Parapsychology: Science or Pseudoscience?

#81
I have already given you my reasons. Why do you think that parapsychology has not been accepted by mainstream science?
For the same reason that evolution hasn't been accepted by fundamentalism... It's not easy to accept something that goes against what you were taught. Anyways, is this "conversation with a skeptic" online? I would like to see how convincing it is.
 
#82
I always leave room to be surprised, but I do suspect you of being dishonest, yes. I don't think that you actually believe in the reality of psi and that you're just saying it as a cover to bash parapsychology, but appear reasonable. It's weird, but it's been done before.
I guess that you are right... I remember reading a post by Arouet (or was it P or M?) where he argued that Linda (of all people) was not closeminded about PSI. Then there was Bill claiming that he was "emotionally distressed" after lifting a purported seance from the CSICOP page and applying some "artistic license" to it. Coming from the "I am not against it, but remain unconvinced" posture makes it easier to manipulate the gullible, who may try to actually engage them.
 
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#83
I think the small to medium effect size plays a role in that it isn't so obvious as to be beyond question, which then allows for a highly sociological aspect.

Sociology of science has played a role in many areas of science, including the hard sciences, but in parapsychology the sociological aspect is very dominant. Associations with religion, the occult, and the New Age movement creates a major barrier with respect to possible acceptance.
I agree with this.
 
#84
For the same reason that evolution hasn't been accepted by fundamentalism... It's not easy to accept something that goes against what you were taught. Anyways, is this "conversation with a skeptic" online? I would like to see how convincing it is.
Just curious. Do you believe "creation science" is a science or pseudoscience?
 
#85
Just curious. Do you believe "creation science" is a science or pseudoscience?
I am not a zealot, if that is what you are asking. However, I fail to see the resemblance between Jim Kennedy's criticism of the methodology (historically, he has noted a posture against MAs in general) of Parapsychology and believing that dinosaur fossils were planted.
 
#86
But, conversely, both "creation science" and "materialistic science" have one thing in common... Nothing that falls outside their pre-established boundaries is "possible". It's convenient how many definitions of "science" and "pseudoscience" we can get from all of these camps.
 
#87
For the same reason that evolution hasn't been accepted by fundamentalism... It's not easy to accept something that goes against what you were taught. Anyways, is this "conversation with a skeptic" online? I would like to see how convincing it is.
I think lots of religious folk do accept evolution by natural selection - they simply argue that God set the whole thing off!

I used to assume that evolution was true - basically because all life shares a huge amount of detailed biochemistry, and I assumed that the fossil record also backed up evolution.

The problems come when you think about the details of the supposed mechanism. First you have the fact that evolving a new protein from scratch, or from another with a different function, requires many steps - typically hundreds - that can't be guided by natural selection - so arguments based on combinatorial explosion re-emerge. Half a radio doesn't just work less efficiently, it just doesn't function at all, and likewise half an enzyme is just useless. If it did happen to be useful for something, that would actually stop natural selection from operating to complete the enzyme! Invoking natural selection at this point is just wrong, and actually assumes teleology.

The other problem is that enzymes operate with a control structure, and it isn't logical to assume this already exists when something new finally emerges from protein evolution. Without that control structure many/most new proteins would be positively harmful, and be selected out of existence.

Personally, I am not religious, but I don't believe in materialistic explanations of reality - I just want to get at the truth!

David
 
#88
My view is the exact complement of that. It's a pseudoscience. As with all pseudosciences, there is some science involved.
I don't think there is a clean distinction between science and pseudoscience.

Simply ignoring certain phenomena shouldn't really be called scientific, but actively studying them tends to get called pseudoscience!

David
 
#89
Kennedy in his paper (which was published in the "Journal of Parapsychology") proposed several hypotheses "why these things occur" (not least, that a "more likely explanation is that some type of higher consciousness influences or guides the occurrence of psi). The point I'm raising here is that these are some of the reasons why parapsychology is so controversial. Psi could indeed be real. But it may not be truly amenable to the scientific method due to these reasons.
Well a lot of things aren't amenable to the full scientific process - which includes experimentation. For example, you can only observe the cosmos - not experiment with it (outside the solar system).

It isn't reasonable to ignore such phenomena and build an explanation for reality that demands that such phenomena don't exist - that for example telepathy can never occur. A sane science (i.e. one that really cared about converging on the truth) would put a huge amount of effort into exploring the areas such as ψ that could invalidate its conclusions!

