Sunday, March 1, 2009

Incredible Shrinking Psi?

According to some skeptics their is no evidence for psi. Here is what one skeptic says:

If the psi advocates continue to test for psi, I am afraid that they may soon reach the same conclusion that thinking people reached quite a while ago and they will have to move back to organized religion to have something to believe in.

Really?, what psi advocates have have found it overwhelming evidence for psi phenomena.

Another skeptic says:

Psi advocates would likely make more progress if they would learn and adopt a phrase that has helped science immensely. That phrase is "I dunno". It works a lot better in trying to understand something than assuming an answer then rejecting any data that tends to show the assumption is wrong. But then this approach wouldn't sell as many books and get the advocates packed houses for their lecture tours. People that want to believe and are willing to pay someone to tell them what they want to hear wouldn't be attracted that approach.

My response: The idea that scientists have no personal interest in how their experiments turn out is laughable. They will defend a pet theory to the death. This is why physicist Max Planck remarked that science advances "one funeral at a time"; obsolete ideas give way only when their proponents are no longer among the living. Human nature, with all its stubbornness, bias, and vanity, is not eradicated simply because one assumes the mantle of "scientist." Particular objections to psi such as sensory leakage has been carefully look at. With very tight controls the results still look positive. It could turn out that psi is entirely brain based, if so then we need to find out. Why all the resistence to a discovery that has enormous implications, i just don't get it. Mainstream science should be embracing this evidence for psi, an new phenomena. I see it as an fear that science will have to accept something out of the ordinary.

1 comment:

sbu said...

I disagree with your conclusions. The evidence for PSI is so tiny that it's argueable just due to imperfect experiments that any effect is measured at all.

Dualism - Transmitter theory - not a chance. We have so overwhelming evidence that mind occurs as a function of neurological processes in the brain. Personality is changed when people are affected by drugs, have their brain damaged or suffer from a brain tumor.

This is what I call hard evidence, much more scientifically grounded than statistical errors in Ganzfeld experiments. It's not because people are stupid they don't accept PSI - it just doesn't look convincing.