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‘Remote viewers’ in Nevada help solve California murder

The Pair of Cats

a.k.a Philip Deane
I think it is time for this again:


Top 10 Skeptic Tricks
Here's a list of the 10 most favored tactics used by skeptics to keep the world logical, safe and reassuring.

1.) RAISING THE BAR (Or IMPOSSIBLE PERFECTION): This trick
consists of demanding a new, higher and more difficult standard
of evidence whenever it looks as if a skeptic's opponent is going
to satisfy an old one. Often the skeptic doesn't make it clear
exactly what the standards are in the first place. This can be
especially effective if the skeptic can keep his opponent from
noticing that he is continually changing his standard of
evidence. That way, his opponent will eventually give up in
exasperation or disgust. Perhaps best of all, if his opponent
complains, the skeptic can tag him as a whiner or a sore loser.

Skeptic: I am willing to consider the psi hypothesis if you will
only show me some sound evidence.

Opponent: There are many thousands of documented reports of
incidents that seem to involve psi.

S: That is only anecdotal evidence. You must give me laboratory
evidence.

0: Researchers A-Z have conducted experiments that produced
results which favour the psi hypothesis.

S: Those experiments are not acceptable because of flaws X,Y and
Z.

0: Researchers B-H and T-W have conducted experiments producing
positive results which did not have flaws X,Y and Z.

S: The positive results are not far enough above chance levels
to be truly interesting.

0: Researchers C-F and U-V produced results well above chance
levels.

S: Their results were achieved through meta-analysis, which is a
highly questionable technique.

O: Meta-analysis is a well-accepted method commonly used in
psychology and sociology.

S: Psychology and sociology are social sciences, and their
methods can't be considered as reliable as those of hard sciences
such as physics and chemistry.

Etc., etc. ad nauseum.

2.) SOCK 'EM WITH OCCAM: Skeptics frequently invoke Occam's
Razor as if the Razor automatically validates their position.
Occam's Razor, a principle of epistemology (knowledge theory),
states that the simplest explanation which fits all the facts is
to be preferred -- or, to state it another way, entities are not
to be multiplied needlessly. The Razor is a useful and even
necessary principle, but it is largely useless if the facts
themselves are not generally agreed upon in the first place.

3.) EXTRAORDINARY CLAIMS: Extraordinary claims, says the
skeptic, require extraordinary evidence. Superficially this
seems reasonable enough. However, extraordinariness, like
beauty, is very much in the eye of the beholder. Some claims, of
course, would seem extraordinary to almost anyone (e.g. the claim
that aliens from Alpha Centauri had contacted you telepathically
and informed you that the people of Earth must make you their
absolute lord and ruler). The "extraordinariness" of many other
claims, however, is at best arguable, and it is not at all
obvious that unusually strong evidence is necessary to support
them. For example, so many people who would ordinarily be
considered reliable witnesses have reported precognitive dreams
that it becomes difficult to insist these are "unusual" claims
requiring "unusual" evidence. Quite ordinary standards of
evidence will do.

4.) STUPID, CRAZY LIARS: This trick consists of simple slander.
Anyone who reports anything which displeases the skeptic will be
accused of incompetence, mental illness or dishonesty, or some
combination of the three without a single shred of fact to
support the accusations. When Charles Honorton's Ganzfeld
experiments produced impressive results in favour of the psi
hypothesis, skeptics accused him of suppressing or not publishing
the results of failed experiments. No definite facts supporting
the charge ever emerged. Moreover, the experiments were
extremely time consuming, and the number of failed, unpublished
experiments necessary to make the number of successful, published
experiments significant would have been quite high, so it is
extremely unlikely that Honorton's results could be due to
selective reporting. Yet skeptics still sometimes repeat this
accusation.

5.) THE SANTA CLAUS GAMBIT: This trick consists of lumping
moderate claims or propositions together with extreme ones. If
you suggest, for example, that Sasquatch can't be completely
ruled out from the available evidence,the skeptic will then
facetiously suggest that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny can't
be "completely" ruled out either.

