70 years without food and water

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jeeprs
 
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 05:32 am
@Pyrrho,
Pyrrho;162413 wrote:
It is a stupid claim. You can read more about him by searching the internet with his name. Here is another piece on him:

Inedia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Basically, he has never been properly tested, and my guess is that he never will be. Many people like making crazy claims, and have no regard for honesty at all. And, of course, frauds who have brains do not ever allow themselves to be properly tested, as then they would be exposed as frauds. There are plenty of fools who can be deluded into believing that they have done a proper test when they really have done something slipshod, and there are plenty of other liars in the world who would be willing accomplices.


Here are some excerpts from the article, above, referring to the current study:

Quote:

Prahlad Jani

Prahlad Jani, a sadhu who claims to have gone without food for decades,[33] spent ten days under strict observation by physicians at Sterling Hospital, Ahmedabad, India, in 2003.[34] The study was led by Dr Sudhir Shah, the same doctor who led the study of Hira Ratan Manek. Reportedly, during the observation, he was given only 100 millilitres of water a day to use as mouthwash, which was collected and measured after he used it, to make sure he hadn't consumed any. He was reported to enter Samadhi state of consciousness almost daily during meditation. Throughout the observation, he passed no urine or stool, but doctors say urine appeared to form in the bladder, only to be reabsorbed.[33] However, Jani was not engaged in strenuous exercise during the ten-day trial, and longer trials were not recorded under similarly strict observation. Further, his weight did drop slightly during the 10 days, casting some doubt on his claim to go indefinitely without food. Jani claims a goddess sustains him through amrit that filters down through a hole in his palate.[33]



The Indian Rationalist Association has criticised the Indian Ministry of Defence for agreeing to take part in the tests, and for being taken in by a "village fraud".[35] Sanal Edamaruku of the Indian Rationalist Association claimed to have been repeatedly denied sending an independent team to survey the room where Jani was held. He also claimed that "this particular hospital, led by this particular doctor, keeps on making these claims without ever producing evidence or publishing research." The Indian Rationalist Association also said that individuals making similar claims have all reportedly been exposed as frauds.[36]

...As of April 22, 2010, new tests are being conducted on Prahlad Jani under surveillance of 35 doctors and researchers of Defence Institute of Physiology & Allied Science (DIPAS).[37][38][39] He was kept for fifteen days, until May 6, and reportedly did not eat, drink or go to the toilet once during the time. This was apparently shown by blood tests, hormone profiles, MRIs and angiographs. The doctors also claimed to have found that he was "more healthy than someone half his age."


...Dr. Urman Dhruv, a physician, said, "We are collecting data on a person who has lived on an alternative pathway compared to an ordinary person. The comparative study of his reports of the tests conducted in 2003 and results of the recent and on-going tests would throw light on the process of aging in Jani's body - which seems to have undergone some type of genetic transformation."[40]

...For at least the past 40 years, Mr. Jani has been living, hermit-like, in a cave in the jungles close to the Gujarati temple of Ambaji. He rises at 4am, spending most of the day meditating.

It will be interesting to see if the claims concerning Prahlad Jani are debunked. There would seem to be opportunity for them to be, unless the hospital and the doctors are engaged in a conspiracy.

---------- Post added 05-11-2010 at 09:39 PM ----------

Although I note that in one of the references attached to the Wikipedia story, a member of the Rationalist association says
Quote:


He says that whenever the Rationalist Association has investigated individuals making similar claims, all have been exposed as frauds.

In 1999, they investigated a woman who claimed that she was the reincarnation of another Hindu goddess. For five years, she had remained alone in a small closet where it was claimed she had not eaten nor passed any urine or faeces.

In co-operation with the police, investigators from the association searched the room, finding a toilet hidden behind a shelf and a disguised hole through which she received food. Blood tests revealed the presence of glucose, indicating the intake of food.

To further prove the case, a gas was released into the room that made the woman vomit. The contents of her stomach were found to include pieces of recently-eaten chapatti and potatoes.


hmmm. I too an inclined to think it is a fraud, much as I like the intrigue of it. Let's see if anything develops.
 
salima
 
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 09:09 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;162847 wrote:
It's Tales from the Mystic East. You live there, don't you?


yes, i live here! and i didnt mean to say the sun is the main or only source of pranic energy-but i believe there is more to it than only organic sources.
maybe it is even the consciousness thing that has eluded science all these years!

i never heard of the Indian Rationalist Association, and if they are trying to get rid of superstition they are doing a terrible job. right now most of the people in my little town keep an onion in their pocket to protect them from heat stroke-they say it works because they arent getting a heat stroke. i guess it must also be keeping ostriches away because we havent had any of those either.

many women carry mustard seeds sewn or tied up in the hem of their sari to protect them from something or other, i dont even know what.

oh, here's an update-here is a blogspot on the Rationalists: Indian Rationalist Association
i am afraid they too ought to be debunked. they are obviously out to put on a show, and though i am sure they are debunking frauds at the same time, i think they can count themselves in as one of them.

notice how they debunk mother teresa among other things-not that i was in particular a fan of hers, but there are a lot of crackpot ideas about her being a witch too. neither am i a fan of wikipedia-sensationalism abounds and it is not news or truth either.

---------- Post added 05-11-2010 at 08:42 PM ----------

oh-it appears the indian rationalist association is one man who writes a blog...which no one must be reading because there are only 6 comments on one article from 2007. well at least that is how it appears-though it claims to be the largest rationalist organisation in india-maybe it is because he weighs the most?
 
Emil
 
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 09:46 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;162872 wrote:
Here are some excerpts from the article, above, referring to the current study:


It will be interesting to see if the claims concerning Prahlad Jani are debunked. There would seem to be opportunity for them to be, unless the hospital and the doctors are engaged in a conspiracy.

---------- Post added 05-11-2010 at 09:39 PM ----------

Although I note that in one of the references attached to the Wikipedia story, a member of the Rationalist association says

hmmm. I too an inclined to think it is a fraud, much as I like the intrigue of it. Let's see if anything develops.


There is also the evidence from all such similar claims in the past, none of which have been demonstrated by proper evidence and some (even many) of which have been exposed as frauds. Randi still has his 1 mill. price for someone with extraordinary abilities, doesn't he?

Before you consider explaining something be conspiracy, note that ignorance is in general a superior explanation, especially when conjoined with wishful thinking. For a useful reasoning guide, think of Hanlon's Razor(similar to Occam's Razor).
[INDENT] "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity."

[/INDENT]

---------- Post added 05-11-2010 at 05:53 PM ----------

jeeprs;162560 wrote:
The fact that he does not do so might also indicate that he does not care one whit whether people believe it to be true, or not. There is nothing in the article to suggest that he is seeking publicity or wishing to attract attention to himself. Yogis have lived and practised in India from time immemorial, they have no particular reason to have their powers validated by men in white coats.

There are have been many case studies of the paranomormal physiological abilities of yogis some of which are included in a book I own called Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century. [Ed. E. & E.W. Kelly Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. November 16, 2009]. If there is any interest I will provide some specifics later.


You really believe that he would not care about 1 million dollars? Even if he claims not to want money, he could donate it to charity or to some yoga (whatever) association, etc. Give it to starving children even. Additionally, he would probably bring a lot more interest to yogi. He has every reason to want to prove it if he really believes he can do what he claims. Yet he does not prove himself. One wonders why.

---------- Post added 05-11-2010 at 05:58 PM ----------

Pyrrho;162543 wrote:
I would be willing to consider the evidence, if there were any presented. But the simple fact is, there is a claim with nothing to back it up. If I claimed that I could run 100 mph, would you have "an open mind" about it if I provided no real evidence at all, or would you figure that I probably was full of crap? That is where we are with this, a story that on the face of it seems absurd, and when looked into a little, one finds that there is no real evidence to back up the claim. My tentative conclusion is that the guy is a liar and a cheat. But if any new and real evidence were presented, then it may deserve another look. To come to a conclusion is not necessarily to decide once and for all that it is so, never to reconsider no matter what. To quote Clifford:
[INDENT][INDENT]Inquiry into the evidence of a doctrine is not to be made once for all, and then taken as finally settled. It is never lawful to stifle a doubt; for either it can be honestly answered by means of the inquiry already made, or else it proves that the inquiry was not complete. [/INDENT][/INDENT]The Ethics of Belief

But until there is any new evidence, the matter may be regarded as settled.


