ID:48411
 
The Extended Mind: Recent Experimental Evidence



Speaker: Rupert Sheldrake
Rupert Sheldrake, Ph.D. is a biologist and author of more than 75 technical papers and ten books, the most recent being The Sense of Being Stared At. He studied at Cambridge and Harvard Universities, was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge and a Research Fellow of the Royal Society. He is currently Director of the Perrott-Warrick project, funded from Trinity College Cambridge.
Hmm, fascinating. I find it hard to believe that what we see is some sort of extension of ourselves as he claims. It doesn't make much sense to me. Vision is very much exclusive territory of the eye.

That said, feeling people watching you very well could be a real phenomena. I was pretty shocked to hear about the dog experiment. Pretty unreal if it's true and not flawed in some way.

Can't wait to see what he comes up with for Facebook.
The key word being "was" a fellow of Clare College.

He lost me at telepathy- absolute garbage.

Actually, he lost me at "we don't know how the brain works" - that's right, we don't totally know how the brain works, but that doesn't justify making up total nonesense then passing it off as fact!

Xooxer, this guy isn't worth even a minute of your time.
Elation, your opinions aren't worth my time. I'll decide who who's worth listening to, not you.

You can't dismiss someone because you don't believe in their research. If the evidence is there, your beliefs are irrelevant. Considering the major skeptic against Sheldrake has confirmed his data regarding dogs and their owners returns, I'd say there's ample evidence to go further with more research.

Bigoted denial based on ignorance is absolute garbage. Quit relying on what the media says you can believe look around you for once. We're breaking the rules whether you like it or not.
Here's some research for you- I've looked up that guy, and he's basically an ex-biologist gone mental, a laughing stock within the scientific community. :p

We're breaking the rules whether you like it or not.

haha
Your description seems to suggest an argument from authority. "He has a lot of background, so what he says must be true."

He is full of crap. Telepathy doesn't exist. Sure, the brain is complicated, but it isn't that complicated.

If this guy is right, he should know I'm staring at him on this video. But how would I know where he is? How would my mind "project" to him?

Most of his talk so far has been "well, these people say they have felt this, so it must be true!". That's just silly. Most of his examples can be explained by at least one of two ways.

1. Stare at someone long enough, and they are likely to notice you.
2. You can get subtle clues as to someone being close to you, including things like the temperature changing from the body heat. The human body is very good at noticing these things, even if it is so subtle that we don't notice that we notice it.

And now he is claiming that he doesn't understand how birds fly in a group, so it it must be telepathy. Did he ever think, perhaps, that he just didn't understand how they flew in a group? There was a time when bees where seen as supernatural because we didn't think they should be able to fly based on their wing movements. Now days, however, we understand the very complicated air movements that allow bees to fly.

His cat example is completely full of crap. Humans give subtle clues, such as being tense when coming close to the cat. Giving the cat a good clue as to what is going on. It's people's apprehension that is causing the cat's reactions.

Oh, and that dog experiment has been debunked a few times.

I'm done watching this, it's clear that this guy is at best wrong, at worst a complete idiot. I might finish watching it when I get home, but I'm already tired of listing to this crap.

The plural of antidote is antidotes, not data.
Obviously you guys are too thick-headed to appreciate this. Why am I not surprised?

The description was taken from the Google Tech Talks video description, so take your "position of authority" up with them.

You're full of crap. He's not claiming anything is real or unreal. He's saying, let's find out, already. It's ok for you to give absolutes, though. Everyone knows Denial is the best course of action when your world view is threatened.

If you haven't even gotten past the intro, you have nothing worth saying about this video. Your explanations for the feeling of being looked at were all addressed in his talk. Your argument is ignorant and you are to blame.

The dog experiment has not been "debunked", but thanks for playing! I suppose if anyone would have debunked it, it would have been Sheldrake's biggest detractor, who not only failed to debunk his results, but actually CONFIRMED THEM.

