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-   -   The Straight Dope On ESP. (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=791397)

Jim B. 04-26-2016 04:17 AM

The Straight Dope On ESP.
 
I was actually inspired to ask this question by Star Trek: TOS. In the original series, ESP was apparently so mainstream (at that time at least), that they included it as part of their story line. Characters even had routine tests for their ESP aptitude. This story element featured prominently in the episode Where No Man Has Gone Before. By the time TNG came along, it was so intrinsically part of the series, they just had to include it again, like with the Betazoid race, for example.

Anyways, this is not the Cafe section. So I will no longer discuss the Star Trek connection. But as I said, it does bring up one question: What is the straight dope on ESP? Telekinesis, clairvoyance, and mind reading, for example? Where does it stand now in modern science? Is it at all in the mainstream? Or is it relegated to the fringe of science? And could there be any validity to its claims?

Remember, my question is what is the straight dope. So I am asking you, the members, of this board, for information. Please don't ask me to provide support and evidence:).

:):):)

Siam Sam 04-26-2016 04:19 AM

The straight dope in a nutshell: Is is all complete and total bullshit.

naita 04-26-2016 04:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jim B. (Post 19285239)
Or is it relegated to the fringe of science? And could there be any validity to its claims?

It ranges from fringe science to pseudoscience. There's no reason to believe any previous or current claim isn't better explained by the multitude of ordinary psychological findings that have been solidly documented by people studying these claims with a more open mind. Eg. clairvoyance isn't about seeing the future, it's about remembering the hits and ignoring the misses, combined with changing the memory of a prediction to fit better with actual events after the fact, combined with overemphasising personal experience in the face of evidence your remarkable precognition is indistinguishable from what's expected from random chance in a population, and so on and so forth.

kayaker 04-26-2016 07:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by naita (Post 19285255)
It ranges from fringe science to pseudoscience. There's no reason to believe any previous or current claim isn't better explained by the multitude of ordinary psychological findings that have been solidly documented by people studying these claims with a more open mind. Eg. clairvoyance isn't about seeing the future, it's about remembering the hits and ignoring the misses, combined with changing the memory of a prediction to fit better with actual events after the fact, combined with overemphasising personal experience in the face of evidence your remarkable precognition is indistinguishable from what's expected from random chance in a population, and so on and so forth.

That's what I was gonna say. Eerie isn't it?

Machine Elf 04-26-2016 07:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Siam Sam (Post 19285241)
The straight dope in a nutshell: Is is all complete and total bullshit.

This.

A friend once remarked how, on many evenings, his wife would bring him a cup of tea just as he was thinking to himself that a cup of tea would be nice right about now! He was suggesting ESP was involved somehow, but knowing of Occam’s razor, I offered a much more plausible alternative: that after having been married to each other for decades, she had constructed a pretty good mental model of him in her head and knew what he liked and when he liked it. No Ethernet link between their brains was required; her model of him was accurate enough so that nine times out of ten, when she brought him a cup of tea, he actually wanted it.

And that’s usually the case. Any time you think there’s something extraordinary going on, it’s far more likely that there’s something ordinary going on. Some individuals have amazing ability to extract subtle-but-useful information from the usual streams of data coming into their brain – vision, hearing, taste, smell, touch – but I’m not aware of any repeatable clinical tests in which these ordinary data streams were verifiably interrupted and someone was still able to collect information from a truly extrasensory input.

To my knowledge, the 52-year-old One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge has still not been won.

Jackmannii 04-26-2016 08:54 AM

"The 150-year history of research on extrasensory perception (ESP) has been plagued by what might be termed a consistent inconsistency. As University of Oregon psychologist Ray Hyman points out, this body of literature has followed an all-too-familiar pattern. Seemingly promising and potentially exciting effects using a novel experimental paradigm are reported, only to fizzle out upon closer scrutiny. Each round of replication failures engenders a brief period of disillusionment and disenchantment, which sets the stage for concerted attempts to find a new and improved paradigm."

http://www.csicop.org/si/show/new_an...f_esp_findings

Chronos 04-26-2016 09:02 AM

The sad thing is, humans really are capable of some very interesting things, which all too often get overlooked behind the murky cloud of paranormal BS. For instance, some people are very good at reading facial expressions, posture, microgestures, and the like, which leads them to be very good at interpreting others' moods and thought processes. This is all perfectly natural, and won't win you the Randi prize or anything... but it can look an awful lot like telepathy, which makes it impossible to study.

