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Issues of Pseudoscience and Scientific Fraud- Essay Plan
1. Pseudoscience- field of study that masquerades as a science-lacks certain important
2. Irrefutable hypothesis- falsify it- study find no evidence of ESP so prove hypothesis wrong-
people argue because sceptics are present phenomena disappears and so non-falsifiable
3. Lacks carefully controlled replicable research- many not highly controlled so difficult to
replicate and fail to find same results as original study.
4. Burden of proof- supporters of psi require no proof, up to sceptics to disprove their reality-
difficult as hypothesis lacks falsifability- e.g. Cottingley fairies hard to show its fake- in
science burden of proof lies with the believer not the sceptic.
5. Lack ability to change- in science- explanations adapted due to result of hypothesis-testing-
not the case with psi phenomena as continued to be explained in same way for centuries
even though lack of evidence.
6. Critical Point 1: There is some evidence to suggest that paranormal research can be
considered a science. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAS)
allowed the Parapsychological Association (PA) to become an affiliated member in 1969,
therefore this seems to confirm its scientific status.
7. Critical Point 2: There are some key ethical issues with the study of paranormal research.
Firstly, some people make a lot of money out of their claims. Secondly as a society we should
be questioning and asking for evidence instead of responding to trends and superstitions
that have in the past, like the persecution of witches and the punishment of the mentally ill.
Finally, thorough research into the area could lead to valuable discoveries, for example
acupuncture is now accepted as a valuable therapy in pain relief due its ability to replicate
8. Scientific fraud- the Soal affair- Basil Shackleton- agent looked at one of 5 cards and
transmits the image to Shackleton seated in another room- 21 people observing found
1035 to 1 of ESP- Mrs Gretl Albert- faked the results by changing the 1's to 4's and 5's to
match the correct answers.
9. J.B. Rhine- reported that at least 12 of his researchers had behaved dishonestly in seeking to
gain significant results, tampered with the equipment he was using to record ESP in rats.
10.Carl Sargent- used Ganzfeld technique- Blackmore visited his lab to watch the research in
progress and noticed some suspicious behaviour- defended himself but left research field
implying he was guilty.
11.Uri Geller- James Randi accused him of being a fraud- used simple magic tricks to accomplish
his macro pk- claim from former manager Yasha Katz- confessed on Italian TV helping Geller
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Critical Point 1: There is lots of evidence for scientific fraud. Playfair claims that many noted
scientists including Galileo, Mendel and even Newton have resorted to data-fudging. Hines
proposes that, overall fraud has been more common in parapsychology than in other areas of
scientific investigation. This is due to the fact that there is a lack of positive results and so the
researchers have to invent them.
13.Critical Point 2: People do not need much prove to believe in something.…read more