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Thread: Randi and Shermer

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2015

    Randi and Shermer

    Is a prestidigitator or magician who has never studied or had an open mind really an expert or are they merely paid hacks or running dogs for the paradigm? Gary Schwartz allowed them to be present and test any procedures and give input to the testing of John Edward. They said it must be faked but could find no fault with the experiment. I am not convinced it developed proof of the afterlife. I think there is a state of limbo which certain souls don't get past and become part of their collective mind group. I will allow a few ascended beings in a generation can be refined enough to recall and influence enough of an incarnation to say they are re-incarnated. In short I think it is no simple thing and it takes years of actual experience and study - which I have done. The Federation for Research on the Nature of Man (Rhine) and a hundred other proofs and institutions tell me Randi and Shermer are wrong. Randi was sued in court and Schwartz came to his rescue and demonstrated Randi was not guilty of the charges brought by parents of a child (I am not sure of what the details were, enough to say at this juncture.).

    I have debated with members of CISCOP and offered to a Randi supporter a host of facts he could address if he wanted to prove me wrong. The supporter found Randi only was willing to mouth off and despite saying he could prove me wrong he never appeared on the site. Randi has backers offering a large sum for any proof of psychic things. A man in England had a newspaper confirm he came to them in advance and followed the protocol stated by Randi. But Randi refused to acknowledge he met the requirements. It makes me weary to deal with people who will not think and simply maintain beliefs against all evidences.

    “The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.” - Albert Einstein

    I am adding this research site for any who wish to understand the difficulty in discussing or in testing dynamic interactions such as what occurs when thoughts are joined with energy fields surrounding us.

    This article says physicists have little idea what is going on in universe but there are numerous excellent thinkers in physics who are far ahead of any other humans. I am excited to see what further proof of Gravitational Wave theory may come from astronomy. The researchers say it proves metaphysics as the dominant reality, much to my delight.

    "As monumental as the Higgs discovery was — its theorists won the Nobel Prize in Physics the next year — physicists still have very little idea what’s going on in the universe, beyond the stuff we can see, touch, and smell. A big question concerns “dark matter,” what scientists call the stuff that makes up 80 percent of galaxies but that doesn’t interact with light, atoms, and molecules. They know it’s there, but it’s hiding from us.

    With the Higgs in hand, finding traces of dark matter is the next big hunt in high-energy physics.

    The Standard Model of physics is what scientists consider their working picture of how fundamental particles behave and interact. But it “has some holes in it,” says Verena Martinez Outschoorn, an assistant professor of physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “We know that our worldview, our model, our understanding of particles and their interactions is kind of a subset of a bigger picture,” she says. “We have reason to believe there are other particles out there.”"

    There are many research projects at Harvard over the past three decades which I have used to support my writings and thoughts regarding psychic phenomena. Testing family members separated at birth was almost as good as the Minnesota Twins study. A community of old people immersed in the music and culture they were brought up in went back in time - physically. Their health then returned to normal as they were no longer immersed. The advent of brain scanning has taken it a long ways further.

    "In your book you write about the psychologist William James and his comparison of the brain to a prism. How does this relate to psychic phenomena?

    He believed consciousness is not just what's happening to the neurons in the brain. The brain is our instrument in focusing and organizing our consciousness. Just like a prism will take a white light with all these different frequencies and separate it so you can see the different colors of the spectrum. Rather than us experiencing everything that's happening all at once, our brain focuses us on the here and the now. It uses our sensory organs as guides as to what we should be focusing on. Experiments have shown that most psychic experiences occur when are sensory organs are muted, like when we're dreaming or having a near-death experience.

    In your book you mention Abraham Lincoln as one of the more famous examples of precognitive dreaming.

    Lincoln had a very vivid dream of walking around the White House and hearing all these people mourning and asking, "What's going on?" and then having someone tell him, "The president's dead." Then he saw his own corpse. He had this dream literally ten days before he was assassinated. He didn't tell anybody about it at first, but a few days before [his assassination], he told his wife and some friends. Of course, that's not true of all dreams. Some dreams actually are tapping into some other time and place, and there's real information in them. Others are just imagination. I think that's one of the reasons why psychics don't have 100% accuracy, sometimes it's just their imagination. What I'm interesting in is trying to discern what it is that makes those experiences so different. {Rasputin was even more impressive, Lincoln was a Merovingian.}

    Tell me about the stigma associated with scientists who study psychic phenomena.

    There are theories about how the brain works, and what people do is design experiments to generate data that fits with that theory. If they run into data that doesn't fit into their theory, they just ignore it. But a true scientist will throw out the existing theory if they have a lot of data that cannot be explained. Theories are man-made, and therefore fallible. Data is what's most important. That's why we have penicillin. The scientist who grew this bacteria didn't just throw it out. He looked at it and asked, why aren't bacteria growing in this plate, and he noticed there was mold in it. If he had thrown out that plate, we wouldn't have penicillin. {Archaeology recently proved anti-septics and anti-biotics long before recent so-called discoveries existed in Druidic times.}

    You write that it's likely everybody possesses psychic abilities, but some people are simply more successful at it? Why is that?

