Bigfoot search illegal, say U.S. park rangers

Guide fined for expedition without permit

Posted: March 28, 2012 at 4:28 a.m.

— Any fees-paid expedition in the Buffalo National River area requires a permit from the federal government.

That includes expeditions to find Bigfoot.

That was the message two National Parks Service rangers had for Matt Pruitt when they found him and 31 other Sasquatch seekers at the Steel Creek campground near Ponca on Feb. 24.

Pruitt explained that he was leading an expedition for The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, which has 24 other expeditions planned for this year in the United States and Canada.

Participants in Pruitt’s Arkansas expedition paid between $300 and $500 to search for Sasquatch, according to a National Parks Service incident report from Chief Ranger Karen Bradford. That basically made Pruitt a “concessionaire,” similar to those who rent canoes or operate other businesses in the park, Bradford said.

The rangers, Billy Bell and Ben Henthorne, cited Pruitt for “engaging in a business without a permit or written agreement,” the report stated.

Pruitt said he paid the $525 fine online Friday.

“I think it was a fairly innocent mistake,” he said. “Atfirst they were very concerned that we were filming, that we were trying to get away with commercial filming without a permit. Once those concerns were satiated, there were other concerns.”

Matt Moneymaker, the founder and director of The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, has a show on the Animal Planet television network called Finding Bigfoot. But none of the cast from the show participated in the Arkansas expedition, and no video cameras were taken on the expedition, Pruitt said.

Bradford said she was concerned about the park’s environment.

“We’re not in this to make a lot of money, but we are in this to protect our resources,” she said. “If he’s got people running around in the park, who knows what they’re doing looking for this elusive creature.”

Normally, the group would have been asked to leave the park, but since some had traveled from far away to look for Bigfoot, the park rangers let them stay, she said.

“There was this kid - it was his birthday present to come and look,” she said.

Seventeen participants on the trip paid a total of $3,650, which went to the organization, said Pruitt, who said he got half that amount, or $1,825, to lead the expedition.

“I lost money on that particular expedition,” he said.

Pruitt said he’ll check with rangers before leading another Bigfoot expedition on National Parks Service land, which is under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Bradford said fees for permits vary depending on use, but Pruitt probably wouldn’t have been granted a permit to lead a Bigfoot hunting expedition in the Buffalo National River area anyway.

“It’s highly unlikely that we would have issued a permit to do that,” she said.

According to the Buffalo National River website, special use permits must be obtained for groups of 26 people or more. Those permits normally cost $150.

“I am not angry in the least,” said Pruitt. “I don’t feel mistreated by the Parks Service. ... It was my neglect.”

Other than the fine, Pruitt said things went well during the Arkansas expedition. Pruitt said he has conducted Bigfoot expeditions in 18 states, and he’d rank Arkansas in the top three for Sasquatch activity.

“There were certainly things that happened that convinced me that there are Sasquatches in the Buffalo River area,” said Pruitt. “We definitely heard sounds that were indicative of Sasquatch. Characteristic vocalizations. Very compelling observations.”

It was also the first time he said he’d seen what could have been a Sasquatch with a thermal imaging device, which uses heat to help detect activity at night.

Northwest Arkansas, Pages 9 on 03/28/2012

"...he’d rank Arkansas in the top three for Sasquatch activity.
“There were certainly things that happened that convinced me that there are Sasquatches in the Buffalo River area,” said Pruitt. “We definitely heard sounds that were indicative of Sasquatch. Characteristic vocalizations. Very compelling observations.”>>

Yes, because there is an entire species of large unknown hominid running around North America, especially Arkansas, and no one seems to be able to catch one or even an unblurry photo of one (never mind a patch of hair, a den, or a bit of poop). If only we had a few hunters out there looking, or people in helicopters!

First person to bring me a Bigfoot gets my house.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

March 28, 2012 at 10:20 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

I'm looking forward to the article that expounds on the signs they found. BS or not...whether you believe it, or don't. It would be a much more interesting article than learning that the group has been fined for being in the Buffalo River area.

There *is* going to be such an article...right....?

Posted by: SPA

March 28, 2012 at 11:41 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

@ Phillip1955, you do have a point. Once one has had a paranormal experience, one has a different point of view. I'm happy to say that I've had several, and a few, with others, therefore, witnesses. We may not know what it was...but it was something odd and unexplainable. Better than reading Stephen King, no offense to Mr. King!

Posted by: SPA

March 28, 2012 at 11:42 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Sharks can detect electrical fields in the water, and butterflies can navigate for 100s of miles over land and sea...So are humans the only critters who are strictly limited by left-brain logic?

Posted by: Coralie

March 28, 2012 at 2:40 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: My days of snarking people who believe... paranormal activity ended when I experienced it.">>

Phillip, my offer of a house as bounty for a Bigfoot (preferably alive) is bona fide, and entirely serious. I don't say things I don't mean and I don't make offers that I will not back up, with binding contract if required.

About ten years ago when there was a string of reports (six) on the local TV news regarding sightings of Bigfoot (he was going around banging on people's mobile homes and then running off, which is very rude), I drew up an oversize check and went on the 40/29 evening news and offered $50,000 to anyone who could bring this annoying fellow in. Then bear season ended and the news reports kind of fizzled. If we are going to get to the bottom of this, there is nothing wrong with offering a considerable incentive to people so they can bring one of these undocumented rapscallions in.

Regarding "paranormal experiences," I "had some" nice ones myself and I've been studying the issue since about 1980. For the last 12 years or so, through the Fayetteville Freethinkers, I have offered rewards for $1,000 - $10,000 for a demonstration of paranormal activity under proper observing test conditions. We have conducted hundreds of tests. All of them fail, no exceptions. Whether I personally believe something paranormal is or could be going on (ESP, levitation, prediction, astral travel, telekinesis, whatever), is immaterial (I don't). I am interested in having my beliefs inline with what is true, and if there is a tribe of Bigfoot living in Arkansas, I very much want to believe that. If someone believes they have a paranormal ability, I am very much interested in helping them confirm it, or not, if the case may be. Of course, regarding unexplained "just so" stories, we all have those.

I spent years invested in belief in these things (and had a huge library) but then stumbled upon methods of critical thinking and how to examine these things rigorously, skeptically, to see if they are actually true or if perhaps we could be fooling ourselves. While magicians have known for centuries how easy it is to fool other people, folks often don't realize it is even easier to fool yourself. Magicians have been at the forefront of helping people to learn how this happens, for a very long time (i.e. Houdini).


Posted by: fayfreethinker

March 29, 2012 at 12:24 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: "I don't know all there is to know, but I know I don't know all that isn't.">>

We can't confirm all that is not, but that doesn't mean we should hold back from confirming what is. One can't prove the negative that something has not or cannot occur, but one can show that when a certain claim is tested, it fails, every time. After awhile it starts to look like the claim is not correct, and may be an error in thinking or an illusion. After over a century of careful testing, this is the current case with paranormal claims. Consider for instance, the example of Susan Blackmore:

PH: "Have you ever tried to find a Bigfoot?">>

The notion that there is an undiscovered hominid running around North America, is preposterous and I make no apology for saying this plainly. Produce a Bigfoot, receive a nice home in Fayetteville on .75 acre, clear title. If you think you have a paranormal power/gift that can be replicated in any way shape or form, I would be pleased to discuss how we could go about confirming it and advancing our understanding of the world while simultaneously becoming famous.

"I'm not a skeptic because I want to believe, I'm a skeptic because I want to know." --Michael Shermer

Posted by: fayfreethinker

March 29, 2012 at 12:26 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

CORALIE: "Sharks can detect electrical fields in the water, and butterflies can navigate for 100s of miles over land and sea...">>

Forgive me if I am misunderstanding what you are saying but... you need new examples if this is the God of the Gaps argument (the precise name for this fallacy is: argumentum ad ignorantiam or "appeal to ignorance"). See:

When we have a gap in knowledge, it has always been tempting to stuff a god or a supernatural sprite of some sort into that gap. But this is not useful in a search for truth for two reasons:

a) a supernatural "explanation" has no explanatory power and thus explains nothing
b) it retards progress and gives a false illusion of answering something when it doesn't

All supernatural "explanations" are intellectual dead ends and only create a bigger mystery. If a child at a magic show asks how a trick is done, is it an answer to say "magic?" No, because "magic" isn't an answer, it's an evasion that contains no explanatory power.

Regarding your examples: That sharks can detect electrical fields in water isn't too surprising, how birds and butterflies can navigate for thousands of miles is a much more interesting mystery (now apparently solved).

Now imagine if we had just sat back and went with the "right-brain" thinkers who postulated it was something mysterious? We did that for thousands of years, and we let the priests tell us how the world works. And all of their answers, were wrong. Better, scientists went to work on this interesting puzzle and it was in just December's issue of Scientific American that our current progress is explained:

"Magnetic Sense Shows Many Animals the Way to Go" [Preview]
Animals' magnetic sense is real. Scientists are zeroing in on how it works

Want to see a nice magic trick? Enjoy:

Posted by: fayfreethinker

March 29, 2012 at 12:29 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Here's an easy way to solve the problem: burn the Buffalo National Forest to the ground, by use of napalm or other conventional incendiaries.

Then, look for Sasquatch remains while carrying out the ashes of the bigfoot hunters stupid enough to have paid for the tour.

Posted by: CaptainQuint

March 29, 2012 at 12:55 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Keep your house, that sounds like my ex brother in law.

Posted by: Oldearkie

March 29, 2012 at 7:53 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Phillip: " I hate to group you with James Randi,">

Please do. Our prize has always been patterned after his. He knows of our offer and I have talked with him regarding specifics of our tests.

PH: "he made the same bet:">

Not a bet, not past tense, currently does. He has offered a reward since 1964, and the current $1 million offer has been in place for over a decade. See:

PH: "prove under laboratory conditions that paranormal phenomenon exists... pay $1M">>

No laboratory required, just basic, common sense observing conditions agreed upon by both parties in advance.

PH: "Several... with psychic talents spoke to him about the offer">>

Hundreds of people have come forward to be tested under contract, not "talked with him." The process is straightforward and easy to understand. Applications are here:

PH: "each time he made modifications to his requirements">>

You are repeating unsubstantiated nonsense you've heard on the internet. There are no modifications to the contracts which are signed and legally binding. Here's how it goes:

The claimant with some asserted paranormal ability describes what they think they can do. This is the hard part, since those with claims of paranormal powers are often extraordinarily vague about what they can do.

Then, a simple straightforward test, so simply a child could understand it, is put together. The test is done in such a way that the outcome/result is objectively true or false, providing an outcome that does not require subjective interpretation. You either get the word right x amount of times, or not. You either find the under ground water pipe x amount of times, or not.

Both parties agree to the test under written, signed binding contract. I have done many of these myself.

PH: "...[Randi] basically made it impossible for him to lose.">>

Wrong. Again, you are repeating gossip and nonsense spread by those made furious by Randi's offer to pay people if they can do what they claim they can do.

PH: "I'm not saying you're devious in your offer like James Randi,">>

There is nothing devious about his offer. You don't know what you are talking about. Avoid smearing people with claims you can't back up.

PH: "people who challenge someone to force them to believe in...">>

No one is forced to believe in anything. People are given the opportunity to confirm their extraordinary claims and offered a large reward if they can. So far, no one, without exception, can.

PH: "[they]... they want to prove the challenger wrong.">>

"Want" is irrelevant. A claim is made, tested, the outcome is what it is. If someone can indeed do something paranormal, I want to confirm it.

PH: "Save your money for... when a UFO lands on your front lawn...">>

For confirmation of alien contact, with physical evidence, I offer two houses, clear title.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

March 29, 2012 at 3:05 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: "I see dead people. Tell me how you're going to develop a testing protocol to prove that.">>

Hence the problem I already referred to, claims too vague to be falsifiable. There are ways to test this but it will require some specifics to differentiate between actually "seeing dead people" and an "active imagination." That people make unfalsifiable paranormal claims, is to be expected, and rather boring.

PH: "Here's the part that people I've talked to say...">>

Not interested in what you've heard "people say." Don't smear people with claims you can't back up.

PH: "he avoids paying out his offer: nothing is acceptable as proof.">>

You are confused. What is "acceptable as proof," and successful completion of a test, is clearly laid out in the contract in advance. You don't know what you are talking about.

PH: "Who are your "experts" who have specialized knowledge of my claim?">>

"...statisticians, magicians, and others with specialized knowledge relevant to the claim."

Your claim is laid out in the contract you sign before any testing occurs. Make sure it comports exactly with the ability you think you have. Hundreds of examples of these specific exchanges, over the years, are posted here:

PH: "What evidence will you accept,">>

Plainly stated in the agreement, as per your unique claimed abilities.

PH: "what are the proper observing conditons?">


PH: "Tell me how to prove to you that I can see dead people.">>

Tell me how your ability to see dead people differs from a hallucination or active imagination. If your claim is so vague (as you are clearly attempting to make it) as to be unfalsifiable and veridically worthless, it's unlikely your claim is likely to be of interest to adults. Children however, may find them very interesting to hear about when sitting around the campfire.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

March 29, 2012 at 3:48 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Carl Sagan's example is instructive here:

THE CLAIM: "A fire-breathing dragon lives in my garage."

'Show me,' you say.
I lead you to my garage. You look inside and see a ladder, empty paint cans, an old tricycle - but no dragon.
'Where's the dragon?' you ask.
'Oh, she's right here,' I reply, waving vaguely. 'I neglected to mention that she's an invisible dragon.'
You propose spreading flour on the floor of the garage to capture the dragon's footprints.
'Good idea,' I say, 'but this dragon floats in the air.'
Then you'll use an infrared sensor to detect the invisible fire.
'Good idea, but the invisible fire is also heatless.'
You'll spray-paint the dragon and make her visible.
'Good idea, except she's an incorporeal dragon and the paint won't stick.'

And so on. I counter every physical test you propose with a special explanation of why it won't work. Now, what's the difference between an invisible, incorporeal, floating dragon who spits heatless fire and no dragon at all? If there's no way to disprove my contention, no conceivable experiment that would count against it, what does it mean to say that my dragon exits? Your inability to invalidate my hypothesis is not at all the same thing as proving it true. Claims that cannot be tested, assertions immune to disproof are veridically worthless, whatever value they may have in inspiring us or in exciting our sense of wonder. What I'm asking you to do comes down to believing, in the absence of evidence, on my say-so."
--Carl Sagan's *The Demon-Haunted World, Science as a Candle in the Dark* (pg. 171)

Posted by: fayfreethinker

March 29, 2012 at 3:54 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

I said: "Hence the problem I referred to, claims too vague to be falsifiable.">>

PH: "Already wiggling out of it?>>

You really shouldn't be impressed that you are capable of concocting unfalsifiable claims. They are extremely easy to make and accomplish exactly zero. Observe:

"Planets move because invisible angels push them"
"Everyone has 4,000 invisible elves on their shoulders at all times"
"You see dead people but they don't interact with the world in any way."

Boring. Most people who claim to see dead people are also smart enough to give them attributes that interact with the world in some way. If you can't think of any examples I provide some below.

PH: "What part of 'see dead people' don't you understand?">>

All of it. But unless your dead people pass along information or can interact with the world in some way, your claim is unfalsifiable and you are simply making Sagan dragons. Boring.

PH: "I've been told that people who applied for the challenge...">>

That someone told you something accomplishes nothing for your claim. Turn your gullibility knob down just a touch.

PH: "were never able to offer proof that was acceptable,">>

They were mistaken or lying, and passing along misinformation as you are doing now.

PH: "regardless of what was agreed on in advance.">>

What is agreed upon in advance is a legally binding contract and enforceable by law. You can't back up your anecdote because it isn't true.

PH: "That's not a smear, that's a fact.">>

It doesn't follow that something is "a fact" because someone "told you" something. Good grief.

PH: "How does one differentiate between seeing dead people and having an active imagination?">>

By conducting a test.
1) Can you speak with these dead people?
2) Can they communicate with other dead people and pass along privy information?
3) Can they go in a sealed box and identify information?
4) Can they interact with a physical object in any way?

Etc. There are lots of ways. Or you can be obtuse and just keep moving the goal posts for the purpose of making your claim a worthless Sagan dragon.

"...statisticians, magicians, and others with specialized knowledge."

Ph: "Name them.">>

When I put a test together to test a local dowser, I called in U. of A. Psychologist Brian Bolton to calculate the 1/1000 odds for the test. I also talked to Randi, magician, for help on making sure trickery wouldn't be involved.
Claimants can of course engage their own experts to add input as an agreeable proper test is established. This really isn't a mystery just because you haven't thought about these things.


Posted by: fayfreethinker

March 29, 2012 at 7:34 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

[FFT said: "Your claim is laid out in the contract... before any testing occurs. Make sure it comports exactly with the ability you think you have."]

PH: "I see how this works.">>

It's pretty clear you don't. Perhaps you should think about these things before you go on about them in public.

PH: "The degree of specificity is set to make sure it can't be achieved.">>

Wrong. The claimant agrees ahead of time that it in fact can, or the test does not occur. You don't know what you are talking about.

PH: "Tell me the proper phrasing... so you know what I mean when I say "I see dead people.">>

The phrasing is perfectly fine. What is needed is some meat on the bone. Some beef in the burger. Again: do these dead people in interact with the world in any way shape or form? If so, a test can be put together to see if your claim can be established. If they do not, then the utter vapidity of your claim is not only not interesting to others, it's probably not even interesting to you. Get your vision checked.

PH: "You set up the proof so it can't possibly be applied,">>

Actually, that is the role you are trying to play right now, rather lamely. So you have understood the Sagan example exactly backwards.
The claim is made and if it is falsifiable (learn about this here: )

then the test will show that the claim is, in this instance, true.

PH: "Penn has Teller as a mute midget for a sidekick,">>

Raymond Tellor, (who I have met and is a very close friend to Randi), is neither mute (when not acting) nor is he a midget. He's 5 foot 9 inches. See:

You're not much of a detail person, are you Phillip?

PH: "do you have anything [for a sidekick]?">>

Apparently we are doing a ventriloquist bit right now, and you are the puppet on my knee flapping your gums.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

March 29, 2012 at 7:38 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Phillip is trying to pretend these testing issues are not honest or need be overly complex. That's not true at all. Here is a little review of the history our local reward offers.

For over a decade the Fayetteville Freethinkers have offered various rewards (and advertised them in this paper), all of them legitimate and backed by money in the bank.

1) I already mentioned the spat of Bigfoot sightings and our offer of a $50,000 reward to anyone that could bring him in. Bring in this new hominid, get the money.

2) At our Springfest booth we (meaning me) regularly offer a $5,000 cash reward, on the spot, to anyone who can move a little Styrofoam ball three inches (under a glass cover), using only the power of their mind. This is a legitimate offer, move the ball, get the money. We have had people from New Age schools where they supposedly *teach* this skill, give a 15 minute serious attempt.

3) Also, at our booth we offer a $1,000 cash reward to anyone that can discern a word that is hidden in an envelope in a box. Pick your word, write it on the form, I sign to confirm, we open the box, if it's the right word, you get the money (we've had several hundred attempts, new word loaded each time).

4) We have long offered (more than a decade) $1,000 standing reward to anyone who can perform a supernatural/paranormal event under proper observing conditions (as determined by all parties involved, in advance). We had a lady go for this prize based upon her claimed ability to identify the gender of a corpse in a grave using her dowsing rods. We went to a cemetery and she tried her skills on 20 graves where we temporarily hid the gender from her. She claimed 90% accuracy (as most dowsers do) but we only required her to get 16 out of the 20 right (80% accuracy) for her to win the $1,000 which would be handed to her on the spot. Chance along would predict about ten right. She got 9 out of 20 right, less than chance.

I think any one can see that these are rather simple, fair and straightforward tests of paranormal claims people regularly claim to have.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

March 29, 2012 at 7:55 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: Finally you gave me something solid to work with">>

You are the one making the claimed supernatural ability, and thus it is you who needs to come up with something solid to work with (if you are interested in making your claims sound plausible to others).

"1) Can you speak with these dead people?"
PH: "Yes."

Lots of people talk to dead people, the question is, do they talk back? What would make this claim interesting is if it could be shown to differ from just a personal mental experience. Saying something is occurring in your head doesn't show something is going on outside of your head.

PH: "many times there are groups of people from different families...">>

Same as above.

"3) Can they go in a sealed box and identify information?"
PH: "If it was up to me I'd say no."

Scratch that one.

PH: "whether they will or not is impossible for me to say beforehand.">>

Of course.

PH: "I find it insulting,">>

There is probably a good chance "they" will too then.

"4) Can they interact with a physical object in any way?"
PH: "Generally, the answer to your question is yes.">>

Why "generally?" You already said they have, so the answer, is yes.

PH: "I have seen objects move, which proves it can be done,">>

Well, not exactly. People misapprehend nature very, very, often. Especially when the lights are down a bit.

PH: "they're generally indisposed to someone trying to make them prove they exist.">>

But of course.

PH: "I have many friends and acquaintances who have received...">>

Anecdotes and ghost stories have always been very popular and most religions are founded on them, but they don't actually provide anything verifiable, which is perhaps why they are so popular. I can say that yesterday I said the words "ice cream" and a tasty ice cream cone appeared before me, but this would be a claim that is conveniently not testable in anyway. All anecdotes suffer from this. About 250 years ago Hume pointed this out:

"no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous, than the fact, which it endeavors to establish;...
When anyone tells me, that he saw a dead man restored to life, I immediately consider with myself, whether it be more probable, that this person should either deceive or be deceived, or that the fact, which he relates, should really have happened. I weight the one miracle against the other; and according to the superiority, which I discover, I pronounce my decision, and always reject the greater miracle. If the falsehood of his testimony would be more miraculous, than the event which he relates; then, and not till then, can he pretend to command my belief or opinion."
--David Hume


Posted by: fayfreethinker

March 29, 2012 at 9:52 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: "Two examples:...">>

Anecdotes are not going to demonstrate anything to someone wanting to confirm something. Ever.

PH: "two examples of literally hundreds.">>

Of course. Numbers don't help here. Humans are very imaginative and prolific with their stories. Always have been.

PH: "If you were open to the possibility...">>

I am open to any possibility that can be demonstrated, but as I said, I have been looking at these things carefully for 32 years. After a while, a pattern emerges. And it is very consistent. Later on I learned that these seance type claims are ancient and how people trick themselves into believing in them has been well understood for centuries.

PH: "it sounds like you're a die-hard skeptic.">>

I'll follow the truth where ever it leads. Anecdotes aside, you might notice you haven't specifically claimed an ability that differs from a person having an internal mental experience. And these other entities you claim to experience are rather uncooperative in any specific interaction.

PH: "Your mind is already made up,">>

My opinion is not irrelevant. Either one can show they are having an experience going on with something outside of their head, or their claims are vague enough to go in the garage with Sagan's Dragon. It's looking like the latter, but perhaps you will think of something specific that would be falsifiable (falsifiable is a good thing).

PH: "I wouldn't take your house from you...">>

The house was never offered for spooks confirmed. But Mr. Randi will certainly give you his million. Your claim is very popular, ancient and how you have set it up with lack of specificity, entirely normal.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

March 29, 2012 at 9:55 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: "You and Randi are more alike than I realized.">>

Thank you for the compliment (although you've revealed you don't know anything about Randi other than anonymous smears you can't support).

PH: "You both pretend to be open to the concept of paranormal phenomenon,">>

No, we both offer substantial rewards to people who will demonstrate the ability to do, what they already claim they can do. This is appropriate.

PH: "every single example given to you is dismissively waved away.">>

Anecdotes are not demonstration. See my ice cream example, see the David Hume reference.

PH: "You demand proof...">>

Not at all. We simply offer the *opportunity* to back up claimed abilities, with demonstration. Participation is voluntary, and free.

PH: "[you] never seem to find an acceptable level of it,">>

Not true. The "acceptable level" is easy enough for a child to understand and agreed upon in advance.
--For the discern the word test, discern the word.
--For the move the ball test: move the ball.
--For the bring in Bigfoot challenge, bring in Bigfoot.
It's not clear how this could be made more simple.

PH: "ensuring you'll never find it and suffer the humiliation of [being] wrong.">>

Not true. And again, opinion is irrelevant. The science doesn't care what you believe or what I believe. Honest people go with the test results. Feynman put it this way:

"If it disagrees with experiment it is wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. It does not make any difference how beautiful your guess is. It does not make any difference how smart you are, who made the guess, or what his name is – if it disagrees with experiment it is wrong. That is all there is to it."

Those claiming to be spirit mediums usually know better than to go near tests of their claims, and it can make them furious to consider it. This is the demonstration we are seeing now.

PH: "I don't think.... you are so motivated by curiosity...">>

The motivation is to educate people about how the world works and increase our knowledge. A side benefit is to educate people how to not get ripped off or have their emotions yanked around by a person pretending to talk to their dead relatives while peddling a centuries old table tipping, toe tapping, spirit medium trick. How spirit mediums "work" has been know for a very long time.


Posted by: fayfreethinker

March 30, 2012 at 10:44 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: "[I don't think] you'd be willing to give away large sums of money or property...">>

Well, as usual, you're wrong. The contracts I refer to are legally binding. Let me know if you would like to enter into one today (go to Perhaps you can find a spirit who can cooperate to discern a simple word in a box and win a $1,000 for a worthy cause. Or perhaps something more simple. Randi once did his word test with a professional psychic for the $1M prize. The fellow discerned "intuition," the answer was "black." I've done this test, under contract, in public, over many years, perhaps 200 times. Sometimes the truth is just really simple. People can't magically discern a word hidden in a box. Big surprise!

PH: "skeptics motivations have nothing to do with proving anything,">>

Not true.

PH: "superior their intellect">>

One doesn't need a superior intellect to put together straightforward tests. I have a high school education with no formal science training. What one needs is the courage to consider whether their beliefs, usually based upon emotions, may not be true.

PH: "compared to "those ignorant people and their supersititions.">>

You could always try making up words that I didn't say and putting them in my mouth. But that wouldn't be honest. Would it be safe to say, when you do your performance, you have some experience with putting words in other peoples mouths? Yes I think so.

PH: "Your schtick is no different than the ring toss at a county fair,">>

Now you are projecting. I think readers are well aware the spirit medium "schtick" has long been a favorite at the country fair. Perhaps you should have picked an insult that doesn't line up so perfectly with your gig.

PH: "the rings are made to just the right size so they won't drop...">>

Yes, but that doesn't apply to our tests. Discern the word, as per the contract, in front of dozens of witnesses, win the prize. How is that test a dishonest trick Phillip? I know how your trick works. Should I tell?

PH: "Take your hustle somewhere else - we're on to you.">>

The hustler here is the one pretending to have special powers that conveniently evaporate and become invisible weightless dragons when someone comes along with the unmitigated audacity ask for evidence.

Talking to dead people, one of the oldest carnival tricks of all. It was really big in the 1840's. See a little background here:

Posted by: fayfreethinker

March 30, 2012 at 10:49 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Well, all this is very interesting but to answer you, FFT, concerning my comment about the sensing abilities of other animals. My point was that some of what is called ESP in humans is not at all supernatural but is analagous to animal abilities to sense electromagnetic energy.
I'm specifically speaking about telepathy. Not really interested in Bigfoot. Have no experiences with seances.
I'm not at all trying to defend the "supernatural" but suggesting that maybe we are drawing the boundaries too narrowly, at least as far as telepathy is concerned. It's OK, it's 'science' if you can move objects with your mind in the lab:
But to posit that maybe minds can sense other minds, why that's just plain crazy!


Posted by: Coralie

March 30, 2012 at 2:34 p.m. ( | suggest removal )


Although fft's challenges are promoted in a skeptical tone, they are bona fide efforts to encourage the scientific presentation of evidence in support of extranormal phenomena. Columbus, and Lewis and Clark, would not have gone anywhere if they had not received funding for the trip.

RE Yellowstone, Galileo and Columbus--
Yes, these ideas were considered heretical or ridiculous, but they all pertained to physical phenomena that were easily verified once scientific attention was directed to them. This is not the case with psychic phenomena, and it hasn't yet proven to be the case with Bigfoot, physical phenomenon though he might be.

The expectation that evidence of the extranormal be subjected to the same rigorous scientific scrutiny as other evidence is in no way a refusal to acknowledge proven fact, as you suggest. However many anecdotes you assemble, there is, as yet, no scientific proof that ESP, telepathy or telekinesis exist.

If you appreciate the fact that we know that the earth is nearly spherical and is not the center of the universe, and if you are glad that Yellowstone is known as one of the world's most amazing places, then you shouldn't show such resentment of, and resistance to, scientific study of the extranormal.

Posted by: AlphaCat

March 30, 2012 at 4:38 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

@ Phillip1955, I'd like to hear about your experiences. I know what you mean about others' experiences that match with yours when you've not said anything to them about it.

For myself, I really do not care if there are others who do not believe in unexplainable phenomenon. It makes the world a more interesting place, to me, and I know what I have experienced. ESP, for one thing, and telepathic dreams. Other things too, over the years.

When you have been to the mountain, you don't have to try to convince others that the mountain exists. They can believe it or not. I don't care and it doesn't bother me; it's their loss. You and I both know that. So too, others.

Posted by: SPA

March 30, 2012 at 4:45 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: "No amount of logic, bluster, bravado,">>

You've provided lots of bluster and bravado, but where is the "logic" in accepting your extraordinary claims upon no evidence beyond your mere say so? There is none.

PH: "the only reason you're doing this is to promote your ego,...">>

Let's see, you are the one claiming to have the superpower of being a human receiver for the entire spiritual realm of dead people, and a person who who has the audacity, the unmitigated gall to not accept this without some evidence, is the person with an "ego?" You have it backwards.

