Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

PSY 429. Paranormal Phenomena and Experience Andrew D. Dewald.

Similar presentations


Presentation on theme: "PSY 429. Paranormal Phenomena and Experience Andrew D. Dewald."— Presentation transcript:

1 PSY 429. Paranormal Phenomena and Experience Andrew D. Dewald

2 What are we going to do? 1. Social Science + Natural Science 2. Religion + Philosophy Importance of skepticism, scientific analysis, and valid logic when evaluating fringe science/paranormal claims

3 What do I call you? Dr. Dewald? Dr. Dewald? Mr. Dewald? Mr. Dewald? Professor Dewald? Professor Dewald? ANDY!

4 The Books

5 Penn and Teller Penn and Teller are bad men… They say bad words…. If you are easily offended by the “F” word, and other brilliant profanities….don’t watch. ….its the law…they have to talk like jerks.

6 What do you have to do? 1. Midterm 1. Midterm 2. Final 2. Final 3.Reading Responses 3.Reading Responses 4. Paper 4. Paper 5. SPEAK UP! 5. SPEAK UP! There is no attendance, but you must be present on the day that responses are do….somebody else may NOT hand them in. There is no attendance, but you must be present on the day that responses are do….somebody else may NOT hand them in.

7 Reading Responses Based on Chapters in the book Based on Chapters in the book You do it…you get credit You do it…you get credit Write a short description of your reaction to the reading, anything you have in your life that relates and 1-3 questions. Write a short description of your reaction to the reading, anything you have in your life that relates and 1-3 questions. We will go over them in class and discuss. We will go over them in class and discuss.

8 The Paper 1. Pick a Paranormal Topic 1. Pick a Paranormal Topic 2. Explain the history and current information about it. 2. Explain the history and current information about it. 3. Using techniques learned in class, explain why this is a paranormal belief and the tactics used to convey it’s reality. 3. Using techniques learned in class, explain why this is a paranormal belief and the tactics used to convey it’s reality. 4. Show evidence against the proposed phenomena based on science and empiricism. 4. Show evidence against the proposed phenomena based on science and empiricism. October 3 rd: Due date for proposed topic. October 3 rd: Due date for proposed topic.

9 Examples Big Foot Big Foot God God Creationism Creationism Aliens Aliens UFO’s UFO’s Psychics Psychics Monsters. Monsters. Faith Healing Faith Healing Levitation Levitation Ghosts Ghosts Conspiracy theories Conspiracy theories

10 Extra Credit Experiments: Experiments: 2.5 points for participation 2.5 points for participation No more than 3/ semester No more than 3/ semester Local Publication coverage of paranormal events Local Publication coverage of paranormal events Must be a local and current. Must be a local and current. Cut out/ print, bring in and present. Cut out/ print, bring in and present. 3 points 3 points (cat example) (cat example)

11 What we are not going to do This class is NOT a witch hunt. This class is NOT a witch hunt. We will not bash other beliefs We will not bash other beliefs One person’s “weird” thing could be another’s cherished belief! One person’s “weird” thing could be another’s cherished belief! We will be thinking about things in an empirical and skeptical manner, NOT ripping on, making fun of, or taunting others. We will be thinking about things in an empirical and skeptical manner, NOT ripping on, making fun of, or taunting others.

12 What are we going to do? Baruch Spinoza Baruch Spinoza Dutch Philosopher Dutch Philosopher “I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to UNDERSTAND them.” “I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to UNDERSTAND them.”

13 However… Some things are just absolutely insane…. Some things are just absolutely insane…. We can have a chuckle at their expense, but be sure to respect the views and feelings of your peers in the class so as not to make enemies. We can have a chuckle at their expense, but be sure to respect the views and feelings of your peers in the class so as not to make enemies. Discuss……don’t Argue!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Discuss……don’t Argue!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

14 About me… Pennsylvania native Pennsylvania native

15 About me Undergrad: Undergrad: Lebanon Valley College (PA) Lebanon Valley College (PA) London Metropolitan University (UK) London Metropolitan University (UK) My Flat!!!!!!!!

