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 Is the claim Falsified yet? Why? Why not? How to falsify it? Can it be falsified?

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PostSubject: Is the claim Falsified yet? Why? Why not? How to falsify it? Can it be falsified?   Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:59 pm

The Claim
The paranormal claim is that when I look at people I experience feeling a shape or a pattern across them. I also have several forms of synesthesia, which is when for instance a person looks at a number and sees it in color, when the color was not on the page. Synesthesia connects one form of information that is taken in by the normal senses of perception, but is then translated into something entirely different that is only experienced in the mind of the person, and does not exist in the outside world. Numbers become colors, sounds become tastes, and so forth. The experience itself is like synesthesia, I see a person, and then I feel something that others don't feel is there.

And what I feel, then translates again into images. And those images depict the insides of human bodies, and describe health information. So what starts out as real vision of a person, seen with my eyesight, becomes feeling, the feeling becomes shapes, and those shapes turn into images. So perhaps it is Vision-From Feeling-From Vision. It starts with my eyesight, and does not happen with my eyes closed.

Why a Paranormal Claim?
So what's the point? I don't make a big deal out of it when I experience a color from numbers. I know a great distinction between what is ordinary intake of information and which then depicts the reality in the same way as we all see, feel and hear it, and that which is a secondary, artificial construct that only appears in my mind. When I experience health information through "Vision From Feeling", I do not have the assumption nor the belief that what I am seeing would be reality. The health information is just part of the abstract and personal, as is my colors from numbers, or my personal emotions. So it is not that I would simply assume that the information I feel and then see about health, would be accurate. Rather, my assumption and expectation would be that it is as random and meaningless as my experience that number 3 would be orange-yellow.

What makes it a paranormal claim, and something worthy of my time and investigation, is that the images I see, seem to accurately depict health information in people, and that there even are cases where I've seen something about a person's health, that I just shouldn't have known. And when I find no explanation, I am compelled to find out what is going on behind the experience - is it really that accurate, am I really obtaining information accurately that one should not know during the circumstances at hand, and if so, what are the sources of information that lead to the experience of seeing someone's health information, and is it normal or paranormal?

Why do I bother?
Unfortunately, many who claim to have "special abilities" such as an ability to divine health information, are either making it up or still not able to, and are out there practicing harmful and unlicensed medicine. I do not tell people what I feel about their health, but every time I have the chance to meet with Skeptics, I do ask them to volunteer to let me describe what I sense about their health and so that they can tell me whether I was accurate or not, and them being Skeptics they are less likely to take what I said to heart. But my objective, IF I were to have an ability, is not to dispense medical advice, nor to make money off my claim. If I wanted to do such a thing, I could already be doing it, many fraud psychics are, and are making good money on it and obviously getting away with it too. So why am I investigating this, if it is not for greed? I am simply curious about the experience and want to learn more about it. How accurate is it, what types of information can I perceive accurately, under what conditions, what is the source of the information, and is the claim going to be verified or falsified? So all it is, is my curiosity, and a real experience of something so far unexplained nor fully explored.

How to falsify this claim?
So, how do we reach the objective of this investigation, to reach either verification of the claim or falsification? It would be very simple. I need to look at a person, and to experience very clearly in my mind a perception of their health, that I describe and express confidence in, saying that this represents the very best of what my claim tries to do - and to find out that that information was incorrect. I am then satisfied that this claim has reached a reliable and final conclusion, and this investigation will be concluded on. And I am not opposed to falsifying this claim, in fact that is the end result I am expecting to arrive at.
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PostSubject: Re: Is the claim Falsified yet? Why? Why not? How to falsify it? Can it be falsified?   Sat May 08, 2010 2:04 am

Why the Mark Edward reading did not falsify the claim
In April 2010 I was in Los Angeles meeting with some skeptical friends over dinner. One of those Skeptics was Mark Edward. After our meal I took the opportunity to ask Mark if I could do a reading on him as the volunteer. I am very curious about my paranormal claim of medical perception, yet what keeps me from advancing quickly in my investigation of it, is that I only allow myself to share what I perceive of a person's health, with the person only if it is a Skeptic. That way I do not have to worry about the ethics involved in presenting potentially inaccurate health information, I do rely on Skeptics to fully understand that what we are dealing with is an unsubstantiated claim of the unexplained.

