Mitch Horowitz: Bem's precognition data still holds up

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Is Precognition Real?
Mitch Horowitz    Aug 17, 2022

Boing Boing/MidJourney

Skeptics Eviscerated a Cornell Psychologist Whose Published Evidence Said Yes. A Decade Later, His Data Has Stood Up.

Quote:More than ten years ago, a prominent research psychologist, Daryl J. Bem, published a paper in a respected academic journal that presented evidence for precognition. The response was swift and withering. Critics in academia and news media called Bem's work an embarrassment; skeptics reran his trials and said they failed; one journalist argued that the clinician's results themselves proved "science is broken."

A decade on, however, the unthinkable has occurred. Bem's data has stood up.

(...)

I believe that I am highlighting only the glacial tip of how parapsychological data is mishandled within much of mainstream news media and large swaths of academia. The question is: why? I have difficulty understanding human nature, which is, finally, the crux of the matter. "The itch to silence those whose opinions we disagree with, applied centuries ago against scientists of the stature of Bruno, Galileo, and others, has spread, ironically, to scientists themselves, and there are few cases as blatant as those involving the topic of parapsychology," wrote Thorsen Professor of Psychology at Lund University, Sweden, Etzel Cardeña in 2015.14 And further: "I think that a contributing factor is that research on parapsychology is seen as so emotionally (and factually) threatening because it suggests that 'things are not as they seem,' or at least as the censors believe they are."

Indeed, after a certain point of tautological criticism of nearly a century of academic ESP research, it becomes difficult to avoid using a strong word that I prefer not to use and that I do not use lightly: suppression. Not of any centrally organized sort but of a cultural sort in which prevailing findings run so counter to materialist assumptions that critics—who ironically perceive themselves as arbiters of rationality—assume an "at any cost" stance to dispel contrary data. Winning becomes more important than proving. It is the antithesis of science. This is the irony to which professional skepticism has brought us.

But truth has a strange way of enduring. As Bem's findings have.
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