SCEPCOP – A Steaming Pile of Kookiness

I’ve been having some fun in the last little while looking at this website:

SCEPCOP

SCEPCOP: The Scientific Community Exposing Pseudo-Skeptical Cynicism of the Paramormal is a shining example of what skepticism is not.

Being skeptical means looking at the evidence before accepting something, but the M.O. of this website seems to be to believe everything unless it’s backed up by science. The logical fallacies abound.

The SCEPCOP team explains the reason for starting up this site: “After all, if the pseudo-skeptics can form organized groups to attack the paranormalists, why can’t we form an organized group to attack them too?”

Unfortunately it is a misconception that skeptics are out to get believers of the paranormal. The real goal of the skeptical movement, however, is to  demand evidence and to shoot down bad arguments. It is not to attack anyone.

If SCEPCOP wants to be taken seriously, all they need to do is present some evidence for the paranormal. Instead, they rant about wonderful skeptics such as Steven Novella and James Randi.

I have fun laughing about the poor arguments and the clear bitterness all over this site, but it does sadden me to see yet another group that mistakes skepticism for cynicism or denialists or closed minded.

I really like Brian Dunning’s response to these types of criticisms, so I invite you to have a read (or a listen): Skeptoid: Who is Closed Minded, the Skeptic or the Believer?

[Note: Thanks to @SkepticZone for tweeting about SCEPCOP...follow me on Twitter @EnlightningLinZ]

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69 Responses to “SCEPCOP – A Steaming Pile of Kookiness”


  1. 1 Winston August 1, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    Hi this is Winston of SCEPCOP. Actually you are wrong and misrepresent SCEPCOP greatly. We do not endorse every crackpot idea out there, but judge evidence objectively. The pseudoskeptics like Randi and Novella that you mention DENY evidence out of their emotional fanaticism.

    See our new home page, logo and mission statement.

    Here is our new mission statement:

    SCEPCOP is a group of Paranormal Researchers, Investigators, Writers and Parapsychologists who wish to counter and expose the Pseudo-Skeptical movement for their fallacies, dismissal, denial, censorship, suppression, misinformation, bigotry and ridicule toward all unorthodox evidence, experience and data that challenge orthodoxy or do not fit into a materialistic reductionist paradigm. We do not support every quack claim on the planet, but advocate true skepticism, objectivity, open-mindedness and fairness toward paranormal and unorthodox evidence, experiences and data. We are the world’s first organized counter-pseudo-skeptic group, providing resources, articles, books, videos and an online community exposing the fallacies and psychology of pseudo-skepticism.

    Also, here is a key point from a YouTuber that nails our beef with pseudoskepticism exactly and spot on. Read this so you understand our position and do not distort it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vks49Bfn544

    * “What skeptics fail to understand is that skepticism involves being skeptical of your own position, it does not mean just being skeptical of that which you do not believe in, otherwise we are all skeptics and that renders their use of the term “skeptic” meaningless. A true skeptic casts skepticism on their own position as well. Since the Randi crowd do not employ skepticism in this respect then they are fairly termed pseudo skeptics and demean the term skepticism.”

  2. 2 Winston August 1, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    By the way, I forgot to post the link to my SCEPCOP website, so your readers can come see what it is for themselves:

    http://www.debunkingskeptics.com

    Thanks,
    Winston
    SCEPCOP Founder

  3. 3 linzeebinzee August 1, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    Skepticism is about thinking critically, and basing your knowledge on evidence. It is absolutely about being open-minded, but being open-minded doesn’t mean accepting everything. It means being open to every possibility. I’m willing to entertain the idea that anything is possible, but without evidence I have no reason to believe in things such as ghosts and psychic abilities.

    What Randi and Novella do is sort out the good evidence from the bad, this is what the scientific method allows us to do. This is how I try to decide what to believe. If there is strong evidence for something then I will tend to believe it. But so far I haven’t seen any strong evidence for ghosts or psychic abilities or UFOs. I would love to know that these things are real, how awesome would that be? If you have the evidence I would love to see it.

    I agree that everyone needs to be skeptical of their own position, and I think that Randi and Novella do this. That’s why the scientific method is useful, so you can test your own beliefs to find the truth.

    I find it telling that you used the term “unorthodox evidence”…could you give examples of what you mean by this?

  4. 4 Winston August 3, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    linzeebinzee,
    You’re referring to scientific skepticism. The original philosophical meaning of the term coined by Pyrrho meant to suspend judgment and to inquire. He thought that true knowledge was impossible. See this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skeptic

    “In classical philosophy, skepticism refers to the teachings and the traits of the ‘Skeptikoi’, a school of philosophers of whom it was said that they ‘asserted nothing but only opined.’ (Liddell and Scott) In this sense, philosophical skepticism, or Pyrrhonism, is the philosophical position that one should suspend judgment in investigations.[1]”

    But even if we take your definition, I would agree with it and argue that most reasonable people are skeptics. But the key point is that a man’s words don’t define him. His ACTIONS does. Anyone can say they are open minded and only want evidence. But when a man rejects a mountain full of evidence in an irrational manner, that is not honest inquiry or objectivity. Agreed?

    Well that’s just what Randi and Novella do. They’ve done it time and time again. They ask for evidence. I even gave it to them myself. Then if they can’t refute it, they ignore it and act like it doesn’t exist. I can cite many specific examples. If all Randi wanted was evidence, then why did he have to deliberately lie about repeating Rupert Sheldrake’s experiments to try to debunk him?

    See here:
    http://www.sheldrake.org/controversies/randi.html

    Why do you think that Randi is skeptical of his own beliefs? Can you cite that? I’ve never seen a case where he was.

    I’m afraid you are kind of naive in believing everything that Randi says. He has an agenda, he is a hunter who brings people down.

    The evidence for psi is robust for example, and has been since the 50′s. But because science can’t explain it, it becomes a taboo to talk about it. Many scientists secretly believe in psi and the paranormal, but they don’t dare admit it in public for fear of ruining their career.

    Dean Radin talked about this in detail. He is one of the best authors about Psi. Scientists have confided in him their belief in psi. He has researched the evidence and found it robust. If it wasn’t such a taboo subject, it would have been accepted by the scientific consensus long ago.

    You’ve been listening to the Randi crowd too long. It’s time you listened to the other side for a change, that is, if you’re interested in truth and are a true skeptic.

    Here are some astounding lectures by Dean Radin, he is one of our top researchers and you can tell he really knows his field. See these video clips I posted:

    http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=40

    The one above is 90 minutes long. So you ready for a dose of truth? Give it a chance, please. The evidence exists. I promise you. All you have to do is listen for a change.

    As to ghosts, many CREDIBLE people have seen them. Too many. If you walked into a town and half the town’s population told you about something, wouldn’t you think that there was something to it?

    In my apartment, after the owner’s husband passed away, the doorknob in my room turned by itself and snapped back by itself while I was alone! That was my first haunted experience where something moved by itself.

    Do some research before dismissing something.

    Read any book by Lloyd Auerback about ghosts. He is a true skeptic and in the middle.

    Unorthodox evidence means anything that challenges materialistic reductionist science. This includes not only the paranormal, but conspiracies as well, even if they are based on facts and hard evidence.

    See this page of my site for examples:

    http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/selective.php

    Anyhow, if you’re truly open minded, come to my forum and discuss these things openly. There are both skeptics and paranormalists there.

    Regards,
    Winston

  5. 5 Winston August 3, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    By the way, another thing. If you want to see real evidence for psi from the scientific laboratory (not just from personal tales and anecdotes) please read this book by Dean Radin called “The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena”.

    You can get it at your local bookstore or Barnes and Nobles. In it, LOTS of documented scientific evidence is presented.

