Did Richard Feynman say methodological naturalism would fail in matters of science?

YES! If I understand him correctly!

Methodological Naturalism(MN) on TSZ and everywhere comes up in origin matters all the time. Are present mechanisms/machinery for the universe always been acting as is and so negates the involvement of a creator who would need to interfere and did?

all biology and geology and cosmology researchers want common laws to be fixed in the universe and any creationism is frustrated right out of the gate. for fun and profit i recently watched the Richard Feynman lectures on physics. He is still remembered by older people as a important scientist . i’m not sure his accomplishments back this up and instead its a old prejudice about post war physics mattering greatly. possibly he just tied up some loose ends. however his true science status is not the point. The point is that the science “community’ know his name and care what he thinks about science generally. On youtube on the fifth lecture Character of physical law(The distinction of past and future) starting at 16:40-22:10 minutes on it HE brings up about geology, history, cosmology as being different then physics. He complains this is a error. physics must of evolved TOO. The present laws of physics must of been different then the past ones while it was evolving. The present is not a accurate portrayal of the past based on this idea. THE universe/world was MORE organized in the past. Outside the province of present physic laws. On another youtube show called “Take the world from another point of view” by same author. on the third video at 9:00 he says the same thing. in short m==MN does not work with present systems because they radically must of evolved from a more organized past system. SO boundaries based on present laws of nature would fail to accurately explain things. this is important idea for creationism in so much.In biology or geology or cosmology its reasonable to imagine , as options, that present laws, whether on creation week, post fall, post flood, could easily be different then present laws in these subjects. unless someone says Mr Feynman is wrong!!

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101 thoughts on “Did Richard Feynman say methodological naturalism would fail in matters of science?

  1. phoodoo: But the MN has no explanation for the laws of physics (why aren’t they the chaos of physics), if the universe is just some meaningless pile of junk.

    You refuse to say if these “laws” can be broken, if your deity can intervene in ways unavailable to us trapped within those laws.

    You probably have some idea of the nightmare that awaits you, if you were an honest interlocutor, were you to step away from the middle of the fence.

    One the one hand the “chaos of physics” is what ensues when your deity is free to intervene at will (that old divine foot in the door) and on the other, well, your idiot deity makes an imperfect universe it has to keep tweaking at. A bit of a fool.

    So don’t answer. That’s fine. We all know why you refuse to turn your questions on yourself.

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  2. Kantian Naturalist: (In a very small nutshell, the problem was one of how to preserve what the logical positivists were doing in their demarcation of science from metaphysics without their commitment to the givenness of sense-data (which seemed to be crucial for empiricism) or the analytic/synthetic distinction (which seemed to be crucial for verificationism).)

    Thank you. Clear and concise. This helps enormously.

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  3. phoodoo: Statues of Gods through millennia are made simply from ignorance? And every society that ever existed have done so. I hardly think so.

    Humans have come up with and made statues of over 20,000 different Gods across the centuries. Did you have any particular ones in mind you think are real?

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  4. phoodoo: But the MN has no explanation for the laws of physics (why aren’t they the chaos of physics), if the universe is just some meaningless pile of junk. The theists have the upperhand for explaining their existence.

    I agree that MN does not explain the laws of physics. MN is a description of the practices of successful communities of scientists; it does not attempt to explain why successful physics uses mathematics, some of which we describe as laws.

    Physics and math can get you part way to that explanation. Math theorems based on symmetries explain laws of conservation of energy and momentum and empirical results back up the assumptions in these theorems. And multiverses plus anthropic principle explain laws of OUR universe.

    But science stops somewhere. It then becomes philosophy whether you think there is any need to go beyond that and whether postulating a necessary deity helps with any philosophical problem you claim to exist. I don’t dispute that philosophy will eventually enter into the discussion after science stops.

    There is a reason why historic tribes all over history have looked at their world, and thought, Gee, this sure does look planned

    I agree that many societies have done that, and then provided many conflicting explanations for the appearance of planning to design. But that alone tells us nothing about how the an apparently regularity-based universe or multiverse came to be; at best, it tells us something about human cognition and/or the power structures of human communities.

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  5. Kantian Naturalist: uch as I want that to be true, it does raise the question as to why we would describe scientific practices in terms of “methodological naturalism” rather than (say) “empiricism” or “verificationism.”

    I see my view of the nature MN as pragmatism, not empiricism. I think we should look to the practices of successful science to understanding the meaning and nature of MN. In particular, MN is about the norms successful scientific communities follow to classify a proposed explanation as meeting their standards for science, and then to review and select the best explanation as a community.

    I understand you as equating empiricism with Logical Positivism. To me, that brand of empiricism is captured by both instrumentalism about scientific theories and verificationism about meaning. I agree it is generally viewed as a failure. Even the whole idea of demarcation of science/non-science by necessary and sufficient conditions is now generally seen as a failure, I believe, whether one adopts LP or Popperian fallibility or whatever. At least, that is the view in philosophy, if not among scientists.

