Talk:Parapsychology/Archive 17

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Archive 16 Archive 17 Archive 18

On Balance

As a new editor-in-potential, it seems best to test my ideas in discussion before trying to edit the article. It obviously has been the recipient of a very large amount of attention, and between the lines it is clear the topic arouses emotions and hence has generated a lot of contention. I also have read much of the current discussion, this page, but not archives. The clear impression is of an article that is out of balance -- indeed I thought briefly of making a new discussion heading under that rubric. The article is of course intended to be about Parapsychology, and has some appropriate information, but when a new reader comes to it, she will see two things: 1. The article is shot through with skeptical comment, and seems really to be more about skeptics and their skepticism than about parapsychology, and 2. It is looooong!

When one goes to an encyclopedia the expectation is to find basic information -- definitions and descriptions, supplemented by brief, sharply focused examples. I don't think there is any way the parapsychology article as it now reads can meet B-class standards, probably not even C-class. In my opinion the problem is POV editing -- and that does not seem to be primarily from people who evidently have knowledge of and interest in the discipline. There do appear to be a few people aiming to make the article responsible, but there are some who seem determined to keep it heavily skeptical. An encyclopedia article should be primarily informative on the nominal topic. Of course the parapsychology article needs to include a description of the strong skepticism that exists, including useful examples, but the article should not be mostly about that, and certainly should not be a promotional page for avowed skeptics, especially those who have not learned what professional parapsychology actually is and does.

I'll end this initial foray with a specific suggestion. The topic needs to be differentiated with regard to "professional parapsychology" vs. "catch-all 'parapsychology'", to be useful. The former refers to the current state of affairs (with appropriate historical background) in the field, represented by academic and research programs in universities and institutes, and by professional organizations and journals such as the Parapsychological Association and the Journal of Parapsychology. The catch-all category includes street corner psychics and hotlines which exploit the gullible, and instant gratification "tests" of psychic powers. We should treat the latter with blanket skepticism. We should not confuse the categories -- disambiguation is a primary goal for a competent Wikipedia (or any encyclopedia) article. Rogunnar (talk) 23:39, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

"Balance" doesn't mean equal weight. The weighting is determined by the weighting given by WP:RS. WP:NPOV gives our guidelines, and WP:UNDUE and WP:FRINGE are especially relevant. If you have any suggestions for improvement, please float them in a new section for discussion. For example, I don't understand "those who have not learned what professional parapsychology actually is and does" - care to elaborate (with examples and refs)? Thanks, Verbal chat 11:01, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

Obviously my remarks on "balance" are not an argument that information and skepticism should have equal weight. On the contrary, I argue that the article should be about parapsychology in the first instance, and include the fact that there exists a lot of skepticism about the existence of the phenomena that are the subject of study. What we see in the current article is a huge weight of skepticism not only about the phenomena but about the study itself, i.e., about the legitimacy of parapsychology as a discipline. That, on the face of it is a mistaken use of skeptical energies. Yes, we should be skeptical of claims of magical powers or amazing mental capacities that don't jibe with current models of physics and canons of psychology. Yes we should be critical of shoddy methods to "prove" weird claims. But these sensible and important skeptical roles are not what is on display in the parapsychology article. There is instead a full-court press of skepticism about the study of parapsychological topics. The effort to make readers believe parapsychology is a pseudoscience is quite out of proportion to any actual problems in the work of the scientists who engage these issues. Looking through the discussion I even see remarks by people who otherwise seem ill disposed toward parapsychology as important or useful saying they think it is wrong to paint parapsychology as pseudoscience. The fact is, as anyone who reads the professional literature in what are referred to (with a gently pejorative tone) as niche journals will see, the science is demonstrably better in terms of controls and double blinds and calibrations, etc., than the nearest mainstream sciences. This can be seen by simple counting of the incidence of control conditions and the like in research reports. Incidentally, the comparisons against more distant cousins in the mainstream, such as physics, are more potent demonstrations of the high levels of clear minded application of good science in parapsychology. Here are references to a short article published in Skeptical Inquirer[1] and a more detailed one in J. Sci. Explor.[2]

Returning to my point about emphasis in the parapsychology article, take a look at the actual text. Five of the first six sentences piggyback a skeptical message on the content. This style pervades the article, and while it may serve the purposes of certain editors who think parapsychology is an insult to common thinking, it is hardly a neutral point of view, and it does not meet the standards of intellectual clarity and honesty one hopes will be sought for an encyclopedia article. Rogunnar (talk) 14:33, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

I agree that the lead could benefit from a fuller summary of the history and practice of parapsychology. The first paragraph is overly brief in this regard and could be extended. Otherwise, the lead does a good job of describing the position of parapsychology within science, which is required in order to present a neutral point of view. The lead states (in brief) that parapsychology is contraversial and not well regarded by the wider scientific community, and gives the reasons and appropriate reliable sources. That isn't "imbalanced", it's well-sourced statement of the perspective of many scientists. The lead also describes the state of parapsychology as an academic discipline, with appropriate reliable sources. As for the main text of the article, the "History" and "Research" sections do a good job of describing the practice of parapsychology in appropriate detail without undue weight being given to the critical perspective. Ryan Paddy (talk) 00:53, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

I wonder what you would think about this for a lead: "Discipline concerned with investigating events that cannot be accounted for by natural law and knowledge that cannot have been obtained through the usual sensory abilities. Parapsychology studies the cognitive phenomena often called extrasensory perception, in which a person acquires knowledge of other people’s thoughts or of future events through channels apparently beyond the five senses. It also examines physical phenomena such as the levitation of objects and the bending of metal through psychokinesis. Though belief in such phenomena may be traced to earliest times, parapsychology as a subject of serious research originated in the late 19th century, partly in reaction to the growth of the spiritualist movement. The Society of Psychical Research was established in London in 1882, and similar societies were later founded in the U.S. and in many European countries. In the 20th century research into parapsychology was also conducted at some universities, notably at Duke University under J. B. Rhine."

This is the article lead from Encyclopedia Britannica, which most serious readers/scholars/academics/educated people regard as one of if not the most respected source of encyclopedic knowledge. I know Wikipedia prides itself on being free, and free-thinking, even creative, but in the ideal image of those who respect and support Wikipedia, it also should be authoritative and correct. Your definition of neutral point of view seems to cripple this last desideratum. In contrast to the the calm, dispassionate description of Parapsychology by the editors of Britannica, the lead in the Wikipedia article has the fingerprints of passion -- a transparent usurpation of the informative purpose of the lead. I described elsewhere the motivated insertion of skeptical POV in practically every sentence. It also shows in the kinds of references given. The first three are to articles by one parapsychologist, written 40 years ago; the next is to a FAQ item on a parapsychology website, and then ... 10 skeptical references, still in the lead, beginning with something attributed to a 1990 California State Board of Education (sic!) which is not available by any means I can discover (I didn't go to CA). The rest of the 10 are from skeptical magazines plus a couple of academic articles and an encyclopedia entry (not Britannica, I hasten to add.) You say "That isn't "imbalanced", it's well-sourced statement of the perspective of many scientists." I must say I disagree. I don't wish to cast aspersions, but these sources or references are not of high quality; they provide no scientific backing, and indeed most if not all are merely opinions rendered by avowed skeptics. Rogunnar (talk) 04:45, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

The Britannica lead you've posted does a good job of presenting a readable description of what parapsychologists do and the history, but a poor job of presenting the context of the discipline within science and academia, and of addressing the claims of parapsychologists. Our lead is weaker at presenting the practice and history of parapsychology, but its presentation of the scientific and academic context is a good summary of what's given in the article and is well-sourced and certainly better than the Britannica lead. Some of the sources such as the California Board of Education source are marginal and in my opinion could be dropped. However, there are numerous excellent sources: the Reuters, Flew, Cordón, Blitz, and Nature sources are excellent and fully support the text as it stands. I think you need to take a step back and consider this question: "how would I present the current-day scientific context of parapsychology?" If your answer doesn't involve a clear presentation of the modern scientific consensus that parapsychology has failed to demonstrate convincing evidence of the existence of its subject matter, then I would respectfully suggest that it is not the article that has an unbalanced perspective, and that your version would do a disservice to the uninformed reader. Ryan Paddy (talk) 20:44, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

Why would I want the lead of an article explaining what parapsychology is to answer instead the question "What is the current-day scientific context of parapsychology?" That question is not what parapsychology is or is about. It should be considered in a good general article about Parapsychology, but it is not the topic, and should not be the lead. Take a look at the results of a google search on "what is parapsychology". The first item is Web definitions, and it leads to Definitions of parapsychology on the Web, the first two of which are:

  • psychic phenomena: phenomena that appear to contradict physical laws and suggest the possibility of causation by mental processes

  • Parapsychology is a discipline that seeks to investigate the existence and causes of psychic abilities and life after death using the scientific method. ...

Now, please notice the difference in what that wikipedia entry says in contrast to the current first sentence in the article. If you go on down the list of 10 or 20 web definitions, none of them start right out characterizing the topic as "controversial". Only wikipedia (current editorial version) does that, and that seems to me to reflect POV editing, not encyclopedic information. Rogunnar (talk) 02:15, 7 November 2009 (UTC)Rogunnar (talk) 02:22, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

It being controversial is well-sourced. Relative to other fields that claim to be sciences, such as biology or physics, the existence of the field of parapsychology and its claim to be a science is demonstrably controversial within the realm of science and academia, and that controversy should not be whitewashed out of the article. It's proponents claim it is a science, so its position in the wider realm of science and academia is a crucial aspect of its nature. It does not exist in isolation, and describing it as such wouldn't follow Wikipedia's policies and guidelines. Ryan Paddy (talk) 03:35, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

You seem not to understand my point -- which surely is because I have not been sufficiently clear. I'll try again. To begin, controversy over "the existence of the field of parapsychology and its claim to be a science" should not the immediate focus of the article. (Not least because that smacks of attempts to suppress research, which is a another topic.) Secondly, I am not proposing, as you imply, any whitewashing. Instead, I am urging that the article be about Parapsychology in the first instance, not about controversy and skepticism, which is the way the article now reads. It once was better written; I understand it had the status of a featured article. It is likely it lost that quality when motivated editors added words or phrases to most sentences in the definitional parts of the article (as my examples show) in service of their personal skeptical point of view. What should be done IMHO is to give a good description of the field (as most reference sources do in the examples I have given), and also to provide a clear, well-sourced description of the skepticism that any of the purported parapsychological phenomena exist, and properly-sourced skepticism about Parapsychology as a legitimate topic for scientific research (though I personally think that's a very strange presumption). Such a focus would also describe legitimate criticisms of experiments, methods, and especially interpretations. There is plenty to be skeptical about, and doing the article in a clear-minded way would focus the reader's attention. The present form -- using sly verbal insertions -- is bad writing. It is an unworthy and ultimately distracting way of attempting to make the point that Parapsychology is not legitimate. If we want to give smart readers featured article quality, we will work toward readability, clarity, and appropriate emphasis. Rogunnar (talk) 02:33, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

I understand, I just disagree. The one thing we do agree on is that the description of the history and practice of parapsychology in the lead should be expanded and improved. If you're going to do some editing that'd be a good place to start. As opposed to, say, removing the word "controversial" or the paragraph in the lead on criticism, which would only be a good place to start an edit war. Ryan Paddy (talk) 03:50, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

Unfortunately, some editors here claim I have a conflict of interest because I have done research in parapsychology. Here's a suggestion, however, for anyone who would like to improve the article. Find the version that existed when this was a Featured Article. Use that material. Roger Nelson (talk) 11:33, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

I think it's misleading to assume that the featured version was better. Those who proposed that the article be de-listed as a featured article argued that it was never of sufficient quality to be featured in the first place. Personally I think that the current quality is much improved over the version that was initially featured. Ryan Paddy (talk) 23:47, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

I'll accept that the featured version may not have been better. I'm new to Wikipedia culture and incorrectly assumed that "featured" would imply good quality (indeed I read that definition in the documentation). In any case, while the current quality may be improved, it still reads like the work largely of non-objective skeptics who rely on poor quality articles instead of solid, scientific references. Reference #1 is a splendid (that is to say, bad) example. It is rife with error and non-professional POV. Should the references used in Wikipedia not be compatible with the rules of Wikipedia? Rogunnar (talk) 20:24, 11 November 2009 (UTC)

Again I would encourage Rogunnar to participate in elements of Wikipedia in which he doesn't have a CoI. Simonm223 (talk) 20:59, 11 November 2009 (UTC)

Repetition & Excess

Repetition is not desirable in writing of good quality. The following material appears twice in the article in almost the same form:

For example, a recent meta-analysis combined 380 studies on psychokinesis,[48] including data from the PEAR lab. It concluded that, although there is a statistically significant overall effect, it is not consistent and relatively few negative studies would cancel it out. Consequently, biased publication of positive results could be the cause.[38]

This is the second instance and it appears in the section called "Selection and Meta-analysis". The first instance is in the section on "Psychokinesis". I would remove one of them, probably the first instance, since the quoted material is most germane to the Selection and Meta-analysis issue. If this is the way chosen, reference 48 should be augmented with reference 49 -- which is done in the early instance. I can't do the edit because some editors here regard me as having COI. Rogunnar (talk) 19:57, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

Upon going back to check the section names, etc., I discovered another problem with the discussion of Meta-analysis (M-A) in the Psychokinesis section. The first half of the paragraph is simply wrong:

Major meta-analyses of the RNG database have been published every few years since appearing in the journal Foundations of Physics in 1986.[19] PEAR founder Robert G. Jahn and his colleague Brenda Dunne say that the effect size in all cases was found to be very small, but consistent across time and experimental designs, resulting in an overall statistical significance.