    Genetics are likely behind it. One of the things we know is that it runs in families. If you talk to psychics, they'll tell you there's a family history of it. Though we haven't found it, there's likely a gene for it. There are also cases where people haven't had any psychic abilities until they've suffered head traumas. What's common is that these people who've had this head trauma, the structure and function of their brain has been changed. They're often not able to function very well in the real world because they don't know how to use the analytical side of their brain. Similarly, people with synesthesia [a condition in which the senses are connected, i.e. the sound of an orchestra will cause flashes of color or the taste of chicken] have less activity in their cortex. People with autism also have a higher probability of psychic abilities.

    How do quantum physics and Albert Einstein's theories relate to precognition?

    If you stop thinking of time the way those in the Newtonian age thought of time as an arrow, and you start thinking of time as the way that Einstein thought of it as a space-time continuum, the future already exists. Just like the entire globe of the earth is all there even though I'm not currently seeing it all here in Southern Oregon. Our brain only allows us to experience time as a series of recurrent moments. What Einstein's saying is that when we're talking about time we're really talking about a psychological construct. Time is like any other dimension in that it isn't limited. Like space, we have up and down, east and west, they go bidirectionally. Why would time be something different than that? If we didn't have the constraints of our brain and our psychology that limit our experiences, we would be able to see that.",00.html
    Last edited by R_Baird; 11-22-2015 at 01:17 AM.

  2. #2
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    Jan 2015
    Please don't run out to get tin foil. There is an easy way to defeat these things - learn to enjoy an open mind and thinking. Question each observation from at least two distinctly different points of view - that includes learning how your mind might seem different.

    Radical Healing:

    This title to a book by Rudolph Ballentine deserves more thought than we might give it. The book deserves more thought than I will give it too. It might be of interest to note that Dr. Ballentine is a Duke graduate and likely was affected by the people I speak about in the so-called paranormal sciences. Why is it 'radical' to integrate and think or become an informed consumer in the field of medicine or health care? Here is part of the dustcover commentary.

    "This extraordinary book offers nothing less than a new vision of medical care. Rudolph Ballentine, M. D., has created a unique, integrative blending of the primary holistic schools of healing that is far more potent than any one alone.

    Like Deepak Chopra and Andrew Weil, Rudolph Ballentine is a medical doctor who became intrigued by the workings of mind-body medicine and looked beyond the West in his search for understanding. Drawing on thirty years of medical study and practice, Dr. Ballentine has accomplished a singular feat: integrating the wisdom of the great traditional healing systems-especially Ayurveda, homeopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, European and Native American herbology, nutrition, psychotherapy, and bodywork. Melded together, the profound principles buried in these systems become clearer and stronger, and a new level of effectiveness becomes possible. Healing and reorganization are accelerated and deepened-physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The result is transformation. The result is radical healing." (3)
    Sounds like common sense and makes one wonder how we ever got so enmeshed in 'expert' ego-driven medical care doesn't it? I highly recommend Ivan Illich's Limits to Medicine wherein he more fully describes the over-professionalization and iatrogenesis (doctor-inflicted death) that is inherent in Western medicine today. The British Medical Journal Lancet termed that book from 1976 'a grapeshot across their bow'.

    "Tennis was known as 'the game of kings.' As the royal player, you are faced with constant decisions and make repeated moves within the context of your 'court.' When I was learning and exploring tennis, I worked with a friend who held a Ph. D. in linguistics. Ricardo Melo analyzed body language in terms of what he called the 'syntax of the court.' The net represents the 'other' to whom you must respond. The space surrounding you is divided into front and back. That part behind you corresponds to your unconscious; you reach back into it for the depth of feeling that impels you forward. Players who make short stabs at the ball, without a deep backstroke, fail to dip into this well of inspiration. The space before you is your conscious mind and world.

    I played tennis once with a young meditation teacher from India. Sincere and guileless, he stood squarely facing the net. He could not remember to put his left shoulder forward so that his right arm could reach deeply into the backcourt. That would have allowed him to extend the racquet back into the realm of the unconscious, where his personal power was hidden, and bring some of that out to propel the ball forward.

    There's also a right/left division of the court. The right side is dealt with logically and linearly, while the left, where the backhand takes place for most people, is a reflection of your intuition. When you reach into the space on the left with your backhand stroke, you are showing how you use your intuitive faculties. The very hard-nosed, super-rational businessman will often have a lot of trouble with his backhand. Unusually artistic and intuitive types may find it easier, and may instead have a weak forehand. In contrast to these ground strokes, which demonstrate your ability to respond, the serve is about initiating an action or interchange with another person...

