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Our future, our universe, and other weighty topics

Friday, May 20, 2022

"Shun the Spooky" Rule Makes Scientists Shackled Sherlocks

The average person may occasionally read about the paranormal, and may get the impression that it is some extremely rare thing, based on how infrequently it is reported. But there are reasons for thinking that what you read about the paranormal is just the tip of the tip of the iceberg. Instead of being a “blue moon” type of thing, the paranormal may be extremely common. Various factors may have caused you to think of the paranormal as being something extremely uncommon, when it actually may be very common.

Let's look at what some of these factors may be. One factor is that probably the overwhelming majority of people who have paranormal experiences do not publicly report them. There are several reasons why someone having a paranormal experience may not report it publicly. He may fear being ridiculed, or he may fear that if he reports a paranormal experience he may be thought of as weird or flaky or a liar, and that this may hurt his job prospects. Or someone may not report a paranormal experience simply because there was not any physical evidence he can present to show the incident occurred. 

Of the people who do publicly report their paranormal experiences, probably the great majority simply make some social media entry that you are very unlikely to ever hear about. My guess is that 99% of all paranormal experiences are not reported in a way that would be likely to end up in a news story that you might ever read. Corporations are masters of milking the media for news coverage, but what is the chance that some person having a paranormal experience will then spam the news media (or issue a press release) in the right way to get good news coverage? Almost zero.

Another reason why the paranormal may be vastly more common than you might imagine is that your college or university probably failed to teach you anything about it. Modern colleges and universities are bastions of materialist thinking that like to exclude and denigrate the paranormal. When you took that psychology course in college, you should have learned all about the years of very substantial and methodical observational reports on the paranormal, particularly ESP, clairvoyance, medium activity and apparition sightings. But you probably learned very little or nothing on the topic, leaving you with the impression that there isn't much there.

The problem lies with our science professors. Science professors are often members of a conformist belief community in which there are hallowed belief dogmas and very strong taboos.  We fail to realize how often science professors are members of tradition-driven church-like belief communities, because so many of the dubious belief tenets of such professor communities are successfully sold as "science," even when such tenets are speculative or conflict with observations. Fairly discussing reports of the paranormal is a taboo for science professors, who are typically men whose speech and behavior is dominated by moldy old customs and creaky old taboos.  There are many other socially constructed taboos such as the taboo that forbids saying something in nature might be a product of design, no matter how immensely improbable its accidental occurrence might be. The main reason why science professors shun reports of the paranormal is that such reports tend to conflict with cherished assumptions or explanatory boasts of such professors. Also, reports of the paranormal clash with the attempts of vainglorious science professors to portray themselves as kind of Grand Lords of Explanation with keen insight into the fundamental nature of reality. 

One of the rules of today's typical science professor is: shun the spooky. So when people report seeing things that scientists cannot explain, the rule of today's scientists is: pay no attention, or if you mention it, try to denigrate the observational report, often by shaming, stigmatizing or slandering the observer. Following the "shun the spooky" rule, science professors typically fail to read hundreds of books they should have read to help clarify the nature of human beings and physical reality, books discussing hard-to-explain observations by humans.  

It is a gigantic mistake to assume that when a science professor speaks against the paranormal, he is stating an educated opinion.  Based on their writings, it seems that 99% of today's science professors have never bothered to seriously study the paranormal.  A physics professor denigrating the paranormal no more states an educated opinion than a taxi driver offering an opinion on quantum chromodynamics. The fact that a person has studied one deep subject requiring the reading of hundreds of long volumes for a fairly good knowledge of the subject is no reason for thinking that the same person has studied some other deep subject (such as paranormal phenomena) requiring the reading of hundreds of long volumes for a fairly good knowledge of the subject, particularly when studying such a subject seriously is a taboo for that type of person. Serious scholars of paranormal phenomena can tell when someone speaking or writing on a topic has never studied it in depth, and low-scholarship indications are typically dropped in abundance when science professors write about the paranormal (things such as a failure to reference or quote the most relevant original source materials).   

The scientist following a "shun the spooky" rule a rule is rather like Sherlock Holmes wearing handcuffs behind his back. Sherlock Holmes was the most famous fictional detective in literary history. In a series of stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes would attempt to uncover the truth behind a crime, using every tool he could muster. Like Sherlock Holmes, a scientist attempts to uncover the truth, using a variety of tools and methods. But imagine if Sherlock Holmes tried to solve crimes wearing handcuffs that prevented him from using his hands.  He would probably fail to solve many of his harder crime cases, and would often come up with wrong answers. 

The scientist following a "shun the spooky" rule is like a man wearing handcuffs that prevents him from using his hands. A large fraction of the most important clues that nature offers are things that appear to us as spooky things, because we cannot understand them.  A scientist refusing to examine such clues will be likely to reach wrong conclusions about some of the most important issues a scientist can study. 

It is a great mistake to think that a scientist following a "shun the spooky" rule will merely end up getting wrong ideas about paranormal topics. Following such a rule, the scientist will tend to also end up with wrong ideas about important topics that are not normally thought of as paranormal. The person who fails to study the paranormal will tend to end up with wrong ideas on topics such as the relation between the brain and the mind and the origin of man.  Similarly, he who fails to properly study mathematics may end up with wrong ideas on topics outside of mathematics, such as physics and biology; and he who fails to study history may end up with bad ideas about politics, current affairs and public policy.

The "shun the spooky" rule causes neglect of all kinds of important things beyond what is considered paranormal. So, for example, scientists may avoid studying John Lorber's cases that included cases of above-average intelligence and only a thin sheet of brain tissue, finding such results too spooky. Such results are "wrong way" signs nature is putting up, telling neuroscientists some of their chief  assumptions are wrong. The "shun the spooky" rule may lead to wasted billions and bad medical practices. Doctors and scientists may focus on ineffective treatments stemming from incorrect assumptions, while neglecting effective treatments because the results are too spooky for them.    

When I was a small child, younger than 10, I would read in a children's magazine a series of educational cartoons that were called the Goofus and Gallant series. The Goofus and Gallant series of cartoons would try to teach small children good principles of behavior, by showing bad behavior by Goofus and good behavior by Gallant. I can never recall hearing a word about the Goofus and Gallant series in the past 50 years, nor can I recall ever thinking about such a series in the past 50 years. My ability to accurately remember such details from well over 50 years ago is one of many reasons why I reject prevailing neuroscientist claims about synaptic memory storage, claims that are untenable because synapses don't last for decades, and the proteins in synapses last only about a thousandth (.001) of the longest length of time that humans can accurately retain memories.

I can use the Goofus and Gallant approach to illustrate some of the differences between bad professor behavior and good professor behavior when dealing with reports of spooky phenomena.  Here is one attempt:

bad professor and good professor

Here is another such attempt:

good professor and bad professor

Here is one more such attempt:

And here is the last such attempt:

bad professor and good professor

Very sadly, the science departments of our universities are all stuffed with guys like Professor Goofus. To these self-shackled Sherlocks, I say: ditch your shackles, and start studying all of the evidence relevant to the claims you make, including the things discussed in my 100+ posts here and the list of books given at the beginning of the post here.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Yes, You Can Do Math Clarifying the Chance of Accidental Biological Innovations

At the Skeptical Inquirer we have a recent article by Jason Rosenhouse attempting but failing to effectively rebut mathematical arguments against the credibility of Darwinist origins claims. The article begins by citing an imaginary example of a mathematical argument against the accidental origin of a gene.  Apparently trying to make the mathematical improbabilities look vastly smaller than they are, the author gives us a faulty example that no competent critic of Darwinism would actually use, because it does not involve an accurate idea of the number of base pairs in human genes. Rosenhouse imagines someone arguing from a gene that is only 100 base pairs long, with such a person saying that such a sequence would have a random likelihood of 1 in 100 to the fourth power, too unlikely to have occurred by chance. 

But according to the site here, "The typical confirmed human gene has 12 exons of an average length of 236 base pairs each, separated by introns of an average length of 5,478 base pairs." Counting only the exons, this gives us an average number of base pairs in a human gene of 12 times 236, which is 2832.  No one would argue from a gene of only 100 base pairs in length when the average human gene has something like 2832 base pairs. A base pair can have any of four values. The number of ways you can arrange the base pairs in a gene of only 100 base pairs is 4 to the 100th power, which is about 10 to the 60th power. The number of ways you can arrange the base pairs in an average human gene of about 2832 base pairs is a vastly larger number, which is 4 to the power of 2832, which is about 10 to the 1705th power, or 10 followed by 1704 zeros. 

Funny how these kind of convenient errors of gigantic complexity understatement keep cropping up in the work of writers trying to assure us about the feasibility of a Darwinian evolution of protein molecules. Similar goofs happened in a paper by professor Luca Peliti (discussed here),  where Peliti incorrectly spoke as if the typical number of amino acids in an enzyme protein molecule is 100 (it's more like 400), and also made a convenient math error claiming that 20 to the hundredth power is about ten to the thirtieth power (20 to the hundredth power is actually roughly ten to the 130th power).  

Such numbers come up when considering genes and proteins. A gene specifies the amino acid sequence of a particular type of protein molecule. The human genome includes roughly 20,000 to 25,000 different protein-coding genes, each of which specifies what amino acids make up a particular type of protein molecule. Each protein molecule is highly specialized to accomplish a particular task in the body.  Just like a computer subroutine of about 400 characters has to be done in a very particular way for the subroutine to work, a protein molecule has to have a very specific arrangement of amino acids to perform its task.

It is known that protein molecules are highly sensitive to small changes. Experiments have repeatedly shown that protein molecules are fragile, and become nonfunctional when only a small fraction of their amino acids are removed.  A biology textbook tells us, "Proteins are so precisely built that the change of even a few atoms in one amino acid can sometimes disrupt the structure of the whole molecule so severely that all function is lost." And we read on a science site, "Folded proteins are actually fragile structures, which can easily denature, or unfold." Another science site tells us, "Proteins are fragile molecules that are remarkably sensitive to changes in structure." Referring to protein molecules that have an average of about 400 amino acids each, a biology textbook tells us, "Proteins are so precisely built that the change of even a few atoms in one amino acid can sometimes disrupt the structure of the whole molecule so severely that all function is lost." Protein molecules are not functional if only a half or a third of their amino acids exist.  Typically we have no credible explanation for why the first half or the first third of any protein molecule would have ever originated.

After giving his ridiculously unrealistic or untypical example of a gene with only 100 base pairs, Whitehouse attacks those who point out the vast improbability of getting a gene from accidental processes.  He accuses such people of ignoring natural selection.  He says, "Natural selection is a non-random process, and this fundamentally affects the probability of evolving a particular gene." 

Misleading language is being used here in two different ways. First, it is misleading (as always) to use the term "natural selection," which refers to a survival-of-the-fittest effect that is not actually selection. Selection means a choice made by an agent, and when biologists describe natural selection, they are not describing any such choice. As Charles Darwin wrote, "In the literal sense of the word, no doubt, natural selection is a false term." Second, it is extremely misleading to claim that natural selection is a non-random process. 

The first definition of "random" given by the Cambridge Dictionary is "happening, done, or chosen by chance rather than according to a plan." Natural selection meets that definition of random.  Natural selection can be described like this: random changes occurring in organisms, with a preservation of lucky changes causing increases in survival or reproduction. It is extremely misleading to describe such a thing as a "non-random" process, since it is something centered around mere chance and not at all following any plan or design. 

Does natural selection (or evolutionary ideas in general) help explain the origin of genes, and the origin of protein molecules corresponding to them? No, such ideas are of very little help in explaining the origin of genes or protein molecules.  The problem is that genes and protein molecules are usually not useful if you only have half or a third of the gene or the protein molecule.  This is because of the extreme sensitivity of protein molecules to small changes (mentioned by the quotes above). Change at random 10% of the amino acids in a protein molecule, and the protein will no longer be able to fold, and will be functionally useless. Protein molecules require a very special kind of three-dimensional structuring called folding, and very small changes in molecules ruin their ability to do such folding, making them useless. 

Accordingly, we cannot explain the origin of genes through some gradualism approach that imagines that first there was one third of the gene that was useful for one purpose, and then there was two thirds of the gene that were useful for some other purpose, and then finally we got the version of the gene that humans now have.  Human genes with only half of their base pairs or a third of their base pairs are not useful, and their corresponding protein molecules are not useful with half of their amino acids. 

There are two other reasons why some "natural selection/gradualism" approach does not actually reduce the fantastically slim likelihoods that arise when discussing the probability of the accidental origin of genes and functional protein molecules:

(1) Anyone arguing for the impossibility of novel genes arising through any known process can refer to additional improbability factors which more than make up for any improbability reduction achieved by evoking "natural selection" or gradualism or more primitive antecedents. For example, suppose you try to reduce the improbability of a gene of 1000 base pairs appearing by appealing to some possibility that an antecedent of that gene would have required only 500 base pairs. I can then counter by pointing out that a large fraction of all proteins (partially specified by genes) are useless unless they are part of what are called protein complexes (involving two or more genes working in a team), or unless they are associated with "chaperone proteins" required for their folding.  These factors increase by very many times the improbability of a gene and its co-dependent genes arising, which more than make up for any improbability reduction achieved by you speculating about simpler gene antecedents. 

