University Of Metaphysical Sciences?

New AgePZ Myers posted this interesting blog about The University Of Metaphysical Sciences, a school that dishes out degrees in pseudo-scientific woo:

You might be wondering what, exactly, you would learn at a University Of Metaphysical Sciences. Well, that isn’t clear. You get to learn about Colors and Symbols, and Chakras, and how to connect with Angels (if I were younger, I’d be tempted to get a degree in that, just so I could use it as a pick-up line), and Miracles, and the Energy of Money.

How much does it cost? Tuition is a low, low $2000. It’s even cheaper than it sounds, because they assure us that most students can complete a full Ph.D. program in only a year — it’s so quick and easy, they even recommend that you get two doctoral degrees! I’m feeling slow and inadequate now…it took me five years to get just one.

What’s particularly amusing is that PZ points out the school has. . .

. . .accreditation from the American Alternative Medical Association and the American Association Of Drugless Practitioners. That really should count as just one, though: their webpages look identical, only the names, fonts and backgrounds have been changed, and they all trace back to the same small town outfit in Gilmer, Texas. They seem to be in the business of selling certificates to hang on a wall (only $285, they accept both Visa and MasterCard), so at least they seem to be UMS’s peer institutions!

Go on. Click the 2 links above in PZ’s quote. I dare you to look at the 2 sites and not reach the conclusion that they’re the same organization. That’s the worst part of this, I think. They’re not even good hucksters.

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57 Responses to University Of Metaphysical Sciences?

  1. Theresa Brennan says:

    Criticize all you want. It’s okay. You have your opinions and that’s what makes the world a wonderful place. If UMS is not “your thing” well thats fine. Make all the fun you want. There are those of us, who believe in making the world a better place, in a way that makes sense to us. I am not a UMS student, but plan to be. Christine is a modern day teacher. If you don’t like what she has to offer, that’s fine. Move on. I personally thinks she’s a HERO, yes I said it, HERO. She has brought course work and knowledge to spiritual seekers like myself who want to learn how to help and heal ourselves and/or others in an meaningful, affordable way on-line. She has not “sold out” to “get rich quick”. She makes no false claims. I have both a bachelors and a masters degree from accredited Universities and this is the school I am MOST excited about attending. So if it’s not for you, that’s cool. But realize there are many of us out there that think Christine and UMS have a lot offer.

    • mjr256 says:

      Okay, you lost me with that whole condescending view that only people who believe what you believe want to make the world a better place.

      But my biggest issue with your response is your position that it’s just not my thing. If you mean that sitting idly by while others are defrauded isn’t my thing then I have no disagreement with you as I do prefer reality and truth to bullshit. But bogus educational institutions that promote pseudoscience and pure magical thinking is more than just not my thing; it’s a disgrace. You want to learn how to “heal” yourself and others? Go to med school, not Hogwarts. It’s not surprising that you’re most excited about attending this school because they feed you the easy answers you want to hear, that you can obtain magic powers to heal people. And let me guess. You believe real doctors don’t use these practices because all they care about is money and for some unexplainable reason you believe they would not be able to profit off these treatments even if they did work.

      “But realize there are many of us out there that think Christine and UMS have a lot offer.’

      Oh, I do realize that already. That’s the reason this blog exists in the first place.

      • Cameron Locke says:

        Theresa clearly said, she believes in making the world a better place, “in a way that makes sense to [her].”
        She’s not implying she and others that attend UMS are the the ONLY ones who want to help the world…just the ones who want to do it through the teachings at UMS. Everyone (I think?) wants to make the world a little better than it is, but everyone has a different way of doing it.
        I appreciate your review on UMS, but you’re clearly also coming at it from a very biased viewpoint. If you think the power of thought, energy, holistic treatments and positivity are ‘magical’ and equivalent to Hogwarts…well, then I recommend you take a step back and do some further research.
        The American Medical Association is a scam. I’m not saying ‘all’ doctors (or even most or many) are purposefully trying to scam people, but the doctors themselves are being scammed. Many medical texts are written and sponsored by those such as Big Pharma, Monsanto, the WHO, CDC, FDA, AMA. All those guys, by the way, are in the business of making money. Not making healthy people. And they don’t just ‘$2000′ a year off of a few people, but instead, dominate a TRILLION Dollar a year industry. They aren’t looking to cure people (in fact, they suppress cures, especially natural ones that don’t make $$.) If our medical institutes are the best ever, how come more people are diagnosed with diseases and cancers than ever before? They don’t treat the root of the cause, they treat the symptoms…and create more ‘symptoms’ in the meantime.
        Many of these diseases are largely in part due to emotional/mental beliefs being generated by the ‘victim.’ Why are you obese? Perhaps because you’re not dealing with emotional traumas in healthy ways and resort to eating. Why are you on depressants? Perhaps because you’ve had a horrible diet your whole life and are malnourished. Why do you have heart disease? Perhaps because you’ve never opened your heart to love and thus have put an immense amount of stress on your heart (chakra) causing your heart to release abnormal amounts of stress chemicals and hormones.

        But jeez…I mean, it’s hard to call someone condescending without sounding condescending yourself…but take a look at your attitude, man. I’d recommend you open your mind to more possibilities than being taught to you by textbooks sponsored and written by the same corporations and institutes that profit off of you blindly supporting them.

      • mjr256 says:

        I think you’re being rather inconsistent and, dare I say, disingenuous. You say I’m “clearly also coming at it from a very biased viewpoint,” but your justification of this seems to be that I disagree with you. Well in that case, by your definition, everyone who disagrees with you is biased? But then after accusing me of bias for equating scientifically impossible claims to magic, you call some of the most reputable scientific institutions in the world scams, making inaccurate and quite misleading accusations of conflicts. What seems quite clear to me is that you don’t understand how science works, can’t cite any specific instances of corruption, and are simply repeating common falsehoods perpetuated by the very people you’re defending. That’s bias if I ever heard it.

        The fact is that science does not operate on a business model like you suggest and there’s little to no benefit to science for those who maintain any kind of status quo or party line. Rather, science is expressly designed to reward those who disprove previously held findings. Science also operates with a rigorous peer-review process where other scientists are motivated to seek out the flaws in new research. So any scientist who puts out shoddy research, either deliberately or otherwise, wouldn’t be very successful in the scientific community.

        Now to answer you question about why more people than ever have cancer, that’s an easy one. Cancer is largely a disease of age. Prior to the 20th century, the average life expectancy was 40 years old. People usually died before ever getting cancer. That’s also why there are more people with hip problems today than ever. The human hip is built for only a few dacade’s use. Now that the average life expectancy in first-world nations has doubled, more and more people need hip replacements.

        These are really basic questions that I’m certain you could have found the answers to yourself if you bothered to make a sincere attempt to find the answers. Sadly, I don’t think you care to make a sincere attempt to find the answers as you seem to have made up your mind before bothering to do any research. That is bias. And I suggest you open YOUR mind, man, to possibilities that aren’t just fed to you by the very people profiting off of scientific ignorance.

    • Null says:

      Hi Christine. I see you are Still using sockpuppets after all these years. How is dancingdaisy? Dont forget to change names every so often…the Internet has a long memory.

  2. Theresa Brennan says:

    Please don’t take my comment out of context. Never once did I imply nor infer that anyone who disagrees with me or UMS doesn’t make a difference or have a meaningful impact on the world in their own way. I simply stated that if this is not the type of institution that you value, that’s fine, but there are people out there, such as myself that do. UMS is very clear on what it offers and what it does not. I am an educated consumer, have done the research and found that UMS offers what I am looking for. This does not mean I am a victim of fraud.
    Some of the greatest healers on earth did not go to med school or Hogwarts (thanks for the laugh on that one, I like good spirited wit). I suppose that some of the great thinkers in history were at some point accused of being psudeo-scientists ( Galileo, Jung, Freud, Vogel) yet they contributed so much to society. Look at the field of Noetic science! It’s exciting. What some may thinks is quackery, others think is cutting edge.
    You made some sweeping judgements/assumptions/sterotypes about me, so allow me to set the record straight, I am a clinical research professional helping bring drugs to market for illness such as Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, depression, migraine, blunt and penetrating trauma, and major GI disorders for adults and adolescents alike. I have worked long and many hours and have been dedicated to the field of research. I have no problem with “real” doctors. I think they are HEROS too. Spend a week on a trauma unit (which I have), and you will have a deep respect for anyone who has devoted their life to healing the physically ill. I earn a good salary and have a healthy relationship with money and the role it plays in any field, including the medical field. I also believe that in addition to healing the body, there is value in healing the psyche and the soul as well. These are my beliefs, and again they are aligned with the philosophies of UMS and other metaphysical institutions. We can agree to disagree…that’s the beauty of it all.

    • mjr256 says:

      Again, it’s not that I don’t value UMS; it’s that their teaching factually untrue beliefs and calling it science. And that impacts the world in a negative way by misinforming and misleading the public with regards to reality. For that reason I believe they warrant criticism, regardless of whether people are taken in by their unscientific nonsense.

      “I am an educated consumer, have done the research and found that UMS offers what I am looking for. This does not mean I am a victim of fraud.”

      It does actually, unless you can present the Nobel Prize worthy research that if it existed would be lightyears beyond current scientific knowledge. The thing about fraud victims is that they rarely know they’re being defrauded. That’s sort of what makes it successful. Now I don’t know if those at the school are deliberate frauds or if their just self-deceptive but by all standards of current evidence, what they’re teaching is scientifically false.

      “suppose that some of the great thinkers in history were at some point accused of being psudeo-scientists ( Galileo, Jung, Freud, Vogel)”

      I wouldn’t say pseudo-scientists but all of them have been proven wrong about some things and right about other things. Freud was certainly dead wrong about a great number of his hypotheses. And all of these men overturned previous science that was wrong. That’s what makes science an effective method of determining reality. It’s self-correcting and is a strict meritocracy where ultimately only good ideas well supported by empirical evidence survive and bad ideas that aren’t are discarded like used condoms. That’s why science, as Carl Sagan says, delivers the goods.

