Paranormal Abilities for Dummies

#1
If telepathy, OBEs, precognition,etc are real phenomena then why don't people guess/answer/predict/identify the target correctly 100% of the time or something near that. The last time I read up on Ganzfeld studies, the rate of subjects identifying the correct image was 33%. In terms of OBEs, Graham Nicholls claimed to be able to have out-of-body experiences at will. Now given the clarity of vision and thought that people tend to report during out-of-body experiences, I questioned why wouldn't he be able to identify a target placed on a high shelf 100% of the time. Alex Tsakiris tried to press Graham on this during an interview but Graham dodged the question.

So why are people not able to use their telepathy and OBEs, etc at an A grade level? Does this show telepahty or OBEs to be false?
 
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#2
If telepathy, OBEs, precognition,etc are real phenomena then why don't people guess/answer/predict/identify the target correctly 100% of the time or something near that.
Therefore baseball players cannot hit the ball since they don't hit it 100% of the time.

Why doesn't ganzfield results correspond to chance if there is no ability?
 
#4
Therefore baseball players cannot hit the ball since they don't hit it 100% of the time.

Why doesn't ganzfield results correspond to chance if there is no ability?
There seems to be an assumption in your reasoning by equating baseball with telepathy and OBEs but either way it doesn't answer my question. In baseball, it's just a matter of coordination, ball movement and timing of swing. You can test that by changing the scenario or the sport. If you put a ball on a tee and it sits still in place, then I can probably hit it every time. What's the reason for the misses in telepathy and OBErs, esp. the ones who can do it at will?
 
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#5
Your post can be understood as an argument or a question. The argument:

1. If psi exists, then it would have a near 100% success.

2. Psi does not show a near 100% success.

3. Then psi does not exist.

The argument is flawed, because it assumes that if psi exists, then it must be near- perfect , but why do we assume that?

The question: if psi exists, why it does not show more success? Well, I'm not sure, but I think there are several reasons that psi is not robust: psi can depend on many variables out of control, an increase of psi could be detrimental to the communities, psi usually operates unconsciously and situations of great emotional stress, psi may not be designed for biological life, but for metabiological life.

Perhaps these articles interest you:

http://jeksite.org/psi/jp01.htm

http://weilerpsiblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/why-is-psi-so-elusive-in-scientific-testing/

On the claim of Graham Nicholls, I do not know, but I would like that he would be submitted to the experiments to find out if he can have OBEs at will and veridical.
 
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#6
...

Perhaps these articles interest you:

http://jeksite.org/psi/jp01.htm

http://weilerpsiblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/why-is-psi-so-elusive-in-scientific-testing/

On the claim of Graham Nicholls, I do not know, but I would like that he would be submitted to the experiments to find out if he can have OBEs at will and veridical.
Thanks for posting these sources, especially that first link. I'll research on them more. In the case of OBEs, if they work the way I commonly hear, then it should be something that can be proven every time. People like Graham Nicholls are probably doing psi believers a disservice by exaggerating or flat out lying about his OBE ability.
 
#7
Yes, I believe there ARE people who have 'claimed' OBEs 'at will'.

Certain of these people can safely be dismissed, I have no idea if Graham Nicholls is one of these people.

As for the Gz, many tests using skilled subjects have shown hit rates of over 60%. As most Gz testing uses 'normal people' and not people who have special psi talent, the baseball analogy is even more pertinent, as baseball stars don't perform at 100% reliability, and they are the best available.
 
#8
Why not write to Graham Nicholls? I imagine part of the problem may be that an OBE may take you on a journey that is out of your control. I think this experiment has been successfully performed at least one with someone. In general this is difficult because you would need a concealed object - visible on an OBE - that could be set up without the subject's knowledge - so it would really need someone who could go into an OBE every night for a watertight experiment.

I think you dismissed the Ganzfeld results way too lightly. I mean, there is no physical explanation for the results coming out at 33% rather than 25% - you only require elementary probability (or indeed common sense) to work out the chance rate of 25%. Remember this result has been repeated many times by many different research teams.