6.) SHIFTING THE BURDEN OF EVIDENCE: The skeptic insists that he
doesn't have to provide evidence and arguments to support his
side of the argument because he isn't asserting a claim, he is
merely denying or doubting yours. His mistake consists of
assuming that a negative claim (asserting that something doesn't
exist) is fundamentally different from a positive claim. It
isn't. Any definite claim, positive or negative, requires
definite support. Merely refuting or arguing against an
opponent's position is not enough to establish one's own
position.. In other words, you can't win by default.

As arch-skeptic Carl Sagan himself said, absence of evidence is
not evidence of absence. If someone wants to rule out visitations
by extra-terrestrial aliens, it would not be enough to point out
that all the evidence presented so far is either seriously flawed
or not very strong. It would be necessary to state definite
reasons which would make ET visitations either impossible or
highly unlikely. (He might, for example, point out that our best
understanding of physics pretty much rules out any kind of
effective faster-than-light drive.)

The only person exempt from providing definite support is the
person who takes a strict "I don't know" position or the agnostic
position. If someone takes the position that the evidence in
favour of ET visitations is inadequate but goes no farther, he is
exempt from further argument (provided, of course, he gives
adequate reasons for rejecting the evidence). However, if he
wants to go farther and insist that it is impossible or highly
unlikely that ET's are visiting or have ever visited the Earth,
it becomes necessary for him to provide definite reasons for his
position. He is no longer entitled merely to argue against his
opponent's position.

There is the question of honesty. Someone who claims to take the
agnostic position but really takes the position of definite
disbelief is, of course, misrepresenting his views. For example,
a skeptic who insists that he merely believes the psi hypothesis
is inadequately supported when in fact he believes that the human
mind can only acquire information through the physical senses is
simply not being honest.

7.) YOU CAN'T PROVE A NEGATIVE: The skeptic may insist that he
is relieved of the burden of evidence and argument because "you
can't prove a negative." But you most certainly can prove a
negative! When we know one thing to be true, then we also know
that whatever flatly contradicts it is untrue. If I want to show
my cat's not in the bedroom, I can prove this by showing that my
cat's in the kitchen or outside chasing squirrels. The negative
has then been proven. Or the proposition that the cat is not in
the bedroom could be proven by giving the bedroom a good search
without finding the cat. The skeptic who says, "Of course I
can't prove psi doesn't exist. I don't have to. You can't prove
a negative," is simply wrong. To rule something out, definite
reasons must be given for ruling it out.

Of course, for practical reasons it often isn't possible to
gather the necessary information to prove or disprove a
proposition, e.g., it isn't possible to search the entire
universe to prove that no intelligent extraterrestrial life
exists. This by itself doesn't mean that a case can't be made
against the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence, although
it does probably mean that the case can't be as air-tight and
conclusive as we would like.

8.) THE BIG LIE: The skeptic knows that most people will not
have the time or inclination to check every claim he makes, so he
knows it's a fairly small risk to tell a whopper. He might, for
example, insist that none of the laboratory evidence for psi
stands up to close scrutiny, or he might insist there have been
no cases of UFO's being spotted by reliable observers such as
trained military personnel when in fact there are well-documented
cases. The average person isn't going to scamper right down to
the library to verify this, so the skeptic knows a lot of people
are going to accept his statement at face value. This ploy works
best when the Big Lie is repeated often and loudly in a confident
tone.

9.) DOUBT CASTING: This trick consists of dwelling on minor or
trivial flaws in the evidence, or presenting speculations as to
how the evidence might be flawed as though mere speculation is
somehow as damning as actual facts. The assumption here is that
any flaw, trivial or even merely speculative, is necessarily
fatal and provides sufficient grounds for throwing out the
evidence. The skeptic often justifies this with the
"extraordinary evidence" ploy.

