Talk:Stephen E. Braude

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Braude has also done some woo interviews on Coast to Coast AM [1] Skeptic12 (talk) 20:28, 19 October 2013 (UTC)


The article includes many factual errors and is not backed up by sources that would establish the claims made in it. Among the errors are: - He's a spiritualist. -> That's not certain. He wrote on the subject and thinks that the survival hypothesis should be (slightly) favored over alternative explanations but that doesn't make him a spiritualist. If you have evidence to the contrary, please back that up. - 'but most of his publications are not on that subject' No. Even if you consider his parapsychological publications to be pseudoscientific (which is a completely other discussion anyway), then his writings are still in the category of philosophy because his parapsychological writings are still philosophical. - 'this reveals his gullibility...' Not really. He discusses alternative explanations in his works and it is a huge leap from saying some physical mediums are fake to declaring that all of them are. He carefully discusses 'normal' explanations of the data. - 'This is supposed to be the best evidence Braude can offer for life after death.' That's just wrong. Physical phenomena wouldn't, according to Braude, be the best evidence for the afterlife at all. Why should they, anyway. Please back this claim up, as far as I know, he even said in a lecture that this occured under not sufficiently controlled conditions and doesn't establish anything but that he wants to introduce more tight controls in follow-up studies to reveal whether there is something going on. -' Braude believes this type of nonsense is scientific evidence for mediumship.' This is basically as wrong as the statement above. Please back that up.

All in all, the article is very poorly written. I think it is very offensive and from an objective point of view very unfair to Professor Braude. I remove the factual errors and invite others to back up the claims made in the article that are not already backed up. --Psi (talk) 17:53, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

Note that I am not happy with the version (which I edited the article to) it is still poorly written and doesn't properly reflect the relevant information about Prof Braude but a more balance version probably wouldn't survive here. --Psi (talk) 18:00, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

Let me respond:

Your comment: The article includes many factual errors and is not backed up by sources that would establish the claims made in it

My response: Nonsense, there are many references in the article which have described Braude as a pseudoscientist, defender of fraudulent mediums and a spiritualist.

Your comment: He's a spiritualist. -> That's not certain. He wrote on the subject and thinks that the survival hypothesis should be (slightly) favored over alternative explanations but that doesn't make him a spiritualist. If you have evidence to the contrary, please back that up.

My response: Braude is 100% a spiritualist, he believes and has written in his own words that mediums communicate with spirits (Gladys Osborne Leonard, Leonora Piper etc). He believes in mediumship and spirits. He rejects the ESP-hypothesis of mediumship and supports the spirit hypothesis. See his book Immortal Remains: The Evidence for Life after Death. He claims fraudulent mediums like Daniel Dunglas Home were genuine. He's been duped and ignores the skeptical literature.

Your comment: Even if you consider his parapsychological publications to be pseudoscientific (which is a completely other discussion anyway), then his writings are still in the category of philosophy because his parapsychological writings are still philosophical.

My response: Yes many Parapsychology publications are pseudoscience. Braude's parapsychology publications have been heavily criticized by the scientific community. He doesn't publish much on philosophy, he chose to write about paranormal topics instead.

Your comment: This reveals his gullibility... Not really. He discusses alternative explanations in his works and it is a huge leap from saying some physical mediums are fake to declaring that all of them are.

My response: Do some proper research... ectoplasm has revealed the be rolled up cheesecloth or muslin. Every physical medium that has been investigated by psychical researchers during the period 1880-1950 was exposed as a fraud (I could list 100s). The Society for Psychical Research exposed many fraudulent physical mediums, the majority of psychical researchers even accept physical mediumship is fraudulent (it is not just skeptics who reject this stuff). Physical mediums such as Helen Duncan and Eusapia Palladino were exposed over and over as frauds. You need to do proper research. As for the gullibility, just LOOK here. Braude has embarrassed himself in the Felix Circle, it's nothing more than cheesecloth, as for the stuff about "apports" appearing in the room from the spirit world, laughable. Apports are hidden on séance sitters and sneaked into the room. But Braude calls it "The first phase of what the spirits call "building up a forcefield" that enables them to interact on our dimensional level with the sitters." LMAO. The credulous Stephen Braude supporting apports and ectoplasm at the felix circle. Hilarious stuff.

