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Great Resource for Psychical Research

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  • Great Resource for Psychical Research

    For those who want to go deep, the Internet Archives have dozens of free volumes pertaining to the study of psychical phenomena, concerning especially the years from the 1840s to somewhere around the 1920s.

    Included among these works are the classics: Phantasms of the Living; Frederick W.H. Myers, Edmund Gurney, and Frank Podmore and Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death, by Frederic W.H. Myers (The latter is reccomended strongly by Guy Lyon Playfair, a prolific writer for the site Skeptical Investigations, and also a psychical researcher in Brazil).

    Internet Archive Search: subject:"Parapsychology"

    EDIT: Corrected mistake citing "Internet Archives" as "Library of Congress". I did find it strange how many British works they had...

    -Johann
    Last edited by Johann; July 27th, 2012, 01:28 AM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Johann View Post
    For those who want to go deep, the Library of Congress has dozens of free volumes pertaining the study of psychical phenomena, concerning especially the years from the 1840s to somewhere around the 1920s.

    Included among these works are the classics: Phantasms of the Living; Frederick W.H. Myers, Edmund Gurney, and Frank Podmore and Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death, by Frederic W.H. Myers (The latter is reccomended strongly by Guy Lyon Playfair, a prolific writer for the site Skeptical Investigations, and also a psychical researcher in Brazil).

    Internet Archive Search: subject:"Parapsychology"

    -Johann
    I agree it's a great source. I have several links to it on my web site. Internet archive also hosts the wayback machine so you can find old web sites that are no longer on the internet. Unfortuantely it can be somewhat unreliable. It is occasionally off line due to technical troubles and sometime it is slow because of high demand that it is not capable of meeting.

    Many of the same books can be found on google books. In fact, many of the books at archive.org list their source as google books.

    If you want a text version of a book I find that the OCR is pretty poor in many cases. What I do in those cases is to download the pdf file which is usually page images. Then I print to a file using fax as the printer. Then I do the ocr myself. It is not perfect, but for me it is often much better when google or internet archive doesn't provide a good text version. (Your mileage may vary, I have a lot of experience with OCR because I've volunteered to scan and submit books project gutenberg and two different organizations that provides accessible books for the blind.)

    Also, I don't think internet archive is hosted by the library of congress (why did you think that?):

    http://archive.org/about/faqs.php#The_Internet_Archive
    What is the nonprofit status of the Internet Archive? Where does its funding come from?

    The Internet Archive is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. It receives in-kind and financial donations from a variety of sources, including, but not limited to: Alexa Internet, the Kahle/Austin Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and you.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by anonymous View Post
      I agree it's a great source. I have several links to it on my web site. Internet archive also hosts the wayback machine so you can find old web sites that are no longer on the internet. Unfortuantely it can be somewhat unreliable. It is occasionally off line due to technical troubles and sometime it is slow because of high demand that it is not capable of meeting.!

      Many of the same books can be found on google books. In fact, many of the books at archive.org list their source as google books.

      If you want a text version of a book I find that the OCR is pretty poor in many cases. What I do in those cases is to download the pdf file which is usually page images. Then I print to a file using fax as the printer. Then I do the ocr myself. It is not perfect, but for me it is often much better when google or internet archive doesn't provide a good text version. (Your mileage may vary, I have a lot of experience with OCR because I've volunteered to scan and submit books project gutenberg and two different organizations that provides accessible books for the blind.)

      Also, I don't think internet archive is hosted by the library of congress (why did you think that?):

      Internet Archive Frequently Asked Questions
      Oops; I guess I just saw the pillars and assumed - too quickly it would seem.

      To get the books, I am just putting them in PDF format and then placing them in iBooks, which is on my iPad. Works very well for me.

