ESP is Real and Science is Broken

So argues an article at Slate.
Having served for a time as an associate editor of JPSP, Bem knew his methods would be up to snuff. With about 100 subjects in each experiment, his sample sizes were large. He’d used only the most conventional statistical analyses. He’d double- and triple-checked to make sure there were no glitches in the randomization of his stimuli.

Even with all that extra care, Bem would not have dared to send in such a controversial finding had he not been able to replicate the results in his lab, and replicate them again, and then replicate them five more times. His finished paper lists nine separate ministudies of ESP. Eight of those returned the same effect.

Bem’s 10-year investigation, his nine experiments, his thousand subjects—all of it would have to be taken seriously. He’d shown, with more rigor than anyone ever had before, that it might be possible to see into the future. Bem knew his research would not convince the die-hard skeptics. But he also knew it couldn’t be ignored....

[F]or most observers, at least the mainstream ones, the paper posed a very difficult dilemma. It was both methodologically sound and logically insane. Daryl Bem had seemed to prove that time can flow in two directions—that ESP is real. If you bought into those results, you’d be admitting that much of what you understood about the universe was wrong. If you rejected them, you’d be admitting something almost as momentous: that the standard methods of psychology cannot be trusted, and that much of what gets published in the field—and thus, much of what we think we understand about the mind—could be total bunk.
Confirmation bias check: I very much agree that most of what we think we understand about the mind is bunk.

UPDATE: This article later made Arts & Letters Daily, which makes me even happier to have mentioned it here first. It's really worth your time, no matter how devoted to science you are or are not. It raises significant questions about the state of our knowledge, and what it means to know what we think we know.


E Hines said...

Well, of course he found some folks who can tell the "future." Since time is a three-dimensional volume (Hawking is wrong), there is no future or past; there simply is. Some folks simply have perception skills that better match reality than others.

Eric Hines

Grim said...

What's hard to explain on the perdurist account is why we experience time as moving forward; or even why we experience a sense of motion at all. Of course, why we experience anything as a conscious experience is itself a huge problem.

Ymar Sakar said...

So, there's nothing special here. Christians, cultural and nice, believe in virgin births and resurrections.

If people are going SUpernatural, they might as well go all the way.