Additionally, it is sometimes be unjustified to suspend judgment when the evidence is clearly in favor of a proposition. If one is acquainted with the evidence, the justified position to hold on such matters is that they do and did not happen. To withhold judgment when the evidence is clearly in favor of a proposition (under the proper conditions) is also a form of irrationality, similar to believing without adequate evidence. This together with a slightly extended Clifford's thesis implies that it is morally wrong to do so.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 04:56 pm
@jeeprs,
Well I really don't know if Prahlad Jani is genuine, or not. Having read some of the associated press coverage, I am suspicious about the doctor and the medical unit making the claim on his behalf. The same doctor has been researching this issue for some time, and according to the representative from 'The Indian Rationalists Association' has made bogus claims previously. It is obviously not possible according to science for a human to live without physical sustenance but according to legend, this has been known to occur.

But as I have said before, there have been documented cases of Indian yogis displaying inexplicable abilities, such as the ability to suspend their metabolic processes for days on end. One such case
Quote:
involved a yogi who was confined to a small underground pit for eight days, connected to an EKG with 12 leads "short enough not to allow any movement". Almost immediately after the pit was sealed, a significant sinus tachycardia [elevated heart rate] developed and progressed until it reached 250 beats per minute but without any sign of ischemia [restriction in blood supply]. This tachycardia continued for 29 hours when, suddenly and with no prior slowing of the heart rate, "a straight line had replaced the EKG tracing". The investigators wanted to terminate the experiment, understandably fearing that the yogi was dead, but his attendants insisted that it continue. The flat-line state persisted for five more days until, half an hour before the experiment was scheduled to end, sinus tachycardia again developed. This continued for two hours after the yogi was removed from the put, when his heart rate finally returned to normal. The obvious explanation that the EKG leads had been disconnected, was ruled out, first because the machine was immediate checked for any malfunctioning, but more importantly because no electrical disturbance ever appeared, such as would accompany the disconnection of the leads.

The authors of the study candidly admitted that they were not prepared to accept that the yogi had voluntarily stopped his heart for five days and survived, but [that] they could offer no satisfactory explanation for the EKG record.
Irreducible Mind ed Kelly & Kelly, Pp177-179
 
Emil
 
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 08:34 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;163142 wrote:
Well I really don't know if Prahlad Jani is genuine, or not. Having read some of the associated press coverage, I am suspicious about the doctor and the medical unit making the claim on his behalf. The same doctor has been researching this issue for some time, and according to the representative from 'The Indian Rationalists Association' has made bogus claims previously. It is obviously not possible according to science for a human to live without physical sustenance but according to legend, this has been known to occur.

But as I have said before, there have been documented cases of Indian yogis displaying inexplicable abilities, such as the ability to suspend their metabolic processes for days on end. One such case Irreducible Mind ed Kelly & Kelly, Pp177-179


Your quoted passage does not support the conclusion you stated above, namely, "there have been documented cases of Indian yogis displaying inexplicable abilities" my emphasis. How would one even show that something is inexplicable? "inexplicable" which is a clever word for unexplainable, that is, impossible to explain.

According to legends, all kinds of things has been known to occur. What reason is there to trust legends (plural?) in this case? They have not been reliable predictors of what happened in many other cases. Especially with extraordinary claims. Think of Moses dividing the ocean, a scepter becoming a snake, a world wide flood and what not. None of these happened.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 08:54 am
@Emil,
Emil;163410 wrote:
Your quoted passage does not support the conclusion you stated above, namely, "there have been documented cases of Indian yogis displaying inexplicable abilities" my emphasis. How would one even show that something is inexplicable, which is a clever word for unexplainable, that is, impossible to explain.

According to legends, all kinds of things has been known to occur. What reason is there to trust legends (plural?) in this case? They have not been reliable predictors of what happened in many other cases. Especially with extraordinary claims. Think of Moses dividing the ocean, a scepter becoming a snake, a world wide flood and what not. None of these happened.