(2) Speculations about natural selection and evolution are of no value in explaining the origin of hundreds of genes and protein types necessary for the origin of life (because you cannot have natural selection unless life already exists).  So there's no way to escape the prohibitive math arguing against the impossibility of a natural origin of life.  Natural selection does not fix the impossible odds prohibiting the natural origin of hundreds of genes and protein types needed at the very beginning, at the origin of life, before Darwinian evolution has started. A team of 9 scientists wrote a scientific paper entitled, “Essential genes of a minimal bacterium.” It analyzed a type of bacteria (Mycoplasma genitalium) that has “the smallest genome of any organism that can be grown in pure culture.” According to wikipedia's article, this bacteria has 525 genes consisting of 580,070 base pairs. The paper concluded that 382 of this bacteria's protein-coding genes (72 percent) are essential. 

Rosenhouse misinforms us greatly when he states, "The set of all possible gene sequences is incredibly vast, but this is irrelevant because natural selection shifts the probability distribution dramatically toward the functional sequences and away from the nonfunctional sequences."  Of course, the size of the set of all possible arrangements of the building blocks of a gene or protein molecule is something of the most basic and fundamental importance in realistically estimating the chance of accidental gene innovations. To call such a thing irrelevant is every bit as untrue and misleading as saying that the number of digits you have to match to get a winning lottery ticket is irrelevant, or that the number of parts needed to make something is irrelevant.  The very accomplished biologist Hugo de Vries told us the truth when he stated this:

"Natural selection is a sieve. It creates nothing, as is so often assumed; it only sifts." 

A simple linear increase in the number of amino acids produces an exponential increase in the number of ways in which such amino acids can be arranged, resulting in a vast combinatorial explosion. When you double the number of amino acids in a useful protein molecule, you do not just double the improbability of such a sequence accidentally appearing; instead, you increase such an improbability by very many times.  Below we see some of the numbers involved in this combinatorial explosion.  

protein molecule mathematics

Functional protein sequences are so rare in the vast combinatorial space of all possible amino acid sequences with a length less than 1000 that such functional protein sequences are as rare as combinations of 1000 random characters that make long, useful, grammatical and correctly spelled paragraphs. The math here involves the kind of prohibitive odds that blow up into a million pieces the kind of explanatory boasts Rosenhouse wishes to make. So it is no surprise that he tries to discourage us from doing the math.  He states this:

"Establishing complexity requires carrying out a probability calculation, but we have no means for carrying out such a computation in this context. The evolutionary process is affected by so many variables that there is no hope of quantifying them for the purposes of evaluating such a probability....There is no way to carry out a meaningful calculation, and adding 'specificity' to the mix does nothing to improve the argument."  

Darwinist math

To the contrary, we do have everything we need to do probability calculations in this context.  Specifically:

(1) We know how many base pairs would have to be arranged correctly to get a particular human gene corresponding to a functional protein (an average of roughly 1200, with many genes requiring a special arrangement of more than 2000 base pairs). 

(2) We know how many amino acids would have to be arranged correctly to get a particular type of protein (an average of about 400, with many proteins having more than 1000 such specially arranged amino acids).

(3) We know how many protein coding genes there are in the human genome (roughly 20,000 to 25,000 or more). 

(4) We know that there are four types of gene base pairs and twenty types of amino acids used by living things. 

(5) As suggested by the quotes on protein sensitivity and protein fragility made above, we know that each gene and its corresponding protein molecule are highly sensitive to small changes, with small changes breaking their functionality, partially because of the very sensitive and special requirements for the very hard-to-achieve feat of successful protein folding. A very relevant scientific paper is the paper "Protein tolerance to random amino acid change." The authors describe an "x factor" which they define as "the probability that a random amino acid change will lead to a protein's inactivation." Based on their data and experimental work, they estimate this "x factor" to be 34%. It would be a big mistake to confuse this "x factor" with what percentage of a protein's amino acids could be changed without making the protein non-functional.  An "x factor" of 34% actually suggests that almost all of a protein's amino acid sequence (an average of roughly 400 amino acids) must exist in its current form for the protein to be functional.  

Further evidence for such claims can be found in this paper, which discusses very many ways in which a random mutation in a gene for a protein molecule can destroy or damage the function or stability of the protein.  An "active site" of an enzyme protein is a region of the protein molecule (about 10% to 20% of the volume of the molecule) which binds and undergoes a chemical reaction with some other molecule.  The paper states, "If a mutation occurs in an active site, then it should be considered lethal since such substitution will affect critical components of the biological reaction, which, in turn, will alter the normal protein function." The paper follows that sentence with a mention of quite a few other ways in which random mutations can break protein molecules, making them nonfunctional. For example, we read that "an amino acid substitution at a critical folding position can prevent the forming of the folding nucleus, which makes the remainder of the structure rapidly condense," which is a description of how a single amino acid change (less than a 1% change in the amino acids in a protein molecule) can cause a protein molecule to no longer have the 3D shape needed for its function. Referring to random tiny changes in the amino acids in a protein (mutations), a scientific paper stated, "We predict 27–29% of amino acid changing (nonsynonymous) mutations are neutral or nearly neutral (|s|<0.01%), 30–42% are moderately deleterious (0.01%<|s|<1%), and nearly all the remainder are highly deleterious or lethal (|s|>1%).”  This amounts to an estimate that a random change to the amino acid sequence of a protein has about a 30% chance of breaking the protein's functionality. As a biology textbook tells us, "Proteins are fragile, are often only on the brink of stability."

(6) Using such numbers, we can calculate that the chance of each novel functional protein molecule or each novel functional gene arising during a random combination of its chemical components is no greater than about 1 in 10 to the 500th power. 

(7) Considering the possibility of fractions of such protein molecules being useful, we can calculate that even under the extremely generous assumption that halves of protein molecules are useful (very probably untrue because of the protein fragility considerations listed above), this would still leave you with prohibitive numbers such as a particular combination of the chemical subunits succeeding to make functional protein molecules only about once in about 10 to the 250th power combinations of the components. 

(8) Considering that a large fraction of all protein molecules are functional only as parts of  protein complexes requiring multiple coordinated protein molecules or with the help of additional chaperone protein molecules that aid in the protein folding process, we can calculate that the improbability increase from such factors is roughly the same or greater than any improbability decrease produced by imagining fractions of such protein molecules being useful.

