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macqdor

Debunking common skeptical arguments against

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macqdor

Debunking Common Skeptical Arguments Against
Paranormal and Psychic Phenomena

 

http://www.victorzammit.com/skeptics/winston.html#7

 

Section I: Critique of General Skeptical Arguments Against The Paranormal

Argument # 1: "It is irrational to believe anything that hasn’t been proven."

Argument # 2: "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."

Argument # 3: The Occam’s Razor rule.

Argument # 4: The "invisible pink unicorn / dragon in the garage" false comparison tactic.

Argument # 5: The "anecdotal evidence is invalid" argument.

Argument # 6: The memory malleability argument to dismiss anecdotal evidence.

Argument # 7: "The burden of proof is on the claimant."

Argument # 8: "There is no hard evidence to support any paranormal phenomena."

Argument # 9: Science is the only reliable method.

Argument # 10: "Paranormal and supernatural phenomena aren’t possible because they contradict all known natural laws gained from science."

Argument # 11: "Unexplainable does not mean inexplicable."

Argument # 12: "Skeptics don’t have beliefs. They/I base our views and judgments on the degree of evidence."

Argument # 13: "A common myth is that Skepticism is cynicism. It is not. Skepticism is a method of inquiry."

Argument # 14: "Believers in the paranormal are thinking in primitive, irrational, childish and uninformed ways."

Argument # 15: "Skeptics are defending science and reason from a rising tide of irrationality."

 

More at

 

http://www.victorzammit.com/skeptics/winston.html#7

 

 

 

 

 

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DingoLingo

heh.. I just spent the last 30 mins reading that .. 

the one thing he did miss.. is when you can point to the evidence ti disprove something.. take spirit orbs for example.. the claimant will ignore the evidence because it does match their preconceived idea's.. 

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psyche101

Does it not stand to reason that the above b**** slapping contest wouldn't be necessary if any actual evidence existed? 

I don't think that wording long winded responses to simple arguments in any way provides validity to the subject in debate. It just further convolutes any process. Seems more like stalling than accomplishing anything. 

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GlitterRose

I know phenomena exists, but I also know skeptics are wise to be skeptical of claims. 

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Hammerclaw

Pack it in, folks. there's nothing here--as usual.

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papageorge1
4 hours ago, psyche101 said:

Does it not stand to reason that the above b**** slapping contest wouldn't be necessary if any actual evidence existed? 

WHO determined that no actual evidence exists as you are implying. I think the point of the write-up is that evidence denial is occurring because of an irrational emotional response produced in some towards anything that smacks of the real paranormal or spiritual.  With enough determination, one can make evidence denial continue into infinity, so what, the rest of us move on.

I think the topics in the OP are valid points but they are only for open minds not in a defensive posture.

 

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psyche101
6 hours ago, papageorge1 said:

WHO determined that no actual evidence exists as you are implying. I think the point of the write-up is that evidence denial is occurring because of an irrational emotional response produced in some towards anything that smacks of the real paranormal or spiritual.  With enough determination, one can make evidence denial continue into infinity, so what, the rest of us move on.

The claims themselves. They fail when put to the test of repeatability upon demand. 

Like so:

And then there's always outright fraud

6 hours ago, papageorge1 said:

 

I think the topics in the OP are valid points but they are only for open minds not in a defensive posture.

No they are not. 

The only way to validate such claims is with verifiable evidence, otherwise they are just anecdotes. 

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papageorge1
48 minutes ago, psyche101 said:

The claims themselves. They fail when put to the test of repeatability upon demand. 

Like so:

And then there's always outright fraud

No they are not. 

The only way to validate such claims is with verifiable evidence, otherwise they are just anecdotes. 

As an argument against your 'no evidence' claim, for starters,  how about controlled experiments by parapsychologists with PhDs obtaining fantastic odds against chance. All bad methodology, I expect  to hear. My other point was that there are skeptics that will never say die even in the face of double-blind controlled experiments and they can try to obfuscate things into infinity. My usual ending point is: we each must judge for ourselves and the two of us just need to go our separate ways.