      - Johann

      Comment


      • #4
        Extrasensory Perception after Sixty Years

        The seminal work by J.B. Rhine, J.G. Pratt, Burke M. Smith, Charles E. Stuart, and Joseph A. Greenwood is available for 15 dollars here: http://books.google.com/books/about/ESP_After_Sixty_Years.html?id=BOf6-nVjVTIC

        It overviews all the work done with ESP cards from the 1900s to the 1960s, by offering methodological explanations, statistical analyses, and addresses to criticisms by skeptics. I am looking to read it after I complete the original Extrasensory Perception by JB Rhine, but have skimmed it a bit already, and have to say that I am continually impressed by the lucidity and soundness of its presentation. I would not hesitate to recommend those interested in, as we say, "pursuing the literature", to take a look at how carefully and thoughtfully the authors addressed their own research, and the criticisms regarding it. Worthy of note also is the fact that ESP-60 contains the first ever formal meta-analysis in history, setting a milestone for the social sciences. It would, however, not be an isolated instance; the "gold standard" for psychological research was also developed by parapsychologists.

        - Johann

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Johann View Post
          The seminal work by J.B. Rhine, J.G. Pratt, Burke M. Smith, Charles E. Stuart, and Joseph A. Greenwood is available for 15 dollars here: http://books.google.com/books/about/ESP_After_Sixty_Years.html?id=BOf6-nVjVTIC

          It overviews all the work done with ESP cards from the 1900s to the 1960s, by offering methodological explanations, statistical analyses, and addresses to criticisms by skeptics. I am looking to read it after I complete the original Extrasensory Perception by JB Rhine, but have skimmed it a bit already, and have to say that I am continually impressed by the lucidity and soundness of its presentation. I would not hesitate to recommend those interested in, as we say, "pursuing the literature", to take a look at how carefully and thoughtfully the authors addressed their own research, and the criticisms regarding it. Worthy of note also is the fact that ESP-60 contains the first ever formal meta-analysis in history, setting a milestone for the social sciences. It would, however, not be an isolated instance; the "gold standard" for psychological research was also developed by parapsychologists.

          - Johann
          The first meta-analysis was performed by Pearson in 1904. Next was Rhine with his meta-analysis. Then we get occasional, simple use of the idea, in some other fields. Then, it was more fully developed and applied in the field of education in the 1970's before spreading to other fields (most notably medicine).

          I'm not sure that spotty use of rudimentary methods of combining information should count as a milestone, compared to developing and using the technique more broadly. But if that's what you are going for, then Pearson was first.

          Homeopaths like to claim that they invented the randomized, controlled trial, too.

          Linda

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Sandy B
            Linda, your own profession (if you are in fact a doctor) owes a debt to this work. You might not like that fact, but there is no need for snide comments about the work of others just to pretend that science hasn't benefited from the efforts of parapsychologists.
            I completely agree that my profession has benefited from meta-analysis. But the point was that the techniques which are in use were developed by the field of education.

            ETA: If we are going to credit Rhine with this, since all he did was use Fisher's method, the credit for meta-analysis would go to Fisher and the field of Biology.

            Linda
            Last edited by fls; July 28th, 2012, 12:31 PM.

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            • #7
              I suppose I should clarify. According to Wikipedia:

              The first meta-analysis was performed by Karl Pearson in 1904,[3] in an attempt to overcome the problem of reduced statistical power in studies with small sample sizes; analyzing the results from a group of studies can allow more accurate data analysis. However, the first meta-analysis of all conceptually identical experiments concerning a particular research issue, and conducted by independent researchers, has been identified as the 1940 book-length publication Extra-sensory perception after sixty years, authored by Duke University psychologists J. G. Pratt, J. B. Rhine, and associates?
              - Johann

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Sandy B
                Linda, that's like suggesting that Alexander Graham Bell didn't contribute significantly to the telecommunications industry since he didn't produce the first iphone.
                The problem is that Alexander Graham Bell would be Ronald Fisher in this case, not Rhine.

                Linda

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sandy B
                  Johann already addressed this:
                  I don't think that is the only way to answer the question. If we want to look for relative contributions to the field of meta-analysis, especially as it relates to the ideas and techniques used in medicine, then we look for who initially came up with the idea of combining data, who developed early techniques for combining data, who had the idea of applying that to a 'complete' set of experiments (I have to put that in scare quotes, as a funnel plot shows that Rhine's collection was far from complete), who expanded on the idea, who fully developed the techniques, etc. I agree that Rhine had a part in that process. But it's misleading to give prominence to Rhine's bit while ignoring much more substantial contributions elsewhere. Lose Rhine or Pearson, and we'd still have meta-analysis in its present form. Lose Fisher and we might not.

