Dr. Jeffrey Long’s, God and the Afterlife, Science & Spirituality Have Collided |327|

The post I was replying to? Yes, I thought it was aimed at me, especially as it repeated charges that I'm pretty sure you've aimed at me on more than one occasion, and then said "over to you, Arouet". But perhaps I misinterpreted. So maybe I should clarify. Do you apply any of the following to me:
  • Stonewalling.
  • Legalism.
  • Evidential high jumps.
  • Masquerading as a quest for mutual understanding.


Ok, let's take that as the definition. What criteria are you applying to evaluate this?



Sorry Gabriel, I'm not sure what this is meant to mean, and upon what it is based Your example doesn't help either:



Hold on. I'm a resident skeptic who has not come out as a philosophical materialist. In fact, I've quite explicitly stated that I'm not one. I'm not sure why you find that objectionable, or how it is an example of "inhabiting the intellectual high ground, without stating what that ground is" or "negotiating an advantage which I am not required to support" or "prodding what I feel is the oppositions soft parts without inviting an equivalent response."

For my part, I always try and establish the support for any position I advance, and often offer to supply further material if people want. When I reply to a post I don't cherry pick for soft part, I answer each an every part of a post, often indicating areas where I agree. And I regularly ask for - even beg for - critique of my position in response.

This is the problem with your stereotyping. Regardless of what I say, you treat anything I write as if they follow your stereotypical rules. That automatically makes any kind of real discourse impossible, because you aren't really responding to me. I'm using me as an example but it applies to the others as well.

Your rants, where you scoop a diverse group of people, each with pros and cons, into this amorphous blob of extreme positions distract from legitimate critiques of individual arguments and contribute to the breakdown of real communication, which is what you claim to support. You argue that you should try and figure out what a person believes. There's nothing wrong with that in principle. But not as a means to beat their arguments - that's tactics, gamesmanship and debate, not communication. You want to figure out what someone believes? Ask them questions and pay attention to the answers. . You want real communication? Respond to what they say, not what you think they should have said if they met your imagined stereotype. Explain your own positions as clearly as you can and then pay attention to the response.

As for my beliefs - that's a pretty broad question and this forum is filled with my expositions of them. If you have a specific question then ask. And there is very little of which I am certain, though I usually try and state roughly where I stand on a given issue, and provide my reasons in as much detail as I have time for. As for my ire - it's not sloppy thinking that raises it. It is personal attacks and treating people badly that does.

Erm- I guess back over to you?
The position I portrayed is born of extensive contact with skeptics. I feel confident in saying any proponent who has engaged with a self-styled skeptic on the internet will recognise that I haven't just drawn it out of my backside. If you can't see that, have you considered it may be myopia on your part? I've asked you on a number of occasions for clarity, particularly after long drawn out posts like this, and you've never consolidated your beliefs into something tangible. It's always about the other person. Always.
Until you're prepared to adopt a position more engaging and solid than stonewalling, legalism and evidential high jumps backed by a notional quest for understanding, I consider your position weak and your contribution fair game.
 
The position I portrayed is born of extensive contact with skeptics. I feel confident in saying any proponent who has engaged with a self-styled skeptic on the internet will recognise that I haven't just drawn it out of my backside. If you can't see that, have you considered it may be myopia on your part? I've asked you on a number of occasions for clarity, particularly after long drawn out posts like this, and you've never consolidated your beliefs into something tangible. It's always about the other person. Always.
Until you're prepared to adopt a position more engaging and solid than stonewalling, legalism and evidential high jumps backed by a notional quest for understanding, I consider your position weak and your contribution fair game.
This is my feeling too. I mean if you are a lawyer, Arouet, you will end up representing people you don't agree with - so you put forward the best case you can in court - possibly trying to pick holes in the evidence when there aren't any - I don't like that system, but then possibly you don't either. However, on this forum, you only represent yourself - so why not say what you think.
I'm a resident skeptic who has not come out as a philosophical materialist. In fact, I've quite explicitly stated that I'm not one.
I'm not even sure what that means in down to earth terms! I mean can't you get down to brass tacks:

1) Do you believe people have NDE's under conditions when they are nearly dead (cardiac arrest etc), or do you think they confabulate these afterwards. If the latter, how do you explain their awareness of the resuscitation procedures?

2) Do you care what people report after the NDE proceeds beyond the immediate drama. How do you deal with evidence like that?

3) What do you make of shared death experiences?

Surely you realise by now that there isn't much that science can offer you here - because all its insistence that death means oblivion is based on a model of consciousness that science can't prove?

A lawyer doesn't usually want to be concise, but here, it certainly helps. If condensed what you really wanted to say before posting it, you might get a better response.

David
 
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The position I portrayed is born of extensive contact with skeptics. I feel confident in saying any proponent who has engaged with a self-styled skeptic on the internet will recognise that I haven't just drawn it out of my backside. If you can't see that, have you considered it may be myopia on your part? I've asked you on a number of occasions for clarity, particularly after long drawn out posts like this, and you've never consolidated your beliefs into something tangible. It's always about the other person. Always.
Of course I consider myopia on my part! And I regularly say so explicitly! Are you honestly saying that I don't? How many posts would you like me to quote where I say that I may have missed something, or may not have fully understood something, and the like and ask for critique? 5? 10? 20?

And when you say you've asked for clarity after long drawn out posts - what you mean is, after I've spent a few hours setting out my position in detail, you tell me you haven't bothered to read any of it and ask me to boil it down to a sentence or two!

Here, all you've asked is for me to say my beliefs? Beliefs about what? You leave me to guess. Ok, so I will:

  • The possibility of psi existing? I've said many times I believe it possible, and that there is evidence in favour of it but I don't think it has reached a sufficient evidentiary threshold to justify belief.
  • The possiblity of god existing? same answer.
  • The state of parapsychology: I think it has produced intriguing early results but due to limited resources has not been able to construct experiments that confidently lead to the conclusion.
  • NDEs? I think there are some intriguing cases, none of which have been captured in controlled conditions. I think many parapsychologists have been too narrow in their approach to them, relying on selected samples and not casting a wide enough net in terms of considering plausible causes worth investigating.
  • If parapsychology is worth pursuing? Yes, I strongly think it is.
  • In being open to non-physical causes: yes, I think we should be.
  • Is everything material? I have no idea. We've identified this "stuff" that we've labelled "matter" or "physical" and we've figured out certain properties of it. Some of those properties we've modelled and labelled them physical laws. Other properties we frame in informational terms, which some consider material others don't. Consciousness is another property we've identified.
  • Do I believe consciousness is fundamental? I'm never sure that we've identified what is fundamental, my guess is we haven't. But I lean towards consciousness being a fundamental property of this stuff we've identified.
  • What do I mean by consciousness? I mean the capacity to have experiences.
  • Do I think it meaningfull to say that conscousness itself is fundamental? To me that doesn't convey meaning. Experience denotes something having the experience - so consciousness may be a fundamental property of whatever is fundamental, but it doesn't make sense to me to say that experience itself is fundamental.
  • So where does that leave idealism? My view is that idealism isn't describing consciousness as fundamental but rather some Mind-at-large (MAL) which to me indicates some fundamental thing that has consciousness as a fundamental property.
  • Is there other stuff in the universe that is different than this stuff we call matter? Could be.
  • If that stuff can interact with matter does it indicate that they are the same stuff? I'm not sure. Seems to make them the same stuff.
  • If the other stuff has some properties compatible with matter and other properties incompatible does that make it different? Probably.
  • Is there confident evidence of this other stuff? Not in my opinion from everything I've studied.
  • Do we fully understand the properties of this stuff we call matter? not even close.
That's enough for now. Every single one of these (with perhaps the exception of my MAL comment, though I've said similar things) are things I've repeated many times on the forum, though accompanied by my reasoning. Everyone one of them should be seen as rough summaries of my view and should not be taken as rigid or without nuance. None of them convey fully my thoughts. And every one of those positions is evolving.

Is that what you wanted? If so, then like I've said, I've said it all before. If not, then consider that I don't know what you're looking for when you ask for my beliefs and maybe you should be explicit. I have a lot of beliefs.

Until you're prepared to adopt a position more engaging and solid than stonewalling, legalism and evidential high jumps backed by a notional quest for understanding, I consider your position weak and your contribution fair game.
So if I didn't misinterpret you making those accusations of me why did you suggest otherwise?

And damn right my contribution is fair game! But vague accusations is not. Why can't you be specific? What are your criteria for considering arguements stonewalling, legalism, or evidentially high? My guess is by this you refer to my methodological arguments (I have to guess since you don't say) but I've presented a lot of evidence and justification for the positions I hold, and why I think those contributions relevant. Just declaring them stonewalling or legalism on unreasonably (I'm reading that in) high and refusing to elaborate is not engaging.

I'm not sure if it is because you can't be bothered or that you aren't really sure yourself what specifically you object to, its more of a feeling.
 
