Or to be more exact, they discuss the paper the episode also talks about. The link to their pages is here. As I wrote on the old forum, my account was not approved over there, making it impossible to respond. For that reason, I responded on Skeptiko, which at least one person at JREF noticed, though without replying to any of the answers I gave. I have tried registering again today. We'll see if the account is approved this time. In the meanwhile, here are some quotes from their discussion, almost all of which seem more straightforward than anything that came up on the Skeptiko forum in the form of criticism. I do think that every point is incorrect, but appreciate the clear descriptions of their complaints.
Here is a link to the paper.
Here is a link to the paper.
- Would'nt it be more likely that since we demonstrably dream about things that happen day to day, that some of these daily events would in various ways mirror events that occur normally in the course of events (aircraft crash pretty regularly....) and that we are merely conflating them with precognition by cherry-picking the data?
- I would like to know if he had precognition dreams how he will explain this to me:
1. We can manipulate dreams: http://sciencefocus.com/blog/scienti...te-dreams-rats
2. We can record dreams: http://www.mnn.com/green-tech/resear...-and-play-them
3. Dreams are only for storing our memories that we acquired through the day:http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0225132249.htm
4. Even animals have dreams.
5. You can loose your ability to dream thanks to brain damage..
- I read his paper. Some of his "anecdotes" are after the fact.. Like Arouet wrote in the mind-energy forum.
- In order to determine whether dreams predict future events more accurately than would be expected by chance it is first necessary to determine what that chance accuracy rate is. It's not clear to me from the abstract whether Paqart has done this,
- I also found most of the anecdotal evidence and it is right. He is using people who he knows. Therefore it is a weak study..
- I agree with Pixel42's assessment. As so often, the veridicality of the experiences described in the anecdotes depends on a subjective judgement by the experiencer.
- Both papers clearly use the same data (his dream journals), so my assessment applies to both. Without some way of establishing the expected chance accuracy it is not possible to establish that the actual accuracy exceeds it. Every time this subject has come up I have wracked my brain to come up with a suitable protocol, without success. Early in the paper Parqat seems to acknowledge this difficulty and claims to have come up with a strategy that addresses it. Maybe I'm missing something, but I can't see how.
- The two issues I raised (the need to establish a baseline of expected chance accuracy to which actual accuracy can be compared, and define in advance for each potentially precognitive dream precisely what would need to occur in reality for the dream to be considered precognitive and then count both the hits and the misses) should be addressed in the paper. But I can't make head or tail of about half of it, so as I said I may be missing something.
- Also the author of the paper is not a a statistician. He is a writer and artists:
Even when he claims in the mind-energy forum that he was looking into statistics to create his own methodology. I know it doesn't have a impact on the paper but I just wanted to post what I found out about him and why I think that its flawed..
- If I had dreams which I suspected might be precognitive I would do the following for, ideally, several years:
1. For every dream I had which might be precognitive (i.e. that didn't include flying or the other weird stuff that only happens in dreams) I would write it down in as much detail as I could remember.
2. I would then assign a score to possible corresponding future events. For example if I dreamt that someone I knew would be involved in a car accident and escape with minor injuries, although the car ended up with its top caved in, I might assign points as follows:
1 point if the person in the dream had an accident
1 point if someone else I knew had a car accident
2 points if the person in the dream had a car accident
3 points if the person in the dream had a car accident and the car's damage matched the description I'd written down
3 points if the person in the dream had a car accident and their injuries matched the description I'd written down
4 points if the person in the dream had a car accident, and both the car's damage and their injuries matched the description I'd written down
0 points if nothing that corresponded to the dream had occurred by the end of the study period
3. At the end of the study period I would tot up the number of points I'd awarded and divide it by the maximum possible number of points to calculate the percentage accuracy.
4. I would then compare the actual accuracy with the accuracy that would be expected by chance to see if it exceeded it by a statistically significant margin, which I would have set as the success criteria before beginning the study.
Point 4 is, of course, the problem. What percentage accuracy would be expected by chance? Clearly the answer isn't zero: coincidences happen all the time, and our pattern seeking brains tend to vastly underestimate the frequency with which they occur. I can see no way of reliably estimating the chance accuracy in order to have a baseline with which to compare my final score.
Workable protocols which have been discussed on this board before have only been possible if the possibly precognitive dreams have been fairly specific. For example if someone claimed to dream about earthquakes before they happened then you could get a seismologist to make predictions based on the best available information and see if the dreamer's accuracy was consistently better. Likewise if the dreamer regularly saw, say, the front page of tomorrow's paper you could come up with a protocol where you got them to select from a bunch of photos the one that most resembled the one they saw and see if they picked out the right one significantly more often than would be expected by chance. But when you have no idea what your precognitive dreams are going to be until you've not only dreamt them but something which resembles them has happened ... how on earth do you test that?
Paqart's paper talks about identifying an anchor in each dream and does some statistics on their probability. I'm not qualified to assess the validity of the statistics, but my more fundamental problem is that I just don't see how these anchors address the difficulty I'm describing.
- My opinion hasn't changed. He starts out to find evidence to support his conclusion (at the outset he says that around 10% of recorded dreams are of "OBE, precognition, after-death communication, past life memories, psi training, healing, auras, telepathy, psychokinesis, and less easily defined categories of a spiritual or religious nature").
- His verification example involves telling someone he dreamed about them, reading them the dream he'd written, and asking them if any of it fitted what they were doing recently. A double layer of interpretation with priming.
- I didn't see where he analysed hits vs misses, nor was it clear how he decided a dream was psi and worthy of verification at all. How do you tell which of the paranormal types on the list above a dream is? suppose it's a mixture of types?
- I skipped the pages of messing with statistics because they were irrelevant to the gaping holes elsewhere in his approach.
- There were other problems with the presentation - such as describing veridical details he dreamed about but didn't write down; a standard ploy to bolster dubious evidence.
- Just a quick reminder that the end of the study period must be clearly defined at the beginning of the study period. Obviously, you understand that but sometimes the folks doing the research do not see the importance of that step.
- (continued next post)