Talk:Parapsychology/Archive 2

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Paranormology (Spelling)

Suggesting a merge/move/something to paranormology, together with paraphysics. The germans are already way ahead of us. (And the germans always know what thery're doing! Remember that)

See http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraphysik .. Any thoughts?

Thank you, 89.8.39.103 20:55, 9 November 2006 (UTC) openforbusiness

Anomalous parapsychology versus parapsychology

This article should not really have mentioned phenomena such as the Loch Ness Monster,which many parapsychologists would consider outside the field. They may be studied by "anomalous psychologists", but an article on parapsychology would be a lot better focussed if it just dealt with the phenomena of extrasensory perception, precognition and out-of-the-body experiences. I was also surprised that, at no point in this article, was it made obvious that even if could be proven that all paranormal phenomena were not genuinely paranormal we could still dedicate much psychological effort to an academic study of how people come to believe in such phenomena. Thus, parapsychology could then be re-defined as the study of beliefs in paranormal phenomena. 195.93.21.7 12:53, 17 October 2005 (UTC)


History and Evaluation-Removed and Distorted

Sorry to intrude but what is mean by "Evalution" or "Evalution-Removed" please? Can't find either in the dictionary. I assume "Evolution" or "Evaluation" was intended, but no idea which. I suppose hyphen was intended as a dash - better to pad it with blanks if so. Carrionluggage 01:15, 24 January 2006 (UTC) (now back to User: Cortonin I believe - or whoever wrote this)

When I added to this heading the following, it was completely vandalized

Historians of magic and conjuring suspect parapsychology is a quest for the proof of mysticism and immortality due to a lack of faith caused by the advances in science and biblical scholarship (form, redaction criticism, the works of Rudolf Bultmann, Raymond E. Brown, Norman Perrin, etc.) See Search for the Soul by Milbourne Chistopher, Harper Collins, 1979, The Great Soul Trial by John G. Fuller, Macmillan,1969, also see Dr. Gary Schwartz's after death communications studies with John Edward and the contemporary articles by Dean Radin.

It seems to me this is unfair and uncalled for. Historians of magic and conjuring have a right to voice their suspicions due to the many years magicians have watched, and actively participated in parapsychology studies. Many times for the benefit of parapsychology. Kazuba amateur magician and historian, Order of Merlin, Member of the Association of Ancient Historians 18 Nov 04

It was edited (by me), and was not vandalized. Please check the referenced page for a description of what vandalism is on Wikipedia. There are several reasons it was edited to a severe amount. First, it's unclear what "historians of magic and conjuring" means. In these contexts it is unclear whether you are referring to stage magic or magic and conjuring. So firstly, we don't know what these are historians of.
Second, you begin your entire point with "suspect". This makes it sound like just a glorified speculation, and thus wouldn't have much point in an encyclopedia. Now if they have an educated opinion as experts in a field, that's fine, but that needs definite rewording.
Third, the sentence you make is a strong claim which attempts to put a blanket motivation across everyone who studies parapsychology. Since human behavior has high variation, this probably only applies to a subset of the people being described, and the statement should say so.
Fourth, while references are important for such claims, that's not how references are appropriately done. A reference should not be a long list of inaccessible references. Wikipedia is also not an encyclopedia which simply tells people to read other books, it should itself contain information.
Fifth, the point you were trying to make did not integrate with the rest of the article. Transitions are necessary to make the article feel as if it was written by a more coherent approach than the consecutive comments of a hundred different people. Cortonin 18:18, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Dear Mr Cortonin, You carefully avoided mentioning the twisting of meaning in your edits. You made it read that the very fine biblical scholars I named supported parapsychology and its sometimes strange pursuits. That is out and out deception and vandalism. Kazuba 18 Nov 04

Science or parascience, subject of way of studying?

The latest change said that parapschology is parascience instead of a science. But doesn't this depend on how the subject is studied? I mean, one can study the subject of parapsychology in a scientific way, I think. E.g. by throwing dices a hundred times while think of a certain number and see if this influences the outcome with the help of statistical analysis. It doesn't have to be unscientific. Thanks in advance for comments. Andries 13:51, 3 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Certainly the acceptance of parapsychology as a science is controversial, as clearly stated in the article. But I don't think it is reasonable for our anonymous contributor to simply say "It's not a science" without any sort of substantial backing of the position. After all, the Parapsychological Association is a member organization of the AAAS, whether this upsets critics or not. Therefore I will change the line back to its former state. Grizzly 09:46, 4 Apr 2004 (UTC)

I see that Maveric has edited the first line of the article to simply refer to parapsychology as "the study of ..." rather than "the branch of science ..." on the grounds that this is less controversial. If it will keep the peace within the Wiki world, I suppose I am in favor. But for the record, I do think, however, that this edit precisely muddies the issue at hand. By way of comparison, one may refer to astronomy as "the study of the stars", and this would be completely accurate. However such a definition allows in astrology, since astrologers study the stars as well. For that matter, an artist may study the stars when preparing to paint a nightime scene. But astronomy is distinguished from these latter practices by virtue of studying the stars by means of the scientific method. In the same way, parapsychology differs from any number of other "studies" of anomolous phenomena in that parapsychology makes use of the scientific method. Thus neither a "psychic" doing a "reading" for you nor an astrologer casting your horoscope nor a palm reader telling your fortune nor an exorcist trying to evict a ghost for you would be (in these capacities) a parapsychologist, though some people get confused on this point all the time. The definition of parapsychology as simply "the study of ..." leaves open this confusion. Hopefully the remainder of the article is sufficient to make clear that parapsychology claims to be a branch of science rather than these other types of activities. Grizzly 05:25, 5 Apr 2004 (UTC)


Removed this :

  • Anomalous phenomena cannot be dismissed until conventional science can provide explanations for them.

On the ground that it is redundant: exactly this is explained in the point above it that starts: "Anomalous phenomena do not disappear for lack of a theory..." JRM 19:05, 2004 Nov 6 (UTC)


To the following piece of text: "For example, in earlier times, psychic research studied macro physical phenomena demonstrated by spiritualist mediums which, according to the reports passed down to us in the literature, far surpassed anything that any of today's "psychics" can demonstrate.", someone added: "(Can someone explain what "macro physical phenomena" are?)"

Please put comments on the content on the discussion page, not the main article.

From Greek μακρός (makros), "large" (compare μικρός (mikros), "small"): anything pertaining to the world at the human scale. Frogs, beachballs and steel girders are macrophysical; atoms, protons and quarks are microphysical; love, gravity and stupidity are neither. By extension, things that are "merely small" (hairs, fluff, sand grains) may be called "microphysical" as well; scale is a relative thing.

That said, I don't see the added value of the phrase "macro physical" in the original paragraph. If the intent is to emphasize that the phenomena were "big", it should be quantified. Removed. JRM 19:33, 2004 Nov 6 (UTC)

#Limits on Parapsychology

The section "Limits on Parapsychology" is deeply confused. It morphs from a critique on skeptic accusations to a here-nor-there theory of... well, I don't know exactly what. The conclusion, if it is a conclusion, reads

If a paranormal sense must filter vastly more data than the eyes, where is the nervous system that filters and interprets the data? The brain does not appear large enough for such a sense; the other possibility is that processing is distributed among a large number of brains, or is done by a supernatural being.

This seems to be far removed from any sort of factual statement. "A large number of brains"? "A supernatural being"? Wikipedia is not an outlet for private theories; if this is a theory held by major players in the field, it should be attributed.

I'm going to be bold here and remove the entire section, on the grounds that at present, I don't understand what its point is and don't see how it could be edited to meet Wikipedia standards; hence, I think the article's better off without it. If the original author (24.116.67.142) or anyone else with insight cares, would they please explain what the purpose of this section is and discuss how we may improve it if it should be reinstated? JRM 21:02, 2004 Nov 6 (UTC)

James Randi Section

There is an entire section on James Randi in this article. While I also question the necessity of an entire section on James Randi in an article on parapsychology, since we could just as easily reference the James Randi page, there are only two reasonable choices. The first would be to eliminate the James Randi section entirely and replace it with a link to the James Randi article if "this article is about parapsychology, not about Randi". The second would be to permit both viewpoints on the role of James Randi in parapsychology in order to maintain balanced neutrality. Please restrict future edits on this to one of these two conditions in order to maintain balance. If there are conflicting viewpoints, add more information so that readers can make informed decisions, do not delete other viewpoints. 12.223.132.150 20:10, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Since you're concerned about getting out both sides of the argument, I filled in the JREF's common responses to two of the points of criticisms (you seemed to have forgotten that part), plus what I've seen been argued about the rejected applicant. How does this look? Mortene 08:19, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)
This is good, it allows discussion of the facts of the matter. 12.223.132.150 18:33, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I've been reading up a bit on Randi's commentary column on the web site, and found several references to the specific case in question, as well as several comments about the JREF refusing to take on applicants who would cause danger to themselves. I took the liberty of adding into the article a couple of hyperlinks to the relevant columns. Mortene 22:23, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Looks good. It's better to document Randi's responses, rather than to just state them. Since all the content moved, I replaced the remaining comments on the status of the challenge with a link to where all the content is in the Randi article. I placed the link in http: form, even though it's to a wikipedia page, since it links to a lower tag on the page. If there's a more "appropriate" way to link to a subsection, please repair. 12.223.132.150 05:31, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
BTW, about the length of the section, I agree that it is getting to be a bit too much for this article. I wouldn't protest if someone took out the text, merging the relevant bits into the James Randi article. Mortene 08:19, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)
This would be fine to me, but I wonder if it would reappear. There's a description of awards in the past right beneath it. If that stayed, someone would inevitably add Randi thinking that it was missing. Although I do find the awards to have less to do with the study of paranormal abilities (and thus parapsychology), and more to do with the showmanship of the matter. 12.223.132.150 18:33, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)
About the JREF Challenge to be more about showmanship: it is my impression that Randi and the JREF takes their applicants very seriously. E.g. check out Randi's latest column, he's currently in Germany testing a bunch of applicants. It seems the man is doing more for "parapsychology research" than those actually involved in that scene. Can you point to anyone doing as much or more testing of paranormal claims? I would love to see that, if there are. Mortene 22:23, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Most parapsychologists spend their time creating studies to understand the nature of parapsychological phenomena, rather than testing claims of random people. It would be like asking if physicists go around to people's garages to look at the toy motors they claim to have built. To many skeptics and outside observers, the field seems to be more about the people making public claims. To parapsychologists, I think the field is more about understanding the nature of the phenomenon itself (as it persists in showing up in controlled studies). 12.223.132.150 05:31, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Rrrriight. So if it is showing up in controlled studies, why have nobody collected the prize? (Or any other similar prize to the JREF's?) The $1m challenge is not open only to crackpots and other "random people", you know. Proving a claim of e.g. clairvoyance or other form of ESP should be incredibly simple, by doing a very straight-forward double-blind test -- given that there is actually an as of yet unexplained phenomenon there. And since you're mentioning physicists, why aren't people in that community just falling over themselves in getting at this first? There would be Nobel Prizes galore, just for being able to simply prove any such phenomenon beyond reasonable doubt. Mortene 08:42, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Controlled studies conducted by scientists are not eligible under the contest rules. (This of course being one of the things which makes it less about real science or looking for truth, and more about showmanship of trying to disprove specific claimants.) Such phenomena have been proven beyond any reasonable doubt; see the Jessica Utts reference in the "How Science Views" section of the very article we're discussing. Nobel Prizes are typically only given out for phenomena which are understood. This phenomenon is perfectly evident in controlled studies, simply not yet with an understood mechanism. 12.223.132.150 19:15, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Anyone is eligeble for the prize, also scientists - they are not allowed just to quote their research, though, they have to replicate it under controls they and whichever third party they agree with the JREF on to construct the 'challenge'. If a scientist had really done a study showing miss X could do so-and-so, he and miss X could waltz right in and grab the prize - being a scientist has nothing to do with it. It is not about investigating a branch of science, it is about whether there is a phenomenon to be investigated or not. Lundse 30 Sep 2005.