16 About me Hershey Inc….. Hershey Inc…..

17 About me… Guitars, Guns, Baseball …. Guitars, Guns, Baseball ….

18 Lets talk…. Name: Name: Year: Year: Where you from? Where you from? Why did you take this class? Why did you take this class?

19 What are some things you have heard of? Has anybody experienced anything paranormal? Has anybody experienced anything paranormal? Have you known anybody who has made these claims? Have you known anybody who has made these claims? What is the general consensus in the United States about this sort of stuff? What is the general consensus in the United States about this sort of stuff?

20 What will we cover? Ghosts Ghosts Afterlife Afterlife Channeling Channeling Near-death experiences Near-death experiences Psychics Psychics Psychology and all it’s BS! Psychology and all it’s BS! UFOs and alien abductions UFOs and alien abductions Creationism vs. evolution Creationism vs. evolution Religious miracles Religious miracles

21 How will we cover? 1.Reviewing the myriad of events that are considered to be paranormal 1.Reviewing the myriad of events that are considered to be paranormal 2. Addressing the public’s interest in paranormal phenomena 2. Addressing the public’s interest in paranormal phenomena 3. Evaluating and dispelling the myths surrounding paranormal events 3. Evaluating and dispelling the myths surrounding paranormal events 4. Encouraging scientific rigor when examining paranormal events 4. Encouraging scientific rigor when examining paranormal events 5. Reviewing the consequences of erroneous belief systems. 5. Reviewing the consequences of erroneous belief systems.

22 Psychology? Unknown to most people Unknown to most people Information concerning human behavior and the unconscious Information concerning human behavior and the unconscious Most who are considered to be in the field of psychology (as determined by the general population) are far from it. Most who are considered to be in the field of psychology (as determined by the general population) are far from it. SO WHAT?! SO WHAT?!

23 Psychology? Requires critical thinking skills!!! Requires critical thinking skills!!! More so than any other science. More so than any other science. Example: Chemistry Example: Chemistry Hydrochloric Acid and Aluminum Foil: Predictions? Hydrochloric Acid and Aluminum Foil: Predictions? Example: Psychology Josh’s parents get divorced when he is 7….when he turns 25 he will be __________________

24 Skeptic? What is a skeptic? What is a skeptic? Do you know of any? Do you know of any?

25 Skeptic? Skeptic Skeptic Greek: “thoughtful or full of though” Greek: “thoughtful or full of though” 2500 years old! 2500 years old! Plato and Socrates Plato and Socrates “all I know is that I know nothing” “all I know is that I know nothing”

26 Skeptics? Modern Skepticism: Modern Skepticism: Science based movement Science based movement First “Pop” skeptic: James Randi (the amazing) First “Pop” skeptic: James Randi (the amazing) 70’s and 80’s-debunked many psychics and spiritualists on the Tonight Show. 70’s and 80’s-debunked many psychics and spiritualists on the Tonight Show.

27 Skepticism Embodies in the scientific method Embodies in the scientific method Skepticism is a METHOD leading to conclusions Skepticism is a METHOD leading to conclusions A skeptic is “one who questions the validity of a particular claim by calling for evidence to prove or disprove it” A skeptic is “one who questions the validity of a particular claim by calling for evidence to prove or disprove it” “That’s nice…prove it” “That’s nice…prove it”

28 Skepticism 1.Universal Skepticism: 1.Universal Skepticism: “The reality of the senses and the validity of rational inference should be mistrusted.” “The reality of the senses and the validity of rational inference should be mistrusted.” Philosophy: this has led to Extreme Solopsism: Philosophy: this has led to Extreme Solopsism: “The reality of the external world and even one’s existence are doubted.” “The reality of the external world and even one’s existence are doubted.” Nothing is real?!

