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Article:Why Has There Not Been More Study of the Paranormal?

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Article:Why Has There Not Been More Study of the Paranormal?

Postby Scepcop » 05 Aug 2009, 17:58

http://www.aaevp.com/research/research_funding_nsf.htm

Why Has There Not Been More Study of the Paranormal?

A 2005 Gallup survey shows that just about three in four Americans believe in the paranormal. So the question that needs to be asked is, "Why has there not been more study of the paranormal?" The scientific community is largely funded with public money. For instance, in July 2008, the US Government agreed on additional current-year science funding. The DOE Office of Science, NASA and National Science Foundation each received $62.5 million, much of which is earmarked for education.1 Tuition fees do not cover the cost of universities and public funding is required. This means that science degrees are subsidized by the public.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is a department of the Federal Government, funded by the public and supposedly in the service of the public. Yet according to the NSF in the 2006 annual Science and Technology report, "A recent study of 20 years of survey data collected by NSF concluded that ‘many Americans accept pseudoscientific beliefs,’ such as astrology, lucky numbers, the existence of unidentified flying objects (UFOs), extrasensory perception (ESP), and magnetic therapy (Losh et al. 2003). Such beliefs indicate a lack of understanding of how science works and how evidence is investigated and subsequently determined to be either valid or not."2

"Losh et al" is a reference to an article in the Skeptical Inquirer. A further comment about "pseudoscientific beliefs" is based on a reference from the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOPS) now known as the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI), which states: "According to one group studying such phenomena, pseudoscientific topics include yogi flying, therapeutic touch, astrology, fire walking, voodoo magical thinking, alternative medicine, channeling, psychic hotlines and detectives, near-death experiences, unidentified flying objects and alien abductions, the Bermuda Triangle, homeopathy, faith healing, and reincarnation." The celebrity skeptic, James Randi, is one of the founders and it is the publisher of the Skeptical Inquirer.

So the answer to the question is that the organizations we are paying to help us understand and live with nature are the same ones that think we are uneducated and misguided. Well, it is actually worse than that. The publicly funded organizations such as universities and the NSF are also very much aligned with the skeptical community which is determined to protect the intellectually naive masses (that is three in four Americans) from belief in anything that is not specifically supported by mainstream science. Their assumption is that, "if it is not accounted for in mainstream science, it is impossible and therefore cannot be." The skeptical community has little or no research supporting their view of frontier subjects such as EVP and mediumship, so the net result is that they win their point by being the dominant group and discrediting research that does support the subject. In a very real sense, social pressure brought by the skeptics to potential research donors and scientists has and continues to prevent research that might prove or disprove our hypotheses. That is simply stopping progress to preserve the status quo.

One technique used to discredit a subject such as psi functioning is to put it in the same group as belief in a flat earth and the moon landing conspiracy theories. If one must be seen as unlikely, then all must be equally unlikely. But there is another factor involved in the success of the skeptical community. Many of the concepts involved in psychic ability (psi functioning) and survival are shared by religions. This leads to people thinking of such concepts as ghosts in religious terms such as demons and possession, rather than in terms of what is empirically supported. In this issue, The Fallacy of Paranormal Democratic Science, by David Wood (pg 15), explores the idea that some people assume knowledge of a subject by ignoring those who are possibly more experienced. The real answer to the question might be that we are not very clear about what we believe.

Psi studies are fairly well represented by parapsychology. It is true that parapsychologists are shunned by mainstream science, but they at least have a culture of collaboration and peer-reviewed journals. There are even doctoral programs in some universities. Parapsychology claims to study survival, but other than reincarnation, near-death and out-of-body experiences, that community shuns etheric studies as much as mainstream science shuns them.

The skeptical community will only change its mind about survival of personality if mainstream science begins to openly study the evidence and conclude that the evidence indicates a real effect, rather than our delusion. Mainstream science will not study our subject if we do not present it in a rational manner. Making research funds available for projects conducted with good science is one way that we can attract mainstream science, but the most important thing we can do is to develop a community in which evidence-based reports are held in high regard, and collaboration amongst researchers is seen as a natural part of learning. It is important that we learn how to talk about our subject so that we can accurately report our experiences and research results. Peer review will only be possible when we learn to respect knowledge. If we do not develop the culture of a scientific community, there is little hope that we will gain the respect of mainstream science.