PH: I can think of two things that would cause [this]">>

Then you don't have much of an imagination. We're not in a seance where you can just make things up and people will go "woooooo....".

[snip psychological analysis of my childhood based upon imaginary, false, strawman assertions].

PH: "abusive father who never acknowledged his son...">>

I have a great relationship with my father, always have. So a swing and a miss. If you make enough guesses, you'll get something right. Just like when you perform.

PH: [Randi] was a frequent guest [on shows].">>

He still is. When I was chatting with him at his The Amazing Meeting 8 a few years ago (1,300 in attendance), he had to step away to do a media interview.

PH: "He's very seldom seen these days, however.">>

For an 83 year old fellow who recently recovered from abdominal cancer, he keeps a very busy schedule of lectures, articles (each issue of Skeptic magazine) and media appearances. To complain that a person in their eighties slows down a bit, is a rather shallow shot but I am sure you can go lower.

PH: "His contorted attempts to explain away sightings of things like UFOs">>

As usual, you forget to back up your claim with any substance whatsoever. The UFO community has been on life support for years, and for very good reason. I'll let Sagan explain why (course, you could ask him directly):

"I would love it if there were aliens here, even if they are a little short, sullen, grumpy, and sexually preoccupied. So, if they are harbingers of an advanced civilization and they're here for heaven's sake, let's find out about them. My mind is open.
...People make mistakes, people misapprehend natural phenomena, people look for attention, money, or fame. People sometimes experience alternative states of consciousness--hallucinations are very common in all human beings, including normal people. And with that as the background, to really believe one of these cases you need really good physical evidence. And there is none." --Carl Sagan, March/April '95 issue of Skeptical Inquirer. (pg.52).


Posted by: fayfreethinker

March 30, 2012 at 5:49 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: "now people don't call on James Randi much anymore.">>

As usual, you speak about things you have no knowledge of. I can provide you many examples refuting your claim if you like. But it's not really relevant to anything other than skeptics, people who ask for evidence, annoy you.

PH: "Pardon me if I seem impolite,">>

Not at all, if you had something of substance to say about these things you would be able to address points directly and put together a post of something besides made up insults.

PH: "you share a lot more with James Randi than you acknowledge.">>

Thanks again.

PH: "Have you considered putting up a booth at the county fair?">>

Had you been paying attention to the comments in this thread you would already know that I have made reference to this several times.

PH: "midget... Like a Penn and Teller.">>

Raymond Teller is 5 foot 9 inch. It really would be a breath of fresh air if when you make a mistake you would acknowledge your error, so one can see that you can learn new things.

PH: "people would see [what you do] it for what it is.">>

What we have done at our Springfest booth for nigh a decade, is teach the kiddies and public how to do simple straightforward scientific tests of paranormal claims so they don't grow up and not be swindled by the legion of people who, for instance, claim to be able to speak to their dead relatives.

If you want to get the mean old skeptic, and you know you do, there is only one way to do it. It's the one thing you would dearly like to do but cannot: show your claims are something other than simple, well understood, antique parlor tricks and self-deception.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

March 30, 2012 at 5:52 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

COR: "concerning... sensing abilities of other animals.">

We have naturalistic, science based explanations for these observed abilities. So there is no benefit to postulate something paranormal (which would have no explanatory power anyway).

COR: "I'm specifically speaking about telepathy.">

The CBS article you cite is using a simple equivocation of how the word telepathy has been used for ESP, and is (incorrectly) being used in this instance.

COR: "[I am] suggesting that maybe we are drawing the boundaries too narrowly,">>

Science loves moving boundaries. We wouldn't learn anything new if we didn't constantly move them and always be open to moving them. But this telepathy example is an equivocation.

COR: "it's 'science' if you can move objects with your mind in the lab:">>

An example:
If someone 200 years ago had said (here in Arkansas): "I can chat with a person in Africa, right now!" This would be understood to be an ESP type claim. However, now, because of science and cell phones, this happens routinely. Did something magic happen to verify telepathy? No. The process is entirely naturalistic. Our language has absorbed this change.

That a brain has very weak electromagnetic signals has been known for perhaps a century. That these can be measured and perhaps effected by the owner doing different actions, for many decades. That these can then be measured and hooked up to elaborate apparatus which then perform actions, perhaps a decade or two.

This has nothing to do with the traditional claims of telepathy that a mind can move objects or communicate, *by it's own power,* without the science apparatus. This has nothing to do with confirming telepathy, as the word has been used in the past, any more than a cellphone changed our understanding of the fact that minds cannot communicate over long distances (without the cellphone).

Also, there isn't much connection between our ability to measure crude brain wave patterns and this being associated with "thoughts." We may get there but we are quite a ways from that. When we do, it will be quite natural, with nothing supernatural about it.

Also, these brain waves are very minute and they decrease in power greatly with distance. Within a inch of the head or so, there is almost nothing to measure. So not only is truly independent telepathy extremely unlikely, without apparatus attached to your head, it is unlikely even into the very far future.

COR: "to posit that maybe minds can sense other minds, why that's just plain crazy!">>

It's not crazy, but all experimentation shows it is wrong. There is no reason to think, or even a hypothesis of how a physical brain could possibly sense or detect the minute waves of a brain more than an inch away. And of course, the extremely crude brain waves we can measure at this point (alpha, theta etc.), are not to be confused with being able to detect "thoughts." Measuring one has nothing to do with understanding the latter.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

March 30, 2012 at 6:21 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: "Reports of... Lewis and Clark [ridiculed in the press]...">>

This is where we are to compare you to the great discoverers Lewis & Clark because of comments in the press. I think they would ask for evidence for your extraordinary claims before believing them too.

PH: In 1663, Galileo Galilei was tried and convicted...">>

This is where we are to believe you are the great science based martyr, bravely standing up to the supernatural based claims of the day. Of course, you have it exactly backwards. You are the peddler of woo, firmly committed to protecting your own metaphysical claims from scientific scrutiny. It's an old analogy, and you have it exactly backwards.

PH: "Christopher Columbus was ridiculed for suggesting the world was round,...">>

No, this is an old chestnut, entirely false. We knew the earth was round thousands of years before Columbus. Learn about this here and avoid this false analogy in the future:

PH: "History is full of naysayers who laugh loudly at ideas that stretch their minds.">>

Your claims don't stretch minds because your claims (conveniently) can't be discerned to be real. You have carefully concocted invisible dragons. History is replete with such claims. Progress is only made when the true ones are separated from the false ones. And you are not interested in seeing if your claims are true because you already know they are based upon emotional investment.

PH: "Skeptics have a proud tradition of being wrong...">>

Science is based upon finding out what is wrong. It is based upon skepticism, testing, confirmation, replication and discarding unnecessary assumptions. I hope no one is surprised you don't know this.

PH: "Skeptics Declare Flat Earth Society Lives On In Spirit.">>

See the pamphlet I have on the flat earth here:

The flat earthers are firmly in your camp and always have been.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

March 30, 2012 at 6:43 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: "FFT only accepts information that conforms to his preconceived view...">>

I accept any information that can be shown to be true. You're information, by careful design and quite on purpose, avoids the ability to fall in that category.

PH: His tests are designed to prove his view of reality,">>

My simple tests are designed to test any claim of reality that is open to observation. Your claims are designed to be immune from scrutiny, on purpose.

PH: "our understanding that must stretch to reach the phenomenon.">>

But first you would need to have a "phenomenon" that needs explanation. You can't show you have that.

PH: "Demanding a phenomenon perform in such-and-such a manner">>

There is no demand. A skeptic simply has the audacity to stand up and point out that your extraordinary emperor has no clothes. I can see his naughty bits from here. I've looked behind the curtain and seen the "wizard" yanking on the levers. Once you know how the trick is done (and your tricks are very moldy indeed), it doesn't appear magical.

PH: "All scientists who make valid discoveries do so with an open mind, not a skeptical mind.">>

You should learn something about science before you speak about it. With all due respect to deep nonsense, Sagan put it this way:
"Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense." -- Carl Sagan

“I try to read and stay informed on as broad a range of subjects as I can, and to the devotees of superstition and pseudoscience, let me just say this: you don't know what you're missing. The universe is a grander, stranger, more majestic and more mysterious place than any human being has ever imagined, or can imagine. The unsubstantiated claims and inventions of people, as wondrous as you may find them, don't come close to doing justice to reality as it truly is. At what other age in human history have you been able to look on a shooting star or a volcano and know what it really is? In what other age has anyone been able to see the Earth rise in the night sky from the surface of the Moon? In what other age did we understand the molecular roots of life, the building blocks of matter, the power sources of the stars?
It was not crystals or prayer nor Tarot cards that brought us these things. It was not superstition that was responsible, nor mysticism, nor credulous acceptance of extraordinary and unverified claims. It is the scientific method — institutionalized skepticism, rigorously and comprehensively applied — that has given rise to these wonders of understanding and accomplishment. We can either stay on that path, and some day realize the full potential we've only begun to tap — or we can sink back into the darkness of unreason, and stay frightened, brutish, short-lived and ignorant. I know which path I choose to take.” -- Adam Marczyk, age 21

Posted by: fayfreethinker

March 30, 2012 at 7 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: "Throwing pearls before the swine is not my forte.">>

It's a little late for that claim.

And some little piggies know exactly what fake pearls look like.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

March 30, 2012 at 7:10 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: "For your information I was not quoting you.">>

You imputed that to me, and used quotation marks. Don't do that.

PH: "I could explain the limitations on this ability.">>

What ability?

PH: "The unmitigated gall is of the person who believes they have the power to command natural forces to bend to their will.">>

You can do that too?

PH: "I'm pretty sure Jesus could do that,">>

Why would you think that? It says so in a book? I need a bit more than that, but we all set the bar on believing things a little differently. Some don't even have bar. Best to have a bar.

PH: "How interesting that you snipped the reference to growing up dirt poor and being teased about it.">>

Why would I include additional extraneous false claims you make up with no basis whatsoever? Are we currently in a seance? Have I passed away and didn't notice? What are all of these false pearls doing laying around?

PH: Unlike your act, I don't do performances.">>

Of course not.

PH: "There is nothing contrived or concocted.">>

I'm sure that's right. After all, you said it and people don't make mistakes about such things.

PH: Nothing of value sticks.">

Why don't you try something of value and see?

Did you know I can make ice cream appear on command? Happened yesterday. But if you doubt this, I am not allowed to change your belief about it. So don't expect any verification. Rules are rules.

Hey Phillip, wanna buy an ice cream cone? See:

Posted by: fayfreethinker

March 30, 2012 at 7:24 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: "I don't charge money for anything.">>

That has no relevance. A monetary charge is not required for people to be swindled, deceived and the memories of their dead loved ones, soiled.

PH: [no] chance of beating your impossible demands.">>

Get the word, move the ball, do what you already claim to be able to do. You're right, way too hard!

FFT: ["Raymond Teller is 5 foot 9 inch."]
PH: "My mistake,...>>

Acknowledgment of error. A start.

PH: "...hundreds of people... have participated with me in communicating... with... other side">>

Sure they have.

PH: "[they] know how the process works...">>

Penn and Teller also know how the process works. But they are honest magicians (and quite good). They even have an episode of their hit show devoted to showing how "the process works." Perhaps you should watch it:

And remember, Mr. Teller isn't a midget (Penn is just really big).

PH: "Your childish expectation of parlor tricks...">>

How does what you do differ, in anyway, from the standard, centuries old parlor trick of pretending to have seance? Did your really not investigate the history of your hobby?

A few years ago, the living Fox sister admitted she had been cracking her toes the whole time. I thought was rather honest. A little late though.

"I've gone into thousands of [fortune teller's parlors], and have been told thousands of things, but nobody ever told me I was a policewoman getting ready to arrest her." -- NYC detective

Posted by: fayfreethinker

March 30, 2012 at 7:38 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: "The quotation marks were used to indicate a paraphrase.">>

Right, you made something up, attributed it to me, and put it in quotation marks. That's not honest. Don't do that.

PH: "Now I'm beginning to understand your mind,">>

Oh no... have a passed over? Or can you "understand" the minds of the living too?

PH: "How many times do you wash your hands at night?">>

Why don't you have a dead person watch me and then inform you? Surely there would be some of them over there up for that.

PH: "I don't fault you for growing up dirt poor.">>

What basis do you have for this claim? Is it similar to the basis for the other things you conjure up (no pun) and then presume to be true?

PH: "But some of my best friends were dirt poor...">>

That's nice. Have you given up talking about the topic and are reduced to fishing for personal attacks based upon pure imagination? Why? You're presumptions about the wealth, or not, of my parents, is a dead end for you. As they say, even a blind psychic finds an acorn once in a while. But you haven't found one yet.

PH: "...there's no way I can ever recover those 3 minutes...">>

Sesame street sometimes has important lessons for adults who didn't pay attention when they were kids. It's never too late to learn be skeptical of extraordinary claims. Don't buy invisible ice cream cones (don't take donations for them either).

PH: "Someday,... I'll show you something that proves you're wrong about talking to 'dead' people.">>

Name the time and place. Tomorrow's good. If an afterlife is decided by vote, I vote yes. But all the evidence points to no.

PH: "I hear the old adage about leading a horse to water...">>

I would be pleased to see your water, but all I see now is a fellow in a desert pointing to something shimmer over the horizon. Why don't you lead the way and we'll do a test and see if it's water...

Don't miss that Penn & Teller episode here:

They thought this topic of talking to the dead so important they made it episode #1 (now 6 seasons last I checked).

Posted by: fayfreethinker

March 30, 2012 at 8:06 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Phillp claims I grew up "dirt poor," I asked: "What basis do you have for this claim?"

Phillip explains his scientific based reasoning:

PH: "In true scientific fashion, I tried out a hypothesis.">>

A hypothesis that I grew up dirt poor?

PH: "I watched the results to see if they matched my hypothesis.">>

You have results that show I grew up dirt poor?

PH: "I came to a conclusion based on the results.">>

There is nothing remotely scientific in your mere assertion, based upon absolutely nothing, that I grew up "dirt poor" (which is ridiculously false, my family always was and is moderately well to do).

Are you not well Phillip?

PH: "The only lesson I got [from the sesame st. clip] was there are devious people in the world.">>

So, some of your friends are psychic too.

PH: "move the ball" trick is conditional on your being able to witness the movement with your eyes.">>

Wrong. It can be measured in other ways if you prefer. But if the ball moves 3 inches, why would it be a problem for eyes to detect this? Your waffle makes no sense at all.

People claim to be able to move things with the power of their mind (telekinesis), this little test doesn't prove that can't happen, it only shows that when ever it is tested in this manner, as science predicts, it has always failed. And there is no reason why it should move.

PH: "Your "discern the word" trick is [based upon using] your eyes to compare two words.">>

It's a word clearly typed on a piece of paper shown to a group of people witnessing the attempt. The piece of paper is given to the participant to verify and have. Why are we to believe that eyes can't observe a word on a piece of paper? Your objection makes no sense at all.

PH: "Your "bring in the Bigfoot" trick is conditional on your being able to see Bigfoot in front of you...">>

No, there's no reason why the Bigfoot couldn't also be smelled, touched, heard, and tasted. But why would "seeing" a big hairy hominid be a problem? Your waffles are getting more and more desperate and absurd.

If a Bigfoot can't be detected with any of our senses, how does a world *with* a Bigfoot differ from a world that does *not* have a Bigfoot? It wouldn't. Do you ever tire of making Sagan dragons?

PH: "...mediumship is manifested internally on the same palette that imagination is projected.">>

Thus, indiscernible from pure imagination. Confusing imagination with reality is common in humans, especially children, but adults have developed methods of critical scrutiny to differentiate the important difference between the two. That's why you have a scientific computer to tap your stories on.
If your Bigfoot has no footprint in discernible reality any way shape or form, you are just making unfalsifiable claims and talking about invisible dragons. If your imagined conversations with the deceased can't in any way be differentiated from you having conversations with yourself, the same applies.


Posted by: fayfreethinker

March 30, 2012 at 10:19 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: "psychic information is received passively.">>

If there is no possible way to show psychic information is received, then it makes no sense to refer to it as being received.

PH: "...describing with the ball is called psychokinesis. I don't do that.">>

I know you don't do that. After several hundred tests, it seems no one else does either. With good reason.

PH: "What you're describing with the word... I've done that.">>

Then fell free to do it again. I'll pay you, or your favorite charity, a thousand dollars each time you get the word right. When you get it wrong, you don't have to pay me anything. We can do ten attempts. Those are very good odds, if you *really* believe what you say. I guess we will see.

PH: "What you're describing with Bigfoot is sheer lunacy - they can run faster than any man,">>

Good point, how could we possibly catch something running quickly on two legs? After all, we've never caught a cheetah, and they can go 75 mph. Oh wait, we've caught lots of them. How about a non blurry photograph by someone who doesn't happen to also own a costume shop? Can Bigfoot run faster than the speed of light? Apparently.

PH: "Bigfoot... can tear a person limb from limb before a scream...">>

How do you know? You believe in Bigfoot? I thought he couldn't be seen with my "eyes"? Is there anything so outlandish you don't believe it?

PH: "Bigfoots don't mean harm to anyone,">>

How do you know? Would it matter if they were raised by "dirt poor" parents? Then they might be a little grumpy.

PH: "You may end up on a distant planet as...">>

Phillip, I really don't mean to pick on you. But you really aren't making any sense at all. Perhaps you should lie down and rest for a bit.

Tip: When you poke freethinkers, they poke back.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

March 30, 2012 at 10:24 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Of course when I said "But to posit that maybe minds can sense other minds, why that's just plain crazy!" it was meant ironically, which some realized and others didn't.
Guess I didn't make myself clear.
Minor point: FFT says "claims of telepathy that a mind can move objects"--that isn't strictly speaking telepathy but telekinesis.


Posted by: Coralie

March 31, 2012 at 4:18 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

My point was NOT that the sharks ability to detect electrical fields in the water was supernatural, but rather that it is most likely that humans retain some of the extra senses that other animals have.
In other words, what is being called supernatural here is in fact natural.
So I am not really debating with FFT. Or anybody.
My own experiences of this nature lead me to believe that these abilities have developed from such basic concerns as avoiding danger, mating, and protecting the young.

Posted by: Coralie

March 31, 2012 at 4:28 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

"the fact that minds cannot communicate over long distances (without the cellphone)"
To be strictly scientific, should you not say: "As far as we know, minds cannot communicate over long distances (without the cellphone)."
FFT says "There is no .... hypothesis of how a physical brain could possibly sense or detect the minute waves of a brain more than an inch away. And of course, the extremely crude brain waves we can measure at this point (alpha, theta etc.), are not to be confused with being able to detect "thoughts."
Some of them may be "feelings" rather than "thoughts," and a lot would depend on the particular abilities of the receiver.
The fact that there is no hypothesis (although I might be able to discover one) doesn't mean that there is no possible hypothesis.
In my own experience, the effect is magnified by affinity, intensity, and propinquity.
Let me give an example. Years ago I worked with a woman whose boyfriend was a "speed freak" and also a bright chemistry graduate student.
When he was coming to see her at work, I picked up a buzzy energy 5 or 10 minutes before he showed up, when he was presumably a block or two away.
Intensity/amplification and propinquity (as he approached). I don't know what kind of amphetamine was used in those days but I don't think it was the same as meth.
It seems somewhat analogous to the shark example.
To me this experience probably has a natural explanation but we just don't have it yet.

Posted by: Coralie

March 31, 2012 at 4:44 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

COR: FFT says "claims of telepathy that a mind can move objects"--that isn't strictly speaking telepathy but telekinesis.">>

Exactly right. My mistake. I meant telekinesis. Thanks for the correction.

COR: "it is most likely that humans retain some of the extra senses that other animals have.">>

Certainly. But claiming those are ESP, psychic or supernatural in someway, would call for, at a very minimum, there to be an observed phenomenon in need of an explanation (after which we could try to discover that). After over a century of testing, there is no observed ESP in need of an explanation (if there was, I would be a lot more careful with my prize money!).

COR: "In other words, what is being called supernatural here is in fact natural.">>

And this has long been the historical pattern. Everything formally attributed to the supernatural, has been found to be natural. Of very often, our misunderstanding of nature (see the fantastic way bees communicate by dancing for instance).
So, for the shrinking category of things we still don't understand or can't explain, I think it's warranted to look for natural explanations and never warranted to presume supernatural or magical ones.

COR: "to be strictly scientific, should you not say: "As far as we know, minds cannot communicate over long distances (without the cellphone).">>

Sure, we can be agnostic about it, or anything. But since, based upon our knowledge of brains, there is no method by which this could or should occur, and, after over a century of testing, no known instance of it occurring, I tentatively put it in the "doesn't occur" bucket, until someone shows they can make it occur.
Since we have almost 7 billion people engaging in thousands of acts per day, we are going to find some fantastic one in a billion coincidences happening every minute. People remember these, and they don't remember all of the mundane things that aren't unique.

COR: "Some of them may be "feelings" rather than "thoughts,">>

Okay. But our understanding of the body tells us that all perception, all feelings, occur in the brain and brain stem. No brain, no feelings, no known exceptions.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

March 31, 2012 at 5:52 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: "new generation of science is embracing the unseen world of energies and quantum realities.">>

Perhaps you should set the Deepak Chopra aside. Your misunderstandings of physics have nothing to support your supernatural claims. This is just "God of the Gaps" again. When stuck, a favorite refuge of supernaturalists is to appeal to their near total lack of understanding of physics, especially QM. If this "new generation of science" had support for your fantastical claims, then we should see a tendency of support for you among those who understand this field the best. But we don't see that, we see the opposite. And this has long been the case. Observe:

"Leading scientists still reject God

The question of religious belief among US scientists has been debated since early in the century. Our latest survey finds that, among the top natural scientists, disbelief is greater than ever — almost total.

Research on this topic began with the eminent US psychologist James H. Leuba and his landmark survey of 1914. He found that 58% of 1,000 randomly selected US scientists expressed disbelief or doubt in the existence of God, and that this figure rose to near 70% among the 400 "greater" scientists within his sample [1]. Leuba repeated his survey in somewhat different form 20 years later, and found that these percentages had increased to 67 and 85, respectively [2].

In 1996, we repeated Leuba's 1914 survey and reported our results in Nature [3]. We found little change from 1914 for American scientists generally, with 60.7% expressing disbelief or doubt. This year, we closely imitated the second phase of Leuba's 1914 survey to gauge belief among "greater" scientists, and find the rate of belief lower than ever — a mere 7% of respondents.

Leuba attributed the higher level of disbelief and doubt among "greater" scientists to their "superior knowledge, understanding, and experience" [3].

Our chosen group of "greater" scientists were members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Our survey found near universal rejection of the transcendent by NAS natural scientists. Disbelief in God and immortality among NAS biological scientists was 65.2% and 69.0%, respectively, and among NAS physical scientists it was 79.0% and 76.3%. Most of the rest were agnostics on both issues, with few believers. We found the highest percentage of belief among NAS mathematicians (14.3% in God, 15.0% in immortality). Biological scientists had the lowest rate of belief (5.5% in God, 7.1% in immortality), with physicists and astronomers slightly higher (7.5% in God, 7.5% in immortality)."

So we see, the trend is quite against you and what you claim, with no basis beyond opinion. The better a person understands how the world works, the less likely (by far) they are to believe your claims. And with good reason.


Posted by: fayfreethinker

March 31, 2012 at 5:59 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: "There isn't any way someone stuck in 18th century methodology can comprehend this [quantum realities].">>

Perhaps you should learn about these things before you go on about them. In fact it was specifically "18th century methodology" that confirmed these "quantum realities." Note:

"The history of quantum mechanics dates back to the 1838 discovery of cathode rays by Michael Faraday. This was followed by the 1859 statement of the black body radiation problem by Gustav Kirchhoff, the 1877 suggestion by Ludwig Boltzmann that the energy states of a physical system can be discrete, and the 1900 quantum hypothesis of Max Planck.[2]"

PH: "When you devise a test to prove dreams are real let me know,...">>

That brains have different states of awareness is rather mundane and it's observed in (last I checked) at least all mammals. So not an extraordinary claim. But do keep looking for a gap to insert your supernatural into.

PH: "I'd like to take it [that test].">>

It's entirely clear you are not interested in backing up your claims or putting them at risk of being tested and shown to be not true. And with good reason.

"[The supernatural] is still parasitic in the interstices of our knowledge which have not yet been filled. Like bed-bugs in the cracks of walls and furniture, miracles lurk in the lacunae of science. The scientist plasters up these cracks in our knowledge; the more militant Rationalist swats the bugs in the open. Both have their proper sphere and they should realize that they are allies." --John Haldane in "Science and Life: Essays of a Rationalist"

Posted by: fayfreethinker

March 31, 2012 at 6:02 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: "The reason FFT and his merry band of athiests will never "get it" is because they're spiritual nihilists.">>

I have a policy, and I think it is a good one, to not take seriously the advice that is given about the opinion of atheists, by people who don't know how to spell the word. A very basic requirement.

PH: "If it can't be physically sensed it doesn't exist.">>

No, if it can't be detected in any way, we don't have a good reason to assume it exists. You know this is true for normal things, but you make an exception if it supports the religious beliefs you are emotionally invested in (beliefs which tell you you have very special gifts). I am consistent and don't make that exception. I used to though.

PH: "Don't know how they explain the voices coming out of a radio box...">>

We knew that one about 1891, so this gap won't work for you.

PH: "Animals, birds, fish have it (clairvoyance).">>

Except when tested, then they don't. Curious.

(Not really).

Posted by: fayfreethinker

March 31, 2012 at 6:14 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: "Last time I checked 1838 is in the 19th Century,">>

I think your attempt to use 4th century methodology to explain current day realities, is a bigger problem for you.

PH: "devise a test to prove the reality of dreams.">>

Define dreams. We have a nice tract on your attempted "argument from ignorance" fallacy here:

For your dream gap to work, you first need to have a gap. Demonstrate your gap. Keep sliding.

PH: "You slid away from the challenge">>

You are the one doing all of the sliding. And now, of course, changing the subject.

You claim to be able to detect a word seal in a box, but when offered $1,000 to do what you claim you have done, you slide. So we see you don't even believe your own claim. If you don't, why should anyone else?

PH: "any study that purports to claim animals, birds, and fish are devoid of intuition.">>

And now you move the goal posts from "clairvoyance," to "intuition" (whatever that means to you). If you think you have psychic birds and psychic fish, you have a burden of demonstration. That is, if you want adults to take you seriously. But since you believe in Bigfoots that can't be seen, balls that move but can't be seen to move, and words that can be detected while sealed in boxes but can't be read with "eyes" when the box is open, that ship has sailed. You lack a line between reality and unreality. And that's unfortunate. Because that line is very useful if you want to know about the world, and not just imagine things about the world.

"Those who wish to seek out the cause of miracles, and to understand the things of nature as philosophers, and not to stare at them in astonishment like fools, are soon considered heretical and impious, and proclaimed as such by those whom the mob adores as the interpreters of nature and the gods. For these men know that once ignorance is put aside that wonderment would be taken away which is the only means by which their authority is preserved." --Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677)

Posted by: fayfreethinker

March 31, 2012 at 7:04 p.m. ( | suggest removal )


While the year 1838 is indeed in the nineteenth century, note that nineteenth-century scientists used-- and from the mid-nineteenth century, expanded upon-- the methodology of the eighteenth century.

The greater point is that the claim that "eighteenth-century methodologies" aren't adequate to study modern science doesn't hold up. As fft pointed out, modern science and eighteenth-century methodologies aren't as far apart as you say they are. While modern scientific methodology has a broader philosophical basis and far greater resources to apply, its foundation is still observation, hypothesis, deduction and experimentation-- as it has been pretty much since Newton.

It is problematic that you pooh-pooh the very foundation of the scientific method, yet you appear to want the paranormal to be accepted as scientific. How is that supposed to happen without the scientific method?

Posted by: AlphaCat

April 1, 2012 at 1:31 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Phillip is furious and his posts are a mess. Now he's just trolling for insults rather than attempting honest communication. Boring.

First person who brings in Bigfoot gets my house.

Visual confirmation required.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 1, 2012 at 2:38 a.m. ( | suggest removal )


RE "I'm not pooh-poohing any scientific method. Please quote my words that lead you to this conclusion."

You said "The new generation of science is embracing the unseen world of energies and quantum realities. There isn't any way someone stuck in 18th century methodology can comprehend this." Note also that I said that you pooh-pooh the very foundation of the scientific method-- observation, hypothesis, deduction and experimentation-- which has been in place since Newton. You appear to have a particularly strong disdain for the observation and experimentation part.

RE "This is the reason I asked for a test that will prove the reality of dreams, not brain activity. And of course that's why the response was a dodge."

The response was to ask you to define "dreams". It is not possible to design a test until you have defined what you are testing. Do you refer to aspirations, affirmative imaging, dogs that "run" in their sleep, the cause of nocturnal emissions, the somnambular state, the psychological resolution aspect, or what?

RE "The skeptic's agenda is to inflate their ego. That's all there is to it."

That also appears to be the agenda of many psychics. That's why they pester the police, and have television shows. Would I ever have heard of the Amazing Kreskin if he hadn't been set on inflating his ego? (Hint: his first name was not "Amazing".)

By the way: I have had several experiences that can be described as psychic. As gratifying as it might be to have psychic ability, I have to attribute these experiences to my subconscious, rather than to superconsciousness. This is borne out by my results using the "Kreskin's ESP" set we had when I was a kid.