The plain consequence is (and it is a general maxim worthy of our attention), 'that no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous, than the fact, which it endeavors to establish; and even in that case there is a mutual destruction of arguments, and the superior only gives us an assurance suitable to that degree of force, which remains, after deducting the inferior.'

Of Miracles David Hume
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 12:08 pm
@jeeprs,
It sounds to me like he unplugged the EKG and then plugged it back in. They should have put a video camera in there, but I guess his attendants wouldn't have approved that...

And that is certainly a less miraculous explanation than the suggested one.
 
Emil
 
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 12:47 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;163417 wrote:
The plain consequence is (and it is a general maxim worthy of our attention), 'that no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous, than the fact, which it endeavors to establish; and even in that case there is a mutual destruction of arguments, and the superior only gives us an assurance suitable to that degree of force, which remains, after deducting the inferior.'

Of Miracles David Hume


Applied to this case. We should ask ourselves. Is it more probable that the test was not rigorous enough than the man did what he claimed to do? The answer is "yes". Have the answer always been "yes" in previous similar cases? Yes.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 03:25 pm
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;163514 wrote:
It sounds to me like he unplugged the EKG and then plugged it back in. They should have put a video camera in there, but I guess his attendants wouldn't have approved that...

And that is certainly a less miraculous explanation than the suggested one.


They ruled that explanation out. Whenever the machine is disconnected it displays a specific interference pattern which was absent. As the report said, the experimenters offered no explanation. It was part of a series of studies which found unequivocable evidence that yogis can control what are normally regarded as autonomic functions including heart rate, respiration, and even body temperature.

---------- Post added 05-13-2010 at 07:27 AM ----------

kennethamy;163417 wrote:
The plain consequence is (and it is a general maxim worthy of our attention), 'that no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous, than the fact, which it endeavors to establish; and even in that case there is a mutual destruction of arguments, and the superior only gives us an assurance suitable to that degree of force, which remains, after deducting the inferior.'

Of Miracles David Hume


It is interesting that one will offer 17th century philosophy by way of rebuttal of actual physical evidence gathered by scientific instruments in controlled conditions.

---------- Post added 05-13-2010 at 07:46 AM ----------

I am not going to persist with trying to prove that 'phenomena happen for which there is no scientific explanation'. It is a sterile argument and one that I am not that interested in. I do believe such things happen, but there is a cottage industry of so-called skeptics, headed by The Amazing Randi, dedicated to showing that they don't. The philosophical question that interests me is the commitment to what is called 'metaphysical naturalism' which is a polite word for philosophical materialism. It does not take many cases to show that telepathic communication occurs sometimes, that sometimes people see things before they happen, and so on. I am simply not willing to believe that these things have never happened. That view is not actually skepticism; it is the defense of a particular view of the world.

However there is the belief that in order for paranormal phenomena to be considered proven, they have to occur under controlled conditions, to which end various (some would say eccentric) research centres around the world, most famously Duke University, have been conducting experiments for the best part of a century. But if you look into the literature, the argument then becomes one of meta-analysis of experimental data and the interpretation of statistics, and I am not that interested in going down that route. I think there is enough evidence to believe that it happens sometimes, but beyond that, it does not interest me a great deal.

Recently, a British scientist, Brian Josephson, was virtually excommunicated from the scientific community for suggesting that parapsychological phenomena exist. Subsequently, various colleagues rallied in support, but at the time, the mere fact that he said it generated controversy. Simply put, parapsychology is taboo. You can read about the Josephson controversy here.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 07:08 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs wrote:
They ruled that explanation out. Whenever the machine is disconnected it displays a specific interference pattern which was absent. As the report said, the experimenters offered no explanation.
I googled around and found that report (which actually seems to be a "letter to the editor" from 1973.

Quote:
A disconnection of the leads by the Yogi, quite a likely explanation, ought to have given rise to a considerable electrical disturbance, but there was hardly any. Later on, we tried all sorts of manipulations with leads to stimulate what the Yogi could have done inside the pit (notwithstanding the total darkness and his ignorance of ECG technique), but in every case there was marked disturbance. Therefore, although it is obviously difficult to believe that the Yogi could have completely stopped his heart or decreased its electrical activity below a recordable level, we still had no satisfactory explanation for the ECG tracings before us.
You say "ruled it out", they say "Ought to...we [couldn't figure it out]".

