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Author Steve Volk on Skeptical Arguments Designed to Mislead

Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview with Philadelphia-based journalist and author of Fringe-ology, Steve Volk.  During the interview Volk discusses the role of logic and nonsense in studying the near-death experience:

Alex Tsakiris: The limit of Materialism, as it applies to science, is the “something else” that a lot of consciousness research alludes to. As soon as we have a X factor, a something-more-factor, then everything in science is turned on its head.  So, whether it be experimenter effect, or psi effect, or consciousness effect, we have this huge swath of science that we may have to reexamine and say, “ok, but did you measure the X factor correctly.”

Steve Volk: The entire scientific enterprise is based on this idea of being able to measure reality, to know reality, and involves there being something material, external and measurable outside of ourselves.  So, whenever we get into realms where we can’t actually perform those measurements, we can’t actually perform those tests, it shows the limits of science.  Instead of a science that can explain everything… well, the idea that maybe it won’t is a  huge threat.

I actually do think that Skeptics like Richard Wiseman understand what’s at stake and that’s why they fight so hard… the Skeptics, at times, make arguments that are simply designed to mislead.

Dr. Daryl Bem Responds to Parapsychology Debunkers

Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview with noted psychology professor Dr. Daryl Bem. During the interview Bem discusses the reaction to his research among parapsychology opponents:

Alex Tsakiris: What do you think is going to happen with this latest round of debunking? The skeptics have risen up and it seems like a very well-organized, concerted effort to knock down your research. What do you think their game plan is? What do you think is going to happen?

Dr. Daryl Bem: Well, I think the flurry of activity in the popular media will just sort of die down. When I look at Google News on it there are still four or five articles that pop up in which it just shows how successful Wiseman is at getting his point of view out. I have been replying to people who’ve asked me to reply to blogs and things of that sort.

Without accusing him of actually being dishonest, he has now published the three studies that he and French and Ritchie tried to get published in several journals that rejected it. I replied with a comment on that. If there’s anything dishonest there, it’s when you publish an article, even if it’s of your own three experiments—they did three experiments that failed trying to replicate one of my experiments—you always have a literature review section where you talk about all the previous research and known research on the topic before you present your own data.

What Wiseman never tells people is in Ritchie, Wiseman and French is that his online registry where he asked everyone to register, first of all he provided a deadline date. I don’t know of any serious researcher working on their own stuff who is going to drop everything and immediately do a replication… anyway, he and Ritchie and French published these three studies. Well, they knew that there were three other studies that had been submitted and completed and two of the three showed statistically significant results replicating my results. But you don’t know that from reading his article. That borders on dishonesty.

Psychic Spy Joe McMoneagle Tells How His Near-Death Experience Led to Remote Viewing

nterview with U.S. Army Remote Viewer Joe McMoneagle explains how his near-death experience led to being selected for the government’s psychic spy program.

Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview with Joe McMoneagle, author of, Memoirs of a Psychic Spy. During the interview McMoneagle discusses the origins of the government’s psychic spy program:

Joe McMoneagle: We heard rumors and picked up some details about the Russians using psychics to spy on America.   It was impossible, for obvious reasons, to get an actual agent inside their program; so when faced with the possibility that our enemy is doing something that we have no ability to judge, the best way to find what their capability is, or the limits of their capability, is to emulate them.

So the initial intention was to just spend three years doing that–selecting people, targeting our own people at the CIA, FBI, Secret Service, that sort of thing.

That didn’t work very long because we were able to successfully recruit six people and they turned out to be very, very good at doing what we thought the Russians were doing. They were good enough that people felt that it should be operational immediately.

Alex Tsakiris: Tell us about your trips to Russia and your meeting with your Russian counterparts. Were they really spying on us with psychic spies?

Joe McMoneagle: In actuality, they were. They were using spies, psychic spies, to target us and target many of our agencies. In my trips to Russia and the time I spent with the directors of their program and their actual remote viewers—I call them remote viewers. They probably shouldn’t be called remote viewers because they use nothing like our protocols. They displayed some interesting capacities in many of the things that they were doing but they did things completely differently than us. They did a lot of things that we didn’t do in terms of their attempts to manipulate the paranormal area, anyway. For instance, there were some efforts I know that they spent a great deal of time in trying to manipulate or affect the decision-making of some American politicians and that sort of thing.

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