In the James Randi section of wikipedia, I was wondering if you could post the link to John Benneth's claim of Randi's million. On the site, Benneth's exchange and negotiation with Randi is chronicled. Even Nobel Prize Winner Laureate Brian Josephson tried to interceded at one point.

Benneth presented a yeast test that would win Randi's Challenge, but Randi never tested him. Since then, the two have had a feud that the online community on both sides have followed. You can read the details of this at:

http://www.psicounsel.com/marius/challenge.html

Or subscribe to Benneth's list at theproving@yahoogroups.com, or email him at johnrbenneth@juno.com

Please consider posting or linking this info to the entry on James Randi and also homeopathy.

Thanks, Winston author of "Debunking Skeptical Arguments" www.geocities.com/wwu777us/Debunking_Skeptical_Arguments.htm (anon by Nov0,2005 User:207.200.116.12)

Milbourne Christopher

Perhaps we could pick a single representative text from Milbourne Christopher for the Parapsychology article, rather than so many of them. Christopher's fame was primarilly as a stage magician, not as a parapsychologist, and perhaps he could be discussed in more detail on an article dedicated to him if Wikipedia had one. For now I'll pick the first one, since its title is the closest to parapsychology. If someone who has read these books has a better choice than perhaps they can replace it with a different reference. --Cortonin 03:39, 8 Dec 2004 (UTC)

To the public that is true, but to conjurors and to the scientific community Christopher was an extensive historian on parapsychology and conjuring. The public is very unfamilar with close up magic and its experts. Christopher was certainly not just a stage magic. The magic community is very close knit. It has always been very private, this is to, of course, preserve and protect our most unusual mysteries. Kazuba 8 Dec 04

Well, personally I don't think a secret or private historian is much of a historian. But there is definitely a difference between parapsychology and stage magic, so his mention here should be limited to any appropriate contributions he may have made to parapsychology. I do however encourage you to start a separate page about him since you seem to be a big fan of him. --Cortonin 06:16, 9 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Whatever. Knowledgeable conjurors and members of the scientific community are very familiar with his contributions. My writing of entries is over. There are others more qualified. I find myself getting too involved. I can do without it. I can find better things to do that are fun!

Kazuba 9 Dec 04

Putative, alleged

frauds". 

D.D. Home, John Edward, and James van Praagh (and probably everybody else in this list) have also been alleged to be frauds, and many view Eusapia Palladino or Uri Geller genuine. Putting a person in one or the other category seems to be entirely a matter of opinion (or of whether one is smart enough to see through their tricks). I'm in favor of joining the lists to an "alleged psychics" list. --Hob Gadling 16:29, Dec 22, 2004 (UTC)

Agreed. That seems like too much of a POV expression to have them categorized. For some of them the evidence of them being fraudulent may be quite clear, but for others the matter might be more complicated and subject to interpretation. It sounds like a matter better left to description in their individual wiki articles. Perhaps the name "Claimed Psychics" or something along those lines might be better than "Alleged Psychics", to draw attention to the fact that it is these people who are claiming to be psychic, rather than others who are alleging that they are. Cortonin | Talk 03:21, 24 Dec 2004 (UTC)

A few changes, probably ripe for reversion

Although most of my edits were minor (dashes, grammar, spelling, a couple of additions to references and external links), I've also changed the summary slightly. As it can be (and has been) argued that much, at least of parapsychology concerns phenomena that can't reasonably be described as mental (or cognitive), I thought that to define it as the study of mental phenomena was inappropriate. Should I add a section explaining these arguments? (I have added a link to an on-line article in which one such argument is presented, and a reference to a collection of papers some of which discuss other arguments in the same area.) Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 15:29, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I've again removed "necessarily" from the Criticisms section; either arguments/evidence prove something or they don't — the "necessarily" added nothing (and made no logical sense; from what is it being distinguished? Contingently proving?). I know that it's a common locution, but it's still wrong.
While I was typing this the following comment was added. I'll read and respond when I've had dinner (sorry — but pasta has to be eaten hot). Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 20:12, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Yeah. I have seen mention of correlative interpretations of parapsychology evidence which do not include any mental ability. They are rare, but those interpretations do exist. In order to keep the opening sentence readable, while factoring in that possibility, I reorganized it to focus more on parasychology as a study of certain types of evidence, with a second sentence describing the more common interpretation of "mental abilities" as just the more common interpretation. Then that sets the stage for the other article you added to be read under "status of the field". How does that sound? Cortonin | Talk 20:16, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)
The content of the summary seems fine now (well, I have a quibble or two; if I can think of a way to resolve them, I'll post a suggestion here). Incidentally, the sorts of argument that I had in mind are those represented by the King paper to which I linked. The point is that in many or most (at least laboratory produced as opposed to hearsay) examples of psi phenomena there's no evidence of anything like knowledge or perception; in the classic Rhine test and its successors, for example, whatever the percentage of right answers, the subject actually has no idea which guesses are correct and which are incorrect. Thus there's no relevant belief, and thus no possibility of knowledge. In so far as there's something that needs to be explained, it usually seems to be physical or behavioural rather than mental. Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 21:20, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Well, there have been a number of experiments designed in other ways. For example, they'll take something like an automated dice rolling machine, and instruct the participant, "Try to make it roll all 4s." Many experiments similar to this have published positive results, and that type would seem to indicate some sort of cognitive role. In addition, there have been experiments which compare or manipulate the expectations and beliefs of the participants, such as having some expect to fail and having others expect to succeed. Many such experiments have published a significant correlation between high success scores and expectation of success, also seeming to indicate a cognitive role. Cortonin | Talk 07:14, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)

skeptic/scepticm center/centre

A quick google search reveals that "skeptic" and "center" are overwhelmingly the preferred spellings, so we should use those here. Cortonin | Talk 19:48, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)

That was me, I'm afraid (though it's not a thing one can Google for, nor a matter of what's preferred; the difference is between U.S. and British English). It was a semi-automatic thing, as I went through the article. Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 20:00, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Understood. I'm sure it would bother me a bit if I were British.  :) But I think the most fair solution, considering the international nature, is to check for the most common world usage. (Which I like to use google for, as a count of how often a particular spelling is used. This is useful for things like "judgment" versus "judgement", etc.) Cortonin | Talk 20:14, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Violating laws?

The example given in this section is fairly "weak", because it's not a law. On the other hand various forms of PK violate "real" laws. For instance, moving objects via PK clearly violates conservation of momentum and conservation of energy. Most forms of ESP in general would seem to violate conservation of energy at some level, although some of these are more arguable. For instance, direct mind-to-mind communications would seem to require about the same sort of energy as a cell phone, increasing with range. I think the former is a more appropriate example, it's something that is in direct violation of known physics, and decidedly unlikely to change.

Another problem I have with this section is the statement that laws are simply "highly agreed upon" observations. While this may have been true at some point, conservation laws are now well understood at a basic theoretical level. Momentum is conservered because of the symmetry of the universe, not "just because we see it is". Unless the universe were to dramatically change shape in the future, this law is simply not going to change.

While supporters may pooh-pooh this argument, I think it's safe to say its on a much more solid footing than the article suggests. Yes, I realize the statement is written to provide both sides of the argument in order to be fair, but the result is something that strikes me as "soft". This argument is VERY VERY powerful, I think it should at least be presented as such.

Maury 13:06, 14 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I believe it is a basic tenet of science and a important idea within the philosophy of science that there are no facts in science. Science can prove nothing, it can only falsify and therefore bring us to a closer approximation of the truth. That is where the idea that laws are only "highly agreed upon" observations. They are held to be true because attempts to falsify them have been numerous and rigorous yet unsucessful. Still, no matter how many times we fail to falsify something we can't prove that it is true by doing so. Therefore, laws are only highly agreed upon observations that are there to be refuted.