Now jeeprs, lets say you test my pulse at the wrist, and I have no pulse. You might think I'm dead, correct? There ought to be a pulse, and you might not be able to figure out how I stopped it. But it is a simple trick if you know it.

the letter wrote:
Theoretically, it is believed that all visceral functions can be brought under voluntary control by prolonged yogic training, but perhaps their most fascinating claim has been the ability to stop the heart at will. However, in most instances where this has been investigated so far, it has turned out to be an exaggerated Valsalva manoeuvre in some form, which makes the pulse and heart sounds imperceptible while the heart continues to beat at a slow rate.


Most of the instances where they have investigated it, it has been found that they could not stop the heart.

So, you have the proposed explanation: He disconnected the EKG

In favor:
Sudden stoppage of recorded heartbeat
Most investigations into claims of being able to stop heart revealed that it wasn't actually being stopped--which means many people claimed to have it falsely
It is known that the brain requires oxygen to function

Against:
Two doctors tried to figure out how to disconnect an EKG without creating a disturbance, but couldn't.

Now, that's one explanation. Quite possibly, there are many others. What is the explanation for his ability to stop the heart and still live? None is offered.

Quote:
It was part of a series of studies which found unequivocable evidence that yogis can control what are normally regarded as autonomic functions including heart rate, respiration, and even body temperature.
I can control heart rate, respiration, and body temperature. I mean, respiration is fairly self evident. Most likely with practice, you can get better at it.

********

I saw a talk by Randi on TED once, jeeprs. I think he gave a good argument about why this kind of thing is bad. He used to be a magician you know, and he knows all the ways that even intelligent people can be fooled. We aren't that hard to fool. But the fact is, there are sick people buying fake medicine, and poor people giving what little money they have to charlans claiming they can help them talk to the dead.

You have to ignore a lot of evidence and reasoning against the stopped heart claim, and accept a "seeing is believing" explanation, in order to think it is true.

And jeeprs, not doing the above does not make a person narrow minded about a taboo subject.

I feel like there's a set of imprecise phrases you use to support the claim. You the psychological explanation "narrow minded about a taboo subject" to dismiss the scientific experts. You have "ruled out the EKG disconnection", when the letter says anything but. And you have "unequivocal evidence of [lesser and common sense abilities]" as solid evidence of the more extraordinary claim.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 07:59 pm
@jeeprs,
I wonder 'what kind of thing' Randi thinks is bad, and why. I have read a bit about him, Michael Shermer, the Skeptics association, and so on. On the one hand, I perfectly agree that they should expose fakes and frauds, and there are plenty of them to expose. But there are serious researchers in the field also who do attempt to meet scientific standards in these matters. I doubt that they would recognize that there can be serious researchers in these fields, starting from the assumption that there can be nothing to investigate.

Here is an account of an interview between Richard Dawkins and Rupert Sheldrake, whom the scientific world regards with great suspicion because of his 'theory of morphic resonance'. Sheldrake has been doing research on telepathy, and Dawkins invited himself over to interview him on camera. Prior to the interview, Sheldrake had sent Dawkins some experimental data on telepathy, but then when the time came for the interview, he discovered that Dawkins had not looked at any of them. An excerpt:

Quote:
He (Dawkins) then said that in a romantic spirit he himself would like to believe in telepathy, but there just wasn't any evidence for it. He dismissed all research on the subject out of hand. He compared the lack of acceptance of telepathy by scientists such as himself with the way in which the echo-location system had been discovered in bats, followed by its rapid acceptance within the scientific community in the 1940s. In fact, as I later discovered, Lazzaro Spallanzani had shown in 1793 that bats rely on hearing to find their way around, but sceptical opponents dismissed his experiments as flawed, and helped set back research for well over a century. However, Richard recognized that telepathy posed a more radical challenge than echo-location. He said that if it really occurred, it would "turn the laws of physics upside down," and added, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."

