Re: Shaggy Dog vs. Psychic Dog

From: Dace (
Date: Sun Aug 26 2001 - 21:30:53 BST

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    Subject: Re: Shaggy Dog vs. Psychic Dog
    Date: Sun, 26 Aug 2001 13:30:53 -0700
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    > >From: "Vincent Campbell"
    > >
    > > > <Morphic fields can be demonstrated according to non-contact
    > > > influence from
    > > > > one organism to another. Sheldrake produced a test demonstrating
    > > > > effect between pets and their owners. A skeptic by the name of
    > >Wiseman
    > > > > tried to refute Sheldrake by replicating the experiment and, to his
    > > > > astonishment, generated exactly the same data. No one has
    > >successfully
    > > > > refuted Sheldrake's findings in this test.>
    > > > >
    > > > This isn't true. Sheldrake disputes Wiseman and colleagues
    > > > refutation of his experiment which they published in a pyschology
    > >journal
    > >
    > >There was no refutation. Wiseman merely repeated the experiment, got
    > >exactly the same results Sheldrake had gotten, and then tried to spin it
    > >a refutation. According to Wiseman's own experiment, the dog, Jaytee,
    > >at the window 78% of the time that its master was on her way home and
    > >4% of the remaining time.
    > >
    > >As Sheldrake says, "He makes no mention of the fact that Jaytee waits by
    > >the
    > >window far more when Pam is on her way home, nor does he refer to my own
    > >experiments. He gives the impression that my evidence is based on one
    > >experiment filmed by a TV company, rather than on more than two hundred
    > >experiments, and he implies that he has done the only rigorous scientific
    > >tests of this dog's abilities. I confess that I am amazed by his
    > >persistence
    > >in this deception."
    > >
    > >Wiseman makes an equally absurd claim regarding Sheldrake's staring
    > >experiment, which involves a sequence of trials in which cometimes the
    > >individual is being stared at from behind while other times the subject
    > >not being stared at. Wiseman claims that subjects learn to detect the
    > >pattern in the allegedly random sequence. Wiseman claims Sheldrake's
    > >sequence is not actually random, though it was arrived at by flipping a
    > >coin, and that to make it truly random you need to play with the numbers.
    > >He says Sheldrake is sending out this allegedly random sequence to school
    > >children around the world who then conduct their own staring experiments.
    > >In fact, he recommends that people create their own random sequence by
    > >flipping a coin, just like he did when setting up his experiment.
    > >
    > > > But even if such studies suggested psychic dogs and people with
    > > > psychic eyes in the back of their heads, to leap from this to saying
    > > > cause of this is MR through MF, is a massive and invalid leap
    > >
    > >Sheldrake starts with the recognition that vision cannot be a kind of TV
    > >screen in the back of the head, for this would imply the Cartesian error
    > >that we exist somewhere deep inside our brains. He argues argues that we
    > >do
    > >actually see what's around us and not merely an image of it reconstructed
    > >in
    > >our brains. Rather than passively taking in light, we cast a field of
    > >vision over everything we see. While I find this explanation problematic
    > >to
    > >say the least, he does appear to have demonstrated that people can sense
    > >when others are watching them.
    > >
    > >As to the "psychic pets," Sheldrake explains this according to morphic
    > >fields. Like termites in a nest or birds in a flock, the cells of our
    > >bodies are regulated holistically by a field. When a woman becomes
    > >pregnant, her fetus is simply another aspect of her body regulated by her
    > >field. Rather than breaking, this field is merely extended when she
    > >birth. The mother and child are always connected through this shared
    > >field.
    > >
    > >But it doesn't have to involve childbirth. A collective field can appear
    > >among any two people or any group, no matter how large. It can also
    > >across species. Where there's "love"
    > >(or hate) there's a field embracing the individuals involved. Not being
    > >distracted by reflexive consciousness, dogs are much more aware of these
    > >fields. This is how they can sense when their beloved master is coming
    > >home.

    > I think you are taking the MF concept WAY too far. I can stomach a limb
    > field or an eye field as in developing embryos, but not the sort alluded
    > above.

    I feel the same way. But this is where Sheldrake's been going the last few
    years, and he somehow keeps coming up with more experimental evidence to
    back up his claims.

    > > > <Nobody has isolated any mechanisms by which genetic information is
    > > > > translated into organic structure.>
    > > > >
    > > > See, one of the problems here Ted is you'r constant use of absolutes
    > > > that are wrong. Here's a short article from New Scientist (more
    > >in
    > > > 'Science', vol 293, p1068):
    > > >
    > > > 'Proteins called histones play such an important role in regulating
    > > > genes that we should think of them as a "histone code". complementary
    > >the
    > > > genetic code, says biochemist David Allis of the University of
    > > > "For some time now, we have known there is more to our genetic
    > > > blueprint than DNA itself", says Allis. individual genes can be
    > >off
    > > > by adding methyl groups to DNA, a process called imprinting. what's
    > >more,
    > > > imprinted DNA can be passed from one generation to another,
    > > > passing down information that isn't directly encoded in our genome.
    > >
    > >This is exactly what researchers were saying in the 80s, and Sheldrake
    > >deals
    > >with this in The Presence of the Past. Yes, histones are among the
    > >proteins" that interact with genes, but this merely *describes* rather
    > >explains what goes on in the cell. When proteins tell genes what to do,
    > >who's telling the proteins what to do? Why, of course, the genes are
    > >telling them. And these genes are instructed by still other proteins,
    > >on and on it goes like this, round and round.
    > >
    > There is a complex interplay of genes and their products. Cell surface
    > molecules are important too as well as components outside and within a
    > Interestingly the cells of a multicellular organism contain identical DNA
    > (excepting situations such as found within mature lymphocytes with
    > rearranged immunoglobulin genes), but they differ in their expression of
    > genes.

    Right. And this involves homeobox genes. But what explains homeobox genes?

    > >For every answer we arrive
    > >at, another question automatically pops up. >

    > I'd think it's more like for every answer more than one question is
    > generated as a subsequent result. That's the way it goes.

    The genius of science is the ability to recognize when the "answers" don't
    really answer anything. It's about asking the question again, so we can
    finally arrive at a real answer. You've got to all the way back to the
    beginning and start over, much like the process of regenerating lost limbs.

    > >It's an endlessly recursive
    > >loop. There's no possibility that chemistry can ever explain the basis
    > >form in the body. It's a joke with no punch line, a shaggy dog story.

    > Biochemistry serves as an important tool to increasing knowledge of how
    > biological systems work. What role would studies of supposedly psychic
    > serve?

    What they demonstrate is that organisms can't be comprehended according to
    contact mechanics. We must accept, as physicists did one hundred years ago,
    the existence of action-at-a-distance.

    > Gilbert, Opitz, and Raff (1996) mention a likening of "the homeotic gene
    > complex" and "the Rosetta stone". Would ideas like MR have led researchers
    > toward homeotic genes?

    Sheldrake isn't denying the importance of standard research. He's just
    putting it in a different context, one that can explain things like life,
    organic wholes, and memory on their own terms.

    > Of these gene complexes Gilbert, Opitz, and Raff say:
    > "Their homologies enable us to translate our knowledge of *Drosophila*
    > development into the unknown realm of vertebrate embryogenesis." Alas
    > archetypes, sans the collective unconscious and sans morphic resonance.
    > of us respect Goethe et al (the morphological idealists) without needing
    > get spooky about it.
    > Gilbert SF, Opitz JM, and Raff RA. 1996. Resynthesizing evolutionary and
    > developmental biology. Developmental Biology (173): 357-372

    Will definitely take a look at this. Thanks.


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