Machine Elf 04-26-2016 09:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chronos (Post 19285524)
The sad thing is, humans really are capable of some very interesting things, which all too often get overlooked behind the murky cloud of paranormal BS. For instance, some people are very good at reading facial expressions, posture, microgestures, and the like, which leads them to be very good at interpreting others' moods and thought processes. This is all perfectly natural, and won't win you the Randi prize or anything... but it can look an awful lot like telepathy, which makes it impossible to study.

If someone thinks it might be telepathy, then why would it be so hard to study? If you block off all the senses, then the only remaining source of data transmission is extrasensory. If someone with a demonstrated ability to read the emotional state of another person can still reliably read the emotional state of another person under such conditions, then wow, we've really got something. If they can't, well then it seems clear that their perception was sensory, not extrasensory.

Isilder 04-26-2016 09:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Machine Elf (Post 19285423)
This.

A friend once remarked how, on many evenings, his wife would bring him a cup of tea just as he was thinking to himself that a cup of tea would be nice right about now! .

But that may also be Self Fulfilling prophecy.
See, he may not have actually wanted a cup of tea, but the since his wife has actually providing it , ala Pavlov and all, then he changes his mind that to wanting it.
Its hard to note down these things, so "selective memory" also comes into the anecdote.


If the government , eg Treasurer , says "I think there will be the start of a depression tommow, there will be a big crash!", it may well happen, just for no other reason than it was prophesised..

Machine Elf 04-26-2016 09:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Isilder (Post 19285563)
But that may also be Self Fulfilling prophecy.
See, he may not have actually wanted a cup of tea, but the since his wife has actually providing it , ala Pavlov and all, then he changes his mind that to wanting it.
Its hard to note down these things, so "selective memory" also comes into the anecdote.


If the government , eg Treasurer , says "I think there will be the start of a depression tommow, there will be a big crash!", it may well happen, just for no other reason than it was prophesised..

In the former case, a rigorous study would require documenting his mental state before the tea was presented so there can be no reporting bias after the fact.

In the latter case, the Treasurer could privately document his prediction without making it public until after the prediction has been shown to be true/false, this preventing it (the prediction itself) from influencing the outcome.

In either case, yes, there are plenty of reasonable explanations for what's happening; no need to resort to claims of ESP.

Chronos 04-26-2016 10:08 AM

Quote:

Quoth Machine Elf:

If someone thinks it might be telepathy, then why would it be so hard to study? If you block off all the senses, then the only remaining source of data transmission is extrasensory. If someone with a demonstrated ability to read the emotional state of another person can still reliably read the emotional state of another person under such conditions, then wow, we've really got something. If they can't, well then it seems clear that their perception was sensory, not extrasensory.
Thus illustrating my point exactly. If the ability disappears when the person is blindfolded and earplugged, but works when they have all their senses, then wow, we've still really got something. That kind of ability is really cool and interesting and absolutely worthy of more study. But when you set the stage with "this might be telepathy", then once people inevitably discover it's not telepathy, they lose interest.

CookingWithGas 04-26-2016 10:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jim B. (Post 19285239)
Please don't ask me to provide support and evidence

And that is really the crux of it. There is no credible scientific evidence that any form of ESP exists. Following up on Machine Elf's cite, read some of James Randi's material. He has virtually made a career of debunking paranormal claims. Michael Shermer writes the Skeptic column for Scientific American and also touches on ESP although he covers a broad range of pseudo science and non-science bullshit.

watchwolf49 04-26-2016 11:08 AM

I knew you'd say that ... and I didn't have to use any of my five senses to perceive that you would. I understand it was completely obvious, but what's conformational bias without throwing some chicken bones?

John Mace 04-26-2016 11:21 AM

I'm surprised that the OP didn't include this in his question, so allow me...

Was there more, shall we say, open mindedness about ESP in the 60s among actual scientists or was it just the hippy-dippy atmosphere of the time? Age of Aquarius, etc. I was a kid in the 60s, but it did seem like at least there were more experiments going on, and perhaps that was the era of debunking...?

Exapno Mapcase 04-26-2016 11:39 AM

Good quick history of ESP.