    I learned lots more from tennis, too. My reluctance to bend my knees told me I was too aloof. I didn't get down to other people's level. On the basis of this insight, I took the flower essence Water Violet, which is for aloofness and condescension, and gradually my stiff knees softened. I started listening more to the viewpoints of those who were doing the practical work, and my effectiveness as a leader improved. I am convinced that this sort of work is preventive medicine and that without it I might well have ended up with seriously disabled, arthritic knees. " (4)

    John Gowan brings us an explanation why we have FTL info transfer like Quantum Teleporting but limits to matter at Faster Than Light Velocity. I am not sure matter can't be disassembled to travel through time and then re-assembled thus allowing sentient robots to do it. I also do not know that we know how FTL functions near or in Black Holes enough for his assertions. I also think a marriage of nanobot holograms and robotics will offer a virtual reality which alters our connection to knowledge throughout universe. I do like what he says regardless.

    "A fundamental physical cause for humanity's unease at the thought of death is our feeling of separation from the rest of the Universe - our awareness of "self" and personal identity necessarily means a distinction between "me" and the environment. Matter, and all massive entities such as ourselves, are in fact (as well as in thought) separated from our true conservation domain, historic spacetime, the conservation domain of matter's "causal information matrix". Massive objects do not inhabit historic spacetime in the way light inhabits its conservation domain, space: we live not in history, but only in the "universal present moment". Time is connected to space only tangentially, at right angles to all three spatial dimensions; that tangential point of connection between space and time is the "present moment" of our experience, our "touch" upon expanding history. Only information can pass from space into history, massive objects such as ourselves cannot. There are several very good reasons for this physical arrangement, beginning with the fact that matter cannot travel at velocity c and hence cannot participate in the entropic expansion of light's conservation domain, space. (See: "Spatial vs Temporal Entropy".)

    When light is converted to matter, or when any form of free electromagnetic energy with "intrinsic motion c" is converted to massive, immobile, bound forms of electromagnetic energy, the symmetric (all-way) spatial entropy drive of light (the intrinsic motion of light), is replaced by an alternative, asymmetric (one-way) historical entropy drive, the intrinsic motion of matter's time dimension. The historically expansive "march of time" is the metric and entropic equivalent of the spatially expansive intrinsic motion of light (the "march of space" - seen as the "red shift" of distant galaxies). Time is an alternative, asymmetric (one-way) form of space, providing the primordial entropy drive of bound electromagnetic energy. Time is derived from space by the gravitational annihilation of space, exposing a metrically equivalent temporal residue. (See: "The Conversion of Space to Time".)"
    Last edited by R_Baird; 11-23-2015 at 03:01 PM.

  3. #3
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    Jan 2015
    Oh yes, "The Amazing" denial of reality as those in cahoots look away from fact and declare others are idiots. The reason no one has "walked away with" Randi's money which others put up, is he has refused to admit he lies about really wanting proof. When actual proof was supplied in a newspaper control environment Randi whined, but I was not involved or supplied any advance notice. He does not respond to all those who challenge him and thus is ensured he won't get egg on his face. When all is said and done he is what he is - a magician of the phoney sort. He is no scientist and has to hang out with a "know-nothing scientist" (Kaku's words) like Shermer. They have made a sh*tload of money together.

    McGill is a good place with lots of good doctors despite having a history of the worst sort in their Douglas Institute which worked with the CIA in proven MKUltra ops abusing mental patients. The epigenetics field will achieve acceptance soon but Randi and others who never learned to observe the scientific method will still be heard whining about their "Amazing" egos. You might think General Tommy Franks was wrong about Feith or that the same words he used do not apply to Randi and Shermer. You might wonder why I include this under the McGill and Douglas Institute commentary. But consider what US Policy Dept officials working for CIA Presidents have to do with how people's opinions are formed (though uninformed).

    This blog is well worth reading.

    My friend Sean, whose comments you will see here on a thread addressing the Singularity, was named Mentor of the Year by people he works with at John's Hopkins and the IBBS. He demonstrates why that is the case in the aforementioned thread. He co-authored (I could say and he said he was proud to do so) my book on Integrating Soul and Science. I think his move to focus on epigenetics rather than his previous specialties of neurophysics and disease (Youngest member of the CDC that he was) is largely due to the discussions we had about eight years ago. You can see heated debates on the thread. Here is the IBBS site.

    I laugh at many things which have been DENIED by the likes of Randi and other fakirs or journalists. When Edison's phonograph was presented to the Paris Academy of Science, the Sergeant-at-arms leapt up and throttled the presenter proclaiming he was a ventriloquist.

    "Professor Goddard does not know the relation between action and reaction and the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react. He seems to lack the basic knowledge ladled out daily in high schools." --- (New York Times editorial about Robert Goddard's revolutionary rocket work, 1921)

    "Everything that can be invented has been invented."
    (Charles H. Duell, commissioner, US Office of Patents, 1899)

    You and I both will probably never get inside the jargon which follows and yet something makes sense in it. I am wondering if the "cosmic microwave background" it mentions; is what eluded Michael Faraday and Crookes, or if they knew it; but merely could not prove it given the technological limitations of their era.