      It may very well be that UMS has unlocked some amazing discoveries about our universe. But the burden of proof is on them to present their case to the scientific community where it can be peer-reviewed and properly vetted to see if it’s legitimate or not. And until that process is done and a scientific consensus embraces their claims, they might as well call themselves the Barnum School of Metaphysics because that’s what they are, a sideshow.

      It’s their responsibility to prove the validity of their claims under proper controlled scientific conditions before charging money for teaching them.

      “Spend a week on a trauma unit (which I have), and you will have a deep respect for anyone who has devoted their life to healing the physically ill.”

      You may respect the individuals but you certainly don’t seem to respect the method of science.

      “These are my beliefs, and again they are aligned with the philosophies of UMS and other metaphysical institutions. We can agree to disagree…that’s the beauty of it all.”

      Then they should call themselves the The University Of Metaphysical Philosophy or The University Of Metaphysical Theology and not pretend that what they do can even loosely be called “science” since there’s nothing scientific about it.

      • loopymo says:

        Hello,
        I’m looking into several metaphysical courses. I am an Occupational Therapist, so there are a huge amount of formats that legally I can use within the scope of my practice. However there are other areas, such as spiritual healing etc. that I cannot legally do, unless I become ordained. All the metaphysical online courses offer this, and yes, I could just go ahead and buy a $50 ordination thingy, but I actually quite like some of the odd courses/workshops offered under metaphysics.
        I can tell you I’ve done some quirky ones under Occupational Therapy.
        As for the whole bachelors, masters and doctorate stuff from these colleges, I think it is sad that we appear still in this day and age to actually HAVE one of those in any area.
        Having any one of those degrees in any other area, does NOT make you an expert in any way at all, however it is the way of schooling, under the guise of ‘weapons of mass instruction’ (Gatto)

        So yes, I can see that a person could see this whole thing as a fraud, BUT, for those like me who are actually interested in all of the other side of things, I’m glad it’s available.
        Occupational Therapists are meant to be a holistic profession, that is our very foundation. That means, body, mind and spirit, so as I said before, to legally be able to truly fulfill that, I do actually have to, per requirements of the United States of America, become ordained. Well, if I can also pick up a piece of paper or 3, that means something to someone somewhere who I may be treating, and it makes them feel a bit better about what I am doing, then that’s what I have to do.

      • mjr256 says:

        You’re replying to a past comment I’ve made, giving me the impression that you read my above comment. I really don’t have anything to add that hasn’t already been said in that previous comment, but I’ll highlight a few points that I feel you’ve not addressed.

        If a field of study has not yet been proven legitimate under reasonable investigation, it is unethical to charge money to teach that thing that hasn’t been proven legitimate. And to do so can be and typically is known as fraud. If I make up a supposed therapy called Facepalmology, wherein I claim smacking people’s foreheads in a specific way is a legitimate health practice, and then open a school where I charge money to teach people this practice that I just made up and have no data backing up its legitimacy, that would make me a crook and a fraud.

        If this school is SOOOOOOO convinced their teachings are legitimate, then the LEAST they can do is back up that claim with the sufficient evidence that they clearly must believe they already have. Or is it that they don’t actually believe they have sufficient evidence proportional to their level of belief and they simply don’t care about whether what they teach is legitimate or not?

        Now you can try to evade this damning criticism by stating the obvious, that not everyone with a legitimate degree from an actually accredited academic institution is a true expert in the field that degree is in (no duh!), but that doesn’t change the fact that “metaphysical science” is no more a real academic discipline than Wizardry, Alchemy, Astrology, or the Jedi Arts. Things aren’t assumed true until proven not true but the opposite. Claims are not true until proven to be true. That’s properly basic logic; if we can’t even agree on that then no meaningful conversation can be had. Any discipline that requires you to be “ordained” fails into the category of religion and definitely NOT science.

  3. dianne says:

    you say the same ritorical bs – and yes i mean bs. quantum physics, self healing has all bee scientifically proven. more deaths have happened in hospitals because of misdiognosis, and wrong surgeries on patients than the number of people that were killed in the viet nam war! proven fact. you live in your beliefs- great. and I will keep healing and miracles keep happening. scientifically or not. they do they are real and oh well, peace be with you.

    • mjr256 says:

      It’s been scientifically proven? Which reputable peer-reviewed journals can I find the studies?

      “more deaths have happened in hospitals because of misdiognosis, and wrong surgeries on patients than the number of people that were killed in the viet nam war! proven fact”

      Okay. And you’re point is what exactly? How does that prove the validity of metaphysical magic?

      Here, if you’re so certain this works, I recommend applying for the James Randi Educational Foundation’s Million Dollar Challenge (www.randi.org). All you have to do is prove under proper scientifically controlled conditions that you can do what you say you can and they’ll give you a million dollars. You can use that money for whatever you want. You can even give it to charity if you’re allergic to money. If your claims can pass proper controlled testing, I’ll be impressed. Fanciful anecdotes alone don’t impress me.

  4. jb004 says:

    mjr256,

    You are correct about science correcting itself. In the 60′s and 70′s rats were injected with sufficient amounts of saccharin to equal approx 100 glasses of tea injested daily over 1000 Years. Those results were accepted as scientific fact and even the FDA required warning lables placed on saccharin containing products. Have you noticed those warnings have dissappeared? It is not because saccharin has dissappeared it is because the poor science was recognized and the research was cast aside. But not until an entire industry was mostly destroyed. As a replacement an artificial sweetner that breaks down into wood alcohol (methanol), known to be toxic, was added to everything.
    I say this to present a point. Science is falible and not exact and is ever growing. just because a belief system is not “proven” by science (and we have seen just how reliable that is) does not mean that it does not have merit. A true scientist accepts things are possible not that things are impossible until proven.
    No evidence exists as to how placebos work and why they work on some people and why they don’t on others. Sometimes the power of suggestion is enough for the body to heal itself.

    • mjr256 says:

      Nobody claims science is infallible or exact. All science is subject to revision upon the arrival of new evidence. The key component there is “arrival of new evidence.” You seem to be making an argument from ignorance, that because science is not perfect and can be later discovered to be wrong, then we are justified in believing unscientific things for no good reason. Imagine this logic applied in a court room where a jury reaches the conclusion that there’s no longer any reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. Should we let him or her go simply because the legal system isn’t perfect and hypothetical new evidence could one day show up that creates reasonable doubt of his or her innocence?

      If you make a scientific claim, the burden of proof is on you to prove your claim, not on science to debunk it. If you”re claim is simply unfalsifiable, then it is scientifically worthless and not worthy of serious consideration. Science does not behave as you describe. Science demands claims be rigorously tested and assessed by a peer review process. This insures that good ideas survive while bad ideas are thrown out like used condoms. A serious scientist is humble and happy to have their ideas challenged and even disproven. Cranks on the other hand view any scrutiny of their ideas as personal attacks and refuse to give up on them even if they can’t prove them.

      As for your claim about placebos, this is at best misleading and worst wrong. There are numerous articles discussing in depth our knowledge of how placebos work and don’t work here: http://www.dangeroustalk.net/a-team/Quackery

  5. jb004 says:

    Oh and btw what peer reviewed journal would you like to see it in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Society) which is a MD publication who are not peers of Metaphysical practitioners. A peer is someone with similar training and research experience. But you claim anyone with that background is a charleton and a quack so you want to see it publish in a “peer reviewed journal” of someone other than their peers. Hmmm interesting.

    • mjr256 says:

      Scientific Peer Review is a generic term that is used to describe a process of self-regulation by a profession or a process of evaluation involving qualified individuals with the related field. Peer review methods are employed to maintain standards, improve performance, and provide credibility.

      The key here is that the “peers” are qualified. It’s also key that studies be published in reputable journals, especially if the study allegedly proves a whole brand new scientific field. The more established and reputable a journal is, the more seriously its contents should be taken. Otherwise, quacks can get away with just making their own journals and their own biased peer review to try and sidestep the scientific process. And since repeatablity is an important factor in science, one should have more than a single controlled peer review study to prove their idea.

      Thus far, nobody has proven that such a science as “metaphysics” even exists. And if they could to the satisfaction of the scientific community they’d be guaranteed a Nobel Prize, lots of money, and a permanent place in the history books for having been the discoverers of this new science. It should strike any believer as more than a little bit odd that none of this has happened and the scientific community has remained largely unimpressed by these claims as it would open a whole new field of science to explore. It should also be a red flag to any critically thinking person that these people are profiting off of an alleged science that is not recognized by about 99% of all the scientists in the world. Shouldn’t something be scientifically proven before people start charging money to teach it?

      Oh, and again, there’s also one million dollars waiting for anyone who can prove these claims at the James Randi Educational Foundation. Keep that in mind.

      • Doc Holiday says:

        It is said, that an empty brian will sprew forth bs and brother, I have read some bs. You say that metaphysics is not a science, WRONG! Metaphysics is a science and philosophy. First, the word meta is derived from the title given to Arstotle’s untitled treaties by his first- century BC editor, Andronicus. it means to come after “physics” the latter being the study of nature in general. Thus the question of metaphysics arises out of,and goes beyond, factual or SCIENTIFIC questions about the world.

        Metaphysics studies, BEING, material objects, minds, persona, Universals, numbers, Facts, existence, logic,propositions and I could keep going. And you say where is the proof of metaphysics not being a science. Second, Peer review. What a joke, peer review is some dopes who look at the evidence, the way they want to see it and can either recommend or deny the facts that have been presented. Most of the scientific community will deny what has been presented, unless a colleague makes the presentation. It is a very tight knit group of idiots. thirdly, metaphysics, especially what i term esoteric sciences has been around longer than you have been breathing. if it wasn’t for metaphysic esoterics,chemistry would not have been invented, it was derived from alchemy,astromony from astrology, even medicine from Hypocroties came through the Hermetic Sciences (Egyptian metaphysics)Shall i continue? I think I shall.

        As for psychics, I think that psychologists have been working with that phenomena as coming from behavioral study and the mind, energy healings (that came from the east) and moved to the west, holistics (the use of herbs) derived from the Egyptians and is classified as a science, Learning something yet. if not…

        As for psychology, it is metaphysical, if one looks at the word ‘consciousness for example’ and the philosophical aspects of what consciousness is. Most of your sciences is derived through metaphysics and there is no getting around that, even if the scientific com,munity has a disdain for the word metaphysics or the concept of.

