Monday, March 29, 2004

Psychics beat the odds?

Researchers at the Scottish Society for Psychical Research say psychic mediums beat the odds in their survey. It's interesting, but sounds a little suspect to me. Here's how the survey was handled:

A total of 13 mediums took part in the SSPR study, carried out in Scotland and London. In each test the medium would sit in a different room from the participants and choose seat numbers they wanted to read from the audience. The audience, usually around 30 people, would enter a room out of sight of the medium and on their way in be given a random seat number. After the reading, adjudicators would distribute lists of what the mediums had seen and the audience had to tick which of the mediums’ statements applied to them.

That last bit sounds the most questionable. If I choose which one sounds like it applies to me, isn't that going to skew the results? I'm just thinking out loud here.
Also, they don't talk like scientists:

“I am aware that critics will say the tests were somehow rigged. But, rest assured, we could not have been more scientific in the way this was carried out. If anyone claims it is fixed or rigged, we would sue.”

The SSPR is an amateur group that is peer reviewed.

Also speaking at the Muncaster conference is Dr Hugh Pincott, who believes that one day society will look at the work of amateur investigators with the same respect given to the amateur astronomers of the 15th and 16th centuries who broke ground on discovering new planets and comets.
He said: “There is a large expansion of regional groups who are using their own time and money to carry out research and are making headway. Most academic seats are privately funded and so it really is gifted amateurs who are doing all the work.”

No comments: