A Second Manifesto for Psychic Liberation:
Extra-Sensory Perception, Science and Education

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Jeffrey Mishlove, PhD
President, Intuition Network

September 2003

Empirical Evidence Supports the Existence of Extra-Sensory Perception

By every normal, scientific standard, the case for the existence of a scientific anomaly called extra-sensory perception (ESP) – i.e., telepathy, clairvoyance and precognition; or, conversely, synchronicity – has been established.  This simple fact was  acknowledged 100 years ago in the annals of the Smithsonian Institute – based upon the careful case studies collected by psychical researchers in the nineteenth century.  Since then, this basic finding has been reaffirmed in hundreds of properly designed and conducted scientific experiments.  Meta-analyses of these experiments have further confirmed the basic finding – and replications are reported at regular scientific meetings.

This simple scientific finding has been subjected to more scrutiny and replication than almost any other finding concerning human mental capability.  It has enormous implications for our philosophical understanding of mind, space and time.  It is of interest to almost all people seeking knowledge of their own human potential.  It is relevant to many other sciences and human disciplines.

Knowledge of Extra-Sensory Perception Research has been Systematically Suppressed

It is a simple fact that – in spite of enormous popular interest – no accredited colleges or universities in the United States, and very few elsewhere in the world, offer degree programs in "parapsychology" – the scientific study of extra-sensory perception.  College courses on the subject are almost non-existent.  And, extra-sensory perception research is almost entirely excluded from discussion within college courses in psychology, physics or philosophy.  It is very rare for anyone receiving a college education to be exposed to the literature of extra-sensory perception research. 

Pressure to Suppress ESP Research Comes Primarily from "Rationalists"

There are, undoubtedly, many motivations for those who ridicule, debunk and endeavor to suppress the research findings in extra-sensory perception.  However, as a broad generalization, it would be fair to say that this pressure comes from approximately 25% of the population who believe that, in spite of the purported evidence, ESP cannot exist because it appears to be inconsistent with the "rational" picture of the universe that has been developed by modern science over the past four-hundred years.

To these people, acceptance of the scientific evidence in support of ESP would throw open the doors to numerous, irrational superstitions and dogmas against which the scientific establishment has been struggling for centuries.  Some go so far as to suggest that ESP cannot exist, because if it did, the entire scientific edifice – and our fundamental understanding of causality – would crumble.   For this reason, they believe it is safer to assume that there are errors (or fraud) in the ESP data rather than accept the existence of ESP.

This assumption concerning error or fraud is so implicit and so strong that researchers whose data suggests the existence of ESP are automatically stigmatized and marginalized.

The "Rationalist" Argument is Itself Unscientific

In 1633, Galileo was summoned to Rome and forced by the Inquisition to renounce his scientific finding that the earth moves around the sun because this observation was inconsistent with theological theories that had been carefully crafted by church scholars.  Within a few decades, the Royal Society in Britain established the fundamental, scientific principle that experiments and observations must take precedence over theories in determining the facts of nature and therefore of reality.

Those who insist on clinging to their theories, in the face of contradictory factual evidence, are clearly standing against the very methodological principles that are the backbone of science.  It is an enormous injustice to science that such suppression is carried out in the name of science. 

An excellent analysis of the difference between authentic philosophical skepticism and the type of "rationalistic" denial of extra-sensory perception data that often masquerades as "skepticism"  can be found at http://www.skepticalinvestigations.org/home.htm.

The "Rationalist" Attack on ESP Research has Failed

Scholarly, "rationalist" critics such as Ray Hyman and the late Carl Sagan, by their own admission, have been unable to find actual – or even potential – flaws in significant bodies of ESP research.  Their strongest argument has simply been that, given enough time, they believed that it would be possible to detect such fatal flaws.  This argument, however, is simply a stalling tactic; and, furthermore, it is one that – in principle – could continue forever.  It is an unfalsifiable argument, and stands outside the domain of science.

The skeptics and debunkers have had 120 years to find fatal flaws in the vast body of empirical evidence for extra-sensory perception.  While the process has been a valuable one, the "rationalists" have failed to make their case.  Some frauds have been exposed.  Many experimental weaknesses have been uncovered and corrected.  However, the basic findings of telepathy, clairvoyance and precognition have withstood over a century of scrutiny and examination.  Those findings continue to be robust – under conditions of continually improving experimental controls.  For 120 years, all of the criticisms of the skeptics and debunkers have been answered in a systematic and scholarly fashion by researchers investigating ESP.  Every skeptical claim has been thoroughly and meticulously rebutted in an appropriate scientific manner.

Today, the skeptics and debunkers are simply repeating tired, old arguments – and acting as if a substantial body of scientific data simply does not exist.  However, it is simply no longer credible to continue to deny the data.  The "rationalist" attack against ESP research has failed miserably.  The time has come to acknowledge this simple fact.

Acceptance of ESP Does Not Mean the End of Rational Skepticism in Other Areas

Skeptics are concerned that acceptance of the research data on extra-sensory perception will open the floodgates to all sorts of irrational claims concerning the paranormal.  This is unlikely to be the case.  Very few paranormal claims have resulted in hundreds of well-controlled, scientific studies repeated over many decades – backed up by additional decades of case study research.

Acceptance of the scientific findings concerning extra-sensory perception does not automatically imply acceptance of claims concerning angels, astrology, auras, biblical prophecy, channeling, extraterrestrial visitors, homeopathy, mediumship, metal-bending, poltergeists, reincarnation, etc.  Rather, acceptance of the claims concerning extra-sensory perception is a straightforward endorsement of the scientific method itself and its usefulness as applied to other areas currently labelled as paranormal.

The Time Has Come to End Suppression of ESP Research Findings
  • Courses about research in extra-sensory perception should be routinely offered throughout our institutions of higher education.  Qualified instructors can be found through the Parapsychological Association, an organization affiliated with the American Association for the Advancement of Science – as well as other organizations associated with professional research and education in extra-sensory perception.  If sufficient numbers of qualified instructors are not available, distant learning approaches should be employed.
  • College and university libraries should all carry the standard research publications concerned with extra-sensory perception and related areas.  These include the Journal of Parapsychology, the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, the Journal of Scientific Exploration, the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, the International Journal of Parapsychology and the European Journal of Parapsychology.  Other standard texts that every library should carry include Advances in Parapsychological Research, edited by Stanley Krippner; the Proceedings of the Parapsychology Foundation; The Conscious Universe by Dean Radin; Research in Parapsychology (annual proceedings of the Parapsychological Association); and Parapsychology: The Controversial Science by Richard Broughton.
  • Whenever possible, colleges and universities should make provisions for graduate students who wish to conduct doctoral research projects in the area of extra-sensory perception.
  • In every instance where "rationalist" skeptics wish to suppress, refute or rebut claims related to research in extra-sensory perception – researchers and educators should be allowed the a fair opportunity to engage in proper scholarly debate.  In every case, skeptics must be held to the normal standards of scientific discourse – backing up their arguments with facts and not mere conjecture.  When skeptics fail to adhere to such normal procedures, their arguments must be disqualified. 
  • This procedure should be applied to all documents produced by those in the "rationalist," skeptical camp in opposition to the findings of extra-sensory perception.
  • Applications for funding of research projects in extra-sensory perception should be treated with the same normal regard appropriate for funding in other fields of science.
  • In no instance, should taxpayer money be used to support the "rationalist," skeptical suppression of scientific research in extra-sensory perception.

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