RE: MR Evidence

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Mon Aug 20 2001 - 12:55:19 BST

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    Subject: RE: MR Evidence
    Date: Mon, 20 Aug 2001 12:55:19 +0100
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    Anecdote is insufficient as a form of evidence. I'm aware Sheldrake likes
    to use this as a form of evidence and then attack people who critique his
    work for only using experimental tests that suit their rejection of his
    ideas, without ever seeing the greenhouse he's throwing stones in...

    Thousands of people say they've seen UFOs too, does that make them all
    right? What was said by the respondents, and the editor in NS was that no
    empirical data had yet been collated to offer any credible evidence that
    this was occurring.

    Besides which, even if these anecdotes were turned into some kind of
    empirically valid data, they do not provide evidence for MR. That would be
    like saying people praying is evidence of the existence of God. At best such
    data, if it ever existed, would suggest that something was going on that
    needed further investigation and analysis, and there would be no reason to
    assume it was MR any more than anything else (even experimental error or
    experimenter effect). Besides which since MR denies, like any good faith,
    that it can be detected directly, it is unfalsifiable, and therefore

    In domesticated animals, that their owners perceive increased capabilities
    of their animals is undoubtedly a product of a number of things, not least
    selective recall, and unconscious bias towards personal possessions (how
    many new parents think their child is developing much faster than they
    should, is much more clever than average etc. etc.?), and so on.

    What's Sheldrake's, or an MR enthusiast's view on Horse Whispering? For
    generations people have been 'breaking' horses, and it doesn't appear to
    have ever got any easier, with horses somehow knowing with successive
    generations to behave. Horse Whispering, OTOH, involves utilising body
    language that horses respond to, that doesn't trigger their strongly
    in-built flight responses, and has become more popular in recent years.
    These tactics work on horses bred from generations of domesticated horses
    (and didn't the guy who started it succeed with a mustang? I'd like to see
    him try a Zebra...), and yet appealing to their natural movement patterns is
    more effective than breaking them.


    > ----------
    > From: Dace
    > Reply To:
    > Sent: Sunday, August 19, 2001 8:05 pm
    > To:
    > Subject: Re: MR Evidence
    > From: Vincent Campbell
    > > Someone asked New Scientist a few weeks back about any evidence for
    > > improvements amongst species in relation to other human development-
    > > particularly things like hedgehogs crossing roads. Little more than
    > > anecdotal evidence of people reckoning that rounf their way hedgehogs
    > seem
    > > more canny about crossing the road without getting splattered by cars
    > was
    > > offered by other readers. (Maybe they've been secretly watching the
    > road
    > > safety ads for kids on UK TV that use animated hedgehogs crossing the
    > road
    > > safely....).
    > > Actual studies of this would be good for studies of animal learning,
    > > transmission by imitation (i.e. animal memes), and possibly an empirical
    > > test of MR as well.
    > >
    > > Vincent
    > There's tons of anecdotal evidence like this supporting morphic resonance.
    > Sheldrake has received a lot of mail from dog owners, falcon and horse
    > trainers, cattle ranchers, and dairy farmers regarding the progressive
    > improvement of each generation of animals in their ability to adapt to
    > innovative methods of training and management.
    > Ted
    > ===============================================================
    > This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    > Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    > For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
    > see:

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