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The criticism that there is no reliably reproducible demonstration of psi
#1
A criticism often made by sceptics is that after a century or so of experimental psi research, there is still no reliably reproducible demonstration that psi exists.

I wonder if people think that's a fair criticism.

If not, can people suggest an experimental protocol that's capable of reliably demonstrating a psi effect?

If so, what does it tell us? If psi exists, why should it be so elusive?

[I posted this previously at liberaparolado, and the short discussion that followed can be seen here:
http://www.liberaparolado.com/phpBB3/vie...p?f=8&t=11 ]
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#2
It's not fair. There are lots of evidence for that PSI exist. Now PSI is by its nature apparently weak and elusive. And it depends on consciousness, so the results are likely to vary, hence not be reliable.

Under a correct protocol a PSI miss proves nothing but a hit proves a lot.
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#3
When a sceptic who can't be bothered to look can dismiss all anecdotal evidence with a hand wave, there is no wonder that the claim that there is no evidence is repeated so often.

When a scientist can say that science is only concerned with the natural and that the "supernatural" is, therefore, not science and unworthy of further investigation, then how is evidence to be found or confirmed?
"I shall not commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as a fraud.” ― C.G. Jung
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#4
This statement sticks in my craw.i should probably  leave it alone. For that reason, but discrecsion is over rated in my book.
Steven Shwartz project deep water. Where remote viewers were able to locate an unknown  ship wreck. From nintey years in the past.In and of it self causes substantial  problems  for this argument. 
Psychic Archeology as whole points to huge gaps in the understanding  of how the mind works and our alleged  under standing of the real world.
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#5
What? No evidence?

Anyone who makes that claim is only showing that they have not done their homework. 

I can cite at least a dozen books who's whole premise is to provide evidence of the continuation of consciousness. 

Yes- those skeptical people may be correct in that much of the evidence for psi relies on statistical analysis, and that the evidence supporting the proof is often subtle. 

Yes- it is unfortunate that these things are not as blatantly demonstrable as P= I^2 R or F= MA , but I would suggest that they grow up and deal with that fact.
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#6
(08-14-2017, 12:05 PM)Chris Wrote: A criticism often made by sceptics is that after a century or so of experimental psi research, there is still no reliably reproducible demonstration that psi exists.

I wonder if people think that's a fair criticism.

If not, can people suggest an experimental protocol that's capable of reliably demonstrating a psi effect?

If so, what does it tell us? If psi exists, why should it be so elusive?

[I posted this previously at liberaparolado, and the short discussion that followed can be seen here:
http://www.liberaparolado.com/phpBB3/vie...p?f=8&t=11 ]

Is it a fair criticism? It's probably an understandable one. The lack of reliable reproducibility is an issue, as is the the fact that "psi effects" seem to disappear as the controls get stricter. These issues, along with any explanation of mechanism, leave the field exposed to doubt.

(08-14-2017, 09:56 PM)Kamarling Wrote: When a sceptic who can't be bothered to look can dismiss all anecdotal evidence with a hand wave, there is no wonder that the claim that there is no evidence is repeated so often.

When a scientist can say that science is only concerned with the natural and that the "supernatural" is, therefore, not science and unworthy of further investigation, then how is evidence to be found or confirmed?

It's more than a hand wave IMO. Take PK. We know that an object moves when a force acts on that object. If some sort of unmeasurable, unexplained mental force could be acting on an object then this should be affecting physics and engineering projects all over the place.

Your question is a tricky one. One would have to be mad to get into this field of research  Confused but in cases where there is a resultant action in the natural world (like PK) there should be some way of testing it, and finding a mechanism.
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#7
(08-15-2017, 01:41 AM)malf Wrote: It's more than a hand wave IMO. Take PK. We know that an object moves when a force acts on that object. If some sort of unmeasurable, unexplained mental force could be acting on an object then this should be affecting physics and engineering projects all over the place.

Your question is a tricky one. One would have to be mad to get into this field of research  Confused but in cases where there is a resultant action in the natural world (like PK) there should be some way of testing it, and finding a mechanism.

It might just be that you can't apply the same constraints on psi events that you can on physical events. You seem to demand that these phenomena be investigated as physical phenomena in the same way that, for example, the effects of microwave energy can be measured and quantified. With physical experiments you can eventually reach repeatability and that is the criteria for accepting evidence of a real effect. When you can't rely on repeatability you feel justified in rejecting the evidence because that is how science is done.

But there is an assumption at the heart of physical science which is that what you are investigating is, and must be, physical. So there must be a (physical) mechanism - as the mechanistic worldview demands. These things must also be strictly objective because subjectivity is not tolerated. So it either works or it doesn't - no interpretation required. How do you control for a test subject being a little bored that day? Or not quite in tune with something she often does without knowing how she does it?

Besides, even when effects are repeated the experiments are always dismissed due to bad methodology or because the researcher is a flake and has made mistakes in the past, or that sceptics have run the same tests using the same procedures and have not been able to produce the same results. Case closed.
"I shall not commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as a fraud.” ― C.G. Jung
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#8
Perhaps I can elaborate a little on what I mean by subjective as opposed to objective.