                  Linda

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sandy B
                    Rhine did some cutting edge stuff here. You might not like to acknowledge this, but mainstream science does owe him a debt. The same goes for parapsychology in general. The standards are much higher than what is normally considered acceptable by mainstream science because they have constantly been forced to follow the ever moving goal posts.
                    That you've bought into the story doesn't necessarily mean that others will - especially when the perspective is quite different when looking at this from other fields.

                    Linda

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sandy B
                      If you are saying that other fields tend to be unaware of the history of science, that's probably quite true.
                      No. I'm saying that other fields do not owe much of anything to parapsychology. As far as I can tell, psychology owes parapsychology for serving as a control group (Parapsychology: the control group for science - Less Wrong). In the case of medicine, that function would be served by homeopathy.

                      There may be some statistical techniques which have been refined because they were taken up by parapsychology (Rosenthal's fail-safe N and the Stouffer Z as examples?), but I'm not immersed enough in the field of psychology to know whether this is the case. I just know when I look for examples of their use in other fields, I mostly get parapsychology references.

                      Linda

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sandy B
                        I guess you are entitled to you opinion. Just as long as it isn't being confused for factual evidence.
                        Yeah, I don't know the history and source for every technique and method within the field of science. I'm most familiar with those used in medicine (for obvious reasons ). I haven't come across anything which was mostly due to a parapsychologist or due to the field of parapsychology, but that doesn't mean that there isn't something they've contributed. Rhine seems to have made a minor contribution to meta-analysis, but not to its history or use in medicine. I'm open to looking at any other examples you or other proponents have. But the example of parapsychology performing high-quality experiments doesn't stand up to what is regarded as high-quality in medicine. And if it is true that their experiments are as good as those in other fields, it's a mark against those other fields, rather than a mark for parapsychology. Except that other scientific fields (other than alt med) are operating under conditions which are less likely to produce false results (making their results less sensitive to these issues).

                        Linda

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Fls, EEG was invented for a parapsychology experiment, the first cooperative meta-analysis was taken on by parapsychologts, the blind method was initially developed to test Franz Mesmer's claims of hypotism and thought transference, checking for recording biases was first done in parapsychology, and file drawer estimation methods were first created in response to criticsms in parapsychology. This should not be hard to grasp; parapsychology has been a field immersed in controversy, and every time psi researchers demonstrated psi, skeptics raised the bar beyond the ordinary methods of science, so the science continued to evolve. Other sciences took stock of these methods and used them, and that has helped them become what they are today.

                          - Johann

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Johann View Post
                            Fls, EEG was invented for a parapsychology experiment,
                            Do you have a reference for this?

                            the first cooperative meta-analysis was taken on by parapsychologts,
                            Is this in reference to Rhine's meta-analysis?

                            the blind method was initially developed to test Franz Mesmer's claims of hypotism and thought transference,
                            I agree that blinding was first applied to test the idea of expectation with respect to Messmer's claims. I don't see how you could credit parapsychology with that.

                            checking for recording biases was first done in parapsychology, and file drawer estimation methods were first created in response to criticsms in parapsychology.
                            There is no mention of this in Rosenthal's initial paper on the fail-safe N.

                            The "File Drawer Problem" and Tolerance for Null Results

                            This should not be hard to grasp; parapsychology has been a field immersed in controversy, and every time psi researchers demonstrated psi, skeptics raised the bar beyond the ordinary methods of science, so the science continued to evolve. Other sciences took stock of these methods and used them, and that has helped them become what they are today.

                            - Johann
                            I don't see any indication that this is the case. Instead it looks like techniques which were helpful with respect to scientific research were being developed, and some were also applied to parapsychology claims. If you can offer some references which support your individual claims, that would be helpful. I agree that throughout the progress of science, discovering ways in which we have been fooled (for example, the difference between the results of observational studies vs. interventional studies) has helped with that progress. But that doesn't apply only to parapsychology.

                            Linda

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