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April 11, 2008


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The argument that "the term 'paranormal' is an anachronism and should be dropped, as psi does not operate outside nature" seems to be simply conceding a point to the skeptics, though perhaps it is a point that they have won and it should be conceded.

The term paranormal was coined specifically to not say that what is described operates outside of nature. It is "supernatural" which states that something is outside of nature.

Paranormal means literally that the phenomena so described operates outside of what is considered to be "normal". The intent was to have a term that meant that something operated outside of what current Science understands or understands as possible.

The militant Skeptics have worked very, very hard to redefine the term to be a pure synonym for "supernatural". Perhaps they have been so successful that we must abandon the term.

Or perhaps the truth is that it is only in their scientismist worldview that science so perfectly understands Nature that anything that purports to be distinctly outside of current scientific understanding (i.e., paranormal) must be outside of nature (i.e., supernatural). That is, though, a bit more honest than the Skeptics are, even to themselves.

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  • ‘These disturbing phenomena seem to deny all our usual scientific ideas. How we should like to discredit them! Unfortunately the statistical evidence, at least for telepathy, is overwhelming. It is very difficult to rearrange one’s ideas so as to fit these new facts in.’ Alan Turing, computer scientist.

  • ‘I have noticed that if a small group of intelligent people, not supposed to be impressed by psychic research, get together and such matters are mentioned, and all feel that they are in safe and sane company, usually from a third to a half of them begin to relate exceptions. That is to say, each opens a little residual closet and takes out some incident which happened to them or to some member of their family, or to some friend whom they trust and which they think odd and extremely puzzling.’ Walter Prince, psychic researcher.

  • When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong. Arthur C. Clarke

  • ‘Science seems to me to teach in the highest and strongest manner the great truth which is embodied in the Christian conception of entire surrender to the will of God. Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abysses nature leads, or you shall learn nothing.’ Thomas Henry Huxley

  • We can always immunize a theory against refutation. There are many such immunizing tactics; and if nothing better occurs to us, we can always deny the objectivity – or even the existence – of the refuting observation. Those intellectuals who are more interested in being right than in learning something interesting but unexpected are by no means rare exceptions. Karl Popper, on the defenders of materialism.

  • If we have learned one thing from the history of invention and discovery, it is that, in the long run - and often in the short one - the most daring prophecies seem laughably conservative. Arthur C. Clarke.

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