The FBI use psychics all the time, fool.

Except they don’t, do they.

So, much like the ‘rejected for ideology’ thread, this thread stands testament to the ability of creationists to believe things which are demonstrably, objectively untrue.

I’m sure that various law enforcement agencies, out of desperation or foolishness, have indeed engaged psychics over the years. I know they have in fact, And this seems to have led to the belief that it’s now a normal standard part of procedure.

Except it’s not. If it was, and it was done ‘all the time’ it would be easy to fill up the comments with news and links to where it was done. But that won’t happen will it?

And I wonder, if psychics were used all the time why do we still bother to train agents? Why not just train them in psychic? Why bother with surveillance and evidence gathering if ‘all the time’ psychics are giving the correct answer?

Or perhaps this is creationist doublespeak. Perhaps the FBI use physics all the time, but unsuccessfully! Either way, I look forwards to reading all about the evidence the FBI are indeed doing such a thing all the time.

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121 thoughts on “The FBI use psychics all the time, fool.

  1. phoodoo: See why its a waste to try to convince skeptics of anything.

    Do you call what you are posting trying to convince anyone of anything?

    Saying ‘the FBI uses psychics ALL the time’ can hardly be considered as resembling anything convincing.

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  2. No phoodoo,
    We are all in agreement here (except you): there are no studies that we know of that show the existence of psychic powers.
    There are lots of studies that purport to show the existence of such powers. Your failure to spot this difference is rather embarrassing, but not to worry:
    if studies exist that do show PSI, it should be easy enough for you to humor PeterP and provide a list of the 10 best studies that you are willing to defend here.
    ETA: Ninja’d by PeterP reducing his ask ten-fold, dammit!

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  3. DNA_Jock,

    There are no studies that show that cigarettes are harmful to your health. There are lots of studies that purport to show they are harmful. But none that do.

    Your foolish skeptic game has come back to bite you and now you want me to show you ten studies when you can’t even show one that shows cigarettes are harmful.

    Your ignorant superpowers are waning Jock. You think I didn’t already know your lame games long ago?

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  4. The cancer society studies were biased, I guess, since they didn’t control for ANYTHING, as were the juries that supported victim suits and the Congresses and bureaucracies that passed laws and regulations based on those apparently biased studies.What I wonder is why the hell the psi supporters make any headway when they claim the scientists are mistaken. And I also wonder, phoodoo–since you have no faith in the scientists obviously, how it is you personally distinguish between the studies you find dispositive (like Sheldrake’s) and those you scoff at (like pretty much every single fucking study ever done by biologists).

    You obviously have a system, I’m curious what it is. My sense, though, is that if it attacks any of your core beliefs, it couldn’t be right. (I know, I know, that’s what you think all the scientists do–except those who’ve pushed for epicycles and denied Michaelson-Morley and quantum effects.) The people who’ve got this right, in your view, are leftish-wing theists. That you happen to be a leftish-wing theist yourself is just a coincidence.

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  5. walto,

    Do you honestly not see the ridiculous hypocrisy on display by your side right now? Its so easy to expose it. Just use your own tactics against you-“The studies don’t count, they are biased, oh their methodology was wrong, Oh, name ten of your best studies, name 20, name 100, see, there aren’t any…”

    I mean, come on Walto, this whole skeptical movement bullshit is just so obvious. You guys have your little talking points, look at them being rattled of by PeterP, and Jock and Omagain, its the same nonsense all the time. Now you are doing the exact same thing. “There are no studies that show physic abilities. And besides they aren’t as rigorous as my favorite science studies!”

    This is why jackasses like James Randi, the fraudster conman, can claim he will give 1 million dollars to anyone who can prove psychic abilities, without even having the money. Because he is just another of your skeptic bible following lodge brothers. You guys are so predictable. Look at Jock just babbling away with his bloated posing-“Well, everyone here agrees, but you, you, you are just IGNORANT, puff, puff!”

    “Oh, I know what the FBI does, and you are wrong, because, I looked it up, and it doesn’t say what you say, so there. See, ignorant. Prove it. I bet you don’t even know what you are talking about. Because they don’t. Because I would know. And you don’t know. So there!”

    At least you guys should talk about something you know for fucksakes.

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  6. as predicted phoodoo projects and surprises no one.