29 Universal? Problems? Problems? Overall, it can be seen that “Universal Skepticism is negative, self-defeating, and contradictory Overall, it can be seen that “Universal Skepticism is negative, self-defeating, and contradictory

30 Skepticism 2. Selective Skepticism 2. Selective Skepticism If a finding seems scientifically valid, it is accepted, until a better theory comes along to replace it. If a finding seems scientifically valid, it is accepted, until a better theory comes along to replace it. there are NO absolute laws !!! there are NO absolute laws !!! …a bit better …a bit better I exist…for now

31 Science? What the heck is science? What the heck is science?

32 What science is NOT 1. Not defined by subject matter 1. Not defined by subject matter Bio, Chem, Psych, Physics…..what about selling cars? Bio, Chem, Psych, Physics…..what about selling cars? 2. Not defined by use of particular instrumentation and tools. 2. Not defined by use of particular instrumentation and tools. Do I have to blow stuff up? Do I have to blow stuff up?

33 So what is it then? You tell me…… You tell me…… A way of thinking! A way of thinking!

34 Science! Science and Skepticism Science and Skepticism “a set of methods designed to describe and interpret observed or inferred phenomena, past or present, and aimed at building a testable body of knowledge open to rejection or confirmation.” “a set of methods designed to describe and interpret observed or inferred phenomena, past or present, and aimed at building a testable body of knowledge open to rejection or confirmation.” What are some VERY important words here? What are some VERY important words here?

35 Scientific Principles Induction Induction Forming a hypothesis from existing data Forming a hypothesis from existing data Deduction Deduction Making specific predictions based on hypothesis Making specific predictions based on hypothesis Observation Observation Gathering data, driven by our hypothesis that tells us what to look for Gathering data, driven by our hypothesis that tells us what to look for Verification Verification Testing the predictions against further observations to confirm or falsify the initial hypothesis. Testing the predictions against further observations to confirm or falsify the initial hypothesis.

36 Scientific principles Via the scientific method we can come to the following conclusions: Via the scientific method we can come to the following conclusions: 1.Hypothesis 1.Hypothesis A testable statement accounting for a set of observations A testable statement accounting for a set of observations 2.Theory 2.Theory A well-supported and well-tested hypothesis A well-supported and well-tested hypothesis evolution evolution 3.Fact: 3.Fact: A conclusion confirmed to such an extent that it would be reasonable to offer provisional agreement. A conclusion confirmed to such an extent that it would be reasonable to offer provisional agreement. The earth is not flat The earth is not flat

37 Rationalism Basing conclusion on logic and evidence Basing conclusion on logic and evidence How do we know the world is round? How do we know the world is round? Dogmatism: Dogmatism: Basing conclusion on authority Basing conclusion on authority Parents said so Parents said so I said so I said so Textbook says so Textbook says so

38 Scientific Principles How to ALWAYS think about explaining the universe… Systematic Empiricism Production of Public Knowledge Examination of Solvable Problems

39 Systematic Empiricism Empiricism? Empiricism? Relying in observation…good enough? Relying in observation…good enough? STRUCTURE!!!! STRUCTURE!!!! My car is scratched: Who did it? My car is scratched: Who did it?

40 Production of Public Knowledge “No man is an island” “No man is an island” Must be public and repeatable. Must be public and repeatable. Why is this necessary? Why is this necessary? Findings must be presented to the community in such a way that they can be replicated, criticized or extended by anyone Findings must be presented to the community in such a way that they can be replicated, criticized or extended by anyone

41 Cold Fusion? What is it? What is it? Pons and Fleischmann Pons and Fleischmann Faulty measures Faulty measures Required Special Instruments Required Special Instruments

42 Empirically Solvable Problems Predict  Control  Explain Predict  Control  Explain What are some questions? What are some questions? What are NOT some questions? What are NOT some questions? Pinker: Mysteries to Problems? Pinker: Mysteries to Problems? Jefferson and Sally?! Mystery back then…Problem now! Jefferson and Sally?! Mystery back then…Problem now!

43 Pseudoscience/ Paranormal Characteristics: Characteristics: 1. non-falsifiable or irrefutable hypothesis. 1. non-falsifiable or irrefutable hypothesis. What does non-falsifiable mean? What does non-falsifiable mean? No evidence can show the hypothesis to be wrong. No evidence can show the hypothesis to be wrong.