    Instead, I think the modern empiricism in science is specifically related to the need for explanations to be testable by experiment. The controversy about whether multiverses are a scientific explanation is then seen as a controversy about changing scientific norms about whether theories must be so testable — that is, that controversy is scientific community confronting a potential change in its practices (and hence it its version of MN).

    because now it becomes all the easier for theists to allege that “methodological naturalism” is just metaphysical naturalism

    Can you explain why you think that? I don’t see how you can infer that MN is the same as metaphysical naturalism. You could argue that MN’s success justifies metaphysical naturalism, but that it a separate and difficult argument as I see it, since MN evolves with the changing standards of a community.

    Now one could see my pragmatic approach as a basis for an argument for relativism, which of course it already is to eg the sociological strong program. So that possibility does motivate a separate discussion in philosophy of science and epistemology.

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  6. BruceS: But that alone tells us nothing about how the an apparently regularity-based universe or multiverse came to be

    But that’s just another version of OMagain’s “Can’t see God so I don’t believe it” complaint.

    Never the less, it did come to be. And man has, by a huge majority, viewed this and come to the conclusion that this is not just space junk thrown into chaos.

    If we get beyond the infantile, and accept that, ok, when we consider a God, we are going to have to expect some limitations on our vision of that God. But we are not totally blind. We get hints. Glimpses. Inferences.

    If we accept that this is the most we can expect-since we are talking about other realms after all, then what might we expect to see? How about laws? That might be one thing we might expect to see. How about intelligence? Yep, that’s another thing we might expect to see if we want glimpses at larger intelligence. Design. Consistency. Thoughts of morality. Universal feelings of the existence of good and evil…

    So when one complains about being unable to get a complete users manual for the existence of God, I say, well, take the sum totality of the experience of man. Call that an abridged manual. Forget about being spoon-fed your entire life like a helpless child at a dinner table.

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  7. phoodoo: But that’s just another version of OMagain’s “Can’t see God so I don’t believe it” complaint.

    No it isn’t. It’s a recognition that philosophy, not science, eventually must be used to argue the issues I noted. I have not gotten much out trying that with you in the past, so I am going to stop there.

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  8. phoodoo: Universal feelings of the existence of good and evil…

    And there again with the projection. You have a sample size of precisely one, your own experience. It seems to you good and evil exist and therefore that feeling is universal.

    Is leaving sickly children to die of exposure good or evil?

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  9. BruceS: I have not gotten much out trying that with you in the past, so I am going to stop there.

    Eventually phoodoo will realize he’s trying to tear down scientific proposals (i.e evolution) with religion.

    phoodoo: How about laws? That might be one thing we might expect to see.

    So, hey, phoodoo, behind our world of laws is a supernatrual world that god lives in that also follows it’s own laws? DId that god make those laws or is it subject to them just like we are the laws it made?

    Is that place of supernatural laws the same place you make decisions in? If so, what’s the difference between following laws here or there? Why is it possible to make actual free will decisions there and not here?

    etc etc.

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  10. phoodoo: So when one complains about being unable to get a complete users manual for the existence of God, I say, well, take the sum totality of the experience of man. Call that an abridged manual. Forget about being spoon-fed your entire life like a helpless child at a dinner table.

    The sum totality of the experience of man seems to be hunger, disease and starvation, on average. Again you project your white male entitlement onto reality. Things are fine for you, so they were fine for everybody throughout all time. Whatever privitations past people suffered were worth it, so you can stand there and spew your spoon fed and whipped cream nonsense whenever anybody points out all this makes your god a pos.

    I pointed out before that all the things you think are good for us, the suffering pain, will mostly be alleviated by technology eventually. You responded “now I’m starting to get it” or similar. So it’s clear that, like others of your ilk, what happens to other people is irrelevant. As long as it’s part of the ‘plan’. A plan you yourself say you are only getting hints of.

    What if you are all wrong? What if your god is a maniac, much like the one described in the OT? What if it delights in the torture of innocents and parasitic infections?

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  11. phoodoo: If we get beyond the infantile, and accept that, ok, when we consider a God, we are going to have to expect some limitations on our vision of that God. But we are not totally blind. We get hints. Glimpses. Inferences.

    Which god or religion or other source of worldly information most represents the god you believe exists?

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  12. Given that phoodoo is continuing with his “What about laws? What about intelligence? these are things we should expect to see…” ‘argument’ as evidence for his deity, I’m fairly confident he either missed, or (more likely) did not understand, Bruce’s allusion to the anthropic principle.

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  13. OMagain: Eventually phoodoo will realize

    I guess that is where we part company.
    I learn a lot from the biologists, philosophers, and physicists who post here and at PS. But I’ve never seen any IDists or YECs be convinced that their position has to change.