    Or see his newer book “Entangled Minds”

    He also has a great blog too, at:

    http://deanradin.blogspot.com/

    But anyhow, watch those videos of him that I posted earlier. You will see how really really smart he is and worth listening to. Don’t believe the skeptics lies, and I swear to you, they have been caught lying red handed many times. I caught one lying red handed myself, which I documented here:

    http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/Page5.htm#Ebay

    Of course, even when caught lying red handed, they NEVER EVER apologize or admit that they are wrong. Remember that a person’s actions and character say a lot about him, not his words or claims of being a true skeptic.

    Anyway, I hope I’ve given you something new to consider.

    Thanks,
    Winston

  6. 6 Student of Sophia August 3, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    Lindsay, not everything is as it seems. For instance, it seems to you that there is no solid evidence for psi. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

    Using the same standards applied to any other area of science, there is overwhelming evidence for psychic functioning.

    But if you’ve ever debated young-earth creationists, you know how much evidence people can hand-wave away when it isn’t consistent with their a priori views.

    The rationalization/disenchantment process, which is sociological, marginalizes evidence for psi. It’s just human nature. It’s a form of group-think.

    I recommend reading this book: Varieties of Anomalous Experience. It has much evidence, and you want to be fair to the evidence, don’t you?

  7. 7 linzeebinzee August 3, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    Wow you certainly have a lot to say…I’ll try to respond to everything you said…

    -Skepticism is also about having standards for evidence. Ignoring mountains of evidence may be irrational, but if that evidence is of poor quality then it isn’t useful. For example, the thousands of blurry photos of UFOs that exist are not good evidence that aliens have visited the Earth.

    -You seem to think that I worship Randi or something. It’s true that I admire him because he tries to test paranormal claims scientifically, but I mean I haven’t even read any of his books. You imply that I hang onto his every word and believe everything he says, but if I did that I wouldn’t be a good skeptic. Randi, Novella, and everyone in the skeptical community often tell people not to just believe them, but to check it out for themselves. I can’t cite an example of where Randi was skeptical of his own beliefs, I can’t see inside his head.

    -You call me naive and I take issue with that. When I was a Christian and a believer in ghosts and UFOs and the paranormal I was naive. Now that I have learned to think critically and have standards for evidence I don’t have to be naive. I have the tools to look for the truth myself, and I no longer just believe what someone tells me with authority.

    -You say I’ve been listening to the Randi crowd for too long, so I guess you haven’t read my bio because I haven’t been a skeptic for long. Less than a year. It’s the quacks that I listened too for too long. Now I don’t have to listen to anyone, Randi or the quacks, because I’ve learned how to think critically and do research myself.

    -I’ve read Dean Radin’s blog and he appears to be full of it so I won’t waste my time reading his books or wasting hours of my life watching Youtube clips of him. I’m not interested. I know you’ll say that’s being closed-minded, to that I’ll just say that I find that stuff incredibly boring. Sometimes I’ll watch videos from true believers, but I find the poor logic and outright lies incredibly tedious and frustrating. This is also why I won’t be visiting your forum. I’ve been there before and I don’t find it intellectually stimulating in the least. It’s not for me. When I was in my teens I loved reading books about ESP and UFOs, but now reading those same books is like bashing my head against a brick wall because of the poor use of science.

    -Maybe some of those people actually have seen ghosts, but is there evidence? Eyewitness testimony is not reliable evidence of ghosts. Our memories and abilities to hallucinate are such that witnessing a ghost can’t be taken as evidence. It may be possible that some of these sightings were real ghosts, but I have no reason to believe that is so without evidence.

    -Doorknobs in my apartment do that all of the time. It’s just that the doorknob doesn’t close all the way at first, and then becomes unstuck after a bit. It’s no mystery and there’s no reason to think that’s a ghost.

  8. 8 linzeebinzee August 3, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    You say there is overwhelming evidence for psychic functioning, but I haven’t seen any yet. I’m being completely sincere in asking if you could show me one piece of good evidence for it.

    You’re right, everything is not as it seems, as human beings we are easily deceived…which is why we need to question claims that aliens have visited our planet or that there is a supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy or that psychics can speak to our dead relatives or that biological organisms evolove over time. This is why the scientific method is useful: it allows us to sort reality from mistaken perceptions.

  9. 9 Global Villager August 3, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    “As to ghosts, many CREDIBLE people have seen them. Too many. If you walked into a town and half the town’s population told you about something, wouldn’t you think that there was something to it?”

    Um…..I live in a world where more than half the inhabitants whisper to a magical man in the clouds, believe in ludicrous mythology, and swear that the world is 4000 years old. Just because a lot of people say something exists does not mean it does and that is not “evidence”.

    I appreciate that sceptics need to avoid being hypocritical, I worry about that all of the time and I am sure people like Randi and Novella have slipped up before. However, overall those individuals and others (Shermer, Dawkins, etc) relish the opportunity to be challenged with real, soild data. I will take a look at your site and decide for myself. Thanks.

  10. 10 Global Villager August 3, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    One of the things you have to wonder about in regards to aliens. Why would they travel immense distances to make circles in some poor chap’s wheat field? Why would they continue to offer only fleeting glimpses of themselves? What are they doing here? Assuming they are rational beings, what is the point of expending the incredible amount of resources to get here just to observe??????

    Maybe we are just one big drama production ala the Truman Show for them?

    As for ghosts…again….why waste time after your death making spooky sounds, shaking windows, turning lights on/off, turning door handles? etc….when we die do we become juvenile pranksters? Do we just get really bored? If I was a ghost I think I would have better things to do.

  11. 11 Student of Sophia August 4, 2009 at 1:04 am

    Lindsay, you said:

    “You say there is overwhelming evidence for psychic functioning, but I haven’t seen any yet. I’m being completely sincere in asking if you could show me one piece of good evidence for it.”

    I tried to show you. I recommended that you read this book:

    That’s all I can do. As the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make her drink. If you want to see the evidence, you have to put in the time and effort.

  12. 12 linzeebinzee August 4, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    That book is a collection of stories and research about psi, I’m asking for one piece. Maybe you could give me one example of the evidence that this book puts forward. I’m not going to spend my money on that book unless I have reason to believe it will teach me something. If the book does actually have evidence, why hasn’t the writer won a Nobel prize?

  13. 13 ciscop August 4, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    Hi!
    i am consider a skeptic on their site
    (75% of my comments are defending the JREF and Randi)
    and i can tell you is quite funny, you should try to stop and make a post someday.

    i think the major difference between winston forum and jref forum
    is that jref is about numbers and data and valid scientific research that could be replicate it.
    here is about stories, i like stories, even if i am a skeptic i will always enjoy a good bigfoot sighting or ghost appearance or girls photographing themselves with fairies and fooling the creator of sherlock holmes, i just love those stories.

    so i do think winston site has a validity for existence
    i like it, awesome site if you ask me.

  14. 14 linzeebinzee August 4, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    Sure it’s fun to read stories, but when people are using bogus evidence to assert that something is true it’s not cool. If I want stories I’ll read some good fiction.

  15. 15 The Warrigal August 4, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    Sceptics are both welcomed and well represented at SCEPCOP from what I can see.

    You say that you have only been a “skeptic” for about a year and that prior to that time you were so naive that you uncritically believed in Christianity, OFOs, ghosts, ghoulies and things that go bump in the night.

    Now you say that you have matured to such an advanced
    level of critical thinking ability that you will not even deign to visit SCEPCOP.

    Forgive me here, but this does not sound like the reasoning of a critical thinker.

    It reads more like the logic of a convert to religious fundamentalism.

    I have never been a Theist as I have found no evidence which leads me to believe in the existence of any god.

    I have yet to see any credible evidence supporting the existence of UFOs and am thus an extreme sceptic on that particular subject.

    No-one at SCEPCOP is asking you to accept ANYTHING at face value.

    However as a sceptic I find it strange that you would decline an invitation to debunk/debate wooists on their own turf.

    The Forum is small but growing and attracting an interesting average standard of poster for which reason I have chosen to be a member.

