For many of us that attempt to make some sense of the paranormal; the aim is to discover something that those science types will accept. Over the years this has been dominated by an attempt to find repeatable or replicable evidence for various psychical aspects and phenomena. In all fairness this approach to science has been around for well over 100 years and forms the basis for much of our understanding of science. So much so, that the methodology is built into our education system. This approach is then bolstered by peer reviewed papers in notable journals. The more important the journal the more important the scientists hypothesis is seen to be. The more journal publicity the paper gets the more chance that the research gets funding. Thus a complex paradox begins in which scientists only publish a small percentage of their data which supports their theory. This has been brought to light by attempts recently to replicate or validate some ‘landmark’ cases during a study by German research company Bayer in 2011. Their study discovered that more than 75% of the cases couldn’t be validated.
Science’s Tight Grip
So, the question is why does mainstream science adopt such tight regulations in regards to psychical research, demanding replicable results or even dismiss what we study! Granted I don’t expect them to simply accept everything that we discover, but sometimes it would be nice to see them adopt a more open minded approach!
However we must remember that although they can be considered a little antiquated, the approach that mainstream science takes has helped to lay the foundations of our scientific understanding. Much like the respect we should have for a knowledgeable forefather, we should remain respectful towards science as it stands. Thus we should continue to attempt to research and experiment looking for replicable results, but we should remain mindful of that which doesn’t fit the model too. After all it maybe that the answers we seek occur in an odd pattern which is far from obvious and only occurs at what seems very random occasions. These kinds of results never return data which fits the standard scientific model and is why mainstream science tends to reject them.
The Paranormal Hides Behind the Scenes
However let’s not get bogged down by all the science stuff. After all the distinctive separation that has existed between the spiritual and the scientific is in my opinion beginning to blur! Paranormal investigators are working harder to gather data to challenge science, psychical researchers and experimenters are working harder and beginning to be recognised as a part of mainstream science. Such centres of research as Rhine and the Koestler Parapsychology Unit are leading the way in trying to understand the aspects of the paranormal just like many of us are, but with excellent scientific theory, research and experimentation. The paranormal has inadvertently snuck into science, behind the scenes, learnt the hard way and is now beginning to raise its head up above the rest claiming its place. Things are changing, but still have a good distance to go! What is equally interesting is that technology is beginning to buy into many of the concepts of psychical research too. I’m not just talking about the various gadgets out there for ghost hunters, but the fact that researchers have made use of technology as a part of their experiments. For example; one paper I read explained the use of a computer to help communicate telepathic thoughts at a distance between two people. Which incidentally was based on simple communication and was actually successful?
Back to that blur between the spiritual and the scientific! Think about it and even check your phone if you like. Society has begun to embrace certain practises associated historically with spirituality. The most significant of these being meditation. Many have begun to understand the benefits of meditation and how it can help to improve day to day life. In fact our friend science has several papers on meditation and its positive impact, and if science agrees it must be right!
So, Is Science Losing Its Direction?
This brings me back to the title question; is science losing its direction? The answer is a simple ‘no’ really! Science is evolving, albeit gradually, it’s getting there and like spirituality we must not lose faith in it. After all it’s brought us great understanding of the world, the universe and beyond. Not to mention our latest and growing understanding of the quantum world which has perhaps expanded our knowledge to new extremities. It’s fair to say that quantum physics may even have helped to show scientists greater possibilities. Such things as entanglement and the possibilities of multiple dimensions often sounds like something a spiritualist may talk about (and have) rather than top scientists at CERN, for example. However they do often and are even experimenting in these areas too, the division is well and truly blurred!
The Evolution of Science and Spirituality
Science and spirituality are evolving right before our eyes and not separately either! Many scientists are adopting variations of spirituality into their lives, whilst spiritualists are becoming increasingly open to scientific method in order to communicate better with their siblings of science knowledge which they’ve had faith in for years. That which was once one, shall be so again one day.