Parapsychology/Scientific Status

McConnell & Clark documented the influence that the negative assessment in the National Research Council Report on parapsychology had in shaping the National Science Foundation's opinion. (see below)

Chris French, a noted skeptic of paranormal phenomena, has nevertheless repudiated the charge that parapsychology is a pseudoscience, and argued that it is a science.[1][2]

He wrote:

what is the scientific status of parapsychology? Is it really a science or simply a pseudoscience posing as true science? How does it measure up against some of the most commonly presented indicators of pseudoscience? Marie-Catherine Mosseau (2003b) adopted an empirical approach in addressing this question. She compared the contents of a sample of mainstream journals, such as Molecular and Optical Physics and the British Journal of Psychology, with the contents of a sample of 'fringe' journals, such as the Journal of Parapsychology and the Journal of Scientific Exploration. Contrary to what the critics of parapsychology might have expected, the 'fringe' journals came out rather well from the comparison.

For example, unlike many pseudosciences, parapsychology does not have a greater emphasis on confirmation in contrast to refutation. In fact, she found that 'almost half of the fringe articles report a negative outcome (disconfirmation). By contrast, no report of a negative result has been found in my sample of mainstream journals' (Mosseau, 2003b, p. 274). There was also little evidence of 'an unchanging body of belief' in parapsychology with 17% of the 'fringe' articles dealing with theory and proposing new hypotheses.

Was there evidence of an 'excessive reliance on anecdotal and testimonial evidence to substantiate claims' as seen in other pseudosciences? No. '43% of articles deal with empirical matters and almost one-fourth report laboratory experiments' (Mosseau, 2003b, p. 273). Was there an 'absence of self-correction'? No. Parapsychology seems to score higher on this criterion than mainstream sciences: '29% of the fringe journal articles ... discuss progress of research, problems encountered, epistemological issues. This kind of article is completely absent from the mainstream sample' (p. 275). What about connections to other fields of research? Mosseau (2003b) found that over a third of citations in fringe journals were of articles in mainstream science journals. In contrast, mainstream science articles overwhelmingly cited articles in the same field (90% of the time in the sample as a whole but 99% in the physics journals).

Similar results were found by Mosseau (2003b) with respect to a number of other commonly presented criteria of pseudoscience. Parapsychology fell a little short of some of them but often appeared to do rather better than mainstream science on some others. It would therefore appear to be unjustified to classify parapsychology as a pseudoscience. The main point is that science, however we may define it, is not an established body of certain facts; it is a method for approaching the truth. Parapsychology, at its best, appears to adhere to scientific methodology and therefore there is little reason to dismiss it as a pseudoscience. It should be noted that this is probably a minority view among critics of parapsychology. It may appear to be slightly odd for us to be arguing that parapsychology is a legitimate science when it is clear from the other chapters in this book that we ourselves are far from convinced that paranormal forces even exist. However, in terms of the most commonly presented indicators of science and pseudoscience, this appears to us to be the correct verdict.[2]

In contrast to this view, the philosopher Raimo Tuomela argued that parapsychology is pseudoscientific in his essay "Science, Protoscience, and Pseudoscience".[3] According to him:

  • Parapsychology relies on an ill-defined ontology and typically shuns exact thinking.
  • The hypotheses and theories of parapsychology have not been proven and are in bad shape.
  • Extremely little progress has taken place in parapsychology on the whole and parapsychology conflicts with established science.
  • Parapsychology has poor research problems, being concerned with establishing the existence of its subject matter and having practically no theories to create proper research problems.
  • While in parts of parapsychology there are attempts to use the methods of science there are also unscientific areas; and in any case parapsychological research can at best qualify as prescientific because of its poor theoretical foundations.
  • Parapsychology is a largely isolated research area.

However, Walter Franklin Prince, Alan Gauld, Brian Inglis, Stephen Braude, Trevor Hamilton, and Andreas Sommer have argued that a reason for the "isolation" of early psychical research from mainstream academia was misrepresentation of the research and character assassination of the researchers by ideological opponents. Kelley & Kelley have argued the psychological theories put forth by William James and the psychical researcher FWH Myers account for the totality of empirical data from 21st century psychology better that mainstream theories. Irvin Child, Palmer & Rao, Charles Honorton, Richard Broughton, Jessica Utts, and Dean Radin have argued in favor of the methodological quality of parapsychology experiments, that the history of parapsychology is a history of methodological progress, being involved more with process oriented than proof oriented work, and that critics mislead in claiming to the contrary. The physicists Henry Margenau, David Bohm, Henry Stapp, and Brian Josephson, have argued that psi is consistent with current physics, and Oliver Costa de Beauregard has argued that quantum theory requires psi to exist.