    I hope that you will accept Winston’s invitation and drop by at least occassionally to say “Hi.”

    Warrigal

  16. 16 Student of Sophia August 5, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Lindsay, you said:

    “That book is a collection of stories and research about psi, I’m asking for one piece. Maybe you could give me one example of the evidence that this book puts forward. I’m not going to spend my money on that book unless I have reason to believe it will teach me something. If the book does actually have evidence, why hasn’t the writer won a Nobel prize?”

    Asking for ‘one piece’ is a divide and conquer method that young-earth creationists use to maintain their non-acceptance. Any ‘one piece’ of evidence can be hand-waved away. They know it, and you know it.

    It’s also used by pseudo-skeptics to maintain their non-acceptance.

    The proper thing to do, if one is interested in the truth, is to get a sort of ‘big picture’. That’s what the book I listed is kind of about. If you look at the reviews of it, you will see it’s a high quality book, well worth reading.

    Sorry Lindsay, but there’s no way around good ol’ honest time and effort. I guess that’s why so many people are unfamiliar with the bulk of parapsychological research literature. It’s the kind of thing that takes effort to seek out and time to absorb. Not the kind of thing someone with opposing a priori beliefs will do.

  17. 17 linzeebinzee August 5, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Ok maybe I wasn’t that naive, but I certainly entertained the possibility of the paranormal, and I definitely hoped that there was “something else” “out there”.

    I certainly don’t want to make it seem like I think my skills in critical thinking are so advanced in a year…I’ve definitely tried to hone my skills but I’ve still got a long way to go.

    I do visit the SCEPCOP forum from time to time, I’ve just never seen anything that I wanted to post to. Since I’m not yet a skilled debater and I’m still learning how to spot logical fallacies and where to do research I prefer to just lurk and see what kinds of arguments people post and how others respond to them. I enjoy engaging in discussions when people comment on my blog because that allows me to do it at my own pace and on a more one on one basis, but I find it difficult on forums because often there are so many voices that it’s hard to respond to everyone effectively.

    I would like to say though that in my original blog post I was a bit unfair to SCEPCOP when I said this: “the M.O. of this website seems to be to believe everything unless it’s backed up by science.” I know that you guys aren’t anti-science, but I do think that based on a lot of what I’ve read on SCEPCOP, many of the people who post there have poor standards for evidence.

    It’s not a requirement of a skeptic to debunk/debate people, and since I’m new at it, like I said earlier, I prefer to just sit on the sidelines and learn from what others say. But since you’ve all been asking, and since there’s a thread about me there, what the hell I’ll stop by the forum.

  18. 18 linzeebinzee August 5, 2009 at 10:48 am

    I’m asking for an example from the book that would give me an idea what kind of evidence the author puts forth. In my teens I used to leave the library with stacks of books just like that one and finish them in a week, I loved reading that kind of stuff. But if this book is like the ones that I spent so much time with when I was younger, then it’s not worth my time. I have a good idea of the “big picture” of the paranormal because that’s literally all I would read when I was younger, and I still enjoy watching shows about it and reading conspiracy theories etc. Although now I usually start to feel disgust. Usually the types of studies that are cited in these books are not double-blinded, they’re smaller, they don’t use tight enough controls, and the results aren’t statistically significant.

    Can you give me example of one of the studies that they cite in that book?

  19. 19 Winston August 5, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    By the way, I forgot to make another key point. You seemed to insinuate in your post that we oppose the concept of skepticism and it’s stance on requiring evidence to believe in something. That is a straw man and misunderstanding I’m afraid. No one here, not even the most staunch paranormal supporters, has a problem with wanting evidence to believe in something. None of us ever advocates believing everything you hear, that is a classic straw man that pseudo-skeptics use against us, which we NEVER say in reality. We have no problem against the concept of skepticism itself, what we are opposing is PEOPLE who call themselves skeptics but are in fact pseudo-skeptics because of their ACTIONS and BEHAVIORS. See here for a list of their behaviors so you understand what we’re talking about. I’ve just updated it with more quotes and citations from dictionaries.

    http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/characteristics.php

    Thanks,
    Winston

  20. 20 Winston August 5, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    Hi again Linzee,
    Looking over your responses, I have a few points to make and something to show you.

    When you say you studied paranormal books before, do you mean you only read books about ghost stories and anecdotal testimonies? Or have you read books by serious parapsychologists like Rhine, or Charles Tart?

    Do you know about the Ganzfeld experiments? They are considered scientific proof of telepathy and have been repeated. Here are some excerpts about it from “The Conscious Universe” that are important, and why the skeptics did not debunk it.

    http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/Page17.htm

    Also, Dr. Gary Schwartz did some scientific controlled experiments with mediums and found that often they are able to score hits higher than chance, and on very specific things too.

    Here are some excerpts from his reports.

    http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/Page16.htm

    A summary of it can be found here:

    http://www.survivalafterdeath.org.uk/experiments/mental/schwartz03.htm

    As you can see, these are very positive results in CONTROLLED experiments. If that’s not “evidence” to you, then what is?

    Sure, if others see ghosts, that’s not scientific evidence, nor is it evidence to you, but it is evidence to THEM, and that’s what you have to consider.

    Are you saying you’d believe in ghosts if you actually saw one?

    BTW, regarding my door knob, I never touch that door knob so it had no reason to stay stuck in place, and plus that doorknob does not ever stay stuck in place no matter how many times I try to make it stick in place by turning it. If you were here, you could test it and see that it is not one of those doorknobs that gets stuck in place. So that explanation is pretty much ruled out.

    One more thing, don’t just dismiss Dean Radin as full of it and not see those videos. Just watch a few of those clips I linked to you earlier, and you will see that he really knows his stuff. He is one of the best representatives of the scientific evidence for psi. Please listen to what he has to say on video, just give him 20 minutes. He really KNOWS what he’s talking about and you will see that he does.

  21. 21 Winston August 5, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    Linzee, here’s some evidence, from a report by Dr. Gary Schwartz that was published in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 2001, called “Accuracy and Replicability of Anomalous After-Death Communication Across Highly Skilled Mediums” which you can obtain by emailing Dr. Schwartz himself at GSchwart@u.arizona.edu. Not sure if that email is still valid, but he sent me a copy of it and I used some key excerpts from it below. Have a look at the summary of results below.

    Remember, this was written by a Harvard educated scientist, Dr. Gary Schwartz. Is this “evidence” to you, or will you ignore it and continue to say there is zero evidence like the other skeptics do?

    ——————————————————

    “In a replication and extension experiment, medium’s average accuracy an initial ten minute period that did not allow yes-no questioning was 77%.”

    “The data suggest that highly skilled mediums are able to obtain accurate (p less than one in ten million) and replicable information. Since factors of fraud, error, and statistical coincidence can not explain the present findings, other possible mechanisms should be considered in future research. These include telepathy, super psi, and survival of consciousness after-death.”

    “It can be seen that the mediums varied in the number of total items they obtained and the number of questions they asked. Medium 1, in particular, generated over 130 specific pieces of information yet asked only 5 questions, 4 of which (80%) were answered yes.”

    “Medium 1, who obtained the lowest score (80%), only asked a total of five questions. Hence, it is impossible to claim that medium 1’s percent accuracy ratings (see below) were due to “cold reading” and “fishing for information.””

    “Though names were rated least accurately, the magnitude of the accuracy was still surprisingly high (67% for sitter one and 76% for sitter two). Initials received higher percent accuracy scores (90% for sitter one and 100% for sitter two). Personal temperament information was very accurately reported (95% for sitter one and 93% for sitter two).”

    “For the first ten minutes, the mediums were instructed to receive whatever information they could about the deceased and share this information out loud. They were not allowed to ask any questions of the sitters. The sitters were instructed to remain silent…………….. The content of these two readings was dramatic. Information about the deceased son and dog were again replicated by both mediums. However, both mediums also received information about the recently deceased husband. Medium 2 reported being confused, saying “I keep hearing Michael times two, Michael times two.” The father’s name was Michael, the son’s name was Michael, Jr.”

