Craig Weiler: Parapsychology's Journey to the Mainstream

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Recent article by Craig at ParanormalDailyNews.com, recounting...

Parapsychology’s Journey to the Mainstream.

Quote:Here’s a little secret for you: Parapsychology, the scientific study of psychic ability, is a respectable science. They have been vetted by mainstream science, and it’s been that way for over 50 years. The journey from the backwater fringe to respectability wasn’t easy, but they were helped along the way by open-minded scientists who put away any prejudices they might have had and studied the evidence.

This is the story of how the Parapsychological Association (PA) became an affiliate of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and how sober science overcame emotional prejudices.

Quote:Most scientists, it turns out, are not nearly as hostile to parapsychology as skeptics make them out to be. A 1981 survey by James McClenon of AAAS members showed that 69% of them considered parapsychology to be a legitimate science. 42% of them believed in the existence of psychic ability.

For the Parapsychological Association, this was huge: scientists could join the association without risking their careers, existing members would have less to worry about and funding would be easier to come by.
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My impression is that this claim that the paranormal and paranormal research have gained new respectability in the mainstream of science is rather premature, in that the so-called elites in the AAAS membership of leading American scientists still scoff at it as pseudoscience. This is the "mainstream consensus" as defined by the current leading practitioners. And there seems to continue to be an endless stream of "scientific" papers attempting to materialistically explain supernatural belief systems along various lines of thought including how supernatural belief systems evolved because they were advantageous in human societies, assuming of course that paranormal phenomena are impossible and simply don't exist.

Unfortunately, the prevalent worldview in our culture - at least in academia and science - remains physicalism.
(This post was last modified: 2023-03-02, 12:34 AM by nbtruthman. Edited 1 time in total.)
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(2023-03-02, 12:17 AM)nbtruthman Wrote: My impression is that this claim that the paranormal and paranormal research have gained new respectability in the mainstream of science is rather premature, in that the so-called elites in the AAAS membership of leading American scientists still scoff at it as pseudoscience. This is the "mainstream consensus" as defined by the current leading practitioners. And there seems to continue to be an endless stream of "scientific" papers attempting to materialistically explain supernatural belief systems along various lines of thought including how supernatural belief systems evolved because they were advantageous in human societies, assuming of course that paranormal phenomena are impossible and simply don't exist.

Unfortunately, the prevalent worldview in our culture - at least in academia and science - remains physicalism.

Do we know the prevalent worldview in STEM academia? Has anyone taken a survey in recent enough years to really get a sense?

It seems to me the New Atheist Science vs Religion "war" is over, and those who might have been cautioned to hide their positive view toward parapsychology may be more open?
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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(2023-03-02, 06:43 AM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: Do we know the prevalent worldview in STEM academia? Has anyone taken a survey in recent enough years to really get a sense?

It seems to me the New Atheist Science vs Religion "war" is over, and those who might have been cautioned to hide their positive view toward parapsychology may be more open?

Doing an Internet search, there is a lot of material that can only be skimmed due to lack of time. One of the few surveys I could find of the specific subject of paranormal or supernatural beliefs among the AAAS elite scientist membership (the "movers and shakers" as opposed to the general run of all practicing scientists), was one done quite a while back in 1982, which found a pronounced rejection of such beliefs on the part of this subset of the scientific community. It was noted that the so-called elites are  especially important in that these members are in positions of leadership and, therefore, constitute an aspect of the "administrative" elite of the AAAS. forming policy on "border and deviant realms of inquiry".

Surveys of scientists concerning their beliefs in a God (certainly quite related to paranormal belief systems) have been accomplished. Details are hard to come by using Google, but I found one relatively recent one, along with the detailed results for at least one European country with a respectably sized scientific community, the Netherlands. This was as follows: "44% were atheist, 28% were agnostic, 17% were theist (believed there is at least one god), 5% were "ietsist" (Dutch term which means "somethingist" denoting belief in some vague (super)natural force or dimension.), 5% didn't identify with any of the previous categories. In other words, the great majority of professors (77%) did not believe in God and this sample even included theologians and philosophers.

Another survey of scientists, from 1998:  Belief in personal God: personal belief 7.0%, personal disbelief 72.2%, doubt or agnosticism 20.8%.
Belief in human immortality: personal belief 7.9%, personal disbelief 76.7%, doubt or agnosticism 23.3%.

The current prevalent paranormal-related belief system amongst professional scientists might also be inferred from the existence and nature of the continual stream of "research" into the supposed materialistic mechanisms responsible for such beliefs. This stuff of course has to be approved by so-called peer review.

Some examples of this ongoing mass of work might be termed the tip of the iceberg and could start with this study from 2015: "To foster complex societies, tell people a god is watching. Belief in supernatural punishment may help cultures grow, study of Pacific cultures suggests" at https://www.science.org/content/article/...d-watching .

Another example of this mainstream groupthink, from 2016, supposedly implying that supernatural or paranormal beliefs are caused by ignorance, especially of science: "The results showed that supernatural beliefs correlated with all variables that were included, namely, with low systemizing, poor intuitive physics skills, poor mechanical ability, poor mental rotation, low school grades in mathematics and physics, poor common knowledge about physical and biological phenomena, intuitive and analytical thinking styles, and in particular, with assigning mentality to non-mental phenomena." (https://www.researchgate.net/publication...erstanding)

Another, in a 2013 volume, Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem, by Massimo Pigliucci and Maarten Boudry, which in chapter 8 analyzes paranormalism as a “deviant discipline” violating the consensus of established science. It discusses the five types of supposedly pseudoscientific belief systems. (https://academic.oup.com/chicago-scholar...m=fulltext)
(This post was last modified: 2023-03-04, 06:00 PM by nbtruthman. Edited 3 times in total.)
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(2023-03-04, 05:46 PM)nbtruthman Wrote: Doing an Internet search...

So some old surveys and a few isolated studies?

I don't doubt that materialism-atheism is dominant in much of academia, but I also don't think there's a clear measure on how academia as a whole (especially on a global scale) think about Psi or even Survival.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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(2023-03-04, 05:46 PM)nbtruthman Wrote: Another survey of scientists, from 1998:  Belief in personal God: personal belief 7.0%, personal disbelief 72.2%, doubt or agnosticism 20.8%.
Belief in human immortality: personal belief 7.9%, personal disbelief 76.7%, doubt or agnosticism 23.3%.

...

Another, in a 2013 volume, Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem, by Massimo Pigliucci and Maarten Boudry, which in chapter 8 analyzes paranormalism as a “deviant discipline” violating the consensus of established science. It discusses the five types of supposedly pseudoscientific belief systems. (https://academic.oup.com/chicago-scholar...m=fulltext)

Those survey results confirm to me that atheism informs disbelief in survival. In other words, "I don't believe in religious concepts such as God or the soul therefore neither do I believe in survival". This is one of my main complaints about this great debate in that it is inevitably couched in terms of science vs religion yet I am not religious nor do I need to follow some faith to consider the evidence for survival might be overwhelming.

As for Massimo Pigliucci, I watched him in a discussion with Rupert Sheldrake and he is clearly an arrogant SOB of the first order.

https://youtu.be/4hU2JJYXA_k
I do not make any clear distinction between mind and God. God is what mind becomes when it has passed beyond the scale of our comprehension.
Freeman Dyson
(This post was last modified: 2023-03-09, 04:01 AM by Kamarling. Edited 1 time in total.)
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