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At Mind Matters News: Longtime skeptic now accepts parapsychology as science


But read the fine print. It’s a matter of determining what can be considered a science statement, whether it is proven or disproven:

At The Skeptic, Chris French muses on the “demarcation problem”: Who decides what is and isn’t science? ESP, for example, poses some unique issues…

It may be that a more correct account of many paranormal claims will turn out to be something like this: The mind, while dependent on the brain for its existence in our frame of reality, is not wholly tethered to it on a one-on-one basis. If the mind is not simply “what the brain does” epiphenomenalism), we can make more sense of these facts and perhaps of many paranormal claims.

Epiphenomenalism is fashionable in science but there is certainly evidence out there to question it and merely being fashionable does not make it correct.

Perhaps this situation is similar to what is happening with unidentified aerial phenomena (UFOs). Carl Sagan (1934–1996), denied tenure at Harvard, was frightened of bringing them up, even though he thought them real. Now Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb is free to talk about them. News, “Longtime skeptic now accepts parapsychology as science” at Mind Matters News

Takehome: Tolerance as such doesn’t make UFOs or ESP real. But perhaps we are getting past the simple-minded “science vs. pseudoscience” melodrama which gets in the way of actual research.

You may also wish to read:

Your mind vs. your brain: Ten things to know


The UFOs Carl Sagan was convinced of but couldn’t talk about. Sagan had already been denied tenure at Harvard, a sci-fi screenwriter reflects, and he couldn’t afford to take more chances. Writer Bryce Zabel recalls a dispute with Sagan on the topic in a parking lot 40 years ago, during the Voyager 2 flyby — which changed Zabel’s career.


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