    Unable to support anything he says and making toddler-esk demands that someone provide studies on his demand (obvious projection) all the while refusing to support his, evidently, baseless claims……oh wait he googled it so it must be true!

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  7. phoodoo: Your foolish skeptic game has come back to bite you and now you want me to show you ten studies when you can’t even show one that shows cigarettes are harmful.

    Happy to oblige; here’s Walser et al. 2008. I also cite refs 1-4, 21-25 and 31-35 therein. That makes 15.
    Your turn.
    And PeterP has reduced his ‘ask’ to ONE study.
    But you have to be willing to engage in its defense…

    By the way, your humorous paraphrasing of other people’s comments does not make them look stupid. Ridicule, you are doing it wrong.

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  8. phoodoo: Do you honestly not see the ridiculous hypocrisy on display by your side right now? Its so easy to expose it. Just use your own tactics against you-“The studies don’t count, they are biased, oh their methodology was wrong, Oh, name ten of your best studies, name 20, name 100, see, there aren’t any…”

    Except that’s simply not true.

    For example, the study you requested has now been produced. You can now paraphrase it humorously and thereby demonstrate how PSI is unfairly pilloried given it comes up with the same results and yet it is accepted that smoking islinked to cancer.

    You are perfectly free to make criticisms of any such study produced. One has been produced, so go for it.

    However, of course you will not do that. If you were to do that then your points can be examined and if possible rebutted, explained or accepted as valid.

    Likewise any study you link can have the same treatment. Then any fair minded, objective observer who happens to stumble on this thread can see how unfairly PSI is treated given results in the same range of probability are accepted in other areas.

    So you have literally nothing to lose, everything to gain. Show them all up!

    And yet…..

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  9. I’ve only seen Randi confront a challenge hopeful once, but I suspect his technique is consistent. Figure out how the trick is done and block it. This is why magicians are better at evaluating claims than are scientists.

    Good stage magicians are not frauds. They are inventors and craftsmen. And skilled performers. The best are proud of their skills and resentful of people who claim to have psychic powers.

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  10. DNA_Jock,

    Your objection to the Sheldrake study was, literally, “competent people reject people like Sheldrake, Bem, Sargent…”

    So I provided you with a study, and this is your defense. So if that is not stupid enough, Ok, then I reject your cancer studies, because it contains a lot of researchers who are either Asian or Jewish, so its probably a conspiracy. Or should I just keep it simple: Competent people reject Sharma, Cui and Dubinett. ..

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  11. petrushka:
    I’ve only seen Randi confront a challenge hopeful once, but I suspect his technique is consistent. Figure out how the trick is done and block it. This is why magicians are better at evaluating claims than are scientists.

    Good stage magicians are not frauds. They are inventors and craftsmen. And skilled performers. The best are proud of their skills and resentful of people who claim to have psychic powers.

    Then you missed the best part of Randi’s sleight of hand. Pretend you are going to give away money, start a fund, refuse to allow anyone who might have a chance at winning your prize from competing, and then pay yourself a salary of 200k a year from your tax exempt entity, and only spend 5000 per year on actual grants that the foundation is supposedly set up for and given tax exempt status.

    How could you miss that trick!

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  12. phoodoo: How could you miss that trick!

    Given up on the ‘they did not have the money to give away’ have you? How odd.

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  13. phoodoo: refuse to allow anyone who might have a chance at winning your prize from competing

    For your objections to make sense you’d have to name those people. Is Sheldrake it? Or are there others? You can see from the forums (that you refuse to read) that most people ended up disqualifying themselves one way or the other in clear cut ways.

    Presumably you believe Sheldrake has PSI powers? What are they?

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  14. OMagain: Given up on the ‘they did not have the money to give away’ have you? How odd.

    You mean the fraudulent money that is supposed to be for educational grants, that Randi was taking for himself? That money??

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  15. OMagain: Presumably you believe Sheldrake has PSI powers?

    The person doing the study is not the one who is claiming to have the psychic abilities. Do you understand what science studies are?

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  16. phoodoo: Your objection to the Sheldrake study was, literally, “competent people reject people like Sheldrake, Bem, Sargent…”

    So I provided you with a study, and this is your defense. So if that is not stupid enough, Ok, then I reject your cancer studies, because it contains a lot of researchers who are either Asian or Jewish, so its probably a conspiracy. Or should I just keep it simple: Competent people reject Sharma, Cui and Dubinett. .