    In my study of Yoga and the Tao I have seen and sensed what the ancients knew and which we now are coming close to proving. Yogananda's small book called The Science of Religion is a necessary read for any ecumenicist or person seeking for truth which is not in any one system or religion but rather in every one of them. Based on ancient teachings and eternal realities, Yogananda explains that the whole physical universe, including man, is surrounded by, and made of cosmic energy. We can, through the act of our will, release tension that blocks the energy flow to our body and mind, and draw on this infinite storehouse of life-force all around us. That life-force or Pranha and chhi (qi and other words in varied languages) allows pneumatology and Therapeutae since Pythagoras and the DNN if not before, to perform miracles.

    "Inflationary gravitational waves in the effective field theory of modified gravity

    Antonio De Felice, Shinji Tsujikawa

    (Submitted on 3 Nov 2014 (v1), last revised 12 May 2015 (this version, v2))

    In the approach of the effective field theory of modified gravity, we derive the second-order action and the equation of motion for tensor perturbations on the flat isotropic cosmological background. This analysis accommodates a wide range of gravitational theories including Horndeski theories, its generalization, and the theories with spatial derivatives higher than second order (e.g., Horava-Lifshitz gravity). We obtain the inflationary power spectrum of tensor modes by taking into account corrections induced by higher-order spatial derivatives and slow-roll corrections to the de Sitter background. We also show that the leading-order spectrum in concrete modified gravitational theories can be mapped on to that in General Relativity under a disformal transformation. Our general formula will be useful to constrain inflationary models from the future precise measurement of the B-mode polarization in the cosmic microwave background."

    We are still limited by our insufficient technology but soon we will have a better idea of what humans have struggled to explain throughout time. Metaphysics is a realm which philosophy eschewed in favor of a science that felt it was able to grasp all of what we saw - that science was definitely wrong as we now know. Relativity was a quantum leap through curved space but gravitational wave theory is taking us way back to shamanistic or alchemical attunements.

    "The Big Bang: When the Universe was very young it underwent a period of very rapid expansion. Tiny fluctuations in spacetime would have been greatly stretched during this period and could still exist today as a background of gravitational waves. This could be detected by studying the polarisation patterns in the cosmic microwave background (CMB). With current instruments it is unlikely, but not impossible that we shall be able to measure the background. However, a positive detection would allow us to better understand the mechanism that drove early inflation of the Universe and probe extremely high energy physics. The gravitational wave background would allow us to see right back to the Big Bang, much further than we can see using EM radiation."

    Can we hope to grasp how thought impacts the formation of water crystals such as Masaro Emotu demonstrated? Will our probing of space and it's vastness bring us to an understanding of what is within each molecule interacting with consciousness smaller than the god particle?

    "Phase transitions: As the Universe evolves from its early state it goes through a number of phase transitions which can be associated with symmetry breaking or decoupling of forces. These transitions can create lead to several different types of gravitational radiation. As an analogy, imagine cooling water so that it begins to form ice. This is a phase transition too. Ice begins to form as small crystals that grow outwards. The same can happen in the Universe, small pockets undergo the transition and these expand out as a bubble. For certain types of transitions, gravitational waves would be emitted when bubbles collide. In other cases, topological defects are created following the transition. The analogy would be when two crystals of ice grow together, but their structures are not quite aligned, so that that there is a clear boundary, a defect or domain wall. For spacetime, two examples of topological defects are cosmic strings and domain walls; the former are 1D strings of cosmic length, whereas domain walls are 2D. Such defects are expected to be rare as they have been diluted in space by the expansion of the Universe. However, they have a unique gravitational wave signal, which should make them easy to identify. Such a detection would be an exciting discovery of exotic physics"
    Last edited by R_Baird; 11-23-2015 at 03:06 PM.

  4. #4
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    Jan 2015
    Arthur C. Clarke is a renowned author and former astrophysicist who wrote a book called Childhood's End wherein he tries to make clear how evil religion has been but at the same time demonstrating the spiritual aspects we are born with are very real. One of his Overlords in this book says these words to the humans who he has helped live in Peace and Harmony for 50 years.

    "Karellan makes this explicit in his final speech:

    "Your mystics, though they were lost in their own delusions, had seen part of the truth. There are powers of the mind, and powers beyond the mind, which your science could never have brought within its framework without shattering it entirely. All down the ages there have been countless reports of strange phenomena–poltergeists, telepathy, precognition–which you had named but never explained. At first science ignored them, even denied their existence, despite the testimony of five thousand years. But they exist, and, if it is to be complete, any theory of the universe must account for them.""
    It is good to see William James is having a return to favor. He was a great inspiration to Jung who quotes James' book Pragmatism frequently.

    "Why are top scientists from the fields of neuroscience, biology, psychology, physics, computation, and philosophy increasingly interested in researching human consciousness?

    Because the quest to solve the puzzle of human consciousness ”the very essence of our being” is one of the great problems of modern science.