Pseudoscience Category

Dictionary.com defines pseudoscience as " "A theory, methodology, or practice that is considered to be without scientific foundation," or, "an activity resembling science but based on fallacious assumptions." It's perfectly reasonable to discuss within the article the people who do and do not find parapsychology to be a pseudoscience, but to definitively categorize it as one is to make a POV value judgment in the actual categorization. I don't think it can be classified as NPOV to categorize a topic with many prominent perspectives as "fallacious", since this is little better than stating it as true or untrue in the definition. Cortonin | Talk 09:06, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I couldn't agree more (well, except that the definition of 'psudoscience' is a bit vague; the normal definition, for example, specifies that an activity must be described by its practitioners as scientific). To be honest, I don't think that the addition was meant to be a serious contribution — it looked more like petty vandalism. Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 09:57, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)
By that reasoning, the category "pseudoscience" should be removed. Every pseudoscience considers itself science, so putting anything into the category is POV. --Hob Gadling 12:55, May 25, 2005 (UTC)
Well, that's certainly something worth considering. But in particular this is true of fields with prominent representation. Parapsychology has a number of prominent research organizations and centers with prominent researchers from mainstream research, such as PA, PEAR, SPR, and ASPR. It also has a number of prominent peer-reviewed journals, such as the Journal of Parapsychology. Cortonin | Talk 15:44, 25 May 2005 (UTC)
Prominence is irrelevant for the question of science or pseudoscience. --Hob Gadling 14:29, Jun 9, 2005 (UTC)

i too agree parapsychology has a long history of experiments with many doctors, scientists and Phd holders being members of organisation concerning it. Or at least beleive in it. this article seems to have an extreme skeptical base. after exery fact or statistic that could confirm psi they put " this has its critics" thats a bit obvious but statistics that strong tend to speak for themselves 1 trillion to one!!! even with a margin for error the statistics speak for them selves. and by the way the a patent has to do what it says on the box im afraid. and the PEAR patent pertains to pk im afraid. Yeah it has its critics but hell even the world being round still has critics. putting pseudoscience in the same category is wrong im afriad

Every experiment so far is flawed. Rhine threw out half (approx.) his data. If you disagree, contact the James Randi Foundation [1] and compete for their prize. I am sorry - the ideas are appealing, but the results do not stand up to scrutiny (double-blind experiments etc). Those "trillion to one" odds need to be repeated under the watchful eye of James Randi or a similar skeptic. Anyway, it is a harmless pastime except when police ask "psychics" to locate criminals. And there is always the Niels Bohr quip on horseshoes bringing good luck: [2] Pdn 06:26, 18 May 2005 (UTC)

sorry wrong again, some of the experiments only had the flaws most of the experiments concerning gravity and oxygen and animal behaviour had. ahcve a look at the clever and stupid merit badge experiment involving rats for this example. rhine did not throw out half of his research, that unfortunatly is a myth. also read this site for exactly how rhandi "investigates" http://www.skepticalinvestigations.org/exam/Prescott_Randi.htm and the results do stand up to scrutiny, the high odds, university proffesors and scientists supporting it, the high amounts of anoumalous instances see these for example http://paranormal.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ&sdn=paranormal&zu=http://www.williamjames.com/Folklore/MINDOVER.htm and the US patent prove this. and the patent [which i have read] involves psi just under another name. and the idea of psi is not appealing to most poeple it scares many people due to the fact that if it exists, it negates two of the main protections we have for ourselves, distance and barriers. the idea someone can influence you or things around you is a scary thought. why did you think we had the witch burnings? you should read supernature by lyall watson for the shear scope of psychoikinetic research as an electtric field phenomena, the electric field has been offically proved to the scientific community by harrold burr after years of people saying there was no such thing. how long before pk is??

Parapsychology is based on the argument from ignorance - everything a parapsychologist does not understand, he will put into the category "psi". Essentially parapsychologists say, "we are so smart that everything we can't explain has has to be some extraordinary thing". This backwards logic also leads to incompetence becoming an advantage - the more you can't explain, the more psi you find, the more successful you are. Susan Blackmore couldn't find any psi because she is too smart - she always found an explanation. When she watched another parapsychologist's (Carl Sargent's) experiment, trying to find out why others found psi where she failed, she quickly found where he went wrong. After this she wasn't invited by other colleagues. So she stopped doing parapsychology.
This is an irreparable fault in the basement of the building, and that's why parapsychology is not science. --Hob Gadling 12:55, May 25, 2005 (UTC)
I think this is an oversimplification. Perhaps unfortunately the definition of "paranormal" is based on argument from ignorance, as it is defined as that which is beyond normal scientific explanation, but parapsychology has found much more rigorous definition than simply being the study of the paranormal. It is the specific study of testable cognitive information flow without a classical mechanism for that information flow, plus the study of observable cognitive influence without a classical mechanism for that influence. And each controlled experiment in the literature is setup with a rigorous definition for what result will be considered psi information flow or psi influence. Unfortunately, many critics of these studies fail to apply Occam's Razor. Criticisms are often of the form, "I don't know how to explain it, but there must be some other explanation rather than psi." If we were to apply these same standards to the rest of science, we would find ourselves a bit short on actual scientific results. How do we know aspirin works? Surely there could be some other explanation. Is saying that it does based on studies which haven't examined all other possible explanations an argument from ignorance? Cortonin | Talk 15:44, 25 May 2005 (UTC)
"Without a classical mechanism" again contains a negation and again the argument from ignorance. And "I don't know how to explain it, but there must be some other explanation rather than psi" is hardly worse than "I don't know how to explain it, so I'll just call it psi." Aspirin: This is something totally different. "Aspirin works" is not defined in the same "residue" way as psi is. Take away everything you can't explain, and call the rest psi. BTW, you couldn't refute incompetence becoming an advantage. --Hob Gadling 14:29, Jun 9, 2005 (UTC)
As for Susan Blackmore, read in her own words. She went into the field because she was a drug user trying to explain her experiences, and then became disillusioned with the field when she was unable to explain her drug experiences in terms of parapsychology (which perhaps indicates that the experimental methods examine real phenomena, and not hallucinations), and now she simply works in the field of conscious memes and altered states of mind. There are more clear-headed skeptics to examine who have observed studies and concluded, reluctantly, that there is a real phenomenon. Cortonin | Talk 15:44, 25 May 2005 (UTC)
I suspect that you define "clearheaded skeptic" as "someone who concluded, reluctantly, that there is a real phenomenon". And I did read a book by Blackmore - "In Search of the Light. The Adventures of a Parapsychologist", as well as some articles by her, and some books by other parapsychologists. None of this sheds a good light on the discipline. The parapsychologists' arguments are mostly anecdotes, argument from ignorance and argumentum ad hominem. They are typical pseudoscientists in that respect. --Hob Gadling 14:29, Jun 9, 2005 (UTC)

made some changes due to the fact that no evidence for doc hillford duplicating dd homes feats appear in search engines other than this article. also homes levitations NEVER took place in dark rooms. always in full light and plenty of time to examine by those present. Also home drew on the ceiling of a house DURING LEVITATION. Consult the orginal evidence of William Crookes for this evidence. Also home produced feats such as holding hot coals, after examinations had been made of his hands, without burning. Also materialisations and manipulation of the bodies natural functions are attributed to home as well. Robin

Holding hot coals is not a big problem for physics, see fire-walking. "Full light" means "full gas light", and Crookes was probably easy to fool. Scientists are not taught how to deal with fraud. --Hob Gadling 14:29, Jun 9, 2005 (UTC)

not having your hands examined then holding white hot coals for minutes at a time and blowing on them to make them hotter!! also his levitations did not take place at gaslight, they took place DURING THE DAY. Do you not read up on these things at all. did you not look for anything on DD.home. As for crookes he was at the height of his intellectual powers and had detected fraud before. and magicians witnessed homes powers and claimed either to be dumbfounded or that they could do the same but non-did. But let me give you and example. In daytime in a lab DD.home depressed a scale to the weight of 9lbs without touching it with his arms and legs firmly held. In a lab, in full light, in full day. REad crookes reports again, if indeed you have already [which i doubt considering your statements. thats not being fair not looking at this stuff and dismissing it. do you not know where it is?? would you like the link?] Robin

trimmed the dd home bit again due to reasons stated above. putting it back in without answering my argument just proves me right about my theory that this site seems to not be based on fact but the opinion of a few close minded individuals. And again the only source for Doc hilford duplicating dark room feats was this page, so show me some proof if you want it to stay put. but even if you do it still doesnt account for the day time pehenomena and a plethora of other phenomena. so having that bit in is factually unsound. robin

"not having your hands examined then holding white hot coals for minutes at a time and blowing on them to make them hotter!!"
Yes. No problem for physics. As I said, see fire-walking. Single coals are easy.
"they took place DURING THE DAY"
Can you give a source for that?
"As for crookes he was at the height of his intellectual powers and had detected fraud before"
That is irrelevant. What if Home was also "at the height of his intellectual powers" and knew more about fraud than Crookes? You psi believers have so little common sense...
"In daytime in a lab DD.home depressed a scale"
I don't know which trick he used - the sentence contains only a few hints at what may have happened. But I bet he knew more about fraud than you and I. Our failing to explain it says nothing about how it worked.
"would you like the link?"
Of course. --Hob Gadling July 4, 2005 20:42 (UTC)

ok first generalising me as a psi beleiver is offensive. secondly firewalking cannot explain the examining of holmes hands for heat retardents, then holding hot coals for minutes at a time. the source is a site on survivalists but it is the original report submitted by crookes to the scientific community at large. http://www.survivalafterdeath.org/books/crookes/researches/contents.htm examination of this gives crookes accounts and experiment details including ones done in daylight in a controlled labrotory setting. but i dont expect you too do this. just make more sweeping generalizations. therfore i shall generalize you as a head in the sand skeptic. Here are some more sources on homes phenomena http://www.survivalafterdeath.org/books/crookes/researches/contents.htm http://www.prairieghosts.com/ddhome.html http://paranormal.about.com/library/weekly/aa022403a.htm

but again i doubt you will explore these, even though crookes was a pillar of the scientific community and even discovered an element. as for us psi beleivers having little common sense. read the conciouss universe jackass. you know the one that physics proffesors and nobel laureates are praising. or dont and remain ignorant. yolur choice Robin

"firewalking cannot explain the examining of holmes hands for heat retardents"
But the article about firewalking can explain his holding hot coals. Heat retardents are a red herring.
I looked at the sites but couldn't find any justification for your claim that the levitation took place in full daylight. Can you please be more precise? And your boasting about Holy Crookes is useless. You seem to believe that being a "pillar of the scientific community" makes Crookes infallible and everybody has believe every single one of his judgements. Far from it - science is based on not believing what authority figures claim but testing it.
physics proffesors and nobel laureates are praising
By "physics proffesors and nobel laureates" you probably mean Brian Josephson and Brian Josephson. Pretty unusual to refer to a single person in plural, don't you think? Once again, boasting is not a scientific argument. --Hob Gadling 13:54, July 26, 2005 (UTC)

"You psi believers have so little common sense..."

That's one of those statements that makes my blood boil. I urge you to read this short article [3] by Jim Hall, co-director of Haunted North Carolina. I studied under him for a bit while working on a research project about parasychology.
That article provides a very simple argument for the validity of any type of research, provided that the researchers are doing thier part correctly. I'm not going to say that everything you ever hear associated with Parapsychology is true, or even that most of it is. The point of the science is that people all over the world have similar stories about similar experiences dating back centuries. Somewhere, there has to be a cause. Simply writing it off as nonsense is a good way to come out sounding like a dunce.
Also, if you really want to look into a responsible form of parapsychology, you should look at some of Lloyd Auerbach's books.

Common sense... --Explody 19:42, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

I never met any psi believer who didn't say really foolish and naive things. Some of them do it all the time, some do it only now and then. For example, everything you wrote looked somehow reasonable but "people all over the world have similar stories" does not mean anything. People all over the world are stupid in the same ways because they had common ancestors. They all make the same mistakes in logic and conception, again and again. So this is no reason for believing in anything extraordinary.
I think that in order to believe in psi, you have to turn off some baloney check modules in the brain. Parapsychologists claim that turning them off is a good thing because otherwise they wouldn't be able to find psi. But strangely, psi and fraud flourish in the same niches - in the brains of people who turn off their baloney check modules. --Hob Gadling 17:04, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
True, all people have their particular ignorances, but shared ancestory doesn't mean anything in the context of modern experience. As for "baloney check modules," the fraud poses the biggest threat to psi research. The first words out of a skeptic's mouth - hell, usually out of a researcher's mouth - when confronted with a phenomena is 'fraud.' That's why most of the available books about 'ghost hunting' techniques (I say 'most' because I have obviously not read them all) strongly suggest extensive interviews with everyone involved. That's why any psi researcher you talk to will tell you, at length, to use whatever controls are available to you in your experiment. Despite the unexcusable amount of fraud that worms its way into the field, researchers still are still trying to find explanations for things that haven't been adequately explained. The shared misconceptions that you brought up are often just that, but there are times when these things can't simply be explained away as mistakes. Those times are precisely what parapsychologists are looking for.
As for your 'no reason to believe in anything extraordinary" comment, when viewed objectively, anything can be seen as 'extraordinary.' The idea that something can have an attracting force by simply having enough mass could ceratinly be considered extraordinary, but because it's something that we've lived with since we were born, something integral to almost all of the experiences a person has, it seems quite normal. The fact that it isn't part of everyday experience doesn't make it any less real.
Please forgive my lack of organization, that seems to be a major failing of mine.

--Explody 02:30, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

I agree with almost everything, except:
  • "there are times when these things can't simply be explained away as mistakes. Those times are precisely what parapsychologists are looking for." - That's true, and that's exactly what's wrong with parapsychology. They are looking for things they can't explain. Finding something they can't explain is a success. Not being able to explain it is a success. People who are bad at explaining are successful. Does that sound like a smart concept to you? It doesn't to me. To me, it looks like parapsychology attracts the wrong sort of people. And this is irreparable - it's inherent to the subject.
  • "anything can be seen as 'extraordinary" - minor point, but this looks like an evasion to me. I think you know very well that a person who bends metal with the mind is a real lot more extraordinary than a person who fools a scientist into believing he bends metal with the mind. --Hob Gadling 20:18, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
Agreed and agreed. Parasychology does attract the wrong sort of people for scientific research, and that evasion really was the best I could do. But you hit the nail right on the head: we are looking for thing we can't explain, and doing our damndest to explain them. Whether to current models are correct or not, or even anywhere close, is certainly up for debate. The spontaneous action that characterizes most psi events makes creating a repeatable experiment very difficult, and the lab tests are infinitely less impressive. The fact that nobody in the field can definatively say how or why psi works makes our studies susceptable to fraud and our subjects of study refutable based on personal beliefs alone. Nobody in their right mind would refuse to believe in gravity, or try to say that physics is the result of an over-active imagination combined with misinterpretations of common events. That was the point of the gravity analogy. It is very hard to present data on a topic when at least half of those you are presenting to are naturaly inclined to disbelieve anything about your field. Robert Matthews said in a 2004 issue New Scientist magazine, “The worst suspicions of parapsychologists are thus entirely justified. It is impossible to find evidence… that will win round the skeptics.”

--Explody 02:09, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

Categorization isn't what you think it is

This whole discussion is hinged on an incorrect assumption about the nature of categorization on Wikipedia. That an article is in a category indicates that the article has some relevance to that category. It is the article, and not the topic which is categorized. If you understand this, then a great many categorizations on Wikipedia will make sense to you, which are otherwise patently absurd. Placing Parapsychology in Category:Pseudoscience is not a POV statement about parapsychology, it is an assertion that someone interested in the parapsychology article might benefit from further research through other articles which touch on pseudoscience, and conversely that people researching the pseudoscience category would benefit from the parapsycology article. Period. -Harmil 20:26, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

Evolution and Psi

I guess you guys are all "creationist" or "intelligent design" types, because our senses of sight, taste, smell, touch, hearing, and proprioception seem to work pretty reliably. True, an eagle has sharper vision (but perhaps less field of view) and a dog better smell, but we are generally OK. Generally, too, our muscles work OK and if we want to break a waterglass we can throw it. Except this psi stuff comes and goes, working best when a pro-psi person does the experiment. Why is this? How come most people's ESP, precognition, PK, and so on are so poor most of the time, when evolution developed our other senses so well? How come we need Qi-Gong classes to look across the room and shatter a rock - you would think this kind of thing would have been great for primitive people to scare away (or force away!) bears and tigers? Or is it that the "intelligent designer" is teasing us, or got distracted in the middle of her/his work? Pdn 16:13, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

You can't automatically assume precognition and psychokinesis exist. I mean they violate all basic laws of physics that exist. For example, take precognition. Time flows in one direction; objects in three dimensions constantly change as time progresses due to their state and energy. One could 'predict' what would happen in the future by understanding the energy and force involved with it completely; for example, if one were to throw a heavy and dense ball at the window, one could approximate the impact force generated when the ball hit the window would be suffecient to shatter it. But one cannot say the exact time when the window is broken, because this is dependent on a factor that cannot be controlled, such as when the force to move the ball is derived from the arm's kinetic energy, derived from the contraction of muscular cells, derived from the energy of ATP, derived from the energy of protons moving down a chemielectrical gradient, derived from the energy of electrons in glucose, etc, because these are factors which can happen with a degree of probability. In other words, the assumption of precognition is dependent on the assumption that the universe exists in a predefined layout which cannot be changed. Anonymous 18:13 6 January 2006 (EST)

Nope... not an "intelligent design" type, not even remotely creationist. The fact that pro-psi reserachers get positive results more often than anti-psi researchers is in itself being studied by teams of parasychologists(a term which, by the way, is not associated with believers or non-believers, but anyone works in the field). I'll put a link or some supporting text in here when I have the opportunity to go through my research on the topic, but if I could find it by looking on Gale Infotrac for 'parasychology,' you should be able to find it by typing 'sheep-goat effect' into google. Have you ever met somebody who was naturally stronger than somebody else? Or perhaps somebody who was born blind? These are all fluxuations in the development of our "normal" senses. The research I've looked at would consider somebody shattering rocks quite a feat. The fact is, these types of things do happen, and occasionaly there aren't any "rational" explinations for the events. The unexplained events are generally not cases of shattering rocks, just the rock that slides across a table seemingly on its own power. --Explody 19:40, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

ADDENDUM: Sorry, didn't even notice the anon. post. For starters, the laws of physics have, over the course of time, changed dramatically. The PK theories aren't written in stone; parapsychologists devloped these ideas because the "basic laws of physics that exist" didn't cover occurances that they observed. Also bear in mind that the most common type of PK (according to Lloyd Auerbach, my preferred source for scientific information about the field)is spontaneous and subconcious: poltergeist activity caused by a living human's subconcious to relieve stress. William Roll used the term "Recurrent Spontaneous Psychokinesis" to describe this type of event.

And I'm off topic all of a sudden. to respond to your discussion of precognition, your view is common and more than likely incorrect. Rather than a peek into the future, it is likely that a precognative vision is more like a probability, i.e. "If you go jogging tomorrow, you will more than likely get hit by a car." Obviously, if you don't go jogging, you will not be present to be hit by the car, therefore rendering the vision invalid. That's the most plausable reasoning from my standpoint, anyway. As to where this information comes from, I haven't heard any convincing theories. Wow, I sound stuck-up when I get going... --Explody 02:16, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

"You can't automatically assume precognition and psychokinesis exist. I mean they violate all basic laws of physics that exist. For example, take precognition. Time flows in one direction..."

The level of intelligence being demonstrated here by some folks (especially, of course, by the Randi-worship cult) is frightening.

Dear Mr./Ms. Anonymous. Your presumptions regarding the nature of time were specifically refuted half a century ago by one of our greatest physicists, Albert Einstein, who said:

"The distinction between past, present, and the future is only an illusion, however persistent. Time is not at all what it seems. It does not flow in only one direction, and the future exists simultaneously with the past."

It would be nice if you actually understood physics before you started spouting off about it. Newton's dead, and has been dead for some time. We've grown since then. Hadn't you noticed?

Psi Isn't Necessarily Old

What makes you think psi is ancient, or if it is, that it's ever been possessed by more than a tiny portion of the population? Assuming that because our "normal" senses are reliable,and this one is less so, this means it doesn't exist would be quite fallacious. I am not religious in the least, but I'm innately gullible, and known to have an IQ smaller than my shoe size. It runs in my family. This is the way it is for most such folks. These abilities usually seem to develop later in life than the others, and this may be why they aren't wired as reliably as the other senses. Evolution is not a clean cut process. When a trait first evolves, it's going to have 'bugs'. If it provides some benefit, it may strengthen. But that takes time. The first "eyes" were little more than patches of light-sensitive skin, nothing more. Now, a broad spectrum of light can be distinguished by various organisms, in superbly fine detail. The comparison is radical. When I can name what someone is doing with psi when they are 1000 or more miles away, and they confirm it without my telling them my perception, I have to assume my senses are telling me the truth. Associating any of this with a belief in religion is simply wrong. There is no such association. Psi involves things that SOME people can indeed see and manipulate. It doesn't involve any type of faith at all. You may believe that I am lying or delusional, but your only reason for assuming that would be bias. Parapsychology is about identifying what's not explained, and trying to explain it. That also involves explaining what is NOT happening, which is equally important to science.

What makes you think you posess an ability no one else does? Can you confirm it, can you give quantaty, can you give unbiased proof that can be measured? There is nothing that cannot be measured. There is always an explaination; nothing just 'is'. When people first theorized where life came from their answer was spontaneous appearance of organisms, for example, maggots appear when meat is left out. Because no one questioned this, because no one controlled all the variables and measured what took place, everyone believed it. You may think that the modern scientific process is something of an obstacle to parapsycology but it keeps frankly stupid explainations from appearing. If you want some sort of proof to this concept, the latest and greatest thing is quantum physics, which actually has an explaination that can be mathematically proven. Quantum probability tells you that by a certain influence, one probability will become greater then another. It is in essence an affirmation of the power of the human mind, but it theorizes that such a situation where everything is under an individual's control is difficult to achieve. However in no way does it assert that there is a genetic predisposition to this power nor does it assert that this power is inherent in the few. You point out that 'our' only reason for denying you is bias; but at the same time the only reason you can think you posess such powers is bias. This arguement is a no win situation which only a scientific process can solve. - Anonymous

Why I put up the NPOV tag

Let me preface this statement with the fact that I do in fact beleive in the supernatural. I believe some of it is in fact real. I also believe a lot of it is not. Just so you understand a little where I'm comming from.

I feel that this article is biased in favor of the field. It also uses unproffessional language, and practically insults skeptics. Example:

While the input of magicians can be of benefit to the design of some experiments in experimental parapsychology, especially those which test "special subjects" or individuals who claim to be psychic stars, most magicians, such as James Randi, Penn and Teller, are ignorant of the published literature of the field and therefore over-estimate the usefulness of their criticisms. In addition, most magicians are also woefully naive about scientific method in general, or science practice in parapsychology in particular and so their criticisms are frequently out-of-date and besides the point.

These statements basically amount to name calling, and aren't the only examples. How can an encyclopedia, reporting FACTS, say that someone is ignorant, or naive? How do we know these things? Did someone say that they were ignorant or naive? If so, who? We should quote them, and attribute the quote properly. Did someone test these people on their knowledge? If so, that person should be named, the results of the test cited. Etc.

Every claim by a skeptic is countered, in some cases I think unfairly. Statements of fact are made, but not sourced. Source! Source! Source! Attribute! Attribute! Attribute! So many claims are made and so few names are mentioned that I simply can't see this as anything but POV pushing, even though I agree with many of the claims! But they simply aren't given any backing. Fieari 03:19, 24 September 2005 (UTC)


In my opinion the article as it existed before the recent edits was not at all neutral but biased towards the skeptical side and included a number of errors of fact. Given that the individual who added the paragraph listed above as offensive provided a different point of view, and has recently edited it to attribute this point of view to proponents of parapsychology, it seems to me that the addition has balanced what was not at all a balanced portrayal either of the field of parapsychology or the controversy as it exists. Ah but one man's "neutral" is frequently another man's "biased". Perhaps the original author of the Randi article should show textual proof that Randi is the skeptic's hero, and that Penn and Teller have provided productive criticism on the scientific side of parapsychology. That certainly would have "unbiased" the original paragraph as it stood and perhaps not invited the "correction".


Wikipedia isn't about balance. It's about reporting facts, in a dry, academic, proffesional manner. The key points here are: WP:NPOV and WP:CITE. Slander and lies against one side are not balanced by putting slander and lies on the other side too. Remove slander and lies from both sides. The point isn't to give fair time to both sides, but rather to report what absolutely no one can reasonably deny.
It's easy to reasonably deny parapsychology. It's also easy to reasonably deny critics of parapsychology. It isn't reasonable to deny that X person denies parapsychology and has said A, B, and C on the subject. It isn't reasonable to deny that Y person is an advocate of parapsychology and has said L, K, and J on the subject.
In general, it's best to not state things or facts (except in completely non-controversial areas, and even then you need to cite sources and be careful). Don't say something is, say that someone else says that something is, and then name that person and inform the reader where they can confirm for themselves that this other person has said these things.
When this is done, the NPOV tag will no longer be required. Fieari 15:44, 8 October 2005 (UTC)
I agree that it nees the NPOV tag. Bubba73 (talk) 00:36, 30 October 2005 (UTC)
Definately required. -AlexJohnc3 My Talk Page 00:37, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Famous parapsychologists wiki-links

Famous parapsychologists wiki-links.I wish to suggest an extension of the list in this article, or at least a separate list, to include famous people who made contributions to parapsychology. There are articles in Wikipaedia on such people, including Carl Jung and Rupert Sheldrake and it would be good if there were some wiki-links to such names from this article. Cardamom195.93.21.7 17:25, 9 October 2005 (UTC)

speaking of which Richard Wiseman needs a stub someomne Tiksustoo 14:10, 26 October 2005 (UTC)

Wolf Messing's daughter's book made him famous?

The article states that Wolf Messing's daughter's book made him famous. What is this book called? I am not aware of such a book and I think it is a mistake. I will remove it when no answer is coming in one week time, or others hopefully, in case I forget. See Wolf Messing, an enigmatic ‘psychic entertainer’ whom Sathya Sai Baba claims to have encountered by Alexandra Nagel Thesis composed as part of the MA-course Occult Trajectories II: Magic in Twentieth-Century Europe and North America, University of Amsterdam. Andries 15:55, 8 October 2005 (UTC)

Deleted unsourced nonsense

I removed the following--

Sociologist Andrew Greeley, studying surveys and polls since 1978, found not only that the percentage of Americans admitting to psychic experiences had increased over a decade, but that about two thirds of college professors accepted ESP, and more than 25% of "elite scientists" believed in ESP. Other polls have shown that many scientists hold such beliefs privately but do not share such opinions publicly for fear of ridicule.

There's a lot of POV crap in this article, but this is ridiculous. (What decade? What's an elite scientist? "Many scientists hold such beliefs privately"? How many? Who says?) Since it's a paragraph full of highly doubtful claims and is completely unsourced, I think I was justified in deleting it. Please don't put it back unless you can find and include real references. --The Famous Movie Director 01:13, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

I referenced the Greeley work and placed that portion back, but with significant rewording to more accurately reflect the reference. I did not put the 25% of "elite scientists" portion back, because I agree that it is ambiguous in its description, and I was unable to acquire the original source to check the definition of "elite". While I would not find the "other polls" sentence particularly surprising given the numbers already present, I have not yet seen a reference for a survey showing this. If someone has (or can find) a reference for this, please provide it. FRJohn 21:36, 10 November 2005 (UTC)

Effects of perhaps too many chefs

Having been involved in the field of parapsychology for 40 years, I find this article less than complete and certainly biased. But I must wonder if that bias is the result of mutual editing as one then another makes minor alterations to the text. The result would, perforce, become a mangle of beliefs and would in the worst instance, actually be factually wrong.

There are a couple of immediate examples that evidence in the very first section, attemptin to define the field. Parapsychologists study ESP, PK and survival. Full stop. That's it. Nothing more. It is a boring field for many observers. The characterizations in the entry of the constituents of ESP, PK and so on are materially correct from my understanding (and practice) but there are at least two problems. First, where did this concept of anamoly come from? It is never seen in the journals, except perhaps in passing. A far better characterization is "mind-to-mind" (ESP etc), "mind-to-environment" (PK etc) and "environment-to-mind" (hauntings etc). This provides a framework from which the reader can begin to understand the inter-related points. Second there are some mis-categorizations. For example, it could be argued (and effectively has been) that psychometry is as much of an "environment-to-mind" ability as opposed to a "mind-to-mind" ability.

What the entry appears to miss, although I confess I did not read it all with the greatest of care, is the most important recent finding and work going on in the field at this moment in time: that all these phenomena are very likely unified and that a single theory may explain them all. That ESP, PK and so on are variant manifestations of the same basis. Current theory is that we are dealing with a 'psi-wave' or 'psi-field'.

Parapsychology has achieved stature as a science. The premiere professional organization, the Parapsychological Assoication (PA), is a member in good standing of the American Academcy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). This is a key point. And true parapsychologists, many of them named in the article, are highly aware of the import of this association. For this reason, members have been as careful as any in other scientific fields to ensure proper experimental design, proper use of statistical methods consistent with behavioral research (since that at the end of the day is what parapsychology is all about), and peer-review in specific journals.

Some mainstream scientists are uncomfortable with parapsychology. Recently, 'human consciousness' research has armed its way onto the scene, perceived quite different from parapsychology; apparently considered a much 'safer' discipline to fund, recognize and nurture at least from the academia viewpoint. The irony of course is that parapsychology and human consciousness research are variants of the same cloth and should be sharing information and data not operating at cross-purposes. Where in this entry do I find this point?

I have made no edits to this page for two reasons: 1. wiki-pedia is new to me 2. I don't wish to muck things up further

I trust these comments can serve to guide future changes and I leave to the authors to do so.

Very good comments. Welcome to Wikipedia! I agree with everything you've said, and think that these comments will be a good place to start on working on this article. Note that in the future, we highly reccomend you to Be Bold in editing pages, even if that means a 100% rewrite of the whole article. Which is a lot of work, I know, but I think this article needs it. If you really don't want to muck things up, make a new page at Parapsychology/Rewrite, which you can then muck about with to your hearts content and see if you have consensus that it's better than what we currently have.
Also, to make it easier to talk to you, you can sign your comments here by putting four tildas (~~~~) after your comments, which will put your name and the date/time of your message. If you don't have a name with us yet, it'll give us your IP address instead, which is at least an identifier we can use to seperate your comments from the comments of others.
If you have any questions (and believe me, I did at first too) feel free to ask. We're mostly a friendly bunch around here. Fieari 01:17, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

Parapsychology needs a balance

Currently there is somewhere around twice the amount of arguments for the skeptical POV than for the proponents POV.

Someone knowledgable about this topic needs to add one more section to the proponent's POV.

I'd do it myself, but I'm very limited in my knowledge of the subject.

Actually, wikipedia isn't about balance. It's about reporting facts in a dry, academic manner in a way that no one can possibly reasonably dispute. If there are people who believe a certain thing, that is stated. If those people are ridiculed by another group of people, that is stated. The prevelance and relevance of a certain position means that more detail is given for more prevelant and relevant topics.
Here's a quote from WP:NPOV:
It may be tempting at times to 'balance' a perceivedly biased article by creating an additional article on the same subject but biased the other way. Such articles are often referred to as "POV forks". Please do not do this. Instead, consider joining discussion (or requesting comments) on the biased article to make it represent all sides fairly.
Here's one that more specifically relates to this article, I think:
Pseudoscience
How are we to write articles about pseudoscientific topics, about which majority scientific opinion is that the pseudoscientific opinion is not credible and doesn't even really deserve serious mention?
If we're going to represent the sum total of human knowledge, then we must concede that we will be describing views repugnant to us without asserting that they are false. Things are not, however, as bad as that sounds. The task before us is not to describe disputes as though, for example, pseudoscience were on a par with science; rather, the task is to represent the majority (scientific) view as the majority view and the minority (sometimes pseudoscientific) view as the minority view; and, moreover, to explain how scientists have received pseudoscientific theories. This is all in the purview of the task of describing a dispute fairly.
Pseudoscience can be seen as a social phenomenon and therefore significant. However, pseudoscience should not obfuscate the description of the main views, and any mention should be proportional to the rest of the article.
Furthermore, it has this to say:
Giving "equal validity"
"But wait. I find the optimism about science vs. pseudo-science to be baseless. History has shown that pseudo-science can beat out facts, as those who rely on pseudo-science use lies, slander, innuendo and numerical majorities of followers to force their views on anyone they can. If this project gives equal validity to those who literally claim that the Earth is flat, or those who claim that the Holocaust never occurred, the result is that it will (inadvertently) legitimize and help promote that which only can be termed evil."
Please be clear on one thing: the Wikipedia neutrality policy certainly does not state, or imply, that we must "give equal validity" to minority views. It does state that we must not take a stand on them qua encyclopedia writers; but that does not stop us from describing the majority views as such; from fairly explaining the strong arguments against the pseudoscientific theory; from describing the strong moral repugnance that many people feel toward some morally repugnant views; and so forth.
See this illustration of the "equal validity" issue.
The fact that most scientists disagree with just about all the premises of Parapsychology is not bias, it's fact. Stating it isn't bias either.
Now, on the other hand, if there are any FACTUAL issues you believe are in the article, please bring them to light. There are still quite a few, as the previous section on this talk page states. Some of those factual issues, if rectified, would actually benefit the pro-psi point of view. But the key isn't "balance", it's "fact". Fieari 03:05, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
You said "The fact that most scientists disagree with just about all the premises of Parasychology is not bias, it's fact". However, in actuality, rather than being "bias" it is simply incorrect. In the How science views the field section of this very article it lists survey information which directly contradicts what you state. According to the references listed there, there is in fact a slight majority of scientists who consider the contents of parapsychology "an established fact or likely possibility". An important key to achieving NPOV is to avoid describing personal guesses at how many people do or do not believe or support a thing as fact, especially when we have survey or polling information to go with. If anything, this article suffers from a superfluous use of "many" being used as ambiguous emphasis of POV. FRJohn 13:52, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

You are citing a section obviously written (mainly) by devotees. To be sure, the area is interesting for research, but publications in The Zetetic Scholar do not carry much (or perhaps even any) weight among research scientists. The journal is published by the "Center for Scientific Anomalies Research, headquartered at Eastern Michigan University," and id devoted to - well - to studying so-called anomalies. The world of science is full of anomalies - "detections" of new particles later discarded as irreproducible, medical studies that validate a new drug as safe (e.g. Thalidomide, Vioxx) but it is later found to have harmful side effects, etc. I wonder if "The Zetetic Sholar" sends its manuscripts received to reputable scientists for review. And how were the respondents in the survey chosen? Sample selection is difficult in such a case. If the parties all agreed to take a survey on their evaluation of research in an unspecified field of psychology - probably OK - if almost all answered. If they were asked to take a survey on the credibility of parapsychology, most reasonable (and busy) scientists would toss out the opportunity (or the survey), just as most astronomers don't sign statements against Astrology - it just gives more attention to material that is nonsense. Carrionluggage 17:08, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Well, so you have a POV, which is fine, but that's not really the point here. If you start out believing that the topics of parapsychology are nonexistent, then its very easy to conclude that "something" must be wrong with anything which disagrees with that viewpoint. Submissions to "The Zetetic Scholar" are not sent anywhere these days, because it is no longer in print. It was founded by Marcello Truzzi, founding co-chairman and journal editor for CSICOP, who passed away three years ago. He formed The Zetetic Scholar in an attempt to provide a discussion on parapsychology more focused on identifying productive scientific approaches than was occurring in the CSICOP journal (and in fact, you may find the biography on his wiki article interesting). The survey IS published and cited, however, and if you have questions about its methodology you can go to a library and look up the details of the original survey. In addition, there are no studies cited showing that "most scientists disagree". So it is not exactly obvious that this is a "fact", when the existing references state otherwise, so the article should not approach this as if it were a fact. FRJohn 00:48, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

Well, my POV is that the topic is still interesting, but the research quality is so bad and so much of it is from people with a strong POV "pro" that it would be difficult to recognize a correct paper on the positive side if it ever emerged. One of my big questions is: "how come we have good eyes (not as good as an eagle's perhaps, but rather OK for our needs), good sense of smell (not as good as that of trained dogs and some other animals), good sense of touch, taste, bodily orientation (based on inner ear), and yet we have these "other senses" so poorly developed that they cannot be well documented. Evolution would have refined ESP if it worked at all.

Excuse me for breaking up your post into pieces here, but I wanted to respond to this separately. Evolution would only refine ESP if ESP were genetic, and it would only be genetic if it were a component of the physical body. Since as far as we know, the physical body does not seem to be composed of parts capable of performing the effects observed, attributing those effects to the physical body is not necessarilly a valid assumption. Therefore, the evolution of ESP is not necessarilly a requirement for ESP to exist. Now if you're going to add an additional assumption that there is nothing more to humanity beyond the physical (which many people like to assume for philosophical reasons), then yes, evolution would have to over time affect the effectiveness of ESP. But if a philosophical assumption contradicts experimental observation, then perhaps it's not such a good assumption. FRJohn 04:39, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

Another thing to remember is in connection with "anomalous" events. Probability zero does not mean an event cannot happen. It means that the limit superior of the ratio of successes to the number of trials tends to zero as the number of trials tends to infinity. That means a probability zero probability zero event can happen tens, hundreds or more times - it is just that the mean interval between successes has to tend to infinity as the number of trials does. As an example from physics, consider the detection of one magnetic monopole at Stanford U in 1982 by Blas Cabrera. By 1988 no more had been found. (IEEE, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, DOE, et al., 1988 Applied Superconductivity Conference, San Francisco, CA, Aug. 21-25, 1988) IEEE Transactions on Magnetics (ISSN 0018-9464), vol. 25, March 1989, p. 1208-1211. Publication Date: 03/1989 Does this mean the experiment was in error or that they are very, very rare? There is no way to find out in a human lifetime or several, unless the experiment is still running and more "hits" occur.

Science emphasizes repeatability for reasons related to that. Carrionluggage 04:36, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

Actually, science uses statistics to deal with cases like that. "Repeatability" is not the same thing as "consistency", because statistical tools allow us to accurately assess the effect sizes of things which only happen a certain probability of the time. Aspirin does not always stop a heart attack, yet we know with a high confidence interval that it will stop heart attacks a small percentage of the time. The same statistical tools apply just as well to parapsychology studies, and they allow us to assign strong confidence intervals to a systematic effect being present, even if that effect only shows up a small percentage of the time. Therefore, it is not an anomalous "event" which is being measured, but an anomalous "effect", which is a systematic deviation between experimental variable and control variable at large numbers of repetitions. This deviation and the number of repetitions are usually converted into a value representing the likelihood that this deviation would occur simply by chance given that number of repetitions. These are solid and standardized statistical techniques. For an introduction to these statistical tools with special emphasis on their use in parapsychology, read The Conscious Universe by Dean Radin. FRJohn 04:39, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

I agree that this article is way too POV. Almost all of it is skeptical. Someone coming to Wikipedia looking for actual information would find nothing but opinion or people who are critics of parapsychology. Allemannster 14:13, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

Seeking expert eyes on Natasha Demkina

Hi all. I'd like to ask you, as people familiar with topics on or related to paranormal activity, to review the work at Natasha Demkina, "the girl with X-ray eyes", which has been undergoing a tug-of-war between a primary source and one of his critics. I've tried to bring it to at least NPOV but apparently I muddled the technicalities and there are still sourcing needs.

Would appreciate your comments -- the article is currently under protection but I think it can be taken out shortly.

TIA, - Keith D. Tyler 21:20, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Speculations about majority attitudes require documentation

The specific phrase in contention is "many scientists pay little heed to parapsychology". According to Wikipedia style guide Wikipedia:Avoid weasel words, phrases such as "Many people say..." lead to arguments about how many people believe a certain thing. The solution given in the style guide is to either "name a source for the opinion" or to "change opinionated language to concrete facts". So the solution in this case would be to either name a prominent authority who has stated that many scientists are "paying little heed" to parapsychology, or to switch to a fact and cite the results of a poll or survey of scientists regarding parapsychology, such as in the "How science views the field" section. The style guide also emphasises that the preferred approach is to reference a source of factual information when available, to avoid the need for naming opinions. Now if you want it to read "According to a survey by Wagner and Monnet in 1979, 55% of natural scientists and 66% of social scientists believe ESP is either an established fact or likely possibility," then we have something that can be cited as fact, and people can judge for themselves the meaning or usefulness of that fact. But to speculate something about "many scientists" without sourcing it just violates the style guide, so lets not do that here. Thanks. FRJohn 21:15, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

Adjectives on "evidence"

Evidence, by definition, is neither supportive nor dismissive. Evidence could show that the topics studied in parapsychology exist, and evidence could show that the topics studied in parapsychology do not exist. Placing "claimed" in front of evidence does not provide neutrality, it simply alters the meaning of evidence, and is cautioned against in the Guidelines for controversial articles. To remove any supposition of evidence by prerequisite being supportive, while removing the perspective of disbelief from the definition, I will modify the preposition "for" to the preposition "of". This should yield a simple definition without us going out of our way to imply either belief or disbelief (since we should by policy do neither). FRJohn 23:07, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

"Sadly..." material

"Sadly" is an opinion that does not belong here. The remainder of the sentence was an unsupported accusation of bias - prove it if you want it back in. In fact, as the cheering section for parapsychology loves to point out, the American Association for the Advancement of Science has a section on it - that proves the open-mindedness of a large and influential group of scientists. There is no "East Michigan University" as mentioned on the link I deleted - there is an "Eastern Michigan University" in Ypsilanti, and Mr. Truzzi seems to have been affiliated there - but the mixup on the name of the college may be an indicator of poor quality of the other material, too.Carrionluggage 00:51, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

removed spam and some pov statements

I came here to remove a couple of spam links added recently, but then the spamblock wouldn;t let me save because a link was made to a site on the blocklist, and it got a huge section, so I tore that all out, plus lots of obvious spam, plus a huge whole section that came right out and said that sketpics didn;t know what they were talking about, which is obviously taking a POV stance, which is prohibited by WP:NPOV policy here. God this article is a mess. DreamGuy 20:41, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

  • You seem to have deleted more than spam in your last edit. You have deleted all of the 'general organizations' section. From how I understand spam on wikipedia, many of these would not qualify as spam(namely csicop, psipog, psionline, and veritas; can't speak for the others), mind explaining to me how at least the sites I named qualify as spam? 24.20.237.115 17:48, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
No every removal was for spam. Some things I removed in that edit were hoaxes, unverifiable info, things that didn't seem noteworthy in the context of an encyclopedia article on the topic, repetitive information, and so forth. CSICOP was moved to the skeptics section, the rest of the groups listed there did not seem notable at all, and just looked like small social websites with no encyclopedic purpose in listing them. In fact it looks to me like they were, in fact, only added for self-promotional (i.e. spam) purposes. DreamGuy 19:10, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
Psipog, veritas, and to some extent psionline(which is argueable) are some of the larger sites; at least I wouldn't consider them not notable. Granted they ARE biased, however I feel that the links section in this article should provide links to at least psipog and/or veritas, with a note that these sites are biased and should not be taken as encyclopedic resources.

Regarding CSICOP-that makes sense, I guess, but it still seems like it would have some value in this article, as well. 24.20.237.115 19:49, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

Wikify tag

I noted this in my edit history, but wanted to make it more permanent here. I added the Wikify-cleanup tag because there are a largish number of references made in this article, where the reference is included within the prose of the paragraph itself instead of in a seperate references or notes section. When this is taken care of, the wikify tag, at least, can be removed. NPOV is still rampant. Spam may still need some looking into. Fieari 16:32, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

Parapsychology Association

User:Aaarrrggh removed "The premiere professional organization, the Parapsychological Association (PA), is a member in good standing of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)." and then said "This article is a mess, and is far too heavily in favour of promoting this pseudo-science. I have removed some of the POV edits to a more honest, and factual accurate version" Are you saying that PA is NOT a "member" of AAAS? GangofOne 04:59, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

It would be nice to have a source... Fieari 05:22, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
The Parapsychological Association has been an affiliate of the AAAS since 1969. In 2002 the PA had about 300 members. (Only took a minute to check the AAAS website). "The premiere professional organization" sounds like a grandiose exaggeration, at least to me. User:Kazuba 16 Feb 2006
I readded the fact that it's a member, and provided the link to the membership listing. Fieari 22:37, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

NPOV Reminder

Remember: NPOV does not equal "Scientific Point of View". We report on what other people report. We also make no value judgements. We report when other people talk nonsense, and then report who called that nonsense. We don't call things nonsense, we only quote others who do. Otherwise, you're adding a POV... albiet from the other side. Your POV is still POV, however much you'd like to think everyone should have your POV.

The article still contains almost nothing but POV statements, either for one side or the other. Having POV statements for both sides doesn't make the article NPOV. It makes it even more POV.

This can be solved by adding a source for EVERY STATEMENT. I know that some people find it annoying to see references for every sentence in an article, but the more controversial your topic, the more that's going to be needed. Don't state things. State that other people state things instead, and provide a source for who said it! Fieari 22:37, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

Massive cull: Please find sources NOW

I'm planning on shortly performing a massive cull on this article. Everything that isn't sourced, goes. EVERYTHING. Even if that means that this article becomes less informative. I'll also keep watch and revert unsourced additions. This article is part of wikipedia's shame, and has gone unaddressed for too long.

While culling, I'll be doing google searches on the information, to try and find a quick source. If I don't find anything quickly, I'm just going to cut it. Now, understand, I happen to know that most of the anti-psi information can be sourced pretty easily, at the JRE if nowhere else, and the information is easily searchable there. Pro-psi information... is harder to find. So the biggest losers in this cull is likely to be the pro-psi side... of which I am partially on the side of. So I'm sending out the call now: PLEASE. If you have any sources for pro-psi quotes and information, quotable sources, preferably searchable only, PLEASE provide them here, so there can be some balance on the page.

Note that balance and NPOV are not the same thing. We can achieve NPOV without balance, and probably will if no one steps up with sources for their side. NPOV is the key issue though, and I'll gladly toss balance to the wayside if we can get rid of that blasted NPOV sign at the top of the page.

So please: find sources! Fieari 04:24, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

What about Bem and Honorton's 1994 article from the extremely reputable Psychological Bulletin?

PhDs

" Reportedly, as many as 46 people in the UK have doctorates in parapsychology. However, this is a myth. In fact, with the exception of Dr. Mishlove, mentioned above, the so-called "46 people in the UK" have doctorates in other disciplines, principally in psychology, but completed doctoral thesis work which included or were devoted to research projects in parapsychology. Such individuals are also expected to be competent in the disciplines in which they received their degrees. Examples of these individuals include: Dr. Susan Blackmore" This is at least partially wrong. Blackmore's webpage says she has a PhD in Parapsychology. Need more facts on other cases. Does Edinburgh Papap....y Unit give out PhD in para........y? GangofOne 09:36, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

I am about to become a Phd graduate of the program at Edinburgh. I can assure you that the degree is a PhD in psychology, and that while my doctoral thesis focused on parapsychology (in my case criticism and response in the academic literature), my degree is in psychology and I was expected to have developed a competency in psychology proper. I personally know almost the entire list of Edinburgh PhDs -- from Dr Adrian Parker, Dr Richard Broughton who received their degrees in the 1970s through the most recent graduates like Dr Stuart Wilson, Dr Ian Baker -- and they all received PhDs in psychology. Equally individual receiving PhDs from University of Northampton, Coventry University (like Dr Jose Perez Navarro) and other schools in the UK are obtaining PHDs in psychology with parapsychology as part of their thesis research (or the main focus of it). I know Susan Blackmore personally and always thought that her degree was like mine, a PhD in psychology with a doctoral thesis on parapsychology, but perhaps her school made the type of exception that UC-Berkeley did with Dr Jeffrey Mishlove, who received the only accredited PhD in parapsychology ever granted in the US. NZ1951 05:02, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Isn't that being just little pedantic? OK, officially it may be a 'degree in psychology', but that doesn't alter the fact that it is a degree for (mainly) research in parapsychology, and I suspect you'd find that that fitted most of the 46 cases.

Incidentally, things have changed a little at Edinburgh since Robert Morris has no longer been around (on the physical plane at least) to keep his eye on things. But it may be best not to get into that particular can of worms ...

Brian Josephson 18:48, 25 September 2006 (UTC)


Will be adding this check my references if you like by the way. Based on the evidence accumulated from lab work, as well as on anecdotal reports, it looks like psi does exist. Undoubtedly there is a lot of hoaxing going on in many situations in the real world, but the academic laboratory work is generally viewed as being methodologically sound. The problem is that we don't really know what psi is or how it works! We can describe some situations in which we have a better chance of seeing psi, but there's still no convincing model as to how it works.

References

  • Radin, DI and Nelson, RD (1989). Evidence for consciousness-related anomalies in random physical systems. Foundations of Physics 19: 1499-1514

- available online at the Retro-Psychokinesis Project, which also has a good selection of other PK papers.

  • Rao, RK and Palmer, J (1987). The anomaly called psi: recent research and criticism. Behavioural and Brain Sciences 10: 553-643. Continuing commentary in BBS 13: 383-420
  • Bem, D and Honorton, C (1994). Does psi exist? Replicable evidence for an anomalous process of information transfer. Psychological Bulletin 115(1): 4-18 (available online at http://www.dina.kvl.dk/~abraham/psy1.html)

- See also Hyman's critique and the authors' response, pp.19-24 and 25-27 in the same issue

  • Milton, J and Wiseman, R (1999). Does Psi Exist? Lack of Replication of an Anomalous Process of Information Transfer. Psychological Bulletin 125(4) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 80.6.42.220 (talkcontribs)
Please sign your comments with 4 tildes. GangofOne 23:19, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

Could someone please sort out this entry, the anti-psi bias in it is tremendous, the search for psi is still ongoing, look in any repected physics journal, from physics world to new scientist for confirmation of this. So could some please sort this out once and for all. Robin 17:38 19 march 2006


I have removed multiple instances of "Many scientists say/think", which is generalization and an argument from authority which could be used to support both pro or anti-psi stances. There also appears to be some confusion between parapsychology and the paranormal. Parapsychology is conducted by trained scientists, using strict laboratory procedures (at least in the modern day). Table-lifting, the Loch Ness monster etc are not a part of parapsychology.