(9) Knowing roughly the number of molecules on the surface of a planet such as ours and the length of time that planets have existed (a few billions of years), we can calculate the total number of chemical combinations that would have occurred in the history of a planet such as ours, which is some number much less than 10 to the seventieth power. 

(10) Judging the total amount of chemical component combinations that would have occurred in the history of planet Earth, and the improbabilities discussed above, and the estimated number of planets in our galaxy (roughly a trillion), we can reasonably calculate that we would never expect any novel average-sized functional protein molecule or any novel average-sized functional gene to have ever accidentally appeared by any known natural processes either in the history of planet Earth or any planet in our galaxy, assuming a trillion planets in our galaxy, and that such an accidental appearance would have been not merely unlikely, but enormously unlikely. It is possible that our galaxy is filled with large organisms, but only if something vastly greater than Darwinian evolution is occurring to allow that. 

Rosenhouse's claim that you cannot do the math here is clearly incorrect.  We have numbers that allow us to calculate that the odds against the accidental appearance of novel functional genes and novel functional protein molecules are utterly prohibitive.  Reasonable calculations from such numbers indicate that Darwinist claims to have explained biological origins are unfounded boasts. If you cannot credibly explain the origin of genes and protein molecules, you have no business claiming that you understand the origin of a species. Besides failing to credibly explain the origin of our genes and protein molecules, Darwinists fail to credibly explain the origin of the visible anatomy and vastly organized hierarchical structure of large organisms, because (contrary to frequent misstatements on this topic) neither DNA nor its genes specify any kind of blueprint for anatomy or even instructions on how to make cells, but merely low-level chemical information such as which amino acids make up a protein. Such theorists also fail to explain the origin of human minds (which are not credibly explained by brains, as discussed in the posts here). 

Calculations by Darwinism skeptics about the improbability of natural gene origination are very similar to calculations about the improbability of natural abiogenesis, life originating from non-life. Very similar calculations are done by mainstream scientists, and their work appears in mainstream journals and is sometimes favorably discussed in mainstream publications.  

In their excellent Journal of Theoretical Biology paper "Using statistical methods to model the fine-tuning of molecular machines and systems," which discusses quite a few things relevant to the discussion of this post, Steinar Thorvaldsen and Ola Hossjer state the following about one scientist's calculation of the probability of a transition from the RNA World scenario to a  "proteins and cells" level of life:

"Eugene Koonin...has made a theoretical study of the path from a putative RNA world to an explicit translation system (like a 'DNA-protein world'). He found this path to be incredibly steep (Koonin 2012, p. 376), even under the best-case scenario."

We are told in Thorvaldsen and Hossjer's paper that Koonin calculated that the chance of such a transition occurring would be less than 1 in 10 to the thousandth  power.  That's less than the chance of you correctly guessing the telephone numbers of 100 consecutive strangers. 
 In the scientific journal Nature there was published a paper by Totani entitled “Emergence of Life in an Inflationary Universe.” We read the following in the LiveScience.com article discussing Totani's paper:

But researchers have found that the random formation of RNA with a length greater than 40 is incredibly unlikely given the number of stars — with habitable planets — in our cosmic neighborhood. There are too few stars with habitable planets in the observable universe for abiogenesis to occur within the timeframe of life emerging on Earth.”

While writers such as Rosenhouse attempt to stigmatize writers making probability arguments based on biological complexity, we find in mainstream science papers (like those I just discussed) the appearance of similar-approach arguments reaching similar conclusions, showing that math along these lines is quite possible and quite legitimate.  And occasionally mainstream scientists will confess that biologists don't really understand the things biologists so often brag about understanding. For example, in  Scientific American a biologist confessed, "While scientists are still working out the details of how the eye evolved, we are also still stuck on the question of how intelligence emerges in biology.” Note the "we are also still stuck" phrase, which has a floundering sound to it. A paper co-authored by a Cal Tech scientist involved in biological engineering confesses, "Biological systems have evolved to amazingly complex states, yet we do not understand in general how evolution operates to generate increasing genetic and functional complexity." A Harvard scientist confesses, "A wide variety of protein structures exist in nature, however the evolutionary origins of this panoply of proteins remain unknown." Referring to the origin of species (speciation), Cambridge University biology professor K. D. Bennett says this on page 175 of his book Evolution and Ecology: The Pace of Life : "Natural selection has been shown to have occurred (for example, among populations of Darwin's finches), but there is no evidence that it accumulates over longer periods of time to produce speciation in the Darwinian sense."  Phillip Ball (for 20 years a physical science editor at the leading mainstream journal Nature) stated the following in a publication of a leading science organization:

"It is not obvious a priori that small mutational steps should permit adaptation rather than simply inevitable loss of function. Nor is it clear why such a mechanism should permit genuine evolutionary innovation rather than being confined to a sort of timid tinkering with existing functionality."

The misunderstanding of writers such as Rosenhouse about natural selection is very great. Something (so-called natural selection) that is at best a propagation effect or preservation effect is spoken of by such writers rather as if it were some magic talisman that provided infinite luck, allowing unlimited miracles of accidental construction.  Such are the very false ideas that can arise in one century partially because people started using language incorrectly centuries earlier, such as using the word "selection" for something that involves no real selection, no real choice.  

As a quick-and-dirty analogy, you can think of natural selection as a mere sieve or filter that preserves lucky results. But perhaps a better analogy is if we think of natural selection as being like a computer printer.  Darwinists believe that a novel gene originates when some incredibly lucky random change occurs in a single organism, and that natural selection causes such a new gene to slowly spread across the gene pool of a species during multiple generations (because the gene produces  a survival benefit or reproduction benefit, causing an organism that has it to be more likely to spread its genes).  According to such a description, natural selection is acting like a computer printer that can make unlimited copies of some page or pages.  But it is a gigantic mistake to think that we can explain the origin of the gene by appealing to natural selection. At best natural selection is like a computer printer, and computer printers don't author things.

natural selection problem

Within the context of explaining the origin of novel genes and novel  proteins, there is actually every reason to believe that the idea of natural selection is a very misleading one (beyond the mere fact that no real selection is occurring because agent is choosing). Why is that? Natural selection is basically the idea that nature preserves some great miracle of biological luck when it occurs. But let us imagine that random mutations were to produce a novel innovation by accidentally making a new type of functional protein molecule. With 99.99% likelihood such a thing would not be preserved in a gene pool for many generations, for the simple reason that it would only be one element when many other miracles of protein innovation or phenotypic innovation would be needed to actually produce a survival benefit or a reproduction benefit.  This is because the requirements for improvements in survival or reproduction are usually incredibly complicated, typically involving a requirement for quite a few coordinated and very complicated changes in different places. Such requirements are vastly underestimated by Darwinism enthusiasts who fail to study the gigantically diverse and complex requirements for successful biological improvements, which often involve multiple very complex "chicken or the egg" cross-dependencies. Just as inventing a CPU chip in 17th century France would not have got you anywhere (because countless other not-yet-invented things would also be needed for a computer), in general some accidental miracle of luck producing a functional new type of protein molecule would almost certainly be futile, because many other simultaneous (or nearly simultaneous) miracles of luck would be needed to produce a benefit in survival or reproduction.   

