Mod+ 257. DR. DIANE POWELL FINDS TELEPATHY AMONG AUTISTIC SAVANT CHILDREN

#41
oh my you must be new to the Skeptics game :)
Yeah, I think I got ahead of myself saying that! However much of the good evidence on the Mind-Brain - Survival problem, even though convincing, is essentially subjective. This is potentialy work that could convince some more people because if reproducible under tight conditions it would be difficult to refute. One can hope!
 
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#42
I think her work is amazing but honestly I have seen many cases of PSI which I think are nearly as convincing, and in any case, I don't need more evidence than I have already accumulated.
Surely you will agree that the magnitude of ability this girl has, if true, is something that is far from normal or in any way average?

Here's my point- I'm pretty pessimistic about the possibility that any demonstration of this type, no matter how "watertight" can convince many remaining hard core sceptics. There will always be one more thing the researcher should have done to make the test satisfactory. And this iteration has no end.
If the girl can do what she does in the the way Powell is describing, I think you'd have be extremely pessimistic to think it wouldn't make a difference. Or perhaps there's someone else that can repeatedly telepathically recognize 6 digit numbers 40-50 times in a row with 100% accuracy?
 
#43
Surely you will agree that the magnitude of ability this girl has, if true, is something that is far from normal or in any way average?



If the girl can do what she does in the the way Powell is describing, I think you'd have be extremely pessimistic to think it wouldn't make a difference. Or perhaps there's someone else that can repeatedly telepathically recognize 6 digit numbers 40-50 times in a row with 100% accuracy?
I think this phenomenon has been sitting under our noses for decades! I mean autistic savants do quite outrageous things which each require quite far fetched conventional explanations. Think of the severely retarded twins that could detect prime numbers with many digits, but couldn't do elementary arithmetic (described by Oliver Sacks), or the musical savants that can play an instrument to perfection yet are otherwise hugely retarded. If we are honest, these never made sense under the normal assumption that people learn what they know by normal means.

David
 
#44
The results will not be accepted by skeptics until the study is independently replicated with positive results. In this particular instance, it seems that the ability occurs in only a handful of the world's population. How can the results be replicated in such a situation? The sketics will say,"well, gee, if its only these few subjects, then they probably have an exceptionally clever trick." You'd need another set of similarly 'gifted' individuals to test and they might not be forthcoming.
 
#45
Given what seems to be an intensely paranoid society, I suppose it is a good thing children with so-called telepathic superpowers also exhibit apparent autism, otherwise they could get locked up. I mean, who among us would really be okay with “non-mentally-challenged” people out-and-about who can telepathically know the bank account numbers, passwords, or deep dark secrets of everyone they meet? Historically, society tends to persecute those who truly seem to have “potentially threatening” so-called “gifts” (or governments abduct them into secret spy programs!).

So what, do such children lose their so-called telepathic powers as they age? Where are all the autistic telepathic adults?
 
#46
I think this phenomenon has been sitting under our noses for decades! I mean autistic savants do quite outrageous things which each require quite far fetched conventional explanations. Think of the severely retarded twins that could detect prime numbers with many digits, but couldn't do elementary arithmetic (described by Oliver Sacks), or the musical savants that can play an instrument to perfection yet are otherwise hugely retarded. If we are honest, these never made sense under the normal assumption that people learn what they know by normal means.
Yes, Stephen Wiltshire has an interesting story. If brain /= mind, what's really up with the "telepathy", "HSAM/photographic memory", "genius savant"?
 
#47
I'm curious about Dr. Powell's model. I'm a bit confused about keeping such a thing private until publication in a scientific paper. Wouldn't it make sense to present this model openly?
Yeah, that's a tricky one. Maybe she wants to have it peer reviewed first. Or maybe have the paper out so she gets priority. I've seen other much more mainstream researchers worried about getting "scooped". But it seems to me that for something like this, there isn't a ton of people knocking down this door. Still, yeah, this stood out to me.
 
#48
When you submit a paper for publication, you have to state that it has not been previously published elsewhere. So you have to remain quiet about the main content until publication. That's standard.
No, it's perfectly fine to present it in open forums like seminars or conference talks. Happens all the time. You can even have published abstracts of at least some of the work; that is very common too.
 
#49
I got the ambivalent thing going listening to this. Having an n = 1 is always very shaky. And the idea that it evolved from a math error also raises red flags. The way science is supposed to work is: 1. Present theory, 2. Measure theory, 3. Show how well data fits theory. So, accidents shouldn't factor in during the measurement stage. The measurements in fact should be tightly constrained by the theory when one designs the experiments.

