Most of you have probably heard of James Randi's million dollar challenge. Someone every so often asks why no one in the OEC has tried to win it.
Peebrain (aka founder of PsiPog) wrote up a very comprehensive recount of his attempts to contact James Randi (including raw logs of it), and the dishonesty that he encountered.
I ran across a TED Talk today given by James Randi:
He actually made some excellent points. There's a *lot* of fraud that goes on when it comes to people who claim to be psychic. Furthermore, he said that most of the people who come to him are [b]amateurs: people who don't know how to evaluate their own abilities[/b]. Even if we disagree with him on whether or not psychic abilities exist, I think we can all agree that a bunch of people *pretending* to have psychic abilities and screwing people out of their money does not do anyone any favors.
If we're going to stand as evidence that psychic abilities really do exist, it's our responsibility to verify our skills, to test them under appropriately controlled conditions, and to ADMIT when we don't have solid evidence. Being scientific in our approach to psychic phenomenon does *not* mean that we have to explain via current academic knowledge exactly how what we are doing works. It doesn't mean we have to sound like an academic paper when we're talking about it. It doesn't mean we need degrees and citations and the ability to expound upon the nuances between terms like hypotheses and theories. Being scientific in our approach means using the scientific method.
For example, it's putting a glass over your psiwheel to prevent wind from moving it, and not putting your hands near it so that you don't move it because of heat. It's relying on measurements that aren't subjective, like using a thermometer instead of your hands to test heat. It's keeping a journal of your practice sessions, and recording both successes AND failures. It's running blind or double blind tests to prevent experimenter bias, and having other people verify your results separately from you. It's doing every test you can think of that would [i]disprove [/i]what you think you have seen, rather than trying to point to evidence that doesn't stand up to scrutiny.
Just because there's a lot of fraud and fluff doesn't mean that real psychic abilities don't exist. Peebrain has an article with lots of good suggestions on how to [url=http://psipog.net/art-how-to-verify-your-skills.html]verify your skills[/url]. And the book called [url=http://www.amazon.com/ESP-Enigma-Scientific-Psychic-Phenomena/dp/0802716... ESP Enigma by Diane Hennacy Powell[/url] summarizes many studies that actually strongly support various types of psychic phenomenon (really really good book, very readable, I highly recommend it).
I've gotten on a soap box here I think. But I'm tired of watching the OEC get no where because either people don't take the time to seriously practice and just hang out and talk about the abilities because it's "the thing to do", or on the other hand, people shoot down anyone who does try to practice, demanding to know the physics of what they are doing and how many scientific journals they can cite. [b]Neither way gets us anywhere.[/b]