Posted by: AlphaCat

April 1, 2012 at 12:15 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Phil, re your remark:

"@Generally Jack the Ripper: showing our violent homicidal tendencies today, are we?
Posted by: Phillip1955"

I respond with this:

Do you recall what Audubon once said about conservation? He said conservation was too important to be left to the conservationists. When he said that, 160 years ago, he might have been right.

But today, conservation is too important to be left to bigfoot hunters. They have neither the time, the training, nor the inclination for strategic thought.

I can no longer sit back and allow Sasquatch infiltration, Sasquatch indoctrination, Sasquatch subversion and the international Sasquatch conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious National River resources.

Idiots who continue to believe in Bigfoot, and pay their money to sap and impurify our National Rivers and Forests with their litter and general hippyness, must be stopped. By whatever means necessary.

Posted by: CaptainQuint

April 1, 2012 at 12:32 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Phillip says "the obvious impossibility of using those same scientific explorations to explore non-physical, spiritual realities..."
I disagree with the idea that it is impossible to scientifically explore everything that is here lumped under the heading ESP, non-physical, supernatural, spiritual, etc. etc. by either FFT or Phillip.
Some of the most fascinating finds come from studies of animal communications.
We are animals too.
Experiments could be devised much more imaginatively. Sad that Dr. Rhine spent all those years at Duke University experimenting with people trying to divine .the numbers on the reverse side of cards, when subjects had no emotional tie to numbers on a card.
As I said before, these abilities seem to have developed from basic concerns such as dangerr and family ties. So experiments should take that into account.

Posted by: Coralie

April 1, 2012 at 1:53 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Looking for mechanisms and hypotheses:
"Cell signaling is part of a complex system of communication that governs basic cellular activities and coordinates cell actions. The ability of cells to perceive and correctly respond to their microenvironment is the basis of development, tissue repair, and immunity as well as normal tissue homeostasis."
"Some quorum-sensing circuits control behaviors that involve interactions among bacterial species.. These quorum-sensing circuits can involve both intra- and interspecies communication mechanisms."
Sagebrush plants "engage in self-recognition and can communicate danger to their “clones” or genetically identical cuttings planted nearby, says professor Richard Karban of the Department of Entomology, University of California."

Posted by: Coralie

April 1, 2012 at 2:09 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

One could make a distinction between statistical truth and personal truth. Most of what we do in our daily lives is based on our own experiences, rather than establshed science, because science doesn't study everything.
For instance, one of the most important aspects of life for most people is picking out a mate, somebody to marry or live with. Science has very little to offer a person making this choice.
That's why some people turn to astrology, because it claims to offer this sort of information.
To use another personal example, I realized soon after I tried drinking coffee when in my late teens that I couldn't handle caffeine. One cup in the morning and I was jittery and tense for hours, couldn't get to sleep till after midnight. So I avoided caffeine-containing drinks even though several people accused me of being "neurotic" back in the super-conformist '50s and '60s because I wouldn't drink coffee, tea, or cola.
No doctor told me to avoid caffeine.
I saw no articles about people who can't handle caffeine until finally a few years ago a little thing in the newspaper said that research had showed that some people metabolized caffeine very slowly.
I had to wait 50 years for the scientific answer.
But I had to make the decision based on personal experience.

Posted by: Coralie

April 1, 2012 at 2:26 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

The distinction between statistical truth and personal truth is involved in the controversy about vaccination.
Statistically, most children can "handle" the vaccination schedule, and it is important for public health reasons that children are largely immune to the horrible diseases that used to kill children wholesale.
But apparently there is a small minority of children who have anomalous reactions.Also, the schedule now includes a large number of vaccinations at one time.
I hope that researchers are stenuously looking for an inexpensive test to determine which children might be at risk, instead of pooh-poohing any fears.
Parents are not interested in statistical truth as much as in the safety of their own children.

Posted by: Coralie

April 1, 2012 at 2:35 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

COR: "Sagebrush plants "engage in self-recognition and can communicate danger to their “clones” or genetically identical cuttings planted nearby...">>

So we have a phenomenon observed (which therefore differs entirely from any of Phillip's claims) thus being worthy of a search for an explanation. Do we have a potential naturalistic explanation, or is it a gap in knowledge suggesting an appeal to a metaphysical "answer?" Aside from the fact that no gap is ever answered by an appeal to the supernatural (appealing to "magic" only makes a bigger mystery), the natural answer is provided in your article:

"The sagebrush communicated and cooperated with other branches of themselves to avoid being eaten by grasshoppers, Karban said. Although the research is in its early stages, the scientists suspect that the plants warn their own kind of impending danger by emitting volatile cues. This may involve secreting chemicals that deter herbivores or make the plant less profitable for herbivores to eat, he said."

Plants have been experimenting with defense mechanisms, via natural selection, for about half a billion years (just on land). So it shouldn't be too surprising that they have gotten *exceedingly* good at it.

It continues...

“Plants are capable of responding to complex cues that involve multiple stimuli,” Karban said. “Plants not only respond to reliable cues in their environments but also produce cues that communicate with other plants and with other organisms, such as pollinators, seed disperses, herbivores and enemies of those herbivores.” --ibid

It's tempting to Anthropomorphize the word "communicate" here and think this has something to do with consciousness, but there is no basis for such an assumption. Plants turn to the sun, change in the seasons and do countless other things in response to chemical (and many other) clues.

"...Karban found that “volatile cues are required for communication among branches within an individual sagebrush plant. This observation suggests that communication between individuals may be a by-product of a volatile [chemical] communication system that allows plants to integrate their own systemic physiological processes.” --ibid.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 1, 2012 at 2:52 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Okay. I at least have made no "supernatural" claims.
And am at the very beginnings of trying to work up an hypothesis or describe a mechanism to explain human telepathy as I have experienced it on countless occasions.
Or there may be more than one kind of telepathic experience and more than one mechanism.
There are degrees of consciousness even among humans. Sometimes it is just "vibes." What reason do you have to suppose that a human who senses danger is having an experience totally different from that of a wild animal or domestic pet that senses danger?
It is likely that people whose work often exposes them to danger, such as police or soldiers, become sensitive to clues that others would miss.

Posted by: Coralie

April 2, 2012 at 1:26 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Here's an example of sensing danger. I'd been away from my cabin in the woods and on return got a very strong feeling of "Snake, snake."
So when I went to get a log from the woodpile, I used a rake to dislodge it. There was indeed a rattlesnake in the woodpile.
There are several possibilities. While human sense of smell is nothing like that of a dog, it is possible that I could smell a rattlesnake 20 feet away, without being conscious of it.
There's some kind of moth in which the male can smell a female several miles away--and they don't even have noses or brains!
I'm more inclined to think this was electromagnetic though, and that venomous snakes may have a stronger "vibe" than others.
It's possible that there is a flesh-and-blood transducer in the brain that can convert one sort of energy into another. Smell to electric, electric to image, image to concept.
"Transducer: A device that converts variations in a physical quantity, such as pressure or brightness, into an electrical signal, or vice versa."

Posted by: Coralie

April 2, 2012 at 3:02 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

COR: "I at least have made no "supernatural" claims.">>

Great. You'll want to be careful to avoid using "ESP" or "extra" along with "sensory perception." It wouldn't be useful to try and "define" something supernatural into existence by using words alone.

The phrase "ESP" has been used, since about 1927 to refer to supernatural perception. I say this not because you have done it, but you refer to humans and other animals that may have "sensory perception" that is "extra" in some sense, but if it is natural (as you say), then it's not ESP in any supernatural sense.

COR: "trying to work up an hypothesis or describe a mechanism to explain human telepathy as I have experienced it on countless occasions.">>

That sounds like a very interesting project. These are questions worthy of finding answers to. In the process, you will want to first rule out basic potential errors and mistakes humans make in perceiving these occurrences. Two big ones come to mind:

1) Confirmation bias. See:
This is where we remember the hits, and forget the misses.

2) Misremembering the past. Human memory has been shown (with careful testing) to be *far* more malleable than we realize. We don't notice this illusion until we test it.

There are about 15 other pitfalls detailed here:

COR: "there may be more than one kind of telepathic experience and more than one mechanism.">>

And there may only be people misapprehending the phenomenon. With over a century of careful testing, no ESP as been observed, and/or withstood peer review and replication. That's a very long track record. This doesn't prove ESP doesn't or can't exist (nothing could), but it is looking like it is unlikely to have merit.

COR: "[Why suppose] a human who senses danger is having an experience totally different from [an animal] that senses danger?">>

I wouldn't. Humans and animals have inaccurate/wrong senses of danger all time, and probably at about the same rate. Our house cat is so jumpy with false danger signals we've named her "Spooky."

COR: "[likely] police or soldiers, become sensitive to clues that others would miss.">>

Absolutely. And having "sensory perception" that is "extra" in this sense, is entirely natural, as I am sure you agree (and has all of the expected false positives), an nothing to do with "ESP."

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 2, 2012 at 7:19 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

COR: "an example of sensing danger... cabin in the woods... strong feeling of "Snake, snake.">>

Unless you can provide the necessary context of how many times you felt a sense of danger and there was nothing, this could be the very compelling illusion of confirmation bias. Remembering the hits, forgetting the misses. This context is absolutely essential to confirming how unique this "hit" was.

COR: "it is possible that I could smell a rattlesnake 20 feet away,">>

There are much more likely reasons for this interesting correct hit.

COR: "some kind of moth... can smell... miles away--and they don't even have noses or brains!">>

Do tell. It seems unlikely there is a moth that doesn't have a brain. And if it is in any sense smelling, the apparatus would be, by definition, a nose.

COR: "venomous snakes may have a stronger "vibe" than others.">>

We have machines with great sensitivity to "electromagnetic" activity. If there was *anything* you were picking up at 20 feet, we would easily be able to measure this with instruments and this would be a known well established quantity of snakes.

COR: "It's possible that there is a flesh-and-blood transducer in the brain...">>

There are about 15 other much easier explanations. As William of Occam pointed out about 800 years ago, it's better to have less assumptions. Simpler is better:'s_...

This is very important scientific principle. I know a physics professor at the U of A who likes to say it is perhaps *the* most important principle of science.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 2, 2012 at 7:48 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

"Reproducible results are essential to the conventional scientific method, so many scientists discount any irreproducible data no matter how credible the source."
But how do you reproduce a nova or a volcano in the lab? Jared Diamond spoke of the "historical sciences" in which the researcher cannot reproduce an unique event, although of course novas and volcanos can be studied scientifically in other ways.
Science developed and progressed through previous centuries through a lot of careful observations. And still many scientists such as field biologists rely on careful observation (such as Jane Goodall and the other two biologists whose names escape me who have dedicated years to observing gorillas and orangutans).
I object to the idea that the methods of the hard sciences are the only true methods of science.

Posted by: Coralie

April 3, 2012 at 12:37 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

This is from a site called "How Stuff Works":
"It's an absolute certainty that many demonstrations of psychic power are fraudulent; it's also certain that experiments will be imperfect, and that data may turn out to be useless. But this has no bearing on the validity of the theory itself.
When all is said and done, we simply don't know whether ESP exists. Given what we do understand about the way physics operates in the universe, ESP doesn't make any sense, but this is not a valid reason to rule it out. In the history of mankind, thinkers have reevaluated their model of the universe many times in response to new evidence. The scientific process is never about deciding what can't be; it's always about figuring out what is."
I don't understand why what I am calling ESP would contradict the laws of physics.
What I mean by the term extrasensory perception is "perception or communication outside of what is presently considered to be normal sensory capability,"
If by "normal senses" we are referring to five, there are more than five senses.
According to Wikipedia, "Other senses include temperature (thermoception), kinesthetic sense (proprioception), pain (nociception), balance (equilibrioception) and acceleration (kinesthesioception). What constitutes a sense is a matter of some debate, leading to difficulties in defining what exactly a sense is."

Posted by: Coralie

April 3, 2012 at 12:53 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

[quote] "Reproducible results are essential to the conventional scientific method, so many scientists discount any irreproducible data no matter how credible the source."

COR: I object to the idea that the methods of the hard sciences are the only true methods of science.">>

Coralie, I didn't ask that you reproduce your results (that's a later step), I asked you to consider whether they are statistically significant in the first place. To know that, we would need to know that you are not engaging in common errors of perception such as confirmation bias, and a whole host of pitfalls that those who report such phenomenon have to be careful to rule out.

COR: "I don't understand why what I am calling ESP would contradict the laws of physics.">>

It wouldn't necessarily. There are no doubt interesting attributes of physics we don't know about yet. But there is no need to postulate ESP if the observed phenomenon is in fact an error in human perception. After more than a century of testing, it's never been more than that.

COR: "If by "normal senses" we are referring to five, there are more than five senses.">>

Notice that all of those from that wiki quote are subcategories of the main five senses.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 3, 2012 at 1:16 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

FFT says "basic potential errors and mistakes humans make in perceiving these occurrences..." He's trying to be tactful but I put this in the same bag with a lot of other instances of people discounting my experiences such as those who considered me neurotic because I had decided for myself, without asking a doctor, to stop drinking caffeine beverages.
Or those many doctors in the 1950s who seemed to consider most women as hypochondriacs. Ask older women, if you know any, if this is not true.
But the same thing happened much later to Gulf War vets who were stonewalled by the Pentagon for years and more or less called malingerers although they were finally recognized as suffering from Gulf War Syndrome.
Pooh, pooh.
Why there's nothing toxic about 2,4-D, I'll drink a cup of it! I'll eat a spoonful of plutonium!

Posted by: Coralie

April 3, 2012 at 1:17 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

COR: "He [FFT's] trying to be tactful but I put this in the same bag with... people discounting my experiences...">>

You say this as if "trying to be tactful" is a bad thing. But it probably wouldn't matter how much a person tip toes while discussing these things. My providing an opportunity to show how extraordinary claims can be shown to be rigorously true, rather than interesting anecdotes, is likely to be perceived as "discounting" your "experiences." I perceive it as showing how to rigorously "confirm your experience." If the phenomenon you report is rigorously true, then it can only gain from careful examination and should stand up to scrutiny.

Likewise, when people claim to be able to remote view, move objects with the power of their mind (or that there is a Bigfoot), conducting a test or offering an award is an opportunity (and incentive) to confirm the claimed ability (which incidentally, is exactly what science does). But as we see in this thread, this opportunity is ridiculed as only a skeptics attempt to dis-confirm a claim (which, is exactly what peer review, and science, does). Tests can be done with or without money, in public or private, with results revealed or not. The tests we have been involved in (and the one I observed by JREF two years ago at a skeptics convention in front of hundreds) have always been conducted professionally and respectfully. The dowser we tested thanked us for showing her how to do a blinded test (she didn't know) and we left on perfectly friendly terms.

See for instance how this attempt went:

Having spent two decades in the New Age swimming pool and believing nearly all of it, followed about 15 years out, I have much experience on both sides and have shown I can and will change my beliefs to go with new evidence (I have as much incentive to believe in an afterlife as anyone else). But my extensive study of this issue informs me that there is no "deep end" in that swimming pool, it's a kiddie pool from end to end. (If it smells like pee, as claimed above, it isn't from the skeptics).

COR: "those who considered me neurotic because I had decided for myself, without asking a doctor,">>

We've known coffee has this effect (of making a person jumpy, etc.) for centuries, so I don't know why your doctor didn't mention this, or that you are surprised to have figured this out on your own (it's a test I conduct each and everyday). Wiki has a very nice blurb on the history of caffeine, which we identified chemically in 1821:

Its properties were noted over a thousand years ago.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 3, 2012 at 9:56 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Please don't assume I am coming from the same place as Phillip. I have no desire to insult or ridicule FFT, who for months has done an excellent job of combatting the illogic that infests these threads.
I am not making any claims, have not invoked the supernatural or talked about the spiritual, and am not presenting examples of my experiences as any sort of proof but only as examples of what I mean.
I have had my own problems with New Age, and my "extrasensory" experiences predated it.
I didn't think it was a bad thing your trying to be tactful with me, FFT. But I do not like being discounted and it has happened a lot in my life, so I recognize it readily.
My caffeine experience was meant as an example of discounting. I had more than one person accuse me of being neurotic because I wouldn't drink coffee, tea, or cola. BTW, I'm VERY sensitive to it, can't even handle weak tea.
I would like respect for us differently-abled ones who are right-brained, intuitive, telepathic, autistic, atavistic, or whatever. Who think more like animals (other animals).
I think that skepticism itself can become dogmatic.

Posted by: Coralie

April 4, 2012 at 12:39 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

These mirror neurons may be another part of the picture.
Still working up an hypothesis for telepathy.

Posted by: Coralie

April 4, 2012 at 5:30 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: "...explain how a dog can walk over a thousand miles to find its owner at a location the dog has [never] before been to in its life.">>

Going back to 1923 for your anecdotes? And you've not gotten your facts straight. Bobbie the Wonder Dog, returned to his own home, as the story goes.

PH: "explain this in ways that conform to your understanding of reality.">>

There is no evidence differences in perception describe different "realities." For instance, you say above:
"...the human mind. It can directly access intelligences, information, and forces literally on the other side of this and other universes."

Explain why anyone should believe that. You can access minds on the other side of "other universes," but you can't read your own anecdotes correctly?

So we have an interesting, 90 year old doggie story, and you would like to know of a possible solution without appeal to the supernatural. Excellent.

Take a moment to read the David Hume quote I provided for you on the 29th:

Thomas Paine gives a more succinct version:
" it more probable that nature should go out of her course or that a man should tell a lie? We have never seen, in our time, nature go out of her course; but we have good reason to believe that millions of lies have been told in the same time; it is, therefore, at least millions to one that the reporter of a miracle tells a lie." –Thomas Paine, Age of Reason, pg. 95

We are told that this doggie story, was investigated by the Humane Society, in 1923. Were the investigators competent? I don't know. It did make it into "Ripley's Believe it or Not."

But that's not exactly peer reviewed. So to begin with, considering how extraordinary the claim is, I have questions about how the accuracy of the claim in the first place. But let's skip all of that and assume it is solid gold.

The Hume and Paine quotes above refer to "miracles," but this doggie story isn't reporting a miracle or contradicting any laws of physics (unlike your across universe mind reading) but rather an event that is just very highly improbable. The odds of this happening are very small. But in order to say anything about odds, we need to have the context of knowing how many events we are talking about. Without that, we can say nothing about odds or probability.

One in a million odds happen every million events. If the probabilities against an event are a million
to 1, if you run a billion trials, it will occur about 1000 times. We have 7 billion people fiddling around and each of them are engaging in thousands of little events, every single day. Extraordinarily profound correlations, astonishingly unlikely, will necessarily occur, every hour. The interesting things are remembered, the great mass of uninteresting things are ignored. Hence: Confirmation bias.


Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 4, 2012 at 11:29 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Let's use golf as an example. When playing golf, getting a hole in one is very rare. This site reports the odds are about 12,000 to one:

The more you play, the more likely you will have one. Jack Nicklaus supposedly has had 21, (Tiger Woods - 18). But what about making two in a row? That would be incredible. This site says the odds are 67,000,000 to one.

What about three in a row, impossible? Of course not. It's possible a person could hit one every single time, it's just very very improbable. The link above reports:

"Successive golfers: The record is 3 in a row, same hole, made by a group 12/9/1986, at Santa Barbara, CA Community Golf Course, 13th hole."

If you have enough golfers, whacking enough balls, you are going to get some extraordinarily rare events. Necessarily.

Back to the doggie... let's say that this story is the most impressive lost/found pet event in a 100 year span. We need to know, for our century, how many pets there are, how many get lost, how many are found, etc.,. The ASPCA has some stats:

How many pets?
"About 78.2 million dogs..."

How many lost? "Approximately 5 million to 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year..."

The number would be far greater than that, since this number would miss the many pets that would die in the wild, or be adopted by new owners.

How many returned?
"According to the... (NCPPSP), less than 2 percent of cats and only 15 to 20 percent of dogs are returned to their owners. Most of these were identified with tags, tattoos or microchips."

Again, the number would be far larger since probably most pets are either returned/found, or not, without going through the shelter system.

So if we look at your story as a one of, super exceptional, event of the century, *just for the US* we need to look at it in the context of literally, several billion dogs, having hundreds of millions of lost events over that time. Thus, we absolutely should expect some examples of exceedingly extraordinary lost/returned events. Even more so if we consider the whole planet (which we should).

We could ignore this rational, natural, odds consideration, give up and say it's magic. But I don't do that for two reasons:

a) we don't need that larger assumption
b) appealing to magic, is never, ever, an answer

This was interesting. I may turn it into a lecture for a freethinker meeting.

Hope this helps.


Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 4, 2012 at 11:33 p.m. ( | suggest removal )


"In reality," says mathematician John Allen Paulos, "the most astonishingly incredible coincidence imaginable would be the complete absence of all coincidences." When Evelyn Marie Adams won the New Jersey lottery twice, newspapers reported the odds of her feat as 1 in 17 trillion-the odds that a given person buying a single ticket for two New Jersey lotteries would win both. But statisticians Stephen Samuels and George McCabe report that, given the millions of people who buy U.S. state lottery tickets, it was "practically a sure thing" that someday, somewhere, someone would hit a state jackpot twice. Consider: An event that happens to but one in a billion people in a day happens 2000 times a year. A day when nothing weird happened would actually be the weirdest day of all.

Our intuition, as I explain in "Intuition: Its Powers and Perils," fails to appreciate the streaky nature of random data. Batting slumps, hot hand shooters, and stock market patterns may behave like streak-prone random data, but our pattern-seeking minds demand explanations. Yet even the random digits of pi, which form what many mathematicians believe is a true random sequence, have some odd streaks that likely include your birth date. Mine, 9-20-42, appears beginning at the 131,564th decimal place. (To find yours, visit

The moral: That a particular specified event or coincidence will occur is very unlikely. That some astonishing unspecified events will occur is certain. That is why remarkable coincidences are noted in hindsight, not predicted with foresight. And that is why even those of us who believe in God don't need God's special intervention, or psychic powers, to expect, yet also delight in, improbable happenings.”
--Social psychologist David G. Myers, author of Intuition: Its Powers and Perils

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 4, 2012 at 11:34 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Wow, I logged onto the paper site this morning and saw that this thread is 100 posts strong! Who'duh thunk it, a thread on Bigfoot!

@ phillip, and others, I know that psi exists because I've expereineced it myself. And though it's popularly said that "We all have psi ability," I'm not so sure that I believe this. Just as some of us have aptitude for math, while others can barely do the multiplication tables, or some have linguistic talents and learn many many languages, while the rest of us can master only one, if that. Not everyone has psi ability, either.

And it doesn't bother me a bit that no one has "produced" a Bigfoot. I don't think that's the nature of a Bigfoot. I suspect this kind of phenomenon has more to it than a simple black and white, nuts and bolts, tangible physical evidence aspect to it. To me, it is obvious that we do not have a complete understanding of the physical universe, just as we do not have a complete understanding of the spiritual one. That's one reason why I am so passionate about the separation of church and state, and freedom of (and from) religion: we should all be free to openly pursue our chosen faith based on our individual experiences of Spirit. And for those who believe they have no such experiences. or who have not had any, well, then they are free to be agnostic or atheist re: spirituality, and non-believers with regard to psi. When reality is not the kind of real we know in a physical sense, we need all kinds of questions to find truth.

And the search is a huge part of the draw, for many of us.

Posted by: SPA

April 5, 2012 at 11:12 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

@ Coralie, just saw your post in which you expressed appreciation at FFT's work to dispel illogic, yet, also noted that skepticism itself can become dogmatic. Yes! Well said, on both counts, and thank you for stating it so clearly and without name-calling. I'm so weary of the tit-for-tat name-calling in these discussion forums that I have more or less withdrawn from them in the past few months. For the most part, when I see certain individuals going at it yet again with one another, I skip over *all of it.* No one is changing anyone's mind in that kind of discourse. John Mayer said it nicely:' "Belief is a beautiful armor, but it makes for the heaviest sword. Like punching underwater: you never can hit who you're trying for."

Posted by: SPA

April 5, 2012 at 11:21 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Re Phillip's example of dreams--no way to prove they are real because they don't have physical properties--reminds me of something called "theory of mind." Acc Wikipedia:
"Theory of mind is a theory insofar as the mind is not directly observable. The presumption that others have a mind is termed a theory of mind because each human can only intuit the existence of his or her own mind through introspection, and no one has direct access to the mind of another. It is typically assumed that others have minds by analogy with one's own, and based on the reciprocal nature of social interaction, as observed in joint attention, the functional use of language, and understanding of others' emotions and actions."
So it's just a theory that other people are out there thinking things more or less like oneself!
Now researchers are finding this theory of mind in other creatures, such as monkeys.
And I believe that cats and dogs have it, from incidents with pets I've had.
For instance we once had a spoiled Persian cat who was very picky about her food and if she didn't get kidneys in cream gravy she would either sit in front of the fish tank and keep staring at it, with an occasional sideglance at us, or else she would BM in the bathtub.
I believe she had to have a theory of mind in order to think up what would be likely to annoy us, yet not so much that we would be seriously upset with consequences.

Posted by: Coralie

April 5, 2012 at 2:55 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Long day, didn't get home till about 11:00. Some Christians from "Crusade for Christ" approached my son on campus and asked if he "knew about Jesus." So we had them over for a 3 1/2 hour Bible study. It went quite well. Now I see Phillip is making things up and saying things that aren't true. He shouldn't do that. Let's unpack:

PH: "You're ignoring the other 'anecdote' I posted that took place in 2010.">>

So you ask me to specifically look at the one doggie story, and now, rather than respond to my answer, or any of the points made, you complain that I didn't respond to another doggie story you didn't specifically ask me to look at. Three reasons why I didn't look at your "other story:"

a) you didn't ask about that one
b) it's certainly less spectacular than the Bobbie story
c) my reply to the anecdote you presented, applies equally well (even more so) to the other

PH: "I intentionally chose those two examples to give some historical depth.">>

You specifically asked: "I'd like to see if you can explain how a dog can walk over a thousand miles to find its owner at a location the dog has before been to in its life." I provided an answer, and all you do now is move the goal posts and introduce a different story and (of course) more doggie stories.

PH: "There have been many other cases...">>

People do like to tell lots and lots of stories. What is your answer to this story? I see you don't try one. Is it more plausible, reasonable than mine? Do you have anything but to go straight for the nonanswer of magic?

PH: "Typically, a skeptic's Randi-esque response might claim the dog somehow used its nose to sniff its way home.">>

Since Phillip can't address a single aspect of what the skeptic he actually asked *actually* said, he instead, dishonestly, makes up an absurd strawman pseudo-response about "a body odor so strong he could be detected a thousand miles away" and some utter stupidity about "prevailing winds would blow molecules of the owner's BO." Does Phillip even grasp my answer? Apparently not.

PH: "Your refusal to address the 2nd example">>

Phillip, you didn't ask about this other example. You asked specifically about a dog that walked a great distance. This other example, which you either didn't read or didn't understand, the dog didn't walk but rather got a ride and then was reunited due to the tracking of it's microchip. A nifty coincidence (same town!) but not as impressive as Bobbie. Do you even read your own stuff carefully? Do you even understand your own questions?

PH: "information that isn't convenient to the argument is simply denied, or ignored.">>

You didn't ask me about this other doggie story which you apparently didn't even bother to read.


Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 6, 2012 at 1:11 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: "Randi... denies the existence of any proof that would confirm a paranormal claim.">>

Now you are just being dishonest. What constitutes success and failure in such a test is explicitly detailed in a signed, binding, legal, contract. The outcomes success or failure is defined as clear and objective without requiring any subjective interpretation. You claim to be able to remote view a word? Get the word right. Claim to be able to move the object? Move the object. Claim to be able to get identify the gender of a grave occupant via dowsing? Get the gender correct. You object to such simplicity and specificity because you are terrified of actually participating in anything that could possibly falsify your emotionally held beliefs which you use to presume you have super human powers. That people outside of the kiddie pool don't believe you, is infuriating.

PH: "You avoided answering the question and instead chose to go on about perception and realities.">>

I addressed your question directly. What part are you having trouble with? You don't say.

PH: "avoid answering by clouding the discussion with irrelevant arguments and observations.">>

What did I say in my answer that was irrelevant? You don't say.

PH: "[this] shows why a claim to award money or property to someone will never be paid.">>

Again, entirely dishonest and wrong. I have put my money where my mouth is. You tuck tail and run. You claim to have paranormal powers but do nothing but double back flips attempting to purposely make them unfalsifiable and shield them from detection. I offered to meet and put this under binding contract. Nothing. If you can move things but the tiny styrofoam ball is just too hard, state what you can do. If the discern the word test is too hard because of the "font," (!) explain what you *can* remote view. Would you like to provide your own words? Fine. Write them with you own hand writing? No problem. As long as the test is falsifiable and a fair test, I am fine with it. But this is precisely what you cannot have and must avoid at all costs. A fair test. Nothing causes a psychic to be incontinent in the kiddie pool faster than that. If you actually, really, thought you could do *anything,* (and I don't for a minute think you believe this) you would be coming up with the necessary fair test, instead of running full speed from anything suggested.

PH: "Moving goal posts and raising the bar has been taken to an art form.">>

Indeed you have done this, from the beginning. When I accuse someone of committing this fallacy (or any other), I always specifically provide the example. You don't do this because you cannot. What goal post did I move? You don't say. You asked about one doggy story and when I answered it, you don't respond to any of my points but instead make up a strawman answer I didn't give and then go on to set up another goal with another story which you didn't even read carefully. What an embarrassing display.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 6, 2012 at 1:16 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: "Hume and Paine ridiculed people who believe in the Bible and its various religions as ignorant, superstitious morons.">>

I don't care.