    “The two right bars display the percent + accuracy ratings for the silent and questioning periods, combining the data for mediums 1 and 2. The average accuracy for the silent periods was 77% and for the questioning period, 85%. The total number of items received during the silent period was 64, the total during the questioning period was 157. The difference between the silent and questioning periods in percent accuracy was not statistically significant.”

    “The accuracy of mediums 1 and 2 was replicated, including during a ten minute silent period when no questioning was allowed. New information about the deceased husband was received by both mediums. More information was obtained during the questioning period than the silent period, and the accuracy ratings were somewhat higher. However, detailed information was obtained during the silent periods when no “cold reading” was possible.”

    “These two experiments provide quantitative data that are consistent with the hypothesis that some form of anomalous information retrieval was occurring in these skilled mediums. Traditional hypotheses of fraud, subtle cueing, and statistical coincidence, are improbable explanations of the total set of observations reported here.”

    “The present findings do not speak directly to the mechanism (s) of anomalous information retrieval observed. However, the apparent desynchrony of the medium’s ECG’s with the sitter’s ECG during the reading periods compared to the baseline periods is inconsistent with a “telepathy with the sitter” interpretation of the findings.”

    “………..However, it is important to mention that the mediums spoke remarkably quickly and generated a surprisingly large number of specific facts.”

    “For the first sitter, all five mediums obtained information about a deceased son. Three of the five mediums heard the initial M for the son, one said the name Michael. None gave a false initial or name for the son. Also, none obtained information about a deceased daughter (her son did die, her daughter was alive).”

    “Qualitative Example II: Receiving accurate information days before the readings

    One of the mediums purportedly received communication from the deceased mother of one of the sitters a few days before traveling to Tucson. The mother purportedly conveyed to the medium a favorite prayer that she had regularly recited to her daughter as a child. Moreover, according to the deceased mother, the daughter was secretly continuing to offer this prayer for her. An assistant to the medium was instructed to locate the prayer, have it laminated, and gift wrapped.

    When the reading was about to begin with the sitter, the medium unexpectedly reported to the experimenters that he had forgotten to bring into the laboratory a present he had brought for this sitter from her deceased mother. Surprised by the claim of such a gift, we instructed the medium that he could have his assistant bring it in after the reading had officially ended and the formal data had been collected.

    The gift was brought into the laboratory at the end of the session and passed around the screen to the sitter. Upon opening the present, the sitter, in tears, confirmed that this was a special prayer her mother had taught her as a child. Moreover, she shared that she silently continued to say this prayer for her deceased mother.

    Since the medium purportedly did not know who the sitters were ahead of time, and also did not know who was behind the screen, the observation of the medium receiving anomalous communication three days before the experiment and giving this particular sitter this particular gift raises challenging questions…….”

  22. 22 Global Villager August 5, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    Wow Winston….talk about (mis)information overload. One question. Why would sceptics like Randi et al go on such a vendetta against purveyors of woo? What is in it for them? I suppose selling books? I think most of them have successful careers and other endeavours that would make that extraneous don’t you think?

    One more. If the evidence is so compelling, why are paranomal things considered to be in the realm of fantasy by most rational beings?

  23. 23 linzeebinzee August 6, 2009 at 10:28 am

    I just want to quickly say that I’m not ignoring your comments, it’s just that it’s a LOT of information (from all commenters) and I haven’t had time to read it over in detail…I do intend to respond but I still want to make time for writing new posts and reading other forums.

  24. 24 Purple Scissor August 6, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    Hello, I am another member of SCEPCOP. I noted that the responses here start by making a typical pseudoskeptical claim, that there is “no evidence.” I am here to inform you that there is evidence for every paranormal and fringe claim; it may not be good evidence, but it is evidence. Such claims were noted as pseudoskepticism (pseudoscientific) by CSICOP founder Marcello Truzzi long ago. I am putting together a site, and one its many purposes is to have an automatic system of dealing with such claims. That is, I do not want to fight the same fight against the irrational again and again. For this reason, we are codifying pseudoskepticism in a very simple way, and also writing articles showing how major skeptics violate scientific principles. Here is one of the first such articles, which I would love to get feedback on. We want to make the best possible arguments, and therefore we want as much criticism as we can get so that we can strengthen our arguments. We can start a response section of the article if you wish, but I do not want to get into a long discussion here. Give us some feedback on this article: http://wikisynergy.com/wiki/Richard_Dawkins:_pseudoskeptic%3F_1

  25. 25 linzeebinzee August 6, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    I was going to do a detailed critique of this study (the Schwartz one), so I googled it to see if I could find it online somewhere, and guess what the first result was? http://www.csicop.org/si/2001-11/mediums.html

    I doubt if you’ll even read that though as it is posted on the evil CSICOP website

  26. 26 linzeebinzee August 6, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    I don’t know who the books were written by, it was a long time ago and they’re back at the library now, but it was a mixture…I would literally go to that section and clear the shelves.

    Sure, if others see ghosts, that’s not scientific evidence, nor is it evidence to you, but it is evidence to THEM, and that’s what you have to consider

    Are you saying you’d believe in ghosts if you actually saw one?.

    My first reaction would be to suspect that I’m dreaming or hallucinating, or to go see a doctor, or to investigate whether someone’s playing a trick on me…I would have to rule out every simple explanation before entertaining the idea that it was something supernatural.

    BTW, regarding my door knob, I never touch that door knob so it had no reason to stay stuck in place, and plus that doorknob does not ever stay stuck in place no matter how many times I try to make it stick in place by turning it. If you were here, you could test it and see that it is not one of those doorknobs that gets stuck in place. So that explanation is pretty much ruled out.

    It could’ve been a one time occurrance, or there could be some other explanation. I don’t see why you immediately posit ghosts or as the explanation. Maybe it was fairies or someone communicating with you from an alternate universe or the matrix playing a trick on you or your imagination or the FSM’s noodly appendage turning the handle.

  27. 27 linzeebinzee August 6, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    Student of Sophia…do you read the bulk of research literature from every field? I prefer to reserve my reading time for things that actually have application to my real life. If people interacted with the supernatural on a regular basis in everyday life then I would want to read up on it. If the evidence in this book is anything like that Schwartz study that Winston provided then I’d be wasting my time and effort…and money.

  28. 28 Purple Scissor August 6, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    linzeebinzee, the “A Critique of Schwartz et al.’s After-Death Communication Studies” is highly out-dated and has been responded to. Even I know that. You have to do more research. Posting one link to one article is not anything definitive.

  29. 29 linzeebinzee August 6, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    “I am here to inform you that there is evidence for every paranormal and fringe claim; it may not be good evidence, but it is evidence.”

    So everything’s true? lol

    “I am putting together a site, and one its many purposes is to have an automatic system of dealing with such claims.”

    Just what the internet needs…

  30. 30 linzeebinzee August 6, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    How about you point me in the direction of the responses?

  31. 31 Purple Scissor August 6, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    Look at the sources here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Schwartz and bear in mind that there is stuff not covered, more recent things they’ve done. One has to be an expert before one makes a criticism. I am certainly not qualified to speak on the subject. I can only say that if anyone makes a substantive comment to the effect that the phenomenon is real or unreal, yet they are not aware of the research details, they are speaking out of turn.

  32. 32 Shot_info August 7, 2009 at 12:14 am

    Of course the normal english reader will read the _entire_ sentence that contains the “no evidence” canard and will see “I have never been a Theist as I have found no evidence which leads me to believe in the existence of any god.”

    That’s a pretty complete sentence – which clearly and unambigiously gives the reason. Sure, the person might have seen “some evidence” but obviously not enough to believe in the existence of any god.

    So why the willful misunderstanding and misrepresenting of what is quite a simple and clear english sentence?