        And they say the best is to come as to finish a discuusion. and that is the Amusing Randy and his crackpot foundation. What a joke. he started out with 10 grand and moved the stakes to a million. No one knows how he has that million, money or bonds? Second, he stacks the deck against the contestant so he can’t lose and thirdly, if anyone is stupid to take on his bogus challenge, I pity them.

        As Forest Gump would say, “That is all I got to say.”

      • mjr256 says:

        Doc, I’m well aware of the origin of the word “metaphysics.” It doesn’t change the fact that the modern usage of the word fails to meet even the minimal standards of science, which requires claims be falsifiable. You can’t claim it’s a science and then when it’s convenient for you say, it goes “beyond scientific questions.” That’s grade A bullshit. That’s like saying 2+2=5 is a valid addition equation and then when shown that the numbers don’t add up, claiming it goes “beyond addition.” Nope. It’s just fuckin’ wrong.

        Science REQUIRES falsifiability.

        At least that’s what the leprechauns and fairies tell me.

        And dismissing the peer-review process, the cornerstone of modern science, only further demonstrates your fundamental ignorance regarding what science is and how it works.

        The scientific method is designed the way it is precisely because it works. It has a proven track record for success…as evidenced by the very computer you use to type your anti-scientific nonsense. While “Metaphysics” can’t bring you the computer or show any practical application of any kind.

        The notion that scientists are motivated to deny new discoveries shows you don’t know the first thing about science. Any scientist who did as you suggest would never get very far in their career because science is the most competitive field in the world. It is literally a scientists’ job to find holes in others’ research and there. Even if one scientist or one whole organization went off the rails and defended a sacred cow, literally thousands more are highly motivated to detect their error.

        So please stop speaking about things you have no understanding of and STAY IN SCHOOL!

  6. jb004 says:

    Actually placebos do work and are used in medicine. I am not speaking out of ignorance. Many “proven” scientific theories through “rigorous testing” have been proven false after years of “documented” evidence. I am not saying that science is flawed and should be cast out. I am saying that it is not an absolute authority on everything. If you accept Steven Hawkings theories on black holes, then you accept science based purely on conjecture and mathematics as no black holes have every been visualized or concretely proven. Do not get me wrong Dr. Hawkings work is brilliant and beyond cutting edge. I am using it just as an example. All studies of any form will be flawed and yes must be proven over and over. We have to have scientific evidence to prove anything. The problem with proving anything that falls under the “metaphysical” is currently difficult to prove because the proper measurement devices have not been developed. How would you measure the amount of energy necessary to cause telepathy to occur? Another problem is most studies that are “Nobel prize” quality take years and millions of dollars in grants to conduct. It would be very difficult to obtain the required funding since the ways to “prove it scientificallly” would have to be developed and no one will fund research to prove “mental abilites”, ghosts, or any other metaphysical phenomenon. I have been to the REF website. I agree that someone should definately take it up that is not a flake or mentally ill. Oh BTW have you been to the University of Metaphysical Sciences website? I have not noticed any classes on spell casting. Most of the classes are for a foundation to be familiar in many belief systems. It is a religious degree you know. It is not a secular college. If your problem is in the use of the word science The following is excerpted from dictionary.com:
    sci·ence   /ˈsaɪəns/ Show Spelled[sahy-uhns]
    –noun
    1. a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws: the mathematical sciences.
    2. systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.
    3. any of the branches of natural or physical science.
    4. systematized knowledge in general.
    5. knowledge, as of facts or principles; knowledge gained by systematic study.
    6. a particular branch of knowledge.
    7. skill, esp. reflecting a precise application of facts or principles; proficiency.

    Note definitions 4,5,and 6
    All of these may be applied to metaphysical study.

    Q.E.D

    • mjr256 says:

      No, placebos are used in medical studies. It is illegal and highly unethical to use placebos as actual medical treatments. This is because placebos can only trick people into feeling like they’ve gotten better. And while this might be all that’s necessary in the case of a 7-day cold, I don’t recommend using placebos to treat cancer. It usually doesn’t end well. Again, there are numerous articles discussing in depth our knowledge of how placebos work and don’t work here: http://www.dangeroustalk.net/a-team/Quackery

      Once again, Nobody claims science is infallible or exact. All science is subject to revision upon the arrival of new evidence. The key component there is “arrival of new evidence.” You seem to be making an argument from ignorance, that because science is not perfect and can be later discovered to be wrong, then we are justified in believing unscientific things for no good reason. Imagine this logic applied in a court room where a jury reaches the conclusion that there’s no longer any reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. Should we let him or her go simply because the legal system isn’t perfect and hypothetical new evidence could one day show up that creates reasonable doubt of his or her innocence?

      “If you accept Steven Hawkings theories on black holes, then you accept science based purely on conjecture and mathematics as no black holes have every been visualized or concretely proven.”

      This is patently false. You need to do better research as black holes have indeed been observed and proven beyond any reasonable doubt to exist. We’ve even found a black hole in the center of our galaxy.
      http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/sciencetech/supermassive-black-hole-milky-way/6671

      “The problem with proving anything that falls under the “metaphysical” is currently difficult to prove because the proper measurement devices have not been developed.”
      Not my problem. You can’t demonstrably show your believes have any basis in reality? Cry me a river. Science is concerned with evidence, not excuses. The burden of proof is on the claimant to prove their claims. If you can’t back up your claims then you have failed to meet the necessary burden of proof and no one is entitled to take those beliefs the slightest bit seriously until you do provide evidence. As any scientist would, I’m more than willing to change my mind in light of new evidence. Otherwise, given the lack of plausibility, I’m calling these claims bogus. Could I be wrong? Sure. I’ve been wrong before and I’ll be wrong again. And if new evidence arrives that prove these claims, I’ll happily admit that was I was wrong. But until then, I’m sticking to the null hypothesis.

      “How would you measure the amount of energy necessary to cause telepathy to occur?”

      Depends on the specific effect claims that are made but several protocols are laid out here:
      http://www.dangeroustalk.net/a-team/Psychics

      And again, the James Randi Educational Foundation will happily work with you to devise an appropriate test that everyone can agree upon to test any such claims.
      http://www.randi.org

      “Another problem is most studies that are “Nobel prize” quality take years and millions of dollars in grants to conduct.”

      Yeah, the thing with science is that people who show actual promise have no trouble getting funding for their work, especially if that research shows promise of lots of profit at the end of the rainbow. You see, the whole scientific process is designed to optimally benefit the legitimate researcher and keep out the charlatans, which is why the charlatans always try to sidestep the process and take their quackery directly to the mostly scientifically illiterate public.

      “and no one will fund research to prove “mental abilites”, ghosts, or any other metaphysical phenomenon.”

      People HAVE funded such metaphysical research. They stopped when it proved a waste of time, money, and energy. And again, the James Randi Educational Foundation will happily work with anyone to develop a protocol to test any “metaphysical” claim and pay out a million bucks if that testing satisfies the burden of proof. The money is just sitting there waiting for some “metaphysical” researcher to prove their work to the world. If they can’t even convince the JREF that a phenomenon exists at all, what reason would they have for making a career out of it? Seems like an epically bad career choice.

      Real critical thinkers welcome challenges to their beliefs; they don’t trot out long lists of excuses to protect those beliefs from being properly tested. And again, there’s a million dollars sitting there for anyone who can give a good reason to believe this to just take. Are you allergic to money or something? If so, you could always give the money to a charity or something. It’d do a lot more good than it’s doing now just sitting in a bank account.

      And no, metaphysics most certainly does not fit the definition of what we today call science, which restricts itself only to testable claims. If you have to resort to misappropriating the 4th,5th, and 6th listed definitions in the dictionary, you’re probably trying too hard.

      • M. D. M. says:

        Why do you care? Shouldn’t you be focusing on something positive than what you believe is negative? Posting your “beliefs” is a scam too. You have no proof to your so called findings. After all, isn’t that what science is anyway? Proof? If you cannot prove it, then take your bandwagon on a trip to solve something that can be proved. As a fellow Doctor, we are supposed to have supporting information before we claim something to be true. Otherwise, it is just an opinion. . .everybody has one.

        Save the world by doing something useful, not by trying to tear down others.

        Peace

      • mjr256 says:

        I care because I care about what is true and I believe the more people that are educated in what is true and educated in how to distinguish truth from fiction, the better society will be. I am focused on a positive goal, science education. If you’re going to judge me on a single blog entry, I can just as easily accuse you of being negative based on your critical comment.

        As for your claim that I have no proof for my position, you’re shifting the burden of proof. Science bases its every conclusion on falsifiable, empirical evidence. If one is charging money to teach a scientific curriculum that is not based on sufficient evidence, they are not really teaching science at all and are merely using the name of science to deceive customers into believing that what they’re teaching is science. This is false advertising and fraud. So not only do the claims of of this school directly contradict proven scientific principles but it fails to provide any proof of those claims, and the burden of proof is on them. This is like claiming Santa Claus exists and charging money to teach people how to do Santa’s job, and then insisting it’s everyone else’s job to disprove the existence of Santa Claus. Science doesn’t work that way. Nor do the laws of logic. It’s always the claimant’s job to prove their claim.

        Actually, I’m quite happy saving the world doing exactly what I’m doing now, regardless of whether you misinterpret it as “tearing down others.” On the contrary, all I’ve criticized is a scam. I have not torn down any person who has the misfortune of falling victim to it.

      • William Rhodes says:

        Dear MJR…Following this string of posts has been eye opening, especially your responses. You’ve left me with the impression that because the university uses the term “science” that they should be bound by all the same types of educational requirements,publication requirements, accreditations, and peer reviews of a science professional. That’s blatently false! One need look no further than Washington, D.C. to see the fallacy of your arguments. Political Science has been around for centuries and today our country is led by true products of the Political Science schools our country can produce. Just look at the firm and fair stance we’ve been given on Immigration, on an out of control national debt…on well…tax reform… Hmmm, now that I’ve put it in that light perhaps I can agree with you.

        Actually, even though there is logic to what you say, I really agree with M.D.M. You have opinions about Metaphysical Science, not facts.

        In the case of this blog there is a quote that I believe applies, “For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t, no proof will do.” Stuart Chase

      • mjr256 says:

        “You’ve left me with the impression that because the university uses the term ‘science’ that they should be bound by all the same types of educational requirements,publication requirements, accreditations, and peer reviews of a science professional.”
        Um, yeah. That’s what the word “science” means. I also must insist that an advertised math class should teach math and not alchemy.

        “Political Science has been around for centuries and today our country is led by true products of the Political Science schools our country can produce.”
        I fail to see where you’re going with this as I also insist that Political Science classes teach the subject of Political Science, and not magic, nor Chemistry, nor Social Studies. If you can point me to an advertised Political Science school that doesn’t teach Political Science, but instead teaches people how to fly like TM classes claim to do, I’ll object to that too. Political Science is a firmly established subject in which people generally know what to expect from the curriculum. So I see no deception in Political Science classes teaching Political Science.

        “Actually, even though there is logic to what you say, I really agree with M.D.M. You have opinions about Metaphysical Science, not facts.”
        Such as? That “Metaphysical Science” is not a real science? Because that’s a fact. But I will happily look at any well-designed, peer-reviewed studies in reputable scientific journals you’d like to present to demonstrate the contrary. But if you’re just going to insist that magic is real but just can’t be properly measured by science, I’ve got better things to do than listen to “my dog ate my homework” excuses.

        “In the case of this blog there is a quote that I believe applies, ‘For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t, no proof will do.’ Stuart Chase”
        The flaw in the quote of course is it’s false dichotomy. It is certainly true that because of motivated reasoning, ideologues will maintain a belief even on insufficient evidence. And it’s also true that because of motivated reasoning, denialists will reject any and all evidence supporting an idea they don’t want to accept. But the critical missing component in the quote is its failure to acknowledge reasonable skepticism where the primary goal is specifically to minimize motivated reasoning and adopt whichever position is best supported by the evidence. It’s this final position that I hold and that this very blog is devoted to promoting. As I’ve said many times now. I have little trouble admitting when I’m wrong. I’ve been wrong before such as years ago when I bought into this New Age crap, and I’ll be wrong again. There’s no shame in being wrong, only in choosing to stay willfully ignorant.

        Now based on your comment, it’s clear you do not understand how science works or why it works. This is not meant to be an insult but a constructive criticism. Further, it seems as though it’s you, not me, who is emotionally attached to a particular conclusion on this matter. I’d love to find evidence for “Metaphysical Science” as it might get me a Nobel Prize, a place in the history books, and a million bucks from the James Randi Educational Foundation. And beyond that, it would get us closer to the truth about how the world really works. In the end, that’s my only real agenda, having as accurate an understanding of reality as possible. But credulously accepting ideas on insufficient evidence is a poor way of trying to achieve that end, which is why I support the scientific method, the best method we have for distinguishing fact from fiction.

  7. Immanual says:

    A Scam is a Scam is a Scam

    This exchange has evolved / devolved into a discussion of Metaphysics and most important point has been overlooked.

    Metaphysics pro and con can be argued back and forth till all parties involved have long since passed away. Personally, I believe in many things that are considered metaphysical and some very noted scientists are blurring the line between physics and metaphysics lately.

    BUT THAT IS SIDE STEPPING THE MAIN POINT – IT IS JUST A DIVERSION FROM AN ORIGONAL POINT MADE THAT THE UNIVERSITY OF METAPYSICAL SCIENCES IS A SCAM / FRAUD

    When you origonally mentined that they claim accreditation from the American Alternative Medical Association and the American Association Of Drugless Practitioners, you were on the right track. Both these “Accrediation” agencies are bogus and a scam. I know – my attorney tried to track them down, and here is he found out.

    1/ Neither American Alternative Medical Association or the American Association Of Drugless Practitioners has licience to opperate a business the state of Texas – where they claim to be located

    2/ Their mailing address is nothing more than a mail drop. There is no physical location anywhere in the State of Texas – where they claim to be located

    3/ The only place they exist is on-line. There is no physical location or business registration in any state.

    4/ They are what is called an “Accreditation Mill” An “Accreditation mill is a place (at least most do have a physical location…. If not these two) that will issue an Accreditation – for a fee. The “Accreditation” is of course, not worth anything, and is not recognized by the department of education… or anybody for that matter…. with the exception, of course, of the guy or gal taking the mney to bank every day.

    It does look impressive though, to say you have accreditation from somebody with an impressive sounding name…. and helpsone scam people out of their hard earned cash.

    As to why someone would utilize the service of an accreditation mill…. Well…. They got to be just plain stupid – or they have to know tit’s a scam, and decide to willingly participate in it and hence, further it.

    I too, as one of the previous posters have looked into the University Of Metaphysical Sciences – as some of their cource titles seem interesting to me. But appearently the previous poster is not as imformed as they think they are – OR as you say, the victem of a scam hates to admit it – OR they are one of Christine Breeze’s flunkies that tried (fairly successfully) to switch the focus away from the important points to an agrument of the validity of metaphysics.

    BOTTOM LINE: If you choose to associate with scam accreditation mill, you are either stupid or a fraud / scammer yourself. Either way, it is a very bad statement on the University Of Metaphysical Sciences.

  8. a.k. says:

    just to clarify.. those disparraging this uni of m.. ( I am not for or against…).
    Do you believe Thoughts create your reality.
    That is a decent enough basis to decide whether your comments are worthy of interpretation or not.
    Thanks.

    • mjr256 says:

      “Do you believe Thoughts create your reality.”

      NO.

      But if you disagree, please change my mind with your thoughts. Or better yet, conjure a leprechaun with your thoughts to fly to my house and convince me. Or turn the moon into cheese. Or hell, fly over yourself.

      • jacha610 says:

        mjr256
        I “thought” about this reply, and for all that you seem to know, I can’t help but wonder why your response to the question: “Do you believe Thoughts create your reality” is “NO”. Your reply is quite flippant, dismissive, and condensending…don’t know if you were going for a couple of laughs or what.

        But the truth (at least MY truth) of the matter is that when you look around at all that you see (excluding the natural world, yet some may argue that)…everything man made (to include this blog, the medium you use to write it, the chair you sit on or the floor you stand on, and the roof over your head) was created by a thought.

        When you tell yourself that you are going to become a scientist and several years later you are…then your initial thought to become one created that reality. When you tell yourself that your life sucks and you live it as such, then your thoughts create that reality as well.

        A.K.’s thoughts can’t create YOUR reality….only yours can do that. And by the way…their have been minds changed by thoughts.

        If our thoughts do not create our reality then please tell me what or who does…or have I missed the point?

      • mjr256 says:

        You most certainly did miss the point. The good news is it’s not because you’re stupid; you’re simply being deliberately dishonest.

        Nobody is arguing that thinking has no practical application and that brain activity doesn’t send signals throughout our bodies that in turn allows us to use our limbs, muscles, etc. in such a way as to perform physical actions. You’re making a preposterous semantic argument that clearly has no place in this discussion. And you KNOW that’s not the discussion we’re having. I was specifically asked whether I believed thoughts ALONE, divorced from any physics, can alter physical reality. As in magic or wishful thinking. This blog, as you very well know, was not constructed purely by thoughts alone without the aid of physics.

        And if there was any confusion about what was being discussed in the article itself, you’ve clearly read at least some of the comments section, where the exact nature of what is being discussed is clarified in great detail.

        My answer to the question I was asked (and not the brand new question you introduced to straw man my position) can only be seen as dismissive if one agrees with me that thoughts can’t create one’s reality. If you believe the answer is yes, that thoughts alone, divorced from any physics, have the magical capability of becoming manifest in reality, then my request is both fair and legitimate. It’s a simple request. Simply demonstrate that thoughts can do so. If you do, I’ll be convinced. Can’t physically alter my beliefs with your mind? Can’t manifest a leprechaun with your thoughts? Can’t turn the moon into cheese or fly merely using the power of your thoughts? Then the answer to the question is an obvious no.

        And as for this childish special pleading of yours about “YOUR truth”, if that’s how reality works, then how about this. MY truth trumps your truth times infinity plus one because I’m willing it that way with my magical thoughts. Beliefs can be subjective. “Truth” about the physical nature of reality are not subjective, regardless of your ability to insert a pronoun in front of the word.

      • jacha610 says:

        mjr said:
        ” I was specifically asked whether I believed thoughts ALONE, divorced from any physics, can alter physical reality. As in magic or wishful thinking. This blog, as you very well know, was not constructed purely by thoughts alone without the aid of physics.”

        Oh…really? I didn’t read that part. This is what was posted: ” just to clarify.. those disparraging this uni of m.. ( I am not for or against…).
        Do you believe Thoughts create your reality.”

        So now who’s being dishonest? You were not asked “specifically”.

        And while we are on the topic of dishonesty…. mjr said: “On the contrary, all I’ve criticized is a scam. I have not torn down any person who has the misfortune of falling victim to it.”

        But that is exactly what you are doing. You are actually saying that people who have attended or are attending that school are incapable of thinking for themselves; they’re “victims” because they choose to pursue a course of study that’s different from the norm…they choose to believe what they want to believe, and they need someone like you to point out to them their errors in judgement. That’s an affront to their intelligence.

        Why do this? If the school is a “scam” and it bothers you so, then do something to shut it down! You and people like you seem to derive some sort of pleasure in your attempts to make others wrong and you right in these type forums. “Let’s slay the heathens with our righteous sword of science…yee ha! They’ve got no business believing in such nonsense! Who do they think they are!?”

        But here’s the kicker mjr, the belief in metaphysics…whether it’s a science or not….whether it’s recognized by mainstream society or not…whether you consider it voodoo, magic, or gobblygoop…. is not going anywhere. It’s here to stay! So what’s the point in your point?

        The thing that bothers me the most about this “blog” is not really the content…but your delivery. It’s not necessary to be so insulting and off-putting.