PH: "I don't see any difference between them and the material I read at ">>

Then you won't have any trouble at all backing your charge by providing a specific example of that site ridiculing the Bible or religion as being believed by people that are "ignorant, superstitious morons." I'll watch for you to do this. Why don't you try being honest Phillip? Because when you aren't honest, I shall bust you every time.

PH: "you explain a dog travelling thousands of miles cross country to rejoin its master: random chance.">>

No, I didn't say "random chance." This need not be random. Since we are dealing with a somewhat conscious being that was taken on a trip, he perhaps observed the road and the direction (a lot less roads in 1922). This could remove a great deal of the "randomness." You really haven't given any thought to these questions you ask have you Phillip?

PH: "Cats are just as capable...">>

Of course, more goal post moving rather than addressing my comments. What is your solution? Is it more reasonable than mine? Will we ever know?

PH: "and it happens much more frequently than you claim.">>

Is that frequency greater than would be expected considering the number of pets? Make your case, get off your bottom. Think. Are these stories that you find floating around verified, verifiable? Do you care? Is there anything you don't believe?

PH: "Carl Sagan... discusses the 4th dimension">>

Sure he does. I would have better confidence of your mutterings about other dimensions if I saw some evidence of you having competency in the one we see you flopping around in.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 6, 2012 at 1:22 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Now comes Phillip with a "catalog of the various" skeptical assertions, but Phillip forgets to address any of them, or suggest why they are inappropriate. Let's give a few a poke and see how they hold up:

PH: Argument # 2: "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.">>

Why is this incorrect? We all operate with this rule daily. If someone says they climbed a tree, the evidence bar is low. If some says they ate an entire oak tree yesterday, we require more evidence. If they say they ate the tree while traveling on a UFO and talking to a person on the other side of another universe (Phillip's great powers extend far beyond our little universe), then we require much more evidence. Why is this principle not appropriate? You don't attempt to say.

PH: "Argument # 3: The Occam’s Razor rule.">>

Why would more assumptions be better than less assumptions? You don't attempt to say.

PH: "Argument # 4: The "invisible pink unicorn / dragon in the garage" false comparison tactic.">>

Why is the bedrock scientific principle of falsifiablity inappropriate? Are you really unaware of this principle? I already gave you a link.

PH: "Argument # 5: The "anecdotal evidence is invalid" argument.">>

No, but anecdotes only go so far, and it isn't very far, unless they can be replicated. And yours are purposely crippled so as to avoid detection and replication. If I say I made ice cream appear on demand yesterday, and you ask for a demo, it's not going to be very persuasive if I respond (as you already have). "Your mind is already made up, and I'm not allowed to force you to change it." That's a transparent, gutless, duck.

PH: "Argument # 6: The memory malleability argument to dismiss anecdotal evidence.

I can bury you in data showing the malleability of memory. Let me know if you would like this.

PH: "Argument # 7: "The burden of proof is on the claimant.">>

How is this inappropriate? You claim to be able to talk to people on the other side of "other universes" and the burden should be upon someone else to show that you can't?

PH: "Argument # 8: "There is no hard evidence to support any paranormal phenomena.">>

Actually, you don't even have any soft evidence. You've got nothing, and you are devoted to keeping that way. If I believed in these things, I would be interested in confirming them.

Thanks for providing such an excellent format for teaching people about skepticism and avoiding your fallacious, flawed reasoning.


Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 6, 2012 at 1:28 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: "problem with discussions about... ESP, psi, and paranormal phenomenon is there is no standard proof for what we're talking about.">>

Again, you reveal you have no understanding of the history or literature of this issue which goes back at least a century. We actually know something about how to test claims.

PH: "Paranormal phenomenon isn't physical, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.">>

Wrong. The only reason anyone has the slightest interest in mutterings about paranormal phenomenon is due entirely to the specifically claimed ability to interact with the objective world. You claim to be able to talk to people that actually existed (if you claimed to be able to talk to Bugs Bunny, you would have less clients). Otherwise, all you have is stories and really bad science fiction of interest to no one. You have already claimed to have abilities to interact with "physical" via paranormal phenomenon.

PH: "I illustrated this problem by asking for proof that dreams exist.">>

I know you are very impressed with this "prove dreams exist" but it's amazing you have such little grasp of how we come about knowledge. I assure you this question is quite the softball pitched very slowly over the plate (I can teach you trickier ones if you like). If you would like an answer to this question, simply post it our forum here:

It's a much larger format, pictures can be posted, and other than porn/spam we do not censor. This one is an off topic rabbit trail so I didn't address it here. No doubt you will quickly change the subject to something else, but if you would like your answer, have the courage to post it and you will have it. You don't have a question anyone is afraid of.

PH: "There is no way to prove dreams are real because they don't have physical properties.">>

As much as you like to talk and bluster, you really don't know which way is up. Amazing.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 6, 2012 at 1:34 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Philip, you said, "I've had paranormal experiences that push the boundaries of reality to the extreme, but it wouldn't be wise to share them in this forum. Sometimes the only difference between medicine and poison is in the dose; only people who can tolerate a large dose of reality should be in the "deep end of the pool," so to say."

Thank you for this. Simple, clear, truth. I know it drives some folks crazy when they cannot nail something down with physical evidence, facts, etc. But again, and it bears repeating, not everything can be proven with physical evidence. Love the dream example--it's perfect.

@FFT, I agree with Coralie, you have done much good to help folks who misrepresent facts, re: politics and the like. And thank you for that. But in this arena, psi, etc., you have a limited skill set. I'm not saying that to be mean or ugly to you; I appreciate your strengths, chief among them, data and stats and recounting of the history of them.

But it would be a sign of strength in you, not weakness, to appreciate that others have skills and abilities that you many not have, and ways to wisdom that you may not understand. Coralie is right on when she says that skepticism too be dogmatic...any belief, even lack thereof, can become dogma. What seems to be lacking in your approach with others is the simple humility to acknowledge that there are more ways than one to accessing knowledge than the scientific method, and some of us have skill or ability in those other ways. You could learn something if you would listen more, talk less, in these situations. Beating people up with the same kind of hammer, just a bigger one, and insulting them with comments like your last one, "you really don't know which way is up", diminishes what you have to offer, so doesn't further your point of view in the arenas where you could do the most good. Remember: when you find yourself resorting to insults, it's likely that you've already lost the argument. And that's OK; no one is right all the time about everything, and there's no shame in that. It's a strength to acknowledge when we do not understand something or have not had a certain kind of experience, and in doing so, we promote friendlier interactions with those who see things differently, or who have had experiences different from our own.

Posted by: SPA

April 6, 2012 at 9:36 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

SPA: " Love the dream example--it's perfect.">>

The "dream example" is a simple ruse based upon a misunderstanding of how we obtain knowledge. Everyone here believes dreams exist because we have many good reasons to believe they exist (would you like a list?) and no good reasons to believe they don't. This differs entirely from a claim that a person can speak with entities on another side of another universe. Phillip is peddling a transparent ruse of trying to play on this and suggest that because we can't empirically prove dreams exist (nor to do need to, to have exceedingly solid reasons to understand how/why they do exist), that this provides a gap for him to squeeze in some ESP claims. You may fall for this simple trick, I don't.

SPA: "FFT,... you have done much good to help folks who misrepresent facts,">>

And Phillip has misrepresented facts and made false assertions repeatedly in this thread. So I will point this out.

SPA: "sign of strength... to appreciate that others have skills and abilities that you many not have,">>

I absolutely appreciate others may have skills and abilities I may not have. But I am not going to believe someone is talking to entities on another side of another universe based upon their say so, and I make no apology for pointing out this emperor parading before us has no clothes.

Note that this began because I offered a reward for Bigfoot. You are entirely entitled to believe in Bigfoot, and I can also offer a prize for finding Bigfoot. That Phillip that took offense that I would have the audacity to offer to back up my beliefs with something beyond assertion, is his problem.

SPA: "skepticism [can be] too be dogmatic...">>

Absolutely. Dogmatism is to be avoided. It's when someone rigidity holds to beliefs without being open to considering counter evidence. I have not done that, I am not doing that, I *never* done that. I am open to any counter evidence, for anything. I am bending over backward to consider any evidence that counters my belief. You have a reason to believe? Present it. I will even pay people to present it. And if they don't want to, fine. But they could stop complaining that I provide a legitimate offer to for them to demonstrate and confirm that they can do, *what they already claim they can do.*

SPA: [you're] lacking... simple humility... may be more ways than one to accessing knowledge">>

Excellent. What are these ways that are unamenable to science, reason and evidence? I would like to hear them.

SPA: "...some of us have skill or ability in those other ways.">>

Or maybe you don't. Maybe you are fooling yours self via the many well studied well understood ways that humans have fooled themselves about these things for centuries, as I have provided the tiniest outline for above. Have you considered that, or do you not allow yourself to consider that? (i.e. dogmatism) I have investigated these issues, in some depth, for decades. I don't think you can say that.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 6, 2012 at 10:37 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

We might consider what it means to "bond" with another person, or in the case of a dog, with its owner.
It is a commitment that is unconscious before it is conscious.
This attachment involves, perhaps, memory and recognition of the other's unique electromagnetic pattern.
Is there any scientific research on this?
Regardless of the particular instances sourced by Phillip, I believe that a lost dog could sense its person's signature at some distance and use it as a homing signal.
In the next post I'll give some scientific and personal analogies that make me think this is possible.
One can't ARGUE from analogy but it is a very useful mode for intuition and creativity.

Posted by: Coralie

April 6, 2012 at 12:29 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Phillip, accepts my challenge to provide a:
"specific example of [] site ridiculing the Bible or religion as being believed by people that are "ignorant, superstitious morons."

Let's see his example.

PH: "There are many, many examples...">>

Of course. Let's start with your first best example.

PH: Slide 3 displays...

Favorite Howler (of many):
"Historical evidence that Jesus was supernaturally conceived of a virgin is more than substantial. Indeed, there are more eyewitness contemporary records of the virgin birth than for most events from the ancient world." (Geisler, _Baker...)">>

Ahh yes, that is indeed a favorite chestnut. You read it, but you really don't understand why it's a howler? Too bad you weren't at the lecture.

PH: "What is a "Favorite Howler" of many?'>>

That one is. Stop for a moment, clear your mind. Think. Mr. Geisler says there are "there are more eyewitness contemporary records of the virgin birth than for most events from the ancient world."

Records? Of a virgin birth? How could we *possibly* have a "record" showing that a young woman *did not,* at some time, have sex? And we are to believe that this, which don't have at all, is "more than substantial?" What could be less substantial this? Geislers claim is ludicrous in its entirety. A "howler" indeed. Two bonus points:

1) We have no contemporary eyewitness records of anything to do with Mary, period. The gospels are anonymous and written decades later by people who admit they are not eyewitnesses. The idea that we have substantial records confirming her sex life, is ludicrous. Not contemporary, not eyewitness.

2) The majority of NT scholars understand that Paul, the only author of the NT that can be identified (and earliest writer, he refers to no gospels), did not believe in a virgin birth. He said Jesus lineage was "according to the flesh."

But this is all rather moot. There isn't a drop of evidence that Paul, or anyone that wrote the NT, ever met Mary, never mind knew about her sex life.

So while I am glad you made an attempt to back your claim, your claim falls flat. Geisler's comment is a blatant howler from all angles. It cannot be redeemed and it is so ridiculous I suspect he would admit he shouldn't have said it that way.

Another howler from Geisler:

"...annihilation would be demeaning both to the love of God and to the nature of human beings as free moral creatures... This would be like a father telling his son he wanted him to be a doctor, and, when he chose instead to be a park ranger, the father shot him! Eternal suffering is an eternal testimony to the freedom and dignity of humans, even unrepentant humans."
—Geisler & Howe, When Critics Ask (pg. 494). This is Dr. Geisler explaining why God must burn unbelievers in hell for all eternity in order to preserve their "freedom and dignity."

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 6, 2012 at 12:41 p.m. ( | suggest removal )


RE "[Then you won't have any trouble at all backing your charge by providing a specific example of that site ridiculing the Bible or religion as being believed by people that are "ignorant, superstitious morons."]

"No, no problem at all. There are many, many examples littering the site, but you asked for a specific one so I'll point to the first PowerPoint presentation titled 'The Complete and Utter Farce of Evangelical Scholarship' written by DARREL HENSCHELL."

I viewed that presentation-- twice-- and the words "ignorant", "superstitious" and "morons" did not appear-- individually or in any combination. You apparently confuse a criticism of an idea (for example, referring to a belief as a "howler") with criticism of a person.

Here's an example using another belief: a lot of people who are not the least bit superstitious believe that tinkle-down economics works. Given the ample evidence that tinkle-down is a failure, their belief is a "howler". Bless their hearts.

Well, it would be a howler if the belief hadn't done so much damage to our nation. It's really rather tragic.

Never mind.

Posted by: AlphaCat

April 6, 2012 at 12:55 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

1. Attachments and bonding with places in the natural kingdom include Monarch butterflies that migrate hundreds of miles each year to reach a certain small area in Mexico. Also salamanders return to the pond in which they were born in order to reproduce, and salmon travel long distances to spawn in particular places. Seals, whales, penguins etc. have traditional birthing homes.
The mechanisms for this ability to remember and find a certain place are not completely understood.
Could the ability to bond with a place be similar to the ability to bond with a person?
2. Hundreds or thousands of seals or other creatures that all give birth in one location are able to leave their offspring to go find food and then find their own pups again--how? They recognize some sort of signature, which is most likely either smell or a pattern of electromagnetic frequencies. I think the latter would be most distinctive and less confusing.
3. Humans apparently evolved pair-bonding a long time ago, and it is pretty hard-wired in us despite the tendency to lapse. If you have ever been "in love" you know how intensely you are aware of where the other person is in space. I know personally of the following:
A young woman broke up with her boyfriend but every time she got ready to go out on a date with a new guy, the old boyofriend just unaccountably showed up. Happened half a dozen times.
Every time a certain person entered the building where I was working on the computer, although I couldn't see or hear him I started to make all kinds of mistakes and lost my focus completely.
And so on.
I don't see why it is all right to assume the sense of smell but too weird to assume an electro-magnetic sense in humans, or some humans, although many animals are demonstrated to have them.
BTW, I've said nothing here about other dimensions or the supernatural.

Posted by: Coralie

April 6, 2012 at 12:58 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

FFT said: [Since we are dealing with a somewhat conscious being that was taken on a trip, he perhaps observed the road and the direction...">

PH: "You're confusing the two examples. The dog was not taken on a trip - it walked.">>

Sorry, you are mistaken. We know you didn't read your Charlie dog story past the headline, and now we see you didn't read the "Bobbie the Wonder Dog" story carefully either. He was taken on the trip, and walked back, as I said.

PH: "roads that were, for the most part in 1923, winding cow paths.">>

We have no evidence whatsoever of the path Bobbie may have taken (or if he hitched a ride part of the way). The fact that there were less roads (far more substantial than winding cowpaths however), is very much to his advantage if he went the same route home.

PH: "explanation is more implausible than the original claim.">>

Then you should have no trouble showing how my explanation, based upon odds and probability, are less implausible than the original claim. Considering the hundreds of millions of pets and the frequency with which they have always gotten lost, and occasionally returned, the only amazing thing would be is if we didn't have many *extraordinary* and rare coincidences regarding their return. Again, we remember the hits, and discard all of the millions of misses that constantly happen. Confirmation bias.

PH: "Your questions is will YOU ever know.">>

There are indeed a certain percentage of events that we will not have adequate answers for (you haven't provided one yet, but it certainly can be done). The question then is, should we reach for the fallacious "argument from ignorance" and pretend a magical answer is an answer when it is not? I don't think so, for reasons already given.

PH: "My solution is elegant and simple,...">>

Lot's of elegant assertions are simple and wrong. "Magic," is a pseudo solution.

PH: "an understanding of nature and reality that you're apparently incapable of understanding...">>

I accepted your claims of "nature and reality" for most of my life. Then I studied the issue with careful scrutiny and learned the basic methods by which humans have long tricked themselves. Once you know how the trick is done, it doesn't trick you anymore. And you can't go back to being tricked.


Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 6, 2012 at 1:10 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: "Your agenda isn't to learn new truths,">>

My agenda is exactly to discover and reveal truth. And truth has nothing to hide and does not fear questions or tests. Truth is discovered and strengthened by testing. If Bigfoot exists, I want to believe that. And I want to give a house to the person that teaches me this "new truth" by introducing me to him. (Incidentally, this is simply a smart business decision. The discovery and a new hominid in N. America would be the greatest discovering in a century. A Bigfoot would be worth millions).

PH: "[you want] to teach people how foolish they are,">>

I have no interest in that whatsoever (you have constantly confused confidence and competence with "ego"). I used to believe all of these things (specialty was astral travel) and I wasn't dumber then than now. It has nothing to do with being smart but rather having tools of critical examination, skeptical scrutiny and the courage to consider whether your beliefs are actually, rigorously, true. Incredibly, most people (including me 25 years ago), are afraid to do that, especially with regard to spiritual/religious claims. Oh well, one does what one can.

On March 30 you said: "Someday,... I'll show you something that proves you're wrong about talking to 'dead' people."

When can we set this up so you can do this and keep your word? Email: [fayfreethinkers @]

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 6, 2012 at 1:16 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Hey to FFT. Not much need to reply to most of what you said, or we'll just be doing the tit-for-tat . But I do want to respond to this one thing, because it's the point made by Coralie and what I wanted to second. You said. "Absolutely. Dogmatism is to be avoided. It's when someone rigidity holds to beliefs without being open to considering counter evidence. I have not done that, I am not doing that, I *never* done that."

I see you differently than you see yourself on this point. In your skepticism, you are indeed dogmatic. It's your hallmark, what you are best known for probably. And that, to me, isn't "free thinking", because skepticism functions at the opposite end of blind faith...and both are myopic, albeit in different ways. Skepticism, when it comes to psi, is handicapped to explain great oddities, because psi by it's very nature does not respond to the kind of proof that a skeptic wants to see. I realize that you probably don't see this. Anytime we become entrenched in our own point of view, we risk missing some piece of the truth. And when we do this, it usually takes others to point it out to us, and even then, most people will be unable to see it because it's too painful to self-reflect about it, even more so if one has a deep-seated need to be right, or to put it another way, more invested in the feeling right than learning something *completely new and different.*

We tend to seek companions who share our viewpoints. The radicals of both ends hang together, the skeptics, etc. People miss pieces of the big picture, I think, when they do this. I just read a book by Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly. He tells the story that NASA learned when asking the deeper questions about what went wrong with Apollo 11. Not the technical "what went wrong", but the "how could so many smart people miss what we now can see?" What they decided is that "None of us is as dumb as all of us." Meaning, when we engage in groupthink, we miss the obvious. Skeptics engage in groupthink, just as "believers" do. I don't believe we'll ever discover what's behind Bigfoot, UFO's, aliens, God, etc. with skepticism alone. We need belief and skepticism both to find the balance that might give us the truth about these things...or might not. I think it's just as likely that we'll never fully explain or understand these things, but that doesn't mean they aren't "real" to those of us who have experienced them--whatever "real" is!

Anyway, I appreciate you and your talents. But I'm with Philip on this one. I've had too many unexplainable experiences myself to discount them. Can't explain 'em...but I know I saw them. And I don't think that what we currently know about physics is going to explain them; we've got new stuff to learn, and that's exciting to me.

Posted by: SPA

April 6, 2012 at 3:46 p.m. ( | suggest removal )


RE "AlphaCat - my original post said this: 'Hume and Paine ridiculed people who believe in the Bible and its various religions as ignorant, superstitious morons. I don't see any difference between them and the material I read at'"
However, there are no quotes from Hume and Paine in the presentation, the subject of which is faulty reasoning and scholarship. (Paine isn't even mentioned.) Geisler himself-- not Darrel Henschell-- brought up Spinoza, Hume, Bultmann, Kant and Kirkegaard as examples of people whose philosophies are dangerous to Christian thought. He forgot to mention that they ridicule religious people and call them names.

Even if Hume and Paine ridiculed religious people, the presentation you cited does not: it points out the circular reasoning, confirmation bias, avoidance of the philosophical underpinnings of scholarship, and avoidance of scholarship itself (!) in fundamentalist "scholarship". It is perfectly objective to evaluate something against the standard it claims to adhere to.

RE "After his clarification, it's even more clear why I don't see any difference between what Hume and Paine said and what FFT is saying."
What did Hume and Paine say? You will have to provide references to show that Hume and Paine ridiculed religious people, because this presentation does not do that. I'll be particularly interested in seeing any quotation that includes a phrase anything like "stupid, ignorant morons". (Interesting side note: the word "moron" did not come into use until the twentieth century.)

If you think that this presentation serves as the example you claim it does, you don't see much of anything. It does not ridicule anybody; it points out the fallacies of a way of doing something. And it makes no assertions as to the intelligence or awareness of religious people.

Surely you can find a better example. Perhaps you should try again.

Posted by: AlphaCat

April 6, 2012 at 4:54 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

SPA: "In your skepticism, you are indeed dogmatic.">

Then if I have, and dogmatic is when: "someone rigidity holds to beliefs without being open to considering counter evidence," you should have no trouble providing a specific example of me doing this. But you didn't do that, and you cannot because there are no claims I am not open to hearing counter evidence about. I have no sacred cows. Abbie Hoffman once said: "Sacred cows make the tastiest hamburger." And I agree with Jefferson here:
"There is not a truth existing which I fear... or would wish unknown to the whole world."

SPA: "that, to me, isn't "free thinking",>>

You should familiarize yourself with what "freethinking" is. I can tell you aren't familiar with the word because if you were, you would know it's one word not two.

free-think-er n.
A person who forms opinions about religion on the basis of reason, independently of tradition, authority, or established belief. -- Webster's New World -- Third College Edition

So, a person who doesn't get their opinions about religion based upon faith, tradition, authority or established belief. And sometimes when people try to shield their beliefs/claims behind those four pillars of orthodoxy, freethinkers point it out.

SPA: "skepticism... [is] myopic,">>

Then perhaps you can explain why asking for good reasons to believe extraordinary claims, is "myopic."

SPA: "Skepticism, when it comes to psi, is handicapped... psi by it's very nature does not respond to the kind of proof that a skeptic...">>

This certainly appears a convenient attempt to shield a claim from scrutiny (see Sagan Dragons above). When people who claim to be able to do x (and the only reason anyone pays attention to these things is because psi specifically claims to be able to do many types of x), we are to believe it is inappropriate for it to demonstrate it can do x, because... "of its very nature." I am reminded of the axiom,"the invisible and the non-existent look very much alike."

It's a common tradition to suggest that it's okay to point out falsehoods, unless they happen to be regarding religion, then we mustn't do that. I don't agree. If a person claims the world is 6,000 years old, Noah saved the world with his boat and it's okay to have slaves, oppress gays, oppress women, carve up an infants genitals or fly planes into buildings, I don't hold back from giving reasons why these things are wrong, just because a person believes these things under the guise of religion.

SPA: "I'm with Philip on this one.">>

Perhaps he can find some comfort in that. Whether these things are true or false of course, has nothing to do with whether people believe in them, or how many.

SPA: "I've had too many unexplainable experiences myself to discount them.">>

Me too. Until I became curious enough to study and educate myself about these interesting questions and rigorously try to discover what explanation has the best evidence. Very few people do that.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 6, 2012 at 7:40 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: "I didn't say, or even imply, that the fft website used those exact words to ridicule the followers of religion.">>

Of course you did. You said Hume and Paine ridiculed Christians as ignorant, superstitious morons, and that you "don't see any difference between" that (unsupported assertion), and what is on the freethinker site. So you show, once again, you make false accusations you cannot support and throw them at people. You've done this from the beginning (examples upon request). Don't do that.

PH: "FFT... displays his Favorite Howler and then lists, in detail, the reasons why he ridicules Geisler.">>

A "howler" is: "a mistake, especially an embarrassing one in speech or writing, that evokes laughter; a very humorous mistake or a funny blunder."

So let's see if Dr. Geisler's comment might qualify. He claims to have:

a) historical evidence (he doesn't)
b) that Jesus was supernaturally conceived of a virgin (evidence a girl was a virgin?)
c) is more than substantial (it isn't).
d) there are more eyewitness (he has none)
e) contemporary (not one)
f) records (none)
g) of the virgin birth than for most events from the ancient world." (ridiculous)

Mr. Geisler can crank out a series of whoppers like that, and a giggle is not appropriate? Calling his comment a howler is putting sugar on it.

PH: "it's even more clear why I don't see any difference between what Hume and Paine said and what FFT is saying.">>

Hey SPA, if you were wondering exactly what dogmatism looks like, Phillip provides an excellent example.

There is no reference material on that freethinker site, referencing the Bible, that isn't supported by standard mainstream Christian scholarship. At no time are Christians called or considered "ignorant, superstitious morons." Some of the founding members are Christians who attend church and sit on church boards (Methodist). Incidentally, Paines comments about the Bible, aside from his rails against the clergy and various hypocrites, are supported by standard modern Bible scholarship.

"Non-Christian sources are instructive in tracing parallels to the cult of Mary. Virgin birth stories (e.g., Hera, Rhea Silvia, Brigid) were circulated in other cultures, as were tales of mothers mourning lost and deceased children (e.g., Demeter and Phersephone; Isis and Horus). Iconographically, just as Mary was often portrayed holding or nursing the infant Jesus, so too was the Eygptian goddess Isis depicted suckling her infant son, Horus. Even as Mary was called Queen of Heaven and sometimes depicted surrounded by the Zodiac and other symbols, so too were deities Isis. Magna Mater, and Artemis. Such parallels show that Mary's cult had roots in the cults of the female deities of the Greco-Roman world, cult ultimately eradicated by Christianity...."
--Oxford Companion to the Bible, (a standard Christian scholarly reference work) pg. 500, article on Mary

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 6, 2012 at 7:47 p.m. ( | suggest removal )


RE "AlphaCat - I never said nor implied the FFT Powerpoint had any quotes from Hume or Paine."
Not quotes, perhaps, but paraphrases at the least. You continue to hold it up as an example of how the fayfreethinkers site is just like Hume and Paine in the way it ridicules religious persons, as if there is a perceptible connection. However, there is nothing in the presentation to support your claim, unless you found something I missed. If so, please share it.

RE "The ridicule I read about religion that Paine and Hume displayed in their writings is very similar to the ridicule that I read when I went to the FFT website."
Then cite examples of this parallelism. (Hint: the presentation you linked to isn't one.) That would be quotations from Paine and Hume that ridicule religious persons, and parallel examples from the fayfreethinkers site that ridicule religious persons.

RE "This thread is full of FFT's disdain for people who he feels are ignorant, superstitious morons because they believe in ESP, psi, or anything smacking of the paranormal."
No, this thread is about half full of fft's disdain for superstitious belief, unsupported claims, refusal to investigate, and demiassed attacks on the scientific method.

I suppose it is easy to take fft's attacks-- and they are attacks-- on incomplete thought, uninvestigated beliefs and failure to acknowledge the standards by which ideas and phenomena are discussed, analyzed and proven (or not) personally. I don't think fft is saying that you or anybody else is stupid or ignorant; he's saying that there are ways to look at things if you want to contend that they are real. Anecdotes-- even mass experiences-- are not evidence, especially in a scientific sense.

Being told "That was lame" does not mean that somebody think you can't walk. Unfortunately, this news comes too late for this thread.

Posted by: AlphaCat

April 6, 2012 at 9:32 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Phillip, having given up on supporting yet another false accusation, now provides a quotation from a very good book: "The Perfect Mirror: The Question of Bible Perfection."

It's about the doctrine of biblical inerrancy and contains well established standard mainstream Christian Bible scholarship. The doctrine of inerrancy hasn't been taken seriously by Bible scholars for 150 years so there is nothing improper about pointing that out. It's available at our local Hastings, in the "local authors" section.

The enlightenment wasn't kind to Phillip's peddlers of woo, and he is still stinging a bit about it (but he does enjoy his computer). If he thinks Paine and Hume were too harsh (Phillip provides no evidence he has read them), he might try some Jefferson:

“I rarely waste time in reading on theological subjects… Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus. If it could be understood it would not answer their purpose. Their security is in their faculty of shedding darkness, like the scuttle-fish, thro’ the element in which they move, and making it impenetrable to the eye of a pursuing enemy, and there they will skulk until some rational creed can occupy the void which the obliteration of their duperies would leave in the minds of our honest and unsuspecting brethren."
--Jefferson, letter to Francis van der Kemp, August 6, 1816

Jefferson certainly chose the proper word with "duperies."

I once took a poll at a freethinker meeting asking if we were, as a group, perhaps too hard on the Christian fundamentalists. By show of hands, of about 70 people, the response was, of 3 choices:

Just about right = 80%
Not hard enough = 19%
Too hard = one person

So aside from Phillip's unsupported protestations, we've apparently got it about right. Now if he can point to something we've said that isn't true, then he might have something interesting to talk about. But he can't do that, and as we've seen, discerning between what is true and not true, is not a strong area for Phillip.

Phillip says if one can take their skeptic brain out and put it on a shelf, then it might be possible to believe his claims. I agree. And the frontal lobes need to go first. If a person disregards their rational mind, critical thinking skills and reason, then they can and will believe anything. But I don't have an interest in believing anything anymore.


Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 7, 2012 at 2:46 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Incidentally, I have very good friends who work in Phillip's industry and we get along very well. My mother in-law is a psychic healer and makes a living traveling the country doing this. We get along wonderfully. Tomorrow I am having brunch with a psychic who has been a dear friend since 1987 (first met her when hiring her for a session). She channels entities and writes books about it and has done tours all over the world. We get along fantastically. The reason I have chosen to make an example out of Phillip here (and he has played his part as expected), is not because he is terribly sloppy with language, can't get his doggie stories straight and likes to talk about things he has no knowledge of, it's because he is not an honest person. He's not honest with language and he makes false accusations he can't back up.

So no, am I not interested in his offer of an apprenticeship, because I don't engage in dealings with people who are not honest. I will however correct their errors when they post them in public, and make no apology for doing it.

As Paine once put it:
“It is the duty of every man, as far as his ability extends, to detect and expose delusion and error. But nature has not given to everyone a talent for the purpose; and among those to whom such a talent is given there is often a want of disposition or of courage to do it.” --Thomas Paine, Age of Reason

"There is no harmony between religion and science. When science was a child, religion sought to strangle it in the cradle. Now that science has attained its youth, and superstition is in its dotage, the trembling, palsied wreck says to the athlete: 'Let us be friends.' It reminds me of the bargain the cock wished to make with the horse: 'Let us agree not to step on each other's feet."
--Robert Ingersoll, about 140 years ago

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 7, 2012 at 2:50 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Got the feeling that I'm going in a divergent direction from everybody else here, in supposing that a number of occurrences culturally described/rejected as being 'supernatural' actually have natural explanations.
I believe in the scientific method, and also have had many experiences not explained by currently accepted theories.
I will not repress/deny my own experiences.
And here we are back in a religious discussion, which is entirely different subject from telepathy and which I'm making no claims about.

Posted by: Coralie

April 7, 2012 at 3:57 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Going back to original subject of Bigfoot, my feeling is that Bigfoot, Sasquatch, the Abominable Snowman, etc. are mostly about wishful thinking.
Highly improbable any other hominid species still exist--but not totally impossible.
In the course of evolution we know of about 20 different hominid species, and at least two of them existed concurrently with our species (modern man)--the Neanderthals up until about 30 or 40,000 years ago, the "Hobbits" until maybe 20,000 years ago.
We found out about the Hobbits only within the last decade, so there could be still more surprises. More likely to be bones than lliving individuals though.

Posted by: Coralie

April 7, 2012 at 4:04 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

The methods of finding Bigfoot, may be also useful in finding a "Jewpacabra," as this very instructive South Park episode reveals (see at least the first 4 minutes):

PH: "I knew...">>

Is this the same fellow that used his super powers to "know" that I had an abusive father or grew up in poverty? Is this the same fellow that "knew" Raymond Teller (5' 9") is a midget? Is this the same fellow who claims to have: "used psychometry and Remote Viewing to visualize objects and people at a distance..." but doggone it, just can't do it under conditions that would show he actually has or can do is? Oh, that fellow.

Well, we really mustn't get started on what this fellow claims to "know" but clearly does not.

PH: "I knew from your first posts that your claim to give your house away with proof of a Bigfoot was fraudulent and dishonest.">>

Well, we shall just have to put on the pile one more example of you making up a smear that is false.

I just got off of the phone with my lawyer. He is working on the sworn statement and performance contract (will be posted online) that will confirm my legal obligation to sign over the deed to a house I own in Washington County, that he has established to be owned by me, free and clear, to anyone who delivers into my possession and ownership a heretofore undiscovered, unknown (confirmed by DNA evidence), Bigfoot, primate, hominid, native to North America.

Need I say, invisible, undetectable, "Bigfoots," don't count? Probably.

Of course, if "Bigfoot" learns of this offer and finds it too tempting to resist, I am perfectly agreeable with arranging to sign the house directly over to him and his family.

That is, as long as he doesn't vote republican (and for some reason, I suspect he might).

ps. Just kidding about the voting part.

pps This is really going to be fun to explain at our next meeting.

ppps If anyone from this paper would like to contact me about doing a story on this offer, feel free (email given a few posts up).

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 7, 2012 at 5:32 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Poor Randi, he's been dealing with this sort of thing for decades.

PH: "Thank you for proving to the world how correct I was in declaring your offer a fraud.">>

Actually, my lawyer informed me that my public offer (March 28, and again in another thread) was already a legally binding contract, so this extra step of a sworn, notarized contract of performance with further details, is just a little exercise to conclusively refute your false charge.

PH: "It's been a fraud since the first day you first proposed it.">>

Actually, just as when I went on the evening news about a decade ago with a $50k offer, this one is legally enforceable. Out of my hands, nothing I can do. My house is in the hands of... Bigfoot.

PH: "Only now,... actually create a legal document to back up your empty claim.">>

I've always backed offers like this with legally binding contracts. This one is in the works, sorry for the delay. It is the weekend.

PH: "still as dishonest as it ever was.">>

I don't think you understand the law. And why would you? You freely break the laws of physics all the time.

PH: "You don't anymore believe you'll have to surrender your property...">>

To be clear, I think it rather unlikely. However, if Bigfoot is brought forward, I will have no choice but to give the house. And I will gladly.

PH: "than would I if I offered a similar claim for anyone who brought me proof of a leprechaun.">>

Thanks for plainly revealing who is the dishonest one here! But we already knew that. Here's how it works, if you offer a reward for x, and someone produces x, you don't have any say whatsoever on giving up the reward. The court arranges this for you. Try it and see.

PH: "The only reason... you don't expect to have to honor it.">>

You are just now catching on that I am rather skeptical of the existence of Bigfoot? Good.

Earlier I said: "The notion that there is an undiscovered hominid running around North America, is preposterous and I make no apology for saying this plainly."

Actually, I think the word "preposterous" greatly understates the situation.

PH: "will never be paid no matter how much proof is proffered.">>

That's out of my hands actually. Deliver Bigfoot, get the house. It's a done deal. Do it during the month of April, and I'll throw in a goat.

Quick lesson on the belief engine:

"The bottom line is that they all fail, when properly and fairly tested. There are no exceptions. Even after they have clearly and definitely failed, they always continue to believe in their powers. Why should this be so?"

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 7, 2012 at 9:15 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Big Foot has a long life. :-)

@ FFT, I'm not sure what you've said in one of your sentences. Here's our exchange:

SPA: "I've had too many unexplainable experiences myself to discount them."

FFT: "Me too. Until I became curious enough to study and educate myself about these interesting questions and rigorously try to discover what explanation has the best evidence. Very few people do that."

Do you mean that *had* unexplainable experiences *until* you started to find an explanation for them? That you no longer have them? As typed, that's what it sounds like you're saying. If so, please say more about that. If that's not what you mean, then please clarify.

Also, I'm curious about your odd/unexplainable experiences. Example?

You mention that you have a "psychic" in-law and friend, and that you get along fantastically with both. In your estimation, are their psychic abilities "real", in the sense that they are not faking or scamming the public/ their clients with their claims? If so, then what explanation do you have (if you have one) for their skills? Would like to hear your thoughts about this.

Posted by: SPA

April 8, 2012 at 4:52 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Phillip1955: "Once something becomes understood and accepted it moves into the natural category, just like television would have been supernatural to people who thought the earth was flat."

Agree! We just do not yet understand some of these phenomenon. Doesn't mean that folks who accept that something "real" has happened--and that it's not psychosis, or imagination--are fools or ignoramuses. It seems to me that all parties discussing psi at this point claim to be open-minded. I think the differences seem to lie in where we think the explanations may be found: in science alone, or in a combo of science in its current state, faith in its current state, and/or science and faith in a more evolved state.

Phillip: "As I tried to explain in an earlier post, it's the minds of the non-believers that must accommodate the phenomenon, because the phenomenon is not going to accommodate the mind of the non-believer."

This is only partly true. It may be true that the phenomenon is not going to accommodate the mind of the non-believer. But it's not necessarily true that the minds of the non-believers must accommodate the phenomenon. There's always denial to fall back on; just ignore it, and maybe it will go away. Psychiatrist John Mack (deceased) spoke of the "ontological shock" of seeing something that one does not understand. If there is no mental/cultural framework into which one can place the phenomenon, one may very likely not even see it clearly for what it is in order to be able to study it with the scientific method. We first have a "sensory misperception", and until that is resolved, a rational explanation for what one sees cannot be attained.

Posted by: SPA

April 8, 2012 at 5:11 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

@ FFT, thanks for the definition of "freethinker." That is informative for me. It does clarify that one does not have to be a "free thinker"--two words--in order to be a "freethinker." So "freethinker" is a bit of a misnomer. It would be more accurate to call it "non-faith based thinking about matters of religion."

The one word "freethinker" definition, while helpful, doesn't change anything regarding how I see you re: you being dogmatic in your presentation. We could quibble about the word "dogma" perhaps. It's usually used with regard to religious tradition. But some definitions of "dogmatic" refer less specifically to religion, and more generally to strongly held opinions of any sort, or a system of principles (logic, rationality, for example) or opinions held strongly or rigidly. So, I think "dogmatic' still applies, because your point of view and way of thinking is most definitely presented in a manner of a strongly held principle--even rigidly held. I don't see you as being any more open-minded regarding your "freethinker" values than the religious zealots are regarding their faith-based values. It's ironic, but it is what it is, and actually, it gives me a chuckle. Reminds me of the Shakespeare line, "Methinks thou doth protest too much." ;-)

Posted by: SPA

April 8, 2012 at 5:57 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

SPA: "Do you mean that *had* unexplainable experiences *until* you started to find an explanation for them?">>

If I understand your question correctly, yes.

SPA: "That you no longer have them?">>

Nothing recently. It's quite possible to have an experience that can't be explained. The vast majority of reports of UFO's for instance have good plausible explanations (or the exact known explanation), but a small % of the time, there isn't one. It's truly a "report" of an "unidentified" FO. This is to be expected.

SPA: "...curious about your odd/unexplainable experiences.">>

Traveling to Canada in the late 80's, we crossed the border around Vancouver (pop. aprox 2 million even back then). I only know about six people in that area (cousin, sister and couple others). I was roughly in the area of the suburb of my sister, and we stopped at a place selling boats to call and get directions. When I walked in, the fellow greeted me and my wife by name. Turns out, he was the boyfriend of my best friends sister, who were going to see later (didn't know where they lived in Vancouver). So a very nifty coincidence. These things happen when you have 7 billion people bopping about.

SPA: "In your estimation, are their psychic abilities "real",>>

No, I don't think they have real, psychic abilities. There are much more likely explanations. I am certainly open anyone showing they have such abilities.

SPA: "in the sense that they are not faking or scamming...with their claims?>>

I think they are sincere. They both provide a type of feedback/counseling that people may find useful, quite regardless of whether anything psychic is going on. They are both aware of my public offers to test PSI claims.

SPA: "what explanation do you have (if you have one) for their skills?">>

People are exceedingly good at taking information and making it fit with what they want. Example. Ray Hyman, an exceedingly accomplished psychologist and statistician, used to do some palmistry while a student in college. His clients said he was very good and very accurate and kept coming back. Then a magician friend, suggested he try an experiment. Say the exact opposite of what the lines in the hand tell you you should say.

The result?

His clients found him to be as much or more accurate than before. This reveals the "skill" of palmistry (and the many variations of such readings) has nothing to do with lines in the hand but rather the skill of people to fit assertions into what they think about themselves.


This is covered nicely in this (2000) PBS show, "Secrets of the Psychics." You can watch it, in parts, here:

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 8, 2012 at 6:32 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Remembering an old jazz song that went something like this:
"Your feet's too big!
Don't love you cause your feet's too big,
Can't use you cause your feet's too big,
Your feet's just too d---ned big."

Posted by: Coralie

April 9, 2012 at 11:56 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Back to looking for a possible scientific hypothesis for at least some psi phenomenon--because FFT said no hypothesis exists.
Now look at ENTRAINMENT.
One definition is: " The synchronization or alignment of the internal biological clock rhythm, including its phase and period, to external time cues, such as the natural dark-light cycle."
(Or seasons, or phases of the moon?)
In physics it is " the process whereby two interacting oscillating systems, which have different periods when they function independently, assume a common period." This was first described by a 17th century physicist, Christian Huygens, after he noticed that the pendulums of two pendulum clocks had synchronized, and subsequent experiments duplicated this process.
There are several other definitions from different scientific fields.
To my knowledge, no one has yet put together entrainment with mirror neurones, schooling of fish, bird formations, empathy, or telepathy.

Posted by: Coralie

April 9, 2012 at 12:15 p.m. ( | suggest removal )


RE "For those of us who have experienced psi and 'paranormal' phenomena it's obvious it's real. It's just not 'real' in the accepted physical sense. In my opinion it's all scientifically valid and provable and follows the laws of physics, even though our understanding of physics is lacking."

Nobody has said that your, or anybody else's, seemingly paranormal experiences are not "real". The argument is that there are explanations for most such experiences that place them among normal experiences, and there is as yet no scientific explanation for those that have not yet been found normal.

As I said before, I have had numerous actual "real" experiences that seemed-- and in some cases still seem-- paranormal, but the ones I have had as an adult (and so can remember well and objectively) have normal explanations. As much as I would like to have second sight, a third eye, a fourth dimension, a fifth of whiskey or a sixth sense, I see no reason yet to believe that I do.

Posted by: AlphaCat

April 9, 2012 at 12:52 p.m. ( | suggest removal )


RE "AlphaCat said: 'Nobody has said that your, or anybody else's, seemingly paranormal experiences are not 'real'.

"Actually, 'they' did. Several times, and in no uncertain terms."

Where? None of these quotations, and nothing in this thread, deny that anybody has had experiences that are real to them. What HAS been said however, is that a "real" experience, eerie though it might be, is probably not paranormal, given the preponderance of strange experiences with rational explanations, and the lack (so far) of scientific explanations for the rest of them. That is what has been said. Perhaps you are using "real" when you mean "paranormal"; if so, your word choice could be more precise. (I know this subject is dear to you, and I think it is an important area of study, so I will suggest that you be very precise in writing about it. You want to convey your meaning as carefully as possible so as to give others a head start on understanding you. Your message might be garbled.)

Nothing on the fayfreethinkers site has anything to do with whether anybody has said in this thread that your paranormal experiences are not "real". Nobody has said that. Instead, it has been pointed out numerous times that the great majority of supposedly paranormal experiences can be explained as normal, and there is as yet no scientific explanation for the rest of them. That is an entirely different issue from whether you had experiences.

If you must delve into other people's conversations to "prove" that something has been said to you:

RE "As you can see, this genius is equating the depth of the damage with the size of the outer wall."

I believe he made the point that the Pentagon was solidly hit by an airplane, unless Random Nobody wished to propose another theory as to what caused the damage. But how are 9/11 conspiracy theories relevant to the paranormal phenomena being discussed here?

RE "Here's another quote from a visitor to the 'freethinker' website:

'Your site would be more used if you didn't insult people. Let['s] try and be grown ups here and respect one another.'"

All that indicates is that some people get their backs up more easily than others. That appears to be consistent with this thread.

RE "Obviously, SOMEONE has issues that prevent them from having an intelligent conversation without feeling the need to ridicule a difference of opinion as 'rubbish.'"

It is just as obvious that SOMEBODY has issues that prevent their handling skepticism well. For example, you keep accusing people of saying and doing things they didn't say or do.

Posted by: AlphaCat

April 9, 2012 at 5:26 p.m. ( | suggest removal )


RE "What FFT is saying is that the paranormal experiences are figments of imagination, hallucination, or other mistakes."
Which, as I've said, are possible rational explanations for your experiences. He has never said that you did not have the experiences.

RE "There's no controversy over his meaning, which is absolutely clear: paranormal phenomena don't exist. You're the one who doesn't understand what's being said."
Actually, he means that there is not yet a good reason to credit the extranormal, because normal causes are far more likely. But doubting the existence of paranormal experience does not constitute denial that you had experiences, whatever they are.

RE "No, I didn't delve into their conversation. I used that as an example from the FFT website to show how illogical and disjointed is the post from "Darrel" as a comparison to how illogical and disjointed are the posts from FFT in this thread."
Since you did that in response to my contention that nobody has denied that you had experiences, I took the quotations to be responses to the contrary, as you appeared to indicate in your post of April 9, 2012 at 3:24 and 3:25 p.m.:

"AlphaCat said: 'Nobody has said that your, or anybody else's, seemingly paranormal experiences are not 'real'.

Actually, 'they' did. Several times, and in no uncertain terms. When he couldn't say it plainly enough he quoted someone else. See below:...." [quotations follow]

Any disjointedness or illogic in the threads are irrelevant to the apparent purpose for the quotation-- that is, responding to my statement.

RE "you're every bit as dismissive, and prone to obfuscating the conversation with irrelevant and false claims."
I think it's less a matter of obfuscation on my part and more a scattershot approach to argumentation on your part. Perhaps you should be more jointed and logical yourself. Whether you have had experiences of some sort is a separate issue from whether your experiences are extranormal. Citing the facts that most paranormal experiences have been explained as normal and that there is not yet a scientific basis for the existence of psychic phenomena is not a denial that the paranormal might exist. Psychic phenomena are not necessarily spiritual phenomena. The existence of Bigfoot is not a paranormal issue; it is a natural issue.

RE "You're the one who suggested anyone made that claim, and now you're refuting it. A straw man tactic. Interesting."
No, I have never suggested that anybody made that claim: I have always contended that nobody made that claim. Perhaps your writing is too opaque, but I mention it because it appears that the bulk of your continuing argument is that your experiences have been denied entirely, rather than that rational explanations for them have been offered. If there is a straw man involved, then, it is yours, and it is not particularly interesting.


Posted by: AlphaCat

April 9, 2012 at 9:56 p.m. ( | suggest removal )



RE "You say I 'keep' accusing people of things they didn't say or do, and yet I posted their exact words proving they did."
You haven't posted any words that prove that anybody said that you didn't have experiences. You continue to claim that "they" have denied that you had experiences.

RE "You're a card carrying skeptic for sure,..."
I don't carry a card, but I wear a name tag at the meetings.

RE "...and no doubt one of those "freethinkers" that seem to know more about what other people experience than they do."
Neither I nor fft claim to know more about your experiences than you do. fft has suggested some possible explanations for your experiences, and why those explanations make more sense than your explanation of them. That does not constitute knowing more about them.

RE "Say, you two are just like Penn and Teller! You must be the mute midget, does he let you sit on his lap?"
I an a bit taller than fayfreethinker, and I outweigh him considerably. Neither of us has ever sat on the other's lap. And though I cannot speak for fft, my own talents, wondrous though they are, do not include the arts of illusion, prestidigitation, legerdemain, sleight-of-hand, hoodoo, sorcery, necromancy, conjuring, wizardry, or any other such thing.

"Do unto others before they do unto you."

Posted by: AlphaCat

April 9, 2012 at 9:57 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Okay, taxes are done, let's take a look:

SPA: "freethinker" is a bit of a misnomer.">>

Not to the people that actually use the label and have for a couple centuries. You've just learned the meaning of it and that it's one word.

SPA: "I see you re: you being dogmatic in your presentation.">>

I have no interest in how you see my presentation. Here's how my "dogmatism" goes:

Psychic: I can do X, Y and Z!

I say, hey, let's put together a test to see if we can verify that you are actually doing X, Y or Z.

PSY: You're rude!

I'll pay you $5k. I'll give you a house if you bring in Bigfoot.

PSY: That's being rude and dogmatic!

Offering the *opportunity* for claimants to verify that they can do, what they already claim to be able to do, isn't dogmatism, it's common sense. Only in areas of religion do people pretend it's inappropriate to use such common sense.

SPA: "some definitions of "dogmatic" refer to... strongly held opinions of any sort,">>

I strongly believe water seeks its own level and bears often poop in the woods. Is that being inappropriately "dogmatic?" No.

SPA: "I think "dogmatic' still applies,">>

You confuse confidence and competence with dogmatism. If it applied, you could have provided an example of a "strongly held" belief that I am not open to considering counter evidence for. But didn't do that because you can't do that because I have no belief, not one, that is not entirely open to scrutiny and counter evidence which could refute it. *That* would be dogmatism. Can you say the same? Perhaps when you can you'll be in a position to teach us about "dogmatism."

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 9, 2012 at 10:24 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

COR: "Back to looking for a possible scientific hypothesis for at least some psi phenomenon--because FFT said no hypothesis exists.">>

No, I haven't said that nor would I. I would say no hypothesis is necessary. People can make up no end of "hypothesis" for anything (and they do), but it certainly seems cart before the horse to do so before the phenomenon in question has been shown to exist. After a century or so of testing, that's not been done. We can construct hypothesis about how people could levitate, remote view or move things with only the power of the mind, but there is no need for such hypothesis since no one has been able to demonstrate such phenomenon exist. Shouldn't that come first? I think so.

Einstein's description of conventional religious thought: "an attempt to find an out where there is no door."
--'Einstein: The Life and Times', Ronald W. Clark, Page 516

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 9, 2012 at 10:27 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: "I remote viewed them [Bigfoot] to see why no one can find them. Turns out they're not merely big hairy creatures - they're much more complicated than that.">>

Of course it's "much more complicated." Sagan Dragon's, like all unfalsifiable claims need careful maintenance and constant adjustment. An invisible magic dragon (like a Bigfoot) probably needs more care than even a real one would. If not correctly adjusted (goal post moving) they might actually develop an attribute that could be detectable, and we mustn't have that.

PH: "This is also how people can sense when someone is watching them,">>

Why should anyone believe "people can sense when someone is watching them?" Don't attempt your case unless you are comfortable with seeing it carefully unpacked.

PH: "FFT and [Susan Blackmore] have something in common: they spent years exploring psychic phenomenon... and then they became bitter...">>

More dishonesty with language. Ms. Blackmore didn't say she is in any way bitter and I am not bitter in any way either. The truth is refreshing and I love learning about the methods of knowing whether things are true or not. That you find it discomforting and infuriating that people don't believe your outlandish claims, has nothing to do with being bitter. That's just your insecurity. She said that she "feel slightly sad" that her 30 year crusade to confirm your PSI beliefs didn't give her the result she hoped for. But she's entirely different than you. She knows what she is talking about. She obtained a very rare PhD in parapsychology. She got off of her butt and trained herself to be a world renowned expert on these issues. Having read a hundred or so peer reviewed scientific papers on the issue myself, I at least have a novice understanding of this area of knowledge. How many have you read?
Knowledge is specialized. If one wants to say something that rises to the level of interesting about this issue, and not just put their hand in their armpit and make flatulent sounds, they should demonstrate the intellectual courage and gumption to at least learn a few of the most introductory basics about this issue and the great deal of data that people have spent decades studying with great care and detail. Thinking, studying, becoming an expert in such a field takes a lot of *hard work.* Sitting on the behind and believing is easy, intellectually lazy and cowardice and accomplishes absolutely nothing to increase human knowledge about these interesting questions.

PH: "it wouldn't take me 20 years to figure out I was chasing one of Sagan's dragons.">>

Figuring it out takes an afternoon. The very hard part, is gathering the intellectual courage to consider the question in the first place. Very few people have that courage. The real cowards get furious at the mere suggestion.
"Believing is easier than thinking. Hence so many more believers than thinkers." -Bruce Calvert


Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 9, 2012 at 10:34 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: "we also have the right to defend our beliefs from people who would try to tell us which of our experiences is "real" or not,">>

As AlphaCat pointed out, you are making things up again. If you had an honest case to make, there shouldn't be any need to constantly make things up. And *please,* begin defending your claims. What's holding you back?

PH: "he and his ilk heap on ridicule and scorn to prove their point.">>

I know you find a simple offer to allow you to back up your claims infuriating. Oh well. When I claim to have a skill, I have no problem with demonstrating it.

PH: "freethinker" website... has some of the most illogical conclusions and arguments...">>

And then, out of 19,800 posts, where the general public can post anything (zero censorship other than porn/spam) we are treated to a cherry so foolish it boggles the mind. A 9/11 Truther floats some quacky bit about the Pentagon crash (these Truther's are the people that think Bush did 9/11 as an inside job and in this case, sent a missle to hit the Pentagon rather the hijacked jet), and a skeptic has the audacity to respond with:

"The Pentagon is not a small target [true]. The plane went three levels deep into the Pentagon [true]. What is your claim? Be specific."

This, Phillip calls a "screed." This is Phillip's first and best example of: "the most illogical conclusions and arguments." That he would think this comment inappropriate shows just how desperate he is to find anything to throw.

Incidentally, the person who asked that question later gave a lecture at the library (freethinker meeting) on the physics regarding that crash site and the multiple reasons why we know it was the jetliner that hit the Pentagon.

PH: "when [fayfree website] get into anything like psi or paranormal phenomenon they flail around making ridiculous accusations.">>

Of course, Phillip completely forgets to provide an example of one of those. Does anyone wonder why? I don't.

If Phillip wants to tango with the Freethinkers, why doesn't he come over there? This place has 3k per post, we have 60k, plus pictures, plus user post editing etc.

Come Phillip, teach us about these wondrous. things.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 9, 2012 at 10:40 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: "waiting to see when FFT posts the claim surrendering his house for proof of a Bigfoot,">>

Poor Phillip, he has forgotten that I did that in the very first post in this thread. It's that very comment that so got his knickers in a twist. Someone actually doubtful, skeptical, of Bigfoot! How dare they. And to even put their money where their mouth is? Rude! Dogmatic!

And as usual, he doesn't get it quite straight. The house is *for* Bigfoot, not merely what you might be able to bring yourself to believe is "Bigfoot."

I sent the last draft to my lawyer this afternoon (had a contract expert in Los Angles look at it too). He just needs to sign it and send it back to me. What I had hoped might be two paragraphs turned into a three pager. Oh well. I have no illusions that this will have any effect whatsoever upon someone so devoted to unreason. But perhaps Phillip will try something new. Randi's prize has been authenticated many times by independent parties, and as we have seen, this doesn't stop people like Phillip from passing around blatant untruths about it.

Phillip has been very entertaining and useful here. I've sent my challenge all around to maybe 50 people plus Facebook. I may still run an ad and we'll probably make it a front page feature on our main website. At least one other popular site wants to do an article on it, so it may go viral after that (that's happened before, and it's fun).

It's amazing to me that anyone could for a moment think this is in anyway gambling or there is a risk involved. Anyone who thinks that probably hasn't really thought about it. Those that suggested a concern about the house were quickly able to be convinced otherwise with a little appeal to common sense. They just had to stop and think about it for a bit.

So, we're gonna use Bigfoot, this most classic human boogie man, to finally accomplish something useful: teach people how to think critically about such claims. Thanks so much Phillip. Wouldn't have done it without you. You provide the lemons, we'll make them into lovely lemonade.

"He who cannot reason is defenseless; he who fears to reason has a coward mind; he who will not reason is willing to be deceived and will deceive all who listen to him."

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 9, 2012 at 11:02 p.m. ( | suggest removal )


RE "AlphaCat said:

'Since you did that in response to my contention that nobody has denied that you had experiences...'

"No, I didn't. I quoted what I read from that website before you made any such claim. Grow up."

You indeed had quoted some material, and made some assertions about, the fayfreethinkers site prior to my making that statement. However, I posted "Nobody has said that your, or anybody else's, seemingly paranormal experiences are not 'real'" in my post of April 9, 2012 at 12:52 p.m.

In your posts of April 9, 2012 at 3:24 and 3:25p.m., you quoted and replied directly to that statement with three quotations from the fayfreethinkers site, none of which denies that you had some kind of experience. While one of them refers to revealing the secrets of magicians and cheats-- which does not deny that you had experiences of some sort-- two of them are irrelevant to the comment you are responding to. Those are the conversations that you delved into, apparently to reply to my statement. You even said "When he couldn't say it plainly enough he quoted someone else. See below:" Below is where those quotations were, so I naturally took them to be, as you had indicated, responses to my statement.

RE "It's ironic that you people call yourselves 'freethinkers' but don't allow anyone else that luxury if they believe in paranormal or spiritual experiences."
First, note that believing something is not the same thing as thinking about something. Who isn't allowing you to believe? Questioning your beliefs doesn't keep you from believing, any more than your lack of understanding of freethinking keep us from being freethinkers.

Grow up your own self, or don't-- it doesn't matter. But please try to be a little clearer in your writing, as your conflation of various issues has muddied the waters. And please be more cognizant of the function of the structure of discourse in conveying your meaning and thought processes.

Posted by: AlphaCat

April 10, 2012 at 12:09 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: "I'm not wasting my bandwidth replying...">>

Of course not. On a battlefield of ideas, it would require some effort and mettle to stand up and provide reasons to believe. Just what you have lacked from the beginning. You should have stopped digging some time ago. Now your in the muck and it doesn't look good on you.

PH: "I'll be forwarding the offer to Bigfoot sites all over North America,...">>

Please do. And my thanks in advance.

PH: "I'm studying... and have discovered some startling information...">>

But to discover information, would require some skills in discernment and the ability to identify accurate information, from deep nonsense. This is not your forte'.

So then, Phillip, not sleeping well perhaps, gets up at 4ish in the morning to see if he can possibly find anything nastier to throw. And low and behold, the internet provides. Imagine how angry Phillip is with me for not believing in Bigfoot, and then consider how mad psychics have been with Randi for not believing in their super powers for half a century. And to even say it on the TV in front of everyone! That's just rude. Dogmatic!

PH: "[quote] "Randi has been involved in a number of lawsuits.">>

Indeed, and as Randi notes, the outcome of those efforts have resulted in:
"I never paid even one dollar or even one cent to anyone who ever sued me."

