"And sometimes he's so nameless"

Booting the Ball in No Man’s Land… A Rant for Sceptics

Posted in Debunking myths, Paranormal, Social commentary desecrated, Unclassifiable! by Chris Jensen Romer on July 22, 2011

I should really avoid this topic like the plague, but I’m going to talk about it anyway, and risk upsetting everyone, because that’s what I happen to do!

I nearly used in my title the words ” the sceptics movement”, but as I think the idea of a movement that makes sceptics sounds like a creed or religious group is a  misnomer I avoided that term; one thing is certain, sceptics always argue, disagree and often strongly, over all kinds of things. Where the evidence is solid they tend to agree, but on moral issues, tactical issues, social or political issues, or scientific  areas where the evidence is weak sceptics hold strongly divergent opinions. And that is good and healthy.

I self-identify as a sceptic, as most of you know: my scepticism is often sharply turned towards to the claims of my fellow sceptics, owing to the ridiculously partisan Sceptics versus Believers binary opposition one often sees, which prevents any meaningful critique of sceptical writings from those perhaps best qualified to be sceptical about them. I am often pained by the emotive responses one sees from sceptics and believers alike, where mudslinging and vitriol obscure rational debate – but until we break down the “us versus them” herd mentality” it will be hard to make progress. Anyone who knows me knows I am a harsh critic of my fellow Christians; I am a virulently harsh critic of my fellow sceptics and paranormal believers, and a ferociously harsh critic of my own beliefs, which I attempt to dissect as best I can on a continual basis. That’s not easy, so I post and debate on forums, and wherever possible engage with the best arguments and thinkers I can who sharply oppose me; I have learned a lot, and modified many beliefs as a result.  I’m still wrong on many things i know, and hopeless ignorant and misguided at times, but I make an effort to try and cast a critical eye over my own stuff as much as everyone elses. I despise bullies cock sure of themselves and filled with self importance – and regularly get my own ego punctured when someone hands my hat to me in a debate or discussion, and am glad of it. We all need a little doubt, a little humility.

Some of you may remember my old Most Haunted forum signature, taken from Andrew Eldritch’s song Possession? (YouTube link contains sound)

I’ll be your imagination,
Tear apart what you believe,
Make a mess of your conviction,
Take away my pride and leave,
Nothing, but the debris,
Cuts, two ways..

I meant it. I really did. And that doubt, that criticism, I apply indiscriminately. I am not a comfortable person to be around at times..

Now if you are a paranormal believer, expecting another lambasting of sceptics, probably best to stop reading now; this post is not aimed at you. It’s aimed at sceptics, and those who identify as sceptics, and concerns something that puzzles me. Why do they attack their own?

Scepticism is vital, and important, in addressing real issues, of bad science, bad medicine, and quack practices that cost or ruin lives, of that I have no doubt. Sterling work is done in these fields by podcasts, Skeptics in the pub meetings, and conferences up and down the land. I have immense respect for the hard work done by huge numbers of people in these areas.

So what is my beef? Because even the best sceptics in my area, parapsychology, paranormal belief and psychical research, are frequently treated with quiet disdain by their colleagues. While the JREF has obviously always stressed the importance of testing and studying paranormal claims, and in places like Rational Skepticism one sees intelligent comment, while UKSkeptics, BadPsychics and other sites did valuable work in addressing issues,  and their are blogs like Bare Normality and Hayley Steven’s and Ersby’s that deal intelligently with the ssues, skeptics who choose to study paranormal claims are often, unless big names like Chris French, Richard Wiseman, Sue Blackmore or Ray Hyman, treated with disdain by their sceptical colleagues.  “Why bother to study something so pointless?” seems to be the refrain. Fighting homeopathy is seen as real sceptical “work”; trying to actually look at the peer reviewed parapsychological literature is treated with contempt, and trying to investigate yourself these claims, as Hayley, ASKE or Ersby did is met with disdain. People like Dr Braithwaite are ignored; the believers are unhappy with their negative findings, and naturalistic explanations for phenomena in terms of neuroscience or whatever; the sceptics are content at best to point at their work when they meet a “woo”, and run away.

