Sunday, January 14, 2007

Adrian Parker's Fabrication of Reality.
Part III: The Schmidt experiments

(Download printer friendly PDF of all postings on Adrian Parker's paper in A4 format or US letter format.)

So far, I have pointed to the fact that Swedish parapsychologist Adrian Parker (Parker & Brusewitz, 2003) engages in deception and belittling of the criticism raised against the studies he lists as evidence for paranormal phenomena in A Compendium of the Evidence for PSI. In doing this, I have also made it clear that the Bill Delmore tests and the Targ & Puthoff experiments on remote viewing does not constitute evidence of any kind, to any degree – they are only evidence of crap science. It is now time to add yet another feature of Parker's: lack of methodological insight.

In the compendium, Parker writes:

"The RNG experiments by Helmut Schmidt have retained their status and were replicated by him many times." (Parker & Brusewitz, 2003)

Before I disclose the nature of the status the Schmidt experiments have retained, let's consider what methodological status Parker displays.

Now, he has obviously learned that replicability is something that is important in experimental research. But replicability means that the outcome of a study must occur again if the study is replicated by someone else. And here is Parker, senior lecturer at Gothenburg University, rendering credibility to a study that has been replicated by the same researcher over and over again! Parker doesn't have the methodological insight to realize that Schmidt can replicate his own studies for all eternity – they achieve validity only when they are replicated by someone other than Schmidt. How much credibility are we to render a researcher that lacks such fundamental knowledge in methodology?

So, what has Schmidt done and what is the status of his doings? "RNG" means Random Number Generator and is subsequently an instrument that generates random numbers (Journal of Parapsychology, 2003). Schmidt used RNGs to turn on one of several lights. In the precognition tests, the subject pressed a button to predict which light would turn on and in the clairvoyance tests, the light that would be turned on is decided before the subject responds (Hines, 2003).

The criticism of Schmidt's experiments is extensive. Most of Schmidt's studies lack control or control group, immediate feedback is a matter of routine, thorough analysis of data is missing, he works almost isolated from other researchers, except for his 1986 study data is not available to other researchers, the "Modulus 4" generator he used produces an excessive number of 4 compared to 1, 2 and 3 – in several cases it is number 4 that represent the significant result, he totally ignores suggestions on improvement of his methods, he sometimes acts as both experimenter and subject, in order to create a "auspicious environment" he lets subjects have free access to experiment equipment and in some cases subjects have conducted tests on their own without any experimenter present. Alcock concludes:

"My review of this data-base leads me to conclude that there is no evidence in any of these REG studies of any effect which needs explanation by reference to PSI forces. None of the studies as they stand would be accepted for publication in a good psychology research journal, in my view, quite apart from their subject matter. They are all flawed, some terribly so." (Alcock, 1988)

Parker notes that Palmer (1996) has rejected one bias hypothesis, but neglects to mention that Palmer (1997) himself suggests another bias hypothesis a year later.

It is evident that Parker's strategy is to belittle the criticism raised against the studies he lists, in the Schmidt example labeled "Some Well Controlled Proof Oriented Experiments." There is no sufficient control in Schmidt's studies at all! That is the real status the Schmidt experiments have retained.

Further more, in this case it is equally evident that Parker lacks fundamental methodological insight – the Schmidt experiments "were replicated by himself many times"!

Stay tuned: there is more to come in this farcical affair.

Go back to Part II: Targ's & Puthoff's remote viewing experiments

Continue to Part IV: Some Final Notes.


Alcock, J., (1988). A Comprehensive Review of Major Empirical Studies in Parapsychology Involving Random Event Generators or Remote Viewing. In Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, Enhancing Human Performance: Issues, Theories, and Techniques. Washington: National Academy Press.

Hines, T., (2003). Pseudoscience and the Paranormal. New York: Prometheus.

Journal of Parapsychology, The, (2003). Glossary. Journal of Parapsychology, The, Fall.

Palmer, J. (1996) Evaluation of a conventional interpretation of Helmut Schmidt’s automated precognitive experiments. Journal of Parapsychology, The, June.

Palmer, J. (1997) Hit-contingent response bias in Helmut Schmidt‘s automated prekognition experiments. Journal of Parapsychology, The, June.

Parker, A., & Brusewitz, G., (2003). A Compendium of the Evidence for Psi. European Journal of Parapsychology, 2003, 18, 33-51.

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