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Old November 12 2010, 03:37 PM   #1
Mal
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Babylon 5 Telepath Wars, this is how it starts...

For those of you who've read the Telepath Trilogy, this won't come as too much of a surprise. As the first book's burb reads:

The year is 2115. Shock waves follow in the wake of astonishing news: science has proven the existence of telepaths.
In the book, it turns out that suddenly, out of the blue, in those randomized psychology experiments, there suddenly emerge genuine, bona fide telepaths.

Well, it's all fun and games, until this shit gets real:

knowledge of unpredictable future events ... the fringe phenomenon is about to get a mainstream airing: a paper providing evidence for its existence has been accepted for publication by the leading social psychology journal.

What's more, sceptical psychologists who have pored over a preprint of the paper say they can't find any significant flaws


Begun, the Telepath Wars, have.
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Old November 12 2010, 06:54 PM   #2
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Re: Babylon 5 Telepath Wars, this is how it starts...

Some skepticism would serve you well.
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Old November 12 2010, 07:00 PM   #3
Admiral_Young
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Re: Babylon 5 Telepath Wars, this is how it starts...

^ Some humor would serve you well.
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Old November 12 2010, 07:09 PM   #4
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Re: Babylon 5 Telepath Wars, this is how it starts...

It's not a bad paper actually, but I suspect what will eventually come out of it is that it's evidence of a psychological quirk - that the people remembering words are drawn through some psychological/cultural bias to remember/predict the words that the person randomly choosing later will pick.

(I say this, mind you, as a guy who, when once tested with Zener cards, consistently identified not the card being "transmitted" but the *next* card in the pack, through a whole pack... But if that was a sign of reading the future, how come my lottery picks never come up?)
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Old November 12 2010, 07:16 PM   #5
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Re: Babylon 5 Telepath Wars, this is how it starts...

^Yes, it would be useful if they said how the 'random' words were determined. Still, what ever the final results, this is an interesting approach to testing the subject matter.
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Old November 16 2010, 05:32 AM   #6
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Re: Babylon 5 Telepath Wars, this is how it starts...

Hyperspace05 wrote: View Post
Some skepticism would serve you well.
how many papers until you believe?
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Old November 16 2010, 05:42 AM   #7
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Re: Babylon 5 Telepath Wars, this is how it starts...

Mal wrote: View Post
Hyperspace05 wrote: View Post
Some skepticism would serve you well.
how many papers until you believe?
How about we start with more than one? I do not subscribe to the "someone blogged/posted/e-mailed it so it must be true" philosophy. (I'm not saying you do either, but it seems rather popular these days) The phrase "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" springs to mind.

I am quite certain that we do not understand the universe as well as we think we do. But every paradigm shift requires something substantial. And that means something more than this... And lets just say that this is not the first claim of this kind.
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Old November 16 2010, 09:55 AM   #8
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Re: Babylon 5 Telepath Wars, this is how it starts...

Hyperspace05 wrote: View Post
Some skepticism would serve you well.
Indeed.

Until I hear it is real on the EXCELLENT "Skeptic's Guide To The Universe" podcast(look it up on itunes - it is GREAT!), I WILL NOT believe it!
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Old November 16 2010, 04:02 PM   #9
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Re: Babylon 5 Telepath Wars, this is how it starts...

Mal wrote: View Post
social psychology journal

sceptical psychologists
There is your problem right there. Psychology and sociology and history lack the mathematical rigor of the physical sciences.

This is probably another pile of poodoo cooked up by some crackpot psychologist looking desperately for his next grant.

And a brief google search of the apparent principal author, Daryl Bem indicates he has been out to try and "prove" or manipulate the data into proving psychics do exist since at least the 90s.
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Old November 16 2010, 04:05 PM   #10
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Re: Babylon 5 Telepath Wars, this is how it starts...

Hyperspace05 wrote: View Post
The phrase "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" springs to mind.
Actually, that's a phrase I really hate, even as a skeptic- proof is proof. Yes or no, it's proved or it isn't. The "extraodinary proof" phrase really sounds like you have more than prove something, and that immediately gives the flimflam artists an excuse to say "well we could prove it but the other side always changes the goalposts"...

Any claim requires proof, end of. Not extraordinary proof because there is no ordinary or extraordinary proof - you've proved it or you haven't.
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Old November 16 2010, 08:02 PM   #11
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Re: Babylon 5 Telepath Wars, this is how it starts...

Lonemagpie wrote: View Post
Hyperspace05 wrote: View Post
The phrase "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" springs to mind.
Actually, that's a phrase I really hate, even as a skeptic- proof is proof. Yes or no, it's proved or it isn't. The "extraodinary proof" phrase really sounds like you have more than prove something, and that immediately gives the flimflam artists an excuse to say "well we could prove it but the other side always changes the goalposts"...

Any claim requires proof, end of. Not extraordinary proof because there is no ordinary or extraordinary proof - you've proved it or you haven't.
No, the phrase makes perfect sense. You have someone like John Edwards, who claims to "talk" to the dead or something. And yet all the dead he "talks" to are just loved ones with inconsequential bs messages. How about some insight into something that will really prove it. Why do we have no greater insight into the Kennedy assassination? Or any greater insight into any great historical event, with the kind of depth and detail that only someone of that era could provide?

That's the kind of evidence the phrase suggests. Again, if someone truly has "psychic" powers, then they should be able to call out the lottery, or have foreseen great events like 9/11, or the Iraq War, or the financial meltdown, etc, etc, etc....and yet all they can "predict" is the back of a card, and then only rarely and not consistently?

When there's an established, consistent track record of correct events, only then should they be given any credence. Until then, we'll just hear the excuses (goal post moving) of those making the claims.
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Old November 16 2010, 09:04 PM   #12
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Re: Babylon 5 Telepath Wars, this is how it starts...

http://xkcd.com/808/
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Old November 17 2010, 06:01 PM   #13
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Re: Babylon 5 Telepath Wars, this is how it starts...

The Badger wrote: View Post
LOL indeed.
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