Skepticism, the Scientific Method, & Logic
- Beware Pseudo-Skepticism – by Peebrain
A comprehensive review of the James Randi $1 Million Paranormal Challenge, including logs of actual conversations between Peebrain and JREF. It’s not as up-front and honest as it seems.
- Parapsychology or Psionics? – by Rainsong
Notes that the primary between parapsychology and psionics is that parapsychology is concerned with how psi works and testing it rigorously scientifically, while psionics is concerned with the practical aspects of how to get psi to work consistently. Explains the basics of how research is done and papers published in the scientific community. Includes recommendations for books from both disciplines.
- Overcoming Doubt in Psi – by DarthPato (aka WStyler)
An article on self-skepticism, and breaking it. Includes links to some information from a skeptic’s website, the Boundary Institute (Note: while the page is no longer available, information can be found on the study here), and a scientific paper on whether or not psi exists by Dr. Daryl J. Bem. Tells the author’s own personal battle with skepticism and self-doubt and gives pointers on how to get rid of it. Explains the barriers beginners face with self-doubt.
- Guide to Making a Good Theory – by Confuded
A bit of a rant about how to arrive at the semi-coherent beginnings of a hypothesis.
- Science and Logic – by Stolide Demens
Explains what the scientific method is and gives an example of a psionics-related experiment. Addresses the basics of logic and logical fallacies, as well as the difference between correlation and causation. Notes that it is important to pay attention to statistical significance when doing experiments in psionics.
- Dangerous Thoughts – by Peebrain
Explains how theories that require belief in order to work are dangerous–any failure is automatically attributed to the believer not believing well enough, rather than to a short-coming of the theory. Gives several examples.
- Psionics: Breaking the Cycle – by Float
The beginning of an unfinished series intended to explain the author’s changing perspectives on psionics. Includes thoughts on the shortcomings of the OEC and its methods, how the labels for different abilities lead people to assume they are not related to each other, and how logic can only show what is logical about psionics not what is necessarily true. Also notes that psions try to explain psionic experiences in terms of what they know, often using scientific or computer-related terms when these are at best only metaphor, and then reject the explanations of anyone else who uses different terms even though their ideas might be just as valid.
- The Greatest Danger – by Albalida
Illustrates how lack of discernment leads to being a fluffbunny and warns against gullibility and acting on fluffy beliefs. Explains how a fluffy skeptic is different from a true skeptic, how a “traditionalist fluffbunny” believes only what the “famous” psions believed and will not accept any new ideas, how an “armchair psion” writes tutorials based only on theories they have never tried, and how role-player fluffbunnies believe everything is psionic instead of examining their experiences to see what is actually happening. Provides a list of questions for thinking critically and fairly about new ideas, and urges psions to think for themselves.
- How to NOT Practice Psi – by Kobok
Explains how some techniques for learning to make psiballs encourage biofeedback rather than actual energy manipulation, how using your hands when practicing psychokinesis can prevent you from developing actual control over the ability, and how frontloading during scanning practice can result in analytic overlay instead of accurate results. Recommends practice that can be objectively verified.
- Scores to Aim For: Standard Deviations – by Skywind
Explains a bit about what a standard deviation is and what the various scores say about the probability that you affected something with micro-PK.
- Overcoming Mediocre Results – by Peebrain
Explains how one’s mindset and goals when approaching psionics play a large part in whether one achieves mediocre as opposed to notable results. Describes the common phases people go through when learning psionics, and how being creative and taking personal responsibility for one’s practice is crucial. Also describes how to be open-minded in a healthy way, and how that can help in psychic development.
- I Don’t Miss PsiPog – by Sean (aka Peebrain)
Apathetic inactivity is rampant in the OEC (and was in PsiPog as well), with many people talking about doing psionics but very few people actually doing psionics. This article outlines ten ideas for actually doing psionics and contributing in helpful and scientific ways to this new and relatively unexplored field.
