BAD SCHOLARSHIP, WEIRD BELIEFS AND STRANGELY UNEXPLORED AREAS OF RESEARCH

Identifying strangely neglected areas of research, understanding why orthodox research scholarship and 'knowledge' becomes lopsided, revealing and understanding the reasons for the creation, dissemination and widespread belief in academic and policy oriented research frauds, lies, deceptions, hoaxes, fallacies, myths, braced myths, errors and irrational policymaking.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Dysology Prize: would you wager your reputation on your claims?

Do we really all have psychic powers? If so then how come I never knew? And how come no one has won the Randi Prize?

In September 2011 The Dysology Challenge was first laid down on BestThinking.com to two professors of physics. The prize offer and conditions were and remain as follows:

The Dysology Challenge – For Cold Fusion Energy

“If cold fusion produces commercially viable free energy in 2 years time you win and get to present me (Mike Sutton) with a prize for Dysology (bad scholarship) that I'll fund at a cost of £1000 in the form of a bronze trophy depicting the theme of veracity versus claptrap – with my name engraved on it.

And if that happens I will thank you in public for proving me wrong.

If it does not produce such energy then I get to present you with the same trophy that I paid for. In this event you fail, but you still get to keep the prize even though it happens that you are wrong. Only now it is your name that will be engraved on it .”

On September 15th 2011 the Nobel Laureate and Cambridge professor of physics Brian D. Josephson refused to put his reputation where his brain is by boldly declining to accept the Dysology Challenge regarding our difference of opinion regarding whether or not George Washington University Professor Simon Berkovich was right regarding his belief in mysterious free energy existing in the universe. Birkovich, similarly failed to take up the Dysology Challenge. (click here to read the comments section on this article to see how the challenge was made, refused by Josephson and weirdly ignored by Berkovich).

Today I am extending the Dysology Prize to include proof of genuine psychic powers existing beyond coincidence, fraud, methodological bias, or measurement error.

I am in good company. Because the Dysology Prize will be added to the current total of one million three hundred and 64 thousand pounds ($2,105,000 US) offered by a total of nine organisations and individuals, including the massive $1m Randi Prize for anyone who can prove that psychic powers exist. Despite being on offer for many years, and despite the extreme simplicity and fairness of the conditions required, no one has ever succeeded in winning any of these prizes.

Today (8th Jan. 2012) I hereby challenge University of Cambridge scientist Dr Rupert Sheldrake to accept the Dysology challenge for psychic powers. I argue that there is no veracious scientific evidence that proves humans have psychic powers. I publicly challenge Dr Rupert Sheldrake here on the Best Thinking website:

The Dysology Challenge – For Proof of Psychic Powers

I hereby challenge University of Cambridge scientist Dr Rupert Sheldrake to accept the Dysology challenge for psychic powers:

“If you can demonstrate in controlled conditions of the kind laid down by the James Randi Prize and can win the Randi Prize by proving that psychic powers exist then you get to present me (Mike Sutton) with the Veracity versus Claptrap trophy prize for Dysology (with my name engraved on it for bad scholarship) that I'll commission at a personal cost of over £1000. If the outcome is not obvious the British Royal Society will be invited to determine the winner.

And if you win then I will thank you in public for proving me wrong.

If, on the other hand, you fail, then I get to present you with the same prize that I paid for. Only you also get to keep the prize – with your name engraved on it - for your bad scholarship.”

I am prompted to publically challenge Dr Sheldrake following his article in the Daily Mail today (Sheldrake 2012) in which he claims that we all have psychic powers.

I strongly suspect that Dr Sheldrake wrote the article in order to sell his latest book: The Science of Delusion - which is released this week. If he is right then he will win the Dysology Challenge and there is no reason why he should not win a further whopping great pay out of £1,364,000 to add to whatever he makes flogging his book.

If Dr Sheldrake fails to apply for the Randi Prize, and all the other significant cash prizes and accept the Dysology Challenge then we must draw our own rational conclusions about his audacious claims. If he is right then surely winning the Randi prize would sell far more copies of his book than his article in the Daily Mail.

Finally, what kind of newspaper editor or journalist worth his or her salt would not ask Sheldrake why he has not applied for the Randi Prize?

Dr Mike Sutton (Dysology.org)

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Reference

Sheldrake, R. (2012) Why we ALL have psychic powers. Daily Mail. pp.56-57. Jan 7th.

Note on Sheldrake

According to his page on Wikipedia today: “In September 2005 until 2010, Sheldrake received the Perrott-Warrick Scholarship for psychical research and parapsychology, which is administered by TrinityCollege, Cambridge.Sheldrake then took his current position as Academic Director for the Learning and Thinking Program at The Graduate Institute in Bethany, Connecticut.”

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