The Fallacy of
Paranormal Democratic Science
PSI looks into ‘democratic paranormal
science’, and whether this is one of the greatest barriers holding back
As we have written here before, the tragedy of psychical research is
that whilst other fields of study have come on in leaps and bounds over
the last hundred or so years, the field of paranormal study has hardly
advanced at all.
For a long time we could blame this on poor methods and poor funding:
fewer people doing research, hence fewer outlets for the research. But
recent years have seen the field of parapsychology raising its method
game, and thousands upon thousands of part time paranormal investigators
flooding the field.
The advancement of science can be likened to building a house. Firm
foundations are laid, and every new discovery – no matter how small –
builds upon what we already know. With thousands of researchers all
knowing the increasing foundations, and adding to them, psychical
research could advance like never before.
So what’s the problem? Paranormal research today seems to be built on
the shakiest of foundations. No matter how much we like to think
otherwise, so much in the paranormal investigation field is built on
what we see in the media, rather than what we read in academic books and
Research is further hampered by a seeming ‘democracy’ of thought.
Everyone assumes that no-one else knows anything, therefore people feel
that every thought – no matter how unscientific – is equal to every
other thought. We seem to base our knowledge on pub-style discussions of
opinion and rather dubious hunches. After all, if no-one knows better
than anyone else, then my guess is as good as anyone else’s, right?
So rather than researchers assiduously reading the trials and
tribulations of those who have come and gone before – learning and
building – we all start from nowhere and, if the experience of the last
ten years is anything to go by, get precisely nowhere either.
The field of paranormal research is weighed down by the fools gold of
misattributed experience, topped up with pseudo-science, and no
collaboration seems to be based on the sharing of knowledge and
All the while educational charities like the
Society for Psychical Research
Association for the Scientific Study
of Anomalous Phenomena have accumulated the wisdom and
research of ages, but few people seem to bother with them. After all,
any one person’s random thoughts are just as valid as the accumulated
scientific discovers of decades?
Reading deeply into our subject and learning from our predecessors might
be less fun than ghost hunting and making it all up ourselves, but are
we really going to achieve anything?
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