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One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge

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One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge Tom Smith 11/8/14 9:52 AM
RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge Dada Kind 11/8/14 11:28 AM
RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge Chris Marti 11/8/14 7:56 PM
RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge Dada Kind 12/10/14 2:18 PM
RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge Gedanken 12/11/14 4:26 AM
RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge boubs fatty 11/11/14 8:07 PM
RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge Eric M W 12/11/14 8:20 AM
RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge Bailey . 12/11/14 12:47 PM
RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge Tom Smith 12/11/14 1:20 PM
RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge Ryan J 12/11/14 6:24 PM
RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge Eric M W 12/12/14 11:24 AM
RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge Ryan J 12/12/14 3:23 PM
RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge Ryan J 12/12/14 10:16 PM
RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge Alesh Vyhnal 1/15/15 5:45 PM
RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge Eva Nie 1/15/15 9:45 PM
RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge Not Tao 1/15/15 10:23 PM
RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge Eva Nie 1/16/15 11:55 AM
RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge Eric G 1/16/15 4:41 PM
RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge Alesh Vyhnal 1/16/15 5:27 PM
RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge Jim Smith 1/17/15 8:44 AM
RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge Alesh Vyhnal 1/17/15 10:15 AM
RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge Eric G 1/18/15 8:24 AM
RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge Andreas 1/18/15 5:39 PM
RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge Chris Marti 1/19/15 2:44 PM
RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge Dada Kind 1/19/15 4:36 PM
RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge Andreas 1/19/15 5:02 PM
RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge Chris Marti 1/19/15 5:33 PM
Based on my own experience I think some of the powers do exist,  but I am also open to the possibility that it is just my imagination.

If the powers really do exist, why hasn't anyone ever collected on the James Randi One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge?

Here is info from wikipedia on the challenge


The One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge is an offer by the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) to pay out one million U.S. dollars to anyone who can demonstrate a supernatural or paranormal ability under agreed-upon scientific testing criteria. Over a thousand people have applied to take the challenge, but none have yet been successful.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Million_Dollar_Paranormal_Challenge






RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge
Answer
11/8/14 11:28 AM as a reply to Tom Smith.
Scroll down to my last post here

And, I suspect anyone that tried the challenge would be up against the 'Field of Disbelief'. See here

RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge
Answer
11/8/14 7:56 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/09/magazine/the-unbelievable-skepticism-of-the-amazing-randi.html?ref=science&_r=0

A timely article on James Randi from tomorrow's NYT Magazine.

RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge
Answer
11/11/14 8:07 PM as a reply to Tom Smith.
No one's won the prize because no one has any super powers that can do that sort of thing.  If somebody did break the conditions of our human existence, we would know about it. And their life would be pointless too if they could have everything on tap. Doesn't make sense. maybe in a different plane of existence

RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge
Answer
12/10/14 2:18 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/film-news/11270453/James-Randi-debunking-the-king-of-the-debunkers.html

A slightly less timely article on Randi

RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge
Answer
12/11/14 4:26 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
"Have you heard of the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge? You should give it a try."

"It's bull shit. Plenty of authentic people have come forth. The one
million dollars is never given unless the individual is willing to
undergo rigorous, invasive, and overall privacy invading testing, and if
scientist are not able to scientifically prove or authenticate whatever
is being demonstrated, even if tons of people can observe, then fraud
is assumed. Plenty of such individuals have come forth, undergone
testing, and scientist were not able to come to any conclusion about
their abilities. An unmentioned pre-requisite for the challenge is that
the ability must not be unexplainable at the end. If they can't explain
it they just assume you are succeeding in tricking them. It's inherently
flawed.James Randi is one of the unhealthy kinds of skeptics. He is not
interested in science. He is interested in publicity, and if even one
person were to actually win his challenge, he would lose relevance. I
would love for him to message me here just so I could tell him to fuck
off, because people with attitudes like his simply disgust me.Most of the skeptics that I've encountered are not interested in
scientific discovery, but are only interested in gloating their ego.
There is a huge difference between being skeptical and being a skeptic. I also must add that 1 million dollars is not a lot of money. Maybe
to some people, but I can be rest assured that most individuals with
extraordinary abilities have found ways to profit off them immensely
without surrendering every single ounce of privacy they have.
Governments are highly interested in people with special abilities, as
they know for certain they are out there, as there have been entire
programs centered around the exploitation and use of them in military
applications. I would like to preserve my freedom and live my life on my
own accord and not risk becoming a prisoner test subject for some
government lab. This is also why I am very hessitant about revealing
personal details, or even claiming that I can do anything miraculous.
Maybe I can do some interesting things, maybe I can't. Claiming to be
able to OBE isn't that miraculous as their are entire forums of people
that are skilled in doing it. It is among the lesser impressive
"supranormal" phenomena."