I have immense respect for sceptics who engage with the subject, and offer meaningful critiques. Most of them I would actually classify as parapsychologists however much they would resist the label, as they make a meaningful contribution to the discourse, and many if not the majority of  academic parapsychologists are extremely sceptical of most if not all paranormal claims.  How many are there? Probably as many as there are parapsychologists producing papers in the field — two or three dozen, turning out good quality commentary, doing their own experiments, and speaking at sceptic conferences. Now hardly anyone among the sceptics  dares critique Wiseman for researching this stuff; he s too clever, too charismatic and above all too clearly knows what he is doing — but [people don’t actually read his research papers do they? The APRU did a fascinating series of podcasts  How many folks have listened to them?  From the other “side” (perhaps from the “other side”?) all the Society for Psychical Research lectures and conferences for many many years can be purchased or borrowed from the society on CD (ity says tape on the website, but most are on CD these days) – how many people have listened to them? Prominent sceptics and some of the very best in parapsychology are available to hear — for a free download from the APRU, for a small fee (£5 non-members) or postage if a member from the SPR – and yet who bothers?

Still, people are busy, I understand that. Start investigating paranormal claims outside of say mediums and psychics and you can get caught up in real science issues,a nd philosophy of science issues. Worse than that crazed loonies like me might come after you, and boy am I fierce when woken from my slumbers. ;) But the anti-paranormal camp are not content to ignore the research – they actually often seem to denigrate those among their own who do engage with the subject, and openly ask why stuff on ghosts or ESP actually appears at sceptic conferences. They know, with all the fervour of a fuindamentalist believer, that its all bollocks – so why listen to those who bother to critique it intelligently and sceptically? Their disdain for the subject rubs off on the poor sceptics who do intelligently comment, and while they are lauded when the going gets tough and something like Bem’s habtituative precog paper gets mainstream attention, most of the time they are quietly ignore and sometimes condescended to.

Sometimes I feel I’m playing football in no man’s land. I have come through adversity to gain respect and genuine admiration for those I disagree with, and believe sceptics and believers with a strong interest in paranormal claims can reach out, and boot the ball for a Christmas Day friendly, and who knows, together we might score some goals?

But for the sceptics who actually do engage with the evidence, and who do try to seriously study and address the issues, well they face derision from their peers, and frankly dismissive attitudes from many who should bloody know better. For them it’s more a case of

Shot by both sides….

That’s what happens when you kick that ball over the top. And it is frankly disappointing in people who call themselves rationalists. If you can’t be bothered to do the work, at least respect those who do, and by their intelligent critiques do everyone a favour and advance our knowledge OK?

Almost no one shoots at me, perhaps because they know I’ll come out guns blazing??? Well here is your chance — if you think the serious investigation of paranormal claims does not warrant the effort (and I would be the first to concede there are more vital areas of public finance, advertising and health care needing sceptical engagement) just say so. But don’t denigrate those who dedicate their time freely and graciously to working on these issues, be they “believer” or “sceptic”.  If you think it’s all rot, that is your right — but an argument from ignorance remains an argument from ignorance, and you should be sincerely grateful to those who do the work for you.

So that’s it really. Stop putting down those who study stuff you don’t claim to understand. If like some of the sceptics I have mentioned, or many others – VK, Louie Savva, Sue Blackmore,Matthew Smith, Ciaran O Keefe, fls, Soapy Sam, Campermon the list goes on  you are willing to do the work and have come to a reasoned judgment against these things, that awesome, and I appreciate your work and opinions — but if you are not one of these people, whenther or not i have named you, stop turning on those who do as “second rate sceptics.”

Put up, or STFU.

cj x

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15 Responses

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  1. Jason Wingate said, on July 22, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    As an outsider it’s all too clear to me that this is a problem. Indeed the fervour itself is often a sign of assumption rather than knowledge. It reminds me very much of sitting in amongst experienced philosophers in conversation, who they don’t rush to conclusions because they know there are traps. (“I could disagree”, a professor of logic once opened with.)

    It’s the people who’ve never read any philosophy who think it’s all common sense and righteous indignation. Same with chess openings. Someone of your stripe, cj, treads with caution precisely from knowledge, ‘like a fox crossing the ice’ as the man said. It’s surprising how many people think the expansion of human knowledge has been about removal of the necessity for caution! The opposite is true.

    I know this post was not for us ‘believers’, and I hope my presence on your very interesting blog doesn’t cause you discomfort, but I’d still have to say these two statements:

    1.”I think the idea of a movement that makes sceptics sounds like a creed or religious group is a misnomer”; and

    2. “They know, with all the fervour of a fuindamentalist believer, that its all bollocks”.

    … repay careful scrutiny as they stand together in the same piece. They both can’t work simultaneously as a ‘skeptical’ credo, and it may be time for “skeptics” to decide which they prefer.

