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Where does the bias against the paranormal come from?

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Where does the bias against the paranormal come from?

Postby Eternally Learning » 12 Apr 2011, 22:48

One thing I’ve asked a number of paranormalists (is that a non-offensive term to use?) is to explain where this bias comes from that is claimed to exist in scientists and skeptics alike. I’ve yet to really hear a good answer, but I suspect that a number of you have your own theories. I guess the reason I ask, is that one common thread I’ve noticed among much of the skeptical community (and I assume is present to some degree in the scientific community as the two often overlap) is that many of them are comic book, sci-fi, and fantasy geeks. A lot of those genres fantasize about people using the abilities (though far exaggerated from actual claims) that paranormalists put forward as real, and from my own personal experience I know that thinking about the possibility of moving things with my mind, or reading others’ thoughts is incredibly tantalizing. I’m also incredibly interested to know about alien life and inter-stellar travel.

All this is to say, that if anything, I’d expect people with such interests to jump on any tangible proof that something like the paranormal exists as it would bring to life all sorts of childhood fantasies, but that doesn’t really happen. Sure, there are studies from time to time in different paranormal fields and mainstream science has looked into many of these things, but the meme I’ve seen over and over again in paranormalist circles is that mainstream science looks down on such things and will not give them a fair shake. Since this seems counter-intuitive to me I was wondering if anyone could share their thoughts on how this could be, especially in light of some of the mainstream science which is done like SETI where it has broad support from scientists and skeptics while being centered around a typically paranormal topic; aliens.
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Re: Where does the bias against the paranormal come from?

Postby really? » 13 Apr 2011, 04:51

Eternally Learning wrote:One thing I’ve asked a number of paranormalists (is that a non-offensive term to use?) is to explain where this bias comes from that is claimed to exist in scientists and skeptics alike. I’ve yet to really hear a good answer, but I suspect that a number of you have your own theories. I guess the reason I ask, is that one common thread I’ve noticed among much of the skeptical community (and I assume is present to some degree in the scientific community as the two often overlap) is that many of them are comic book, sci-fi, and fantasy geeks. A lot of those genres fantasize about people using the abilities (though far exaggerated from actual claims) that paranormalists put forward as real, and from my own personal experience I know that thinking about the possibility of moving things with my mind, or reading others’ thoughts is incredibly tantalizing. I’m also incredibly interested to know about alien life and inter-stellar travel.

All this is to say, that if anything, I’d expect people with such interests to jump on any tangible proof that something like the paranormal exists as it would bring to life all sorts of childhood fantasies, but that doesn’t really happen. Sure, there are studies from time to time in different paranormal fields and mainstream science has looked into many of these things, but the meme I’ve seen over and over again in paranormalist circles is that mainstream science looks down on such things and will not give them a fair shake. Since this seems counter-intuitive to me I was wondering if anyone could share their thoughts on how this could be, especially in light of some of the mainstream science which is done like SETI where it has broad support from scientists and skeptics while being centered around a typically paranormal topic; aliens.


All this is to say, that if anything, I’d expect people with such interests to jump on any tangible proof

This is the issue. Even with all the claims, videos and what not tangible proof is in short supply.
People whom believe in the paranormal lay persons or professional researchers seem to be eager to gravitate to strange inexplicable thing as evidence. Whereas the skeptic or science says let's take a closer look before we make any proclamations as to what such and such is.
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Re: Where does the bias against the paranormal come from?

Postby Eternally Learning » 13 Apr 2011, 05:34

really? wrote:
All this is to say, that if anything, I’d expect people with such interests to jump on any tangible proof

This is the issue. Even with all the claims, videos and what not tangible proof is in short supply.
People whom believe in the paranormal lay persons or professional researchers seem to be eager to gravitate to strange inexplicable thing as evidence. Whereas the skeptic or science says let's take a closer look before we make any proclamations as to what such and such is.


What I hear over and over again though, is that the evidence that is out there is good and tangible and should be good enough for science. I got into a debate with Alex Tsakiris (Skeptiko) over this as he was saying that mainstream scientists flat out state that paranormal science requires a different level of evidence than normal science; i.e. "extrordinary claims require extrordinary evidence." He said that this view is not legitimate and shows a clear bias against paranormal topics. The forums over at Skeptiko also tend to take his view on the matter for granted as well by constantly referencing how unfairly paranormal scientists are treated, and how there is so much evidence behind things like NDEs being a separation of consciousness that to not believe them reveals a desire not to believe these things and shows the stigma that paranormal science carries with it in the mainstream scientific community.
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Re: Where does the bias against the paranormal come from?

Postby Arouet » 13 Apr 2011, 06:33

Who are you over there EL? Haven't seen your username?
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Re: Where does the bias against the paranormal come from?

Postby Eternally Learning » 13 Apr 2011, 07:00

Arouet wrote:Who are you over there EL? Haven't seen your username?


I haven't gotten involved with the forum very much other than read through threads. There were a couple times when I commented on Alex's episodes in the comment section and then he asked me to continue it into the forum. I have the same username, but I think I've only posted in 1 or 2 threads.
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Re: Where does the bias against the paranormal come from?

Postby Arouet » 13 Apr 2011, 07:10

So you should participate more! :)
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Re: Where does the bias against the paranormal come from?

Postby ProfWag » 13 Apr 2011, 20:48

Eternally Learning wrote:What I hear over and over again though, is that the evidence that is out there is good and tangible and should be good enough for science. I got into a debate with Alex Tsakiris (Skeptiko) over this as he was saying that mainstream scientists flat out state that paranormal science requires a different level of evidence than normal science; i.e. "extrordinary claims require extrordinary evidence." He said that this view is not legitimate and shows a clear bias against paranormal topics. The forums over at Skeptiko also tend to take his view on the matter for granted as well by constantly referencing how unfairly paranormal scientists are treated, and how there is so much evidence behind things like NDEs being a separation of consciousness that to not believe them reveals a desire not to believe these things and shows the stigma that paranormal science carries with it in the mainstream scientific community.

I believe it was Phil Plait who said the same thing not too long ago. I'm not sure I necessarily agree with it but I understand where they are coming from. NASA sends satelites and stuff out into space based on math and other science that has been shown to be correct, but I'm not ready yet to take a ride in a space shuttle commanded by a person who is back on earth and using the power of his mind to control the spaceship.
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Re: Where does the bias against the paranormal come from?

Postby Eternally Learning » 16 Apr 2011, 10:32

Arouet wrote:So you should participate more! :)


Sorry I didn't respond 'till now. I may just do that. Probably will be pretty infrquent though.
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