Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Don't set an impossible bar. . .

Here is the second minor quibble with Alex I mentioned in my last post.


Stephen Novella stated the following:


In the end we have the same goals, design research that is carried out in such a way that it doesn’t matter what you believe, that the results will be valid despite the belief of the researcher...


Alex cheered this comment multiple times in the podcast. However I am not sure how realistic this is. Even clinical research trials in medicine show strong lab and experimenter effects, and standard psychology experiments do as well. I don't see how anyone can expect and hope that parapsychology experiments will ever be conducted without experimenter effects, since no other human subject science is able to do so. Sheep / goat performance differences for experimenters are the rule in parapsychology as in other fields of human-subject experimental science. Additionally, if the psi hypothesis is correct, then psi influence can work both for believers and disbelievers in psi phenomena to reveal or obscure psi effects.

This does not mean that every experiment by a sheep will demonstrate results, nor that every experiment by a goat will point at the null hypothesis. But there is a definite tendency for this in psi research, as well as clinical trials, standard psychology experiments, animal experiments, and other experiments with probabalistic results.

I'd also suggest additionally that if one's goal is primarily to "prove" psi or spiritual reality and "defeat" materialism once and for all one might well find oneself walking down the path tread by Susan Blackmore and Louie Savva, and ending up in the same place as they did. Because that kind of motivation does not seem to be correlated with fostering psi phenomena.

6 comments:

MindEnergy.net said...

Although I can agree that all are biased, I still think that the goal, as Stephen put it, is not to be. He didn't say it's the reality but that it's the goal. (I've not yet heard Alex's interview yet, so I'm basing on your quote).

Also, I didn't quite understand last paragraph. I know that Susie was very pro psi and ended up being very skeptical because she couldn't find any proof. But do you mean by this that anyone strongly looking for Psi won't find it?

For example, I tend to believe that Psi exists but I'd like to verify it. I run the online Psi Experiments at my site. Do you say that since I want to prove that psi exists, I actually won't be able to do that and end up being against it?

M.C. said...

What I mean is that a certain overearnestness in seeking out psi phenomena, often for psychological reasons can sometimes appear to backfire and make the phenomena more elusive. Psi phenomena seems to appear more often when the "witness" or "observing" consciousness is in the forefront, rather than the demanding ego who wants to manifest special and unique abilities.

I certainly could be wrong about this, this is a pattern I have observed personally with myself and a few others. YMMV, of course. . . Just some speculations on my part. I certainly can't speak to your own case, but I do feel that this pattern fits Susan Blackmore and Louie Savva fairly well. . .

M.C. said...

Although I can agree that all are biased, I still think that the goal, as Stephen put it, is not to be.

I wouldn't necessarily call it bias. Simply that the results of all experiments with complex, probabalistic phenomena seem to vary based on different experimenters. Not just psi experiments!

Ersby said...

I wonder how much the experimenter effect (in all fields opf science) is due to people simply writing up the results in the way that best suits their pre-existing worldview.

M.C. said...

I wonder how much the experimenter effect (in all fields of science) is due to people simply writing up the results in the way that best suits their pre-existing worldview.

A good question, and one that should be followed up on. . .

I would hope that most good science would involve preplanned hypothesis testing rather than after-the-fact data mining. Sometimes the line gets a bit blurry for example with meta-analysis, but any experiment should decide on its statistical tests before conducting the experimental trials.

Anonymous said...

Paranormal results are achieved through nonwestern music resonance of electrochemicals or emotions. This is why Betrand Russell was against mysticism -- too emotional. In fact the source of the emotions is achieved by the logic of inference which is what Godel discovered: self-enquiry of the I-thought. Unfortunately Godel was still stuck on science's dependancy in geometric spacetime.

We can HEAR the source of the I-thought as formless awareness which then resonates into thoughts, visions, matter, energy, etc.

Professor Harry M. Collin's recent essay, Lead to Gold, is an excellent summary of this issue of "null results." Collin states that only with technology can a negative result be used as a limit solution. There is no "pure" science, rather there is a desire by science to transform left-hand based life -- ecology -- into right-hand based silica -- apocalypse. Read Professor David F. Noble's book "The Religion of Technology (1996). He got fired from M.I.T. for detailing how modern science is directed by Freemasonry.

drew hempel, MA (google me for more details)