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Why is parapsychology so controversial?
Parapsychology has remained controversial, even with a substantial body of scientifically valid results, for three main reasons:
First, the media and much of the public often confuse parapsychology with sensational, unscientific beliefs and stories about "the paranormal." Such widespread confusion has led many scientists to dismiss the field as being unworthy of serious study, thus they think it is not even worth their time to examine the existing evidence.
In addition, thoroughly understanding the nature of the existing evidence in parapsychology is not easy. While the meta-analytic results are persuasive, meta-analysis requires an appreciation of statistical reasoning to understand that form of evidence. For people who are not familiar with statistics, or don't trust it (which is usually a sign of misunderstanding), the evidence will not seem very persuasive. Those same people may then go looking for the big stuff , the psi-in-your-face, self-evident proofs, and they will find enormous amounts of anecdotal evidence but almost no scientifically credible data. They may view lengthy discussions, such as the one in this FAQ, as proof that no one really knows what is going on, and that scientists are still basically waffling and indecisive about this topic.
Our response is simple: The scientific evidence for some forms of psi is indeed persuasive. By the same standards used to establish proof in other areas of science, we can say with confidence that psi does exist, and we are beginning to learn a little about it, and who has it.
Second, if someone wanted to study the evidence, much of the persuasive, technical details are published in limited circulation professional journals. These can be found in most large university libraries, but in many cases, scholars must request reprints and technical reports from authors. This FAQ was produced partially to alleviate the problem, and to provide references to various resources. (See Where can I get more information?)
Third, some people are afraid that psi might be true. For example, fear about psi arises for the following reasons:
It is associated with diabolic forces, magic and witchcraft.
It suggests the loss of normal ego boundaries.
People might be able to read your mind and know that you secretly (or unconsciously) harbor sexual and aggressive thoughts, or worse.
If you talk about it, people might think you're crazy.
If you think you experience psi, maybe you are crazy.
Before you were six years old, your parents provided negative reinforcement for your little demonstrations of telepathy.
Thinking about psi leads to a medieval superstitious mentality, which will in turn support a rising tide of dangerous, primitive thinking.
With ESP, you might learn things that you do not want to know about yourself or other people -- i.e., accidents that are about to happen, and things you would rather not be responsible for knowing about.
Psi might interfere with the normal human process of ego separation and development. Therefore, we have devised subtle strategies for cultural inhibition.
If you are telepathic, how will you distinguish other people's thoughts from your own? Perhaps this will lead to mental illness.
Many people have a self-destructive streak to their personality. What damage would result if psi were used in the service of this factor? Psychiatrist Jule Eisenbud wrote about this in his book Parapsychology and the Unconscious.
If psi exists, how many of my other cherished beliefs will I have to give up?
If psi exists, does that mean that a psychic could watch me while I am using bathroom facilities?
If psi exists, then perhaps I cannot wall myself off so easily from the pain and suffering in the world.
Above list courtesy of Dr. Jeffrey Mishlove, Director of the Intuition Network, Institute of Noetic Sciences.
“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
Just my opinion as usual , but i think much of the problem lies in the name , especially the "psychology" bit , to explain my thinking :
psychology is defined thus : Psychology: The study of the mind and mental processes, especially in relation to behavior.
whilst parapsychology is described as : parapsychology - phenomena that appear to contradict physical laws and suggest the causation by mental processes
so immediately we have a decision on the causative effect of phenomena that those of us who have witnessed and research phenomena know ( or at least are reasonably certain ) is something more than the "delusion" much beloved of the PsKeptics
also i would ask ? where did this what i regard as at best a "cinderella" science spring from ?? - who ever heard of a "parapsychologist " 20 years ago ?? - it like many other things has sprung from the TV /Internet induced hype that now surrounds the once serious study of what we loosely refer to as the paranormal ,( we have things like the "must have accessory for all ghost hunting groups the DEMONOLOGIST " - FFS as an extreme example ) - we have a plethora of alleged "experts" in the field - some claiming supposed "qualifications " to boot - what we HAVE is basically an awful lot of BS !!
let me pose those of you who are about to attack my opinion this ?? - WHO "QUALIFIES" these supposed parapsychologists ?? eh - where is the examining body ?? where are the EXPERTS to award such qualifications ( even if they existed ) in other words "who guards the guards ?? " - i could get a supposed "qualification" off the Internet FFS , for the payment of a few dollars ( or a few hundred ,dependent on how much of a sucker i am - which I'm not ) and "claim" to be a parapsychologist , just as i have met when dealing with some paranormal groups
its meaningless rhetoric people , a made up name for a made up Cinderella science - and in my opinion has NO validity in the study of anomalous phenomena !!
as usual this is just ANOTHER example of the corruption of the subject - titles and supposed "specialities " mean nothing in reality - as usual its another "motive" job - probably involving money, or some other benefit
WHY OH WHY can't anyone research this subject these days for the pure interest of doing so without wanting titles or a rake off from it ??
honestly its enough to turn one sKeptic sometimes
right away you go and attck my thinking - but PLEASE insult my post - NOT my person
LIFE - just filling the bits between birth, death and taxes
Sticking with this phenomena, the recent interest in ghosts and ghost hunting has exploded. In this instance, the inmates are running the asylum.
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