    No, phoodoo, you did not “provide me with a study”, you made an incorrect assertion, viz:
    .

    So, now Rupert Sheldrake actually showed that dogs could sense when their owners came home. Now THAT’S a serious experiment. .

    Which is hilarious in its own right, even without the use of the word “serious”.
    Sheldrake has a Ph.D. in plant biochemistry and knows how scientific research is done. He has chosen to sell books rather than publish in the peer-reviewed literature. He did however offer up his research on Jaytee and Kane (this is what I assume you are referring to) to independent review, and allowed Wiseman to conduct experiments with Jaytee. In all cases the reviewers pointed out fatal methodological flaws.
    Now, phoodoo, in order to maintain your attempted false equivalence, you are going to have to make specific, reasonable complaints about the methodology in each of the 15 papers I offered up, rather than vague racist allusions, and (and this is actually the important bit) you have to be willing to defend Sheldrake’s use of statistics. The problem here is that you are not sufficiently numerate.
    Sheldrake is my favorite woo-meister; “The sense of being stared at”, anybody?
    Footnote:
    Back when Sheldrake was first touting morphic resonance, he made the claim that “a few simple experiments in drosophila” would show he was correct. A leading fruit-fly developmental biologist offered his services : “send me your protocol and I’ll do the experiments”
    Never. Heard. Back.

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  17. DNA_Jock,

    It was published in the Journal of Scientific Exploration 14, 233-255 (2000)
    by Rupert Sheldrake and Pamela Smart

    But hey, I know you think universities like Cambridge are useless for teaching, so a PHD is meaningless, but it does let you hang out with some cool kids.

    Is your PhD meaningless too?

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  18. phoodoo: DNA_Jock,

    It was published in the Journal of Scientific Exploration 14, 233-255 (2000)
    by Rupert Sheldrake and Pamela Smart

    Thank you for providing the citation; much appreciated. It’s been a while since I read that paper. Now, do you agree that the only properly blinded tests were the 12 ones that used the beeper?
    How do you explain Jaytee’s behavior prior to the beeper going off?
    It’s a doozy…

    But hey, I know you think universities like Cambridge are useless for teaching, so a PHD is meaningless, but it does let you hang out with some cool kids.

    Is your PhD meaningless too?

    Good grief, I never said any such thing. I did note that Harvard does not select its professors and TA’s based on the ability to teach, but I have always maintained that a science Ph.D. from Cambridge is the acme. Sheldrake has one; he’s well-qualified and wrong. Meyer does not have one.
    Sheldrake also taught at Harvard and famously was a fellow at Clare: pretty blue-ribbon, but still wrong.

    E2fixlink

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  19. DNA_Jock,

    Oh here we go again…do you own one of those big sponge finger puppets, for all the hand waving you do. (The beeper wasn’t with the dogs! It was with the owners who were miles away!)

    Sheldrake is wrong, so his study doesn’t count!

    Hey, I didn’t see anywhere in the so called cancer research paper you provided where it said what kind of cigarettes the participants in the survey smoked. Maybe the only ones who get cancer are those that put piece of paper with a camel close to their noses. And maybe its the act of continually moving your fingers to your lips that causes cancer, did they compare them against perpetual thumb suckers?

    And, what about all those Chinese researchers? Surely its a plot.

    Do you see now why I would never bother to try to convince a skeptic. You are way too predictable.

    He is ignorant. He is wrong. Competent people reject him. Wa, wa, wa..

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  20. phoodoo: Oh here we go again…do you own one of those big sponge finger puppets, for all the hand waving you do. (The beeper wasn’t with the dogs! It was with the owners who were miles away!)

    Well duh! But “owner”, singular, (the charming Pamela Smart, no relation) and there were only 12 randomized tests. I hope you would agree that it wouldn’t be a very useful test if the beeper were with the dog, or if the dog had access to any other indication as to when Pam was heading home…
    No, I was asking you to explain the curious behavior of Jaytee in the ten minutes prior to the beeper going off (the unfilled circles in Fig 2).
    It really is a doozy.
    Also, how would you defend the authors decision to treat a continuous variable (beeper time) as a dichotomous variable? Was this pre-specified?
    Likewise for the division of absence length (in the non-randomized tests) into short medium and long?
    Did the authors prespecify these divisions and the thresholds used, or did they come up with them after viewing the data?
    For the RPA analysis, they used the truly baroque null hypothesis that Jaytee was equally likely to be at the window in all time periods. How do you defend that choice?
    What, statistically, can you say about the decision to divide the experiments into “normal” and “noisy”? Does that strike you as a little, errr, naughty?
    This study is a text-book case of data-mining.