Now some claims by some people may fail or may not have been tested fairly...er, but so what?

 

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Alien Origins

Damn! I just read something about this today...I wish my memory was better. Will go back and take some notes then come back with what I found.

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Timothy
58 minutes ago, papageorge1 said:

As an argument against your 'no evidence' claim, for starters,  how about controlled experiments by parapsychologists with PhDs obtaining fantastic odds against chance. All bad methodology, I expect  to hear. My other point was that there are skeptics that will never say die even in the face of double-blind controlled experiments and they can try to obfuscate things into infinity. My usual ending point is: we each must judge for ourselves and the two of us just need to go our separate ways.

Now some claims by some people may fail or may not have been tested fairly...er, but so what?

 

I’m not aware (and not through lack of trying) of any controlled or double blind experiments which produced anything other than the expected rational result, much less one ‘obtaining fantastic odds against chance’.

Can you direct me to even one?

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papageorge1
1 hour ago, Timonthy said:

I’m not aware (and not through lack of trying) of any controlled or double blind experiments which produced anything other than the expected rational result, much less one ‘obtaining fantastic odds against chance’.

Can you direct me to even one?

ESP in the ganzfeld

Ganzfeld ("whole field") technique was developed to quiet this external noise by providing a mild, unpatterned sensory field to mask the noise of the outside world. In the typical ganzfeld experiment, the telepathic "sender" and "receiver" are isolated, the receiver is put into the ganzfeld state, and the sender is shown a video clip or still picture and asked to mentally send that image to the receiver.

The receiver, while in the ganzfeld, is asked to continuously report aloud all mental processes, including images, thoughts, feelings. At the end of the sending period, typically about 20 to 40 minutes in length, the receiver is taken out of the ganzfeld, and shown four images or videos, one of which is the true target and three are non-target decoys. The receiver attempts to select the true target, using perceptions experienced during the ganzfeld state as clues to what the mentally "sent" image might have been. With no telepathy, chance expectation allows us to predict that the correct target would be selected about 1 in 4 times, for a 25% "hit rate." After scores of such experiments, presently totaling about 700 individual sessions conducted by about two dozen investigators, world-wide, the results show that the target image is selected on average 34% of the time. This is a highly significant result, suggesting that telepathy, at least as operationally defined in this experiment, exists.

Link

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Timothy
Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, papageorge1 said:

ESP in the ganzfeld

Ganzfeld ("whole field") technique was developed to quiet this external noise by providing a mild, unpatterned sensory field to mask the noise of the outside world. In the typical ganzfeld experiment, the telepathic "sender" and "receiver" are isolated, the receiver is put into the ganzfeld state, and the sender is shown a video clip or still picture and asked to mentally send that image to the receiver.

The receiver, while in the ganzfeld, is asked to continuously report aloud all mental processes, including images, thoughts, feelings. At the end of the sending period, typically about 20 to 40 minutes in length, the receiver is taken out of the ganzfeld, and shown four images or videos, one of which is the true target and three are non-target decoys. The receiver attempts to select the true target, using perceptions experienced during the ganzfeld state as clues to what the mentally "sent" image might have been. With no telepathy, chance expectation allows us to predict that the correct target would be selected about 1 in 4 times, for a 25% "hit rate." After scores of such experiments, presently totaling about 700 individual sessions conducted by about two dozen investigators, world-wide, the results show that the target image is selected on average 34% of the time. This is a highly significant result, suggesting that telepathy, at least as operationally defined in this experiment, exists.

Link

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It’s just another flawed experiment.

Wiki sums it up nicely: ‘Consistent, independent replication of ganzfeld experiments has not been achieved.’ From https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ganzfeld_experiment

@macqdor any developments with uploading that fire department report to your website? Any new writing on the walls? 

Edited by Timonthy
Smartphone broken formatting.
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papageorge1
1 minute ago, Timonthy said:

It’s just another flawed experiment.

