On this second strike, this author is making a little progress: ‘That Dude’ actually awarded my book 2.0 out of 5 stars instead of just one!
I graciously accept this 100% increase in my book’s star award. I detect a possible trend here.
Here I print the review [with annotations] to correct ‘That Dude’s’ many, many errors.
People should know something before buying this book.
The Author is universally acknowledged as being the foremost critic of Remote Viewing.
‘That Dude’ starts with an accolade. But it’s all downhill from here on however. ‘That Dude’ continues:
The pilot Remote Viewing experiment was published in 1974. The way it worked is that a demarcation team would go to a randomly chosen location and the psychic would have to get information on this location without any foreknowledge. After this was done several times a group of independent judges attempted to match the psychic’s descriptions to the locations. They achieved a statistically significant score.
Marks found out that the judges were handed the target locations in order of visitation and that there were cues that could allow a judge to get perfect matchings without ever using the legitimate data.
Upon this criticism, Charles Tart took the transcripts, covered all the extraneous cues, found another independent judge and had him match the transcripts to the locations with appropriate randomisation of the order of locations. They were still able to achieve a statistically significant score.
Marks looked at this work again and “discovered” more cues that talk about a shielded room, a park and an office locations. The problem with this is that these aren’t the locations of the demarcation team which the psychic was trying to describe, these are the locations where the psychic was viewing from (This can be confirmed by comparing the 1974 Vol. 251 and 1986 Vol. 319 articles of Nature together).
[ The above statement is False. The ‘psychic’ was always located at the same place, the SRI laboratory. Please see here for details].
What this means is that there is literally no logical way for the judge to be cued in on the target locations unless he actively cheats.
[Again, false. The judge can always tell which place a transcript does not belong with when it mentions a place already visited.]
This makes the whole argument a baseless ad hominem attack which, when left unsubstantiated, has no place in the realm of science as the same strategy could be used to invalidate literally anything.
[Again, false. The judge did actively cheat. I proved that by re-judging them all again, with and without the cues. ].
When I first spotted this issue I bought Marks’ book ‘psychology of the psychic’ to see if there were any more details or if this was indeed an empty argument on his part. Not only does he never explain how the cues from Vol. 319 of Nature can be used to invalidate the Pat Price series of remote viewing experiments, he literally never even outlines what those cues actually were. [False.]
This heavily signifies to me that his alleged cues were nothing more than a red herring. [False.]
And, if you don’t believe me, you can indeed confirm this yourself by using the ‘sci-hub’ website to access the relevant nature publications and check for yourself:
1974 – Nature Vol. 251 – Information transmission under conditions of sensory shielding – Harold Puthoff, Russell Targ
1978 – Nature Vol. 274 – Information transmission in remote viewing experiments – David Marks, Richard Kammann
1980 – Nature Vol. 284 – Information transmission in remote viewing experiments – Charles T. Tart
1983 – BBC Documentary – The Case of ESP
1986 – Nature Vol. 319 – Remote Viewing Exposed – David Marks
I bought this book thinking that David Marks would finally, after more than 30 years, reveal this as a “mistake” since he is actively trying to take a more open-minded approach here. He does not. [Because it isn’t a mistake.]
He explains the entire Pat Price series and then claims there are more ‘cues’ while again, never mentioning what they were or how they can be used to invalidate the experiment. [False. I describe all of the cues.].
This was probably his last chance this mistake. He blew it. After reading this book, it’s clear he has nothing on the Pat Price series and he probably knows it. [All false.]
That said, I actually don’t hate the book. It’s still proven immensely useful [Thank you, ‘That Dude’] despite some of the misinformation.
In each chapter Marks, for the most part, will berate parapsychology with whatever tools he can. [i.e. scientific tools]
Wether [sic] it’s speculation or ad hominem attacks, skeptics will be pleased to know their champion pulls no punches here. However, he includes towards the end of each chapter an opportunity for parapsychologists to defend their work. Skeptics will overall be confronted with quite compelling arguments both for and against psi phenomena and will be able to make a much more educated decision on how to direct their beliefs as a result.[Thank you again, ‘That Dude’, you are beginning to get the message.]
I also highly rate Marks’ on the fact he has learned the basic tenets for proper skepticism by engaging in and encouraging probabilistic thinking. However, despite being confronted with compelling arguments from parapsychologists that clearly warrant at least SOME ambiguity on position, Marks’ rates his belief in phenomena quite often too low at 0.001%, meaning he clearly doesn’t understand how probabilistic thinking or even proper skepticism is supposed to work as he has already taken a firm position prior. [Funny that I clearly don’t “understand how probabilistic thinking works”, because my PhD dissertation in 1969 was concerned with subjective probability judgements and the Bayesian approach .]
The phenomena that he rates particularly harshly just so happen to be the ones he thinks he’s debunked in Psychology of the Psychic. Be honest Marks, can you really say you have anything on Daryl Bem? [I have an awful lot to say on Daryl Bem and so does Bem himself. It’s all in the Psychology and the Paranormal. Please read the book before you review it next time around.]
Although I don’t fully agree with most of his conclusions (I doubt many readers will for different reasons) it’s a hell of a lot better and more open minded than his work in Psychology of the Psychic. [Thank you again ‘That Dude’.]
Whether you are a skeptic or a parapsychology enthusiast, this book has something for you. Read on as a war of the sciences between psychology and parapsychology clash against each other in it’s most up to date form. [Thank you again ‘That Dude’.]
‘That Dude’ is finally getting somewhere in their appreciation level. A 100% improvement no less. Let’s keep this trend going.
Happy to receive the endorsement of my most extreme critic on Amazon!