Re: Science and Nonsense

From: Richard Loosemore (
Date: Sat Dec 31 2005 - 14:12:27 MST


You have been a little unfair in some of your criticisms.

justin corwin wrote:
> On 12/31/05, Richard Loosemore <> wrote:
>>For anyone who, like me, is really fed up with the recent debate about
>>parapsychology, I want to make some comments about science and nonsense,
>>and also make an announcement.
> I'm not sure if you're just being hyperbolic, or if you actually
> believe the things you're saying here.
> I've noticed, out of the corner of my eye, the discussion going on
> here, and I decided not to become involved in it, but I do want to
> comment on this, the capstone of the debate(seemingly).
> One, you make sweeping statements about the conduct and membership of
> this list, when you have been interacting with largely two people,
> John K Clark, and Jeff Medina. This is silly, and a little insulting
> to the many other members.

Well, if anyone got the impression I was attacking the entire list,
please accept my humble apologies. Justin: please note that I referred
to "the particular individuals who dominate this list" as being the main
culprits .... I chose those words very carefully, in an attempt to
target that minority and not generalise to the whole list. I may not
have succeeded, but I really was trying to be careful. And don't forget
that I was also talking about previous debates that involved different

> Two, the arguments thus far have had very little to do with scientific
> conduct, scientific method, experimental design, etc, so please don't
> try to make it sound more grand. The participants have been slinging
> assertions at each other, in a seeming attempt to find the assertion
> which is uncomfortable enough to silence the other person, there has
> been little to no talk of experiments, no effects or processes posited
> or disproven.

But, this is just not the case. I spent ALL of my considerable effort
trying to point the other participants toward the experimental data,
only to be met with torrents of ad hominem abuse. I also described some
details of an actual experiment that I conducted. Heck, I tried to get
ANYONE to talk about the real research! The abusive behavior was
extremely one sided, and you do me a bit of a disservice to pretend that
it was not.

> Three, most people don't believe in psychic phenomena. I can't imagine
> you haven't encountered that before. The idea that any group is going
> to suddenly accept it because you mention scientific trappings it has,
> and invest it with your personal authority(when to most of us you are
> an abstraction, a name on the internet) is a little weak, and I find
> you getting huffy about a poor reception kind of unbelievable.

Again, this is unfair. I mentioned the serious research that exists,
and that I had done some of it. I and the other serious researchers
were then insulted as "witch doctors", a non-scientific fools,
"third-rate scientists", etc. The careful and thoughtful replies I gave
at the beginning (when I was ignoring the abuse) were then met with
words like:

"psi phenomena [are] one big load of ridicules stinking crap."
"They try to do experiments that will give a more positive psi result,
but they do NOT try to do better experiments. That is not science. That
is Cargo Cult science."
"In truth the “journals” you mentioned above are indeed excellent,
excellent for lining the bottom of your bird cage with."

You described this as a "poor reception". I don't think so.

> Finally, this is SL4. In case you haven't noticed, nearly no one is
> participating in this argument, likely because it's not interesting to
> them. If psi phenomena had robust theories that had effects on
> ultratechnology of any stripe(remote viewing for example, supposedly
> gives the user the ability to percieve anything at any scale, when I
> read about it I immediately thought of nanotechnology and MEMS) it
> would be a better topic.

The subject came up in the context of consciousness and free will. It
is a valid question to ask whether parapsychology has relevance to the
contruction of AGI systems.

Richard Loosemore

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