Skeptics such as Antony Flew have cited the lack of a theory to explain psi as their reason for rejecting parapsychology.[4] However, the physicist and philosopher Mario Bunge has described parapsychology as a "pseudoscience paragon".[5] He has argued that Parapsychological theories are pseudoscientific because they are incompatible with well established laws of science, and that there is no repeatable evidence for psi.[6][7] Bunge has written that research in parapsychology for over a hundred years has produced no single firm finding and no testable predictions. He claimed that all parapsychologists can do is claim alleged data is anomalous and lying beyond the reach of ordinary science. The aim of parapsychologists "is not that of finding laws and systematizing them into theories in order to understand and forecast" but to "buttress ancient spiritualist myths or to serve as a surrogate for lost religions."[5] Bauer and Lucadou issued a direct challenge to these views.[8] They argued that he relied for his assessment of experimental psi research completely and uncritically on the one sided arguments of Alcock, without even mentioning the detailed rebuttals of Palmer and Palmer & Rao. They argued that for every one of his points, Bunge made serious errors, and exhibited no understanding of the actual field - that he was critiquing a caricature of it.[8]

James Alcock has stated that few of parapsychology's experimental results have prompted interdisciplinary research with more mainstream sciences such as physics or biology, and that parapsychology remains an isolated science to such an extent that its very legitimacy is questionable,[9] and as a whole is not justified in being labeled "scientific".[10] Alcock has written "Parapsychology is indistinguishable from pseudo-science, and its ideas are essentially those of magic... There is no evidence that would lead the cautious observer to believe that parapsychologists and paraphysicists are on the track of a real phenomenon, a real energy or power that has so far escaped the attention of those people engaged in "normal" science."[11]

However, a review of William Crookes' spring-balance experiments in psychic force with the medium Daniel Dunglas Home theoretically simulated the experiments based on Newtonian mechanics. It showed in the simulation that even if a competent magician is permitted to use a trick to realize similar variations in spring force to the one recorded in Crookes' second experiment, the magician could not realize it because the experimental results (time-dependent variations in spring force) showed features which could not be explained on the basis of Newtonian mechanics.

As for Alcock's evaluation of the field, Palmer and Palmer & Rao have disputed all his charges,

..for relying on CEM Hansel is his evaluation of experimental psi research, stating that CEM Hansel was unreliable. He wrote:

Rao has argued that Hansel falsified the details of texts he was citing in order to buttress his case against the Pearce-Pratt experiment.

The magician James Randi has written:


Terence Hines has written:

The most common rationale offered by parapsychologists to explain the lack of a repeatable demonstration of ESP or other psi phenomena is to say that ESP in particular and psi phenomena in general are elusive or jealous phenomena. This means the phenomena go away when a skeptic is present or when skeptical “vibrations” are present. This argument seems nicely to explain away some of the major problems facing parapsychology until it is realized that it is nothing more than a classic nonfalsifiable hypothesis... The use of the nonfalsifiable hypothesis is permitted in parapsychology to a degree unheard of in any scientific discipline. To the extent that investigators accept this type of hypothesis, they will be immune to having their belief in psi disproved. No matter how many experiments fail to provide evidence for psi and no matter how good those experiments are, the nonfalsifiable hypothesis will always protect the belief.[12]

However, the experimenter effect is a proven feature in parapsychology...

