[ExI] Alcock on Bem in Skeptical Inquirer.

Damien Broderick thespike at satx.rr.com
Tue Dec 7 16:16:11 UTC 2010

On 12/7/2010 8:14 AM, Stefano Vaj wrote:

> Every time a phenomenon can be explained as a statistical artifact, I
> would be more inclined to go with this solution...

Agreed, of course, that's the only rational attitude.

I'm waiting to hear from critics what the artifacts are in Bem's case.

This is why it's important to pay attention to even the shoddy attempted 
refutation of Bem's work by Alcock. But *only* if equal attention is 
paid to Bem's response.

It might turn out that Bem (or any other psi researcher) has left 
serious holes in his protocol, or used the wrong analytical, evaluative 
methods, etc. Because that's always possible, it's necessary to have 
strenuous criticism. But it's pointless saying, as BillK just did, "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," unless you can make a stab at showing what sorts of errors 
might yield those results in a given experiment.

Science doesn't falsify an experiment by shouting "BULLSHIT! I don't 
believe that, and I don't have to say why in this case because the whole 
idea is *crazy*." A lot of people thought QT was crazy and intolerable, 
but they didn't think they'd got rid of the results just by saying so. 
They tried their best to find countervailing evidence and explanations 
for the annoying data--and failed to.

Damien Broderick

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