interlocking biological dependencies

Reading Rosenhouse's "you can't do the math here" argument, I'm reminded of that old saying about lawyers. They say that if a lawyer has the law or the facts on his side, then he argues the law or the facts. But if he doesn't have the law or the facts on his side, then the lawyer shouts and beats his fists on the table. Similarly, when biological theorists have the math on their side, then they make probability arguments using math. But when they don't have the math on their side, then they just try ignoring mathematics (as Darwin did) or make very lame claims that you can't do the math (as Rosenhouse has done). 

Thursday, May 12, 2022

More Ladies of the Second Sight

Two of the most famous clairvoyants were men, the brothers Alexis Didier and Adolphe Didier. In the posts here and here I discuss some of the astonishing evidence they provided for paranormal phenomena. But it rather seems that female clairvoyants are more common than male clairvoyants (just as it seems that female mediums are more common that male mediums).  In previous posts I discussed some very dramatic cases of female clairvoyants such as:

  • The case of Mrs. Croad and five other female clairvoyants, discussed here;
  • the similar and even more astonishing case of Mollie Fancher, discussed here;
  • the equally astonishing case of Mrs. Morel, discussed here;  
  • the equally astonishing case of Emma, a clairvoyant whose abilities were described at length by physician Joseph Haddock, as discussed here;
  • the equally astonishing case of Semantha Mettler, discussed here;
  • the equally astonishing case of Adele Maginot, discussed here;
  • the no-less-astonishing case of "E,"discussed here, a female clairvoyant that William Gregory (a professor of chemisty at Edinburgh University) stated "frequently exhibited direct clairvoyance in every form, not only in those just mentioned, but also in that of seeing prints or pictures shut up in boxes." 

Below are some additional cases of female clairvoyants. In the 1898 book Glimpses of the Unseen by B. J. Austin we read of tests of a clairvoyant female in  France:

"He  had  been  told  that  the  patient  could  see through  the  darkest  substance,  and  read  writing  and  letters  through  walls.  He asked  if  this  were  really  the  case,  to  which  she  replied  in  the  affirmative.  He therefore  took  a  book,  went  into  an  adjoining  room,  held  with  one  hand  a  leaf  of this  book  against  the  wall,  and  with  the  other  took  hold  of  one  of  those  that were  present,  who,  joining  hands,  formed  a  chain  which  reached  to  the  patient, on  whose  stomach  the  last  person  laid  his  hand.  The  patient  read  the  leaves that  were  held  to  the  wall,  which  were  often  turned  over,  and  read  them  without making  the  smallest  error....This  narrative  contains  nothing  that  is  not  confirmed  by  numberless  experiments ;  one  circumstance  is,  however,  remarkable,  that  the  lady  in  question can  read  at  a  distance,  without  coming  into  immediate  contact,  when  a  line  of persons  take  hold  of  each  other's  hands,  the  first  of  whom  lays  his  hand  upon the  pit  of  the  heart — not  of  the  stomach,  which  has  nothing  to  do  with  the matter — and  the  last  holds  the  letter ;  however,  she  reads  through  neither  the partition  nor  the  wall,  but  through  the  soul  of  him  who  holds  the  book  or  letter. "

In pages 354-355 of Glimpses of the Unseen (quoting a story in the Duluth Herald  of  February 13th, 1897) we have an account of a female clairvoyant named Ethel Gilliam who woke up blind after being put in a glass case when it was assumed she was dead.  We read this:

"An  examination  then  showed  that  the  child  was  totally  blind,  though every  other  faculty  was  perfect.  Although  blind  she  seemed  endowed  with  a wonderful  power  that  enabled  her  to  read  and  see  by  the  sense  of  touch  alone...Although  blind,  this  girl  can  read  by  passing  her  fingers  over  the  printed or  written  page,  and  can  describe  persons  whose  pictures  were  handed  to  her... Mr.  Gray  first  handed  the  sick  girl  his  watch,  and she  told  him  it  was  a  gold  watch, and  the  time  of  day  by  passing  her  lingers  over the  glass. To  make  sure  that  her  power  was  genuine  a  paper  was  held  between  her face  and  a  photograph  that  Mr.  Gray  handed  to  her,  and  she  described  the picture  perfectly  as  that  of  an  old  gentleman  with  gray  whiskers,  wearing  a  dark suit  and  a  cravat.  She  read  from  books  and  papers  handed  to  her,  by  the  use of  her  fingers.  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Gray  tell  many  other  wonderful  things  in  relation  to this  child.  She  has  now  been  ill  ten  days,  and  has  not  been  able  to  digest  any food." 

We again have a case of transposition of the senses, one documented also in the case of Mrs. Croad described here, and also in my posts herehereherehere and here.

In one book we read of a clairvoyance experiment of a hypnotized subject in Russia:

"They then started on an imaginary trip to Mr. M.'s apartment, M. telling the subject to ask the name of the servant. ‘ I don’t feel it’s the right thing to do,'  said E. ‘ Never mind, do it.' She says she's called Dunia,' said the subject. This was correct. They then entered the hall and there was an old helmet above the door. ' What's in it? ' asks M. 'Some old bones,' answers E. Indeed, there was a skull inside the helmet. "

In Italy in 1851 a 26-year-old female named Orsola Bajo produced very impressive results in a series of stringently designed tests of clairvoyance. In a scholarly book we read this:

"Six sittings were held with her from 3 to 19 January 1851...According to the report, it was possible to establish the fact of vision with eyes closed and perfectly bandaged (13, p. 31). The eyes were covered over with cotton and with a thick and wide coloured scarf, wrapped round eight times. All those present superintended the bandaging, some testing it on themselves, and all agreed that it was absolutely impossible for the patient to see. Besides, in the course of the first sitting the cotton and the shawl were substituted by a mask, consisting of two pieces of cardboard stuck together, which hermetically sealed the eye sockets. Bajo correctly read several words written in printed characters on little pieces of cardboard which were given her to hold and which were unknown to the [hypnotist], who stood at several paces distant with his face turned away. In the course of the sitting Bajo succeeded several times in distinguishing various colours (handkerchiefs, playing cards), in counting exactly the number of persons present and in recognizing those persons who were presented to her and the positions they assumed, in distinguishing the value of playing cards and naming various other objects shown to her. Few errors were noted....This series of experiments may be considered particularly interesting on account of various factors present : firstly they were all conducted within a hospital and there were always present qualified persons representative of the medical faculty of the said hospital....During the course of the sittings, moreover, precautionary measures were also taken which, even if not entirely satisfactory, can be considered among the more scrupulous of those generally adopted, as compared with similar experiments conducted in Italy at the same period. The results, especially with the subject Bajo, are very, perhaps excessively, surprising: almost no mistake in the clairvoyant experiments."