For those that don't want to click, here's my two cents. The British Society for Psychical Research pioneered "serious" study in the 19th century. They wanted to be fooled, in reality, and hiring a failed magician as investigator didn't help. J. B. Rhine at Duke did highly publicized work in the 1920s and 1930s. His testing conditions were ridiculously sloppy and were exposed in the 1940s. Just about that time the f&sf community picked up on it as the study of "psionics" and it appears with numbing frequency even in "hard science" stories for two decades, with John W. Campbell, the editor of Astounding, driving off most of his writers by the end of the 50s by his insistence on every story revolving around it.

It's hard to say whether that had an influence on the revival in the 1960s. The advent of psychotropic drugs certainly did and the CIA notably did testing on the subject. Lots of experimenters went after phenomena in different ways. Nothing stuck, because the problem was the same as it was a century earlier: bad test design, the bias of testers toward finding positive results, the easiness with which they were fooled, the difficulty of repeatable and reliable results, and the total lack of a scientific model for transmission.

It's complete and total bullshit. If you find someone who disagrees, ask them for an answer couched in physics, chemistry, or biology.

TimeWinder 04-26-2016 11:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by John Mace (Post 19285799)
Was there more, shall we say, open mindedness about ESP in the 60s among actual scientists or was it just the hippy-dippy atmosphere of the time? Age of Aquarius, etc. I was a kid in the 60s, but it did seem like at least there were more experiments going on, and perhaps that was the era of debunking...?

An awful lot of both medical and physical science progressed rapidly after World War 2. We were discovering new stuff all the time, and the idea of doing real studies of things -- particularly in psychology -- was catching on. If any of these extrasensory things had actually panned out, the discoverer would have been famous for finding whatever the underlying new mechanism turned out to be. A lot of folks believed there was "something there," and going to look for it furthered the ideals of science. And it was successful, in a very real sense -- all of those studies and investigations gave us much of the large body of evidence we have today that these telepathic channels aren't real. A valid, evidence-supported conclusion, even if it's not the one folks wanted to find.

Lemur866 04-26-2016 12:26 PM

I agree, that at least in the 40s and 50s there was a feeling that we were finally getting a handle on all sorts of scientific problems that had been unanswered since the dawn of history. What is a human mind really about? For centuries people have been telling stories about people with unexplainable abilities, how about we really get in there and figure it out?

And so early science fiction is littered with psychic powers, treated seriously as just another sort of super science, like atomic energy and robots and rockets.

And when you look at the social and technological changes that had taken place between, say, 1900 and 1950, it's not surprising that people expected further radical transformations. Like psychology becoming a hard science with equations and stuff.

elbows 04-26-2016 12:37 PM

While I agree, ESP as we currently image it to manifest, has been well debunked. I don't find it too hard to imagine that there are, or might yet prove to be, 'extra senses' we have simply yet to uncover.

If dogs can predict seizures and detect cancer, I don't see it as impossible that we too have some subtle senses at work that we aren't currently aware of. Remain to be detected.

(Not ESP as you were thinking perhaps, yet still 'extra' sensory!)

joema 04-26-2016 12:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TimeWinder (Post 19285868)
...If any of these extrasensory things had actually panned out, the discoverer would have been famous for finding whatever the underlying new mechanism turned out to be...

Exactly. They would be rich, famous, etc. The motivational factors driving discovery and use of any legitimate phenomena are immense. Yet nothing valid could ever be reproduced.

There would also be huge intelligence and military applications -- it would not be limited to parlor tricks. The U.S. alone spends $80 billion per year on intelligence: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United...ligence_budget

It would be pretty handy if they could use a technique like "remote viewing", unlike a reconnaissance satellite which cost up to $4 billion each, yet can't even see inside a building.

The CIA and apparently the Soviet Union both investigated this, and it did not work:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stargate_Project

Machine Elf 04-26-2016 12:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chronos (Post 19285639)
Thus illustrating my point exactly. If the ability disappears when the person is blindfolded and earplugged, but works when they have all their senses, then wow, we've still really got something. That kind of ability is really cool and interesting and absolutely worthy of more study. But when you set the stage with "this might be telepathy", then once people inevitably discover it's not telepathy, they lose interest.

"They lose interest" (AKA "they withdrew funding") is not the same as "impossible to study."

Chronos 04-26-2016 01:00 PM

Another problem with those studies, which is very difficult to solve: Suppose that a major university, or the Department of Defense, or whoever is studying ESP. Eventually, they find that it doesn't work. But meanwhile, what's the headline? "Harvard researchers studying ESP". A lot of people are going to look at a headline like that and conclude that there must be something to it, or else why would they be studying it?