Hi Lincoln,

I think you really do get your own answer to your own question in saying:

It is something I find very hard to comprehend, and I am guessing it's because I am looking at it through my own human understanding. I feel attached to this body I am residing in. This again is one of those aspects, that suggests NDE's and the experience while it is occurring, seems to take place in some advanced plane of thinking or understanding.
There is certainly often a highly pronounced element of different understanding involved in NDEs. I struggle slightly to go along with your use of the term "advanced plane of thinking or understanding" because the NDEr might not be fully aware of what is going on in every detail themselves. Because of this I shy away from your use of "advanced" in the way that you've linked it to the rest of your phrase. If by "advanced" you were not in any way implying that an NDEr was in some way all-knowing about their own experience (or the environment they find themselves in) then I'd agree with what you are saying. It's "advanced" in the sense that the experience does involve a way of understanding and comprehending things that far surpass what an ordinary human mind can do. Problem is that doesn't mean that the NDEr can explain their experience in a way that is clearly perceptible to someone possessed of an ordinary human mind - including, logically via the use of words, to themselves when they come out the experience. I say what I'm saying with the benefit of having had an NDE myself - my own account can be read here.

I didn't as part of my NDE see my own physical body. However, extrapolating for myself out of what did happen to me I think I can with full confidence say that had I seen my own physical body while I was possessed of the kind of mind I had inside the NDE (including the part at the very beginning) the seeing of my own physical body would likely have been of minimal, if any at all, interest to me - at best I think I would have regarded it with quite some philosophical indifference, a curiosity at best, "Oh, so that's what that was," if you see what I mean. So I think you nail it in one Lincoln in saying that looking at it through your normal human understanding is the real issue. The state of mind involved in a fair number of NDEs is well beyond normal human understanding. Maybe that's not even quite right, spirit comes to the fore and that massively colours, merges with, your state of "mind" - God you are so sensitive and intuitive in that state of "mind". You end up possessed of a spiritual "mind", very, very different from a human mind. (If anyone asked me if I could qualify that I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to do so. It's very clear in my feeling nature - I can feel it very strongly, even clearly - but be damned if I can put it into words. Frustrating, we don't have the language for it.)
 
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I'm not sure if it is because you can't be bothered or that you aren't really sure yourself what specifically you object to, its more of a feeling.
I know exactly what I object to. It's people who identify as skeptics raising issues as if proponents have never considered them. It's people who demand ever more evidence without carefully considering what's already out there. It's people who take a page to avoid saying where they stand and a line to dismantle some heavy duty evidence like Smithy's new book. It's people who say they're not materialists, but whose evidential demands are inseparable from people who are.

The proponents on this board started out from different positions and with different beliefs, and have access to exactly the same data you have. At some point all have them have decided there's more to the material world than meets the eye, based on that same data. Few if any would consider one case pivotal in their change of perspective, most come to the realisation that the case for hoaxing, lying and self-delusion is harder to make than taking the testimony at face value. They do not see the necessity to put the cart before the horse and chart the reasons why people believe six impossible things before breakfast in the way Dr Mitchell-Yellin does.

I don't accept there's any single piece of evidence that could emerge on this forum that would convince a skeptic, when picking holes requires no special skill or familiarity with the material.
 
This is my feeling too. I mean if you are a lawyer, Arouet, you will end up representing people you don't agree with - so you put forward the best case you can in court - possibly trying to pick holes in the evidence when there aren't any - I don't like that system, but then possibly you don't either. However, on this forum, you only represent yourself - so why not say what you think.
David, you have a misunderstanding of what a lawyer does. I suspect that's because your impression of a lawyer comes from watching their portrayal in television and movies which give the impression that most litigation cases are resolved in court. In reality, it is less than 1% (at least in my field). The fact is, a litigators job is as much to give their client a fair assessment of the pros and cons of their argument, and they spend as much time convincing their clients they are are wrong as they do the other side. A lawyers job is to carefully review the dispute from all sides, in fact, to do otherwise could be considered negligent.

As for saying what I think? Jesus, what do you think I've been doing all this time? I mean, really? Do you just filter it all out? If I'm writing something on here, it is my view except where I explictly say something along the lines of "playing devil's advocate..."

I'm not even sure what that means in down to earth terms! I mean can't you get down to brass tacks:

1) Do you believe people have NDE's under conditions when they are nearly dead (cardiac arrest etc), or do you think they confabulate these afterwards. If the latter, how do you explain their awareness of the resuscitation procedures?
I will give you an answer, but it's not going to be as neat as a simple yes or no, because I think NDEs occur under diverse circumstances and are not one size fits all.
  • I believe there are times where NDErs, during conditions where they are nearly dead, such as cardiac arrest, receive information from their environment.
  • I believe that this information gets mixed in with information that's already in them and together they form the experience.
  • I believe there are some times when information received after the experience is integrated into their memories of the experience (just see the aware study where Parnia notes this as a theme among those who did not rate high enough on the NDE scale but who had experiences.)
  • I think it is difficult to determine whether some reports involve confabulation or not.
  • I think that the experiences described could indicate that they are receiving information when it should not be possible under current scientific thinking, I also think that the experiences described could indicate that the current scientific thinking of the minimal conditions required to record information may need to be adjusted!
  • I think when people have OBEs where they view the operation they are receiving information from the environment. I don't think there is enough reliable information to determine whether they are doing this because their incorporeal spirit (or something similar) left their body or whether their minds interpreted the information they received and constructed a picture. I think there is evidence suggestive of both and I believe both hypotheses should be considered plausible enough to warrant further study.
  • I think it is unreasonable for proponents of either hypothesis to declare their preferred hypothesis confirmed and the other falsified or untenable. I don't think this can be justified based on the current state of the evidence.
  • I also think it unreasonable for someone to argue that there is somehow something wrong with concluding there that both hypotheses are viable and that one must for some undisclosed reason "choose a side".
Hopefully this got to your question, but if not let me know.