That said, there is also such a thing as serendipity, where one stumbles into a new phenomena. But even this often occurs because one has gone into some experiments with theory "X" and they end up seeing theory "Y", and recognizing "Y" after the fact.

The overall idea, that at least some autistic kids might be using psychic powers (sorry I am old fashioned and prefer this term), is at least plausible, and novel too.

But again, with all this stuff I fall back on the "putting the cart before the horse" issue. How can we say what "mind reading" is if we don't know what the mind is? What is the mechanism of the information transfer?

I know this is all quite curmudgeonly, but again, call me old fashioned.

Don
 
#50
The results will not be accepted by skeptics until the study is independently replicated with positive results. In this particular instance, it seems that the ability occurs in only a handful of the world's population. How can the results be replicated in such a situation? The sketics will say,"well, gee, if its only these few subjects, then they probably have an exceptionally clever trick."
Eheh sure... an exceptionally clever trick pulled off by a cognitively impaired child that even skeptics can't figure out.
What will be the title of this movie? "Total dissonance" ? :D

Preparing the popcorns...
 
#51
Surely you will agree that the magnitude of ability this girl has, if true, is something that is far from normal or in any way average?

If the girl can do what she does in the the way Powell is describing, I think you'd have be extremely pessimistic to think it wouldn't make a difference. Or perhaps there's someone else that can repeatedly telepathically recognize 6 digit numbers 40-50 times in a row with 100% accuracy?
>>
Of course. What this girl is demonstrating is certainly true and is certainly amazing. My point was that we have been seeing these sort of things for millennia and have been explaining it all away. And my guess is we (the main stream) will continue to do so even when presented with these additional findings.


>>
Extremely pessimistic? How would you explain the fact that society has ignored the huge volume of evidence of these phenomena previously? And why would you think this would stop? What exactly is it in this case that makes this absolutely irrefutable? How do you KNOW there isn't a conspiracy involving many or ALL of the participants? You can't know.. That's the point. There will always be some lame thing that a sceptic will hang their hat on... That's what hard core scepticism is all about. Can you explain the fact that the "Randy" prize has never been paid out without reaching the conclusion that this is the case?

I think what we are seeing in this case is incremental,, just "another brick in the wall". I don't see anything new that will make the hardcore doubter stop doubting.

Before these findings I felt that it was simply irrational to deny the existence of Psi.

OK,,, so now it is irrational times 2.... And next year it will be times 10...

I think eventually this will change. But I'm predicting that it will be slowly and by degree and not based on some momentous "irrefutable" occurrence, because in the end,,, nothing is absolutely irrefutable.
 
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F
#52
>>
Extremely pessimistic? How would you explain the fact that society has ignored the huge volume of evidence of these phenomena previously? And why would you think this would stop? What exactly is it in this case that makes this absolutely irrefutable? How do you KNOW there isn't a conspiracy involving many or ALL of the participants? You can't know.. That's the point. There will always be some lame thing that a sceptic will hang their hat on... That's what hard core scepticism is all about. Can you explain the fact that the "Randy" prize has never been paid out without reaching the conclusion that this is the case?

I think what we are seeing in this case is incremental,, just another "brick in the wall". I don't see anything new that will make the hardcore doubter stop doubting.

Before these findings I felt that it was simply irrational to deny the existence of PSI.

OK,,, so now it is irrational times 2.... And next year it will be times 10...

I think eventually this will change. But I'm predicting that it will be slowly and by degree and not based on some momentous "irrefutable" occurrence.
I agree. I think the majority of normal folks already accept that there is something to these phenomena. So this study would basically be like, so what. We already knew that. And the majority of science and the skeptics are going to continue to doubt or have no idea what to do with it. Telepathy doesn't necessarily wipe materialism off the map. They will find ways to fold it into the current worldview without a problem. There isn't going to be any grand paradigm change. It will be slow.
 
#53
Telepathy doesn't necessarily wipe materialism off the map. They will find ways to fold it into the current worldview without a problem.
Such as,,
telepathy is a form of nonlocal phenomena based on quantum entanglement

or a type of field coupling between physical brains that is immune to electromagnetic shielding,,,

or my favorite,,,,, that it is based on an undiscovered "particle". Whenever a physicist wants to find a causation behind some new phenomena they always seem to attribute it to an as__yet undiscovered particle.... same old materialist centric thinking...
 