44 Falsifiability? Scientific theories must be presented in a way so as that they can be shown to be false. Scientific theories must be presented in a way so as that they can be shown to be false. What “SHOULD” happen and what will “NOT” happen What “SHOULD” happen and what will “NOT” happen Predictions on Josh: He SHOULD develop some sort of behavior related to the divorce of his parent, how it manifests itself is TBD. Predictions on Josh: He SHOULD develop some sort of behavior related to the divorce of his parent, how it manifests itself is TBD. Josh will NOT develop the power to kill a deer from 40 yards with mind bullets, on account of his parents divorce. Josh will NOT develop the power to kill a deer from 40 yards with mind bullets, on account of his parents divorce.

45 Lets try one… I, Andrew D. Dewald: am God I, Andrew D. Dewald: am God I created all of you I created all of you I control all of you I control all of you And you all have no free will. And you all have no free will. I determine everything I determine everything

46 Characteristic 2 Unwillingness to look closely at the phenomenon they claim exists. Unwillingness to look closely at the phenomenon they claim exists. Need for hard data completely ignored. Need for hard data completely ignored. We never landed on the moon We never landed on the moon

47 What if science can’t explain? If science can’t fully explain the phenomena COMPLETELY, reasonable explanations are ignored or dismissed and the proponent concludes that pseudoscience is supported. If science can’t fully explain the phenomena COMPLETELY, reasonable explanations are ignored or dismissed and the proponent concludes that pseudoscience is supported. Why is this dangerous? Why is this dangerous?

48 Santa? Who has seen him? Who has seen him? NASA Apollo 8 saw him NASA Apollo 8 saw him Santa produces Santa produces Who does the burden lie on? Who does the burden lie on? The proponent or the Skeptic? The proponent or the Skeptic? -shifting the burden to the Skeptic is NOT a legitimate means of defending unattainable hypothesis. -shifting the burden to the Skeptic is NOT a legitimate means of defending unattainable hypothesis.

49 Because I’m a nerd…. Because I’m a nerd…. 2 Billion Children in the World 2 Billion Children in the World (Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist children no need to apply) (Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist children no need to apply) = 378 Million Children (Assuming they are good) = 378 Million Children (Assuming they are good) 31 Hours to work= visits per second 31 Hours to work= visits per second 1/1000 th of a second/ kid 1/1000 th of a second/ kid 650 miles per second, 3000 times the speed of sound =14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy per SECOND 650 miles per second, 3000 times the speed of sound =14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy per SECOND

50 Conspiracy Theories Not paranormal in nature but pop up in the belief systems of proponents of claims. Not paranormal in nature but pop up in the belief systems of proponents of claims. Who knows some? Who knows some? Biggest Problem? Biggest Problem? HUGE NUMBER OF PEOPLE TO NOT COME FORWARD! HUGE NUMBER OF PEOPLE TO NOT COME FORWARD!

51 Polywater 1960’s: Russia 1960’s: Russia Boils way high, freezes way low Boils way high, freezes way low More stable than H20 More stable than H20 If allowed to contaminate actual water…BOOM! If allowed to contaminate actual water…BOOM! Skeptics could not make it Skeptics could not make it Russia: You’re not doing it right! Russia: You’re not doing it right!

52 Conclusion: Extraordinary claims need extraordinary proof! Extraordinary claims need extraordinary proof! Science is open minded: Believers are NOT! Science is open minded: Believers are NOT!

53 What is the Paranormal? A subset of pseudoscience A subset of pseudoscience “any phenomenon that in one or more respects exceeds the limits of what is deemed physically possible according to current scientific assumptions” “any phenomenon that in one or more respects exceeds the limits of what is deemed physically possible according to current scientific assumptions” A reliance on explanations for alleged phenomena that are WELL outside the bounds of established science. A reliance on explanations for alleged phenomena that are WELL outside the bounds of established science. Paranormal  Pseudoscience Paranormal  Pseudoscience

54 Pseudo vs. Paranormal UFO’s-You tell me. UFO’s-You tell me. We have been visited by aliens who use wormhole technology to warp space to reach us. We have been visited by aliens who use wormhole technology to warp space to reach us. All UFO space craft is actual psychic projections from the dead spirits of the Universe. All UFO space craft is actual psychic projections from the dead spirits of the Universe.

