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Jon Cleland Host

Hi Duane-


  You wrote:

I could send along statistics to you (perhaps next week)


I’d be happy to look at them, but think about this from the view of anyone else for a second.  The data could well show the 65% accuracy claimed in the early SRI data (after all, those data exist as well).  What would that mean?


To answer that, think of how this goes.   I have sometimes found wildly unexpected data myself in the lab (I’m an active scientist, after all).  Those times were exciting, and the next step is to replicate the experiment and confirm them.  In the times that they’ve been replicated, I announced the find, and others did similar work, confirming the find.  In those cases, it was the replication and verification process that made the data credible.  

 We already know that your data won’t fall into that first category, because attempts to replicate the initial 65% accuracy rate eventually found no effect in the SRI work.  For me, sometimes, the subsequent experiments failed to replicate the initial find.  In those cases, I’ve sometimes found out why, sometimes not.  Often, it was my mistake, such as writing a number down incorrectly, like writing 1.883 as 18.83 – sometimes I even remembered writing it correctly (1.883), but simply was remembering wrong.  In those cases, it was the replication and verification process that caught the mistake.  


So if you data is anomalous, we already know from the SRI research (which tried and failed to replicate it) that it’s most likely a case of the second type – a mistake, constructed memory, or such.  Wouldn’t any rational outside person – such as myself here on an internet chat board – have to reach that conclusion?  Wouldn’t you reach that conclusion as well, if our positions were reversed right here, right now?


I can say with great confidence that, from first-hand experience,


But that’s just it, isn’t it?  That this rests on first hand experience.  If we were going to believe things based on first hand experience, then we’d have to believe that the mormon gold plates are real (proven the testimony of 9 witnesses of their first hand experience), and that Paul was teleported to the 3rd heaven (as he states in 2Cor 12:2), that prayer to Allah can allow one to pull crystals from one’s eyes, and so on.  


My dad and his boyhood friend compared notes about their recollections of the time in 1951 when they captured a raccoon and kept it in their underground fort, and they found that they had both fabricated memories – from first hand experience – of things that never happened.  This has been shown over and over in controlled studies – that our memories are not like video recorders, but rather are constructed and reconstructed by our own later conclusions and desires.  That’s why replication and peer review are the gold standards of science, while first hand experience and deeply held conviction are the gold standards of religion and pseudoscience.