JREF Homepage Swift Blog Events Calendar $1 Million Paranormal Challenge The Amaz!ng Meeting Useful Links Support Us
James Randi Educational Foundation JREF Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   JREF Forum » General Topics » General Skepticism and The Paranormal
Click Here To Donate

Notices


Welcome to the JREF Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.

Tags "The Poltergeist" , poltergeists , William Roll

Reply
Old 7th October 2012, 11:58 PM   #41
Pixel42
Schrödinger's cat
 
Pixel42's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Wiltshire, UK
Posts: 5,851
Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
Surely we dont need to know every single case in question. How many does one need to be familiar with before they can safely say poltergeists dont happen?
How many volcanoes do I need to personally look inside before I can safely say volcano gods don't exist?
__________________
"The correct scientific response to anything that is not understood is always to look harder for the explanation, not give up and assume a supernatural cause". David Attenborough.
Pixel42 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 12:00 AM   #42
Andyman409
Scholar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 111
Wow. You did not even try to understand me, did you? Believe it or not, I am actually an atheist, and a supporter of metaphysical naturalism AKA materialism. I am unfreindly to all forms of paranormalism, and wish for them all to be wrong. But I cant ignore evidence. All I can do is approach it with an open mind and a LOT of skepticism when it's called for

Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
We mean that there are no phenomena that can be verified to have actually happened that need a supernatural explanation.
When Baron said "classic" hypothesis, I thought he meant the "survival hypothesis". See, in the past most people thought poltergeists were ghosts. In parapsychology, however, the new idea is that they are psychic powers. I merely asked him to clarify his position.

Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Doesn't exist.
I said "do you think its psi", because Baron stated that he rejected
the "classic" poltergeist. Again, in parapsychology, there are two hypothesis- the survival hypothesis and the psi hypothesis. I thought he was referring to the survival hypothesis as the rejected one, so I inferred that he supported the psi hypothesis. I also thought he said "psychically" instead of "phycially". I was clearly wrong, and admiited as much in a later post you clearly did not read.

Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
More than 50% of people who trust verifiable evidence more highly than anecdotes and personal beliefs.
I can't respond to this one, since I cant figure out how to translate what you wrote. For the record, I asked baron what he meant by "most skeptics" out of sheer curiosity. I'm inclined to agree with him.

Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Since there is no evidence, it leads to the null hypothesis - i.e. no psi, no afterlife.
what are you talking about? Last I checked, Evidence was merely anything that supports a belief. Proof, on the other hand, is factual and undoubtable. poltergeists had evidence in the form of testimony. This IS evidence, isn't it? It's not proof though.

Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Since cameras and video and tape recorders do not exist...
Yes, the fact that parapsychologists never bothered shooting their work on film is embarrasingly stupid. Rolls book came out in the 70's, where outdoor shooting was possible, even if it was expensive. I use that as evidence against poltergeists.

Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
To which we say, evidence?
No, you say proof. At any rate its irrelevant. I said:

Quote:
The classic apologetic for poltergeists tends to be: "here are many cases, explain THAT!".
From what I've read, this is what a supporter of the paranormal would say constitutes as evidence for poltergeists. You can say it isn't persuasive, but you cant say it isn't evidence. It is evidence by evidences definition! It isn't proof, however, as it doesn't compell belief.

Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
A flat rejection of unevidenced claims is perfectly honest.
Well it depends on your case. Some literally are unevidenced. Some have testimony from several family members. And some of the testimony is of seemingly impossible things happening. How do you go about analysing it? Well, you can say, as I do, that the absence of evidence is evidence of absence.

Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
How about a perfect question?
Each case is what it is. The case doesn't have to be perfect to be evidence. Of course, the worse the reporting, the worse the evidence. And as I said before, the absence of evidence for poltergeists is overwhelming.

Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
The simple question: Evidence?
Again, wrong use of the word evidence. Read what I said again

Quote:
Most skeptics attack popular treatments of the paranormal and frauds. Nothing wrong with that if your upfront. Certainly makes investigating the "professional" cases harder though. What recources do you think are best for critically analysing poltergeist cases?
To be frank, I doubt Randi or Shermer consider their work to be an exaustive treatment of the paranormal. Psychologists and scientists like Ray Hyman, Richard Wiseman, Chris French and the members of CSICOP are the ones who really go into the nitty gritty of the paranormal (like whether hauntings are more likely to be from prior expectation or environmental factors). Randi and Shermer "dumb it down". They dont include all the details. They dont carefully cite their references. Their goal is to educate laymen with a brief introduction to the field. And I think they do that very well. I dont think they do a good job refuting parapsychology in general, since they never aim to do so. That would the job of Wiseman et all.

Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Back off, man. I'm a scientist.
Alan Turing was a genius, yet believed in psi. Clearly his intellect didn't save him from that mistake. In a similiar vein, your credentials dont exuse you from misunderstanding me.
Andyman409 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 12:12 AM   #43
Pixel42
Schrödinger's cat
 
Pixel42's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Wiltshire, UK
Posts: 5,851
Andyman: you need to watch the film Ghostbusters, then you'd recognise the quotes from it and stop taking everyone so serously.
__________________
"The correct scientific response to anything that is not understood is always to look harder for the explanation, not give up and assume a supernatural cause". David Attenborough.
Pixel42 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 12:15 AM   #44
Darat
Lackey
Administrator / JREF Forum Liaison
 
Darat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: South East, UK
Posts: 67,310
Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
Wow. You did not even try to understand me, did you? Believe it or not, I am actually an atheist, and a supporter of metaphysical naturalism AKA materialism. I am unfreindly to all forms of paranormalism, and wish for them all to be wrong. But I cant ignore evidence. All I can do is approach it with an open mind and a LOT of skepticism when it's called for

...snip...
Start at the beginning - what evidence can't you ignore?

If you mean the many stories/anecdotes of poltergeists then no one in this thread has ignored that evidence when they have concluded there is no evidence that requires the existence of poltergeists.
__________________
If it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart? -
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 1918-2008
Darat is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 01:16 AM   #45
PixyMisa
Persnickety Insect
 
PixyMisa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Sunny Munuvia
Posts: 15,618
Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
Wow. You did not even try to understand me, did you?
I understood you fine.

Quote:
Believe it or not, I am actually an atheist, and a supporter of metaphysical naturalism AKA materialism. I am unfreindly to all forms of paranormalism, and wish for them all to be wrong. But I cant ignore evidence. All I can do is approach it with an open mind and a LOT of skepticism when it's called for
We don't ignore evidence. That's why we keep asking for people to present it. And we have.... Nothing.

Quote:
I said "do you think its psi", because Baron stated that he rejected
the "classic" poltergeist. Again, in parapsychology, there are two hypothesis- the survival hypothesis and the psi hypothesis.
And both explain events that are not observed to happen and are theoretically impossible in terms of other events that are not observed to happen and are theoretically impossible. They don't need debunking, they need derision.

Quote:
I thought he was referring to the survival hypothesis as the rejected one, so I inferred that he supported the psi hypothesis. I also thought he said "psychically" instead of "phycially". I was clearly wrong, and admiited as much in a later post you clearly did not read.
Fair enough. Still doesn't exist.

Quote:
I can't respond to this one, since I cant figure out how to translate what you wrote. For the record, I asked baron what he meant by "most skeptics" out of sheer curiosity. I'm inclined to agree with him.
It's a definition of "most skeptics".

Quote:
poltergeists had evidence in the form of testimony. This IS evidence, isn't it?
It's not evidence for poltergeists. It may be evidence for particular sociological trends.

