A study from the left field of psychic research recently received strong criticism for publishing the results of an experiment designed to shed some light on the phenomenon of psychic precognition. And of course ever since then, a skeptical community has been bashing the journal for letting this material into such a prestigious and well trusted study. The results of the experiment and its methods are the focal point of the critique, which some scientists have suggested shakes the very foundation of everything we know about the scientific world.
The fact that scientific vindication could be given to psychic phenomena is by no means an unexpected development for many who have for years sworn by the existence of such phenomena. But then almost just as expected is the ensuing fallout from such a study finally reaching mainstream coverage.
The experiment itself showed several test subjects who were asked to react to various stimuli. The results showed that subjects would occasionally react on some level to images they had not yet seen with an accuracy suggesting 3% of the time they were not just relying on chance but rather drawing on some precognitive ability. The results were repeated several times over and then published in a paper written by Daryl J. Bern, a professor of Cornell University and longtime advocate of the ability of some people to sense future events or in some way show knowledge of things that have not yet transpired. The powers, according to Bern, were demonstrated beyond a statistical doubt in his experiments.
But skeptics have pointed out several things they considered lacking in his experiment including a few instances where Bern would mix pools of data in order to achieve what they say are his desired results.
But if the experiment were a fraud, isn’t it foreseeable that Bern would have made it more convincing? Couldn’t Bern have rather altered the test data by simply fabricating results rather than mixing points of data? The best part of scientific research is that the results can be reproduced. And so if there is any doubt over the true power of Bern’s rrevelation through extensive experimentation, why then not simply conduct more experiments to discredit the findings? These additional experiments will no doubt soon be following and it will be interesting what the results of these will be.
But anecdotal evidence seems overwhelming. Everyone knows someone who – in a sudden fit of inspiration – was able to predict an oncoming event with incredible accuracy. And the mysteries of the mind are incredibly enigmatic. There are still no known experiments that can automatically cause a person to write an excellent book or film an award winning movie, and yet these things go on every day. Is it possible psychic phenomena could be just as unreachable in the sterile environment of a laboratory?
Finally, a word of sympathy for those who are not quite convinced by these experimental results just yet. There’s no doubt that the there would be major changes in the world accompanying the existence of psychic phenomena being proved in a laboratory in a way that even the skeptics would have to accept. And so we should expect a high standard before everyone can be brought on board with the subject. A high standard that no doubt is achievable by dedicated scientists. And it doesn’t take a psychic to predict that one day we will discover something that gives vindication to the idea.