The Reading
I did my reading of Mark, in which I simply feel into the vibrational patterns that I experience across a person, which then translate on their own into corresponding visual information. I make no conscious attempt to derive information from cold reading of body language, outer appearance or prior information, I use no interaction with the person such as touching or dialogue to reach my answers, and I do ask the Skeptic I am reading to turn around, so that we not have eyecontact and also to conceal the face which we can imagine otherwise does provide both a set of possible clues to health as well as feedback in interaction between volunteer and reader, whether intended or not.

I think Mark was very interested in seeing the process involved in my reading, so he refused to turn around. He is by the way fascinating to watch while he is observing people. You can clearly tell that this man had a profession as a psychic reader, though he does confess using conventional means of cold reading and makes no claims of the paranormal. He is a good observer of things such as body language and behavior in people. His success used to rely on that skill. Today he uses his developed talent in his various skeptical projects.

Sometimes the image of serious health problems jumps right out at me and is the first thing that I see. Sometimes even so strongly to appear at times when I was not actively performing a reading. At other times I need to search for information that feels significant. It varies as much as individual people and cases of illness vary. Nothing obvious came across to me in Mark, and so I was looking for things by feeling into one part of the body at a time and working my way down from head to toe.

There are hundreds of things to look for in the human body. I had to skip parts and organs, knowing that some of us were soon headed to see a movie. I did not feel into his eyes, or ears, and specifically remember those being among the things that I skipped. After some time I presented the conclusion that I found no health problems, while underlying that it does not mean that there are no health problems, only that I found none.

Mark then tells that he has eye problems and diabetes, and concludes that my claim be falsified since I failed to mention either.

The claim I make has been from the very start, that "when I look at people I perceive health information, and that the information I do perceive would be accurate", and that "I do not claim to perceive every form of health information, or in each case in which it is considered to occur; only that when I do claim to perceive something, it would be accurate". As per the claim, the claim is not falsified by the reading I had with Mark Edward. None of the health information I did provide was confirmed to be inaccurate.

There are of course Skeptics who would like to disagree. That is their job. To disagree with anything that prohibits the easy way out in ending a claim of the paranormal in accordance with their predetermined assertion that the claim is already impossible due to their disbelief, their personal experiences or prior experience with other claimants. Not allowing an open mind to be proven wrong, nor allowing for the curiosity to look into a claim to see what is going on or to learn more from it. I guess that is why science and skepticism are not exactly the same.

Objectivity is very important in skepticism. To state that my claim is falsified because I did not mention two bits of health information that were considered significant, when my claim already states that I do not claim to perceive everything, only that when I do perceive something, that something would be accurate, not only disregards the way the claim was stated. It is also as absurd as giving a medical doctor a patient and half an hour of time in between dinner and before a movie asking them to run all possible tests and to produce a fully comprehensive medical evaluation of the patient, and to then discredit the competence of the doctor if he did not have time to run a particular test and by that did not make a conclusion one way or another, neither for or against, regarding a particular health diagnose.

Why is my paranormal claim supposed to be some super power? Just because it has elements of the unknown?

Had I looked at Mark's eyes and concluded that they are in good health, or told him that he does not have diabetes, I would hold that as evidence against the claim.

I have learned from this valuable experience to always carry with me a set of pens and paper and a carefully thought through procedure of documentation, including a list of possible ailments that each require an answer of either "yes" or "no" before any evidence or checking for accuracy can be done against my claim based on the presence or absence of that health information.