Source: http://www.reddit.com/r/Meditation/comments/2ggqkj/ama_ive_been_doing_concentration_meditation_daily/cmpuspa?context=3

RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge
Answer
12/11/14 8:20 AM as a reply to Tom Smith.
Please see Daniel's article on Magick and the Brahma Viharas. Anyone attempting to publicly display powers/magick is going to run into some pretty strong fields of disbelief, as Droll has already pointed out. 

The Vishudimaggha outlines exercises for training in the powers, you could try those and see for yourself. It even recommends that meditation teachers develop the ability to read minds in order to better assess their students. (Ever have a meditation teacher give you oddly specific advice? Hmmm.)

For evidence in support of psi, I suggest a read of The End of Materialism by Charles Tart.

I do not suggest displaying any evidence of powers in public. Not only does it show a huge amount of hubris, but it is unlikely to be of benefit to the audience in any way that I can think of. Better to teach the Dharma, yes?

RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge
Answer
12/11/14 12:47 PM as a reply to Eric M W.
Yes, Buddha knew the potential harm and disbade his monks from using powers in public

RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge
Answer
12/11/14 1:20 PM as a reply to Eric M W.
For evidence in support of psi, I suggest a read of The End of Materialism by Charles Tart.

I do not suggest displaying any evidence of powers in public. Not only does it show a huge amount of hubris, but it is unlikely to be of benefit to the audience in any way that I can think of. Better to teach the Dharma, yes?

These two ideas seem contradictory.  If it is good for the general public to know about the powers, why not demonstrate them?  If it is bad for the general public to know about the powers, why write books about them?

I run into this frequently in these types of discussions.  People write in great detail trying to convince other people that the powers exist, then when asked for clear demonstrations they say that it is best not to demonstrate the powers. 

RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge
Answer
12/11/14 6:24 PM as a reply to Tom Smith.
I think part of reluctance to show powers is that there's an inkling of truth (Perhaps an understatement?) that people react badly, but that that truth is made larger than it is because of the renunciate attitudes in general within Buddhism.

The topic of magick and the powers is like, the coolest topic you could talk about honestly in terms of just doing crazy things. But having read previous discussions here on, "are the powers real?" Made me never want to talk about this stuff. But I do want to talk about this stuff, but I would rather invest my time in practice than argue. I haven't quite made up my mind, which is why I posted here at all. I'll sleep on it!

RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge
Answer
12/12/14 11:24 AM as a reply to Tom Smith.
Tom Carr:
For evidence in support of psi, I suggest a read of The End of Materialism by Charles Tart.

I do not suggest displaying any evidence of powers in public. Not only does it show a huge amount of hubris, but it is unlikely to be of benefit to the audience in any way that I can think of. Better to teach the Dharma, yes?

These two ideas seem contradictory.  If it is good for the general public to know about the powers, why not demonstrate them?  If it is bad for the general public to know about the powers, why write books about them?

I run into this frequently in these types of discussions.  People write in great detail trying to convince other people that the powers exist, then when asked for clear demonstrations they say that it is best not to demonstrate the powers. 

For a brief explanation... the powers involve powerful energy, and things can go wrong very easily. Thus, writing about the powers is generally much less complicated than actually doing them. Especially in a society such as ours where the powers are generally dismissed as bull pucky.

And let's not forget the human element-- performance anxiety, for example. I used to have very strong experiences where it seemed like I could see into people's minds during my A&P phase, but I couldn't imagine walking up to them and asking them about it. 

RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge
Answer
12/12/14 3:23 PM as a reply to Eric M W.
I agree that any type of power can be dangerous and therefore vigilant care must constantly be refreshed. Because this is a very sensitive topic feel free to not answer this question, but have you attempted to demonstrate such powers or use them as some means to an end and have a bad result?

RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge
Answer
12/12/14 10:16 PM as a reply to Ryan J.
In reply to my own post asking about using the powers, it donned on me that I know of a magick spell that was casted on me, indirectly, and it was casted on lot of people here and would argue that overall it's the best thing that happened to me and a fantastic example of why the powers should be discussed.

This spell culminated during the spring of 1979 in some bedroom at the IMS in Massachusetts. It is described by the spell caster in detail: 

"...Even as a graduate student at MIT (1964 –1971), I had been pondering for years ‘what is my job with a capital J,’ my ‘karmic assignment’ on the planet, so to speak, without coming up with much of anything. It was a personal koan for me and became more and more a continuous thread in my life day and night as those years unfolded. ‘What am I supposed to be doing with my life?’ I kept asking myself. ‘What do I love so much I would pay to do it?’ I knew it wasn’t to continue in a career in molecular biology, much as I loved science and knew I would be disappointing my Nobel Laureate thesis advisor at MIT, Salvador Luria, and my father, himself an accomplished scientist. I was first exposed to the dharma at MIT, of all improbable places, in 1966, and started a daily meditation practice from that point on (Kabat-Zinn 2005a, 2005b). Meanwhile, I did what I could to find work, especially after I was married and, with my wife, Myla, had started a family. That included two years as a faculty member in the Biology Department at Brandeis University teaching molecular genetics and a science for non-science majors course (which was an opportunity for teaching meditation and yoga as pathways into a first-person experience of biology), and then a stint as Director of the Cambridge Zen Center under the Korean Zen Master, Seung Sahn, where I was also his student and a Dharma teacher in training. I was also teaching large mindful yoga classes weekly in a church in Harvard Square, and exploring other things, such as offering occasional meditation training and yoga/stretching workshops for athletes, especially runners.

In 1976, I went to work at the almost brand-new University of Massachusetts Medical School.4 All the while, my koan about what I was really supposed to be doing with my life in terms of right livelihood was unfolding in the background. 

On a two-week vipassana¯ retreat at the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, Massachusetts, in the Spring of 1979, while sitting in my room one afternoon about Day 10 of the retreat, I had a ‘vision’ that lasted maybe 10 seconds. I don’t really know what to call it, so I call it a vision. It was rich in detail and more like an instantaneous seeing of vivid, almost inevitable connections and their implications. It did not come as a reverie or a thought stream, but rather something quite different, which to this day I cannot fully explain and don’t feel the need to. 

I saw in a flash not only a model that could be put in place, but also the longterm implications of what might happen if the basic idea was sound and could be implemented in one test environment—namely that it would spark new fields of scientific and clinical investigation, and would spread to hospitals and medical centres and clinics across the country and around the world, and provide right livelihood for thousands of practitioners. Because it was so weird, I hardly ever mentioned this experience to others. But after that retreat, I did have a better sense of what my karmic assignment might be. It was so compelling that I decided to take it on wholeheartedly as best I could.

Pretty much everything I saw in that 10 seconds has come to pass, in large measure because of the work and the love of all the people who found their way to the Stress Reduction Clinic once it was born, wanting to contribute their own unique karmic trajectories and loves to the nascent and then continually unfolding enterprise of MBSR, the wellbeing and longevity of which were always in some sense tentative and uncertain, because of the vagaries of medical school and hospital politics (one foot on a roller skate, the other on a banana peel, I used to say).

It struck me in that fleeting moment that afternoon at the Insight Meditation Society that it would be a worthy work to simply share the essence of meditation and yoga practices as I had been learning and practicing them at that point for 13 years, with those who would never come to a place like IMS or a Zen Center, and who would never be able to hear it through the words and forms that were being used at meditation centres, or even, back in those days, at yoga centres, which were few and far-between, and very foreign as well. 

