Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Controversy between Dean Radin and Andrew Endersby

Andrew Endersby has been commenting about Dean Radin's meta-analyses for some time on this blog and elsewhere as well, and I have remarked that I would like Radin to respond.

Endersby's position is that Radin's meta-analyses are not done properly, that he does not provide inclusion criteria, and that he has left out relevant studies.

I felt that Endersby's points needed to be addressed by Radin, and asked him to do so in an email.

Radin did not wish to be drawn into a debate on this topic, but made the following points in his emails to me, which I will paraphrase.

1) Endersby's ganzfeld meta-analysis also shows staggering odds against the null hypothesis, so Radin doesn't understand the large controversy Endersby is stirring up over Radin's ganzfeld meta-analyses.

2) Radin has conducted two formal psi meta-analyses, published in the literature, and in those papers the inclusion criteria were formally outlined. Those meta-analyses covered PK experiments using dice, and PK experiments using RNG.

3) Radin's meta-analysis of the ganzfeld and his other meta-analyses (besided the two mentioned above) relied on earlier meta-analyses published in the literature, updated with data from more recent studies. They were not full, formal meta-analyses. So studies left out of earlier meta-analyses by other authors are also left out of Radin's meta-analysis updates.

4) Radin mentioned that he invited Endersby to submit his paper to a peer reviewed journal, and that if and when it gets published, he will consider the controversy important and relevant and respond. Until that happens, Radin doesn't believe that Endersby's critique rises to the level of a genuine controversy, and lacking such a controversy, Radin feels it would not be the best use of his time to respond formally.

I want to thank Dean Radin for his responses to my emails, and Andrew Endersby for bringing our attention to some important missing studies in the Radin and previous Ganzfeld meta-analyses. Andrew has also occasionally pointed out problems in my own research for AMNAP, and I appreciate his attention to detail and his penchant for rolling up his sleeves and doing his own investigations.


Ersby said...

Well, his refusal to respond is no surprise at all. Although I wish I could somehow get Radin to realise that I haven't done a meta-analysis. My articles have no inclusion criteria. I've explained this to him once already. The final figure includes experiments with methodological flaws that I wouldn't put in any meta-analysis. Garbage in, garbage out, as they say.

His Concious Universe meta-analysis contains Honorton's 1985 meta-analysis, followed by post-1985 work from five parapsychological labs (with further, more recent, undefined experiments added in Entangled Mind). This means that, for example, Stanford's pre-1982 work is included, but his post-1982 work is excluded. He made no significant change in his research at that time and I cannot imagine any reason to place a cut off point there other than sheer laxness.

Going point by point:

(1) Let's assume for a moment that psi does exist and that my work does show its effect. That doesn't excuse Radin's mistakes in constructing his meta-analysis. There are two issues here which we must be careful not to cofuse: (i) does psi exist, and (ii) is Radin's meta-analysis properly conducted? It may well be that the answer to (i) is "yes" and the answer to (ii) is "no".

(2) If anything, the fact that he's conducted two other meta-analyses with inclusion criteria just makes it all the more strange that he hasn't done so here.

(3) Did he really say they were not full, formal meta-analyses? Well, I agree with that.

(4) I am writing a paper on the subject, but it is slow going. Besides, I've noticed a slight change in parapsychological literature against meta-analyses. J.E.Kennedy, as I've already posted on here, has pointed out the defects in psi meta-analyses, and even C.Watt, on some teaching notes she put on the internet, criticises the Bem, Broughton & Palmer 2000 meta-analysis.

My prediction is that before my paper is complete, another parapsychologist will publish a paper saying the same things that I am: that no exhaustive meta-analysis of the ganzfeld work exists.

Radin's insistance on not answering my points is entirely up to him, but frankly, it makes no difference. I can demonstrate that his work is flawed on an internet forum using references and examples just as well as I can in a peer-reviewed journal, and I won't have to wait a year for it to be published.

Annalisa said...

I'd like to encourage Ersby to finish his paper and submit it. I don't think that meta-analyses in parapsychology are going to disappear anytime soon. Nor do I find other parapsychologists clamouring the present the same issues that he brings forth. Erbsy, You can demonstrate that Dr. Radin's work is flawed on the internet with or without publishing a peer-reviewed article on the subject, but I suspect that your opinions will have more impact doing it with. At least then others in the field will be able to properly cite it. You might consider approaching one of the newer online journals like Explore or Antimatters. I suspect that it would take much less than a year to see your work there, and nobody would need an expensive subscription to have access to it.

Ersby said...

Who said "clamouring"? Who said meta-analyses would disappear? Not me.

Please don't put words into my mouth. Thanks.

Annalisa said...

What I said above was my response to your comment, not a summation of it. I'm not trying to put words in your mouth, I would just like to see your paper sometime.

Ersby said...

It appears to be a response to things I never said. I just wanted to make that clear.

M.C. said...

Did he really say they were not full, formal meta-analyses?

Yes, that was the gist of it.