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Improbability Theory
#1
Seems this guy claims he has a "statistical" reason to not believe in the paranormal or even in chance:
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=w...BqjCfF9b6n

Seems he is committing the fallacy of thinking that paranormal/interactions through psi and so forth are rare events. Apparently, they are happening all the time everywhere. 

Any relevance?
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#2
(01-18-2018, 10:24 AM)Desperado Wrote: Seems this guy claims he has a "statistical" reason to not believe in the paranormal or even in chance:
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=w...BqjCfF9b6n

Seems he is committing the fallacy of thinking that paranormal/interactions through psi and so forth are rare events. Apparently, they are happening all the time everywhere. 

Any relevance?

I think it's fair enough as a warning about the dangers of drawing conclusions from anecdotal evidence. But it's very weak as a criticism of parapsychology in general, because parapsychology has been focussed mainly on experiment rather than anecdote for the past century or so.
"There are more things in philosophy than are dreamt of in heaven and earth."
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#3
(01-18-2018, 04:56 PM)Chris Wrote: I think it's fair enough as a warning about the dangers of drawing conclusions from anecdotal evidence. But it's very weak as a criticism of parapsychology in general, because parapsychology has been focussed mainly on experiment rather than anecdote for the past century or so.

To be fair the the largest body of experimental parapsychology shows tiny effects that are often criticized by skeptics as methodological errors.
On the other hand research into anecdotal PSI occurrences (poltergeists, apparitions etc...) point to macroscopic, large scale events that rarely (if ever) can be reproduced.

I feel this dichotomy is what gives credit to arguments such as the one in the OP.

cheers
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#4
(01-19-2018, 10:00 AM)Bucky Wrote: To be fair the the largest body of experimental parapsychology shows tiny effects that are often criticized by skeptics as methodological errors.
On the other hand research into anecdotal PSI occurrences (poltergeists, apparitions etc...) point to macroscopic, large scale events that rarely (if ever) can be reproduced.

I feel this dichotomy is what gives credit to arguments such as the one in the OP.

cheers

Credit to what arguments may I ask, Bucky? And as far as the criticisms of skeptics towards psi experiments, we all know they are far from always fair.
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#5
(01-19-2018, 10:00 AM)Bucky Wrote: To be fair the the largest body of experimental parapsychology shows tiny effects that are often criticized by skeptics as methodological errors.
On the other hand research into anecdotal PSI occurrences (poltergeists, apparitions etc...) point to macroscopic, large scale events that rarely (if ever) can be reproduced.

I feel this dichotomy is what gives credit to arguments such as the one in the OP.

Yes, I agree there is scope for criticism of both the experiments and the anecdotes. I felt this article by implication seemed to be lumping parapsychology into the anecdotal category. But maybe I missed something. To be fair, the article doesn't focus on parapsychology, but only mentions it together with a list of other examples.
"There are more things in philosophy than are dreamt of in heaven and earth."
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#6
Hand claims that: "Extremely improbable events are commonplace." That sounds like a contradiction. But in reality it is not, because the two things are not even related.

Something is not improbable on its own. It is some person, or group of persons, that considers it to be improbable. And on the other side we find events that are commonplace. These are empirical observations of reality. Not some person's idea.

A statistician might believe he can understand reality through data. I don't think he can.
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#7
(01-19-2018, 10:48 AM)Desperado Wrote: Credit to what arguments may I ask, Bucky? And as far as the criticisms of skeptics towards psi experiments, we all know they are far from always fair.

Arguments like the "law of very big numbers" and similar as mentioned in the OP. Those are great blanket statements to shut up ESP proponents, though in essence they are extremely vague and generic.

And yes I agree with you, often times self proclaimed skeptics lack intellectual honesty, as a seen dozen of times in the history of Skeptiko's podcasts.

Cheers
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#8
(01-22-2018, 01:02 PM)Bucky Wrote: Arguments like the "law of very big numbers" and similar as mentioned in the OP. Those are great blanket statements to shut up ESP proponents, though in essence they are extremely vague and generic.

And yes I agree with you, often times self proclaimed skeptics lack intellectual honesty, as a seen dozen of times in the history of Skeptiko's podcasts.

Cheers

As I like to say, the Law of Large Numbers is the skeptics equivalent to the God of the Gaps. 

Here's a great talk by Robert Anton Wilson. Listen at around 14m 30s when he talks about the skeptics at CSICOP repeating their mantra, "It was only a coincidence, It was only a coincidence, It was only a coincidence".



"I shall not commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as a fraud.” ― C.G. Jung
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#9


"There are more things in philosophy than are dreamt of in heaven and earth."
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#10
(01-22-2018, 01:02 PM)Bucky Wrote: Arguments like the "law of very big numbers" and similar as mentioned in the OP. Those are great blanket statements to shut up ESP proponents, though in essence they are extremely vague and generic.

And yes I agree with you, often times self proclaimed skeptics lack intellectual honesty, as a seen dozen of times in the history of Skeptiko's podcasts.

Cheers

But is that all they are, vague and generic waves of the hand sort of in disguise? I'm guessing so. I'm embarrassed to admit that until just a day ago, I hadn't really looked at Hand's "laws" as explained in the article in depth in awhile. Basically, from afar you think he's figured some kind of secret that no one else did. 

But looking at the actual article in detail again, only one of the several points he claims to make has anything to do with probability!! The rest just rest on examples of human error and are no more then the same old "it's just coincidence and wishful thinking" hand waves
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