investigation which produce information at low risk of false results. Since undocumented stories are at high risk of producing false information (see the link Arouet provided earlier about the research into methods which produce false results and those which produce reliable and valid results), Phantasms of the Living shouldn't be held up as a good resource. It will give people the impression that the accusations about the incompetence of parapsychologists are true, which I think we should try to avoid.

I am exquisitely familiar with data which has evidentiary value, having taught it for a number of years. Please consider reading the link Arouet provided earlier. It is very informative.

Linda
 
I'm talking about the kinds of investigation which produce information at low risk of false results. Since undocumented stories are at high risk of producing false information (see the link Arouet provided earlier about the research into methods which produce false results and those which produce reliable and valid results), Phantasms of the Living shouldn't be held up as a good resource. It will give people the impression that the accusations about the incompetence of parapsychologists are true, which I think we should try to avoid.

I am exquisitely familiar with data which has evidentiary value, having taught it for a number of years. Please consider reading the link Arouet provided earlier. It is very informative.

Linda
The chapters that make up "Phantasms of the Living" are not just a collection of "undocumented stories". Please also consider your willingness to make a blanket statement of a book you obviously have not read very much of, will give people the impression that skeptics are incompetent is true, which I think you should try to avoid.

I am sure you are as well informed on scientific methods and data as William James was, or James Hyslop or Richard Hodgson. However, please consider becoming more informed regarding their work, or at the very least, based on your a priori bias, read a few good novels by James' brother Henry and save us the heartache of your uninformed statements.

Bertha
 
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Boo Boo and Das: does your like indicate that you play Destiny? I made a post in the random thread awhile back asking if anyone played.

Anyone here playing Destiny? (a console MMO FPS). I'm on xbox one. Could get a skeptiko fireteam together!
Anyone interested in teaming up should post in that thread!
 
"I regard the existence of discarnate spirits as scientifically proved and I no longer refer to the skeptic as having any right to speak on the subject. Any man who does not accept the existence of discarnate spirits and the proof of it is either ignorant or a moral coward. I give him short shrift, and do not propose any longer to argue with him on the supposition that he knows anything about the subject."

—James H. Hyslop, Life After Death (1918)
 
"I regard the existence of discarnate spirits as scientifically proved and I no longer refer to the skeptic as having any right to speak on the subject. Any man who does not accept the existence of discarnate spirits and the proof of it is either ignorant or a moral coward. I give him short shrift, and do not propose any longer to argue with him on the supposition that he knows anything about the subject."

—James H. Hyslop, Life After Death (1918)
That doesn't help any more than the homosexual allegations.
 
Boo Boo and Das: does your like indicate that you play Destiny? I made a post in the random thread awhile back asking if anyone played.



Anyone interested in teaming up should post in that thread!
I'm waiting for the newest Halo beta to start. It looks pretty good, but I feel it copies a lot of stuff from the newest CoD, like all the players having the same armor abilities and the armor abilities being remarkably similar to those in the new CoD. Some people hate where 343i is taking the series and the "modern" adaptations they're making, but I enjoy them and think they add some speed to the gameplay. How is Destiny in comparison to the Halo series? I know it's Bungie's new project, but aside from that I don't even know what it's about
 
That doesn't help any more than the homosexual allegations.
Yeah - I just thought I'd throw the quote out there, because it's a remarkable statement by him. Even I wouldn't go that far.

I am more along the lines of Ian Stevenson. There is considerable evidentiary data that points to something suggestive of some kind of transcendental reality, that cannot be deemed in the traditional framework of materialism. What that is, I don't know. I have my guesses like everyone else at this point (those that have accepted the evidentiary data, and there is mountains of it).

What is rather ironic to me these days though, is the original findings of Bohr, Heisenberg, Schrodinger, and Neumann which have been verified in spades in the last few decades in physics, very much points to some kind of non-local non-material something that subatomic particles are coming into and out of existence all that time. I don't believe this comes anywhere close to proving the existence of an afterlife, but neither do I think all the multi-dimensions that are being discussed at length in String-Theory have any kind of scientific validity other than indirect guesses (very good indirect guesses).

I am not (belief wise) where James Hyslop was when he wrote the book. But then I am not even close to the level of his intellectual stature or analytical strength either. I wish I were. I think I would have led a more interesting life. heh.
 