    • Chris Jensen Romer said, on July 22, 2011 at 3:34 pm

      Jason you are always very welcome on this blog, and ironically you are one of the best sceptical commentators here. Like me you hold certain beliefs — but you are clearly from your blog a critical thinker, a process skeptic. I also hold some paranormal/religious beliefs, and defend them. But scepticism is a way of looking at things, not a conclusion. So I don’t mind being labelled a “sceptic”, or a “believer” — both can be true, depending on the proposition in question. It’s the fallacy of an Aristotlean binary opposition I attempt to avoid, and I accept wither title happily. :)

      cj x

    • Chris Jensen Romer said, on July 22, 2011 at 3:38 pm

      Also Jason the apparent paradox between my description of those who “know, with all the fervour of a fuindamentalist believer, that its all bollocks”.and “”I think the idea of a movement that makes sceptics sounds like a creed or religious group is a misnomer” is I hope resolvable, for the first is a particular claim – some “sceptics” who are anything but clearly do hold knee jerk vitriolically unshakable opinions never touched by doubt, and yet the majority of sceptics are reasonable people — and I have a great deal of respect for the small group who I engage with on these matters, and who do research. Some of them are guilty of these things too I know — and some have been dishonest in the past and misrepresented the case for parapsychology; but by no means all. Therefore I am only too happy to eneter no mans land, and engage with the intelligent and thoughtful critics, whenever I can :)

      • Jason Wingate said, on July 22, 2011 at 3:54 pm

        the apparent paradox [...] is I hope resolvable

        Oh it’s not a paradox Chris — it’s a choice, and it’s as ‘Aristotelian’ as they come.

        I hope you are right! I will be reading.

  2. DaveD said, on July 22, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    ” I know this post was not for us ‘believers’ “

    Actually I think it’s for everyone, cj included. As he says near the beginning:
    ” I despise bullies cock sure of themselves and filled with self importance – and regularly get my own ego punctured when someone hands my hat to me in a debate or discussion, and am glad of it. We all need a little doubt, a little humility. “
    I know I’m sometimes too quick to criticise, and more brusque than I should be. Occasional reminders like this are well worth reading.

    • Chris Jensen Romer said, on July 22, 2011 at 3:39 pm

      Thanks Dave. Yes absolutely it applies to me; I’m frequently wrong, prejudiced and arguing from sheer emotion. the irony of this post was it was dashed off quickly in emotion as you can tell by the typos, while calling for a reasoned rational approach! ;)

    • Jason Wingate said, on July 22, 2011 at 3:56 pm

      Actually I think it’s for everyone

      “A Rant for Sceptics [...] if you are a paranormal believer [...] this post is not aimed at you. It’s aimed at sceptics, and those who identify as sceptics…”

      … etc. was the reason for my remark.

  3. DaveD said, on July 22, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Honest answer: It’s a fair cop!

    Smartass answer: Everyone’s sceptical of something!

    On reflection, I should have said that everyone can benefit from cj’s advice, sceptic or not.

  4. Panagiotes Koutelidakes said, on July 22, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    Excellent post; the typos are not to be bothered with, in the long run. ;)

    I have been facing that issue very pointedly, in recent years, since the fallout in RDF and my comeback to the Greek scene; in fact, most Greeks seem to be leaning either towards extreme religiosity or extreme skepticism, but there’s always this prevalence of opinionated Greeks on the Internet. The rest don’t bother, I guess. It drives me mad, because they often make inane claims…

  5. Citizen Smith said, on July 22, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    CJ ~ I really do enjoy reading your blog posts and I have yet to sink my teeth into the vast array of archives being a new reader and member of the SitP.

    This is my personal Issue with Prof Wiseman and don’t get me wrong I think he’s is charismatic and a very likeable guy. After seeing him at Chelt Lit Fest with Robin Ince I became a follwer on FB thinking he had something to say worth listening to, regardless of his feild of choice, as I believe you can always learn something from everybody. And, as you state in your post, we don’t all have the time to perform our own investigations and read/watch all the material available. So although Prof Wiseman may indeed be an expert in his feild, and a prolific poster on his blog, in the months I have been following him I have yet to see one single post regarding his work, a single reference to some enlightening developments in his feild of work or at the least some of his ‘vast’ knowledge of the subject passed over to the minions.

    Because from where I’m sitting, the average sceptic I consider myself. He’s not doing a very good job to change or expand my views on the subject.