A flood of thoughts following the extended moment filled in the picture. Why not try to make meditation so commonsensical that anyone would be drawn to it? Why not develop an American vocabulary that spoke to the heart of the matter, and didn’t focus on the cultural aspects of the traditions out of which the dharma emerged, however beautiful they might be, or on centuries-old scholarly debates concerning fine distinctions in the Abhidharma. This was not because they weren’t ultimately important, but because they would likely cause unnecessary impediments for people who were basically dealing with suffering and seeking some kind of release from it. And, why not do it in the hospital of the medical centre where I happened to be working at the time? After all, hospitals do function as ‘dukkha magnets’ in our society,6 pulling for stress, pain of all kinds, disease and illness, especially when they have reached levels where it is impossible to ignore them (Kabat-Zinn 2005c). What better place than a hospital to make the dharma available to people in ways that they might possibly understand it and be inspired by a heartfelt and practical invitation to explore whether it might not be possible to do something for themselves as a complement to their more traditional medical treatments, since the entire raison d’eˆtre of the dharma is to elucidate the nature of suffering and its root causes, as well as provide a practical path to liberation from suffering? All this to be undertaken, of course, without ever mentioning the word ‘dharma.’"
http://www.umassmed.edu/uploadedFiles/cfm2/training/JKZ_paper_Contemporary_Buddhism_2011.pdf

Why do I consider this the greatest spell ever casted that I know of? First, it was used with clear intention and consciousness, which by Daniel's definition, is magick. Therefore, I would argue that:

1) This certainly is an example of deliberate magick and resulted in an experience that would be considered magickal or certainly out of the norm of human experience.
2) That as a direct consequence of this magickal spell, more people will pick up meditation than the world has ever seen. We do not have statistics, so I am going to take some guesses and assert that:
3) Since the founding of MBSR and as a consequence more people since it's inception have picked up insight practices today than the entirety of the human a race combined before MBSR. If this isn't already true, it will likely be soon considering the pop-culture reaction to MBSR that will likely linger for some time. Even if this guess far off, has the world seen so many meditators before?
4) as a consequence of this, and I know MBSR and it's offshoots are derided as giving rise to McMindfulness by serious practitioners, but nonetheless has resulted in more measurable good for people with modest practices and resulted in more awakened people, stream entry and beyond, than the world has ever seen before.
5) Because science has taken increasing interest in mindfulness, especially because of MBSR, the chances of a super breakthrough, a la Shinzen Young's hope for a technology that will allow for everyday casual people to gain awakening and Jhana states via some as of yet invented technology without thousands of hours of practice, as this most likely is definitely within the laws of physics. Hypothetical, but not unreasonable, but also I suspect centuries away.
6) Therefore, with these things in mind, especially because I myself started off my practice because of Jon Kabat-Zinn videos I found on YouTube eventually leading to more serious practice and I don't seem to be alone in this, believe that MBSR, a consequence of this koan magick spell, will result in more awakened people than any other single spell that has ever been casted by a human being. 

Thus, while magick may cause people to react in aversion because they are scientific-materialists or are traditionalists and think magick is something we shouldn't touch, I speak first hand as a human being who was entangled in this magickal intention Jon Kabat-Zinn had and I can say that without a doubt that because MBSR started my practice and this practice is bar none the absolute best thing that ever happened to me by a margin so large that no mastery of English and poetry will ever capture it's value. I am so fucking glad Jon Kabat-Zinn casted that spell for which I am so ever subtley a part of and entangled with. In that sense, I owe him my life for being the first to really bring the activity of meditation to my life and so inspires me to utilize every tool at my disposal as a means to both love life and be of service to others, including utilizing magick, carefully of course, while having a total fucking blast in the process of giving back to the world.

RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge
Answer
1/15/15 5:45 PM as a reply to Ryan J.
If the "powers" exist, why didn't anyone heal a single person with an amputation?

RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge
Answer
1/15/15 9:45 PM as a reply to Alesh Vyhnal.
First of all, how do you know that such has never been done?  If it had, scientists would likely just look at the totally healed part and assume it was all a giant hoax.  That's one problem right there,, when it comes to paranormal, anything that can't be replicated and flamboyantly demonstrated 100% of the time in any situation is usually flatly denied immediately, even though MUCH lower standards exist for the rest of science like physics, medical research, etc.  Or the bar will be constantly raised or shifted or changed such that only omnipotent perfection in all endeavors would have any chance of ever even being considered as evidence.

