Twitter Psychic Expts – More Results

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twitterMany thanks for all of the feedback on the Twitter experiment. I thought it might be interesting to give a bit more detail about one of the most important analyses – the findings from those people who thought that they were psychic and were confident about their performance.

On each trial about 16% thought that they were psychic (that is, ticked either the ‘definitely yes’ or ‘probably yes’ to the ‘Do you believe that you have psychic abilities?’ question). I isolated these, and then looked at those that were confident about their choice of target (that is, ticked the ‘Very confident’ or ‘Quite confident’ to the ‘How confident are you about your choice?’ question).

On Trial 1,the majority of these participants (35%) thought that I was in the woods when I was standing by the tall building. On Trial 2, the majority (29%) went with me near the stairs when I was in the children’s play park. On Trial 3, the majority (26%) went with the underpass when the answer was the unusual canopy. Finally, on Trial 4, the majority (30%) went with the canal when I was at the postbox. Thus all of the trials were misses.

Some people have suggested that I should perhaps do the opposite type of analysis. Rather than look at how alleged psychics score, look for high scorers (perhaps those who obtained 4 out of 4) and re-test them. What do you think? Is it worth the effort? Did you get top marks and, if so, would you join in with another study?

P.S. If anyone want the original data sheets (obviously minus people’s email addresses) then please email me.


62 comments on “Twitter Psychic Expts – More Results

  1. Gib says:

    Yes, I think it would be good to retest the high scorers. I agree with that.

    Is it worth your effort ? Well, no, of course not. But, then neither was the original test. So why stop now ?

    Is it worth my effort in spending a minute typing this, and monitoring the results on google reader ? Yep.

  2. Jeremy Miles says:

    It might be worth doing a confirmatory factor analysis, to see if a single factor of ‘skill’ emerges. That might detect something more subtle than a simple yes/no answer.

    Not really related to the original intent of the study, but some sort of analysis of the cell frequencies might also be interesting – to see if particular patterns of choice were more common (or less common) than would be expected by chance.

  3. scibuff says:

    Actually, I would think it might be worth testing even those who got at least 2 out of 4, just to see show if there’s any correlation of their choices other than luck. Furthermore, I would suggest going to the places beforehand (on an unknown day) and then doing the tests right one after another (so there is no guessing about where’d you go in a particular kind of weather on a particular day etc)

  4. Konner says:

    How about participants being tested using the same method? You might want to poll people for what methods work for them (of those who had the correct answers) or devise your own method for testing. For example, each participant ONLY asks themselves a particular question to determine where you are — “What does it look like where Richard Wiseman is?” or, “What feelings do I have from where Richard Wiseman is?”

  5. LisaLeo says:

    May I join 2nd round?

  6. Seraph says:

    I also agree a second round, maybe we can find a real psychic, though I am not. :D

  7. Seraph says:

    Yes, I agree with a second round, maybe we can find a real psychic, or more, though I am not. :D

  8. Peter says:

    Feels like 35%, 29%, 26% and 30% is way higher than what you would expect by chance (20%) it is possible that the experiment wasn’t construct correctly, e.g pictures where not random enough or people took certain clues to guess one over the other.

  9. EmilyT says:

    There are so many fascinating statistics that could be brought out of this whether they’re “failures” or otherswise – it’s all interesting! Would definitely be nice to see a bit more detail about various angles of the statistics.

    An interesting example would be to see the same percentages for the people that did NOT consider themselves psychic – see what the differences were.

  10. EmilyT says:

    Also to see if they picked the same wrong pictures or different wrong pictures – that could be fascinating too.

  11. Venom says:

    Hello,

    Yes, retesting the high scorers would be a nice follow-up.

    With skepticality,

  12. 9squirrels says:

    Yes, you totally need to retest the high-scorers, giving them more options to choose from and doing more tests.
    Your experiment so far has merely shown that the majority of people aren’t remote viewers, which is hardly earth shattering. If something like this DOES exist (which I don’t think it does) then it’s going to be only a minority that has it (otherwise it would be accepted as normal right now and we wouldn’t be having this discussion). I reckon anyone with a greater than 50% hit rate should be selected for further trials.
    It would also be interesting to do a comparison between the high scorers and the rest, for instance comparing their relative confidence in their selections.

  13. trepple says:

    Yes, keep changing the format to test different theories.
    For example the 1st test and woods was a synchronicity between the observers IMAO.

  14. jimibungle says:

    It would be interesting to see if your high scorers performed much more poorly, i.e., at chance level, on re-testing as predicted by regression to the mean

  15. Bob says:

    Surely retesting the high scorers is like assuming that the winner of the national lottery has magical number guessing powers.

  16. Herwig Neefs says:

    What I would stil would like to know is if Richard was aware of the other pictures (possible places)? with ohter words was the study dubbel blind? Critics could say (if not db) you were standing there, but thinking of some other picture…)

    • Richard Wiseman says:

      yes, I was well aware of the other four possible choices, but it is an odd use of the phrase ‘double-blind’. That is usually used to prevent the participants and experimenters knowing which condition is which in an experiment. Me knowing the other targets did not introduce any bias, unless you think that knowing the other targets somehow created a stronger psychic impression than actually spending 30 mins looking at one for real.

    • Richard King says:

      uksceptic: You asked; the response is long, so I have posted it below. I do not have the time to go into so much detail very many times; I have a book to finalise and presentations to prepare, for online and live. Besides, I am not sure it will fit with this Blog.