  9. foreignsands says:

    Thanks for the blog posting. I found my way here because a friend of mine showed interest towards this university on Facebook. The name of the university alone sounded suspicious to me, so I found myself doing some online research on them, especially since I wasn’t sure whether my friend was simply kidding or just not quite aware of what he’s dealing with. (It’s the latter, I’m afraid.) The friend of mine I mention isn’t a very close one at all, so it’s not in my place to say anything to him, but I do feel quite bad for him, especially if he’s already given some of his money to this establishment. More critical thinking is what this world of ours needs, and this particular university is not the place where you learn it.

    Not to mention that it’s an absolute disgrace that these establishments are even allowed to refer to themselves as ‘universities’ in the first place.

  10. Dusty says:

    The James Randi Foundation is a complete joke. There are some areas I’m skeptical in when it comes to metaphysics, but I would never have a professional trickster such as James Randi develop tests and determine in his mind whether or not my ability is valid or not… See Chris Carter’s book “Parapsychology and the Skeptics”. It will open your eyes when it comes to the not so great James Randi, and it will also explain how skeptics have an answer for everything…The book will give MANY examples of how PSI has been proven and yet ignored by the skeptics, even when the tests worked in favor of PSI… It’s basically the book that skeptics were hoping was never written…..

    • mjr256 says:

      James Randi does not develop the tests used for the challenge. Both parties agree on a reasonable protocol. And Randi himself is usually not even directly involved. Also, the tests are conducted in a scientific fashion that require measurable outcomes, so it’s not a matter of whether you can convince someone but whether the tester performs the measurable outcome they agreed they could achieve. For instance, if a alleged dowser claims they can find water 80% of the time, they conduct a test where they must score 80% or higher. It’s that simple. It doesn’t matter what James Randi or anyone else thinks. When you agree to the do the challenge, the JREF enters into a legally binding contract with you that requires them to pay if you indeed do what you claim you can do. If they refuse, you can sue them. Of course that problem hasn’t come up yet. The typical response is applicants simply making up excuses after the fact to explain away why they failed. And then they can choose to reapply after one year (they never do). So if these are the accusations by Mr. Carter in his book, he is not only misrepresenting the facts but is potentially committing libel.

      You also seem to completely fail to understand what skepticism is, as evidence from your “It’s basically the book that skeptics were hoping was never written” remark. My goal as a skeptic is not to deny aspects of reality I might not like; on the contrary, my goal as a skeptic is to align my beliefs as closely with how the world really works as possible. If psychic powers really existed, I’d be thrilled…as would any scientist. It would open up a whole new area of science to be explored and could effect major positive change to the world. We could close down the CIA and the NSA while replacing all our intelligence agents with psychics who could determine when and where a terrorist attack was going to take place in advance. The TSA could dispose of all these metal detectors, x-ray scanners, and pat-downs and hire psychics instead to smoke out anyone planning to blow up or hijack a plane. There is no shortage of valuable roles psychics could play to make our world a better place. And I for one would welcome that if there was any compelling evidence for it. Unfortunately however, there is not and the alleged studies that believers put forward as proof of this phenomena are horribly not compelling to the scientific community, nor to science-informed skeptics.

      Now I don’t have a million dollars to give away but if you think you can prove psychic powers exist under proper scientific controls, I would happily offer $10,000 as the discovery would make me rich, get me a Nobel Prize, and secure me immortality in the history books. Honestly though, if you think you can prove it, I don’t know why you haven’t presented your findings to the scientific peer review to make yourself rich and famous.

  11. Dusty says:

    The thing is that in my opinion, James Randi will NEVER part with that million dollars. He’s got his reputation at stake. He’s known as the debunker that has never been proven otherwise. Do you really think honestly that he wants to lose that title? Because if people think that, then they are naive and just kidding themselves. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out. What would happen to his book sales if all of the sudden someone passed the test?? and yes, I’ve read his books, although it’s been awhile since I’ve read “Flim Flam”

    Regarding that book I mentioned, Chris backs up everthing he says in that book with footnotes and resources to check out yourself. However, He only talks about Randi for about 2 pages, as he tries to cover alot. Most of the rest of the book is giving excellent examples and graphs of documented PSI studies etc, and how even those that were impressive were ignored….

    In my oppinion, if someone presents a real threat of winning that 1 million dollars, then Randi will just move the goal posts further away.. I just wouldn’t trust James Randi as far as I could throw him, and I don’t think I’m alone there either. . Randy is the ultimate judge and jury as far as whether or not someone will get that million dollars…

    Here’s the bottom line as far as I’m concerned. When you are dealing with something so subtle as PSI, you are dealing with very sublte energies, so new protocols need to be developed that allows for that.

    Let me ask you this, what if PSI exists, BUT it behaves in very unpredictable ways?

    That’s why Quantum Physics is mentioned so much when it comes to metaphysics, becauase Quantum Physics is whacky and crazy and nobody completely understands it, expecially when it comes to studies such as the double slit experiment and the importance of the observer… So Quantum Physics is mentioned quite a bit when it comes to PSI, because it’s possible that Quantum Physics allows for the existence of PSI more than Classical Physics would, due to it’s strange and whacky behavior.

    There are too many that think that PSI doesn’t exist because it can’t be reproduced “ON DEMAND” in a lab setting. Well, what if PSI doesn’t lend itself to be tested that way? What if it happens more randomally and is dependent upon certain conditions that we just don’t understand yet?? As an example there’s an excellent book written by physicist Tom Campbell called “My BIG TOE’ that has a chapter covering something called “The PSI Uncertainy Principle” explaining why PSI may not be testible on demand etc…

    So why doesn’t the skeptics concentrate more of their energies on focusing on perhaps developing new ways of testing PSI….Just because it’s not often testable on demand does not mean that it doesn’t exist…

    On a personal level I know that PSI exists because I’ve seen it happen far too many times in my life to outweigh coincidence … For me, it seems to happen in waves….I don’t want to get into that though because it’s personal, and I’m not out to prove my own belief to anyone, as I know it’s anecdotal. I just smile when it happens :).

    Regarding your comment about how science would be thrilled etc about PSI, MAYBE… Without science understanding how to even explain or test it (see what I wrote above), I don’t think they would ever make the claim that it exists in the short-term..

    I do honestly believe though that in time(might be a few decades from now), new protocolls will be developed and an understanding of PSI and Intention will allow for more accepted protocolls. Thus, I do think PSI will be proven eventually, but who knows how long that will take.

    (excuse my spelling errors above)…

    • mjr256 says:

      Well that’s the real trick, isn’t it. It’s not that you have proof the test is unfair; it’s that its your speculation that the test is not fair because you don’t want to believe that its fair and simply hasn’t reinforced your bias. Not my problem. Again, if you can prove its rigged, sue the organization. Have at it and put your money where your mouth is. Otherwise, I don’t appreciate my blog being used to spread libelous rumors.

      Now I’ve already explained to you that how the test works and how it does not conform to the straw man you’ve concocted. It doesn’t matter whether Randi or anyone else wants the applicant to be successful or not; all that matters is that they can actually do what they say they can do. This is like a kid claiming that he failed his Social Studies test because the teacher doesn’t like him when anyone is free to look at the test themselves and see with their own eyes that the kid’s answers do not match the correct answers.

      But just for kicks, let’s play this little hypothetical game of yours since you prefer it to the cold hard facts of the matter. You honestly think a Nobel Prize and going down in the history books for being the first to scientifically prove psychic phenomena would be a blight on Randi’s reputation? Seriously? Do you also not think there’d be a huge financial incentive for the world’s most famous psychic critic to publish a new book reversing his position on the subject? Hell, given Randi’s expertise as a mentalist, he could make a huge living by pretending to be psychic himself if he wanted. Though at the age of 82, I doubt money makes much of an incentive.

      Now I haven’t read this book you refer to but again, if he has evidence of fraud, he can sue Randi and the organization. Otherwise, its just speculation and conjecture, which I find no more compelling than your speculation and conjecture. Now I don’t know which studies this author refers to but I have looked at numerous studies that have been championed by psychic enthusiasts over the years and found them horribly lacking. And if you have a specific study in mind, I’d be happy to research it, though I’m not a qualified scientist in a field that would make me an appropriate choice for peer-review. I do have to say though that given that no psi studies have seemed to survive the scrutiny of the peer-review process, my expectations are not very high.

      Now again, you keep asserting your opinion about a test you clearly have not researched. As I’ve already explained, the conditions for the test are worked out and MUST BE APPROVED BY BOTH PARTIES prior to the challenge for the express purpose of avoiding trickery and the moving of the goalpost on either side. The challenge needs to be arranged to ensure the applicant cannot cheat or reasonably accuse the organization of cheating, or else it defeats the whole point of the challenge in the first place. The challenge is arranged as to make it near impossible for an applicant to cheat while making it super easy for an applicant who can actually just do what they claim they can do. For instance, if you claim you can fly, the test might involve the applicant jumping out of a 30-story window. Then they either fly or they don’t, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER RANDI OR ANYONE ELSE WANTS TO BELIEVE IT OR NOT. They make a legal contract to which the organization is legally obligated to obey. So it doesn’t matter if you trust Randi or not. He’s got the U.S. legal system behind him. If you think you can prove the challenge is not legitimate, sue him already. I, like the legal system, respond to evidence, not flimsy excuses like “my dog ate my homework.”

      As for the agreed upon protocols, as I said before, the test is always tailored to the specific claimant. If they say they can dowse for water 80% of the time, they have to at least get 80%. That’s all hammered out prior to the challenge in a legally binding written contract. But if someone’s going to show up and claim they can dowse for water with a degree of accuracy not much higher than chance alone, that is not a legitimate claim of psi. I’m sorry that this whole psychic power thing has failed so miserably that its been downplayed to the point where its now “subtle” but again, not my problem. But if the goalpost has been moved to the point where the bar is so low as to be indistinguishable from chance, then honestly why even waste time on it as it clearly would have no practical application anyway? Science deals in falsifiable claims. If something is by nature unfalsifiable or “unpredictable”, then what knowledge of our universe does it give us and what practical application does it serve to waste our time on it? And more to the point, if its not measurable, why not just say it’s a religion and call it a day?

      Quantum Physics is quite different. While there is much for us to still learn about the field and while we understand that there is currently some element of unpredictability to it, it still provides measurable outcomes that have practical applications. It’s falsifiable. And if there’s one thing quantum physics is not, it’s subtle. Now regarding the double slit experiment, it’s not the observer that influences quantum particles but our process of observation. This is an important distinction that people, particularly misguided individuals trying to co-opt real science to justify their pseudosciences, often don’t acknowledge. Nobody is asking for psi to be produced “ON DEMAND in a lab”, only that it be it can be repeatedly shown to make testable, falsifiable predictions under proper scientific controls, the same exact standard that every currently held scientific conclusion has been held to. If psi can’t be “tested that way,” then what way can it be repeatedly tested that controls for perceptual biases and any other unrelated noise?

      “What if it happens more randomally and is dependent upon certain conditions that we just don’t understand yet??”
      Well then I guess the same thing that happens when your dog really does eat your homework. We say too fucking bad and cry me a river. I, my fellow skeptics, and numerous scientists have bent over backwards trying to develop a reasonable protocol to test this hypothesis that many insist on believing in despite its unproven nature. But where we draw the line is unreasonable, poorly designed tests that aren’t entered into on good faith and which stack the deck unfairly in favor of reinforcing the bias of those who just want to believe no matter what. That’s not how science works. Either develop a specific hypothesis that accounts for this unpredictable phenomena you already “know exists” on faith and fallacious logic or you’re done. That’s it. Science can only go so far to accommodate unfalsifiable, faith-based claims. I for one am growing sick and tired of all the excuses.

  12. [...] just had a moderately lengthy exchange in the comments section of an old article from a year and a half ago that I thought would make a great post on its own. The conversation [...]

  13. Dusty says:

    It’s late and I don’t have time to respond in detail right now…..
    However, one of the passeges in Carter’s book sums it up for me when it comes to Randi

    “With regard to his “challenge” Randi has been quoted as saying, “I always have an out”… That’s not Chris’s quote, but he does site the source….

    The book also talks about someone that Randi refused to test… Again, Chris backs up the sources.

    Randi is far from the Saint that you make him out to be, but you can continue to worship him, that’s fine.

    enuff said….

    Cynics need to step away from the lab and at least acknowledge the possibility that science doesn’t have all the answers regarding our brains and consciousness, and perhaps there are things well beyond our comprehension, and until mainstream science can humble itself enough to do so, it’s just going to be the same old arguments over and over again..

    Some people can’t just accept the possibility of existence beond their physical senses. …..It’s just too hard for them to grasp, so the best way out of it is to refute any possiblity. Well, in the end, the joke may be on them.

    • mjr256 says:

      Your friend Carter doesn’t seem to know much of anything about Randi’s Challenge, or else you didn’t read his book very thoroughly because I’ve already addressed numerous misconceptions you’ve had about Randi’s Challenge. Of course, again, if you don’t like that challenge, you can apply to the far more difficult challenge of proving psi to the scientific community by producing peer-reviewed studies that demonstrate this phenomena exists. Of course when you tell me that you already “know” this phenomena exists despite its lack of compelling scientific evidence because you don’t understand how flawed human perception is and don’t seem to know what a coincidence means, I find it nearly impossible to ignore your admitted bias on the subject and to take you seriously. Knowledge should be proportional to the available evidence; if you’re going to say you know something despite the evidence, this is called blind faith, and it’s not a virtue when doing science.

      Now I would very much like to see evidence that Randi has said what, according to you, Mr. Carter has said he said as I suspect that he either said no such thing or has been horribly quote-mined by an ideologue who is simply looking for any means of poisoning the well of his critics. That being said, in the grand scheme of things, who the fuck cares what Randi has or hasn’t said or whether his particular challenge is legitimate, as if psi were real and empirically falsifiable, there are many equally lucrative alternative avenues of demonstrating it is real that have yet to yield the results you happen to like. When all you do is focus your energy on ad hominem attacks against your critics and making up endless excuses for failure instead of actually demonstrating empirically that the phenomena is real, this is a massive red flag.

      Simply demanding scientific claims be proven with the appropriate level of evidence is not cynicism…at least that’s what the invisible leprechauns tell me. And when you condescendingly suggest that science needs to “humble itself”, you reveal nothing but your fundamental ignorance of how science works. Science is not just a body of knowledge but a method for determining what is true, the best method we have. And if you’ve ever spent any time doing science or even knew any professional scientist, you’d know that science is nothing but humble. Science is a meritocracy where good ideas go far while bad ideas get discarded like used condoms. The arrogance here is coming from you who state outright that you just “know” what is true regardless of the evidence.

      I am more than willing to accept any belief that has can be empirically demonstrated to exist under proper controlled conditions. Otherwise, we’re just dealing in magical thinking here and your beliefs are no more legitimate than saying Harry Potter is real. Again, evidence talks whereas endless excuses don’t. But I guess some people can’t just accept that the possibility that they’re wrong and have been horribly misled by fools…if’s just too hard for them to grasp, so the best way out of it is to make excuses for why their beliefs fail every legitimate means of testing. Well, in the end, the joke is on them.

  14. Dusty says:

    I meant to also say that your blind belief in Randi just blows me away..

    Another quote that I totally agree with is:

    “Given his countless disparaging and insulting remarks concerning parapsychology and his financial stake in the debunking movement, he can hardly be considered an unbiased observer”…

    Again, your trust in him blows me away… I’d much rather prefer a non-biased group of scientists doing the testing that had absolutely NOTHING to do with Randi whatsover, and I’ve felt that way about Randi for a long time, even when I was a hard core skeptic myself. Something about him has always rubbed me the wrong way… I’ve just never had a good feeling about the guy. I just don’t think his ego would allow him to be wrong. Sorry, that’s just the way I feel.

  15. Dusty says:

    Here’s an other post to chew on…One of the things that I’ve experienced in the past is precognative dreaming.

    For example, I’e been meditating for about 25 years now on a daily basis and prior to the meditations, I didn’t have any psychic experiences, nothing.

    Now, I had a very bad thing happen to me on 911. I was living alone. The morning of the 911 event, I had a dream that morning of a plane flying into a building and the building exploded. Keep in mind that prior to that, I had never ever had a dream about a plane crashing into anything whatsover. I woke up actually shaking. Now, after I had composed myself I walked into the kitchen, had some breakfast and turned on the tv and it was exactly as I had seen it. As a matter of fact I was so shook up about it that I didn’t go to work that day. Never again after that did I have a dream of a plane flying into a building. Heck, I don’t think I had a dream of a plane period.

    Now, during that same month I had another dream of my dog getting out and getting hit by a car, and it woke me up suddenly in the middle of the night, trembling again…..I had never even thought about the dog getting out because I knew he couldn’t dig under the fence. So I thought that dream was just a bad coincidence and I went back to sleep for another hour….

    Well, I woke up in the middle of the night and found out that one of the neighbors kids had left the gate open and he got out. that was the first time he ever got out. I didn’t know he got hit by a car until later that morning when I found him in the road…He was in the same exact location that I saw him in the dream. There were also a couple of other more minor dream events after that….

    Now, I didn’t want this and I was completely petrified as to why it was happening to me…I remember going into meditation and trying to heal my mind with the intent that I didn’t want to know this information. I wanted to be released from the pain that it was bringing me… Well, sure enough it cleared up the next month and I haven’t had ANY horrible pre-event dreams ever again….. In fact, all of my dreams are beautiful. I don’t even have bad dreams.
    Now, you would have had to have been in my mind to see the clarity and precision that was in those dreams and just how detailed they were to the actual event..I don’t expect anyone to believe me unless they WERE in my mind. Heck, it was even hard for me to believe. In fact, I didn’t WANT to believe it.

    Now with that said, how is one to explain something that comes and goes like that to a scientist? Do I just put my head in the sand and say, “It must have a logical explanation or a coincidence?”, or do I humble myself and say that the world may be completely different than what we believe it to be. Well, I tend to be a humble guy who believes that science doesn’t have all the answers, so the last reasoning made much more sense to me…. I’m skeptical of my own experiences, so I’m tough on myself. But if you would have seen what I had seen, you would have felt the same exact way.

    Other than to a few close friends and family members, I really don’t like to talk about those dreams because the pain was just too much….I don’t think it was precognative dreaming either, because it seemed as if I dreamed the events just as they were happening, but to me that was just as bad and just as painful….. Believe me, this is something that I wouldn’t wish on anyone…
    Goodnight……..

  16. mjr256 says:

    What about all those mornings where your dreams did not have any similarity to events that happened in the real world? I once had a dream that I was fucking Angelina Jolie. Still hasn’t happened in the real world. Coincidences happen all the time. And on a long enough time line, the odds of really impressive coincidences happening are inevitable. There’s no mystery here. There’s also no testable hypothesis here. It’s just an anecdote, which on its own is scientifically worthless. And for the record, we dream every night and forgot most of our dreams. And if a plane hadn’t crashed on that day, you probably wouldn’t even remember that dream. This is just cherry-picking from millions of occasions where no such coincidences happened. And since 9/11, I’ve had probably a dozen dreams involving planes crashing into buildings, as I’m sure have countless over people, without it actually coming to pass.

    You you can keep listing anecdotes about your dreams but the plural of anecdote is not data, and its certainly not any more compelling. In Iceland, people see elves all the time. That doesn’t mean they’re real.

    “Do I just put my head in the sand and say, “It must have a logical explanation or a coincidence?”,”

    Yes. Because that’s exactly what the word coincidence means. Just because you don’t understand that doesn’t make you “humble” for embracing magical thinking. And refusing to consider you may be wrong and align your beliefs with the available evidence is the exact opposite of humble.

    “I’m skeptical of my own experiences, so I’m tough on myself.”
    Clearly (sarcasm overload!)

    Listen, you’re going to believe whatever you want to believe regardless of what I say because you’re just so incredibly “humble”, so I see no place for this conversation to go. I guess you’re just too damned humble to proportion your beliefs to the available evidence. Best of luck to you.

