Book Review: "Evidence for Psi - Thirteen Empirical Research Reports"

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by Damien Broderick and Ben Goertzel (Editors)
Review by Robert Lewis Henry

EXCERPT: [...] as the editors [...] point out in their introduction, in the form of a quote from Carl Sagan, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence; to which Damien Broderick and Ben Goertzel are confident that there is much of the latter in Psi research. As the title suggests, the book is a collection of research projects and articles on the topic of Psi within a peer-reviewed context. Its scope of interest, well documented case studies, meta-analyses, and compelling conclusions certainly give one pause when considering the whole of Psi research.

In the prelude [...] Broderick and Goertzel offer a brief description of Psi and their attempt to narrow the field to a heterogeneous class of phenomena. [...] to which Broderick and Goertzel are eager to exclude such sensational topics as the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, Witchcraft, ghosts, and other outrageous issues, they highlight those phenomena such as ESP, Mind-Matter Interaction, and survival (the view that the essence of personality survives death). The phenomena of Psi [...] are argued to have real physical processes that underlie them [...]

Broderick and Goertzel furthermore emphasize the importance of meta-analyses and Bayesian statistical analysis, in contrast to a frequentist approach. The latter of these is characterized as ignoring the paradigmatic nature of the sciences, whereas the former encompasses a wider theoretical model of the History of Science. In this spirit, Broderick and Goertzel suggest that such hypotheses as Psi, furtive to specific paradigms of physics, are incompatible to traditional laboratory evidence. However, this is not to say that Psi is falsifiable or based on unscientific superstition. Statistical analyses of case studies, to Broderick and Goertzel, present overwhelming evidence of Psi phenomena...

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