Re: "scientism"

Bill Benzon (
Fri, 9 Apr 1999 21:26:36 -0400

Message-Id: <>
Date: Fri, 9 Apr 1999 21:26:36 -0400
From: (Bill Benzon)
Subject: Re: "scientism"

At 5:59 PM 4/9/99 +0100, Chris Lees wrote:

>You have not even grasped the basic methodology of the experiment !
>Only one individual is given a stimulus. The other individual is at a
>distance, screened as described, and has no possible means of knowing what
>type of stimulus the other receives, or when. Yet the EEG readouts
>The experiment has been repeated many times with many different individuals.
>( I think I read, some 800 times by different groups, also using the more
>advanced brain imaging scanners).
>It is a simple and elegant experiment and is about as faultless as scientific
>procedure can be. If all it showed was your pitiful distortion that " similar
>people given similar visualization directives, will achieve similar looking
>it would hardly be worth submitting to any journal, and any journal of stature
>which wished to maintain credibility amongst serious scientists wouldn't
>accept it.
>It would be too trivial to print. You have missed the point, absolutely.

Chris, While I think Jake is needlessly abrasive, I tend to agree with his
assessement of this paper, at least as you have presented it. I haven't
read the paper in full. I know only what you originally posted to this
list and what you've said above. That doesn't tell me enough to make any
judgement about whether the results mean much of anything.

It is generally impossible to find the "signature" of a specific stimulus
in EEG patterns. Without a fairly detailed characterization of the EEG
patterns that are being correlated it is impossible for me to make any
judgement about whether or not that correlation indicates generally similar
states of mind (e.g. high alpha output) or something very much more
specific. As for "more advanced brain imaging scanners," if you mean
devices such as PET and fMRI scanners, their images contain no information
about the specific identity and characteristics of a stimulus. They only
indicate activation levels of various brain regions.

William L. Benzon 201.217.1010
708 Jersey Ave. Apt. 2A
Jersey City, NJ 07302 USA

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