Seems to me that if these charges had any merit, he would have lost in court and had to pay. Those who have sued him, repeatedly, can't say the same:

"Geller was ordered to pay substantial damages to CSICOP" --Randi's wiki

So then Phillip, now more furious, reaches for the most base of insults. We are to believe a good reason to dislike Randi is that he is gay (a fact publicly acknowledged for years, he's been with the same individual for decades). Perhaps if Randi was of a different color, Phillip would stoop to using that too.


Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 10, 2012 at 10:06 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

This is all old, well worn baseless smear. Phillip treats us get some cut and paste from David Icke. Should David Icke be considered a credible source? I was just helping someone out on Facebook the other day regarding him, so I'll just quote it (standard information carefullly referenced at Icke's wiki blurb):

"David Icke thinks cancer is a fungus, and believes "reptilians from the constellation Draco, who walk on two legs and appear human, live in tunnels and caverns inside the earth." He gets this based upon nonsense from another crack pot, Zecharia Sitchin. Icke believes these alien reptiles, from a 4th dimension interbred with humans and that...

"43 American presidents and the Queen Mother, who he wrote in 2001 was "seriously reptilian." All have taken part in Satanic rituals, paedophilia, kidnapping of children, drug parties and murder, needed to satisfy their reptilian blood lust, which allows them to retain their temporary human form."

I could go on but it's not nice to make fun of the mentally ill. David Icke is probably ill and people who take him seriously should get their heads examined, or at least do a little investigating into who they are citing. People with rudimentary discernment do not cite David Icke or Alex Jones as reliable sources of information *on anything.*"

It's probably best that Phillip isn't going to waste anymore "bandwidth replying" to people who can conduct conversation as adults. His behavior has become embarrassing. I'm a little surprised he can find any deceased individuals that can stand his company.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 10, 2012 at 10:18 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

RE "We are to believe a good reason to dislike Randi is that he is gay (a fact publicly acknowledged for years, he's been with the same individual for decades)."

He spells his name with an "i" instead of a "y". I suppose he could have sent up a flare as well.

Posted by: AlphaCat

April 10, 2012 at 12:47 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

RE "As I will explain, that godlessness, and their concurrent rejection of our dominant society's belief structure, leads them to reject, also, the idea that we, as a society should help each other, doing the right thing, as it were."
That sort of flies in the face of the numerous times that fft and I have been called Communists, Socialists, Liberals, Leftists, do-gooders, and so on due to our espousal of a more progressive tax structure, single-payer or two-tier health care, a more secure social safety net, green energy, public transit, and so on. It also ignores the fact that a large segment of evangelical Christianity is becoming more materialist and libertarian. Haven't you noticed how so many Christians place Ayn Rand-- an atheist, by the way-- on an equal footing with Jesus?

And see
Atheists are not as disengages from charity as you would lead people to believe.

RE "Also note the similarity of the posts from the Fayetteville Freethinkers to this line:..."
There are some 20,000 posts on the fayfreethinkers site. Did you check all of them?

RE Prometheus Books, etc.
If you must attempt to tar all freethinkers with the broad brush of guilt by association, then see

For somebody who swore off wasting bandwidth, you're certainly flushing it now. Perhaps you should swear off swearing off.

Posted by: AlphaCat

April 10, 2012 at 2:12 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Not only is this thread now up to 177 comments, but it's now showing up under the "Weird News" section, lol!

@ Phillip1955, yes, I want to hear about your remote viewing experience. Not sure how to email you. I've tried doing that thru this site but it doesn't seem to go through...? If you know how to do that, email me through here, and then we can connect, maybe. Thanks! BTW, *love* your poem; that's quite clever.

Posted by: SPA

April 10, 2012 at 6:22 p.m. ( | suggest removal )


To contact a forum user, click on their screen name, which will take you to their profile page. You can then leave an open message on their profile page, or click the "Contact" link on the right, which will allow you to contact them by e-mail.

Posted by: AlphaCat

April 10, 2012 at 6:29 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Hey to FFT.

The experience you describe in Vancouver is more of a coincidence than a real psi experience. I had thought you'd had a few experiences that were in the "bizarre" category, since you said that your experiences led you to more research into psi phenomenon. I'd be more interested to hear one of your psi experiences. I have had some that were really out there, and that led me to study the subject matter too. We;ve obviously arrived at different conclusions--and neither of us is going to change the other's minds about our point of view, I don't think. But that doesn't mean I'm not interested in your experiences. It's the subject matter I am most interested in.

You said that "the vast majority of reports of UFO's for instance have good plausible explanations (or the exact known explanation), but a small % of the time, there isn't one. It's truly a "report" of an "unidentified" FO." I respectfully disagree with you on this. There are many unexplained phenomenon. In case you've not run across this work yet, check out the writings by Richard Dolan. His "UFOs and the National Security State" is a excellent history of the phenomenon.

You said you don't think your in-law and friend have any real psychic ability. How would you define real psychic ability? What would cause you to say, "Yep, that's it, now I've seen the real thing"?

You said that you don't think that your in-law or friend are faking; that they are sincere. But, they call themselves psychic, is that right? So, are you saying that if one believes that one is psychic, and claims that they are, then they are not a sham or faker? That a sham or faker is defined by one who knows they have no ability and is pulling a parlor trick, so to speak?

Posted by: SPA

April 10, 2012 at 6:37 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

FFT, you sound...touchy!. No need. I just see you differently than you see yourself, and it doesn't matter that I just learned the definition of one-word "freethinker"; how many centuries does one need to sit with a word definition to understand it, after all? ;-) I *still* see you as dogmatic, but now just have a fuller understanding that you are a a dogmatic freethinker. And that a "freethinker" does not think freely...he thinks skeptically. Thinking *freely* would allow one to consider and include any and all possible explanations...including faith-based ones. Again, you are dogmatic with freethinking. It's pretty clear to me, and obviously to others; thanks to Coralie for being the first to say it out loud. But as said before, I realize you can't see this.

You said that I confuse confidence and competence with dogmatism. I suggest that perhaps you confuse arrogance and narcissism with confidence and competence. Jus' sayin'...!

You said "...because I have no belief, not one, that is not entirely open to scrutiny...." That's not the point, though, with freethinking. The point with freethinking is that it cannot accomodate faith-based knowledge. That's where freethinking is not free thinking...and where it can become dogmatic.

But again...I realize you cannot see this.

Posted by: SPA

April 10, 2012 at 6:57 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Thanks AlphaCat, for the instructions!

Posted by: SPA

April 10, 2012 at 9:02 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Hey Phillip, thanks for sharing your particular RV experience about BIgfoot. That's interesting, the "underground" part. I'm familiar with RV and I'm aware of the connection between BF and ETs/UFO sightings.

There was a pretty credible sounding sighting of a Big Foot in the Elm Springs area a few years back. No UFO in association, though.

For all you folks still reading in this thread who are interested in UFOs, the Ozark UFO Conference is in Eureka Springs this weekend....

Posted by: SPA

April 10, 2012 at 9:08 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Hey Phillip, thanks for sharing your particular RV experience about BIgfoot. That's interesting, the "underground" part. I'm familiar with RV and I'm aware of the connection between BF and ETs/UFO sightings.

There was a pretty credible sounding sighting of a Bigfoot in the Elm Springs area a few years back. No UFO in association, though.

For all you folks still reading in this thread who are interested in UFOs, the Ozark UFO Conference is in Eureka Springs this weekend....

Posted by: SPA

April 10, 2012 at 9:10 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

SPA: "Vancouver [experience]... more of a coincidence than a real psi...">>

How do you know? How dare you denigrate my special super experience (just kidding). When PSI it isn't vague and subjective it can be tested. When it's tested, it fails. Maybe PSI only works when skeptics aren't looking. Doubtful.

SPA: "interested to hear one of your psi experiences.">>

Not interested in swapping two decade old anecdotes.

SPA: "neither of us is going to change the other's minds...">>

I'll change my mind if someone provides good reasons. Faith, by definition, is not a good reason. If it was, it wouldn't be faith. Sometimes I ask religious people what the word faith means. They usually don't know. It's quite amazing how effective the indoctrination has been.

SPA: "It's the subject matter I am most interested in.">>

I was happy to read endless stories and reports but always wondered where the beef was. Why can't these people convince those outside of the New Age community if these things are occurring? Then I learned how people trick themselves into thinking there is beef, when there is no beef. One main method is to lower the bar and appeal to faith as a reason to believe.

SPA: "There are many unexplained phenomenon.">>

Of course. But this doesn't suggest we should make up and assume an answer where there isn't one and then believe it by faith. And attributing something to "magic," is never an explanation.

SPA: "How would you define real psychic ability?">>

A psychic doing what they claim to be able to do, better than chance, and under proper observing conditions which attempt to rule out cheating and self-deception.

Someone familiar with this field should have some knowledge of at *least* the following errors and pitfalls to avoid:

"optional starting and stopping; shotgunning; sensory leakage; experimenter effect; not giving the null hypothesis a chance; displacement, analytical and associative overlay, psi-conducive state, psi-missing, psi-focus assumption, cold reading and subjective validation; selective thinking and confirmation bias; shoehorning, retrospective clairvoyance, and retrospective falsification; self-deception;"

Ms Blackmore could give a half hour lecture, on the spot, on each of these. I am familiar with most of them, and others not in this list. How many are you familiar with? Each of these are explained at a link I provided on the April 2 above:

Study, is hard. Appealing to faith, is easy, and lazy.

SPA: "if one believes that one is psychic,... then they are not a sham or faker?">>

I'm not interested in motives. I am interested in whether there are good reasons to believe claims are true. People have lots of complex reasons for holding entirely false beliefs. About 45% of the US believes the earth is less than 10,000 years old. That they believe this by faith, doesn't change that they are wrong.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 10, 2012 at 9:14 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Alpha to PH: 'There are some 20,000 posts on the fayfreethinkers site. Did you check all of them?">>

There really isn't much on the forum about PSI. It's kind of like UFO's as an issue, it's on life support. After so long with nothing to show for it, there just isn't anything very interesting to anyone looking beyond stories and anecdotes. A year and a half a ago "Darrel" posted the following:

"This will be interesting to watch... new study suggesting precognition works:

"In case you missed it, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, a flagship APA journal, published a study by Daryl Bem containing evidence for psi (precognition)... "

Then what? A year and half later (March 2012), we get peer review, further testing and a follow up to see what happened:

"In Nov, 2010 I pointed out it would be interesting to watch and see how his claim about psychic ability, supposedly confirmed in the laboratory, held up. Results are in.

"Psychic ability claim doesn't fly in new experiments
Research refutes study published in psychological journal last year"

A very excellent and thorough report:

If the report had been that it had been confirmed, that would have been posted instead. Being fearless about accepting truth wherever it leads, is quite refreshing. It shouldn't be feared. The notion that we should throw out discernment, or lower the bar to let comforting pet ideas through or look to faith as a reason to believe things, is rather bizarre. It is very popular.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 10, 2012 at 9:25 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

SPA: " I *still* see you as dogmatic,">>

Of course you do. Perhaps you believe it by faith.

SPA: "a "freethinker" does not...">>

Best to not get too hung up on labels, and putting things in boxes. It's just a label.

SPA: "Thinking *freely* would allow one to consider and include any and all possible explanations...">>

An "explanation" by definition, has "explanatory" power. I am open to any explanations.

SPA: "including faith-based ones.">>

"Faith" isn't an explanation. It's only an appealed to when there is a lack of "reason" to believe. That's what the word means.

SPA: "you are dogmatic with freethinking.">>

I think it is better to believe things based upon good reasons rather than no reasons or poor reasons. Faith is, by definition, believing without good reasons. That's what the word means.

faith n.
1. unquestioning belief that does not require proof or evidence
2. unquestioning belief in God, religious tenets, etc.

People go to great trouble to convince themselves that believing things without good reasons is the way to go. I think it's better to have good reasons. I hope that's not too harsh.

SPA: "arrogance and narcissism">>

You can create derogatory labels and attributes to throw, but unless you can back them up with something, it's really not useful. I haven't the slightest interest in whether you or I are arrogant or narcissistic, or not. I care if you can support your claims with something beyond opinion and assertion.

SPA: "freethinking... cannot accomodate faith-based knowledge.">>

Right. "Knowledge" based upon a lack of "evidence." Freethinkers generally believe it is better to have good reasons to believe claims, rather than not have good, or any, reasons to believe claims. It's not clear why anyone would think otherwise. Perhaps you can explain why it would be better to think otherwise.

"I'm so skeptical I can hardly believe it!" --Chip Denman

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 10, 2012 at 9:43 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

SPA: " the Ozark UFO Conference is in Eureka Springs this weekend....">>

I've been a couple times. We tried to get a Freethinker table there once which would have had a bit of a skeptical bent (one of our founders is a leading member of a local MUFON group), but a non-supportive, skeptical table, was not allowed. Understandable I suppose, and certainly their right to not spoil the mood.

Those who have gone before may have been able to examine the "hard evidence" with the Bob White object. See:

Since about 1985 this has been an interesting artifact with an interesting story. I've held it myself and talked to him (he died in 2009).

It's now been discovered exactly what it is. We had a presentation at our Freethinker meeting on this a couple months ago based upon this article:

"Did this mysterious artifact actually fall from a UFO as Bob White claimed?

In this week’s eSkeptic, Skeptic co-founder Pat Linse is contacted by an expert who has the expertise to solve the mystery of Bob White’s UFO artifact—an object which has long baffled both the public and the scientists who examined it."

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 10, 2012 at 9:59 p.m. ( | suggest removal )


Let it be known.

The sworn signed affidavit demonstrating the legitimacy and binding legal nature my offer to provide a house in Fayetteville as a reward for bringing in Bigfoot, is now posted here, as promised:

Bring me Bigfoot, I'll give you my house.

I don't make claims I can't back up.

I don't make offers I will not fulfill.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 11, 2012 at 1:55 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Phillip, thanks for the posts on the white beings. Interesting! A fellow at the ES UFO Conference did a remarkable presentation a couple of years ago on an area in southern Missouri that he referred to as "the Marley Woods." Apparently there have been a number of significant odd occurrences on that property, and one of them has been the observation of two white hair-covered beings that walk upright. Ted Andrews...that was his name. He had a website that was taken down after he went to work for a millionaire investor who is pumping quite a bit of money into researching this kind of phenomenon. I think he's the fellow who purchased the property known as the Skinwalker Ranch. Google it if you've not read of it before now. It's fascinating.

Many of us think that "disclosure" has been a slow, gradual process occurring largely through books and cinema. There's been lots of speculation that Star Trek was inspired by the spirit of disclosure. Who knows?

Posted by: SPA

April 11, 2012 at 2:16 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Hey FFV. RE: my assertion that you're confusing arrogance and narcissism with "confidence and competence." I didn’t "create derogatory labels and attributes to throw.” Narcissism is a Personality Disorder in the DSM-IV.

FFT: "unless you can back them up with something, it's really not useful. I care if you can support your claims with something beyond opinion and assertion." Well, since you asked...

As a mental health professional, I have some impressions of your personality and social presentation based on what I have seen of it with many people in this particular forum over the course of many months. It wouldn't be appropriate to lay them all out here, so I will invite you to familiarize yourself with the diagnosis in the DSM-IV, with two caveats: 1) a person who is not a trained mental health professional cannot simply pick it up like a dictionary, read it once, and become a qualified diagnostician and 2) narcissists rarely self-identify, or seek the help of a professional who can help them, because they don't think they need it. Narcissists typically only present to an MHP when forced to do so, via involvement in the legal/judicial system. The most classic hallmark of a narcissist is a strongly held self-opinion that he is right, others are wrong; his values and way of thinking/doing is superior to others, who are not as well educated or informed or endowed as himself, and incessant arguing with others about who is right, and who is wrong. I've seen plenty of examples of that kind of behavior manifested by yourself in this forum, with a wide range of individuals, over a couple of years.

Posted by: SPA

April 11, 2012 at 2:48 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Part 2 for FFT:

Re: "Freethinkers generally believe it is better to have good reasons to believe claims, rather than not have good, or any, reasons to believe claims. It's not clear why anyone would think otherwise. Perhaps you can explain why it would be better to think otherwise."

I think the source of the conflict between freethinking and faith-based thinking may be found in what you said there, about "good reasons" or "any reasons." Freethinkers seem to value only scientific facts, or hard data, as "good reason." They are either unable or unwilling to accept that faith based knowledge, albeit different from scientific based knowledge, is just as valid in some instances...or more valid, sometimes. And the same goes for psi—you can know things without having the facts to back it up with psi, though after-the-fact facts and back up that the psi experience was accurate, or “good reason/knowledge.” Some faith-based thinkers make the same kind of mistake: that only faith-based knowledge is valuable. You see them making huge errors--in my opinion--in discounting the evolution of species when the facts conflict with the faith-based beliefs.

But these two extremes--freethinking and total faith-based thinking--are both limited, because each devalues and therefore excludes the other. Free thinkers--two words--are able to apply both ways of thinking and not get stuck on either. Zealotry and dogmatism lie at the extremes; the middle ground is what we'd call "moderates" in political terms, and they don’t manifest “zealotry”, generally speaking.

Posted by: SPA

April 11, 2012 at 2:49 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

FFT: "Maybe PSI only works when skeptics aren't looking. Doubtful."

I'm sure you're aware of the phenomenon that when observing an experiment, the behavior of a particle will change, simply by being observed? So, not so doubtful. Actually, it's likely, I suspect, with regard to psi. Maybe someday we'll understand why, but with current scientific knowledge, we don't know.

FFV: "Not interested in swapping two decade old anecdotes."

Goodness me! What happened to the FFV's insistence on presenting the evidence to back up one's claims!? ;-) How are we to believe that you have actually really had an unusual experience yourself? Something that would shake you to your core...that you could not explain with facts...but which changed your world view in some way?

FFT: "I was happy to read endless stories and Then I learned how people trick themselves into thinking there is beef, when there is no beef. One main method is to lower the bar and appeal to faith as a reason to believe."

Some folks probably do go on faith. Others just remain open-minded, and accept that "more will be revealed", and that in spite of the fact that we are in the 21st century, well, in the 22nd century we'll look back and see that we didn't know everything we knew to explain it. It isn't black or white, but for sure, some folks are not comfortable with shades of gray.

FFT: " I am familiar with most of them, and others not in this list. How many are you familiar with?:

Well, you gave a nice list of criteria for evaluating psi, but you didn't answer my question. I asked to hear what would intrigue you, personally. What would make you go "WOW, that's awesome and I can't explain it?" You said you'd had some experiences that got you interested, so, like what? Earlier you didn't give an example of the "strange events" you've exprienced, and went further to say you are not interested in sharing them. Why's that, oh ye who demands evidence? ;-) What got you really interested in examining psi it? What knocked your socks off...and did it leave you wondering? Or, did anything knock your socks off; have you had a heavy-duty experience with psi or unexplained phenomenon?

FFT: "I'm not interested in motives. I am interested in whether there are good reasons to believe claims are true."

Fair enough. So...a faker is one who cannot really produce what they claim to produce, whether they are sincere or not....right? Your in-law and friend...they claim to be psychic or faith healers, or psychics. You've already said that though sincere in their belief that they are psychic, what most "psychics" do is somehow telling people what they want to hear/believe. So, the folks you know...they must be fakers or scammers, by your point of view. If I'm missing something here, please clarify.

Posted by: SPA

April 11, 2012 at 3:15 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Yeah, I can understand why the Ozark UFO Conference wouldn't want a non-supportive, skeptical table there. It's sort of analogous to allowing an anti-choice group outside an abortion clinic with signs, etc ;-)

Another interesting book is "The Day After Roswell", by Col. Philip J. Corso (retired). He was present not at Roswell, but at Fort Riley in Kansas, where the crash wreckage from the Roswell/Corona area stopped over on the way to then-Wright Airfield. Many years later, he was Chief of the Army's Foreign Technology Division and worked in the Pentagon when he received the assignment to analyze and integrate the crash artifacts into the military and private business sector.

Posted by: SPA

April 11, 2012 at 3:33 p.m. ( | suggest removal )


RE "As a mental health professional..."
Are you trained in diagnosis without interview, using material other than standard tests? That's rather specialized.

RE "The most classic hallmark of a narcissist is a strongly held self-opinion that he is right,...":
By that criterion, it seems more narcissistic to expect others to believe one's mere assertions than it is to express one's opinions along with the evidence upon which they are based.

RE "...others are wrong;..."
fft doesn't merely believe that others are wrong: he provides evidence, and invites rebuttal.

RE "...his values and way of thinking/doing is superior to others,..."
As far as I know, fft has never declared that his values are superior; on the other hand, he has demonstrated that his way of thinking/doing-- that is, basing his opinions on facts-- is superior to not knowing what one is talking about.

RE "...who are not as well educated or informed or endowed as himself..."
fft has pointed out numerous times that he never attended college, he has successfully shown numerous people that they are misinformed (without rebuttal, and whose fault is that?), and he has never claimed that he has any particular "endowment".

RE "incessant arguing with others about who is right, and who is wrong."
So Phillip1955, commonsense96, MrD and hbcark and I must be narcissists as well. It takes at least two to argue. And here you are... (Actually, I wish you posted more often.)

RE "I've seen plenty of examples of that kind of behavior manifested by yourself in this forum, with a wide range of individuals, over a couple of years."
You are aware,, then, that given the repetitive nature of most of the posts that fft responds to, much of the material that fft posts is prepared responses, or otherwise copied and pasted. That hardly indicates narcissism.

RE "Some folks probably do go on faith. Others just remain open-minded, and accept that 'more will be revealed'..."
In other words, some folks probably go on faith, and others go on faith.

RE "Goodness me! What happened to the FFV's insistence on presenting the evidence to back up one's claims!? ;-)"
As fft and I have pointed out before, a few isolated anecdotes are not evidence, especially in the scientific sense.

RE "What would make you go 'WOW, that's awesome and I can't explain it?'"
Oh, let's see: A mental-health professional-- who believes that various races of as-yet-undiscovered hominids live underground and hobnob with aliens-- telling somebody that he has a personality disorder because she has gleaned from forum posts that he is rational enough to demand evidence before believing something. [Insert winking emoticon here.]

Posted by: AlphaCat

April 11, 2012 at 5:43 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Alpha Cat says "As much as I would like to have second sight, a third eye, a fourth dimension, a fifth of whiskey or a sixth sense, I see no reason yet to believe that I do."
Love it!

Posted by: Coralie

April 11, 2012 at 7:31 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

SPA: "I didn’t "create derogatory labels and attributes to throw.”

Yes you did.

SPA: "Narcissism is a Personality Disorder">>

If you are unaware that narcissism is a derogatory label, then we will have to add that word to the list of other words you are having trouble with.

I have no interest in talking about myself. None whatsoever. Zero. I am only interested in talking about these ideas. Your attempt avoid that by distracting with irrelevant personal abuse will be ignored as irrelevant ad hominem.

SPA: "As a mental health professional,>>

I am glad you have an area of expertise. This will help you understand a point I will make in a moment.

SPA: Freethinkers... unwilling to accept that faith based knowledge,">>

You say "faith based knowledge" as if that means something. At best it is question begging, at worst it is gibberish. To refer to something as "knowledge" suggests we have some "reason" to believe something as factual or true. Faith, by definition, is not a reason. If it was a reason, it wouldn't be faith. It is specifically a lack of a reason.

When you went to medical school did they have a part that went:

"Okay class, no we will be doing the Faith Based Knowledge part of the curriculum. This is where we will repair bone fractures by waving our hands, doing a little dance and shaking sticks in the direction of the patient."

If you went to the right school (and you may not have) then you weren't trained in that way because we have very good reasons for understanding why those methods do nothing.

SPA: "[faith...] different from scientific based knowledge,">>

Indeed it is. Science based knowledge has reasons for it's claims. Faith based "knowledge," does not. Guess which one gets results and which one does not?

SPA: "just as valid in some instances...or more valid,">>

Then you won't have any trouble providing an example of a "faith based" claim getting objective facts about the world correct more often than "science based" claims.

SPA: " can know things without having the facts to back it up with psi,">>

There is no reason whatsoever to believe that assertion and very good reasons not to. And appealing to faith is not a reason (never mind a good reason), by definition. For you to be aware of these reasons you would need to gather the courage to set aside fluffy books filled with stories that tickle your ears and reinforce comforting beliefs, and pick up some of the substantive material done on these issues by experts. Until you do that, you are going are not going to be able to talk about these issues beyond anecdotes which don't accomplish anything.


Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 11, 2012 at 7:46 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

SPA: "Some faith-based thinkers [think] that only faith-based knowledge is valuable.">>

Look in your mental disorder book for that one. It's absolutely there. As one fellow put it about 140 years ago: "A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything." --Nietzsche

SPA: "Zealotry and dogmatism lie at the extremes;... "moderates..." don’t manifest “zealotry”,...">>

You are just trying a new substitute for "dogmatism" which didn't work for you either.

An example:
If a friend of yours and a known epileptic collapses and has a seizure while in a group with you, and some "faith based knowledge" person comes up and declares the person has a demon and says we should begin beating them to get the demon out, you would probably point out, that no, we have good reason to understand it is epilepsy, not a demon.

And that you would speak about this issue with some "confidence and competency," as opposed to the superstitious person, doesn't mean your are being dogmatic. It may just be that you know what the hell you are talking about. You may even be zealous in your defense of your science based beliefs. Hopefully. Here's what happens when you aren't:

Another example:
Suppose someone goes to a meteorology convention and begins telling the experts that there is a more "simple and elegant solution" to the rain question: It's angel tears. That the response would be given zealously and with some "confidence and competency," would not make it in any way inappropriately "dogmatic." We've considered the faith based "angel tears" hypothesis and found it to be vapid, worthless and wrong.

Regarding: "Maybe PSI only works when skeptics aren't looking."
SPA: "I'm sure you're aware of the phenomenon that when observing an experiment, the behavior of a particle will change,">>

a) People aren't particles.
b) Don't conflate quantum phenomenon with classical. They are not the same.

SPA: "Actually, it's likely, [only works when skeptics aren't looking].">>

Why is it likely? You give no reason. Is this a "Faith Based Knowledge" you have? Saying something works, but can't work when tested or observed, is just a transparent attempt to construct an unfalsifiable claim. A Sagan Dragon. Worthless.

SPA: "How are we to believe that you have actually really had an unusual experience yourself?">>
Everyone has unusual experiences. I gave you an example of one. Anecdotes are fun but they have no calories. When you get tired of "just so stories of woo," reach for the adult stuff. If PSI is demonstrated (and it may be, I have nothing against the notion) to anyone outside of gullible groups passing around anecdotes, it will be done by skeptics and scientists. Because they are the only ones checking to make sure they aren't fooling themselves.


Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 11, 2012 at 7:53 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

SPA: "Some folks probably do go on faith.">>


SPA: "Others just remain open-minded, and accept that "more will be revealed",>>

That's me. Open minded and open to anything being revealed. But I no longer fall for the obviously false stuff. Not by a long shot and for good reasons. I don't discard that which has already been revealed. If you want to learn about what has been revealed through exhaustive and careful study over nigh a century by people who have worked their bottoms off and went to the trouble to become experts on these matters, pick up something introductory such as a magazine like "Skeptic" or "Skeptical Inquirer." Something that doesn't tell you and reinforce what you want to believe.

In 1990 I accidentally ordered a skeptical book that I thought was comfortable New Age stuff. I still have it. Here it is:

When I saw that it talked about these subjects, and my beliefs, skeptically, even ridiculed them, I put it on the shelf. And then it bugged me. Why was I afraid to read this book and consider what it said? I don't know if it was months or a year later, but my cowardice bothered me like an itch. So I read it. And finally, instead of anecdotes, I had substance, footnotes, people knowing what they are talking about. That was a baby step. Once you know how the magic trick is done, you can't go back to not knowing. Sometimes I tell others how the trick is done. Rude!

SPA: "some folks are not comfortable with shades of gray.">>

There is lots of gray, and I am entirely comfortable with the vast areas of gray, and completely black too. But this doesn't mean we should denigrate or throw out that which we do know. And to be aware of what we do know, takes work. Fortunately, most of it has been done for you. All you have to do is have the courage to get informed about it.

FFT [said]: " I am familiar with most of them, and others not in this list. How many are you familiar with?>>

SPA: " gave a nice list of criteria for evaluating psi,">>

Again, how many of these are you familiar with?

SPA: "What would make you go "WOW, that's awesome and I can't explain it?">>

I did answer this, directly. Again: "A psychic doing what they claim to be able to do, better than chance, and under proper observing conditions which attempt to rule out cheating and self-deception."

Anything less, is prone to self-deception and wishful thinking. I openly offer the opportunity for psychics to be able to do what they claim to be able to do, and I will pay them or a charity if they can. In fact, we'll be doing a very public test, which you can participate in while at home, on Sunday 22. Details to follow.


Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 11, 2012 at 8:03 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

SPA: "examining psi it... What knocked your socks off...">>

Nothing. It's just piles of anecdotes. When I was young I was naive and didn't how often people lie, are mistaken, or not interested in believing things because they are true but rather because they provide emotional comfort. I want to know what is really true. If PSI is true, I want to believe that. It probably isn't true.

SPA: "the folks you know...they must be fakers or scammers, by your point of view.">>

No, they can be completely sincere and incorrect. It's very common.


20 years ago my wife went to some Halloween function as a tarot card reader. She knew a bit about it, had a little table and did several readings. She did extraordinarily well. People said she was very good and accurate. Should go pro! Why she was "very accurate" is very well understood. We didn't know that then, now we do. If you are using super powers to do "psychic readings" (and all of it's variations), you are doing it the hard way. Here's the easy way, all on one page: "Learn to be Psychic in Ten Easy Lessons"

SPA: "I can understand why the Ozark UFO Conference wouldn't want a non-supportive, skeptical table there.">>

I understand too.

