Re: META:Crop Circles, etc

Dan Clemmensen (
Fri, 05 Sep 1997 20:29:36 -0400

Paul Hughes wrote:
> Curt Adams wrote:
> >CSICOP goes out, collects extensive information, considers alternative
> >hypotheses, and frequently conducts research to verify them (e.g.
> Randi's
> >experiments). That's the very heart of science.
> Show me proof. I have yet to see CSICOP 'consider alternative
> hypothesis' as you claim. A good example was a couple of scientists
> who on a whim, decided to do a statistical study on the accuracy of
> astrology. Using over 6000 people they wanted to see if they could
> find any sstatistical variations outside of chance. They did, albeit
> small. When they went to CSICOP to have it published, CSICOP refused
> saying "We refuse to publish anything that may demonstrate any
> phenomona outside of known scientific knowledge"! This position is
> antithetical to the spirit of scientific inquiry!
Those of you who don't know about CSICOP may want to check out
Paul, I cannot off-hand find the precise issue of "Skeptical Inquirer"
in which this experiment was discussed. Do you have that information
on hand? I do know that several statistical analyses of astrological
phenomena have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
Some of these have reported statistical significance. I also know
that that there is a great deal of abuse of statistics by scientists
in just about all disciplines, usually because the professional
scientist failed to consult a professional statistician. As I recall
the history, "Skeptical Inquirer" published a review of the article
and questioned the statistical methodology. However, I may be mistaken.

"Skeptical Inquirer" usually has several articles on the current
pseudoscience silliness, and also ususally has scholarly articles
on the nature of memory, belief, and other psychological phenomena.

I find these articles especially relevant to the discussions on this
group about the nature of consiousness, the mind, uploading, and memes,
Also to the way some of us (including me) latch onto beliefs.