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This XKCD cartoon has been getting massive attention from the skeptical/atheist blogs out there (Bad Astronomy, Archaeoporn, Randi’s forums, Pharyngula, Skepchick). The broad posting of the cartoon offers a wonderful glimpse inside the mind of ‘the debunkers’, as the actual statement made by the cartoon is *completely false*. Only wilful ignorance or self-deception can explain why otherwise intelligent people have latched on to this cartoon as some sort of touchstone for their atheist/materialist feelings.

To quote Charles Honorton, “the psi controversy is largely characterized by disputes between a group of researchers, the parapsychologists, and a group of critics who do not do experimental research to test psi claims or the viability of their counterhypothesis.” Meaning: the “refuted by experimentation” column of the cartoon is – in reality – virtually zero (excepting a few experiments by people like Susan Blackmore and Richard Wiseman). In contrast, the “Confirmed by Experimentation” should include the decades of positive data from the Ganzfeld experiment, Radin and Bierman’s positive results for presentiment, Jessica Utts’ positive conclusion on remote viewing, and numerous others. You may argue with the conclusions, but to say “refutations > confirmations” is just…well, stupid.

In Honorton’s words: “Look for the skeptics’ experiments and see what you find.”