In the real world, of course, the evidence for anything is seldom
100% flawless and foolproof. It is almost always possible to
find some small shortcoming which can be used as an excuse for
tossing out the evidence. If a definite problem can't be found,
then the skeptic may simply speculate as to how the evidence
*might* be flawed and use his speculations as an excuse to
discard the information. For example, the skeptic might point
out that the safeguards or controls during one part of a psi
experiment weren't quite as tight as they might have been and
then insist, without any supporting facts, that the subject(s)
and/or the researcher(s) probably cheated because this is the
"simplest" explanation for the results (see "Sock 'em with Occam"
and "Extraordinary Claims"; "Raising the Bar" is also relevant).

10.) THE SNEER: This gimmick is an inversion of "Stupid, Crazy
Liars." In "Stupid, Crazy Liars," the skeptic attacks the
character of those advocating certain ideas or presenting
information in the hope of discrediting the information. In "THE
SNEER," the skeptic attempts to attach a stigma to some idea or
claim and implies that anyone advocating that position must have
something terribly wrong with him. "Anyone who believes we've
been visited by extraterrestrial aliens must be a lunatic, a fool,
or a con man. If you believe this, you must a maniac, a simpleton
or a fraud." The object here is to scare others away from a
certain position without having to discuss facts.
 

tyder001

Paranormal Adept
Most of the time when it comes to the paranormal around here I pretty much have my say and then hush. I'll make a case and then somebody will make a snarky offended remark :eek: or post a silly video with a serial debunker or propaganda. It's just not worth the aggravation and anyway, if your minds made up, who am I to try and change it? But, sometime I just have to call some of the so called "logical, rational" B.S. I'm very willing to admit that I don't have "proof" in a test tube way of anything. What I'm not willing to do is act as if there is no evidence or as if it has been proven that mankind is nothing more than the byproduct (afterbirth?) :eek: of an organic material. That's just not true. Now we have people being petted by others who think we will someday be cyborgs. Oh, don't get me wrong. Most don't believe it (although truth doesn't take a poll) But, since they are on the same "team" they are handled with kid gloves. Guess what? There is much more evidence over the years (please google or better yet go to the local library.) for psi than for Mr. Data! But, I digress. Carry on with yo bad selves. It's an endless loop.
 

The Pair of Cats

a.k.a Philip Deane
I'm very willing to admit that I don't have "proof" in a test tube way of anything.
You know Steve I think that is quite true. The paranormal isn't some thing that can necessarily be proven by science or the scientists. It seems to be something extremely personal. Things happen to people on a personal level and it is very hard to describe those things. Maybe our language hasn't developed sufficiently to be able to do so. Maybe psychic phenomena is a function of our consciousness and lies outside and a bit to the right of rational, logical processes.
 

Angel of Ioren

Friendly Skeptic
You know Steve I think that is quite true. The paranormal isn't some thing that can necessarily be proven by science or the scientists. It seems to be something extremely personal. Things happen to people on a personal level and it is very hard to describe those things. Maybe our language hasn't developed sufficiently to be able to do so. Maybe psychic phenomena is a function of our consciousness and lies outside and a bit to the right of rational, logical processes.
I thought you said psychics weren't paranormal - you harped on that for sever posts in this thread. So they are paranormal then?
 

The Pair of Cats

a.k.a Philip Deane
Just like when you said "All psychics are BS" eh Angelo!!!!
Well of course I meant "The Paranormal-except for psychics, who do not use the paranormal". I am sure that YOU and everyone else here knew what i meant. Sorry but I just thought i'd use YOUR method of weazelling my way out of explanations.
Actually if you read my quote you posted, i never said that psychics are paranormal. that seems to be conjured up by your imagination. Read it again.