    This is not a flaming post directed at him via you, but judging by your post he is revered in some ways due to the work he has done. All I can say is that he falls short in passing this on using his current methods.

    Unlike yourself, most of your references in your posts, usually on a tangent to the post itself go right over my head and I spend most of my time googling while reading your posts. Although a sign of my ignorance it enables me to learn something as I’m sure most people do.

    • Chris Jensen Romer said, on July 23, 2011 at 4:05 pm

      Citizen Smith, I am flattered and humbled you spend time reading my nonsense! I try my hardest to actually give a rational perspective on things when I can, but often get caught up in endless revisions and research, so my better stuff does not always appear here. Still I will finish the second part of the Wiseman seance review soon, I will! SitP is an excellent opportunity to meet, chat to lovely people and learn so much — I would certainly be more active if Tuesdays were not the night from hell for me. I attend Cheltenham SitP whenever I can, and try to review all the events. Wonderful people, great company!

      Wiseman is as we both agree a fantastic guy: I think I also count as one of his more vocal critics, as I endlessly critique his material simply because he has so much of interest to say, and one can always take issue with any piece of research or writing . A while back though something happened which gave me tremendous sympathy for him: a JSPR article appeared that was specifically directed at highly personalised critiques of what seemed like his whole output. IT was a well enough written piece, certainly well considered,and making a case — but it was also an ad hominem attack it seemed to me:and I would have probably asked for it to be rewritten before publication in a peer reviewed journal. I was uncomfortable with; deeply uncomfortable. I know a lot of people take a great pleasure in anything that disagrees with Richard and his wicked arch-sceptic act, and i think he is equally exasperated by his opponents in psi research, but this reminded me of another spat many many years ago between Susan Blackmore and Carl Sargeant, and I wonder if because the UK parapsychology scene is so small – about 50 PhD’s, very limited funding and opportunities — it can ever mature. I have seen these things in my other areas of academic interest, but they are usually diluted by the size of the research communities. Whereas here you can’t help but thinking “And this time it’s personal!” :(

      A lot of people seem to love Wiseman, or hate him. I genuinely like the chap – he really is a great bloke to talk to, and anytime i wander in to showbiz circles I find close personal friends of his — and astonishingly talented, both as an academic and personally. His scepticism seems to have earned him a negative response – I can think of other sceptics who receive equally unpleasant treatment, though two of the people can be very personally abrasive, indeed I managed to argue with one, a neurologist, and it became quite heated despite our fundamental agreement on the issue in question! You can’t count him or the multicoloured haired lady from Bristol (who I have always found exceptionally charming, yes I do mean Dr Blackmore if any one was wondering!) as anything but brilliant academics and fine researchers though.

      Wiseman is quite the opposite, having incredible personal charms. He is one of the finest speakers I have seen. Almost everything he writes is excellent, and fun to write about and critique. He is also a master self-publicist, and a massively successful UK author and broadcaster, plus a darling of the Sceptical community. I suspect much of the vitriol aimed at him is in part jealousy and resentment at his success — his lifestlye and mine as so far apart that it is hard to imagine, as I am constantly struggling to eat and pay the heating and light bills, so maybe I should join in! :)

      But there is something more going on here,and i think you ave hit the nail on the head. Richard’s blog and Twitter activity are fun, entertaining, and dedicated like mine to a bewildering number of topics. They are unashamedly populist, and deservedly popular. I feel like an idiot every week as I struggle to solve his puzzles, and watch as others say in the comments how they solved them in 2.5 seconds, while i just can’t do them. His magic stuff reflects his deep passion for his trade; he is a great writer on magic, and an accomplished magician and performer (and some say a smooth dancer, “but he could not paint like Hitler” — oh sorry that’s me heading off in to a line from The Producers! ;) )

      There is however a gap between the public Wiseman, the blogger, writer, and even occasionally the speaker, and the academic Wiseman. His popular writings are often aggressively sceptical – but even his publications in mainstream journals like the BJP are usually far more nuanced, open minded and reflective. Wiseman is the “go to sceptic”, and he is personally I am convinced utterly sincere and intellectually convinced in his scepticism of the paranormal, but his audience perceives as someone more akin to Randi, an sharp and often dismissive critic of paranormal claims, than say Ray Hyman, another parapsychological sceptic, or even Chris French, who Wiseman is actually far closer to in style. Wiseman does the work, a vast amount of it, publishes papers all the time, and is a thoughtful writer. But in the media post light he does seem to play up the “uber-sceptic deriding silliness” attitude.

