A list of skeptical lies?

#1
Scientific skepticism is generally thought to be a defender of science. Defending science would presuppose truthfulness, but that is something the skeptics are not. Attacking pseudoscience and woo would be OK if it would not mean also attacking parapsychology by chosen facts, colored facts, and even using outright lies.


Wikipedia is lost to Guerrilla Skepticism. Unfortunately scientists use Wikipedia much and have not understood the realistic situation. Therefore I have proposed parapsychologists ought to make a site for a list of the innumerable outright lies skeptics have written. So far I have not received any answers to my propositions.


Much of all information is vulnerable to interpretation. It is rather useless to debate about principles or opinions. Therefore the list ought to contain only such details that are impossible to explain away. There are lots of such lies, I have gathered some of them.


An example from Wikipedia:

Mediumship:

A series of mediumistic séances known as the Scole Experiment took place between 1993–98 in the presence of the researchers David Fontana, Arthur Ellison and Montague Keen. This has produced photographs, audio recordings and physical objects which appeared in the dark séance room (known as apports).[146] According to paranormal researcher Brian Dunning the Scole experiments fail in many ways. The séances were held in the basement of two of the mediums, only total darkness was allowed with no night vision apparatus as it might "frighten the spirits away". The box containing the film was not examined and could easily have been accessible to fraud. And finally, even though many years have passed, there has been no follow-up, no further research by any credible agency or published accounts.[147]


[Two given sources:]

146David Fontana. (2005). Is there an afterlife?. pp. 324-351. See also www.thescoleexperiment.com

147"The Scole Experiment: Said to be the best evidence yet for the afterlife -- but how good is that evidence?". Skeptoid. 2009-11-10. Retrieved 2011-10-30.

There are rather many chosen or false details written there, for example:

- the researchers were present only between 1995-97
- Brian Dunning is not a paranormal researcher
- the séances were held also elsewhere
- night vision apparatus was not allowed, but there was not always total darkness
- the film box was always examined
- it was not easy to open it and even more difficult to close it in darkness
- there was no follow-up because the phenomena did not continue
- rather ridiculous: even the Scole experiment site is not written as a link

My source: The Scole Report.
 
#2
My source: The Scole Report.
I don't really trust the Scole Report; I've noticed that groups like these prefer to dig at the lowest hanging fruit. There are other cases like Piper's (and SPR's near-daily fraud detection by essentially stalking her) or Beischel's replication of the Afterlife Experiments sans Schwartz which the groups do not like to talk about as much. On the old forum I once mocked (I wasn't quite as mature yet sadly :() a blog post reviewing modern mediumship, but that blog post conceded that Beischel's protocol is obscenely good. If they had the resources to use a powerful sample set instead of just 8-12 people (there is a revised one with about that many on their site, while retaining a significant result) it would probably become the new gold standard in mediumship reports.

However I've basically ignored your OP other then that, so I would say an assembled list of studies Wiseman has "refuted" by means of using a different definition of success than the paper he's replicating probably belongs here. A replication should use the same testing and success test as the work it is intended to duplicate, which as I understand it is something he commonly fails to do. (e.g. Sheldrake's dog experiment, saying the dog may only go to a window on the trigger instead of using the same analysis method; using a statistics method in the Ganzfelds which didn't account for different sample sizes and especially didn't demonstrate how the changed perspective was important.) Links to the PDFs would be all the better.
 
#5
I did mean the dogs experiment - thought that's what you were referring to. As for the Ganzfeld one, I think a discussion of that should be included in a greater discussion of the Ganzfeld.
 
#6
I did mean the dogs experiment - thought that's what you were referring to. As for the Ganzfeld one, I think a discussion of that should be included in a greater discussion of the Ganzfeld.
The dog one was beaten to death already as has the Wiseman Ganzfeld meta-analysis. Wiseman did three, count them, one, two, three trials and called it a day. He got the same results as Sheldrake and then went out and told the world that he had refuted the dog experiment. End of story. There is nothing new to be gained from rehashing that.