David
 
#90
I'm not sure how this would apply to the autoganzfeld run of 11 experiments after the joint communique of Hyman and Honorton. There was no file drawer, there have been many analyses done including statisticians (so I don't see the p-hacking), and I am not sure what the degrees of freedom of the researchers would be.
For example, two of the 11 experiments weren't performed and analyzed as originally intended. Instead, when the second of the two experiments purportedly fell short of its recruitment goal, some of the subjects from both experiments were selected out after the fact to form a new experimental group whose results were reported separately from the other subjects in those experiments (the Julliard group).

Linda
 
#91
Well that poses a real problem. How can this be a valid criticism of it is virtually impossible to detect? That makes it a criticism that could always be thrown out as "it could be this" that could never be falsified; it would be a criticism immune to response.
It's difficult to detect post hoc. It can be falsified, just not by trying to detect the effects post hoc. It is falsified by performing experiments in the absence of these effects and comparing the results.

Linda
 
#92
It's difficult to detect post hoc. It can be falsified, just not by trying to detect the effects post hoc. It is falsified by performing experiments in the absence of these effects and comparing the results.

Linda
Isn't that what the autoganzfeld was for? And the results closely matched the pre-Ganzfeld database.
 
#93
Non-parapsychologists rarely attempt to replicate experiments, and if going outside the Ganzfeld category, you even have critics like Wiseman replicating research and then misrepresenting it as not replicating. I have so far in my research seen far far more "shenanigans" from those critical of psi than from parapsychologists.
The Wiseman/Sheldrake controversy offers a good example of how parapsychology shoots itself in the foot. Amongst proponents, it is presented (without question) as though Wiseman's work supported Sheldrake's claims, and that Wiseman engaged in shenanigans to deny this. But you'd be hard pressed to find a non-believer who would see it this way. And the insistence among the parapsychology community that Wiseman is at fault, adds to the perception that their judgement can't be trusted, and that collaboration with parapsychologists is at your own risk (you will be subject to character assasination if you don't go along with the proponents). None of that helps to allay questions over whether parapsychology is a pseudo-science.

Linda
 
#94
Isn't that what the autoganzfeld was for?
No. Did you look at the links? The autoganzfeld addressed a few issues in the performance of the experiments - mostly with respect to blinding and with somewhat narrowing the range of flexibility in outcomes. But they still left plenty of room for shenanigans of the type described by Jay (not just "left room for them", but caught in them).

Linda
 
#95
No. Did you look at the links? The autoganzfeld addressed a few issues in the performance of the experiments - mostly with respect to blinding and with somewhat narrowing the range of flexibility in outcomes. But they still left plenty of room for shenanigans of the type described by Jay (not just "left room for them", but caught in them).

Linda

If the p-hacking described can be addressed, then what now is the suggested protocol for parapsychologists to address the purported methodological errors?

But Jay has already said that there is nothing that they can do to provide evidence that would be convincing.

At this point, considering the overall replicability of the Ganzfeld, the effect size, the sound methodology of the autoganzfeld, the close match of autoganzfeld to the previous standard Ganzfeld database, the predictions made and confirmed regarding personality associations, the replications from many different researchers in different labs across the world, and that other hypotheses like using music were tested and failed, I think that this position is just being unreasonable.

I am not one of the researchers so I can't comment on these specific details that are supposed to be errors, and I could be wrong, but so far none of the criticisms so far addressed has really changed the outcome of the experiments.

What I would really like to see would be funding to allow for a larger sample size of say 300-400 people that are selected by their personality as creative types.

This would greatly enhance the power of the study, and if several were done and produced positive results (which they most likely should at least based on previous data) it would provide good independent replication.

But with people running around calling this a pseudoscience, like Jay and Dillinger are here, how are they supposed to procure funding to complete such experiments?
 
#96
The Wiseman/Sheldrake controversy offers a good example of how parapsychology shoots itself in the foot. Amongst proponents, it is presented (without question) as though Wiseman's work supported Sheldrake's claims, and that Wiseman engaged in shenanigans to deny this. But you'd be hard pressed to find a non-believer who would see it this way. And the insistence among the parapsychology community that Wiseman is at fault, adds to the perception that their judgement can't be trusted, and that collaboration with parapsychologists is at your own risk (you will be subject to character assasination if you don't go along with the proponents). None of that helps to allay questions over whether parapsychology is a pseudo-science.

Linda
Well if you look at the data it is pretty clear that it replicates Sheldrake's work.

