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The credible Tarot

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Kathleen Meadows: There are people who believe that the Tarot is a frivolous pastime at best, an evil pursuit or fraudulent practice at worst. Unless you live in an exceptional and somewhat isolated community, we Tarotists are occasionally confronted by people that steadfastly (and loudly!) hold to these beliefs. It’s important for our own sanity and ongoing effectiveness as a reader to diffuse the negative energy these prejudices and accusations generate with facts that point to the contrary.

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jamesjr191

Odd, you posted this. i have recently been looking into a deck from Ebay. No, i dont place any faith in it but i would like to try them just to see what happens in readings.

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back to earth

I am trying to discern the point of the post ???

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Ashyne

I have a pack of Tarot Cards and all I can positively say about it is that it is a good way to practice being imaginative and creative and it has nothing paranormal/supernatural/magical about it. It is all about weaving stories and seeing who can do it better and more convincingly.

Edited by Ashyne
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back to earth

Are the stories just fantasy and entertainment or can you see any psychological import in them.

I suppose that depends on whether you see the cards as just story pictures or having some archetypal significance.

I can see that a simple ( or even 'predictive story' ) could result from a card like this

6+wands+rw+brighter.jpg

but what about cards like this;

thoth-tarot-art-trump-card.jpg

Do you see a deeper or more 'psychologically relevant' picture / symbolism there ?

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Tiggs

Here's a hypothesis: The subconscious mind is able to shuffle the deck in such a way to produce the cards that it wants the conscious mind to see.

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Paranormalcy

It's much more like Ashyne says, with a bit more on the personal confidante side. I have a friend that used to do readings in his home, casually. I'm not sure if he charged money (he didn't to us), but other people came from other local towns to "get a reading".

At the time he was more likely to give you a bit more mumbo jump on the energies and "which cards you need to come up" and such, but later, and when actually watching him, and as he eventually hinted, though never said directly, you could tell that he got as much information as he could, or knew about the person, and their issue they shared, and uses his own observation (as a salesman in his professional life) and could interpret any cards that came up in a way that still angled toward their issue and what he felt was likely at play.

It worked much like everbody in a class astrology test being given the same reading but each, without looking at those of anyone else, amazed by how accurate the reading was.

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markdohle

I am a monk and I used the Tarot for 25 years. This led me to writing so now I don't need the cards anymore. Yet they still affect me. The cards are all connected, so no matter the question, the cards can give a 'slant' that will allow the reader to play off of, the more intuitive the deeper the reading can go. The author is obviously very intuitive, and I have no doubt that she can give good readings.

Projection comes into play as well and sometimes people will project an aspect of their personality onto the cards and will reflect back to them. This is not always a good and healthy event.

I don't regret using them, they helped me, but I was careful who I told, for the reasons brought up in this well written article.

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back to earth

Here's a hypothesis: The subconscious mind is able to shuffle the deck in such a way to produce the cards that it wants the conscious mind to see.

Sub conscious ?

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Tiggs

Sub conscious ?

Not entirely sure what you're questioning?

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back to earth

I mean ;

what do you mean by the subconscious (as opposed to the unconscious ) ?

how is it able to 'shuffle a deck' ?

even if it could control the hands shuffling, how do the cards get in any particular order when they shuffled without seeing their faces ?

if this was possible , why would the 'subconscious' want the conscious mind to see certain cards ?

- I thought your hypothesis might be in relation to a previous statement ? But it followed my post and I selected those cards for a reason ( consciously) - no shuffling.

(Or if it was a comment on the previous - that was about telling stories, which seemed a conscious process as well.

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back to earth

The main point of the OP seems to be that it is important to counter the ideas that tarot is evil or fraudulent .

Well, the 'evil' thing is a bit much ....

However I would assert, IMO and experience it can be used fraudulently, frivolously and stupidly ... in some cases to peoples detriment - seriously.

There is much info about this on some tarot forums. People run into all sorts of problems and shysters using them. Of course, it isnt the cards themselves , its certain people.

Edited by back to earth

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Tiggs

I mean ;

what do you mean by the subconscious (as opposed to the unconscious ) ?

