Re: MR Evidence

From: Bill Spight (
Date: Thu Aug 09 2001 - 03:14:31 BST

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    From: Bill Spight <>
    Subject: Re: MR Evidence
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    Dear Ted,

    > There've been a few experiments roughly along the lines you suggest. For
    > instance, Gary Schwartz, a psychology professor at Yale, selected 48 words
    > from the Hebrew Old Testament. He then scrambled these words to produce 48
    > more, none of which were real words in Hebrew. He asked test subjects to
    > guess their meaning in English and then rate on a scale of 0 to 4 how
    > confident they felt about whether they'd guessed the meaning correctly. The
    > subjects reported feeling confident about their guesses 75% more often with
    > the real Hebrew words than with the fakes.

    So what?

    > Alan Pickering of Hatfield Polytechnic in England came up with a list of
    > authentic Persian words and then created another list of fake words also
    > written in Persian script. He would show each word to the test subjects for
    > ten seconds, after which they would try to duplicate the word on paper. He
    > found that his students were able to duplicate real Persian words more
    > accurately than fake ones 75% of the time. He noted that the odds of
    > achieving this result were 10,000 to 1. Like Schwartz, Pickering concluded
    > that his results confirmed morphic resonance.


    Look, languages and scripts have internal structure, as do the Morse
    code and practical typewriter layouts.
    You have to control for that structure, or else that structure offers an
    explanation for the kinds of effects cited.

    The conclusion that these results confirm morphic resonance is really
    grasping at straws.

    Who knows what the feeling of confidence about guesses means? Even if
    you assume morphic resonance, why should you predict that?

    The second experiment is a good start. Once you have a set of fake
    Persian words that are as easy to duplicate as a set of real Persian
    words, then you test whether the real words are easier to learn. They
    should be, by morphic resonance, right?



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