2) Do you care what people report after the NDE proceeds beyond the immediate drama. How do you deal with evidence like that?
I'm not quite sure what you mean by care? If you mean, do I completely discount any account that is not recorded using sufficiently good methods no I don't (I mean, I've said this many times). I think they are important, even critical to the scientific process. I think they should be taken very seriously. I think they provide the questions that need to be studied. But if they are recorded in cicumstances that suggest they have a good risk of bias, then I think we have to view them that way.

And David, I'm not sure how you can disagree with that. I mean, you have presented example after example of just this kind of thing in your critiques of science thread. Overelying on evidence that had too high bias risks has lead to what you and Sciborg call a crisis in science. I don't see how you can make the argument that even though other sciences have learned the hard way not to place their confidence in unreliably obtained evidence that we should somehow say its ok in parapsychology. I think I'm applying a pretty consistent standard here.

3) What do you make of shared death experiences?
It's been awhile since I've looked into those in detail. From what I recall I thought there were similar issues, but honestly, I can't remember them in sufficient detail. That said, I'm currently reading though Smithy's book and he and his colleagues have been very good at providing links or cites to their sources, so let's take this question up again once I've had a chance to re-familiarize myself with that evidence.

Surely you realise by now that there isn't much that science can offer you here - because all its insistence that death means oblivion is based on a model of consciousness that science can't prove?
If you believe that I should believe that there isn't much that science can offer me in terms of these issues then you either haven't closely read, or properly understood, my position. I suspect that you read my methodological posts solely from the perspective of me pointing out flaws. But those posts are as much about contemplating research that would allow more confident conclusions.

What many of you fail to realise about my methodological critiques (which are the vast majority of my critiques) are neutral as to the existence of psi or these other concepts. Now, that's not to say that there aren't certain challenges at times (for example, creating a control that would really isolate psi as a variable). That's not to say that I don't think there are some issues that fit that description but if I thought that designing such experiments was impossible I wouldn't be supportive of parapsychology, right? It would be a waste of time. But I don't consider it as such.

As for insisting that death means oblivion have you noticed that I don't do that?

A lawyer don't usually want to be concise, but here, it certainly helps. If you picked through what you really wanted to say before posting it, you might get a better response.

David
Actually, lawyers do aim to be concise- and we get paid to spend the time to make our arguments as concise as possible. I wish I got paid to post here! I have admitted times where my arguments could have been more concise and I believe they probably could be. And I will work at it (usually when I finish a post I'm thinking- damn I really need to get back to work! so I don't proofread it. But I do take your point and it is not bad advice. But in such a case the person is justified in saying "i didn't understand you" not "since I didn't understand you you must be a dirty skeptic playing mindgames and I just therefore conclude you're wrong!"

But I don't think that's the real issue. Concise doesn't mean simple, over over-simplified. A concise argument can still be detailed. What I think many find difficult to process is that my arguments are often nuanced, as well as qualified. They don't reduce easily to soundbite. And I think I am justified in this. Far too often I think people on this forum gloss over the need to actually justify their positions, to set out the premises and conclusions. And while I get the desire for things to be neat and tidy, often that's not appropriate.

I think this problem is more important than people realise. What people tend to do is to push aside the nuances and round up or down to one side of the argument or the other. So they don't talk about the nuances of their argument, but of course they pick up on the nuances of the other side! When each side does this, while refusing to acknowledge anything the other side says, what you get is people digging in their heels - when really their positions are not as far apart as they believe. If each side owned the nuances I think they'd find themselves much closer than previously thought!

But its hard to do. And time consuming. And requires fighting one's biases and cognitive dissonance - and so people don't do it. And they look at people like me as a fence-sitter, or "legalizing", or "doubt-casting".

Again, I hope this is getting at what you asked for. Let me know if its not. And let me know what you think.
 
I know exactly what I object to. It's people who identify as skeptics raising issues as if proponents have never considered them. It's people who demand ever more evidence without carefully considering what's already out there. It's people who take a page to avoid saying where they stand and a line to dismantle some heavy duty evidence like Smithy's new book. It's people who say they're not materialists, but whose evidential demands are inseparable from people who are.
Do you see what I mean about what is needed for good communication? I took the time to answer you explictly, even giving you a list of summaries of where I stand, which is what you asked for, and you ignore it completely! Evade and deflect.

