Are paranormal phenomena real? There are scientists who will categorically deny the existence of paranormal phenomena. Everything has, or is supposed to have, a scientific explanation. However, other scientists are willing to concede that if paranormal phenomena exist, then they can be studied. One of the reasons for these opposing points of view is that studies of paranormal phenomena for over one hundred years have exposed cheats, mentally ill people, and charlatans. To this day, no scientific experiments have established conclusively the existence of paranormal phenomena.
This workbook analyzes the organs of the human body and tries to determine whether the mind is capable of performing any of the functions claimed by psychics. This is a workbook in the sense that the reader can use an Extrasensory Perception Test to run actual experiments. The workbook starts by challenging the foundations of psychic experiences by setting strict criteria for verification. In the next chapters, the human body is viewed as the receptor and generator of inputs and outputs of chemical, mechanical, and electromagnetic signals. Within this framework, the functions of the mind are explored and a methodology for working with subjective perceptions is introduced and contrasted with the scientific method. Since much of the interest in psychic phenomena is motivated by trying to predict future events, this workbook emphasizes how knowledge of personality analysis can be used to improve self-awareness and to predict human behavior. A personality test program and personality analysis exercises introduce procedures for analyzing personality traits systematically. Overall, this workbook describes methods for distinguishing truth from speculation and suggests techniques for using your intuition and powers of observation to help you achieve your goals.
One century of failing to prove the existence of paranormal phenomena is not sufficient evidence for those who have had a premonition come true or who feel that science does not have the answers for everything. To these people, psychic phenomena remain unexplained and beyond the reach of scientific analysis. Is it possible to believe in the paranormal in this age of modern science? For 20 years, the CIA and Pentagon spent millions of Dollars researching whether psychic phenomena could be exploited to gather secret information. When the project was terminated and declassified, proponents were convinced that the project had been useful, whereas detractors said that the studies had severe methodological flaws and the results had been worthless.
Just like there are scientists with different point of views, there are many people who believe in paranormal phenomena who have radically different views from each other. There are the self-proclaimed psychics who will tell you all the things that they predicted, and spiritualists that have many stories about all the dead people with whom they have communicated, and the television programs that show people with infrared cameras and other equipment trying to identify the presence of spirits. More typically, there are also individuals who have had no more than a handful of unforgettable experiences or revelations that they believe are of psychical origin. These persons tend to believe their own intuition in spite of any scientific explanation. Psychic phenomena include the complete spectrum of normal and abnormal experiences of the mind, although the emphasis is on mental experiences beyond the ordinary. Psychic phenomena exclude paranormal phenomena such as Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs), reincarnation, spirits, ghosts, and a broad range of experiences that are more in the category of belief systems rather than mental experiences. Much of the paranormal literature is too mystical, too incredible and it goes against the intuition of people with scientific training. Some of the claims are so preposterous that the James Randi Educational Foundation, a not-for-profit organization which was established in 1996 to promote critical thinking, offers a prize of one million Dollars to any person who can demonstrate any psychic, supernatural or paranormal ability of any kind under mutually agreed upon scientific conditions. To date, the prize remains unclaimed.
The scientific study of the brain is carried out by organizations like the Mind Research Network (MRN) which uses state-of-the-art magnetic resonance imaging and magnetoencephalogram neuroimaging systems for the studies of mental illness and brain disorders. The purpose of the research conducted by these organizations is to develop clinical solutions for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of mental illness such as schizophrenia, psychopathy, and brain disorders caused by traumatic brain injuries. Some studies focus on positive neuroscience to understand the processes of cognitive capacity and creativity in healthy individuals.