Pseudoscience & Scientific Status of Parapsychology

  • Created by: Ross Hill
  • Created on: 18-02-15 13:44

Science #1


  • Not affected by the expectations of the researcher
  • Carefully controlled tests conditions in a lab


  • Information is gained through observation or experiment rather than by reasoned argument or unfounded beliefs
  • Direct Testing proves things to be true


  • Repeating observation or experiment
  • If outcome is the same then it confirms original beliefsStandardised procedures
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Science #2


  • Facts alone are meaningful 
  • Explanations and theories must be created to make sense of the facts
  • Theory--> a collection of general principles explaining observations and facts
  • Theories help predict supernatural and understand it


  • Trying to prove a theory by setting out to disproof the theory so that you show the original theory is correct
  • Non-falsifiable --> cannot be proven or disproven
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Pseudoscience #1

Pseudoscience= False Science

Lacks Falsifiability;

  • Aim of a scientific method is to test the hypothesis and prove its wrong (Falsify it)
  • However, its not always possible as ESP for example is hard to prove either way
  • Psychologists say a lack of support is due to sceptics and the phenomena disappearing under conditions
  • Many of the hypothesis related to anomalous experience are of this nature making them Psedoscientific

Lacks Carefully Controlled Replicable Research;

  • Many studies of paranormal phenonmenon claim to be highly controlled aren't  e.g. Ganzfield Studies which encouraged particular answers
  • Many sceptics have failed to gain the same results as believers when following the same procedures which challenges objective nature of research e.g. Bem 2011
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Pseudoscience #2

Lacks Theory to Explain Effect;

  • Aim of Scientific Research to construct theories
  • Most paranormal phenomena have not been given theoretical explanations e.g. How does ERP Work
  • Psychical research will not attain scientific respectability until it has some agreed theoretical basis (Society for Psychical Research)

Burden of Proof Misplaced;

  • Science--> burden of proof with believer not sceptic
  • Supporters of psi phenomena say it is up to sceptics to disprove the reality of the psi phenomena
  • Hard as its difficult to prove a photo is fake e.g. Cottingley Fairies

Lacks Ability to Change;

  • Science: explanations are adapted as a result of hypothesis testing and scientist falls to find support= new hypothesis
  • Psi Phenomena--> continued to be explained the same way for centuries despite lack of evidence
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