In the account below, we read of apparent clairvoyance of a woman named Marie in Belgium:

"Sometimes when on his way to Marie, Lafontaine bought a book at some bookseller’s shop, a book of which he knew only the title at the moment of buying. Hardly had Marie been put into the somnambulistic condition than she named the title of the book just purchased, its author, and what was still more remarkable, she said whether it was a good or a bad book and whether it would interest Lafontaine or bore him. Then, upon his request and without her having touched the book or before the book had been opened in her presence, she read a sentence on a certain page indicated and of which he did not have the slightest knowledge, having himself not read the book or even having opened it (8, i, p- 65). Lafontaine stated that he obtained from Marie all kinds of information about what his friends were doing, what they experienced and what was happening in their entourage. He had often the greatest pleasure in seeing his friends become completely dumbfounded when he related to them what they had done or said or even thought in the greatest secrecy a short time before."

Later we read this about the same Marie:

"Lafontaine goes on to remark that Marie’s somnambulism was in a high degree of a clairvoyant ( lucide) nature. She could with the greatest ease perceive what happened in rooms other than the one in which she found herself. This also was the case with events happening outside her home. One day, for example, she correctly announced to Lafontaine that a client was approaching her house and was going to order a suit of clothes to be made by her father who was a tailor (8, i, p. 72)."

Later in the same scholarly work we read of the astonishing powers of another female Belgian clairvoyant, the daughter of a highly respected writer. We read of another case of clairvoyance in a hypnotized subject (the "somnabulistic condition" refers to being put into a deep hypnotic trance):

"Lafontaine wrote that after having been present at a mesmerist’s sitting at Mons on 1 July, 1839, and on her way home, Mme Magauden, a young married woman of 19, fell into a somnam- bulistic condition. In that state she could divine all kinds of hidden and wrapped objects put in her hands or applied to her forehead. She could perceive the words 'Idjiez' and 'thélésie' penned on a piece of paper and presented to her in the middle of two opaque pieces of blank paper....When a closed box was placed in her hands she was able to say in a few moments that a ring of enamel with a dog’s head imprinted upon it could be found in that box. The statement was correct. For the second time the same box was presented to the young woman. But now she remarked that the box contained a small ring belonging to her sister; this, too, was the correct answer....In the somnambulistic state she was able to perceive a word or figures written on a piece of paper far away from her; she also correctly indicated two portraits and a miniature locked in a box. She could also say exactly what movements a person made who was completely outside her normal sight. All this and several other remarkable experiments Mme Magauden performed in the somnambulistic condition, and every time with excellent results. Lafontaine stated that a report of all the remarkable performances and mesmeric demonstrations given by the somnambulist was drawn up by Mme Félix de la Motte, who was Mme Magauden’s mother and herself a distinguished writer and literary critic....Mme Felix de la Motte and her daughter, Mme Magauden, were well-known and respected persons belonging to the higher Belgian society circles. The former had built up for herself an excellent literary reputation as a poetess and playwright, and there can be no reasonable doubt that the phenomena occurring in Mme Magauden’s somnambulistic state happened as described, and that Mme Magauden had suddenly developed into an excellent subject for the production of paranormal phenomena."


We read here of a case of what is called "transposition of the senses," in which vision capability seems to be displaced to some other part of the body. 

"One morning he stated (4, pp. 23-24) that his patient (Mrs. Millet, aged 19) had greatly heightened clairvoyant faculties. She could perceive clearly anything held before the pit of her stomach, e.g. a portrait which she could identify so clearly that she could even give the name of the person who was pictured thereupon. She could also tell the time on a watch that was held before her; and she could always name the exact minute to which the hands of the watches pointed. The various watches held before the pit of her stomach all differed in the time indicated. In a further instance (4, pp. 25 ff.) van Ghert stated that she not only could see very well by means of the pit of her stomach but she even assured them that she saw her sister walking in the Plantage (i.e. the plantation in Amsterdam). The sister was dressed in a new gown of a yellow colour that the somnambulist had never seen, and she said that the sister intended to visit her doctor at 1 o’clock. After investigating the matter it was found that the course of events had been precisely as the clairvoyant had indicated. The sister did take a walk in the Plantage, being dressed in a yellow gown. Next day the sister, with the same yellow dress on, came in order to be present at the magnetizing séance of the subject. When the subject awoke from the magnetic sleep, she declared that she saw her sister’s yellow dress for the first time."

The 1838 book An Introduction to the Study of Animal Magnetism by the Baron Dupotet de Sennevoy is a book that abundantly testifies to the reality of clairvoyance during hypnotic trances (at the time of its writing, the term "animal magnetism" was the most common term used for hypnotism). For example on page 109 we read of the clairvoyance of a girl named Arron. We read this: 

"This girl, when plunged in a state of somnambulism, answers with precision the questions put to her. Though she be asleep, she perceives not only such external objects as are around her, but also those which are concealed ; and, what is still more surprising, objects removed to a very great distance. Nay, she does more, she can divine the thoughts of those who put questions to her. Many physicians in this department went to pay her a visit, and they were all amazed on witnessing a phenomenon which all their science cannot explain."

Below we read of a conversation between this Arron and a newly arrived stranger:

' 'Who am I?' — 'You are a physician.' ' Whence do I come ? '  '---From Chartres.' ' Where is my house at Chartres ? ' — ' In a small street running down a declivity.'  ' Can you see my house ? ' — 'Yes, sir.' 'Is there any company in it?' — ' Yes, sir; four ladies, one old, two middle-aged, and one young lady.' ' For what purpose have I come in this part of the country?' — 'To see a female patient.' 'Where is her complaint?'— (Here she pointed to the part affected, which we cannot just now recollect.) ' Where did I dine ? '— ' At M.W '  'Was there a good dinner ? ' — ' Yes, sir.' ' Could you tell me what dishes we had?' — ' Certainly.' (She names every dish and its particular place on the table.) ' What do I hold in my hand ? '— ' A small wooden box.' ' What does it contain ?'  — ' Sharp little iron tools.' ' Now what have I in my hand ? ' — ' Some money.' ' How much ? ' — (She names the sum.) 'In what coins?' — (She specifies the various coins.) ' Can you tell me my thought at this moment?'—' Yes, sir.' ' Say it.'— 'I dare not ; I must not tell you.' ' Well, I will tell you : I think of giving you this money.' — ' So you do, sir ; but I could not say so.' All these answers were perfectly correct." 