As far as I'm concerned, they're effectively the same thing.

how is it able to 'shuffle a deck' ?

Do you consciously decide which card to split the deck at, when performing each downward part of the shuffle?

even if it could control the hands shuffling, how do the cards get in any particular order when they shuffled without seeing their faces ?

by knowing where they were before the shuffling began.

if this was possible , why would the 'subconscious' want the conscious mind to see certain cards ?

My hypothesis is that messaging between the two directly is difficult.

- I thought your hypothesis might be in relation to a previous statement ? But it followed my post and I selected those cards for a reason ( consciously) - no shuffling.

(Or if it was a comment on the previous - that was about telling stories, which seemed a conscious process as well.

It's a general hypothesis as to why Tarot cards often seem to fit. There is definitely an element of story telling involved in their interpretation - but unless the claim is that any card could be bent to tell the same story regardless - then the cards chosen must have some impact on the possible interpretations.

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back to earth

As far as I'm concerned, they're effectively the same thing.

Well, they are different words ... I mean, you can just declare they mean the same thing , but they are different words with different meanings ; un - not , sub - under .

Do you consciously decide which card to split the deck at, when performing each downward part of the shuffle?

No. But I dont see how your question here answered mine .

by knowing where they were before the shuffling began.

But how would that be known ?

My hypothesis is that messaging between the two directly is difficult.

really ? I certainly can not agree ! We function all the time via that direct messaging . It is a well known axiom that ' the language of the unconscious is symbol'. The messaging is in a shared format but the running of each is in different formats. This is what makes tarot symbolism potent for the forces and related energies of the unconscious.

It's a general hypothesis as to why Tarot cards often seem to fit.

Well, its a pretty wild, undefined and highly unlikely one.

There is definitely an element of story telling involved in their interpretation - but unless the claim is that any card could be bent to tell the same story regardless - then the cards chosen must have some impact on the possible interpretations.

Doesnt that seem a lot more likely than what you postulated ? - bear in mind I could change you observation to " any card reader could bend the meaning to tell the same story regardless " - which happens all the time.

Cards do not have definitive meanings - people interpret them all differently and their meaning changes in context in a reading ... and the most pop and oldest tarot sites affirm that - quiet defensively ... even to the level of rediculousness.

Cards are not 'chosen' , in a 'reading' they are supposed to be drawn randomly .... the idea of randomness is essential to any form of divination.

Edited by back to earth

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Tiggs

Well, they are different words ... I mean, you can just declare they mean the same thing , but they are different words with different meanings ; un - not , sub - under .

Y'know, if Freud can use them interchangeably (and he was the first to coin both words, after all) - then so can I.

No. But I dont see how your question here answered mine .

If you're not consciously deciding - which part of your brain is?

But how would that be known ?

By having seen them at some point in the past.

really ? I certainly can not agree ! We function all the time via that direct messaging .

Then we disagree. If the messaging function was optimized, then wouldn't everyone effectively only have a conscious brain?

Well, its a pretty wild, undefined and highly unlikely one.

In your opinion.

Doesnt that seem a lot more likely than what you postulated ?

Cold reading is one possibility, and I suspect that several tarot readers may engage in it, to a greater or lesser extent.

However - I also suspect that when you're reading your own Tarot, then there's something other than creative fiction going on.

Cards are not 'chosen' , in a 'reading' they are supposed to be drawn randomly .... the idea of randomness is essential to any form of divination.

The possibility of choice is essential.

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ChrLzs

Credible, to me, means peer-reviewed or controlled experiments or non-subjective criteria or repeatability, verifiability, falsifiability, or (gasp) maybe even more than one of those things combined...

I see none of any of that here. So it's roughly as credible as astrology, I guess..

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Tiggs

Credible, to me, means peer-reviewed or controlled experiments or non-subjective criteria or repeatability, verifiability, falsifiability, or (gasp) maybe even more than one of those things combined...

Such as this one?

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ChrLzs

Such as this one?

