[ExI] Psi quantum observation experiment

Damien Broderick thespike at satx.rr.com
Fri Jun 29 21:51:13 UTC 2007

At 07:50 AM 6/29/2007 -0400, Mike Dougherty wrote:

>On 6/29/07, John K Clark <jonkc at att.net> wrote:
> > One truck
> > driver I've never heard of is approved by another truck driver I've never
> > heard of and the results are printed on Truck Drivers Digest...
> > Sorry, as hard as I try I just can't manage to get excited by this stuff.
>On the contrary, you seem compelled to comment on this topic every
>time it comes up.  To use your analogy; it appears that although you
>are not a truck driver, do not know any truck drivers and have little
>interest in truck driver related issues, but you are adamantly opposed
>to truck drivers' discussion where you might access it.

Spot-on, Mike. But--

I can understand and even sympathize with John's vexation. It's the 
way I'd feel if Eliezer suddenly started posting about the wondrous 
insights of the Bible Code. (Especially since I quoted JKC copiously 
throughout THE SPIKE, under the nym "Pelagius", as the champion of an 
extropic view of molecular nanotech.) On the other hand, if Eliezer 
*did* do that, I'd probably swallow hard and at least consider his 
arguments, read his sources, and try to dispute with him if I remain skeptical.

John's position is pretty much the mirror image of the denunciation I 
received on amazon.com by some, uh, nitwit:


"Unfortunately, the book is freighted with a lot of unpleasant 
baggage that stems from Broderick's obvious position as a skeptical 
materialist without a speck of the spiritual in him. He spends much 
of his time on a kind of People magazine-esque look at the odd 
personalities involved in psi research instead of the data. He's 
snide, smug and dismissive about aspects of the psi subculture that 
he's clearly decided a priori are the realm of New Age loonies: 
survival of consciousness, a holistic universe, and so on. And he's 
aghast at anything that smacks of the spiritual (even if it has 
nothing to do with religion). He spends much of the latter half of 
the book trying to rationalize his way out of the idea that according 
to quantum theory, a conscious observer is indeed necessary to create 
reality, a fact that is supported by the latest experiments by Anton 
Zeilinger at the University of Vienna.

"When confronted by any whiff of holism, zero point energy or 
anything else speculative, no matter how compelling, Broderick 
resorts to phrases like "horrifying" and "makes the hair stand up on 
the back of my neck." He comes off sounding like a dogmatic 
rationalist skeptic who was forced backward into belief about psi by 
the mountain of evidence, but cannot bend his mind around any other 
possibilities, even if there is good evidence to suggest they might 
be true.... Broderick is a thoroughgoing materialist and won't even 
consider the possibility. Skepticism and rigorous thinking are vital 
in these areas, because there is a lot of quantum nonsense and 
wishful thinking out there. But cynicism is more appropriate to Randi 
and his unsavory crowd of scoffers. The author drips with barely 
concealed contempt for some of the ideas presented in his book, and 
every time he showed such an attitude I wanted to fling the book 
across the room."

Guess that guy must be a Truckdriver. :)

By the way, back in the day when EvMick was posting on extropes, 
dissing truck drivers would have been potentially hazardous to one's health.

Damien Broderick  

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