Are psychics paranormal"? If you take the meaning of the word:
Definition of PARANORMAL
: not scientifically explainable : supernatural

Then yes, i guess that psychics are not scientifically explainable. Or by debunkers like you. So when you say "Psychics who claim Paranormal power are BS" then you are saying, essentially, that psychics use methods that cannot be scientifically explained are BS, right?. Just like science cannot really explain consciousness, right? Is consciousness also BS?
Sounds like a pretty flimsy and awkward argument to me.
Definition of PSYCHIC
1: of or relating to the psyche : psychogenic
2: lying outside the sphere of physical science or knowledge : immaterial, moral, or spiritual in origin or force
3: sensitive to nonphysical or supernatural forces and influences : marked by extraordinary or mysterious sensitivity, perception, or understanding
Origin of PSYCHIC
Greek psychikos of the soul, from psychē soul
First Known Use: 1642

As you can see from the first definition provided by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, (and a big thanks to you, Angelo for posting these definitions initially), Psychic means "of or relating to the soul". Confirmed if you also look at the origin of the word. The origin of the word Psychic comes from the word "Psyche" which means-"of the soul":
Now this is where I take my meanings of the word Psychic. And as i have tried, exhaustingly, to explain that in my view (and according to the definitions and origins of the word)
being psychic is natural and inherently Human or "of the soul".
You will not even acknowledge this fact Angelo. You continue to act as if those definitions aren't even there. Yet YOU was the one who posted it!
Whether or not you consider Psychics to BS or not is up to you the observer. Including you Angelo. Some of the TV psychics and Stage psychics may be complete BS and deserve to be treated as charlatans. That doesn't mean ALL are. How could you know?
Science cannot explain psychic phenomena. It doesn't have the tools to do so. Even so there are some brave scientists out there who do attempt to. Whilst it cannot confirm, science cannot deny either. It doesn't have all the data. That is best left to deniers like you, Angelo. Raising the bar, steadily, as evidence is introduced into the argument until the standard of evidence required by you and the pseudosceptic rabble reaches an impossible and unobtainable level.
 

trainedobserver

Paranormally Disenchanted
Here is how I look at these things. The whole skeptic/debunker/true believer argument aside.

I can say things like, "I know of no psychic that has convinced me that they have any paranormal or extraordinary extra-sensory perception." Are there real people out there with real psychic abilities? All I can reasonably say is I have seen nothing to convince me that these psychic abilities are what they think or claim that they are.

It's the same with anything like that. "I know of no complex crop circle that does not bear evidence of being man-made." Are there non-man made complex crop circles out there somewhere? All I can reasonably say is I have not seen one.

Are there people with real psychic abilities out there? I'm always hoping to see the real evidence that these things exist in something other than an uncontrolled and unreproducible moment or a staged presentation intended to deceive. I will not say that there simply is no such thing, I will just say I have not been convinced of it.

I can safely say that every psychic I have ever seen or heard of were up to their ears in bullshit. There are many tremendous stage magicians and mentalists who perform astounding feats that I have the greatest respect for, but they are not claiming to be something they are not.
 

trainedobserver

Paranormally Disenchanted
Well said TO - You pretty much described exactly how I feel about this. You must be psychic.
No. YOU are the psychic one using your telepathic powers to jam my brain waves. I was going to write about how I believe anything anyone tells me if its vague and indefinable enough.
 

S.R.L.

Paranormal Adept
Here is how I look at these things. The whole skeptic/debunker/true believer argument aside.

I can say things like, "I know of no psychic that has convinced me that they have any paranormal or extraordinary extra-sensory perception." Are there real people out there with real psychic abilities? All I can reasonably say is I have seen nothing to convince me that these psychic abilities are what they think or claim that they are.

It's the same with anything like that. "I know of no complex crop circle that does not bear evidence of being man-made." Are there non-man made complex crop circles out there somewhere? All I can reasonably say is I have not seen one.

Are there people with real psychic abilities out there? I'm always hoping to see the real evidence that these things exist in something other than an uncontrolled and unreproducible moment or a staged presentation intended to deceive. I will not say that there simply is no such thing, I will just say I have not been convinced of it.

I can safely say that every psychic I have ever seen or heard of were up to their ears in bullshit. There are many tremendous stage magicians and mentalists who perform astounding feats that I have the greatest respect for, but they are not claiming to be something they are not.
You got to get out and take a look around.