Is that supposed to be peer reviewed and credible? The paper itself reveals that there were contradictory results, and it also notes that replication is required to verify the 'anomalous' result (which *isn't* all that anomalous..). And the 'Journal of Parapsychology' is more renowned for publishing experimental data and speculative research, rather than actually applying decent peer review. It's founder, J.B. Rhine is worth a long hard look.. He was highly critical of many mediums and flawed paranormal research himself and took great pride in exposing fraud, and yet he concealed the names of known fraudsters amongst his own assistants, and he himself was tricked on several occasions, the most notable being the debacle involving W.J. Levy - a man Rhine himself appointed and worked with for years, and then had to withdraw almost all of the research involving him, as Levy was shown to be a con artist who simply faked his results. Sadly, this sort of stuff is rife in paranormal circles...

Anyway, getting back to the paper - there are some deep problems... Did you read it thoroughly? It uses several (highly convoluted) methods, and the 'anomalous' results were those which, surprise, surprise, came from tests using subjective judgements. I found the explanation of what was done to be very confusing, and of course there is no data to check....

I like the final touch, where, without explaining what it was, they glibly used "Thalbourne's Australian Sheep-Goat Scale".... (now the curious reader will have to look it up, as well - aren't I cruel.. :devil: ). Coincidentally, I too lived much of my life in Adelaide, but I had nothing to do with that scale...

Suffice to say, as published papers go, that one is seriously flawed and has nowhere near enough data/methodology to be properly reviewed, and I see no sign of anyone trying to replicate it - if you know of anything, please post it..

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back to earth

To me, any 'dynamic' postulating such a loose 'theory' that the sub/unconscious somehow controls the physical body to arrange cards in a post shuffled deck (with out being able to see the arrangement as shuffles are done face down ) ... and by knowing how to do that and the order of arrangement needed, merely by looking at the cards before and knowing what what the pictures were, for some reason of 'communicating ... whatever ? .... to the conscious mind is pretty out there. And I really didnt 'get' the responses - they seemed totally out of context or off on tangents I dont get . .

So I guess as well as 'not agreeing' I will also have to 'not comprehend'. S'okay , it takes all types ....

The only 'sense' I did get was that you may as well say God moved my hands to make those cards come out to send me a message, and it was 'dressed up' with terms such as ' subconscious does it ' .

Especially when the whole crux of the issue is about interpretation of a reading ( and here I would certainly admit the unconscious and certain unconscious 'drives' and influences may effect the outcome, interpretation, clarity and any objectivity in the reading ! )

Yes, it is on a par with astrology but a lot more unfocused and 'fly by the pants' .... IMO both systems have a value as an exploration of certain archetypal and mythological themes in variation of arrangement and modulation ... just like the unconscious works and just like that specific human quality , often given the name 'soul' (in a mythological sense ) . But tarot , the way it stands today is the best system ripe for abuse and grafting on of New Age 'wisdom' .

That is one of the reasons it resonates and has power to influence many people nowadays.

PS. - I have been a tarot reader for over 30 years - at times publicly at markets, etc. write on the subject, held workshops, etc - in the past, not now. I never seriously considered the 'predictive model' nor 'fortune telling' but rather used it as a tool for studies in hermetics , and the relationship between 'mythological themes' and 'themes' certain people seem to need to play out, be influenced by or become enmeshed in .

Here is an interesting old joke ; woman says she stopped going to the psychiatrist ... turns out he was a dirty old pervert and started showing her disgusting pornographic pictures.

http://www.fontscape.com/pictures/delve-fonts/BlotTest.gif

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Tiggs

Is that supposed to be peer reviewed

If you're going to put together a laundry list such as peer-reviewed or controlled experiments or non-subjective criteria or repeatability, verifiability, falsifiability, or (gasp) maybe even more than one of those things combined... then don't complain when you don't get all of them.

Anyway, getting back to the paper - there are some deep problems... Did you read it thoroughly? It uses several (highly convoluted) methods, and the 'anomalous' results were those which, surprise, surprise, came from tests using subjective judgements. I found the explanation of what was done to be very confusing, and of course there is no data to check....

If you have a better method of assessing the accuracy of a tarot card reading, other than subjectively by the person receiving it - then I'm all ears.