And just so you know, the word he was using was "anecdote", not "antidote". I mean, seriously, holly shit dude. Are you that dense? Nevermind, I already know the answer.
Elation wrote:
We're breaking the rules whether you like it or not.

haha

Maybe you aren't aware of the recent breakthroughs in the past decade, but science has already broken some of the rules, and continues to push the boundaries of human ability. Of course, you're welcome to stay behind in 1985 if it makes you feel better.
Xooxer wrote:
Obviously you guys are too thick-headed to appreciate this. Why am I not surprised?

So being reasonable is being thick headed now? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. And if he wasn't to pursue that evidence, he can, but walking on stage with a bunch of anecdotes is hardly evidence.

The description was taken from the Google Tech Talks video description, so take your "position of authority" up with them.

Yeah, I noticed that after hitting post. But it doesn't change the fact that, out of all that youtube info, you only put the bit about who he was. I guess you wanted to have people watch it, rather than read a summary, but it seemed like you were just saying "Look, this guy isn't a tinfoil hat wearing fool!". My bad, I suppose.

You're full of crap. He's not claiming anything is real or unreal. He's saying, let's find out, already. It's ok for you to give absolutes, though. Everyone knows Denial is the best course of action when your world view is threatened.

He was pretty clearly claiming that it was real. It isn't that my world view is being threatened, it's that telepathy doesn't exist. If he has 5 studies proving it's likely, there is like 50 that proves it's unlikely. Plus there's the basic science that says "things can't interact with other things without using energy, and energy can almost always be measured."

On top of that, we mostly do understand how the brain works. We understand it well enough to map it when things happen, to know what parts get triggered when events happen, and we understand it enough to know there isn't a telepathy dish inside it.

If you haven't even gotten past the intro, you have nothing worth saying about this video. Your explanations for the feeling of being looked at were all addressed in his talk. Your argument is ignorant and you are to blame.

I watched 25 minutes of it. If that's not enough to get a good idea of what he's saying, he needs to learn to write his talks better.

The dog experiment has not been "debunked", but thanks for playing! I suppose if anyone would have debunked it, it would have been Sheldrake's biggest detractor, who not only failed to debunk his results, but actually CONFIRMED THEM.

And who, exactly, is his biggest detractor? And why does has detractor have such authority on this subject?

And just so you know, the word he was using was "anecdote", not "antidote". I mean, seriously, holly shit dude. Are you that dense? Nevermind, I already know the answer.

Oh, my bad, I didn't check behind my spell checker well enough. But clearly that makes me a complete idiot. All, all my points are invalid because of a spelling error, but I guess that goes without saying.

About 50 years ago people thought that continental drift was nonsense, much like people think this guy is talking absolute garbage. Look at us now, there's entire research centers and universities made to study and teach plate tectonics..

I just tried this on a random person walking down the street, walking away from me.. He looked back.
I've done experiments (ok, they were more like games) when I was young with friends, and we all were able to make people look at us on command. We never thought to see if we could tell ourselves when someone was starring at us. It was an interesting phenomenon, but we never really did anything with the knowledge other than mess with people without them knowing it. We tried to go further and get people to perform other actions, but that proved to be too difficult for us.
Xooxer wrote:
I've done experiments (ok, they were more like games) when I was young with friends, and we all were able to make people look at us on command. We never thought to see if we could tell ourselves when someone was starring at us. It was an interesting phenomenon, but we never really did anything with the knowledge other than mess with people without them knowing it.

I wasn't there when you were a kid, so I can't say exactly what was happening, but my guess would be that a bunch of kids suddenly getting quiet simple drew attention. Or, perhaps, it didn't always work, but when it "did", you assumed it was because you made it happen, not because sometimes people look around.

We tried to go further and get people to perform other actions, but that proved to be too difficult for us.

And you don't think that you couldn't do it not because it was too difficult, but rather it was impossible?

As for the dog study, a quick Google turned up this: http://skepchick.org/blog/?p=849

Basically, the dog used had a habit of walking to the window randomly, so hits were very likely even when it was complete luck. The study had very loosely defined rules(which is a mark of a bad study), which means most hits could be ruled out as random chance completely, and then the results would be too low to consider. Also, according to this post, Wiseman(who I'm assuming you are calling his "biggest detractor") did 4 related tests, and got the opposite results.
I think he mentioned that all random window looking was counted. I'm not gonna watch it again to confirm that:P

Also, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Well, he covered that too:P

He claims there has been no extraordinary proof against his study:P

*Side note, I don't believe (or disbelieve) in telepathy. I find it's highly unlikely there's anything such as telepathy. I Just find his talk very interesting.
Danial.Beta wrote:
So being reasonable is being thick headed now?

