Recently, journalist Steven Volk was surprised to discover that leading skeptical psychologist Richard Wiseman has admitted that the evidence for telepathy is so good that “by the standards of any other area of science, [telepathy] is proven.” Mr Volk goes on to write, “Even more incredibly, as I report in Fringe-ology, another leading skeptic, Chris French, agrees with him.”
Mr Volk might even be more surprised to learn that back in 1951 psychologist Donald Hebb wrote this:
Why do we not accept ESP as a psychological fact? Rhine has offeredenough evidence to have convinced us on almost any other issue… Personally, I do not accept ESP for a moment, because it does not make sense. My external criteria, both of physics and of physiology, say that ESP is not a fact despite the behavioral evidence that has been reported. I cannot see what other basis my colleagues have for rejecting it… Rhine may still turn out to be right, improbable as I think that is, and my own rejection of his view is — in the literal sense — prejudice. (emphasis added.)
Four years later, George Price, then a research associate at the Department of Medicine at the University of Minnesota, published an article in the prestigious journal Science that began:
Believers in psychic phenomena… appear to have won a decisive victory and virtually silenced opposition…. This victory is the result of careful experimentation and intelligent argumentation. Dozens of experimenters have obtained positive results in ESP experiments, and the mathematical procedures have been approved by leading statisticians…. Against all this evidence, almost the only defense remaining to the skeptical scientist is ignorance.
But Price then argued “ESP is incompatible with current scientific theory” and asked:
If, then, parapsychology and modern science are incompatible, why not reject parapsychology? …The choice is between believing in something “truly revolutionary” and “radically contradictory to contemporary thought” and believing in the occurrence of fraud and self-delusion. Which is more reasonable?