Lemur866 04-26-2016 01:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by elbows (Post 19286053)
While I agree, ESP as we currently image it to manifest, has been well debunked. I don't find it too hard to imagine that there are, or might yet prove to be, 'extra senses' we have simply yet to uncover.

If dogs can predict seizures and detect cancer, I don't see it as impossible that we too have some subtle senses at work that we aren't currently aware of. Remain to be detected.

(Not ESP as you were thinking perhaps, yet still 'extra' sensory!)

We have lots of such "hidden" senses that aren't strictly vision, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. So for example the semicircular canals that control balance are sense organs, but they aren't part of any of the above senses. Or the carbon dioxide sensors that create the feeling of really needing to breathe. And "touch" is really a laundry list of different sensors that are only loosely related, such as warmth, cold, pressure, pain, touch, proprioception, and so on.

Pantastic 04-26-2016 01:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by John Mace (Post 19285799)
Was there more, shall we say, open mindedness about ESP in the 60s among actual scientists or was it just the hippy-dippy atmosphere of the time? Age of Aquarius, etc. I was a kid in the 60s, but it did seem like at least there were more experiments going on, and perhaps that was the era of debunking...?

Mental powers (I'm going to use ESP for shorthand) have been a major part of science fiction since at least the 1930s. For example the Lensman series has heroes who alternate between creating high-tech rockets, blasters, and explosives and developing their mind for telepathy, telekinesis, and other mental abilities, and it's not abnormal in that respect. There was a feeling like 'the science of the mind' was something we were about to tap into in a big way, just like nuclear power or warp travel, and there wasn't the accumulated evidence against ESP.

As time went on and ESP moved further away from being real science, ESP was just sort of grandfathered in as having always been part of science fiction, sort of like FTL drives (but not as needed). It kept on through the 60s and 70s with Star Trek, but it's not like it stopped; TNG and other ST spinoffs, Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica, Farscape, and other relatively hard SF shows from the 90s to today kept it. I don't think it can really be called a 60s "Age of Aquarius" thing because it started back in the pulp magazine days and continued up until today.

Lemur866 04-26-2016 01:47 PM

Yes, it was grandfathered in along with robots who cry because they don't have emotions, sexy green-skinned alien space babes, and space ships that exactly replicate the sailing ships of the Napoleonic age. It's such a part of the background of science fiction that it doesn't raise eyebrows.

Chronos 04-26-2016 01:48 PM

I'll grant you the others, but Battlestar Galactica didn't really have psionics. It had just plain magic.

Oh, and don't forget Firefly.

Moriarty 04-26-2016 02:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lemur866 (Post 19286123)
We have lots of such "hidden" senses that aren't strictly vision, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. So for example the semicircular canals that control balance are sense organs, but they aren't part of any of the above senses. Or the carbon dioxide sensors that create the feeling of really needing to breathe. And "touch" is really a laundry list of different sensors that are only loosely related, such as warmth, cold, pressure, pain, touch, proprioception, and so on.

Agreed. It's a myth that there are only 5 senses. We have many more, and there is plenty of room for study of how those senses work with having to resort to "extra sensory" hypotheses.

Thudlow Boink 04-26-2016 02:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lemur866 (Post 19286257)
It's such a part of the background of science fiction that it doesn't raise eyebrows.

How much of that is due to the influence of John W. Campbell?

Czarcasm 04-26-2016 02:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink (Post 19286338)
How much of that is due to the influence of John W. Campbell?

See post #15.

JcWoman 04-26-2016 02:57 PM

Things that make your brain short out (metaphorically)
 
[deleted] sorry mis-post

Stranger On A Train 04-26-2016 03:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chronos (Post 19286259)
Oh, and don't forget Firefly.

Wash: [about River] Psychic, though? That sounds like something out of science-fiction.
Zoë: We live in a spaceship, dear.
Wash: So?
Psionics are a trope of science fiction to be sure, but so are many other implausible things such as interspecies breeding, teleportation, vehicles which can change direction instantaneously, artificially produced gravity that continues to work even when the ship's power and life systems are failiing, et cetera. In reality, if extrasensory perception, telekinesis, precognition, or purported psionic powers worked on some fundamental physical and heritable biological principles they would provide such an evolutionary and reproductive advantage we'd expect everyone to have them. Statistically, not a single properly conducted blind study has demonstrated psionic powers to any credible degree of confidence, and those that claim some minor degree of statistical significance (usually at the bse 50% confidence level) have almost always been later shown to have gross methodological errors. James Randi's Project Alpha (Wikipedia actually has a [URL=https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Alpha]good summary[URL]) thoroughly exposed methodolgoical errors in the study even by scientists who were attempting to follow objective protocols leading to false positives from obvious trickery.