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I'm waiting for the newest Halo beta to start. It looks pretty good, but I feel it copies a lot of stuff from the newest CoD, like all the players having the same armor abilities and the armor abilities being remarkably similar to those in the new CoD. Some people hate where 343i is taking the series and the "modern" adaptations they're making, but I enjoy them and think they add some speed to the gameplay. How is Destiny in comparison to the Halo series? I know it's Bungie's new project, but aside from that I don't even know what it's about
I've replied here:
 
I am more along the lines of Ian Stevenson. There is consider evidentiary data that points to something suggestive of some kind of transcendental reality, that cannot be deemed in the traditional framework of materialism. . . I don't believe this comes anywhere close to proving the existence of an afterlife, but neither do I think all the multi-dimensions that are being discussed at length in String-Theory have any kind of scientific validity other than indirect guesses (very good indirect guesses).
I don't object to characterizing parapsychology as having come up with some really interesting, intriguing results that could end up being what we label psi or the afterlife. I think there are other possibilities as well.

I don't think proponents do the field any favour by painting parapsychology as a mature science with overwhelming evidence of psi, etc. Similarly, skeptics don't do themselves any favours by denying that future experiments building on the preliminary studies could lead to those conclusions either.

My interest is trying to as accurately as possible evaluate exactly what these studies confidently show, and what they merely suggest the possibility of. This entails a focus on methodogy - a topic many understandable find boring but one that I think is crucial and often ignored or understated.

That kind of discussion is impossible when people simply want to shout each other down, and trade barbs. I get the instinct - and even succumb to it myself. But it leads nowhere, will convince noone who doesn't already agree with you, and serves primarily as a method of resolving short term cognitive dissonance. This applies to both skeptics and proponents. Ask yourself whether your initial impression of the post is justified, or are you attributing content to it that isn't there? Try looking at it from the perspective of the other - and ask yourself if you can see where they are coming from. And if you can't see - then ask them! Finally, ask yourself whether you have ever found an argument whether the other person called you an idiot, close minded or other insult compelling. Or did the invectives merely serve to turn your attention away from any substantive content, focusing instead on the perceived insult.

There is no reason why people who both believe and disbelieve in psi cannot find a way to interact in a manner that is mutually beneficial. Both sides have blind spots, and both sides have things to offer the other.
 
I am more along the lines of Ian Stevenson. There is consider evidentiary data that points to something suggestive of some kind of transcendental reality, that cannot be deemed in the traditional framework of materialism. . . I don't believe this comes anywhere close to proving the existence of an afterlife, but neither do I think all the multi-dimensions that are being discussed at length in String-Theory have any kind of scientific validity other than indirect guesses (very good indirect guesses).
I don't object to characterizing parapsychology as having come up with some really interesting, intriguing results that could end up being what we label psi or the afterlife. I think there are other possibilities as well.

I don't think proponents do the field any favour by painting parapsychology as a mature science with overwhelming evidence of psi, etc. Similarly, skeptics don't do themselves any favours by denying that future experiments building on the preliminary studies could lead to those conclusions either.

My interest is trying to as accurately as possible evaluate exactly what these studies confidently show, and what they merely suggest the possibility of. This entails a focus on methodogy - a topic many understandable find boring but one that I think is crucial and often ignored or understated.

That kind of discussion is impossible when people simply want to shout each other down, and trade barbs. I get the instinct - and even succumb to it myself. But it leads nowhere, will convince noone who doesn't already agree with you, and serves primarily as a method of resolving short term cognitive dissonance. This applies to both skeptics and proponents. Ask yourself whether your initial impression of the post is justified, or are you attributing content to it that isn't there? Try looking at it from the perspective of the other - and ask yourself if you can see where they are coming from. And if you can't see - then ask them! Finally, ask yourself whether you have ever found an argument whether the other person called you an idiot, close minded or other insult compelling. Or did the invectives merely serve to turn your attention away from any substantive content, focusing instead on the perceived insult.

There is no reason why people who both believe and disbelieve in psi cannot find a way to interact in a manner that is mutually beneficial. Both sides have blind spots, and both sides have things to offer the other.
 
I don't object to characterizing parapsychology as having come up with some really interesting, intriguing results that could end up being what we label psi or the afterlife. I think there are other possibilities as well.
Even Freud, being as committed to reductionism and materialism as he was, near the end of his life, accepted and wrote a paper about the validity of telepathic dreams. James Hyslop, before he became a psychical researcher (a rather well-known one) was an agonostic and materialist. And if you our well-read in the literature of psi research, this is not an uncommon story.

