Psi

Parapsychology, psi, ESP, auras, NDEs, anomalous cognition, psychic research. A load of woo! Nothing to see here!

Can we ignore the testimonies of those who claim to have had a near death experience, people who demonstrate blindfolded vision or who seem to have other psychic abilities?

Here and here, are videos about the work of Nicola Farmer, a woman who works with children and seemingly teaches them to see while blindfolded.

She’s either a heartless con merchant who uses children to fool the public or someone who sincerely believes she is enhancing their lives and what you see is genuine. What are your thoughts on this.

168 thoughts on “Psi

  1. velikovskys,

    That’s not the only thing he appears short on.

    Tough to know quite how to model the performance of psychics finding missing people. I do know that they have a famously bad track record in distinguishing dead from alive, which is not promising.
    “In a body of water” seems a particularly weak forecast, statistically speaking. How was the quaint Mr Lindblad to be tested?

  2. velikovskys: A claim, a bit short on details.

    Burning kids eyes with alcohol wasn’t even detail for you?

    Do you think you can make a free throw from the free-throw line? I bet you 2 million you can’t.

  3. phoodoo: Burning kids eyes with alcohol wasn’t even detail for you?

    No ,your fantasy was full of details. Your example was not.

    Do you think you can make a free throw from the free-throw line?I bet you 2 million you can’t.

    If I just claim I made it , does that count?

  4. velikovskys: If I just claim I made it , does that count?

    According to the church of Randi, no claims count, so it depends, are you are member of the church?

    Of sure you are, so no, claims never count. Tests also don’t count. Testimony doesn’t count. Video doesn’t count. Remember, we make the rules.

  5. phoodoo: According to the church of Randi, no claims count, so it depends, are you are member of the church?

    Odd how people who thought they could demonstrate their PSI powers put themselves up for testing, over and over and over again.

    Odd how none of those people had your insight into Randi, even with their purported powers of PSI.

    phoodoo: Of sure you are, so no, claims never count. Tests also don’t count. Testimony doesn’t count. Video doesn’t count. Remember, we make the rules.

    So very true.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-50511063

  6. OMagain:
    CharlieM: Because that rules out proprioception.

    OMagain: Oh oh, this almost sounds like science!

    Science is not about the words we use. It is a method of enquiry by which we try to gain a better understanding of the world around us and as a consequence an understanding of ourselves

    OMagain: What else can we rule out CharlieM and how can we do it? What about playing loud white noise at the same time?

    How could we rule out that people are seeing though badly fitting blindfolds, for example?

    We could ensure that they closed their eyes and wore secure eye patches before fitting the blindfold. Or we could ensure that the room was in total darkness. Although in reality that would be very hard to achieve because the human body emits photons. Admittedly this is extremely weak but it is present nonetheless.

    I notice that they used good tight fitting blindfolds in the Rochester experiment, “During experimental trials, participants wore tightly fitting blindfolds (www.mindfold.com)”. The people at “Vibravision” and Nicola Farmer all use “Mindfold” blindfolds.

    OMagain: Did you know that the eye can respond to a single photon? But that neural filters only allow a signal to pass to the brain to trigger a conscious response when at least about five to nine arrive within less than 100 ms.

    So it might be dark but is it totally dark?

    The point here is that there are many avenues to explore before we go “oh, people can see without their eyes”.

    Exactly. If people claim to have this ability are are willing to submit to testing then that testing should be done in an unbiased and thorough way.

    OMagain: That you want to blindly throw money at these people right now is amusing

    Well I haven’t thrown any of my money their way and I don’t see that it’s any of my business if other people decide to do so.

  7. phoodoo: According to the church of Randi, no claims count, so it depends, are you are member of the church?

    Not much of believer . How about the Church of Phoodoo, what are those rules?

    Of sure you are, so no, claims never count.Tests also don’t count.Testimony doesn’t count.Video doesn’t count.Remember, we make the rules.

    I like tests, that is why I asked for examples. Testimony is more problematic. Videos , is a maybe. Have some? Most bets do have stipulations of some sort, that is a kind of the nature of a challenge. You are spending a lot of time avoiding giving an example beyond the non psi activity of shooting a ball through a hoop.

  8. OMagain:
    CharlieM: A small percentage of people were able to see the motion when the experimenters hand was moving. It doesn’t matter how the sensory input reached their consciousness, they reported seeing an image. And so if it was through the auditory channel then the signal must have been going to the visual cortex or that whatever area of the brain it is going to is acting like the visual cortex. Does this make it less real than receiving visual inputs through the eyes and optic nerve? This inner visual perception is matching an actual external event.

    OMagain: So, are you trying to say that Vibravision is basically sonar for blind people and they can reconstruct a visual image, or close enough, using essentially sound “vibrations”?

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/2145962-this-is-how-some-blind-people-are-able-to-echolocate-like-bats/

    Old news.