    Some are more polite about their disagreements than others.

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  14. DNA_Jock:
    Given that phoodoo is continuing with his “What about laws? What about intelligence? these are things we should expect to see…” ‘argument’ as evidence for his deity, I’m fairly confident he either missed, or (more likely) did not understand, Bruce’s allusion to the anthropic principle.

    Havent had time to keep up but I’d suggest it’s more performance art. Lord of Misrule, eh, phoodoo?

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  15. On the one hand, it is true that if one begins with a very specific conception of what kind of Being God is, then one might expect that there will be laws of physics. (Though it is not easy to see why one would begin with that conception rather than with some other.)

    On the other hand, it does not follow, from the commitment to laws of physics, that therefore there must be a God who instituted those laws. For the laws of physics could be brute facts.

    To reject the brute-fact-ness of the laws of physics, one would need to accept not only the principle of sufficient reason but also a specific version of the PSR: one that seeks not just causal explanations but also rational justifications.

    It is conceivable that the multiverse could give us a causal explanation of the laws of physics in this universe (though personally I don’t see how that could work, but what do I know?), but the multiverse couldn’t give us a rational justification of those laws.

    For my part, I think the far more consistent view for non-theists is to reject any demanding realism about the laws of physics and treat them as just a convenient heuristic. (Cartwright has a nice article on this called “No God, No Laws”.)

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  16. BruceS,

    Yes the option the laws changed would seem to be demanded unless they popped into existence with the ‘claimed” Big Bang and have been that glorious perfect since.
    if they evolved it makes predictions or extrapolations back about the history of the universe very suspect or rather likely wrong. In fact the BIG BANG would be based, i think, on present rates or laws. Not open to different laws of the past.

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  17. Robert Byers:
    BruceS,

    if they evolved it makes predictions or extrapolations back about the history of the universe very suspect or rather likely wrong

    Canada welcomes diversity, and that includes diversity in standards for logical arguments, as is illustrated by many of your posts, at least by my standards for logic.

    But I can see the logic for that question. Plus it gives me an excuse to link to some useful exchanges at PS.

    So, yes, it would be important to understand change in laws, which is why physicists have looked for evidence of it, but AFAIK found none that contradicts current cosmology as best explanation for what we observe.

    The physicists at PS have made more detailed comments on specific examples attempted by YECists, such as changing speed of light.
    https://discourse.peacefulscience.org/t/the-failure-of-jason-lisles-asc-paradigm/4175/3

    In that and linked threads, I stick to comments by dga471, pdotdq, structureoftruth, who know the physics.

    I am not claiming one can scientifically discount Last Thursdayism.

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  18. BruceS: Phoodoo is a logical positivist!Who’d a thunk it?

    No, I actually think that pretty much any method that we use to learn things is science.

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  19. phoodoo: No, I actually think that pretty much any method that we use to learn things is science

    Been there, done that.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Against_Method

    And here for your reading pleasure:
    The crisis in physics is not only about physics
    [start of quote]
    “But theoretical physicists did not learn the lesson and still ignore the philosophy and sociology of science. I encounter this dismissive behavior personally pretty much every time I try to explain to a cosmologist or particle physicists that we need smarter ways to share information and make decisions in large, like-minded communities. If they react at all, they are insulted if I point out that social reinforcement – aka group-think – befalls us all, unless we actively take measures to prevent it.”
    [end of quote]

    She’s saying that physicists need to think more like philosophers and sociologists and re-assess methodology accordingly. I am not saying she is right, despite by sympathy for both those fields of study. Just that MN is not something fixed and there is plenty of room for heretics, providing they base their arguments on knowledge of the relevant science and the current methods of the relevant community of scientists.

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  20. phoodoo: No, I actually think that pretty much any method that we use to learn things is science.

    Then what are your scientific conclusions regarding god?

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  21. phoodoo: If we accept that this is the most we can expect-since we are talking about other realms after all

    How do you know those other realms exist at all? You talk about observation being science, well what have you observed that makes you believe that “other realms” are real?

    The multiverse solves some specific problems in physics, hence it’s proposal. What scientific problem do these “other realms” solve?

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  22. I ask once again. Is there an existing religion or similar that you can reference phoodoo that matches up with your lifetime of observations?

    I get that you are convinced that you were made for a purpose. That you are not aware of that purpose seems not to matter to you however, which is my inference from your inability to answer even the most innocuous question regarding the claims you continually make.

    Are you a religious person? If so. what religion? Is your “Intelligent Designer” also the god you worship?

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  23. OMagain: How do you know those other realms exist at all? You talk about observation being science, well what have you observed that makes you believe that “other realms” are real?

    I just gave a whole list of hints of what one might expect to see, if we accept that we can never fully see the world of the supernatural. The best we can ask for are glimpses, inferences, shadows of what might be there-and I suggest that “laws” of physics are but one of those shadows.

