Unformatted text preview: Definition of the Paranormal
PARANORMAL PHENOMENA are anomalous phenomena which conflict with accepted scientific opinion as to what is physically possible. The phenomena are generally known as PSI Phenomena. ESP or Extra Sensory Perception the transmission of information by no known sensory channel Telepathy: mind to mind transmission Clairvoyance: mind to matter transmission Precognition: Transmission backwards in time Parakinesis or PK: is the ability of mind to affect matter by paranormal means More exotic paranormal phenomena Mediumship and Spirit writing Near Death and Out of Body Experiences Repressed Memory experiences of former lives Alternative medicine (acupuncture, faith healing, homeopathy, etc) Other Phenomena Remote viewing Channeling Animal ESP Ghosts UFOs Abduction Teleportation Crop circles What about dousing and water divining? Some dates in the history of Parapsychology Fox Sisters Upstate New York 1840 SPR 1882 J.B. Rhine Duke 1930s PA 1954 Much Anecdotal Evidence for Psi Although personally convincing not scientific because of antecdent probablity problem Interestingly surveys show that majority of scientists believe in paranormal phenomena J.B. Rhine the founder of Parapsychology Rhine used standardized procedures on "ordinary" subjects Used statistics to amount large amounts of evidence for ESP Used blind and double blind experimental protocols SheepGoat Effect Believers ("sheep") are better at ESP than skeptics ("goats") For a small community of scientists PSI is a reality. For a much larger community, PSI is non existent a result of fraud, delusion or sloppy science. FRAUD HYPOTHESIS Paranormal effects are to be explained by fraud either by subjects and/or experimenters HUME'S ARGUMENT AGAINST MIRACLES When miraculous phenomena are claimed it is more likely that men lie and cheat than overthrow what is established in the testimony of so many careful observers. PARADIGM INCOMMENSURABILITY No common measure between paradigms: Scientists "talk past each other", and e.g. mass for Newton means something different to mass for Einstein. switch paradigms like a gestalt switch. BOUNDARY WORK How scientists and other actively construct boundaries between different realms Science and nonscience Pure science and applied science "Something unusual is happening" "Nothing unusual is happening" bank robberies, rejection of parapsychology by scientists pick pockets, gynecological examination, parapsychologists attempts to get parapsychology accepted Boundary Policing In the case of parapsychology boundary is policed by magicians (Houdini, James the Amazing Randi), journalists and some scientists like Carl Sagan CSICOP Is it proper that policing of science be handed over to journalists and magicians? PRO: It takes a crook to catch a crook. It takes debunking in the media by journalists to discredit beliefs in the media AGAINST: There are some serious scientists investigating these phenomenon and they get their work examined by magicians and journalists if there is something there should we trust journalists and magicians more than scientists? ...
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This note was uploaded on 04/01/2008 for the course S&TS 2011 taught by Professor Pinch,t. during the Spring '06 term at Cornell.
- Spring '06