Quote:
Yes, the fact that parapsychologists never bothered shooting their work on film is embarrasingly stupid. Rolls book came out in the 70's, where outdoor shooting was possible, even if it was expensive. I use that as evidence against poltergeists.
Yep. These days, of course, it's just inexcusable.

Quote:
No, you say proof.
Nope. Never. I said evidence? Because I want evidence and none has been provided.

Quote:
From what I've read, this is what a supporter of the paranormal would say constitutes as evidence for poltergeists.
Sure. They're wrong.

Quote:
You can say it isn't persuasive, but you cant say it isn't evidence.
I can. I just did.

Quote:
It is evidence by evidences definition!
No, it's just stories.

Quote:
Well it depends on your case. Some literally are unevidenced. Some have testimony from several family members. And some of the testimony is of seemingly impossible things happening. How do you go about analysing it?
By asking for evidence.

Quote:
Well, you can say, as I do, that the absence of evidence is evidence of absence.
Sure. Not true in the most general case, but if a field persists for decades and never once produces any reliable evidence that the thing under study even exists, you have to conclude that the thing under study most likely does not.

Quote:
Each case is what it is. The case doesn't have to be perfect to be evidence.
No, but it has to provide more than a story.

Quote:
Again, wrong use of the word evidence.
Nope.

Quote:
To be frank, I doubt Randi or Shermer consider their work to be an exaustive treatment of the paranormal. Psychologists and scientists like Ray Hyman, Richard Wiseman, Chris French and the members of CSICOP are the ones who really go into the nitty gritty of the paranormal (like whether hauntings are more likely to be from prior expectation or environmental factors). Randi and Shermer "dumb it down". They dont include all the details. They dont carefully cite their references. Their goal is to educate laymen with a brief introduction to the field. And I think they do that very well. I dont think they do a good job refuting parapsychology in general, since they never aim to do so. That would the job of Wiseman et all.
Refuting parapsychology is for the most part a public education exercise, not a rigorous academic one. And that's because there's simply nothing there. You can't take their data and carefully re-analyse it, because... What data? Sometimes there are experiments and you can repeat them, and find that you simply don't get the same results.

Quote:
Alan Turing was a genius, yet believed in psi. Clearly his intellect didn't save him from that mistake. In a similiar vein, your credentials dont exuse you from misunderstanding me.
I don't have to take this abuse from you, I've got hundreds of people dying to abuse me.
__________________
Free blogs for skeptics... And everyone else. mee.nu
What, in the Holy Name of Gzortch, are you people doing?!?!!? - TGHO

Last edited by PixyMisa; 8th October 2012 at 01:33 AM. Reason: Better snappy comeback. Also, completed incomplete sentence.
PixyMisa is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 01:19 AM   #46
Andyman409
Scholar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 111
Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Start at the beginning - what evidence can't you ignore?
Even better, I'll start at the very beginning

I opened this thread by declaring that I was interesting in discussing poltergeists. I than stated what I understood to be the "poltergeist apologetic", in which the parapsychologist makes a long list of cases, and challenges the naturalist to explain them. I used a lot of rhetoric and sarcasm, which apparantly some people took literally.

I think it is impossible to single handedly evaluate every single poltergeist claim, and oppose anyone who thinks they all must be accounted for.

I do think, however, that a representative sample is sufficient. Now what would be a representative sample be? Well, it would be a sample of cases in which insanity or fraud isn't immediatly obvious, and which is reported by someone who is honest and very knowledgeable about the field. If the author is not knowledgeable of the field, than how do we know they are representing the very best of the evidence?

Such a sample is found in some books, like William Roll's book "the poltergeist". Roll was a psychologist who was thoroughly versed in the books and papers of parapsychology. Therefore, I'd assume his case for poltergeists would be representative of the othe best cases.

Other books, like ghost hunters guides, are simply not as credible, since the writer (S) completely lack any qualifications like this. As I said before, not all claims are created equal. This isn't to say that more qualifications makes them right automatically. Roll makes a lot of stupid calls in his book, like his insistance that Tina Resch is anything but a fraud.

So when I say I cant ignore evidence, I cant say I'm referring to any particular piece. There are undoubtably other books on poltergeists other than Rolls book, and I'm sure baron knows many. I'm just saying I dont like the idea of rejectng a claim unlss I am familiar with its most ompelling evidence

Originally Posted by Darat View Post
If you mean the many stories/anecdotes of poltergeists then no one in this thread has ignored that evidence when they have concluded there is no evidence that requires the existence of poltergeists.
I'm not sure what specific material everyone here has read, or how credible their authors have been. I certainly don't wan't to discount it a priori a la the no true scottsman fallacy.
Andyman409 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 01:30 AM   #47
PixyMisa
Persnickety Insect
 
PixyMisa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Sunny Munuvia
Posts: 15,618
Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
Such a sample is found in some books, like William Roll's book "the poltergeist". Roll was a psychologist who was thoroughly versed in the books and papers of parapsychology. Therefore, I'd assume his case for poltergeists would be representative of the othe best cases.
Fair assumption. The credibility of the parapsychological literature, however, is zero.

Quote:
So when I say I cant ignore evidence, I cant say I'm referring to any particular piece. There are undoubtably other books on poltergeists other than Rolls book, and I'm sure baron knows many. I'm just saying I dont like the idea of rejectng a claim unlss I am familiar with its most ompelling evidence

I'm not sure what specific material everyone here has read, or how credible their authors have been. I certainly don't wan't to discount it a priori a la the no true scottsman fallacy.
J. B. Rhine started his research, what, 80 years ago now? And in all that time, with all the disparate claims being investigated by all those who followed him, we have not one piece of reliable evidence of anything parapsychological, paranormal, or supernatural.
__________________
Free blogs for skeptics... And everyone else. mee.nu
What, in the Holy Name of Gzortch, are you people doing?!?!!? - TGHO
PixyMisa is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 01:47 AM   #48
pakeha
Penultimate Amazing
 
pakeha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 11,893
Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
...So when I say I cant ignore evidence, I cant say I'm referring to any particular piece. There are undoubtably other books on poltergeists other than Rolls book, and I'm sure baron knows many. I'm just saying I dont like the idea of rejectng a claim unlss I am familiar with its most ompelling evidence. ...
I've snipped your post to focus on a particular point, that of compelling evidence.
Have you ever seen anything you would call compelling evidence for the existence of poltergeists?
pakeha is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 02:12 AM   #49
Andyman409
Scholar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 111
Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
We don't ignore evidence. That's why we keep asking for people to present it. And we have.... Nothing.
I dont think Roll wrote the book to preach to the choir. I think he genuinly wanted to convert skeptics with his book. I think that means he presented evidence to you. It isn't responsible to say you'll only accept evidence if you recieve it personally. I understand it is impossible to review all the data. Too much has been written by people who are too stupid. Thats why I think its best to research from a representative sample. Roll's book is just one sample (although a lot of paranormalists hail it as the best). I'm sure there are others too.

Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
And both explain events that are not observed to happen and are theoretically impossible in terms of other events that are not observed to happen and are theoretically impossible. They don't need debunking, they need derision.
I criticised psi for that exact same reason (being ad hoc) in my subsequent response to baron. Once again, I actually agree with you

Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Fair enough. Still doesn't exist.
Finally, were seeing eye to eye.

Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
It's not evidence for poltergeists. It may be evidence for particular sociological trends.
Under the definition of evidence I read, yes it is evidence for poltergeists. Anything canbe evidence, and evidence can be of varying stregnth.

Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Yep. These days, of course, it's just inexcusable
.

Agreed. Michael Cuneo's book against demonic possession is especially telling when it comes to peoples ability to freak out over nothing. Whenever someone saw something paranormal, Cuneo would not see it.

Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Nope. Never. I said evidence? Because I want evidence and none has been provided.
I accused you of wanting proof instead of evidence, and I still stand by that. If you want evidence, just read the book, or one like it, by someone who is qualified (EX: a psychologist). Doesn't mean they will be right or persuasive.

This is comparable to critiquing evolution by citing Behe. In the same way behe is a bad representative for evolution, many books are bad reprasentatives for poltergeists. Only the most qualified should be considered. And qualified is not a subjective, question begging critereon (as the behe example should demonstrate).

Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
I can. I just did.
Does this mean evidence is whatever you want it to be? This is evidential solipsism!

Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
No, it's just stories.
the people who participated or experienced the events were real. Whether or not they were lying or decieved is another matter.

Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
By asking for evidence.
Yes, you would look for evidence. The evidence would be the testimony, or whatever lingering physical effects occur. We can then see whether or not fraud or delusion is a good explaination.

Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Sure. Not true in the most general case, but if a field persists for decades and never once produces any reliable evidence that the thing under study even exists, you have to conclude that the thing under study most likely does not.
Happy to see we agree on this point to.

Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
No, but it has to provide more than a story.
When someone claims they witnessed a murder, we dont call it story- we call it testimony

Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Nope.
how does your definition of evidence work. Do you decide what is evidence.

Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Refuting parapsychology is for the most part a public education exercise, not a rigorous academic one. And that's because there's simply nothing there. You can't take their data and carefully re-analyse it, because... What data? Sometimes there are experiments and you can repeat them
Some parapsychological data that has been useful was the polls on paranormal belief and experience. These have been elaborated on by secular, non paranormalist anamolistic psychologists to help understand the origin of paranormal belief.

Anyways, I`d have to ask how you know there is no evidenceor data in parapsychology, since you seem to ignore it.

Im going to bed. If there are any glaring mistakes in this post, that`s why.
Andyman409 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 02:21 AM   #50
Mojo
Mostly harmless
 
Mojo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Nor Flanden
Posts: 25,331
Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
When someone claims they witnessed a murder, we dont call it story- we call it testimony

Only if it is presented in a court of law, under oath*. If it's just someone saying they witnessed a murder, we still call it a story. Murder isn't special in that regard.



*And even then, eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable.
__________________
"You got to use your brain." - McKinley Morganfield

"The poor mystic homeopaths feel like petted house-cats thrown at high flood on the breaking ice." - Leon Trotsky
Mojo is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 02:41 AM   #51
P.J. Denyer
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,314
Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
When someone claims they witnessed a murder, we dont call it story- we call it testimony
..or 'Wasting Police Time' depending on what other evidence is available.
P.J. Denyer is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 02:47 AM   #52
pakeha
Penultimate Amazing
 
pakeha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 11,893
Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
...Thats why I think its best to research from a representative sample. Roll's book is just one sample (although a lot of paranormalists hail it as the best). I'm sure there are others too. ... ..
What possible research can be done on personal accounts given after the alleged event?
Other than that of interest to psychologists and/or sociologists?
pakeha is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 03:55 AM   #53
Jocce
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Uppsala, Sweden
Posts: 1,082
Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
When someone claims they witnessed a murder, we dont call it story- we call it testimony
Deja vu...I think this surfaced quite a few times in a UFO debate over several thousand posts. An eyewitness story/testimony is a claim and not evidence. One can always argue how plausible a claim is and decide how much evidence will be needed to accept the claim as a factual representation of reality. However, claims are not evidence.

"I promise mum, it was a poltergeist making that mess in my room"
__________________
And “I know what I saw” is and will always be evidence (Rramjet)
A claim can be evidence (Rramjet)
Anecdotes are evidence (ufology)
Jocce is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 04:00 AM   #54
Croydon Bob
Critical Thinker
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Croydon!
Posts: 468
Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
What is the best evidence for Poltergeists?
In the UK believers often claim that The Enfield Poltergeist is the best evidence, a case that skeptics can't explain, etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enfield_Poltergeist

It is, at best, a very weak case for poltergeists being a real phenomenon. The teenage girl even admitted that she had faked the activities that she was caught faking, but claimed not to have faked the stuff that she wasn't caught faking.

I haven't visited the house myself or interviewed anyone involved, so some woo-merchants would say that I have no right to be skeptical. But I have read much on the subject, seen a talk by a believer, etc. And I would say that if that is the best that they have got then we can dismiss the subject.

In Australia there is the Humpty Doo Poltergeist case which is similarly promoted by the believers despite the very poor quality of "evidence" in favour and the plentiful reasons to suspect (a business promoting) hoax.

Have the US believers got a case better than Amityville?

If there really were such things as "poltergeists" then I would have expected some more recent cases with some decent amounts of evidence.
__________________
Gorgeous George Galloway: "The Holocaust is the greatest crime in human history"

Last edited by Croydon Bob; 8th October 2012 at 04:01 AM.
Croydon Bob is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 04:47 AM   #55
Resume
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 10,125
Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post
How many volcanoes do I need to personally look inside before I can safely say volcano gods don't exist?
At least one more. It's always the next one that has the goods.


Where yah been?
Resume is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 05:32 AM   #56
PixyMisa
Persnickety Insect
 
PixyMisa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Sunny Munuvia
Posts: 15,618
Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
I dont think Roll wrote the book to preach to the choir. I think he genuinly wanted to convert skeptics with his book.
But for that, he needs evidence, which he doesn't have.

Quote:
I think that means he presented evidence to you.
Nope.

Quote:
It isn't responsible to say you'll only accept evidence if you recieve it personally. I understand it is impossible to review all the data.
What data?

Quote:
I criticised psi for that exact same reason (being ad hoc) in my subsequent response to baron. Once again, I actually agree with you
Sure. If someone says that poltergeists may be caused by psi, you can stop taking them seriously on any subject.

Quote:
Under the definition of evidence I read, yes it is evidence for poltergeists. Anything canbe evidence, and evidence can be of varying stregnth.
That's the problem. Evidence is verifiable information that favours one hypothesis over another. Stories don't qualify.

Quote:
I accused you of wanting proof instead of evidence, and I still stand by that.
You are, of course, free to stand by whatever you want. You're just wrong.

Quote:
If you want evidence, just read the book, or one like it, by someone who is qualified (EX: a psychologist). Doesn't mean they will be right or persuasive.
Either the book presents evidence, or it doesn't. If it only contains stories, then it doesn't.

Quote:
This is comparable to critiquing evolution by citing Behe. In the same way behe is a bad representative for evolution, many books are bad reprasentatives for poltergeists.
That has to be the worst analogy I've seen all day.

Anyway, there are no good representatives for poltergeists, and that in turn is because they don't exist. People who follow the facts and reason coherently don't write books about poltergeists in the first place.

Quote:
Only the most qualified should be considered. And qualified is not a subjective, question begging critereon (as the behe example should demonstrate).
Well, that leaves nothing at all. Fine by me.

Quote:
Does this mean evidence is whatever you want it to be? This is evidential solipsism!
No, just snark.

Quote:
the people who participated or experienced the events were real. Whether or not they were lying or decieved is another matter.
J. K. Rowling is real. Harry Potter is a story.

