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----- Mensaje original -----
De: Barry Karr <SkeptInq en aol.com>
Enviado: jueves, 15 de febrero de 2001 10:20
Asunto: The "Psychic" Parrot & Best Kept Secrets

> Psychic Parrot
> The Monday, February 12, 2001, edition of USA Today featured a story on
>  9D about a Congo African gray parrot named N'kisi. The parrot's owner,
>  Morgana, and British parapsychologist Rupert Sheldrake both claim that
>  bird is demonstrating psychic abilities.
>  According to the USA Today article, Morgana first suspected N'kisi's
>  abilities while she was admiring an "explicit" picture in the Village
>  personal ads. From the cage across the room, N'kisi crowed "Oh, look at
>  pretty naked body." This incident led her to believe that there was
>  something much more unusual about the parrot than its mere appreciation
>  the human form.
>  Morgana, a 42-year-old production designer who lives in Manhattan, read
>  Sheldrake's 1999 book, Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home
>  Other Unexplained Powers of Animals, which convinced her to contact the
>  author about her talented pet.
>  As a result, Sheldrake collaborated with Morgana in a "double-blind" test
>  N'kisi. The British researcher's web site (www.sheldrake.org
>  <http://www.sheldrake.org>) has a special "N'kisi Project" section
>  to this investigation, described as "... a series of controlled
>  and ongoing research in interspecies communication and telepathy,
>  by Aimee Morgana and her language-using parrot. With the collaboration
>  support of Dr. Rupert Sheldrake."
>  On the web site Sheldrake states that "The experiments were conducted at
>  N'kisi's home over 6 weeks, and consisted of Aimee looking at photographs
>  depicting items from N'kisi's unedited keyword vocabulary that had been
>  prepared, sealed in envelopes, and randomized by a third party. This was
>  filmed as it took place in an enclosed room on a different floor, with no
>  possible line of sight for any 'cueing', while a separate
>  camera automatically filmed N'kisi in her cage to record her [vocal]
>  reactions."
>  A total of 78 images were viewed in 26 test sessions. Sheldrake claims
>  "hits" ("vocalization of target keywords or accurate descriptive
>  for 32 images in these sessions. The other of images elicited "few"
>  which Sheldrake distinguishes from "no scorable response." Sheldrake also
>  states that there were "[c]omments omitted in editing these segments for
>  time [that] consisted of attempts at contact and other mundane remarks
>  irrelevant for scoring purposes." Both in the USA Today article and on
>  site Sheldrake is cited making the assertion that the probability is one
>  a BILLION of their results were due to chance.
>  I have inquired about obtaining a video of these trials (preferably
>  unedited) or a transcript. We are eagerly anticipating a response.
>  The USA Today story was disappointing, even disturbing. It was an
>  and unbalanced report on Rupert Sheldrake's claims about psychic
>  in pets. The article states that Sheldrake's work "has been met with
>  skepticism among some scientists" (italics mine). This statement leads
>  CSICOP to wonder exactly which scientists comprise the assumed majority
>  actually convinced by Sheldrake's claims.
>  Totally lacking in the article is any recognition that mainstream
>  aren't merely disputing Sheldrake's results because they're
>  The fact is that other researchers can't seem to replicate them.
>  Conspicuously absent from the story was Sheldrake's previous psychic pet
>  research-namely, his 1994 experiments in England videotaping the behavior
>  a terrier named "Jaytee" for Austrian television. He concluded that the
>  could sense when his owner was coming home through a psychic
>  Specifically, Sheldrake speculated that animals are guided by "morphic
>  fields" and telepathic influences from their owners.
>  However, Richard Wiseman, Senior Research Fellow in psychology at the
>  University of Hertfordshire in England, tried to reproduce Sheldrake's
>  results by setting up his own videotaped trials of Jaytee. Wiseman, whose
>  findings were published in the British Journal of Psychology (1998),
>  to find any evidence that Jaytee had an extrasensory ability to predict
>  owner's return.
>  Contary to the rhetoric floating around, the field of parapsychology is
>  getting a fair hearing from psychologists like Richard Wiseman and Susan
>  Blackmore in England, and Ray Hyman in the United States. The fact is
>  despite the hype this field of research continually fails to produce
>  reliable, repeatable results.
>  I've sent a letter to the editors of USA Today stressing these points and
>  hope they'll see fit to publish it.
>  Kevin Christopher
>  Public Relations Director, Skeptical Inquirer
>  kchristopher en centerforinquiry.net
> Best Kept Secrets
> University of Pittsburgh Physics Instructor, David Willey writes to tell
> that he will be featured on the Learning Channel Program "Best Kept
> (see schedule below).The show was taped here at CSICOP headquarters and
> feature amazing demonstrations and firewalking. For more information on
> demonstrations see the CSICOP website articles:
> http://www.csicop.org/si/9911/willey.html
> http://www.csicop.org/genx/firewalk/index.html
> "Best Kept Secrets of the Paranormal," will air on The Learning
> Channel (TLC) on the following dates:
> Sunday, 2/18 at 10:00 PM
> Monday, 2/19 at 1:00 AM
> Saturday, 2/24 at 7:00 PM
> Realize that these dates and times can change, but these dates reflect the
> latest schedule from TLC.