55 Who cares? What does it matter if people believe crazy stuff? What does it matter if people believe crazy stuff? What do you think? What do you think?

56 Who cares? Late 19 th / Early 20 th century: Late 19 th / Early 20 th century: People started to care People started to care Spiritualists were exposed by magicians. Spiritualists were exposed by magicians. Today: Today: CSICOP (1970) CSICOP (1970) Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal. Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal.

57 CSICOP CSICOP established several goals: CSICOP established several goals: A. “to encourage the investigation of paranormal and fringe-science claims in a responsible, scientific way” A. “to encourage the investigation of paranormal and fringe-science claims in a responsible, scientific way” B. “to obtain and disseminate to the public accurate, scientifically reliable information about the paranormal.” B. “to obtain and disseminate to the public accurate, scientifically reliable information about the paranormal.”

58 Who cares? ?

59 Question: Is teaching skepticism harmful to curiosity and creativity? Is teaching skepticism harmful to curiosity and creativity? What do you think? What do you think?

60 Why do they care? I. Claims might be true! I. Claims might be true! A.Hypnotism A.Hypnotism Franz Anton Mesmer 1700’s Franz Anton Mesmer 1700’s B. Stones from space?(17 th c) B. Stones from space?(17 th c) C. Acupuncture?(70’s) C. Acupuncture?(70’s) Aliens? Aliens? (sure) (sure)

61 Why do they care? II. Responsibility to inform the public: II. Responsibility to inform the public: America is easy: America is easy: Nisbet (1998) Nisbet (1998) 45%-Faith Healing 45%-Faith Healing 30%-UFO’s (like actually here now) 30%-UFO’s (like actually here now) 37%- Astrology (like in the paper!) 37%- Astrology (like in the paper!) 25%-Reincarnation (Christians) 25%-Reincarnation (Christians)

62 Why do they care? II. Responsibility to inform the public: II. Responsibility to inform the public: The public spends a lot of time and MONEY on this junk. The public spends a lot of time and MONEY on this junk. Fraud (John Edward) Fraud (John Edward) Uncritical coverage of paranormal claims (Faith healers, prayer, Mary on toast) Uncritical coverage of paranormal claims (Faith healers, prayer, Mary on toast) Alternative Medicine (10 BILLION/ year) Alternative Medicine (10 BILLION/ year)

63 Why do they care? III. Dangers in belief: III. Dangers in belief: So what if I believe? So what if I believe? 3 levels of why this is trouble: 3 levels of why this is trouble: 1.Philosophical 1.Philosophical 2. Practical 2. Practical 3. Social 3. Social

64 Philosophy: False beliefs about how the world actually works= DANGEROUS! False beliefs about how the world actually works= DANGEROUS! Truth=good Truth=good Holding an incorrect view of how the world works is referred to as a? Holding an incorrect view of how the world works is referred to as a?

65 Practical New Kona Coffee: New Kona Coffee: 200% the regular caffeine! (only has 10%) 200% the regular caffeine! (only has 10%) Problems? Problems? The Amish (sorry boys): The Amish (sorry boys): Prayer over inoculation Prayer over inoculation

66 Social Bringing it to the masses! Uncritical acceptance of paranormal belief systems can be extremely damaging Uncritical acceptance of paranormal belief systems can be extremely damaging Examples: Examples:

67 Conclusion: Those are extremes Those are extremes However: If one accepts faulty evidence, intellectual shoddiness and fraud and twisted logic for little things…it be comes EASIER to accept the same type of evidence in support for REALLY bad stuff. However: If one accepts faulty evidence, intellectual shoddiness and fraud and twisted logic for little things…it be comes EASIER to accept the same type of evidence in support for REALLY bad stuff.

68


Download ppt "PSY 429. Paranormal Phenomena and Experience Andrew D. Dewald."

Similar presentations


Ads by Google