Fortean Times on Koestler Parapsychology Unit

ft_sept_2005.jpgSeptember’s edition of the Fortean Times has a lead article on Edinburgh University’s Koestler Parapsychology Unit and the state of parapsychology research today.

The research centre is supported by money left in the will of controversial author Arthur Koestler, who had a long-standing interest, and some personal experience, with paranormal phenomena.

In contrast to much of the frankly dodgy science that the area attracts, the Koestler Unit conducts well-controlled scientific studies into potential psi abilities.

The article notes some interesting findings. For example, there seems to be a statistically significant effect, albeit very small in magnitude, when the results of the scientific studies on psi abilities are collated.

It also includes some insights from current and ex-parapsychological researchers on the future of the field, and whether the findings reflect genuine psi, or perhaps just some uncontrolled ‘noise’ in experimental design.

The article is only available in the print edition at the moment, but the Fortean Times put their lead articles online after a month or two, so look out for it on their website for those without copies on your local newstands.

Link to Fortean Times website.
Link to Koestler Parapsychology Unit website.

2 thoughts on “Fortean Times on Koestler Parapsychology Unit”

  1. The Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research group (Pear, is another example of a parapsychology research unit at a respectable institution.
    (tangential side note – have you noticed how many parapsychologists are from outside psychology? The princeton group started in engineering. Similarly, perhaps, many Creationists (parabiologists?) are physicists and chemists rather than from the biological sciences)
    The Princeton unit have also found statistically significant evidence for psi-phenomena, they claim. The “Skeptic’s Dictionary” entry is a good starting point for a critical view of these claims, and probably also for thinking critically about the Koestler unit findings.
    Who to believe eh?

  2. It’s not so much who to believe as how to interpret. It’s hard to find fault with the data – it’s how you explain how it came to be that’s the sticking issue. Sceptics(tm) claim there must be (usually unspecified) errors somewhere, Believers(tm) claim it’s proof of everything from the existence of mind to survival of death. Those of us who just find it an interesting area to study try to work with what’s actually there (not as much as some people would like, but too much to sweep under the carpet).

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