Jaytee the Psychic Dog

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Re: Jaytee the Psychic Dog

#21  Postby VK-machine » Oct 28, 2010 5:35 pm

Mr.Samsa wrote:
EeekiE wrote:It would be unscientific to ignore it on the basis of "it sounds a little crazy", but would it be unscientific to ignore the same tired crazy old claim for the 50,000,000th time, that's had no positive results, and doesn't even have a proposed method of how what they're testing for could EVEN work in the first place?


50,000,000th time? That seems like a bit of an exaggeration.. :grin:

Generally the beginning of a scientific investigation is simply description, not explanation, so not having a proposed method for how such things could work isn't a problem,...

Hold on. That's exactly right. Quite often one starts out with a phenomenon and proceeds to explain it.
That is certainly not the case here, or more generally it is never the case with 'psi'.
It does not start out with a description but a conviction. That is that human beings, with their minds, are able to do certain things which are scientifically impossible. When I say scientifically impossible I am not making a judgment, that is simply part of the 'definition'. Psi doesn't just mean that something unknown happened, it really needs to contradict certain fairly basic concepts to qualidy as psi.

...but I agree that if something has been tested many times and continually produce negative results then we should realistically give up on it.

However, the problem is that some of these tests, like the one in the Daryl Bem thread and the Ganzfeld's etc, seem to be giving positive results.

But what exactly is being tested?
We can test a psychic to see if he can do what he claims. That's simple and the answer is a universal no.

What is tested in the Ganzfeld or by Bem is quite different. There a null hypothesis is tested.
Yet the null may be wrong for any number of reasons, none of them having anything to do with what Bem and co are looking for. 'Statistical significance therefore magic' is just not reasonable .
It is this which makes parapsychology a pseudoscience. That the investigators start out with a conviction is problematic but they might still be right. The universal reliance on faulty reasoning is a killer.

Personally, I think these are weird statistical effects combined with methodological issues.. but it's interesting to try to figure out what's going on.

I find it interesting, too, but it is interesting in the same way a riddle is interesting. It is not scientifically interesting.
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Re: Jaytee the Psychic Dog

#22  Postby Mr.Samsa » Oct 29, 2010 1:37 am

VK-machine wrote:Hold on. That's exactly right. Quite often one starts out with a phenomenon and proceeds to explain it.
That is certainly not the case here, or more generally it is never the case with 'psi'.
It does not start out with a description but a conviction. That is that human beings, with their minds, are able to do certain things which are scientifically impossible. When I say scientifically impossible I am not making a judgment, that is simply part of the 'definition'. Psi doesn't just mean that something unknown happened, it really needs to contradict certain fairly basic concepts to qualidy as psi.


Well they'd have to come up with some consistent results before they could explain it, and this applies for whether psi exists or it doesn't. And I agree that if it does exist that it would contradict multiple scientific findings, but this doesn't make it scientifically impossible (unless we're just using the term informally). Most scientific breakthroughs are "scientifically impossible" because if they were possible, they wouldn't be a breakthrough. This is why science is based on a bedrock of uncertainty and conditional acceptance, rather than treating conclusions as facts about "reality". So I do agree that psi would be scientifically improbable, and personally I think it's impossible, but neither of those would preclude its existence or be reasons in themselves to halt investigation.

VK-machine wrote:
...but I agree that if something has been tested many times and continually produce negative results then we should realistically give up on it.

However, the problem is that some of these tests, like the one in the Daryl Bem thread and the Ganzfeld's etc, seem to be giving positive results.

But what exactly is being tested?
We can test a psychic to see if he can do what he claims. That's simple and the answer is a universal no.

What is tested in the Ganzfeld or by Bem is quite different. There a null hypothesis is tested.
Yet the null may be wrong for any number of reasons, none of them having anything to do with what Bem and co are looking for. 'Statistical significance therefore magic' is just not reasonable .


Well yes, because parapsychologists aren't looking for someone who can predict lottery numbers or Professor Xavier. If psi did exist, they are going about the investigation as if it were a normal phenomena of the universe. I do agree that their methodology is usually flawed, and their initial assumptions lead to false conclusions, but this is still valuable information for science since this isn't only a problem for parapsychology, it happens in all other areas too. The advantage here is that we are a lot more critical of parapsychology so we're able to see the problems more clearly when we're not blinded by an implicit acceptance of the phenomena studied in other areas.

VK-machine wrote:It is this which makes parapsychology a pseudoscience. That the investigators start out with a conviction is problematic but they might still be right. The universal reliance on faulty reasoning is a killer.


