Re: Attempt to put Paranormal discussion in context

From: Marcello Mathias Herreshoff (
Date: Sun Jan 01 2006 - 14:45:30 MST

On Sun, Jan 01, 2006 at 11:49:04AM -0500, Richard Loosemore wrote:
> ...
> This is not to say the effect will always be impossible, just that it is
> completely invalid to suggest that BECAUSE parapsychologists cannot
> produce a lottery application, THEREFORE the existence of paranormal
> phenomena is suspect. Isn't there some kind of 2500-year-old rule of
> logical reasoning that says that if A implies B you cannot deduce that
> not-B implies not-A?
> ...

Just to clarify, this rule actually says that if you know that A implies B
then you *can and must* deduce that not-B implies not-A.

For example, the statement "If it is raining the sidewalk gets wet." implies
that "If the sidewalk is dry it must not be raining.", because, if it were
raining, the sidewalk would have been wet instead.

For the same reason, if the statment "If psi phenomena are real then a psychic
would be able to win a lottery" is true, then "If no psychic can win a
lottery, then psi phenomena are not real" has to be true.

I haven't heard of any psychic (or group of psychics working togeather)
winning a lottery, and they have more than enough motivation to do so.
Further, I'm prerry sure that if psi were real, people would be able to
predict lotteries. If not, why the arbitrary restrictions? They make
matters more complicated than they need to be! By Occam's Razor, I must
weight the hypothesis of psi-with-special-lottery-exemption, or for that
matter psi-with-a-whole-set-of-related-exceptions-including-lotteries as much
less probable than I rate the hypothesis of psi itself.

Therefore, the fact that psychics win lotteries no more frequently than
anybody else is indeed very strong evidence against psi phenomena being real.

-=+Marcello Mathias Herreshoff

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