SPA: "sort of analogous to allowing an anti-choice group outside an abortion clinic with signs, etc">>

Not really. I knew Doctor Harrison who recently died, and he would say protesting is certainly a right. Screaming at clients, vandalizing, taking numbers, intimidating clients, throwing buckets of urine on people, bombing buildings, and in the case of a close friend of Dr. Harrison, murdering him in church, is more the concern with the anti-choice crowd.

If the UFO people (Gawd love them, I am glad they have this novelty convention) were secure in their beliefs, they wouldn't be intimidated by two skeptics sitting at a table with some books and handouts that look at their claims from a relevant, yet different point of view.

When we chatted with Bob White with the "hard evidence" we were very polite. I very much doubt that he even knew we were skeptics. We asked questions but we didn't challenge any of them. It is an interesting object, but it's not extraterrestrial.

SPA: "The Day After Roswell",>>

It was reading about how incredibly weak the Roswell case is (and this is supposed to be a strong one) that made me completely give up on the whole UFO category entirely. I started on that category in about 1977. I haven't been able to take it seriously for 20 years. Even the skeptical stuff is of no interest to me. I did get dragged to a local MUFON meeting. They were passing around 20 copies of a photocopy of one picture that looked like Venus. After 45 minutes of that I asked if anyone checked to see where Venus was that day. They weren't impressed. I wasn't impressed either. The UFO category is on life-support.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 11, 2012 at 8:25 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Having been given, as requested, an iron clad legally binding document, does Phillip admit that his charge that my offer is "fraudulent and dishonest" is false? Of course he doesn't. Phillip is not an honest person. I'll help him with relevant questions:

PH: 1.) The "principal" is anonymous and doesn't refer to any descriptions of the property to verify its condition.">>

It's currently occupied, rent is $550, has attached enclosed garage, is on .75 of an acre, I've owned it since 1996. Approximate realistic value (slightly depressed right now) is $80k.

PH: "there's nothing stopping him from assigning the legal rights of the principal to a hobo">>

I like the rent too much. Keep spinning.

PH: "FFT would hate to go back to chewing on shoe leather">>

FFT has several houses. Would you like blue or tan? Stop waffling. Bring me Bigfoot.

PH: 2.) The affidavit requires the DNA be tested at a laboratory of the principal's choosing.">>

Right. Bigfoot's R'us, doesn't get it.

Did anyone think Phillip would be happy with this confirmation showing his smear was wrong? Surely not.

PH: 3.) The claimant must bring in a body at least the approximate size and stature of a human.">>

Right. Why are you wasting precious hunting time? Go get him. Get a house. It's out of my hands.

PH :4.) The claimant is responsible for all legal fees,">>

Read for comprehension. Only if they don't really have a Bigfoot and are just wasting time with nonsense.

PH: "This is what James Randi does">>

Indeed it is. He backs up his offers/agreements with legally binding clarity. That's why of all of the 100's of people that have been tested no one has ever sued (certainly successfully) for having done what they said they could do, and not getting the prize.
No one has even made it past the preliminary basic testing phase.

PH: "he denies all evidence as valid,">>

The evidence you need here is Bigfoot. Everyone knows what that is. Stop making pathetic excuses. It's embarrassing.

PH: "Darrel" has his picture posted on the fft website...">>

That's nice. And *I* have my picture posted right here in front of you. That's me, in the picture.

PH: "I'd deny any publicity rights to the principal,">>

Actually, he forgot to put the bit in about me getting to keep the Bigfoot. Oh well. It's not likely to make a difference.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 11, 2012 at 8:54 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: "I sent that freakthinker's...">>

If Phillip was an honest, thoughtful person with a good case to make for anything, he wouldn't have to resort to such childish name calling. But it is an interesting lesson in itself. The notion that requiring good reasons for believing things, would be considered "freak" but believing outlandish claims for no good reasons at all, is to Phillip, just fine.

PH: "bogus offer">>

Phillip shows he still can't accept the simple reality that the offer is legitimate. More denial of reality. Perhaps SPA can look this up in his book and describe the disorder? Best not to. That would be rude.

PH: "[sent it] to Bigfoot websites all over USA and Canada.">>

And I thank you. I see Skeptic Money, a fairly busy site, has picked it up:

The more the better.

PH: "I also sent it to CoasttoCoastAm">>

Now there is a show with some discernment. The nice thing is, the freethinker forum shows hits so we can watch the traffic. Right now it's 45. One thread, started there due to a discussion on this forum, went to 5,000 in about a month. Now it's over 6k:

PH: "link to this thread so people can see what type of person they're dealing with.">>

An honest person that puts their house where the mouth is. Don't you wish you could stand behind your claims like that? I wish you could.

PH: "huge increase in web traffic would probably exceed... bandwidth.">>

Poor Phillip, doesn't know much about computer or our bandwidth, but that doesn't stop him from going on about it.

PH: [freethinkers] minimal bandwidth limits and cost them a fortune">>

Pssst... I'll tell you a secret Phillip... The Fayetteville Freethinkers pay $7 a month for web service and of the 100,000GB available to us for "traffic," (I just checked) we currently are using .0021% of that. I think we'll be okay. You've over estimated your abilities, again.

Now get off yer Bigbutt and get a Bigfoot.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 11, 2012 at 10:15 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Hey @ FFT. Your response to my answering why I see you as narcissistic was predictable--obviously really pushed your buttons--and it too fits the pattern of narcissism, actually. When confronted, one who is narcissistic becomes angry and lashes out. You continue to reinforce my opinion based on what I know of you from this venue. But there's nothing more needs to be said about it here, other than, "narcissism" is not a derogatory label. It's a clinical diagnosis. One may have traits, or meet the full criteria for the disorder. But yes, there is such a thing as stigma. That's too bad, because emotional conditions are no more shameful than physical ones.

Posted by: SPA

April 11, 2012 at 10:33 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Hello Phillip! I'd sort of lost track of Ted Andrews. I heard he was hired by Bigelow for work at the Skinwalker place, but don't know how accurate that is. This video was loaded up in Nov. 2011; wonder when it was actually taped? He had a website for Physical Trace Research but it's no longer active to my knowledge.

Re: the Elm Springs siting. Check out this report of it:

Please remind me: did you ever claim that you could or would "produce a Bigfoot?" I don't recall you saying that. I don't recall *anyone* saying that.

I read a funny dialogue in a fiction book today; it was right on time and had me in stitches. A man and his wife were discussing a possible explanation for a bizarre occurence; he's a physicist, she is a former Vietnamese refugee. Goes like this:

Husband: "There are no demons, there's only nature."

Wife: "Demons are part of nature."


Going to the UFO conference? I wouldn't miss it for the world. They have some interesting speakers lined up, though I'm disappointed that Richard Dolan won't be there this time. But, it's always a lot of fun. Wonderful people! It's warm, interesting, & out-of-the-box all weekend long!

Posted by: SPA

April 11, 2012 at 11:04 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

SPA: "narcissism" is not a derogatory label. It's a clinical diagnosis.">>

So is "insanity." Is "insane" a derogatory label SPA?

Again, I haven't the *slightest* interest in talking about myself in any way shape or form. Stop trying to make this personal or about me for the explicit purpose of derailing a discussion of *ideas* with nothing but a transparent, lame, irrelevant, personal attack.

You are not your ideas. Your ideas are different than you. When someone attacks ideas, they are not attacking you, they are attacking the ideas. A distinct and important difference.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 11, 2012 at 11:12 p.m. ( | suggest removal )


RE "that freakthinker's bogus offer"
Perhaps you'd better check with the lawyer who signed that offer, who as an agent of the principal and an officer of the court is required by law to carry out the intention of the offer. Or check with your own lawyer, if that suits you better. One or the other will tell you that:
-- The offer is a properly-executed legal document.
-- The identity of the principal is irrelevant to the validity and performance of the offer and pursuant agreement.
-- The agency of Mr. Klebanoff does not hinder the validity and performance of the agreement.
-- It would be illegal and unethical for Mr. Klebanoff to fraudulently claim to be an agent.
-- Making sworn statements that are materially untrue, and participating in either the intention to commit fraud or in actual fraud are criminal offenses that can result in, among other things, disbarment. It is not likely that a lawyer would draft and sign such a document without satisfying himself that the statement sworn to is true and the document is valid.

RE "The 'principal' is anonymous and doesn't refer to any descriptions of the property to verify its condition. It's described as ' in good, livable condition.' That could be a dump and still be declared good, livable condition."
Aren't you getting a little ahead of yourself? First things first: you don't have a Bigfoot yet. But surely you aren't going to refuse to bring in a Bigfoot and pass up the fame and fortune-- not to mention the rubbing it in fft's face-- just because you're afraid that he might give you "a dump".

RE "'FayFreeThinker' makes the offer in this thread, but there's nothing stopping him from assigning the legal rights of the principal to a hobo they jerk out of a homeless camp."
Well, yes, there is: Mr. Klebanoff's agency is to a specific person, not to a random party. I doubt that he would allow such an assignment, as it would make him a party to fraud.

RE "If I was the claimant..."
You mean you're not going to bring in a Bigfoot?

RE "...I'd make the attorney and principal sign a statement that they would perform in good faith and would not attempt to subvert the performance of the affidavit in any way.
Oh, you could, but it isn't necessary. Despite their reputation, lawyers don't often sign up for, or swear to, fraud-- especially if it could come to light in some spectacular fashion, such as might result from the discovery of a Bigfoot.


Here's another thing that makes me say, "WOW, that's awesome and I can't explain it": Phillip1955 is more skeptical of a legal document sworn and signed by an officer of the court in Washington County, Arkansas, a copy of which he can hold in his hand simply by printing it, than he is of the existence of Bigfoot.

Posted by: AlphaCat

April 11, 2012 at 11:37 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: "Dolores Cannon is going to speak, I'm curious to know what her latest information is.">>

I've met her, bought a book, and paid ("donation" of course) to be in a discussion group with her. It was about 1991. She channels and writes books. At that time she was quite into talking to Nostradamus. And I mean that literally. When she would talk to Nostradamus, through his mirror I think, it was/is in real time for both of them. Nostradamus, in 1500 [whatever] time would be talking to her, in the future, right now, through his mirror, in realtime. It's a nifty idea.

It's probably not true.

I remember a specific prediction from her at that meeting. Most of these are all vague like a Nostradamus quatrain of course, but there was this specific one and I made a mental note to watch and see if it would come true.

Just getting my skeptic legs, I was interested in testing claims to see if they are true (rude!).

She said if a democrat was elected president in the next election (this was pre-Clinton), the US would quickly be engulfed in a major war. Well, considering the US habit for doing that sort of thing, this should have had a good chance of being fulfilled. It wasn't. If anyone would like to see how accurate the predictions of psychic claims about the future are, just buy one of their older books and see. They don't have a long shelf life.

"It does not pay a prophet to be too specific." --L. Sprague de Camp.

PH: "I never claimed I would produce a Bigfoot.">>

And no one claimed you did. SPA sets up the strawman, you give it poke. You do claim to be able to view them with super powers. And you did claim this offer was "fraudulent and dishonest." It isn't.

PH: "Cryptomundo">>

So Cryptomumdo puts up our offer of a house in livable condition (certainly a legalistic term), and then posts a bunch of pictures of houses not in livable condition. That makes sense.

If I can find an old picture that doesn't reveal too much, I may post it. Reasonable people will understand that I can't risk having people, slightly vicious and angry with a clear and demonstrated tenuous grasp on reality harassing my renter with nonsense.

The forum thread has 69 views as of now...

I do believe we are going to have to upgrade to the fancy plan to deal with that kind of traffic. Maybe people are bored with Bigfoot.

"What the populace learned to believe without reasons, who could refute it then by means of reasons?" --Nietzsche

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 12, 2012 at 10:19 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Coralie, I first learned of this interesting entrainment question about 12 years ago (from a Deepak Chopra book!), and talked to a physicist about it back then. It's curious but there isn't anything spooky about it. I talked to two more physicists from the U of A in the last two days. Neither one is interested in doing a presentation on it and they were unaware of why some of the New Age folks (like Chopra, not you), are trying to use it as a gap in knowledge and reason to believe in "woo." They think it would either be too technical and/or not of interest to a general audience.

The effect with clocks is a straightforward linear acoustic effect, as your link suggested, and with regard to lasers, well... the physicist quickly lost me when explaining that part.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 12, 2012 at 10:27 a.m. ( | suggest removal )


RE "Notice how they tag team now?"
I know you feel like you're being beaten up, but people are entitled to respond to your posts in a public forum. Our reactions to asinine posts are entirely independent of each other.

The fact that you pretend you don't read our posts, then respond indirectly to them by addressing your comments to SPA does not make your posts any less a waste of bandwidth. It's hard to talk about people behind their backs in an online forum-- even if they aren't psychic.

RE "I'd bet money that lawyer is one of them. FFT refused to answer whether he was or not, and when FFT dodges something you know it's for a reason."
Why don't you ask Mr. Klebanoff if he posts to these forums? Don't be misled by the fact that I know more about law than you do. As a real estate agent, I spent quite a bit of time studying not just contracts, but the reasoning behind them.

I hope you don't bet like MrD does. We've seen how that works out.

Posted by: AlphaCat

April 12, 2012 at 12:20 p.m. ( | suggest removal )


I was hoping you'd respond to my post, since, given the bit of a deal you made of it, I'd like to know more about your training. I'm a little surprised that a Licensed Clinical Social Worker has specialized training in personality testing and evaluation, as I understand that is usually done by a psychologist. Certainly there's nothing wrong with knowing more than your job description demands.

RE "When confronted, one who is narcissistic becomes angry and lashes out."
Where did fft lash out, or appear to be angry? Given the difficulty of discerning online sarcasm or other tones from people one is personally acquainted with, you appear to have a special gift for divining emotional content from comments made by people whom you don't know at all. Maybe you're psychic.

RE "It's a clinical diagnosis."
Only if properly made by a qualified diagnostician.

I hope you actually have proper training in personality diagnosis, with specialization in, perhaps, forensic personality profiling, as it seems a bit unethical for you to make public claims about somebody's personality based on the simple assertion that you are a "mental health professional". I can change a light bulb, but I don't claim to be an electrician.

Speaking of which, how many L.C.S.W.s does it take to change a light bulb?

Posted by: AlphaCat

April 12, 2012 at 12:57 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

FFT, I never claimed there was anything "spooky" about entrainment or that there is anything "spooky" about psi phenomena in general. In fact my whole point here has been that that telepathy, at least, is a natural ability that is shared with other living things.
I haven't read Chopra and am disappointed to discover that I wasn't the first to see a connection between entrainment and telepathy.
There is good scientific evidence, for example, that women who live in groups tend to sychronize their menstrual periods. If that is happening at an entirely unconscious level, why could they not be influencing each other's dreams?
A number of personal experiences persuade me that my dreams can be influenced by outside events and other people.
I'm not into Bigfoot or UFOs or anytjhing else in of this nature that I haven't had some personal experience of. Not denying it, just not very interested.
I'm sorry that this thread has often devolved into personal atttacks and psychologizing. Doesn't take us forward.

Posted by: Coralie

April 12, 2012 at 6:19 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Super-skeptics tend to think too mechanistically. They subscribe to the ideology of scientism:
"Unlike the use of the scientific method as only one mode of reaching knowledge, scientism claims that science alone can render truth about the world and reality. Scientism's single-minded adherence to only the empirical, or testable, makes it a strictly scientifc worldview, in much the same way that a Protestant fundamentalism that rejects science can be seen as a strictly religious worldview. Scientism sees it necessary to do away with most, if not all, metaphysical, philosophical, and religious claims, as the truths they proclaim cannot be apprehended by the scientific method. In essence, scientism sees science as the absolute and only justifiable access to the truth."
I don't think science can determine values, and I don't think it can replace philosophy.
Also pure science is one thing but what is commonly called science is in large part technology and is is entangled with the profit motive.
Some scientists do take psi phenomena seriously:

Posted by: Coralie

April 12, 2012 at 6:38 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

There is not going to be enough sugar in the sugar bowl to make this palatable.

COR: "I never claimed there was anything "spooky" about entrainment or that there is anything "spooky" about psi phenomena in general.">>

You are trying to define PSI into being a valid category of established science. Contrary to what Dean Radin says, it isn't. Not by a long shot. You said:

"Back to looking for a possible scientific hypothesis for at least some psi phenomenon--because FFT said no hypothesis exists. Now look at ENTRAINMENT."

What does PSI mean? Note:

"Traditionally the term [PSI] has had two sub-categories"
Psi-Gamma - Pertaining to paranormal cognition (ESP, remote viewing, etc.)
Psi-Kappa - Pertaining to paranormal action (psychokinesis, etc.)"

You think it's inappropriate to call that "spooky," and you would like to shoehorn all of that into science? That is to completely torture language. If the "paranormal" could be shown to exist, and it hasn't been, it would't be "paranormal" any more, it would be included into the "normal" category (just as if "alternative medicine," was evidence based, it would be included into normal, evidence based medicine). That's not happened. Radin is passing along sophisticated New Age claims and plainly making stuff up. This is very easy to show.

COR: " whole point here has been that that telepathy, at least, is a natural ability that is shared with other living things.">>

I know of no reasons, not one, to believe that. Contrary to what Mr. Dean Radin has claims, all of the science is against the position that telepathy occurs. Mr. Radin is not that far from Deepak Chopra and he is plainly wrong. He works at the "Institute of Noetic Sciences." I am glad they are there, poking around at the fringes of science, but it's a bit of a New Age camp. They are using the word science in a special way, at best.

COR: "a connection between entrainment and telepathy.">>

I don't know that Deepak claims it has anything to do with "telepathy," but according to the physicists I have talked to, who have specific *expertise* in this field (because it's their field), say entrainment has nothing whatsoever to do with PSI, paranorma, supernatural or whatever label of metaphysics you are trying to put it into (just as Deepak incorrectly does).


Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 12, 2012 at 9:36 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

COR: "There is good scientific evidence,... that women who live in groups tend to sychronize their menstrual periods.">>

This was never a PSI claim (it was attributed to hormonal exchanges as I remember) but we now have extensive analysis of this idea (which started around 1971), which has found major flaws in the early studies. Note:

"H. Clyde Wilson of the University of Missouri analyzed the research and data collection methods McClintock and others used in their studies. He found significant errors in the researchers' mathematical calculations and data collection as well as an error in how the researchers defined synchrony. Wilson's clinical research and his critical reviews of existing research, including the suggestion that pheromones can trigger synchrony in humans,[10] demonstrated that when the studies are corrected for such errors, the evidence for menstrual synchrony disappears.[11] --Wilson HC (1992). "A critical review of menstrual synchrony research". Psychoneuroendocrinology

COR: "If that is happening at an entirely unconscious level, why could they not be influencing each other's dreams?">>

I see no connection at all between brain activity and a hypothesis of hormonal exchange and the "menstrual synchrony' claims (which were not PSI anyway) are now known to be highly dubious at best.

COR: "...personal experiences persuade me that my dreams can be influenced by outside events and other people.">>

The argument from personal religious experience, is very persuasive to the person having the experience, but not to others who often have completely contradictory experiences. We have 1 billion Muslims who expect 1 billion Christians to be roasting in their Muslim hell. And vice versa. That's a lot of "personal experience." The Christians and Muslims can't both be right, but they can both be wrong.

No one can speak to past personal anecdotes, which are immune to inspection. It doesn't make them wrong, it just doesn't mean they are useful to verify claims, which in this case, are extraordinary and need at least ordinary evidence in their favor.


Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 12, 2012 at 9:38 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

COR: [quote] "scientism claims that science alone can render truth about the world and reality.">>

Then I don't agree with "scientism" (or much else this ranting anonymous definition).

COR: "Some scientists do take psi phenomena seriously:"

Not the good ones. I can point out several plain howlers in this Dean Radin link, if you're interested (and you probably aren't) and he is plainly making things up with his Sagan quotes, as is demonstrated in this careful and extensive this review of his book:

A very small percentage of scientists, even biologists, are creationists, even young earth creationists. What matters is if they can convince their peers of their claims. Creationists can't, and Dean Radin can't, and the peddlers of paranormal, can't.


Coralie, that is the "Bem" study in the Psychology Today article I referred to above on Tuesday. See:

When these claims came out, in Nov 2010, in a respected journal, they were posted in our forum with the comment: "This will be interesting to watch... new study suggesting precognition works"

Then, a year and a half later, it was followed up with the peer review. The Bem study was *absolutely,* completely, utterly, roasted to a crisp. It has been shown to be complete *rubbish.* If you don't read any of the links I give you, read this extremely thorough examination of the Bem study's claims.

If you have trouble with that online version (there seems to be a formatting problem with the picture and text) I will print out the article from my issue of the magazine and deliver it to you. Bem's claims were interesting and provocative but upon review, there is nothing left of them. He was exceedingly sloppy, incompetent and wrong. It happens.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 12, 2012 at 9:42 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

RE "No doubt the same lunatics that tell their children there is no Santa Claus or Easter Bunny, or don’t chase your dreams and have faith because you’ll only end up disappointed."
Joe conflates several types of news that he considers bad, as if the truths underlying them are equal, and falsely attributes behavior to people as a result

The myth of Santa Claus, told to children to enhance their enjoyment of Christmas, is not the same thing as the myth of Bigfoot, told to adults. I have acted on behalf of Santa Claus for some thirty years for the delight of my nieces and nephews, and I am all for letting children find out on their own that Santa Claus is a metaphor for something important. F. P. Church's letter to Virginia O'Hanlon is a magnificent essay, and a high point in newspaper history.

The Christian church put Easter on the calendar in an effort to co-opt older fertility festivals that arose in observance of the apparent return and increase of life that comes with Spring. The Easter Bunny, (a symbol of fertility) who distributes eggs (symbols of fertility and renewal) is the least unbelievable part of Easter. It's sort of funny that so many straitlaced, sex-phobic Christians go out of their way to amuse children with fertility symbols. Maybe this is a Dominionist plot-- which should give all of the conspiracy theorists and other cryptognostics something else to blog about.

"Chasing one's dreams," in the sense of acting on inspiration and aspiration, is a perfectly good thing. I don't see how Joe comes up with the notion that people who don't believe in Bigfoot somehow set out to discourage inspiration or aspiration. Of course, there is some dream-chasing that should be discouraged. Somnambulism, for example, can be very dangerous, and getting too involved with your delusions is-- well, lunacy.

RE "Well said, Joe. Well said."
Not really. Not even superficially.

Posted by: AlphaCat

April 13, 2012 at 12:32 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

FFT says "You are trying to define PSI into being a valid category of established science."
Obviously PSI is not a valid category of ESTABLISHED science. But everything under the sun is a valid subject for scientific investigation.
I wasn't giving those two links as backing for my own ideas but only as evidence that psi could be subjected to experiment.
I have said all along that I am actually trying to work toward an hypothesis to explain my own experiences.
Am putting it together as I write. Actually thinking, not spewing out my ideological position.
My problem with you, FFT, is that you always want to debate, and you are a very good debater, but this necessitates an opponent with a strong position. So you set me up as a straw man. I have had the same problem with a couple other men.
Unfortunately, the library is just closing so I will have to finish this tomorrow.

Posted by: Coralie

April 13, 2012 at 4:48 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: "overwhelm any discussion with volumes of irrelevant or contrived arguments and facts.">>

It's mainly those "facts" that are giving you fits. A concern about irrelevancy from a person who is reduced to putting a full post together about "website traffic," and still manages to get it 100% wrong. This'll be quick.

PH: "It's obvious FFT doesn't know the difference between "traffic" and "storage space.">>

I specifically quoted the "traffic" statistic and not the "storage" statistic, as I clearly stated. These are two different things. We use a tiny percentage if either.

PH: "trying to ridicule my observation that a huge increase in web traffic will force him to pay extra fees to accommodate the added bandwidth">>

Trying? There's no need to try to ridicule your observation, it's ludicrous on its face. If your campaign (which I have encouraged from the beginning) to draw attention to that thread and it's offer of a house, was even moderately successful, we should see perhaps 150 views per hour, over several days. Thus it would have a few thousand views by now. This wouldn't remotely be a problem, but it would at least be mildly interesting.

It's had 124 views in two days. That's a real traffic jammer! We'll have to upgrade to the $12 plan. But where are we gonna find a "fortune" like $12?

That paltry number is easily attributable to Skeptic Money and a couple plugs on Facebook. Very little to do with your efforts (not that we don't appreciate your attempt to swamp our system with True Believers). It just seems there aren't that many people that take your Bigfoot seriously any more. These are people that realize "Harry and the Hendersons" wasn't a documentary.

The thread will get a little bump when a note goes out to the 430+ people on our list. Thanks again for being the stimulus for this interesting opportunity to get people thinking about why it's *extremely* unlikely that there is, or ever was, a Bigfoot.

New psychic test details and offer to follow in a few days.

"...the huge increase in web traffic would probably exceed the freakthinkers(sic) minimal bandwidth limits and cost them a fortune in added hosting fees! Oh well, too late now. He said it was fine with him if I did it." --Phillip, April 11, 2012 at 9:27 p.m.

Might be an idea to avoid this bandwidth issue...

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 13, 2012 at 8:27 p.m. ( | suggest removal )


RE "These two clowns are doing backflips and somersaults to avoid having any type of honest discussion. I've quit reading their posts..."
It sounds like you're the one who is avoiding any type of honest discussion, then. If in fact you have stopped reading posts (and so avoided discussion), how would you know anything of "backflips and somersaults"? And of course your reference to "clowns" telegraphs your sublime interest in honest discussion as well.

Posted by: AlphaCat

April 14, 2012 at 12:16 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

FFT says: "If the "paranormal" could be shown to exist,... it would't be "paranormal" any more, it would be included into the "normal" category (just as if "alternative medicine," was evidence based, it would be included into normal, evidence based medicine).
First, you are quibbling over words.
You say if the paranormal was normal, it wouldn't be called paranormal. I am saying that the categories are skewed in the first place.
Second, some of so-called alternative medicine has been and is being incorporated into conventional medical practice (allopathic medicine). The result is often called "complementary medicine."
While allopathic medicine is to some degree evidence-based, a number of other factors enter into the practice of it in the U.S. especially $$$. There are also underlying assumptions such as metaphors of warfare against enemies (germs and viruses). There is a bias toward using pharmaceuticals and surgery rather than more conservative methods.
But let's not try to argue about everything at once as I have limited time and energy.

Posted by: Coralie

April 14, 2012 at 12:05 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

FFT says he has talked to physicists, who have specific expertise* in this field, who say entrainment has nothing whatsoever to do with PSI,
But the term entrainment is used in several fields. I linked this before:
"Entrainment may refer to:
....Brainwave entrainment, the practice of entraining one's brainwaves to a desired frequency
Entrainment (biomusicology), the synchronization of organisms to an external rhythm
Entrainment (chronobiology), the alignment of a circadian system's period and phase to the period and phase of an external rhythm....
Entrainment (physics), the process whereby two interacting oscillating systems assume the same period." (I left out a couple less relevant ones.)
Some of my experiences might well fall under these other definitions., for instance "the synchronization of organisms to an external rhythm."
Once I lived in a tiny apartment, one of several that had been carved out of a large old house. In the middle of the night waking up with heart racing as if I'd had a nightmare, I became aware of music coming from a radio in another apartment that was being played very softly. It was some kind of progressive jazz, with a vrery fast tempo. I became convinced that my heart was trying to match the rhythm of this music and so consciously tried to slow it down.

Posted by: Coralie

April 14, 2012 at 12:23 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

re menstrual synchrony--this article says "the jury is still out."
If it exists, the suggesed mechanism is smell.
Could this not also be the mechanism for some instances of what is being called PSI?
And wouldn't menstrual synchrony fit under the definition of entrainment as used in chronobiology?

Posted by: Coralie

April 14, 2012 at 12:33 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

FFT seems to scorn any type of personal experience. Only that which has been subjected to a double-blind experiment has validity.
But I wonder in the course of an average day how much he relies on personal experience.
Without it, I don't know how one can put one foot in front of another.

Posted by: Coralie

April 14, 2012 at 12:36 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Here's another possible field of research related to PSI--neural oscillation. It seems to be a relatively new field. I'd have to study this link at some length.
"At the level of neural ensembles, synchronized activity of large numbers of neurons can give rise to macroscopic oscillations, which can be observed in the electroencephalogram (EEG)."
"Their functional role is still not fully understood. The possible roles of neural oscillations include feature binding, information transfer mechanisms and the generation of rhythmic motor output."

Posted by: Coralie

April 14, 2012 at 1:19 p.m. ( | suggest removal )


RE "I became convinced that my heart was trying to match the rhythm of this music and so consciously tried to slow it down."
While the overt effects of musical style and tempo need no explanation, a similar subconscious phenomenon has been known and exploited for years. The Muzak company industrialized it, creating playlists of background music for different commercial environments that were tailored to create the desired level of interest, agitation, focus, and calmness.

RE "FFT seems to scorn any type of personal experience."
What fft seems to scorn is not personal experience, but attributing personal experience to the paranormal before normal explanations are looked into. In each case where a paranormal experience has been mentioned in this thread, he has suggested possible normal explanations; in cases where they haven't been or cannot be explained within the realm of normalcy, he acknowledges that they haven't been explained. For somebody to take umbrage at that is hardly an honest way to approach the topic, and I appreciate your continued willingness to discuss the matter with honesty.