You describe yourself as 'agnostic'. Assuming that accurately describes your position, I would look at the range of evidence for a number of remarkable phenomena. You might want to try Dean Radin's "Entangled Minds", which goes into a lot of detail about the statistics of the various experiments.

Perhaps it is also relevant to point out that a lot of physics results are actually purely statistical. For example, the high energy physics community require that the evidence for any new particle (e.g. the Higgs!) must reach 5 sigma, which means that there is only one chance in about 3.5 million that the result is due to chance! The accumulated Ganzfeld results are much better than that!

David
 

Bart V

straw materialist
Member
#9
Perhaps it is also relevant to point out that a lot of physics results are actually purely statistical. For example, the high energy physics community require that the evidence for any new particle (e.g. the Higgs!) must reach 5 sigma, which means that there is only one chance in about 3.5 million that the result is due to chance! The accumulated Ganzfeld results are much better than that!

David
This brings up a few questions.
If so, then why is not every parapsychologist working with ganzfeld?
And secondly, do you really think the statistics that confirmed the Higgs are doing the same job as the statistics that are applied to ganzfeld experiments?
 
#10
This brings up a few questions.
It does indeed - some people seem to think that ψ experiments are somehow special in that they deal with statistics. Of course, statistics are also implicitly important in still more experiments that rely on statistical mechanics.

If so, then why is not every parapsychologist working with ganzfeld?
I'm afraid that IMHO in the current climate, researchers fear being labelled 'woo' and shun such subjects. This inhibits the normal operation of science, which would otherwise research these subjects to the point where we would know if they were real or not.

And secondly, do you really think the statistics that confirmed the Higgs are doing the same job as the statistics that are applied to ganzfeld experiments?
Well, as I understand it, every Higgs particle detection requires the filtering of 10^12 events! That is positively scary, because the possibility of a minute systematic error generating a spurious result. A ψ experiment that had such a tiny effect size would be laughed out of court.

David
 
#11
Why not write to Graham Nicholls? I imagine part of the problem may be that an OBE may take you on a journey that is out of your control. I think this experiment has been successfully performed at least one with someone. In general this is difficult because you would need a concealed object - visible on an OBE - that could be set up without the subject's knowledge - so it would really need someone who could go into an OBE every night for a watertight experiment.
I've already heard Graham Nicholl's response based on his interview on Skeptiko. If he had something to offer then his time on the show would've been the time to offer it while he is on podcast with thousands of listeners rather than responding one email from a stranger.

Your explanation for OBEs is possible in that a person may not be able to control their movement but I've heard and read about many who have clear vision of their body. If that's the case then just writing a number on someone's forehead would be a start while also putting some random generated image above the person to where no one can see it. I'm not sure why some people are only thinking in terms of the most difficult tasks instead of providing a range of tasks with a range of difficulty levels.

I think you dismissed the Ganzfeld results way too lightly. I mean, there is no physical explanation for the results coming out at 33% rather than 25% - you only require elementary probability (or indeed common sense) to work out the chance rate of 25%. Remember this result has been repeated many times by many different research teams.
Just to be clear, I don't dismiss the Ganzfeld or telepathy as being faulty or false. My point was if telepathy or OBEs worked as clearly as some suggests, then the results should reflect that. Someone earlier brought up baseball hits and compared that to telepathic correct hits, but I find that reasoning flawed because it seems to using the stats to reflect the ability rather than the using the ability to reflect or determine the results or stats. I understand that even the best baseball hitters don't hit the ball all of the time based on stats but those stats reflect what's involved in hitting a ball for that sport. If I change the scenario or sport and make the sport about just kicking a ball then my stats would be nearly 100% hit every time because of what's involved in making contact with the ball. If what is involved in telepathy and OBEs are as clear as some describe, then people who claim to have these experiences should also be performing the task at a high level. I've only seen a lot of talk so far from some of those who claim to be so good. If an NDEr reports seeing his or her body, and numbers are being put on their forehead for instance, then iwhat excuse would there be for them having a low percentage of correctly being able to identify the number? Not seeing clearly? Graham Nicholls said "numbers are hard to see".. really? I can see numbers perfectly with the eyes on my body but people would find it hard to see in this "realer than real" or hyper-real experience?