This article would be far more informative if it told more about what parapsychology is, than how many skeptics think its rubbish. For example, one of the first things that should have been added to this article is a list of institutions which currently carry out research in parapsychology, followed by a list of successful experiments and replications. I will hopefully add these when I have more time in the near future. 59.167.108.156 05:52, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

Agreed. A list of successful experiments is critical; currently, it's an article about parapsychology with hardly any references to what the field has actually done. If you do add a section on this, I will be happy to help out. Phronk 01:06, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

Dirty Experiments

To User: 806.38.12 16 July 2006 Removed Dean Radin's statement about non-stringent psi experiments. Think about it. There is no possible way to deduce the number of non-stringent psi experiments that have been performed around the globe within the last century. How can one determine and prove the number of recorded and unrecorded ones is correct? This looks very suspicious. User:Kazuba 7 Aug 2006

I'm not sure you understood what that paragraph was trying to say. I took it to mean that when non-stringent experiments are removed from a meta-analysis of RECORDED experiments, the results are still highly signficant. The number of unrecorded experiments is not relevant here, so I am not sure where that came from. The file-drawer problem is different, and mentioned elsewhere (though someone should probably add a response from parapsychology - i.e. it would take thousands of unpublished null results to negate the positive published ones). Radin's figure directly addressed whether a succesful meta analysis is due purely to flaws in the meta analyzed research. I haven't added it back in, because I do agree that it was a bit poorly written. Perhaps the original author can add the paragraph back in with greater clarity to avoid confusion. User:Phronko Aug 8 2006

```It is difficult for me to imagine devoted scientists coming forword and admitting their PSI experiments were worthless. How does one arrive at this non-stringent number so one can accurately construct mathematical odds? In fact, looking back at the past history of PSI experiments and its repeated flaws, how does one determine a stringent experiment? Personal preference? Avoid an evaluation by outside critics and conjurors, such as James Randi, Ray Hyman and others? Something here just doesn't jive. User:Kazuba 8 Aug 2006.

Well, the great thing about science is that nobody needs to step forward and admit their experiments are worthless. Other scientists can simply examine the published details of an experiment and judge whether it follows ever-increasing stringency requirements brought on by advances in human knowledge. Thus, stringency is judged just like it would be in any other science, and mathematical odds are calculated according to the known laws of probability. If one takes issue with this scientific method, then it applies equally to all sciences. And although outside evaluation by conjurors is certainly welcome, even more important is outside evaluation by scientists . We certainly don't need magicians in every physics lab to prevent experimenter fraud. Again, as with any other science, peer-review is the best method we have of reaching accurate conclusions. I think Radin's point is a good one, and should be reinserted. User:Phronko Aug 8 2006

``` I agree with you to a point. The question is when results are unusually impressive or staggering, perhaps over the 2% above chance as stated by Utts, isn't that the time peer review included very knowledgable conjurors. I am not talking about experimenter fraud; I am talking about a "non-stringent" experiment, dirty test tube, experimenter effect, or just common human error, etc. The past history of parapsychology has not been the same as that of other sciences. Conjurors??? Parapsychology seems to be quite unique. How were these mathematical figures established? If parapsychology is making great strides forward it does seem odd that Randi has not heard from Dean Radin for the last nine years. Certainly parapsychology research could use a million dollar prize. You would at least expect parapsychologists to try for it. User:Kazuba 8 Aug 2006

Does Randi really count as an opponent of parapsychology? I found a quote here referring to parapsychology as a "legitimate investigative science". It seems to me that he rather believes that parapsychology is a legitimate science that has been set back by bad research and experimentation. Smith Jones 02:04, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

Book by Clancy as an example of "selecting data"

The Harvard University Press recently published: Abducted - How People Come to Believe They Were Kidnapped by Aliens, by Susan A. Clancy. She concludes that the people were basically normal - i.e. not evidencing mental problems or instability. She failed, of course, necessarily, to interview the people in Heaven's Gate (cult) who believed they were in contact with extraterrestrials, for the simple reason that they are all dead! She did not examine people in a catatonic state or in mental hospitals or jails. So the study is questionable if not meaningless. Tut tut, Harvard Carrionluggage 16:47, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

Sources

Hi everyone...

You all know, I suppose, that a great deal of the Parapsychology page, down further than the "Status of the field" section, comes directly from http://dictionary.laborlawtalk.com/Parapsychology, don't you? It is a good template, maybe, but someone needs to paraphrase it. But that doesn't include the list of Noted Parapsychologists. I did use the laborlawtalk one as a template, but it has been altered, and links etc, so it's ours.

Martinphi 23:42, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

Spelling

Those who claim plausibility for psi phenomena might strive for plausible spelling. I just fixed one above ("paraphrase") but for many revisions, maybe for aeons, you have "retrocongniton" on your page. What the blazing blazes is that supposed to be? Retrocognition has a Wiki page but, thankfully, "retrocongniton" does not. Does it deal with trying to ignite conger eels or what? Put in a page for it, and thus add to the merry march of the March Hares, clearly on the loose here. Carrionluggage 02:56, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

Well, that's why it's a wiki, isn't it? So we can catch each other's mistakes? If it bothers you so much, why didn't you correct it on the parapsychology page? That would have been useful. It would also have been useful if you'd caught my other glaring mistake I made yesterday, saying "mind to environment" instead of "environment to mind" in the wrong place.

Not every intelligent person can spell (there is such a thing as dyslexia, and other things that can effect spelling). This is only the talk page, so I didn't bother to put the post above through a spell checker, as I do with regular work. You might try being nice to people, and doing something useful. And you might try (relative to the message you left on my talk page in our discussion), reading some of the relevant literature on psi, rather than being uneducatedly skeptical, and basically saying that you don't read books on psi (when I suggested reading Dean Radin's books) because book publishers publish bunk, and that isn't peer-reviewed enough for your mental hygiene.

Oh, yes, and it is not "our" page, it is your page too if you are part of Wikipedia. It is a page you have contributed to, and your contributions have helped in at least one instance: getting "scientific" out of the first line of the definition.

Try not toting around carrion as luggage.

Martinphi 20:20, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

All unsourced (and some pov) claims have been deleted.

Heeding Fieari's call for a "massive cull," I thinned up this article quite a bit by removing every nontrival, unsourced claim. If anyone wishes to readd a sentence, please have a source ready to include via <ref> tags. Simões (talk/contribs) 08:41, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

Updated #1: A criticism of my edit with which I am keen to agree is that the deletion of uncited material has knocked the delivery of viewpoints out of proper balance. My solution to this will be to further narrow the article and readd views when I find them in pairs (while adhering to WP:NPOV#Undue_weight, WP:NPOV#Pseudoscience, etc. all the while). I invite others to do the same. Simões (talk/contribs)

Update #2: The article is coming along somewhat, but please note that personal websites are not to be considered reliable. Simões (talk/contribs) 04:33, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

=NPOV-body

I inserted this POV-body due to recent edits. If no one else disputes the neutrality, I do. The skeptics do not have their say.

Simoes has [4]:

Some time this week I am going to reduce the article to little more than its introduction and lists of parapsychologists & critics. From there, any statement or set of statements (plus source) you wish to introduce should be first posted on the talk page where a consensus can reached. This is how things are (properly) done on the more articles (see, for example intelligent design and its talk page. Also, please keep these types of posts on the talk page of the article, not our user talk pages. This way others can participate in the discussion.

It is my belief that most or all of the material now included in the parapsychology page has been sourced. Therefore, there is no need for further deletions, as long as the POV tag remains.

If it is true that all content should first be posted on a talk page, would you please cite a reference for this assertion? I may be unfamiliar with the rules or customs...

I, and I'm sure the rest of those interested in this page, reserve the right to edit the page directly. I will keep track of my talk page and the parapsychology talk page, to see if any dispute arises.

Simoes previous deletions were done for a reason (the sources weren't good enough). This was fine, though I at first mistook it as vandalism due to my lack of experience, which of course, may still be showing ;). But I think further deletions need other reasons.

Please cite the rules before further extreme deletions,

Martinphi 21:51, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

I made several edits to start rectifying the POV problem. Reasons are given in the edit summaries. Simões (talk/contribs) 22:01, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Page numbers

Martinphi has added nine citations to this Dean Radin book. Could someone (ideally Martinphi) add in page numbers? Without page numbers, the references are useless to someone who wants to check out the sources. Simões (talk/contribs) 21:36, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Nothing has been done, so I removed the blockquotes per WP:CITE#Page_numbers. I may go ahead and remove every other statement that cites the book as well as none have page numbers, and none are simply referring to the book itself (they refer to parts of the book). Simões (talk/contribs) 02:25, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Parapsychology and controversy

Because parapsychology touches on areas of profound human ignorance such as physics...

Big problem with this part of the statement. There are a lot of research to be done in all areas of science including physics, but humans are not profoundly ignorant of physics. Very significant discoveries in understanging our physical world have been made in the last few centuries and we have also learned to manipulate said physical world through the results of such discoveries. To name a few: electricity, gravity, aerodynamics, etc, etc, etc - let's not discount them all at once by stating that humans are profoundly ignorant of physics.

I've removed that statement before, but someone readded it. Never trust the subjects of controversy to explain why they're controversial. The sentence is gone once again; thanks for pointing it out here. Simões (talk/contribs) 21:25, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

Bermuda Triangle etc

Last parapsychology edit put Bigfoot, UFO's and that Triangle as part of the paranormal but they are not on the list there. Seems to me that things like the Yeti or Sasquatch, the Bermuda Triangle, the Loch Ness Monster, UFO's (as extraterrestrial visits), abduction by aliens, cold fusion, and many more are within the possibility of scientific resolution, and some are resolved (e.g. cold fusion). So I replaced some of these in the new discussion with items actually on the paranormal list. Admittedly, it is all somewhat arbitrary, but let's be consistent. Carrionluggage 04:53, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

Well, I'll be dad-gummed, there is a cold fusion article that says the results are inconclusive. Seems to me Steve Koonin had laid it all to rest [5] but it goes on and on. Carrionluggage 05:07, 23 November 2006 (UTC)