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From: B. Harris)
Newsgroups: sci.physics,sci.skeptic
Subject: Re: Prejudicial science
Date: 18 Jul 1999 07:33:19 GMT

In <6B2k3.24051$> "etherman"
<> writes:

>Jim Carr <> wrote in message
>>  Well, I would say the science would start with an experiment
>>  showing an effect, one that was reproducible and significant,
>>  which would then become a defined scientific problem.
>If you're interested in the experimental side check out "The Conscious
>Universe" by Dean Radin.

   Sorry, but this is a case of needing extraordinary evidence since to
back up extaordinary assertions.  It just isn't there.  Until you can
demonstrate such phemomena reproducably, on demand, and in front of
James Randi, you'll get nowhere.

>>  If it is as narrow as you state it, the problem could be one
>>  of physiology -- identifying the sensory system that has been
>>  overlooked.  Having a defined problem would make that something
>>  which could be investigated.
>True. It was once thought that the people's reactions to pheromones
>was part of the sense of smell.  As it turns out there's a different
>organ in the nose (called the versimone organ IIRC) which detects
>pheromones. So in a real way people do have six senses.

   Vomeronasal.  It's a very weak "sense," present only in some people,
and even then not very consciously.  Which is why it went undetected
for so long.  And it is a subset of your sense of smell.  So what if
the receptors are in a different place?  If you had a third eye in your
forehead which was really bad at detecting light, but did it, would you
say it wasn't part of your sense of sight?

    The vomeronasal organ is much more important in most mammals than
it is in humans, of course.  We're decended from tree-dwellers and are
much more visual creatures.  The scent of a female in heat goes a long
way, however, for most mammals.  When male cats are using their
vomeronasal organ, they hold their mouths slightly open and wrinkle up
their faces peculiarly in a Mortimer Snerd looking hayseed way, and the
expression is one of what, in humans, would be called extreme
stupidity.  I believe I've seen it on men in bars under similar
circumstances, but think that's merely coincidence.

    Pheromones have some economic value, also.  Truffles are hunted by
pigs because they make a molecule which is a pig pheromone (so it's not
THAT hard to train pigs to find them).  This guaranttees they will be
dug up by pigs (trained or wild), which in turn must benefit truffle
reproduction in some way, as with those underground mellons that
aardvaarks eat and only aarvaarks can find.  I'll be darned if I know
how it works with truffles, though.

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