    The alternative position is that laws of physics just are, because, they are. I think the idea that the laws were created is a much more lucid explanation.

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  24. phoodoo: I just gave a whole list of hints of what one might expect to see, if we accept that we can never fully see the world of the supernatural.

    Why do we have to accept that? Where is it written that we can never understand it?
    What parts of the supernatural world have we partially seen?

    phoodoo: The best we can ask for are glimpses, inferences, shadows of what might be there-and I suggest that “laws” of physics are but one of those shadows.

    On what basis are you suggesting that? What is your evidence that leads you to that conclusion? Why have you written “laws” in quotes? Is it because you believe those “laws” can be suspended at any time (the foot in the door) if your deity so chooses?

    phoodoo: The alternative position is that laws of physics just are, because, they are. I think the idea that the laws were created is a much more lucid explanation.

    Except it’s not an explanation at all, is it. It’s just pushing it back a level and saying “we don’t need to explain the creator, it just is”. It’s not an explanation at all, it’s just a cop out. It’s you giving up and admitting your path is unproductive.

    Back in the day gods appeared to all. Bushes burnt, people turned to salt. Virgins impregnated, angels flying thick and fast all over. God making personal appearances at the drop of a hat.

    And yet these days, for some reason, we are reduced to “hints” and expectations that we’ll never be able to understand it all for some as yet unspecified reason.

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  25. phoodoo: The alternative position is that laws of physics just are, because, they are.

    The funny thing is that is precisely your claim about the creator of those laws. It just is, no further explanation required or wanted.

    Your double standards are showing. Your preferred “explanation” is lucid despite being exactly the same as the laws of physics being as they are because they are? Your deity can exist without a starting point and that’s lucid?

    That you find that a satisfactory resolution to the question tells me nothing I did not already know about you.

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  26. phoodoo: I just gave a whole list of hints of what one might expect to see, if we accept that we can never fully see the world of the supernatural.

    Do you believe in ghosts?

    You’ve already make it clear you believe people like Uri Geller have real PSI powers. Are these aspects of the supernatural you talk about related to ghosts and the powers people like Uri claim to have?

    Why do we have to accept we can never fully see the world of the supernatural? How much of it can we see? What’s stopping us seeing the rest? Where do I put the donations?

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  27. phoodoo: Do you know the Mexican government hired Uri Geller to spy on enemies, and to use his mind to analyze suspected targets against the government?

    How much effort should someone go to, to convince you? What is the payoff exactly, to get you to say, Oh, now I believe?

    Well, hiring to do a job is one thing actually doing it is another. Does Uri have a stronger access to the supernatural then everyone else phoodoo, is that why he is able to spy and analyze as you believe he can?

    Or is Uri’s power a different type of supernatural to the one you are referencing?

    E2fixLink(Jock)

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  28. OMagain,

    Wow, now I understand why Mexico is the most powerful country in the planet and why everybody wants to migrate to Mexico in search for opportunities. Thanks phoodoo for this lucid explanation.

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  29. Entropy:
    OMagain,

    Wow, now I understand why Mexico is the most powerful country in the planet and why everybody wants to migrate to Mexico in search for opportunities. Thanks phoodoo for this lucid explanation.

    The FBI use psychics all the time, fool.

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  30. Hey phoodoo have you ever watched Uri Geller’s performance on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson? Here is a summary of his performance:

    Magic Smackdown!: When ‘Amazing’ Randi Humiliated Uri Geller

    https://groovyhistory.com/amazing-randi-uri-geller-tonight-show

    One other thought to ponder: Have you ever wondered why James Randi’s prize for a successful demonstration of psychic ability has never been won?

    fool indeed…….

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  31. BruceS: Canada welcomes diversity, and that includes diversity in standards for logical arguments, as is illustrated by many of your posts, at least by my standards for logic.

    But I can see the logic for that question.Plus it gives me an excuse to link to some useful exchanges at PS.

    So, yes, it would be important to understand change in laws, which is why physicists have looked for evidence of it, but AFAIK found none that contradicts current cosmology as best explanation for what we observe.

    The physicists at PS have made more detailed comments on specific examples attempted by YECists, such as changing speed of light.
    https://discourse.peacefulscience.org/t/the-failure-of-jason-lisles-asc-paradigm/4175/3

    In that and linked threads, I stick to comments by dga471, pdotdq, structureoftruth, who know the physics.

    I am not claiming one can scientifically discountLast Thursdayism.