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

    “Blind from birth, Juan Ruiz lives in Los Angeles, California. He appeared in the first episode of Stan Lee’s Superhumans, titled “Electro Man”. The episode showed him capable of riding a bicycle, avoiding parked cars and other obstacles, and identifying nearby objects. He entered and exited a cave, where he determined its length and other features.”

    https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x17009d

    Nobody is denying that senses can be used in unexpected ways. It’s just the relentless deference to “woo” and dismissal of those people trying to put those claims on a solid footing that’s so awful.

    Not a single objection to “woo” is valid for you or phoodoo. What good company you are in!

    So you admit that it is possible for people to perceive objects in their path without using their eyes and with enough clarity to be able to avoid them or interact with them in some way? And that there is nothing supernatural going on here?

    Your previous arguments were based on your presumption that I was peddling woo, the whole woo, and nothing but woo. But now you can see that there may be a perfectly natural explanation for these abilities you admit that these skills are possible to some extent. Not everyone who demonstrates abilities in this area is a liar and a cheat.

    I call that progress. 🙂

  9. DNA_Jock:
    CharlieM: A small percentage of people were able to see the motion when the experimenters hand was moving. It doesn’t matter how the sensory input reached their consciousness, they reported seeing an image. And so if it was through the auditory channel then the signal must have been going to the visual cortex or that whatever area of the brain it is going to is acting like the visual cortex.

    DNA_Jock: [emphasis added]

    CharlieM: Some see nothing, others see their own hands, and a select few see the hands of other people.

    DNA_Jock: Nope.
    Couple of problems with what you are claiming here.
    Firstly, in order to try to manage the effect of subject expectations, subjects were tested twice. They were told (in a deception protocol) that the study was about “visual sensitivity to motion under low lighting conditions” and that they would wear a blindfold that blocks all light in one trial, and a blindfold that “may allow a small amount of light to pass through” in the other trial. They were even shown two apparently different blindfolds, but did not know the order in which they would be applied. In this way, if they saw nothing at trial one, they might expect to see something in trial two, and if they saw something in trial one, they would expect to see nothing in trial two.
    With this protocol, when subjects were waving their own hands, 50% reported a visual sensation on the first test and, of those, 44% also reported a visual sensation on the second test, despite expecting a total blindfold.
    How did they do when it was the experimenter’s hand? On the first test ZERO out of 16 reported any visual sensation at all, and on the second test, with the “probably the leaky blindfold” encouragement, a stupendous 2 out of 16 *reported* a visual sensation.
    Not that it matters, but the experimenter called out “left” and “right” when his hand reached the endpoints, so the subjects KNEW where the hand was. Auditory leakage don’t enter into it.

    Now, according to you, these subjects “reported seeing an image”. No, they did not: one of the 16 reported ‘a visual sensation’ (but no motion), and the other reported ‘a visual sensation of motion’, neither reported ‘any discernable shape or form’

    If that person reported a visual sensation of motion they must have had some sort of distinction between the moving form and the background, however indistinct it was.

    I wish that there were more experiments like this carried out. Does anyone know of any other serious scientific research or experiments similar to this on record?

  10. CharlieM: If that person reported a visual sensation of motion they must have had some sort of distinction between the moving form and the background, however indistinct it was.

    No, that does not follow at all. Neither of them reported any “visual sensation of motion with direction”; it’s right there in the paper…

    I wish that there were more experiments like this carried out. Does anyone know of any other serious scientific research or experiments similar to this on record?

    You do? A good start would be putting in the effort to read and understand the research that has been performed. As noted previously, you seem incurious to the point of being closed-minded.

  11. CharlieM: So you admit that it is possible for people to perceive objects in their path without using their eyes and with enough clarity to be able to avoid them or interact with them in some way? And that there is nothing supernatural going on here?

    Indeed.

    CharlieM: Your previous arguments were based on your presumption that I was peddling woo, the whole woo, and nothing but woo. But now you can see that there may be a perfectly natural explanation for these abilities you admit that these skills are possible to some extent. Not everyone who demonstrates abilities in this area is a liar and a cheat.

    There is no “path” such as sound based in a known physical mechanism with Vibravision et al, is there?

    Blind people learning to navigate their environment via sound is somewhat different to what Vibravision is claiming to be able to teach you, no? What is the pathway there?

    CharlieM: I call that progress. 🙂

    There is a substantial difference from a person who claims then demonstrates their ability to navigate an environment by making sounds they process and someone who claims they can navigate without sight but only with their own blindfolds and who insists scientific testing cannot happen on that skill.

    Stop conflating the two things. It’s not a good look.

  12. Corneel: Charlie, you are all over the place again.

    I assume you brought this up because you thought it was relevant to the Farmer children reading books while blindfolded. Do you believe those kids experience visual sensations because of sensory leakage from kinesthesis? Then you’ll have to deal with the fact that this sense is limited to tracking self-movement. Perhaps you believe they use echolocation like bats do, yet I didn’t notice them screaming at Frank. They certainly didn’t look like caterpillars to me.

    If you have some other explanation please tell us what you believe to be going on. If you cannot come up with anything tangible, then I apologize but then I have no choice but sticking with the most parsimonuous explanation. Discoveries of completely new senses in humans are pretty rare, but charlatans are a dime a dozen. Also a word to the wise: If you refuse to accept the most plausible explanation while being incapable of formulating any sort of reasonable alternative, then it is you, not the critics, that has a closed mind.