"This depends on what you regard as extraordinary", I replied. "Most people say they have experienced telepathy, especially in connection with telephone calls. In that sense, telepathy is ordinary. The claim that most people are deluded about their own experience is extraordinary. Where is the extraordinary evidence for that?"

He produced no evidence at all, apart from generic arguments about the fallibility of human judgment. He assumed that people want to believe in "the paranormal" because of wishful thinking.

We then agreed that controlled experiments were necessary. I said that this was why I had actually been doing such experiments, including tests to find out if people really could tell who was calling them on the telephone when the caller was selected at random. The results were far above the chance level.

The previous week I had sent Richard copies of some of my papers, published in peer-reviewed journals, so that he could look at the data.

Richard seemed uneasy and said, "I'm don't want to discuss evidence". "Why not?" I asked. "There isn't time. It's too complicated. And that's not what this programme is about." The camera stopped.

The Director, Russell Barnes, confirmed that he too was not interested in evidence. The film he was making was another Dawkins polemic.

I said to Russell, "If you're treating telepathy as an irrational belief, surely evidence about whether it exists or not is essential for the discussion. If telepathy occurs, it's not irrational to believe in it. I thought that's what we were going to talk about. I made it clear from the outset that I wasn't interested in taking part in another low grade debunking exercise."

Richard said, "It's not a low grade debunking exercise; it's a high grade debunking exercise."

In that case, I replied, there had been a serious misunderstanding, because I had been led to believe that this was to be a balanced scientific discussion about evidence. Russell Barnes asked to see the emails I had received from his assistant. He read them with obvious dismay, and said the assurances she had given me were wrong. The team packed up and left.

Richard Dawkins has long proclaimed his conviction that "The paranormal is bunk. Those who try to sell it to us are fakes and charlatans". Enemies of Reason was intended to popularize this belief. But does his crusade really promote "the public understanding of science," of which he is the professor at Oxford? Should science be a vehicle of prejudice, a kind of fundamentalist belief-system? Or should it be a method of enquiry into the unknown?
Source

As regards the EKG study, I will provide more details when I get the opportunity. It was published in a scientific journal.
 
Rwa001
 
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 08:37 pm
@kennethamy,
He was observed for one ten-day period, although at the end of the project he had a slight drop in weight which would suggest that his lifestyle isn't sustainable.

However, even if he was sneaking in trace amounts of water during baths or gargling, it's unlikely it would be enough to stave off the noticeable effects of dehydration.

I think it's possible he has managed to slow down his metabolism enough to need less food, and in the article I read, it was suggested that his body reabsorbs his urine after it passes into the bladder, keeping him hydrated. I'll look for that article to show you.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 08:58 pm
@jeeprs,
what made me suspicious of the Prahlad story was one of the footnotes in the Wikipedia article. It pointed to an article in a newspaper which was about the doctor who is doing the investigation. This doctor has form, it appears: Prahlad is not the first such case that he has investigated. This article is here: The man who says he hasn't eaten or drunk for 70 years: Why are eminent doctors taking him seriously? | Mail Online

But I really like the way that article closes:

Quote:
there's a part of all of us that would love to believe such a human 'miracle' could be true.

After all, isn't a consultant neurologist staking his reputation on these tests being entirely watertight?


We may never know the truth, but until he is exposed as a fraud, perhaps we should enjoy suspending our disbelief and give Mr Jani the benefit of the doubt.

After all, wouldn't life be boring if everything was rational?
 
Emil
 
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 09:33 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;163569 wrote:
They ruled that explanation out. Whenever the machine is disconnected it displays a specific interference pattern which was absent. As the report said, the experimenters offered no explanation. It was part of a series of studies which found unequivocable evidence that yogis can control what are normally regarded as autonomic functions including heart rate, respiration, and even body temperature.

---------- Post added 05-13-2010 at 07:27 AM ----------



It is interesting that one will offer 17th century philosophy by way of rebuttal of actual physical evidence gathered by scientific instruments in controlled conditions.


It wasn't offered as a rebuttal, but what prevents a person from the 17th century debuking a kind of reasoning of which instances appear many hundred years later? Nothing. The first teachings of logic were made some 2000 years ago, and they still refute certain kinds of reasoning, like four term syllogisms and stuff like that.