Wait, hold on a second there. You think parapsychologists all believe in psi and they're desperately trying to prove it to be true? This is undeniably false. But even if it were true, this is not that much different from other sciences. People have theories that they want to be true and they try hard to demonstrate their existence. Science is not this impartial objective arena, where scientists are beyond the pettiness of man and are delighted when their ideas are proved wrong because it results in the beauty of knowledge and progress...

VK-machine wrote:
Personally, I think these are weird statistical effects combined with methodological issues.. but it's interesting to try to figure out what's going on.

I find it interesting, too, but it is interesting in the same way a riddle is interesting. It is not scientifically interesting.


No, it's still scientifically interesting. I've already pointed out the file-drawer effect which affects all of science, but if psi doesn't exist then we still need to explain why they're getting false results. Bad assumptions, faulty methodology, whatever - what are they doing differently to other scientists? Not a whole lot, so why don't these factors affect the work of other scientists? Simple answer, they do but we weren't previously aware of them.
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Re: Jaytee the Psychic Dog

#23  Postby VK-machine » Oct 29, 2010 10:46 am

Mr.Samsa wrote:
VK-machine wrote:Hold on. That's exactly right. Quite often one starts out with a phenomenon and proceeds to explain it.
That is certainly not the case here, or more generally it is never the case with 'psi'.
It does not start out with a description but a conviction. That is that human beings, with their minds, are able to do certain things which are scientifically impossible. When I say scientifically impossible I am not making a judgment, that is simply part of the 'definition'. Psi doesn't just mean that something unknown happened, it really needs to contradict certain fairly basic concepts to qualidy as psi.


Well they'd have to come up with some consistent results before they could explain it, and this applies for whether psi exists or it doesn't. And I agree that if it does exist that it would contradict multiple scientific findings, but this doesn't make it scientifically impossible (unless we're just using the term informally). Most scientific breakthroughs are "scientifically impossible" because if they were possible, they wouldn't be a breakthrough.This is why science is based on a bedrock of uncertainty and conditional acceptance, rather than treating conclusions as facts about "reality". So I do agree that psi would be scientifically improbable, and personally I think it's impossible, but neither of those would preclude its existence or be reasons in themselves to halt investigation.

By scientifically impossible I mean that it is impossible as far as science knows. Like faster than light travel.
Again. This is not a claim made by me. This is how psi is defined. See.
I specifically did not mean absolutely impossible. I'd have to be omniscient to make such a judgment.

Scientific breakthroughs generally occur by finding something unknown. The actual impossible is rarer.
VK-machine wrote:
...but I agree that if something has been tested many times and continually produce negative results then we should realistically give up on it.

However, the problem is that some of these tests, like the one in the Daryl Bem thread and the Ganzfeld's etc, seem to be giving positive results.

But what exactly is being tested?
We can test a psychic to see if he can do what he claims. That's simple and the answer is a universal no.

What is tested in the Ganzfeld or by Bem is quite different. There a null hypothesis is tested.
Yet the null may be wrong for any number of reasons, none of them having anything to do with what Bem and co are looking for. 'Statistical significance therefore magic' is just not reasonable .


Well yes, because parapsychologists aren't looking for someone who can predict lottery numbers or Professor Xavier. If psi did exist, they are going about the investigation as if it were a normal phenomena of the universe.

Certainly not.
Let's try to do some physics, para style.
There's something we call zeta. It's something that electrons do that is in absolute contradiction to any known theory.
There's this guy that has a free energy machine. That suggests the operation of zeta. Except if he's a fraud. But we should not suspect that because that is nasty. Let's keep an open mind toward zeta.
The voyager anomaly also suggests zeta. There are conventional explanations but they are contrived. Much simpler to assume it is zeta.
Millikan's original measurement's of the electron mass were much lower than modern measurements. That's due to zeta. Millikan was a Nobel prize winning pro, he can't have made errors like skeptics claim.

And so on...
That's not how we do science. And for good reason.
I do agree that their methodology is usually flawed, and their initial assumptions lead to false conclusions, but this is still valuable information for science since this isn't only a problem for parapsychology, it happens in all other areas too. The advantage here is that we are a lot more critical of parapsychology so we're able to see the problems more clearly when we're not blinded by an implicit acceptance of the phenomena studied in other areas.

You could say the same about creation 'science' or perpetual motion mechanics, etc...

VK-machine wrote:It is this which makes parapsychology a pseudoscience. That the investigators start out with a conviction is problematic but they might still be right. The universal reliance on faulty reasoning is a killer.


