Category Archives: Sebastian Penraeth

Chris French Reverses Stance, Selflessly Declares Parapsychology Actual Science

by Sebastian Penraeth

In a surprising turn of events, Professor Chris French, a prominent figure within the skeptical community—and longtime slinger of the pseudoscience card—publicly revised his stance on parapsychology, declaring it a legitimate science. This marks a significant departure from the traditionally dismissive view held by most skeptics. Originally explored in a chapter of Pseudoscience: The Conspiracy Against Science, French subsequently published an article or two in The Skeptic magazine about his shift in viewpoint.

He rightly acknowledges the complexity of the demarcation problem—the challenge of distinguishing science from pseudoscience—and suggests that rather than strict criteria, a set of benchmarks indicative of good science can be more appropriately applied. These benchmarks include falsifiability, reproducibility, and a connection to the broader scientific community, among others.

“The best approach appears to be one that does not attempt to apply a definitive list of strict criteria but instead accepts that there are certain ‘benchmarks’ that characterise what we think of as good science.”

French’s reassessment was significantly influenced by a paper by Marie-Catherine Mousseau, which empirically evaluated parapsychology against these benchmarks, finding little support for its classification as pseudoscience.

Mousseau’s analysis is rooted in a comparative study of mainstream and “fringe” scientific journals, alongside observations from the annual meeting of the Parapsychological Association. Her findings reveal that unlike mainstream journals, which tend to emphasize positive findings, fringe journals demonstrated a commendable willingness to publish studies with negative outcomes. This practice is crucial for the scientific method, as it provides a more complete and honest picture of research efforts and outcomes. Almost half of the articles in fringe journals reported disconfirmation of hypotheses, a stark contrast to the mainstream journals in Mousseau’s sample, where ZERO reports of negative results were found.

Continue reading Chris French Reverses Stance, Selflessly Declares Parapsychology Actual Science

Sebastian Penraeth

Chris French Reverses Stance, Selflessly Declares Parapsychology Actual Science

by Sebastian Penraeth In a surprising turn of events, Professor Chris French, a prominent figure within the skeptical community—and longtime slinger of the pseudoscience card—publicly revised his stance on parapsychology, declaring it a legitimate science. This marks a significant departure from the traditionally dismissive view held by most skeptics. Originally explored in a chapter of...

continue reading

Call for Grant Applications from Researchers in Subtle Energy and Biofield Healing

For researchers interested in exploring the science of subtle energy and biofield healing, the Biofield Research Fellowship Program is now seeking applications for a new grant/fellowship opportunity, which will provide six annual grants of up to $20,000 USD each, plus mentorship and community for emerging researchers across multiple disciplines. Backed by a collaborative group of...

continue reading

“A form of scientific fundamentalism”

In order to deal with cognitive dissonance, I argue that some skeptics use the same basic methods as religious fundamentalists [...who] often perform irrational cognitive contortions to dismiss evidence against their beliefs, such as when creationists try to explain the existence of fossils by saying that "God put them there to test our faith" (or...

continue reading

“A form of scientific fundamentalism”



Call for Grant Applications from Researchers in Subtle Energy and Biofield Healing

The Biofield Research Fellowship Program

For researchers interested in exploring the science of subtle energy and biofield healing, the Biofield Research Fellowship Program is now seeking applications for a new grant/fellowship opportunity, which will provide six annual grants of up to $20,000 USD each, plus mentorship and community for emerging researchers across multiple disciplines.

Backed by a collaborative group of philanthropists and foundations called the Subtle Energy Collective (below), the Biofield Research Fellowship Program is funding rigorous examinations of biofield science with the goal of seeding a new generation of biofield researchers to advance the field and bolster its research base. In addition to grant funds, the Fellowship Program will provide Fellows with a collaborative community of emerging and established researchers and will pair each Fellow with a respected research mentor who has expertise relevant to their research. The findings derived from Fellows’ investigations will provide greater insight into biofield therapies and their applications for reducing suffering and promoting health and wellbeing.

Continue reading Call for Grant Applications from Researchers in Subtle Energy and Biofield Healing