You describe yourself as 'agnostic'. Assuming that accurately describes your position, I would look at the range of evidence for a number of remarkable phenomena. You might want to try Dean Radin's "Entangled Minds", which goes into a lot of detail about the statistics of the various experiments.
Yes, I'm an agnostic thinker, and I hold that position towards God's existence and paranormal, in general. But that doesn't mean that I'm an agnostic about every single thing no more than a Christian having to believe in all supernatural things that someone can think of just because they believe in the supernatural things in the Bible. The only paranormal phenomena I accept is near-death experiences but I tend to be skeptical of everything else (telepathy, telekinesis, precognition, etc)

Perhaps it is also relevant to point out that a lot of physics results are actually purely statistical. For example, the high energy physics community require that the evidence for any new particle (e.g. the Higgs!) must reach 5 sigma, which means that there is only one chance in about 3.5 million that the result is due to chance! The accumulated Ganzfeld results are much better than that!

David
I"m more concerned about how the ability works as claimed by people than the statistical results. Even parapsychologists are studying telepathy based on anecdotal data derived from people who claim to have these experiences a lot. Dean Radin refers to the ability of yogi's in his recent book and Alex interviewed him on that.
 
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Bart V

straw materialist
Member
#12
It does indeed - some people seem to think that ψ experiments are somehow special in that they deal with statistics. Of course, statistics are also implicitly important in still more experiments that rely on statistical mechanics.
Statistics is a tool, ψ experiments are special in that they apply statistics to an assumption without any underlying theoretical framework.

I'm afraid that IMHO in the current climate, researchers fear being labelled 'woo' and shun such subjects. This inhibits the normal operation of science, which would otherwise research these subjects to the point where we would know if they were real or not.
What inhibits the normal operation of science is the lack of strong positive proof for ψ.
The leading ψ researchers are stuck in a form of complacency.
They cry conspiracy and bask in the admiration of a handful loyal followers, meta-analyse till the cows come home, that is the easy thing to do.
They are hardly challenged by their peers, they operate in the convenient isolation of a self-proclaimed field of science.

To keep relevant, and attract young scientists, parapsychology is in bad need of an experiment is that simple and robust, one that gives a clear result, something to work with.
The Sheldrakes, Radins, bems should try to do the hard thing and pull all their resources together to come to such an experiment.
If they would have such a litmus test for ψ, scientists could come to the field on a base that relies less on faith.
But in that quest they need to to the even harder thing of staying open the possibility that ψ is non-existent.

Well, as I understand it, every Higgs particle detection requires the filtering of 10^12 events! That is positively scary, because the possibility of a minute systematic error generating a spurious result. A ψ experiment that had such a tiny effect size would be laughed out of court.

David
Any experiment with a basically non-existent theoretical base would probably not even be discussed in physics.
I think that is the difference between the use of statistics for counting what was predicted and fits perfectly in an evolving theory, and using statistics to show an anomaly without knowing what it is
.
 
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#13
...I'm not sure why some people are only thinking in terms of the most difficult tasks instead of providing a range of tasks with a range of difficulty levels...
Yes, this has also been a frustration of mine for some years. Even the most basic ideas, like having a range of different hidden/unhidden targets at different heights and locations would have produced more useful results (sort of a scatter-gun approach), allowing future studies to narrow their focus far faster. Concentrating on testing only the most literal interpretation of the OBE NDE using high-up hidden targets, has been a wasted opportunity in my view.
 
#14
Bart, the problem withyourapproach - demanding a prior theoretical reasons to believe something- is that it only really works for small advancements in science - it can cut off evidence for for real phenomena that require a larger conceptual shift tounderstand them.