Jahn and Dunne never did a Meta-analysis, and their publication in Foundations of Physics was a theoretical effort with no reference to M-A

The paragraph then continues with the material that is later repeated under "Meta-analysis" Rogunnar (talk) 20:12, 10 November 2009 (UTC)


In response to my having been reverted ([1][2]): I agree that parapsychology is a controversial discipline. I simultaneously believe that it is not appropriate to open the article by calling it "a controversial discipline". I'd say that WP:GFCA, WP:AWW, and WP:WTA#Controversy_and_scandal all come into play, and I encourage anyone who isn't thoroughly familiar with all three of these documents to go ahead and check them out. But, rather than send everybody on a scavenger hunt to find the policy and guideline sentences that do or don't apply, I'll suggest upfront that it's largely a matter of reading between the lines. The lead describes the controversy in the second paragraph. So it is reasonable to ask, why emphasize it only a few words into the first paragraph? I'll let that question stay rhetorical, but I'll offer a comparison. Let's say (pretend, actually) that I really like hot weather. So I stumble across the Sun article, and I notice that it starts out merely by noting that "the Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System." But what about hot weather? The sun is responsible for sunny days, after all--so, no accuracy or verifiability issues there. And everybody can agree that the sun is responsible for it, so surely there'd be no undue weight in a revised line like, "the Sun is the hot star at the center of the Solar System"? The problems with this would be (at least) the following:

  1. It creates a slippery slope. If its heat is emphasized upfront, then why not tack on all sorts of adjectives that tickle our fancy? I like heat, Jack likes yellow, Jill likes hydrogen, and pretty soon we have a perfectly accurate, perfectly due-weight mess.
  2. On a related note, heat is not essential to the definition of the sun; it rather is one part--out of plenty of other parts--of the description of the sun. Parapsychology is not defined as controversial, but rather is described in such a way. It's the job of the article as a whole to describe its subject; but when an article is just MOS:BEGINning, its objectives are definition and concision. (Contrast this subject with the AACS encryption key controversy, which cannot really be defined without that word.)
  3. It's a bit insulting to the reader's intelligence. Even if it were not entirely obvious that the sun and other stars are hot, it still would be made clear in the remainder of the lead that this is so.

Now, speaking of concision and of not insulting the reader's intelligence, I'll leave an explicit comparison to this article in only one of the above reasons (#2). Again, this is mostly a matter of reading between the lines, and ensuring that the article's direction is entirely encyclopedic, and not even tacitly rhetorical. Or, as WP:RAUL puts it, "An article is neutral if, after reading it, you cannot tell where the author's sympathies lie." When I see this article start by calling its own subject controversial, I'm afraid I have a somewhat decent sense of where its authors' sympathies lie. Cosmic Latte (talk) 22:50, 11 November 2009 (UTC)

And yet Simon223 gracelessly adds back the term with the observation (one could readily say POV), "Sorry, it was appropriate." In contrast to what Cosmic Latte writes, that is a sorry reflection of personal opinion, no justification at all. It's ironic to note that he/she opines that I should go do wikipedia work elsewhere because of COI. It appears that Simon223 has taken on correcting the Parapsychology article as a personal mission, arguably a more problematic COI than the mere professional knowledge a researcher may bring. Rogunnar (talk) 14:04, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
I think the lede can be improved by removing "controversial". Thanks to Cosmic Latte for pointing out the reasons at length. I also think this point can be made without making a personal attack on another user, as Rogunnar seems to do above. WP:AGF applies here. MartinPoulter (talk) 14:51, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
I believe Rogunnar is holding a grudge because I've been publicly critical of that great waste of time known as the Global Consciousness Project. And because I've pointed out that his public claims to have his livelihood based in parapsychological "research" constitutes a conflict of interest. Simonm223 (talk) 19:53, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
As noted with regard to restoring the POV term "controversial" without justification other than the bald claim it is appropriate, this claim about Rogunnar's livelihood is also unjustified -- literally false. While Simonm223 believes my remarks are due to a grudge, my real concern (with apologies to anyone who thinks this is a personal attack) is biased editing. The first sentence of an article is not an appropriate place for secondary comment; it is the place for concise definition. Cosmic Latte explains this well. Rogunnar (talk) 21:35, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

I have to agree with Cosmic Latte. The first few lines of the lead (indeed the whole article) is supposed to define the field, not tell the reader what he/she is supposed to think about it. There has got to be a more neutral way to frame this. --Annalisa Ventola (Talk | Contribs) 23:30, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

I don't have any preference on "controversial" in the first sentence, and I think Cosmic Latte makes solid points. However, perhaps interested editors could build up some credibility in relation to this article by improving the poor quality of the definition of parapsychology in the remainder of the first paragraph, rather than starting an edit war. Have the latest batch of editors to show up come to add value, or to fight? Ryan Paddy (talk) 19:38, 14 November 2009 (UTC)

Ganzfeld section I removed "controversial" from in front of Conscious Universe No where in the review on SkepticReport is the word "controversial" even used. If someone can find a citation specifically describing the Conscious Universe as controversial, they can restore it. Otherwise, it's OR. Also, Entangled Minds would be the more updated source. This section in general is sloppy and that bit in particular is very cumbersome. I'll be working on making it a bit more formal to read, it still feels sort of "blogish" as is. MachinaLabs (talk) 03:07, 20 August 2010 (UTC)MachinaLabs

Changes to the Introduction

Firstly, I'm new here so apologies in advance for any inadvertent breach of Wikipedia etiquette. What I have learned so far is that one is not supposed to have a conflict of interest when editing articles, so I should say up front that I am conducting a PhD investigating ESP. Does that mean I can’t comment or edit on this article? I guess I should leave it up to the Wiki community to have their say on that.

So, I think the introduction could do with improving. Here are my suggested changes (without references, I can provide them if the changes are agreed upon):

The first paragraph needs fleshing out and contemporising. I suggest it be changed to,

“Parapsychology is the scientific study of anomalous mental phenomena such as telepathy, precognition, clairvoyance (collectively termed extra-sensory perception) and psychokinesis. Parapsychology experiments have used a wide range of experimental methods and task conditions to study these phenomena such as the generation of mental imagery, forced choice discrimination, physiological measurements using EEG, skin conductance and fMRI, as well as measurements of personality and belief to assess the role of these variables in psychic performance”

The second paragraph is very POV. How does one claim a ‘scientific consensus’ on the evidence for psychic abilities? I don’t see any references to large scale surveys. Can I suggest the following changes:

“The scientific community remains divided as to whether the results of parapsychology experiments provide compelling evidence for psychic phenomena. On the one hand, a number of parapsychologists and mainstream scientists have suggested that carefully controlled experiments have reliably demonstrated the existence of psychic phenomena. However, critics of the field argue that parapsychology has yet to produce a reliable and replicable experimental effect and that apparently successful studies are due to flaws in methodology.”

The stuff about parapsychology being regarded as ‘pseudoscience by many scientists’ should be left to the criticism and controversy section. Even then, this claim should be backed up by published opinion polls. It doesn’t belong in the introduction because that is not what parapsychology is about. Parapsychology is about the scientific study of anomalous mental phenomena so any mention of criticism and controversy should refer to published criticism of its methods, results and conclusions just like any other area of science.

I think the third paragraph of the intro is fine.

What do you all think of these changes? Davidwsmith (talk) 15:02, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

I disagree with these changes. Parapsychology is pure pseudoscience, and that is well supported. The community is not divided, the community is solidly against the claims of parapsychologists - a totally discredited field. See WP:NPOV and WP:FRINGE for relevant policies, and WP:COI for conflict of interest guidelines. Verbal chat 15:39, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
I wouldn't put it that way, but I do agree that parapsychology is not well-regarded by most scientists and this controversy should be reflected in the lead. The underlying problem is that even the "positive" results of parapsychology are consistently at the threshold of statistical significance. For all intents and purposes, this makes it indistinguishable from all sorts of pathological science such as N-rays, polywater, infinite dilution effects etc. etc. --Issuesixty soulsgreat (talk) 17:00, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

The opinion that parapsychology is a pseudoscience is not held by many scientists that I have spoken to. The view that is held is one of scepticism towards the experimental results of parapsychology, but that is a different matter altogether - criticism of the results of parapsychology experiments should be mentioned in the lead. However, if the claim that 'parapsychology is regarded as pseudoscience by many scientists' is going to be made in the lead or anywhere else, then it must be backed up by sources and evidence that actually back up the claim - the sources cited at present in support of this claim are theoretical opinion pieces made by the authors of the articles. What is needed to back up this claim are published opinion polls and similar material. If no such evidence turns up, I think we should either move the claim from the lead and into the controversy section, or get rid of it altogether since it can't be supported.

With regards to the 'scientific consensus' claim, again sources and evidence are needed to back that up. In contrast, simply saying that 'opinion is divided' is neutral and can be backed up with evidence from both sides of the debate.

In reply to Issuesixty soulsgreat, I think you are confusing statistical significance with functional or biological significance. The claim that positive results of parapsychology are consistently at the threshold of statistical signifiance is not true. Many studies have levels of statistical significance that are way beyond chance expectation. However, many parapsychology studies have effect sizes that are small, but by no means all of them :) Davidwsmith (talk) 17:47, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia policy does not require opinion polls. It requires reliable sources, which we have. Ryan Paddy (talk) 22:55, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

Wiki policy requires that the sources should 'directly support the information as it is presented in an article and should be appropriate to the claims made'. The claim in question is that "many scientists regard the discipline as pseudoscience because parapsychologists continue investigation despite not having demonstrated conclusive evidence of psychic abilities in more than a century of research". Currently, the sources in support of this claim do not actually support the claim and one is highly questionable.

The two articles from New Ideas in Psychology do not make any reference to the opinion of the scientific community as a whole and are from a special edition of the journal in which other articles criticise the Bunge paper for lack of evidence for his views.

The source refering to the encyclopedia written by Luis Cordon is highly questionable because it is the opinion of an author who is clearly biased towards promoting a highly sceptical viewpoint of parapsychology - a large portion of his personal webpage contains numerous links to organised skepticism such as the 'Skeptics Dictionary', the 'James Randi Educational Foundation' and the 'Committee for Skeptical Inquiry', organisations which he clearly endorses. The reliability of his opinion is therefore questionable.

In summary, the sources in support of this claim are severly lacking. If no reasonable support of this claim is forthcoming, I propose to take action and move it into the 'criticism and controversy' section and change the beginning of the sentence from "many scientists regard the discipline as pseudoscience..." to "some authors have argued that the discipline is pseudoscience...", the latter of which is neutral and can be supported by the current sources. (talk) 13:53, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Sorry, the above comment was by me (didn't log in) Davidwsmith (talk) 13:55, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

What precisely, in terms of WP policy, is the argument against the Cordon encyclopedia as a reliable source? You've merely alleged a bias. If someone wants to cast out any references by authors who are in agreement with skeptical positions, then that would seem to be a blatant example of POV-pushing. MartinPoulter (talk) 15:26, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

The Cordon encyclopedia is not a reliable source in this particular context because it does not directly support the information as it is presented in the wiki article. I'm not suggesting the source be cast out, as I explained previously. I'm suggesting the wiki article wording be changed so that it can be properly backed up by the source. A suitable claim that the encyclopedia can support is a claim along the lines of "some authors have argued that the discipline is pseudoscience because...". Perhaps you could tell us how, precisely, do the words of Cordon back up the original claim as it appears in the wiki article? Davidwsmith (talk) 17:11, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Cordón is quoted in the reference tag. The quote says "The essential problem is that a large portion of the scientific community, including most research psychologists, regards parapsychology as a pseudoscience, due largely to its failure to move beyond null results in the way science usually does." Which does directly support what's in the article. There was a !vote on the reliability of this source (it's in Archive 15), and the consensus was positive. Here's what I said at the time in support of it: "It looks like an excellent WP:RS on the subject. The author is Luis A. Cordón, Ph.D., associate professor and psychology department chair at Eastern Connecticut State University, it's independantly published, the publisher has a good reputation, and the author has also been published in well-respected peer-reviewed science journals. The book has also been well received and recommended by reference reviewers as a suitable reference for high school and college students. The work is specifically about how psychology-related subjects are seen by the scientific psychology community so an ideal source for the specific statement cited." As another editor notes in the archive, the source is also valuable in that it gives the reason that the field is considered by many scientists to be a pseudoscience. It's the same reason given by Bunge and Blitz, which is what makes them valuable ancillary sources. Ryan Paddy (talk) 19:00, 3 December 2009 (UTC)


Is it Wikipedia policy to allow an opinion in a source to be presented as fact in an article? I hope not. The wording in the parapsychology article presents the statement, "many scientists view parapsychology as pseudoscience", as if it were fact. In reality this is the unsupported claim of Cordon - he may think parapsychology is pseudoscience, but what evidence does he have that a large portion of the scientific community think the same? To be clear, I am not objecting to a statement along the lines of "authors have claimed that many scientists view parapsychology as pseudoscience", nor am I against references to published papers making the case for parapsychology being a pseudoscience. To avoid any misunderstandings from naive readers of this artile, why not change the wording of this statement so that it is clear the statement is the opinion of the source author, rather than established fact? That way, the statement is more neutral and is more accurate, yes? Davidwsmith (talk) 10:23, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

If a source is an opinion piece or it quotes a person's opinion on a matter is that clearly a matter of opinion, then attribution is appropriate. Also, if there are conflicting reliable sources on the subject then according to WP:NPOV attribution of each point of view is appropriate. However, in this instance the source is not an opinion piece but a tertiary source that is recommended as a science textbook by reviewers. We do not have other similarly reliable sources saying the opposite (that many scientist do not regard parapsychology as a pseudoscience because it continues despite a lack of convincing results). We only have one reliable source on the subject, and it's a very good source by Wikipedia standards, so we are only presenting the conclusions from that source and attribution is unnecessary. The statement is also supported by the Bunge and Blitz sources, which are articles in peer-reviewed science journals that present the view that Cordón says is common among scientists. Ryan Paddy (talk) 01:00, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

I am not sure the claim that parapsychology has "[failed] to move beyond null results in the way science usually does," is as clear cut and dry as Cordón says. I absolutely agree that parapsychology is not well accepted by many (if not most) scientists, however, I also believe that most scientists are unaware of the body of research that has been conducted. To me, "failing to move beyond null results," means that independent laboratories consistently get chance results. However, if you look at the ganzfeld series of experiments in particular, you will see that there is a long streak of experiments (with major analyses conducted in 85, 94, 99, 01, and now 2010, many in mainstream papers) that continue to show a statistically significant effect, despite improved controls over the years. Yes, many of the early experiments were not as methodologically sound as they could be, but the current generation of computerized autoganzfeld experiments are agreed by many skeptics to be quite sound.