    For 2000 years, the questions surrounding human consciousness - how the everyday inner workings of our brains give rise to a single cohesive 'reality' and a sense of an individual 'self' - have been the province of philosophers from Plato to Descartes to Spinoza.

    Descartes is remembered for his dualist theory of consciousness in which the physical body is separate from the immaterial mind (or soul), and in large part because of his famous 'sound-bite' about human consciousness," I think, therefore I am."

    However, modern brain imaging seems to indicate that it is Spinoza's concept of an integrated mind-body that is closer to reality. And psychologist William James' great work on consciousness in the late 1800s is slowly regaining the pivotal position it deserves in understanding and interpreting human behavior.

    Scientists have studied the evolution, the mechanisms and the function of the brain, but have difficulty teasing apart the complex processes that give rise to human consciousness in part because of the difficulty in measuring individual subjective experience.

    Nobel-award winning researcher Dr. Francis Crick, who devoted the last 15 years of his life to the study of consciousness, wrote the following in his foreword to Christof Koch's The Quest for Consciousness: A Neurobiological Approach:

    "Solving the problem of consciousness will need the labors of many scientists, of many kinds, though it is always possible that there will be a few crucial insights and observations. ... A few years ago one could not use the word 'consciousness' in a paper, for, say, Nature or Science, nor in a grant application. But thankfully, times are changing, and the subject is now ripe for intensive exploration."

    In fact, technological advances in brain imaging have given scientists a new range of tools to more accurately observe and measure the apparent causes and manifestations of consciousness. fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) produces vivid images of the areas of the brain that respond to a variety of stimuli. Instead of trying to measure a purely subjective response, such as "that made me feel good," scientists can also see what part of the subject's brain is responding, for how long, and to what degree.

    Many scientists believe that we are beginning to learn how a subjective, personal experience can be observed objectively. For the scientist, this makes all the difference between valid research and speculation.

    In addition to major scientific publications, such as Science and Nature, the scientific journal Consciousness and Cognition reports scientific research relative to the study of consciousness and cognitive processes. Trends in Cognitive Sciences also often features research bearing on the question of consciousness. And the Journal of Consciousness Studies contains a wide variety of reflections by academic scholars and researchers in anatomy, computation, physiology, psychology, artificial intelligence, religion, philosophy and more."

    And a different debate occurs in many other places you can explore.

    Joseph Campbell was best friends with J. Krishnamurti who was close with David Bohm. Our religious leaders sometimes attempt to include science in their rationalizations of faith. If they are Buddhists they are probably right as often as not, the Tao is very scientific according to Capra and others, and you could say Qabala is scientific if you stretch yourself a little. Mostly we have a disconnect and religion is the poorer for it. When religions were in control of all education and claimed total control of science (not so long ago if you read the initial post) it was a very DARK Age. I hope those of us who detest what was done in the name of God will forgive the weak and deceived among us - enough to let them enjoy the benefit of a collective whole and true spirituality.

    What happens when psychic surgeons and faith healers like the minister who healed Evander Holyfield who had been barred from boxing? Energy is at work - but how? Is there consciousness in every atomic constituent or only in the god particle or quark, maybe it isn't consciousness in atomic components that healers attune with and it is just their mind. But how do average people heal themselves and their loved ones so often?

    "In an interview in 1989 at the Nils Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, where Bohm presented his views, Bohm spoke on his theory of wholeness and the implicate order. The conversation centered around a new worldview that is developing in part of the Western world, one that places more focus on wholeness and process than analysis of separate parts. Bohm explained the basics of the theory of relativity and its more revolutionary offspring, quantum theory. Either theory, if carried out to its extreme, violates every concept on which we base our understanding of reality. Both challenge our notions of our world and ourselves.

    He cited evidence from both theories that support a new paradigm of a more interrelated, fluid, and less absolute basis of existence, one in which mind is an active participant. 'Information contributes fundamentally to the qualities of substance.' He discussed forms, fields, superconductivity, wave function and electron behavior. 'Wave function, which operates through form, is closer to life and mind...The electron has a mindlike quality.'" (3)
    Last edited by R_Baird; 12-01-2015 at 01:46 PM.

  5. #5
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    Jan 2015
    I love it!

    "A critical look at Randi’s Million Dollar Challenge

    Related Post: Can You Win Randi’s Million Dollar Challenge?

    To get on a blog and tell people you are psychic is to have skeptics immediately invite you to take magician James Randi’s million dollar challenge. Rather than reply to every comment of that sort that comes through, I’ve set up this page to deal with this subject. I will demonstrate here that there is no reason to take this challenge seriously. Oh, and by the way, James Randi is a climate change denier. (I think this says a lot about his frame of mind.)

    First of all, the challenge is meaningless by scientific standards. It’s not a study and it can’t be replicated. It’s a one off. As it is entirely controlled by one person who has no scientific experience, is known to have strong views and has published no scientific peer reviewed papers on the subject, The challenge carries no scientific weight whatsoever.