And the Napkin Trick
As for the napkin trick, after the general reading (which is my specialty), Mark decided to ask me to try to see how many fingers he was holding up on his hand that was resting on the table, concealed by the thick fabric napkin. I said that my claim has already defined the inability to work through screens such as this, but figured I could give it a try anyway, not expecting to experience any more of a paranormal phenomenon than had anyone else given this a try and during these conditions. As evidenced by the lengthy time it took for me to conclude, and my great lack of confidence in that conclusion, I had not experienced a visual or felt perception that would make me state with confidence that a paranormal claim had been performed and was now ready to be assessed.

When I produced the inaccurate answer, as did everyone or most of those fellow skeptics seated by that table and guessing on an answer, I was disappointed to see Mark trying to use these results as evidence against the claim.

I had already determined in my study that the claim does not manifest when the person or the part of the body that I am attempting to feel into, is behind a screen. I told them this, but being from a science background has perhaps left me a bit naive in thinking of my claim in more scientific terms, so I assumed that explaining that the napkin involves the inclusion of a parameter whose effect on the claim had already been studied and shown to disallow the claim from manifesting, the others would understand it that way. By the same lines it is alright to retest a given parameter any number of times even if to confirm a prior conclusion on it. And a "failure" of a hypothesis while during conditions that are not allowed by the determined testing parameters does not lead credence toward the falsification of that claim. The determined requirements on test setup are part of the definition of the claim.

But these are not scientists, these are Skeptics. Who have already made up their mind. And who are willing to test the claim in ways that are not outlined by the claim. And willing to use that against the claim. Dirty tricks? Ignorance of the scientific method? Or intolerance of a paranormal claim?

If you are a scientist, and your research hypothesis states that you have a proposed chemical reaction that was found to be activated by light, you study whether it will occur in light or not at all, knowing that it fails in the dark. Then no amount of testing it in the dark will provide insight as to the conclusion to be made on the hypothesis which requires to be carried out in light.

I do require to see the outline of the person or the part of the body I am attempting to feel into. That is what my lengthy study thoroughly concluded on. I tested with various types of screens. Screens made of different materials, plastic, glass, fabric, of different sizes, at different distances. I carefully studied many possible setups, all with the common factor of disallowing the vision of the person as hence determined to be required. The claim does manifest through clothing. Contradictory, perhaps. Strange, and perhaps indicative of something more normal than paranormal at hand. But such is the claim, and the inclusion of testing parameters that are not part of the claim simply does nothing to discredit the claim.

Just like running into the lab and turning the lights off and having the chemical reaction fail does nothing to suggest whether it would work in light or not.

My point here is clear to a scientist. But Skeptics sometimes see what they expect to see. They want the claim to be over. They second-guess the claim. "Well, if you think you can see through clothes, then you should also see through a napkin." Why? The health perceptions I feel and then see all start with something that I see. It starts with vision, and does not work when my eyes are closed, or in a dark room in which I can not see, or with a screen. Such as the napkin covering the hand.

And even with the requirement that no screens cover the part of the body I am feeling into, it still remains a paranormal claim, worthy of my time and attention, at least. To see that an organ such as a kidney or a uterus is missing, or detecting the presence of a high amount of Lactobacillus in the stomach of a person who then reveals just started taking a supplement of this, remains a mystery even without the use of a screen.

Sorry, Mark. You are not a scientist, and ironically the paranormal claimant and woo is a student of science and laboratory procedure.

The claim remains formally unfalsified, and survives even after this reading with Mark. For the same reason why going to a doctor and having a test taken for stomach ulcers does not discredit a doctor for failing to diagnose a well-kept diabetes that was not tested for. Or turning off the lights for a light-catalyzed chemical experiment.

I am quite willing to falsify the claim, if I produce a health perception that I have confidence in, that is then shown to be inaccurate. And this has yet to happen.

