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.
A claim , a bit short on details.
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?
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.
No ,your fantasy was full of details. Your example was not.
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.
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.
So very true.
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
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.
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.
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.
Not much of believer . How about the Church of Phoodoo, what are those 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.
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. 🙂
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?
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…
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
No. Blind people do use their visual cortex to interpret their tactile and auditory environment. That’s been demonstrated. But let’s avoid misleading words like “image” when what they build is a “map”.
“correlates with neural activity in the visual cortex” was great though — thank you for that.
“Visualize”? I think not. You appear to be trying yet more equivocation/conflation. It seems to be all you have got.
More to the point, how does any of this relate to Nicola Farmer’s “work”? Do tell.
You expressed that most clearly when you argued with Jock about the visual experience being limited to self-motion:
The authors of the paper clearly attribute the phenomenon to sensory leakage from proprioception. That does not allow you to see movement from other people’s hands. It certainly doesn’t allow you to read blindfolded. Let me add my voice to the chorus that you are trying to conflate things.
Vibrations are the new fields.
Unless you want to argue that the ink from the felt pen Frank was using was extremely hot or stuffed with iron filings, neither an exceptional sense of heat nor a sense for magnetic fields would have allowed the Farmer children to read or see drawings blindfolded. You are reaching, Charlie.
You could try asking some people who are blind about how they experience the world. Take a look around the “Visioneers” website. They write:
As Rudolf Steiner noted
Stimulate the visual cortex and you will have some sort of visual experience.
I have been meaning to read that book but I haven’t got round to it yet.
You do blind people a great disservice by claiming to know what they experience. Take a look at the “Visioneers” website. A major problem blind people have is in the way they are treated by people with normal sight. They tell the story of Danyl Marteelli who became blind at the age of eight. After weeks in a coma and months in hospital they didn’t teach him the blindness skills to move around because he couldn’t walk and he couldn’t walk because he didn’t have the skills to move around blind. It is assumed that blind people have a handicap that they just have to live with, when in fact there are plenty of avenues of opportunity that they should be able to pursue if they are given the chance.
Many experts and actual blind people would disagree with you.
He then shows a video of some professors who study this field.
Apart from being less distinct and limited in distance, In what way is their visual “map” different from your visual “map”?
It’s all about researching abilities that could be of great benefit to people who are blind. Echolocation is just one alternative way of visualizing the local environment, there could very well be other ways. Surely it is worth investigating. People with limitations such as blindness have been held back long enough by others who can’t see past their limitations. Those who are ignorant of the experiences of blind people but are the ones who often make decisions on their behalf.
One person reported having a visual sensation of motion when the experimenter’s hand was moving. It’s a pity that this was a single limited experiment.
I did find this but so far I only have access to the abstract:
This woman has reported having complex vision-like experiences related to her environment.
Frequencies are measureable characteristics of fields.
Here’s OMagain arguing that our eyes are sensitive enough to detect one single photon but you imply that any sense detection of infrared sources or magnetic fields necessitates a very strong signal.
Octopuses and squids change colour and texture to blend in with the background. Signals relating to the patterns in the environment are received by the animal and transferred to the skin which changes accordingly. What if this type of signalling could be transmitted to the visual cortex in the brain of a higher animal rather than the skin?
Why deem these and similar abilities as impossible without even entertaining them as worth considering?
It’s not a book, just a (quite short) paper. I managed to get through it without needing a break. Having read it, I wonder why it became so well known.
Apparently it addresses the mind-body problem, which is an oxymoron, to start with.
“What is like to be a bat?” is terrible. It became well-known because it is relatively accessible to undergraduates, and so it’s widely taught. It’s just terrible as a work of philosophy.
As Searle pretty much concedes, the “argument” isn’t convincing to anyone who doesn’t already accept that Sartre was right to make a metaphysical distinction between objectively knowable things (what can known from a third-person standpoint) and subjectively knowable consciousness (which can only be known from a first-person standpoint).
For a response to Searle, I recommend Kathleen Akin’s “What is like to be boring and myopic?” (she is referring to bats, but most people take the title to be a dig at Searle, too). Her main point is that if we take into account everything we know about physics, ethology, and physiology, we can actually say a great deal about how bats experience the world.
Then maybe I have read it and just don’t remember. I have read some of “Mind and Cosmos” but I don’t remember if I finished it.