You accuse me of legalism, stonewalling and having unreasonable evidential standards. I accept that's your position. But it provides no real information unless it is clear what you consider the criteria for those things. So I ask you for your criteria, and you refuse to provide it. To me, this is an example of stonewalling- repeating accusations without ever justifying them.

I too object to people who make further demands without carefully considering the evidence that's already out there. So we agree on that!

As for my evidential demands being inseparable from people who are materialists - sure there are some materialists who share my opinions on evidential requirements. I know there are many who don't - because I see people who identify as matarialists make all sorts of claims that I don't think can be justified on the evidence. And I'm sure many materialists have no idea because they haven't studied the materials I've studied. And of course ,there are also non-materialists who agree with my evidential standards, in fact Kennedy, who we've talked about in other threads is a strong proponent and his writing has played a large effect on my thinking about methodology and is one of my major influences. Also, many of the methodological issues that I raise are echoed in parapsychological papers by proponent parapsychologists. I don't know how many original papers you've read but if you have then you know what I am saying is true. If not I can easily find examples, because they are all over the literature.

My views on methodological have come about by being introduced to me by members of the forum leading me to go and research them myself. Most of the relevant papers are not in the field of parapsychology and don't touch metaphysical issues. They are based on empirical research by scientists comparing methods and identifying those factors that provide the most reliable results.

Like I said to David: relying on evidence that doesn't meet those standards has resulted in what David and Sciborg call a crisis in science. Does that not give you pause to consider whether I may have a point?

And maybe I am being overly legalistic - but just asserting it does not establish that point.

When I raise issues I do it in order to set out my reasoning to serve as the basis of discussion. I want to be explicit, and allow others to follow my reasoning. So I'm not just making assertions. They are the things that I consider relevant. They are the things I consider important to discuss.

The proponents on this board started out from different positions and with different beliefs, and have access to exactly the same data you have. At some point all have them have decided there's more to the material world than meets the eye, based on that same data. Few if any would consider one case pivotal in their change of perspective, most come to the realisation that the case for hoaxing, lying and self-delusion is harder to make than taking the testimony at face value. They do not see the necessity to put the cart before the horse and chart the reasons why people believe six impossible things before breakfast in the way Dr Mitchell-Yellin does.
Yes, taking all testimony at face value is easy, but is it justified. You like personal experience, right? Well, as I practicing lawyer I saw first hand time and time again how first hand testimony often does not accurately reflect what happens. I have many cases where my clients were floored when I showed them evidence that absolutely indicated that their memories were off. That's not to talk about the cases where two different people had accounts that absolutely contradicted each other. And I'm not talking about people deliberately lying to help make their case. I mean when they absolutely believed it.

And of course there is a LOT of evidence to support that just being honest does not make one accurate. There are tons of studies on it.

Why do you think there is a need for controls in scientific experiments? Yes, one reason is to protect against fraud but those have always been a small percentage of the total. No, the bigger reason is that without them, scientists, even wellmeaning and honest ones, will inadvertently influence how the evidence is portrayed or interpreted. The entire evolution of scientific methodology is to overcome the limitations of human perception and recall.

I could go on. I've presented other examples in the past of why there is reason not to rely too much on uncontrolled testimony. I've presented a mountain of it and would be happy to again. And you have equal access to that information as well. So why do you refuse to address it?

I don't accept there's any single piece of evidence that could emerge on this forum that would convince a skeptic, when picking holes requires no special skill or familiarity with the material.
On the contrary. Doing it properly takes a lot of skill. Skill that I didn't always have, and while I have a ways to go I am getting better at it the more I study these issues and learn.

And yes, it requires a great familiarity with the material to do it properly. So we agree there! Should we compare reading lists? I have close to 200 papers saved on my hard drive that I've read, highlighted, made notes on, followed up on references. That list includes 54 papers just on NDEs. And that's just what I've read since March, 2015 when I started this collection. Plus a few of the popular science books as well.

Your problem isn't that I'm not familiar with the material, your problem is that I am, but don't see it your way.
 
Do you see what I mean about what is needed for good communication? I took the time to answer you explictly, even giving you a list of summaries of where I stand, which is what you asked for, and you ignore it completely! Evade and deflect.

You accuse me of legalism, stonewalling and having unreasonable evidential standards. I accept that's your position. But it provides no real information unless it is clear what you consider the criteria for those things. So I ask you for your criteria, and you refuse to provide it. To me, this is an example of stonewalling- repeating accusations without ever justifying them.

I too object to people who make further demands without carefully considering the evidence that's already out there. So we agree on that!