Suffice to say, as published papers go, that one is seriously flawed and has nowhere near enough data/methodology to be properly reviewed, and I see no sign of anyone trying to replicate it - if you know of anything, please post it..

Feel free to replicate it yourself. I hear that's the beauty of a scientific experiment, right?

Edited by Tiggs

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Tiggs

To me, any 'dynamic' postulating such a loose 'theory' that the sub/unconscious somehow controls the physical body to arrange cards in a post shuffled deck (with out being able to see the arrangement as shuffles are done face down ) ... and by knowing how to do that and the order of arrangement needed, merely by looking at the cards before and knowing what what the pictures were, for some reason of 'communicating ... whatever ? .... to the conscious mind is pretty out there.

Then let me put it another way:

With a little practice, an amateur magician can consciously shuffle a deck of cards so that the cards he wishes to find are on top.

I believe that the unconscious is just as capable.

And I really didnt 'get' the responses - they seemed totally out of context or off on tangents I dont get . .

So I guess as well as 'not agreeing' I will also have to 'not comprehend'. S'okay , it takes all types ....

The only 'sense' I did get was that you may as well say God moved my hands to make those cards come out to send me a message, and it was 'dressed up' with terms such as ' subconscious does it '

Being an atheist, God's not particularly high on my list of probable explanations.

Edited by Tiggs

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ChrLzs

If you're going to put together a laundry list such as peer-reviewed or controlled experiments or non-subjective criteria or repeatability, verifiability, falsifiability, or (gasp) maybe even more than one of those things combined... then don't complain when you don't get all of them.

I though that my {gasp} made it pretty clear that my tongue was in my cheek, and that when we are talking about genuine accepted research, then we ALWAYS have more than just one or even two of these, indeed, we usually have all or most.

I'm sorry if that wasn't clear, and I guess I can't now claim that it was 'obvious', other than to ask why the heck else would I have put in the 'gasp' if i wasn't being cynical...

However, even if we are just talking about peer-reviewed - can you offer any indication that this *was* peer-reviewed?

If you have a better method of assessing the accuracy of a tarot card reading, other than subjectively by the person receiving it - then I'm all ears.

Good. As always, I'm all mouth. :D

So let's go.. First up, subjectivity is not a good thing as it can lead to biases, agreed? So what to do.. - it's really quite simple - define everything carefully BEFOREHAND. So if a card has a particular meaning or set of meanings, then those need to be defined beforehand. Also, the 'falsifiable' bit sorta comes in here, eg what would make the card NOT match a response? If all you have is lots of ways that you can match the card to a desired outcome, then you have nothing but a great platform for you to 'prove' your biases. But if you define it all beforehand, and openly show us all that in your documentation, THEN we, the readers of such a paper, can make an educated judgement about whether this test was done in the true spirit of 'good science', or whether it was just a whole pile of cherry pickings, subjective 'hits' and confirmation biases from either or both the experimenters or the subjects.

That paper is almost completely devoid of actual examples of what they did and how they went about ensuring those issues were dealt with. Where it does get into detail, it is complex and to my mind needlessly convoluted, plus they do not justify *why* they did things a certain way.

If this was genuinely peer reviewed, we could look at the reviews/reviewers, and we would also be able to check where it had been replicated/verified. There has been 11 years since that paper - why do you think it is still awaiting replication? I can think of one very simple reason...

Feel free to replicate it yourself. I hear that's the beauty of a scientific experiment, right?

Isn't that up to the claimants or those who push the paranormal barrow? (clearly I don't, but I'd be fascinated if anything like this was verified..) How about you first? But if you do, at least think about what I have said above, and why it is critically important whenever subjectivity is involved. And it really isn't that difficult to turn most subjectivity into objectivity, if you know your stuff.

Seriously, if someone wants to have a go, I'm happy to help with working out a fair method that would reduce or perhaps even eliminate the subjectivity, yet still be in line with the 'flavor' of Tarot cards. But surely you must concede that if you can interpret stuff in many ways, then the chance of a 'hit' is rather high...