    • Herwig Neefs says:

      The double blinding was indeed odd to use in this context, I agree/ because one of the most important elements was being not blind when standing there (but is this true? maybe being blind works as well). But still there is to my opinion some interference possible with the fact of knowing what the other pictures were. Also I thought that it is maybe interesting to analyse the temporal aspect of the answers (maybe this was already in the comments, I didn’t read them fully). If people are voting and are trying to think about a picture and then people join in, maybe the feeling towards a certain picture is influenced by the masses thinking of a certain picture already? I am not a believer, just a critic

  17. Goldfysh says:

    I agree with retesting the high scorers, but I also take Herwig Neef’s point. You seem to be presuming that remote viewing works a certain way when you say that you knowing the false results does not introduce bias, in that the remote viewer must be somehow seeing what you see. If however they were somehow accessing your memories or impressions then you having the false results floating about could intriduce bias? My guess would be that if psychic abilities truly exist they are probably not as neat as a scientific mind :)

    • uksceptic says:

      Whilst I understand the central argument here it\’s implications are damning for any test of remote viewing. If you think that knowledge of other locations could somehow bias the experiment then surely any experiment is impossible?

      As Richard touches on above, if you propose that knowing about other targets creates a stronger psychic impression then surely knowledge of ANY alternate destination would bias any results.

      It is impossible to put someone in a location without them having any prior knowledge of any other location. If this is the only way that remote viewing could work then it becomes so impossible to test that the very notion of it becomes ridiculous.

    • Richard King says:

      Goldfish:
      “My guess would be that if psychic abilities truly exist they are probably not as neat as a scientific mind”

      Psychic abilities do exist; my higher senses have been quite open for almost two decades, just a little open for about twelve years before that. Although having said they exist I am aware that in much today’s science nothing exists until it is scientifically proven to do so; something of a chicken and egg problem. That level is actually neater than a scientific mind and I certainly have the latter, though the science I was brought up on was of a higher standard than much of what passes for science these days, including the proverbial “not a million miles from here”.

      It is perfectly possible to design experiments related to remote viewing, though this particular experiment was not remote viewing, more telepathy; remote viewing is more structured, uses selected sensitive people following a strict protocol and specifically does not involve showing pictures of targets.

      I have a single experience of remote viewing, more relating to telepathy, met a telepath via a friend, though not physically, not in this lifetime anyway. What I did learn is that you do not concentrate on anything and do not consciously “send”. It involves relaxing into a higher state of consciousness, not concentrating at the physical consciousness level because physical concentration tends to block rather than “send”. The way things really are and the way one proceeds is frequently, mostly, diametrically opposite to the way mainstream scientists believe, suggest, dictate.

      In engineering we use science where appropriate, in forms, ways, that are appropriate and are not besotted by it, and realising its limitations. Besides, science forms quite a small part of our knowledge, arts and profession and is a relative newcomer compared with our profession, immature and it shows; science is a tool, not a “be all and end all”.

      It really does make a great deal of difference if you understand what you are researching. Many of the “authorities” on such subjects are just the opposite because they do not understand. Though properly designed experiments are likely to produce the “wrong” results for the mainstream science types.

    • uksceptic says:

      You’re an engineer, if you want to build something you have to use methods that are tried and tested and proved to work. If you didn’t then buildings would fall down, people would get hurt.

      Do the same with your ‘psychic’ abilities. Try and test them and prove them to work. Then call a scientist and prove it to them.

      It is very hard to understand something that has absolutely no tangible evidence of existing. What’s to say your invented understanding of telepathy and other mythical abilities is any better than anyone else’s? What makes you an expert? How can you be an expert if there is no testable means to assess your ability? On what scale do you measure yourself?

      There must be hundreds of rigorous tests that you must have to apply in your day job, perhaps you should apply a similar rigour to your apparent psychic powers.

    • Richard King says:

      The response came out lengthy, see below

  18. Tamara says:

    Dear MR. Wiseman,

    I agree to do a retest.
    You wanted to know and now with this results I should do more research.

  19. uksceptic says:

    I would love to see a retest of those who got lucky in the previous test. ;-)

  20. Erica says:

    I say go for the Randi MDC!

  21. Nikki says:

    I was a surprisingly high scorer (it surprised me anyway!). I would try another test, but it would probably be hopeless because I\’d actually be trying rather than having a stab while on the school run. It\’s possible my brain and analytical processes would get in the way because I would be trying to succeed – a little like concentrating so hard on dance steps that you fall over your own feet.

  22. Richard, are you planning to analyse the written impressions that people gave before they selected one of the picture options? It would be more work (not so easy to throw into SPSS!) but they might reveal an awareness of your surroundings that was not necessarily captured in the photos. Or… it might just be a load of random nonsense…

  23. cam says:

    Good idea to test those with a high score again.

  24. Paul says:

    Is futher testing really required? This is just what statistics would predict. It’s like the old horse racing scam – 1000 people are mailed a letter telling them the winner of a horse race on saturday. Each of the 1000 people is assigned 1 of four horses likely to win. Next week, there will be 250 people on the list… 25% get a winning horse, next week there are 50 people on the list… 25% get a winning horse, next week there are 12 people on the list. So just by statistics alone, you can see that there will always be some people (if the poluplation is large enough) that will score 3 in a row, 4 in a row etc.

