[ExI] Alcock on Bem in Skeptical Inquirer.

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Tue Dec 7 08:10:49 UTC 2010

On Tue, Dec 7, 2010 at 12:58 AM, Damien Broderick  wrote:
> What's interesting about John's approach to Professor Bem's recent work is
> that he adamantly refuses to take issue with Bem's careful reply to his
> critic Alcock, but is happy to accept Alcock's botched criticism *ex
> cathedra*. Why is this? It's because...
> If you start out with the absolute certainty that psi does not exist then
> your only task is to deny its existence, hoping you can convince others
> without either evidence or formal proof. If someone finds psi in experiments
> but you have a metaphysical certainty that it's not there then the only
> logical conclusion is that there must be something wrong with the
> experiment, so you keep looking for ever more absurd loopholes and
> objections until you contrive something that corresponds with your prejudice
> and makes you happy.

The problem for skeptics (as you well know when you are not
propagandizing psi) is that these experiments don't demonstrate psi

They demonstrate a very small statisical oddity which could have many
much more ordinary causes. Even if you allow more extraordinary
causes, there is still no reason to make a preference for psi, rather
than other woo-woo. Any of them 'might' be the cause.


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