Additionally, Radin has written:

The psychologist David Marks has written that parapsychologists have failed to produce a single repeatable demonstration of the paranormal and stated "Parascience has all the qualities of a magical system while wearing the mantle of science. Until any significant discoveries are made, science can justifiably ignore it, but it is important to say why: parascience is a pseudo-scientific system of untested beliefs steeped in illusion, error and fraud."[13]

However, Collins and Pinch have argued that the antagonists' explanation that the results are due to fraud is itself pseudoscientific. Radin and Nelson in 1989 cited two counters to the assertions of Marks and others that the results were flawed, non-replicable, or open to fraud.[14][15]

Zofia Weaver argued in a defense of the career of and experiments with the Polish psychic Stefan Ossowiecki that the experiments, particularly the one by Eric Dingwall, was of sufficient quality to supersede the objections of David Marks to the methodological quality of clairvoyance tests, but that this was something Marks had overlooked. She, in a book co-authored with Ian Stevenson and Mary Rose Barrington, produced a book length defense of the career of Ossowiecki arguing that his results were reliable and accurate and manifested in repeated, well controlled experimentation.

And the philosopher and remote viewing expert Paul Hamilton Smith wrote:

"When the first edition of Marks’ and Kamman’s Psychology of the Psychic was published in 1980, there may have been some reason to question the original remote viewing research and replications, since there was still only a relatively small number of 212 trials (certainly not yet even 200) available in only a few publicly accessible studies. However, by the time Marks published the second edition of the book in 2000 (some years after Kamman’s death), there was much less justification – and justification has grown even less in the intervening years since that time."

A panel commissioned by the United States National Research Council to study paranormal claims concluded that "despite a 130-year record of scientific research on such matters, our committee could find no scientific justification for the existence of phenomena such as extrasensory perception, mental telepathy or ‘mind over matter’ exercises... Evaluation of a large body of the best available evidence simply does not support the contention that these phenomena exist."[16]

After a review of the National Research Council Report, Col. John B. Alexander stated:

It seems clear that Hyman and James Alcock proceeded on an intentional path to discredit the work in parapsychology. ... What, may we ask, are they so afraid of? Is prevailing scientific orthodoxy so vital that they must deny evidence and suppress contrary opinion?[17]

Edwin C. May, of the STARGATE Remote Viewing program, summarized the objections to the National Research Council Report, particularly as it pertained to the evaluation of the STARGATE Remote Viewing program:

In the early days of the project, Targ and Puthoff (1974a) reported on a series of experiments they conducted at SRI with Mr. Uri Geller, an Israeli magician/psychic. George Lawrence from the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) accompanied by two consultants, Ray Hyman and Robert Van de Castle, came to SRI requesting an opportunity to see an experiment in progress with Geller. Puthoff and Targ correctly denied access to the ARPA representatives because of technical and administrative protocol issues. After all, with such controversy swirling about Geller, it is easy to become quite paranoid about who is trying to trick whom. The safest and the most scientifically sound course is not to allow anyone except the direct research team to witness formal experiments regardless of credentials (Targ and Puthoff, 1977 and May, 1996).

Yet, as part of their cover story, Time magazine (Jaroff, 1974) quoted Ray Hyman's claim that the SRI tests were carried out with "incredible sloppiness." The irony is that the tests that Hyman and Lawrence witnessed at SRI were indeed conducted with "incredible sloppiness," but the experiments they witnessed were of their own making and had nothing at all to do with protocols of those experiments to which they had been denied access (Targ and Puthoff, 1974b and May, 1996). It is clear that Lawrence and Hyman had strongly held positions and were willing to report their experiences at SRI inaccurately. Thus we see the first evidence of a negative bias on the part of Lawrence and Hyman.

In 1984, their biases were again demonstrated. The Army Research Institute (ARI) commissioned the American Academy of Sciences to investigate the potential of certain techniques that propose to enhance human performance (Druckman and Swets, 1988). Although performance enhancement has never been the claim of research parapsychology, the National Research Council included parapsychology as one of the topics to be studied. The same George Lawrence formerly from ARPA was ARI's project monitor, and he asked that Ray Hyman be commissioned to head the investigation into parapsychological phenomena. David Goslin, Executive Director of the Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education for the National Research Council, served as overall project director and agreed to the request.

On parapsychology, the NRC study concluded (Druckman and Swets, 1988):

"The committee finds no scientific justification from research conducted over a period of 130 years for the existence of parapsychological phenomena. It therefore concluded that there is no reason for direct involvement by the Army at this time. We do recommend, however, that research in certain areas be monitored, including work by the Soviets and the best work in the United States. The latter include that being done at Princeton University by Robert Jahn; at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn by Charles Honorton, now in Princeton; at San Antonio by Helmut Schmidt; and at the Stanford Research Institute by Edward (sic) May. Monitoring could be enhanced by site visits and by expert advice from both proponents and skeptics. The research areas included would be psychokinesis with random even generators and Ganzfeld effects."

By the time the NRC began their investigation, I was the project director at SRI International. Our program was highly classified at that time and special access was required before any aspect of the project could be discussed even with individuals with appropriate security clearences.* Thus, neither the in-house DIA classified program nor the NRC investigators, and particular Ray Hyman, had access to over 80% of all the remote viewings conducted during the SRI years. None of the research reports from this contract were kept with the DIA remote viewing group. So even though Hyman had access to the this group, he was denied access to and probably even unaware of the SRI data of that time period.

I was not even allowed to meet with Hyman in our laboratory or office space; he and I met in a separate building at SRI that was not associated with project. Our discussions were confined to our published account of a careful random number generator experiment that we had conducted in 1979.†

In the overall summary shown above, remote viewing was not even mentioned although an analysis of the early studies at SRI and later studies at Princeton are contained in the body of the NRC report. With regard to their conclusion on remote viewing: "...the literature on remote viewing has managed to produce only one possibly successful experiment that is not seriously flawed in its methodology-and that one experiment provides only marginal evidence for the existence of ESP."

The parapsychology section of the NRC study was a mockery of good science and serves as an excellent model for a pseudo-scientific investigation. The methodology for the NRC investigation and their conclusions were soundly criticized and shown to be without scientific merit (Palmer, Honorton, and Utts, 1989). The four major points drawn by Palmer et al. are summarized:

"The NRC claimed they could find no evidence for parapsychological phenomena during the last 130 years, yet they examined only 10% of the systematic scientific effort in parapsychology." "The two principal evaluators of parapsychological research, Ray Hyman and James Alcock, were publicly committed to a negative position on parapsychology at the time the NRC research Committee was formed. [Note added by May: In addition, the phrase "..the total accumulation of 130 year's worth of psychical investigations has not produced any consistent evidence for parnormality..." can be found in Hyman (1986) and the NRC conclusion (1988), and thus demonstrates his stated bias before the NRC investigation was complete.]" "The Committee's method of assessing parapsychology violates its own stated guidelines for research evaluation, which specify the identification and assessment of plausible alternatives. With regard to the better parapsychological experiments, the Committee admits, "We do not have a smoking gun, nor have we demonstrated a plausible alternative" (Druckman and Swets, 1988, p. 200)." "The report selectively omits important findings favorable to parapsychology contained in one of the background papers commissioned for the Committee, while liberally citing from other papers supportive of the Committee's [negative] position. The principal author of the favorable paper, an eminent Harvard psychologist, was actually asked by the Chair of the NRC Committee to withdraw his favorable conclusions." This last point is particularly troublesome and reveals the political nature of what should have been a carefully conducted scholarly investigation that usually characterizes the National Research Council. Violating one of the basic tenets of science to report all findings, the NRC Committee asked Professor Robert Rosenthal to:

"...omit the section of our paper evaluating the Ganzfeld research domains. I refused to do so but was so shocked and disappointed by this request that I discussed this request with a number of colleagues in the Harvard departments of Psychology and of Statistics. Without exception they were as shocked as I was.

In the end, censorship did not occur, and Monica Harris' and my paper is available in its entirety in a kind of preprint format from the National Academy Press.*"

Rosenthal's and Harris' commissioned paper listed the Ganzfeld methodological quality to be superior to the typical quality of the other four areas they considered (Rosenthal, 1990).

In addition to the significant methodological flaws and the attempt to suppress positive findings, the NRC study was essentially contradicted in it's major conclusion by a one-day workshop hosted by the Office of Technology Assessment, the research arm of the US Congress (Office of Technology Assessment, 1989). The OTA did not completely exonerate the field of research parapsychology; there is no scientific endeavor that cannot be improved. The OTA did, however, clearly demonstrate that the research cannot simply be dismissed-a view directly opposite to the NRC's conclusion.

In continuing the development of a potential conflict of interest, I point out once again that David Goslin had administrative responsibility for this seriously flawed NRC investigation.

