ESP research

The scientific community is outraged that what appears to be an otherwise respectable scientist has published research in a peer reviewed journal that suggests that there is evidence of extra sensory perception.

Outraged, I tell you!

The mere thought that he would even dare to publish such research seems to invalidate the entire peer review process, according to many of the critics of the research. A bunch of people have come out of the woodwork to chip away at the paper using the truly sorcerous art of statistics.

The consternation around this reminds me of institutional hysteria that scientists face if anyone even thinks of doing psychedelic research after Timothy Leary's dubious LSD research brought the entire area into ill repute.

Daryl J. Bem's research may well be a hoax for all we know but the establishment's reaction to the mere spectre of such enquiry is interesting. Most interestingly, from what I can gather reading that New York times article it seems scientists here in the Netherlands are leading the charge against Bem's paper.

OK, who loves those zener cards?

Many hours of fun were had with a home-made set when I was a kid. I was no good at predicting which card would be drawn when I experimented by myself but I discovered I was way better when someone else selected a card and 'projected' it to me. My best friend and I got so good at it that we managed to get into serious trouble at school for upsetting our class mates with our 'demonic' powers.

Ah those were the days - when a couple of metal records and home-made zener cards were considered enough evidence for devil worship.


  1. Since ESP cannot be explained by material or energetic connections, it is scientifically impossible, since according to Science nothing exists except matter and energy. Since it is impossible, it cannot be happening. Such evidence is at first frightening, then the scientist realizes that since it is impossible, according to Science, then the evidence must be rejected. Evidence, no matter in what form, if it violates the basic rules of reality established by Science, must not be accepted.

  2. Unfortunately, the peer-review process is already in ill-repute, as paper approval seems to work more on a "good 'ol boys" system, rather than one that generates any improvement to paper quality.

    Still, as a scientist myself, it's sad to see this knee-jerk reaction. I was always taught that extraordinary claims requires extraordinary evidence, not that extraordinary claims should be dismissed out-of-hand.

  3. LOL - I downloaded an iPhone app with those cards just for fun. I performed *slightly* above what the statistical average should be. But it's good fun!

    I too have, not been shocked, but saddened by the response to that paper by the scientific community. It's absolutely absurd for the idea that certain topics should just be off-limits to "real science". How the heck are we supposed to learn anything new, if it's taboo and career-ending to look into anything outside the "mainstream". So much for the exploratory spirit of science. If Big Pharma isn't funding it, or it doesn't have military applications it just isn't worthwhile or "real" anymore, sadly. But what about all the government money that got/gets pumped into Psychic Soldier programs, eh???

    Ah well. Good on that researcher for stepping out onto a limb with some interesting findings. It does make me giggle that people's premonitory powers seemed heightened at the chance to see naked pictures! Oh the human animal - so very hilarious!

  4. @Christopher Warnock, Esq: I hear you Chris! One would hope open enquiry would be, well, open. Not so, it seems.

    @Devi: I thought the naked picture thing was intriguing/funny too. That is one zener card you don't normally see! ;)

  5. has anyone ever tried to do readings with zener cards?

  6. Christopher Warnock makes such a great point. When you think about the establishment of Science, you'll find it surprisingly dogmatic and set in its ways for a field that boasts an open-minded mentality.

    What I always find amusing is that this happens every so often. Some puts forward a theory that is "out there" and the scientific community rips it apart. Sooner or later the materialism of matter and energy is going to get shattered--now that is going to be interesting to watch.

    Until then, I'll just happily play with my "demonic powers" that can't possibly exist...if only they knew ;-)