"None of the opportunities for sensory leakage appear sufficiently strong, however, to explain away the positive results of the autoganzfeld in any immediately compelling way, and it is clear that Honorton and his research team went to considerable lengths to attempt to provide adequate sensory shielding" (Milton & Wiseman 1999)

This is what real science, not pseudoscience, does: it evolves and improves over time, builds on existing bodies of knowledge, and moves forward. The primary arguments voiced by skeptics in modern parapsychology are primarily statistical in nature, and over what constitutes repeatability (Hyman 2010). The past decade in particular has seen an increase in methodological rigor, and a better understanding of the optimal ganzfeld experiment, which seems to be resulting in an increase in the positive findings of the experiments (Storm 2010). But to say that parapsychology only obtains null results seems to be quite at odds with the most recent study published in the Psychological Bulletin. Here is the citation, as this is a new publication many are not familiar with: Storm, Tressoldi, Di Risio (2010). Meta-Analysis of Free-Response Studies, 1992–2008: Assessing the Noise Reduction Model in Parapsychology. Psychological Bulletin 136 (4): 471-485. The responses by Hyman and Storm et al immediately follow it in that issue.

Obviously it will take time for this study to percolate through the general body of knowledge, but it would help to start by raising awareness that there are articles out there, in mainstream journals, that show some evidence for psi, however small and/or disputed the effects are. MachinaLabs (talk) 02:34, 20 August 2010 (UTC)MachinaLabs

"consensus of the scientific community is that psychic abilities have not been demonstrated to exist"

This cites numerous references, but not one from a source that would actually be relevant and reliable on the subject, such as meta-studies, opinion polls among scientists, or mentions of thereof in the media.

I understand common sense would support this statement, but common sense also has no place in an encyclopedia: if there are no references it is best to simply not mention the subject. Thus, I've removed the reference for now altogether, please reinstate it with reliable citations if you can. -- (talk) 12:26, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

No parapsychologists

I'm surprised that the lead section doesn't mention the names of any parapsychologists. One notable supporter that was mentioned has been removed, see [3]. Johnfos (talk) 18:55, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

Now the statement that "Parapsychology research is represented in some 30 different countries" has been removed from the lead [4]. I really don't see why -- it is just the sort of basic factual info you would expect in the lead. Johnfos (talk) 05:31, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

The editor who removed the latter statement thought it was a violation of WP:APT. I don't see how APT could have applied, though, because peacock terms promote someone/something "while neither imparting nor plainly summarizing verifiable information". A statement that "parapsychology research is represented in some 30 diefferent countries" does not "promote" parapsychology in the slightest: 30 out of the roughly 200 countries in the world is a pretty small percentage. (Even if 100% of countries officially endorsed parapsychology, the statement of this fact, in and of itself, would not promote parapsychology; to infer otherwise would be to commit the logical fallacy of argumentum ad populum.) Nor does it fail to impart or summarize verifiable information: It's a short, simple, quantitative statement. While I respect the editor who removed the line, I, too, have to disagree with this removal. Cosmic Latte (talk) 14:08, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

Abnormal psychology

All scientists in every field are susceptible to delusions and fantasies. It may be that these scientists with delusions and fantasies make up a great number of those scientists within parapsychology. Scientists with delusions and fantasies have to exist somewhere. Scientists are only human beings. Kazuba (talk) 06:41, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

Article talk pages are for discussing changes to the article. Please restrict yourself to that. Ryan Paddy (talk) 23:14, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps information about delusions and fantasies among parapsychologists could be pointed out and addressed by experts in abnormal psychology or clinical psychiatry in this article as a change, Personally I see nothing controversial about parapsychology. If a psychic ability exists so what? If a psychic ability doesn't exist so what? Kazuba (talk) 06:26, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps you could provide some reliable sources that could be used to add information to the article, per the WP:V and WP:RS policies. Otherwise, this is just waffle. Ryan Paddy (talk) 09:11, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Some introductory information can be found in Martin Gardner's Fad and Fallacies: in The Name of Science pages 8-10 and perhaps Joseph Jastrow's The Psychology of Conviction Kazuba (talk) 18:21, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Can you provide a couple of quotes from those sources that relate to parapsychology? Ryan Paddy (talk) 19:33, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

I am not that interested in the subject. Others can do it. I am not a psychiatrist. I only dabble in the literature of psychiatry, social and abnormal psychology now and then. Certainly you agree delusions and fantasies exist among scientists in every field. That's a no brainer. I am just suggesting how the article could be improved, That does not mean I'll do it. Kazuba (talk) 19:57, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

Okay, thanks for the sources. Ryan Paddy (talk) 19:49, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

Parapsychologist rebuttals

I removed a lot of speculation by parapsychologist that did not seem to be appropriate. In particular, parapsychologists are not historians or sociologists of science nor are they normally trained in fields outside of parapsychology, but for some reason we had a lot of quotes and citations to work by these people about those subjects. Parapsychologists are experts in parapsychology, not continental drift, the philosophy of science, etc.

[5] (talk) 20:32, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

Some rather twisted logic is being applied here. If comments by parapsychologists appear in WP:RS then they can be used here, irrespective of whether the author in question is seen to be "qualified" or an "expert". The main thing is to point out who exactly is making the comment, for the benefit of readers, which we do here. Best not to censor views from reliable sources. So I have reverted the edits. Johnfos (talk) 23:06, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
Parapsychologists are experts in what they study, but using them to comment on the public response to modern physics, the scientific community's response to continental drift, or the general evaluation of their subject as a "pre-science" is poor form in a section that is trying to document reliable controversy. When scientists say that parapsychology is pseudoscience it is because, in part, the parapsychologists themselves are making such rhetorical blunders. Repeating them here as though they are facts is just plain argumentative. (talk) 00:53, 6 July 2011 (UTC)

And one more thing

Why is the article citing Penrose's lunacy about consciousness as a rebuttal regarding the total lack of evidence for persistence of consciousness? First of all, Penrose's speculation is hardly "evidence", but, perhaps more importantly, he is not a parapsychologist nor does his current rabbit-hole excursion have anything to do with the parapsychology being described here. Isn't this just outrageous violation of WP:SYNTH? (talk) 01:02, 6 July 2011 (UTC)

Lame-ass reversion

[6]. At least have the decency to engage on the talk page. Thanks. (talk) 19:42, 6 July 2011 (UTC)

Reverted lame-ass tag again. You're just off a one week block, so continue edit warring, and I'm sure you will be given another vacation from Wikipedia. You have no support for your lame-ass tags. Now stop and go do something useful like playing video games. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 23:39, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
Comment on the content, not the contributor. What do you think about the discussion above? (talk) 01:44, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

niche research

Only published in niche journals... this is a weak criticism in the article, which I think on balance is best removed. All areas of science publish in niche journals, that is the nature of science. As a psychologist I have no interest in reading about the latest advances in mapping a genome, or in economic models of the financial downturn. Happily they are published in niche journals, as is the research I am interested in. It saves time looking, but can't seriously be used as a criticism of any area. As such the whole point of the couple of sentences, which I did edit but was reverted within 10 minutes, is moot. I don't believe this to be a neutrality problem, as suggested by the person who removed my edit. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Caernunos (talkcontribs) 10:51, 12 July 2011 (UTC)


Anybody around here speak Czech? The psychotronics subsection was added in good faith and appears to be well-sourced, but the English in most places is incomprehensible. Might be good for someone with dual fluency to have a look at the sources and try to decipher the passage. Cosmic Latte (talk) 08:48, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

My colleague is in China. When his come back - correktions mistakes. I am sorry to do not know obout it. Will be patient.-- (talk) 18:26, 11 November 2010 (UTC)
Sounds good to me! Thank you for your contributions. The parts of the subsection that I do (or think I do) understand sound interesting, and your colleague's help will be much appreciated. Thanks again, Cosmic Latte (talk) 09:35, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
Is is better quality, do you understand?-- (talk) 19:28, 18 November 2010 (UTC)
Psychotronics was deleted a while ago, I then redirected it here since the only RELIABLE source I could find suggested that it was just a new word used by Russians and other Eastern Bloc countries to make parasychology sound like real science. I added this fact into the article when I made the redirect. The psychotronics section from this article was recently moved to psychotronics which brought my attention to it again.
It was still incomprehensible in my view and the sources did not look remotely reliable - symposium notes from advocates of psychotronic research forming their own associations? I therefore reverted to the redirect. If there is to be any progress in this section, it needs to be made here BEFORE being split off. This article has a higher editor complement, so there is more chance of useful progress. Splitting it off is just avoiding the problem of how to deal with a badly written, badly referenced section. GDallimore (Talk) 13:20, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
I agree that the sources for the added section do not look appropriate. There is more of a problem here than just the readability of the language. MartinPoulter (talk) 13:41, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
physics ≠ (Not Equal to)mechanics, physics ≠ optics ... parapsychology ≠ spiritism, parapsychology ≠ psychotronics ... skepticism ≠ science, skepticism ≠ stupidity-- (talk) 14:27, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
This source would appear to disagree with you. GDallimore (Talk) 23:32, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

Parapsychology ≠ Psychotronics

M. Ryzl does not make psychotronics. Psychotronics is specially nonacademic activity.-- (talk) 06:04, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

Only "Psychotronics by Russians and other Eastern Bloc countries" (Psychotronics who was deleted) ≠ "Parapsychology", but "Psychotronics by USA and other Western Blog coutries" (there is not information obout) = like "Parapsychology". Your deleted is very bad.-- (talk) 16:31, 5 February 2011 (UTC)

YOUR PSYCHOTRONICS CENSURE AND REDIRECT IS AWFUL. THE TERM PARAPSYCHOLOGY DON'T TELL NOTHING AT ALL ABOUT PSYCHOTRONICS. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Notthatwisen00b (talkcontribs) 10:35, 22 November 2011 (UTC)


I think that classifi]ying "life after death" under paranorma would be offensive to some people. Glenzo999 (talk) 19:22, 16 April 2012 (UTC) 19:22, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

So? — Jeraphine Gryphon (talk) 20:47, 16 April 2012 (UTC)


Ok, so I was reading this for an essay in ToK, but it offers conflicting information about astrology in parapsychology. In the header it says astrology is a part of parapsychology, but further down it says that it is not studied. Some consistency would be nice. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:48, 23 January 2011 (UTC) In the header there are a lot of topics not investigated by parapsychology. This article is severely hampered by misunderstanding of the scientific endeavour. Ghosts are also not studied under a strict definition of parapsychology, neither are tarot cards or astrology for instance. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Caernunos (talkcontribs) 10:45, 12 July 2011 (UTC) (talk) 05:56, 2 May 2012 (UTC)Hi, I noticed that too...That the two were not linked together. When in fact they have alot to do with each other. The "meta" meaning beyond has a lot to do with astrology. Astrology is intertwined with God, spiritual beings, and our soul. People who are studying this but haven't actually had a precognitive experience without it being natural are wasting their time...I would never be able to understand this if it didn't just happen to happen. Does that make sense. How do you explain the feelings involved when you haven't actually been there? How do you explain how you got there to begin with? This happening is a gift from God. God is supposedly the master of the universe when I think in reality every part of our world and beyond is interconnected. God IS the universe...he has angels, spirits, the stars, and who knows really what else...UFO'S. I've never seen one but now I believe they are a part of something bigger. (talk) 05:56, 2 May 2012 (UTC)Whitney Weatherford

Theory building

I like the new theory section, lots of well-referenced material there and it's an area that needed to be covered. I have an issue with the presentation of the "Evaluation" section though, particularly this sentence:

This seems rather declaratory, I think it needs to be couched more as an opinion of the source, Irwin, because it's a statement that many equally reliable sources would contradict. The following sentence is better, attributing similar statements to "proponents of parapsychology". Assuming that Irwin is also a proponent of parapsychology, perhaps this could be merged into a single sentence such as:

Also, I think if the whole "Evaluation" subsection could be moved up to the top of the section with the title removed, and edited into an introduction and overview of the "Theory building" section. It's very close to being an overview already, and I don't think it looks right as a final subsection. Ryan Paddy (talk) 23:47, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

I have softened the wording (see bold type) of this paragraph and believe it should be retained as is, to provide a good balance:
Parapsychological theories are currently viewed as pseudoscientific by the scientific community as they are incompatible with well established laws of science,[3] and parapsychologists have no agreed framework for discussing and testing its claimed phenomena.[4] However, there are some aspects of parapsychology which could be interpreted as being characteristic of a "young science".[5] Proponents of parapsychology have seen it as an "embryo science",[6] a "frontier science of the mind",[7] and a "frontier discipline for advancing knowledge".[8]
I am concerned at the repeated use of the word "pseudoscience" in the article, and note that the word finder says that "pseudosci" is used 12 times. This really is too much. Johnfos (talk) 15:19, 21 March 2012 (UTC)
Ryan the stuff about parapsychology being a "new science" is utter nonsense, it doesn't need to be in the evaluation section at all, it is already mentioned at the top of the article, as far as I can see Johnfos included it in hes also been deleting other references which define these parapsychology theories as pseudoscience or condradict known scientific laws but I now understand why he has done this as he claims there are too many references claiming psi is pseudoscience, but you have to understand that is the view of the scientific community. Also the "evaluation" sub section was also added by Johnfos, the original version that I created never had that subsection instead it was included at the beginning of the section as an Introduction. 90% of parapsychology theories are pseudoscience and that needs to be made clear in the article, one of the only theories which isnt was the electromagnetic theory as it has been tested which has a couple of peer reviewed papers, see the work of Persinger for example in its support but has since fallen out of favour it seems and most parapsychologists oppose it. GreenUniverse (talk) 03:27, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
"Utter nonsense", indeed. I think it is fair to say that GreenUniverse has some strong views on parapsychology. I have acted in good faith to try and make his contributions more neutral and encyclopedic, and I would have thought that my edits and edit summaries here made that very clear. Johnfos (talk) 07:31, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
It has nothing to do with my personal views, it comes down to what the sources say. The majority of scientists claim parapsychology is a pseudoscience and that is what the sources say and that is what wikipedia goes with it has nothing to do with personal views. Do you also want to claim angels and astrology is not pseudoscience? GreenUniverse (talk) 11:13, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
You seem intent on making this personal. I find this sometimes happens when an editor has run out of rational arguments. Johnfos (talk) 14:18, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
John you you refuse to answer the question. We have repeatable third party references saying that the majority of parapsychological theories are pseudoscience, this has been well documented for over 50 years. It does not matter what you, nor I or any other wikipedia editors thinks about this, wikipedia is not about personal belief, it is about what the sources say, do you understand that? You seem to be desperate to remove any criticism or tone down references which claim parapsychology is a pseudoscience on the article, can you explain yourself? GreenUniverse (talk) 14:32, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
I've already answered your question. I said above that "I am concerned at the repeated use of the word "pseudoscience" in the article, and note that the word finder says that "pseudosci" is used 12 times. This really is too much." Even though this is the predominant view it doesn't need to be repeated over and over in every section of the article. Your material on theories twice said that parapsychological theories are pseudoscientific, and I think (from memory) I removed one of those, as I felt that having it said twice in one section was excessive. Johnfos (talk) 16:21, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for making a change John, but unfortunately I don't think it works. To say something "could be interpreted as x" is still an unattributed declaration. Also, that phrasing doesn't sound encyclopedic. There are reliable sources who would state that parapsychology cannot and should not be "interpreted as" a young science, so what you've got is still a contentious statement from a source, and it's not appropriate to couch such opinions in such a declaratory fashion. I think you need to attribute the statement to the source in some manner, either as a "proponent of parapsychology" or perhaps by using the source's name. I'm unclear why this particular statement can't be run together with the other, very similar, statements as I suggested, assuming that the source is also a "proponent of parapsychology". Saying that these repetitive sentences are there to "provide a good balance" doesn't explain their repetitiveness. Ryan Paddy (talk) 19:01, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
  • If John is well read and has access to sources, then perhaps he might want to help in adding a quantum physics sub section to the theories section. We don't want to overpact the section and I think that might be the last one, QM seems to be advocated by quite a few parapsychologists it is notable and we have much criticism of their theories in this area, of course their spiritual interpretations of QM is pseudoscience and have been criticised in many publications, but it should be easy to locate sources for this and describe what they are advocating. GreenUniverse (talk) 02:32, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
  • There is an overview here of theories some of which relating to quantum physics by proponents of parapsychology.Link GreenUniverse (talk) 20:12, 18 April 2012 (UTC)

OMG. You have no idea what you're talking about Johnfos. PSEUDOSCIENCE means "fake" science. And the phenomena behind this science is that parapsychology has everything to do with everything. In a way, it's almost like a secret society. God chooses who he wants in it. I'm not 100% sure of this but I do know experiencing this is not a choice. I'm a psychology major at Tech barely getting by in school because of boredom. The energy gets sucked out of me because I can sense everyone's stresses. I am a completely normal girl with a normal life. Except that I'm gifted. You cannot understand any of this Johnof because it's not something you can teach yourself. A person has to be born truly gifted and blessed. I would have to disagree with the statement this fairly new. I think people cannot talk about it because society rejects this because of Christianity and religious views...Im sure some of the greatest minds knew all this, the term parapsychology wasn't coined until the 1900's. (talk) 06:13, 2 May 2012 (UTC)Whitney Weatherford

  • Perhaps "God chooses who he wants in it", but until a reliable source says so, well, we'll just stick with what reliable sources say. if this god is real, perhaps it could provide some evidence. bobrayner (talk) 13:09, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

bosch picture

Guyonthesubway and I have been edit warring over an image from bosch that is of a luminous indication of divinity and he is trying to keep it included as an image of a NDE. I say that bosch's use of light and "tunnels" is actually a study of crepuscular rays and refraction which is seen in many of his paintings such as War in Heaven. the point is, however, that the opinions of neither of us are relevant to Wikipedia. If there is a source which connects bosch to NDEs, please show it. Otherwise, don't insult the art history of this Bosch piece. (talk) 05:02, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

A reasonable person would take a quick google search and find that many NDE authors use this painting as an example of a depiction of an NDE. That's enough for a reasonable man to source it as 'many NDE authors use this painting as a depiction of an NDE'. Lets see... death.. check. tunnel of light. check. supernatural figures. check. Anybody else care? Guyonthesubway (talk) 13:34, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
I agree that the Ascent of the Blessed has been explicitly connected by several NDE researchers as an illustration of the NDE: Pim van Lommel, Evelyn Elsaesser-Valarino, PMH Atwater and others. The first two have explicit references in the NDE article, now that the edit has been restored. The reference made by PMH Atwater is in The Big Book of Near-Death Experiences, p. 5. There is also Beyond the Light: Files of Near-Death Experiences by Marisa St. Clair that features the picture on the back cover. --EPadmirateur (talk) 06:16, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
Those references don't make a serious contention that this picture is of a NDE; it's for "filler" purposes rather than any claim that it is an attempted illustration of NDE. This would be akin to if our article on horror films using Munch's The Scream since there are books on horror which use the image as filler. (talk) 20:32, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
The image is relevant and not just a filler, and so needs to be included. I agree with what EPadmirateur has said. Johnfos (talk) 06:25, 8 June 2012 (UTC)


In my day (it has been a long while), words like "ostensible" were thought to be superfluous violations of WP:NPOV. See intro. Tom Haws (talk) 02:08, 29 July 2012 (UTC)

They still are considered that, as far as I know. Have removed. I've also not been very active for a while, but I recall there is a ruling by ArbCom stating you can't use language like that about subjects like these. Hardly surprising that people aren't aware of that though, given that I can't find it even though I know it exists. Have had a look through the overview of fringe theory cases article but couldn't spot the ruling in those cases. Ryan Paddy (talk) 18:52, 4 August 2012 (UTC)

Lead statement needs some clarity

From the lead:

With the reference:

We should be clear that the "considerable funding" is done because there are "philanthropic sources" who fund them. Not governments, not universities, and not respectable foundations. Currently, the reader could be lead to believe that parapsychology is being funded in respectable ways when it, in fact, is not. In short, the poor credibility of parapsychology is not well addressed in this sentence even though the source is clearly indicating that this is the reason these facts are of interest.

ScienceApologist (talk) 21:26, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

One of the funny points of this criticism is that it highlights the, I would argue, unique position of Parapsychology 'parapsychology is not being funded in respectable ways'. Im happy to see that we can all agree with the statement 'parapsychology is underfunded'. Forced to produce what research it can in a very hostile environment. Despite 100 years of research, which has improved considerably over time, no funding is being made available - any other areas of science able to claim this? There is then the flip side, criticism of positive results = no one is replicating it, although no mention of a lack of funding and support for what can be time consuming and complex experiments is given. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Caernunos (talkcontribs) 11:29, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

No one agreed that parapsychology is being underfunded, in my opinion parapsychology is being over-funded. Why continue to fund a dead end like parapsychology, with it's consistent methodologically flawed studies and hazy if not meaningless theoretical framework and subject matter? (talk) 09:19, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

I believe someone stated earlier that parapsychology is funded privately...meaning someone finds it important to our future. I'm also assuming you haven't had a precognitive experience. I have always been a firm believer in God and found my vision to change everything I had thought of before. Im swf 29 and feel this could link us to something like time travel. Which would allow us to talk with Einstein if we needed to. Which may lead to curing cancer. As much as I would love to give you the information that could solve the problem I'm keeping it to myself because like I said, Im a single white female and I know you men would love to take this info and run with it...ta ta! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:44, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

In other words, SWF IP, you know absolutely nothing, and you're just trying to be "cheeky" and intrigue people. Which, by the way, failed miserably. Anyone who claims to have "precognitive experiences" or "powers" of any kind... take the James Randi test! Get a million dollars pretty much for free! If you won't, you don't have "powers". If you fail the test, you don't have "powers" - you get to set your own parameters for the test, so you can't fault the experiment for your failure. If psychics were actually real, there wouldn't be "misses". Why would people have such an unequivocal ability? How useless is that?! It's all confirmation bias. You had a similar dream to a plane crash, or whatever, then when plane crash occurs you're unconsciously embellishing your memory of the dream to make it identical. Truth is, we only have your word to go on, therefore there's no evidence. (talk) 03:39, 3 September 2012 (UTC)

Copyright problem removed

Prior content in this article duplicated one or more previously published sources. Copied or closely paraphrased material has been rewritten or removed and must not be restored, unless it is duly released under a compatible license. (For more information, please see "using copyrighted works from others" if you are not the copyright holder of this material, or "donating copyrighted materials" if you are.) For legal reasons, we cannot accept copyrighted text or images borrowed from other web sites or published material; such additions will be deleted. Contributors may use copyrighted publications as a source of information, but not as a source of sentences or phrases. Accordingly, the material may be rewritten, but only if it does not infringe on the copyright of the original or plagiarize from that source. Please see our guideline on non-free text for how to properly implement limited quotations of copyrighted text. Wikipedia takes copyright violations very seriously, and persistent violators will be blocked from editing. While we appreciate contributions, we must require all contributors to understand and comply with these policies. Thank you. IRWolfie- (talk) 22:36, 26 August 2012 (UTC)

Possible copyright problem

This article has been revised as part of a large-scale clean-up project of multiple article copyright infringement. (See the investigation subpage) Earlier text must not be restored, unless it can be verified to be free of infringement. For legal reasons, Wikipedia cannot accept copyrighted text or images borrowed from other web sites or printed material; such additions must be deleted. Contributors may use sources as a source of information, but not as a source of sentences or phrases. Accordingly, the material may be rewritten, but only if it does not infringe on the copyright of the original or plagiarize from that source. Please see our guideline on non-free text for how to properly implement limited quotations of copyrighted text. Wikipedia takes copyright violations very seriously. IRWolfie- (talk) 22:40, 26 August 2012 (UTC)

It says on the talkpage copyright concerns that the user had done a few unattributed merges, - not copyright infringement. Theres no evidence any of that information in the theory section is taken or copied from anywhere, hence no reason for it to be deleted. Start scanning through it and theres no evidence for copyright infringement. Ghosts Ghouls (talk) 19:28, 29 September 2012 (UTC)

I have found incidents of copyright infringement by this banned sockpuppet. Here is an example of text you have inserted: "there is no need to base a theory of psi on physical principles." is almost verbatim from "Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality". It's up to your to do the checks if you restore the material because you are accepting responsibility. You reverted me 8 minutes after I removed the text, I'm going to guess you haven't done your due diligence on restoring the banned sockpuppets material. IRWolfie- (talk) 19:35, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
You havn't found any incidents, if you did you would point out the page numbers etc. I also find it strange that you deleted all of GreenUniverse's material regarding the theories but keep his references for the "Evaluation" where he claimed there is no evidence for a theory of parapsychology in science. You are like a creationist quote mining bits and pieces you like and don't like, whilst deleting the rest as "copyright infringement". There is no copyright infringement in what that user added, and according to his case page was banned for merging articles together not copyright infringement. You obviously havn't done your research and have been exposed as biased on this matter. You are also now claiming GreenUniverse is me well that is false becuase I believe in the paranormal, perhaps you should scan of some of that users edits and every paranormal article on wikipedia he claimed none of it exists and offered the skeptical viewpoint. Ghosts Ghouls (talk) 20:57, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
IRWolfie writes on the sockpuppet article Sockpuppet investigations "he makes claims about GreenUniverse, including that he was skeptical (this was not the case) while he is not etc". Please do your research on GreenUniverse and you will see he was banned from wikipedia for merging and deleting articles not copyright infringement, check out his edits on things like ectoplasm or spirit photography and you can see he wrote these articles in a position to conclude these things do not exist, he was a skeptic of the paranormal this is the opposite of myself. You are not making any sense by claiming I am GreenUniverse. Yes I have just looked through this users edits and perhaps I have similar interest to this user, but unlike her/him not to "debunk" them. It is true I have just created the Jule Eisenbud article but only becuase it came up red on the parapsychology page. Eisenbud was a psychologist who believed ESP was real. Ghosts Ghouls (talk) 21:27, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
We blocked GreenUniverse as a sockpuppet, not for merging articles. See Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/BookWorm44/Archive. Dougweller (talk) 12:17, 1 October 2012 (UTC)


The section on rebuttals is completely WP:UNDUE and contrary to WP:FRINGE. I've started a discussion on the talk page. IRWolfie- (talk) 20:12, 29 September 2012 (UTC)

The removed section looks to me like parapsychology apologetics with special pleading for the lack of scientific evidence.

I don't think such content is encyclopedic in nature and as Wolfie pointed out, it appears to run afoul of WP:FRINGE. The article should present the mainstream, scientific evaluation of the subject without the juxtaposition of minority claims; doing so gives the appearance of an equal validity not reflected by academic sourcing. Sædontalk 21:23, 29 September 2012 (UTC)

I concur. It's special pleading and speculation, and a good bit of irrelevent griping, too. There are major problems with weight, and some of the sources are not reliable. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 05:18, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
Much of what I removed was put there by the banned sockpuppet GreenUniverse. If people want to re-insert material by a banned sockpuppet they require consensus, some of the material has copyright issues as I indicated above. IRWolfie- (talk) 10:44, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
Indicating what certain scientists in the parapsychological community have responded to criticism is perfectly DUE. You're coming from the standpoint that parapsychology is like other FRINGE issues, which the article makes clear it is not. As with any other science -and it's not up to you to define science- we should note what scientists in the field believe. This allows for responses to criticism. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:58, 11 November 2012 (UTC)
You need reliable third party sources, not apologia by advocates. ----Snowded TALK 05:12, 11 November 2012 (UTC)
Good point, although I suspect that such sources would also be attacked as apologetics. But deleting it due to a purported WEIGHT issue is wrong. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:22, 11 November 2012 (UTC)
The edit was not justified by wikipedia principles, until you do that any experienced editor will delete it and you are wasting everyones time. ----Snowded TALK 06:23, 11 November 2012 (UTC)
Indeed, I would have deleted it myself. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 10:14, 11 November 2012 (UTC)
It's likely that these are more sockpuppets of BookWorm44. They are back trying to push his contributions. IRWolfie- (talk) 11:43, 11 November 2012 (UTC)

The education of the parapsychologists

It's worth noting that many or most of the parapsychologists have actually a psychologists' degree. I hope you may add this to the article in order to further the seriousness of it (because they are not off the street or some con-artists like that...) (talk) 09:06, 6 January 2013 (UTC)

Got a source for that? — Jeraphine Gryphon (talk) 15:56, 6 January 2013 (UTC)

One paragraph makes no sense

I've quoted it below. It's supposed to be an example of top-notch scientific thinking on this topic, apparently. Notice how they both say an explanatory force would have been detected in psi experiments if it had been there, yet they both presumably think that the few psi experiments where instruments were used to monitor EM fields and such yielded no(!) statistically convincing results to begin with. So how exactly do they think that the energies through which psi operates should already have been detected when there has been no detection attempt during a single statistically significant experiment? These people should've brought their detectors when Yuri Geller broke the "laws of nature" in a series of experiments well-known to those familiar with the field. They should've brought them when other luminaries pulled off similar feats. It makes no sense to attempt to detect hypothesised psi energies only in experiments involving average Joes, as if everyone had the same amount of psi ability or any amount at all. Obviously, most people don't express any psi ability in the lab. So why bother with them?

Read for yourselves, below. These two "sceptics" are like a photographer who claims that if there were light he would already have found evidence of it, what he doesn't mention is he has only been photographing during the night in pitch black. What a genius.

"On the subject of psychokinesis the physicist Sean M. Carroll has written that both human brains and the spoons they try to bend are made, like all matter, of quarks and leptons; everything else they do is emergent properties of the behaviour of quarks and leptons. And the quarks and leptons interact through the four forces: strong, weak, electromagnetic and gravitational. Thus either it's one of the four known forces or it's a new force, and any new force with range over 1 millimetre must be at most a billionth the strength of gravity or it will have been captured in experiments already done. This leaves no physical force that could possibly account for psychokinesis.[84] The physicist John Taylor in a series of experiments was concerned to establish whether there is an electromagnetic basis for psi phenomena such as psychokinesis but his experiments were negative and after failing to find it, wrote there could not be any other explanation in physics.[85]"

Firrtree (talk) 21:13, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

The unmentioned difficulty in gathering evidence

Apparently, people who don't believe in psi, especially people who strongly disbelieve it, tend to score slightly below chance, while people who are confident they have psi ability tend to score slightly above chance. This means that when experiments don't control for strength of belief, the results will likely show little in terms of a statistically significant effect, because the oppposite forces will tend to balance each other out. The attitudes of the researchers seem to also affect the outcome, so that hopeful researchers versus disbelieving research subjects might tend to produce the above sort of effect. Strong disbelief of a strong individual or group may temporarily neutralise psi ability even in an exceptionally gifted person (which could be one reason why Randi has trouble losing his million; he's like a Titan of scepticism).

Firrtree (talk) 12:07, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

The "Psionics" Concept

A new section has been added to the Talk-pages of telepathy that says, by and large, "Please, Take Note of "Psionics", "...there may be truth to a conceptual analysis on this word, psionics, in claiming that the existence of this concept must entail that telepathy is true!" Any good? (talk) 17:40, 3 March 2013 (UTC)

Removal of text from lead

IRWolfie, regarding your first delete..please quote the sentence on this WP help page, Wikipedia:Independent sources that implies that the Parapsychological Association is "not an independent source". Here is how the page defines one "An independent source is a source that has no vested interest in a written topic and therefore it is commonly expected to describe the topic from a disinterested perspective. An interest in a topic is vested where the source holds a financial or legal relationship with the topic..,"

Regarding you second delete...Brian David Josephson is a Nobel Prize laureate in physics, why do you regard his view that there has been "irrational attacks on parapsychology" an "attack" - Dave3457 (talk) 05:08, 11 April 2013 (UTC)

Brian Josephson is well known for his fringe views about parapsychology and physics in general (read his page). The parapsychological association is a fringe group for proponents of parapsychology. Thus they both non-independent (see WP:FRINGE). You have positive commentary before the criticism, and an attack on the criticism afterwards, both sourced to proponents. Basically you are marginalising the mainstream point of view, contrary to WP:FRINGE, and hiding the criticism amid praise. That is, your are giving parapsychology undue legitimacy, a topic which is often regarded as containing much pseudoscience. As an aside, if I called you irrational, wouldn't you regard that as an attack? Sounds like an attack to me IRWolfie- (talk) 10:41, 11 April 2013 (UTC)
I agree with IRWolfie. Your edits give undue weight to fringe positions. Neither Josephson not the Parapsychological Association are reliable sources, and their views cannot be equated with the mainstream view. Nor can they be used to challenge the mainstream view. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 10:48, 11 April 2013 (UTC)
IRWolfie you said: > "As an aside, if I called you irrational, wouldn't you regard that as an attack"
Josephson didn't call anyone irrational, he called the attacks irrational. So again, how is calling someone's attacks irrational, an attack? Also, it is not "an aside" it is the reason you said you deleted the entry.
I'll also ask you again, please quote the sentence on the Wikipedia:Independent sources WP help page, that implies that the Parapsychological Association is "not an independent source". That is the reason you said you deleted the entry and that is the page that defines what is and what is not an independent source.
The logic you guys seems to be using is this...While opponents of parapsychology get to express their views on parapsychology, proponents don't get to express their views because by virtue of being a proponent, their views are fringe. Isn't that just a little self serving?
I believe this messed up logic has its roots in the following non-logical, emotion way you feel about it......Opponents of parapsychology should get to express their views on parapsychology because they are right and proponents of parapsychology shouldn't get to express their views on parapsychology because they are wrong.
The fact that you are changing the "reason" for deleting the entries, supports this view.
-- Dave3457 (talk) 06:14, 12 April 2013 (UTC)
Its not a reliable third party source I'm afraid, other than for the views of the association. If you don't accept that you can go to the reliable sources notive board and ask for other editors opinions. Otherwise I recommend you stop speculating on other editors emotional states and focus on logical and rational uses of sources ----Snowded TALK 06:41, 12 April 2013 (UTC)
All of your questions are fully answered in our policies, especially WP:V, WP:RS, WP:NOR, WP:NPOV and WP:FRINGE. Take the time to read and understand them. Also, the burden is on you to convince your fellow editors that a source that you want to use is reliable, not on others to prove that it's not. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 06:46, 12 April 2013 (UTC)
The specific guideline that is most relevant for you to read is WP:FRINGE. It addresses neutrality and sourcing requirements, including what are independent sources with respect to fringe science/pseudoscience/paranormal articles. Basically this is how wikipedia works: Proponents of parapsychology should not be allowed to have the last word on criticism because they are the vast minority; they are a fringe group. It is undue to give them more weight than they are given in the most reliable sources. Fringe groups always have some claimed rebuttal, but if it's not been noted and discussed by a mainstream source with respect to the specific criticism, it's beneath our notice because otherwise we violate neutrality by giving them undue weight. IRWolfie- (talk) 09:15, 12 April 2013 (UTC)
IRWolfie- - just an FYI that you are misrepresenting the Parapsychological Association. It is not a group of proponents for psi, but an association of professionals with common research interests. We've had the likes of Richard Wiseman and Christopher French in our membership rolls, as well as a number of other academics who believe that paranormal phenomena will ultimately be explain within current theories of mainstream psychology. Annalisa Ventola (Talk | Contribs) 23:49, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
Had? IRWolfie- (talk) 09:23, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
Had and have. Membership fluctuates year by year. Annalisa Ventola (Talk | Contribs) 13:29, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

The Criticism and Controversy section

I am well aware of how controversial Parapsychology is as a field but isn't the controversy a little big at taking up a third of the article?- (talk) 14:14, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

Doesn't seem too much to me. How much should there be? What content should go? MartinPoulter (talk) 16:11, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
The lead really should reflect it FAR more then just one sentence begging as "critics state." Critics here being the entire scientific and medical communities. This stuff is as wacko fringe as it gets. As it is this article needs SERIOUS work in it's various sections to bring it in-line with WP:FRINGE and WP:NPOV. Far to many statements and sections make it sound like these things actually exist or happen, when it's all fraud and made up stuff. — raekyt 18:33, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
Yep, the fringe theorists had their way with it for a long time, IRWolfie- (talk) 01:20, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Erm... this is hardly "all fraud and made-up stuff". A lot of psi researchers are extremely critical with their work and keep a close eye out for fraud. They have their faults, like every scientist (skeptic or not), but to discredit them like this is somewhat insulting to the work they do. They're not like Sylvia Browne in just trying to get their books sold. PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 23:48, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Again I am perplexed by this idea of an unskeptical scientist as a thing that might exist. Good science is built around skepticism. There's this concept called the null hypothesis which is key to the development of research methodology. It's a fundamental concept and it is institutional skepticism. Without skepticism you don't have science. Simonm223 (talk) 02:16, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Let me clarify: There's scientific skepticism, which even parapsychologists exhibit if you read the lit, and then there are the uber-skeptics, who pretend to be scientific but aren't. I'm not against scientific skepticism. PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 13:55, 28 February 2014 (UTC)


I see that survivalism is redirected from "Survivalism (life after death), a belief in the survival of the conscious self after death" to this article. I probably missed a discussion of this, so can someone tell me what happened to "survivalism," "survival" and "Survival Hypothesis."

Reincarnation is just an aspect of the survival question but is the link for "survival of consciousness after bodily death." The more general concept is Survival Hypothesis, which also leads to parapsychology--(circular?).

In parapsychology, an important question is whether or not the Super-Psi Hypothesis or the Survival Hypothesis explains reported experiences. I do not see anything of that in this article. However, I am going to guess that the subject has been hotly debated here and the compromise was to dumb down the article to avoid dealing with it. Tom Butler (talk) 22:11, 28 August 2013 (UTC)

Major Revisions Are Needed Here...

Hi, my account is new, but I have some criticisms about the parapsychology article. Could those who have had experience with this page direct me to places where these topics have been discussed? I have some additional articles as well. — Preceding unsigned comment added by PhiChiPsiOmega (talkcontribs) 17:01, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

If you want to create new articles I suggest you review everything you can related to WP:AfC Also before trying to overhaul parapsychology I suggest you consult the policies under WP:FRINGE, WP:DUE and WP:NPOV as those are the three areas where this article most frequently attracts spirited discussion. Simonm223 (talk) 17:12, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
I would just suggest reading WP:RS. Any new content requires we have reliable sources. I posted a bunch of links to your talk page. If you have any questions, feel free to ask there, here, or on my talk page. All the best,   — Jess· Δ 20:28, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Well, in the meantime, I hope I can voice my main problems with the article right here. PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 22:01, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
First, I'd like to say that almost all of the criticisms of parapsychology have been addressed in the literature. If you want a balanced article, I'd suggest we start the revisions there. You could, for example, cite replies to skeptical attacks on JB Rhine, which he himself addressed. One factor in parapsychology is that, when an effect isn't replicated, but initial success is most likely not due to fraud, other explanations involving appropriate conditions for psi can be hypothesized and (most importantly!) tested. I have some examples from Rupert Sheldrake's "Telephone Telepathy" hypothesis, as well as the PEAR Lab RNG experiments. PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 22:01, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Wikipedia does not aim for balance. That would be false balance. We aim for due weight, Second Quantization (talk) 10:41, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Yes. "All significant viewpoints by reliable sources". I don't see why the sources I've cited aren't credible. PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 18:08, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
On the Ganzfeld section, there's some material from Robert Todd Carroll's website. He's a philosopher, not a statistician or psychologist. I would cite others here. Hyman DID reply to Storm et al., but they issued a reply back to him [yes, this is from Dean Radin's website, but the article itself is from Psychological Bulletin]: [ - this is unlikely to be accepted as a reliable source.] A more substantive critique of Storm et al.'s paper was published last year, by Rouder et al., which you might want to include, but Storm's team responded to that as well [both papers are included in this file]: [ - this is unlikely to be accepted as a reliable source.] PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 22:01, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
You quote Hyman as if he had the last word on the topic, but Honorton replied to him several times (you fail to even quote his replies), and a joint communique was issued by the two, in which Honorton didn't agree that psi hadn't been demonstrated, but that more work needed to be done (see the abstract: Sure enough, in 1994, a posthumous paper was issued in Psychological Bulletin by Honorton and (the now-estranged) Daryl Bem, in which they defended the Ganzfeld. Milton and Wiseman's meta-analysis from 1999 has flaws of its own, among them the fact that when analyzed more appropriately (i.e. when the effect size is weighted), it has a smaller, but more statistically significant effect size: This was noted in the 2010 Storm et al. paper (pg. 473, footnote 1). PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 22:01, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
I could go on, but these errors are just some of the examples I found. This debate is a little more wider than the present article seems to let on, and I think changing it would be for the best. PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 22:01, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
There's a guy on here named Ersby (Andrew Endersby), and I'd like to engage him sometime in a dialogue, since he's the most well-read on the Ganzfeld thing. PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 22:01, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

I'm sorry for dumping all of that here, but I REALLY think revisions need to be made! PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 22:05, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

There is a main article on the ganzfeld experiment, the small section on the ganzfeld on this article is just a brief overview. Basically you are citing the same old pseudoscience like Sheldrake, Radin and Bem from the 90s. The errors and flaws in their experiments have been addressed on their own articles. Like the others, J. B. Rhine's results were never replicated by the scientific community. Sorry but you have no case at all. Everything you have cited has been shot down in the scientific literature and is old news. See:
I suggest you check out the publications of Hines, Hansel, Marks, Neher, Blackmore, Stenger, Wiseman etc which can be found on the ganzfeld article amongst others and also familiarize yourself with Wikipedia policies on fringe and pseudoscience. Goblin Face (talk) 22:29, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
If you read WP:WEIGHT, you'll see that we are biased toward the reliable sources, particularly those in the scientific community. So the question is, how significant are these ideas in scientific literature? The answers eems to be that the scientific community wholly rejects parapsychology, considering it a pseudoscience. There is positive writing about it outside of the scientific community, but belief is largely relegated to a fringe group. So, we present their ideas in this article, but we do so alongside the scientific opinion, with consideration of the prominence of their views in the relevant sources. To change our coverage, we would need sources showing the scientific community significantly accepted parapsychology. There are other places on the internet with different rules, like ParaWiki, but that's how wikipedia operates. Does that make sense?   — Jess· Δ 22:51, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Goblin Face: I've seen those pages, and I just gave you evidence as to why this is not old news. This is new literature (post-2010!) I'm bringing up, and I even gave a rebuttal to most of the attacks in my original post above. I'd rather my posts not be ignored or hand-waved away like this. With regards to Hansel et al., I have read some of those people. They are not convincing. 9 times out of 10 I can debunk them by actually looking at what's being said by the people they're replying to. For the other tenth, it's usually something along the lines of: "They made mistakes X, Y, and Z in the past." When I check THOSE out, the mistakes have been corrected, and more methodologically sound, replicable studies still turn up. PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 23:31, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Jess: I'm going to suppose that the reference to ParaWiki is not a thinly-veiled insult and point out that the evidence for psi is not only compelling, but is the sign of huge scientific debate (within the community, not outside of it, mind you, or else this wouldn't be debated within journals like Foundations of Physics, Psychological Bulletin, and Frontiers in Psychology). It doesn't need to be widely-accepted nor dismissed as pseudoscience. It could just be controversial data, as I originally revised it to. PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 23:31, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Also, you're citing skeptics only, not the full spectrum of thought on this topic (e.g. Charles Akers's 1987 "Parapsychology is science, but its findings are inconclusive" article). An analogy is if I cited fundamentalist theists when it came to a criticism of atheism and not posting the atheist rebuttal to potential misrepresentation (yes, this is science, but my point still holds). Some people are independent researchers, who publish their work everywhere from Psychological Bulletin to Journal of Scientific Exploration. This isn't just confined to some articles in fringe journals as you seem to claim. I understand that you want to be neutral, but I'm giving you suggestions as to how you should approach this from a neutral perspective. This isn't astrology or ancient astronaut pseudoscience that fails on the first take at scrutiny. This issue is a much larger gray area. If you're going to publish critiques, get it from more informed sources, like Bosch et al. or even the Rouder et al. paper (which I sent you to!). PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 23:31, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