You are a member of this community and in a very real sense, you control if or when our field will attract serious research. Learn all you can; avoid "assuming knowledge."

1. American Institute of Physics, Success: President Signs Bill Providing Additional Science Funding, www.aip.org/fyi/2008/072.html
2. National Science Foundation, Science and Engineering Indicator 2006, "Chapter 7: Science and Technology: Public Attitudes and Understanding," www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind06/c7/c7s2.htm
“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.” - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
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Re: Article:Why Has There Not Been More Study of the Paranormal?

Postby brett » 08 Aug 2009, 02:43

a good summation of the problem , however it is my view that UNTILL we clean out the fakes ,charlatans, motive merchants ( fame ,TV , money, self ego , etc etc ) pseudo researchers and groups , the "shit and giggles brigade " ( those who hunt ghosts for amusement ) and a few others from the interest - we are fighting a losing battle - chief amongst these are "members" groups - where they HAVE to find and in many cases PAY to go to keep their members happy , or worse line their own pockets - and of course the groups that claim to be researching the paranormal but are in fact nothing more than pseudo skeptics in sheep's clothing

all of this has turned the "paranormal " into a business "a nice little earner" - with little questioning of motive ,experience , or morals - I personally know of at least one group that have blatantly faked evidence and lied on TV about an investigation ( and have the evidence to prove it ) - but they are thought the world of locally - with serious and dedicated independent researchers being denied access to sites - add to this the fact that because of groups such as this ,venues have cottoned on ( many of which had no mention of anything paranormal prior to the present craze phase ) to the fact that these groups ARE willing to pay ridiculous sums of money for very little , mainly the access - and it compounds the situation

at the moment the paranormal "community" is playing right into the hands of the debunkers - and how can we EVER be taken seriously by any branch of science with all this going on ??

and a word about "parapsychology " ET AL if i may : - this is nothing more than a made up supposed "science " is a breeding ground for supposed "experts " - you can get "degrees" in parapsychology on the net for god sakes - true some universities do have proper courses - but the question i ask is this : WHO in this field is expert ENOUGH to AWARD said qualifications or even TEACH such courses ?? - oh the cries from those holding phd's etc in RELATED subjects will be long and loud - BUT the point still remains there ARE NO formal qualifications in the paranormal - no examining body - and NO ONE to even instigate such !! - a case of "who taught the guards "" ???

so until we have a damned good clear out of the whole lot and start afresh with dedicated amateur researchers who do this for the interest in the subject - and to seek the truth with out fear ,favor , or personal motive - we basically are screwed folks :evil: - and i am NOT being negative here - just realistic !!

though where we would even start is beyond me as the motive culture is way too far ingrained now :roll:

just my opinion as usual - but one i hold very firmly to

regards to all
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Re: Article:Why Has There Not Been More Study of the Paranormal?

Postby Scepcop » 08 Aug 2009, 02:52

So true Brett. I think the best hopes lie in us having our own experiences, and studies show that at least half of Americans believe in psi or have experienced it.

What do you think of these Parapsychology groups? Are they genuine truth seeking organizations?

http://www.parapsych.org/index.html

http://www.rhine.org/

And what about this guy?

http://www.drgaryschwartz.com/mainpage.htm

Also, I wonder why long term studies like this haven't been reported much in the mainstream media.

http://www.princeton.edu/~pear/index.html
“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.” - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
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Re: Article:Why Has There Not Been More Study of the Paranormal?

Postby brett » 08 Aug 2009, 03:12

only had a quick look ( consider this more later ) but initial impressions are first 2 - i bulk as soon as i see the words "donate " or the pay pal logo

the third - need to read more

and the PEAR study - well IF they have proven evidence of what they claim - yes agree THEN WHY has it not been published in the media - and more to the point WHY has the study been closed down ?? - funding - or something else ?? - easy to say "we pass the baton to other researchers ( in effect ) - looks like a cop out to me (somewhere along the line or someone has started to seriously question the money being spent and the results produced ?? )

as i say initial impressions - i will give this further thought and reading - as i may well have missed something or be totally wrong - but my "gut " feeling says otherwise ;) ;)
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