There is physically no mechanism for almost all forms of so-called extrasensory perception to actually work, and no way at all for telekinesis, pyrokinesis, et cetera to be applied. Until someone can unambiguously demonstrate a clear capability to read minds or float bowling balls by the effort of will, I think the default assumption has to be that ESP and psionic powers are in the same category as cantrips and unicorns.

Stranger

John Mace 04-26-2016 03:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by elbows (Post 19286053)
While I agree, ESP as we currently image it to manifest, has been well debunked. I don't find it too hard to imagine that there are, or might yet prove to be, 'extra senses' we have simply yet to uncover.

If dogs can predict seizures and detect cancer, I don't see it as impossible that we too have some subtle senses at work that we aren't currently aware of. Remain to be detected.

Except they use their ordinary sense to do those things, not some unknown 6th sense.

Quercus 04-26-2016 03:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chronos (Post 19286121)
Another problem with those studies, which is very difficult to solve: Suppose that a major university, or the Department of Defense, or whoever is studying ESP. Eventually, they find that it doesn't work. But meanwhile, what's the headline? "Harvard researchers studying ESP". A lot of people are going to look at a headline like that and conclude that there must be something to it, or else why would they be studying it?

Well, another common issue is that, in the 60s-70s, but occasionally more recently, there were a lot of scientists who understood from physics/etc how to set up a study that was statistically valid, but did not have an appreciation for how complex human beings are compared to, say, electrons. Electrons don't come up with surprisingly creative ways to cheat on tests, or (possibly unconsciously) pick up on subtle cues from people administering tests. Plus there's always the 1 in 20 studies that finds a illusionary but statistically valid association just by chance. So there were a few bunches of studies that really did show statistically! valid! evidence! for ESP.
The researchers with more intellectual honesty and fortitude to question themselves would then eventually put things in place to eliminate various ways of potential cheating, and their subsequent studies showed no evidence. But the first, flawed, ones were the ones that true believers trumpeted

Why people want to believe in ESP is another matter, and maybe the question that really explains the hype.

Crazyhorse 04-26-2016 03:54 PM

A guy named Dean Radin is one of the legitimate and well credentialed scientists who hasn't given up on the idea. Anyone interested in the subject can find list of peer-reviewed studies he maintans on his website.

Quote:

Wikipedia describes parapsychology as a “pseudoscience,” meaning it might superficially resemble science, but it isn’t really about science. Wikipedia is wrong about many things, including this topic.

In fact, the Parapsychological Association -- the international professional organization for scientists and scholars interested in psi phenomena – is an elected affiliate of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the largest scientific organization in the world. Among the criteria that the AAAS Council uses to decide if an organization is suitable for consideration as an affiliate is that the organization’s aims must be “clearly directed toward, or consistent with, the objectives of the AAAS.” Those objectives includes the promotion of science, not pseudoscience.

Other commonly repeated critiques about psi research, such as “these phenomena are impossible,” “there’s no valid scientific evidence,” or “the results are all due to fraud,” have been soundly rejected for many decades. Informed debates today are based on discussions of theoretical models, the empirical evidence, and interpretation of that evidence.

Czarcasm 04-26-2016 03:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crazyhorse (Post 19286588)
A guy named Dean Radin is one of the legitimate and well credentialed scientists who hasn't given up on the idea. Anyone interested in the subject can find list of peer-reviewed studies he maintans on his website.

That's nice.
What's the best evidence he's found?

Machine Elf 04-26-2016 04:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Quercus (Post 19286512)
Plus there's always the 1 in 20 studies that finds a illusionary but statistically valid association just by chance. So there were a few bunches of studies that really did show statistically! valid! evidence! for ESP.

Obligatory XKCD cartoon.

Crazyhorse 04-26-2016 04:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Czarcasm (Post 19286598)
That's nice.
What's the best evidence he's found?

I don't know. Why don't you read the studies and find out?