I take the fact that you want to continually bring these up and re-examine them as though the conclusions still weren't obvious to mean that you're back to the old game of trying to create endless doubt.
 
#7
I think its appropriate to mention that people are apparently still citing Wiseman-Milton as a definitive source on the issue, even if the paper's own flaws have been highlighted in the past.
 
#8
Novella said:
He is correct in that there is a project within skeptical circles to keep Wikipedia scientifically accurate. Chopra would like his readers to think this is “militants” attacking their “enemies.” From the skeptical point of view, of course, this is simply a project for Wikipedia to accurately present scientific information about controversial topics. The goal is to prevent promoters of nonsense and pseudoscience to use Wikipedia for free advertising and spreading propaganda.

The more neutral perspective is that Wikipedia is a common battle ground for ideological opponents. This is a serious issue for Wikipedia, as they have to deal with editing wars. They partly deal with this by labeling certain entries as controversial, and also allowing different sections within an entry for the various perspectives. I guess Chopra would like to have free reign in Wikipedia without any opposing opinions being expressed.
I was sort of following the response up until this part; this section is either disingenuous or dishonest, since the groups seek to delete any reports of success by also labeling them fringe instead of posting both and having the skeptic viewpoint labeled as criticism. Not to mention that at least one of the public guerrilla skeptic sites is actively telling people to rate all of their own sites as trustworthy on the web of trust.
 
#9
I don't really trust the Scole Report; I've noticed that groups like these prefer to dig at the lowest hanging fruit.

Would you, please, be more specific here? That resembles skeptical debunking too much.
- have you read the report?
- the researchers were not competent enough?
- the researchers were dishonest?
- the researchers were too gullible?
- the researchers were sloppy?
- a few specific examples of flaws in their methods?
 
#10
Would you, please, be more specific here? That resembles skeptical debunking too much.
By "low hanging fruit" I was mentioning that usually if skeptic groups are interested in dogging something down, that it probably wasn't one of the most powerful pieces of evidence. When I looked in to it, I didn't see much that wasn't already done by 1900's SPR folk. Skeptics seem to be nervously shy of Ganzfelds and don't want to talk about Beischel's mediumship studies (unless they can get the low hanging fruit of mocking "quintuple blind"); usually if your goal is to cause an information blackout you do exactly this. Take whatever the easiest to mock is and shine that as how someone is stupid, but ignore people who matter. I've seen the same pattern mentioned in gossip columns; when someone gets enough clout they can ruin you about as much as you can ruin them, you stop mentioning that person and pray nobody finds out about them naturally.

I'm more interested in knowing how it works or how we can get more people able to do it, than more replications of 1900's studies.
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#11
Skeptics seem to be nervously shy of Ganzfelds and don't want to talk about Beischel's mediumship studies (unless they can get the low hanging fruit of mocking "quintuple blind"); usually if your goal is to cause an information blackout you do exactly this.
I don't know anything about Beischel's studies, only the rather funky ones she did with Schwartz. What should I read?

~~ Paul
 
#12
JClearley, thank you for your immediate answer. I thought you meant the researchers of the Scole phenomena and not the skeptics.

I took the Scole Report as an example because the Wiki misrepresentation of the case used much Brian Dunning as a source, and Dunning told he had read the Report.
 
#13
I don't know anything about Beischel's studies, only the rather funky ones she did with Schwartz. What should I read?
There is a research brief on their site regarding her own studies, which references the protocol she designed for testing; their publications are listed on the Windbridge website. As far as I can tell she has been continuing the studies without Schwartz and continuing to find positive results, though she has also been working on researching the differences between mediums and psi.
 
#14
My observation, is that the biggest skeptical lie is that their beliefs are based on scientific knowledge.

They make frequent claims to absolute knowledge, rather than acknowledging scientific knowledge is relative and provisional. They ignore data and research by credible scientists that does not support support their ideology.
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#15
My observation, is that the biggest skeptical lie is that their beliefs are based on scientific knowledge.

They make frequent claims to absolute knowledge, rather than acknowledging scientific knowledge is relative and provisional. They ignore data and research by credible scientists that does not support support their ideology.
I don't know a single skeptic who claims to have absolute knowledge. I do, however, know some proponents who do. As far as ignoring data and research, everyone suffers from that malady.