I don't think proponents do the field any favour by painting parapsychology as a mature science with overwhelming evidence of psi, etc. Similarly, skeptics don't do themselves any favours by denying that future experiments building on the preliminary studies could lead to those conclusions either.
There is a good amount of fraud, quackery and truly delusionary myths that are present regarding unusual/unexplained phenomena. Plenty of hucksters. But on the other hand, I also believe there has been a considerable amount of serious scientific effort, by well qualified individuals over the last 120 years, who have steadily accumulated a great deal of evidentiary psi related data, primarily in the archives of the British and American Society for Psychical research. Then in addition, you do have the more recent Near-Death studies, which have been taking place now for many decades.

I find that it is often very common for those who are not very familiar with the scientific research in psi (such as Linda, who was not even aware of Phantasms of the Living when she first began posting here, and my guess, is unlikely aware of some of the other seminal works such as Myer's Human Personality, or the work of James Hyslop, Tyrell, etc.) that they are usually not aware of just how much scientific work has been done, and just for how long and how many studies are available. Enough to fill several rooms full of books, if you have ever visited the SPR library in New York City.

The characterization of calling it "mature" I find interesting. I am somewhat with Rupert Sheldrake here in this regard, I think we now have a somewhat entrenched scientific academia, that has become as orthodox in it's belief system i.e. reductive materialism, as was once the case as the church's doctrine that no one would dare defy without facing severe consequences. Unfortunately, I think this has become the case today for many scientists, there is enormous pressure to conform to the materialistic model, and any kind of open speculation about perhaps a non-material basis for consciousness, or a non-reductive explanation for some elements of reality, has become pretty off limits.

My interest is trying to as accurately as possible evaluate exactly what these studies confidently show, and what they merely suggest the possibility of. This entails a focus on methodogy - a topic many understandable find boring but one that I think is crucial and often ignored or understated.
I believe many of those very honest and hard working researchers in psi, many with outstanding scientific credentials, would and have shared your interests. What I really find frustrating is in my opinion, unjustified assumption that 1) these many men who have researched psi were unaware of scientific methodology and what it entailed. In fact I am certain that such men such as William James, or Richard Hodgson or JB Rhine etc. were well aware of scientific constraints and, 2) the assumption that no valid scientific data has been collected, and an absurd level of irrationality regarding many experiments that would far exceed the scientific standards in any other discipline in science.

That kind of discussion is impossible when people simply want to shout each other down, and trade barbs. I get the instinct - and even succumb to it myself. But it leads nowhere, will convince noone who doesn't already agree with you, and serves primarily as a method of resolving short term cognitive dissonance. This applies to both skeptics and proponents. Ask yourself whether your initial impression of the post is justified, or are you attributing content to it that isn't there? Try looking at it from the perspective of the other - and ask yourself if you can see where they are coming from. And if you can't see - then ask them! Finally, ask yourself whether you have ever found an argument whether the other person called you an idiot, close minded or other insult compelling. Or did the invectives merely serve to turn your attention away from any substantive content, focusing instead on the perceived insult.
It is very hard to deal with fundamentalism, whether it be Christian fundamentalists, or Atheistic fundamentalism. Or reductive materialistic fundamentalism or "scientism". I agree with you here. I often do feel at the end of a discussion, that why am I wasting so much of my time? I think I'm with Alex regarding some things he said recently, that he has realized over time, that arguing with Skeptics isn't about the scientific data, it becomes everything but the scientific data. I also find it fascinating as well (and as Alex also mentions) that when it comes to actual scientific research, almost 98% of it has been performed by those who often end up become proponents of psi phenomenon, and have followed as best they could scientific methodology, such as the long history of the branches the Society for Psychical Research. But on the other side of the coin, you have organizations like CSICOP and CSI, who have made a point of doing next to no scientific research in psi or nde studies (there may be under a dozen at best). CSI is not even a scientific organization, unlike the SPR. Sure, it does have distinguished members of the scientific community in its roster, but almost none of them, to the last man, have done any actual research in psi or nde. In fact, I am beginning to believe as Alex also has said, that Skeptics and CSI are used as a cover for academics in the field to completely ignore the evidentiary data, and just go on with their relatively safe careers without rocking the boat, or attempting to seriously understand unusual phenomena or even consciousness for that matter.

