Demonstration of pseudo science and skepticism

This is a cautionary tale demonstrating pseudoscience and pseudoskepticism, a particular kind of pseudoscience that appears to be or is believed to be “scientific.” It is about the “Egely wheel” and human behavior. The application to LENR is that these responses are possible in this field. It is clearly possible to fake demonstrations and videos, to look totally convincing and to be, in fact, fraud, or, generally with a less convincing demonstration, mistaken, but it is also true that any clear fraud does not prove that all claims are fraud or error.

Rather, what can be derived from these is “possibility,” but translating that to “scientific reality” is a painstaking and endless process. As humans, we may need to make decisions by a certain date, but for humanity as a whole, there is no near-term and clear end date. We may sanely postpone decisions until they are necessary, considering all the risks and costs. To the case in point:

An interchange on LENR Forum led me to watch some brief Youtube videos.

Axil wrote:

Alan Smith wrote:

Breathe in, breathe out. Unavoidable. And nonsense.

In my second Egely wheel experiment I’m wearing a scarf so as to prove that the turning of the wheel is not caused by me blowing on it. Also, I’m switching my hands in regular intervals to show that it is not some random draft that is causing the wheel to turn.

The experimenter also must blow through a rubber glove.

Try again to debunk…

Axil has pointed to two videos

Uploaded on Nov 23, 2008

This is an Egely wheel. It begins to turn when is it near the body. This is supposed to be evidence of “spiritual energy”, also known as chi, aura, orgone, animal magnetism, biofield, spin, torsion fields, etc. It is possibly also the explanation for psychokinesis and other similar effects. I’m switching my hands in regular intervals to show that it is not some random draft that is causing the wheel to turn.
See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiritua… and
http://www.spiritualcosmos.com

Warning: spiritualcosmos.com was blocked in my browser because of alleged security risks. OMG! The MiB! I have not bypassed the warning. Do so at your own risk.

The uploader also has a recent response to a comment:
Chris Chris1 year ago

Has this experiment been done with the wheel enclosed in thin, clear, acrylic or glass cover, preventing air drafts?

Channing Jones Channing Jones 1 year ago

+ßØ Tard Yes, I doesn’t work then.

Channing Jones made a total of nine videos in this series. The last one was seven years ago:

Then I looked at another video that Youtube kindly pointed out for me:

The best psi wheel video: PsiWheel Under a Glass Container 2

There is a previous video, and this video addresses some of the “criticisms.” The video uploader comment:

MattMan

Uploaded on Apr 7, 2007

For those of you who think you know how I did this, skeptics and believers alike, please go here:

Psychic powers: video proof?

And thumbs down the people who are too lazy to research the things that come out of their own mouths.

As is pointed out in a comment on that page, this is not an experiment studying the Egely Wheel. It is a social experiment, and a brilliant one.

If anyone thinks that the Mattman video proves the Egely effect is fake, read him more carefully. It proves that it is possible to create a video demonstration that will fool almost anyone, not just “believers,” through doing something unexpected. From many claims, it is likely there is some effect. The problem with the videos Axil pointed to is not that they show some possible effect, but the conclusions drawn.

The “paranormal” is not well-defined, it is simply “outside the normal.” So we see something abnormal, i.e., unexpected. Therefore flying saucers and space aliens. Therefore visible light-beings. Therefore telepathy and telekinesis. If you already think these things are real, you may see this demonstration as proof. If you think they are impossible, you will assume “they must be making some mistake.” Neither of these are a scientific approach, they are merely common thought process.

Of late I’ve been looking at some “light beings.” Just about anyone can see them, with one caveat: I see them easily and routinely, but only with my left eye. With my right eye, it is much more difficult. Anyway, look, with one eye, at the blue sky, or a patch of it. I can actually see these things under many other conditions, but this is the easiest. If you are seeing tiny dots of light moving (not merely “visual noise” which looks very different), these are the light-beings. They’ve been reported by many, as you can find with search on the internet. However, there are also bogus explanations of them. Problem is: which explanations are real and which are bogus?

It is possible to test this. As with the Egely wheel, it might be necessary to actually start looking, seeing what you see, instead of just thinking or quickly reacting and making up explanations. This actual looking is the core of science, and then, even deeper is the process of developing possible explanations, drawing conclusions from the explanations to create predictions and then looking for the predicted results. And then testing this all to pieces.

