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arundelo comments on Parapsychology: the control group for science - Less Wrong

62 Post author: AllanCrossman 05 December 2009 10:50PM

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Comment author: arundelo 07 December 2009 12:02:24AM *  4 points [-]

A discussion on Hacker News contained one very astute criticism: that some things which may once have been considered part of parapsychology actually turned out to be real, though with perfectly sensible, physical causes.

What gwern said.

Comment author: bigbad 07 December 2009 11:11:36PM *  8 points [-]

As Feynman said, one of the characteristics of the truth is that, as you look more closely at it, it gets clearer. Most of the parapsych crowd tends to report results that are have a 1% probability of occurring randomly, after having done hundreds of experiments and failing to report the rest. The difference is that the level of confidence in the best experiment in a real effect doesn't scale simply with the number of experiments. A real effect should show millions-to-one odds in a few trials, once solid experimental procedures have been devised.

Comment author: Douglas_Knight 07 December 2009 03:10:46AM 5 points [-]

A discussion on Hacker News contained one very astute criticism: that some things which may once have been considered part of parapsychology actually turned out to be real, though with perfectly sensible, physical causes.

What gwern said.

Susan Blackmore is an example of someone who did both research on psi and out of body experiences because she saw them as connected.

Comment author: arundelo 14 December 2009 05:40:27AM *  3 points [-]

This was interesting, but it isn't quite what I'm looking for, which is cases of something being considered paranormal, and rejected by the scientific community, and then later being accepted by the scientific community and explained in a scientific way.

Comment author: ciphergoth 17 July 2011 04:43:32PM 1 point [-]

Or even more, something that meets those criteria and was actually investigated by parapsychologists.

Comment author: ciphergoth 17 July 2011 04:42:06PM 1 point [-]

FTR and for convenience, gwern said:

Hold on. This is a historical question; electromagnetism explains stuff that could be considered paranormal as well, but that stuff wasn't. Were the mirror neuron phenomena actually noticed, classified under parapsychology, and investigated by parapsychologists, producing results that had any connection to their eventual uptake by mainstream psychology/neurology?

The link doesn't mention anything like that; if anything, the example of the woman who thought mirror-touching was perfectly normal & universal suggests the opposite.