Saturday, May 07, 2005

The Case for Psi (Part 2)

Okay, here's my reply to Andy's email. His comments are in italics.

Hmmm. I was kind of hoping for stuff that had been peer-reviewed from scientific journals.

Ha! "Peer-reviewed" journals avoid this stuff like the plague! What journal were you thinking would actually have the balls to review these studies?

I got to see Radin speak a few years ago here in NYC. I just found it disappointing. I think he's playing on people's lack of knowledge about mathematics and quantum mechanics or perhaps he himself doesn't have a very good knowledge of mathematics and quantum mechanics.

I've never met Radin, but my friends I mentioned all know him well. What specifically did you find in either the talk or the books that was inaccurate or ignorant?

And Josephson is another disappointment.


I honestly didn't find anything particularly compelling in your e-mail, but I won't try and go through it point by point because those long back and forths get confusing and never come to any conclusions...

No need for a back and forth. But I'd be interested in your general argument against Radin.

But if there's one specific thing that I'm overlooking that you would suggest I take another look at as being solid evidence of anything in the PSI realm, I'd be happy to.

What would you consider "solid evidence?" Not to beat this into the ground, but the pseudo-skeptics Truzzi decried use his "extraordinary evidence" line to essentially allow themselves to dismiss ANYTHING as "not extraordinary enough." Did you check out the Global Consciousness Project link?

My wife is a physician, and she grew up in a household of physicians in Prague, Czech Republic. All the doctors there knew this one old priest who did intuitive diagnoses from photographs. They all knew, too, that he was never wrong -- even when the MRI didn't show the tumor, he would tell them it was there and they would look again (her Mom's a Radiologist). So here's an example of highly educated people accepting a paranormal ability because they saw it work regularly. This wasn't a wealthy televangelist, either, just a humble priest.

These stories abound. Charlie Tart had a babysitter who could astrally travel at night. He gave her a simple test to see whether she was imagining the travel or was actually travelling (put a card with an unknown 3-digit number face-up on your dresser before you go to sleep). She named the number successfully (she claimed), so he brought her into his sleep lab (which he happened to be running at at the time) and hooked her up to all the GSR and brainwave scans, etc. He then put a randomly-chosen 5-digit number on top of a tall filing cabinet and asked her to float up there and note the number. He also
asked her to check the clock on the wall while she was floating.

After a few unsuccessful nights (she went out of body but couldn't turn around to see the clock), she named the number correctly. Unfortunately, soon afterwards she left to go to college and that was the end of his research with her. He did, however, show the printout of her brainwave scans during the time she was "out of body" to a noted sleep researcher. His assessment agreed with Charlie: "I've never seen anything like this before either."

This is not a case he has published anywhere; it's just a story he told in class. One of those dreaded "anecdotes."

Again, none of the anecdotal evidence constitutes "proof." But, by that token, there's no proof that we dream at night, either.

NEXT: Andy defends his views.

No comments: