Pseudoscience: A practice or approach that claims to be scientific but does not adhere to the key princibles of the scientific process.
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- The aim of the scientific process is to test hypotheses and falsify them.
- E.g. a study may find no evidence of ESP, and appear to disproof the hypothesis that ESP exsists.
-However some paranormal psychologists claim that the lack of supporting evidence occurs becuase sceptics are present and the phenomena disappear becuase of this.
- The end result is a non-falsifiable hypothesis.
- Many hypotheses related to anomalous experience are of this nature.
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Lack of Carefully Controlled, Replicable Research
- There are many studies of paranormal phenomena that claim to be highly controlled but arn't
- There are also many examples of failure to replicate studies of paranormal phenomena, especially by non-believers.
-Recently Burn (2011) Produced evidence that people can sense future events before they happen. His research involved testing participants recall of words. Normally a person would be able to remember words that were previously rehersed better than those not rehersed. In this study Burn demonstrated that people remember better if rehersal occured afterwards; so a future event was affecting the present. However a team of 3 UK sceptical researchers seporately failed to replicate this result.
- The fact that sceptics invariably fail to get the same results as believers challenges the objective nature of the research.
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Lacks Theories to Explain the Effects
- The aim of scientific research is to construct theories.
- Most paranormal phenomena have not, as yet, been given theoretical explinations.
- E.g. How does ESP happen? Or what is it that allows some people to move objects without touching them.
- The Society for Psychial Research (SPR) acknowledges this, "Psychial research will not attain scientific respectability untill it had agreed some theoritical basis" (SPR, 2011).
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Burden of Proof Misplaced
- Supporters of psi phenomena argue that the burden of proof is not theirs and say its upto sceptics to disproof psi phenomena.
- Such disproof is difficult becuase, for example, it is not always simple to proof a photo is fake.
- In science, the burden of proof usually lies with the believer and not the sceptic.
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Lack of Ability to Change
- A key element of science is that explinations are adapted as a result of hypothesis testing.
- If a scientist fails to find support for a hypothesis, the responce is to develop a new explination/hypothesis.
- This is not the case with psi phenomena which have continued to be explained in the same way for centuries, despite the lack of evidence.
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