Maybe you should read Hume as quoted above. His reasoning obviously applies. What is more probable: Some doctors being wrong (deluded, mistaken, wishful thinking or other cause is not important) about about him not cheating, or a man contrary to all hitherto experience of humans and physiology that can live without food and water for whatever time period? The answer is obviously the first.
In words closer to Hume's: It is less remarkable that some doctors be wrong about a man they claim lived for 10 days without food or water, than it is for some man to live without food and water for 10 days.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 09:39 pm
@jeeprs,
About Randi, watching him talk, it is clear that he has read the cases of thousands of people who have been hurt by fraud. I have no reason to fault him for being an enemy of that kind of thinking.

If you are a scientist, I think you have to be very careful what you say about your research. The article in the lancet suggesting a link between autism and cancer ended up killing someone. Innoculation rates are down even today. And how many people have gotten sick, and how much was invested in researching the link to show it wasn't there?

Studies that have evidence for very unusual things need to be very careful about what they say. Remember that many of these studies are done on the 95% confidence interval, and can have confounding variables that are missed. There are two kinds of error (type I and type II). Type I is where you report a real effect when there is one (this is called scientists worst nightmare--the lancet autism thing is an example). It is worse than type II (saying no evidence for a real effect--like the bats thing) because once the info is out there, it is hard to stamp out. Some people will believe that vaccines are bad for the rest of their lives. With type II, you can do a new, better study and find the result if there is one.

In summary, it is better to be doubtful. I find it bizarre that people who would emphasize that we should not live by the rules of science, also jump on poorly done scientific studies as proof of their ideas. Reading sheldrakes account above, I get the impression that he is very biased ("generic", "seemed uneasy" and "polemic" stand out) and that his study sounds very questionable. Checking wiki, I see that the criticism of his studies is that he did not randomize properly--he mirrored the pattern on peoples natural guessing patterns. Similar to how you can beat some people in rock paper scissors better than chance--which, I would think, no one would suggest is telepathy.

jeeprs, if it is interesting to think about the possibilities that science has not yet considered, then it interesting to think about all the possibilities that it has considered that one just hasn't read about. The control of the yogi over his heart rate and body temperature is interesting. The fact that people have natural guessing patterns is interesting. To dispute that the yogi can stop his heart and that people have telepathy is not "boring". It is simply drawing the line between interesting truth and interesting fiction. A sci fi movie is fun, a sci fi movie that tries to convince people of things that are not true is not fun.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 09:40 pm
@Emil,
Emil;163730 wrote:
It wasn't offered as a rebuttal, but what prevents a person from the 17th century debuking a kind of reasoning of which instances appear many hundred years later?


It is not a matter of 'reasoning'. Both these cases, the Prahlad Jali case, and the yogi in the sealed container, are cases of scientific investigation and analysis of empirical data. I find it ironic in the extreme that Hume is cited as grounds for disputing the credibility of the experimenters in both cases a priori. Don't you see the irony here?
 
Rwa001
 
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 09:43 pm
@Emil,
Emil;163730 wrote:
It wasn't offered as a rebuttal, but what prevents a person from the 17th century debuking a kind of reasoning of which instances appear many hundred years later? Nothing. The first teachings of logic were made some 2000 years ago, and they still refute certain kinds of reasoning, like four term syllogisms and stuff like that.

Maybe you should read Hume as quoted above. His reasoning obviously applies. What is more probable: Some doctors being wrong (deluded, mistaken, wishful thinking or other cause is not important) about about him not cheating, or a man contrary to all hitherto experience of humans and physiology that can live without food and water for whatever time period? The answer is obviously the first.
In words closer to Hume's: It is less remarkable that some doctors be wrong about a man they claim lived for 10 days without food or water, than it is for some man to live without food and water for 10 days.


Less probable doesn't mean impossible. Genetic anomalies are the only reason we exist as we do today. I'm not wholly impressed with ten days, anyway, if his body could actually reabsorb urine without any negative effects, then he would need much less water than the average person. It's also popular in his culture to fast; couple that with the poverty and lack of food, and you have a solid chance for odd adaptions.
 