In my opinion accounting for conscious awareness of self in relation to the world is a problem for materialists/physicalists. But then again so is life in general.
I’m chuffed that I came up withe the consensus view quite independently. 😇
You’re wrong simply because that is your problem, not mind. I have enough trouble with my own problems, without needing to worry about invented ones.
ETA I’ll let the mine => mind typo stand. Quite Freudian!
Me too! Whilst the reasons why it is bad philosophy are beyond me (I believe), I found it unreadable. In fact, I had already typed my reply to you when KN chimed in.
I had written:
Clearly I have a telepathic connection with KN.
Thanks for the link to the Daniel Kish videos — very cool.
However, I saw (heh) nothing there that was inconsistent with the point I have been trying to make to you, and nothing that supports your claims about what blind people experience, outside of usage of the verb ‘see’ that appeared to be a pedagogical metaphor.
Rarely has ‘mote and beam’ been so apt.
You claim that echolocation etc is relevant to Nicola Farmer’s “work” because
In which case the failure to properly test the kids is CRIMINAL. WTF?
Have you ever had a conversation with a blind person about what they ‘see’?
Here’s a video about my old drinking buddy (the chap wearing the striped tie in the photo above). Like I said, he’s amazing.
But what is it that serves as sensory input in the Farmer children, if not any one of the known senses?
Is it possible that those “signals relating to the patterns in the environment” are interacting with light receptors in eyes and skin? However, the light receptors in the eyes of the Farmer children were covered by a blindfold remember? How do they pick up writing and drawings through the backside of a notepad, I wonder?
Where exactly did I say I do not deem those abilities worth considering?
In fact, let me turn the tables: You rather believe that the Farmer children can perceive temperature differences in written text through the backside of a notepad then actually entertain the possibility that the resourceful Nicola Farmer and the slick Frank Elaridi are, in fact, charlatans. And now YOU ask ME why I refuse to consider certain alternatives? Perhaps it is time for some self awareness here?
Which was then followed up by noting that such cannot physically make it into our awareness without subsequent events in a specified time-frame also occurring. There has to be some starting point, does there not?
Birds (some?) apparently can “see” magnetic fields. The mechanism for such has been identified, apparently, quite recently. They can see the very weak signal given off by the earth sufficiently well to navigate by it.
There is a effect that has been noticed (birds can navigate very well even when they cannot see the sun) and now we have a reason for that effect.
See how it works?
Jesus fucking christ man. What people are trying to explain to you is the mechanism by which such are considered. And you either play by the rules that everyone has agreed upon, except the charlatans so far without exception, or you are relegated to the sidelines.
You don’t want to wear the blindfold or submit to testing in any formal way? Daytime TV does not care a jot! You’ll still make sales. Formal testing is not a necessity for the sorts of claims they are, I’m sure, careful to make.
There is a list of studies. You can even propose your own.
The only person proposing an impossibility is you, the impossibility of studying these effects in a scientific manner.
There may well be PSI powers that will only manifest themselves in uncontrolled circumstances. But so far those powers seem to have amounted to a grand total of fuck all in the history of the world.
KariosFocus on UD makes claims that he or someone close has personally witnessed levitation from demonic possession in his church. People floating. When asked why there is no mobile phone camera footage available, in this day and age, can you guess who he starts to sound like?
The problem is that the material world “out there” is a product of our minds. There is no way that we can bypass the conscious mind when we posit an objective reality free of mind. That is the reason why the unknowable “thing in itself” had to be invented. But this “thing in itself”, even if it was said that we can never know anything about it other than it produced that which we can be aware of, it is still imagined in terms of sensible “stuff”.
By his thoughtful actions and conscious efforts to navigate his surroundings Danial Kish has altered the pathways in his brain to divert sound inputs that normally go to the auditory cortex. Now he has developed a significant pathway to the visual cortex by his mental effort of concentration on listening to precise sounds.
One thing is clear, he is using his mind to alter his brain state.
The question I would like answered is why this route to the visual cortex? Why doesn’t this effort result in a strengthening of the activity of the auditory cortex?
Because, as in people like Daniel Kish, it is a training in using and developing senses in a way that we would not normally use them.
I wonder if any research scientists have become aware of the ICU academy and approached Nicola Farmer with any proposal to do tests? Have any researchers approached the Vibravision team? I don’t know.