- Understanding Probability and Significance – by Peebrain
An introduction to statistics and an explanation of how to determine mathematically whether your results likely happened by chance or if you are succeeding in affecting things psionically. Includes a downloadable program written by Peebrain for calculating odds, but make sure you understand what the program is calculating and how first. If you don’t use the program correctly, it will not give you correct results!
- How to Measure/Verify Your Skills – by Peebrain
Ideas for verifying common psionic skills, including psi balls, shields, precognition, out of body experience, and psychokinesis with a psi wheel.
- Closed-Mindedness: Dealing with Differences – by Thubten Chodron
Close minded people refuse to even consider new ideas. Those who are open minded in a healthy way, intelligently consider new ideas without blindly accepting them right away.
- How to be a Good Skeptic – by Peebrain
Being a skeptic is different from being close minded. A good skeptic realizes that information from people can be fallible and shouldn’t be immediately trusted, yet is willing to consider reasonable proof. Use logic, and don’t stop thinking for yourself.
- A Fallacy Recognition Handbook – by Dr. Michael C. LaBossiere
Gives examples and explanations of valid deductive and inductive arguments, as well as many logical fallacies.
- The Breakdown of Logic – by Peebrain
Explains and illustrates the pitfall of believing things are true simply because they are logical, and how easy it is for the mind to rationalize. Warns against assuming that reality is how one thinks it should be rather than seeing it as it actually is.
- The Basics of Psychokinesis Class Series – by Metalforever
A series of IRC classes focused on beginning psychokinesis on a psiwheel or other small object. Class One and Class Two deal with how to use affirmations, design PK practice sessions, and troubleshoot problems. Class Three covers how to design a PK experiment using the scientific method.
- Brief Look Into Psychology – by Float
Introduces what psychology is and some advances which contributed to modern methods of psychological study. Lists some of the schools of psychology and their differing perspectives, as well as describing the perspective of evolutionary psychology in more detail. Examines anxiety and anxiety-related disorders and contrasts how several of the schools would explain their origins and approach their treatment.
- My Current Understanding, v3.0 – by Peebrain
Briefly describes the the skeptical/cynical model of reality (version 1.0, addressed in detail here), and the intention manifestation model of reality (version 2.0). Explains how the intention manifestation model noticed a strong desire and a sense of knowing the thing would happen and assumed that this caused the success, when it was only correlated with the success. Describes what lead the author to the choice model of reality, what a real choice looks like, how its different from stubbornness, and how it’s the root behind the sense of knowing. Outlines the author’s new strategy for picking lottery numbers based on his new model of reality.
- Pseudoscience – by Peebrain
Lists the pitfalls of studying phenomenon (relying on wild theories instead of personal experience, confirmation bias, and self-deception). Claims that while the second two can usually be overcome with the scientific method, there are some phenomenon that seem to evade discovery when the scientific method is applied, and that these phenomenon are what parapsychology study. Thus, parapsychology is, by definition, pseudoscience, and since the scientific method can’t always be used in the normal way to study the phenomena, new solutions to confirmation bias and self-deception need to be devised.
- Randomness Doesn’t Exist – by Peebrain
A series of three posts on the author’s theory of why randomness does not exist. In part 1 he explains that random results generated by computers are actually pseudo-random and produced via a formula based on a “seed” number chosen from the environment. The author also claims that randomness must not exist in reality either because statistically, no one should win the lottery twice, and yet many people have done so. Thus a different model is needed to explain these events. In part 2 he suggests that what appears to us as randomness is actually the product of conscious choice. In part 3 he ties this into the ideas proposed by the movie The Secret, and proposes that people cling to the idea of randomness because it means they don’t have to deal with uncomfortable implications like why bad things happen in the world.
- Podcast 1 – by NeoPsychic & JediKaren
A recording covering the speakers’ backgrounds and opinions on what psi is, the scientific theories about psi and psionics, why scientific experiments on psi don’t always work, skeptics’ responses to psi, and the difference between psychics and psionics.