Michael Britt - The Psych Files - Dr. Daryl Bem and the Parapsychology PSYOP |328|

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Oct 4, 2016.

  1. Alex

    Alex New

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2013
    Messages:
    2,537
    Michael Britt – The Psych Files – Dr. Darly Bem and the Parapsychology PSYOP |328|
    by Alex Tsakiris | Oct 5 | Consciousness Science, Parapsychology

    What do new replications of Dr. Daryl Bem’s parapsychology research tell us about the original phony replications?
    [​IMG]

    photo by: Skeptiko
    On this episode of Skeptiko I’m joined by science/psychology podcaster and creator of ThePsychFiles.com, Dr. Michael Britt. And while I didn’t contact Michael looking for a way to follow-up on Dr. Daryl Bem’s Feeling the Future experiment, I found one… and a lot more. Because it’s only through the lens of time (Bem’s original work was published in 2011) and especially through the hard work of Bem’s and his colleagues to replicate this important parapsychology experiment 90 times that can we truly appreciate the PSYOP parapsychologists are up against…

    Michael Britt: I have to say I’m a little uncomfortable with you playing clips from previous episodes. I don’t know if it’s fair to play a clip from what someone said without that person being here.

    Alex Tsakiris: Well the first clip was your clip, right?

    Michael Britt: And frankly, I was curious whether or not you used my clip. And I thought to myself, you know, if I go along with this guy and I say something that he disagrees with. So it’s three or four episodes down the line, are you going to say, “Here’s a clip of Michael Britt saying this,” and then criticize it without me being there to say, “Well, you know, he didn’t clarify.”

    Alex Tsakiris: Let’s break that down because this could be the most important part of the discussion. Michael, I played a clip from your show. So if it was a clip that was out of context, I would understand that objection and we could deal with that. Was the clip out of context? Was it different? Did I edit out something at the beginning or the end that would add to what you said?

    Michael Britt: Not to my knowledge.
     
    Ian Gordon, Obiwan and Bucky like this.
  2. K9!

    K9! New

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2013
    Messages:
    1,570
    Hahaha...
    The podcast starts with the guest being an "expert" in statistics, after all he teaches that stuff in university. But he couldn't answer some pretty basic questions about stats and quickly backpedaled on being an "expert". Reminds me of Susan Blackmore, who still calls herself an expert on NDEs... except when she's taking to Alex.
     
  3. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2013
    Messages:
    2,047
    Questions at the end of the podcast:

    What do you make about Alex's claim about the "psyop" thing? The claim, for instance, that we cannot understand the situation with Daryl Bem -- the misrepresentation and hijacking of science by Richard Wiseman -- if we aren't willing to consider the conclusion that a psyop operation has been in progress? If we just look at it as action by an individual player to subvert parapsychology, doesn't it seem less understandable?

    Or, is Alex going too far in drawing this conclusion?


    Do sceptics sit in smokey rooms 24/7 examining every new parapsychology paper and conspiratorially planning strategies for debunking them? I doubt it. However, there are a number of sceptics, some of them do converse with one another, and they do want to debunk any and all parapsychological claims, so it might end up being easily mistaken for deep conspiracy.

    This doesn't mean to say I don't think that Wiseman is deceptive or that "sceptics" in general will do anything, however devious and underhand, to undermine good evidence in favour of psi. And when one of them comes up with what looks like a good ploy, then the rest of the sheep will seize on it and it ends up looking like a psyop. The Internet is to some extent a natural promoter of certain kinds of what appear to be orchestrated strategies, and there are plenty enough parrots out there to regurgitate the arguments of a few key players.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2016
    Enrique Vargas, K9! and Bucky like this.
  4. Psiclops