Wait, hold on a second there. You think parapsychologists all believe in psi and they're desperately trying to prove it to be true? This is undeniably false.

Presumably the argument here is that some skeptical people like Richard Wiseman don't shun the label parapsychologist?
In truth this is just a variant of the old controversy gambit.
That actual scientists take the time to rebut the claims of, again for example, creation 'science' does not lend credence to these claims. If these scientists were not to mind being called creation scientists, would that lend credence?

But even if it were true, this is not that much different from other sciences. People have theories that they want to be true and they try hard to demonstrate their existence. Science is not this impartial objective arena, where scientists are beyond the pettiness of man and are delighted when their ideas are proved wrong because it results in the beauty of knowledge and progress...

Just because scientists are just people who often are irrational does not make irrationality scientifically acceptable.
Do you think creation 'science' is a science? If no, then only make arguments that could not be made for it, as well.
If yes, then I beg to differ.

VK-machine wrote:
Personally, I think these are weird statistical effects combined with methodological issues.. but it's interesting to try to figure out what's going on.

I find it interesting, too, but it is interesting in the same way a riddle is interesting. It is not scientifically interesting.


No, it's still scientifically interesting. I've already pointed out the file-drawer effect which affects all of science, but if psi doesn't exist then we still need to explain why they're getting false results. Bad assumptions, faulty methodology, whatever - what are they doing differently to other scientists? Not a whole lot, so why don't these factors affect the work of other scientists? Simple answer, they do but we weren't previously aware of them.[/quote]
Are you saying that we only learned about such mistakes from parapsychology? I rather doubt that. Can you give some examples?
If you look at, for example, Hyman's criticisms of the early Ganzfeld experiments you will find that most of these are highly specific to the protocol used. These are of no special interest to the wider world.
Still, the argument that parapsychology can serve as a control group for science has merit. The existence of a field dedicated to studying the non-existant hammers home just how misguided people can be. However, that is a general lesson and moreover one the presupposes parapsychology is studying the non-existant.
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Re: Jaytee the Psychic Dog

#24  Postby Mr.Samsa » Oct 29, 2010 11:41 am

VK-machine wrote:By scientifically impossible I mean that it is impossible as far as science knows. Like faster than light travel.
Again. This is not a claim made by me. This is how psi is defined. See.
I specifically did not mean absolutely impossible. I'd have to be omniscient to make such a judgment.

Scientific breakthroughs generally occur by finding something unknown. The actual impossible is rarer.


Ah, I thought you meant "absolutely impossible", rather than just in the informal sense where it means "not currently known". In which case I'd agree - and the definitions you linked to define it like that, as opposed to the sense I initially thought you were suggesting.

And indeed breakthroughs that demonstrate the impossible are certainly rare, but they do occur.

VK-machine wrote:
Well yes, because parapsychologists aren't looking for someone who can predict lottery numbers or Professor Xavier. If psi did exist, they are going about the investigation as if it were a normal phenomena of the universe.

Certainly not.
Let's try to do some physics, para style.
There's something we call zeta. It's something that electrons do that is in absolute contradiction to any known theory.
There's this guy that has a free energy machine. That suggests the operation of zeta. Except if he's a fraud. But we should not suspect that because that is nasty. Let's keep an open mind toward zeta.
The voyager anomaly also suggests zeta. There are conventional explanations but they are contrived. Much simpler to assume it is zeta.
Millikan's original measurement's of the electron mass were much lower than modern measurements. That's due to zeta. Millikan was a Nobel prize winning pro, he can't have made errors like skeptics claim.

And so on...
That's not how we do science. And for good reason.


I'm not sure what you're talking about? I simply meant that they have designed their experiments as if "psi" was simply another behavior that organisms have (excluding Sheldrake's god awful attempts at doing "science"). Whether their conclusions or initial assumptions are correct or not is another matter, but their general designs appear to be improving to me.

VK-machine wrote:
I do agree that their methodology is usually flawed, and their initial assumptions lead to false conclusions, but this is still valuable information for science since this isn't only a problem for parapsychology, it happens in all other areas too. The advantage here is that we are a lot more critical of parapsychology so we're able to see the problems more clearly when we're not blinded by an implicit acceptance of the phenomena studied in other areas.

You could say the same about creation 'science' or perpetual motion mechanics, etc...


...Arguably true, but from what I've read on those topics their designs have been so poor, they haven't provided anything of value.

VK-machine wrote:
Wait, hold on a second there. You think parapsychologists all believe in psi and they're desperately trying to prove it to be true? This is undeniably false.

