How scientific is the study of Parapsychology?

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Baring in mind we are dealing with the “unknown” and “unexplained” so far.
It must be like trying to prove the Earth revolves around the Sun; or the Earth is not flat.
Are there any base line tests that can be worked on?
Or is any significant data stored until future generations may be able to work with the findings?

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rhsaunders

There has been some legitimate scientific work done to investigate the subject. But no affirmative results have ever been found.

raybdog

“parapsychology” was a name invented to attempt to legitimize something that has no scientific underpinnings.

Lorenzo Steed

Applying scientific principles to a non-science doesn’t make it a science. ERGO : pseudo-science.

paul h

well the american military, so say rumours have looked into this stuff as well as other military . lets not but all the blame on the amercans 🙂 very serioulsy.
scientist like facts, so to a lot, its an unkown sphere that they couldnt fathom,
It is a an area of great interest to many people the world over and many institutions look into it very much.
i think the only base line, is so far, is. Only what is said by people, about there personal experiences,
Yet the human mind and Brain, is a new science. so maybe soon a real breakthrough will cast away shadows of doubt, and real proof will emerge of what lays at the basis of this” Science”
After all. i have a feeling that most human beings experience events that could be classed in this field/
damn , does that make sense??

T R

You can apply the principles of scientific investigation to just about anything where you can form a testable hypothesis. The problem with the paranormal is that it is a pseudoscience based precisesly on UNtestable hypotheses. You can use scientific equipment to gather data, but the mere use of scientific equipment does not mean your hypotheses or your conclusions are scientific. It’s all about whether your hypotheses are consistent with known theory, testable, and falsifiable. These are awful hard to come by in the paranormal.
One of the most scientific studies of the paranormal was done by a research group at Princeton. But after 25 years it was a flop and to the extent that those researchers did boast of some evidence of paranormal effect, their statistical methods/conclusions have been shown to be questionable (see link).
So to sum up, with little room to apply science, parapsychology tends to be pretty unscientific.

Roderick Pyatt , Ph.D

It always amazes me when some people try and tag that which we call “paranormal” with the limits of one yard-stick or another. “Science” or “pseudo-science”, “para…” or “normal”, fact or fable, etc., etc., etc. blah, blah, blah. Science??? What have “Thinking” people through the years thought of “science”? Allow me the honor to quote a well-informed, “Thinking” gentleman of some report concerning the subject some years ago: “There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact”. –Mark Twain

zachary9351

Proving the Earth is round was easy.Getting the superstitious masses to believe it was the hard part.The ancient Greeks an Egyptians knew it.They knew about the earth and sun as well.Same thing with most of the Unknown today.People just won’t give up superstition.

andrew h

look up the work of dr raymond moody and dr helen wambach,
the near death experience data has been able to show that people have collected information from miles away from their ‘dead’ bodies.
you can take photos of life forms with a digital flash camera at night – maybe 1 in 20 photos then contrasted in software will bring up superstructure that is not random, irrational artefacts and digital distortion.
the problem with the existentialist paradigm is that it is aggressively policed and edited – not that there is a lack of evidence for such things. [imo]

psiexploration

Parapsychology courses are offered in some fully accredited universitities (from both skeptical and accepting professors).
The Parapsychological Association http://www.parapsych.org/ has been an affiliate of the American Association for the Advancement of Science http://www.aaas.org/ since 1969. Parapsychology is an officially recognized field of science in the academic world (regardless of how many academics wish it not so).
Most parapsychologist hold PhD’s from accredited universities and adhere more strictly to controls on experiments than many other fields of science.
However, many people group paranormal with parapsycholgy and there are certainly frauds and outlandish claims among some people and organizations. There is also people and organizations that include their religious beliefs (that are not testable) in explanations of phenomena.
Skeptics often practice a fallacy of logic called straw man where they take the weakest argument (say Miss Cleo) and prove her false and then say psychic ability is false. This expertly ignores years of well controlled experiments that show positive results in support of ESP and Human/Machine Interaction, etc.
Of course this depends on how you define scientific. To many people medicine is a science, to a physicist medicine is a sloppy field that deserves the title practicing. Some of the social sciences (psychology, sociology, anthropology) are not considered real (or hard) sciences. Science is a method that can be appiled to any phenomena, regardless of the religious or political objections of studying some subjects.
Michael John Weaver, M.S.

kokopelli

you sound funny,like some lawyer trying to win a case,or it is just my perception?it has another intention,or are you writing a book?

nissin_17

Ok, no offense – but it can’t be really accurate if…
1) Not everything can be explained (or tested) without the correct understanding, equipment or subject matter (in the case of poltergeists… how can you prove a lot when you need them to co-operate with you?).
2) Your profession requires a lot of faith in order to really believe it (its like how a creationist will often block out all possibilities of evolution. Most people in this profession will block out … *ahem* … logical explanations).
3) Not everyone can take it seriously as everyone has different opinions.
4) Most of it is based on opinions not on actual factual evidence (eg: The theory of orbs being ghosts).
Well yeah, these are just my opinions and you are welcome to agree or disagree with them.

KBW3

There have been some legitimate attempts at research over the years, but even the best of those have been seriously flawed when examined closely. Parapsychology should not be considered a science until it comes up with something other than statistical mining and erroneous conclusions caused by absurdly (deliberately?) poor experimental design. It should not be included in any academic science curriculum and I believe it should not even be included in this Science and Mathematics forum.
If one insists on considering it a science, then it is hands down the lowest achieving field ever investigated, having contributed virtually nothing useful to human knowledge and understanding.

Tunsa

Parapsychology is the study of events and associations that we cannot currently explain with the known sciences. These events need to be looked at with a new approach to science. Most Parapsychologists are trying to use traditional scientific methods to examine these phenomenon. They design experiments using scientifically accepted methods. They examine their results using accepted statistical processes, and they write conclusions to summarize their findings and interpret the results (See the PEAR Institute, and the Journal or Parapsychology). These people are taking their science very seriously, and they are getting varied results – some showing Psi exists, and some not.
Over the centuries, our ideas of science have changed, and scientists have learned from the information that was gathered before them. Consider, could a scholar from the middle ages understand the complexities of molecular biology? Could Edison have understood the designs of modern computers? Parapsychology is in its infancy. The parapsychologists are gathering data that will be used by future generations of scientists to not only explore “what” is happenning, but also “why” and “how”.
The baseline that we are currently exploring is “what” is happenning. We are trying to identify specific, repeatable tests that can be used as a basis for the future scientists in the field. Data is being preserved, but until there is a large enough body of information available, much of the discussion about “why” and “how” will continue to be based on belief and speculation. Nonetheless, we must continue to explore the unexplained if we are to continue to practice good science.

jalasian

There are many groups seriously dedicated to the study of parapsychology but none of them have come up with conclusive hard evidence that the phenomena exists. Go too Google, type in J B Rhine and you will find a wealth of information on the topic.

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