As for my evidential demands being inseparable from people who are materialists - sure there are some materialists who share my opinions on evidential requirements. I know there are many who don't - because I see people who identify as matarialists make all sorts of claims that I don't think can be justified on the evidence. And I'm sure many materialists have no idea because they haven't studied the materials I've studied. And of course ,there are also non-materialists who agree with my evidential standards, in fact Kennedy, who we've talked about in other threads is a strong proponent and his writing has played a large effect on my thinking about methodology and is one of my major influences. Also, many of the methodological issues that I raise are echoed in parapsychological papers by proponent parapsychologists. I don't know how many original papers you've read but if you have then you know what I am saying is true. If not I can easily find examples, because they are all over the literature.

My views on methodological have come about by being introduced to me by members of the forum leading me to go and research them myself. Most of the relevant papers are not in the field of parapsychology and don't touch metaphysical issues. They are based on empirical research by scientists comparing methods and identifying those factors that provide the most reliable results.

Like I said to David: relying on evidence that doesn't meet those standards has resulted in what David and Sciborg call a crisis in science. Does that not give you pause to consider whether I may have a point?

And maybe I am being overly legalistic - but just asserting it does not establish that point.

When I raise issues I do it in order to set out my reasoning to serve as the basis of discussion. I want to be explicit, and allow others to follow my reasoning. So I'm not just making assertions. They are the things that I consider relevant. They are the things I consider important to discuss.



Yes, taking all testimony at face value is easy, but is it justified. You like personal experience, right? Well, as I practicing lawyer I saw first hand time and time again how first hand testimony often does not accurately reflect what happens. I have many cases where my clients were floored when I showed them evidence that absolutely indicated that their memories were off. That's not to talk about the cases where two different people had accounts that absolutely contradicted each other. And I'm not talking about people deliberately lying to help make their case. I mean when they absolutely believed it.

And of course there is a LOT of evidence to support that just being honest does not make one accurate. There are tons of studies on it.

Why do you think there is a need for controls in scientific experiments? Yes, one reason is to protect against fraud but those have always been a small percentage of the total. No, the bigger reason is that without them, scientists, even wellmeaning and honest ones, will inadvertently influence how the evidence is portrayed or interpreted. The entire evolution of scientific methodology is to overcome the limitations of human perception and recall.

I could go on. I've presented other examples in the past of why there is reason not to rely too much on uncontrolled testimony. I've presented a mountain of it and would be happy to again. And you have equal access to that information as well. So why do you refuse to address it?



On the contrary. Doing it properly takes a lot of skill. Skill that I didn't always have, and while I have a ways to go I am getting better at it the more I study these issues and learn.

And yes, it requires a great familiarity with the material to do it properly. So we agree there! Should we compare reading lists? I have close to 200 papers saved on my hard drive that I've read, highlighted, made notes on, followed up on references. That list includes 54 papers just on NDEs. And that's just what I've read since March, 2015 when I started this collection. Plus a few of the popular science books as well.

Your problem isn't that I'm not familiar with the material, your problem is that I am, but don't see it your way.
In your familiar way, you've turned the whole thing round. You are now the offended party. Congratulations.
 
In your familiar way, you've turned the whole thing round. You are now the offended party. Congratulations.
This isn't a contest of who gets to claim the most offence. Seriously, I don't know what you're looking for. I responded in detail to each of your questions. I gave you a summary of beliefs like you asked! I have attempted to address every issue you raised and raised a few of my own.

Look Gabriel, I'm trying here! Clearly you don't think so but I'm not clear why. And I'm not clear why you won't answer any of my questions or even acknowledge anything that I've written. What do you need from me to break through this logjam? I will try and provide it. I hope you will do the same.
 
The post I was replying to? Yes, I thought it was aimed at me, especially as it repeated charges that I'm pretty sure you've aimed at me on more than one occasion, and then said "over to you, Arouet". But perhaps I misinterpreted. So maybe I should clarify. Do you apply any of the following to me:
  • Stonewalling.
  • Legalism.
  • Evidential high jumps.
  • Masquerading as a quest for mutual understanding.


Ok, let's take that as the definition. What criteria are you applying to evaluate this?



Sorry Gabriel, I'm not sure what this is meant to mean, and upon what it is based Your example doesn't help either:



Hold on. I'm a resident skeptic who has not come out as a philosophical materialist. In fact, I've quite explicitly stated that I'm not one. I'm not sure why you find that objectionable, or how it is an example of "inhabiting the intellectual high ground, without stating what that ground is" or "negotiating an advantage which I am not required to support" or "prodding what I feel is the oppositions soft parts without inviting an equivalent response."

For my part, I always try and establish the support for any position I advance, and often offer to supply further material if people want. When I reply to a post I don't cherry pick for soft part, I answer each an every part of a post, often indicating areas where I agree. And I regularly ask for - even beg for - critique of my position in response.