    Compare that to the Parapsychological Association, which is a member of the The American Association for the Advancement of Science and regularly publishes peer reviewed studies. Here is what real evidence looks like.

    By far the most damning evidence that this challenge is a mere publicity stunt is that Randi does not take all comers.

    He has explicitly refused to test homeopath John Benneth (who has issued a $100,000 challenge to any person who can demonstrate, under conditions similar to James “the Amazing” Randi’s Psychic Challenge, that the Psychic Challenge is a valid offer for proof of psychic powers.), Professor George Vithoulkas’s homeopathy experiments similarly never got tested and backed down from a challenge issued by Dr. Jule Eisenbud, who wagered $100K that Randi could not duplicate the “thought photography” of Ted Serios, even with the aid of a prop in which a gimmick could be housed. Randi has ignored challenges to the test such as English psychic Chris Robinson. Dick Bierman, PhD proposed a presentiment test to Randi which Randi simply never followed up on. This brings up a legitimate question: who else is he ignoring?

    By doing this, the main claim of the challenge, -that no one can pass it and therefore psychic ability does not exist- is voided and any tenuous claims to being scientific are invalidated.

    Skeptics seem to think that this challenge means something; that if psychic ability were real, someone would pass the test. This assumption rests on the belief that this challenge is reasonable and fairly administered. But where is the proof of this? Science demands openness. A parapsychological study run like Randi’s challenge would never get out of the gate.

    John Benneth, (homeopath) points out that the challenge is not an actual contract, lacks third party mediation and in his words:

    Randi has expressly told me that he will not deal with attorneys. As an instrument, its unilateral. Like a fiat from the King, or a papal bull. It gives the applicant no recourse in case Randi harms him; in fact, the applicant has to forego any rights of recompense if Randi harms him.

    But the biggest thing is that Randi’s signature has never appeared underneath it. It’s a hoax. It was conceived of by an entertainer, a man who has made a career deceiving and tricking people, a particularly nasty little man who has a grudge to bear against the world, revealed in the animosity routinely shown towards applicants.

    How is it that one can expect to have an AGREEMENT with someone who is calling you derogatory names, ridiculing and CHALLENGING you?

    He has a point actually. The Daily Grail points out that Rules #4 (allowing Randi to use the data from the experiment in any way he chooses and #8 (denying the applicant legal recourse), when combined allow Randi the option to lie about the results and get away with it.

    John Benneth went back and forth in 70 e-mails with Randi. The Vithoulkas experiment process dragged on for two two years, the Zibarov process dragged on for two years, Carina Landin, went through a 3 year process. Only one of these actually came to down to an actual test and that one was botched.

    For that matter, how many people have actually gone down to Florida to take the challenge? Randi’s website is decidedly vague on this point. Why is this information missing?

    After doing a bit of research on the JREF site, I found out some interesting things. First, many applicants have no clue how to put their abilities up to a scientific test. Once they start in on the process, many drop out. The fact is, performing a psychic ability for a scientific test is much harder than it first appears. They also find out an extra requirement not stated up front: There is a time limit for the preliminary challenge: eight hours.

    This time limit is quite a barrier to success. It prevents people from building up statistical significance through sheer repetition, which is how it’s done in every scientific study. Most parapsychological studies do not test for more than a couple of hours at a time, having found that psychic ability wanes quickly as mental exhaustion sets in. There is no reason for the time limit since the applicant is paying all expenses. In fact, in the case that I studied, the number of repetitions was limited. What this means is that psychic ability is not being tested. Extraordinary psychic ability is being tested. This distinction is important. You cannot make claims about psychic ability if you’re testing for something else."
    Last edited by R_Baird; 01-20-2016 at 12:19 PM.

  6. #6
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    Jan 2015
    Thomas Sheridan updates modern brain theory by throwing in a dose of history to illustrate how many people obsess over being liked by others on both sides of issues including what is called conspiracy or Ufology. It is easy for me to point out that some paradigm thinkers using gradualistic methodology have produced improvements in how we can maximize any insight or debate some of his statements. However, I find it an interesting read well worth contemplation through all filters of consciousness. Idealism is like any ism (other than ecumenicism) and political phraseology is so prejudiced people using the term fascism are often looking in the mirror. But the reader has to allow the writer a chance to convey the point without an overly parsed dictionary or deconstructive ego. Sagan for example had a very limited Glossary or openness to many things despite being championed as a reasonable scientist.

    In an excellent article from Psychology Today in August 1980 (Which I have used in austere circles including university classrooms to beat back the advancing spectre of Materialism since the year after it was written.) we see Professor of Microbiology Harold Morowitz of Yale addressing Sagan. It applies to Thomas Kuhn and Isaac Asimov just as much.

    "The study of life at all levels, from social to molecular behavior, has in modern times relied on reductionism as the chief explanatory concept. This approach to knowledge tries to comprehend one level of scientific phenomena in terms of concepts at a lower and presumably more fundamental level... Reductionism at the psychological level is exemplified by the viewpoint in Carl Sagan's best selling book THE DRAGONS OF EDEN.