      This is unfortunate, because he is far far more than the caricature, but parapsychologist respond to it, and Wiseman’s books market to a sceptical audience who want that. And when he ventures an opinion that people find uncomfortable, he gets like the sceptics I referred to in this post “shot by both sides”.

      A good example of this was a while back when he remarked to a press reporter from the Daily Mail

      “I agree that by the standards of any other area of science that remote viewing is proven, but begs the question: do we need higher standards of evidence when we study the paranormal? I think we do.

      “If I said that there is a red car outside my house, you would probably believe me.

      “But if I said that a UFO had just landed, you’d probably want a lot more evidence.

      “Because remote viewing is such an outlandish claim that will revolutionise the world, we need overwhelming evidence before we draw any conclusions. Right now we don’t have that evidence.”

      All very sensible, well I might argue the philosophical strength of “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” (Truzzi) because it does not actually work, but it’s a good principle and slogan if not pushed too far. By remote viewing I think Wiseman meant Ganzfeld — and I actually think he is almost completely right, as Ersby who you may know of from The Skeptic magazine can explain better than me (Andrew Endersby). In fact a lot of paper sin a lot of science are pretty methodologically shoddy, and I definitely recommend Ben Goldacres “Bad Science”, a first rate book, which shows this. Standards of evidence strike me as very low, and psychology is plagued with issues, but so is pretty much every discipline. Yet the hostility and suspicion with which this comment was greeted on the JREF forum, and a few other internet communities, and the lingering resentment it caused is every bit as irrational as the distaste believers have for Wiseman.

      I think therefore he does what he wants with his blog and has huge fun; and I think people love it. But his academic work, sire he does not discuss it, and i think that might be because of these issues. In September at the SPR conference Wiseman will be greeted as one of our own,and there will be no animosity; Edinburgh is his second home after all. But I do wish people would see more of his academic work.

      BUt one thing I will say Richard is not ashamed of his academic work. Every one of his papers is freely available to download here and someone who is intelligent, critically thinking and keen to learn about new stuff like yourself will love this resource — his website — http://www.richardwiseman.com/Papers.shtml

      The other pages contain a huge amount of material which si equally good, pitched at a more popular level. I think his blog just reflects the fact that most people aren’t really bothered about the academic stuff, or the debates — and while i am pleased by the back handed compliment that you find my whittering amusing, you will love Richard ‘s site and once you have had a look probably never come bacj here.

      Wow. Sympathy for the Devil, hey? ;) CJ the evil-Wiseman basher must be ill.. :D

      Anyway sorry to go on so much, I have been thinking about this for awhile and it was the perfect opportunity to write about it, and thank you so much for your interest in my work!

      cj x

  6. Will Stevens said, on July 23, 2011 at 8:18 am

    Jerome – As far as I can see, your challenge is summarised at the end of your piece, as follows: ‘…if you think the serious investigation of paranormal claims does not warrant the effort … just say so.’

    Fighting talk! But it all depends on the answers to the questions: ‘What effort, and on the part of whom?’ An example to illustrate.

    Some years ago, following a discussion on the CIX conferencing service, I conducted an experiment to test the claim made by one of the participants in the discussion: that he could keep milk fresh by using his paranormal powers. After a lot of discussion, we agreed a, properly blinded, experimental protocol; people agreed to participate by setting up twin samples of milk, one paranomally protected and the other not; the man claiming the paranormal powers was happy to proceed and confident that we’d get a positive result.

    Actually, we didn’t. The null hypothesis was not overturned; we were left with no reason to believe that it is possible to keep milk fresh by paranormal means. In due course, I wrote a brief article about the experiment which was published in the ‘Skeptic’ magazine.

    This was, in your words, a serious investigation of a paranormal claim. Doing it involved varying amounts of effort on the part of about a dozen of us. Was the effort warranted? Yes, I think so. As far as I’m concerned personally, it was fun to do, and it helped me sharpen up some of my ideas about experimental design – and that’s as good a warrant as I need. If anybody wants to castigate me for messing about with alleged paranomal claims, then I’m happy to defend myself – or to ignore anybody who wants to have a go at me.

    So, if your question is, ‘Is it reasonable for people who motivated to do so to spend time and effort on the serious investigation of paranormal claims?’ then the answer is (I think obviously!) ‘Yes!’. You might just as well ask: ‘Is it reasonable for people who motivated to do so to spend time and effort on diving for possible submarine treasure?’ or ‘Is it reasonable for people who motivated to do so to spend time and effort on improving their golf handicap?’. The answers are ‘Yes!’ and ‘Yes!’.