Wiki sums it up nicely: ‘Consistent, independent replication of ganzfeld experiments has not been achieved.’ From https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ganzfeld_experiment

No bias there :rolleyes:    Guerilla Skepticism on Wikipedia

Ohh, you meant paranormal evidence not criticized (fairly or unfairly) by the skeptic community. But no pseudo-skeptic is skeptical of criticisms against parapsychology. I suspected I shouldn't  have spent those few minutes.

After scores of such experiments, presently totaling about 700 individual sessions conducted by about two dozen investigators, world-wide, the results show that the target image is selected on average 34% of the time.

I'm pretty well satisfied at this point.

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psyche101
6 hours ago, papageorge1 said:

As an argument against your 'no evidence' claim, for starters,  how about controlled experiments by parapsychologists with PhDs obtaining fantastic odds against chance.

Anecdotes. Nothing more. U can claim I have unified QM and GR, but unless I can demonstrate that on demand, its an anecdote. 

6 hours ago, papageorge1 said:

All bad methodology, I expect  to hear.

Outright lies and cheating for the most part IMHO. 

6 hours ago, papageorge1 said:

My other point was that there are skeptics that will never say die even in the face of double-blind controlled experiments and they can try to obfuscate things into infinity.

Utter nonsense. Has nothing to do with one's bias, truth is truth and will prevail if valid. 

6 hours ago, papageorge1 said:

My usual ending point is: we each must judge for ourselves and the two of us just need to go our separate ways.

You are going to continue to champion the underdog, its what you do, and I shall continue to gather facts, it's what I do. 

6 hours ago, papageorge1 said:

Now some claims by some people may fail or may not have been tested fairly...er, but so what?

What is unfair in the tests I posted on Astrology and Water Divining? 

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psyche101
3 hours ago, papageorge1 said:

No bias there :rolleyes:    Guerilla Skepticism on Wikipedia

Ohh, you meant paranormal evidence not criticized (fairly or unfairly) by the skeptic community. But no pseudo-skeptic is skeptical of criticisms against parapsychology. I suspected I shouldn't  have spent those few minutes.

After scores of such experiments, presently totaling about 700 individual sessions conducted by about two dozen investigators, world-wide, the results show that the target image is selected on average 34% of the time.

I'm pretty well satisfied at this point.

Of course. 

You have the answer from someone that you want to hear so you run with it.

And let's face it, the basic requirements of repeatability is not the only discrepancy noted here, there are many. I'd you really do know the experiment well then you would also know that Richard Wiseman and others argue that not all of the studies used soundproof rooms, and that it is possible that while videos were playing, the experimenter could have heard it, and later given involuntary cues to the receiver during the selection process. It could even have been possible that the receiver themselves could hear the video

If the experiment is valid, the results can be repeated upon demand. And meet all the criticisms such as Wisemans and prove the results. 

Why doesn't that happen? 

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papageorge1
Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, psyche101 said:

 

If the experiment is valid, the results can be repeated upon demand. And meet all the criticisms such as Wisemans and prove the results. 

Why doesn't that happen? 

It has happened.

After scores of such experiments, presently totaling about 700 individual sessions conducted by about two dozen investigators, world-wide, the results show that the target image is selected on average 34% of the time.

The U.S. government hired a highly regarded Professor of Applied Statistics (Jessica Utts) to analyze the testing. Here's a link and some quotes  from the conclusion:

"It is clear to this author that anomalous cognition is possible and has been demonstrated.  This conclusion is not based on belief, but rather on commonly accepted scientific criteria.  The phenomenon has been replicated in a number of forms across laboratories and cultures.   The various experiments in which it has been observed have been different enough that if some subtle methodological problems can explain the results, then there would have to be a different explanation for each type of experiment, yet the impact would have to be similar across
experiments and laboratories.  If fraud were responsible, similarly, it would require an equivalent amount of fraud on the part of a large number of experimenters or an even larger number of subjects."