Quote:
Yes, you would look for evidence. The evidence would be the testimony, or whatever lingering physical effects occur. We can then see whether or not fraud or delusion is a good explaination.
And there are absolutely zero physical effects.

If you start with a prior plausibility of zero, and then add zero verifiable evidence, you inevitably reach a probability of zero.

Quote:
When someone claims they witnessed a murder, we dont call it story- we call it testimony
Others have addressed this already, but we don't do do that. We take it as a starting point, then look for evidence - one way or another. We try to confirm or disprove the story. A tale of poltergeistery, in the hands of a competent scientist, would be only the starting point. Instead, it's all we get.

Quote:
Some parapsychological data that has been useful was the polls on paranormal belief and experience.
That's not parapsychological data, that's psychological, or sociological.

Quote:
Anyways, I`d have to ask how you know there is no evidenceor data in parapsychology, since you seem to ignore it.
I looked.

Check out the join date and number of posts against my username at left. This is not the first time I've taken part in a discussion like this.
__________________
Free blogs for skeptics... And everyone else. mee.nu
What, in the Holy Name of Gzortch, are you people doing?!?!!? - TGHO
PixyMisa is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 11:06 AM   #57
Andyman409
Scholar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 111
Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
That's the problem. Evidence is verifiable information that favours one hypothesis over another. Stories don't qualify.
Your definition of evidence is spot on (unsurprising for a scientist ). However, I am not sure why you use this story/evidence dichotomy. Paranormalists offer testimony as evidence of their claims. Testimony is used very often as evidence in day to day life. Keep in mind that paranormalists use testimony from multiple witnesses, sometimes including themselves.

Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
You are, of course, free to stand by whatever you want. You're just wrong.
I think I might be wrong. I initially thought you were just mistakening proofs for evidence, but now it looks like you are just setting your standards of evidence arbitrarily.

Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Either the book presents evidence, or it doesn't. If it only contains stories, then it doesn't.
Again, it presents testimony from a series of case studies considered to be a representative sample of the poltergeist phenomenon. This included testimony from multiple witnesses, including the parapsychologists themselves. Sometimes, other evidences are offered. In one case, a guy named Julian brought his "poltergeist" into a lab, and performed PK dice tests with slightly above average results. He also caused objects to move break in the lab. Wouldn't that count as evidence?

Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
That has to be the worst analogy I've seen all day.

Anyway, there are no good representatives for poltergeists, and that in turn is because they don't exist. People who follow the facts and reason coherently don't write books about poltergeists in the first place.
talk about question begging. Even amongst creationists, some researchers are more qualified than others. For instance, Behe is more qualified to discuss evolution than Kent Hovind.

Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
And there are absolutely zero physical effects.
You mean verifiable physical effects? Because to be frank, the only thing that defines poltergeists eare their supposed physical effects. The origin of these effects is what we wish to find out.

Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Others have addressed this already, but we don't do do that. We take it as a starting point, then look for evidence - one way or another. We try to confirm or disprove the story. A tale of poltergeistery, in the hands of a competent scientist, would be only the starting point. Instead, it's all we get.
I agree with you 100%. Lab equipment should be moved into supposedly poltergeist infested homes. Video cameras should be set up everywhere. It should George Orwells worst nightmare in there! Instead, parapcyhologists often use mediums.

Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
That's not parapsychological data, that's psychological, or sociological.
By "parapsychological data", I mean data uncovered by parapsychologists. Parapsychology is like cognitive science, where it relies primarily on the findings of other fields. The difference, of course, is that cognitive science is a reputable field, and parapsychology uses mediums

Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
I looked.

Check out the join date and number of posts against my username at left. This is not the first time I've taken part in a discussion like this.
I don't doubt that. I'll have to read some of them, and see if the light of reason erases all doubt in my mind. Its a win/win for me.
Andyman409 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 11:15 AM   #58
I Ratant
Penultimate Amazing
 
I Ratant's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 18,568
[quote=Andyman409;8675387
...
You mean verifiable physical effects? Because to be frank, the only thing that defines poltergeists eare their supposed physical effects. The origin of these effects is what we wish to find out.
...[/QUOTE]

It's been noted that poltergeist effects occur in the presence of a teen-aged girl.
Remove the girl, the effect no longer manifests itself.
One such was video taped tossing the lamp, and claiming ghost.
The Ghost Hunters "documentaries" seem to be unable to run into poltergeist effects on camera, and they look for them.. I crack me up!
I Ratant is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 11:56 AM   #59
R.A.F.
Banned
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,204
Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
Before I talk about the evidence for poltergeists...
Yeah, about that....you've made a lot of declaritive statements about the supposed "evidence for poltergeists", but you haven't actually provided any credible evidence.

Please do so now...
R.A.F. is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 12:08 PM   #60
Stray Cat
Philosopher
 
Stray Cat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: The Land That Time Forgot
Posts: 6,805
It seems I'm not the only one who has noticed we've had this discussion on many occasions albeit in my case, usually about UFOs... but here we go again...

Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
Your definition of evidence is spot on (unsurprising for a scientist ). However, I am not sure why you use this story/evidence dichotomy. Paranormalists offer testimony as evidence of their claims.
They mistakenly offer stories as evidence of their claims.
As had been pointed out already, stories (or testimony call it what you will) are claims themselves. Without any further evidence beyond the story itself, it is nothing more than an objectively unverifiable claim.

Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
Testimony is used very often as evidence in day to day life.
No it's not.
It is used as a basis to investigate things. A starting point at which real researchers will look for objectively verifiable evidence.

Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
Keep in mind that paranormalists use testimony from multiple witnesses, sometimes including themselves.
They mistakenly use testimony as evidence.
But just because they claim it is evidence doesn't make it evidence.
Paranormalists have a blind belief, they then try to find any old guff that appears to support their belief.
Multiple witness accounts mean nothing more than multiple people all sharing the same claim. Remembering that billions of people all claim the existence of a pretend beardy friend who lives in the clouds, how much importance should anyone put on multiple people making an otherwise unsupported claim in something that's never been objectively shown to exist?
That a few people all see a bottle fall over in a kitchen in no way proves a haunting or paranormal event took place, the only thing that it can do is make it more likely that a bottle fell over.

Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
I think I might be wrong. I initially thought you were just mistakening proofs for evidence, but now it looks like you are just setting your standards of evidence arbitrarily.
Though we've also discussed this confusion some people have between evidence and proof... at this point the paranormalists have neither.
Every single haunting, poltergeist story to date has been shown to be seriously flawed in how it's been investigated or reported. Everything from misperception and mental illness to outright dishonesty and fraud can explain every single story.

If the paranormalists want to move the subject forward, they really need to raise their game a lot, instead of relying on the same methods that have got them nowhere since Rhine (and before)... That's over a hundred years of some of the sloppiest research and bad practice in a world that has moved on in leaps and bounds in every other legitimate area.

Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
Again, it presents testimony from a series of case studies considered to be a representative sample of the poltergeist phenomenon. This included testimony from multiple witnesses, including the parapsychologists themselves. Sometimes, other evidences are offered. In one case, a guy named Julian brought his "poltergeist" into a lab, and performed PK dice tests with slightly above average results. He also caused objects to move break in the lab. Wouldn't that count as evidence?
If it could be independently and objectively verified yes.
Sadly it hasn't been, otherwise we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
talk about question begging. Even amongst creationists, some researchers are more qualified than others. For instance, Behe is more qualified to discuss evolution than Kent Hovind.
And the Pope is eminently qualified to discuss God... but it doesn't make him anymore right about it.
For reference, I only have qualifications in Graphic Design, Photography and a Tufty Club badge for Road Safety, but I am very much open to read and research any evidence for the paranormal that anyone wishes to offer.
When ever people offer what they think is evidence, it turns out to be another flakey story, badly reported inaccurately recorded or logically and physically internally inconsistent... Out of all the thousands of stories not one that has anything of substance really?

Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
You mean verifiable physical effects? Because to be frank, the only thing that defines poltergeists eare their supposed physical effects. The origin of these effects is what we wish to find out.
"supposed physical effects" are not the same as "verifiable physical effects"
And what we need to find out at the moment is if these physical effects actually exists in the first place. Only then can people start looking for where they come from.
But as has already been said, in the vast majority of cases these supposed physical effects already have a valid explanation; misperception and dishonesty being two of them. No ghost story ever to date has needed to reach beyond these explanations and no paranormalist to date has ever presented any reason why anyone should look beyond these, without utilising the usual argument from ignorance "we can't explain it, therefore; poltergeists"

Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
I agree with you 100%. Lab equipment should be moved into supposedly poltergeist infested homes. Video cameras should be set up everywhere. It should George Orwells worst nightmare in there! Instead, parapcyhologists often use mediums.
Of course the best way to try and prove something that has never been shown to exist is to use a method that has never been shown to work.
But again, scientific instruments and cameras have been employed in hauntings and the like... it's just that they never manage to move the investigation forward in showing a paranormal source for the events they are collecting data about. The paranormalists are usually satisfied enough to encounter something they don't understand and just write it up, instead of looking further... they have confirmed their blind belief and that's all they need.

Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
By "parapsychological data", I mean data uncovered by parapsychologists. Parapsychology is like cognitive science, where it relies primarily on the findings of other fields. The difference, of course, is that cognitive science is a reputable field, and parapsychology uses mediums
And therefore ends up with no data... just a circular reasoning in order to justify a blindly held belief.
__________________
It's only my madness that stops me from going insane!
Stray Cat is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 12:15 PM   #61
GeeMack
Banned
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Not Bandiagara
Posts: 7,241
Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
Your definition of evidence is spot on (unsurprising for a scientist ). However, I am not sure why you use this story/evidence dichotomy. Paranormalists offer testimony as evidence of their claims. Testimony is used very often as evidence in day to day life. Keep in mind that paranormalists use testimony from multiple witnesses, sometimes including themselves.

All too often "paranormalists" start with a preconceived notion that the magic is real, then set about the task of picking out stories that support their belief. That's not science. It's exactly the opposite of science. And you're still wrong about the difference between evidence and claims. "[T]estimony from multiple witnesses, sometimes including themselves" is claims not evidence.

Quote:
I think I might be wrong. I initially thought you were just mistakening proofs for evidence, but now it looks like you are just setting your standards of evidence arbitrarily.

No, he is defining evidence to include objectivity, which is required from a scientific perspective. You are the one dishonestly re-defining evidence in such a way that it makes it easier for you to believe poltergeists might be real.

Quote:
Again, it presents testimony from a series of case studies considered to be a representative sample of the poltergeist phenomenon. This included testimony from multiple witnesses, including the parapsychologists themselves. Sometimes, other evidences are offered. In one case, a guy named Julian brought his "poltergeist" into a lab, and performed PK dice tests with slightly above average results. He also caused objects to move break in the lab. Wouldn't that count as evidence?

No, your claims that PK dice tests provided above average results or that someone caused things to break are not evidence. They are claims.

Quote:
talk about question begging. Even amongst creationists, some researchers are more qualified than others. For instance, Behe is more qualified to discuss evolution than Kent Hovind.

There are no proponents of creationism who are more or less qualified than any others to support it.

Quote:
You mean verifiable physical effects? Because to be frank, the only thing that defines poltergeists eare their supposed physical effects. The origin of these effects is what we wish to find out.

You might be onto something there with "supposed physical effects". Real physical effects, on the other hand, have not been objectively linked to alleged poltergeists.

Quote:
I agree with you 100%. Lab equipment should be moved into supposedly poltergeist infested homes. Video cameras should be set up everywhere. It should George Orwells worst nightmare in there! Instead, parapcyhologists often use mediums.

[...]

By "parapsychological data", I mean data uncovered by parapsychologists. Parapsychology is like cognitive science, where it relies primarily on the findings of other fields. The difference, of course, is that cognitive science is a reputable field, and parapsychology uses mediums

Yep, and therefore shouldn't be given any credence as proponents of magical powers.

Quote:
I don't doubt that. I'll have to read some of them, and see if the light of reason erases all doubt in my mind. Its a win/win for me.

A win/win for you would be to learn the scientific process and how to apply critical thinking to your belief. It would help if you try to understand the way evidence is defined when considering the scientific method as a tool to explain the reality of the universe we live in. Arguing against it isn't working for you. Then you could start from the beginning, from the position that the claims of magical powers are not real, and require the claimants to objectively support their position. As long as you continue to believe the responsibility for evidence is shared among the believers and the skeptics, at least one of your win/wins will be a lose.
GeeMack is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 12:49 PM   #62
baron
Graduate Poster
 
baron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Hill
Posts: 1,910
There's a lot of OTT dismissal going on here. Poltergeist phenomena doesn't have to be magic to be of interest. When I see a family who are terrified of living in their own home then I want to know why. The reason is almost certainly not connected to supernatural asshattery but that doesn't mean there's nothing to explain.
__________________

baron is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 01:00 PM   #63
Resume
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 10,125
Originally Posted by baron View Post
There's a lot of OTT dismissal going on here. Poltergeist phenomena doesn't have to be magic to be of interest. When I see a family who are terrified of living in their own home then I want to know why. The reason is almost certainly not connected to supernatural asshattery but that doesn't mean there's nothing to explain.
Do you have an example you'd like to share?

Last edited by Resume; 8th October 2012 at 01:15 PM. Reason: spelling
Resume is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 01:03 PM   #64
GeeMack
Banned
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Not Bandiagara
Posts: 7,241
Originally Posted by baron View Post
There's a lot of OTT dismissal going on here. Poltergeist phenomena doesn't have to be magic to be of interest. When I see a family who are terrified of living in their own home then I want to know why. The reason is almost certainly not connected to supernatural asshattery but that doesn't mean there's nothing to explain.

The OP is talking about evidence supporting the existence of magical powers...
Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
Again, it presents testimony from a series of case studies considered to be a representative sample of the poltergeist phenomenon. This included testimony from multiple witnesses, including the parapsychologists themselves. Sometimes, other evidences are offered. In one case, a guy named Julian brought his "poltergeist" into a lab, and performed PK dice tests with slightly above average results. He also caused objects to move break in the lab.

Last edited by GeeMack; 8th October 2012 at 01:04 PM.
GeeMack is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 01:27 PM   #65
baron
Graduate Poster
 
baron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Hill
Posts: 1,910
Originally Posted by Resume View Post
Do you have an example you'd like to share?
Not especially.

Originally Posted by GeeMack View Post
The OP is talking about evidence supporting the existence of magical powers...
The OP is a bit free with the term "evidence" but as I see it their intent is more questioning than assertive. That's what investigation is all about. A sceptic doesn't reject a claim because it's strange, they reject it because there is no evidence, or because there is evidence to the contrary.
__________________

baron is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 01:39 PM   #66
R.A.F.
Banned
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,204
Originally Posted by baron View Post
...as I see it their intent is more questioning than assertive.
Unless you have actually learned that from the OP poster, just how is your opinion of someone else's intent relevant?