  33. 33 sceptic August 7, 2009 at 6:55 am

    I’m curious about these Schwartz experiments. Are there no control subject at all? Surely all this experiment proves is that people who claim to be psychic are really good at giving information that their subjects find convincing in a poorly controlled setting.

    In the section of the experiments described as follows:

    “For the first ten minutes, the mediums were instructed to receive whatever information they could about the deceased and share this information out loud.”

    Surely it would be better if a bunch of people got read (or whatever) and then they had to find the reading that related to them. You would of course need the person to be unable to hear the psychic, maybe they could write down their reading or something. This would have the added value that the psychic wouldn’t be able to pick up on any queues from previous statements.

    If I’ve missed something and this objection has been covered, then it is an interesting result.

  34. 34 sceptic August 7, 2009 at 8:00 am

    Incidentally, could somebody tell me what the expected percentage of correct answers is for somebody doing Schwartz’s experiment by cold reading?

  35. 35 Purple Scissor August 7, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    I cannot summarize several studies (but you can read them for free). Suffice it to say that they seemed well designed by modern scientific standards, and if they are as described they ought to be good evidence (I read it a while back). I of course cannot make any claim for them. We are talking about a series of several studies, and I think what you are thinking of was merely the pilot study, and strict controls were later applied. What sticks in my mind was that the best CSICOP could come up with is that *maybe* given a long time to practice, a cold reader could do something based on hearing someone breathing (??). But then Schwartz did a study where that factor was also eliminated (triple blind). Again, I make no claim, but I do not believe these studies as a whole have been debunked. If they have, I would like to know. It is the kind of thing that needs thorough debunking if skepticism is to be up-to-date with the other side.

  36. 36 Purple Scissor August 7, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    Lindsay, I will not give you the honor of my time if you are going to do things like:

    “I am here to inform you that there is evidence for every paranormal and fringe claim; it may not be good evidence, but it is evidence.”

    So everything’s true? lol

    “I am putting together a site, and one its many purposes is to have an automatic system of dealing with such claims.”

    Just what the internet needs…

    If that is the best you can do, I am afraid you have swapped traditional stupidity for skeptical stupidity. If you are able to read “there is evidence for every paranormal and fringe claim; it may not be good evidence, but it is evidence.” as “everything’s true” then you are not in a position to communicate on the level I wish to maintain.

    So what is it to be? Shall I keep coming here? Are you going to be faith-based, and twist what other people have to say into something they did not say at all? Have you swapped one Satan for another? You can sit here on your blog and laugh at people. You may even have company. But no one who is logical or scientific will give you their time if you twist what people have to say into stupidity. You twisted my statement into stupidity, and then laughed at it. That is the kind of thing that religious people do when they believe the other is evil.

    Lindsay, I have sympathy for the path you have walked. But I am warning you that you have not swapped belief for science. You have swapped one belief for another. Yet you are capable of changing your mind, and so I am saying this to you: read what people actually say, and do not twist it into its opposite meaning. A skeptic is skeptical of everything, and you are not being skeptical of your own ideas. You are making things up and projecting onto people what you think they must be like. You can change your mind. Please do not swap one form of stupidity for another. The motto of my site is “The problem with skeptics and believers is this: they are believers.” If you wish to fight for science, you will not act this way any more.

  37. 37 Purple Scissor August 7, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    Oh, and the “no evidence” claim was Lindsay, “I’m willing to entertain the idea that anything is possible, but without evidence I have no reason to believe in things such as ghosts and psychic abilities.”

  38. 38 sceptic August 8, 2009 at 1:28 am

    I just took a look at what I assume is the triple blinded one (http://www.explorejournal.com/article/PIIS155083070600454X/fulltext). On the face of it it looks much better. I don’t intend this as a sneaky get-out, but has it been replicated by any independent groups?

    Anyway, I’ll read it more carefully and get back to you.

  39. 39 Purple Scissor August 8, 2009 at 2:53 am

    I do not think it has been replicated since, although Skeptiko is now in the process of trying (or something like it, the recent defense of a psychic detective makes me wonder how good it will be). However, it seems to me that it is itself a replication of other experiments, which I would have to look up. I can tell you this much: if you take each experiment in parapsychology in isolation, you can find reasons to doubt it. And there is no way to statistically analyze the entire field. So you cannot come to a secure scientific conclusion except if you disregard the a-priori bias and do not think of them as “exceptional” events (like with that girl from Russia, they had to bias the odds against her heavily before she did not pass the CSICOP test). If psi events were not considered exceptional, they would be proven many times over. I do not personally know the definition of “exceptional” as in “exceptional claims require exceptional evidence.” That would make a good article for my site. I have seen statements coming out of CSICOP confirming what I say here.

  40. 40 sceptic August 8, 2009 at 10:21 am

    “it seems to me that it is itself a replication of other experiments, which I would have to look up.”
    Please do.

    “I can tell you this much: if you take each experiment in parapsychology in isolation, you can find reasons to doubt it.”
    If this particular experiment turned out to be reproducable I would certainly be forced to reevaluate my position. Perhaps there is room to quibble, but so long as nothing funny is going on, it looks like the basis of a robust demonstration.

    “And there is no way to statistically analyze the entire field.”
    I don’t see why you would need to. If you have an experiment that is robust and can be reproduced by people who doubt you than you can get all the statistical significance you need. Putting a vast number of weak results based on iffy methodologies is never going to convince anybody.

    Psychics do not claim weak results that exist at the fringe of statistical significance like Ganzfield. This result seems interesting in that it is actually talking about the actual claims of psychics. If this experiment is all that it takes to demonstrate psychic powers I’m baffled that it’s taken this long for anybody to begin to demonstrate it.

  41. 41 Purple Scissor August 8, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Oh, well I think you might want to look into the presentiment experiments if you want a robust repeatable experiment. Mediums depend on a nice environment and high talent, whether you are talking about cold reading or psychic phenomena. The experiments were not meant as a demonstration of psychic ability, they were meant as preliminary research in the afterlife.

    There are two things in parapsychology: first, the effect is weak and with all weak effects you get a lot of results which are not statistically significant. But that does not mean the effect is not real, necessarily. Second, you are talking about (terms here learned recently) a non-local psychological effect. That means that you are necessarily going to have results which vary according to who the experimenter is (and the subjects). So if psi were real, here is what you might expect: you would expect that people who believe it does not exist would demonstrate that it does not exist. Experiments which do not take this into account –where the experimenter says essentially “See? I told you it wasn’t real,”– are interesting, but the result is to be expected. It is very unfortunate, but it is what you would expect with such a phenomenon. What they are trying to do is essentially like asking if “atheists feel joy in the presence of god,” and putting that out as a null result for the existence of god. It is about psychology as well as anything else.

    The Schwartz tests seem to me to be about the afterlife, or an attempt to eventually demonstrate that. I think if all he wanted to do is demonstrate a psychic effect he would have chosen another way.

  42. 42 linzeebinzee August 8, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    Okay I’ll respond differently then:

    You said “there is evidence for every paranormal and fringe claim; it may not be good evidence, but it is evidence.”

    I agree…the evidence for every paranormal and fringe claim isn’t good, that’s why I don’t believe in those things. If good evidence is brought forward then I’ll reconsider.

    “Skeptical stupidity”? What’s that? I’m pretty sure you just called me stupid, I’m not stupid.

    Should you keep coming here? It’s up to you.

    Am I going to be faith-based? No…I abandoned faith a long time ago, it wasn’t doing me any good at all. You say I was twisting what you were saying into something else, but here’s what you said:

    “I noted that the responses here start by making a typical pseudoskeptical claim, that there is “no evidence.” I am here to inform you that there is evidence for every paranormal and fringe claim; it may not be good evidence, but it is evidence.”

    When you say that there is evidence for everything then it honestly appeared to me as if you believe every paranormal and fringe claim, and that’s what I found funny, because nobody believes every paranormal and fringe claim, as many of them contradict each other. When I say there’s no evidence I mean I haven’t seen any convincing evidence yet, I’m waiting.

