You cannot turn on your television these days without finding at least one ghost hunting or other paranormal-related program. It seems clear that people hunger to understand all aspects of the paranormal and it turns out that scientists do as well. However, being able to study the various related phenomena has thus far been highly frowned upon.
Now about 90 scientists and other academics say the immense negativity surrounding the study of topics beyond what is understood and normally accepted needs to end. In a letter published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience written by Professor Etzel Cardeña of Lund University, they collectively called for increased “mainstream support of open and honest investigation of para-psychological topics and related mysteries of human consciousness.”
In the letter co-signed by his peers, Prof. Cardeña noted that serious study of para-psychological phenomena is already being conducted at a number of “accredited universities and research centers throughout the world” despite more than a century of “taboo” related to such research. He wrote that these studies are being done even though there is an “almost complete lack of funding, and professional and personal attacks,” and added that some of the most renown scientists as well as Nobel prize winners support these types of studies. Some, in fact, are already doing so themselves.
The professor wrote that there is a “negative attitude by some editors and reviewers” toward such research. He added that there is a practice of encouraging studies that show “null results and of papers critical of a psi explanation.” He wrote that a variety of studies “suggest that data supportive of psi phenomenon cannot reasonably be accounted for by chance… “the phenomena cannot be reproduced on demand…” However, he noted that this effect is also true of some mainstream studies.
Prof. Cardeña also noted that although psi phenomena so far cannot be explained, it does not “prima facie violate known laws of nature given modern theories in physics physics that transcend classical restrictions of time and space, combined with growing evidence for quantum effects in biological systems.”
So far he wrote, scientists’ opinions differ on whether “the case for psi phenomena has already been made,” but all agree that science must be a “non-dogmatic, open, critical but respectful process,” which requires consideration of all of the evidence, including skepticism toward already held assumptions.
He also slammed the term, “Exceptional claims require exceptional evidence,” and added there is no clear understanding of what is truly exceptional. He noted that the existence of such things as meteorites, “the germ theory of disease” and “adult neurogenesis” were at first taboo, considered as too far out there and were “ignored or dismissed by contemporaneous scientists.”
On the same note, the professor wrote that dismissing psi phenomena “based solely on biases or theoretical assumptions” suggests an underlying mistrust of scientists to carry out such studies and evaluate the evidence “on its own merits.”
To view the letter and a list of supporting professionals, go to Frontiers in Human Neuroscience