    Psiclops Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    Messages:
    401
    I agree with you Michael - and the motivation of the sceptics is simply that they believe they 'know' instinctively that all this parapsychology stuff must be fairyland because in their view, that's logical.
    So most will not study the evidence - I mean who would waste time on the proverbial 'evidence' that there's a teapot orbiting Saturn. We know there's not, so let's embrace any opinion against satellite teapots, get angry about people so stupid to even consider the idea and join the sensible sheep to study 'real' science.
    What I saw in this interview, which is pretty rare when Alex confronts those with opposing views, is a slight shift in scepticism - even to the extent that Michael Britt plans to follow up the issues with Dr Julie Beischel.
    That said it became obvious as the interview progressed that Michael had very limited knowledge of parapsychology and the consciousness issues - a fact he conceded - so it's obvious he's no hard core sceptic but someone who's merely parroting the sceptical line - so we can't embrace him as a potential 'convert' to our truth.
    Alex's detailed knowledge of the subject continues to impress me and I applaud Michael's humility in withdrawing several times when strongly challenged.
     
  5. gabriel

    gabriel New

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2013
    Messages:
    1,644
    The observer is just noise in the signal of reality, seems to be Michael Britt's position. There were so many assumptions in his language and intonation about what's real, and how we get to know, it's hard to know where to begin. Like most skeptics, Michael didn't come across as someone with an intuitive awareness of how loaded his assumptions are.

    I don't know if there's need for a Psi-Op when there are so many people keen to adopt the Britt option voluntarily. It's a predisposition, turned ideological. It offers comfort and support to people tuned to trust equations over feelings, and statistics over instinct. A study like Bem's is a firework in a wasp's nest, and the response is sting first and repair the damage later. It's instinct dressed as logic.
     
  6. Alex

    Alex New

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2013
    Messages:
    2,537
    ... and that's the end result of the PSYOP.
     
  7. gabriel

    gabriel New

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2013
    Messages:
    1,644
    Maybe someone is funding Wiseman, Blackmore, French and Co to peddle this stuff, but if so they're pushing on an open door. I've never thought the people mentioned are bright enough for world domination, skepticism just pays the bills and gives them a ready audience. I've often wondered why terrestrial broadcasters like the BBC are so utterly wedded to the doctrine. They used to put Uri Geller on TV and have ghost shows on Halloween and leave it up to the audience to decide who was scamming who, but there'd be a whole army of studio skeptics pumping out disinformation in the unlikely event they ran such a show today.

    The corporation had their fingers burnt with Ghostwatch in 1992, a spoof documentary that saw kids flipping out. Since then anything psi related has been For Entertainment Purposes Only and the skeps make sure it stays that way.
     
    Kamarling likes this.
  8. Alex

    Alex New

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2013
    Messages:
    2,537
    I don't think that's how it works... nothing that overt. You have a bunch of academic-types running the maze looking for cheese. you just need to make it a little easier for some folks to find it... and almost impossible for others.
     
    Enrique Vargas likes this.
  9. Far.From.Here

    Far.From.Here New

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2015
    Messages:
    932
    Not an idea that has gained much traction on this forum, but I think we really need to look back into ideas like:
    1. What is culture and how did it form? Not what is our culture, which is a secondary question. How does culture create a pattern for behavior or understanding?
    2. How is language associated with culture and what role does it play?
    3. How does the structure of culture allow for major changes? Or does it even?
    4. To what degree can the individual step "outside" of culture in a way that groups may never be able to?
    5. What is the relationship between culture and control?

    It just feels like these discussions about "what academia allows", or "politics blah blah", or "organized skepticism did this" or "if only not global corporatism" exist at a level within a kind of rat's maze. But how is the maze itself constructed and of what? And by whom? When?

    Anyway.
     
    EthanT, Hurmanetar and Steve like this.
  10. EthanT

    EthanT Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2013
    Messages:
    1,013
    Home Page:
    I always felt like the topic that gave me best feel for questions like these was comparative mythology (guys like Joseph Campbell, etc), because it's a comparative study that spans across all cultures since time immemorial, looking into their beliefs, motives, societal structures (if any), etc. Finally, it also creates an awareness of just how powerful cultural indoctrination can be for forming worldviews and influencing social behavior, on both the individual and group scales.
     
