Home Discussion Forum why parapsychology is not consider as a science?

why parapsychology is not consider as a science?

why parapsychology the study of ESP is not consider as a science?


  1. One can investigate ostensibly parapsychological phenomena scientifically, but parapsychology is not generally considered a science (there are virtually no accredited degree programs for it and you’ll never find it in any science textbook) because of (1) the lack of evidence for parapsychological phenomena and (2) the lack of a theory for any aspect of it.
    Researchers have spent a considerable effort over decades trying to find conclusive evidence of PK, ESP, etc. So far that evidence has proven to be elusive. At best we have some dubious PK results from the PEAR lab at Princeton and some conspiracy theories and unsubstantiated stories arising from the Stargate program. Neither are compelling, scientifically speaking. More on these items in the History of Psi link below.
    Also, parapsychology stands alone compared to the rest of science in the sense that psi is currently defined purely in the negative. That is, psi is defined as abilities beyond the reach of normal senses and physical interactions (paraphrased from parapsych.org). So we know what it’s not: it’s not normal sensing nor physical interaction. But what is it? Yes, it’s supposed to be mind powers, but this is vague handwaving. What is the mechanism? There isn’t a definition for that. And since there isn’t, this precludes the proposal of testable hypotheses and the formulation of scientific theories. If a hypothesis isn’t testable, it’s also not falsifiable, and falsifiability is another absolute necessity in the scientific method. In statistical terms, this means parapsychology’s only basis is the rejection of the null hypothesis.
    And this is essentially why psi remains a pseudoscience. In addition, reproducibility and reproduction of experimental results (really the hallmark of the scientific method) is completely missing so far from the library of psi evidence. Many parapsychologists do understand the scientific method and realize these weaknesses and are trying to do something about it, but so far not with much success. As psychology professor and parapsychology expert Ray Hyman has said, “Only parapsychology claims to be a science on the basis of phenomena (or a phenomenon) whose presence can be detected only by rejecting a null hypothesis… Parapsychology is the only field of scientific inquiry that does not have even one exemplar that can be assigned to students with the expectation that they will observe the original results!”
    EDIT: There are some apologists who enjoy saying something to the effect that the possibility of parapsychological phenomena “threatens” the skeptic’s view of the universe. Such a statement is at best an ad hominem rationalization for the rejection of low quality parapsychological evidence by the greater scientific community, and at worst reflects a profound misunderstanding of scientists/skeptics and science in general. As a scientist I would LOVE something like that to happen, as such discoveries are what science is all about. But such a discovery can only happen through scientific and mathematical rigor which the ostensible evidence for the existence of such phenomena continues to lack.

  2. While many small vocal groups have contributed to this impression and many conventional scientist (2% of which have examined psi evidence) have this impression Parapsychology is recognized as a science by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (the largest science organization in the world) and has been since the Parapsychological Association was voted in as an affiliate in 1969.
    I have provided links below.
    However, two of the main points of the debate and why neither side will ever win is that what qualifies as a science is not something that science can answer with experimental evidence and it is a philosophy question (what is science) not a scientific question.
    So, it depends on what you consider to be the requirements of a science.
    Certainly, the largest scientific organization has already decided in favor of parapsychology but one may have different qualifications for personal acceptance than the AAAS criteria.

  3. First, Dean Radin can be quoted as saying “…Parapsychology is the scientific and scholarly study of certain unusual events associated with human experience.”
    Second, let’s consider how /what science is defined as by an acceptable dictionary.
    “Description of science – American Heritage├é┬« Dictionary
    NOUN: 1a. The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena. b. Such activities restricted to a class of natural phenomena. c. Such activities applied to an object of inquiry or study.
    Additional references: Columbia Encyclopedia”
    So if one is stating that parapsychology research is not scientific…oops, they are wrong. It is just that simple.

  4. because of narrow minded people who only believe in what they call ”logic” which is in another way ”believing what you see”…its just like walking we learn it out of no where…

  5. Scientists investigate it, find no proof it exist, people claim have such things are frauds all scientific studies show.

  6. Ironically, I am in Seattle this morning to attend the annual convention of the Parapsychology Association. Last night at the reception I met a dozen or so scientists among the attendees, some of whom are here to present papers on research they have done that provides evidence for ESP and other forms of psi. Among these scientists are chemists, physicists, biologists, and psychologists, several of whom are current or retired university professors from mainstream universities. I myself will give a paper with evidence that comes from several thousand careful experiments done over the past ten years. Our papers were vetted through a standard peer-review process identical to that of any other science conference or convention, and the research presented had to meet strict standards of scientific protocols and procedures to be accepted. All this (plus the Parapsychology Association’s membership as noted in the AAAS), clearly marks parapsychology as a science. It is only among a narrow group of skeptics and the (unfortunately many) people who believe them without looking into it for themselves that it is not so considered. This is largely because the reality of parapsychological effects undermines the skeptics’ limited view of how the universe is put together. And they find that threatening.
    EDIT: One of the conference attendees pointed me towards the paper listed below, which studies the question of whether parapsychology is a science or pseudoscience, and demonstrates through journal article comparisons and empirical content that parapsychology does not meet any of the criteria of a pseudoscience, but does meet those of a science.
    EDIT to TR’s edit: It is only necessary to prove the point of skeptics feeling threatened to point to Carl Sagan’s oft-uttered worry that accepting any parapsychological claim as true would “open the floodgates to superstition,” or Ray Hyman’s regular alarm, sounded in various skeptical community publications, that supposed inroads of parapsychology into public belief threatened to undermine support of “true” science. Neither worry is legitimate (indeed, both are slippery-slope arguments, which are logical fallacies), yet both (and many others from other skeptics known and unknown) are matters of public record. Pretty good evidence that at least some prominent skeptics do indeed feel threatened.
    EDIT to fizixx: No one is stopping you from attending — it is a public conference that is held every year in different cities around the US and overseas. And the most important proceedings are published in a peer-reviewed, refereed journal available through any library.

  7. Applying the scientific method (if that’s even done in legitimate psychological pursuits) to that which cannot be characterized in any formal or repeatable way isn’t classified as science or recognized by ‘legitimate’ scientists.
    It’s like calibrating to sea level while riding a roller coaster.

  8. I have posted questions on this forum numerous times asking for responses from people who had read the scientific research and studies that had been performed related to parapsychology. Fewer than 3 people responded that they had actually ever read or participated in PSI research. This indicates to me that most of the people answering on this forum are echoing second hand information that they have picked up from other sites.
    As some one who has participated in parapsychological experiments, designed experiments, analyzed results, and read the research of other parapsychologists, I can tell you that it is a science. Results are repeatable just as the results of psychology or sociology experiments are repeatable. You will find parapsychological phenomenon in science books if you read books that are considering phenomenon that encourages further examination and research. Most scientists will not speak about their work with parapsychology because of the potential ridicule and isolation that will have to endure from the old-school, close minded researchers who do not recognize the current research.
    Parapsychology is not about making furniture float around a room or guessing the lottery numbers every day. It is the study of recognized phenomenon that has not been studied by the standard sciences. Parapychology is a young science, and it is very likely that it will not be generally accepted until the findings are integrated into the fabric of physics, biology, or psychology. The science is progressing, but there are still people who believe all psi practitioners are fake, just as many people believe that all used car salesmen are thieves. There might be a lot of thieves out there, but that doesn’t mean that the honest man doesn’t exist.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here