Re: PSI: Skeptics Opinions Needed.

O. Razor (
Thu, 05 Aug 1999 02:07:47 PDT

>Despite these two experiences I remain skeptical, but open to
>the possibility that psi phenomena may still exist and eventually
>be explained within a scientific framework. Because of the
>highly spontaneous nature of my experiences there is no way
>I could reproduce them. If I could, I would every single night just
>to experience the hedonistic qualities alone. But of course, without
>reproducibility we don't have science. I may still be a skeptic
>but I cannot deny my own experiences and their validation by
>other observers.
>Paul Hughes

Well, firstly I would like to know if you were experimenting with any psychoactive drugs at the time. Need I say more (in regards to psychoactive drug use and its relation to your supposed out-of-body experience)?

As for other explainations more plausible than psi, I can offer such things as selective thinking, wishful thinking, self-deception, memory reconstruction, confirmation bias, communal reinforcement, subjective validation, etc.

I could take your word, believe that what happened happened as desribed, and then formulate an explaination. Perhaps some strange set of physics that we don't know about is at work, and by studying these psi events a whole paradigm shift will take place. I would much rather question the validity of your experience than postulate new physics.

Nobody can prove that your account of the events being desribed are false; but a person can offer more plausible explainations, and to accept the more plausible explaination seems, IMO, not only more rational but more extropic/transhuman as well. The way you describe the events as happeneing are not impossible, but rather highly improbable.

As Robert Carroll put it when he replied to a reader of his Skeptic's Dictionary: "There are many people out there who salivate at 'anomalies' such as yours. To them, such stories make life interesting because they open the door to 'infinite possibilities' and make life 'interesting' and full of 'exciting possibilities.'" This at least deals with motivation for providing extraordinary explainations.

I think this may be enough for now, so in the spirit of David Hume and Thomas Huxley: ask yourself what is more likely, that the claim is true or that the one making the claim is deceived, in error or intentionally trying to deceive you?

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