For instance, for flu shots, they will argue that some statistical advantage for 20% of patients is completely legitimate evidence of effect, but if a psi researcher were to come forward and say that he/she got 20% more response than could be explained without psi, it is immediately assumed without question that there MUST be some kind of cheating or error happening and that it CANT be psi.  But for flu shots, no one ever says the advantages of flu shots are not real because they are not able to regrow an amputated limb!  Most things in science that are currently accepted as fact were accepted with a standard that is far below what Randi and diehard skeptics demand for psi.   

Of course, few serious and qualified researchers would touch it anyway because in most cases they would lose all funding and/or get fired if it ever got out.  You will notice there is usually a lot of emotion around the subject as well, with some being diehard for it and not even caring about evidence, and most of the rest being diehard against it.  I've seen many that are diehard against it get very very scared if too much evidence for it shows up in their lives.  Not only do they not believe, but they are damned scared to believe or even consider.  Why the fear?  Why are most scared of the paranormal?  Well I guess if a ghost suddenly showed up floating over my keyboard right now, I'd be scared too!  But most are way more scared than I am.  The way most of society currently is with a fear of even looking in that direction, well it's not surprising that evidence does not make it to mainstream media. 

For instance, there has been some very interesting UFO sightings, one in which a UFO came down in a school and hundreds of students and teachers got very close to it in a field by the school, but are scientists all running to that school interviewing those kids, inspecting that field, etc?  Even if scientists were not convinced it was ET come visit, you'd think they would at least be eager to throw a bunch of science at it and figure out what it really was, but instead, they steer very very clear and kind of pretend it's not there or write it off on mass hysteria (what they heck is mass hysteria anyway and how does it explain anything or gain any scientific credence when there is not even any evidence that such could occur!!!  Skeptics would rather invent a weird thing called mass hysteria than consider what was seen could really be there.).   I don't think we will get much evidence as long as scientists are scared to even look into it both professionally and sometimes emotionally as well. 

Society is in a weird state where we have already decided it doesn't exist, even though we are for some reason scared of it anyway even though it supposedly does not exist, and so we refuse to look seriously for evidence and then when people ask why they are not studying it, they say it's because there is no evidence.  Oh and if some evidence does show, we'll just not publicize it at all and say it's 'coincidence,' or if it's UFO stuff, we'll say it's Mars or the moon.  The exception is if the evidence is really lame and ridiculous and fluffy, then it makes it to the history channel.  Perhaps that way, the niche of diehard believers can be made happy but it's so lame that the rest of society is not threatened by it and it can be written off as 'entertainment.' 

At least that is for America, situation might be a tad better in some other coutnries like Japan.  In Japan, they have a tv show where a group of psychics try to find missing people using psi.  There are people missing for years for whom all normal methods  have been exhausted.  The cool thing is the police and govt resources are enlisted to go and look using the psi data and  I have heard they have found about half of all the people they looked for.  Some of the people had been  missing for decades.  You don't see anything like that on American TV.  Does it still count even if the psychics were not able to regrow a limb?       

As for the Randi challenge, yes, as others have said, he is famously antipsi and famously refuses any evidence even if he doesn't have an alternative explanation.  He has already decided on his own world view and vigorously defends it against all evidence to the contrary.  Perhaps we all do that to some extent but he is just way more flamboyant and diehard about it and in fact makes a living doing it. 
-Eva
Alesh Vyhnal:
If the "powers" exist, why didn't anyone heal a single person with an amputation?

RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge
Answer
1/15/15 10:23 PM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Eva, from my perspective, you have things backward.  I think a majority of people are inclined to think in a paranormal way and embrace paranormal ideas and beliefs, even a large number of scientists.  If there was something truely worthwhile to investigate or research, I think it would be supported by a great deal of funding - especially if it would be considered religiously significant.  The truth just seems to be that studies of this kind of thing keep coming up empty handed, so scientists are willing to admit that, yes, reality really just is a certain way.  It's kind of silly to keep testing something that never turns up any results.