There is no reason why people who both believe and disbelieve in psi cannot find a way to interact in a manner that is mutually beneficial. Both sides have blind spots, and both sides have things to offer the other.
You would think so. But there needs to be a given level of informed knowledge and objectivity. Not the kind of activities that have been ongoing on Wikipedia. And not the kind of derogatory attacks that Max Payne was just engaged on here in this thread. Perhaps psi research is not mature, but I think it has at least been around long enough, and has enough honest working scientists involved in it, in the past and present, to grant some level of respect to those scientists and those of us who think their data and studies are worth looking at.

Bertha
 
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The chapters that make up "Phantasms of the Living" are not just a collection of "undocumented stories". Please also consider your willingness to make a blanket statement of a book you obviously have not read very much of, will give people the impression that skeptics are incompetent is true, which I think you should try to avoid.
Okay, then I'll ask for your help, so we aren't talking past each other or I struggle to find something which fits your characterization. Which story or chapter should I read as an example of a rigorous case or experiment?

I am sure you are as well informed on scientific methods and data as William James was, or James Hyslop or Richard Hodgson. However, please consider becoming more informed regarding their work, or at the very least, based on your a priori bias, read a few good novels by James' brother Henry and save us the heartache of your uninformed statements.

Bertha
I know very little about those scientists. I haven't made any comment on them. Like I said, I prefer to discuss the published research. I don't understand why this is a problem for you?

Linda
 
Okay, then I'll ask for your help, so we aren't talking past each other or I struggle to find something which fits your characterization. Which story or chapter should I read as an example of a rigorous case or experiment?
Linda
Sorry Linda. I really don't have the appetite to play this kind of game with you. Although I do understand that you sincerely believe that any chapter in the book I might point out (even though you have yet to read the chapter), you will be able to quickly point out the methodological flaws to me, and therefore conclude that none of it is evidentiary. I consider that a kind of a priori bias.

In fact, you have already made it clear, that no kind of corroborative account based on witnesses and testimony from credible and honest people, will be sufficient to you. It reminds me of a quote Patience Worth once wrote, "A pot of wisdom would boil to nothing ere a doubter deemeth it worth tasting."

I believe you are sincere in your efforts here, but I don't agree that you are being objectively fair regarding the evidentiary data. Let us agree to disagree then.

Bertha
 
I think we need to distinguish between the historical survey of the scientists and researchers who have studied psi, their personal opinions and beliefs, and the products of their research (the published reports). I have some interest in the historical characters in my field (medicine). But if I want to understand the efficacy of Streptomycin in tuberculosis, I don't try to find out what Flemming had to say about it. I read the published research, often from people I've never heard of otherwise.

I think an actual discussion of the research with respect to validity and reliability would go a long way towards understanding the criticisms levelled against the research. Proponents make statements that the quality of parapsychology research is high. The link Arouet provided earlier outlines what that means and how to specifically evaluate research in this respect. If anyone is tired of the stuck on stupid arguments, it would be a welcome break.

Linda
 
Sorry Linda. I really don't have the appetite to play this kind of game with you. Although I do understand that you sincerely believe that any chapter in the book I might point out (even though you have yet to read the chapter), you will be able to quickly point out the methodological flaws to me, and therefore conclude that none of it is evidentiary. I already consider that a kind of a priori bias.
I've finished reading the book. It's not a game. I just want to be clear that I understand what you're getting at. If you want to understand why methodology matters with respect to evidentiary value, we could talk about the information in the link Arouet provided.

In fact, you have already made it clear, that no kind of corroborative account based on witnesses and testimony from credible and honest people, will be sufficient to you.
What an odd thing to say. I already stated that the testimony collected in the prospective NDE studies, particularly Sartori's study where much of it was documented under blind conditions, was of good quality. I also referred to Stevenson's cases (albeit small in number) where the statements were documented prior to any verification or contact. I have specifically told you about the kinds of eye-witness testimony which can be reliable and valid. So to now try to claim that nothing will satisfy me seems bizarrely inattentive.

Linda
 
I don't believe you. So let's leave it at that.

Bertha
I guess leaving it is easier than reading the handbook and risking challenging your preconceived notions.

You're not alone in this of course, and I get it. But you should at least recognise what's happening, and perhaps think of this moment next time you accuse someone of being closed minded.
 
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