Re: Actually, Psycholgical Bulletin is a mainstream publication

From: Richard Loosemore (
Date: Fri Dec 30 2005 - 17:35:34 MST


I have to reply, because you have both filled your post with egregiously
false statements and tried to use these to impune my credibity. I am
allergic to people who try to distort the truth in order to defame
others. In future, please check your facts a little deeper than a
superficial glance at a website.

First, I base my remarks about Susan Blackmore's work in parapsychology on:
     (1) Her own statements to me back in the mid-80s, when she said she
was fed up with the field and had no intention of doing any more
experimental work in it.

     (2) Remarks like this on her website: "I am no longer doing
research on out-of-body and near-death experiences, parapsychology, and
alien abductions, but see below for publications on these topics."

     (3) The comments and opinions of other parapsychologists who have
spent the last couple of decades doing experiments. Among these people,
her work is NOT highly respected. I will explain why in a moment.

Let's quickly go over the publications she cites on her website (I
notice that you tell us we will find amazing proof of my incompetence
there, so I think we should take a look, don't you?).

She lists these categories of research, on her website at the page

     - Three speculative papers dismissing consciousness.
Lucid Dreams
Near-Death Experiences
     - Speculative paper: NO EMPIRICAL RESEARCH
Out-of-body Experiences
     - A paper on her own experience of an NDE.
Paranormal belief
     - Speculative paper: NO EMPIRICAL RESEARCH
Alien abductions

If you now turn to her more detailed listing of publications, you will
notice that the vast majority of them are either in one of the headings
that I have marked as not parapsychology, or they are superficial,
speculative critiques that contain no original data.

Sometimes she tries to analyse other people's data, but in at least some
of those cases she commits errors that were severely criticised by
full-time experimental psychologists.

In all of this work there is a pattern, and it is a pattern that she
told me she would adopt, and she did: she sees her role as a full-time
critic of the field. I am sure that she thinks her criticisms are
valuable science, but the parapsycholgists whose work I know and respect
find her comments to be filled with vapid speculation.

was "formerly one of the top parapsychologists," as you claimed. She
did some empirical work in the early 80s, as I stated, and then she
explictly chose to stop doing serious research and instead become a
popularist, a commentator and critic, and a repackager of her already
existing opinions.

She is an extremely skilled paper-generator, but among those who
actually do the science, you don't get to be a "top parapsychologist" by
simply criticising the field in non-specific terms for 20 years.

If you dispute this, please assemble a list of all the publications that
she has done since, say 1985, which (a) are in parapsychology, and (b)
involve original empirical work.

You might also, while you are at it, ask some parapsychologists
themselves how highly regarded she is.

Richard Loosemore

Jeff Medina wrote:
> On 12/30/05, Richard Loosemore <> wrote:
>>She is not "formerly one of the top parapsychologists," she
>>was doing some parapsychology in the early 80s, then became
>>disillusioned after a personal fracas/dispute with another
>>parapsychologist, Carl Sargent.
> I'm a bit confused at your email, Richard, because your claims and
> implications (that she wasn't highly regarded among parapsychologists,
> and that only worked on parapsychology during the early 80s) are
> demonstrably false, and very easily so. Her CV, publication list, and
> various other relevant data are readily available on the web.
> To save the trouble of everyone browsing through
> on their own (but you can verify all I say below at that site), here's
> a quick overview of the facts, which demonstrate how very wrong your
> suggestions are:
> ## Susan Blackmore has nearly 50 (fifty) essays in peer-reviewed
> journals on parapsychology, not including reprints, to her credit,
> over 20 (twenty) book contributions, and 5 related books. As anyone
> familiar with academia knows, over 75 publications in a field is
> rather strong evidence that a person is
> ## Of her 47 or so peer-reviewed para-publications, 25 (twenty-five)
> were published between 1985 and 2002, and 14 (fourteen) between
> 1990-2002.
> ## She has appeared many times on television and radio to discuss ESP,
> ghosts, reincarnation, and alien abduction, among other subjects.
> ## She has published in 4 of the 6 journals you mentioned earlier, and
> has refereed for 5 of them.
> ## A number of her publications were also reprinted, which is another
> indicator of her work being rather well-received in the field.
> That said, I'll leave readers to make their own judgments on my and
> your claims in this regard. I've better things to do, so I don't plan
> to respond on the subject of parapsychology again in the near future
> (to put it mildly).
>>What always amazes me is the ferocity of amateur scientists when dealing
>>with these issues. I use the word "amateur" advisedly: people who know
>>nothing about the actual experimental research work that has been done
>>in the parapsychology field seem perfectly happy to pronounce themselves
>>experts and hurl the most amazing torrents of abuse at scientists who
>>know a great deal more than they do. People who do that are not
>>scientists, they are scientist-wannabes.
> This is pretty hilarious, given the parapsychological credentials &
> evidence of knowledge that Sue Blackmore has in comparison to your
> lack thereof, Richard. By your own measure, welcome to
> scientist-wannabe status.
> It's also ignorant of the completely acceptable division of epistemic
> labor that humans practice. If physicists say John Doe's Unified
> Theory is junk, you're not a scientist-wannabe (or any other slur) for
> dismissing John Doe's claims without being a physicist.
> To assert that phenomena so remarkable and world-changing as the
> paranormal would remain supressed because of some Grand Conspiracy of
> bigotry by The Scientists is so laughable and sad it hurts. If you
> can't see how implausible this is, I'm afraid you've just written off
> your cognitive credibility completely.
> --
> Jeff Medina
> Community Director
> Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence
> Relationships & Community Fellow
> Institute for Ethics & Emerging Technologies
> School of Philosophy, Birkbeck, University of London

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