Sunday, 27 November 2011

A note on psi experiments in general

As I understand them, psi experimentation could be viewed as an altruistic exercise on the part of the experimenters, all of whom hope to explain a phenomenon that most people cannot directly witness themselves. It is the altruistic nature of this exercise that causes parapsychologists to work long hours on these subjects despite poor funding and heaps of scorn from other professionals, negative publicity, and the general public. It is altruism that causes these men and women to alter their experiments frequently, to answer questions or criticisms by skeptics. It doesn't even matter how well-grounded an objection is, they'll cater to the whims of people who haven't the slightest notion how experiments are conducted or how the data is interpreted or indeed what inadequate or fraudulent data looks like. If this weren't true, you wouldn't see Julie Bieschel going beyond double-blind experiments to triple-blind, quadruple-blind and even quintuple-blind. You wouldn't have Rupert Sheldrake using dogs as subjects, because that completely eliminates many objections about the motives of human subjects. You wouldn't have researchers discarding NDE data unless the subject was clinically dead, had a flat EEG, and was congenitally blind (as Ring did in one study.)

All of this, all of these ridiculous extremes, these cost the literature tremendous quantities of perfectly good data. But why is all of this valuable data sacrificed? Altruism. The people who do it are trying to explain a difficult thing to people who do not understand it and have no idea what it should look like. So they are patient. They know the objections don't always make sense, but they cooperate anyway because they know that they will be able to demonstrate something despite limitations that would have scientists in other fields crying "Foul!"

It can be quite frustrating, but on the other hand it is also true that bending to these often silly requests has its own challenge. "Can I show it in this way?" The parapsychologist might ask himself, and then with some pleasure discover that it can be done, like progressively increasing the difficulty of a video game. At a certain point however, the process no longer serves the original goal. It is possible to over train and in so doing lose the time for legitimate appropriate research that was instead spent distracted, working on ever-higher levels of difficulty that never connected very well with one's original research interests.

It seems to me that as long as experimental research is conducted by people who are genuinely interested in it and who think it is the most legitimate method of answering certain questions, it is a legitimate endeavor. However, when that same research is directed by the arbitrary and uninformed criticisms of people who are fanatically attached to the desire of curtailing, stopping, interfering with, or in some other way harming the research, one might expect that work to run aground from time to time.

It may be that psi research threatens other fields. Frankly, I think it not only does "threaten" other fields, but the facts behind the research, the reality it is based on, already makes a mockery of several basic principles in a variety of sciences. Reincarnation, spirits, telepathy, PK, spirit guides, all of these and other related phenomena show that there is much more than modern physics, medicine, or religion has seriously contemplated. For this, research into psi is dangerous because once these things are demonstrated, many ideas accepted for a mere two centuries or so, must fall. Why, with this opposition, do others persist? Because it is a part of nature to explain when asked a question, and to want to tell the truth if one knows it--particularly if others don't. Again, altruism.


1 comment:

  1. It's interesting. Myself, I have spent a lot of time over the last 30 years looking at the findings of modern physics. Modern findings invalidate a lot of the models to which physicists hold firmly nonetheless. The whole notion of scientific objectivity - always questionable from a philosophical stance - is repudiated by modern Quantum Electrodynamics (QED). The Copenhagen interpretation of QED first suggested that Heisenberg's indeterminacy principal is a reflection of the actual state of a system (like Schrodinger's cat in a box - both dead and alive). Every test formulated to resolve this peculiarity has only confirmed it - up to and beyond Feynman's Sum-over-histories equations which suggest strongly that the state of the world is the result - not of a particular history leading to that state, but of *all* possible histories leading to the observed state.

    My interest in QED was as much about attempting to find a scientific basis for my own peculiar experiences as it was to learn about an objective set of laws... In fact, it was the *lack* of separation between the mind of the observer and the state of the observed which suggested to me that QED might bear fruit as a basis for modelling these phenomena.

    That pursuit has indeed born fruit. I have a working model which accommodates the latest models of QED, and fits with all so-called paranormal experience. It all hinges on the relationship between mind and physicality. Many forms of wisdom - all, in fact, that I have seen (including science, given QED) - hold a strong bi-directional, causal relationship between mind/expectation, and matter/realization.

    Attempts to follow a solid logical, *scientific* argument as to why this model is an interesting, useful, and valid hypothesis is almost invariably met by emotional opposition from otherwise reasonable people - many of whom claim science as their preferred mode of reasoning.

    I would like to claim that I enter these discussions from an altruistic position - to accommodate the dispositions of those not inclined to look at such "paranormal" data with anything but (often hostile) skepticism, and claiming a scientific preference over such "hogwash".

    The fact is, though, I enter these discussions for selfish reasons - to use the best minds I can find to test my model for reasonable flaws. Unfortunately, few are willing to do so, preferring to dismiss the ideas unconsidered (as Schrodinger did) as patently absurd - despite the fact that they are derived from the solid, careful, and incredibly meticulous observations of their own science.

    I conclude that many have adopted the notion of Scientific Objectivity as a point of Faith, and will not be moved by reason. My model requires no Faith, and I feel that any true scientist has no need for Faith in their model, and thus shouldn't be afraid of - or resistant to models which challenge their assumptions - especially given that those assumptions have already been disproven for coming up on a century.

    Schrodinger was made a fool by his cat, and scientific objectivity has become its own disproof.

    Personally, as a follower of Pan, I love it. The mind is liberated from all law.

    Happy day!