I guess I'm old fashioned to remember the days where extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence... In the case of this paper, this would at the very least include a proper and full documentation of the methodology used, PLUS all the raw data (no cherry picked examples). But none of that is there. It's a flawed paper, and like any other, in any field, worthless without replication.

It sounds like you think I'm shifting goalposts, but these goalposts (aka 'the Scientific Method') have been around for hundreds, even thousands, of years. It's how we got to where we are in Science - by *not* accepting stuff until it is shown to be correct beyond reasonable doubt.

And on the other side of that coin, science is very happy to move to better theories.... but ONLY if the old ones are shown to be incorrect and/or the new ones are better at explaining real observations.

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Tiggs

I though that my {gasp} made it pretty clear that my tongue was in my cheek, and that when we are talking about genuine accepted research, then we ALWAYS have more than just one or even two of these, indeed, we usually have all or most.

I'm sorry if that wasn't clear, and I guess I can't now claim that it was 'obvious', other than to ask why the heck else would I have put in the 'gasp' if i wasn't being cynical...

However, even if we are just talking about peer-reviewed - can you offer any indication that this *was* peer-reviewed?

Well, as per the link - it was obviously presented at the 2004 Parapsychological Association Convention, so their peers definitely got to see it. The details were also repeated in Itai Ivtzan's 2007 article published in The Journal Of Parapsychology - which I believe is peer-reviewed.

Good. As always, I'm all mouth. :D

So let's go.. First up, subjectivity is not a good thing as it can lead to biases, agreed? So what to do.. - it's really quite simple - define everything carefully BEFOREHAND. So if a card has a particular meaning or set of meanings, then those need to be defined beforehand. Also, the 'falsifiable' bit sorta comes in here, eg what would make the card NOT match a response? If all you have is lots of ways that you can match the card to a desired outcome, then you have nothing but a great platform for you to 'prove' your biases. But if you define it all beforehand, and openly show us all that in your documentation, THEN we, the readers of such a paper, can make an educated judgement about whether this test was done in the true spirit of 'good science', or whether it was just a whole pile of cherry pickings, subjective 'hits' and confirmation biases from either or both the experimenters or the subjects.

Tarot cards do, in general, have a well-known set of meanings attached.

The art, as always, is blending them in combination.

A Man, a woman and a dog are merely nouns. A man who leaves a woman for a dog is a narrative.

Besides which - I'm not claiming that it's not influenced by the subjects / tarot readers. Entirely the opposite, I think you'll find.

That paper is almost completely devoid of actual examples of what they did and how they went about ensuring those issues were dealt with. Where it does get into detail, it is complex and to my mind needlessly convoluted, plus they do not justify *why* they did things a certain way.

If this was genuinely peer reviewed, we could look at the reviews/reviewers, and we would also be able to check where it had been replicated/verified. There has been 11 years since that paper - why do you think it is still awaiting replication? I can think of one very simple reason...

Well. Then perhaps you're just the man for the job.

Isn't that up to the claimants or those who push the paranormal barrow? (clearly I don't, but I'd be fascinated if anything like this was verified..) How about you first?

Sure - but I've got what appears to quite possibly be a peer-reviewed study. You're the one with objections to said study :P

Seriously, if someone wants to have a go, I'm happy to help with working out a fair method that would reduce or perhaps even eliminate the subjectivity, yet still be in line with the 'flavor' of Tarot cards. But surely you must concede that if you can interpret stuff in many ways, then the chance of a 'hit' is rather high...

I guess I'm old fashioned to remember the days where extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence... In the case of this paper, this would at the very least include a proper and full documentation of the methodology used, PLUS all the raw data (no cherry picked examples). But none of that is there. It's a flawed paper, and like any other, in any field, worthless without replication.

It sounds like you think I'm shifting goalposts, but these goalposts (aka 'the Scientific Method') have been around for hundreds, even thousands, of years. It's how we got to where we are in Science - by *not* accepting stuff until it is shown to be correct beyond reasonable doubt.

And on the other side of that coin, science is very happy to move to better theories.... but ONLY if the old ones are shown to be incorrect and/or the new ones are better at explaining real observations.

Entirely aware of, and happy with, the scientific method.