It's like you said, science only studies things that are repeatable.  If it isn't repeatable, there is no way to study it.  Scientists never say a thing doesn exist, or that reality is definately not a certian way.  They make a guess, a hypothesis, and then run tests to see if this guess is correct.  If it turns out their guess is wrong, they will say things like, "there is no evidence to support the idea that..." or "the results were inconclusive."  They may even suggest ways in which their experiment could have failed or been compromised, and then they publish their results for other scientists to examine and possibly test on their own.

I think that if you ask any scientist out there, they would love nothing better than to disprove some part of the working theory of the universe - this is how they learn and grow.  If a scientist proves something to be wrong or even a little bit wrong, they are rememebered forever as a brilliant scientific mind.

Science deserves the respect it's given because, by it's very definition, it holds itself to the highest standard of truth: the ability of measure something and see it for yourself.  Science is completely transparent.  It gives you the tools to prove it wrong, and this is why you can trust it.

RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge
Answer
1/16/15 11:55 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
The truth just seems to be that studies of this kind of thing keep coming up empty handed, so scientists are willing to admit that, yes, reality really just is a certain way.  It's kind of silly to keep testing something that never turns up any results.
Really, what serious research was done that came up empty handed?
It's like you said, science only studies things that are repeatable.  If it isn't repeatable, there is no way to study it. 
Many things are only repeatable when the parameters are just right, things like cognitive dissonance, nuclear reactions, etc. 
Scientists never say a thing doesn exist, or that reality is definately not a certian way. 
Technically, they should not becuase you can't prove a negative, but they often do anyway.  I am not talking about the scientific ideal they teach in school, I am talking about how it really happens on the ground.  I've been involved with a lot of science and research in the past and the reality does not follow the fantasy idea. 
They make a guess, a hypothesis, and then run tests to see if this guess is correct.  If it turns out their guess is wrong, they will say things like, "there is no evidence to support the idea that..." or "the results were inconclusive." 
IME, if the research does not support they hypothesis, either the hypothesis will be slightly altered OR the way the study is designed will be altered.  That's why they do pilot studies, to see if a design will yield the desired outcome before putting a lot of money in it.  Typically, with grant money and support already lined up, then motivation to yield results somehow is high.  (but if no $ like in the case of psi, then not so much!)
They may even suggest ways in which their experiment could have failed or been compromised, and then they publish their results for other scientists to examine and possibly test on their own.
Yes of course, the goal is to cut critics off at the pass and direct the conversation into the desired direction.  Of course most of the time, if a study does not come out as desired, it's simply never ever published.  No motivation to go through the considerable effort of doing so much of the time. 
I think that if you ask any scientist out there, they would love nothing better than to disprove some part of the working theory of the universe - this is how they learn and grow.  If a scientist proves something to be wrong or even a little bit wrong, they are rememebered forever as a brilliant scientific mind.
Actually, if the thing they disprove is a big deal, typically they go through about 10 or 20 years of public ridicule from their peers first.  Their peers have tons of grant money riding on the old paradigms, many have spent their life's work on the old paradigms, there is huge aversion to an idea that would render all that money and work as having been totally wrong.  Many times, they are not strong enough to endure to get their new idea accepted, but if they do, then it's often decades later or after they already died that they become famous.

Science deserves the respect it's given because, by it's very definition, it holds itself to the highest standard of truth: the ability of measure something and see it for yourself.  Science is completely transparent.  It gives you the tools to prove it wrong, and this is why you can trust it.
LMAO!  I don't agree.  I've seen so much that does not conform to the ideal.  Many things are accepted by science even though wrong and not tested because they sound good or support existing assumptions and/or will make money.  And most science these days is supported by private industry money that looks mostly for more money, truth is a sideline.  Will a drug make more money is more important by miles than if the new drug is better than old drugs or even  if it works that well at all.  And many things are taken as fact without checking if they support existing paradigms.  Then the news reporters come along and twist the findings even further with their inaccurate reporting.  In fact, large corps like big pharma and monsanto spend a lot of money every year hiring science writers to write only articles that support the view that will make those businesses the most money.  Control of information is very important for power and large corps know that, so they put a lot of money into buying up 'scientists' to be their spokesmen, truth be damned.  Science is far from the ideal and getting worse as private industry and political influence continues to grow.  Things that don't make money are not studied and results that would be counterproductive to making money are generally suppressed.   While any avenue that makes money is pushed as hard as possible.  It's become a house of cards.
-Eva    

RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge
Answer
1/16/15 4:41 PM as a reply to Tom Smith.
I'm not a believer in the powers.  Would love to be, in a way, that would be cool, but I'm just not seeing it.  I also don't see more than 2 Pure Land jhanas, for the record.  My view would be that some people are good at getting their minds right, i.e. in alignment with their goals, perhaps, and being open to possibilities, and then interpreting things in a certain way.

I think part of it is that there is indeed a certain openness that comes with the path and there is a certain buzz-harshing that comes with realism that could be anti-open if spun wrong.

Thanks Chris, for the NYT article on Randi.

We should be skeptical about skeptics, I suppose, but it kind of depends on your motivation.  Skeptical about Skeptics is a nice little source of biased op-ed column material, but that's good enough reason to be a bit curious about their motivations.  Some skeptic skepticism is probably a good thing, but if you're just cherry picking stuff to prove a dogmatic point, who cares.  If you're doing it just so you can believe in wishful thinking about magical things like morphic fields and so forth, well good luck, but I'd say so far that's pretty much leading humankind back into the dark ages.  Science actually coming up with validated research on something like that would be earth shattering, but we seem to be coming up dry so far.

In my own life I've just had way, way too many opportunities to believe in something (and did) and then later was able to carefully check out these things.  But I guess I do tend to do that.  Too many times where I realized I made some unfounded assumptions and trusted sources of information that properly speaking, I shouldn't have.  I was lucky enough, in some areas, to actually be able to crunch numbers and get statistical proof.  I don't think most people have come anywhere near that kind of exercise.  They're just shooting from the hip, armed with highly selected "information".  Like conservatives quoting from the WSJ op-eds or a liberal from the NYT op-eds.

We have biases to assume, then to confirm those assumptions, and towards things like certainty and agency.  It's really a ripe ground for magical thinking.  If you are not actively taking steps to avoid those hard-wired biases, it's extremely likely that you are deluded to some extent.

With 7 billion pattern recognizing people in the world, an unimaginable number of patterns are going to be seen.  A lot of random patterns are going to be mistaken for, well, something else.

As near as I can figure, Randi seems to be one of the good ones, a guy who, for example, was sincerely and genuinely pissed at faith healers taking money from dirt-poor believers, and actually tried to do something about that.  But sure, you can cherry pick against him.

Statistics work, but you do have to actually know how to do statistics.
Most science funding is indeed public.
As far as a lot of research on some of these crazy things, most of it is not in a testable form.  That's actually why they call it pseudoscience.  But yeah, you can test homeopathy.  You can test the cure for leprosy from the bible.

RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge
Answer
1/16/15 5:27 PM as a reply to Eric G.
Even Buddha was quite backward in not appreciating doubt favoring faith instead as MCTB informs us. De omnium dubitandum est.

(I love you all who can speak proper English, I can't but I am constantly learning, I am sorry emoticon )

RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge
Answer
1/17/15 8:44 AM as a reply to Tom Smith.
Tom Carr:
Based on my own experience I think some of the powers do exist,  but I am also open to the possibility that it is just my imagination.

If the powers really do exist, why hasn't anyone ever collected on the James Randi One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge?
...



The challenge is not a good way to prove paranormal powers exist.

The challenge requires the psychic to beat one in a million odds. This is fair if you are giving away a million dollar prize, but it is a much higher standard that scientific proof which is usually set at 1 in 20 (95%).

If you are a psychic and your accuracy rate is 70%, how many trials would you need in a test that would give you a 90% chance of beating 1/1,000,000 odds? Most psychics don't know that they should ask this question and most will agree to a test that does not give them a fair chance of winning the prize.

