Friday, September 28, 2012

The Double Standard of Proof for Parapsychology

I have updated my web page on Skeptical Misdirection to include more information in the section on The Double Standard.

In addition to a quote from Richard Wiseman saying ESP is proven to scientific standards but the standards for parapsychology should be higher, I have added the examples of Chris French, Ray Hyman and others.

Chris French has also stated he believes that ESP has been proven to scientific standards. However, he does not accept that those results should be accepted by science until the results have been replicated by skeptical scientists. These results have been replicated by parapsychologists. What French is saying is that replications are not valid unless the researcher has a certain philosophical beliefs. That is unheard of in any other branch of science.


Skeptic Ray Hyman in his 1995 article Evaluation of Program on Anomalous Mental Phenomena admits that the results of remote viewing and Ganzfeld experiments have demonstrated statistically significant effects. However, he implies there could be unknown methodological flaws in the experiments. This demonstrates a double standard because in no other field of science would a positive experimental result be criticized because there might be sources of errors that no one can think of. It is impossible for any scientist to defend his work against that type of criticism.


More evidence of the double standard is described by Chris Carter in his article Does Telepathy Conflict with Science?. Carter quotes Donald Hebb admitting there is sufficient evidence to prove ESP but he won't accept it because it conflicts with his "prejudice". Carter also quotes George Price who published an article in the journal Science where he implied that despite the proof, belief in ESP could be rejected because it conflicts with scientific theories. This is equivalent to saying he prefers to ignore empirical evidence when it conflicts with his beliefs.

The full information with references and quotes is here

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