In an attempt to show that physicalism is not the sole basis of reality, I have researched a little about parapsychology. By the way, physicalism means relying only on science for the truth.
Parapsychology is the study of paranormal and psychic phenomena which include telepathy, precognition, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, near-death experiences, reincarnation, apparitional experiences, and other paranormal claims. It is identified as pseudoscience and yet continues to be investigated despite being unable to provide convincing evidence for the existence of any psychic phenomena after more than a century of research.
The challenge with investigation of these kind of phenomenon is that they are not conducive to the scientific method and are almost entirely anecdotal in nature.
I have listed below examples of parapsychological phenomena with links to Wikipedia articles, all of which debunk them with lots of citations. And there are not many entries that try to rebut their invalidity.
Speaking to and hearing the dead
Being possessed by an evil spirit
Living individuals reveal past lives
Moving objects with your mind
See light around a body
Near Death Experiences
Remote viewing and heavenly experiences while almost dead
Reading others’ minds
Knowing a specific future event
See things beyond one sight
Going to another place without your body
Various forms of ESP
Objects that have magical powers such as or magnetic bracelets, electrical devices
Much of above is believed and practiced by well-intentioned people, but some are frauds and tricksters who do these things for money.
All of us have anecdotal stories that support this stuff, including me. I was transported out of my body to the ceiling when I was 10 years old. My son read my mind when he was three. These are stories, not explanations. And, one story does not make the case for paranormal phenomenon .
Most of the research is based on “a belief in search of data rather than observation in search of an explanation”. Kinda like creationism.
Near Death experiences are certainly real, but do not demonstrate that there is an afterlife. See this article on the physiology of drugs and NDE’s.
The One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge was an offer by the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) to pay out one million U.S. dollars to anyone who can demonstrate a supernatural or paranormal ability under agreed-upon scientific testing criteria. A version of the challenge was first issued in 1964. Over a thousand people applied to take it, but none have been successful.
Susan Blakemore, parapsychology researcher for 30 years, revealed what she found in researching paranormal phenomenon. And guess what she found. Nothing! Listen to her interview on Closer to The Truth. She made the statement that if these phenomena were shown to be true, the entirety of science would be upended. Let’s hope that it happens. just for the excitement of it.
There are serious organizations with reputable people who continue to investigate these phenomena. These include:
University of Virginia Institute of Perceptual Studies
Their books are 800 pages and cost $50. Not exactly written to convince a wide audience.
So, does parapsychology prove the premise A rationalistic scientific way of thinking is the only way to the truth of reality to be false? I doubt it. However, I am interested in your views, particularly if you can cite specific research that supports any of these phenomena.