    Regarding cancer, I do enjoy your performance art, but they have studied the effect of different kinds of cigarettes (low tar, and also low nicotine) and the effects of second-hand smoke. Do try to come up with some better ‘confounding variables’ that they might have missed, and which you genuinely believe might be the cause.
    Also, will nobody think of the beagles?

    .

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  21. DNA_Jock,

    Jock, anyone can claim that some study doesn’t count. I could list thirty, and you would come up with excuses, excuses, for everything. You think I am interested in your hand waving? The question was, do studies exist they show positive results for psychic abilities. They certainly do.

    Don’t waste my time trying to tell me you don’t like the study, I couldn’t give a rats ass. You use the Allan defense, its part three of your bible.

    1. Its not true
    2. Even if its true, so what
    3. Its true, but it doesn’t mean what you think.
    4. Its true but its not a problem for materialism.
    5. Its just what nature does.
    6. We predicted it!
    7. Its the God of the Gaps!
    8. We reject it!

    Farcical.

    Hey Jock, were the cancer tests funded by pharmacy companies (you betcha!)

    Were you there for their tests? Do you know if they threw out data that conflicted with their results (no you don’t). Do some of the researchers have addiction problems? If the results came back negative, would some of them lose their jobs because funding would dry up? Do any of them have gambling problems and are in debt?

    Anyone can play your fucked up games.

    The studies exist. Done by qualified professionals. At highly reputable institutions. With positive results. Neither you nor Omagain, nor James Randi can lie and say they don’t. Just like your cigarettes claims.

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  22. Thank you phoodoo, for the unequivocal demonstration that you are unwilling to engage on the subject of the evidence, whether it is about psychic dogs or cancer research.
    Are you even willing to acknowledge the behavior of Jaytee before the beeper went off? What did the dog do?
    It’s a doozy.

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  23. phoodoo: Jock, anyone can claim that some study doesn’t count.

    Except, unlike you phoodoo, they can articulate why a study’s results should be questioned ot discounted.

    phoodoo: The question was, do studies exist they show positive results for psychic abilities.

    Perhaps for the unquestioning zealot, like yourself, phoodoo. Other folks have the ability and training to spot nonsense when it is presented to the flock.

    phoodoo: I could list thirty, and you would come up with excuses, excuses, for everything.

    Not if the studies you post have been done with any rigor and attention to details and confounding factors. Nothing that interests folks like yourself, phoodoo. I think you would consider it a publication if you read it on a prize in a Cracker Jack box.

    phoodoo: You think I am interested in your hand waving?

    I think this is phoodoo euphemism for ‘Jock, I don’t understand any of the questions you asked and have no idea how to answer the criticisms’ so phoodoo does what phoodoo does and call it handwaving.

    phoodoo: Don’t waste my time trying to tell me you don’t like the study, I couldn’t give a rats ass.

    A mind so open the brains fell out?

    phoodoo: Hey Jock, were the cancer tests funded by pharmacy companies (you betcha!)

    I knew we would see the ‘big Pharma’ gambit. Damn, phoodoo, you are so predictable. I bet you believe homeopathic remedies are the gnats ass for what ails ya.

    phoodoo: Were you there for their tests?

    Were you?

    phoodoo: Do you know if they threw out data that conflicted with their results (no you don’t).

    Do you know? Of course not. You don’t even care that Sheldrake threw out data for no reason at all except it was ‘noisy’ but what the hell do you care. Evidence has no place in phoodoo world.

    phoodoo: Anyone can play your fucked up games.

    Oh yes, quality control and assurance is a fucked up affair and just gets in the way of rationalizing the nonsense. Truth isn’t Truth right hoodoo?

    phoodoo: The studies exist.

    Studies have been published, sure. No one stated otherwise. It is that pesky QA/QC issue that is the stumbling block.

    phoodoo: Done by qualified professionals.

    where does one get training and expertise in psychic phenomena? What makes these folks ‘qualified professionals?’ A chiropractic degree might come close I guess.

    phoodoo: With positive results.