You're not being reasonable. You're being thick-headed. Bigoted assumptions made from ignorance are not reasonable. Laying down absolutes is unreasonable in the face of evidence to the contrary. Denial based on your own personal beliefs is unreasonable.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

Funny, he says the same thing. Oh, right. You wouldn't know that because you've already dismissed any discussion on the topic because "telepathy doesn't exist." How utterly reasonable.


And if he wasn't to pursue that evidence, he can, but walking on stage with a bunch of anecdotes is hardly evidence.

You're right, which is why he doesn't just give you anecdotes. You're making a fool of yourself.


Yeah, I noticed that after hitting post. But it doesn't change the fact that, out of all that youtube info, you only put the bit about who he was.

I originally was only going to post the video itself, but then I noticed they had a short bio in the summary, so I included it.

I excluded the full summary because you lot seem to have a horrible habit of forgetting what the topic is. You jump on any opening you can find to derail the conversation away from the main topic onto something you can more easily attack. Pardon me for trying to remove distraction.


He was pretty clearly claiming that it was real.

Wrong, he's not.


It isn't that my world view is being threatened, it's that telepathy doesn't exist.

Can you prove it? No. If you can't prove it doesn't exist, you can't say it doesn't exist. He's saying it might, or it might not, then he's laying out data to find out the real answer. You're already assuming you know the answer, which invariably makes your argument invalid.


If he has 5 studies proving it's likely, there is like 50 that proves it's unlikely.

Then I guess we need to do a little more research and find out what's what, don't we?


Plus there's the basic science that says "things can't interact with other things without using energy, and energy can almost always be measured."


There's no such thing as basic science. Unless you're willing to define "things", "energy", "interaction", and "measurement", you're statement says nothing about science.

On top of that, we mostly do understand how the brain works.

No, we mostly don't.


We understand it well enough to map it when things happen, to know what parts get triggered when events happen, and we understand it enough to know there isn't a telepathy dish inside it.

We understand it on a very basic neurological level, and even then we only know general pathways for general systems. Yes, we're mapping out deeper pathways and more specific systems, but the amount we don't know about the brain far exceed what we do.

We're just now coming to the realization that each neuron in itself has as many processing centers as the entire brain has neurons. That pushes the level of complexity far beyond anything we had imagined.

Even when we map out each neuron and all its circuits, we still only have a structure for information processing and storage. It says little to nothing about consciousness or mind, which seem to be more software than hardware. That's going to take a separate effort to solve, and may prove to be a problem far more difficult than we ever dreamed. Our best guess right now is that consciousness arises from complexity, but that's not really saying much at all. Many things are far more complex than our brains, but are they conscious? For every thing we know about our brain, there are countless unanswered questions.

I watched 25 minutes of it. If that's not enough to get a good idea of what he's saying, he needs to learn to write his talks better.

The video is over an hour and 35 mins long. 25 minutes won't go into the detail you're demanding.

And who, exactly, is his biggest detractor? And why does has detractor have such authority on this subject?

I refuse to answer these questions on the grounds that they have already been answered by Sheldrake. Watch the video.

Oh, my bad, I didn't check behind my spell checker well enough. But clearly that makes me a complete idiot. All, all my points are invalid because of a spelling error, but I guess that goes without saying.

No, your points are invalid because you assume too much, willfully remain ignorant of the discussion, while simultaneously submitting absolutes to destroy any discussion on the matter.
I did get the impression that he was trying too hard to make his theories come true. I do question his objectivity.

But again, if what he says is actually true, which I don't have the time right now to research in detail, I don't see any proof on either of his research that proves him wrong.

Of course, being I can't trust his word on his own research, I guess I'm not surprised. I think instead of you two bickering, find some reports on tests that conclusively prove his tests invalid.