Quote:
That's what investigation is all about. A sceptic doesn't reject a claim because it's strange, they reject it because there is no evidence, or because there is evidence to the contrary.
Poltergeists HAVE BEEN INVESTIGATED, and rejected, but you know that, so I don't know what you are "on" about.
R.A.F. is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 01:42 PM   #67
R.A.F.
Banned
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,204
Originally Posted by baron View Post
There's a lot of OTT dismissal going on here. Poltergeist phenomena doesn't have to be magic to be of interest. When I see a family who are terrified of living in their own home then I want to know why. The reason is almost certainly not connected to supernatural asshattery but that doesn't mean there's nothing to explain.
What's to explain....there is nothing that "interesting" about people fooling themselves...happens all the time.

Last edited by R.A.F.; 8th October 2012 at 01:43 PM.
R.A.F. is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 01:51 PM   #68
baron
Graduate Poster
 
baron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Hill
Posts: 1,910
Originally Posted by R.A.F. View Post
What's to explain....there is nothing that "interesting" about people fooling themselves...happens all the time.
Thanks for your insights, they've been most valuable. If I need more information on fools I'll know who to ask.
__________________

baron is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 01:55 PM   #69
R.A.F.
Banned
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,204
Originally Posted by baron View Post
Thanks for your insights, they've been most valuable. If I need more information on fools I'll know who to ask.
I'm at a loss to understand why you feel the need to be insulting. Someone kill your kitten or something?
R.A.F. is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 02:00 PM   #70
Trish Randall
Thinker
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 145
What's the best evidence for poltergeists? That inexplicable creepy feeling you get being alone in a very old house.....

Trish Randall is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 02:16 PM   #71
GeeMack
Banned
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Not Bandiagara
Posts: 7,241
Originally Posted by baron View Post
The OP is a bit free with the term "evidence" but as I see it their intent is more questioning than assertive. That's what investigation is all about. A sceptic doesn't reject a claim because it's strange, they reject it because there is no evidence, or because there is evidence to the contrary.

When the claim is that magical powers exist, which applies to claims for the existence of poltergeists, any sensible rational person may reject the claim on the basis that no objective evidence for any magical powers has ever been provided. The OP, on the other hand, seems to want to start from a position where the existence of magical powers and the non-existence of magical powers are given equal weight, where either proposition requires support or refutation. Several of us have simply been pointing out how that is an incorrect approach to the scientific method. The correct approach was explained succinctly by PixyMisa...
Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Since there is no evidence, it leads to the null hypothesis - i.e. no psi, no afterlife.
It applies just as readily to poltergeists.

Last edited by GeeMack; 8th October 2012 at 02:23 PM. Reason: Grammar.
GeeMack is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 02:21 PM   #72
Andyman409
Scholar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 111
OP here! I'm going to make a few general responses. I'm not aiming them at anyone per se, but rather at a few arguments I keep hearing.

Firstly, I'm not sure what you mean by evidence. I don't know how testimony is defined in philosophy of science, but according to the dictionary it is considered a type of evidence. If someone claims to have witnessed person A commit the murder of person B, we use this as one of many pieces of evidence to figure out who did it. Perhaps a second person also observed the same murder. Perhaps a knife was found in the culprits room.

Likewise, if someone witnesses an obect fly on its own, we can use that as evidence in support of a poltergeist. We can also use it as evidence in support of fraud or dissassociative personality disorders. To determine which hypthesis is to be preferred, all we can do is look at more cases, and the analysis of them, pro and con. If no clear naturalistic explanations appear to remain for any given case, it doesn't prove that the paranormal exists. After all, there can always be unknown factors. However, hypothetically speaking, if we had a million cases that appeared unsolvable, we might want to look deeper.

Anyways, what parapsychologists do is take a bunch of cases to act as a representative sample, and look for all the claims that could not be easily explained naturalistically. I am more than aware that it is an argument from ignorance. Than, they looked at peculiar trends within the sample. One of them is that the phenomena focuses on one person most of the time. This suggests that the individual is the cause of the poltergeist. Using this, the parapsychologist would create a hypothesis, which is that poltergeists are formed by disturbed individuals using an unknown mechanism. The skeptic can play the same game. They can interpret that result to mean that most poltergeists are frauds, since they require certain individual (s) to be present. Then we repeat the process for other patterns found in the data.

The question immediatley rises as to how many samples we need to analyse to form an accurate conclusion. My answer would be: not many. All we need is a sample of cases that is representative of the phenomena were looking at. We also want the investigator to have some background knowledge in psychology, biology, sociology, etc. This makes sure that the sample is not tainted by cases that are obvius frauds, or that have obvious explanations. If we were to use a sample of cases from someone else, we might not have these safeguards. Now, I never said that any particular authority is better than another (although many believers seem to think Roll is best). Instead, I stated we should be careful in our choice of samples. Take note that this is not an arbitrary judgement into whos more credible. I'm also not discrediting anything you all read. The truth is, I dont know what you've read, so I dont know how credible it is. Surely some books, like those written by Behe, are more credible than others, like those written by Kent Hovind. I really dont think this needs to be elaborated on.

Some posters seem to claim that the paranormal has to be understood in the way a normal scientific theory is understood- by having an overlaying theory that explains the replicatable data better than any other competing theory. If not, it can be ruled out a priori. This isn't at all apparant to me. If philosophical dualism is true, we have no reason to suppose that these spectres would be subject to any scientific experimentation. They would pop in and out of physical reality, so we'd only observe the effects, not the causes. Plus, since the entiries would be non physical, no physical mechanisms could be discovered or even proposed. I reject dualism, and think these arguments are arguments from silence. But I cannot use the lack of scientific evidence as proof against their theory, since the theory already accounts for it. It certainly makes the hypothesis look sterile. I am also being accused of not considering background evidence. Well, what background knowledge is there to factor in? The known laws of physics aren't of much use, since these entites supposedly can violate them. My philosophical position of materialism is also imperfect, since, well, philosophy is certain. A good skeptical piece of background evidence is that many cases turn out to be frauds, and that psi research has given us nothing.

Previously, I stated we need to be skeptical of these paranormal claims. I dont htink all claims are created equal, or that they need to beput on equal footing. I dont rule them out completely based soley on background knowledge and a limited knowledge of the field. I think the victims and the phenomena deserve more than that. I also think that understanding these claims is very important, and that they can tell us a lot about the human mind. For example, they teach us the potential of children and teenagers for trickery, and how gullible PHD's can be.

Lastly, I am confused by the repeated charge for me to present you with evidence. I am not going to type out, word for word, the entirety of a book like "the poltergeist". All I can do is point out books on the topic that appear more credible than others.