Your comment: All in all, the article is very poorly written. I think it is very offensive and from an objective point of view very unfair to Professor Braude. I remove the factual errors and invite others to back up the claims made in the article that are not already backed up.

My response: It's not poorly written it's backed up with references as well. It's not offensive. Braude is a quack woo-meister who is incapable of doing honest research into mediumship, he claims practically every fraudulent mediums from 1880-1950 was genuine. He deliberately ignores evidence of fraud and skeptical literature. He lives in a fantasy not reality. As for claims about being objective that's rather hilarious considering your name is "psi". Your clearly a devout believer in Braude's nonsense. BTW psi has been debunked. Even honest parapsychologists have even admitted they can't define it or rule out natural causes in their experiments. Braude has no education in conjuring or magic tricks, if you read books by magicians many of these have debunked the tricks of fraudulent mediums. Braude is notorious for ignoring the majority of skeptical sources on the subject of mediumship, it all come down to the fact that it is you the spiritualists that are not neutral or objective. You ignore any evidence which goes against your beliefs. There's no scientific evidence people can communicate with spirits through a medium. You are wasting your time defending charlatans. It's not nice to say but you are nowhere near the truth I am afraid. As for references as you can see from the article many scientists have openly criticized Braude's errors and spiritualist nonsense. Cheers. Debunker (talk) 00:48, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

Actually[edit]

After reading the article sources and watching the videos I get the clear impression of a guy who is thoroughly enjoying himself. Retired prof pension, gazillions of lecture invites, free travel to exotic places, sitting in dark seance rooms with cute foreign women...what's not to like? And parapsychology is so much easier than the real academic world. Essentially whatever BS you make up is what gets published. I think I'm kind of jealous! Leuders (talk) 20:42, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

Braude also believes his wife Gina is a psychic who can produce astrological predictions. He's beyond credulous. I had a series of email exchanges with him and he repeatedly claimed that Daniel Dunglas Home with William Crookes had performed psychokinesis. I showed Braude how a few years before Home, William Crookes had been duped into believing the stage mentalist Anna Eva Fay had genuine psychic powers. Braude actually thanked me for that information but insulted me for being skeptical, I never heard from him again. He ignores any evidence of fraud and he had never researched conjuring or magic tricks. His books giving glowing reviews for spiritualist mediums but when it comes to fraud it's not mentioned (Brian Inglis did the same thing). On the Felix Circle blog post you see Braude reading an old book about the medium Lajos Pap and his fellow spiritualists claiming Pap was a genuine medium, but if you do real research you discover Pap's "apports" were the result of fraudulent methods, for example he hid a snake in a device under his jacket and was caught. No mention of this by Braude and his spiritualist buddies.
Also see Ian Hacking. (1993). Some reasons for not taking parapsychology very seriously. Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review. Vol. 32, No. 3. pp. 587-594. In this paper Braude is labeled a pseudoscientist, and it's also interesting to see some of Braude's nasty comments, for example in his book The Limits of Influence, which is subtitled Psychokinesis and the Philosophy of Science he attacked people who don't accept psychokinesis as "intellectual dishonesty and cowardice". I may come across as a mean ol' nasty skeptic, but there is nothing nice about Braude. I have read three reviews of his books claiming he also sets up straw man arguments about skeptics. For example he claims skeptics have claimed all of Daniel Dunglas Home's feats were hallucinations of the séance sitters, but no skeptic ever suggested this. The majority of skeptics have suggested Home's feats were magic tricks but this isn't mentioned in Braude's book. There are even magicians who have replicated Home's feats but Braude is unaware of this literature due to his bias.
On the topic of hallucination though there is evidence séance sitters have seen things that are not real in other cases. According to the psychical researcher Eric Dingwall during a séance various sitters had reported hearing music such as an orchestra, witnessing full form phantasms and materialized dogs laying on the laps of the sitters. However according to Dingwall he could not detect any of this phenomena and all the experiences were purely subjective. It's clear that séances are nothing more than delusion and fraud, it's sad to see academics be hoodwinked into it. Debunker (talk) 22:54, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
Stephen E. Braude also believes the tricks of Uri Geller and Ted Serios are real evidence for psychokinesis. My theory is that he's been round so much cheesecloth ectoplasm over the years that it went to his head and now he's regurgitating it as pseudoscience. OC68 (talk) 04:04, 28 November 2013 (UTC)