Presumably the argument here is that some skeptical people like Richard Wiseman don't shun the label parapsychologist?
In truth this is just a variant of the old controversy gambit.
That actual scientists take the time to rebut the claims of, again for example, creation 'science' does not lend credence to these claims. If these scientists were not to mind being called creation scientists, would that lend credence?


Not at all, you've reversed my argument. To say that all parapsychologists are trying to prove the existence of psi is demonstrably wrong when there are parapsychologists who don't believe in psi. Just because there are "skeptics" in the field obviously doesn't validate the claims of the parapsychologists, it's simply evidence that the claim "All parapsychologists are trying to demonstrate the existence of psi" is wrong.

VK-machine wrote:
But even if it were true, this is not that much different from other sciences. People have theories that they want to be true and they try hard to demonstrate their existence. Science is not this impartial objective arena, where scientists are beyond the pettiness of man and are delighted when their ideas are proved wrong because it results in the beauty of knowledge and progress...

Just because scientists are just people who often are irrational does not make irrationality scientifically acceptable.
Do you think creation 'science' is a science? If no, then only make arguments that could not be made for it, as well.
If yes, then I beg to differ.


No again you've misunderstood my argument. Practically ALL scientists are irrational. We are vain creatures, we like to be right and hate to be wrong. It's the system of science which is mostly impartial and weeds out the correct arguments from the chaff. Individually though, scientists are irrational little creatures, just like all humans are.

This doesn't mean that irrationality is an admirable quality, or that the irrationality of creation scientists is acceptable, it just means that suggesting that a scientific field should only be investigated by objective, impartial scientists that only want Truth and who don't care whether they are right or not, is a fairytale.

VK-machine wrote:
No, it's still scientifically interesting. I've already pointed out the file-drawer effect which affects all of science, but if psi doesn't exist then we still need to explain why they're getting false results. Bad assumptions, faulty methodology, whatever - what are they doing differently to other scientists? Not a whole lot, so why don't these factors affect the work of other scientists? Simple answer, they do but we weren't previously aware of them.

Are you saying that we only learned about such mistakes from parapsychology? I rather doubt that. Can you give some examples?


That we only learned about them through parapsychology is a strong claim, but I certainly think that such examples helped. Hopefully Jerome can help me think of some better examples though as he knows the literature far better than I do.
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Re: Jaytee the Psychic Dog

#25  Postby VK-machine » Oct 29, 2010 6:37 pm

Mr.Samsa wrote:And indeed breakthroughs that demonstrate the impossible are certainly rare, but they do occur.

Let's follow this line for a bit.
Say that there is a result for which noone knows a conventional explanation. That result is replicated in numerous laboratories. Would we then be justified in calling this psi, ie proof of the impossible?
No, we wouldn't. It could for example be fraud. You could call this a baseless conspiracy theory and I would agree that it seems implausible when numerous different labs/researchers are involved. And yet should we really assume that the results were due to something impossible rather than something implausible?
You might now ask why we should not apply the same reasoning in other areas. For example, why explain certain results with Einstein's relativity rather than as fraud no a large scale?
The answer is quite simple. There is no reason. It simply doesn't matter. The theory yields correct prediction regardless of wether this is due to it being "true" or just the guideline of a conspiracy.

VK-machine wrote:
Well yes, because parapsychologists aren't looking for someone who can predict lottery numbers or Professor Xavier. If psi did exist, they are going about the investigation as if it were a normal phenomena of the universe.

Certainly not.
Let's try to do some physics, para style.
There's something we call zeta. It's something that electrons do that is in absolute contradiction to any known theory.
There's this guy that has a free energy machine. That suggests the operation of zeta. Except if he's a fraud. But we should not suspect that because that is nasty. Let's keep an open mind toward zeta.
The voyager anomaly also suggests zeta. There are conventional explanations but they are contrived. Much simpler to assume it is zeta.
Millikan's original measurement's of the electron mass were much lower than modern measurements. That's due to zeta. Millikan was a Nobel prize winning pro, he can't have made errors like skeptics claim.

And so on...
That's not how we do science. And for good reason.


I'm not sure what you're talking about?

I understood you as saying that parapsychology worked like real science. Which obviously is not the case but I see I misunderstood.

I simply meant that they have designed their experiments as if "psi" was simply another behavior that organisms have (excluding Sheldrake's god awful attempts at doing "science"). Whether their conclusions or initial assumptions are correct or not is another matter, but their general designs appear to be improving to me.