#54
No, it's perfectly fine to present it in open forums like seminars or conference talks. Happens all the time. You can even have published abstracts of at least some of the work; that is very common too.
The Skeptiko podcast is not a scientific seminar or conference talk. Most researchers do not talk about work in detail pre-publication. Peer review can change how you ultimately decide to present your work. And in Parapsychology you know you are going to be dealing with extreme levels of criticism (much of it unreasonable), so you really want to get all your ducks in a row before going public. Look at all the flack Daryl Bem went through with his precognition research, and he certainly wasn't new to publishing his work.
 
#55
>>
Of course. What this girl is demonstrating is certainly true and is certainly amazing. My point was that we have been seeing these sort of things for millennia and have been explaining it all away. And my guess is we (the main stream) will continue to do so even when presented with these additional findings.


>>
Extremely pessimistic? How would you explain the fact that society has ignored the huge volume of evidence of these phenomena previously? And why would you think this would stop? What exactly is it in this case that makes this absolutely irrefutable? How do you KNOW there isn't a conspiracy involving many or ALL of the participants? You can't know.. That's the point. There will always be some lame thing that a sceptic will hang their hat on... That's what hard core scepticism is all about. Can you explain the fact that the "Randy" prize has never been paid out without reaching the conclusion that this is the case?

I think what we are seeing in this case is incremental,, just "another brick in the wall". I don't see anything new that will make the hardcore doubter stop doubting.

Before these findings I felt that it was simply irrational to deny the existence of Psi.

OK,,, so now it is irrational times 2.... And next year it will be times 10...

I think eventually this will change. But I'm predicting that it will be slowly and by degree and not based on some momentous "irrefutable" occurrence, because in the end,,, nothing is absolutely irrefutable.
I agree in some ways and I disagree. And also we don't need to bring Randy into this. That's the dead end of all dead ends.

My original point is that when you say "these sorts of things for a millenia" it frames this girl's abilities as just another example of psi in action among hundreds if not thousands of other cases. This is not true. The ability that Powell is describing is off the charts stronger than any other contemporary case of psi I've ever heard. This ability, with its "repeat on demand" and 100% reliability bucks all trends in psi research. She seems infallible. The only thing that could go wrong now is that the effect completely disappears, and if that happens before the rest of the studies are done it will never be accepted. This is not some skeptical baloney either. Powell herself understands and spoke clearly of the need to take the studies further to cement the results.

And conspiracy? No. If the top professional parapsychology world came together on this and got the types of results Powell is describing the evidence would be irrefutable. Her ability is so utterly simple to demonstrate, and with 100% results. It is the duty of prominent scientists to not screw this up.
 
#56
I agree in some ways and I disagree. And also we don't need to bring Randy into this. That's the dead end of all dead ends.

My original point is that when you say "these sorts of things for a millenia" it frames this girl's abilities as just another example of psi in action among hundreds if not thousands of other cases. This is not true. The ability that Powell is describing is off the charts stronger than any other contemporary case of psi I've ever heard. This ability, with its "repeat on demand" and 100% reliability bucks all trends in psi research. She seems infallible. The only thing that could go wrong now is that the effect completely disappears, and if that happens before the rest of the studies are done it will never be accepted. This is not some skeptical baloney either. Powell herself understands and spoke clearly of the need to take the studies further to cement the results.

And conspiracy? No. If the top professional parapsychology world came together on this and got the types of results Powell is describing the evidence would be irrefutable. Her ability is so utterly simple to demonstrate, and with 100% results. It is the duty of prominent scientists to not screw this up.
I think it would be largely ignored simply because most people don't care about any of this stuff. Most people (scientists included) are not skeptics, but they also don't give a shit about parapsychology, nor telepathy. There's maybe a handful of people on Earth who are concerned with these issues. Most of them post on this forum. What is science going to do with the fact that some studies show a high probability of telepathy in one or a few autistic toddlers? I'll tell you right now. Science will do absolutely nothing with it. I guarantee it.

The work on telepathy Sheldrake has done is vastly more significant and important, for one because he goes out to demonstrate how it relates to everyday people in the everyday world. Nobody cares about these scant individual psi anomalies. They are easy to ignore and they will be. You might hear a lot of "Oh, that's interesting. Now I will carry on with my day..." Believe it or not, it's just not a very important issue.
 