I'm not taking a position supporting or denying what he has to say, just offering the information in the interest of fighting ignorance to anyone who is actually interested in the subject and would like to know what a legitimate scientist is doing in the area instead of relying on woo doctors on one side, and nay-saying amateurs on the other.

Czarcasm 04-26-2016 04:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crazyhorse (Post 19286655)
I don't know. Why don't you read the studies and find out?

I'm not taking a position supporting or denying what he has to say, just offering the information in the interest of fighting ignorance to anyone who is actually interested in the subject and would like to know what a legitimate scientist is doing in the area instead of relying on woo doctors on one side, and nay-saying amateurs on the other.

No, I am NOT going to "read all the studies and find out", since you are the one that brought them up in the first place as some sort of counter-example of this being anything but woo. Dean Radin could have a pile of promising studies a mile wide and ten miles high, but they aren't worth a bucket of slug spit if not a one of them fulfill on those promises.

Crazyhorse 04-26-2016 04:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Czarcasm (Post 19286681)
No, I am NOT going to "read all the studies and find out", since you are the one that brought them up in the first place as some sort of counter-example of this being anything but woo. Dean Radin could have a pile of promising studies a mile wide and ten miles high, but they aren't worth a bucket of slug spit if not a one of them fulfill on those promises.

Well I explained why I provided the information in this thread. With your permission I will go ahead and leave it here for anyone who is actually interested in the subject, and they can consider your input for what is worth as well.

Czarcasm 04-26-2016 04:34 PM

Too late to edit: If you are talking about this Dean Radin, I wouldn't trust his ability to gather information about the subject, let alone pass judgment on it.

Czarcasm 04-26-2016 04:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crazyhorse (Post 19286703)
Well I explained why I provided the information in this thread. With your permission I will go ahead and leave it here for anyone who is actually interested in the subject, and they can consider your input for what is worth as well.

We already know that there are an uncountable number of studies out there. The question is: Are there any in the ones that you just added to the pile that point to positive, verifiable evidence for the existence of ESP?

kayaker 04-26-2016 04:40 PM

Dean Radin would fit right in on coast to coast radio' I'm afraid.

Exapno Mapcase 04-26-2016 04:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crazyhorse (Post 19286655)
I don't know. Why don't you read the studies and find out?

I'm not taking a position supporting or denying what he has to say, just offering the information in the interest of fighting ignorance to anyone who is actually interested in the subject and would like to know what a legitimate scientist is doing in the area instead of relying on woo doctors on one side, and nay-saying amateurs on the other.

OK, I went there and read a bunch of meta-studies and looked at their conclusions. Every one I read noted that some studies reported positive results, but that when all the confounding possibilities are accounted for they can no longer make any definite claims that ESP exists. The negatives included missing data sets, lack of control groups, lack of a plausible mechanism, non-replicability, and selective examples.

IOW, when actual scientists look at the studies they find exactly the same thing we've said here. That's because we're not pulling negativity out of our asses, we're reporting on negative results and bad science.

A real, positive, double-blind investigated, replicable power would be an incredible scientific find. Real scientists of every discipline would jump on it to get answers and seek new and interesting questions. That has never happened - despite a large number of scientists who have been investigating the subject and publishing their research. I find that conclusive.

Crazyhorse 04-26-2016 04:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kayaker (Post 19286728)
Dean Radin would fit right in on coast to coast radio' I'm afraid.

I knew you were going to say that, even before you did!

I'm not saying anyone should believe in ESP. I'm saying there is a body of scientific research in the subject that isn't limited only to crackpots. You say Radin is a crackpot so you're entitled to that belief. But he is at least a practicing scientist, with two PhD's who has worked as chief scientist in mainstream, highly competitive "real" scientific work before embarking on his interest in the study of paranormal psychology. He is credible enough to be worth a read to anyone who is interested in the subject. That isn't saying he holds proof of anything, just that he seems to be genuinely interested in exploring the subject using proper scientific method.

Crazyhorse 04-26-2016 04:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase (Post 19286743)
OK, I went there and read a bunch of meta-studies and looked at their conclusions. Every one I read noted that some studies reported positive results, but that when all the confounding possibilities are accounted for they can no longer make any definite claims that ESP exists. The negatives included missing data sets, lack of control groups, lack of a plausible mechanism, non-replicability, and selective examples.

IOW, when actual scientists look at the studies they find exactly the same thing we've said here. That's because we're not pulling negativity out of our asses, we're reporting on negative results and bad science.