When the CIA was searching for someone to conduct their technical review of the STAR GATE program, they were turned down by the National Research Council in part because of the time constraint and in part because of the substantial negative publicity that resulted from their previous report on parapsychology (May, 1995e). Instead, AIR was commissioned to conduct the review. AIR's president is David Goslin.

Let me now summarize the thread of bias and potential conflict of interest. Ray Hyman and George Lawrence were denied access to SRI experiments with Uri Geller in 1974. Ray Hyman has a long history of a negative bias with regard to parapsychology. In 1985, George Lawrence commissioned the National Academy of Sciences to investigate parapsychology and picked Hyman to direct the effort. In 1986, David Goslin presided over a methodologically flawed review. In 1995, David Goslin assumed responsibility for the CIA-sponsored investigation of the STAR GATE program.

It is not a surprising that the NRC study is liberally quoted in the AIR report because it supports the possibly predisposed views of CIA/AIR, albeit from a flawed investigation. Since Professor Jessica Utts was one of the co-authors of the formal response to the NRC study, I questioned her (May, 1995f):

"Since you were a contributing author to the reply [to the NRC investigation] and since the reply soundly criticized the NRC's review methodology, I was surprised to see that you did not mention the NRC study or the PA's [Parapsychological Association] reply in your section of the AIR's report. Considering the weight that the AIR investigators placed on the NRC study, I feel it was a substantial oversight for you not have added your first-hand criticism of the NRC report as part of your remarks."

So that I make no errors in interpretation, I print, with permission, her complete reply (19 December 1995):

"This is in response to your question about why I did not mention the National Research Council's 1988 evaluation of parapsychology in my report to AIR. The answer is that I was explicitly asked by AIR staff NOT to mention the NRC report in my review! This is very troubling to me for a number of reasons.

First, you are correct in stating that I was aware that the NRC committee was not shown much of the relevant remote viewing data when they did their review, and that they did not in fact even know the data existed. As you also noted, I co-authored a critical review of the NRC report shortly after it was published, illustrating a number of weaknesses with it.

What you may not know is that in addition to those problems, the statistical method the NRC committee relied on for its findings (called "vote-counting") has been completely discredited, and is known to produce misleading results. I raised this point at the July meeting Ray Hyman and I attended with the AIR staff at their Palo Alto office, and it was substantiated by Stanford Statistics Professor Lincoln Moses, who had been asked by the AIR staff to attend the meeting to comment on that and related statistical issues. (Had the NRC committee included a statistician, that serious flaw, and the subsequent misleading results, may have been avoided. I am sorry to say that even at our meeting in Palo Alto, Ray did not seem to understand the problem, and he was the principal "statistician" for the NRC report.)

When I was explicitly asked by AIR staff NOT to mention the NRC report in my review, I assumed they had realized the problems with it, and, especially given the involvement of the AIR President with the NRC Committee, were happy to let it fade into oblivion.

Given that background, I was quite disappointed to see that AIR made liberal use of the NRC report in their conclusions. Had I known they were going to do that, I certainly would have discussed the multiple problems with it in my report. By not mentioning it, an uninformed reader may assume that I support it, which I certainly do not.

I would also like to explain another omission in my report that occurred for much the same reason. Despite the claims Ray Hyman is making in the media, we were shown very little of the "operational" remote viewing work. One of the few documents we were shown was a list of "[the former DIA project officer's] best" remote viewing successes. Since the list provided almost no detail, you may recall that I asked you for names and numbers of individuals I could contact to get more information about those purported operational successes. In a memo dated August 1, 1995, you provided me with phone numbers for [ a former DIA project officer, a former senior DIA official, a military General who had program responsibility], and Joseph McMoneagle. You sent a copy of the memo to the AIR staff.

Shortly after you sent me that memo, I was contacted by the AIR staff and told that I was NOT to contact any of those individuals. Thus, I was not able to gain any details about the operational remote viewing work. I thought you should know that, in case you were wondering why I requested that information and then did not use it. Again, I am clueless as to why Ray Hyman is making claims in the media that we had access to the operational work for our review. I do not think he was given access to any information not shown to me. I don't know how he can substantiate the claims he's making about remote viewing being useless for intelligence. He may be correct, but he has very little data on which to base that conclusion."