One problem: expectations can create observations. With the Egely wheel, Note this little-known fact: the human mind can do very unexpected things with the body. It can, for example, modify local metabolism, there is a long history of the study of hypnosis with this. I do not consider it impossible that how the mind is working — likely not consciously — could change perspiration and thus air flow from hand to hand. Something like the Egely wheel is extremely sensitive, and might pick up some effect, some physical connection between brain activity and the wheel. Wouldn’t that be remarkable, though? As well, it could have practical applications — as to health issues.

So someone using an Egely wheel might be training themselves to create variable convection from their hands. This is not so easy to test; however, the evidence looks good that, in that first set of videos, convection is the means by which the hands affect the wheel.

I have elsewhere written about certain parapsychological studies. There was one published study where a clear correlation was found between “guesses” at one place of a supposedly random result, and a concentration on a particular card, one out of four, having been chosen — or something like that, I am not recalling in detail. The card had been chosen by computer using a pseudorandom code. However, when the choice was made by a true random number generator, the correlation disappeared.

Skeptics pounced on this. See! Not psychic! Yeah, okay, maybe, but truly remarkable anyway!!! The human brain can detect a pseudorandom pattern from only a few instances? That is downright astonishing! And many paranormal phenomena may have these unexpected explanations.

I have also been reading lately about “belief.” I’ve been particularly looking, for personal reasons, at the Scientology mess. I’ve been trained, extensively, in the Landmark Education technology, which originated with Werner Erhard. Scientology, founded with the work of L. Ron Hubbard, has been called, generally by skeptics, “Scientology light.” What is real behind this?

Erhard did study Scientology before developing his training. In his biography, he describes his debt to Hubbard. This would mostly be about Dianetics, and the Dianetics work is about the reactive mind, and a technique for quieting it. Lately, I’ve been reading a great deal of material that has been made available because of people who left Scientology, where techniques are revealed. In particular, the techniques leading to Clear are recognizably similar to what Landmark uses in its trainings, except that it is far, far cheaper, and while Landmark has been accused of “high pressure sales,” I know all this intimately, and the accusations are misleading. Yes, people get excited. Someone who has the experience of dropping — at least for a time — the knee-jerk operation of the reactive mind, will generally be astonished.

So, in Scientology, the early stages of study and training may produce utterly amazing results. That these results may be obtainable in other ways, at far lower cost (and sometimes free, though it always takes some investment, at least of time), is not known to them, so they ascribe this to the Church of Scientology and are then easily hooked.

I’ve been very, very involved with Landmark and have seen nothing even remotely like the abuses reported for Scientology, and those abuses are quite visible as a consistent story across many reporters, such as Leah Remini.

Erhard also points out the difference between his work and that of Scientology, and his comments appear to be extensively confirmed. Hubbard did discover how to quite the reactive mind, but then what? The techniques used in Scientology are highly intrusive, and the levels beyond clear are heavily subject to suggestion. The investigative tool is the E-meter, which strongly resembles a lie detector. However, lie detectors do not actually detect lies, rather they detect emotional response. For quieting the reactive mind, all accounts I have from people who have followed this method are that it works. However, again, what then? The tool creates high potential for abuse, and the strong Church structure was designed for Church survival beyond all other goals.

So, show people something beyond the ordinary, and set up conditions that their own experience will prove this is real to them, and they will then tend to believe everything else you tell them.

The “proof” need not be conclusive. It can also simply appeal to strong desire, and other established beliefs.

Again, the possibility of abuse does not prove abuse. Scientifically, nothing is ever considered conclusively proven such that no exceptions could ever exist.

On LENR-Forum, Axil wrote an interesting post on the connection between creativity and insanity, one of the best I’ve seen from him.

Author: Abd ulRahman Lomax

See http://coldfusioncommunity.net/biography-abd-ul-rahman-lomax/

2 thoughts on “Demonstration of pseudo science and skepticism”

  1. The big problem with videos of strange things happening is that it’s not difficult to hide how the effect was achieved given even a pretty simple setup or software. Trained magicians can do much the same in front of your eyes, after all. In order to see whether something really works, you need to be able to do it yourself and thus know that there isn’t any fudging. Of course, you also have to avoid fooling yourself in some way when it’s stuff like telepathy or moving things at a distance. If most people, when trying it themselves, get a null result, then is there some special training or “mutant capability” involved, or is just woo?