What this paper appears to show is that people who believe in psychic phenomena gave a higher subjective rating to the random cards, then the ones they'd allegedly chosen for themselves. Which is strange, given that you'd think they should be roughly the same.

Anyway - on a serious note - if you're interested in thrashing out a protocol, I'd be happy to have a go at replicating that study as a medium-term project - with the proviso that we'd need to work out some way to perform the test online. Because, otherwise, I'd have to organize a lab, pay and herd people to turn up, etc, and also - I build software for a living, so...

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ChrLzs

Happy to be corrected here, but a fairly thorough search suggests that the paper in question was merely presented at that convention. I cannot find any reference to it being peer reviewed or even submitted to the Journal of Parapsychology.

Tiggs, you also stated:

The details were also repeated in Itai Ivtzan's 2007 article published in The Journal Of Parapsychology - which I believe is peer-reviewed.

I read thru that and only found vague references, not a repeat at all - and the other 'paper' is NOT even cited in the Bib (which backs up that it is not a puiblished paper...). Plus, the conclusion makes absolutely no reference to any of it, and I repeat that conclusion here (my emphasis):

As we have seen, tarot cards might be seen as based upon paranormal

influences that navigate the entire interaction between the reader and the

client, just as they might be seen as based upon nonparanormal influences

in which simple psychological processes, such as the Barnum effect and

“cold reading,” explain the information provided by the reader to the

client. The most important point, though, as we consider the topic of tarot

cards, is people’s fascination with it. Facing one’s own inner processes and

receiving a reflection of that which constructs our deeply buried conflicts

and questions seems to provide an important experience that many are

attracted to. Hopefully, this article has made the nature of this attraction

clearer.

As you can see, there is no reference there to any of the paper you linked, nor is there any claim that any effect has been proven or verified.

I'm sorry, but this all looks like a 3-card trick to me (pun viciously intended!). That first 'paper' is either not a peer-reviewed paper (and that is my current belief), or if it is the review process has been exceptionally well hidden... And in that new paper you have offered up, it seems clear that Ivtzan is now fence sitting, with one foot firmly on non-paranormal ground...

The thing is, EVERY paranormal study that has shown any sort of vague statistical effect (and they are not only few and far between, but also the effects are dismally small) has been shown to have either lots of subjective judgement, or huge gaping flaws, or improperly recorded and evidenced data, or ridiculously convoluted methodologies that are virtually impossible to properly check for experimental flaws and biases. Not one follow up study has vindicated, replicated or verified the original studies.

Is that because the ebil gubmint suppresses it? Or Big Pharma, or the MIB, or... No, of course it isn't. There's nothing stopping any private organisation doing it *properly*.

Oh wait, yes there is - THERE IS NO EFFECT. If it is done properly the effect vanishes. Given all that, I'm not willing to waste my time leading some project that will do nothing but waste my time. I would be happy to be an informal unpaid consultant.. so if you or others want to set up some protocols and post them here I'll be happy to point out issues (and also solutions to those issues), but I ain't kicking it off. Call it a closed mind.. but it has been closed on this topic only after very thoroughly looking at an AWFUL LOT of this research over the years. You might be surprised at how familiar I am with the Sheldrake's, Radin's, Utts etc ad infinitum that keep peddling this stuff.

I've seen what it is made of, and I ain't buying it.

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Tiggs

Happy to be corrected here, but a fairly thorough search suggests that the paper in question was merely presented at that convention. I cannot find any reference to it being peer reviewed or even submitted to the Journal of Parapsychology.

I don't believe it was peer reviewed, other than being presented at the convention.

I read thru that and only found vague references, not a repeat at all - and the other 'paper' is NOT even cited in the Bib (which backs up that it is not a puiblished paper...).

There's a discussion of a difference in subjective ratings being found between actual readings vs test readings in reference to Blackmore's paper.

As you can see, there is no reference there to any of the paper you linked, nor is there any claim that any effect has been proven or verified.

Hence my offer to replicate the experiment using a more defined protocol.

Given all that, I'm not willing to waste my time leading some project that will do nothing but waste my time.

Then don't.

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