    He writes: 'My fundamental premise about the brain is that its workings- what we sometimes call 'mind' - are a consequence of its anatomy and, physiology and nothing more.' As a further demonstration of this trend of thought, we note that Sagan's glossary does not contain the words mind, consciousness, perception, awareness or thought, but rather deals with entries such as synapse, lobotomy, proteins and electrodes?"

    There is a thread her titled Re-Discovering the Mind - it has much more.

    "It is only fair to point out that there are also healthy skeptics who genuinely do look at anomalies and unexplained phenomena within the natural and unseen cosmos with a cautious eye. They will at least indulge a novel or radical opinion and look at the evidence before taking a stance—often it is an arbitrary position—based on using the Scientific Method coupled with Carl Sagan's "extraordinary evidence". They are generally polite and only moderately condescending at worst.

    The debunker and the hardcore skeptics, on the other hand, will even attack these open-minded Materialists, similar to how a flying saucer cult will have very public witch hunts of so-so members who have not shown their unconditional devotion to the messages sent from the 'space brothers'. The irony is that many of the open-minded skeptics that they attack often have a scientific or engineering background, and these folks are being attacked by debunkers whose sum total of their own quest for reason and logic rarely extends beyond procuring a 'Mythbusters' DVD box set or having a poster of Richard Dawkins on their wall. Any Reductionist fence-sitters will be treated with ridicule and contempt—even fascistic vitriol and vicious insults.

    There is simply no grey areas within the concrete consciousness of the debunker or the hardcore skeptic; instead, only a kind of scientific idealism—and idealism, both secular or otherwise, is really just a nice way of saying 'fascism'. "

    I always like to see a person who doesn't just demean hunter-gatherers as if they were less capable of knowing. However I hasten to add people living in caves today are better off than those living under bridges who have 'benefitted' from allopaths pushing mind games and drugs that produce the effects which the self same drug is supposed to overcome. And there are still many people functioning at a hunter gatherer level inside the Halls of Academia. Historical lies perpetrated by Empire set out to make all civilizations before our vaunted Bible-theory alien-derived advancements in The Cradle of Civilization, invisible and worse. I especially loved seeing how he characterized the Hounds of Hell who conducted the Children's Crusade in Southern France against the Gnostic/Sufi/Jewish Cathars.
    Last edited by R_Baird; 11-22-2015 at 01:15 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Deepak Chopra is a good man with enough clout to lay Shermer to rest in some Afterlife. There are (of course) facts on either side of the argument.

    There is a direct connection in the psychic and spiritual genre or continuum between Emerson and William James. They are often considered as the top philosophers from America. I would go further to say James could be called the greatest psychologist (Jung thought so) of scholastics or modern thought. In what follows Mr. Taylor says Bertrand Russell was the most egregious interpreter of William James and because I suspect Alfred North Whitehead was a very Jamesian person in all things, I cannot imagine this was not part of what made Whitehead and Russell have their falling out. I propose Emerson, James and Whitehead could be called the Boston Brahmins if some alliteration is needed, if Whitehead is not Boston enough you could argue for Thoreau if you are a naturalist, Stein if you are eclectic and need a woman's touch. Then there is Bucky Fuller who I personally consider in another area of the country (Princeton or Philly) and of even greater importance to all fields of wisdom acquisition.

    "At his death, William James (1842-1910) was variously described as "the greatest of American psychologists," "the most famous American philosopher since Emerson," "the most powerful and convincing" apologist for psychical research, and a man whose "death leaves vacant a place in the world of English letters which no living writer and thinker can fill."[2] History has generally served to confirm this evaluation.

    James's Principles of Psychology, Varieties of Religious Experience, and Pragmatism[3] are still widely read and discussed. Modern analyses of James's writings abound[4] and his place in intellectual history seems assured. Yet for all the attention that James's work has received, there are core elements in his thinking that were largely ignored or misunderstood both during his lifetime and in the years following his death. These are the basic psychological, metaphysical, and epistemological principles of "pure experience" that collectively bear the label "radical empiricism."

    The goal of this volume is to introduce James's doctrine of "pure experience" and illustrate the extent to which the basic import of his ideas was sidestepped by his contemporaries. To do this, we reprint James's two fundamental papers of 1904, "Does consciousness exist?" and "A world of pure experience" and responses to these papers appearing between 1904 and 1915.[5]

    As will be readily apparent, the two James papers do not make easy reading. While James was a brilliant stylist whose popular writing was a model of clarity and persuasive power, he was also a complex, sometimes contradictory thinker whose technical writing could be subtle in the extreme. This is particularly true of the two papers of 1904, both of which not only present ideas that are likely to run counter to the reader's habits of thought but do so in a fashion that is largely non-linear.[6]

    To increase the accessibility of James's papers, we will devote the first portion of this introduction to an analysis of the core ideas from which James fashioned his radical empiricism and illustrate this analysis with material taken from the documents themselves. The remainder of the introduction will focus on the response to James. After offering suggestions as to why James's views were not more favorably received and accurately interpreted, we will summarize some of the issues raised and misconceptions perpetrated both by those who were critical and those who were generally sympathetic to James's overall program.