  17. Dusty says:

    Well, I know it’s not a coincidence because I don’t dream normal dreams that can happen in reall life. My dreams, while usually awesome and beautiful, usually have no root in real life, as they are usually nonsensical in nature. Again, you would have had to have been in my head to even be able to judge something like this. You would have had to seen the extreme level of clarity and details that I saw…

    That’s the thing, I had never ever dreamed of a plane crash or my dog getting hit by a car EVER in my entire life, and I keep a dream journal and remember all of my dreams, because I practice lucid dreaming on a nightly basis.

    But then again, I don’t care if you or anyone else believes me or not, as I know what happened and that’s all that matters. You can scoff, that’s fine. I should have known just to keep my mouth shut.

    and I’m sorry but many experiences like this do come as anecdotal nature, that’s just the nature of the paranormal…Sure you can ignore the millions of experiences of others as say they are ALL hallucinations, that’s your right. However, experiences is the best teacher.

    Sorry, but you can’t change my mind on Randi. I’ve heard way too many negative stories about the guy to trust him. I would never trust someone who worked as a magician in the first place, and YES, his reputation would be ruined if someone ever passed his test…He knows that as well. He would no longer be the debunker that constantly and rudely put down and lashed out at the paranormal at every opportunity he could…You think he really wants to lose that title? Really? Are you kidding me?

    I had thought by a couple of your earlier posts that you MAY have been more open-minded and at least be a skeptic and not a pseudoskeptic. Somebody who’s a true open-minded skeptic would say:

    “Ya know, paranormal experiences are interesting, and even though I can’t accept it without proof, there may be paranormal phenonmena that very well may be valid, but we just don’t have the proof we need right now, but I very well could be wrong on my current assumptions of the paranormal.”…

    That’s what a true skeptic would say… I don’t see anything on here reflecting that attitude from you at all, which means that your beliefs are cemented as factual, and no amount of testing(no matter what the results) will ever change your mid… So yes, we are both wasting our time…

    Read the following book by Elizabeth Mayer and you’ll see what a true skeptic is who still keeps an open mind..

    One final word, by locking in such a rigid anti- metaphysical belief system, you are also locking out an amazing beatiful life that goes beyond any words I can accurately express here…

    Deleting this site from my bookmarks as it’s obviously just a waste of my time…
    Take Care

    • mjr256 says:

      The definition of the word “coincidence” is:
      “the occurrence of events that happen at the same time by accident but seem to have some connection”

      Please explain how what you describe is not, by definition, a coincidence.

      I once had a dream that my next door neighbor in his 80s was being hailed out by EMTs in a stretcher and a few weeks later, he died. Is that a pretty weird coincidence? Sure, but that doesn’t make it prophetic. You you have millions of dreams that don’t match closely with reality all the time and had 9/11 never happened, you probably would have forgotten that particular dream a long time ago. This is just a classic lottery fallacy, aka the Law of Large Numbers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_Truly_Large_Numbers), where you’re remembering the hits and forgetting the misses. The Law states that with a sample size large enough, any outrageous thing is likely to happen. Because we never find it notable when likely events occur, we highlight unlikely events and notice them more. It’s like you won the lottery and decided that, given the odds of you winning, some force must have deliberately caused your victory even though the odds that someone was going to win the lottery was almost 100% and you just happened to be that person by chance alone.

      But getting back to my point, while these anecdotes may superficially seem impressive, merely noting anecdotes is not science. Science, recognizing how flawed human perception is, requires specific testable, falsifiable predictions that can be repeated and that show measurable outcomes. And to quote Barry Beyerstein, “Anecdotal evidence leads us to conclusions that we wish to be true, not conclusions that actually are true.” If anecdotes were worth their salt, we’d all have to believe that the Martians invaded Grovers Mill, NJ in 1938. Afterall, just look at the extreme level of clarity and details of the accounts.

      Now you recommended a book and I’ll do the same: Carl Sagan’s “The Demon-Haunted World.” To quote Sagan, “”Pseudoscience differs from erroneous science. Science thrives on errors, cutting them away one by one. False conclusions are drawn all the time, but they are drawn tentatively. Hypotheses are framed so they are capable of being disproved. A succession of alternative hypotheses is confronted by experiment and observation. Science gropes and staggers toward improved understanding. Proprietary feelings are of course offended when a scientific hypothesis is disproved, but such disproofs are recognized as central to the scientific enterprise. Pseudoscience is just the opposite. Hypotheses are often framed precisely so they are invulnerable to any experiment that offers a prospect of disproof, so even in principle they cannot be invalidated.”

      As for your insistence on blacklisting James Randi, a man you’ve never met and know next to nothing about other than he disagrees with you, have at it. I don’t really give a damn. McCarthyism never worked in the past, so I don’t know why you people think it will start working now. But don’t you dare pretend I’m not open-minded when I repeatedly asked for proof and you provided absolutely none or pretend you’re open-minded when you flat-out stated that you “knew” your beliefs are true despite a complete lack of empirical evidence. If you’re open-minded, then what would convince you that you’re wrong?

  18. Dusty says:

    Heheh, sorry I had to look and reply….So much for my idea of deleting the bookmark :)…..Darn browser history brought me right to the site again :).

    Unfortunately, I don’t have the time that you have for the long posts right now(although I did yesterday).

    So I’ll just keep it to small replies for now.

    Regarding Carl Sagan, he also said something in favor of the paranormal which I completely agreed with. The direct quote is:

    “there are three claims in the ESP field which, in my opinion, deserve serious study (1) that by thought alone humans can (barely) affect random number generators, (2) that people under mild sensory deprivation can receive thoughts or images projected at them; and (3) that young children sometimes report the details of a previous life, which upon checking turn out to be accurate and which they could not have known ab out in any other way than reincarnation.”

    That quote was actually from the Demon Haunted World.
    I do agree with the children and past lives part of the quote especially.

    I recently read a book by James B Tucker M.D and some of the stories that Jim Tucker verfied to be true was absolutely amazing…

    PSI is probably my least interest when it comes to metaphysics..I leave that up to the experts to study and research, like Dean Radin….

    Regarding James Randi, we are just going to have to agree to disagree….

    My areas of interest have always been NDEs, Past Life Research(mostly by doctors and scientists) not by softmore pastlife research new age attempts…

    I also keep an open mind when it comes to remote viewing…Yes, there’s evidence against it, but I recently read book(most like a text book actually) called “Opening to the Infinite” by Stephan Schwartz and has some fantastic remote viewing studies.

    When it comes to remote viewing, I’m more neutral, as I’ve seen both evidence against it and both evidence for it……I find the study very fascinating, and Schwartz is such a respected individual in the field.

    But like PSI, I don’t think it lends itself well to spot-on testing.

    • mjr256 says:

      I’m sorry, but if you’re saying it’s not falsifiable in any meaningful way, then we’re dealing with wishful thinking, not science. And unless I can be given a good reason to believe something, I’m not going to believe it. Anecdotes, as I said before, are not a good reason. In fact, anecdotal evidence and eyewitness testimony are notoriously among the least reliable forms of evidence. And while I understand why people would think having a first-hand experience is compelling, history and neuroscientific research show human perception and memory to be deeply flawed. The fact is one’s experiences are biased towards their beliefs. The old expression “seeing is believing” has it backwards. More often than not, believing is seeing.

      As for Sagan, let’s not take him out of context here. My position on psi is no different than his. If the phenomena is to be accepted as real, it has to be falsifiable. It has to be repeatedly shown to make verifiable predictions. If climatology and meteorology were unable to consistently make testable and reliable predictions, we wouldn’t take them seriously. Science is characterized by its emphasis on self-criticism. So when you say you know a phenomenon exists despite it being untestable, you are doing things backwards. Evidence comes first and one’s conclusions should derive from the evidence, not the other way around. As Sagan says, “…every time we exercise self-criticism, every time we test our ideas against the outside world, we are doing science. When we are self-indulgent and uncritical, when we confuse hopes and facts, we slide into pseudoscience and superstition.”

      If compelling evidence is presented, I am more than happy to change my position on psi. I have no problem admitting I’m wrong. I’ve been wrong before and I’ll be wrong again. I used to believe psi almost as much as you and Mr. Radin do. But as soon as someone presented a rational case challenging my assumptions, I dropped those beliefs almost overnight. I have a very solid track record for changing my position on many supernatural or paranormal issues when presented with compelling arguments from the other side. I put my emotions aside on these issues years ago and no longer have any dog in this race. If Mr. Radin, Mr. Sheldrake, or whoever ever get around to producing a legitimately compelling scientific study that shows their hypotheses can make significantly better than chance predictions and can survive the scrutiny of scientific peer-review, I’ll be impressed. Until then, it’s all just speculation, magical thinking, and apologetics. And the same goes for NDEs and Past Life Research, two other equally dubious beliefs that haven’t fared well under scientific scrutiny.

  19. Dusty says:

    Mjr256, you make some good points, but take meteorology for example. They can’t always make accurate predictions, that’s the things. I don’t how many times they’ve forecasted rain here in Sacramento, the rain never game… In my opinion, PSI is kind of like that. We may know it should work, but it doesn’t always. Of course meteorology has climatalogy to fall back on to help with the preductions, but even then, the weather doesn’t always do what it’s forecasted to do, no matter how much you put it under a microscope.

    Actually Dean Radin DOES put together many many studies on PSI. The problem is funding. But his books, “the conscious universe” and “entangled minds” is loaded with different studies. His results are really impressive whe it comes to random number generators. Of course, you are going to have skeptics now matter what you do, and Radin has answers some skeptics comments on his book quite well. You will never please everyone, that’s just the way it is…..

    That’s what I love about researchers as Dean Radin and Jim B Tucker. They know they take a chance with their peers and writing books like this might not make them the most popular scientists amongst their peers, but they do it anyway, and I applaud them for that.

    Jim Tucker wrote his book on Children’s Past Lives with a very skeptical mindset. He was extremely detailed with every case and he wasn’t afraid to tell the reader what cases didn’t veryify 100%. When the children made claims, he didn’t take their word for it. He set out to verify if what they were saying were true and not just an overactive imagination. The famnilies and backgrounds were investaged as well as the people they made claims to from a previous life. Now that’s research!!

