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Jon Cleland Host

  Ed-        Thanks for the response, and sorry about my slow reply (busy, as always).  You wrote:  

While I still do not see the “diminishing effect” over time that you mentioned,

In the post that I referenced, I mentioned the strong effect claimed for “information transfer” in the 1800s and 1900s in ways such as clairvoyance, ESP, etc.  Compared to those, Bem’s claimed effects are much smaller, with others in the later 1900s claiming intermediate effects, like Uri Geller.  One might claim that those were different somehow – but without explaining how this “new” clairvoyance works, that claim won’t have any basis.  

If I did not have so many personal firsthand experiences with this phenomena I’d probably be more in your camp.

Maybe, maybe not.  However, I can say that if *I* had more personal firsthand experiences, I would probably *not* be in your camp.  Why not?  Because personal firsthand experiences are not a reliable way to know what is real, as explained in my reply to Duane, above (post 4432).  Heck, come to think of it, I *have* had extremely powerful firsthand experiences that one could take as proof of psychic phenomena, such as this one, where I heard the voices of thousands of long dead people and briefly controlled the weather psychically: http://humanisticpaganism.com/2015/06/03/starstuff-contemplating-hearing-our-ancestors-by-jon-cleland-host/ .  Yet, that same experience can be interpreted in ways consistent with known science – and so I don’t claim that it proves anything.  

As you point out, reproducibility can be a HUGE problem in PSI research. But it is not a sign that there is not a genuine effect.  

Then how could we ever know to stop chasing a phenomena that isn’t real?  Imagine a proposed phenomenon that, for the sake of discussion, is simply not real.  Someone claims to show data that it’s real.  So we try to replicate it – but it doesn’t show up.  So we do so again – nothing.  Someone else claims their data shows it to be real – then someone else points out flaws in their experiment.  Tests in another country fail to replicate it – but that doesn’t count against it because “reproducibility is a huge problem” in this area, which it’s proponents say is because of (whatever).  If taken seriously, it means that the said phenomenon is unfalsifiable, and hence we can never just drop it and move on to m0re fruitful areas of research.  That’s why unfalsifiable claims are not allowed in science.  That’s why the fact that reproducibility is a huge problem in this area is indeed a sign (admittedly, not proof) that it’s not genuine- because if it wasn’t genuine, then reproducibility would be a huge problem in this area.

There is precious little funding in PSI

We’ve discussed before that this does’t seem to be the case.  Many experiments (in the triple digits!) were run to try to replicate Bem’s work, and the stargate stuff Duane was involved with employed many people for over a decade, spending over 20 million dollars – not to mention many other examples (for instance, the USSR undoubtedly knew about our work and likely had their own program).  

Perhaps when I’m retired I’ll set up a lab…

Perhaps. But will you spend over 20 million dollars, employ a whole staff of people, and conduct the research year after year?  If not, then why would you expect to find something when someone has already done that and found nothing substantial?     If you would spend over 20 million dollars and employ a whole staff of people,  then it leads to the next natural question – of what impact 20 million would have instead in, say, promoting our awesome story of the Universe, or in raising public awareness of climate change, or providing a team to bring fun science experiments to girls and minorities in Junior high to encourage a more diverse scientific community, or, or……..