    The Basic Documents

    In September of 1904, in two closely related articles published in the Journal of Philosophy, Psychology, and Scientific Methods,[7] James articulated a metaphysical perspective designed to provide a radical reformulation of certain fundamental problems of philosophy and psychology. Termed "radical empiricism," James's metaphysical arguments brought to mature formulation a series of ideas that had long been developing within his thinking.[8] Roughly speaking, these ideas can be grouped under three headings: a) the continuity of experience; b) the metaphysics of "pure" experience; and c) the epistemology of experienced relations.

    The continuity of experience. James's argument for the continuity of experience first appeared in 1884 in a seminal paper, "On some omissions of introspective psychology."[9] In an analysis that became the basis for his famous account of the stream of thought,[10] James criticized "orthodox" empiricism for reducing experience to a succession of stable, distinct, substantive elements-ideas, images, percepts, sensations-elements that can be held before the attention and introspectively examined. For James, this punctate, discontinuous view of experience, which overlooks and falsifies "immense tracts of our inner life,"[11] is completely at odds with the dynamic, flowing, stream-like quality of consciousness. Experience, in James's view, is every bit as much an affair of transitions and relations as it is of the substantive ideas and images on which empiricist analysis has traditionally focused:

    "...When we take a rapid general view of the wonderful stream of our consciousness...our mental life, like a bird's life, seems to be made of an alternation of flights and perchings...The resting-places [substantive parts] are usually occupied by sensorial imaginations of some sort, whose peculiarity is that they can be held before the mind for an indefinite time, and contemplated without changing; the places of flight are filled with thoughts of relations [transitive parts], static or dynamic, that for the most part obtain between the matters contemplated in the periods of comparative rest..."[12]
    James's argument for the continuity of consciousness in experienced relations lies at the very heart of his radical empiricism. In 1909, for example, in the preface to The Meaning of Truth, James characterizes the essence of radical empiricism in terms of a postulate, a statement of fact, and a generalized conclusion that make the centrality of experienced relations abundantly evident. His postulate is "that the only things that shall be debatable among philosophers shall be things definable in terms drawn from experience." His statement of fact is "that the relations between things, conjunctive as well as disjunctive, are just as much matters of direct particular experience, neither more so nor less so, than the things themselves;" and his generalized conclusion is that "the parts of experience hold together from next to next by relations that are themselves parts of experience."[13]

    James's postulate places him squarely within the tradition of empiricism; but his statement of fact and his generalized conclusion take empiricism to its logical extreme.
    "To be radical," as James puts it, "an empiricism must neither admit into its constructions any element that is not directly experienced, nor exclude from them any element that is directly experienced. For such a philosophy, the relations that connect experiences must themselves be experienced relations, and any kind of relation experienced must be accounted as 'real' as anything else in the system."[14]
    Without the argument for continuity grounded in the fact of experienced relations, as we will see, neither James's metaphysics nor his epistemology of pure experience would have made any sense. As he put it himself:

    "...continuous transition is one sort of a conjunctive relation; and to be a radical empiricist means to hold fast to this conjunctive relation of all others, for this is the strategic point, the position through which, if a hole be made, all the corruptions of dialectics and all the metaphysical fictions pour into philosophy."[15]
    The metaphysics of pure experience. James's metaphysics of pure experience is aimed directly at the dualisms of mind and body and knower and known (subject and object, thought and thing, representation and represented, consciousness and content). In its classical form, mind/body dualism dates from the appearance of Descartes' Meditationes de prima philosophia.[16] For Descartes, everything that exists is made of one or the other of two radically different substances-body and soul. The essence of body is extension; that of soul is thought. Body is spatial and tangible; soul unextended and intangible. Ever since Descartes posed the problem in this fashion, the issue of how spatial body can affect or be affected by unextended soul has bedeviled Western thought.[17]"
    Last edited by R_Baird; 04-24-2016 at 01:46 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Here is the level of what passes for thinking among Randi groupies.

    To attain Knowledge, add things every day. To attain Wisdom, remove things every day.” (Lao Tzu)

    THREE LAWS - MAGIAN vs. Ignocenti:

    1. As Above, so Below.

    1a. I am (fill in the blank with national origin, racial type - often not known or mixed and not known, religion - seldom studied), therefore I KNOW and you do not unless you are pure (fill in the blank).

    2. KNOW, WILL, DARE, Keep Silent (no longer true IMHO). Scrire, Potere, Audere, Tacere.

    2a. I have a degree from ___________.


    3a. What was good enough for my grandpappy and dad is good enough for me (and should be for you)!
    Last edited by R_Baird; 11-27-2015 at 05:02 PM.

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