Last edited by Andyman409; 8th October 2012 at 02:58 PM.
Andyman409 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 02:23 PM   #73
I Ratant
Penultimate Amazing
 
I Ratant's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 18,568
Andy, you really really want there to be poltergeists.
You will not get any support for your desire here.
I Ratant is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 02:44 PM   #74
Andyman409
Scholar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 111
Originally Posted by I Ratant View Post
Andy, you really really want there to be poltergeists.
You will not get any support for your desire here.
At the moment I don't believe in poltergeists. I do not know if the evidence supports them, since I haven't read much on it. I don't believe in God or an afterlife or psi, so poltergeists would be an enigma if they could somehow be shown to be paranormal in origin

Last edited by Andyman409; 8th October 2012 at 02:49 PM.
Andyman409 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 03:05 PM   #75
Stray Cat
Philosopher
 
Stray Cat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: The Land That Time Forgot
Posts: 6,805
Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
Firstly, I'm not sure what you mean by evidence. I don't know how testimony is defined in philosophy of science, but according to the dictionary it is considered a type of evidence. If someone claims to have witnessed person A commit the murder of person B, we use this as one of many pieces of evidence to figure out who did it. Perhaps a second person also observed the same murder. Perhaps a knife was found in the culprits room.
It's a starting point which can be used to investigate further.
If thousands if people came forward over hundreds of years with testimony that they had seen a person murder another person and yet no one was ever reported missing and no body was ever found, what use are all those testimonies?
Because that's what you have with poltergeists testimonies. No objectively verifiable evidence has ever been presented that supports the testimonies.


Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
Likewise, if someone witnesses an obect fly on its own, we can use that as evidence in support of a poltergeist.
No you can't.
Otherwise it is also evidence that invisible pink unicorns sometimes carry visible objects in their mouths, or any other infinite number of unsupported nonsense.
At the very most, it is evidence that someone thinks an object flew on it's own. It doesn't point to any cause or mechanism for what made the object fly.... How can you not understand this?

Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
We can also use it as evidence in support of fraud or dissassociative personality disorders. To determine which hypthesis is to be preferred, all we can do is look at more cases.
Again no.
Looking at disparate cases and presuming a common cause is not scientific... especially when that 'cause' (in this case poltergeists) has never been objectively shown to exist.

Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
If no clear naturalistic explanations appear to remain for any given case, it doesn't prove that the paranormal exists. After all, there can always be unknown factors. However, hypothetically speaking, if we had a million cases that appeared unsolvable, we might want to look deeper.
No. If we had just one compelling case, we'd want to look deeper.
The higher that pile gets without a single compelling case or a single piece of objectively verifiable evidence being presented, the more likely there is nothing to look deeper in to.

Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
Anyways, what parapsychologists do is take a bunch of cases to act as a representative sample, and look for all the claims that could not be easily explained naturalistically.
Confirmation bias based upon argument from ignorance then.

Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
I am more than aware that it is an argument from ignorance. Than, they looked at peculiar trends within the sample. One of them is that the phenomena focuses on one person most of the time.
Yes, because they've already rejected those that don't.

Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
This suggests that the individual is the cause of the poltergeist.
No it doesn't. No one has yet shown poltergeists exist.
The idea that someone trying to show that poltergeists exist has to assume their conclusion is true in order for their research to be relevant is plain silly circular logic and most unscientific.

Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
Using this, the parapsychologist would create a hypothesis, which is that poltergeists are formed by disturbed individuals using an unknown mechanism.
I'd be really interested to hear of a case where a hypothesis has been thoroughly tested, verified, published and repeated by other independent scientists... where the verified and written up result of testing the hypothesis was that something paranormal had happened.
Or are you also using the term hypothesis to make ghost hunting sound scientific when it's actually not in the same way that UFOlogists dishonestly use the term in their Extra Terrestrial Hypothesis which again isn't a hypothesis at all.

Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
The skeptic can play the same game. They can interpret that result to mean that most poltergeists are frauds, since they require certain individual (s) to be present. Then we repeat the process for other patterns found in the data.
No.
Here it's worth pointing out that there are no two separate groups of people such as paranormalists and sceptics who both have subjective opinions which can be deduced from scientific research.
There are facts and data that are presented and need supporting by the people who present them to show that what is being represented by the facts and data is supports the hypothesis being touted.

Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
The question immediateley rises as to how many samples we need to analyse to form an accurate conclusion.
Just the one will be fine.
Of course the problem being that that one will have to show verifiable objective evidence that supports the hypothesis of poltergeist activity and not just that some people sometime tell stories about poltergeists... we already know that part is true and accurate and verifiable by the number of story books about poltergeist activity available.

Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
My answer would be: not many. All we need is a sample of cases that is representative of the phenomena were looking at.
No one has yet shown there is a 'phenomenon' that goes beyond what we already understand (deception, misperception etc.).

Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
We also want the investigator to have some background knowledge in psychology, biology, sociology, etc. This makes sure that the sample is not tainted by cases that are obvius frauds, or that have obvious explanations.
No it doesn't.
Educated people are fooled just as easily as uneducated people.

Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
If we were to use a sample of cases from someone else, we might not have these safeguards. Now, I never said that any particular authority is better than another (although many believers seem to think Roll is best). Instead, I stated we should be careful in our choice of samples. Take note that this is not an arbitrary judgement into whos more credible. I'm also not discrediting anything you all read. The truth is, I dont know what you've read, so I dont know how credible it is. Surely some books, like those written by Behe, are more credible than others, like those written by Kent Hovind. I really dont think this needs to be elaborated on.
Unless anyone of those people can present verifiable objective evidence, we can dismiss them all as non-credible. The more they dress themselves up as scientists and fail to meet scientific requirements and standards of evidence, the less credible they become.

Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
Some posters seem to claim that the paranormal has to be understood in the way a normal scientific theory is understood- by having an overlaying theory that explains the replicatable data better than any other competing theory. If not, it can be ruled out a priori. This isn't at all apparant to me.
If philosophical dualism is true, we have no reason to suppose that these spectres would be subject to any scientific experimentation. They would pop in and out of physical reality, so we'd only observe the effects, not the causes. Plus, since the entiries would be non physical, no physical mechanisms could be discovered or even proposed.
This is nothing more than special pleading.

Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
I reject dualism, and think these arguments are arguments from silence. But I cannot use the lack of scientific evidence as proof against their theory, since the theory already accounts for it. It certainly makes the hypothesis look sterile.
If no evidence is presented, the null hypothesis stands.
No one is claiming proof that the paranormal doesn't exist, only that so far it has not been shown to exist and as such, the null hypothesis hasn't been falsified.

Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
Lastly, I am confused by the repeated charge for me to present you with evidence. I am not going to type out, word for word, the entirety of a book like "the poltergeist". All I can do is point out books on the topic that appear more credible than others.
No one is asking you to do that.
Give us one example of the best poltergeist case you know of.
Just the name of the case, a date some basic information will do.
There are some excellent researchers on this forum who will do the rest.
__________________
It's only my madness that stops me from going insane!

Last edited by Stray Cat; 8th October 2012 at 03:12 PM.
Stray Cat is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 03:32 PM   #76
fuelair
Cythraul Enfys
 
fuelair's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 34,584
Skipping courts of law, AND staying with SCIENCE, testimony is not evidence. The flaw here was letting you /someone get away with that confusion in the first palce. Scientists may well use testimony to initiate their research/experimentation but the is all it does. There is NO case of poltergeist activity that does not depend in it's entirety on testimony, thus there is no scientifically acceptable case of poltergeists....

Show photos (with the original negatives or electronic storage data), electronic or real motion picture "footage" or electronic readouts with same for timing and verification and some scientist with spare time and no current project or grant MIGHT take this up - but serious research requires serious reason to do that research. YMMV and does, but.....
__________________
There is no problem so great that it cannot be fixed by small explosives carefully placed.

Wash this space!

We fight for the Lady Babylon!!!

Last edited by fuelair; 8th October 2012 at 04:03 PM. Reason: -r+a
fuelair is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 03:34 PM   #77
GeeMack
Banned
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Not Bandiagara
Posts: 7,241
Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
Firstly, I'm not sure what you mean by evidence. I don't know how testimony is defined in philosophy of science, but according to the dictionary it is considered a type of evidence. If someone claims to have witnessed person A commit the murder of person B, we use this as one of many pieces of evidence to figure out who did it. Perhaps a second person also observed the same murder. Perhaps a knife was found in the culprits room.

