All truth passes through three stages:
First it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as self-evident.
I’m excited to be able to write about an intriguing book suggested by a blog reader a while ago. The quote above is the starting point for Science and Psychic Phenomena- Fall of the House of Skeptics by Chris Carter. Carter is a Canadian, schooled at Oxford, who exhibits much courage in taking up a thorough review of parapsychology, its scandals, intriguing characters, research, and advances an idea about why parapsychology remains controversial.
Honestly, the existence of psi (including telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, and psychokinesis) has already been proven to me by personal experience and I’m not alone. One study indicated that about 67% of Americans have had an ESP * experience. Polls taken over decades have shown that a majority of Americans already believe these things happen so what I’m going to get into here is a bit academic. Why is it that the discussion of these topics is still so taboo in some parts of the scientific community and in some parts of society? And what is the truth regarding scientific research into them?
Let’s look at the research first. It was J.B. Rhine at Duke University who first brought ESP testing into the laboratory. In the early 30s, Rhine and Karl Zenner conducted trials of card guessing that laid the foundation for telepathy research. By 1940, nearly one million trials had been performed which eliminated critics early objections that sensory leakage might be causing the results. Experiments performed at other labs also confirmed Rhine’s results. There was something there. In the 1980s, Charles Honorton continued work in telepathy by conducting computer automated experiments. With an expected hit rate of 25%, Honorton’s studies overall hit rate was 34% with the results occurring by chance alone estimated to be 45,000 to 1. Replication studies were conducted into the 1990s with similar results.
There are five chapters in the book that outline the ins, outs, and fights that resulted when the studies were released. The conclusion really is that if this research had been produced in any other field, it would have been easily accepted as early as 1950!
People have reported experiencing PSI for thousands of years and there is solid scientific evidence to support those claims. Why does it remain so controversial? Author Chris Carter believes that PSI acceptance threatens certain people’s worldview. This worldview is called materialism and is a byproduct of an outdated 17th Century model of science. Many skeptics believe that the existence of PSI is impossible because it violates “known” science. This is simply not true. Science has evolved beyond the old science of Newtonian physics. In fact, the latest science of quantum physics doesn’t deny the existence of PSI, but rather points directly to it. So how to resolve the conundrum? Science has spoken, but the skeptics remain unconvinced. I’ll let noted Nobel Prize winning physicist Max Planck close for me.
“a new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”
* Note: ESP includes telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition.
Psi phenomena includes ESP and psychokinesis
ALSO SEE: video SOMETHING UNKNOWN IS DOING WE DON’T KNOW WHAT- Telekan 2009-the science behind psychic phenomena, with interviews by leading parapsychology researchers including Harold Puthoff, Charles Tart, Dean Radin, Rupert Sheldrake, Edgar Mitchell. www.somethingunknown.com