Monday, May 09, 2005

Psi - The Final Words

Here are Andy's final comments (in italics), with my response.

I would point out that the reason I didn’t continue the discussion was not because I thought you had made a valid point that ended the discussion, but because I thought from the examples that you had given that you’re just a very credulous person. And so there was no point to going on about it because there was no lack of evidence, or hoax, or analogy that I could reference that would make you believe any less in what you believe.

As covered previously, this argument cuts both ways. I don't believe there is any evidence I could supply that would make a "skeptic" (not necessarily Andy) believe in psi. If I weren't friends with so many parapsychologists, I'd probably be more skeptical, too. I just don't accept Andy's argument that ALL the positive results I cited are the result of incompetent statistical analysis.

On the other hand, I had stated in very concrete terms what I would consider evidence (something that is consistent and replicable).

The specific examples I gave previously have been replicated repeatedly in labs in the U.S. and Europe. "The Journal of Scientific Explorations," a peer-reviewed journal put out by the Society for Scientific Exploration, has published a wide range of articles on anomalous phenomena, including psi. We discussed "peer-reviewed" journals in previous postings; in fact, there are numerous peer-reviewed parapsychology journals published all over the world. These are simply ignored or ridiculed by the scientific establishment.

So it’s like arguing with someone who believes the bible is the literal truth, or arguing with a skeptic for which no amount of evidence will ever suffice. If you want to see fluctuations in a Random Number Generator as evidence of a mass human consciousness, even when there’s no data that would suggest these fluctuations deviate from any mathematical norm, then no matter what anyone says you’re going to see it as evidence. You can say that it’s a phenomenon with zero structure to it but it’s a phenomenon that exists as far as you’re concerned.

Again, we'll have to agree to disagree on the validity of the evidence and the solidity of the peer-reviewed data.

And if that enriches your life in some way, then that’s fine with me. Ultimately I’m not too concerned about what you individually believe, I’m just concerned about what is.

Now THAT is something we can both agree on!

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