    That is the question you are deathly afraid to address or even consider. That is patently obvious to pretty much everyone reading your responses.

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  24. DNA_Jock,

    Gee Jock, you seem so unwilling to address all the problems with your cancer studies. Do you work for a pharmaceutical company, is that why? Does your job rely on funding for more research, is that the motivation? And you are not even going to address all of the Sino-Israel conspiracy implications?

    I guess the only conclusion one could reasonable assume is that there really are not valid studies showing the link between cigarettes and health effects. Because, clearly all these studies are deeply flawed, so that is why you don’t want to address these concerns.

    I bought one of those big hand wavy sponges too Jock. They sure are useful. Good tip.

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  25. phoodoo: Do you work for a pharmaceutical company, is that why?

    Oh boy. the paid Pharma shill gambit. Nobody saw that coming, phoodoo. wink wink nudge nudge. fool indeed.

    phoodoo: Does your job rely on funding for more research, is that the motivation?

    And here we have phoodoo implying that Jock is potentially fudging results and covering up defciencies in studies to advance his financial status. No level is too low apparently. but predictable nonetheless. It surprises no one that this is the tack phoodoo has chosen to take given everyone knows that is all he has in hi stool box to counter/respond to any factual claims.

    phoodoo: And you are not even going to address all of the Sino-Israel conspiracy implications?

    Your guess is as good as mine on what the fuck this means.

    phoodoo: I guess the only conclusion one could reasonable assume is that there really are not valid studies showing the link between cigarettes and health effects.

    Sure what ever you say, phoodoo.

    phoodoo: Because, clearly all these studies are deeply flawed

    How so, phoodoo? Can you articulate the deficiencies in each of the studies? Of course you can’t that much is obvious to everyone by now.

    phoodoo: so that is why you don’t want to address these concerns.

    What concerns?

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  26. Naah, PeterP,

    phoodoo is merely claiming that his criticisms of the smoking research are equivalent to my (and others’) criticisms of the PSI research. Because HE cannot see the difference, there is none. It really is that simple.
    Anything he can do to distract from his total inability to defend Sheldrake & Smart is a plus, so the well-poisoning and even a smattering of racism helps here. Consider it performance art.

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  27. DNA_Jock,

    Journal of Theoretics Vol.1-4
    Oct/Nov 1999 Editorial

    Smoking Does Not

    Cause Lung Cancer

    (According to WHO/CDC Data)*

    By: James P. Siepmann, MD

    Yes, it is true, smoking does not cause lung cancer. It is only one of many risk factors for lung cancer. I initially was going to write an article on how the professional literature and publications misuse the language by saying “smoking causes lung cancer”1,2, but the more that I looked into how biased the literature, professional organizations, and the media are, I modified this article to one on trying to put the relationship between smoking and cancer into perspective. (No, I did not get paid off by the tobacco companies, or anything else like that.)

    When the tobacco executives testified to Congress that they did not believe that smoking caused cancer, their answers were probably truthful and I agree with that statement. Now, if they were asked if smoking increases the risk of getting lung cancer, then their answer based upon current evidence should have be “yes.” But even so, the risk of a smoker getting lung cancer is much less than anyone would suspect. Based upon what the media and anti-tobacco organizations say, one would think that if you smoke, you get lung cancer (a 100% correlation) or at least expect a 50+% occurrence before someone uses the word “cause.”

    Would you believe that the real number is < 10% (see Appendix A)? Yes, a US white male (USWM) cigarette smoker has an 8% lifetime chance of dying from lung cancer but the USWM nonsmoker also has a 1% chance of dying from lung cancer (see Appendix A). In fact, the data used is biased in the way that it was collected and the actual risk for a smoker is probably less

    “In fact, the data used is biased in the way that it was collected and the actual risk for a smoker is probably less…” Such sloppiness!

    Also, Please publish the resume of everyone in your so called ill effects of smoking study claim. We can’t really have a discussion about this until we know their backgrounds and their education I believe. I don’t know why you haven’t provided that already. I read this in your skeptic bible. Its in the section on diverting. Very commonly used. Very recommended by your pastors.