    In other words, it seems ridiculous to argue that any of these activities are intrinsically wrong, or that people ought to avoid them! (Unless, of course, the activity takes up too much of the individual’s time, and is detrimental to other aspects of his life.)

    But, having said that, I don’t think that’s the question which you, Jerome, are asking. Or rather, lurking behind your question there seems to be a further question: Is it warranted to spend substantial sums of public money on the serious investigation of paranormal claims, for example by funding university departments and research projects?

    My personal answer to that question is ‘No!’ – but please hang on while I explain why that’s my answer. In my opinion (which could be wrong, and which is subject to change if appropriate evidence were forthcoming) there’s not sufficient evidence of the reality of any of what are normally claimed as paranormal phenomena to justify major expenditure of public money on further research.

    To be clear about this: If, say, there was decent body of evidence to support the reality of telepathy or homeopathy, then I’d certainly be in favour of spending public money on investigating telepathy or homeopathy. But (as understand it) there isn’t. In which case, they are subjects to leave to people who are interested in them. And if other people jeer at them, then it’s something which they have to try to cope with in as good-humoured a way as they can manage.

    Similarly, if a charity can attract funding for research into alleged paranormal phenomena, then good luck to them. If people choose to fund such a charity – that’s fine. Who could possibly object?

    Do you see what I mean? I think the focus of your piece is all wrong. Basically, you are charging various people with prejudice, and the best way to deal with prejudice is to produce hard evidence that the prejudice is unfounded.

    I honestly believe that, if somebody were to produce good solid evidence for the reality of any alleged paranormal phenomenon, then, overnight, you’d find people flocking to the cause in droves. (Well, I don’t mean ‘overnight’ do I? I mean, within a year or two. Let’s be realistic!)

    I think you’ve got the challenge on the wrong foot! The challenge is not for those who are sceptical about paranormal phenomena to justify their scepticism. The challenge is for those who believe in this or that paranormal phenomenon to produce the evidence.

    • Chris Jensen Romer said, on July 23, 2011 at 4:35 pm

      Hey Will! Always good to hear from you, and I think the paranormal milk challenge was an excellent idea. I’ll have to try and find your right up, which issue of The Skeptic was it in? As to your point “Is it warranted to spend substantial sums of public money on the serious investigation of paranormal claims, for example by funding university departments and research projects?” my answer is simple; “no”. I have never asked for public money to be spent on it, and let’s face it public money won’t be spent on university departments in the UK anymore, students will foot the bill. The only way public money should be spent on parapsychology is to support people like me when we inevitably end up on the dole, as our academic careers are ruined by our parapsychological interest. :D In fact I would probably refuse to work with any government funded initiative in to psi research – unless clearly for some medical good or genuine scientific reasons, and public domain! This is simply because i think that public money is better spent on education and the Heath Service, and welfare programmes. I can’t think this would surprise you after all these years!

      On a more philosophical level, I don’t actually have a problem with public funds being spent on “blue skies” research: I think we need that, and I would like to see it compulsory so that research programmes do not become dependent on perceived need and commercial advantage, restricting the free development of science in a free society. Feyrabend is great on these issues, highly recommend his books. However, I don’t ask for parapsychology to be given the loot, despite my personal poverty. ;)

      You want some interesting stuff to look at? Well you know Ersby from The Skeptic – have you read his fascinating seven part history of psi in the ganzfeld research? It’s here — http://www.skepticreport.com/sr/?p=316 –downloads at bottom of page. Not my thing, but I think you will enjoy it.

      Good to hear from you as always!

      cj x

      • ersby said, on July 25, 2011 at 6:37 am

        Thanks for the namecheck, cj, although, I don’t really talk about the paranormal in my (otherwise excellent * ahem * ) blog.

        By the way, I recently tidied up my History of Psi in the Ganzfeld and put it in a pdf. You can find it here…

        http://www.mediafire.com/?m8qs55gfd1wz7t1

  7. Will Stevens said, on July 24, 2011 at 7:57 am

    I’m afraid I can’t find the copy of ‘Skeptic’ containing the article on the Great Milk Experiment – it may have gone missing when we moved house.

    What I have been able to dredge from the CIX archives is the experimental protocol, in all its glory. If you’re interested, I can easily e-mail you a copy.


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