Paranormal

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Paranormal is an umbrella term used to describe a wide variety of reported anomalous phenomena. According to the Journal of Parapsychology, the term "paranormal" describes "any phenomenon that in one or more respects exceeds the limits of what is deemed physically possible according to current scientific assumptions."[1]

See also:
supernatural

Quotes[edit]

  • Yet scientists are required to back up their claims not with private feelings but with publicly checkable evidence. Their experiments must have rigorous controls to eliminate spurious effects. And statistical analysis eliminates the suspicion (or at least measures the likelihood) that the apparent effect might have happened by chance alone.
Paranormal phenomena have a habit of going away whenever they are tested under rigorous conditions. This is why the £740,000 reward of James Randi, offered to anyone who can demonstrate a paranormal effect under proper scientific controls, is safe. Why don't the television editors insist on some equivalently rigorous test? Could it be that they believe the alleged paranormal powers would evaporate and bang go the ratings?
Consider this. If a paranormalist could really give an unequivocal demonstration of telepathy (precognition, psychokinesis, reincarnation, whatever it is), he would be the discoverer of a totally new principle unknown to physical science. The discoverer of the new energy field that links mind to mind in telepathy, or of the new fundamental force that moves objects around a table top, deserves a Nobel prize and would probably get one. If you are in possession of this revolutionary secret of science, why not prove it and be hailed as the new Newton? Of course, we know the answer. You can't do it. You are a fake.
Yet the final indictment against the television decision-makers is more profound and more serious. Their recent splurge of paranormalism debauches true science and undermines the efforts of their own excellent science departments. The universe is a strange and wondrous place. The truth is quite odd enough to need no help from pseudo-scientific charlatans. The public appetite for wonder can be fed, through the powerful medium of television, without compromising the principles of honesty and reason.
  • Richard Dawkins "Human gullibility beyond belief,— the “paranormal” in the media". The Sunday Times. 1996-08-25.
  • The whole art [of paranormal debate] thus consists of getting the charlatans to speak on the one hand and the distinguished scientists to speak on the other, provided the latter have nothing relevant to say on the subject.
    • Jacques Ninio, on how news organizations avoid using professional magicians to shed light on deceptive paranormalist practices, in The Science of Illusions, unspecified edition, unspecified page
  • Who would want to be trapped in a house with an indomitable telepathic despot and have to guard your thoughts –or be voluntarily mindless- and endure that existence forever and ever?
  • How many people here have telekinetic powers? Raise my hand.
    • Emo Philips, in E=MO² (1985)
    • Subsequent variations on the joke by others:
    • All of you out there who believe in telepathy, raise your hand. All right. Now, everyone who believes in telekinesis...raise MY hand.
    • Everyone who believes in telekinesis, raise my hand.
  • When I think of me as a psychic, I get hung up because I seem to be in the company of so many nuts. Writers may be as nuts as anyone else but it's a nuttiness that doesn't bug me — there's no dogma attached.
  • Tall and slender, and appearing about thirty years old (no doubt she's actually somewhat older), Lt. Commander Deanna Troi is half Betazoid. Although Betazoids are telepathic, human descendents have only limited telepathic ability, which in Troi's case is mainly limited to being able to "read" the emotions of others. (We consider there to be nothing 'paranormal' in this ability. For example, Spock's mental abilities in the original series were explained as an extrapolation of the often accepted science theory that all life in the universe is somehow related.
  • Some claim that telepathy and clairvoyance and pre-vision of the future are high-level powers characteristic of the upper reaches. I am not in a position to judge whether such powers exist or not, though on the whole I incline with much hesitation to believe that in some form or other they do. But I cannot see anything particularly lofty about them. They may be consequences of high development, but in themselves they are merely strange modes of perceiving events of commonplace order.
  • If psychics were truly successful and if their results were not simply the consequence of trickery (at worse) or good interviewing skills (at best) — then why don't law enforcement agencies have psychic detective squads, a real X-files Unit, or other ways to integrate these paranormal investigative capabilities?
    • Clint Van Zandt, former FBI profiler; quoted in "Shoe leather, not sixth sense, breaks cases open", MSNBC.com, (30 Marc 2005)

References[edit]

  1. Glossary, The Journal of Parapsychology, Parapsychological Association, accessed August 5, 2006

External links[edit]

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