    A national entity can not accept or reject diversity. its the people. They vote. Canadians reject diversity where its stuff they reject. i certainly do. Saying cANADA does is aggressive rejection of the people and thus as Uncanadian as can be.
    Just a friendly correction.

    if there was a evolving physics HOW would it be discovered/ a creationist does not desire a evolving physics but a fixed one. sAy for a post fall interference option.
    YET for the other side whats up??
    The bible , to me , implies there is no speed opf light but instead a fixed light ether/field. the moving light is only a moving energy in that field. a pebble in the pond who those aware of pond pebble physics.
    However Feynman was making what he thought was a important point that physics likely evolved and so laws evolved and so the past universe can’t be deduced easily from the present. in fact everything might be skrewy.

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  32. PeterP: Have you ever wondered why James Randi’s prize for a successful demonstration of psychic ability has never been won?

    Other than the fact that they money doesn’t exist, you mean?

    I will label you another of those skeptics who knows what he knows because a skeptic told him.

    James Randi is a known lair and fraud. To quote, HIM: “Oh I agree,” he said.

    “And sometimes lie. Get carried away.”

    “Oh I agree. No question of that. I don’t know whether the lies are conscious lies all the time,” he said. “But there can be untruths.”

    Do you think anyone who wants to win Randis prize (which doesn’t exist) can just say they want to and he must accept? Who do you think decides how it will be done, what money has to be spent, when , where, and can refuse anyone he wants? Randi is a much bigger con man than Uri Geller ever was.

    More recently I’ve begun to wonder about his educational foundation, the JREF, which claims tax exempt status in the US and is partly dependant on public donations. I wondered what actual educative work the organisation – which between 2011 and 2013 had an average revenue of $1.2 million per year – did. Financial documents reveal just $5,100, on average, being spent on grants.

    There are some e-books, videos and lesson plans on subjects such as fairies on their website. They organise an annual fan convention. James Randi, over that period, has been paid an average annual salary of $195,000. My requests for details of the educational foundation’s educational activities, over the last 12 months, were dodged and then ignored.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/film-news/11270453/James-Randi-debunking-the-king-of-the-debunkers.html

    He lied about Sheldrake, refused to allow Sheldrake a chance to win the prize, but that is just the tip of the iceberg of the flaws of James Randi. There is a whole movie out about his dishonesty.

    But you are a skeptic, so, you don’t need to know this, you just need the Skeptics Bible. Its free to all members. Forgive them if they pursue a little friendly censorship now and again, just to keep their flock satiated.

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  33. I think James Randi deserves the top prize on Penn & Tellers- Fool Us. He could just show up on the show, doesn’t even need to do anything, and they should announce, yep, you win, you have been fooling them for 25 years. He has been fooling Penn Jillette for so many years Jillette still doesn’t know what happened.

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  34. phoodoo: Other than the fact that they money doesn’t exist, you mean?

    Of course the money existed what fool told you it did not and why would you believe them?

    phoodoo: I will label you another of those skeptics who knows what he knows because a skeptic told him.

    How cute. You realize that you carry the label of ‘fool’ who beleives what other fools tell him from your anti-vaccination stance to your glimpses of ‘other realms’ the depths of your credulity know no bounds.

    phoodoo: James Randi is a known lair and fraud. To quote, HIM: “Oh I agree,” he said.

    Of course Randi admits to being a lair and a fraud he is being honest when he does so. After all he is/was an illusionist and magicians which is nothing but deception and fraud presented to the audience as having special ‘powers’.

    phoodoo: Do you think anyone who wants to win Randis prize (which doesn’t exist) can just say they want to and he must accept?

    No of course not. there is/was a screening process that a wishful participant has to go through. Failure on the wishful participant’s part is not Randi’s fault.

    phoodoo: Who do you think decides how it will be done, what money has to be spent, when , where, and can refuse anyone he wants?

    The rules for participation are quite clear on what must be done for a successful applicant. Many have tried ALL have failed. Must be a hoax…right? That is the credulous viewpoint is it yours phoodoo?

    phoodoo: He lied about Sheldrake, refused to allow Sheldrake a chance to win the prize, but that is just the tip of the iceberg of the flaws of James Randi. There is a whole movie out about his dishonesty.

    Ahh Sheldrake the psychic canine fraud. Why do you think Sheldrake never released the entire tape of the dog to the Randi foundation? Perhaos because it shows the dog reacting to every sound and passerby? Students who viewed the tape came to that conclusion.

    phoodoo: There is a whole movie out about his dishonesty.

    Well holy shit that must settle it then. A whole fricking movie! What more does anyone need. There are a numerous movies about aliens I suppose in your book it makes them (the aliens) as being real. Rank that right up there next to Expelled in its believeability and veracity of facts. Boundless credulity is not something you should be proud of phoodoo.

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  35. phoodoo:
    I think James Randi deserves the top prize on Penn & Tellers- Fool Us.He could just show up on the show, doesn’t even need to do anything, and they should announce, yep, you win, you have been fooling them for 25 years.He has been fooling Penn Jillette for so many years Jillette still doesn’t know what happened.

    phoodoo you bring up Penn Jillette. Here is something he had to say on the subject

    “Penn Jillette, a good friend of Randi’s, told me. “’Why is Randi spending all this time doing this? We all know there is no ESP. It’s just stupid people believe it, and that’s fine.’ ”

    Does that capture the essence of your beleif system, phoodoo?

