Psychology Professor Issues Call for Informed Discussion Regarding ESP

Pic: Magnus Manske (CC)

Pic: Magnus Manske (CC)

Etzel Cardeña of Lund University, Sweden, issues a call for a more open discussion regarding psi phenomena.

Via Frontiers in Human Neuroscience:

Science thrives when there is an open, informed discussion of all evidence, and recognition that scientific knowledge is provisional and subject to revision. This attitude is in stark contrast with reaching conclusions based solely on a previous set of beliefs or on the assertions of authority figures. Indeed, the search for knowledge wherever it may lead inspired a group of notable scientists and philosophers to found in 1882 the Society for Psychical Research in London. Its purpose was “to investigate that large body of debatable phenomena… without prejudice or prepossession of any kind, and in the same spirit of exact and unimpassioned inquiry which has enabled Science to solve so many problems.” Some of the areas in consciousness they investigated such as psychological dissociation, hypnosis, and preconscious cognition are now well integrated into mainstream science. That has not been the case with research on phenomena such as purported telepathy or precognition, which some scientists (a clear minority according to the surveys conducted1) dismiss a priori as pseudoscience or illegitimate. Contrary to the negative impression given by some critics, we would like to stress the following:

1) Research on parapsychological phenomena (psi) is being carried out in various accredited universities and research centers throughout the world by academics in different disciplines trained in the scientific method (e.g., circa 80 Ph.D.s have been awarded in psi-related topics in the UK in recent years). This research has continued for over a century despite the taboo against investigating the topic, almost complete lack of funding, and professional and personal attacks2. The Parapsychological Association has been an affiliate of the AAAS since 1969, and more than 20 Nobel prizewinners and many other eminent scientists have supported the study of psi or even conducted research themselves3.

2) Despite a negative attitude by some editors and reviewers, results supporting the validity of psi phenomena continue to be published in peer-reviewed, academic journals in relevant fields, from psychology to neuroscience to physics e.g., 4-7.

3) Increased experimental controls have not eliminated or even decreased significant support for the existence of psi phenomena, as suggested by various recent meta-analyses 5, 8-16.

Continued at Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

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  • BuzzCoastin

    consciousness is unconscious
    when it comes to esp
    testing esp on your own
    is better than being told about it

  • drokhole

    There’s clearly plenty of material out there (along with the possibility of personal experience), but here’s a great book/primer for the most hard-headed of “skeptics”:

    Extraordinary Knowing: Science, Skepticism, and the Inexplicable Powers of the Human Mind

    The author had her mind set against the phenomenon going in, but became a clear and measured voice in also calling for open and informed study. Covers the history of the field, experimental protocols (and how they’ve continued to improve), specific individuals, and how simple framing plays a large role in scientific pursuits. Unfortunately, she passed away shortly before the book was published.

    Here she is describing the experience that gave her own worldview a shock and lead her down the investigative road:

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