In the same 1838 book we read of the phenomenon of being able to read regular text only with the fingers, a phenomenon which many witnesses have described very consistently in different parts of the globe, for more than two centuries. We read this:

"Other minutely detailed accounts of sight without the assistance of the eyes, will be found in a memoir by Dr. Delpit, on two nervous affections. 'One of the patients read,' says the author, 'and that very distinctly, when her eyes were hermetically closed, and by running her fingers over the letters. I made her read printed characters in this manner, both in the open day-light or in the most profound darkness, on opening the first book that came into my hand ; and oftentimes written characters, by giving her sundry notes, which I had prepared previous to my coming. Whether the sense of sight was in her case supplied by that of touch, I cannot tell ; but I affirm that she read fluently by running her fingers over the letters.' "

The book What Happens When You Die by Robert Crookall is one of several books of his filled with very many cases of out-of-body experiences, most of them reported directly to Crookall. In the book we get countless accounts of people who reported observing their bodies after floating out of them, often seeing a kind of "silver cord" connecting their floating "soul-body" or "astral body" and their physical body.  We also get some mention of female clairvoyance. On page 101 we hear that the distinguished psychologist Pierre Janet experimented with a woman named Leonie, who under hypnosis reported mentally traveling to the Paris laboratory of Charles Richet, and claiming that the lab had caught on fire. It was later found that the lab had caught on fire on the same day. On the same page we read of a traveling clairvoyance experience by a Mrs. Z, who reported that a particular person at a distant location had been struck by his wife. It was later found that the man had indeed been struck by his wife on that day.  

Then there is the case of Ellen Dawson, a name I mentioned only in passing in one previous post. The case is well worth a fuller discussion. The original source material is the July 1845 edition of the journal The Zoist, which you can read here. On page 226 an M. Hands begins telling us about Ellen. Hands notes severe medical problems suffered by Ellen, which he attempted to treat. He then states this: 

"One day Ellen being in the sleep-waking state, I observed her take up some publications which lay on the table and read the titles of them, by which I perceived she was clairvoyant. In order to test this faculty, I filled the tops of some pill-boxes with cotton and tied them over her eyes with a fillet of ribbon, taking care that the edges of the boxes should rest upon the skin ; still, she read and distinguished colours as before. I now placed her in a room from which I had shut out every ray of light, and then presented to her some of the plates in Cuvier's Animal Kingdom ; she described the birds and beasts, and told accurately the colour of each, as I proved by going into the light to test her statements. She also distinguished the shades and hues of silks, as indeed did her sister, who is also clairvoyant."

Hands then describes testing whether Ellen could perform what was called "traveling clairvoyance," a widely reported paranormal phenomena. In such tests a person would urge a clairvoyant to travel with him in imagination along some path that the person knew well but the clairvoyant knew nothing about (typically some distant home of the person doing the test).  Hands describes Ellen starting to pass the test very well, with her reporting that she saw Mrs. Hands playing cards and declaring a victory in a card game just as the hour that Mrs. Hands did do just that (page 229). We then read this on page 230:

"I now said let us leave the church. In travelling along, she perceived the castle. I wished her to visit it, and soon found from her observations she had entered the hall. ' Ob, what a large room ! ' she exclaimed, ' look at the beautiful painted windows.' I asked what she saw at the bottom of the hall, and she described the figures in armour, the flags, swords, and spears collected there; I told her to go down the steps into the housekeeper's room,— she there saw, or rather felt...a bald-headed old man, and a woman with spectacles. I knew these parties from the description. She now entered the dining-room, and there saw and described each painting it contained, particularly the one called ' the Tribute Money.' "

The narrative continues like this for several paragraphs, with Ellen apparently describing in great detail and accuracy various unusual architectural features in places she had never been to (page 230).  A bit later (page 231) we read this description of Ellen telling all kinds of details about a package she had never seen:

"A few days after this Mrs. H. returned by railway from Bristol. One of her boxes was left behind in that city, and she was told it should follow her by the next train, and that it would be in town by eight o'clock. Ellen came to my bouse whilst the servant was gone to inquire about the box ; I put her in the [hypnotic] sleep, and asked if she thought it would be lost, or whether it would come by the eight o’clock train ? Her reply was that it would not be lost— that it would not arrive at eight o’clock, but would come by the ten o’clock train; that we should not receive it that night, but at breakfast time on Sunday morning. Such proved to be the case. She also described many of the things in the box, especially a large doll, its dress, the colours, and even told Mrs. H. who it was for."

Ellen apparently could tell details in some paranormal way about some unseen person, for we read this on page 231:

"The clairvoyant became much interested in one of the daughters, and Mrs. H. asked ' where is that young lady’s mother ?'  Her countenance instantly assumed the most striking picture of pity. She made all present feel that grief which those only experience who have lost a mother, and exclaimed, ' She is dead and in her grave.'

' What did she die of?'

' Dropsy. Why did they bleed her ?' 

She died a few hours after the last bleeding."

Bleeding was an archaic medical practice in which blood would be drained from someone in hopes that it would improve their health.  The narrative next describes Ellen correctly describing the death (by poisoning) of another unseen person she had no normal knowledge of, although on the second try. Then we have much further narrative of Ellen's continued success at traveling clairvoyance, including apparently mentally finding the brother of Mr. Hands and correctly describing his distinctive finger ring (page 232).  On page 233 Hand describes Ellen as correctly describing details of Windsor and various other British locations.  Later on page 235 Ellen is apparently able to correctly describe many very distinctive details of a very troublesome sea voyage that a distant unseen subject was undergoing. 

Beginning on page 236, we have a narrative by Carolina Courtenay Boyle, who also attests at great length to the "traveling clairvoyance" of Ellen Dawson.  On pages 236 to 240 she describes going with Ellen on a mental journey to France, on which Ellen correctly describes countless details that were observed by Carolina but never seen by Ellen (who had not been to France).  On page 240 we read this:

"She also told me of a conversation 1 held eleven years ago in the church of Santo Spinto at Florence; described the person 1 was there with, and who has never been in England, and what objects (some of which were peculiar, and which she was a long time making out or seeing, as she told me) were around us at the time. Strange, passing strange, 1 admit; nevertheless, strictly true, I most solemnly declare. Ellen Dawson's discrepancies were those of one anxious to tell all, yet speaking too eagerly to be quite accurate; besides which, she  invariably corrected herself, and her details were then strictly true. And now, my dear sir, 1 will conclude. .. If I did not believe in Ellen Dawson’s clairvoyance, 1 could never again hope to believe in the evidence of my own senses, as no truth ever came home to me in so forcible a manner."