    Science is not a belief system, it’s a tool for figuring out what’s true.

  43. 43 linzeebinzee August 8, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    I’m sorry if I’m misunderstanding what you’re saying here, but it seems like you’re saying that parapsychology can’t produce good evidence. Is that accurate? If it’s so unpredictable then how can it be useful even if psychic phenomena are real?

  44. 44 sceptic August 8, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    “Oh, well I think you might want to look into the presentiment experiments if you want a robust repeatable experiment. Mediums depend on a nice environment and high talent, whether you are talking about cold reading or psychic phenomena. The experiments were not meant as a demonstration of psychic ability, they were meant as preliminary research in the afterlife.”
    I really don’t care whether it’s research into psychics, ghosts or fairies. If it produces robust reproducable results then fine, if the results are 1/10th what the anecdotes claim then you’ve found something very cool.

    “There are two things in parapsychology: first, the effect is weak and with all weak effects you get a lot of results which are not statistically significant.”
    You surely have to assume that all professional psychics are frauds or fooling themselves to say that, no? I mean nobody says “I can contact your dead relative and produce results that, over the course of a hundred readings, may hint at a significant effect.”

    “Second, you are talking about (terms here learned recently) a non-local psychological effect.”
    If you say so. I don’t think that that is obvious.

    “That means that you are necessarily going to have results which vary according to who the experimenter is (and the subjects).”
    Psychics don’t seem to claim this problem when not being tested, but OK. I still don’t see why variable results should be a problem.

    “So if psi were real, here is what you might expect: you would expect that people who believe it does not exist would demonstrate that it does not exist.”
    I don’t see why this would necessarily be the case. One hears examples all the time of people saying “I’m a total sceptic and went in not believing, but…”. Maybe they believed all along. Having said that, if you say the requirement is that both subject and psychic have to believe, this does not sound insurmountable. Perhaps you could try demonstrating this difference between believers and non-believers robustly, that would be good enough for me.

    “Experiments which do not take this into account –where the experimenter says essentially “See? I told you it wasn’t real,”– are interesting, but the result is to be expected.”
    So are you saying everybody involved has to believe? Psychic, subject, experimenter, research assistant…. I take it there hasn’t actually been a study that demonstrates this, it’s just an inference based on the fact that when non-believers investigate these claims they evaporate?

    “It is very unfortunate, but it is what you would expect with such a phenomenon.”
    I would have described it as follows… people are convinced that psychic phonomenon exist. Sceptical researchers have debunked all the findings time and again. Believers explain it by saying that it only works if you’re not a sceptic. I certainly wouldn’t have predicted that that one would have to believe in order for these powers to work (my failure perhaps). It is however what would expect if psychic powers didn’t actually exist.

    “What they are trying to do is essentially like asking if “atheists feel joy in the presence of god,” and putting that out as a null result for the existence of god. It is about psychology as well as anything else.”
    No, it’s like believers praying for some positive outcome for other believers. It’s like finding that this stops working if anybody involved anywhere in the experiment doubts the power of prayer.

  45. 45 Purple Scissor August 8, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    “You surely have to assume that all professional psychics are frauds or fooling themselves to say that, no?”

    So far as I know. But I was talking about parapsychology, which is mainly done with those who do not claim a lot of talent.

    ““Second, you are talking about (terms here learned recently) a non-local psychological effect.”
    If you say so. I don’t think that that is obvious.”

    Well, I do not know enough and do not have time to argue it here. But that is the general position they take.

    “Psychics don’t seem to claim this problem when not being tested, but OK. I still don’t see why variable results should be a problem.”

    They do say it varies a lot. However, the variable results should not be a problem, but usually are for skeptics.

    ““So if psi were real, here is what you might expect: you would expect that people who believe it does not exist would demonstrate that it does not exist.”
    I don’t see why this would necessarily be the case. One hears examples all the time of people saying “I’m a total sceptic and went in not believing, but…”. Maybe they believed all along. Having said that, if you say the requirement is that both subject and psychic have to believe, this does not sound insurmountable. Perhaps you could try demonstrating this difference between believers and non-believers robustly, that would be good enough for me.”

    True. I do not know how robust the sheep-goat effect is, but I thought it was one of the most robust in the field. Skeptics from CSICOP sometimes do experiments which often turn out negative… except when they don’t, as with the Russian girl and the one with the psychic dogs.

    “So are you saying everybody involved has to believe? Psychic, subject, experimenter, research assistant…. I take it there hasn’t actually been a study that demonstrates this, it’s just an inference based on the fact that when non-believers investigate these claims they evaporate?”

    I think there has been quite a bit of research on that. My *own* impression is that skeptics can get results sometimes (well, if you look it up the sheep-goat effect is skeptics getting below-chance results). If you take the non-local hypothesis seriously, this would be the ideal- that everyone believe. It is a problem, because if you are very skeptical you might expect fraud on the part of the experimenter. Here is a prediction: if you put together an equal team of skeptics and believers of equal talent, you should get null results.

    “I would have described it as follows… people are convinced that psychic phonomenon exist. Sceptical researchers have debunked all the findings time and again. Believers explain it by saying that it only works if you’re not a sceptic. I certainly wouldn’t have predicted that that one would have to believe in order for these powers to work (my failure perhaps). It is however what would expect if psychic powers didn’t actually exist.”

    I said it was a problem. But you cannot take the acknowledged fact that most psychics are frauds, and many have been debunked, and extend that to the best cases, which have not been debunked. Some have not been debunked at all, and some have been debunked in a way where you have to strain your credulity. There is a need for better skeptical researchers here.

    “No, it’s like believers praying for some positive outcome for other believers. It’s like finding that this stops working if anybody involved anywhere in the experiment doubts the power of prayer.”

    That is essentially a better statement. I am not defending anything. All I can say is that you would expect that believers would get results more often than skeptics, if you take the current hypothesis seriously. That is, that there is some non-local aspect to mind.

    When results pile up which have not been debunked, all of a sudden you have believers saying that they have a large collection of data. So the job of debunking is never-ending. The position we are in now is that there are results which have not been debunked. There is a nice example quote on WikiSynergy:

    “I agree that by the standards of any other area of science that remote viewing is proven” -Richard Wiseman of CSICOP. These kind of quotes from skeptics is the reason I believe that the evidence is actually fairly good, and it all depends on how amazing you think psychic stuff is.

    linzeebinzee: In my opinion, psychic phenomena would be downright detrimental to society if they were real. Society would have to radically reorganize around them. I think perhaps an article on the site I started is really a bottom line here: there is good evidence unless many people are lying. (The lab evidence is quite good, but it is something you have to take other people’s word for).

    Here, the articles are about the best and worst arguments for parapsychology. It think you would get a lot of disagreement, but I am impressed by these articles:

    http://wikisynergy.com/wiki/The_best_argument_against_parapsychology

    http://wikisynergy.com/wiki/The_best_argument_for_parapsychology

  46. 46 Leo MacDonald August 14, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    Global Villager,

    Not true in fact a large number of rational well educated people see this evidence as overwhelming.

    http://michaelprescott.typepad.com/michael_prescotts_blog/2007/06/college-its-not.html

  47. 47 Leo MacDonald August 14, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    sceptic,

    I know their has been more work done on mediumship too such as these studies:

    - Professor Archie Roy & Patricia Robertson (2001) A preliminary study by the acceptence of non-recipients to medium’s statement to recipient Journal of the Society of Psychical Research 65.2, 863, 91-106

    - Professor Archie Roy & Patricia Robertson (2004) Results of the application of Roberston-Roy protocol to a series of experiments with mediums and participants ‘ Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 68.1, 874, 18-34

    linzeebinzee,

    The evidence that we find compelling is pointed out on many websites. Have you researched any of the evidence from the cross correspondences? near death studies?, the newspaper tests and book tests? etc.