PhiChi most of what you are citing is not new literature, and most of it is not scientific. Apart from the Storm 2010 paper you have nothing recent. There are very few articles about parapsychology in the Psychological Bulletin. There is no current ganzfeld debate in the scientific community. It is old news. The experiments were never replicated, plus they contained sensory leakage problems (See Blackmore, Hines, Hyman, Wiseman etc). You mention the Journal of Scientific Exploration but this is a pseudoscience fringe journal that have also published papers claiming Bigfoot and the Lochness monster are real. Also your claim there is a "huge scientific debate" about parapsychology is not backed up by any scientific references. Goblin Face (talk) 00:14, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Huh? Why would it be an insult? The evidence for psychic phenomena is simply not "compelling", nor is it the subject of "huge scientific debate". If it were, we'd need secondary sources indicating that, and right now we don't have any beyond the writings of a very small fringe group. You should read WP:FRINGE, really.   — Jess· Δ 00:43, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Jess and GF: The evidence is very compelling, as I've presented so far (and only in part, since I could cite more). There is a controversy. All you have to do is look at a book like James Alcock's PSI WARS to realize that calling parapsychology a controversy is taken for granted. The sensory leakage problem has been corrected since the Honorton and Hyman Communique, and has been amply addressed elsewhere. And if you read anything past the 1990s (besides Terence Hines, of course), you'll realize the effect has been replicated several times. That's why I cited those papers by Storm et al. The writings, once again, are not "those of a small fringe group". There are several writers on both sides. Please understand this. When I mentioned JSE (in passing, not in citation, mind you), I only used it to show that these researchers not only publish for journals like that, but also for more renowned journals like Psychological Bulletin. PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 01:03, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Jess: Referring me to "ParaWiki" when I'm trying to show that it doesn't belong to just there is a huge insult to my intelligence and to the people who study this stuff seriously. Have you read any of the lit? Do you know how self-critical these researchers are? PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 01:03, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Jess: I'm reading WP:FRINGE, and it supports my point. This should be called "questionable science", not the blatant, unambiguous "pseudoscience". I'd rather you not refer me to these articles. If you think I don't know what I'm talking about, come out and be straight with it. PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 01:07, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
No, there's no controversy from the overall consensus in the scientific community about parapsychology, the controversy is only in the parapsychological community. Parapsychology is a pseudoscience. There is no controversy from the scientific community about this. You claim to be interested in recent references then you should read the book by Massimo Pigliucci, Maarten Boudry. (2013). Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem. University Of Chicago Press. It has a chapter about parapsychology and pseudoscience. Also see Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk by Pigliucci in 2011. Regarding Terence Hines, he updated the second edition of his book in 2003, it is not an old book. Nothing has changed since that date in parapsychology. There's also Paranormal and Transcendental Experience: A Psychological Examination revised 2011 by Andrew Neher. There is also Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud by Robert L. Park. Another is the book by the psychologist Thomas Gilovich How we know what isn't so: The fallibility of human reason in everyday life. Most of these references are in the article plus over a hundred others, including scientific papers. There is absolutely no scientific evidence for any psi phenomena and there are hundreds of scientific references that document this. You are very quick to question other users on here about having not read the literature but it's clear you have not read the references on the article and all you are doing is citing fringe science journals or parapsychological articles in pseudoscience journals. There are already 170 references on the article. Goblin Face (talk) 01:26, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Ok then. You don't understand wikipedia policy. You're new here, so there's nothing wrong with that, but it's your job to read up and try to acclimate. I'm a fairly experienced editor; I've been here a long time, and I have a good understanding of our content policies. Considering you just joined today, it doesn't help you to explain to me how our policies are applied; I'm telling you, your change is directly contrary to WP:FRINGE. I've been very nice to you, so suggesting that I've insulted you is more than a bit offensive. I'm sorry that you're insulted, but wikipedia will not represent that there is compelling evidence for psychic phenomena or that parapsychology is a science until we have substantial reliable secondary sources which indicate it is seen that way by at least a minority of experts in the relevant field. That is to say, until it has made an impact on the scientific consensus, which as of today, it has not. Think I'm wrong? Give me a reliable secondary source which says so.   — Jess· Δ 01:38, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Look, I appreciate your help, Mann jess, but I think we're talking past each other. The point I'm trying to make is that psi researchers have accumulated replicable, testable evidence that needs to be taken seriously, and that if one has access to the material rather than having it be filtered, one will see that this is the case. What is important here are arguments. Even if we don't agree that parapsychology has compelling evidence, at least show the responses parapsychologists have made to the criticisms instead of acting as though they haven't. PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 01:56, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Please consider that one of the guiding principles we work within is WP:DUE. For this reason, no, we'd not be acting appropriately to list every rebuttal in every fringe publication. If there are, as you said, replicable results demonstrate them being replicated with documentation in reliable sources and I'll be all too happy to defend the inclusion of that material. But if another reliable source points out flaws in experimental design, errors in statistical analysis or outright fraud that's going to go in too. Simonm223 (talk) 02:13, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Goblin Face: I know that you've read a lot of the skeptical literature. I've read less than you, but I've read enough. Please stop shoving these articles and books in my face, or I will consider you a troll not worth discussing things with. If it's like the other (irrelevant) material you've sent me, I doubt there's anything new there. It's funny that you bring up Pigliucci, considering that one of his students is a physicist who has debated him on psi's legitimacy for a while: PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 01:56, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Good science is by its very nature a skeptical endeavor. If you're separating skeptics from your researchers you've already made a serious mistake. True believers make poor investigators. Also please remember to assume goodwill. It's not a matter of "shoving literature in your face" rather it's that we've all been down this path many times before and so when we point out "yes, and this is what people in the scientific community think of Sheldrake" for the hundredth time we don't necessarily feel a need to give him (Sheldrake) the benefit of the doubt yet again barring new evidence. Simonm223 (talk) 02:08, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
No, what's important isn't the arguments. What's important is the sources. Wikipedia's threshold for inclusion is verifiability, not truth. That's why I pointed you to ParaWiki. Other wikis may not have the same policies we do - they may even have some novel ones of their own - but if you want to edit here, on wikipedia, you need to abide by wikipedia's content policies, which means sources, sources, sources. If you have a reliable secondary source that says the scientific community takes this "replicable, testable evidence" seriously, then we can discuss changing the article. Until then, we can't. Even if it's true.   — Jess· Δ 02:14, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
And please don't call other editors trolls. "Assume good faith" is a foundational pillar of wikipedia.   — Jess· Δ 02:16, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm sorry about calling him a troll, but I've read most of the arguments and I'm familiar with them. Could you at least provide links to the replies parapsychologists have made in more credible journals? PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 02:22, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
There are no credible journals with replies from parapsychologists. That stopped in the 1980s after the errors of Russell Targ in the nature journal, and the same thing happened with Dean Radin. Mainstream science journals rarely let parapsychologists publish. If you want replies from parapsychologists in a reliable reference, then you would have to cite something like the book Debating Psychic Experience: Human Potential Or Human Illusion? which is notable or the book you previously mentioned PSI Wars. They feature articles from both parapsychologists and scientists. Goblin Face (talk) 02:40, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
What would be more relevant would be if somebody who was not a parapsychologist defended or demonstrated replication of results in a credible journal. Again, WP:DUE comes up and if nothing changed as a result of an argument between a researcher and his detractors it is hardly notable. Simonm223 (talk) 02:25, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
(edit conflict)This article should be representing the ideas of parapsychology, so if you have a source that talks about one, then we can certainly consider how it should be included. It just needs to be placed in context, based on the significance of the viewpoint in our sources (that's what WP:DUE is all about, which I pointed to earlier). What source do you feel is missing from the article?   — Jess· Δ 02:28, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
I posted material above that I thought we could add to the Ganzfeld section, all of it quite reliable (peer-reviewed, not the usual skeptics vs believers debate, etc.). As for non-parapsychologists who find the evidence convincing, there's Jessica Utts (a statistician), as well as Lance Storm and Patrizio Tressoldi (psychologists), all of whom I cited above. For one person I didn't cite, there's physicist Stanley Jeffers et al., who were initially unable to replicate the PK effect on RNGs (and were cited by Robert Todd Carroll for that reason), but later found in a controlled study that certain individuals with brain lesions contributed a greater effect. Thus, he replicated the PK effect and found which things may contribute to a greater PK than others. It was in the JSE, but I'll include it here for posterity, even if you don't wind up using it: PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 02:48, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
GF: They do publish in peer-reviewed journals. Targ's work hasn't "tarnished" anything. They still publish in Psychological Bulletin, as I've said thousands of times. PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 02:51, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Where did it happen with Radin, exactly? Are you talking about the IJ Good note? Because that was based on a misunderstanding of Radin, as has been known for quite a while from the following exchange: PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 02:54, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

I'm reading the Freedman paper you linked and it is a severely flawed experiment. First off, the statistically significant findings were only in a single test subject with left frontal brain lesions that affected spacial perception and reduced self-awareness. Combine that with the fact that there was a researcher in the room with him during all tests and there's a substantial risk of information leaking. All people with normal brain function (and in fact all other people with brain lesions) showed no significance; this smacks of cherry-picking data.

Freedman et. al even concede "However, it remains unclear why positive results should be found only following damage to the left frontal region and not after bilateral or right frontal lesions."

Furthermore they continue "our results did not replicate the findings reported by Jahn and his colleagues in normal subjects"

So, yeah, that's a pretty flawed experiment, one that doesn't replicate Jahn's findings except in a single person with a particularly unusual form of brain damage, and which falls into the classic parapsychological trap of calling anything anomalous, no matter how slightly so, proof of PSI (though they were unwilling to even go that far and simply signed of with "warrants further research")

Finally, notwithstanding the issues with the findings, regardless of the risk of information leakage, there is the risk that with a sample so minuscule as a sample size of ONE randomness is just, well, random. Yes, the analysis of that one person showed substantial deviation from anticipated results but that's effectively meaningless because it was just one person. Flip one coin often enough and there's the chance it might deviate from statistical norms because randomness is] random. Simonm223 (talk) 03:16, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Continuing regarding the Freedman et. al paper, it was cited a total of eight times. [7] One of those was by Freedman in later work. A rebuttal from PEAR actually contends that only the responses from normal patients matter within the context of PEAR experiments and proceed to disregard the only anomalous data in the experiment entirely. All other citations that referenced the Freedman experiment were from parapsychologists; suggesting that this document had no significant impact on scientific consensus and reflects a WP:FRINGE document. Simonm223 (talk) 03:31, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

To go point-by-point:

I know the effect was found in a few subjects. That was my point. Also, I wouldn't suspect information leakage unless there was reason to, which there isn't. Also, it's not cherry-picking if all the results were included. PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 03:43, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, but it's still found following damage to the left frontal region. That's all it established, and that's what I said in my intro to it. PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 03:43, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Quote-mine. What they actually said was: "Although our results did not replicate the findings reported by Jahn and his colleagues in normal subjects (Jahn et al., 1987a, 1997), they support their claims that intentionality can alter the output of a random event generator."
Wow. Now THAT is some major hand-waving. It's not data-dredging. It comes from testing whether or not brain damage can have an effect on PK, which is what the experiment was designed to show in the first place! PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 03:43, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Again, hand-waving. It's not random because it was controlled for in the studies. If it were random, it wouldn't exhibit the statistically significant difference from chance that it does. PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 03:43, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
You do realize this was only a minor point I made, right? I even SAID it was fringe, and that you didn't need to include it. I see the rebuttal, and I notice you didn't criticize the article I have you for having a different methodology than the PEAR studies. However, ignoring this, how does citing his argument debunk my main point that there is a huge amount of evidence with which to investigate psi? Dobyns even says towards the end: "Indeed, from a hypothesis-testing viewpoint it is a successful replication: Bayesian evaluation of the Freedman et al. data produces a factor of 2.01 in favor of the PEAR alternative over the null hypothesis. That is to say, the Freedman et al. result, despite its lack of significance [ed: small number of studies], approximately doubles the posterior probability that the PEAR result is a real effect." He even takes it as a promissory note! PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 03:43, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm sorry for being rude, but I just don't think you understood my main point or that of the experiment. Also, Freedman wrote a response to Dobyns's claims in the anthology MYSTERIOUS MINDS. I can't check it out right now, but I'll find some way to do it when I find the time. PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 03:48, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
PhiChi I understand you may have strong beliefs about this subject, but what you are citing is not going to be able to improve the article because they are unreliable references (you even admitted the above paper was fringe). In Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem we read on page 161 "Parapsychological research almost never appears in mainstream science journals", this is exactly the case. Apart from two or three papers in the Psychological Bulletin on the ganzfeld you have absolutely no scientific references to cite. You have no scientific references for your bold claim of parapsychology not being a pseudoscience etc. Your claim of "Major Revisions" to the article is not going to happen unless you can present scientific references, you have been asked several times but you have not given any. Goblin Face (talk) 05:59, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
This is why I'm talking about the need for skepticism in science. I read their experimental controls. They were insufficient. As for their statistical analysis - it depended quite heavily on pseudosubjects which is never going to compensate for the lack of an appropriate sample size; which this was not by any test. A sample size of one person is effectively useless for establishing anything. Furthermore it didn't establish any evidence of PSI. All the tests did was establish a single anomalous data point. And I'm sorry but occam's razor has to come into play here - when there is a single anomalous data point in a study involving a single subject it is more likely that they made a mistake with their experimental protocols involving that subject than that the subject happened to have magical powers. And that's why no mainstream scientists cite this study - because it wasn't particularly well done and because it proved absolutely nothing about anything. Simonm223 (talk) 12:03, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
As for not rebutting the PEAR article I didn't read it anywhere near long enough to make a proper comment on it - PEAR is highly pseudoscientific and I don't have time for that today. Remember my mentioning errors in statistical analysis yeah, that's PEAR all over. Also their hypothesis depends on effect preceding cause which is not something that happens ever anywhere. Simonm223 (talk) 12:06, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
GF: OK. Your expectation of an arbitrarily huge amount of scientific references is just ridiculous. I can't provide that. I can only give the responses parapsychologists have made to these critiques, which are published in peer-review. If you can cite non-peer-reviewed skeptical publications like skepdic, you can cite these as well. Why isn't this good enough for you? I've even given you better critiques of parapsychologists, like Bosch, Steinkamp, and Boller's 2006 paper on the RNGs (also in PB: [ - this is unlikely to be accepted as a reliable source.] You even ignored that, and it's basically ammunition for you. Again, I'm aware of those books. I'm reading PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE AND THE OCCULT and I am aware of the demarcation problem and the relevant issues. The parapsychologists make a stronger case. Why don't you cite their replies instead of disingenuously claiming that the skeptics have the last word? "Aside from two or three"? NO! More like 10-15! And that's just the tip of the iceberg of other stuff published in physics journals and the new FRONTIERS OF PSYCHOLOGY. I don't "have strong beliefs on this subject". I'm just fed up with pseudoskeptical arguments like this. I just cited ONE PAPER that was fringe, and that was in passing. I said it "was fringe" (stop making it look like you twisted my arm until I said it) and even said you didn't have to include it! It wasn't even part of my main point! Why are you so intent on distorting what I'm saying? "You have not given any"? Make up your mind? Have I given too few or none at all?! And ONCE AGAIN, I just mentioned the JSE paper IN PASSING. (talk) 13:38, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Simon: I really don't understand why you're honing in on something I just mentioned in passing, but OK. This is internet skepticism (excuse me, "scientific skepticism") at its finest, I guess. Once again, the controls aren't insufficient at all. There's very little likelihood of sensory leakage (which is kind of an ad-hom towards the people carrying out the experiment), and there's a group which includes no intention whatsoever as applied to the RNG. Since the purpose is to demonstrate intention vs. no intention, that's a great control. It is not likely at all that they made a mistake with their priors. You basically just repeated yourself in spite of the rebuttal I gave to your claims. They didn't just demonstrate a "single anomalous data point", they established a statistically significant one that deserves the attention it got, given the other groups. I am sorry to say this, but you are hand-waving so much here. (talk) 13:38, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
No. Don't just say "PEAR made mistakes". Tell me how PEAR made mistakes. If it's like the reasons above, on a subject I just mentioned in passing, I don't know what to tell you. And you're going about this backwards: The entire point of the experiments is see whether there is sufficient data that an effect can precede a cause. It's called retrocausation, and I'm not even sure that the RNG tests even test that. The precognition material does, though. (talk) 13:38, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
And in case you make a charge about affirming the consequent, here's modus tollens:
1. If there is no psi, this effect should not exist.
2. This effect exists.
Therefore there is psi.
The first premise is extremely well-justified, and accounted for with the controls of the experiment. (talk) 13:38, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Could we please get off this tangent and get back to the Ganzfeld? PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 13:53, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

This isn't a forum to discuss the existence (or not) of woo. It is to discuss this article. Please try to keep discussions on-topic. If you haven't yet read WP:MAINSTREAM, WP:NPOV, WP:ARB/PS please do so now. Barney the barney barney (talk) 13:57, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
I wasn't the one who went off-topic... PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 14:20, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm honing in on the example you provided of a non-parapsychologist "replicating" the results of a parapsychologist's experiment. Except that they failed to do so. And the experiment was flawed anyway. And their work is only cited by parapsychologists. Because it effectively proved nothing. And they said as much. You know, since I asked you to provide examples of non-parapsychologists successfully replicating the results of a parapsychological experiment. Want to try again? And I'm going to say this only once more - please keep discourse civil. I have not attacked you as a person once in the course of this concentration, focusing entirely upon a source you provided - as is proper for Wikipedia. To come back with statements like "This is internet skepticism (excuse me, "scientific skepticism") at its finest, I guess," is directly attacking me, as a person. And, no, it's not ad-homonym to suggest that there is the risk of sensory leakage in an experimental design where the experimenter is in the room with the subject. Simonm223 (talk) 14:32, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm a little lost on what's being suggested. Phi, could you summarize this for me in one sentence? All I need is "I want to use this source to include "this content"."   — Jess· Δ 14:37, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

1. If there is no psi, this effect should not exist.
2. This effect exists.
Therefore there is psi.
For the record - that right there is why nobody in the scientific community takes parapsychology seriously. Simonm223 (talk) 14:38, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Simon: You keep citing your criticisms as if I never replied to them. If you don't think my replies are adequate, tell me why. There is no chance for sensory leakage. The protocol doesn't allow for it, since all the experimenter does is ask them to do something and record the result. This keeps the experimenter's activities at a minimum. How, exactly, does sensory leakage take place with a random number generator? That argument normally applies to Ganzfeld and Forced-Choice studies, but not really this. Also, that "assessment" of modus tollens is exactly why I used a personal attack (which I don't normally use with critics, BTW). This is what falsification has formally been ever since Popper. It's a formalization of the arguments scientists use, and it's pretty basic knowledge in PhilSci. PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 15:15, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Jess: There are a few articles I'd like to add on, and I'll link them here. In my first post, I gave links to articles on the new Ganzfeld tests, including a reply to Hyman and a further criticism of Storm et al. (along with their reply). These links are from Radin's website (which also has some replies to Bem that you can include), but the articles are from reliable journals:
Storm et al.'s reply to Hyman: [ - this is unlikely to be accepted as a reliable source.]
Rouder et al.'s criticism and Storm et al.'s reply: [ - this is unlikely to be accepted as a reliable source.]
Additional articles by Tressoldi that can be included: [, - this is unlikely to be accepted as a reliable source.] [ - this is unlikely to be accepted as a reliable source.]
Skeptical RNG meta-analysis by Bosch et al. with commentary: [ - this is unlikely to be accepted as a reliable source.] PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 15:15, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
I hope that helps, and I'm sorry for being harsh. PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 15:15, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

The problem with the modus tollens is in the first part. 1. If there is no psi, this effect should not exist. Parapsychologists have never successfully established this. Ever. And that's the core of the problem. It always has been. Simonm223 (talk) 15:18, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

@Phi, thanks, but you missed the second part. Those are sources, but what content do you want added based on them? Such as: "In the Ganzfield section, I want to add "this wording" based on this source." With all the talk above, I don't know what actual content is being proposed.  — Jess· Δ 15:27, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Simon: Er... no. That's valid. There shouldn't be any influence whatsoever on the RNGs, and the Ganzfeld tests should come up to chance levels if there is no psi. That's what all of our current knowledge about the natural world, including that of the RNGs, should lead to, given a high number of trials. That's why randomized trials were used in the first place. The experiments are designed so that the only effect can be something non-local. PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 15:44, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Jess: Oh, sorry. I'd like to add to the Ganzfeld section, after "Hyman has published a rebuttal [should we change that wording to "critique"?] to Storm et al.", the following: "Rouder et al. also made a reply to their claims.[link] Storm et al. have responded to both[links], and Tressoldi has continued pursuing this research in other journals.[links]" That seems neutral, but I'd appreciate feedback. PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 15:44, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

PhiChi no, that's not the case. As is well pointed out here [8] and here [9] there are all kinds of issues with PEAR and RNG experiments in general, and one of the biggest is the assumption that any anomalous data, no matter how slight, constitutes PSI. Simonm223 (talk) 15:56, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Second, with regard to your edit suggestion. Why does it matter that Storm et al. responded to their critiques? Did they change anybody's mind? Did they spawn new experimentation that later pointed to replicability? Anybody can write a letter.Simonm223 (talk) 15:58, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Simon: Once again, that's not the case. The experiments are DESIGNED so that the anomaly can only be caused by mental intention. This is the thing Robert Todd Carroll keeps missing. That's why they have the control groups to separate the lack of intentional effects from the intentional effects. It's not looking at blips on a screen and saying, "Magic!" Again, please stop strawmanning. PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 17:02, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
The reason I brought the responses up is not to "prove psi". It's to show that the proponents are actively responding to their critics in a scientific matter. "Anybody can write a letter" is yet another handwave, since the point I'm trying to make is that the responses of psi proponents are direct, enough to GET PEER REVIEW. They haven't spawned new experimentation yet, but they do allow for more conversation over the Ganzfeld trials, which could very well include plans for another experiment. PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 17:02, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
PhiChi/ the "Skeptical RNG meta-analysis by Bosch et al" which you mention is already described on the article, it does not need to be mentioned in anymore detail. And like I said above there is already an entire article on the ganzfeld experiment. The overall consensus from the scientific community is that the ganzfeld experiment was not evidence for psi (they contained sensory leakage problems, and have never been replicated) (see Blackmore, Hansel, Marks, Gardner, Milton, Wiseman, Alcock, Hyman, Neher, Colman, Stenger, Frazier etc.) Most psychology textbooks do not even mention the ganzfeld, there is no controversy. The section on this page on the ganzfeld is just an overview. You have admitted you have no scientific references. You are just wasting time here citing the same old Storm paper. Sorry but your "Major Revisions" to the article is not going to happen because you have no reliable references. What you are doing is spamming this page with unreliable material, this talk page is not a forum for your rants. You need to present reliable scientific references or you have no case at all. You are honestly wasting your time here because you even admitted you have none of these scientific references, they don't exist. Nothing you have listed will improve the article. Goblin Face (talk) 17:04, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Also I know you mean well but you shouldn't keep linking to the Dean Radin website, it is an unreliable source. Radin has misrepresented many papers on his website (even got names wrong etc). If you want to find these papers then try and find them on reliable websites. Goblin Face (talk) 17:20, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
OK. I didn't know the Bosch et al. thing was referred to. Have the replies been referred to, though? I haven't checked, but thank you. The Ganzfeld stuff HAS been replicated by parapsychologists and analyzed by proponents and skeptics alike.
But aside from that, you're just making the same criticisms over and over again, despite my replies. It's extremely annoying. The sensory leakage problem has been corrected, so the long list of names you provide probably includes people making outdated criticisms. I don't expect textbooks to mention controversial data anyway, so that's a bit of a moot point. Anyway, I have given you reliable references in the proponents' replies to criticisms. Not doing that implies that proponents have no reply whatsoever, which is absolutely dishonest. I've given you ten or twelve articles from Psychological Bulletin and mainstream scientific journals. So what if I linked to Radin's site? It's just a resource to download the articles from! You can find them yourself on Google Scholar if you think he's somehow modifying the text or whatever. PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 17:34, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
"You have admitted you have no scientific references." Wow. You are keen on misrepresenting me, aren't you? I never said anything like this. I SAID, if you recall, that the huge number of papers you seem to be asking for on this controversial topic (despite the large amount I've already given to you) is absolutely ridiculous. I have scientific references. You're just looking at them and saying "Not enough" which is a ridiculous, arbitrary criticism. I'm sorry. PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 17:34, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
I mean, seriously. How many articles do you want? A hundred? I gave you peer-reviewed, scientific papers to your long-outdated criticisms and you seem to be keen on hand-waving those away, and then going from "You've given me very few" (even though I clearly have given you plenty!) to "You've given me none." PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 17:37, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Very early on you made bold claims that parapsychology is not a pseudoscience, and that there is a "controversy" about it's status in the scientific community. You were asked for scientific references for this and you failed to provide any. You have none and offered nothing but your own opinion. You then moved onto another topic and gave no reliable references. What you are doing now is deliberately hiding behind the ganzfeld experiment, parapsychologists have been doing this for years, they have failed to provide any scientific evidence for psi so then hide behind meta-analysis so anything slightly above "chance" is considered to be evidence for "psi", this is a well known fallacy. This is already mentioned on the article in two sections but you ignore all these references. I suggest you also look up the "psi assumption" [10] "there is little or no justification for assuming that deviation from chance in a psi experiment is evidence of anything anomalous or paranormal". Like I said above the ganzfeld experiment is a very tiny part of the article. Basically apart from the Storm paper and another you have no scientific references. If you want to address the ganzfeld perhaps take it to the ganzfeld talk-page where it seems you have already been moaning on your IP address in the past. I know you are interested in this topic but nothing productive is coming out of this. Your idea about "major revisions" seems to be based on your personal beliefs, and is not going to happen because you have not presented any reliable references. You seem to be focusing on the ganzfeld but that is only a small section on this article and doesn't require a "major" revision. Goblin Face (talk) 17:52, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Oh, my God. I'm sorry. I've replied to these criticisms several times, and you keep repeating yourself over and over again. That, or you don't read my replies at all, which I've suspected from the very beginning. I'm frustrated, and this is clearly not going anywhere. I'm not going to continue with this conversation with you, GF, if all you're going to do is bring up the same thing as if I haven't responded to it. [Example... You: "It's irrational to assume that deviation from chance means psi phenomena." Me: "No, because the experiments are set up in such a way that the only deviation can be due to psi." You: "That's not right! It's irrational to assume that deviation from chance means psi phenomena!"]
This doesn't just come from my personal beliefs. You have no idea who I am, and I don't appreciate the speculation. "Basically apart from the Storm paper and another you have no scientific references." So except for all my scientific references I have no scientific references? I cited more than just "the Storm paper". I cited the works of the co-authors as well, and I can cite more. PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 18:06, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
I wasn't "moaning" with my IP address. I simply said to DanSkeptic that the team has responded to Hyman. If you want to be honest about this, you should include that, or else omit the Hyman critique. PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 18:06, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Ok, there's some WP:IDHT going on here. We keep mentioning to you critiques that demonstrated the errors in reasoning that these experiments, such as the PEAR and ganzfield experiments made which could have led to deviations from chance being something other than PSI and you keep saying "no, you're wrong." I'm sorry but this discussion is becoming unproductive. Please provide the requested references to new research from reliable sources and I'll be all too happy to discuss them. Until then I think I'm signing off from this talk thread. Simonm223 (talk) 18:14, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