"I believe that it would be wasteful of valuable resources to continue to look for proof.  No one who has examined all of the data across laboratories, taken as a collective whole, has been able to suggest methodological or statistical problems to explain the ever-increasing and consistent results to date. "

 

Edited by papageorge1

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Timothy
3 hours ago, papageorge1 said:

No bias there :rolleyes:    Guerilla Skepticism on Wikipedia

Ohh, you meant paranormal evidence not criticized (fairly or unfairly) by the skeptic community. But no pseudo-skeptic is skeptical of criticisms against parapsychology. I suspected I shouldn't  have spent those few minutes.

After scores of such experiments, presently totaling about 700 individual sessions conducted by about two dozen investigators, world-wide, the results show that the target image is selected on average 34% of the time.

I'm pretty well satisfied at this point.

All evidence should be criticized. 

Is there somewhere I can find a list of the ‘about two dozen investigators’?

I’m not satisfied at all, neither it seems is anyone else who doesn’t take the results at face value. 

I read a paragraph like your bold above, and I need to question it. The 700, the about two dozen, the 34%. I don’t trust it.

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psyche101
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, papageorge1 said:

It has happened.

After scores of such experiments, presently totaling about 700 individual sessions conducted by about two dozen investigators, world-wide, the results show that the target image is selected on average 34% of the time.

The U.S. government hired a highly regarded Professor of Applied Statistics (Jessica Utts) to analyze the testing. Here's a link and some quotes  from the conclusion:

"It is clear to this author that anomalous cognition is possible and has been demonstrated.  This conclusion is not based on belief, but rather on commonly accepted scientific criteria.  The phenomenon has been replicated in a number of forms across laboratories and cultures.   The various experiments in which it has been observed have been different enough that if some subtle methodological problems can explain the results, then there would have to be a different explanation for each type of experiment, yet the impact would have to be similar across
experiments and laboratories.  If fraud were responsible, similarly, it would require an equivalent amount of fraud on the part of a large number of experimenters or an even larger number of subjects."

"I believe that it would be wasteful of valuable resources to continue to look for proof.  No one who has examined all of the data across laboratories, taken as a collective whole, has been able to suggest methodological or statistical problems to explain the ever-increasing and consistent results to date. "

 

:huh:

We are back to Men Who Stare At Goats again???? 

No it hasn't. A metaresult is not an independent study, the results have not been repeated. 

Utts is on the executive board of the International Remote Viewing Association, gee not biased huh. She also collaborated with Edwin May of the Stargate scam. Hence my opening statement. The program was finally terminated after blowing 20 mllion taxpayer dollars on it. It never resulted in anything more than a funny movie and most excellent book. 

 

So.... What was unfair about the, water divining and astrology tests I posted? You forgot to answer. Do you think Popoff could explain the fraud in a reasonable manner? 

Edited by psyche101
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papageorge1
7 hours ago, psyche101 said:

:huh:

We are back to Men Who Stare At Goats again???? 

No it hasn't. A metaresult is not an independent study, the results have not been repeated. 

Utts is on the executive board of the International Remote Viewing Association, gee not biased huh. She also collaborated with Edwin May of the Stargate scam. Hence my opening statement. The program was finally terminated after blowing 20 mllion taxpayer dollars on it. It never resulted in anything more than a funny movie and most excellent book. 

If you think all these people and studies and analysis and experiments and experimenters  are out to scam us for what and for why, then carry on with that thought. As I alluded to in my post above to @Timonthy ,Utts was hired because at the time she had no interest one way or the other in parapsychology but was a well respected Professor of Applied Statistics..

Opposition can be carried into infinity on anything if a person wants to be stubborn enough. In the end, what matters is what each of us believes in our most honest personal moments. In my most honest moments I believe the statistical evidence for the existence of psi has been established beyond reasonable doubt. I can present my reasoning to others, but I can not take on the task of convincing them. At some point you need to let them go their way. 

8 hours ago, psyche101 said:

So.... What was unfair about the, water divining and astrology tests I posted? You forgot to answer. Do you think Popoff could explain the fraud in a reasonable manner? 