While a case can be made that Professor Utts should not be contacting people with regard to operations because she did not possess a clearance at the time, the individuals I named are professionals and would not disclose classified information to an uncleared person. Regardless, the AIR investigators cannot be excused from the attempt to suppress intellectual findings by, or to limit the research of, a noted academic that may be germane to the stated goals of the investigation.

The NRC study was discredited in print and I had discussed that issues in detail with AIR's blue ribbon panel.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter provided information that went in complete opposition to the AIR Report's negative conclusions on remote viewing when he revealed that..

As regards the NRC evaluations of parapsychology, Alcock's critique of the Princeton Anomalies Research Laboratory random number generator experiments was directly repudiated by the Office of Technology Assessment's workshop on parapsychology. His, and others' critiques of Helmut Schmidt's experiments was refuted in a 1987 Behavioral and Brain Sciences debate and in subsequent meta-analyses and overviews.

John Palmer, Charles Honorton, and Jessica Utts wrote a critique of the National Research Council findings particularly with respect to the Ganzfeld studies. Bem and Honorton noted, in the article Does Psi Exist?, in an overview of the Ganzfeld debate between Ray Hyman and Charles Honorton[18]:

none of the contributors to the subsequent debate concurred with Hyman’s conclusion, whereas four nonparapsychologists—two statisticans and two psychologists—explicitly concurred with Honorton’s conclusion (Harris & Rosenthal, 1988b; Saunders, 1985; Utts, 1991a). For example, Harris and Rosenthal (one of the pioneers in the use of meta-analysis in psychology) used Hyman’s own flaw ratings and failed to find any significant relationships between flaws and study outcomes in each of two separate analyses: “Our analysis of the effects of flaws on study outcome lends no support to the hypothesis that Ganzfeld research results are a significant function of the set of flaw variables” (1988b, p. 3; for a more recent exchange regarding Hyman’s analysis, see Hyman, 1991; Utts, 1991a, 1991b).


In 1988, the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences released a widely publicized report commissioned by the U.S. Army that assessed several controversial technologies for enhancing human performance, including accelerated learning, neurolinguistic programming, mental practice, biofeedback, and parapsychology (Druckman & Swets, 1988; summarized in Swets & Bjork, 1990). The report’s conclusion concerning parapsychology was quite negative: “The Committee finds no scientific justification from research conducted over a period of 130 years for the existence of parapsychological phenomena” (Druckman & Swets, 1988, p. 22).

An extended refutation strongly protesting the committee’s treatment of parapsychology has been published elsewhere (Palmer et al., 1989). The pertinent point here is simply that the NRC’s evaluation of the ganzfeld studies does not reflect an additional, independent examination of the ganzfeld database but is based on the same meta-analysis conducted by Hyman that we have discussed in this article.

Hyman chaired the NRC’s Subcommittee on Parapsychology, and, although he had concurred with Honorton 2 years earlier in their joint communiqué that “there is an overall significant effect in this data base that cannot reasonably be explained by selective reporting or multiple analysis” (p. 351) and that “significant outcomes have been produced by a number of different investigators” (p. 352), neither of these points is acknowledged in the committee’s report.

The NRC also solicited a background report from Harris and Rosenthal (1988a), which provided the committee with a comparative methodological analysis of the five controversial areas just listed. Harris and Rosenthal noted that, of these areas, “only the Ganzfeld ESP studies [the only psi studies they evaluated] regularly meet the basic requirements of sound experimental design” (p. 53), and they concluded that it would be implausible to entertain the null given the combined p from these 28 studies. Given the various problems or flaws pointed out by Hyman and Honorton...we might estimate the obtained accuracy rate to be about 1/3...when the accuracy rate expected under the null is 1/4.(p.51)[18]

Jessica Utts, in 1991, critiqued Hyman and the NRC committee for suppressing findings that there were consistent, positive Ganzfeld results not due to methodological flaws.[19] Hyman argued against this charge[20], and Utts reaffirmed her position.[21]

Daryl Bem at the end of his 1994 rebuttal to Hyman refuted the suggestion that sensory leakage via video degradation contributed to Ganzfeld results. ...

