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:
Institute of Noetic Sciences -Wikipedia
The research reported on their website is sparse.
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.
4 thoughts on “PARAPSYCHOLOGY”
Looking forward to reading this. I was listening to a podcast today that spoke in part about Bell’s theorem. There was this poem offered as part of it:
There is no chance that we fall apart. There is no chance. There are no parts.
Bill Kerley 713-594-9180
I feel the vibes from Prof. Anderson’s brain 746 miles away telling me he really thinks there may be something to this.
Science has proved that some of the phenomenon you list are “real” and are experienced by people (and even animals in some cases). e.g. the Aura (i.e.
light around the body) can be scientifically measured AND seen. It is the electromagnetic field that surrounds all matter. Computers can enhance the
light around humans & animals in videos. See work of Dr. Valerie Hunt at UCLA. There are also studies videotaping plants shrinking back when a 10 yr old boy enters a plant room who previously chopped up a plant with a large pair of scissors. The plant has seen him do it before. But how does the plant “know”? Plants don’t have eyes? Or do they? do they recognize energy? Is it telepathy? Quantum theory’s “one mind, non-local mind”?
You are right Bruce. Physicality does not have the answers to most of how matter (and energy) really works.
Hi Bruce, I really enjoyed our conversation last week about all of this! You had mentioned above that you had an OOBE when you were 10. I had one also, when I was around 30. If I haven’t already told you the story, here’s a little background. I was in a rock band at the time, had just finished a gig on a Thursday night, came home at around 2:30AM. I lived in an apartment at the time. I pulled into the parking lot, and as I got out of my car, I was accosted and held at gunpoint. I had a lot of musical, and photography, gear in my car which was all taken. Towards the end of the 10 minute ordeal, the energy got increasingly tense, and my fear and impatience turned into belligerence. The “leader”, the guy with the gun jammed in my neck, told one of his buddies to go get the other gun. At that moment, I really thought that my time was up. I left my body, and “floated” 10 feet or so above the car. I looked down and saw gray matter splattered all over the hood of the car. I don’t remember when or why or how I came back into my body, but I did in I’m sure a few seconds later. This was VERY real. With this, I have a question – why does this story need an explanation? It happened. It was real.