Wiseman claimed he wasn't attempting to replicate Sheldrake's work but rather address the claims made by the TV program.

So what Wiseman did was create a criteria for failure that made no sense--if the dog went to th window for absolutely no reason when the owner was not coming home, the trial was considered a failure.

Wiseman is the one that said dogs have super senses so maybe hear the owner coming home well before any of the people could hear it, giving the impression of telepathy. If the dog's senses are this acute, then how on earth could Wiseman justify that the dog went to the door for "no reason"? Wiseman, with his relatively poor senses, wouldn't detect subtle sounds outside that the dog could have been responding to.

Considering this, and the fact that his data matched Sheldrake's, it seems that Wiseman used extremely flawed methodology, which if by that alone, the data should be rejected, but was instead presented as a falsification. The fact that it matched Sheldrake's work, which was pointed out, and Wiseman really won't acknowledge, is dishonest to say the least.

If you want to see arbitrary stopping when you get the results you want, I couldn't think of a better example than Wiseman's four trials.

Such dishonesty should be pointed out by parapsychologists.
 
#98
#99
Well if you look at the data it is pretty clear that it replicates Sheldrake's work.
He found the same pattern Sheldrake found. The problem was that he showed this pattern did not represent anomalous information (despite Sheldrake's suggestion that it did).

Wiseman claimed he wasn't attempting to replicate Sheldrake's work but rather address the claims made by the TV program.

So what Wiseman did was create a criteria for failure that made no sense--if the dog went to th window for absolutely no reason when the owner was not coming home, the trial was considered a failure.

Wiseman is the one that said dogs have super senses so maybe hear the owner coming home well before any of the people could hear it, giving the impression of telepathy. If the dog's senses are this acute, then how on earth could Wiseman justify that the dog went to the door for "no reason"? Wiseman, with his relatively poor senses, wouldn't detect subtle sounds outside that the dog could have been responding to.

Considering this, and the fact that his data matched Sheldrake's, it seems that Wiseman used extremely flawed methodology, which if by that alone, the data should be rejected, but was instead presented as a falsification. The fact that it matched Sheldrake's work, which was pointed out, and Wiseman really won't acknowledge, is dishonest to say the least.

If you want to see arbitrary stopping when you get the results you want, I couldn't think of a better example than Wiseman's four trials.

Such dishonesty should be pointed out by parapsychologists.
I realize that is the spin which is uncritically accepted by proponents. The problem is that non-proponents either won't be aware of this spin, and will see Wiseman's experiment quite differently. Or if they are aware of the spin, they will easily see it as incorrect. Which puts proponents in the position of looking like they are untrustworthy. I really don't think this helps parapsychology's cause. As Jay pointed out, letting people like Radin and Bem, with all their demonstrated shenanigans, act as representatives of the field, or disparaging decent non-proponent researchers who try to engage with the field (like Wiseman), are the sorts of things which make it look like "pseudo-science". I think the community would be much better served if they listened to the advice offered by some of their peers in the links I offered above.

Linda
 
He found the same pattern Sheldrake found. The problem was that he showed this pattern did not represent anomalous information (despite Sheldrake's suggestion that it did).
He based this on an extremely flawed criteria as I just described. it is not a valid conclusion.


fls said:
I realize that is the spin which is uncritically accepted by proponents. The problem is that non-proponents either won't be aware of this spin, and will see Wiseman's experiment quite differently. Or if they are aware of the spin, they will easily see it as incorrect.
What spin? I have to cut this quote mid-paragraph because you say there is a spin, suggesting explicitly that Sheldrake is the one being dishonest. I have looked at the actual data and Sheldrake is right.

You cant just say that it was sheldrake and proponents that put a spin on it without being specific. Vague criticisms are not valid.

fls said:
Which puts proponents in the position of looking like they are untrustworthy. I really don't think this helps parapsychology's cause. As Jay pointed out, letting people like Radin and Bem, with all their demonstrated shenanigans, act as representatives of the field, or disparaging decent non-proponent researchers who try to engage with the field (like Wiseman), are the sorts of things which make it look like "pseudo-science". I think the community would be much better served if they listened to the advice offered by some of their peers in the links I offered above.

Linda
From the data on the dog experiment it is quite clear that Wiseman is guilty of shenanigans.

Parapsychologists have been responding to VALID criticisms for many decades. The evolution of analysis and experiments makes this pretty clear.
 
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