This is the problem with your stereotyping. Regardless of what I say, you treat anything I write as if they follow your stereotypical rules. That automatically makes any kind of real discourse impossible, because you aren't really responding to me. I'm using me as an example but it applies to the others as well.

Your rants, where you scoop a diverse group of people, each with pros and cons, into this amorphous blob of extreme positions distract from legitimate critiques of individual arguments and contribute to the breakdown of real communication, which is what you claim to support. You argue that you should try and figure out what a person believes. There's nothing wrong with that in principle. But not as a means to beat their arguments - that's tactics, gamesmanship and debate, not communication. You want to figure out what someone believes? Ask them questions and pay attention to the answers. . You want real communication? Respond to what they say, not what you think they should have said if they met your imagined stereotype. Explain your own positions as clearly as you can and then pay attention to the response.

As for my beliefs - that's a pretty broad question and this forum is filled with my expositions of them. If you have a specific question then ask. And there is very little of which I am certain, though I usually try and state roughly where I stand on a given issue, and provide my reasons in as much detail as I have time for. As for my ire - it's not sloppy thinking that raises it. It is personal attacks and treating people badly that does.

Erm- I guess back over to you?
How you are treated reminds me of how Linda was. You know from PM's her pro position on psi in general. Even though Linda made that clear to all she made the mistake of questioning too strongly against the majority perspective. I've known you for awhile prior to this forum, and I find you genuinely honestly conciliatory, but you too suffer their wrath for the same reason. For some, any contrary question is too much.
 
How you are treated reminds me of how Linda was. You know from PM's her pro position on psi in general. Even though Linda made that clear to all she made the mistake of questioning too strongly against the majority perspective. I've known you for awhile prior to this forum, and I find you genuinely honestly conciliatory, but you too suffer their wrath for the same reason. For some, any contrary question is too much.
I'll leave this for someone else to reply to. For once I'm totally speechless.
 
  • The possibility of psi existing? I've said many times I believe it possible, and that there is evidence in favour of it but I don't think it has reached a sufficient evidentiary threshold to justify belief.
  • The possiblity of god existing? same answer.
  • The state of parapsychology: I think it has produced intriguing early results but due to limited resources has not been able to construct experiments that confidently lead to the conclusion..
Arouet,

When will the evidence be good enough for you? What do you make of really smart guys like Brian Josephson, nobel prize winning physicist, who says the evidence is so solid, he gives this stuff being real a 99% chance:


Even guys like Dawkins says the evidence has fit normal scientific standards. You must not buy into the recent gravitational wave observations, Higgs particle discovery and similar recent finds, because these are all weaker than the evidence for psi?

You can see why people get the impression skeptics "push goal posts", right? You'd at least be better off admitting you personally don't think the evidence is high enough because you're subjectively choosing to hold it to a higher standard.
 
Arouet,

When will the evidence be good enough for you? What do you make of really smart guys like Brian Josephson, nobel prize winning physicist, who says the evidence is so solid, he gives this stuff being real a 99% chance:
Ok, I'm going to listen to your recording and comment as I go.

The first couple minutes they are talking about if parapsychology is worth pursuing. I'm already there. I agree that parapsychology has produced results that are sufficiently interesting to be worthy of attention! And I agree that parapsychology has produced evidence that is suggestive of psi or consciousness beyond the brain, and the like. And I've clearly said again and again I think those hypotheses are worth continuing to test to get to a point where we go beyond just pointing to, but allowing to be more confident than suggestive.

He mentions older concerns like: concerns about making mistakes, recording information wrong. And he correctly states that parapsychologists have addressed a lot of the early concerns raised by skeptic critiques - again, I've stated this many times. The issues that I focus on do not derive from those critiques in the 70s and 80s. At around 4:00 he states that by addressing those issues he would have thought that the effects they have found would disappear. But we know now, from research done well after the critiques he mentions that there are a lot more concerns to address - issues that aren't specific to parapsychology but affect all science.
I have no idea how keyed into those issues Dr. Josephson is. As a physicist a lot of those concerns don't come up, or not in the same way.

For example, he raises the experimenter effect which he attributes to a psi effect but doesn't mention what role he thinks methodological bias might play.

From what I recall, he is incorrect that effects found in the ganzfeld experiments are categorized as large. It's been awhile since I've dealt with them in detail, but I'm pretty sure they are still seen as small effects. Plus there are other concerns there, especially dealing with sample size, etc. We've talked about Ganzfeld in detail before and when you look at them compared to the criteria identified by researchers like Cochrane Group and Iaonnidis, we see definite factors that raise the concern of risk of bias. Experiments that have small effect sizes are particularly susceptible to those kinds of issues. If you think otherwise we can discuss it. I'll show you the sources I'm relying on to reach these conclusions, you can show me your sources that state otherwise.