I see what you mean but I don't think you can just relegate the matter of initial assumptions to an afterthought. If you assume that clairvoyance works then remote viewing the atom becomes nuclear physics.

There was a time when I was fresh to the topic that I argued somewhat like that. That there were some parapsychological experiments that were not crap and that therfore one shouldn't call it pseudoscience even if it was misguided.
What changed my opinion on the matter was not arguments by skeptics but reading the parapsychological literature (as well as discussing with believers).
The simple fact is that proponents hardly care about the results of any experiments. Look at Sheldrake. He has his belief and that's it. His experiments don't influence his views.
It would be too much said to say that experimental results never influence the views of proponents. For example, things like the decline effect or the sheep-goat effect are widely did arise after studying data. Yet, these so-called effects only serve to protect certain core beliefs. And these will not be altered.
Eventually, I had to come to the conclusion that experiments did nothing but provide a sciencey look to, basically, bizarre delusions. If the results are ignored then the whole thing is not science but only pretend science.

VK-machine wrote:
I do agree that their methodology is usually flawed, and their initial assumptions lead to false conclusions, but this is still valuable information for science since this isn't only a problem for parapsychology, it happens in all other areas too. The advantage here is that we are a lot more critical of parapsychology so we're able to see the problems more clearly when we're not blinded by an implicit acceptance of the phenomena studied in other areas.

You could say the same about creation 'science' or perpetual motion mechanics, etc...


...Arguably true, but from what I've read on those topics their designs have been so poor, they haven't provided anything of value.

What has parapsychology provided then?

VK-machine wrote:
Wait, hold on a second there. You think parapsychologists all believe in psi and they're desperately trying to prove it to be true? This is undeniably false.

Presumably the argument here is that some skeptical people like Richard Wiseman don't shun the label parapsychologist?
In truth this is just a variant of the old controversy gambit.
That actual scientists take the time to rebut the claims of, again for example, creation 'science' does not lend credence to these claims. If these scientists were not to mind being called creation scientists, would that lend credence?


Not at all, you've reversed my argument. To say that all parapsychologists are trying to prove the existence of psi is demonstrably wrong when there are parapsychologists who don't believe in psi. Just because there are "skeptics" in the field obviously doesn't validate the claims of the parapsychologists, it's simply evidence that the claim "All parapsychologists are trying to demonstrate the existence of psi" is wrong.

I thought you were grasping for some respectability for parapsychology. Now I see that you were actually launching a strawman. I never made the claim you're rebutting there. Excuse my misunderstandin.

VK-machine wrote:
But even if it were true, this is not that much different from other sciences. People have theories that they want to be true and they try hard to demonstrate their existence. Science is not this impartial objective arena, where scientists are beyond the pettiness of man and are delighted when their ideas are proved wrong because it results in the beauty of knowledge and progress...

Just because scientists are just people who often are irrational does not make irrationality scientifically acceptable.
Do you think creation 'science' is a science? If no, then only make arguments that could not be made for it, as well.
If yes, then I beg to differ.


No again you've misunderstood my argument. Practically ALL scientists are irrational. We are vain creatures, we like to be right and hate to be wrong. It's the system of science which is mostly impartial and weeds out the correct arguments from the chaff. Individually though, scientists are irrational little creatures, just like all humans are.

Alright. I still don't understand the argument then.

This doesn't mean that irrationality is an admirable quality, or that the irrationality of creation scientists is acceptable, it just means that suggesting that a scientific field should only be investigated by objective, impartial scientists that only want Truth and who don't care whether they are right or not, is a fairytale.

It's good then that noone tells such stories, but perhaps a bit sad that some should imply otherwise.
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Re: Jaytee the Psychic Dog

#26  Postby jerome » Apr 04, 2011 12:46 pm

Just in case anyone interested, interview with DR Matthew Smith on my blog here- http://jerome23.wordpress.com/2011/04/0 ... hew-smith/
Yours sincerely, Jerome -- a threat to reason & science

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Re: Jaytee the Psychic Dog

#27  Postby jerome » Apr 06, 2011 3:05 pm

Not had time to watch this yet, but given I have just featured Dr Smith, here is SHeldrake!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MOzlSF0a8M[/youtube]
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Re: Jaytee the Psychic Dog

#28  Postby VK-machine » Apr 24, 2011 11:12 am

An exhaustive article on the psychic dog "saga":
http://barenormality.wordpress.com/2011 ... ychic-dog/

For those who want a skeptical perspective that goes beyond "Wiseman debunked it" but don't have hours and hours to read and think through several dense papers.
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