I ignored those videos as irrelevant to what I am here to discuss as I made no claims about the fairness of any water-divining/astrology/Popoff Randi tests.

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Merc14
13 hours ago, papageorge1 said:

ESP in the ganzfeld

Ganzfeld ("whole field") technique was developed to quiet this external noise by providing a mild, unpatterned sensory field to mask the noise of the outside world. In the typical ganzfeld experiment, the telepathic "sender" and "receiver" are isolated, the receiver is put into the ganzfeld state, and the sender is shown a video clip or still picture and asked to mentally send that image to the receiver.

The receiver, while in the ganzfeld, is asked to continuously report aloud all mental processes, including images, thoughts, feelings. At the end of the sending period, typically about 20 to 40 minutes in length, the receiver is taken out of the ganzfeld, and shown four images or videos, one of which is the true target and three are non-target decoys. The receiver attempts to select the true target, using perceptions experienced during the ganzfeld state as clues to what the mentally "sent" image might have been. With no telepathy, chance expectation allows us to predict that the correct target would be selected about 1 in 4 times, for a 25% "hit rate." After scores of such experiments, presently totaling about 700 individual sessions conducted by about two dozen investigators, world-wide, the results show that the target image is selected on average 34% of the time. This is a highly significant result, suggesting that telepathy, at least as operationally defined in this experiment, exists.

Link

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That didn't take long.  One very questionable experiment that cannot be repeated by other labs.  Nope, you failed, what is your nest one?  How many controlled tests showed no positive results?  The answer is all of them, hence the lack of professional interest in the subject.  Logic dictates that if there was any chance of paranormal being real there would be many, many more experiments showing the same positive results and the fact that all you can point to is the flawed Ganzfeld experiment proves my point.  

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papageorge1
11 minutes ago, Merc14 said:

That didn't take long.  One very questionable experiment that cannot be repeated by other labs.  Nope, you failed, what is your nest one?  

My next one is my reply #19 above.

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stereologist
13 hours ago, papageorge1 said:

It has happened.

After scores of such experiments, presently totaling about 700 individual sessions conducted by about two dozen investigators, world-wide, the results show that the target image is selected on average 34% of the time.

Please provide the source for this statement. I want to see the evidence. 

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stereologist

First it's the poorly done Ganzfeld experiment that can't be repeated. Next it is the completely failed RV exercise. After decades of trying it provided zilch. Now they con people into all sorts of wacky ideas like tornadoes are well described by rhythmic and musical, the active mining base on Mars, the rings of Jupiter inside the clouds, the mountains of Jupiter, the mother ship behind Hale Bopp. 

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stereologist

I can't access the links in the OP at the moment, but I am aware of Viktor Zammit. He's a believer in the afterlife and is a pseudo-skeptic. He pretends to be a skeptic, but is in fact a pseudo-skeptic.

VZ offers a million dollar prize. It's a prove doesn't exist type of scam. Only a pseudo-skeptic would make up such a laughable demand. The prize has been hotly promoted by that scum of scums Sylvia Brown. Before she died she was doing that in between defrauding the families of the dead and missing.

 

 

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Sir Wearer of Hats
Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, papageorge1 said:

As an argument against your 'no evidence' claim, for starters,  how about controlled experiments by parapsychologists with PhDs obtaining fantastic odds against chance. All bad methodology, I expect  to hear. My other point was that there are skeptics that will never say die even in the face of double-blind controlled experiments and they can try to obfuscate things into infinity. My usual ending point is: we each must judge for ourselves and the two of us just need to go our separate ways.

Now some claims by some people may fail or may not have been tested fairly...er, but so what?

 

There are also psychics who “never say die” and always have an out. 

A rigged experiment, or my personal favourite - the negative aura of the tester upset the delicate process (this one has been levelled at me, apparently I’m a whirlwind of anti-psychic forces that disrupts true seeing solely by my presence). 

Edited by Sir Wearer of Hats
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