Rupert Sheldrake, Dogs and Owners, and Skeptics

Simon Thorpe is the Deputy Director of the Brain and Cognitive Research Center in Toulouse France. Below is a video talk from him about paranormal phenomena, where he in particular discusses Rupert Sheldrake’s study into whether dogs know when their owners are coming home.

While the study is interesting, I found the reaction from one skeptic even more interesting. A common argument of skeptics is that the researcher’s conclusions are not supported by the data. Making claims not supported by the data is a logical error to which skeptics themselves are not immune. At 11:20 Simon discusses Richard Wiseman’s published rebuttal of Sheldrake’s study. Wiseman uses that exact argument: the claims aren’t supported by the data. According to him the study failed to show that this dog knew when his owner was coming home. Then Simon shows us Wiseman’s own chart of Sheldrake’s data, and his chart sure enough shows the exact same spike that Sheldrake’s charts show.

Wiseman is projecting on to the researcher his own logical fallacy.

In this video:

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