    Perhaps, Richard, you could publish the number of people who got 2 in a row, 3 in a row, 4 in a row correct? This would then indicate if anything weird was going on that wold suggest further study.

    Note: It’s a long time since I had to deal with statistics in anger, so perhaps some of my assumptions are wrong / off base?

    • uksceptic says:

      You’re spot on, but as a sceptic you must always be prepared to test your premise and explore every reasonable avenue of evidence.

      Although it is a statistical probability that some people will get three or four this is still a legitimate area of further investigation.

      If this were not explored then believers could always point to these people that performed well and ask why they weren’t tested further to prove it was just chance.

      Obviously we have to have reasonable limitations to this; should a new test reveal that in fact these people perform no better than chance predicts then you would think this should stick the nail in the coffin of this particular method of investigation.

      Having said that maybe I am just bias because I have enjoyed following this experiment and debating it so much!

  25. Sally says:

    I agree with EmilyT – would be interesting to see what the statistics were for the people who rated themselves not (very or not quite) confident.

  26. [...] a while ago, our quirkologist Richard Wiseman (remember the Q-writing?) conducted a live twitter science experiment investigating psychic power that had twitterers participate in scores. Read more at his interesting [...]

  27. Forrester McLeod says:

    I’m astoudingly slow on the electronic uptake. Just started blogging about a week ago. ‘Nuff said. I’ll most likely get around to twittering in about twenty years! Your picture and link keeps popping up everywhere I go so I’ve just got to say that’s a great shot and I wish you tons, bushels and truckloads of success in all you’re doing.

    Cheers!

  28. Ross says:

    The notion of a second round is nonsense. How many chances would you allow a ‘psychic’ to prove his or her mettle? When the second round ends in similar disappointment for those would-be psychics, will you suggest a third, with even broader parameters? After so many efforts, luck dictates that we’ll all be somewhat psychic.

    • ScreamingGreenConure says:

      After several efforts, if nobody is psychic, then the results should show around chance level. This shouldn’t be about skeptics vs believers, with believers trying to “prove their mettle” and skeptics trying to knock them down. This should be about trying things out to see if they work or not.

  29. gus reifenkugel says:

    man in london standing in large doorway with doors open.he is smiling and his arms are opened wide. he is clean shaven. he is @50 years old..he is @6 foot 2 inches..building is large and old..collared shirt,tucked in,belt,camara around his neck,partly cloudy but not raining.

  30. Dale says:

    Were any formal statistics tests applied to the data? One can test for both negative and positive results. Negative results (much worse than expected by chance) suggest some other factors are at work.

    For any retests, I would suggest that you change the test format to exclude any confusion caused by your knowing the decoy locations. Let a computer choose the decoy photos at random from a larger pool of decoy photos, at the same time the true location is revealed.

  31. Kat Osbourne says:

    Hello, The thing is here, is that we are all psychic, we all have mediumship skills to, WHY?? Because we are all made of energy, we are made of the same stuff.
    With Psychic abilities it is hard to judge and test. I fail on every written test because a test is not about energy. Yet with a pregnant woman, even before they get pregnant, just telling me they are trying …. I am never wrong, EVER… over 300 babies..

    I can also tell you if peoples marriages will work down to the month.
    Where I live people now come and see me to find if they will get the job, or get pregnant or whatever… I never charge, but I also teach people how to tune to their abilities… I am a spritual life coach, I have nothing to prove, but I love to have people understand their own power and intuition..

    • uksceptic says:

      What “energy” are we made up of?

    • Kat Osbourne says:

      If we go by the latest findings of physics, we find that if break things down far enough -molecules to atoms, to subatomic particles… – all there is at the “end of the line” is energy. There comes a point when there is simply no solidity, and everything is made of pure energy. This includes everything in our physical world -rocks, plants, animals, our own bodies.

    • uksceptic says:

      Thanks for your reply please see my responce below!
      :-)

  32. Bob says:

    Why can ‘psychics’ not accept a single failure? It’s OK to say this test was inconclusive, or we need more research, or another test might work better.

    All I hear is ‘It Worked For Me’.

    We must remember that the plural of anecdote is not evidence.

  33. uksceptic says:

    Ok how does energy at this level contain information that someone could channel themselves to read? What mechanism is happening here to allow this to happen? How can we test for this flow of energy/information?

    Are we then open to assume that rocks have psychic abilities then? I know this sounds ridiculous but I am merely pointing out what appear to be the implications of your reasoning.

    Just because two things are made of the same stuff does not mean they are intrinsically linked in any way or can communicate with each other. Hydrogen peroxide and water are made of the same stuff but you wouldn’t want to quench your thirst with both.

    Telling someone who is trying for a baby that they are going to get pregnant isn’t psychic powers its just common sense. Can you really tell 100%, are we just to take your word for it? Would you get 100% under strict test conditions?

    It would perhaps be arrogant for me to predict just as it would be presumptious for you to assume that any of us should take your word for it that we all have magical powers on the basis of your limited understanding of physics and anecdotal evidence.

    The difference between the sceptics on here and the believers is I don’t think any sceptic would expect you to take their word for anything they claim because we form our ideas from the evidence that there is to support it. It seems to me that so called psychics just tell stories.