Skeptiko – Science at the Tipping Point » Blog Archive » 170. Dr. Daryl Bem Responds to Parapsychology Debunkers
 

The Pair of Cats

a.k.a Philip Deane
Here is how I look at these things. The whole skeptic/debunker/true believer argument aside.

I can say things like, "I know of no psychic that has convinced me that they have any paranormal or extraordinary extra-sensory perception." Are there real people out there with real psychic abilities? All I can reasonably say is I have seen nothing to convince me that these psychic abilities are what they think or claim that they are.

It's the same with anything like that. "I know of no complex crop circle that does not bear evidence of being man-made." Are there non-man made complex crop circles out there somewhere? All I can reasonably say is I have not seen one.

Are there people with real psychic abilities out there? I'm always hoping to see the real evidence that these things exist in something other than an uncontrolled and unreproducible moment or a staged presentation intended to deceive. I will not say that there simply is no such thing, I will just say I have not been convinced of it.

I can safely say that every psychic I have ever seen or heard of were up to their ears in bullshit. There are many tremendous stage magicians and mentalists who perform astounding feats that I have the greatest respect for, but they are not claiming to be something they are not.
You may not know any or have been convinced by any but there are people who do and have been convinced. It's no big deal. Besides, everyone has psychic abilities. You use them every time you read someone.
 

Angel of Ioren

Friendly Skeptic
Bem's experiments seemed so interesting, but so far, attempts to replicate his results have been unsuccessful:

PLoS ONE: Failing the Future: Three Unsuccessful Attempts to Replicate Bem's ‘Retroactive Facilitation of Recall’ Effect

Backwards step on looking into the future | Ben Goldacre | Comment is free | The Guardian

Now, before some of you call the anti-debunking police, Bem himself said it would be important for the results to be replicated, as stated in the Guardian article.

Here's another article outlining problems with his study:

http://psychology.okstate.edu/faculty/jgrice/psyc5314/ModalResearchProg_2011.pdf

There is interest in finding out if precognition is possible and actual science is being done. We just need to have concrete results that can be replicated.
 

trainedobserver

Paranormally Disenchanted
You got to get out and take a look around.
To suggest that the burden of proof would be on me to turn over stones looking for a genuine "psychic" or anything else of that sort shows a fundamental misunderstanding in how it works. For example, because someone claims that they have seen a talking monkey and I haven't, doesn't put the burden on me to provide the talking monkey.

I'd gladly believe in psychics and psychic powers if it weren't for the fact that every single one I have looked at turned out to be something else. I'm not judging anyone who does, they may have seen something or know something I don't. I'm OK with that. Just don't expect me to buy a pig in poke or a unsubstantiated claim.

You fellow's want to argue for the sake of arguing for what you perceive to be "your team." There are no teams. Somebody sold you another lie.
 

S.R.L.

Paranormal Adept
This is why I ignore Mr. Loren for the most part. Without even reading or listening to Dr. Bem's recent interview, he dismisses the research out of hand. If he had even glanced at the article and then commented as moderator, that would have been fine. But to dismiss what was left is where skeptical and debunker start to interpenetrate, in my opinion. At least I took the effort to look over his offerings, which Dr. Bem addresses in his interview. And as Gene stated “we're explorers,” which would suggest to me that if there are stones to be turned over, we should turn over those stones. And we're not talking about Uri Geller here, were discussing PSI research. And who said anything about a “team?”, as the underdog always has the uphill fight, and according to you, the hunter gatherer . Maybe talking monkeys will be flying out of pigs butts, but in the meantime I will continue turning over stones.
 

Angel of Ioren

Friendly Skeptic
I like to think that the paracast goes beyond the skeptic vs. believer BS. However, when someone questions paranormal claims, apparently we're using dirty tricks. Believe what you want to believe, but one must understand that not everyone is as credulous as you may be.
 


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