At around 7:00 he states that the sample size that you would need for ganzfeld to be sufficient at that percentage would be about a 100. I think he's probably incorrect here. Here is what J.E. Kennedy says about that: (Can Parapsychology Move Beyond the Controversies of Retrospective Meta-Analyses):

By the usual methodological standards recommended for experimental research, there have been no well-designed ganzfeld experiments. Based on available data, Rosenthal (1986), Utts (1991), and Dalton (1997b) described 33% as the expected hit rate for a typical ganzfeld experiment where 25% is expected by chance. With this hit rate, a sample size of 201 is needed to have a .8 probability of obtaining a .05 result one-tailed.[1] No existing ganzfeld experiments were preplanned with that sample size. The median sample size in recent studies was 40 trials, which has a power of .22.[2]

Kennedy sites Iaonnidis in that paper as well. So look, I'm not getting this stuff out of my ass!

He talks about reporting bias and we've discussed this a lot on the forum. There's a lot of debate about statistical tests of how many studies would need to be unreported but I was able to demonstrate in at least one instance that a mere 7 studies (IIRC) was enough to turn ganzfeld from a null result to a positive one so I think the concern is greater than that. The thing is, there is an easy solution to this: register every study. Done, you've eliminated that as a concern!

He really doesn't go into more detail in that interview so I can't say if he has taken into account the other factors that I've regularly mentioned.

Ethan, I'm not sure if you've read my posts where I talk about methodology, but I think I'm usually pretty specific and I often mention things that I think need to be done to reach the level of evidence that I'm talking about. Many of the things I mention are also referred to in the parapsychological literature.And I'm hardly pulling this stuff out of thin air. In fact, many proponents on this forum have referred to some of the key papers that I've relied on, but they bring them up in the context of critiquing other fields.

Look, I'm not saying that my analysis is perfect, and I'm sure its not. But I'm not just making blanket assertions when I present my analyses. I'm quite specific. But the vast majority of posts that say I'm wrong, or apply unreasonable standards, or am just dogmatic, etc. are not specific. I mean, I've tried to engage with you on those specifics as well and with respect, you have handwaved them aside (politely to be sure, but still brushed them aside without addressing them). I mean you are not alone, no one else has either. But still I'm told I'm pigheaded and nothing could ever convince me, among other insults.

If I was just making bald statements I can see how you could conclude nothing could convince me, but I don't do that. If you've read my arguments setting all this out let me ask you: have you followed up on the sources I've presented? Have you considered the arguments I raised? And if you haven't read them then how do you jump to your conclusion that I'm being unreasonable or that nothing could ever convince me?

Even guys like Dawkins says the evidence has fit normal scientific standards. I mean, you must not buy into the recent gravitational wave observations, Higgs particle discovery and similar recent finds, because these are all weaker than the evidence for psi.
Again, you're using vague statements to respond to specific concerns. I don't know what Dawkins has said about that. And I'm not sure what normal scientific standards means to you. As I've said: the past 10 years, since Iaonnidis seminal paper in 2005, has seen a big jump in our understanding of what methodologies have greater or lesser risks of bias. We're seeing that the normal research practices in many fields of science are chock full of those risks of bias and we have very good reason to not conisder them reliable anymore. Parapsychological practices have been closest from what I can tell to psychology, but psychology is a mess! Kennedy has advised to stop following psychology standards and jump past them!

As for resent gravitational wave observations, Higgs and the like, I don't buy into them or not buy into them: I haven't looked into them at all so I don't know if your assessment is correct. I don't take a position there.

I mean you can see why people get the impression skeptics "push goal posts", right? You'd at least be better off admitting you personally don't think the evidence is high enough because you're subjectively choosing to hold it to a higher standard.
Is it subjectively choosing these standards when they are based on research into methodological standards? I submit I've done way more than that. The issues I bring up are not ad hoc or arbitrary. They are evidence based. Now, I'm open to being shown that I've incorrectly understood some of it but no one has attempted to argue that. Think there might be a reason for that? ;)
 
@Alex, this is what happens when there's no more MOD+.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm not sure this is really a turn-on read for potential new forum members.
I agree. I thought there were some interesting areas of divergence over Long's book /research that have got lost in the noise. Can the mods please remove everything not directly related to the most recent show?
My apologies. I agree that stuff is not on topic. I sometimes get caught up when I see certain types of posts and feel the need to respond. Though I would prefer it not be deleted since I spent some time on it. Perhaps moved to a different thread.
 
Thank you gabriel and Radish.

Radish I don't know what else to say, I read your entire experience and am blown away. It answered not only my original question but others I have had, talk about synchronicity. Thank you so much for sharing your thread with me.

I am really starting to see that the things important to us here, are not anything meaningful on that other side. I am seeing that I can't really detach fully from my personal ego on this plane. I will just have to wait, for my time.

Thanks again.
 
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