  48. 48 Swiftsure August 15, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    Hello, Lindsay. I found your blog by following a link on the Scepcop website. Although you describe it – possibly quite accurately – as a steaming pile of kookiness, I see it more as a sort of virtual lunatic asylum, with the loonies in charge. When I visit their site, I do so in much the same way that Victorian ladies and gentlemen would pay a penny to tour the St Mary of Bethlehem Hospital (Bedlam) and watch the lunatics make complete arses of themselves. And like those genteel Victorian folk, I come away feeling a mixture of amusement and distaste.

    You must have hit a nerve with Scepcop; I see they have descended on your blog en masse, and seem to be trying to overwhelm you, so you must have them worried. Or perhaps they think you are new to blogging so you will be easy to intimidate. I must say, though, you are giving a good account of yourself so I encourage you to keep it up. You don’t need to feel that you are on your own.

    Funnily enough, I would recommend their site to rational people (if they want a laugh), but especially to students of logic as a goldmine of logical fallacies. One thing that makes me laugh out loud is the fact that they accuse sceptics of using logical fallacies, and at the same time every argument they put forward to support their delusions are themselves fallacy-ridden. The irony is completely lost on them.

    Winston Woo in particular is completely impervious to reason, as you will discover if you go to

    http://www.skeptico.blogs.com/skeptico/2008/11/winston-wu-woo-rebuttal.html

    Winston’s “thesis” on sceptics has been neatly sliced and diced and handed back to him on a metaphorical platter. If you want to see what I mean about logical fallacies, this article is an eye-opener. Winston doesn’t understand it, though. While he accuses people who want actual evidence of the paranormal of “pathological skepticism”, he and his acolytes are blissfully unaware of the fact that they themselves are “pathologically gullible.”

    Take a look at Skeptico and follow the link there to a comprehensive rebuttal of the nonsense that Winston espouses.

    Best regards.

  49. 49 linzeebinzee August 16, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    Hi Swiftsure, thanks for the link & the encouragement!

    I’ve stopped trying to respond to the comments giving me links to what they call evidence because it’s not taking me anywhere…I realized that I was asking for evidence but not for anything specific so it was a meaningless exercise, and an error on my part.

    I do agree with you though that SCEPCOP is a great place to visit just to get a feel for the kinds of arguments people are making in favour of the paranormal, and to test out your own critical thinking.

    You point out that they commit the very logical fallacies that they accuse skeptics of using…I also find it funny that they accuse me of being brainwashed by James Randi, but then they seem to hang on to Dean Radin’s every word…

  50. 50 Pyrrho August 27, 2009 at 10:16 am

    It would appear you’ve swapped Jesus for James, my dear. James Randi has been found to lie his way out of many a predicament as has his fellow pseudo-skeptic, KRAMER (especially revealing is KRAMER’s incident with Peebrain in recent years). Distorting the truth and inventing emails in a sad attempt to to make his position more acceptable to those on JREF forums that found his actions distasteful. Especially revealing was KRAMER’s admission that he’d edited emails from Peebrain and then swore blind that he didn’t create the “email that popped up from nowhere”. To anyone with any knowledge of misdirection and deception, that’s precisely what a guilty person will do in such circumstances: admit to the lesser crime in hopes of the greater lie being overlooked. And it worked. With all those great skeptics over there at JREF, not one of them questioned him on it. Instead they all bowed down and worshipped him for his “honesty”. I ask you, where’s the skepticism there? Had an opponent of theirs said the same thing, I’m reasonably certain they’d have seen through the charade but, again, where James and his acolytes are concerned, blind faith, man.

    I’m not a member of JREF, SCEPCOP or any other sites that would bias my posting here. My skepticism is a healthy one in which I base what I *think* I know from ALL sources that I can find. I haven’t looked at SCEPCOP’s forums so I have no idea if they’re full of logical fallacies or not but I can say with almost certainty that you have erected a straw man as Winston said previously and in maintaining your stance you haven’t rebutted or refuted anything neither he nor anyone else has given you as evidence.

    I give sceptic (the poster) respect as a true skeptic as it seems to me he actually investigated certain claims. You, however, stuck by your dogmatic beliefs without looking into much at all. The comparison between your worship of Randi and SCEPCOP’s adherence to Dean Radin beggars belief. I don’t think that any of SCEPCOP’s posters went running to Radin’s forums seeking help to denounce your claims. You, however, ran off to Randi’s forums INSTEAD of looking into what was presented to you for yourself.

    That smacks of a closed-mind–dogmatism–and in no way should be equated to skepticism.

    Your ridicule “OMG, FSM noodly appendage might have done it!” or whatever you said was just puerile. And though I like my pirates and beer volcanoes and stripper factories as well, it’s not really useful as a form of argument. All it served to do is highlight your ineptitude with the topic at hand.

    B MOAR SKEPTIKL, not only of others’ claims but also of the claims of those you admire. I too admired Randi… once. Over time it became more apparent to me that he was merely attempting to be “I’M THE GUY THAT DISPROVED ALL PARANORMAL CLAIMS!” by dismissing claims out of hand and/or shifting the goalposts. He has an agendum: he wants to BE somebody. This blinds him and his sycophants to many things that may be happening in reality (or may not–he wouldn’t know; he’d just dismiss them because of his presuppoistion that it’s all “impossible”.)

    God, that was a rant. Oh, I see you hate religion. Good stuff. Me too. Except the church of the sub-genius, Pastafarianism and Discordianism.

    Cheers. Have fun.

  51. 51 linzeebinzee September 8, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    I don’t worship James Randi, I haven’t swapped Jesus for James. I admire him, sure, as I admire many other skeptics. That doesn’t mean that I’m going to take every word that comes from his mouth as the truth. In this blog post and the subsequent comments I did a poor job of responding to things. I asked for evidence for nothing in particular, and was given a mish-mash of evidence for various paranormal claims. I should have looked at the evidence, but it bored me to tears so I didn’t. I was dismissive and had no right to be after I was given what I asked for. I haven’t been blogging for a long time, and a big reason for that is that I was frustrated with myself for letting this thread turn into what it became. I’m going to move on, and try to do better in the future. Back to blogging yay! If I’m feeling ambitious I’ll come back to the studies that I was referred to in this thread and actually look at them. But in the end I don’t get paid to do this blog, I do it for fun, and I find some of the things that I was linked to in the above dreadfully boring, so I make no guarantees!

  52. 52 Pyrrho September 9, 2009 at 2:00 am

    You’re attractive though so I’m prepared to let everything slide. OM NOM NOM. Oh, I should mention I’m a pirate. If you should be offended by my statement and follow through by killing me somehow, global warming will increase. Don’t do it.

  53. 53 Pyrrho September 9, 2009 at 2:00 am

    I don’t like my little avatar thing, ma’am. :(

  54. 54 linzeebinzee September 9, 2009 at 8:38 am

    lol I should mention I’m not a Pastafarian so some of your jokes will go right over my head!

  55. 55 linzeebinzee September 9, 2009 at 8:40 am

    Sorry, I don’t think I have any control over that…it’s a default WordPress avatar. I think the only way to change it is to add your own avatar to your profile.

  56. 56 Pyrrho September 10, 2009 at 1:33 am

    Aw, that made me sad.

  57. 57 Pyrrho September 10, 2009 at 1:34 am

    But you mentioned his noodly appendage! I feel psychically raped now :P

  58. 58 Jacqueline November 24, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    Pyrrho slimily wrote:

    “You’re attractive though so I’m prepared to let everything slide”

    What a creep Pyrrho is!

  59. 59 Jacqueline November 24, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    I’m wondering when Winston Wu will answer Paul sandoval’s thorough rebuttal of his flawed attack on “pseudo” skeptics and debunkers. Wu still has the articles on his SCEPCOP website and they’re still chock full o’ the same old fallacies.