  11. Dr. Savant

    Dr. Savant New

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2014
    Messages:
    22
    Again, an interesting show! I admire Alex's ability to deal with the counter-arguments proposed by the sceptics.

    I shall comment on Dr Britt's points on statistics. It seems that he did a poor job in explaining the difference between p-value and effect size. The latter is much much more informative than the p-value, and, when an effect size is reported with a confidence interval the statistical significance can be readily deduced. Furthermore, his worries about Dr. Beichel's data not following the normality and equal-variances assumptions are ridiculous. She knows full well how to deal with the data. For instance, non-parametric statistics and robust statistics work fine without these assumptions (the robust statistics is gradually becoming more important and rightly so, IMHO).

    I had an impression that Dr. Britt is an honest and decent person. However, I am a bit sceptical about him really doing a follow-up on Dr. Beischel's work.

    Just my two cents,

    Regads,

    Dr. Savant
    Finland

    .
     
    K9! and Judith like this.
  12. Alex

    Alex New

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2013
    Messages:
    2,537
    agreed. reminds me of http://skeptiko.com/247-roy-davies-exposes-darwin-plagiarism/

    the "survival of the fittest" meme triumphs over the "survival of the group" for political/social-control reasons.
     
  13. Alex

    Alex New

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2013
    Messages:
    2,537
    agreed. but I think there's some "juicing" of the results in order to make sure the train stays on thrack. Remember parapsychology skeptic Ray Hyman. Scratch two inches below the surface and you find all sorts of nasty intel-ops (one of several you will find):

    Martin T. Orne, for example, a senior CIA/Navy researcher, is based at the University of Pennsylvania’s Experimental Psychiatry Laboratory. He is also an original member of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation’s advisory board, a tightly-drawn coterie of psychiatrists, many with backgrounds in CIA mind control experimentation in its myriad forms. The Foundation is dedicated to denying the existence of cult mind control and child abuse. It’s primary pursuit is the castigation of survivors and therapists for fabricating accusations of ritual abuse... And an original board member of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation. Two others, Jon Baron from Penn U. and Ray Hyman (an executive editor of the aforementioned Skeptical Inquirer), a professor of psychology at the University of Oregon, resigned from the board after Jennifer Freyd went public with her account of childhood abuse, and the facetious attempts of her parents and their therapist to discredit her. They were replaced by David Dinges, co-director – with the ubiquitous Martin Orne – of the Unit for Experimental Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania.
    http://wariscrime.com/new/the-cia-connections-to-the-mind-control-cults/

    He was also called upon in the CIA report disavowing remote viewing... clumsily done... but good enough to throw some off the trail.

     
    Mishelle, Laird, north and 1 other person like this.
  14. Alex

    Alex New

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2013
    Messages:
    2,537
    agreed. I wish him well, but experience tells me that these kind of worldview shifts take time, and small steps. Beischel's work is very strong, but too paradigm busting for most beginners.
     
  15. Baccarat

    Baccarat New

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2016
    Messages:
    785
    Haven't listened to the podcast, but it seems like a been there done that skeptic. Can we get some open minded sharper skeptics who don't ignore evidence and are less ideological? Skeptics that can keep the "debate" sharp and openminded
     
  16. Kamarling

    Kamarling Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    Messages:
    756
    At 12m 40s in the podcast, Britt explains his academic background saying that he has a degree in social psychology dating back to 1990 and that he taught research methods and statistics. Yet when challenged on the statistics he goes into reverse saying that he does not have a degree in statistics. And when challenged on his criticism of Bem's and Beischel's research methods he again backs out saying that he hasn't researched these subjects like Alex has.

    This is why proponents get angry, why Alex gets so animated when interviewing skeptics and why he harps on about skeptics not following the data. Here's a man who seems to be open-minded and who produces a podcast himself, presumably aimed at the professional and layman alike. It has the veneer of scientific respectability so people who listen to or read his commentary will come away believing that here's a guy who has looked at the evidence from both sides and given an informed analysis. Unless you happen to be someone like Alex who follows such developments in the research, Britt will have put your mind at rest that the materialist status quo remains intact and unchallenged.