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  28. DNA_Jock,

    The overall results summarized in Figure 1 show that Jaytee was at the window far more when P.S. was on her way home than during the main period of
    her absence. When all Jaytee’s visits to the window were included in the analysis (Figure 1A), he was at the window for an average of 55% of the time during
    the first 10 minutes of P.S.’s return journey, as opposed to 4% of the time during the main period of P.S.’s absence. During the 10-minute prereturn period
    he was at the window 23% of the time. These differences were highly signifi- cant statistically (repeated-measures ANOVA, F value [df 2, 22] = 20.46;
    Experiments With a Return-Anticipating Dog 239
    240 R. Sheldrake & P. Smart
    p < .0001; paired-sample t test comparing main period with return period
    p = .0001).
    When Jaytee’s irrelevant visits to the window were excluded from the
    analysis, the general pattern was very similar (Figure 1B), but the percentage
    of time at the window was of course somewhat lower. In the main period Jaytee spent 0.5% of the time by the window, in the prereturn period 18%, and in
    the return period 54%. The significance of these differences was higher than
    when all Jaytee’s visits were included (repeated-measures ANOVA, F value
    [df 2, 22] 24.36; p = 3 10- 6 ).
    In six out of the 12 experiments, P.S.’s return journeys took more than 23
    minutes and hence included two 10-minute periods rather than just one. In the
    analysis shown in Figures 1A and B, only the first 10-minute return period was
    included.

    “Highly significant statistically”! You understand what that means , right? They use that term in cancer research all the time, so you must have heard of it. You know, that very tenuous cancer-cigarette research that big pharma pays for studies about. You have heard it, right?

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  29. phoodoo: I read this in your skeptic bible. Its in the section on diverting. Very commonly used. Very recommended by your pastors.

    I wonder whether religious people ever notice the irony in this kind of commentary. It’s implicitly understood that people taking instructions from their religious scriptures, and listening gullibly to their pastors, are impossible to reason with. They have shut their brains off and are just getting fed pleasant stories by their religious echo chambers.

    That’s why we have expressions such as “It’s become his new religion”, or “she’s doing it religiously”. These phrases convey the idea that people with a religious mindset are set in their ways and can’t be reasoned with. That they’ve put faith in their religion above reason and evidence. That they’ve replaced critical thinking and skepticism with blind, abiding faith.

    These phrases and expressions are of course a product of people having tried arguing with religious people about their religions, and noticed how they seem to have lost their minds when it comes to the subject. Which has happened so often in history it’s sort of become part of the general phraseology employed in everyday speech. We have all met and interacted with people who were nuts(not being rational) about some particular subject, and it is most often encountered and recognized in people who believe in supernatural religions. In the western world, that’s mostly people of the Abrahamic faiths. Fundamentalist Christians, Jews, and Muslims.

    The irony is of course when the religious, in order to defend their religions, try to say everyone else is religious too. “Yea yea I know I’m bad but so are you so that makes it okay”. No, it doesn’t. And no, they’re not following your patently irrational methodology.

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  30. phoodoo,

    Curious as to where you extracted that particular piece of text. YOu do realizze that you are My working hypothesis is that phoodoo = James P. Siepmann…
    Anyhoo, JPS is actually OVER-estimating the Hazard Ratio associated with smoking and lung cancer. But he is simultaneously UNDER-estimating lifetime lung cancer risks. Curious as to where he got his data. No matter.
    When grown-ups read that smoking causes cancer, they don’t assume a 100% correlation. That’s obviously not true. Same as “Drunk driving costs lives”.
    Statisticians and epidemiologists come up with clever techniques to estimate the _probabilities_ involved. It gets complicated.
    ETA:
    Posted in error. See full comment below

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  31. BruceS,

    From the article:

    As a teenager, I’d devoured a book called Positive Magic. An instruction manual for witches, its central idea was that if you wanted something, and you had good intentions, you just told the universe and magic would happen. Although nothing I wanted (fame, money, hot boyfriend) actually arrived,

    Except that she is a freelance writer, gets published in the Guardian, is Editor and Chief of Meininger’s Wine Business, travels extensively, and I have even read about her meeting a handsome man in a Swiss airport. So gee, I guess the book was right after all!

    Magic! Some people just aren’t very good at spotting the magic.

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  32. phoodoo,

    Curious as to where you found that self-published editorial.
    When grown-ups read that smoking causes cancer, they don’t assume a 100% correlation. That’s obviously not true. Same as “Drunk driving costs lives”.
    Statisticians and epidemiologists come up with clever techniques to estimate the _probabilities_ involved. It can get complicated.

    phoodoo: “Highly significant statistically”! You understand what that means , right?