    • Kat Osbourne says:

      I don’t claim to be a psychic, but I do read energy with the feelings that I have when connected to others energy. What I mean by telling someone the sex of their baby when trying is that when someone tells me they are trying for a baby, I will tell them what sex they will have before they are pregnant….
      As for rocks, if they were up on the food chain as we are and had brains like us then yes, they would be able to read the same as us where energy is concerned!! But obviously, rocks don’t have brains so cannot read much!! If anything!!

      Thing is, all of us and everything being energy has already been proven, watch ‘What the Bleep do we know??’ It will show you all the answers to your questions. So once you have watched this science based proven theory, you will then understand that we are all energy, as is matter of people who are dead, that gives people the ability to see dead people.
      Then watch all about the LOA (Law of Attraction) and you will learn about energy and manifesting and thats how you read energy with so called psychic abilities. I don’t care for proving myself, cause I don’t claim to be psychic, and I am sceptic about many psychics and what they claim they can see, because from my studies, you can only see in someone what they have had many thoughts about, meaning they are creating the energy so that it will happen.
      Thankyou for your response.
      Respect.

    • uksceptic says:

      I have seen what the bleep do we know and it is nonsence. It misrepresents complex scientific theories to fit its particular brand of religion. It is religious propoganda.

      I think Simon Singh puts its best.

      “I have spent my entire working life either doing science or conveying its meaning and beauty to the public. Consequently, I despise What the Bleep Do We Know!?, because it distorts science to fit its own agenda, it is full of half-truths and misleading analogies, and some of its so-called scientific claims are downright lies. Worse still, having achieved cult status in America, this film has already duped millions into mistaking pure claptrap for something of cosmic importance.”

      Or how about Joao Migueijo (Professor in Theoretical Physics)

      “Combinations of science and spirituality would be so much improved by simply dropping the science … Such is sadly the case with this film, which is horrendously tedious even before we get to its substance. Its meat, alas, only makes matters worse. It would be unwise to condemn total lunacy; it has an important role in society, that of keeping us human. But to deliberately misquote science to gain credibility sounds desperate and badly backfires.”

      Hear you can read more about what some proper scientists think about that movie;

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2005/may/16/g2.science

      If you are interested in physics read some decent books, don’t watch half arsed new age nonsense. Try Big Bang by Simon Singh, or give A Brief History of Time a go. I’m sure there are much better read folk on here than me that could offer some other suggestions.

  34. [...] Twitter Psychic Expts – More Results Many thanks for all of the feedback on the Twitter experiment. I thought it might be interesting to give a bit more [...] [...]

  35. Flittering says:

    Yes I am psychic but feel very left out of what is happening having received no reply to my first email to you.
    Please let me know when you are doing more experiments.

  36. Richard King says:

    uksceptic: “You’re an engineer, if you want to build something you have to use methods that are tried and tested and proved to work.”
    Of course engineers use methods that are tried and tested, at least as far as practicable. That is not necessarily the same as scientifically proven, which is often a dubious recommendation anyway. We were doing rather significant things long before science came along and actually contributed mightily to its development, though without becoming besotted by it. Along with most other people, scientists could not get by without us; it was engineers who built the terrestrial and orbiting telescopes, as well as putting the latter into space, it was engineers who put the latter into orbit, it was engineers who built the large Hadron Collider, etc., etc.

    There is rather more to engineering than buildings but of course lives depend on what we do a great deal of the time; as do the people who go to GPs whose recommendations are considerably less than 50% scientifically proven, or the American medical profession as the third largest cause of death in the United States in 2006, arguably second highest on some criteria.

    I have tried and tested some of my abilities on the practical level and have even tried a rudimentary experiment in terms of bringing it down to the science level. I would like to do more, would have done more but for certain events, and wish to do so as soon as possible, though I need to progress past a situation first.

    Based on a particular experience there are some experiments at the very basic level that would at least begin to prove a point. Starting small and building up knowledge is better than grandiose, publicity seeking, flawed “experiments” based on no particular knowledge of the subject. However, as and when I manage to do those experiments, no doubt those with whose understandings the results may well conflict will move the goalposts, as Richard Wiseman did in relation to remote viewing; see the Daily Mail article by Danny Penman “Could there be proof to the theory that we are ALL psychic?” (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-510762/Could-proof-theory-ALL-psychic.html# ).

    “Do the same with your ‘psychic’ abilities. Try and test them and prove them to work.”
    How does one prove anything to people who do not have the capacity to understand? What is the point of trying to do so, especially when they move goalposts, standards of proof, as has happened with remote viewing?

    “Then call a scientist and prove it to them.”
    What sort of scientist? Someone like Simon Singh who became interested in complementary and alternative therapies in 2006 and co-wrote a book on the subject to publish it in 2008; “mastering” a completely new subject is two years!? Someone like Edzard Ernst who does not know the definition, or procedures, involved with a major modality in his supposed area of knowledge, to the extent that he experiments in that modality and fails to rule out an obvious variable, at least obvious to those of us who do understand and actually practice it?

    Anyway there are two reasons that I do not need to “call a scientist” in that sense.

    Firstly, I am a scientist, actually somewhat more than a scientist. Science constitutes less than 20% of engineering, arts constitute more than 40% of engineering. We are scientists and considerably more besides that. Note that applies to real engineers, not just someone who has appropriated the title. In my case “A” Level mathematics and physics, at early 1960s standards, was my school leaving level, then onwards and upwards; mechanical, electrical and production engineering, creativity, design, technical drawing, psychology, mathematics, advanced physics, organic chemistry, materials, economics, social studies, etc. So, I take lessons in science, the scientific method, the ways of science in general from no-one.