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#57
I agree in some ways and I disagree. And also we don't need to bring Randy into this. That's the dead end of all dead ends.
Definitely!
My original point is that when you say "these sorts of things for a millenia" it frames this girl's abilities as just another example of psi in action among hundreds if not thousands of other cases. This is not true. The ability that Powell is describing is off the charts stronger than any other contemporary case of psi I've ever heard. This ability, with its "repeat on demand" and 100% reliability bucks all trends in psi research. She seems infallible. The only thing that could go wrong now is that the effect completely disappears, and if that happens before the rest of the studies are done it will never be accepted. This is not some skeptical baloney either. Powell herself understands and spoke clearly of the need to take the studies further to cement the results.
Unfortunately (but only for science) I think it is the case that a lot of autistic people become more normal as they grow up.
And conspiracy? No. If the top professional parapsychology world came together on this and got the types of results Powell is describing the evidence would be irrefutable. Her ability is so utterly simple to demonstrate, and with 100% results. It is the duty of prominent scientists to not screw this up.
My prediction is that relatively few people will study this girl, but many will carp from the sidelines. Think of Rupert Sheldrake's dog experiments - only Wiseman tried to repeat them (I think), and then he was forced into an ugly fudge to try to save face. Why weren't there loads of parapsychologists and indeed psychologists trying to repeat this? I think the answer goes something like this:

The conventional psychologists can gain little from studying phenomena of this sort - if they refute the claim they are only refuting something that the rest of psychology dismissed anyway, and if they repeat the result, they fall under the same stigma as RS himself.

The parapsychologists might be expected to be more interested, but I suspect most of them feel that big effects will attract a lot of attention (not least Randi), and they will be labelled as frauds if they manage to repeat the results!

David
 
#58
Definitely!

Unfortunately (but only for science) I think it is the case that a lot of autistic people become more normal as they grow up.


My prediction is that relatively few people will study this girl, but many will carp from the sidelines. Think of Rupert Sheldrake's dog experiments - only Wiseman tried to repeat them (I think), and then he was forced into an ugly fudge to try to save face. Why weren't there loads of parapsychologists and indeed psychologists trying to repeat this? I think the answer goes something like this:

The conventional psychologists can gain little from studying phenomena of this sort - if they refute the claim they are only refuting something that the rest of psychology dismissed anyway, and if they repeat the result, they fall under the same stigma as RS himself.

The parapsychologists might be expected to be more interested, but I suspect most of them feel that big effects will attract a lot of attention (not least Randi), and they will be labelled as frauds if they manage to repeat the results!

David
I agree with this observation. If I may add, I think that there are many well meaning psychologists who just want to avoid the mess and indignity of being involved in a controversy that isn't important to their line of research. In the psi wars, mud slinging goes in all directions. These days, you can be attacked for being a skeptic as well as being a proponent. Either way you will be attacked.
 
#59
I think it would be largely ignored simply because most people don't care about any of this stuff. Most people (scientists included) are not skeptics, but they also don't give a shit parapsychology, nor telepathy. There's maybe a handful of people on Earth who are concerned with these issues.
I don't know how you can say this with a straight (or long) face. Most people don't care about this stuff? Do you mean most people don't care whether or not it's woven into our scientific understanding of the world? Or do you mean most people don't care about the supernatural at all?
 
#60
Definitely!
Unfortunately (but only for science) I think it is the case that a lot of autistic people become more normal as they grow up.
It's actually unfortunate for everyone, and a great mystery about telekinetic abilities if this is the case. Either way, I don't see how this impacts the importance of studying it while the power is strong. Are you saying there's really nothing to be gained by it?

My prediction is that relatively few people will study this girl, but many will carp from the sidelines. Think of Rupert Sheldrake's dog experiments - only Wiseman tried to repeat them (I think), and then he was forced into an ugly fudge to try to save face. Why weren't there loads of parapsychologists and indeed psychologists trying to repeat this?
The dog experiment, while fascinating, is absolutely POSITIVELY miniscule in scope as compared to Powell's observations. There's nothing open to interpretation about what she is claiming this girl is doing. Comparing the two experiments is apples to oranges. And the difference between them is why I'm being so vocal about this. There is no other psychic power operating at this magnitude that I can think of. Can you?

The conventional psychologists can gain little from studying phenomena of this sort - if they refute the claim they are only refuting something that the rest of psychology dismissed anyway, and if they repeat the result, they fall under the same stigma as RS himself.

The parapsychologists might be expected to be more interested, but I suspect most of them feel that big effects will attract a lot of attention (not least Randi), and they will be labelled as frauds if they manage to repeat the results!
It's sort of like you're saying that parapsychologists should throw in the towel. I mean, why should they study anything at all? Why even try? What's the point of Sheldrake or Radin or any other prominent parapsychologist studying miniscule effects (at the risk of humiliating themselves) when they can study an effect that is instead off the charts? If the end result is still the risk of career suicide, why not go for the gusto? The idea that parapsychologists shouldn't care about the very strongest displays of psi abilities is kind of bizarre, actually. I don't get it at all.
 
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