Check It! Modern Parapsychology
Hey, guys. I’m finally back to my regular posting schedule, and this Friday’s installment deals with the science, both legitimate and pathological, of modern parapsychology, since its inception in the 1930s by Dr. J.B. Rhine of Duke University. To be frank, much of the criticism of this field of research is unfair, and argues against straw-people.
Much has been made of fraud in the field, perhaps too much, and it seems to me that no more has been perpetrated by the researchers than has been done in any other area of science. Much of the fraud committed is the doing of test-subjects rather than the majority of parapsychologists themselves.
It is true that the field has been colored and tainted by this though, from its very beginning as psychical research in the mid-19th century, to the genesis of its modern incarnation in 1929 and to the present day, but by and large, it comprises literally thousands of experiments, most conducted by able, honest, and competent researchers.
It is the curious inability of rival laboratories to replicate even the most promising studies that has led to its dismissal by mainstream researchers, and this lack of repeatability is due to a number of methodological, logical, psychological, and statistical errors that can easily produce the appearance of a real phenomenon.
This appearance goes away when controls are tightened and better statistical methods are employed, which has the effect of eliciting elaborate ad hoc hypotheses from believers of psi to explain away the negative results. While absence of evidence is not proof of absence, when in the right context it can be evidence for it. I shall now present the links dealing with this post’s subject for your perusal. Enjoy.
- ..on the Oregonians for Science and Reason site, a more critical look at this subject, by Ray Hyman…
- …on Rupert Sheldrake’s Morphic Resonance model of Biology…
- …and because I just couldn’t resist, the JREF $1,000,000 paranormal challenge…
Posted on Friday, 15:30, November 20, 2009, in Memes & Claims and tagged Paranormal, Parapsychology, Pseudoscience, Psi, Psi Abilities, Psi Phenomena, Psi Research, Psychics, Psychokinesis, Science, Skeptic, Skeptic's Dictionary, Skepticism. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off.