    Secondly, I am a member of the Scientific and Medical Network. I know many scientists of a sufficiently high standard with whom to discuss such matters and have contributed to their research when I have been able. For example, Dr Peter Fenwick has been researching the process of physical death at a higher level than mainstream science for several years; I have known Peter and Elizabeth Fenwick for well over a decade and met many other capable people; a Professor of Cosmology who is involved in psychic research, on the board of a significant organisation in the field, numerous medical people, Members and Fellows of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, other engineers, physicists, biologists, et al.

    “It is very hard to understand something that has absolutely no tangible evidence of existing.”
    There is evidence but it depends how selective you are. However, I am well aware that, with current attitudes, nothing exists until and unless it is proved, accepted by science; not that I recall the jolt when the Earth’s crust started moving, though, perhaps that is because the acceptance of plate tectonics was gradual, so the Earth’s crust complying with scientists was also gradual.
    “ … no tangible evidence of existing.” Would that be like the Higg’s Boson, “existing” in mathematical equations but “no tangible evidence”, even after over fifty years of searching for it? There are many other things in mathematical equations, many of which are removed by “renormalisation”, a straight fiddle to make “what is” conform to the scientific consensus of what is and with which the likes of Paul Dirac and Richard Feynman were extremely uncomfortable. Subjective judgment by some scientists becomes scientific “fact” handed down to the supposed lesser of us, whereas it is the scientists who are missing something, missing a very great deal.

    “What’s to say your invented understanding of telepathy and other mythical abilities is any better than anyone else’s?”
    That is more a reflection of your lack of knowledge and understanding. It is better than many because I have experienced such phenomena and learned a little. It is less than many who have greater experience and knowledge. That of those in the mainstream of science is less than all of us who have some experience and knowledge. If you are actually stating that my knowledge is invented and mythical, I assume that, as a true science advocate, you can prove it, otherwise the statement, assertion should be modified to that which can be substantiated.
    If my understandings were invented they would hardly comply with the understandings of my colleagues, or hundreds of thousands of other people in the specifics and millions of people in the non-specifics. Nor would I be able to hold perfectly lucid four way conversations with Sylvie Lucas, the editor of my book, Sylvie’s husband, Richard, and a colleague of mine whom Sylvie and Richard have come to know very well, along with a few other people; both my colleague and Richard Lucas are, currently, discarnate.
    What is to say your abilities, invented or otherwise, is any better than anyone else’s, including mine, particularly mine if you are trying to sit in judgment over me?.

    “What makes you an expert?”
    Nothing makes me an expert; I did not claim to be one; that is entirely your way with my words. Anyway I do not claim to be an expert at anything. Expert: X is the unknown quantity; a spurt is a drip under pressure. I will leave the “expert” bit to those who think they know all about “Complementary and Alternative Medicine”, remote viewing, telepathy, etc.; but, actually, have not a clue, or very close to that. I have considerable knowledge and experience in engineering, technology and science, a fair amount in other areas, a few thousand hours of experience with my higher senses.

    “How can you be an expert if there is no testable means to assess your ability? On what scale do you measure yourself?”
    As I wrote, I do not claim to be an expert. There are testable means to assess peoples abilities, though, compared with other areas of knowledge, they are in their infancy, in a sense much like the more vociferous critics in terms of their attitude and language. The tests need to be carefully designed by people who have experience and understand, although even those who do not have either experience or understanding should be capable of better experiments than they manage; somehow they manage to fall down on even basic experimental procedure and reporting. The experiments with Patricia Putt by Richard Wiseman and Chris French would have been better if they had taken the trouble to reduce the subjectivity; there is a very simple method for doing that which I was using in a different context as a student and afterwards in the aerospace industry. The downside is that it may well have tended towards results that the mainstream would not like, though, even if that were the case, there will always be bolt holes, escape routes, found, or manufactured.

    • uksceptic says:

      I started to respond to all this systematically and rationally but clearly we are not on a level playing field, I’m also happy to admit I am somewhat out of my depth in dealing with such comments and am finding it very difficult to not just dismiss them as inane babbling. I don’t want to fall into ad hominem attacks or arguments from authority but questioning the ability of consummate professionals Simon Singh (who is nothing short of heroic for his current battle against the British Chiropractic Association) and Professor Edzard Ernst have got me a little angry. So I’ll just repeat some of your quotes back to you and let their irrationality speak for themselves. I make no judgement on you as a person, I am sure you are affable and reasonable in your relationship with the world and the people in it. I do however take issue with this;

      “GPs whose recommendations are considerably less than 50% scientifically proven”

      “The American medical profession as the third largest cause of death in the United States”

      “Subjective judgment by some scientists becomes scientific “fact” handed down to the supposed lesser of us, whereas it is the scientists who are missing something, missing a very great deal.”

      “not that I recall the jolt when the Earth’s crust started moving, though, perhaps that is because the acceptance of plate tectonics was gradual, so the Earth’s crust complying with scientists was also gradual.”

    • Richard King says:

      Again, the response is somewhat lengthy, see below.

  37. V says:

    I loved to read about this experiment! One additional thing could be seen without doing a retest. If all was random, a person would have a 1/5^4 = 1/625 chance of guessing them all right. You had 1000 people so it is very unlikely that, say, more than ten of them guessed all the locations correctly. It would be interesting to know what was this number then.