I was very disappointed when, during our recent earthquakes, none of our lesser cats sensed that any of them was about to happen. I'm sure there's a normal explanation for that.

Posted by: AlphaCat

April 14, 2012 at 2:16 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Coralie says she doesn't want to debate with me, but clearly she does. Okay.

COR: "I wasn't giving those two links as backing for my own ideas...">>

Your own idea is that PSI exists, and that the people at those links support your belief. I directly addressed their claims. If you would like to go into great detail on Mr. Radin, lets.

COR: [gave them] only as evidence that psi could be subjected to experiment.">>

Safe to say if you had known the Bem study had been debunked, you wouldn't have reached for it. As you reach for things to validate your personal PSI experiences, you will want to not use that example, or these others.

COR: "trying to work toward an hypothesis to explain my own experiences.">>

Of course. And I have simply responded directly to your the lines of evidence you have put forward. And you ignore completely the most obvious and basic reason given from the beginning. That is, misapprehension, misunderstanding, selective cognitive biased reporting of the event in the first place.

COR: "[I'm] Actually thinking, not spewing out my ideological position.">>

Your comments aren't one penny less an "ideological spew" than anyone else's.

You put forward the notion of "entrainment." I didn't commune with Bigfoot or make something up like our resident clown and "Bigfoot whisperer" would, I got off my butt, got in my car, and drove to the home of a physicist to interview them about your suggestion. This is a person who obtained their doctorate in 1966, so we have some reason to think their half century study of these issues would make their opinion, (unlike yours and mine), somewhat informed. You dismiss this with a handwave because it doesn't comport with what you want to believe about your own personal telepathic abilities. That's not in any sense critical thinking or being open to new information.

COR: "My problem with you,... you always want to debate,">>

I investigate claims and see if they have merit and make no apology for it. In the past we have clashed on matters of homeopathy, 9/11 truther conspiracy claims, quack medicine and now PSI and your telepathy claims. For a person who fancies themselves a critical thinker, as I know you do, it's hard to find an area of fringe supernatural thinking that you don't embrace.

COR: "[debating] necessitates an opponent with a strong position.">>

Then perhaps pick claims with stronger positions. It's easy to debate when you start from a position that is actually true and can be supported. People who start with positions that are very mistaken, should avoid debating about them, unless they are secure enough to accept when they don't hold up to examination.


Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 14, 2012 at 4:01 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

COR: "So you set me up as a straw man.">>

No I haven't. That would be misrepresenting a claim and then responding to that misrepresentation. I have addressed your claims directly. In support of PSI you have now floated:

1) Connecting telepathy and entrainment... that doesn't work, or even make sense.
2) Bem Study... demolished upon peer review.
3) Menstrual synchrony... not PSI, not relevant and not established upon review.
4) Unsupported vague claims (and distortions) by Mr. Radin.

COR: "I have had the same problem with a couple other men.">>

The problems with these claims have nothing whatsoever to do with gender, but if you wish to blame the failings of these lines of evidence on gender, feel free.

COR: "I am saying that the categories are skewed in the first place.">>

You are using words in nonstandard ways and have from the beginning while trying to define PSI into the natural category.

COR: "some of so-called alternative medicine has been and is being incorporated into conventional... The result is often called "complementary medicine."

No, peddlers of foo foo medicine have attempted to get their non-evidence based medicine into the category of evidence based medicine without the evidence part. Learn all about this here:

The money shot:
Click "here" to see a list of the kinds of things that are being studied in the name of CAM.
Click "here" to see a list of ALL clinical trials supported by NCCAM.

They have nothing. This is a politics driven boondoggle. For example:

And: "Mielczarek and Engler[14] examined the grants and awards funded by NCCAM from 2000 to 2011, which cost a total of $1.3 billion. Their study showed no discoveries in complementary and alternative medicine that would justify the existence of this center. They argued that, after 20 years and an expenditure of $20 billion, the failure of NCCAM is evidenced by the lack of publications and the failure to report clinical trials in peer-reviewed scientific medical journals. They recommended NCCAM be defunded or abolished, and the concepts of funding alternative medicine be discontinued."

$20 billion bucks and goose egg to show for it.

See also: “Measuring Mythology: Startling Concepts in NCCAM Grants” co-authored by Eugenie V. Mielczarek and recently published in the January/February 2012 issue of Skeptical Inquirer magazine.


Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 14, 2012 at 4:14 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

COR: "FFT seems to scorn any type of personal experience.">>

No, I just point out that appeals to "personal experience" are immune from verification. You know this is true, because you necessarily dismiss the appeals to personal experience that contradict your own (examples upon request).

COR: "Only that which has been subjected to a double-blind experiment has validity.">>

I never claimed that. Now who's making up strawmen? That would be you.

COR: Without [personal experience], I don't know how one can put one foot in front of another.">>

The cause and effect of putting one foot in front of another is a mundane ordinary claim with rock solid evidence and thus a *complete* dis-analogy to your claims of telepathic, PSI, abilities.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 14, 2012 at 4:16 p.m. ( | suggest removal )


Be warned: Mr. Donald claims that he has hacker friends.

Posted by: AlphaCat

April 14, 2012 at 6:22 p.m. ( | suggest removal )


RE "I was talking to a friend about a certain Mr Krueger, skeptic un-extraordinaire and general putz..."
You have a friend? But seriously: have you met Dr. Krueger?

RE "...and we decided his position as an educator is highly suspicious."
How so?

RE "Why would an atheist work his way into a position of authority where he could influence highly impressionable minds?"
Why would that matter in a state-supported school?

RE "Seems suspicious, especially considering his affiliation with the skeptics group CSICOP and their board of directors."
Since you claim that he is un-extraordinary as a skeptic, how might this be a problem?

On the whole, you make Dr. Krueger sound pretty innocuous; there's probably no need to worry.

Posted by: AlphaCat

April 14, 2012 at 8:22 p.m. ( | suggest removal )


That doesn't address any of my questions.

Posted by: AlphaCat

April 14, 2012 at 9:02 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Well played AlphaCat.

As anyone can see for themselves, as Phillip desperately reaches out now to smear this local professor he can't even be trusted to quote his wiki page accurately.

Phillip is furious and reduced to attacking people he doesn't know and have not participated in this discussion. This is behavior he has displayed from the beginning.

RE: " organization dedicated to debunking Biblical teachings."

Actually, as clearly stated on the website:

"Who are the Fayetteville Freethinkers?

We are a group of citizens who are bringing our talents together to promote freethought. We are concerned about the level of gullibility, intellectual carelessness, and intolerance of dissenting views often displayed in our society in matters related to the supernatural and the occult. We promote a healthy level of skepticism about religion and all other supernatural claims.

What do the Fayetteville Freethinkers do?

Promote the scientific method and science education.
Promote up-to-date, scholarly, information about the Bible."

So the claim "dedicated to debunking Biblical(sic) teachings" is not true at all. Promoting "up-to-date, scholarly, information about the Bible," is true.

If Phillip can stop playing remote view peek-a-boo with Bigfoot for a bit, perhaps he can attempt to show something the freethinkers publish about the Bible that is inaccurate and/or not inline with standard mainstream Bible scholarship taught in every major university in America, as well as every major theological seminary that is independent of fundamentalist Christian financial pressure. To do that, he might have to learn something about the Bible in the first place (we offer free Bible studies).

I wish him Godspeed.

"There is something feeble and a little contemptible about a man who cannot face the perils of life without the help of comfortable myths. Almost inevitably, some part of him is aware that they are myths and that he believes them only because they are comforting. But he does not dare face this thought! Moreover, since he is aware, however dimly, that his opinions are not real, he becomes furious when they are disputed." --Bertrand Russell

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 14, 2012 at 9:31 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Now, Mr. Donald--

If you are indeed psychic, you should know that Dr. Krueger hasn't posted in this thread.

Posted by: AlphaCat

April 14, 2012 at 10:20 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Now, Mr. Donald--

It wouldn't take a psychic to discern that.

Posted by: AlphaCat

April 14, 2012 at 11:03 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: "His own words quoted above prove the material on his site attempt to debunk Biblical teachings.">>

You forgot the part about showing anything I said that "debunk Biblical(sic) teachings."

Take care to not beg any questions as you try to make this point (if you don't know what the fallacy of "question begging" is, wiki has a nice write up).

Everything I say in your excerpt (or ever say about the Bible when being serious), is perfectly inline with standard mainstream Bible scholarship. I don't hold any beliefs about the Bible that aren't supported by standard mainstream peer-reviewed Bible scholarship taught in every non-fundamentalist university in the nation.

Course, for you to know anything about that, you would need to knowing something about the subject you are attempting to go on about. And that would certainly set a new precedent for you.

"One of the most amazing and perplexing features of mainstream Christianity is that seminarians who learn the historical-critical method in their Bible classes appear to forget all about it when it comes time for them to be pastors. They are taught critical approaches to Scripture, they learn about the discrepancies and contradictions, they discover all sorts of historical errors and mistakes, they come to realize that it is difficult to know whether Moses existed or what Jesus actually said and did, they find that there are other books that were at one time considered canonical but that ultimately did not become part of Scripture (for example, other Gospels and Apocalypses), they come to recognize that a good number of the books of the Bible are pseudonymous (for example, written in the name of an apostle by someone else), that in fact we don't have the original copies of any of the biblical books but only copies made centuries later, all of which have been altered. They learn all of this, and yet when they enter church ministry they appear to put it back on the shelf. For reasons I will explore in the conclusion, pastors are, as a rule, reluctant to teach what they learned about the Bible in seminary."
— Dr. Bart D. Ehrman (Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible & Why We Don't Know About Them)

ps. Bigfoot forum thread has *five* more views today! Oh my. Servers must be working double time at freethought headquarters.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 14, 2012 at 11:21 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: "Dr. Krueger, you really shouldn't...">>

Again. While Dr. Krueger has participated on NWAonline before, he has not posted in this thread.

PH: "FFT website is plainly a religious debunker website...">>

Again we see, unable to support your claim, you change it to something else. Boring.

PH: "I was predicting large amounts of **TRAFFIC** not STORAGE SPACE.">>

And you were wrong. Six views now in two days?
From our host:
Traffic: "Summary Traffic of 99999.0 GB limit (since Apr 3, 2012) ... 3.1GB
Storage: Avg: 590.16 of 1999999 MB ... total used: 452.58 MB"

I think the $7 plan is going to suffice. Why do you continuously say things that aren't true and talk about things you have no understanding of? It's not a useful habit.

PH: "I may or may not respond...">>

I have no interest in what you do. I do appreciate you perfectly playing the role of puppet on the knee. Sincerely.

PH: "Now why would godless atheists">>

Lots of freethinkers aren't atheists. We see again, you don't know what you are talking about. On April 1, in this thread you said:
"With arch skeptics, especially when they're a self-proclaimed atheist..."

But no one in this thread has "self-proclaimed" they are an atheist. Why do you find it useful to constantly say things that aren't true?

PH: "[freethinkers] passing out literature to children and young adults?">>

Indeed, we have distributed tens of thousands of tracts over the years and even more via the internet. Accurate honest education is very important.

PH: "They claim to be "free thinkers,">>

Actually, no. In my experience, freethinkers know how to spell the word.

PH: "[they] ridicule [Christianity] such as the Virgin Birth.">>

The majority of NT scholars think the Apostle Paul (who wrote most of the NT) didn't believe in the virgin birth.

Careful readers will remember your complaint (4/6 above) about the Geisler "howler," was that it was pointed out he claimed there was "substantial" historical eyewitness evidence of a "virgin birth" and there was more evidence for that than: "for most events from the ancient world."
As was explained, is absurd.

PH: "Why are they trying to influence children and young adults?">>

The children are the future. Superstition is in decline, we give it a little push.

PH: "Everyone should go to their website at

Please, and thank you.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 15, 2012 at 10:50 a.m. ( | suggest removal )


Public Psychic Demonstration

We wish to present an opportunity for the public to view a demonstration of two paranormal phenomena-- telekinesis and clairvoyance-- during our next meeting at the Fayetteville Public Library:

One week from now, on Sunday April 22, the Fayetteville Freethinkers will once again put their money where their mouth is and offer those who claim to have paranormal abilities two opportunities to take a considerable sum of money from us. These tests will be conducted and recorded live in front of an audience of about 60 people.

Telekinesis Test

A ping-pong ball will be placed on a slightly sloped surface under a glass cover. All are invited to come and demonstrate their ability to move this object using only the power of their mind. Touching the table or the glass case is not allowed. A successful participant will receive immediate payment of five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) upon moving the ball, as verified visually and by instant replay.

Clairvoyance Test

For those whose psi powers are such that localized skepticism aurae render them useless, we will have a task you can accomplish from the comfort and safety of your home. We will bring to the meeting a small case, sealed and locked, into which two items will have been placed prior to the meeting:
-- an object of some distinctive sort; and
-- a word printed on a card in a large, legible font.
Correctly identify either the word, OR the object and receive an immediate payment of one thousand dollars ($1,000.00). Correctly identify both the object AND the word and get an additional four thousand dollars ($4,000.00)-- a total of five thousand dollars.

The case-- loaded, sealed and locked prior to the meeting-- will be placed on the piano on the stage in full view of the audience at the beginning of the meeting. No one will be allowed to touch the piano or the case. If anyone touches the piano or the case at any time, the clairvoyance test will be terminated.

Up to five psychics who wish to participate in this demonstration in person will each be given one attempt to identify the object and the word, in person, at the meeting.

Between 2:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m., up to five participants who attend in person will write down their identifications of the two items. Each pair of identifications submitted constitutes an agreement between the participant and Fayetteville Freethinkers. All identifications must be submitted to the moderator by 3:00 p.m.


Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 15, 2012 at 11:35 a.m. ( | suggest removal )


Participants in this test who do not wish to attend the meeting may send in their answers, vial email, to between 2:30 P.M. CDT and 3:00 P.M. CDT. No answers will be accepted before 2:30 p.m. or after 3:00 p.m.; the time stamp on each incoming e-mail will be used to determine the submission time. For this test, only the first five entries sent via email will be considered. Each accepted entry sent by e-mail constitutes an agreement between the participant and Fayetteville Freethinkers.

We will check this email account at 3:00 p.m., in full view of the audience, and the first five valid entries sent by e-mail will be made public.

After the participants in attendance have submitted their identifications of the items, and the e-mail account is opened, the five pairs of identifications submitted by e-mail will be projected onto the screen at the front of the room, and the five pairs of identifications submitted in person will be read aloud to the audience. Descriptions will be read verbatim; words will be spelled as in a spelling bee: "Word. W-O-R-D. Word."

At approximately 3:15 p.m., one person yet to be chosen (perhaps randomly from the audience) will open the case in front of any participants present, the audience and the cameras. The two items placed in the case-- the object of some distinctive sort and the word printed on a card in a large, legible font-- will be photodocumented, as will be all pairs of identifications submitted by e-mail and in person.

In case of multiple correct identifications of either the object or the word, or of both, the appropriate award will be split among the participants who made the correct identifications.

Those who wish to participate in either test while appealing to outside experts such as professional psychics (published or not) or spirit beings (living or not) are strongly encouraged to do so.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 15, 2012 at 11:37 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Now, Mr. Donald--

Your avatars are a lovely manifestation of your interest in computer graphics. However, your flights of fancy are off-course and your readings are bad. Perhaps you should check your avionics.

Posted by: AlphaCat

April 15, 2012 at 11:38 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Isn't it precious how the skeptics know who Phillip D. is (using entirely naturalistic means) but it is Phillip, master of the underworld with mega powers of communication and surveillance extending to "other sides of other universes," who still flails about trying figure out who he is taking to? And he wants to do this only so he can distract from the issues, and digress with furious, irrelevant, personal attacks.

If Phillip wants to hurt the fayfreethinkers and make them eat a really big crow, he needs to dust off his super powers, get involved, and take our ten grand on Sunday. Will he have the courage to even try?

PH: "try a line of work you're good at. Lying isn't one of them.">>

If Phillip is going to throw the charge of lying around, he should have the courtesy of attempting to establish an example.

Speaking for myself, I can say that after several thousand posts on this forum, I have never once lied. By that I mean, stating an intentional falsehood or saying something I know to be false.

Challenge posted here: Psychic Test: FayFreethinkers offer $10,000 reward

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 15, 2012 at 12:09 p.m. ( | suggest removal )


RE "Aren't you clever, referring to avionics! If you must know I graduated magna cum laude, if you know what that means."
Apparently your curriculum didn't prepare you well for cogent written communication, creating a rational argument, avoiding logical fallacies, or civil discourse. Given the preadolescent tone of many of your posts, including the name-calling, note-passing and jump rope rhymes, it appears that you graduated from the fifth grade with high honors. As an incentive to keep at it, know that in another year, you'll be the equal of Jethro Bodine-- if you study.

RE "Your other posts are as asinine as that one..."
In what way (or ways) is that post asinine?

RE "Remind me to stay away from you during all lightning storms!"
Until you figure out who I am, you're going to have a hard time doing that. However, I have more sense than to go out in storms. You should try that approach.

RE "Did you hate moving from Texas?"
In an interesting but useless (to you) coincidence, I left Austin after living there for five years, and I was initially not too happy, under the circumstances. I would have been far happier to have left Fort Smith, even though that doesn't seem to have improved your mood. Different strokes, I guess.

RE "I thought people with big heads like yours"
My hat size is 7 1/4-- which falls in the medium range.

RE "(can you say Keith Olberman!!)"
Yes. I can spell it, too.

RE "didn't like being away from cowboy hats..."
I am more of a fedora person. I also have a couple of porkpies and a fez.

RE "...that hid the gigantic mellon on their shoulders"
Would that be Andrew Mellon? Better yet, let's talk about the hat that fits the chip on your shoulders.

RE "Have fun"
You, too.

RE "watch out for hornets nests behind your ears!"
We have no hornets. There are a few paper wasps, lots of daddy long-legs, ticks and a wealth of butterflies. And moths, spiders, scorpions and millipedes.

Posted by: AlphaCat

April 15, 2012 at 1:30 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: "Doug,... It's a shame your children look so much like you...">>

Now Phillip is reduced to attacking the children of a professor who has not participated in this thread.

Phillip's behavior is now, unfortunately, likely to draw censorship issues by moderators. Since there is some good research here, I am going to archive all of my posts from this thread on our forum where they will remain for all time. Link will be provided.

PH: "Doug asks: [QUOTE:]
"1. Why did Jesus have to die for anyone's sins? If God is sovereign, he could just say, "OK, no one goes to hell for your sins." Instead, he has to take human form and get himself killed in order to take away sins. Why the human sacrifice?...">>

My tax accountant just informed me that instead of having to pay, Uncle Sam is going to send me $4.5k, so I am having a really good day regardless. But if only (if only!) there were a way to some how secretly trick, a peddler of Foo Foo and Woo, to spend time scouring our forum and website and then reproduce, within their very own posts, skeptical religious comments (that the person in question claims to abhor). How could we do that?

And then if only, we could get them to advertise our website, group and materials, and also be the instigation for us to make solid legal agreement on the Bigfoot offer (which they advertise), and then also get us to conduct our first ever psychic test at a meeting!

But what kind of person would be silly enough to do all of that for us? For free? What a blessing that would be.

PH: " the Bible advises this: Proverbs 26:4 -- "Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself."

A classic. But Phillip should have read the next verse: "Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit."

So when Phillip looks to the Good Book (poetry section admittedly) for the answer of whether he should "answer a fool according to his folly," he gets a flatly contradictory answer.

If Phillip wants to tango on biblical issues, freethinkers will be very pleased to show him how to begin. After all, we are indebted to him for all he's done.

"Who Knows What About Religion

The Pew Forum’s religious knowledge survey included 32 questions about various aspects of religion: the Bible, Christianity, Judaism, Mormonism, world religions, religion in public life, and atheism and agnosticism...

Overall, the three groups that perform best in this survey are atheists and agnostics (who get an average of 20.9 out of 32 questions right), Jews (20.5 questions right on average) and Mormons (20.3 questions right). Looked at another way, 27% of Jews, 22% of atheists and agnostics, and 20% of Mormons score in the top 10% of all respondents in overall number of correct answers to religious knowledge questions, getting at least 26 questions right."

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 15, 2012 at 3:55 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Oh no--we're into religion again,accompanied by insults and personal attacks.
Count me out.
I don't have experiences in the realm of telekinesis or clairvoyance, so would not participate in your demonstration, FFT.
I also believe that these kinds of psi ability might require other metaphysical assumptions, whereas telepathy as I have said before is likely to be related to animal abilities that have natural explanations.

Posted by: Coralie

April 15, 2012 at 4:17 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH now: "I'm not familiar with telekinesis, it's never been part of my training, but I believe it's possible.">>


PH then: "I have seen objects move, which proves it can be done, but my experience has been that they're generally indisposed to someone trying to make them prove they exist." --Phillip, March 29, this thread, here:

I don't think Phillip is aware of how good my memory is.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 15, 2012 at 4:42 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

COR: "Only that which has been subjected to a double-blind experiment has validity." FFT denies saying this.
I probably shouldn't refer to conversations from outside of this thread, but I thought I heard you say this in another context,
FFT says " In the past we have clashed on matters of homeopathy, 9/11 truther conspiracy claims, quack medicine and now PSI and your telepathy claims. ... it's hard to find an area of fringe supernatural thinking that you don't embrace."
I don't see that any of the other matters you mention are 'supernatural.'
You have worded them in such a way that begs the question--"truther" and "quack medicine."
My views on 9/11 are much more nuanced than that and are closer to being a truly skeptical position than yours is. I am simply saying that there were a lot of loose ends and a lot of unanswered questions. That the official explanation was not adequate.
I've been treating myself for minor complaints with herb teas for decades. The ones I continue to use have helped and I wouldn't be going to the doctor for minor complaints anyway.
A Chinese medical doctor (acupuncture +) successfully treated me for a serious condition--standard medical tests afterward showed that the condition had disappeared. I wouldn't call that quack medicine.

Posted by: Coralie

April 15, 2012 at 4:43 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Of course you fellows realize :Phillip 55 is huffing and puffing. He can no more lawfully demand that someone quit referring to him about his remarks in a public forum than he can produce bigfoot.

Posted by: cdawg

April 15, 2012 at 7:53 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Phillip1955 takes his fifth-grade behavior to the next level-- not by taking his ball and going home, but by himself the king of the playground and the boss of me. Maybe he resorted to this tactic because he neglected to bring a ball to the forum.

RE "Do not contact me via online media, electronic media, print media, email media, or any media whatsoever."
Easy enough. Posting in online forums does not constitute contact, and I have never had any intention of making any other contact anyway.

RE "Do not mention me in posts in this thread, or any other thread, on"
Good luck with that, until you obtain exclusive copyright to your screen name in written form. And good luck with that, too, as multiple persons all over the Internets are using that screen name.

RE "Do not archive my posts from this thread, or any other thread, or otherwise reproduce or make available my posts from this thread or any other thread so they are available on any server, or in any other media whatsoever."

RE "You do not have my permission to reproduce my words in any form, in any media. If you reproduce my posts from this thread, or if you contact me in any manner, in any media, I will file a restraining order against you."
That really isn't your decision, as the content of these threads is the property of NWA Media, and their permissions would determine how content of these threads are used elsewhere. And even if their permissions for extensive quotations are cumbersome, they probably wouldn't object to properly-labeled links to their online forum threads.

RE "If you are unclear on any of the items in this order you may have your attorney, and only your attorney, contact me by using the contact form available though my avatar."
That shouldn't be necessary. I believe I am at least as clear on these items as you are. But it puts me in a bit of a pickle should I act as my own attorney and somehow need to contact you.

As I see it, there are a couple of problems with this threat, however. First, I can find nothing in Arkansas law providing for orders of protection or restraining orders in situations such as this. Second, even if the situation were applicable, it is doubtful that a judge would issue one, as there are no grounds. A quick reading of the thread will show that Phillip1955 is the abusive, assaultive person in this thread.

RE "Their offer is just as bogus as it ever was, and for the same reasons. Let me make a prediction: NO ONE WILL BE ABLE TO WIN THEIR CHALLENGE. That's 100% guaranteed to win because of the faulty assumptions made in the challenge."
Of course no reasons are given, and no examples of faulty assumptions are offered. Apparently, though, Phillip1955 is desperate to ignore the most likely reason that nobody will win the challenge: telekinesis and clairvoyance aren't possible.

Posted by: AlphaCat

April 15, 2012 at 8 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH: "That's 100% guaranteed to win because of the faulty assumptions made in the challenge.">>

AlphaC: "Of course no reasons are given, and no examples of faulty assumptions are offered.">>

Well lookie here. Look who has now been converted to skepticism and has become a Born Agin skeptic, and in just a few posts. And with 100% certainty at that!

Phillip now has less belief in these powers than me. I think it is entirely possible someone could do these things, I just think it is extremely unlikely. Phillip, who already claimed he has:

"used psychometry and Remote Viewing to visualize objects and people at a distance..."

And: "I have seen objects move, which proves it can be done,"

Suddenly becomes "100% guaranteed" skeptical that it can not be done when he is given the opportunity to do it, while being handsomely rewarded. I am starting to think Phillip has never had someone actually stand up to his nonsense before. Glad to be his first.

Regarding restraining order silliness, this is almost more silly than 40 year old recordings of animals making noises. If Phillip has a lawyer acquaintance (or he can even call Dr. Klebanoff), he should have them teach him a few things about:

1) Copyright law (and how great deference is given to excerpting claims made in public while providing critical review). Phillip has z-e-r-o protection from having these public comments not excerpted and criticized.

2) How harm or the potential for serious harm (and a few other things) must be shown when signing an affidavit to attempt to get a restraining order. Chatting on a blog isn't going to make it past the laugh test.

3) Arkansas law on frivolous lawsuits. Phillip isn't in California anymore.

I have archived all of my posts from this thread, about 32,000 words here:

where they shall stay until Bigfoot is dragged in, or Jesus returns. Whichever comes first.

ps. The fellow from Cryptomundo (I think) of:

called our attorney to inquire about the legitimacy of the house for Bigfoot reward. I suppose it all went well. Perhaps someone who has bothered to sign up on that site might tell him that further details regarding the house have been posted in the original comment:

If I can find an old picture that doesn't reveal the location, I may post that. Can't have the current occupant being bothered by very very silly people.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 15, 2012 at 8:34 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

At the risk of exposing a yellow dog to threats of legal action at the hand of a certain unnamed poster, please allow a few observations: this thread will soon be shut down by the administration, and rightly so, since the terms of use have been violated, in my view, primarily by Mr. magna cum laude.

Alpha and fft devote big chunks of their lives to teaching through the use fact, logic and reason. They are masters at exposing and challenging unsubstantiated assertions. To the ordinary yellow dog, such as myself, that's admirable. Thanks, to all freethinkers.

Posted by: FrankLloydLeft

April 15, 2012 at 9:57 p.m. ( | suggest removal )


RE "this thread will soon be shut down by the administration"

We missed the anticipated time frame, but if we hurry, we can meet the predicted number of posts before the moderator gets here. A goal is a dream with a deadline.

"This thread will be 300 replies long by next week at this rate."
Phillip1955, April 6, 2012 at 11:32 a.m.

Posted by: AlphaCat

April 15, 2012 at 10:48 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

So, who will lay claim to possessing the power of precognition in divining the length of this thread?

Hope y'all get to link to the oregonbigfoot sounds link provided by the space oddity. The Sierra growl whistle is the most entertaining, and for those of a certain native gullibility, probably the most persuasively authentic.

Posted by: FrankLloydLeft

April 16, 2012 at 12:14 a.m. ( | suggest removal )


RE "So, who will lay claim to possessing the power of precognition in divining the length of this thread?"

As the statement regarding the eventual length of this thread was based on a rate of posting, and was off by a week or so, it is not clear that precognition had anything to do with the statement. I take it to be a jocular assessment rather than a prediction. Fairly accurate jocularity, at that.

Posted by: AlphaCat

April 16, 2012 at 12:24 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

PH; " I offered to spend time with FFT showing him, but of course he ignored the offer">>

Now let's try the truth:

"On March 30 you said: "Someday,... I'll show you something that proves you're wrong about talking to 'dead' people."

[FFT] When can we set this up so you can do this and keep your word? Email: [fayfreethinkers @]

The record shows it was Phillip who ignored following up on my prompt acceptance of his offer.

PH: "- it would have proven him wrong.">>

Sure it would have.

Bring in Bigfoot, get the house.
Move the ping-pong ball, get $5k
Discern the word/object, get $5k

Don't like those tests, explain what you can do and under what circumstances. Show how it differs from personal hallucination.

You've "seen" Bigfoot, you claim to have these very powers, but you won't even attempt to prove anything by testing them because, as you now say, you are 100% certain you can't do them. And with good reason.

PH: "you have tens of thousands of dollars to offer...">>

The FF have about $1k in the kitty. These other offers are put forward from a donor. You can call him Dark Lord.

PH: "for a publicity stunt.">>

All inspired by you. Thanks.

PH: "Besides your dishonesty...">>

It's just demonstrated once again, who has not been honest. I don't make claims I can't back up, as I told you in my very first response to you on March 29 in this thread. You should adopt this method. After a while, people begin to trust what you say. Your method has caused the opposite effect for you.

"Errors, like straws, upon the surface flow; He who would search for pearls must dive below." --John Dryden (1631-1700)

Posted by: fayfreethinker

April 16, 2012 at 9:31 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Shutting this thread down due to personal attacks, threats, etc., and no real productive discussion any more.
-Caleb Fort, online editor

Posted by: cfort

April 16, 2012 at 10:21 a.m. ( | suggest removal )