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Do you take a scientific approach to parapsychology?

Many people on this forum call themselves scientific and they cite references to popular literature when presenting evidence for their answers. What do you consider to be legitimate scientific websites or literature and why? How do you see scientific documents as different from documents created to attract web traffic or cater to the biases and opinions of the general public? Can you give some examples related to parapsychology?

5 Comments

  • You do not have to be a scientist to take a scientific approach to investigations. You just have to not have preconceived notions about the subject and follow where the evidence you have leads you. Don’t make the evidence fit your ideas,make tour ideas fit the evidence.

  • What are legitimate scientific websites? Journal articles are the best and can be read online, though they are not very accessible to the public and fairly hard to understand if you’re not quite well-versed in science and mathematics. So for here on Yahoo Answers, they aren’t that helpful to list as a source. Instead, I try to use university websites as much as possible since professors usually have a knack for boiling down information to the simplest explanation without getting sloppy. If I can’t find a suitable university website, I’ll try to use those websites which offer the most citations to back up what they are saying. I use skepdic.com a lot because it is very well supported.

    For us here participating on Yahoo! Answers, we’re not scientists writing papers or giving lectures. The best that we can probably do, generally speaking, is provide documents that do have citations to peer-reviewed research or at least reputable sources that can be fact-checked. That’s not a guarantee that a science journalist didn’t make a mistake, but it helps.

    For that matter, peer-reviewed journals aren’t always accurate either. My experience here is with some peer-reviewed paranormal articles, where an author cited a source to back up his claim, but after digging back to the original author of the cited work, it was only a conjecture being cited. Yet by citation or sometimes citations of citations, the conjecture turns into an implicit supported fact since it can be difficult to retrace such things. I see this as a failure of peer-review.

  • I am not a scientist but I do try to ask questions and not take things at face value. One of the things I have done is study psycology in college to help me understand what the difference is between the paranormal and what might be temporary dissonance.

  • I don’t know if my approach to parapsychology is especially scientific. I enjoy reading about parapsychology and I watch documentaries and DVDs. I had an unexplainable experience that created my interest in psychic phenomena. But my experience lasted about a minute. That’s a very small percentage of my life. It really doesn’t merit a huge investment of time, money and effort. It does however, merit some interest and a modest amount of time, money and effort.

  • Yes I do via reading scientific research literature (peer reviewed science journals) as well as web sites and articles from scientist that have conducted the research/experiments. I also have some attempts of my own to replicate some very basic and early experiments. I then examine the possible flaws and often design an experiment to test those flaws (like making sensory cues available and seeing if more positive results are obtained).

    I have quoted popular literature as references such as Dean Radin’s books but they are themselves extensively cite the research literature. I also make clear (as does Radin) that he offers some speculations.

    The Parapsychological Association which is an affiliate of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is composed of well educated scientist (usually a doctorate in a conventional science like physics or medicine) that actually engage in research. Other such organizations like the Rhine Research Institute and the Institute of Noetic Sciences have similar qualifications.
    The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry is not a research organization and very few (if any) scientist associated with it conduct or publish research in parapsychology.

    Scientific research and experiments (document) are searching for evidence to explain a phenomena like ESP be that from sensory cues (which I think more research should be done on) or from some unknown source or by some unknown process. It does not prejudge a phenomena but seeks evidence for it;’s existence or how it functions, etc.

    Public documents for example the web site of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry represents one position (while many parapsychologist remain divided over many issues) and openly supports the belief of deniers where as parapsychologist only state what the evidence supports and do not engage in attempting to support a position, in fact many beliefs are not supported by parapsychology research (like fireballs) and other beliefs that skeptics thrown in with ESP (like astrology) is not even studied in parapsychology.

    Examples of what? The scientific approach in parapsychology?
    See links below.

    Thanks for the question.

    Psiexploration

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