That link you sent previously did not prove anything.
Danial.Beta wrote:
I wasn't there when you were a kid,

Thank god.


so I can't say exactly what was happening,

You're right, you know nothing about my experience, so anything you do say is highly suspect.


but my guess would be that a bunch of kids suddenly getting quiet simple drew attention.

Such audacity. Seriously. Don't try to debunk this. You have no chance. You're already making assumptions that are waaaay off base.


Or, perhaps, it didn't always work, but when it "did", you assumed it was because you made it happen, not because sometimes people look around.

Or perhaps it did work most of the time for all of us, and you're not wiling to consider that possibility.


And you don't think that you couldn't do it not because it was too difficult, but rather it was impossible?

Perhaps it was, but we weren't going to find out by shoving out heads up our ass and assuming we knew what would happen.


As for the dog study, a quick Google turned up this: http://skepchick.org/blog/?p=849

Oh, that's the best you got? Ha. Watch the video. Just watch it. I guarantee you'll have better material.

Basically, the dog used

Fail. There was more than one dog, more than one study, and more than just Sheldrake's data.


had a habit of walking to the window randomly,

WATCH THE VIDEO. He discusses ALL OF THIS ALREADY. For fucks sake! Yes, the dogs go to the window other times, dogs do all sorts of things. The question is are they waiting, or just looking at something outside? His data suggests that they are only waiting during the time their owners are coming home, and that the other times the dogs only peer out the window briefly then go away.


so hits were very likely even when it was complete luck.

If you measure a hit only as the dog going to the window. He also shows how long the dogs waited, which pretty much goes against your argument, again.


The study had very loosely defined rules(which is a mark of a bad study), which means most hits could be ruled out as random chance completely, and then the results would be too low to consider.

Really? THE study? Which one? What were the rules? Define hit. Oh, right, you can't.


Also, according to this post, Wiseman(who I'm assuming you are calling his "biggest detractor") did 4 related tests, and got the opposite results.

From Wiseman's site:

"However, assuming that the data is sound, there are two main normal explanations that could potentially account for Jaytee appearing to psychically know when his owner is returning home. I have labelled these the ?sensory leakage? hypothesis, and the ?anxiety? hypothesis. The following two sections each discuss whether such explanations might account for the results of the two experiments."

Him trying to explain the results in non-paranormal terms doesn't sound like "the opposite result" to me. It sounds like someone trying to explain unexplainable results. I can't find any mention of Wiseman finding opposite results.

I'm still waiting for someone to watch this through. I'm interested to hear your outrage over his mention of a certain famous skeptic.
There, I watched the whole thing, and I don't believe it any more than I did to start. As he says 'Many people would rather believe that I'm wrong or lying'. But when you hash it out, is it not more likely that he is wrong than that telepathy exists?

Sure, his data is interesting, but it directly contradicts many studies that have shown no telepathy.

From what I watched, he only mentioned one dog study, not many. And that study was of one dog, with "hundreds" of trials. This is a tiny sample size.

As for the calls, I haven't looked over his data, so I have no way of knowing if it could have been falsified, but I still think it is more likely than if telepathy exists.

My simple point is, we know pretty damn well how the mind works, and how physics work(at least to a degree that would make telepathy highly unlikely). Just because we can't insert a couple of wires and interface with the brain doesn't mean we don't understand how it works.

The brain is no more likely to be able to perform telepathy than a computer.

Lots of studies show lots of odd things all the time, but normally these odd things can be ruled out.

I'm not a scientist, nor a strong skeptic. I don't enjoy pouring over large pieces of data. So I'm not going to spend all night googling this stuff. But I stick by my 'he is more likely wrong/lying than that telepathy exists' argument. Sure, it's not saying that it's completely impossible, but it's also not impossible that there is a teapot orbiting Saturn, just very unlikely.
Danial.Beta wrote:
There, I watched the whole thing, and I don't believe it any more than I did to start.

Good. I never asked you to believe it, only to not bash it without at least watching it.


As he says 'Many people would rather believe that I'm wrong or lying'. But when you hash it out, is it not more likely that he is wrong than that telepathy exists?