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  36. PeterP: No of course not. there is/was a screening process that a wishful participant has to go through. Failure on the wishful participant’s part is not Randi’s fault.

    Haha, you are true skeptic aren’t you? A skeptic defending Randi, who would have ever guessed it!

    I will give you ten million dollars if you can just write one true sentence. But I get to decide, and I have to screen you first. There is a process. If you don’t get through my process, well its not my fault.

    But I can prove it, you can not even say one thing that is true. Why are you so deceptive?

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  37. And phoodoo, who believes in PSI powers, dogs that predict when their owners are coming home via PSI, who thinks that Uri Geller has real powers wants us to believe him when he talks about the ultimate nature of reality and the realms beyond this one?

    phoodoo, my mission in places like this is to get people like you to say things like:

    phoodoo: The FBI use psychics all the time, fool.

    Which can now be referred to forevermore. Just as I brought up your defense of Uri Geller and that seemed to set you off, I can now bring up this new ‘fact’ that you believe, that there is literally no evidence for but yet that does not bother you.

    Just as nobody can demonstrate ID supporting papers are being rejected because of the ID connection you cannot demonstrate that the FBI uses psychics all the time. You can’t demonstrate that because it’s not true. Objectively.

    So, given that you can objectively be proved to be in error regarding something that can be so easily checked, what credence do your ‘other realms’ claims have?

    Fuck all, is what.

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  38. phoodoo: Haha, you are true skeptic aren’t you? A skeptic defending Randi, who would have ever guessed it!

    I encourage readers to click through the link and read all about phoodoo’s original defense of the applicants. Applicants who cannot or simply refuse to follow the rules are championed by phoodoo as ‘evidence’ that the system was flawed. There’s actually an entire chat room archive of the challenges, what people’s responses were to the rules and so on.

    Most people who understood the rules correctly dropped out once they saw their usual tricks would not work in a scientific setting.

    Some who continued genuinely thought they had ability.

    It’s all there in public for anybody to read.

    http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=43

    Except phoodoo, obviously, who already knows the truth of the matter – all people who are claiming PSI should be believed without question.

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  39. There are other similar tests to Randi’s designed to show the truth of PSI powers. Perhaps phoodoo could point to someone who is running such a challenge in a way that he approves of and what results that show that PSI is real should be considered?

    Also, phoodoo, why are you ignoring my questions regarding people like Uri Geller and their access to the supernatural realm? Does Uri get his powers from the same supernatural realm you believe god lives in or is it a separate thing?

    Can these powers be learnt? Taught?

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  40. phoodoo: I will give you ten million dollars if you can just write one true sentence. But I get to decide, and I have to screen you first. There is a process. If you don’t get through my process, well its not my fault.

    phoodoo’s desperation for relevancy shines through with this cartoonish post of his. Perhaps phoodoo would like to go over the JREF rules for applicants to the million dollar price?

    At first I thought, oh he is ignorant of what the rules of the challenge were/are, then I realized he is so desperate to defend the indefensable that he actually thought posting this poorly crafted statement would demonstrate how unfair the challenge was to the poor psychics, dowsers, and canine psychic experts around the world.

    well phoodoo do yu have enough confidence in your position to go over the challenge application rules one-by-one? An exercise which would afford you ample opportunity to poiint out how unfair it is to actually hold people accountable for their claims.

    I’m betting all we’ll see from phoodoo is some nonsense questions posted back as he attempts a contiinuing deflection, avoidance, and distraction away from any meaningful discussion of the challenge. After all, once a being has been sucked into a bottomless pit of credulity deflection avoidance, and distraction is all that remains as a defense of the indefensible.

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  41. PeterP,

    Does the challenge really make a statement about the existence of the paranormal and/or psi abilities? According to paranormal investigator Loyd Auerbach (who, like Randi, is a member of the magic fraternity):

    What are these hurdles that Auerbach refers to?

    Chances, of Anything…

    First, and perhaps the most important, is the effect size required to win the challenge. While the JREF says that “all tests are designed with the participation and approval of the applicant”, this does not mean that the tests are fair scientific tests. The JREF need to protect a very large amount of money from possible “long-range shots”, and as such they ask for extremely significant results before paying out – much higher than are generally accepted in scientific research (and if you don’t agree to terms, your application is rejected). In the case of parapsychological research, however, where effect size is often small (though apparently robust), this means most researchers would have to go to extraordinary lengths to win the million dollars. As one psi researcher pointed out to me:

    In the ganzfeld telepathy test the meta-analytic hit rate with unselected subjects is 32% where chance expectation is 25%. If that 32% hit rate is the “real” telepathy effect, then for us to have a 99% chance of getting a significant effect at p < 0.005, we would need to run 989 trials. One ganzfeld session lasts about 1.5 hours, or about 1,483 total hours. Previous experiments show that it is not advisable to run more than one session per day. So we have to potentially recruit 989 x 2 people to participate, an experimenter who will spend 4+ years running these people day in and day out, and at the end we’ll end up with p < 0.005. Randi will say those results aren’t good enough, because you could get such a result by chance 5 in 1,000 times. Thus, he will require odds against chance of at least a million to 1 to pay out 1 million, and then the amount of time and money it would take to get a significant result would be far in excess of1 million.

    And:

    Furthermore, applicants must first pass a ‘preliminary test’, before they are allowed to progress to the actual ‘formal’ test which pays the million dollars. So an applicant must first show positive results in a preliminary test (yielding results against chance of at least 1000 to 1, apparently), then once through to the next stage they would then have to show positive results against much higher odds to claim the prize (by all reports, at odds of around 1 million to 1). Failure in either test means no cash prize, and a fail beside their name. It many respects it would be like telling a professional golfer to shoot 63 around Augusta National, then come back and shoot 59, to prove that he can play golf. In the words of Chris Carter, author of Parapsychology and the Skeptics:

    If Randi were genuinely interested in testing unusual claims, then he would also not insist upon odds of at least one million to one against chance for the results. Anyone familiar with scientific studies will be aware that experimental results against chance of say, 800,000 to one would be considered extraordinary; but results this high would be, according to Randi, a “failure.”

    Dr Michael Sudduth of San Francisco State University also pointed out to me a wonderful irony in one of the rules. Challenge rule #3 states: “We have no interest in theories nor explanations of how the claimed powers might work.” As Sudduth puts it: “Curiously, Randi’s challenge itself is saddled with assumptions of this very kind. The challenge makes little sense unless we assume that psi is the sort of thing that, if genuine, can be produced on demand, or at least is likely to manifest itself in some perspicuous manner under the conditions specified by the challenge.”

    As a consequence, you might well say “no wonder no serious researcher has applied for the Challenge.” Interestingly, this is not the case. Dr Dick Bierman, who has a PhD in physics, informed me that he did in fact approach James Randi about the Million Dollar Challenge in late 1998. Bierman reported a success in replicating the presentiment experiments of Dr Dean Radin (where human reactions seem to occur marginally before an event occurs), and was subsequently asked by Stanley Klein of the University of California why, if his results for psi effects were positive and replicable, he didn’t respond to Randi’s challenge. Bierman replied that he would rather invest his time in good scientific research, rather than convincing skeptics in a one-off test. However, after further discussion, he decided that he may be able to combine the two:

    After some exchange of ideas I was brought into contact with Randi. Randi sounded sincerely interested and I worked out a proposal for an interesting experiment that would last about a year. Experimental effects in this type of research are small and require a lot of measurements to reach the required statistical significance (I think Randi wanted a p-value of 0.000001).

    Note that he didn’t insist on showing the effect on stage. Rather I proposed to do a kind of precognition (actually presentiment) experiment on-line over Internet where he or some other independent skeptic could generate the targets once the responses were communicated over the Internet (all this would be done automatically on a computer under his control within a second). This would prevent cheating from the experimenter’s side but we still had to work out how to prevent cheating from the Randi-side.

    At that point Randi mentioned that before proceeding he had to submit this preliminary proposal to his scientific board or committee. And basically that was the end of it. I have no idea where the process was obstructed but I must confess that I was glad that I could devote myself purely to science rather than having to deal with the skeptics and the associated media hypes.

    Not enough?

    Suitbert Ertel, Professor Emeritus of Georg-August-University of Göttingent, who has developed a new type of parapsychology experiment which seems to facilitate large-scale psi effects – which would be much more suited to the Randi challenge. Ertel, I was told, had apparently also discussed the challenge with James Randi, after his results had been replicated by other skeptical researchers. Ertel replied to my query by explaining his involvement with not just Randi’s challenge, but also a separate ‘Prize Challenge’ offered by a German skeptical group:

    My first approach [to Randi] was made because I thought the prize might be achieved by the Gauquelin planetary effect, a statistical “paranormal” or “neo-astrological” effect, with which I was very familiar as researcher. The problem was that decisions regarding the sample which would amount to 1000 natal charts was dependent on much informed thought, and Randi didn’t know how to deal with the conditions. So the correspondence came to an end.

    The second approach was made because I had applied to win the prize of 10,000 EURO which the German GWUP promised to give to someone who would be able to demonstrate large psi effects. Winning this prize would have been considered by Randi as passing his preliminary test, his first test which must be passed before someone is allowed to apply for Randi’s main $1 000 000 test.

    The psi effect demanded, even for the GWUP test = Randi’s preliminary test, was so large that I was not hopeful that I would be able to show so much of psi, with the help of my psi-gifted students which I selected by my “pingpong ball test”. My only goal was to achieve a statistically significant effect so as to make the skeptics admit that they observed a significant psi effect. This goal was achieved by my first test trial (one psi-gifted participant) in 2005. In 2006 another test was conducted with the presence of GWUP people: two of my students, psi-gifted in earlier tests, participated. In this test the effect was not significant.

    One of the apparent reasons for this failure was that the skeptics had changed the conditions of this test arbitrarily in many ways so that the participants felt uneasy under strong control – such feelings have psi-reducing effects.

    Still a skeptic? Oh of course you are:

    Would You Trust This Man?

    Ertel’s mention of the expenses required to engage in Randi’s challenge, returns us to to the “hurdles” mentioned by Loyd Auerbach. Perusing the rules of the Million Dollar Challenge would certainly give most people cause for concern. Two of the most important, especially when combined, are rules #4 and #8:

    4. Applicant agrees that all data (photographic, recorded, written, etc.) gathered as a result of the setup, the protocol, and the actual testing, may be used freely by the JREF.

    8. When entering into this challenge, as far as this may be done by established legal statutes, the applicant surrenders any and all rights to legal action against Mr. Randi, and/or against any persons peripherally involved, and/or against the James Randi Educational Foundation. This applies to injury, and/or accident, and/or any other damage of a physical and/or emotional nature, and/or financial and/or professional loss, and/or damage of any kind. However, this rule in no way affects the awarding of the prize, once it is properly won in accord with the protocol.

    In other words, applicants give the JREF/Randi virtually absolute license to use the data as best suits their publicity needs, without any legal recourse for the participant. Not exactly enticing for an applicant, although if James Randi was held in higher esteem by the parapsychology research community then it might not matter so much.

    You are a world class skeptic aren’t you? Do you keep your bible under your pillow?

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  42. phoodoo: so that the participants felt uneasy under strong control – such feelings have psi-reducing effects.

    Absolutely pathetic. The more rigorous the protocol, the less PSI can be performed. And phoodoo cites this as “evidence” that Randi is a fraud? No wonder he’s convinced by ID.

    My favourite one is where when the psi claimant had his friends observing. When it was disallowed that they might tap their feet, whistle or otherwise potentially signal in any way then the claimant pulled out. Why would you pull out because of that? How very strange…

    The forums are full of similar….

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  43. phoodoo: Not enough?

    Nope, not enough. You do recall that the claimants never hedged their claims. They stated they could perform at a rate of 100% accuracy. Not some of the time. Not occasionally, but ALL the time. 100% accuracy.

    the claimants/applicants also ALL agree to the terms, conditions, and protocols for the tests that they theselves participate in developing to document their claims.

    Trying to wiggle away from the robust claims of the psychics, dowsers, and canine psychic experts doesn’t work. You know all this, of course are doing just as I predicted. Dodging, obfuscating, and attempting to misdirect in a failed endeavor to demonstrate that you know anything at all about the subject matter.

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  44. OMagain: Absolutely pathetic. The more rigorous the protocol, the less PSI can be performed. And phoodoo cites this as “evidence” that Randi is a fraud? No wonder he’s convinced by ID.

    It is an attempt at the ‘if it were magic it would work all the time’ defense. Failure is success in phoodoo world. Abject failure on phoodoo’s part.

    Amazing how scrutiny causes such angst and failure among the psi advocates. Does phoodoo ever consider this? Of course not. It has to be true in phoodoo world not matter what contorsions and lies must be told to bolster the claims of the psychics, mediums, dowsers, and other liars and fools that are making the claims of having any psi abilities.

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  45. I wonder if phoodoo also disavows the result of 12 yr old Emily Rosa’s published science paper debunking the therapeutic touch claims of having the ability to manipulate human energy fields (HEF) to promote healing and health?

    I can hear it now how the 12 yr old tricked the TT advocates and was really mean to them by making them look like idiots and liars. FYI that was a prediction let’s see if it comes true. Survey says?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emily_Rosa

    my bad. Emily was 9 yrs old when she tested the TT claimants

    Were the TT folsk smarter than a 4th grader? Apparently not since they all failed miserably. What a mean-spirited little girl!

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  46. phoodoo:
    PeterP,

    And:

    Not enough?

    Still a skeptic?Oh of course you are:

    You are a world class skeptic aren’t you?Do you keep your bible under your pillow?

    This Loyd Auerbach?

    “Auerbach performs a mentalist act as Professor Paranormal, working mainly on the college circuit. He’s served on the board of directors and as President of the Psychic Entertainers Association. He offers guided chocolate tasting presentations and chocolate under his brand Haunted By Chocolate.”

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