Hey guys, this is my first post here and I usually was a hard nosed skeptic. I think it’s because of the fact that claims of the paranormal/ufo/conspiracy theories really made me uncomfortable because it really messes with my belief systems and also casts a shadow of doubt in many of the things I know and want to be true.
Whenever there are conspiracy theories, or claims of the paranormal, I usually discredit it because I don’t want to believe it. However, whenever there is new knowledge about science etc by accredited scientists, I am the first to absorb it. I don’t have any problems whenever mainstream science popularisers say something, no matter how crazy it sounds (for example, that we are living in a simulation-proposed by a NASA physicist. I don’t ‘believe’ it but at least I take account of its possibility). Whenever there is something that sounds off key from unknown sources, I am the first one to search on Google: X phenomena (followed by) skeptic. For the past few years this is how I have gone by with unsolved mysteries and academia that I have no knowledge about- for example charlatans making use of quantum theory such as Deepak Chopra and many others promoting new age pseudoscientific new age quantum spirituality claims. It always provided me with comfort since I trusted the skeptics and I had the belief that the skeptics were the smart guys and they had the most rational naturalistic explanations.
However, I was listening to Joe Rogan Experience Podcast(He thinks along the same lines as me and I’ve only just become a fan of him recently. He is truly an amazing individual). He did a podcast with Stanley Krippner, a supposed parapsychologst and a respected one at that. I listened to him (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0s1Wp5ucnYU) and what was so surprising was that he researched into the field of parapsychology for many decades and he came across startling conclusions. I have read some of his work from http://stanleykrippner.weebly.com/—articles.html more specifically, http://stanleykrippner.weebly.com/a-pilot-study-in-dream-telepathy-with-the-grateful-dead.html
Now, I wouldn’t even have been motivated to see his articles if it weren’t for his respect by both skeptics and parapsychologists alike. Do a little research about him and you can see that even James Randi respects him and admits he is a truly honest scientist.
I don’t think he is a charlatan. If you view the whole 3 hour podcast with Stanley Krippner, you’d realize that he is a down to earth, scientist and comes from a very honest non biased point of view, just like any scientist. He does not claim to have any psychic powers nor does he try to prove his point in an aggressive manner. He just states what he finds and he says that he has come to some conclusions that
are statistically significant which implies that he was observing some dream telepathy phenomena beyond chance levels. Of course, it’s not a proof. However, I think that with things like these, it’s hard to always repeat. For example gravity can be tested again and again to be true so it’s replicable. However, with PSI phenomena, it’s always a hit and miss. Scientists don’t even know what causes it nor is there a consensus among parapsychologists about the theories of PSI phenomena. I can understand that. What I can’t comprehend is that there are conclusive results where things like these happen ‘beyond chance levels’.
If PSI were no real phenomena, it should almost always come up short ie no results which are in the ‘beyond chance levels’.
Many of phenomena in this world are unfalsifiable such as the thousands of cases where Dogs are able to find their way home even if lost in an unfamiliar territory. There are even hundreds of reported cases where dogs and cats found their way home navigating hundreds/thousands of miles. Of course, all such evidence is anecdotal. However, it is a significant number of cases that cant be all dismissed as coincidence(that they just happened to go the right way) or as lies or some other rational explanation (such as, it’s not the same dog/cat but it looks remarkably similar to the dog they lost etc and the pet owner and the pet just ‘happen’ to click like they knew each other for years)
Using the scientific method, I think is very useful for things such as creating new drugs and finding it’s efficacy etc. However, for many of life’s elusive phenomena, it cannot always be repeatable.
My question is, being prudent and giving the power to sceptics, I know that many parapsychologists ‘may’ be charlatans. However, out of that large number, there would be some that are honest. There are respectable scientists that continue to try to find it, despite many things such as disproval/loss of respect from mainstream scientific community. Why would honest respectable researchers try and go into and spend decades of their life trying to find these things?
How can anybody account for our pets’ supposedly psychic phenomena?
I know that scientists have tried and tried again using state of the art technology such as MRI scans to experiment if there is any flow of energy that flows out during telepathy. Sure, it’s extremely unlikely that scientists still haven’t been able to measure an ‘unknown’ energy, as we so far we have documented the EM spectrum, gravity and other ‘invisible phenomena’, yet they were all measureable.
What can be said about these statistically significant results? I know many parapsycholists are frauds and conduct shitty experiments but from respectable people like Krippner? Really? I don’t think his methods were flawed. What about other ‘credible’/ ‘respected’ parapsychologists? Like that guy endorsing animal psi abilities. You just can’t assume everyone is a fraud or is stupid. By probability alone, we can attest that there are people with legit degrees and intellectually honest and sound.
I was very disappointed by Dr Victor Stenger whom has been the comfort and source for debunking quantum quackery. However, in a Skeptiko interview(I realised Skeptiko is not a skeptic site at all), Victor called Krippner a charlatan. This really was uncalled for because as a respected Skeptic, I would have assumed he’s done some research into Krippner, like Randi. It seems like Stenger just is a pseudoskeptic because he just dismisses and assumes without honest research.
The problem with Randi’s $1m prize is that, it assumes that, if people had these psychic abilities, that they would want to be found. If I had telepathic abilities or any other psi abilities, I would keep it a secret. If I expose myself to the public, I could either be killed or snatched by the government for their own use or saying it’s a threat to national security. I could make a lot more money by using cunning methods vs Randi’s measly $1million which comes at the cost of worldwide attention.
With our current understanding of knowledge about Neruoscience and Quantum Mechanics, my conclusion is that we should be more open minded about things that are plausible, not just dismissing every claim that currently doesn’t hold with our current scientific knowledge and consensus.
I see that the scientific method is too rigorous and harsh for such things such as PSI/supernatural/ufos etc. You can’t have the ghosts seriously conform to science’s standards to say that the ghost come out whenever we call for it. It’s not up to scientists (not saying I believe in ghosts, although a possibility) and since it can’t be falsified, science will call it pseudoscience. There are things like homeopathy which we can call pseudoscience of course. I think science can really study and observe phenomena such as the PSI, however, we would have to really relax the scientific method and not just be so adamant that it belongs to the same observable and testable phenomena as, gravity for example. I am not against science and I believe the majority of the scientific community is open, as can be said for the discovery of the placebo effect. It seems ludicrous when we think about it. Even with the placebo effect, it’s a hit and miss although it has been shown time and time again that statistically significant results prove the existence of the placebo effect. However, for the case of dream telepathy, if it were completely false, we should have absolutely zero conclusive results that have any statistical significance.
What do you guys think?