A Lawyer Presents the Case for the Afterlife

<< Home
<< Article index


The ‘experimenter effect’ – refers to a situation where the experimenter, willfully, or on an unconscious level, influences the results he/she wants to obtain.

In context of testing the paranormal (psi) and afterlife evidence, it is critically important to fully understand the very serious implications of the ‘experimenter effect’ as so far it has shown that professional psi experimenters have become victims of their unconscious (perhaps even conscious) negative partiality when conducting psi experiments.

The result is that the public around the world is being misinformed, misguided and misdirected.

Why is it that a negatively entrenched experimenter always gets negative results when investigating psychic phenomena (or psi as it is called)? Very simple. Obtaining positive results will make a skeptical experimenter and his supporting debunking organization look absolutely ridiculous, irrelevant and utterly redundant.

So, someone who has been debunking psi and afterlife evidence for over twenty years cannot be expected to oversee a psychic experiment which produces results which show that the ‘debunker’ has been wrong for the last twenty years.

Whatever this ‘negative’ experimenter tries to do, inevitably the results are going to be negative. That is the history of these negative psi experimenters outlined in an excellent article in the March 2002 Journal of Parapsychology by Caroline Watt and Claire Brady.

When confronted with the high probability of results not consistent with the debunker’s expectations, the closed minded debunker would feel enormous anxiety – and go into denial and rejection and use all kinds of tricks – including verbal and written ‘sleight of hand’ to produce results consistent with his/her own skeptical partiality.

Without exaggerating the issue, the analogy I use is that of a Ku Klux Klan Wizard trying to ‘objectively’ and empirically investigate whether African Americans are racially equal to ‘white’ people.

Imagine a situation which I myself – and others - studied in the recent past involving a negatively minded psi high flying experimenting psychologists - two British, one American:

• they are psychologists deeply entrenched in materialism,
• they’ve been doing experiments for over twenty years and have never found in favor of the paranormal,
• they have written articles against the validity of the paranormal,
• they are a members of an American materialist organization (CSICOP) which itself is anti-psychic, anti- paranormal, anti-afterlife and anti-anything which cannot be produced in a laboratory,
• the British psychologist is on record for manipulating circumstances during experiments to ensure that the results will never be in favor of psi,
• these negatively entrenched psychologists have each been given the title of ‘Fellow’ by CSICOP for their services against the paranormal, against the evidence for the afterlife, against the possibility that psi has any validity.
• In the past they have demonstrated expertise in ‘verbal sleight of hand’ (see below) to willfully skew psi results against the validity of psi.

Now, would an informed level-headed non-committed, impartial observer ever accept that these negative experimenters are in a position to be ‘objective’ when conducting psi experiments? Of course not!

Would an intelligent, informed empiricist – and others familiar with ‘verbal sleight of hand’ accept that these negative experimenters could actually cause errors – perhaps unconsciously so that the results will be consistent with their own negative bias? Of course he/she would!

The classic experimenter effect was demonstrated by Professor Marilyn Schlitz and Professor R Wiseman (1997 and 1999) in collaborative studies into whether or not a person can detect when someone is looking at them from behind.

Those informed will immediately predict that the more objective Prof Marilyn Schlitz obtained positive results whereas negatively inclined Prof. Richard Wiseman consistently obtained negative results. That’s exactly what happened! This was true even when they used the same experiment and the same subjects.

Four Publicized Experiments

Hereinafter I am citing just four cases (out of many other cases by the same ‘negative’ experimenter) to illustrate how ‘the experimenter effect’ played a big part when a negatively entrenched experimenter tried to conduct experiments thinking he was or that he can be objective – and in all of them he inexorably, produced negative results.

