[ExI] Alcock on Bem in Skeptical Inquirer.

John Clark jonkc at bellsouth.net
Mon Dec 6 16:10:45 UTC 2010

On Dec 5, 2010, at 5:04 PM, Stefano Vaj wrote:

> nobody would ever dream of criticising per se an effort "to provide well-controlled demonstrations of proton decay"

Bullshit. The goal should be to find if proton decay exists, not to prove that it does. If you start out with the absolute certainty that proton decay exists then your only task is to find a formal proof of it so you can convince others. If you don't find proton decay in your experiments and its a metaphysical certitude that its there then the only logical conclusion is that there must be something wrong with the experiment, so you keep changing it until you find something that corresponds with your prejudice and makes you happy. That is not the way to do science but as I've said before if you want to find something that doesn't exist then a crappy experimenter will be much more successful than a good one. 

> crappyMost discoveries originate anyway from experimental attempts, including failed attempts, to demonstrate a given hypothesis the experimenter is interested in.

In any field of physics, except for psi and cold fusion, this is the way things go:
Somebody has an idea, they try some experiments, the new idea does not jive with the results of the experiment, the physicists sighs but accepts the bad news and moves on to new ideas and new experiments.

But with psi and cold fusion there is such a enormously powerful visceral wish for it to be true that the true believers simply refuse to take "no" as an answer, so they demand that it be tested again, and again, and again, and again. In the case of psi this has been going on for CENTURIES, it's time to stop this ridiculous situation and say enough is enough. 

  John K Clark    

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