Occam's Razor, while aesthetically pleasing to our intellect, is no measure of validity. If he is lying, his data and research will bear this out in the end. That, however, doesn't say anything about the reality or unreality of the topic.


Sure, his data is interesting, but it directly contradicts many studies that have shown no telepathy.

Like?


From what I watched, he only mentioned one dog study, not many. And that study was of one dog, with "hundreds" of trials. This is a tiny sample size.

From what I gathered, he was currently conducting trials with many dogs and cats and many owners from many parts of the world. He even mentioned *not* finding any significant results with reptiles of many kinds, which suggests his tests are far reaching and comprehensive, not some one-off test over a decade ago. Perhaps you missed the geographic charts showing animals in California having better results than others?


As for the calls, I haven't looked over his data, so I have no way of knowing if it could have been falsified, but I still think it is more likely than if telepathy exists.

Whether it could have or not is not really an issue. If it was, no results could be acceptable, since any test could theoretically be tampered with. That's not how science works. Science says, "You have results, now lets others see if they can replicate them." Others are attempting to replicate them right now. Observation leads to hypothesis which puts forth testable predictions which can be verified or falsified by any qualified agent. That's what he's doing, testing his hypothesis. If you're not willing to believe his data could be accurate, you're not participating in scientific inquiry.



My simple point is, we know pretty damn well how the mind works, and how physics work(at least to a degree that would make telepathy highly unlikely).

Wrong again. People were saying this about teleportation and faster than light travel, both of which have been done, if only in a lab setting. Our understanding of the universe is enormously tiny. To even declare something so outrageous as the impossibility of telepathy is absurd. We haven't even figured out light, gravity, mass or energy itself, the fundamental basis of our entire understanding. Yet you claim we know enough to state a certain phenomenon is utterly impossible.


Just because we can't insert a couple of wires and interface with the brain doesn't mean we don't understand how it works.

Uh, we can do that. We do do that. We've planted chips in the brain so people can move mouse cursors on computer screens, or to restore lost eyesight or hearing with external devises plugged into the brain. We understand general systems, regions of activity and roughly how things are laid out. That doesn't mean we know how everything works. Nature doesn't play by your rules, your physics, your understanding of the universe. Nature does whatever it can to progress towards balance. If that means breaking or bending the rules as you perceive them, then that's what it will do.

I recall an article on robotics that attempted to create a machine that taught itself how to walk. They had supplied it with processors, and it could use them however it wished to produce the desired behavior. No pre-programming was supplied, only feedback to let the machine know if it was improving or not.

When they finally had a working behavior, they took a look at the chips to see how the machine solved the problem, hoping it would reveal insights into new ways we can solve similar problems. It was a brilliant approach. The only problem was, when they examined one of the chips, they found it had a slight defect, one which the machine had utilized to great effect, producing a circuit nobody had even thought was possible.

Just because you think you know the rules doesn't men nature has to play by them. There are plenty of ways nature could make telepathy possible, and many different things that could be considered telepathy. You have no grounds to dismiss the entire question outright.


The brain is no more likely to be able to perform telepathy than a computer.

Computers do, though. Artificial telepathy is certainly a future possibility. Once we can communicate to a wireless device directly from our brains, telepathy is reality. That's not a question of if, but when. I see no reason nature couldn't also find a way to communicate between brains, especially considering she's much more clever than we are.

Lots of studies show lots of odd things all the time, but normally these odd things can be ruled out.

Yes, and normally these odd things are the minority, flukes or errors in the results. When the study you're doing rules out the big pitfalls (as all good tests should), and you get significant results, then that is not a fluke, it's a valid result.


I'm not a scientist, nor a strong skeptic. I don't enjoy pouring over large pieces of data. So I'm not going to spend all night googling this stuff.

No, but you'll happily attack the topic as impossible, call the researchers liars and claim to know all there is about science and physics to the degree that you can confidently claim telepathy doesn't exist.


But I stick by my 'he is more likely wrong/lying than that telepathy exists' argument. Sure, it's not saying that it's completely impossible, but it's also not impossible that there is a teapot orbiting Saturn, just very unlikely.

