It’s not commonly known, but parapsychology receives a lot of criticism from mainstream science. Although most of this criticism is often unfounded, parapsychology has taken its reputation of scientific accuracy very seriously. Baptista and Derakhshani do just that. One of the common criticisms of ESP research is what is called the “file drawer effect”. Essentially this claim is that non-significant ESP studies never get published, thus, the studies available on ESP are cherry picked. Baptista and Derakhshani show that unpublished studies in ESP canceling out published studies is very very unlikely.
Other criticisms involve the mathematical power used in studies of ESP. These researchers show that the mathematical power of ESP studies are actually higher than those used in many mainstream scientific fields. Baptista and Derakhshani also show that declines in ESP findings are being replaced with more recent studies showing consistent ESP effects.
What should you the reader conclude about ESP and parapsychology? Every science has its weaknesses, and parapsychology is no exception. However, critics and skeptics time and time again have failed to invalidate the findings of this controversial science. Parapsychology, as an underdog, has taken great lengths to use scientific methods that are often more stringent than mainstream science. Unfortunately, unpopular in science sometimes means unfair criticism in science. Beliefs can influence the most reasonable of people. Scientists are no exception.
Baptista, J., & Derakhshani, M (2014). Beyond the coin toss: Examining Wiseman’s criticisms of parapsychology. Journal of Parapsychology, 78, 56-79.