Re: The influence of

From: Olie L (
Date: Mon Jan 02 2006 - 21:31:15 MST

Funny as goat-psi-factor investigations might seem, I would think that some
investigation into the parapschological capacities of nonhumans would be
highly appropriate for a "respectable parapsychologist."

_IF_ any parapsychological phenomena were observable in humans, would it not
be appropriate to investigate which animals have similar capacities? It
would be an unfounded assumption to believe that such capacities would be
limited to humans.

One can imagine that even minor parapsychological influence would have a
distinct evolutionary advantage. Although parapsychological abilities
/could/ be linked to the encephalisation of humans, such abilities could
just as easily be linked to other brain parts that are not more developed in

I can think of some experimental setups that might detect parapsychological
influence arising from goats, dogs, rats... it might be trickier with
non-domesticated animals. Could domestication have influence?

Now, as soon as I can raise funding for respectable scientific research into
performing investigations to test the veracity of claims of the effects of
homeopathy, bio-dynamism, astrology, and various pure-energy sources*, I'll
see what I can do to start performing some parapsych research on Goats

* If you don't believe that respectable science can be done in these fields,
you don't understand science, you "Believe in Science!"

-- Olie

(Oh, another thing on psych and gambling - surely if ever there was an
environment capable of interfering with positive parapsycological influence,
it would be gambling dens and casinos. Such emptiness and mis-strewn hope
have I never seen elsewhere.)

>From: Mike Dougherty <>
>Subject: Re: The influence of skeptics [WAS Re: no more lottery talk]
>Date: Mon, 2 Jan 2006 22:41:54 -0500
>I know you explained the sheep-goats phenomenon in an earlier email, but I
>had to laugh when I pictured researchers trying to examine the psi factor
>a goat.
>On 1/2/06, Richard Loosemore <> wrote:
> >
> >
> > I will say this without meaning to be at all condescending or impolite,
> > but you have made an enormously straightforward Experimental Design 101
> > mistake here (and Michael Shermer, if he is referring to this particular
> > case, is even more guilty of doing so).
> >
> > If someone is able to influence an experiment in such a way was to make
> > the number of hits consistently below chance, they are doing something
> > just as paranormal as someone who makes them come out above chance. If
> > psi is not real, neither the sheep nor the goats should be able to have
> > *any* consistent effect on the number of hits!
> >
> > They give these kinds of problems to first year psychology
> > undergraduates to trick them, in their statistical design of experiments
> > classes.
> >
> > Richard Loosemore
> >
> >
> > BillK wrote:
> > > On 1/2/06, Richard Loosemore wrote:
> > >
> > >>More generally, though, it is difficult for me to pick one reference
> > >>this: if you go to the literature and look up "sheep-goat effect" you
> > >>should find hundreds of examples.
> > >>
> > >
> > >
> > > As Michael Shermer has commented:
> > > "But wouldn't that mean that this claim is ultimately nonfalsifiable?
> > > If both positive and negative results are interpreted as supporting a
> > > theory, how can we test its validity?
> > > Skepticism is the default position because the burden of proof is on
> > > the believer, not the skeptic."
> > >
> > >
> > > BillK
> > >
> > >
> >

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