    I notice you didn’t answer my question: Where exactly have I taken issue with their explanation?

    The diversion of other than visual inputs to the visual cortex is not limited to sensing self-movement. Some blind people can echolocate and in this way experience images by way of the visual cortex. They use echolocation to “see” their surroundings.

    I don’t believe the kids are using any new senses, especially not supernatural. In my opinion they are just developing senses which under normal circumstances we never bring to our conscious awareness. We exist in the midst of all sorts of moving vibrations, not just the vibrations of the visible spectrum or the narrow frequencies of air pressure fluctuations we experience as sound. We come in contact with infra-red signals, magnet fields and such with no experiential awareness that they are present. If, say, our sense of heat was very finely tuned or our probable magnetic field sense brought into consciousness via the visual cortex, this may be a possible explanation for their abilities.

    It is entirely possible that this sort of ability is arrived at by various means, all perfectly natural. Obviously some individuals will be better than others at acquiring these skills.

  13. DNA_Jock:
    CharlieM: If that person reported a visual sensation of motion they must have had some sort of distinction between the moving form and the background, however indistinct it was.

    DNA_Jock: No, that does not follow at all. Neither of them reported any “visual sensation of motion with direction”; it’s right there in the paper…

    CharlieM: I wish that there were more experiments like this carried out. Does anyone know of any other serious scientific research or experiments similar to this on record?

    DNA_Jock: You do? A good start would be putting in the effort to read and understand the research that has been performed. As noted previously, you seem incurious to the point of being closed-minded.

    Do you believe that it would be possible to have a visual experience using echolocation or other similar processes not involving the eyes?

  14. CharlieM: Do you believe that it would be possible to have a visual experience using echolocation or other similar processes not involving the eyes?

    Why yes, I do. I know that blind people can navigate using subtle auditory cues from their environment. I had a blind friend in college whose abilities were impressive — he could play (drinking) games that require you to know when other players make hand gestures. For them, and for synesthetes, I am certain that such navigational information presents as a “visual” experience, without any eye involvement.
    However, I do not understand how on earth this relates to the topic of the OP, specifically Nicola Farmer’s claims about children reading books and playing video games. If auditory information or proprioception are being used there, that would seem to constitute cheating, whether conscious or not. Really, I have a horse that can do long division.
    Your ongoing conflation is “not a good look”.
    The guy with the striped tie is blind.

  15. OMagain:
    CharlieM: Your previous arguments were based on your presumption that I was peddling woo, the whole woo, and nothing but woo. But now you can see that there may be a perfectly natural explanation for these abilities you admit that these skills are possible to some extent. Not everyone who demonstrates abilities in this area is a liar and a cheat.

    OMagain: There is no “path” such as sound based in a known physical mechanism with Vibravision et al, is there?

    I’m not the person to answer that question. I think you’d need to ask each individual who proceeds through the Vibravision system if sound features in any of their efforts.

    OMagain: Blind people learning to navigate their environment via sound is somewhat different to what Vibravision is claiming to be able to teach you, no? What is the pathway there?

    I think the Vibravision instructors would encourage any blind person to use what suits them best as long as they are making progress in their ability to navigate their surroundings.

    The path is not important as long as it aims towards them achieving some measure of visualization that aligns in some way with their surroundings.

    CharlieM: I call that progress.

    OMagain: There is a substantial difference from a person who claims then demonstrates their ability to navigate an environment by making sounds they process and someone who claims they can navigate without sight but only with their own blindfolds and who insists scientific testing cannot happen on that skill.

    Stop conflating the two things. It’s not a good look.

    And what is one ill-considered, controversial test performed over a decade ago going to tell us? They learned the hard way that Randi wasn’t going to make it easy to have a fair and impartial test.

    Going by the testimonies of blind participants I think the Vibravision professionals are more interested in helping blind people to achieve their potential rather than asking them to prove themselves to anyone else.

  16. CharlieM: Do you believe that it would be possible to have a visual experience using echolocation or other similar processes not involving the eyes?

    Can anyone answer?

    Echolocation has evolved independently in bats, whales, birds (oilbirds and cave swiftlets) and apparently in some rodent species – shrews, tenrecs and (it says in Wikipedia) rats.

    Has Charlie read Nagel’s paper, What is it Like to Be a Bat? Bat species generally have poor eyesight so maybe their spacial awareness does involve living the auditory experience analogously to how we humans experience a visual world.

    ETA I don’t think Nagel does a very good job framing the Mind-Body problem. Actually, I don’t think there is a problem.

  17. DNA_Jock:
    CharlieM: Do you believe that it would be possible to have a visual experience using echolocation or other similar processes not involving the eyes?

    DNA_Jock: Why yes, I do. I know that blind people can navigate using subtle auditory cues from their environment.

    And do you believe some of these people can build up an image of the environment that correlates with neural activity in the visual cortex? So they can actually visualize sounds.

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