Emil
 
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 09:47 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;163735 wrote:
It is not a matter of 'reasoning'. Both these cases, the Prahlad Jali case, and the yogi in the sealed container, are cases of scientific investigation and analysis of empirical data. I find it ironic in the extreme that Hume is cited as grounds for disputing the credibility of the experimenters in both cases a priori. Don't you see the irony here?


No. Where is the irony?
 
Pyrrho
 
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 09:48 pm
@Emil,
Emil;163730 wrote:
It wasn't offered as a rebuttal, but what prevents a person from the 17th century debuking a kind of reasoning of which instances appear many hundred years later? Nothing. The first teachings of logic were made some 2000 years ago, and they still refute certain kinds of reasoning, like four term syllogisms and stuff like that.

Maybe you should read Hume as quoted above. His reasoning obviously applies. What is more probable: Some doctors being wrong (deluded, mistaken, wishful thinking or other cause is not important) about about him not cheating, or a man contrary to all hitherto experience of humans and physiology that can live without food and water for whatever time period? The answer is obviously the first.
In words closer to Hume's: It is less remarkable that some doctors be wrong about a man they claim lived for 10 days without food or water, than it is for some man to live without food and water for 10 days.


Not only that, but Hume is far more modern in his thinking than millions of people alive today. Many have minds that are in the dark ages, who resist all attempts at bringing in the light of reason. What is even more remarkable is how so many of the ancient Greeks were more modern than millions of people alive today.

Hume argued that one ought to weigh the evidence pro and con, subtract the lessor evidential force from the greater, and believe in proportion to the evidence that remained. Many people don't like doing that, as it does not give them the results that they want. So they engage in wishful thinking instead. Which brings us back to something Clifford said:

"No man holding a strong belief on one side of a question, or even wishing to hold a belief on one side, can investigate it with such fairness and completeness as if he were really in doubt and unbiassed; so that the existence of a belief not founded on fair inquiry unfits a man for the performance of this necessary duty."

The Ethics of Belief

Many people want to believe ridiculous stories, and so they do, often with a slight pretense to evidential support. But as already remarked, in this case, there is no real evidential support. The story falls apart upon examination.
 
Emil
 
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 09:49 pm
@Rwa001,
Rwa001;163737 wrote:
Less probable doesn't mean impossible. Genetic anomalies are the only reason we exist as we do today. I'm not wholly impressed with ten days, anyway, if his body could actually reabsorb urine without any negative effects, then he would need much less water than the average person. It's also popular in his culture to fast; couple that with the poverty and lack of food, and you have a solid chance for odd adaptions.


I don't think anyone here claimed that less improbable implies impossible, so I don't know why you mention that. Maybe I missed something.

And, sure, 10 days is not miraculous and still not what I'd call physically impossible. Though I've never heard of anyone being able to do it under strict conditions. 100 days would be physically impossible I think.

---------- Post added 05-13-2010 at 05:54 AM ----------

Pyrrho;163740 wrote:
Not only that, but Hume is far more modern in his thinking than millions of people alive today. Many have minds that are in the dark ages, who resist all attempts at bringing in the light of reason. What is even more remarkable is how so many of the ancient Greeks were more modern than millions of people alive today.

Hume argued that one ought to weigh the evidence pro and con, subtract the lessor evidential force from the greater, and believe in proportion to the evidence that remained. Many people don't like doing that, as it does not give them the results that they want. So they engage in wishful thinking instead. Which brings us back to something Clifford said:

"No man holding a strong belief on one side of a question, or even wishing to hold a belief on one side, can investigate it with such fairness and completeness as if he were really in doubt and unbiassed; so that the existence of a belief not founded on fair inquiry unfits a man for the performance of this necessary duty."

The Ethics of Belief

Many people want to believe ridiculous stories, and so they do, often with a slight pretense to evidential support. But as already remarked, in this case, there is no real evidential support. The story falls apart upon examination.


I wouldn't say that "there is no real evidential support", but I'd say that there is insufficient evidence to be epistemically justified in the believing it.

Clifford is right in the passage you quote above, and it is very hard to free oneself from bias. It is no wonder that most people fail at it most of the time. I also fail at it from time to time.
 
 

 
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