The return of Paqart

Many years ago, I contributed to these forums regularly. On many of those occasions, skeptics complained that proponents of psi theories didn't understand the scientific method. The argument was weak, because it went something like this "You believe that psi is real, therefore you don't understand the scientific method." Never mind that many of the targets of this criticism probably did understand the scientific method, the argument ignores the possibility that psi is a real phenomenon.

To address those comments, and others like them, I wrote a few papers that were published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Scientific Exploration. These didn't seem to inspire any skeptics, unless posting references to the articles on skeptic pages loaded with childish derision counts as "inspiration." For that reason, I doubt my news of today will make much of a difference, but I have just been notified that my thesis has been accepted, meaning I will be receiving my doctorate shortly. My understanding is that it will arrive around June 1st or shortly thereafter. All this means is that my university thinks I understand the scientific method. The reason I don't think the effort I made will make any difference is that there are far more eminent people than myself who have PhDs and they aren't treated well by skeptics either.

When people like Rupert Sheldrake, William Crookes, Charles Richet, J.B. Rhine, and others are dismissed out of hand by skeptics, it is clear that credentials, knowledge, reputation, and data, are all meaningless inducements to reason among skeptics on this topic. Despite this, I'm happy to have the degree, if for no other reason than the process of achieving my doctorate is now over.
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Did you do research on psi, or on something else?
Something else. I didn't think the university I worked for would let me do a psi-related subject. Instead, I researched the development of a cognitive ability, spatial visualization, among university students. There were times that I found the literature frustrating because of their brain=mind assumptions, but I made it through eventually.

On another subject: I wrote five published papers for peer-reviewed journals, and one that is so far unpublished but conclusively rejected by the JSE. The reason is that they interpreted the content as "evangelizing". That is quite far from accurate, but the subject matter of the article shared some things with the literature of religious studies. The fact that I described veridical psi experiences in the same article that asked whether psi and religion have a common source was, in the minds of the reviewers, equivalent to arguing that there is a relationship, or that a relationship has been proven. That is like saying that the question "Is it true?" is equivalent to the statement "it is true."

The reason I mention it is that I have been wanting to write on the subject of psi, religion, and overlap between the two for some time. However, the response from the JSE pretty much killed my interest in writing about psi altogether. If even psi researchers aren't able to press beyond simple recording and verification of psi data, then the subject is a non-starter. It is a pity, because psi on its own isn't that interesting. What psi may mean, on the other hand, is quite interesting.
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it is clear that credentials, knowledge, reputation, and data, are all meaningless
I agree.

When I was an undergraduate I had a job in a lab. One day a postdoc came into the room I was working in and explained she had turned the water on in the sink in the adjoining room and it was on too hard and was splattering all over and she was so flustered that she couldn't remember which way to turn the tap to shut off the water and could I please go next door and turn it off for her.
Reason is an illusion...
Scott Adams, who in addition to being the author of the comic strip Dilbert, is a trained hypnotist. In an interview on FoxNews@Night with Shannon Bream on March 19, 2018, Scott Adams explained that hypnotism teaches us that people don't use logic to make decisions even though we think we do. (2:59:
We humans ignore facts but we think we don't. The great illusion of life is that we're rational beings making rational decisions most of the time. But when you become a hypnotist, the first thing you learn is that that's backwards and that mostly we're deciding based on our team, our feelings, our emotions, irrational reasons, we make our decision and then we rationalize it no matter how tortured that rationalization is."​
University of Virginia psychologist Jonathan Haidt expressed similar views in his book The righteous Mind. He wrote that people don't use reason to form their beliefs, they use reason to justify their beliefs which they form for emotional reasons. William Saletan described Haidt's views in the Sunday Book Review:

Why Won’t They Listen? ‘The Righteous Mind,’ by Jonathan Haidt By WILLIAM SALETAN SUNDAY BOOK REVIEW MARCH 23, 2012
The problem isn’t that people don’t reason. They do reason. But their arguments aim to support their conclusions, not yours. Reason doesn’t work like a judge or teacher, impartially weighing evidence or guiding us to wisdom. It works more like a lawyer or press secretary, justifying our acts and judgments to others.
Welcome back to the forum! We have missed you.

You are also welcome, of course, to contribute again to the moderation - except that essentially no moderation has been required for quite some time. I think this is because Alex uses email to interview those who would like to join the forum.

This Sheldrake video discusses the relationship between religion, ψ, and consciousness:

I have just been notified that my thesis has been accepted, meaning I will be receiving my doctorate shortly. My understanding is that it will arrive around June 1st or shortly thereafter.
Congratulations on completing your doctorate.

I greatly enjoyed your book "Dreamer" and hope you will find time for further writing outside of scientific papers.