[extropy-chat] Popperian psi challenge

Damien Broderick thespike at satx.rr.com
Tue Dec 26 23:24:42 UTC 2006

At 05:21 PM 12/26/2006 -0500, JKC wrote:

>what experimental result would make you conclude
>that you were wrong and psi research is just a big waste of time?

With inherently low probability events, it's difficult to set a 
Popperian challenge. Famously, when low daily doses of aspirin were 
administered to people liable to heart attacks, the finding was less 
than 1 in 50 for heart attack in the placebo condition and less than 
1 in a 100 with aspirin. How do we know that aspirin isn't just a big 
waste of time? You look at an awfully big pool of people, and hope 
like hell that the results aren't being compromised by the way in 
which differential amounts of bedside manner aren't confounding the 
looked-for aspirin effect, etc.

Since psi is observed to be stochastic, with very poorly understood 
operating characteristics, it would be misleading to place too much 
trust in any single experiment or "psi-operator". But I would be 
rather surprised if Joseph McMoneagle's accuracy rate dropped away to 
the null level in future remote viewing tests, or that anomalous 
apparently-precognitive prestimulus responses failed to be found in 
future experiments by Dr. Edwin May.

Damien Broderick

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