One common claim that involves absolute knowledge is the claim that there is some kind of absolute morality.

~~ Paul
 
#16
As far as ignoring data and research, everyone suffers from that malady.
I think the irking point here is that it is socially acceptable for a skeptic to make claims ignorant of the evidence, it is socially unacceptable for a proponent to make claims ignorant of the evidence, and it is socially acceptable to shut down a proponent's attempt to introduce evidence with handwaving, but socially unacceptable for a proponent to do the same. It should be uniformly unacceptable for either party to refuse evidence, until that evidence is looked at and deemed objectively improper in some way. There are a good number of "fallback points" such as the "I don't need to prove anything because I'm a skeptic, but here is my claim that this is the obvious answer." When pressed for evidence on their claim, often times there is no actual evidence other than Occam's Razor which is not evidence but a heuristic.

There also seems to be a disconnect between the common drivel and the educated ones, true for both communities. It seems like the reputations are made by the common drivel, and then the educated people on both sides wonder why people say the things they do because they don't personally hang out with other uneducated people. Seems to be fuel for near unending arguments.
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#17
I think the irking point here is that it is socially acceptable for a skeptic to make claims ignorant of the evidence, it is socially unacceptable for a proponent to make claims ignorant of the evidence, and it is socially acceptable to shut down a proponent's attempt to introduce evidence with handwaving, but socially unacceptable for a proponent to do the same.
I don't know what society you're talking about. I'd agree with you somewhat over at the JREF forum. I'd say just the opposite here.

It should be uniformly unacceptable for either party to refuse evidence, until that evidence is looked at and deemed objectively improper in some way.
I don't understand.

There are a good number of "fallback points" such as the "I don't need to prove anything because I'm a skeptic, but here is my claim that this is the obvious answer."
I've never heard a skeptic say that here, but I've certainly heard proponents insist that it's the skeptic's job to disprove various claims. In almost all cases, there is a burden on both sides.

When pressed for evidence on their claim, often times there is no actual evidence other than Occam's Razor which is not evidence but a heuristic.
I agree that Occam is often misused, by both sides. How many times have you heard proponents say that an afterlife is the most parsimonious explanation, or that the transmission hypothesis is?

~~ Paul
 
#18
Scientific skepticism is generally thought to be a defender of science. Defending science would presuppose truthfulness, but that is something the skeptics are not. Attacking pseudoscience and woo would be OK if it would not mean also attacking parapsychology by chosen facts, colored facts, and even using outright lies.


Wikipedia is lost to Guerrilla Skepticism. Unfortunately scientists use Wikipedia much and have not understood the realistic situation. Therefore I have proposed parapsychologists ought to make a site for a list of the innumerable outright lies skeptics have written. So far I have not received any answers to my propositions.

An example from Wikipedia:

Mediumship:

A series of mediumistic séances known as the Scole Experiment took place between 1993–98 in the presence of the researchers David Fontana, Arthur Ellison and Montague Keen. This has produced photographs, audio recordings and physical objects which appeared in the dark séance room (known as apports).[146] According to paranormal researcher Brian Dunning the Scole experiments fail in many ways.


.
Using Brian Dunning as some sort of an expert on anything is ludicrous. His expertise on the subject is between none and fuck-all.
Wikipedia is lost to the cynical mongrels.
 
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#19
I don't know a single skeptic who claims to have absolute knowledge. I do, however, know some proponents who do. As far as ignoring data and research, everyone suffers from that malady.

One common claim that involves absolute knowledge is the claim that there is some kind of absolute morality.

~~ Paul
Skeptics routinely make erroneous claims that science has proved something is impossible or non-existent. They do not qualify the specific claim as relative or provisional.
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#20
Skeptics routinely make erroneous claims that science has proved something is impossible or non-existent. They do not qualify the specific claim as relative or provisional.
I don't think skeptics do this routinely. Everyone knows science is provisional. But I'd need to see specific instances to decide.

~~ Paul
 
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