[ExI] Psi (no need to read this post you already knowwhatitsays)
thespike at satx.rr.com
Fri Jan 8 17:06:31 UTC 2010
On 1/8/2010 2:40 AM, Max More wrote:
> It maybe that my resistance to claims of psi phenomena are just sour
> grapes, since in my own life I've never observed the slightest hint of
> psychic events or abilities.
Good post, Max. thanks. I have seen very little evidence myself *in my
own life*--but I seem to be pretty much the contrary of the type of
temperament that seems to function "psychically". I can't see very well
either, but that doesn't make me disbelieve in sight.
> However, past experience makes me extremely reluctant to devote
> significant time to looking at new evidence (esp. when so much previous
> new evidence ended up looking bad).
I'm not sure that's true if one sticks to rigorous tests of fairly
minimal claims. I hope it's obvious that I'm not all puppy dog excited
about solar astrology, dowsing, Rosicrucian secrets from Atlantis,
ghosts that clank in the night, "psychotronic weapons", Mayan 2012
apocalyptic prophecies, and lots of other inane topics that fill the
> I would like your book on the topic, Damien. But, given my past
> experience and the apparently minor nature of claimed results, it's just
> not likely that it's going to be a top priority. I know that's annoying
> and frustrating, but I hope you can understand why I see it that way
> (and, I suspect, quite a few other people on this list).
I do understand that, of course, but what offends yet also grimly amuses
me is the conditioned reflex scorn--the sort of thing our friend John
Clark specializes in--that complacently dismisses years of careful work
without knowing the first thing about it.
As you say, you read a lot on this topic when you were a kid, tried some
magick, etc, so obviously you don't fall into this category--or not
quite, because I suspect you're still a victim of premature closure. I
know how that works, because I was in the same boat for years. I was
enthusiastic about psi claims as a young adolescent, mostly from reading
sf editorials about Rhine etc, then stopped taking it seriously as a
university student. I read all the pop-critical books whacking away at
the loonies, the Scientologists, etc, with great relish.
Then when I was nearing 30 I got interested again after reading a paper
about a university study that had worked, and came up with some
approaches that seemed promising. (Years later I found out that the same
ideas were being explored at the same time, or a bit later, by the
well-funded CIA and military researchers in what was eventually known as
Star Gate.) Curious, but unable to afford massive research, I went back
to old published data and saw that when some elementary information
theory was applied to it, out popped rather startling indications that
psi was real after all. This was especially impressive when it showed up
in data from experiments that had apparently failed. (If suppressing
"negative results" had been the rule, I'd never have seen this data;
luckily, parapsychologists in the 1930s and 1950s were often prepared to
publish what looked like failed experiments.) Subsequently, no-one was
more surprised that I to discover that serious "remote viewing"
claims--Joe McMoneagle's and Stephan Schwartz's, say--were often
corroborated (despite the encrustation of bogosity from scammers now
claiming falsely to have been big wheels in Star Gate).
So why aren't psychics rich? Why is Osama still running free? (Gee, who
would gain from that?) Why do we bother with cars instead of levitating?
Good questions, but then if there are antibiotics why do people still
get sick, and if there's dark matter why isn't there a really good
theory to explain it, and on and on.
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