John Tierney, following Gary Taubes, has noted that scientific consensus is formed by cascades, and that scientists appointed to a position of authority, if they make pronouncements on a subject, are believed to have an accurate opinion, and thereby shape mainstream views. He noted how truly problematic this can be, that reams of inaccurate discourse can stem from the false statements of people believed to be authoritative.[22][23]

George Hansen has argued that the paranormal is socially subversive against both traditional religious and materialist cultures, and this accounts for the historical negative reaction to it in mainstream society.


  1. Skeptico 83. Dr. Chris French, Extraordinary Psi Claims, Sep 28, 2009, interview by Alex Tsakiris.
  2. a b Christopher C. French and Anna Stone, Anomalistic Psychology: Exploring Paranormal Belief and Experience, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. pp. 254-255
  3. Raimo Tuomela Science, Protoscience, and Pseudoscience in Joseph C. Pitt, Marcello Pera (1987). Rational Changes in Science: Essays on Scientific Reasoning. Springer. pp. 83-102. ISBN 9401081816
  4. Antony Flew. (1989). The problem of evidencing the improbable and the impossible. In G. K. Zollschan, J. F. Schumaker & G. F. Walsh (Eds.), Exploring the paranormal. pp. 313–327. Dorset, England: Prism Press.
  5. a b Mario Bunge. (1983). Treatise on Basic Philosophy: Volume 6: Epistemology & Methodology II: Understanding the World. Springer. pp. 225-227. ISBN 978-9027716347
  6. Mario Bunge. (1984). What is Pseudoscience?. The Skeptical Inquirer. Volume 9: 36-46.
  7. Bunge, Mario (1991). "A skeptic's beliefs and disbeliefs". New Ideas in Psychology 9 (2): 131–149. doi:10.1016/0732-118X(91)90017-G. 
  8. a b Attention: This template ({{cite doi}}) is deprecated. To cite the publication identified by doi:10.1016/0732-118X(91)90019-I, please use {{cite journal}} with |doi=10.1016/0732-118X(91)90019-I instead.
  9. Alcock, J. E. (1981). Parapsychology, Science or Magic?. Pergamon Press. ISBN 0-08-025772-0. 
  10. Alcock, J. E. (1998). "Science, pseudoscience, and anomaly". Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (02). doi:10.1017/S0140525X98231189. 
  11. James Alcock. (1981). Parapsychology-Science Or Magic?: A Psychological Perspective. Pergamon Press. p. 196.
  12. Terence Hines. (2003). Pseudoscience and the Paranormal. Prometheus Books. pp. 117-145. ISBN 1-57392-979-4
  13. David Marks. (1986). Investigating the Paranormal. Nature. Volume 320: 119-124.
  14. Honorton, C. Replicability, experimenter influence, and parapsychology: An empirical context for the study of mind. Paper presented at AAAS, Washington, D.C., 1978.
  15. E. C. May, B. S. Humphrey, and G. S. Hubbard, “Electronic System Perturbation Techniques,” SRI International, Menlo Park, Calif., Technical Report, September 1980.
  16. Thomas Gilovich. (1993). How We Know What Isn't So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life. Free Press. p. 160
  17. "Enhancing Human Performance: A challenge to the report." New Realities, 9(4), 10-15, 52-53.
  18. a b Attention: This template ({{cite doi}}) is deprecated. To cite the publication identified by doi:10.1037/0033-2909.115.1.4, please use {{cite journal}} with |doi=10.1037/0033-2909.115.1.4 instead.
  19. Attention: This template ({{cite doi}}) is deprecated. To cite the publication identified by doi:10.1214/ss/1177011577, please use {{cite journal}} with |doi=10.1214/ss/1177011577 instead.
  20. Attention: This template ({{cite doi}}) is deprecated. To cite the publication identified by doi:10.1214/ss/1177011582, please use {{cite journal}} with |doi=10.1214/ss/1177011582 instead.
  21. Attention: This template ({{cite doi}}) is deprecated. To cite the publication identified by doi:10.1214/ss/1177011585, please use {{cite journal}} with |doi=10.1214/ss/1177011585 instead.
  22. Diet and Fat: A Severe Case of Mistaken Consensus, John Tierney, New York Times, October 9, 2007
  23. How the Low-Fat, Low-Fact Cascade Just Keeps Rolling Along, John Tierney, New York times, October 9, 2007