Let's say that we are doing an experiment in remote viewing (disclaimer - I have no personal experience of this so I'm speculating on how it works just to make a point). The remote viewer, let's call him Bob, is asked to focus on some distant place and he gets to work viewing and describing what he sees. 

Bob obviously does not manifest a pair of physical eyes at the scene or a virtual camera which takes an objectively verifiable snap shot of the location. Somehow, Bob gains access to a subjective mental image of a remote place and time. He might be the remote viewing equivalent of a Rembrandt and the image and description will be photo-realistic. Or he might be a Picasso so that the subjective image is a Guernica.

For a scientist or a CIA agent, a Guernica style impression of a Russian missile base would be practically useless so the experiment would be rejected as a failure. An art critic who knows the remote location, however, might be thrilled with the result saying, "Yes, he's captured it brilliantly!".
"I shall not commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as a fraud.” ― C.G. Jung
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#9
Chris Wrote:A criticism often made by sceptics is that after a century or so of experimental psi research, there is still no reliably reproducible demonstration that psi exists.

I wonder if people think that's a fair criticism.
It is a psychological phenomenon where people tend to reject evidence that contradicts their firmly held beliefs. Cognitive dissonance.
Parapsychology yields results that are better than some well accepted mainstream scientific results, but skeptics won't accept them. When they say extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, they are saying "I don't want to believe it so I am going to ignore the scientific method".
Quote:If not, can people suggest an experimental protocol that's capable of reliably demonstrating a psi effect?
The easiest way to have a psychic experience is to keep a dream log and  you will very probably have precognitive dreams.
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2012/04/keepi...aving.html
https://www.researchgate.net/publication...si_Studies
Quote:If so, what does it tell us? If psi exists, why should it be so elusive?

I do not find it to be elusive.
http://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/psi_experience
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2012/10/what-...-with.html


Peer Reviewed Journal Articles on Paranormal Phenomena (Healing at a Distance, Physiological Correlations at a Distance, Telepathy & ESP, General Overviews and Critiques, Survival of Consciousness, Precognition & Presentiment, Mind Matter Interaction)
http://www.deanradin.com/evidence/evidence.htm

Publications - School of Medicine at the University of Virginia (Ian Stevenson et. al.)
http://www.medicine.virginia.edu/clinica...tions-page

Past "Journal of Scientific Exploration" Research Articles from The Society for Scientific Exploration
http://www.scientificexploration.org/journal-library

Selected Scientific Papers - Campaign for Open Science
http://www.opensciences.org/papers

The Geller Papers
http://www.uri-geller.com/books/geller-papers/gpap.htm

Evidence of the Afterlife
http://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/su...f_evidence

Proof of ESP
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2013/04/proof...-1997.html

Evidence for Psi: Thirteen Empirical Research Reports
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/occasionall...vidence_13
The first gulp from the glass of science will make you an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you - Werner Heisenberg. (More at my Blog & Website)
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#10
Thanks for all the replies. Of course, it's now obvious to me that I should have copied my follow-up from the liberaparolado thread, as well as the initial question:

"I should say that the question I was asking was meant to be different from "Is there sufficient experimental evidence for the existence of psi?", or even "Is there a problem with the replicability of psi experiments?" I had in mind the kind of criticism James Alcock made when he wrote that "parapsychologists have _never_ been able to produce a successful experiment that neutral scientists, with the appropriate skill, knowledge and equipment, can replicate ..." (in Psi Wars, 2003, p. 35) (For that claim to be meaningful, I think there has to be an implication that the experiment would also be reasonably quick and easy to perform. In theory the Global Consciousness Project could be repeated by neutral scientists, but in reality it's not going to happen.)

I suppose the kind of answers I was expecting ranged from, at the sceptical end of the spectrum (if there are any sceptics here), "Psi experiments can't be replicated because the positive results are due to a combination of chance and questionable research practices", to, at the other end, "There is no problem replicating psi experiments in a statistical sense", or a more moderate "The replication problems can be overcome by larger studies and better experimental design."

Obviously the most interesting answer is that there's an essential feature of psi experiments that means they tend not to be straightforwardly replicable. I didn't entirely understand Max's comments, and I tend to shy away from the position that the scientific method is applicable only to physical (or material) phenomena. But I suppose it's obvious why it may be more difficult to design a replicable psi experiment than a replicable physics experiment. We can't expect the same result unless the conditions are the same, and if we're allowing the possibility of interactions between minds, precognition and so on, we can't achieve the same conditions just by conducting the experiment in a clean white room."

On the other hand, individual subjects happening to be bored or off their form one day shouldn't really hamper statistical repeatability, because it should all be taken care of by the statistics. But if a factor like that affected a whole study (e.g. an experimenter effect with a bored experimenter), then obviously we couldn't expect that study to repeat the results of others. 

Sorry - this does all seems a bit obvious now. But I don't think it's just a question of unreasonable sceptics being unwilling to look at the evidence (though it's painfully obvious that there are a lot of people like that around). Perhaps a more constructive question would be whether an experiment could be designed that would eliminate some of the factors that could hamper repeatability. Perhaps an online experiment in which the role of the experimenter could be automated and minimised?
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