A real, positive, double-blind investigated, replicable power would be an incredible scientific find. Real scientists of every discipline would jump on it to get answers and seek new and interesting questions. That has never happened - despite a large number of scientists who have been investigating the subject and publishing their research. I find that conclusive.

If the takeaway from reviewing the studies is that there is no evidence for ESP then my purpose for posting them it is not without value in either case.

Czarcasm 04-26-2016 04:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crazyhorse (Post 19286751)
I knew you were going to say that, even before you did!

I'm not saying anyone should believe in ESP. I'm saying there is a body of scientific research in the subject that isn't limited only to crackpots. You say Radin is a crackpot so you're entitled to that belief. But he is at least a practicing scientist, with two PhD's who has worked as chief scientist in mainstream, highly competitive "real" scientific work before embarking on his interest in the study of paranormal psychology. He is credible enough to be worth a read to anyone who is interested in the subject. That isn't saying he holds proof of anything, just that he seems to be genuinely interested in exploring the subject using proper scientific method.

Not only does he not have proof, he doesn't even have evidence. He is credible to you because you either believe, or you want to believe, but his degrees in two other totally unrelated fields don't mean squat if he can't come up with the evidence.

Czarcasm 04-26-2016 04:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crazyhorse (Post 19286762)
If the takeaway from reviewing the studies is that there is no evidence for ESP then my purpose for posting them it is not without value in either case.

The takeaway from reviewing the studies is that they told us nothing new.

kayaker 04-26-2016 04:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crazyhorse (Post 19286751)
I knew you were going to say that, even before you did!

I'm not saying anyone should believe in ESP. I'm saying there is a body of scientific research in the subject that isn't limited only to crackpots. You say Radin is a crackpot so you're entitled to that belief. But he is at least a practicing scientist, with two PhD's who has worked as chief scientist in mainstream, highly competitive "real" scientific work before embarking on his interest in the study of paranormal psychology. He is credible enough to be worth a read to anyone who is interested in the subject. That isn't saying he holds proof of anything, just that he seems to be genuinely interested in exploring the subject using proper scientific method.

He's apparently an intelligent dude, but his PhDs are unrelated to the research (I left out the scare quotes) he has done. The only critiques of his work by mainstream scientists show him to be a crackpot, actually, albeit a crackpot with some publications under his belt.

Doubticus 04-26-2016 05:15 PM

I’ve had several experiences in my past that I would describe as precognition. My pet theory is the ability is based on the subconscious noticing seemly random events and deducing an outcome independently and presenting it “whole” to the conscious mind.

DocCathode 04-26-2016 06:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Stranger On A Train (Post 19286470)
I think the default assumption has to be that ESP and psionic powers are in the same category as cantrips and unicorns.

Stranger

No, unicorns are in the Monster Manual. Cantrips are in the Players Handbook. Psionics are in the Complete Psionicists Handbook- and a bunch of Dark Sun stuff.*


* This is going by 2nd ed AD&D, the edition which most closely approached perfection.



Crazyhorse There is no reliable scientific evidence of psychic powers. I would love it LOVE IT if there were. I'm sure I'm not alone in that feeling. But there is no evidence of such a thing.

Crazyhorse 04-26-2016 06:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kayaker (Post 19286801)
He's apparently an intelligent dude, but his PhDs are unrelated to the research (I left out the scare quotes) he has done. The only critiques of his work by mainstream scientists show him to be a crackpot, actually, albeit a crackpot with some publications under his belt.

I'm not sure any field besides Psychology would be better for a PhD if interested in paranormal psychology.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Czarcasm (Post 19286780)
Not only does he not have proof, he doesn't even have evidence. He is credible to you because you either believe, or you want to believe, but his degrees in two other totally unrelated fields don't mean squat if he can't come up with the evidence.

My belief? Why would it matter in GQ? That is kind of my point. Someone came here asking for the straight dope on ESP and that discussion would not be complete without a look at Radin's work and his meta-analysis of the work of others. If nothing else he has weeded out the complete crackpots from the mix and what remains is at least real science. It may well lead to the conclusion that no evidence exists and if so, I'd say that was a more valuable contribution to the thread than your or my opinion.

My own belief, sure I would love it if we could move objects with our minds, read other's thoughts, etc. that would be really cool. I have never seen any evidence of it either.


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