Doubtful News Editor Sharon Hill Takes Aim at Paranormalists’ Group-Think in HuffPo Editorial

Doubtful News’ chief skeptic Sharon Hill takes aim at group thinking in a piece at Huffington Post:

Huffington Post:

Many of us have grown up believing in the paranormal. We read all the expert’s books. We listened to the gurus and believed the eyewitnesses. Not too many of that crowd picked up the skeptical literature that addressed the flaws in those beloved paranormal ideas. There are good reasons why we tend only to hear what we want to here.

Too many assume they can read a few books or watch a few TV shows just in this narrow niche and then consider themselves experts. Not so. An expert is a person who has made lots of mistakes and learns from them. It’s trial by fire.

Many paranormal “experts” are woefully ignorant of the history of their own field let alone the critiques of it. I try to encourage paranormalists to take a look at the skeptical literature on their favorite topic. If you don’t know the arguments against your field, how can you say you KNOW your field at all. It’s discouraging when I see this closed-mindedness to criticism.

Keep reading.

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  • Daniel Gill

    Sounds like this author should take some basic english writing classes

    • The Well Dressed Man

      “Sounds like this author should take some basic english writing classes”

      We capitalize proper nouns in the English language.

      • Daniel Gill

        why are you such a troll?

  • trompe l’oiel

    Paranormal is a misleading and extremely inaccurate term. Same with ‘supernatural’ they are equally lacking proper clarity in context with phenomenon of that nature.

    super-physical, now that one seems more realistic. In esoteric terms, nothing is ‘unnatural’ when concerning the aether.

    • Daniel Gill

      Having paranormal experiences requires a skepticism and suspension of disbelief . It requires a dissolution of the ego and willingness to loan out the vessel of your body to outside influences. It has nothing to do with a shared belief or in physically manifesting objective phenomenon. The paranormal is a highly subjective experience that calls into question the sole sovereignty of one’s mind and its susceptibility to outside influence.

      • trompe l’oiel

        again, the word ‘paranormal’ lends to the current delusion that these ‘inexplicable’ phenomenon require a flight of fantasy to be credible. Through a mentality integrating the holographic omnijection of time, nothing is outside the realm of ‘normality’ and so therefore we can abandon the deranged paradigm of ‘paranormal’ and ‘supernatural’ for the acknowledgement of super-physical realities, consciousness etc.

        what you speak of is a form of faith, though there are skeptical individuals who’ve had experiences that have changed the course of their minds from that point on. There are collective experiences, such as mass UFO sightings, or in Talbot’s holographic universe he cites fakir magicians and the idea that their levitation is either group hallucinations or the suspension of physical laws around a certain individual being observed by a crowd, utilizing the energy of anticipation, disbelief, and faith, to bend the laws of physics in trance, and float above the ground. That’s an example of omnijection, so are UFO’s and spiritual experiences or visions. Ghosts are residual holographic projections being observed without current understanding to explain why they remain. It’s because the observer and observed are undifferentiated in a holographic model.

        so the subjectivity of this is questionable all things considered IMO.

        • Daniel Gill

          I guess using a ouija board is a good example of that. Applying Mircea Eliade’s philosophy of sanctified space, where other observers cannot influence the proceedings, and a shared dissolution of the ego to tappings from outside, then paranormal activity can manifest. but as soon as you have someone try to validate that objectively you lose the magic of the shared subjective experience. maybe that is why paranormal research often comes up short.

          • Monkey See Monkey Do

            I think if phenomenological inquiry continues to develop it can fill in some gaps. Legitimate research into consciousness is hindered by the fact that many scientists don’t even recognize that it exists (ie. behaviorism). But as tools for inquiry are refined and improved (and chemical research legalized) perhaps more of a singular framework can be developed as is granted to other scientific disciplines.

        • InfvoCuernos

          what does “omnijection” mean? I couldn’t find it anywhere.

          • Calypso_1

            I think that should be omnijectivity which Bohm coined to refer to the merging of subjective consciousness & objective matter in quantum physics.

          • trompe l’oiel

            Thanks Calypso_1 for clarifying. I like omnijection because it reminds me that it is still a form of projection, it is just more harmonious and spans more than a single or even several dimensions. Omnijectivity is the correct use of the term though.

          • Calypso_1

            Given the recent coinage & limited domain, I’d say you’re well within discretionary limits for adaptive usage. : )

      • Calypso_1

        If one would care to loan out your vessel to an outside influence, I could provide any number of injections that would either induce or abort the perception of paranormal phenomenon. No belief required.

      • ellis_dee

        “Having paranormal experiences requires a skepticism and suspension of disbelief”

        This is not true at all. I am an atheist, and through the use of yoga, music, and other methods, have been able to self induce “strange” experiences for years. These are the very same experiences that many others are familiar with, and I don’t have any sort of superstitious inclination about them whatsoever.

        I don’t actually believe subjective experience alone can tell us much about these experiences. Considering the sheer similarity between paranormal, near death/out of body experiences, hallucinatory drugs, and etc., as well as the the various causes (being especially rooted in the material brain), each of us should exhibit at least a little skepticism about how to approach the subject.

        I think the real blow to the ego comes for those true believers to admit they could be wrong. You seem to think skeptics are people who are just stubborn. However real skepticism actually involves suspending both belief and disbelief.

  • BuzzCoastin

    the thing called normal is paranormal

  • ellis_dee

    All of you guys sound like the people she described in the third paragraph:

    “Many paranormal “experts” are woefully ignorant of the history of their own field let alone the critiques of it. I try to encourage paranormalists to take a look at the skeptical literature on their favorite topic. If you don’t know the arguments against your field, how can you say you KNOW your field at all. It’s discouraging when I see this closed-mindedness to criticism.”

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