With a murder, there's a dead person, or at the very least a person who was once objectively known to be alive.

Quote:
Likewise, if someone witnesses an obect fly on its own, we can use that as evidence in support of a poltergeist.

No, we can't. You who may believe in the existence of poltergeists can, but you're not using the scientific method. When it comes to explaining the universe we live in, your method is bound to result in failure.

Quote:
We can also use it as evidence in support of fraud or dissassociative personality disorders. To determine which hypthesis is to be preferred, all we can do is look at more cases. If no clear naturalistic explanations appear to remain for any given case, it doesn't prove that the paranormal exists. After all, there can always be unknown factors. However, hypothetically speaking, if we had a million cases that appeared unsolvable, we might want to look deeper.

You might. But you still should start from the null hypothesis, which is that all alleged poltergeist phenomena come about by purely natural causes.

Quote:
Anyways, what parapsychologists do is take a bunch of cases to act as a representative sample, and look for all the claims that could not be easily explained naturalistically. I am more than aware that it is an argument from ignorance. Than, they looked at peculiar trends within the sample. One of them is that the phenomena focuses on one person most of the time. This suggests that the individual is the cause of the poltergeist. Using this, the parapsychologist would create a hypothesis, which is that poltergeists are formed by disturbed individuals using an unknown mechanism. The skeptic can play the same game. They can interpret that result to mean that most poltergeists are frauds, since they require certain individual (s) to be present. Then we repeat the process for other patterns found in the data.

You're leaping to the conclusion that just because the poltergeist phenomena was not attributed to some known natural cause, it should be pursued as if it's caused by magical powers. And that is the source of your continued failure.

Quote:
The question immediatley rises as to how many samples we need to analyse to form an accurate conclusion. My answer would be: not many. All we need is a sample of cases that is representative of the phenomena were looking at. We also want the investigator to have some background knowledge in psychology, biology, sociology, etc. This makes sure that the sample is not tainted by cases that are obvius frauds, or that have obvious explanations. If we were to use a sample of cases from someone else, we might not have these safeguards. Now, I never said that any particular authority is better than another (although many believers seem to think Roll is best). Instead, I stated we should be careful in our choice of samples. Take note that this is not an arbitrary judgement into whos more credible. I'm also not discrediting anything you all read. The truth is, I dont know what you've read, so I dont know how credible it is. Surely some books, like those written by Behe, are more credible than others, like those written by Kent Hovind. I really dont think this needs to be elaborated on.

No proponent of creationism is any better authority on the issue than any other since creationism relies on magical powers and no magical powers have ever been objectively shown to exist. Your analogy fails again.

Quote:
Some posters seem to claim that the paranormal has to be understood in the way a normal scientific theory is understood- by having an overlaying theory that explains the replicatable data better than any other competing theory. If not, it can be ruled out a priori.

Correct. Any other way of looking at it would be special pleading, a logical fallacy, and dishonest.

Quote:
This isn't at all apparant to me.

Obviously. But the skeptics here are trying to help you understand where the errors are in your thinking.

Quote:
If philosophical dualism is true, we have no reason to suppose that these spectres would be subject to any scientific experimentation. They would pop in and out of physical reality, so we'd only observe the effects, not the causes. Plus, since the entiries would be non physical, no physical mechanisms could be discovered or even proposed. I reject dualism, and think these arguments are arguments from silence. But I cannot use the lack of scientific evidence as proof against their theory, since the theory already accounts for it. It certainly makes the hypothesis look sterile.

Yes, if magic is real then things that allegedly occur due to magic might really be real, too.

Quote:
Lastly, I am confused by the repeated charge for me to present you with evidence. I am not going to type out, word for word, the entirety of a book like "the poltergeist". All I can do is point out books on the topic that appear more credible than others.

Review the thread and you'll probably see how those repeated requests for objective evidence tend to follow your comments suggesting that there is some. Your inability to offer any while asking that alleged poltergeist phenomena be given special privileges is noted. It's not honest to try to avoid the scrutiny of the scientific method.

Last edited by GeeMack; 8th October 2012 at 03:43 PM. Reason: Tweaked an unclear comment.
GeeMack is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 04:26 PM   #78
PixyMisa
Persnickety Insect
 
PixyMisa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Sunny Munuvia
Posts: 15,618
Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
Firstly, I'm not sure what you mean by evidence. I don't know how testimony is defined in philosophy of science
Then perhaps you should look that up.

Quote:
Anyways, what parapsychologists do is take a bunch of cases to act as a representative sample, and look for all the claims that could not be easily explained naturalistically.
When what they should be doing is seeing if the claims can be verified.

Quote:
The question immediatley rises as to how many samples we need to analyse to form an accurate conclusion.
None. We need evidence, not stories.

Quote:
Some posters seem to claim that the paranormal has to be understood in the way a normal scientific theory is understood- by having an overlaying theory that explains the replicatable data better than any other competing theory.
Yes.

Quote:
If not, it can be ruled out a priori. This isn't at all apparant to me. If philosophical dualism is true, we have no reason to suppose that these spectres would be subject to any scientific experimentation.
If philosophical dualism were true, black would be white, night would be day, and science wouldn't work.

Science does work, black is not white, night is not day, poltergeists do not exist.

As I said earlier, look up the definition of "special pleading".

Quote:
Previously, I stated we need to be skeptical of these paranormal claims. I dont htink all claims are created equal, or that they need to beput on equal footing.
All claims are created equal. What distinguishes them is evidence.

Quote:
Lastly, I am confused by the repeated charge for me to present you with evidence. I am not going to type out, word for word, the entirety of a book like "the poltergeist". All I can do is point out books on the topic that appear more credible than others.
Stories aren't evidence.
__________________
Free blogs for skeptics... And everyone else. mee.nu
What, in the Holy Name of Gzortch, are you people doing?!?!!? - TGHO
PixyMisa is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 05:05 PM   #79
R.A.F.
Banned
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,204
Originally Posted by Andyman409 View Post
Some posters seem to claim that the paranormal has to be understood in the way a normal scientific theory is understood- by having an overlaying theory that explains the replicatable data better than any other competing theory. If not, it can be ruled out a priori. This isn't at all apparant to me.

Then you are not following the scientific method, and anything coming from your "theory" can be safely ignored.

Sorry, but there is no reason for us to ignore reality in favor of fantasies.


Quote:
...we have no reason to suppose that these spectres would be subject to any scientific experimentation. They would pop in and out of physical reality, so we'd only observe the effects, not the causes.

Aw yes...the ole' science can't possibily understand it, because of it's magical properties.


That's not a reason....that's an excuse for piss poor science.


Quote:
I am confused by the repeated charge for me to present you with evidence.
Stop dodging...if you have no credible evidence to present, then stop making claims that require credible evidence....it really is that simple.

Last edited by R.A.F.; 8th October 2012 at 05:09 PM.
R.A.F. is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th October 2012, 05:08 PM   #80
R.A.F.
Banned
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,204
Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Stories aren't evidence.
...and that's all poltergeists are...stories.

Last edited by R.A.F.; 8th October 2012 at 05:40 PM.
R.A.F. is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

JREF Forum » General Topics » General Skepticism and The Paranormal

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:13 PM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© 2001-2013, James Randi Educational Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.