Mark Edward has a past in the fraud psychic entertainment business, where you must provide quick and impressive readings, by noting what ever clues on a person that are available, using feedback mechanisms and manipulative tricks in interaction with the person who is receiving a reading, to present a reading that to the person comes across as both believable and enjoyable. Mark, having already wrongly assumed to himself that I am one of emerging such fraudulent psychic practitioners, judges my performance against its standards. From Mark's blog about the reading, Mark Edward:

Quote :
"You don't need to be a player to know you are being played. I have spent the last twenty-five years in the company of psychics of all stripes and I can confidently say that what I have recently been a party to leaves a lot to be desired – even as entertainment – which this silliness clearly is not. If anyone tried to pull off these sorts of naive shenanigans at a psychic fair, private party or store front fortune telling shop around here, they would be quickly asked to leave."

I am not engaging in psychic fraud, like you were. I am investigating a genuine felt and visual experience, and evaluating the accuracy of those perceptions as well as the conditions during which they occur. And yes perhaps my readings are not fast and witty, heartfelt or entertaining, but I can tell you that very often scientific research is also none of those things. Scientific experiments are often unglamorous, tedious, impersonal and rather boring, but somewhere in it the quest for truth, not entertainment, is the driving force that makes all that dull work all the more worthwhile.

We come from different worlds, you and me. What is to me a compelling research subject and interesting social experiment, was for you a profession with a paying customer to be pleased. And what for you required effort and planning in careful and deliberate design, comes to me all naturally on its own in the form of images that I see and feel and describe as is. I am not interested in heading into the psychic entertainment business. Me and my claim will remain as dull and boring as the description of intestines, and impersonal and completely unentertaining, as I continue to make further observations, gaining more insight into my experience, and still waiting for that one compelling medical perception that will validly put the end to this claim.

See the actual video of this reading with Mark, in a series of eight, Video of the reading with Mark.
And read these two skeptical blogs about it, one by Skeptic Susan, and this one by Mark Edward.
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PostSubject: Re: Is the claim Falsified yet? Why? Why not? How to falsify it? Can it be falsified?   Mon May 10, 2010 3:43 pm

Mark Edward's use of the napkin trick, to deliberately implement a testing procedure which I have already stated will block my claim from performing, both he and I knowing that it is not testing the claim as the claim is stated, and to proclaim to the entire world that I failed and that the claim would thus be falsified, is the kind of dirty trick more commonly found in the court room, where the agenda is simply to win whether the rightful winner or not, but it is not how a scientific investigation is done. In science, you always must remain humble to accept to be proven wrong, in the name of advancement of science. Regardless of what your personal expectations or desires would be in the investigation, or what would benefit you personally.

It is like asking a claimant of telepathy to try a test of telekinesis, who then fails, and to proclaim to the world that the claims of telepathy are falsified and over. Mark says,

Quote :
"If anyone tried to pull off these sorts of naive shenanigans at a psychic fair, private party or store front fortune telling shop around here, they would be quickly asked to leave."
Yes, Mark, and if anyone tried to pull the kind of dirty tricks, like having a claimant try out something that is not their claim only to make them fail, any kind of fail, and to then tell the world that their claim is falsified, is comparable to going into the research lab, knocking down glassware, adding disruptive reagents into the reaction mixture, or deliberately turning off the lights on a light-catalyzed reaction. And to then promote its flawed and sabotaged consequences as a conclusion of the investigation. I treat my claim as a scientific investigation, and had you tried to pull off these sorts of dirty tricks at a research laboratory, you too would have been quickly asked to leave.
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PostSubject: Re: Is the claim Falsified yet? Why? Why not? How to falsify it? Can it be falsified?   Mon May 10, 2010 4:17 pm

Here are some pictures of the reading with Mark Edward, taken by Skeptic Susan Gerbic-Forsyth.

I'm literally at the edge of my seat, trying to do a magic trick of seeing through a napkin:


Mark, nobody can actually see through a napkin. That is ridiculous. I just claim to see into the body.
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