I gave reasons as to why the critiques were wrong. I didn't just say "No, you're wrong", if you actually take the time to read my responses. I'd say this conversation is unproductive as well, but it's not because of me, and I'm sure anyone who comes here will see that. I've given you references to the new Ganzfeld material. What else, exactly, do you want? PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 18:20, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
I mean, you seem to be saying that if a journal even talks about parapsychology, it's not reliable anymore! That's question-begging in the extreme. PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 18:22, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
PhiChi What scientific references do you have for your bold claims that parapsychology is not a pseudoscience and there is a "controversy" about psi in the scientific community etc? You provided no scientific references for those claims and you are now hiding behind the ganzfeld with a single Storm paper. If you have no references for your bold claims then perhaps you should stop posting here this is not a forum. You claim "I cited more than just "the Storm paper" but what you have been citing is from parapsychologists on the ganzfeld nothing to do with your bold claims about parapsychology not being a pseudoscience etc. I ask again what references do you have that parapsychology is not a pseudoscience or there being a "controversy" about it in the scientific community?. None. So please stop wasting everyone's time here with your rants. It seems to me your only issue is with the ganzfeld section, there are no "major" revisions needed because you have not provided the references. Goblin Face (talk) 18:23, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
OK. I think I know the source of the problem. I was citing those to show that parapsychologists have made replies to their critics and that they were good enough to be featured in a respected peer-reviewed journal. But that was it. Regarding whether or not parapsychology is a science, I cited another paper called "Parapsychology is science, but its findings are inconclusive". I can try to find a link to that if you want. In Patrick Grim's intro to the "Parapsychology" section in PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE AND THE OCCULT, he says that, at least in a wide sense, "Parapsychology seems to stand out as in some way unique among those topics that are commonly dismissed as 'pseudoscientific'. ... Of course none of these characteristics will settle the status of parapsychology as science or pseudoscience. But they do serve to distinguish parapsychology at least superficially from other pursuits dismissed as pseudoscience, and thus may indicate that parapsychology presents a particularly troublesome case for attempts at demarcation." After arriving at that conclusion as a starting point, he lets the believers and hardcore skeptics duke it out, but it seems that this, at least, is something that distinguishes parapsychology from full-fledged pseudoscience. (talk) 18:54, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Patrick Grim is very non-committal in that introduction. If you read it in context of the rest of the book it is obvious why. The premise of the book is to provide multiple viewpoints and show a discussion about whether parapsychology is different from other things called pseudoscience because it is not pseudoscience, or because it is different in another way. If the book took a committed position at the beginning, the book would be a bit pointless. He ends the introduction with the opening: "We began by saying that parapsychology seems to stand out as in some way unique among those topics that are commonly dismissed as "pseudoscientific." But precisely how does it differ?". The book is also over 20 years old.
Right. I know he's rather noncommittal, but it does show how the line is rather difficult to draw with parapsychology, which becomes increasingly clear once you read the replies people have made to the criticism. The book is over 20 years old (1990, I think), but the debate doesn't seem to have moved. In fact, one could say the same about several of the uber-skeptical articles listed in support of parapsychology as outright pseudoscience. PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 20:17, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Exact demarcation is always a difficult problem in the philosophy of science. No doubt every writer thinks his book is of a particularly difficult case. Why the way of demarcating astrology, which many would regard as prototypical pseudoscience, as pseudoscience is varied, and there was major variation of opinion about the most important aspects of astrology that make it fall short of scientific status. Regards, Second Quantization (talk) 20:01, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
I agree for the most part. Astrology falls apart on so many levels, not least because not one of the experiments are conducted well or achieve good results. Like parapsychology, it uses randomized trials, but there was no statistically significant effect in any of them. With parapsychology, however, the experiments are constantly honed and controlled to prevent sensory problems or selective reporting, as seen in the Ganzfeld and RNG tests, and the statistical significance isn't going away. PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 20:17, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
"... but there was no statistically significant effect in any of them ..". See the Mars effect. These claims are always made by many pseudosciences. Second Quantization (talk) 13:15, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for the feedback though. I don't want to make it seem like I hate criticism of any kind. I'm just allergic to people giving me a bunch of uber-skeptics that I've already read, in messages several lines long, and then saying that I rant a lot. PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 20:17, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Again, stop accusing me of "ranting". As far as I can tell, I've done just fine in being direct, and I've probably given you things you've never seen before. (talk) 18:54, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
[Yes, I do need to watch out for whether I've been logged out. Apologies.] One more thing about the RNG study: You can clearly see that on the primary analysis, they applied Bonferroni correction to avoid a Type 1 error, and they did a replication study. And since the study was replicated, there's even less reason to say it was just a fluke. The other thing is that there's no room for sensory leakage, since the data don't involve things known to the experimenter but unknown to the participant. I think you mean "selective reporting", but this probably isn't the case, since in most of these experiments, the data are recorded automatically. PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 20:07, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
If you want another example of people who found a statistically significant effect but hand-waved it away, there's the Delgado-Romero and Howard study that replicated the psi effect but explained it away in the end: [ - this is unlikely to be accepted as a reliable source.] PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 20:07, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
In the end, my goal is not to fight with people. It's to at least give some hint that there's a controversy involved here, and that it deserves more than the label of "pseudoscience". PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 20:07, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Yes, parapsychologists write letters to journals refuting criticism of their work, but unfortunately, these have little weight when placed against the overwhelming majority of scientific opinion (the laws of physics remain valid, while psi has never been accepted as valid) and generally aren't sufficiently notable to warrant mentioning. - LuckyLouie (talk) 21:54, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Parapsychologists assume the laws of physics remain valid as well. They assume an explanation involving QM, or some deeper, more fundamental mechanism. They don't "write letters to journals", they get peer-review. And just because the majority of scientific opinion says otherwise, doesn't mean you don't get to give the psi proponents' rebuttals. Just say, "Though considered a pseudoscience by many, parapsychology still has its defenders who publish in peer-review." That's all you need to do. The fact that they're still being accepted for peer-review, unlike, say, astrology, makes it worth mentioning. PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 23:20, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

───────────────────────── References that reveal no controversy in the scientific community

PhiChi/69.14 I suggest you read what the reliable references say on this subject. Some of them are listed here:
Reliable references
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

These references reveal there is no controversy in the scientific community over parapsychology/psi:

  • Massimo Pigliucci, Maarten Boudry. (2013). Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem. University Of Chicago Press p. 158. "Many observers refer to the field as a "pseudoscience". When mainstream scientists say that the field of parapsychology is not scientific, they mean that no satisfying naturalistic cause-and-effect explanation for these supposed effects has yet been proposed and that the field's experiments cannot be consistently replicated."
  • Robert Cogan. (1998). Critical Thinking: Step by Step. University Press of America. p. 227. "When an experiment can't be repeated and get the same result, this tends to show that the result was due to some error in experimental procedure, rather than some real causal process. ESP experiments simply have not turned up any repeatable paranormal phenomena."
  • Charles M. Wynn, Arthur W. Wiggins. (2001). Quantum Leaps in the Wrong Direction: Where Real Science Ends...and Pseudoscience Begins. Joseph Henry Press. p. 165. "Extrasensory perception and psychokinesis fail to fulfill the requirements of the scientific method. They therefore must remain pseudoscientific concepts until methodological flaws in their study are eliminated, and repeatable data supporting their existence are obtained."
  • Terence Hines. (2003). Pseudoscience and the Paranormal. Prometheus Books. p. 144. "It is important to realize that, in one hundred years of parapsychological investigations, there has never been a single adequate demonstration of the reality of any psi phenomenon."
  • Mario Bunge. (1983). Treatise on Basic Philosophy: Volume 6: Epistemology & Methodology II: Understanding the World. Springer. pp. 225-226. "Precognition violates the principle of antecedence ("causality"), according to which the effect does not happen before the cause. Psychokinesis violates the principle of conservation of energy as well as the postulate that mind cannot act directly on matter. (If it did no experimenter could trust his own readings of his instruments.) Telepathy and precognition are incompatible with the epistemological principle according to which the gaining of factual knowledge requires sense perception at some point."
  • Thomas Gilovich. (1993). How We Know What Isn't So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life. Free Press. p. 160. "A scientific panel commissioned by the National Research Council to study this area concluded that "... despite a 130-year record of scientific research on such matters, our committee could find no scientific justification for the existence of phenomena such as extrasensory perception, mental telepathy or ‘mind over matter’ exercises... Evaluation of a large body of the best available evidence simply does not support the contention that these phenomena exist."
  • James Alcock. (1981). Parapsychology-Science Or Magic?: A Psychological Perspective. Pergamon Press. p. 196. "Parapsychology is indistinguishable from pseudo-science, and its ideas are essentially those of magic... There is no evidence that would lead the cautious observer to believe that parapsychologists and paraphysicists are on the track of a real phenomenon, a real energy or power that has so far escaped the attention of those people engaged in "normal" science."
  • Mario Bunge. (1983). Treatise on Basic Philosophy: Volume 6: Epistemology & Methodology II: Understanding the World. Springer. p. 226. "Despite being several thousand years old, and having attracted a large number of researchers over the past hundred years, we owe no single firm finding to parapsychology: no hard data on telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, or psychokinesis, and no hypotheses to explain these alleged phenomena."
  • Terence Hines. (2003). Pseudoscience and the Paranormal. Prometheus Books. p. 139. "After all this time, there is no clear way to obtain results showing any psychic phenomenon reliably. By far the most reasonable conclusion is that such effects do not now and never have existed."
  • Robert L. Park. (2000). Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud. Oxford University Press. p. 200. "No proof of psychic phenomena is ever found. In spite of all the tests devised by parapsychologists like Jahn and Radin, and huge amounts of data collected over a period of many years, the results are no more convincing today than when they began their experiments."
  • Eugene B. Zechmeister, James E. Johnson. (1992). Critical Thinking: A Functional Approach. Brooks/Cole Pub. Co. p. 115. "There exists no good scientific evidence for the existence of paranormal phenomena such as ESP. To be acceptable to the scientific community, evidence must be both valid and reliable."
  • Simon Hoggart, Mike Hutchinson. (1995). Bizarre Beliefs. Richard Cohen Books. p. 145. "The trouble is that the history of research into psi is littered with failed experiments, ambiguous experiments, and experiments which are claimed as great successes but are quickly rejected by conventional scientists. There has also been some spectacular cheating."
  • Jan Dalkvist (1994). Telepathic group communication of emotions as a function of belief in telepathy. Dept. of Psychology, Stockholm University. "Within the scientific community however, the claim that psi anomalies exist or may exist is in general regarded with skepticism. One reason for this difference between the scientist and the non scientist is that the former relies on his own experiences and anecdotal reports of psi phenomena, whereas the scientist at least officially requires replicable results from well controlled experiments to believe in such phenomena - results which according to the prevailing view among scientists, do not exist."
  • Charles M. Wynn, Arthur W. Wiggins. (2001). Quantum Leaps in the Wrong Direction: Where Real Science Ends...and Pseudoscience Begins. Joseph Henry Press. p. 165. "One of the reasons scientists have difficulty believing that psi effects are real is that there is no known mechanism by which they could occur. PK action-at-a-distance would presumably employ an action-at-a-distance force that is as yet unknown to science... Similarly, there is no known sense (stimulation and receptor) by which thoughts could travel from one person to another by which the mind could project itself elsewhere in the present, future, or past."
  • Luis A. Cordón. (2005). Popular psychology: an encyclopedia. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press. p. 182. "The essential problem is that a large portion of the scientific community, including most research psychologists, regards parapsychology as a pseudoscience, due largely to its failure to move beyond null results in the way science usually does. Ordinarily, when experimental evidence fails repeatedly to support a hypothesis, that hypothesis is abandoned. Within parapsychology, however, more than a century of experimentation has failed even to conclusively demonstrate the mere existence of paranormal phenomenon, yet parapsychologists continue to pursue that elusive goal."

I could add many more but you get the point. There's no controversy in the scientific community about psi. There is no scientific evidence for psi, psi contradicts well established laws of physics and parapsychology is a pseudoscience. I suggest you familiarize yourself with scientific literature on this subject and read Wikipedia policy on fringe theories and pseudoscience. I will not be further contributing to this discussion. Goblin Face (talk) 20:54, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

See above. I've replied to you enough times, and I've looked at the sources you've given me enough. Just keep reiterating your mantra and saying my sources aren't credible because you don't want them to be. That's fine. Cool. You do what you want. In the meantime, I want to talk to people who are more interested in this stuff and don't hand-wave things away. PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 21:12, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
PhiChiPsiOmega, The arbitration committee has determined that pseudoscience may be labeled as pseudoscience on Wikipedia. See Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Pseudoscience#Obvious pseudoscience. Those who refuse to abide by the arbitration committee’s ruling can be taken to arbitration enforcement and sanctioned. There is nothing further to discuss here. (talk) 05:54, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
I understand, but parapsychology is not "obvious pseudoscience". Proponents make testable predictions which are often successfully met, and they seek to explain with further testing, not explain away. This isn't the case for astrology, which is not only flawed on multiple levels, but fails in its most basic predictions. The same can be said for creation science and the goalpost-shifting intelligent design. At least with parapsychology, the line of demarcation is rather difficult to draw, if there's a line at all. PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 12:42, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
The case that you’re making has already been appealed to the highest authority, and it wasn’t decided in your favor. Your cause was lost more than seven years ago when the arbitration committee made its ruling. You're beating a WP:DEADHORSE. (talk) 13:30, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
I'm saying the arbitration committee was wrong, though, and I have very good reason to say that. This is hardly beating a dead horse. This is the equivalent of showing the horse isn't dead at all. PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 13:41, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
Well then I suppose that you’ll have to take that up with the arbitration committee. (talk) 13:46, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
Sure. Will do. Thanks... PhiChiPsiOmega (talk) 14:03, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
  1. ^
  2. ^ Sheldrake, R. 1998. Experimenter effects in scientific research: How widely are they neglected? Journal of Scientific Exploration 12: 1-6.
  3. ^ Joseph C. Pitt, Marcello Pera Rational changes in science: essays on scientific reasoning 1987, p. 83-99
  4. ^ David Ray Griffin Religion and Scientific Naturalism: Overcoming the Conflicts 2000, p. 196
  5. ^ Harvey J. Irwin (1989). An introduction to parapsychology, McFarland, p. 275.
  6. ^ Cite error: The named reference NY was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
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  8. ^ Cite error: The named reference was invoked but never defined (see the help page).