Scientific evidence for telepathy?

Discussion in 'Pseudoscience Archive' started by darryl, Jan 18, 2012.

  1. darryl Banned Banned

    So far, one of the best case studies for telepathy that I have come across is that of Harold Sherman with the explorer Hubert Wilkins.

    They set up a telepathy experiment. Sherman was in New York. Wilkins was in the Arctic.

    Each night they sat down, relaxed and recorded on paper their thoughts. After 5 months they both each compared their recordings. It was proven that what they wrote was 75% accurate. They were over 2000 miles apart, but somehow they had been communicating with eachother.

    Many things they wrote at the end of each day, appeared the same in their recordings. Also to rule all any kind of fraud, the notes each night were sent to independent scientists. During this telepathy experiment there was no chance of any cheating at all. 2000 miles away, neither were in any kind of contact.

    Let's take a typical example. Wilkins had attended a formal ball for the Army with the locals in Canada as his plane was forced to land due to bad weather, Wilkins recorded that he was worried about a dress-suit that he had to wear as the waistcoat was short in size. On the same night Sherman recorded in his dairy "You in company with men in military attire-some women-evening dress-important people present-much conversation-you appear to be in evening dress yourself.

    Can this be explained by mere coincidence? Really? And the other 100s of examples which lasted for over 5 months?

    Here is what Harold Wilkins wrote:

    “ When we finally were able to compare notes, what did we find? An amazing number of impressions recorded by Sherman of expedition happenings, and personal experiences, reactions and thoughts of mine. Too many of them were approximately correct and synchronized with the very day of the occurences to have been 'guesswork'.”

    Skeptics will have a hard time trying to explain this one, oh wait, they just ignore it. Yup, this case study has been ignored by the skeptics since 1937, even though the experiment was done with scientifically controlled conditions.

    \Mod Noted: By Search & Destroy

    It is unwise for a reader to take this post as a listing of facts. Look for references and citations, or the lack thereof. A good claim should have good evidence. This post does not have good evidence.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2012
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  3. origin Trump is the best argument against a democracy. Valued Senior Member

    I don't see where the scientific controls were in place. A quick scan of the information appears that these 2 guys got together compared notes and were amazed. It did not say there notes were sent to a 3rd party and the 3rd party was amazed. But I may have missed that part.
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  5. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    Just what were those conditions, you left them out in your story. Those conditions would include many things like exact questions to be answered, exact thoughts that were recieved, a third party that controlled the experiment and on and on.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2012
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  7. darryl Banned Banned

    The 3rd party consisted of three different independent scientists, one of which was the psychologist Gardner Murphy, they had all reviewed the recordings. Murphy visited Sherman in person to collect his recordings, and when Wilkins returned to the USA from from the Arctic he gave one of these scientists his diary. It was not possible for Sherman to contact Wilkins they were 2000 miles away, and this experiment occured in 1937. No mobile phones! There was no way that either of them could of seen eachothers diary.

    Their experiment has been published in a book called Thoughts Through Space. The reports were submitted to several testifiers of the experiment so that the reports could not be changed or altered in anyway once submitted. There were no telephones or communication between Sherman and Wilkins. Wilkins later returned to the USA and discovered that 75% of his recordings we the same as Sherman.
  8. AlexG Like nailing Jello to a tree Valued Senior Member

    To even think of this as some kind of controlled experiment is simply silly.
  9. Hercules Rockefeller Beatings will continue until morale improves. Moderator

    No, not even close.

    It can be explained by an uncontrolled subjective unscientific experiment and the Barnum Effect.

    Done and done.
  10. darryl Banned Banned

    Two guys over 2000 miles away from eachother in no communication at all have produced writings 75% similar to eachother. The experiment was controlled. Theres nothing subjective about it, their recordings were given to three independent scientists.

    You would need to explain how a man in New York has produced 75% of writings in a diary which also appear in another mans diary over 2000 miles away in the Arctic, read their diary entries they are very similar. How do you explain this?

    Offering a cold reading explanation does not explain the Sherman-Wilkins results. Unless of course you believe cold reading operates over a distance of 2000 miles? Such a thing would even be considered a form of ESP itself.

    Sherman recorded his telepathic impressions three nights a week, and promptly mailed copies of them to a Mr. Samuel Emery, identified as a "resident of the City Club of New York," and to Dr. Gardner Murphy at Columbia University. Murphy had also visited Sherman many times.

    Notice how similar their recordings were;

  11. origin Trump is the best argument against a democracy. Valued Senior Member

    As I said, I am more interested in the scientific control than the results that they shared in their book.

    Data obtained with out the proper controls is not really data, it is more like just some mildly curious stuff.
  12. leopold Valued Senior Member

    i feel like in order to be legit the experiment should have been set up by a third party.
    the 2 participants should have been unknown to one another.
    their whereabouts should have been unknown to one another.
    this experiment violates all 3.
    well, i'm not a skeptic because i believe telepathy is theoretically possible.
    i also believe that things like this should be conducted/ presented in such a manner as to leave absolutely no doubt.

    where are the letters?
  13. leopold Valued Senior Member

    yes, because they know one another.
    interpretation of someones written word is subjective.
    see above answer.
    you say "i see a flying bird"
    i say "the squirrel flew from one tree to the next one 20 feet away"
    interpreter says " they were both talking about flying animals"
    conclusion? some sort of telepathy.

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  14. Hercules Rockefeller Beatings will continue until morale improves. Moderator

    No. Do you know what an experimental control is? Seemingly not. Controls allow you to determine whether your measurements are specific or the result of random chance and/or experimental artefact.

    Were the diaries of two people not attempting to communicate by ESP compared to each other, or to either of the experimental diaries? Did the participants attempt to make diary entries that were deliberately not the same as each other? Was it a double blind experiment for the reviewing independent “scientists”? Did they know whose diary they were looking at? What metrics were used to define “similarity”?

    You’re merely making yourself look foolish by continually saying that. This is the height of subjectivity – comparing the “similarity” of diary entries. What does similar mean? How similar? What’s the cut-off between a statement determined to be similar and not similar? Talking about 70% similarity is meaningless unless you can precisely define and measure ‘similarity’.

    In this instance, we have a collection of people, who all seem to know each other judging from the info you’ve provided, comparing diary entries of two participants (but no other control diaries it seems) in an effort to prove ESP. As I said, it’s the Barnum Effect – people with a pre-conceived bias interpret writing and descriptions the way they want to rather than the way it is. Astrology is the classic example.
  15. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

    The OP title is: Scientific evidence for telepathy?

    Obviously raised as a question with the post itself asking if it was "Scientific Evidence", as many posters have put, the posed experiment didn't have an arbitrary independent third-party, there wasn't any double-blinds and there were no independent witnesses. In essence as experiments go it wasn't done with the level of scientific data collection in mind (and impartiality) that is attempted nowadays and therefore would not be deemed as "Scientific Evidence".

    There have been many attempts to generate similar experiments using the internet as a medium through students at various universities and colleges, but nothing conclusive has ever been shown. Since there is nothing to even support collecting evidence correctly, it undermines any reason to conduct further experiments.
  16. aaqucnaona This sentence is a lie Valued Senior Member

    Like Stryder said, a scientific evidence would have to have third party replicability, doubt blinds, random pairings and witnesses. There also has to be some explaination of how telepathy may work. A rational reason why it may work amount close friends and relatives is that we know them well and can better predict thier thoughts. This is a better explaination of 75% than is telepathy. 50 is chance, 75% can be prediction, something above 95% would be actually representative of the fidelity of an expected transfer mechanism.

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