Re: Science and Nonsense

From: justin corwin (
Date: Sat Dec 31 2005 - 17:23:37 MST

On 12/31/05, Richard Loosemore <> wrote:
> 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.

Well I appreciate the effort, to elevate the discussion, certainly,
but that's not exactly what I meant. It's true that you've been much
more polite and referenced far more places to look for third-party
confirmation, but that doesn't make the discussion much more
scientific. More grounded, perhaps more scholarly. But what was
entirely opaque to me, was what the actual fact or process being
supposedly argued was supossed to be?

In my eyes the whole discussion was a rather over-ambitious and hence
useless pissing match attempting to ESTABLISH somehow the
existence/non-existence of "psi"in general. The fact that you were
being more polite about it doesn't make things any better, for my
view. Arguing for a whole category is strange and certainly not

> 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: <snip list/>
> You described this as a "poor reception". I don't think so.

Well John K Clark is a blunt fellow certainly, personally I've always
appreciated the agressive intellectually macho tone around here, but
it can get in the way. My impression again was that the "discussion"
consisted of tennis-ball assertions, and the fact that you were much
more "polite" and injured isn't relevant unless it bears on the facts
of the argument,,i.e. "you are wrong because you suck" is ad hominem
and poor arguing, whereas "you are wrong because X, and you suck" is
merely being rude, and not actually covered by list rules.

I'm willing to bite here, although I'm confident about the question of
psi, but I'm interested in why a self-described scientist like
yourself,who seems measured and intelligent, (if a little huffy) would
spend so much energy defending such matters in this context.

> 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.

Well this would be where you may, if you wish, make this a more
scientific discussion. Are you proposing any factor, which falls under
the rubric of "psi" and is thus scientifically unrecognized, which has
implications for an AI researcher like myself? And that being the
case, is there a way we can determine if this is so?

Justin Corwin

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