Monday, November 29, 2010

Double standards.

I've already mentioned the study on precognition that looks remarkably well done. Last week's New Scientist (issue dated 20 Nov 2010) mentioned it too, in dismissive terms. The scientific world's analysis of any such study is 'It simply cannot be' and that's the end of it. The New Scientist editorial goes so far as to claim that investigators set up some kind of magical sensory adaptation in volunteers with half a ping pong ball taped over each eye, and white noise in the ears.

In fact, those conditions are used to be certain that the subject could not have heard or seen anything that might clue them in to what they were supposed to receive telepathically. Far from being a magical ritual set up by investigators, they are a response to the scientific world's insistence that the experimental procedures are absolutely cheat-proof.

Yet now, these methodologies, brought in as a result of mainstream insistence, are held up as proof of the lunacy of paranormal investigation. Doublethink is everywhere these days.

Yes, we have to take special care in any investigation, not only because we are guaranteed to meet a wall of 'I don't believe it' no matter what we do, but because there are cheats out there. Lots of cheats. Some very clever ones. Some have become famous by convincing most of the world that stage magic is real magic, even after regular debunking. So yes, we have to be very careful in our methods.

Taping half-balls over eyes might seem like overkill but cheats have been known to adjust blindfolds so they can see. To have that cautionary experimentation referred to as if it is some kind of arcane ritual simply serves to demonstrate the blinkers worn by mainstream science. If they cannot find fault in that study on precognition, they will use derision and scorn to belittle the whole field.

In that same issue is an article on quantum physics, which claims to have sent particles back in time to interact with themselves. No scoffing from New Scientist here. This claim is lauded as a great breakthrough. I admit that the details of quantum physics is way over my head but having read the article twice, I cannot see where the 'back in time' part fits in. Maybe that's just me.

So, in one issue, there are two articles on, effectively, time shifting in which an event that has not yet occurred shows an effect in the present. One is considered a great breakthrough, the other is the babbling of the spooky brigade.

There is really nothing that can be done about personal prejudice. If, faced with correctly performed experiments, someone wants to resort to abuse and misrepresentation to support their preconceived notions, then why bother arguing with them? Nothing will change their minds. You might as well try to persuade the Pope to convert to Buddhism. Or bang your head on a wall.

I choose to spend my time investigating things that mainstream science simply dismisses. Will I ever persuade any of the mainstream to take any of it seriously? Probably not. It no longer matters to me. My own curiosity is the only drive I need. So, scoff away, pretend I'm not here.

The only other thing I need is some decent weather. Cold and damp might be fine for ghosts but not for me. It doesn't do much for expensive electronics either.

Just as well I don't have deadlines.


prm said...

I remember reading one of Stephen Braude's books, and his intro expressed his bafflement at this - how the various disciplines (philosophy, psychology etc) acted precisely against the very standards they proclaimed. Also a point made by Lyall Watson, that if all sciences had to show the rigour of parapsychology to be acceptable, there would be very few sciences...

Regina Richards said...

They believe what's convenient.

Romulus Crowe said...

prm - there is more and more junk science appearing in the mainstream these days. More and more 'studies' where the conclusions are written before any experiments are even started.

Science is falling back into witchcraft and superstition, and it's terrible to watch.

Regina - they certainly do. The next post is a case in point, I think.

Southern Writer said...

I just bought a book that will be the next one I read: Extraordinary Knowing: Science, Skepticism, and the Inexplicable Powers of the Human Mind . Elizabeth Lloyd Mayer was a skeptical psychologist whose young daughter played the harp (a very special and expensive one). When it was stolen, Mayer went through all the usual methods of trying to retrieve it, to no avail. She finally gave in to a friend who told her that if she REALLY wanted the harp back, she should be willing to try whatever it took. That "whatever" was a dowser, a man who lived in a trailer in Arkansas, who in two days pinpointed the location of the harp nearly 2000 miles away in Oakland, CA. Mayer was so intrigued that she began studying ESP (etc.) and collecting stories from her colleagues who had experienced extraordinary knowing but had either never admitted it, or tried to dismiss it. I think it will be a good book.

Southern Writer said...

Hey Rom, I just sent you a private message on Facebook. Would you go check it out when you can, please? Thanks.

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