Society for Scientific Exploration
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (April 2013)|
The Society for Scientific Exploration, or SSE, is a professional organization of scientists and other scholars committed to studying unusual and unexplained phenomena that cross traditional scientific boundaries and may be ignored or inadequately studied within mainstream science. The opinions of the organization in regard to what are the proper limits of scientific exploration are often at odds with those of mainstream science.
As of 2008, the SSE has approximately 800 members in 45 countries.
Of the SSE and its journal, journalist Michael D. Lemonick writes, "Pretty much anything that might have shown up on The X-Files or in the National Enquirer shows up first here. But what also shows up is a surprising attitude of skepticism."
The society's peer reviewed scientific journal, the Journal of Scientific Exploration, was established to provide a scientific forum for ufology, parapsychology and cryptozoology, having published research articles, essays, book reviews and letters on those and many other topics that are largely ignored in mainstream journals.
The journal has published articles implying that certain topics, like paranormal activities, dowsing and reincarnation, are true and have been verified scientifically. The articles try to convince other scientists that further research into those topics is warranted, and they are often written by scientists with impressive academic credentials, but the mainstream scientific community has deliberately ignored all of them.
The SSE holds an annual scientific meeting in the USA every spring and periodic meetings in Europe. In the USA meeting, around a hundred of researchers who came to hear talks on, as journalist Michael Lemonick writes, "among other things, consciousness physics, astrology and parapsychology ... [M]any of the scientists here are on the faculty at major universities, and were doing fine at conventional research. But sometimes that gets boring."
The meetings last usually three days and consist of "invited lectures, contributed talks and poster sessions selected by a program committee."
According to experimental psychologist Roger D. Nelson, head of the Global Consciousness Project, the SSE aims to "give everyone a respectful hearing. If we think a speaker is doing bad science, we consider it our duty to criticize it. We get our share of lunatics, but they don't hang around long."
Young Investigators Program
The Young Investigators Program was created in response of enquiries of young scholars on the topics explored by the society. It's designed by its participants intends to "provide information and resources for the scholarly study of anomalous phenomena and other frontier areas of science".
1998 UFO panel
On June 19, 1998 it was reported that "an international panel of scientists" was convened to conduct "the first independent review of UFO phenomena since 1966", according to the wording used by Associated Press. The Skeptical Inquirer published an article by Robert Sheaffer who wrote that the SSE was a non-mainstream organization that was biased towards uncritically believing UFO phenomena, that the panel included many scientists that were UFO advocates but no scientists that were skeptics of UFO claims, and that all the uphold cases were old cases that had failed to convince any skeptic of its accuracy or veracity. These included the Cash-Landrum incident, the Trans-en-Provence Case and the Aurora, Texas UFO Incident.
As of 2005:
- the president was Charles Tolbert, an astronomer at the University of Virginia.
- the editor of SSE's journal was Henry Bauer, a dean emeritus at Virginia Tech.
As of 2008, the Leaders Emeritus were Peter A. Sturrock, from the Department of Physics & Department of Applied Physics of Stanford University and Larry Frederick and Charles Tolbert from the Department of Astronomy of University of Virginia.
- "Society for Scientific Exploration". Society for Scientific Exploration. Retrieved 2008-06-02.
- Robert Sheaffer (September–October 1998), "Uncritical Publicity for Supposed ‘Independent UFO Investigation’ Demonstrates Media Gullibility", Skeptical Inquirer 22.5
- "Meetings". Society for Scientific Exploration. Archived from the original on 2007-12-25. Retrieved 2008-06-02.
- Michael D. Lemonick/Gainesville (2005-05-24). "Science on the Fringe". Time magazine. Retrieved 2008-06-02.
- "Young Investigators". Society for Scientific Exploration. Archived from the original on 2008-01-13. Retrieved 2008-06-02.
- "Council". Society for Scientific Exploration. Archived from the original on 2008-01-13. Retrieved 2008-06-02.