Journals Published ESP Study To Incite Outrage?

Professor Emeritus Daryl J Bern, from Cornell, is having a paper published in a prestigious psychology journal.  From all the headlines on the internet, this act is akin the dropping of the gauntlet.  Outrage shall ensue, and the pagans will storm the gates of Science’s Ivory Tower, demanding recourse for being led astray.

Or so you would think.

Here’s the thing:  no one is really surprised.  Not by the report (which IS mixed in its results), having been discussed in its individual components for years (the Cornell ESP study was well known, and often talked about, as it is one of the few by a mainstream institution).  And certainly, no one is surprised by who is the only person who really seems to be outraged:  Ray Hyman.

To quote from the NYT article, under the headline “Journal’s Article On ESP Expected To Prompt Outrage.”:

“It’s craziness, pure craziness. I can’t believe a major journal is allowing this work in,” Ray Hyman, an emeritus professor of psychology at the University Oregon and longtime critic of ESP research, said. “I think it’s just an embarrassment for the entire field.”

Um, excuse me Mr. Hyman…your prejudice is showing.

The only person that keeps really being dug up is Ray Hyman, and a few other well known critics of ESP research.  What seems to be happening is that we are being primed to expect outrage, to doubt the claims of the report.

Consider that this matter has actually already been settled.  That Mr. Hyman knows full well that there has been provable  examples of ESP in strictly controlled experiments?  That critics who complain that the experiments are not being replicated are ignoring the simple fact that the controls must be so tight that they include accounting for the prejudices of the individuals involved int he experiment, even remotely (like the secretary who prepares the envelopes)?

The SRI experiments under the direction of Dr. Hal Puthoff settled the matter to the extent that the project was “closed down” (code speak for: under the auspices of the black budget).  The Ingo Swann Magnetometer experiment was proof.  Irrefutable proof.

I don’t see outrage coming from this.  Not unless the outrage is coming from people who were already outraged over someone daring to study ESP, especially in a prestigious school such as Cornell.

According to this study, 41% of people admit to having a belief in ESP.  Far more than admit to ghosts.  If you remove the giggle factor, and that people are loathe to admit to being open to traditionally scorned beliefs, I would suspect far more than 41% believe in ESP as a possibility.

I guess we will wait and see where the outrage really comes from:  the stuffy establishment, or the public at large?

One Response to “Journals Published ESP Study To Incite Outrage?”

  1. Ray is a bozo. I like true skeptics, but he’s a pseudoskeptic for sure — it’s more scientism religion than genuine objectivity.

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