    • V says:

      In particular, the chance that there were 10 people who guessed all the places correctly in this experiment is less than 1 out of 140 000.

  38. Herwig Neefs says:

    notify

  39. Kyle says:

    Yes I think you should retest.
    Its just like drafting for a baseball team. Or auditions for acting.
    Some got talent. And the majority wont/don’t.

    If psychic power exists, then I definitely would see it as no different than any other human endeavor.
    Music, Art, Sports, etc
    Some are just gifted, then some are talented, but have to work a bit, then there’s some who just don’t got it.

    • Richard King says:

      I agree with your sentiments and views in general but not about the retests. The level of science in these experiments is completely inadequate. I do not believe the expereimenters understand that with which they are dealing, or attempting to deal.

  40. Richard King says:

    “Ok how does energy at this level contain information that someone could channel themselves to read?”
    Define energy. I am unsure how energy contains information at that level, though since frequencies are involved, why not as at physical reality frequencies? Anyway, on an experience basis it fits with the underlying continuum approach of David Bohm, the higher level being the implicate order and the physical being the explicate order.
    Your question also seems to assume that energy is needed to carry information. It goes back to the question of what consciousness is. In my experience consciousness is material independent, while material is consciousness dependent. Materialist science is predicated on false assumptions and premises, hence its problems in getting to grips with certain matters.

    “What mechanism is happening here to allow this to happen?”
    There is no mechanism as such, more of a non-mechanism, in much the same way that David Bohm pointed out that quantum mechanics is really quantum non-mechanics, at least from the point of view of his interpretation which makes abundant sense from a higher perspective.

    “How can we test for this flow of energy/information?”
    Mostly, at present, via suitably attuned people. Instrumentation is in its infancy, though Levichev and Korotkov appear to have made progress in one field. The effects of “occurrences” at that level only show in the physical as secondary, tertiary, quaternary effects. Intuitively, from experience and for other reasons I suspect, believe, understand that a major problem is the extremely high frequencies involved and devising a viable means of sensing them; I have only the beginnings of an idea how, though the means,type of transducer is intuitively “obvious”.

    “Are we then open to assume that rocks have psychic abilities then? I know this sounds ridiculous but I am merely pointing out what appear to be the implications of your reasoning.”
    In that everything in the physical has an underlying non-physical structure, I suppose that is one way of putting it. No, it does not sound ridiculous but the “we know it all” type of arrogance of mainstream scientists and their adherents does.
    Besides, in the words of Erwin Schrödinger:
    “There is obviously only one alternative, namely the unification of minds or consciousness. Their multiplicity is only apparent, in truth there is only one mind.” (75)
    “Mind is by its very nature a singulare tantum. I should say: the overall number of minds is just one.” (76)
    “Consciousness is a singular of which the plural is unknown. There is only one thing, and that which seems to be a plurality is merely a series of different aspects of one thing, produced by a deception…as in a gallery of mirrors.” (77)
    “If we decide to have only one sphere [of existence], it has got to be a psychic one, since that exists anyway….” (79)
    “Subject and object are only one. The barrier between them cannot be said to have broken down as a result of recent experience in the physical sciences, for this barrier does not exist.” (8)
    From: How healing Happens: Exploring the Nonlocal Gap”, Larry Dossey, MD

    http://www.noetic.org/research/dh/articles/HowHealingHappens.pdf

    “I have seen what the bleep do we know and it is nonsence. It misrepresents complex scientific theories to fit its particular brand of religion. It is religious propoganda.” (sic)

    I have also seen “What the Bleep”, several years ago, and was extremely disappointed, as well as, for large tracts of it, being very bored. It did not live up to the hype, was over long, had quaint, seemingly not directly related elements in it and would have been better with serious editing and being remade in BBC “Horizon” style.

    I do not recall it mentioning any religion particular religion, though to many, anything outside mainstream materialism seems to count as religion; rather overlooking science and materialism being “a way of life” which was the definition of religion given by Mrs McGregor, an enlightened R.E. Teacher when I was in the Sixth Form at School; from which of course, atheists and materialists run a mile; even though all of science is predicated on “belief”, or “trust”, words which each come in the definition of the other. Not that there is, or can be, any proof that science is the only way to gain knowledge,let alone the best way. It is extremely useful but ti does have its limits and wise people recognise that.
    “What the Bleep” does not fit scientific theories to “its particular brand of religion”; it does not have a particular brand of religion; in many ways that was the whole point of that aspect of the film, the non mainstream science part. You appear not to know, appreciate, the difference between religion and spirituality. The mathematics may be complex, some of the theory may be complex, the overall ideas behind them are deceptively simple. You would not be engaged in “science propaganda”, heading towards “blinding with science”, would you?

    Simon Singh’s comments are no surprise. He does seem to like referring to “lies”. “Trick or Treatment” is peppered with the word, though I am unaware that he has ever proved anyone has been lying. Not that he offers much in the way of proof for many of his contentions. “Trick or Treatment” has no references, though it is full of errors on facts and procedures, as well as logical errors and fallacious reasoning.

    With regard to Simon Singh’s comments on a life in science; I gained my “A” Levels in 1964, the year he was born; My Higher National Diploma in 1967, my first Degree in 1971; I am a couple of decades ahead of Simon Singh and have been in engineering longer than he has been in science, let alone science itself.

