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The BBC's "CrowdScience" tackles life after death
#1
Courtesy of the SPR Facebook page, here's a link to a BBC World Service radio documentary:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3csv3f3

This is quite funny. Apparently they have this series called "CrowdScience" (don't ask me why), for which listeners ask scientific questions and they try to answer them. Someone asked them "Is there life after death?" and in the original programme (which I haven't heard) they talked about clinical criteria for death, freezing people, measuring electrical activity in the brain and so on. 

Some other listeners protested that they hadn't really answered the question, so they did a follow-up, in which they first of all repeated bits of the original programme about clinical criteria for death, freezing people, measuring electrical activity in the brain, and ended up by talking about cells from a woman with cancer which were still surviving in research labs. But apparently this time they didn't feel they could entirely ignore the question, and they were fortunate enough to find An Expert named Professor Blackmore, so they put an 8-minute interview with her in the middle. She was their "Core Researcher" (in fact, their only on-topic researcher), and thankfully, she was able to assure them that (in their words) research into post mortem survival has "managed to find nothing conclusive."
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#2
(10-21-2017, 05:31 PM)Chris Wrote: Courtesy of the SPR Facebook page, here's a link to a BBC World Service radio documentary:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3csv3f3

This is quite funny. Apparently they have this series called "CrowdScience" (don't ask me why), for which listeners ask scientific questions and they try to answer them. Someone asked them "Is there life after death?" and in the original programme (which I haven't heard) they talked about clinical criteria for death, freezing people, measuring electrical activity in the brain and so on. 

Some other listeners protested that they hadn't really answered the question, so they did a follow-up, in which they first of all repeated bits of the original programme about clinical criteria for death, freezing people, measuring electrical activity in the brain, and ended up by talking about cells from a woman with cancer which were still surviving in research labs. But apparently this time they didn't feel they could entirely ignore the question, and they were fortunate enough to find An Expert named Professor Blackmore, so they put an 8-minute interview with her in the middle. She was their "Core Researcher" (in fact, their only on-topic researcher), and thankfully, she was able to assure them that (in their words) research into post mortem survival has "managed to find nothing conclusive."

Oh what a surprise: the BBC's expert is Blackmore - who would have thought? And Blackmore confirms her research found no evidence - I'm stunned.
"I shall not commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as a fraud.” ― C.G. Jung
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#3
Sorry - does my sarcasm about Blackmore (and the BBC science department) betray my anti-science leanings. I must learn to keep stum.
"I shall not commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as a fraud.” ― C.G. Jung
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#4
(10-21-2017, 08:18 PM)Kamarling Wrote: Sorry - does my sarcasm about Blackmore (and the BBC science department) betray my anti-science leanings. I must learn to keep stum.

I'm not sure that sarcasm about Blackmore equates to anti-science.

I thought the weirdest thing she said was that she experimented with a ouija board at university in the 1960s, but now we know a ouija board works through unconscious muscular action. According to Wikipedia, that explanation for seance phenomena was first suggested by Michael Faraday in 1853, nearly 40 years before the ouija board was invented!
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#5
(10-21-2017, 09:06 PM)Chris Wrote: I'm not sure that sarcasm about Blackmore equates to anti-science.

I thought the weirdest thing she said was that she experimented with a ouija board at university in the 1960s, but now we know a ouija board works through unconscious muscular action. According to Wikipedia, that explanation for seance phenomena was first suggested by Michael Faraday in 1853, nearly 40 years before the ouija board was invented!


I don't know how she gets away with it, frankly. Peter Fenwick (an expert on brain function) has said she talks absolute rubbish about NDE's and has no grounding or scientific credentials to make the statements that she does. Nevertheless,  she seems to believe she is 'important' in this field and she's not going to turn down a chance to get some more limelight which she's always loved. I think she could have been a decent actress TBH.

I'm not going to listen to her, I've heard it all before.  I've also had several email conversations with her which went around in circles. She is a pleasant enough person, though to be fair.
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#6
(10-21-2017, 09:06 PM)Chris Wrote: I'm not sure that sarcasm about Blackmore equates to anti-science.

I thought the weirdest thing she said was that she experimented with a ouija board at university in the 1960s, but now we know a ouija board works through unconscious muscular action. According to Wikipedia, that explanation for seance phenomena was first suggested by Michael Faraday in 1853, nearly 40 years before the ouija board was invented!

I was being a little flippant - a bit of a tease about your observation that proponents here seem to be anti-science. I'm old-school enough to believe that something is lacking if we always need to add emojis to indicate humour but, either I'm wrong about that or I'm not doing very well at conveying my meaning.

As for "unconscious muscular action", I suspect a whole new thread could be opened about that. It is another mystery to me - like so-called muscle memory. But then, I'm constantly amazed that my muscles can guide my finger unerringly to the light switch when I'm half asleep and stumbling around in the dark.  Smile
"I shall not commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as a fraud.” ― C.G. Jung
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#7
(10-21-2017, 10:27 PM)Kamarling Wrote: I was being a little flippant - a bit of a tease about your observation that proponents here seem to be anti-science. I'm old-school enough to believe that something is lacking if we always need to add emojis to indicate humour but, either I'm wrong about that or I'm not doing very well at conveying my meaning.

I did understand that, but I still don't think Blackmore is a scientific paragon.

And it certainly wasn't all proponents I was complaining about before - just the "science is wrong" brigade.
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#8
(10-21-2017, 11:12 PM)Chris Wrote: I did understand that, but I still don't think Blackmore is a scientific paragon.

And it certainly wasn't all proponents I was complaining about before - just the "science is wrong" brigade.

It's not as simple as saying 'science is wrong' Chris.

Does not this very thread show an example of how misguided mainstream 'science' can be when Blackmore is continually trotted out as an expert on a science programme.
Oh my God, I hate all this.   Surprise
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#9
(10-22-2017, 10:32 AM)Stan Woolley Wrote: It's not as simple as saying 'science is wrong' Chris.

Does not this very thread show an example of how misguided mainstream 'science' can be when Blackmore is continually trotted out as an expert on a science programme.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend? 

I think it also perhaps shows the paucity of serious researchers amongst sceptics when one can make a career out of so little research which resulted in nothing at all. I don’t think it reflects on ‘science’ per se - it looks like an unseemly scrabble to cobble together any kind of lame argument against Psi. There are far better sceptics than her - the problem is that they’ve generally done zero actual research, as opposed to virtually zero, hence the degree of desperation.
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#10
(10-22-2017, 11:09 AM)Obiwan Wrote: The enemy of my enemy is my friend? 

I think it also perhaps shows the paucity of serious researchers amongst sceptics when one can make a career out of so little research which resulted in nothing at all. I don’t think it reflects on ‘science’ per se - it looks like an unseemly scrabble to cobble together any kind of lame argument against Psi. There are far better sceptics than her - the problem is that they’ve generally done zero actual research, as opposed to virtually zero, hence the degree of desperation.

I don't follow this? I am not the type that follows blindly, so my instinct is 'probably not'.  Wink
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