There are a lot of other reasons a psychic wouldn't trust the challange to give him a fair test or pay a fair prize explained here:

http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2012/05/randis-unwinnable-prize-million-dollar.html

There is plenty of evidence of ESP and the afterlife.
Proof of ESP:
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2013/04/proof-of-esp-1889-1997.html
Evidence of the Afterlife:
http://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/summary_of_evidence

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles on ESP
http://www.deanradin.com/evidence/evidence.htm

RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge
Answer
1/17/15 10:15 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
It is not true. ESP was never proved:


http://skepdic.com/esp.html

RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge
Answer
1/18/15 8:24 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
The weaker "sciences" often use a p value of 0.05.  This 1 in 20 means that you will obtain this result simply by dumb luck 1 out of 20 times.  The preliminary test with Randi is not tremendously more difficult, 1 out of 100, and no one has passed that.

There's plenty of "evidence" for a lot of things if you are convinced by lists of links.  A dear old friend of mine sincerely believes the earth is 6000 years old.  And he's got a lot of links.  But bad studies and cherry picking are ultimately unimpressive.  There has been more than enough time for a good research team to design a large, well designed study of ESP that is unassailable, and for a couple of independent research teams to then duplicate and validate that research.  But so far, not even close.

In the 70s when I was a kid, my parents bought one of the earlier Hondas.  At the time, they were pretty rare.  But as soon as we had that car, I began to notice them on the road all the time.  Again, they were not very common, and the explanation is NOT that Honda sales suddenly took off overnight.  The reality is much, much simpler:  my pattern recognition became primed for Hondas whereas before I didn't even know what a Honda was.

The same exact thing happens when someone reads books that encourages them to, say, see coincidences as something special.  Their pattern recognition is primed and they are going to be noticing coincidences like crazy and ascribing big meaning to them.  But nothing about the world has really changed except for their assumptions and their pattern filters.

A nearly preposterous demonstration of the power of true belief and mass delusion with people believing in powers:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdUxPLIJVgI

The same teacher, having received so much "proof" over the years I suppose, now wagers $5000 in a match against a non-believing opponent (caution: this is NOT pretty):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jf3Gc2a0_8
He definitely thought he had powers.  He wuz wrong.  But at least he tested it out in the cold hard light of day rather than live out the rest of his life just assuming.  And for that, we thank him.

There can definitely be a knee jerk rejection of all things woo.  That's going a little bit too far.  I have friends who go too far that way, perhaps you might think I am the same way.  But based on the consistent lack of reasonable evidence, this would be a decidedly better direction in which to knee jerk than the opposite, although even better to be somewhat agnostic and understand the kind of hard-wired biases our pattern recognition engines are up against.

RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge
Answer
1/18/15 5:39 PM as a reply to Tom Smith.
Lot of writings on science here. One thing I learnt when studying philosophy of science at university is that scientists sucks at science and all peer reviewed journals are biased as shit. Negative results arent published, results going against current paradigms somehow are not proper research by the peers. Peers reviewing competitors giving them bad reviews and what not.
Science is not some infallible idea, science are ppl and ppl are greedy, vindictive and jealouse.

RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge
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1/19/15 2:44 PM as a reply to Andreas.
And yet, somehow, science does make headway, scientists do publish, pweers do review, and progress is made  :-)

RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge
Answer
1/19/15 4:36 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Right, but the prevailing notion of science as the final, 'objective', infallible arbiter is a fantasy

RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge
Answer
1/19/15 5:02 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Yes and medication for example that does not work is not revealed and potentisloy kills people or give false hope, potential discoveries ignored, guesses and fantasies are presented as facts. Science does not work the way its often presented. Its in reality an utter mess dictated by who controls the funding and their intentions, the journals, the integrity of the scientists and just plain luck. Just read the critiques of falsifiability etc. Kuhn feyerabend, among others.
I am not arguing against the accumilation of knowledge, im arguing against the naive view of science as some logical, rational path. We make progress despite the flaws. Moving beyond the metaphysical is what has brought progress.

RE: One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge
Answer
1/19/15 5:33 PM as a reply to Andreas.
Yes, exactly, Andreas. Human fallibility is unavoidable. A belief in scientism is naive. Still, we progress, however ham handedly.