  60. 60 EnlightningLinZ December 16, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    On the off chance that any of the commenters on this thread are still subscribed to it, you may find my most recent post interesting:

    https://struckbyenlightning.wordpress.com/2009/12/16/opening-up-to-opposing-viewpoints/

  61. 61 Casey Cruskyn April 3, 2010 at 5:59 am

    Winston Wu’s muddled rebuttal of skeptics is debunked;

    http://www.skepticreport.com/resources/analysiswu.pdf

    and yet he offers no new rebuttal to this, just keeping his old and flawed antiskeptic rant on his site.
    Is this an admission of defeat or just denial of the reality that Winston has flawed arguments?

  62. 62 Oo July 21, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    “Winston Wu’s muddled rebuttal of skeptics is debunked;

    http://www.skepticreport.com/resources/analysiswu.pdf

    This document only demonstrate irracionalism, ad-hominems and false fallacies. The argumentes defense are false.
    No suportt the arguments, but only support on the “stablishment”.

  63. 63 Nyarlathotep April 15, 2011 at 5:45 am

    Oo, your assessment of http://www.skepticreport.com/resources/analysiswu.pdf”

    is erroneous. Sandoval completely eviscerates Wu’s lack of logic with sound logic. You most likely can’t follow the arguments presented. It is Wu that deals in irrationality, ad hominems and fallacies. Please try to read Sandoval with your brain in logical mode.

  64. 64 hypnowist June 6, 2011 at 9:20 am

    Hi Everyone

    First great to see a good debate going on here, though I have to defend scepcop because what they’re doing is very important indeed. Linzeebinzee I’m glad you’ve managed to pull yourself out of the myths and lies of organised religion and are approaching life and information critically still please don’t throw the baby our with the bath water, as I think many people do.

    Linz you said that Dean Radin was boring and I’m afraid that evidence often is boring, if you read his book Entangled minds a lot of it is about looking at statistics accurately, and there is vast amounts of evidence located there, with referenced studies. You have to read them, cross reference and interpret that date nobody else.

    Also when it comes to PSI, remote viewing there is good date from the world of quantum physics, (check out quantum entanglement) this is not theory, the reason your iphone works is because the theories of quantum physics stand up and provide a very good way of PSI to exist.

    As it happens I was always very skeptical, atheistic, but there was a part of me that I suppressed so that I could be that person, I intuitively feel and logically know that the universe is a lot more complex and inexplicable than any one of us can understand. These pseudo skeptics are saying that you should not believe in anything that reductionist, materialist science states, but that to me throws away vast amounts of data. If you throw away data because it doesn’t fit in with your beliefs you are not being a skeptic or a scientist, you are being a fundamentalist and they are rarely any fun.

    For some good research and evidence into remote viewing, check out the books of Russell Targ, who was recruited by the US military for thirty years to study its applications, which he did successfully and repeatedly. He also help develop the laser so he’s hardly a quack.

    Good luck to all of you in your search for the truth.

  65. 65 Oo December 11, 2011 at 2:40 am

    Nyarlathotep:

    This analysis is major wrong. Thus Sandoval only based arguments in simple opinions. Whats the logic? The logic not only simple made seudoarguments based in unique book of logic fallacies.
    Please Nyaralothep this argument:

    “Please try to read Sandoval with your brain in logical mode
    “Por favor, trate de leer Sandoval con su cerebro de modo lógico.”

    …is a simple trick straw man argument, and free argument.
    Second: The analysis of Sandoval is incoherent whit dates of day now. For example, in the homeopathy the evidence has incrementede, the old dogma of avogrado number is an fallacy ad-nauseaum.

  66. 66 O.o v2.0 February 19, 2012 at 1:36 am

    Yes the sandoval “analysis” is a unique characteristics of pseudoskeptik philosophy, the treat in Sandoval analysis as know who pseudo refutation.
    Explain!: Sandoval based referencies in logic and philosophy books, the problem whit this is simple: Sandoval never has cited real time studies, true refutations or major evidence. NO, ¡Sandoval restringed ar use only the logic! Its result in the large moment absurd, the uses excess of the logic of Sandoval is ad-nauseaum pseudo skeptik arguments.
    Finally Sandoval not arguments, the only uses is false positive tricks and treats.

  67. 67 Show me the science... November 3, 2013 at 3:09 am

    I agree with @Winston, completely. Thank you Winston for starting your website and your interpretations are spot on. My issues are, if they are such ardent examples or authorities on what is science, why do the majority of these skeptics not have any education in any hard sciences? Why do they tend to attract those in the “soft sciences/pseudoscience” such as psychology (not a “real” science…more akin to pseudoscience); or even in areas of medicine which denote both having to understand the logical as well as the empathetic/emotional well-being of others, which would be the case with Harriet Hall over at Michael Shermer’s publication…?

    James Randi as you have used in your example (using your own logical fallacy – “example” of “truthiness” and all that is “holy” in skepticism) is a Magician (?!?) How does qualify him to really evaluate any science (hard or even soft)?? With Michael Shermer, he only has a graduate Ph.D. in the HISTORY of Science, so he’s not even an actual research scientist nor does he even work in any type of lab (don’t believe he ever did to even obtain this degree). His undergraduate degree was again pseudoscientific psychology. So was his master’s degree in “Experimental Psychology”…

    Are you aware of the amount of academic fraud that has been published because of these types of people in “sciences” and how much of it has been retracted simply because of their profoundly delayed interpretation of reality? Alternatively, do you even understand how much damage these people have done? I do. Maybe you should be too. As Peter Higgs pointed out, the majority of these people are just plain “Skeptical Fundamentalists”.
    It has become quite evident that these pseudoscientific delayed interpreters of reality have hijacked the term “Skeptic” both for their own selfish needs and to dictate social control; that is a huge issue, one in which they are well aware of. That is why they do it and why they only attack common sense type of debunking that the majority of us already understand and they always steer clear of any “hard science” because the majority have no education or experience in any of these fields, including James Randi Magician extraordinaire. If you were to ask an actual scientist or research scientist, they would have a very different interpretation of reality.

    So if you are going debunk anything of value then you too must stick to the credence of “reproducible reality”, that is what ALL “hard science” is about. However, within “reality” you will first need to prove what this is though, I believe S. James Gates was on the right track…Until then, stop supporting these trumped delayed interpreters and the fundamentalists from either end of the spectrum, if it does exist, then it –must-. I know somewhat Hegelian in philosophy but if your science (“reproducible reality”) can debunk that, SHOW ME. ;P

  68. 68 Show me the science... November 3, 2013 at 3:35 am

    Oh by the way, fix your website, it’s atrocious! Now back to the lab to diddle around amongst the particles spit out from the giant server out there *points that dictates reality.

    Perhaps one day, you will “hack” the code and reproduce something original so we all don’t have to repeat this crap over and over and over again…(ad infinitum…!)

    And for the love of *insert-deity-belief-system-paranormal/aliens?!-whatever-HERE* Shut up already. Stop bullying people online with nonsense labels such as, “kooky”.

    If you’re that concerned about labelling “kooky”, go study a pseudoscience such as psychology, purchase the DSM-V (is that the volume we’ve all been assaulted by nonsense from as of late?) and throw poor @Winston’s brilliant interpretative website of your logical fallacies, on Axis II, under Schizotypal or Schizoid PD. To which @Winston might then have to label you under Axis II with NPD (Narcissism!!!) Feel free to add the rest of the crew over at Skeptic Magazine, @Winston :)

    Whatever the hell that means…Or if it even has any relevance in any profound interpretation of human experience/existence, or even how we mingle in your only interpretation of an only *science-y reality*. Then, feel free to run amok spouting pseudoscience from your deep faux rhetoric of pathos/logos/ethos of, “That’s not science! It’s kooky!”…Gah.


  1. 1 Opening up to Opposing Viewpoints « Struck by Enlightning Trackback on December 16, 2009 at 4:03 pm

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