Problem: Lack of Reliability

Whether or not psi phenomena exist or not, the current psychological studies have failed to provide adequate evidence at this moment. Researcher Christopher C. French provides an extremely reasonable review of several experiments which have investigated psi and remote viewing. He considers himself to be a “moderate skeptic,” and while he doesn’t doubt the potential for us ever to discover the existence of remote viewing, he argues that “further thought needs to be given to the strengths and limitations of meta-analysis [which] parapsychologists… appear to have embraced… as providing the royal road to scientific respectability.” Meta-analysis is the examination of an experiment by the experimenter, and there are several implications of this act which call to question the results of said experiment. French continues, “Parapsychologists are not only carrying out an essential service for their own discipline by attempting to resolve these issues but are also helping other disciplines that employ meta-analysis… At this stage it would appear to be premature for parapsychology to put all its eggs into the meta-analytic basket.” Therefore, it seems to be the case that the basis for deeming these experiments worthy of proving a genuine psi effect is hinged largely, if not entirely, on the artifact of researcher bias. Because these reports are rooted in biased, subjective meta-analysis, it is also very difficult for these experiments to be replicated.

This isn’t the only bias, in fact. Those entering the paranormal field for the first time will have no problem finding a book to support paranormal activities, such as remote viewing. However, often times, readers fail to realize that these books are uncritical accounts with little scientific evidence. This is due to the fact the publishers see the topics like remote viewing to be opportunities to sell, because surely one would rather read experiential anecdotes suggesting this phenomenon is real, as opposed to murky lab results that are open to interpretation (French, 2010).

Ultimately, it becomes a question of reliability. Can we trust that information is published to inform rather than entertain? Additionally, meta-analyses result in a lack of replicability; not only do these experiments fail to replicate one another, but meta-analyses are open to too many different interpretations.  


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