Monday, May 9, 2022

Are "Alien Close Encounters" More Psychic Than "Nuts and Bolts" Affairs?

When asked to describe a typical story of a "UFO close encounter" or "alien close encounter," the average man might tend to think of a very "nuts and bolts" kind of experience.  Maybe he might imagine some metallic space ship appearing, with some human abductee being taken into a spaceship. Then he might imagine strange-looking creatures using physical equipment on an abductee.  

But according to the 2018 book "Beyond UFOs: The Science of Consciousness & Contact with Non Human Intelligence," UFO close encounters may often be more spiritual or psychic than such stereotypical ideas. FREE is the Foundation for Research into Extraterrestrial and Extraordinary Experiences. Early in the book we read this about a survey of people claiming such close encounters:

"FREE's research suggests that the physical aspects are but a small fraction of the attributes associated with these complex manifestations. Indeed, it is the persuasive non-physicality, the parapsychological and other paranormal aspects, that comprise the majority of survey respondents' experiences. We firmly believe that the field of parapsychology needs to take note and,  instead of remaining distant from the UAP phenomenon, the field needs to embrace it." 

Next in the book we read an interesting hypothesis. Using the term NIH for "non-human intelligence," the book states this:

"FREE hypothesizes that types of contact with NIH (contact via NDEs, OBEs, UAP Contact, Remote Viewing, Channeling, communication with ghosts/spirits, Hallucinogenic Shamanic Journeys, Telepathic Contact, sightings of Orbs, PSI, and other types of 'paranormal' Contact with NIH) might actually be one phenomenon that should not be studied separately. We call all of the ways that humans have pierced the veil and have had contact with NIH the 'Contact Modalities'...We firmly believe that cross comparative academic research on 'Experiencers' of the Contact Modalities may provide insight into the validity of various models of consciousness. Once the necessary cross comparative research has been undertaken among the various Contact Modalities, numerous commonalities will be derived that are shared by many of the experiencers of the Contact Modalities."

That's quite a mouthful, and to aid anyone confused by this "alphabet soup," let me explain some of the terms used:

  • "NDE" means "near-death experience."
  • "OBE" means "out-of-body experience," a type of experience which most commonly occurs near death, but which can also occur in those not near death. 
  • "UAP Contact" means contact (visual or otherwise) with Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (another term for UFOs). 
  • "Remote Viewing" is a reported ability to observe in a paranormal fashion distant locations.
  • "Channeling" is when someone speaks (often in an unusual voice) in an anomalous way, and later claims that the words came not from his own mind but from some other person's mind (living or dead).  A very similar term is "voice mediumship." 
  • "Hallucinogenic Shamanic Journeys" can occur after someone takes a drug or uses a natural substance (such as certain mushrooms), and may then report seeing otherwordly beings. 
  • "Sightings of Orbs" sometimes occurs visually (as in the 32 cases described here), but the most common related experience is photography of hard-to-explain orbs (as shown here, here and here). 
  • "Psi" is a general term for human "sixth sense" abilities such as telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition and mind-over-matter. 
The hypothesis that all these very diverse things are "one phenomenon" is rather hard to believe, although it may be that some of these things are strongly interrelated.  The idea that such things should be studied collectively is probably a wise one.  At least, people studying one anomalous phenomena should study many other types of anomalous phenomena, without raising artificial barriers restricting what they study. 

paranormal phenomena
From the Facebook site here

Some of the "stick to your specialty" research habits of anomaly investigators make no sense.  For example:
  • UFO researchers are very interested in things reported in the sky or reports of close encounters that might have been spaceships from other planets; and they focus almost exclusively on events occurring after 1940.  Such researchers seem to have almost no interest in the 120+ years of voluminous reports of paranormal phenomena made between 1820 and 1940.  That doesn't make sense. 
  • Parapsychology researchers are very interested in experimental evidence for ESP and also reports of spontaneous ESP experiences. But they don't seem to be interested in studying reports of ESP occurring in UFO encounters.  That doesn't make sense. 
  • SETI scientists (often radio astronomers) are intensely interested in discovering anomalies in deep space that might indicate extraterrestrial intelligence. But such astronomers (for example Seth Shostak) seem to have zero interest in studying evidence for earthly anomalies (such as UFO/UAP sightings) that may indicate the earthly presence of extraterrestrial visitors. 
  • UFO researchers are very interested in photos of anomalous objects in the sky that could be extraterrestrial spaceships. But they seem to have no interest in studying photos of anomalous orbs in the sky (or mysterious orbs taken indoors) that do not appear to be extraterrestrial spaceships.  This makes little sense, because such orb photos may actually seem to show signs of intelligence, such as my photos of strongly repeating stripe patterns in mysterious orbs, or my photos of 800+ mysterious striped orbs.  It's as if there was some researcher principle such as "I'm interested in inexplicable things in the sky, but only if it could be a spaceship," or maybe "I'm interested when humanoid creatures are photographed in your home, but not other inexplicable phenomena photographed in your home."  We should remember that extraterrestrials might be millions of years more advanced than us, and (having powers beyond our imagination) might make themselves shown to us through 1001 ways other than "nuts and bolts" spaceships. 
  • Wishing to attract interest from mainstream professors, and realizing that so many mainstream senselessly refuse to accept abundant evidence for psi phenomena such as telepathy, a UFO researcher might downplay psychic or paranormal aspects of a UFO report.  For example, the UFO incident in Ruwa, Zimbawe in which children reported telepathic contact with mysterious visitors may be described without mentioning the report of telepathy. 
  • A UFO researcher may be very interested in some reported "other-worldly encounter" with some mysterious "shining being" as long as the person having the encounter reports the being as being an extraterrestrial. But the moment the witness claims the "shining being" was a ghost or a spirit or an angel, the UFO researcher will lose all interest. Similarly, a researcher with strong conventional religious beliefs may be very interested in such an account, but only if the witness claims the shining being was an angel or God. As soon as the witness claims the shining being was an extraterrestrial or a ghost, the researcher may shun the account. 
One of the sources mentioned above tells us that some multiple author "magnum opus" of cross-disciplinary study on paranormal phenomena (including UFOs and UAP) will be available on www.amazon.com in June of this year.