    I thus can’t discount that the Egely wheel actually works, but since I can put forward a few ways it could reasonably work and not be supranormal I’m not moved to make one and find out by a series of experiments.

    I don’t know enough about Dianetics or Scientology to make any reasonable comment on either. I have however seen programs about the way Scientology treats people who lose faith, and that colours my ideas about it. There’s maybe some comfort in knowing you believe the same as a large group, even if the beliefs don’t make sense and can’t be proved (but then, if it could be proved or disproved, it wouldn’t be faith).

    As Alan said, every forum needs an Axil, but only one. As regards people with Aspberger’s, their ability to avoid emotional responses can help a lot in scientific endeavours. As we get more computers around, such an ability to concentrate can also produce great results for others. Like the mutants in X-men, there’s a gain and a loss for the people themselves. Having a wide diversity of people and a social system that allows each their necessary space rather than imposing uniformity of thought or appearance is one of the big strengths of the Western culture.

    1. By the end of 2011 I was arguing that Rossi could be a “magician,” i.e., someone skilled at creating illusions, which is often done through direction of attention. I argued that there was no way to definitively distinguish between a managed and misleading demonstration and a real effect, short of what is standard, and everyone should know it is standard, fully-independent replication (and with something really unusual, and Rossi’s claims were outside the envelope of what was usual, multiple independent confirmations, and not just “we saw something unusual” confirmations. Claiming kilowatts of sustained heat, the confirmation of kilowatts of sustained heat!) I noted that with a secret technology, this could be impossible, so my advice to CMNS scientists was to avoid expressing opinions, because they could backfire. Rossi could fail for any of many reasons, even if his effect were real. Most, either naturally or convinced, followed that advice. Some did not. A very few are still sticking to supporting the claims, at least to a degree.

      I think that the Egely wheel “works.” At least a certain percentage of those who attempt to test it see some result, not just “null.” However, how it works is the question. Ouija boards work! As for Dianetics and Scientology, Dianetics first. It works. That is, people actually do experience even major transformation. It also set up conditions for possible abuse, particularly when a Church was created. The attraction was not merely being in a large group, and Scientology is presented with suggestions to “verify this for yourself,” and that includes the higher levels with all the wigged-out history of the universe. How does one verify that? Well, auditing, using the tools of Dianetics, which have already been “proven” to the member by that time. A naive, knee-jerk rejection of all of it, very common in skeptical writing, is of no effect with these “believers” because they know much more and they even can recognize the obsessions of the critics. So the wave of excommunicated members telling their stories, just telling the truth, is the most powerful remedy for the abuse. The Church of Scientology strongly attacks those, and it is obvious why.
      The point here is not a demonization of the COS, but the mechanics of belief, which, actually, anyone can verify for themselves, if they care. Some of this verification can involves tools similar to those used in Dianetics and what is presented to COS “parishoners.” Scientology wants to own those tools, not to make them freely available. That is a clue in itself.

      As to Axil, it is essential that a full community not exclude people like him, but behavioral guidelines can be set as needed to protect the community. There are ways to do this without abuse. Ultimately, though, what is required is an awakened community, that will support itself and all members, and that is fully open to new ideas, but channels them. If you read about the Iron Law of Oligarchy, Michels believed that it was inevitable and really made true democracy impossible. I disagree, but it takes unusual structure to manage the trick. The oligarchy will form, Michels was right about that, and then part of the error was in being reactive to “oligarchy” as being Bad. (And then since this Bad thing is inevitable, he could support Fascism as a lesser evil, which is where Michels went.) However, oligarchies can easily become abusive. What would restrain them? It is actually known and has been demonstrated, widely, since roughly 1940-1950 how to do it. So that is what I started studying since around 1980-1990, and writing about over the last two decades. Remarkably, the most widespread demonstration, phenomenally successful, is not mentioned in the Iron Law article, but elements of that demonstration are shown in the examples given, and also the demonstration avoids the noted problems, and was deliberately created to do that, with explicit safeguards.

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