    The reference to “proper scientists” is a subjective judgment.

    You said others could suggest relevant books; quite correct:

    1) “Wholeness and the Implicate Order”, David Bohm
    2) “What is Life”, Erwin Schrodinger
    3) “Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You”, Marcus Chown
    4) “The Quantum Physicists and an Introduction to Their Physics”, William H. Cropper
    5) “The Fabric of the Cosmos”, Brian Greene
    6) “In Search of Schrodinger’s Cat”, John Gribbin
    7) “The Matter Myth”, Paul Davis and John Gribbin
    8) “The Road to Reality”, Roger Penrose; really needs Degree level mathematics
    9) “The Medium, the Mystic and the Physicist”, Lawrence LeShan
    10) “Healing Beyond the Body”, Larry Dossey
    11) “Spiritual Healing, Scientific Validation of a Healing Revolution”, Daniel J. Benor, Forward by Larry Dossey
    12) “The Art of Dying”, Peter Fenwick and Elizabeth Fenwick; “Rational scientific explanations for these experiences are hard to find, and it is almost impossible, in the face of them, to sustain the current scientific view that our consciousness is entirely brain based.”; “The evidence suggests we are more than brain function, and that something – soul or spirit or consciousness – will continue in one form or another for a while at least.” – from the blurb

    Books 9), 10) and 11) all contain Appendices and/or Bibliography and/or References; “Trick or Treatment” by Edzard Ernst and Simon Singh contains just a relatively brief bibliography/Suggestions for Further Reading; quite a difference in standards.

  41. Richard King says:

    Uksceptic:

    I am not entirely sure how you are applying the term “level playing field”; on one possible interpretation I would tend to agree, though am not sure if you would.

    “I’m also happy to admit I am somewhat out of my depth in dealing with such comments”. I am not surprised. Even twenty years ago I would have been, at least on the non-physical side. Those words are a credit to you. I endeavour to acknowledge my limitations of knowledge and understanding, it is helpful when others do the same. For example, my nephew recently sent me a PDF of his PHD thesis, at my request because of my interest: I will only comment on it as far as the materials side is concerned (it is connected with non-metallic materials) and the mathematics as far as I can remember it. At least you have refrained form the usual “quack”, “woo”, juvenility.

    If you did go into ad hominem, or arguments from authority, you would have been doing what so many mainstreamers accuse “us” of, wrongly, and would have “lost the game”. I have long considered an argument forfeited, lost, once excessive emotion and abuse come into it.

    I do know my science and endeavour to keep to scientific language and approach. I also know the limitations of science. For example, Sylvie, my editor, uses crystals for healing, at times. I do not know the specific mechanism, or non-mechanism (bearing David Bohm’s approach and my other knowledge in mind); on the other hand I know of nothing in science that precludes it, even with my extended my knowledge of such materials; MTech, Non-Metallic Materials, Brunel University.

    There is nothing irrational about my quotes, other than the one intended as humorous, though you are welcome to your opinion.

    On GPs recommendations and them being scientifically proven:
    Several years ago I read that no more than 50% of the treatments prescribed by GPs were scientifically proven. Not long afterwards I attend a local Scientific and Medical Network meeting, just over the border in West Sussex. I mentioned it at the meeting and asked if it was true. Many of the people in the room were members of the medical profession, one said that it was actually less than 50%. that person and other who agreed with him were GPs; straight from the Doctors mouth, so to speak.
    In the current (20th June 2009) issue of “New Scientist” there is a letter from Dr George Lewith (www.cam-research-group.co.uk) which includes the words, “The evidence base for chiropractic is limited and much more research is needed; much the same is true of general practice, where perhaps only 15 to 20 percent of the interventions use are based on sound evidence.”
    It is actually perfectly reasonable to expect figures of that sort. People are so different that there has to be a large element of judgment on the part of GPs Even more so bearing in mind that drugs tend to be tested on fit healthy young men, so, Doctors have to translate that to middle aged and elderly men, plus children, similarly, to women, young and old; even more difficult with pregnant women where drug testing is, to the best of my knowledge, completely out. To an extent, medicine is art as well as science, though a smaller art to science ratio than engineering.

    “The American medical profession as the third largest cause of death in the United States”
    I first came across that in a Dr Mercola Newsletter. While at a Scientific and Medical Network Conference at Bath Spa University in August 2007, I brought up the matter during a conversation with two women members during a tea break. One of them professed surprise, the other, seemingly a little ruefully, confirmed it to her; the woman who gave the confirmation was a medical Doctor. At about that time I found other sources on the Internet that, broadly confirmed the figures and they were not confined to 2006.
    Specifically: “Beyond the Brain, A Still Point in the Turning World: Contemplation in Action”, August 24th – 26th 2007, Bath Spa University (http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/pdf/Beyond%20the%20Brain%20August%202007.pdf ). I know Dr Peter Fenwick and David Lorimer very well, Dr Andrew Powell moderately well; among many others, of course. When I told David about my unusual non-physical side in the mid/late 1990s, while inquiring about joining the Network, his immediate reaction was, “You’re just the sort of person we want!” In 2004 Peter specifically invited me to a Conference of the Spirituality and Psychiatry Group of the Royal College of Psychiatrists at King’s College Hospital, London. That Conference was “Beyond Death – Does Consciousness Survive”, in 2004, ironically the year my mother was terminally ill through the summer, during which my knowledge was extended further through many hours of pre-death experiences; approximately seventy hours of experiences over about sixteen weeks. I sent a 3,500 word write-up of those experiences to Peter, at least the first half of them, for his research. Peter and Elizabeth Fenwick have since written “The Art of Dying” published by Continuum.