    There aren’t too many books out there that do research this way. I think Chris Carter, Dean Radin, Stephan Schwartz and Tom Campbell(with his Virtual Reality theory) are amongst the pioneers in this field of research, and I applaud them for taking changes…Somebody has to.

    and Again MJR256, nobody is asking to change your mind on what you currently accept as balogna or non-balogna…

    It’s funny how you use to be a believer. I was just the opposite. I was a hard-core skeptic, untill after many years of meditation, it opened my sensitivity to subtle energies allowed me to start experiencing things I wasn’t able to ever experience before….It took quite a bit of work, but it was worth it. Years of daily and deep meditation is what did it for me, which is why I’m so secure in my belief system now.

    • mjr256 says:

      Of course you’re right that meteorology is not 100% accurate, but we can both agree its got a reasonable and consistent level of accuracy in making predictions that have practical application in the real world. This is what makes it a legitimate science as opposed to, say, astrology, which makes incredibly vague and interchangeable predictions that can apply to almost anyone at any time. But even with weather, which is not always predictable, we know that the basic principles of meteorology are sound because our model for understanding weather has been repeatedly tested and shown to give mostly accurate predictions well above chance alone.

      If suddenly, meteorologists started doing no better than chance in their predictions and we were seeing radically different outcomes, scientists would be forced to re-examine the whole thing and try to figure out why our accuracy in weather predicting has gotten worse. And though I surmise lots of individual meteorologists might continue to defend their model as dogma for the sake of their livelihood, the broader scientific community would leave it all behind in favor a more accurate model in the same way we dropped the Ptolomy model of celestial bodies in favor of the more accurate Copernicus model.

      Science moves with the evidence and what worries me about guys like Radin or Sheldrake is that they seem committed to certain conclusions from the start and seem to be just looking for ways to arrive at their preexisting conclusion rather than just starting by testing a hypothesis and then formulating conclusions based on their findings. It seems that they always manage to arrive at the same answer, which is this vague concept of psi. I don’t feel comfortable with what seems to be their emotional commitment to that particular conclusion. It to me suggests bias. It also seems to me that their work often lacks reasonable control protocols and that the better designed the study is, the less of an effect is found.

  20. Dusty says:

    Hey Mjr256.
    I actually thought the same thing about Radin before I read his books and conversed with him via emails.

    But he is honest when experiments don’t pan out, OR if the results were on the level of “chance”. He’ll come right out and say it….I know that he’s put quite a bit of time into his studies. His book “entangled minds” was a bit deep though, as it got really into formulas and really heavily into stats and other things that I’m not really interested in, but I know that others are.

    (I apologize for the huge amount of horrible spelling and grammar errors in my previous posts. Sometimes my fingers get ahead of my brain when I type, and my writing looks like a first grader’s lol).

    • mjr256 says:

      I’m sure I made a number of typos myself, so no worries. In any event, this seems like an appropriate time to just say, we’ll have to agree to disagree. I hope I didn’t come off too hostile and I respect your willingness to engage in this dialogue.

  21. Dusty says:

    Mjr256,

    Likewise. It was nice to have a dialogue without the personal insults hurled at me, which is what I usually experience….

    take care…

  22. Shelby Welch says:

    So using placebo for cancer is disastrous but using chemotherapy and taking all of that medication with a variety of side effects isn’t? You should think about what you are saying. There have been reports from all over the world and from all kinds of people who have been cured simply by changing their attitude ad perception on their reality. I hope you will awaken sometime soon. Namaste :)

  23. William Rhodes says:

    You said a lot, but never explained why “Metaphysical” cannot be replaced by “Political” in everyone of your statements. Is that because you’re emotionally involved with the Metaphysical argument and don’t want to discuss the Political one?

    Are you paid to do this or are you doing it as an Apologist?

    • mjr256 says:

      Not at all. I have no particular emotional investment in denying phenomena that can be properly demonstrated with sufficient evidence under the proper scientific protocols. I simply fail to comprehend your question as Political Science is a legitimate field of study in the social sciences concerned with the theory & practice of politics as well as the analysis of political systems and political behavior. Whereas Metaphysics, as the term is being applied here, is just a science-y-sounding way of saying magic and voodoo. It’s a pseudoscience that does not apply that all-to-important scientific process with all its standards of evidence and testing protocols that are the very things that makes science science in the first place.

      For a better explanation for what distinguishes science from pseudoscience, I turn to Carl Sagan and Derren Brown:

      “Pseudoscience differs from erroneous science. Science thrives on errors, cutting them away one by one. False conclusions are drawn all the time, but they are drawn tentatively. Hypotheses are framed so they are capable of being disproved. A succession of alternative hypotheses is confronted by experiment and observation. Science gropes and staggers toward improved understanding. Proprietary feelings are of course offended when a scientific hypothesis is disproved, but such disproofs are recognized as central to the scientific enterprise. Pseudoscience is just the opposite. Hypotheses are often framed precisely so they are invulnerable to any experiment that offers a prospect of disproof, so even in principle they cannot be invalidated.”
      -Carl Sagan (The Demon-Haunted World, p 25)

      “Whereas non-scientific (and potentially dangerous) thinking starts with a premise and then looks for things that support it, scientific thinking constantly tries to disprove itself. That alone makes all the difference in the world.”
      —Derren Brown, Tricks of the Mind, p. 266

      “Perhaps the sharpest distinction between science and pseudoscience is that science has a far keener appreciation of human imperfection and fallibility than does pseudoscience (or inerrant revelation).”
      -Carl Sagan (The Demon-Haunted World)

      And really, dude? You think I’m getting paid to write a blog on WordPress? Seriously?

  24. Zoe123 says:

    I am a ‘graduate’ student of UMS, so I think I have some good input on this topic. Quite frankly, what drew me to UMS was the course material. The course study were topics I was interested in at the time, which I wasn’t finding as well put together and researched elsewhere. I knew from the get-go that this type of material had no ‘real world’ bearing, and never told my friends I was working towards my ‘doctorate’ as I felt it was a joke in the sense that no real time or significant effort went into it, and was an insult and incomparable to an actual doctorate degree.

    I no longer reference the library of materials I received from UMS, since I have since moved away from Metaphyiscal topics and study.

    However, I do understand what UMS is trying to do. And after meeting Christine Breese (founder) personally, I know she is genuine in her quest to share Spiritual knowledge, (however one wishes to deem it).

    Do I agree with everything in the course study? No. In fact, a few things turned me off, and felt like a waste of time (UfO’s, Aura’s, etc.).

    Are there really jobs in ‘Metaphysics’? Not that I’ve found, unless you want to be a tarot card reader, or a medium for the stars. But my personal take, I just found the topics interesting, that’s all. Things I would never learn in a secular school. So in that sense, it really is up to the individual, and what you hope to get out of it.

  25. Felix says:

    The whole problem this thing revolves around, is that this entire site (skepacabra) is devoted to being skeptical. Being clever, and nit-picking about small flaws in people’s arguments, is their main forte. They take pride in it – but then again, that’s what this site is for. If you’re a metaphysical practitioner, don’t expect to change their mind, ‘cos it’s not gonna happen any time soon. Which means that they will diss ‘a priori’ anything that does not belong to the ‘official’ viewpoint.

    We must remember that the ‘official viewpoint’, as well as ‘scientific’ thought, changes with the times as does the wind. These changes depend not only on new and better findings, but also on things like politics, economics and PRECONCEIVED WORLDVIEWS (and yes, every scientist has them, no matter how ‘unbiased’ they try to appear.)

    For instance, the official viewpoint is also not the same in India and China (where Ayurvedic medicine and TCM are considered official medicine), as in Russia, as in the States.

    As for science, it’s great, but it is not all-knowing. Not even close. Nor does it have a monopoly on truth, as it forcefully tries to establish.

    Several hundred years ago, you could get killed for propagating the viewpoint that the Earth was round. Everyone laughed at those pioneers who thought it was round, or called them crazy. Today we laugh at those who ridiculed the pioneers.

    EVERY pioneer was laughed at. You think the first researchers of human cells weren’t ridiculed by their fellow scientists? And that was in the days of modern science. Not so long ago.

    With things like ‘metaphysics’, that cannot be ‘proven’ by science, simply because modern science does not have the technology to prove them, (or modern politioeconomical interests do not have the willingness,) it is baseless having a to-and-fro discussion attacking or defending the UMS and what it teaches.

    If it helps people or their clients, and if students enjoy it, then let them go ahead and do the degree. It’s their choice – but it cannot be called a scam simply because the biased ‘official’ viewpoint does not support it.

    By the way, a great many ‘strange’ things have been demonstrated to work by modern science, but these facts are not being published all over the place, obviously.

    The Kirlian camera shows an energy field around the body. Even more sensitive cameras have been developed nowadays.
    Blood tests before and after healing treatments have been done, and showed significant before and after differences. AIRA has a lot of documentation on the results of Reiki treatments. Increase in cell mytohondria energy after special pranayamas has astounded scientists. The TM organization has made hundreds of studies on thousands of pages of the social effects of group meditations in different areas, with consistent results. There are videos the Chinese made of tumors disappearing in 3-minute treatments in clinics, live, on camera.

    And the Russians have done so many studies it would be impossible to count, but these rarely make it to the West.

    All this, while modern medicine is raking in the profits, although their own studies show that chronic diseases are not being cured, and the other stuff has an average success rate of 30-40% (ie. equal to placebo.) And iatrogenic (doctor-caused) illness is one of the main causes of death in the USA. And yet, people are still asking healers to prove that their treatments work, in scientifically demonstrated studies, 100% of the time.

    And when the healing professions extend a friendly hand to the scientists, ASKING them to verify their treatments with ‘science’, the scientists refuse to do so in an overwhelming number of cases.

    So we ‘modern, open-minded’ modern people, are, in effect, ignorant and rejectful of a great many things, as were the scientists of 500 years ago; ridiculing the pioneers of modern metaphysics, without really opening our minds and hearts to what they can offer – until someone shoves a big book full of figures down our throat, which we accept as ‘proof’ that healing works.

    Perhaps one day we will not even accept that love exists, because we cannot ‘see’ it, nor can it be measured with instruments.

    But trust me, when an oncologist gets cancer, and finds his fellow doctors cannot cure it, he goes to a healer.
    (And shuts up about it.)

  26. Mike says:

    Ignorance is what keeps us like this.

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