The quote 'The problem is there’s no such thing as a controlled experiment in parapsychology. If you take parapsychology seriously enough to study the evidence for psi, in principle you’re studying a phenomenon which, if it exists, can circumvent any experimental controls you might want to impose.' Is indeed from him but is taken completely out of context. Of course there can be scientific experiments in parapsychology with enough controls to ensure that an anomaly happened (if the results are positive): Many experiments, e.g. the Ganzfeld are, if properly done, sufficiently scientific (if the controls are actually in place!). Braude doesn't doubt that we have the capability of using controls in order to rule out normal explanations. His point is that *if* psi exists, then there is no real controlled experiment in parapsychology because it is the nature of psi that could circumvent all controls. If you try to shield two people from each other, you couldn't use controls that rule out that telepathy happens (given that telepathy is real) either due to the nature of psi or due to our limited understanding of it. That being said, I think if we for a moment take the standpoint of a person that thinks psi exists, this quote actually makes sense. I think it shouldn't be taken out of context and then misinterpreted, adding a totally different context than the real one. Braude clarified what he means by that on many occasions. I'm going to remove the false context. --Psi (talk) 12:53, 29 November 2013 (UTC)

Oh, okay, "IF" psi exists. So he does not believe in psi. Why didn't he say so in the first place? And why is he wasting time and presumably big heaps of dollars searching for something he really does not believe exists? Leuders (talk) 04:05, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
Ignore "psi", I think I know who he is, his name is S. Alexander Hardison, he's a spiritualist and associate of Michael E. Tymn he misrepresents parapsychological literature, we have clashed before on occasions. Braude is not claiming psi *might* exist, he's a full blown believer claiming it does exist and refuses to accept any evidence on the contrary. Chris French reviewed Braude's latest book claiming anyone with the "slightest tendency towards critical thinking would find the evidence for psi presented in this slim volume to be anywhere near compelling" and according to Ian Hacking's paper "Some reasons for not taking parapsychology very seriously" Braude in his book calls scientists for rejecting psi as having "intellectual dishonesty and cowardice." Scientists don't take Braude seriously. Debunker (talk) 05:58, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
Whatever. I made some edits to make sure the quote is not taken out of context. Braude's ideas are silly enough to stand on their own. Leuders (talk) 18:29, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
Psi join my website badpsychics if you want to discuss fraudulent mediums, the mediums you and your buddy Michael E. Tymn claim were genuine such as Helen Duncan, Eusapia Palladino and Daniel Dunglas Home were all caught in fraud. It is not honest to ignore the skeptical literature. - Jon Donnis. Debunker (talk) 10:36, 5 December 2013 (UTC)


First of all, I'm not Alex Hardison. Regarding the context, it still seems problematic. He does think that we can measure psi, he just thinks that we could not conduct in experiment in which we avoid certain individuals from effecting the data with psi. That means that we can measure whether person B got some kind of telepathic signal from someone, by using some procedure like the Ganzfeld. We can't, on the other hand, assure that this signal came from person A. It could come from the experimenter. He wants to say, with this quote, that lab-research can't answer the source-of-psi-problem because we have no idea to find out which sources of psi were active and which weren't (at least in a low-degree, lab-setting). So, again, Braude thinks science can give evidence for psi, he just thinks psi can circumvent scientific 'controls' so that process focused research is very difficult. Which is why I'd propose to put the quote in the right context! --Psi (talk) 12:16, 7 December 2013 (UTC)

Have you read RationalWiki:What is a RationalWiki article? The way it is written now is very fair. Or, it can be put back to the way it was before. Leuders (talk) 16:37, 7 December 2013 (UTC)