Again, comparisons like this are irrelevant. A teapot orbiting Saturn has nothing to do with telepathy, it's likelihood or our understanding of anything.

You are (or were) saying it is completely impossible. That's what I have issue with. You claim to know he's either lying or a fraud, without even giving him the courtesy of hearing him out. Your argument is invalid based on the fact that you are unwilling to even consider the possibility that he might be right. That's not objective, reasonable discussion, that's bigoted aggression against something you don't like.
Xooxer babbled:
Occam's Razor, while aesthetically pleasing to our intellect, is no measure of validity.

Whoops, wrong.

And to further add insult to injury, occam's razor doesn't even apply here: "he's mental" or "telepathy exists!" aren't equal in all other respects except for complexity of explanation- the former is totally, obviously right, the latter being absolute rubbish believed by the weak or stupid (don't worry xooxer, i don't think you're weak *or* stupid. More just, erm, "slow"? "Intellectually challenged". :) ).

Since you're into kind of weird kooky youtube videos, check out some of james randi's stuff, he's pretty amusing:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9FjjrbQabw&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39PM03iVbqE&feature=related

This kind of thing.


"Computers do, though. Artificial telepathy is certainly a future possibility. Once we can communicate to a wireless device directly from our brains, telepathy is reality. That's not a question of if, but when. I see no reason nature couldn't also find a way to communicate between brains, especially considering she's much more clever than we are."

I'd be careful about that sort of approach. It raises a lot of awkward questions like, if telepathy really exists, why do animals rely on vocalisations or pheromones to communicate? You could handwave it away with something about how complex and intricate "mother nature" is, but then you'd be no better than a christian claiming that god moves in mysterious ways.

There's a problem with you claiming that telepathy is true because there are "many different ways" of acheiving telepathy (especially the stuff about brain communicating through wireless devices in the future!).

My words right now are travelling through the air across my room, then right across the world in the blink of an eye into your monitor, but you'd be silly to claim that's telepathy.
Elation wrote:
except for complexity of explanation- the former is totally, obviously right,

Except it's not, considering he has claimed to have evidence to the contrary, and guess what? He's not the only one.

the latter being absolute rubbish believed by the weak or stupid (don't worry xooxer, i don't think you're weak *or* stupid. More just, erm, "slow"? "Intellectually challenged". :) ).

You of all people should talk. Your argument is ignorant of the topic, assumes I believe he's correct and shows you have no concept of discussion and are only participating to get a few cheap shots in.

Since you're into kind of weird kooky youtube videos, check out some of james randi's stuff, he's pretty amusing:

This shows me that you never watched the video, so I won't bother watching yours.


I'd be careful about that sort of approach.

Why? Artificial telepathy is not a maybe, it's inevitable. Well, it is if we don't kill ourselves before we invent implants for our brains. Michio Kaku is a big fan of the coming cyborg revolution. Then again, he's also a founder of string theory, so he might be just crazy.


It raises a lot of awkward questions like, if telepathy really exists, why do animals rely on vocalisations or pheromones to communicate?

Probably the same reason we rely on different forms of communication, or the same reason we can hear and see. Yes, seeing is superior, but hearing can still save your life. Nature doesn't give a creature one input and one output.


You could handwave it away with something about how complex and intricate "mother nature" is, but then you'd be no better than a christian claiming that god moves in mysterious ways.

Or I could explain it logically as I just did and invalidate your pathetic attempt to insult me with religion.


There's a problem with you claiming that telepathy is true

You're right, because I never did.


My words right now are travelling through the air across my room, then right across the world in the blink of an eye into your monitor, but you'd be silly to claim that's telepathy.

Actually, if you want to get technical, it is. So is body language or the logo on your t-shirt. Non verbal communication between two minds, that's pretty much the definition of telepathy.

Of course, you could argue it's not natural telepathy since we're using technology to enhance our minds, but you can't argue that our minds aren't communicating.

Your argument is fail. Mainly because you assume I believe in telepathy, but also because you didn't even bother to watch the video to see if anything you're saying has been covered already. You must be related to Denial.
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