    In this context, it means that the author wants you to believe that his results are not due to chance. Unfortunately, he is not applying his statistical test appropriately. If you were able to answer the questions I asked here, you might figure out why. Even if he were using his test appropriately, it doesn’t mean that Jaytee is telepathic.
    The diagrams that you reproduce illustrate the problem: see the column marked “pre-return”? That is Jaytee going to the window before the beeper went off.
    Can you see why this is a doozy?

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  33. phoodoo: So gee, I guess the book was right after all!

    There’s a fallacy named after the reasoning you employ here. Post hoc ergo propter hoc. Have you heard of it?

    If I want a job, and then I pray for it but nothing happens, and then I go apply for lots of them and eventually I get one, did the praying land me a job?

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  34. phoodoo: Is there a reason why the assumption should be that it didn’t?

    Yeah, you get an overabundance of type-1 errors.

    And technically the assumption is not that there is no causation, the assumption is that mere chronological sequence does not prove causation. In other words, that the claim that A caused B just because B followed A in time, has not met it’s burden of proof.

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  35. Rumraket,

    Well played, sir, well played.
    I was fully expecting phoodoo to apply the “post hoc, ergo…” argument to smoking and lung cancer. But you have headed him off at the pass. Nicely done.

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  36. Rumraket: In other words, that the claim that A caused B just because B followed A in time, has not met it’s burden of proof.

    How does this help your cancer claims Doc?

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  37. phoodoo: How does this help your cancer claims Doc?

    You understand the concept of varying the parameters of trials and experiments one at a time to see their effects, right?

    Generally speaking, if there are many possible influences that could affect the outcome, you try to hold all but one constant and then vary that one thing, to see how it affects the outcome of different trials.
    By inference, if only one variable was changed, and you also got a different outcome only when you did that, then that variable is likely to have some causal influence.

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  38. phoodoo,
    The size of the study matters.
    If I have four smokers, and one dies of cancer, compared with three out of twenty non-smokers, then there’s a good chance I’m just looking at noise. I cannot say that there is a significant difference between the two conditions.
    Multiply all of those numbers by 1,000 (i.e. 1,000/4,000 versus 3,000/20,000) and now I have a result.
    This is how math works.
    There’s a lot of ways that numerate people can adjust for other potential confounding factors.

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  39. DNA_Jock,

    DNA_Jock: The size of the study matters.

    Oh, I see. So you mean, like if only ten people said their prayers were answered, that wouldn’t be so significant. But if I multiply that by a thousand, then that something. What if I multiply it by 100 million, would that be significant? 500 million?

    Gee, statistics sure are fun. Statistically speaking, Rumraket and your worldviews are virtually meaningless. Just barely registering static. Worthless. Woohee.

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  40. phoodoo: Oh, I see. So you mean, like if only ten people said their prayers were answered, that wouldn’t be so significant. But if I multiply that by a thousand, then that something. What if I multiply it by 100 million, would that be significant? 500 million?

    Sure. But that means you need another group of non-praying people to compare them to. For example, do people who pray to win the lottery, win the lottery more than people who don’t but still play the lottery?

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  41. Rumraket,

    You mean they don’t pray for something and it doesn’t happen? What is the thing they don’t pray for and how would they know if it didn’t happen?

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  42. Well phoodoo, you can think of the experiment as a 2-by-2 table.
    Praying vs non-praying, and lottery winning vs not lottery winning.
    I would advise counting lottery tickets, rather than people.
    If, amongst the praying, there are 3,000 tickets bought, and 1 winner, whereas amongst the infidels we have 2 winners out of 20,000, there’s no reason to think that is anything but noise.
    Multiply all the numbers by ten, (10/30,000 vs 20/200,000) and you’ve got a result.
    Multiply by one hundred (100/300,000 vs 200/2,000,000) and you’ve got your smoking gun for the existence of God, iff your datapoints are independent.
    Next up, the difference between random and systematic errors…
    e2fixmath

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  43. phoodoo: You mean they don’t pray for something and it doesn’t happen? What is the thing they don’t pray for and how would they know if it didn’t happen?

    I prayed for you to understand this, but… go figure.

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