    And Britt is not alone in this. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of podcasts and blogs all affirming the same worldview; all recycling the disinformation churned out by Wiseman, Watt, Blackmore, French, Shermer and a few others. Is it orchestrated? It might be but I don't think it needs to be. Anything these guys say will be parroted unquestioningly by the likes of the BBC and the Guardian in the UK, Scientific American and much of the mainstream media elsewhere in the West.

    What happens when something like an NDE or Bem's research hits the mainstream news? Speaking as a UK resident, I can guarantee that the BBC will wheel in Blackmore for the NDE or Wiseman for Bem. Both will present themselves as open-minded parapsychologists - as people who take parapsychology seriously and are genuine experts in the field. They will smile when asked by the interviewer, "This is amazing stuff, isn't it?" and always start their response with something like "Yes, it is very interesting but of course we know from many years of research that ... ". Then go on to say, effectively, don't worry, it is all bullshit.

    This is what makes it laughable when skeptics accuse proponents of being afraid of being challenged. Skeptics seem to exist for the very purpose of calming the fears of materialists.
     
    Laird, Psiclops, K9! and 8 others like this.
  17. Max_B

    Max_B Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2013
    Messages:
    3,155
    Home Page:
    I don't know if there is a plot (or not), but I've watched them (Carolyn Watt's etc) act a bit cliquey at SPR conferences... Pulling some delegates chairs away from the main group and sitting at the back of the conference room whispering and smirking. The different feelings I've got from them from time to time being a little contemptuous of the other delegates, some sense of superiority, and pricklyness...

    But then I got some of the same feelings from delegates with opposing views... A bit cliquey, and gathering round their proponent hero's... minds also made up about what is going on.

    In the centre I found very very few genuinely open minded individuals, an ex chancellor of Durham Uni, if IIRC was simply interested, and open minded.... and willing to mix.

    Sure, I thought some of the speakers were deluding themselves... but I didn't move the chairs and sit right at the back away from the other delegates, whispering and grinning.

    So I don't know if it's organised, or just happens... that these different groups simply spring up, in response to each other. But somewhere in the middle, genuine searching for a better explanation for very rare phenomena... just seems to get lost.

    I see pretty much the same mix of people on here...
     
    Roberta, Judith, Baccarat and 2 others like this.
  18. gabriel

    gabriel New

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2013
    Messages:
    1,644
    What is it about the materialist world view that offers people comfort? Apart from a few people making money selling books and doing the lecture circuit, the only advantage to being a materialist polemicist is gaining tenure in a university science department. The rest is mostly downside. Are there really so many geeks whose only status is keeping on message with their peers and scorning the dupes? I genuinely don't see any sacrifice in being open minded to inexplicable phenomenon. Nothing that would raise my blood pressure in the way these guys get riled by conflicting evidence. I think I'm missing something.
     
    Baccarat and Lincoln like this.
  19. Kamarling

    Kamarling Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    Messages:
    756
    I have this discussion with my son. He seems to see atheism as rational and religion (which appears to include anything which is not atheism) as irrational. Thus, not to be an atheist is to be gullible. Appearing gullible seems to be a genuine fear and evidential science seems to offer at least a route to the truth and away from superstition.

    Also, religion tends to be judgemental and proscriptive.
     
    Laird, Hurmanetar and Roberta like this.
  20. Kamarling

    Kamarling Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    Messages:
    756
    In addition, I think that we proponents fall into the science-is-the-route-to-truth trap too. Thus we try to convince sceptics by pointing to scientific research which, while important, is certainly not the whole story. The geeks can argue endlessly about methodology and p-values while totally missing the point. Most of these phenomena are characterised by the subjective experience which is ignored by scientific methods.
     
    Roberta, Judith, Baccarat and 3 others like this.

Share This Page