    Scientists and subjective judgment; if you think about it deeply enough, all judgment has to be subjective at some level. There are no absolutes, or definites, other than those which are based on assumed, judged, absolutes, or definites; it is all built on sand; I have long been interested in philosophy generally, as well as the philosophies of science and engineering, the latter being, a little belatedly, taken very seriously by the Council of Engineering Institutions.

    The comment about the earth’s crust not starting moving until the scientists agreed that plate tectonics was real was my sense of humour, a sort of counter to the arrogance of mainstream science. It is difficult to take mainstream science seriously at times. Western science has existed for only four hundred years in a universe thought to be 13.7 billion years old; we are on a ball of rock 8,000 miles across in a universe thought to be 27.4 billion light years across and adherents to mainstream science still seem to give the impression that they know it all, or are mighty close to doing so. … and some of us are supposed to have strange ideas?!

    Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst: you are as entitled to your views about them as anyone else, though I was not aware they were so august that they were beyond criticism.
    Simon Singh could have easily said 99.9% of what he wanted to without committing libel. I tend to have dictionaries and other books to hand as well as several browser windows open to minimise errors in “facts” and definitions. The Chiropractors ought to come up with more proof but so should Simon Singh, lack of evidence for something being so is not equivalent to evidence that it is not so. Simon Singh seems to like using words like “lies”; serious accusations require serious proof, at least they do by the standards on which I was brought up.

    Edzard Ernst and Simon Singh describe, “define”, among other things in “Trick or Treatment”, Spiritual Healing; they get it totally wrong; that is the modality I previously wrote that Edzard Ernst was wrong about, though he carried out experiments on it, nevertheless. There are something like fifteen errors of fact and three of opinion in one page.
    For example:
    “Many different forms of spiritual healing exist: faith healing, intercessionary prayer, reiki, therapeutic touch, ..”, etc. All totally wrong, nothing to do with Spiritual Healing; reiki is close but is not the same.
    “Healers view themselves as instruments of a higher power with healing ability bestowed on them from above.” I do not and I have never met a Healer who did; nothing extra spacial about us at all; anyone can do it and, to some extent, most do without knowing it, at some time or other.
    “Most state that they have no idea how healing works, but are nevertheless convinced that it does.” Again, totally wrong. We do have “an idea”, are well aware of the principles involved. Translating it into something that fits with present day science is difficult; a more developed science would make it easier. The problem is that, in general,scientists are as clueless about healing and similar matters as Healers and similar are clueless about science. There are a few of us who are both Healers and scientists. Though describing the human etheric field, aura, as a stress energy tensor in non-Minkowski/Einstein space time tends to get a blank look from both sides. (From an engineering point of view it seemed fairly obvious to represent such an energy field in tensor form, in principal not wildly different from other energy fields, stress fields, etc.; then I found it had been done by Levichev and Korotkov, the former has two PhDs in mathematics – going by the papers it has been put to a degree of practical use with interesting to good correlations.)
    Edzard Ernst carried out experiments on the efficacy of Spiritual Healing using “real Healers” and “actor Healers”; to someone who really understands what is involved there is an immediate very serious problem with what he did, obvious even to those healers who are not scientists.
    With Simon Singh there is the added problem of going outside the field he has mastered. I made the point on my Blog, “Science, Knowledge and Noblesse Oblige”, (http://richardking.blogspot.com/2009/06/science-knowledge-and-noblesse-oblige.html). The juveniles will have a field day with my background, which, admittedly, has a little to do with me hedging on actually sending the book manuscript but mostly it is the furore when the populace finds out about the corruption, “News Blackouts, Princes and Kings”, (http://richardking.blogspot.com/2008/02/news-blackouts-princes-and-kings.html); I am entirely “fire proof” hence it being put about “Don’t get involved, his marbles are loose”; desperate to keep me out of the public domain; which is why the research I wish to do is held up, as are a few other things. Mind you, the more those on the Internet, particularly the “juveniles” have a go at what I have written on these matters, the closer I will be to getting past the block and nearer to the research, etc.; but for those events I would have had a Professorship a decade ago; those at the University knew all about the esoteric part and hardly blinked.

    • LisaLeo says:

      Have you read the Field by Lynne MacTaggert?

    • uksceptic says:

      By level playing field I mean to say that you spout nonsense and make audacious then I am expected to make reasonable comments on them. It is impossible, you think “consciousness is material independent”. OK fine, there is a simple test for this, let’s take away your brain and see how much consciousness you have left.

      It seems to me that the only person here claiming to know it all is you not mainstream scientists. Scientists are putting their theories to the test every single day, permanently trying to DISPROVE their theories. You don’t seem to have a critical bone in your body when it comes to psychic powers and faith healing/reiki (which IS a form of faith healing).

  42. [...] -waar een verstandig mens zich verre van houdt- heeft een psycholoog (Richard Wiseman) een serieus experiment opgezet – ik was van plan mee te doen, maar ‘t is niet gelukt-  en kun je Flickr foto’s [...]

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