First case: Wiseman’s involvement in allegedly ‘testing’ of psychic, medical intuitive Natasha Demkina is considered by a number of professionally informed people to be one of the most blatant injustices done to a gifted psychic in history. Why? Because the whole conduct shows that there were too many fundamental irregularities which were not consistent with scientific method. Whether consciously or unconsciously. he skewed positive results which otherwise had the potential to destroy his reputation, severely weaken his career, lead to the loss of funding and more likely than not end his involvement in psi research. Two most fundamental ‘transgressions’ which appear to be consistent with Wiseman’s prior conduct are that he changed the experimental protocol without notice and misinterpreted the results. Blind Freddie could have predicted negative results in the important Demkina case. Read more … http://snipurl.com/qnnr

Second case: Chris Robinson, author of The Psychic Detective, http://www.dream-detective.com/ complained to me that when Wiseman tried to test Robinson’s psychic skills, Wiseman 'tricked' him, 'fooled' him by changing the agreed protocol without notice – a most heinous violation by any empiricist during empirical testing. Inevitably and unfairly the results were presented to the public as being negative. Chris Robinson was and is still very angry at the way Wiseman was able to publish the experimental results as Chris having failed to show legitimate paranormal activity – especially when Chris Robinson insists that Wiseman changed protocol without notice and willfully misreported the psi results.

Mick O’Neil, in an article to the “Paranormal Review”: the Magazine of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) in 2001 gives more instances of how Wiseman has used his skills as a magician to confuse the public in a series of high profile tests aimed at debunking the areas of psychic research considered by former skeptic Carl Sagan in 1995 to have produced impressive results.

Third case: Wiseman’s ‘Mind Machine’ experiment, launched with great media fanfare in 1999, was an attempt at predicting or influencing a random number generated (RNG) coin toss. However, O’Neil points out that it employed pseudo, not true RNGs whereas in 1997 Jahn et al, the leading exponents of Sagan’s recommended study, had reported significance of one in a trillion using true RNGs but no effect with pseudo RNGs. O’Neil makes the point that “most journalists can’t be expected to be aware of the importance of such subtle differences.”

Fourth case - the “World’s Largest ESP Experiment Ever” at London’s Museum of the Unknown’ Wiseman announced to the media of the world that he was going to set up an experiment to test telepathy. The experiment involved 10 trials where groups of ‘senders’ tried to telepathically transmit an image to a distant ‘receiver’. The receiver then had to try to choose the correct image from a set of four. Carl Sagan was impressed that numerous researchers around the world have found evidence that it really does work. However, as O’Neil points out, statistically it usually requires at least 100 trials to reveal itself.

Mick O’Neill, suspicious of Wiseman, taped the event and claims that with only 10 trials “the experiment could hardly have been better designed to fail” whether ESP exists or not.

Even then, according to O’Neil, Wiseman had to engage in either deliberate or unconscious manipulation.

“At the most crucial moment of the day, just after the crowd succeeded on the first and just before the other large outdoor trial, Wiseman committed five serious irregularities, including inconsistencies and breaches of the protocols & precedents laid down by previous experimenters to prevent undue influence.

Again, Wiseman doesn’t dispute that any of the five irregularities took place. The most blatant irregularity was that at 7 p.m. he described some 1971 experiment results as “one was not bad and the other was absolutely dreadful” whereas at the 4 p.m. trial, he had said of exactly the same results “one was fairly successful, one wasn’t”.

No fair scientist could describe these results using Wiseman’s 7 p.m. descriptors. Worse still, he omitted to mention that the ‘absolutely dreadful’ result was a ‘control’. The irregularities dramatically show the subtle ways Wiseman seems to have subconsciously undermined the crowd’s confidence. If he influences a large public gathering like this, heaven help any individual who manifests ESP in the privacy of his laboratory”.

Experts tell us that the negativity the debunkers go into to produce negative psi results is mostly sourced on an ‘unconscious level’. When confronted with positive results supporting the paranormal debunkers go into ‘cognitive dissonance’ and what exponents of NLP call ‘deletions’; they unconsciously - or consciously - delete critical evidence to maintain their own internal consistency and produce negative results.

Can you really give credibility to any experimenter in highly publicized media supported paranormal testing when they are highly placed members of the debunking and negatively entrenched CSICOP group AND - these same negative debunkers - have been obtaining negative results for the last twenty/thirty years?

Who are they kidding?