I would think that Farmer is of the opinion that the kids are testing themselves and have little need of outside interference.
Not that I can remember.
Yes, he’s pretty remarkable. He has honed some of his senses to a level that far exceeds anything the average normal sighted person would ever reach.
A blind uncle of one of my friends once told me my age by feeling my face. I thought that this was amazing as I looked pretty young for my age. But on reflecting on the incident I realized that he probably knew his nephew’s age and could have guessed that I was the same age as him. I never did get to know which it was but I’d like to think that it was a genuine ability he had developed.
He is using the part of his brain that is best suited for that use. That we happen to call that “the visual cortex” is an artifact of language and naming conventions.
Why not any of the known senses? How much sense inputs actually reach our consciousness? Only a very small percentage, I would say.
I don’t know. Skin cells acting as compound eye facets, detection of infra-red or some other radiant energy? There are many avenues that could be explored if they were taken seriously.
I was just asking the question. I wasn’t singling you out.
I know there are a great many charlatans about. But I would not want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
People like Michael Armstrong and Nicole Coyle strike me as being sincere.
To get sufficient resolution to read you’d need a dense field of photoreceptors, preferably in some cavity with a lens in front to focus the incoming light. Perhaps, in some obscure corner of the animal kingdom, creatures with such sophisticated organs already exist?
It is true that the ubiquity of frauds will make it a bit harder to convince people of the real thing, may such thing ever arise. However, given that there are close to eight billion people on this earth, I trust that even among a tiny fraction of gifted ones we should be able to find one that will not go to pieces whenever someone makes them wear a blindfold that actually covers their eyes.
It’s time to move on. Unless you have a better example then Vibravision?
Then you should respect Randi’s attempts to separate the two.
As I noted, self taught cold readers are sincere. Being sincere does not make you right.
I had a premonition that discussion was still going on here.
But do birds actually “see” the magnetic field or does this sense cause them to act instinctively without it coming into their conscious awareness? It is possible that they are using this sense without having an actual mental image of the magnetic field. All drivers know that they can take a journey by a regular route and when they arrive at their destination they can’t bring to consciousness any of it because they were preoccupied with other things. But I know that if I decide to pay close attention to my driving and stay focussed on it then I can remember in the main this aspect of the trip.
We have the ability to train ourselves to focus on specific impressions that would normally be received through our sense organs but not enter the field of consciousness.
I would love to see more properly rigorous testing of these things if it was done in a fair manner. But if it turns out that the only way people are going to be convinced of any of these unconventional events is through personal experience then so be it.
KariosFocus sounds like KariosFocus. Asking anyone to believe in people levitating on hearsay is asking too much of them. I have a hard time believing that it’s genuine.
There are separate areas of the brain which receive signals from the eyes and from the ears. Surely the area most suited to hearing is that area which normally receives auditory signals not visual signals.
The people who claim to have this ability tend to relate that the images they receive are of poor resolution. Brains are very often compared to computers, so if computer software can sharpen images, why shouldn’t brain processes be capable of the same to some degree?
And surely there are ways of constructing experiments that don’t involve them being produced by a very sceptical magician?
You are assuming some sort of design plan. I do not make that assumption.
Yes, the visual signals arrive at a particular region. But maybe that is partly due to the wiring needs for connecting things up. But then the signals are, in effect, carrying information about how to cope in this world. So there are also wiring needs for the best ways to use this information. I would expect a lot of cross connections.
When auditory signals are providing some of the information that usually comes via the eyes, then the wiring needs for efficiently using that information would be similar to the wiring needs for visual information in a normally sighted person.
I advise people who are following this to read that article in full. Here is what is written directly after the quote above.
Once again you are contradicting yourself: Those people cannot perceive images as both fuzzy and sharp enough to read at the same time.
Not so denigrating: James Randi did publish in Nature, you know.
Time to wrap up: I remain happy to consider any claim of unusual senses, but you have been rationalizing all objections way beyond anything I would consider reasonable. To me it seems you have closed your mind to the possibility that claims of psi phenomena are simply invalid. If you are not seriously open to that possibility, then you will remain an easy prey for fraudulent claims.
From what I can see Randi’s only options would be between those who are charlatans and those who are deceiving themselves.
Michael Armstrong and Nicole Coyle are both blind individuals who are trying to develop their abilities to navigate an environment consisting mainly of inanimate objects and not to analyse the lives of other people.