IMHO science has slipped too far into this approach.

David
 
F

Frank Matera

#16
There seems to be an assumption in your reasoning by equating baseball with telepathy and OBEs but either way it doesn't answer my question. In baseball, it's just a matter of coordination, ball movement and timing of swing. You can test that by changing the scenario or the sport. If you put a ball on a tee and it sits still in place, then I can probably hit it every time. What's the reason for the misses in telepathy and OBErs, esp. the ones who can do it at will?
You are oversimplifying it and comparing apples with oranges.

You may be able to hit the golf ball at will off a tee 100% of the time IF you are a professional.... but so what. I am able to hit the ball off the tee 99% of the time and I am a weekend hacker. The task is a relatively easy one to achieve with enough practice.

Achieving telepathy and PSI is not as easy a task as hitting a golf ball off a tee. What you should be relating it to is shooting 9 under par for a round of 18. This is extremely difficult but achievable in the right circumstances... just like PSI. Depending on a variety of variables such as environmental conditions, ability and practice and human error.... you are going to be someone that achieves this on a regular basis but not 100% of the time... or like me you may never achieve it because I simply don't practice enough or do not have the ability.
 
F

Frank Matera

#17
This brings up a few questions.
If so, then why is not every parapsychologist working with ganzfeld?
And secondly, do you really think the statistics that confirmed the Higgs are doing the same job as the statistics that are applied to ganzfeld experiments?
Because people like TED label them pseudoscientists and ban them from giving talks........ maybe?

Having said that yes I agree that the Ganzfeld should be the absolute starting point and we shoujld be hammering it consistently until mainstream science can no longer ignore it. To me it is the starting point for all of PSI.

Once you accept telepathy via the Ganzfeld then you have to start accepting the possibility of remote viewing, Psychic, Mediumship... consciousness outside of the brain... and ultimately life after death etc etc... as telepathy is the method by which communication happens.

I'd prefer to see all efforts put towards the Ganzfeld.
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#18
Once you accept telepathy via the Ganzfeld then you have to start accepting the possibility of remote viewing, Psychic, Mediumship... consciousness outside of the brain... and ultimately life after death etc etc... as telepathy is the method by which communication happens.
I'm not sure why precognition has to be related to telepathy. In particular, Ganzfeld could be precognition unless the subjects are never given feedback.

I'm certainly not sure why life after death is necessarily related to any of this.

~~ Paul
 
#19
Having said that yes I agree that the Ganzfeld should be the absolute starting point and we shoujld be hammering it consistently until mainstream science can no longer ignore it. To me it is the starting point for all of PSI.

Once you accept telepathy via the Ganzfeld then you have to start accepting the possibility of remote viewing, Psychic, Mediumship... consciousness outside of the brain... and ultimately life after death etc etc... as telepathy is the method by which communication happens.

I'd prefer to see all efforts put towards the Ganzfeld.
By this do you mean starting by doing a few adequately powered Ganzfeld studies?
 
F

Frank Matera

#20
I'm not sure why precognition has to be related to telepathy. In particular, Ganzfeld could be precognition unless the subjects are never given feedback.

I'm certainly not sure why life after death is necessarily related to any of this.

~~ Paul
I'm confused... what does precognition have to do with anything? The Ganzfeld doesn't test precognition... it tests for telepathy.

Also in what Ganzfeld are the subjects given feedback? Correct me if I am wrong but doesn't the subject speak out loud during the test about what they see and the symbols and feelings they get during the experiment... during which time it is recorded and then this is replayed back to the recipient when selecting which one of the 4 images closest matches the symbols and images they saw, heard and felt?

That's not feedback it's remembering the information you received. When you are in that state of consciousness you can barely remember what you said 30 seconds earlier never mind during a Ganzfeld. I can't see anything wrong with this approach or how in any way it prompts the recipient or gives them feedback that they otherwise didn't have for themselves.
 
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